ESO Empire

STAMINA DRAGONKNIGHT TANK PVE BUILD

Writer: xGamx
Designer: xGamx
Role: Tank
Patch: Blackwood – Gates of Oblivion

Build Introduction:
Welcome to the Dragonknight Tank build Phoenix for The Elder Scrolls Online! Dragonknights are easily one of the most popular and beginner-friendly Classes for tanking with good reason. Much of their unique skills and passives are exactly what a Tank needs, allowing them to be effective in all content. This includes great resource management, a bonus to healing received, some of the best Crowd Control (CC) skills, group damage shields, and even an increase to damage mitigation while blocking. Dragonknights are also the only source of group-wide Minor Brutality, making them even more valued in groups with Stamina based Damage Dealers (DPS). The Phoenix build will cover all of this and more, including recommended armor sets, skills, and many alternatives to meet a variety of needs. Be sure to read the guide in its entirety and bookmark the page as the build will be updated with each new patch.

Below, you will find plenty of information to begin tanking as a Dragonknight. Tanking in ESO is different from other MMORPGs for many reasons. You need to be able to react quickly in combat, as blocking everything is not always an option. There is no threat level to maintain and you are more than just a Health sponge. You must be able to reasonably sustain your own resources without complete reliance on a Healer while also maintaining group buffs and enemy debuffs.

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Race

Imperial

Increases your Maximum Health by 2000.

Increases your Maximum Stamina by 2000.

Reduces the cost of all your abilities by 6%.

Nord

Increases your Maximum Health by 1000 and your Frost Resistance by 4620.

Increases your Maximum Stamina by 1500. When you take damage, you gain 5 Ultimate. This effect can occur once every 10 seconds.

Increase your Physical Resistance and Spell Resistance by 2600.

Argonian

Increases your Healing Done by 6%.

Increases your Maximum Health by 1000 and your Disease and Poison Resistance by 2310.

Increases your Maximum Magicka and Maximum Stamina by 1000. Whenever you drink a potion you restore 3125 Health, Magicka, and Stamina.

Imperials are highly recommended for Dragonknight Tanks. They benefit from high stat increases to Maximum Health and Maximum Stamina, two very important resources for all Tanks in ESO. The cost reduction passive covers all costs, including roll dodge, block, bash, break free, and even your Ultimate abilities. This further increases your sustain and allows you to have better uptimes on any Ultimate you choose.

Nords are highly recommended for Dragonknight Tanks. They gain an increase to both Physical Resistance and Spell Resistance, allowing them to reach damage mitigation cap much easier than other Races. Simply taking damage will grant you Ultimate, which is almost all the time while in any form of content. Choosing Nord will also grant boosts to both your Maximum Health and Maximum Stamina.

Argonians are another great option for beginner Tanks that may be having trouble with self-sustain. The method of sustain provided by Argonians is unique as it is tied to the usage of potions. While you may not have a great consistent recovery, the burstiness of this method is very effective. Argonians gain a bonus to Maximum Magicka, so you may need to shift your enchantments or Attribute Points to ensure that your Maximum Stamina exceeds your Maximum Magicka.

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Attributes

Magicka

12

Health

18

Stamina

34

You may need to shift Attribute Points accordingly depending on which Race you chose. It is important to note that you must have around 36,500 Maximum Health and that your Maximum Stamina exceeds the value of your Maximum Magicka at all times. Doing this means you will always receive Stamina upon synergizing with an Energy Orb or Luminous Shards provided by your Healers. Tanks use all resources, so find a balance that best suits your needs.

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Mundus Stone

The Lady

Stonefalls
Glenumbra
Auridon
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Consumables

Bewitched Sugar Skulls

Bewitched Sugar Skulls is crafted food in ESO, and can only be found otherwise in Guild Stores crafted by another player. This food increases your Maximum Health, Maximum Magicka, Maximum Stamina, and Health Recovery. This food is expensive; if Gold is an issue, try Capon Tomato-Beet Casserole instead. Using this food means you must rely on Heavy Attacks to sustain your Stamina.

Clockwork Citrus Filet

Clockwork Citrus Filet is a crafted food in ESO and can only be found otherwise in Guild Stores crafted by another player. This food increases your Maximum Health, Maximum Magicka, and Magicka Recovery. This food is expensive; if Gold is an issue, try Witchmother’s Potent Brew instead. Only use this food if you struggle with Magicka Recovery as it will significantly decrease your Maximum Stamina.

