Welcome to The Talons Tank [now The Tava’s Tank] a Dragonknight Tank Build for ESO. In this guide we will cover everything you need to know about DK tanking. This will be the permanent updated home for T3 so make sure to bookmark and check back for updates.
UPDATED BUILD PAGE HERE
Table of Contents
Last Updated – April 22, 2016.
T3 Veteran Imperial City Prison walk through at bottom of build page.
I wanted to do something different with my tank with an offensive focus, ultimate generating, group utility juggernaut . The idea behind T3 (The Tava’s Tank) for the Thieves Guild is generating ultimate with the Tava’s Favor set. Additionally, we will be using many buffs in our rotation to help the overall team. This build is designed for group dungeon PvE content, not solo or leveling but end game tanking. I’ve tanked with this build through nearly every challenge in the game, Vet White Gold Tower / Prison, the new Trial Maw of Lorkhaj, Dragonstar Arena and more. If you’re looking for something different than you’re old typical Blocknight, give this a try.
+ 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
Sword and Shield Bar One – Meant for “Chains & Bang,” control, taunting and healing.
- 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.
- Pierce Armor (morph of Puncture | One-Hand and Shield skill line) – A debuff and taunt costing stamina. The debuff is fantastic for helping strip armor and spell resistance adding up to a lot of damage. However, Inner Rage (Undaunted skill) is also very powerful considering the Synergy can do upwards of 100k damage! As I play an Orc DK for my tank, I take the stamina based taunt and find it valuable.
- Choking Talons (morph of Dark Talons | Draconic skill line) – I still love Talons because of it’s control, damage reduction on mobs and the synergy hits extremely hard. Considering the new Trial Maw and it’s sets focus on synergies, it’s a most have still. If you have extra magicka, consider using this on a boss too. While they my not be “Talons” in place, the debuff will still persist.
- Defensive Stance (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. Combine this with Footman’s Fortune set for a whooping 20% block damage reduction.
- 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. Not to mention this can heal and save your team from death makes it a must have.
- ALTERNATIVE – Deep Breath (morph of Inhale) – A great magic based self-heal is Deep Breath. The down side is it requires targets to hit in order to heal, but the up side is it acts as a AoE interrupt. When I tank on my magicka based Dunmer, I use this but prefer a stamina based heal/build on my Orc.
Sword and Shield Bar Two – Meant for buffs and debuffs along with ranged taunt if needed.
- FLEX – Engulfing Flame (morph of Fiery Breath | Ardent Flame skill line) – Seems like an odd skill to have here right? But if you think about it, nearly ALL DPS builds these days have some type of fire damage. Shooting Star an ultimate used by nearly all DPS, fire damage. Stamina builds use Scorched Earth, magicka builds use Wall of Elemental, Force Pulse and the list goes on and on. Image giving your team a 10% bonus to those abilities? You can just by casting this. The trick is not to over cast and swap it out if there’s another DK. This isn’t your #1 priority as a tank, but can greatly benefit the party.
- Inner Rage (morph of Inner Fire | Undaunted skill line) – Some fights require a ranged taunt (Maw for instances) in these cases, swap this out for Inner Rage and let the other DKs in your party apply this buff.
- Igneous Shield (morph of Obsidian Shield | Earthen Heart skill line) – If you want ultra healing, combine Igneous Shields with Vigor or Deep Breath for a powerful heal due to major mending.
- Eruption (morph of Ash Cloud | Earthen Heart skill line) – This is a good way to get aggro on mobs from range since Razor Caltrops no longer functions this way.
- Igneous Weapons (morph of Molten Weapons | Earthen Heart skill line) – Another useful buff that we run for the party allowing us to constantly maintain major Sorcery and major Brutality (20% spell/weapon damage). It’s AoE, has a great range, long duration and ultimate generation every 6 seconds. Plus it gives us back stamina and can be spammed casted. Lastly this also grants the party Minor brutality as well. I cast this often during and after combat for ultimate generation due to Mountains Blessing passive.
- Elude (morph of Evasion | Medium Armor skill line) – We must have some sort of dodge chance to proc our Tava’s Blessing 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.
- 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.
- 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). You can also spam cast this for a little bit of extra damage, just make sure you’re over 25% stamina for next encounter. The ultimate generation is very noticeable and you’ll be casting Horn left right and center.
