Stamina Warden PVP Build: “Dunedain” (Brawler)


Last updated: 2022-05-18

Table of Contents

This in-depth guide covers every aspect of the build and playing it effectively. If you prefer to digest information via video, I recommend you head right to the Narrated Videos section.

Overview

The “Dunedain” PVP build for Stamina Warden in Elder Scrolls Online (ESO) is a frontline brawler that provides AOE damage, tankiness, and off-healing. This build is optimized for Battlegrounds in Ascending Tide (Update 33) and also performs well in Cyrodiil / Imperial City.

Stamden has fallen out of favor in the current meta so it’s been a challenge and super rewarding to figure out a build that works well. I hope you enjoy it!

Make sure to bookmark this page, as I’ll keep it current with each new update of ESO.

Strengths and Weaknesses

+ Excellent AOE damage
+ Excellent mitigation
+ Excellent sustain
+ Good mobility
+ Good off-healing
– Lacks on-demand disabling CC
– Lacks high-end single-target burst
– Lacks meaningful ranged DPS capability

Gear

¹ You can replace Gaze of Sithis and the shoulders with 2-pc Magma Incarnate for group utility. Alternatively, you can replace Gaze of Sithis with Markyn Ring of Majesty for more damage
² Any monster set shoulders with weapon / spell damage will work: Balorgh, Kjalnar’s Nightmare, Molag Kena, Nerien’eth, Prior Thierric, or Velidreth

Set Mechanics

  • Gaze of Sithis (GoS): significantly boosts your Health and Armor, but reduces your Block Mitigation to 0%
  • Merciless Charge (MC): triggers a bleed DoT on targets damaged by Stampede. In BGs, this accounts for ~17% of my total damage
  • Rush of Agony (RoA): pulls enemies within 10m when you land Stampede, and after 2 sec deals AOE damage to enemies within 7m. In BGs, this accounts for ~7% of my total damage. The utility of the pull is the main reason to use this set
  • Wretched Vitality (WV): boosts your Stamina and Magicka Recovery when you apply Major or Minor Buffs (or Debuffs)

In a nutshell, GoS boosts defense, MC & RoA boost offense, and WV boosts sustain.

My Setup

  • Head: Gaze of Sithis¹ (Heavy) | Reinforced | Tri-Stat
  • Shoulders: Velidreth² (Medium) | Well-Fitted | Tri-Stat
  • Hands: Rush of Agony (Medium) | Well-Fitted | Tri-Stat
  • Legs: Rush of Agony (Medium) | Well-Fitted | Tri-Stat
  • Chest: Wretched Vitality (Heavy) | Reinforced | Tri-Stat
  • Waist: Rush of Agony (Medium) | Well-Fitted | Tri-Stat
  • Feet: Rush of Agony (Medium) | Well-Fitted | Tri-Stat
  • Neck: Rush of Agony (Medium) | Infused | Weapon Damage
  • Ring 1: Wretched Vitality | Infused | Weapon Damage
  • Ring 2: Wretched Vitality | Infused | Weapon Damage
  • Frontbar Weapon: Perfected Merciless Charge (Maul) | Sharpened | Weapon Damage
  • Backbar Weapon 1: Wretched Vitality (Sword) | Defending | Poisoned Weapon
  • Backbar Weapon 2: Wretched Vitality (Sword) | Defending | Absorb Stamina

