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This article offers advice for choosing a shield. For tips on how to use your shield once you've obtained it, see the Shieldbearer Guide. That guide also gives advice on how to choose a shield, but in my opinion its advice is wrong.

What Do Shields Do?

The key idea is that shields are not a kind of armor. Your helmet and suit partially protect you whenever you are hit by an enemy attack. In contrast, an activated shield (making a blue sphere around you) completely protects you, and an inactive shield doesn't protect you at all.

Absorbing Damage

There are four kinds of damage: normal, piercing, elemental, and shadow. Absorbing damage causes your shield's health to go down, just as a knight's health decreases when she absorbs damage. The shield's damage protections help it withstand incoming damage longer. It's worth emphasizing: A shield's damage protection protects the shield, not you.

Extra health also helps the shield absorb more damage before breaking. Among 5-star shields, only Omega Shell has extra health.

Studies by players suggest that heating has only a tiny effect on a shield's damage protections. Also, damage unique variants have just a tiny effect.

Absorbing Status

There are seven kinds of status effect: fire, freeze, shock, poison, stun, curse, sleep. Remember that a knight's health does not decrease when she absorbs status. Rather, the status inhibits her combat in some way — movement, attacking, healing, or subsequently taking damage. But most of those things don't apply to shields. So what happens when a shield absorbs status? It's simple: The shield's health goes down. In other words, to a shield the seven statuses are just seven more kinds of damage. The shield's status resistances help it withstand incoming status longer. Of course, extra health helps.

Almost all 5-star shields carry some native status resistances. Native resistance is strong enough to provide total immunity. For example, a fire zombie has a breath attack that is pure fire status with no damage content. A natively fire-resistant 5-star shield can withstand the attack indefinitely.

Heat does not affect status resistance at all. Status unique variants have some effect, but even a +4 unique variant is not as large as native resistance. Note well that Punch does not give status unique variants to shields. You can acquire them only through crafting.


Some shields grant abilities. Barbarous Thorn Shield gives sword damage bonus, and the 3-star Swiftstrike Buckler gives blanket attack speed increase. Some other shields give penalties. Heat has no effect on abilities.


The four tortodrone shields offer enhanced shield bashing. All other 5-star shields bash equally. Heat has no effect on bashing.

Summary of Shields

This table summarizes the key aspects of all 5-star shields: abilities, status resistances, and damage protections. For shields that must be obtained in an unusual way, the table mentions that. Don't forget to consider Swiftstrike Buckler too.

Name Damage Bonuses Fi Fr Sh Po St Cu Sl Obtain
Omega Shell normal extra health
Volcanic Plate Shield normal fi st
Ancient Plate Shield normal st Almirian Seals
Grand Tortoise normal MSI-1, bash st Ancient Shells
Aegis norm+pier
Ironmight Plate Shield norm+pier st
Royal Jelly Shield norm+pier st sl
Barbarous Thorn Shield norm+pier sword dam+2 Frumious Fangs
Savage Tortoise norm+pier MSI-1, bash sh po Ancient Shells
Dragon Scale Shield pier+elem fi po
Grey Owlite Shield norm+elem fi sh
Heater Shield norm+elem fr
Omegaward norm+elem MSI-1, bash fi fr Ancient Shells
Dread Skelly Shield norm+shad fr po
Crest of Almire norm+shad fi sh Almirian Seals
Gorgomega norm+shad MSI-1, bash fr st Ancient Shells
Celestial Shield pier+shad Equinox Prize Box
Power Mitt norm+elem fi Confection Prize Box
Teddy Bear Buckler norm+shad fr st Slumber Prize Box



In choosing a shield, your most important considerations are abilities and native status resistance. Which one you favor depends on your experience, lagginess, etc.

There is enough variety in shields (and armor) that you can often find one perfectly tailored for whatever Clockworks levels you're about to do. However, it is cheaper to collect one or two general-purpose shields than many specialized shields.

If you enjoy shield bashing, then you should try out the tortodrone shields. However, they come with a movement speed penalty (of about 4%), which slightly harms your defense and offense.

"Just Tell Me What To Get"

For offense, every knight should own the 3-star Swiftstrike Buckler, because it is powerful and easy to obtain. Sworders should also consider Barbarous Thorn Shield.

For defense, consider Grey Owlite for fire and shock and Dread Skelly for freeze and poison. They are easy to obtain and cover the most important statuses and combinations of statuses.


Recall that heat has only a tiny effect on damage protection. It has no effect on abilities, status resistance, health, or bashing. Therefore heating shields is extremely low-priority — lower than heating armor, which is lower than heating weapons.

