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January 20, 2017

ESO Builds: Anti-Paladin Nightblade Sap Tank (PVE)



Current as of Patch: One Tamriel v2.6

Introduction and Theme

I have been a tabletop gaming geek for longer than I have been a PC Gamer. One of my favorite hobbies is to translate classes from tabletop games such as Dungeons and Dragons or Pathfinder into the MMO’s I am currently playing. When I saw Gilliamtherouge‘s sap tanking build, I got inspired to create a build based off of a villain I created for one of my tabletop groups. He was a vampire anti-paladin. Anti-Paladin’s are fallen crusaders of light and justice. Their fall causes them to become twisted nightmare versions of themselves. Anti-Paladins are some of the most feared and dangerous enemies players can face in whatever game world they are trying to save.

The skills and armor sets are largely the same as Gilliam’s. However, I have included additional sets that work well with the build as well as my CP, Mundus, and Enchantment adjustments I made to the build. This is my main dungeon build for my Nightblade tank. I am an RP nerd so I translated my Anti-Paladin into ESO and wanted my build to reflect the powers an Anti-Paladin possesses. Sap tanking is heal-tanking. Often times a good sap tank won’t even need a healer because they can keep themselves alive even after the entire party has fallen. The premise of this build is to put out as much damage as possible for a tank while prioritizing self-sufficiency and survivability.



For my attributes, I went with a 0/0/64 spread. After playing around with other variations, as well as what is needed for my pvp build I elected to stay with this. Having 64 allocated to stamina allows for my tank to block longer. When I experimented with a magicka based spread I did do more damage however I found that I could not block as long. Other suggestions for attribute spread are:

Alternative Attribute Spreads

Magicka: 0 Health: 20 Stamina: 44 –  More health, less damage. use this if you are newer to tanking and need a little extra in your health pool.

Magicka: 20 Health: 0 Stamina: 44 – More healing and damage from Magicka abilities, while retaining the ability to block during long fights. Probably more optimized. The only reason I do not use this spread is because my PVP build is stamina based.

Magicka: 64 Health: 0 Stamina: 0 – Most of the skills in my build are magicka based. Allocating all your attribute points to Magicka will allow you to heal better and do more damage. However, a small stamina pool can lead to problems in protracted fights with blocking. 

Magicka: 44 Health: 0 Stamina: 20 – Helps to solve the stamina pool issues. However, you still run the risk of running out of stamina, and a tank with no stamina can die to dungeons bosses if they can not block power attacks.


Primary Bar: One-Handed and Shield

Equipment: One-Hander and Shield of Bahraha’s Curse

  • Pierce Armor- Taunt and causes Major Breach and Fracture. Helping your party deal more damage. Keep this debuff up at all times.
  • Swallow Soul- DOT that heals you. Also just having it on your bar increases healing received by 8%.
  • Siphoning Attacks- The most important skill in this build. Siphoning Attacks keeps your stat pools topped off and can proc off of DOT effects. Keep this up all the time.
  • Absorb Magicka- Makes it possible to solo bosses that throw magic including many world bosses. The burst heal is amazing from this ability.
  • Sap Essence- Your primary survival tool in fights with large amounts of adds. The more enemies around you the more you will heal. Synergises well with Siphoning Attacks as each mob affected by this ability has a chance to trigger Siphoning Attacks. It also increases your damage by 20%
  • Ultimate: Incapacitating Strike- Major damage spike. Also causes healing to be 30% less effective against the target. Its low cost basically means that Incapacitating Strikes is a 6th ability.

Secondary Bar: Restoration Staff

Equipment: The Maelstrom’s Restoration Staff

  • Inner Beast- Ranged taunt good for gathering scattered adds.
  • Rapid Regeneration- One of the best self-heals in the game. This ability also synergises well with the Maelstrom restoration staffs enchantment as each tick of the HOT has a chance to trigger it.
  • Relentless Focus- A damage and stamina recovery buff. After 5 attacks you can activate it again to deal a larger amount of  disease damage. Use this right after you use Incapacitating strike for 20% more damage.
  • Refreshing Path- Gap closer, AOE dodger, and heals. This is a great skill for tanking. It can be used to help your party as well because everyone gets healed from it.
  • Invigorating Drain (Flex Spot)- I use invigorating drain here to help survive through large DOT AOE’s that I can’t get out of. The increased ultimate regeneration is great. This is a flex spot however, virtually any ability can be slotted here because this slot is not part of any rotations. I may even consider running caltrops simply to increase the chances that Siphoning Strikes procs.
  • Ultimate: Soul Tether or Devouring Swarm- Soul Tether is great because of the stun, Devouring Swarm is great for the increased damage. Both heal roughly the same so it is personal preference. I usually run Soul Tether in groups for the synergy ability that can help low health DPS and Healers. Aggressive War Horn could also work here.

