I know what I said before, that Guardian/Juggernaut defense spec was not viable in PvP. It’s tough to admit, but I was wrong. My PvP friends and I all came to love the defense tree for the same reason: we all get the benefit of a healer who isn’t dead. It’s the ultimate tank support class, the glue that holds healer and dps relationships together. Here’s my build and reasoning.
Defense Guardian isn’t for everyone. It’s for players who want to prioritize their support role over damage. It takes a special kind of player to do this and we receive little recognition for our efforts. Most players don’t notice the effect of a support tank on the game and we don’t top any stat on the scoreboard except possibly protection.
While protection is what you are there for, always remember that protection is not damage. It should not be compared at a 1:1 ratio. A small amount of protection can save a player’s life, cap a node, or essentially win a game. On the other hand, no amount of protection can kill an enemy player, and this is often the surest path to victory.
That said, protection is what Guardians get by going defense. The only real reason to go defense spec is to make staying in Soresu Form viable so we can keep Guard up. The talents alone do not add enough support power to make the build viable since the loss of damage is not matched by a sufficient gain in crowd control. The only alternative is to play a dps spec in Soresu form. The real question is which spec is best for staying in Soresu Form and I think it’s this one.
In order to make the most of their protection, defense Guardians need a quality team. And not just good geared players, you need a team with a good ratio of healers, melee and ranged dps. A defense Guardian is a true team player and cannot carry a warzone. Queuing with a healer and a couple dps will greatly improve a Guardian’s chances over solo queuing. And, as always, so will being in skype/vent, perhaps the most for support role players.
A defense Guardian’s primary goal is to keep her team alive. Healers come first and foremost and have been intentionally designed to rely on you. They are squishy and Guard is the best way to help them. In the current metagame, healers die without players to support them. Rather than making individual healers viable, Bioware encourages teamwork by making healers reliant on the their team stay alive.
Most of the time Guard should be on a healer, and the Guardian should be orbiting around him. Only move Guard to another player if you can reasonably trust that your healer will be ok until you can get it back onto them. Deciding who to Guard at each moment is difficult and changing Guard to a new target activates the global cooldown. Nevertheless, these decisions make the difference between good and great defense Guardians.
As a secondary objective, even defense Guardians need to deal damage. Hint: wear dps gear.
I strongly recommend wearing dps gear over tank gear because you can still keep Guard up with dps gear on. In all honesty I have only played in dps gear but I still feel confident in this recommendation. Despite all your Guarding and Taunting you will still not be targeted enough to make defense gear worth it. Even when targeted, dodging, shield, and deflect are not good pvp stats since so many effects cannot be mitigated in those ways. Only equip defensive gear if you are planning to carry the Huttball, or possibly while defending in Voidstar. I am pretty sure that damage you take due to Guard cannot be dodged, shielded, or deflected. (Looking for confirmation)
Basically, the only real benefit of the defensive gear is the health which might enable your healer to worry about himself for another second or two before returning to heal you. Damage kills people and is one of the most important stats. Don’t sacrifice any more damage than required to do your job of keeping Guard up at all times.
Wait? Did someone say defense Guardians could only top protection? Must be a fluke.
Basically I skip Shield Specialization because I don’t wear a shield, although as soon as I get the War Hero shield I will equip it for Huttball and half of Voidstar. Skip Momentum because you don’t have Zealous Leap and it conflicts with Courage. Only 1 point in Blade Barricade, it seems weakest for my playstyle. Max everything else in the Defense tree. Then get your 6% strength in Vigilance and bigger Force Sweeps from Focus tree. Last point goes into Master Focus; really wish I could max it.
My conclusion is that there is room for 1, and only 1, Defense Guardian in an 8-man ranked team. As is normal for support classes, they only work well as part of a team and too many is often a weak team composition. I’m imagining running 2 healers and 2 tanky defenders, one of which being a Guardian. A second Guardian is certainly possible but I would have them be dps spec.
It’s a bit of a tough sell to make a defense Guardian viable since it only works with other players. If you have enough healer friends to play with and frequently use voice chat then go have some fun being a team player. You and your healer should be able to keep the 2 dps players you queued with alive indefinitely. If you normally solo q, DPS!