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The Desecrater - A Guide to NB Tanking (Homestead Ready)

Autolycus
Autolycus
✭✭✭✭✭
Edit: Current as of 3/31/2017 (Homestead).

Hey Everyone!

I started this guide last year in the hopes that it would help people learn more about NB tanking. At the time I created this guide, NB tanks were still virtually unheard of. I noticed more threads popping up asking about the best approach to it, and ultimately decided that I should share what I know. My NB tank is my main toon and I have been playing him since beta.

Note that the name, The Desecrater, was a name given to describe the Bahraha's Curse build I was using when I first decided to create this guide. I no longer use Bahraha's Curse as a part of my standard trials or dungeon setup for two reasons: Healing a NB tank (even in veteran trials) is sufficient that this set is no longer necessary, and the nerfs to proc sets that removed the ability for sets like Bahraha's Curse to crit make it too weak to justify. Bahraha's Curse can still generate a decent amount of healing, and still viable for any dungeons or normal trials, but as endgame tanking stands today, there's no reason at all to wear a set like this, when wearing something that benefits the whole group is available. I would not recommend using Bahraha's Curse over some of the other sets detailed below specifically for vet trials.

The primary focus for this guide is endgame trials tanking. I've done my best to ensure that this guide is as generic as possible so that anyone can use it. There are many factors to consider when making changes to gear, but for the most part, anyone can use this guide to help build their NB tank, even if it's their first time and they have no idea what they're doing. I should note that I am CP-capped and have access to all passive abilities that newer or returning players may not be able to tap into yet, but that should not deter you from trying this out if you're interested. I have tested the limitations of this build against IC district bosses in non-CP campaigns as well, to further solidify the point that your CP augments this setup; CP does not make this setup viable in and of itself.

Intro
Today I aim to detail my NB magicka tanking setup. There are a number of viable and competitive gear combinations that can be used. With enough experience and familiarity as a NB tank, it is completely feasible and realistic to use sets that don't cater stat-wise to what we would normally deem good "stats" or "set bonuses". What I mean by this is that a set like Alkosh, which affords no benefit to a magicka NB tank on any of the set bonuses, is still completely usable on the class and is highly recommended for specific content. Not every set combination is going to shine in every encounter, and because of this, it is usually a good idea to carry multiple set combinations with you to be able to swap out when appropriate. Most endgame trials tanks do have a variety of gear on-hand to accommodate specific fights.

The highlight of this build is it's self-reliance and efficiency. Before going into the build itself, I feel it's important to note that, while this build is incredibly efficient, it is also highly contingent upon the ability to weave reliably. While being self-sufficient is a notable strength as a NB tank, for endgame content our underlying goal should be group support. NB tanking is generally considered a more difficult class to tank with because of the necessity to drop block in order to weave light attacks for sustain (via Siphoning Attacks), but note that there is a distinct difference between being more difficult (the learning curve) and viable. A good NB tank can do any content on any difficulty.

Unlike DK tanking, NB sustain is not contingent on max stats. As such, Undaunted Mettle is an optional benefit. Having a 5/1/1 setup very well could be preferential for some players, while a full set of heavy is preferential for others. Personally, I prefer to use all heavy when I can. However, certain sets (like Alkosh) do not come in heavy, and at least two medium would be in that setup (unless you can get Akosh 1H&S for both bars, which is ideal). This is mostly inconsequential for NB tanking, as 5 heavy / 2 medium is, for all intents and purposes, of approximate equal value to a NB tank. Our sustain does not really suffer because we have a 5/2 setup instead of a 5/1/1 of full heavy setup. One important thing to note, however, is that NBs access Major Ward/Resolve primarily through Shadow passives, and the duration of both is contingent upon the number of heavy armor pieces equipped. This, along with the increased sustain from heavy armor passives, is why I typically use all 7 heavy armor. The duration increase is pretty small, and thus choosing to use fewer heavy pieces does not have a monumental impact on sustain or survivability, but there is a difference. I do not recommend using fewer than 5 pieces of heavy armor, or you will lose important passives that do have a monumental impact on the bottom line.

I don't currently have all of the screenshots for each of my setups (I have 4 different tanking specs). For now, it will suffice to give you a general guideline for the stats you will want to focus on primarily:

Health: 25-30k (for vMoL and hardmodes I recommend 30k without War Horn)
Stamina: 17-20k
Magicka: 25k+
Physical/Spell Restances (unbuffed): ~20k
Magicka Recovery: ~900+
Spell Crit: ~30%+
Spell Damage varies with content, is not critical to this build's functionality, however the higher your SD is, the more potent your self-healing. I'd aim for 2k+ spell damage with buffs, but this is not as important as other stats above. Do not lower any of the stats listed above spell damage to ma

Gear
There is a wide variety of feasible and practical gear combinations. The best combination is the one that affords the greatest amount of utility to your group, and varies from fight to fight. This is contingent upon your group makeup, what buffs are already covered, and if there is another tank present (and what he or she is using). To make this easier to understand, instead of giving specific combinations, I'm going to list the best potential sets, in no particular order:

Monster Sets:
- Swarm Mother (dungeons)
- Blood Spawn (trials)
- Sentinel of Rkugamz (trials, dungeons, off-tanking)

As much as it stinks to admit, there really aren't any great monster sets for tanking right now (the only class I can't speak for in this regard is Templar, I know that DKs and Sorcs can do without them as well from personal experience). Blood Spawn is okay, but the ulti regen is really not necessary for 99% of fights, because there is plenty of time to get an ult before the next primary mechanic without it (same goes for Tava's). The resistances are definitely overkill; you simply shouldn't need them. Swarm Mother is not useful in trials whatsoever, but great for dungeons if you use it properly. It's okay to slot two different 1pc sets for recovery, resistances, health, magicka, etc., but if those stats aren't making the difference between doing your job and failing, then it's best to go with something that helps the group. In this regard, Sentinel of Rkugamz is the best option, so if you're getting your War Horn well before you need to cast it (which is the case for me), then use Sentinel instead. Buffing and/or supporting your group is far more beneficial than stacking stats you don't need.

