Tamriel Foundry

Guide to Necromancer Tanking


Hello, and welcome to my guide for Necromancer Tanking.  

Motivations

I came into Necromancer tanking looking to create a build that could: A. Potentially permablock and hold its own against anything, B. Support DPS as much as possible, and C. Provide great crowd control. Why? Because the more dps being done, the less I have to tank, the less anyone has to heal, the less room for error, which leads us to finishing the content faster. Adds are perhaps one of the most annoying things in dungeons and I want to be able to just blow through them. Well, I was not disappointed! The Necro tank can do all of those things without any issues. I’ve tanked with every class, and while DK and Nightblade are my favorites for Trials main tanking, I am WAY more impressed with the off-tanking capability of the Necromancer and 4 man content (especially when 3 dpsing a dungeon). So, without further ado, the build…


Race

Nord: (personal preference): Necro tanks have insane Ulti generation, rivaled only by the nightblade tank, and Nords gain even more ulti faster than any other race, not to mention great resistance buffs.

Argonian: Of course the argonian would be my close second choice. That potion passive and those healing done/taken buffs make them ideal for tanking. Not to mention that you could easily turn your tank into a healer if you ever decide to. And, they are BiS in swimming too!

Imperial: Perhaps not everyone’s favorite but the reduction in cost of everything is really something that can’t be overlooked, and the added health regen from light attacks are helpful.


Food: Bewitched Sugar Skulls or any Tristat Purple Food


Potions: Tristat restore would be best, but I usually do fine just relying on trash pots and interchanging between mag and stam pots as the situation calls for them.


Mundus: I think the Atronach: Mag Recov is absolutely the best choice for this build. There's already plenty of resistances and we use WAY more mag than stam so that extra mag recov really comes in handy. If you find that your mag recov is fine without the atro then some alternatives could be The Lord: Max health, The Ritual: Healing Done, or The Steed: Health Recov.


Gear

Before getting into this I’ll state that many, many tank sets can be used and are indeed interchangeable as they are required for the situation. There is no 2 set combination that is just outright better than others, but I will do my best to give ideas on how to get the most from Necro tanking. Also, gear combinations are based on my personal preference. Always tweak to your own needs.

Attention about Glyphs. I personally like running all Prism glyphs, but if you don’t like them or can’t afford them, then follow the secondary recommendations.

Any of the following monster sets can be used with any of the setups below. Pick the one you want based on the situation:

Blood Spawn: Resistances and Ulti Regen

Lord Warden: Resistances for the whole group

Sentinel of Rkugamz: Stam regen help and heal for you and anyone close to you.

Beginner: 

Plague Doctor: Makes you insanely tanky with max health boosts (selfish)

Akiviri Dragonguard: Reduces ulti costs and benefits mag recov 

Battalion Defender: Provides a passive group heal while blocking.

The 3 sets that I always advise new tanks to go for are Plague Doctor, Akiviri Dragonguard, or Battalion Defender. Plague Doctor and Akiviri DG are both BiS sets for tanking so they are great to have right out the front door. I am personally quite partial to Bat Defender for running dungeons with no healer. It provides a little extra help in keeping people alive. The main benefit to starting with any of these sets is that they are all farmable and buyable overland sets. PD comes from Deshaan. ADG comes from Eastmarch. BD comes from doing Battlegrounds. PD can get a little expensive but the other 2 are relatively cheap. Combine any of these 3 sets in any way you want.

Experienced 4 man Content: 

Plague Doctor: Makes you insanely tanky with max health boosts (selfish)

Akiviri Dragonguard: Reduces ulti costs and benefits mag recov

Battalion Defender: Provides a passive group heal while blocking.

Ebon Armory: Increases max health of whole group

Leaching Plate: Incredible Self heal and a tiny bit of extra dps (Selfish)

Aegis of Galenwe: Provides empower to whole group so a good dps increase in 4 man content (also comes in perfected).

Claw of Yolnahriin: Provides Minor Courage to whole group so a good dps increase in all content (also comes in perfected).

