SYNTHETIK – Guardian Class Guide (Modules, Items, Weapons and Tactics)

SYNTHETIK - Guardian Class Guide (Modules
SYNTHETIK - Guardian Class Guide (Modules

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This guide will show all info about Guardian class and subclasses in details.

Guardian Class Overview


Your most steadfast frontliners, Guardians are lightning bruisers with generally few weaknesses. Riot Guard is the tank: toughest to kill of all subclasses and has powerful crowd control options; Breacher is a durable assaulter that enters and exits fights within seconds: ‘offence is the best defence’ at its finest.

Riot Guard

  • Core: Unyielding

Kills and damage taken increases the combo, granting up to 25 health regeneration and 125 movement speed.

  • Core Item: Battlecry Module

Unleashes an electromagnetic soundwave, damaging [nearby] targets based on maximum health and causing a brief stunning effect.

  • Starter Weapon: Viking Riotshield

Accurate and decently powerful, with significant armor bonus (+60 armor/+20% damage resist when active, +30 armor/+10% damage resist when stowed) at the cost of 100 movement speed, affects move speed even when stowed. Can bash enemies by dashing through them, dealing significant damage (can be further increased as you level up) and stunning for a brief duration. Decent magazine capacity but terribly low ammo reserve and low ammo gain. 


The most newbie-friendly class in the game with simple mechanics: the more you kill, the tougher you are. RG is all about crowd control: lack of raw firepower necessitates stuns to manage and kill enemies before they overwhelm you. RG gains increased max health gradually as he takes damage, increasing durability as a run goes on; his starter Viking Riotshield provides further protection at the cost of movement speed. RG suffers from having a smaller shield and as aforementioned lack of offensive capability. Arguably the easiest class to complete Insanity Challenge with thanks to strong self-sustain.

Base Stats (All measured at 100% difficulty)

  • Health: 1300
  • Shield Max: 500
  • Shield Regen: 200
  • Armor: 0 
    • with Viking when active, 30 when stowed
  • Movespeed: 310
    • 173 with Viking when active
    • 263 with Viking in inventory

Viking Riotshield confers ?? armor/20% damage resist when active, 30 armor/10% damage resist when kept in inventory, and reduces movement speed by ~44% when active, ~18% when in inventory.

RG has higher health, smaller shield and higher base movement speed than standard, which compensates for the heavy movement reduction from his Viking.


  • Baseline: Start with Painkillers which increases maximum health upon taking damage depending on current weapon heat and can be stacked up to 100 times; Start with SMG + Riotshield combo weapon and pistols can be dropped.
  • Level 5: SMGs, shotguns and pistols have 20% reduced recoil and deal 10% more damage; Start with Soft Point ammo.
  • Level 10: Generate one plating for every 10 Painkiller stacks, absorbing one hit each; Destroying one enemy plating deals 300 damage on the target.
  • Level 15: Active Reloading has a heat dependent chance to grant a random powerup; All magazine sizes are increased by 20%.
  • Level 20: Self afflicting stun and slow effects last half as long; Reaching 100 Painkiller stacks raises minimum Core:Unyielding stacks to 5, maximum to 50 and heals to full health.
    • Unlocks overdrive slot.
  • Level 25: All powerups have a 20% chance to be doubled. Stuns last 40% longer and Riotshield bashes deals strongly increased damage.
  • Prestige: Riotshield bashes increase the duration of Core:Unyielding stacks and deal 20% further damage.
  • Class Challenge: All classes start with 3 health generation. Doubled effect for party members in co-op.
  • Insanity Challenge: Each 5th Battlecry deals 100% increased damage.

