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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 Build

[Updated on October 10th, for patch One Tamriel]


The idea behind this build, race and combination of skills is to create a high damage Kitty Nightblade capable of completing any dungeon, trial or DSA with high damage.  The Specter revision well be centered on Bow PvE but have a PvP component at end game.  I’ll have leveling builds complete with end game setup to help you throughout the leveling process and end game.  Below is some general leveling tips to help you reach 10 asap.

Should you play this build?

+ Freedom of play-style, synergies well with all weapon paths

+ Fast and hard hitting, can play melee and ranged

/ Not too hard and not too easy.  Plenty of room for improvement with this setup, but you can still do pretty well off the bat.

–  Lacks on demand self healing unless using Two Hander, or Vigor

Priority Skills


  •  Poison Arrow (Single Target DoT | morph to Poison Injection) – A low cost, medium damage ability that helps us pull far away mobs to our position.  Morph to Poison Injection for maximum DPS later on.
  • Volley (AoE DoT | morph to Arrow Barrage) – The strongest AoE DoT in the game once paired with a key weapon, even without it this makes grinding a breeze.  We take Arrow Barrage to encompass a larger area for more targets hit.
  • Arrow Spray (AoE Direct Damage | morph to Acid Spray) – A strong AoE spammable that helps keep things in place with the snare it has, allowing us to keep on the move with grinding.  Acid Spray is preferred for the extra damage it provides.

Two Handed (if you plan on PvPing or like the play style)

  • Cleave (AoE Direct Damage + DoT | morph to Brawler) – While this skill is rather weak in end game, the fact we can get it at level 1 and begin mowing down mobs really helps speed up the leveling process.  Brawler is the preferred morph to help us stay sturdy in combat with the shield it provides.
  • Momentum (Self HoT | morph to Rally) – A form of on demand Major Brutality and a sizable heal over time that really helps us move in between packs without having to wait for health regen.  Since we lack healing (without Vigor, which requires a sizable amount of PvP) in solo play, this is extremely helpful, especially at later levels where damage gets higher.  Morph this to Rally for a great on demand burst heal.

Dual Wield (if you plan on focusing PvE, or more group based PvP)

  • Twin Slashes (Single Target DoT | morph to Rending Slashes) – An extremely low cost DoT, this helps DPS a lot in late game.  For grinding we won’t be using it much, but we need it to help advance the skill line to get us to the more important skills.
  • 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.

Assassination – Many abilities here are flavor, but the execute and Grim Focus are both vital to this build!

Shadow – Another fluff tree, but also has our main spammable if we want to play melee build, Surprise Attack.  The passives however, are very potent.

Siphoning – A more caster oriented tree, this has our main source of resource management tied to it, so we’ll have to run some junk abilities till we get it.  The passives again are game changers here.


Two Handed Route                            Levels 1-10                                          Dual Wield Route


nb1-10dw nb1-102h


Brawler, Shadowy Image, Poison Injection, Killer’s Blade, Strife, Soul Tether                                                                              Rending Slashes, Shadowy Image, Poison Injection, Killer’s Blade, Strife, Soul Tether


Level 10-25

Two Handed Route nb10-252hTwo Hander; Brawler, Surprise Attack, Poison Injection, Killer’s Blade, Strife, Soul Harvest

Bow; Brawler, Killer’s Blade, Arrow Barrage, Surprise Attack, Strife, Soul Tether

Dual Wield Route

nb10-25dw Dual Wield; Steel Tornado, Surprise Attack, Poison Injection, Killer’s Blade, Strife, Soul Tether

Bow; Poison Injection, Rending Slashes, Arrow Barrage, Surprise Attack, Strife, Soul Harvest

Levels 25-50

Two Handed Route


Two Hander; Rally, Arrow Barrage, Surprise Attack, Relentless Focus, Power Extraction, Soul Harvest

Bow; Rally, Acid Spray, Surprise Attack, Reaper’s Mark, Siphoning Attacks, Soul Tether

Dual Wield Route

nb25-50dw  Dual Wield; Steel Tornado, Surprise Attack, Acid Spray, Relentless Focus, Siphoning Attacks, Soul Tether

Bow; Arrow Barrage, Rending Slashes, Acid Spray, Surprise Attack, Siphoning Strikes, Soul Harvest

Priority Passives

  • Bow
    • Ranger really helps reduce our costs to help keep up in the fight with resources.
  • Two-Hander
    • 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
    •  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.
  • Assassination
    • None of these passives are mandatory for grinding, but they’re all great at end game.  Keep an eye out when you have extra skill points!
  • Shadow
    •  Refreshing Shadows really helps give us a little extra oomph in terms of regeneration.  Shadow Barrier is also another great one, as it gives us some raw mitigation after casting Surprise Attack.
  • Siphoning
    • Catalyst is the main focus here, the extra ultimate on potion drinking really helps us refill our ultimate faster to keep up the more aggressive play style.
  • 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.

Gear Suggestions



The focus with this gear setup is to gain some much needed healing.  Vampire’s Kiss heals over time each time you get a kill, which helps with staying power in grinding.  The Eternal Hunt 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 Templar.

Champion Point Progression

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 Mages Guild and Fighters Guild to 10 to get Meteor and Dawnbreaker
    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.

Solo Build

[Updated October 18th, 2016 for Patch One Tamriel]




 The point of this build is to make a Veteran Maelstrom or solo with the ability to play group dungeons for One Tamriel patch.  Ideally, you’ll be able to heal and self-survive allowing you to be defensive while dishing out damage.  Note, this isn’t the most damage producing setup or loadout, nor is it what #1 Nightblade in the world will use.  However, if you ‘re looking for VMA clears, no death and 560k runs, this will work.



Dual Wield; Deadly Cloak, Rearming Trap, Killer’s Blade, Surprise Attack, Steel Tornado, Rend

Bow; Relentless Focus, Poison Injection, Siphoning Attacks, Arrow Barrage, Resolving Vigor, Dawnbreaker of Smiting


Dual Wield | Main damage bar

  1. Deadly Cloak (morph of Blade Cloak | Dual Wield skill line) – It does great damage, AoE damage reduction and has a 15 second duration. It’s a great ability that preforms similar to rending slash yet makes us tankier.   Some fights will benefit from Rending Slash do to movement, however.
  2. Rearming Trap (morph of Trap Beast | Fighters Guild skill line) – Another powerful DoT with an added benefit of increase critical strike damage or Minor Force (12%).  My tooltip says 6 seconds then a rearming trigger by a mob on top of the trap, which regains another 6 seconds of the buff.  However, in game, I’m receiving 7 seconds to both duration.  So, you’ll need to place this down where a mob/boss are likely to go or right on top of them to apply the effect.  This will take some getting use to, but 14 seconds of near constant Minor Force skyrockets our DPS.  Additionally, having it slotted for the Weapon Damage bonus via the fighters guild passive so it’s ideal to place on our front bar.  A trick to using this is immediately bar swapping after applying it due to it’s long winded animation.  It won’t always line up perfectly in your rotation to do so, but try when possible. It’s very useful in VMA since it locks in place one mob, and we can combine it with Endless Hail to basically kill one mob outright.
  3. Killer’s Blade (morph Assassin’s Blade | Assassination skill line) – A on demand execute that becomes effective at 25% health or less with the addition of healing us for a large amount.
  4. Surprise Attack (morph of Veiled Strike | Shadow skill line) – Our spammable DPS ability that hits like a truck.  For hardcore raiding (trials) and if you have Maelstrom Daggers, you can use rapid strikes for more damage.  But for VMA or solo, burst is better.
  5. Steel Tornado (morph of Whirlwind | Dual Wield skill line) – Best AoE in the game, and is great for all around damage in an area.

[Ultimate] Rend (morph of Lacerate | Dual Wield skill line) – The reason I use Rend in VMA is the healing.  It’s not optimal for high scores because you want burst, but for massive healing during boss encounters, try the new ultimate out.

  • FLEX – Soul Harvest (morph of Death Stroke | Assassination skill line) – I slot this on my front bar because all my kills will rack up ultimate.  I can generate a freakishly amount of ultimate and in boss fights, a meteor, potion and soul harvest can nearly kill anything within seconds.  Try it for faster scores.