Essence of Health

Essence of Health potions are crafted potions in ESO, and can only be found otherwise in Guild Stores crafted by another player. These potions are highly recommended if you can afford to buy or craft them, as they provide you with a quick boost to your Health, Stamina, and Magicka upon use.

Essence of Magicka

Essence of Magicka potions are generic potions found in ESO and they can drop from a variety of sources. You will often find plenty of these potions during a regular play session. Only use if you have no other options to sustain Magicka.

Essence of Stamina

Essence of Stamina potions are generic potions found in ESO and they can drop from a variety of sources. You will often find plenty of these potions during a regular play session. Only use if you have no other options to sustain Stamina.

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Trial Setup

Trials are endgame content in The Elder Scrolls Online, designed for groups of 12.
Each Trial has a Normal and a Veteran mode, this portion of the guide will focus on Veteran Trials.

Main Tank

Set Name Trait Enchantment Weight/Type Acquired

Head

Infused

Increase Max Health / Stamina / Magicka

Medium

Veteran Black Drake Villa

Shoulders

Sturdy

Increase Max Health / Stamina / Magicka

Light

Undaunted Enclave

Chest

Infused

Increase Max Health / Stamina / Magicka

Heavy

(Veteran) Sunspire

Hands

Sturdy

Increase Max Health / Stamina / Magicka

Heavy

(Veteran) Sunspire

Waist

Well-fitted

Increase Max Health / Stamina / Magicka

Heavy

(Veteran) Sunspire

Legs

Infused

Increase Max Health / Stamina / Magicka

Heavy

(Veteran) Sunspire

Feet

Sturdy

Increase Max Health / Stamina / Magicka

Heavy

(Veteran) Sunspire

Necklace

Infused

Potion Speed

Jewelry

Maw of Lorkhaj

Ring

Infused

Potion Speed

Jewelry

Maw of Lorkhaj

Ring

Infused

Potion Speed

Jewelry

Maw of Lorkhaj

Front Bar
(Main Hand)

Decisive

Weakening

One Handed

Maw of Lorkhaj

Front Bar
(Off-hand)

Sturdy

Increase Max Magicka

Shield

Maw of Lorkhaj

Back Bar

Infused

Crushing

Ice Staff

Maw of Lorkhaj

Off Tank

Set Name Trait Enchantment Weight/Type Acquired

Head

Infused

Increase Max Health / Stamina / Magicka

Medium

Veteran Frostvault

Shoulders

Sturdy

Increase Max Health / Stamina / Magicka

Light

Undaunted Enclave

Chest

Infused

Increase Max Health / Stamina / Magicka

Heavy

Stone Garden

Hands

Sturdy

Increase Max Health / Stamina / Magicka

Heavy

Stone Garden

Waist

Well-fitted

Increase Max Health / Stamina / Magicka

Heavy

Stone Garden

Legs

Infused

Increase Max Health / Stamina / Magicka

Heavy

Stone Garden

Feet

Sturdy

Increase Max Health / Stamina / Magicka

Heavy

Stone Garden

Necklace

Infused

Potion Speed

Jewelry

Imperial Sewers or Guild Stores

Ring

Infused

Potion Speed

Jewelry

Imperial Sewers or Guild Stores

Ring

Infused

Potion Speed

Jewelry

Imperial Sewers or Guild Stores

Front Bar
(Main Hand)

Decisive

Weakening

One Handed

Imperial Sewers or Guild Stores

Front Bar
(Off-hand)

Sturdy

Increase Max Magicka

Shield

Imperial Sewers or Guild Stores

Back Bar

Infused

Crushing

Ice Staff

Imperial Sewers or Guild Stores

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Dungeon Setup

Dungeons feature large groups of enemies that are typically tougher than others found in Overland content.
Each Dungeon has a Normal and Veteran mode and many bosses have unique mechanics that need to be managed by the whole group.

Set Name Trait Enchantment Weight/Type Acquired

Head

Infused

Increase Max Magicka

Medium

Veteran Darkshade Caverns I

Shoulders

Sturdy

Increase Max Health

Light

Undaunted Enclave

Chest

Infused

Increase Max Magicka

Heavy

Crypt of Hearts I and II

Hands

Sturdy

Increase Max Health

Heavy

Crypt of Hearts I and II

Waist

Well-fitted

Increase Max Health

Heavy

Crypt of Hearts I and II

Legs

Infused

Increase Max Magicka

Heavy

Crypt of Hearts I and II

Feet

Sturdy

Increase Max Health

Heavy

Crypt of Hearts I and II

Necklace

Robust

Potion Speed

Jewelry

Imperial Sewers or Guild Stores

Ring

Robust

Potion Speed

Jewelry

Imperial Sewers or Guild Stores

Ring

Robust

Potion Speed

Jewelry

Imperial Sewers or Guild Stores

Front Bar
(Main Hand)