- Elude – 20% dodge chance 20 seconds
- Volatile Armor – major resistances 20 seconds
- Igneous Weapons – major Brutality and Sorcery mainly for your party 39 seconds
- Defensive Stance – reflect on range magic attacks not arrows or physical 30 seconds
- Pierce Armor – taunt so mobs beat on you not your allies 15 seconds
- Heroic Slash – damage debuff 9 seconds
- Engulfing Flame – fire damage debuff 10 seconds
- As you can see, we got a lot of buffs/debuffs above that we maintain. Keep in mind priorities, if you have 10% stamina it’s more important to keep Elude and Pierce Armor up than Defensive Stance and Heroic Slash, prioritization makes this build work. So here’s how I go about doing it.
- Cast Igneous Weapons, Defensive Stance and close the gap into a pack of mobs or boss.
- As soon as I get into the tick of things, I Talons, Volatile Armor and Pierced Armor individual targets (usually I pot a potion at this time as well)
- Next up is get massive ultimate generating with Heroic Slash on the most threatening mob
- Now I cast Engulfing Flame on the group for a damage debuff
Then you’ve come to the point of prioritization. Need stamina? First option is potion, next is spam cast Igneous Weapons. Ask yourself, am I grey appearance with spikes on my back? If not, Elude/Volatile Armor. Do I have extra stamina? Heroic Slash and rebuff Defensive Stance. It takes some time, when in doubt taunt targets and keep your basic buffs up. Warhorn at the beginning of boss fights and possibly another time (I can do 3x during Lord Warden).
Gear Key Numbers to Hit
25,000 health (you don’t need 60k to be a good tank) > 20,000 stamina > 33,000 Physical and Spell Resistances buffed (Volatile Armor / Blood Spawn) > Rest in magicka
- 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.
- You shouldn’t be struggling with resources but if you are, Engine Guardian is another option. However, you’ll be sacrificing a great deal of ultimate generation which is what the build is hinged on. Stick with Blood Spawn if at all possible.
- Tava’s Favor – A 5 trait craftable set found in Hew’s Bane the new Thieves Guild area. This is an absolute monster combined with Major Evasion and there’s really no substitute.
- Footman’s – I still consider good old VR14 Footman’s a tanks dream due to the block mitigation and basic resistance it provides. If VR ranks are removed, I image this will once again be Best in Slot. A lot of people use Pariah though I’ve never been found of it nor any other five piece with jewelry.
- Glorious Defender – This can only be obtained in Veteran Maelstrom Arena and it puts an interesting twist on this tank. You have to be more active, but are rewarded with more dodging thus more ultimate. However, you’ll lack a lot of mitigation needed for tanking the biggest and nastiest bosses in the game. Your choice, but Footman’s is a safe and proven choice over Glorious Defender.
- Armor Traits – I prefer Reinforced on large pieces such as Head, Chest and Legs and Divines on smaller to boost my magicka regeneration (Atronach Mundus Stone). Remember there is a hardcap on armor and spell resist which I think is 33,000, not 100% sure. So anymore than that is overkill (when buffed). Same with health, you don’t need 60,000 health as this is about buffing/debuffing not being a bag of HP that can’t cast or do anything.
- Glyphs – I haven’t tested out Prismatic glpyhs yet because frankly I don’t have the gold for them (accepting donations :). So I strip my character down without attributes, then see what I need to add based on my racial boss (max stats to health, stamina and magicka). On my weapons I go with stamina absorb 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.
- 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.
Steed – 75 CP into block cost reduction mainly to get the important Shield Expert passive.
Lord – Second most important is getting that physical resistance up near hard cap with Heavy Armor Focus.
Lady – Next I do a three way split between Elemental Defender, Thick Skinned and Hardy. If anything left over, I dump into the Lord Quick Reocvery for a bit of extra healing.
Offensively it’s not that important where we spend our CP. However, there’s the Last Stand passive in the Ritual and another helpful passive, Riposte in Atronach. I then spend whatever is left on Blessed for more self healing with Vigor.
REMEMBER, we do not regeneration stamina while blocking. It’s important to have some, but I prefer reduced stamina cost and magicka recovery because we can regenerate that while blocking.
Tower – 30 reduced stamina cost, 55 into reduced magicka cost.
Lover – 67 into Arcanist for magicka and 15 into Mooncalf for stamina recovery.
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 – 1) Nord, damage mitigation and health, it’s meant for a tank period. 2) Imperial a heap of massive stats please self healing off melee attacks. 3) Argonian self-healing, great resource return on potions and max health.
- “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 – I don’t really see a benefit to either for PvE tanking so I don’t use it.