Bow | Range and Healing

  1. Relentless Focus (morph of Grim Focus | Assassination skill line) – An 8% damage buff and 10% stamina regeneration boost, plus the chance to proc a damage ability. We also slot this for the assassination skill line passives.
  2. Poison Injection (morph of Poison Arrow | Bow skill line) – This acts as our DoT execute though it should be up 100% of the damage as the damage outweighs recasting it.  The damage up front isn’t that much, but if you’re in a ranged only situation for a short time, you can keep up PotL and spam Injection until you can regain melee range.
  3. Siphoning Attacks (morph of Siphoning Strikes | Siphoning skill line) – A stamina based management tool with a 15 second duration. Consider this part of your buff rotation during portal summoning.
  4. Endless Hail (morph of Volley | Bow skill line) – Our ranged Juggernaut AoE/single target DPS ability that scales well with the Maelstrom bow.  It’s still worth using without the bow, but the added damage adds up quickly.  I have some detailed explanation of how to use this in the video for extra damage and burst.  Consider this #1 DoT single target and AoE, it’s that good.
  5. Resolving Vigor (morph of Vigor | Alliance War Assault skill line) – Everyone needs a self heal, not to mention this can AoE healing as well if you play group.

[Ultimate] Smiting Dawnbreaker (morph of Dawnbreaker | Fighters Guild skill line) – You can use Shooting Star (meteor) or Smiting depending on your play-style though there’s a useful trick with Smiting.  If you need to AoE stun mobs, come in range even on your bow bar, as soon as you click the ultimate, BAR SWAP.  This will use the stats on your front bar (DW), not your bow thus hitting harder.  It takes some time getting use to so practice on trash mobs after applying Endless Hail.  Keep in mind, Meteor for boss phase will do more damage.

Gear the-harvester-gear-for-one-tamriel harvester-one-tamriel-gear-picture

  • Option 1

    • Night Mother’s Gaze (NMG) – A six trait craftable set that gives us amazing weapon critical and boosted weapon damage over a four piece Hunding’s Rage.  The major downside is the five piece effect does not stack if another party member is using it so for coordinated raids, you’ll need a backup.
      • I suggest wearing Hunding’s Rage if you want flexibility.  No it’s not as good DPS, but you can use it regardless of what other players are doing and still obtain good DPS.
      • Remember that your five piece is only active on your front bar so Twice Born Star will not work in this application.
      • NOTE: I have not tested out the new stamina critical strikes set Leviathan (found in Crypt of Hearts) or Spriggan’s (found in Bangkorai zone). Both offer big time damage and could be used in replacement of either NMG or Hunding’s Rage but I honestly don’t know it’s performance value at this time.
    • Vicious Ophidian – Trials which you can get jewelry through weekly trial rewards.
      • Another high end alternative is Alkosh set which uses synergies to debuff targets for you and the group.  The downside is, this requires a coordinated group with constant synergies like orbs, spears, cleanse, etc.  This has very little value solo so I wouldn’t invest as a solo player.
      • Agility Jewelry – Found in Imperial City or traders, robust weapon damage will add a lot of DPS
    • Velidreth Monster Helm – Overall the best set for us considering its great single target, amazing AoE and great burst.  Helm can be found in Cradle of Shadows, shoulder obtained through Undaunted Pledge dailies.
      • Kra’gh – Great single target, not as good AoE but good none the less.

    Option 2


    • Twice Born Star – A still relevant super powerful crafted set that preforms well and almost any arena.  You’ll want to use the Shadow and Thief mundus stone for best results.
      • Hunding’s Rage or Leviathan – If you don’t have high enough crafting, go with Hunding’s Rage as a safe alternative.  If you don’t use crafting you can find Leviathan’s a safe main body 5 piece set.
    • Night Mothers Gaze –  Using two body pieces and weapons gives a comparable amount of benefit as some two piece helms.  This is what I used to farm Veteran Maelstrom Arena until I could get the newest gear.
    • Agility – Some people don’t like trials (me) or do not have access to running them with a guild.  Agility isn’t the best jewelry set, but it can work while you work towards two piece monster helms.

Champion Points


  • Mighty – 100
  • Precise Strikes – 33
  • Piercing – 10
  • Thaumaturge – 44


  • Warlord– 100
  • Mooncalf– 87


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


Group PvE (Ranged)

End Game PvE Build

(One Tamriel Ready)

Bow has made a comeback due to the Hawkeye Passive (now your successful light and heavy attacks increase the damage of your Bow abilities by 5 for 4 seconds, stacking up to 3 times).  With that being said, this build is designed for full range, bow primary damage.  It might not be the highest DPS in the game at the moment, but it’s still fun and solid enough to get you through content.




Bow; Reaper’s Mark, Acid Spray, Arrow Barrage, Resolving Vigor, Siphoning Attacks, Soul Harvest

Bow; Relentless Focus, Poison Injection, Lethal Arrow, Razor Caltrops, Lightweight Trap Beast, Shooting Star


Bow 1 – for Buffs and AoE

  • Repear’s Mark (morph of Mark Target | Assassination skill line) – An important abilities that most Nightblades don’t utilize.  Once you kill a target, you get a massive heal and a massive DPS boost via Major Berserk (25% more damage for 5 seconds).  The key to using this is targeting the right mob.  You want something that is low health out of the pack, that way when you kill it during AoE Spam, boom a huge DPS emerges.   It’s even smart to start out on a boss for the armor reductions, but not worth recasting IF your tank is using the Sword and Shield taunt.  The trick is to not over cast this or refresh the buff when it’s not optimal.
  • Arrow Barrage (morph of Volley | Bow skill line) – Both AoE and single target powerhouse that is useful with or without the Maelstrom Bow.  It’s a great buff to maintain, but you’ll lose DPS during a mobile fight.  Make sure to maintain this buff when a mob/boss is stationary.
  • Acid Spray (morph of Arrow Spray | Bow skill line) – Our main AoE damage ability that can be spammed.  Steel Tornado is still very effective, BUT you must be the danger zone.  I like this because of the range and damage over time effect though spamming it is still effective.  The important part to realize on this skill, is that it’s a front conal effect NOT a full circle.  So you’ll need to practice changing your angles to hit every target possible.   That alone will increase your DPS with this ability.  Two or more mobs, spam spray.
  • Resolving Vigor (morph of Vigor | Alliance War Assault skill line) – Our one on demand heal since we’re not using a Two Hander.  This combined with Repear’s Mark is usually enough to keep you alive in normal PvE circumstances.  If you’re in trouble, combine this with a dodge roll for some escape.  When I do it, I’ll click Vigor than .5 seconds later, dodge.  It’ll look like a dodge/vigor instantly if you do it right.  Getting some space, do some Acid Sprays and keep your distance.
  • Siphoning Attacks (morph of Siphoning Strikes | Siphoning skill line) – Still a massive boost to our resources.  Make sure to start the fight with this up. If it’s going to last awhile, recast every 15 seconds.  A nice benefit of this ability is the added ultimate generation.
  • [Ultimate] Soul Harvest (morph of Death Stroke | Assassination skill line) – This allows for insane Ultimate generation when you’re fighting larger groups of enemies.  Since our main AoE is on this bar you want it there for trash fights.

Bow 2 – Single Target damage

  • Relentless Focus (morph of Grim Focus | Assassination skill line) – For 20 seconds you get 8% more damage, this is a no brainier ability to keep active at all times.  The reason I take this morph is for stamina regeneration and the damage done with the proc scales off of magicka so it’s not as valuable in comparison to my magicka Nightblade.  I’ve seen a lot of Nightblade recast this after they use Assassin’s Will, don’t.  The purpose of this ability is to get 1 Assassins Will within 20 seconds and not constantly overcast it.  Combine this with a potion all the time for 30% stamina regeneration.
  • Poison Injection (morph of Poison Arrow | Bow skill line) – 10 second of massive DoT plus it acts like a execution below 50% health.  This is an all bow build so I don’t use Two Hander as an execute.  Our innate execute, Killer’s Blade doesn’t scale well with a bow build.  I was doing more damage just maintaining DoTs than using Killer’s Blade.  So I stick with my one DoT execute and it’s worth keeping up 100% of the time on single target fights.
  • Razor Caltrops (morph of Caltrops | Alliance War Assault skill line) – This is still a huge DPS ability both AoE and single target due to its radius and and duration.  During a normal fight, I’ll cast my buffs and start the fight with a Lethal Arrow + Camo Hunter comb THEN throw out my Caltrops.  Usually I use a potion to recover the massive stamina drain.  Once again, don’t overcast this or refresh if there’s one mob around.  Use this to start and maintain if the fight with last more than 60 seconds.
  • Lethal Arrow (morph of Snipe | Bow skill line) – Our spammable single target ability to be used while our buffs or maintained.  I tested this vs Focus Aim and the “poison status effect” adds a DoT that does do some decent damage.  Focus Aim adds an armor debuff which is useful and range.  In my experience, LA trumps FA.  The trick to use this is ALWAYS light attack before and after the LA.  You must maintain the Hawkeye buff.
  • Light Weight Trap (morph of Trap Beast | Fighters Guild skill line) – The only way to get Minor Force with our build.  Since we’re going to be at ranged we have to take this morph so we don’t lose our Long Shot passive.  This doesn’t need to be up 100% compared to the Rearming morph, but make sure to cast it before dropping an ultimate.
  • [Ultimate]  Shooting Star (morph of Meteor | Mages Guild skill line) – Probably the best option we have for a range ultimate build.  It’s very effective even for stamina, plus it gives us a Empower (20% on next attack) that can be paired with Lethal Arrow.  Try to cast this on a cluster of mobs so you get ultimate back as well.


