Class Guides

Warden Class Guide (U19.3)

Click here to go to the previous page – The Warden Class

Regular, Basic Skills

Before we get into the main theme around Warden skills, the gambit system, we will go ahead and cover all our basic skills – the ones that are comparable to other classes regular skills. Since Wardens focus on gambits mostly, we have a limited amount of these skills. Most are utility-related and Javelin related.

Like other classes, the spec you choose will affect these skills. You will also get new skills as you get more traits, and level up. Here is an infographic on the skills that aren’t related to gambits and are not specific to a certain trait line. Note that the musters and ‘critical strike’ are not shown.

The muster skills weren’t in there (they would take up way too much space, and I don’t have all of them). So, let’s go ahead and knock them out first. These are very simple… They let you (and only you) travel to a location, based on what the skill says. Some you unlock as you level up, others you can barter for once you get the appropriate reputation with the faction in that area. These have long cast times and cannot be used in combat.

There is one more skill not shown:

Note! This skill has a class deed to use it!

Critical Strike – One of the most useless skills a Warden has. Let’s go over why it is bad to start…

  • Low damage
  • Long cooldown
  • Conditional – requires mob to be stunned
  • Better spending time doing something else

There is only one redeeming thing for this skill, it is fastFast skills in LOTRO have shorter animations and go off a lot quicker than skills that aren’t fast. This, however, does not make up for all the reasons it is bad. Even if it weren’t conditional, it still wouldn’t be useful. So, one important thing to learn from this guide is to never use ‘Critical Strike’ (unless you need the class deed).

Let’s get onto the rest of the skills, which will be split into categories based on what they are.


Stances are permanent buffs that are automatically always toggled on. You can only be in one stance at a time. When you login, you will be in the stance you were last in. Wardens have a stance for melee and a stance for ranged. These have short cooldowns allowing you to stance dance. Although this is typically ineffective in PvE, it has uses in PvMP.

In the Fray – Melee – The stance for red and blue line. Since these two lines are considered the main Warden lines, this is the most used stance. In general it is the best stance to be in when red or blue line. There are situations which you may want melee damage as yellow line and this will be the stance you switch to, in particularly if you are taking melee damage

Assailment – Ranged – This stance changes the core skill system for Wardens – Gambits. When we go over gambits in the next sections, we will be mostly assuming you are not in this stance. The way this stance works, it is best to already know how gambits work while in melee before going to range. This effectively changes most of your melee gambits that use spear (1) builders to be ranged gambits that use javelin (also 1) builders. The conversion of gambits is not that straightforward, however. But the basic idea is that your melee gambits turn into ranged gambits. You may want to switch into this stance as red or blue line if you need to deal ranged damage. While this isn’t very frequent in landscape, it has uses in instances where ranged mobs are a priority to kill. This is also the primary stance for the yellow line, as long as you aren’t getting hit by melee damage.


Our javelin skills are what I consider to be our only true regular skills. Why? They are the only ones that just deal damage when you use them and aren’t part of a system. All other classes have many more skills that do just this (even though all of theirs may not be useful). Javelin skills are also ranged and have some extra effects. Some specs will add new javelin skills or modify base skills. Here is a list of what each javelin skill does and their uses:

  • Marked Target – Deals moderate damage and puts a debuff on the enemy to decrease their defenses. This skill is useful to pull or if you can work into your rotation (covered letter in the rotation and gambit sections).
  • Hampering Javelin – Deals weak damage and puts a run speed debuff on the enemy. This is most useful when at ranged and other skills aren’t available. If in the yellow line, it is useful CC to stay out of melee range for longer. Generally this skill is not used.
  • Wages of Fear – Deals moderate damage. That isn’t it, though. It gains a large damage buff if you are behind the enemy. This skill is useful if you are at range and behind the enemy. Generally this skill is not used.
  • Ambush – Deals moderate damage, knocks the enemy out, and increases your run speed. This ability has synergy with Careful Step. Careful Step puts you into stealth. If you use Ambush while stealthed, it will be instant cast and always crit. While out of stealth, this has a 2 second cast time. This can be useful to pull, in particularly with Careful Step. However, this usually isn’t the best use of time where you could be pulling with Marked Target then going into combat like you regularly would. Ambush has synergy with another ability… The useless one, Critical Strike. The knockout allows use of Critical Strike. This, as mentioned above, is not useful and Critical Strike shouldn’t be used. Generally this skill is not used.

Please note that the usage of these changes greatly with being specced into the yellow line. As mentioned earlier, this will be covered later.


We have two skills that affect movement.

Careful Step – This one, already mentioned, has synergy with Ambush. It causes Ambush to be instant cast and always critically hit. Careful Step puts you in a stealth, where you may move and not break it. However, if you perform any other skill, the stealth will break. It also has a relatively short duration. It has a long cooldown of 3 minutes. Generally this is only used when you want to use Ambush.

Forced March – The skill that makes us very fast. While it can only be used out of combat and you must reactive it after combat, it is a very useful skill to increase movement speed. It has a large movement speed increase, comparable to starter mounts which are 32% increase. The amount can also be increased through Legendary Item legacies. Generally this is used when you are out of combat and cannot mount or expect not to. I often use it in instances for times when out of combat.


We have two utility skills. These are comparable to other classes utility skills that do similar things.

Steadfast – A very slow skill that removes combat states – dazes, stuns, knockouts, etc. This is useful to get out of those, especially long duration ones. Why I said this skill is very slow is because it has a long animation and enters you into the transition state from the combat stat you were in going into a regular state where you can use skills. This makes it a lot less effective with short duration combat states. Don’t mistake that for the skill being useless, though. It still helps! Generally this is used whenever you are in a combat state.

