The Atronach - Warden Tank PVE Build

Written guide updated for updated for The Scribes of Fate DLC: Q1 2023

Older video but still relevant.

This is the new PVE tank build for the Warden class. He is built around survival and group support with a mixture of popular gear without the need for ANY trial loot whatsoever. This tank is capable of holding agro, taking a serious amount of damage and at the same time capable of buffing and “saving” the group members.

The tank has the usual traditional traits, high health, high magicka recovery (for buffs) but of course, you must heavy attack to be able to sustain.

The high magicka recovery is primarily to keep up the vital warden buffs and have the freedom to throw in a couple of heals if need be. The main buffs are of course lotus blossom (if heavy attacking you heal you or the closest low health ally…we heavy attack a LOT) and of course ice fortress.

Ice fortress gives us minor protection further reducing any damage we take by 5% but also buffs nearby members with major ward and major resolve (almost 6k resists across the board).

This resist buff for the group is the first of its kind in ESO and in my opinion, should have been in the game a LONG time ago, however, we have it now so this has finally added a bit of a game-changer, allowing DPS to not slot the buff because it is already supplied by the Warden, so long as the player keeps the buff up!

Our healing passives/buffs grant minor toughness to whoever is healed by you (10% max HP) and also our ground-based ice attacks are amazing for pinning adds/mobs on the spot to control them while you get all the agro.

Heavy attacks are VITAL but of course, they do come with a price. While heavy attacking, your shield is DOWN, so you take full damage (mitigation buffs considered). With this in mind, you must TIME your attacks. The fact you are taking more damage than if you were blocking means you need more health to take the punch to the face, hence why we have so much HP…BUT the trick with timing is, you MUST block the heavy attacks from a boss.
Heavy attack through normal passive attacks, and then block anything that would one-shot, knockdown, count as a heavy, etc.

In between attacks and abilities, you of course have the freedom to use Bone Shield to protect you and the group (if they take the synergy) if your sustainability is at a high. Above all I cannot stress enough, don’t just block because you CAN…you will run out of juice, block when you MUST!

The ice staff on the back bar is incredible for tanking. Your heavy attacks give you a damage shield AND massive resource return for that type (magicka). Not only that, your taunt ability from the ice staff can actually Immobilize your target! Making for some great double-dipping effects for aggro AND CC!

Your warden’s Winter’s Embrace skill line adds 500 resist per skill slotted so the back bar actually has very high resists even without holding a shield.

Your requirement of slotting ONE destruction staff ability (need one skill slotted for the ice staff to work as intended) adds lots of utility. This means you can slot Wall of Elements for more cc (immobilize/stun enemies), Elemental Drain (magicka return to the group) and even crushing shock (ranged interrupts). Finally the big one, the frost staff works as a sword and board, meaning you can block with it and the passive destro skills actually reduce the amount of damage you take AND the cost of blocking while doing so on that bar… block with “magicka!” instead of “stamina!”.

While you block with magicka your stamina recovers, and while you block with a sword and board (stamina) your magicka recovers, see where I am going with this? If you run low on resources on your sword and board, you can SWAP to your back bar and block with magicka instead!! you have two bars of resources to block with instead of one.

Some valuable points for the build:

  • Heavy attack to keep your stamina up on the front bar and magicka on the back.

  • Block the big stuff, not everything else

  • Really cheap ultimate oh SH*T buttons!

  • Keep your buffs up (your buffs and heals protect you, the group AND your heals from these keep up minor toughness, 10% max hps)

  • Caped resists with no effort even on your back bar (ice staff)

  • Lots of CC with the ground-based ice AOEs which immobilize and stun normal enemies and apply minor main reducing their damage done.

  • group protection and/or group healing ultimates!

  • Leeching plate…proc based of course, but so long as you TAKE damage, you can heal from it, adding a LOT to survivability AND this activates minor toughness giving you almost unlimited 10% max hps.


Champion Points 2.0

The NEW Champion Points 2.0 introduced in the Q1 2021 DLC: Flames Of Ambition is quite possibly the BIGGEST change/addition to The Elder Scrolls Online since One Tamriel! And these were further altered in the Blackwood Chapter, giving us a lower base for capping out some of the essentials and also adding some more slotables!

Before it was a case of “I have limited points as a CP, so HOW should I spend them”? Now that is NOT the case as SUCH! Now, it is a case of, buy ALL the things, but which SLOTABLES should you take?

Everything before was a passive bonus with huge diminished returns, awkward calculations, and was messy to all players for the most part. The new system underlines NO diminished returns, no majorly confusing passives, and the ability to buy EVERY single passive available for tanking, DPS, and healing on the SAME character with enough points to spare for buying slotables. Being able to slot 4x special slotables from each tree when there is an abundance of them means you are only limited by your CHOICES, not by your CP.

Buy all the passives, CHOOSE which slotables to take vs the situation, and the rest of the points are spare. Or are they? Well here is the crunch…Once you go over 1800ish (depending on slotable choices, some are more expensive in the Craft tree) you basically have every single passive available PLUS 4 slotables per tree…

If you JUST wanted to focus on combat alone (all red and blue passives and 4 slotables for each one) you only actually need around 1600cp to be completely maxed in those areas. And if you wanted to go FULL glass cannon, only really focusing on one damage type you can achieve your max potential for that as low as 900 or so! You won’t have any resistances or healing bonuses from the Warfare (blue) tree doing this, but you can at least cap out the hard-hitting stuff, right? And this is considering slotables too so there is no harm in actually deliberately specing for a couple of damage resistance slotables instead even at THIS stage.