  • Pre Fight – Repear’s Mark Target either boss or a low health mob, Siphoning Attacks, Relentless Focus.  Charge up a heavy attack and hold until you’re ready to pull.
  • Immediately release your HA with a Poison Injection to get both off at once.
  • DoT time, cast your longest lasting DoTs first.  Caltrops > Arrow Barrage > Trap
  • Go into Lethal Arrow spam until you need to refresh a DoT or buff.  Rinse repeat!
  • Once you get to 24%, move into melee range and Killer’s Blade away.  Don’t forget to keep up Arrow Barrage and Poison Injection though.




  • Vicious Ophidian (found in any of the Craglorn Trials) – The saving grace of Stamina oriented builds, this gives us a load of powerful stats from the 5 piece.  Minor Slayer, 2 crit bonuses, some weapon damage, and an insane amount of resource management, this helps us compete with Magicka builds in PvE content.
  • Maelstrom Bow (found in Vet Maelstrom Arena) – I like the Precise bow from VMA.  This makes our Arrow Barrage tick extremely hard when it’s been left up, making it fantastic for AoE and Single Target situations.
  • Master’s Bow (found in Dragonstar Arena) – Now that this bad boy is c160, we can main bar this with our Poison Injection to gain even more damage.  Try and get a Sharpened one since we’ll be on this bar the most.
  • Night Mother’s Gaze (craftable) – 6 trait craftable set that gives a massive armor debuff.  The good news, it seems to do more damage than Hunding’s Rage on Nightblades.  The bad news, if someone else is using it, it won’t be as impactful.  If someone else has it, swap to Twice Born Star or Hawk Eye.

Alternatives – If you can’t get a hold of Vicious Ophidian, try out Hawk’s Eye in the mean time.  It gives another 5% damage boost in a different form, and a little bit less cost reduction.  The main advantage here is it is BoE instead of BoP, and helps you have a sense of progression with the build.  Definitely aim to get that Vicious Ophidian though!

Champion Points

Blue (Apprentice)

100 Mighty, 33 Precise, 10 Piercing, and 44Thaumaturge is what I suggest to most players.  Just remember that CP allocation is a reflection of what works best for you, there is no one size fits all!

Green (Tower & Lover)

Capping out Reduced Stamina cost is our #1 priority, then fill the rest into Stamina Regeneration.  You may also put some points into Tumbling if you want, but I manage without it.

Red (Lady & Lord)

In the Lady I highly recommend a split between Elemental Defender and  Hardy (I do 86 in each, you can change this up if some rounds give you a harder time).  After that I pump a few (~5-10) into Thick Skinned, 1 into Expert Defender, and 9 into Quick Recovery.



(Last Updated October 16th, 2016 Patch One Tamriel)

This post is from Gilliamtherogue (not me) and can be found here. All questions regarding this build should be asked on the official forums where he can monitor and respond.

Hello and welcome to my in depth look at the stamina Nightblade class for ESO! My name is Gilliam and I’m the founder and guild lead of Order of Mundus, a NA (DC) PvE/Raiding guild that has held (and continues to!) top ranks in many trials since patch 1.6. I’m going to be assessing the pros and cons of my main class and personal build in a PvE perspective today, applicable to any slice of the subject (raiding/dungeons/solo) and providing my insights on why I do what I do. Let’s get right to it!

Why use this build, tons of others have posted for this class?

-This build has been extensively tested with mathematical data and in game trials to determine the maximum yield for DPS, or damage dealing, role for stamina nightblades.

-Not only will you be pulling great numbers, but you’ll be bringing some utility to the group so your team members will hit harder too!

-This build has an insanely high skill cap, even I have room to improve in some areas, so if you like personal growth and progression, you’re going to love this build.

-It’s versatile, you have access to ranged and melee skills. With a few bar swaps you can easily go to running some pretty powerful group healing as well. I often heal group pledges while topping charts damage wise with this build.

-Unfortunately due to the nerf to Maelstrom Daggers and stamina as a whole as of One Tamriel, the Nightblade class feels like a shell of the other classes like Sorcerer or Dragonknight.  Still, it can pull solid numbers, but don’t expect to compete with some of the other classes at the moment.

That all sounds great, but what’s the drawback?

-This is a very difficult build, there’s a lot of mastery to go through and is not a instant gratification build. Prepare to work hard to get to the top.

-Due to being a primarily melee build, you’re going to need a high mechanical awareness of the fight. The more comfortable you are with the mechanics, the easier it’ll get. Expect to make mistakes early with this build.

-Competitive DPS is reliant on a lot of buff/debuff management. Muscle memory will help here a lot, as well as running addons like FTC or Srendarr to see visual data on your DoTs. Failing to keep everything up will severly hurt your damage output. This is part that will be the most difficult, but most rewarding aspect to this build.

-The final form of this build requires you to have the Maelstrom Bow and Daggers, so you’ll have to unfortunately clear the hardest content in game to get it. Without it you can still pull okay numbers, but don’t expect to wow any crowds till you have one.

-After the nerf to Siphoning Attacks with the TG update, resource management has become impossible to do without a Templar in group sharing shards and repent. I have opted to only run regeneration enchants for vMA due to no access to a partner. This is partially negated if you have 5 Vicious Ophidian though!

-Many different scenarios favor different things, so you’ll need to be flexible with gear and abilities. This build is purely focused on end game PvE, so expect to have to get a lot of skyshards, and skill line leveling, as well as dungeon farming for hard to get gear.