Gear Loadouts

The optimal sets I would use are directly from Gilliam’s build. However, this build can be made to work with others sets. I have listed Additional armor sets that are not hard to obtain. One of them can even be crafted.

Head and Shoulder Slots


The Scourge Harvester Set is a given with this build. Not only does it provide maximum health but the second set bonus procs very often in dungeon fights. Since the goal of this build is to be self-sustaining, Malubeth’s is the optimal Head and Shoulder Slot. You can either try and run both pieces as heavy armor or (if you are like me) run a medium helmet and light shoulders for the undaunted bonus. Another optimization would be to have a head-piece with infused and the shoulder be reinforced. Later in this guide, I will explain why Infused is best in the head slot.

Ring, Neck, and Weapon Slots


Just like with Gilliam’s sap tanking build, we go with Bahraha’s Curse Set for rings, neck, and weapons. This set is relatively easy to get and makes this build. 25% on any damage ability to create a patch of ground that not only deals damage but heals you. This is basically up all the time. Not only that but this set also adds to the maximums of all your attribute pools. This is a must have set for this build. As far was what versions to look for you can either go for Healthy or Arcane. I personally would look for Healthy as it will further increase your health pool. Arcane works just as well as it increases your damage and healing. It is personal preference. I like having a slightly larger health pool in case I miss a block.

Chest, Hand, Belt, Legs, and Feet Slots


The best in slot armor  is going to be the Leeching Plate Set. It adds another proc to the build that will trigger quite often based on how much a tank takes damage. It will also heal you. Having this combined with Bahraha’s and Scourger sets pretty much negates the need for a healer. Leeching Plate is not the easiest armor set to obtain and can be time-consuming to gain pieces that are all infused.

Alternative’s To Leeching Plate

These sets are all great alternatives to Leeching Plate. I would go with one of these sets until you are able to get Leeching Plate. This will allow you to get almost everything out of this build. When selecting these sets I went with the criteria of easy to get and covers most of the benefit that a player would get from leeching. Some sets sacrifice certain aspects of Leeching such as trading 4% healing received for a larger healing pool. The 5 set bonuses are geared to help with survivability or partially mimic the bonus from leeching. Personally, I am a fan of Order of Diagna and Draugr’s Heritage sets for their easy of access and bonuses. The Order of Diagna might even replace Leeching for me but more testing is needed.

Vampire’s Kiss is probably the easiest alternative armor set to get a hold of. This is a 5 trait crafted set and a bonus here is that you can make it look like whatever you want it to. This set is all about helping you survive large add pulls. When you are spamming sap essence you will eventually get the killing blow on a monster. When this happens you gain a nice HOT. This set is also great for running solo and grinding delves and public dungeons. You miss out on 4% Healing taken as well as the damaging Proc of Leeching Plate. However, you should get healed from it more often. You will want to craft every piece of this set as Infused armor.


Duneripper’s Scales is another set that is easy to obtain. It drops from bosses in Volenfell. With this set, you are once again losing the damage proc from Leeching scales as well as missing out on the proccing HOT that comes with the set. However, in return, you gain a major buff when blocking. You also get to keep the 8% healing received. As with all other sets in this guide, look for Infused pieces when farming. If you just want the set just blast through normal Volenfell and upgrade the blue pieces. The normal dungeon takes about 15 minutes with a decently geared group.


The Order of Diagna set is a very easy to acquire new set introduced with One Tamriel. It drops from dungeons, delves, and world bosses in the Alik’r Desert. The trade-offs with this armor, as opposed to Leeching Plate, is that you lose a damage proccing ability from the armor. However you gain more health pool, and 4% additional healing received over the bonuses from the Leeching Plate set. Considering the goal of this build is to be constantly healing, having 12% additional healing received from just your armor set is very nice. Look for Infused pieces as a priority with this set.


Draugr’s Heritage makes for a nice alternative armor set. You lose out on 4% healing but gain additional health. The 5 piece set it great for add management and the accompanying burst heal can save your life in the event you miss a block or take a large amount of damage really quickly. This set is obtained by killing world, public dungeon, and delve bosses in The Rift. It makes it a relatively easy set to obtain. Prioritize Infused with this armor set.

