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Skill points

You can get 481 skill points in the game (Blackwood)!
  • Skyshards: 165
  • Level: 64
  • DLC: 99
  • AvA Ranks: 50
  • Veteran Dungeons: 10
  • Group Dungeons: 14
  • Public Dungeons: 16
  • Mainstory Quests: 14
  • Quests (All Zones): 49
Build Planer is on Patchlevel 7.2.5

The Only DK Tank Build You'll Ever Need

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Aldmeri Dominion
The Atronach - Increases Magicka recovery by 310 (507 with 7 Legendary Divine Traits)
Skill points
0 / 481
Champion points
0 / 3600
Patch level
Patch 7.1.6
  • Class
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  • Weapon
    • Two Handed
    • One Hand and Shield
    • Dual Wield
    • Bow
    • Destruction Staff
    • Restoration Staff
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    • Light Armor
    • Medium Armor
    • Heavy Armor
  • World
    • Legerdemain
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    • Thieves guild
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    • Please select a race in the top menu.
  • Craft
    • Alchemy
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Build description

***General Description***
This build is the culmination of thousands of hours of tanking experience and represents the pinnacle of PvE trial and dungeon tanking. This build (with the occasional gear set and skill swap) has been used to complete all dungeon trifecta achievements (no-death, HM, & speed-run in the same run) prior to the Waking Flame update as well as all veteran trials. Although this build attempts to maximize damage mitigation, sustain, and group utility, please keep in mind that any difficult content in this game requires group cooperation/good healers and DPS in addition to good tanking. Thus, any good tank is only as good as his teammates. Also, much of a tank’s capability comes from experience and knowledge of content mechanics. Regardless, this build should set you up for success and facilitate any content learning curves. : )

- The gear setup you see here on ESO-Skillfactory is the setup used for most dungeon content. The vDSA shield is Sturdy trait w/ a Glyph of Health enchant. (For some reason, ESO-Skillfactory didn’t have these as options for shields.)
- Nothing else other than gear sets and a few skills are altered for this build when it is used in different content.
- All gear setups encompass a monster set, body set, and back bar set; all but one utilize the vDSA S&B.
- You should always wear 7 heavy armor pieces and utilize a S&B front bar with an ice staff back bar.
- You can use an Infused trait on your ice staff if you care about buffing group DPS by <1%.

***Max Character Stats (Fully Buffed)***
- Max Magicka: 19.6k
- Max Health: 40.6k
- Max Stamina: 25.6k

- Magicka Recovery: 1,590
- Health recovery: 670
- Stamina Recovery: 950

- Spell Resistance: 33.8k (33k is the cap)
- Physical Resistance: 33.8k

*Max stats may vary slightly depending on gear sets.

***Advanced Character Stats (Fully Buffed)***
- Bash Cost: 1,800
- Break Free Cost: 5,180
- Bash Damage: 1,800
- Block Movement Speed: 66%
- Sprint Speed: 137%
- Block Cost: 740
- Dodge Roll Cost: 4,600 (0 every 30sec w/ CP)
- Sprint Cost: 460
- Block Mitigation: 84%
- Spell Resistance (%): 50% (cap)
- Physical Resistance (%): 50%
- Healing Taken: 17%
- Critical Healing: 12% (Khajiit Passive)
- Healing Done: 2%

*Overall damage mitigation while blocking any blockable attack is 99% with Minor & Major Protection from Turn Evil and Lingering Flare, respectively.

*Fully Buffed = Bloodspawn or vDSA S&B, Green Dragon Blood, and Balance being proced while in combat

Tri-Stat Pots

Purple Tri-Stat Food or Bewitched Sugar Skulls

Use whatever race you want with this build, but keep in mind max stats may vary accordingly with racial passives. I chose Khajiit despite there being slightly better tank races because I like their aesthetic and because they have a nice uniform max stat increase passive. I would suggest Argonian or Imperial as alternatives because they grant the greatest passives for sustain. (Argonian is probably the best for a DK tank this patch due to the Resourceful passive.)

