Update: Updated build for Clockwork City (12/28/2017) UPDATE IN PROGESS
Update: Updated build for Homestead (2/12/2017)
DISCLAIMER: I have been away from the game for several months, and thus have no recent experience with this build. However, I have had a lot of positive feedback on the build, and wanted to get it updated for those that want to continue using it for inspiration. There were several nerfs in Homestead to this build (mainly related to heavy armor), but I think that it should still be quite viable.
Hi everyone, CasNation here. I present to you the Resplendent Bastion, a Templar build designed to tank and heal a 4-person group at the same time. I have always enjoyed healing in ESO, and have healed on my Sorcerer since Launch in every bit of content up to Trials. As I began playing a Templar, I knew I wanted to do more than just heal, hence why I decided to build a Heal/Tank, for a bit of extra challenge. While this play-style can be difficult to perform, I find it immensely more rewarding than just healing or tanking on its own. Without further ado, let's get started.
The purpose of this build is to act as the ultimate support for a team. I designed this build with mostly 4-man content in mind, and numerous adjustments would have to be made to perform in Trials, so we won't be focusing on that. One of my design goals was also to make this build easy to achieve in regards to gear, so the majority is crafted.
As a Heal/Tank, you have to be able to perform the roles of tank and healer simultaneously. This makes Templar an obvious choice, as Breath of Life allows you to effectively heal your allies without sacrificing much in the way of defense. It also allows you heal without sacrificing your positioning, like with the Warden. To give a better idea of the build's strengths and weaknesses, let's go over a few pros and cons:
- The ability to bring 3 DPS players to a dungeon results in faster clear times and fewer mechanics to deal with in boss fights.
- You are your own healer, so you don't need to coordinate with another person to get healed up after heavy damage.
- You are a very defensive healer (being a tank), meaning that your group is unlikely to wipe because of a dead healer. Things kinda go down-hill if you DO die though...
- You can self sustain for a very long time with self-heals and good use of heavy attacks.
- You can offer excellent stamina and magicka support through Radiant Aura and Luminous Shards.
- You provide very little damage. Your commitment to two other roles generally means that you have trouble killing things on your own, so you will have to rely on the party.
- Since there is only one support character in the group, that generally means only one Warhorn per boss encounter instead of two.
- You need to rely mainly on heavy armor passives and heavy attacks to restore stamina since there isn't a separate healer providing Shards or Orbs.
- You have almost no crowd control options available, making collecting and condensing trash packs for your DPS more difficult.
Taken with cp160 purple food and ~380cp. Otherwise unbuffed. As you can see, my stats are all about making sure I have enough resources to heal, but also have enough mitigation/health to survive heavy damage phases. Note that this screen cap is without the Undaunted passives, so I am missing 6% of each stat on this character at the moment, as well as what I lose from not being at CP cap. While my Spell damage may seem low when unbuffed, recall that heavy armor can boost your spell damage by as much as 200 (with Homestead, this passive became twice as hard to stack, so be aware of that). That, plus the Spell Power Glyph on my weapon, Dawn's Wrath Passives and Major Sorcery, and my spell damage can reach 2.5-2.7k as a tank. Also note that this is mainly with purple gear, as I am too cheap to buy Tempering Alloy at the moment, though, all enchants are gold.
Compared to other tank builds, you may notice that my health is comparably low. Unfortunately, this is a sacrifice we need to make in order to stack magicka for both our sustain and healing power. While the current (CWC) meta primarily focuses on health-heavy tanks, 25-30k should be sufficient as long as you are careful and pay attention to mechanics.
I use the Atronach for additional magicka regeneration, and think this is the best stone for this build. Alternatives would be Apprentice for spell damage, or any of the three base attribute stones (Tower, Mage, Lord) to make up where you might be lacking in stats.
I believe Breton is the best race for this particular combo. Each and every one of their passives contributes to the build in some way, and we aren't concerned about their lower DPS capacity since that isn't our job. That said, there are a few other races I think work well as a Heal/Tank:
- Imperial: The raw stat pools are very attractive, and you are going to be spending a lot of time in melee range, so Red Diamond may actually proc.
- Dunmer: The bonus to both stamina and magicka is very nice for you, and Flame Resist is good. Synergizes nicely if you want to go Vampire.
