Tamriel Foundry

Alanarre's ShockKnight PVE DK DPS (Update 12 Ready)

Change Log

10/10/16 - Added parse images.

 

Overview

The goal of this build is to absolutely max out the damage of a lightning staff heavy attack. Since it's difficult to compete with stamina builds on single target damage, this build instead focuses on insane AOE damage, with side effects of amazing durability, infinite sustain, and significant group dps buffs.

 

Class

To run this build effectively you have to be a Dragonknight, that 40% damage increase from Molten Armaments is impossible to replace.

 

Race

Ideal would likely be an Altmer with an honorable mention for Dunmer, looking primarily for the Max Magicka and Shock Damage boosts. On the other hand, it’s effective with any race. I run it on an Imperial and it works great.

 

Attribute Points

All in Max Magicka

 

Vampire / Werewolf

I like being a vampire for this build. The extra regen is great and the sneak speed can be helpful in some circumstances, but the big advantage is the up to 33% damage reduction from Undeath. This reduction applies to damage shields, so if your health gets low and you get a shield up, that shield is effectively up to 33% stronger. This is offset a bit by the extra vulnerability to fire, but in most cases gives added resilience.

 

Gear

5x Infallible Aether

5x Sergeant’s Mail

1x Charged destruction staff with lightning enchant

1x Sharpened Maelstrom Lightning Staff

 

Infallible Aether drops in Aetherian Archive, Hel Ra Citadel, and Sanctum Ophidia, with an increased chance on veteran difficulty.

Sergeant’s Mail drops in Wayrest Sewers or can be purchased in Vlastarus for Alliance Points

 

For best outcomes, run Sergeant’s Mail in jewelry, chest, and one more big piece (head, shoulders, legs, or feet). That way, you’ll get the most armor and still have 5L2H. That means you need 5x Infallible Aether all in armor pieces, no jewelry allowed.

 

All armor should be divines with Max Magicka enchants, Spell Power enchants on the jewelry.

 

If you don’t have a Sharpened Maelstrom lightning staff, run either a different Maelstrom lightning staff or any Sharpened lightning staff. Damage will be a bit less, but still amazing.

 

Second staff can be any element and any set, but must be a destruction staff, must be Charged, and must have a Lightning Glyph.

 

Skills

Maelstrom bar

Stalwart Guard - many Magicka dps builds run Rearming or Lightweight Trap to get that critical Minor Force buff. In this case, the extra durability from Sergeant’s Mail makes it practical to guard another Magicka dps, giving both perpetual Minor Force.

Dampen Magicka - since we don’t really need to worry about sustain, choose the morph with more damage. With 100 points in Bastion, this should give you a 17-18k shield. Pop it after every lightning channel when things get dangerous.

Molten Armaments - the 40% buff to heavy attacks here is critical, as well as the 20% increase to Spell Power. Keep this up 100% of the time.

Elemental Blockade - with a Maelstrom staff, this adds damage to every heavy tick and also sets concussed enemies off-balance, which is critically important (see Concussed / Off-Balance section below).

Inner Light - standard Magicka fare, increase your Max Magicka, increase your damage

Shooting Star - I like this morph better than Ice Comet since you’ll often have a DK running Engulfing Flames, so the extra fire damage and Ultimate return is nice. However, this is not a flame build, so either morph works great.

 

Charged bar

Stalwart Guard - keep this on both bars so it doesn’t drop when you swap

4x Flex Spots - I’ll often run chains,burning embers (for self heals), deep breath / crushing shock (for interrupts), eruption / flames of oblivion (for extra damage). Can also run Inner Light on this bar if you have the space.

Standard of Might - extra 20% damage done, reduced 20% dave taken. Hard to beat.

 

Champion Points

The Serpent

Magicka Cost - 100 points

Magicka Regen - 70 points

Heavy Attack Return - 17 points

 

The Mage

Elemental Expert - 100

Thaumaturge - 75

Staff Expert - 10

Elfborn - 1

Spell Penetration - 1

 

The Warrior

Bastion - 100

Hardy - 43

Elemental Defender - 43

Think Skinned - 1

 

The mage points are the most optimized though there is likely room for improvement. Elemental Expert is the most important since it increasing both the base damage of a lightning attack and the splash damage from the Tri-Focus passive. The 75 points in Thaumaturge are to get the Exploiter passive for 10% extra damage against enemies that are Off-Balance.

