Stamina Nightblade PvE DPS Guide for One Tamriel

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    Jeckll

    Grandmaster

    Total Posts: 2434

    Redguard Nightblade

    ## outdated – check the Guide for Homestead ##

     

     

    Welcome to One Tamriel, fellow Nightblades.
    S
    tamblades are still doing good in end game PvE. With the build I will guide you through, I completed every PvE challenge in the game including Veteran Maw of Lorkay Hardmode, Veteran Sanctum Ophidia Hardmode and Veteran Maelstrom Arena.

    As the DLC is pretty new and ZOS added a ton of new sets and changes, there might be updates for this guides and the more we talk about the build, the better it will be refined. So keep observing, discussing and challenging this guide to stay up to date with your Stamblade.

    I will go in depth into every aspect but I try to give a TL;DR; whenever I can to make the read as comfortable as possible for those guys who just want a quick overview without the boring details. If you have questions or found errors, please write a comment. I try to answer and explain everything.

    Thanks to everyone who is contributing, especially the guys from Hodor like @Yolo-Wizard and @Alcast and Beyond Infinity as their testings and insights are always challenging me to become better. Also thanks to @Asayre who’s providing valuable maths for this guide.

    As I didnt do much PvP lately due to the bad performance in Cyrodiil and my reduced gaming time, I will focus mainly on group PvE. Other aspects of the game will be tackled briefly to give you some ideas but when you take PvP for example, there are better players out there who have more insight.

    ATTENTION: You have to click on the SPOILER buttons to get all the information. I had to put those in for reasons of clarity and comprehensibility.

     

    Tables of Content:

    1. Build Overview
    2. Race
    3. Stats
    4. Mundus Stone
    5. Potions
    6. Champion Points
    7. Gear
      Optimized Raids
      Raid Setup
      Replacements
      Group/Solo Setup
      Veteran Maelstrom Arena Setup
    8. Raid setup
      Rotation + Video
      No Potion Setup
      Veteran Maelstrom Arena
    9. FAQ
    10. Leveling Champion
    11. DPS Screens + Video
    12. Theorycraft

     

    I. Build Overview

    For this build, we will use Dual Wield and Bow as a tool to achieve a maximum DPS. In group content, your survivability relies on your ability to avoid damage and your healer. For solo content, we rely on Vigor and Killer’s Blade. 2h with Rally is usually not required.

    Here is a brief overview for the raid setup for the build. I will dig in deeper in the guide and talk about setups for vMSA, 4player and solo content as well.

     

     

    ADVANTAGES

    • Amazing single target DPS
    • Roguish play style
    • Very flexible in terms of skills
    • Easy access with crafted gear which enables you to farm “Best in Slot” gear
    • Very rewarding as your DPS gets better and better the more you train
    • Scales amazingly well with optimized groups
    • Works with all races

     

    DISADVANTAGES

    • Harder to master and not as forgiving as ranged builds
    • Requires good movement and coordination
    • Can be hard to sustain especially for newer players
    • Works best for 300 Champion Points and more
    • Requires 3 Maelstrom Weapons for best performance

     

    II. RACE

    TL;DR: 1. Khajiit, 2. Redguard 3. Imperial

    The best race for DPS in raids is Khajiit atm. The extra 8% crit chance boosts their DPS greatly, especially in optimized groups. For solo and small group play, the difference between Redguard and Khajiit is pretty small (~0,1%) especially since the nerf of Cruel Flurry (MSA weapon proc).

    The next best thing is Redguard, which helps a lot to sustain especially in longer fights. I personally did not run into sustain issues with this build when I used 5p Vicious Ophidian but nowadays with 2x Kra’gh, I have to rely on Siphoning Attacks or Spear Shards a lot which I didnt like that much. Being a Redguard does help and allows you to go full DPS in most cases even without Templar support. For PvP and Maelstrom Arena, I think Redguard is better than Khajiit in general. So I switched to Redguard recently. If you are also tanking, you should consider Imperial.

    Then you have Bosmer, Orc and Dunmer who all have some Stamina related passives, just not the best for PvE.

     

    III. Stats

     

    Stats

     

    To maximize your offence, you have to minimize your defence. That means we work with the lowest HP and Armor value possible. Just enough to make sure you do not get one shoted. If you have 561 CP, you can invest all attribute points into Stamina and enchant your whole gear with Stamina enchants as well. It will work best with TBS as otherwise, you’ll have about 16.1k HP. That’s okay but you have to play really well to make sure you dont die a lot. If you dont have 561 CP yet, try to get around 17k HP by putting some attribute points into HP or enchanting 1 Major Armor Piece with HP.

    This build works with a balanced mix of Penetration, Weapon Damage, Crit Chance/Damage and Stamina. In the Gear Section, we will talk more about how to adapt your setup to the group you’re playing with.

    Use blue CP 150 food (Braised Rabbit With Spring Vegetables) which provides Stamina and HP.

    You dont have to be Werewolf or Vampire for this build. There are some burst DPS possibilities when being a Werewolf which you can abuse to get easy kills on a few bosses in vMSA for example. But as they are pretty situational, I will not go into detail in this guide. Just know that it’s possible and if you’d like to be a puppy, there is no reason not to be.

    Penetration/Armor Debuff is now a big factor when it comes to Stamina DPS. While it’s not displayed in the Stats Window, it’s a huge deal and can buff your DPS greatly. Optimized groups can stack Armor Debuffs to a point where bosses actually reach 0 armor. A huge benefit over Magicka builds. We have to be very flexible with Penetration as we need a lot when playing solo or in 4 player groups but far less in optimized groups where certain armor debuffs do count for the whole raid.

    Other big factors that do not show up on the Stats Window are Crit Damage Modifier (especially for Khajiit) and “Special Buffs” like Monster Sets and MSA Weapon Procs.

    Otherwise, we still want to get Weapon Damage, Weapon Crit and Stamina. Weapon Crit is a factor that scales especially well in optimized groups and in general for people who are using the Shadow Mundus.

     

    IV. Mundus Stone

    TL;DR: If your Crit Damage Modifier is at least ~10% greater than your Critical Chance without any Mundus Stone, use the Thief.

    This usually means that all races should run Thief. With Twice Born Star, run Thief and Shadow.
    You can calculate your Crit Damage Modifier pretty easily:

    First option: Base 50% + 10% Hemorrhage + 12% Beast Trap + 10,5% Precise Strikes= 82,5% / 100 = 0,825
    Second option: Hit a mob. Critical Damage / Normal Damage -1 (e.g. Light Attack does 2799 normal, 5066 crit. 5066/2799-1 = 0,81)

     

    V. Potions

    The main DPS setup of this build uses Potions (Essence of Weapon Damage) to get the Major Brutality (20% Weapon Damage), Major Savagery (10% Weapon Crit) and 20% Stamina Regeneration all the time without having to use Evil Hunter, Drain Power, Flying Blade or Momentum. To get 100% Portion uptime, you have to skill the “Medicinal Use” passive in Alchemy. I use this potions for all Trials including Maelstrom Arena.

    This is quite expensive for many players, so I will also show you ways to play without constant potion usage and save some money in situations where you don’t have to give 100%. Just be aware that if you want to squeeze out the last bit of DPS, you’ll have to have those Potions available.

     

    VI. CHAMPION POINTS

    There is always some discussion about that topic but realistically, some can be calculate exactly, some are preference. I will give you some templates to can aim for which I think work best for me. I work with this Website of @Asayre to calculate and adept to our current raid setup. It highly depends on your group setup how many points in Penetration is required for example. Also note that vs Single Target only or raw AoE encounters, there are better options. This setup works very good for both scenarios. In general, I do 100% Physical with 73% Dot Damage, 7% Weapon (Light Attacks) and 20% Non-Dot.

    Template for 90 Champion Points:

    • Green – The Tower: 30 Warlord
    • Red – The Lady: 14 Hardy, 14 Elemental Defender, 2 Thick Skinned
    • Blue – The Ritual: 21 Mighty, 2 Precise Strikes, 7 Thaumaturge, 0 Piercing

    Template for 225 Champion Points:

    • Green – The Tower: 45 Warlord // The Lover: 30 Mooncalf
    • Red – The Lady: 35 Hardy, 35 Elemental Defender, 5 Thick Skinned
    • Blue – The Ritual: 50 Mighty, 7 Precise Strikes, 17 Thaumaturge, 1 Piercing

    Template for 315 Champion Points:

    • Green – The Tower: 75 Warlord // The Lover: 30 Mooncalf
    • Red – The Lady: 50 Hardy, 50 Elemental Defender, 5 Thick Skinned
    • Blue – The Ritual: 69 Mighty, 9 Precise Strikes, 24 Thaumaturge, 3 Piercing

    Template for 561 CP

    • Green – The Tower: 99 Warlord // The Lover: 75 Mooncalf // The Shadow: 13 Tumbling
    • Red – Lady: 78 Hardy, 78 Elemental Def, 21 Thick Skinned // The Lord: 10 Quick Recovery
    • Blue – The Ritual: 100 Mighty, 42 Precise Strikes, 45 Thaumaturge

    In general, Warlord and the damage reduction stars from the Lady are the most “rewarding” things to put points in. But there are very good passive stars which require to put points into specific constellations like “Synergizer” in the Lover constellation.

