ESO Magic Dragonknight DPS Build

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 Dragon Bones by Gilliamtherogue]


The purpose of this build is to give players a layout to get a general taste of the Magicka Dragonkinght, and to help showcase a lot of the power and potential the class has in PvE  (dungeons, leveling, trials).  Dragonknights don’t reach their fullest potential in solo performance however, so don’t be fooled into thinking that their leveling experience will be wholly representative to their group PvE or PvP capabilities.


Should you play this build?

+ One of the most cohesive tool kits in the game, boasting fantastic abilities and diversity for many situations.

+ Once mastered, you’ll gain immense damage, self healing, and sustain.

+/- High Risk High Reward play style, difficult to master and not the best DPS class at the moment

Priority Skills

The Magicka Dragonknight lacks powerful self healing in the early stages of its life, so with this section we’ll be focusing on skills that help us stay alive and sustain ourselves through our rougher stages of leveling.  Keep in mind that these are suggestions and depending on if you PvE or PvP, and since the Dragonknight has one of the most unique and versatile kits, you’ll likely want to level almost every skill you have access to.  Below are the most important skills to look out for.

Destruction Staff

Bringing tons of potent damage this Destruction staff finds its way into any Magicka build’s hands.  Any proper Magicka Dragonknight in PvE will find them self using this, as well as plenty of PvP builds.

  • Force Shock (Direct damage | morph to Force Pulse) – While the Dragonknight does have its own spammable ability, Force Shock offers us a ranged option for fights where we can’t get in the face of opponents.  Force Pulse offers higher raw damage, while Crushing Shock has an interrupt that is essential in many PvE and PvP encounters.
  • Walls of Elements (AoE DoT | morphed into Elemental Blockade) – An early magic AoE that helps leveling clearing trash mobs or grinding.  It also plays a vital role in our DPS for end game DPS in both single target and AoE encounters.

Ardent Flame

  • Lava Whip (Spammable | morphed into Flame Lash) – Undoubtedly the best spammable in the game for PvE or PvP, once morphed it will have a free cost portion that does bonus damage and heals us when attacking Off Balance targets.  It has a 3 second cooldown, but has a built in Off Balance proc when hitting this ability against Immobilized/Stunned targets, but to targets immune to these affects you must find other ways to proc this.
  • Searing Strike (Damage over Time | morphed into Burning Embers) – A potent single target DoT skill that also heals us for damage dealt once ended, or if it is recasted early.  Very helpful for staying alive and adding some pressured damage.

Draconic Power

  • Spiked Armor (Buff | morphed into Volatile Armor) – A source of our Major Ward and Resolve buffs, helping us take less damage from all attacks.  It also applies some decent damage over time once morphed to help pressure as well!
  • Dark Talons (AoE | morphed into Burning Talons) – A wonderful AoE skill that immobilizes up to 6 (continues dealing damage up to 60) targets nearby you, and also applies a powerful DoT effect on enemies hit once morphed.  It’s quite expensive, so don’t spam this too much!
  • Inhale (AoE + Heal | morphed into preference) – An AoE skill that initially draws life from enemies hit and healing us, and then exploding a few seconds later if not casted again too quickly.  Wonderful for burst damage, and our morphs give us an AoE interrupt OR Magicka refund.

Earthen Heart

  • Stonefist (Ranged Stun | morphed into preference) – A ranged projectile that slams into our target and stuns them.  We take this early on to level up the skill line, but its use is rather limited in end game application.  One morph reduces the cost while the other adds a heal.
  • Ash Cloud (AoE DoT | morphed into Eruption) – A potent skill that places a long lasting damaging area wherever we click it, helping melt through enemies who dare stand inside.  It also snares them to make it harder to leave!

Priority Passives

Below are some of the key passives to look out for that help define our leveling experience and make it go smoother.  While many of the Dragonknight’s passives don’t help our early game, they are vital to unlock later for an optimized build.

Ardent Flame

  • None of these passives help the leveling process too much, but they’re all essential for damage production in PvE and PvP end game.  Don’t stress about these until you start reaching level 50.

Draconic Power

  • Burning Heat – This passive helps our healing potential skyrocket if a Draconic Power skill is active.  If you don’t find yourself needing healing while leveling, skip on this until later.

