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The Ultimate Juggernaut Class Guide

Yarpen Zig

Active Member
The Juggernaut is Embers Adrift's iconic damage dealing tank that pushes through fights when anyone else in your place would have already collapsed. Juggernauts may not be capable as wearing as much armor as Knights or Marshals, but they can still hold their own when it matters most. This does mean that sometimes they're slightly harder to heal than other Defenders but despite that have plentiful options for preventing death when it matters most. Juggernauts are provided access to more damage dealing abilities than their Defender colleagues and as a result typically struggle the least to maintain aggro in encounters that include more than one enemy.

Despite all of these perks, new Drifters will often feel that Juggernauts aren't as capable or useful as Knights or Marshals, especially in the first 20 levels. There's actually some truth to this! Knights are blessed with an immediate, innate boost to their defensive capabilities early on with more armor weight. Marshals on the other hand are granted the ability to outright control the flow of a fight via their AoE Halt which if used properly prevents the party from having to engage with more than one enemy at a time. Juggernauts get neither of these and new drifters are often judging the class based on how it plays early on with the limited gear options they've managed to scrounge up. Early on Juggernauts are distinctly dependent on the gear that they wear and the weapons they wield to shore up their early defensive disadvantages.

That said, their early disadvantages are quickly mitigated by taking your time to refine your gear gradually as you progress. Unless twinked, Juggernauts do not reach their full Shadowknight status until much later in the level curve. By level 26 Juggernauts are blessed by Stormhaven Studios with the God tier ability that is Brace.

My goal with this guide is to review each stat, gear slot option, and ability to help guide new Defenders through the journey of building a Juggernaut takes full advantage of the class and all it offers. Disclaimer: This information is my own opinion and not set in stone. You can build a Juggernaut however you wish and still have a great time in Embers Adrift. Much of the community would consider this style of gameplay "min-maxing" but ultimately I believe that we, as Defenders, are the ones being hit in the face so it's our responsibility to be the best tank we can be to properly set our parties up for success. If you want to use a polearm or sword and board as a Juggernaut, do it up!

I will be grading each stat, gear slot, and ability option on the following scale with inspiration taken from RPGbot's DND 5e guides.
  • Red: Bad, useless options, or options which are extremely situational. Nearly never useful.
  • Orange: OK options, or useful options that only apply in rare circumstances. Useful sometimes.
  • Green: Good options. Useful often.
  • Blue: Fantastic options, often essential to the function of your character. Useful very frequently.
Movement: Mostly irrelevant as we have no way to boost movement speed.
Combat Mov: Situationally useful but generally if you're main tank you should be moving your character as little as possible once a fight is engaged to allow strikers/supporters to use positional without having to reposition. If you absolutely have to reposition to avoid a ranger or avoid pulling additional enemies it's almost always better to put your weapon away (using Z) and take it back out when you're satisfied with positioning. Combat mov is generally useless unless trying to kite or perhaps as a Marshal.
Haste: Haste is great for anyone is it reduces the cooldown on your most precious abilities. I personally believe it's higher priority on Support or Striker than Defender so sometimes other stats take priority. Fortunately, most crafted mauls can be made with a decent boost to Haste.
SafeFall: Currently pointless until they add areas in the game that are otherwise inaccessible without SafeFall.
Health Regen: Health Regen is generally only useful if soloing and even then it currently only helps moderately. You're often better off stocking up on health pots and approaching soloing from a similar mindset of a striker: kill the mob before it even has time to do meaningful damage to your hp.
Stamina Regen: Stamina Regen is one of the most important stats that a Defender can focus on. Defenders are often the first person in the party to run out of Stamina in an effort to lay a foundation of solid aggro. This allows the rest of the party to go ham and their stamina without fear of acquiring the attention of the mob. That said, once you run out of stamina and an additional mob joins the encounter you've got to be capable of holding aggro despite having barely any stamina left. When your stamina pool is dry, stamina regen becomes your bottleneck for aggro generation and can make or break a close fight.
Healing: Don't bother.

