ESO Magic Nightblade DPS Build

Welcome to our ESO Magic Nightblade DPS Build called Umbra.  On this page you will find an updated guide on the class, gear, champion points and everything you need to know for Magicka Nightblade DPS.

Table of Contents

  • Leveling (1-50)
  • End Game PvE (Group and Solo)
  • Player vs. Player (Cyrodiil and Battlegrounds)

Leveling Build

[Updated for Clockwork City by Gilliamtherogue]


The purpose of this build is to dip our feet into the Magicka Nightblade class, gaining access to great skills that can be applied in a multitude of ways.  While the Caster Nightblade did become a much harder to play class in Morrowind, we are now justly rewarded with good damage and healing potential, allowing us to still excel in solo and group play alike.


Should you play this build?

+ Freedom of choice, synergizes well with almost any play style and can be taken anywhere in game to do well in.

+ Access to fantastic self healing and above average resource management, making them one of the top picks for solo players or those who don’t like to depend on others.

– With the rework to Grim Focus, the Nightblade DPS (end game) rotation is now harder than ever.  Unlike before however, it actually rewards the player for being able to properly follow it.

Priority Skills

Since the Magicka Nightblade comes with a ton of its own healing, we won’t be needing to focus on leveling a Restoration staff.  If you do plan on PvPing with this class though, you may want to level one up as a “back bar” option once you hit level 15.

Destruction Staff

Bringing tons of potent damage this Destruction staff finds its way into any Magicka build’s hands.  Most DPS builds as a Magicka Nightblade will use one on both bars, making leveling a cinch.

  • Force Shock (Direct damage | morph to Force Pulse) – While the Nightblade does have its own spammable ability, Force Shock offers the group and ourselves much better utility.  Force Shock has 3 separate damage components, and deals direct damage.  When paired with a special passive, it will have a 20% chance PER damage component to proc the respective affliction; Burning, Concussed, or Chilled.  These debuffs all offer truly staggering amounts of damage and utility to the group, making this very important if we plan on playing in groups later on.
  • 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.


Assassination Tree

  • Assassin’s Blade (Single Target Execute | morphed into Impale) – A potent execute meant to be spammed at and below 25% Health on a mob, also grants a minor amount of Magicka return when killing mobs due to a passive, helping sustain while grinding.
  • Grim Focus (Buff + Single Target Direct Damage | morphed into Merciless Resolve) – A focal point of the Magblade  play style, this buff grants us Minor Berserk as well as an extremely powerful damage component after participating in active weaving.  This requires 5 attempted Light or Heavy attacks before it may be fired for the Spectral Bow.  After shooting, if you get another 5 Light or Heavy attacks done in the time you may shoot again!


Shadow Tree

  • Veiled Strike (Direct damage | leave unmorphed) – Since we’re going to be getting a better spammable ability from Siphoning, we’ll only want this skill on our bars so we can generate XP for the Shadow tree, until we unlock Path of Darkness.  If you plan on PvPing however, you’re free to morph this to Concealed Weapon.
  • Path of Darkness (AoE DoT | morphed into preference) – A decent ground AoE to be paired with our Wall of Elements.  It also grants us some passives from the Shadow tree, and Major Expedition while in it.  Twisting Path boasts a larger radius and more damage, but Refreshing Path is the go to morph if you plan on focusing on more solo play/healing.


Siphoning Tree

  • Strife (Single Target Direct Damage + HoT | morphed into Swallow Soul) – The main spammable of this build, a ranged single target ability that also heals based on damage done in form of a heal over time.  Morph this into Funnel Health if you’re looking for more utility in groups.
  • Cripple (Single Target DoT | morphed into Debilitate) – An extremely underrated morph, this skill operates as a decent damage over time and snare.  This morph removes the one target cap and allows us to apply it to all mobs we want to.  If a target dies with this ability on them, you’ll refund 50% of the cost used to cast.  Use the Crippling Grasp morph if you prefer single target DPS.
  • Siphoning Strikes (Resource Management | morphed into Siphoning Attacks) – Even after the massive nerfs to this ability, we’ll still be using it for the explosion of Magicka it gives after the duration ends.  Recasting this early will also give us Magicka back, based on how long it lasted.  Actively Light or Heavy attacking with this will also restore a meager amount of Magicka back, but it’s still worth doing so.
  • Drain Power (AoE Direct Damage + Heal | morphed into Sap Essence) – The main AoE spammable of this build, that boasts both solid damage as well as group healing.  While it deals less damage than Impulse tooltip wise, the extra range, healing done, and source of Major Sorcery allows this skill to be truly versatile and efficient.

