Tamriel Foundry

Solo Tanking (Training)

Tanking is the most fun role for me, because I get to be right in the thick of the Melee, up to my armpits in mobs, and duke it out.  It's a fight, unlike standing back, and running through a DPS, or Healing rotation, you have to react to the mobs, what they're doing, and what you have to do to counter them.  All this is Personal Opinion, not a dig on Healers, and DPS, but why I find that sort of gameplay less exciting.

However, it's also a Support Role, and that generally means having other Players there to play with.  Which is fine when you get to the Endgame, but first you have to get there.  You can't just show up at the Banished Cells with a Shield, and expect to start tanking at Level 5.  They won't let you in, so this is a guide to how to Get there.  With the tools, and the player skills (Tanking is a Player skill, if you don't know how to play it, the best build in the world isn't going to keep all the attention on you) it takes to be an effective Tank, solo.

Tank Triage

This is the Player Skill I'm talking about training.  Everything else is just the Tools, you use to Survive, hold attention, and eventually win the fight, but that doesn't tell you Who to hit with What, and When.  

For example, Power Attacks.  This give you resources back, Stamina, or Magicka depending on the weapon (I highly recommend you get good with an Ice Staff as well, to make your Tank more versatile, and Sustainable) but you have to let your Guard Down for a while, so you have the Stamina to block with.  This means reading the Enemy, which is pretty easy 1-on-1, even against a Boss, once you know the basic type, their Attack Pattern, and telegraphs.  Then, you have a pretty good idea when to Block.

It gets a lot more complicated when you have a crowd, of Trash Mobs.  Yeah, yeah, they're "Just" trash mobs, they're weak, that's why they're called Trash Mobs.  That's why their Strength is in numbers, and by yourself, you have to handle All of them.  In a group, you have to Tank all of them, so the Healer, and DPS can't be bothered with handling them.  They have to concentrate on their job, so you have to do your job.

This is honestly the challenge that I love, so let's just start with the basic Tool Kit.  Assuming you just got off the boat at Stros M'kai, you forgot to pick a Class, or Class Skills, but on your way out, you managed to nick a Shield off the weapon rack by the door.  (And you got an Unfinished Torment Cuirass in your goody box.)  If you have an open slot, or a Character DELETE, try that some time.  Nothing but 1Hand, and Shield through The Grave.


I kill them first, if there are any.  Fortunately, they're rare, but there are NPC Necromancers around Betnikh, and Graveyards.  (The main reason I picked Imperial Nightblade, and Daggerfall Covenant is Fighter's Guild Points)  NPC Necros Summon, and Heal their zombies, which make them a Trainee tank's dream.  If you kill the Zombie, but not the necromancer, they'll summon another, and another, until another player shows up, and kills them.  

Archers, and Mages

These are next on my list, because Area Denial.  They have AoE, and even taunted, they tend to fall back.  Shoot Arrow Spray, or Volley from a distance, or drop 2 flaming circles, 1 right where you're standing.  To Tank, you want all the mobs on you, to the DPS can kill them.  Those AoEs make you pack up your tent, and go somewhere else.  Hopefully with all the Mobs following you, but if you didn't re-up your puncture recently enough, one of them might stray, and go beat up your Healer.


These are your bread, and butter.  They want to get close to you, and attack you.  This is why Archers, and Mages are a higher priority, that Armor, and Shield are specifically for dealing with Melee Attacks.  Honestly with DPS (From your own AoE casts if you have them) around, you can just let them attack you, and hopefully get in the occasional Power Attack to get some Stamina back.  (I'll cover Staff tanking later, but you can't really Start off doing that, until you get the passives like Tri-Focus)

Butchers/Skirmishers, and so forth.  Dual Wielders can jump right over you, and also fall back to throw a hidden blade at you.  Okay, I can Block that, but while they're back there (Behind you) or way out there, they're not right here in front of you.  This is you not doing your Job, your job ist to keep them right here in front of you, where you can Control them, and they're taking damage from the DPS.  (Yours, or the DPSs')  

The 2Handers (Including things like Thundermalls) are good for reading Animations.  Get used to that, whenever the Archers are about to throw a Scattershot, they put up a big red strip long enough for you to Walk out of, much less dodge roll.  The 2Hander will give you some warning before he sends you flying, but not much.  Again, 1-on-1 these are trash, but you want to practice Pulling them, at least 3 at a time, and preferably 4 different Types at a time.  Before you start getting Labor Saving tools like Encase, Burning Talons, and Agressive Warhorn.

I just did it up to Level 6, (8 in Siphoning, 1H&Shield) in the middle of Saint's port with Soul Trap, Swallow Soul, Puncture, Veiled Strike, and Shadow Cloak.  Note: no Assassination skills?  That's because I'm going to be running Assassin's Blade, and Teleport Strike, all Game.  They're already to Morph, so this is how I get my Other skill trees caught up.  Soul Trap is a perfectly good Pull for anyone, especially Solo.  "Hey, You!  Over here."  Pulling mobs isn't that hard either, but holding them, with other players running around everywhere, 4 at a time, catching that one chasing some guy in robes across the square, and inviting him to the party.  It's not all that hard once you learn how to do it, but you're a Tank.

That's your job.  You have to learn sometime.



You can see the Shield glyph right in front of you when you hold it up, but watching the animation, it doesn't drop immediately.  So, you have a moment to get in a Tap attack before it drops, and Block Cancel right before it lands.  This doesn't get you any Stamina back, so you can only do this so long (Go ahead, and take your first 2 points in Stamina.)  Now, head on out to Saint's Port, where there's plenty of new characters running around, beating up Pirates.  They're all playing DPS now, because they want Xp from Kills.  