    In case you wonder why I didnt split the blue CP 50:50 between Mighty and Thaumaturge. There is a tipping point where you basicly get 0.2% increase per point on both. So when that happens, it’s better to keep stacking into Mighty as this buffs Light/Heavy Attacks, Killer’s Blade and Steel Tornado. Also IF you spam Surprise Attack, you benefit only from Mighty (vMSA for example).

    If you are really pro, you adjust the CP allocation of the Lady to fit the content you are doing. Most raids benefit from 100 in Elemental Defender, Sanctum benefits from 100 in Hardy for example.

     

    VII. GEAR

    Now we dig in deep. First we discuss the optimal raid setup and then we find out what’s the best gear setup for you.

    OPTIMIZED RAIDS
    In a raid environment, you want to support your team rather than to go for your personal best performance. The following sets are awesome for your group and if your raid does not have one of them, you should consider being the one to use it:

    1. Roar of Alkosh: Penetration Value: 3010 Armor and Spell Resistance => 6,02% Damage Increase for the whole raid. Drops in Maw of Lorkay.
    2. Night Mother’s Gaze: Penetration Value: 2580 Armor => 5,16% Damage Increase for all Stamina users. Craftable.
    3. Sunderflame: Penetration Value: 3440 Armor => 6,88% Damage Increase for all Stamina users. Drops in City of Ash, CP140.

    Those sets combined with Major Fracture (5280 Armor), Minor Fracture (1320 Armor) and Crushing Enchant (1622 Armor) do give a raid a total of 17576 Armor Penetration = 35,2% Damage Increase.

    All monsters in dungeons/trials do have 18200 Armor, which means with this setup, your enemies are basically naked. That means you dont need to put points in the Penetration CP or use Sharpened Weapons in this kind of raid.

    A very strong “Supporter Setup” that fits into this guide perfectly is “5x Roar of Alkosh, 5x Night Mother’s Gaze, Maelstrom Weapons“. Sunderflame is usually best used as a DK. But if your raid has all other armor debuffs available, you usually dont need a Sunderflame user. If a StamDK uses the Morag Tong Set, you also benefit from 10% additional poison damage.

    Due to Aggressive Warhorn, Weapon Crit is highly effective in optimized raids so you want to run 7 Medium. If your raid doesnt feature all those nice sets, use Sharpened over Precise on Weapons.

     

     RAID SETUP

    TL;DR:

    • Use support sets if you have multiple Stamina DPS players in your group. Especially of you are Imperial as you dont need the extra HP from Twice Born Star. If you are not Imperial, you can also go 5/1/1 to get ~17k HP. Alkosh > NMG > Sunderflame.
    • Usually the Tank/Offtank can use Roar of Alkosh. But having 2-3 Alkosh user per raid is benefical, so consider wearing it if you have the complete jewelry.
    • If you have sustain issues, use 5x Vicious Ophidian. With maxed penetration or heavy AoE fights, use Velidreth.
    • Only use Precise Weapons if your group is able to penetrate 16k armor or more.
    • If the encounter is AoE heavy or your DPS is reaching ~50k in general, use 2 daggers instead of axe/dagger. The scaling +Crit from daggers will out preform the static axe bleed proc in these situations.

    Spoiler:

    As Khajiit/Redguard, having 1 HP Bonus in your setup is really helpful as without, your HP is around 16.1k which is really low especially in vMOL. It works but you need constant Warhorn and Ebon Armor to be save for the final boss. So Twice Born Star gives you that HP benefit AND great group synergy.

    Minor Slayer, the buff that you get from Vicious Ophidian and Roar of Alkosh got buffed in Shadows of the Hist and works on ALL dungeon mobs including MSA and DSA. Doesnt work on World bosses, Delves and Public Dungeons, though. Because of this, VO and Alkosh Jewelry are now BEST IN SLOT over Agility in Raids. The difference is rather small (1-1,5%) but we take what we can get. Also VO/Alkosh can be obtained in legendary quality which gives us some extra Stamina. According to @Asayre, Agility Jewelry can be better in certain situations when your Execute Damage is >20% of your total damage. As the difference is so small already, there is no great way to test it. Let’s just say both is very good, VO/Alkosh is usually a bit better.

    5x Vicious Ophidian solves pretty much all sustain issues you might have had with all classes other than Redguard. The raw amount of benefical stats is crazy. But Nightblades, especially Redguards, can also sustain pretty good with Siphoning Attacks so for raw dps, I only use the Jewelry of Vicious Ophidian/Alkosh and combine it with the new Kra’gh Set. The 1p bonus is already the best bonus dps wise, but the 2p proc also does ~2.5k DPS in single target fights and even more for AoE. If your group already has maxed armor debuffs or you face an AoE heavy fight, use Velidreth instead of Kra’gh.

    Always count the Armor Debuffs your raid supplies to make sure you dont stack too much. In the theorycraft section, you can find a spreadsheet to check the values of each Armor Debuff. In general, you need 5160 [Sharpened weapons] + 1935 [Kra’gh] + 5280 [Major Fracture] + 1320 [Minor Fracture] 1622 [Crushing] + 3010 [Alkosh] + 100 [Base Value] = 18427. As Major/Minor Fracture as well as Crushing are single target debuffs, having someone run NMG is really benefical anyways if there are adds involved or for trash groups.

     

    Replacements:

    Spoiler:

    If you only have access to crafted gear, use 5 TBS and 4 Night Mother’s Gaze (Head, Shoulder, Weapons).

    For Twice Born Star:
    (1) Night Mother’s Gaze (or Alkosh if you only have armor pieces): 7 Medium, Divines Traits, Stamina Enchants
    NMG is awesome when it comes to raw damage and beats Hunding’s. The downside is that Armor Debuffs dont buff our heals. Its better than Sunderflame as you can debuff multiple targets with AoEs, so use NMG over Sunderflame if you want to run a support set. Using Alkosh is possible but not desireable as 5pc Armor Set – better better run it with 2pc + Jewelry. Craftable.

    (2) Hunding’s Rage: 5 Medium, Divines Traits, Stamina Enchants
    The classic set, worse than NMG or TBS, bit it is very solid overall. Craftable.

    (3) Spriggan’s: 5 Medium, Divines Traits, Stamina Enchants
    With no armor debuffs from the group, you can consider using Spriggan’s. Might be an option if your raid just started playing together or you are the only Stamina user. Drops in Bankorai.

     

    For Kra’gh:
    (1) Velidreth, Medium, Divines, Stamina Enchants
    If your target already has no armor left, Velidreth is the best choice. It’s also good in vMSA, for AoE in general and if you have to move around a lot. Drops in Cradle of Shadows.

    (2) Vicious Ophidian/Alkosh, Medium, Divines, Stamina Enchants
    Only if you also use the jewelry to get the 5pc bonus. Vicious Ophidian if you have sustain issues, Alkosh to buff the raid dps. Drops in SO/MoL.

    (3) Mephala, Medium, Divines, Stamina Enchants
    Mephala is a great Stamina set as well, just not as strong as Kra’gh/Velidreth. The net is pretty small and you cant cast a new net while the old one is still in place which makes this set only really great in fights with no movement. Drops in Fungal Grotto II.

    (4) 1 Molag Kena, 1 Velidreth, Medium, Divines, Stamina Enchants
    A possible combo to gain some extra Weapon Damage. Kena drops in White Gold Tower, Velidreth drops in Cradle of Shadows.

     

    For Alkosh Jewelry and Weapons (5/5/2 Setups):
    If you dont have MSA Weapons (and/or Alkosh/VO Jewelry), there are a few great sets available to get a 5/5/2 setup with a crafted 5pc, a Monster Set and a 5pc Drop Set. The best solution would be to run 5 VO or 5 Alkosh in case you are only missing MSA Weapons, but if that’s not an option, try this:

    (1) Leviathan: 3x Jewelry, Robust, Weapon Damage Enchants + 2x Daggers, Sharpened, Weapon Damage + Poison/Crushing Enchant
    Especially in raids, Leviathan will be a great addition as a second 5pc set. Drops in Crypt of Hearts.

    (2) Spriggan’s: 3x Jewelry, Robust, Weapon Damage Enchants + 2x Daggers, Sharpened,Weapon Damage + Poison/Crushing Enchant
    With no armor debuffs from the group, you can consider using Spriggan’s. Might be an option if your raid just started playing together or you are the only Stamina user. Drops in Bankorai.

    (3) Twice Fanged Serpent: 3x Jewelry, Robust, Weapon Damage Enchants + 2x Daggers, Sharpened,Weapon Damage + Poison/Crushing Enchant
    For this option, be sure to check your total penetration. It’s a potent option if you have the full benefit of the 5k Penetration. Drops in Sanctum Ophidia.