- Altmer: You get max magicka and magicka recovery. Useful, but the damage bonus does nothing for you.
- Argonian: These guys have their healing passive that buffs outgoing, as well as incoming, heals. Since we aren't worried about their lower comparative damage, and we are our own healer, this allows us to "double-dip" in that passive. They also have a strong sustain option with their potion passive. Argonian is a very strong choice.
While any of the other races could certainly work as a Heal/Tank, none of them really bring much of note to the table compared to the above races.
I run with 5-1-1 Heavy/Medium/Light to take advantage of the Undaunted passives. I balanced my gear around the idea that I am a very tanky healer first, and a taunt-machine second. That means that my most important stats when making gear choices were: magicka, magicka recovery, spell damage, and health/mitigation. All of my sets provide benefits that directly benefit me and my play-style, so there are no wasted set slots.
I chose Kagrenac's Hope for several reasons. The first of which is that each of the bonuses directly improves some aspect of the build. Second, it is craftable so it is easy to acquire and customize in terms of traits and looks. Finally, the Templar's resurrection speed bonus combined with Kagrenac's can make for some very clutch saves if the need arises. Spectre's Eye is another excellent set that helps you to reach your desired mitigation numbers without losing out too much on other stats. I use Healthy Willpower jewelry because it offers an excellent stat boost, and is relatively cheap compared to the Arcane alternatives. I don't see many other jewelry sets outperforming it, but there are a couple other options discussed in the Alternate Gear Choices section.
Having at least three Tri-stat glyphs is very important in order to reach an acceptable amount of stamina, and you should use Infused on the pieces you enchant with these. Your worst enemy is having to break free, and having to dodge roll. With the Sturdy trait, the Champion system, and the 1HS passives, you can block for quite a long time, even with our comparatively limited stamina. But as soon as you have to spend stamina on something else, you had better be following up with a heavy attack to restore your stamina. Take note that in Homestead the heavy armor passive that returned more resources on a heavy attack was nerfed, so you are going to need to be more aware and proactive of restoring your resources than before. You can make up this deficit in the CP system, however.
I know that providing the Crusher enchant with an Infused weapon is a big part of the current (CWC) meta, but I feel that Defending is necessary given our comparatively low mitigation and health. We have to make sacrifices in order to fill two roles, and this is one of them.
Note that while my Shield is Reinforced, it is actually better to use Nirnhoned with the way the game calculates mitigation with the Shield Expert CP passive. This was a mistake on my part, but Reinforced is admittedly far cheaper. Also note that the optimal distribution of gear weight for mitigation is: Light belt, Medium gloves, Heavy everything else. I chose not to do this for aesthetic reasons.
My ability bars are somewhat odd when considering the conventional design philosophy of each bar having a separate purpose. Because I need to be able to perform both tanking and healing roles at the same time, my ability choices must support that regardless of which bar I am on.
- Breath of Life: This is your main heal. Combined with Minor Mending, you will rarely ever need any other heal.
- Luminous Shards: Luminous Shards provides a small amount of CC and brings more resource support, making it a strong choice. We lose out on the damage of Blazing Spear, but our damage is so low to begin with that the loss in negligible.
- Channeled Focus: Your best friend. Dirt cheap and your primary source of sustain. Also has your Major Armor/SR buffs, AND supplies Minor Mending. Never leave this.
- Pierce Armor: This is your all-purpose taunt. It provides your Major Fracture/Breach debuffs, which are critical for aiding DPS. It does cost stamina though, so be careful.
- Stalwart Guard: This ability is absolutely beautiful under certain conditions, and will be discussed in detail below.
- Aggressive Warhorn: The de facto healing and tanking ultimate, made all the more awesome by the fact you are running with three DPS.
- Radiant Aura: This provides Minor Magicka Steal, allowing for additional sustain for both you and your magicka DPS.
- Reflective Light*/Purifying Light/Flex: Provides Minor Sorcery to the team, and gives you Major Prophecy as well. A magplar DPS on the team allows you to run something else, as they will be applying the buff for you. Purifying Light is a good option as well since it triggers the Dawn's Wrath passives, and provides some extra healing if you find you don't have the sustain to constantly hit Breath of Life.
- Inner Fire: This doesn't apply debuffs, but it is ranged, and it doesn't drain your stamina. The synergy is also surprisingly strong, and you should encourage your DPS to grab it whenever possible.
