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ESO Dragonknight Tank Build

Welcome to The Talons Tank [T3] a Dragonknight Tank Build for The Elder Scrolls Online [ESO].  In this guide we will cover everything you need to know about Dragonknight tanking.  This will be the permanent updated home for T3 so make sure to bookmark and check back for updates.

Table of Contents


Objective

[Last Updated – February 27th, 2017 – Update 13 Homestead]

TANKING VIDEO

The T3 Dragonknight tank is designed for both group and solo play.  Ideally you wouldn’t use this build to level, more of at end game PvE and PvP content.  This build isn’t easy to play but DKs have long been the standard for tanking in PvE and that hasn’t changed in Homestead Update 13.  In this update, we’ve broken down the guide into various sections so it’s easier for you to decide your build and goal.  Want to play as an effective Off-tank?  We got something for you.  Want to duel?  We have something for you.  Is this the “best,” most effective tanking build ever?  I don’t know, but what I can tell you is it works well and I’ve completed all content on it (for the exception of Hard Mode vMOL).  This is not for leveling, if you’re looking for a stamina Dragonknight leveling build, click here.  Here are the ways you can expect to play this build.

  • Main Tank – for Trials as the primary boss tank.
  • Off-Tank – Mainly buffs and secondary mobs
  • Four Mans AKA Dungeons – Doing dungeons and more damage focus
  • Solo PvE/PvP – Something that can beat VMA, Duel and PvP open field.

Here are the strengths and weaknesses this build has.

+ Ultimate generation like crazy

+ Group utility with buffs/debuffs

+ Massive resource pool and regeneration with Battle Roar

– Not good for solo play

– Not easy to play with many buffs


Skills

Sword and Shield Bar One – Meant for “Chains & Bang,” control, taunting and debuffing.

  1. Unrelenting Grip (morph of Fiery Grip | Ardent Flame skill line) – A 22 meter range pull that refunds magicka if it doesn’t pull.  Basically a free spammable ability on bosses or recently pulled targets.  I consider Chains and Bang a must have for any DK tank unless tanking a solo boss.  This morph is great due to the nature of magicka refund and can be spammed if all your buffs are up.
    • NOTE – some specific encounters do not require this skill (Rakkhat Vet Maw).  In that instance you can swap something else in more useful like Structured Entropy of a larger health pool.
  2. Pierced Armor (morph of Puncture | One-Hand and Shield skill line) – Our main taunt that applies two awesome damage debuffs (spell and armor).  Remember that the taunt last 15 seconds while the debuff last 12 so be sure to apply at 12 seconds to maintain those two important debuffs.
  3. Green Dragons Blood – GDB received a massive boost in efficiency this patch giving it minor vitality and the ability to critical heal.  This is a must have to be self sufficient and consider this your “oh-crap” button when in trouble.
  4. Absorb Magic (morph of Defensive Posture | One-Hand and shield skill line) – A block reduction cost and damage mitigation is a must have on my main Taunt bar.  I switched morphs to the self healing one this patch because the stun can be counter productive when you’re chaining mobs.  Make sure to cast this pre-fight for a very long duration buff.
  5. Heroic Slash (morph of Low Slash | One-Hand and Shield skill line) – Another ultimate generation tool plus a damage debuff that last 9 seconds (twice as long as Choking Talons).  Keep this on your primary target and rely on Choking Talons for the AoE debuff in trash pulls.  The ultimate generation is very noticeable and you’ll be casting Horn left right and center.
  • [Ultimate] Aggressive War Horn (morph of War Horn | Alliance War Assault skill line) – This is a must have tank Ultimate, “horny time fun time” as Parfax would say.  The amount of damage this provides the party is absurd and it’s what we focus our build around for that reason.  Note, it will not show up on your individual DPS counter, but if you want dungeon clears to go from hard to easy mode, cast this on boss encounters.  With a 250 ultimate cost and our Dragonknight Battle Roar passive this acts like a Tri-Pot on steroids giving us near full resources (from empty).  In a four player dungeons, a healer and I can keep this 100% of the time during a boss fight, making the encounter go much faster thus much smoother.  You really really really want Aggressive not Sturdy Warhorn.  The extra critical hit damage at the start provides a dramatic increase in damage.  Lastly, don’t use this on meaningless trash pulls.  It’s meant for burning bosses and mini-bosses not a 200 HP spider.  Only cast if you’re about to die for resources, otherwise save it.

Sword and Shield Bar Two – Meant for buffs and healing along with ranged taunt if needed.

