Ursine Tank Build - Bear School

Ursine Tank Build - Bear School - Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

By zanuffas
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This post will cover the best Ursine Tank build in Witcher 3. Ursine or Bear School concentrates on having many layers of protections. As you can expect the build will be to survive any encounters. This will make difficulties like Deathmarch a breeze as you can make mistakes without worrying that the next hit will kill you

Ursine Tank Build

The build uses Ursine (Witcher Bear School) gear that greatly improves Adrenaline generation and provides the highest defenses in the game. Of course, this comes with a big downside - slow stamina regeneration. However, this will not be a problem as the build can soak tons of damage from enemies:

ursine tank build high armor protection witcher 3

How do we reach this?

The main outline - get protection decoctions, protective polish, 3 adrenaline points, ursine gear and you are ready to go. The build will also rely on Strong attacks, and can easily take down the sturdiest enemies in the game

ursine tank build strong attack rend witcher 3

That is not all, once you reach 3 adrenaline points Metabolism Boosts kicks in and Geralt can use potions without any toxicity. I will list some good options in the equipment section for damage, survivability, and potion usage. Cheers!

The Build is tested on New Game+ and Deathmarch difficulty.

Skills allocation

This section covers skills for the Ursine Tank build. I still pick Whirl as it is a great option to quickly dispatch multiple enemies - groups of bandits or nekkers.

Before using the build you may want to reset your skills. Witcher 3 allows you to reset skill points with Potion of Clearance. During Blood and Wine DLC, you will get special mutations. You can reset mutations using Potion of Restoration.

witcher 3 ursine tank build skills

Name Effect
strength training witcher 3Strength Training Strong attack damage increased by 30%.
resolve witcher 3Resolve Adrenaline Point loss upon taking damage is lowered by 100%.
crushing blows witcher 3Crushing Blows Increases chance of landing a strong attack critical hit by 12% and strong attack critical hit damage by 75%. 
rend witcher 3Rend  Deals additional damage in proportion to the Stamina consumed. Ignores enemy Defense and increases critical hit chance by 60%. Adrenaline Points increase total damage by 33%
whirl witcher 3Whirl (optional) Spinning attack that strikes all foes in the surrounding area.
Maintaining the attack consumes Stamina and Adrenaline.
Consumes 50% less Stamina and Adrenaline
razor focus witcher 3Razor Focus Instantly gain one Adrenaline Point when entering combat. The Adrenaline Points generated by sword blows are increased by 30%.
sunder armor witcher 3Sunder Armor Reduces enemy damage resistance by 30%.
bear school techniques witcher 3Bear School Techniques Each piece of heavy armor increases maximum Vitality by 5% and strong attack damage by 5%.
metabolism boosts witcher 3Metabolism Boosts If available, Adrenaline Points will be consumed to reduce the Toxicity cost of drinking potions by 33% per point. Does not affect mutagen decoctions.
heightened tolerance witcher 3Heightened Tolerance Increases potion overdose threshold from 50% to 80%.
acquired tolerance witcher 3Acquired Tolerance Every known level 1, 2, or 3 alchemy formula increases maximum Toxicity by 0.5
protective coating witcher 3Protective Coating Adds 15% protection against attacks from the monster type the oil targets.
synergy icon witcher 3Synergy Increases bonus for mutagen placed in mutagen slot by 50%.
hunter instinct witcher 3Hunter Instinct When Adrenaline Points are at their maximum, critical hit damage against the targeted enemy type is increased by 100%.
killing spree witcher 3Killing Spree If Toxicity is above 0, each opponent killed increases critical hit chance by 30% for the duration of that fight.
mutated skin witcher 3Mutated Skin
Each Adrenaline Point decreases damage received by 15% (to a maximum of 45%).
metabolic control witcher 3Metabolic Control (optional)
Maximum Toxicity pool is increased by 30

I leave Metabolic Control optional. Why is that? It allows to consumption of the third decoction without toxicity side effects. However, you lose one skill slot that could be used to increase attack power (from mutagen and perk itself). Generally, it depends on your playstyle, if two decoctions are enough then skip it. Otherwise, take it.

Detailed Skill Progression

This covers detailed progression for the build as many players will not be high level to have 50+ skill points. So follow the abilities as you progress for maximum effectiveness.

If you are below level 11, I suggest following early game build guides

Order Skill Description
1 delusion witcher 3 iconDelusion This is a great quality of life skill. It will unlock some additional dialogue options. Moreover, they usually provide additional XP. I suggest dropping it later on in the game.
2 strength training witcher 3Strength Training As we will use Strong attacks most of the time, the 30% boost is necessary
3 resolve witcher 3Resolve This serves two purposes - unlock the next tier of skills and negate any adrenaline loss from damage. It will be important as your protection level will depend on adrenaline points.
4 crushing blows witcher 3Crushing Blows Provides bonus critical chance and critical hit damage for strong attacks.
5 Any combat skill with 3 levels We need one more perk with three levels to unlock the next tier of combat skills
6 rend witcher 3Rend  The signature ability of this build. It powers up your strong attack by the amount of stamina that Geralt uses up. Moreover, adrenaline points can increase the damage by 33% which is a lot.
7 razor focus witcher 3Razor Focus An important skill that increases adrenaline point generation and instantly gives 1 point at the start of the combat.
8 whirl witcher 3Whirl (optional) I love this ability. I use it all the time when fighting multiple enemies that may surround me. Use it, to clear up some nekkers or drowners and finish them off with Rend.
9 bear school techniques witcher 3Bear School Techniques Provides bonus damage with strong attacks and increases vitality for each Heavy armor piece.

