Obsidian Fortress, Dragonknight Tank

So, having shared my numerous Templar builds for those that were interested, I am now going to briefly step away from the usual and instead give you something different.  Today I present to you a tank build for the Dragonknight!

It is actually based on one of my Templar builds, albeit with Dragonknight versions of the spells – what can I say, I have a certain style I enjoy.

So, below is a guide to the Obsidian Fortress.

 

Purpose

The point of this build is to have the staying power in order to tank all of the games current content.  More than that, it is to reassure panicked players – If you have seen the forums it is all doom and gloom that tanking will be impossible with the ‘no stamina regeneration while blocking’ change.  If you have read this stuff you may be worried, but relax, the sky is not falling.

While you may need to change up your builds a bit, at least for Dragonknights, if you love to just perma-block through fights, then you can.  If anything, the new changes just makes the Dragonknight even further ahead on the Tank rankings list.

Case in point, this build is designed as an end game tank for 2.0, but it is also designed to do the same in 2.1 without any changes required (ok, not entirely true – Bat Swarm was added to get the Vamp regeneration, but then Vamp is optional).  So, what works now CAN work later.

So, the point of this build is not necessarily to be the best out there, but instead, designed for people to transition smoothly into 2.1 without needing to change up their play style.  This means you can carry on going what you did before and so can learn a new style of tanking in your own time rather than feel forced and rushed to do so.

Before going on, it is worth noting, this build does not require you to be a magicka based char – 2.1 testing was done with just 90 Champ points used and I put all Thief points into Sprinter, so there was no bias towards either Stamina or Magicka.  I do suggest that Magicka is the better way to go for the build (as you get more from the magicka cost reduction and regeneration than you would for the stamina), but if you love being a stamina DPS in your spare time, you do not have to change over for this build.

 

Skills

Primary Bar: 1h & Shield – Single Target Tank

Pierce Armor– Bread and butter taunt and debuff.  Cheap, cheerful and always wanted on bosses.

Heroic Slash – A classic 15% damage debuff on bosses, so unless you have an NB who uses Shades throughout a fight, you will want this.

Defensive Stance/Mist Form – Defensive Stance is my default skill for maximum tankiness, damage reduction and cost reduction is very nice.  If you want to get the 10% regeneration buff as a Vamp, then you may want to go with Mist Form.  Against a single boss I find the cost reduction from Defensive Stance is not necessary and in many cases the 8% damage reduction isn’t either – especially with a 75% reduction skill at the ready.

Obsidian Shield – The backbone to the build.  A damage shield to protect you and your friends, pretty cool.  That’s not really why it is here though, that is all just a bonus (though with it you should find in trash fights you don’t need to block much).  The reason it is here is because it is an Earthen Heart ability, and that means 5% Stamina back every time you cast it…and this build lets you cast it a lot.

Flex (Dragon Blood) –  Put what you like here.  In easier content you may want Lava Whip to spam out some DPS, against tough raid mobs you may want good ol’ Blood for that heal (either morph – if you are a potion chugger then likely you don’t need Green Dragon Blood morph).

Ultimate: Ferocious Leap– Any Dragonknight Ultimate will work here, I personally prefer the Leap, mainly for its low Ultimate cost which helps activate Battle Roar more frequently if required.

 

Secondary Bar: 1h & shield 

Inner Beast/Pierce Armor – There for the occasions you need to taunt at range.  Though if using Burning Talons, that makes the bar rather magicka intensive, so you may prefer to have Pierce armor here.

Volatile Armor – Boosts defense by 5k, so is a must have in my opinion, also does some damage on activation and for duration.

Defensive Stance – Here mainly for the reduced cost, but if you find stamina is not a struggle, then go ahead and swap it out with something else.

Obsidian Shield/Shard – Here for the Earthen Heart passive again.  For full defense go with the shield, it gives you the freedom to not block quite a bit.  If however you like keeping block up at all times then go with the Shard and indulge in knocking things over!

