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Warden Tank PvE Build ESO – The Lich Queen

Warden Tank PvE Build ESO – The Lich Queen

Build Written By: Azrau & Dottz Gaming – PC NA  

Role: Tank

Patch: Update 40

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. Tips & Misc.
  4. Contact Info
  5. Update Log


Welcome to DottzGaming.com’s Warden Tank Build, The Lich Queen, for the Elder Scrolls Online!

One of the kings when it comes to tanking in ESO, Warden possesses what is arguably the strongest support toolkits in the game, with access to powerful group healing, strong defensive buffs, and utility skills for almost any situation imaginable.  The class has served me well over the years and I hope this build brings you the same success!



Warden Tank PvE Build – Trials Main Tank
Gear Slot Set Weight Trait Enchant Acquisition
Head Stonekeeper Heavy Infused Prismatic Vet Frostvault
Shoulders Stonekeeper Heavy Sturdy Health Undaunted Chest
Gloves Turning Tide Heavy Sturdy Health Shipwright’s Regret
Legs Turning Tide Heavy Infused Prismatic Shipwright’s Regret
Chest Turning Tide Heavy Infused Prismatic Shipwright’s Regret
Belt Turning Tide Heavy Sturdy Health Shipwright’s Regret
Boots Turning Tide Heavy Sturdy Health Shipwright’s Regret
Necklace Torug’s Pact Jewelry Harmony Magicka Recovery Crafted
Ring Torug’s Pact Jewelry Harmony Magicka Recovery Crafted
Ring Torug’s Pact Jewelry Arcane Magicka Recovery Crafted
Weapon 1 Torug’s Pact 1h Weapon Decisive Restore Stamina Crafted
Shield 1 Torug’s Pact Shield Sturdy Stamina Crafted
Weapon 2 Torug’s Pact Ice Staff Infused Crusher Crafted

Gear Choices

  • Turning Tide: This set provides the group with the Major Vulnerability debuff, giving the group a massive damage increase.
  • Torug’s Pact: Easy to acquire and extremely versatile, Torug’s Pact increases the frequency and power of your weapon enchantments, allowing you to customize this set’s bonuses based on the chosen enchantments.
  • Stonekeeper (Monster Set): Stonekeeper is a powerful sustain set that rewards you for blocking damage, allowing you to near perma-block through some absolutely ridiculous situations.
Warden Tank PvE Build  – Dungeons
Gear Slot Set Weight Trait Enchant Acquisition
Head Stonekeeper Heavy Infused Prismatic Vet Frostvault
Shoulders Stonekeeper Heavy Sturdy Health Undaunted Chest
Gloves Akaviri Dragonguard Heavy Sturdy Health Eastmarch or Guild Trader
Legs Akaviri Dragonguard Heavy Infused Prismatic Eastmarch or Guild Trader
Chest Akaviri Dragonguard Heavy Infused Prismatic Eastmarch or Guild Trader
Belt Akaviri Dragonguard Heavy Sturdy Health Eastmarch or Guild Trader
Boots Akaviri Dragonguard Heavy Sturdy Health Eastmarch or Guild Trader
Necklace Desert Rose Jewelry Arcane Magicka Recovery Cyrodiil or Guild Trader
Ring Desert Rose Jewelry Harmony Magicka Recovery Cyrodiil or Guild Trader
Ring Desert Rose Jewelry Harmony Magicka Recovery Cyrodiil or Guild Trader
Weapon 1 Desert Rose 1h Weapon Decisive Absorb Stamina Cyrodiil or Guild Trader
Shield 1 Desert Rose Shield Sturdy Stamina Cyrodiil or Guild Trader
Weapon 2 Desert Rose Ice Staff Infused Crusher Cyrodiil or Guild Trader

Notes: This setup has been my absolute favorite over the last 2 years to run dungeons and trials with, giving you a nearly endless Magicka supply to play with, while still providing some group utility in the form of significantly cheaper ultimates.