Recommended Weapons

RG receives bonuses to SMGs, Shotguns and Pistol at level 5, so naturally SMGs, Shotguns and Pistols are what you should take, with few exceptions. Remember: it’s okay to pick weapons and items that go against your class specialisation. A few notable weapons are as follows:

  • Medic FMG-9 Even more health regen, and receives class bonuses.
  • SPAS-12 A weapon for those like playing safely, as upfront damage is weak, relying more on burn damage. Generous ammo capacity for its class. Dragon’s Breath has surprisingly long range, giving this gun equal range to other mid – long range weapon classes. Can be loaded with buckshot for a more traditional style shotgun.
  • Pressurised Impaler An odd shotgun that fires a single high power slug (Accelerated Coil X1) after a short charge up period. Better to take only for its ammo.
  • Super 90 Powerful shotgun with small ammo capacity and limited range. Best upgraded with capacity upgrades.
  • KI Vector Controllable, very fast firing suppressed SMG, burns through ammo quickly.
  • Heavy Flak Cannon Powerful launcher that comes with a bonus 40 armor: accurate initial projectile explodes on impact, dealing AoE damage over a small area.
  • RRX Coil Shotgun Starts with low damage per shot but better falloff than buckshot loaded shotguns; fairly high ammo capacity and has a relatively high chance to permanently increase damage upon firing: pick up early and it will scale well into late game.
  • UMP-10 Tornado Punchy burst fire fusion SMG, increases maximum shields and restore shielding on hit. Handy for RG whose shield is smaller than average. 
  • T 8-00-Gauge High damage single shot shotgun with good reserves.
  • R5000 ‘Sudden’ DMR Powerful all-rounder DMR with AP ammo. 
  • KSG 2000 Slow firing shotgun, comes with Triple Slugs ammo (less pellets, a lot more damage). Has limited ammo capacity.
  • Battle Hymn Fully automatic shotgun with incredible magazine capacity, a small chance to heal on shots, unusually good control (thanks to Unyielding Burst) and comes with Dragon’s Breath by default. Low max ammo. Very rare, can be found in shops or Mystery Chests.
  • P9000 Supernova Incredibly rapid firing laser SMG that upgrades itself after every floor. Fire rate slows down on prolonged firing and not particularly accurate, and weak damage may struggle against armored enemies.

General Tips

  • The Viking may seem rather useless, but it’s worth keeping permanently as part of your arsenal for shield bashing and bonus protection. Shield bashing works even on phasers! (called Champions ingame). Otherwise, changing it to semi-auto and take ammo capacity upgrades and it’s a fearsome weapon in its own right. 

Viking is especially useful in Insanity Challenge – Tactical Mode (though usually turns you into a turtle/snail), but on the other hand pretty useless in Insanity Challenge – Hyper Adrenaline.. Getting Artifacts which unlocks additional dash is very recommended.

Get full bullet penetration and hair trigger/ heat remover on the shield, then it’s quite good. Soften enemies with pistol and use bash attack, especially if they are close together.

Heavy varians are usually not worth it due to too excessive movement limitation – in edge cases can turn you into actually a turret (movement around 10 pts).

  • RG is slower than most classes by default: taking Lightning Boots and/or movement speed upgrade is crucial to your success. Do note that move speed in boss rooms are temporarily higher to compensate.
  • Battlecry Module can deal damage even behind cover, as long as your targets are in its radius. Its stun is rather short-lived, however. You can stun enemies much more reliably with the Stun Grenade.
  • Save your Methadone for emergencies like when you (or your partner in co-op) are close to death or for boss fights. They don’t come easily, and your Core will already reliably soak up the damage you take during your run. Ideally you’d save it up for Final Stage.
  • With Prestige 1, your Viking is more important than ever to keep your Core stacks up.
  • RG is best dealing with huge crowds as you can utilise his CC abilities to the maximum. Don’t be overconfident, however, and know when to withdraw when the heat gets too hot.
  • Stun Grenade and Shieldburst gives you Core:Unyielding stacks upon activation, as long as they hit any enemy. Can be extra helpful if you are trying to heal up from low health and you haven’t unlocked level 20 talent, by hitting enemies from behind cover to gain some health regen.
  • RG might be slower than other classes but it is rewarded for playing aggressively (similar to the Raider), in order to keep stacks up, which in turn keep you tanky.
  • RG is possibly the easiest class to complete Insanity Challenge with thanks to incredibly strong self-sustain, but care must be taken as in Hyper Adrenaline and Tactical modes, playing aggressive like you usually do is not the recommended approach as it will get you killed very quickly. Find a balance between aggressiveness (for Core:Unyielding stacks) and passiveness to stay out of harm’s way.


