ESO Nightblade Tank Build

Welcome to our guide for Nightblade tanking, called The Bloodletter.  The guide below will help you understand the powers that a Nightblade tank contains.  Keep in mind that this build is very different from your standard tank setup, there will be a lot of abilities to manage; but you can deal damage, heal, AND buff your allies with this build.

Table of Contents

  • Leveling (1-50)
  • End Game PvE (Group and Solo)

Leveling Build

[Updated for Clockwork City by Gilliamtherogue]


The purpose of this guide is to help make sense of how to level up your tank.  I DO NOT suggest leveling as a full on tank.  Instead we’ll level up with using Magicka “DPS” skills, while also getting important skills to help us tank once we hit later levels and end game.

Should you play this build?

+ Insane freedom of set up.  Tons of ability and gear options give us something fresh for every encounter.

+ The best self and group healing as the tank role belongs to this build.  You’ll also have great resource management as well, so you can stay in the fight even when your allies fall.

– This build is meant to be played more like a DPS, so there will be a lot of ability usage.  If you want to hold down block and sit still, this might not be your favorite build.

Priority Skills

Since we’ll be leveling mostly as a damage dealer, we’ll be focusing primarily on skills that help us get through the leveling process.  We’ll still be nabbing essential tank skills though!

Destruction Staff

Bringing tons of potent damage this Destruction staff finds its way into any Magicka build’s hands.  This will also prep us for one deviation of the Bloodletter that focuses on damage support.

  • Walls of Elements (AoE DoT | morphed into Elemental Blockade) – An early magic AoE that helps leveling clearing trash mobs or grinding.  It also plays a vital role in our DPS for end game DPS in both single target and AoE encounters.


One-hand and Shield

This will give us the “tankiness” for this build in its final form.  Offering tons of mitigation and resource management, we’ll also grab our vital skills to use later on.  Merely slap the ability on the bar to level it up, even without having that weapon type on.

  • Puncture (Taunt | morphed into Pierce Armor) – Our main skill as a tank, that functions as a quick melee taunt AND debuff to the enemy.  The great thing is that you can level both this skill and the “sword and board” skill line, even without having that weapon active.  Always keep this or the other ability on your bars to ensure you make progress.
  • Defensive Posture (Passive slot | morphed into Absorb Magic) – A wonderful skill that helps lower block cost AND damage while blocking.  The morph will also give us a nice heal when we take ranged spell damage.  Since Puncture levels quickly, nab this and replace it on your leveling bars once you can.


Restoration Staff

If you decide to take the “preservation” route of the Bloodletter, you’ll want to level this skill line instead of Destruction staff.  This will give us IMMENSE resource management and healing, so if you want to focus on staying alive instead of dealing damage, definitely smack one of these babies on.

  • Regeneration (Heal over Time | morphed into Rapid Regeneration) – A wonderful skill that helps us load off damage for a nice duration due to its stellar healing over time.
  • All of the other restoration skills are wonderful and have their place.  Take anything you think you’ll like, but keep in mind you’ll only have 1-2 open slots on your backbar.


Assassination Tree

  • Assassin’s Blade (Single Target Execute | morphed into Impale) – A potent execute meant to be spammed at and below 25% Health on a mob, also grants a minor amount of Magicka return when killing mobs due to a passive, helping sustain while grinding.
  • Blur (Self Buff | morphed into Mirage) – The Nightblade tank is the only tank who still has access to Major Evasion in their kit, making them wonderful at shrugging off damage.  While this won’t really help us level, it’s essential once we hit end game.


Shadow Tree

  • Veiled Strike (Direct damage | leave unmorphed) – Since we’re going to be getting a better spammable ability from Siphoning, we’ll only want this skill on our bars so we can generate XP for the Shadow tree, until we unlock Path of Darkness.
  • Path of Darkness (AoE DoT | morphed into Refreshing Path) – A wonderful skill that offers us some AoE damage, and becomes even better once we morph it to Refreshing.  Enabling AoE damage AND healing over time to our allies, this skill will also ensure our Major Ward and Resolve stay active if we keep it up, making us even tankier!


