Welcome to The ULTIMATE SOLO Magicka Class Guide 2023! Wondering what’s the best magicka solo class in the Elder Scrolls Online? Watch this video as I took each class through a Veteran dungeon using the exact same gear, champion points and consumables. I did this without trials gear or mythics to see just how and why certain classes excel over others. Hope you enjoy!
For my gear choices, I went with a common two five pieces and a monster helm loadout. This is the simplest and easiest to obtain magicka pve dps loadout that’s both effective and apart of the base game so its applicable to a wide audience. This is not min-maxed to the gills, though I have those loadouts on my build page. A common setup is mother’s sorrow on the body combined with medsua on front bar. Mother’s sorrow gives you an enormous critical chance rating. This can free up your mundus choice to something like the shadow, but it’s from the overland deshan, cheap and effective.
While Medusa’ gives us critical rating as well but minor force on our front bar. This simply saves us from using a skill line barb trap for melee magicka builds coming from the fighters guild or channeled acceleration for range coming from the pisjiic order. Keeping things simple and effective. Monster helms I went with Nerienth from Crypt of Hearts II. It’s good for both single target and AoE and again is apart of the base game so very easy to obtain and is a staple now that proc sets can critically strike.
I’m using double staff setup with fire on the front and lighting on the back, with precise on front and infused on back. Dragonknights may want to use the charged trait on the front as it drastically helps with sustain, but to keep things even I went with precise. I go with a lighting staff on the back rather than fire because it’s much easier to sustain. Using a skill light unstable wall with a lighting staff gives a chance to proc off balance. You’ll see a circle above the target or targets heads. This allow you to complete a fully charged heavy attack and gain double the resources. Moreover, lighting staff is easier to aim and channel and actually complete a fully charged heavy attack not to mention it does great aoe damage. Fully min/max I go with fire staff back bar, but for the average player this is a good choice. Here’s a quick rundown of my Champion Points for blue and red.
- Fighting Fitness
- Deadly Aim
- Master At Arms
- Boundless vitality
- Siphoning Spell
I used Spell damage potions that provide 100% up time on spell damage and spell critical buffs if you have the medical use passive maxed from the alchemy skill tree. Along with Clockworth Citrus Fillet food.
Now for the generic build that is filled in with class specific skills.The most important survivable ability we have is on our back bar in the form of harness magicka. This is a shield that scales off your max magicka, mean the higher the magicka the better. We cast this when taking damage, expecting a high amount of damage or oh crap button. This along with many abilities that heal you while doing damage is what makes magicka builds so much more survivable. Two offensive skills that I use are elemental drain from destruction staff. This lowers resistances of mobs thus increasing your damage and also a added bonus of resource sustain. Some classes, like the Magden have major breach built in so I don’t always use the skill.
Second is a skill we’ve talked about and that’s unstable wall of elements. It does great damage over time, procs status effects and weapon enchants meaning more spell damage even while we are on our front bar. You’ll keep this up as a priority on your back bar and fill in other ground base damage over times depending on your class. Two ultimate choices that are good regardless of class is flawless dawnbreaker, merely slotting it gives us 3% extra spell damage via Fighter’s Guild passive and ultimate upon killing enemies. Back bar is Mages Guild shooting star for a good bursting ult, that does great damage over time and with some ultimate return we can cast more frequently.
Now at end game for solo play, folks typically aim for two item sets that carry sustain and survivability. One being Pale Order, a mythic that heals you based on damage done. This is mind numbing survivability and something I don’t actually recommened as a new player because it will carry your survivability so greatly, you won’t understand basic mechanics of solo play without it. And False God Devotion, a trials set from sunspire that reduces magicka cost, gives magicka on kill and major expedition. This completely carries your sustain allowing you to drop skills like elemental drain or consuming trap. I’m not using either because they sckew your thinking that the class is very strong when you’re getting carried by gear. Now we are going to go through each class in order from least favorite to most and I’ll be giving you my pros and cons of each.
The dragonknight has recently received some buffs. Mainly in sustain from the charged trait which increase the chances of applying a status effect. Namely DKs want the burning status effect because of the combustion passive, which gives back 1000 magicka each time it’s applied. This can also be applied automatically with your burning embers skill so it’ll happen frequently with a very short cool down in between.
