Skill Overview – Nightblades, Races, Weapons!

Argonian Emote

We want YOU to use these skills

Greeting Tamriel Foundry fans. Phazius here. Myself, @Atropos and @Grimalkin got the chance for some extended play-time of ESO at PAX Prime. We wanted to collaborate to bring you all an overview of some of the available skills from the Nightblade class, some more info on Ebonheart Pact racial abilities, and the two weapon lines that we used during our playtime. We didn’t have time to record everything; but we are excited to get some new skill information out in the fan community to provoke more focused discussion. Enjoy!

The Nightblade

Jumping right into Nightblade; the first tree is Assassination, which is based on being in melee and laying down the hurt. The first thing I noticed is that all class based skills consume Magicka, where weapon skills all utilized stamina. The starting skill in Assasssination is Assassin’s Blade, an execute style skill that does almost 3 times as much damage to targets with low health. This was the first skill I picked up, which allowed me to morph it before the end of our session. The morph choices for Assassin’s Blade allow you to either extend the abilities basic range or add health return when killing an opponent with the ability. The second skill, called Teleport Strike, gives a bit more utility; its a blink style charge attack that deals damage and stuns for a very short duration.

A Nightblade preparing to unleash Teleport Strike

A Nightblade preparing to unleash Teleport Strike

The second tree is based on shadow manipulation. The starting skill is in the aptly named “Shadow” tree is Shadow Cloak which grants you a short amount of invisibility that doesn’t break when you deal damage. However you cannot regenerate Magicka while it is active. The second skills very much echos other MMO stealth classes. Veiled Strike works like Cheapshot from World of Warcraft or Paralyzing Strike in Rift. A longer stun that deals damage and must be used from stealth.

The third tree for Nightblade is Siphoning, is very dark-magic-esque, based on debuffs and draining health from opponents. Our beginning skill is Strife a damage over time effect (DoT) that heals you from some of the damage down every time it deals damage (tick) with a range more akin to a mage or archer. The second skill seems incredibly powerful its a long duration stun that deals damage over the duration. The effect is not broken by its own damage but outside sources of damage will dispel the effect.


  • [Ultimate] Death Stroke – Deals damage to your target, and reduces their incoming healing.
  • [Active] Assassin’s Blade – Deals damage with a large bonus multiplier against low health enemies.
  • [Active] Teleport Strike – Teleport to your target, dealing damage and stunning them for a short duration.
  • [Active] Blur – A self buff that gives attackers a percentage based miss chance when attacking the Nightblade.
  • [Active] Mark Target – Place a mark on a high-health target, while marked you deal extra damage. Killing the marked target will heal you.
  • [Active] Haste – Increases attack speed of normal weapon attacks for a short duration.


  • [Ultimate] Consuming Darkness – A self buff that gives attackers a percentage based miss chance when attacking the Nightblade.
  • [Active] Shadow Cloak – Gain invisibility for a short duration.
  • [Active] Veiled Strike – Deals increased damage and stun enemies. Requires Stealth.
  • [Active] Summon Shade – Summons a shade which attacks and debuffs your enemies.
  • [Active] Path of Darkness – Deals damage in a path in front of you, increases your movement speed along that path.
  • [Active] Aspect of Terror – Nearby enemies are afflicted with Fear.


  • [Ultimate] Soul Shred – Deals PBAoE damage and stuns nearby enemies. Initiates the Leeching Strike synergy.
  • [Active] Strife – Places a DoT on your target which also heals you for the duration.
  • [Active] Agony – Stuns and DoTs an enemy for a long duration, but the effect is broken by any other damage.
  • [Active] Cripple - Places a DoT on an enemy which gradually decreases its movement speed, transferring an equal speed bonus to the Nightblade.
  • [Active] Siphoning Strikes – Sacrifice a portion of your own weapon damage in to restore a portion of your Magicka and Stamina with every hit.
  • [Active] Drain Power – Debuff the attack power of nearby enemies, transferring a portion of that power to the Nightblade for each affected enemy.