Siphoning Tree

  • Strife (Single Target Direct Damage + HoT | morphed into Funnel Health) – The main spammable of this build, a ranged single target ability that also heals based on damage done in form of a heal over time.  The morph will allow us to heal 1 additional ally, making it very helpful for tanking.
  • Siphoning Strikes (Resource Management | morphed into Preference) – A nice little buff to either our Stamina or Magicka management based on what morph we take, it’ll also heal us on successful Light or Heavy attacks, meaning we want to actively sneak them in between each ability we cast to proc it.
  • Drain Power (AoE Direct Damage + Heal | morphed into Sap Essence) – The main AoE spammable of this build, that boasts both solid damage as well as group healing.  This gets even stronger for healing when fighting multiple enemies!

Priority Passives

Remember to get ALL passives in these skill lines once you hit end game.  It sucks to get skill points, but it’s worth every second!



  • Executioner – Offering us a bit of Magicka back after landing a killing blow with an Assassination ability, it’ll help sustain our resources while fighting.
  • Hemorrhage – This passive allows for some spectacular damage on Critical Strikes, which applies to damage AND healing, helping us gain some power.
  • Pressure Points – Every Assassination ability slotted will net us 2% Weapon and Spell Critical Strike Chance, helping boost our damage and healing potential quite nicely in longer fights.



  • Refreshing Shadows – A nice boost to Health, Stamina, AND Magicka Recovery, making this passive an easy pick.
  • Shadow Barrier – Activating a Shadow ability will grant us Major Resolve and Ward for a short duration, helping us take 8% less damage from all sources.  A nice boost to our defenses with no downsides!



  • Catalyst – An incredibly simple, yet powerful passive; granting a nice jump in Ultimate every time you drink potions.  Try casting an ultimate and then immediately drinking a potion for maximum efficiency.  While grinding you’ll find yourself able to toss off an ultimate every pull thanks to this passive.
  • Magicka Flood – A massive boost to Max Magicka simply for slotting a Siphoning Ability, this will help us sustain, do more damage, and heal more all in one.


Heavy Armor

  • Constitution – Taking damage will grant you a nice boost to Stamina and Magicka, helping both of our resource pools sustain in combat.
  • Revitalize – Fully Charged Heavy attacks will grant even MORE sustain, meaning we can quick sneak one in to refill our resources.


Destruction Staves

  • Destruction Expert – A truly powerful passive that refunds a massive amount of Magicka when getting kills with Destruction Staff damage.  Have enemies die in your Blockade of Fire and you’ll be way more Magicka than you’ve spent.


Restoration Staves

  • Cycle of Life – Heavy attacking with a Resto staff will grant 30% more Magicka, meaning you’ll get a tremendous amount after ripping one off.


One-hand and Shield

Since we won’t be actively using this weapon type while leveling (unless you choose to), you can opt to wait until you hit level cap to get them all.


Find yourself a friend as soon as possible so you can get your hands on great gear.  Crafted sets are by far the strongest way to level up in ESO, so hold onto that quest money to pay the bills, or start learning crafting yourself!


(If you don’t plan on PvPing with this character, instead of using a Restoration Staff, use a Lightning Destruction staff.)

  • Magnus’ Gift (4 trait craftable) – The 4 piece of this set offers us a bunch of Magicka Regeneration, helping us with staying power in combat.
  • Seducer (3 trait craftable) – This set also offers an immense amount of Magicka sustain, in form of 8% cost reduction.
    • If you want a more offensive approach you can try Julianos (6 trait craftable) as well.
  • Generic – This refers to any jewelry you can find.  Major quests like Main Story and Guild quests will usually give jewelry, as well as randomly dropping in Tamriel.

Ability Bar Progression

(Click the picture to see what abilities they are and where to find them!)





Keep in mind that these are just a guide line. Experiment with what abilities you like and where you want to place them. Just always make sure to have your 2 desired (or more!) weapon’s slotted and at least 1 ability from their skill line on a bar at ALL TIMES. This is because you can progress any weapon skill line in the game, as long as you have an ability slotted.

Champion Point Progression

The Mage

In this tree your focus will be to boost up Blessed and Elfborn to boost your healing.  You can also spend some points into Elemental Expert and Spell Erosion to boost your damage.

