Tamriel Foundry

Shadow Tank (Meat Shield)

Update:  The first question is how I define "Meat Shield" and in this case it means my primary Stat is Health.  Health+Shield, that's basically the whole build in concept, without the gritty details.  For instance, Shadow Cloak, which scales off of Health as a Self Heal, but also grants Major Protection, Major Resolve, and Major Ward for 8% Damage reduction, for 6 seconds.   (To start, that Major Ward, and Major Resolve is 3 seconds, however you don't need Ransack at all, so there's no excuse for not using Pierce Armor.)  The duration goes up to 6 with 4 pieces of Heavy Armor, because of the Shadow Barrier passive.  Then Dark Veil extends the duration of the Heal, and the Minor protection, depending on how many Shadow passives you have.  That 1 Spell handles most of my Healing, and passive Damage Mitigation, throughout the game.  However, that's because I LIKE Blocking.  I love it, in fact, so if you're not good at it, you might want one of the Tank builds that depends on more protective casts, in Dragon Knight.

The secondary Stat is Stamina, because that's what you use to Block, and use 1H&S feats.  So, I'm going to suggest Imperial if you have access to them.  If not Redgard, Nord, or Orc in that order.  Dark Cloak also costs Magicka, so that's the primary Spell in my arsenal.  The short duration means casting it a lot, so I basically don't want to use that limited resource for anything else.  You get a little from the Refreshing Shadows, and Magicka Flood passives, you don't even need, if that resource is dedicated to keeping your 1 spell active, but you can have another Spammable on your back bar.


I'm just going to use what I have, which isn't Alkosh.  If you have that, the Monster Helm, and the right shoulder to go with it, and Maelstrom weapons, use those.  Eventually, I'm going to see if I can take this all the way to Endgame Trials (If the Holy Trinity Tribunal will accept me as a satisfactory Tank) but you can't Start with any of these sets, buy them from any stores, nor even hand them down to your new characters from older accounts.  The only way to get Maelstrom Weapons is to beat the Maelstrom Arena, with whatever you can get there before you attempt it.

Order of Diagna:  You'll want the Infused Buckler, and Bladethirst Sword for this, because I use a barswap toggle to maximize the number of Active Sets.  The 2 piece, and 3 piece both give you Max health, which is always on.  All the pieces can be Enchanted for more Max Health, including the Shield.  Whatever Drops you get from raiding the Delves for Skyshards, and taking advantage of the Dolmen Circus.  This map is one of the most popular for Dolmen Farming, so you don't even have to join a group, just camp 1 Dolmen, and wait for them to come back from the other 2.  (Get it?  It's a 3 Ring Circus)  I just hang out and beat up Daedra around town until they get back, it cycles that quickly when there's enough Players online.  However, when you have out the Sword, and Shield, your Healing received is Increased, and Shadow Cloak heals you constantly, based on your Max Health.  The 8% Damage Reduction for keeping Shadow Cloak up is just damage you don't need Healed.

The point is that Dark Cloak heals you based off of Max Health, and the 4-5 piece set bonuses both increase how much you heal yourself, on your main bar.  I don't really need those 2 bonuses on my back bar, because either I'm swap casting Leeching Strikes for more Sustain, I haven't really even started taking damage yet, or I'm just running around weenie whacking, so I'm not in any danger to begin with.  (Overland, with a Tankety Tank-TANK.  Just about everything hits about as hard as Wolves except for Overland Bosses.)  If anyone knows a better set I don't have to Beat The Game to get, then I'd love to hear it.

Song of Lamae doesn't do a whole lot of damage when it goes off, but the automatic CC is great, especially to give you a breather when your Health is getting low.  If you keep Dark Cloak Up, AND are good at Blocking (This is a Tank for Players that Block, and can get in Power Attacks to recover Stamina) it shouldn't but this is an Automatic Warning.  When the AoE is triggered, that probably means that you need to Run, and re-think your plan solo, or the Healer really needs to focus on you before the mobs get back up, and start pounding on you again.  The great thing about this set is that it's Craftible, which means you can gather the other pieces from Questing, Dungeon Raiding, and Dolmen Chests (From the Alik'r Desert Circus)   Whatever pieces you don't have should leave you 5 pieces of Armor to craft, in whatever Traits you have researched.  (I suggest:  Reinforced, Sturdy, Infused, or Invigorating, in that order.  Armor>Blocking Efficiency>Health Glyphs>H/M/S Recovery the way I play it.  Adjust it to suit how you play it, if you need more Recovery, then 1 more piece of invigorating, and so forth.)

