Comparison of Tanking Weapons and General Tanking builds guide

First section will look into comparison of single weapons, second one will offer some combination build suggestions with evaluations of each one. This is based on my personal years of experience tanking in the game, trying to be as impartial to different weapons as possible.

Shotgun: Mitigation Type: Glance

While clearly a superior choice in terms of mitigation by a wide margin, shotgun suffers from some issues compared to other weapons when it comes to questions of convenience.


  • Highest mitigation potential in the game.
  • HP % buff on signature allows for extra flexibility in builds (by giving you an option to drop rocket pod ability)
  • Highest aggro potential
  • Ranged attacks allow you to ignore certain mechanics / AoE attacks from the bosses
  • Access to group wide buffs like Opening Shot and Expose, as well as the best cleanse in the game, Clean Up


  • Reloading mechanic is unpolished and clunky
  • Scattershot is the worst AoE basic attack in the game, making managing adds comparatively more challenging
  • Lack of good passives for tanking (there’s essentially only 5 so you run them with no alternative)
  • Poor offhand option
  • Learning to ignore certain mechanics can bite you in the ass later

Weapon Options:

  • Bolstering Blaster of Efficiency: top dog when it comes down to taking as little damage as possible. Massive overkill for 99% of the situations
  • Bolstering Blaster of X (Preferably Restoration / Recovery) / Thundering Demise of Efficiency MK III (IV): Second best option for mitigation, both of these weapons provide great cooldown reduction (either through passive in case of BB or with affix on TD) and additional survivability (with affix on BB and extra free passives on TD). Keep in mind that TD takes away your ability to apply Expose, as well as having Supremacy elite bugged to the point of unusability.
  • Redeemer of Efficiency MK III (IV) / Shotgun of the Howling Dog of Efficiency MK III (IV): Group support options, both of those shotguns rely on using Armour Piercing Shells to provide utility to your team. Redeemer gives your team a slight boost in damage whereas Howling Dog has a much easier time applying expose stacks that makes it much easier to run and better in short fights.
  • Any Shotgun of Efficiency MK IV

Chaos Mitigation Type: Evasion

Slightly worse in overall mitigation than shotgun, it can nevertheless achieve peak mitigation that rivals shotgun due to amazing synergies between it’s abilities.


  • Highest peak damage mitigation
  • Best Elite + Signature Ability synergy in the game, as well as best signature ability in the game.
  • Access to best taunt in the game (Evulsion)
  • Highest AoE damage / aggro
  • Incoming damage delay passive (Aegis of Parallelism)
  • Amazing offhand option
  • Melee range makes you more aware of mechanics


  • Lowest single target aggro of all tanking weapons (lowest /= low, it’s still adequate)
  • High energy consumption
  • Melee range

Weapon options:

  • Dark Mysteries of Efficiency (Recovery / Alacrity) MK III (IV): Best all around choice, great passives for mainhand, usable passive for offhand.
  • Enigmatic Apparatus of Efficiency (Recovery / Alacrity) MK III (IV): Alternative good choice for mainhand (not as good for offhand)
  • Sanity’s Aphelion of Alacrity MK III (IV): Good offhand choice, hence Alacrity affix, not good in mainhand
  • Focus of the Unwritten Talisman: Good mainhand option for dungeons or OD tanking.
  • Any Chaos of Efficiency MK III (IV)

Hammer: Mitigation Type: Temporary Health Increase

Lowest mitigation out of 3 tanking weapon options, hammer, nonetheless, has some upsides that make it a good choice for tanking lairs or dungeons if you’re running them with higher geared DPS.


  • Guaranteed mitigation. Temporary HP provided will always soak the same amount of damage 100% of the time, unlike glance / evade mechanics that rely on RNG
  • The only weapon that has access to two taunts
  • High mobility
  • Healing procs from mitigation abilities enhance aggro generation
  • Good AoE capability
  • Big buffs to incoming healing makes hammer weapon users easiest to heal
  • Melee range makes you more aware of mechanics
  • Good offhand option


  • Lowest mitigation of all tanking weapons (lowest /= low, it’s still adequate) makes hammer tanks require most healing
  • Raging Volcano taunt is unreliable on single target
  • Pain Suppression is unsuitable for mitigating large spike damage
  • Melee range

Weapon options:

  • Torturer’s Instrument of Efficiency (Recovery / Alacrity) MK III (IV): Best option for tanking in main or offhand. Great passives for mainhand, Die Hard is one of the best passives for offhand.
  • Manticore’s Riot Suppressor / Orochi Motivator of Efficiency (Recovery / Alacrity) MK III (IV): Somewhat usable in mainhand, not good in offhand at all.
  • Any Hammer of Efficiency MK IV (III)

Example builds for various weapon combinations:

Shotgun / Chaos:
Maximum Mitigation
This build provides the most mitigation at the cost of only having AoE basic and Sonic Blast as AOE taunt and relies on Evulsion + Kneecapper as double interrupt. Massive overkill for dungeons, suggest at least swapping Unification Susceptibility Module gadget for Electrogravitic Attractor or Mistress’s Bashosen for a lower cooldown interrupt. Swapping Reinforced Rockets for Mass Evulsion passive is also a possibility.