    (4) Coat of the Red Mountain: 3x Jewelry, Robust, Weapon Damage Enchants + 2x Daggers, Sharpened, Weapon Damage + Poison/Crushing Enchant
    The updated Version of an old Set performs better than I thought. There is an ongoing thread about comparing it to TBS but without the pieces, I cant test myself. What I saw from the information shared, is that it does good damage and seems to be a unique way to individualize your character. I dont see a reason to run Red Mountain over TBS but for Weapons + Jewelry, I think its a decent idea. Works best with Rapid Strikes. Drops in Stonefalls.

     

    For Alkosh Jewelry:
    While Alkosh is easy to obtain in random raids in normal Maw of Lorkhaj, you might need something to start:

    (1) Vicious Ophidian, Robust, Weapon Damage Enchants
    The Jewelry is as good as Alkosh. But I prefer 3 Alkosh to be able to use 5p Alkosh (replacing the moster set) if required.  Drops in Sanctum Ophidia/AA/HR.

    (2) Agility, Robust, Weapon Damage Enchants
    The Agility Set is a great VR16 Jewelry that gives 50% more stats than “normal” sets. It makes a huge difference as it’s basicly 3 Set bonuses (1.5 times 2). It’s the best outside of dungeons and only about 1%-1,3% worse than 3x VO/Alkosh in Dungeons. Drops in Imperial City Treasure Vaults.

    (3) Endurance, Robust, Weapon Damage Enchant
    Especially when you have sustain/survivability issues or you dont have the money to buy agility, you should check out this Set. It’s especially interesting when learning vMSA. Drops in Imperial City Treasure Vaults.

     

    For Maelstrom Bow:
    (1) Master’s Bow, Sharpened Trait
    It’s still a decent choice considering with my setup, there is no way to incorporate this Weapon Slot in a set bonus. The new DSA offers a CP160 version of this bow. Drops in Veteran Dragonstar Arena.

     

    For Maelstrom Dual Wield:
    (1) Vicious Ophidian/Alkosh Daggers, Sharpened, Weapon Damage Enchant Mainhand, Poison/Crushing Offhand
    The next best thing if you dont have MSA weapons is to complete the Jewelry sets of Alkosh or Vicious Ophidian. Vicious Ophidian for sustain, Alkosh to buff the group dps. Vicious Ophidian drops in AA/HR/SO, Alkosh in Maw of Lorkhaj.

    (2) 2pc set Daggers, Sharpened, Weapon Damage Enchant Mainhand, Poison/Crushing Offhand
    Possible sets: Twice Fanged Serpent (Sanctum Ophidia), Fjords Legacy (Eastmarch), Leki’s (Cyrodiil), Morag Tong (Cyrodiil), Red Mountain (Stonefalls), Shadow Walker (Cyrodiil), Affliction (Cyrodiil), Veiled Heritance (Auridon), Dreugh King Slayer (Fungual Grotto), Seventh Legion Brute (Bankorai), Way of Fire (Craglorn)

    With the sets from One Tamriel, are also able to use a lot of different 5pc set with Jewelry and Weapons. You can also use any crafted 2pc daggers with +Crit set bonus.

     

    GROUP/SOLO SETUP

    TL;DR:

    • With this setup, every mob in your way has basically 0 armor.
      5160 [Sharpened] + 4000 [Spriggan’s] + 1935 [Kra’gh] + 5280 [Major Fracture] + 1622 [Crushing] + 100 [Base] = 18097 Penetration
    • You can run 5 Alkosh instead of Vicious Ophidian to help the group, but it will not help your dps.
    • Your sustain is super great. The speed buff is also nice.
    • If you need more HP, get a Heavy Monster Helm with HP enchant.

     

     

    Replacements:

    Spoiler:

    For Spriggan’s:
    (1) Two Fanged Serpent, 5 Medium, Divines Traits, Stamina Enchants
    Better stats overall than spriggans but you will “over penetrate” a bit. Also harder to farm than Spriggan’s. Might be slightly better anyways. Drops in Sactum Ophidia.

    (2) Night Mother’s Gaze: 7 Medium, Divines Traits, Stamina Enchants
    NMG is awesome when it comes to raw damage and beats Hunding’s. The downside is that Armor Debuffs dont buff our heals. But the general theme of the build is to stack penetration so you dont have to use CP to compensate. So NMG fits into that theme. Craftable.

     

    For Vicious Ophidian:
    (1) Alkosh, Robust Jewelry, Sharpened Daggers
    The setup is more supportive as you buff your group damage. But for yourself, Alkosh only gives the Dot as you can already penetrate most armor without using the Alkosh 5pc bonus. You might want to consider running TBS instead of Spriggan’s in organised groups where you get enough synergies to keep Alkosh up.  Drops in Maw of Lorkhaj.

    (2) Coat of the Red Mountain: Robust Jewelry, Sharpened Daggers
    The updated version of an old set performs better than I thought. There is an ongoing thread about comparing it to TBS and for solo (vMSA) and small group stuff, it seems to be pretty good. Drops in Stonefalls.

    There are other 5pc sets available with Jewelry and Weapons that also work like Automaton, Briarheart, Poisonous Serpent, Sunderflame or even Viper that work as well. Just not the optimal thing.

     

    For Kra’gh:
    (1) Velidreth, Medium, Divines, Stamina Enchants
    If your target already has no armor left, Velidreth is the best choice. It’s also good in vMSA, for AoE in general and if you have to move around a lot. Drops in Cradle of Shadows.

    (2) Mephala, Medium, Divines, Stamina Enchants
    Mephala is a great Stamina set as well, just not as strong as Kra’gh/Velidreth. The net is pretty small and you cant cast a new net while the old one is still in place which makes this set only really great in fights with no movement. Drops in Fungal Grotto II.

    (3) 1 Molag Kena, 1 Velidreth, Medium, Divines, Stamina Enchants
    A possible combo to gain some extra Weapon Damage. Kena drops in White Gold Tower, Velidreth drops in Cradle of Shadows.

    There are new sets like Selene or Stormfist which are also possible replacement. On paper, I’d rate them between Velidreth and Mephala.

    I still do solo content with Surprise Attack instead of Rapid Strikes just because of the extra utility. Whenever you swap to Surprise Attack, dont use MSA Daggers/Axes. The new enchants like +Weapon Damage, Crushing and Poison are insanely strong and way better than the raw Weapon Damage Set bonus you get from MSA Dual Wield. They are also better than Poisons.

    If you are still leveling, I suggest using the Training trait on all of your gear. 5 TBS/Hunding’s + 4 NMG is a good leveling setup.

     

    VETERAN MAELSTROM ARENA SETUP

    TL;DR:

    • The Maelstrom Arena is the only place left (I know of) where Mob Armor is not normalized, so every mob has an individual armor value. Therefor its hard to run a Penentration based setup without overdoing it at one mob type and not having enough on the other one. I tried to balance my approach.
    • This setup is only for experienced vMSA players as you have very low survivability. Check Replacements for a more balanced setup.
    • You can also run NMG Daggers and 2 Armor pieces of VO. That’s easier to get. I just like the penetration on both bars a bit more.

    I recently discovered that vMSA is the only trial where mobs do not share the same armor value. It should be 18.2k but in reality, most mobs do have 12k or lower. That being said, I switched my initial suggestion of Spriggan to the next best set of my solo dps list – Night Mother’s Gaze. I also goes hand in hand with the fact that Gilliamtherogue, a very solid NA player and theorycrafter overall, recently was able to complete MSA in 32 minutes using NMG. Awesome!

    If we calculate Penetration, we get 5160 [Sharpened] + 2580 [NMG] + 100 [base value] = 7840 as a standard penetration we always have even if we cant apply Major Fracture (AoE trash or ranged attacks). As the lowest armor value I found was 9.1k, we dont overdue it that was. Sidenote: In this scenario, Spriggan would still be superior as 5160+4000+100 = 9260 so we’re just slightly over the desired value.

    Now with Major Fracture applies, we add 5280 and get 13120. As I said, most mobs do have 12k or lower, so we’re pretty close here. Slightly too much but since we’re also have to deal with 18.2k Mobs from time to time, its okay. 1k over penetration means 2% DPS…still better damage wise than using TBS for example.

    I think this will give experienced players a solid way to do vMSA really fast. It’s also beautiful that you dont rely on proc sets as much.
    Remember that for learning vMSA, I suggest using TBS as you might want some extra HP for that.

     

    Replacements:

    Spoiler:

    For Night Mother’s Gaze:
    (1) Twice Born Star, 5 Medium, Divines Traits, Stamina Enchants
    The save way to run. More HP and both mundus stones apply to your Vigor heals as well.  Craftable.

    (2) Hunding’s Rage: 5 Medium, Divines Traits, Stamina Enchants
    The classic set, Weapon Damage is also great for both – dps and heals. Also you can use Hunding’s Weapons and slot a Monster Set. Craftable.

    (3) Viper String, 5 Medium, Divines Traits, Stamina Enchants
    Procc sets are very good in vMSA. Drops in Fungal Grotto.

    (4) Spriggan’s, 5 Medium, Divines Traits, Stamina Enchants
    As there are quite a few mobs with 9.1k Armor in vMSA, you will find yourself having too much penetration with this setup sometimes. The benefit from Spriggan’s over NMG is that you’ll have the Penetration instantly, without having to procc it and repliably even in AoE situations.  Drops in Stonefalls.

