Welcome to this ESO Beginner Tank Guide! This is a guide has been created aimed at PvE Tanking to hopefully teach people how to Tank in ESO. 

Before you get started with Tanking, please take a little time to have a read through this guide to hopefully give you an idea about what Tanking is all about in The Elder Scrolls Online. This guide is basically a summary of everything you need to know, whether you are new to ESO or just new to Tanking, you should find all the basic information you need to start Tanking.

Updated: April 2021 (Flames of Ambition)

What is a Tank?

In the Elder Scrolls Online – A Tank is a person who is the heavily armoured shell of a group, the first one into battle and the front-line of combat to protect and defend everyone else against any threat. A Tanks main job is to aggro and control enemy targets forcing them to attack you and ensure as little damage as possible is passed onto Damage Dealers and Healers. Once aggro is achieved the next task of the Tank is to position enemies safely where allies are as protected as possible to perform their respective roles. As a Tank it is vital to learn fights quickly and efficiently, know mechanics and tactics for each fight as you are the first point of call and you will deal with mechanics more than most other roles in a group. Tanks in ESO, similar to the military vehicle, need a very strong defence and good battlefield manoeuvrability: You take a lot of damage as a Tank so the priority is to boost your Max Health and Resistances so you are able to deal with the damage.

The biggest obstacles for a Tank are self-sustaining and survivability. Tanks usually aim for a high Magicka Recovery stat to help with in combat abilities. Stamina sustain can be difficult, when you block – you lose Stamina and Stamina cannot be regained through regeneration while holding Block. With good sustain, you’ll be able to heal yourself if needed and surviving becomes a lot easier, but experience is key to surviving and learning all areas of your class, race, role and each particular fight is a must.

Once you have mastered the basics of Tanking, you will be expected to support your group by setting up in a particular way. This is where you begin to help your group with certain buffs and gear sets, which increase the group damage output (or survivability and sustain) and also begin using further debuff skills and sets which increase the damage your enemy targets take. The reason why buffing and debuffing is important for the Tank is because you are always on the front-line and close to the enemy so it is far easier for a Tank to maintain certain buffs and debuff. Also, the more damage your group can do, the quicker fights will end which benefits everyone in a group especially a Tank who is having to balance sustain, fight management and more.

Choosing a Tank class

You can Tank on any class in ESO. Dragonknights are the best performing Tanks for beginners but every class is able to Tank. Each class has a certain set of group buffs and utilities, and generally you would use these other classes as and when they are needed because you are missing these particular unique buffs and debuffs in your group.

The Dragonknight’s are the absolute best class for beginner tanks.

DK’s as they are also known are typically the easiest Tank class to play due to the self-sustain available to them via their class passives. Early on in the levelling process they have access to Magicka based crowd control with Choking Talons and Unrelenting Grip, both which are superior to every other Tank classes crowd control abilities.

They have two excellent healing skills; one burst heal that scales with Max Health called Green Dragon Blood and one heal over time called Cinder Storm. They also have a group spamable shield called Igneous Shield which scales with Max Health.

The DK has access to a unique group damage buff called Stagger which places a debuff on enemies via the Stone Giant skill which causes the target to take increased damage. DK’s also have a Stamina group buff called Minor Brutality which is often applied by casting Igneous Shield. Stagger is more common in the later stages of the end game due to its difficulty to maintain and sustain but is a requirement by most groups in harder content and trials.

Sustain on a DK is great as you can get all resources back when using an Ultimate and you can get Stamina while blocking via another skill passive making it very easy to sustain compared to every other class.

The Warden is an easy to play Tank especially at lower CP due to their powerful Healing, Shields and Defensive Group Buffs.

The problem with Wardens is that you only need one Warden in a group and typically this would be a Healer. If you are in a group without a Warden, they are extremely useful as Tanks.

Group buffs from a Warden include Minor Toughness which increases everyone’s Health by 10%. They can provide Major Resolve to a whole group by using Expansive Frost Cloak. They can also provide Minor Vulnerability debuff on enemies with the Fletcher Infection ability. They also have easier access to the Chilled Effect which creates the Minor Brittle enemy debuff.

Wardens are generally really good at generating Ultimate, have high Magicka Recovery, have a strong self-heal with Polar Wind which also heals 1 other ally and then you have Shimmering Shield which absorbs 50k+ damage from projectiles.

The Necro is generally a situationally used Tank, but a very good option to use.

If you are in a group with little to no Necros then they become extremely powerful Tanks. The main reason for using a Necro is the Major Vulnerability that is applied to enemies via the Colossus Ultimate; this is a huge and very vital damage increase for a group.

Necros can provide their group with Empower by using the Empowering Grasp skill which basically replaces a whole 5 piece gear set Galenwe.

Necros have amazing Ultimate regeneration, they provide some nice AoE debuffs such as Minor Vulnerability with Agony Totem and AoE Major Breach with Unnerving Boneyard which both also provide group synergies.

The only real downside to a Necro Tank is the self healing is more difficult than other classes because you have to hit an enemy with a melee ability to heal yourself which in mobile fights makes you vulnerable. Some people have a hard time with Stamina sustain but when you learn fights and heavy attack more this is no longer an issue.

In Magicka group compositions with no Sorcerer Damage Dealers then a Sorc Tank is a great option.

If there is one other Sorcerer then using one as a Tank becomes instantly pretty useless as they have nothing to offer the group. A Sorc brings a group buff with Minor Prophecy which can add around 1-2k DPS to each Magicka DD, and they can also provide Minor Intellect by casting Conjured Ward.

They have a strong self heal with the Clannfear as this scales with Max Health. Sustain is quite easy by using Dark Deal which swaps Magicka for Stamina and Health making sustain almost as easy as a DK.

Bound Aegis can be used for huge damage mitigation as a panic button during heavy mechanics and has the highest mitigating damage in the game when using this skill.

Sorcs have a very easy way to achieve Major Vitality with Restraining Prison even on bosses and elite targets meaning they can both take a lot of damage and also be healed easier through big damage situations.

Only worth using in a Magicka group composition that has no Templar Healer or DD which won’t happen very often.

They bring the group buff of Minor Sorcery which is a useful group buff as well as other utilities like Extended Ritual and Power of the Light. The biggest problem with the Templar Tank is self-healing, the only real option available during boss fights for a guaranteed selfheal is Ritual of Rebirth which is a very expensive area of effect heal or Vigor which requires you to do PvP band doesn’t heal very much.

They also lack class skills for chaining and rooting meaning you have to use expensive alternatives from the Fighters Guild and Psijic Order skill lines.

Templars are one of the worst classes to Tank as since they just don’t have the toolkit available to assist them in Tanking.

All of the alternative abilities needed to do basic Tank things are extremely expensive, sustaining and self healing is difficult and you really should avoid playing a Templar Tank unless it is absolutely necessary for whatever group composition you are attempting to achieve.

A must have for Stamina group compositions for their Minor Savagery buff however there is usually a NB Damage Dealer or Stamina groups are rare and not used.

The NB Tank is very good at dealing with high damage mechanics due to its increased damage mitigation which is superior to most other Tank classes.

Other things the NB Tank brings to a group include AoE Minor Vulnerability with Lotus Fan and Major Expedition with Refreshing Path but neither of these are really that important.

The NB has a strong heal over time with Dark Cloak which scales on Max Health and they have access to snare and immobilization immunity via Phantasmal Escape. Nightblades are good at ranged debuffing enemies with Mark Target and Dark Shade.

Outside of a Stamina based group generally a Nightblade Tank shouldn’t be used. While they have great damage mitigation they are much more difficult to play and require a more advanced playstyle.

To sustain well on a NB you need to be able to light and heavy attack often which is more common with experienced Tanks who know fights well, as a beginner this would be much more difficult. The self healing from a Nightblade is a very good heal over time which you can keep active for the majority of combat situations and you’ll constantly be getting healed but it’s not quite as powerful as burst heal sometimes when you take a big damage hit.

It’s basically not worth using a NB at all at the current time as they offer basically no group buffs and are more difficult to play compared to other classes.

Choosing a Tank Race

The race of a Tank does not play a huge part in how well you can Tank. Early on with very little Champion Points it will be more important which class you play however. You have a main choice of reducing the incoming damage or sustaining easier.

Argonian

Argonians are a strong option for beginner Tanking. They have increased Health, Max Magicka and Stamina. You get an increase to your healing and faster swimming speed. The huge benefit of being an Argonian is the potion passive which will give you 4000 Health, Magicka and Stamina when you use any potion, this is in addition to the resources gained from the potion itself and you can use whatever potion you like including looted potions.

Redguard

Redguard is a great choice for beginner Tanks. Basically, as long as you cause damage to the enemy you will gain back Stamina which amounts to over 12k Stamina per minute. This makes Redguards the best race for Tanks who are blocking a lot and not great yet at managing resources.

These are essentially the 2 best races for Tanking when you first start. You really can Tank on any race but these 2 provide the best beginner friendly boosts. Imperial is a very good sustain option but is locked behind a pay window. Other decent classes are Orc and Dark Elf because you can Tank with those classes and easily switch to Damage Dealer also. Breton is also a decent choice because of the Magicka sustain and spell resistance boost.

Attributes

Each time you level up, you gain Attribute Points up until level 50 – at level 50 you will have 64 Attributes. If you are under 300CP, you will be at a slight disadvantage in terms of your max stats as you gain Health for each Red Champion Point, Stamina for each Green Champion Point and Magicka for each Blue Champion Point. This stops at 300 total CP. As a Tank the main priority is Max Health. Things such as self-healing and damage shields scale based on whatever your Max Health is. This means you can deal with more damage and higher Max Health gives you less risks and more room for error especially if you are doing new content.

Example: As a Dragonknight your Igneous Shield is scaled on your Max Health, this also provides a group shield. The bigger Health pool you have the bigger heal you will get with Green Dragon Blood.

Spreading your resources into Magicka and Stamina does not equal better sustain, it just means it takes longer for sustain issues to begin. During a fight, if you are not able to sustain you will still have the same problems no matter what your Magicka and Stamina pools are. You need to work out how to slow down your Stamina drain rather than increasing your Max Stamina really high. Generally, using 64 points into Health is a great idea. If you choose a class that has more Magicka than Stamina such as an Argonian, it’s a good idea to apply a few points into Stamina to make your Max Stamina pool higher than the Magicka because this helps with your Stamina sustain. If you have more Magicka than Stamina, when you use a resource synergy such as an Orb or a Shard you will restore Magicka rather than Stamina and you don’t want to do this because you can restore Magicka while blocking but you can’t restore Stamina while blocking.

