Stamina Dragonknights hold the crown as the meta tanking option in Elder Scrolls Online. Their class abilities make them tough to take down while also giving their group powerful buffs. In the right hands, they’re the most effective tanks in ESO.
If you’re looking to get into tanking, or are simply wanting to modify your current build, the StamDK is a great option for you. Below, we’ve outlined the meta build for the Stamina Dragonknight tank, including stats, skills, and details.
Let’s get started!
Race: Imperial (or Nord) | Mundus: Atronach (magicka sustain) or Lord (more health) | Food: Bewitched Sugar Skulls (4620 health, 4250 stamina / magicka, and 462 health recovery) | Food: Longfin Pasty with Melon Sauce or equivalent (4462 health, 4105 stamina / magicka) | Attributes: 44 Health, 20 Stamina
Imperials are easily the best race for tanking. They have 2000 more health/stamina, and an amazing 6% cost reduction to all abilities (including blocking, roll-dodging, etc.). They are a DLC race option, however, meaning you might not have access to them.
If you don’t, Nords are the next best choice for their solid resistances and ultimate generation. You can also build a solid StamDK with any races that offer stamina boosts.
|(MAIN BAR) |
PUNCTURING REMEDY SWORD/SHIELD
|(BACK BAR) |
POWERFUL ASSAULT ICE STAFF
|Pierce Armor||Elemental Blockade|
|Heroic Slash||Resolving Vigor|
|Stone Giant||Choking Talons|
|Igneous Shield||Green Dragon Blood|
|Unrelenting Grip or Silver Leash||Hardened Armor|
|Magma Shell||Aggressive Warhorn|
As we mentioned before, Dragonknights have a lot of specific skills that set them apart as the best tanks in ESO. This begins with the skill Stone Giant. You can use this to repeatedly Stagger priority targets and increase their damage taken by 65 for 5s. Since you can throw three pieces of stone debris from this attack, this results in a total of 195 increased damage from all sources at all times. As you can imagine, this significantly boots your group’s DPS.
Your other DK skills maintain your health and shield and help you manage ads. Unrelenting Grasp and Silver Leash position your enemies, and Choking Talons locks them in place. (Note: Using the Atronach Mundus makes the magicka cost of Unrelenting Grasp a bit easier to deal with!) Even if your enemies are immune to immobilization, Choking Talons applies Minor Maim to reduce their damage dealt by 5%.
Hardened Armor is your go-to source of Major Resolve, which increases your physical and spell resistance while providing a decent shield. Igneous Shield also gives you a shield to prevent any damage from getting through. If you do find yourself sustaining some heavy blows, Green Dragon Blood heals 33% of your missing health. It also grants Major Fortitude and Major Endurance (30% increase to health and stamina recovery) and Minor Vitality (8% increase to healing received).
Your Magma Shell ultimate is another reason that DKs are such strong tank candidates — they’re just damn hard to kill with this skill active. You’re pretty much supercharged to take any hit for 10s. Any damage you take will only deal up to a maximum of 3% of your max health, making certain high-damage mechanics much easier to manage.
It also grants allies equal to 100% of their max health, which is great for getting through tough situations. Try to prioritize using Aggressive Warhorn whenever you can for its great group DPS boost, but popping a Magma Armor can be important in live-or-death scenarios.
Now let’s get to the actual Stamina Dragonknight tank build!
There are two major ways to build your StamDK tank. The first is focused on buffs, and the second on pure defense. You can (and should!) mix and match sets based on the content you’re running.
