My First 60: Inner Wheel Tanking

My First 60 – Tanking Build for New Characters

Hammer and Chaos Weakened Synergy

A functional tank build for the Polaris (Q3) and Hell Rising (Q5)

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Build Notes: Our “My First 60″ builds are targeted for about 60 total points. They represent the initial builds for a player starting the game, but wanting to play a focused role.  Thus, inner wheel builds are incomplete builds and NOT intended for mid-game or later play.There are far better tank builds out there, but they all require working out into the advanced cells.  For a player wanting to be a reasonable tank in the Polaris instance (quality level 3), they simply lack the points to get there.  I have used this build to successfully tank the first two instances in the game.  The build features three builders, two specifically to help with hate generation and one to help with the lack of mitigation common to low level tanks.

This build also provides an excellent foundation for developing into the weakened hammer/chaos build covered in another guide.
Active Abilities
Smash (Hammer) 1AP
Escalation (Chaos) 1AP
Grand Slam (Hammer) 1AP
Razor Shards (Hammer Pit) 9AP
Call for Eris (Chaos) 1 AP
Stonewalled (Hammer) 2AP
Illusion (Chaos) 2AP
Passive Abilities
Below the Belt (Hammer) 1AP
Intensity (Chaos) 1AP
Gnosis (Chaos) 1AP
Paradigm Shift (Chaos) 2AP
Cool, Calm and Collected (Hammer E) 7AP
Hard Impact (Hammer) 4AP
Chaos Adept (Chaos) 4AP
Key FeaturesThis build requires 47 points spent in Hammer and 17 points in Chaos.  A player can put it together with about 20 total skill points, roughly where they will be when they put on all Q3 talisman and weapons.

This build uses three builders, since two contribute useful weakened effects and two contribute to your hate gain.  Smash (with Below the Belt passive) provides one of the easiest accesses to the Debilitate debuff (target damage output weakened up to 30%).  Escalation (with Intensity passive) provides pbaoe hate generation, access to the Exposed debuff (target takes up to 30% more damage) and keeps a near constant minor ward (7.5% reduction from all damage sources).  Additionally, since your builders both generate the weakened effect, you are routinely triggering the Gnossis (bonus damage) and Paradigm Shift (up to 150 bonus hit rating).
The build lacks a direct taunt.  While Provoke is available in the Turbulence tree for the same cost as Razor Shards, the 40-second recycle on Provoke makes it difficult to carry this early in the game.  Rather, the build uses its hate generating abilities to passively build up hate.  Escalation always generates PBAOE hate.  Grand Slam builds PBAOE hate when it strikes a weakened target – the rotation for your builders should assure this always happens.  On top of that, The Razor Shards finisher is a hate generator which also boosts the hate level of your next attack.  Use Razor Shards and follow it up with either Call for Eris or Smash to significantly boost hate.  Finally, the Cool, Calm and Collected passive generates hate on blocks.  Start a fight out by triggering Stonewalled for increased block chances and early hate generation.
Your party has to work with you, though.  If you lose hate in this build, you can’t just pop it back to you as you might in another game.  Ask your team to give you at least one full rotation to get your hate built up before they jump in.  Make sure people understand that they need to pull adds over to you for your agro to pick them up.  However, given the relatively low dps at this stage of the game, you shouldn’t be losing hate to anyone, easily (if they are patient).
Open with a Stonewalled to get some blocks and hate going.  Fire off your first Razor Shards immediately (hammer starts with 5 resources each fight).  From there, Smash, Escalate, Grand Slam, Escalate, Smash, Razor Shards, Call for Eris is the default rotation.  Cycle in Stonewalled and Illusion on cooldown to help keep your defensives high.
There isn’t much you can do this early in the game.  The build lacks an active elite, but both Shockwave and Domino Effect have long recycles and the build already has two long recycle abilities.  You might find that Schism performs better than Call for Eris as a finisher, but in my experience,  CfE has been outstanding.
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26 Responses to My First 60: Inner Wheel Tanking

  1. Haase says:

    Sorry to say this, but you are missing the misc skills. Those are very important for tanking … especially in the first phase of the game. You should at least add in the passive with +300% hate generation.

    • Ryahl says:


      A second thank you. As we talked over this, we changed our label for the “inner wheel builds” to “my first 60″ to try to make it a bit more clear that we're working with very close to a 60 point cap on those builds.

  2. Ryahl says:

    Hi there Haase and thank you for the comment.

    I agree that the miscellaneous skills are outstanding and any mid-game or later tank build absolutely needs to include them (see the weakened tank build for their use.

