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Table of Contents:

  1. Intro

  2. Setup

    • Gear

    • Skills

    • Attributes

    • Consumables, Race, and Mundus

    • Champion Points (CP)

    • Rotation

    • Misc Information

  3. Tips

Intro

Sustain

Sustain is more reliant on Light or Heavy Attacking in between abilities to utilize some core abilities, which isn’t something many tanks are familiar with.  Easily fixed with Argonian race, or the Meditate skill.

Tankiness

Access to Major Evasion, Ward, and Resolve helps this build take a lot of pressure.  Shines best in high density fights like dungeons.

40% Complete (success)

The Nightblade tank has more healing than any tank out there thanks to fantastic supporting abilities.  Revel in your power.

Nightblade tanking is actually more closely related to damage production than any other tank in the game.  The whole “siphoning” vibe definitely ebbs from this play style.

40% Complete (success)

This build can actually be pretty tough to master since there’s a lot of skill to manage.  If you’re looking for a unique build with lots of mastery, look no further.

40% Complete (success)

Thanks to the recent resource management sources that tanks can now access, the Nightblade tank is a true force to be reckoned with in content.  They do best in dungeon content, but can work very well in trials too!

Setup

Beginner Setup

Ultimate Generator

Health Stacker

Resistance Shredder

The Bloodletter

 

Refer to the Misc tab to find where to find the sets and where they fit in.

Trial/Traditional Tank

One Hand and Shield – Main Bar

  • Pierce Armor (Taunt & Debuff | morph of Puncture) – A must have as any tank build, this ability places Major Fracture and Breach on the target and Taunts them for 15 seconds.  Keep this up on any target that may pose a threat to your group, or any target you want to take additional damage.  If more than one player uses a Taunt, be careful about casting this too quickly.  If 3 taunts are casted within 15 seconds of each other from two ore more players, the target will become immune to taunt and run amok.

  •  Funnel Health (Direct Damage & HoT | morph of Strife) – Dealing moderate damage from a range, after impact it will heal you and an ally (smart targeting, prioritizes low health > closest to you) over a 10 second duration, every 2 seconds.  Its heal is based on damage dealt, so if you manage to crit, the HoT will be even stronger.  Keep in mind that recasting it will refresh the HoT, even if the healing will be less.

  • Sap Essence (AoE Damage & Heal | morph of Drain Power) – Offering tons of bonuses, this skill deals damage in an AoE to any enemy inside and grants Major Sorcery to us.  It also heals allies in the same range, and the heal will be increased for every enemy hit (20% bonus for each enemy hit, up to 6 enemies for a 120% heal bonus).  Use this when fighting more than 3 enemies at once.

    • This ability is completely preference, and won’t be that great in a trial environment on bosses.  Treat this as a flexible spot in those instances.  If you have access to the Psijic Order, Meditate (morph to preference) is a phenomenal tool for resource management and absorbing damage.  You can also run Necrotic Orbs (morph to preference) if your group needs more resource management and synergies.

  • Heroic Strike (Debuff & Buff | morph of Low Slash) – Applying Minor Maim (15% reduced damage dealt by the target you apply to) upon cast for 12 seconds and granting Minor Heroism (1 Ultimate every 1.5 seconds) for 9 seconds, this is a staple ability for any tank.  Place this on targets such as bosses or elites that do a lot of damage to you or your group.

  • Siphoning Strikes (Self Buff & Heal | morph to preference) – Mainly here for added resource management, whenever you Light or Heavy Attack you’ll get a small bit of healing and Magicka or Stamina depending on the morph.  When the skill runs out you’ll get a burst of Magicka or Stamina as well.  It may also be recast early, but the resources will scale based on duration of how long it ran.  Leeching Strikes gives Stamina, while Siphoning Attacks gives Magicka.

  • [Ultimate] Reviving Barrier (Shield & HoT | morph of Barrier) – A solid passive slot that unlocks 10% additional Magicka Recovery for slotting, it also acts as a last stand ability for up to 6 allies.  Casting it grants a sizable damage shield, and an incredibly potent heal over time.

    • You may also slot Soul Harvest (Direct Damage & Buff | morph of Death Stroke) if you’d like passive Ultimate generation for getting killing blows and Assassination passives.