    For Vicious Ophidian:
    It’s almost impossible to replace VO in vMSA. It’s so good it’s hilarious. You can insane sustain and mobility plus very good DPS. It’s just…the best. If you need to replace VO, you have to adjust the build to fit your sustain needs. Most likely you will need to get 1-2 Cost Reduction Glyphs on your Jewelry. I would also use Mephala as it requires you to Heavy Attack which helps to sustain.

    (1) Viper String, 5 Medium, Divines Traits, Stamina Enchants
    Procc sets are very good in vMSA. Drops in Fungal Grotto.

    There are other 5pc sets available with Jewelry and Weapons that also work like Automaton, Briarheart, Poisonous Serpent, Red Mountain that will work.

    (2) 3pc Agility/Endurance + any 2pc: Robust Jewelry, Sharpened Daggers
    Agility has more punch, Endurance more survivability and sustain. I would prefer using a 5pc set, but this one also works. The 2pc weapon set should have +Weapon Damage as bonus. If you cant get that, use a crafted set with +Crit. 

     

    For Velidreth:
    (1) Kra’gh, Medium, Divines, Stamina Enchants
    It also works great, but the 2pc bonus procs very often while running around which means it doesnt hit anything. Great for bosses. Drops in Fungal Grotto I.

    (2) Mephala, Medium, Divines, Stamina Enchants
    Mephala is a great Stamina set as well, just not as strong as Kra’gh/Velidreth. The net is pretty small and you cant cast a new net while the old one is still in place which makes this set only really great in fights with no movement. Drops in Fungal Grotto II.

    (3) 1 Molag Kena, 1 Velidreth, Medium, Divines, Stamina Enchants
    A possible combo to gain some extra Weapon Damage. Kena drops in White Gold Tower, Velidreth drops in Cradle of Shadows.

     

    For Maelstrom Bow:
    (1) Master’s Bow, Sharpened Trait
    It’s still a decent choice considering with my setup, there is no way to incorporate this Weapon Slot in a set bonus. The new DSA offers a CP160 version of this bow. Drops in Veteran Dragonstar Arena.

    (2) Spriggan’s/Vicious Ophidian, Sharpened Trait, Poison Enchant
    If you run Spriggan/Vicious Ophidian Dual Wield, you can use the bow as well. Spriggan’s drops in Bankorai, Vicious Ophidian in AA/HR/SO.

     

    VIII. Skills

    Certain bosses require certain skills, but in general, this works :). I will also list alternatives.

     

     

    This is the skill set I mostly use when playing end game raid content and anything that requires maximum DPS. You need to use Essence of Weapon Damage Potions all the time with this setup.

    Spoiler:

    DUAL WIELD

    Killer’s Blade: [Assassination – Assassin’s Blade] Our main execute skill I use from 25% to 0%. We use it when we dont have to reapply our “execute Dots”.

    Rapid Strikes: [Dual Wield – Flurry] This build’s main spam ability is Rapid Strikes in raids. It proccs the Cruel Flurry Enchant from our Maelstrom Weapons which buffs the next Single Target Dot we apply. We always use it in between dots. It got buffed greatly in this DLC so DPS wise, it’s better than Surprise Attack…which is ok as Rapid Stikes is only damage while Surprise Attack does have way more utility.
    REPLACEMENT: Surprise Attack: [Shadow – Veiled Strike] Without MSA Weapons, I still like Surprise Attack as you get great defence with Shadow Barrier (5280 Armor/Spell Resistance), Major Fracture and 3% more HP. It has a ton of benefits…just not highest DPS anymore.

    Rending Slashes: [Dual Wield – Twin Slashes] It is also a great DOT which you have to keep up all the time. It’s also a really cheap skill which is good for your Stamina Management. Like any DW Skill, it starts getting stronger against targets below 25%.
    REPLACEMENT: Deadly Cloak: [Dual Wield – Blade Cloak] For more defensive encounters and in AoE situations, you gain a lot from Deadly Cloak. Damage is okay but the real gem is 20% reduced AoE Damage.

    Steel Tornado: [Dual Wield – Whirlwind] Not much needs to be said about that. It is THE STRONGEST AoE in the game for Stamina users. It has insane range, making it easy to dance around red circles and still hit every mob in a trash pack. When the enemies are below 25%, the damage really gets out of hands.
    REPLACEMENT: Any Fighter’s Guild or Assassination Skill for the passive 3% Weapon Damage or 2% Crit Chance.

    Relentless Focus: [Assassination – Grim Focus]  8% more damage plus additional Stamina Regeneration. This skill is really valuable. I also love to use the Spectral Bow. It’s basicly damage without having to spend resources and it hits pretty hard now that it deals Disease Damage and scales with Weapon Damage and Stamina.

    Rent: [Dual Wield – Lacerate] Awesome Damage and heals you. As soon as it’s empowered by Cruel Flurry, it does insane DPS
    REPLACEMENT: Soul Harvest: [Assassination – Death Stroke] Vs Trash and bosses with many adds, I use Soul Harvest to gather Ulti really fast and spam Shooting Stars.
    Flawless Dawnbreaker: [Fighters Guild –  Dawnbreaker] 5% more Weapon Damage (+3 from the passive), low cost, high physical damage. The DOT of this ultimate can be buffed by Maelstrom Dual Wield Weapons.

    BOW:

    Rearming Trap: [Fighter’s Guild – Beast Trap] Rearming Trap is the best single target Dot atm. The only weakness is that its stationary so for the full effect, the boss has to stand still. But it’s a must have in every rotation now. It also doesnt consume the cruel flurry buff from Maelstrom Daggers which means you get a free buff then you play the correct rotation.

    Poison Injection: [Bow – Poison Arrow] Another Single Target Dot for our MSA Weapon Rotation. Great DPS especially from 50-0%.

    Endless Hail: [Bow – Volley] Insane AoE Dot that you should also keep up vs Single Target mobs. Especially with a Maelstrom Bow, this becomes super strong. In some situations, you might want the Arrow Barrage because of the higher range but vs Single Target, Endless Hail is superior. Also it’s great that Poison Injection and Endless Hail both have the same duration for optimal weapon swaps.

    Razor Caltrops: Strong Stamina based Dot, huge Area of Effect, super long duration. Keep this buddy up 24/7. Anti-Cavalry Caltrops is actually better vs bosses and in longer fights but since most mobs are dead in less than 30s, I think it’s overall the better morph atm. Only one person can use Caltrops in a specific area. So if you run with multiple Stamina DPS players, you have to decide who’s allowed to use it.
    REPLACEMENT: Bombard [Bow – Arrow Spray] if you need to CC Trash/Adds in vMoL for example or Shadow Silk [Undaunted – Trapping Webs] to give the Alkosh User another Synergy and because it’s actually pretty strong :) Focused Aim [Bow – Snipe] might also be an option sometimes.

    Siphoning Attacks: [Siphoning – Siphoning Strikes] With Rapid Strikes as main spam skill, you will not get a lot of resources back from this in Single Target fights but it is definitely noticeable. In AoE fights, you still gain a good amount of Stamina back thanks to Steel Tornado. It just doesnt procc from DOTs anymore. Still too good to skip most of the times.
    REPLACEMENT: Reaper’s Mark [Assassination – Mark Target] As Rapid Strikes doesnt provide Major Fracture anymore, this can be a source for that debuff. But usually the Tank applies it as well. It also grants a great Heal on kill plus 25% damage boost for 5s.

    Soul Harvest: [Assassination – Death Stroke] While executing, you can use Soul Harvest to boost your final Damage especially if the boss will die before you can get 100 Ultimate for Dawnbreaker. Also you need an Assassination Skill on both bars because of the Hemorrhage passive.
    REPLACEMENT: Shooting Star: [Mage’s Guild – Meteor] Hits very hard and regenerates some Ultimate which is great vs multiple mobs. It’s also fire damage which means in raids, it’s buffed by Engulfing Flames.

     

    ROTATION:

     

    I made a short video to showcase my rotation.

     

    In every rotation, I use Light Attack Weaving for every skill I use, even buffs. I also block cancel or swap cancel the animation of most of my skills.

    1) Buff Relentless Focus, Siphoning Attacks
    2) Razor Caltrops, Essence of Weapon Damage, Endless Hail, Poison Injection, Beast Trap, SWAP
    3) Rapid Strikes, Rend, Rapid Strikes, Rending Slashes, Assassin’s Scourge, Relentless Focus, 1-2 Rapid Strikes (until Poison Injection duration is ~3s remaining), SWAP
    4) Beast Trap, Endless Hail, Poison Injection, SWAP
    5) GoTo 3.

    Keep Relentless Focus and Caltrops up. Always use Rapid Strikes before you reapply your DOTs (Beast Trap doesnt consume the Buff you get from Rapid Strikes (“Cruel Flurry”) but it does benefit from it. That’s why we use Endless Hail between Beast Trap and Poison Injection). Also use Rapid Strikes before you use Rend or Flawless Dawnbreaker. If every Dot is running, you have a little window where you spam 1-2x Rapid Strikes. When your target is below 25%, you use Killer’s Blade in this time window only and dont reapply Rending Slashes. KEEP THE FOLLOWING DOTS UP even when executing: Beast Trap, Endless Hail, Poison Injection.

