These elite warriors armed appear from Level 7 on. They are often placed in strategic areas (like the exit of a difficult level) and can be a very unpleasant surprise to encounter. Due to this, it is crucial to learn to fight them properly.
An elite soldier attacks with a pair of quick slashes followed by a slow and unblockable overhead strike which can knock one back quite far. Also, what makes them so tough to fight is their ability to jump back to avoid blows. If you start charging a power slash too close, they will jump back as well, and may begin channeling a power attack of their own. This is an unavoidable dash which deals decent damage and knocks the opponent back very far (occasionally into walls), though if you're lucky it can occasionally miss.
There are three ways to deal with these guards. One is to charge a power slash and wait for them to walk into it, but this requires to stand at a safe distance from them when you begin charging to avoid a counter-dash. Another is to block their first two blows and attack them before they can strike with the last one, getting some hits in before they can dodge. The last one is to force them back until they jump into spiked or bottomless pits.
Most of the elite guards have now turned against Vandheer and appear as enemies in later levels. However they lost much of their powers and are not too hard to deal with, even though they have much more health than regular guards. They can occasionally avoid blows, but they can no longer counter them with a powerful strike. Vandheer's grab is a good way to deal with them. Also, the special of the Sword of Fire destroys them instantly.
Only one true elite guard appears in this game as a midboss. He attempts to stop Hawken and Eivana from reaching Vandheer, but is defeated. He fights much like a regular elite guard, and occasionally dodges blows. Also, he is able to use a dashing attack much like the counter-dash of AWW1 guards as a special move. This dash can be dodged by jumping over him.
The elite soldier returns in Armed with Wings Rearmed as a stronger-than-normal enemy. Although they retain all their abilities from the first games, they are considerably easier due to improvements for the player's combat. They can be cornered much more easily, and blocking can work against them. Nonetheless, they can still be a surprise for an early player.
As of update 8.22, the elite utilizes smarter dodges and, like the other enemies, is able to block a certain number of attacks before breaking. During your attack, they can flip behind you as a counter, requiring more skill to corner them.