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Dragonknight Tank PvE Build ESO – Dragonhide

Dragonknight Tank PvE Build ESO – Dragonhide

Build Written By: DoctorSarge – PS4 NA

Role: Tank

Patch: Update 39

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Setup
    1. Gear
    2. Attributes
    3. Skills
    4. Vampire vs. Mortal
    5. Champion Points
    6. Other Important Info (Food, Mundus, Race, Potions, Passives)
  3. Resource Management & Rotation
  4. Contact Info
  5. Update Log


Welcome to the Dragonhide PvE Dragonknight tank build for The Elder Scrolls Online! This build is great for all kinds of content: vet dungeons, off-tank or main tank for normal trials, and main or off-tank for veteran trials. DKs are the most beginner friendly tank of ESO as well as being consistently top-tier through all levels of content patch after patch. They give great (and unique!) buffs/debuffs for all manners of groups, are able to turn their resources from empty to full with a single ultimate, can go from almost no health to full with a single heal, and have a defensive ultimate that makes you invincible for the duration. What more could you ask for?



Dragonknight Tank PvE Build – Dungeon Gear
Gear Slot Set Weight Trait Enchant Acquisition
Head Magma Incarnate Heavy Sturdy Prismatic Vet Dread Cellar
Shoulders Magma Incarnate Heavy Sturdy Prismatic Undaunted Chest
Gloves Turning Tide Heavy Sturdy Prismatic Shipwright’s Regret
Legs Turning Tide Heavy Sturdy Prismatic Shipwright’s Regret
Chest Turning Tide Heavy Sturdy Prismatic Shipwright’s Regret
Belt Turning Tide Heavy Sturdy Prismatic Shipwright’s Regret
Boots Turning Tide Heavy Sturdy Prismatic Shipwright’s Regret
Necklace Powerful Assault Jewelry Infused Magicka Recovery Imperial City or Guild Trader
Ring Powerful Assault Jewelry Infused Magicka Recovery Imperial City or Guild Trader
Ring Powerful Assault Jewelry Infused Magicka Recovery Imperial City or Guild Trader
Weapon 1 Puncturing Remedy 1 hand Decisive Absorb Stamina Vet Dragonstar Arena
Shield 1 Puncturing Remedy Shield Sturdy Prismatic Vet Dragonstar Arena
Weapon 2 Powerful Assault Ice Staff Infused Crusher Imperial City or Guild Trader

Gear Explanation

  • Magma Incarnate
    • Gives the same buff as Yolnahkriin at a good enough uptime that allows us to free up that 5 slot set.
  • Turning Tide
    • Great source of Major Vulnerability and easy to use.
  • Powerful Assault
    • A very powerful buff set that’s easy to use and gives you great stats as well.
  • Master’s SnB
    • Powerful Assault can be one barred if you’re comfortable keeping it up that way, so this is basically just free healing.
Dragonknight Tank PvE Build – Trial Gear
Gear Slot Set Weight Trait Enchant Acquisition
Head Archdruid Deyvic Heavy Sturdy Prismatic Vet Earthen Root Enclave
Shoulders Archdruid Deyvic Heavy Sturdy Prismatic Undaunted Chest
Gloves Turning Tide Heavy Sturdy Prismatic Shipwright’s Regret
Legs Turning Tide Heavy Sturdy Prismatic Shipwright’s Regret
Chest Turning Tide Heavy Sturdy Prismatic Shipwright’s Regret
Belt Turning Tide Heavy Sturdy Prismatic Shipwright’s Regret
Boots Turning Tide Heavy Sturdy Prismatic Shipwright’s Regret
Necklace Crimson Oath’s Rive Jewelry Infused Magicka Recovery Dread Cellar
Ring Crimson Oath’s Rive Jewelry Infused Magicka Recovery Dread Cellar
Ring Crimson Oath’s Rive Jewelry Infused Magicka Recovery Dread Cellar
Weapon 1 Crimson Oath’s Rive 1 hand Decisive Absorb Stamina Dread Cellar
Shield 1 Crimson Oath’s Rive Shield Sturdy Prismatic Dread Cellar
Weapon 2 Crimson Oath’s Rive Ice Staff Infused Crusher Dread Cellar