  • Core: Charge

Dashing lasts longer and grants 10% damage resistance and bonus damage for each enemy within 350 range when the dash ends. Lasts 3 seconds and refreshes 20% of shields per enemy afterwards.

  • Core Item: Breaching Charges

Throws out breaching charges with low range, dealing explosive damage in an area. Dashing reloads one charge.

  • Starter Weapon: Super Shorty

Highly lethal close-range weapon with high deviation, low magazine capacity and low ammo reserves to compensate for killing power. Has a penalty to ammo gain.


Fast and furious, the Breacher enters and concludes battles within seconds. Capable of dealing immense burst damage, complemented with powerful offensive talents; no reliable innate healing outside of level 5/Insanity talent and have to rely more on items/body upgrades is the downside. Talents generally benefit close quarter weapons like shotguns; performance is lacking at longer ranges.

Base Stats (All measured at 100% difficulty)

  • Health: 1000
  • Shield Max: 750
  • Shield Regen: 250
  • Movespeed: 448

Breacher has standard HP, higher shields/shields regen and movement speed than standard.


  • Baseline: All weapons have a 15% chance to not consume ammo and have a larger but slower regenerating shield*; Take reduced explosion damage; Start with the Super Shorty.

Breacher actually has higher shield regen than baseline. Possibly refers to shield recharge delay.

  • Level 5: Gain 15 Health regeneration and 15% critical strike chance if below 30% health. Entering a room heals for 300 health and grants an adrenaline injection.
  • Level 10: Dashing reloads one shot; Take half damage from bleeding, poison, radiation and fire effects and lose less movement speed when firing.
  • Level 15: Explosions in proximity reduce the current item cooldown by 5% and grant a brief speed boost; Shotgun & coil ammo has a 100% chance for penetration and gaining 50 range.
  • Level 20: Increases plating cap to 4; Dropping below 20% health grants 4 plating and an adrenaline injection – 100s cooldown.
    • Unlocks overdrive slot.
  • Level 25: All weapons have 20% reduced deviation, reload and ejection times; The last shot in the magazine has 30% additional chance of not consuming ammo.
  • PRESTIGE: Super Shorty has an empowered first shot.
  • Class Challenge: All classes gain 75 maximum health. Doubled effect for party members in co-op.
  • Insanity Challenge: Level 5 talent also triggers above 90% health.

Recommended Weapons

Breacher does not directly gain bonuses to shotguns outside of his level 15 talent, but it’s obvious what guns he’s meant to use. His talents do work with low capacity weapons like sniper rifles surprisingly well, but of course avoid picking SRs/DMRs unless those are the only long range options you can access. Remember: it’s okay to pick weapons and items that go against your class specialisation. A few notable weapons are as follows, most of which are similar to RG’s weapon list:

  • Medic FMG-9 Good source of health regen that doesn’t disappear when you discard this gun.
  • SPAS-12 Low base damage, relying more on fire damage over time goes against Breacher’s raison d’etre but could be useful if you prefer playing it safe, or for Burn ammo. Can be loaded with Buckshot for a more traditional shotgun; the SPAS performs well as an all-rounder.
  • Pressurised Impaler Take this weapon only for Accelerated Coil x1 ammo. The charge up mechanic doesn’t gel well with Breacher.
  • Super 90 The go-to choice for a rapid assault. Comparable to T 8-00 for the top dog in Breacher’s arsenal.
  • AMD-65 Keep it or take it for bleed ammo, which would be available on shotguns as Flechette ammo.
  • RRX Coil Shotgun Starts with low damage and fires 4 projectiles per shot, comes with generous magazine size and ammo capacity. Has a 7% chance to permanently increase damage by 1% upon firing, best picked up early.
  • T 8-00-Gauge Breacher’s talents makes this weapon pretty much unbeatable, but you’d be playing slower due to the single shot nature (having to reload after every shot).
  • ‘Road Warrior’ Double barrel that deals increased damage against Elites and can gain upgrades from Elite kills.
  • KSG 2000 Take for Triple Slugs ammo (less pellets, increased armor penetration). Too slow and too weak otherwise.
  • Battle Hymn Fully automatic shotgun with incredible magazine capacity, a small chance to heal on shots, unusually good control (thanks to Unyielding Burst) and comes with Dragon’s Breath by default. Low max ammo. Very rare, can be found in shops or Mystery Chests.

