Best One Bar Build for ESO: PvE Tier List

The Best One Bar Build for ESO: PvE Tier List compiles the best and worst One Bar heavy attack builds and classes for The Elder Scrolls Online Necrom Chapter and Update 40. 

Best One Bar Build for The Elder Scrolls Online

This article has been updated for update 40, Endless Archive in The Elder Scrolls Online.

What’s the Best One Bar Build in ESO?

ESO PvE One Bar Build

The best one-bar build in the Elder Scrolls Online is the Arcanist, which has the most damage, AOE, and survivability. Ranked as S+ tier, the Arcanist one bar build varies slightly from others using the Oakensoul Mythic. However, without constant heavy attacking, the Arcanist remains incredibly powerful, simple, and the most effective for clearing content in ESO. In the ESO Necrom Chapter and Update 40, the Arcanist, Templar, and Necromancer make great choices for one bar build.

ESO PvE One Bar Class and Build Tier List:

The Table below ranks and lists all ESO Classes using the one bar build from the best to the worst:

ESO One Bar RankClassTier Ranking
1Arcanist S+
ESO One Bar Heavy Attack Ranking

Best One Bar Build for ESO: PvE Tier List

The best and worst classes in the Elder Scrolls Online shift radically from patch to patch. Balance and meta are in constant flux, so take this as a general rule of thumb. ESO has spent the better part of 2023 trying to reduce the effectiveness of One Bar builds using the Oakensoul mythic. Initially, these builds were introduced in 2023 with the High Isle chapter and dominated the landscape of ESO. They have, however, changed over time and remain a practical and straightforward way to play and enjoy the game. Let us describe each class’s pros and cons with a ranking to help you better determine the appropriate selection.

What Changes for ESO One Bar Builds in Update 40 & Necrom Chapter?

In update 40, Zenimax Online Studios (ZOS) changed the effectiveness of the Lighting staff passive, reducing area damage for one bar builds. This change overall hurt the build playstyle, specifically the Sorcerer. This class, in particular, relied solely on Lighting Staff heavy attack splash damage for trash enemy kills. Without it, the class feels behind, either doing well in parse situations or swapping for area damage.

Early in the Necrom Chapter, ZOS reduced the damage of the Empower buff and Storm Masters item set bonus. These two changes alone reduced the effectiveness of the builds. However, they aren’t entirely dead. One-bar builds at this stage do well in overland content and some solo arenas. However, they will not reach high numbers on parse dummies (95,000+), nor dominate the leaderboards. You should choose to use the Oakensoul Heavy Attack build if you enjoy the content of ESO and want something simple and effective.

#7 Dragonknight | C Tier

ESO Dragonknight One Bar Build
One Bar Dragonknight ProsOne Bar Dragonknight Cons
Good AoE damageComplex
Great damage over timeDK wants to be a melee build
Little group utility

On our list, we rank the Dragonknight (DK) as a C Tier, marking it as the least effective one-bar build in ESO. The DK is overly complex, prioritizing long-lasting damage-over-time (DoTs) and lacking group utility. While this class excels at high-pressure DoTs and melee aggression, the Oakensoul Heavy Attack builds aim to focus on fully charged heavy attacks at range. Consequently, the Dragonknight contradicts its intended playstyle of melee long-lasting DoTs.

The strength of the Dragonknight is survivability and ultimate selection. While the class does play melee, you have powerful defensive and offensive ultimate selection choices. Both Burning Embers and Draw Essence provide great healing while playing offensive. However, the class needs more bar space to load up on damage skills and feel its full power.

Our suggestion is do not play the DK in a one-bar build, commit to learning the rotation and having a second bar.

#6 Nightblade | B Tier

ESO Nightblade One Bar Build
One Bar Nightblade ProsOne Bar Nightblade Cons
Great mobilityNeeds More Skills
Single Target DamagePick Survivability or Damage
Easy of play Lacks Passive Healing

With exceptionally high single target damage, the Nightblade is ranked B tier on our One Bar tier list. The strength of the Nightblade class is ranged damage combined with excellent mobility via Twisting Path. This skill aids in many ways, including damage over time. However, the main combination with the Nightblade is to slot Concealed Weapon on your front bar. With this combination, you can get a 10% overall damage boost. The downside is that this completely negates your bar space by slotting a dead skill while playing at range.

