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ESO Stamina Dragonknight DPS Build

Welcome to our ESO Stamina Dragonknight DPS Build called The Butcher.  On this page you will find an updated guide on the class, gear, champion points and everything you need to know for Stamina Dragonknight DPS.

Table of Contents


Brutal Butcher

Non-Vet PvP and Leveling

[Last updated Patch 2.2.9]

FYI, the video goes over everything covered in the written in much greater detail with examples of how to use it in combat.  If you’re looking for a specific piece of information, please check the video and the table of contents in the description to fast forward to relevant parts.  I spent a lot of time on the video and it serves a learning tool rather than text.


Two Handed Route                1 to 15                     Dual Wield Route


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Two Handed Route                15-25                     Dual Wield Route

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Two Handed Route                25-50                    Dual Wield Route

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Priority Skills


  • Poison Arrow (Single Target DoT | morph to Poison Injection) – A great ranged ability that applies a hefty DoT.  Once morphed the DoT will scale in damage based on missing health.  This ability really helps us pull large packs of enemies to our position so we can mow them down.
  • Volley (AoE DoT | morph to Arrow Barrage) – One of the strongest DoTs in the game due to its size and power, plus the ability to pair it with a BiS item in late game.  While leveling this helps cleave adds down at our position to increase speed and efficiency.  Place this at your destination where you want to pull large groups of enemies.

Two Handed (if taking PvP route)

  • Cleave (Conal Direct Damage + DoT | morph to Brawler) – The two handed route has the quickest access to an AoE spammable, the main power of what determines how fast you’ll level while grinding.  The ability is relatively small and doesn’t do crazy high damage, but it’s more than enough for trash mobs.  Morph this to Brawler to get some much needed defenses while swinging away.
  • Uppercut (Single Target Direct Damage | morph choice is preferenec) – Since the Dragonknight lacks a true spammable as Stamina, if you decide to take the 2h route then you’ll need this.  We won’t use it much while leveling, but this thing hits pretty hard in PvP.  I do not suggest taking the 2h route if you plan on PvEing a lot, as it is rather lack luster.
  • Reverse Slash (Single Target Execute | morph to Reverse Slice) – This ability serves as another filler, since the Dragonknight lacks an execute.  This thing scales in damage based on missing health, but is only worth while casting when the target is at ~30% health and below.  Reverse Slice offers some great AoE splash damage, but the other morph increases single target DPS.
  • Momentum (Self Buff + HoT | morph to Rally) – A source of on demand Major Brutality, as well as a sizable heal over time.  It sucks that this skill is obtained so late into the game, as it makes grinding a lot easier.  We take the Rally morph to give us an on demand semi-burst heal.

Dual Wield (if taking PvE route)

  • Twin Slashes (Single Target DoT | morph to Rending Slashes) – While this skill isn’t super helpful while leveling, this will be a powerful DoT in our aresenal later in the game.  The main reason we pick this up now is to help advance the skill line faster.  Morphing into Rending Slashes increases the overal DPS potential, while the other morph gives a very weak heal.
  • Flurry (Single Target Channel | morph to preference) – One of the most powerful single target stamina abilities in the game in terms of PvE DPS, this thing is fantastic.  We won’t use it *too* much while grinding since we want AoE, but definitely have this ready for end game content.  Rapid Strikes is preferred for maximum DPS, while Bloodthirst is great for self healing.
  • Whirlwind (AoE Direct Damage | morph to Steel Tornado) – By far the best AoE spammable in the game, it has an innate execute and has the biggest radius (although only by 1 meter).  The base morph is rather weak until we take Steel Tornado, but it levels quickly.  With this skill morphed you’ll be mowing down mobs in no time!

Ardent Flame

  • Searing Strike (Single Target DoT | morph to Venemous Claw) – The Dragonknight’s main single target DoT, and a big reason why they’re so strong.  This will be quite weak until we morph it into Venemous Claw, as that will convert it into a Stamina based ability.
  • Fiery Breath (Conal DoT | morph to Noxious Breath) – Another big power spike for the DK class, especially while leveling.  Until this is morphable it won’t be anything to write home about, but once it’s good to go you’ll be shredding armor in AoE and dealing some nice damage too.

Draconic Power

  • Nothing in this tree is super great in helping us level, but make sure to have an ability from this tree slotted at all times so you can advance the skill line.   Choose anything you prefer!

Earthen Heart

  • Similar to Draconic Power, there isn’t too much power in this tree to help us level quickly.  The same idea remains however, you’ll want to pick up an ability and always have one slotted to level up the skill line.