Import via Boobuilds


General Build
Shotgun Chaos

Import via Boobuilds


3 Interrupts and 2 AoE taunt should have you covered in 95% of situations. Swap Kneecapper for Anomaly in other 5%. Swap in Stand Firm for X Factor if you don’t have Dark Mysteries Chaos Focus or for Multidimensional Threads if you do. Drop Reinforced shells if you need to use Opening shot or Clean Up to buff / cleanse. Drops Reinforce Shells+passive in favour of Scattershot / Rocket Pod+passive combo for more aggro.

Shotgun Hammer:

General Build:
Shotgun Hammer

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Less popular combination than Shotgun / Chaos, Hammer can nonetheless bring some utility to this build by using Blindside with Beatdown passive for interrupting and buffing DPS, as well as supplementing weaker shotgun AoE capability. Swap Kneecapper / Stand Firm for Raging Volcano / Molten Armor if you require more AoE.

Chaos Hammer:

Chaos hammer

Import via Boobuilds


Yes, your eyes aren’t deceiving you. The only purpose of hammer in this build is to provide Die Hard passive for free from Torturer’s Instrument weapon (it doesn’t even have to be levelled). On bosses that deal high single target damage elite swap for Immutable is recommended. Change Probability Protection passive for Incongruity if you do.

Chaos Shotgun build is therefore the same but instead of Die Hard passive benefit you’ll get a 5% increase to incoming healing from having shotgun with green shells equipped.

Hammer Chaos:
Hammer chaos

Import via Boobuilds


Good AoE aggro, decent mitigation. Pain Supression can potentially be used instead of Invoke Self but there’s little reason to do it. Switching to Unstoppable Force instead of Raging Volcano on single target tanking bosses will free up one passive slot if you are using Torturer’s Instrument hammer. Multidimentional Threads Chaos passive is a good option to replace Molten Armor.

How to make your own build:

Generally there are several things to consider when it comes to tanking builds.

  • Average mitigation
  • Spike damage mitigation
  • Aggro retention
  • Forced taunting (if required)
  • Add management
  • Utility - interrupts, purges, exposes, damage buffs, whatever

Parts of a tanking build:

  1. Basic attack: Either AoE or single target. Scaling wise, single target is double the damage of aoe basic, so if there are no adds present there’s little reason to use AoE.

  2. HP% buff. Strictly speaking, not necessary, but it’s easy to keep %HP buff up in perpetuity, so not using it and forfeiting at least 30% of your total hp bar for a tank is borderline griefing of your healer. For Hammer / Chaos %HP buff is tied to a 3 point energy power ability ( Pulverize / Distortion) and lasts 15 seconds, for Shotgun it’s a part of Sonic Blast signature and has 60 seconds duration.

  3. Active mitigation cooldowns: Abilities that are expressly meant to help you prevent incoming damage spikes from boss abilities. There are some places where using them is required to avoid being oneshot, but they are also used to reduce overall average damage in an encounter even if there is no imminent big hit incoming. Each tanking weapon has one of those in Special abilities and 2 Elite abilities that can serve that purpose. Since you can only use one Elite ability at a time at most you can have 2 active mitigation abilities from one weapon (+ 1 from offhand if you so choose). Active mitigation abilities have 60 seconds base cooldowns. For elites it is usually reduced by a head cooldown reduction signet (either generic or weapon-specific) to ~40 seconds. If you know what you’re doing you can make do with just your Elite but in most situation 2 cooldowns is the way to go.

  4. Signature Ability: Signature ability is a mixed ability that provides you with both a great way to quickly pull aggro from a lot of mobs with it’s 20m wide aoe, as well as having a nice mitigation bonus to help your average mitigation out. They are not as potent as active mitigation cooldowns but their base cooldown is much lower at 30 seconds and to add to that each signature ability has unique triggers that when activated will reduce it’s cooldown even further by a specific number of seconds. Generally speaking you would want to use them as often as possible. They are not mandatory, but dropping them is a big hit to your average protections.
    Sonic Blast (Shotgun Signature): Cooldown reduced by 5 seconds when you glance a hit / reload.
    Twist Fate (Chaos Signature): Cooldown reduced by 10 seconds when you evade an attack and 5 seconds when you reach 8 paradoxes.
    Blazing Fury (Hammer Signature): Cooldown reduced by 5 seconds when you enrage and 2 seconds every time you take damage (but not more than once per second).

