Last Updated: Mon Jul 17 2023 Reading Time: 8 min

Expedition Tank Build


This expedition tank build is suitable for all expeditions in New World, including mutations. It is a universal tank build.

However, you will need to push your gear score up accordingly with umbral shards depending on the mutation level. You will also need to adjust your gems in your gear depending on the mutation type.

This build utilizes the sword and shield and war hammer, and will cover what gear you need, what abilities to take, your attribute distribution, and how to use the build.

Mastery Points

This section covers the recommended mastery point distribution for you sword and shield and war hammer.

Sword and Shield

Your sword and shield are going to the primary tanking weapons that you will utilize. There are a couple options you can choose from when utilizing these weapons. The group you are running with can affect which abilities you take.

If you are new to tanking and want a safer bet simply spec all the way into the Defender tree.

This build is intended for general use for every group. Therefore, the abilities will be catered towards that situation. The recommended abilities are:

Reverse Stab

Shield Bash

Defender’s Resolve

Your job as the tank is to maintain aggro, position the mobs, and provide your group with some utility. This build will allow you to do all three. You will have plenty of taunt options to keep aggro and position mobs, and by taking these abilities you will be able to push down into the leadership passive giving your group a very nice 10% increase to damage.

You will want to fully upgrade reverse stab. It is only going to be utilized for the cooldown reduction it provides. Defender’s Resolve has a very long cooldown and reverse stab will help greatly reduce that.

You will upgrade shield bash to the first upgrade, intimidating bash. This ability will be primarily used to gain increase threat so you can gain aggro of mobs. It also provides a nice stun allowing you to peel for your DPS and healer. Not upgrading it fully will also give you an additional point to put into another useful passive.

Defender’s Resolve should also be upgraded one time. This ability will make you very tanky, and it a very nice AOE taunt. You are not going to push down to the final upgrade to allow you take an additional passive.

Sword and Shield Passive Abilities

The remaining passives in the swordmaster tree are damage centered. However, you will take them in order to push down to the Leadership passive, giving your group an very nice damage bonus. You will also receive increased critical chance from one of the passives. This will be useful if you are utilzing the keenly fortied perk on any of your gear.

The remaining passives on the defender tree will help in increase you tankiness and provide you with some cooldown reduction.

War Hammer

Your war hammer is your back bar weapon for this build. You are going to utilize your war hammer to generate threat, provide utility, and cc for your group. The recommended abilities are:

Armor Breaker

Wrecking Ball


You can switch out wrecking ball for shockwave if you need additional crowd control.

Armor breaker is going to upgraded twice, down to the lasting trauma upgrade. This will allow you to rend your target reducing it’s damage absorption.

Wrecking ball should be fully upgraded. This ability is utilized as CC for your group, and it will provide you will a nice fortify buff on hit. It’s upgraded fully to take advantage of the AOE CC it will provide.

You will want to upgrade shockwave fully as well. This is the staple ability of the war hammer tank. It provides and AOE taunt, weakens the targets hit, and when utilizing sundering shockwave, will also rend the targets that are hit.

When coupling the rend you apply from armor breaker with the rend applied from sundering shockwave you targets will take a significant amount more damage. As the tank you will want to try to keep the rend stacks up to provide the utility for your DPS to dish out more damage.

War Hammer Passive Abilities

You are not going to take the key passive (or ultimate) from either of the war hammer trees. The other passives you can get will provide more value to your group as a tank.

The remaining passives taken will help increase your resistances, decrease your cooldowns, and increase your self sustain.


For this tank build you will keep it simple. The attribute distribution will be 200 Strength and 300 Constitution. You will want to make your way to 300 constitution for the increased health pool and grit this will provide. Having grit will prevent you from being interrupted and will help you maintain aggro.

Then, you will push the remaining 200 attributes into strength in order to help push some damage for your group.

Depending on your group and your experience level, you could reverse them and spec into 300 strength and 200 constitution. This will help your group DPS down enemies quicker which will help you clear the dungeon faster.


In this section of the tank build , we will break down what equipment you will use. This includes armor perks, weapon perks, and equip weight.

As the tank you will be wearing all heavy armor and a heater shield for maximum mitigation. Ideally you would want to acquire ward armor for each enemy type depending on the expedition that you are running.