Priority Passives


  • Executioner – Offering us a bit of Magicka back after landing a killing blow with an Assassination ability, it’ll help sustain our resources while fighting.
  • Hemorrhage – This passive allows for some spectacular damage on Critical Strikes, which applies to damage AND healing, helping us gain some power.
  • Pressure Points – Every Assassination ability slotted will net us 2% Weapon and Spell Critical Strike Chance, helping boost our damage and healing potential quite nicely in longer fights.



  • Refreshing Shadows – A nice boost to Health, Stamina, AND Magicka Recovery, making this passive an easy pick.
  • Shadow Barrier – Activating a Shadow ability will grant us Major Resolve and Ward for a short duration, helping us take 8% less damage from all sources.  A nice boost to our defenses with no downsides!



  • Catalyst – An incredibly simple, yet powerful passive; granting a nice jump in Ultimate every time you drink potions.  Try casting an ultimate and then immediately drinking a potion for maximum efficiency.  While grinding you’ll find yourself able to toss off an ultimate every pull thanks to this passive.
  • Magicka Flood – A massive boost to Max Magicka simply for slotting a Siphoning Ability, this will help us sustain, do more damage, and heal more all in one.


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 two Inferno Staves for single target encounters, while using 1 Inferno and 1 Lightning staff for AoE pulls in end game.  For leveling just use one of each.



Find yourself a friend as soon as possible so you can get your hands on great gear.  Crafted sets are by far the strongest way to level up in ESO, so hold onto that quest money to pay the bills, or start learning crafting yourself!


(If you don’t plan on PvPing with this character, instead of using a Restoration Staff, use a Lightning Destruction staff.)

  • Magnus’ Gift (4 trait craftable) – The 4 piece of this set offers us a bunch of Magicka Regeneration, helping us with staying power in combat.
  • Seducer (3 trait craftable) – This set also offers an immense amount of Magicka sustain, in form of 8% cost reduction.
    • If you want a more offensive approach you can try Julianos (6 trait craftable) as well.
  • Generic – This refers to any jewelry you can find.  Major quests like Main Story and Guild quests will usually give jewelry, as well as randomly dropping in Tamriel.

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

The Mage

In this tree you’ll want to focus on pumping up your Elemental Expert first  and netting 30 points in the Apprentice to get 12% Spell Critical.  After you hit 120 points spent into the Apprentice you’ll net Arcane Well, and you can start focusing other nodes like Thaumaturge.  Check the finalized allocation on the end game CP section.

The Warrior

Here we’ll want to focus a nice split between Hardy and Elemental Defender to help take of loads of damage.  Once we get about 11% reduction in each we can start pumping up Ironclad and Thick Skinned.  Check the finalized allocation on the end game CP section.

The Thief

Start pumping points into Arcanist and Tenacity at equal rates.  These will both have 100 in them when done.  You’re free to spend the last 10 points where ever!

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 Nightblades), 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.
    • Weaving as a Magicka Nightblade is CRUCIAL to be able to perform well due to our Merciless Resolve ability.  If you do not take kindly to the animation system in this game, DO NOT play the Magicka Nightblade and expect high DPS.
  • 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 Nightblade you’re going to want to use the Apprentice or Atronach while leveling.  Atronach helps our Magicka Recovery while we level up, but Thief 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 Nightblade 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.

