Hello and welcome to my Tank gear guide for new / medium / experienced players that want to start tanking or are thinking of tanking, and want to know what sets are good options. I would like to be clear in the fact that I made this guide based in my own tanking experience which means it could be possible that you find something that you disagree with. I'm open to debate and questions!
The meta for tanks is not to be super-immortals; the goal is to buff your group and debuff the enemies, while also being able to survive large amounts of damage.
We will divide the gear into 3 groups: The monster set, the body parts, and jewelry and weapons. Usually, you use a trial set in body, monster set in head and shoulders, and non trial in jewelry and weapons (that can change if the trial set is not a heavy weight set) that's the common combo, but it will depend on the content you are going into.
Weights will usually be
HEAVY: Chest - Legs - Hands - Boots - Belt LIGHT: Head or Shoulder MEDIUM: Head or Shoulder
(you will need 1 of each weight slotted, so if you pick light head you will have to pick medium shoulder, and vice versa. The choice will depend on two factors: what class you are using, and whether you can afford prismatic enchants. Some classes are more stamina based, some other are magicka based. The head piece will be the one that gives you more of the selected resource, so use it for a bit more gain of what you need. We need to use all 3 weights to activate the undaunted passive)
When we talk about body parts we have what we call big parts and small parts
There are 4 big ( Chest, head , legs and shield) and 4 small ( boots, hand, shoulders and girdle)
The big ones give way more of everything than the smaller ones, and that's why they have different enchants and traits. Usually the big ones have the trait "infused" with Prismatic Tri-Stat enchantment and the small ones 2 "reinforced" and 2 "sturdy" with max health enchantment. The optimal traits for the jewelry will be "triune" but if you don't have access yet, you can use healthy , arcane or robust depending on which resource you feel you need more of. The same with the enchants ( personally I recommend using resource recovery if it's a selfish set, and health recovery if it's a buff /debuff set). In the ideal gear, you will have everything “sturdy” with Tri-Stat enchantment.
(If you can't or just don't want to use prismatic enchantments ( I really, really recommend to do it though) you can put 2 pieces with "reinforced" trait and Max health enchantments, and the other 2 with "sturdy" and Max of your main resource.)
Weapons will be debuffing enemies so, charged trait with Crusher enchantment for staff, (which will be always an ice staff because of the shield you gain when you heavy attack and to block with mag instead of stam) and 1h weapon with charged trait and weakening enchantment (this could be different if you are a DK tank for the passive “combustion”, where you receive stam every time you poison your enemy) The 1h can be any type of weapon, they have no passive differences, besides cosmetics. ( dagger is my personal favorite)
This is an example picture of gear, consider that is not necessary to have it all in gold. I would say with all purple gear you will be able to tank most of the content. Just know that if you're having resources problems, they can be fixed by golden gear and changing some enchants. There are some combos that work good together, some other are like standard combos, and there are situational combos. Feel free to put your combo whatever you want, depending on your play-style. If you are going to do more vet content , raid leaders will request specific sets, and sometimes you will have to carry more than 2 sets in your inventory. As well as coordinate with the other tank/healer(s) to avoid applying the same buffs and debuffs. My advice is with "Yolna+Cyro Crest" and any Monster set you will be able to do almost any content. Ideally a good thing to do is to not get used to have selfish set on all the time, since if you are gonna die its gonna be probably because of mechs. There are no selfish sets that can save you from a one shot. If you are off tanking, "Sax + PA or Crimson Oath" will be perfect for any content too. If you are thinking about tanking vet dungeons, the gear will be different, but you are gonna be more than fine with the same trial sets. Dungeons usually require more situational gear, “Drake’s Rush + Crimson oath + Magma Incarnate” it's one of the best combos, but there are going to be lots of options that will work great.