I did not use the charged trait and I could feel the different, essentially having terrible sustain. Another way the DK sustains is thru the use of battleroar, getting back all resources magicka, stamina and health when using an ultimate. At 500 ultimate consumed, you’d receive 25,000 magicka, stamina and health and this is what makes the DK unique is your resource sustain via charged trait and battleroar.
Another pro to the dragonknight is massive amounts of DoTs from all of your fire attacks including burning which provides an extra DoT. Your whip is much easier to manage now including the seething fury and building up stacks to get a massive single target whip is very easy. But overall the Dragonknight was by far and I mean by far the weakest when not using pale order, charged trait or false gods and let me explain why.
The major reason classes like the Templar and Nightblade are so dominate solo is their main spammable heals them. Meaning, you do not have to let up per say on your damage and attacks to survive. This is the exact opposite of the dragonknight. Go to whip, you’re vulnerable, sit on your back bar for two long without any heals over time coming in and your health drops like a hammer until you spam shields and run out of magicka. Switch over to your front bar then you’re stuck in spamming burning embers hell until a cauterize heal pros. Beyond that, the DK lacks an execute like some other classes making it weaker during the final phases of attacks. And you’re very dependent on your standard of might ultimate for both damage, protection and even resource sustain. If a mob moves out of that, then you’re wasting a hard hitting ult and it can get frustrating.
In summary, the DK shines in solo PvP. You have good on demand healing, and with a skill line Cinderstorm can even have good heals over time alongside a restortation staff. But the moment I go through my offensive rotation solo, I’m immediately hit like a hammer then have to turtle up and play defensive whereas almost every other class, no wait a minute literally every other class didn’t have this problem. Just like the stamina DK, I love the class, just feel without the triumvirate of pale order, false gods and charged weapon trait you’re pigeon holed into a DoT class that struggles to maintain dots solo due to incoming damage and lack of heals per second.
Next up was the necromancer at #5 which was very hard to put in the spot. The damage was noticeably higher than some classes straight away. You have the best ultimate in the game for damage, colossus giving 12 seconds of 10% increased damage done in a massive AoE that cost a little over 200. Drop this even solo and everything just melts.
Your blastbones is the trickey part to the class and build. Its unique in that it creates a corpse which can be used to feed your sustain and damage. But with a 2.5 second delay and travel time it’s baby sitting nightmare constantly thinking about your next attacked. I started playing better with the class telling myself before I got to my back bar, cast blastbones and as soon as I go to my front bar, cast blastbones. This was easier to get my head around the class and do better consistent damage and it shines in the department.
Then the really fun part of the class which is using those corpses for a massive damage over time with mytsitc siphon that also restores magicka and increases our damage done slotting the ability. And another corpse would go to mortal coil giving us great healing per second and increase healing done plus stamina back feeding both of our sustain loops. And for the grand daddy of them all, spirit guardian reducing damage by a whooping 10%, healing us and feeding our sustain loop with undead confederate.
The synergy of keeping all of these abilities up meant incredible resources sustain even stamina along side insane heals per second. Thus when I was casting my main spammable ricochet skull, I wasn’t nearly as vunerable as a dragonknight. I could just sit there and face tank everything and had a much better time in sustain, and survivability department.
A few cons to the class and the obvious its very complex. I highly recommend players unfamiliar with buffs, debuffs, complex rotation, super tight timing to stay away from the class at least to start. Because when you constantly focus on the blastbones which optimizes your DPS, you forget about situational awareness and can die easily. The necro also feels a big slow. No source of major expedition which normally isn’t an issue using false gods but becomes apparent without it makes you feel a bit slow and clunky. And lastly the class lacks an execute which is somewhat annoying in comparison to other classes. But overall, I had a much better time with my magcrow than stamcrow in the context. I found it easier to sustain and survive while still doing great damage. Also this is still a bit too complex for my liking and clunky in comparison to our next class and that’s the Warden.
For whatever reason I really love the magden. While it has something similar to blastbones, which is deep fissure, a 3 second delayed nuke that also applies major breach reducing damage. This on paper sounds just like blastbones but feels much easier to manage and apply especially since the visual indicator when it goes off is so noticeable. The AoE damage is very impressive because you have this and a built it really good back bar DoT Winter’s Revenge which does great damage over time, snares and a chance to apply the chilled status effect. Combine this with unstable and a lighting staff and opponents will be chilled, off balanced and stunned constantly.
