Group Pen, Tank Gear & Alkosh

ESO Update 28 Markarth – Is Alkosh Needed? What are we going to replace Alkosh with? What has changed?

What has changed?

The main change that effects Tank setup for Update 28 is the adjusted Buff and Debuff system.

Fracture has been removed/added into Breach. Breach has been buffed Major from 5280 to 5948 and Minor from 1320 to 2974.

Resistances from Resolve have also been buffed with Major giving 5948 up from 5280 and Minor 2974 up from 1320.

Healing Buffs and Damage Reductions have both been nerfed however. This means Tanks will potentially receive more damage with less incoming healing.

Empower has been buffed now increasing the damage of all Light, Medium and Heavy attacks by 40% for 3 seconds.

The big changed to skills is the change to Pierce Armor. This will now apply Major and Minor Breach meaning this 1 skill will reduce the enemy physical and spell resistance by 8,922.

ESO Markarth Group Pen

For more information on U28 Markarth please see our YouTube channel and read the Tank Patch Notes Section.

Do we need Alkosh?

The simple answer is:

  • Add Pulls – Yes
  • Magicka Groups on Boss Fights – No
  • Stamina Groups on Boss Fights – Maybe depending on DD classes

Add Pulls

When dealing with a stack of adds, it is often hard to max debuff a full stack of 6-10 adds. Tanks will usually range taunt some enemies meaning they will be missing Major/Minor Breach, Healers won’t apply Elemental Drain to everything and overall trying to apply debuffs to each individual add takes too long. Over pen on add pulls is generally not a bad thing as you want things to be maxed on their reduced resistances so the group can eliminate them as fast as possible

In Update 28 add pulls will generally consist of using a Major Breach AoE skill such as Razor Caltrops or Noxious Breath, using the Defiled Dragon set for Minor Breach and then using Alkosh with Malacath Band. This will max debuff an entire stack of adds very quickly and efficiently.

Magicka Groups on Boss Fights

In this situation we should remove Alkosh. The reason why is because for the vast majority of groups in the game, the Alkosh uptime is not above 80%. For any Alkosh downtime there is a loss of damage if Damage Dealers are expecting the enemy to be fully debuffed and have no Spell Erosion CP.

If we are in a group with Nightblade DD’s they will already be at the Pen Cap with 0 Spell Erosion and no Alkosh but they have to be flanking which means they are at the side or behind the enemy. Necromancers would need 8 CP into Spell Erosion because they also have a Pen passive. All other classes would need 25 CP into Spell Erosion to reach the cap. The reason why this is the better option is because by doing this we guarantee 100% uptime on Max Pen rather than having a Alkosh downtime. This also means Tanks can use other sets to either provide additional Damage Buffs or Group Support.

Stamina Groups on Boss Fights

3775 Pen is quite a lot to be missing so this makes Alkosh very much a requirement here to reach the Pen Cap. If you are in a good group who provide synergies  and you have a Tank who is capable of 80%+ Alkosh uptime then this would be the better option.

For lesser experienced groups it will be far better if Stamina DD’s use a Sharpened Weapon this severely reduces the amount of Piercing CP needed to reach the Pen cap and makes it unnecessary to use Alkosh. This way of setting up also guarantees 100% uptime on Max Pen which is far better than chancing it with Alkosh for most groups at Beginner and Progression level.

Tank Sets Needed

If we drop Alkosh – we have 2 options. We can provide an additional source of group damage buff or we can offer group sustain/survival which may be necessary with the increase in enemy damage and the lost benefits of healing buffs. We also consider the Tanks experience and the use of either an automatic/aura set or a set that requires an experienced Tank who will proactively have to maintain the set in some manner.

