Last updated: 2023-03-26, Scribes of Fate (Update 37 / Patch 8.3.5)
Table of Contents
- Narrated Videos
- Attributes, Mundus Stone, Passives, Food, and CP
- Change Log
This PVP build for Stamina Warden in Elder Scrolls Online (ESO) is a frontline brawler that blends AoE damage, crowd control, and mobility. Your role is to charge in, pull targets together, stun them, and apply heavy damage pressure with your friendlies. This puts opponents on their heels and allows your ranged DPS and healers to freecast.
This build is optimized for Battlegrounds in Scribes of Fate (Update 37) and also performs well in Cyrodiil / Imperial City.
Strengths and Weaknesses
+ Superb AoE damage
+ Superb damage shielding and mitigation
+ Excellent crowd control
+ Excellent mobility
+ Excellent sustain
– Lacks high-end single-target burst
– Lacks meaningful ranged DPS capability
– Spammable has high resource cost
When I first published this guide in Update 33, Stamden had fallen out of favor so it’s been rewarding to figure out a build that works well. Since Update 35, Warden is in a good spot, so I hope you enjoy this build!
Make sure to bookmark this guide, as I’ll keep it current with each new update of ESO. Check the Change Log for the history of tweaks to the build.
This build takes advantage of “backbarring” a 5-pc set; this allows us to squeeze in two 5-pc sets, a 2-pc weapon set, and a mythic. This setup provides high stat density and valuable 5-pc set bonuses.
Let’s quickly review the sets before diving into how they work.
- 1-pc Markyn Ring of Majesty
- 5-pc Rush of Agony
- 2-pc Titanic Cleave
- 3-pc Wretched Vitality
- 1-pc Magma Incarnate¹
- 1-pc Markyn Ring of Majesty
- 5-pc Rush of Agony
- 5-pc Wretched Vitality
- 1-pc Magma Incarnate¹
¹ If you feel you have more sustain than you need, you can replace 1-pc Magma Incarnate with any monster set with Weapon Damage, i.e. Balorgh, Kjalnar’s Nightmare, Molag Kena, Nerien’eth, Prior Thierric, or Velidreth. I favor Magma Incarnate because it’s so stat dense
- Markyn Ring of Majesty (MRoM): significantly boosts your Weapon Damage (200) and Armor (2314) – both are super valuable for melee builds. I’ve found MRoM is worth slotting even if you only have two 3-pc bonuses, due to the stat density
- Rush of Agony (RoA): pulls enemies within 10m when you land Stampede, and after 2 sec deals PBAoE damage to enemies within 7m of you, not where you landed Stampede. In BGs, this accounts for ~11% of my total damage. The AoE pull synergizes terrifically with the AoE CC and AoE damage mechanics of this build
- Titanic Cleave (TC): increases the damage of Brawler (Cleave morph) based on the number of targets hit. That is, TC makes Brawler hit hard in packed fights, and RoA and TC synergize strongly. The perfected set bonus of 1190 penetration boosts all damage.
- Wretched Vitality (WV): boosts your Stamina and Magicka Recovery when you apply Major or Minor Buffs (or Debuffs). With this build, WV is backbarred (i.e. the 5-pc set bonus is available only on the backbar), given that casting Ice Fortress procs both recovery buffs, and these buffs persist when you swap to the frontbar
So, in a nutshell
- MRoM, RoA, and TC boost offense
- MRoM boosts defense
- WV boosts sustain
- Head: Magma Incarnate (Heavy) | Reinforced | Tri-Stat
- Shoulders: Rush of Agony (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: Wretched Vitality (Light) | Well-Fitted | Tri-Stat
- Feet: Rush of Agony (Medium) | Well-Fitted | Tri-Stat
- Neck: Wretched Vitality | Infused | Weapon Damage
- Ring 1: Rush of Agony | Infused | Weapon Damage
- Ring 2: Markyn Ring of Majesty | Infused | Weapon Damage
- Frontbar Weapon: Perfected Titanic Cleave (Maul) | Sharpened | Weapon Damage
- Backbar Weapon 1: Wretched Vitality (Dagger) | Defending | Poisoned Weapon
- Backbar Weapon 2: Wretched Vitality (Dagger) | Defending | Fiery Weapon
Thoughts on Gearing Properly
It can be expensive to acquire gear, improve it, and enchant it. I’ve already done the work of testing different sets, traits, and enchants to arrive at this build, so you can invest your time and gold with confidence that the build is mechanically sound.