 

Haven't calculated an exact balance between heavy attack return and Magicka regen, but i’m guessing that for this build having at least a few points in heavy return is worthwhile.

 

Food

Standard Max Health and Max Magicka is still best. With the health and armor boosts from Sergeant's Mail, you could actually get away with green Max Magicka food for absolutely maximum dps, but in most cases the extra durability is still worth the slight decrease in Max Magicka.

 

Potions

Since the main filler for this build restores Magicka, you can do most content just fine with no potions or with simple dropped Magicka potions. For serious end-game content, nothing works better than tri-pots. 

 

Rotation

The rotation with this build is pretty simple. First, find someone to Guard and Guard them. Second, keep Molten Armaments up. Third, cast Elemental Blockade on the Maelstrom staff, swap to the Charged staff, hit the enemy with a weapon attack (Light attack, medium attack, or weapon ability) to proc the lightning enchant, swap back to the Maelstrom staff and do two full heavy channels, then start back with another Elemental Blockade. That's the full rotation, works for both single target and AOE.

 

Concussed / Off-Balance

To get the absolute highest DPS from this build, you have to understand the Concussed and Off-Balance status effects. Most lightning damage attacks have a chance to make an enemy Concussed, but a lightning damage glyph has the highest chance at 20%. The destruction staff passives increase this to 40%, and a gold charged trait in a destruction staff increases the chance to 84%, which means it will proc most of the time.

 

One an enemy is Concussed, Lightning Wall of Elements will set the Off-Balance. Your goal is to keep enemies Off-Balance as much as possible. While an enemy is Off-Balance, they take something like 40% extra damage from heavy attack, 15% extra damage from bow and dual wield attacks, and 10% extra damage from anyone with the Exploiter passive. For a typical trials group, this comes together as 5-15% extra damage while the enemy is Off-Balance. If your group typically does 200k, that’s an extra 10-30k groups DPS, just by setting the opponent Off-Balance.

 

In an AOE setting, if you can set one target Off-Balance and then channel heavy attacks on that target, all of the other nearby enemies will also take increased damage. Under ideal circumstances, direct damage can get as high as 30k per tick and secondary damage can get to 40k per tick per target, which is how total AOE damage can spike over 100-200k DPS. Secondary damage does depend on proximity, so more damage the closer hey are to the primary target. The highest I’ve seen sustained is about 66k over a long fight (the gauntlet in vMoL).

 

Parses

http://imgur.com/FKZHx1e

http://imgur.com/lK7m9xQ

http://imgur.com/5Gl9No6

http://imgur.com/6Tu6Qc0

I don't have fully optimized gear yet, this was with one infused piece instead of divines, and with a precise maelstrom staff instead of sharpened. Also this run was before One Tamriel, so 531 CP instead of 561.

None of these were ideal fights, under better circumstances and with more practice I expect to get up to 35-40k on the single-target fights and 65-70k on the long AOE fights.

 

Maelstrom Arena

For Maelstrom, I use the same build as general PVE, with a few changes to the skills. My highest score so far is 515k, which is top 70 or so on PC NA.

 

Maelstrom bar

Replace Stalwart Guard with Dragonscale Wings, since Maelstrom is solo, there’s no one to guard.

 

Charged bar

Eruption, Burning Embers, Crushing Shock, Rearming Trap, Flames of Oblivion, Standard of Might

 

Put down trap, eruption, and flames when you have a chance for extra damage, use burning embers when you need a heal, crushing shock for interrupts, and normal rotation in between. For the ninth Arena, swap both ultimates for Magma Armor.

 

PVP 

In a PVP setting, this build excels in group play, the larger the better. When I go into PVP, I typically use the same gear, champion points, and skills as in Maelstrom Arena.

 

Most players in PVP run impenetrable, but for this build, I depend mostly on shields (can’t be crit), and on staying at maximum range. As a result you hit hard and have decent durability, but you’re not a tank, so don’t try to play like one.

