[Guide] Sustain-tanking for anyone


my dps neck is an Egon Pendant with AR signet while as a tank I use a Seed of Agression with hammer signet.
Its a matter of signets, the power hammer signet helps me with aggro issues on higher tiers.
And I am using the Seed beocuse … I had it ready :slight_smile: (not that bad as a tank anyway)

I may as well put in a green crit power glyph and slowly level it up.


It’s not because i can find a guide about how to eat with chopsticks that it’s the only way to eat, right? Or that i “have to”, or absolutely “should” eat this way, right? If i prefer eating with fork & knife, i’ll just keep doing that. Even if eating with chopsticks can be more optimal for some dishes.

What’s the point of having a crit power glyph if your crit chance is so low? Your base crit will only be equal to 1+4.8+7.5=13.3% crit chance (1% baseline, 4.8% from SP and 7.5% from weapon expertise). Why would you like to take crit power as a glyph for such a low crit chance, when taking a crit rating glyph instead will provide you both more damage and a better energy regen?

Also i imagine that the “2 hit rest glance” just means a temporary 2 hit glyphs and the rest being low quality 5 defense glyphs? Because you’ll be glance reduction capped with only 1 hit glyph and glance soft capped with 3 defense glyphs.

This unfortunately won’t help you with aggro in the long term. There’s no way you’d be able to hold aggro on a fully geared DD that also knows his business without using provokes, and using provokes basically means removing your cooldowns, so that would be the justification to having defense glyphs and a healer. To me it looks like going backwards and choosing a non-offensive approach for wrong reasons, but if that suits you best, feel free to roll with it. Nobody has to follow a guide.

The aggro problems are legion once you play with DDs past 1k IP, and they’re extreme once DDs are fully maxed with 1630 IP, with specific signets for their main weapon, a signet of Laceration, Energy or Havoc weapon affix, maxed out museum and 3 best in slot support agents. The amount of damage to out-aggro is so extreme that even a crit-based sustain tank will eventually sometimes have problems (especially for builds without Immutable like the cleanse-tanking build for which i’ve made a video above).

PS: for those who pass here and read this, the Black Sash simply DOES NOT WORK. I’ll provide a short set of datapoints with aggro tests, but we found out that this belt does not bring any additional aggro.


Black Sash is probably the same as TSW’s hate signets… +100 instant hate when it procs. Which is as good as 10 damage on your basic. The tank items that deal damage with a hate modifier are the only ones that should be considered helpful, and even then only if they proc on your attacks, not on incoming like Forgotten Horrors.


Here’s the data points collected from some aggro tests. We’ve been testing it in Polaris E1 on Haugbui Jarl, with myself pulling the boss with an ability (depending on the test), and then waiting until the other person took aggro. The other person was at 100 survivability AA with a green hammer doing basics until aggro was back on him. Basic’s damage was mostly chunks of 900 damage per hit. As a reminder, the aggro switches when one reaches 110% of the aggro of the highest person on the aggro list, so the “Normalized damage dealt” line divides the “Damage dealt until aggro” line’s numbers by 1.1.

Basically, here are the conclusions so far:

  • Museum procs inherit all properties off their parent ability hit including the built-in 10x hate modifier from Pulverise (test from 1st column, confirmed since without aggro modifier on museum proc, the aggro would have been taken several basics earlier, with the total damage dealt until aggro being lower).
  • For the Immutable columns, i can state pretty reliably that Immutable provides an extra 50% multiplicative hate (so the 10x multiplier from Pulverise becomes 15x).
  • While the data points for Black Sash are limited, it is clearly visible that Black Sash gives less than 7% additional aggro if it gives anything, for which I’m inclined to say it pretty much brings nothing.

More tests could potentially be run later.


Meanwhile the game isn’t even a single year old. Sure !

This is a personal opinion, not an objective statement about anything here. It’s up to you to play with people you like even if they are healer, obviously.

This is where i can clearly take this as a complete lack of respect. You didn’t read or didn’t care about my guide at all, otherwise you’d know that you have room not only for interrupts, but even a lot more things. So your statement is a straight out lie.

Yes, the crazy dudes were me and Tome-v3, and we duo-ed all the E10 dungeons except HR (since DPS races can’t be done by us there at that level).

You wouldn’t like to run with any DPS from the hardcore communities, that’s what i’ve been referring to. You’ll be perfectly fine running with random pugs since their DPS is usually very low.

Seriously, we also could already do MUCH MORE in TSW. We could healtank, and even Leechtank (3 roles in one), and we had GUIDES for them. Tell me, did people complain or something? NO ! So i get that you appreciate giving healers some duty, that’s up to you, but don’t bring it as an objective and calculated statement.

It’s not an utopia, i’m just saying how ridiculous the damage can become at higher levels. It’s up to you to prepare yourself for whatever you want.


It’s not that many people (probably a couple hundred) but anyone over 10k dps, you’re gonna need everything you can get including crit chance, to keep your aggro. I see plenty of people in E8 who I can’t run less than 15% dps allocation with, and I’m in red hammer signets + red 70 hammer, fully max mythic crit glyph set. It’s usually not the average that’s a problem, it’s the run where their first Eruption crits, or their first 3 burst fires all proc grenades.

