ESO Stamina Nightblade DPS Build

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

Table of Contents

  • Leveling (1-50)
  • Group PvE (Melee)
  • PvP Build (CP and non CP)

Leveling Build

[Updated for Clockwork City by Gilliamtherogue]


With this build we’ll be helping out all those players interested in making a Stamina Nightblade from scratch.  We’ll be offering mainly PvE build suggestions, but a few abilities will be vital to PvP as well with.  Feel free to experiment and augment some of the more PvE abilities into other ones if you’re planning on being a PvP main instead.

Should you play this build?

Stamina Nightblades have always been a popular class, but their identity has had a hard time getting solidified in PvE.  In the Morrowind update the class has seen some ground shaking changes that help many solo players with the hardest struggles of the Stamblade; self healing.  With some additional tools available to us now, leveling and end game PvE should be much more accessible to people.  If you’ve always had an idea of making a Stamina Nightblade but kept putting it off, now is the time to do it!

Priority Skills

As a Stamina build we have three major options to chose from for weapon progression.  We’ll list the three here, and give you pros and cons of where each of these excel.  Remember that this build is primarily preparing you for end game PvE, so there might be some missing suggestions if you plan on PvPing.  Experiment and find what skills you like the most.

Dual Wield

Dual Wield blends high damage, with plenty of survivability.  Many skills will have morph options that either diverge into straight up damage, or offer the player some utility in form of healing or amplifications.  Dual Wield boasts the most end game damage, but at the expense of being exposed to a lot of damage due to being melee range.  These skills and passives will be the most important to look out for;

  • Flurry (DoT spammable | morph to preference) – While the Nightblade comes with its own spammable, we’ll still want to nab this skill early on to help progress the skill line.  If you find yourself alone without a healer a lot, the Bloodthirst morph will help you immensely in terms of staying alive.  Rapid Strikes boasts more damage however.
  • Whirlwind (Direct Damage AoE | morph to Steel Tornado) – By far the strongest spammable AoE in the game, with the biggest radius at that once we can morph it.  The base skill is pretty lack luster at the start but quickly ramps up into a powerhouse.  This makes grinding truly a joke by cutting through hordes of enemies at unbelievable speeds.
  • Blade Cloak (AoE DoT and Damage mitigation | morph to preference) – A newfound skill for Stamina builds that helps us stay alive through the harshest of content.  Reducing AoE damage by a whopping 25%, many dungeons and trials are also tailored to work with this skill, giving Stamina DPS a way to stay alive.

Two Handed

Two Handers fit in ESO’s “meta” from more of a PvP aspect, but have slowly been receiving tweaks to help them feel stronger in PvE content as well.  The Two Hander lacks a strong spammable ability, but as a Nightblade we fix that quite easily.  Two handers work wonderfully if you prefer a beefier approach at content, staying alive at the expense of raw damage.

  • Uppercut (Channeled spammable | morph to preference) – Unfortunately Two Hander’s spammable is a bit clunky, and gives the weapon skill line a bad vibe at level one.  If you can manage to get over it though, once we start getting later in levels the skill line will explode in power.  You’ll still want to grab this at level 1 to help speed up leveling your Two Handed skill line.
  • Cleave (AoE spammable | morph to preference) – While usually laughed at from “end game” players, this skill has received a bit of a buff recently, helping it perform much better in the game.  This helps the Two Hander carve through packs of enemies, and has a defensive morph option called Brawler, which I highly suggest.
  • Momentum (Heal over time | morph to Rally) – A rather potent heal over time that also grants us Major Brutality while it’s active.  The cool thing about it is that you can swap to a completely different weapon, and still retain the benefits.  The Rally morph adds a burst heal option, that grows in power based on how long you’ve let it run.


Bows are truly versatile tools in Elder Scrolls Online, giving players ranged damage options, as well as support damage for melee builds.  The major flaw of Bows remain to be their lack of defensive power, having the user instead rely on kiting and out ranging their opponents.  This weapon skill line fits best as a support option in the meta, used as something referred to as a “back bar” option; due to its high amount of damage over time skills.

  • Snipe (Channeled spammable | morph to preference) – Similarly to Two Handed, this spammable is rather clunky.  It doesn’t boast immense sustained damage, but offers great burst from a range or in stealth in PvE. If we decide to make the bow our primary bar, this will be our spammable ability, so start learning how to weave with it as soon as possible.
  • Volley (AoE DoT | morph to Endless Hail) – One of the best forms of damage in the game, helping kill both singular enemies and large groups.  The power comes from the fact that it does not require the caster to actively have the bow out after casting.  Simply cast once and swap to a different weapon, and it will continue to deal high damage.
  • Arrow Spray (AoE spammable | morph to preference) – If you want to go full bow build, this will be your best friend for fighting large groups of enemies.  It also helps your kiting potential by snaring enemies, so that they cannot reach you.
  • Poison Arrow (DoT | morph to Poison Injection) – Another phenomenal damage over time skill that can have its power retain after being casted.  Simply hit a target with it, and swap to a new weapon, and the poison will still tick away at your enemy.


