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Disambig icon.png This article is about the tactical applications of "Protection" in general. For the Monk attribute line, see Protection Prayers.

Protection is a relatively unique concept to Guild Wars. Its name comes from the attribute line that specializes in protection, which was the only real source of prot at the release of Prophecies. As a concept, a skill that prots someone will prevent damage before it occurs, often in an uncapped manner, depending on the behavior of opponents. This is achieved by mechanisms such as blocking through skills such as Guardian, damage reduction with skills such as Shield of Absorption, and max damage capping with skills such as Protective Spirit. A prot is a skill that can be cast on someone else in anticipation of damage; self-protection skills such as Bonetti's Defense or Stoneflesh Aura are usually not considered prot.


Prot is often widely categorized into two types: big (or hard) and small (or soft).

  • Big prots are typically expensive (at least 10 energy), but last a long time or have very powerful effects that are likely to prevent death. Examples would be Spirit Bond, which can almost completely nullify a spike, or Protective Spirit, which has a very long duration.
  • Small prots are typically much cheaper with a smaller effect and/or shorter duration, suitable for preventing a death during a spike or reducing pressure. Examples would be Guardian, typically used to reduce physical pressure or pre-prot physical spikes, and Shield of Absorption.

Prot usually comes in the form of enchantments or weapon spells, although some shouts and binding rituals can have prot-like effects.

Due to the uncapped or very high possible efficiency of prot, it sees much use in competitive play, with eight man teams often including a dedicated prot monk. Protting rewards active play as predicting opponents actions will allow maximum efficiency to be achieved while preventing deaths which often could not have been prevented through healing alone.


Pre-protting is the act of applying prot before a spike or damage occurs. Reactively protting a target means that initial damage packets slip through and need to be healed, but by watching the battlefield a player can predict enemy movements and prot a target before the damage occurs. Perfect pre-protting involves protting a target at exactly the moment damage falls when the opponent is already committed such that damage, time and energy/adrenaline is wasted.

This is often achieved by watching the position of any melee targets who can only attack adjacent foes or by watching the direction of facing for ranged spikes and predicting a likely target and protting it just before the damage lands.

Perfect timing is important in pre-protting. Protting too late means that some damage packets slip through and require healing, protting too early means that a new target may be selected effectively wasting the prot or in some cases the prot may be removed during a spike before it can prevent any damage resulting in wasted energy and possibly a dead ally.

Pre-protting in PvE usually consists of casting defensive enchantments on one person before they run in to aggro a mob. Protective Spirit would be the most important example of this, especially in hard mode.

In PvP it is generally harder to pre-prot too effectively, because human players are more unpredictable than AI enemies. Wasting much energy on your spearhead players (Warrior, Dervish, etc.) will drain your resources while opposing party simply ignores heavily protected players. Intelligently observing the situation and protting proactively are keys to pre-prot in PvP.

Active vs. Passive[edit]

An active prot Monk or Ritualist (as opposed to a passive prot) mainly uses Protection Prayers or Restoration Magic skills but does not maintained enchantments (e.g. Life Bond, Life Barrier) or spirits (e.g. Shelter, Union).

A passive prot Monk or ritualist mainly uses maintained enchantments (e.g. Life Bond, Life Barrier) of the Protection Prayers line and/or protective passive spirits (e.g. Shelter, Union) of the Communing line. A passive prot has a special role in the party and usually does not cast many spells, even during battle. Their value to the team lies in their spirits or enchantments they maintain on the other party members.


  • Monk's Protection Prayers offer first and most forms of protection in Guild Wars.
  • Ritualist's Restoration Magic and Communing attributes have some decent protection in form of Weapon Spells and binding ritual spirits.
  • Paragon's Command shouts offer a few party or ally-wide protection shouts.
  • Other professions can provide protection to their allies, but they are generally not considered "prots."

Active Protection in a Nutshell[edit]

Step 1: Understand that damage is going to happen[edit]

This should happen before said damage starts happening. If a Warrior is running up to your ally, you know before the first swing that that person is in for a hurting. Accordingly, they should be protted before that hurting begins.

Step 2: Identify the source and target of the damage[edit]

Determine who is or will be taking damage, what kind of damage they are or will be taking, and where they are or will be taking damage from. How you go about this is a matter of personal preference. However, the most effective way to do this is by first identifying the damage source (e.g. there is a warrior running around), then determining their damage type (Warriors can deal big packets of physical damage with attack skills), and finally determining their target (the warrior is running towards your healer). Though this method is the best, strictly speaking, it becomes very difficult when there is more than one (or two or three) noteworthy source(s) of damage. In those cases, the second best (and easiest) method is to determine who is taking damage, then the type of damage, and then the source.

  • You can practice following multiple damage sources by playing prot without having the party window visible.

