Welcome to the ESO Magic Dragonknight DPS Build called Laceration. This guide contains all the information you’ll need from level one to end game magic DK.
Table of Contents
Magic Dragonknight Leveling Build
[Updated for One Tamriel]
- Destructive Touch (Single Target DoT | base morph) – Used to get us started off with leveling the destruction tree, leave this unmorphed since we won’t really be keeping it for a use. If you really like it, morph it to Destructive Clench.
- Wall of Elements (AoE DoT | morphed into Blockade of Elements) – An AoE powerhouse of damage, this is placed in front of you and deals tremendous damage over an 8 second window. This makes grinding a breeze and gives us great sustain once we get a key passive later on.
- Impulse (AoE Direct Damage | morphed into Elemental Ring) – A decent AoE spammable that helps melt through packs of mobs even quicker. Again, this will help with resource management in grinding once we get a passive.
- Grand Healing (AoE Heal | morphed into Healing Springs) – An early AoE heal that can be helpful until you get Rapid Regeneration.
- Regeneration (Multi Target HoT | morphed into Rapid Regeneration) – A great HoT ability that works on you and allies, and lasts a decent amount of time. While this won’t help in high burst situations, these ticks will help us run between large packs of mobs.
- Steadfast Ward (Single Target Shield/Heal | morphed into Healing Ward) – Damage shields are a centerical force of power for caster builds, as they add effective health and allow additional damage above our Max Health to be recieved. This scales in power based on missing health, so make sure to cast it when you’re under 50%.
- Destruction Expert – Resource management is one of the DK’s biggest issues, but this passive makes grinding a breeze.
- Cycle of Life – The only thing I really use early on is this passive for extra magicka off heavy attacks.
- Evocation – Less magicka cost is a must just starting a new character, I get this priority number one.
- Recovery – Passive priority number two, regeneration combined with Battle Roar starts to give us the edge in combat.
- Battle Roar – Again, resource management is brutal for a Magicka DK, so we need this passive to help stem us over to keep up grind speed.
|Weapon One||Destruction Fire||Magnus||Training||Any|
|Weapon Two||Restoration Staff||Magnus||Training||Any|
The focus with this gear setup is resource management, allowing us to breeze through large pulls of enemies without running dry on Magicka. Seducers offers amazing sustain via 8% cost reduction, and there are plenty of regeneration set bonuses as well. If you find yourself dying a lot, swap some Magicka enchants for Health ones early on until you start to get the hang of pulling large packs of mobs. Also make sure to buy jewelry from the Mages’ Guild and enchant them for sustain as well every few levels. Otherwise you can use dropped jewelry pieces too!
Champion Point Progression
Mage (Blue Tree)
Focus on filling up Elemental Expert, then pumping up Thaumaturge. Feel free to spend some points between Elfborn and Spell Erosion as well. Check the DPS portions below for a finalized look at CP.
Warrior (Red Tree)
A healthy split between Hardy and Elemental Expert will help reduce damage greatly and improve survivability. You can pump some points into Quick Mending as well to help out, but the two nodes in the Lady will be the most beneficial.
Thief (Green Tree)
Cost Reduction is our main focus here, as it is vastly superior to Regeneration. Get Magicka cost reduction to 100 and then start pumping up Magicka regeneration after.
- High Elf – The highest Max Magicka in game, some regeneration, and a 4% increase to all Elemental damage types, this race is a solid choice for Magicka DK.
- Breton – A nice amount of Spell Resistance (6% reduction), great resource management via cost reduction, and 10% Max Magicka puts this close to High Elf in overall performance, being just slightly behind in pure damage.
- Dunmer – The by far best choice for a Magicka DK. 7% flame damage puts this above anything else, and is paired with 9% Max Magicka as well, and some Stamina, Fire Resist, and Ice/Shock damage as well makes this a match made in heaven race.
- Attributes – Go all magicka while leveling and enchant your gear with health if you feel you don’t have enough.
- Vampire or Werewolf – As we’re Magicka, Werewolf serves no purpose. Vampire is more of a choice, the regen helps but the extra damage taken hurts a lot. If you plan on PvPing a lot then go ahead and pick up vampire, but if not then skip out on it.
- Mundus Stone – I choose the Atronach right away for magicka recovery, then I pick up the Thief once I’m ready for end game content.
- Weapons and Gear – Fire Destruction staves synergize best with this class, and Restoration staves help bring in some much needed healing early game. Food and Consumables – I used regeneration drinks while leveling just for more casting but will go food at end.
- Level all of your skill lines to 50 (class, armor and weapons)
- Level Mages Guild and Fighters Guild to 10
- Start working on Undaunted skill line to acquire passives
- Gather skill points and skyshard and finish all the passives
- Now experiment, what works well for you? Maybe more single target, more AoE, more healing, etc. Start dipping your toes into PvP and max out your skills levels.
