ESO Warden Magic DPS
Table of Contents
- Leveling Build
- End Game Build
[Written by Gilliamtherogue, 6/5/17 (Morrowind)]
The purpose of this build is to offer the player interested in starting a fresh Warden, with intent on specializing into the Magicka or Caster DPS/Support role. While most of the tools offered in this guide are designed for preparing us for end game PvE in mind, there will be some PvP options and translations as well. Keep in mind this is a guide line and not an end all be all, so experiment early and find what you like!
Should you play this build?
If you’re a fan of solo play and smaller group activities, then the Magicka Warden offers a fresh and new play style for players interested in a hearty mixture of damage and support. While the Magicka Warden doesn’t pull solid “competitive” DPS numbers, they are fun to play and can still tackle almost any content with enough dedication and practice. If you’re not looking to post impressive scores on leaderboards and you just want something fun and different to play; then the Mag Warden will be a great choice for you.
We’ll be focusing mainly on the Destruction Staff while leveling up, but you are more than welcome to take a Restoration Staff once you hit level 15 (at least get a killing blow at level 1 with one on, and put a Resto skill on your bar, even if you can’t use it. This will level Restoration Staves even without using the skill!) if you plan to PvP or give more support than raw damage.
Restoration Staff (optional)
While the Restoration staff doesn’t boast raw damage for leveling, it does give us plenty of healing and resource management once we start unlocking passives.
- Grand Healing (AoE Heal over time | morph to preference) – A staple in terms of universal healing, any healer in the game will often find this skill to be their go to ability for healing more than one person at a time. Easy to use with a 6 ally target cap, we’ll have morph options to either add more healing (Illustrious Healing) or help our Magicka sustain (Healing Springs).
- Regeneration (HoT | morph to Rapid Regeneration) – This ability works wonderfully in smaller groups, as it only hits up to 2 allies per cast. It can be casted as many times as you want, but not everyone will gain effect. For example, if you’re in a 4 man group you’ll want to cast it twice in quick succession, or if you’re in a 12 man group you’ll need to cast it 6 times. It quickly becomes tedious in larger groups, so try and only use this for solo or small group situations.
- Steadfast Ward (Shield | morph to Healing Ward) – A wonderful damage shield that explodes into a burst heal after 6 seconds, depending on the size of the shield remaining. The shield grows in size based on how much missing Health you have, allowing it to be insanely powerful in solo PvE and especially PvP application.
Destruction staves offer the most damage for a Magicka build by far. Between raw power and amazing passives, these skills help tremendously in buffing our and our groups’ damage.
- Wall of Elements (AoE Damage over time | morph to Elemental Blockade) – One of the best Magicka based AoE DoTs in the game, this skill offers wonderful damage when it’s placed on singular or large packs of enemies. You can use a Inferno staff for Flame Wall for great self DPS, or a Lightning Staff for Lightning Wall for great group damage when paired with Concussed.
- Force Shock (Direct damage | morph to Force Pulse) – While the Warden does have its own spammable ability, Force Shock offers the group and ourselves much better utility. Force Shock has 3 separate damage components, and deals direct damage. When paired with a special passive, it will have a 20% chance PER damage component to proc the respective affliction; Burning, Concussed, or Chilled. These debuffs all offer truly staggering amounts of damage and utility to the group, making this our go to damage ability while leveling.
- Dive (Direct damage | morph to Screaming Cliff Racer or unmorphed) – A wonderful little single target spammable, this skill when morphed becomes up to 15% stronger when used at 15-28m away (1% more at 15m, 15% more at ~20m). While this is great, we’ll be using Force Pulse in group settings to help group DPS since we aren’t pulling good enough DPS alone to warrant the sacrifice. If you are solo however, this is our preferred spammable since it will proc a healing passive.
- Scorch (Delayed burst | morph to Deep Fissure) – The saving grace of Wardens from being complete trash, Scorch offers amazing single target AND cleave damage. It will explode 3 seconds after casting in a line based on our facing direction, meaning it will be hard to get used to and require great timing and attention. Once you master this skill you’ll be able to shred large groups of enemies with ease, and nuke players in PvP.
- Betty Netch (Self buff | morph to Blue Betty) – A great little support skill that helps increase our healing and damage potential by granting Major Sorcery for 25 seconds, as well as restoring roughly 4500 Magicka over the duration. It has no cost to cast, and also removes 1 negative effect each time you cast it. Talk about efficient! Try to keep this up at all times.