  • Assassin’s Blade (Execute | morph to Killer’s Blade) – An easy to use and relatively inexpensive ability, this skill should never be used on a target until they’re at or below 25% Health.  This is because the base damage is lower than any spammable, but has an execute built in its place.  If you manage to get a killing blow or the target dies after 3 seconds of hitting them with this, you’ll get a sizable heal (~20% of your Max Health)
  • Grim Focus (Self buff | morph to Relentless Focus) – This skill recently got a massive buff to the additional mechanic of landing Light and Heavy Attacks.  Now after 5 fired Light or Heavies this ability will become the Spectral Bow, which can be activated for a high damaging shot against the target.  It can be done as many times you get 5 Light or Heavy Attacks off in the 20 second duration (usually 2-3 shots of the bow per cast of Relentless).  This offers a lot of skill growth, and rewards us with some nice damage now.


  • Veiled Strike (Spammable | morph to Surprise Attack) – Once this ability can be morphed it will become a great spammable for us.  Dealing pretty sizable damage, it also inflicts Major Fracture to the enemy, making them lose 10.56% damage mitigation against Physical, Disease, and Poison attacks.  It can also be casted from Stealth or Invisibility to stun the enemy for a while.


  • Strife (filler | do not morph) – As a Stamina build this ability won’t be doing us any wonders since it only scales with Magicka and Spell Damage.  Still, we need to at least have one Siphoning ability slotted per bar to ensure we can rank up the skills.  Take this off as soon as you get a more beneficial skill.
  • Siphoning Strikes (Self buff | morph to Leeching Strikes) – Reworked in Morrowind, this skill has two components.  Successfully landing Light or Heavy attacks will restore a small bit of Stamina (if morphed to Leeching), and after the 20 second duration or if recasted, it will restore a burst of Stamina back.  Dealing damage with Light and Heavy attacks will also heal us, helping the Stamina Nightblade gain some much needed healing.
  • Drain Power (AoE | morph to Power Extraction) – Only take this skill if you don’t plan on using Dual Wield or Bow as a primary weapon.  Steel Tornado and Arrow Spray are both far superior AoE skills, but Power Extraction blows Cleave out of the water.  It’ll also grant us Major Sorcery, and once morphed, Brutality as well.

Priority Passives

Dual Wield

  • Controlled Fury – This passive helps reduce the cost of our skills, helping our Stamina pool stay hearty enough while we play.
  • Twin Blade and Blunt – The purpose of this passive is to give us passive damage amps while dual wielding.  I suggest pairing two daggers for immense damage and healing potential.

Two Handed

  • Heavy Weapons – The same idea as Twin Blade and Blunt, this will passively augment our power based on what weapon you use.  I suggest going with a Sword for maximum damage.
  • Balanced Blade – This passive will reduce the cost of your Two Handed skills, helping sustain tremendously.
  • Battle Rush – Killing an enemy will grant a burst of Stamina Regeneration, helping your Stamina pool stay hearty in between fights.


  • Ranger – The bow’s source of cost reduction, this skill helps reduce the load on our Stamina bar so we can keep in the fight.
  • Hawk Eye – A very potent passive that increases all damage dealt by bow attacks (abilities and Light/Heavy attacks) by 5% per stack.  Each Light or Heavy Attack adds a stack for 5 seconds, up to 5 times.  This is the most important source of damage for bow builds, and helps the support aspect of the bow soar as well.


  • Pressure Points – For every Assassination ability slotted you’ll gain 2% Weapon and Spell Critical Strike Chance, helping bolster our damage and healing potential in longer fights.
  • Hemorrhage – Slotting a single Assassination ability activates this passive to net us 10% Critical Strike Modifier and granting us an any group mates Minor Savagery (3% Weapon Critical Strike Chance).  This helps the Nightblade increase their own damage and healing, as well as helping other Stamina builds they may be grouped with.
  • Executioner – Successfully killing a target within 2 seconds after damaging them with an Assassination skill will grant you a small amount of Stamina (if it is your highest resource) upon kill, helping resource management a tiny bit.


  • Refreshing Shadows – Resource management is extremely important in Morrowind, and this skill helps both our Magicka and Stamina recovery, making it very helpful.
  • Shadow Barrier – Anytime we cast a Shadow ability we’ll gain Major Ward and Resolve for a short bit, decreasing all damage we take by 8%.  If you’re using Surprise Attack as your spammable, this will be up almost indefinitely.


  • Catalyst – Anytime we sip on a potion we’ll gain a big chunk of Ultimate (20 points!), helping us throw out Ultimates like crazy.  Always use potions in combat with this passive, even if they aren’t totally necessary to you at the moment.

Medium Armor

  • Wind Walker is a stellar source of resource management, helping reduce the cost of all Stamina abilities, and giving us some much needed Stamina Regeneration.

Gear Suggestions

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!


The focus with this gear setup is to gain some much needed healing while we level up.  Vampire’s Kiss (craftable) heals over time each time you get a kill, which helps with staying power in grinding.  The Eternal Hunt (craftable) offers us some great resource management via Stamina Regeneration bonuses.  You can also opt to go with a more offensive setup of 5 Hunding’s and Eternal Hunt if you’re grinding with a buddy.