If you don't have enough Traits (5 for each piece) yet, you can start out with Death's Wind.  One of the best Early game/training sets for a tank, because you get the emergency Shockwave effect to tell you "Tank is about to Die" and give you a chance to do something about it, but only needs 2 Traits to craft.  The Health, and resistances don't hurt (Kinda the point) but you don't get the Magic Damage, and Health back you would from Song of Lamae.  Again, if you have Best in Slot Perfected sets, use those.  These are the sets you can wear to Get the sets you have to fight your way through to a chance to play the Lottery for.

Draugr Hulk:  I only have 4 pieces, (And 2 of them toggle off to toggle on Order of Diagna on my main Bar) but this is one of those sets where it doesn't really matter.  (The Max Magicka set is Necropotence, even if you're not a Warden, or Sorcerer, you only need 4 pieces.)  Max Stamina, because I put EVERYTHING ELSE into Max Health.  You need Stamina to Block, and 4 pieces of Medium Armor also help with Passives, but the 8% Damage reduction, and Healing makes up for that loss of Armor.  (You can even craft a Light Belt, which I did, just for the Undaunted passive to your Stats)  

Note:  This last set is a gap-filler, for the Best in Slot things like Monster Helms, and Maelstrom Weapons.  If you can, try to get the Head, Shoulders, 2 random hand weapons, and a Shield, because that's what you're going to be replacing, once you get into the Endgame.  Until then, it's nice to have a longer green bar, so you can Block and spam feats longer in between Power Attacks.

Main Bar (Order of Diagna)

[1] Dark Cloak [2] Shielded Charge [3] Pierce Armor [4] Power Slam [5] Silver Leash.  (Ultimate varies, depending on Group/Solo, and environment.  Soul Shred by default for Siphoning XP while leveling.  Aggressive Warhorn by popular demand in Trials squads.)  

Bashes, and "Bashes."  These are 2 weapons, Sword AND Shield.  Shielded Charge is a Gap Closer, but no longer has a Minimum Distance.  So, in the Melee, it's also a Shield Bash that Stuns, and adds a Bubble Shield on top of your Dark Cloak active, and passive effects.  Now, this is one of the weakest Bubble Shields in the game, but it's Spammable.  Which means it doesn't matter if it pops, because I'm going to use it again to chase down a stray, or Stun someone recovering from CC again.  You have to be pretty good at juggling mobs, and knowing when that one is still immune to CC from the last one, but you have to keep Dark Cloak Up.  The bubble is just icing on that cake, you can add on any time you need to Charge, or Stun.

Power Slam could be Reverb, but 1:  You're a Nightblade.  So, Disease Damage is pretty much on tap, but also the latest patch nerfed Healing biffs in general, Reverb in particular, to the woe of the PvP Meta.  I'm not too worried about the Mobs healing, and if there's a Healer, I try to get them out of the way first.  So, Major Defile was never really a priority, and if it ever is, I've got Soul Harvest right here.  (Or I can put it in instead of another Ultimate.)  Needless to say, you're also Bashing, either to cancel an Attack Animation, weave in a Pierce Armor, or Interrupt that Scamp raining fire down all around you.  

However, Power Slam procs when you Block an attack, and even without all that much Stamina/Weapon Damage/Critical, it still hit pretty hard.  I'm a Blocker, that's how I Tank, so it procs pretty often, and if it does Crit?  It hits pretty dang hard, for a Tank.  You might consider it a Flex Slot, or a lower priority.  Quite often I sub in Killer Blade anyway.  (You get Health back, so it's more an instant Heal of opportunity than an Execute.  For a Tank.)

Back Bar 

(Dual Swords of the Gladiator, or Precise Daggers of Night Mother's Gaze.  Sharpened Maces of Night's Silence if you can only craft 2 Traits, whatever crafting set you like here.  I put in Draugr Hulk Swords, because I lucked out on some drops farming the set, and that's 1 more Set Bonus of Max Stamina.  The 2 piece is always on, then the 3, and 4 piece when I have the swords out.)

Quick Cloak, Ambush, Steel Tornado, Killer Blade, and Leeching Strikes.  On top of Red Diamond (Or Adrenaline Rush,) Leeching Strikes is what makes this OP.  I don't need the Heal from Blood Thirst, I basically just need Dark Cloak, and Quick Cloak is mostly for the Major Expedition, but it's a little more DPS all around on top of the Splash from Lotus fan, and of course spamming "Spin to Win."  

