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New World Tank Build – Sword and Shield & Hatchet

New World Tank Build – Sword and Shield and Hatchet

Every party in any player-versus-environment massively multiplayer online RPG will require a decent party composition. As a general rule of thumb, you need some damage dealers, a healer, and a tank. Each class plays a vital role in determining the success of a dungeon run. The tank has arguably the most important job, as they will set the tempo of the dungeon run and also be responsible for maintaining threat on enemies. This guide will cover the best New World tank build you can run to get the most out of your class. 

New World is a unique MMORPG in that there are no pre-determined classes when you create your character. Each “class” is determined by mastering different weapons and selecting different skills and abilities. For the best New World tank build, we will be utilizing the Sword and Shield and Hatchet weapons and focusing on having a large pool of health and high defense.

The Sword and Shield is the only weapon choice that actually makes use of the shield. Other classes will simply be adding unnecessary weight to their characters by utilizing a shield in their loadout. That said, shields provide a lot of extra defenses and stats crucial for a good tank build.

New World tank build

Here are the best weapons, skills, and attributes to use for your New World tank build:

  • Sword and Shield: Defiant Stance, Reverse Stab
  • Hatchet: Berserk, Defy Death
  • Attributes: Constitution

Sword and Shield

There are a few different routes you can go with Sword and Shield. One popular option in the current meta includes picking up Defiant Stance and Reverse Stab. Defiant Stance is a must-have for any tank build, as it reduces your incoming damage and is hands down the best taunt ability in the game.

On the other hand, Reverse Stab may not look good at first glance, but it becomes amazing by utilizing the Tactician skill deeper down in the skill tree. For each successful Reverse Stab hit, your Defiant Stance cooldown reduces by 25%. 

That means if you Reverse Stab 4 enemies, your Defiant Stance cooldown will be available to use again. Considering Defiant Stance is normally a 45-second cooldown, this is incredibly useful. Overall, it allows you to effectively spam Defiant Stance whenever you want, allowing you to maintain aggro on all the monsters.

  • Defiant Stance – For 8s, reduce the incoming base damage from attackers by 30%. Taunt Gem Compatible: If you have a Carnelian gem equipped in your sword, the ability causes a 6s taunt to all enemies within 8m.
  • Reverse Stab – A Stab that deals 175% weapon damage.
  • Tactician – On a successful hit with Reverse Stab, all Sword cooldowns are reduced by 25%.
New World tank build - tactician

Other good passives to pick up in the Sword and Shield tree include:

  • Defensive Training – When you block an attack, gain 10% Fortify for 5s.
  • Sturdy Grip – Stamina damage is reduced by 15% when blocking a melee attack with a shield.
  • Sturdy Shield – Grants an additional 15% physical armor.
  • Recuperation – All incoming healing and regeneration increased by 10%.

For the remaining points, you can pick up other active abilities like Shield Bash, Shield Rush, or even Whirling Blade for more damage-oriented tanking. I prefer going defense-oriented and picking up shield bash, but it comes down to your preference.


In addition to Sword and Shield, we will be using the Hatcher as our secondary weapon. Hatchet is a great tank choice because the Berserk ability is the longest duration taunt in the game, and it has an eight-meter range. Not to mention, the Defy Death passive allows you to avoid death in any potentially fatal blow and gain immortality for three seconds. Since your goal is not to die, this is obviously the best skill in the game for a tank.

  • Berserk – Triggers a Berserk Mode that increases all attack damage by 20% while active. Berserk Mode will be active for 12 seconds. Cooldown will trigger once Berserk ends (Taunt Gem Compatible).
  • Defy Death – When you receive lethal damage: avoid death, reduce to 50 HP, and gain immortality for 3 seconds (75s cooldown).
New World tank build - defy death

You can also pick up moves like Rending Throw in the Hatchet tree to reduce an enemy’s damage absorption. I personally like to pick up Social Distancing to either pull monsters to begin a battle or create some distance between enemies and slow them in certain scenarios. Depending on your playstyle, you could also pick up Raging Torrent to deal a bit of extra damage.


As a tank in New World, it is important to put most of your attribute points into Constitution, as this stat improves your overall health pool. Every 50 points in any given attribute grants a passive bonus, and most players will aim for the 250 Constitution point bonus. Here are the Constitution bonuses:

  • 50 points – All health consumables 20% stronger and 10% logging speed.
  • 100 points – Increase max health by 10% of your physical armor, and -10% reduction on durability loss for tools.
  • 150 points – -10% to crit damage taken and -10% decrease in weight of logging items.
  • 200 points – 20% increase to armor and +10% logging speed.
  • 250 points – -80% damage reduction when full health (60s cooldown) and +10% yield increase when logging.
  • 300 points – 20% duration of stun, slow, and root spells, and 25% chance to chop down a tree in a single swing.
New World tank build - constitution

As you can see, the 250 Constitution bonus is quite good, providing -80% damage reduction when full health. Aside from that, there’s no real point to get the 300 point bonus unless you’re looking to become the best lumberjack in Aeternum. At a bare minimum, you should get 200 points in Constitution for the 20% armor bonus.

You can also put around one-fifth of your points into Strength if you want to boost your damage a bit. You should aim for somewhere around 250 Constitution and anywhere from 70 to 100 Strength at the base. Your gear will provide you a lot of bonus stats, so you can just keep this in mind as you are gearing out your tank.

Gems and Gear

As far as gear is concerned, you will want to equip Heavy Armor for the bonus block stability and damage reduction.

Heavy Armor – While wearing heavy armor, your dodge is a slow sidestep. Your block stability is increased by 15% and crowd control debuffs you apply last 20% longer.

As far as gems, go with anything that grants damage absorption in the form of physical or magic damage like Onyx or Opal. Keep in mind what type of monsters you will be fighting and choose based on that. 

You will, of course, also want your Cut Carnelian Gems in your weapons to activate the taunt abilities. These can be crafted at the Stonecutting Table in any town by combining a Carnelian Gem and some form of Fire Elemental Essence, depending on the quality you want.

New World tank build - carnelian gem

Taunting and Threat in New World

Tanking requires the ability to taunt targets and generate some threat, and doing so ensures the enemies focus on you instead of your teammates. It is the role of a tank to ensure all enemies are focusing on them, as they have the heavy armor and health required to take the damage. The healer will appreciate your ability to keep the healing to a minimum and ensure a smooth dungeon run.

In New World, there are seven taunt abilities across seven different weapons:

  • Great Axe – Reap (four-second taunt)
  • Hatchet – Berserk (eight-second taunt)
  • Rapier – Riposte (four-second taunt)
  • Spear – Vault Kick (two-second taunt)
  • Sword and Shield – Shield Bash (six-second taunt) and Defiant Stance (six-second taunt)
  • War Hammer – Shockwave (six-second taunt)

Taunt abilities are visible in the Weapon Mastery tab in your character information screen. Look for the text that says Taunt Gem Compatible on the bottom of each skill. Each taunt- or threat-oriented ability requires a Carnelian Gem equipped inside the corresponding weapon to receive the bonuses.

One final thing to keep in mind is your stamina bar. The yellow bar is important to pay attention to, as when it depletes, you will no longer be able to block. Put down your shield until the enemy attacks to use your stamina most efficiently.

That concludes our best New World tank build! Keep in mind there are many other viable tank builds besides this one. We’ll update this section as the meta evolves and we discover more viable tank-oriented builds. In the meantime, you can check out some new related content in our New World section.

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