***Use of Skills***
Front Bar
- Use Green Dragon Blood as your primary self-heal when at low health. Opt for using Pierce Armor to proc your ~5k instant heal from vDSA S&B when you are only missing a bit of health. Green Dragon Blood is a % based heal, so it will not replace much of your health if it already isn't very low. Don't waste magicka by spamming it. You should try to keep 100% uptime on this skill though due to its buffs to health and stamina recovery as well as healing received.
- Balance is your source of Major Resolve/buffs your damage mitigation by ~9%. 100% uptime on this skill is easily achievable granted it lasts 30sec with the Mages Guild passives. This skill is also great for replenishing magicka at the cost of health. The health cost is easily negated by a decent healer, so you can virtually spam this skill to achieve great magic sustain. This skill bestows a 4sec 50% debuff to healing done and damage shield strength. Luckily, this build doesn’t utilize damage shields, and the healing done debuff is short lived.
- Lingering Flare is a skill that passively grants a substantial 10% damage mitigation buff, and thus, it should not be activated when in combat. However, this skill doubles as a useful visual aid to mark positions prior to boss fights when explaining mechanics. It is also great for marking chests/loot.
- Unrelenting Grip is your chaining skill that enables you to pull in adds and stack them tight to increase damage. This skill also grants Major Expedition for 4sec and is great for getting around quickly/kiting or strafing to avoid damage. The cost of the skill is also refunded when cast on a boss that is immune to CC (crowd control) effects. It’s basically free zoomies.
- Pierce Armor is your melee taunt/primary enemy debuff. It increases group penetration (and thus damage) significantly. You should keep 100% uptime on this for every enemy you can. This skill also procs the ~5k heal from the vDSA S&B.
- Use your Magma Shell Ultimate if shit is just hitting the fan and you need to go God Mode for a bit.

Back Bar
- Keep 100% uptime on Blockade of Frost in order to maximize uptime on the Chilled and Brittle debuffs. These status effects cause enemies do 5% less damage and take 10% more critical damage, respectively. Your healer(s) should be using an ice staff on back bar and be light attacking enemies in your blockade with it in order to maintain the uptime on these debuffs. This skill also serves to maintain very high uptime on the group penetration granted by procing the Crusher enchant on your ice staff.
- Turn Evil should be primarily used as a means of CCing add groups when you have them packed in like sardines or an extra source of damage mitigation (5%). It also grants a bit of stamina recovery. As OT, you can do a drive-by on the group hard stack and toss this skill under your allies’ feet as a selfless buff. (This skill serves as your main flex spot for other skills to be slotted.)
- Overflowing Altar serves as a group HoT by healing allies as they do damage to enemies. It also grants a huge 65% burst heal in the form of a synergy for any allies below 50% health. You should keep 100% uptime on this skill.
- Cinder Storm is a targeted ground based AoE skill that you can cast at range. Thus, it serves as a supplemental heal for yourself or your allies. It also doubles as a phenomenal 70% snare that helps immensely when grouping adds. You can easily keep 100% uptime on this skill. It does wonders for your sustain when casting it under yourself.
- Inner Rage serves as your ranged taunt when the enemies are outside of melee taunt range. It grants a low damage synergy for allies and can proc Yolnahkriin when it is being back barred. Use this skill if you lose hard taunt and need to throw a Hail Mary to get taunt back.
- Use your Aggressive Warhorn Ultimate in order to buff group critical damage and max stats as often as possible.

*When you approach an add group, lead with a Cinder Storm right in the middle of them to snare them. Then, run into the middle of them and cast Turn Evil to stun them. Follow this up with Blockade of Frost and proceed to chain in the rest of the adds on the periphery with Unrelenting Grip. Then, you can debuff all of them with Pierce Armor and use Balance and Overflowing Altar to buff when you’re in the mosh pit. (Cast an Inner Rage on an add right after Cinder Storm to proc Yolnahkriin if you are back barring it.)

***Alternate Flex Slot Skills***
- Protective Plate
This skill is good for mitigating projectile damage in content like vCR (use in place of Lingering flare).
- Igneous Shield
This is a great damage shield skill on the rare occasion you feel you need some more damage mitigation (use in place of Turn Evil).
- Shield Discipline Ultimate
This is a good/cheaper ultimate if you’d like to use it in place of Magma Shell for more sustain.
- Shielded Assault
This is a good gap closer skill that you can use in place of Unrelenting Grip when you get kicked across the room as MT in the vHoF final boss fight.
- Crushing Shock
This is a ranged interrupt you can slot in place of Turn Evil or Cinder Storm for content like vAS+2 as OT if you don't have dedicated interrupters.
- Elemental Drain
This is a source of Major Breach you can use when enemies need debuffed but are out of melee range (i.e. the Dark Crystals in vCR final boss portals). This skill also grants allies some decent magicka recovery. You can use it in place of Cinder Storm.
- Resolving Vigor
This is a great heal over time skill that can be used in the vCR final boss fight portals to combat consistent high damage that the DK Green Dragon Blood skill simply can’t. This can be used to proc PA too. (Opt for Proximity Detonation to proc PA if you want a visual aid for keeping uptime.) This skill can be used in place of Turn Evil.
- Charging Maneuver
This skill is fantastic for enabling allies to kite damage or zoom between add groups in dungeons for speed runs (useful for running in between phases in the vRG final boss fight). This can be run in place of Turn Evil.