Gear Explanation

  • Crimson Oath’s Rive
    • With the changes to Alkosh, this will generally be better on a typical tank build if your group needs the penetration. 
    • This could be potentially not needed for several reasons, including but not limited to:
      • 1) A DPS is running Alkosh
      • 2) Your DPS are in mainly light armor
      • 3) You look at the penetration buffs that you can provide specifically as an Arcanist and determine those are enough for your group to reach the penetration cap
      • 4) You look at the other sets you or another person are wearing (such as Tremorscale) and determine those are enough for your group to reach the penetration cap
    • Please, please, PLEASE evaluate your group composition and needs beforehand and swap this out if needed.
  • Archdruid Devyric 
    • Allows us to keep up 100% uptime on Major Vulnerability pretty easily when combined with Turning Tide.

Alternative Gear (Regular Sets)

  • SaxhleelAllows for a longer burst phase from warhorns as well as still giving offensive buffs when you use a defensive ultimate.
  • Worm’s Raiment – Great if you have magicka DPS and/or healers that need help with sustain.
  • Pearlescent Ward – Must have for non-top end trial groups. Either provides a decent weapon and spell damage buff if everything is going good or a massive damage debuff if everything *isn’t* going good. Could get pushed out for other debuff sets if your group is not dying at all or is very quick at recovering, but most groups will want this
  • Claw of Yolnahkriin – If the Arcanist skill that provides Minor Courage isn’t being utilized, then this is a vital set to have

Alternative Gear (Monster Sets)

  • Bloodspawn – Good for ultimate generation and for keeping resistances up.
  • Symphony of Blades – Great set to help allies’ sustain if you swap in a skill that can heal others. Best used on a healer now that Blood Altar no longer procs it, but you can still use it as long as you can actively keep up other skills, such as Energy Orb.
  • Stonekeeper – Amazing self-sustain. Really good in situations where you need to block a lot.
  • Lady Thorn – Mainly used as a self-synergy for Alkosh. The Major Maim *can* be nice if you time it correctly, but the uptime on the debuff is very short and the cooldown for being affected by it is very long.
  • Tremorscale – Potentially useful for medium armor-heavy groups due to the powerful penetration debuff it gives.
  • Vykosa – Good set to use if you need to temporarily reduce the incoming damage of a boss, such as the breath in vSS or Olms jumping/sending out storms in vAS.
  • Encratis’s Behemoth – Great set for magicka groups and easy to proc. Just throw on a flame skill or inferno staff.
  • Nazaray – Good set if you can coordinate it with your group. Mainly used to extend the duration of Major Vulnerability.
  • Engine GuardianA little unreliable, but overall a good self-sustain set.

NOTE ON JEWELRY TRAITS: These are what work for me. You can play just fine with the default traits or with a different setup.

Beginner Gear

  • Armor: Torug’s Pact
  • Jewelry & Weapons (SnB/ice staff): Akaviri Dragonguard
  • Monster set: Bloodspawn
  • Traits
    • Armor: All Sturdy
    • Jewelry: Healthy
    • Weapons: Decisive front, infused back
  • Enchants
    • Armor: Health big, stamina small
    • Jewelry: 1 shield-play, 2 mag recovery
    • Weapons: Absorb Stam front, Crusher back

Note about Gear Weight & Traits

Full heavy and sturdy will give you the best sustain and survivability, but 5-1-1 and infused on big pieces is fine as well. Well-fitted can also be nice depending on the fight.


What your attribute distribution is going to look like is based on the race you choose. You should have at least 38k health, but no more than 45k health unless you’re in a fight that needs high health. After that, dump the rest into stamina and magicka (just make sure to have more stamina than magicka). I personally try for around 38-40k health depending on the setup and situation.