Lets start with very, very basic sets for those tanks who just reached cp160 and need a place to start. These sets are from open world or crafted sets, which means that they can also be bought in guild vendors. After that for listing sets, i will divide between Monster sets (from vet dungs)- Dungeons set (from dungeons) - PVP set (from Cyrodill or IC ) - Trial sets ( from trials ) - Arena sets ( from arenas). You will see that at the end of some sets there is a "MH" that stands for "MUST HAVE" which means is one of the top options to get.
Order of the Diagna ( Alik'r desert, some stats and minor vitality all the time)
Hide of the Werewolf ( Glenumbra, some stats, and generate ultimate when you receive damage)
Vampire Cloak ( Rivenspire, some stats, and minor protection all time)
Plague Doctor ( Deshaan, more than 5800 max health)
Stendarr's Embrace ( Eastmarch, some stats, when you heal yourself or an ally, it removes all negative effects on the player healed)
Hatchling's Shell ( Shadowfen, some stats, and you gain a decent shield when you receive damage every 6 seconds)
Spectre's Eye ( Crafted, some stats, and when you cast a magicka skill, you gain major evasion for 30 sec)
Daedric Trickery ( Crafted, some stats, when you deal damage, you gain one random major buff between: Expedition ((movement speed)), Protection ((Reduce damage taken)), Mending ((Healing done)), Heroism ((Ult regen)), Vitality ((healing received))
Noble's Conquest ( Crafted, max health , and debuff enemies when you bash, applying minor vulnerability for 10 sec, and healing you at the same time, one of the best crafted gear sets)
Hist Bark ( Crafted, Some stats, and while you block, you gain major evasion)
Wretched Vitality (Crafted, stat regen, increase your recovery when you apply minor buffs or debuffs)
The Kynmarcher's Cruelty ( The Deadlands, is a good set for trash pulls, whenever you deal direct damage , you apply between 1 and 5 major debuffs to enemies around you. The debuffs are Major breach, Major Cowardice, Major Defile , Major Maim and Major Vulnerability. The interesting thing about this is the time of the debuffs. It last for 18 sec, with a cd of 8, which means, 2 major debuffs in an AoE with 1 light attack)
Call of the Undertaker ( Northern Elsweyr, you apply lifesteal to all enemies you deal damage, good for 3 dps 1 tank builds, but only for Trash pulls, this would not be good for bosses, where you can apply the similar debuff with Blood altar)
You will have what we call "selfish monster sets" and "Buffing / debuffing monster sets" Selfish are:
Lord Warden ( from imperial city prison, is good specifically for dungeons where people are more close to each other, giving tons of armor and resistances, but you need to stand inside of a static aoe, which makes this set not as effective for fights that requires a lot of mobility)
Stone Keeper ( from Frostvault, very hard one to get, but is very good for sustain, gives health regen, stam, and mag when you block )
Engine Guardian (From Darkshade Caverns 1, Similar to the Stone Keeper set, but easier to get. In this case, it gives 1 resource at the time, randomly, is one of the best selfish options for the amount of health, stam and mag u restore overall.) MH
Malubeth the scourgerers ( from wayrest sewers 2, good set to recover a lot of health, it's for those situations where your healer need to be focusing their attention on dps and you are on your own)
Mighty Chudan ( From Ruins of Mazzatun, similar to lord warden but more selfish. This time it only affects the tank, giving you health, armor and resistances)
and now the BUFF / DEBUFF MS
Tremorscale ( from Volenfell, very easy to get and decent to start with. Reduce armor of the enemy for a long period when you taunt, which means , easy to proc)
Encantris Behemoth's ( from Black Drake Villa, this set is great. It buffs fire DPS, which includes any class using inferno staves/ flame glyphs and especially DKs. It reduces damage taken from fire for the entire group. The only problem is that you need to do fire damage to proc it, and fire glyphs can't proc anymore – so there are ways (like Fire rune from mages guild), but it's ideally a better set for DK tanks, since they have an easy flame damage proc.)