    This is the skill set that works for people that are not interested in squeezing out the last bit of DPS in 4 player content like undaunted pledges. You dont need to use Weapon Damage Potions with this setup.

    Spoiler:

    DUAL WIELD

    Killer’s Blade: [Assassination – Assassin’s Blade] Our main execute skill I use from 25% to 0%.

    Surprise Attack: [Shadow – Veiled Strike] If you run this setup, you most likely dont have MSA Weapons. Surprise Attack is a superb skill that has great damage, provides Major Fracture and gives you Shadow Barrier (Major Ward and Major Resolve). A perfect allround skill.
    REPLACEMENT: Rapid Strikes[Dual Wield – Flurry] Does more raw damage than Surprise Attack but lacks it’s utility. Use it if you trust your group :)

    Camouflaged Hunter: [Fighter’s Guild – Expert Hunter] Grants 10% crit and 3% extra Weapon Damage. Never activate it.

    Power Extraction: [Siphoning – Drain Power] It now deals Disease Damage, grats Major Brutality and as a Siphoning Ability, you gain Ulti pretty fast. No need for Steel Tornado really if you dont need the last bit of execute DPS.

    Relentless Focus: [Assassination – Grim Focus] 8% more damage plus additional Stamina Regeneration. This skill is really valuable. Use Assassin’s Scourge, rebuff and then swap to bow to reapply Dots. It’s basicly damage without having to spend resources and it hits pretty hard now that it deals Disease Damage and scales with Weapon Damage and Stamina.

    Flawless Dawnbreaker: [Fighters Guild –  Dawnbreaker] 5% more Weapon Damage (+3 from the passive), low cost, high physical damage.
    Rend: [Dual Wield – Lacerate] Awesome Damage and heals you. Just doesnt add the extra 8% Weapon Damage.

    BOW:

    Rearming Trap: [Fighter’s Guild – Beast Trap] Rearming Trap is the best single target Dot atm. The only weakness is that its stationary so for the full effect, the boss has to stand still. But it’s a must have in every rotation now.

    Siphoning Attacks: [Siphoning – Siphoning Strikes] With Surprise Attack as main spam skill, you will a decent amount of resources back from this in Single Target fights. In AoE fights, you basically have infinite Stamina back thanks to Power Extraction. It just doesnt procc from DOTs anymore.
    REPLACEMENT: Reaper’s Mark [Assassination – Mark Target] As You can mark the weakest part of a trash pack to make use of Major Berserk, or use the healing part which is especially helpful when you do solo stuff.

    Poison Injection: [Bow – Poison Arrow] Great DPS especially from 50-0%. I keep it up all the time.

    Endless Hail: [Bow – Volley] Insane AoE Dot that you should also keep up vs Single Target mobs. Especially with a Maelstrom Bow, this becomes super strong. In some situations, you might want the Arrow Barrage because of the higher range but vs Single Target, Endless Hail is superior. Also it’s great that Poison Injection and Endless Hail both have the same duration for optimal weapon swaps.

    Razor Caltrops: Strong Stamina based Dot, huge Area of Effect, super long duration. Keep this buddy up 24/7. Anti-Cavalry Caltrops is actually better vs bosses and in longer fights but since most mobs are dead in less than 30s, I think it’s overall the better morph atm. Only one person can use Caltrops in a specific area. So if you run with multiple Stamina DPS players, you have to decide who’s allowed to use it.
    REPLACEMENT: Acid Spray [Bow – Arrow Spray] if you need to CC Trash/Adds or just want a good Range AoE, use Acid Spray.
    Focused Aim [Bow – Snipe] might also be an option sometimes if you cant melee for some reasons.
    Resolving Vigor: [Assault – Vigor] If you use this setup to roam around, like killing Wrotgar Bosses, having a heal is nice.

    Soul Harvest: [Assassination – Death Stroke] While executing, you can use Soul Harvest to boost your final Damage especially if the boss will die before you can get 100 Ultimate for Dawnbreaker. Also you need an Assassination Skill on both bars because of the Hemorrhage passive.

    Spoiler:

    DUAL WIELD

    Killer’s Blade: [Assassination – Assassin’s Blade] Our main execute skill I use from 25% to 0%. Also a great heal you need.

    Surprise Attack: [Shadow – Veiled Strike] In MSA, you need DPS AND survival. The raw utility of Surprise Attack hugely outweights the superior DPS of Rapid Strikes. You want to use Surprise Attack for Major Fracture, Shadow Barrier and additional HP. Also Surprise Attack proccs Siphoning Attacks which is a big help for your Stamina Management.

    Deadly Cloak: [Dual Wield – Blade Cloak] The benefit of Deadly Cloak is for once the damage reduction for AoE effects but its also a nice AoE damage effect that can be applied before mobs spawn or while moving around, giving you some extra DPS.
    REPLACEMANCE: Ambush: [Assassination – Teleport Strike] Mobility is key in MSA. If you dont have 5x Vicious Ophidian, use this!

    Steel Tornado: [Dual Wield – Whirlwind] I dont use AoE a lot but sometimes, you need it. Dont forget to use Siphoning Attacks before using it.
    REPLACEMANCE: Rending Slashes: [Dual Wield – Twin Slashes] Especially vs bosses, Rending Slashes helps a lot to kill them faster. If you are quick, you can switch to Rending in every boss fight.

    Resolving Vigor: [Assault – Vigor] Our main heal.

    Rend: [Dual Wield – Lacerate] Extremly good ultimate for vMSA. Very long duration Dot + heals you. You can skip Vigor for most bosses due to this. Only use it vs bosses as you usually will kill other stuff faster by using Soul Harvest.

    BOW:

    Razor Caltrops: Only use it if you are Redguard or really experienced whith resource management. If allows you to trigger NMG in AoE situations very reliably.
    REPLACEMENT: Siphoning Attacks: [Siphoning – Siphoning Strikes] You gain a good amount of Stamina back thanks to Steel Tornado and Surprise Attack. Keep it up whenever you need it.

    Poison Injection: [Bow – Poison Arrow] A sick skill to combo with a heavy attack vs a spawning mob and to execute bosses really fast. Can also be a semi good ranged anytimer.

    Endless Hail: [Bow – Volley] Insane AoE Dot that you should also keep up vs Single Target mobs. Especially with a Maelstrom Bow, this becomes super strong. Arrow Barrage has a slightly bigger range so if you dont have a Maelstrom bow, you might be better off using the other morph. Endless Hail has a longer duration which synergizes very well with the Maelstrom Enchant. Also it’s great that Poison Injection and Endless Hail both have the same duration for optimal weapon swaps.

    Rearming Trap: [Fighter’s Guild – Beast Trap] is great to place down on portals and helps a lot to burst dowm bosses. I also nails mobs down so they stay in your Endless Hail for a bit longer.
    REPLACEMENT: Double Take: [Assassination – Blur] I love it, some hate it. I like the evasion part as well as the speed. Some people prefer using a bow dodge roll for speed, I just like to spend Magicka for that. You never need it with 5x Vicious Ophidian.

    Relentless Focus: [Assassination – Grim Focus] 8% more damage plus additional Stamina Regeneration. This skill is really valuable. I also like to use the Spectral Bow whenever I swap to my bow bar and see that it’S ready. It’s basicly damage without having to spend resources and it hits pretty hard now that it deals Disease Damage and scales with Weapon Damage and Stamina.

    Soul Harvest: [Assassination – Death Stroke] MSA has a ton of trash and we want to use our Ultimate pretty frequently. Also a burst option vs many mini bosses to finish them off quickly like Deadroths in Stage 9.
    REPLACEMENT: Soul Tether: [Siphoning – Soul Shred] AoE stun and heals. Pretty good. Stunned targets receive extra damage :)

     

    IX. FAQ

    Here, i want to tackle frequently asked questions I have to answer a lot on a daily base.

    (01) Can I run X skill instead of Y?
    (02) Why do you have more/better/less/worse stats than me?
    (03) How do I get 17k HP? Should I use Prismatic Enchants?
    (04) Why is my damage so low compared to yours? I have the same gear and the same skills!
    (05) Why have you thrown away your maces?
    (06) Why not a sword?
    (07) All Divines? Why not Infused on the big pieces?
    (08) 5/1/1 or 7 Medium?
    (09) Can I play bow as main weapon with this build?
    (10) What about the Viper Set?
    (11) What Addons do you use?
    (12) How much armor does a mob have?
    (13) Why Sharpened weapons? Can I use Precise?
    (14) Why does Penetration offer such a high DPS increase compared to other stats like +Crit Chance?
    (15) What’s the difference between Armor Debuffs and Penetration?
    (16) How do you get away with so low health?
    (17) What 2pc sets can I use to get a +Weapon Damage set bonus?
    (18) What are Jump Points and why should I care?
    (19) Why does Penetration increase my DPS more than other stats?

