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"The Guardians are self-guided weapons built to fight Calamity Ganon and developed by our Sheikah ancestors. For many years, the Guardians were kept below Hyrule Castle. However, when the Calamity struck, they were stolen away. I've been researching ways to take them back..."
Robbie

Guardians are enemies from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. These extremely hostile automata can destroy an entire town alone with their devastating laser, which can kill most creatures in a single hit. Guardians are resurrected during Blood Moons, despite being mechanical.

Guardians have one weak spot: its eye. Link can cause extra damage and prevent the laser charge by shooting its eye with an arrow. Guardians are particularly vulnerable to the Master Sword and "Ancient" or "Guardian" weapons such as Ancient Arrows and Guardian Swords. Ancient Armor provides higher protection against them, as does Midna's Helmet (acquired via DLC). Since Guardians are possessed by Calamity Ganon, the Master Sword becomes more powerful when near these enemies.

When a Guardian spots Link it will lock on to him with its laser attack. However, striking a Guardian can cause it to shoot a laser without the need to lock on. Later, they will be able to fire multiple lasers in succession, with the first hit damaging Link and subsequent hits stunning him.

Story

Spoiler warning: Plot or ending details follow.

Origin

The Guardians, along with the four Divine Beasts, were originally created by the Sheikah ten thousand years before the events of Breath of the Wild. The Guardians were tasked with protecting Hyrule and aiding Princess of Hyrule and the Hero in defeating and sealing Calamity Ganon. However, upon the second rise of Calamity Ganon, the beast corrupted and took control of all the Guardians, turning them against Hyrule.

Excavation

Main article: Great Calamity

One hundred years before the events of the game, King Rhoam Bosphoramus Hyrule became aware of the prophecy about the inevitable return of Calamity Ganon. This drove a search for the fabled ancient Sheikah relics: the Guardians and the Divine Beasts. Upon their discovery, King Rhoam decided to excavate them. While the Champions were making preparations to battle Calamity Ganon, Ganon reappeared and devastated the Kingdom of Hyrule by taking control of the Guardians and the Divine Beasts.

Resistance

The 100 years after the Great Calamity, while Link slept, were called the Age of Burning Fields. During this time, the people of Hyrule learned to avoid Guardians to survive. Some brave souls fought against them though most of these attempts would end in failure. One such failure was a battle in Akkala between the Guardians and Hyrule's remaining soldiers and knights. The battle ended in a valiant last stand at the Akkala Citadel, where Hyrule's army put up a fierce resistance before being overcome by sheer numbers.

Other attempts proved more successful. One such attempt was when the father of the late Zora Champion Mipha, King Dorephan, defended Zora's Domain from a Guardian that had wondered into his kingdom. King Dorephan used his supernatural strength to throw the Guardian down a ravine, destroying it. Additionally, Robbie encountered several Guardians while traveling to the Akkala Lighthouse to set up the Akkala Ancient Tech Lab shortly after the Great Calamity had ended. He used his knowledge of their weaknesses to defeat them one by one before finally reaching the lighthouse. Defeating the Guardians provided Robbie with more than enough materials to continue his research. Several broken remains and even a small scrap yard containing many broken Guardians can be found near the Akkala Ancient Tech Lab.

Spoiler warning: Spoilers end here.

Armaments and Spoils

Anti-Guardian Armaments

Ancient weapons and armor

Guardian researcher Robbie has been researching how to the free the Guardians from Ganon's control. Although he was unsuccessful, Robbie offers to provide Link with Ancient weapons and ancient soldier gear in exchange for Rupees to fund his research. These armaments are forged from Guardian Parts. This recycled Sheikah technology gives the armaments the strength to combat and defend against Guardians.

The Ancient weapons available are the Ancient Bladesaw, Ancient Short Sword, Ancient Spear, Ancient Bow, and Ancient Arrows. Link can also purchase an Ancient Shield that automatically deflects Guardian lasers without a Perfect Guard. The Ancient Soldier Armor set grants Link resistance to Guardian attacks. Once upgraded to level 2 or higher, the set grants the "Ancient Proficiency" set bonus, which increases the damage inflicted when wielding Ancient or Guardian weapons.

Guardian weapons

The "Guardian" series weapons and shields are used by Guardian Scouts found in shrines and in the Divine Beast dungeons.

Master Sword

Since most Guardians are corrupted by Ganon's influence, the Master Sword will react to its presence, causing the blade's true power to awaken.