 

Acknowledgments

Thanks to @Asayre for help with the formulas for heavy attack damage. Thanks to @pretzl and @Nosferatuzod for inspiration from their great magdk builds. Thanks to @Toast_STS for the tip to try Sergeant's Mail. And finally thanks to the wonderful folks in STD that let me try out crazy builds in competitive trials runs.

About Alanarre:

Alanarre hasn't shared anything about themselves.

92 Replies
  1. #1

    kwin

    Member56 Posts

    nice build

     

    maybe you would preferred to found a sergeant mail or aether charged lightning staff

    to include 1PC molag kena to boost a bit your spell damage and increase the power of your staff attack...also you can either go for 5/1/1 if you found sergant staff (not sure they are in the game in update12?)

     

    also sergeant's jewelry come only on healthy right? is the 5PC from this set would outDPS all the other option more magicka oriented?

  2. #2

    Alanarre

    Member125 Posts
    kwin wrote on October 5, 2016

    nice build

    maybe you wouldpreferred to found a sergeant mail or aether charged lightning staff

    to include 1PC molag kena to boost a bit your spell damage and increase the power of your staff attack…also you can either go for 5/1/1 if you found sergant staff (not sure they arein the game in update12?)

    also sergeant’s jewelry come only on healthy right? is the 5PC from this set would outDPS all the other option more magicka oriented?

    I've thought about a charged set staff. Whether that would work depends a lot on the rotation, if your main heavy attack spam is on a sharpened maelstrom staff, than you have to have both 5-piece sets in body/jewelry, since you need both bonuses active for the heavy attacks.

    Yep, Sergeant's only comes in heavy/healthy jewelry, but it's still a solid 20% increase in DPS over Elegance, which is probably the second best set for this build. Having health like a tank with a max dps build is just a nice bonus.

     

  3. #3

    zbzszzzt123

    Member92 Posts

    About screenshot, just put it on imgur and drag the image onto your post

  4. #4

    tkviking2

    Member214 Posts

    Did you try replacing Sergants Mail with the Elegance Set? Also, i think you might benefit from moving some of the points in Elemental Expert into Staff Mastery - the last 20 points up to 100 have really high diminishing return

  5. #5

    tkviking2

    Member214 Posts

    Some other ideas:

    Try replacing Sergants Mail with Elf Bane - this gives you 2 extra seconds on all your fire DOT and more raw damage output on the staff too (+2 x spell power). It will likely allow you to keep up Eruption, Burning Embers, Flames of Oblion and Engulfing Flames from the Charged bar without losing much time bar swapping (you could just spam them every 12 seconds without weaving attacks).

    No matter what, I think you should be able to keep Eruption going - a bar swap every 18 seconds should be fine (you can always bar swap cancel the cast)

    Very interesting build...

  6. #6

    Alanarre

    Member125 Posts
    tkviking2 wrote on October 6, 2016

    Did you try replacing Sergants Mail with the Elegance Set? Also, i think you might benefit from moving some of the points in Elemental Expert into Staff Mastery – the last 20 points up to 100 have really high diminishing return

    I ran Elegance instead of Sergeant's Mail for several months and it worked great, but was really only viable in AOE scenarios. Swapping to Sergeant's Mail brought up the damage of the heavy attack channel enough to replace my single target rotation as well.

    There's probably some room for optimization between Elemental Expert and Staff Expert, but less than you'd expect. Because the Tri-Focus destruction staff passive scales off of Elemental Expert as well as the base staff damage, Elemental Expert actually counts twice for AOE damage. Also, the final Shock Pulse tick of the heavy attack channel doesn't actually use Staff Expert or Thaumaturge, so those a slightly less valuable than you'd expect.

  7. #7

    Alanarre

    Member125 Posts
    tkviking2 wrote on October 6, 2016

    Some other ideas:

    Try replacing Sergants Mail with Elf Bane – this gives you 2 extra seconds on all your fire DOT and more raw damage output on the staff too (+2 x spell power). It will likelyallow you to keep up Eruption, Burning Embers, Flames of Oblion and Engulfing Flames from the Charged bar without losing much time bar swapping (you could just spam them every 12 seconds without weaving attacks).