Destruction Staff (Lightning) – Debuff Bar

  • Blockade of Elements (AoE DoT | morph of Wall of Elements) – A fantastic ability that will help our enchants proc on either bar, meaning we can have a 100% uptime of Crusher.  This helps group DPS skyrocket.  We use a Lightning Staff so this becomes Lightning Wall so it has an additional chance to proc Concuss and Off Balance.

  • Refreshing Path (AoE DoT & HoT | morph of Path of Darkness) – Roughly the same size as Wall of Elements, this skill damages any enemy inside it, and heals up to 6 allies in the area.  It also grants the caster Major Expedition while inside it.  Nice for self and Stamina DPS healing.

  • Efficient Purge (Debuff removal | morph of Purge) – A costly ability that removes 2 negative effects from up to 6 allies and reduces the application of any other debuffs by 50%.  This also grants us a 10% Magicka Recovery bonus from slotting, so even if you aren’t going to use it you can keep it on.

    • Elemental Drain (Debuff | morph of Weakness to Elements) – A wonderful skill that applies Major Breach to a target for ~25 seconds, at no cost!  It also applies Minor Magickasteal to them, making it when any time you or an ally damages the target, they gain 300 Magicka (up to once per second).  This helps the group’s damage and sustain tremendously, making it vital to run.  It can be placed on an infinite amount of targets, from a range, for free.  It also can be preemptively applied without aggroing enemies.

  • Mirage (Buff | morph of Blur) – Granting us Major Evasion and Minor Ward and Resolve for a whopping 26 seconds, this skill helps us evade incoming damage and grants us 2% damage reduction for attacks we don’t dodge.  It also grants us Assassination passives.

  • Inner Rage (Ranged Taunt | morph of Inner Fire) – A very nice ranged taunt ability that also has a high chance of granting our ranged DPS a synergy called Radiate, which does immense damage over time on the target, and then detonates for even more damage in an area after a short while.  If the target is already afflicted with Major Breach and Fracture, try and use this taunt instead to help your group’s damage go up.

  • [Ultimate] Aggressive Horn (Group Buff | morph of War Horn) – Arguably the strongest ultimate in the game, this thing enables so much damage it’s absolutely mind boggling.  Increasing all party members’ stats nearby by 10% (Health, Magicka, AND Stamina) for 30 seconds, and granting everyone 15% more Critical Hit Damage/Modifier for 9.5s at rank IV, this is easy to fail to see the importance.  The main power of Aggressive Horn is the 15% CHD modifier, as it applies to any damage done or healing done, taking the character’s current CHD modifier and adding 15%, offering insane amounts of damage or healing done on crits.  The best groups in the world are able to keep up Major Force (the 15% CHD part) upwards of 60% in 5 minute + fights.  Strive to communicate and keep this up to help melt through content.

    • [Ultimate] Bolstering Darkness (AoE Buff | morph of Consuming Darkness) – Now reworked to offer Major Protection (30% damage mitigation) to any ally that walks over it, this buff will now retain even if you leave the area.  This means it no longer has a 6 person target cap, and you’re no longer stuck in the area to receive the buff.  Allies who have taken damage may also activate the Hidden Refresh synergy, giving them a huge burst of speed, invisibility to lose aggro, and a massive heal over time.

 

The Bloodletter

One Hand and Shield – Main Bar

  • Pierce Armor (Taunt & Debuff | morph of Puncture) – A must have as any tank build, this ability places Major Fracture and Breach on the target and Taunts them for 15 seconds.  Keep this up on any target that may pose a threat to your group, or any target you want to take additional damage.  If more than one player uses a Taunt, be careful about casting this too quickly.  If 3 taunts are casted within 15 seconds of each other from two ore more players, the target will become immune to taunt and run amok.

  •  Funnel Health (Direct Damage & HoT | morph of Strife) – Dealing moderate damage from a range, after impact it will heal you and an ally (smart targeting, prioritizes low health > closest to you) over a 10 second duration, every 2 seconds.  Its heal is based on damage dealt, so if you manage to crit, the HoT will be even stronger.  Keep in mind that recasting it will refresh the HoT, even if the healing will be less.

  • Sap Essence (AoE Damage & Heal | morph of Drain Power) – Offering tons of bonuses, this skill deals damage in an AoE to any enemy inside and grants Major Sorcery to us.  It also heals allies in the same range, and the heal will be increased for every enemy hit (20% bonus for each enemy hit, up to 6 enemies for a 120% heal bonus).  Use this when fighting more than 3 enemies at once.