That concludes the The Talons Tank – Dragonknight Tank Build for ESO. Leave me a comment on what you think and if you’re using it, how is it working? This took a very long time to produce because I wanted to center it on something different but effective. I hope you enjoyed this build, thanks for reading.
Love it. Tri runes are worth it if you use all 3 resources. Play on PS4 and I’ll donate one! each one adds 1-1.5% (2-3 attribute points) to the total you have to play with. Its one of the few ways in the game to convert gold directly into utility. This is the type of tank that is fun to be around. Your entire build is set up to make teams work and when players do that the game gets fun. Health is a touch low (skimp on robust footman jewelry and go health instead to save 100k gold maybe?) and it is interesting you don’t run any damage shields, tho you do have defensive stance which makes harness magicka redundant in many situations. Might be worth mentioning as a flex.
Why not run one medium to hit undaunted split? (I just ask cause my Infused Spawn helm is medium…) Is there a reason to do light boots instead of a light belt? It would seem you would gain a bit in armor by running heavier weight on the high armor pieces, but I have never seen any math on this. Thanks for the great ideas Deltia.
The Undaunted 5/1/1 is a good setup, I just prefer the sturdiness of 6/1 or the casting of 5/2 is all. Light on boots because it’s craftable, not heavy and the least effected by Reinforced traits.
Carlitos way says
How many points would you put on health and stamina?
Trying time build this
It says in guide.
Thanks! I’ve been considering dusting off my nord dk tank, since dps is a dime a dozen.
Hey deltia. What is this magicka dunmer dk tank? I ask because i tank for my guildies but solo i have too much fun with laceration and i dont like respeccing all the time. I dont think ive seen that build on here maybe i missed it.
It works just fine, I just change a couple of abilities around that I discuss in the video for more magicka focused build. I use both my Dunmer and Orc, I just swap gear.
Did they fix Talons? Every time I use it I have to cast it twice for it to work.
Good build, buddy! I like it so much I’m rolling a new, dedicated tank for it. Currently, I’m running it on a Dunmer and all seems fine. I was a bit worried about the lack of resistance(s) with Tava’s (compared to, say, Armor Master). But, I’ve tanked vWGT & vICP with this exact build (gear, skills, and CP arrangement) without an issue. I even like the “bubble” I get with Ferocious Leap in those panic moments… Plus, it just looks badass to do!
I have followed your tank builds and wonder if you ever used armor master and if so why have you gone away from it? I use is currently in combination with footmans to strictly tank.
Yes, it’s a great set that makes one super tanky, just lacks in group utility.
I run 5 piece armor master with either scourge pr bloodspawn set. What would you recomend i run on the ring and necklace set with feet or arms? Im a stam kajit
How is the footmans gear on pts? Is it max now?
you wrote: “Pierce Armor – taunt so mobs beat on you not your allies 15 seconds”. This sounds like Pierce Armor enforce the whole mob, which is at time on the map, to attack you. But in the descriptions to Pierce Armor, is always mentions only one Enemy.
With this in mind, how the following will work: “On my weapons I go with stamina absorb 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.”
You taunt more then one mob.
Krystal Thompson says
Does a mob count as one enemy?
How would you set your attributes if you where building it with a imperial? Would you go more stamina base or magic?
Will it make a difference if I use footman’s as the legs rather than the gloves, does it really matter since your getting the 5 piece anyway…
Because Bloodspawn procs on hit, does the dodge chance created by Elude interfere much?
No especially if there’s many mobs. You’ll get hit trust me.
Eric Brodsky says
How would you set up your attributes for an imperial vs orc? And do your champion points change at all for imperial? Thanks. I have been looking for direction with my imperial dragonknight for a while and think this might be it.
Like I said below in the post, its more important to hit critical numbers, play around with it. CP, no changes.
I’m thinking this might be a good build but to get the alliance skull line up I need to do some cyrodil pvp. To get your pvp build I have to get certain armor that you get from undaunted. So I’d need to do your pve bulks I’m guessing which has armor you get from something else. It seems like a lot of circling around. Any advice on this would be greatly appreciated please
What enchantment or trait changes would you consider with the buffs to enchantments and the changes to crafting traits in Dark Brotherhood?
I did a traits video, Sturdy defending and and infused.
Deltia I only have 53 champ points for all three champ trees what would be best to put them in for this build? Please help asap
Hey Deltia, how would you change the set up if you didn’t have any DLC content – so no thieves guild?
What can I use instead of footmans?
