If you like this guide feel free to check out my Nightblade Healing Guide and my PVP Warden AIDS Tank as well!
This build is meant not only to complete vma, but also excel at it. No matter what you are looking to do, complete, farm, or get on leaderboards, this build is meant to get you there. I know that there are lots of VMA builds out there but most that I have read are geared towards magsorc or just general class completion; this one is to be specifically for stamsorc. I won’t lie from the get go, I have not gotten the no death achievement yet (work in progress) but I have completed every round without dying, just never in the same session so I know it is possible with this build and I am 100% sure this build is leaderboard worthy. I love detailed guides so I’ll give setups for what I use and have used in the past, and what you could use as well. The great thing about vma is that you can use whatever you want as long as it works for you, and anyone who tells you need to do it using a specific meta can suck it. It isn’t like other trials. As long as your results are solid it doesn’t matter if anyone tries to give you shit for your build.
Redguard is easily the best, orc or imperial would be tier 2, then khajiit and maybe woodelf in tier 3.
Tri-stat food like Longfin in Melon Sauce, because we use some skills that use magic and it really helps to have that extra. Otherwise Dubious Cameron Throne is great as well.
I use weapon crit/stam restore pots but you could also use tri-stat pots if you wanted.
Lover because that extra pen is amazing. However if using Spriggans set then I suggest using the Warrior or Tower mundus.
What I run currently are the first skills listed.
Frontbar: Dual Wield
- Whirling Blades or Rapid Strikes/Bloodthirst: If you haven’t beaten VMA yet I suggest Bloodthirst for that extra heal. Once you get comfortable with the mechanics definitely make the switch to Rapid Strikes.I now use Whirling Blades as my primary spammable in VMA because it increases stam regen, hits harder the less health the enemy has, and hits multiple enemies. If using this skill it is recommended that you weave heavy attacks as well.
- Dark Deal, Rearming Trap, or Caltrops: I use Dark Deal the most, especially on last round, otherwise I use Rearming Trap or Caltrops. Sometimes I swap around these skills between rounds.
- Deadly Cloak: AOE damage reduction and badass aoe damage to enemies. A must have skill.
- Blood Craze/Rending Slashes: In my opinion that extra direct damage on the first hit from Rending doesn’t outway the heal of Blood Craze. I personally take BC everytime.
- Bound Armaments or Clanfear: There are tradeoffs here. BA gives more max stam, heavy attack damage, amd minor resolve (so overall more dps), the Clanfear does a little bit of physical damage (literally a little), but gives you max health thanks to last passive of Daedric Summoning, distracts adds, and can be activated for a big instant heal (So overall more survivability). Only use Clanfear if your dps can already melt adds.
- Ulti: Flawless Dawnbreaker: 5% extra weapon damage, Dots every enemy in front of you, and absolutely wrecks vamps, werewolves, undead, and daedra which make up a large portion of enemies in vma.
- Venom Arrow: Kick ass interrupt and way better for vma than Poison Injection. That ranged interrupt is just too damn helpful.
- Critical Surge: Major Brutality and heals off crit strikes, the backbone of this build.
- Hurricane: Massive aoe on self, Major Resolve and Ward, and Minor expedition. 100% uptime is crucial.
- Endless Hail: Our best friend especially if you have the ma bow. Can melt adds from afar if your environment doesn’t allow for you to get close.
- Bound Armaments or Clanfear: Whichever you chose above match it here cuz if not it will disappear when you switch bars.
- Ulti: Flawless Dawnbreaker or Ballista: For rounds with lots of the enemies mentioned above use FD, otherwise Ballista (Ballista is especially useful during the boss fight in stage 7).
Gear, Non-Trials Sets
Brairheart: Honestly I love this set and it gets a lot of heat because of its cooldown and sometimes difficulty to proc, but seriously those crit heals stacked with your crit surge heals are fantastic, plus that weapon damage buff wrecks.
Hundings or Nightmothers: Of course these sets are listed, the damage is legit and the sets are the easiest to get in the game.
Spriggans: Another amazing damage set with added pen. As above, if you use this set then use another mundus other than the Lover.
Hulking Draugr: Gives a giant fucking max stam increase. I advise using Bound Armaments if you use this set to further buff your max stam and damage.
Vicious Ophidian (Serpent): Increased damage vs everything in vma, helps amazingly with sustain, and gives Major Expedition which is very practical for avoiding danger and executing mechanics
War Machine: Gives damage like VO but also further increases damage when you use an ulti, very practical for vma. If you use this set you could probably use the Blood Spawm monster helm as well to generate ulti and keep uptime.
Kraghs: This is what I used to be vma the first time. The proc is almost as useful as the extra pen from the first piece.
Velidreath: The proc on this set is better than kraghs for crowd control, but honestly they aren’t that much different from one another in terms of damage. One great thing about this set is that it stuns and throws enemies off-balance causing you to do more damage to enemies.
Blood Spawn: More resistances, extra stam recov, and ulti generation. Not a bad set to use if your dps is already solid.
Bow: As soon as you get this use it even if it is in a bad trait!
