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.
- Taunt/Major Fracture/Minor
- Protection – Ransack
- Major Resolve – Balance
- Minor Main/Minor Heroism – Heroic Slash
- Infused Crusher – Elemental Blockade
- 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.
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.