This guide introduces a Nightblade Tank build. Audience assume to know passives and skills of nightblade as well as basic tanking mechanics. If you are not familiar with nightblade tank, this video by Gilliam the Rogue is a very good starting point.
Accredited to: Gilliam the rogue
Part 1: Trial Tank
Skill & Passive Highlights:
Blur->Mirage: Imortant, evasion, minor resistance.
Blur->Double Take: Alternative to Mirage, Important, evasion, major expedition. Great for cloudrest MT.
Teleport Strike:Situational for vhof general and vcr z’maja.
Consuming Darkness->Bolstering Darkness: Optional, damage reduction.
Shadow Cloak->Shadowy Disguise: Important, main self-healing, major resistance.
Summon Shade->Dark Shades: Great-to-have, AOE minor maim, major resistance.
Aspect of Terror->Mass Hysteria: Alternative to Dark Shade, optional, minor maim, major resistance. Careful don’t use this if you are stacking adds.
Soul Shred->Soul Siphon: Great-to-have, burst healing, major vitality.
Strife->Swallow Soul: Optional, slot for minor vitality.
Malevolent Offering->Healthy Offering: Great-to-have, equivalent to Breath of Life but cost 250 health/s per use only, very good burst healing(~8k/13k crit) on allies, can’t heal yourself.
Siphoning Strikes->Siphoning Attacks(or Leeching Strikes): Great-to-have, very efficient means to generate health and resources, require light attack waiving.
Drain Power->Sap Essence: Optional, mob clearing.
Sword & Shield:
Pierce Armor: Must-have.
Low Slash->Heroic Slash: Alternative to shade, minor maim, heroism.
Absorb Magic: Great-to-have.
Ice Blockade: Great-to-have, means of proc absorb stam while blocking.
Ancient Knowledge: Important for ice staff.
Tri Focus: Don’t level this unless you know what you are doing!!!
Dawnbreaker->Flawless Dawnbreaker: Optional for fun XD.
Silver Bolts->Silver Leash: Optional, chaining.
Equilibrium->Spell Symmetry: Optional, alternative to Siphoning Attacks.
Inner Fire: Must-have.
Orb, Bone Surge, Blood Altar: Optional.
Meditation->Deep Thoughts: Great-to-have, replace siphoning strikes.
Mist Form:situational, CC immune.
Immovable:situational, CC immune.
Dark Cloak and Nightblade Self-Healing:
Let’s talk about the actual healing. Every tick of dark cloak regenerates about 12% of your max health, as a crit tick regenerates about 20%. Within 3.5s, cloak does 4 ticks, 48% minimum overall. Number varies when you run different sets and CP, but that’s the idea of nightblade self-healing. HOT heals a nightblade, not burst healing like dragon blood. That means you have to adjust cloak up time to overcome the rate of losing health. Also it’s important to keep your defensive buff up, like evasion, maim.
Here are some examples. When you go against Warrior as MT, evasion becomes very effective against his multi-heavy attacks. What if all attacks hit you? You could either save a potion for that situation, or buy a better healer, or have your health over the threshold. When you are MT in asylum or cloudrest, you might cast cloak right before the heavy attack hits you. Although you miss the first tick, but you get major resistance. If you already have the buff, then just cloak right after heavy attack lands.
Remember, cloak is HOT, not burst healing!
Infused Ice Staff and blockage:
Since ice blockade now procs absorb stam even after bar swap, ice blockade became a reliable means of exchanging stamina from magicka. Absorb Stamina Enchantment generates stam for you during blocking, just as good as Obsidian Shield. How much and how fast does ice blockade exchange your resources?
It’s known that ice blockade costs 3240 magicka and lasts for 8 seconds, equivalently 405 magicka/s.
Stam from one proc On tooltip: 461
Stam Reg:220 stamina/s
Exchange ratio:3240 magicka->1844 stamina. Rarely you get 1383.
Stam from one proc On tooltip: 599
Stam Reg:301 stamina/s
Exchange ratio:3240 magicka->2400 stamina.
Case 3:sole enchantment
Stam from one proc On tooltip: 354
Stam Reg:90 stamina/s
Exchange ratio:3240 magicka->708 stamina.
Comparison to Obseidan Shield:
4050 magicka->990 stamina, instant exchange.
Test was done through counting proc occurrence over blockade time. Note combat log of cmx doesn’t count the first proc, so you have to add one if your testing period is short.
1. Infuse weapon is important for getting significant proc rate.
2. Overall, ice blockade is a very cost-efficient resource balance skill, but plan it ahead of time, don’t wait until you run out of stamina.
PS: not only for NB tanks, that update made sustain better but also for templar and sorc tanks.
Deep Thought: go zzzzzzzz downstairs XD.
Soul Siphon: counter baneful mark in execute phase.
Teleport Strike: free slot for you, I like this teleport-back tactics while kiting. Teleport only if you confirm there is no orb or lightning bolt near Z’Maja.
Shield Walls: Life savior against Z’Maja heavy attack coupled with any CC.
Double Take: evasion and major expedition.
Nightblade VS Dragon Knight?
DK tank is the best period.
Still, getting buffed again and again after summerset, nightblade tank is an interesting alternative for end game raiding. Nightblade gets cloak as one of the best self-healing skills plus major resistance, double take with unique damage reduction and major expedition, shade as a long low slash, ice blockade as an efficient regen. Nightblade has more than enough survivability for any raid, BUT nightblade can’t go as offensive as DK. Engulfing flame is a must for leaderboard runs. Nightblade tank can still be an OT. Defensive healing is the advantage of nightblade. Malevolent offering is a costless spammable healing; soul siphon is OP in cloudrest, and generally effective against raid wise AOE.
Part 2: DPS/Tank Hybrid
The build should be capable of tanking all 4-man contents, some of which require a bit tweaking, of course. Specifically, the build does 12k-17k single target DPS while maintaining 38k-40k health, 15k resources and 1.5k magicka regen. You might play such build for carrying new players through dungeons or simply for fun.
3. What if you throw this tank alone at vet Saint Olms?
As I said, the build has standard tank stats so this tank isn’t crispy like a chip. However, he can’t do max dps, due to relequen stack loss and lower ice blockade uptime.
4. Relequen VS Viper,
If your relequen dps is below 15k, grab viper. It’s much easier to keep viper up.
Light Attack Waiving:
Light attack animation can be completely cancelled by blocking. While light attack procs your main hand enchantment, regenerates health and resources through siphoning attacks, keeps up your relequen/viper dot, you can cancel light attack any time you need to block. To get a sense of this, check 13:00 – 14:22 of Rogue’s video. Note when he light-attacked, the stam regen came from his auto regen.
WHY CAN I TANK *** WHILE DOING DEEEEEPS?
This build maximizes stat-independent damage under the constraint of obtaining stats the same as an torgue-alkosh tank. Proc damage is independent of stats, thus maximizing proc damage doesn’t sacrifices much tank stats. Given 7 PC heavy armor requirement, I don’t have many choices on body armors.
Torgue: BIS, boosts stamina regen and damage, common tank set.
Morkuldin: alternative, a bit less dps, uncommon tank set.
I didn’t consider any set with “when you take damage” effect, for they are too situational. Maybe you can try Leeching Plate or Hand of Mephala.
Relequen is the No.1 choice for its highest proc dps. Selence synergizes well with relequen and light attack. With siphoning attacks, light attack becomes means of healing, regen and damage at the same time. Maelstrom ice staff further increases light attack damage while maintaining absorb stam proc consistently.