During my recent livestream on Twitch Channel, I took all 6 stamina classes through Veteran Arx Coriniumdungeon solo to see how they played with the exact same gear, the exact same champion points and nearly the exact same racial choice, food, potions you name it. I wasn’t using any mythics, or trials gear, just a very simple beginner friendly loadout so this information could be applicable to the average ESO Player. You’re going to want to watch this video or read this guide for a detailed comprehensive solo stamina class guide. The pros and cons of each class, with a generic highly survivable build that can be used on any class with some simple tweaks. After playing all six classes in a vacuum, the results were shocking and not at all what I expected. Before we get into class specifics, let me share with you my generic setup on every class that I used and most importantly, why.
I went with two five pieces and a monster helm. This is the simplest and easiest to obtain stamina pve dps loadout that’s both effective and doesn’t require 10 DLC, chapters for mythics or trials gear. A common setup folks have been running for ages is a 5pc hundings rage, which gives you a 2 lines of weapon critical, 1 line of max stamina and 300 weapon damage as the five piece. This is craftable and incredibly easy to obtain. The second set, active only on my front bar is Briarheart this matches hundings rage 2-4 piece set and the five piece has a chance to proc 450 weapon damage and for 10 seconds critical strikes heal you. They don’t heal for a ton, but if we can get over 50% weapon critically with a lot of damage over time effects they add up for some great self-healing. The monster set I went with is stormfist from Tempest Island. The 1pc gives stamina recovery which is nice not using any trials gear, and the two piece deals massive single target and aoe damage. Even solo, I was able to land a 40,000 hit on the final strike fully buffed because now proc sets can critically strike. If we look at my simple and highly effective Microsoft paint gear chart
And now a quick list the champion points here as I did exactly the same in the warfare and fitness while green doesn’t effect performance:
I used Weapon Power potions that provide 100% up time on weapon damage and weapon critical buffs if you have the medical use passive maxed from the alchemy skill tree. Along with Artaeum Takeaway Broth food. Now is the important part, the skills, which I used double two handed with a very similar layout and structure, take this as a base and let me explain why it’s so strong especially for solo. On the front bar, the primary reason you run a two handed over dual wield without mythics or trials gear to carry your survivability and sustain, is Carve morph of cleave. This ability hits in a 6-meter radius, does bleed damage up front and you can stack to bleed effects up to 3 times and the best part, you get a decent size damage bubble every time you swing. That damage bubble can be increased by 15% via Bastion passive in champion points, essentially making you as survivable as a magicka build assuming you use this skill so use it!
Carve acts as our single target spammable, aoe spammable and oh crap panic button on our front bar, but what it doesn’t do is execute and that’s why we have executioner morph of reverse slash from 2handed, a single target execute that scales up to 400% more damage below 50%. It’s the 400% scaling that makes this one of the strongest executes in the game and the reason you see a lot of two handers being used.
Now the back bar is up to you, but I prefer two handed back there with a veteran maelstrom area sword infused with weapon damage glyph using the stampede ability. During my testing, this outperformed endless hail bow, it provides mobility, damage over time and the bleeds can proc the hemorrhage status effect. The rest of the build is pretty self-explanatory. You’re going to use a skill like razor caltrop for major breech unless you class has major breech, reducing armor and thus increasing your damage. You’re going to use barb trap for another hard-hitting dot plus minor force buff increasing critical damage. And resolving or echoing vigor for your standard heal over time.
The two ultimates I use are flawless dawnbreaker on the front for passive bonus to weapon damage. Back bar shooting star which does massive single target damage in stationary fights plus in aoe fights you’ll get some ultimate back thus you can use it more frequently. Some classes have better ultimate choices like incapacitating strikes for the nightblade or standard of might for the dragonknight, but those two will work on any class if you need a starting point. Now that you know the generic build let’s talk about each class, pros, cons and what makes them special. I’m going to start with my least favorite and work up to my most favorite and no it’s not a templar.