Mundus Stones

You should collect a Mundus Stone as soon as you can. For Tanking there are a few options depending on what you are doing and what class/race you are:

The Atronach

Increased Magicka Recovery – The most common Tank Mundus Stone. Tanks use a lot of Magicka for pretty much everything, mainly self-healing and crowd control skills. Having high Magicka Recovery is one of the most important things for a Tank especially until you are able to get the Mages Guild skill Balance.

The Lord

Increased Max Health – This is an important Mundus for high damage content. In situations where you have really high incoming damage it can be a good idea to use this so you are able to take more damage but also for most classes higher Max Health increases your self-healing potential as Tank heals usually scale upon your Max Health.

The Steed

Increased Health Regen & Movement Speed – This is more of a situational Mundus. The speed buff is helpful for certain fights that require a lot of movement and line-of-sight stacking of adds. You also get Health Regen which can be stacked with other sources to give you bonus self-healing every 2 second – which can be helpful in the right circumstances.

The Lady

Increased Resistances – This is a good Mundus for any non-Nord classes. If you are taking high amounts of damage and you are way off the 33k Resistance limit then it could be an option to use this Mundus to boost your resistances which will reduce your incoming damage. However, won’t typically be the case with an optimised build.

The Shadow

Increased Critical Damage – This is a damage dealing based Mundus Stone. You would not use this unless you are an experienced Tank or Off Tank and you are set up in a hybrid build to offer some extra damage. This mundus is usually found in score pushing groups or in groups that rely on pure damage burn to skip mechanics.

Food

For tanking, you will pretty much always be using Tri-Stat food; food that increases your Max Health, Magicka and Stamina. From your levelling and daily login rewards you will get Crown Fortifying Meal which is usable from level 1 and is pretty useful while levelling.

The best Tank food is the crafted food Bewitched Sugar Skulls as it gives Tri-Stats but also Health Recovery, plus it will scale at lower levels. The recipe is pretty expensive and can only be obtained during the Halloween Event – the Witches Festival. The food is relatively cheap to buy and is the better option until you can obtain the recipe yourself.

At CP160 you can use crafted Tri-Stat food if you cannot afford the Sugar Skulls – look out for Capon Tomato-Beet Casserole, Jugged Rabbit in Preserves and Longfin Pasty with Melon Sauce. Those are very cheap purple foods which are close to the same stats as the Sugar Skulls minus the Health Recovery.

Champion Points

Simply refer to the Tank Champion Point page on the website – we have all the progressive CP you need from 160 to 2000+ to get you setup for Tanking. Or you can also check out the Tank CP Guide Video.

Gear, Traits and Enchants

Gear comes in 3 weights; Heavy, Medium and Light. As a Tank you should use 5 Heavy as a minimum so you benefit from the increased resistances and the Heavy Armor passives. You could use 7 Heavy if you like but you will lose some sustain and max stats by doing so but you will increase your defense. Most people like to use 5/1/1 which means they will have the extra benefit of some of the Medium and Light armor passives but also get extra max stats from the Undaunted Mettle passive. You can use a 5/2 setup also, so focusing on 2 Light Armor and 5 Heavy for example would lose you some minor Stamina sustain for the benefit of extra Magicka sustain.

Setting up a Tank as a Beginner, the most vital traits are going to be Sturdy and Infused. If you are levelling you will need Training but if you are actively Tanking content then you will want more supportive traits on your gear.

These are classed as “Big” slots because when you put an enchant on them you will get the full value of an enchant. If you are very new and tend to be blocking mostly an entire fight then using Sturdy on these pieces is a good idea. Infused is generally considered the best trait for these gear slots as you will be able to boost the strength of the enchants you use on these armor pieces. If you are low CP or taking a lot of damage then you can consider using a Reinforced Chest, this is the biggest armor slot out of all of your gear so switching to Reinforced gives you the highest value of resistances of all the gear slots. I would not recommend using a lot of Reinforced pieces of gear as these will have much less effect the higher CP you reach and you have much better ways to obtain resistances. The best enchant to use is the Prismatic Defence/Tri-Stat however these are typically expensive so at Beginner Stage you should use Health enchants here.

These are classed as “Small” slots because when you put an enchant on these slots it will be significantly smaller than the “Big” armor slots. It’s pretty important to use Sturdy on these armor slots, it will help to reduce the cost of your blocking which at this stage is very important when you are a beginner and blocking a lot or low CP. For the enchants you can use Health again. When using Tri-Stat on the big slots, Health on the small is usually the best option but for this phase you might like to try some Magicka or Stamina. The small enchants are up to you, you could use something else on the small slots but remember using Stamina and Magicka won’t prevent sustain issues as mentioned already, it just prolongs time before the problem really kicks in.

This is classed as a “Big” slot, the problem with a shield however is that it’s only active on 1 bar so using an Infused/Health Shield would have a potentially detrimental effect as each time you switch bar you would lose over 1k Health. For a Shield the most ideal traits would be Sturdy or Well-Fitted. These work well because when you are blocking on your main bar you will get extra block cost reduction with Sturdy, or you can opt for Well-Fitted which gives a nice little reduction in roll dodge and sprint cost. The most ideal glyph to use would be Tri-Stat because it gives a small increase of all stats so it won’t cause a huge loss of resources when bar swapping. You can use Health as it has the least implications, having Magicka or Stamina is not good because you really won’t want to lose Magicka and Stamina when bar swapping.

For Weapons, you need to be using a One Handed Weapon, using Decisive is really good for generating faster Ultimate which is key to sustaining as a DK Tank. You could use Infused also but this just means you are getting a slight boost to your weapon enchantment but with Decisive you are gaining a whole new benefit with the extra Ultimate. You could use a Defending One Hander if you are struggling with incoming damage, have low resistances or are low CP. The One Handed Weapon is the least important so you can choose whichever trait you want. As for the weapon enchantment, the best option is to just go with Absorb Stamina Glyph as this will provide you with some extra sustain and there are no real other good options. When you use a weapon glyph on a one handed weapon it has half its value compared with a 2 handed weapon, therefore we just use something to benefit ourselves as any strong group based glyphs such as Crusher we would want to use on a 2 handed weapon so we can get the full value.

For our back bar weapon we should use an Infused Ice Staff with a Crusher enchant. Using an Ice Staff it is basically a Tank weapon due to the Destruction Staff Passives, just make sure you are not using the Tri-Focus passive since blocking with Magicka is not advised at a beginner development stage. You should use an Infused staff which is a 2 handed weapon, this means we can get the maximum value from any enchantments we use and by using Infused we increase the power of the weapon enchant. For a staff you can provide a useful group buff by using a Crusher enchant and by using it on an Infused Staff we get a stronger value of this enchant.

For Jewellery it’s up to you what you want to go with. Using 3 Infused would be good for sustaining if you combine it with 1 Bracing and 2 Magicka Recovery, this is a good overall general setup for Tanking. At beginner level you could consider Harmony jewellery. You will have lower stats on your Magicka Recovery and your Block Cost will be slightly more, but you will gain a lot more resources when you use a Shard or an Orb synergy which gives you resources. There is a risk involved however, if you are not receiving one of these synergies every 20 seconds then you would have been better going for improved stats as Harmony is relying on you getting the synergies and if you are not getting any then it’s a completely useless trait.

Sets

It is important to have as many sets from this list available to you as possible – Tanks need a wide range of flexibility on gear for self buffs, group buffs and general trial viability.

Important

Optional

The way gear is defined between an important set and an optional set depends on what use those sets bring to a group. Group content relies heavily on everyone working together as a unit, part of this process as a Tank is to assist with buffing your group with your gear. When you are attempting to Tank content for the very first time, you should absolutely use a selection of Optional Tank gear so you can figure out what enemies you will be facing, positioning, mechanics, sustain and survivability. Once you have these things covered and you begin to gain experience and confidence in these situations the optional sets become less and less useful to you as an individual. As soon as it’s physically possible you should try and switch to Important Tank sets that will give some great benefits to your group and it will give you the chance to assist your group with completing content easier and quicker.

All gear has strengths and weaknesses which you should consider when deciding on a set you would like to use. For example Leeching Plate is a good gear set to use in fights that have many enemies and it will auto heal you, when you get into a boss fight where it’s just your team vs 1 boss this set is completely useless as it relies on having multiple enemies to give you large incoming healing. Alkosh is the absolute best Tanking set in the game and will increase your groups DPS by a huge amount, but the weakness is that if your group is really poor at providing synergies and you are really poor at timing them they will get a huge damage decrease by missing the debuff being applied to the enemy.

On your first few clears of content use whatever gear you are comfortable with then look to optimise your build by checking the individual pages on this site for each trial, dungeon and arena if you are looking to provide the most optimal setup for group benefit.

You have to be aware of gear weights when you decide on a set you are going to use. For example Powerful Assault is a very strong group buff set, but it’s also a Medium Armor set. What this means is that you need to use either the Weapons and Jewellery or the cheaper option is to not use the weapons but use 2 “small” body pieces such as the Waist and Hands and combine that with 5 Heavy Armor pieces. Out of the Important Tank Sets there are a few that you would usually use the Weapons/Jewellery rather than body pieces. These sets are: Worm, Alkosh, Hircines, Powerful Assault, Olorime, Morag Tong.

The other thing to consider with gear is the effect they have. Some gear will only benefit Magicka Damage Dealers so it would be useless for a group with all Stamina and vice versa.

Monster Sets

Monster sets are obtained by completing Veteran Dungeons and looting Monster Helmets. Monster Shoulders are obtained by completing daily Undaunted Pledges and using the keys to open Undaunted Boxes sold by the Undaunted NPCs.

There are many useful Tank monster sets, each with its own useful situation. This is all explained in my Tank Monster Helmets video here ⇨

Types of Tanking

There are a few different “types” of Tank

The regular type of Tank is a Main Tank. This is basically anyone who is Tanking 4-Man content such as dungeons and arenas. In 12-Man trials you always have one Main Tank who is the predominant Tank who takes aggro of the main threat or boss.