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Main Bar – 1h/Shield

  • Pierce Armor
  • Heroic Slash
  • Igneous Shield
  • Stone Giant
  • Green Dragon Blood
  • Ultimate: Magma Shell

Back Bar – Ice Staff

  • Elemental Blockade
  • Inner Fire or Destructive Clench
  • Unrelenting Grip/FLEX
  • Balance
  • Choking Talons/FLEX
  • Ultimate: Aggressive Horn

Skill Explanations

  • Pierce Armor
    • Our main taunt. With the nerf to Minor Protection and the buff to this skill and the debuffs it provides (just under 9k penetration!!), this is now a must have and way better than Ransack.
  • Heroic Slash
    • Provides Minor Maim and Minor Heroism, making this a very important skill. You can flex this out if you know Minor Maim is going to be covered, but I like to keep it on for the Minor Heroism anyways.
  • Igneous Shield
    • A shield for yourself and nearby allies. And gives them Minor Brutality through the Mountain’s Blessing passive, which is the only good way to get the buff. And gives you back stamina through the Helping Hands passive. And gives you Major Mending. So this is a pretty nice skill. It’s expensive though, so be careful not to overuse it. The other morph is also fine if you prefer the longer Major Mending duration.
  • Stone Giant
    • While tricky to use and can be hard on your stamina, the Stagger debuff this skill provides can be very useful. It benefits classes/specs with lots of damage ticks more (like magicka DPS using Mystic Orb or necromancers with Siphon), but will be at least a 2-3k DPS increase for everyone with a good uptime with the potential to be a little higher. Best when used in trials but can also be nice in 4-man content if you can sustain it.  
  • Green Dragon Blood
    • A huge burst heal. It’s expensive though, so don’t spam it. And it recovers based on missing health, so I recommend not using it unless you are under 50% health.
  • Magma Shell
    • Makes you basically invincible for the duration and gives your allies a shield for their entire health. An amazing defensive ultimate if you need it.
  • Elemental Blockade
    • Used to keep up Crusher
  • Destructive Clench/Inner Fire
    • Our range taunt options. Both are fine to use, with pros and cons. Clench provides Major Maim, but also immobilizes small enemies. In contrast, Inner Fire doesn’t provide anything super useful, but can also be used if not using an ice staff. Use what is right for you.
  • Unrelenting Grip/FLEX
    • Pulls small adds to you and gives you Major Expedition (even if you use it on something you can’t pull). Also refunds the cost if it fails, making this a very good and efficient skill. Can be flexed out if you don’t need it. 
  • Balance
    • Our source of Major Resolve and main source of magicka sustain. Your other main option for Major Resolve is Hardened Armor, which is a very lackluster skill. If you feel your magicka sustain is fine without it then feel free to swap it out, but I highly recommend you use it otherwise.
  • Choking Talons/FLEX
    • Locks down small adds and applies Minor Maim, reducing their damage by 15%. Very nice in add pulls. Can be flexed out if you don’t need it.
  • Aggressive Warhorn
    • Our main ultimate, and for good reason. It increases ally’s magicka and stamina pools by 10% for 30 seconds and gives Major Force for 9 seconds, which is a big DPS boost.

