ESO Necromancer Tank Class Skills and Passives

Grave Lord

Glacial Colossus → Morph of Frozen Colossus
(Vital)
If you are using a Necro Tank this is one of the main reason why – because your group doesn’t have enough Colossus Ultimate’s. This is a extremely powerful enemy debuff that increases your groups damage. This will be used over Aggressive Horn in most situations.

Flame Skull
(Not Needed)

Stalking Blastbones  → Morph of Blastbones
(Situational)
The reason you would use this skill is for “farming” corpses. Either morph will work, typically it would be Stalking for a Tank since it’s Magicka costing but if you are playing a Hybrid setup then you might use Blighted Blastbones. This skill is used primarily so you can create a corpse which you can then absorb with Necrotic Potency. When you combine this with other other corpses it will increase the speed with which you gain back your Ultimate, which is very valuable with a setup designed for doing it.

Avid Boneyard → Morph of Boneyard
(Situational)
This is the selfish morph that creates a synergy that you can use yourself. This is only worth using if you don’t need the AoE Breach provided by the other morph and you want to give yourself the synergy for increasing your personal Alkosh uptime.

Unnerving Boneyard → Morph of Boneyard
(Vital)
Applies Major Breach as an AoE, plus provides your group with a synergy which does damage and heals you for the damage caused. This is the group morph, it’s good for trash fights for the Major Breach and it’s good for supplying a synergy to your group.

Skeletal Mage
(Situational)
This again would be used in a similar way to Blastbones and either morph could be used. The primary function is for creating corpses to absorb with Necrotic Potency for gaining back Ultimate faster. It will provide some additional DPS which would be good for a Hybrid setup. If you cast this skill half way through its duration it will generate a corpse, so you don’t have to wait for it to die.

Mystic Siphon → Morph of Mystic Siphon
(Situational)
This is needed for a Tank, only when using Elemental Catalyst as this will be your source of Area of Effect Shock Damage.

Reusable Parts
(Situational)
This is the only passive that’s really needed by the Tank but only if you are using Blastbone, Spirit Mender or Skeletal Mage for the Ultimate farming.

Death Knell, Dismember & Rapid Rot
(All Unnecessary)
The of these passives are damage focused and you do not need them for Tanking although you could pick them up if you have spare skill points to give you a small damage increase.

Bone Tyrant

Bone Goliath Transformation
(Unnecessary)
This isn’t something you’ll really use, more of a PvP skill. Could use for a real desperate situation but for PvE you’d be better off slotting Colossus and Aggressive Horn or Renewing Animation.

Hungry Scythe → Morph of Death Scythe
(Vital)
This is the Necro Tank’s main heal. It’s a Magicka damage ability which heals based on how many targets it hits and also give you a heal over time. It scales on your Max Health. The only downside is you need to actually hit a target to get healed so if you are out of range and need a heal you could really struggle.

Beckoning Armor → Morph of Bone Armor
(Optional)
Armor buff that grants Major Resolve and will pull in 1 ranged enemy every 3 seconds that it attacking you. This can pull in ranged enemies quicker than once every 3 seconds if you just recast the ability it also resets the pull in timer so you can actually pull in a target every second. Not as reliable as using an actual instant pull ability such as Silver Leash. Generally not a useful Armor buffing skill since you can use Balance which gives you great Magicka sustain plus Major Resolve.

Summoner’s Armor → Morph of Bone Armor
(Situational)
This is the other morph of Beckoning and it is very useful when you are trying to gain Ultimate back faster by summoning and absorbing corpses. It will reduce the cost of your summoning skills plus create a corpse when it ends. If you recast this once it reaches half of the duration it will also create a corpse, so this is another useful skill to combine with other corpses and Necrotic Potency for generating Ultimate much faster.

Deaden Pain → Morph of Bitter Harvest
(Optional)
You gain Major Protection when you absorb a corpse with this ability however the duration is pretty small so it would barely be worth it. This would also be difficult to get any good use out of during Boss fights which is generally when you would most likely want it. If you were really good at timing everything you could essentially use other abilities to create corpses and then time the use of this skill with a high damage mechanic but it would be a lot of effort to get the timing of this to work. You would get much more benefits from taking the other morph and getting your Ultimate back faster.