- Ritual of Retribution: Another source of Minor Mending, and more importantly a strong snare and reasonable DoT/HoT over a large area. Helps provide limited crowd control and to grab aggro with light damage. Also proc's Minor Magicka Steal from Radiant Aura.
- Stalwart Guard: Toggle, so it needs to stay on both bars. See above.
- Empowering Sweep: I honesly never use anything but Warhorn, and I need something on this bar to activate Aedric Spear passives. It is also a very good defensive ult in a pinch.
While the first bar is pretty rock-solid and unmoving, the second bar is very fluid depending on the team composition. If there are a lot of spell casters, providing Minor Sorcery is a great idea. But if one of them is a magplar and is doing that already, it is a waste. It is also worth considering running Power of the Light, as this is a rare source of the Minor Armor/SR debuffs. It is a stamina ability though, so you will need to be much more careful with your stamina sustain if you slot this.
On to Stalwart Guard. This ability was buffed in Dark Brotherhood to grant both the giver and the receiver the Minor Force buff, as well as allowing up to 30% of the damage taken by the guarded ally to be transferred to the person providing the link. This damage checks against the mitigation of the person casting (you, the tank), so it is an excellent way for you to provide extra offense and defense in one package. It also provides you with an extra 10% magicka regen from the Support passives, which is very nice given your already high regen. The exception to this is if you are running with stamina builds who are already using Rearming Trap in their rotation (they should be). In this case, the buff from Guard is somewhat useless. Generally, make sure you guard a magicka player, as they will benefit more from being able to take Rearming Trap off of their bar, if they have it. If it is a highly mobile fight, your group keeps breaking the link, or the ability otherwise just doesn't make sense to run, Inner Light is a quick and easy replacement that will help your healing.
Given that I am not yet at CP cap, I am not going to go into too much depth on my CP selections.
The key in this tree is to get the Hardy and Elemental Defender passives up enough to get Bulwark at 30 pts. How you distribute between the two is up to you. I went for more hardy because my SR is already high on my Breton. I also put points into Heavy Armor Expert for some extra mitigation, and also because I like the first three Lord passives for this play-style. You may also want to consider getting the Unchained passive. It is very good. The healing received passive is also nice as a heal/tank, as it decreases how much you need to heal yourself, thereby increasing sustain.
Since you have a low critical hit chance, you don't need many points in Elfborn. I have 22, which is one of the jump points calculated by Asayre. Otherwise, boosting Blessed is a good idea, as you aren't dealing much damage, so Elemental Expert is not very useful for you. It is important to spend 30 points in THe Apprentice to unlock Spell Precision.
I put 27 points in Shadow Ward for 10% block cost reduction. The passives in this tree are terrible, so don't invest any more. After that, prioritize magicka recovery, then heavy attack resource restoration (Tenacity). Make sure you get at least 30 points in magicka recovery for the Synergizer passive though.
Start by throwing out Luminous Shards and/or Reflective Light. Once that is done, rush into the mobs and drop a Ritual of Retribution and Radiant Aura to snare everything and act as passive heals/sustain. If it is a simple pull, just keep spamming RL or shards, and healing as needed. If the pull is a little tougher, actively taunt large targets, put down a Channeled Focus to keep your magicka up, and keep your team up with Breath of Life. Use additional CC as needed, but usually things are over too quickly for you to need to.
Taunt the boss. Duh. You are a tank after all. Make sure that you have both your Channeled Focus, Radiant Aura, and you Ritual of Retribution down. While the Focus is more important, the Ritual lets you stray from your Rune for a bit longer and farther without losing Minor Mending. The extra heal ticks are also not that bad. Strategies will change depending on boss fight and group composition, but generally you main focus is to defend your Templar house and sit in your rune while spamming Breath of Life as needed. In addition, make sure to keep any buffs like Minor Sorcery up, and don't forget to proc your weapon enchantments for the armor reduction and spell damage routinely. I always forget to do this last part...
Alternate Gear Choices:
While I consider Kagrenac's Hope to be a critical part of the build, there are several other options with regards to gear choices that you can make. In place of Spectre's Eye, other options would be 4 piece Magnus/Eye's of Mara if you feel comfortable with a lower mitigation, or Alessia's Bulwark if you want more mitigation. Magnus will directly improve your healing capabilities, but you will take a hit to survivability. The opposite is true of Alessia's Bulwark.