    • This ability is completely preference, and won’t be that great in a trial environment on bosses.  Treat this as a flexible spot in those instances.  If you have access to the Psijic Order, Meditate (morph to preference) is a phenomenal tool for resource management and absorbing damage.  You can also run Necrotic Orbs (morph to preference) if your group needs more resource management and synergies.

  • Dark Shade (Debuff | morph of Summon Shade) – Reworked to have an AoE component, this ability summons a shade that hits your primary target and applies Minor Maim.  Every couple of seconds he does an AoE attack that also applies Maim.

    • Heroic Strike (Debuff & Buff | morph of Low Slash) – Applying Minor Maim (15% reduced damage dealt by the target you apply to) upon cast for 12 seconds and granting Minor Heroism (1 Ultimate every 1.5 seconds) for 9 seconds, this is a staple ability for any tank.  Place this on targets such as bosses or elites that do a lot of damage to you or your group.

  • Siphoning Strikes (Self Buff & Heal | morph to preference) – Mainly here for added resource management, whenever you Light or Heavy Attack you’ll get a small bit of healing and Magicka or Stamina depending on the morph.  When the skill runs out you’ll get a burst of Magicka or Stamina as well.  It may also be recast early, but the resources will scale based on duration of how long it ran.  Leeching Strikes gives Stamina, while Siphoning Attacks gives Magicka.

  • [Ultimate] Reviving Barrier (Shield & HoT | morph of Barrier) – A solid passive slot that unlocks 10% additional Magicka Recovery for slotting, it also acts as a last stand ability for up to 6 allies.  Casting it grants a sizable damage shield, and an incredibly potent heal over time.

    • You may also slot Soul Harvest (Direct Damage & Buff | morph of Death Stroke) if you’d like passive Ultimate generation for getting killing blows and Assassination passives.

    • Soul Shred (morph to preference) is another fantastic option.  Tether grants you immense healing and stun potential, while Siphon grants a huge AoE healing and Major Vitality.

Restoration Staff – Group utility

  • Rapid Regeneration (HoT | morph of Regeneration) – An incredibly easy and cheap ability that places a long lasting heal over time on 2 targets.  In a group simply cast this twice every 15 seconds or so and you’re good to go.

  • Refreshing Path (AoE DoT & HoT | morph of Path of Darkness) – Roughly the same size as Wall of Elements, this skill damages any enemy inside it, and heals up to 6 allies in the area.  It also grants the caster Major Expedition while inside it.  Nice for self and Stamina DPS healing.

  • Overflowing Altar (Debuff & Synergy | morph of Blood Altar) – Reworked to provide a limitless number of synergies, this ability applies Minor Lifesteal to any enemy inside of it, helping your allies heal when attacking them.  Allies under 80% Health can also activate a burst heal, Blood Feast, restoring over 60% of their Maximum Health.

    • Efficient Purge (Debuff removal | morph of Purge) – A costly ability that removes 2 negative effects from up to 6 allies and reduces the application of any other debuffs by 50%.  This also grants us a 10% Magicka Recovery bonus from slotting, so even if you aren’t going to use it you can keep it on.

  • Mirage (Buff | morph of Blur) – Granting us Major Evasion and Minor Ward and Resolve for a whopping 26 seconds, this skill helps us evade incoming damage and grants us 2% damage reduction for attacks we don’t dodge.  It also grants us Assassination passives.

  • Inner Rage (Ranged Taunt | morph of Inner Fire) – A very nice ranged taunt ability that also has a high chance of granting our ranged DPS a synergy called Radiate, which does immense damage over time on the target, and then detonates for even more damage in an area after a short while.  If the target is already afflicted with Major Breach and Fracture, try and use this taunt instead to help your group’s damage go up.

  • [Ultimate] Aggressive Horn (Group Buff | morph of War Horn) – Arguably the strongest ultimate in the game, this thing enables so much damage it’s absolutely mind boggling.  Increasing all party members’ stats nearby by 10% (Health, Magicka, AND Stamina) for 30 seconds, and granting everyone 15% more Critical Hit Damage/Modifier for 9.5s at rank IV, this is easy to fail to see the importance.  The main power of Aggressive Horn is the 15% CHD modifier, as it applies to any damage done or healing done, taking the character’s current CHD modifier and adding 15%, offering insane amounts of damage or healing done on crits.  The best groups in the world are able to keep up Major Force (the 15% CHD part) upwards of 60% in 5 minute + fights.  Strive to communicate and keep this up to help melt through content.