Warden Tank PvE Build – Beginner
Gear Slot Set Weight Trait Enchant Acquisition
Head Scourge Harvester Heavy Infused Prismatic Vet Wayrest Sewers 2
Shoulders Scourge Harvester Heavy Sturdy Health Undaunted Chest
Gloves Ebon Armory Heavy Sturdy Health Crypt of Hearts
Legs Ebon Armory Heavy Infused Prismatic Crypt of Hearts
Chest Torug’s Pact Heavy Infused Prismatic Crafted
Belt Torug’s Pact Heavy Sturdy Health Crafted
Boots Torug’s Pact Heavy Sturdy Health Crafted
Necklace Ebon Armory Jewelry Healthy Magicka Recovery Crypt of Hearts
Ring Ebon Armory Jewelry Healthy Magicka Recovery Crypt of Hearts
Ring Ebon Armory Jewelry Healthy Magicka Recovery Crypt of Hearts
Weapon 1 Torug’s Pact 1h Weapon Decisive Absorb Stamina Crafted
Shield 1 Torug’s Pact Shield Infused Stamina Crafted
Weapon 2 Torug’s Pact Ice Staff Infused Crusher Crafted

Notes: Simple and easy to acquire, this serves as the “beginner build” of this guide, giving you a powerful starting point capable of completing any content in the game.

Alternative Traits & Enchants

  • Armor Traits/Enchantments: Infused can be replaced with Reinforced or more Sturdy as needed based on personal preference.  If you can’t afford to use Prismatic glyphs, run all into Health.
  • Jewelry Traits:  When not in trials, I prefer to run Healthy instead of Harmony due to the reduction in available synergies.  With the current setup, activating a Shard or Orb synergy on your front bar will restore stamina, while activating it on the back bar restores magicka, if you only want to restore stamina regardless of the bar you are on, simply replace the Arcane trait on your ring with either a Harmony or Healthy trait.
  • Weapon Enchantments:  At the expense of some armor penetration, you can swap the Crusher and Absorb Stamina enchantments to gain a massive increase to your Stamina sustain while blocking.  I use this a lot in dungeons, where the slight increase to group damage doesn’t matter all that much.