Burning Talons/Caltrops – Here for the CC.  Talons keeps things close but has a small range, Caltrops has a huge area and causes a lot of aggro and also only needs to be cast once, the good news its it leaves lots of spare magicka for Earthen abilities, the downside is it has a high Stamina cost so you are playing catch up when it comes to recovering.

Ultimate: Devouring Swarm/Dragonknight Ultimate – AoE damage, mainly here to activate the Vampire regeneration passives (if you are a vamp).  Otherwise pick a Dragonknight Ultimate.

 

So, Bar 1 is the boss tank mode, single target, taunt, debuff, keep block up, keep Obsidian Shield up.  Against one mob the stamina regeneration is easily managed as you will easily keep it going with Earthen Heart casts and Battle Roar.

Bar 2 is for multiple mobs.  If using Caltrops, throw it, cast Earthen Heart skill, run in, put block up, taunt key mobs, spam your Earthen Heart skill.  If using Talons then you will just cast that periodically in between the taunts and Earthen Heart skills.  If using Talons, you may prefer to use Pierce Armor as your taunt to ease up on magicka use.

 

Gear

So, we have looked at the bars, now we need to look at gear:

Armour Slot Trait Set Enchantment
Head Infused Undaunted Health
Chest Infused Seducer’s Health
Legs Infused Seducer’s Health
Shoulders Divines Undaunted Health
Feet Divines Footman’s Health
Hands (Medium) Divines Footman’s Health
Waist (Light) Divines Seducer’s Health
Bar 1 (Sword) Defending Seducer’s Stamina Drain
Bar 1 (Shield) Infused Seducer’s Health
Bar 2 (Sword) Defending Seducer’s Stamina Drain
Bar 1 (Shield) Infused Seducer’s Health
Neck Healthy Footman’s Reduced Magicka/Block Cost
Ring Robust Footman’s Reduced Magicka/Block Cost
Ring Robust Footman’s Reduced Magicka/Block Cost

 

I went 5 Heavy, 1 Light and 1 Medium for the build due to the Undaunted Passives.  If you are vain like me, then likely your Shoulder or Head will be Medium as Undaunted graphics do not change, and head can be hidden.  But optimal choice is Hands, with Belt as Light.

For the Undaunted sets, the obvious choice to make absolutely sure resource is never an issue, go with the Engine Guardian – This is the king of resource gain, especially as this build can turn Magicka into Stamina.  I did not use this set for the tests as I did not want the build to be dependent on a specific drop set reliant on RNG.

The alternative, and the one I used for testing, was simply two different sets that gave max Health as the one set bonus.  This was to help me reach around 30k hp without investing heavily in my Health attribute (I was at 37/25/0 for my attribute distribution).  This is helpful if you spend a lot of time DPSing – as it is annoying having an overabundance of health and a lack of DPS stat.

If you have no Undaunted sets, I would just use a set that gives bonus health at 2 pieces.

 

The goal is to reach around 30k hp along with about 15k or more Stamina and likely 17k or so Magicka.  (If you only run 4 man content, then 25k health will be plenty). Obviously if you are a Stamina based DK, you will have more stamina and less magicka.  This is not a huge issue as it means gaining more stamina per cast so it somewhat balances out.  I do however recommend that if Stamina based, you may want to go with 3xHealer set jewellery rather than the Footman’s (don’t worry about the loss of 5 set, I have gone without Footman’s for quite some time now and it really isn’t a big deal) as this will give more regeneration and also boost your magicka pool.

During my tests, I had Reduced Spell cost on jewellery, that is just a preference thing and because it is what I use on Live and it adds flexibility for if I go with a more offensive set up.   But, particularly against multiple mobs, you will find Reduced Block cost will serve you better, so up to you what you use

For Mundus stone, I use Atronach for the extra magicka regeneration.