Combat Stats
Armor Class (AC): Early on AC should be your highest priority. It's incredibly important that you ensure that your AC is high enough to mitigate 50% of the incoming damage against whatever your fighting. The general recommendation is that you should have AC equal to your level multiplied by 15. As a Juggernaut, I recommend focusing on finding the most AC dense gear you can find at each level. I'll cover this more in the armor section but the slots that provide access to 5:1 or higher AC to weight ratios are found in the Cuirass, Pauldron and Helmet slots. Keep in mind that armor degrades as you get hit (so bring repair kits to long dungeons) and the effectiveness of your AC reduces against yellow, orange or red mobs. In general, check your incoming damage in game and ensure that your incoming damage is halved by AC.Example: If a mob hits you for 20 damage it'll present as 10(10ABS) in the combat log if you're at the cap.
Resilience: The basic functionality of resilience is to provide you with a chance to not die when down to 0 hp. In those situations you're often being hit by multiple mobs, so the tiny % chance of not dying is negligible unless you're using No Time to Die to obtain 100 resilience temporarily. Passively it reduces the amount of heavy or critical hits you take. It's a helpful stat that generally comes as a bonus with a lot of the gear you'll be seeking out anyway.
Avoid: While typically very difficult to acquire in large quantities avoid is a super underappreciated by tanks. When it procs it negates all damage and associated effects. It has some de-aggro effects associated with it, but ultimately I think the positives of negating an entire attack vastly outweigh any negative impact it could have on your overall aggro. Boots, pants and necklaces(crafted) often have avoid and often make these slots strongly contested with other non-avoid gear.
Block: When it procs, block further reduces incoming damage based on the block value of the shield you're using. Generally, recommend avoiding using shields on Juggernaut unless your AC is terribly low or shit has hit the fan in a fight. Due to this, block should be prioritized on a 1h weapon that you pair with a good heater or kite shield.
Parry: Parry functions similarly to block but can stack and provides an opportunity to proc a riposte for extra damage. Like block a significant amount of parry and riposte is required before you see much benefit from the stat. Generally, I prioritize block over parry for those shit hit the fan moments as block's damage reduction scales better with a high block value shield.
Riposte: The viability of riposte depends on having a lot of the stat in addition to parry. It also depends on you being the main tank since it requires that you be the target of damage to proc and be useful. As Juggernaut you'll be playing the role of offtank from time to tank which makes the damage benefits from parry and rip a wash. Both of these stats come from slots that provide much better use for a Juggernaut in the form of AC, stamina regen, and positional/2h DMG.
Hit: Hit determines how often you crit or hit heavily. Crit's or heavy hits not only provide additional damage output, but also increase the aggro generated by the attack. High hit is helpful for nearly everyone, but distinctly helpful for all Defenders. It's generally accepted that Hit has a pretty early soft-cap and as a Juggernaut I suggest you take it where you can get it but avoid going much higher than 40-50 hit at any given time.
Penetration: On paper penetration is great! It increases the amount of damage your do to a mob's actual health instead of their armor. However, if you look closer at your outgoing damage you might notice that damage done to a mob's armor generates more aggro than damage done to a mob's health. Generally it's not a bad stat to have but I wouldn't go out of my way to stack it. Now if only strikers would prioritize it more so help cut down on their aggro...
Positional: Positional is probably the most important stat you can prioritize in nearly any class; especially Juggernaut. The impact positional has on your damage output is going to scale entirely based off the positional you have on your main weapon. In the case of the a Maul wielding Juggernaut, that means our bread and butter stat: 2H damage. If for some weird reason you're using a 1 hander, you'll benefit from a massive boost to your Hit (which means more crits & more aggro). As a Juggernaut, Positional and 2H DMG are the main levers you can pull to massively improve the damage and aggro output of your class.
1H Weapon Damage: If you're using a maul or roleplaying as a Marshal and wielding a polearm 1H dmg is largely useless. If for some reason you mainly use a shield, it can't hurt to have.
2H Weapon Damage: I won't beat a dead horse. 2H DMG is king on Juggernaut and any opportunities to increase this stat will directly increase your damage and aggro generation.
Ranged Weapon Damage: Useless unless you're a kunai locked Juggernaut.
Mental/Chemical/Ember Damage: ???