The main issue with the Nightblade One Bar build is the lack of bar space. Moreover, this lack of bar space has you compete for damage skills or survivability. You ultimately have to choose between the two, but not have both simultaneously. However, the Nightblade can be fun and fast to play solo with great range and ultimate generation. It is still one of the weakest one-bar builds and not one we suggest using.

#5 Warden | B+ Tier

ESO Warden One Bar Build
One Bar Warden ProsOne Bar Warden Cons
Great AoE damageMedium range
High survivabilityPet Ultimate
Amazing passive skillsHeal is selfish

If you want a sturdy and durable one-bar build, look no further than the Warden ranked B+ tier on our list. This heavy attack Oakensoul build focuses on survivability and damage in one. You can use the pet option to have a companion animal passively doing damage for you and providing a decoy. The Warden has powerful self or group heals, making it a strong option for group play.

The main issue you run into with the Warden is your healing isn’t passive. You need to take time and resources to heal yourself instead of passively doing so. The Templar, Arcanist, and Sorcerer all have ways to heal while doing damage. This allows them to keep their DPS high while taking incoming damage. While damage is high, the Warden has to play defensively with pressure, especially solo.

However, the Warden makes a solid choice for One Bar build players looking for a frost and unique playstyle with animals.

#4 Sorcerer | A Tier

ESO Sorcerer One Bar Build
One Bar Sorcerer ProsOne Bar Sorcerer Cons
Ultra-simpleWeak AoE
The best single-target damagePet focused
Unreal survivability 

The Sorcerer has seen the biggest decline in One Bar build effectiveness, thus, we rank it as A Tier in the latest update. The biggest issue with the Sorcerer is weak area-based damage. In the newly released content, Endless Archive, 66% or more of the fights are area-based damage. Thus, you end up either sacrificing single target damage, survivability, or both to clear enemies quickly.

Moreover, other Lighting Staff passives were changed, along with gear sets, lowering single target damage of this build significantly. This was the calling card and main strength for the bar sorc. Without mind-numbing single-target damage, it feels like an above-average one-bar build. Instead of reaching 100k+, this build is lucky to get 90k, if not in the 80s. The strengths are high survivability and ease of play, and pets do much of the work for you.

What was once the absolute best one-bar build now feels good in single target heavy content and weak when area trash clear is required.

#3 Necromancer | A+ Tier

ESO Necromancer One Bar Build
One Bar Necromancer ProsOne Bar Necromancer Cons
Amazing Area Damage Weaker single target
Great group utilityNeeds more bar space
High survivabilityMore Complex

When it comes to big area damage, nothing beats the Necromancer, ranking A+ Tier on our One Bar PvE Tier list. The Necromancer is very similar to the Warden with the one key difference being group healing and utility. The Necro and the Warden both have great area damage and healing, but the Necro has ultimate and heals that aid the group, not just themselves.

Moreover, the Necromancer has sought-after buffs and utility skills that aid overall damage. You have powerful on-demand damage, passive healing, and Blastbones area damage. This Necro one bar is also easy to play and fun, with high actions per minute, but that can be a downside to some players.

The cons of the Necro one bar are more complex rotation, weaker single target, and lack of bar space. In high-end PvE, the Necro rotates through a variety of damage over time skills to get the most damage possible in a single target. However, on the Oakensoul heavy attack setup, you sacrifice that for ease of play and survivability. The Necro makes a strong recommendation for folks looking to play a one-bar build.

#2 Templar | S Tier

ESO Templar One Bar Build
One Bar Templar ProsOne Bar Templar Cons
Great all-around damageLess damage than Sorc
Best execute in the gameHeal requires bar space
Good utility 

Coming in as the second-best one-bar build, we have the Templar ranked S Tier in our list. The Templar’s strengths are high survivability, the game’s best execute skill and ease of play. With significant damage, ranged attacks, and excellent group utility, there’s not much to love about the Templar Heavy Attack build.

