ESO Tank Race

Tanking in ESO can be done with any Race with very minimal difference, and it’s not of 100% importance to select whatever race you want. Tank Race can be chosen based on aesthetics if that is the sort of thing you are interested in, or you would pick a Tank Race that fits in with your Tank experience and one that will provide you will some Tank focussed bonuses. Tanking won’t become impossible if you don’t select a Race that is aimed towards Tanking, thing could however be slightly easier if you had chosen a more Tank focused Race, especially at low level and low CP.

The main things to consider when making a Tank and selecting your Tank Race are:

  • What content am I looking to Tank? Trials, Dungeons, Overland?
  • Are you a beginner or making a new character?
  • What level of content am I Tanking? Normal, Veteran, Hardmode, Score-pushing?
  • How experienced is my group? Beginner/New, Experienced, Top Tier?
  • Will I be using Medium Armor Buff Sets and need more resistances?
  • If doing Trials, are you likely to be a Main Tank or Off Tank? If Off Tank will you need to sometimes Hybrid DPS?
  • Do I need higher Max Stats? Will I need more Health? Can I sustain?
  • If I need sustain what method of gaining back resources will work best for me?

Once you know what sort of thing you need then you can choose a race base on those requirements.
The newer you are to the game and with a lack of Champion Points, the more race will be effective.

For more information on ESO Tank Classes, make sure you check out our Tank Guide section and our Discord.




Dark Elf

Dark Elf

High Elf

High Elf









Wood Elf

Wood Elf

Tank Race Tier List & Comments

One of the most common Tanking races is the Nord and it’s one that hold a lot of usefulness for Tanking, extra Stamina, extra Health and almost 4k resistances give you some nice base stats to work. You gain 5 Ultimate once every 10s when you take damage which is minimal, but in terms of Ultigen it helps when combined with other Ultimate gaining sources.

  • Very well rounded Tank Class.
  • Gains huge extra defence which is about 7% more mitigation​.
  • Takes over 8 minutes to get an extra Aggressive Horn from the Ultimate passive.
  • Nord are a great option for all Tank classes and situations.
  • Extra resistances means its not a problem using Medium Armor, 5/1/1, none resistance buffing sets.
  • Good at low CP when you have no mitigation from Hardy/Ironclad/Elemental Defender.

The Nord is the best race for Tanking along with Imperial. Nord offer more mitigation while Imperial on the flipside provides better sustain.

Beginners may prefer this race for sustaining. The potion passive gives a burst 4k of all resources on top of what you gain from the potion itself, which is extremely good but it comes at a cost of using a potion to get it. You get extra Health and Magicka which are both good for Tanking. The 6% healing done increases the amount of any heal you cast but generally this won’t be a huge difference as a Tank.

  • All Passives are good for Tanking.
  • Great for sustain, essentially 5333 resources per min if using potion on cooldown.
  • Will need to put points into Stamina to balance out the additional Magicka
  • Great if you struggle with sustaining
  • Useful if you want to be able to switch your character between Tank and Healer easily.
  • Would work especially well as Templar, Necromancer and Nightblade which are Classes with Tank sustain issues.

Argonian is a good choice for Tank race, especially good for beginners or people who might look to switch between Tank/Healer roles. Only drops below Imperial in terms of this list due to the fact you need to actively use a potion to benefit from the sustain passive rather than the automatic constant sustain benefits of the Imperial. The extra Magicka also makes it slightly less desirable to Nord/Imperial which both have Stamina.

Especially good in Magicka damage content such as Cloudrest. The huge 2k Max Magicka means you’ll probably need to apply some Attributes or Armor Enchantments into Stamina meaning generally you’ll have lower max Health. You gain a large amount of Spell Resistance which can be doubled and this is why they are great for magic damage based trials especially as a none DK. Magicka abilities cost 7% less and you gain 100 Magicka recovery both of which are great for a Tank.

  • Magicka Recovery and Reduce Magicka cost of abilities is fantastic for Magicka sustain heavy builds.
  • Huge Spell Resistance, great for Magicka based fights.
  • Max Magicka is a problem if you need your Stamina to be higher.
  • Nice to have in Magicka based trials and dungeons such as Cloudrest.
  • Great for Magicka sustain if that is something you struggle with.
  • Would work good on any class for helping with Magicka sustain.
  • A decent option if you often switch roles between Magicka DD/Healer and want the option to Tank.
  • Would work well with a Frost Staff build if that’s something you are looking to make.

This is on par with Redguard in regards to sustain but on the Magicka side of things rather than Stamina. Breton creates slightly more barriers than Redguard with its addition of extra Magicka as you’ll need to Balance it out as a conventional Tank. But it would be perfect if you are usually a DD and switching to become a 3rd Tank for vCR or something like that as the sustain and additional resistances are both really helpful, and if you are planning on putting together a Frost Staff Tank Build then this is going to be a good way of doing it.