Priority Passives

  • Bow
    • Ranger really helps reduce our costs to help keep up in the fight with resources.
  • Two-Hander (if applicable)
    • Balanced Blade and Battle Rush again help with cost and resource management, so getting these both is vital if you take the 2h route.  Heavy Weapons also allows us to specialize and take a 2h sword for more up front damage.
  • Dual Wield (if applicable)
    •  Twin Blade & Blunt gives us an extreme boost to crit when paired with daggers, helping melt through packs with ease.  Pair this with Controlled Fury’s reduced costs and you’ll become a living weed whacker.
  • Medium Armor
    • Wind Walker should be your #1 priority as it offers universal reduction and scales with each piece of medium armor worn.
  • Racial
    • If you’re a Redguard or Khajiit make sure to grab any of the regeneration or sustain based passives when they become available.
  • Earthen Heart
    • Battle Roar- A great passive that gives us a flood of resources back when using ultimates.  The higher the cost, the more returned.
    • Helping Hands- While we don’t use too many Earthen Heart abilities, you’ll still gain a nice amount of Stamina back when casting them, to help move between packs and keep up on resource management.




The goal of this setup is to enable some strong healing from Vampire’s Kiss.  While the set offers us no regeneration or damage increase, the heal on kill will help us tide over taking on massive packs of enemies while grinding.  If you’re playing with a Templar or healer you can drop this for a damage set like Hunding’s Rage.  Eternal Hunt serves as our primary form of resource management while leveling as well.  Make sure to stop at the Mage’s Guild or check your inventory while grinding to constantly equip up to date jewelry and get it fitted out with Stamina Regeneration + Cost Reduction.

Champion Points

Mage (Blue Tree)

Focus on filling up Mighty, then pumping up Thaumaturge.  Feel free to spend some points between Precise Attacks and Piercing as well.  Check the DPS portions below for a finalized look at CP.

Warrior (Red Tree)

A healthy split between Hardy and Elemental Expert will help reduce damage greatly and improve survivability.  You can pump some points into Quick Mending as well to help out, but the two nodes in the Lady will be the most beneficial.

Thief (Green Tree)

Cost Reduction is our main focus here, as it is vastly superior to Regeneration.  Get Stamina cost reduction to 100 and then start pumping up Stamina regeneration after.

Tips and Miscellaneous

  • Race – 1) Khajiit is by far the best damage output, but resource management is hard, especially if you’re not high CP.  Redguard offers solid resource management and decent damage, while Imperial offers good health and damage.
  • Attributes – All stamina, keep it easy.
  • Vamp/WW – Either are doable, but add nothing to this build that are required.
  • Mundus – Shadow for burst, Thief for sustained damage.
  • Weapons – You will primarily use Bow, and you can chose to do Bow + Bow, Bow + 2h, or Bow + DW.
  • Armor – All medium for max regeneration and reduced cost.  You can chose 5/1/1 if you want more health too later in the game.
  • Food – Bi-stat for max stamina.
  • Health needed (if you’re good at range) 17k+ is the bare minimum you need.  Many players will want to stay around 20k until they are comfortable with this build.

Now What

  1. Level all of your skill lines to 50 (class, armor and weapons)
  2. Level Fighter’s Guild to 10 to get Dawnbreaker and Trap Beast
  3. Start working on Undaunted skill line to acquire passives
  4. Gather skill points and skyshard and finish all the passives (yes, ALL of them.  If they deal with combat, take them)
  5. Now experiment, what works well for you?  Maybe more single target, more AoE, more healing, etc.  Start dipping your toes into PvP and max out your skills levels.

Burning Butcher

[One Tamriel Ready]

(video is outdated)





Dual Wield (primary damage bar)

