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Alanarre's Invincible DK ShieldTank

Alanarre's Invincible DK ShielDTank


21 May 2017 - Updated gear, skills, and champion points for Morrowind

21 Feb 2017 - Updated skills and champion points for Homestead

5 Dec 2016 - Updated throughout to maximize group shields per second


Shield Tanking in Morrowind

Somehow, ZOS decided the Morrowind would be a great time to buff the strongest tanking build in the game and significantly nerf all of the others. There has never been a better time to be a shield tank.

  • Helping Hands now restores significantly more stamina whenever you use Igneous Shield.
  • Blocking is now 2x as expensive, so letting attacks hit your shield instead is more attractive.
  • Minor Toughness from Warden heals / Warrior-Poet set increases max health by 10% for even bigger shields.
  • Essentially all sustain mechanics now return flat values instead of percentage-based, so this build gets more resources than before.
  • Champion points are now front-loaded, allowing for more mitigation before damage hits the shields.
  • Healing potency was significantly nerfed (Blessed, Major Mending) but shielding stayed the same.
  • Armor from item sets was significantly buffed, making it easier ever to hit armor cap with insanely high health.
  • Resource sustain for DPS / Healers were significantly reduced, making group shields more attractive for survivability.
  • ZOS has finally acknowledged the Igneous Shield bug (Igneous Shield removes shields cast by others ), if they fix it, this build will be even stronger.



Ok, this build isn't actually invincible (no cheat engine required), but it makes you feel invincible, and it can survive most one-shot mechanics with ease. The core idea here is to get 70-75k Max Health and then use shield abilities that scale off of your health. In particular, Igneous Shields can shield you for 30k per cast and shield the group for 13k, giving insane individual and group survivability. This is a build for No Death runs and extremely hard content, with modified versions that trade survivability for more group damage.



Any build has a ton of trade-offs. To guide our decision in this build we'll focus on maximizing group damage shielded per second, by increasing Max Health for larger Igneous Shields, and Magicka Recovery / Magicka Cost Reduction for more shields per second.



Best choice for Maximum Health is Imperial with +12% Max Health, honorable mentions for Nord (9% Max Health, 6% Damage Reduction), and Argonian (9% Max Health, 5% Healing Taken). Imperial gives the largest group shields, Nord gives more individual survivability, since the 6% damage reduction applies to your own shields, and Argonian makes life a little easier for your healers when you do take damage.



Everything in Health



The Atronach (more magicka recovery)

The Lord (more max health)

I generally run the Atronach, but if you have great group resources sustain and just don't need that extra recovery, you can run the Lord for larger shields.


Vampire / Werewolf

I like to run this as a vampire for extra magicka recovery, damage regeneration, and invigorating drain.



Maximum Group Shields

5x Plague Doctor (weapon / shield / armor / jewelry)

5x Ebon Armory (weapon /shield / armor / jewelry)

1x Max Health Undaunted Monster Set (shoulder)

1x Max Health Undaunted Monster Set (head)

Weapons should be Infused, Armor pieces should be Divines (more recovery with Atronach). If you can't get Divines, Infused is second best. If you're running the Lord, Infused is best in for large pieces (Head, Chest, Legs, Shield) and Divines for small pieces.

Max Health enchants on the armor, Magicka Recovery on the jewelry, Crusher enchant on the front weapon, Weakening enchant on the back weapon.

I use Ebon now instead of Green Pact because the 5-piece bonus for Green Pact boosts personal shields but does NOT boost group shields. The extra group health from Ebon is also nice.

If you do not have a Warden Healer in the group, you can consider Warrior-Poet instead of Ebon, but ideally you'll get the Minor Toughness buff from a Warden rather than giving up a 5-piece set.

I light light/medium for the head/shoulders to get the undaunted bonuses, but heavy works great too.


Moderate Group Shields, Moderate Group DPS

5x Ebon Armory (armor)

5x Alkosh (jewelry / weapons / shields)

2x Mighty Chudan (head / shoulder)

This variant is very popular for veteran trials as it provides higher group dps support while still providing a significant amount of survivability. You should expect to have 45-55k Max Health in this version and should focus on getting synergies to proc Alkosh as well as keeping shields up and building ultimate. Since the health for this version is lower and the shields are smaller, I like Mighty Chudan for the extra armor when the shields go down. If you really want to cast your own major armor buff on rotation (Balance or Hardened Armor), you can use 1x Mighty Chudan and 1x Pirate Skeleton instead.