So, Tank.  Pull them, with nothing but Block, Attacks, and Puncture.  You're going to notice the difference between Archers, Pyromancers, 2 handers, and Dual Wielders pretty soon, but there's a nice big square in the middle, there's a few spawn here, and there, and there's plenty of random players running around playing DPS.  Go pull them, and Tank in the middle until you Die.  I'm serious, it's great practice.


This isn't just for interrupt, eventually with Passives (Deadly Bash) this will be an effective Weapon.  Sword, and Shield, the Shield is also a weapon.  Once you get good at Block cancellation, you can throw in a Bash, with a block canceled attack, and an Instant Spammabke, like Puncture (Low Slash works better) for a 3 hit combo.  This won't make you a DPS, but it does give you some Burst, at the expense of Stamina.  You still need that to Block, but it can finish off someone who's low, so you no longer have to worry about them.  (If you don't have a low level Class Execute like Mage's Fury, or Assassin's Blade.)


This is a taunt, and I'm just going to recommend Pierce Armor as the best in Slot.  Not just because Magicka DPS, but because Ransack has the problem of focusing on Physical Damage.  What about Spell Resistance?  Pierce Armor biffs (The opposite of a Buff) their Physical, and Spell Resistance.  Ransack basically Steals their Physical resistance, and puts it on you.  Yeah, you'll take less Physical Damage, but again, what about Spell Damage?When you get to finalizing your build, you're going to find Gaps.  You don't want to find a big gaping hole like not enough Spell resistance, if you're a Tank.  How do you get Major Ward?  Let me tell you, it's a hell of a lot harder to get than Major Resolve, especially for a Tank.  Better leave Puncture as an Any Kinda Damage than a purely Physical damage, for the rest of your build.  That way, you won't have to make up for it later in your Armor Sets, or Champion Points.


This is your basic Taunt, and it's not just for Training.  You may get other taunts like Inner Beast later, and because they're more difficult to get think they're "Better" or "Best in Slot."  No, taunting is your bread, and butter.  Crucial to How you Tank, get good with it, or play another role.  Tanking is Hard, it's Dangerous, and I'm writing this guide, because it's even harder to train (And somebody on Youtube asked "How do you Grind up an endgame tank?)  The content provider showed him how to respec his Tank for DPS.  

That doesn't teach you how to Use a taunt.  Puncture Does.  If you can't master Puncture, then a better taunt like Inner Beast won't make you a better Tank.  It won't make you a tank, if you don't know how to use it.  At best, it'll make you a really crappy DPS, and the game is full of those.

Inner Fire

Fortunately, you don't have a choice, because this is an Undaunted Skill, you can only unlock by running Dungeons with a Group.  As a tank, that means a lot of Pierce Armor.   Now, while I stress that it's NOT "Better" it has some things going for it, for one thing it's Ranged.  However, long before you get to use it, you'll find out that a ranged Attack works as well as a Pull.  You'll see AoE farmers pull them in with a Bow, and slaughter them in droves by switching to Dual Wield, and spamming Steel Tornado.  (That's called "Spin to Win," but it has a name, it's that common.)

The other advantage it has it that it's Magicka.  Even if you're a classic Mace, and Shield Stamina tank, this is great, because you don't run into the nightmare situation:  "I'm out of Stamina, so I can't Block!"  For your team-mates, the nightmare scenario is you running out of Stamina, so you can't TAUNT!  That's your job, so if a Wolf breaks away from the pack to go chow down on your Magicka DPS, you can cast inner Fire, and stop them.  The wolf turns around, and comes back to you, where he belongs, chewing on your Shield, instead of that Destruction Staff, that's killing him, and all his friends.

However, I still keep Pierce Armor on my Main Bar, and it's not just because it makes the DPS to kill.  It's also the opposite Resource to your ranged Taunt, so you can Rotate your Resource Recovery.  This is how you can sustain as a Tank.  Not by casting long duration Area Effects in a rotation like the Healer, and DPS, but by using 1 Resource while the other recovers.  Spamming Inner Fire to get them running to chew on your shield means you have more Stamina left to Block, but then you also have other things to do, like cast Group Buffs, self heals, and Damage Mitigation spells on yourself.  You don't want Vigor on the same bar as Pierce Armor, because it's a Stamina Heal.  It's a great Stamina heal, but that doesn't Sustain your Stamina, it Spams it, so you run out, you can't Block, you can't taunt.  You die, the Healer dies, everyone dies.

Unless, you can swap bars, and Block with Magicka instead!  Now, the Ice Staff can block with Magicka (unfortunately, when you get to level 5 in Destruction Staff, so this is one good reason to DPS train your Tank.  The first 5 levels of Destruction Staff, it's useless for tanking, so you might as well just Burn through it with an Inferno Staff.  That does the most damage, because the Burning Status Effect.)  However, the other thing Tri Focus does it turn a Fully Charged Power Attack into a Taunt.  A Ranged one.  You can get, before Inner Fire.