***Skills You Should NOT Use***
- Deep Breathe
This skill is a useless AoE interrupt because it has a 2.5sec delay. You can do 180s and shield bash interrupt your way through vKA faster. Trust me.
- Engulfing Flames
A Z’en’s DK DD can use this to greater effect because the group flame damage buff scales with spell damage. You do not have high spell damage.
- Stone Giant
The effort in keeping up the stacks for the group DPS increase that this skill grants is not at all worth it. It’s simply a waste of stamina.
- Heroic Slash
The ulti gen this skill grants is negligible, and the group should be getting Minor Maim from your Chilled uptime.
- Defensive Stance
The Major Protection from Lingering Flare and block mitigation from the Bracing Anchor CP active skill trumps the usefulness of this skill.
- Frost Clench
The range on the taunt aspect of this skill pales in comparison to Inner Rage, and you do not need the damage mitigation granted by 4sec of Major Maim. You’re not gonna cast this skill every 4sec.
- Energy Orb
Sustain/resource synergies are the healer’s job, and these synergies have shared cooldowns. Therefore, running this skill while a Templar healer runs Luminous Shard is redundant.

***Champion Point Notes***
The Thief
- Steed’s Blessing may only buff out-of-combat movement speed, but it can make a noticeable difference in speed in between add groups when going for dungeon speed runs.

The Mage
- Cleansing Revival may seem like a healer’s skill, but most healers opt for other CP active skills and situationally slot Efficient Purge instead. This CP active skill is far superior to Efficient Purge because it cleanses ALL negative effects. This skill is easy to proc on allies with Cinder Storm and yourself with Green Dragon Blood when you are low health. It makes a noticeable improvement to your group’s sustain/saves low health allies.
- The reason you should opt for using both Enduring Resolve and Duelist’s Rebuff as opposed to active CP skills that mitigate direct damage or AoE damage is because some DoTs are considered single target attacks. Thus, you can get very high damage mitigation against said DoTs. This is relevant because the prevailing trend with new content is to chuck in a bunch of high damage DoTs to give tanks a run for their money. ZOS is getting lazy and thinks more damage is a substitute for mechanics. Also, you have enough direct damage mitigation when blocking, and you should never stand in AoEs. Thus, you don’t need CP to mitigate those damage sources.
- 1,300 stamina from Endless Endurance might not seem like a lot, but it makes a noticeable difference in your sustain. The longer you can block, the tankier you are and the longer you will survive to do your job.

The Warrior
- Expert Evasion is an invaluable CP active skill. Don’t underestimate the sustain that a free roll dodge every 30sec can grant you.
- Celerity in addition to a Swift trait on one jewelry piece works to negate the movement speed debuff from Bracing Anchor.
- Bracing Anchor makes one a lot tankier by increasing block mitigation by an impressive 20%. You can opt for Sustained by Suffering for more recoveries in content where you don’t need the damage mitigation/want more mobility (i.e. OT in vAS+2). Do not underestimate the importance of mobility for a tank.

***Trial Gear Setups***
- Bloodspawn (monster set)
- Perfected Stone-Talker’s Oath (jewelry and S&B)
- Perfected Claw of Yolnahkriin (body)
- vAS Ice Staff (back bar; put Crushing Shock on in place of Turn Evil)
- Switch Mundus Stone to The Tower (max stamina) when using Stone-Talker’s Oath

- Bloodspawn (monster set)
- Saxhleel Champion (body)
- Drake’s Rush (jewelry & ice staff back bar)
- vDSA S&B

*These trial setups assume the group healer is running SPC & PA, the kite healer is running ROJO, and one mag DD is running EC while another is running Z’en’s. If a healer isn’t running ROJO, the OT can utilize jewelry/back bar War Machine and body Drake’s Rush while two others (1 healer and 1 DD) wear Master Architect. Meanwhile, the MT can body Saxhleel and use jewelry/back bar Yolnahkriin.

***Dungeon Gear Setups***
Primarily use the gear as shown on the ESO Skill Factory build (Bloodspawn, Drake’s Rush, & Yolnahkriin). Your group healer in dungeons and trials should almost always be wearing Symphony monster set while bodying SPC and back barring PA.

***Other Useful Gear Sets***
- War Machine
This set is sometimes good to use on back bar instead of Yolnahkriin to increase burn during certain dungeon boss fights (i.e. Dread Cellar final boss HM and sometimes Stone Garden 2nd boss HM). This set can also be used in trials as mentioned above.
- Crimson Oath Rive
Use this as a body set along with Tremorscale monster set and Yolnahkriin back bar when running with a stamina DD composition in trials or dungeons to maximize group penetration.
- Winter’s Respite
This is a great back bar set for self/group healing and tank sustain. Four of the ground-based skills on this build’s back bar can be used to proc the heal on this set. Cinder Storm can be used to proc it on group members at range. It is helpful for damage mitigation on certain dungeon final boss HMs with high DoT damage (i.e. Stone Garden, Lair of Maarselok, Moongrave Fane, and Icereach.)
- Brands of Imperium
This set grants a 12-14k damage shield with 50% uptime on group members within 8m of you when you take damage. This is great for dungeon HMs with lots of damage and little play space (i.e Frostvault and Icereach). I typically body this set while back barring Winter’s Respite in Icereach for no-death runs.
- Bani’s Torment
This set is great for MT damage mitigation for certain trial final boss HMs (i.e vKA and vRG). This set should be back barred and proced with Inner Rage so that you can selectively apply it to the target you want (the boss).
- Eternal Warrior
This is a great body set to use when learning how to tank veteran trials because it grants you a great burst heal and 100 ultimate when you dip below 25% health once every min.