Endgame Build

[Updated for Clockwork City by Gilliamtherogue]


This build will bring players interested in the Magicka Nightblade from a solo or group PvE perspective up to par with other classes.  The Magicka Nightblade has superior flexibility when it comes to bar and gear allocations, making them a wonderful class for just about anyone.  They know can pull stellar damage as well in group settings, helping increase their importance in end game.

Relevant Changes (Patches, Updates, etc)

[For Dragonbones update]

As of the Dragonbones patch, Magicka Nightblades will be doing even better than they currently function!  With an ease of access adjustment to their Merciless Resolve, lack of Off Balanace and Heavy Attack reliance, and a new item set, the future is looking great for the Magicka Nightblade in PvE encounters.  Below is a rough outline of some changes to keep an eye out for!

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 an ability like Funnel Health or a DoT. Immediately try to line up another Heavy Attack to utilize the double resources against Off Balanced enemies.  You can completely ignore this interaction if you don’t need resources though!

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  Heavy Attacks.

3; Merciless Resolve now retains the stacks you have made while it was active, even if the buff falls off.  As long as you stay in combat, even if you have 4 out of 5 charges for your next Spectral Bow, and Merciless Resolve falls off; if you reapply it and do one more Light or Heavy Attack, you will be able to shoot the bow.  This helps make micromanagement of this skill MUCH easier to understand, and replicate.

4; Lightning staves on our backbar are no longer always ideal.  If someone else (like a healer or a Sorcerer) is running Lightning Wall, you can opt to run an Inferno Staff for more damage production instead.  Keep in mind though, that Lightning staves amp up your AoE damage dealt by 8%, so if you’re fighting multiple enemies at once you still might want to keep one!


(click the links to see skill names and passives)

Single Target


Inferno Staff (Infused or Sharpened) – Main source of damage

  • Impale (Single Target Execute | morph of Assassin’s Blade) – Used only once targets reach 25% Health and below, this skill becomes a mach truck in raid environments.  This will replace our Funnel Health or Force Pulse spammable after the threshold on boss fights, helping boost our already good DPS.
  • Funnel Health (Spammable | morph of Strife) – The classic Funnel is back in style for the Morrowind Update for two very important reasons.  The cost of this skill is cheaper than any other spammable around, making it extremely powerful in longer fights.  The other great thing about this skill is that it will apply the HoT to an additional player, which helps keep allies alive through extremely punishing content such as Halls of Fabrication.
    • Force Pulse (Single Target Direct Damage | morph of Force Shock) – Force Pulse offers more damage for the user and the raid than Funnel Health, but costs over 700 Magicka more than Strife.  If you’re using more Recovery based options then Force Pulse will perform much better for you and your raid from all the support this skill boasts.  This will be ideal to take if you’re also using the Asylum Staff (Perfected, Imperfected is not worth on a Nightblade).
  • Harness Magicka (Shield | morph of Annulment) – In today’s day and age of end game PvE, a way to stay alive is vital to your ability to contribute.  Mechanics are designed to now make everyone have to be able to stay alive on their own for a moment, and Harness practically doubles our effective Health when on.  It will also restore Magicka back if absorbing Spell damage based attacks (Magic, Fire, Frost, and Shock damage).
    • If you’re solo and don’t need a shield, consider placing Elemental Drain (Debuff | morph of Weakness to Elements) from the Destruction staff skill line for some extra damage and Magicka sustai.
  • Merciless Resolve (Self Buff + Single Target Direct Damage | morph of Grim Focus) – Another iconic Nightblade skill, that grants us Minor Berserk for 20 seconds after activating.  On top of that, after 5 successful Light or Heavy attacks it transforms into a new ability that may be cast at a target for EXTREMELY high damage.  After you fire the Spectral Bow, if you manage to get another 5 Light or Heavy attacks you can fire this bad boy off again, helping your damage potential skyrocket.  Most rotations will see 2-3 Bow casts per Merciless activation, when done properly.
  • Inner Light (Self Buff | morph of Magelight) – Any good Magicka build will have this slotted; 10% Spell Critical, 7% Max Magicka and 2% Regeneration is just too good to pass up.  Plus you can activate it to Empower your next cast.