"Oh, but it takes too long."  I've heard this in numerous Youtube videos, as an excuse for why an Ice Staff is inferior to a Sword, and Board.  In videos telling you How to tank in ESO.  Yes, but Inner Fire costs Magicka, and a Power Attack doesn't just taunt.  It generates Magicka.  You can use, to cast Inner Fire.  (Idiots.)  What happens when you spam Inner Beast, and everyone in the vicinity thinks you smell like Toll House Cookies?  Well, then you're out of Stamina, genius.  (The same guy also ran Inner Beast, because he's a Stamina Tank.  That's his definition of a Tank.  Health, and Stamina.  Tanks only cast Spells for Damage Mitigation.)  Apparently, it didn't occur to him, that he uses Power Attacks to sustain Stamina, and cast Ransacks to re-taunt mobs, but he's got such a prejudice against using a Staff that he can't even consider using a Range Power Attack, which taunts, so he doesn't have to spam Inner beast as much.


Well, you should have some idea where you're going, in order to get there.  Otherwise, you end up spending Crowns to Change Race, which is effective, but Pay-2-Win.  I'm going to say Orc first, because Heavy Armor, and Crafting Experience.  At some point, you're going to have to make your own Gear, I suggest every other level, and this helps you learn Blacksmithing, Woodworking to make sure you have good gear.

Imperial costs money, but is worth it, because 1H&S (I find Armor slower to level than Weapon skills) and Red Diamond.  If you don't have the Imperial edition, then Redguard is basically the same thing, only Stamina to Block with from the appropriate Passives.  For Magic Tanks, and Hybrid tri-stat build, Dunmer gets Stamina, Magicka, and Fire Resistance.  Don't discount this, there's a lot of Fire Attacks, skeletal Pyromages are everywhere, and immunity to the Burning status effect is quite honestly awesome.  Likewise Bosmer, and Poisoned SE, because both are DoTs that you are born just not having to worry about.  

Nord eventually gets a flat bonus to Physical, and Spell Resistance.  That's good, and immunity to Chilled/Cold Resist is okay, but not great.  Altmer get a flat Damage Reduction to any kind of damage, and it's percentile, but only when they're Channeling an ability.  They also get a lot of good stuff for a Magicka (Frost Staff) Tank, including bonus XP for Destruction Staff, and ALL Skills.  It's not much, but spread out between ALL Skills, it really adds up in training.


Anyone can Tank, your Class doesn't determine so much how well, but how you approach it.  Each has it's own actives, and passives nobody else can use, many also work in the Tanking role, but in order to train up for Endgame, you have to be a bit of a Hybrid.  That's because you can stand there, and Block all day (Until your Stamina, or Magicka run out) but if you don't Kill the mobs, then you'll eventually die tired, with no XP gained from kills.  Note:  The Tooltip for Training says XP from Kills.  

Dragon Knight

Just going Alphabetically here, what this class brings to the fight is Burn.  Right out the gate, later on you can share obsidian Shield with all your friends, but right off the boat, you're going to have to start with Searing Strike, Spiked Armor, and Stone Fist.

Searing Strike is great for the Solo Tank, because it DoTs.  .  .  Tick, Tick, Tick, that's the name of the game for the Solo Tank, you want to stop Blocking, and Puncturing just long enough to cast something quick, and get the Shield back up.  Searing Strike is quick, and it ticks for a long time.  You can always respec later, but I personally suggest the Magicka Morph (Burning Embers) because it Heals you too.  Respeccing just costs Gold, and you'll make Gold while you're training for XP.  So, I also suggest you invest in Stamina/Magicka first, and THEN Health.  These are mostly going to be Trash Mobs anyway, and when you get to the Quest Boss, you need to get in the habit of Blocking, not relying on your Health pool to facetank your way through it.  

Likewise Stonefist>Obsidian Shard is a great multipurpose spell.  It also heals, but with a Knockdown, and it's an Instant heal.  You don't have to wait for it, it works in an emergency, which also makes it Spmammable.  You get a Stun, you get a Stun, I get Health back.  This gets me in the habit of Juggling mobs.  Later on, I use Shielded Assault in the same slot, only instead of knocking them down over there, you go to them, and instead of Health back, you get a bubble shield that you can easily re-up when it pops.  That's pretty crucial to how I Tank.  You need a bubble shield when it comes to Tanking Raid bosses, but some of the "Better" ones just do that.  Here's a Shield, Obsidian Shield is great for the whole party, but going Solo, this one comes with a Bash, and works as a gap Closer.  Something Dragon Knights don't have, until this unlocks (or Dragon leap, which takes Ultimate.)

Spiked Armor is Spiked Armor.  I don't really have to explain this one, if you play tanks.  It makes you tougher, and hurts mobs when they hit you.  get it, keep it up, whatever morph you want.  I'm not going into great detail for basics like this.  Likewise Burning Talons, except to say this is the better Training Morph, because it Ticks.  .  .

Inferno Staff (Training)

You're going to want a Frost Staff later on, because of Resource Management.  Honestly, the best Tanks are a Hybrid of Stats, because to Sustain, it really helps to switch Resource, and let the other Recover.  With Tri-Focus, a Frost Staff uses Magicka to Block, so your Stamina can recover.  Also, Helping Hands restores Stamina for casting an Earthen Heart Ability, while you're Blocking with an Ice Staff.

Engulfing Flames:  However, training Solo, somebody's got to DPS, and I don't see anyone else there with you.  This gets to the (Earthen) Heart of Tanking:  Your Job is to hold the enemy in the AoE for the DPS to kill them.  Without a DPS there to kill them, you have to put down an AoE.  Engulfing Flames makes everyone you hit more vulnerable to Fire Damage.  You remembered to poke them with Pierce Armor, right?  Then they also have Major Fracture, so their Spell Resist is lower too.  Now, you can survive the fight, while they writhe in your Blockade of Fire, and Burning Talons...

Tick tick tick...

