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Animated Guardian - Best Items and Setups Guide

Animated Guardian - Best Items and Setups Guide

Complete Guide to Animated Guardian with the best gear setups available

Animated Guardian

Best Items and Gear setups - in-depth Guide


General information

The Animated Guardian skill lets you animate items to create a guardian that fights alongside you. The Guardian uses the weapons and armor you animate onto it. The items used are effectively "consumed" and will disappear if the guardian dies, meaning you will not get them back. It is presumably the most complex Skill in the game, as the number of ways it can be played without even considering any additional Support Gems is simply massive. Before getting into more details, we will first explain the basic rules that apply to Animated Guardians. 

  1. Animated Guardian can be created by using the skill on Items on the ground. As such, it is impossible to create one in tows and hideouts,
  2. Animated Guardian can "use" a Helmet, Body Armour, Gloves, Boots, Weapon, and a Shield (if not wielding a Two-Hander) of any rarity,
  3. Using Animated Guardian on an Item that is already equipped will overwrite it,
  4. Animated Guardian has its own Life pool, and if it dies, it loses the equipped Items, so summoning a new one will require you to get a new set of Gear;
  5. Your Animated Guardian's items are stored on each individual character. You can unsocket the Gem and use it elsewhere, but each character requires it to consume its' own set of Gear;
  6. Animated Guardian cannot use Skills granted by Unique Items.


Best Item recommendations

In this section, we will present all the recommended and worthwhile items in each of the slots. Keep in mind that on top of offering various buffs from Unique gear, your Animated Guardian has to stay alive for them to work - this requires that you balance support and defensive Items on this Minion, and picking up the BiS item from each category may not work properly. The best all-around combinations for Animated Guardian will be presented in the final section of this Guide.  

Please note that the Items are not ordered from best to worst, or any other way. Also, the item choices are not exactly strict and can be altered based on your available Gear or specific needs. 


Best Weapons for Animated Guardian
KingmakerKingmaker - It's the most common weapon for a guardian. We assume that if you need a tanky AG you yourself have to be somewhat tough as well. It grants you and your other Minions Culling Strike, +50% Critical Strike Multiplier, and 10 Fortification which elevates your build in terms of damage and survivability. If you aim only for your guardian's durability, use The Grey Spire to give him up to 4% to all Maximum Resistances, including Chaos, and tons of Armour with ES.
(300-360)% increased Physical Damage
(7-12)% increased Attack Speed
(30-40)% increased Critical Strike Chance
Nearby Allies have 30% increased Item Rarity
Nearby Allies have Culling Strike
Insufficient Mana doesn't prevent your Melee Attacks
Nearby Allies have +50% to Critical Strike Multiplier
Nearby Allies have +10 Fortification
Dying BreathDying Breath - It increases your and your Minions' damage while also increasing the Effect of your Curses - both by 18%. This is a very powerful, yet inexpensive Unique, making it one of the best picks for Budget version of Animated Guardians
18% increased Cast Speed
18% increased maximum Mana
18% increased Area of Effect of Aura Skills
18% increased Area of Effect of Hex Skills
Nearby Enemies have 18% increased Effect of Curses on them
Nearby allies gain 18% increased Damage
18% increased effect of Non-Curse Auras from your Skills
Sign of the Sin EaterSign of the Sin Eater - an interesting option that allows you to obtain ailment immunity for all Animated Guardian's allies. It is however inconsistent because of the very low radius, and it has been included here just as a fun fact rather than an actual recommendation
26% increased Elemental Damage
Grants Level 30 Smite Skill
+(10-30) to Strength and Intelligence
Enemies inflict Elemental Ailments on you instead of nearby Allies


