As a trials tank, you will need to cultivate many sets of gear to cover the fights that will be thrown at you…more so than any other role. Below we some basic sets you will need to get you started. We will start with the general rules for enchanting your gear, then move on to some specific sets you’ll need as a baseline, with some commentary on what works well together. Let’s get to it!
Have an Enchanting Personality
Whilst there are plenty of valid combination of enchants and glyphs, we’ll cover a baseline here that you can start from.
Armor Glyphs: The Sturdy trait reduces your block cost. You should apply this to all your gear. When you reach a level of comfort you may consider swapping this out for the Infused trait for more stats on larger pieces…but only once you’re comfortable with managing your resources.
Armor Enchants: The Prismatic Defense glyph will give you increased Max Health, Stamina and Magicka. As all of these resources are relevant to a tank, this glyph was made for us. As these are relatively expensive, start with Health Glyphs and replace these as your funds allow.
Jewelry Glyphs: The Glyph of Shielding reduces your block and bash costs. As a starting point you should apply this to all your jewelry to improve your sustain. You may then want to swap one or two out for Glyph of Magicka Recovery. More Magicka Recovery means more Igneous Shields, which means more stamina return…also fantastic for better sustain.
Jewelry Enchants: The Triune trait is great for the same reason as Prismatic Defense above. More resources across the board is just what the doctor ordered. This should be your baseline. If and when you swap out jewelry glyphs for Magicka Recovery, then you should consider swapping the enchants on those to Infused, for more recovery.
Weapon Glyphs: The Wrathstone DLC has changed things up a bit. Your most important glyph is Crushing on your back-bar Staff. This is applied to your priority target for better group damage. On your front bar, you have a couple of options, bearing in mind that your enchant effectiveness is halved on your 1-hander. I use Glyph of Weakening to reduce the damage output of my target, increasing the survivability of myself and my group. You could also consider Absorb Magicka or Absorb Stamina for increased sustain.
Weapon Enchants: I used Infused for increased enchant effectiveness. This is mandatory on your back-bar Staff. On your front bar you could also consider Decisive for increased ultimate gain and therefore more Warhorns.
Organising Your Gear
Before we dive into the various sets that you will collect, there are some basic rules to follow to ensure you can effectively combine different sets for maximum effectiveness…
Monster Sets: Obtained via Undaunted Keys (Shoulders) and the last boss in Veteran Dungeons (Helm). You should always reserve your Helm and Shoulders slots for monster sets.
Armor: You should seek to obtain the 5-piece bonus from your armor sets via Chest, Legs, Boots, Gloves and Belt.
Jewelry, Weapons, Shield: You should obtain your 5-piece bonus from the combination of jewelry and weapon/shield…remembering that your Staff counts as 2 pieces to get you to the 5 piece bonus. This is particularly important when you’re rocking non-heavy sets such as Alkosh.
Popular Monster Sets
The Bloodspawn monster set is a long-time staple of tanking. The helm is easy to obtain in the Veteran Spindleclutch 2 dungeon. In addition to boosting your Physical and Spell Resistance, you gain a significant amount of ultimate when taking damage, even more if you are a Nord. However, the low proc chance (6%) means that this is an inconsistent set, particularly on boss fights where you’re not getting hit often.
The Lord Warden set is a must-have for trails tanking. The helm is obtained in the Veteran Imperial City Prison dungeon. The difficulty of completing this dungeon has been reduced in early 2019 so this should be much less challenging to get than previously. In addition to a flat bonus to your Physical and Spell Resistance, you provide your whole group with increased resistances also. The proc conditions are very generous so you can expect this to be up almost permanently.
The Scourge Harvester set is a favorite of mine. The helm is obtained in the Veteran Wayrest Sewers 2 dungeon. Use this when you need increased survivability. The health return is great for keeping you topped up and the Major Vitality buff, increasing your healing received by 30% is great for your healers, and also when popping Green Dragon Blood.