Silver Leash:  I know, you've got Firey grip, but you don't Start with it any more.  Also, that's a Spell, that costs Magicka, and does Fire Damage.  Until you unlock, and Morph it, it's extremely easy to talk to Guildmaster Sees-All-Colors, go find Merric, and Aelif, then kill some Zombies until you get this skill.  Vital for Any tank, even a Dragon knight at low levels, especially Solo.  You have taunts to Pull them in, and Roots (Talons) to hold them, but I at least like to have a Chain to pull that one stray off of the Healer, so she can go back to Healing, instead f fighting Goddamned Bats.  Up to you whether you want to stick with this, or use the other, maybe have one on each side of the Swap when you start switching between Staff, and Shield, but it definitely helps you learn to use Cahin Pulls as well as Gap Closers early on.  Sometimes you wan them to come to you (Inner Beast/Ice Staff Power Attack)  Sometimes you want to go to them (Shielded Charge/Dragon leap) and sometimes you want that one to come back, over here, and keep burning with all his friends.  Playing a Tank Well is knowing when to use what tool you have at your disposal, instead of only having a Hammer.

Weakness to Elements

Believe it or not, yes I use this in Groups.  Pierce Armor also causes Major Breach, but close up.  W2E is one you can cast at a Distance, especially running up on a BOSS, and channeling a Power Attack to Taunt, and get your Magicka back.  This is something an ice Staff does really well:  A Power Attack isn't just ranged, and it's not just Free.  A lot of traditional Tanks use the excuse that it's not Instant like Puncture, or Inner Rage, and therefore it's Crap.  (Mostly Tanks that are against the idea of touching a Destruction Staff, because that's a waste of wood that should be made into Shields.  Believe it or not, they're out there.)  It Gives You Magicka Back.  That makes it worth 1 Power Attack/Taunt, even if it's just at the beginning of the Battle, you have time to cast your Buffs, and still go into the fight with Full Resources.  Cast Inner Beast, and then you go into the fight with less than full Stamina.  What do you use to Block?  Stamina.  

A well rounded group has a Magicka DPS, as well as a Stamina DPS.  yes, I know, sometimes the Patch makes it seem like Stamblade is the BiS for DPS, so everyone that read it on Reddit starts playing a Stamblade, but that's not a Well Rounded Party.  The best party has a Variety of effects, Damage is just one of them, and as Tank, Status Effects like Major Breach are your Stock in trade.  That's what you're there to do, give the DPS an easier time killing stuff.  When you're alone, any Attack is a taunt.  Any Ability, as long as it gets their attention, who else are they going to attack when it's just you?


This is running a little long, so I'm going to continue with other Classes in the comments...

About Psiberzerker:

Psiberzerker hasn't shared anything about themselves.

3 Replies
  1. #1


    Contributor7908 Posts


    Like Dragon Knight, one thing this class has trouble actually picking, and choosing between is all the DoTs.  However, most of them are Magicka based, so if you're primarily Stamina based (Don't overspecialize as a Tank.  Just saying, you need Health, but you need Stamina, AND Magicka as well.)  However, the Stamina Morphs is where they really shine for me, because they make you a useful fighter in your own right, regardless of what else you have in your hands:

    For a Training Tank, Nightblade excels, because you get a lot of skills that duplicate abilities you'll use later on, and Stamina Morphs for a lot of the skills that Define Nightblades, early on.  You can use Teleport Strike, until Shielded Charge unlocks.  Shielded Charge is better for tanking, because it Stuns, but you'll get Teleport Strike first, even with an Imperial (Who levels up 1H&S faster than anyone else.)  


    Sneak Attack/Concealed Weapon:  I'm going to say right now that for the Solo Tank Role, Venomous Claws is better, because it Ticks.  .  .  However, CW/SA is probably the best instant Spammable in the game, because you can weave it in anywhere.  This is great for a DPS Rotation, but as a Solo tank, you don't want to Rotate, you want to Juggle.  SA/CW Combos.  Charge up a Power Attack, you know how to Animation Cancel?  Okay, here's how you learn:  Hit Sneak Attack, then immediately Block/Bash.  If you do it right, you Hear the "SHING!" but you don't SEE it, and you get Stamina back from the Power Attack.  The Bash also interrupts, but this is a Combo.  Learn it.  Practice on Mobs, so it becomes reflexive.  When that Thundermall charges up a Dizzying Swing?  Don't just Block it, tapattack/slash/quickbash, and Interrupt with a 3 hit combo that knocks him down.  If you're ever going to PvP, you know how they talk about how OP Puncturing Sweeps (I'll get to that) is?  Interrupt it.  Wrecking Blow?  There's Thundermauls all over the place to teach you how to combo off that, reflexively.  Muscle memory, there's other skill that can do this (Heroic Slash) but because of the Animation, and the way it Cancels, Concealed Weapon is the best.

    Power Slam:  This is a very late skill to Unlock from the 1H&S tree, but that's what you are training up for, and I have to put it somewhere.  Right after Concealed Weapon/Sneak Attack, because it combos beautifully, and with a Stamina spec, it does terrifying Burst damage.  NBs are okay at DPS, but what they do, arguably better than anyone else is BURST Damage.  This is vital for a Tank, training solo, because it helps you train for when to Burst, and end the fight.  You can't do it just any old time, you have Resources to manage, and you don't have Siphoning Strikes yet?  The problem with Burst is it burns resources, very quickly.  Extremely so, as a tank you also let down your Guard, so you take damage, but that removes 1 threat from the Fight.  If you run out of Stamina, you can't Block any more, You Die.  That's why this is so crucial to learn for a Shadow Tank.  However, when you do have the Stamina, and the Opening, this (Attack/SneakAttack/Bash/Power Slam) burns a lot of it, in exchange for a LOT of damage.  You need to Block an attack, to Empower the Shield Slam, but it's worth it.  It's oh so worth it.