Earthen Heart

  • Battle Roar – One of the most defining passives in ESO, this will give us an influx of Magicka, Stamina, and Health whenever we activate an Ultimate ability.  It scales based on how expensive the Ultimate is; so the bigger, the better!

Light Armor

  • Evocation & Recovery – These passives both operate the same way, granting Cost Reduction and Regeneration respectively for the passives for each piece of Light Armor worn.  These passives really help us keep in the fight longer with little to no down time between pulls.

Destruction Staves

  • Destruction Expert – A truly powerful passive that refunds a massive amount of Magicka when getting kills with Destruction Staff damage.  Have enemies die in your Blockade of Fire and you’ll be way more Magicka than you’ve spent.
  • Ancient Knowledge – Simply holding a Destruction staff will augment your abilities’ power.  Inferno (Flame) staves will bolster Single Target abilities by 8% damage, while Lightning (Shock) staves will bolster Area of Effect abilities by 8%.  I suggest using 1 Inferno and 1 Lightning staff for AoE pulls in end game and leveling if you’re not leveling Restoration or Sword and Board skills.


Slot Weight Set Trait Glyph
Head Heavy Magnus Training Max Magicka
Shoulders Medium Magnus Training Max Magicka
Chest Light Seducer Training Max Magicka
Legs Light Seducer Training Max Magicka
Gloves Light Seducer Training Max Magicka
Boots Light Seducer Training Max Magicka
Belt Light Seducer Training Max Magicka
Weapon One Destruction Fire Magnus Training Any
Weapon Two Restoration Staff Magnus Training Any
Necklace Generic Arcane Magicka Regeneration
Ring Generic Arcane Magicka Regeneration
Ring Generic Arcane Magicka Regeneration

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!

Ability Bar Progression

(Click the picture to see what abilities they are and where to find them!)





Keep in mind that these are just a guide line.  Experiment with what abilities you like and where you want to place them.  Just always make sure to have your 2 desired (or more!) weapon’s slotted and at least 1 ability from their skill line on a bar at ALL TIMES.  This is because you can progress any weapon skill line in the game, as long as you have an ability slotted.

Champion Point Progression

Mage (Blue Tree)

Focus on filling up Elemental Expert, then splitting between Thaumaturge and Master-at-Arms.  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.  After you hit 49 in each begin filling Ironclad and Thick Skinned.

Thief (Green Tree)

Tenacity and Magician are the two big focuses of this section.  Once you get ~50 in each you can start placing points where you like most.

Tips and Miscellaneous

  • Race is a very important choice in ESO if you plan on making your character as powerful as possible.  Almost all of the content in the game can be done by anything, but if you plan on playing in level capped dungeons or harder versions like Veteran, you’ll want to research what race fits best for you.  For this build in particular (Magicka Dragonknights), here are the best choices;
    • Dunmers offer the highest damage production when looking at stats.  7% Flame, 2% Shock, and 2% Frost damage all play a role in this build, with 9% Max Magicka and 6% Max Stamina to boot.  Tack on 3.15% Flame damage reduction and this build makes playing as a Vampire totally viable.
    • High Elves offer a lot of great stats as well.  4% Flame, Shock, and Frost damage all are nice, but is a bit weaker compared to the Dunmer version.  We will have slightly more Max Magicka from our 10% boost passive, as well as 9% Magicka Recovery, helping us sustain.  If you play as a Vampire however, Dunmer wins in every shape and form.
    • Argonians boast the best resource management in the game from their potion passive.  They also have 9% Max Health and 3% Max Magicka giving them wonderful stats, and 3% Healing Done AND Received.  Tack on 2.25% damage mitigation towards Poison and Disease, making the Argonian is the best PvP race around.
  • To discover skill lines you’ll need to equip their respective pieces of gear or interact.  Interacting with a Anvil will unlock Blacksmithing, while getting a kill with a Two Hander will unlock the Two Handed Skill line.  Equipping at least 3 pieces of an armor weight (Light, Medium, or Heavy) will unlock that skill line.  Try unlocking all skill lines as soon as possible so you can get an idea of what you want to do with your character.
  • Consumables are a very important aspect of ESO, there is ZERO reason to not have a Food or Drink buff, or to drink potions in combat.  They’ll help raise your stats and combat effectiveness, so try and find Food, Drinks, and Potions within your level range as you play.  You can always craft, or find a friend to craft you some!
  • Weaving is an obscure and often misunderstood mechanic in Elder Scrolls Online.  Start by looking up guides or talking with players about what this phenomena is, and practice early.  Understanding the game’s combat system will ensure you will have fun AND remain efficient while playing.  Be wary though, due to the complexity of this mechanic, many players often share misinformation about it.  Always try to get as many opinions and sources as possible to ensure you have a more well rounded view.
  • Mundus Stones are a unique mechanic to ESO that offer your character a free boon for having active.  Simply interact with a Stone to gain a permanent effect.  You may interact with a Mundus Stone whenever you want, and replace whatever stone you interacted with before, with a new one.
    • As a Magicka Dragonknight you’re going to want to use the Apprentice or Atronach while leveling.  Atronach helps our Magicka Recovery while we level up, but Apprentice becomes more important in end game for damage production.
  • Attribute Points are another way to increase your character’s power as you level up.  There is no real “best” way to spend these, but usually you’ll want to focus on your character build’s main stat; either Magicka or Stamina.  Health points are also important so you don’t die, so if you find yourself dying too quickly in combat, you can bolster that up as well.
    • As a Magicka Dragonknight you’ll want to spend most of your points into Magicka, and possibly a bit of Health.  There should be NO points spent into Stamina, other than very very niche moments.