The Warrior

Here we’ll want to focus a nice split between Hardy and Elemental Defender to help take of loads of damage.  Once we get about 9% reduction in each we can start pumping up Ironclad and Thick Skinned.  Check the finalized allocation on the end game CP section.

The Thief

Start pumping points into Arcanist and Tenacity at equal rates.  These will both have ~49 in them when done.  Then start pumping up points in Shadow Ward.  Spend the remaining points you have wherever you’d like.

Tips and Miscellaneous

  • Race is a very important choice in ESO if you plan on making your character as powerful as possible.  Almost all of the content in the game can be done by anything, but if you plan on playing in level capped dungeons or harder versions like Veteran, you’ll want to research what race fits best for you.  For this build in particular (Tank Nightblades), here are the best choices;
    • Dunmers offer some nice Magicka and Stamina buffs, as well as the more offensive damage passives.  Take this race if you plan on DPSing as well.
    • Nords are extremely rugged races, offering nice Health and Stamina pools, and tons of flat mitigation.  Great for tanking!
    • Argonians boast the best resource management in the game from their potion passive.  They also have 9% Max Health and 3% Max Magicka giving them wonderful stats, and 3% Healing Done AND Received.  Tack on 2.25% damage mitigation towards Poison and Disease, making the Argonian is the best PvP race around.  Truly the best tanks in the game.
  • To discover skill lines you’ll need to equip their respective pieces of gear or interact.  Interacting with a Anvil will unlock Blacksmithing, while getting a kill with a Two Hander will unlock the Two Handed Skill line.  Equipping at least 3 pieces of an armor weight (Light, Medium, or Heavy) will unlock that skill line.  Try unlocking all skill lines as soon as possible so you can get an idea of what you want to do with your character.
  • Consumables are a very important aspect of ESO, there is ZERO reason to not have a Food or Drink buff, or to drink potions in combat.  They’ll help raise your stats and combat effectiveness, so try and find Food, Drinks, and Potions within your level range as you play.  You can always craft, or find a friend to craft you some!
  • Weaving is an obscure and often misunderstood mechanic in Elder Scrolls Online.  Start by looking up guides or talking with players about what this phenomena is, and practice early.  Understanding the game’s combat system will ensure you will have fun AND remain efficient while playing.  Be wary though, due to the complexity of this mechanic, many players often share misinformation about it.  Always try to get as many opinions and sources as possible to ensure you have a more well rounded view.
    • Weaving as a Tank Nightblade is important to squeeze out extra resources from Leeching or Siphoning Strikes.  It will also condition you to make sure to apply your weapon enchant, which as a tank is extremely helpful to your group’s DPS in end game.
  • Mundus Stones are a unique mechanic to ESO that offer your character a free boon for having active.  Simply interact with a Stone to gain a permanent effect.  You may interact with a Mundus Stone whenever you want, and replace whatever stone you interacted with before, with a new one.
    • As a Tank Nightblade you’re going to want to use the Apprentice or Atronach while leveling.  Atronach helps our Magicka Recovery while we level up, but Thief becomes more important in end game for damage production.
  • Attribute Points are another way to increase your character’s power as you level up.  There is no real “best” way to spend these, but usually you’ll want to focus on your character build’s main stat; either Magicka or Stamina.  Health points are also important so you don’t die, so if you find yourself dying too quickly in combat, you can bolster that up as well.
    • As a Tank Nightblade you’ll want to spend your points equally between Health, Magicka and Stamina.  Feel free to spend them however you like though, as variables like CP and Race change up the importance of these!

Endgame Build

[Updated for Clockwork City by Gilliamtherogue]


The Bloodletter build offers the Nightblade class a phenomenal tanking option, which can deal damage, heal, AND tank all at once.  While this build is meant to traditionally play more like a spellslinger, firing off abilities frequently, you can also take it slow and play more like the traditional tank.  This is truly one of the most fun tank builds I’ve ever played, and it works amazingly in 4 man content!

Video coming soon!