One thing I’ve found lacking in nearly all build guides is meaningful explanation about gear weights, traits, enchants, and slots to use for specific sets. Therefore, here is the detailed rationale for my setup:
- Maul with Sharpened trait is the frontbar weapon due to the high Penetration. If you haven’t farmed Veteran Dragonstar Arena, you can use the non-Perfected Maul from normal Dragonstar Arena. That said, the 1190 penetration from vDSA is worth farming
- Both backbar weapons are daggers to boost your healing, with Defending trait to boost your mitigation while you buff, heal, and run. Using dual wield instead of restoration staff may sound counterintuitive, but dual wield offers more healing output overall compared to restoration staff:
- Warden’s excellent Accelerated Growth and Nature’s Gift passives only trigger from Green Balance skills, so we only slot class-based heals. Given that, if we backbarred a restoration staff, the only weapon passive for healing we’d benefit from is Restoration Expert (+15% healing on allies under 30% Health)
- With HoTs, the moment a target’s health reaches 30%, you lose the benefit of the Restoration Expert passive
- Dual wield daggers boost healing via higher Weapon Damage (Dual Wield Expert passive) and +7.4% Crit Chance (Twin Blade and Blunt passive). The healing skill tooltips are ~5.6% higher than restoration staff
- Therefore, from 30-99% health, dual wield daggers heal for ~5.6% more than restoration staff and have a 7.4% higher Crit Chance. From 1-29% health, restoration staff heals for ~9.4% more than dual wield daggers, but the daggers offer the higher Crit Chance
- If we assume ~62% Crit Healing modifier, from 30-99% health, daggers output ~9.9% more (5.6% + 4.3%) healing, and from 1-29%, restoration staff outputs ~5.1% more healing
- The armor is a mix of medium, light, and heavy armor to maximize the Undaunted Mettle passive (+6% to Max Health, Stamina, and Magicka). I recommend running at least 24k armor on frontbar for survivability. As a Nord with the 2.6k armor passive, 4 medium, 1 light, and 2 heavy, I have ~25k armor on frontbar and ~30k on backbar. The chest piece should be heavy armor for the extra resistances. The other heavy piece(s) can be helm, shoulders, legs, or feet, since they share the same armor value. The hands should be medium armor and waist should be light due to their low armor values. I do not advise more than 4 heavy armor pieces as you lose too much damage and sustain. If you want to boost your armor while wearing as many medium armor pieces as possible, consider slotting Resolving Vigor — see Backbar skills below
- 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 this one use skills that consume 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); such players get targeted and steamrolled because it’s easy to drop their Health into Execute range
- Well-Fitted is the trait for medium and light 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 sets such as Rush of Agony, the armor pieces are the easiest to acquire as they drop from every boss. Therefore, I typically slot 3 or 4 pieces of armor from the dungeon set. Specific weapons can be a pain to get as a dungeon drop, so I typically slot 1 or 2 jewelry pieces from the dungeon set. This frees me up to use a monster set, weapon set, or mythic jewelry piece
- The great thing about crafted gear is you can pick the weight and trait. If a build has a mix of crafted and dungeon gear, craft the chest as heavy, hands as light, 1 of the 3 jewelry pieces, and both backbar weapons. Again, this is for ease of acquisition and trying out new sets. In the case of this build, you can craft 1 jewelry piece, given that one ring is Markyn Ring of Majesty and another jewelry piece is Rush of Agony
- As Wretched Vitality provides 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 Bind on Equip armor pieces with Well-Fitted or Reinforced and weapons with Sharpened or Defending. 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 with Infused. This is another reason why I favor crafting 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
- The frontbar weapon enchantment is Weapon Damage. The backbar weapon enchantments, Poisoned Weapon and Fiery Weapon, see high uptime from Quick Cloak. Every damaging tick of QC procs a backbar weapon enchantment
Preferred Proc Set Mechanics
There are several things that I look for in proc sets
- For damage-dealing proc sets, the ability to affect multiple targets. For single-target builds, there are some terrific proc sets (e.g. Caluurion’s Legacy), but my brawler build is built around AoE damage so I choose accordingly. Rush of Agony meets this criteria
- For damage-dealing proc sets, the ability to refresh an effect on targets without overwriting the damage.