End Game PvE Build

[Updated for Dragon Bones by Gilliamtherogue]


To make a high damage build for Magicka Dragonknight in Dungeons, solo questing, and Trials.  The goal is to be able to do some monster damage, have the option to survive independent of a healer, and complete any PvE content the game has for us.

+ Has a good rhythm to the order of ability usage, making it fun and engaging to play

+ Solid damage production in all content, while having the safety of Harness Magicka and self healing

– Rotation is punishing and may take time to “get into the groove of things”

– Reliant on Off Balance to do well, which means gear changes may be necessary between groups

Relevant Changes (Patches, Updates, etc)

[For Dragonbones update]

As of the Dragonbones patch, Magicka Dragonknights will now see a slight shift in operations with their Flame Lash ability and their interaction with Off Balance.  Prior, the class would merely spam Power Lash anytime a target was set Off Balance.  Now there will be a 3 second cooldown upon activating Power Lash, but will no longer consume Off Balance when used.  In PvE, bosses will also be immune to the Off Balance effect for ~15 seconds, meaning you will have long windows of time before you can utilize the free cast and heal.  This means the rotation will become much more rigorous and reactive, since those brief few seconds of Off Balance are precious.  Here are some suggestions to get over these changes and improve!

1; Always be watching Off Balance (via addons or in game buff tracking).  The icon is a small bluish-purple icon with the silhouette of face with “dizzy swirlies”.  As soon as you see this appear, try and line up a fully charged Heavy Attack (Inferno staff is ideal for this) and then use Power Lash.  Immediately try to line up another Heavy Attack to utilize the double resources against Off Balanced enemies.

The in game visuals for a target being Off Balance

2; The Off Balance immunity is now also recorded as a debuff with the in game or addon buff tracking sources. The icon is a character standing tall and proud, with a bluish-grey color scheme.  This will last 15 seconds.  When this is debuff reaches 1-2 seconds, you can attempt to charge up a Heavy Attack so that if the target is immediately set Off Balance, you will get additional time to squeeze in more Power Lashes, or Heavy Attacks.

3; Molten Whip will now be very close in PvE operations in terms of holistic DPS.  You will sacrifice Healing and burst damage, but your Engulfing Flames, Flames of Oblivion, and Burning Embers will now deal bonus damage.  If you don’t want to do the new Whip Dance with Off Balance, you can use Molten Whip instead for an easier to digest rhythm.  Any time Off Balance is now applied, you were merely Heavy Attack as much as you can while it lasts.