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 (Stamina Nightblades), here are the best choices;
    •  Redguard remains the best overall choice for both sustain and damage, no doubts about it.
    •  Khajiit remains a solid raw damage producing race, but only if you can sustain your Stamina bar enough to cast skills.  They scale best in group settings, but falter in solo scenarios.
    • Orcs and Imperials mix a good bit of damage and defensive stats for the solo player or PvPer, while Woodelf remains rather low on the totem pole for PvE.
  • To discover skill lines you’ll need to equip their respective pieces of gear or interact.  Interacting with a Anvil will unlock Blacksmithing, while getting a kill with a Two Hander will unlock the Two Handed Skill line.  Equipping at least 3 pieces of an armor weight (Light, Medium, or Heavy) will unlock that skill line.  Try unlocking all skill lines as soon as possible so you can get an idea of what you want to do with your character.
  • Consumables are a very important aspect of ESO, there is ZERO reason to not have a Food or Drink buff, or to drink potions in combat.  They’ll help raise your stats and combat effectiveness, so try and find Food, Drinks, and Potions within your level range as you play.  You can always craft, or find a friend to craft you some!
  • Weaving is an obscure and often misunderstood mechanic in Elder Scrolls Online.  Start by looking up guides or talking with players about what this phenomena is, and practice early.  Understanding the game’s combat system will ensure you will have fun AND remain efficient while playing.  Be wary though, due to the complexity of this mechanic, many players often share misinformation about it.  Always try to get as many opinions and sources as possible to ensure you have a more well rounded view.
  • Mundus Stones are a unique mechanic to ESO that offer your character a free boon for having active.  Simply interact with a Stone to gain a permanent effect.  You may interact with a Mundus Stone whenever you want, and replace whatever stone you interacted with before, with a new one.  As a Stamina Nightblade you’ll likely want to find the Serpent stone or the Warrior stone.
  • 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 Stamina Nightblade, you’ll want to spend most of your points into Stamina, and possibly a bit of Health.  There should be NO points spent into Magicka, other than very very niche moments.

Champion Point Progression

Mage (Blue Tree)

Focus on filling up Mighty, then pumping up Thaumaturge and Master at Arms.  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 until 40 will help reduce damage greatly and improve survivability.  After that begin pumping up Iron Clad and Thick Skinned with a 3:1 ratio (3 Iron Clad, 1 Thick Skinned).  Check the End Game’s tab to see the final version.

Thief (Green Tree)

Tenacity and Mooncalf are our most important nodes in the Thief, helping resource management greatly.  After those hit about 30 (the most you’ll want in them is 43 or 49) start bumping up other nodes like Sprint, Block, Dodge, and CC break cost reduction.

Other Priorities

  • Passives are important in ESO.  If you use a class line, weapon type, or armor weight; always get ALL the passives when you have extra skill points.
  • Join Guilds early to level them up as you go, instead of having to do it once you’re at cap.  Fighter’s Guild, Mage’s Guild, and Undaunted are the most important, while Thieves Guild and The Dark Brotherhood offer more questing/RP approaches.  Many powerful skills lie within the main 3 guilds, so always toy around with them.
    • As a Stamina Nightblade, the Figther’s Guild and Undaunted are the most important.  The Mages Guild can be ignored if you wish.

End Game PvE Build

[Updated for Clockwork City by Gilliamtherogue]


This build is designed to offer Nightblades a DPS slot as the Stamina role in both end game dungeons and trials.  There will also be solo options listed, to help players dip their feet into harder content like Maelstrom Arena, or solo dungeons and overland content.  Currently only the Dual Wield and Bow combo build is here, but there are options for both group and solo play included.  Expect the Bow/Bow build to be added in the future.


Dual Wield Bar | Main Damage Bar

  1.  Steel Tornado (morph of Whirlwind | Dual Wield skill line) – The tried and true AoE damage skill in the game, boasting immense range, power, and even execute potential.  Use this over your single target spammable when you’re fighting more than 3 enemies in a grouped up area.  Always try to position yourself in the center of the pull to maximize the number of targets hit.
    1. Rending Slashes (morph of Twin Slashes | Dual Wield skill line) – An extremely potent single target DoT available from Dual Wield.  This ability can be applied to an infinite amount of targets, so try and hit each enemy with this when you’re fighting groups the size of 3 and under.  It also has immense up front damage and a snare, helping you kite enemies when you need to back off to heal.  Use this over Steel Tornado in single target or low density boss fights.
  2. Relentless Focus (morph of Grim Focus | Assassination skill line) – A potent tool to help Stamina Nightblades gain Minor Berserk and Endurance for 20 seconds, granting them 8% damage boost and 10% Stamina Regeneration.  After 5 Light or Heavy attacks it can be reactivated for a high damaging shot, as many times as you can get 5 LA/HA’s off in the 20 seconds.  Expect to only get 2-3 shots off per cast of Relentless due to the complexity of our rotation.
  3. Surprise Attack (morph of Veiled Strike | Shadow skill line) – The Stamina Nightblade’s spammable which packs a punch.  Offering great damage that’s easy to weave, it also applies Major Fracture to enemies to make them take more Physical, Poison, and Disease damage.  This is perfect for solo players, but in min/maxed end game situations we’ll use something else
    1. Rapid Strikes (morph of Flurry | Dual Wield skill line) – A wonderful spammable that acts as a damage over time function, making it relatively easy to weave.  This skill will out perform Surprise Attack in situations where Major Fracture is already applied to the target, which is most of the time in group play.  If you need healing instead of min/maxed DPS, try the other morph, Bloodthirst.
  4. Killer’s Blade (morph of Assassin’s Blade | Assassination skill line) – Once a target hits 25% Health, this will replace our spammable.  Boasting much higher damage and less of a cost, this means 25-0% is easier to manage for us than the first 75%.  Don’t forget to keep up your DoTs like Poison Injection, Endless Hail, Trap Beast, and Rending Slashes though!
  5. Deadly Cloak (morph of Blade Cloak | Dual Wield skill line) – Now boasting a staggering 25% AoE damage reduction, this skill helps Stamina builds stay in the fight in harsh combat.  Many skills in dungeons and trials have also been updated to be considered AoE damage, giving us much needed tankiness.
    1. Flex Option; Resolving Vigor (morph of Vigor | Alliance War Assault skill line) – A massive AoE heal over time accessible to anyone who’s ventured into Cyrodiil for a while.  The healing potential this skill enables is massive, as well as giving some added group utility.
  • Ultimate Option 1 (Classic) Flawless or Smiting Dawnbreaker (morph of Dawnbreaker | Fighter’s Guild skill line) – A potent AoE Ultimate that can be casted in a cone in front of you, dealing high burst and a decent DoT that lasts 5 seconds.  Flawless offers more passive damage, while Smiting offers more Ultimate damage and a stun to targets hit.  This will also do bonus damage to Undead, Daedra, and Werewolves.
  • Ultimate Option 2 (Ultimate Generator) Soul Harvest (morph of Death Stroke | Assassination skill line) – Used primary as a passive slot for 2% Critical Strike Chance and 10 Ultimate whenever we get a killing blow.  It can also be used once a target gets low health instead of saving larger chunks of Ultimate, giving us a nice damage boost (20% for 6 seconds).
  • Ultimate Option 3 (Survivability) Rend (morph of Lacerate | Dual Wield skill line) – A simple yet effective DoT attack that has a minor cleave to it.  The power of this skill comes from the immense healing it provides; healing for 50% of the damage you inflict per tick.  This means in AoE or Cleave fights, the more targets you hit; the harder it will be for you to die.

