The Black Guard of Naggarond are the favored warriors of the Witch King Malekith, and are given the sacred task of not only serving as his personal bodyguard, but as his heartless enforcers on the field of battle. Those who would become the Black Guard are taken from birth from their mothers. A Black Guard has no family ties to distract them, they are children of hatred and war and are raised from infancy steeped in battle and blood. Each Black Guard has personally sworn an oath of undying devotion at the feet of the Witch King, it is this oath that lights the fires of hatred and scorn deep in their hearts, for no warrior can be greater then the one chosen by Malekith himself.
Living a life of constant battle the Black Guard are psychologically incapable of believing anyone can defeat them, and they take a personal grievance against any foe who stands under their brutal assault. These elite warriors do not let this hatred consume them, instead they embrace and focus their rage, allowing them to lash out with even greater force against their foes. A Black Guard is resolute in their duty unyielding to any force be it physical or arcane. It is for this reason that even the most powerful of assaults will always break against the shield of hate that each Black Guard wields.
Playing as a Blackguard
A Black Guard generally considers the best defense to be a good offense and will always be found on the front line leading the charge. A Black Guard will relentlessly assault his or her desired opponent, and will slowly become enraged should that opponent have the audacity not to die with the first swing of their glaive. Properly harnessing the hatred that flows from their scorn of others is the key to winning any battle, allowing them to wear down their opponents under an unyielding and unending assault that grows stronger with every passing second.
Fighting against a Blackguard
The only way to truly defeat a Black Guard is to utterly and completely crush them as fast as possible. For the longer a Black Guard survives the more enraged they will become. This hatred is their greatest advantage for the burning hate not only strengthens their assault but allows them to brush off even powerful arcane magics. Unlike many heavy fighters the Blackguard is very capable of holding their own against the Arcane forces of a mage in a prolonged fight.
Black Guards are an offensive tank who utilize hate mechanics very similar to the Grudge of the Iron Breaker. When damage is taken, or Action Points expended it allows the use of certain abilities which can translate into attacks, buffs, or debuffs.
In a group, the Black Guard has a very clear tanking role which will put them right in the mix. They can be specked to serve a variety of play styles which can include increasing block, parry, or focusing on de-buffs and damage. They will pull their weight as well as any Chosen or Black Orc.
The Black Guard has a very simple role in RvR, to rush the enemy with a focus on ranged casters and healers. While they will need a healer themselves to be effective, pairing up with an Chosen or Black Orc could prove to be a very dangerous combination.
In a keep siege a Black Guard will likely find themselves trying to hold a doorway or keeping ranged classes busy by charging. In more open situations, a solid tank like this can occupy a number of DPS which would have normally targeted weaker classes. Plan to make room in your warband for plenty of these as they are sure to be popular.
Path of Malice
Following the path of Malice means mastering ones rage and molding it into a powerful weapon. The Black Guard who embrace Malice are capable of unleashing powerful attacks fueled by their Hatred. Frequently seen on the front lines, these Black Guard traditionally wield powerful halberds which allow them to cleave through steel and flesh alike.
Path of Loathing
The Path of Loathing is one of disdain for others, and embracing the belief that none can defeat you on the field of battle. As such, Blackguard of this mastery become unconquerable obstacles that even the most potent of offense will break against. Those who embrace Loathing prefer to work with a tall shield and a strong sword so they can relish in the ringing sound of futile blows falling on hardened steel.
Path of Anguish
Those who master the Path of Anguish master pain itself. This allows the Black Guard to shrug off even the most potent of magical attacks that would normally pierce their finely crafted armor. Masters of Anguish are traditionally chosen to server as the Witch King's personal executioners seeking out and destroying the arcane powers that would wish to strike their liege down.
- Path of Malice's 9 point ability Get Down! is removed and replaced with Halt, Fool!, which costs 30 hatred, has a 20s cooldown, is a 3s KD and 3s snare (runs concurrently) on enemies and gives a 5s speed buff to self; if Exile is used while this buff is active, it will reduce Exile's cooldown by half.
- Rebounding Hatred is the 15pt ability for Path of Malice and it is a 20s channel which increases parry, dodge, and disrupt avoidance by 50% and reflects damage back at attackers. Blast of Hatred is moved to core and using this ability puts all morales on a 5min cooldown.
- None Shall Pass is now the 5pt ability in the Loathing tree (link)
- Force of Fury is now the 13pt ability in the Loathing tree and the armor increase will now stack with everything; it will also be granted to your Dark Protector. (link)
- In the Loathing Tree: Terrifying Foe is back to 3pt, Feeding on Pain is back to 7pt, Force of Fury is back to 9pt, Anger Drives Me is back to 11pt, and Wave of Scorn is back to 13pt (link)