  5. Taunt: Optional for the most part, but there are some bosses that have aggro reset mechanics and require having a taunt in your build. Additionally these abilities often have use beyond just forcing aggro and are generally nice to have. Abilities that taunt are:
    Sonic Blast - Shotgun Signature Ability, 20m wide AoE taunt, hits up to 6 (9 with Nemain signet) targets. Since you’re already running it for the HP% buff it’s essentially free in any shotgun mainhand build.
    Evulsion - Chaos Special Ability, 15m range single (6m wide AoE centered on the main target, 5 (8) more targets with Mass Evulsion passive) target taunt, interrupts, purges (twice with Mass Evulsion passive). One of, if not the best tanking ability in the game utility-wise.
    Into The Fray - Hammer power ability, 10m range, dash (target required), hits 1 target, with 51% or more survivability anima allocation taunts up to 5 (8 with Signet of Nemain) more targets around the primary target. Grants protections to you and your allies around the target. While this ability has some uses when you need to move fast it has significant drawbacks of putting your in potentially unwanted places. It is also directly inferior to Evulsion, as it deals less damage, and neither purges nor interrupts.
    Raging Volcano - Hammer Elite Ability. 20m wide AoE 6 second channel, hits every 0.5 seconds and applies a millisecond taunt on each hit, until the last hit that applies persistent taunt. The taunt component for the duration is prone to failure with high DPS hits potentially pulling aggro between pulses and is not reliable as a main taunt. Can be used as supplemental taunt to hold aggro on add spawns. Also has good mitigation component so if you’re using it in a dungeon, might as well have a taunt too. Really good for grabbing a lot of adds at once.

So far our tank build looks like this:

Basic attack / HP% buff / Signature Ability / Mitigation Cooldown / Elite / Utility - for chaos hammer


Basic attack / Utility / Signature ability + HP% buff / Mitigation Cooldown / Elite / Utility - for shotgun.

Gaget choices:

Tanks can use variety of gadgets to different ends. List of options includes

  • Interrupts: Electrogravitic attractor - Single target ranged / Mistress’s Bashosen - Melee 10m wide AoE. These are probably the most widely used as then can not only interrupt vital boss abilities that it is your job as tank to interrupt but also pull adds that are chasing your DPS, or knock them down that will prevent the add from hitting the DPS

  • Mitigation: Personal - Unification Susceptibility Module (grants stacks of protections per teammate alive, including you), Osmium Configuration (gives you a protection boost and knockback immunity at the cost of a hefty slow) and Group - Compact Catastrophe Shelter - grants protections to everyone standing in the area (this one is usually used by the healer, but it’s also fine to use as tank if you don’t have other ones). There aren’t really any fights that require mitigation gadgets but on some fights they’re nice to have and other gadgets are not required there so you might as well.

  • Utility: Purification Drone Model UW-0: Cleanses one of your teammates (including yourself) of 1 detrimental effect per second (some effects that are displayed as stacks are cleansed at once, and some per stack). Fey Line Stone - teleports you forward X meters (based on rarity), useful to teleport through some things or to quickly gain distance from some bosses when kiting is required.Manticore X27 Agitator - 3 second taunt, 15m range, single target. Almost no use in dungeons, some use in raid tanking.

  • Omega broken poo poo: Effigy O33: Reconstructor - heals you for 1.5% of your max hp for 10 seconds. This heals you more than some healers, especially if you are using hammer.


Consult this

Dungeon Mechanics

These guides (1), (2) are mostly relevant to tanking dungeons up until e14 where new mechanics are introduced.

Raid Tanking Guide
Hammer builds
General mechanics


In today’s issue of “Answering questions nobody but me cares about” we’re going to be looking at solving the riddle of what tanking weapon combination provides the smoothest tanking experience once and for all.

We will be looking at most combinations of weapons in multiple NYR e17 rotations and evaluating the difference in incoming damage.

Weapons are as follows:

  • Shotgun: For shotgun we’ll be looking at Reinforce Shells + Kneecapper.

  • Chaos: We’ll be looking at Immutable + Invoke Self

  • Hammer: Hammer will be extensively tested with Unstoppable Force + Pain Supression, Unstoppable Force + Invoke Self, Raging Volcano + Pain Suppression + USM gadget, Raging Volcano + Pain Supression and no gadget.

For each test run we’ll do 10 rotations and measure how many total damaging hits we took and how many of those hits exceeded 10, 15 and in case of Hammer Raging Volcano builds, 20k damage (some of those were above 30k but I’m not going to make another column). It is important to note two things - numbers are inclusive (i.e. if there’s one in both >10k and >15k columns it’s a single hit) and “total hits” can be disregarded as it makes no difference between a 900 damage hit under a cooldown or 9999 damage tick. We’re mostly interested in looking at damage spikes denoted by 2nd and 3rd numbers. Anything below 10k damage can be safely disregarded as ambient damage. All builds included applying as much additional mitigation with Signature / HP% buffs from Pulverize / Distortion as possible.


