ESO Magic Dragonknight PvP Build

Welcome to our Elder Scrolls Online ESO Magic Dragonknight PvP Build called Laceration.  The premise of this build is to create a strong damage dealer that has survivability. This build will be centered around solo and small group play and can be changed for your play-style.


[Updated by Deltia for Wolf Hunter DLC Update 19]

This build centers around the magicka Dragonknight’s strengths which is being very hard to kill yet producing strong damage.  The idea is to give you a solid foundation of information with a variety of options to suit your play style and group size (solo to zerg).  With so many gear options and the changes to Battle Roar, healing and heavy armor, DK’s still have a great place in PvP and this is what we’ve come up with.

+ Powerful AoE and single target with class only abilities

+ Great Crowd Control

+ Rewards aggressive play-style

– Resource management can be tricky

– Requires constant bar swaps to be effective at end game

Should You Play This Build

I honestly haven’t been a big fan of the Magicka Dragonknight since early 1.6 ESO days but it feels good again. The thing I like (and maybe you will) is the sword and shield play style is rewarding.  I love being tanky YET doing damage and this fits the bill.  Unlike the Templar, the DK can use both single target and AoE area damage WHILE holding block.  So the play style centers around blocking and regeneration stamina via potions, Argonian passive and Battle Roar.  This gives us the ability to be tanky while having massive damage.  There are downsides however, it’s the the easiest class to play in terms of resource management. Your “kill shot” can be hard to setup and mastery is something I’m far from achieving.  Yet charging into a keep, Talons, Deep Breath with a Destro Ult and a horde of friendlies at your side can be some of the most fun I’ve had in the games PvP system.  Pick up this class if you like being tanky yet damage producing though know you won’t be a master at either.

How to Level

The main thing you want to focus on when leveling a Magicka Dragonknight is getting to the passive skill Battle Roar from Earthen Heart skill line.  This is how the class sustains resources through ultimates and will fundamentally make you enjoy or hate the class.   Remember to always start out each character by getting one specific ability from each class skill line (Ardent Flame, Draconic Power and Earthen Heart).  This will level up your skill lines and unlock new skills and important passives that will help you at end game level 50.  That gives you two more skill slots, since we will be using Sword and Shield and Destruction Staff skill lines at end game, you’ll want to pick up each of those weapons, unlock a skill and place it on your bar.  Reason being is you’ll level the skill line simultaneously while you equip and use your Two Handed.  Lastly, you’ll want to slot the Earthen Heart Ultimate which will allow you to level this important class skill line quickly.  Once you have all the passives unlocked, moved on to other skill lines.

Priority Skills

As I’ve said before, unlocking skills is very important and how you load your bar up can determine how fast you can get to end game.  Here’s my suggestions for you on how to start and what skills to pick up.

  1. (Ardent Flame) – Whip is going to be the builds bread and butter and can provide crazy healing while leveling. Get this and morph it right away.
  2. (Draconic Power) – While every skill in this tree has great usage, the Dark Talons will be staple of the builds end game play.  Get this and talons enemies to proc Power Lash for self healing and damage at the same time!
  3. (Earthen Heart) – The most useful skill is the first Stonefist because it gives you a early stun on command which can thus proc Power Lash (yep more self healing).  Within the very first few abilities you can have a setup similar to end game for you to practice.
  4. (Sword and Shield) – While we aren’t going to use this abilities for end game, pick up Puncture and leave it unmorphed (unless you want to PvE tank with this character).  The Pierced Armor morph will give you more spell damage making your Whips hit harder so it can be useful early on.
  5. (Destruction Staff) – Pick up the first ability and if you have the skill points, keep swapping in new ones as old ones become morphed (if you want to play this as a PvE DPS later on). Otherwise blop on your bar and leave as a dead spot just to unlock passives and Ultimate.
  • [Ultimate] Start with Earthen Heart Magma Armor and then slot each class skill line only after you have maxed the class skill line passives.  If you like another ultimate, put on your back bar use then flip.

Priority Passives

Remember this if you don’t learn anything else, passives make you powerful.  You can only have so many skills on your bar while passives you continually add (up to a point).

  1. Class skill lines (take them all even if you don’t think you’ll use them)
  2. Armor skill lines, Heavy first then Light (and yes eventually Medium)
  3. Weapons – Sword and Shield first then Destruction Staff
  4. Race
  5. Guilds – Mages Guild, Fighters Guild and Undaunted
  6. Alliance War Assault then Support
  7. Crafting Alchemy (hit level 50 specifically for Medical Use)

Yeah, that’s a lot of skill points.  Even after you hit level 50, you’ll be starved of skill points.  I have a separate guild on it, but public dungeon bosses, group dungeons and skyshard hunting to optimize your character will be needed.


Fire Destruction Staff – Main damage and CC bar.