- For buff or buff proc sets, the effect affects my ability to fight multiple targets. By contract, for single-target builds, there are sets such as Caustic Arrow. Markyn Ring of Majesty and Titanic Cleave meet this criteria
- For debuff proc sets, the effect can be applied to multiple targets
- For buff / debuff proc sets, the ability to refresh the effect before it expires. Wretched Vitality meets this criteria
Other Gear Set Options
- You can replace Markyn Ring of Majesty with Sea-Serpent’s Coil. The latter provides Major Courage (+430 Weapon Damage) and Major Berserk (+10% damage), but it snares you by 40% for 10 sec. SSC has high uptime and enables higher burst, but you have to cast Bird of Prey every 6 seconds to negate the snare
Sets Previously Used
In Updates 33 and 34 I ran with Merciless Charge (MC) and Gaze of Sithis. In Update 35, MC’s damage was nerfed and damage was lowered across the board. To provide better damage while retaining armor in Update 35, I replaced those sets with MRoM and Agility. In the last month of Update 35, I acquired The Master’s Perfected Maul (Titanic Cleave) and found that it synergized strongly with the mechanics of this build, so I replaced Agility with TC and 1-pc Magma Incarnate for sustain.
- Stampede: gap closer that triggers AoE direct damage and AoE DoT ground effect. Stampede’s AoE DoT damage was nerfed in Lost Depths, but it’s still an excellent skill and it procs Rush of Agony
- Brawler: spammable. I do not recommend using Brawler in PVP unless you have Titanic Cleave, as TC greatly improves the per-target damage of Brawler when it hits multiple targets. Brawler also provides a damage shield that scales based on number of targets hit
- Evil Hunter (EH): +12% Crit Chance, +3% Weapon Damage (Slayer passive), and stealth counter (gigantic 12m radius). I previously slotted Reverse Slice here but found that RS competed with Brawler for the GCD in many situations (i.e. I was taking incoming damage), and EH significantly boosts your burst and sustained damage. I found that EH improved my ability to pressure and kill meaningfully
- Subterranean Assault (SA): fires conal AoE direct damage twice in 3-second intervals. This class-defining skill allows you to stack your burst. Always keep targets in your frontal facing to maximize hitting targets with SA, even while CC’d. SA’s damage was meaningfully nerfed in Lost Depths, but it’s still a good skill. The other morph, Deep Fissure, is strong if you can tolerate its awkward 2nd detonation timing
- Bird of Prey (BoP): on-demand Major Expedition buff (+30% movement speed). Also passively boosts your damage 5% with Minor Berserk buff. BoP received a buff in Lost Depths to also provide 4-sec immunity to snare and immobilization
- Flawless Dawnbreaker (FB): conal AoE direct damage, heavy DoT, and huge Weapon Damage buff. The cost of 125 is not high, so you’ll see high uptime for the 20-sec buff
There are 2 strong setups for the backbar. The only difference between them is the HoT skill (shown on button “3”).
- Bull Netch: provides Major Brutality buff (+20% weapon damage), Stamina sustain, and passive cleanse
- Ice Fortress (IF): provides Major Resolve buff (+5948 armor) and Minor Protection buff (+5% mitigation). In combat this skill procs both the 260 and the 130 Stamina and Magicka Recovery buffs of Wretched Vitality
- Leeching Vines (LV) or Resolving Vigor (RV): both are worthwhile options. I list their tradeoffs below
- Arctic Blast (AB): provides a self-heal that scales off offensive stats, delivers a 3-sec PBAoE stun, and applies a 20-sec PBAoE DoT. With the changes in Lost Depths to AB, Warden finally has a class stun! The stun from AB addresses the biggest hole in Stamden’s class kit and AB synergizes strongly with Rush of Agony
- Quick Cloak (QC): provides Major Evasion buff (-20% AoE damage taken), which is huge. QC provides high uptime on the backbar weapon enchants. The duration of QC was increased by 6 sec in Lost Depths. QC and the backbar weapon enchants account for ~10% of my damage in BGs
- 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
Thoughts on Skill Selection
With hybridization, which was introduced in Update 33, LT and AB scale off your highest stats (Stamina or Magicka, Weapon Damage or Spell Damage), so Stamina builds can use Magicka skills with full scaling, and vice versa.