(click the picture to see all the passives and skills)

Inferno Staff | Spammable and DoTs

  1. Inner Light (morph of Magelight | Mages Guild skill line) – Used as a passive slot for more Max Magicka and Magicka Recovery.  If you find yourself needing to slot additional skills to survive, you can treat this as a flex spot.
  2. Flame Lash (morph of Lava Whip | Ardent Flame skill line) – Our main single target spammable ability.  If used against a target that is set Off Balance, it will become free of cost, do bonus damage, and heal us more than a Templar spamming Breath.  Keep in mind this will now have a 3 second cool down after activating, and Off Balance lasts 5 seconds, so you can get a total of 2 Power lashes every 20 seconds.  In ranged situations swap this to Molten Armaments or Force Pulse.
    • In AoE situations swap this to Burning Talons (morph of Dark Talons | Draconic Power skill line) for some nice AoE damage.  You can also use Molten Armaments paired with Lightning Heavy attacks instead if you prefer.
    • For a simpler rotation without any Off Balance reliance, you can also use Molten Whip (morph of Lava Whip | Ardent Flame skill line).  Still try and Heavy Attack when Off Balance is applied though, so you have more resources!
  3. Engulfing Flame (morph of Fiery Breath | Ardent Flame skill line) – One of the best skills in the game from a group perspective, making any target we hit with it take 10% more Flame damage, helping ourselves and our group do extra damage.  It also does nice DPS on its own, and is a conal!
  4. Burning Embers (morph of Searing Strike | Ardent Flame skill line) – A powerful DoT with a heal to boot.  The heal is based on damage dealt, so the longer it runs the more it will heal, but it can also be casted earlier for a quick breather.
    • In AoE situations swap this to Inhale (Draconic Power skill line) for some nice AoE damage.  The interrupt morph helps a lot, but the extra Magicka refund helps us sustain even more.  Choices, choices, choices!
  5. Harness Magicka (morph of Annulment | Light Armor skill line) – Still one of the most busted skills in the game, granting us a massive damage shield that scales with Max Magicka, and also returns Magicka back if it absorbs Magic, Fire, Lightning, or Frost damage.
  • [Ultimate] Elemental Rage (morph of Elemental Storm | Destruction Staff skill line) – Used primarily as our Ancient Knowledge passive slot for 8% more damage with single target attacks, it can also be used to help melt through packs of enemies quickly.  Since it’s a destruction staff skill, any killing blow it gets will restore 3600 Magicka back.

 Lightning or Fire Staff | AoE/Support DoTs

  1. Flames of Oblivion (morph of Inferno | Ardent Flame skill line) – An easy to use single target attack that hits the nearest enemy to us every 5 seconds, for 15 seconds.  Try and cast this every other bar swap.
    • In AoE you can opt to change this to Scaling Rune (morph of Fire Rune | Mage’s Guild skill line) for a decent AoE DoT on enemies it hits.
  2. Rearming Trap (morph of Trap Beast | Fighter’s 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.  However, I do consider this a flex spot since some fights are mobile and sometimes you need stamina for certain mechanics or VMA.
    1. In boss fights where Stamina is precious slot Volatile Armor (morph of Spiked Armor | Draconic Power skill line) to help take less damage from mechanics.
  3. Eruption (morph of Ash Cloud | Earthen Heart skill line) – A powerful AoE DoT effect that also deals initial damage upon cast.  Since it lasts 18 seconds, it might fall off once in a while due to it not lining up perfectly with our other skills
  4. Blockade of Storms (morph of Wall of Elements | Destruction Staff skill line) – Our most important skill to keep up 100%.  Not only does it deal great single target and AoE damage over time, but it also sets Concussed enemies Off Balance, to make our Power Lash proc, or to allow us to gain double the resources when Heavy Attacking the Off Balanced target.
    1. In groups where Off Balance is already being applied you will want to use Wall of Fire instead.  This means merely swapping your Lightning staff to an Inferno staff!
  5. Inner Light (morph of Magelight | Mages Guild skill line) – Same as our front bar.  Again, treat this as a flex spot
  • [Ultimate] Standard of Might (morph of Dragonknight Standard | Ardent Flame skill line) – While active you’ll passively deal 15% more damage to enemies, and take 15% less damage.  You’ll also apply Major Defile to up to 6 enemies inside the Banner, as well as some great passive flame damage every second while active.  One of the best ultimates in the game, hands down.