Unlike the Sorcerer, the Templar still possesses good single-target and massive area damage with powerful damage over time skills. The survivability within the class is excellent, using only one skill to survive or changing morphs to increase survivability. Lastly, the Templar build has powerful group utility skills like Cleanse and Spear, making it a great fit in group content.

The only real weakness of the Templar is its dependency on Oakensoul and lower single-target damage than other classes. However, if you’re looking for a base game class to use Oakensoul heavy attack build, the Templar is your choice in ESO Update 40 and beyond.

#1 Arcanist | S+ Tier

Runeblades Arcanist Skill ESO
Runeblades Arcanist Skill ESO
One Bar Arcanist ProsOne Bar Arcanist Cons
Great RangeDoesn’t Heavy Attack
Amazing DamageRequires Chapter Purchase
High Survivability

The best Oakensoul one bar build in ESO is the Arcanist with the most damage, survivability, and group utility wrapped into one class. Unlike other classes, the Arcanist isn’t reliant on heavy attacks with Lighting Staff. This build uses Oakensoul and other base game, crafted, or PvP sets for damage. The reason why, the premise of the class is the 4.5-second Fatecarver skill. This is counterintuitive to Oakensoul builds using gear sets that amplify heavy attack damage. However, the moment you switch the build to using Oakensoul with Fatecarver, your damage and fun factor skyrocket.

What was once considered weak, is not extremely strong and fun to play. Nearly everything you do as an Arcanist heals or protects you with shields. Unlike every other class in the game, you have built-in survivability while doing damage. This allows you to have maximum damage without needing off-healing or defensive skills.

The downside of the Arcanist is it plays differently than other heavy attack builds and it requires the Necrom Chapter purchase. While we think it’s the best overall, if you cannot afford or don’t want to purchase the Necrom chapter, look to the Templar as an alternative. Below you will find details on how the Oakensoul builds work, and we appreciate you reading this guide, Best One Bar Build for ESO: PvE Tier List.

How Does One Bar Heavy Attack Build Work in ESO?

Through a combination of gear, lighting staff, heavy attacks, and important buffs, Heavy Attack builds produce some serious damage. Below are the general mechanics of an Oakensoul Mythic, Heavy Attack build in The Elder Scrolls Online:

  • Oakensoul Mythic item provides the Empower, increasing the damage of your Heavy Attacks against monsters by 70%.
  • Lightning Staff is the weapon choice because the Tri Focus destruction staff passive allows Heavy Attacks to damage nearby enemies for 100% of the damage done.
  • The Lighting Staff skill Unstable Wall of Elements sets enemies off-balance for 7 seconds with a 15-second cooldown.
  • Warfare champion point slottable Exploiter gives 10% more damage during the off-balance phase.
  • Weapons Expert from the Warfare champion point tree gives 20% increased damage with light and heavy attacks.
  • Storm Master item set – when you deal Critical Damage with a fully charged Heavy Attack, your Light and Heavy Attacks deal additional damage for 8 seconds.
  • Sergeant’s Mail item set – when you deal damage with a Heavy Attack, you gain a stack of Sergeant’s Focus for 5 seconds, increasing the damage of your Heavy Attacks per stack.

The goal with these builds is to continually hit fully charged heavy attacks to increase your damage via gear sets.  Additionally, you want to proc off balance as often as possible, with 7 seconds of uptime (active) and 15 seconds of downtime.  The builds will focus on prioritizing one or two damage over time effects, Wall of Elements for off-balance proc, and constant fully charged heavy attacks. With the gear loadout we have provided, which works on every class, you can easily reach 25-27,000 health, 30,000 magicka, and near infinite resource sustain.  Moreover, on a 21 million health parse dummy, these fully-charged heavy attacks can see numbers over 120,000 in damage! 

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