Step 3: Determine which 'Protection' to apply[edit]

  1. Spirit Bond:
    • Is the damage in large packets? If the damage is in smaller packets, Spirit Bond won't do anything.
    • Are the packets coming in faster than they can be healed for less energy? If the damage is coming in slow enough to be healed without the healer pouring energy into the target (casting more than one 5-energy spell every two or three seconds), it doesn't need to be Spirit Bonded; a small prot will serve well enough, and for less energy.
  2. Protective Spirit:
    • Will this person be taking damage for more than a few seconds? Protective Spirit's strength is in its duration. If that's going to go to waste, another prot might be better.
    • Is the damage in large packets? Like SB, Protective Spirit does nothing against small damage packets.
    • Is the damage too fast to keep up with without Protective Spirit? If the damage isn't coming in too fast to deal with without Protective Spirit (i.e. from multiple damage sources), don't apply it. If it won't save you more energy than it costs, it's a waste.
  3. Shield of Absorption:
    • Are the damage packets coming in quickly? Shield of Absorption is the hands-down best prot against rapidly-incoming damage packets, especially from multiple targets. Against slower damage sources, like single casters, other prots are better.
    • Are the packets relatively small? This prot isn't amazing against large damage packets. In fact, it's pretty terrible against them. However, if large damage packets are reduced (by something like Protective Spirit) to lower levels, SoA can become a more appealing option.
  4. Shielding Hands
    • Is incoming damage lifestealing? Shielding Hands will reduce life stealing as well as other smaller damage packets very effectively from vampiric weapons and other sources of lifestealing. Considering only six other skills can prevent life stealing, Shielding Hands can be a useful light prot.
    • Is there enough time to cast Shield of Absorption? Shield of Absorption takes much longer to truly have effect. If you risk being interrupted while casting SoA, use Shielding Hands instead.
  5. Guardian/Weapon of Warding:
    • Is the damage coming from attacks? If it's not, don't use Guardian.
    • Is ally being affected by lots of knockdowns or interrupts caused by attackers? They will thank you for Guardian.
    • Will Guardian slow down the damage more than Protective Spirit? Against slower attackers with possible knockdown or interrupt effects, Guardian is hands-down better than Protective Spirit. Against fast but powerful attackers, Protective Spirit might be a better option, especially if incoming damage is not entirely in form of attacks.
    • Do they have Shield of Absorption or Spirit Bond on them? Guardian has no synergy with these prots: It slows down the rate of incoming packets on the target, wasting some of effect of SoA and SB.
    • Do they cause damage to enemies with attacks? In PvP only, Weapon of Warding will end if target ally hits with an attack.
  6. Aegis:
    • Will I need to cast more than one Guardian every five seconds? If so, use Aegis. Otherwise, don't.
  7. Reversal of Fortune/Life Sheath/Weapon of Remedy/Xinrae's Weapon:
    • Is one of your allies going to take damage from single, powerful skill? If so, use Reversal of Fortune or Xinrae's Weapon.
    • Is there enough time to cast or wait for recharging of other prots? If you risk an ally dying very soon, cast RoF or Xinrae's Weapon instead and reassess the situation.
    • Do they have conditions that need to be removed? Life Sheath and Weapon of Removal also remove conditions.
  8. Holy Veil:
    • Is this person going to get hexed? If there aren't hexes present, Veil is an unnecessary energy drain.
    • Will the hex matter? If a spellcaster of your party is affected by Faintheartedness or Empathy, it usually doesn't matter. If the hex isn't going to matter, don't bother Veiling it.
  9. Resilient Weapon:
    • Does your ally have a nonlethal condition or hex, like bleeding or Parasitic Bond, or affected by many negative effects? If the situation doesn't require immediate removal, or you cannot immediately remove it, it might be useful to use Resilient Weapon, or simply let them be, but do not forget that they can be exploited by your enemies.
  10. Spell Breaker:

Step 4: Reassess the situation[edit]

Especially in PvP, situations tend to change quickly. In PvE, enemies might spend eternity trying to attack one target. In PvP, that is highly unlikely so. If you're playing a character with prots, the enemy will usually recognize you and try to come after you or change targets (if all their attacks are blocked or they're dealing no damage, you know they will) and you must as a dedicated protector keep doing your job.

Passive Protection in PvE[edit]

Due to the nature of Monster AI, the availability of PvE only skills and lastly the difference between the PvE and PvP version of some skills, certain forms of passive protection become much more viable in PvE content.


The Ritualist, utilizing spirits such as Shelter, Union, and Displacement, enhanced through the use of the elite skills Soul Twisting or Ritual Lord, is able to provide formidable protection to their allies, with the added benefit of these spirits' effects being unremovable. In this role, the Ritualist typically pre-casts their spirits before battle and applies damage reduction to the spirits with Armor of Unfeeling.

Key Skills


See also: Imbagon

Paragons utilize adrenaline enhancing skills, such as Focused Anger and "For Great Justice!", to fuel the Warrior PvE only skill "Save Yourselves!" which provides an unremovable +100 armor bonus to their party members. Also usually brought with this character are further defensive skills such as "There's Nothing to Fear!" and "Stand Your Ground!".

Key Skills


See also: Bonder

Monks utilize maintained enchantments such as Life Barrier, Life Bond, and Protective Bond on party members to provide significant damage reduction. Unlike the prior two modes of passive protection, these spells are vulnerable to enchantment stripping.

Key Skills

Team roles (edit)
Type General team roles Specific team roles Hero team roles
Damage SpikerNuker BomberDagger spammerTouch rangerStarbursterTrapper
Pressure Lineback BarragerBeast masterCripshot RangerPressure Ranger
Support HealerProtection BatteryBonderFlag runnerHybrid monkImbagonInfuserOrders
Control ShutdownTank Minion masterPermaSpirit spammer Mesmer Midline
Utility CallerToolbox Gimmick