The pros of the stamina dragonknight is massive AoE damage especially with the rework to flames of oblivion now hitting three targets. You also have major breech built into your class kit with noxious breath and you’re the only class that can get minor brutality using class skill lines via the mountains blessing passive. And lastly you have a lot of ways to do damage and healing with your off stat, meaning magicka. This is something I always look towards in stamina build because unlike magicka, you relay on your stamina pool for movement and your abiliites, so relay on magicka for healing and damage abilities helps sustain.
Skills like flames of oblivion cost magicka but scale off the highest offensive stat making it a great ability to throw into the rotation. A skill like fragmented shield is great to pair with vigor because it cost magicka and grants major mending increasing your healing done, plus grating minor brutality increasing weapon damage by 10% for 20 seconds and restoring stamina with the helping hands passives. Okay sounds like Dragonknights are amazing, why low ranking?
The cons are its noticeably less damage than a nightblade. Your resource sustain is tied into the battle roar passive which gives you 50 stats across the board per ultimate consumed when you use an ultimate. Thus, you’re waiting for your standard of might “banner” at 250. You use this which does an enormous amount of damage, well until the mob moves out of the way, now you’ve just wasted your huge aoe nuke.
Your resource sustain is also tied into using the charge weapon trait rather than precise with the combustion passive giving you back resource when you apply the poisoned status effect. This pigeonholes the stamina dragonknight into near mandatory gear choices in order to find your full effectiveness, and very limited ways to sustain outside of ultimates I could feel it during the fights. Even with the exact same mobs, the exact same gear and orc racial choice, my damage felt lack luster compared to the other class and so too did my survivability.
Not to mention I’m recently leveling a brand new stamina DK and it’s early skills in comparison to a templar or sorc who get incredible burst heals straight away. DK, you’re reliant on outside skills or until you’re very deep into your class skill line because you can start healing and surviving effectively. Making it much harder to get into for a newer player. Stam DK remains one of my favorite for PvE but I still feel it’s week in comparison to others even if it is still really fun to play.
Next up is number five the necromancer. The pros are mind blowing dps. You have the strong damage ultimate in the game pestilent colossus giving you or if you were playing a group 12 seconds of major vulnerability increasing damage done by 10%, this drastically increases your dps. Another advantage and one of the disadvantages of the class is blighted blastbones. With a 2.5 delay into a travel time you’re looking right at about 3 seconds for a massive aoe nuke. This is the trick to the necro and the major downside is baby sitting the 3 second dot which is very hard to do. If you can though, this hits like a mac truck even with basic gear.
The necro is also unique in that it creates corpses which you can use for other purpose. Two that I use on my character are detonating siphoning a very strong hard-hitting damage over time which has an added plus of 3% damage increase for slotting the skill on your front bar. The second corpse I use for mortal coil, a sustain and healing ability that gives back stamina and gives you increase of healing done by 3% while slotted. This makes the necro fun and different, casting blastbones and creating corpses to feed your sustain and damage loop, but oh boy that’s the downside, it’s a complex rotation.
The roughly 3 second cast time means you’re only going to be doing roughly two other abilities and a couple of light attacks before you need to reapply blastbones again. Frankly it’s too dang complicated and troublesome to baby sit this constant cast to optimize my damage. I start paying attention and only worry about blastbones and next thing I know, I’m not keeping my other buffs up, watching where I’m standing, or healing myself and this was the only class that I hand problems surviving on.
That’s another problem, unlike my stamcrow PvP build, you need to give up something massive in order to have great survivability. Take skeletal archer, this does great damage and creates a corpse this critter also feeds into your sustain loop via the undead confederate giving 200 stamina recovery while active. But in order to survive I needed to drop this and take spirit guardian which reduces my damage by 10% and gives me some good healing over time.
I still had some sustain issues in single target even running spirit guardian and mortal coil and frankly besides seeing a massive AoE blastbones go out, I just don’t care for the class in stam pve dps. It’s too complex, too much focused on blastbones and corpses feeding, where’s a templar I can throttle down on literally one ability and do good dps, a sorc a can use a pet and have a very simple build or a nightblade, I can just rip it with spammables and light attack weaving. Necromancer, solo is no my cup of tea, moving on.