Bow Bar | Support Damage & Buffs

  1. Rearming Trap (morph of Trap Beast | Fighter’s Guild skill line) – A universal powerhouse to any Stamina (and even some Magicka) builds.  Enabling great damage via Minor Force for 12 seconds, as well as a hefty single target DoT to the enemy it procs on.  It can also root minor enemies in place for a bit, and will deal massive bonus damage to Undead, Deadra, and Werewolves.
  2. Poison Injection (morph of Poison Arrow | Bow skill line) – A truly superb DoT ability that also acts as an execute on targets at or below 50% Health.  It can be casted from a range as well, helping keep up pressure when you need to retreat from the battle for a moment.  The damage the DoT deals will also be amplified by the Hawk Eye passive, even after swapping off the bow bar.  Always make sure to actively light attack on this bar!
  3. Endless Hail (morph of Volley | Bow skill line) – Another classic DoT ability, but this one functions as an AoE as well.  Paired with a Maelstrom Bow, this skill instantly becomes our most important form of damage, even after swapping to our Dual Wield bar.  Place this where most of the enemies you will be fighting are, or where a boss is.  Keep in mind that Hawk Eye will also boost this even after swapping, so always weave before and after applying it!
  4. Razor Caltrops (morph of Caltrops | Alliance War Assault skill line) – Updated in Morrowind to be a universally accessible skill (there is no cap on how many players can use this), Razor Caltrops adds immense AoE damage potential to every Stamina build around.   The duration allows it to line up perfectly with our other back barred DoTs.  The cost can be excessive though, so make sure you have a robust enough Stamina pool before going to your back bar.
    1. Flex option; If you’re not comfortable with Caltrop’s insanely high cost, or having the trudge through Cyrodiil to get it; treat this slot as a flex spot.  Put anything you’d like here, such as Blur (Assassination skill like) or Vigor (Alliance War Assault skill line).
  5. Leeching Strikes (morph of Siphoning Strikes | Siphoning skill line) – Reworked to return only Stamina on hit, it also grants an explosion of Stamina after the ability ends, or if recasted; based on how long the duration was.  Try to keep this up as much as possible and weave Light or Heavy attacks between abilities to help out your resource management.
  • Ultimate Option 1 (Classic) Ballista (morph of Rapid Fire | Bow skill line) – One of the best single target ultimates in the game, this skill has a lot of potential.  The ultimate itself does great damage, and can be empowered by the Hawk Eye passive, meaning you should always try to cast it after reaching 3 or more stacks.  It will continue to fire even if you swap off your Bow bar, so try and make use of Dual Wield’s bonus damage by immediately swapping bars after casting.
  • Ultimate Option 2 (High AoE) Shooting Star (morph of Meteor | Mage’s Guild skill line) – An ultimate that won’t scale as well as others in terms of raw damage, it still boasts the most AoE damage potential out of Stamina’s available ultimates.  Paired with Soul Harvest on your main bar and the ultimate return for hitting targets, you can toss out Shooting Stars like candy.
  • Ultimate Option 3 (Surviability) Veil of Blades (morph of Consuming Darkness) – While this skill won’t scale well with us in the Champion Point system (it deals Magic damage), it will help our group stay alive through harsh punishment.  During the duration it offers you and 5 allies inside the circle Major Protection, reducing all damage taken by 30%.  Low Health targets can also synergize it to temporarily gain invisibility and heal over a 4 second duration.


(check the trait section in the Consumables section for a better idea for traits and enchants!)