I wish dps tank was more of a thing here, the trouble is dps is tied strongly to power moves and those are specified by aggro, the only way you can tank without hate power is if you outgear the entire group. Or have some sort of taunt shenanigans.


Dude, you had an entire thread to discuss about sustain tanking and issues it introduces with healers being useless. This is a guide about sustain-tanking (or anything related to optimal and smart knowledge about tanking), and you’re being offtopic, so i gently ask you to stop with this right now.

Also, don’t try to make a martyr out of yourself or of healers, you guys all make your own choices about how you all want to play. This is a guide about how to play in ONE way. Don’t blame me to destroy a role, i’m not responsible about Funcom’s imbalance.


All I will say is that our group likes to run with sustain tank, it doesn’t mean that we hate healers or want to make healers feel miserable due to sustain tanking. Let me give you an example; in TSW you could run NM dungeons with 4 DPS and 1 healer, one of your DPS having 4-5k HP and boom your DPS was a tank. With some of the comments I’m reading from here, means that tanks would have been useless, and that poor healer who had BotDK wanted to make tanks feel miserable of… Being able to tank?

And what comes to “I have played with E10 ready DPS people”. Someone being E10 ready (meaning 1k+ IP) does NOT mean high / good DPS. I have also ran with pugs (yes… I do pug sometimes…) who has been E10, while pulling under 10k DPS. And then there are those other E10 ready people, who are pulling +30k DPS. We are not talking about 10 second fights here now. The reality is; with the ridiculous damage DPS are able to pull if she / he plays meta, a tank who can not keep up with high enough dmg (crits and energy) will simply lose aggro to a DPS who pulls those few accidental power ability crits and a critted elite (we talk about +250k dmg in 3 seconds here).

After all, everyone plays the way they want to play, right? Some people likes to sustain and make dungeon runs bit faster, and some likes to play with “classic tank” builds with healer. What we do have to remember here; if you are a tank, you have to be willing to be flex (applies to classic and sustain tanking). Flex might be bad word, but Im sure someone knows what I mean.


So really your only complaint is that people ask you to be useful to the group instead of just silently picking a build that doesn’t need healing and letting you feel good that they never die?

Should I stop giving dps who are failing at their job pointers on why their build isn’t right for dungeons, too?

TSW’s popular meta group composition was leecher + 3 dps + not very defensive tank. This summed up to the highest group dps, people who played blood/fist healers got looked down on… Cause even healtank + 4 dps couldn’t do as much damage. There were of course exceptions, Fac was doable with 5 dps with medium hp, MFA was easier with a healtank cause of AEGIS making leech unviable. MFB flipped that back and intentionally had mechanics where heal did not generate aggro, people still did healtank + 4 dps on several fights because the dps checks demanded it.

Funcom decided to get rid of leechers doing enough damage to behave like a dps, so we get healtank + 4 dps.


Wow. I didn’t think such a degree of disrespect was possible. Scratch doesn’t like my comments, call out his friends so they come to flag my answers to THEM as “off-topic” when i literally quote all of you each time and address direct answers to their sentences. Then, you guys proceed to write a giant wall of text and post off-topic pictures yourself. Ok.

I told you guys were flooding the guide with your complaints about me destroying the healer’s role. I told you already you had a whole thread for yourself to discuss about it, here (fun fact, you created that thread yourself):

But no, why would you be reasonable and respectful towards a guide? This guide has been here for months now, and scratch has been discussing this already through various angles. Both you guys (scratch and Moth) coming here now and flagging my posts because you didn’t appreciate my “direct” answers is too much and sounds like a personal issue, so i’d call a moderator on this.

Same as scratch stating that a sustain tank cannot take care of interrupts, you didn’t read my guide. If you did, you’d know that your HP display is bugged during Pain Suppression and that it can be displayed at 0 even though it isn’t at 0. But call me a cheater or exploiter if you want, i’d obviously show myself cheating in a video and than advertise the video on an official guide.
Also, when you use a potion, it can also crit, and that crit is affected by my crit power. I used a potion on that moment because since i actually was at 0 HP displayed, i didn’t know for real how much HP i had left, so the only way to update the HP display there was to use a potion (well i could have chased the boss a bit and Pulverised it to proc the rest of my selfhealing, but i was too lazy i guess).

Just google “TSW healtanking” or “TSW leechtanking”. These things in TSW were MUCH more advanced than the sustain-tanking, yet nobody complained. Because the game was “sandboxy”, and people liked having more options rather than less. And nobody was spitting on nobody for not being able to leechtank dungeons. So don’t spit on me or on people that actually sustain-tank when we didn’t do anything to you. I’ve been clear about this: you are free to keep playing with like-minded people that accept you with your healing role, but please don’t disrespect people that choose to not play the way you like.


On a side note and very partial defense of what “tanky tanks” are saying here, I am under the impression that different tank setups may be even more efficient then sustain tank as far as aggro management is concerned.