    Spoiler:

    (1) Can I run X skill instead of Y?
    Sure! My guide is a general framework that works in most cases, but if you feel you need another skill in a certain situation, you can surely swap around stuff and look if it works better for you.

    (2) Why do you have more/better/less/worse stats than me?
    First off, I’m a Redguard, which means I get 10% extra Stamina but no HP bonus like Imperials or +Crit like Khajiit. Also, I have maxed Champion Points. Every Champion Point you spend gives you extra stats (Red= HP, Green = Stamina, Blue = Magicka). My Gear is completely upgraded to legendary.

    (3) How do I get 17k HP? Should I use Prismatic Enchants?
    With maxed CP, you can get 17k with 1 HP Setbonus like TBS or running 5/1/1 with any set that doesnt have a set bonus. Dont use Prismatic Enchants in PvE. They are expensive and only benefical if you have a good use from Magicka, which we dont have in PvE.

    (4) Why is my damage so low compared to yours? I have the same gear and the same skills!
    First off, DPS is a group effort. Check the “optimized group” part of my guide for more details. If you dont have a good team, your DPS will be lower by default. Also, this is my build I practised A TON to play it the way I do. Dont get discouraged if you cant compete with my DPS on the first try…or the first week. Practise your rotation, your light attack weaving and your block canceling. Also learn the encounters you are facing. The better you know the boss you’re fighting, the more you can concentrate on your DPS and less on the environment.

    (5) Why have you thrown away your maces?
    Sharpened got buffed quite a bit in  this DLC so there is no need to run a mace anymore in PvE. Also with a good group, you can stack a ton of Armor Penetration. Third reason is that most mobs do have 18k Armor now which is pretty low.

    (6) Why not a sword?
    Swords do not compare to daggers anymore. With all the Crit Damage Modifiers we have now, 5% extra crit increases our damage more than the 2.5% extra damage you get from swords. In PvP, swords and maces are still better than a dagger because you cant crit on Damage Shields and everyone runs Impenetrable.

    (7) All Divines? Why not Infused on the big pieces?
    While it depends on the Mundus Stone you use, I calculated that for the Shadow, Thief and the Warrior Mundus, Divines gives me more DPS than Infused, even on big parts. Not much else to say.

    (8) 5/1/1 or 7 Medium?
    I prefer 5/1/1 in solo play without TBS. Especially as Imperial, extra Stats are usually pretty good beneficial. Also I really like the additional Armor and Spell Resistance I get from the heavy chest piece. In raids, the extra crit from 7 Medium is usually better.

    (9) Can I play bow as main weapon with this build?
    There are actually quite a few options to run a bow build now. While bow works with the gear I use, It’s not nessessarly the best. This build is designed for melee combat mainly.

    (10) What about the Viper Set?
    The proc doesnt scale with Weapon Damage or Stamina, only Penetration, CP and Crit Damage Modifier. It also only works on Single Targets. Its a good set if you have low DPS as you have a quaranteed dps increase of a fixed value. Lets say you only fight a single target in a mediocre group, then the set is good. Its also great for PvP and vor vMSA as proc sets are really great there. But for PvE DPS, Coat of the Red Mountain outperfoms it.

    Lets do a really basic comparison:

    Viper Tooltip is 6720, RM is 8400

    Now viper benefits from Mighty, so we add 25% = 8400

    Now RM does get mitigated by Spell Resistance, Viper by Armor. So Major Fracture adds 10,56% to Viper = 9109
    With NMG, you could boost the individual proc damage even more. (9456)

    What’s left is the question, how ofter RM really procs as Viper procs are guaranteed.

    In a burst scenario like vMSA, I can see how Viper can outperform RM. But if you use it in a PvE rotation with hail, Injection, Rending and Rapid, I assume it can proc every 2-3s.

    Lets say RM proccs every 3 sec, so in 12s, you get 4x 8400 = 33600
    and Viper proccs 3 times 3x 9109 = 27327 (with NMG 28369)

    Considering this, I would argue Andy S. i right when using Viper instead of RM for vMSA as you will not have all dots to proc RM constantly available there. But overall, I still consider RM to be superior dps wise.

    And in normal PvE, you also have to take AoE into account. If hail / ST hits multiple targets, proccs on cooldown are pretty likely.

    (11) What Addons do you use?
    Here is a Screenshot of my UI with the most important Addons displayed.

    (12) How much armor does a mob have?
    Since One Tamriel, all monsters in dungeons and trials do have 18.2k armor. Trash as well as all bosses. That includes vDSA. Monster in the normal upper world, as well Delves and Public Dungeons, do have 9.1k now. That means for questing, it’s pretty easy to cap penetration by only using Sharpened weapons plus a Major Fracture defuff from Surprise Attack or Reaper’s Mark. vMSA is the only exception to that rule. Mobs there still have individual armor values. Most of them have 12k or less, though. The max is 18.2k as well.

    (13) Why Sharpened weapons? Can I use Precise?
    The DPS increase of Sharpened is almost double the amount a Precise weapon offers and it’s the best way to get penetration. With One Tamriel, we got some great sets with penetration as well but the DPS difference of a Penetration set like Spriggan and a “normal” set like Hundings or TBS is pretty small. So never try to “compensate” Sharpenend weapons because you cant. The only reason not to use Sharpened Weapons is that your raid group already debuffs the target’s armor to a point where you dont need penetration at all anymore.

    (14) Why does Penetration offer such a high DPS increase compared to other stats like +Crit Chance?
    Did you ever think about why stats are the way they are in ESO? Why a Weapon Damage set bonus gives more DPS than a Stamina set bonus for example or in this case, why Penetration is better than Crit?
    It’s fairly simple from a developer point of view. If you compare Stamina with Weapon Damage: Weapon Damage only buffs your damage, while Stamina buffs your damage AND gives you a higher stats pool which allows you to fight longer AND has defensive uses (Block/Dodge). So if Stam and Weapon Damage set bonuses would give the same amount of DPS, Stamina would be superior as it has added benefits.

    Penetration is a even more complex thing. While Stam/WD do buff your defense as your heals with Vigor are also increased for example, Penetration doesnt have a defensive part. Its “just” offense. And it has a HARD CAP, which means you cant stack it infinitely like Stam/WD.

    Crit also has a hard cap, but it’s way harder to reach than Penetration. Also, like Stam/WD, crit buffs your defense and has great synergies in groups while Penetration is usually worse in groups because of additional armor debuff effects like Minor Fracture or support sets.

    So its only natural that from all damage increasing components, Penetration has the highest amount of restrictions and therefor grants the highest DPS bonus.

    (15) What’s the difference between Armor Debuffs and Penetration?
    Armor Debuffs do reduce the target’s armor, which means everyone who hits that target does more damage. Penetration only works for yourself.
    Armor Debuffs apply BEFORE percentage based penetration is calculated, so if you run a mace (10% penetration), it doesnt penetrate 10% of the targets real armor but 10% of (Armor – Armor Debuffs).

    Examples of Armor Debuffs: Major/Minor Fracture, Crushing, 5p Alkosh bonus, 5p Night Mother’s Gaze bonus, 5p Sunderflame bonus
    Examples of Penetration: Sharpened weapons, 1p Kra’gh bonus, 5p Spriggan bonus

    (16) How do you get away with so low health?
    Ebon Armor and constant Warhorn in a raid group helps a lot, especially if you dont run TBS or a monster set with +HP bonus. Other than that, it’s a ton of practise and knowing when you have to be careful. The better you understand a mechanic, the less HP you need as you usually die because of bad positioning or other small errors in your play.

    (17) What 2pc sets can I use to get a +Weapon Damage set bonus?
    Twice Fanged Serpent (Sanctum Ophidia), Fjords Legacy (Eastmarch), Lekis, Morag Tong (Cyrodill), Red Mountain (Stonefalls), Shadow Walker (Cyrodill), Affliction (Cyrodill), Veiled Heritance (Auridon), Dreugh King Slayer (Fungual Grotto), Seventh Legion Brute (Bankorai), Way of Fire (Craglorn)
    (stolen list from @mrowmrif2)

    (18) What are Jump Points and why should I care?
    Jump Points are a certain number of points into the Precise Strikes or Elfborn. At those Jump Points only, you will see a real increase of your crit damage. That is because ESO rounds in every case to two decimal places (X.xx) and the final result – the outgoing damage, must always be a full number (you hit for 2000, not 2000.32). So in reality, you only benefit from Precise Strikes when using one of those Jump Points:

    0 1 2 4 7 9 12 15 18 22 26 29 33 38 42 46 51 56 61 66 71 76 81 87 92 98

    (19) Why does Penetration increase my DPS more than other stats?
    Did you ever think about why stats are the way they are in ESO? Why a Weapon Damage Setbonus gives more DPS than a Stamina Setbonus for example or in this case, why Penetration is better than crit?

    It’s fairly simple from a developer point of view. If you compare Stamina with Weapon Damage: Weapon Damage only buffs your Damage, while Stamina buffs your Damage AND gives you a higher Stats Pool which allows you to fight longer AND has more defensive uses (Block/Dodge). So if Stam and Weapon Damage Set boni would give the same amount of DPS, Stamina would be superior as it has added benefits.