If you’re just getting started you can purchase some cheap heavy ward gear from the market. The below are the recommended perks you should shoot for.


As the tank you will want maximum mitigation. This means your shield of choice will be the tower shield. Ideally you will want to find a shield with the following perks:

  • Constitution or strength
  • Sturdy
  • Refreshing
  • Sturdy Energy

If you’re running mutations you can replace refreshing or sturdy energy with one of the elemental ward perks, such as flame shield ward, depending on the mutation variants.

A good option for a shield that can be farmed versus crafted is the Hourglass. You can farm this shield from Artifex Faetum in shattered mountain.


You will be going 5 piece heavy armor. The perks you will be looking for are the following:

  • Ward (5) (depending on enemy type, ex angry earth ward)
  • Refreshing (3)
  • Sturdy Energy (Chest only)
  • Sundering Shockwave

The remaining perks can be freedom, vigor, or invigorated depending on your preference. You could also utilize corruption and blight resistance in the expeditions that have those damage types.

Refreshing is chosen over refreshing evasion and refreshing ward. You will be doing more blocking than dodging, making refreshing evasion not great for this build. In order to proc refreshing ward you will need to actually get hit. Blocks do not trigger the passive. Therefore, refreshing is the better option for your armor.

Ideally you will want to remove sundering shockwave from your armor and get it on your weapon at some point for the additional rend it will provide from being on your weapon.


For your sword you will want to shoot for refreshing move, keen, keenly fortified, or hated as your combination of perks. There are several great options to farm versus craft. The below are all great options for your tanking sword.

War Hammer

For you war hammer you will ideally want to have sundering shockwave on your weapon. You will get more rend from your shockwave which will allow your team to deal more damage to the mobs. If you opt to take rend on your armor versus your weapon a good tanking hammer to farm is the following:

If you opt to take sundering shockwave on your war hammer the following are some good farmable options:



For your amulet you will want to shoot for health, divine, fortified, or fortified recovery as your perk combinations. One of the defense perk label perks such as nature protection would also be fine for mutated versions of the expeditions. A great option for a farmable amulet is listed below.


For your ring you will want to shoot for refreshing, keen awareness, hearty, or leeching as your perk combinations. There are a few farmable options for solid tanking rings listed below.


For your earring you will want to shoot for refreshing, regenerating, refreshing toast, and if you’re having trouble maintaining aggro you could opt for despised. Healthy toast is also an option if you would like a little more self sustain. The below are some good farmable versus crafted options for your earring.


For regular expeditions you will typically be taking mostly physical damage. For this reason you will want to slot onyx’s in your gear. You could slot a couple opals as well for increased elemental resistance if you choose.

For mutations, you will want to slot the appropriate gem for the mutation type.

Runeglass Gem Upgrades

For you runeglass gems you would want to utilize the energizing variant to help stamina regeneration. Maintaining stamina is important so you don’t have your block broken and become susceptible to damage. Weaving attacks will help you maintain both aggro and stamina.

Heartgem Rune

The heartgem rune of choice for this build can be either the Greater Heartrun of Stoneform or the Brutal Heartrune of Grasping Vines.

How to Use Build

Your job as the tank is to maintain aggro, position the mobs, and apply debuffs. You have a large AOE taunt with your defender’s resolve. You can utilize this ability to draw aggro of large groups of enemies so your DPS can kill them while you maintain aggro.

In order to maintain aggro, you want to understand how taunting works. In New World, starting off with an AOE taunt is acceptable, but if you want to keep aggro, you will want to continuously attack. If you sit in your shield, your initial taunt will not be enough to maintain aggro. It is far more recommended to start off with an attack, using a weapon with a taunt gem, and then follow up with an AOE Taunt.

One you have aggro, you will want to block incoming damage and weave light and heavy attacks into the mobs when you have the opportunity. You will also be applying rend stacks with your shockwave ability if you have the sundering shockwave perk. You can enhance the rend amount by utilizing your armor breaker ability as well.

Shield bash can be used to stun enemies and regain aggro when needed. This ability is also useful for peeling single enemies from your healer or DPS that may need it.

You will want to save your reverse stab and utilize it for cooldown reduction so you can use your defender’s resolve more often.


About the Author

BDLG is one of the founders of StudioLoot and writes guides for all games we cover. You can catch him on Twitch most days of the week.

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