Alternative Gear Choices

  • Akaviri Dragonguard: A beautiful set for any tanking setup, Dragonguard provides bonus health, magicka recovery, and most importantly, it reduces the cost of your ultimates by 15%, oh and it’s an overland set (so no farming necessary). I primarily run this inside of dungeons for a super cheap Permafrost, or in trials for the Warhorns if the other tank has Ebon covered already.
  • Desert Rose (Dungeon Only): Honestly I am amazed that I haven’t seen this set used in any tank builds I’ve found, it’s incredible for tanking! Rose, aside from having no wasted set bonuses, grants a potential 1204 magicka recovery while taking damage, it’s only downfall is that it’s a light armor set (easily rectified by running this on your weapons and jewelry). The reason this set is unused in trials, is that with your undaunted passives, the amount of synergies you’ll be activating will cover most of this sets sustain.
  • Ebon Armory: A staple set in the tanking role, Ebon provides an extra 1118 health to everyone in your group, it’s a basic but good set, and it happens to create three glowing red orbs that float around you (basically it makes you look like a boss). It’s really nice for beginners as well as veteran tanks, as it’s super easy to farm for any player, and provides a highly desired buff in harder content.
  • Blood Spawn (Monster Set): A fantastic set on any tank, Blood Spawn provides high bonus resistances, extra stamina recovery, and absolutely stupid amounts of ultimate generation, seriously what’s not to like. My only gripe with this set, is that the resistances are linked to the proc, meaning that sometimes you’ll have massive resistances, and other times you’ll be on the low end, to combat this I’d try and get as close to 30k resistances as reasonably possible (this ensures you are close to capped resistances without the Blood Spawn proc, and only a few thousand over cap when it’s up).
  • Scourge Harvester (Monster Set): Scourge Harvester holds a special place in my heart, as what amounts to be the most underrated tanking monster set in the game, this set helped me in clearing some of the most difficult vet DLC hard modes in the game, and I still to this day like to fall back on it during fights where heavy defile is present (I’m looking at you Fang Lair HM). When operating at max potential, this set provides a decent heal and Major Vitality for 4 seconds out of every 6.
  • Bahraha’s Curse/Leeching Plate (Dungeon Only): I list these two sets together as they share the exact same function, with only slightly different means of activating the sets, their sole purpose is to create small AOE’s that deal damage to all enemies within them while healing you for the damage dealt. If you want to be immortal in fights with large quantities of enemies, then one or both of these sets are for you, however I don’t recommend them inside of trials, as you will likely have a healer focusing on you most of the time anyways, and they provide absolutely nothing for the group.
  • Battalion Defender (Dungeon Only): This Set is actually quite powerful, providing constant (and fairly strong) healing to you or nearby allies. The only reason I recommend this set be “Dungeon Only” is because it is limited to healing only one person per second, causing the set to be far less impactful when it has a whole trial team as potential targets.
  • Plague Doctor: The de facto “selfish” tank set (or the pinnacle of health tanking), Plague Doctor is used when the tank is in need of the extra health and healing from Polar Wind. I don’t personally use this much anymore, but in fights where you are separate from the group (off tanking vSO for example) it’s a good set to have on hand.
  • Lord Warden (Monster Set): Another classic for tanks, Lord Warden provides nearly 7k resistances with permanent uptime, 3k upfront, and the rest when standing in the AOE the set creates on taking damage (100% uptime during combat, refreshing every 10 seconds), allies can also gain the resistances from the AOE. I don’t personally use this set as I am already at borderline capped resistances, so the set would mostly go to waste on my setup.
  • Crimson Oath’s Rive: The successor to Roar of Alkosh, Crimson Oath allows you to consistently lower the Armor rating of nearby enemies, effectively increasing the parties damage output.
  • Pearlescent Ward: This is one of those sets that I believe will prove valuable to a progression group with its unique buff, though it may be equally as viable on a healer. To a group that is doing well, Pearlescent Ward grants the entire party a sizable damage buff (up to 180 weapon/spell damage). But as members of the party go down, the set will begin to trade that extra power for damage reduction (capping at 66%), hopefully helping the group recover and get everyone revived.

Final Notes on Gear

There are so many sets that can lend to your role as a tank, that I couldn’t possibly list more than a fraction of what’s out there. The biggest thing that I can recommend, is to look through lists of sets, including light and medium (as you can put them on your weapons and jewelry), and have fun experimenting with what works for you! What is “Meta” rarely matters outside of veteran trials, so have fun with your tank, you’re playing the most customizable role in the game.


I put all of my points into Health, but this is just personal preference, the common rule with stats on a tank, is to have a minimum of 35k Health in your chosen gear and to keep your stamina higher than your magicka for Orbs and Shards.


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Main Bar – Sword and Shield: Pierce Armor, Leeching Vines, Polar Wind, Budding Seeds, Bull Netch, Enchanted Forest

Back Bar – Ice Staff: Ice Fortress, Elemental Blockade, Frozen Device, Inner Rage, Overflowing Altar, Aggressive Horn