    • Bolstering Darkness (AoE Buff | morph of Consuming Darkness) – Now reworked to offer Major Protection (30% damage mitigation) to any ally that walks over it, this buff will now retain even if you leave the area.  This means it no longer has a 6 person target cap, and you’re no longer stuck in the area to receive the buff.  Allies who have taken damage may also activate the Hidden Refresh synergy, giving them a huge burst of speed, invisibility to lose aggro, and a massive heal over time.

    • Light’s Champion (HoT & Buff | morph of Panacea) – Offering huge healing potential to up to 5 allies, this skill also grants Major Protection (30% damage mitigation) and Force (15% Critical Hit Damage) for 5 seconds to any ally who receives the HoT.  Its low cost helps this be a great default ultimate.

 

Keep in mind this is just a guide line.  There is no perfect setup of Attributes, instead focus on hitting base lines.  You want a minimum of ~18k Stamina, 16k Magicka, and 35k  Health for most Veteran content.  Reach this number from enchants, gear, consumables, and attributes.

Food Options: Tri Stat (Health, Magicka, and Stamina), Witch Mother’s Brew, or Clockwork Citrus Filet will be the best bets with this build.  Tri Stat for trails helps your resource pool, while the Bloodletter route favors resource management of Witch Mother’s or Clockwork Filet.

 

Potion Options: “Tri” Healing Potions (Columbine, Mountain Flower, and Bugloss) is definitely ideal with this build, and will allow for fantastic resource management.  You can also build potions with Minor Protection or Major Vitality as well if you need a huge defensive potion, but they can get very pricey.  Experiment as a tank!

 

Race OptionsThe order for races in terms of holistic power is as follows;

Argonian (best overall performance) > Imperial (solid stat pool) > Nord (decent stats and minor damage mitigation) > Breton (nice Magicka boost and Spell Resistance) > Orc (decent stats and healing received).  Keep in mind as a tank that any race can work, and each offers their own unique advantages.

 

Mundus Stone Options: If you’re struggling with sustain, try out The Atronach (Magicka Recovery).  The Ritual (Increased Healing Done) can also output some crazy raw healing as well.  The Apprentice (Spell Damage) adds a little bit more to your healing and damage.

 

Poisons Or Enchants: 

  • Front Bar; Crusher is the ideal enchant here, offering a great amount of Physical and Spell Reduction to your target, helping your group’s damage skyrocket.

  • Back Bar; Weakening or Absorb Magicka glyphs here.  Weakening offers damage mitigation for the group, while Absorb Magicka helps if you’re struggling with sustain.

Much of CP allocation for tanks is completely preference based, so the below section is not “optimized”, since that term is redundant in this application.

The Mage (Blue)

  • Elemental Expert – 34

  • Elfborn – 100

  • Blessed – 100
  • Spell Erosion – 6

The Thief (Green)

  • Tenacity – 49

  • Arcanist – 49

  • Warlord – 40

  • Sprinter – 33

  • Tumbling – 23 (least important as a tank)

  • Shadow Ward – 56 (this can go higher if you want)

The Warrior (Red)

  • Elemental Defender – 37

  • Hardy – 37

  • Ironclad – 81

  • Thick Skinned – 61

  • Free 34 points

    • Keep in mind that each encounter has its own different damage types.  Some dungeons, trials, or boss encounters don’t deal Physical damage; so Hardy may become useless.  If you’re trying to optimize your mitigation always learn what sort of damage bosses deal, and change your CP accordingly.

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!

Set Locations

Seducers

Where to get;

Requires 3 Researched Traits and crafted at these locations

  • Grahtwood – Temple of the Eight

  • Stormhaven – Fisherman’s Island

  • Deshaan – Berezan’s Mine

How it performs;  This set is meant to offer beginner players a few extra set bonuses without costing too much.  Ease off this set as soon as you’re comfortable.

 

Fortified Brass

Where to get;

Requires 4 traits to crafted at these locations

  • Clockwork City – The Brass Fortress

How it performs; Offers a solid amount of Spell and Physical Resistance, helping load off damage and reach the 33,000 mitigation cap easier.