(click the links to see skill names and passives)

One-hand and Shield | Main bar

  • Pierce Armor (Taunt | morph of Puncture) – One of the vital skills to tanking, our taunt.  Forces any enemy we hit with this skill to attack us for 15 seconds, and also applies Major Fracture and Breach to them for 12s.  Try and keep up the Major debuffs 100% to help your allies deal damage!  If you’re playing with more than 1 tank in the group, don’t spam this more than 3 times in 15 seconds on an enemy, or they will become immune if another player taunts them.
  • Funnel Health (Spammable | morph of Strife) – Our main single target damaging spell, which also heals us AND an ally every 2 seconds for 10 seconds.  In AoE fights just cast this once every 10 seconds to ensure the heal over time is running.  If you manage to get a big hit with Funnel Health, don’t recast it!  The heal is based on 29% of the damage dealt, so if you hit hard and then do a weaker hit, it will refresh with a weaker heal.
  • Sap Essence (AoE Direct Damage + Heal | morph of Drain Power) – This skill is why we look for more enemies to fight.  The more targets to hit, the stronger we become.  Offering great AoE damage, it also heals us and 5 nearby allies.  The heal will get 20% stronger for each enemy hit, up to 6 enemies (120% heal bonus!).  Spam this over Funnel Health if you’re fighting more than 3 targets at once.
  • Absorb Magic (Passive Buff + Heal | morph of Defensive Posture) – A wonderful passive slot that gives us 8% block cost reduction AND mitigation.  You can also activate it to absorb a large portion of damage when being hit by Spell Damaging Projectiles, which will also heal you for 17% of your Max Health.  This skill can keep us alive through certain death on fights like Rakkhat, Lord Warden, and so on.
  • Siphoning Attacks or Leeching Strikes (Heal and sustain | morph of Siphoning Strikes) – After 20 seconds of casting this skill (or recasting early), we’ll get a burst of Magicka or Stamina based on which morph we take.  The resource return is based on how long the duration ran, up to 4270 in total.  It will also heal us and restore 106 Stamina or Magicka on successful Light or Heavy attacks, making it very important to “weave” in between skills with.

[Ultimate Choice 1, Ultimate generator/Executor] Soul Harvest (Single Target Direct Damage | morph of Death Stroke) – Ultimate generation, burst, passive bonuses, and debuffs.  This ultimate does so much more than people give credit for, and synergizes especially well in solo or small group content.  Every kill you get with this on your bar, you gain 10 Ultimate.  At a measly 70 Ultimate cost you can deal high damage, increase all damage done by 20% on the target, and apply Major Defile to it as well.  Try casting a Shooting Star, drinking a potion right after, and using Soul Harvest immediately when fighting bosses for immense burst.

[Ultimate Choice 2, Defensive Route] Spell Wall (Free block | morph of Shield Wall) – For 7 seconds you will block all attacks for free, without having to block.  This means you will not be charged Stamina, and your Stamina will freely regenerate.  It also reflects all ranged attacks back at their caster, removing all damage we take and offering us some.  Pair with a cheap ultimate cost, this thing can keep us alive when we’re running dry.

Lightning or Restoration Staff | Buffs and HoTs

  • Inner Rage (Ranged taunt | morph of Inner Fire) – A taunt that we can cast up to 28 meters away, helping reach those pesky mages and archers who refuse to get in melee range.  It also has a slight chance to prompt our allies to synergize Radiate, an extremely powerful AoE explosion on the target we taunt.
  • Refreshing Path (AoE DoT  | morph of Path of Darkness) – A wonderful AoE source of damage, that also heals up to 6 targets standing inside of it.  It grants us Major Expedition for the duration, and also activates our Shadow Barrier passive for 13+ seconds, granting us Major Ward and Resolve.  Keep this up 100% for tankiness, damage, and healing!
  • Blockade of Lightning (AoE DoT | morph of Wall of Elements) – If you’ve taken the damage enabler route, you’ll want to run this skill to set enemies who are Concussed, Off Balance.  This will enable a ton of extra damage for your allies if they’re specced for it, and also passively just deal great damage from the skill itself!
    • If you’ve gone with a Restoration staff, feel free to use any of the abilities in the skill tree.  I highly suggest Rapid Regeneration (Heal over Time | morph of Regeneration) – this nice HoT hits 2 targets per cast, granting them a sizable heal tick every 1.5s, for 16.5s.  If you have a Maelstrom Resto staff, it’ll also give you Magicka back!
  • Dark Shades (Debuff | morph of Summon Shade) – A long lasting pet duo that will follow us and apply Minor Maim every time they attack our target.  You can fully charged heavy attack or press “y” while light attacking to force them to change targets.  A wonderful debuff to make enemies deal 15% less damage with their attacks.
  • Mirage (Buff | morph of Blur) – The only form of Major Evasion on a skill that tanks can access now, available only to the Nightblade class.  Granting us a 15% chance to dodge an attack, it also grants us Minor Ward and Resolve to offer 2% damage reduction against attacks we don’t dodge.  Very helpful for loading off heavy damage!