Aegis of Galenwe – This becomes more useful with update 28 as it now Empowers all Light, Medium and Heavy attacks for 3 seconds. The problem with Galenwe is that it is a 5-piece set that can be replaced by 1 Necromancer casting 1 skill with Empowered Grasp, for any upper-tier group they will likely just use a Necromancer. The benefit this set will have to inexperienced groups is that it’s a good Tank set for the actual Tank to use, making them stronger but it’s completely automatic, so the Tank does nothing other than Tank and provides an additional damage buff. The next issues with that the groups that will use this are groups without a Necro Tank/Necro using Empowered Grasp and if its more of a lower tier beginner/progression group they are also unlikely to make serious use of Empower. When dealing with the Empower buff it requires really high parsing DDs who have a good Light Attack ratio or else the damage increase is less than 1% so other sets would be more useful.

The Worm's Raiment – Already a set sometimes used by Tanks, usually the Off Tank but it’s now potentially more of a Main Tank set since it’s another set that is automatic and requires no effort to manage.
Ebon ArmoryWith Tanks now taking a slight increase in damage it may be required to run more health for some of the more inexperienced Tanks. Combining Yolnahkriin and Ebon on a Main Tank would be a possibility and it would mean you have a really big Health pool which might help some of the newer Tanks to survive more situations. 

Grave GuardianThis is a fairly uncommon set that is used but with the loss of Alkosh it could be introduced for progression groups. If sets like SPC, Worm, Ebon are all covered and you are running out of options then you have this set which provides a group resistance boost. When combined with Major Resolve from Frost Cloak would see Damage Dealers pushing Resistances up to 25k+ which is going to increase the group survival.

The Morag TongThis is a Stamina group buff set. You would need to consider the above information about Stamina DDs and if it’s worth losing Alkosh in your particular group. If it is worth it then this would be the most ideal set to replace Alkosh. It can increase Stamina DDs individual DPS by around 3% which is a pretty considerable amount when you compare it to Yolnahkriin which is approximately a 1% DPS increase.

Powerful AssaultAlready used by Tanks, usually the Off Tank. The reason I have listed this set is because the Off Tank might need to switch this set from the Weapons/Jewlery and onto the Body. It really depends on how the Main Tank sets up but if you are going to try and increase damage the Main Tank is not usually close enough to group and unable to activate this accurately so the Off Tank will use it. This is a pretty important set and there are very few Heavy Armor sets really needed for Tanks. If the Main Tank opts for a safe Yolnahkriin/Ebon then there are almost no other Heavy Armor sets to use. When Tanking in Medium Armor and you are not comfortable, consider using some Reinforced pieces.

Way of Martial KnowledgeCould be used by the Main Tank but it would not be ideal as there is a lot of risk involved with the Main Tank holding low Stamina intentionally for this set. It would pair up well with an Off Tank using Powerful Assault.

LivewireThis is a set more useful for add pulls especially if you are in a Stamina group. This will concuss enemies as an AoE and then you can instantly set them Off Balance by placing a Lightning Blockade. Magicka groups will sometimes have less benefit from this set especially very experienced groups who use an add pull setup and use Lightning Staves.

Dragon's DefilementMore important than ever to use this set for add pulls. Its generally pretty difficult to debuff enemies when dealing with 6-10 adds and with the buff to Minor Breach, this set will help you max pen debuff adds quickly and efficiently. 

Torug's PactThis is not really essential. It would never be used on Adds or Magicka groups. Stamina groups could potentially use it for more consistency over Alkosh and it could be used by an Off Tank in a situation where a Main Tank might be using Ebon/Yolnahkriin and the Off Tank needs a Heavy Armor set that provides some kind of group buff.

Arkasis’s GeniusThis is a set that could be worked into the setup when you have other sets covered. This is still a decent group buff as you give Ulti to yourself + 3 other people so I can see it being used by some groups for things like vCR where you have 3 Tanks and maybe other situations.

War MachineThere was a slight nerf to Major Slayer but this set could be worked into a group who are not using Roaring Opportunist on a Healer.


In conclusion – Alkosh is a set we do not need for update 28 other than for add pulls. If we are in an inexperienced Stamina group you should use CP and Sharpened Weapons, for experienced groups they will use Alkosh with no Piercing or Sharpened. Magicka groups it is simply not necessary.

We’ve listed the most useful sets for optimized group content but with all the changes there feels like there is much more variety for Main Tanks especially and the Gear Options will be more group and experienced dependent.

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