Skill Descriptions and Alternative Options

  • Pierce Armor:  This is your primary taunt, and your source of the Major and Minor Breach debuffs, a staple skill on any tank build and 100% necessary.
  • Leeching Vines/Lotus Blossom (Flex):  Both of these are very cost effective heal over time abilities that can activate your Green Balance passives.  Leeching applies a vine to you or an ally that heals its target every time they take damage while applying Minor Lifesteal to the source of the damage.  Lotus grants you a buff that causes your light/heavy attacks to heal you or a nearby ally, and it gives you Major Prophecy (increasing the crit chance on all of your healing abilities).
  • Polar Wind:  Your primary burst heal on this build, Polar Wind restores a respectable amount of your max health to both you and one nearby ally, and places a small heal over time on you.
  • Budding Seeds (Flex):  This is a powerful AOE heal,  a little weaker than Polar Wind, but at a significantly cheaper price, all while providing an extra synergy to the group (that happens to heal them) and activating your Green Balance passives.  Note that the primary heal from this ability is delayed by 6 seconds unless you activate the ability a second time, which is why I don’t use this as my primary heal.
  • Bull Netch:  This skill is completely free, provides massive stamina sustain and purges a debuff upon casting, and thanks to passives it gives you a small heal and generates some ultimate when you refresh it.  Occasionally I use the Blue Betty morph when I’m messing around with magicka blocking, while fun, Magicka blocking isn’t as safe or reliable as using stamina.
  • (Ult) Enchanted Forest:  I absolutely love this ultimate, it’s cheap, provides good healing, and it generates magicka and stamina while it’s healing allies thanks to your Green Balance passives.  Ideally you won’t have to cast this often, instead saving for your more powerful ultimates, but the point of this ultimate is to act as a “pull in case of emergency” option.
  • Ice Fortress/Balance:  A simple and fairly powerful ability, this skill grants you your major resistance buffs and Minor Protection, it also applies the major resistance buffs to nearby allies.  Balance is the your primary alternative to Fortress, but requires a little extra skill to use, as it costs a large amount of health (it restores a large amount of magicka on casting) and reduces your healing done and the strength of your shields by 50% for 4 seconds (note that this debuff can’t be purged, but it has no effect on your healing received from other sources, such as your healer).
  • Elemental Blockade:  The ultimate multi purpose skill, Blockade (specifically Frost) provides a large AOE snare, the potential to provide the Chilled status effect (basically AOE Minor Maim + a Crit buff for the group) and a root, all while being a reliable way to activate our back bar weapon enchantment.  Primarily you will have a Crusher enchantment tied to this, but when you’re first learning to tank, having a Absorb Stamina glyph in its place can be a god-send.
  • Frozen Device (Flex):  Your primary pull for the Warden, Device places a rune at the target location, which arms after a small delay, the enemy closest to the center of the rune will be transported to you, immobilized in place, and have Major Maim applied to them for 4 seconds.  Note that this skill has zero effect on CC immune targets, it will not consume the rune if they enter it, and they will not be affected by the maim
  • Inner Rage:  Inner Rage is your ranged taunt, you’ll mostly be using this to help with controlling adds or mini bosses that you are unable to pull with Device.
  • Overflowing Altar (Flex):  This skill places Minor Lifesteal on every enemy in a large radius, and more importantly it provides a synergy that when taken, restores 72% of the activators max health.  This won’t be something that you’ll need to slot all the time, but during certain trials/dungeons, where the incoming damage is too high to outheal (usually because of other debuffs present), this skill comes in handy.
  • (Ult) Aggressive Warhorn:  While not technically a trial only ultimate, that’s the only place I personally use it, Warhorn provides a decent damage and stat buff to everyone in the general vicinity helping power through burn phases on bosses.  The reason I don’t tend to run this much outside of trials, is because in a trial, you are buffing 8 damage dealers, in dungeons that number is only 2, so the ult becomes less impactful as the number of players decreases.