Decisive

Weakening

One Handed

Imperial Sewers or Guild Stores

Front Bar
(Off-hand)

Sturdy

Increase Max Magicka

Shield

Imperial Sewers or Guild Stores

Back Bar

Infused

Crushing

Ice Staff

Imperial Sewers or Guild Stores

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Beginner Setup

Whether you are leveling up a new character or just reached CP160, the setup below will help you get started!
This setup contains only Crafted sets and little to no expensive materials.

Set Name Trait Enchantment Weight/Type Acquired

Head

Infused

Increase Max Stamina

Medium

Crafted

Shoulders

Sturdy

Increase Max Health

Light

Crafted

Chest

Infused

Increase Max Magicka

Heavy

Crafted

Hands

Sturdy

Increase Max Health

Heavy

Crafted

Waist

Well-fitted

Increase Max Health

Heavy

Crafted

Legs

Infused

Increase Max Magicka

Heavy

Crafted

Feet

Sturdy

Increase Max Health

Heavy

Crafted

Necklace

Robust

Potion Speed

Jewelry

Crafted

Ring

Robust

Potion Speed

Jewelry

Crafted

Ring

Robust

Potion Speed

Jewelry

Crafted

Front Bar
(Main Hand)

Defending

Weakening

One Handed

Crafted

Front Bar
(Off-hand)

Sturdy

Increase Max Magicka

Shield

Crafted

Back Bar

Infused

Crushing

Lightning Staff

Crafted

Your options for beginner gear are typically limited to Craftable Sets or something very cheap on Guild Stores. Adept Rider, Torug’s Pact, and Spectre’s Eye all increase the core stats needed by a Tank. Torug’s Pact will also buff the enchantments on your weapons greatly while Spectre’s Eye will decrease damage taken from enemy AoEs. These additional bonuses are significant while learning the Tank role. The configuration laid out above is not required, however, it will provide the most optimal path of progression. Once you have obtained this setup, you should be ready to start hunting for a Monster Set to replace your helmet and shoulder pieces. Sentinel of Rkugamz is a solid option that is rather easy to obtain. It works very well in both add fights and boss encounters.

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Skills

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Front Bar

Pierce Armor is your main taunt. It applies both Minor and Major Breach, reducing the enemy’s Physical Resistance and Spell Resistance significantly.

Green Dragon Blood can save you in a pinch if you need a burst heal, but be sure to keep it active at all times. While active, it also grants you Major Fortitude, Major Endurance, and Minor Vitality. Spending skill points in the Burning Heart passive from the Draconic Power skill line will increase your healing taken by an additional 12% while Green Dragon Blood is active.

Choking Talons is one of the best CC skills in the game. It immobilizes enemies in the area and applies Minor Maim to them. If there are enemies that are caught by the talons, a group member can activate a synergy that deals a lot of damage.

Igneous Shield applies a damage shield to yourself and group members. Spending skill points in the Mountain’s Blessing passive from the Earthen Heart skill line you will grant Minor Brutality to you and your group members for 20 seconds. Dragonknights are the only source of group-wide Minor Brutality, so be sure to keep it active while running with Stamina-based DPS.

Heroic Slash applies Minor Maim to the enemy and grants you Minor Heroism for the duration. Try keeping this skill active on at least one enemy at all times during all encounters. Because Heroic Slash is a weapon ability, it will continue to trigger the front bar weapon enchantment while active.

Ultimate: Temporal Guard grants you Minor Protection while slotted as well as a small damage shield while blocking. Your main Ultimate is Aggressive Horn though Temporal Guard could save you in a pinch. Spending skill points in the Battle Roar passive from the Earthen Heart skill line causes you to regain a large burst of resources after casting an Ultimate ability. Because Temporal Guard takes some time to unlock, you could slot Spell Wall instead.

Back Bar

Unrelenting Grip allows you to pull enemies to your location and grants Major Expedition. If an enemy is immune to CC or is CC locked then you are refunded the Magicka. This can be used to your advantage, as using this intentionally on a CC immune enemy will still grant you Major Expedition for free. Spending skill points in the Warmth passive from the Ardent Flame skill line will cause Unrelenting Grip to also decrease the Movement Speed of enemies by 30%.