- Fungal Growth (AoE heal | morph to Enchanted Growth) – The Warden’s form of a “burst” heal, healing yourself and up to 5 allies in a large cone in front of you. Anyone hit by it will receive Minor Endurance and Intellect, helping their Stamina and Magicka regeneration a bit. We won’t be using this at end game, but it’ll help level the skill line for later.
- Living Vines (HoT | morph to Leeching Vines) – A superb heal over time, this skill places a buff that once hit by an enemy we instantly heal. The buff lasts 10 seconds and can happen once per second, but it also applies Minor Lifesteal to the attack with the suggested morph option, meaning we’ll be able to heal MUCH more than anticipated, with tons of potential to group heal as well!
- Lotus Flower (Self buff + Heal | morph to Lotus Blossom) – A form of Major Prophecy when active, it will also heal us or the nearest ally (based on who has the lowest Health) whenever we Light or Fully Charged Heavy Attack. Light Attacks heal less but are faster, while Heavy Attacks heal MUCH more (almost 3 times the amount) but at a slower pace. This can crit as well, offering amazing self sustain.
- Frost Cloak (AoE buff | morph to preference) – A great source of Major Resolve and Ward, helping yourself and up to 5 nearest allies take 8% less damage from all attacks. This won’t be 100% mandatory, but having it available will help you be flexible in groups who don’t have these buffs accessible to them. We won’t be using this much in end game unless we’re focusing Support, but we need it to progress the skill line.
- Impaling Shards (AoE DoT | morph to Winter’s Revenge) – The Warden’s AoE DoT to their kit, this skill does pretty nice damage in a large AoE each second, for 12 seconds. Always try to keep this up in Single target and AoE fights.
Restoration Staff (if taken)
- Cycle of Life – This passive enables amazing resource return from Heavy Attacking with a Restoration staff. Without this passive a fully charged Heavy Attack will restore 6.5% of your Max Magicka. With both points spent you’ll gain 8.45% of your Max Magicka.
- Elemental Force – With this passive your chance to apply secondary effects (Burning, Chilled, and Concussed) with a Destruction staff equipped by 100%, meaning twice the chance of their base. This helps enable raid DPS in form of Burning and Concussed, as well as reducing damage dealt by enemies with Chilled.
- Ancient Knowledge – A passive that augments our Staves to offer additional bonuses. Inferno staves grant 8% Single target damage, Lightning offers 8% AoE damage. Ideally we’ll be doing Flame staff back bar and Lightning staff front bar.
- Destruction Expert – Without a doubt the strongest source of resource management in this game, giving a whopping 3600 Magicka back when you kill an enemy with a Destruction Staff source of damage. While it won’t proc much as a healer in end game, it’ll help you stay in the fight while leveling up.
- Flourish – A wonderful little passive that boosts our Magicka and Stamina regeneration by 12% for merely having an Animal Companion skill slotted. Always try to have at least one skill on one of your bars.
- All passives in this tree are tremendous for the DPS Warden. Try and get these all once you hit level 50.
- Accelerated Growth – The Warden’s form of Major Mending, which takes our healing potential to new heights. With this passive you’ll be dishing out serious healing, making you and your allies very hard to kill.
- Maturation – Anytime you heal an ally (or yourself) with a Green Balance skill, you’ll grant them Minor Toughness, increasing their Maximum Health by 10%. This is wonderful for taking more damage, and being able to focus more on other stats.
- Piercing Cold – A nice boon to our Frost AND Magic damage, giving 6% of each. While this doesn’t hit every single damage type we use, it’ll still help a lot.
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!
- Magnus’ Gift (4 trait craftable) – The 4 piece of this set offers us a bunch of Magicka Regeneration, helping us with staying power in combat.
- Seducer (3 trait craftable) – This set also offers an immense amount of Magicka sustain, in form of 8% cost reduction.
- If you want a more offensive approach you can try Julianos (6 trait craftable) as well.
- Generic – This refers to any jewelry you can find. Major quests like Main Story and Guild quests will usually give jewelry, as well as randomly dropping in Tamriel.
Tips and Miscellaneous
- Race is a very important choice in ESO if you plan on making your character as powerful as possible. Almost all of the content in the game can be done by anything, but if you plan on playing in level capped dungeons or harder versions like Veteran, you’ll want to research what race fits best for you. For this build in particular (Magicka Wardens), here are the best choices;
- Breton is a decent option, boasting wonderful Max Magicka and cost reduction of spells. It even has some added Spell Resistance, making them much harder to kill in some areas.
