City Of Heroes & City Of Villains - Guide To The Tanker Character Archetype

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What is the role of the City of Heroes Tanker?

The official description of the Tanker is:

The Tanker is an irresistible force combined with an immovable object. This Archetype can take and dish out all sorts of damage. The Tanker is not totally invulnerable, but his skills allow the other Archetypes to play their parts, too. The Tanker is a devastating hand to hand combatant, and ranks second only to the Scrapper in sheer melee power. He possesses some ranged abilities, though far below those of the Blaster or the Defender. Tankers proudly stand in the front lines of battle in order to protect their comrades and, of course, the innocent.

What Primary Powersets Are Available To Tankers?

For City of Heroes Tankers, the primary powerset includes the various shields or defensive powers of the Tanker.

Dark Armor - This is a resistance based set that features exotic protections against end drain and psionic attack. The primary weakness is to energy attacks. It has a powerful self heal (dark regen) that requires a to-hit check. This set is very endurance heavy.

Fiery Aura - This resistance based set is the most offensive of the tanker powersets. Burn and Fiery Embrace both augment the tanker’s offense. It has a nice self heal, but multiple status protection holes and low overall resistance result in the set being ultimately flawed and weak.

Ice Armor - This defense based set has exotic protection against slows. Hoarfrost and Hibernate provide multiple ways to self heal. Energy Absorption is an end drain that can also be used offensively.

Invulnerability - This is a hybrid resistance and defense based set that specializes in protection against smashing and lethal damage (the two most common damage types).

Stone Armor - The overpowered set of the bunch, this is primarily a defense based set until you get Granite Armor. Granite Armor is basically god mode, and it created a tanker imbalance that has never been resolved.

Willpower - The newest of the primary sets, this is a combination of defense, resistance, and regeneration. It is an excellent set - especially when combined with the Fighting Power Pool.

What Secondary Powersets Are Available to Tankers?

For City of Heroes Tankers, the secondary powerset is the source of offensive powers or attacks.

Battle Axe - A combination of single target and small area of effect attacks.

Dark Melee - Mostly single target, dark melee has fast hitting, fast recharging punch type attacks.

Dual Blades - This set relies on combos to deal much of its damage. The set is poorly designed and ends up being weak.

Energy Melee - The highest single target damage by far. You can approach scrapper level damage with this set.

Fiery Melee - A weak, badly flawed set at its core. The secondary effect (DoT) is unreliable and random. The attacks are slow animating and do poor damage.

Ice Melee - One of the two completely broken offensive sets for tankers (the other is war mace). It had crowd control aspects as part of its design, but controllers are so powerful that these are not needed.

Stone Melee - This set has excellent single target attacks and some minor area of effect damage. The attacks chain together very well to create a fast, smooth attack chain with good damage. Second only to energy melee for single target damage.

Super Strength - This is a good all around set with single target and area of effect damage. Rage can be made permanent once slotted for recharge, and this adds 80% damage most of the time. Footstomp is the gem of this set - the best tanker area of effect attack. Footstomp alone has made me renew my subscription to City of Heroes more than once.

War Mace - The second of the two completely broken offensive sets (the other is ice melee). It is really just a mess and always has been.


Michael Hartman maintains a hub for articles about City of Heroes and City of Villains. If you would like to read more of his articles about this game, visit:

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