I tend to prefer buff builds, as it helps you progress through content quicker and take less damage. Defense-focused builds are good for avoiding group wipes, however, as you can move around and resurrect your teammates as needed.
|Chest||Claw of Yolnahkriin||Reinforced||Health|
|Legs||Claw of Yolnahkriin||Sturdy||Health|
|Feet||Claw of Yolnahkriin||Sturdy||Health|
|Hands||Claw of Yolnahkriin||Sturdy||Health|
|Belt||Claw of Yolnahkriin||Sturdy||Health|
|Jewelry||Powerful Assault||Healthy||Magicka Recovery|
|Weapon 1||Puncturing Remedy||Decisive 1-Hand and Sturdy Shield||Absorb Stamina|
|Weapon 2||Powerful Assault||Infused||Crusher|
Easy starting set alternative: 5 Ebon Armory (from Crypt of Hearts), 5 Plague Doctor (from Deshaan), 2 Monster Set / Endurance Set
Claw of Yolnahkriin
Our first buff set is (Perfected) Claw of Yolnahkriin (from Sunspire). This set grants you and eleven group members Minor Courage for 15s after you taunt an enemy. Minor Courage increases weapon/spell damage by 215, helping every party member crank out stronger damage, heals, and shields. It also grants Minor Aegis, reducing your damage taken from Dungeon, Trial, and Arena monsters by 5%. It’s especially strong for Trial groups, but still great for Dungeon groups.
If your healer is using Magma Incarnate (which grants Minor Courage), opt instead for the Aegis of Galenwe (from Cloudrest). This gives you and your group members Empower for 3s, which increases the damage of their light and heavy attacks by 40%.
Our second buff set is Powerful Assault (from Imperial City coffers), and is more damage-focused. This set grants you and up to five group members 307 weapon/spell damage after you cast an assault skill. Resolving Vigor is an easy way to do this, but you can also use Aggressive Warhorn. Because you can activate the set by back-barring PA on your ice staff, you get some extra space to use an arena set on your front-bar Sword/Board. (Perfected) Puncturing Remedy (from Dragonstar Arena) is an effective set here.
Whenever you use your puncture taunt, you heal based on your max health and gain physical/spell resistance equal to the amount healed for 5s. This often means overreaching the cap of necessary resistances, but also means you can put more sturdy traits on your armor.
If you find yourself needing more defense, Leeching Plate (from Imperial City Prison) is my go-to. When you take damage, you summon a leeching cloud under the attacker that heals you for 100% of the damage it deals. This is a great fix if your healer is focused on the DPS instead of you.
Your monster helm set should be switched regularly depending on what your overall group looks like. Magicka groups work best with Encratis’s Behemoth (from Black Drake Villa), which increases the group’s flame damage and flame resistance by 5e. DKs proc this set very easily!
Stamina groups work best with Tremorscale (from Volenfell), which reduces an enemy’s physical resistance by an additional 2395 whenever you taunt them. If your group is dying a lot, consider a more defensive monster set. Lord Warden (from Imperial City Prison) grants resistances, for example, and Troll King (from Blessed Crucible) is good if you slot a group heal.
Essentials in Order:
Warfare: 20 Tireless Discipline, 20 Preparation, 50 Ironclad (slot), 50 Duelist’s Rebuff (slot), 50 Unassailable (slot), 50 Enduring Resolve (slot), 20 Eldritch Insight, 20 Hardy, 20 Elemental Aegis, 20 Blessed
Fitness: 20 Hero’s Vigor, 50 Boundless Vitality (slot), 50 Fortified (slot), 50 Rejuvenation (slot), 20 Tireless Guardian, 30 Fortification, 30 Tumbling, 20 Defiance, 50 Strategic Reserve (slot) OR 50 Bracing Anchor (slot) when you don’t need to move for mechanics
Craft: 50 Steed’s Blessing (slot), 75 Liquid Efficiency (slot), 30 Rationer (slot), 50 Treasure Hunter (slot), 50 Steadfast Enchantment
Join the High Ground
Stamina Dragonknight tanks are hard to take down, and a great asset for boosting group damage. We hope you enjoy tanking and clearing out vet content with this build! For more information on your favorite games and the latest on all thing ESO, follow us on social media and subscribe to our newsletter.