End Game PvE Build
Last Updated on October 9th, 2016 [Patch One Tamriel Update 12]
LACERATION BUILD VIDEO
To make a high damage producing Magicka Dragonknight for Dungeons, solo questing and Trials. The goal is to be able to do damage, survive independent of a healer while questing and complete any PvE content minus hard mode Vet Maw. Keep in mind there are many ways to play a Magicka DK, this is what I’ve come up to be effective in almost any scenario while producing great damage for you and your group. If this the best Mag DK build ever? No idea, but it works and that’s why I’m sharing it. Before you play this, I’d like to point out some of it’s strengths and weakness.
+ A lot of damage, single target and AoE
+ Sustain DPS
– Difficult to play with many DoTs in the rotation
– Harder to manage resources then other builds that requires experience and group play
Bar One – Destruction Staff Fire – Veteran Maelstrom with Poisons (main DPS bar)
- Inner Light (morph of Magelight | Mages Guild skill line) – This is one way to get our Major Prophecy or Spell Critical buff. We put this on our main daamge bar for more max magicka, while the DoT from Flames of Oblivion (FoO) remains on our back since it can be applied regardless of your current bar. If it’s easier to have FoO on both or up front on the single target bar swap it, just make sure you use both somewhat like this. Additionally, the Spell Power buff for fire damage via Molten Whip will apply to FoO when we swap.
- Molten Whip (morph of Lava Whip | Ardent Flame skill line) – Our main single target spammable ability “whip and dip.” It does a lot of damage, can be animation canceled fairly easily and boost our Ardent Flame spell damage. The bad is that it’s range is eight meters and can be a pain to use in specific boss related fights. You can swap this out for the ability below, just know you won’t have optimum damage in comparison, though it’ll be a lot easier for say Lord Warden fight.
- FLEX – Force Pulse (morph of Force Shock | Destruction Staff skill line) – A great skill with the same cost as Whip plus 28 meter range. No it doesn’t hit as hard, but with Elemental Drain up and the Destruction Staff passives giving magicka back on kills, this can help in certain situations. Flex this in and out depending on the fight.
- Engulfing Flame (morph of Fiery Breath | Ardent Flame skill line) – A decent DoT that increases damage with our flame attacks. This is also a conal AoE ability so keep it in your rotation for singlet target and multiple mobs.
- Burning Embers (morph of Searing Strike | Ardent Flame skill line) – A powerful DoT with a heal to boot. This isn’t our most damage producing DoT but it does help out our self healing. Make sure to swipe a target and re-swipe if you’re in trouble for a major self heal. If the target dies after you’ve swiped it, you’ll get the heal anyways so SWIPE YOUR FACE OFF!
- Elemental Ring (morph of Impulse | Destruction Staff skill line) – Our spammable AoE attack that hits very hard but only has a six meter range. I’ve tried DPS’ing without this skill just using a series of DoTs but didn’t find it effective. This ability along with Elemental Blockade has the added benefit of returning resources to you if you get the killing blow. Even more of a reason to spam it once our DoTs are up. In true single target fights like Sanctum Mantikora you can swap this out for something else.
- [Ultimate] Shooting Star (morph of Meteor | Mages Guild skill line) – This isn’t an ultimate that we’ll use frequently, but slotting it gives us passives via the Mages Guild. Rarely if ever will I use this, only if I need to AoE stun mobs.
- NOTE – I’ve tested the new Destruction Staff ultimate and it’s great for AoE due to radius and speed in which it applies damage. However, in most situation, Banner (Standard of Might) will out preform it do to it’s duration and damage increase.
Bar Two – Destruction Staff Fire – Veteran Maelstrom without Poisons (buffs)
- Flames of Oblivion (morph of Inferno | Ardent Flame skill line) – I put this on the back bar only since the extra magicka from Inner Light only comes from the bar we place it on. Since this gives the spell critical bonus WITH the added benefit of a monster DoT, I put it back here and re-cast every 15 seconds. In some parses, this was the most damage producing skill in my rotation. Make sure it’s up at all times though it can be hard managing what seems like a million DoTs.
- Rearming Trap (morph of Trap Beast | Fighters Guild skill line) – It may seem odd to use a stamina based ability for magicka DPS, but the added benefit of increase critical strike damage makes this ability worth maintaining in fights. You’ll see greater benefits the longer the fight and the more buffs running like Aggressive Warhorn. However, I do consider this a flex spot since some fights are mobile and sometimes you need stamina for certain mechanics or VMA.
- Eruption (morph of Ash Cloud | Earthen Heart skill line) – This sucker still does a ton of damage, it’s ranged, has a long duration and AoE damage. The downside it’s not mobile at all and a lot of mobs tend to move out of it. I consider this a most have skill though in highly mobile fights you’ll find it ineffective to maintain.
- Draw Essence (morph of Inhale | Draconic Power skill line) – This is our priority flexible bar spot. I put this on here simply for self healing as the magicka cost is high and you should be using Elemental Ring over this for pure AoE. However, it’s great for taking on tons of mobs and surviving. Here’s some flex options depending on fights.