In this section you will find a multitude of options, trying to give every player an idea of what gear to go after.  Always try to experiment and find what works best for you, as there is no real universal “best”.  Keep in mind that most DPS builds will run very similar gear sets, but there are always deviations depending on the class and play style.


  • Infector (found in Morrowind Overland events) – A new 5 piece set that dropped with Morrowind, it’s BoE and comes from many overland activities.  Sharpened weapons will always be a pain to find, so if you can’t nab them go for the Shoulder and Helmet paired with jewelry instead.
    • If you don’t have access to Infector, there are a multitude of powerful BoE Stamina sets in the base game. Spriggan’s (Bangkorai) offers immense penetration but may become redundant in group play, Witchman (The Rift) offers healing and resource management, as well as many other sets.
  • Hunding’s Rage (6 trait craftable) – A solid staple in Stamina DPS, helping your healing and damage dealing capabilities tremendously.  While other sets like Nightmother’s and Spriggan’s might boast more raw damage to some players, Hunding’s flat amps helps the newer player who isn’t pushing out insane base DPS.
  • You’ll have some free slots available to you with this setup.  I highly suggest getting some Health bonuses from either Monster sets or a crafted set like Ashen Grip (2 trait craftable) to help survive.

Non Trials End Game

  • Nightmother’s (6 trait craftable) OR Spriggan’s (obtainable from Bangkorai overland events) – Both of these sets offer a great amount of damage to players who are comfortable with the game’s combat mechanics.  They both offer a large % damage boost, meaning if you’re pulling lower numbers you’ll want a set like Hundings to replace them.
  • Agility (Imperial City or LFG rewards) – A powerful 3 piece set that has a 50% bonus to all of the set bonuses, helping it give a massive boost to Stamina and Weapon Damage.
    • If you don’t mind grinding dungeons, Leviathan (Crypt of Hearts I & II) offers an insane amount of Weapon Critical.  Paired with the Major Savagery buff from potions you’ll be near 100% easily.
  • Any Monster set (Undaunted chests & any dungeon) helps fill in each slot, whether it be two 1 pieces, or one 2 piece set.  If you need Health, try mixing two 1 pieces such as Valkyn Skoria and Mephala’s, or if you want more damage go for Kra’gh’s, Velidreth, or Selene’s.

Best in Slot (BiS Boys)

  • Kra’ghs (Fungal Grotto I) or Velidreth (Cradle of Shadows) both offer great damage to the end game player.  Velidreth offers more burst damage and cleave potential, while Kra’gh’s offers more single target and passive damage.
  • Two Fanged Snake (Sanctum Ophidia Normal or Veteran) – The best Stamina set in the game in terms of raw damage, enabling a disgusting 5000 Physical Penetration, equating to 10% flat damage increase.  While not the easiest set to get, it will help tremendously.
    •  In a group with a lot of Stamina DPS though, try using sets like Nightmother’s or Sunderflame to help everyone instead of just yourself.  Always coordinate with your group to find out who is running what!
  • Vicious Ophidian (Any Craglorn Trial Normal or Veteran) – Unparalleled resource management and set bonus efficiency nets this set on any good guide.  Again, it’ll be harder to get than other sets, but the power it enables is immense.
    • If you’re in a group or you’re confident in your abilities, War Machine (Halls of Fabrication drop) is phenomenal in terms self AND group DPS.  Try and only use Soul Harvest (single target) or Dawnbreaker (AoE) for your ultimates, so that you throw out the buff as much as possible.
  • Maelstrom Bow (Veteran Maelstrom Arena) – Hands down the strongest weapon in the game for Stamina builds, enabling an absurd amount of damage.  The grind is long, but it’s totally worth it.

Consumables, Race, and Mundus

Food: Bi Health & Stamina food offers the most damage by far, as well as helping our Health pool be sturdy enough.  If you prefer more sustain however, try Dubious Cameron Throne (a holiday event recipe).  You’ll need to spend some Attribute points in Health to make sure you’re healthy enough though!


Potions:  Weapon Power potions (Blessed Thistle + Dragonthorn + Wormwood) to ensure your Savagery and Brutality are up indefinitely.  This can get pricey, but try to always use them when fighting tougher content or bosses.  You can use junk Stamina potions you find for non serious content.


Race: Redguard remains the best overall choice for both sustain and damage, no doubts about it.  Khajiit remains a solid raw damage producing race, but only if you can sustain your Stamina bar enough to cast skills.  Orcs and Imperials mix a good bit of damage and defensive stats for the solo player or PvPer, while Woodelf remains rather low on the totem pole for PvE.  Any race can be done with this build, but if you’re looking to maximize your effectiveness then you’ll want to pick out of the listed races.


Mundus: The best Mundus for PvE damage is by far the Warrior Stone for most Stamina builds.  However if you find yourself solo a lot or not with top notch groups, the Lover is a great option as well.


Traits on your Weapons: Traits are highly contextual in terms of what is best.  A lot of values change based on group composition, buffs, debuffs, and what kind of player you are.  Below is a breakdown of what traits I suggest depending on some of these variables;

  • If using Dual Wield; Nirnhoned on your main hand and Sharpened on your off hand is ideal in most situations.  If you add up all sources of Physical Resistance Reduction and Penetration, and that number is above 15000, then do not use Sharpened.  Instead use Precise.
    • If using Two Handed; Nirnhoned on your main hand is ideal.
  • Bow Bar; Nirnhoned again is ideal.  This simply helps all of our damage over time effects get a bit stronger while on this bar.  The only skill that will retain this trait after swapping off, is Rearming Trap Beast.


