News & Guides

Best Classes for Tanking in ESO 2023

By Michel Z2023-08-23

A tank in The Elder Scrolls Online is a character that plays a specific role in group content, such as dungeons, trials, or arenas. Their main job is to attract the attention of the enemies (also called aggro) and keep them away from the other members of the group, who are usually more fragile and deal more damage. 


Tanks also provide support to the group by using skills that can buff their allies or debuff their enemies, making the combat easier and faster. They need to have a high amount of health, armor, and resistance to survive the attacks of the enemies, as well as some resources (such as Stamina or Magicka) to use their skills and block incoming damage. 


A tank can use any class in ESO, but some classes are more suited for this role than others. In this article, The Tank Club gives you his recommendations for choosing a tank class, and he will separate the list into three: dungeon tanks, trail main tanks, and trail off-tanks.


You don't need a lot of gold when building a tank character, but it can help you to get better gear, consumables, and other ESO items that can improve your performance and survivability.



Top 3 Dungeon Tanks


1. Arcanist

Arcanist is one of the best classes for dungeon tanking in ESO. As an Arcanist tank, you will have to play in the same way as every other class by using the Vateshran Void Bash set for fast pulling on add pulls. But the Arcanist has all of the Crowd Controls that you need with an immobilization (Runeguard of Still Waters) and a charm skill (Rune of Uncanny Adoration).


The Arcanist has two helpful burst heal skills: Runeguard of Still Waters and Impervious Runeward. The Impervious Runeward requires Crux management, and you can combine that with the huge damage shield of the skill. 


The Arcanist class also has great sustain, long-duration skills, and high recovery, and they offer group survivability via Minor Resolve and Minor Evasion.


At the same time, the Runic Sunder skill provides group damage buffs by stealing 2.2K armor from enemies. Also, Arcanist Domain provides Minor Courage, Minor Intellect, Minor Endurance, and Minor Fortitude, meaning you're getting a lot more use from the Arcanist than every other class.


2. Dragonknight

Dragonknight is the second ideal class for dungeon tanking. Dragonknights excel at sustain, crowd control, and group damage buffs. It is ranked as the second best because you would not fully utilize the benefits of the Dragonknight: You would not need Engulfing Flames, Igneous Weapons, Stone Giant, and Minor Brutality buff.


However, Dragonknight is still a great choice because they possess many unique niche skills that are useful in various situations. They're very good at sustaining and surviving, but they don't have the same value on offer that the Arcanist does when buffing the group.


3. Necromancer

Necromancers are ranked as the top three as they have a superior ability of mitigating the damage from DoTs and transferring damage to their ghost, which makes them really helpful in newer dungeon content. Necromancers are also the best class in ESO when it comes to Ultimate regeneration. 


Problems of the past are now less prominent, thanks to recent updates, so Necromaners' sustain is easier. What is more, Beckoning Armor can pull enemies towards you, making them easier to control. 


In dungeons, Necromancer tanks have the unique ability to salvage things from the worst possible situation: When the rest of your group is dead, the Necromancer can resurrect every person in a dungeon group with one button press, making them extremely useful for progressive situations.


Top 3 Trail Main Tanks

In trials, when you are the main tank, there are a lot more factors to think about, as it's not quite as simple as it is for dungeons. Which class is the best one to use depends on your group setup.


1. Dragonknight

If you have other Dragonknights in your group, the Dragonknight main tank will still be useful. The Dragonknights are superior in Stamina management for blocking and dodging, which is especially valuable for newer tanks within trial content. The Dragonknights provide group benefits, such as Stagger, Minor Brutality, Engulfing Flames, and Igneous Weapons, so they are incredibly strong.


Note that Stagger is easier to maintain the uptime but potentially tricky to sustain.


Overall, the Dragonknight could easily be the first or second option, depending on how your group is set up.