General Tips

  • If you aren’t careful, Breaching Charges can hurt or even kill you. Be mindful of its short range.

About charges – I had in the beginning severe issue with hitting myself with it, but it just need to get a bit of training. The best idea is to actually throw them on the side (like you move left/right and throw them top/bottom) or when escaping (move backward and throw explosives).

  • A good way to dispatch large groups of enemies is to stun them with Stun Grenades, then sprint into them and open up with Breaching Charges. 9/10 times there would be no one left alive.

In some scenarios Stun Grenade is extremely powerful. This method is especially useful when Stun Grenade has 200% and you also have Neutrino Bomb – together with Charges you can wipe most enemies until late game.

  • Be sure to take a weapon that can complement your arsenal with long range capabilities like ARs or SMGs. Worst case scenario, your sidearm will be useful in a pinch (especially if you didn’t pick XM2 Coil Pistol)
  • Some form of healing like lifesteal or hp regen is mandatory as Breacher. Berserker and Talisman recommended.
  • Breacher when played with adequate proficiency is one of the strongest classes in the game.

Breacher is the fastest option to go through levels due class movement speed boost due to explosions (especially Charges). That’s why usually it’s not worth to get any speed upgrades above 700 movement speed points. Try not to get too much speed, otherwise you may have problem with moving due to explosions on map, and you may actually go further than expected.

  • The Super Shorty is a perfectly swell weapon that however suffers from ammo management issues. Taking ammo upgrades and take Weapon Mastery module can make it seriously competitive all the way past endgame.
  • It’s easy to rush headlong into dangers you can’t recover from, as it’s easy to feel invincible as Breacher. Know your enemy, keep a cool head and engage when you know you can come out victorious. Getting hit while having Flinch is extremely problematic due to the slowing effects – save dash for such situations.
  • (Rhett) Breacher gets a lot of “chance to save ammo” passives/module bonus from Weapon Mastery, and while these bonuses are stronger with shotguns, they do apply to all weapons as well. It can yield some fun builds with some weapons that have high power-per-round ratio (I.E. I’ve used the Annihilator to great effect).
  • Breacher may find difficulty completing Insanity because of non-existent self-sustain and the need to stay within close range, in particular both Hyper Adrenaline and Tactical will prove to be a big challenge.
    • For Hyper Adrenaline, consider selling your Breaching Charges right away as your damage output from your guns are usually sufficient, and Breaching Charges exposes you to far too much danger than it is worth.
    • Another technique is to just move a lot around corners and try to drop charges so that they explode behind corner –  watch out for charges bouncing off walls.

Guardian Modules

Guardian modules strike a balance between offence and defence, often favouring an aggressive playstyle in keeping with its two subclasses. While all Guardian modules are good in their own right, most are better off being additional modules to add on top of your existing build.  Stats in square brackets are affected by daily bonus power and Overdrive slots.

  • I-Frame

Taking health damage over 100 grants [1s] of total damage immunity and has a [10%] chance of granting one plating, absorbing one full hit. 6 seconds cooldown.

Very powerful protective module, allow you to tank significant amounts of damage without even losing health for a very limited time. When placed in the overdrive slot, the duration is increased from 1 to 2 seconds, making it twice as good. The first module you acquire when starting the game, and a safe pick.

  • Warmup

All newly found items start with [4%] more item power for each conquered level. Increase base heat value by [5].

Makes items much more powerful by late game; it’s tempting to select this as a starter module since a Module Core may grant the module too late in the game to make full use of it. But since Riot Guard and Breacher are not very dependent on items, this is rather situational. Warmup however finds its place with the Engineer who depends heavily on his items. 