At this point, I recommend having all of the places of power collected. You will need a lot of skill points to fully progress through the build and unlock other skill slots.

Order Skill Description
10 metabolism boosts witcher 3Metabolism Boosts After you get 3 adrenaline points you can drink potions without any toxicity generation. I think this is a perfect time to get the ability as you should have some good potions crafted for combat use.
11 acquired tolerance witcher 3Acquired Tolerance Increases total toxicity that Geralt has based on the number of alchemy recipes you have unlocked. This, together with the next skill will allow activating 2 decoctions at the same time.
12 heightened tolerance witcher 3Heightened Tolerance Increases toxicity threshold to 80%. Thanks to this, you can use 2 decoctions and start combat encounter with some potions.
13 protective coating witcher 3Protective Coating As we are making Ursine Tank build, it is important to have high protection. This will increase protection against enemies and the oil on your sword targets. Do not forget to apply them or use a mod for that.
14 Any alchemy skill with 3 levels We mainly take this for progression to unlock the next alchemy skill tier
15 synergy icon witcher 3Synergy A very powerful perk that will improve mutagen effectiveness by 50%.
16 toxic blood witcher 3Toxic Blood Take for progression
17 euphoria witcher 3Euphoria Taking for progression but it can be used as Mutation until you unlock Mutated Skin.
18 metabolic control witcher 3Metabolic Control (optional) If you wish to use 3 decoctions I recommend taking this ability. It will increase toxicity levels just enough to avoid health damage.
19 mutated skin witcher 3Mutated Skin The main mutation of this build decreases damage by 45% if three adrenaline points are active.
20 1 mutation Get additional mutation to unlock bonus skill slot
21 hunter instinct witcher 3Hunter Instinct This is a very powerful skill. Because you will be generating adrenaline points very fast, your critical hit damage will be increased by 100%
22 4 mutations We need additional mutations to unlock the next skill slot
23 killing spree witcher 3Killing Spree Because Ursine Tank build will always have above 0 toxicity, this will ensure that you can easily increase the Critical hit chance during combat.
24 4 mutations We need additional mutations to unlock the next skill slot
25 sunder armor witcher 3Sunder Armor Decreases enemy protection by 30%. So always start with heavy attack combat against a single enemy.

If you do not pick the optional ones, this opens up the opportunity to add other skills earlier to the build.

Tactics

In this section, I would like to share some tips on how to best play Tank build in Witcher 3

Decoction management

The build can accommodate either 2 or 3 decoctions. This is very important as it can drastically improve both offensive and defensive capabilities.

  • 2 decoctions - maximum toxicity level 125 with level 3 Heightened Tolerance.
  • 3 decoctions - maximum toxicity level 125 with level 3 Heightened Tolerance.

This way, the build also has some leeway for one or two potions, to be used before Metabolism Boosts activates. Check the equipment section for decoction recommendations.

Combat

To be honest, there is not much to say here, so here are general tips:

  1. Maximize protection with correct oils (Protective Coating), Arachas decoction, 3 Adrenaline Points, and Mutated Skin mutation
  2. Use Rend on single enemies or when fighting only a few of them
  3. Use Whirl to clear out a group of them in case you are getting surrounded
  4. Use potions once 3 Adrenaline points are reached to the heart's content

And here is my favorite part

ursine tank build killing enemies witcher 3

Just safely clean them up with Whirl.

Equipment

Here is my suggested gear for the Ursine build in Witcher 3

Weapons

Unfortunately, I do not recommend Ursine witcher swords. Although they provide bonus adrenaline generation, we do not use any skills that would drain them like Rage Management. Moreover, the 6-piece armor set bonus is lackluster in my opinion. Due to this, I recommend taking swords that boost the offense

Steel Swords

Item Description
Toussaint knights steel sword witcher 3Toussaint Knight's Steel Sword This is the most powerful steel sword in the game. Iris may compare to it in terms of damage, however, this has no confusing mechanics and pure high-damage stats
iris steel sword witcher 3Iris The perfect sword for this build. Because Tank build always uses Strong attacks, you can easily utilize the sword's unique effects. Moreover, you can easily negate its HP drain with Superior Swallow
viroledan blade steel sword witcher 3Viroledan Blade A decent sword with a +75% critical hit damage bonus. It can only be crafted