Elemental Blockade is used to trigger the enchantment on your Ice or Lightning Staff, even while on the front bar. It will also help apply the corresponding status effect associated with each staff.

Inner Beast does not reduce the resistances of your enemies, so it should be considered your secondary taunt. However, it allows you to taunt enemies at a distance and has a chance to provide a synergy to a ranged group member.

Balance is your primary source of Magicka sustain. It also grants Major Resolve for the duration. Because it costs Health, you can cast Balance multiple times to quickly regain Magicka. However, relying entirely on Balance for Magicka sustain has some drawbacks. Each time you cast it, your healing done and damage shield strength is reduced for 4 seconds.

Razor Caltrops is a staple skill for any Tank. Enemies inside the radius are slowed and have Major Breach applied to them for 4 seconds each time they take damage for a total of 14 seconds.

Ultimate: Aggressive Horn is your main Ultimate. It grants Major Force and a 10% increase to Maximum Stamina and Maximum Magicka to all group members. Both Tanks and Healers primarily use this Ultimate. Be sure to discuss rotation with other support roles before engaging to avoid two or more players using it at once, as it does not stack.

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Alternative Skills

Engulfing Flames
ESO-Hub Skill icon

Engulfing Flames is a cone-shaped Flame DoT. Enemies hit have their Flame Damage taken increased by up to 10%. This effect is based on your offensive stats. If there is a Magicka Dragonknight DPS in your group, do not slot this skill.

Reviving Barrier
ESO-Hub Skill icon

Reviving Barrier grants a massive damage shield to you and all nearby group members that heals for half the duration. The shield persists for 30 seconds provided it is not broken, allowing you to potentially avoid a group wipe. Spending skill points in the Magicka Aid passive from the Support skill line will increase your Magicka Recovery by up to 10% while having this Ultimate slotted.

Noxious Breath
ESO-Hub Skill icon

Noxious Breath can be slotted in place of Razor Caltrops if you have not yet unlocked it. The cone-shaped Poison DoT applies Major Breach to all enemies affected. This skill is a good substitute, but it does not last as long or have as large of a radius.

Crushing Shock
ESO-Hub Skill icon

Crushing Shock is a great skill to have in case you ever need a ranged interrupt.

Defensive Stance
ESO-Hub Skill icon

Defensive Stance would primarily be slotted for the passive benefits to block cost and damage mitigation while blocking. The damage shield can be useful in content with hard-hitting ranged enemies.

Overflowing Altar
ESO-Hub Skill icon

Overflowing Altar applies Minor Lifesteal to enemies in the area and provides a synergy to your group members that instantly gives them a burst of Health.

Hardened Armor
ESO-Hub Skill icon

Hardened Armor can be slotted in place of Balance if you have not yet unlocked it. Activating it provides the same buff as well as a damage shield, however, it does not restore Magicka upon use. Spending skill points in the Burning Heart passive from the Draconic Power skill line will increase your healing taken by an additional 12% while Hardened Armor is active.

Magma Shell
ESO-Hub Skill icon

Magma Shell is perfect for beginners. It has a high cost but makes you virtually unkillable for the duration. It also provides a huge damage shield to your group members. If you want to provide your group members with a damage shield, consider using Reviving Barrier instead.

Efficient Purge
ESO-Hub Skill icon

Efficient Purge removes up to three negative effects from yourself and the group. It is needed most in content with strong DoT effects. Spending skill points in the Magicka Aid passive from the Support skill line will increase your Magicka Recovery by up to 10% while having this Ultimate slotted.

Eruption
ESO-Hub Skill icon

Eruption can be slotted in place of Razor Caltrops if you do not yet have it unlocked. Eruption reduces the Movement Speed of enemies more than Razor Caltrops, however, Eruption does not reduce resistances or trigger the effect provided by Powerful Assault. Spending skill points in the Mountain’s Blessing passive from the Earthen Heart skill line will grant Minor Brutality to your group.

Proximity Detonation
ESO-Hub Skill icon

Proximity Detonation is used to trigger the effect provided by the Powerful Assault set due to the duration of both the skill and the set lining up well. Activate on cooldown for the best uptime. If you are having trouble with Magicka sustain or would like additional healing, try Echoing Vigor instead.

Stone Giant
ESO-Hub Skill icon

Stone Giant can be slotted to increase group DPS. This skill is not easy to sustain due to the short duration of the debuff and the value of Stamina as a Tank. While it certainly can have a noticeable impact on group DPS in Trials, it is definitely not worth using in Dungeons. Spending skill points in the Mountain’s Blessing passive from the Earthen Heart skill line will grant Minor Brutality to your group.

