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How does Guardian Rank work in Borderlands 3?

Guardian Rank is an infinite progression system that is applied to all of your characters. By earning XP you can stack boosts and unlock special rewards. Learn more about Guardian Rank in this Borderlands 3 guide.
Guardian Rank Explained - Borderlands 3
Guardian Rank Explained - Borderlands 3

What is Guardian Rank?

Guardian Rank is an additional progression system in Borderlands 3 that allows you to increase passive stats and unlock unique perks. Guardian Rank is unlocked once you completed the main story campaign and helps you conquer Mayhem Mode.

Veteran Borderlands players that are familiar with the old Badass Rank from Borderlands 2 and Borderlands the Pre-Sequel can see similarities between Guardian Rank and Badass Rank but also notice the additional perks.

How does Guardian Rank actually work?

A new progress bar will appear above your character’s level progression bar once Guardian Rank is unlocked. You can fill up the Guardian Rank Progression bar by simply earning Experience Points (XP). Once the bar is full, you level up and earn a Guardian Token which you can spend in the Guardian Rank Menu.

Redeeming a Guardian Token in the Guardian Rank Tab of the menu will provide you with the choice of 6 random stats bonuses. There are always 2 passive stat bonuses from each of the 3 Guardian Rank trees to choose from.

Each Guardian Rank Tree focuses on a specific set of passive buffs and while these are small increases they can really stack up because Guardian Rank is an infinite progression system.

There is the Enforcer tree that provides you with damage and fire rate buffs. The Survivor tree boosts your health and shield but also makes ‘second wins’ easier. The Hunter tree buffs have an impact on your weapon handling, action skill, and the one that I find interesting Luck.

Guardian Rank Bonus Stats

Enforcer Bonus Stats

The Enforcer Tree is all about dealing more damage and boosting your DPS.

  • Critical Damage
  • Grenade Damage
  • Gun Damage
  • Gun Fire Rate
  • Melee Damage
  • Vehicle Damage

Survivor Bonus Stats

The Survivor Tree is all about staying alive and in the fight.

  • Fight for Your Life Duration
  • Fight for Your Life Movement Speed
  • Max Health
  • Shield Capacity
  • Shield Recharge Delay
  • Shield Recharge Rate

Hunter Bonus Stats

The Hunter Tree is all about efficiency. Getting good at what you do and how you do it.

  • Accuracy
  • Action Skill Cooldown
  • Luck (Rarity Rate)
  • Recoil Reduction
  • Reload Speed
A screenshot of the Guardian Rank Rewards Menu in Borderlands 3
Borderlands 3: Guardian Rank Rewards Screen

Earn Guardian Rewards By Spending Tokens

When you spend your Guardian tokens and you will be given a choice out of 6 boosts, 2 from each tree. By picking a boost 1 point will go into the corresponding Enforcer, Survivor, or Hunter tree on the right. By stacking enough points in each of the trees you will unlock the rewards. 

You will earn Guardian Rewards by spending a total of 10, 15, 25, 35, 50, 75, 100, and 125 tokens into a certain tree. These rewards can be new weapon skins, character skins, or additional skills for your Vault Hunter.

All Guardian Rank Rewards

By stacking enough points into each of the trees you can unlock the following Guardian Rank rewards.

Enforcer Tree Guardian Rewards

PointsPerkPerk Effect
10Red SandsUnlocks a new weapon skin.
15Inner FuryAdd 10% Gun Damage while in Fight For Your Life.
25OverkillExcess damage from a kill is added to your next shot.
35Player SkinUnlock the Player Skin Urban Blammo.
50C-C-ComboIncreases Gun Damage by 2% for 1 second with each shot.
75Hollow PointKilling an enemy with a critical hit causes an explosion around them.
100C’mon and SlamSlam can now be used at the peak of your jump.
125GroundbreakerMelee attacks or Slams will trigger an Aftershock, dealing 10% of all non-melee damage you have dealt over the last 5 seconds.

Survivor Tree Guardian Rewards

PointsPerkPerk Effect
10Leather and RegretUnlocks a new weapon skin.
15ResilientRecover from Fight For Your Life with full Health and Shields.
25Dead Man’s HandAllows aiming down sight and removes aim penalties while in fight for your life.
35Player SkinUnlock the Player Skin Hex Bolts.
50Shield RebootKilling an enemy triggers shield regeneration.
75Emergency ResponseImprove Shield Recharge Delay and Rate based on missing health.
100Too Angry To DieDamage dealt while in Fight For Your Life restores your meter. Restoration amount is decreased over time.
125Dead Man WalkingWhile not moving in Fight For Your Life your meter drains 50% more slowly.

Hunter Tree Guardian Rewards

PointsPerkPerk Effect
10Dead SetUnlocks a new weapon skin.
15Bullet CollectorAmmo pickups provide 15% extra ammo.
25Tag and FragRegenerate a grenade every 10 kills.
35Player SkinUnlock the Player Skin Burning Bright.
50Topped OffAction Skill Cooldown Rate increases while at full shield.
75Treasure HunterIncreases Luck for 10 seconds after each kill.
100HarmageddonEnemies take 5% more Damage per unique Status Effect affecting them.
125Lead or AliveWhen you enter Fight For Your Life all your guns are automatically reloaded.

Notes

  • The minimum required Guardian Rank to unlock all rewards is 375.
  • Shield Reboot: Certain shields, such as Roid shields, grant bonuses only when depleted, so this perk can make builds around those shields difficult if not impossible to use. It is highly recommended to disable this perk if using such a shield.
  • Dead Man’s Hand: This skill will remove “aim penalties” to the Accuracy stat of a weapon, but does not remove the significant aim sway associated with being in Fight For Your Life.
  • Topped Off: This skill increases action skill cooldown rate by about 200% when shields are full, letting action skills recharge in a third of the listed time.
    • This skill is additive with other cooldown rate increases, potentially limiting the effectiveness of skills such as Adrenaline.
  • Borderlands 2’s Badass Rank system was based on completing challenges, so it encouraged creating new characters because a veteran character would have few challenges left. The Guardian Rank system is the opposite: since Guardian Ranks are earned with a fixed amount of XP, low-level characters will increase them very slowly, so it encourages playing high-level characters.
  • Hotfix April 1, 2021
    • Lowered the damage bonus on the Guardian Perk Groundbreaker from 25% to 10%

Guardian Rank FAQ

When do you unlock Guardian Rank?

Guardian Rank is unlocked once you completed the main story campaign of Borderlands 3.

How do I unlock Guardian Perks?

You unlock a Guardian Perk by stacking enough points into a Guardian tree. You do this by choosing a Bonus stat from the desired tree.

Is there a max Guardian Rank?

There is essentially no actual level cap on your Guardian Rank in Borderlands 3. However, leveling up the same stat has diminishing returns.

Borderlands: Debt or Alive - A Novel by Borderlands 2 writer Anthony Burch
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