Zelda: Breath of the Wild's Guardians are among the game's most recognisable - and challenging - enemies to fast in the game.
Guardians are huge, eight-legged machines that stalk the Hyrule landscape. Their size means you can see them from afar, and if you get too close, they'll scuttle over quickly and aim their primary means of attack - a laser - at you.
However, there's a way to reliably kill them easily and quickly, and doing so is not only beneficial for exploring the game's tougher areas, it's also a way to get a tidy profit and some powerful equipment.
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How to beat Guardians easily in Zelda: Breath of the Wild
When you encounter a Guardian, you have around five seconds before the laser locks on and discharges a powerful beam that'll one hit kill you until you get much more powerful armour later in the game.
While you can go toe-to-toe (or in their case, many toes) with a Guardian and hack away with weapons or use bows, there is one surprisingly simple - though hard to master - technique that makes the battle much smoother.
By parrying the laser attack with your shield - any shield will work - you can reflect the attack back at the Guardian and deal it huge damage. For stationary, broken Guardians this will kill it instantly, but more mobile variants will take three hits.
To get the timing, stand in front of the Guardian with your shield raised, and wait for it to lock on. The targeting system will beep.
Before the laser fires, there be energy surrounding the Guardian's eye, followed by a screen flash. As soon as you see the energy building, press the A button to parry.
If you've timed it right - and it's a very small window - the laser will bounce from the parried shield and hit the Guardian, and you won't have suffered any damage. But if you haven't, well, there's a chance you won't have survived. It helps to be a safe middle distance - not too close, but not that far away - so you can comfortably react and time it right.
If you want a safety net, wait until you've completed Death Mountain's Vah Rudiana dungeon to get the Daruk's Protection ability, which protects you from powerful attacks, so if you mess up, you'll have another chance.
If you're struggling with the parry technique, then things become much easier when you find a Guardian Shield - one of which can be found as part of completing the Soh Kofi Shrine that's just north of the Lanayru region tower - that can automatically reflect Guardian lasers just by holding your shield up.
Alternatively, Ancient Arrows can kill a Guardian in one hit. You get three by undertaking the Robbie's Research side-quest when visiting the Akkala Ancient Tech Lab (in the far north east corner of the map), which involves a similar process as the Hatino Tech Lab by carrying a blue flame to restore a furnace inside.
Want more help? Our Zelda: Breath of the Wild walkthrough and guide steps to completing the game's main quests - including Divine Beasts Vah Ruta, Vah Rudiana, Vah Medoh and Vah Naboris - as well as how to find the Master Sword, Hylian Shield and all Captured Memories locations and Great Fairy Fountain locations, while our ongoing Shrines location maps hub explains where to find and solve the game's many puzzle rooms. We also have advice on how to beat Guardians, where to get easy Rupees, tame horses, find how to get cold resistance, fire resistance and heat resistance, and learn the most effective means of cooking with ingredients for bonus effects. We also have a DLC 1 guide, including all Tingle, Majora's Mask, Phantom, Midna outfit locations.
Where to find Guardians and why you want to beat them
Why should you get proficient at taking on Guardians? Two primary reasons:
- For one there's safety - they're powerful foes that, while uncommon, occur in enough places you'll want to be confident in fighting them, particularly the approach the Hyrule Castle and its surrounding region.
- The other reason is their drops. Guardians are full of Ancient materials, and while Ancient Screws, Ancient Gears and so forth can be found from the empty shells of Guardians all over the world, they are one of the few sources of valuable Ancient Cores. These can all be sold for a handsome profit, or traded at the Hateno Ancient Tech Lab for Slate upgrades, and the Akkala Ancient Tech Lab for Ancient Armour (at a huge Rupee cost), which is some of the best equipment in the game.
As such, it's recommended you practice fighting Guardians in a few safe locations. There several broken, stationary Guardians throughout the game; in the ruins surrounding Ja Baij Shrine on the Great Plateau - where you did the Bomb Trail; in the field just west of Hatino Fort, and one just south of the Akkala Ancient Tech Lab.
If you're after fully fledged Guardians - with their many Ancient materials inside - then you can find one in the south of the Lanayru Wetlands (east of the Shrine there, or south of the Lanayru Tower that reveals Zora's Domain) and just east of Death Mountain's Eldin Tower on the path below, two just north on the hills from the Duelling Peaks, and many round the Central Tower and the Hyrule Tower region.
Remember that, every Blood Moon, Guardians will respawn, so pick your favourite spots and return to them regularly to farm Ancient materials.