Thoughts on Gearing Properly

  • Maul with Sharpened trait is the frontbar weapon due to the high Penetration. If you haven’t yet completed Veteran Maelstrom Arena to get the Perfected Merciless Charge Maul, it’s still worth completing Maelstrom Arena on normal mode as the Merciless Charge Maul has the proc effect. The extra Penetration on the Perfected version is gravy, and the build still works with the non-Perfected version
  • Both backbar weapons are swords, for the Weapon & Spell Damage to boost your healing, with Defending trait to boost your mitigation while you buff, heal, and run. If you are not using restoration staff abilities, from 30-99% health, dual wield swords heal for ~10% more than restoration staff, whereas from 1-29% health, restoration staff heals for ~10% more. With HoTs, the moment a target’s health reaches 30%, you lose the benefit of the Restoration Expert passive. Warden’s excellent Accelerated Growth passive only triggers from Green Balance abilities
  • I used to favor sword and board on the backbar to slot the Spell Wall ultimate, but Gaze of Sithis reduces Block Mitigation to 0 and therefore diminishes the value of Spell Wall. Besides that, I’ve grown to love the utility and low cost of Healing Thicket
  • The build runs 5 medium / 2 heavy armor pieces. You need 5+ medium pieces to unlock the Elude medium armor ability. I prefer heavy armor for the chest piece for the extra resistances. Gaze of Sithis is a heavy helm. The shoulders, hands, legs, waist, and feet are the medium pieces
  • Tri-Stat is the enchantment for all armor pieces, because Health and both resource pools are essential in PVP, even moreso with hybridization in Update 33 as builds such as “Dunedain” use abilities from your 2ndary pool (Magicka). The #1 gearing mistake that inexperienced players make in PVP is having Health pools that are too small (e.g. 18-22k); these players get run over quickly
  • Well-Fitted is the trait for medium armor pieces. It is critical for Stamina sustain
  • Reinforced is the trait for heavy armor pieces. This boosts your passive mitigation. Impenetrable only reduces Crit Damage taken by 2%, so I prefer Reinforced as it mitigates all damage. If you’re more concerned about incoming burst damage, use Impenetrable instead
  • If you’re farming for dungeon drops such as Rush of Agony, the armor pieces are always the easiest to acquire as they drop from every boss. Therefore, I typically slot the hands, legs, waist, and feet from the dungeon set. Specific weapons can be a pain to get as a dungeon drop, so I typically try to slot 1 jewelry piece with the dungeon set as the 5th set piece. This frees me up to use a monster set or mythic with the head and shoulder slots
  • You can pick the weight for crafted gear. If a build has a mix of crafted and dungeon gear, I craft the chest as heavy, 2 of the 3 jewelry pieces, and both backbar weapons. Again, this is for ease of acquisition and trying out new sets
  • As Wretched Vitality addresses sustain, trait all 3 jewelry pieces with Infused and enchant with Weapon Damage to increase your damage and healing
  • As a general rule, it’s easy to find BoE (Bind on Equip, there are none in this set) armor pieces with Well-Fitted or Reinforced. Keep in mind that no jewelry ever drops with Infused as the trait, so you either have to craft with Infused, transmute to Infused, or reconstruct it with Infused. This is another reason why I favor crafting 2 or 3 jewelry pieces whenever possible in a build, so that I can save my transmute crystals
  • It’s essential to improve your weapons to Legendary (gold) quality, as weapon quality drives all your damage and healing. You’ll want to improve your armor to Epic (purple) quality. It is expensive to improve jewelry but worth getting your jewelry to at least Superior (blue) quality
  • For all enchants, it’s well worth using Legendary (gold) quality enchants, as Kuta runes are affordable. You definitely want to use Legendary (gold) quality enchants for Tri-Stat, because Hakeijo runes are expensive, and you want to maximize the return for your investment

Tweaks For Dueling or Soloing in Cyrodiil / Imperial City

You can swap out Rush of Agony with another set, such as Plaguebreak, that has stronger damage mechanics in a 1v1.

For BGs, I recommend using the build as-is as that’s a team-based context.

Skills

Frontbar

Frontbar skills

  1. Stampede: gap closer that triggers AOE direct damage and AOE DoT ground effect. Damage from Stampede on any target triggers the Merciless Charge DoT on that target, and MC DoT can refresh itself before it expires
  2. Dizzying Swing (DS): spammable. While it has utility in knocking targets Off-Balance (and stunning them on the next DS or heavy attack), the reason I love this ability is the 7m range. Most melee abilities have a 5m range
  3. Reverse Slice (RS): AOE execute. Some players prefer the single-target Execute morph, but I prefer RS because you will damage your intended target even if something gets in the way. RS is a PBAOE, so you will hit targets that are behind you
  4. Subterranean Assault (SA): delayed AOE conal burst. This fantastic ability allows you to stack your burst. Always keep targets in your frontal facing to maximize hitting targets with SA, even while CC’d
  5. Bird of Prey: on-demand Major Expedition buff (30% movement speed). Also passively boosts your damage 5% with Minor Berserk buff
  6. Dawnbreaker of Smiting (DoS): AOE conal direct damage and heavy DoT. This is your one CC ability, and the cost of 125 is not high