Both Scorch morphs, i.e. Subterranean Assault or Deep Fissure, are viable. DF provides potent debuffs, Major Fracture (-5948 armor) and Minor Fracture (-2974). I’ve slotted at times DF in Lost Depths but dislike the 6-sec delay on the 2nd detonation, as the timing is awkward (3 sec until the 1st detonation, then 6 sec until the 2nd detonation). The UI also doesn’t indicate the timer for the 2nd detonation. With Update 36, the Piercing Cold passive was changed from 10% to Magic / Ice damage to 2% to all damage (12% with Ice Staff equipped), so for this build, the Magic damage from DF was nerfed by 8%.
A viable alternative to Quick Cloak for accessing Major Evasion (-20% to AoE damage taken) is Elude. The latter has a longer duration (36 vs 30 sec) and provides Major Expedition buff (30% movement speed) when you take damage from a direct damage AoE attack. I previously used Elude in this build but switched to QC given that the duration was bumped from 24 to 30 sec in Lost Isle, and I wanted to have high uptime on my backbar weapon enchants. You can proc one of the backbar enchants with each QC tick. I’ve also found it useful to have 2 on-demand Major Expedition skills (+30% movement speed) that use different resource pools.
Obviously, customize the order of these skills on your skillbars to suit you. As I wrote in my Guide on Keybinding, it’s helpful to order your skillsbased on themes, for ease of muscle memory. E.g. buffs are on 1 & 2, opener (e.g. gap closer) is on 1, spammable is on 2, execute is on 3, AoE damage and AoE heal are on 4, mobility skills are on 5, etc.
Tradeoffs for the Heal Over Time Skills
I have tested Resolving Vigor, Leeching Vines, and Living Trellis extensively in BGs. All 3 are viable skills.
For BGs, my current preference is Leeching Vines:
- Leeching Vines offsets incoming damage, so it expands the window when you can pressure opponents before having to switch from DPSing to healing
- I used to question the value of the lifesteal (600 per tick) of Leeching Vines in BGs, but after watching footage of myself using it in Lost Depths, there are so many lifesteal ticks that it behaves like a lightweight HoT on multiple allies with 1 cast, so it scales well. The lifesteal output is often double the output from the reactive healing ticks
- Leeching Vines enables you to essentially convert Magicka to Stamina by casting the skill on a friendly taking damage
Following are the pros and cons for Leeching Vines and Resolving Vigor.
+++ very high healing output in group fights
++ can proc Accelerated Growth passive for Major Mending (+16% healing done)
++ can proc Nature’s Gift passive (gain 250 of the lower of Magicka or Stamina) when healing others so it’s great for sustain
— requires the target to be hit to trigger the reactive HoT
– for you to benefit from the lifesteal, you and friendlies have to attack a debuffed enemy. So there’s no benefit if you are running away bravely
+++ heals without you being hit
+++ provides Minor Resolve (+2974 armor), so you take less damage that needs to be healed
— can only be cast on self
The big selling point for RV is the armor buff. I play a Nord Warden, so I have the 2.6k racial armor passive. If you play a race with good Stamina sustain, RV is an excellent choice to help get your frontbar armor to 25k or higher without having to load up heavy armor. At any rate, I advise no more than 4 heavy armor pieces.
Attacking and Crowd Control
Here is the general order for using your attack skills (LA is Light Attack):
Subterranean Assault > Stampede > LA > Artic Blast > LA > Flawless Dawnbreaker > LA > Brawler
Always refresh SA when it expires. Use Stampede whenever you need to catch up to a target or want to trigger Rush of Agony’s AoE pull and detonation.