    No matter what, I think you should be able to keep Eruption going – a bar swap every 18 seconds should be fine (you can always bar swap cancel the cast)

    Very interesting build…

    Elf Bane is an interesting set for MagDK and could be the basis for a powerful flame mage build, but that would be a different build, and wouldn't give the insane AOE or infinite sustain that this build does.

    For Eruption / Flames of Oblivion, the damage per cast is quite high, and I'm practicing working those into my rotation, but the trade-off is tricky. Even if it only replaces one heavy attack tick, that's 10-30k damage, and eruption won't always do more than that for fights that move a lot. Flames seems to be a more natural damage increase and because it's not targeted, I can fit that into the rotation with essentially no lost time, so that seems like a clear win.

     

     

  8. #8

    Valrien

    Member785 Posts
    Alanarre wrote on October 5, 2016

    kwin said on October 5, 2016 :

    nice build

    maybe you wouldpreferred to found a sergeant mail or aether charged lightning staff

    to include 1PC molag kena to boost a bit your spell damage and increase the power of your staff attack…also you can either go for 5/1/1 if you found sergant staff (not sure they arein the game in update12?)

    also sergeant’s jewelry come only on healthy right? is the 5PC from this set would outDPS all the other option more magicka oriented?

    I’ve thought about a charged set staff. Whether that would work depends a lot on the rotation, if your mainheavy attack spam is ona sharpened maelstrom staff, than you have to have both 5-piece sets in body/jewelry, since you need both bonuses active for the heavy attacks.

    Yep, Sergeant’s only comes in heavy/healthy jewelry, but it’s still a solid 20% increase in DPS over Elegance, which is probably the second best setfor this build. Having health like a tank with a max dps build is just a nice bonus.

    The Maelstrom buff stays even when you leave the bar as long as the bar on which you cast Wall of Elements had the staff on it. A set staff would be more beneficial to your build as you could use a 1-piece Magicka or Spell Damage monster set and allow you to use 5/1/1 for 2% more magicka with pretty much no drawbacks.

    Characters: Valrien Dravic (Dunmer Magicka Sorcerer)

    Scores: vMA (499,956) (Probably Null Now)

  9. #9

    Alanarre

    Member125 Posts
    Valrien wrote on October 7, 2016

    Alanarre said on October 5, 2016 :

    I’ve thought about a charged set staff. Whether that would work depends a lot on the rotation, if your mainheavy attack spam is ona sharpened maelstrom staff, than you have to have both 5-piece sets in body/jewelry, since you need both bonuses active for the heavy attacks.

    Yep, Sergeant’s only comes in heavy/healthy jewelry, but it’s still a solid 20% increase in DPS over Elegance, which is probably the second best setfor this build. Having health like a tank with a max dps build is just a nice bonus.

    The Maelstrom buff stays even when you leave the bar as long as the bar on which you cast Wall of Elements had the staff on it. A set staff would be more beneficial to your build as you could use a 1-piece Magicka or Spell Damage monster set and allow you to use 5/1/1 for 2% more magicka with pretty much no drawbacks.

    The Maelstrom buff continues when you swap, but since the second staff needs to be Charged to maximize the time Off-Balance, the Maelstrom staff is the only one that can be Sharpened, which is still a huge DPS increase. As a result, the Maelstrom staff is the best one for filler attacks, which makes an infallible second staff and single kena less useful. If you use the Charged staff for filler attacks, that might work, but I think the Sharpened trait will be a larger DPS increase than an extra spell damage slot.

  10. #10

    Nosferatuzod

    Member2010 Posts
    Valrien wrote on October 7, 2016

    Alanarre said on October 5, 2016 :

    I’ve thought about a charged set staff. Whether that would work depends a lot on the rotation, if your mainheavy attack spam is ona sharpened maelstrom staff, than you have to have both 5-piece sets in body/jewelry, since you need both bonuses active for the heavy attacks.

    Yep, Sergeant’s only comes in heavy/healthy jewelry, but it’s still a solid 20% increase in DPS over Elegance, which is probably the second best setfor this build. Having health like a tank with a max dps build is just a nice bonus.

    The Maelstrom buff stays even when you leave the bar as long as the bar on which you cast Wall of Elements had the staff on it. A set staff would be more beneficial to your build as you could use a 1-piece Magicka or Spell Damage monster set and allow you to use 5/1/1 for 2% more magicka with pretty much no drawbacks.