Next up is the stamplar and the easiest of all the classes in the game. There are many stamplars who are known for doing great damage with literally one bar. Power of the light, barb trap, another fights guild ability or more and biting jabs. That’s it. Biting jabs is your real strength here that it does so much single target in aoe damage in one, you don’t need more complex bar setup with tons of swaps to do really good damage. Load up your bar for passive buffs and jabs away.
Another strength of the stamplar is the resource sustain is mental. You have repentance sucking up corpses for stamina and healing which is fantastic when playing solo because there’s almost always adds and mobs you do this with. You’ll also have restoring focus or rune, sitting in your runes gives you health, stamina, armor and minor mending allowing you heal for more and cost nearly nothing.
And as a stamplar you have many ways to be very survivable with your off stat like magicka using one of my favorite skills living dark. This will heal you every half second when taking damage and scales in effectiveness of max health or spell damage. Even with low max health or spell damage the healing per second is staggering allowing you to not even using carve for protection and reliable on the bubble as I like to call it for protection. Channeling your magicka for survivability and stamina just for damage. Another advantage of the stamplar is you get some of your best abilities straight away. So even during the leveling experience you can have a great time and mow through content whereas other class take a longer time to get there core abilities like streak for the sorcerer or merciless for nightblade.
Well the downside of stamplar is the damage is noticeable less than the next class I’m going to mention. What you have is very simple build with less damage than the top performers. You are very survivable and have great resource sustain. If you’re a new player watching this, it’s a great class to main if you struggle with complex rotations or obtaining crazy gear sets from trials. At end game, you’ll be highly effective with a simple gear setup and rotation. Now, you won’t be the number one DPS out there, but you won’t run out of resource, you won’t die constantly, or you shouldn’t, and it’ll be much easier to pull off than a complex sweatlord rotation.
Sorcerers are unique in that they have their very own built in “pale order” per say via the storm calling skill critical surge. This skill will give you your major brutality buff and heal you when dealing critical damage with a 3 second cool down. For the very new player to ESO it’s why I highly recommend playing a stamina sorcerer first. You don’t even need vigor from the alliance war skill line for a burst heal if you don’t like pvp. You can use your pet unstable clannfear for massive burst self-healing. The clannfear has a couple of added benefits, you can activate the ability for a burst heal that cost magicka rather than stamina. Thus, keeping up your sustain and I was able to critically heal myself for 14,000 solo. Now running both a pet and critical surge you’ll be insane survivable.
Another added advantage of the sorcerer is speed from the skill Hurricane. This skill does many things in one, it gives you massive aoe damage, your armor buff making your sturdier, and minor expedition which stacks on top of major expedition making you the fastest possible character on the battlefield. Lastly a huge pro is the skill dark deal which I primarily use in pvp, it allows you to exchange magicka for stamina and heal you. The downside is it has channel, but with the right resource sustain setup you’ll have an infinite sustain loop channeling your off stat into your main stat anytime you need.
There aren’t many cons I can truly think of the stamina sorcerer. It has everything you could want. The only thing it lacks in comparison to what I rated ahead of it is raw damage from the stamina warden and stamina nightblade. If I were a brand-new player, unfamiliar with ESO, I’d highly recommend a stamina sorc for the reason it’s just so easy to survive on and do good damage.
The Warden was one of the classes that shocked me. According to some Pvers, it has some of the highest dps at the end game. Even with basic gear that was apparent early on as it just mauled through everything. You have some unique advantages against the other classes. Unlike the necro, you hard hitting ability, subterranean assault cast a second time, giving you a six second up time rather than 3 or so with the necro. Making the build not the simplest but much easier to pull off that the necro. You also have growing swarm, a hard-hitting damage over time that gives minor vulnerability increasing damage done by 5%. And bird of prey simply slotting this on your front bar grants minor berserk increase damage by 5% and an extra two percent damage increase via the advanced species passive. And the advance species passives is where this class really shines at end game, load up your bar with animal companion including the ultimate and bang you have a percentage based damage increase just for slotting skills.