Enchants, Mundus Stone, Champion Points and  Consumables


Recommended Enchants:

1,3,6,and 12- Truly Superb Glyph of Prismatic Defense – Yellow

2,4,5,7- Truly Superb Glyph of Health

8,9,10- Truly Superb Glyph of Magicka Recovery

11- Truly Superb Glyph of Absorb Health

13- The Maelstrom’s Restoration Staff: DO NOT change this enchant.

Explanation: I run Prismatic Defense on the armor and shield slot that yields the highest stats. That would be the head, chest, legs, and shield. I run Health enchants on on the rest of my armor. This gives me, with food, plenty of health as well as large Stamina and Magicka stats. With siphoning attacks, resource management is easy. This is where infused comes in. Since we are running tri-stat enchants we need to make sure we get as much out of them as we can as it affects all of our stat pools.

For the jewelry slots, I elected to go with Magicka recovery. If I need to burst recover stamina I can just throw a couple of heavy attacks in between blocks. I could do the same with a channeled heavy attack from my staff, but I would take more damage than is worth in a boss fight. I find that with magicka recovery on my jewelry plus siphoning attacks I have no problems maintaining a magicka pool.

With my weapon enchantment, I like the drain health enchantment. It further increases survivability. Alternative enchantments could be crushing for more group utility, or decrease health fro more raw damage. Disease damage could also be another alternative to decrease healing on the boss. The Maelstrom Staff has its own unique enchantment that should not be replaced.

Mundus Stone: Atronach or Serpent is fine here. It depends on where you feel you are having the most difficulty maintaining a healthy pool. The most optimized would be Atronach due to the amount of Magicka abilities in the build.

Champion Points

My Stat Allocation


Mage Points

Blessed: 30 Shattering Blows: 30  Piercing: 47  Thaumaturge: 80

For my mage allocations, I decreased the blessed down to 30 over Gilliam’s build. With the amount of healing in this build, I felt these points were best allocated elsewhere. 30 in shattering blows is exclusively for riposte. You will be doing a lot of blocking, this allows you to return some damage as well. While I would rather have 47 in spell erosion, Last Stand is too good to pass up. I have allocated 80 points in thaumaturge for more DOT damage and 47 in piercing. An alternative would be to put the 47 in mighty for the increase in disease damage. With Last Stand you will be able to gain ultimate when you are low in health. Soul tether is a great oh shit ultimate that can save you. Last Stand can help make sure that you will be able to get Soul Tether off in a fight.


Thief Points

Magician: 100 Arcanist: 67 Tumbling: 20

Straight forward here. Though technically we use stamina as your stat allocation, the majority of the build is magicka based. We are a Magicka Nightblade in stamina Nightblades clothing. Magician and Arcanist ensure that we have no issues maintaining our magicka. Tumbling is nice because it decreases stamina cost when we have to dodge a boss attack. The extra gold from Fortune Seeker is a nice bonus as well.


Warrior Points

Thick Skinned: 21 Elemental Defender: 60 Hardy: 60 Quick Recovery: 46

21 points in Thick Skinned. This is to help reduce DOT’s. 60 in Elemental Defender and 60 in Hardy to decrease essentially any damage from you will take. 46 in quick recovery is a no brainer. It helps in healing received.

Consumables: I use Tri-stat purple food.

Race Choices

Any race can work with this build but here are my recommended ideal races to make the most out of this build and its kit.

  1. Argonian- Even though I play an Imperial, the ideal race would be Argonian for this build. Increased Magicka and Health pools. The Argonian not only heals for more, but they also receive more healing. It offsets the 0/0/64 attribute spread lacking magicka.
  2. Orc- A close second is Orc. The reason for this is the larger health and stamina pools, as well as, increased healing received and more damage with weapon attacks.
  3. Imperial- Imperial is my go to race for everything in this game. I have played imperials in almost every Elder Scrolls game. The benefit of playing imperial with his build is the added Stamina and Health pools. The Red Diamond passive is also very nice. 10% chance to heal 6% of max health with every attack is an amazing racial passive.
  4. Nord- Nord is an all around tanky race. More health, stamina, and health recovery, in addition, to build in damage reduction make the Nord a good racial choice for any sort of tank build.


This tanking build is extremely fun to play. Sometimes you won’t even need a healer and the healer can become a third DPS. You will burn down mobs faster. Many times, even after a party wipe, you will be able to solo a boss simply because your sustain is amazing. If this guide was helpful to you please comment and share.


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