  1. Hardened Armor (morph of Spiked Armor | Draconic Power skill line) – Our major source of spell/physical resistances that also comes with a decent self shield this patch.  Consider this a must have buff and if you don’t have spikes on your back, get them on!
  2. Inner Rage (morph of Inner Fire | Guild Undaunted skill line) – A ranged taunt that is also very powerful considering the Synergy can do upwards of 100k damage!  You’ll want the increase in synergy opportunity morph for more group damage.
  3. Choking Talons (morph of Dark Talons | Draconic skill line) – Talons is our main AoE control mechanism but it has a massive magicka cost.  Don’t use this single target on a boss, more so during massive mob/trash pulls.
  4. Igneous Shield (morph of Obsidian Shield | Earthen Heart skill line) – A useful shield that scales of Bastion in Champion Points, procing Major Mending and it helps everyone in the group.  Additionally it procs our Earthen Heart passives giving your group Minor Brutality, stamina back and ultimate.  This is a juggernaut skill and is so useful I can’t see using something else right now.  I cast pre-fight and spam cast it to turn my magicka into stamina and generating ult every 6 seconds.
  5. Echoing Vigor (morph of Vigor | Alliance War Assault skill line) – An AoE self/group heal from the PvP skill line.  I consider self-healing an important part of tanking and to NOT being reliant on a healer when in a pinch.  I do swap this out on back bar and use the combo with Igneous Shield then Vigor without the bar swap.  Reason why, bar swap will drop block for a slight second even if you’re holding it.
  • [Ultimate] Magma Armor (Magma Shell | Earthen Heart skill line) – Sometimes you need to survive and this is the reason we can solo nearly anything.  Plus the morph gives allies shields and is great in a healer goes down during a critical moment.

Dungeons

Inhale over Green Dragons Blood – The only change here is an AoE interrupt and damage dealing from Inhale.  If you wanted to stick with the same setup, go ahead but the AoE interrupt is great in add phases or specific bosses.

Buffs

  1. Hardened Armor – 20 seconds major resistances
  2. Green Dragons Blood – 20 seconds for minor vitality
  3. Heroic Slash – 9 seconds for more ultimate generation
  4. Igneous Shield – 20 seconds for minor brutality

Debuffs

  1. Pierce Armor – taunt so mobs beat on you not your allies 15 seconds
  2. Heroic Slash – damage debuff 9 seconds / or Choking Talons in AoE

Rotation

  • Pre-buff longest duration to shortest with Absorb Magicka, GDB, Hardened Armor, Igneous Shields (potion) then close the distance.
  • In AoE situations you’ll want to use Choking Talons for the massive debuff and Heroic Slash the main threat to generate ultimate.
  • As an Off-Tank you’ll want to keep Powerful Assault Active by combing it with Igneous Shields and Echoing Vigor.


Gear

Key Numbers to Hit

30,000 health (you don’t need 60k to be a good tank) > 20,000 stamina > At least 18,000 magicka, 30-33,000 Physical and Spell Resistances buffed

Main Tank

Monster Helm – Blood Spawn – Obtained in Spindleclutch (helm only) and shoulder via Undaunted Pledges.  This gives a heap of ultimate for getting beat on which we will.  The extra resistance is also nice combined with our Major Resolve and Ward for over 10,000 physical and spell resistance.  There are many substitutes specifically Malubeth for Major Vitality (stacks with minor) if we need ultra self healing.  Especially since Vitality potions were nerfed to 17.5 seconds instead of 47.

Main 5 piece – Ebony Armory Set – Obtained in Crypt of Hearts 1 or 2 (Normal or Vet).  This is a must have for group utility in hard Trials like Vet Maw and Vet Sanctum.  There’s so many intensive trash pulls and the DPS character can’t sacrifice stamina or magicka to boost their health, but we can do it for them.  Not that I swap to the below armor in 4 player group dungeons, DSA and clearing easy trash.

Secondary 5 piece – Alkosh – Obtained in Maw of Lorkhaj or through Weekly Rewards system. This is much harder to get than the rest of the gear but pays off big time by providing awesome group utility and damage.  In a coordinated group, you’ll need this extra debuff to put up the big raid DPS needed to skip mechanics.  The down side to set, it’s hard to get and nothing truly offers the same DPS boost to your team than Alkosh as a tank.

Off-Tank

Monster Helm – Lord Warden – Obtained through Imperial City Prison Veteran Dungeon (helm) and shoulder via Undaunted Pledge system.  As an off-tank, you’ll want to offer group utility and this two piece really shines in group play.