- Harness Magicka (morph of Annulment | Light Armor skill line) – In almost all high end content like Trials or magicka heavy damage dungeons (like City of Ash with fire), this ability becomes a must. You absorb any damage and get magicka back based on damage.
- Elemental Drain (morph of Weakness to Elements | Destruction Staff skill line) – If you’re playing solo or a dungeon without this buff up, you’ll probably need to run it. This gives a lot of magicka back while we are weaving and will help with our sustain DPS. Additionally, the spell resistance reduction will equate to a DPS gain if our tank isn’t using Pierce Armor.
- Inner Light (morph of Magelight | Mages Guild skill line) – For pure DPS you can back bar this for extra magicka as well though I rarely do.
- Elemental Blockade (morph of Wall of Elements | Destruction Staff skill line) – A strong single target and AoE damage ability that is in front of you in a long rectangle. The duration is low around eight seconds but it’s usually my top three damage producing ability if not #1. The reason we place this on our back bar, is the Maelstrom Weapons effect of increasing light attacks applies even when we bar swap. If you don’t have Maelstrom Weapons or you want an easier rotation, you can place this in #5 on front, but it’s not optimal. Consider this your priority DoT.
- NOTE – The other morph of this ability, Unstable Wall is more damage than Blockade. Reason being, it has three explosions at the end of the cast, however it has a six second duration and most players will see a DPS loss. If you’re going for ultra damage, this is better, but it requires a lot more bar swaps.
- [Ultimate] Standard of Might (morph of Dragonknight Standard | Ardent Flame skill line) – 20% more damage, 20% damage reduction from mobs while inside the “Banner” plus a DoT. It’s the singular best ultimate for damage in the game. It has a hefty 250 ultimate cost so memorizing the round in which you need this will be important. When in doubt, drop a Banner and nuke stuff. Out of resources? Drop a Banner and nuke stuff. For the best damage results, apply your DoTs FIRST then drop banner.
NOTE: I’m assuming you’ll be light/medium attacking in between every action. Watch my video above for explanation on this.
- On bar two, fire up FoO, pull back a heavy attack and release just as you cast Eruption on boss
- Now cast Blockade and bar swap ASAP to cut down on the long winded animation
- Cast Engulfing flames when in range, Burning Embers and go into Molten Whip weave
Now you go into priority mode depending on situation.
AoE Situations (two or more mobs)
- You’ll want to maintain Elemental Blockade and Engulfing Flames (sometimes eruption)
- Spam Elemental Ring while those are up
- Draw Essence when you need a heal
- NOTE: The determining factor in if I recast a DoT in AoE situations is the probability that the DoT will hit full duration or close to it. Meaning, if there’s two mobs left, both with 10% life, it makes more sense to spam Ring rather than go through a rotation.
Single Target Situations
NOTE – Most of the time you’re not spamming Whip our single target instance attack. You’re mainly reapplying DoTs, with a whip here, maybe two times or three at the most. If you’re just sitting there whipping, you’re losing DPS. Sustaining our DoTs is the DK DPS way though it can be challenging.
WHY CAST A DOT? The determining factor in why I cast a DoT was explained to me by Gilliam the Rogue. Will your DoT do more damage over its full duration than your spammable ability? So, a 15k Whip basically (self buffed). If one cast of Burning Embers, Engulfing Flame, etc out preforms that action, it’s worth recasting (or provides self/group buff).
- Elemental Blockade is my priority since it’s AoE, single target and can return magicka on kills
- FoO second as it can out parse Blockade sometimes and hits very hard
- Rearming Trap as it buffs all of our crit damage
- Engulfing Flame for extra fire damage, though the DoT itself isn’t that strong
- Eruption – great damage both single and AoE
- Burning Embers – for healing and more DoT damage
While you’re cycling through DoTs, continue to do whips in between or when everything is up. It’s challenging to always maintain all these DoTs so don’t get frustrated if it doesn’t come natural. I struggle at it to this day. When in doubt, maintain FoO, Blockade and Burning Embers and you’ll do just fine with your DPS.
|Chest||Light||Burning Spell Weave||Divines||Max Magicka|
|Legs||Light||Burning Spell Weave||Divines||Max Magicka|
|Gloves||Light||Burning Spell Weave||Divines||Max Magicka|
|Boots||Light||Burning Spell Weave||Divines||Max Magicka|
|Belt||Light||Burning Spell Weave||Divines||Max Magicka|
|Weapon One||Destruction Fire||VMA Staff||Sharpened||Default|
|Weapon Two||Destruction Fire||VMA Staff||Sharpened||Default|
|Necklace||Infallible Aether||Arcane||Magicka Regeneration|
|Ring||Infallible Aether||Arcane||Spell Damage|
|Ring||Infallible Aether||Arcane||Spell Damage|
Best in Slot
- Grothdarr [helm and shoulders] – You can find the Helm via Vaults of Madness in One Tamriel Patch from the last boss. Enabling hard mode via the scroll will guarantee a helm. Acquire shoulder through Undaunted Pledge key system. This set is so freakishly powerful, both for the proc and the one piece making it beat Skoria in most situations in my testing.