    Dark Cloak:  I love this one, because for 6 seconds, you have so much going for you.  You Heal over time, and gain Minor Protection, which also stacks on other Percentile Damage Mitigation like Grim Focus, and Bolsering Darkness.  It's no Magma Armor, but it really really helps when you're taking on one of those big bad bosses that can 1 Shot you with your shield down, and really seriously hurt you with your shield up.  (Or grab you, and hurt you so you can't Block, like some Daedra, and Litches do.)  Honestly, with a "Meatshield" Health tank, 64 points in Health, and a Race that gives you 2000 more Health (Imperial) and good Shieldplay on your part, this 1 Skill is enough Healing, and Protection, if you can keep it up.  (By "Shieldplay, I mean knowing When to Block, when to Power Attack, and good Stamina Management.  Dark Cloak can handle the Health management.)

    Refreshing Path is awesome for a Magicka specced tank, because it grants you Major Expedition, Heals you also speeds up your group so you don't get too far ahead, and persists in the area for quite a while.  This makes it great to park your Tank while the baddies beat on you, and take trickle damage.  It's not a great Damaging skill, it will kill them eventually, but that's not the point.  For training, and Survival, that hot spot is a great place to be, AND it's handy getting from fight-to-fight, which makes Training "Gofasta."  {IDK if you're aware, but I put a pretty heavy focus on Mobility, especially for training.  The more mobile you are, the faster everything goes, and that goes double for training a Tank, because you spend a lot more time fighting Passively, while the DoTs tick them to death...}

    Aspect of Terror isn't great, because it's Single (Or Double) target, and expensive to cast.  Summon Shade isn't great for a Tank.  In fact, it ends up working against you if it takes Aggro away from you, and the AoEs you're trying to hold them in.  


    You're here to fight, not end the fight from the shadows, before it even starts.  You don't learn anything that way (However, as a Shadow Tank, I do pick off the Healer, first.  In any group with a Healer, it dies.  That makes everyone else so much easier)  That's what the Assassination tree is all about, But it's also useful for a Tank, if you know how to play it:

    Ambush uses Stamina, but Empowers.  Lotus fan uses Magicka, and gets everyone's Attention.  Remember this:  An Attack is as good as a Taunt if you're the only one there.  With Teleport Strike, an Attack is as good as a Taunt, if you're the only one In Range.  Now, you can start handing out Pierce Armor to all your new friends, but while the Healer, and the DPS set up, this is a great way to tell everyone in the room that the party is Right Here.  I suggest Lotus Fan, not only because of that, but also because it uses Magicka, it doesn't use the Stamina you need to Block, and Pierce Armor going in.  You shouldn't need Dark Cloak right away, before you start taking significant damage, so the magicka cost shouldn't interfere with your primary spell before you swap bars, and hunker down for some Serious Tanking.

    Blur is like Dark Cloak, Evasion, or whatever.  Just like Spiked Armor, and Talons, I'm not going to explain it in any great detail, you need enough damage Mitigation to Survive the fight, but that's not your Job.  The entire party has to survive, to win the fight, you're there to make sure that the attention is on you, all the enemies stay in the AoE, and nobody has to stop DPS/Healing to deal with a threat coming for them.  I suggest that you don't focus too much on being the "Unkillable Immortal Black Tacticool Tank of Death" you see in youtube videos.  Surviving isn't how you win, dying is how you lose.  You win by Controlling the Crowd.  (While your buddies DPS, and the Healer keeps everyone alive.)  I know, this is a Solo/Training Guide, but don't lose track of the Endgame.  When you get there, you have to be able to Tank.  You don't win points for having a Build that's really, really hard to kill, if the Durzog run right past you, and chow down on your Healer.

    That being said, damage you don't take is damage you don't have to Heal, and you don't need to wear Medium Armor to effectively use Blur (Or it's Morphs)  It's a Spell, but it doesn't scale off of Magicka, so a Stamina spec, in Heavy Armor can use it effectively.  

    Mark Target is like Weakness to Elements, Above.  It's a nice option, for when you get to playing Endgame content with a Group, so unlock it, and Morph it for later.  Doesn't really help you now, for training.

    Grim Focus:  I don't really care about the Spectral Arrow, but I weave in Light Attacks with Bashes, and casts.  This gives you a flat Damage Reduction with each one, honestly the way I Juggle Abilities, I almost never stack up enough for the full effect, but each one makes it easier for you to survive, with relatively little effort put into it.  This leaves my attention on more important things, like keeping track of the Mobs, where they are, and what they're doing, so I can keep juggling them.  Honestly, an under-rated Skill for Tanks (But on again off again popular for DPS, and PvP.)


    I level this up almost exclusively for Siphoning Strikes, especially on a Stamina focused Tank.  Keep that up, it really helps with your Sustain, especially if you're not a Redgard.  

    Swallow Soul is basically like Searing Strike at a distance.  It keeps you alive, and slowly kills a Target while you focus on Taunting, Blocking, and Nerfing them.  Also, you pretty much have to use it to level up Siphoning to Siphoning Strikes.

    Cripple is handy for ticks, and also works as a Snare.  Snares are handy for Tanking, but this game has a lot of them.  