BiS Boys

Slot Weight Set Trait Glyph
Head Heavy Grothdarr or Zaan’s Divines Max Magicka
Shoulders Medium Grothdarr or Zaan’s Divines Max Magicka
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 Inferno Staff Moondancer Staff Preference Shock Enchant
Weapon Two Lightning Staff Maelstrom Staff Infused Berserker Enchant
Necklace Moondancer Arcane Spell Damage
Ring Moondancer Arcane Spell Damage
Ring Moondancer Arcane Spell Damage


  • Grothdarr (Obtained from Vaults of Madness) – A font of power for the Dragonknight, dealing AoE Flame damage around us when it procs.  The Max Magicka also helps our DPS tremendously!
    • Valkyn Skoria (Obtained from City of Ash II) – Less overall damage than Grothdarr, the main advantage this has is the Max Health to make us tankier, as well as the ability to proc from a range.
    • Zaan’s (Obtained from Scalecaller Peak) – The strongest single target set in the game, this thing packs a punch.  It will require you to stay within 10 meters of the target it activates on (a huge beam will shoot out from you), so stay up close and personal.
  • Burning Spell Weave – (Obtained from City of Ash I or II) – A wonderful set for the Dragonknight; granting us a boon of Spell Damage with a relatively decent up time, as well as applying the Burning status effect for some extra damage!
    • If you’re in a high mobility fight swap to Julianos (6 trait crafted set) for some great Spell Critical and Damage.  BSW only beats Julianos when BSW is up more than 55% of the time.
  • Moondancer – (Obtained in Maw of Lorkhaj) – A great 3/4 piece set that grants us Minor Slayer and some Spell damage with the 4 piece.  Minor Slayer is a 5% damage amp, so if you’re still learning the class and pulling lower damage, you might want to use a flat amp instead.
    • Willpower Jewelry – A great replacement until you get one of the Minor Slayer sets like Moondancer, Infallible, or Master Architect.  This will beat Minor Slayer until you start breaking ~33k DPS.
  • Maelstrom Staff (Obtained from Maelstrom Arena) – One of the most important pieces of gear to have, this makes enemies inside your Blockade of Elements take extra Light and Heavy attack damage, helping our DPS skyrocket when utilized properly.  It also helps our AoE potential a lot as well, since the bonus damage applies to Lightning Heavy attacks every tick of the channel.  You’ll have to decide if you want to use Fire or Lightning Maelstrom staves, based on what kind of groups or content you play in.

Beginner/Crafted Route

  • Julianos – (Obtainable from 6 trait crafters, Wrothgar) A very solid 5 piece set that offers a lot of great stats. You really can’t go wrong with this set.
    • If you’re just starting off and you NEED some extra Health and Stamina, try Twice Born Star (9 trait crafted set, Craglorn) to help.  Pair this with the Apprentice and Lover for damage.
  • Mother’s Sorrow – (Obtainable from Deshaan world events or bought from players, BoE) A decent 5 piece that offers an astonishing amount of critical strike chance.  Due to some changes to Crit modifiers in the game, this set isn’t *as* strong as it used to be, but that doesn’t mean it’s useless!  This is a perfect starter set for players looking to get a hold of something before they go farm for their Best in Slot gear.
    • A decent substitute for this is 3 piece Willpower and any 2 piece set or Undaunted mix.  There’s tons of flexibility to run until you can nab the juicy Moondancer and Grothdarr setup.

Champion Points

Keep in mind that CP has no one size fits all allocation.  It is extremely dependent on your performance, personal preferences, and rotation.  Below is a easy to use and versatile setup for the average player, but you’ll definitely want to experiment on your own to find what works for you!

The Mage (Blue)

  • Elemental Expert – 43
  • Elfborn – 28
  • Spell Erosion – 50 *(If attaining penetration cap from group buffs, spread these between Thaumaturge, Master at Arms, and Staff Expert)
  • Master-at-Arms – 44
  • Thaumaturge – 75
    • We still take Exploiter because non bosses have no cooldown of Off Balance, meaning we still get great damage on trash, plus the 25% uptime means we still get 2.5% DPS out of this passive on bosses.  If you’re going pure single target though, you can take points out of this.

