ESO Tank Weapons, Traits and Enchants

In this article we are looking at the weapons used by a Tank in The Elder Scrolls Online along with the best traits and enchants to use on both the front and back bar weapons.

Tanks also have the option of using certain Ability Altering Weapons which may be a reason to use a certain type of weapon for Tanking.

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ESO Tank Weapons

The main choice of weapons for Tanks in The Elder Scrolls Online are the One Hand and Shield combined with the Ice Staff. Both of these weapon types work as both a defensive tool for the user as well as offering the most beneficial group benefits with a range of buffs and debuffs.

One Hand and Shield is the fundamental weapon chosen for Tanking. It doesn’t matter if you use a Dagger, Sword, Axe or Mace, they all function identically when combined with a Shield.

By using a shield, you are able to block more damage and will unlock various passives and CP passives that will assist you in the ability to Tank and take damage. You are able to taunt with this weapon which also causes a huge enemy debuff of Major and Minor Breach. You unlock a number of other buffs using a 1H & Shield but often a lot of the skills are situation aside from Pierce Armor.

Using 1H & Shield on both bars is very limiting and not advised at all since you only really need two One Hand and Shield abilities for almost all content it holds no extra benefit by using it on both bars. It’s advised to switch to using a back bar Ice Staff as soon as possible to open up your options on both useful abilities and group buffs and support.

Destruction Staff is extremely important on a Tank and it’s actually more useful than a One Hand and Shield if you look at the number of useful skills and passives.

The main reason this is used is because of the Elemental Blockade ability and the weapon glyphs. When you use a Staff, the weapon glyphs you use have double the value that they do on a 1 Handed weapon.

You should almost ALWAYS use an Infused Staff with Crusher Enchant since it provides a large enemy debuff extremely easily.

When you place your Blockade it will activate the Crusher debuff on the target that is closest to you. The enchant will stay on the enemy for 4 seconds and because the duration of Blockade is 15 seconds, even when you are on your front bar Blockade will automatically continue to proc the Crusher Enchant multiple times over the duration of its ability and you need to try and recast Blockade on cooldown to keep the Crusher enchant automatically reactivating itself on the target.

There are other abilities that you will need from the Destruction Staff skill line for various content such a Crushing Shock for Ranged Interrupting, Elemental Drain for debuffing and helping your Magicka DDs sustain via the Minor Magickasteal.

You should use a Frost Staff as they are the most useful.

Frost Staves: These are the most useful weapon to use as they offer you actual defence as a Tank and there is very little difference to using a Frost Staff compared to a One Hand and Shield. You get increased block mitigation, reduced block cost when using a Frost Staff for starters, and you have a unique debuff  provided by a Frost Staff called Minor Brittle which increases the enemy critical damage received by 10% which is a big DPS boost for your group.

Frost Clench and Frost Pulsar are incredibly useful skills for a Tank. Clench offers a Taunt, Major Maim, Minor Maim and Minor Brittle as a single target and is great for boss fights. Frost Pulsar causes AoE chilled, AoE Minor Maim, AoE Minor Mangle, AoE Minor Brittle and AoE Minor Protection. When you also combine Frost Pulsar and Frost Blockade you gain AoE Minor Breach.

Some builds like to use the Tri-Focus passive but generally it’s advised not to use it until you are experienced with Tanking to utilise it properly. When using a double frost staff setup you might use it.

Tank Basics 8 - One Handed Weapon Traits & Glyphs | Elder Scrolls Online

Using a Bow is a viable option in certain situations. It can be used anytime where you are ranged Tanking such as the vSS Ice Dragon.

As with the Destruction Staff, your Bow must be an Infused Crusher Bow. You could also use a Bow in a Medium Armor build to push some extra damage in score pushing teams. The main reason for using a Bow is because your Crusher Enchant will proc on the target that is in the very centre of your Endless Hail, compared with Elemental Blockade which causes your enchant to hit the target at the very front of the ability.