Maximum Group DPS

5x Torug's Pact (armor)

5x Alkosh (jewelry / weapons / shields)

2x Mighty Chudan (head / shoulder)

If dying is not an issue, you can increase DPS even further by swapping out Ebon for Torug's Pact, giving that Infused Crushing enchant an extra ~500 penetration and allowing you to keep 100% uptime instead of 80%. Recommended only for content that your team is already clearing easily.

In this version, make sure you still have 5x heavy between the Torug's and Mighty Chudan pieces. Ideal would be a light sash, medium bracers, and heavy on everything else.


Champion Points (best guess before live patch, extremely subject to change)


Red Tree

Bastion - 72

Quick Recovery - 4

Heavy Armor Focus - 2

Elemental Defender - 15

Hardy - 15

Thick Skinned - 51

Ironclad - 51

Quick Recovery - 10

This distribution is a starting point, you can certainly shift champion points around to give better mitigation for the specific fight (more Elemental Defender for Maw of Lorkhaj, more Hardy for Sanctum Ophidia. Bastion will increase shield strength for yourself and everyone else against all types of damage, so that's priority. Thick Skinned and Ironclad now give more mitigation per point that Elemental Defender and Hardy, which is why I have them higher by default.


Green Tree

Tenacity - 75

Arcanist - 75

Shadow Ward - 28

Tumbling - 2

Warlord - 28

Bashing Focus - 2


Blue Tree

Blessed - 75

Elfborn - 13

(for Vengeance and Foresight perks and bigger self-heals)

Mighty - 75

Precise Strikes - 44

Piercing - 3

(for Last Stand perk)


Food / Potions

Orzorga's Red Frothgar for Max Health and Magicka Recovery, dropped Magicka and Stamina potions for most content, tri-pots for challenging content.



With everything optimized, you should have 70-75k Max Health, 10k Max Magicka, 10k Max Stamina, and 2k+ Magicka Recovery



Main Bar

Pierce Armor - primary taunt, provides Major Fracture and Major Breach

Heroic Slash - generate ultimate, provides Minor Maim

Stalwart Guard - give a dps Minor Force and take 30% of their damage on your shields

Igneous Shield - main spam ability, shield yourself for 30k, shield the group for 13k

Structured Entropy - +8% Max Health

Magma Armor - shields the group for 125% of their Max Health.


Inner Rage - range taunt / magicka taunt

Unrelenting Grip (keep enemies close) or Invigorating Drain (heal for 20% of missing health three times).

Stalwart Guard - give a dps Minor Force and take 30% of their damage on your shields

Spiked Bone Shield - shields you for 30k, returns damage to melee enemies, synergy shields group for 75% of Max Health

Structured Entropy - +8% Max Health

Aggressive Warhorn - boost group DPS, +10% Max Health



This build is strange and awesome. You function as a healer without ever healing and you function as a tank but rarely block. Spam Igneous Shields every 3-6 seconds, keep taunts, light attack and use Heroic Slash for ult gen, use heavy attack as filler to refill stamina, use dropped magicka potions to refill magicka. Only block knockdown and CC effects, avoid blocking normal effects since it doesn't reduce damage to shields. Stay close to allies and have them stay close to you, Igneous only has a 15m range. When you are low on magicka and need a shield, swap bars and use Bone Shield. When you are low on stamina and need a taunt, swap bars and use Inner Rage.



With this build, you can easily heal/tank veteran dungeons with pug dps and get no-death runs. I've run this through all of the hardest veteran dungeons and veteran DSA with great results, though for the DLC last bosses on hard mode and vDSA you really do need a healer as well. With this build you can stand in the red almost everywhere with no ill effects. Typical one-shot attacks like Selene's bear barely hurt you if you have a shield up.

Most fights in veteran trials are easy with this build. I have not yet tanked HRC Hard Mode, and I haven't main-tanked Rakkhat, but it's worked everywhere else. Tanking the axes in AA is quite difficult and requires careful stamina management with all of the blocks, but tanking the Atronachs on HM is a piece of cake. Off-tanking in Maw is amazing, on Rakkhat my shields absorb 50% of the total group damage, including for the main tank (after factoring in guard).

