ESO Stamina Dragonknight PvP Build

Welcome to our Elder Scrolls Online Stamina Dragonknight PvP Builds called the Butcher and T3.  The idea of this build is simple built around high damage but high survivability and mobility.  Ideally you’d play this in a four to eight man group in Cyrodiil or Battlegrounds. If you’re looking for a place to start PvPing in the Elder Scrolls Online as a damage dealer both solo and in small groups, this build is for you.

 

Overview

[Updated for ESO Patch Clockwork City]

This build centers around the Dragonknight’s strengths and that’s ultimate generation and self-healing.  The idea is to give you two options; one for solo damage dealers, the other more group oriented support tank.  While Dragonknights have fallen out of favor since the release of the Warden, they still remain powerful in damage, sustained and resource management.  Combine their strengths with some new offensive weapons available (Asylum and re-worked Masters) you can have a single target killer, AoE monster, or near impossible to kill tank.  Here’s a quick rundown of the strengths and weakness of this Dragonknight build.

+ Great self healing

+ Flexible

+ Damage and tanky

– Doesn’t have the absolute most burst in comparison to other classes

– Relies heavily on magicka for buffs and defensive

 

Should You Play This Build?

While I’m not a fan of Two-Handed Dizzying Swing route, it’s very powerful.  The Dragonknight running heavy armor and Two-Handed is highly mobile, great burst and incredibly hard to kill.  The downside is you are really dependent on magicka in heavy armor and need to limit “overcasting.”  If your buffs go down, you don’t have enough magicka, you’re likely to die.  This isn’t the easiest of builds to play as it has nuances, timing based burst but it can be very rewarding for solo or group.  I will say, its a tough call in terms of sheer enjoyment playing this or my Stamina Templar in the current patch and meta.  The DK has Take Flight AKA Dragon Leap or DK Dunk and it has to be the most satisfying feeling leaping on a group and squashing them like a bug.  Play this build if you’re looking for a rewarding tanky damage dealer that can excel at solo or group.  Don’t play this build if you’re looking for the absolute most bursty class (that’s the Warden currently).

 

How to Level

The main thing you want to focus on when leveling a Stamina 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 Bow or Sword and Shield depending on which build you want to run, grab the first skill and leave 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 isn’t going to be effective for our build but we have to pick it up to progress the skill line.  Keep advancing the skill line  and grabbing up every skill, morphing it and moving on because you could be using it later.
  2. (Draconic Power) – Almost every single skill in this line is useful and used at some point.  I’d do the same thing, pick one, level it so it can be morphed then grab the next.
  3. (Earthen Heart) – The number one priority is this skill line’s passive and secondarily the Obsidian Shield skill morphed into Igneous Shield.  This will help you survive when you shouldn’t and make the game a lot easier from here on.
  4. (Two-handed) – Grab Uppercut and use it throughout the game.  You can turn in quest or rewards with other skills on your bar, but you’ll need this as your main spammable attack while leveling.  Once you have all the skill lines from you classed maxed, focus on dumping tons of skills to get this leveled priority.
  5. (Bow or One-hand and Shield) – Depending on your end game goals (solo = bow, group = sword and shield) grab one skill to start and level. For bow users your end game goal is Poison Arrow morphed into injection.  Sword and shield users will be looking for Power Bash morphed into Reverberating bash and the skill line 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 Medium (and yes eventually light)
  3. Weapons – Two-Handed then bow or sword and shield
  4. Race
  5. Guilds – Fighters first, Undaunted, and I’d skip Mages Guild until later
  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.

Skills

Tank Setup

Bar Two – Sword and Shield – For damage and crowd control.