Skill Loadouts, Where and Why to use them




Dual Wield- source of bread & butter and execute

1) Steel Tornado: Only a former shadow of its self, the 3.5m radius nerf was a massive hit to stamina’s AoE potential. This is still the largest AoE in game, but only by 1 meter. This still is better than Power Extraction due to the innate dual execute. Use this when you know you’ll be fighting more than 3 enemies at a time. Power Extraction IS stronger on targets above 67% health (Not a static number, changes based on enemy resistances), so if targets have an overall smaller HP pool you can use this.
*Interchangeable with*
– Deadly Cloak: Reworked to increase the damage by 70% instead of a measly dagger throw, this ability is pretty legit now. This reduces damage taken from AoE spells by a staggering 20%, allowing for some much needed mitigation. It ticks for about 4-5k crit every 3 seconds, so it won’t be the strongest DoT to run, but it has great AoE potential as well as the added benefits of damage reduction. This will increase your chance to proc Skoria, give some flat DPS, and boost defenses- very solid pick.
2) Relentless Focus: Provides 8% damage across the board and 10% stamina regeneration.  Pretty straightforward to keep up.  Main reason we use it on this bar is to gain some extra critical strike, as well as having it there to proc the damage portion of it when it becomes available.  I don’t really find this worthwhile to recast on cooldown
*Interchangeable with*
– Resolving Vigor: The best and only universal stamina heal in game. I can easily pump out 4-5k HPS per target with this thing, keeping myself and group members alive through moderate damage. I always run this in PvP/Solo PvE. Now that PvP ranks are easier to get, there really isn’t an excuse to have this. Make sure to slot this in harder dungeons or if you’re pugging and want to have some safety.
3) Rapid Strikes: As of the Dark Brotherhood update, this skill has received some major adjustments. The cast time was cut by 54%, so the damage on hit was lowered as well. However the damage is now higher than it was in Thieves Guild, as well as the fact that it operates much more smoothly in comparison. Paired with Maelstrom Daggers, this ability CRUSHES the DPS potential we had with Surprise Attack. Rapid Strikes alone now out performs Surprise Attack by roughly 200-500 DPS, but with the Maelstrom Dagger enchants our DoT’s will be ticking much much more. This will make the build even more difficult, so if you’re just starting off this build I suggest sticking with Surprise Attack until you’ve gotten a hang of buff and debuff management.
*Interchangeable with*
– Surprise Attack: Your main ability if you do not have Maelstrom Daggers, you’ll be casting this whenever all your DoTs and buffs are up. Does a nice amount of damage, and increases the damage of your’s and other’s further physical penetrative attacks. Also gives you Major Ward/Resolve from our shadow passives, giving us an exact 8% damage reduction. Also stuns the target if casted from stealth, allowing for insane burst damage in PvE and PvP alike. Use this if you do not have Maelstrom Daggers, or are doing fights that deal with burst more than sustain.
4) Killer’s Blade: A pretty decent execute. Only cast this when the target is below 25% health (24.9% to be exact). Don’t forget to keep up your execute scaling DoT’s when you’re doing this though! Pretty straightforward here, nothing fancy. This now deals Disease damage to allow for better CP scaling, putting it much closer to (still not as high) to the caster version.
5) Rending Slashes: A hefty DoT in form of bleed damage, this has been updated to apply to ALL mobs now. When utilized it provides great damage, even worth keeping up through long execute fights. We take this over Blood Craze because of the initial damage bonus Rending does. This ability is increased by Cruel Flurry, the Maelstrom 1h enchant.
*Interchangeable with*
– Since Rending is our weakest DoT this should be your primary spot to flex in and out abilities.  Vigor and Deadly Cloak both help out with survivability in some of the more brutal encounters of the game.

Ulti) Rend:  The new Dual Wield ultimate with One Tamriel has had me hyped since its conception.  On single target fights or cleave fights (most boss fights in end game) this pulls more DPS than any other ultimate in our arsenal.  The main kicker is it requires Maelstrom Daggers to perform to this letter, and thus must be empowered before casting.  Rend’s 16 second duration is the real selling point here, as that’s a massive DoT empowered by the Cruel Flurry enchant, giving great damage potential.  The other added benefit here is that it heals for a very high % of the damage it deals, allowing you to take some punishment in harder fights.  Paired with a relatively low cost, this serves a great purpose on boss fights.  Just be wary of it’s odd hit box detection, it’s a very narrow application, roughly the size of Refreshing Path or Wall of Elements if you know how big those are.

Bow- source of DoTs and buffs

1) Rearming Trap: A newly founded power source for high crit builds, this adds a staggering 12% critical hit damage for 6 seconds, and rearms after it ends for a total of 12 seconds as long as a mob has hit it. Does a nice DoT to all targets, and procs the Exploiter passive on mobs while they are in it. This is one of the stronger DoT’s in our kit, make sure this is kept up 100% of the time to ensure maximum DPS between the raw damage and Minor Force. It also gives a flat 3% Weapon damage bonus for slotting, making it even better! This ability is increased by Cruel Flurry, the Maelstrom 1h enchant.

2) Poison Injection: A pretty legit DoT that gets even more potential around 50% and below. It is operationally worth keeping up 100% of the fight, I usually start off a fight with a fully charged heavy attack and this for some decent initial damage. In Dark Brotherhood it received a 12% buff in terms of damage, so this thing is a monster. Paired with Maelstrom Daggers I’ve seen this crit for 30k plus on low health targets. This ability is increased by Cruel Flurry, the Maelstrom 1h enchant.
3) Endless Hail: Wow, what a spell. This thing is monstrous, I have been waiting a long time to be able to say this ability was worth running all the time. Paired with the Maelstrom Bow, this thing becomes the best universally accessible DoT in the game, ramping up to 6k a tick near the end of it’s duration. On top of that, it provides AoE damage too, and a massive amount at that. This ability is easily in my top 3 damage sources on breakdowns of fights. The reason we take this over Arrow Barrage is because the extended duration means more scaling with the Maelstorm Bow for even more DPS. It is quite small however, so some fights you won’t be hitting the optimal target amount. Think twice about what content you do more, single target or AoE.
*Interchangeable with*
Arrow Barrage: Almost identical to Scorched Earth, but loses a little bit of single target DPS due to being shorter and not ramping up as much in damage. The main difference with this is we gain 2 meters on the size, allowing you to hit more targets with it on trash or AoE boss fights (almost all fights in the new trial have use for this). Even on fights with 2-3 targets, mobs will refuse to clump up due to size or derpy AI, so Arrow Barrage comes in handy. This is a hard choice, so choose wisely.
4) Razor Caltrops: Alone this ability is worth running just for the DoT it provides, even on single target. Scales best with stamina Nightblades as we have the highest crit values and crit hit damage. Also increases the potency of % proc chances, although it is rather redundant now. I run Razor over Anti -Calvary because of the initial application damage it does, and most fights I use it on don’t last long enough for Anti to get its full operational value. I’ll directly quote a break down I made of them later in this build. Sadly this no longer can trigger Siphoning Attacks, meaning that the hefty cost will drain your resources with no return value to them.
5) Siphoning Attacks: A solid ability when it comes to managing resources, and is why the Nightblade is able to get away with playing a Khajiit instead of Redguard.  Since we have no other DPS abilities to run this serves perfectly to fit a more support based slot.  Activate this when your resources start to dip under 60% on longer fights.

Ulti) Soul Harvest: Probably one of my favorite ultimates in game, this thing has a ton of uses. The main reason we use this over Flawless Dawnbreaker is because while we lose 8% weapon damage from FDB, we gain 2% crit from our Assassination passive, and 10 ultimate per kill we get. This means in AoE situations you’re getting an insane amount of ultimate. Not only this, but once we near the end of the fight, instead of saving up large sums of ultimates for bigger ones only to shoot them off as the boss dies, or only once, we can cast this for a measly 50 ultimate. It does some serious damage, and boosts all damage against the affected target by 20% for a little bit. Paired with executes, you can dish out some serious damage in a short period of time. Also applies a healing debuff, so if you see a pesky healer mob in PvE or player in PvP, smack em real quick with this and watch them struggle to keep themselves up.
I know that Incapacitating Strikes is Disease damage, meaning it’ll do more damage on cast, but we don’t use this skill for the damage. The damage is a nice bonus paired with the cheap cost, but the main reason we slot this is for the 2% crit and ulti on kill. Removing the Ult on kill effectively makes this skill weaker than Flawless Dawnbreaker as a main bar option.


Notes on Ultimate usage;  Outside of boss encounters you’ll want to main bar Soul Harvest for much more ultimate generation, and since Rend is quite weak on large AoE pulls due to it’s small size.  The standard setup for trash involves main barring (dual wield) Soul Harvest and then back barring (bow) Shooting Star for high density pulls or Dawnbreaker of Smiting for lower health targets.

