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A recent Adventurers League adventure (spoiler link) holds the possibility of players obtaining a Shield Guardian.

The Shield Guardian is CR7 and its combat effectiveness decreases substantially as a wizard gains higher levels and foes increase in power. The Shield Guardian multi-attacks with fists for 2d6+4.

We have a wizard in the party who has the Shield Guardian. What can a wizard can do to increase a Shield Guardian's damage? Our party has a Divination wizard (who controls the Guardian) and an Abjuration wizard (who may have a chance to control it).

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  • \$\begingroup\$ What school of magic is your wizard? \$\endgroup\$ – David Coffron Apr 20 '18 at 7:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DavidCoffron Divination wizard...are there potential options for others? There's an Abjuration wizard in the party as well \$\endgroup\$ – Praxiteles Apr 20 '18 at 7:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ I edited your wizard assets into the question. They belong in there, not in comments. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Apr 20 '18 at 12:28
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Use Spell Storing

The most powerful trait for the Shield Guardian is Spell Storing. This is because it can give your party an additional concentration slot with a reasonably high Constitution save. Many party optimizations involve finding ways for your non-casters to concentrate on certain spells; the shield guardian gives you this ability.

Here are a few spells that are very useful for this:

  1. Haste
    • Haste is probably the best spell for your shield guardian to carry, since it will always be useful. Giving your weapon-fighters extra attacks is extremely powerful.
  2. Elemental Bane
    • Some creatures are resistant to your main spells' damages. Letting your shield guardian concentrate on elemental bane for you will not only remove this resistance, but improve your damage with that damage type.
  3. Fly
    • If you have low Constitution, your melee fighter (or two with a 4th level slot) might not trust you to keep him aloft to fight a flying enemy. However, your shield guardian will be much more able to maintain concentration.
  4. Conjuration Spells
    • Spells like conjure minor elementals and summon lesser demons are a bit underwhelming since they prevent you from casting concentration spells while they are active, but if your shield guardian casts them, they are much more useful.

Make sure you aren't taking damage though as the Bound trait will make the shield guardian have to make concentration saves when you take damage too.

If you want your Shield Guardian to actually fight...

... you can always use buff spells on your shield guardian to make it more effective. Some of these include enlarge/reduce, haste, and polymorph (for a Giant Ape).

Having your shield guardian cast bestow curse (or similar spells) on a target would also increase his damage output.

Grab 'em and hold 'em

A shield guardian has a fairly high Strength making it a useful grappler even if its damage doesn't scale into the higher levels. This lets you hold enemies in your terrain-modifying spells or just keep them from using positional tactics during combat.

Staying alive

A shield guardian's damage transfer and Shield reaction are very useful defensive features, especially for a vulnerable spellcaster. When you start fighting more powerful creatures, the shield guardian may be better off using the Dodge action and Spell Storing a shield spell to stay alive longer and keep you from taking as much damage. There are also some defensive spells in the cleric list (if you have a cleric ally or are willing to multiclass a bit) that would help with this including sanctuary and warding bond.

Your party's abjuration wizard can also help it stay alive with Projected Ward.

(thanks to @NickBrown in the comments for the idea)

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  • \$\begingroup\$ We have found grappling to our primary use of the Shield Guardian to hold opponents and keep them away from the wizards - or drag them into areas that damage them while the Guardian regenerates. \$\endgroup\$ – Praxiteles Apr 20 '18 at 7:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ Even at high levels, +2 AC to the caster can be very beneficial. So maybe you can keep the guardian alive while letting it concentrate on your spell and getting the AC bonus by casting Sanctuary on it and/or having it Help or Dodge as its actions. \$\endgroup\$ – Nick Brown Apr 20 '18 at 14:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NickBrown Unfortunately wizards don't get sanctuary, although I do like your creative idea \$\endgroup\$ – David Coffron Apr 20 '18 at 14:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ Wizards should have friends. Although a 1-level dip would suffice. In general though, any spellcaster can benefit tremendously from a Shield Guardian. \$\endgroup\$ – Nick Brown Apr 20 '18 at 14:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NickBrown I added something in the answer. Great ideas! \$\endgroup\$ – David Coffron Apr 20 '18 at 14:32
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I see two ways to improve the Shield Guardian's output:

  • Give it a weapon: The Shield Guardian, as written, only uses its fists. MM 9 gives the DM leeway to give creatures weapon proficiencies as they see fit--if your DM agrees, you could give it a [magic] weapon so that it can deal more damage.

  • Put stronger spells in it: This might be obvious, but something like a 4th level Fireball stored in the guardian might significantly improve its damage output. Your wizard could use it to deliver spells, as if it were a much sturdier familiar.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ What weapon could do more than 4d6+8 (i.e. two fist attacks)? (As the Guardian would have to sacrifice two attacks for one presumably.) \$\endgroup\$ – Praxiteles Apr 20 '18 at 7:18
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    \$\begingroup\$ giving your shield guardian magic weapons in Adventurer's League is typically not recommended since companion attunement fills one of your 3 attunement slots. \$\endgroup\$ – David Coffron Apr 20 '18 at 7:18

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