  1. Venomous Claw (morph of Searing Strike | Ardent Flame skill line) – A high pressure single target damage over time effect.  This is great in a duel, open world or pressuring a tough healer or tank.  The damage ramps up so you don’t want to recast until the duration is finished or the debuff has been removed.  For more area focused build, switch out for Noxious Breath morph of Fiery Breath in the same skill tree.
  2. Ransack (morph of Puncture | Sword and Shield skill line) – Our main spammable attack that will heal us via Master’s Sword and Shield or alternatively Knight’s Errant gear set.  If you’re playing solo go with the Ransack morph, if grouped with magicka users switch to Pierced Armor.
  3. Choking Talons (morph of Dark Talons | Draconic Power skill line) – This is our area crowd control ability that’s great when facing large groups, not great when facing solo players.  It has a hefty magicka cost so don’t rely too heavily on this as we need a lot of magicka for class buffs.
    • When I play solo or for dueling I swap to the Fighters Guild ability Rearming Trap morph of Trap Beast. This cost stamina rather than magicka and immobilizes a single target while providing a critical hit buff and physical damage.
  4. Dragon Fire Scale (morph of Reflective Scale | Draconic Power skill line) – I take this ability since I’m constantly being bombarded by bow users, C-fraggers and anyone else who salivates at the mouth when they see @Deltia name in Cyrodiil.  It cost magicka yes, but it’s saved my life and one of the advantages of the class over something else (except the Warden…..).
  5. Reverberating Bash (morph of Power Bash | Sword and Shield skill line) – An amazing stun that has an important debuff to healing received.  Ideally this will be your go to crowd control on a single player though it can be blocked thus limiting its effectiveness.  Use Fossilize first to drop block, Reverb to apply the debuff and Trap Beast to lock in place.  Yeah people will hate you for this.
  • [Ultimate] Shield Discipline (morph of Shield Wall | One-Hand and Shield skill line) – A offensive and defensive skill that fits perfectly into our gear setup.  If you have the Master’s Sword (below) you’ll be healed for using Puncture and in fact I get 2,000 heals on each cast with min/max Argonian playing this build.  Throw this on and you get all the benefits of blocking while ZERO cost to your sword and shield abilities.  You can go completely offensive, heal yourself in the process and restore resources.  Incredible.

Bar One – Two Handed – Used for buffs.

  1. Volatile Armor (morph of Spiked Armor | Draconic Power skill line) – A class skill that is fundamental to our DK.  Not only does this provide mitigation via spell and physical resistance buff but the Draconic Powers passive Burning Heat gives us a bonus to healing received while a Draconic Power skill is active.  This buff can and will stack (add in effect) to Heavy Armor passive for healing received, Argonian passive for healing received, major mending for healing done, major vitality via potions and even minor vitality via Dragon Blood.  So yeah, you can have freaky powerful self heals if you optimize for it.
  2. Forward Momentum (morph of Momentum | Two-Handed skill line) –  One of the main reason you see Two-Handed being used on near every stamina build running heavy armor is this skill.  It provides heals over time which is great, but immobilization immunity of eight seconds is crazy powerful.  We can get away without a burst heal, but we cannot live without this skill.  Medium armor users will rely on Shuffle via medium armor skill line, but the advantages of running heavy are two numerous not to take it.
  3. Fossilize (morph of Petrify | Earthen Heart skill line) – An on demand stun that cannot be avoided by blocking or dodging.  This isn’t as good as Mass Hysteria but it’s close.  Setup your combos to stun the opponent first THEN drop the house on them with ultimate or high damage combo.  Also use this to setup your Reverb for a nice heal debuff.
  4. Igneous Shield (morph of Obsidian Shield | Earthen Heart skill line) – This skill represents one of the reason we use a gear set that gives us magicka, you need it.  You’ll get major mending for three seconds, a damage shield, stamina back via the Helping Hands passive, ultimate via the Mountain’s Blessing passive and weapon damage!  Yeah that’s one ability giving you all that.  Combine this with a Resolving Vigor for optimal healing or bar swap and use Puncture for big time heals.
  5. Resolving Vigor (morph of Vigor | Alliance War Assault skill line) – Our main heal that also acts as group AoE healing.  No longer can only one Vigor be active, meaning if five people run the same morph of Vigor and use them together, you’ll get massive healing. So there’s really no point in using Echoing Vigor for this build.
  • [Ultimate] Corrosive Armor (morph of Magma Armor | Earthen Heart skill line) – This is our “oh crap” button.  If we are getting swarmed and pressured, oh crap hit this.  Damage is capped, you do AoE damage and ignore armor.  It doesn’t have the burs that say Dawnbreaker or Take Flight have, but it sure makes you hard to kill.  Until you get use to the build, use this as your primary ultimate.  Switch to Dawnbreaker of Smiting from the Fighters Guild for massive burst later on.

 

Damage Dealer Setup

Bar One – Two Handed – Used for damage.