And just like the stamden, the magden while not as high dps in my testing, has some of the best passives in the game via animal companions. Bond with nature gives you health each time your companion skill ends which is nearly all the time. You get 12% magicka and stamina sustain for slotting animal companion abilities and the mightiest of all, advanced species a flat 2% increase in damage for slotting a skill on your bar. Thus solo, slotting birds of prey on our front bar gives us 5% via minor berserk and another 2% for this passive not to mention you can activate for major expedition and leave classes like the necro in the dust!
The major cons are you’re kind of pigeon holed into using the eternal guardian bear ultimate for all those passives reason I just listed. I’m not a big fan of it, but can say it does a lot of things for you including stunning and being a decoy. I also noticed much less single target dps without a execute like I had my stamden. Thus the class excels in large AoE encounters than really slows down during major single target bosses. You also don’t have a main spammable that heals you. This isn’t a major downside because you have some much passive healing coming in and durability you feel much more tanky than a mag dk, but still, nothing compared to nightblade and a templar. Overall I really enjoy the magden and I still can’t put my finger on it. It hits hard, moves quick, durable but can be a bit hard to manage deep fissure just like blastbones for the necro. Lets move onto a class that isn’t hard to manage and that’s the magicka sorc.
What I enjoy most about the magicka Sorcerer class is you have so many ways you can play it effectively. Using no pet, 1 pet, or full on zoo build with 2 pets and a monster helm that gives you another one! I chose the one pet with a DPS focused morph though solo you may want to healing pet morph twilight matriarch.
The major advantage in terms of survivability of the sorcerer is the skill critical surge. This heals you for critical damage done has a very long duration and provides spell damage buff to you. Not to mention you get more spell damage for slotting it. This acts as a sort of pale order passively healing you allowing you to be extremely aggressive without dying. It’s exactly what the magicka dragonknight lacks that you have, even though you main spammable doesn’t heal you, critical surge will.
Another strength of the sorcerer is the simplest nature and rotation. If you use a pet like I did, you free up two bar slots making your build even simpler. Thus your are casting crushing shock waiting for your hands to gloves and that unmistakeable crytstal fragments sound to ring loud firing off a c frag for cheaper cost and more damage. Oh yeah, this c frag also heals you via the blood magic passive making you even more tanky.
And when you use the pet or pets, they do a lot of the work for you. With constant damage over time and the ability to make them hit harder you can make a pet focus build that parses with the highest out there. They act as decoys, give stam and health recovery for slotting and increase your max health by 8% while active. Okay Deltia why aren’t the sorcerer #1 on your list?
The sorcerer feels very single target focused rather than massive AoE. This is great in long dungeon veteran hard mode fights or trials but some encounters I would be single target attacking multiple mobs wishing I was on my Templar. Also, the sorc benefits greatly from the pet gameplay. In fact, using two pets could be argued the best build, though incredibly boring and non fun I don’t chose to do it. You also have an execute at 20% rather than 25% or higher but at least you have one. The Sorc is really up there for solo play and something I can recommend due to critical surge’s effectiveness making it great for new players or end game folks. Moving on to the last two which were a struggle to rank, but let me do my best.
And the nightblade is in our number 2 spot. The nightblade hits the sweep spot in resource sustain, damage and ultimate generation. The ability soul harvest feels like the great strength to the class. Giving you 10 ultimate per kill. Slot a fighters guild ability on your bar and you get another 3 per kill with the banish the wicked passive. Thus you can roll back to back ultimates in large trash pulls especially if you’re using shooting star.
One of the strongest damage abilities and that’s Merciless 40 seconds, increasing your Weapon Damage and Spell Damage by 60 with every Light or Heavy Attack, up to 5 times. While active, hitting an enemy with 5 Light or Heavy Attacks converts this ability into Assassin’s Will, allowing you to fire a spectral arrow for half cost that deals 4752 Magic Damage, and heals for 50% of the damage dealt if you are within melee range.
No other class has an built in 300 spell damage and another passive hemorrhage giving you 10% critical damage.