Gear Choices and Insights

*Optimal, (“enabler role”)*
5 Night Mother’s Gaze: After some further investigation and help from other theorycrafters, I’ve learned a few new things about penetration in terms of PvE. Mob’s resistance values are stuck at level 50 so instead of 660 = 1%, theirs is 500 = 1%. This means at legendary v16 this offers 5.16% damage(2580 armor reduc)for physically penetrative abilities (I say that since some magic dealing abilities use physical penetration, like our execute). Not only does it give us more damage on our abilities than Hunding’s Rage does, but it also works for anyone attacking that target. This set also has no ICD, and the first ability to proc it also benefits from the reductive damage, meaning it has a 100% operational value. As I said before, even in solo circumstances, this set outperforms Hunding’s Rage damage wise.
5 Sunderflame: An extremely potent set that has return to c160 scaling, it has the highest DPS potential of any stamina set in game in terms of overall group DPS. Reducing armor by an earth shattering 3440 on heavy attacks, on top of dealing a burst of fire damage when doing it, this set has tremendous damage capabilities. This is the strongest armor reduction in the game that comes from sets, and comes out to 6.88% more damage on a target. On top of this, the bonus applies to anyone hitting the target, akin to Nightmother’s. This will be a must have to run in coordinated groups/trials.  I find that this set is best run on Stamina Dragonknights, but can still work with solid players on any class.
5 Roar of Alkosh: This is the new stamina trial set from Maw of Lorkhaj. This set is extremely interesting with its 3 and 5 piece, both being rather unique. The 5% granted from minor Slayer applies to ALL targets inside instanced areas now, making insanely powerful To put it into perspective, Nightmother’s 5 piece offers 5.16% damage dealt as a 5 piece, and this is only a 3 piece, making it EXTREMELY efficient on targets it applies to. You do lose one crit bonus in it’s place though, but the 5 piece is the real hook. Not only does the 5 piece reduce Armor AND Spell Resistance for the mob (means everyone hitting the target benefits!) by 3010 (6.02% damage) but it also deals 2262 initial + 15380 physical damage over 10 seconds to any target hit (it procs an explosion roughly the size of Refreshing Path in front of you). Not only does this set have amazing AoE/single target potential and utility, but this 5 piece currently has NO ICD (internal cooldown). Each time you synergize, the effect happens. It does not stack, and merely refreshes the 10 second debuff timer, but the AoE damage it deals has the potential to be used to the full extent. Keep in mind that that damage the 5 piece from the initial+DoT is unbuffed, and DOES scale with CP, self+group buffs such as berserk, brutality, penetration, etc. The only true downside of this set is that it requires synergies to be used, meaning it cannot be used for solo play. In groups however, any synergy will apply it, even non offensive synergies. In trials this is up 24/7 due to the amount of on demand synergies such as Conduit and Blessed Shards that are always down, as well as some of the lesser frequent ones like Radiate, Shackle, Impale, and purify. While activating a synergy does have an operational loss on DPS (for a few synergies, many have received buffs this patch and are insanely powerful now), this 5 piece alone makes up and out preforms any loss you may have taken to activate it. The wearer will notice a DPS loss compared to the optimal setup I have listed, but the group’s DPS potential will soar. Only 1-2 people per group should run this, but it is a must for min maxed groups. I hope this set gets some minor adjustments to make it stronger in the future so it performs better for the wearer.

3 Vicious Ophidian: As of the Shadows of the Hist update the 3 piece of Minor Slayer now gives a flat 5% damage inside instanced areas (meaning in open world it will not work) giving it a massive efficiency boost. On top of this, the 3.1% crit from the 1st set bonus is massive alone, overall these two set bonuses give over 9% DPS in a min/maxed raid group, making it unparalleled in damage output potential. Also the jewelry is obtainable in legendary quality, meaning you get extra stats from the traits and set bonuses. Do not run this if you are running 5 Alkosh, as Minor Slayer does not stack, simply run 5 Alkosh and another 5 piece for max value.

2 Valkyn Skoria: Since this build is going to be running Rapid Strikes instead of Surprise Attack in the DBH update, Nerieneth will lose most of its proc chance, while Valkyn will see a higher one. Since we are running 7 (8 with Shooting Star up) DoTs, this means Valkyns will pretty much be proccing whenever it’s off cooldown. This is actually slightly weaker than Mephala’s in all forms except high mobility fights, since it follows the target. However, it is much easier to benefit from since it procs passively, versus the forced proc of Mephala.
2 Mephala’s: In the Thieves Guild this set got a massive buff, going for a 30% chance on heavy attacks to 100% chance on heavy attacks to apply a pretty small sized AoE (2.5m?) that deals decent magic damage over time and snares. The nice thing about this set is you can control the proc and it’s guaranteed to proc, but at a small expense of heavy weaving (not that good for Nightblades as say a Stam DK). This set will deal Poison damage in the DBH update, making it quite strong. Use this if you are wearing Sunderflame, or are in a high density situation where multiple targets will be enveloped in the AoE proc. This out performs Skoria on AoE and low mobility single target fights, assuming you can maintain the Heavy attack every 10s.

2 Maelstrom Daggers: This unique weapon enchants is absolutely absurd in terms of damage, granting ~3000 additional weapon damage on any single target (and some AoE, although only the first target hit has the bonus scaling) DoT when using Rapid Strikes. This convolutes our rotation and makes it quite difficult, but the reward is great.

1 Maelstrom Bow: This bow is the reason stam DPS is even a thing still, without this we’d be leagues behind casters in PvE. The enchant works even after you swap off the bow.

*Optimal, (enabler roles are fulfilled)*

5 Twice Born Star: An extremely misleading set that seems to be weak in terms of DPS, but is actually the top DPS set out there, assuming Nightmother’s, Sunderflame, and Alkosh are already being applied by a group. This set gives 16.7% crit as the 5 piece effectively, since we gain the Thief Mundus stone. In a group with Aggressive Warhorn and a high Critical Hit Damage modifier, this set is absolutely insane in terms of DPS. Run this in a trial if the 3 listed sets are already being worn by another group member.

5 Vicious Ophidian: The reworked set from v14 days, is back with a vengeance. The set offers an absurdly high amount of stats, giving 6.2% weapon critical, 129 weapon damage, 5% flat damage, 8% cost reduction, and 2k+ stamina+Major expedition per kill (has an internal cooldown). It’s a bit of a pain to get in perfect pieces but it comes in 3 gold jewelry (or purple if you can only complete normal) as well as any armor or body slot, but ideally you want 2 Divines body pieces (any slot) and 3 gold jewelry for maximum stats. This thing makes stamina management issues a thing of the past, which was severely needed as it once held back stamina classes from being viable and pigeonholed any stamina build into playing Redguard instead of the glorious Khajiit race. I once did not believe in the power of this set until I finally finished it. I have been able to break 50k easily on Vet Rakkhat and Mantikora thanks to this set.

2 Maelstrom Daggers: This unique weapon enchants is absolutely absurd in terms of damage, granting ~3000 additional weapon damage on any single target (and some AoE, although only the first target hit has the bonus scaling) DoT when using Rapid Strikes. This convolutes our rotation and makes it quite difficult, but the reward is great.

1 Maelstrom Bow: This bow is the reason stam DPS is even a thing still, without this we’d be leagues behind casters in PvE. The enchant works even after you swap off the bow.

Traits on armor: Currently all divines paired with the Shadow stone is the largest damage gain. Nothing else comes close to comparison, even infused on the larger pieces. Each piece is a 7.5% increase, and Shadow is 12% CHD(how hard your crits hit for). With 7 Divines that’s 52.5% bonus on 12%, totaling to 18.3% CHD (6.3% increase if all 7 gold divines, or .9% increase per gold)

Traits on weapons: The answer to this is reliant on the content at hand.

Sharpened- As of Dark Brotherhood, Sharpened now offers 5160 (if using two 1handed or one 2handed weapons) penetration, which is as much as Major Breach and Fracture. Since it increases penetration value and not reduction as it did before, the value is quite large. 5160 in PvE is 10.32% bonus damage, assuming a target has exactly or more than the listed amount. Herein lies the crux, Sharpened is only beneficial if the target has exactly or more than 5260 (add 100 base pen) Physical Resistance after debuffs have been applied (there’s quite a list). However, due to the large availability of Physical Res shredding, this is often non existent. Since penetration is a % increase, the DPS value is not static and must be applied to your total DPS without weapon traits to be determined. Assuming a mob has the armor, this can be roughly 3-4k DPS alone in increase for end game builds.

Precise- A very strong trait, that has no true value due to altering RNG, or chance based outcomes. Critical chance’s estimated % DPS value is obtained via multiplying the Critical Strike Chance to the Critical Strike Damage modifier. My build runs a .78 base CHD (178% with original damage, or 78% bonus) value which is increased by CP to upwards of .25 more, another .12 from Minor Force, and 30% additional after Aggressive Warhorn is applied. In a group scenario I have a 1.3 CHD value (230% with original, or 130% bonus) and in solo I have a 1.0 CHD (200% with original, or 100% bonus). Precise is multiplied by my CHD to find a value, so .07 (2 precise) x 1.3 group or .07 x 1.0. In groups Precise offers 9.1% DPS and solo it offers 7% DPS. This is assuming 100% up time on these buffs, so expect less if you aren’t as coordinated or there is a chaotic fight. This is roughly worth 2-3k DPS in end game builds.

