Malice- Two-Handed Tank Nightblade Build

Written guide updated for : Update 39 Q3 2023

Have you ever wondered if it were POSSIBLE in The Elder Scrolls Online, to be a fully functioning TANK without the need for a Sword And Board or an Ice staff? Have you ever attempted to make a unique non traditional tank build and found yourself lacking that extra help? Tanks with NON tanky weapons, miss some vital stats. Block mitigation (covered by SnB and Ice staff passives ONLY) And they also suffer with block cost and sustainability of their main resources! Today we solve these problems!

This build is designed to not only TANK with a Two handed weapon, but also TAUNT with it! That’s right, we have taken advantage of the ONLY way a Nightblade can possibly take advantage of an AOE taunt. The Tormentor set and a two hander, specifically with the skill “Stampede”. It is officially the only way to do that ON the Nightblade as any other skill in their tool kit does not apply an aoe burst from a charge or gap closer. Technically i know Lotus fan LOOKS like it should, but it does not. The initial hit is on a single target and the surrounding enemies receive a damage over time affect from that. It’s not the same.

Stampede however, is an area of affect charge and smack! So, it instantly with the correct set, applies a taunt to unlimited targets in one hit, so long as they are in range of the proc.

So with the above in mind, your aggro control is covered and incredibly effective. However, two hander weapons come with a set of problems we had to solve.

The sword n board and ice staff passives BOTH come with their own block mitigation bonus (20% extra damage mitigation while blocking) and the two hander does NOT. So we had to take advantage of a very special slotable CP node (Bracing Anchor) in order to allow for the SAME bonus. This is incredibly important and a huge staple of the overall build, as deliberately, there are mechanics in the game that WILL one shot a “tank” if they lack block mitigation bonuses to a point regardless of how much health they have.

Some mechanics are designed to be countered with the RIGHT amount of resistances and block mitigation combined or ELSE.

The other problem is that a two hander while sustainable as a brawler if you are getting kills, is not quite the same when NOT getting kills. As a tank you are the least likely to kill things so gaining recovery bonuses from your two hander passives for killing blows is not as common, and you are also blocking so recovery is paused anyway.

This becomes a problem when block reduction to cost passives from the sword n board you are used to ALSO is not with us.

So in a nutshell, two issues here! Low sustainability and higher cost! We run out faster right? Wrong! This issue has also been fixed! We have stacked multiple block cost reduction glyphs (yes they have diminished returns but it is worth it) while also utilizing the Vicious Ophidian set to get out stamina COSTS down by a further 8% on top of everything else.

SO, cheaper skills, cheaper blocking, which is exactly what we want. We WILL need to heavy attack from time to time as any good tank spending time studying mechanics and looking for an opening should do, but it is a lot easier to manage. However, Vicious Ophidian does something else too…

IF YOU damage something that is killed shortly after by you or someone else (which is easy with stampede doing damage every second) You gain BACK almost 2.5k stamina, per kill so long as they are at least 1 second apart. Which means through block, you now constantly gain stamina!!!

Technically speaking, so long as your group are doing their job, in a BIG pull you can borderline permablock with all of the tanky expectations to your resources covered completely!

In a single target fight, you have great cost reduction, block mitigation, and it is well paced so you feel like any other tank (be mindful of heavy attacking between hits if you can as always though).
While in a BIG pull, you will use more resources but gain more back so quickly. With a group killing stuff as they should do, you almost have built IN repentance!

And finally for those people that want to offer that little bit of extra help. We have a restoration staff and two major healing and buff skills to help you and the group sustain both resources and health at the same time as offering speed!

This is an incredibly agile, and effective build, however i would expect people to take a little while to get to grips with it as this is a VERY unique twist on a tank!

Some key points for the build:
  • AOE Taunt from a charge ability for FULL control of a crowded room!
  • Block mitigation and block cost problem SOLVED!
  • Resource management from OTHERS getting kills from the enemies you are controlling
  • Long duration AOE insta-cast stun!
  • Heals, recovery and speed buffs for the group
  • Incredible survival without the need for too much baby sitting!
  • A truly Unique way to play a tank to keep it fresh for those looking for something new and FUN!
  • Maintain taunt without letting it fall off and you will have full control of ALL enemies in range WITHOUT fail!

NOTE: This will take a little bit of getting used to as it is not the “traditional” way to tank, however, if mastered, this is a SOLID option for any pve content for both AOE and single target fights! Protect those squishies!