  • Recovery

Kills increase healing gained by [15%], lasts [4] seconds, can stack.

Riot Guards make the best use of this module because it synergizes well with the enormous regeneration provided by their Core:Unyielding. This module accelerates your healing a bit with each kill, but it really adds up as you earn more Core: Unyielding stacks, which is great if you want even more sustain on top; aggressive play is a must to make best use of this. The module is wasted on Breacher who comes with no innate healing save for level 5/Insanity talent.

  • Into Battle

Deal [10%] more damage, take equally less damage and grants [35%] stronger shield regeneration if within 350 range of an enemy. 

Riot Guards should, take this module mainly for the damage output/absorb increase rather than the increased shield generation since their shield is puny and most of their damage mitigation comes from their armor and health regeneration. They are, however, almost constantly in close quarters with the enemy so they’ll benefit from this module almost every second that they’re in combat.

For Breachers, the increased damage modifier and shield regen make choosing this module a no-brainer, considering that he also specialises in close-range combat.

Can only work in close to medium range.

  • Aegis MK5 Platinum

Grants [50%] reduced shield regeneration delay and [40] increased movement speed if heat is over 35.

Riot Guards don’t depend on their shields as much as Breachers do so this is more useful for the latter: can reduce downtime between fights nicely, either from concluding a fight or retreating into cover. 

  • Shielded

Kills refresh [200] of maximum shield strength – passively increases maximum shield by [70].

A Riot Guard only starts with 300 base shield: taking this can actually make his shield useful and efficiently increases effective health; This is an extremely powerful module for Breachers as this allows them to replenish his shield in the middle of a battle instead of having to retreat to cover to regenerate it.

  • Fortify Position

Barricades and destroyable objects have [75%] more durability. Increases maximum ammo and starting ammo for all weapons by [20%].

Can be useful if you like to stay behind cover (cover absorbs 30% of non-penetrating shots depending on angle) but the second part is much more useful for both classes: RG whose Viking has terrible ammo capacity, and Breacher whose shotguns tend to have smaller ammo reserves than other weapon types, and rather strongly depend on ammo-refilling items. 

  • Enrage

Active reload grants [15%] chance to critically strike with any weapon for 3 seconds, doubled if over 60 heat. Passively increases weapon heat generation by [10%].

Combos nicely with Aegis MK5 Platinum but requires you to play very aggressively to make the best use of it, which works just fine for both classes. Increased heat gen may be troublesome for high heat gen weapons like Super 90: a double-edged sword.

  • Weapon Mastery

Shotguns and SMGs have a [20%] chance adding one shell to spare ammo when fired, chance halved for other weapons. Stunning effects lasts [25%] longer.

Works well for both classes, acts like a weaker and more specialised Intensity Chamber. This module synergizes extremely well with a Breacher’s Level 1 and 25 class perks (15% chance to not consume ammo + 30% chance not to consume the last shell) making it so that shotgunners rarely have to pick up ammo. Stuns dealt by ramming enemies with the Viking Shield, Battlecry Module, Taser, and Stun Grenade also last longer, giving you more time to take free shots at the enemy.

  • Shield Overclock

Grants [120] increased shield regeneration per second. In addition, found shield powerups last [5] seconds longer.

On RG: faster shield regen per second reduces downtime, not that you’d need it in most cases.

On Breacher, combos well with Shielded for maximum protection, on top of his already above average shield regen stats (150 compared to 120 baseline.)

  • Stimulants

Get [5] weapon lifesteal when below 30% of maximum health. Decreases damage dealt by 10%.

Redundant on both classes but can be useful for Breacher to overcome the danger zone. Best combined with Into Battle to neutralise the damage output malus.

  • Scrap Plating

Chance to find Scrap scattered around, granting 1 plating on pickup. Plating deflects all damage for one hit.

Scrap is now randomly generated and scattered around levels instead of only dropping on enemy kills. Not worth taking because there are far better options.

This is very useful for Engineer or when you are doing Insanity Challenge – Hyper Adrenaline, where full damage absorption from plating usually saves life.