Here comes the answer, if you are in a pug group that has little to no group buff management or synergy, Sharpened will be better. This is also the case with solo PvE and PvP, as you cannot run all of the debuffs needed for Precise to take the upper advantage. In 4 man content and trials with decent groups however, Precise instantly becomes better due to proper Warhorn rotations, and group debuffing from the extensive list of armor shreds. Remember, Sharpened loses value if a target has less than the shredded armor, as you cannot over penetrate. Precise DOES have an added bonus of allowing heals like Vigor and Rally to crit however, so if you run either of these keep that in mind!

This is my CP distribution for the current 561 CP cap. This is assuming you are running 2 Sharpened weapons in a semi-optimal setup (Nightmother’s Gaze, Infused Crusher, ect)

I split my points between Tower and Lover mainly for cost reduction and regeneration for stamina, as those are the two most important values for my DPS. Cost reduction is much more effective than regeneration in a pure DPS situation, as it provides its benefit immediately on cast, rather than waiting for a 2 second tick to happen. Regen is better for defensive situations where you need to block/sprint/dodge roll, as cost reduction does not affect those.
Anything from the Shadow tree is nice if you don’t have resource management issues, as it enhances a lot of the quality of life stats, but nothing really big for PvE.

I focus mainly here on pure damage reduction, a good split between Elemental Defender/Hardy lets me get away with lower health in some of the more brutal PvE situations like HM Serpent or vICP/WGT. I also take some point for Thick Skinned for the DoT reduction some mobs throw out. Most of the Warrior is based purely on preference and playstyle, but the main focus is getting that 120 passive from the Lady, as it gets used a little bit in PvE. The rest is just quality of life stuff, maybe spend some points into healing received if you want. Keep in mind Nourishing is now Expert Defender which reduces damage from basic attacks.

This is the tree that’s not much about choice and more about math. I run a self made simulation program that was determined for this, and thanks to @Asayre, I’ve been able to make some adjustments to it based on his spread sheet he made. Our calculations still differ however, so you will notice we suggest different outcomes for allocation. This is not a universal application, but rather a hand tailored point setup based on my DPS performance without any CP spent. After getting a parse you break down the damage sources into sections that fit into CP and then use a program or spreadsheet to determine the maximum efficiency of point allocation. This means that many factors such as mob mitigation, group buffing, number of targets, and other things change the end results drastically. This is a work in progress until I get my BiS (I’m still missing optimal pieces despite countless hours of play)

Race Choices, and Their Importance

From a pure DPS perspective the current top race for this build is Khajiit. Many players struggle with resource management however so if you find yourself as one of them then you may want to think of other options.

Let’s break down the net values of the higher up races;
1) Khajiit- 8% crit is a bonus chance to crit with all weapon crit based attacks, which is all of our kit. With this build’s current CHD setup 8% crit is worth 7.04% flat damage in perfect math with no buffs, 8% flat damage with minor force (rearming trap), and a 10.4% flat damage value with both major (aggressive warhorn)and minor force. This alone makes them the top damage dealing choice. If you’re curious how to find the damage % value of crit or crit hit damage, all you have to do is take critical strike multiplied by critical hit damage. In this case 8% crit multiplied by my base 1.88 CHD, but remove the 1 since it stands for base damage. My crits unbuffed deal 188% base damage- 100% of the base attack + 88% extra, so we look at the 88% or .88. Minor force is 12% and Major is based on your current CHD (should be 30%, but is 30% of your CHD) so simply add those values to the base CHD.

10% stealth damage is pretty minimal, as many situations you cannot stealth attack at the beginning due to true sight mobs and whatnot. Plus that 10% only goes to one attack, so when you compared that one 10% bonus vs the say, 100 you did, that means it was only worth 1% of that spell, which is further mitigated since you likely did more than just do the same attack over and over. This is a decent passive for solo content (aside from vMA) or small dungeons, as well as PvP.

10% stamina regen is pretty nice, but overall still failed to bring us where we used to be back in 1.6. Before Nightblades had 30% stamina regen and 15% from werewolf, now we get 15% stamina regen and only get the passive stamina regen while the ultimate is slotted, and I have long since cured my werewolf, as there is no benefit in running it anymore in PvE (it used to be great for a couple fights, but now is outshined)

2) Redguard- 10% stamina with this build will net you around 3000 stamina. Since each ability has a unique coefficient of how it scales damage wise to stamina, I will make very rough estimates on explaining the mathematical value of this. Our hardest hitting ability by far will be Surprise Attack. SA’s stamina coefficient is each 1 point of stam = .128625. That means you’d need at least 8 stamina to gain 1 tooltip damage, so 3000 x .128625 is 385 damage. If we only gained this damage on SA, we’d get much less than 385 DPS because we are casting more abilities than it, so it’d be mitigated by other spells. Since the stamina does apply to other abilities, for simplicity’s stake I will say each ability gains anywhere from 100 to 400 dps. We run 6 active damage dealing components (non situationals), an average of 200 dps means we gain 1200-1500 dps.

The main power of Redguard lies in its incredible stamina management, after the Thieves Guild nerf to Siphoning Attacks this is a great option. 10% stamina regen is canceled by the Khajiit’s, but the stamina on hit is the real nice one. I’d suggest going Redguard if you’re looking for a mix of PvP and PvE or have regen issues.

3) Imperial- Same exact raw damage values as Redguard, but instead of having higher regen you have higher health and a small heal passive. I’d take Imperial over Redguard only if you plan on making your NB tank/DPS/and PvP.

4) Woodelf- ~3/5th of the value of Redguard from the stamina + the stealth amp. Woodelf however, has insanely high regen. Overall it’s less than Redguard *in combat* but outside of it, or when not working with a purely offensive build, it can be an okay choice. I’d pretty much only run Woodelf if I planned on doing group PvP with it.

5) Orcs- The same DPS value from the stamina as Woodelves, but a little bit of health on top of it. You trade regen for health on this build, as well as an interesting passive of 4% melee damage. The main issue with this passive is that it doesn’t apply to DoT’s.  Since PvE is all about DoT damage instead of burst damage, that 4% is heavily mitigated.  They also receive 12% sprint speed and 5% healing received.

Anything else I didn’t mention pretty much has no benefit, or so little of one that it’s not worth comparing. From seeing how large Khajiit’s gain is, you should expect a pretty noticeable difference between a good race choice and a poor one. It’s still not the end of the world though for most players, so don’t feel like you need to reroll to complete content!

Mundus Stone Breakdown + Traits on Armor

As I’ve mentioned in earlier sections of this build, I run the Shadow Stone with full Divines traits. Below is a snip of the breakdown on why I chose to do this from a post I made in a different thread. I’ve editted it to fit this patch and my new gear setup, beware though, there is a lot of math.

A lot of people are aware of the armor trait setup back in 1.5 where you ran 4 Divines and 3 Infused, but since then a few Mundus stones have been buffed or changed, and this meta is no longer universally accurate. You now want to take 7x divines over 4x divines 3x infused if you’re using the Shadow or Thief stone. Here’s some simple math to determine effectiveness.

Legendary Divines = 7.5% increase of Mundus stone
Shadow = 12% increase to critical strike damage
Thief = 11% critical strike chance
Apprentice/Warrior = 166 spell/wep damage(before amps)
Tower/Mage = 1280 magicka/stamina (before amps)

Divines per legendary piece
Shadow = .9% CHD
Thief = .825% Crit chance
Apprentice/Warrior = 12.45 SD/WD(decimal is added after all calculations are completed and is rounded down until it increases to a whole number, in the case of two divines you’d get 16, but with 3 you’d get 19.)
Tower/Mage = 96 stam/magicka

Infused bumps resource enchants from 868 to 1041 on big pieces(173 increase) and 351 to 421 on lesser(70 increase).

Now each ability in game has a unique coefficient that multiplies itself to its respective stat. This in turn increases the listed tool tip damage. For example; Surprise Attack and Concealed Weapon have a .128625 : 1 ratio for resources. For each point of stamina (surprise attack) or magicka (concealed weapon) you gain that much tooltip increase. Since calculations ignore decimals until they add up into whole numbers, you need 8 magicka or stamina to gain anything. They also have a 1.35091 weapon damage (surprise attack) or spell damage (concealed weapon) scaling that. Every 1 SD/WD increases its tooltip by the stated amount. Now lets find the effectiveness of an increase in accordance to this skill.