Total Hits >10k >15k
10 0 0
8 2 0
11 1 1
9 0 0
8 3 1
12 0 0
11 0 0
6 0 0
6 0 0
6 0 0

Totals: 87 / 6 / 2


Total Hits >10k >15k
6 1 0
5 0 0
13 1 0
11 1 1
7 0 0
5 0 0
7 0 0
7 0 0
8 0 0
8 0 0

Total: 77 / 3 / 1

Hammer UF / IS

Total Hits >10k 15k
7 1 1
12 0 0
7 2 0
11 3 3
10 1 0
10 1 0
7 0 0
10 2 2
10 1 1
10 1 0

Totals: 87 / 12 / 7

Hammer UF / PS

Total Hits >10k >15k
10 2 1
8 2 1
8 3 1
7 5 4
8 1 1
12 4 2
8 3 1
7 2 1
12 3 3
6 0 0

Totals: 86 / 25 / 15

Hammer RV / PS / USM

Total Hits >10k >15k
8 5 2
5 2 0
9 5 3
11 6 1
7 3 2
10 4 2
6 1 0
9 1 0
9 5 2
11 3 1

Totals: 85 / 35 / 13

Hammer RV / PS

Total Hits >10k >15k >20k
11 5 2 1
10 4 2 1
12 5 4 2
10 3 2 2
8 4 2 2
9 4 3 2
9 2 2 1
7 3 2 2
7 1 1 1
8 4 1 1

Totals: 91 / 35 / 21 / 15

Note: For this build it’s not as bad as it looks, allowance must be made for a greatly increased total pool of health that RV gives you. Still given that this rotation provides no mitigation it leaves you completely at the mercy of your healers not being otherwise occupied. This had also been the rotation that left me at consistently the least remaining health.

So, in conclusion, what have we found out? To my standard, the evidence seems to point in the direction of chaos being the undoubted champion of smooth tanking, closely followed by shotgun, with hammer taking the bronze medal.

Caveat here, of course, being that those weapons are combined together, and can supplement weaknesses of one another. Example of it being Shotgun / Chaos Build having access to a stronger variant of cooldown rotation in Invoke Self + Kneecapper instead of Reinforced Shells + Kneecapper. Needless to say, performance of that rotation will be significantly better.

Last thing worth remembering is that all weapon combinations are perfectly capable of completing every bit of content, so choose what works for you. It’s hammer, duh, big numbers go brrrrr


Miscellaneous Builds for different activities

Weapons are assumed to be:
Any Shotgun of Efficiency / Dark Mysteries of Efficiency / Torturer’s Instrument of Efficiency.

Regional bosses tanking:

Shotgun / Chaos:


Import via BooBuilds


Use Ancile gadget to grab aggro on the Aspect of the Long-Toothed when it spawns, before it becomes targetable to prevent it from chewing on dps. On other bosses replace Ancile with Effigy O33 Reconstructor for healing.


  • Swap chaos for hammer, replace Invoke Self with Reinforce Shells and Resupply passive, and Evulsion with Blindside and Beatdown passive to interrupt boss’s cast and buff dps energy generation.

  • Drop Invoke Self or Reinforce Shells for Opening shot.

  • If you have free passive slots after optional changes, passive to consider are - Point Blank Shot / Displacement / Multidimensional Threads.

Lair Tanking:

Hammer / Chaos:

Import via BooBuilds


Replace Attractor Gadget with Purification Drone in Savage Coast / Carpathian Fangs lair, Replace Raging Volcano with Anomaly in Savage Coast lair (Shades will pull you interrupting Volcano cast, Anomaly will knock them up instead).


  • Replace Pulverize with Burning Wrath
  • Remove Raging Volcano Passive to use it more often

Megabosses tanking
MB Tanking2

Import via BooBuilds


Rotate cooldowns to shield every Bunica Padurii ability cast. Replace Reconstructor gadget with Osmium Configuration on Abyssopellagic Horror boss to immune Deep Blast ability knockback. Use cooldown to prevent being killed by Eldritch Zap.

Alternatively swap chaos for hammer, replace Invoke Self with Reinforce Shells, Kneecapper Elite for Unstoppable Force (without Juggernaut passive. Note that hammer must not be a Torturer’s, as that one will grant you a free Juggernaut passive. Any other hammer will do, if used in offhand) and Evulsion with Blindside (+Beatdown Passive) or Pain Suppression. That way you can immune each Deep Blast with Unstoppable Force elite and keep Reconstructor gadget for healing.


  • Replace Rocket pod with Evulsion for extra taunt and interrupt
  • Replace Rocket Pod and/or Shells with Opening Shot and/or Clean Up
  • Passives to consider - Displacement, Multidimensional Threads.