  1. 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 stamina return and ultimate.  The greatest strength of Fossilize is it can stun 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.  This also applies our secondary whip hit “Power Lash,” giving us on demand damage and healing after a stun.
    • Alternative One is Vampire skill line Invigorating Drain stun.  This is effective because it generates ultimate though it cannot drop block.
  2. Flame Lash (morph of Lava Whip | Ardent Flame skill line) – Our spammable single target skill that can proc a secondary effect if using against stunned or immobilize target.  You can do this buy Fossilize or Talons which will hit harder and generate a lot of healing.
  3. 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 damage and immobilization.  I’ll show off how to use this 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.  This will allow you to proc a second “whip” Power Lash.
  4. Elemental Drain (morph of Weakness to Elements | Destruction Staff skill line) – Seems like an odd skill to  use, but Quantum the person who helped me with this build kept suggestion I used it.  It made all the difference because the debuff adds damage, its a free ability and the sustain provided when weaving attacks was unreal.  While it is single target, you can apply to multiple players just like Entropy and then when you go on a rampage, get ready to destroy folks and sustain.
  5. Burning Embers (morph of Searing Strike | Ardent Flame skill line) – This is a powerful pressure damage over time that also heals when effect ends or recast.  Ideally this will be used when facing one to two opponents at a time (BGs specifically).  Its damage and healing potential make it great though you can swap some other abilities in and out depending on your context.
    • Alternative One is Draw Essence (morph of Inhale | Draconic Power skill line) – A great self heal and AoE damage tool.   Another really high cost ability, with a six player AoE target cap.
  • [Ultimate] Ferocious Leap (morph of Take Flight | Draconic Power skill line) – The old DK Dunk is alive and well and hits just as hard as my stamina build though the range is less and you get a damage shield afterwards. I love the burst potential with this though it lacks the AoE damage potential that Standard or Destruction Staff offer.  Swap in and out depending on context (BGs, Cyrodiil Keep battles).

Sword and shield – Buffs and self healing.

  1. Engulfing Flames (morph of Fiery Breath | Ardent Flame skill line) – a huge boost to our flame damage by 10%, AoE and a cheap DoT skill.  Since I don’t play a Dunmer, I feel the extra need to apply this for more damage and it really helps.
    • Alternative Degeneration (morph of Entropy | Mages guild skill line) – The main use for Degeneration is Spell Power buff.  Since I no longer use Skoria, this because less important and I switched to Spell Power Potions instead.
  2. Volatile Armor (morph of Spiked Armor | Draconic Power skill line) – Most use this for the spell and physical resistance buff and that’s reason enough but the AoE magicka damage is useful as well.  Another reason is that the 10 meter radius can get Nightblades out of Cloak as they try to run away and provide you with extra healing received via Burning Heat passive.
    • Alternative I would swap this out for Proximity Detention only if I was playing with a pocket healer or a Warden that could provide the buff to me.
  3. Cauterize (morph of Inferno | Ardent Flame skill line) – While this abilities spell critical bonus is great, we use this primarily for the healing potential. It can heal you or allies which makes it great solo or in a group.  However, you can swap this out when playing in a coordinated group with a  healer if necessary.
    • Alternative while not required, Elusive Mist (morph of Mist Form | World Vampire skill line) can still be a 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.
  4. Reflective Plate (morph of Reflective Scales | Draconic Power skill line) – The biggest and best change to DK in this patch is the immunity to snares and immobilizations for a brief time.  This gives me massive mobility without relying on Elusive Mist from Vampire skill line.  While there are some reasons to still be a Vampire, largely I was due to mobility and now you have choices!  Expensive skill but necessary.
  5. 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 yet it still has value as an on demand self heal.  Since it scales off of remaining health, having a very low pool of health becomes essential for effective usage.  Allow your Power Lash be your main heal, Draw Essence your AoE heal and Blood as “oh crap” I’m at 30% life heal.
  • [Ultimate] Spell Wall (morph of Shield Wall | Sword and Shield skill line ) – A great defensive reflect that also provides blocking bonus.  This is our “oh crap” defensive though there are a lot of great alternatives here.
    • Alternative Psijics skill line Undo is something I want to experiment with because it can be used passively for a damage reduction tool or another morph you can use while CC’d.  Either way this is a strong contender on my back bar for those that have the expansion.
    • Alternative two would be AoE healing Devouring Swarm if you remained a Vampire.
    • Alternative three would be Magma Shell if you wanted super survivability with a 200 ultimate cost ability.