Best Shields for Animated Guardian
Victario's CharityReplica Victario's Charity - using shields on your Animated Guardian is not particularly good, except for the "explosive" setup. In such case, you will be able to have your Guardian generate Frenzy and Power Charges for yourself and all your allies
+8% to all Elemental Resistances
+(50–70) to maximum Life
+(20–30)% to Lightning Resistance
+11% to Chaos Resistance
10% increased effect of Non-Curse Auras from your Skills
5% chance to grant an Endurance Charge to nearby Allies on Hit
10% chance to grant a Frenzy Charge to nearby Allies on Kill


Best Helmets for Animated Guardian
LeercastLeer Cast - Leer Cast increases the Damage of all allies by 50% and provides your guardian with up to 100 Maximum Life. It's a very powerful and inexpensive Item making it one of the best options for the Helmet slot
+(20-30) to Dexterity
25% reduced Damage
+(60-100) to maximum Life
+(60-100) to maximum Mana
You and nearby allies gain 50% increased Damage
Mask of the Stitched DemonMask of the Stitched Demon - It Regenerates a percent of the Maximum Life of your guardian (which is a lot) per 500 Energy Shield it has. The most efficient way to provide it with a lot of Maximum ES is to source it from its Maximum Life. To do so, combine it with Grave Intentions notable or make your character wear Fleshcrafter. Be careful not to increase its Chaos Resistance by over 50% if your character has Fleshcrafter​​​​
+(40-50) to Intelligence
+(160-180) to maximum Energy Shield
Strength provides no bonus to Maximum Life
Intelligence provides no inherent bonus to Maximum Mana
+1 to Maximum Life per 2 Intelligence
Your Energy Shield starts at zero
Cannot gain Energy Shield
Regenerate 1% of Life per second per 500 Maximum Energy Shield
Crown of the TyrantCrown of the Tyrant - Use only in a non-physical Minion build. There, it needs one White Socket. This Helmet enhances your Minions with added Chaos Damage, somewhat equal to that of level 8 Added Chaos Damage Support, and reduces the Resistances of all your enemies by 10%, including Chaos Resistance. It's a major DPS boost, but for a more durable Helmet, or for a Physical DoT Minion build, select a Rare one with Elemental Resistances, and "Enemies you've Hit Recently have reduced Life Regeneration rate" as Eater's Implicit. "Nearby Enemies take #% increased Physical Damage" is a great mod to have in a Physical Damage build.
Has 1 Socket
+(50-175) to maximum Life
Nearby Enemies have -10% to all Resistances
You and Nearby Allies have 64 to 96 added Fire Damage per Red Socket
You and Nearby Allies have 56 to 88 added Cold Damage per Green Socket
You and Nearby Allies have 16 to 144 added Lightning Damage per Blue Socket
You and Nearby Allies have 47 to 61 added Chaos Damage per White Socket
HelmetRare Helmet - Depending on the type of your main damage type, select an appropriate modifier on your Helmet. These are all Prefixes found on Helmets with various Influences
Nearby Enemies take #% increased [Physical or Elemental] Damage
Nearby Enemies have -#% to [Fire, Cold, Lightning, or Chaos] Resistance
missing Resistances
Generic defensive stats