Armor/Jewelry/Weapon Sets:
- Tava's Favor (crafted)
- Akaviri Dragonguard (overland drop)
- Roar of Alkosh (trial drop)
- Ebon Armory (dungeon drop)
- Worm's Raiment (dungeon drop)
- Powerful Assault (IC Telvar coffers)

The sets themselves are usually pretty self-explanatory. The overall objective is group support, and to accomplish this, we cut out a lot of unnecessary bulk like excess health, resistances, changing CP allocations, etc.

Attributes
The general strategy is to go all-in on magicka. This is contingent upon a number of factors, namely your health pool, but is viable as both a starting point (as you figure out your own preferences for tanking and your setup) and a potential endgame final allocation. Currently I use 20 points in health, and the rest into magicka (note that a stamblade tank will instead go 20 health and the rest into stamina).

Assuming you have proper mitigation values, which I'll get in to later, your maximum health can be as low as ~25k comfortably, even in vMoL. Allotting all of your points into magicka is okay, since you can use Health glyphs and Prismatic glyphs to supplement your health pool. Since health is a dump stat, only put enough points into it to get you to a comfortable threshold, and no more than is necessary, else you are giving up points that can be of actual benefit elsewhere (like more healing or support).

Champion Points
My allocation is perhaps slightly different from other NB tanks, but it's not by that much. I've fused the meta allocation for magblade dps and the allocation for general magicka tanking into a hybrid allocation, which I use to maintain a single character capable of actively switching builds on a whim. This affords me the ability to be a strong main tank or serve as an extra dps (which still pulls about 30-35k depending on the fight). This setup could also be used to design a healer build with a few alterations, but I will not cover the healer role in this thread.

This allocation is a general guideline. There is room for flexibility on just about every star you invest in. Depending on your focus (full tank, tank/dps hybrid, etc.), you will redistribute these points to boost the stats you deem appropriate in the context of your content and role preference.

The Mage
11 pts. Blessed
56 pts. Elfborn
100 pts. Elemental Expert
10 pts. Thaumaturge

The Thief
65 pts. Magician
50 pts. Warlord
5 pts. Bashing Focus
5-10 pts. Tumbling
47-52 pts. Shadow Ward

The Warrior
This allocation is subject to change on specific fights. For hardmode HRC or AA, go 100 pts. into Hardy. For Rhakkat, go 100 points into Elemental Defender.
50-100 pts. Hardy
50-100 pts. Elemental Defender
50 pts. Quick Recovery

Again, this allocation will vary depending on a couple of factors, mainly race, otherwise mostly preference or context. For example, as a Breton, I allocate fewer points into Elemental Defender than most tanks do, which I redistribute into Hardy and Quick Recovery primarily. The key damage types we want to protect against varies from trial to trial. HRC is more physical, AA is a combination of physical and spell, but the hardest part to tank is the axes at the end, which is all physical. Sanctum is mostly physical or poison, but has elemental damage from trash, like Overchargers. Maw is predominantly magic damage, but Hulks and Shadowguards deal heavy physical damage.

Mundus
Mundus selection is pretty flexible. I've used a lot of different gear combinations and found that, for the mast majority of combinations, mundus selection is largely irrelevant and your choice is rather inconsequential. That being said, specific setups sometimes merit specific boons to compliment them. Alkosh is again a perfect example of when mundus consideration has a notable impact, because neither the set bonuses, nor the armor type (medium) gives us anything we need as tanks. The good news is that a good NB tank could tank without a mundus (or even a second 5set) for 99% of content in ESO. I almost always use the Thief mundus (yes, a crit tank), because in every gear combination I'm providing a healthy dose of healing, and with this mundus the heals crit more frequently, and thus is a benefit to the group.

Skills
Bar 1: Pierce Armor, Refreshing Path, Defensive Stance, Swallow Soul, Siphoning Attacks. Ult: Aggressive War Horn.
Bar 2: Inner Fire, Sap Essence, Heroic Slash, Mysic Orb (or Vigor with Powerful Assault), Double Take. Ult: Soul Harvest -or- Bolstering Darkness

I very rarely change my skills, and I use the same bar setup for dungeons and trials. The only time I make a switch is to cater to a specific need, and this doesn't happen often. When a skill must be traded out, it should be Swallow Soul on the back bar. Everything else is a must (including Sap, for the Major Sorcery, which boosts healing to yourself and your group).

Glyphs and Traits
Glyphs
The first thing you should do when glyphing your gear is to account for reaching your minimum health threshold. Everything beyond what you need to have a comfortable level of health (to avoid dying to "big hits" or "1-shots") should generally go into magicka (or stamina, if you're a stamblade tank), which will boost not only your sustain, but your self-healing and damage contribution as well. I can't give you a specific recommendation for every piece here, as I sincerely believe that it's a matter of preference. I use a mix of Prismatic, health, and stamina glyphs. Ultimately, it comes down to your light attack weaving and animation cancelling during combat. The better you are at timing your attacks, the more efficient you are with your resources, and the less of a need you have for magicka and stamina glyphs.

