Guild Wars 2: End Of Dragons – Best Open-World Build For Willbender Guardians

Quick Links

  • The Willbender Explained
  • The Best Willbender Traits For Open-World
  • The Best Gear/Utility Skills For The Willbender Open-World Build

Interested to discover the best open-world build for your Willbender Guardian in Guild Wars 2? You've come to the right place, pull up a stool, and learn all about how to turn your Guardian into a tsunami of steel.

The Guardian is a very capable class in the Guild Wars 2 Meta, as they can fulfill a variety of roles and also come out of the box with a ton of support and utility for their group. The Willbender however, is an excellent elite specialization to spec into for the open-world as it has very capable damage and sustain.

The Willbender Explained

The Willbender is a very mobile and hard-hitting martial arts master. They take the support nature of the guardian and invert it to become a more self-focused damage dealer. We'll be covering a very good open-world build configuration for the Willbender, allowing you to go from one enemy to the other and dispatch them in quick succession.

Crouching Tiger, Active Virtues

The Willbender gives the Guardian the option to wield a sword in the offhand and alters the normal virtues that offer passive buffs and occasional stronger boons when activated. Your virtues become movement-based, activating them briefly enhances your attacks. For example, activating Rushing Justice (default keybinding is F1) will dart you forwards and give your consecutive attacks the ability to cause burning status effects.

There is an optimal DPS meta in most games and Guild Wars 2 is no exception. While you might have to shuffle things around in group content, in the open world you can use whatever weapons you like. Just keep in mind that weapons in GW2 usually support a specific play style, on a guardian torch and scepter support condition damage, whereas a greatsword does power damage.

The Best Willbender Traits For Open-World

While there are lots of very good builds out there for a Willbender – there are excellent options for both condition and power damage, plus there are also a few good alacrity builds, there seems to be a bit of a dearth of builds for casual players that just want to smack things in the open world and stay alive. Putting Berserker's gear on your squishy Willbender is a good recipe for frustration if you're a newbie. Why so? Guardians are a low health point pool class, as they're more known for supporting their allies – they don't have the raw tankiness of a Warrior or Necromancer.

We'll be leaning into the class fantasy for the Willbender here, and with these trait selections you won't be topping the damage charts, but you'll have a blast slaughtering critter after critter in the open world. We'll go into the details and gear selection of the build below. Starting with…


You'll start by picking out the following traits in the Virtue line – Resolute Subconscious, Inspiring Virtues, and Permeating Wrath.

  • Resolute Subconscious – Gives you Aegis and Resolution when you're disabled (stunned, knocked down, dazed, etc.) staying on the move is very important to the Willbender, this gives you a bit of room for error
  • Inspiring Virtues – Gives you ten percent extra strike damage (so pretty much free extra damage) when activating a Virtue, you'll be activating your Virtues all the time on a Willbender
  • Permeating Wrath – The passive effect of Virtue skill 1 (Rushing Justice on a Willbender) triggers more rapidly and in an area, this allows you to apply burn a bit more liberally, which has some synergy with other bits of the build

The perks you get for putting points in Virtue also give you the following bonuses:

  • You gain protection, might, and regeneration every time you activate a Virtue
  • You gain resolution (a 33 percent reduction to condition damage) when activating your Virtues
  • You gain extra condition damage (not important) and your virtues recharge 15 percent faster


In the Radiance line, you'll be grabbing the following: Inner Fire, Retribution, and Righteous Instincts.

  • Inner Fire – Gain fury (+ 20 percent to critical hit chance) when you hit a foe that has three or more stacks of burning, this will be easy to proc thanks to Permeating Wrath
  • Retribution – Gives you a ten percent increase to strike damage when you have retribution, which thanks to Virtue, you'll have nearly all the time
  • Righteous Instincts – Resolution gives you a stack of might every second and increases your critical hit chance by a very nice 25 percent (stacking with inner fire for 45 percent more critical hit chance!)

These are the bonuses you'll get just from putting points in the Radiance trait line:

  • Gain a light aura and blind foes around when you activate your Rushing Justice Virtue
  • Your Rushing Justice is renewed every time you kill a foe – this means you'll have it up constantly in the open-world
  • You gain an extra ten percent chance to critically hit burning foes


This trait line gives us the Willbender mechanics and access to the offhand sword, you'll be selecting the following traits – Conceited Curate, Holy Reckoning, and Tyrants Momentum.

  • Conceited Curate – Gives you extra healing power and changes your Willbender Flames to heal you when they hit foes – this gives us a decent amount of sustain in the open-world
  • Holy Reckoning – You gain fury when you activate Rushing Justice (your first Virtue) You also gain might when triggering the virtue effects, this means attacking foes consecutively will cause the passive to active, burning foes AND giving you extra might
  • Tyrants Momentum – Lethal Temp (you get a stack of it every time you activate a Virtue or trigger its passive effect) gives you extra damage but has reduced duration, this is an excellent trait for amplifying your overall damage

These are the free bonuses you get for specing into Willbender:

  • Access to offhand swords, physical utility skills, and active movement-based Virtues
  • Faster movement speed (25 percent) and swiftness every time you activate a virtue
  • The Lethal Tempo passive bonus which is a stacking buff to attack damage (goes to a maximum of 15 percent with the Tyrants Momentum trait)

That's it for the trait points – these all at synergistically to provide you with tons of buffs and boons, and we'll be taking full advantage of that with our gear selection.

The Best Gear/Utility Skills For The Willbender Open-World Build

The gear stats we'll be using are incredibly simple – you'll be using Diviner's gear (Power, Precision, Ferocity, and Concentration) in every slot, so that's weapons, armor, and jewelry/trinkets. Why Diviners? It gives us damage-focused stats to hit hard but considerably increases the duration of the boons you give yourself – which are incredibly important to the build effectiveness, with this gear you'll have near one hundred percent uptime on fury, resolution, and might.

For your weapons sets – you'll be using a main hand sword and offhand sword, and you can use a greatsword as a secondary weapon.

For armor runes – it's up to you but Infiltration (bonus to power, precision, and strike damage) is recommended.

For your weaponry – superior sigil of Blood and Generosity are fantastic options.

While Diviner's gear is fantastic for the open world it's probably not going to work so well in raids (it might do alright in fractals, but it depends upon how open-minded your group is).

Utility Skills

For your utility slots you'll be using the following:

  • Healing Skill – Litany of Wrath – a great panic button to get a huge surge of healing
  • Utility Slot 1 – Rolling Light – a good stun break, the Willbender needs to be able to move around constantly
  • Utility Slot 2 – Whirling Light – a high damage skill that burns enemies and debuffs them with weakness
  • Utility slot 3 – Bow of Truth – another good heal for when you're in a tight spot
  • Elite Skill – Signet of Courage – another great source of sustain and gives you some healing ability for your allies

Bear in mind that these are just suggestions – if you think there are better choices by all means slot them in.

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