In trials only you also get Off Tanks for most trials. The Off Tank is usually in a trial to assist the Main Tank and they usually taunt any additional enemies that appear with bosses, they help stack add pulls with the Main Tank and generally provide additional group support. There are some instances where the Main and Off Tank have to trade taunts of certain bosses and there are also some trials with multiple bosses and each Tank has a boss they must aggro.

Hybrid tanking is when you are able to Tank enemies comfortably but also perform some levels of damage. This type of Tank is mostly seen in overland content, questing, delves and that kind of stuff. Very experienced Tanks may also use this type of Tank as an Off Tank in trials with very little damage or mechanics, or in some dungeons where enemies are weak and you can get away with just taunting, chaining and doing damage.

Priorities and Responsibilities

Like everyone in the group, tanks have role specific priorities and responsibilities that differ from others

Priorities

1. High Max Health

2. High Resistances (Max 33k)

3. High Magicka recovery

4. 5-7 Heavy Armor

Responsibilities

  1. Taunting and maintaining aggro of enemies.
  2. Buffing yourself.
  3. Sustaining resources.
  4. Avoiding damage where possible, self healing and staying alive.
  5. Positioning, stacking and crowd controlling enemies.
  6. Learning/knowing fight mechanics and tactics
  7. Debuffing the enemy.
  8. Buffing your group with gear sets and skills.

Taunting

Taunting is when you force an enemy to target and attack you, this is also known as having “Aggro” of the enemy. This can be achieved by using certain skills that trigger a taunt on an enemy.

A Hard taunt refers to an enemy being taunted with Puncture and Inner Fire, these taunts have a 15 second duration. A Medium taunt is a pull or chain ability that will make an enemy aggro onto you for a short amount of time but it cannot override a Hard taunt and can be overridden by a Hard Taunt. A Soft taunt is when you use no taunt ability on an enemy but either you are the only person nearby so they auto-aggro to you, or you use an ability or do a heavy attack to the enemy and as you are a “threat” that aggro to you temporarily but they can easily retarget to someone else unless they are hit with a taunt ability.

It’s ideal to have both of these skills slotted, keep them both on the same skill slot but on alternative bars. The reason this is good is you will often melee taunt and occasionally range taunt, but if you are on the other bar you always have a taunt on the same skill slot no matter which bar you are active on and you will have less chance to lose aggro from bar swapping. It’s also good because if you are low on Stamina you can switch and use the range taunt that is using Magicka instead.

Puncture

This is the first skill in the One Hand and Shield Skill Line. This is a Stamina melee taunt and you need to be close to an enemy to use it. The taunt duration is 15 second, this means you need to recast Puncture every 15 seconds at the most, ideally every 13-14 seconds to keep the enemy targeted onto you. If you allow the taunt to run out, the enemy can retarget onto someone else and you will lose “Aggro”. This can be fatal to your damage dealers as the retargeting will usually mean that the enemy will begin to attack the biggest threat in your group, this is the person doing the most damage. To maintain a good taunt you should aim to cast your Puncture every 13-14 seconds and allow a small overlap. If you taunt sooner than this, that is also fine but it just means you will burn through your Stamina resources much quicker which is not advised while blocking and Tanking.

Inner Fire

This is a skill that is unlocked when you reach Undaunted level 3. This skill is a ranged taunt, and it’s usually used because of it costing Magicka rather than Stamina and giving the option to taunt at range. This works exactly the same as Puncture, the taunt has a 15 second duration and you need to try to overlap the taunt so you don’t lose aggro. You don’t need to be at range to use the range taunt, you can use it at any distance even on a melee enemy it’s just most commonly used for taunting enemies at range.

Unrelenting Grip / Silver Leash

These abilities have a hidden taunt associated with them. When you use these abilities it applies an effect called “Fiery Reach taunt” to whichever enemy you’ve chained which makes enemies aggro to you for 2 seconds. This is a “medium taunt” as it will not override a normal 15 second hard taunt, but if a hard taunt is not active then these pull abilities will force enemies to aggro to you for a very short amount of time. When the Fiery Reach taunt is active, if someone uses a hard taunt such as Puncture it will override the Fiery Reach taunt.

It is NOT possible to over-taunt an enemy by yourself. If you were to spam taunt it is impossible for you to lose aggro of the enemy because you’ve taunted it too much/over-taunted and an enemy cannot become taunt immune from just one person. You CAN over-taunt an enemy between multiple people. If multiple people taunt an enemy within a short space of time the enemy will become taunt immune meaning you cannot taunt that enemy for a small amount of time.

Taunt immunity occurs when you have multiple people trying to taunt the same target in a short space of time.
If you taunt a target and someone else taunts the same target within 12 seconds then you would not be able to taunt the enemy back until the taunt immunity expired.

The problem with taunt immunity is it’s hard to track because there is a hidden kind of over-taunt mechanic – it is a 12 second timer but it is based on when you initially activated it and it does not refresh each time you cast taunt only when you first applied. The over-taunt will be applied every time you retaunt the target each time the 12 second timer has expired.

The best way to overcome this issue is to taunt an enemy target when it needs taunting. Recast every 13-14 seconds and if there is another Tank who accidentally taunts the enemy from you, it is likely that you won’t have any problems with over-taunting and taunt immunity and you’ll be able to cast your taunt and get aggro of the enemy straight away.

One of the tricky parts of Tanking is trying to figure out what to taunt as a priority. The way you decide which target is the most important is usually by taunting any melee enemies as they are a direct priority, especially if they try to run past you and then you would taunt any ranged enemies.

The exception here is when you are dealing with different strength enemies. The only way to know if you are dealing with a stronger enemy is by hovering your cursor over them. Elite enemies and Bosses can be defined by their health bar.

Standard enemies have a standard health bar and while you should try to taunt these enemies during combat they are the weakest and least threatening enemies so they are the lowest priority and you should first look for stronger enemies before worrying about enemies with this kind of health bar.

normal

Next you have Elite enemies. These will have extra things on the sides of the heath bars to signal that they are a stronger enemy and these are your main taunt priority as they will likely kill your group members relatively easily. You will often find Elite enemies mixed with standard enemies and can often be found in the middle of a larger add pull so you really have to look for them and make sure you gain aggro as soon as physically possible.

elite

Finally you have the boss health bar, this will usually have both an Elite style health bar plus the compass at the top of your screen also turns into a second health bar to signal that this is a boss. It is the uttermost priority to maintain aggro of bosses as these can cause complete devastation to anyone who is not prepared.boss

There are multiple ways of tracking your taunt on the enemy. The first way is by using the in game Buff & Debuff Tracker:

Options > Combat > Buffs & Debuffs > ALL – Always Show > TARGET DEBUFFS – On > FROM OTHERS – Off

Once you have done this, when you taunt the enemy you need to look at the top of your screen and on whichever enemy you have your middle cursor point at, you will see their health bar and underneath this is where debuffs are displayed. This will now show you any “Debuffs” that you have applied to the enemy plus the time remaining on that debuff. The image below shows the icon you will see when taunt is active on an enemy. You need to watch this and try to retaunt when the timer is on 1-2 seconds for the most optimal taunting.

Screenshot 3

There are also many addons you can use on PC such as Untaunted, DoYouEvenDebuff, Tank and Srendarr just to name a few. These can customised and moved around so you can track and monitor your taunt in a variety of ways on multiple targets.

It can be difficult to taunt enemies sometimes if you have multiple different targets stacked in a small area. The best way to focus your target onto them is by tab targeting. To do this on PC you point your cursor at an enemy and press tab. On console you point your cursor at the enemy and press in the right analogue stick. When you tab target an enemy they get a white highlight around them, it makes them much easier to see but it will also focus most of your skills towards them. It’s a good idea to tab target priority enemies in add pulls especially so you can gain taunt more easily and don’t miss the taunt by having conflicting enemies blocking your view. Tab targeting helps but it’s not 100% reliable and you can sometime hit other stuff even while having a tab on an enemy so it will increase your accuracy but it’s not a 100% guarantee it’s just a much higher increased chance.

The positioning of bosses really depends on each individual fight. Generally the safest way to position enemies is to simply taunt and turn, face them away from your group and this will prevent a lot of fatalities on most occasions. Not every boss in the game has mechanics that require you to turn them away from group members but most do so it’s safer to just do this for any fight where you are not experienced and know exactly how to position the enemies.

Surviving

Tank survival is extremely important in every aspect of the game. A Tank that is not alive creates huge problems for any group. Surviving can be a hard task when starting out as a Tank but there are a few things you can do to try and help with staying alive.

 This is probably the number one thing that will help you to survive. Once you have fought a boss or group of enemies a few times you will begin to notice patterns in their movement, abilities, damage and mechanics. Experience is the absolute key to Tanking. When learning a fight for the first time having high resistances, high health and using gear you are comfortable in is the main priority. Once you gain the experience and understand exactly what to do you can start working towards a more useful group orientated setup. It’s always a good idea to read any guides, watch clips or ask for advice in The Tank Club Discord when approaching a new encounter and there are thousands of people who can give you tips and techniques on how to deal with specific mechanics and fights. Tank trial guides and videos will be available soon.

This might sound stupid but blocking is absolutely critical for survival. Blocking mitigates 50% of the incoming damage, on a DK blocking mitigates 65% of the damage with the DK passives. If you are following the sustain method of “Heavy after a Heavy” then sustaining your block should be no problem, and you shouldn’t get caught out being hit by something that can kill you while Heavy Attacking. If you ever run out of Stamina or you are crowd controlled by the enemy it’s always a good idea to drop block and then re-block because sometimes these things in fact drop your block and won’t reactivate block until you stop holding block and repress to block again.

This is something that is possible with almost every ability you will use as a Tank. You cast your abilities while holding Block, your character will do an animation where it looks like they are not blocking but this is not the case, you actually are blocking. This is really something you must do especially when you get into Veteran content. Block casting is the ultra safe option and you’ll take much less damage by doing this. There are very few abilities that force you to drop block, these abilities are anything with a “Channel” or “Cast” time such as Stone Giant and Dark Deal. Things such as all taunts, heals, crowd control abilities are all safe to block cast.

Timing your potions especially health potions will give you a quick burst of help if you get hit by something unexpected. You have to decide if you want your potion available as an emergency resource/heal tool or if you want to benefit from the recovery which you only get by actively using potions. Saving potions for safety to activate when needed is especially a good idea when learning new content, you should always be carrying and using potions as it is a detrimental effect by not using them ever.