Physical Damage Resist (PDR): PDR is the only resist stat I would recommend going out of your way to prioritize getting. The vast majority of mobs in the game deal physical damage exclusively and PDR is going to lower the overall damage potential of them across the board. As a Juggernaut, I recommend having at LEAST 20 PDR at all times so that when you use your 80 PDR temporary buff Brace you can successfully reduce incoming physical damage to 0 or 1.
Mental Damage Resist (MDR): Doesn't hurt to have, but ultimately it's not a stat I would seek out currently. If it reduces damage in any way, you'll never notice it with capable healers in your group.
Chemical Damage Resist (CDR): Also doesn't hurt to have with the disclaimer that it's slightly more useful than MDR due to the sheer quantity of spiders in the game that do chemical damage.
Ember Damage Resist (EDR): Ember Veins are often the best place to gain experience and some of the best Juggernaut gear in the game comes from them. For that reason, EDR is more useful than both MDR and CDR.

Physical Debuff Resist: I cannot think of a single time Physical Debuff Resist is going to make or break a fight. Can't hurt to have but otherwise you can ignore it.
Mental Debuff Resist: I cannot think of a single time Mental Debuff Resist is going to make or break a fight. Can't hurt to have but otherwise you can ignore it.
Chemical Debuff Resist: I cannot think of a single time Chemical Debuff Resist is going to make or break a fight. Can't hurt to have but otherwise you can ignore it.
Ember Debuff Resist: I cannot think of a single time Ember Debuff Resist is going to make or break a fight. Can't hurt to have but otherwise you can ignore it.

Confuse Resist: As said previously, you shouldn't be moving around during an actual fight. Confuse merely scrambles your WASD keys so if you're capable of quickly determining which key is bound to running forward you can easily steer with your mouse and negate the effects of confuse entirely. Just pay attention to the timer of the debuff so you know to switch back to standard WASD movements ahead of time.
Stun Resist: Of all 3 resists, stun matters most for tanks. When the main tank gets stunned, the first thing a mob does is run off and punch the healer. Despite this, I openly admit to having zero stun resist at level 40 as Juggernauts can boost daze and stun resist to 100 temporarily with Unstoppable. If you're going into a fight with Ruffians or some other mob that stuns on a frequent basis just swap Unstoppable on your ability bar and using it before fights.
Daze Resist: Useful to have but temporarily losing access to your abilities is less annoying on a tank than it is on a supporter.

Mauls: The vast majority of mauls in Embers Adrift have a positional bonus that increases your 2H DMG from a frontal or rear position. If you're leaning into positional as recommended, this will make mauls hit like trucks. Unfortunately the best mauls in the game are typically only found as rare drops from named that are often only able to be defeated with a group. Otherwise, I recommend keeping an eye out for quests such as Patrolling Northreach or Freeing the Meadowlands for viable alternatives. Do note that Imbued mauls at lvl 20, 30 and 40 are often superior alternatives due to the quantity of haste you can get on them.
Polearms: Personally I recommend avoiding polearms on Juggernaut unless for some reason you've already invested heavily into parry and riposte. Named polearm drops are plentiful so it's tempting at times but losing out on the scaling potential of positional just isn't worth it in my opinion.
Swords: Swords are often the only 1H weapons that provide defensive stats such as block or parry. I recommend finding one of these to parry with a massive shield for additional defense when shit hits the fan and you've got no other choice but to put the maul away temporarily.
Maces: These often have high base damage and provide a significant base +30 hit positional. These are a great alternative if you've not been blessed by the RNG gods with a rare 1H weapon with defensive stats.
Axes: There are some decent axes for tanks out there such as Grizzle Hatchet or Blightroot Hatchet but generally you'll find good maces more plentiful and good swords better for your use as a Juggernaut.

Bucklers: Bucklers have a place for Knights and Marshals who want to take advantage of parry/riposte without sacrificing your positional for a polearm. On a Juggernaut though? Nah, pass.
Kite Shields: Kite shields have the most variety in stats, AC, and block value. They also usually have the best appearance (imo) and can double as a viable shield for those SHTF moments.
Heaters: While generally ugly and the size of a door, they offer they most AC, block value, and defensive stats of any shield. As a Juggernaut I strongly recommend keeping a solid heater shield in your kit especially early on when you're struggling to find gear to pump your AC up.

