The Elder Scrolls

Tanking tips / guide for beginners

TheElderScrolls3 - Tanking tips / guide for beginners

Sometimes I just like to write stuff for myself and sometimes I also post it. This is one of those times. If it’ll help someone it’ll be really cool.

I’m not the godfather of tanks, «godslayer» or top tier endgame player, but I tank almost half a year now, love tanking and feel like I learned a lot of things that can help new players. All what I’m saying here is just my opinion + experience and I’m not saying that it’s the only right way to think.

Anyway, here’s my little tanking guide / tips for beginners (4 man content only).

Best class?

JDUB, one of the best tanks in ESO, made this ranking in his recent video:

  1. NB, DK;
  2. Warden, Necro;
  3. Sorc, Templar.

I think that this rating is pretty accurate. However if you ask me, my fav classes and my only 3 tanks right now are – Warden, NB and Necro. Also I’d say that Warden and Necro are the best for 4 man content. At least for me. Anyway, if you’re a good tank it’s not a big problem to tank on any class in 4 man content.

Best race?

  1. Nord (bonus HP and stam, ultimate generation, extra resistances).
  2. Argonian (extra resources from potions + good healing) and Imperial (bonus HP and stam + 3% abilities cost reduction).
  3. Orc (budget Imperial).

You can tank on any race. These 3 are just the best options. Other are slightly worse (have other bonuses not so useful for tanks) but viable as well. For example I tanked on a Breton and haven’t got any issues with him. My 3 tanks right now are – Nord, Argonian and Orc.


The best 2 in my opinion are The Atronach (mag recovery) and The Lord (max health).

I run Atronach on my Warden because he already has +10% HP from class passive and Lord on NB and Necro for extra HP.


Bewitched Sugar Skulls – best.

Longfin Pasty with Melon Sauce – budget option.


I like to have around 40k (I usually have 38-42k) HP, 20-23k mag and stam (you need stam to be a little more than mag for synergies).

Usually it will be 30 points into HP, 14 or so in mag and 20 in stam. It all depends on the sets and the race.

As a beginner you probably want a little bit more HP but I think 40k should be enough even for new players.


Too long to write it here. But CP is basic for all 4 man content except maybe Blackrose Prison arena. Check Alcast website pls 🙂


There are 5 types of tanking sets.

  1. Trash sets – most heavy armor in the game.
  2. Selfish sets – Plague Doctor (max HP), Leeching (heals only you).
  3. Group support sets aka good sets – Alkosh (huge debuff to the enemies), Dragon's Defilement (Minor Fracture)
  4. Win-win sets – Ebon (bonus HP to you and your group), Yolnahkriin (bonus dmg to your group and -5% dmg taken to you)
  5. Fun sets – Frozen Watcher (cool ice dmg and effect when you’re blocking)

As a new player I recommend you to start with selfish sets or mix it with group support sets. For example – Ebon + Plague Doctor (solid and extremely tanky option) or Ebon + Akaviri Dragonguard (I started with this setup). You want a lot of HP when you only learning how to tank.

When you will feel more comfortable you can wear full group support sets if you wish. But for 4 man content sets are not that important comparing to trials. That’s why I like to mix sets and wear what I like.

My fav sets are: Yolnahkriin, Akaviri Dragonguard, Dragon's Defilement, Frozen Watcher, Ebon, Brands of Imperium, Bani’s.

Monster sets?

Most of the time I use Lord Warden and Thurvokun.

Also good sets: Bloodspawn, Stonekeeper.

That's not all good tanking sets – only what I recommend for beginners and also use myself.


I like to run all heavy. You can also run 5 heavy, 1 light, 1 medium.


Big pieces (Chest, Head, Legs) – Infused, multi-enchant (HP, stam, mag)

Small pieces (Waist, Hands, Feet, Shoulders) – Sturdy, HP

Jewelry – I like to run all mag recovery. You can also run block cost reduction if you like.


Shield – Infused, Stamina

Sword – Decisive, Weakening

Staff – Infused, Crusher

Weapons must be golden, other as you wish (purple will do).

Ice staff or lightning staff?

For 4 man content I’d say that it really doesn’t matter and it depends on your personal preference. For trials it’s probably lightning staff.

Lightning staff provides off balance effect – stam DDs benefit from it.

Ice staff provides chilled (and immobilized?) status effect – it’s just useful.

I personally like Ice staff more and use it all the time. Also Ice staff is 100% better for new tanks because if you will be blocking on the back bar Ice staff is pretty strong for blocking, much stronger than lightning – so it’s very good. And with an Ice staff you can block for magicka as well which I also like. And you can also taunt with heavy attacks which is also cool. So for new players I suggest Ice staff or you can use whatever you like more.

What should I do as a tank?

  1. Stay alive, do mechanics, bash enemies, taunt all – boss and primary targets (big adds) first
  2. Debuff enemies and buff allies
  3. Stack adds

How to get good as a tank?

Honestly it all comes down to practice.

You just need to go into dungeons and tank as you can. Watch YouTube and listen to smart people and experienced tanks. When you are comfortable with mechanics of a certain dungeon and when you learn all the basics such as blocking, stacking, buffing and debuffing, self sustaining then you can learn how to roll dodge, kite and doing other fancy stuff.

How to self-sustain?

Heavy attack. Heavy attack when you can. Block heavy attacks and when enemies is just light attacking you can heavy attack. Don’t spam your abilities, use them only if needed.


Tanks don’t really have a rotation. They have just style of play and they use their skills when needed. 1) You buff 2) You taunt and all the stuff 3) Then you stack or / and crowd control all the adds. Then it’s just doing what you need – heavy attack, taunt, light attack, buff, debuff, taunt, crowd control, stack, etc.

What skills to use?

No matter what class you are your skills must be something like this:

MAIN BAR (S&B): Pierce Armor, Heroic Slash, Heal, Crowd Control, Your sustain, Class Ultimate

BACK BAR (Staff): Elemental Bloackde, Range taunt, Chain, Self / group buff, Heal over time (flex spot), Aggressive Warhorn

What else?

I think that’s all really.

Feel free to ask if you have any questions.

Tanking is not that hard in my opinion. For me it’s in most cases easier than being a DD. To oversimplify – taunt and not die. Also position, keep the boss away from the group and int one place of possible, do mechanics, bash, stack, self-sustain, heal if needed, resurrect your groupmates, be the leader if you can and want to. It’s honestly very fun role and I love it more than any other role.

Also every class has a different playstyle.

Wardens are awesome with 3DDs, can be great tank healers and even do some damage.

NB are very aggressive, you need to light attack a lot and they also have a lot of very useful tools to mitigate your and your group damage, heal, crowd control, provide extra dmg to your group – very fun class to tank with.

Necros are my go to tanks when I do Frostvault and Scalecaller because they have resto ulti and I can res all group in one click which is super useful on laser boss in FV and on last boss in SCP. They also have one of the best tank skills in the game for 4 man content in my opinion which is Agony Totem – it is CC, dmg reduction to you and bonus dmg to your group – all in one skill. And Necros also have insane ultimate generation.

I don’t play other tanks so Idk about their cool features but they certainly have their own.

Anyway, thanks all for reading. Hope this was helpful. Stay safe.

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