Main 5 piece – Obtained in Imperial City with Tel Var stones (now comes in weapons/jewelry).  You’re main goal is to boost DPS in a trial, and this combined with Echoing Vigor is how you do it.  Another non easy set to get, but if you want to be the best, you need get the gear.

Secondary 5 piece – Yep, good old stacking of Alkosh makes the DPS shine.

Four Mans / Dungeons

Monster Helm – Blood Spawn – Obtained in Spindleclutch (helm only) and shoulder via Undaunted Pledges.  It’s simply a great two piece for tanking especially in dungeons if you don’t know the other players.  Not only does it provide mitigation, but ultimate which leads to sustain.

Main 5 piece – Hist Bark – Obtained through crafting four traits only.  Major Evasion isn’t as important now that it’s 15% and some builds want to be hit to proc sets, but we get it for free for just blocking.  It’s a great starter set for newer tanks or someone that wants stamina sustain and less buff rotation.  Another set that was previously used Tava’s for ultimate generation still works great.

Secondary 5 piece – Bahraha’s Curse – Seems like a strange set and there are a lot of options for a good five piece since Sanctum gear is updated along with Maw.  However, until you get access to these new powerful gear sets, the cheap and easy to find Bahraha’s Curse from the Thieves Guild gives us tremendous self healing and AoE damage.  Try it, seems weird but effective.

General Gear Advice

  • Armor Traits – Traits are rather simple for PvE, Infused on your main (Head, Chest, and Legs) pieces to ensure maximum enchant efficiency, and Sturdy on your small (Belt, Shoulders, Gloves, Boots) pieces to help manage Stamina easier while blocking.
  • Weapon Traits – Ideally you want to run Infused on your Crusher enchanted weapon, and either Decisive or Defending on your other.  If you can manage heavy bar swaps (every 6-10s) then run your Infused on back bar.  Defending helps reach the mitigation cap of 33,000 a little bit easier, but isn’t mandatory.  Decisive really shines with this build since it’s all about Ultimate generation.  Remember that each source of Ultimate gain has a chance to proc Decisive (Major Heroism, Minor Heroism, Mountain’s Blessing, and Bloodspawn leaves us at ~5 chances to proc every 2 seconds)
  • Glyphs –  Make sure to run the Prismatic enchant on all of your Infused pieces, and then go from there (or on all pieces if you can afford them).  Try and reach benchmark stats and enchant based on what you’re missing.  On my weapons I go with the Crusher enchant on my main taunt bar because Pierce Armor can proc this every 5 seconds and a Weakening glyph on my back Sword that reduces targets weapon damage. Lastly don’t forget the important of reduced block cost enchants on your jewelry.  Remember we aren’t regenerating stamina while block so there’s little put in running that.  You may also opt to run a Magicka Recovery jewelry glyph if you’re going to be main barring the Absorb Magic ability.
  • Food – Since we are going for max stats on all there resource pools, purple quality tri-stat food only makes sense.
  • Potions – You guessed it, tri-potions.  No it’s not cheap but you’ll hardly ever run out of resources.
  • Attributes – It’s going to be different on nearly every person.  Truly worry about max numbers NOT attributes.  As an Orc, with Undaunted max I have 32/0/32 split.  That will be much different than a Bosmer or an Imperial.


Champion Points

600 Champion Point setup

RED

  • Steed – none
  • Lord – 40 points into Bastion to pump up my Igneous Shields.
  • Lady – 70/70/20 Elemental Defender, Hardy and Thick Skinned

BLUE

  • 100 and 100 into Blessed and Elfborn for extra healing.

GREEN

  • Tower – 75 into Magician and 50 into Warlord.
  • Lover – 75 into Arcanist none into Mooncalf since we don’t regenerate stamina while blocking.
  • Shadow – none since I wear sturdy as armor trait.


Mundus, Race and More

  • Mundus Stone – I highly prefer the Atronach as I play as an Orc and have zero benefit to Magicka.  Additionally, 5/2 heavy to light ratio will help you being able to cast more.  I don’t go wild with health so this is the only option for me as I can hit hard cap in resist when buffed.
  • Racial Choice – Argonian is the best choice for pure resources sustain while Nord is great for damage mitigation and health.  Imperial a heap of massive stats please self healing off melee attacks and I’ve played this as an Orc as well.
  • “Deltia, can I be X race and tank?” Yep, I do it on a Orc and it works just fine.  You need to find what your races strengths are and work around your weaknesses.  A High Elf can make a fine DK tank, just need to spec more into magicka, health and change abilities.
  • Werewolf or Vampire – Some like using Mist Form with Vampire but it’s big risk reward so I don’t recommend it for most players.