Best Body Armours for Animated Guardian
BloodbondBloodbond - It increases the AG's Maximum Life and grants him a steady Life Recovery, which is good enough if your Minions can't Regenerate their Life yet. If your guardian can Regenerate Life, select Belly of the Beast instead - its Maximum Life bonus is slightly higher. It's a bit more expensive, but the extra Elemental Resistances will significantly improve your guardian's survivability.
Grants Level 15 Blood Offering Skill
(100-120)% increased Evasion and Energy Shield
(15-25)% increased maximum Life
Minions have (20-30)% increased maximum Life
Regenerate 1% of Life per second
Minions have +(12-15)% chance to Suppress Spell Damage
Belly of the BeastBelly of the Beast - grants tons of extra Maximum LIfe, making it a solid and inexpensive option defense-wise​​​
(150-200)% increased Armour
(30-40)% increased maximum Life
+(10-15)% to all Elemental Resistances
50% increased Flask Life Recovery rate
Extra gore
Gruthkul's PeltGruthkul's Pelt - It Regenerates tons of guardian's Maximum Life every second which is the most prominent feature of this Armour.
100% increased Global Physical Damage
+(240-300) to maximum Life
(300-400)% increased Armour and Evasion
Regenerate 10% of Life per second
15% increased Character Size
Spell Skills deal no Damage
Your Spells are disabled
Doppelgänger GuiseDoppelgänger Guise - It's used only to make the AG more durable, it regenerates tons of Life after it gets Hit, and lessens Physical and Chaos Damage Taken (the guardian is always Sane). For the same reason, you can choose Gruthkul's Pelt, but Doppelgänger Guise has the advantage of reducing Chaos Damage Taken, which is especially important if you may struggle with capping your AG's Chaos Resistance​​​​​
Grants Level 20 Unhinge Skill
(40-60)% more Critical Strike Chance while Insane
Enemies Killed by your Hits are destroyed while Insane
(40-30)% less Physical and Chaos Damage Taken while Sane
Regenerate 10% Life over one second when Hit while Sane
Inpulsa's Broken HeartInpulsa's Broken Heart - It's the default and budget option for the Exploding AG setup. It requires you to have Skitterbots that will apply Shock to enemies, as only Shocked enemies can explode. You can also go for a Rare Body Armour with a Crusader's Prefix "Enemies you Kill have a #% chance to Explode, dealing a tenth of their maximum Life as Physical Damage". It's better if you can't afford to run Skitterbots, or if the Rare Body Armour has some other good modifiers, such as Resistances or Hunter's Prefix "You can apply an additional Curse".
+(60-80) to maximum Life
(20-50)% increased Damage if you have Shocked an Enemy Recently
(15-25)% increased Effect of Shock
Shocked Enemies you Kill Explode, dealing 5% of
their Life as Lightning Damage which cannot Shock
Unaffected by Shock
Garb of the EphemeralGarb of the Ephemeral - a very interesting option that grants your Animated Guardian a lot of Maximum Energy Shield, as well as, causes nearby enemies to be unable to deal Critical Strikes
<One to three random Synthesis implicit modifiers>
(180-230)% increased Energy Shield
+600 Strength and Intelligence Requirement
Gain a Divine Charge on Hit
+10 to maximum Divine Charges
You gain Divinity for 10 seconds on reaching maximum Divine Charges
Lose all Divine Charges when you gain Divinity
Nearby Allies' Action Speed cannot be modified to below base value
Nearby Enemies cannot deal Critical Strikes


Best Boots for Animated Guardian
WindscreamWindscream - Allows you to apply two Curses with no need to extend the Curse Limit on your character, you can designate your AG to be able to cause an additional Curse, which can be Temporal Chains from Asenath's Gentle Touch or other Curses from Glove Implicit mods or Dreadarc's Flammability. It's best to get a copy with +15% to all Elemental Resistances
(50-80)% increased Armour
+(10-15)% to all Elemental Resistances
50% increased Area of Effect of Hex Skills
20% increased Movement Speed
You can apply an additional Curse
Legacy of FuryLegacy of Fury - These will lower Enemies' Elemental Resistances with Scorch. It can also cause an "explosion" dealing massive Fire DoT on top of the regular explosion from Inpulsa's Broken Heart if you have chosen this setup. Great in any Elemental Damage Minion Build.
(200-300)% increased Armour and Evasion
30% increased Movement Speed
Nearby Enemies are Scorched
(30-50)% increased Effect of Scorch
(30-40)% chance when you Kill a Scorched Enemy to Burn Each surrounding
Enemy for 4 seconds, dealing 8% of the Killed Enemy's Life as Fire Damage per second
Rare BootsRare Boots - Use them to cap your guardian's Resistance and for the powerful red Implicits that  can have your Animated Guardian create various ground effects