Lady Thorn's visage ( from Castle Thorn, when you cast a skill that consumes health, you create a blood bubble that explodes in an AOE that decreases the enemies damage done. The bad thing about this set is that the bubble is a Synergy, so you have to manually explode it.)
Nazaray (From Shipwright's Regret, when you use an ultimate skill, you extend major and minor debuffs to enemies ,so is a good one to combine with other debuffs sets.)
Archdruid Devyric ( From Earthen Root Enclave, Amazing aoe debuff set, apply major vulnerability for 7 sec in a cone aoe whenever you do a Heavy atack, exelent set to replace Turning tide)
Magma Incarnate ( From The Dread Cellar, Amazing option to apply Minor courage and minor resolve in dungeons, only in dungeons since this set will only give the buff to you and 3 group members.)
I want to mention to that I occasionally use this to help the healer if dps are having hard times: Earthgore - Sentinel.
Ebon: ( From Crypt of Hearts, gives max health to you and your team,Which isn't that helpful if everyone has the 1400 CP health perk. It's still super easy to get, so its a good starting option)
Imperium: ( From White-Gold tower, gives health to you and grants a shield to your team, same as Ebon, its easy to farm so it could be an option)
Undaunted Bastion ( From Elden Hollow, the easiest set to get, it only gives armor, a bit of health and a shield when your under 75% so, it's something to start with)
Hircine's Veneer: ( From Selene's Web, this set is to buff stamina groups, also gives you stam which is always nice, but still a very situational set ,unless you are in a class that demands a lot of stamina, like templar tank.)
Tormentor: (From The banished Cells, easy to get, it taunts everything that you affect with a charge, teleport, leap or pull skill, which means if you use Stampede from 2h weapon, you have a AOE taunt. Not that good for bosses, but great for add management. If you are in a trial with 2 tanks, using this set requires you to be very careful so as not to over taunt things, and requires you to slot a 2h weapon, so you will use only stam for block and that can be a problem. My personal opinion is that this set is more of just a “fun set” than a well built tank set)
Worm's Raiment ( From Vaults of Madness, it gives a ton of magic resource, and gives a lot of mag regen to you and your team. This set is great, and applies to all situations, you will always have a tank and healer that will appreciate the extra mag. Very helpful for long fights) MH
Drake's Rush ( From Black Drake Villa, very solid set, when you bash you provide major heroism to your group gaining ultimate points) MH
Jorvuld's Guidance ( From Scalecaller peak, good set, increases the duration of the buffs, debuffs and shields, it's usually used by healers, but its still an option for tanks)
Turning Tide ( From Shipwright's Regret, very solid set, increase the damage taken by the enemy by 10%) MH
Elemental Catalyst ( From Stone Garden, solid set, specially for necro tanks, by doing elemental damage, you stack elemental weakness, increasing the enemy critical damage taken by 5%, so you can apply 5% per element, ending with 15% more crit damage, and most of the time you will apply it with aoe, which makes trash pulls very easy to kill.) MH
Crimson Oath's Rive ( From the Dread Cellar, Very solid set, when you apply any buff to yourself or an ally, you reduce the armor of nearby enemies by a lot.) MH
Pangrit Denmother ( From Graven Deep, solid set for replace yolna in dungeons, it gives minor courage for 10 seconds to you and 3 group members when you block damage, is a very good option for dungeons)
Aegis of Galenwae ( From Cloudrest, it's not a Good set , buffs all our group Heavy attack dps for 80%, but heavy attack builds are not a common thing so it's not a very good option )
Pearlescent Ward ( From Dreadsail Reef, very solid set for trials, gives 170 weapon and spell damage for every member of the group alive, and reduce the damage taken based on the members dead, so is great for those epic recoveries)
Eternal Warrior( From Hel Ra Citadel, is decent, it puts you almost back to full health when you're under 25% and gives you some ultimate points, but you can do that with skills so it's not that interesting to use)
Roar of Alkosh ( From Maw of Lorkhaj, very good set, when you use a synergy you reduce resistances of the enemies, the thing with this is that scales with your weapon damage for the duration,)
Saxhleel Champion ( From Rockgrove, one of the best options for Off tanking, when you use an ultimate your group gains major force for 1 second per 15 ult spent, increasing crit damage by 20% which basically turns a barrier into a aggressive horn.) MH
Claw of Yolnahkriin ( From Sunspire, one of the best options, when you taunt, you give minor courage to the team, increasing weapon and spell damage by 215, almost all the tanks will be wearing this set ) MH
Automated Defense ( From Halls of Fabrication, very situational set for those heavy aoe damage situations, which are a few. This reduce the damage taken by 10% when you use an ultimate, but unfortunately it only applies to 5 members of the group. A simple Barrier Works better, and for the entire group.)