Hybrid PvP/PvE Build

[Last updated March 12, 2017, for Update 13 Homestead]

SOLO BUILD VIDEO

GROUP BUILD VIDEO

Objective

The purpose of this build is to create a unique tanking build that can be effective in a variety of situations, dueling, open world Cyrodiil, dungeons and even Veteran Maelstrom Arena.  I was able to beat VMA with two deaths and 470k score, plus I do just fine in most PvP applications.  If you’re looking for something different for One Tamriel, this is it.

*Group build is made for 4 player coordinated teams who want to compete at Battlegrounds coming up in June Morrowind Expansion*

Skills

t3-for-one-tamriel-skills

Sword and Shield – Main damage ability bar.

  1. Stun Ability flexed in and out depending on situation
    • PvE Dungeons – Unrelenting Grip (morph of Fiery Grip | Ardent Flame skill line) – A 22 meter range pull that refunds magicka if it doesn’t pull.  Basically a free spammable ability on bosses or recently pulled targets.  I consider Chains and Bang a must have for any DK tank unless tanking a solo boss.  This morph is great due to the nature of magicka refund and can be spammed if all your buffs are up.
    • Dueling – Reverberating Bash (morph of Power Bash | One-hand and Shield skill line) –
    • VMA – Invasion (morph of Shield Charge | One-hand and Shield skill line) –
  2. Ransack (morph of Puncture | One-Hand and Shield skill line) – I switched morphs this patch because there’s a bug with Elemental Drain.  Basically when you use a similar buff, it removes the previous effect and applies the new duration.  Meaning, it sometimes drops Elemental Drain magicka return and this hurts the group.  The added amount of armor does help out, but the advantage of not removing Eley Drain is helpful.
  3. Venomous Claw (morph of Searing Strike | Ardent Flame skill line) –
  4. Dragon Fire Scales (morph of Reflective Scale | Draconic Power skill line) –
  5. Heroic Slash (morph of Low Slash | One-hand and Shield skill line) –
  • [Ultimate] Shield Discipline (morph of Shield Wall | One-hand and Shield skill line) –
    • FLEX – Dawnbreaker of Smiting (morph of Dawnbreaker | Fighters Guild skill line) –
    • Or Take Flight if you’re leveling Fighters Guild.

Two-Hand – Buffs only.

  1. Volatile Armor (morph of Spiked Armor | Draconic Power skill line) – Our major source of spell/physical resistances that also does a slight bit of AoE damage on cast.  I like to use this in combination with Choking Talons during AoE trash pulls to gain a lot of aggro at the start.  Consider this the second most important buff to maintain 100% of the time.  Your character should now look grey and have spikes on their back at all times.
  2. Rally (morph of Momentum | Two-handed skill line) –
  3. Shuffle (morph of Evasion | Medium Armor skill line) – We must have some sort of dodge chance to proc our  gear enabling us to gain massive ultimate, well this is the skill.  The choice for morphs is on you, for PvP I love shuffle for removal of snares.  However, if you plan on using medium armor (I prefer light on stamina race) then extra duration mean less stamina usage.  Keep this up 100% of the time, you’re character should always look grey like a shadow.
  4. Igneous Shield (morph of Obsidian Shield | Earthen Heart skill line) – A useful shield that scales of Bastion in Champion Points, procing Major Mending and it helps everyone in the group.  Additionally it procs our Earthen Heart passives giving your group Minor Brutality, stamina back and ultimate.  This is a juggernaut skill and is so useful I can’t see using something else right now.  I cast pre-fight and spam cast it to turn my magicka into stamina and generating ult every 6 seconds.
  5. Resolving Vigor (morph of Vigor | Alliance War Assault skill line) – An AoE self/group heal from the PvP skill line.  I consider self-healing an important part of tanking and to NOT being reliant on a healer when in a pinch.  I do swap this out on back bar and use the combo with Igneous Shield then Vigor without the bar swap.  Reason why, bar swap will drop block for a slight second even if you’re holding it.
  • [Ultimate]
    • PvE Dungeons – Aggressive Warhorn (morph of Warhorn | Alliance War Assault skill line) –
    • Dueling and Open World PvP – Corrosive Armor (morph of Magma Armor | Earthen Heart) –
    • VMA – Standard of Might (morph of Dragonknight Standard | Ardent Flame skill line) –

Self-Buffs

  1. Rally – 33 seconds for healing and major brutality.
  2. Shuffle – 23 seconds 20% dodge chance
  3. Volatile Armor – 20 second for major resistances
  4. Igneous Weapons – 20 seconds for minor brutality.
  5. Heroic Slash – 9 seconds for more ultimate generation.