Jewelry glyphs are pretty flexible. The more comfortable you are with timing your light attacks between blocking attacks, the less you need shieldplay and recovery glyphs. I recommend starting with 1x magicka recovery and 2x shieldplay, then change it as you see fit thereafter. Spell damage glyphs are the best option for you as a support tank if you don't need the sustain.

Weapon Traits
I've tried a variety of different weapon traits on a magblade tank to see what best accommodates the innate healing utility in the kit. Defending weapons are unnecessary for a full heavy armor setup on a max CP character (and it's counter-productive too, most of the time you are actually missing out if using Defending, it's simply overkill). I've instead tested traits like Sharpened, Infused, Powered, and Precise. We can make a rational argument for all of them frankly, but I ultimately recommend using Infused for your primary weapon with a Crushing glyph, as this affords the highest reduction in enemy resistances, resulting in the highest damage potential to your group.

The back bar should be a shock damage glyph with the Charged trait so as to maximize the Concussion status effect on your target. You shouldn't be the only person using a shock glyph on your back bar; this role is often taken on by at least one of the healers. A shock glyph has a base chance to proc of 20%, and a (one-handed) legendary-quality Charged trait boosts this to 42%. We switch to our back bar about every 10s to reapply Heroic Slash, and we do at least two light attacks plus Heroic Slash while we are on this bar (note that Heroic Slash with a Charged Weapon is a 21% proc chance). The result is reasonably high chance to proc Concussion. If you suffer from poor luck and it doesn't proc, there's at least one other person in your group running a shock glyph alongside of you to help with the up-time.

If the target is concussed, any ally using Blockade of Storms will automatically set them off-balance, and dps with the Exploiter CP passive will deal 10% increased damage. This is a huge buff for dps to have, and we are doing plenty of light attacks anyway as a NB tank. It's also standard practice for DPS to have this passive in today's meta. If your group is not accommodating this, then you are probably hurting your dps, and not simply because they are missing out on an increase, but also because without Off-Balanced targets your dps could have gotten higher dps by putting those points somewhere else. It is a dps loss for all dps who allocate these points if these debuffs are not accommodated, plain and simple.

If your group is already accommodating Concussion and Off-Balance to the extent that you running it, as the tank, is unnecessary, then you have a couple of good alternatives. First, in an off-tank setup (with Powerful Assault) it's your choice between Precise and Powered. Precise will affect both your weapon and spell crit, which boosts your Sap and Vigor heals on the back bar, but does not affect the Sentinel proc. Powered will boost all healing, plain and simple, and since it's a constant benefit, we can argue that it is more effective than Precise since we get the extra healing all the time. Sharpened is a good option too if your group is not already stripping all of the enemy's resistances. As the tank, it's your job to know if you're reducing them fully or not, so know what your group is doing. If you're not running a Powerful Assault setup, then Infused with a Weapon/Spell Damage glyph is probably the way to go.

Armor Traits
A good general guideline is to use sturdy traits on your minor pieces, and infused on major pieces. Divines is okay too, but if you are one who tends to switch mundus boons to fit whichever trial or dungeon you're tanking, you'll have to consider the impact. Using divines with the Lord is probably not worthwhile in most cases, while using divines with the Thief can be beneficial with the right set combinations. However, the underlying point is that divines is not useless to a NB tank, even if it's not necessary. Do so if you wish, and if you're comfortable with it. Don't assume you need to use any or all sturdy traits, because with experience this is a luxury, not a necessity. Having the block cost benefit vs. a marginal healing increase is contingent upon context and is a quality of life factor for NB tanking. Going all sturdy is a viable option as well, and allows you to reduce the number of points into Shadow Ward, or trade your shieldplay/recovery jewelry glyphs for spell damage.

Using reinforced or nirnhoned for your shields is okay, as they benefit from the Shield Expert CP passive. Personally, I use a Sturdy shield on my front bar, and a Divines shield on my back bar, but for a very specific nuance: I run the Thief mundus, and my group utility is on my divines bar - this marginally increases the healing potency of my off-bar skills. Outside of that, though, reinforced and nirnhoned are pointless. Resistances are usually overrated for tanking here on the forums; you should aim to have ~20k physical and spell resistance before Major Ward and Resolve. Note also that Blood Spawn is completely unnecessary for the resistances; we only use this set for the ulti regen and it's not totally necessary either, but as mentioned above, the monster set options for tanking are rather lackluster currently.

Potions
About 99% of the time I use welfare potions (the junk you pick up just running dungeons and buy from vendors). There are some really good potions out there that you can use, but personally I find them to be an unnecessary gold sink, even for vMoL. At the very least, make sure what you use is being supplemented by having Alchemy passives. A more specific recommendation of good potions to use here would likely be Essence of Lingering Health.

Buff Management
There are a few buffs that you need to always keep active:
Major Ward & Resolve (from casting a Shadow ability), Double Take (Major Evasion), Crushing (reduced armor on target), Heroic Slash (Minor Heroism), and Siphoning Attacks. Managing the up-time on all of these buffs is one of the more complex aspects of NB tanking. It's not so difficult once you get the hang of it, and some of these are common practice for other tanks as well, so if you come from a different tank to a NB tank, it'll be an easier transition for you with that experience.