    Penetration is a even more complex thing. While Stam/WD do buff your defense as your heals with Vigor are also increased for example, Penetration doesnt have a defensive part. Its “just” offense. And it has a HARD CAP, which means you cant stack it infinitely like Stam/WD.

    Crit also has a hard cap, but it’s way harder to reach than Penetration. Also, like Stam/WD, crit also buffs your defense and has great synergies in groups.

    So its only natural that from all damage increasing components, Penetration has the highest amount of restrictions and therefor grants the highest DPS bonus.

     

    X. LEVELING CHAMPION

    Since many players want tips to level up their Nightblades, I give you some general hints for that. Note that this guide is mainly focused on end game PvE so I will not go into too much detail here:

    Spoiler:

    Gear
    Always use 5 Medium, 1 Light and 1 Heavy to level up all Armor classes. If you craft the gear, use training on the heavy chest and light belt. I suggest using 5x Hunding’s Rage and 4 Night Mother’s Gaze.

    Skills
    I highly recommend leveling all weapon lines and all skills at least to be able to morph them. You might need them in the future. It’s a pain sometimes when leveling but it pays off in the end.

    I suggest a skill setup like this:
    DW: Killer’s Blade, Surprise Attack, Power Extraction, Reaper’s Mark, Evil Hunter, Soul Harvest
    Bow: Siphoning Attacks, Double Take, Venom Arrow, Bombard, Relentless Focus, Soul Tether

    Tricks
    Healing via Killing: while we have limited options to heal directly in combat, we have strong “heal on kill” mechanics we can use to effectively kill groups of mobs. Mark the weakest mob in a group with Reaper’s Mark and start fighting. When you feel like you need healing, focus this mob down with Surprise Attack + Killer’s Blade. As soon as he dies, your HP will be full again. Then you can mark another target that is about to die.

    Avoid damage: Stamina Nightblades are not heavy armored and we often cant just run into a group of mobs and brute force them down. We have a ton of tactical advantages. With Blur and it’s morphs, we can avoid 20% of incoming damage completely. Also we have Dark Shades or Mass Hysteria to reduce the damage of a mob by 15%. That’s cool already.

    But how about avoiding 100%? Welcome to kiting! With a Bow, you can kite single mobs with Mangum Shot and groups of mobs with Bombard as long as you have Stamina. Nice combo: Bombard and Steel Tornado. Steel Tornado does additional damage to rooted targets and it has a huge range. So you can run away from slowed mobs and still hit them with Steel Tornado. If they are about to catch you, Bombard again and run while spamming Steel Tornado. Also works nicely with Siphoning Attacks. As soon as you have Caltrops. you can use that instead of Bombard. You can also increase your Movement Speed with Double Take or the Hasty Retreat passive from the bow line.

    Block and Dodge: Besides kiting, blocking and dodging heavy hitting attacks is really the key to survive. Whenever you block a heavy attack, make sure to to a heavy attack yourself to knock the opponent down. It doesnt have to be fully charged. Just keep the button pressed for a second and use a skill (Medium Attack Weaving).

    Open with a sneak attack on single targets: A fully charged heavy attack from sneak and while you are behind a target does insane damage (2.5x normal damage) and stuns the mob. Most of the time, that gives you a substantial advantage. Also works with a bow heavy attack btw.

    Adapt to your situation: If a mob or group is difficult, swap skills to counter them specifically.

     

    XI. DPS Screens

    Maw of Lorkhaj – Zhaj’hassa the Forgotten: 52,4k in 2:55 min

     

    Maw of Lorkhay – S’kinrai & Vashai: 45,2k in 4:50 min

     

    Maw of Lorkhay – Rhakkat: 50,7k in 5:50 min

     

    Regular Daily – Spindlecluth – Vorenor Winterbourne: 49,4k in 70s

     

    XII. Theorycraft

     

    Set comparison for One Tamriel

    Spoiler:

    This is for solo/small group content as it does not take into account group buffs and armor debuffs. In group scenarios, TBS and Leviathan will perform better. But if you look closely, all sets are very similar in terms of damage.

    Khajiit vs Redguard (Khajiit wins in terms of raw damage)

    Spoiler:

    Updated for 1Tamriel. If you run into sustain issues, Redguard is the better choice.

    khajiit vs Redguard

    Stackable Armor Debuff/Penetration Effects

    Spoiler:

    Sunderflame, Night Mother’s Gaze, Alkosh, Crushing Glyphe as well as Minor and Major Fracture are Armor Debuff Effects and affect the DPS of the whole raid, while things like Sharpened or Concentration (Light Armor passive) are considered Penetration Effects and only count for yourself.

    Stackable Penetration Effects

    Rapid Strikes vs Surprise Attack

    Spoiler:

    Theory Theory Rapid Strikes vs Surprise Attack

    Parse at Blood Spawn
    1 Skill Spam with Buff Food and Potions until I was out of Stamina.
    (Interesting: Rapid Strikes doesnt proc Twin Blade and Blunt Bleed)
    Blood Spawn Parse

    Armor Values on vMSA bosses

    Spoiler:

    I tested this by using the 2h Ultimate which adds the targets armor to your armor value.

     

    Dagger vs Sword vs Mace (Dagger wins)

    Spoiler:

    A basic comparison between the weapon types. The more Armor Debuffs are applied, the worse Maces get because Armor Debuffs get substracted before the % based penetration of Maces apply.

     

    How Dots work

    Spoiler:

    What that means:

    • Second bar trait IS IMPORTANT as Penetration carries over from the bar you are on when the dots hit the target. So your dots will do more damage from a sharpened bow compared to another trait even on the dual wield bar.
    • Swap Canceling Poison Injection means the “Impact Bar” of Poison Injection is Dual Wield, which increases your dot damage for the whole duration.
    • If you cast a Beast Trap on your Bow bar but it activates on the DW bar, DW is the Impact bar.
    • If you cast a Poison Injection while Warhorn ran out and Warhorn gets applied afterwards, dot damage of PI will not increase.
    • This topic was modified 7 months ago by Profile photo of Jeckll Jeckll.

    Player: @Jeckll || Guild: Chimaira – Raidgroup Hydra || Server: EU

  2. Member Avatar
    Asdk

    Novice

    Total Posts: 14

    Imperial Dragonknight

    I will follow this guide carefully as the previous ones.

     

    Build recommended 100% ^^

  3. Member Avatar
    LeafErickson

    Journeyman

    Total Posts: 90

    Khajiit Nightblade

    I just finished reading the guide and it looks really solid. I just wanted to say that your previous guide made me. Before I read it I was terrible at the game. I’m sure many people are also like me in the fact that before they learned from your genius they were just as lost as I was. Don’t underestimate the power of your guides Jeckll. Many people like me take your word like it is God himself speaking to us. You are just lucky you are EU or you would get whispers from me all the time asking about this and that. Anyways, looks like it’s time for me to go farm my least favorite dungeon.

  4. Member Avatar
    LeafErickson

    Journeyman

    Total Posts: 90

    Khajiit Nightblade

    I personally have not tested it, but I would think that running the Pact’s Axe for a replacement for the Maelstrom daggers would be better than running the Leki’s daggers. And then maybe if you don’t have Mephala’s yet you could run Hunding’s on the head and shoulders and make your offhand another Hunding’s piece with the Pact’s Axe.

  5. Member Avatar
    LeafErickson

    Journeyman

    Total Posts: 90

    Khajiit Nightblade

    Also have you given any thought to infused Maelstrom weapons? Is precise still better?

  6. Profile Photo
    Rhyxus

    Apprentice

    Total Posts: 28

    Khajiit Nightblade

    Great guide, coming back to ESO and this is what i was looking for.

    One question: how much dps loss we are talking about if don’t choose the optimal races? (i’m bosmer)

  7. Profile Photo
    Jeckll

    Grandmaster

    Total Posts: 2434

    Redguard Nightblade

    LeafErickson said on June 11, 2016 :

    I personally have not tested it, but I would think that running the Pact’s Axe for a replacement for the Maelstrom daggers would be better than running the Leki’s daggers. And then maybe if you don’t have Mephala’s yet you could run Hunding’s on the head and shoulders and make your offhand another Hunding’s piece with the Pact’s Axe.

    Thanks for your kind words!

    I forgot to add the Axe yesterday. I’m sure I forgot some other stuff as well. This is my first guide I wrote in one sitting as I couldnt find the time so prewrite it like I did with the previous ones. I added it to the list.

    I didnt see an infused msa weapon, yet and I think they changed s.th. with Infused as well. Would have to see one to judge.

    thx again.

     

    Rhyxus said on June 11, 2016 :

    Great guide, coming back to ESO and this iswhat i was looking for.

    One question: how much dps loss we are talking about if don’t choose the optimal races? (i’mbosmer)

    As Bosmer, you have a great PvP race. In PvE, you will miss about 2-3k Stamina compared to me which actually in not too big of a deal. Out of the blue, I’d say 3-5%.