[Ultimate Choice 1, Offensive] Elemental Rage (AoE DoT | morph of Elemental Storm) – A great ultimate that does tremendous AoE lightning damage, even as a tank.  Run this if you want to help nuke large groups of enemies!

[Ultimate Choice 2, Group Defense] Bolstering Darkness (AoE Buff | morph of Consuming Darkness) – Offering Major Protection to up to 6 allies standing inside, this will help reduce damage taken by 30%.  If you take Bolstering Darkness this will become 60% for you, while remaining 30% for your allies.  You can also take Veil of Blades if you wish to do some decent AoE damage.

[Ultimate Choice 3, Traditional] Soul Tether (AoE Stun + self heal | morph of Soul Shred) – One of the most iconic Bloodletter abilities, granting us a wonderful AoE Stun and damaging ability on a cheap ultimate cost, that links us to up to 6 targets.  While linked, you will drain life from them and heal yourself, making yourself practically unkillable.  You can also take the other morph, which causes it to change from an AoE damaging ability to an AoE burst heal to allies.

[Ultimate Choice 4, Group Buff] Aggressive Warhorn (Group buff | morph of War Horn) – The ideal ultimate if you plan on offering your group amazing damage from Major Force, as well as 10% Health, Magicka, and Stamina.  Even with a 250 ultimate cost, we can keep this up 100% with our insane ultimate generation!

[Ultimate Choice 5, Group Heal+Buff] Light’s Champion (Heal over time | morph of Panacea) – A cheap ultimate that heals for a Breath of Life every second, for 5 seconds.  It will shoot out 5 of these (each application lasts 5 seconds), and enable Major Force and Protection for the 5s duration anytime someone is hit by one.  This skill means your group will not die for the next 5-10 seconds, and they’ll be doing crazy damage too!  An absolutely wonderful skill.


(refer to the item descriptions for more accurate explanations on traits, etc)

Fresh Meat (BoE/Craftable)

  • Fortified Brass (4 trait crafted set) – A decent 5 piece tank set that gives us a nice boost to resistances. Nothing fancy going on, just makes us harder to kill.
    • This comes from Clockwork City, so if you want a base game option go with something like Seducer’s for Magicka sustain, or Torug’s Pact for group utility.
  • Bloodthorn (Obtainable from Glenumbra events) – A great light armor set that grants us Magicka and Stamina whenever we deal direct damage, on a 5 second cooldown.  It’s pretty much a mini Constitution passive, helping our sustain tremendously!
  • I left the Helmet and Shoulders open to you in case you manage to find some Undaunted sets in the mean time.  Otherwise craft another 2 piece set!


Tenderizer (Ideal 4 man tank)

  • Monster Set – You have all of the options with this one.  Tons of these sets either help tanking, damage, or healing; so you can take whatever fits your playstyle.  Swarm Mother’s (Spindleclutch I) is great to make up for the lack of DK chains, Malubeth (Wayrest II) amplifies our healing to become a true Bloodletter, Bloodspawn (Spindleclutch II) grants us Ultimate and Mitigation, but there are many more you can choose from.
  • Livewire (Clockwork City events) – A solid 5 piece that applies Concussed to all nearby enemies, and healing us for each one hit.  When paired with a Lightning Staff, you can keep up the Off Balance status anywhere from 50-100%, depending on how much heavy attacking there will be.  Truly wonderful to help group DPS!
    • Check the video at the start for even more gear options if you don’t want to take this route.
  • Bahraha’s Curse (Hew’s Bane and Thieves Guild events) – My favorite tank set in the game, granting us a chance to summon an AoE damaging effect that heals us for all damage dealt.  This proc alone can keep up alive through punishment, and gets stronger based on how many enemies we fight.  Keep in mind you can only get Heavy Armor Bahraha’s from Thieves guild quests though, but it’s all BoE!  The 4 piece also reduces some mechanics in 4 man and trial content by 40%, offering us deceptively powerful mitigation.