In addition to these "mandatory" tanking buffs, you also want to keep Major Sorcery and Major Brutality active as much as possible, which you very easily get just by throwing a Sap Essence into you rotation from time to time. And yes, it is still beneficial to Sap against a single boss for the buffs - the 20s of extra self-heals pays off in many encounters, especially if you have foregone a healer on your run.

If you are running Alkosh, it is imperative that you coordinate with your group so that you can use a synergy to proc the set every 10 seconds. The use of Alkosh is strongly recommended for trials. It's not necessary in dungeons, but don't mistaken this for meaning it's not valuable. Treat the Alkosh debuff as if it were the same as having IA added, because they afford roughly the same damage increase (8%).

If you are running Powerful Assault, cast Vigor 2-3 times every 15 seconds. Chances are you won't hit every person in the group every 15s. More than 2-3 times is a big waste of stamina, and fewer times is an inefficient use of the set. This kind of setup means you aren't doing a lot of actual tanking, and your primary role is support. It's imperative that you keep your Major Sorcery and Brutality active all the time in this setup, as you are building predominantly to provide buffs, and virtually everything else is supplementary healing for your group. Make those heals as potent as possible and your group will have an easier time with raid-wide mechanics (like meteors on Rhakkat).

General Tips for Tanking as a Nightblade
- Sap Essence serves as an initial AoE taunt. It's not a "real" taunt, but it will almost always pull everything it touches to you immediately after you cast it - so long as you are the first one to hit them. It won't hold their attention for long, but it lasts just long enough to sneak in a handful of Pierces Armors and Inner Fires without them running away. This is a strong opener, not just for the initial aggro component, but also because it allows you to start the fight with Sorcery and Brutality.

- This is the most important thing to learn and master as a NB tank: Light Attacks are your main source of sustain. The common misconception here is that saptanks rely almost solely on the procs from Siphoning Attacks to retain/regain resources - but this is not true. The proc% on Siphoning Attacks is a supplementary mechanic, not the primary mechanic. As such, you should be weaving a light attack in between everything. Yes, everything. Between buffs, between taunts, between everything, period. Plain and simple: the better you are at weaving your light attacks, the less reduced cost or regen you need. If you stack reduced cost, it merely means you don't have to weave between everything, but can instead light attack once every few seconds (and this just assumes you always try to stay topped off). You should ultimately be at a point where, even during the hardest trials, you don't need to do a light attack but once every 3-5 seconds, and that assumes you're trying to stay full. It's not difficult to recovery from <30% stamina with light attacks alone.

The trick (and this takes a lot of practice) is to light attack weave without getting hit between blocks. Timing is key, and the sooner you get this mechanic down on an instinctive level, the sooner your will excel as a saptank. Practice makes perfect! Knowing the boss mechanics (what types of attacks occur, how frequently) makes your sustain all the easier.

- Without chains, it is crucial for you to stack melee on top of ranged. When you start a pull, find where the ranged adds are standing. Pick a spot where the most ranged adds are grouped together, and take everything else to that spot. The introduction of Swam Mother (monster set) makes grouping enemies together substantially easier. While it is not as quick and efficient as a DK's chains, Swarm Mother does not face the "target too high or low" bug, and it can pull some enemies that are immune to chains (like Haj Motas). You can also break line-of-sight with your enemies to force them to relocate to a better position - a classic tool in any tank's utility belt.

- Know your group make-up. This one is more of a general tanking tip than for NB tanking specifically, but it's very important. Always know how many melee dps vs. ranged dps you have, and always know how your group should be positioned. It is up to you to place the boss in an ideal location so that everyone else has an easy time of being where they need to be. The less time spent on getting the right positioning, the better your dps will perform, which leads to faster, easy, and cleaner runs. It's also imperative for you to know how is giving and who is receiving certain buffs. Competitive trials groups have a couple dozen different buffs running across the whole group. The more time you spend with the group ironing out the nuances, the better you will all work together down the line, and the more efficient and effective you will be.
-

Edited by Autolycus on March 31, 2017 9:52PM
  • elzo67
    elzo67
    Soul Shriven
    Sounds cool :)
    Edited by elzo67 on June 17, 2016 10:42PM
  • Splattercat_83
    Splattercat_83
    ✭✭✭✭
    The setup I made for my nightblade is strikingly similar to yours, except for the gear. I'm running x2 Engine Gaurdian or x2 Blood Spawn (haven't really decided which one I like better) x4 alessias bulwark, x3 torugs pact, x3 willpower.

    The only pieces I have gold are the engine set, my swords, and the chest. Everything else is purple.


    Here is a video of me trying my setup out on some mammoths in Wrothgar. I hope to get some better gear as I learn more about tanking with a nightblade.

    https://youtu.be/uCHflFnd_ro
  • Azurya
    Azurya
    ✭✭✭✭✭
    Geat job Autolycus!
    Thanks for sharing this with us!
    Sure can use this for my young Tank-NB.

    Any insights you wanna share on how to go into the first group, trial etc?

  • Autolycus
    Autolycus
    ✭✭✭✭✭
    Azurya wrote: »
    Geat job Autolycus!
    Thanks for sharing this with us!
    Sure can use this for my young Tank-NB.

    Any insights you wanna share on how to go into the first group, trial etc?

    I always recommend taking friends with you when you're learning. It's far easier to get the hang of things with a group of understanding and forgiving players. Going into pugs with a new build that you're not quite familiar with can sometimes be toxic (as sad as that is).