Roar of Alkosh (weapons and jewelry only): Medium armor set so don’t put it on body pieces, but provides significant dps increases when you activate synergies. 

Vestment of Olorime (weapons and jewelry only): Light armor set so don’t put it on body pieces, but provides Major Courage to all members (note that most healers already wear this set) (also comes in perfected).

The objective of these set combinations is to provide for the group. Preferably, you would wear 2 sets that increase DPS. You should almost never wear 2 selfish sets at the same time, nor 2 sets that heal at the same time as this is a bit overkill in 4 man content. Currently with my team, I am quite comfortable with Galenwe and Bat Defender, but my goal is to start wearing Olorime and Yolo, or Galenwe and Yolo as soon as I am able to.

Trials Off-Tank:

Akiviri Dragonguard: Reduces ulti costs and benefits mag recov 

Battalion Defender: Provides a passive group heal while blocking.

Ebon Armory: Increases max health of whole group

Claw of Yolnahriin: Provides Minor Courage to whole group so a good dps increase in all content (also comes in perfected).

Roar of Alkosh (weapons and jewelry only): Medium armor set so don’t put it on body pieces, but provides significant dps increases when you activate synergies. 

Vestment of Olorime (weapons and jewelry only): Light armor set so don’t put it on body pieces, but provides Major Courage to all members (note that most healers already wear this set) (also comes in perfected).

Powerful Assault (weapons and jewelry only): Medium armor set so don’t put it on body pieces, but provides significant dps increases when you use Echoing Vigor.

As off-tank you should almost never be wearing a selfish set. The most selfish you should use is perhaps Bat Defender or Ebon. You need to talk with the main tank and healers and decide what you should run based on what is missing from them. 

Trials Main-Tank (While main tanking on a necro is definitely doable, I think they shine more as off tanks, but here are my gear recommendations):

Plague Doctor: Makes you insanely tanky with max health boosts (selfish)

Akiviri Dragonguard: Reduces ulti costs and benefits mag recov

Battalion Defender: Provides a passive group heal while blocking.

Ebon Armory: Increases max health of whole group

Leaching Plate: Incredible Self heal and a tiny bit of extra dps (Selfish)

Claw of Yolnahriin: Provides Minor Courage to whole group so a good dps increase in all content (also comes in perfected).

Roar of Alkosh (weapons and jewelry only): Medium armor set so don’t put it on body pieces, but provides significant dps increases when you activate synergies. 

As main tank it is more acceptable for you to run 2 selfish sets should you need to, but always try to wear at least one that benefits the group, especially one that benefits dps. Choose gear responsibly.

All the above gear situations work with the below format:

Type

Weight

Enchant

Trait

Weapon 1

N/A

Weakening

Infused/Decisive/Powered

Shield 1

N/A

Prism/Health

Infused

Weapon 2

N/A

Crusher

Infused/Decisive/ Reinforced

Shield 2 

N/A

Prism/Health

Infused

Head: Monster set

Medium

Prism/Stamina

Infused

Chest

Heavy

Prism/Stamina

Infused

Shoulders: Monster set

Light

Prism/Health

Sturdy

Hands

Heavy

Prism/Health

Sturdy

Waist

Heavy

Prism/Stamina

Sturdy

Legs

Heavy

Prism/Magicka

Infused/(Reinforced if you need more resistances)

Feet

Heavy

Prism/Magicka

Sturdy

Necklace

N/A

Magicka Recovery

Infused/Healthy

Ring 1

N/A

Bracing

Harmony/Healthy

Ring 2

N/A

Bracing

Harmony/Healthy


Skills and Build Utility:

I will not be covering main tanking since I really built this for the specific purpose of benefiting dps and add control. Thus, the skills that I recommend are absolutely for dealing with 4 man content and off tanking adds.

Frontbar, Sword and Shield: This bar is where you will spend most of your time, gain your ultimate from, and get your heals from.

  1. Inner Rage: Magicka Ranged taunt. You really want to use this most on ranged adds as your Beckoning Armor will auto-chain them almost immediately.