  • Steel Tornado (AoE Direct Damage | morph of Whirlwind) – Our main form of AoE damage for trash pulls and boss fights with adds.  This thing hits hard, and continues to gain in damage based on missing health.  Use this when there are 4 or more targets in a 9 meter radius.
  • Venomous Claw (Single Target DoT | morph of Searing Strike) – The Stamina DK’s class DoT, this thing is a beast.  It grows in power based on how long it’s been up, so make sure you never reapply this before 10 seconds have passed.  It lasts 10.5, but only deals damage in 2 second intervals, meaning as soon as 10s has passed, you should try and reapply it.  It can also be applied to numerous targets! This can be empowered by the Cruel Flurry enchant.
  • Rapid Strikes (Single Target Channel | morph of Flurry) – The main spammable of this build, this ability is great in and of itself.  When paired with Maelstrom Daggers this instantly becomes the reason Stamina Dragonknights are the #1 single target DPS in game.  Make sure to use this before each DoT application, to empower it!
  • Rearming Trap (Single Target DoT | morph of Trap Beast) – An extremely efficient and powerful ability.  Place this at your feet and anything that walks into it will take hefty DoT, as well as empowering you with Minor Force for the duration.  After the first application ends, it will rearm, so try and keep mobs inside it.  This can be empowered by the Cruel Flurry enchant.
  • Rending Slashes (Single Target DoT | morph of Twin Slashes) – A decent DoT ability that can be applied to numerous targets, making it quite nice.  It’s usually one of the weaker DoTs in our kit, but it’s still definitely worth keeping up.  This can be empowered by the Cruel Flurry enchant.
  • [Ultimate] Flawless Dawnbreaker (Conal Direct Damage + DoT | morph of Dawnbreaker) – While this is a decent damage ultimate, we will almost never cast it.  Our main ultimate is on our other bar and is so powerful that the only time you should ever cast this is when the fight will end before you can get your other ultimate up.  We slot this mainly for the 8% Weapon damage passive bonus.  This can be empowered by the Cruel Flurry enchant.

Bow (more DoTs!)

  • Noxious Breath (Conal DoT | morph of Fiery Breath) – A really undervalued skill that does a lot more than meets the eye.  The only source of AoE applicable Major Fracture, this shreds the armor of any target hit by 5280, offering a massive damage boost.  On top of that, the DoT it provides is quite potent in cleave situations, although it is rather lack luster in Single Target application.  This can be empowered by the Cruel Flurry enchant, but I do not recommend it, as it only applies to one target hit.
  • Poison Injection (Single Target DoT | morph of Poison Arrow) –  A pretty legit DoT that gets even more damage potential around 50% and below. It is operationally worth keeping up 100% of the fight, so I usually start off a fight with a fully charged heavy attack and this for some decent initial damage.  Paired with Maelstrom Daggers I’ve seen this crit for 30k plus on low health targets. This can be empowered by the Cruel Flurry enchant.
  • Arrow Barrage (AoE DoT | morph of Volley) – One of the most impressive skills in the game when paired with the Maelstrom Bow, this ability easily finds its way in the top 3 damage dealing skills on parses when used properly.  Encompassing a massive 8 meter radius, and lasting 8 seconds while hitting every .5s, this thing hits a total of 16 times per target standing within.  Each tick ramps up in power with the Bow enchant, so make sure to keep this up all the time!  The long winded animation can be cancelled via bar swapping after clicking for much smoother transitioning.
  • Resolving Vigor (AoE HoT | morph of Vigor) – Served more as a utility slot, a form of defensive capability is preferred here.  Vigor is my go to slot, as it’s a great self and group heal when you hit allies with it.  While you won’t solo heal any trials with it, you can keep yourself up through some brutal punishment.
  • Flames of Oblivion (Self Buff + DoT | morph of Inferno) – Passively gained from slotting this ability comes Major Savagery, a 10% Weapon critical increase.  While this is great at first glance, this is rather redundant and actually hurts us in the long run.  We’ll be using Weapon Critical potions, but the issue is if you ever swap to this bar and then swap back to your main bar, if no source of Major Savagery is there you will lose the buff.  This is a bug and I suggest reporting it.  If you can get over this fact, the active component of this skill deals an extremely heavy hitting shot to a nearby enemy every 5 seconds, for a total of 3 times.  If you hate losing your crit bonuses, then you can main bar Evil Hunter or just drop this skill all together for an additional flex spot.

Important Passives


  • World, Undaunted, Undaunted Mettle – This gives us a major boost to max stamina and health with two points.  You can level by complete Dungeon Achievements though it takes awhile.
  • Class, Earthen Heart, Battle Roar – The reason I STILL love Dragonknights, the massive flood of resources it produces keeps us sustained.
  • Class, Earthen Heart, Mountain’s Blessing – Gives us ultimate and 5% weapon damage or minor brutality.  Try to use Igneous Weapons combined with a monster heavy attack for sustained and more weapon damage.
  • Class, Earthen Heart, Helping Hands – Another amazing stamina DK tool, gives us 5% stamina for casting an Earthen Heart ability.  Run out of resources? Spam cast Igneous Weapons or an ultimate.
  • Weapon, Dual Wield, Twin Blade and Blunt – Gives us a massive boost to weapon critical for using Daggers with Precise trait.  Why? Because NPCs do not have critical resistance so stack up on it!
  • Crafting, Alchemy, Medicinal Use – This allows us keep up c150 potions of Weapon Damage for 48.8s, while the cooldown is 45s.  This means infinite Major Brutality!