Buffing yourself will help you to deal with damage and stay alive. You need to try and always maintain your Major Resolve armor buff, this gives you a lot of resistances and reduces your incoming damage. You can also gain Minor Protection from a range of sources including Ransack and passively by slotting Temporal Guard from the Psijic Order skill line. This reduces your incoming damage by 8%. Anything that gives you a personal boost in resistances, damage reduction, damage mitigation, incoming healing, or extra resources are all great tools to perform your Tank duties.

Read more on resistances in the resistance article. The general process is if you are taking a lot of damage and you are unsure why the first thing to do is to maximise your resistances to as close to 33k as you can. 33k is the limit on resistances so don’t go any higher. By having maximum resistances this should reduce your incoming damage.

Self healing may often be needed, especially if you are in dungeon groups with no healer. There are 3 ways to heal yourself, you have burst healing, healing over time and health recovery. Healing can be quite a difficult thing to do depending on how well you can sustain. Generally you want to have high Magicka Recovery, and when learning new content you can use self healing gear sets or sustain sets that will help you to self heal more effectively.

Healing over time is when you use a heal that has a long duration and it will heal you occasionally for a certain amount. This sort of healing is great for topping up your health when taking small amounts of damage, a skill such as the DK Cinder Storm would do this kind of heal and it also works well for your sustain and this only needs to be recast every 16+ seconds. There are a number of healing gear sets which give you healing over time and these are useful if you struggle healing yourself and you need the extra healing.

Burst healing is when you need to do a big heal to recover from taking a big hit. Something such as the DKs Green Dragon Blood is a burst heal, but it’s only effective depending on how much health you have missing. It would be really expensive to recast this every time you lose a little bit of health so it needs to be saved for those moments where your incoming damage was really high and use a heal over time for those smaller damage situations. You can boost the effectiveness of Dragon Blood by casting Igneous Shield before as that increases your healing via Major Mending and then the Dragon Blood heal is even larger than it would have been usually. Most classes have a burst heal suitable for Tanks and these burst heals can also critical heal meaning they will have a huge amount of extra healing added on top of the initial heal. Critical healing on a Tank is often done by having the Vengeance Champion Point passive by having 10 points in the Apprentice Blue CP.

Health Recovery is a character stat that you have, which recovers health every 2 seconds. You gain health recovery in your class passives and in heavy armor passives. You also gain other sources of Health Recovery such as using potions for Major Fortitude and eating Bewitched Sugar Skulls food. Heath recovery is a pretty reliable amount of small, consistent healing and you will always gain the heath back every 2 seconds from it. A regular Tank setup you will gain around 1k Health Recovery but it can be built higher by using special potions and Monster Sets.

Roll dodge is one of the most underused things among new players. When you roll dodge you will evade damage for the next 2 seconds from any damage that isn’t a locked in attack. Locked in attacks are things such as Dark Barrage from Rakkhat in Maw of Lorkhaj or the Nocturnal’s Favour from Z’Maja in Cloudrest, they are fixed onto you and are impossible to avoid. The majority of attacks in the game are not locked onto you however and you can simply roll dodge to avoid damage. Roll dodging is a good tactic to use in a critical situation where you have taken a big hit or you are overwhelmed. It’s good to get into the habit of instantly reacting and roll dodging to evade damage for a few seconds so you can survive and then get a heal or whatever you need to get out of the situation.

Sustaining

Sustain on a Tank is one of the hardest parts of Tanking. For a very detailed breakdown of sustain please refer to my Sustain Presentation here

Basic sustaining overview

  • Heavy Attacking is a MUST for sustain. The rule to timing your Heavy Attacks is Heavy After a Heavy. Always time your own Heavy Attack immediately after a Boss has Heavy Attacked you as they are extremely unlikely to do back to back Heavy Attacks. You should practice doing this for entire fights not just when you are out of resources.
  • Use sustain gear while you are learning so you can perform everything you need with lower risk of dying.
  • Use Potions as much as possible, even looted potions to give you both resources and recovery.
  • Use synergies, if you have the Undaunted Command passive you will gain resources from every synergy, but you need to make sure you are using Orb and Shard synergies as often as you can as they will give you a large boost of resources.
  • Increase Magicka Recovery – By doing this you will be able to sustain the majority of your abilities since Tanks cast mostly Magicka based skills. If you are a DK then you will be able to spam Igneous Shield to gain back Stamina which is crucial for sustain.
  • Lower your Block Cost – Using Sturdy Gear, Bracing Enchants, and CP into Shadow Ward to reduce your Block Cost so you will use less Stamina for Blocking which overall makes it easier to sustain.
  • Make sure you are using suitable gear traits and glyphs.
  • Champion Points – CP into Arcanist for more Magicka Recovery, Tenacity for more resources back when you Heavy Attack and Shadow Ward to reduce your block cost.
  • Skills and Passives – There are many skills and passives that help with sustain, make sure to use these where possible. A comprehensive list of skills can be found on the Tank Skills pages.
  • Using your Ultimate (Dragonknight)
  • Don’t overcast abilities, let them run the majority of the duration before recasting.

It’s important to remember that you need to time everything for optimal resource sustain. You should be heavy attacking throughout a fight not only when you are low on resources, get into the habit of heavy attacking everytime there is an opportunity. Make sure you are timing Synergies, it’s no good using an Orb resource synergy if you are full on resources and the same with Potions, wait at least until you have a little resources missing before using one so you can maximise the gains from them.

If you are on a DK you should never allow your Magicka to be full. You should always cast an Igneous Shield if you notice you Magicka is full and this will give you back Stamina via the Helping Hands passive. You do not want to be sitting on your Ultimate either, you should be using a Warhorn in group content and it’s important you cast this as often as you physically can as it will increase your groups DPS and it will give you all your resources back.

Buffs and Debuffs

This is more or less the last stage of becoming a good Tank, Buffing and Debuffing is an extremely important part of Tanking, possibly the most important but before you reach this stage you need to be comfortable with the other aspects of Tanking such as Holding Aggro, Positioning, Sustaining and Surviving. If you are in a specific fight that you are comfortable with then you will start to find you have a lot more available time. With any “spare” time you have during a battle you should consider beginning to work some Buffs and Debuffs and this will be great for giving some useful boosts to your group and making you more and more valuable as a Tank.

There are ways to begin practicing buffing and debuffing early on in your Tanking development. As a very first priority you should be holding aggro of enemies and to do this you use one of the morphs of Puncture, this is your first Debuff as you will inflict Major Fracture on the enemy causing them to lose 5280 physical resistances. By making the enemy lose those resistances they are now easier to kill. This skill needs to be recast every 15 seconds so that you can maintain both a taunt on the enemy to hold aggro on them so they do not attack other group members and debuff them. It’s a good idea to cast 1-2 seconds early to make sure your taunt doesn’t run out so casting every 13-14 seconds is ideal. This is the very first debuff you need to focus on maintaining. Major Fracture will only be useful for Stamina Damage Dealers, Magicka Damage Dealers require you to apply Major Breach to get the same debuff but the Magicka version. Usually Major Breach is applied by a Healer via Elemental Drain, if not then you can use this yourself.

Your first buff is going to be a self armor buff. For the DK it will be Hardened Armor this is going to give you 5280 more resistances which means you will take less damage from any enemies attacking you. This is only useful up until 33,000 resistances – at that point you are at the cap and any extra resistances are useless. Once you are comfortably maintaining those 2 things you can start to factor in your next debuffs. Minor Maim and Minor Heroism – This is applied by using Heroic Slash. Any enemy you hit with this gets Minor Maim applied to them which reduces their damage by 15% and using this skill also gives you Minor Heroism which gives you Ultimate gain. A very strong skill since it will reduce the damage you are taking, and it’s a double effect skill with the Ultimate gain.

So at this point we have 4 things we need to consider: Puncture every 15 seconds, Heroic Slash every 12 seconds, Hardened Armor/Major Resolve every 20 seconds. These are your 3 main early buffs/debuffs that you want to keep active as often as possible and you should practice doing so, and try to sustain doing them as they are all very valuable buffs/debuffs.

Crusher

This is your first really proactive enemy debuff and it is a weapon enchantment. You would usually put this on a Staff that is Infused to increase its strength. The way you activate Crusher is by doing a weapon skill, light attack or heavy attack. Crusher lasts on an enemy for 4 seconds but, by using a Staff we can maintain placing Crusher on the enemy without it running out every 4 seconds. To do this we have to keep placing Elemental Blockade, you want to have this levelled up fully because that will increase the length of time the ability stays active. All you need to do is recast your Blockade every 14 seconds directly pointing at the enemy you are focussing. You can only apply weapon enchants to 1 enemy at a time so you need to try to position yourself so that when you place a blockade that the enemy you want it to hit is standing at the very start of the blockade where your staff hits the ground, even if you move the debuff will apply to the enemy that is stood at the initial starting point of the Blockade. With a gold Infused/Crusher weapon you will remove another 2108 resistances and this will stack on top of the 5280 that you’ve already removed with your taunt.

As a general rule it’s a good idea to basically track your Taunt as mentioned in the taunt section. Each time you refresh the taunt also refresh your other buffs in a similar order every time and this will help you get into a routine of reapplying your buffs and debuffs

Taunt > Heroic Slash > Major Resolve > Blockade > Heavy after a Heavy

There are many other things you may be required to maintain especially when you begin moving into group content and trials.

Buffs

  • Major Resolve – Balance/Hardened Armor
  • Minor Protection – Ransack
  • Minor Heroism – Heroic Slash
  • Minor Lifesteal – Blood Altar
  • Major Fortitude – Potions
  • Minor Vitality – Green Dragon Blood
  • Minor Magickasteal – Elemental Drain
  • Major Mending – Igneous Shield/Warden Passive

Debuffs

  • Major Fracture – Ransack/Pierce Armor
  • Major Breach – Pierce Armor/Elemental Drain
  • Minor Maim – Heroic Slash
  • Crusher – Weapon Enchant
  • Concussion/Minor Vulnerability – Lightning Damage
  • Off Balance – Lightning Blockade on Concussed enemy / Tactician CP
  • Alkosh Armor Shred
  • Engulfing Flames – If not other DK in a group.