  2. Necrotic Potency: One of the main reasons you want to increase dps and provide add control is for this skill. Any corpse around will give you 6 ultimate and heal you. Be careful using this skill vs Mortal Coil.

  3. Mortal Coil: This is a small heal but more importantly, your stam regen. It gives back 1260 stamina over 12 seconds and increases your healing done while slotted. It only lasts 12 seconds so always prioritize using this over Necrotic Potency.

  4. Unnerving Boneyard: One of your most important skills! Give Major Fracture/Breach to everything within 6 meters. Make sure that this skill is up AT ALL TIMES! It only lasts 10 So be sure to refresh it often and understand that only enemies within the circle are affected.

  5. Ransack: Stam melee taunt. You want to use this sparingly to save your stam for blocking, but at least every 15 seconds to give yourself minor protection. We don’t need the Pierce Armor morph because Unnerving Boneyard already provides aoe Fracture/Breach.

  6. Ulti: Aggressive War Horn: Provides Major Force increasing DPS and increases all resources for everyone in the group.

Backbar, Sword and Shield: This bar is for self buffs and crowd control. You will only need to be on this bar about every 16 seconds, but in add heavy fights you will probably be using it a bit more. 

  1. Heroic Slash: Gives Minor Heroism which helps ulti regen. This isn’t the most essential skill but can be really useful in fights without lots of corpses.

  2. Beckoning Armor: One of your most important skills which should have 100% uptime. This skill gives you Major Resolve to buff up those resistances and causes any ranged enemy to automatically be chained into you, making grouping adds together really easy. Simply cast of Inner Fire and the add is not only focussed on you but drawn in.

  3. Spirit Guardian: Another of your most important skills which requires 100% uptime. The heal that this pet gives isn’t great, but it does mitigate damage an additional 10%, which is a lot! Additionally, thanks to the Undead Confederate passive, you gain 200 Mag and Stam recov while it is active. Those numbers immediately drop when it dies, so keep it up!

  4. Agony Totem: A fantastic way to control adds! Once adds have been pulled in, this totem will fear all adds, essentially freezing them in place for 4 seconds, allowing your dps to melt them all. Additionally, the synergy from the totem sends out an aoe Minor Vulnerability, further increasing dps against them. It also grants everyone in the field Minor Protection, and while this means little for you since you already get it from Ransack, it could mean a lot for your teammates.

  5. Flex: Ghostly Embrace: Immobilizes enemies in front of you and gives them Minor Maim. Silver Leash: These are chains but very costly on Stamina, so only use them on adds that need to be pulled in now and can’t wait for Beckoning Armor to draw them in. Bone Surge: Large damage shield for you and your allies but is stamina based, so use wisely. Energy Orb: Most healers already run this, but this will help your allies with resources when they hit the synergy.

  6. Ulti: Glacial Colossus: Puts Major Vulnerability on everything inside of the damage circle which significantly increases dps against them. This can be the turning point in a battle and is significantly helpful during executions.


In Combat:

Before the battle starts, buff with Beckoning Armor first and then Spirit Guardian. The armor lasts longer than the guardian so when you have to switch back, the times will be closer together that way. Taunt boss or a melee add first, position yourself and cast Agony Totem, then block cast everything going forward. Before you switch bars, hit something with Heroic Slash and then switch.

Next, be sure to keep taunt on the boss or priority add. Cast Unnerving Boneyard directly underneath you and begin ranged taunting all adds you can with Inner Rage. Keep a close eye on your magicka, don’t overtaunt and run out of resources. Your beckoning armor should pull in anything ranged, and anything melee will just walk up to you. Be on the lookout for adds to drop and when one does immediately Mortal Coil to it. Use Necrotic Potency as you can after that.

By now, it is probably time to refresh buffs so hop onto your backbar, refresh your armor and spirit, reapply your totem, slash an enemy, and get back to front bar. Use your ultis wisely and frequently. Taunt, Boneyard, Coil, Potecy...Rinse and repeat until battle is finished.