Alternative Skills

  • Engulfing Flames
    • Applies a unique debuff that increases the fire damage an affected enemy takes by up to 10%. Great for increasing group DPS if there are magicka DPS present and no other magicka Dragonknights.
  • Protective Plate
    • Reduces projectile damage and gain immunity to snares for a short time. Useful in fights with snares or hard hitting projectiles.
  • Deep Breath
    • AoE interrupt. Useful if there are many things you need to interrupt at once. Also heals you for a bit, which is nice.
  • Cinder Storm
    • Reduces enemy movement speed by 70% and heals you and allies if you’re in it. The healing isn’t a whole lot, but it’s still nice. And it can proc Olorime, so it’s a nice skill to use when you are using that set.
  • Invasion
    • Good if you need a gap closer
  • Shield Discipline
    • Good for tanking the axes in vAA if you need a guaranteed point where you can heavy attack. I wouldn’t recommend it anywhere else though
  • Elemental Drain
    • Healers should be running this but it’s nice to have just in case
  • Ring of Preservation
    • AoE Minor Protection, AoE Minor Endurance, and a small bit of healing. Good in places where your team stacks and needs the extra protection.
  • Overflowing Altar
    • Heals all allies attacking enemies in the radius and provides a great synergy if someone drops to low health. No longer procs sets such as Symphony though, so be weary if that’s what you want to use it for.
  • Shadow Silk
    • Great synergy if DPS are far enough away from the placement
  • Bone Surge
    • Mainly used for the synergy
  • Energy Orb
    • Would mainly be used for the option to heal others as the synergy should already be present from healers and magicka DPS
  • Efficient Purge
    • Necessary in some fights
  • Mystic Guard
    • Can be good in some strats where one person is taking a lot of damage.
  • Reviving Barrier
    • Would mainly be for a passive slot for the magicka recovery, but it can also help group survivability if they need it.

Vampire vs. Mortal

Neither vampire nor werewolf is recommended for this build, as they do not give us any benefits that we need.

Champion Points

The list below showcases the order in which champion points should be acquired, the number of points you need to place into that perk and whether or not it needs to be slotted in the CP bar. The Warfare CP perks increase your damage and mitigation and are the most important, the Fitness tree has some miscellaneous sustain and defensive perks and the Craft tree has crafting and non-combat bonuses. The Craft CP points are entirely customizable to however you want, or you can follow the list below.


Warfare (Blue)

  • Tireless Discipline (10)
  • Quick Recovery (10)
  • Preparation (20)
  • Hardy (10)
  • Elemental Aegis (10)
  • Duelist’s Rebuff (50) (Slotted)
  • Enduring Resolve (50) (Slotted)
  • Unassailable (50) (Slotted)
  • Ironclad (50) (Slotted)
  • Hardy (10)
  • Elemental Aegis (10)
  • Tireless Discipline (10)
  • Eldritch Insight (20)
  • Quick Recovery (10)
  • Blessed (20)
  • Piercing (10)
  • Flawless Ritual (40)
  • Precision (20)
  • Focused Mending (50) (Flex Slot)
  • Preference past this point


  • Boundless Vitality (50) (Slotted)
  • Fortified (50) (Slotted)
  • Rejuvenation (50) (Slotted)
  • Sprinter (10)
  • Hasty (8)
  • Tireless Guardian (10)
  • Fortification (30)
  • Tireless Guardian (10)
  • Hasty (8)
  • Hero’s Vigor (20)
  • Strategic Reserve (50) (Slotted)
  • Nimble Protector (6)
  • Sprinter (10)
  • Tumbling (30)
  • Defiance (20)
  • Expert Evasion (50) (Flex Slot)
  • Mystic Tenacity (10)
  • Survival Instincts (10)
  • Tempered Soul (25)
  • Spirit Mastery (50) (Flex Slot)
  • Tempered Soul (25)
  • Shield Master (10)
  • Bastion (50) (Flex Slot)
  • Preference after this point


  • Gilded Fingers (10)
  • Fortune’s Favor (10)
  • Wanderer (15)
  • Steadfast Enchantment (50)
  • Rationer (30) (Slotted)
  • Steed’s Blessing (50) (Slotted)
  • Professional Upkeep (50) (Slotted)
  • Liquid Efficiency (75) (Slotted)
  • Breakfall (50)
  • Soul Reservoir (33)
  • Gilded Fingers (40)
  • Fortune’s Favor (40)
  • Wanderer (60)
  • Preference past this point

Other Important Info

Buff Food

Bewitched Sugar Skulls – a ton of stats in all 3 resources, which is just what we need


Atronach – Significantly boosts our magicka recovery, making it even easier to manage. Can also use the Steed if you need speed.