    The key thing to get down first is your light attack weaving. Remember that this is your primary sustain mechanic, with the procs from Siphoning Attacks being supplementary. As you get used to the weaving, the timing on your other skills and blocks in between should fall into place.
  • Teko
    Teko
    Hey,

    After Argonians changes in upcoming update, do you think it will be perfectly possible and viable to make a good tank and healer with this build after some small changes ?

    What i was thinking is moving some points from Ele Expert and Thaumaturge to Blessed so the final cp allocation would look like this:

    80 Blessed
    30 Ele Expert
    57 Thaumaturge

  • Autolycus
    Autolycus
    ✭✭✭✭✭
    Teko wrote: »
    Hey,

    After Argonians changes in upcoming update, do you think it will be perfectly possible and viable to make a good tank and healer with this build after some small changes ?

    What i was thinking is moving some points from Ele Expert and Thaumaturge to Blessed so the final cp allocation would look like this:

    80 Blessed
    30 Ele Expert
    57 Thaumaturge

    Such a thing is already possible!

    However, that many points in Blessed is unnecessary. Consider for a moment that Ele Expert boosts your healing from Strife and Sap, which are both vital components for a NB tank and healer. I've tried a variety of CP allocations to find the right balance for something just like this, and found that going higher than ~30 points into Blessed is too high of an opportunity cost. Even fully dedicated healers rarely sink that many points into Blessed, mainly because of its impact only on healing efffectiveness, and not the dual-benefit of boosting damage and heals simultaneously.

    I would recommend overweighting Ele Expert if you're going to take points out for Blessed. Maybe try something like:
    30 Blessed
    100 Ele Expert
    37 Thauma Elfborn?

    And then, if you still desire more points into Blessed after, continue taking them from Thauma first. The reason for taking from Thauma is because as a tank or healer, you won't utilize that many DoTs, so you stand to benefit more from points into Ele Expert, which boosts the direct damage attacks you will use in both builds. An exception to this may be Twisting Path, which would be buffed by both Ele Expert and Thauma, but the use of Refreshing Path would not benefit from either. Ultimately, I think it depends on your specific preference, as there is a substantial amount of flexibility for NBs as it pertains to tanking and healing.

    Edit: It's not all that necessary to have many points into Thauma either way. If you want to put most of them into Blessed that would be fine, but I might be inclined to invest in Elfborn instead. Note the crit% on my specs above - I'm not building for crit, yet I have near 40%. Swallow Soul crits are a major source of self-healing, and boosting those through Elfborn is much more effective than Thauma will be with virtually no use of DoTs. Even a magblade dps will (in most cases) put very few points into Thauma, and go into Elfborn and EE almost exclusively.
    Edited by Autolycus on July 28, 2016 3:42PM
  • bsupino
    bsupino
    Do you seem much difference trading Footman for Pariah, specially since Pariah caps at 160 ?
  • Autolycus
    Autolycus
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    bsupino wrote: »
    Do you seem much difference trading Footman for Pariah, specially since Pariah caps at 160 ?

    I suppose it depends on what content you're doing, and to some extent your playstyle. For most endgame tanks, Footman adds about 3% total mitigation (it's higher on its face value, but since the mitigation formula is multiplicative it becomes effectively around 3% overall). Some tanks I've talked to find this 3% to be a bit lackluster, so they go for something else, but usually those tanks aren't looking for a "tank" substitute; rather, they're replacing Footman with something that affords more support or damage. From that perspective, I largely agree, because that 3% mitigation isn't absolutely necessary if you're built properly, and today's progression is so highly contingent upon group buffs/debuffs.

    I made some comments on the Pariah set awhile back on Mark of the Pariah. My opinions of the set itself are largely unchanged, in that I would sooner use Pariah for pvp than pve. That's not to say it isn't viable in pve, but note that in August they are reviving Footman to cp160 as well. Then again, will it still be worthwhile? They are bumping it's mitigation value from 12% to 8%, which makes it roughly a 2% overall increase to mitigation.

    My current plans are to continue using Footman. There are only a couple of sets for which I would trade Footman in a trial setting, being Alkosh, Ebon, or perhaps even Sunderflame.
    Edited by Autolycus on June 29, 2016 3:32PM
  • Autolycus
    Autolycus
    ✭✭✭✭✭
    My opinions of BiS gear in the Shadows of the Hist update have changed in recent weeks. It is my belief now that the best gear setup for this particular build is now going to be:

    2 Blood Spawn
    5 Tava's Favor
    5 Akaviri Dragonguard (Link to Set)

    I debated this for some time since Nightblades generate such a high amount of ultimate to begin with, which is inherently a great thing, but affords me the luxury to question alternatives. After some consideration, I don't think there is another set that takes the cake on this as of now. The best alternatives to Dragon would be Alkosh or Ebon, but in many cases you'll see one of the DDs running Alkosh. If Powerful Assault came in jewelry, it would be a very strong contender. But alas, it does not.

    I've been sold on Footman for a very long time, unlike many of my other tank friends in the community, who believe that +12% block mitigation on the 5set (which, once run through the formula, is effectively +3% overall) is not substantial enough to warrant running it over something that provides more benefit to the group (i.e. Ebon, or maybe Alkosh). I don't disagree with this concept at all. I find that this +3% overall mitigation is something we can live without as tanks with little or no consequence, and if it benefits the group more, it is likely the best option, depending on what benefit we gain instead.