If you are wondering why I don't use a monster set, it is mainly because I am sick of trying to get the exact trait and weight, and I like to customize my appearance. If you want to use a monster set, I would recommend Engine Guardian for the extra resources. You usually benefit from additional of any of the three resources it gives as well, so there is rarely a useless proc. The other set I would recommend is Lord Warden. The extra resistances are nice, but it is the extra protection for your group that makes this good for the role in my mind, as this helps mitigate how much you need to heal. You can also run Bloodspawn, but I don't think the small chance at ultimate is really worth it, and the stamina recovery does nothing for you. Sentinel of Rkugamz is a set that could work very well. It provides healing done, and the summon gives back stamina and magicka predictably. I have never actually used this set though, so I don't know how well it performs in the field.
Another option would be Gossamer jewelry and weapons, with Mighty Chudan and Molag Kena 1-piece sets on head and shoulders. Gossamer is a bit of a weird choice for this build though, as it doesn't have as many HoTs as a pure healing or DPS/healing build. Spell Power Cure is another extremely powerful choice. We run into the same problem as Gossamer in that we don't have many HoTs to proc it, so our uptime would be much lower than on a pure healer. however, if you have it in weapons and jewelry, it might be worth running over Willpower, as the buff is incredibly strong.
Why double sword and shield? Why not have a resto staff back bar? Or a Frost Staff?
The main reason is the drop in defenses. I swap bars a lot during fights, and during testing I found that swapping to my resto staff often meant death. Combined with the loss of a set bonus, and the drop in mitigation, I don't really see any value in running one except to regen magicka with a heavy attack. As a tank, you don't have the luxury of casting Siphon Spirit and being completely defenseless for a second while you cast. Unless you really feel like you need another HoT with Rapid Regen, I don't see a lot of benefit to running one. As for frost staves, we don't have to worry about the drop in defenses as much, but we do lose a set bonus. Also, as a heal/tank, we rely on our magicka pool heavily, and have built for magicka regen. Since the frost staff stops our regen when we block, I think it would be detrimental to this build.
Why not use Blazing Shield? Isn't that ability great for Templar tanks?
The simple answer is that my health isn't high enough to take advantage of it. Since I don't have points in Bastion, it is less than a 10k shield, which is mediocre in my mind. I also don't like using shields when I am stacking for highish mitigation, since whenever the shield is up I feel like those stats are wasted. If you are determined to run shields, pairing this with Annulment could be very strong.
Why don't you use Armor Master? Don't you feel low on mitigation?
I have just enough mitigation to feel comfortable, and I feel that more would reduce my healing effectiveness too much. As described in the Alternate Choices section, I feel like Kagrenac's Hope is an integral part of the build, and running Armor Master would disrupt that. Not to mention I don't use any of the armor abilities, and the only one that would make sense for the build (Annulment) undermines the point of having high resistances.
What about Black Rose from Imperial City? Isn't that set good now?
I wish I had tested this set a bit more to be honest. Part of my not using the set is because I like to have control over my appearance. However, if there is a single set that I think directly competes with Kagrenac's Hope, it is this one.
Why don't you use Cost Reduction instead of regen on your jewelry? Isn't cost reduction more efficient?
Cost Reduction is more efficient if you are spamming an ability every second on GCD. This is ideal in a DPS sceneario, or a Heal/DPS scenario. However, as a Heal/Tank, you are unlikely to be spamming something every second unless something is very wrong. As a matter of efficiency, some people will disagree with this, but I find that trying to fill every global ends up being a waste. When something does go very wrong, you want to be able to recover from that scenario quickly so you are ready for the next one. I also run with regen because I have multiple boosts to it, so my modifiers are acting on a larger number here.
Thank you to @chaomera888 who helped me test this build on the PTS. His monster DK deeps certainly helped make up for the fact that it was just the two of us running dungeons. Thanks to the Shaeyata guild for helping me test out the build once Dark Brotherhood went live, and for having high enough DPS that I probably haven't really been able to stress-test this build yet. Thanks to @mrowmrif2, @Latin, and everyone else who helped me refine my build ideas.