Alternative Skills

  • Deceptive Predator:  When you have the extra space, this skill reduces the damage you take from AOE by 10% simply for having it slotted, activating the skill provides Major Expedition for 6 seconds.
  • Gripping Shards:  While not a must slot, Gripping is most certainly a useful skill, providing a snare, a guaranteed AOE immobilize, and a good chance to provide the Chilled status effect (further reducing the need to run a source of Minor Maim), this ability is fantastic at controlling larger add waves, especially when paired with Frost Blockade.
  • Shimmering Shield/Absorb Missile:  A situational skill that when used against bosses with powerful projectile attacks, provides massive survivability and ultimate generation.  Note this skill can completely nullify Zmaja’s heavy attack without the need to block (normally a tank that doesn’t block this will be one shot, and even with blocking, you’ll take at least 20k damage without Shimmering).  Absorb Missile has a similar function, but instead of ultimate generation, this skill heals you as it absorbs the projectile (very powerful when faced with a boss like Lord Warden or Rakkhat), you’ll find that some fights benefit more from Absorb, while others Shimmering, just depends on what you need at the time.
  • Heroic Slash:  Heroic is a classic on many tanks bars, and for good reason, it provides ultimate generation and a reliable source of Minor Maim.
  • Shielded Assault:  A gap closer for those rare occasions when you’ll need one (vHoF for example).
  • Crushing Shock:  Your ranged interrupt, nothing fancy here, but insanely useful in the right situations.
  • Deep Thoughts:  A channel ability that restores 1500 health, and 2000 magicka and stamina every second, and thanks to passive you have Major Protection during the channel.  This ability follows the same rules as Invigorating Drain, it drops your block on activation and can be canceled by blocking, so be careful.
  • Bone Surge:  This is a classic on my bar since the start of Wolfhunter, Bone Surge provides a rather large damage shield (30% of your max health) to yourself, but the main draw of this skill is the synergy, if an ally activates it, they and three others get a damage shield equal to 100% of their max health and Major Vitality for a short duration.
  • Efficient Purge:  Another situation skill, Purge removes 2 negative effects from everyone in your group at the cost of 5000 magicka (ugh), you’ll only really need this in certain trials where the quantity and power of the debuffs present is to much for just the healers to deal with.
  • (Ult) Permafrost (Dungeon Only):  My favorite ultimate for running harder vet dungeons, this ability provides Major Protection to you and nearby allies for 8 seconds, creates an AOE snare centered on you, and stuns everything it touches after 3 ticks of damage.  Save this for high damage phases or when a lot of high priority adds are up.

Vampire vs. Mortal

As much as I miss Vampirism, I just can’t bring myself to use or recommend it for tanks.  The passives are just too punishing for abilities that really don’t benefit your role.

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)

  • Eldritch Insight — 20
  • Tireless Discipline — 20
  • Quick Recovery — 20
  • Hardy — 20
  • Preparation — 20
  • Elemental Aegis — 20
  • Duelist’s Rebuff — 50 (Slotted)
  • Unassailable — 50 (Slotted)
  • Enduring Resolve — 50 (Slotted)
  • Bulwark — 50 (Slotted)
  • Blessed — 20
  • Piercing — 20
  • Flawless Ritual — 40
  • Battle Mastery — 40

Fitness (Red)

  • Boundless Vitality — 50 (Slotted)
  • Fortified — 50 (Slotted)
  • Rejuvenation —50 (Slotted)
  • Tireless Guardian — 20
  • Fortification — 30
  • Hasty — 16
  • Hero’s Vigor — 20
  • Sustained by Suffering — 50 (Slotted)
  • Tumbling — 30
  • Defiance — 20
  • Savage Defense — 30
  • Nimble Protector — 6
  • Sprinter — 20
  • Mystic Tenacity — 50

Craft (Green)

  • Gilded Fingers — 50
  • Fortune’s Favor — 50
  • Wanderer — 15
  • Steadfast Enchantment — 50
  • Treasure Hunter — 50 (Slotted)
  • Rationer — 30 (Slotted)
  • Liquid Efficiency — 75 (Slotted)
  • Meticulous Disassembly — 50 (Slotted)
  • Breakfall — 50
  • Soul Reservoir — 33
  • Inspiration Boost — 45

Other Important Info

Buff Food

Bewitched Sugar Skulls (Max Health, Health Recovery, Magicka & Stamina)


Atronach – Increased Magicka Recovery


  • Nord (My Personal Character)
    • Nords are by far my favorite race when it comes to tanking, but it’s not because of the ultimate generation, it’s because Nords have a large bonus to Physical and Spell resistances, which allows a lot of freedom in your gear and trait choices. If you end up choosing another race, just keep in mind you will have to make some adjustments to regain the missing resistances. 
  • Imperial 
    • Imperials are a fantastic choice for tanks, they have an amazing stat pool, and have a sizable cost reduction to everything they do.
  • Argonian
    • The classic support/tank race, Argonians provide extra healing and a burst of resources returned every time you use a potion.