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

  • If using Dual Wield; Poison Damage on your main hand and Berserker (Increase Weapon + Spell Damage) on your off hand are ideal for enchants.  Your Poison enchant will proc every 4 seconds, and your Berserker will be a buff that lasts 5 seconds on a 10 second ICD (internal cooldown).
    • If using Two Handed; Poison Damage or Berserker is ideal.  Poison damage helps your single target burst, while Berserker will be better for AoE damage and self healing.
  • Bow Bar; Damage Health Poison IX is ideal.  These are a crafted poison that require Fleshfly Larva, Nightshade, and Violet Coprinus. These should have two components, “Deals X Poison Damage per second for 4.5 seconds.” as well as “Deals X Poison Damage per second for 6.4 seconds. (10s cooldown)”  The 4.5s and 6.4s will only be that high if you have Rank III Medicinal Use passive.  If you aren’t keen on constantly spending money to get these poisons you are free to use an Absorb Stamina enchant instead.  You will deal MUCH less overall damage however.


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 Stamina to help a tiiiiny bit with sustain.


Champion Points

This segment shows the optimal CP setup for a player who is well knowledged in animation canceling and their rotation.

If you’re still learning your rotation or don’t have access to groups, try taking a few points out of Thaumaturge and Precise Strikes, and bumping up Piercing and Physical Weapon Expert.

The Mage (Blue)

  • Mighty – 49
  • Master-at-Arms – 40
  • Precise Strikes – 52
  • Piercing – 49
  • Thaumaturge – 40
    • If your group is applying a lot of Physical Resistance Reduction buffs or you’re running a lot of innate Penetration, you can lower Piercing.  Remember that if you add up all sources of Pen+Reduction and it’s over 18200, you’re not gaining any benefit.  If this is the case, start pumping up nodes like Master at Arms, Thaumaturge, and Physical Weapon expert.

The Thief (Green)

  • Tenacity – 49
  • Mooncalf – 43
  • Warlord – 40
  • Sprinter – 19
  • Tumbling – 56
  • Shadow Ward – 23

The Warrior (Red)

  • Elemental Defender – 49
  • Hardy – 49
  • Ironclad – 61
  • Thick Skinned – 61
  • Free 10 points
    • Keep in mind that each encounter has its own different damage types.  Some dungeons, trials, or boss encounters don’t deal Physical damage; so Hardy may become useless.  If you’re trying to optimize your mitigation always learn what sort of damage bosses deal, and change your CP accordingly.


The rotation of the Stamina Nightblade is very difficult and requires a good grasp of weaving and animation cancelling via bar swapping.  Below you’ll find a rough guide line to help point you in the right direction of how to play the Stamina Nightblade in a controlled DPS environment.  Check the end of the video that was linked at the beginning of the guide for a visual guide.

  1.  Apply Buffs.  These include; Relentless Focus (20s duration), Leeching Strikes (20s duration), Deadly Cloak* (15s duration).
  2. Begin placing DoTs.  Always start by placing Endless Hail (10s duration) on your enemy, as it has a 2s wait time before dealing damage.  Immediately press Trap Beast (12s duration) as you place Endless Hail , and then Light Attack weave a Caltrops* (14s duration).  Light Attack weave again with a Poison Injection (10s duration) and bar swap immediately.  Light Attack weave a Rending Slashes (9s duration).
  3. Begin “spam” mode; repeatedly Light Attack or Heavy Attack weaving Surprise Attack.  You should be able to get off 2 or 3 in quick succession.  Cast Spectral Bow (successful Light or Heavy attack procs of Relentless Focus) whenever you can.
  4. By now some of your DoTs and buffs are fading.  Bar swap back and repeat steps 1-3.  If Stamina is running low look for a healer throwing Orbs or Shards, drink a potion, and/or begin Heavy Attack weaving instead of Light Attack weaving.

* denotes an optional step that not every player will want to do.  These can be considered extra steps until you are comfortable with the “base” rotation.  

Joining the Dark Side 

[Updated for Clockwork City by Gilliamtherogue]


In this guide we’ll be going through a different take on Stamina Nightblade for PvP encounters in the Elder Scrolls Online.  This build is primarily built for Non-Champion Points encounters, but we’ll include a CP setup for players interested in that.  This is a very aggressive and in your face build, and plays more like a bruiser than an assassin.  We’ll still utilize plenty of the Nightblade’s core abilities, including stealth, but this is not your typical Stamblade “rolly poley” build.  Let’s get to it!

Active Abilities

(Click the picture to see the ability names and all relevant passives!)