This is not as powerful as a dedicated DPS, because this is a Heavy Armor, Sword, and Board, meat shield TANK.  However, you can't Tank all the time, and sometimes I just want to go out to beat stuff up.  Also, the AoEs, (Quick Cloak, Lotus fan is a Magicka Spammable without Dark Cloak to use up that resource, and of course Steel Tornado)  are for Pulls.  Honestly, before I swap to the shield, and button up, one of the things I can do is run around (With Major Expedition) and teleport hitting everyone, and getting Aggro.  None of it Taunts, but I have Puncture, and Silver Leash for that.  Those are Single Target, but especially in some Group Dungeons with wide open spaces, and a lot of mobs scattered around, it's a good idea to Pull them, en mass.  Just running around with Quick Cloak (Also some protection from AoEs) does this, then I can gather them all together in the middle, and pass out Pierce Armor, with Silver Leash to suck in that Mender running out of the AoE.

Steel Tornado is a meat grinder, on a DPS.  On a Tank, with nothing invested in DPS (Except for 4 stacks of Spamina from Draugr Hulk on this bar) it just does enough damage to tick them all off, but that's the point.  If they're all ticked off at me, that's enough Aggro for me to put a hard Taunt on them one by one, while the DPS sets up overlapping AoDoTs like Endless Hail, and Razor Caltrops to actually kill them all off.  Also, going solo, it's just enough to actually kill everyone, eventually.  You can't tank forever, especially solo, so you have to end the fight eventually.

Honestly, this is the simplest Damage bar for Tanks that don't know how to DPS.  There's no Rotation, there's no placing an AoE (Twice for the Endless Hail/Razor Caltrops Combo) for maximum effect with barswap cancellation to mess up, and it plays into the Tanking playstyle, solo.  Find a big group of baddies, pull them in, spam Steel Tornado until they're all dead, if you get low on Health (Song of Lamae, or Death's Wind should kick in) switch back to the Shield, cast Dark Cloak, and Tank until you feel better.  Use Lotus Fan to jump around, Quick Cloak to gofasta, getting everything's attention, rinse, repeat.  If you're good, you can use Killer Blade to Execute, and get Health back from that.  The hard part is Tanking.  (With just Sword, and Board.)  


Aggressive Warhorn.  Right now the Meta mandates that the Tanks keep this up, so you don't really have a choice here when you get to the Endgame.  Until then, I like Soul Harvest, Bolstering Darkness, and Soul Siphon for this build.  In training, it was mostly Soul Shred, so my Siphoning kept up with Assassination, and Shadow.  Since Teleport Strike, Assassin's Blade, Veiled Strike, and of course Dark Cloak were used pretty much throughout the game. 

Here's where Nord excells.  With Soul Harvest slotted, you get 10 Ultimate whenever you kill an enemy.   So, I suggest keeping that on your Main Bar, Warhorn on your Back Bar (Whatever that is) so you can barswap cast it, then get back on the Soul Harvest bar to keep generating Ultimate.  With this particular setup, you just don't need Major Heroism, to keep Warhorn up for your group.  If you're Main Tanking (This doesn't do well for Support Offtank) for a trials run, you have to keep that ultimate (Aggressive Warhorn) up, so the Healers, and all the DPS deal more Critical Damage.  Whatever else you're doing, but only having 1 other Spell to keep up (Dark Cloak) for your Self Heal, and your Damage Mitigation really helps with your Attention in large crowds.  So, you can focus on Tanking, and not maintaining a rotation at the same time.

This is basically a build for players that Like to Tank.  (Or the 1H&Shield combat style, like me.)  Having Killer Blade to Execute, on your Main Bar, also really helps you generate this Ultimate.  So, I found that I didn't need to be a Nord, nor even slot Heroic Slash, to keep up with this job requirement.

Suggested Rotation

Ain't none.  The only thing I swap cancel is Leeching Strikes, and that's just when Red Diamond (Or Adrenaline Rush) isn't enough.  (Also Agressive Warhorn, so I can keep Soul Harvest to generate Ultimate before it wears off.)  

As for tanking, I'm not a Rotation Tank, I play that position, because I like to be in the thick of the fight, reacting to the Enemies, and countering them.  So, your "Rotation" depends on the Enemy, or Enemies.  At some point, you get a feel for that particular Boss, dungeon, encounter, or whatever.  When to Block, when you can get a Power Attack in to sustain, that's why I boiled it down to 1 barswap cast, IF I need it, once i'm settled in the middle of the Moshpit.  I don't have Choking Talons, or Encase, so I have to hold their Attention on me, and hopefully keep enough of them too Stunned to beat me to death, while the Healer, and the DPS (Usually plural) do their jobs.  