    Dude do you still play? Lol what happened to you? You know magsorc OP right now right?

  11. #11

    dooderrr

    Member123 Posts

    I'd suggest maybe checking out netches touch or overwhelming surge or maybe burning spellweave instead of sargeant. Or really use aether jewelry and run tbs or julianos just to see if you could get more damage with crit. Also you should at least run burning embers, engulfing flames and probably eruption on back bar. Interesting idea. Also does that new set that gives spell damage to destro abilities apply to light and heavy attacks.?

  12. #12

    Valrien

    Member785 Posts
    Nosferatuzod wrote on October 7, 2016

    Valrien said on October 7, 2016 :

    The Maelstrom buff stays even when you leave the bar as long as the bar on which you cast Wall of Elements had the staff on it. A set staff would be more beneficial to your build as you could use a 1-piece Magicka or Spell Damage monster set and allow you to use 5/1/1 for 2% more magicka with pretty much no drawbacks.

    Dude do you still play? Lol what happened to you? You know magsorc OP right now right?

    I'm looking into playing again. I'll just have to do a little bit of research.

    Characters: Valrien Dravic (Dunmer Magicka Sorcerer)

    Scores: vMA (499,956) (Probably Null Now)

  13. #13

    Nosferatuzod

    Member2010 Posts
    Valrien wrote on October 8, 2016

    Nosferatuzod said on October 7, 2016 :

    Dude do you still play? Lol what happened to you? You know magsorc OP right now right?

    I’m looking into playing again. I’ll just have to do a little bit of research.

    Sorc OP

  14. #14

    TarmoRhox

    Member63 Posts

    Isn't "off-balance" status consumed by first tick of heavy attack and thus not buffing other ticks of it? As description says, "off-balance" lasts for 4 seconds OR until consumed by heavy attack which knocks enemy down.

  15. #15

    Alanarre

    Member125 Posts
    dooderrr wrote on October 7, 2016

    I’d suggest maybe checking out netches touch or overwhelming surge or maybe burning spellweave instead of sargeant. Or really use aether jewelry and run tbs or julianos just to see if you could get more damage with crit.

    The various spell damage sets wouldn't be terrible with this build, but it's easy to overlook how powerful Sergeant's Mail is. Sergeant's Mail adds about 1600 damage to each tick of the heavy channel. This damage is then increased by Molten Armaments (40%), Champion Points (40%), Critical Hits (50-100%), and Off-Balance (40-50%). So for a non-crit non-off-balance hit, that's an increase of about 3100 and for a critical off-balance hit, that's an increase of about 9400 damage PER TICK. Since a heavy channel has four ticks and takes about 3 seconds, that's a single target DPS increase of 4k-12k. Multiply that by the number of targets for an AOE setting.

    To compare one of the pure spell-damage sets, they increase spell damage by about 600 (assuming major and minor sorcery, which is about a 30% increase in spell damage. Without Sergeants Mail, staff ticks hit for around 3k, so that's maybe a 1k increase per tick, compared to the 1600 per tick for Sergeant's Mail. It's really not even a close contest.

    I've also tested against Julianos and TBS, and they're also decent, but not really in the running. Sergeant's Mail is about a 20% DPS increase over any of the other sets available right now.

  16. #16

    Alanarre

    Member125 Posts
    dooderrr wrote on October 7, 2016

    Also you should at least run burning embers, engulfing flames and probably eruption on back bar. Interesting idea. Also does that new set that gives spell damage to destro abilities apply to light and heavy attacks.?

    I primarily weave in flames of oblivion, but sometimes also eruption, depending on the situation. If it takes 1 second to weave in other abilities, that replaces 1-2 ticks of the heavy channel, which is a loss of 20-60k damage, so the only abilities that make sense to weave are those that do at least 20k damage per cast. Flames of oblivion clears that bar easily and is the easiest to weave. Eruption can clear that bar for stationary targets. Burning Embers is marginal and requires melee range (not always possible), and Engulfing Flames is weak (since very little of the damage is flame damage, it doesn't make up for it's lackluster DOT by buffing other abilities).