    In Shadows of the Hist, the Footman 5set is lowered to +8% block mitigation. At first glance we see that this is a decrease in overall effective mitigation is about -1%, for a net value of +2% overall mitigation for wearing it. While this does seem like a direct nerf, we must take into consideration that the physical/spell resistance values are going to increase to cp160 values too, which offsets some of the decrease to block mitigation. We simply traded some block mit. for resistance mit. That being said, we're tanky enough for content without it. It makes the most sense to allocate these resources into something that boosts our group, and Dragon does that the best, as far as I can tell.
    Edited by Autolycus on July 29, 2016 3:28PM
  • CHIMCHIMCheree
    CHIMCHIMCheree
    ✭✭✭
    Thanks for this! I've found this guide really useful, having recently started experimenting with tanking after running a stamblade. Are you able to provide a quick summary of the changes you make to switch to DPS which best synergise with this build? At the moment, I'm basically switching my gear/bar to Mashinate's magblade.
  • Autolycus
    Autolycus
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    Thanks for this! I've found this guide really useful, having recently started experimenting with tanking after running a stamblade. Are you able to provide a quick summary of the changes you make to switch to DPS which best synergise with this build? At the moment, I'm basically switching my gear/bar to Mashinate's magblade.

    Somehow I missed the notification that you posted this on my guide. I'm very sorry for taking so long to respond.

    I switch into the following dps setup, noting that I will be changing some things as they drop for me, and will go into more detail about them following:
    5pc Scathing Mage - all divines. You can get away with 4/5 divines on this, provided that your other 2 pieces are divines as well, resulting in 6/7 or 7/7 divines.
    2pc Nerien'eth
    3pc Willpower
    vMA Destro
    2x Torug's Pact Swords

    Bar 1 - Crippingling Grasp, Elemental Blockade, Force Pulse, Merciless Resolve, Inner Light, Shooting Star
    Bar 2 - Twisting Path, Sap Essence (flex), Impale, Siphoning Attacks, Rearming Trap, Soul Harvest
    I usually don't trade out Sap Essence except for in vSO, vMoL, and harder versions of other trials where single-targeting is more viable than aoe. When I do trade it out, my choice is often Annulment.

    I will be replacing all three Willpower and both Torug's Swords to run Infallible Aether. I won't be using IA for the proc, because our group already has someone to maintain it. This choice is based largely on the extra crit for the 5set, which is active just on the off-bar. Another very strong alternative is Moondancer in the same slots, which can proc while you're on the off-bar, but the extra recovery or SD persists to the front bar for its intended duration.

    Gold weapons, gold gear (at least main pieces), SD enchants on jewelry, magicka enchants on everything else. I prefer sharpened weapons, and unless your group is running most or all of the various buff/debuff sets (i.e. alkosh, sunderflame, SPC, constant war horns, IA, etc.) then sharpened is higher damage output anyway.

    If you don't have Scathing, switch it out for Julianos, all divines, all gold (at least main pieces), and you can trade Force Pulse (if you wish, not necessary) for Swallow Soul. In this setup, there is a slight but negligible difference in dps relative to Force Pulse, at least according my parses, but affords all the added survivability of NB self-healing.

    On a separate, but semi-related note:
    The tanking setup detailed in this guide has changed since the release of Shadows of the Hist. I intend to update the guide itself tonight when I get home from work.
    Edit: Updated for Shadows of the Hist DLC.
    Edited by Autolycus on August 12, 2016 11:22PM
  • Nardak
    Nardak
    Soul Shriven
    Hey man, I know this would probably chnage your build ottally but i'll ask anyway. Is there any NB tank viable build, that doesn't use monster helms? I really care about the way my character looks but i hate the look of these (I dream of Minotaur helmets).
  • Autolycus
    Autolycus
    ✭✭✭✭✭
    Nardak wrote: »
    Hey man, I know this would probably chnage your build ottally but i'll ask anyway. Is there any NB tank viable build, that doesn't use monster helms? I really care about the way my character looks but i hate the look of these (I dream of Minotaur helmets).

    I don't see why not. I use Blood Spawn for the utility (I really hate how it looks). The resistances are pretty nice at times, but the ultimate gain is the main seller for me. I normally try to complete full sets if and when I can, for example 5/5 of multiple sets vs. 5/5 on one, 3/5 on another, and 2/5 on a third. That doesn't mean you can't do a 2-set on anything you find to be useful for your build. It's probably worth noting here, though, that most 2pc bonuses give recovery or a max stat (there are a few for WD/SD, but most require jewelry and wouldn't afford you a crafted helm). There's not anything wrong with this, but monster helms do provide a larger benefit for only 2 pieces than any other crafted or dropped set.

    I guess it depends on what you're looking for, really. There's no reason you can't use crafted pieces instead of Blood Spawn, unless it makes you less competitive (assuming that is a factor). There is some content that places more or less of a strain on this build. For example, the Warrior's 4-hit combo necessitates 10k more health than what I have in my build (hardmode vet), so at times I have to change things up too.
    Edited by Autolycus on August 15, 2016 1:35PM
  • Nardak
    Nardak
    Soul Shriven
    I see, thanks for the prompt answer ^^, I guess i'll get it anyway for trials and such.
  • Brrrofski
    Brrrofski
    ✭✭✭✭✭
    ✭✭✭✭
    Nardak wrote: »
    Hey man, I know this would probably chnage your build ottally but i'll ask anyway. Is there any NB tank viable build, that doesn't use monster helms? I really care about the way my character looks but i hate the look of these (I dream of Minotaur helmets).

