Guide to playing as a warrior

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Warriors are the primary frontline characters, combining heavy armor with melee attacks. Warriors can tank effectively by virtue of their high armor rating, enabling allied casters to deal damage undisturbed and taking pressure off healers. Warriors can also be damage per second (DPS) machines, well suited to applying pressure and spiking. While warriors do have some damage prevention abilities, they lack self heals. Many warrior skills (offensive and defensive) are adrenaline based, compensating for their limited energy pool.


Strength (Primary Attribute)[edit]

Each point of strength grants +1% base armor penetration on attack skills. While this may seem like a fairly weak effect compared to other primary attributes, this makes warriors considerably powerful during spikes. Many useful warrior skills are linked to strength, and many warrior shields typically have Strength requirement.

Axe Mastery[edit]

This skill line contains axe skills. Axe mastery produces strong DPS and spikes; however it has limited utility and less movement control capability compared to other weapon attributes. Axe mastery tends to center around the Deep Wound condition.

Hammer Mastery[edit]

The specialty of a hammer using warrior is knocking down your enemy and a huge damage output, as well as the Weakness condition, making it very effective in one-on-one combat. Hammer mastery also contains some attack skills which are much more effective if you use them on a target that has been knocked down. Due to the two-handed nature of hammers, you will lack the extra armour and benefits a shield provides. Also due to the slower attack speed, building up Adrenaline is slower and your overall DPS tends to be weaker, a hammer warrior's killing capability tends to come from their ability to do big damage from a knock-down while their target is unable to use any defensive measures of their own.


Skills for sword users focuses mainly on utility and condition pressure rather than pure damage, and can easily apply and spread condition pressure in form of Cripple and Bleeding.


The tactics attribute offers many stances and shouts to support warriors themselves and/or other allies and overall tends to be a more defensive attribute line. Warrior shields may also carry Tactics requirement.

Adrenaline and stances[edit]

Builds and team roles[edit]

For further information about advanced strategies and tactics utilized by experienced Warrior players: [[{{{1}}}]]
Main articles: Builds, Meta, and Team roles

Warriors that use extensive array of condition inducing skills to weaken their foes. Quickly building up adrenaline is the key to rapidly dealing out conditions either through skills, rapid attacks or attacking multiple targets. Depending on the weapon the warrior chooses they are presented with different array of conditions. Axes are primarily for Deep Wound, swords for Bleeding and Hammers for Weakness. Follow up with a second condition-inducing skill often results in augmented effect, Dismember may be followed by Axe Twist or Axe Rake resulting in Weakness or Cripple, while Sever Artery may be followed by Gash resulting in Deep Wound. May use Apply Poison to spread Poison as well, especially when combined with such skills as Cyclone Axe or Whirlwind Attack to spread it to multiple foes at once. Must be combined with damage dealing skills to be effective.

Warrior's Endurance

Warriors that use several attack skills in rapid succession to deal consistent moderate damage to single foe. Tend to have high weapon attribute as well as high strength, thus combines well with Strength Tank. Axe or Hammer is advised over Sword for higher DPS. Tend to use high damage attacks such as Soldier's Strike, Power Attack, Counterattack as they have very short recharge. Energy attacks may be fueled by Zealous weapons and/or Warrior's Endurance both combine well with IAS stances such as Flail. Combined with additional condition dealing skills, such as Dismember, may quickly take down individual enemies or spread out damage across several foes. Another common combination is "For Great Justice!" and Dragon Slash, which can be used in a nearly unending combination. Very effective throughout entire spectrum of PvE and tends to be affected less by Weakness than other warrior types.

Hundred Blades

Warriors can use physical area of effect attacks to deal damage to multiple foes simultaneously. If you use swords you could use Hundred Blades with Sun and Moon Slash.

For hammers you could use Crude Swing and Yeti Smash. Players with Nightfall can also use the PvE skill Whirlwind Attack with any melee weapon to further boost the number of times you can hit your foes (Especially if you are using a sword with Hundred Blades active as it would activate for every foe you attack). Combined with skills that give bonus damage such as a conjure enchantment, Strength of Honor, Brutal Weapon, and Splinter Weapon, the Warrior can increase its damage dealing capabilities even further.