The Earthgore set is amazing both for yourself and your group. The helm is obtained in the Veteran Bloodroot Forge dungeon. Whilst traditionally a healer set, you can wear this to help recover from heavy blows. It is a nice set of training wheels if you miss a punishing mechanic…and your group mates will benefit from it too if they are close by.
The Ebon Armory set is a long time staple of trials tanking. The helm is obtained in the very easy Veteran Crypt of Hearts dungeon. You or your partner tank will be wearing this for virtually every trial. The Maximum Health bonuses are nice, as is the 4% healing taken. Where this set really shines is in boosting your whole trial’s health by 1118. This can mean the difference between a 1-shot and surviving for your healers and damage dealers. You’ll need to get this in armor, rather than jewelry/weapons as the group health bonus is lost and re-applied when swapping weapons if that is where the bonus lies.
The Roar of Alkosh set is another staple of trial tanks. It is obtained in the Maw of Lorkhaj trial. This one is a little more difficult to get, given that MoL is not a simple trial. You’ll need this in weapons/jewelry as the armor only comes in Medium…not ideal for tanking. The 2-4 piece bonuses are useless for tanking. However, the 5 piece bonus provides a unique Physical and Spell Resistance debuff to your target for 10 seconds when you activate a synergy…allowing your group to dish out more damage. In order for this to be used effectively you’ll need your group to be providing you with synergies to activate…and you will need to time your activation for maximum up-time. With the introduction of jewelry crafting, running normal MoL and upgrading your jewelry makes obtaining this set a little easier.
The Akaviri Dragonguard set is easily obtainable overland in Eastmarch (or on the guild traders). When you are starting out you should grab this one quickly given how easy it is to get. The 2-4 piece bonuses are great for tanking. However, where this set really shines is in reducing the cost of your Ultimate abilities by 15%. This means more Warhorns and more sustain via Battle Roar…you’ll love it.
The Plague Doctor set is fantastic for selfish survivability, but not for group support or self-sustain. It is easily obtained overland in Deeshan (or via the guild traders). The set bonuses provide you health, health and more health, plus 4% healing taken. Where you are learning fights and/or taking big hits this is a great set to keep you standing and give your group the best chance to complete to fight. You should use this when starting out tanking and replace it with more group-friendly sets as you become more comfortable with the mechanics of each trial.
The Torug’s Pact set is a long time go-to for trials tanks. It lost favor for a while but is coming back in fashion recently. This is a crafted set, so easily obtainable. The 2-4 piece bonuses are fair and the decreased weapon enchantment cool-down is of marginal value. Where this set shines is in increasing the potency of your weapon enchantments by 30%. That means better Crusher and better Weakening…who doesn’t want that!?
The Desert Rose set is amazing when you need increased sustain. It is available in Cyrodiil and therefore readily obtainable on guild traders. As it only comes in light armor, you’ll need to grab this via jewelry and weapons/shield. The 2-4 piece bonuses are nice for tanking. The 5 piece bonus gives you 2408 Magicka every 4 seconds when taking damage. This is incredible for sustain, giving you more Igneous Shields and therefore more stamina return. I use Infused Magicka Recovery glyph/enchant combinations on my jewelry for this set as it is all about sustain. I use this often when tanking Axes in vAA or off-tanking the Serpent fight adds in vSO where heals can be few and far between.
The Crest of Cyrodiil set is another decent sustain set. It is obtainable via Cyrodiil (and therefore readily available on guild traders) and is dirt cheap because it is less well-known for tanking. Whilst the Stamina Recover is virtually useless, the double health bonuses are a nice boon. The 5 piece bonus gives you 9200 health every 5 seconds while doing what you’re already doing (blocking). I will often combine this with Desert Rose and Scourge Harvester in fights that I need to keep myself alive for extended periods of time with little or no help.
Wrapping it up
You have so many options for gear as a tank, and will be required to change set-up perhaps many times during a trial. Start collecting as soon as you can to be the best support that you can be for your trials group. We’ll cover more sets as I get my hands on them and try them out. There’s a few more good ones out there to get down and dirty with.