Necrotic Potency → Morph of Bitter Harvest
(Vital)
This is a fantastic skill for a Tank. Along with the small heal and damage reduction you also gain 6 Ultimate per corpse consumed. This makes it fantastic for 4-person content where there are many adds you can use your Colossus Ultimate much more frequently and also in some trials where you have lots of add phases it helps to boost your Colossus uptimes easily by consuming all the corpses. You can also combine its use by slotting a range of summoning skills to create corpses and then absorb them to get huge Ultimate gain in almost any fight. The skill is free and the heal from it also procs the Pearls of Ehlnofey if you meet the requirements to do so.

Agony Totem → Morph of Bone Totem
(Vital)
Very nice for add control and also a nice group synergy. Minor Protection is a nice group buff but would mostly be used in add pulls for the AoE Minor Vulnerability.

Empowering Grasp → Morph of Grave Grasp
(Vital)
This skill is one of the main reasons why a Necro Tank is useful and very much needed for group content. It summons 3 patches of skeletal claws from the ground in front of you which snare the enemy, cause Minor Maim and immobilise them, so its a crowd control skill first of all. This is also a group buff, it will give up to 6 members Empower who are stood inside each patch, this increases their next Light Attack damage by 40%. This skill effectively replaces any use of the set Galenwe. The Empower also boosts the Healing of Spirit Guardian and the damage from the Skeletal Mage. Empower provides anywhere from 2-6% increased group DPS so this is a pretty vital group buff that should be used in every possible situation.

Death Gleaning
(Vital)
Good sustain passive.

Disdain Harm
(Vital)
Pretty vital skill in certain DoT heavy fights.

Health Avarice
(Vital)
You’ll likely have at least 1 and sometimes 3 Bone Tyrant Skills slotted which will give a nice healing boost.

Last Gasp
(Vital)
More Max Health always very helpful for a Tank.

Living Death

Renewing Animation → Morph of Reanimate
(Optional)
This is a good skill to have slotted if you are Tanking in progression or PUG groups as you can quickly resurrect 3 people. You’ll also gain the Near-Death Experience passive even if you don’t use this skill but have it slotted which can be very useful in some high damage situations to get yourself some stronger self-healing.

Render Flesh
(Not Needed)

Expunge
(Optional)
This will basically purge negative effects from you. You have the option of the morph Expunge and Modify that gives you resources each time you remove negative effects or the other Hexproof that removes more negative effects. You also gain reduced ability cost for having it slotted. Could be a decent sustain skill as it costs a very small amount of health and returns a decent amount of resources but the downfall is that it is very situational and if you don’t have any negative effects applied to you then it wont give you any resources.

Spirit Guardian → Morph of Spirit Mender
(Vital)
A heal over time ability that also takes 10% of your incoming damage. The only problem with the heal is it will heal other people so it’s not great for self healing unless you are away from your group, but still worth using if you have the bar space. It links up to whoever has the lowest health so it can help to keep others in your group alive. In high damage situations its worth using just so you can transfer some of the damage off you and onto the spirit. You will also benefit from an increased Magicka Recovery when you have this active via the Undead Confederate passive.

Intensive Mender → Morph of Spirit Mender
(Optional)
Similar to the Spirit Guardian it just has a much shorter duration and a bigger burst heal. It wont absorb any of your damage either but is more for the bigger heal. The other morph is generally better.

Mortal Coil → Morph of Restoring Tether
(Optional)
You can use this on a corpse to heal you and allies, the heal won’t be great as a Tank but it also restores a small amount of Stamina so it will add a little extra sustain if you need it, along with the heal plus a slight healing done increase. This skill isn’t typically worth the bar space because the Stamina return is so low its unnoticeable.

Curative Curse
(Vital)
Very helpful passive which increases the healing done if you have a negative effect on you which is a pretty common thing for a lot of PvE content.

Near-Death Experience
(Vital)
You need to have a Living Death ability slotted for this passive. If you do then you’ll get an increase to your crit healing with all healing skills based on how low health you have.

Corpse Consumption
(Vital)
Vital skill for even more Ultigen especially good if you are using it with Necrotic Potency.

Undead Confederate
(Vital)
Really nice passive to increase you Magicka Recovery mostly when you have a Spirit Mender active, or any summon for that matter.

ESO Necromancer Tank Overview

Necromancer Tanks are quite an uncommon thing to see in The Elder Scrolls Online but have recently started to gain more popularity.

The main reason why they are quite uncommon, is because it’s a fairly new class that was introduced to the game 5 years after initial release. Necros in general, really excel in providing additional damage to their groups due to their powerful Colossus Ultimate and Empowering Grasp Skill.