Shadow = complex, living number. Depends on how much tooltip you have. Let’s use my character’s tooltip as an example. Fully buffed my tooltip is 10147. My crit hit damage multiplier without divines is 1.847. Therefor on a target with no armor I’d deal 18670 damage. Divines is a .9% (or .009) increase to my CHD with shadow, so that number becomes 18838. +168 damage. Now since this only applies on critical strikes, we must now factor in critical strike chance. I have 80.9% critial strike so we multiply that number by the added damage to find the true numerical value that shadow adds to our kit; 168 x .809 = 149 damage. This is only looking at Surprise Attack, so once you add up all of our coefficients this is closer to ~1k DPS.

Thief = again, a complex living number. This will depend on your crit hit damage, as they are directly related. Lets compare the efficiency of base CHD and my CHD just to see the differences. Base CHD is 1.5, mine was 1.72 (no divines). .825% chance to deal 172% more damage is .594% (less than 1) increase to overall damage. With high tooltips, that’s nothing to laugh at. Shadow’s value was .9% x 80.9% which is .7281% per Divines. Quite close. This value is increased if you apply Major+Minor Force, which would mean it out performs Shadow mathematically. Now with fights in new content lasting longer, it means you cannot keep up Major Force. On top of that, just because it shows on paper, doesn’t mean it translates the same in game.

Apprentice/Warrior= Static number, with some minor boosts based on context. 12.45 SD/WD offers 16.819 tooltip to SA. However, there are passives that increase your WD by a % (Major/Minor Brutality, WW passives, Templar passives, etc) that can change the importance. Let’s look at it from a universal situation where anyone can have access to Major/Minor Brutality. 25% increase overall means you’re getting 15.563 WD which translates to 21.024 TT increase per divines. 21/10417 is a .207% increase and a 37.086 damage increase on criticals. Apply this to our entire kit and you get about 300 DPS, about 1/3rd of Shadow’s value.

Tower/Mage= Again, a static number with some minor boosts depending. 96 stamina/magicka would be a 12.348 TT increase so SA/concealed weapon. There are also passives that increase magicka/stamina by %’s that can increase this value. Again lets look at it from a universal level where CP offers a 25%(@3600 cap) bonus to each tree’s resources (Warrior = health, Mage = magicka, Thief = stam). 96 becomes 120 and that turns to 15.435 TT increase on SA/concealed and a 27.258 increase on criticals. Added to our entire kit it pulls about 225 dps, about 1/4th the value of Shadow.

Now that we’ve found the values of divines for these Mundus stones, lets look at infused. Luckily this is a much simpler thing to discuss since you pretty much see everything that’s going on at eye level.

Now lets use the old meta x4 divines x3 infused on large pieces (helm chest legs). 20% increase to the largest possible enchants in game (v16) boosts the enchant from an 868 magicka/stam to 1041. 173 increase in accordance to SA/concealed would be a 22.252 TT increase. Let’s give this the same treatment as we did Tower/Mage and add the universal increase of 25% more if at 3600 CP cap. We’re now at 207.6 magicka/stam and a 26.703 TT increase for SA/concealed. Overall that’s about 260 DPS when applied to our kit.

All of these numbers are subjective to other amps that I’ve chosen to ignore since they’re not universally obtainable (racials, build exclusive, etc) that can change the effectiveness of these. Pretty much a TL;DR it depends. The answer to the question is based on the context of the question. PvP and PvE call for very different things, and each changes the effectiveness that each of these stats offer. It’s up to the user of this information to determine the answers for them self. In PvE however, there is no doubt that Shadow is the best source of overall DPS for stamina Night blades.

Misc info, screens, videos, and closing notes

With this build I run Weapon power and crit potions, as well as Bi Health-Stam food to put me at just enough health to survive most one shots, and more stamina. The potions are mandatory since we have no form of Major Brutality in our kit, which is a large difference. I plan on uploading some videos of example parses on boss fights, as well as breakdowns on rotation and weaving. Expect to see this updated based on comments from you guys and new content changes!

Remember check the official forums here to ask Gill questions on this build.

End Game PvP Build

[Last Updated November 28th, 2016 One Tamriel Update 12]

Hype Trailer Video

Full Build Video

Specter in Action


This build is meant for solo, small group stamina Nightblade that packs a punch.  You can modify it to fit your play-style, minus bow wielder, this is all melee.  This is designed for maximum damage with decent survivability.  Plan on dying frequently when learning, but also plan on nuking down players at will as well.  Once you learn how to avoid damage, rather than heal through it, you’ll become a juggernaut.

+ You hit extremely hard and can nuke down one player without a problem

+ Play open field, Imperial City or dueling and have success

+ No heavy armor, no Viper, no problem

–  Lacks powerful self healing like other classes

–  High skill cap required to avoid damage rather than heal through it

Skills and Usage

Option #1 Solo

This is for the experienced Nightblade that wants to play solo.  Ideally focused on nuking individual players down to capitalize Alliance Points gains


Dual Wield (Sharpened Swords) – All of our damage comes from here and we go with Dual Wield primarily for the extra skill slot.

  • **Note, you can go with Two-Handed and bow for more ranged, but you will lose either a two piece monster helm or an additional 5 piece bonus.  I didn’t find it worth it.
  1. Ambush (morph of Teleport Strike | Assassination skill line) – A gap closer that empowers our next attack is a must when chasing down streaking Sorcs.  Combine this with Fear or Mass Hysteria to stun you opponent THEN Incapacitating strike or Surprise Attack for massive damage.  This ability isn’t meant to be spammable as it has a high stamina cost, merely close the gap when needed and setup your burst.
  2. Mass Hysteria (morph of Aspect of Terror | Shadow skill line) – AoE CC that ignores block and causes targets to run around like headless chickens.  Great for opening short windows to burst down pesky perma-blockers.  You want to always “fear” first than use your ultimate or heavy hitting ability when their vulnerable not before.
  3. Shadowy Disguise (morph of Shadow Cloak | Shadow skill line) – This is our cloak or invisibility tool though not perfect it’s still effective.  It comes with an added bonus of giving us a guaranteed crit upon attack.  So when you go in stealth (meaning the eye turns to a thin line) you’ll get a major attack bonus.  Stealth and invisibility are not the same thing, just keep that in mind.  I use cloak with Surprise Attack to stun an enemy instantly THEN Incap for massive burst damage.
    • Deadly/Quick Cloak (morph of Blade Cloak | Dual Wield skill line) – When playing in a group of 4-6 with a dedicated healer, I go more rambo and less stealthy.  Deadly Cloak gives me a lot of protection and more damage.
  4. Surprise Attack (morph of Veiled Strike | Shadow skill line) – Our major source of damage single target which can be spammed in conjunction with light attacks.  Also gives us some hefty defenses and shreds enemy mitigation.  Heavy weaving this while closing the gap allows for extremely high damage.
  5. Steel Tornado (morph of Whirlwind | Dual Wield skill line) – THE best spammable AoE in the game. Even running solo I find this still useful since it can detect hidden players and has massive range. Sorc sitting in mines? No problem, I spam Steel Tornado on them.
    • Killer’s Blade (morph of Assassin’s Blade | Assassination skill line) – A close range execute with massive healing on kill.  This thing is crazy strong and many players aren’t ready for it.  The second you see someone at 25%, use this.
    • Radiant Mage Light (morph of Mage Light | Mages Guild skill line) – If you want to go full ganker, you need this ability somewhere and changing it out here makes sense.  It gives us an on demand empower or 20% more damage next attack and doesn’t require us to come out of stealth to use it.  I don’t like playing full ganker because I feel cheap, but if you want to, consider this a must have skill.
  • [Ultimate] Incapacitating Strike (morph of Death Stroke | Assassination skill line) – One of the hardest hitting ultimates in the game and one of the cheapest.  It has a downsides though, it’s not AoE like Dawnbreaker of Smiting and doesn’t give us ultimate back on kill like Soul Harvest (the other morph).  But it deals disease damage, adds a healing debuff and provides a stun, it’s good.  Combine this with a stun PRIOR to casting it with either fear or cloak/Surprise Attack combo to make sure it lands.  I can literally hit players for 15,000 damage in Cyrodiil with this.  Not very fair, but effective.
    • Dawnbreaker of Smiting (morph of Dawnbreaker | Fighters Guild skill line) – When playing with groups I swap this in since I need to hit more than one target.