  1. Brawler (morph of Cleave | Two Handed skill line) – What appears to be an odd skill choice saw a massive buff via the Masters Two-Handed.  The more people you hit (up to six) the harder this hits if you have the weapon.  Essentially it makes Two-Handed skill line a viable AoE monster zerg killer.  Don’t believe, look at this picture from my live stream.  8k AoE damage!
    • Consider this your flex spot depending on your weapon of choice.  Asylum weapon, drop this for a DoT like Noxious Breath or Venomous Claw.  If you like the Maelstrom Arena weapon, drop Brawler for Critical Rush for a nasty opener.  And if you don’t have any of these weapons, I’d stick with Venomous Class for a cheap high damage DoT.
  2. Forward Momentum (morph of Momentum | Two-Handed skill line) –  What is needed is snare and immobilization immunity and that’s why we use this since we are going to be wearing five pieces of heavy armor.  No longer can you cast the medium armor skill Shuffle without five medium pieces.  Yes we lose the burst heal, but we have other ways to survive and heal.  I also like to refresh this ability every time I’m crowd controlled or stunned (unchain Champion Point passive).
  3. Fossilize (morph of Petrify | Earthen Heart skill line) – An on demand stun that cannot be avoided by blocking or dodging.  This isn’t as good as Mass Hysteria but it’s close.  Setup your combos to stun the opponent first THEN drop the house on them with ultimate or high damage combo.
  4. Dizzying Swing (morph of Uppercut | Two-Handed skill line) – Our main spammable single target ability though I rarely use it.  Often times I find it better to just fully charge heavy attack (especially if target is blocking or cannot be stunned).  But there will be times you’ll need to rip this off and “lift” a player off the ground for massive damage.
  5. Reverse Slice (morph of Reverse Slash | Two-Handed skill line) – This is our execute that works on lower health targets (50% or lower).  No do not use this ability when someone is at 100% health because it doesn’t become effective until around 35% health.  Reverse Slice is what I go with since I primary use the Master’s Two-Handed though Asylum users will find Execute great for nuking down one target quickly.  Combat Frenzy rewards you with ultimate, thus resources so you could make an argument for both morphs.  AoE focused, Reverse Slice, single target focused Executioner.
  • [Ultimate] Take Flight (morph of Dragon Leap | Draconic Power skill line) – If you look cool you play cool and this thing is one of the best.  But in all seriousness, it’s burst potential is staggering.  Dawnbreaker of Smiting will do more damage over time technically but the damage over time from the effect takes three seconds an can be cleansed or purged.  This damage is so quick and bursty it lets you potentially nuke someone in two shots.   Your choice, but DK dunking is too good to pass up.

Bar Two – Bow — Used for buffs and healing.

  1. Volatile Armor (morph of Spiked Armor | Draconic Power skill line) – A class skill that is fundamental to our DK.  Not only does this provide mitigation via spell and physical resistance buff but the Draconic Powers passive Burning Heat gives us a bonus to healing received while a Draconic Power skill is active.  This buff can and will stack (add in effect) to Heavy Armor passive for healing received, Argonian passive for healing received, major mending for healing done, major vitality via potions and even minor vitality via Dragon Blood.  So yeah, you can have freaky powerful self heals if you optimize for it.
  2. Igneous Shield (morph of Obsidian Shield | Earthen Heart skill line) – This skill represents one of the reason we use a gear set that gives us magicka, you need it.  You’ll get major mending for three seconds, a damage shield, stamina back via the Helping Hands passive, ultimate via the Mountain’s Blessing passive and weapon damage!  Yeah that’s one ability giving you all that.  Combine this with a Resolving Vigor for optimal healing or bar swap and use Puncture for big time heals.
  3. Dragon Fire Scale (morph of Reflective Scale | Draconic Power skill line) – I take this ability since I’m constantly being bombarded by bow users, C-fraggers and anyone else who salivates at the mouth when they see @Deltia name in Cyrodiil.  It cost magicka yes, but it’s saved my life and one of the advantages of the class over something else (except the Warden…..).
  4. Poison Injection (morph of Poison Arrow | Bow skill line) – The best case for running a bow is the Masters Bow Infused with a Weapon Power Enchant combo. This will generate over 700 weapon damage!  Though 300 will only be added to the target you are attack with the damage over time effect.  Plus this acts as an execute below 50% so you should be getting tons of killing blows solo or zerg surfing.  I hate bows, but damn this is effective.
  5. Resolving Vigor (morph of Vigor | Alliance War Assault skill line) – Our main heal that also acts as group AoE healing.  No longer can only one Vigor be active, meaning if five people run the same morph of Vigor and use them together, you’ll get massive healing. So there’s really no point in using Echoing Vigor for this build.
  • [Ultimate] Corrosive Armor (morph of Magma Armor | Earthen Heart skill line) – This is our “oh crap” button.  If we are getting swarmed and pressured, oh crap hit this.  Damage is capped, you do AoE damage and ignore armor.  You could go with the bow ultimate for single target pressure but I prefer a 10 second god mode.