    Player: @Jeckll || Guild: Chimaira – Raidgroup Hydra || Server: EU

  8. Member Avatar
    Latin

    Moderator

    Total Posts: 1111

    Imperial

    Nice update, thank you for sharing.

    e pluribus unum

  9. Profile Photo
    Jeckll

    Grandmaster

    Total Posts: 2434

    Redguard Nightblade

    To get a better idea of the rotation, I added a test video:

     

    Player: @Jeckll || Guild: Chimaira – Raidgroup Hydra || Server: EU

  10. Profile Photo
    mertosi

    Scamp

    Total Posts: 4

    Imperial Nightblade

    Which item set(5x) do you suggest for solo play(undaunted pledges)?

    As far as i understand: 2xMephala, 2xLeki Daggers Sharpened(wd and poison enchant), 3xAgility, 5x=? HR,NMG or TBS

    And thank you again for awesome build. I should say for previous build; my family has been here a long long time ..

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 3 months ago by Profile photo of mertosi mertosi.

    For the Pact!

  11. Member Avatar
    LeafErickson

    Journeyman

    Total Posts: 90

    Khajiit Nightblade

    Jeckll said on June 11, 2016 :

    LeafErickson said on June 11, 2016 :

    I personally have not tested it, but I would think that running the Pact’s Axe for a replacement for the Maelstrom daggers would be better than running the Leki’s daggers. And then maybe if you don’t have Mephala’s yet you could run Hunding’s on the head and shoulders and make your offhand another Hunding’s piece with the Pact’s Axe.

    Thanks for your kind words!

    I forgot to add the Axe yesterday. I’m sure I forgot some other stuff as well. This is my first guide I wrote in one sitting as I couldnt find the time so prewrite it like I did with the previous ones. I added it to the list.

    I didnt see an infused msa weapon, yet and I think they changed s.th. with Infused as well. Would have to see one to judge.

    thx again.

    Rhyxus said on June 11, 2016 :

    Great guide, coming back to ESO and this iswhat i was looking for.

    One question: how much dps loss we are talking about if don’t choose the optimal races? (i’mbosmer)

    As Bosmer, you have a great PvP race. In PvE, you willmiss about 2-3k Stamina compared to me which actually in not too big of a deal. Out of the blue, I’d say 3-5%.

    The infused weapons do exist. I myself have received an infused resto staff from the weekly and I saw someone link an infused dagger in one of the guilds I am in. It does what you expect it to do, which is it increases the enchant by 20%. Here is a screenshot I just took today comparing an infused one with a non infused one:

  12. Member Avatar
    redvic96

    Apprentice

    Total Posts: 43

    I made a very similar build and posted my last boss SO dps a few days ago and I must say it works very well. Have you taken a look at the weapon power glyph o  the vengeance leach axe or the crusher glyph on the pacts 2h? If not I recommend doing so :)

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    xBlackroxe

    Master

    Total Posts: 706

    Dunmer Nightblade

    redvic96 said on June 12, 2016 :

    I made a very similar build and posted my last boss SO dps a few days ago and I must say it works very well. Have you taken a look at the weapon power glyph o the vengeance leach axe or the crusher glyph on the pacts 2h? If not I recommend doing so

    3k more Weapondamage on DoTs is still better than ~1k for everything. And with all debuffs in raid groups you dont need more debuff. And even then I´d say Bow is still better on offbar.

     

    Chars: -Blackroxe (Dunmer Sorcerer)

    Scores (One Tamriel): vDSA 47.683, vMOL 163.308, vSO 171.353, vHRC 154.149

    Guild: HODOR

  14. Profile Photo
    Jeckll

    Grandmaster

    Total Posts: 2434

    Redguard Nightblade

    LeafErickson said on June 12, 2016 :

    The infused weapons do exist.

    So it would be like 600 extra Weapon Damage on Dots and you would probably have to use Infused on both slots. Compared to sharpened which increases your damage by 5.16% each, that sounds like a bad trade. But I would have to see and try it myself.

     

    redvic96 said on June 12, 2016 :

    I made a very similar build and posted my last boss SO dps a few days ago and I must say it works very well. Have you taken a look at the weapon power glyph o the vengeance leach axe or the crusher glyph on the pacts 2h? If not I recommend doing so

    I listed the axe as alternative if you dont have MSA Weapons. 1k extra Weapon Damage doesnt compare to 3k on Dot plus the axe bleed is inferior to the dagger crit especially if the bleed is not boosted by Cruel Flurry.

    2h in itself is such a great dps lost compared to a Maelstrom Bow that I would basically never consider swapping. As I wrote, in a good group the Armor of every boss is basically zero already, so this Glyph of the pact’s 2h isnt that interesting.

    In my last Serpent Hardmode on Vet, I did 33k in a 10:20 min encounter when I had to fight the lamia. How much did you do with your setup?

    Thanks for contributing!

    Player: @Jeckll || Guild: Chimaira – Raidgroup Hydra || Server: EU

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    xBlackroxe

    Master

    Total Posts: 706

    Dunmer Nightblade

    I do think an infused Maelstrom Bow will be BiS as you dont need crit or anything really on the backbar.

    As for using an axe. I´ve seen the bleed of the axe tick for more than Rending Slashes DoT. So I do think axe+dagger can be better than 2xdagger.

    Chars: -Blackroxe (Dunmer Sorcerer)

    Scores (One Tamriel): vDSA 47.683, vMOL 163.308, vSO 171.353, vHRC 154.149

    Guild: HODOR

  16. Member Avatar
    steve051779

    Novice

    Total Posts: 15

    What if you solo play or pug undaunted? 5 Night Mother’s (or Hundings?)?

    No PVP guide? Or is there so many different types of builds to run these days that it varies?

    Thanks,

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    bodidharma99

    Journeyman

    Total Posts: 92

    Khajiit Nightblade

    i dont see why you would use snipe. If i need to range dps with my bow i always charge an heavy attack and cancel it with poison injection and it does “the same amount of damage” + there is no casting time so your never moving slowly. well snipe might be good to debuff the target and buff your range but do you use it as spam ability?

    gamertag: bodidharma99

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    xBlackroxe

    Master

    Total Posts: 706

    Dunmer Nightblade

    bodidharma99 said on June 12, 2016 :

    i dont see why you would use snipe. If i need to range dps with my bow i always charge an heavy attack and cancel it with poison injection and it does “the same amount of damage” + there is no casting time so your never moving slowly. well snipe might be good to debuff the target and buff your range but do you use it as spam ability?

    Well you are not right, while charging a heavy attack you still walk slow and if you use Snipe you can still have the PI DoT up.

    Also Snipe isn´t really a spam ability its just for the times you just have to get away from the boss, which tbh doesn´t happen often/ever :P

     

    Chars: -Blackroxe (Dunmer Sorcerer)

    Scores (One Tamriel): vDSA 47.683, vMOL 163.308, vSO 171.353, vHRC 154.149

    Guild: HODOR

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    bodidharma99

    Journeyman

    Total Posts: 92

    Khajiit Nightblade

    well you move slowly for .3 sec instead of 1.3 and u recover some stam cuz ofheavy attack and siphoning strike +reapply PI dot…anyway i just never find myself using snipe cuz i find it risky of getting over a red circle while i cast it.

    gamertag: bodidharma99

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    Jeckll

    Grandmaster

    Total Posts: 2434

    Redguard Nightblade

    bodidharma99 said on June 12, 2016 :

    i dont see why you would use snipe. If i need to range dps with my bow i always charge an heavy attack and cancel it with poison injection and it does “the same amount of damage” + there is no casting time so your never moving slowly. well snipe might be good to debuff the target and buff your range but do you use it as spam ability?

    You can use Snipe in certain situations to give your group access to Minor Fracture which is a very rare debuff. Also Snipe does more than Heavy Attack + Poison Injection spam as the main DPS from Poison Injection is the Dot, not the initial hit. So it does not qualify for a skill you should spam. It’s also only a Replacement-Slot which you will have to fill in quite rarely given that I gave you 2 other options.

     

     

    steve051779 said on June 12, 2016 :

    What if you solo play or pug undaunted? 5 Night Mother’s (or Hundings?)?

    No PVP guide? Or is there so many different types of builds to run these days that it varies?

    Thanks,

    I dont play PvP anymore so I dont feel qualified to give advice on the current meta in Cyrodiil.

     

    xBlackroxe said on June 12, 2016 :

    I do think an infused Maelstrom Bow will be BiS as you dont need crit or anything really on the backbar.

    As for using an axe. I´ve seen the bleed of the axe tick for more than Rending Slashes DoT. So I do think axe+dagger can be better than 2xdagger.

    Axe is pretty much a  situational thing. It is BiS for DKs, as they have a lower Crit Damage Modifier. With the way Warhorn works, Crit gets better and better with stacked crit damage. I got better results with 2 Daggers when raiding. The Axe bleed also is a Single Target benefit that diminishes the more adds you have to face as Steel Tornado doesnt procc it.

    Much like Skoria, its benefical to run if face a Single Target only encounter but as a general advice, 2 Daggers will give you a greater benefit in my experience.

    Player: @Jeckll || Guild: Chimaira – Raidgroup Hydra || Server: EU

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