Crest of Cyrodiil ( From cyrodiil or Guild Vendors, very solid selfish set, when you block you heal yourself significantly, so is good for those harder dungeons/trials where you have hard times keeping yourself alive, but like any set that comes from PvP, it can be expensive)
Battalion Defender ( From cyrodiil or Guild Vendors, this is like Cyro crest, but way less selfish, it heals less, but heals the entire group, if they are close enough to you. So it's very good for dungeons and 4 players content)
Dark Convergence ( From cyrodiil or Guild Vendors, when you use a skill that leaves an effect on the ground will pull everything to the middle of it, is fun to use in dungeons, but its definitely not a set to use in trials bosses, has dps bonuses, so its more of a "fun set" than an actual tank set)
The Juggernaut ( From cyrodiil or Guild Vendors, it's a super selfish set, so selfish there is not really point to use it. If your under 30% u heal yourself and gain tons of armor for a long period of time, which again, you can do with skills.)
Powerful Assault ( Imperial City and Vendors, Super solid set, buffs dps whenever you use assault skills, this is one of the top off tank sets, but main tanks can use it too) MH
Puncturing Remedy ( From Dragonstar Arena, Good selfish option to combine with all buffing sets, when you use puncturing, you heal yourself, and gain resistances) MH
Void Bash ( From Vateshran Hollows, it's a set for managing trash pulls. when you use Power bash, all the enemies around are pulled into you making a nice stack where your DPS can drop their AOEs. When using the sword and shield you apply major maim to all enemies. This is a must have for off tanks.
Rampaging Slash ( From Maelstrom Arena, could be good for a build with low resource sustain, when you use low slash, the next heavy attack restores 1780 mag and stam, not a good set, but still an option)
For the end of this guide I want to say a few things to keep in mind:
Not having the best gear won't force you to avoid trials. With just with the minimum level required (which is usually CP160) you can start practicing your tanking skills. My recommendation is to start with Craglorn trials.
Having all the best or meta tank gear will not make you a good tank. You can't blame only the gear if you can't successfully do certain content. Gear is important, but not the only thing to work on
What makes the difference between a tank and a good tank besides the gear? 1- First of all survive, if the tank is dead, probably the rest of the team will wipe 2- Never lose the taunt, hold it when is necessary, and don't aggro when you don't have to, this is the first thing to work on as a tank. 3- Keep your group members safe, which means pay attention to the Boss, and the positioning of the group, the extra adds, the aoes in the arena, etc. One wrong roll dodge and a cone attack can wipe a team 4- Manage not only 1, or 2, but 3 resources because yes, your health is a resource for cast skills or restore other resources 5- Deal with mechanics 6- Buff the dps as high as possible and debuff the enemies in the same way.
all those, and some other things that I will explain in a different guide, are happening at the same time in a fight.
If you don't feel comfortable to tank with the gear you have, take the time to farm some better gear, start tanking normal DLC dungeons, try to off tank trials and pay attention to the main tank, ask them for some explanations. I'm sure all the experienced tanks would be down for help you out.
If you have any questions at all , please DM me! Thank you for reading -@Milodragovich