Gear

Tank Setup

Monster Helm Sets

  • Tanky Set – Troll King – Found in Blessed Crucible Dungeon, still one of my favorite sets for survivability.  When I play solo or a group, I focus on surviving first independently of any healers and this makes it so I don’t have to run a specific set for this.  There are downsides, the one piece has no offensive potential and the two piece is only defensive.  Swap out depending on your group and or play-style.
    • All Around Set – Blood Spawn – Found in Spindleclutch II, this set is still all around incredible and people are returning to it. The is ideal set for a Dragonknight considering that your sustained is tied to ultimate generation.  This set has flexibility in that you’ll get stamina recovery, defensive capabilities with increased armor/spell resist (even  hit the cap) plus more ultimate means more offense.  Looking for something both defensive and offensive throw this on.
    • Damage Dealing Set – Selene’s – Found in Selene’s Web dungeon, still the absolutely best bursting down two piece.  It also comes with a great one piece bonus for our build.  If your group has a dedicated healer and you feel confident in your survivability, throw this on and nuke people.
      • Tremor Scale – I tried TS and feel that it’s been nerfed into the ground because the proc happens one second later and most players move out of it.  Too bad because it was a great combo.

Weapon Choices

  • Master’s Sword and Shield – Found in Dragonstar Arena – This set use to be a one piece but was added to sword and shield two piece.  What seems like a nerf, is incredibly powerful for the added mitigation and healing from your main spammable ability (up to 2,000 on my stamina Argonian).
    • I realize most people won’t have the ability to get this set and you can sub in your main five piece for Knight’s Errant which makes a similar effect to this two piece (healing from sword and shield abilities).  You can then craft something like Deaths Wind for massive resistance or Agility/Endurance for max stats.

Main Five Piece

  • 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).
  • Seventh Legion – A super tanky set that has a 10% on damage to heals you and provides massive weapon damage.  If you’re looking for something that has great burst potential and healing, this is great.  The reason I didn’t find it as effective for group play, lack of magicka and sustain.
  • Fury Set – Incredible damage if you’re fighting one on one, big keep battles or getting zerged down.  This thing ramps up based on being critically hit and will allow you to nuke people after its maxed.  Downside, similar to 7th Legion, lacks self heal, lacks resource pool.  Your choice but I enjoyed using Shacklebreaker.

Jewelry Options

  • Agility vs Endurance – Both can be found through dungeon dailies or Imperial City loot.  Agility will obviously give you a lot of damage and max stats which is great.  For those looking for better sustained and max health (if your race is lacking it) go for Robust Endurance.

Damage Dealer Setup

Monster Helm Sets

  • All Around Set – Blood Spawn – Found in Spindleclutch II, this set is my favorite all around even on a damage dealer.  The is ideal set for a Dragonknight considering that your sustained is tied to ultimate generation.  This set has flexibility in that you’ll get stamina recovery, defensive capabilities with increased armor/spell resist (even  hit the cap) plus more ultimate means more offense.  Looking for something both defensive and offensive throw this on.
    • Tanky Set Option – Troll King – Found in Blessed Crucible Dungeon, still one of my favorite sets for survivability.  When I play solo or a group, I focus on surviving first independently of any healers and this makes it so I don’t have to run a specific set for this.  There are downsides, the one piece has no offensive potential and the two piece is only defensive.  Swap out depending on your group and or play-style.
    • Damage Dealing Option – Selene’s – Found in Selene’s Web dungeon, still the absolutely best bursting down two piece.  It also comes with a great one piece bonus for our build.  If your group has a dedicated healer and you feel confident in your survivability, throw this on and nuke people.