There are many more buff and debuffs available but these are the most commonly used and some of the most useful you will use as a Tank. You should always consider the duration of the buff/debuff and the ability used to apply them and try to work them either into a general “rotation” where you cast them at a similar time every time or if you are on PC you can use an addon such as Action Duration Reminder and recast each ability once they are about to end.

Class Specific Buffs / Debuffs

Every class has their own specific buff / debuff that can be required for optimal group performance depending on your composition:

Mountain's Blessing – When you cast a Earthen Heart ability you increase your group’s Weapon Damage by 10% for 20 seconds. This is an important buff if you are in a group with Stamina Damage Dealers. This is an easy buff to maintain by just casting Igneous Shields.

Stagger is a unique DK group buff for advanced Tanks. It is hard to maintain since it costs Stamina, and you have to initially cast this 3 times on the enemy and then every 5 seconds to keep the Stagger stacks applied to the enemy. When you apply this to an enemy they will take approximately 2-4k more DPS from each Damage Dealer. If you find yourself with great sustain and very little to do during a fight you should start practicing keeping this applied to bosses.

Maturation – When you Heal yourself or an Ally you apply Major Toughness to them for 20 seconds increasing their Health by 10%. This is an easy buff to apply, just use the Blood Altar skill from the Undaunted Skill Line, place it on the ground during a fight and this buff will just keep automatically applying to your group members for the duration of the Altar.

Exploitation – When you cast a Dark Magic ability you grant Minor Prophecy to you and your group increasing Spell Critical by 1320 for 20 seconds. This is about a 2k DPS increase for Magicka Damage Dealers. A vital buff needed if there are Magicka Damage Dealers in the group, it is applied by casting Dark Deal which is a nice Tank skill as it uses Magicka and returns Health and Stamina. You can also use other Dark Magic abilities but Dark Deal is the most common. You need to recast this every 20 seconds and be in combat range of your Damage Dealers for them to get the buff.

Illuminate – Casting a Dawn’s Wrath ability grands Minor Sorcery to you and your group for 20 seconds increasing your Spell Damage by 10%. This is applied by using Power of the Light which is also a nice debuff skill. It debuffs the enemy with Minor Fracture and Minor Breach reducing their resistances by 1320, so you get a kind of 2-in-1 Buff and Debuff by using this making it very useful. Minor Sorcery is only useful in groups with Magicka Damage Dealers.

Hemorrhage – Dealing Critical Damage grants you and your group Minor Savagery increasing your Weapon Critical by 1320 for 20 seconds. This is a Stamina Damage Dealer buff, it is applied by doing any Critical Damage which is generally quite simple when Tanking and maintaining your Blockade and Taunt on the enemy.

Frozen Colossus – Dealing damage applies Major Vulnerability to any enemy hit for 8 seconds increasing their damage taken by 30%. This is a huge buff for any group, it means that the damage dealers can do 30% more damage to any enemy that gets hit by the Colossus and it’s important to have 2-3 Necros in a group to make sure enemies have this applied to them as often as possible. Necro Tanks usually don’t use Warhorn so that they can use this Ultimate instead.

Alkosh

Alkosh is one of the biggest buffs you provide as a Tank. Alkosh is one of the best Tanking sets in the game.

The main thing about Alkosh is that it’s an enemy debuff that does an Armor Shred. For you to be good at maintaining this you need to be good at timing your synergies. If you are already good at timing your other abilities you should try to get this into your gear set up immediately. You have to time your use of synergies so that you use 1 every 9 seconds to just overlap the debuff so it does not run out. Synergies have a 20 second cooldown for each individual one so you would need at least 3 synergies to maintain 100% uptime of Alkosh. The main problem with this is you are relying on your group to provide synergies for you to use and also expect that other group members won’t use them. The reason this is a Tank mainly is because you are always close to the boss and prime position to use synergies, using them is also vital for your sustain especially if you have the Undaunted Command passive.

Pre-Buffing

When you are about to begin combat, you should always pre buff up with any abilities that will give you any benefit with the upcoming fight. The main pre-buff is Major Resolve, you cast this before initiating combat since without it any enemy will hit you once you start the fight and the hit will be a lot harder than it should be. You can also precast Blood Altar if you use it, the range is huge and it doesn’t need to be immediately next to a boss as long as it’s in the nearby area. Some fights have bosses that “spawn” into the area, when you get this type of boss you can place your Elemental Blockade ready for when the boss can be targeted or appears.

Tank Testing

There are a few ways to test your Tanking capabilities.

A good way to practice keeping up your buffs is by travelling into the Asylum Sanctorum trial, Normal is fine but Veteran will give you more damage if you are trying to practice in a vet environment. Go all the way to the main boss Saint Olms and press the two buttons on the left and right to activate the AS+2. Make sure you bring along a friend who needs to stand behind you to kite the lightning pools that are spat in the air by Olms, if you don’t bring someone else they will land on top of you. This method will allow you to deal with the boss and boss mechanics while also giving you the ability to try out maintaining your buffs and debuffs in an aggressive and realistic environment.

Testing your ability to sustain and survive can be achieved by running into any trial entrance that has a lot of adds and enemies, or something such as Blackrose Prison. Blackrose Prison overall is a good way to practice Tanking and it requires so many different aspects of Tanking and is a good challenge for Tanks.

Levelling

The very first thing you should do is try to find a few guilds to join. You are looking for social / PvE based guilds with 300+ members so that you can find some help with getting some crafted gear, have a good number of people you can press on to fast travel to them to unlock new zones and so you can use the chat to ask for any assistance with things in the game. You might also be lucky and find a guild that has a Trader that you can make use of.

There are basically 2 main ways for levelling up:

  1. Overland solo levelling and questing
  2. Dungeon levelling

Levelling Checklist

  • Try to use Training Gear as it will level you up much faster
  • Pick up Mages Guild Skill Line
  • Pick up Fighters Guild Skill Line
  • Pick up Undaunted Skill Line
  • Pick up Psijic Order Skill Line (Summerset DLC or ESO+ Only)
  • Level up Mount daily at the Stables (250 gold per day)
  • Complete Cyrodiil Introduction at level 10 for Support and Assault Skill Lines (Level 10+)
  • Complete your Group Finder: Random Daily Battleground (Level 10+)
  • Complete your Group Finder: Random Daily Dungeon (Level 10+)

If you are Overland solo levelling it is a good idea to set up in 5 Light Armor, 1 Medium, 1 Heavy using a Destruction Staff – this is because levelling as a Tank is incredibly slow as you have low damage and high defence. Levelling this way includes doing Delves, Public Dungeons, Dolmens, Quests/Psijic Quests and more.

If you are levelling by doing Dungeons then you should set up with 5 Heavy Armor, 1 Medium, 1 Light using a One hand and Shield and at level 15 using a Destruction Staff on your second bar. Levelling this way is great for learning how to Tank on your class and you should use the group finder and search for Random Dungeons as you get bonus experience for doing this.

The best way to level up overall is to combine all of the above, completing your random daily dungeons and battleground, collecting skyshards and lorebooks and completing your Psijic Order quests. Before you even start levelling up you should collect all of your important skill lines which you will need later in the game and it’s much easier to level them up immediately rather than waiting until later. You need to travel to your Alliance Major city such as Auridon, Glenumbra or Stonefalls, go to the Mages Guild, the Fighters Guild and the local Tavern to meet the Undaunted, pick up the 3 skill lines by talking to the NPCs.

If you have the Summerset DLC or ESO+ you then want to go to Summerset and the town called Shimmerene, pick up and complete the first Main Story quest for this area until you can travel to Arteum. Once you can get to Arteum you can stop doing the main quest line and just pick up the Psijic Order to unlock the Psijic Order Skill Line. Once you have this you can start travelling around Tamriel doing the Psijic Order quests. When you are sent to a zone to close Psijic Portals, also pick up all Lorebooks in that zone, while you are doing that collect all of the Skyshards including the ones inside Delves and make sure you do any Dolmens that are active as they are a good exp boost. Levelling your skill lines at this point has a huge benefit and will help you to have a lot of options available for useful skills in the future.

Once you are level 10 it’s a good idea to travel into Cyrodiil and complete the introduction quest, this will unlock the Support and Assault skill lines and also unlock Rapid Manoeuvre which is worth using when you can to travel around Tamriel much faster. There are some very useful PvP skills especially War Horn and Purge, and if you reach Support 9 you can use Barrier and Magicka Aid passive so you should try to do your random daily battlegrounds which are extremely easy at a lower level and just use them for farming some easy AP for those skill lines. You can also just go into Cyrodiil and try to join a group then follow them around the map to collect some reasonably easy AP but PvP can be difficult at lower levels and is not really advised.

You need to get Skill Lines levelled up so first of all kill something with a Destruction Staff to unlock the first Destruction Staff skill, you will need this later in the game. Equip a One Hand and Shield and kill something to unlock the first One Hand and Shield Skill this is the main skill line for Tanking. You then have 3 class skill lines; you need to get the first skill from each of those and put those on your active ability bar. As a DK your 1st ability bar would look something like this:

Force Shock Lava Whip Spiked Armor Stonefist Puncture mail 001

You must level up with skills from each of these skill lines on your bar as it will also level the skill lines. When you reach a more useful skill for Tank, switch to that instead. For a comprehensive list of useful Tank skills please check out the respective pages for each class:

Dragonknight
Warden
Sorcerer
Templar
Nightblade
Necromancer

Levelling Gear

While levelling you should always use 5/1/1 as mentioned earlier. Use crafted Training gear for levelling.

  • Levelling as a Damage Dealer (5 Light & Destro Staff): Armor of the Seducer & Magnus Gift
  • Leveling as a Tank (5 Heavy & Sword and Board): Armor of the Seducer & Twice-Born Star/Fortified Brass/Hist Bark

The levelling process continues up until Champion Point 160 and you should not try to buy, farm or upgrade gear too much until you reach CP160 since you will out level your gear, the gear cap is CP160 so you should wait until then to begin working on collecting the useful Tanking sets you’ll need.

Normal Dungeons

Normal Dungeons can be done any time after level 10. You should always try and do a random normal dungeon daily while levelling as it gives you a nice boost to your experience gain, click on the Group Finder to do this. Dungeons are a great place to begin Tanking, they show you some basic mechanics and if you have reached Level 50 CP160 some of the dungeons will be very valuable for you to obtain Tank gear sets that you will need for future Tanking scenarios.