I sustain tank, just to be clear, and I dps pug a lot. For example hammer/shotty or shotty/hammer tanks seem to pull much higher dps then us sustain tanks with similar or even lower gear, probably just becouse they are using both weapons power abilities when we only use one. I did not check their glyphs setup, but I have seen many E8/E9 classic tanks pulling 3k+ dps when I, in E9/E10 gear, almost full dps glyphs and 10% dps allocation + 1 dps agent, can usually pull something like 2,5k.

On the whole “I don’t need heals” matter, when I tank in pugs I dont say it any more. Healers usually ask me or understand and adapt after the first boss. If not I let they do whatever they want untill we hit a dps wall, then I try to discuss with the group how we could pass it and ofc the healer going dps is the first suggestion. On the other hand there are also a few bosses were I find that having some kind of heals is safer and more confortable for both me and the group. I think that talking politely everyone can have his fun without any unnecessary drama.


I already said it a while ago but sustain tanking isn’t the main problem. Encounter (and maybe build) diversity/amount is. Though some tank abilities are probably slightly too good.

We should ask for encounters that require different aproaches.


If most tanks are sustain tanks.
Then it IS a standard by nature selection.


Hammer/shotgun dps advantage is almost entirely Dragon’s Breath which is not an aggro advantage - I do 3200 dps, 25000 aggro at full tank allocation. Cause dragon’s breath is 700 dps 700 aggro, which is 25% more dps 2% more hate.

I think the actual loss of hate for me is ~10% to ~22500 aggro with hammer/chaos, not using a 2nd power move.

Of course neither takes into account any healing moves, which are probably fairly negligible (energy cost makes them ~equal the abilities they replace) eg. Thick Skin gives me 35000 hate instead of a Pulverize doing an average of… 35000 hate too.


Your argument about using 2 power abilities is obviously important, although i’ll expand to it in a scientific approach. In order to have 2 power abilities, you’ll have to get rid of 1 active slot. It may or may not impact your survivability. Also, the DPS numbers you throw in are very anecdotal without a perfect breakdown on which abilities dealt how much damage, just to see what’s the exact percentage of them having the x10 aggro modifier. As you can see above the flood posts, Immutable grants 50% extra multiplicative aggro, and this isn’t factored in the damage meters (among other things such as heal and/or barrier aggro), so this ability usage is already the biggest decisive factor ever.

Besides that, people will have to acknowledge that the MOST important things to have for the aggro in this setup are the following ones:

  • Neck signet.
  • Glyphs.

With my regular setup and 80/20 AA, i’ve been pulling 6k DPS on the last regional session with just Pulverise spam, with a fully maxed gear and Journeyman signet. And that was with Immutable, so the aggro was literally cosmic here. The point is: it is possible to juggle with aggro and with AA once you’re fully optimized with crit / crit power glyphs and signets. You can be slightly less or slightly more defensive depending on your gear and/or your group. You don’t have nearly as much flexibility with a 2 power ability setups and defensive glyphs, AND you end up requiring a healer. I mean, not that i really want to advertise the clean-tanking variant for HR4-6 in E10, but don’t even think about this kind of build if you’re a glance/evade tank, you’ll never keep aggro without Immutable like that.


If a tank is already built with DPS glyphs, the next source of aggro will essentially depend on your Attack Rating, which itself can depend on how much you allocate into it. Even for my Chaos/Hammer sustain tank build, my damage over time can vary from perhaps 3.5k to 6k depending on how much of my HP I convert into Attack Rating, and even though my build uses a hammer to maintain up-time on Pulverise, about 85% or more of my damage consists of Chaos damage and talisman procs. This changes little for a Hammer/Chaos build that forgoes Chaos damage for mitigation or utility. If anything, depending on your gear, the Elite tier of a dungeon, and whether a tank is taking on additional utility, a Hammer/Chaos build should have more room to allocate HP into Attack Rating if the need arises to exceed the damage of a less efficient build, since the requisite base HP to survive is lower.

When aggro ever becomes a problem is not usually in damage over time but in damage dealt in short bursts at the start of an encounter. For this reason, I allocate only as much into HP as I need to survive so that I have greater potential to deal more burst aggro than a DPS can deal in burst damage.


I was fiddling with various tweaks to my hammer-primary build and I think the biggest sources of extra dps were

  1. fast & furious. duh, 9% more hammer damage for 3.5 seconds is good. (unbridled wrath and percussive maintenance are what you’d drop, since they add no dps and minimal defensiveness)
  2. dps basic. deceptively useful - of course it’s twice as much dps as the hate basic, but it also increases pulverize dps. as far as I could tell this is because it triggers f&f more often and crits more. on balance I think you end up with negligibly less aggro and nearly 17% more dps.


Do you have any data points to justify this statement? Otherwise i’d say i didn’t ever experience anything like this, i’m pretty sure i have the same crit chance on average with Ground Pound compared to Smash.


On the comparison parse I did, 35% smash 18% ground pound. I have 27.5% crit chance so 35% seems more right.


Interesting. That would mean AoE abilities have a 50% penalty on crit chance. I wasn’t aware about crit chance penalties outside multihit abilities. Well in the same fashion you also have a paradox gen penalty on AoE abilities, right?