This race would perform pretty well if switching between Tank, DD or Hybrid of the two. Gaining both Max Magicka and Stamina is nice, you might need to apply more Health if needed. You gain a lot of Flame Resistance and immunity to the burning status which for a few fights would be a nice perk but generally unnecessary. You get both increase Weapon and Spell Damage, this increases your damage but also your healing which is good for a Tank.

  • Nice balance of extra Magicka/Stamina
  • Easy to convert between Tank, Magicka/Stamina DD.
  • Flame Resistance and burning status immunity helpful in some very specific fights.
  • If you sometimes switch to DD
  • Decent Off Tank or Hybrid DD/Tank

5% Damage reduction when casting or channelling an ability, almost useless on a Tank. There are very few abilities you do as a Tank that have a cast time or channel. Pretty good sustain tool as you can gain Stamina or Magicka based on which is lowest when you use a class ability every 6 seconds. Max Magicka will mean point needed into Stamina most likely and the extra spell damage is nice to boost our Healing.

  • Decent option for both Magicka and Stamina sustain.
  • A few useless passives from Tank perspective
  • Magicka will be higher than Stamina
  • There are a number of better options to choose if you are looking for a sustain class.
  • Possibly only really useful if you want to play Tank and able to switch to Magicka DD

One of the best options for Tanking due to the huge amount of extra Health and Stamina. It offers a good amount of automatic sustain with incoming resources and reduced cost. You can use a Imperial Tank for any Tanking situation especially if its a sustain heavy fight.

  • Big additional Max Health and Stamina 
  • Great for sustaining – 3996 of each resource per min if proccing passive on cooldown plus reduce cost of everything
  • Not included in the base game, you have to buy it separately.
  • Imperial is one of the most well rounded classes for Tanking. Worth using at any time.
  • If you struggle for sustain, try Imperial.

The Imperial is equally the best race for Tanking alongside Nord. Imperial offers you added sustain while the Nord will improve your mitigation.

Not a bad class for Tanking and for switching to a sustaining DD. Cost reduction on weapon abilities is ok but your Tank weapon abilities are not really that expensive anyway other than Elemental Blockade. 15% reduction in snares will sometimes be helpful and a large 2k extra Stamina is always good for a Tank. You do get a built in Stamina resource tool but you have to deal direct damage to get it, this would be especially good with sustain Stone Giant and Power of the Light, and if you can do a direct damage Magicka ability to gain Stamina would be pretty strong on some difficult sustain classes.

  • Every passive useful for Tanking​.
  • A great option for Stamina sustaining​.
  • 8% weapon ability cost reduction not that useful as not many are used.
  • Good for Off Tanks and people wanting to switch between Stamina DD/Tank roles.

Redguard is actually a pretty decent race for Tanking. Every passive they have has some Tank benefit and Stamina sustain is good when using this race. This only falls below Argonian and Imperial in terms of sustain due to the fact its only Stamina whereas they both offer all resources. There is also no Health passive with Redguards but that’s unlikely to cause much of a problem.

If you are looking to switch between DD and Tank or sometimes play as the Off Tank or DD/Tank Hybrid then Orc’s can be a good option for increasing your damage with the additional 258 weapon damage. You gain a lot of Max Stamina and some Max Health plus a build in small auto-heal when you do direct damage every 4 seconds you get a 600 heal. The increased movement speed is actually really powerful for content with a lot of adds meaning you can move quicker to stack things up.

  • Good Max Health and a free heal from things like taunting.
  • Speed Boost is great for staying ahead of the group and stacking up adds
  • Works great for switching between Tank and Stamina DD
  • If you occasionally play PvP or as a Stamina DD and want to be able to switch to Tank

Increased recovery of all resources, plus additional max of all resources. This would essentially be the best race to reach the maximum divided spread of resources and recovery of all resource pools which for a Tank is pretty useful. You also get increase Critical Damage and Healing, for some passives you need to do critical damage and as a Tank critical healing yourself is extremely useful so you spend less resources keeping yourself alive when needed.

  • Max Resources, Recoveries and Crit Healing all really useful.
  • The amount of the extra stats is quite low and some of them are wasted.
  • Most people only play these if you like the appearance of being a cat.
  • Not bad for Tanking but other options would perform a lot better.

While trying to stay impartial between the races, Wood Elf is possibly the worst race for a Tank. Increased Stamina Recovery is doing nothing for most Tanks who will be blocking fairly frequently and gaining nothing from this. Max Stamina is nice but the Poison Resistance and immunity will only be of use in very minimal situations. Detection radius in Stealth and when Roll Dodging gaining 6s speed boost and Penetration is pointless.

  • No useful passives for Tanking.
  • No real good time to reason to use one.