[Ultimate Choice 1, Ultimate generator/Executor] Soul Harvest (Single Target Direct Damage | morph of Death Stroke) – Ultimate generation, burst, passive bonuses, and debuffs.  This ultimate does so much more than people give credit for, and synergizes especially well in solo or small group content.  Every kill you get with this on your bar, you gain 10 Ultimate.  At a measly 70 Ultimate cost you can deal high damage, increase all damage done by 20% on the target, and apply Major Defile to it as well.  Try casting a Shooting Star, drinking a potion right after, and using Soul Harvest immediately when fighting bosses for immense burst.

[Ultimate Choice 2, AoE encounters] Fiery Rage (AoE DoT | morph of Elemental Storm) – The sheer damage and burst potential of this ultimate is baffling.  Boasting a massive range and massive damage, this thing wreaks havoc upon anything in its wake.  Place this on groups of enemies that don’t clump up or trash pulls and watch your numbers soar.  We use this on our Front bar for AoE encounters to ensure our Ancient Knowledge passive retains, and because our AoE bar will have Soul Harvest to get that juicy Ult on kill.

Inferno or Lightning Staff (Infused or Nirnhoned) – Ground DoTs + AoE

  • Crippling Grasp (Single Target DoT | morph of Cripple) – A decent single target DoT that also procs our Transfer passive for some extra ultimate, and gives us 8% Magicka for slotting at least one Siphoning ability. This also grants us Major Expedition, allowing us to avoid damaging mechanics and move from point A to B faster.
    • Sap Essence (AoE Direct Damage + Heal | morph of Drain Power) – Nightblades have something that most other Magicka classes don’t have, a powerful spammable AoE.  Sap Essence does a lot of great things, it deals nice damage, heals you and 5 other allies based on targets hit, grants Major Sorcery, and procs the Transfer passive when used.  While it is beaten damage wise by Impulse, it covers a larger area meaning it can effectively deal more damage if there are extra targets to hit.
  • Twisting Path (AoE DoT  | morph of Path of Darkness) – Twisting Path has seen some major changes in importance over the past few years.  The skill is finally calculated as Damage over Time, so will scale with Thaumaturge.  However it no longer procs Scathing Mage (why we’ve unfortunately tossed the set), but still boasts INSANE damage production in single target and AoE both.  While it doesn’t line up perfectly with Cripple, we still want it on this bar to help streamline our rotation and make it more fluid.
  • Blockade of Fire (AoE DoT | morph of Wall of Elements) – A centerpiece of power for any caster build, for good reason.  This thing does fantastic damage and gains even more damage when targets are afflicted with the Burning Status.  Keep this up at all times, regardless of AoE or Single Target.  We need a Destro ability slotted on each bar to gain our 8% damage passive, so that’s why it’s on our single target bar.
  • Siphoning Attacks (Resource Management | morph of Siphoning Strikes) – The skill that negates a lot of issues of resource management.  After activating, the next 20 seconds make it so any Light or Heavy attack refunds a small bit of Magicka, and after the duration (either 20s or upon recast) it will grant and explosion of Magicka based on how long it lasted.  Try to keep this up 100% to help with the resource struggles of Morrowind.
  • Inner Light (Self Buff | morph of Magelight) – Any good Magicka build will have this slotted; 10% Spell Critical, 7% Max Magicka and 2% Regeneration is just too good to pass up.  Plus you can activate it to Empower your next cast.
    • If you’re a very solid player, you can also opt to run Rearming Trap (Single Target DoT | morph of Trap Beast) from the Fighter’s guild skill line.  While it’s a Stamina ability and won’t scale very well for us, it does grant us a very powerful buff; Minor Force.  You gain 10% Critical Hit damage for 12 seconds (if the rearm hits), making it quite nice to use as a backbar option.  Just be careful, using this can quickly deplete your Stamina pool which may be needed to block/dodge/bash mechanics.