Devastating Hammer

Devastating Hammer which requires a low amount of adrenaline to use; many hammer skills are primed off of weakness. Hammer warriors utilize extensive array of knockdowns and Weakness inducing skills present in the Hammer skill line. Skills such as Magehunter's Smash provides a knockdown that bypasses popular defensive enchantments such as Guardian, and


Tanking means to act as meat shield for the rest of the party. This play style is applicable only in PvE. Warriors, due to their high natural armor, are better suited to act as tanks than other professions. Tanking is usually done by aggroing a mob and holding their aggro on yourself, allowing your teammates to cast spells at said mob without the fear of being chased and then killed. In doing so you must make sure that there is no one else inside your aggro bubble when you attack, and that others do not come near you until the mob has stopped moving and is focusing the entirety of their wrath on you. However when their backline starts to nuke, make sure that your Elementalists are ready to return the favor.

While tanking you must not cause your mob to flee or change targets, dealing rapid area of effect damage and / or moving will cause the mob to flee/look for new targets.

While tanking, keeping yourself alive is far more important than dealing damage, therefore a shield is a must. Armor mods on the weapon are a good bonus and should be preferred over health mods, unless heavy health degeneration is expected.

Skills that increase your armor are a must, as it is a good way to reduce the amount of damage taken. However, due to the cap of +25 armor (A single skill exceeding this will still take full effect. ex: Mesmer stance- Physical/Elemental Resistance, Elementalist enchantments- Armor of Earth/Kinetic Armor, etc), it is wise to bring only one armor booster.

While having high armor is good way to reduce damage taken, denial stances are even better. Blocking attacks stops bonus damage from hurting you.

Flail and Drunken Master are the IAS skills of choice for PvE.

Two skills that are very useful for tanking are Defy Pain and Endure Pain. These skills increase a warriors health to well over 1000, greatly annoying anyone who is about to kill you, as well as providing damage reduction.

Heavy investment into primary warrior attribute strength and the weapon attribute, with little or no points spent on Tactics. Utilizing a shield and a one handed weapon (preferably an axe) Strength Tank is the party's meat shield, using survivability skills of the strength line to drastically reduce damage taken as well as attacks to deal out blows with high armor penetration. Suitable for dealing with multiple and sources of low to moderate elemental and physical damage as well as dealing considerable amounts of damage and causing Deep Wound.

Heavy investment into Tactics and weapon attribute (preferably a sword), with little or no points spent on Strength. Capable of utilizing multiple stances of Tactics line to block attacks avoiding damage as well as dealing repeated armor ignoring hits to any melee attackers, with skills such as Riposte. High Tactics makes Healing Signet into a valuable source of self healing, where blocking stances will cover the use of the signet nearly removing its drawbacks. Suitable for tanking multiple melee-only attackers while not hindered by high damage as hits are avoided.


Warriors have stances and shouts that increase their run speed. They make very good "runners" and when combined with a Monk or a Ranger as a secondary profession they can escape from and survive extremely dangerous situations. The use of Warriors as runners has, however, declined since the release of Guild Wars: Nightfall and the Dervish profession, equipped with useful running skills such as Vow of Silence. A useful running build consists of speed enhancements, healing spells and various other skills.

In PvP[edit]

Damage per second pressure versus spiking[edit]

Warrior builds can be categorized into two types: pressure or spike, though often times there is a lot of gray area. Pressure builds attempt to deal high damage over time, mainly targeted to do consistent damage to burn out monk energy. Sword builds are typically used for this cause, as the high average damage is great for constant DPS in addition to their pressure skills (i.e. Crippling Slash). Spike builds attempt to "spike" damage into short bursts, compressing damage so that monks cannot heal or prot back efficiently. Axe is the choice of weapon, as they contain an easier one-hit deepwound action in addition to their spike-based skills (i.e. Eviscerate, Dismember, Executioner's Strike). There is, however, much crossing over of pressure and spike between the builds. On a pressuring sword bar, for example, one slot is usually left for a quick spike damage such as Final Thrust or Sun and Moon Slash, which can prove vital in killing off low enemies or simply to use for extra pressure. On a more spike-based axe bar, constant deepwounds and damage can also help pressure out the enemy such as the use of Dismember reapplication. As such, most builds have both spike and pressure capabilities, though one may specialize more towards one end.