Anticoagulant (Trials tank, breaks away from normal play style)

  • Ebon (Crypt of Hearts I & II) – A staple tank set that grants you and 11 allies some Max Health.  Make sure this is on your body to ensure that it reaches Gold quality for maximum group efficiency.
    • Torug’s Pact (Crafted set) – If someone already has Ebon, go with Torug’s Pact instead.  It’ll help buff your Crusher and Weakening enchant by a huge amount, granting more group utility.
  • Plague Doctor (Deshaan events) – Hope you like Max Health, because Plague Doctor has a metric fuck ton of it.  Easily one of the tankiest sets out there for the tank, this helps you be very difficult to kill.
    • If you’re struggling with resource management try out Alteraction Master (Light Armor vendor from Cropsford) – Reduces ALL COSTS in the game by 6%.  Blocking, Dodging, Break Free, Bashing, Sprinting, Ultimates, Health, Magicka, and Stamina costs are all decreased by 6%, meaning we have a ton of saved resources.  Also comes in Arcane jewelry.
  • Bloodspawn (Spindleclutch II) or Lord Warden (Imperial City Prison) – Solid monster sets that offer some nice mitigation.  Bloodspawn is more volatile but grants us Ultimate, while Warden is more stable but grants 5 allies the mitigation as well.  You can use other monster sets too!

 Champion Points

CP is more of a preference thing for tanks.  Below is what I like to run for most encounters.

The Mage (Blue)

  • Elemental Expert – 56
  • Elfborn – 56
  • Blessed – 43
  • Spell Erosion – 22
  • Master-at-Arms – 28
  • Physical Weapon Expert – 2
  • Thaumaturge – 23

The Thief (Green)

  • Arcanist – 43
  • Tenacity – 56
  • Warlord – 23
  • Sprinter – 16
  • Bashing Focus – 16
  • Shadow Ward – 56
  • Tumbling – 20

The Warrior (Red)

  • Elemental Defender – 43
  • Hardy – 43
  • Iron Clad – 48
  • Thick Skinned – 48
  • Quick Recovery – 37
  • Expert Defender – 11

Keep in mind that a lot of trials and dungeons might have less damage types than others.  Places like Sanctum Ophidia are filled with DoTs, while places like Maw of Lorkhaj are primarily Magical damage.

Consumables, Race, Mundus, and Misc

Armor Weights: As a tank we’ll want to make sure we have at least 5 pieces of Heavy armor on.  From there you can decide to go 5-1-1 for some big resource pools, 5 Heavy 2 Light for a more caster oriented build, or 7 Heavy for full on tankiness.  Each has its own advantages, but I prefer 5 – 2 personally.

Food: Tri Stat Food food offers great resources across the board.  This is usually what I suggest, but you can use other foods or drinks if you want too.  Play around with different setups and find what you like!

Stat Pool Benchmarks: Attributes and enchant allocations don’t have a true answer with tanks.  You can  change things based up on what gear you wear, what race you play, and how high your CP is.  Instead focus on hitting these values instead; 30k+ Health, 16k+ Stamina, and 20k+ Magicka.  If you’re going to be tanking trials, make sure to have 35k+ Health, 18k+ Stamina, and however much Magicka you can get after that.  Try and ensure your Stamina is higher than Magicka though so that when you hit an Orb or Shard synergy, you get Stamina back instead.

Potions: You’re free to use any potions you want, and trust me; there’s plenty you can make.  I usually suggest Tri Potions to help give a big burst of Stamina, Health, and Magicka plus Major Endurance, Intellect, and Fortitude.

