The Basic Nightmare Tank
Sword and Chaos
After putting it off for some time, I finally put together a basic nightmare tank sword/chaos tanking build. If you look at the tank builds I have assembled, it’s easy to see that I have run hammer/chaos for a long, long time. However, just about everyone recommends sword/chaos. Well, in general, I think the hammer/chaos builds are fine. This build, however, does some things (one in particular) better than the hammer/chaos tree. This basic nightmare tank build (with some tweaks on a boss by boss basis) has successfully cleared the first three nightmares and done a good dent into the next two.
- Karma/Four Horseman
- Steel Palace/Binding Wounds
- Chaotic Pull/Surging Blades
- Art of War/Stoicism
- Crimson Theater
- Reality Fracture
- Shadow Play
- Forged in Fire
- Fever Pitch
- Immovable Object
This is a pretty bread and butter tanking build. It picks up most of its mitigation from gear (see below). The build uses Agitator, Reality Fracture and Crimson Theater for primary agro generation. Most nightmare tanking builds need a pair of interrupts and this build has two fast recycling ones with Art of War and Chaotic Pull. Fever Pitch helps solve your glancing problem. With FP in my build, I can get away with only slotting hit on my weapons, saving all of my talisman for defensive stats.
The build picks up some important basic survival from Steel Palace (minor ward if the target is afflicted) and additional defense from Crimson Theater/Shadow Play. If your party doesn’t have an affliction starter (get one?) swap out Blindside for Intensity. If you are finding yourself a bit too squishy, simply do the Blindside/Intensity swap (or cycle Shadow play more often).
I put this build together for a single boss, Wayeb-Xul. Art of War is a decisive ability with the way Concussion works prior to 1.1.3. In its current form, Concussion is a knock around, blind and agro dump. If you save AoW and use it right near the end of a Concussion cast, WX is still on mandatory agro to you, saving one of your DPS! To do this, though, you need another teammate helping with the breath impairs for WX.
For single target fights, I tend to switch Karma for Four Horseman (Call for Eris would work too) and Steel Palace gets swapped for Binding Wounds.
For fights where interrupting is bad (Ur’Draug, I’m looking at you), I tend to move Art of War out and Stoicism in. Additionally, I also move Chaotic Pull out and replace it with Sling Blade for UD.
For fights where mobility matters (Mayan Battle Mage), consider dropping Chaotic Pull and putting in Surging Blades.
Gear is critical to make this build work. I run about 80/20 hp/atk gear. I use two minor talisman for ATK and the rest HP. Block is a very important stat in your first nightmares as the bosses tend to have very high penetrate. I’m running well over 600 block these days, but when I started NM’s it was hard to break 500. If your block is only about 500, drop Blindside and replace it with just about any other defensive passive.
Once you have enough block to push the boss penetrate off the table (600 is fine), it’s usually a good idea to focus on a second stat. I tend to use physical protection or magical protection based on the damage output of the boss (see our Nightmare at a Glance for ideas). This means you need a lot of gear bags, but such seems to be the nature of tanking in the Secret World.
If you are using AoW as an impair (and you should), you can’t really afford to open with it. This means you have low agro at the start of the fight and your DPS needs to give you a rotation. This is, perhaps, the single biggest frustration with this build (and its a minor one). I’m quite spoiled with the huge spike agro of a Stoicism/Razor Shards opener from the Hammer/Chaos side.
Instead, you have to open mild. Pop a Crimson Theater, Escalate and immediately get a Reality Fracture and Steel Palace up. This should get your hate generation going well enough to stay ahead of your DPS.
My normal rotation runs 3-5 escalations, reality fracture and crimson theater. 3-5 escalations and steel palace, karma. Make sure you use CT and RF on recycle in this build, lower your builder rotation to whatever number is comfortable at keeping both of your pulsing aoe’s and steel palace up (for minor ward).
I tend to use Chaotic Pull as my first impair and save AoW for the second. They both recycle reasonably fast (35 and 30 seconds), so you will rarely have a problem keeping a major boss ability on lockdown with this build.