  • Bits and Pieces

Each obtained plating instance grants a stacking [10%] bonus in damage and critical damage, refreshes on new pickup and lasts 10 seconds. Might be useful on Breacher who comes with a higher plating cap at talent level 20. Best combined with Scrap Plating for maximum effect, but otherwise not worth taking.

  • Berserk

Taking health or shield damage grants Berserk stacks, increasing fire rate and decreasing fire rate slowdown by [1%]. Stacks up to 40 times and is lost after not taking damage for 12 seconds.

Can be useful on both classes for a punisher build, effectively increases damage for playing aggressively but be mindful of the increased ammo consumption. Better on RG who can readily soak up damage without suffering for it.

  • Wicked

Taking health damage briefly slows the attacker with a chance to stun depending on damage amount and reflects up to [150] damage. If you are running a punisher tank build, this is a good choice to combine with RV Rebuke System for maximum punishment: while reflected damage can only reach 150 at maximum (more if the module receives daily bonuses), slowing down enemies gives you a lot of control over them. Better on RG whose offensive options are limited compared to Breacher.

  • Push Forward

Active reload grants a brief surge of [40%] bonus movement speed and recoil control. Increases pistol damage by [10%]. Basic but good for those who like to fight on the move; to be fair, you will learn to move a lot more than you think you should. Pairs well with aggressive modules like Berserk, Enrage, Aegis MK5, etc.

Guardian Items

Unlike other classes, Guardian’s items are viable on both classes instead of only either one of them; a good balance of offensive and defensive options.  

  • Methadone

Grants heavy damage resistance and health regeneration for all team members over a duration. 50% chance to gain one charge at medi chests.  A reliable healing item that would bring you out of the danger zone almost every time. RG however doesn’t really need it until Final Stage, but Breacher definitely could use the healing when he’s down.

Very useful in Hyper Adrenaline mode.

  • Stun Grenade

Stunning all units in an area for a brief moment, removing shields and granting 5 Guardian core stacks. The crown of the Guardian subclass; a versatile tool for both offence and defence. An easy pick for both classes: RG benefits from having a powerful stunning item as well as 5 Core:Unyielding stacks, while Breacher can use the Stun Grenade as an initiation tool, making target crowds easy picking for his Breaching Charges.

Extremely useful in any game mode, just make sure to upgrade it to 200% for faster refresh.

  • Auto Taser

Fires a taser projectile on a weapon shot after a slight delay, stunning and damaging a target when hit. Handy against single targets but frankly pale in comparison to the Stun Grenade. The first item that you have access to when starting the game.

Tend to become quite powerful if upgraded and you have a weapon with high damage like T-80.

  • Tomahawk

Throws a hard hitting tomahawk axe, dealing more damage the longer it flies and cause a strong wound, reducing enemy healing by half for 8 seconds. Accurate throwable weapon that can deal surprisingly high amount of damage. Worth keeping throughout your run.

  • Shieldburst

Consumes shield and deals damage in area based on amount consumed; the next shield recharge has no delay and grants 5 Guardian stacks. Can be paired with shield enhancing modules for best effect (Shield Overclock, Aegis MK5, etc.) Better on RG despite his smaller shield as he can gain Unyielding stacks to make up for the lost health unlike Breacher. Can be used from behind cover. Synergizes very well with Shock Impulse.

  • RV Rebuke System

Reflects direct incoming bullet damage to the original shooter, and 20+ armor Damage Absorb (confers a bonus 20 armor.) A good choice for when you are lacking in offensive capability like RG, and grants increased armor as a bonus. Not as good on Breacher as it’s redundant.
Not bad as long as it’s not taking up an item slot.  Recycle at the start of a run for easy credits and Damage Absorb.

Helena Stamatina
About Helena Stamatina 2690 Articles
My first game was Naughty Dog’s Crash Bandicoot (PlayStation) back in 1996. And since then gaming has been my main hobby. I turned my passion for gaming into a job by starting my first geek blog in 2009. When I’m not working on the site, I play mostly on my PlayStation. But I also love outdoor activities and especially skiing.

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