Silver Swords

Item Description
aerondight witcher 3Aerondight This is the most powerful sword in the game. Each attack raises its charge, resulting in higher damage. However, it requires some grinding for it to be at peak effectiveness. Moreover, to add a rune or runeword to it you will need to add sockets at runewright
gesheft witcher 3Gesheft A very powerful silver sword that gives a +100% Critical hit damage bonus and a +15 Critical hit chance.
ami silver sword witcher 3Ami A strong sword in the game, but the weakest option out of the listed ones. The big drawback is that not many enemies have high armor to make use of +300 armor piercing

Weapon upgrades

Upgrade Description
severance witcher 3Severance Increases the reach of Rend and Whirl. Makes combat much easier, especially with Whirl. To be honest, I think this upgrade is the only thing you will need
prolongation witcher 3Prolongation An interesting choice for the build. As Ursine build can take a lot of damage, you can use hits received from enemies as catalysts for longer potion duration.
greater chernbog runestone witcher 3Greater Chernobog Runestone Increases the attack power of the weapon. The good option before obtaining Severance

Armors

Although you can do various variations here, I recommend just going with Ursine armors. They will provide good protection stats and high adrenaline generation. You want to reach three adrenaline points as fast as possible.

Item Effects
grandmaster ursine armor witcher 3Grandmaster Ursine Armor +22% Adrenaline Point gain
+26% Resistance to piercing damage
+25% Resistance to bludgeoning damage
+32% Resistance to slashing damage
+46% Resistance to damage from monsters
grandmaster ursine gauntlets witcher 3Grandmaster Ursine Gauntlets +11% Adrenaline Point gain
+6% Resistance to piercing damage
+6% Resistance to slashing damage
+6% Resistance to damage from monsters
+6% Resistance to elemental damage
grandmaster ursine trousers witcher 3Grandmaster Ursine Trousers +11% Adrenaline Point gain
+6% Resistance to piercing damage
+11% Resistance to slashing damage
+16% Resistance to damage from monsters
+25% Resistance to elemental damage
grandmaster ursine boots witcher 3Grandmaster Ursine Boots +11% Adrenaline Point gain
+6% Resistance to piercing damage
+5% Resistance to bludgeoning damage
+6% Resistance to slashing damage
+6% Resistance to damage from monsters

Armor upgrades - unfortunately, there is nothing special to offer here, but definitely use Glyphwords for armor instead of Glyphs

Upgrade Description
protection witcher 3Protection Activates Quen every time Geralt enters combat automatically. I think this is a great quality-of-life upgrade, in case you forget to use this sign.
retribution witcher 3Retribution I personally do not use this one, but it is an interesting choice. Because the build can withstand heavy hits, use this opportunity to damage enemies.
deflection witcher 3Deflection Quality of life upgrade that automatically deflects incoming arrows.
Your preferred Glyph for signs Go for the Glyphs related to the signs you use. I personally use Quen most of the time with this build so adding Greater Glyph of Quen is the way to go.

Potions and tonics

Item Effects
superior blizzard witcher 3Superior Blizzard Using this feels like cheating, but it makes combat very easy as time slows around Geralt. Moreover, with three adrenaline points, you can cast Signs without cooldowns.
superior thunderbolt witcher 3Superior Thunderbolt This is the most recommended potion to use. It will improve attack power and grant 100% critical chance during storms.
superior tawny oil icon witcher 3Superior Tawny Owl As Rend and Whirl rely on Stamina, this is another potion that will improve Geralt's combat prowess by allowing him to use those attacks more often
superior white raffards decoction witcher 3Superior White Raffard's Decoction I recommend having this potion in the quick slot. It instantly restores 100% HP and grants immunity to damage for a short period of time
superior swallow witcher 3Superior Swallow Another potion that can be used to greatly improve health regeneration.
superior maribor forest witcher 3Superior Maribor Forest Increases adrenaline generation and grants one adrenaline point when used. I prefer to use it at the beginning of combat. The toxicity wears off while fighting

Decoctions

As suggested you can use two or three decoctions. It depends on whether you took Metabolic Control skill. I definitely recommend always using Arachas decoction for increased damage protection. However, I also include some offensive decoctions as the build can definitely use higher DPS.

Item Effects
arachas decoction witcher 3Arachas Decoction Because this is a tank build, we want to have as high protection as possible.
ekimmara decoction witcher 3Ekimmara Decoction This decoction is the main one for survivability. It will allow you to regenerate HP every time Geralt hits an enemy.
katakan decoction witcher 3Katakan Decoction Thanks to this decoction you will raise Geralt's critical hit chance by 10%. This will greatly improve overall DPS.
ekhidna decoction witcher 3Ekhidna Decoction Actions that consume stamina regenerate HP. So when using Rend it will complement the tankiness of the build.
wyvern decoction witcher 3Wyvern Decoction Use this together with Quen. It increases the attack power for each successfully landed blow, until Geralt gets hit by the enemy.

Conclusion

Thank you for reading the post on the best Ursine Tank build in Witcher 3. I covered all essential parts to be effective - skills progression, recommended gear, tactics, and general tips.

If you have any questions or suggestions leave a comment below

Discussion

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Post author zanuffas avatar zanuffas
Gamestegy Founder. I have been writing game guides and builds for 4 years. I like to push myself to create something wonderful for the readers!