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Champion Points

The Craft Constellation
The Warfare Constellation
Mastered Curation
Staving Death
Extended Might
The Fitness Constellation
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Rotation

Tanks do not typically follow a traditional static rotation. There is no single rotation for Tanks that covers all situations. Instead, you must be able to adapt to meet the needs of whatever situation you find yourself in. Below, you will find a general guide on how to fulfill the Tank role effectively during both add fights and boss encounters. Every Dungeon and Trial has different mechanics and it is important that you understand your build and why you use the armor sets and skills that are recommended. Be sure to read this guide entirely.

Pre-buffing

Get in the habit of pre-buffing yourself before starting combat. This is important for a variety of reasons and will help you get ready for late-game content. One such reason is to save time that could be otherwise used more effectively. Skills such as Balance, Hardened Armor, and Green Dragon Blood should always be used before initiating combat to ensure that your group also has time to apply their own pre-buffs. Applying as many as possible will allow you to primarily focus on taunting and grouping up enemies. The Tank must initiate combat to have as much control as possible.

Positioning

To successfully Tank, positioning is everything. Before initiating combat, choose a location that you can easily group enemies. The best location is often the most populated area. This is because it prevents you from needing to pull in more enemies than necessary. After you have decided on your position, now is the best time to use a skill such as Razor Caltrops or Eruption to slow enemies down in the area. Slowed enemies are much easier to control and debuff. Provided you were the one to start combat, melee enemies will generally target you right away without issue. Although, you may still need to pull in some ranged enemies with Unrelenting Grip. Get in the habit of placing yourself on the opposite side of your group. This prevents them from taking potentially fatal cleave damage.

Control

Knowing how to properly group enemies for your Healers and DPS is very important. This allows them to place AoE skills on you and switch their focus to the more threatening enemies. The more threatening enemies should be taunted as soon as possible. Tanks commonly have two taunts slotted, Pierce Armor and Inner Beast. Pierce Armor should be considered your main taunt as it will also reduce enemy Physical Resistance and Spell Resistance while Inner Beast does not. Inner Beast is great to use in situations where you must keep enemies separated, or if an enemy is at a distance and is immune to your Unrelenting Grip. While it is certainly not required that you taunt every enemy, try to keep them in AoE damage skills with your own CC skills, such as Choking Talons. If it is your first time in a Dungeon or Trial and neither you nor your group knows which enemies to focus on first, it is often safe to assume the biggest enemies or the fewest of a named enemy will be the most threatening.

Buffing and Debuffing

Your main goal as a Tank is to provide your group with as many buffs and your enemies with as many debuffs as possible. If you chose to follow along with the armor sets and skills laid out above, much of your build will revolve around doing both of these things. For example, Tanks can utilize an enchantment on a Destruction Staff by simply activating Elemental Blockade on the back bar. Even while your One Hand and Shield are equipped in your hands, as long as that skill is active, the enchantment will continue to activate. Because of this, you can use a Crushing enchantment to lower enemy Physical Resistance and Spell Resistance while they are standing in the AoE. Heroic Slash should be kept active on a boss at all times to reduce damage dealt to you and increase your Ultimate regeneration. Fulfilling the Tank role in ESO means much more than just having high Health and blocking. Sets such as Fortified Brass, Plague Doctor, and Battalion Defender are great for a beginner, but eventually, you will feel like you no longer require them. You can swap to something that buffs your entire group and not just yourself, such as Ebon Armory, Powerful Assault, Arkasis’s Genius, etc. To see a full list of sets that a Tank would find useful, click the link below.

Ultimates

Tanks have some useful options when it comes to Ultimates, however, the most commonly used is Aggressive Horn upon entering and during boss encounters. Healers will primarily use this Ultimate as well, often at the same time that a Tank would. The buff from Aggressive Horn does not stack, so be sure to coordinate with your group on who should use it first. Try to get in the habit of rotating your Aggressive Horn with the rest of your group. This will benefit you greatly in late-game content. You have other options as well, such as Reviving Barrier, Magma Shell, Spell Wall, and Temporal Guard. These Ultimates will not buff group DPS but they can still be very useful. Spell Wall and Temporal Guard can be used to get back some resources in a pinch or even prevent your death. Magma Shell can be used to bolster your own survivability and provide the rest of your group with a damage shield. Reviving Barrier grants your group a massive damage shield and is best used if your group is having trouble staying alive. Remember, the Healers are not always at fault here! Check your positioning and be sure that you and your DPS are not standing in enemy AoE damage.