- High Elves offer just as much Magicka as a Breton, but instead of cost reduction they work with Magicka Regeneration. Which one is better depends on your build and playstyle. High Elves also boast amazing damage capabilities, so are great for more aggressive players. This is the best choice for the pure DPS play style.
- Argonians remain one of the best options for healers or Magicka PvPers in the game at the moment. With amazing Magicka AND Health bonuses, they also have added healing modifiers, and the best resource management in the game. Take this race if you’re looking to get the best performance out of your healer in PvE or PvP.
- 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 Magicka Warden you’ll likely want to find the Thief (bonus Critical Chance) stone, or the Atronach (bonus Magicka Regeneration) stone. End game builds will use Thief.
- 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 Healer Warden, you’ll want to spend most of your points into Magicka, and possibly a bit of Health. There should be NO points spent into Stamina, other than very very niche moments.
- 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 Magicka Warden, the Mages’s Guild and Undaunted are the most important. The Fighter’s Guild can be ignored if you wish.
Champion Point Progression
Mage (Blue Tree)
Focus on filling up Elemental Expert, then pumping up Thaumaturge. Feel free to spend some points between Elfborn and Spell Erosion 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 Arcanist are our most important nodes in the Thief, helping resource management greatly. Bump those both up to 100 as soon as possible.
End Game Build
[Written by Gilliamtherogue, 6/5/17 (Morrowind)]
This build is designed to offer Warden’s a DPS slot as the Magicka 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. We might not pull the best DPS in the world, but we have a hearty balance of self or small group healing, and some utility with these options as well!
Lightning Staff | Main bar
- Winter’s Revenge (morph of Impaling Shards | Winter’s Embrace skill line) – The Warden’s AoE DoT that packs a nice little punch. It does great damage for a Frost skill, has a chance to apply Minor Maim to all targets inside, and has a nice lasting duration of 12 seconds; making it very beginner friendly. Keep this up 100% on single target or AoE fights.
- Fether Infections (morph of Swarm | Animal Companion skill line) – A since single target DoT that lasts 8 seconds. Every other cast with this skill will deal bonus damage, so the lower damage will become much greater in medium to longer fights.
- If AoE is your game and you don’t mind losing single target DPS, take the other morph of absurdly high AoE damage potential. This will in effect last 16 seconds since after 8 seconds it will find new targets (up to 6) to travel to. Make sure to recast the base skill on the original target you threw this at after 8 seconds.
- Force Pulse (morph of Force Shock | Destruction staff skill line) – A wondrous single target ability that deals high damage and has a 20% chance to apply Burning, Concussed, and Chilled to our target each cast. If nearby targets are already afflicted with any of those effects it will jump to them for added damage. This helps our cleave potential, and helps skyrocket our and group’s DPS from Burning and Concussed. This will also make sure our Destruction Staff passive Ancient Knowledge is up on this bar.
- Screaming Cliff Racer (morph of Dive| Animal Companion skill line) – A solid single target ability that summons a Cliff Racer from above us to tackle our enemies. The main reason we’ll want this over Force Pulse is for added self healing (procs Bond with Nature each cast) and less Magicka strain (lower cost).
- Deep Fissure (morph of Scorch | Animal Companion skill line) – This ability is what makes the Warden stand out as a damage dealer. While it will be incredibly difficult to master at first, this skill has immense single target AND AoE potential. 3 seconds after casting this skill, a large line of Shulk will spawn and explode for massive burst damage, hitting in a very large area. Keep in mind it will shoot out based on what direction your character is facing, so always point yourself toward your enemy! It also stuns the first enemy hit, helping with CC in solo PvE or PvP.
- Inner Light (more of Mage Light | Mage’s Guild skill line) – A wonderful passive that grants 7% Max Magicka and 2% Magicka Recovery simply for slotting. This helps our passive Magicka pool skyrocket!
- Ultimate Option 1 (Classic) Northern Storm (morph of Sleet Storm | Winter’s Embrace) – Passively slotting this skill grants a whopping 8% Max Magicka, helping our damage tremendously. It can also be activated for 200 Ultimate to deal mediocre damage, but also granting 5 nearby allies and yourself Major Protection (30% damage reduction from all sources) for the duration. Very nice as an “oh crap” button.
- Ultimate Option 2 (Pure Single Target) Eternal (morph of Feral Guardian | Animal Companion skill line) – The Warden’s iconic bear pet, that acts as a summon. This means you’ll have to double bar it, and lose out on a lot of AoE damage potential. In single target fights however, this ultimate will deal disgustingly high damage, AND give the Warden an execute on cast (deals bonus damage on targets under 25% Health). It’ll attempt to keep you safe, and can be controlled via Heavy Attacking the target you wish it to attack.
