ESO PvP Tips, Tricks and Hints

Welcome to ESO PvP Tips, Tricks and Hints a guide for players in the Elder Scrolls Online who are looking to improve their performance in PvP but don’t know where to start.

This guide assumes you have a basic knowledge of ESO PvP, but need a deeper understanding of advanced tactics.

Must Have Skills

The foundation of PvP centers on the obvious factors, damage, and healing but also situational awareness and mobility. I learned a useful tactic while in the Army and that’s called bounding. You need to rewire your brain to constantly scan and evaluate your environment for a place to find cover when combat initiates.  This also works in ESO too by immediately running to a rock, tree, pillar, well, keep, anything really. Always consider if 20 enemy players showed up where will you go?  How will you escape?  And what’s your next step to survive?

To illustrate this point, let’s take a look at an open field fight at Faregyl Keep. The first thing running into my brain is the amount of players and also two factions on this keep. Meaning, there are probably 20-30 players in the area that are hostile and very few friendly’s. I’m on my slow Magicka Templar PvP Build (Magplar) so if I commit to charging in, I need a place to escape, line of sight and survive.

Within that same image, I see two rocks, one near and far and in the bottom right of my mini map, I notice a blue (friendly) resource the farm.  That gives me three points of retreat opportunities if I get in trouble.

Fast forward ahead a minute to the action part, my friend leaps in to his death and it’s me and five plus enemies in the open field.  What do I do?  Rock hump, using that terrain which is literally two seconds away BECAUSE, I remembered my escape plan prior to combat. My goal here isn’t to kill everyone because that’s unlikely. It’s to survive and hope reinforcements come or they get so annoyed with me they run off to fight someone else. And this is step one to god like survivability, learning to constantly evaluating your terrain, whether in Battlegrounds, Cyrodiil or Imperial City.

Step two to being extremely survivable is having a skill that increases speed via the major expedition buff, prevent snares and immobilization so you can break line of sight, heal and resource regenerate.  The best overall solution regardless of class and playstyle is Race Against Time from Psijic Order also called (RAT).  This will give you a speed boost but most importantly, instant removal of snares and immobilization so you cannot be locked in place and killed.

Here are some alternative skills if you can’t or don’t want to get RAT:

You can use Race Against Time in one of two ways. Obviously as an escape mechanism, casting the skills, combining spirit and an immovability potion (unstoppable) which will prevent you being stunned. One that I use frequently on my Magplar is created using bugloss, columbine, wormwood which for over 10 seconds. Make sure to max out your alchemy skill line and get 3 points into Medicinal Use passive as it extends the effect to its maximum duration. With an immovability potion active, RAT cast, you’ll have a boost of speed and prevention in being snared, immobilized, and stunned! This is how the top players get away from you so easily.

Burst Combo

You can and should use this exact same combo when launching in for a burst attack.  The big, huge nuclear damage comes from a very simple combo that has been used for years.  Balorgh monster helm which comes from March of Sacrifice.  Giving you offensive pen and raw damage for the amount of ultimate you USE not the cost. Meaning saving up for 500 ultimate Dawnbreaker of Smiting will grant you 11,500 offensive penetration and 500 weapon and spell damage. Then you combine this monster helm with a back bar 5pc set craftable set like Clever Alchemist which at legendary quality grants you 675 weapon and spell damage which combined gives you around 1,175 weapon or spell damage. Now add one or more pieces of medium armor to  and every piece of medium armor to get an additional 2% via Agility passive. And you can factor in class passives like the Magplar’s Balanced Warrior giving 6% spell damage and Illuminate giving you a 10% spell damage buff for 20 seconds. This is how the sweats have so much DPS on command!

Now you’ve got some mobility, and you know the burst combo, but how in the world are those top PvP players so tanky?  Glad you asked, let me explain.

Damage Reduction

The foundational defensive skill you should incorporate in all your builds is an armor buff skill to reduce incoming damage via major resolve (Increases Physical Resistance and Spell Resistance by 5948) and every class has one.  You can expect around 8% damage reduction for Major Resolve and that buffs stack on top of other damage reduction buffs like minor resolve (Increases Physical Resistance and Spell Resistance by 2974), Major Protection(Reduces damage taken by 10%), Minor Protection, (Reduces damage taken by 5%) and so on.  Here’s a quick list for each class in case you’re unaware.

Now you want to stack additional damage reduction skills and passives for further reduction.  You can slot the Psijic Order Ultimate Temporal Guard on your defensive back bar which passively gives 5% damage reduction (Minor Protection).  You then put on Revealing Flare from Alliance War support skill line and gain another additional 10% damage reduction for slotting the skill (Major Protection) and an additional 10% magicka recovery for slotting the skill via the Magicka Aid passive.