Race:   Argonians boast the best resource management in the game from their potion passive.  They also have 9% Max Health and 3% Max Magicka giving them wonderful stats, and 3% Healing Done AND Received.  Tack on 2.25% damage mitigation towards Poison and Disease, making the Argonian is the best tank race around. Nords also make great tanks, with nice Stamina and Health pools, and a whopping 6% free mitigation.  Imperials, Orcs, and Dunmer also make great races for this build as well.  You can get away with any race as a tank though!

Mundus: The Atronach is by far the best Mundus stone available to us, helping our Magicka Recovery tremendously.  You can use whatever you want however!

Traits on your Weapons: As a tank you’ll always want to make sure your One Handed weapon is Infused to buff up the enchant, which helps your group’s damage tremendously.  You can use other traits, but Infused is by far the best trait around for us.  For your backbar’s weapon you can go with Decisive or Charged based on what type you use.  I suggest Decisive if you take the Restoration Staff or Sword and Board route, while if you take the Lightning Staff I suggest Charged to help apply Concussed.

Traits on your Armor: Infused Big, Sturdy Small is how we want to setup our traits on Armor.  This means our Chest, Shield, Helmet, and Legs should all be Infused.  Our Belt, Gloves, Boots, and Shoulders should all be Sturdy.  If you can’t afford Prismatic (Tri Stat) enchants, you can go all Sturdy instead.

Enchants/Poisons on your Weapons: As a tank we have pretty easy to pick from options.  Below will explain what to do based on how you decide to build your Bloodletter.  Keep in mind you’re free to do whatever you want, but these options are ideal.

  • Main Bar; Crusher Enchant on your One Handed weapon is ideal.  This will help your group do more damage to the target by shredding the target’s resistances.  Try to make sure you light attack the target at least once every 5 seconds to apply this.
  • Back Bar;
    • If One-hand and Shield;Weakening Enchant on your back bar’s One Handed will offer a lot of damage reduction to your group.  It will reduce the damage that a boss does, including all of its mechanics.  This is wonderful for harder content like Veteran Hardmodes.
    • If Lightning Staff; Shock Damage Enchant on your back bar will help apply Concussed, which helps your group do more damage with Vulnerability and Off Balance.  This is my personal preference for 4 man content.
    • If Restoration Staff; Weakening Enchant on this weapon will again help your group stay alive.

Vampire or Werewolf?: Vampire does exceptionally well with this build if you are a Dunmer, due to the extra Fire damage mitigation.  The extra 10% Magicka Recovery can help a lot in today’s meta, making it a valid choice.  The Undeath passive is also insanely helpful for staying alive when you manage to get low health.  I personally prefer to not run Vampire, but it works very well.


As a tank, we have no rotation.  Tanking is all about reacting to your surroundings and ensuring you’re empowering your allies.  Instead we’ll go over an order of operations to help make sense of what the most important things to do are.

Priority #1) Taunt the heavy hitting mobs.  This means bosses and elites that are capable of doing heavy damage to your allies.  You don’t have to taunt each and every enemy, but if you notice an ally taking a lot of damage you should immediately taunt whatever it is that’s hitting them.

Priority #2) Have your buffs running.  This means Major Breach and Fracture from taunt (12s), Major Ward and Resolve from Refreshing Path (13s), Major Evasion from Mirage (26s), and resource management from Leeching or Siphoning Strikes (20s).  If you’re fighting a boss, add in Minor Maim from Dark Shades (25s) to that list.

Priority #3) Have your healing and damaging abilities running.  This means Refreshing Path’s heal (12s) and Funnel Health’s heal (10s).  If you’re running a Lightning staff you should try to keep up Lightning Blockade (8s) up as much as you can, but only do this if everything else is up.  If you’re running a Restoration Staff you can also add Rapid Regeneration (16.5s) to that list.

Priority #4) Spam abilities or sit there and look pretty.  This means spamming Sap Essence for healing and damage, Heavy Attacking, or Light weaving with Block up.  Throw out an ultimate whenever you feel your group could use the help, or you need to get defensive.

There’s a lot to manage with this build, so refer to this priority list to understand what is most important to do.  If you feel overwhelmed, take it slow and taunt the big boys.  Hold down block and use some Sap Essences for healing.  Once you’ve regained composure start going through the priorities again.  Practice makes perfect!  Get out there and let the blood flow!