Plate Armor: As mentioned before, high AC ratio plate armor is an absolute necessity as a Juggernaut. Early on Cuirasses, helmets, pauldrons, helmets, and faulds are the slots you want to place your most efficient AC gear in. If you want to know if a piece of gear is "dense" simply divide the item's overall AC by the weight of the item. 4:1 is okay, 5:1 is good, 6:1 is great and anything beyond that is wonderful.
Leather Armor: When you've found a few good pieces of plate that get you close to or over the AC cap your next priority should be to fill the rest of your empty armor slots. Leather is a great option for this as it provides the benefit of providing at least 2 positional with the additional benefit of technically having a good AC ratio (usually). Look for an outfitter at lvl 10 or 20 to make vambraces/greaves or even spaulders that weigh as little as 1 weight per piece but provide 2 free positional.
Scale Armor: Scale fits a similar purpose to leather, but with the additional benefit of slightly more AC for the cost of more weight. Scale becomes easier to fit into your low weight limits once you reach level 20 and on as more viable options such as Warrior Bear Chief hide, Darkwater scale or Greenscale armor become options
to look out for.

1. Strike: Generally useless past the first few levels.
1. Threatening Strike: This ability provides all defenders with a very low stamina cost threat generator. It's a great skill to have on your bar when you're having trouble maintaining aggro due to lack of stamina as it's often the first ability to be able to be used in a 0% stamina situation.
2. Provoke: Provoke provides a wonderful foundation of single target threat, but that's basically it. If you're struggling to keep aggro against an excited Berserker, swapping this on your bar can help out. It's great early on, but once I've got Roar in addition to plenty of outgoing damage aggro I swap this one off.
4. Resistant: Potentially viable early on in Juggernaut levels for temporary PDR but by 26 Brace takes the stage and this will never see your ability bar again.
6. Breach: Hit with such force that you bypass your enemy's defenses. Absolutely crushes. This ability skips right past armor and hits like a truck. When it crits or hits heavy your positional and 2h DMG stats can make this ability obliterate a single target. You'll use it so much you'll almost always be out of the reagent that boosts its damage (liver oil).
8. Roar: Loud Roar that goads your enemies to attack you and increases your damage. What a lovely ability. Roar is one of very few AoE taunt abilities in the game and has the added benefit of providing you with a DMG boost right at the start of the fight when you need it most. I open most of my fights with this ability especially in AoE parties. Initial aggro from multiple mobs is where Knights and Marshals struggle the most and for Juggernauts Roar is what makes you thrive in those same environments instead.
10. No time to Die: Maximize Resilience preventing death for a short period while in combat stance. NTTD starts out being difficult to time and use because of the short duration. That said, if you manage to time it well it can be the deciding factor between a successful fight and a bag run. It's the sort of ability I keep on my bar 95% of the time for those rare situations where my healer is out of stamina and I'm watching my health creep down to below 25%. Watching resilience proc multiple times is so god damn satisfying when it happen. Later in the game it's often my last resort and if I'm using it, I've already used Brace, HP pots, or any other Oh-shit buttons at my disposal. If you're slightly insane you can also use it to fight named mobs solo that would otherwise wipe the floor with you by buying an extra 16 seconds of life to dump attacks and finish a fight.
14. Collateral Damage: Deal damage with your weapon specific area attack. Collateral damage is your first and main AoE ability until you reach level 30. It used to be terribly disappointing to use as it only hit 2 mobs at once. Ever since it was increased to 6 mobs at once it almost never leaves my hotbar. Collat is actually a cone and not a true AoE so be sure to hold Alt and mouse over it so that you can get a good idea for what mobs it'll actually hit. If you're clever to can turn your characters face to the left or right and avoid accidentally breaking CC in parties.
18. Unstoppable: Become Unstoppable. This ability is situationally amazing. For 20 seconds you're immune to stuns or daze. If you're doing group content where neither of those are useful, swap if off for another ability.
22. Perforate: Strike and cause your opponent to bleed. This ability does great Single target damage while also providing a substantial amount of aggro. It's almost always on my bar as an offensive ability and is especially helpful in parties where AoEing is shunned.
26. Brace: Greatly increase physical defense. Pair with 20 PDR and for a short period of time you become a God. There are so many situations where Brace will shift the tide of a fight or even let your party play at a pace otherwise impossible. I like to use Brace particularly at the start of the fight when there's a larger quantity of mobs as it buys 20 seconds where I can tank far more at once than normally viable. Disclaimer: If you're doing dumb shit like fighting 3-5 mobs at once I strongly recommend you have more than 1 healer. If you plan to push the limits of what you can do in Embers, you'll quickly burn out lone healers who aren't prepared for that style of play. As Juggernaut, get 2 whenever possible so you don't burn bridges with our lovely ealer friends :)
30. Rip: Rip through your enemies causing them to bleed. This functions similar to Collateral Damage but after the initial hit a damage over time is applied to all of the hit enemies. If I'm in an AoE party this gets put on my ability bar. If someone in the party is actively using CC, this is usually the first ability to get swapped off. The AoE DoT unfortunately cancels CC so often that it's just not worth using sometimes.
34. Smash: Smash your target inflicting damage with extra potent heavy and critical hits. Smash provides god tier single target damage and can even hit harder than Breach in the right situations. Once unlocked it almost never leaves my bar outside of rare situations.
38. Stomp: A forceful stomp that stuns enemies briefly. Stomp is obtained late in levels but it's so good. Being able to quickly AOE stun mobs around you can save your ass both solo and in parties. The best part is that the resulting stun cannot be interrupted like Brigand's stun so you can buy the party healers 6 seconds of respite while you continue to wale on the mobs. 10/10, I'm running out of slots on my ability bar.
42. Revenge: I have no unlocked this ability so I have the least amount of experience with it. It appears to provide a sort of damage shield when receiving incoming damage which I Imagine stacks amazingly with NTTD's alchemy ability and lvl 30 Shock Potions.