Both abilities have the same duration so both are viable options depending on the situation. Using a Bow would also be good to increase your DPS as an Off Tank or hybrid tank with the correct group setup. The Bow can also be useful for it’s ranged Interrupt with Venom Arrow and the passive Hasty Retreat which gives you Major Expedition when you Roll Dodge.

There is very minimal use for Dual Wield on a Tank. You could use it on an Off Tank or hybrid tank in situations where you receive low amounts of damage, if it works in your group and you are looking to do additional damage. You have access to an AoE interrupt with Dual Wield which is one of the few times you might see some people use it for Tanking.

Only really useful for a Off Tank looking to do extra damage. Could be worked into a Hybrid Tank build or used for solo play/questing/farming as a Tank so you can kill things quicker.

The healing output of a Tank is very low due to your low Spells Damage and Max Magicka so you usually would not use a Resto Staff. A Resto Staff can be a little useful for some of the passives and some healing abilities in 4-Man content where you are using 1 Tank and 3 DD’s, and in trials like vKA Hardmode it might be an option for the Off Tank to switch to a kind of 3rd Healer to help the group and Main Tank deal with all of the Incoming damage.

Some of the abilities you might use as a Tank are Combat Prayer for Minor Berserk and Minor Resolve, Siphon Spirit for Minor Lifesteal and Magickasteal and Healing Ward as well as the passives.

ESO Tank Weapons – Traits

When it comes to your front bar you will typically use a One-Handed Weapon and Shield. The traits of these are mostly up to you, the type of 1 Handed Weapon that you use makes no difference when combined with a Shield.

For back bar weapons for almost all content you will need to use a Staff, usually an Ice Staff and it must be an Infused/Crusher staff. The only time it would be different is if you are in charge of maintaining Minor Brittle.

All of the values listed here are to bonuses provided by using Gold level gear.

Trait Value Comments
Charged Increases chance to apply status effects by 182.5%. (Gold 1H Weapon) This trait is used to boost the chance of creating a status effect. The status effects we focus on mostly are Concussion from a Shock Glyph, Chilled from a Frost Staff and Poisoned from a Poison Glyph (DK only). Concussion causes Minor Vulnerability which increases the damage the enemy takes by 5%. Causing Chilled with a Frost Staff causes Minor Brittle which increased the critical damage taken by enemies by 10%. Combining Charged/Poison on a DK procs the Combustion passives giving you 1k Stamina each time which helps with great sustain.
Decisive When you gain Ultimate you have a 27.5% chance to gain 1 additional Ultimate. (Gold 1H Weapon) If you are not focussing on proccing status effect or you don’t need to then the next option is likely to be Decisive. This increases your Ultimate gain which means you can offer your group an Aggressive Horn slightly faster which improves group DPS.
Infused Increases weapon Enchantment effect by 30% and reduces Enchantment cooldown by 50%. (Gold Staff/Bow Weapon) This is a vital trait for your 2 handed weapon, usually an Ice Staff. Tanks are virtually always expected to provide the Crusher enchant debuff on the enemy. When doing this is must be on a 2 Handed weapon and with the Infused trait to make it stronger. Infused can also be useful on a one hander when combined with Absorb Stamina, Hardening or Weakening Glyphs.
Defending Increases Physical and Spell Resistance by 1638. This is a decent One-Handed weapon trait when you lack resistances and want to boost survival.
Powered Increases healing done by 4.5% Not a vital trait whatsoever. When you are going into high damage, healing intensive situations you would put this on your front bar and also make sure you have your self-heal located on the same bar and this trait will buff your healing.
Unused Traits Sharpened – Increases your penetration on the enemy – a damage dealer trait.
Precise – A damage dealer trait, could use this in a Hybrid Tank build but otherwise not a Tank trait.
Training – Gives no benefit to Tanking. If you are low CP consider using a crafted Training/Levelling set but don’t Tank using it.
Nirnhoned – A Damage Dealer trait, could use this in a Hybrid Tank build but otherwise not a Tank trait.

ESO Tank Weapons – Enchants