Weapon Choices

  • Masters – Found in Dragonstar Arena Veteran this weapon received a massive buff to it’s effect.  Now Brawler acts like a pseudo steel tornado getting stronger the more people are around (up to six).  I’ve been hitting groups for 8,000 damage on one cast!  So if you’re playing open world heavily outnumbered use this weapon though other options are great as well.
    • Asylum – Found in the Clockwork City DLC’s new trials this thing is a game changer.  If you are killing folks with your Execute, you’ll have ultimate for days.  The downside of this is you’re focused more on single target kills but ultimate = resources via Battle Roar on a Dragonknight so one could make the case this is the best option. Your choice.
    • Veteran Maelstrom Area – Found in VMA, it remains not a bad one piece option if you’re relying on Critical Rush though I think the above options are better if you can obtain the gear.
      • Crafted – You can just use a crafted one piece without a set bonus and make it Nirnhoned trait.  Will be as good? No, but it’ll be close.

Main Five Piece

  • 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).
    • Seventh Legion – A super tanky set that has a 10% on damage to heals you and provides massive weapon damage.  If you’re looking for something that has great burst potential and healing, this is great.  The reason I didn’t find it as effective for group play, lack of magicka and sustain.
    • Fury Set – Incredible damage if you’re fighting one on one, big keep battles or getting zerged down.  This thing ramps up based on being critically hit and will allow you to nuke people after its maxed.  Downside, similar to 7th Legion, lacks self heal, lacks resource pool.  Your choice but I enjoyed using Shacklebreaker.

Jewelry Options

  • Agility – Agility set can be found in Imperial City or Daily Dungeon finder and gives us the most effective three piece damage option.
    • Endurance Set – A cheaper set that helps folks with sustained though you sacrifice damage.

Consumables, Race and Mundus

Food: Dubious Cameron Throne (a holiday event recipe) is great for this as it provides stamina, health and recovery.  You could go tri-stat for a massive magicka pool but that seems wasteful in my testing.  Another options for SUPER tanky builds is the Orzorga’s Smoked Bear Haunch which provides health and then three recoveries.  This combined with Troll King and Orc racial makes you incredibly survivable.

Potions: Stamina Immovability (Blessed Thistle + Columbine + Namira’s Rot) are my go to potions for PvP on any Stamina build.  Immunity to Crowd Control effects for 15.7s help us rush head first into battle, Major Expedition indefinitely (if drinking off cooldown) to help zoom around and make up for heavy armor’s sluggishness, and a big burst of Stamina and Major Endurance to help our sustain.  Tri-potions 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: Orc is still the strongest in my opinion for PvP stamina based on it’s stats, healing, damage, and mobility bonus.  Some will argue Redguard for sustain and damage and that’s a great pick as well.  Also Imperial offer massive stats and another self heal procs.  I’ve been playing this as an Argonian to show people its more about the skill than the race.

Mundus Stone: The obvious choice for a Stamina Dragonknight is the Warrior since we get major and minor brutality (weapon damage) from our class abilities.  Additionally our bow enchant combo boost this drastically.  Those struggling with resources will find value in the Serpent (stamina regeneration).

Traits: For the most part, I run at least five + impenetrable on my armor.  Weapons I’ve found now that Nirnhoned seems to be the best for damage or even infused with a Prismatic Enchant does well.  Defensively two options Powered or Defending  on your back bar.

Armor Weight: Heavy armor for PvP is by far the best five piece because of Constitution passive.  This gives us back both magicka and stamina which is needed for blocking, breaking free, etc.  On my stamina Dragonknight I prefer five heavy one medium and one light for max stats.  You could go seven heavy for higher health and more magicka via Constitution but it’s your choice.

Infection:  While my character is a Werewolf I don’t use this ultimate or abilities. I haven’t tried Vampire mainly because I’m constantly being sieged though the Undeath passive might outweigh being a Vamp even on stamina. Still need further testing.

Attributes: 64 into stamina.

Champion Points

I constantly change champion points and truly don’t feel there is a “one sized fits all.”  If you don’t see the logic in my selection, change it.

The Mage (Blue)

  • Mighty – 49
  • Master-at-Arms – 56
  • Precise Strikes – 44
  • Piercing – 47
  • Thaumaturge – 11
  • Physical Weapon Expert – 23

The Thief (Green)

  • Arcanist – 43
  • Healthy – 23
  • Tenacity – 20
  • Mooncalf – 64
  • Warlord – 30
  • Sprinter – 20
  • Tumbling – 30

The Warrior (Red)

  • Elemental Defender – 43
  • Hardy – 43
  • Ironclad – 48
  • Thick Skinned – 48
  • Resistant – 38
  • Expert Defender – 3
  • Quick Recovery – 7

 

Thanks for reading our ESO Stamina Dragonknight PvP Build.  Let me know what you think and if it’s been helpful!