Fashion First!

eso nightblade build

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

Head: Monster Helm
Shoulders: Heavy Annihilarch’s Chosen
Chest: Medium Annihilarch’s Chosen
Legs: Heavy Annihilarch’s Chosen
Hands: Heavy Annihilarch’s Chosen
Belt: Light Dro’mathra
Feet: Light Annihilarch’s Chosen
Greatsword: Annihilarch’s Chosen
Resto Staff: Syrabanic Marine

  The two colors we are using are Coldharbour Black and Daedric Red.



If you find yourself in a fight with a boss that has phases of IMMUNITY (gold health bar taking no damage) you need to swap out your Sliver Leash skill for Inner fire/beast/rage from the Undaunted skill line so that you have a manual dedicated taunt. The Tormentor set requires you to do DIRECT damage with <X Skill type> in order to apply a taunt, and while immune the damage does not apply which means no taunt will either. A prime example of this is the boss in Asylum Sanctorium. If the group is fast at killing the Protector, this won’t ever be an issue, but in those situations, to be safe, slot that skill.

It’s rare but one or two fights you need to be prepared for that.

Champion Points 2.0

This build doesn’t STRICTLY require any champion points at all, you don’t NEED damage bonuses because everything is a one-shot, and you don’t NEED resistances because you should never get hit…BUT unlike most builds, taking advantage of the GREEN champion points trees actually benefits us for the overall performance of the character rather than just “quality of life” slotables.

Below I will note VERY briefly what you should strive for!

While along the way you CAN get basic passives to help you with stealth detection etc, you have invisibility on tap ANYWAY so it trumps the detection radius for the time being while you are leveling!

So long as you understand the setup, everything is really done for you, just a case of standing in the right place and not hanging around if you get spotted!


While the blue and red trees are not essential like they would be on most builds, the green tree for a change is where things really shine. Below are the main slotables you should aim for while growing your Champion Point levels.

  • Unassailable
  • Duelist’s Rebuff
  • Swift Renewal
  • Ironclad


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


  • Boundless Vitality
  • Rejuvenation
  • Fortified
  • Bracing Anchor



Unlike most builds this is REALLY doesn’t matter. Unlock your passives along the way that path towards grabbing the slotables (as mentioned in the video) but the red tree and the blue tree will almost NEVER be relevant in most situations because you won’t be in combat, it’s one-shot kill, and DONE!

The green trees however are 100% quality of life for other builds but for us, everything helps. Looting, better loot, more gold, hide after kills, escape guards and lose more bounty, it all adds up.

Aim for the 4 slotables via any path you like but I would HIGHLY suggest getting Steed’s blessing (run speed) and Shadowstrike (Invisibility after kill and can USE blade of woe during) as soon as possible.

These are your main two sources of evasion so go for those first!

It doesn’t matter whether you are 160 cp or 3600 this build is great for ANY level!

Poisons, Potions & Food

If you want to use potions, you should be using TRI-POTS all day long! You will get resources back for all 3 stats and also gain major recovery for the potion’s duration for all 3 stats. Do NOT let your potion run out, it is vital to your sustainability that you maintain those buffs. Don’t be cheap, use your potions!

Tri-pots – Columbine + Mountain Flower + Bugloss + Lorkhan’s Tears

Flat food
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)

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 Andriod and IOS – Potion Maker

Gear Setup

Below is a chart showing the overall gear set-up, noting the optimal set requirements in terms of weight, enchants & traits!

We are using the Atronach Mundus stone as explained in the video. All 64 points are in health!

We are an Imperial! You can be any race you like, as explained in the video, but consider their minor bonuses will be the only difference.

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SlotGear SetWeightTraitEnchantment
HeadScourge HarvesterHeavySturdyMax Health
ShouldersScourge HarvesterHeavySturdyMax Health
ChestTormentorHeavySturdyMax Stamina
WaistTormentorHeavySturdyMax Stamina
HandsTormentorHeavySturdyMax Stamina
LegsTormentorHeavySturdyMax Stamina
FeetTormentorHeavySturdyMax Stamina
Ring 1Vicious SerpentJewelryInfusedBracing
Ring 2Vicious SerpentJewelryInfusedBracing
NecklaceVicious SerpentJewelryInfusedBracing
Weapon 1Vicious Serpent2-Handed GreatswordDefendingWeapon Damage
Weapon 2Vicious SerpentRestoration StaffInfusedAbsorb Stamina

Gear Locations

If you do not wish to do trials (remember the gear drops on Normal Difficulty too) Then of course there are other options but they have different rules so WILL need to heavy attack more for resources (meaning you need to track mechanics and look for a gap) but both of the ones below had Equal benefits for overall performance. One offered a bigger pool so less stress, the other gave MUCH more in return from heavy attacks especially during off balance periods.

Ulfnor’s Favor
Fang Lair

Draugr HulkDirefrost Keep



Other Nightblade Builds