DK Imperial Tank (Straight Tank)


Welcome to DK Imperial Tank (Straight Tank) Tanking! This build is extremely similar to major tanking builds out there, but I tweaked it slightly and went into details of why I did each skill and when to use it. I’ve made this build more for my guild members so they can get an idea of what to do, why and when to do it. This build is extremely tanky, loses very minimal health and when played right, never dies. Tested and proven effective for Trials and any end game content you can throw at it. This build does NOT do DPS, this is a straight tank and a damn good one. If you are looking to do some DPS then there is another DK build meant for doing some DPS and solo content on here, this is NOT the build for that.

Resource Management

Resources are managed through heavy attacks and your Magicka Recovery. You won’t lose Health very often if you use your resources properly. Make sure not to over taunt the boss and don’t use your shield if you don’t need it. You will only need to use your damage shields heavily in boss battles and some add mobs. Also, if you run low on taunting with your Stamina taunt, then you have your Magicka taunt.

Character Sheet

Attributes: 32 Max Stamina | 32 Max Magicka
This was taken with Hardened Armor on.

Gear Setup

5pc Heavy Clever Alchemist, 3pc Willpower Jewelry, 2pc Lord Warden Dusk, 2pc Julianos

Gear Set Weight Trait Enchantment
Weapon 1 Leeching One Handed Defending Hardening
Off Hand 1 Leeching Shield Infused Max Health
Weapon 2 Leeching One Handed Defending Hardening
Off Hand 2 Leeching Shield Infused Max Health
Head Blood Spawn Infused Sturdy Tri Stat
Chest Leeching Heavy Infused Tri Stat
Shoulder Blood Spawn Heavy Sturdy Max Health
Waist Leeching Heavy Sturdy Max Health
Hands Plague Doctor Heavy Sturdy Max Health
Legs Plague Doctor Heavy Infused Tri Stat
Feet Leeching Heavy Sturdy Max Health
Neck Plague Doctor Jewelry Healthy Spell Damage
Ring 1 Plague Doctor Jewelry Healthy Spell Damage
Ring 2 Plague Doctor Jewelry Healthy Magicka Recovery

Gear Selection and Location

  • Leeching – Imperial City Prison
    • This is a fantastic tanking set. It places a cloud of poison under your attacker and returns the damage done to them to you in the form of health. Also, the final boss of Imperial City Prison has the uniquely named weapon “Warden’s Courage”, which is exactly the one handed sword you need for this build… just gotta get it twice!
  • Plague Doctor – Deshaan Overland Drop Set
    • This is an easy set to find or buy. It adds extra health, which is why you put your attribute points in Stamina and Magicka. Typically tanks have a resource set(Leeching) and a health set(Plague Doctor). You could try a few others but keep your HP above 37k if you want to do Veteran Trials.
  • Blood Spawn‘s Monster Set – Head: Spindleclutch I / Shoulders: Maj al-Ragath’s Undaunted Chest
    • This set will max out your resists when it procs AND it generates ultimate. It’s a solid tanking utility set. There are a lot of options but you can’t go wrong with this one for tanking.