  1. Nord is #1 for sure. Nice health + Stam stats, ultimate regeneration, and 2.6k resistances combined are amazing. Resistances aren’t exactly needed, but make hitting the cap easier and you don’t have to spend as many resources to get there.
  2. Orc is amazing too. Again nice health + stamina stats, the Sprint passives are great, and a little passive healing.
  3. Imperials are good too. Highest health + stam and some sustain help. The stat difference between them and Nords are 1k health though, and the resistances and ult gen out match the sustain.
  4. Argonian is ok. They have some extra healing and sustain help through their potion passive. Great for beginners but other races are better for higher skill players.


Essence of Health (Restore Stamina, Magicka and Health)
(Bugloss, Columbine and Mountain Flower)


  • Class (all)
  • One Hand and Shield (all)
  • Destruction Staff
    • All EXCEPT Tri-Focus (if using ice staff)
  • Heavy Armor (all)
  • Fighter’s Guild
    • Slayer
    • Banish the Wicked
  • Mages Guild
    • All EXCEPT Might of the Guild
  • Undaunted (All)
  • Racial (All)

Resource Management & Rotation

Because it’s a tank build, there really isn’t a rotation. You’ll just want to make sure you keep up your buffs up, taunt on bosses and dangerous adds, and Elemental Blockade up and positioned correctly to proc Crusher on priority targets. Also, you pretty well always use Warhorn. Only use Magma Shell if absolutely necessary.

Sustain Tips:

  • HA into Igneous will give you back a nice burst of stamina
  • Using Balance and Igneous, you can turn Health into Magicka and Magicka into Stamina. Keep this in mind.
  • Using an ult will give you back a ton of resources through the Battle Roar passive. This is a huge part of your sustain so don’t hold your ults if you don’t need to. The Battle Roar passive is also based on an ultimate’s original cost, so running something like Akaviri Dragonguard won’t affect it.

General Tips:

  • Igneous needs to be used at least once every 20 seconds to keep the Mountain’s Blessing procced for Minor Brutality (if you’re not using Stone Giant ofc, which will definitely be used more often). Taking advantage of the ult gained from the other part of that passive is also really nice, but can be expensive if you’re relying on Igneous to proc it.
  • Igneous into Green Dragon Blood is an expensive combo but very potent for healing. Hitting Igneous once right before a big damage mechanic happens to have the Major Mending active throughout it is very useful.
  • If you’re using Stone Giant, you only need to use the skill once to keep the stacks up after they’re at max. It’s expensive to get them there but not too bad to keep them there. You’ll still need to be watching your stam more than normal though and likely have to use more HAs for stam return.


If you have any questions about the build, join our discord server and ask @DoctorSarge about the build!

Update Log

11/16/2017 – Build created.
2/26/2018 – CP and gear updated
4/11/2018 – Engulfing flames swapped in for igneous weapons
5/23/2018 – Build overhauled for Summerset Isles
8/20/2018 – Jewelry traits/enchants changed, and writeup updated for Wolfhunter
10/24/2018 – Build writeup overhauled for murkmire
11/5/2018 – Reverted to a destruction staff main tank setup after the enchant hotfix
3/4/2019 – Build overhauled for Wrathstone
3/12/2019 – CP tweaked and 1 jewelry trait changed on main tank setup
5/22/2019 – Earthgore changed to Nightflame, Torugs changed to claw of yol, front bar enchants changed
8/15/2019 – No updates for scalebreaker needed
10/22/2019 – Torugs changed to seducer, skills changed
10/28/2019 – pierce armor changed to ransack
2/24/2020 – No changes for harrowstorm
5/29/2020 – skills & gear changes made across several setups
8/28/2020 – build writer changed and build overhauled
11/18/2020 – minor brittle discussion added, ransack changed to pierce armor, some skill descriptions updated
3/23/2021 – updated gear traits, mSet and CP
6/10/2021 – cp and alt sets updated
9/14/2021 – cp and gear updated
11/9/2021 – removed vamp
3/29/2022- changed description for Encratis
6/27/2022- alt sets changed
9/5/2022 – no changes for lost depths
11/13/2022- no changes
3/28/2023- no changes needed
7/5/2023- updated gear
8/31/2023- no updates for update 39