Normal dungeons are generally not very difficult at all. Some of the DLC Normal Dungeons can be a little more challenging as you may have to play some mechanics in those, but for the base game Dungeons you can virtually ignore all mechanics as even the things that are designed to 1 shot kill you don’t do so in normal non-DLC dungeons.

Doing back to back random Normal Dungeons is quite a good way to level up as a new Tank while also starting to gather the basic knowledge of Tanking, Taunting, Positioning and Sustaining.

When you reach level 45 you will receive mail from the Undaunted inviting you to the Undaunted Enclave, you should do this as soon as possible and complete the associated quest. Once you have done this, each day you will be able to go back to this area and pick up 3 daily pledge dungeon quests. These are extremely important as you get Undaunted XP from completing them which will level up the important Undaunted skill line and you will also earn Undaunted keys for completing pledges. These keys need to be saved until you reach 160 Champion Points, at which point you can then use the keys to buy Shoulder Monster Set pieces that will pair up with Helmets that can be earned from Veteran Dungeons to give you some really strong boost and buffs.

You should always try to use the group finder when doing dungeons even if it’s with a guild or organised group. The reason for this is that you get a good finder buff when you go into a dungeon using this and it will make your group stronger.

How to do Dungeons

Dungeons often have around 5 Bosses in total with a range of add packs in between.

As a Tank you often want to set up in a way where you will be able to deal with all of the challenges of a dungeon within your one build.

The most important thing firstly is crowd control. Dungeons have many add packs with multiple enemies and to begin with it can be a little overwhelming. The priority in this situation is you must taunt any melee enemies; these are the ones that usually run straight towards you holding melee weapons. Using an Ice Staff is a great way to initiate combat when you are dealing with an add pull in a dungeon, and the reason for this is you can initiate combat by using Frost Blockade which is the Elemental Blockade skill from the Destruction Staff skill line, when you do this ability it puts an ice path on the ground and as the enemies begin to run towards you they will get snared which means they are slowed down. Now this is a great method because the enemies become slower, it’s much easier for you to get taunt on them before they run off to attack your group. Once you have placed your Elemental Blockade you can then begin to think about your next move. For an even bigger snare you can use other abilities such as the DKs Cinder Storm and the PvP Assault skill Caltrops.

If you are a Dragonknight the next move would be to chain in any ranged enemies such as mages and archers who are shooting at you and/or your group at distance. You can use Unrelenting Grip as a Dragonknight and other classes have Silver Leash from the Fighters Guild available. You need to face your cursor in the middle of the screen directly at the ranged enemy until you see the enemy “glow” red around the edges, when this happens it means you have a proper target on them, then you use your Unrelenting Grip to pull them in. Any chain ability also works as a “medium” taunt. This isn’t quite as strong of a taunt as the usual skills like Inner Fire and Puncture but it will force chained enemies to be taunted to you for 2 seconds. This is kind of a “hidden” taunt mechanic that you can’t see on your in-game buff tracker but it’s there in the script somewhere. You should practice chaining in as much as possible and chain in all ranged enemies to you, over time you will get much quicker and you will be able to stack all of the adds very quickly.

The reason you want adds to be stacked is it makes it easier for damage dealers to kill enemies that are stacked together, it’s possible for them to use a wide range of Area of Effect damage abilities and can hit multiple enemies at the same time. Once you have all the enemies chained in you should try to keep the Frost Blockade on the ground to keep the enemies slowed down, but you want to now use something to root the enemies in place so they can’t run off. For a Dragonknight you have Choking Talons which is a great skill. There are different types of rooting abilities and they work in different ways. Choking Talons is great because it will hold up to 6 enemies near to you in place, it has a 360-degree radius so even enemies behind you get the Talons. This skill also debuffs all the enemies around you with Minor Maim which reduces all of their damage by 15%. Other classes have access to their own class-based root skills or they can use the Psijic Order skill Time Stop to also hold enemies in place. The DK Talons is far better than any other crowd control ability because you can chain an enemy and then instantly talons then also, but with things such as a Nightblade their class “root” is a Fear skill called Mass Hysteria but this won’t work on an enemy that has recently been chained/pulled in as they have CC (Crowd Control) Immunity, but the DK doesn’t have this issue with Chain and Talons.

For the majority of Boss fights, they are more or less just a turn and burn. Keep them taunted, turn them away so they have their back to the group and then it’s down to the damage dealers to just kill them. For the DLC dungeons, they will have mechanics that you may need to play. Individual Dungeon Guides will be available in the near future, but for now you can ask for help in The Tank Club Discord.

As a general tip for Dungeon Tanking, it’s always a good idea to use Chains, Talons and Balance on the same bar, this helps you to Pull, Root and Magicka Sustain all very quickly on the same bar. The only downside to this is Balance costing Health, if you have a healer in your group this won’t be an issue. If you are doing a dungeon with 3 Damage Dealers you need to pay more attention to when you are using it. You can try roll dodging immediately after casting Balance and you will avoid damage for 2 seconds, then if your health is under 50% heal yourself with Green Dragon Blood.

If you need additional healing in dungeons, you can enter the fight with Blockade as we suggested above, then cast Cinder Storm which will give you healing every 1 second, but this also snares enemies by 70% which is great. Only use Green Dragon Blood when your Health is below 50%, the healing you receive from casting this is inflated based on how much Health you have missing, so it you have a Max Health pool of 35k and you take damage and your Health is at 50% the incoming heal will be based on the 17500 that is missing and the higher your Max Health the higher the heal will be.

When it comes to Boss fights, the priority changes a little. The main focus for this is taunting the boss and retaunting every 14~ seconds to hold aggro. Positioning of bosses does vary depending on which dungeon you are doing and what mechanics are involved. An important part of Tanking bosses is to make sure you are able to sustain a prolonged blocking period. As a DK you have a few options, you cast a lot of Igneous Shield which will return Stamina if you have the Helping Hands passive. You use your Ultimate as much as possible, ideally this needs to be Aggressive Horn from the Assault skill line. This Ultimate will boost the damage of your group which in turn will end the fight faster. By using this Ultimate you also regain almost all of your resources due to the Battle Roar passive. Other ways to sustain Boss fights includes using any Synergies you see and using the tried and trusted tactic of Heavy Attacking the Boss immediately after you have blocked a Heavy Attack/Mechanic from the Boss.

Dungeons to look out for

If you come across any of the following particular dungeons then you should be mindful of the useful Tank gear you can find in them if you are over CP160. The following dungeons contain some useful Tank sets that you should collect if possible;

Crypt of Hearts – Ebon Armory

Vaults of Madness – The Worm’s Raiment

Selene’s Web – Hircine’s Veneer

Lair of Maarselok (DLC) – Dragon’s Defilement

Dungeon Tanking Gear

There are a variety of options you can use for Normal Dungeons Tanking. Generally, you want to be using a 5-1-1 setup with 5 Heavy Armor. You need a 1 Hand and Shield, Decisive / Absorb Stamina is good and an Ice Staff with Infused / Crusher. For Jewelry use whatever trait the Jewelry is looted initially or if using crafted then use Infused/1 Bracing 2 Magicka Recovery.

This is just a few gear options but for normal dungeons the gear really isn’t super important, you can Tank these at more or less any level, in any combination of gear. These gear setups will mostly just help with your sustain so you can practice the Chains/Talons/Positioning/Healing.

Crafted

Beginner

Advanced

Dragonstar Arena

At CP160 you could attempt to do Normal Dragonstar Arena which is located in the top left corner of Craglorn. This arena drops unique weapons/shields which work as a 2 pieces set that can give you a nice boost. Everything you have practiced so far with chaining, rooting and snaring enemies will be perfect for this arena, and it is a 4 person arena that is fairly simple to do even with minimal mechanics knowledge.

The main benefit to doing this is you would have the possibility of looting the Puncturing Remedy set which might be nice to have as you move into your first Veteran content as it will give you a heal every time you Taunt with Puncture and at this stage you won’t have a Monster Set so this would fill that gap in your gear set up.

PvP and Battlegrounds

You really want to be levelling up your PvP skill lines when you can by doing a little bit of PvP or just your random daily battleground. Getting to Support 9 so you can use Barrier as a passive skill on your front bar with the Magicka Aid passive to give yourself 10% more Magicka Recovery is a very useful thing to have especially when you move into trials later.

PvP is also good for the End of Campaign rewards. Every 30 days the PvP campaigns reset, if you reach at least tier 1 rewards by gaining 25,000 Alliance Points you will get rewarded. One of those rewards is a gold Transmutation Geode and these are incredibly useful so that you can change the traits on your gear. You need to be able to change the traits on your gear because you could spend weeks grinding dungeons for gear in the correct trait or you can just get the gear and then use 50 Transmute Stones to switch the trait on it. Grinding gear is usually not as bad as trying to get the correct Monster Sets in the correct traits so most people save transmuting for Monster Sets, or for jewellery since jewellery can only be looted in 1 trait and if you want to optimise your jewellery then you need to transmute it.

When to progress

Once you have some experience inside dungeons on normal mode and you have practiced the above methods of controlling adds and dealing with bosses you can start thinking about Veteran progression. You must get some Champion Point level 160 gear and enchants at this stage before you progress so you can Tank at the most effective level.

Collecting your first buff set is a great idea by getting the Ebon Armory set from Crypt of Hearts on Normal. This set will give you a nice Health boost but also everyone in your group, it’s an easy set to gather. You should aim to get the body pieces Chest, Legs, Waist, Hands, Feet but keeping hold of any other pieces is worth saving for later.

If you are doing dungeons with Magicka damage dealers often then you could also get the Worm Raiment set from Vaults of Madness. This set needs to be used on the Weapons and Jewellery since it’s a Light Armor set. You could pick up the Hands and Waist also so you can mix the set into a 5 Heavy 2 Light setup. The Worm set is useful for Magicka damage dealers as it gives them more Magicka recovery which is also extremely useful as a Tank for sustaining resources for chaining, rooting and healing.

Other useful gear at this stage would be Akaviri Dragon, or any of the Optional Sets mentioned previously that you are comfortable with that are going to help you sustain and survive Veteran encounters.