Option 1 – (Standard)

  • 5 Twice-Born Star – 9 trait craftable set that is a well known powerhouse in coordinated groups due to Aggressive Warhorn.  Make sure you run the Thief and Shadow Mundus with this set, or you’ll be missing a massive amount of damage.  Even in non optimal situations with Aggressive Warhorn, the extra health from this and bonus Mundus stone will be great.
  • 5 Vicious Ophidian – Obtainable from any of the Craglorn Trials (Aetherian Archive, Hel-Ra Citadel, and Sanctum Ophidia) on their Normal or Veteran versions.  This set is one of the big contributors to Stamina DPS being a thing.  The same 2-4 bonuses of Nightmother’s Gaze with the added benefit of Minor Slayer, AND unparraleled resource management.
  • 2 Maelstrom Daggers – Obtained in Veteran Maelstrom Arena, these weapons are the #1 reason Stamina DPS is where it is.  Synergizing the best with the Dragonknight class at that, due to Venomous Claw’s absurd power.  Make sure you do a rapid strike before every DoT to activate the enchant.
  • Maelstrom Bow – Obtain in Veteran Maelstrom Arena, this makes Arrow Barrage into a godly skill.  Increasing the damage every half second, stacking ontop of itself up to 16 times, this offers great single target and AoE damage alike.
  • OPTIONAL 2 PIECE – If you are a Redguard or can maintain resources insanely well, you may drop 2 pieces of Vicious Ophidian for a monster set.  I suggest Velidreth (Cradle of Shadows) for AoE fights and Kra’ghs (Fungal Grotto I) for single target sustained fights.


Option 2 – If you’re looking for something more unique

  • 2 Spawn of Mephala – Obtainable from Fungal Grotto II, this Undaunted Set makes it so any time you deal damage with a fully charged heavy attack, you spawn an AoE of webs that deal Poison damage to anything sitting inside.  This is a great single target and AoE set, and offers us some extra health as well.
  • 5 Sunderflame – Obtainable from City of Ash I or II, this set was recently scaled up to c160 with One Tamriel.  Each time you deal damage with a fully charged heavy attack, you deal extra fire damage to the target AND reduce their armor by an earth shattering 3440.  This benefits everyone attacking that target, and is vital in coordinated groups to rip targets’ armor to 0.
  • 3 Vicious Ophidian – Obtainable from any of the Craglorn Trials, this ensures we get the Minor Slayer bonus to get 5% extra DPS.  Pretty standard.
  • 2 Maelstrom Daggers – Obtained in Veteran Maelstrom Arena, these weapons are the #1 reason Stamina DPS is where it is.  Synergizing the best with the Dragonknight class at that, due to Venomous Claw’s absurd power.  Make sure you do a rapid strike before every DoT to activate the enchant.
  • Maelstrom Bow – Obtain in Veteran Maelstrom Arena, this makes Arrow Barrage into a godly skill.  Increasing the damage every half second, stacking ontop of itself up to 16 times, this offers great single target and AoE damage alike.


  • If you’re still working on getting Maelstrom stuff and/or Vicious Ophidian, I really suggest using a solid 5 piece (Twice Born Star, Nightmother’s Gaze, etc), a 2 piece set (Velidreth, Mephala’s, or Kra’ghs), 3 Agility (obtainable from Imperial City vaults), and any crafted 2 piece.  This will get you in PvE content quickly and let you work on getting that BiS!


  • WW/Vamp – I don’t find either of these that great for the DK, although Werewolf can be a lot of fun.
  • Mundus Stone – Shadow by itself for end game content and DPS, if you run Twice-Born Star pair it with the Thief Mundus for extraordinary results
  • Armor – I prefer 7/7 Medium armor for cost reduction and crit, but you can do 5/1/1 with Undaunted bonuses for some extra health if needed!
  • Food – Go with bi-stat health and stamina at max level.
  • Race –  Khajiit is by far the best damage output, but resource management is hard, especially if you’re not high CP.  Redguard offers solid resource management and decent damage, while Imperial offers good health and damage.

Champion Points


  • Mighty – 100
  • Precise Strikes – 28
  • Piercing – 10
  • Thaumaturge – 51


  • Warlord– 100
  • Mooncalf– 87


  • Elemental Defender – 86
  • Hardy – 84
  • Thick Skinned – 7
  • Quick Recovery – 10