Light Attack semi-often when you have the opportunity to (don’t take the chance of getting one shot just because your crusher enchant isn’t up). Use potions as needed, be aware of your surroundings, and don’t worry about your rotation getting messed up if you need to prioritize something else. Always prioritize Taunt, Armor, and Spirit. Everything else is extra. All of these same strategies apply in 4 man dungeons or as an off-tank. Just make sure you understand all the mechanics before going in, and if you are off-tanking, communicate with your team and tell them what you are doing. Always put adds where the dps can get to them but won’t get eaten by them, and never pull an add close to the dps that has a one shot aoe attack.


Champion Points:

Blue: Blessed - 75, Elfborn - 75.Then focus on getting at least 30 points in the Mage tree for the block passive by putting points into Physical Weapon Expert or Master-at-Arms. Everything else is up to personal preference.

Red:Hardy - 65, Elemental Defender - 65, Quick Recover - 30.Next, put as many points into Spell Shield and Heavy Armor Focus as you want in order to get your resistances up. Put any remaining points into Thick Skinned and Ironclad.

Green: Arcanist - 75, Tenacity - 75, Shadow Ward - Minimum of 60, Warlord - 30, Tumbling - 10 - 20, The rest into Mooncalf and Healthy.


Conclusion:

I don’t think there is much left for me to say. To some it up, I loved creating this build and running it through different types of content. It is insanely tanky and provides incredible group support, and I hope the rest of you enjoy running it too. Above all, I hope this helped you and that you can use my ideas to make your build even more personal and enjoy your Necro Tank to its fullest capacity. Always adapt any build you see for yourself, especially if there is something about the build that you don’t like and tell me about your experimentations! Leave a comment if you have a question, concern, want to say something constructive, or simply enjoyed reading the guide. 

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11 Replies
  1. #1

    Thertras

    Member1 Posts

    This build seems very promising since I'll be doing mostly 4 man content.  Can't wait to try it.  My question is though is you don't mention passives and since I'm new to eso some suggestions would be great.

    Also the about the screen shot at the top is that your recommended attributes spread?

  2. #2

    BloodOfAWiseMan

    Member91 Posts
    Thertras wrote on April 14, 2020

    This build seems very promising since I'll be doing mostly 4 man content.  Can't wait to try it.  My question is though is you don't mention passives and since I'm new to eso some suggestions would be great.

    Also the about the screen shot at the top is that your recommended attributes spread?

     Glad to see you like it. Passives are fairly straightforward. 

    All Class Passives, All Sword and Shield Passives, All racial Passives, All Heavy Armor, 

    First 3 of Light armor (Grace, Evocation, and Spell Warding), 2nd and 5th of Medium Armor (Windwalker and Athletics), all Undaunted Passives, 3rd Fighters Guild Passive (Banish the Wicked), 

    Medicinal Use in Alchemy, Gourmand in Provisioning.

    Optional: Psijiic Order passives should you want to grind that out. Vampire if you decide to go that route (personally I wouldn't).

    As far as my attributes, those are my build specific as on that screenshot I have all prism glyphs and am running a nord. Basically, don't follow the attributes, follow the resources and use attributes to fix what you are missing after you put on glyphs and skills on bars. Aim for about 23k stam,  and about 20k mag (max stam should ALWAYS be higher than max mag so that shards and orbs synergies give back stam). Once you hit those numbers then the rest can go into health. 

    Your max stats will definitely change when you change out gear so be sure to just keep that max mag and stam close to those stats and then health can be as high as you want.

    Hope that answers your questions and feel free to ask more if you have them. 

  3. #3

    elsienova

    Member1 Posts

    Altmer and Bretons are great choices, but if the Necro has the ability to self-sustain well, a Khajit or even Dunmer could be better options. If sustain is an issue, then Breton will most likely be best.

    MyKFCExperience   

  4. #4

    BloodOfAWiseMan

    Member91 Posts
    elsienova wrote on April 22, 2020

    Altmer and Bretons are great choices, but if the Necro has the ability to self-sustain well, a Khajit or even Dunmer could be better options. If sustain is an issue, then Breton will most likely be best.