Be keen to note, however, that team build is a key factor when deciding what warrior build to run. A sword bar, for example, would usually not be seen on a dedicated spike team build. Pressure builds would usually see the most use of axes and swords, while spike builds would usually see the use of axes and hammers. Lots of freedom can still arise in to team builds as well. Some builds are built around quick spikes, where low recharge, midrange damage spikes are consistently spammed to burn energy. Other builds may use a pressure -> spike concept, where the team first pressures an enemy team and then starts calling spikes. There are many possibilities available, and expertly understanding your role in that particular team build is the key to success.


Calling is the act of "marking" a target (CTRL+attack or CTRL+SHIFT+attack) that sets up a target marker on the party menu, accessible by pressing default "T." Because warriors often initiate the most important or powerful skills on a spike (such as deepwound or knockdown), they are often the callers in a team, with the rest of the team assisting with the spike. Calling can also be a more general term used for strategy calling. This job is also commonly left to the job of the warrior due to their high vocality.

When calling targets, make sure to keep your team's status in mind. Target selections should reflect how well your team is doing for maximum effectiveness. For example, if a quarter of your team is dead and the rest of your party is quickly dying, calling spikes on an enemy monk will do absolutely no good, as a lucky kill on a monk will do no good if you cannot stop the incoming damage/pressure. In this situation, calling spikes or pressure on their frontline/midline will be more beneficial as you stop incoming damage while giving time to resurrect dead party members. Likewise, training enemy warriors to slow their damage will considerably lower your damage due to their high armor. While you should be able to stop most of their damage, you are dishing out no pressure to the enemy team. Knowing when and what to call will lead to the most efficient calling, and experience will greatly help build up calling skill.


Warriors have only two direct non-elite heals (Healing Signet and Lion's Comfort), therefore many warriors depend on their secondary profession for self-heals. However in many situations it is very reasonable not to bring a self-heal at all and to depend on the backline healers, who have more efficient healing skills. Instead, consider bringing defensive skills to reduce the damage taken in the first place.

Since warriors can be rendered entirely useless by the blind and often cripple conditions, a condition removal skill can be useful instead of (or in addition to) a self-heal.


Overextending means moving so far forward that your own backline healers can no longer reach you with targeted heals.


Increased attack speed (IAS) skills allow you to attack faster, considerably boosting a warrior's damage output. All but pure tanking warriors should contemplate bringing one of these stances along, since they are one of the easiest ways to improve a warrior's performance.

Frenzy is generally considered the best all-round IAS skill for PvP; warriors are rarely the focus of attention due to their heavy armor, so the doubled damage taken is not a disadvantage. However, bringing a cancel stance (such as Rush) is a good idea in case your opponents start targeting you. In particular, do not use Healing Signet while in Frenzy; the combination means you will take quadruple damage.

In PvE[edit]

General tactics[edit]

Unlike PvP, where tactics change very fast from game to game and sometimes even inside the same game, in PvE your opponents are computer-controlled. Their artificial intelligence (AI) is limited: the foes you will meet will usually have fixed levels, fixed skills bars, work in groups with fixed roles, spawn at fixed points and/or patrol fixed routes etc. There are all kinds of quirks of the AI you can exploit.

Warriors in PvE are used for field control and for applying spikes of damage to selected targets. Unfortunately, the friendly AI is likewise limited and can do neither very well, which leads to many players avoiding the use of warrior henchies or heroes in favor of humans playing warriors, or avoiding them altogether if humans are not available for the role.

Unlike PvP, where you have both spiking and pressure, in PvE spiking is almost always preferred. Pressure doesn't make much sense because it means forcing humans into making mistakes, which is not the case with the AI. Conversely, the AI cannot adapt to losses in their team setup, which means that spiking key foes is often enough to make an entire group fold.

Dealing damage[edit]

Warriors deal most of their damage using one of their customary weapons: Axes, swords or hammers, by delivering blows at melee range.