Ancient Materials

Obtaining Guardian Parts

As a result of his battles with them, Link can acquire various "Ancient" materials left behind by defeated Guardians or by examining inactive Guardians. These parts include Ancient Screws, Ancient Shafts, Ancient Springs, Ancient Gears, Ancient Cores, and Giant Ancient Cores. Screws, Gears, Springs, and Shafts are the among the most common, while Ancient Cores and Giant Ancient Cores are more rare. Some guardian types only drop certain types of parts. Guardian Parts can sometimes be found in Treasure Chests, such as ones found in Shrines, and by examining broken, non-functioning Guardians. Some broken Guardians found near water can be lifted up using the Cryonis Rune, knocking out a random Guardian Part. Examining broken Guardians will yield a single random Guardian Part, except for Ancient Cores and Giant Ancient Cores. When Link finds a Guardian Part by lifting a broken Guardian out of water, he may sometimes find an Ancient Core. Link must be cautious when searching broken Guardians, as some are merely inactive and will activate when Link approaches.

Some merchants sell Guardian Parts as well.

Using Guardian Parts

These parts can be used by Purah to upgrade Runes or by Robbie (through Cherry) to create Ancient Soldier Gear and Ancient weapons. They can also be sold to merchants and shops for Rupees or to Kilton for Mon. Link can also use them Cooking with small critters and insects to brew Elixirs, however, using them with other ingredients usually results in Dubious Food.

List of Guardian Parts

List of Guardian types

There are several variations of these enemies:

Guardian Stalkers

Main article: Guardian Stalker
Breath of the Wild 2014 E3 Trailer Guardian Chasing Horseback Link (Screenshot)

A Guardian Stalker attacking Link during the 2014 E3 trailer

The Guardian Stalkers found across Hyrule's landscapes are large, mechanical spider-like creatures. They can fire energy beams from their eye which will explode upon impact. Guardian Stalkers can be found throughout Hyrule, but are most commonly found in Central Hyrule near Hyrule Castle and in the Hyrule Castle Town Ruins.

Due to their lasers and mobility, Guardian Stalkers are dangerous opponents for Link early on and make travel through areas like Hyrule Field very difficult.

Decayed Guardians

Main article: Decayed Guardian

Decayed Guardians are decaying immobilized versions of Guardian Stalkers located throughout Hyrule. They are commonly found around Hyrule Field, near Ja Baij Shrine and in the Forgotten Temple. They are less durable compared to Stalkers, Turrets, and Skywatchers, having a third of their health.

These Guardians appear to be inactive, similar to Broken Guardians, and awaken when Link approaches. Link can distinguish them from inactive Guardians by wearing the Champion's Tunic or by using the Camera or Stasis+ Runes.

Guardian Scouts

Main article: Guardian Scout

Guardian Scouts can be found in Shrines, labyrinths, and on Divine Beasts. They can wield and drop Guardian Swords, Guardian Spears, Ancient Battle Axes, and Guardian Shields of any weapon level (normal, +, and ++). Guardian Scouts come in different models from I to IV. Higher level models have more arms for wielding weapons and tend to wield higher level + or ++ weapons and shields.

Guardian Skywatchers

Main article: Guardian Skywatcher

Guardian Skywatchers are flying Guardians found in certain parts of Hyrule, particularly south of Tabantha Tower and Akkala Highlands. They also appear in abundance near Hyrule Castle. They have the same HP, weapon, and main body as the Guardian Stalkers. However, they lack legs and are more difficult to hit, as Link is usually unable to target them unless he is at high elevation.

Guardian Turrets

Main article: Guardian Turret

They are found exclusively in Hyrule Castle. Guardian Turrets behave identically to Decayed Guardians, only with more health and can aim vertically better. They resemble inverted Guardian Skywatchers as their head elevates once Link is spotted, causing the Guardian to become more visible. They drop the same types of Guardian parts as Guardian Stalkers and Skywatchers.

Sentries

Main article: Sentry

They are found in exclusively on Death Mountain. Sentries, like the Guardian Skywatchers, hover in the skies and although they are incapable of attacking directly, they can alert any nearby enemies, in particular Divine Beast Vah Rudania which triggers a hail of magma. They do drop Guardian parts, albeit rarely. Like Decayed Guardians they do not drop Giant Ancient Cores, though will drop Ancient Cores though this is extremely rare due to the chance of them dropping any parts being rare in of itself. Like Guardian Skywatchers, Ancient Arrows are an effective way to combat them.