Backbar

Backbar skills

  1. Bull Netch: provides Major Brutality buff (20% weapon damage), Stamina sustain, and passive cleanse. Some folks argue with the introduction of the Plaguebreak set that cleanses are risky, but I still think it’s worth it
  2. Ice Fortress (IF): provides Major Resolve (5948 armor) buff and Minor Protection buff (5% mitigation). In this build, in combat this ability procs both the 260 and the 130 Stamina and Magicka Recovery buffs of Wretched Vitality
  3. Resolving Vigor (RV): the most compact HoT available. Terrific for efficient healing
  4. Enchanted Growth (EG): AOE conal heal that heals you and friendlies. Provides both Stamina and Magicka Recovery to healed targets. Prior to hybridization, this ability scaled off Magicka & Spell Damage, so it was weak for Stamden. With hybridization, this ability can scale off Stamina & Weapon Damage, so it’s an option for Stamden. I have saved so many friendlies’ bacon with this ability, given that you gain Major Mending from the Accelerated Growth passive
  5. Elude: provides Major Evasion buff (20% mitigation to AOE damage), which is huge, and it provides Major Expedition buff (30% movement speed) when you take damage from a direct damage AOE attack. I’ve been a fan of this ability for over a year, as it’s not only great for mitigation in team fights but also keeps you mobile, which is super valuable for a melee build. Also counters the nasty snare applied by the Templar melee AOE spammable
  6. Healing Thicket (HT): low-cost ultimate that provides a burst heal to the lowest-health friendly, then applies a HoT to any friendly who crosses the ground-target AOE, even if they leave that area

For Stamina builds, I prefer having 2 heals that use different resource pools (i.e. 1 Stamina, 1 Magicka), so I’m always able to heal even if 1 resource pool is depleted.

Obviously, customize the order of these abilities on your skillbars to suit you. As I wrote in my Guide on Keybinding, it’s helpful to order your abilities based on themes, for ease of muscle memory. E.g. buffs are on 1 & 2, openers (e.g. gap closers) are on 1, executes are on 3, AOE damage and AOE heals are on 4, mobility skills are on 5, etc.

Tweaks For Dueling or Soloing in Cyrodiil / Imperial City

You can swap out Enchanted Growth for Living Trellis or Leeching Vines, as those Living Vines morphs provides more healing over time for lower resource cost. That is, LT and LV are more efficient than EG for healing output.

For BGs, I recommend using the build as-is as that’s a team-based context.

Rotations

Before engaging in combat, pre-buff by casting Bull Netch, Ice Fortress, and Elude. You’ll want to re-cast IF once you’re in combat to proc both 5-pc set bonuses of Wretched Vitality. Thankfully all 3 buffs for this build have durations of 24–36 seconds, so it’s not too tedious having to re-buff.

Here is the general order for using your attack abilities (LA is Light Attack):

Subterranean Assault > Stampede > (Dawnbreaker of Smiting) > LA > Dizzying Swing > LA > Reverse Slice

Always refresh SA when it expires. Keep repeating the bold attacks until your target is in execute range (<=25% health), then use RS. RS is very Stamina efficient so you can spam it multiple times if your target is dodging or blocking. Use Stampede whenever you need to catch up to a target or refresh your MC DoT on them.

The Rush of Agony proc pulls enemies and their pets into the middle of your Stampede ground AOE, which applies MC DoT on them and makes it easier to hit them with SA, DoS, and RS. RoA typically accounts for ~7% of my total damage, but keep in mind a big part of RoA’s value is that it makes it easier to land your other abilities because it clumps targets together. RoA can be used to peel enemies off friendlies who are under heavy focus fire. RoA’s animation effectively roots targets for a brief moment (~0.25 sec), so it does help control enemies who are kiting.