- Valkyn Skoria – An alternative is Skoria which still performs great and gives you max health one piece which is great for hard mode trials. You can obtain helm from last boss in Veteran City of Ash and the shoulder from Undaunted Pledge keys. While it got a 33% damage boost, I still feel Grothdarr is the way to go this patch.
- Burning Spell Weave (BSW) – This set has been updated to Champion Point and the spell damage got a monster buff. You can acquire this set in City of Ash 1 or 2. If you’re farming it, I suggest Veteran CoA 1 which can be soloed. This set is great for spell damage, up time on proc and burning that it inflicts.
- An alternative until you get BSW is Law of Julianos for Dungeons or Twice Born Star for Trials. Both are craftable and preform well until you get BiS.
- Infallible Aether – Obtain in Trials and a great DPS increase. At first these set bonuses don’t see that useful, but the Minor Slayer outperforms additional magicka from say Willpower set.
- Willpower Jewelry – A great replacement until you get Infal, but you’ll see a DPS loss.
- Maelstrom Weapons – These weapons do make a big difference but it’s still vital to run Elemental Blockade if you don’t have them. You can Always use a crafted staff sharpened, that’s what I did until I got VMA staffs.
- Spell Erosion – 15
- Elfborn – 28
- Elemental Expert – 100
- Thaumaturge – 44
- Magician – 100
- Arcanist – 87
- Elemental Defender – 70
- Hardy – 70
- Thick Skinned – 20
- Quick Recovery – 17
Mundus, Race and Consumables
RACE – #1 Dunmer, hands down. Anything else is secondary, High Elf, Breton but anything can work. “If you ask will X race work with this build?” My answer will be yes, just not as good. If you like this style play it, even as a Khajiit.
ATTRIBUTES – All magicka, adjust enchants on armor if you need more health. I suggest 18,000 health for dungeons and maybe even more for hardcore trials (Ebony tanks will help).
FOOD – Bi-Stat health and magicka for max stats.
POISONS – Turns out the VMA staff maintains it’s spell damage bonus even while having a poison equipped. Making it optimal to add one for even higher damage. The one Gill suggested and tested is a Drain Health Poison that also returns health. Crafted by Alkahest, Butterfly Wings, Luminous Russula and Scrib Jelly
CONSUMABLES – I carry Spell Power Potions for the spell power buff if no one is running Molten Weapons and I use them on cool down. If you have that, keep using the normal CP 150 ones ON COOL DOWN (every 45 seconds). Remember that it gives you regeneration bonus on top of the flood of resources. Additionally, it’s wise to level Alchemy since the medical use passive increases the duration of your potion.
MUNDUS STONE – I still feel Thief is the single best Mundus for magicka PvE DPS. Since magicka builds don’t get spell critical based on how many pieces we wear, getting 60% spell crit is essential for high end dps.
VAMPIRE – I do go vampire since a lot of the fights I can negate flame damage with harness magicka and enjoy the 10% magicka recovery. However, if you’re having trouble with damage, go ahead and feed on a NPC or drop it entirely.
I hope this build has helped, spent a lot of time on PTS and live server getting it down. It’s not very easy, but dang is it fun. let me know your thoughts on the updated Laceration build!
Updated as of April 14, 2016
I wanted an self-sustaining solo Dragonknight build that could produce high Veteran Maelstrom Arena scores, capable of No-Death and fun. This build sacrifices some DPS for various survival skills but is capable of hitting the 500k+ score, and with fine tuning even higher. If you’re looking for a specific VMA DK build or something that can handle end-game solo, this is it.
Bar One – Fire Destruction Staff (damage)
- Flames of Oblivion (morph of Inferno | Ardent Flame skill line) – I now use this instead of the Mages Guild “Inner Light.” It gives us our major crit and comes with the benefit of a 15 second DoT ability. The key to using this is cast at the begin of the round and not over casting it. If you have three seconds left and there’s one mob alive, don’t recast. If you have another wave and two seconds up, use it. The amount of single target damage this does is staggering, a must have now.
- Force Pulse (morph of Force Shock | Destruction Staff skill line) – This is our ranged AoE and single target spammable attack. I swap in and out Flame Lash depending on the round and situation. Range is very useful in the arena. Keep in mind if you apply the “Burning Effect” (with Burning Embers) prior to use, you get the added benefit of AoE to near by enemies. The range is very useful and hard to pass up.
- Burning Embers (morph of Searing Strike | Ardent Flame skill line) – A powerful DoT with a heal to boot. Try to swipe each target nearby (5 meters) and recast if you need an instant heal. If you’re getting hammered hard, you can literally spam cast this and survive most rounds. It heals that well.