I can handle that, keep Dark Cloak up, keep your Shield up when they're about to attack, the rest of the time, weave in Pierce Armor to keep their attention on you, combo in a Power Slam when it procs with another Attack, and Bash cancel.  (I actually get 2 Bashes, and 1 slash, or 2 slashes, and one Bash off of both "Bash" actives) and Bash to Interrupt the things you can interrupt.  That means knowing what can be Interrupted with a Bash, keeping track of which ones are still immune to CC because of Break Free, and so forth.  I can handle that, with 1 good DamMit/Self Heal if it can keep me alive.  In fact, that's about the most fun I can have in endgame PvP.  

That's why I built around Dark Cloak.  It's 1 Button, 1 duration, and one Spell.  So, I don't have to manage any other Cooldown, I can ignore my Magicka completely (Without that recovery going to waste with a full Blue Bar) and I can concentrate all of my attention on keeping ALL of the Enemies' attention, on Me.  So, they don't notice the Healer, and DPS, going through the motions.

Champion Points (Priority)

I have 163, because the endgame bored me long before there was a Champion Points system, and then I just leveled up my 50+ character to get up to the Top Tier (CP160.  The other 3 i got from farming the Skyshards I needed to invest in some Crafting skills.)  Now, i use that character for crafting, so I don't have to go through the Months it takes to gather, and research all the traits in everything, it takes to craft all the sets I use.  I also don't have ESO Plus at the moment, so I'm not making, nor farming DLC sets, like Kvatch Gladiator any more.  (I still have a level 50 Legacy set from when the Dark Brotherhood DLC came out. 2 Precise Daggers, Sharpened Maul, Sword, Shield, and full suits of Well Fitted Medium, and Reinforced Heavy.  However, they're all in Level 50, without any Champion Points.)  Also, decimal percents are rounded off, so invest in up to a Point.  13.12%=13.92%, so there's no use wasting CP for a fraction that doesn't count.

Thief Points

Bashing Focus:  I bash a lot, when I'm Tanking.  For other builds, I use Barswap, Rollcast, and other Animation cancels to speed up my Rotations, but here I use Bash basically as Free damage, to get my Block back up, and to cancel out my Combos.  Anyone that's played any Fighting Game since Street Fighter (The original) knows what I'm talking about.  This build is set up to Tank like Cassandra from Soul Calibur IV with a different moveset.  Short Sword, and Buckler.  Hell, the unique weapons she uses are the Bladethirst, and Infused Buckler of the order of Diagna.  Max this out.  Ideally, Bashing should be Free.  it's not just a Shield, it's also a Weapon.

Tenacity:  You're going to be using Fully Charged Heavy Attacks, WHEN YOU CAN.  You can't with Block up, you're going to Bash instead, so this is where knowing the Enemies and keeping track of them is important.  The more you get back from a Power Attack, the longer it will be before you have to let your guard down, and do it again for more Stamina.  

In a Boss Fight, you're going to get breaks in it's Rotation.  At some point, they're just Predictable, Block the attacks you have to survive.  In a Group, you might have to spend Stamina on Shielded Charge for the Stun, and an Opening to get Stamina back, before it recovers.  This is what I mean by "Juggling" mobs.  You're not Attacking to kill them, you're attacking to keep Aggro on you, and the Stamina you need to taunt them again, when it wears off, and you aren't Blocking to survive.  If you can master this, Dark Cloak (And the passives, plus the Shielded Charge Bubble when it's up) is enough to keep you alive.

Shadow Ward:  Enough point in this, honestly.  At some point, diminishing returns kick in, and you don't have the shield up full time.  If you are one of those "Tanks" that just hold down Block, regardless of if the attacks can actually hurt you or not, max this out, and put whatever Thief points you have left in Bashing Focus.  This is how I spent my CP.  You're going to need to spend your's more for the way you play, because that's what CP are for:  Fine tuning the build to make it more Efficient (For a Tank) or more Effective (For a Healer, or DPS)

Mage Points

Unfortunately, not a whole lot to help you here.  I didn't want them to go to waste, so I split them between Master of Arms, and Physical Weapons Expert.  The Stamina you get back from Power Attacks scales with, well everything that Direct Attack Damage does.  Max Stamina, Weapon Damage, and these 2 make Thaumaturge ever so lightly more effective, but it's really negligible.  Not enough to tell you which one is actually more effective, so I just split points between them.

Warrior Points

Here's where I have the opposite problem, and I wish there was some way to turn Mage points into Warrior points.  {Shrugs}  I put 30 points of Elemental Defender to unlock Bulwark, and the rest went into heavy Armor Focus, which is just Physical Resistance.  After I spent 10 points of Spell Shield to unlock Invigorating Bash in the Steed Stone.  I'm going to get more CP to work with eventually, it's just not as high a priority as Variety of Builds for me, because at some point, I get sick of Tanking.

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