Inferno Staff or Lightning| DoTs and utility
- Blockade of Elements (morph of Wall of Elements | Destruction staff skill line) – One of the best AoE DoTs in the game, this skill does wonders. Boasting great single target and AoE damage alike, this is worth keeping up 100% of the time. It will also empower our Light and Heavy Attacks when paired with a Maelstrom staff, even if you cast off of it. Inferno staves make this skill do mind blowing amounts of extra damage, while Lightning staves set Concussed enemies Off-Balance, offering great raid wide DPS.
- *Flex Spot* Destructive Clench (morph of Destructive Touch | Destruction staff skill line) – A rather shoddy damage over time ability that helps add some extra damage to our kit. It lines up perfectly with Wall of Elements, but is rather clunky to use. Try and always bar swap immediately after casting if possible. Inferno staves make this knock back and deal extra damage over time, while Lightning staves stun the initial target and cleave the initial hit to nearby enemies.
- Harness Magicka (morph of Annulment | Light Armor skill line) – A massive damage shield that also restores Magicka up to 3 times when absorbing Magic, Flame, Shock, or Frost damage. Use this when taking high pressure or large mechanics in dungeons are happening.
- Blue Netch (morph of Betty Netch | Animal Companion skill line) – The Netch attempts to help the Warden retain a little bit of resource management, giving the Warden roughly 4500 Magicka over a 25 second duration. While active, the Netch will also enable Major Sorcery, giving us 20% bonus Spell Damage. The cast time is rather long winded, but can be block or bar swap canceled to speed up the process. It has no cost to boot, so don’t worry about over casting this. Try and always make sure this is up!
- Lotus Blossom (morph of Lotus Flower | Green Balance skill line) – A nice little source of Major Prophecy when active, it also makes our Light or Fully Charged Heavy Attacks heal us. This is an amazing tool for 4 man dungeons/PvP or solo play such as Maelstrom Arena.
- If you don’t need the healing go with the classic double barring of Inner Light for extra stats and damage.
- Ultimate Option 1 (Classic) Elemental Rage (morph of Elemental Storm | Destruction staff skill line) – A truly superb AoE ultimate that does more damage than anything in game. Drop this on a large group of enemies to watch their faces melt Indiana Jones Lost Ark style. Inferno Staves make this do even MORE damage, while Lightning Staves add a few precious seconds of duration to help large AoE clusters.
- If enemies are stacked nice and tight and you’ve stomached the awful grind to Mage’s Guild 10, use Shooting Star (morph of Meteor | Mage’s Guild skill line). It boasts great initial and damage over time, and refunds 12 Ultimate per enemy hit, up to 6 (72 Ulti return).
- Ultimate Option 2 (Pure Single Target) Eternal Guardian (morph of Feral Guardian | Animal Companion skill line) – Same as before, but since it operates as a summoned pet, you need to double bar it!
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.
- Julianos (6 trait crafted) – A powerful starer set that offers nice flat damage and some Spell Critical too.
- Mother’s Sorrow (Deshaan overland events) – While this set won’t boast insane DPS, it does help bolster our Spell Critical immensely, offering us some nice added damage in longer fights. Since the set isn’t super popular it should be relatively cheap compared to the other option.
- Necromancer (Rivenspire overland events) – The best 5 piece set in the game for Magicka Wardens, this thing is nuts with all the Max Magicka it offers. I usually don’t suggest this to beginners since it is extremely expensive, and you’ll the best in slot gear requires slots not available to us. Necromancer will proc off of Blue Betty or Eternal Guardian, making it very important to keep either of those up 100% of the time.
- Julianos (6 trait crafted) – A powerful starer set that offers nice flat damage and some Spell Critical too.
- Withered Hand (Alik’r overland events) – A nice 5 piece set that remains relatively hidden to many people. The 5th bonus grants us some resource management and healing when killing an enemy, but it will have a cooldown and not offer insane damage. Still, this helps us learn mechanics and win the slow and steady race in content we’re new to.
Non Trials End Game
- Necromancer (Rivenspire overland events) – The best 5 piece set in the game for Magicka Wardens, this thing is nuts with all the Max Magicka it offers. This set is always in high demand, so be prepared to have to spend a pretty penny or to grind it out. It’s totally worth it though! Make sure you keep up Blue Betty or Eternal Guardian 100% with this set to maintain that fat Max Magicka bonus.