First Aid – A very strong, but costly skill. It isn’t strong in doing damage, though. It removes 1 of various debuffs from you. In instances you generally acquire a lot of harmful debuffs that need to be removed. This skill has a short cooldown so allows you to use it a lot and frequently. There is one major drawback – its large power cost. If you end up using it a lot, you will be running low on power. Wardens have a Gambit skill that restores power to counteract this, though. Generally this is used when you have a debuff and enough power to cast it and your next couple-few skills.


We get one whole skill here! Actually, we have a lot more survival skills in our Gambit system. But, this is the place for non-gambits, so we will cover Never Surrender. The very useful and versatile no-die skill. Never Surrender puts a long duration buff on you that prevents you from dying. But, that is not all – if you fall below the morale threshold, you will gain a large amount of morale and power! So, this skill is useful in preventing death and large, burst healing. Due to its long duration buff, you can use this skill any time you may expect danger. Doing this is actually the best way to take advantage of the skill. When you use it, the cooldown starts to go down. By using it earlier, you are allowing the cooldown to go down for a next use while you still have the buff up. As tank spec, I try to keep this up all the time. As red or yellow, I use it when I suspect eminent death or other danger.


That isn’t that many skills. But don’t worry, the rest of our skills are associated with the gambit system. Which is what we are going to next! We will cover all the skills not listed and seen here in the gambits and specialization sections.

If you would like to support Dadi’s LOTRO Guides, or maybe just buy him a beer, click the donate button below 🙂

Click here to go to the next page – Gambits (Multi-part)


Here is a bit about me: I started LOTRO near the end of Siege of Mirkwood and shortly before F2P came into existence. I started a YouTube channel for LOTRO, which back then often had miscellaneous videos involving my Warden. Eventually my channel strayed away from mainly Warden as it grew. Currently I am enjoying end-game content on my characters while leveling some others. My main “LOTRO presence” (not in-game) is on YouTube. I am also active on the LOTRO subreddit (and soon to be an author here!).

15 thoughts on “Warden Class Guide (U19.3)

  • Flagron

    Awesome stuff I am going to camp on it a while. Thanks for posting


  • Flagron

    Noob question When you say the Javelin skills  (hampering target et al) “Generally this skill is not used.”  do you mean at all, or just for the buff or debuff, I find marked target has a longer cool time I use them

    • If you are not playing as yellow line, it is only used on pull (while running up to mob/boss), when you have to be ranged for some reason (like a ground effect in melee range will kill you, or something similar), or when you want to target a ranged mob.

      So in general combat (again, not in yellow line), it is generally not used. Those cases are pretty rare, most commonly I use it will running up to a mob/boss.

  • thorongil

    Thanks for a great guide!

    Please clarify what are the top virtue traits for a warden.  You start by saying that Honour and Innocence are ideal, while Zeal and Fidelity are great.

    But then you say:

    So, the final virtues are…


  • thorongil

    Thinking more about virtue traits I have another question for you:

    If General Virtue Priority is listed as:
    1    Resistance
    2    Mitigations
    3    Main Stat
    4    Vitality
    5    Max Morale
    6    Secondary Stat

    Why is Fidelity classified as ‘great’ – having     +76 vitality (4th on list)
    +56 power (Not on list)
    +1539 TMi (2nd on list)
    while Tolerance is entirely skipped – having    +1539 TMi (2nd on list)
    +114 agility (3rd on list)
    +107 ICMR (not on list)
    They have equal TMi, and forgetting not so important power and ICMR, I’d have thought that +114 agility beats +76 vitality?

    Just trying to understand how this works.

    • Sorry for the confusion, I have fixed that part and made it correct. Here is what the list was meant to be:


      Agility is definitely better than vitality in this context.

  • Netheriel

    I know this is not relevant to the Warden Class, but I just saw all these beautiful guides and I’m really impressed.

    I’m searching for a complete guide for the Captain but I struggle to find a complete one: on Youtube there are only very old videos, on the official forum only few post very contraddictory and not well reviewed. On Reddit I found some info, but scattered and not complete.

    In the future, can I hope for a Captain guide amazing like these one? 😀

    Thanks so much!

    • Dadislotroguides

      I intend to have guides for every class. I have a lower level Captain, so I am not qualified to write a guide on them. I am still searching for the right person to author it.

    • I have some experience with the Captain (not enough to write a guide at the moment), but if you need help anything specific, I may be able to help.

  • I appreciate greatly this website and the guides you provide. My Warden 105 is my “main alt” and so I need guidance from others how best to gear. Follow up -> why +agility crafted relics rather than the more popular +agility +physical mastery +critical?

    • The Agility crafted relics are only if you are not able to get the better ones.

      Sealed Westemnet Device of Accuracy if you can craft it.
      If you can’t, Sealed Westemnet Device of Agility

      • tearsofwrath

        Hello there,


        first i want to say: amazing guide. i have been gone quite a while and this guide eased my way back into the game. the warden IS a complicated class afterall.


        i wonder wether you will update this guide with the Mordor Expansion one day? The additional levels, new relics and such and gear. would be great!


        Keep up the good work!

        • Dadislotroguides

          We will definitely look to get it (and the other class guides) updated to reflect the changes in Mordor.

  • You mentioned, I’m not sure where, that we want to use our longest gambits ASAP.  Also, your USE priorities reinforce this, for example:





    ….but it would seem that the class is designed to go the other way in chains, or are you saying that the chain-buffs aren’t worth chasing in most cases?

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