The Thief (Green)

  • Arcanist – 100
    • Drop to 76 if you need more defenses
  • Tenacity – 100
    • Drop to 76 if you need more defenses
  • Free 40 points
    • This becomes 78 if you need more defenses.  Spread between Dodge Roll, Break Free, Block, and Sprinting cost reduction.

The Warrior (Red)

  • Elemental Defender – 49
  • Hardy – 49
  • Iron Clad – 66
  • Thick Skinned – 66
  • Quick Recovery – 7
  • Expert Defender -3

If you’re doing content with more damage over time, take points out of Expert Defender and Bastion and pump up Thick Skinned.  Make sure you put your points into Elemental Defender and Hardy FIRST, committing them before placing any in Ironclad/Thick Skinned (there is currently a bug where if you do not do this, you will get less mitigation than intended).


Magicka Dragonknight has a brutal rotation that doesn’t line up perfectly due to so many awkwardly timed skills with the new Power Lash (if using that morph).  Below is a written prioritization of what to focus on.

Priority 1) Buffs up, as always.  This includes our Potions (47s duration), Flames of Oblivion (15s duration), and possibly Volatile Armor (20s)*.

Priority 2) Begin by placing a Trap Beast (12s)*, and then applying Eruption (18s), and Blockade of Storms (8s).  Make sure to Light Attack in between each of these.  Now Bar Swap after applying Blockade of Storms/Flame, and do Engulfing Flames (10s) and Burning Embers (10s).

Priority 3) Begin “Spam” mode once all of your DoTs and Buffs are up.  You should be able to get 5 Lashes off in quick succession here.

Priority 4) Once your Blockade of Storms fades, immediately go to Apply Blockade..  We’ll only be casting Eruption and Flames of Oblivion every other back bar rotation since they last ~16s, and Blockade is on an 8s interval.

Where do I cast my Ultimate?) Your Ultimate is a powerful tool for the Dragonknight, Standard amplifies all damage you deal by 15% for 18 seconds.  This means you don’t want to drop it right away, instead drop if after you have ALL of your DoTs up.  Ultimates also restore resources for us, so you might want to cast it when you’re under 60% of your Magicka.

Consumables, Race, Mundus, and Misc

Armor Weights: Most players will see all 7 Light as a damage advantage due to the importance of resource management.  5 Light 1 Heavy 1 Medium still offers the highest raw stat damage, as well as some nice mitigation.  If you want a blend of each try 6 Light 1 Heavy, but make sure you have the Juggernaut and Constitution passive from Heavy Armor!

Food: Bi Health & Magicka food offers great damage capabilities, as well as helping our Health pool be sturdy enough.  If you prefer more sustain however, try Witchmother’s Brew (a holiday event recipe).  You may need to spend some Attribute points or enchants in Health to make sure you’re healthy enough though!

Potions:  You’ll need to use Spell Power potions (Corn Flower + Lady’s Smock + Wormwood) to ensure Sorcery is up indefinitely.  You can use any potions that restore Magicka if you don’t care about the content you’re doing.

Race: Dunmers offer the highest damage production when looking at stats.  7% Flame, 2% Shock, and 2% Frost damage all play a role in this build, with 9% Max Magicka and 6% Max Stamina to boot.  Tack on 3.15% Flame damage reduction and this build makes playing as a Vampire totally viable.  High Elves offer a lot of great stats as well.  4% Flame, Shock, and Frost damage all are nice, but is a bit weaker compared to the Dunmer version.  We will have slightly more Max Magicka from our 10% boost passive, as well as 9% Magicka Recovery, helping us sustain.  If you play as a Vampire however, Dunmer wins in every shape and form.  Argonians boast the best resource management in the game from their potion passive.  They also have 9% Max Health and 3% Max Magicka giving them wonderful stats, and 3% Healing Done AND Received.  Tack on 2.25% damage mitigation towards Poison and Disease, making the Argonian is the best PvP race around.

Mundus: The Apprentice boasts the best damage production for any Magicka build around, no questions about it. The Lover also can be used if you play primarily solo, but due to the ease of access of penetration for Magicka builds, I don’t really suggest this.