- Julianos (6 trait crafted) – If you can’t cover the cost of Necromancer then stick with Julianos here. It’s definitely not the best, but it isn’t the worst either! This will trounce other sets like War Maiden or Netch’s Touch since we deal a hearty mixture of damage types.
- Any Monster (Undaunted chests and respective dungeon) – We’ll have 2 or 3 slots open with this setup which we can leave to a Monster set and unique 1 pc like Master or Maelstrom staves. Valkyn Skoria (City of Ash II) is a great starter set if you need Health, otherwise Ilambris (Crypt of Hearts I) will be the best.
- Willpower (Imperial City and LFG rewards) – A solid 3 piece set that offers a massive boost to Magicka and Spell Damage. Paired with the fact that it’s BoE, this is a great option for players not interested in trials.
Best in Slot (BiS Boys)
- Necromancer (Rivenspire overland events) – The best 5 piece set in the game for Magicka Wardens using pets, this thing is nuts with all the Max Magicka it offers. This set is always in high demand, so be prepared to have to spend a pretty penny or to grind it out. It’s totally worth it though!
- Moondancer (Maw of Lorkhaj) – A great source of Minor Slayer, giving us 5% free DPS in a dungeon or raid. It also has a nice little Magicka bonus to help our pet be even stronger.
- Infallible Aether (Craglorn Trials) or Master Architect (Halls of Fabrication) both work as substitutes. The main focus is Minor Slayer!
- Ilambris (Crypt of Hearts I) – The best 2 piece set for Magicka Wardens if we’re using 1 Lightning 1 Inferno staff setup. If you’re using 2 Lightning staves then you might want to try Valkyn Skoria, (City of Ash II) or Grothdarr (Vaults of Madness) instead.
- Maelstrom (Veteran Maelstrom Arena) – Offering us 189 flat Spell damage and an extra 1k damage with Light and Heavy attacks to enemies in our Wall of Elements (this bonus can crit and is affected by % amps like passives and CP), offering us over 4k DPS in a raid.
- Master (Veteran Dragonstar Arena) – Our front bar has room to either be a Moondancer staff for a passive 129 Spell Damage with a ~40% uptime on Berserker (348 x .4 = 139 effective SD), or a Master Staff which offers 1032 passive Max Magicka, which can be boosted with Warhorn and other amps.
Consumables, Race, and Mundus
Food: Bi Health & Magicka food offers the most damage by far, as well as helping our Health pool be sturdy enough. If you prefer more sustain however, try Witchmother’s Brew (a holiday event recipe). You’ll need to spend some Attribute points in Health to make sure you’re healthy enough though!
Potions: Spell Power potions (Lady’s Smock, Cornflower, Water Hyacinth) to ensure your Prophecy and Sorcery are up indefinitely. This can get pricey, but try to always use them when fighting tougher content or bosses. You can use junk Magicka potions you find for non serious content.
Race: High Elf remains the best overall damage for the Magicka Warden since we do a healthy mix of Fire, Shock, and Ice damage, as well as Max Magicka and Magicka Recovery.
Dunmer boasts some impressive numbers as well, coming very close to High Elf, but only losing out by 1-2% overall damage, and misses out on sustain. It does have extra Stamina though if you plan on PvPing a lot.
Breton offers a great breadth of tools between Max Magicka, Cost Reduction to help sustain, and then some Spell Resistance to help load off damage of Magic, Fire, Shock, and Lightning based attacks.
Mundus: The best Mundus for PvE damage is by far the Thief Stone for all Magicka builds. The amount of Critical Strike chance it provides means your abilities will be hitting at a higher % damage at a higher frequency. There really isn’t any other stone that even comes close to the DPS potential of this anymore.
This segment shows the optimal CP setup for a player who is average at performing their rotation on the Magicka Warden. I’ve denoted some options if you’re more familiar with the class and rotation, but don’t use this CP allocation as an end all be all.
The Mage (Blue)
- Elemental Expert – 49
- Elfborn – 56
- Staff Expert – 29
- This is the prime CP node to take points away from if you’re confident in doing less Heavy Attacks.
- Master-at-Arms – 28
- Thaumaturge – 48
- You’ll want to pump this up if you’re comfortable with the Warden rotation.
The Thief (Green)
- Tenacity– 100
- You can take ~25-40 points out of this and place it in other nodes if you find yourself running out of Stamina to Block/Bash/Dodge.
- Arcanist– 100
- Free 10 points
The Warrior (Red)
- Elemental Defender – 49
- Hardy – 49
- Ironclad – 61
- Thick Skinned – 28
- Expert Defender – 11
- Free 12 points