  17. #17

    Alanarre

    Member125 Posts
    TarmoRhox wrote on October 9, 2016

    Isn’t “off-balance” status consumed by first tick of heavy attack and thus not buffing other ticks of it? As description says, “off-balance” lasts for 4 seconds OR until consumed by heavy attack which knocks enemy down.

    From what I can tell off-balance is currently consumed by full heavy attacks, which include a fully-charged fire / ice staff / stam weapon attack, or the last tick of a lightning / restoration staff attack. However, the opponent is off-balance because they are concussed, and the concussed status persists for 6 seconds, so as long as they're in the lightning wall of elements, they immediately become off-balance again. In practice, a single concussion will set an enemy off-balance for about 6-8 seconds (2 off-balance durations), depending on how close to the end the first full heavy attack falls.

  18. #18

    TarmoRhox

    Member63 Posts

    Well, that is weird but this is Zos logic anyway (to enable infallible bonus proc on first tick but consume off-balance only with last). At least, this is in our favor so nothing no complain about right now.

    Another weird thing that Sergean't bonus is buffed so much because bonus from vMA staff, which should work the same, doesn't benefit from anything apart from crit - it is always a flat damage increase no matter how much CP or other bonuses you have. I don't understand why Sergean't bonus works differently from the point of buffs.

    Anyway, as I run both magSorc and magDK with very likely build, I would probably try this approach. For me it looks even more interesting with magicka sorcerer as in trade for Molten Armaments we get bonus to all lightning damage and also get lightning form and liquid lightning which can proc concussion and which can help us to take sharpened over charged and still have the same or slightly above chance to proc concussion over DK (and thus put vMA staff with infused on back bar in favor of +1 set staff on main bar). Not to mention Implosion and opportunity to take Bound Armaments buff to get 11% heavy attack damage bonus.

    Currently, I'm using infused vMA inferno staff on back bar in order to get more WoE damage in trial groups (+20% to burning targets which is 100% with magDK in group). But this discovering with Concussion/Off-Balance damage bonus opens more possibilities to run both lightning destro staves and move to full-lightning-sorcerer approach.

  19. #19

    Alanarre

    Member125 Posts
    TarmoRhox wrote on October 10, 2016

    Well, that is weird but this is Zos logic anyway (to enable infallible bonus proc on first tick but consume off-balance only with last). At least, this is in our favor so nothing no complain about right now.

    Another weird thing that Sergean’t bonus is buffed so much because bonus from vMA staff, which should work the same, in fact doesn’t benefit from anything apart from crit –it is always a flat damage increase no matter how much CP or other bonuses you have. I don’t understand why Sergean’t bonus works differently from the point of buffs.

    Anyway, as I run both magSorc and magDK with very likely build, I would probably try this approach. For me it looks even more interesting with magicka sorcerer as in trade for Molten Armaments we get bonus to all lightning damage and also get lightning form and liquid lightning which can proc concussion and which can help us to take sharpened over charged and still have the same or slightly above chance to proc concussion over DK (and thus put vMA staff with infused on back bar in favor of +1 set staff on main bar). Not to mention Implosion and opportunity to take Bound Armaments buff to get 11% heavy attack damage bonus.

    Yep, definitely interesting on Sorc as well. I only play DK, so I'll defer to your expertise on the details there. I agree that it's strange that bonus damage from Maelstrom and Sergeant's work differently. I hope that if they reconcile the two, the change Maelstrom to act like Sergeant's and not vice versa.

  20. #20

    Ashdstampede

    Member1 Posts

    I have been doing this idea a month ago. It's a lot of fun. I am pvp, xbox1, ep, Hadarus. I don't pve much or at all to get that aether set. So I'm running the 5 sargents and 5 elegant with 1 Kena. I found 2 lightning staff for Sargent, so it is possible to get it. I have tried it on every class but Templar. Dk does hit the hardest but mobility and pvp survivability was horrible. Sorcerer was good also. But I stuck with nb for this build. Good escape survivability and the cloak helps u not get out of position to provide good suppression for ur Frontline. agony dot will tic at same speed with staff making it feal like the staff is hitting as hard as a dk with armaments. Plus both my main atacks which are heavy attack and agony will hit 100% to all of those rollers and also nb when u mark them can't get away. I got some vids if any one wants to check out my xbox1 account @ ashthestampede1.

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