This is a build that I've been playing on for a couple of weeks now & I thought I'd share it here as well (and try to keep it updated).
Gameplay (Dragon Bones):
- A ranged stamina build with a very unique playstyle.
- Suitable for: 1v1, 1vX, Group vs Group, Ganking.
- Extremely high damage, but relatively squishy.
- 5 Hawk's Eye
- 5 Marksman
- Main Bar: (Perfected) Asylum Bow
- Off Bar: The Master's Bow
Hawk's Eye increases our bow base damage (read: all damage, except Relentless Focus) by 5% and helps a lot with sustain by reducing the base cost of bow abilities by 5% (also reduces the ultimate cost of Ballista).
Marksman increases our base damage by 8% and gives us a lot of sustain.
Asylum Bow is the center piece of this build and drastically increases the burst damage of our Lethal Arrow.
Master's Bow is on Off Bar to provide us even more damage against the target hit, and also because running double bow makes it easier to maintain a high Hawk Eye (bow passive) uptime.
Traits & Enchants:
I like running this build with 3-5 Well-Fitted, as sustain can be tricky otherwise. I still keep atleast two Impenetrable pieces. Jewelry should be Infused. All gear should have Max Stamina enchants & jewelry should have Weapon Damage enchants.
Asylum Bow should be Nirnhoned (use either Oblivion/Disease/Poison enchant, doesn't matter much or Poisons) and the off bar Master's Bow Infused with Weapon Damage enchant.
Potions: [Essence of Speed] (Major Brutality, Major Expedition, Restore Stamina). Helps you maintain distance & be properly positioned at all times, which is highly important in order to land the combo.
Poisons: [Drain Health Poison IX] (Drain Health, Drain Magicka, Drain Stamina) or [Damage Health Poison IX] (Damage Health, Protection, Vitality).
Food: Artaeum Takeaway Broth.
- Relentless Focus. Used to increase our base damage by 8%. The procs can also be used freely to pressure targets, or as part of the combo. Also increases our stamina recovery by a little with Minor Endurance. Also activates Hemorrhage Nightblade passive (+10% Crit Damage) on this bar.
- Channeled Acceleration. Gets you a low of damage by giving you Minor Force. Also used for 9 seconds of Major Expedition and doesn't break cloak/sneak when cast. Passively grants a damage shield (thanks to Concentrated Barrier Psijic passive) every 10 seconds when blocking, which helps against burst.
- Shadowy Disguise. We use this to avoid damage, reposition as well as to conceal our actions (e.g. a Lethal Arrow cast) from the opponent. Very useful for both offense and defense.
- Bombard. Buffs up Lethal Arrow & helps you maintain distance. It can also be used to reveal invisible players and to deal damage to people with a Reflect ability (S&B ultimate, DK Scales, Warden Shield) up, or finish people off after bursting them with the Lethal Arrow. It's also undodgeable, very strong as spammable vs dodge rollers.
- Lethal Arrow. Our main damage dealing ability with this build, used to burst people down before they know what hit them. Also puts a healing debuff on the target, which can be useful against permablocking tanks. It also has a very long range, meaning you can use it to poke/kill targets that are far away.
- [Ultimate] Flawless Dawnbreaker. Mostly here to passively boost our damage even further, though it can also be used to finish off low health opponents (especially when they try to dodge roll your damage).
- Piercing Mark. Used to debuff target with Major Fracture, making them take on average 8% more damage. It is also used to see invisible targets, which is often very helpful (particularly against Nightblades).
- Resolving Vigor. Our main heal. This is not a tank build, so be aware that it won't outheal most of the incoming damage. This means we need to avoid as much damage as possible with Dark Cloak and by dodge rolling & kiting our opponents.
- [Flexible Slot] Shadow Image/Shuffle/Leeching Strikes/(Magnum Shot). On this slot you can use whatever utility/sustain skill you feel most comfortable with and change it up depending on the content you're doing (1v1, 1vX, Group vs Group, Cyrodiil, BGs etc).
- Shuffle. Very Important kiting/survivability tool, used to get rid of snares & sometimes roots so that you can maintain the right distance to land the combos.
- Poison Injection. A DoT that ticks very hard on this build with all the bow damage boosting sets & also buffs our damage significantly thanks to Master's Bow on this bar. It also provides some more undodgeable damage and very often finishes off a target that your burst combo didn't quite kill.
- [Ultimate] Ballista. Dodgeable, but can be used against targets that have already spent their stamina dodging your Lethal Arrow combos. It can also be used to drain opponent's stamina, or when they're about to step into your trap(s) and won't be able to dodge roll immediately. This ultimate is also good against damage shields, as it lets you overwhelm the damage shield using opponent and make sure that your Lethal Arrow combo gets through the shields and kills the target.
The Ritual: 64 Mighty | 72 Precise Strikes | 39 Piercing
The Atronach: 73 Master-at-Arms | 3 Physical Weapon Expert
The Shadow: 66 Tumbling | 18 Befoul
The Lover: 64 Mooncalf | 49 Arcanist | 7 Healthy
The Tower: 4 Siphoner | 34 Warlord | 8 Sprinter
The Lady: 37 Hardy | 43 Elemental Defender | 40 Thick Skinned
The Steed: 72 Ironclad | 40 Resistant | 8 Spell Shield
The Lord: 3 Expert Defender | 7 Quick Recovery
- Wood Elf is the top choice for this build, thanks to the +21% Stamina Recovery. The extra 10% damage from stealth is also very helpful (it applies to attacks from Cloak as well), and the Poison/Disease Resistance passive is special, as it makes us immune to Poison/Disease status effects as well.
- As second choice, I'd go with either Argonian (good all around sustain with potions and also gets Poison/Disease Resistance) or Khajiit (basicly a more offensive version of Wood Elf with their higher Crit Chance).
- As third choice, I'd go with Orc. While they do have a passive which loses some of its value (+4% damage to melee attacks), the other portion of that passive is very useful for a bow build: 10% increased sprint speed & 12% reduced sprint cost. This helps in kiting and with sustain. Still, I wouldn't rate them higher than the abovementioned races.
- Nord is an acceptable choice, reduced damage taken can be very beneficial and the Cold Resistance also makes you immune to Chilled status effect (meaning there's one less snare to worry about and no Minor Maim debuff from taking frost damage).
- Avoid Imperial & Redguard: they have passives (Red Diamond & Adrenaline Rush respectively) which require you to deal melee damage to your target - these are a complete waste on this build.
- And of course, "magicka races" are bad for this build: Breton, Altmer, Dunmer.
+I'd recommend being atleast stage 2 Vampire for increased Stamina & Magicka Recovery. You can go up to Stage 4 for awesome mobility while sneaking (and faster restealthing) like I've done, but it's risky (Fire Damage & Dawnbreakers really hurt).
Lethal Arrow Combo
- Be between 10-20m from the target (doesn't work otherwise).
- Cast Lethal Arrow.
- As soon as Lethal Arrow cast finishes, hit target with Bombard.
- Bombard lands first (thanks to faster travel time) if you were at the right distance and buffs the Lethal Arrow by 50% before it lands.
- Big numbers.
So that covers pretty much everything (for now). I'll update this thread if changes are made, but so far I've been happy with this build.
I hope some of you find this build enjoyable/useful - let me know in the comments section below what you think :)