IntroductionThis build focuses on maximum health and resistances, damage mitigation, crowd control and (direct and indirect) group dps enhancement. Some impressive perks: It has 42-45k health, 32k resistances and 27k stamina. (with Tristat food and 300 CP). On top of rooting, snaring and teleport-pulling enemies, it keeps everything around you maimed (weakened) by applying the Chilled debuff through 3 sources of recurring frost damage.
SkillsLet’s start with the skills because they are ultimately what defines a class. They also influence our gear and race choices.
Front bar1: Pierce Armor (1h&shield) is your first unlockable taunt. It remains the premium choice, because reducing a bosses resistances by 5000 increases your groups DPS more than you could ever achieve as a tank.
2: Frozen Device lets you place up to three portals on the ground, which teleport enemies to you if they walk over it. Dragonknights have been the tank of choice for a long time, because of their exclusive pulling skill Fiery Grip. You can exchange Skill 2 with the ranged taunt Inner Rage. If so, you could also change Skill 1 to Subterranean Assault, which also reduces resistances. Furthermore, this would help triggering Savage Beast more often, increasing the highly valued ultimate generation.
3: Gripping Shards is your signature crowd control skill. It is a frost nova that stuns and afterwards slows enemies, dealing damage based on your max health.
4: Bull Netch this pet is your permanent stamina potion. But unlike normal recovery, it will replenish stamina even while you block.
5: Absorb Magic (1h&shield) grants you passive block cost reduction and block effectiveness. You can also activate it when you expect a heavy projectile. You can exchange this by Stalwart Guard if you feel underchallenged.
U: Aggressive Horn boosts magicka, stamina and health of your whole group. This means more tankiness AND damage. The aggressive morph increases the group’s critical damage, boosting the damage even further. If you don’t have War Horn yet, you can use the Warden ultimate Sleet Storm, which is an impressive tanking ultimate as well.
Back bar1: Heroic Slash put this on a boss to reduce their damage by 15%. This is an unmatched tanking skill. Also generates much valued ultimate.
2: Arctic Blast heal for 20% of your maximum life over 10 seconds, half of that instantly. I take the damage morph not for the damage, but to keep enemies chilled. The morph which heal another group member is good too.
3: Ice Fortress boost your resistances, boost your damage reduction. Are we a tank? Yes. Do we love this skill? Yes. The other morph is fine too.
4: Lotus Blossom attacks restore health to us or nearby allies. Also grants physical or magical crit depending on morph. I picked magical crit because all our damage over time abilities are magic and crits trigger the Iceheart monster set effect. 5: Absorb Magicka or Stalwart Guard, like above.
U: Replenishing Barrier this shield skill is useful if you are determined to keep people alive in certain situations. No must-have.
ConclusionWe use several skills from the Onehanded & Shield line, so we will use onehanded and shield. Two of our skills scale with maximum hp, so we want to maximize our hp. We want to control the battlefield and stand in the middle of the fight, so we will use heavy armor.
Traits, Enchantments, Food, Mundus Stone, PotionsI am mentioning this before the item sets, because it is more important.
Armor traits: you should get primarily Sturdy (reduces block cost) and one or two pieces Infused (increases enchantment effect).
Armor enchantments: Make sure to have 9-10k magicka and 18-20k stamina, the rest goes into health. With Tristat food, you will be at 14-15k magicka and 26-27k stamina.
Jewelry traits: preferrably healthy, which is the default for all listed sets.
Jewelry enchantments: Magicka recovery. If you feel you have too much, replace some with reduced block cost.
Weapon traits: decisive (ultimate generation) or infused (enchantment is stronger)
Weapon enchantments: crushing (reduces enemy resistances)
Food: Triple Stats (3x ~5000) or Orzorga’s Red Frothgar (5000 hp and 450 magicka recovery)
Mundus Stone: Atronach (magicka recovery)
Potions: Stamina if you fear being block-locked, otherwise magicka. No need for expensive crafted stuff. If you want to spend gold, get Tripotions.
Note: I found that 2100 magicka recovery is a bit too much. You can either switch your food to triple stat buff (4500 hp, magicka and stamina) or your Mundus stone to The Lord. If you know perfectly how long your skills last, you could try both.
RotationThere is no rotation, but rules:
- Block if you would otherwise die (charged attacks in vet dungeons)
- Use heavy attacks! Your only reliable way to recharge stamina
- Keep the big guys taunted, keep the trash under control with Shards and Portals
- Keep your buffs up (Ice Armor, Netch, Lotus)
SetsSet 1: Plague Doctor or Green Pact or Ebon Armory for health stacking
Set 2: Fortified Brass or Mark of the Pariah With Set 1, we boost our health, with Set 2, we boost our resistances.
These are the recommended sets for this build, which will make you an absolute unit in terms of defense, but also offense due to the health-scaling abilities.
However, for maximum efficiency and expert-gameplay, you might want to replace one or even both sets with something that gives much less defenses but more group utility, for example: Torug’s Pact, Akaviri Dragonguard, Roar of Alkosh, Aegis of Galanwe, etc
The 10 set pieces should cover all your equipment slots except head and shoulders – we need those for the monster set.
Monsterset: Iceheart (alternatively: Blood Spawn, Valkyn Skoria, Pirate Skeleton, Scourge Harvester, Lord Warden)
-> I picked Iceheart mainly because of the near constant damage shield and because it helps keeping enemies chilled. The chilled status effect used to slow enemies, now it applies minor maim, which reduces enemy attack power by 15%!
Champion PointsPriority from top to bottom.
In red we focus on:
-reduced damage from direct attacks, 51
-reduced damage from indirect attacks, 51
-reduced damage from physical, poison disease, rest
-reduced damage from magical and elemental damage, rest
In green we focus on:
-reduced block cost, 51
-resource restoration from heavy attacks, 64
-magicka recovery, 56
-reduced cost of break free, rest
-reduced cost of sprint, rest
In blue we focus on:
-increased healing done, 49
-for the rest, check which champion passives you want to unlock – out of all the damage passives, magic penetration will benefit you the most.
Race stats taken into consideration
- Max health is good by itself, but also boosts our Artic Blast and Gripping Shards.
- Stamina restoration (not recovery) passives are premium. (Redguard, Argonian)
- Max stamina is very important for blocking. We cannot rely on regeneration.
- Magicka regeneration is used so we can spam our crowd controls, heals and utility skills
- Max magicka: not so important, but since our magicka pool will be very small, this may help get one more skill out before needing to recharge.
Tier ListOutstanding passives in pink.
Nord: 9% max health, 6% max stamina and 6% damage reduction.
Orc: 6% max health, 6% max stamina, 5% healing received. Also they run fast.
Argonian: restore 4500 to all resources when drinking a potion, 9% max health, 5% healing done and received.
Imperial: 12% max hp, 10% max stamina, 10% chance to restore 6% of max hp on melee hit.
Darkelf: 6% max stamina, 9% max magicka, 50% reduced damage from environmental lava
Redguard: 10% max stamina, melee attacks restore 800 stamina (5 sec cooldown)
Breton: 10% max magicka, 4000 spell resistance, reduces cost of magicka skills by 3%
Khajit: literally nothing
Highelf: 9% increased magicka recovery, 10% max magicka
Woodelf: 6% max stamina
Note: Despite the tier list, all races are playable. The build is so tanky and efficient by itself, it doesn’t rely on any of the listed passives. I thought about listing the 4% elemental damage from Highelf, however dealing 4160 dps instead of 4000 does effectively nothing.