- Elemental Blockade (morph of Wall of Elements | Destruction Staff skill line) – A strong single target and AoE damage ability that is in front of you in a long rectangle. The nice thing is you, cast this prior to the round starting (when you see glowing teleporters) and you’ll just nuke the mob in 1 second. Don’t spam cast it, let them burn inside it. If they die because of WoE, you get a flood of resources back too!
- Elemental Drain (morph of Weakness to Elements | Destruction Staff skill line) – A huge boost to our sustained but tricky to use. Don’t just cast this on a mob that will die in one second. Try to keep this up on a mini boss or a full boss. It really helps with resources especially if we are saving a Standard of Might (Banner) for a later boss.
[Ultimate] Standard of Might (morph of Dragonknight Standard | Ardent Flame skill line) – 20% more damage, 20% damage reduction from mobs while inside the “Banner” plus a DoT. It’s the singular best ultimate for damage in the game. It has a hefty 250 ultimate cost so memorizing the round in which you need this will be important. When in doubt, drop a Banner and nuke stuff. Out of resources? Drop a Banner and nuke stuff.
Bar Two – Restoration Staff (buffs and healing)
- Proximity Detention (morph of Magic Detention | Alliance War skill line) – Massive single target and AoE damage 8 seconds are it’s been casted. The way I use this is casting it roughly four seconds before the round starts. That way once the mobs appear, run close it’ll go off. Try to recast it with other buffs here and there and you’ll have no problem with AoE.
- Dragon Fire Scales (morph of Reflective Scales | Draconic Power skill line) – A reflect that is super useful in almost all stages/rounds. It’s only four seconds of reflection and four seconds so try to optimize the time to cast this. A good example of this is early Stage 3 where you get attacked by tons of ranged targets. I’ll cast this only once right after the mobs appear and usually that’s enough to kill them or something else.
- Rapid Regeneration (morph of Regeneration | Restoration Staff skill line) – A powerful heal over time that helps with our healing needs. Plus it has the added benefit of giving us magic back on critical hits if you have the VMA Staff. It’s roughly 2k heals per second which helps our greatly during all stages. I must have IMO regardless if you have the staff or not.
- Harness Magicka (morph of Annulment | Light Armor skill line) – Absorbs magic damage and turns it into resources. Don’t over cast this either, you want the duration to elapse or it to be consumed. You get more magicka then it cost if you play it correctly and it will shield you from poison, fire, ice tons of stuff in almost every round. Consider this a flex spot if you want more CC for Fossilizes.
- Healing Ward (morph of Steadfast Ward | Healing Staff skill line) – A powerful ward that is used to prevent death when below 35% health. It’s kind of like a Breath of Life for solo play but comes with a hefty magicka cost. Don’t use this when above say 70% let your HoTs and Burning Embers heal you. Do it when your health drops fast and reapply your buffs and heal. Note, I do use Combat Pray when going for a high score due to the amount of damage it gives.
[Ultimate] Dawnbreaker of Smiting (morph of Dawnbreaker | Fighters Guild skill line) – A super useful ultimate with a very low cost. A lot of the rounds are Undead and Daedra and this can stun them and usually insta-kill most mobs. Plus it gives us resources if we run out in between 250 Banner cost. Try it, you’ll love it.
Pre Fight Buffs
Makes sure to go through this cycle prior to the fight or another spawn, this will drastically improve performance.
- VR15 Spell Power Potion (47 seconds duration)
- Harness Magicka (24 second duration)
- Rapid Regeneration (16.5 second duration)
- Proxy Det (8 seconds)
- Flames of Oblivion RIGHT as the portals appear (15 seconds duration)
- Elemental Blockade just before the mob spawns
From here I go into a rotation of damage/buffs, every spawn I make sure to keep up Harness, Rapid Regen, and Proxy if multiple mobs. Practice practice practice doing this until it’s auto pilot and it will become natural.
- Burning Embers right away so i can swipe heal if needed later on.
- Force Pulse until you need to reapply buffs.
- Elemental Blockade
|Head||Heavy||Engine Guardian||Divines||Max Magicka|
|Shoulders||Light||Engine Guardian||Divines||Max Magicka|
|Weapon One||Destruction Fire||Maelstrom||Sharpened||Default|
|Weapon Two||Restoration Staff||Maelstrom||Precise||Default|
- Engine Guardian – Shoulders obtained via Undaunted Pledges and helm can be found in Darkshade Cavern. I use this on a lot of builds because it works for my playstyle. I run zero regen and combed with ultimates, I don’t run out of magicka. Plus the extra healing and stamina is great for no death Maelstrom attempts. For ultra damage, I switch to Valkyn Skoria and even the Lich set can be nice.
- Maelstrom Weapons – Don’t freak out if you don’t have VMA weapons, you can always just use a crafted Fire Nirnhoned and a precise Restoration and do just fine. It does make a difference once you get it so something to look forward to.
- Julianos – I like this better than TBS on my DK due to the way our critical passives work, especially in solo play. It can be crafted in Orsinium south and is easy to get.