35% Cold Resistance
35% Lightning Resistance
up to 35% Chaos Resistance

Searing Exarch Implicits:
-Drops Scorched Ground while moving
-Drops Brittle Ground while moving
-Drops Sapped Ground while moving
-Chaos or Elemental Resistance

Eater of Worlds Implicits:
-Regenerate #% of Life per second per Endurance Charge (only if it has Endurance Charges)


Best Gloves for Animated Guardian
SouthboundSouthbound - Use it to increase the guardian's Life by up to 16%. The Cold Resistance is useful too.
Adds (60-72) to (88-100) Cold Damage to Attacks
(12-16)% increased maximum Life
+(40-50)% to Cold Resistance
100% increased Freeze Duration on Enemies
Your Hits can only Kill Frozen Enemies
Asenath's Gentle TouchAsenath's Gentle Touch - Use it to apply Temporal Chains on enemies - a mandatory Curse in any DoT build. You have to wear it alongside Windscream Boots. The explosions from these Gloves won't occur often as the Guardian needs to Hit the enemy first. Because of that, you can actually use any Gloves with a "Curse Enemies with Temporal Chains on Hit" Corrupted Implicit. Hands of the High Templar may be especially good in this case.
(200-300)% increased Armour and Evasion
30% increased Movement Speed
Nearby Enemies are Scorched
(30-50)% increased Effect of Scorch
(30-40)% chance when you Kill a Scorched Enemy to Burn Each surrounding
Enemy for 4 seconds, dealing 8% of the Killed Enemy's Life as Fire Damage per second
GravebindGravebind - Your Animate Guardian is now the one killing all the enemies, thus it can detonate them from Items like Inpulsa's Broken Heart. You can Corrupt them for various Curses on Hit, depending on the type of build you're running. Explosions will apply Curses on Hit.

(100-150)% increased Armour and Evasion
+(19-29)% to Chaos Resistance
Gain (15-25) Life per Enemy Killed
Nearby Enemies Killed by anyone count as being Killed by you instead

Eater of Worlds Implicits:
-Regenerate #% of Life per second per Endurance Charge (only if it has Endurance Charges)

Rare GlovesAny Corrupted Pair of Gloves - you can use any random pair of Gloves with additional Curses as corrupted Implicit Mods. Just top it up with additional defensive Mods. but the best option would be to use a Corrupted pair out of the ones listed above
Curse enemies with <Curse of choice> on Hit (Implicit modifier)
High Total Elemental and Chaos Resistance


The best Animated Guardian Gear setups

Below you will find several interesting Gear setups for the Animated Guardian that should work just fine under almost any circumstances, offering reasonable defensive bonuses and good team utility. Keep in mind, that regardless of the setup, you should still use it mostly on Minion builds with sufficient Minion Life and defense modifiers on your Skill Tree when facing higher Tier content. Animated Guardian's death can be pretty expensive, so it's not advised to play carelessly with it.


Budget-friendly Animated Guardian setup

Dying BreathBloodbondLeer CastSouthboundRare Boots

This is the budget setup that you should be able to acquire on day one after the league starts. All the items here are common so their price will remain low. The modifiers for "increased Maximum Life" present here are great with Animated Guardian's high base Maximum Life, so his death is unlikely. This setup provides you and your Minions with increased damage, increased Effect of Curses, and Scorch or Brittle effect, which is good in almost any build.