Alchemy - To be added soon.
6. Breach:
8. Roar:
10. No time to Die:
14. Collateral Damage:
18. Unstoppable:
22. Perforate:
26. Brace:
30. Rip:
34. Smash:
38. Stomp:
42. Revenge:
If I missed anything you feel should be covered, please feel free to contribute. Constructive feedback is welcome!
One thing I wanna say is, No Time to Die only works in combat mode, so if you sheath your weapons it's void. Combat movement helps in this case when everyone is fleeing.

Darkwater armor or Oiled Tin quarter plate has combat movement to help in cases like that.

Threatening strike may not seem that great, but alchemy 1 it has a "dot" that generate threat. Very helpful when you are cycling through 2 or 3 adds to hold aggro away from healers.
This is exactly what I needed! 10/10 Thank you SOOOOO much.

Now if I could get one for Duelist :p
I think there's a Duelist one out there actually. It might be a bit dated though! I have only played 17 levels of Duelist sadly so I might not be the best person for that one. Warden and Knight I'd feel comfortable trying.
Thanks Zig!

Happy to read this my Jug has been a struggle, maybe I am not made for tanking in this game and should stick to my 3 dps and 1 duelist. Tho, my Jugg is the weaponsmith/Armorer so I guess I will have to level him at some point to get to the 20 prof quests =/
Thanks Zig!

Happy to read this my Jug has been a struggle, maybe I am not made for tanking in this game and should stick to my 3 dps and 1 duelist. Tho, my Jugg is the weaponsmith/Armorer so I guess I will have to level him at some point to get to the 20 prof quests =/
I think that's a totally normal feeling on Juggernaut early on. Knight and Marshal start out with such a boost to AC and utility that Jugs feel underpowered. Juggernauts really hit their stride much later in the 20s and because they're late bloomers they're much more gear dependent early on. If you're not feeling tanking all the time, be open to offtanking or being dps Jug. Most people welcome it! Just make sure to stand side by side with the main tank so that way if you get aggro the mob doesn't move. Rear positional is just not worth the risk imo.