Necros make excellent Off Tanks for trials and can be really useful for 4-man content if they are the only Necro in the group. Typically they are a little more difficult to play than some other classes but the benefits they provide within group content are well worth it.

Necros, especially on a support role provide a good range of group utility. The best thing about the Necro Tank is, even if you already have other Necros in a group, using a Necro Tank still has a valuable function within that group which is not the case for most other classes. When we look at Trials, you should always aim for 3 Necromancers in the group. If this is not the case, then this is also great time to consider a Necro Tank.

The initial benefit of using a Necro Tank is for the Colossus Ultimate. This increases the damage taken by enemies and is a valuable tool to help your group kill enemies quicker. You can also utilise the Necro for gaining Ultimate at a much faster rate than other classes and this means you can Colossus enemies more often. This is achieved by using Necro Skills that create corpses and then absorbing those corpses, along with the corpses from killed enemies to gain Ultimate with Necrotic Potency.

The second main reason for using a Necro Tank is the group buff of Empower that is provided via Empowering Grasp. This skill does the same thing as the Galenwe gear set but is 1 skill rather than a 5 piece gear set. This is what makes Necro Off Tanks so vital for a lot of Trial groups nowadays, as they can keep casting this skill at their group to buff all Light Attacks by 40% which can yield a group DPS increase of anywhere from 2-6% depending on how good they are at Light Attack Weaving.

A few other great things from they Necro include their ability to provide a number of group synergies, and Boneyard which provides a synergy is also an AoE Major Breach skill which is great for situations where you deal with a number of enemies. The Necro can also create their own synergy with Avid Boneyard which can be extremely useful if you are using Alkosh. Necros also have Agony Totem which can be a really nice multi-use skill where it fears enemies but also provides a synergy and applies AoE Minor Vulnerability.

Due to the Necro having access to AoE Shock Damage with Mystic Siphon this makes them really good at utilising full AoE Elemental Catalyst if needed which other Tank classes can’t do and with the frost damage from Boneyard this also makes them a bit better than most other classes at maintaining Minor Brittle if you are asked to maintain that.

The Necros self healing is not the best. Hungry Scythe is ok and scales off Max Health meaning the more Health you have the bigger heals you get. Its a reasonably strong heal which is even better the more enemies you hit with it. The major downside of this skill is you need to hit something for it to work, so sometimes it can be a real problem if you are in a fight that requires lots of movement as you may fall into situations where you cannot heal.

Necros can also use Spirit Guardian to gain some healing over time, which is nice but it can sometimes go and heal allies in your group as it is designed to heal whoever has the lowest health. The great thing is that it provides 200 extra Magicka Recovery via Necro passives and it also provides additional damage mitigation.

A few things to consider when choosing to play a Necro is that healing can be difficult as mentioned already if you are in situations away from enemies. Sustain can be a particular challenge as they are no skills that will give back resources while blocking. Crowd Control is not the best although better than some classes, combining Silver Leash and Agony Totem doesn’t work. If you chain an enemy they cannot be feared afterwards so it doesn’t work as well as the DKs chain and talons and using Beckoning Armor is very ineffective as it take too long. 

Overall I believe the Necromancer Tank is a very strong option to consider using, especially as an Off Tank. If you are in a Trial group with less that 3 Necros they are extremely useful, but even if you have 3 already, they use a completely different skill set to a DD which means they offer a whole new function in group content. It requires a bit more effort to play a Necro and the playstyle is different to other classes but the benefits are worth it.

Strengths

  • Damage increasing group buffs for both Magicka and Stamina group.
  • Able to provide a self synergy for Alkosh.
  • Good area of effect debuff skills.
  • Reduces incoming damage by transferring some to the Spirit Guardian.
  • Good Magicka sustain.
  • Good option for Minor Brittle and Elemental Catalyst setups.

Weaknesses

  • Can be difficult to self heal since you need to hit an enemy to burst heal yourself.
  • No good Stamina sustain passives or abilities, Stamina sustain can be really difficult.
  • Magicka sustain is good but skills are very Magicka heavy so you can easily start to have problems.
  • Slow and uncontrollable class based pull/chain ability.

Group Buffs

ESO Necromancer Tank Videos

Souleater - Necromancer Tank Build | Elder Scrolls Online
Top 5 Tank Races | Elder Scrolls Online | Flames of Ambition
Minor Brittle Information | Elder Scrolls Online | Flames of Ambition

ESO Necromancer Tank Links