Enemy Debuffs

  1. Pierce Armor – 12 second debuff in armor.
  2. Heroic Slash – 12 second damage debuff.
  3. Reverberating Bash – 10 second healing debuff.

Kill Shot

Fully charged heavy, into Ransack (with Tremor scale proc available), Dawnbreaker.

 

Group Changes

Sword and Shield

  • Mystic Guard (morph of Guard | Alliance War Support skill line) – Double barring this and applying it is a huge boon to your groups survival.  You get the added bonus of minor vitality along with your guarded target.  Use this on your highest DPS, not just the healer and stick close to each other.
  • Choking Talons (morph of Dark Talons | Draconic Power skill line) – We swap this in for more utility and control plus a good damage debuff on enemies.
  • Reverberating Bash (morph of Power Bash | One-hand and Shield skill line) – A single target source of Major Defile is critical for getting heavy armored healers down along with Shifting Standard.
  • [Ultimate] Take Flight (morph of Dragon Leap | Draconic Power skill line) – EVERYONE in small groups need burst, and since this ability cannot be dodge now, it’s a must have over Dawnbreaker.

Two-Handed

  • Same
  • Forward Momentum (morph of Momentum | Two-Handed skill line) – I drop Evasion/Shuffle because I want to get hit to proc my constitute passive giving me resources.  Additionally, this is much cheaper than Shuffle and since I’m wearing 5 heavy armor, keeps me mobile much longer.
  • Volatile Armor (morph of Spiked Armor | Draconic Power skill line) – A source of Major Resistance to physical and spell makes it a must have.  It has the added benefit of AoE damage which I use to get Nightblades out of stealth. Consider this buff needing to be active 100% of the time.
  • [Ultimate] Shifting Standard (morph of Dragonknight Standard | Ardent Flame skill line) – The reason this morph is more useful is the fact that it cannot be negated.  Going against other coordinate groups you’ll need a major source of AoE Defile along with Fasalla’s to nuke down tanky players.

Gear

t3-gear-chart-for-one-tamriel

t3-gear-picture-for-one-tamriel

  • Monster Helms
    • PvE Dungeons – Blood Spawn for ultimate generation Aggresive Warhorn.
    • All else – Tremorscale massive burst and snare provide with low cool down.
  • Body 5 Piece set
    • Knight-Errant’s – Found in Blackheart Haven dungeon.  This allowing us to heal using our primary damage abilities.   Ideally you’d spend time getting the Sharpened sword and sturdy shield with jewelry, but I hate running that dungeon so I just use it on the body.
  • Other 5 Piece set
    • Seventh Legion – Found in Bangkorai overland. An undervalued 5 piece that doesn’t have a cool down and provides massive healing in AoE damaging situations.  You can swap th is out for a proc set like Red Mountain, Viper, or Widowmaker in PvP for more burst, but I like the healing.

Group Changes

This setup focuses on more group utility than self damage or sustain.

  • Troll King – This 2pc is the best for survival solo or in a group.  It also allows your teammates to wear something more productive specifically the healer.  If your healer is running this, switch to Tremor Scale for more burst and snare.
  • Fasalla’s – An absolute powerhouse debuff that can stack with Major Defile.  Since people love to target me, I punish them for doing so.  Giving your DPS a huge advantage cutting through heavy armor tanks this set is a must.
  • Powerful Assault – A huge boon to group performance that stacks well with a healer running Spell Powered Cure.   Just like PvE, you want to give your team utility and this set does that.
  • Masters Sword – A great self survival tool since we are not running Knight’s Errant nor have a burst heal from Rally.  It’s hard to get this piece of gear, but it makes a huge difference once you do.

Misc

  • Armor Weight – 5 heavy 2 medium for reduced stam cost.
  • Traits – In a perfect world, three sturdy including shield, the rest impenetrable.
  • Glyphs – Go with Prismatic on heavy pieces for all around build, head, chest, and legs.
  • Mundus Stone – I go with Warrior or Shadow for PvP since I don’t have any regen.
  • Werewolf – Is a great option for back bar ultimate and more regeneration.
  • Poisons – Damage health, and increase cost of magicka and stamina cost.
  • Food – Tri stat food (CP 150 max magicka, stamina and health).
  • Potions – Immovability, speed and stamina.
  • Race – #1 Orc, #2 Nord, #3 Imperial.  Can I play this build as an Argonian? Sure, but not as effectively.
  • Attributes all stamina.

Champion Points

t3-cp-chart

Group Champion Points

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