But where the class really is healing via your two main spammables, AoE Sap Essence and single target Swallow Soul. Swallow Soul will heal you over time for 35% of the damage done giving you a very strong heal over time. Remember talking about ultimate gain? Well the transfer passive will give you 2 ultimat every 4 seconds for using a siphoning skill like generating a massive amount of ultimate. Moreover you’ll get 8% max magicka for slotting a siphoning ability. Combine with inner light for freakishly high max magicka which = bigger shield.
Sap Essence also heal you for each ally hitting and combining the two, you’ll have increase self healing WHILE doing damage. This is what separate the nightblade and the Templar, your ability to do massive damage and heal yourself. Lowering the need to constantly apply shields, buffs, debuffs, etc. Throttle down on massive damage and survive.
Last major advantage is insane sustain with skills like siphoning attacks, giving you not only magicka for light and heavy attacks but healing as well. And another passive executioner restoring magicka and an enemies dies after being damaged by you. And we aren’t done with passives, another refreshing shadow increases your magicka recovery by 15%! You have unmatched sustain and nearly the best self healing spammable in the game, allowing you to spend less time defending and sustaining and more time doing damage.
There aren’t many cons if I’m being honest. You have an execute that doesn’t heal you like the templar. It was hard ranking the Nightblade here instead of the Templar but what separates the two is the ease of play. The Templar effortlessly mowed through the dungeon like butter. The nightblade I had to spend a bit more time with buffs, and debuffs and looking at my skill bar I had a whooping 6 buffs or debuffs I needed to maintain. It’s the level of complexity that allowed me to rank the Templar ahead especially since solo play you don’t see the advantages of ranged like you would in a group encounter. Without further ado the Templar
Yes this is my main, yes this is my favorite character, but putting all these classes side by side it was the Templar that was the most effortless. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, Puncturing Sweeps is the single greatest ability in ESO. It acts as your single target damage, AoE damage, huge radius, passives for slotting it and it heals you for an enormous amount based on the damage done. It’s the only ability you can click while in the heat of battle and not die no matter if it’s single target or 12 mobs surrounding you.
Templar also has increase critical damage done by 10% like the nightblade via the piercing spear. And templar has balanced warrior increasing spell damage by 6% without having to slot anything, cast an ability, it’s just passively granted. Not to mention you’re the only class that gets minor sorcerery increasing your spell damage by 10% for 20 seconds olo via the illuminate passive making casting a dawns wrath ability a priority.
There’s more to the templar than that, it does fantastic damage due to two hard hitting dots. One being Blazing Spear and the other being Solar Barrage which increases your light and heavy attacks by 40% giving you a massive DPS advantage while having good aoe damage.
Another damage ability purifying light soaks up damage like a balloon and leaves a healing circle at the targets feet. Keeping just this up and doing sweeps is enough to solo nearly any encounter.
And a skill PvE folks sleep on is living dark, this heals you every half second while taking damage and scales in effectiveness off max spell damage or max health. Well I’ve already talked about all the ways magplar has increased spell damage. Cast this bubble for 6 seconds with over 5,000 spell damage and you’ll so what I’m talking about. Your health will not move.
Templar also remains the simplest, instead of a very complex rotation you can load up your bar with mages guild and fighters guild for passive benefits, put a few dots on your back bar and hit sweeps until you hearts content.
You also have a execute that heals you based on the percentage of damage done. Yes this morph is lower damage but you won’t be vulnerable when executing sub 30% health.
And if that wasn’t enough you get a crazy sustain and survivability tool channeled focus, minor mending, armor buff, healing and magicka return.
The Nigthblade may have better resource sustain, but the templar has effortless dps, survivability and great damage without being over complex and cumbersome.
When I started this experiment I figured Nigthblade would win. But when I watched the footage again, the Templar just melted everything without fail and didn’t encounter a single hiccup.
When you play these classes in a vacuum, back-to-back to back without fancy gear that carries your sustain and survivability you can really see the pros and cons. I hope you all got something out of this video and if you’d like me to do the same for magicka, hit that like, subscribe and leave me a comment below.
Also check me out on twitch.tv/deltiasgaming where we do these play test live along with pvp and other content. Thanks for reading!