Guardians are AI reserved starship-like units. Unlike starships, they can't join regular waves and don't roam the planet they defend, instead staying with the other dormant ships around their Guard Posts. They only attack if part of the Threat Fleet, which they join once awakened. Their role is mainly defensive, hence their name.
There is a class of guardians named Dire Guardians that are much stronger but they thankfully don't use the same spawn rules.
At game start, each AI only unlocks 3 guardian types, and gets more as AIP goes up: at 50 total AIP and every 100 AIP thereafter (so 50/150/250/etc) it will unlock an additional guardian type.
- EMP guardians only appear on difficulty 7 and up.
- Warp gate guardians only appear on difficulty 7 and up.
- Self-destruction guardians only appear on difficulty 8 and up.
At game start, a certain number of guardians (varies by difficulty) are seeded at each Command Station and Guard Post belonging to the AI (except for Special Forces Guard Posts). During each Reinforcement phase of a planet, the AI is allowed to add a single guardian to either the command station or one of the guard posts. The command station or guard post in question can't already have its cap of guardians. If the AI is unable to add a guardian, it does not get any recompense.
- On difficulty 5 and below, the AI can't get guardians.
- On difficulty 6, the AI only gets a single guardian at each guard post, and it cannot ever rebuild these when they die.
- On difficulty 7+, the AI can rebuild guardians, but only gets a single one per guard post (and only starts with one).
- On difficulty 8+, the AI can rebuild guardians and gets two per guard post (and starts with two).
- On difficulty 10+, the AI can rebuild guardians and gets three per guard post (and starts with two).
| Combat Carrier Guardian|
Adapted from Neinzul technology, when threatened this unit deploys Beam, Rail, Spider, and Grav drones.
| Devastator Guardian|
Based on Zenith technology used for fighting shield-heavy Spire units, this guardian's cannon completely ignores forcefields. However, it cannot target small units.
| Disassembler Guardian|
Huge alien guardian that swallows enemy starships and gradually attritions them. If the guardian is destroyed, they are ejected with whatever health they have left. External guns also fire at targets at short range while it chews on the swallowed ships.
| EMP Guardian|
Quick mid-power guardian that lets off a planet-wide burst of EMP that only affects human ships -- stunning all of the non-EMP-immune human ships on the planet for a bit -- when it enters or emerges from any wormhole.
| Enclave Guardian|
Mid-power, very high-health guardian that generates attack drones internally until the time comes to unleash them on human forces.
| Flak Guardian|
Fires bursts of hundreds of canisters each in turn containing hundreds of secondary explosives. Blankets an area with light damage that is extremely effective against melee ships but equally ineffective against heavily armored targets and starships.
| Gravity Guardian|
Enormous gravity distortion effect slows enemy ships over a wide area. Middling firepower specially geared towards starships and other large targets.
| Heavy Beam Guardian|
Fires a powerful beam weapon through multiple targets at a time.
| Infiltrator Guardian|
Sneaky. Deadly. Beware its immunity to your forcefields.
| Laser Guardian|
Rapid-fire lasers at middling range.
| Lightning Guardian|
Fires electric bolts into ALL nearby enemy ships.
| Missile Guardian|
Fires powerful missiles at very long range, specializing in hitting starships and other large targets.
| MLRS Guardian|
Shoots rockets. LOTS of rockets.
| Munitions Boosting Guardian|
Dangerous in its own right, but the real problem is that this guardian boosts the attack power of nearby allied ships.
| Needler Guardian|
Bristles with banks of needlers. Best dealt with very carefully.
| Plasma Guardian|
If something is unfortunate enough to be shot by that gun, it will take a lot of damage. Other things nearby will take some damage too. If it hits a forcefield, stuff under that forcefield also gets hurt.
| Raider Guardian|
Extremely lightweight and fast, this guardian packs a punch without being able to take much damage in return. It specializes in blitz counterattacks against unsuspecting players.
| Self-Destruction Guardian|
Exceptionally fragile but also quite vicious. Upon dying, it emits a large burst of area damage.
| Shield Guardian|
Not as individually dangerous as some other guardians, but its ability to protect nearby allies from incoming fire is actually often far more dangerous than additional firepower would be.
| Sniper Guardian|
Long-range railgun oblitrates ships that aren't protected. Make sure you have a scout starship to protect your fleet until this is destroyed!
| Special Forces Rally Guardian|
Acts as a mobile rally post for special forces AI ships. Like the special forces guard post, new AI ships will spawn at this guardian during every reinforcement event, but this guardian doesn't count as a guard post in any important sense (for AI per-planet ship caps and so forth).
| Spider Guardian|
Packs a "shotgun" weapon that oblitrates the engines of enemy ships.
| Spire Implosion Guardian|
Mid-range, middling-health artillery weapon that does damage based on a percentage of the enemy ship's remaining health (not to be less than 1 damage). This is most effective when enemy ships have very high remaining health.
| Tractor Guardian|
Bristling with tractor beams, this guardian grabs enemy ships and holds them in place, pounding them with mid-level guns.
| Translocator Guardian|
Equipped with multiple medium-ranged railguns that displace targets further away.
| Vampire Guardian|
Tough long-range combatant that heals itself as it damages enemy ships.
| Warp Gate Guardian|
High-health short-range combatant that also acts as a mobile warp gate. Careful of these, as when they are attacking into your territory they can provoke raids in unexpected places that were otherwise inaccessible to the AI via warp. Particularly hunts for the player homeworlds.
| Widow Guardian|
A particularly uncomfortable variant of the Tractor Guardian which also paralyzes its victims.
| Zombie Guardian|
Reclaims enemy ships it kills (reclaimed ships have health = full damage inflicted by reclamator). Reclaimed ships come back as Zombie Bots, which cannot be controlled but which will attack enemy ships mercilessly until they die. Zombie bots will travel to enemy planets if no enemies present, and are immune to reclamation. This guardian cannot attack ships that are immobile, have no attack, or are immune to reclamation.