Speaking of the ultimate, the wild guardian pet/ultimate really shines in solo play. It attacks as a decoy, it stun mobs for you and hits extremely hard at only 75 ultimate. Plus this ability acts as an execute making high hp bosses just melt in combination with your executioner. The animal companion skill line furthermore has some of the best passives In the game like bond with nature. Anytime one of you companions skills ends, you are healed for 1260. This you can use to spam bull netch, your resource sustain tool that doesn’t have a cost associated with it, resulting in a totally free and small heal. Moreover the flourish passive gives stamina and magicka recovery boost by 12% for slotting an animal companion ability making double barring our ultimate an even better choice. The stamden has a great blend of damage, simplistic nature and good healing if you choose to slot those skill.
The only downside I had was resource sustain. I don’t think it’s an inherit problem in the class, but I just couldn’t hold the same sustain like my stamplar, sorc or nightblade especially single target. I checked my CP, food and racial passive and just couldn’t figure it out. Another thing about the class is the bear ultimate may not be your thing. Sure you can use other utlimates like dawnbreaker and meteor but you lose out on important passives for doing so and could hurt your overall damage. Overall, I hadn’t spent to much time under the keyboard with a stamden, especially solo and I was shocked at how well it did. But there’s one that did better and was my absolute favorite and that’s the nightblade.
The nightblade was created with one single purpose, big dps and it does exactly that solo or in a group. The key advantage is relentless focus rewarding you with stacks of increased weapon damage of 60 up to 5 times and at five stacks you can shot off a massive attack at half the cost. No other class has an inherit way to increase weapon damage by 300. Not to mention this firing of the five stacks, if it lands in melee range heals you for 33% of the damage done resulting in a massive heal even when playing aggressive. Even slotting this on your front bar via the pressure points passive gives more weapon critical. Oh and lets not forget another important passive from the assassination skill line and that’s hemorrhage increasing critical damage done by 10% which the templar has something similar as well. But nightblades grant minor savagery by dealing critical giving you the most critical possible solo and the highest critical damage solo. Yes there’s a critical damage cap, but solo even on a khajiit you shouldn’t be anywhere near close making this a workhorse dps character. And that’s just one skill!
Nightblades also have advantage in the resource sustain department because you can use a skill line dark shade which has great single target dps but cost magicka. With the hybridization of the game these days, most abilities like this one scale off your highest offensive stat. Thus, even though it’s deals magicka damage it still hits like a mac truck on stamina build because it’s effectiveness is tied to whichever stat is highest not purely magicka.
Moreover you can get your survivability not solely from your stamina pool with skills like dark cloak and healthy offering both providing great healing at the cost of magicka not stamina. I didn’t use either for this video because I had so much survivability inherently just by killing things so fast I didn’t need a whole lot added. And where the nightblade exceled over every other class is resource sustain, especially single target when not using consuming trap. One of the reasons is incapacitating strike ultimate rather than flawless dawnbreaker. Having this slotted on the front restores magicka and stamina when attack with light or heavy while a negative effect is active on the target.
Moreover you have leeching strikes healing and restoring resource for light or heavy attacks. Simply put if you can light attack weave properly on a stamina nightblade, you’ll restore resource, heal, build up stacks to increase your weapon damage and absolutely melt the battlefield.
This maybe vein to say but the nightblade looks and feels so cool. It’s the rouge class from every game dating back to D&D days and plays like it. You’re rewarded from attacking from the flank with the master assassin passive so your brain is hard wired to always get to the side. Making the class enjoyable in a different way than others. And the rotation and abilities are easy and not nearly as complex as the necro or even warden for the matter making it simple and yet fun.
I can’t really think of any besides not having subterrain assault or blastbones two hard hitting abilities the warden and necro have. It looks cool, survives well, great resource sustain and crazy high damage that’s easy to pull off. Not to mention it’s a great class to quest on because you can just stealth and cloak by enemies that you don’t wish to fight. You can do your thieving, dark brotherhood, whatever you desire and that’s why I use a khajiit nightblade as my main story character to this day. When I first started the experiment, I figured templar would be number one but it was far from it. 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, leave me a comment.