    Soul Shred is okay, but I mostly put it on my bar to level Siphoning faster, (With Swallow Soul which I actually use.)  Honestly, this tree is a PITA to level quickly.  Soul Harvast is handy to generate Ultimate (With Killer Blade) especially for trials to keep Agressive Warhorn up, but you don't actually Cast it.  You slot it on your Main (Tank) bar, and barswap to spend the Ultimate on Warhorn.


    I wanted to save the best for last, but this isn't the best Tanking class.  However, it is the best Training class, and a big part of it is Hurricane.  Major Expedition is pretty easy to get, Minor Expedition is only available here, and in the Banished Cells.  (Jailbreaker Set, one of my favorites.)  Streak is great in the Endgame, Hurricane, and 1 other Speed Boost is great for the rest of the game, for carrying you to the Endgame.  (As if you didn't know, you can only have one of each Buff up at once.  You can't cast Rapid Maneuver, then roll dodge with a bow to stack Hasty Hetreat, but you can stack Major, and Minor effects on the same character.)  So, let me run through what little a Sorcerer has going for them, as a Tank, in the Endgame:

    Encase:  It's a Root, either it ends in a Snare, or it shatters to tell me it's time to recast Shattering Prison.  So, I use Shattering prison, and eventually you get Healed for every enemy you Hit with it, which is pretty huge with a Magicka tank.  (In that case, you can cast Blockade of Frost over it for your Snares, anyway.)

    Blockade of Storms:  To Tank, make that Frost.  This is for Damage, I'm a Sorcerer with a bonus to Shock Damage, a Lightning Staff does more AoE damage.  With a good Lightning Staff main bar, you can just swap to your Back bar (You lose an 8% damage buff, but can have up to 12% on your back bar if it's all Sorcerer Skills.  As long as it's Shock Damage.)  So, you can just put down a lot of Shock Damage, with long Durations, like Blockade of Storms, Boundless Storm, Liquid Lightning, bar swap, and Tank with a Weapon, and Shield.  Even if you don't invest in Stamina, or any 1H&S skills on your bar, you can cast Bound Aegis, and still Tank, long enough for everything around you to die, or the durations to run out.  (Chose morphs for longer durations.)  

    Endless Fury:  It's a Fire, and Forget Execute, and in training, you have to Kill Stuff for XP.  Unlike say Assassin's Blade, you can cast it Before they're below 25%.  It will go off if they go down to 25% in the next 4 seconds, and it Splashes, because Shock Damage.

    Lightning Flood:  Gives you a nice place to stand, and Block while everything around you dies.  As a solo tank, Sorcerers basically don't need a DPS, they've got plenty of AoE to kill stuff, while they Block, and keep everything close to them.

    Unstable Clanfear:  What makes Sorcerers great for SOLO play is they don't need a Tank, they don't need a Healer, they have a Pet.  (I'm assuming Warden is the same way, I don't have those DLCs yet.)  If you Power Attack, with Anything, that tells your Pet to run over, and fight it.  That's your Tank.  If either of your health gets low, you can recast it, and Heal both of you.  That's your Healer.  You can just DPS, but it's one of the 4 base game Classes, and anyone can Tank.  Clanfear can help you beat on stuff, and get some kills for you, but that's not a DPS.  

    ^That's my front Bar:  Training, and basically my "Rotation" with the caveat that I don't have to "Rotate" to keep everything up, because the Trash mobs die before the durations run out.  However, that's more like a DPS, once I have everything in place, I switch back to the Shield, and Dagger to Tank.

    I don't use it, but Daedric Prey doesn't just make the target more vulnerable to your Pet.  It also Taunts your pets, so they Attack who you just marked with it.  (It's also a ticking time bomb that goes off, if they survive throughout the duration.)  Also, a fully charge Power Attack, from any weapon, indicates the target for your Pets to attack.  Twilight Matriarch also doubles as a healer, but I don't play Healer, and this is a Tanking thread.  I only mention it, because in Training, Clanfear and Daedric Prey allows for a Party Dynamic, even training Solo.  However, since Clanfear plays the tank role better, you pretty much have to hang back, and play DPS.  

    Hurricane is my Damage Mitigation, but not really.  Block is my Damage Mitigation, this helps out with getting Attention more than anything, the damage is okay, but the primary reason for it is actually Minor Expedition.  It's that important to me, but like any of the other similar skills on this list, I'm not going into any more detail.  You need Enough that you don't die, I wouldn't spend too many slots on the bare minimum:  Survival.  (Of course, on the Lightning Rod build, with tanky backbar, Boundless Storm fits that playstyle, and it's passives better, but that's not a training Tank, she's an Endgame DPS with a tank rescue back bar.)

    Pierce Armor, and Shielded Assault are just basic, standard tanking skills.  Major Breach/Fracture, Taunt, Gap Closer, Stun, and a Shield.  For TRAINING, Hurricane, and SA are enough.  In Light Armor, let me point out that this isn't a TANK, this is my Main Character, a Mage with a Sword, and Board.  Why?  Because the Clanfear (My "Tank") Dies.  When The tank Dies, my new priority is to stay alive, until I can resurrect it.  In a Dungeon Raid, if the Tank dies, the Healer has to rez it, and the DPS has to Survive, to DPS.  Otherwise, the Healer has to res me next, and can't keep the Tank alive, who's keeping the Mobs at bay?