Unique Variants

When shopping for unique variants, focus on status rather than damage. Because you can't get status unique variants from Punch, try to get them from crafting (or other knights).

Specific Situations


The Gloaming Wildwoods are three levels of beasts, with some constructs and undead. There is no status, other than lumber stun. Hazards include spikes, exploding blocks, and briars. Ideally your shield would protect against normal and piercing damage. There may not actually be much piercing damage in there, as it's only Stratum 2.

The Royal Jelly Palace is three levels of slimes, some constructs, and some silkwings. There is no status, other than lumber stun. The only hazards are spikes and exploding blocks. Your shield should protect mainly against normal and piercing damage.

Ironclaw Munitions Factory is three levels of constructs and gremlins, with a shock theme. Hazards are plentiful, including missiles, shock grates, exploding rockets, exploding blocks, and lasers. You want a shock, normal, elemental shield such as Grey Owlite.

Firestorm Citadel is five levels of zombies and trojans, with some constructs and silkwings, and very few beasts and slimes. The theme is fire, but keep in mind that trojans can stun and shock. Hazards include wheel throwers, spikes, fire grates, shadow fire, exploding blocks, and revolving balls. Your shield should protect against fire, normal, elemental, and shadow. Of these, shadow is arguably the least important, because zombies are easy to dodge. Vanaduke, slag guards, and trojans all inflict lots of normal damage. Good shields include Volcanic Plate and Grey Owlite.

Shadow Lairs

The Shadow Gloaming Wildwoods are similar to the regular Gloaming Wildwoods, but with many additional undead. The gun puppies have been replaced with howlitzers. There is a strong poison theme. Your shield should defend against as many of poison, normal, piercing, and shadow as possible.

The Shadow Royal Jelly Palace is much like the ordinary Royal jelly Palace, but with a freeze theme. Also, the gun puppies have been replaced with polyps. Your shield should defend against as many of freeze, normal, and piercing as possible.

The Shadow Ironclaw Munitions Factory is much like the usual Ironclaw Munitions Factory, but with a fire theme in addition to the regular shock theme. Your shield should defend against shock, fire, normal, and elemental, so Grey Owlite is ideal.

The Shadow Firestorm Citadel resembles the Firestorm Citadel, but with a curse theme in addition to the usual fire theme. Also, the gun puppies have been replaced with howlitzers. Your shield should defend against as many of fire, curse, normal, elemental, and shadow as possible.

The Unknown Passage is an extra level that comes after every Shadow Lair boss. It is the same for all Shadow Lairs; it has nothing to do with any of their themes. Normal damage is most prevalent, but piercing, elemental, and shadow damage are all present. Status is not a major consideration, but poison and stun can occur. Defensively, Savage Tortoise and Dread Skelly may be the best shields.

Danger Missions

Legion of Almire is two undead-stuffed levels, like an amped-up graveyard where the phantoms have been replaced by worse monsters. There is no status, except for lumber stun and occasional shadow fire on the floor. Hazards include exploding blocks, briars, and spikes. You want a normal and shadow shield.

Compound 42 is two levels filled with slimes, gremlins, poison, and fire. Hazards include poison grates, fire grates, flamethrowers, and shadow fire. You want a shield that defends against fire, poison, normal, piercing, elemental. Dragon Scale is perfect.

Heart of Ice consists of two freeze-themed levels filled with fiends and beasts, and scattered howlitzers. Hazards include freeze grates, spikes, exploding blocks, and revolving balls. Your shield should defend against freeze, normal, piercing, and shadow. Of these, piercing is probably least important, because beasts are easy to dodge. Consider Dread Skelly or Gorgomega.

Ghosts in the Machine consists of two shock-filled levels filled with constructs and undead. Hazards include shock grates, revolving shock balls, and lots of drones. Your shield should defend against shock, normal, elemental, and shadow. Of these, shadow is arguably least important, because zombies are slow. Grey Owlite is nearly ideal.

Other Missions

Operation Crimson Hammer is five levels filled with gremlins and constructs. Hazards include briars, exploding rockets, missiles, and shadow fire. Your shield should defend against fire, normal, and elemental, although there is not much fire.

Dreams and Nightmares is three levels filled with void-themed slimes, beasts, gremlins, constructs, undead, and lost souls (but no fiends). The damage is mostly normal, with some piercing and elemental. There is a small amount of poison and stun.

Final Thoughts

Like armor, shields are ultimately boring, because they don't strongly affect your play style. You should spend your resources exploring weapons, which are varied and entertaining. This guide exists, just to help you avoid a lot of costly exploration in shields.

Thanks to the Arsenal forum regulars for helpful discussions. Special thanks to Glacies for undertaking an enormous study of shield defenses, which has informed this guide.

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