[Ultimate Choice 1, Most encounters] Fiery Rage (AoE DoT | morph of Elemental Storm) – Since we don’t have a Destro staff ability on this bar, we’ll lose 8% damage in single target when we go into execute, which is a pretty large loss.  Slotting Fiery Rage absolves that issue.  If you want a harder rotation you can swap Cripple and Impale’s allocation and ignore this loss completely, freeing up a different ultimate.

[Ultimate Choice 2, Niche application)Shooting Star (AoE Direct Damage + DoT | morph of Meteor) – Boasting insane burst, lingering damage, free stats for slotting, and an AoE knock up, this ultimate is fantastic.  It refunds ultimate based on enemies hit, so try hitting large clumps of enemies to stun them and melt ’em down.  Use this over Elemental Rage when enemies stack up nice and close or you have a pure single target fight.


(refer to the item descriptions for more accurate explanations on traits, etc)

BiS Boys

  • Julianos (6 trait crafted set) – A staple Magicka set that saw a tremendous power spike after Horns of the Reach due to Critical Strike rating set bonuses getting buffed.
  • Maelstrom Fire or Lightning Staff  (Obtainable in Veteran Maelstrom Arena) – A really nice bonus in damage from the Spell Damage boost and extra damage with Light Attacks to enemies in our Wall of Elements.  Fire for selfish DPS, Lightning for group utility.
  • Grothdarr (Obtainable from Vaults of Madness) – This set is straight up ridiculous.  Granting some nice Max Magicka as a 1 piece, the 2 piece of this set is INSANE.  The up time is fantastic, as it procs off ANY damage.  With this you’ll be a living Lava Geyser, causing mobs to get melted right before your eyes.  Keep in mind this is melee bound, so you’ll have to be face to face with enemies to capitalize on the power.
    • Interchangeable with Valkyn Skoria (Obtainable from City of Ash II) – While much less damage than Grothdarr, this set is is still pretty powerful.  The main reason you’ll want to use this is if you can’t be bound to melee range all the time, or you need some extra health.
    • Ilambris (obtainable from Crypt of Hearts I) – This will be Best in Slot if you decide to go 1 Inferno and 1 Lightning staff, since it can double proc with the different elements.
    • Zaans (obtainable from Scalecaller Peak) – A laser beam of death, doing immense single target damage (no AoE potential).  This beam will require you to stay within 10m of your target, so you’ll have to play melee form if you want to utilize this.
  • Moondancer (Obtainable from Maw of Lorkhaj) – A source of Minor Slayer, granting 5% damage boost in instanced PvE areas.  It also boosts our Max Magicka.
    • Infallible Aether (Obtainable from any Craglorn Trial) – Another source of Minor Slayer, and gives ~3.2% Spell crit instead of 1k Max Magicka.
    • Master Architect (Halls of Fabrication) – The same bonuses of Moondancer, but harder to get.
  • Perfected Asylum Destro Staff (Obtainable from vAS HM or weekly boards) – Insanely hard to get, this staff will mean you’ll want to use Force Pulse over Funnel Health.  If you somehow manage to nab the Perfected version (Imperfect is not worth it) then you’ll run that over the 4 piece trial set on your front bar.  This makes our rotation much more Magicka intensive, so definitely be ready to use Witchmother’s if you take this route!  This will ensure Burning, Concussed, and Chilled proc every 2 uses of Force Pulse, helping your and your group’s DPS skyrocket!