Now go into champion points and take Pains Refuge slottable from the Fitness tree and the Survivor’s Spite sub constellation which reduces your damage taken by 1% per negative effect active on you, up to a maximum of 20%.  Way not select a Nord Race and get another 2,600 resistances via the Rugged passive. Furthermore, let’s use my favorite defensive five piece back bar set, Ironblood from Falkreath Hold reducing damage by another 30% when proced for a short period.  You’ll notice so far, we haven’t had one redundant damage reduction skill, buff, or gear set.  They all stack!

Okay I’m not good at math but that has to be it?  Nope, lastly let’s make our character vampire and at least stage three for the Undeath Passive reducing your damage taken by up to 30% based on your missing Health!

Can you now see why some players are god like tanky?

  • 8% Major Resolve via Armor Buff
  • 5% Minor Protection via Temporal Guard
  • 10% Major Protection via Flare
  • 20% Pains Refuge CP Slottable (up to)
  • 30% Iron Blood via gear set
  • 30% Undeath Passive via Vampire (up to)

These don’t all stack with 100% up time, but when you need it most, especially on your back bar it’s there.  Check out these builds if you need a good reference.

Heal Stacking

It’s obvious now you’ll need a burst heal to combine with your damage reduction and mobility.  The hybrid changes to ESO essentially means, you still want to stack one stat either stamina or magicka and weapon or spell damage.  The game will dynamically look at whatever stat is the highest for effectiveness.  Meaning, if you are playing a stamina Dragonknight and have 12,000 magicka and 3,000 spell damage BUT you have 30,000 stamina and 5,000 weapon damage, your heal Coagulating Blood effectiveness will be based off the highest stat, stamina and weapon damage though the ability COST is magicka.  Now you have a magicka based burst heal that is very effective!  Don’t believe or you’ve heard different? Great let’s do an experiment.

  • Example 1, will use Stamina Dragonknight and spec all of our attributes to 0. Will use Coagulating Blood a magicka base heal as our example. Result = 8,554 tool tip.
  • Example 2, will split the attributes 32 magicka & 32 stamina, result = 9,072 tool tip.
  • Example 3, will add 64 stamina, result = 9590 tool tip.
0 attributes

Your off stat essentially becomes as useful and powerful as your main stat especially on stamina builds who get access to a burst heal. I suggest investing in resource intensive food like Orzorga’s Smoked Bear Haunch or the cheaper version Jewels of Misrule to sustain.

If you want to get real sweaty, like dripping in sweat, some are even stacking weapon or spell damage depending on their class passives.  The Dragonknight for example has Minor Brutality via the Mountain’s Blessing Passive which gives you 20 seconds of 10% increased weapon damage when casting an Earthen Heart ability.  So magicka DK’s you could essentially run weapon damage mundus stone and jewelry enchants and more to take advance of this in class unique buff because it dynamically scales, remember whatever is highest.  Big brain.

Regardless of your build or playstyle, here are some burst heal options for you depending on your class:

The secret to expose with the healing is stacking multiple sources of healing and let’s use the Magicka Dragonknight for an example and remember values are cut in half inside PvP due to Battle Spirit debuff.  Let’s start with Rapid Regeneration around 1,700 heals per second (HPS), Burning Embers 1,500 HPS, Healing Poisons on your weapons for another 1,100 HPS, Cinder Storm for another 1,200 HPS. Now you’re sitting at 5,500 heals per second without casting a burst heal or getting a heal from an ally. Combined with high mobility and huge damage reduction you’re a walking juggernaut.  EXPOSED!

Buff Cycling

Last part before I move on, make sure to constantly cast your buffs before and during a fight. I could make a separate video on this, but think in terms of an early topic bounding. Every second you want to be evaluating your terrain, but also be prepared with all your buffs PRIOR to an engagement.  Let’s do a thought experiment like Albert Einstein.

Example 1 = Puglet Deltia focusing on reading chat during livestream and telling bad dad jokes.  Deltia doesn’t keep up armor buff, heal over time, or mobility skills. Engagement happens. Now Deltia has to cast 3-4 skills before even returning damage!

Example 2 Sweatlord Deltia focusing 100% on gameplay looking for self-validation in ESO PvP Performance. This Deltia constantly cycles through buffs, even if it’s boring or redundant going longest to shortest even when no one is around. Armor, heal over time, mobility, armor HoT, mobility. Now when combat engages, Sweatlordias Gaming can engage, run or go offensive with ALL buffs active rather than reacting.

If you get nothing else from this video, constantly practice cycling your buffs like all the sweats do.  Because the fighting kicks off, that 3 to 5 seconds of buffing is the difference between being a 1vX god and a walking soul gem.  Now let’s switch gears and talk about stats to aim for and the thought process behind it.

Important Stats

People constantly ask me about stats, recovery, penetration, or max stats.  So let me barney Deltia this to explain some general guidelines you should be aiming for.