Dual Wield Bar | Main Damage Bar

  1. Deadly Cloak (morph of Blade Cloak | Dual Wield skill line) – An extremely underrated skill in PvP, this wonderful skill will grant us a staggering 25% damage mitigation bonus to all Area of Effect skills.  With this skill we’ll easily be able to tango with multiple players at once, as well as being able to shrug off a lot of damage of classes that would normally tear us to shreds.  Most ultimates in the game are considered AoE (Leap, Dawnbreaker, Destro Ulti, etc) so this will do a lot of work for us.  Plus it helps counter some classes like the Sorcerer or Templar since a lot of their damage can be AoE.  Helps deal some AoE damage as well, meaning you can use it to snag a Nightblade out of cloak if you’re nearby.
  2. Relentless Focus (morph of Grim Focus | Assassination skill line) – A potent tool to help Stamina Nightblades gain Minor Berserk and Endurance for 20 seconds, granting them 8% damage boost and 10% Stamina Regeneration.  After 5 Light or Heavy attacks it can be reactivated for a high damaging shot, as many times as you can get 5 LA/HA’s off in the 20 seconds. This thing is NASTY now that it has no cast time.  Can be casted from a range, but can also be dodged.  Try pairing with a hard CC like fear to ensure you land this baby.
  3. Surprise Attack (morph of Veiled Strike | Shadow skill line) – The Stamina Nightblade’s spammable which packs a punch.  Offering great damage that’s easy to weave, it also applies Major Fracture to enemies to make them take more Physical, Poison, and Disease damage.  On top of this it grants us free Health for slotting, and gives us Major Ward AND Resolve for 6-15 seconds, based on how many pieces of heavy armor you’re wearing.  Truly efficient!
  4. Killer’s Blade (morph of Assassin’s Blade | Assassination skill line) – Once a target hits 25% Health, this will replace our spammable.  Boasting much higher damage and less of a cost, this means 25-0% is easier to manage for us than the first 75%.  Make sure you continue to weave to proc enchants on low health targets, as well as proc your Butcher passive for even more burst.
  5. Resolving Vigor (morph of Vigor | Alliance War Assault skill line) – Our main form of healing in PvP, and boy does it help!  While it’s not a true burst heal, it gives us a medium size heal over time effect that goes off every second for 5 seconds.  It will even heal allies up to 10 meters away, meaning you can help keep your group alive through moderate punishment.  Since we’re in heavy armor, this thing heals for a lot more than it normally would.
  • Ultimate (Ultimate Generator) Soul Harvest (morph of Death Stroke | Assassination skill line) – Used primary as a passive slot for 2% Critical Strike Chance and 10 Ultimate whenever we get a killing blow.  It can also be used once a target gets low health instead of saving larger chunks of Ultimate, giving us a nice damage boost (20% for 6 seconds).  It also is very helpful for targets who refuse to die, as it applies Major Defile for 6 seconds as well, meaning their Healing Received and Health Recovery are reduced by 30%!  You can decide to take the other morph, Incapacitating Strikes, if you want stronger burst damage at the expense of Ultimate generation.

Two Handed | Support Skills & Buffs

  1. Shadowy Disguise (morph of Shadow Cloak | Shadow skill line) – While we aren’t playing like an Assassin, this skill is vital to pulling off the Nightblade properly.  Since we lack true tankiness compared to other classes, we’ll have to rely on trickery and subterfuge to shrug off high damage.  Cloak does just that, helping suppress damage over time effects while in cloak and preventing incoming projectiles from hitting you (most of the times).  Careful though, there are plenty counters to this skill, and it can be rather buggy.  We take this morph for the guaranteed crit, as leading in from cloak with a Heavy Attack into a Dawnbreaker can nuke the majority of players that aren’t tanks.
    1. Flex Slot; Shadow Image (morph of Summon Shade | Shadow skill line) – A more reliable escape tool, however it won’t prevent DoTs or projectiles from harming us.  Instead we’ll place this at an area and summon a handy shade of ourself, who won’t move and will pelt the target we casted it on with pathetically weak damage.  This damage will apply Minor Maim (15% less damage dealt) to the target however.  We don’t use this skill for the damage, instead we can reactivate the skill to jump back to our Shade to out play and juke enemies.  Keep in mind the range is only about 33 meters though.
  2. Mass Hysteria (morph of Aspect of Terror | Shadow skill line) – One of the best Crowd Control abilities in the game, denoted as “fear”.  This is one of the few reliable AoE CC abilities in the game, sending 2 closest targets into a daze after casting for 4.5s.  This CC ignores block, helping take down tankier targets such as healers or guard builds, giving the Nightblade some truly impressive group utility.  It also applies Minor Maim to the targets and snares after the CC ends, helping load off pressure they may attempt to apply.
  3. Forward Momentum (morph of Momentum | Two Handed skill line) – The saving grace for heavy armor builds after the Clockwork City patch.  This skill applies a small Heal over Time effect (not all that great), grants us Major Brutality for 33 seconds, and also removing all active snares and immobilization and granting us immunity to them for 8 seconds. When you find yourself feeling slower than a snail, recast and rejoice in your newfound mobility.  Keep in mind this will not work against gap closer snares though.
  4. Ambush (morph of Teleport Strike | Assassination skill line) – No real Nightblade would find themselves caught with the infamous “Spambush” on their bars.  Operating as a gap closer, this helps us reach mobile targets that might out run or maneuver our sluggish heavy armor.  Wonderful for keeping up with Streak spammers or perma dodge rollers, this skill does more than just damage and take us to our opponent.  After casting we’ll gain Empower, causing us to deal 20% bonus damage on the next direct damage attack.  Very helpful for bursting down opponents!  It also passively grants us our Assassination bonuses, ensuring we deal maximum damage on both bars.
  5. Leeching Strikes (morph of Siphoning Strikes | Siphoning skill line) – While this skill is no where near as great as it used to be pre Morrowind, this skill will help our healing AND stamina management quite a bit.  Casting this skill enables our Light or Heavy attacks to restore 106 stamina and grant a tiny bit of healing.  After 20 seconds or recasting early, it will also explode for some Stamina based on how long the buff ran.  Plus it’ll give us 8% Max Magick and a bit of extra healing done while on this bar, and a tiiiny bit of Ultimate when casting.
  • Ultimate (Aggressive Burst) Dawnbreaker of Smiting (morph of Dawnbreaker | Fighter’s Guild skill line) – Love it or hate it, Dawnbreaker of Smiting is a powerhouse of death and destruction in the proper hands.  Operating as a “slam dunk” conal cast, it deals massive burst upon any poor soul who finds them self at the mercy of your wrath.  It will deal AoE damage (meaning it cannot be dodged), and will place a hefty DoT effect on any target you land this upon.  On top of that it will stun any opponent who isn’t CC immune or Blocking, and deal 20% bonus damage to Vampires or Werewolves.  Try and line this up with your allies’ burst skills to nuke anyone in your path.  Always try to Heavy Attack first to activate the Follow Up passive, granting 10% bonus damage to the first target you hit with your next skill.