Two-Handed (Powered or Precise) – Just buffs and healing.  We go with Two-Handed over bow for the burst heal Rally provides.

  1. Relentless Focus (morph of Grim Focus | Assassination skill line) – For 20 seconds you get 8% more damage, this is a no brainier ability to keep active at all times.  We take this mainly for the 10% Stamina Regeneration, and it also deals Disease damage instead.  This can be lined up for crazy high damage output on high priority targets after 4 light attacks.
  2. Rally (morph of Momentum | Two-handed skill line) – Our source of major brutality but really a massive burst heal the longer the duration goes.  As a stamblade, I don’t have major mending like other classes so having a on demand burst heal is a must to stay alive.  You can make this do even more healing with Lingering Health Potions (giving us major vitality).
  3. Shuffle (morph of Evasion | Medium Armor skill line) – A powerful defensive skill giving Major Evasion and removing all active snares on you.  Furthermore, this also makes you immune to snares based on how many pieces of Medium Armor you wear, up to ~4s.  The way to use this is keep active 100% of the time, pre cast prior to fighting and when you get stunned or cc, recast this and Rally while your Unchained Champion Point is active for basically a low cost defensive.  I’ll explain more in the video.
  4. Siphoning Attacks (morph of Siphoning Strikes | Siphoning skill line) – Huge resource sustain especially consider it can give back magicka and stamina.  We use tons of magicka so it’s necessary to light/heavy weave and keep this active.
  5. Resolving Vigor (morph of Vigor | Alliance War Assault skill line) – The best stamina self heal in the game and really increases our survivability.  It does take a little bit of PvP’ing first, but will help you greatly once you get this.
  • Soul Tether (morph of Soul Shred | Siphoning skill line) – A powerful old school ultimate that is magicka based and only really used for surviving.  It provides massive healing depending on the targets hit so if I’m jumping into a clump and need a AoE stun, Tether.  If I’m getting chased down by the endless AD horde small man 70+, Tether.  Though don’t consider this a must use skill all the time.
    • Clouding Swarm (morph of Bat Swarm | Vampire skill line) – An ultra high risk high reward play style is swarm.  Clouding grants you invisibility which gives you the Master Assassin passive while activated (10% more damage from stealth) and if you’re a Khajiit or Wood Elf, tact on another 10% for 20% more damage while in Swarm.  Pair that with Relentless and Steel Tornado and you can mow down groups within seconds.  However, you’ll be very squishy as a Vampire but you can sneak very easily and have an awesome ultimate.



  • Main 5 piece Eternal Hunt – An absolute juggernaut for those rolly polly dodge rollers.  This is mainly for sustain and escaping with the five piece providing an immobilization if they step into the rune.  Plus the rune can proc Selene/Velidreth so dodging, turning back into the opponent is a deadly combo.  Crafted 9 trait in Hews Bane.
    • For more damage you could always go with Hunding’s Rage, Draugr or Night Mothers Gaze, but you’ll miss the rune.  A secondary set that provides good resource sustain and damage is Bone Pirate Tatters found in Blackheart Haven.
  • Secondary 5 piece Spriggan – You could always go with a proctato build (meaning Red Mountain, Viper or Widowmaker), but you can still be effective with a good old five piece.  I think the best damage producing stam DPS PvP set is Spriggans, especially considering most players are wearing heavy.  You’ll be using jewelry and swords (which are hard to get but worth every second/penny) so you’ll only get the bonus on Dual Wield. It’s a must have that produces huge damage.  Found in overland Bangkorai or you can buy pieces from traders.
  • Monster Helm Selene – One of the hardest hitting sets in the game with a somewhat lower proc chance than Velidreth but for single target burst, you can’t beat it.  Once you hear the sound of the bear, fear, combine this proc with an incap and there’s very little a player can do to counter it.  It will take a lot of time to get proficient at this.  Found in Selene’s web dungeon.
    • Velidreth – A great alternative that doesn’t require much timing and still hits like a truck.  The added benefit of hitting more than one player and disease damage makes this a great choice as well.



  • Armor traits – 2 well-fitted and 5 impenetrable.  Gives us good resistance against other Nightblades yet helping our dodge roll reduction.
  • Weapon traits – Sharpend for sure.  I originally had precise daggers since it was cheaper, swapped and golded my swords out and saw a 14% damage increase.  It’s worth farming for them.
  • Glyphs – Max stam on small pieces prismatic on large for more magicka and health pool.
  • Attributes – All stamina.
  • Mundus Stone – Shadow, since we have a guaranteed crit, it makes sense to optimize around that.  The downsides of this stone is it won’t help you against shield stack Sorcs.  If you want to go with something less burst, pick Warrior, or Serpent for more sustain.
  • Food – I use the gold food which gives 3k+ max health, and regen to magicka, stamina and health.  You can go with bi-stat food for more damage, or orzgamar food for more stamina sustain, but I use a lot of magicka abilities and that’s what I found best.
  • Potions – Very expensive, but effective is stamina, immovable and speed.  Since we’re not using a bow, this is our source of major expedition.  But it’s going to hit your pocket book for sure.
  • Vampire or Werewolf – WW doesn’t really have a downside if you slot the ultimate on the back bar for more stamina regeneration though I can’t see turning into one with this build.  Vampire, ultra high rish high reward.  Clouding Swarm combined with class/racial passives is a blast, yet you’ll hate getting nuked by siege.
  • Armor weight – 5 medium 1/1 heavy light.  This isn’t the popular choice and I can see why as heavy has a lot of benefits, but I play this to avoid damage not face tank it.  So having extra dodge, speed and reduce cost outweighs more health and healing received.
  • Race – Wood Elf has become my favorite after realizing the added value of max stamina (for more healing) while maintaining the same stealth damage bonus as Khajiit.  #2 would be Khajiit, #3 Orc for speed and #4 Redguard for sustain.


Option #2 Group Oriented

This is the setup designed around a group of 4 or more players with a dedicated healer.



Skill Changes

This setup we drop Fear for deadly cloak to pick up more AoE resistance and AoE damage.  In addition, we go with a more AoE centered damage ultimate Dawnbreaker for burst and tight positions.  We use vampire for extra stealth sneak speed and devouring swarm.  It’s useful when fighting large groups due to the healing received not necessarily the damage.  Also we kill up Retreating Maneuver to help the group get moving when in trouble.

Gear Changes

We add Velidreth for more AoE while keeping Spriggan’s five piece for penetration.  Hircine’s Veneer set was changed adding stam regen to the 2/4 piece bonus making it as much regen as Eternal Hunt.  The additional 5 piece bonus helps you and your group with 15% more stamina recovery making it much easier to keep the group moving with Rapids while doing just as much damage as the solo build.  Another option is Powerful Assault from Imperial City or Night Mothers Gaze with Caltrops.  Though both will reduce your regeneration significantly.


Here I go with tri-stat food over bi stat for a larger stamina pool considering we should have a templar using spear shards and repentance.  I still with tri-potions for burst healing, immovables for charging in and essence of lingering health when facing massive groups.    Vampire is a give and take, huge risk huge rewards.  Hopefully you have someone cleansing you and healing to help with the fire damage.


Option #3 Beginner

This is the setup with only crafted gear centered around an easier skill setup and ranged for starters.



Skill Changes

We go with a Two-Hander because it’s simpler plus we have a burst heal on our front bar.  This is also a similar setup you can run if you want to gank (I’d go with Archers Mind five piece and Hunding’s).  Also added the ranged bow ultimate so when you need to nuke someone, you don’t have to rely 100% on melee.  Very little AoE here, but it’ll get you use to the mechanics of Nightblade burst and survival.  Once you start killing 5-10 people before a death, start to consider moving up to the solo build.

Gear Changes

Most folks request all crafted setup, and this is what I used for quiet awhile and its still effective. We go with 5 1/1 setup assuming you have Undaunted maxed out for a larger stat pool.  If you do not, go with all medium for even more regeneration.


I swap out Shadow mundus for Serpent for more regeneration since we’re not using Eternal Hunt (assuming players cannot craft that many traits).  Combine this mundus choice with Endurance Jewelry plus max health, stam recovery food we should get 2,000 stamina regeneration. This will really help folks learn the play style and not get so frustrated with many buffs to maintain.


Champion Points


Thanks for reading our Stamina Nightblade PvP guide for One Tamriel. Let me know what you think and if you had success with it!