Some bosses have attacks that seem to scale based on your Max Health, such as Rakkhat, the Warrior, and the first boss in Hel Ra. Those are difficult fights for this build, but can be tanked if you are skilled and careful. Keep shields up, block the big hits, and run more passive mitigation (such as 2x Mighty Chudan).

About Alanarre:

Alanarre hasn't shared anything about themselves.

249 Replies
  1. Latin

    Member1308 Posts
    MachineKludge wrote on Feb. 11, 2018

    So what I want to know is, has something changed since the original build posted 15 months ago, or am I doing something wrong to account fo 15k missing health?

    You can change Atronach mundus to Lord, which will give about 2.2k. Changing divine traits on armour to infused, will add another 750~. Another 500 health by changing food buff to Orzorga's Red Frothgar (5k health, 457 Mag Recovery buff). If you are an Imperial, with your setup, it should be around 72k after factoring all the multipliers.

    If you play with a Warden healer or has a continual Warhorn rotation, you can even factor in Minor Toughness, and your health will be at ~77k.

    Not much had changed, in terms of the gearing and skills used in this build over the past 15 months, other than the nerf to the size of Obsidian Shields, the reduction of damage shield strength after using Equilibrium and the standardised duration of damage shields.

    e pluribus unum

  2. Mystweave

    Member1 Posts

    How would one go about leveling for this build ? Is there a specific way or random magicka destro staff up to max level ?

  3. Hundor

    Member28 Posts

    Any speculation yet in anticipation to the changes coming to Summerset? Or is it too early? 

  4. MachineKludge

    Member2 Posts
    Latin wrote on Feb. 13, 2018

    You can change Atronach mundus to Lord, which will give about 2.2k.

     Nice.  Changing the mundus made a big difference in total health and didn't reduce the magicka regen that much at all.

  5. RomillyMacAran

    Member1 Posts

    Thanks for this build! I wanted something different, and this hit the spot. I'm level 28 with it, and have solo'd nearly every world boss in Glenumbra, Stormhaven and Alikr (with only 2 failures - crabs and spiders - huge numbers of small adds I can't kill fast enough). Just stand there, and let them whack you. Takes a while to kill them, but no danger at all.

    Question though - you said 30K shields on 70K health -- is this just igneous? Because I only get 15K at 55K -- doesn't seem that will scale upwards.

    As for the last question about how to level -- I tried DW/Lightening/2H -- and personally I found the 2H the most fun. Couple of Wrecking blows and most mobs are done, and you have a cleave for multiple mobs. For large sclae AOEing I guess Lightning is the best, but I'd probably suggest using some light armor for the process, as Orghums+Plague Doctor does about 1K a tick.

    Update - answering my own question, looking at the history of the coef page (https://web.archive.org/web/20170821002129/http://esoitem.uesp.net:80/viewSkillCoef.php)

    I see that it went from 15% of health to 10% around August 2017.

    So, that adds up - 10% of 50K x 3 (+200%) => 15k   versus  15% of 70k x 3 =>  30K (ish)

  6. Saint.Traft

    Member1 Posts

    Is this build still viable with Summerset update?

  7. Dionysus

    Member139 Posts
    Saint.Traft wrote on July 23, 2018

    Is this build still viable with Summerset update?

     I use it. I can carry a really bad group through Vet Crypt of Hearts, because you can still ignore some mechanics entirely because of how much burst damage you and your group can take. I want to get one of the newer dlcs and try tanking a newer dungeon to see if it holds up, but I've heard that it does quite well there too, especially with dragon wings...

    Oh yes and I run the build exactly as is, except you might want to take the lord stone instead of atronach depending on how much health you want. 

    The only twist for me?  I'm an Orc Vampire that uses vampire drain and Dark Talons instead of Stalwart Guard.

    Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.

  8. Hundor

    Member28 Posts

    So with the very interesting changes coming to magicka shields, I'm mostly curious about physical and spell resistance now applying to them. Which makes me wonder what a more effective build (pve) would be: max health (bigger shields) vs max resistances (stronger shields) /ponder

    Link to PTS notes

  9. QuadroTony

    Member9 Posts

    this guide need update for Wrathstone


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