Best tank build in New World

The only build, really.

New World guide Tank sword and shield best build

Image by Amazon Game Studios

Whether you enjoy the PvP activities or the Expeditions — or both — one thing is certain: New World is best when played in a group. Cooperation is invaluable when taking on the challenges of Aeternum, be they twisted monsters or other players. At the heart of every successful team is a dedicated tank player, and this guide will give you everything you need to know about playing as a tank in New World, including the best tank build.

New World tank basics

The tank’s job in New World is the same as in every other game with a tank role: to draw enemy aggro onto themselves, protect their team, and inflict crowd control effects on enemies to help their damage-focused teammates clean up. In PvP activities, tanks can slow and stun opposing players en masse to set up devastating combo attacks.

Your priority stats as a tank are Constitution and Strength, in that order. Constitution scales up your overall health pool, while Strength improves the damage output of Swords, which are the best (and only) weapon type for a New World tank build.

Regardless of how min-maxed you make your tank build in New World, even the best defense can eventually fail if unsupported. Managing your health is imperative since, as a tank, you draw constant aggro and get very few precious moments to heal yourself. This is why you don’t want to be too far away from your healers, ever.

Tank build New World guide
Screenshot by Gamepur

Best New World tank build

There is currently only one viable tank build in New World, since the Defender skill tree on the Sword and Shield houses the best selection of defensive perks in the game. The three active skills in this skill tree provide the tank player the ability to taunt enemies and absorb lots of damage and the ability to reposition with Shield Rush quickly. This lets tanks rescue teammates in danger or give themselves some breathing room when low on health.

The priority abilities and passives for this build are, in order:

  • Defiant Stance > Final Count Down > Restoration
  • Shield Rush > Improved Rush
  • Shield Bash > Intimidating Bash
  • Sturdy Shield > One with the Shield > Elemental Resistance

You can allow yourself some minor deviations from this build, especially in PvE activities where your responsibilities as a tank are slightly more relaxed. For example, you can invest some points into the Swordmaster skill tree to max out the Whirling Blade ability. The Tactical Strike perk unlocked for this ability synergizes perfectly with the tank’s tendency to be surrounded by enemies, maximizing your damage output, and helping you clear hordes faster.