Warden does not have a class “hard” CC ability (i.e. stun, knockdown, or knockback), so it can be tough to kill a target that is not under pressure if you don’t have DoS or stun via DS spam. Be patient, this is a brawling build with AOE burst not a gank build where you can blow a target up in seconds. If you know you’re going to drop DoS on target(s), try to have SA pre-cast before DoS so that SA delivers 2 delayed bursts while you weave in light attacks and attack skills.

You have 4 sources of meaningful healing: Resolving Vigor, Enchanted Growth, Healing Thicket, and Essence of Health (crafted Tri-Stat / Tri-Recovery potion). Use EG and HT to bail out your friendlies or yourself from focus fire. While this is not a healing build, I can’t emphasize enough how valuable EG and HT are for keeping your friendlies upright and maintaining strength in numbers. I tend to save my potion to replenish the 2 resource pools as needed. You also receive a minor amount of healing from the Bond With Nature passive.

Remember to keep your buffs up. I shoot for 95+% uptime on buffs (which you can track with meters in addons such as AUI, see below). Before you swap to your backbar to buff, work in a SA so that while you are buffing, you’re still outputting meaningful AOE damage.

Narrated Videos

Build Overview and Deathmatch Gameplay

This video showcases how to blend AOE damage and AOE healing capabilities as the situation warrants.

Attributes, Mundus Stone, Food, and CP

Attributes

  • Magicka: 0
  • Health: 0
  • Stamina: 64

Mundus Stone

The Serpent: 310 Stamina Recovery

For whatever reason, the Recovery mundus stones provide more stats than the Weapon / Spell Damage mundus stones. So The Serpent is a no-brainer.

Food

The 2 best options

  • Bewitched Sugar Skulls: relatively inexpensive to craft, and the recipe is affordable (~70k gold on PC NA). Provides 4620 Health, 4250 Stamina, 4250 Magicka, and 462 Health Recovery
  • Artaeum Takeaway Broth: expensive to craft (and recipe is BoP) or buy due to the ingredients. Provides 3326 Health, 406 Health Recovery, 3080 Stamina, and 338 Stamina Recovery

Comparing the net benefits between these 2:

  • BSS: +1294 Health, +1170 Stamina, +4250 Magicka, +56 Health Recovery
  • ATB: +338 Stamina Recovery

After testing both BSS and ATB, for PVP I prefer BSS, as it is more stat dense.

I recently lucked out and got the ATB recipe to drop, ironically from my 2nd fishing cast in Artaeum when I was not seriously trying to get it 🤣. I had previously spent several hours unsuccessfully trying to farm it. 

CP

Warfare

  • Master-at-Arms: 10% increase to direct damage
  • Biting Aura: 10% increase to AOE damage
  • Ironclad: 10% reduction to direct damage taken
  • Deadly Aim: 10% increase to single target damage

Fitness

  • Sustained by Suffering: 150 Health, Magicka, and Stamina Recovery
  • Relentlessness: 10% reduction damage taken (Major Protection) for 3 sec when stunned or feared
  • Pain’s Refuge: up to 20% reduction to direct damage taken, based on negative effects on you
  • Celerity: 10% movement speed

Craft

  • Steed’s Blessing: 20% movement speed out of combat
  • Gifted Rider: 10% mount speed
  • Treasure Hunter
  • Meticulous Disassembly

Addons

Top Addons for PVP

Here are the top 7 addons that I highly recommend for PVP (in alphabetical order):