    Tanks Die.  I plan for it, because when the Tank dies, we all die, unless you have a backup plan.  If you're playing a Sorcerer, and training up to DPS in Dungeons, here's how you can do it:  Summon Clanfear, let him Tank, DPS, and try to keep each other alive, but when it inevitably dies?  It's nice to have a Plan B:  Other than burn a Soul gem, and try again with even less Armor this time.  In a Raid, taking over as a Kiteank keeps the mobs busy, while the Healer fixes this.  You can practice this, solo with Clanfear, and even barswap to Unsummon it, with a Rebate of Magicka.  

    Streak:  Stun, and Run.  Useful for a tank, because the AoE Stun, but the Run makes it unspammable, because you have to turn around when you get there to Streak Back.  Also, the Stun won't reapply to anything recovering from the Stun, but Encase (And it's morphs) is a Root.  Immobilize, you can Root, and Stunn everything in the AoE, and teleport behind them.  Useful for a "Tank, and Spank" formation, where you distract everyone, and make them hold still, while the DPS comes from behind to spank them to death.  From behind, but only if you get them turned around.  Immobilize, and Stun isn't as good as a hard taunt, but all the taunts in this game are single targets.  Root&Stun is literally Crowd Control, and one of the bets CC combos in the game.  Doesn't last long, though.  So, I suggest you pass out Inner Beasts, and Punctures before everything recovers, and turns around to Eat the DPS.

    Energy Overload, and Dark Deal:  This is my Cheat mode, I basically reserve for Boss Fights, where I cantt afford to Fully Charge Power Attacks.  As long as your Ultimate holds out, you can weave in Tap Attacks, which are much like Power Attacks from a Lightning Staff, except you don't have to Channel them.  Each one Generates Magicka, so I can Burst Sustained.  Only as long as my Ultimate holds out, but then i can just go back to the regular Lightning Staff Power Attacks.  (By then, they're generally at least close to half Health, so they can start going into Execute mode.)


    Okay, not as mobile as a Sorcerer can be, in the endgame, and they can't summon a tank that doubles as a Healer.  They don't have to.  Solo, a Templar has Tank, Healer, and DPS skills, BAREHANDED.  If you have a Weapon, or set of Weapons that you can recover Stamina, and Magicka back (With Power Attacks) then they can do it, all day.

    Puncturing Sweeps is easy mode.  Too easy, so easy in fact, I build around them, so that I actually have something better to do besides stand there, and spam the Win button until everything is dead.  (One of the things I did was give my Magicka Lancer a 1H&S Backbar, just so I could enjoy fighting Trash Mobs, instead of Sweeping them aside without breaking a sweat.)  Honestly, you don't need this guide.  Role an Altmer, get the Puncturing Sweeps morph, slot skills in your other slots so they level up, and go find some Zombies/Spirits/Skeletons/Daedra to poke to death until level 50.  That skill is stil so broken, and it always was.

    But this is a training Tank, and you don't learn anything from that.  So, other than that:

    Vampire's Bane:  It's a DoT, use it just like Searing Strike, but lob it in from range at the start of the fight, then practice you Blocking/Poking.  it will kill it, eventually, all on it's own, but in the mean time, you get some Shield practice in.

    Solar Barrage:  I.  Love.  This Spell.  It's my favorite spell in the entire class, and easily tied for my top 3 effects in the Game.  It's an AoE, centered on you.  It Pulses like Blade Cloak, and others to show you when it Ticks, and it Empowers your weapon.  Every Single Tick.  A Lightning Staff is a Weapon of Mass Destruction already, but now every other second, your Power Attack (Which Splashes) is empowered for 8 seconds, and everything around you is on Fire.  I have no idea why nobody else seems to use this, but if you're a Tank, and you don't have a DPS, now you do.  Just keep this up, and do what you do.  Everything around you dies eventually, you just have to survive the fight.

    Piercing Javelin:  there's better knockbacks out there.  Flame Clench does more damage, Magnum Shot nocks you back too, but this is a Class Spell, so you can use it with any weapon.  It's particularly nice for Sword, and Board, because it puts them where you want them.  Even if i need a breather to barswap, and re-up.  (IDK, Solar barrage?)  Or Channel a Heal.  Did I mention Altmer?  Yeah, she's got Gold Skin, Gold hair, and Eyes, Golden Saint (Costume Armor) and Damage resistance when she's channeling an Ability.  (That includes Puncturing Sweeps, with a Lightning Staff, which does more AoE Damage.)

    Restoring Aura:  Sustain, Sustain, and more Sustain.  Just slotted, as a passive, if gives you 10% Health, Stamina, and Magicka Recovery.  Look on your Character Sheet.  Now, slot Restoring Aura, 10% of that.  Now, Cast it it so youm and your allies get Magicka back every second you're dealing Damage.  Even if you're a Healer, tap off an attack weave with a Restoration Staff, every second, woven in between casting 2 Heals, here's 300 Magicka.  (That's unmorphed.  Restaura 1.  Just unlocked on a level 20 Tanklar)

    That's it.  Honestly, there's engame builds out there, and they're divided by Class here on these forums, but nobody says how to Tank, with nothing but Starting skills/gear, until you get there...

    Everything above is likely Opinion, and/or subject to change. 

  2. #2


    Contributor7908 Posts

    ...aanndd, i just defeated a Lich!  On my way back from the Harborage, after checking up on Merric, and Aelif.  (Daggerfall, you know the one?)  No, I didn't just Tank him, I didn't have a Healer, and a DPS, so I eliminated the Vampire Assassin with him first, Tanked him a while, ran while Swallow Soul healed me up, then went back in, and Tanked him some more, but I soloed him with a Level 6-7 (I also leveled up from that fight) Imperial Nightblade, Tank.  Tankety Tank-Tank, or as tanky as you can be at that level, but no Champion points, no trainer Sets with 2x5 Set bonuses, most of my armor is still level 1 sutff I hammered out when I got to Port Hunding.  Not even that many Greens of the Trainee, just me, and him, Dagger, and Shield.  (Okay, Concealed Weapon 1.)