In addition to normal weapon damage, warriors enhance their DPS by using IAS skills, which shorten attack times thus "compressing" more damage per time unit. They also add extra-damage skills to their bar, as well as skills that deal area of effect (AoE) damage or create conditions (Bleeding or Deep Wound are very common); but it should be noted that direct extra damage is usually preferred in place of conditions or damage over time. Knock-down is a very sought after, all around useful shutdown. Warriors also tend to invest heavily in their primary attribute, Strength, which confers armor penetration. Weapon upgrades are used to add armor penetration, lengthen conditions on foes or reduce them on oneself.

Warriors have a limited energy pool and limited energy regeneration. Their secondary profession is usually not much help since many energy management skills are tied to primary profession attributes. There are however certain skills as well as the Zealous weapon upgrade which can help in case a warrior wants to choose skills that are energy-based.

The alternative, which many warriors tend to prefer, is using skills fueled by adrenaline, which is gathered naturally during the fight by simply dealing and receiving blows. Adrenaline gain synergises well with IAS and there are skills and weapon upgrades which increase the rate of gain even further or outright deliver bonus adrenaline.

You can of course combine adrenaline and energy skills. There are skills chains which can fuel each other by giving energy and adrenaline returns, respectively.

Other professions can be used to increase damage, either by the warrior themselves or by teammates. Skills used by the warrior themselves through the secondary can confer special abilites such as poison or elemental damage, while skills used by teammates to increase a warrior's abilities can be very effective and there's a variety of such skills, such as Judge's Insight or Mark of Pain.


Warriors have the highest armor level of all professions, which is further improved with runes and the fact they often carry a shield. From the start this negates large amounts of damage.

Since a warrior is supposed to focus on dealing damage, anything that is not dedicated to this is usually frowned upon. Simply put, if a warrior stops to heal or cast spells, it is not dealing damage. The use of their secondary profession is widely misunderstood by beginner warriors, who tend to invest attribute points into skills having to do with self-healing and self-protection (instead of relegating that role to Monks or other support professions), or skills that increase their damage in less-than-optimal ways (instead of simply relying on Strength and the attribute of their weapon).

The Tactics attribute line in particular contains many skills which are related to self-defense and/or healing. For PvE the preferred approach is largely to ignore this line and focus on Strength and the weapon of choice. However, please note that Tactics can still prove useful in particular circumstances, or for players who have Warrior as secondary instead of primary profession.

Since you are relying on teammates for healing, over-extending out of casting reach of your Monks is just as big a mistake in PvE as it is in PvP.

Particular care should be taken by warriors against skills that can shut them down. In order to be effective, warriors need to see, to move around freely, to stay on their feet, to bypass enemy block and (of course) to actually hit. They therefore need to be wary of Blindness, Cripple, knock-downs, stances that improve enemy blocking, skills that cause the warrior to miss or hexes that punish them for hitting. Condition and hex removal are usually left to teammates such as Mesmers or Monks, but there are secondary professions which can provide cheap self-removal skills such as the Ranger's Antidote Signet or the Assassin's Signet of Malice. Knock-downs can be prevented through the use of certain stances. There are also skills that can strip blocking stances from the enemy or punish them for blocking.

Battlefield control[edit]

Since warriors are the ones that directly engage the enemy it is usually their job to: attempt to make the enemy attack them instead of their more vulnerable teammates; prevent the free movement of the enemy; attempt to "ball" them up to facilitate AoE damage and generally direct them to places where their team can dispatch them easier; prevent melee foes from reaching your non-melee teammates; try to reach key enemies (healers in particular) in order to kill them and chase them if they kite.

There is a very wide variety of techniques employed by good warriors in order to accomplish these tasks. Some of them are useful to all professions, such as taking advantage of terrain choke-points and natural cover, pulling, snaring. Some of them are particularly well suited to warriors, such as: body blocking, using tricks that convince the AI to target them instead of their teammates (such as temporarily raising the armor of the rest of the team with "Save Yourselves!"), combinations of IMS and snare skills, target switching, quarter-stepping & quarter-knocking.


A particular note must be made in regards to "tanking", which works somewhat differently in Guild Wars PvE as compared to other games or PvP. Usually tanking is defined in terms of slow, durable "meat shields" which absorb enemy damage while doing little else. Unfortunately, in GW PvE the AI is smart enough to be aware of tanking; it will actively pursue and prioritize more vulnerable targets and bypass warriors altogether.