- Engine Guardian – Shoulders obtained via Undaunted Pledges and helm can be found in Darkshade Cavern. Substitute would be something with magicka regeneration or Bloodspawn for more ultimate.
- Twice Born Star – The best DPS set period. If you like to do PvP, or swap mundus stones a good substitute is Julianos. I’ve tested both with legendary gear, and TBS out preforms it hands down.
- Willpower -Part of the Imperial City DLC and a great three piece set. Now some other jewelry pieces are out in Orsinium though I still prefer this setup.
Click link it will take you to CP Calculator. Using Asayre’s CP Guide
[Last Updated November 4th, 2016 | Update 2.6.8 One Tamriel Update 12]
HYPE TRAILER VIDEO
FULL BUILD VIDEO
To create an “old school” AoE Magic Dragonknight for PvP, specifically open world Cyrodiil. Moving away from the heavy armor meta, sticking with light armor roots and have a lot of sustained for multiple opponents to fight. This build isn’t easy, nor is it the only way to play a magicka DK but it’s a lot of fun if you like what DK’s were like early on in ESO. This build is mainly for solo players but can be adapted for group with a few simple changes.
+ Massive AoE
+ Great self healing
– Less tanky with light armor
– Not as good at dueling as stam DK
The idea behind double sword and shield is having a secondary two piece bonus with max health making our only on demand self heal more powerful. However, when I’m playing in a group with a dedicated healer, I swap out secondary sword and shield for destruction staff for even more AoE potential with the new mobile ultimate.
Sword and Shield (offensive)
- Burning Embers (morph of Searing Strike | Ardent Flame skill line) – A powerful and underrated skill in PvP. The upsides are low cost, high damage over time and a massive heal at the end of its duration. The downsides are it’s range and the fact that you need a target to apply it. Pretty much always keep this up on at least one player and re-swipe if you need a burst heal.
- Invasion (morph of Shield Charge | One-hand and Shield skill line) – If I’m playing in group, specifically with a Templar providing stamina return via spear shards and repentance, I slot this in so I can charge and lock down groups.
- Molten Whip (morph of Lava Whip | Ardent Flame skill line) – Our main spammable attack which buffs our other ardent flame skills. I chose this morph over Flame Lash because I like the extra damage. You’ll get more healing with the other whip, but most players dodge, shuffle or mist out of my Talons so I rarely find the second attack an option.
- Burning Talons (morph of Dark Talons | Draconic Power skill line) – One of the best control skills in the game. Powerful both single target for control and AoE for massive bombs. I’ll show off how to use this in say a duel where you can position yourself behind an opponent and limit your damage significantly. The downside is it’s massive magicka cost. Don’t spam, you to lock down targets.
- Dragon Fire Scales (morph of Reflective Scale | Draconic Power skill line) – “Flappers” as I call them is a strong tool in the DK’s arsenal. I use this to let my opponents know they will have to come to me if they want to fight, thus playing into my plan of strong control and DoTs.
- Draw Essence (morph of Inhale | Draconic Power skill line) – A great self heal and AoE damage tool. We keep this on our front bar to proc our flame damage from Burning Spell Weave (BSW). Another really high cost ability, with a six player AoE target cap. Don’t use in 1v1 combat (in rare circumstances I do), but start casting it every 3 seconds when 2 or players are in range.
- [Ultimate] Devouring Swarm (morph of Bat Swarm | World Vampire skill line) – DK’s have been using since Vanilla ESO and with good reason; massive healing, damage, radius and low cost ultimate. Consider this our oh crap button or get away tool if you need healing.
Sword and Shield (defensive)
- Fossilize (morph of Petrify | Earthen Heart skill line) – Truly one of the best single target stuns in the game. CC, root, Earthen Heart so it procs stam return and ultimate. I tried the vampire Invigorating Drain but didn’t like it due to its limited range, the fact that I become vulnerable and the lack of passives in comparison to Fossilize. The greatest strength of Fossilize is it can targets while they’re blocking! It’s one of very few stuns that can do that and how to can be heavy armored builds perma blocking.
- Flex – Proximity Detention (morph of Magicka Detention | Assault skill line) – when playing with groups, with a dedicated healer, I put this on my back bar for more burst potential fighting other large groups.
- Structured Entropy (morph of Entropy | Mages guild skill line) – A source of major sorcery and a boost to our max health pool with is particularly important for our Dragons Blood (Coagulating Blood) self healing. Keep this buff active for the healing, sorcery buff and the damage can proc Skoria as well.
- Elusive Mist (morph of Mist Form | World Vampire skill line) – Our get away tool with some movement speed boost. There are many good ways to use this, I suggest blocking prior to the duration ending so you become less vulnerable to stuns and can focus on self healing when in trouble.
- Igneous Shields (morph of Obsidian Shield | Earthen Heart skill line) – Major mending on demand with an AoE shield, plus all the benefits of Earthen Heart passive. A lot of different ways to use this and it’s my go to ability before I need to self heal.