    Definitely. In fact, I found I didn't need engine guardian for sustain and bloodspawn didn't accelerate my ultimate by a huge amount, so went with nerien'eth for additional damage.
  • Nardak
    Nardak
    Soul Shriven
    Cool ^^ i'll check those out.
  • actosh
    actosh
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    Have Tanked Trials after SotH-Update as Maintank?

    Are u able to do it? Looking at Hardmodes.
  • Autolycus
    Autolycus
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    actosh wrote: »
    Have Tanked Trials after SotH-Update as Maintank?

    Are u able to do it? Looking at Hardmodes.

    Not all of them. Hardmode Serpent is done since SotH update with the Bahraha's setup (don't have all the dragon pieces yet). The warrior merits a substantially larger health pool, but for mitigation values it is fine (keep in mind that those values above are unbuffed. Actual buffed armor/spell resist is 31k/29k and overall mitigation is somewhere between 75-85%, varying with damage type). I would Trade Bahraha's for something that affords higher block mit, Minor Aegis, or both, and supplement the health pool to reach 30k+ (I'm thinking around 32k or so, which would get us up to about 34-35k with War Horns active). I haven't had the opportunity to do AA yet since SotH, and we are still working on vMoL. We have plans to do Hardmode AA this week since it's the weekly. My guild is semi-casual; we have a lot of really, really talented players (Flawless Conquerors, solo vet dungeons, 40k+ dps for many of them, fully decked in BiS gear, etc.) but we don't go ham on Hardmodes several nights a week. We have two nights a week where we really give it our best shot, and we make pretty good progress on those nights, else we are pretty casual and prefer to drink beers and poke fun while we play.
    Edited by Autolycus on August 17, 2016 4:00PM
  • ninjaguyman
    ninjaguyman
    ✭✭✭
    @Autolycus

    Nice build, but I was wondering why you chose to have concealed weapon on your front bar. I'm assuming this is to proc major ward and resolve, but why not some of the other shadow skills, like shades or path?

    Characters:
    AD breton nb: Shadowshinobi
    DC Altmer magicka nb: merc shot
  • Autolycus
    Autolycus
    ✭✭✭✭✭
    @Autolycus

    Nice build, but I was wondering why you chose to have concealed weapon on your front bar. I'm assuming this is to proc major ward and resolve, but why not some of the other shadow skills, like shades or path?

    I don't use Shades and Path mostly because they don't proc Bahraha's Curse. Any of those options are fine, but Deep Slash provides the Minor Maim that Shades does (also with the chance to proc BC and Siphoning Attacks), and Path doesn't give me anything I really need beyond Major Ward/Resolve. Not to say it's an invalid selection, that's just my preference perhaps. Without BC in the build, it doesn't really matter, at least until you throw in another variable (like wanting to deal more damage).

    Edit: After I posted I thought of more that might be informative, at least. I use Twisting Path for my dps setup (Scathing, Nerien'eth, and IA) so the Refreshing Path heals, which would normally be pretty awesome for this build, aren't doable simply because of my dual setup. That, and I don't really care that much about damage that isn't contributing self-healing. I don't worry about dealing damage in dungeons with most of them being guild runs, and tanks shouldn't be geared for damage for competitive trials.
    Edited by Autolycus on August 17, 2016 7:24PM
  • ninjaguyman
    ninjaguyman
    ✭✭✭
    @Autolycus
    Ah ok, thanks for the clarification, I didn't really think about the fact that you wouldn't even have refreshing path as your morph. Too bad we can't have both morphs.
    Characters:
    AD breton nb: Shadowshinobi
    DC Altmer magicka nb: merc shot
  • pcar944
    pcar944
    ✭✭✭✭
    I would like to see a tank build using the new Dragon and Necropotence sets, have a pet out for max magicka (shade)

    or a Dragon/Willpower/Bloodspawn combo

    theres so many variations, I never tanked before though, but in PVP, in Medium Divines, I can stay alive in a group of enemies with just Sap for some time
    One Tamriel killed PVP

    DC Magicka Orc Necromancer climbing those ranks ...
  • Autolycus
    Autolycus
    ✭✭✭✭✭
    pcar944 wrote: »
    I would like to see a tank build using the new Dragon and Necropotence sets, have a pet out for max magicka (shade)

    or a Dragon/Willpower/Bloodspawn combo

    theres so many variations, I never tanked before though, but in PVP, in Medium Divines, I can stay alive in a group of enemies with just Sap for some time

    It sounds like a very interesting concept. Without experience or testing of the combination, I won't be able to reflect on it in a practical manner. My first inclinations are that it would be better suited for a dps-oriented NB tank, perhaps one that primarily does dungeons and non-vet trials. It is tough to imagine Necropotence being a stronger option than others for veteran trials, but especially for hardmodes. I hypothesize that having such a huge magicka pool would make for strong Annulment shields, which, if done properly, might be strong enough to offset the massive chunks of damage that the Warrior deals out, or the axes/atronachs in AA. This assumes, however, that these shields can be cast every second or so throughout almost the entire fight. Once the shield drops, mitigation comes into play, and you aren't getting a great deal of mitigation out of Dragon alone.