  • Selene’s (Selene’s Web) – A powerhouse of a proc set, summon the might of the Ursine to crush any opponent who isn’t quick enough to dodge or block.  Since we’re running double melee weapons, this will proc A LOT.  However it is easily telegraphed and only really will hit targets who can’t escape the range.  This means try and pair it with snares or CC to prevent them from getting out!
  • Shacklebreaker (Crafted Set, Morrowind) – This set revitalized many play styles from a PvP aspect, helping everyone get a bunch of Stamina and Magicka.  It has an extremely balance 2-5 piece, offering Stamina + Magicka regeneration, Weapon + Spell damage, and flat Magicka + Stamina.  While this is a Stamina build, Magicka is essential to this build for Cloak/Shades and Fear.
  • Bone Pirate (Blackheart Haven) – While a drink is active you’ll gain a nice chunk of Max Stamina and Stamina Recovery, helping our sustain out tremendously without sacrificing much damage either.  Keep in mind that this 5 piece is only active on our Dual Wield bar, so that’s why our damage is all on our front bar.  You can run this over Selene’s if you want it to be permanent (you’ll lose a lot of kill potential though).

Champion Points


This segment will go over CP allocation for players interested in CP enabled PvP.  Keep in mind I made this build for non-CP, so you’ll have more freedom with gear/etc if you play CP.

The Mage (Blue)

  • Mighty – 49
  • Master-at-Arms – 56
  • Precise Strikes – 44
  • Piercing – 47
  • Thaumaturge – 11
  • Shattering Blows -23

The Thief (Green)

  • Tenacity – 49
  • Mooncalf – 43
  • Warlord – 40
  • Sprinter – 19
  • Tumbling – 56
  • Shadow Ward – 23

The Warrior (Red)

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

Consumables, Race, and Mundus

Food: Dubious Cameron Throne (a holiday event recipe) is essential to this build, since we’re running Bone Pirate (requires a drink). You can try out other foods/drinks however, since you’ll have plenty of stats, especially if you Tri Glyph all of your armor!

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.  You can also use Tri Potions for fantastic healing and sustain.

Race: Orc is the hands down winner for PvP on a Stamina class; flat stats, healing, damage, and mobility- they have it all!  Imperial and Nord offer decent options of the tankier approach, at the expense of damage.  Redguard, Woodelf, and Argonian are focused on stellar resource management as well, and each has its own benefits.  You have a lot of freedom, as all races work well in PvP in some shape or form.

Mundus: The Warrior Stone offers us an immense amount of damage AND healing potential with flat Weapon damage. The Serpent is also a solid option if you find yourself running out of Stamina frequently.

Traits on your Weapons: Traits are highly contextual in terms of what is best.  A lot of values change based on group composition, buffs, debuffs, and what kind of player you are.  Below is a breakdown of what traits I suggest depending on some of these variables;

  • If using Dual Wield; Nirnhoned on your main hand and Sharpened on your off hand is ideal in most situations.  If you want to sacrifice some AoE damage and healing in exchange for some single target burst potential, you can also run Infused on your main hand instead of Nirnhoned.
  • If using Two Handed; Nirnhoned or Sharpened on your main hand is ideal.  However, most traits will work on this bar, since it’s more of a support bar.

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

  • If using Dual Wield;  Disease Damage on your main hand and Poison or Oblivion off hand will offer some fantastic burst damage.  If you want to give up a bit of pressure you can run Berserker on your off hand for some extra Weapon Damage for AoE and healing potential.  Damage enchants have a 4s ICD (2s if using Infused) and Berserker enchants have a 10s ICD but last 5s (5s ICD if Infused main hand).
  • If using Two Handed; Poisons  or Berserker enchant is ideal.  Cost or Damage health poisons are your best bet, otherwise Berserker is a cheaper route (just make sure you don’t use Berserker on your dual wield bar too).

Traits on your Armor: Impenetrable, Infused, and Well-Fitted are all extremely helpful traits for this build.  Impenetrable helps load off damage, Infused (only use on big pieces like Chest, Helm, and Legs) helps our Tri Stat glyphs get more efficiency, and Well Fitted helps us dodge and sprint more.