The Guardian count for a portal began when you captured or flipped it to your faction. It ended when the portal was neutralized (either from attacks or decay) or flipped. Even if all your resonators were upgraded by other agents so that you had none remaining on the portal, the count would still continue as long as you were listed as the portal’s owner. The medal was awarded when one of your portals crossed the corresponding threshold for that tier for the first time.
The Guardian medal was one of only two that relied on maintaining a streak (the other being the Sojourner medal, which is still active). It was also the only medal that could be actively denied through the actions of a sufficiently-determined opposition. There was nothing you could do to guarantee that you would get a Guardian medal; you only got it if the other faction allowed it to happen. Even an ally could break your Guardian streak (by flipping the portal).
This lead to the practice of “guardian hunting” (intentionally seeking out and neutralizing enemy guardian portals). Opinions were divided on the practice: some agents considered it to be poor sportsmanship, while others considered it a legitimate tactic. Using an automated script to assist with guardian hunting was much less popular, as it constituted a violation of the Ingress Terms of Service and was considered cheating.
Eventually, the rise of a number of guardian scraping tools within both factions lead Niantic to retire the Guardian medal on 2 April 2018. Agents who had gotten within 10 days of a platinum or onyx medal were awarded that medal as compensation for the hindrance caused by agents using unauthorized tools.
- The Guardian medal was one of the eight original ones available when the medal system was introduced on 12 September 2013.
- Originally, the Guardian counter would stop if all of your resonators on the portal were upgraded by other agents. You would have to upgrade a resonator yourself again, and then the counter would jump to the current number of days as if you had always had a resonator on the portal. This was fixed so that the counter increased as long as you owned the portal, even if all your resonators were replaced by others.
- The Guardian medal was retired on 2 April 2018.