 

Torug’s Pact

Where to get;

Requires 3 Researched Traits and crafted at these locations

  • Grahtwood – Fisherman’s Isle

  • Stormhaven – Hammerdeath Workshop

  • Deshaan – Lake Hlaalu Retreat

How it performs;  When paired with Crushing and Weakening enchants, this offers immense group utility.  One of the better trial tanking setups out there.

 

Tava’s Favor

Where to get;

Requires 5 Researched Traits and crafted at these locations

  • Hew’s Bane – Forebear’s Junction

How it performs;  If you have access to Major Evasion, or can manage to dodge roll enough, this set offers insane Ultimate generation.  This helps through out more group utility like Aggressive Warhorn.

 

Monster Sets

Shoulders come from the chests at the Undaunted Enclave.  Helmets drop in their respective dungeons.  Play around with configurations you like.

 

Endurance

Where to get;  Comes from treasure vaults inside Imperial City Prison.  Also drops from doing Random Daily Dungeons in the Group Finder.

How it performs;  Mainly meant for beginner players who don’t have access to Jewelrycrafting, or dungeon sets, it won’t help you break any records but it’s a nice and easy to obtain BoE set that will help your survivability.

 

Plague Doctor

Where to get; Comes from Deshaan overland events such as quests, treasure chests, delves and dungeons, world bosses, and Dolmens.

How it performs;  Adds a huge amount of Max Health, helping us become incredibly hard to take down.  Good for soaking up a lot of damage if you’re newer.

 

Akaviri Dragonguard

Where to get; Comes from Eastmarch overland events such as quests, treasure chests, delves and dungeons, world bosses, and Dolmens.

How it performs;  Reduces the cost of Ultimates by 15%, helping very expensive ones like Aggressive Warhorn become cheaper, allowing them to be cast more readily.

 

Aegis of Galanwe

Where to get;  Comes from Normal or Veteran Cloud Rest, the weekly Veteran leaderboards of Cloud Rest, or the weekly coffer inside the raid.

How it performs;  Blocking attacks has a 50% chance to apply Major Empower to 3 allies, giving them a huge boost to Light Attack damage.  When in a trial with a tank in Alkosh and Torug’s, this could  be paired with Ebon on the other tank for the highest damage production for super optimized groups.

 

Bahraha’s Curse

Where to get; Comes from Hew’s Bane overland events such as quests, treasure chests, delves and dungeons, world bosses, and Dolmens.

How it performs;  Offers immense healing and damage potential when it procs, which thanks to the high proc thresholds, is all the time.  If you want to feel invincible in dungeon content, this is your set.

 

Roar of Alkosh

Where to get;  Comes from Normal or Veteran Maw of Lorkhaj, weekly Veteran Maw of Lorkhaj trial leaderboards, and the weekly Maw of Lorkhaj trial coffers.

How it performs;  Applies a huge amount of Physical and Spell Reduction to any target in an area after hitting a synergy, this set gives your DPS the largest damage gain in the game as a tank set.  This requires at least two unique synergies in group to get a high up time with, but realistically you want at least 3-4 unique synergies.

 

Ebon Armory

Where to get; Comes from Normal or Veteran Crypt of Hearts I or II.

How it performs;  Offers a sizable amount of Health to up to 12 party members, making it a perfect tank set in a trial environment to help people die less.  Keep in mind only one person needs to wear this set.

Tips & Tricks

  • The Nightblade Tank’s main strengths are the abilities to deal damage, heal, and take hits all at once.  This is a great build for players looking to be self sufficient in pug group environments, or to try something a little more aggressive for tanking.

  • This build was designed to play slightly more like a damage dealer than other tanks, so it might take some time to get into the groove of things if you’re trying it out.  Take it slow and adjust the build to your play style!

  • This build is highly reliant on managing a lot of different duration based abilities, I highly recommend familiarizing yourself with the buff tracking system from base game, or an addon if you’re on PC.

  • Your group will be relying on you to keep up powerful status ailments and abilities.  Be keen to take in constructive criticism or high load communication, but don’t forget you can ask for help too!

  • Since there are so many different abilities and sets you can run, be ready to change your bar and gear setups quite a bit!  If you’re on PC I highly recommend looking out for an addon to help do that all quicker.

  • Don’t hesitate to experiment!  If something doesn’t work for you, try something else.  You can always revisit specific interactions or suggestions I’ve referenced when you feel confident.

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