    In addition, it would be tough to forego the utility of Tava's Favor. This concept is two-fold. First, Tava's isn't absolutely necessary for hardmodes if one of our sets needs to be swapped for mitigation, but the key opportunity cost here is the reduction in group damage. Second, the added War Horns from Tava's Favor afford a larger health pool. Health is still a dump stat, but the threshold for avoiding "one shot" mechanics on hardmode trials is much higher (5-8k more) than in any other content I have tanked.

    That being said, it could be a very fun and beneficial combination to run for non-veteran trials and all dungeons, perhaps even pvp. The one bit about it that hangs me up is the necessity to constantly monitor uptime on Shades, because the second they despawn and are not summoned right away, there is potential for losing a significant amount of magicka. Sure, it can be re-cast and the bonus to magicka regained, but it will not "refill" that lost magick; rather, it will simply boost the maximum. From a dps perspective it is rather inconsequential, although could be punishing in certain circumstances, but from a tank perspective, having that magicka effectively "disappear" is a potential liability.

    As long as Shades are consistently re-cast to maintain 100% uptime, it seems to me like it could be a very strong dps/tank hybrid setup. If you do pursue it, please let me know of your results!
    Edited by Autolycus on August 22, 2016 9:19PM
  • Drevick
    Drevick
    ✭✭
    Love this guide! Thank you. I'm working on gathering enough skill points to be able to tank, heal, dps, or PvP with just a gear swap and this is my tank setup. I need to get better at the weave though.
    Drevick Val'Varren
    Dark Elf Magicka Nightblade
    CP 300ish
  • Autolycus
    Autolycus
    ✭✭✭✭✭
    Drevick wrote: »
    Love this guide! Thank you. I'm working on gathering enough skill points to be able to tank, heal, dps, or PvP with just a gear swap and this is my tank setup. I need to get better at the weave though.

    Thanks! I'm glad you found it useful.

    I run this build on my main, who also pvps and is capable of healing, and I find skill points to be a real scarcity! I have something like 326 total skill points and I believe all but about 4 are in use... Of course, this accounts for professions and non-essential guild passives too (like legerdemain, DB, TG). But if that says anything, it's that it's possible to do all roles ;)
  • pcar944
    pcar944
    ✭✭✭✭
    I'm actually more interested in Dragon set, like Jewls and weapons implemented into a tank build, with something like Bloodspawn and Tava's

    Necropotence is strictly light armor, at least at the moment

    but the Ulti generation from Dragon shouldn't be ignored :)
    One Tamriel killed PVP

    DC Magicka Orc Necromancer climbing those ranks ...
  • Autolycus
    Autolycus
    ✭✭✭✭✭
    pcar944 wrote: »
    I'm actually more interested in Dragon set, like Jewls and weapons implemented into a tank build, with something like Bloodspawn and Tava's

    Necropotence is strictly light armor, at least at the moment

    but the Ulti generation from Dragon shouldn't be ignored :)

    I totally agree! I'm still working on getting my Dragon pieces. Though I am a main tank for my guild, we face a problem that most guilds don't: we have too many tanks. As a compromise I typically let others tank in my place, and I bring endgame dps or heals to the equation to accommodate my members.

    I do believe that Dragon / Tava / Blood Spawn is capable of tanking hardmode. Unfortunately I can't confirm that until I finish the sets personally, but I am willing to share my findings once I complete the set. As much as I hate to say it, no ETA on this until my other tanks finish out their sets first.
  • Drevick
    Drevick
    ✭✭
    Autolycus wrote: »
    Drevick wrote: »
    Love this guide! Thank you. I'm working on gathering enough skill points to be able to tank, heal, dps, or PvP with just a gear swap and this is my tank setup. I need to get better at the weave though.

    Thanks! I'm glad you found it useful.

    I run this build on my main, who also pvps and is capable of healing, and I find skill points to be a real scarcity! I have something like 326 total skill points and I believe all but about 4 are in use... Of course, this accounts for professions and non-essential guild passives too (like legerdemain, DB, TG). But if that says anything, it's that it's possible to do all roles ;)

    I hear ya. I'm at 267 skill points and actively working on gathering more. I only use one character, so he is my crafter as well. It's crazy how many you can burn up on just crafting. I planned a 330 something skill point build that is my goal, but that's a long way off as I am still learning PvP. Anyway, thanks again for this guide. If you have any healing builds or gear advice, I'd like to hear it.
    Drevick Val'Varren
    Dark Elf Magicka Nightblade
    CP 300ish
  • Drevick
    Drevick
    ✭✭
    Why concealed weapon? Wouldn't refreshing path be better for the proc?
    Edited by Drevick on August 29, 2016 9:44PM
    Drevick Val'Varren
    Dark Elf Magicka Nightblade
    CP 300ish
  • Autolycus
    Autolycus
    ✭✭✭✭✭
    Drevick wrote: »
    Why concealed weapon? Wouldn't refreshing path be better for the proc?

    Someone asked this a bit further up. Refreshing Path would likely be the preferred option given a different setup. There are two key factors at play here:
    1. Twisting Path is used in the DPS setup that compliments this build. A magblade DPS setup that uses Scathing Mage must use Twisting Path. I'm not concerned about the minuscule damage that Twisting does in a full-tank setup. Refreshing would be great, but I can't use both.
    2. Neither morph of Path of Shadows can broc Bahraha's Curse. If you take that set out of the build, then it doesn't really matter.

    I would also note that Concealed Weapon is cheaper than Path, thus making it the noticeably more efficient means to proc both Major Ward/Resolve and Bahraha's Curse.
    Edited by Autolycus on August 30, 2016 7:08PM
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