***Sets Tanks Should NOT Use***
- Powerful Assault
This back bar set should only be worn by the two portal tanks when doing a vCR+ (while you body Yolnahkriin). Otherwise DO NOT use this set on a tank. The 10m proc radius is way too small to proc it on most group members considering tank positioning. This set is kept up effortlessly on all DDs when worn by the group healer along with SPC considering PA is smart proc/prioritizes group members that don’t already have it proced on them. Thus, a healer can double tap Echoing Vigor or Proximity Detonation on rotation in order to keep the buff up on everyone in trial content.
- Elemental Catalyst
Ignore all of the BS Tank Club trial builds that slap this set on the MT. This should be worn on a MagCro DD slotting the appropriate skills. Let the DDs buff themselves a little.
- vVH S&B or Swarm Mother
If you use this weapon set or monster set on a tank, it means you suck at grouping adds. Just don’t suck.

***Alternative/Situational Monster Sets***
*You should be using Bloodspawn, but if you’re not, here are a few options. (ulti gen is unparalleled)
- Stonekeeper
This set is a tank’s best option for supplemental sustain, but don’t use it as a crutch.
- Tremorscale
As mentioned previously, this set is great for maximizing group penetration in stamina compositions.
- Encratis’s Behemoth
This set is best used to mitigate damage in instances with lots of flame damage AoEs (i.e. Stone Garden HM and Moongrave Fane HM). This set also buffs group DPS, but it is by a rather negligible amount (~1%, adds ~400-1k DPS per DD).
- Scourge Harvester
This set is a good source of extra healing/damage mitigation if you need some but don’t want to commit to wearing a full set of Bani’s.
- Earthgore
This set is good for clutch healing/saving yourself or a low health ally/good for progressing hard content.
- Lord Warden
This set is good for adding a little bit of group damage mitigation/is useful for non-mobile hard stack fights granted it procs every 10sec in the form of an AoE (i.e. vSS final boss while on OT).
- Vykosa
This set is good for extra group damage mitigation in protracted high damage scenarios (i.e. vKA final boss HM). This is basically the mobile single target (enemy debuff) version of Lord Warden.
- Lady Thorn
This is another group damage mitigation set that is single target (enemy debuff) and comparable to the others listed above as it grants roughly 4% overall damage mitigation factoring in uptime. It procs off of skills like Balance and Overflowing Altar.
- Symphony of Blades
This set is great for group sustain and can be worn on a tank if the group healer is being an idiot and not already wearing it.

Congratulations for making it to the end. I know this is a lot of information, but I hope it answers many of your questions about DK tanking and facilitates your success as a tank.

Best of luck progressing all of the content ESO has to offer,
Build Author
(Xbox One/NA)
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  • Craft 0
  • Warfare 0
  • Fitness 0

Magicka Magicka
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Health Health
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Stamina Stamina
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  • 5x Drake's Rush
  • 4x Perfected Claw of Yolnahkriin
  • 2x Bloodspawn
  • 2x Perfected Puncturing Remedy

  • No passive abilities selected

Set parts

Here you can find the overview of the set parts that are suggested for this build.

Armor Type
Heavy Armor
Glyph of Prismatic Defense
Heavy Armor
Glyph of Health
Drake's Rush
Heavy Armor
Glyph of Health
Drake's Rush
Heavy Armor
Glyph of Prismatic Defense
Drake's Rush
Heavy Armor
Glyph of Health
Drake's Rush
Heavy Armor
Glyph of Prismatic Defense
Drake's Rush
Heavy Armor
Glyph of Health
Perfected Claw of Yolnahkriin
Glyph of Magicka Recovery
Perfected Claw of Yolnahkriin
Glyph of Magicka Recovery
Perfected Claw of Yolnahkriin
Glyph of Magicka Recovery
Weapon Type

1. Actionbar

Main hand
Perfected Puncturing Remedy
Glyph of Absorb Magicka
Perfected Puncturing Remedy
No Poison selected

2. Actionbar

Main hand
Perfected Claw of Yolnahkriin
Frost Staff
Glyph of Crushing
Perfected Claw of Yolnahkriin
Frost Staff
Glyph of Crushing
No Poison selected

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