Monster Helm Sets

  • Damage Melee Monster – Zaan – Found in Scalecaller Peak Veteran Mode and the beast single target damaging tool.  While it tethers to an opponent 8 meters away or closer, the damage amplifies.  Making it take some skill to setup a stun when it procs or a perfectly timed Talons to keep your target close.  But if they cannot avoid this, they will be in trouble!
  • Damage Burst – Valkyn Skoria – Found in City of Ash II Veteran mode is still a staple for PvP.  Reason being, the damage is unavoidable.  You can’t dodge, block and get away from it. The downside is the one piece is health and it offers nothing in terms of “tankyness” or resource sustain.  I also tried Grothdarr but felt that was more suited for larger group play style than solo or what I typically do.
  • Tanky – Blood Spawn – Found in Spindleclutch II Veteran Mode probably the best all around set in the game.  You generate ultimate and get more resistances.  I use this if I’m facing overwhelming odds or I want better resource sustain via ultimates and battle roar.
  • Hybrid – I tried the Dominhaus one piece (from Horns of the Reach dungeon) and Chokethorn (Elden Hollow) and it gave me massive stats and recovery.  It worked well but overall Skoria is still the DK’s best friend.

Main Five Piece Sets (sustain/stats)

  • Overall – Shacklebreaker – Craftable set, six traits in Morrowind DLC.  I love this set because I need a large magicka pool and it gives us both magicka and stamina.  Also it’s craftable so you can make it heavy and have a cool look (Ebonshadow all the way).  It’s just a great all around set though not optimal for one specific thing (damage, sustain, ult gen, etc).
  • Sustain – Shalks Exoskeleton Set – Found in Stonefalls this generates a slight bit of ultimate while in combat.  It’s a great setup because with Blood Spawn you’ll have ultimate for days yet the sacrifice in stats didn’t suit my play style.
  • Rattlecage, Black Rose and many other sets my suit you but the overall stat pool from Shacklebreaker combined with the new Clockwork City DLC’s food was too much to pass up.

Secondary Five Piece Sets (damage)

  • Overall – Burning Spell Weave – Light armor found in City of Ash one or two (normal or vet).  The main reason I like this set over Spinners is that it applies the burning status effect.  Additionally the Spell Damage will still apply on your back bar though it can be a pain to farm and the spell damage does not boost Skoria’s damage at all.
  • Additional – Many people suggested to me Sun and or Axiom.  I tried both and don’t feel it provides the bursting capabilities that BSW provides.  Plus folks often overlook the fact BSW applies the “Burning” status effect giving us even more free damage.  Play around with what works best for you.

Consumables, Race and Mundus

Armor Weights: My overall favorite for this setup is 5 heavy and two light for a bit more sustain.  I’ve used five light before but found myself doing crazy high damage but also getting nuked by enemies too easily.  It’s okay to die, just not over and over because you’re two squishy.

Food: Clockwork Citrus Filet  from the Clockwork City DLC is optimal because it provides max health and magicka, and magicka recovery and health recovery!  A cheaper alternative is the 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!

Attributes: All magicka 64.

Potions:  Since I don’t have a spell power buff by default, I use Stealth Detection potions that provide Major Sorcerery or Spell Power and Spell Critical Potions.   An alternative is good old Tri-Potion that give you back all three resources (health, stamina and magicka).  You can craft these with Bugloss, Columbine and Mountain Flower (and more combinations).

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: This depends greatly on how you manage resources.  If you need help, try the Atronach.  If not, The Apprentice or Lover for damage.

Traits: For most builds I run all impenetrable since I rely less on blocking now and more on healing.  Weapon traits is a tough choice between Nirnhoned (damage all the time), Sharpened (useless against shields) and even infused with a good enchant.  I would say the cheapest route would be infused with fire enchant if you don’t want to use poisons.

Infection: Vampire is no longer a must in my opinion.  It comes down to if you want a bit more sustain and access to Bats as an ultimate.  I’m still experimenting to see what’s optimal for my paly style but leaning towards no vampire now with Reflect being so strong.


Champion Points

I now play PvP without Champion Points.  Both Battlegrounds and non-cp campaigns remain my favorite. There, I honestly don’t know the optimal CP setup for Mag DK.  Here’s what I use to run in Clockwork City.  If you don’t see the logic in my selection, change it.

The Mage (Blue)

The Apprentice

  • Elfborn – 40
  • Elemental Expert – 56
  • Spell Erosion – 31

The Atronach

  • Masters-at-Arms – 28

The Ritual

  • Thaumaturge – 75

The Thief (Green)

The Tower

  • Warlord – 30
  • Sprinter – 20

The Lover

  • Arcanist – 75
  • Tenacity – 10

The Shadow

  • Shadow Ward – 77
  • Tumbling – 18

The Warrior (Red)

The Steed

  • Ironclad – 48
  • Resistant – 38

The Lady

  • Elemental Defender – 43
  • Hardy – 43
  • Thick Skinned – 48

The Lord

  • Expert Defender – 3
  • Quick Recovery – 7



Thanks for the reading the Elder Scrolls Online ESO Magic Dragonknight PvP Build called Laceration!