    My Best in Slot Build didn't do that, I didn't have any of that yet.  Just stopping by to get the Fighter's guild unlocked before I start clearing Betnikh, and only 3 Skyshards so far.  That's it, so I did that, and I know it's not a big deal, but it kinda feels like a big deal when you go Into that fight expecting to die, unlocking Baelborne Rock Wayshrine, and maybe learn something from it.  I didn't die, i won, and that feels great.  That's what i tank for:  A good fight, win or lose, a good fight.


    And what is it with level 5 guys with Destruction Staffs wanting to Duel level 10 Tanks in full Heavy Armor?  "Want to test out that Armor?"  No, wanna get chased down with Teleport Strike?

    Everything above is likely Opinion, and/or subject to change. 

  3. #3


    Contributor7908 Posts

    Backbar (1H&S)

    Shielded Charge, Pierce Armor, and Power Slam

    This is it.  This is how I Tank.  I mention this in the Basic tanking thread, because at this point, all 8 of my Characters (On the North American Server) either have this in the middle of my Front Bar, or Back bar.  If it's not a Tank, then it's my Back bar, because honestly this is my favorite weapon set in the game.  These 3 skills, and a couple of Class Spells are all I need to wade up to my armpits in mobs for hours of fun, the rest of the build.  Well, let me give you an example.

    Lightning Rod

    Altmer, Lightning Staff, Light Armor (Heavy Breast Plate, and Medium Boots.)  DPS.  The main focus of the build is real easy to explain, so I'll repeat it here (I need to update the full Build in Sorcerer anyway.)  Ancient Knowledge, and Expert Mage gives her a total of 16% (8% Each) to all spells that are Lightning Damage, and AoEs.  Sets which improve Spell Damage, Spell Critical, and so forth, I usually put in a Single Target backbar, but I can't come up with one, in this Class that does more Damage per Second than the AoE bar, so the backbar is just for Utility, Recovery, and Survival.

    However, whenever I get sick of playing the same rotation, and watching everything in front of/around me die, I can always change things up by swapping bars, and Tanking until everything's killed.  Just re-up Wall of Storms, Liquid Lightning, get out the Shield, and juggle mobs until the durations time out, or I run out of friends to play with.  :(

    Dark Deal, and Endless Fury.  

    Bookending the usual 2, 3, 4 buttons, I've got dialed into my Muscle memory.  I go through fits of using my character DELETES, and playing through from level 3-to-50 every day.  Not because I like the beginning of the game, but because I can fly through it on autopilot, and try out new combinations of Race/Class I haven't since the latest major swing of the Nerf Hammer.  The last one was with the release of Elswyer, so I just did it again.  The problem with that is you have to develop a new Rotation, from scratch, every day, and I never really get dialed into it (Until I take a break to enjoy what I've come up with.)

    However, with these 3 skills, I can always fall back on what I know.  Even if I'm not Tanking for anyone else, It's just me, and possibly my Pet Clanfear.  (Stompy.  His name is Stompy.)  I can lay down the DPS, and just Tank.  While the DPS does the DPS.  Not the Stamina DPS, and Magicka DPS I brought in with me, the AoEs I put down to DPS, while I get out the shield again, and beat up some mobs, for fun!  That is the Endgame for me, I don't really care if it's in a Dungeon/Group, or just bopping around Craglorn, and soloing the Group Sandbox areas.  (Okay, just me, and my trusty sidekick, "Stompy.")

    Notice I don't have Summon Clanfear on my Back Bar?  I don't have him on my front bar either, but I have a flex spot I can fit him in, if I feel like I need a little Tank/Healing to handle the locals.  When I Barswap, I get 1,500 Magicka back towards a Dark Deal to get some more Health, and Stamina.  I'm a Magicka Sorcerer.  An Altmer, in Robes, with a Battle Staff, and Dark DEAL.

    "I got this."

    Not Dark Conversion, I don't need it on my main bar.  I have plenty of Magicka generation (From Energy Overload, and Power Attacks) to sustain my rotation indefinitely, and I can switch to Stamina any time to Survive.  Honestly, this isn't so much a Tank as a Tank Destroyer.  A Self Propelled Gun.  Rolling Thunder, Walking Artillery, in a word:  BlitzKrieg.  So, I don't actually have to turtle up for very long, just let the DPS do it's work, and my Magicka recover while I use Stamina for a while.  Then, I can Dark Deal (With a 5% Damage reduction, because Altmer) or I can switch back to the Destruction Staff with a full bar of Magcika, and kill everything.  

    When i get bored with the fight, because she doesn't need the CP, She doesn't need the money, nor the drops.  She's DONE.  She's an endgame build, I'm going to have to wait for some global Nerfs that apply to her change her.  But, standing and spamming a Rotation is BORING.  Efficient, effective, but.  {Yawns} a little dull.  Sometimes, she just wants to get out there and fight, just like her good friend Ayrenn,

    Everything above is likely Opinion, and/or subject to change. 


Sorry, you must first log in or register for a Tamriel Foundry account before you may comment on articles!

Please respect the Tamriel Foundry Code of Conduct when commenting on articles.