Veteran Dungeons

Suggested Requirements: Champion Point 160+ minimum

The main reason why you don’t want to do Veteran Dungeons pre 160CP is that you will be looting gear that is not max level gear and will be essentially useless once you reach 160CP. You also cannot use max level gear under 160CP so you will be dealing with much lower stats which just makes completing these dungeons much harder.

The difference between Normal Dungeons and Veteran Dungeons is that mechanics are more predominant in Veteran Mode. Veteran enemies have more health and also do more damage. You also have Veteran Hardmodes which are activated on the last boss of Veteran Dungeons and by completing these you will earn more Undaunted Keys if you are doing the daily Undaunted Pledges. Veteran Hardmodes will require you to either do an extra task such as keep some enemies alive or they will just increase the health and damage of the final boss. One of the main reasons for doing Veteran Dungeons is that they drop special Monster Helmets depending on which dungeon you do, and they are part of a 2 piece Monster Set which includes Shoulder Pieces that you need to buy with Undaunted Keys from the Undaunted Pledge givers.

It is a good idea to have possibly worked on getting some useful Tank gear via Normal Dungeons or Crafting before moving onto Veteran Dungeons. Gear does become a bigger priority moving into Veteran Dungeons and is a high priority in DLC Dungeons.

Base game dungeons are fairly simple and easy to do. Any dungeon that has two versions, the I version is usually a very good place to start. The II dungeons are usually a bit more difficult, especially the hardmodes. A dungeon that only has one version is generally pretty tricky to do and it’s a good idea to save those until you’ve completed some of the other Vet Dungeons first.

You cannot use the group finder to do DLC dungeons before 300CP and the reason for this is having lower CP usually causes considerable problems in these instances. These dungeons are more difficult and have a variety of mechanics in each one. If you are in an organised group you can still do the DLC Vet dungeons but you will have to travel in or walk through the door manually as the group finder won’t allow you to use it and you also won’t get the group finder buff meaning you’ll be even weaker than normal.

Fungal Grotto I (FG1) | Fungal Grotto II (FG2) | Spindleclutch I (SC1) | Spindleclutch II (SC2) | The Banished Cells I (BC1) | The Banished Cells II (BC2) | Darkshade Caverns I (DC1) | Darkshade Caverns II (DC2) | Elden Hollow I (EH1) | Elden Hollow II (EH2) | Wayrest Sewers I (WS1) | Wayrest Sewers II (WS2) | Arx Corinium (Arx) | City of Ash I (CoA1) | City of Ash II (CoA2) | Crypt of Hearts I (CoH1) | Crypt of Hearts II (CoH2) | Direfrost Keep | Tempest Island | Volenfell | Blackheart Haven (BH) | Blessed Crucible (BC) | Selene’s Web | Vaults of Madness (VoM)

Imperial City Prison (ICP) | White-Gold Tower (WGT) | Cradle of Shadows (CoS) | Ruins of Mazzatun (RoM) | Falkreath Hold (FH) | Depths of Malatar (DoM) | Fang Lair (FL) | Frostvault (FV) | Bloodroot Forge (BF) | Lair of Maarselok (LoM) | March of Sacrifices (MoS) | Moon Hunter Keep (MHK) | Moongrave Fane (MF) | Scalecaller Peak (SP) | Icereach (IR) | Unhallowed Grave (UG |  Castle Thorn (CT) | Stone Garden (SG)

Dungeons to look out for

If you come across any of the following particular veteran dungeons then you should be mindful of the useful Tank monster sets you can find in them if you are over CP160. The following dungeons contain some useful Tank sets that you should collect if possible;

Spindleclutch I – Swarm Mother

Spindleclutch II – Bloodspawn

The Banished Cells I – Shadowrend

Darkshade Caverns I – Sentinel of Rkugamz

Darkshade Caverns II – Engine Guardian

Elden Hollow I – Chokethorn

Wayrest Sewers II – Scourge Harvester

Volenfell – Tremorscale

Blessed Crucible – Troll King

Imperial City Prison – Lord Warden

Depths of Malatar – Symphony of Blades

Fang Lair – Thurvokun

Frostvault – Stonekeeper

Bloodroot Forge – Earthgore

Moon Hunter Keep – Vykosa

Moongrave Fane – Grundwulf

Castle Thorn – Lady Thorn

Vet Dungeon Tanking Gear

If you are doing dungeons using the group finder, use any gear you are comfortable with. It’s likely you won’t get a healer sometimes so you should be prepared for that. I would advise you join 5 guilds at this point and try to find groups for dungeons in the guild chats, discords or wherever people communicate as you’ll have a much better success rate of clean and clear dungeons with a chance to really practice your role and not worry as much about what everyone else is doing and also doing wrong more often than not.

Here are some gear options you could use:

Crafted

Beginner

Advanced

When to progress

Moving onto trials is a completely different ballgame. Trials are 12 person content, generally requiring organisation and specific gear and skills to achieve a group target. You can consider progressing onto normal Trials as early as 160CP. Dying and losing aggro of bosses inside a trial as the Tank will usually mean your whole group will die, so it’s a good idea to make sure you’ve got the fundamentals of Tanking and had some practice Tanking dungeons, dealing with multiple enemies, sustaining and surviving.

You should have a decent collection of both important Tank gear, monster sets and any optional Tank sets you like to use. Ensure you have at least Ebon, Worm, Livewire, Torugs and possibly Dragons Defilement. For monster sets Lord Warden, Engine Guardian, Earthgore, Sentinel of Rkugamz and Tremorscale. At this stage you should have no problems working on Normal Trials with the prospect of Veteran Trials soon after.

Most trials usually have two Tanks, this is a great way to begin understanding how trials work. At first you might go as the Off Tank. This is where your main objective is to support the Main Tank. You will need to communicate with the Main Tank before you start so you can understand what is expected from you, which enemies you will taunt and with enemies you won’t. As an Off Tank you are responsible for assisting your group and you will generally spend less time Tanking than the Main Tank. As an Off Tank, even in a new environment it is a good idea to try to use some helpful gear options that support your group because you won’t be doing as much tanking so it’s vital to provide as many buffs and debuffs as you can to help your group.

Normal Trials

Suggested Requirements: Champion Point 160+ but 300CP for more comfort

Normal Trials are the extremely basic versions of the much more difficult Veteran Trials. The general idea is that these will give you an idea of the environment so you know what to expect, you will get to see some new and unique mechanics and you can begin to learn how to work as a large 12 person group.

1. Aetherian Archive (AA)

2. Hel Ra Citadel (HRC)

3. Sunspire (SS)

4. Cloudrest (CR)

5. Asylum Sanctorium (AS)

6. Sanctum Ophidia (SO)

7. Kynes Aegis (KA)

8. Maw of Lorkhaj (MoL)

9. Halls of Fabrications (HoF)

Your priority at this stage is to use the fundamentals you have learned already, apply those inside the trials. Going into normal trials blind with no knowledge would generally be fine apart from some of the later ones on the tier list getting a little more difficult due to mechanics that need to be understood and applied.This is your only real learning option other than reading trial guides or watching trial clips, so you should try to pick up as much information as you can while doing these trials.

The best route is to join guild runs rather than finding random runs as this way you’ll have the option to ask questions and gather feedback without a potential toxic environment. If you decide to do random trial runs you can do this usually by travelling to Craglorn and picking up runs by looking in the text chat. Random runs have the potential to be much more volatile and if you make a mistake you’ll be criticised more than helped since there is no real structure or leader in these kinds of runs, they are predominantly made purely for the reason to obtain gear. If you have gathered some trial experience with a guild and you know what you are doing then random runs would work fine.

Not all Trials require two Tanks but you should try to join one that does so you can get the general idea of how you split the workload of a trial with another Tank. If you make a mistake in a group with two Tanks there is less risk to the group.

Trials to look out for

If you come across any of the following particular trials then you should be mindful of the useful Tank gear sets you can find in them if you are over CP160. The following trials contain some vital Tank sets that you should collect as soon as possible;

Sunspire – Claw of Yolnahkriin

Maw of Lorkhaj – Roar of Alkosh

Both of these sets are absolutely crucial Tank sets if you want to eventually work on Veteran Trials, especially if you plan on getting into any sort of Trials team. Alkosh you need in Jewellery/Weapons/Shield you could pick up the Waist and Hands just to use temporarily if you struggle getting some pieces. With Yolnahkriin you just want to collect every gear slot but you’ll often be using the body slots. These are two of the best Tanking sets in the game with regards to group buffing sets.

Normal Trials Tanking Gear

When you go into a Trial for the first time, use whatever gear you want. Play it safe, make sure you can sustain, make sure you have some healing and just learn the fights. Using Ebon or Plague Doctor with Seducer and Engine Guardian is a decent enough start for your first few trials and gives you good Max Health and Sustain.

Off Tank

Main Tank

When to progress

There is a huge difference moving from Normal to Veteran when it comes to Trials. You should not try to progress onto Veteran Trials too quickly, you should have a lot of experience in Normal Dungeons and Trials, and you should have some good awareness and performances in Veteran DLC Dungeons. You might also at this stage have tried and completed Dragonstar Arena Veteran.

Having done all of these things you will have stress tested your ability to Tank. You really should not move into Veteran Trials if you don’t have some control over your resource management and the ability to survive even in difficult encounters and situations. You need to make sure you are able to taunt multiple targets quickly, hold aggro, control fights and as a minimum be able to maintain your own buffs. You should be somewhat capable of debuffing enemies and providing some group buffs.

Veteran Trial bosses hit extremely hard and you will spend a lot of time holding block and block casting abilities. You will have to know about mechanics before you go into Veteran Trials or you will be a complete hindrance to any group because you are in the most predominant role as a Tank. If you are dead, everyone dies. If you don’t have some idea of mechanics or what to expect it will be impossible for your group to complete anything.

ESO is supposed to be fun, so you really should look for guilds that offer trials to newcomers, help, advice and a relaxed environment where you can learn. There are many guilds like this that offer introduction runs and open trials for people to attend and learn from an experienced raid leader.

You also have the option of The Tank Club Discord which will provide you with any answers or support you need, and this site includes optimal builds and skills for each trial so always take a look at the resources available before jumping in.

Veteran Trials

Veteran Trials are drastically different from Normal Trials. The bosses and layouts are exactly the same as on Normal, the biggest thing is that Normal Trial mechanics can be skipped and ignored but in Veteran this is not the case. In Veteran all the enemies have more health, hit considerably harder and there is very little room for error. Learning mechanics takes time and it is something you will need to work towards over a number of clears of the same Veteran Trial.