  1. AUI: using modules for scrolling combat text and minimeter.
    I use AUI for 2 of its modules. The scrolling combat text is fantastic as it puts ability names to the numbers you see on your screen. The minimeter is very helpful to understand how much your abilities and procs are contributing to your overall damage and healing
  2. Azurah: for moving UI elements around.
    A usable UI enables good gameplay, and Azurah allows you to position any UI element and resize it. I moved the Health, Stamina, and Magicka bars just below my character, so it’s easy to see my resources without having to look down at the bottom of the screen, which is where they are placed by default
  3. BetterScoreboard: for viewing class, damage, healing, and character names on BG scoreboard.
    BetterScoreboard really should be built-in to the game. It’s great for quickly scanning the scoreboard while you’re waiting to respawn, so you can get a handle on how others are faring and whether they’re a healer, DPS, or tank
  4. Cooldowns: to show timers on set cooldowns.
    I find this addon indispensable for understanding proc uptime. There is a learning curve in configuring Cooldowns, as you may have to edit the Data.lua file (in the addon’s “src” folder) to add new proc sets or fix existing ones. I uploaded my Data.lua file to Google Drive for your reference
  5. FancyActionBar: to see both action bars. Also includes timers.
    This is far better than the default UI, which shows the timers on your other bar. This shows both bars up all the time, with an indicator for which bar you’re on. I found this addon immensely useful for getting used to and growing to like bar swapping in this game
  6. KillCounter: to track kills in PVP and to see kill announcements in chat.
    I’m big into having data, and I use the KDR tracking in KillCounter to understand how well a build is performing across BGs
  7. VotansMiniMap: Zenimax very deliberately designed the game to have a minimalist UI. It’s an aesthetic choice, but instead of finding it immersive, I find it lacking context and unhelpful. The compass bar on the top of the screen simply doesn’t cut it for any context, let alone PVP where you need to see where your team mates are and the location / status of any flag(s) in land grab games and flag games. VotansMiniMap is therefore absolutely essential, so you don’t have to bring up the map to see what is going on.

Full List of Addons

Here are all the addons I use, with my ratings (1/2/3-star). Some of these are for convenience / quality of life:

*** AccountSettings: for copying account settings (e.g. Camera, Gameplay, User Interface, etc)
*   AddedInfoFriendList: to see both character name and account name
*   AddedInfoGroupWindow: to see both character name and account name
*   AddedInfoGuildRoster: to see both character name and account name
*** AddedInfoTargetedUnitFrame: to show race and class
*** AlphaGear: for managing gear & skill builds
**  ArmorSkull: to show physical & spell resistances
**  AssistRapidRiding: for auto-swapping movement buff
*** AUI: using modules for scrolling combat text and minimeter
*** Azurah: for moving UI elements around
*** BetterScoreboard: for viewing class, damage, healing, and character names on BG scoreboard
*   BugCatcherUpdated
**  BuiltInGlobalCooldown
**  ChestMaster9000: to mark chests on map (I made a manual fix in LibMapPins-1.0)
*   CleanActionBarBorders: to add a nice border around skills
*   CombatReticle: to show combat state
*** Cooldowns: to show timers on set cooldowns
**  CraftingMaterialLevelDisplay
*** CraftingStations
*   DLQI: to show quest with recent progress
*   EnchantedQuality
*** ExoYsQuickslotAssistant: to prevent quickslot (e.g. potion) from being accidentally changed mid-combat
*** FancyActionBar: to see both action bars. Also includes timers
*** Greyskull: to show weapon or spell damage
*** GrimFocusCounter: for the quintessial Nightblade ability
**  HarvensAliases: for defining aliases to other commands (I made a code change to make aliases global)
*** HarvensImprovedSkillsWindow: to see morphs
*** HarvensTraitAndStyle: to see whether an item's trait has been researched
*** InventoryGridView: WoW-style grid bag
*** ItemBrowser: to see item sets
*** jovAST: to copy addon settings
*** KillCounter: to track kills in PVP and to see kill announcements in chat
*** LoreBooks: locations on map
*** LostTreasure: locations for surveys and treasure
*   MoreStat: to show detailed hidden stats such as penetration, mitigation
**  Overview: to show build on one screen
*** ScootworksHUD: to show missing food and stable training
*** SkyShards: locations on map
**  SlightlyImprovedExperienceBar: to show an experience bar, a la WoW
**  SpentSkillPoints: to show how many skill points have been spent on skill lines
**  StunBreak
**  USPF: to track skill points
**  VotansImprovedLocations
**  VotansImprovedQuests
*** VotansKeybinder
*** VotansMiniMap
*   VotansTamrielMap
Posted in Elder Scrolls Online, Guide, PVP, Warden

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