2. Arcanist

The Arcanists offer the group buff of 2.2K armor penetration, and it's applied with a taunt, meaning if you want this group buff, you need to be an Arcanist main tank. It's quite clever from the devs because it's made the Arcanist main tank a potentially vital cog in the composition of a trial group by forcing this debuff onto a taunt skill. 


Arcanists can also replace the Claw of Yolnahkriin set by using the Arcanist's Domain skill, meaning an additional gear set buff can be offered when you have this class in the group.


The Arcanist could easily be the first in the main tank category, but you might choose to equip your group with Tremorscale and Crimson Oath's Rive, or have an Alkosh user, meaning there's no need for Runic Sunder for the extra 2.2K penetration.


A lot of the Arcanist buffs and benefits overlap other sources, which would be more likely to happen in a group of 12. So for trial content, you are relying heavily on armor penetration and Minor Evasion to make the Arcanist useful. If they are not needed, then you could easily switch to something else.


3. Sorcerer/Waren/Nightblade

The third choice is Sorcerer, but you can also choose a Warden if your group doesn't have one or a Nightblade if you need huge damage mitigation. 


Each group will now need more than one Sorcerer, thanks to the Greater Storm Atronach Ultimate, which provides full group Synergy, granting a nice damage buff – Major Berserk. You will need to maintain the uptime, so two Sorcerers will be needed for the Ultimate skill buffs.


You have the option of Crystal Weapon for a group penetration buff, although it's difficult to maintain and not as good as the Arcanists. You also have group buffs of Minor Prophecy, Minor Intellects, and Minor Endurance. 


Sorcerer tanks have strong survival with their huge heal, and they've got a huge damage shield, high resistances, and damage reduction skills like Bound Aegis.


Sustain on a Sorcerer is also good because you don't have that many skills to cast, meaning you're not overusing your resources. You have cost reduction passives and can regain Stamina and Stamina over time with Dark Deal.


Top 3 Trail Off-Tanks

Off-tank is very different from the main tank. As an off-tank, you'll often focus on support, buffing, debuffing, and sometimes less actual enemy tanking, although there are situations where you'll need to take bosses and hard-hitting adds.


1. Necromancer

Necromancer is your first choice for off-tank. They are super useful, especially in newer trials. Sometimes, you might come up against the boss or an enemy that has huge DoT or bleed mechanics and damage that is applied to the tank. This means you can rotate and get your Necromancer tank to deal with these damage sources. Alongside that, you have the superior Ultimate generation, which means your group gets a higher uptime on Major Force and Major Vulnerability, which is a big help in trial content. 


2. Dragonknight

If you are using an Arcanist as the main tank, you still need a Dragonknight for Stagger. It's not easy to maintain Stagger from an off-tank perspective, but it's not impossible. In some cases, it will even be easier when you don't have to tank a boss. You can focus on maintaining your uptime, but you'll lose some uptime when you have to run off and focus on off-tank things. But you'll still want a Dragonknight tank somewhere in a group, even if you have an Arcanist as the main tank.


3. Sorcerer/Warden/Nightblade/Templar

It's tricky to pick the third class. Typically, you are a gap filler at this point. If your group has no Warden, you will go with that for the group Major Toughness and Major Resolve. As a Warden, you've got Corrupting Pollen, which also gives a Minor Cowardice debuff to the enemy.


If your group has no Sorcerer or only has one Sorcerer, then you'd go with that for the buffs we mentioned previously. To a lesser extent, you might need to be a Nightblade for Minor Savagery and Major Cowardice or even a Templar for Minor Sorcery. But those are much less likely than being a Sorcerer or a Warden.


Those are the class options for tanking in The Elder Scrolls Online. Which is your favorite class for tanking in ESO? Please leave your comments below the video. Don't forget to subscribe to The Tank Club's channel for more future content.


Best Place to Farm Nirncrux in ESO

Best Builds for the Arcanist Class in ESO

ESO Events 2023: Secrets of the Telvanni Event Guide


Was this helpful?