Traits on your Weapons: Horns of the Reach has reworked traits a lot.  Ideally you’ll want your front bar staff to be Infused or Nirnhoned paired with a Shock or Fire enchant.  As a Magicka Dragonknight your backbar should definitely be Infused Sharpened works on any weapon as long as you don’t over penetrate.  Charged is also in INSANELY powerful choice to increase your Burning and Concussed uptimes, making you do extra DPS.  I don’t suggest this trait in a trial however, since there will be plenty of people helping apply those buffs already!

Traits on your Armor: All Divines boasts the best DPS.  You’re free to have Infused on large pieces if you want to enchant for Max Health to help survivability, or Magicka to help a tiiiiny bit with sustain.

Enchants/Poisons on your Weapons: Enchants again are contextual.  Below will explain the most powerful choices.

  • Main Bar; Shock or Flame damage enchants are ideal.  Shock is usually preferred for applying Concussed and Off Balance when paired with a Blockade of Storms.  Flame is ideal if you already have Concussed running at 80% or more from the group (if 2 healers and 2 magicka DPS are already running Shock, or there are Asylum staff users).  You can also use Prismatic if you’re fighting Undead or Daedra (Rakkhat, Roko-tu, and the first two bosses of Aetherian Archive and plenty of 4 man content).
  • Back BarBerserker enchant by far your best bet for versatility of AoE and ST damage.  If you want you can also run Shock, Flame, or Absorb Magicka enchants as well.  Make sure to use the opposite of whatever you had on your front bar.  This will be great single target damage, but your AoE potential will suffer.

Vampire or Werewolf?: Vampire does exceptionally well with this build if you are a Dunmer, due to the extra Fire damage mitigation.  The extra 10% Magicka Recovery can help a lot in today’s meta, making it a valid choice.  If you’re doing a Trial or Dungeon with a lot of fire damage, you’ll want to make sure to be Stage 1 before entering!

Maelstrom Laceration

[Updated for Horns of the Reach]* Discontinued 


Solo performance (especially Maelstrom Arena) is especially brutal for the Dragonknight class, so this build focuses on trying to do a lot of things at once.  You won’t be pulling 50k DPS with this build, but you’ll be able to stay alive through some insane punishment, and hopefully work toward those Sharpened Maelstrom Inferno staves.



Bar One – Fire Destruction Staff (damage)

  1. Engulfing Flames (morph of Fiery Breath | Ardent Flame)  – A great DoT that also makes mobs take 10% more Flame damage.  The amazing thing about this is that you can apply it to a portal before the mob spawns, and it’ll still work!
  2. 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.  The main reason we use this over Whip is for the Magicka sustain, as getting kills with this will proc Destruction Expert, giving us 3600 Magicka back on kill.
  3. 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.
  4. Harness Magicka (morph of Annulment | Light Armor skill line) – Absorbs magic damage and turns it into resources.  This thing enables us to take so much damage that you’ll question why you would ever play a Stamina build.  Use this whenever a wave starts to help take off a lot of initial damage, as well as shielding through more brutal parts of a fight to play it safe.
  5. Inner Light (morph of Mage Light | Mage’s Guild skill line) – 7% Max Magicka, 2% Magicka Recovery, and 10% Spell Critical all simply for slotting.  This enables so much damage and healing it’s crazy, but if you’re newer to VMA and need to sustain/survive, try the alternative.
    1. 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] Shooting Star (morph of Meteor | Mage’s Guild skill line) Not really meant to be used as an Ultimate, but rather 2% free Magicka and Magicka Recovery.  You can use this on big clumps of enemies though, to get tons of resource back and a lot of refunded Ultimate to use it sooner.

Bar Two – Restoration Staff (buffs and healing) or Fire Destruction Staff (more aggressive)