It is important to do your research before heading into a Veteran Trial. I would advise you to try and join some runs as the Off Tank initially so you can start to learn mechanics and it gives you a chance to monitor what the Main Tank is doing so you can attempt to apply that yourself when you switch roles. As the Off Tank you should focus on you Buffs and Debuff to assist your group, deal with whatever targets you are supposed to which should be discussed with the Main Tank before you start.

1. Aetherian Archive (vAA)

2. Hel Ra Citadel (vHRC)

3. Sunspire (vSS)

4. Sanctum Ophidia (vSO)

5. Asylum Sanctorium (vAS)

6. Kynes Aegis (vKA)

7. Maw of Lorkhaj (vMoL)

8. Cloudrest (vCR)

9. Halls of Fabrications (vHoF)

1. Sanctum Ophidia (vSO HM)

2. Aetherian Archive (vAA HM)

3. Halls of Fabrications (vHoF HM)

4. Hel Ra Citadel (vHRC HM)

5. Kynes Aegis (vKA HM)

6. Maw of Lorkhaj (vMoL HM)

7. Asylum Sanctorium (vAS+2)

8. Sunspire (vSS HM)

9. Cloudrest (vCR+3)

The absolute starting point for a Tank is the Craglorn Trials vAA, vHRC and vSO. These trials are very easy compared to some of the others, but they also give you a decent challenge as a Beginner Tank and you learn some valuable lessons on mechanics, blocking, sustaining and positioning.

For Veteran trials it is recommended that you use either all Sturdy gear or Sturdy small/Infused big.

For your Weapons you should use a One Handed Decisive/Absorb Stamina, Ice Staff Infused/Crusher.

Jewellery use whatever set it drops in, if you are crafting then use Infused or Harmony.

If you are a Main Tank or solo Tank in some cases for some trials you should absolutely prioritise going into Trials with a gear setup that you have tried and tested, for any first encounter you should use selfish gear sets. You need to be comfortable with your gear options and need to be able to sustain and survive, this is the major priority for your very first Main Tanking Vet Trial encounters in every trial. Just really pay attention to what sets you are using however, something like Leeching Plate is absolutely useless in a single boss fight and literally any other set would work better since you have only one enemy this isn’t going to give you any healing or sustain from Leeching. For this phase you really need to be looking at your gear and picking out anything that you can rely on to give you the support you need. You will be asked to use specific gear in pretty much every group, try to gain experience in your selfish sets if you need to, it would be logically better to use the buff sets from the very beginning so you can learn to Tank in those sets safely and not rely on the gear that you’ll eventually have to drop anyway. This really is up to you, just do whatever makes you most comfortable.

You cannot sustainably do trials like this for very long. When you are in a group you are attempting to work together as a unit to kill the bosses and clear the trials. As a minimum you should be trying to use Yolnahkriin as one of your sets. This is a very Tank orientated set, and it will give your group a damage buff just by taunting. You should try and work Alkosh into your setup as soon as possible for Veteran Trials, you are on the front line and the only person who is always in a suitable range to maintain Alkosh on the enemy. It is possible to do every single trial as the Main Tank in these sets. It may take some practice but you should be switching to this gear after 5 runs at the absolute most, you shouldn’t prolong the switch to the proper trials gear as you become reliant on it and unfortunately it’s not in the groups best interest for you to use selfish gear for a prolonged period of time and it’s likely you would be replaced for someone who is more open to assisting the group.

If you have a problem with healing inside of a Veteran Trial you need to consider a few factors. In a Trial you will always have 1-2 Healers. The Healers main job and function is to heal you and the group. You are NOT expected to burn out your resources healing yourself, that is not the function of a team. Your own self healing is something that should generally be used when you’ve made a mistake and you have to react-heal yourself to fix a problem that you’ve caused. If you are dying in general combat from normal damage it’s simply a problem that the healer isn’t doing their job. You should be assisting your healers where physically possible, it’s not their job to babysit you and you just do whatever you like and they keep you alive, as a DK using regular Igneous Shields helps you and your group, casting Green Dragon Blood when you take a big hit means you heal yourself but also gain Minor Vitality which makes it easier for the Healer to heal you as you get 8% increase healing received. Putting down a Blood Altar will give you healing every second when you damage a nearby enemy. And if you have bar space use some healing over time such as Cinder Storm to just help you out. Your other main option is to consider using a healing Monster Set. If you are a new Tank in a group you could also consider that you may have new Healers who need time to figure out their situation, so you might both be learning. Use a healing Monster Set such as Earthgore or Troll King to help yourself out if you need it.

For Veteran Trials you have a number of ways to help yourself. You need to eventually use whatever gear you are told to use but this doesn’t mean you are giving up everything. You can adjust any Champion Points, Gear Traits and Glyphs, Attributes, Mundus and things like this to assist you with your sustain and survival. One of the main things to consider is your Monster Set. If you need sustain, you’re lacking healing or require more mitigation then use a 2 piece Monster Set to try and achieve the things you need first before you begin switching anything else.

If you need healing use Earthgore, it’s the best healing monster set you can get. You could also try Troll King.

If you are finding it impossible to sustain then use Earthgore or Grundwulf, if you find it impossible to ever drop block and you get hit often then try Stonekeeper.

If you are taking high damage hits then you need to look at your damage mitigation, you can increase your resistances with Lord Warden if you are way under the resistance cap of 33k.
You can even try debuffing the enemy if you take too much damage by using Shadowrend for a 5% high uptime damage decrease to the enemy, you can also try Vykosa which will remove Weapon and Spell damage from the enemy which you need to time with high damage mechanics. Then you have Lady Thorn which has a huge debuff that you can apply to the enemy which reduces their damage by 30% for 5 seconds but this can only happen once every 30 seconds.

Another thing you can consider for Vet Trials is your Jewellery. Jewellery is a very strong equipment that you can adjust for each situation. If you lack health you can use Healthy Jewellery. If you need more sustain you can use Infused/Potion Cooldown which will allow you to use potions more often. If you need more frequent healing then Infused/Magicka Recovery will help. Using a Infused/Bracing enchant will help reduce your block cost. If you are getting stunned in a fight you could use Infused/Potion Boost with Immovable Potions to make yourself impossible to stun for 32 seconds. There are so many huge benefits to different combinations of jewellery. It’s wise to collect as much jewellery as you can of sets such as Alkosh where you need to use this set most of the time, and you need different traits and enchants if you really want to make things easier for different trials.

In Veteran Trials, once you have gained experience and are able to manage mechanics you need to be providing as many buffs and debuffs as you can. It can be difficult to begin with to manage them but the main things you need to consider as a Main Tank DK is a specific set of buffs that are important and any optional minor buffs you can worry about once you have perfected the main one.

  1. Taunt/Major Fracture/Minor
  2. Protection – Ransack
  3. Major Resolve – Balance
  4. Minor Main/Minor Heroism – Heroic Slash
  5. Infused Crusher – Elemental Blockade
  6. Alkosh Armor Shred – Using a Synergy every 10 seconds

These are the main things you need to focus on as a Tank in a Trial situation. From this list Alkosh is the most difficult thing to maintain and this is the case for most Tanks. Maintaining good uptime on these buffs and debuffs is part of the package of being a Tank.

Veteran / Hardmode Tanking Gear

Your gear for tanking at this level will be very dependant on the content you are playing. While there is a general theme, you should always check our build specific Main Tank and Off Tank builds first.

Beginner Gear

Setup 1

2x Engine Guardian or Any

5x Plague Doctor

5x Armor of the Seducer

Setup 2

2x Engine Guardian or Any

5x Plague Doctor

5x Akaviri Dragonguard

Optimal Gear

Once you have cleared the trial a few times and have begun to understand the mechanics then you need to switch to group buffing sets, these are vital for your group.

Off Tank

Main Tank

Gear and skills will vary from Trial to Trial. Make sure to check out the individual trial builds for more information.

The End

Just remember that the Tank role is a difficult and pressured role to play. We all progress at a different speed, and you need to just develop as you gain experience and try your best. Play the game, play your class and learn the role. Learning fights and mechanics will make things so much easier and you can only do this by getting many hours of experience and talking with other Tanks. Enjoy the game, as stressful as Tanking can be you need to have fun.

Thank you for taking the time to read through this guide, I hope you found it useful.
~ TC Lee

DD – Damage Dealer – The guys in your team who do the damage!
DPS – Damage Per Second – The amount of damage caused each second by an individual or group.
Aggro – When you have an active taunt on an enemy target and they are focussed on you.
CC – Crowd Control – When you chain, pull, root, immobilise, snare, fear
Snare – This is when you slow down the enemies movement.
Pulling – When you use Unrelenting Grip, Silver Leash or Frozen Device to pull a target to you.
Stacking – When you taunt, line of sight, crowd control a group of enemies so they are stacked up.
LoS – Line of Sight – When you stand in a certain place to force enemies to move so they can see you.
DoT – Damage over Time – Abilities that damage an enemy over a duration of time.
HoT – Heal over Time – A heal that will healer smaller amounts consistently but over a duration of time.
AoE – Area of Effect – A heal or damage skill that you place on the ground that hits multiple targets.
Cleave – Usually caused by AoE skills, where you focus on one target but also hit others at the same time.
Proc – An event that is triggered by meeting a certain requirement. Using Yolnahkriin and taunting an enemy “procs” Minor Courage.
Range Tanking – When you maintain aggro of a ranged target and you Tank them at range rather than melee distance. Usually requires a specific setup to deal with ranged tanking.
Face Tanking – When you are melee tanking targets and just blocking through and taking any damage.
Kite – Kiting an enemy would mean running away from it with aggro so it can’t hit you, some mechanics also require you to “kite” them as they will follow you or aim for you and you need to move away from them.
Rez – Resurrecting/Resurrection – Just an abbreviation for resurrecting allies when they die.
PotL – Power of the Light – Templar skill
GDB – Green Dragon Blood – Dragonknight healing skill.
Orb – Mystic Orb/
Shard – Templar skill that provides you a synergy that you must press and you gain resources.
Altar – Blood Altar – Undaunted skill
PA – Powerful Assault – a gear set used sometimes by Tanks.
S&B – Abbreviation for Sword and Board also known as One Hand and Shield.