Crafted/BoE options



  • Twice-Born Star (Obtainable from 9 trait crafters, Craglorn) – Enables the use of two Mundus stones.  Pair this with the Apprentice and Lover for decent results in damage.  The extra Health and Stamina also make this a fantastic option for raid environments as well, where high damage and mechanics go out on the regular.  The equalizations to Mundus stones have greatly nerfed this set’s overall DPS, but the survivability is why I suggest it.
    • Interchangeable with Julianous (Obtainable from 6 trait crafters, Wrothgar) – A really simple but effective set that offers nice damage.  Take this if you prefer more damage, but at the cost of defense.
  • Mother’s Sorrow (Obtainable from Deshaan zone events) – This set offers a tremendous amount of Critical Strike rating, helping our DPS go up quite nicely.  While it isn’t BiS, it comes VERY close, and comes as a BoE option.
  • “Generic” (refers to ANY set) – Try and use double Infused on staves instead of the listed Sharpened, you’ll get much more DPS.  Use a Fire or Shock enchant on your front bar, and an Absorb Magicka (more sustain) or the opposite of your front bar’s (more DPS) enchant, on back bar.  If you have a Monster set you can replace your Helmet or Shoulder slot with it, but make sure you change your staff into whatever other set you’re running to ensure you keep the two 5 piece bonuses active!

 Champion Points

This CP allocation is for the player comfortable with the rigorous Magicka Nightblade rotation in groups, averaging at least 2 Spectral Bow shots per Merciless Cast, and with at least 70% uptime on all DoTs.  If you aren’t capable of that yet, try taking points out of Elfborn and pumping them into Staff Expert to help the Heavy Attack damage for your resource management.

The Mage (Blue)

  • Elemental Expert – 49
    • 37 if running Off Balance CP
  • Elfborn – 44
    • 31 if running Off Balance CP
  • Spell Erosion – 51 *(If attaining penetration cap from group buffs, spread these between Thaumaturge, Master at Arms, and Staff Expert)
    • 47 if running Off Balance CP
  • Master-at-Arms – 40
    • Same if running Off Balance CP
  • Staff Expert – 9
    • 0 if running Off Balance CP
  • Thaumaturge – 37
    • 75 if running Off Balance CP

The Thief (Green)

  • Arcanist – 100
    • Drop to 76 if you need more defenses
  • Tenacity – 100
    • Drop to 76 if you need more defenses
  • Free 30 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 – 61
  • Thick Skinned – 61
  • 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).

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 healing 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: If you’re not using Sap Essence, you’ll need to use Spell Power potions (Corn Flower + Lady’s Smock + Wormwood) to ensure Sorcery is up indefinitely.  If you are using Sap (aoe encounters only), then you can use any potions that return Magicka.

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.  It will also help your healing as well, which is another great strong point of the Magicka Nightblade.  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 Nightblade your backbar should definitely be NirnhonedInfused is also feasible, and 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!


Below is a written explanation of our rotation.  Keep in mind due to the volatility of Merciless Resolve, we have no true rotation.  This explanation also assumes you will be Light weaving between each ability.

Single target the order is as follows;
1) Buff up. Siphoning strikes + merciless resolve (ele drain as well if solo).
2) Now drop your ultimate and line up a heavy attack(inferno) and Funnel Health. Barswap immediately and place Wall of Elements, Cripple, and Twisting Path in that order. Light attack between each of those of course. Now barswap again and shoot your spectral bow. Now weave 4 funnel healths and then light attack once more to shoot the spectral bow again, and barswap.
3) Reapply WoE, Cripple, and Twisting, and Siphoning Strikes.  Barswap and fire the Spectral Bow and immediately refresh the buff.  This is the full rotation.  Now cycle between steps 2 (without the intro of ultimate + heavy attack) and 3.  While in execute merely replace Funnel Health with Impale, and use Soul Harvest instead of Destro Ulti or Meteor.
For a more simplistic explanation; make sure buffs are up.  Recast them as soon as they go down, but try not to break your rotation to do so (i.e, if Siphoning Strikes falls off and you still have 4 seconds on Wall of Fire, wait to recast).  If buffs are up, make sure your DoTs are down (Wall of Ele, Twisting Path, Cripple).  If your DoTs are down you’re weaving Funnel Health or Heavy attacking and firing the Spectral bow whenever you see it.  Cast your Ultimate any time it’s up.
Aoe there is no rotation; just make sure wall of elements and twisting path are down, and you have buffs up. If those things are done just spam sap essence or lightning heavy attacks.