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32M / 0H / 32S
  • Bar 1
    • Heroic Slash – This is a good debuff for main enemies. It also reduces their damage done and helps you gain Ultimate, which you’ll definitely need.
    • Green Dragon Blood – This is your main heal. It’s a pretty good burst heal and with all of your healing received bonuses, it will heal a ton. Also, if the spell crits… you can pretty much guarantee yourself a full bar of health back. Also if you keep this skill active, it will give you even more healing received.
    • Pierce Armor – Your melee taunt. This is also a debuff reducing the enemies physical and spell resistance, so always a mandatory tanking skill.
    • Bone Surge – This is one of your damage shields that you can use and the good thing about this one is that it allows your allies to synergize it and get a bit of a shield for themselves
    • Igneous Shield – This is another damage shield and also grants you Major Mending for more healing done to yourself. This helps out when you hit yourself with a Green Dragon Blood.
    • Ultimate: Shield Discipline – This is an extremely underrated skill. It has a low cost and using this will enable you to “permablock” for 7 seconds. It doesn’t use any stamina to block, and this is great to use to take the time to recover resources. The last great thing about this skill, is it takes approximately 7 seconds to resurrect someone… see where I’m going with this? In an emergency situation get ready to resurrect one of your party members, pop the Ultimate and then resurrect your best party member who will be able to help you save the day! A must have for tanks in my opinion 🙂
  • Bar 2
    • Fiery Grip – This is your standard chain that people easily associate to DK’s. This is great in conjunction with your Talons to pull enemies all into a single spot and let the DPS throw all their AoE’s down. Using this and the next skill are essential for good mob tanking. Once you get the hang of it, it’s an extremely powerful combination.
    • Choking Talons – This is another standard DK Tank skill to be used on mobs, holding them in place so more damage can be done to them. Using this when your DPS are dishing out the damage helps get all of the adds down quick.
    • Inner Fire – Your standard ranged taunt. It’s great to have the ranged and melee taunts because one is Magicka and one is Stamina. If you’re low on one resource and NEED to taunt, then use the other resource based taunt.
    • Absorb Magic – This won’t be used very often, just very situational. The idea behind this is to reduce your block cost and increase the amount of damage you block. When enemies are casting spells at you with this active, it’ll also heal you and for bigger bosses… it will absorb a good amount of their projectile’s damage.
    • Hardened Armor – Using this grants you your Major Resolve and Ward. You also gain a damage shield for a brief point of time. Good to have in boss battles when you re-activate it in the middle of the fight.
    • Ultimate: Aggressive Warhorn – This is always great for your group. It helps them do greater damage, and best of all… you don’t need to tank for as long! So make sure to pop this when you can… this helps everyone in the group.

CP Allocation (720)

  • The Tower
    • Warlord – 40
    • Bashing Focus – 20
  • The Lover
    • Arcanist – 75
    • Tenacity – 50
  • The Shadow
    • Shadow Ward – 55
  • The Apprentice
    • Blessed – 75
    • Elfborn – 70
  • The Atronach
  • The Ritual
    • Thaumaturge – 30 (To maximize DoT damage done by the Leeching set to maximize HP returns)
    • Mighty – 65 (To increase your Poison damage done by the Leeching set to maximize HP returns)
  • The Steed
    • Ironclad – 25
  • The Lady
    • Elemental Defender – 46
    • Thick Skinned – 18
    • Hardy – 46
  • The Lord
    • Expert Defender – 15
    • Heavy Armor Focus – 35
    • Quick Recovery – 20
    • Bastion – 35


  • Recommended Race: Imperial, for their additional Health and Stamina pools because you’re going to be good on Magicka with your Magicka Recovery
  • Vampirism! You want to be a vampire for this for the Magicka Recovery. People say that the fire damage is too negative to be a vampire but you have high resistances and health. You will also have health damage reduction as your health gets down, but primarily you get this for the Magicka Recovery.

Mundus Stone

  • Atronach (For Magicka Recovery)

Buff Food, Potions, Poisons

  • Purple Tri-Food to help all three resource pools
  • Trash Potions/Crit Potions/Spell Power Potions

Passives Required

  • Class Passives: All passives
  • Heavy Armor: All Passives
  • One Hand and Shield: All Passives
  • Undaunted: All passives
  • Racial: All passives
  • Alchemy: Medicinal Use (Not necessary but good for trying other builds later)
  • Vampirism: All Passives except Dark Stalker(Not needed for this build but you can get it if you want it)


As primarily a tank, you need to always keep your taunt up. Taunting is quite literally, the only reason you’re here… taunting and absorbing the damage, but mainly the taunt. Keep taunt active and then if/when necessary, you can look play with rotation. As a tank, keeping your Volatile Armor up will also help with your resistances and make the rotation easier to get through. There isn’t a huge rotation to this, but there are a few points to remember so I’ll bullet point them:

  • Keep your Hardened Armor up for max resistance
  • Make sure to keep your Pierce Armor active so the boss will remain debuffed
  • Use your Heroic Slash for additional debuffing
  • Block is your friend, but NOT your best friend… know when to use block to optimize your Stamina(primarily on heavy attacks against you).

Build Credit to Texecutioner187


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