For tanking it is even easier! Push for your slotables and stack your resistance passives and it is game over! The rest are just a bonus!

So what’s next? Well, if you have higher champion points you can buy more slotables and switch stuff per situation as and when needed. If you don’t, then if you want to swap it will cost you gold for respecing. So in a nutshell, 1650-1800 (depending on build) is you’re pretty much done! Anything else is convenient due to not needing to spend gold swapping things you already have access to! How cool is that?


No matter what, THESE are the most important parts of the Champion Points 2.0 system. So this is your main FIRST goal when pushing for the build. You need to slot these even if they are not max level. However, there are swap-outs for situations as explained in the video.

BLUE (Warfare) are important for resistance, heals, and damage. Red (Fitness) are important for resources, health, and Crowd Control counters. Green (Craft) are literally quality of life! (aka your choice so not THAT important for combat).

It doesn’t matter what level you are at anymore, you can play ALL content regardless of your champion points level because during Flames of Ambition all players/characters had their base stats improved to make everyone somewhat more balanced at lower levels.

However, as mentioned above, the slotables are your main goal. Unlock the prerequisite passives to unlock access to your slotables if there are any…fill them up, and then just grab the remaining passives as you go.

300, 600, 900 champion points are not really important as checkpoints anymore for optimization. Just fill as you go, because ALL characters can have ALL passives with NO negative effects unlike before!

What should I aim for with this build?

  • Ironclad
  • Duelist’s Rebuff
  • Bulwark / Enduring Resolve
  • From The Brink

Maximizing the main focus of the build making it REALLY tough early on!

  • Rationer
  • Liquid Efficiency
  • Treasure Hunter
  • Steed’s Blessing

These really are up to you but these are most useful IN content for loot and movement if not in combat.
What you do with this tree is NOT make or break for mechanics or combat in general just quality of life.

  • Boundless Vitality
  • Fortified
  • Peace of Mind
  • Rejuvenation

Pushing for armor and health bonuses alongside high recovery. You can of course switch to survival instincts instead if you don’t want the Peace of Mind bonus but that is up to you.

The video below explains how the changes work in more detail. Of course, over time, additions will be and have already been made to the system but the main BASE of it is the same.

Poisons, Potions, & Food

Potions really are up to you but they do offer recovery/sustain while giving a burst of stamina/mag/health back at the same time depending on the choice of potion. I would highly recommend using Tripots if you can afford them BUT you can of course use trash magicka or stamina pots depending on how comfortable you are with your resources.

Food is very simple, in stressful high block situations you can use HIGH max stat food (max health and max stam). The rest of the time if you can manage your sustain you can go with max health and mag recovery food in order to keep up HIGH mag recovery and more ability to spam your shields to protect the group and get back stamina.

Alkahest + Bugloss, Columbine, Cornflower

Columbine + Mountain Flower + Bugloss + Lorkhan’s Tears

Max health and max stam
          Sticky Pork And Radish Noodles – White Meat(1) + Radish(2) + Flour(3)
          Garlic Cod with Potato Crust – Fish(1) + Potato(2) + Garlic(3)
          Braised Rabbit with Spring Vegetables – Small Game(1) + Greens(2) + Seasoning(3)

Max health and mag recovery
            Orzoga’s Red Frothgar  – Clear Water(1) + Comberry(1) + Honey(1) + Mint(1)

If you would like to make your own potions, I now have a fully functioning potion maker on the website. Here you can TEST any combination of potion or poison you like and check the outcome without having to know the combinations in-game! Check here for the App, working on Android and IOS – Potion Maker

Gear Setup

We are using the Ritual Mundus stone for the healing output but if you prefer you can go with the Atronach, and 64 Attribute points into Health.

However, if you are struggling with your sustain you can split the attributes more into stamina, but bear in mind your heals from your procs and all-around shielding for you AND the group will take a hit since everything is based on “max hps”. But whatever suits you best.

We are An Imperial but other races are also usable. Orc, Argonian, or Nord are good substitutes.

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SlotGear SetWeightTraitEnchantment
HeadScourge HarvesterHeavyInfused / SturdyHealth
ShouldersMighty ChudanHeavyReinforcedHealth
ChestLeeching PlateHeavyInfused / SturdyHealth
WaistLeeching PlateHeavySturdyHealth
HandsLeeching PlateHeavySturdyHealth
LegsPlague DoctorHeavyInfused / SturdyHealth
FeetPlague DoctorHeavySturdyHealth
Ring 1Plague DoctorJewelryHealthyMagicka Recovery
Ring 2Plague DoctorJewelryHealthyMagicka Recovery
NecklacePlague DoctorJewelryHealthyMagicka Recovery
Weapon 1Leeching Plate1 HandedDefendingPoisons
Weapon 2Leeching PlateShieldInfused / SturdyHealth
Weapon 3Leeching PlateIce StaffDefendingHardening

Gear Locations

Monster Set Choices
As explained in the video there are many options for monster sets. The above is a solid choice for balanced stats and resists but if you want to add more utility then these options below were also noted as possible viable and tested options.

Troll KingBlessed Crucible
NightflameElden Hollow II
Lord Warden Imperial City Prison

Other Warden Builds