Racial Abilities

Nord Dragonknight

Nords are naturally hardy folk

The racial abilities in ESO are inspired by traditional Elder Scrolls racial lore, however they are expanded to provide a greater variety of bonuses. Each race recieves a passive which increases their rate of skill progression with a favored weapon type. Each race also seems to have an inherent resistance to a specific damage type. The remaining racial passives vary by race and will likely have more gameplay implications, but they do seem to fit the overarching theme of the race. Lastly, every race gets a racial ultimate ability which seems fairly consistent with the unique abilities they have received in past single player TES games.

Argonian Racials

  • [Ultimate] Histskin – Greatly increased health regeneration for a short time.
  • [Passive] Restoration Expertise – Increased skill experience gain while using Restoration Staff.
  • [Passive] Amphibious – Move at full speed in water, and increased Stamina regeneration while swimming.
  • [Passive] Argonian Resistance – Increased resistance to Poison and Disease damage.
  • [Passive] Quick to Mend – Increased incoming healing from all sources.

Dunmer Racials

  • [Ultimate] Ancestral Guardian – Summon a guardian shade to protect the player.
  • [Passive] Ambidextry – Increased skill experience gain while using Dual Wield.
  • [Passive] Dynamic – Increased maximum Magicka and Stamina.
  • [Passive] Resist Flame - Increased resistance to Fire damage.
  • [Passive] Flame Talent – Increased damage from fire-based attacks.

Nord Racials

  • [Ultimate] Battle Cry – Increased outgoing damage for yourself and all nearby allies.
  • [Passive] Two-Handed Weapon Expertise – Increased skill experience gain while using Two-Handed weapons.
  • [Passive] Robust – Increased health regeneration during combat.
  • [Passive] Resist Frost – Increased resistance to Cold damage.
  • [Passive] Rugged – Increased natural Armor rating.


Weapon Skills

Spider boss

Sword and Board, ready to rock

I decided to stick with my very traditional sword and shield play-style, while Grimalkin picked up a fire-based Destruction staff. Sword and shield is very much set up to be a tank. Your first skill, Puncture, deals damage, taunts the target, and reduces their armor. This was the only skill I saw this early on that has a taunt effect. The second skill is Low Slash which reduced the weapon damage the target did and I think it had a slight snare. Destruction Staff skills inherit different effects based on what type it is. The first skill, Destructive Touch, its a short range but has crowd control effects. Fire causes knock-back; Frost applies some sort of stun, and Lightning cause disorientation. The second skill was Wall of Elements, which drops an area of elemental damage continually damaging enemies who pass through it.

One-handed and Shield

  • [Active] Puncture - Deals damage, reduces target Armor, and applies Taunt for 15 seconds.
  • [Active] Low Slash – Deals damage, applies Snare, and debuffs target weapon damage.
  • [Active] Defensive Posture – Reflects the next spell projectile back to the attacker. While slotted, increases the effectiveness of block, and reduces the Stamina cost of blocking.
  • [Active] Shield Charge – Charge to a target, stunning it on impact.
  • [Active] Power Bash – Deal damage and Disorient target.

Destruction Staff

  • [Active] Destructive Touch - Deals damage and applies elemental effects.
  • [Active] Wall of Elements – Create wall of AoE damage.
  • [Active] Force Shock – Deals damage and interrupts enemy casting. Interrupted enemies are stunned.
  • [Active] Impulse – Deals PBAoE damage, applies elemental effects.
  • [Active] Weakness to Elements – Target resistances to Fire, Frost, and Lightning reduced.

This is just a taste of the hundreds of active skills that are currently available in ESO. Each class and weapon tree also incorporates passive abilities that we did not have time to note while playing. Once you take into consideration armor lines, guild paths, additional story-based skill trees, PvP advancement, and other options like Vampirisim or Lycanthropy the raw number of is mind-boggling. Elder Scrolls Online will present an extremely fun challenge of tailoring your loadout for a variety of situations, making use of all the tools at your disposal. Thanks for reading and I hope you all enjoy having more skill information out in the public domain for discussion. Please feel free to follow me on Twitch, Twitter, or right here on Tamriel Foundry.

What excites you the most about these skills, is there anything that jumps out at you as a must-use for your intended build? See any synergies or combinations that look like they will be particularly deadly? Be sure to let us know in the comment section below!