Health – the lower your reaction time and skill, the more health you need.  When you increase your health, you lower your main stat, thus decreasing your damage and healing typically.  You need to find the sweat spot between dealing damage, healing but not dying in one second constantly.  Sure, everyone gets ganked, but running into Cyrodiil with 18,000 health will be the worst experience of your life.  Typically, when I coach people, I start them at 32,000 health. I see their reaction time and adjust from there. If you are Gods gift to the game, adjust to around 22,000 health. If you’re slow as molasses to break free, 40,000 health. Start high with training wheels on, and lower as you learn.

Next up is the age-old debate because raw damage meaning weapon and spell damage verse offensive penetration meaning psychical and spell penetration stat.  Penetration “in general” gives you the most overall damage per stat.  HOWEVER, weapon and spell damage not only add to your overall damage BUT healing as well.  Don’t believe me? Great experiment time!  Let’s jump back on the Mag DK build.

  • Example 1 Will look at Coagulating Blood heal tool tip with the Atronach Mundus Stone which adds magicka recovery. Result = 10,596
  • Example 2 Wll switch the Lover giving us offensive penetration. Result = 10,596.
  • Example 3 Let’s switch to Apprentice Mundus stone. Result 11,013 at 3.9% increase in our overall healing and this spell damage also effects our damage as discussed earlier.

This is one reason the high-end players are able to run two five-piece damage sets that buff raw damage, because it increases your healing significantly and your damage. Does that mean penetration is a dead stat? Absolutely not, and it remains the highest and most coveted stat in general for adding pure damage. But remember, you want to be sweatlord, insane survivable with high damage so factor that into your builds.

Here’s some ways you can get more penetration stat:

  • Mundus Stone the Lover.
  • Weapon Trait(s) sharpened: typically, the best way to obtain penetration and remember Dual Wield builds, you’re off hand loses efficiency so consider using charged or another trait in offhand.
  • Monster Helm Balorgh: this is a great 2pc set especially for stamina users. Light armor users get increased physical and spell pen per light armor worn via the concentration passive while medium agility passive gives you boost in weapon and spell damage.  Balorgh also gives you a boost in raw damage for a brief period going back to our original premise, burst both healing and damage.  Combine Balorgh and Clever Alchemist back bar and you have a 12-20 second massive burst window and this combination has been used for years and is still good.
  • 5pc Gear Set: some folks still use either Heartland Conqueror, Spinner’s Garments or Spriggan’s Thorns.  I personally don’t see these being that useful, but it’s a good place to start getting a cheap and easy 5pc gear set from the overland or crafting.

Take my unbuffed magplar, I’m sitting at right around 10,000.  I think that’s a good number between 10-12k add in major and minor breach and you’ll be hammering down opponents.

Now we have a recovery which can be a tricky one because if you’re using Engine Guardian it won’t show up on the stat sheet.  If you’re using stage 3 vampire for the undeath passive, you’ll need a ton of recovery due to the negative effects of increased ability cost.  And lastly, level up your alchemy for god sakes and get medical use passive.  This will make your potions last much longer giving you recovery, immovability or whatever you want for much longer.

All that to say, I typically aim for 1,800 recovery in my main stat and around 800 to 1000 in my off stat.  I play around with food choices, mundus stone, gear sets, jewelry enchants to get there.  I start by using parse food like Ghastly Eye Bowl or stam user Lava Foot and see what my health is at, then adjust attributes to hit my targets even if it lowers my main stat and DPS.  Or using Smoked Bear Haunch or Jewels of Misrule to get recovery in both stat pools.  The reason you need recovery in off stat is for dodge rolls, sprinting and blocking. If you don’t have enough, you make as well just keep respawning at the keep.

Going back to the health analogy for newer players, put training wheels on when you’re new to PvP.  Start with high recovery foods until you get the heavy attacking, potion and ultimate timing down. Then start jacking up your main stat, lowering your health and recovery for more damage and healing.

Keep in mind some classes like magicka sorc can focus purely on high magicka because it affects not only their damage but shield strength and size.  Using this stat and 5pc gear sets is optimal for survival and damage.  Same goes with Warden using Arctic Blast which scales the effectiveness of the heal based on your max health.  Be aware of your class, what you stat benefits you the best due to your passives and build around that stat.


  • Start with 32,000 health
  • 10k Penetration
  • 1,800 Recovery

With champion points included.  These numbers will be much different without CP.


I hope you got something out of this information giving you tips and tricks that the sweatlords use to either setup their stats, skills and become unkillable living gods.  But realize this, you’ll never get there if you give up and don’t through the uncomfortable stage.  Start a brand new character and level entirely through Battlegrounds or Cyrodiil sub 50 campaign. This will give you a much better understanding and valuable experience, and you’ll be able to get Alliance War skills, gear and passives before you jump in with the big dogs.

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