  1. 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.  Place this on a portal spawn and let it sit inside to melt.  Each kill you nab with this ability will give a flood of resources back, so try to use it wisely!
  2. 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.
  3. Coagulating Blood (morph of Dragon Blood | Draconic Power skill line) – A shiny new heal that now can crit, AND scales off our Max Magicka and Spell damage.  This thing is insane for burst healing, so I always suggest it to newer players.
  4. Eruption (morph of Ash Cloud | Earthen Heart skill line) – A nice AoE damage over time ability that lasts a decent duration, and helps lock enemies in place.  Try casting this on a portal in tandem with a Blockade to help melt through mobs before they can do any real damage.
    1. If you find yourself needing more healing or sustain, try slotting Draw Essence from the Draconic Power skill line.
  5. Inner Light (morph of Mage Light | Mage’s Guild skill line) – 7% Max Magicka, 2% Magicka Recovery, and 10% Spell Critical all simply for slotting.  This enables so much damage and healing it’s crazy, but if you’re newer to VMA and need to sustain/survive, try the alternative.
    1. You can also turn this into Flames of Oblivion from the Ardent Flame skill line to net some added burst damage.
  • [Ultimate] Standard of Might (morph of Dragonknight Standard | Ardent Flame skill line) – 15% more damage, 15% 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 try using it on boss rounds or waves with lots of big targets.
    • Fiery Rage (morph of Elemental Storm | Destruction Staff skill line) – A massive amount of destructive AoE power, and in a much faster duration.  Banner is by far the best damage outputting Ultimate in the game, IF it can last its full duration.  But with Fiery Rage, you don’t need to was 17.8s to do all of that filthy damage; you only need 7.  Furthermore, this thing gives us a disgusting amount of Magicka return in form of Destruction Expert, helping alleviate a lot of this sustain problems!

Going About Combat

Prebuff phase

Makes sure to go through this cycle prior to the fight or another spawn, this will drastically improve performance.

  1. VR150 Spell Power Potion (47.6 seconds duration)
  2. Harness Magicka (6 second duration)
  3. Eruption (18 second duration)
  4. Blockade (8 seconds)
  5. Flames of Oblivion RIGHT as the portals appear (15 seconds duration)

Damage Phase

  1. Engulfing as they step out or before they spawn.
  2. Burning Embers so we can swipe again if we need to heal.
  3. Force Pulse until you need to reapply buffs.


BiS Boys

Slot Weight Set Trait Glyph
Head Light Grothdarr Divines Max Magicka
Shoulders Light Grothdarr Divines Max Magicka
Chest Heavy Julianos Divines Max Magicka
Legs Medium Julianos Divines Max Magicka
Gloves Light Julianos Divines Max Magicka
Boots Light Julianos Divines Max Magicka
Belt Light Julianos Divines Max Magicka
Weapon One Destruction Fire Any Sharpened Default
Weapon Two Restoration or Inferno Any Precise Default
Necklace Moondancer Arcane Spell Damage
Ring Moondancer Arcane Spell Damage
Ring Moondancer Arcane Spell Damage
  • Moondancer – Obtainable from Maw of Lorkhaj, this and Infallible Aether are great 3 pieces for the 5% bonus damage while inside.
    • Willpower – A decent substitute from daily LFG dungeons or Imperial City vaults.
  • Grothdarr – Shoulders obtained via Undaunted Pledges and helm can be found in Vaults of Madness.  The fire damage is great, and the Max Magicka 1 piece helps damage a lot as well.
  • Maelstrom Weapons – Don’t freak out if you don’t have VMA weapons, you can always just use a crafted Sharpened Inferno 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.
    • If you have access to it, try using Sun instead for more damage AND Health!  It’ll be much more expensive than crafting Julianos though.

Beginner/Farm mode

  • Withered Hand (Obtainable from Alik’r Desert zone events or tradable with players) – An amazing 5 piece that helps sustain our Magicka, Stamina, and Health when we kill mobs.  This will be going off pretty much on cooldown due to how many enemies will barrage us, but if you have time to on Boss rounds, try swapping to more offensive gear since there are less adds.
  • 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.
    • Twice Born Star (9 trait craftable) – This set helps us out with some extra Max Health and Stamina, but also does less overall damage than Juli.
  • Monster (Obtainable from Undaunted chests) – Since this setup has 1 free slot, I’ve added an option to run a 1 piece Undaunted if you see fit.  It doesn’t matter what you run here, it’s purely optional!

Champion Points


  • Staff Expert – 14
  • Spell Erosion – 15
  • Master-at-Arms – 40
  • Elfborn – 40
  • Elemental Expert – 49
  • Thaumaturge – 52


  • Tenacity – 76
  • Arcanist – 76
  • Free spend remaining


  • Elemental Defender – 49
  • Hardy – 49
  • Thick Skinned – 28
  • Ironclad – 61
  • Free spend remaining


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!