Dual Wield Daggers and Swords: Most people would tell you know with this but for me I have enjoyed using these for vma. Couple with vma bow the damage is insane. Our only dots are Venom Arrow and Blood Craze and they basically need to be reapplied one after the other for best uptime. With this proc my BC basically 1 shots adds and if it doesn’t then the tic finishes them off.
Asylum Daggers and Swords: Great for sustain since you don’t have to recast Deadly Cloak or Bloodthirst.
Setup Non-Trial Gear
First time I beat vma was a raging bitch of a headache but this is what I used.
Weapon 1: Hundings/Nightmothers Dagger nirnhoned w/damage enchant
Off hand 1: Briarheart Dagger precise w/crusher enchant
Weapon 2: Hundings/Nightmothers Bow nirnhoned w/stam regen enchant
Head: Heavy Kraughs divines w/health enchant
Shoulders: Light Kraghs divines w/Stam enchant
All other body pieces: Medium Hundings/Nightmothers divines w/stam enchant
All jewelry pieces: Briarheart robust w/2 weapon damage and 1 stam recov enchant
With this setup briarheart procs on fb and will carry over to backbar. Damage leaves a lot to be desired and it is a lot harder to just burn through some of the mechanics.
Setup Trial Gear
This is what I used before I got good vma weapons. Admittedly I only have one gold VO ring or I would use all VO jewelry
Weapon 1: Briarheart Dagger nirnhoned (transmuted) w/damage enchant
Off hand 1: Briarheart Sword precise w/crusher enchant
Weapon 2: MA bow (preferred) Briarheart Bow Nirnhoned (preferred) or Sharpened w/stam regen enchant
Head: Heavy Kraughs or Velidreth divines w/health or stam enchant based on necessity
Shoulders: Light Kraghs or Velidreth divines w/Stam enchant
All other body pieces: Medium VO and Briarheart divines w/stam enchant
All jewelry pieces: Briarheart and VO robust w/ all weapon damage enchants
With thus setup VO always has aa 5 piece bonus but Briarheart will only proc on fb. The change in damage is insane when compared to the setup from before!
This will probably get some criticism but I have really enjoyed using the following setup.
Weapon 1: MA/Asylum Dagger nirnhoned w/damage enchant
Off hand 1: MA/Asylum Sword precise w/crusher enchant
Weapon 2: MA Bow Sharpened w/stam regen enchant
All body pieces: Medium VO and Briarheart divines w/stam enchant (Health on heavy pieces if needed)
All jewelry pieces: Briarheart and VO robust w/All weapon damage enchants
The reasoning I like this setup on MA dw is because both briarheart and VO are on both bars but more importantly I am in full control of my damage procs. No need to aim on random procs like kraghs, the MA bow makes Endless Hail deadly as fuck, and the MA dw weapons make my dots slam the enemy. I can choose where that proc goes and which dot I apply. For example, the trolls on round 5 can be shot and interrupted with Venom Arrow so a quick Rapid Strike on an enemy and then launch a buffed Venom Arrow across to that piece of shit troll. The tics alone are enough to kill it before he breaks the platform, but I throw out an endless hail over him just for good measure. I just like having that much control and not having to worry about rng to get my damage.The reasoning for using Asylum DW is similar but is more geared towards sustain as described above.
Not gonna give a full and traditional rotation as much of VMA is situational. Simply, buff, drop Endless Hail/Caltrops wherever you want, and then use your best judgement on where to put your dots, then for everything else Rapid Strikes and Heavy Attacks. Of course make sure you always have Bound Armaments or your Clanfear active. Close quarters fights are our best friend since so much of our damage is aoe centered around us, but if you simply cannot get to something because of terrain or other reasons don’t forget that you have a fucking bow! That venom arrow and Endless Hail are ungodly helpful, and your light attacks on bow are nothing to joke about either.
If you have BA active then your Heavy attacks do more damage than Rapid Strikes, but RS has more hits which can crit so if you need a heal use RS, need stam use HA. If using Whirling Blades I highly recommend using BA as well for that Heavy Attack single target damage.
Like always I’ll give what is necessary and then suggestions on what you can put the rest of your points into.
Green: Mooncalf-75, Tenacity-75 (For resource upkeep), at least 30 into the Tower and Shadow trees. I suggest putting points into Tumbling and Warlord and then distribute the rest as you desire. Note that it may also be wise to put a few into Arcanist since you can rely on a bit of magicka for stam sustatin.
Red: Put points into Spell Shield and Medium Armor Focus until both physical and mag defense are at least 14k unbuffed. At least 70 in both Hardy and Elemental Defender. Split the rest between Thick Skinned, Quick Recovery, and Ironclad.
Blue: First put enough points into Piercing to get your Physical pen up to at least 8K (10K is better).If using Rapid Strikes: 30into Physical Weapon Expert, then split the rest between Mighty, Precise Strikes, and Thaumaturge.If using Whirling Blades: 40 into Physical Weapon Expert, 35 into Master-At-Arms, then split the rest between Mighty, Precise Strikes, and Thaumaturge.