    However, Agitator is the 2nd ability in a cell that costs outer wheel points to purchase. Adding agitator requires 21 points (9 to buy Provoke and 12 for Agitator). That's 1/3 of the total point investment of this build.

    The inner wheel builds we post are intended to work at around 60 total points. At that stage of the game, the player has around 20 skill points. The character is sitting around Q2 or Q3 in their talismans and weapons.

    The build works for the range it's in, and not much farther. Working out of this build, my next 21 points would go to Provoke and Agitator, though. So, your suggestion (at least from my perspective) is the next domino in the chain.

    Thanks for reading and offering your thoughts!


  3. Tim Strain says:

    Thanks for the ideas in this guide, I'm certainly going to give it a whirl (no pun intended lol). I have a chaos/hammer build I was tinkering with in beta with some of the same thoughts in mind. Nice to see it should be viable.

    • Ryahl says:

      Thanks Tim.

      The MF60 build here is the one I used in CB to work through Polaris and Inferno… and it's actually the one I used again just last night to do the same. It progresses rather easily into the weakened build also on this guide.

      To me, Debilitate is one of the 'must have' debuffs. It doesn't have to come from the tank, but it is pretty easy for a tank to bring it to the fight.

  4. Br0shimitsu says:

    What do you think of Hammer/Sword or Sword/Hammer..

    Currently im Chaos/Sword (not really likeing it) Im not sure if its the sword part or the Chaos part, but im thinking of trying hammer with one of those combos.

    What are the pros and cons to them and does one stand out more then the other?

    • Ryahl says:

      Thanks for the question Br0shimitsu.

      I haven't really used sword in a tank build (we do use it in a survival build). At least early on, it seems like Sword doesn't synergize as well with Chaos or Hammer.

      The weakened state synergies between chaos and hammer just make it too easy to put together effective early tank builds.

      Blade, by comparison, early on builds synergies off of penetration and afflictions. Neither of which come from the other tanking trees.

      If I were trying to put together a blade tanking build, I would probably work something off of a self-heal tank (similar to the survival build). That said, I'm not positive that this would play well early on in the game. You would need to split a couple of gear pieces over to heal to keep up with your tanking hitpoints. You would also need to glyph your gear either defense or crit (for heals), which creates conflict with penetrate (the sword itself).

      I know blade builds tank well later on, I'm familiar with more than a few blade/blood tanks from the closed beta. It's just not the direction I chose to go and it doesn't seem to lend itself from being beaten on by bosses.

      Blade and Chaos do syergize (later) around movement abilities. I keep meaning to get around to a “push/pull” build using dashes (from blade) and pulls (from chaos) to make a potentially nasty PVP build.

  5. Br0shimitsu says:

    I feel like Grip Whip (Hammer) Is something that shouldnt be over looked..

    Currently if i go Chaos/Hammer, i wont be using Grip Whip (which increases block chance) Since i will be using smash (for the damage reduct) escalation (for the evade buff once you get the passive) and if i tried to squeeze in Grip Whip there would be way to much to try and keep up.

    To me it looked like sword/hammer would be better for the fact that you get more glance/block (which would reduc each hit) then you do evade, yeah evade you take no damage, but thats a big “if” you evade.

    Wheres Sword/Hammer it seems a lot easier to get defence rating/block rating…

    I dont know thats my 2 cents, i could be stupid but yeah lol

  6. Doukeyakusha says:

    Can you give tips on gear and how to spend SP points? thanks!

    • Ryahl says:

      Sure thing!

      I always put 1 pt. into the offensive category for my weapons. This adds the momentum (hammer) and random damage add (chaos) bonuses to my attack, giving a small dps improvement.

      Besides that point, though, all other weapon skill points go towards the defensive side of my weapons. I do this until reaching the 9pt purchase on defense. Once there, I return to my offensive weapon skills and play catch up.

      Your ability to hit targets is tied to your weapon's highest skills. So, pushing one side of your weapons forwards (e.g. defense over offense) is better than trying to balance offense and defense on your weapon trees. If you are glancing a lot, your weapon skill is too low (and you may need some more +hit gear or abilities too).

      Don't neglect your talisman though! Try to keep your three talisman skills roughly equal to your defensive weapon skills. This gives you some passive hitpoints, magic resistance and physical resistance as well as letting you equip better gear.

      Overall, I try to keep things balanced as I progress. But, I will spend points opportunistically if I get a good drop!