- Coagulating Blood (morph of Dragon Blood | Draconic Power skill line) – This skill has taken a major nerf a very long time ago once battle spirit halved healing. However, we an extra two piece from Endurance and Structured Entropy, we can increase our health pool by over 5,000 on our back bar. Why is that useful? Because the heal is based on your Max Health pool. The larger it is, the more powerful this becomes. So while no breath of life, it still can get us through tough times until a Devouring Swarm is up or Burning Embers swipe.
- [Ultimate] Standard of Might (morph of Dragonknight Standard | Ardent Flame skill line) – Massive AoE damage and damage reduction. It’s not perfect for every scenario, but in choke points, it can nuke down 3+ opponents solo, very very easily.
- Eye of the Storm (morph of Elemental Storm | Destruction Staff skill line) – Another skill choice when playing in a group with a dedicated healer. Drop Endurance sword and shield, pick up a destro and become an utter nightmare for the opposition.
- Shooting Star (morph of Meteor | Mages Guild skill line) – If you’re encountering a lot of 1v1 situations or want more single target burst, swap this ability in. Essentially you time your meteor, then a Fossilize RIGHT before it lands so it can be blocked. You can easily kill one player with this combo if they’re not prepared.
Buffs to Maintain
- Coagulating Blood – 20 seconds of Minor Vitality and Major Fortitude, increasing healing received by 8% and health recovery by 20%. Additionally, the Burning Heat passive adds 12% healing received passively while a Draconic Power skill is active, making it must have buff to run ALWAYS.\
- Structured Entropy – 20 seconds Major Sorcery increase our damage done and healing.
- Igneous Shields – 6 seconds Major Mending when big healing is needed.
- Dragon Fire Scales – 4 seconds projectile reflect prior to any major encounter and as needed during fights.
- Potions (tri-pots or immovable)
- Burning Embers as you close the distance to start the massive DoT and healing at the end.
- Burning Talons and position behind the opponent(s)
- If more than one, Draw Essence, if not, start to whip
- Stun or CC them every 6 seconds (look at the circle on their feet)
- Whip when you don’t need healing, buffs or debuffs
One Tamriel has opened up a plethora of gear choices of particular use for the Mag DK. I’m going to list and explain WHY I choose this set after extensive testing and options for you to consider based on your gameplay. Many folks will find it easier to use heavy armor at first due to its survivability, but the damage light provides is substantial.
- Skoria – Burst, burst and more burst. As a MagDK, we do not lack damage over time effects, but we do lack burst in comparison to a stamina build. This makes up for it, the fact that you can nuke someone out of no where and it cannot be dodge or avoided easily. I tried a lot of combos, and I was most deadly with Skoria.
- Grothdarr – For solo play I found this very ineffective, however in group, it’s a game changer. This set procs off any damage and gives us fire damage thus procing our Burning Spell Weave more often as well. It’s great AoE damage, with a great one piece bonus as well, but for solo I missed my burst.
- Chokethorn – What seems like an odd choice, but if you’re really struggling with healing and surviving this thing pumps out burst heals over time and can be awesome when learning the build. You can also go with Malubeth, Troll King and many others but I found Skoria’s offensive advantage to much to pass up.
Main 5pc Sustain
|Shoulders||Medium||Valkyn Skoria||Impenetrable||Max Magicka|
|Chest||Light||Burning Spell Weave||Impenetrable||Prismatic|
|Legs||Light||Burning Spell Weave||Impenetrable||Prismatic|
|Gloves||Light||Shroud of the Lich||Impenetrable||Max Magicka|
|Boots||Light||Shroud of the Lich||Sturdy||Max Magicka|
|Belt||Light||Burning Spell Weave||Sturdy||Max Magicka|
|Weapon One||Sword||Burning Spell Weave||Sharpened||Fire|
|Weapon One Secondary||Shield||Burning Spell Weave||Sturdy||Max Magicka|
|Weapon Two||Sword||Endurance||Powered||Stamina Return|
|Weapon Two Secondary||Shield||Endurance||Sturdy||Health|
|Necklace||Shroud of the Lich||Arcane||Reduce Magicka Cost|
|Ring||Shroud of the Lich||Arcane||Spell Damage|
|Ring||Shroud of the Lich||Arcane||Spell Damage|
Most of my solo PvP builds and what I find to be most effective is having one 5 piece set dedicated to resource sustain, and another for damage. Once you get the hang of your class, passives and resource management you can always go for more damage. But early on, you’ll need help. Specifically the DKs skills are extremely high in comparison to other classes so take that into consideration. The character is built around using ultimates for sustained, which can have a negative or positive effect on your gameplay.