With the above set up, you should have around 1150 magicka regeneration (without any Champ points spent), along with the 8% cost reduction from Seducers, you should find you can cast quite a few Earthen Heart skills (with the 15k stamina pool, this gives you 750 stamina per cast).

I personally suggest Vampire for extra regeneration (even if just when on AoE bar, as that is when you have most pressure on resources anyway), in addition, at low health you gain damage reduction which works nicely with the Dragon Blood heal – as the lower your health the more it heals for, and with the Vampires Unnatural Resistance you can get away with living a little dangerously to maximize Dragon Blood effectiveness.

That said, Vamp is not a necessity, but with the fire damage now only 25%, it is not the burden it once was.

 

My priority Champ points are:

Warrior:  Block Expert, Elemental Defender.  I also quite like putting some points in Heavy Armor focus, but I don’t think that is an optimal choice.

Thief: Magician & Arcanist OR Warlord and Mooncalf

Mage: Elemental Expert, Spell Erosion OR Mighty

For Thief and Mage, it depends on what route you are going – as mentioned earlier, while this build clearly favors being magicka focused, it is not a requirement.

 

Summary

So, that is the build.  It’s actually inspired by my Templar tank which swaps out Obsidian Shield for Blazing Shield and Dragon Blood for Breath of Life (like I said, I like certain styles of play).  The build works well and I figured would continue to do so in 2.1.

Course, that was the theory, but theory is nothing without putting it into practice.  So with that in mind I gave it a run on PTS.

Obviously more testing is to be done, I would like to go through Veteran Dragonstar Arena to give it a real run through, but made do with Veteran dungeons so far.  In a full group there really is not an issue as things die fast enough that resources rarely become a struggle.  One thing is for sure, at least for vet dungeons, you can perma-block and you do not need a Templar to be your healer as shards are not required….in fact, I had less Stamina issues than I do with my Templar on Live (my Templar only runs with 650 stamina regeneration)

The biggest strain was actually running 2 man vet Spindleclutch with my  companion being a stamina DPS.  Without heals or a second DPS it meant fights lasted longer and required more use of resources.  Despite this, against trash fights, keeping block up was very manageable – even when the DPS died and had to run back from the entrance I was able to stay alive and keep going while I waited.

Against the Vampire boss, the DPS died with the boss on over 50% health and with no Soul Gems at the time I couldn’t resurrect.  Instead a long, slow battle ensued with me keeping block up and slowly whittling down the boss.  Eventually it died, and, despite a long drawn out combat in which I needed to use resources to stay alive and actually do some damage while also keeping block up to prevent natural regeneration, stamina was never a problem..

The Gargoyle was the real challenge.  With only one DPS and without a healer, it meant he had to run away from the Gargoyles big damage attacks, which meant less DPS, which meant the fight went on for over 2 minutes and due to being a much harder hitting boss, even more of my resource had to be used healing myself.  The only time I dropped block was to light attack every 8s for Ultimate buff.  This fight strained the resources and had to make use of Battle Roar Ultimate use to help keep me going for the fight.  But while it was a struggle, it worked, so without potions or Shards, I could keep going.

Praxin was our undoing.  We got as far as the final add pack and the boss turning into the wraith, but with no healer too much resource had to be used staying alive and ensuring absolutely everything was taunted in order to try keep the DPS alive.  But by final phase the DPS was a dead man and I had no juice left.  Again, this was without potions or shards. If the DPS had been magicka based with some utility/survivability, then I think even this boss would have been doable.

So without potions, shards, decent Champ point allocation or the Engine Guardian set, the build can self sustain nicely while blocking all the time.  Add in those other things to the mix and if you are a permablock fan, there really is no requirement to change your style for Trials.

 

Asteldian Caliskan,

Guild Leader of Crucio Sanctorum (http://cruciosanctorum.enjin.com/home), Daggerfall Covenant, EU Server (PC)

Author Aggelos
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