Malcolm - Necromancer PVE Tank Build

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

Older video but still relevant.

This tank is designed to be able to build ultimate faster than any other build in the Elder Scrolls Online!

The primary role for this regardless of being able to protect the group from nasty mobs and bosses while holding agro and controlling the positions of the enemies is to pump out as MUCH ultimate usage as possible!!

We have 4 sets dedicated to building ultimate and we lose NO tankability at all! We have almost capped resists, great health, good recovery, good stamina (for blocking), plenty of CC, and can take a punch. We have everything a tank needs and more!

This on TOP of the traditional tanking base (strong take a punch, taunt, etc) is built to build ultimate as FAST as possible! BUT not just for you, for the group as well!

If we take a potion we gain 44 ultimate, and so do 3 more people due to the Arkasis set. It does have a 30second cooldown but multiples STACK (so yes other people in the group can bring the set too!) and we also have a 29-second cooldown on our potions! Meaning not only do we gain resources 15 seconds faster than usual (normally a 45-sec cooldown) but we only have to wait ONE second once the cooldown is off to gain the ultimate from using them!

With this, we also have Bloodspawn which can give us 13 ultimate once every 5 seconds if we are lucky! We also have passive ultimate regen which is 3 every second for 8 seconds so long as we light attack, heavy attack, or get hit within that time period, AND we have decisive meaning ANY ultimate we gain from ANY source can be +1 ultimate per tick/gain!

To go along with this we have 5 ultimate once every 10 secs due to our race, and finally…We are taking advantage of Drake’s Rush! ALL we have to do is BASH…just once, and for 12 seconds you and 3 other people have major heroism giving them rapid ultimate regen (3 ulti per 1.5 seconds). This stays with you and the group for 12 seconds and after 18 seconds from the original bash can be reapplied again. Making for a 12-second uptime and 6-second downtime. That stacked with Arkasis for the GROUP is absolutely insane!

We have an Asylum two-hander on the back, NOT for damage…but for advantage! If the enemy is low health and we spam the two-hander execute, depending on how low the health is, we can get up to 12 ultimate per hit! That is VERY fast executed ultimate building right there. Just be aware, block the BIG stuff on the sword n board, else you WILL die (two-hander does not have block passives do NOT get caught out..learn your mechanics).

We also have taken advantage of (if you wish to ) Exhilarating drain! This allows for healing per % of health missing per tick AND 4 ultimate a second. Bear in mind all of the above ultimate resources are actually subject to chance for decisive too. Each source per tick/proc can actually have +1 ultimate added to it.

And finally, the bread and butter of the necromancer, Necrotic Potency…Every single body on the ground can be consumed by you for 6 ultimate per corpse for free, + 10 more ultimate once every 16 seconds for doing so…and your PETS/resist buff count as DEAD BODIES, meaning you don’t even NEED to kill things to use it! This is INSANE!

You are not only a tank now but you are a massive asset to ANY group in ANY content in the game! This is designed specifically for dungeons and arenas, but can definitely be used in trials if the player is experienced enough. Even as an off-tank ulti builder in trials this can be VERY helpful!

Above all when using this, keep up your resources by heavy attacking between the big hits, keep your buffs and CC up, and suck up those corpses. You will be shocked at how efficient this is!

You have everything you need with NO risks except ONE…do NOT get caught out on the back bar. Block the big stuff on the front!

Remember when I’ve stated that there are endless choices in this game? Well, this build has been nuked twice now and each time we have adapted…and once me…we did it again! 😉

Key bonuses to the setup

  • Highest Ultimate regeneration in the game!
  • Major Vulnerability (10% damage done increase to target for EVERYONE) from our Colossus Ultimate!
  • Res ultimate capable of resing your whole group AND can pre-build ultimate for your next one!
  • High use of class skills, making it feel like a totally unique setup/class/playstyle
  • High health bonus!
  • Empower for the group boosting light and heavy attacks ESPECIALLY strong while rocking Easy Sorcs!
  • The more you understand about the class, the more powerful you are if you have the ability to take advantage of the situation at the time, ESPECIALLY if there are many many BODIES!

Fashion First!

As demonstrated in the video, our fabulous setup and dress choice for this character is as follows:

Head: Heavy Dragonbone
Shoulders: Heavy Dragonbone
Chest: Heavy Dragonbone
Legs: Heavy Dragonbone
Hands: Heavy Dragonbone
Belt: Heavy Dragonbone
Feet: Heavy Dragonbone
Front bar: Lord Warden Axe and Shield
Back bar: Lord Warden

  The two colors we are using are Pitch Black and Warrior’s Steel


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?

  • Unassailable
  • Duelist’s Rebuff
  • Cleansing Revival
  • Last Stand

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 give 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 Atronach Mundus stone. All 64 Attribute points are into Health!
NOTE: You can alter this if you wish but that is down to personal preference. Not however any abilities that scale off of health will be affected negatively if you lower your health.

We are a NORD, You can use other races if you prefer BUT bear in mind you WILL lose the resistance bonus, ultimate regen, and some health/stam stats depending on your choice of race. Altering the race will require some tweaking of your overall stats and some traits.

Flip horizontal on mobile device

SlotGear SetWeightTraitEnchantment
ChestArkasis’s GeniusHeavySturdyHealth
WaistArkasis’s GeniusHeavyDivines / SturdyHealth
HandsArkasis’s GeniusHeavyDivines / SturdyHealth
LegsArkasis’s GeniusHeavyInfusedHealth
FeetArkasis’s GeniusHeavySturdyHealth
Ring 1Drake’s RushJewelryHealthyMagicka Recovery
Ring 2Drake’s RushJewelryInfusedPotion Cool Down
NecklaceDrake’s RushJewelryInfusedPotion Cool Down
Weapon 1Drake’s Rush1 HandedDecisivePoisons
Weapon 2Drake’s RushShieldInfusedStamina / Health
Weapon 3Asylum Sword2 HandedDecisiveDamage Shield / Return Stam

Gear Locations

Other Necromancer Builds