    MyKFCExperience   

     None of those are tanking races. I already stated in the guide that the best races for this build are Nord, Argonian, or Imperial. Breton would be best for a healer or dps maybe. Altmer mag dps, Khajiit stam dps, Dunmer pvp mag or stam.

  5. #5

    Eddie

    Member1 Posts

    i like your guide. your information is so good that i understood immediately. best gaming laptop under 900

  6. #6

    BloodOfAWiseMan

    Member91 Posts
    Eddie wrote on April 28, 2020

    i like your guide. your information is so good that i understood immediately. best gaming laptop under 900

     Awesome! Thanks for the feedback and I hope you find it fun. Happy tanking!

  7. #7

    Gertrudesy

    Member1 Posts

    I’m not sure on necro, but traditional tank builds have a higher stamina pool for blocking but higher magicka recovery for sustaining their skills. Their attributes are spread primarily between stamina and health with a few in magicka.

  8. #8

    BloodOfAWiseMan

    Member91 Posts
    Gertrudesy wrote on May 2, 2020

    I’m not sure on necro, but traditional tank builds have a higher stamina pool for blocking but higher magicka recovery for sustaining their skills. Their attributes are spread primarily between stamina and health with a few in magicka.

     Thanks for reading and I appreciate the critique as well. You're right that most traditional tanks (namely dragonknights) put much more into stam and significantly less into mag, however necros rely much more on magicka skills for sustain. Between block cost reduction, incoming shards/orbs, pots, and corpses there is little need for stam to be much higher than 25k, and with mag recov at about 1.3k it is more than enough to keep enough magicka for efficient use.

    One thing to take into account that you wouldn't when discussing other tanking classes is the death of adds. In add heavy fights this build NEVER has to pop pots or use synergies thanks to the Death Gleaning passive which gives back 200 mag and stam anytime an enemy dies. It helps a lot! 

    Keep in mind, this is an off-tank build and made for support. We won't be main tanking any vet trials with this build. We are there to debuff enemies, keep crowds under control, and buff allied dps, which is another reason that more mag is necessary than on the traditional main tank, who would be much more focussed on staying alive and keeping boss away from the group. The ability to throw down a bunch of awesome aoe debuffs and keep them up is what separates this build from other off-tanks and main tanks.

  9. #9

    bigbossman

    Member4 Posts

    hey just wondering have you got any tips to sustain im a relatively new player (level 40-ish) and i struggle with sustain

    thanks in advance

  10. #10

    BloodOfAWiseMan

    Member91 Posts
    bigbossman wrote on May 15, 2020

    hey just wondering have you got any tips to sustain im a relatively new player (level 40-ish) and i struggle with sustain

    thanks in advance

     Thanks for reading the guide! If you are brand new and leveling a tank I feel sorry for you honestly, that's tough and long from a tank perspective. Might I advise that you switch to a dps while you level up to cp 160.

    If you wanna continue leveling with this build, I would advise the following:1. Keep your gear up to date. Get new gear every 10 levels at least. Join a guild and ask a crafter to help you out with some gear. (If you are on xbox hit me up and I'll help you out with a guild).2. Use craftable gear until cp 160. I would advise 5 Orgnum's Scales and 5 Armor of the Seducer. Normally I would advise against selfish sets, but you'll need them if you are leveling. In Training trait and use enchants that will try to get you close to the resource stats that I have above. 3. I wouldn't advise upgrading any training armor  or enchants past Blue quality as it will get expensive, and you might even keep jewelry White or Green quality for the same reasons. 4. Don't be afraid if you can't permablock. Heavy attack to get your stam back. Always hit synergies, they will help you with resource return, especially as you level your Undaunted skill line.

    If I think of anything else I'll let you know, and feel free to ask any other questions that arise as you make your way through the game. There is a hell of a learning curve, but since you are already asking questions and researching builds, you're on the right track.

  11. #11

    robinXhood

    Member3 Posts

    This guide has helped me a lot thanks :) 

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