Hist Bark and Armor Master are good alternatives.
I just watched your Tanking tips for the Dark Brotherhood update and I must say I am looking forward for the full build breakdown. (At least I already know that I need to pickup guard.)
Is there any way you can make a dk , magicka tank vampire build.? im very interested in that and would love to see it thank you for all your help
Theory is good but.. gotta be done with Footmans.. look at Mark of the Pariah
What do you think of the mag and sta regen, along with the reduced dam taken when low health of the vampire skill line? Or is the reduction in health recovery too much?
what are your thoughts on the mag and sta regen, along with the reduction in dam on low health of the vampire skill line? Or is the reduction in health regen too much?
ok, this is weird. I’ve posted twice and it’s not showing up. Anyone else see my posts?
I have to approve comments from new users.
Also, on the medium armor skill line evasion, do you have to wear medium armor to get the benefits from this skill?
I notice your Updated pages have comments disabled. Anyway, this is really great and all, but it seems like your, and everyone elses’ tank build are all end game gear, stuff you get AFTER you tanked everything–DSA, VMA, WGT, etc. What are we supposed to do before that, in order to get there and get that gear? I know the Tava’s is crafted, but this build is complex to run. You refer to the typical old “block knight” you didn’t want to do, but I am totally new to tanking and really want the easiest most survivable thing possible. I have a 160(c330) DK (dunmer),, and really want to use it to learn tanking. I usually play Stamplar DPS and Sorc, so this is a big switch for me. I looked at other sites and vids, but they are all conflicting and old. I’m totally lost on how to begin. Any advice?
I currently have a nord dk and will be going with this build but would it be decent in pvp as nord or would other races be better? e.g. Dunmer / Imperial and then still be able to tank vet dungeons?
Nords have damage reduction which is amazing in PvP, keep it if you like the guy.
I was looking at builds on another site. And, while I as somewhat dubious concerning some of the content, the post suggested the Hist bark and Malbeth sets. I was wondering about your thoughts. I know that Hist Bark has been a set you have suggested as a starter set in the past, but is now viable as and End game set?
I don’t think Hist is optimal that’s why I don’t use it, nor Malbeth. But if it works for someone else try it.
Thanks for the answer. As I mentioned, I found some of the info in that post a bit suspect. You pretty much confirmed that opinion.
Hmmm…. building my Stamina DK tank for PvP, but want to do trials later, after leveling. I want a DPS/tank build for leveling, but then at Vet 160 a PvP/PvE tank. any suggestions on ‘swapping’, like I can do with my Templar healing/dps (with only changing a few Champ points and skills?)
BTW, my Sorc, Magicka NB and Healer all are awesome in PvE, thanks to you!
I am new to PvP… got interested when leveling Proxy Det.
man… I keep getting my T3 butt handed to me in PvP? level 30 now with 501 Champ points. Sure hope things get better soon, I can’t kill anything… it does take me longer to die though 🙂
It’s not meant for PvP just PvE. You’ll need a lot of DoTs to be effective in heavy armor PvP.
thanks. I have my T3 leveled up to assault 5, so I have vigor now and will lay off PvP for a while with this build… (although it was fun watching 4 Templars spam radiant op or 3 bows spamming poison injection to kill me).. LAME!
How do you get to 33k physical? I am at 26k buffed, unless you are adding the dodge chance of Tava, which I can see in my character? Is 26k buffed with Volatile Armor only?
Can anyone post what procs Bahara’s curse gear, for a DK tank standpoint? Thanks!
Hi deltia was wondering will you be updating DK builds with the DB now out?
With the set-up you are running you realize that you are only getting 2-3% more Mitigation using Footman? HA builds and Diminishing Returns kill the set and make the 5P bonus almost worthless. The links to the math are located in this post.
Yep, that’s not the updated build, very top of the page takes you correct one where I recommend Ebony. https://deltiasgaming.com/eso-dragonknight-tank-build/#Gear
Deltia if I wanted to replace the blood spawn with crafted armor what would you suggest???
Hey Deltia, As an imperial, what stat distribution would you recommend?
Attributes are not as important as hitting your key numbers. Every build is different so I couldn’t say.
Leon Brown says
Hey Deltia, If i decided to put all my points into health will that benefit me or hinder me from true tanking?
You could have 100,000 HP and still die due to mechanics. You could have 1,000,000 HP and die because you’re team members are all dead as well. Health is great, but group utility is better. Find a balance that works for you.
After the block cost redution that has been moved, how would you spent points?