List of Items:

  1. Dying Breath
  2. Bloodbond
  3. Leer Cast
  4. Southbound
  5. Pair of Rare Boots with random defensive mods

Build examples:

Will work basically on all Minion Builds that are not oriented on dealing with the highest difficulty content


Tanky/Optimal Animated Guardian setup

KingmakerGruthkul's PeltMask of the Stitched DemonSouthboundRare Boots

This setup's aim is to create a guardian that won't die. It should have over 100k of Maximum Life, which is a lot, but it still requires high Resistances and rapid Recovery. The basic Resistances of this Minion are 40% to Fire, Cold, and Lightning, and 20% Chaos Resistance. Cap these Resistances with your own items, such as "Minions have +#% to all Elemental Resistances" present on Ghastly Eye Abyss Jewels and Bone Rings, or "Minions have +#% to Chaos Resistance" which can be found only on the aforementioned Jewels. Chaos Resistance may be hard to get, but with Fleshcrafter on your character (present in a lot of Elemental Damage Minion builds) you don't actually want to provide him with too much Chaos Resistance, the basic 20% will be enough. The Recovery aspect is covered by Gruthkul's Pelt and Mask of the Stitched Demon. It will be able to sustain an Aura supported by Guardian's Blessing. This setup is great in all builds that have easy access to Grave Intentions notable, or ones with Fleshcrafter.

List of Items:

  1. Kingmaker
  2. Gruthkul's Pelt
  3. Mask of the Stitched Demon
  4. Southbound
  5. Rare Boots with ground effects or Legacy of Fury for Elemental DPS builds

Build examples:

  1. Summon Skeleton Mages Necromancer
  2. Lightning Golem Elementalist
  3. Death Wish Elementailst
  4. Absolution Summoner Necromancer
  5. Summon Raging Spirit Necromancer
  6. Baron Zombie Summoner Guardian


Chaos/Physical Damage over Time Animated Guardian setup

Dying BreathDoppelgänger GuiseCrown of the TyrantAsenath's Gentle TouchWindscream

The two most important gear pieces for your AG in a DoT build are Asenath's Gentle Touch Gloves and Windscream boots. This way you won't need to extend your own Curse Limit, which typically would require Anointing Whispers of Doom notable (usually, Chaos DoT Builds need Temporal Chains with Despair, Physical DoT builds need Temporal Chains with Vulnerability). The rest of the gear can either enhance your DPS further or improve the guardian's durability. The listed setup leaves the minion with only 55% Elemental Resistances and 20% Chaos Resistance, so if it dies it's probably because of that. Upgrade its Resistances using Purity of Elements Aura, Ghastly Eye Abyss Jewels, Bone Rings, or selecting a Rare Helmet.

List of Items:

  1. Dying Breath
  2. Doppelgänger Guise
  3. Crown of the Tyrant
  4. Asenath's Gentle Touch
  5. Windscream


  1. Poison Summon Raging Spirits Necromancer
  2. Soulwrest Phantasms Summoner
  3. Animate Weapon Necromancer


Exploding Animated Guardian setup

SceptreReplica Victario's CharityInpulsa's Broken HeartHelmetGravebindLegacy of Fury

It uses an Anomalous AG with a magnified Area of Effect to create large explosions each time you or any of your Minions kills an enemy. It's great if your character is wearing Asehs of the Stars and your AG Skill Gem is linked to an increased Area of Effect Support Gem or Enhance Support. The explosions significantly improve your clear speed, but are not particularly useful during boss fights. This setup will suit most Minion builds, but it's especially good in Elemental Damage Minion Builds due to the Legacy of Fury. It requires Gravebind Gloves and Body Armour with a chance of Exploding enemies on Kill. This Guardian is not very tanky, but it's also not a big issue if you're not engaging in Boss fights, which you shouldn't do anyway as it's not useful there.

List of Items:

  1. Rare Sceptre potentially with additional chance to create explosions on Kill
  2. Replica Victario's Charity
  3. Inpulsa's Broken Heart
  4. Rare Helmet with generic defensive stats and possibly one that reduces the Resistance matching the type of your most frequent explosions
  5. Gravebind
  6. Legacy of Fury

Used in:

Works for basically any Minion Build, but has better effect when using Elemental Minions due to the extra bonuses from equipped Items


If you have any other Guide requests please leave that in the comments below. We are always open to suggestions and constructive feedback.

Pictures used in this article are the intellectual property of Grinding Gear Games.

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