- Shroud of the Lich – This thing is an utter sustain JUGGERNAUT! Giving us a huge 20 second duration of nearly 1,000 magicka regeneration. This also gets amplified to great effect depending on your race and Champion Points. So on my Orc, I hit the 3,000 regen mark when I really really need it. I found myself most effective with this set but there are a ton of others. * Found in Crypt of Hearts 1 or 2
- Heavy armor Crafted Seducers – Doing five body pieces heavy will give you back stamina while blocking due to constitution and will make you a lot more survivable at first. It’s a great alternative for crafting gear or folks that are looking for heavy armor. *3 traits required.
- Amber Plasm – A steady stream of both stamina and magicka regeneration is a good alternative as well. I found this a bit lack luster for the DK considering I’m blocking a lot and the stamina regeneration is cut off at that point. Additionally, I have zero sets that give stamina recovery so I only hit 1k stam recovery and it wasn’t worth it over Lich. * Found in Ruins of Mazzatun
- Desert Rose – A extremely powerful set that gives magicka back when hit. I don’t have the full set since it requires RNG bags to get in Cropsford and I don’t feel like spending 500k gold or 2 million AP to get the correct pieces. With that being said, this might be better than Lich though I haven’t tested.
- Bloodthorn’s Touch (formerly Adroitness) – here’s another set that I want to get my hands on because it gives back magicka and stamina when you do damage. However, I haven’t had the time or gold to spend farming it, but it’s a good option if you’re looking for an oeveralnd set to farm. *Found in Glenumbra
Secondary 5pc Damage
- Burning Spell Weave – Burst, burst and more burst. I’d rather have a bursty amount of damage, then a sustained one (in PvP). This thing not only gives us 600 spell damage, but the other set bonuses are great as well. Another factor I chose this over others is the “Burning” status effect. Essentially it’s a DoT that can be applied to one person and can do 1k DPS itself along with procing skoria. The last advantage that this has is the spell damage benefit applies when you bar swap. So Spinners does more constant damage, but if you bar swap for healing, you won’t get the benefit. *Found in City of Ash 1 or 2
- Clever Alchemist – A similar idea though its crafted so only on the body. *Found in Hews Bane
- Spinners – Giving a ton of magicka and spell penetration is great for PvP but there’s some downsides to consider about this. 1st, the damage from BSW (when proc’d) was more under my testing. Secondly, if you’re fighting someone using shields, the spell pen will have zero benefit as shields don’t have armor or spell resistance. Lastly, the effect doesn’t persist through bar swap (in this gear setup) nor does it offer the burning status effect. Don’t get me wrong, this set is fantastic for mag DPS in PvP, but I didn’t personally find it as effective for MY BUILD. You might have a different idea and that’s not wrong so don’t exclude this gear choice. *Found in Malabal Tor
- Silks of the Sun – Extremely lack luster in comparisons to the above. I spent tons of time and gold getting this set only to find out there were better options. Why do I say that? 1st, you have max health one piece which is a DPS lose comparatively to the other options. Second this only applies to fire damage which we do a lot of, but not all: structured entropy, deep breath (initial hit) and Bats. Plus if we bar swap and Skoria goes off, you’re seeing zero benefit. Is this a worhtwhile set? Yes, but max spell damage is only one factor in determining if a set is valuble or not, and after spending 500,000 gold and 50 hours getting all of these options, it was near the bottom. *Found in stone falls
- Kagrenac’s Hope – A great all around set for solo or small group PvP during the res and steady spell damage. If you want something craft-able, this is a good choice. *Eight traits found in fighters guild area
KEY NUMBERS TO REACH
24k health (on DPS bar with food) > 17k stamina> the rest magicka
Traits – I only run 3 sturdy which really helps on stamina sustained. I like more Impenetrable due to the hard counter Nightblades give us with Mass Hysteria (or fear), dropping our block for a limited time.
Attributes – What ever you have to do to hit those numbers above, for my Orc it was 53 magicka, 0 health and 11 stamina.
Armor Weight – 5 light 1 heavy and 1 medium is more offensive and better magicka sustained, however 5 heavy and 2 light is much more tanky or survivable.
Enchants – Prismatic on large slots, head, chest, legs and magicka or stamina on small. Get to 17k stamina otherwise you’ll have a long day in Cyrodiil.
Food – Champion Point 150 tri-stat purple food for a larger stamina pool.
- Dunmer – By far the go to race for mag DK PvP due to max magicka, stamina and fire damage.
- Argonian – Undervalued but with some revamped passives including the potion sustained healing received/done it’s a great tanky race.
- High Elf/Breton – Anything with some magicka benefit
- OTHER – I play this as an Orc, yep zero benefit to magicka or my damage. In PvP you have some freedom to be more created and less restrained in your race choice than say PvE. If you like your character, you like your race, your look, keep it and make it work.
Vampire – I think it’s a must have due to the ultimate and mist form though it can be rough at first go. If you’re leveling as a vampire, just realize you don’t see any benefit early on and all the downsides. Stick with it, our two vampire abilities makes it worth it.
Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed this build. Took me a long time to find a fun, unique and old school way to play my Mag DK again. I love it nearly as much as my Magplar and that’s saying something!