All Races are Created Equal

Yet some are better for tanking. If you so choose you can really tank with any of the 10 available races…and there are amazing tanks out there who choose non-optimal races. With that in mind we will explore the advantages and disadvantages of each race below…

Choose wisely…just don’t stress
Nord is the new norm
  • Reveller – 15% increased skill gain with two-handers
  • Stalwart – Add 1500 Max Stamina. Gain 5 ultimate when you take damage, can occur every 10 seconds
  • Resist Frost – Add 1000 Max Health. Add 2310 Cold Resistance. Immune to Chilled status effect
  • Rugged – Add 3960 Physical and Spell Resistance

As of the Wrathstone DLC, welcome to the new default tanking race. Max Stamina and Health are nice bonuses. The Physical and Spell resistances give you options to perhaps drop Spiked Armor in lieu of another skill.

Where the Nord really shines is with Stalwart. No other race provides a way to gain ultimate faster. With this unique ability, you can pop Warhorns faster, or any other ultimate, providing more benefit to your group and more resources to yourself.

Lords of the Covenant
  • Diplomat – 15% increased skill gain with one hand and shield. 1% increased gold gain
  • Tough – Add 2000 Max Health
  • Imperial Mettle – Add 2000 Max Stamina
  • Red Diamond – 3% decreased cost for all abilities. When dealing direct damage, gain 333 health, stamina and magicka…can occur every 5 seconds

Still a very strong tanking race. The bonus to Max Health and Stamina is solid. Where the Imperial now shines is in sustain. Reduced cost for all abilities, coupled with the resource return across the board is simply amazing and great for tanks finding their feet with sustain issues or, conversely, allowing a tank to use more group-focused sets rather than sustain sets.

Naturally resistant lizard-people
  • Amphibian – 15% increased skill gain with Restoration Staff. 50% increased swimming speed
  • Resourceful – Add 1000 Max Magicka. When you drink a potion, restore 4000 Health, Stamina and Magicka
  • Argonian Resistance – Add 1000 Max Health. Add 2310 Disease Resistance. Immune to Diseased status effect
  • Life Mender – Add 6% Healing Done

Once the king of tanking races (before Wrathstone) yet still very strong. The added Health and Magicka are great, and the Healing Done bonus is a boon. This race shines when swigging stuff. The resource return is so strong it is very hard to ignore…if you can get your head around having scales and a tail, that is.

My name is Brett. these are the people of Bret(t).
  • Opportunist – Add 1% alliance points gained
  • Gift of Magnus – Add 2000 Max Magicka
  • Spell Attunement – Add 2310 Spell Resistance. Add 100 Magicka Recovery. Double added Spell Resistance if Burning, Chilled, or Concussed
  • Magicka Mastery – 7% decreased cost of Magicka abilities

Actually a fair tanking choice. Tanks rely on all resources, and Dragonknight tanks like more Magicka and related recovery to hit more Igneous Shields, and therefore return more Stamina. Add to that the reduction in cost for Magicka skills and you’ve got quite the bonus. The Spell Resistance is a nice little touch to help you reach the cap.

If you’re going to be a guard, you might as well be red…
  • Wayfarer – Add 15 minutes duration to eaten food
  • Martial Training – 8% decreased cost of Weapon Abilities. 15% decreased effectiveness of snares applied to you
  • Conditioning – Add 2000 Max Stamina
  • Adrenaline Rush – Add 950 Stamina when dealing direct damage, can occur every 5 seconds

A solid, but not optimal, choice. The decreased Weapon Abilities cost is quite nice as you’ll be using those often. The Max Stamina and reduction in snare effectiveness is beneficial. The standout for tanking here is the Stamina return from dealing direct damage. This will add up sustain-wise, which is always important and can open up other gear options.

You can be a green machine!
  • Craftsman – Add 10% crafting inspiration gained
  • Brawny – Add 2000 Max Stamina
  • Unflinching – Add 1000 Max Health. Add 600 Health when dealing damage with a weapon, can occur every 4 seconds
  • Swift Warrior – Add 258 Weapon Damage. 12% decreased sprint cost. Add 10% movement speed when sprinting

Whilst to the untrained eye this might look appealing for a tank, in reality the Orc race is underwhelming. The Stamina and Health bonuses are nice, and the sprint boons are beneficial. However, the heal when using your weapon is underwhelming. If you need the heal to survive then you’re already in dire straits…and we’re much more interested in resource gains across Stamina and Magicka.

Cat people are people too!
  • Cutpurse – 15% increased experience gain with Medium Armor. 5% increased chance to pickpocket
  • Robustness – Add 100 Health Recovery. Add 85 Stamina and Magicka Recovery
  • Lunar Blessings – Add 825 Max Health, Stamina and Magicka
  • Feline Ambush – 10% increased Critical Damage and Critical Healing. 3m reduction being detected whist stealthed

A few things to like, but really doesn’t stack up. The recovery bonuses across the board are fair, as are the maximum stat gains. The bonus to Critical Healing is mediocre for tanks. Not much more to say…but hey, be a Khajiit if you like the look!

You must be high to be an elf
  • Highborn – 15% increased experience gain with Destruction Staff. 1% increased experience gain generally
  • Spell Recharge – Gain 645 Magicka or Stamina, whichever is lower, when activating a Class Ability. Can occur every 6 seconds. 5% reduced damage taken when channelling an ability
  • Syrabane’s Boon – Add 2000 Max Magicka
  • Elemental Talent – Add 258 Spell Damage

Spell recharge is beneficial and ties in nicely to the 6 second shield time on Igneous Shield. This will contribute marginally to your sustain. Beyond that, the only thing to like for a tank is the additional Max Magicka…avoid unless you absolutely must be the highest of elves.

Not bringing the light to tanking
  • Ashlander – 15% increased experience gain with Dual Wield. 50% reduction in damage taken from environmental lava
  • Dynamic – Add 1875 Max Magicka and Stamina
  • Resist Flame – Add 2310 Flame Resistance. Immune to Burning status effect
  • Ruination – Add 258 Weapon and Spell Damage

There is really not much here beyond the addition of Max Magicka and Stamina. Perhaps the Flame Resistance would be nice to offset many tanks being a Vampire. I would avoid this choice personally.

Of wood, but of flesh…
  • Acrobat – 15% increased experience gain with the Bow skill line. 10% decreased fall damage
  • Y’ffre’s Endurance – Add 258 Stamina Recovery
  • Resist Affliction – Add 2000 Max Stamina. Add 2310 Poison Resistance. Immune to Poisoned status effect
  • Hunter’s Eye – 3m increased Stealth detection radius. Gain 10% Movement Speed and 1500 Physical and Spell Penetration for 6 seconds after Roll Dodging

Besides the additional Max Stamina there really is nothing here for a tank. Even the Stamina Recovery is of little value as it is suspended when we block. Time to move on.

Wrapping it up

Since Wrathstone dropped the playing field has evened out substantially. Choose your race wisely, but also don’t get too hung up on which one is “better”. As many great tanks have proven over the journey, you can complete all content with any race.

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