In order to be able to tank, a warrior must necessarily subvert the way AI calculates movement from point to point, particularly by taking advantage of tight corner turns or by creating choke-points with body blocking. Single warriors need appropriate environment obstacles to use in addition to their own body in order to achieve this. Several warriors (or other comparable professions) as well as Necromancer minions (refered to as "minion walls") have to be used when natural obstacles are not readily available. This is not as complicated as it sounds, due to the fact the AI's ability to backtrack and try another route is limited.

Other techniques for tanking involve exploiting the aggro algorithms of the AI using for example "Save Yourselves!" to raise the armor of the rest of the team and make the warrior the most attractive target. This is effective even on short term, because the AI has difficulty switching targets once aggro sets in.

Please note that, while the AI is decent at trying to avoid tanks, it is not able to tank itself. This makes warrior henchmen or heroes of limited use, since they aren't capable of spiking on purpose either. For this reason player groups tend to use human warriors and, when they are not available, dispense of warriors altogether. Minions can be an exception but they need large numbers and a skilled human Necromancer in order to provide effective tanking. Players with Ranger primary or secondary also sometimes use their pets as tanks.

Once the tank has attracted enemy attention or blocked them, it is customary for the rest of the team to contribute primarily with healing and protection spells on the tank, as well as damage buffs (particularly point blank area of effect [PBAoE]) which allow the tank to do considerable damage themselves. They usually avoid attacking the enemy directly in order not to risk diverting aggro to themselves. However, if the body-block is perfectly executed they can also direct AoE spells at the enemy.

Important skills[edit]

The Warrior in Guild Wars is able to excel not just defensively, but offensively as well. Their attacks can cause many conditions such as bleeding or deep wound. Masters of the axe, sword, and hammer, Warriors generally favor focusing on skills from a single mastery, as skills from one line cannot be used while a weapon from another is equipped - for example, regardless of attribute levels a Warrior will be unable to use Decapitate if they are not carrying an axe.

The axe deals very high base damage (maximum unmodified 6-28) and has a fast attack rate (every 1.33 seconds), combining with many powerful skills to deal damage, such as Eviscerate. Axes revolve around the condition Deep Wound using it to cause Cripple, Weakness, and to interrupt. However, they have a very unstable damage structure, and the amount of damage dealt can range wildly from 6 or 7 points of damage to 44 with just the customize bonus.

Swords also attack quickly (every 1.33 seconds) and deal more consistent damage than axes (maximum unmodified 15-22) but don't hit as high on a critical (34 with customize bonus). Sword skills can cause Bleeding, Cripple and Deep Wound. Sword skills tend to be expensive but strong. Final Thrust is the strongest attack available when your opponent is under 50% health.

Hammers are the slowest of the weapons (every 1.75 seconds), but each hit deals massive amounts of damage hitting well above 50 damage on a critical. Hammers offer many attacks that can knock down an enemy. (Backbreaker is one such example). Hammers can cause Deep Wound, Blind and Weakness.

More aggressive Warriors take advantage of increased armor penetration through Strength, the warrior's primary attribute. As suggested by the raw damage increase of Strength, Warriors can produce an impressive, steady damage output. While Warriors typically focus on one target at a time, their damage is formidable. Many warriors forgo the use of defensive skills entirely, finding it better to kill their enemies quickly: "The best defense is a good offense". In PvP a Warrior will usually avoid going defensive, choosing instead to deal as much damage as possible to enemy players.

What to avoid[edit]

Many new warriors fail in their positioning. Overextending (or worse, over-aggroing) is a common pitfall. Similarly, unwise use of Frenzy (one of the most common warrior IAS skills) will get you killed much faster.

Spreading attribute points too thinly around many attributes would leave you with unsustainable skills with marginal effects.

For warriors, it is important to know the hexes placed on them. Some (e.g. Empathy or Spiteful Spirit) rely on you attacking. If hexed with these, it is best to stop attacking and call for a hex removal from your monks.

Finally, warrior builds need to strike a balance between energy- and adrenaline-using skills. Many ineffective builds only rely on one, frequently resulting in a constant shortage of that and a waste of the other.


The damage you deal depends largely on your weapon. Unless you plan to trade/sell a given weapon, it is wise to customize it; customized weapons deal an additional 20% damage.