    • Doukeyakusha says:

      Thank you for your help, I appreciate it! Makes it easier for me now to just play rather than trying to come up with something myself, I've done enough reading as it is :P

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  8. RawkRobot says:

    Thanks for the info! I’m a brand new tank and was drawn to Chaos/Hammer and put together a build for myself. I then found this page and was pleasantly surprised that my build was pretty similar, so it’s good to know I was on the right track.

    I think the only things I didn’t have were Cool, Calm, and Collected, Razor Shards, and the two +damage passives. I’ve since added Razor Shards and Cool, Calm, and Collected, but I had already put down points into Agitator, so I used that and Master of Illusions in place of the +damage passives (though the Master of Illusions might be unnecessary, it makes me feel safe). :P

    I’ll definitely be using your Blue Mountain Special build as a blue print for my ongoing tank build, since it pretty much seems identical to what I was envisioning for myself.

  9. El Furioso says:

    Loving this build so far! Just picking up the last few AP for Razor Shards, and enjoying the trip. :-)

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  11. Lexxie says:

    Nice guide :) Been having lots of fun with this. GO you also have a Inner ring deck for Blade / Chaos? I’m playing with one now and wondered what you though about it.

  12. Paranoid says:

    Using this build, its a good one just did polaris no problem so thx for sharing. :D

  13. Joetee says:

    Hey Ryahl,
    first of all: nice build! Im currently trying to get it together:D
    Could you tell me if I would need a survival build with this build or if I could just go with pure tank?

    • RyahlRyahl says:

      Hi Joetee,

      I’m not sure this build will transition cleanly into a survival build. Most of our low AP survival builds rely on a heal oriented weapon. You can probably work in some fist points from the fist/chaos builds and just keep these moving along allowing you to tank or solo as need be.

    • troy says:

      I use a very similar build for survival/soloing.

      - Replace Paradigm Shift with Lick Your Wounds (a Fist passive). That one ability is just about all the healing a careful soloist needs, and it’s only one point to get it.
      - Replace Grand Slam with Haymaker (more efficient to use a single target finisher when fighting a single target). This also simplifies your rotation. Versus a single target: Hay, Smash x5, CfE, repeat. Versus a group: Razor, Esc x 5, CfE, repeat. You can switch rotations mid-combat if you get adds, or once you’ve reduced a group down to one last enemy.
      - Replace CC&C with Probability. The elite passives of Hammer and Chaos are very similar, but I like Probability better for soloing since the offensive side of it procs more frequently than CC&C (three hits in a row happen more often than critical hits). Plus the visual effect of Probability when it offensively procs is awesome.
      - Replace one of the defense cooldowns with one of the elite actives (either Shockwave or Domino Effect). I like Shockwave a little better since DE will often pull enemies to behind me. An impair to stop interruptable enemy attacks will be more useful to you as a soloist than a second defensive cooldown. If you go with Probability as your elite passive, keep Illusion as your defense CD, else keep Stonewalled. In truth, you don’t need either defense cooldown for soloing, but there isn’t much to replace it with that’s within your 60-point budget that would do much better.

      I also use Schism instead of CfE, but the only reason I do that is because the animation for Schism looks like the Shoryuken! spinning uppercut move from Street Fighter 2. DPS-wise they are pretty close.

  14. Wayne M. says:

    Can this be used for soloing? I am a new player and in other MMOs (WoW, RIFT) I have almost always been a tank, and usually the tank build also works pretty well as survivability when doing normal questing. Is that also the case in TSW, or would I have to go with one of the survival builds and wait to get more AP in order to tank?

    • AelaAela says:

      You can tank with the build from the start. That build will work at low QLs. I would, however, recommend if you are going to solo to go with the Survival Claw/Blade, whiel the tanking will work, the difference between the builds for survival soloing and tanking soloing is noticeable..

  15. El-Sid says:

    I’m a very new to TSW (started at the weekend) and created three ‘toons’ to do some initial learning of the game concepts, see what matches my playing style etc.

    I’ve got a blade/claw survival build – from this site – so thanks for that ! :)

    I also have an Ele/Blood build from the TSW forums.

    My third toon uses this Hammer/Chaos build – and I must admit I am loving it as it is the ‘best fit’ to my play style, I find my ‘survival’ is best with this build…… and you have to love the “Whoosh” when swinging a Hammer ! :)

    So, I’ll definitely be concentrating on my noobie Tank for the time being.

    My thanks for both the build info – and the explanations on the reasoning behind them – very helpful to we ‘utter noobs’ !



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