Final Notes on Races

You can effectively tank on any race in the game, all you have to do is adjust some enchants, traits, or even an entire gear set, but since you aren’t chasing any parse or number other than fulfilling your job of controlling the bosses and adds, there is no penalty for playing as whatever race you enjoy the most.  The races listed above are just the ones that I feel lend themselves best to the role.


  • Potion: Tri-Stat — Restore Health, Stamina & Magicka. (Bugloss, Columbine and Mountain Flower)
  • Poison Choice 1: Drain Magicka Poison — Drain Magicka  (Bugloss and Lady’s Smock)
  • Poison Choice 2: Drain Stamina Poison — Drain Stamina  (Dragon Thorn and Mountain Flower)


Class (all), Heavy Armor (all), Destruction Staff (all except for Tri-Focus, only take that passive if you want to use magicka when blocking on your staff bar), One Hand and Shield (all), Undaunted (all), Psijic Order (only if your using Deep Thoughts, grab Concentrated Barrier and Deliberation), Raciel (all), Alchemy (Medicinal Use), Support (Magicka Aid)

Tips & Misc.

  • Keep your Bull Netch up at all times, it’s your primary means of stamina sustain! Feel free to refresh this as often as you want, it’s free and thanks to passives, it generates ultimate and heals you on refresh.
  • Heal your allies as often as possible, you don’t necessarily have to cast your big heals non stop, but at the very least keep Lotus or Leeching running as often as possible.  You want to do this to keep your Green Balance passives up which for those who haven’t checked on them, have the ability to give you Major Mending, 250 stamina or magicka every second while healing allies, and 10% increased max health for you and allies (ya, Green Balance is stacked). 
  • When grouping add waves, remember you don’t necessarily have to taunt everything, just the “danger” adds, ones with one-shots, crowd controls, or some other annoying thing for a DPS/Healer to have to deal with, the majority of adds can simply be held by hitting them with Frost Blockade and Frozen Device. Also make sure you are the first to attack a group (preferably with AOE), most adds will “soft taunt” onto the first player that hurts them (especially if it happens to apply a slow or root), giving you a couple seconds to group em up before they start hitting allies to much.
  • Many heavy attacks, from both bosses and high priority adds, can be dodged with the right timing, it’s super helpful to take the time to learn this on normal where you won’t die if you fail, so you can completely negate massive amounts of damage come time for vet content.
  • And finally the biggest tip I can possibly give, “learn mechanics”. I can’t stress this enough, a tank who has lots of survivability and understands all the relevant mechanics can carry a lot of groups to victory (especially if your knowledgeable enough to teach the mechanics to others).  That being said, don’t be afraid to jump into content, pull up a quick guide and skim it if you need, nothing will teach you like doing it!


If you have any questions about the build, you can reach me on DottzGaming’s Discord server  https://discord.gg/dottzgaming , my user name is @Azrau

Alternatively if you would like to see this build in action or any other build I play, you can catch me live streaming over here on Twitch https://www.twitch.tv/azraugaming every weekday.

Update Log

5/30/2019 – Build created.
8/15/2019 – Beginner weapon trait changed and added some recommended poisons for front bar
10/21/2019 – No changes from scalebreaker to dragonhold
2/27/2020 – no changes for harrowstorm
6/3/2020 – removed vampire
8/27/2020 – no changes for stonethorn
11/3/2020 – no changes for markarth
3/29/2021 – build updated for flames of ambition
6/10/2021- cp updated
9/2/2021- cp and alt sets updated
11/3/2021 – no changes for deadlands
3/24/2022- no changes for ascending tide
6/13/2022- alt set added
9/5/2022- no changes
11/18/2022- no changes
3/14/2023- no changes for Scribes of Fate
6/5/2023- updated main gearset
8/24/2023- no changes for update 39
11/6/2023 – no changes for update 40

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