A warrior should keep an armory to maximize DPS. Some races and creatures have natural resistances and/or weaknesses. For example, ice creatures are vulnerable to fire and vice versa. Note that not all resistances/weaknesses are this intuitive.

Since damage dealt can be increased by up to 30% when using the right elemental/physical weapon, players put themselves at an advantage by bringing appropriate weapon(s) for a given environment/situation.

Weapon sets
Main article: weapon swap
Enable all Weapon Sets

The 4 weapons you are best to have for your 4 weapon slots.

  • 1: a Furious, "Strength and Honor", of Defense/of Fortitude (Sword-Shield)
  • 2: a Vampiric, "Guided by Fate" of Defense/of Fortitude (Hammer)
  • 3: a Zealous, "I have the power!", of Enchanting (Axe-Shield)
  • 4: a longbow that does not require any upgrades

Each type of build requires a different type of sword, axe or hammer. Here are the sets of prefix and inscriptions that are most ideal

  • Conditions: Furious, "Strength and Honor", of Defense or of Fortitude
  • Axe: Zealous, "I have the power! " , of Enchanting
  • Hammer: Vampiric, "Guided by Fate", of Defense or of Fortitude
  • Sword: Vampiric, "Guided by Fate", of Defense or of Fortitude

For the suffix upgrades you can often choose either of Defense or of Fortitude, each have their own advantage over the other. An of Defense upgrade reduces your damage at a consistant rate and stretching your health further than an of Fortitude upgrade. The of Fortitude upgrade allows you to compensate the health loss of runes with the prefix "Major", and allows your skills to be stronger.


Warriors have the highest basic armor in the game, further boosted by a shield.



Main article: Martial weapon

Choice of secondary profession[edit]


Assassin Assassin (recommended for both PvE and PvP)
The assassin is useful for both shadow steps and running skills. Dagger attacks can generate adrenaline faster than any other melee build. Since the warrior can inflict conditions with ease, Iron Palm provides instant knockdown and Signet of Malice can be considered as a free condition removal.
Paragon Paragon (recommended for both PvE and PvP)
The paragon skill Enduring Harmony can be used with "For Great Justice!" to fuel high-adrenaline builds over prolonged periods. Hexbreaker Aria offers hex removal to support their party. Song of Concentration is a viable choice in PvP for HA to allow the Ghostly Hero to capture altars.
Ranger Ranger (recommended for PvE)
The ranger is useful for running skills. Bow attacks can generate adrenaline before the engaging in melee. Antidote Signet will always remove Blind. Pets are used to great effect in harassment and linebacker roles. Poison Tip Signet applies poison to one target at no cost.

Not recommended[edit]

Monk Monk
The monk secondary are derogatorily named "Wammos", and are generally discouraged. Mending Touch can remove two conditions. Restful Breeze can help regeneration between fights. Strength of Honor increases melee DPS; with zealous weapons, the upkeep cost of Strength of Honor is even less of a burden.
Necromancer Necromancer
The necromancer skill, Plague Touch synergies with Headbutt for an easy daze condition; Plague Touch is not a spell, so it is not penalized by the Dazed condition. Barbs can be used to greatly increase overall DPS.
Mesmer Mesmer
The mesmer stances Mantra of Flame and Physical Resistance are helpful in negating damage and gaining energy.
Elementalist Elementalist
The elementalist skills Conjure Flame, Frost or Lightning, when combined with the correct Elemental damage weapon upgrade, provides a small DPS buff. In PvP, Shock provides a quick and unblockable Knock down.
Ritualist Ritualist
The ritualists Sight Beyond Sight can provide warriors with immunity to the blind condition for around 50% of the time.
Dervish Dervish
The dervish attack skills Reap Impurities melee attack can be used with sword, axe or hammer. Natural Healing is an alternative to Healing Signet.

See also[edit]

The links to other pages that expand further on more specific details of the profession's gameplay and mechanics.

External links[edit]

Guides for all Professions (edit)
Core: Warrior WarriorRanger RangerMonk MonkNecromancer NecromancerMesmer MesmerElementalist Elementalist
Factions: Assassin AssassinRitualist Ritualist        Nightfall: Paragon ParagonDervish Dervish