As noted earlier, Arctic Blast (AB) synergizes with Rush of Agony (RoA). RoA pulls enemies in when you connect with Stampede, which sets them up to be PBAoE stunned by AB, which increases the likelihood that your targets will get hit by SA’s denotations and RoA’s detonation, and you’re in position to deal heavy AOE damage with Brawler. The beauty of the RoA and AB combo is that it makes it easy for you and your team to drop AoEs for maximum pressure.
RoA’s detonation is centered around you, i.e. it’s PBAoE, not where the Stampede AoE DoT was placed.
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 helps against enemies who are kiting. AB is another great tool for peeling.
Buffing and Healing
Before engaging in combat, always pre-buff by casting Bull Netch, Ice Fortress, Quick Cloak, and your selected HoT skill (Leeching Vines or Resolving Vigor). You’ll want to re-cast IF once you’re in combat to proc both 5-pc set bonuses of Wretched Vitality. Thankfully the 3 buffs have durations of 24–30 sec, so re-buffing is not too tedious with this build.
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, try to work in a SA so that while you are buffing, you’re still outputting meaningful AoE damage.
You have 4 sources of meaningful on-demand healing: Leeching Vines, Arctic Blast, Healing Thicket, and Essence of Health (crafted Tri-Stat / Tri-Recovery potion). Use HT and Leeching Vines to bail out friendlies. While this is a damage dealing build, I can’t emphasize enough the value of clutch off-healing to keep your friendlies upright, and healing others triggers the Nature’s Gift passive, which boosts your sustain. I tend to save my potion to replenish not only my Health but also the 2 resource pools as needed.
If you’re out of Magicka, you can spam Bull Netch for some small self-healing via the Bond With Nature passive.
You receive ongoing healing from your healing skills and the Bond With Nature passive, and this ensures the Minor Toughness (+10% Health) from the Maturation passive is always active on you.
To maintain high Stamina recovery and Magicka recovery, once in combat make sure to cast a buff (Bull Netch, Ice Fortress, or Quick Cloak) every 15 seconds to proc the buff(s) from Wretched Vitality (WV). Ice Fortress procs both recovery buffs from WV, as IF provides Major Resolve and Minor Protection. WV’s buffs can refresh even while they’re already up, so you can maintain very high uptime easily.
Brawler has a high resource cost, so to maintain high Stamina sustain, cast Leeching Vines on a friendly taking damage. LV enables you to essentially convert Magicka to Stamina via the Nature’s Gift passive.
Here are the main in-combat sources of ultimate generation for this build
- Hidden ultimate generation buff that generates 3 ultimate per second for 9 seconds. This is triggered when you land a light or heavy attack or when you heal a friendly (not yourself). It’s critical that you weave in light attacks between your skills just for this buff alone. Of course, light attacks also provide AoE damage with the Forceful passive in the 2H skill line. You’re also rewarded for healing friendlies with this buff
- Savage Beast passive in the Animal Companions class skill line. This generates 4 ultimate when you use an Animal Companions skill in combat, once every 8 seconds
- Combat Frenzy passive in the Assault skill line. This generates 20 ultimate when you kill an enemy
- Banish the Wicked passive in the Fighters Guild skill line. This generates 3 ultimate when you kill an enemy
The first two sources provide constant generation when you’re engaged in combat, so they do not depend on combat outcomes. By comparison, the last two sources are entirely dependent on your landing the killing blow, so they won’t help until you kill players. At that point, you can snowball ultimate (23 per kill) to fuel your killing spree.
Many players are unaware of the hidden ultimate generation buff; it is the most consistent form of ultimate generation, so don’t neglect it!
5. Narrated Videos
These videos are the best way to see this build in action and to understand my thought process in PVP. Keep in mind that this written guide will always have the latest information, whereas videos are a point-in-time snapshot.
A. Build Overview and Deathmatch Gameplay
This video showcases how to blend AoE damage and AoE healing capabilities as the situation warrants.
B. Carrying a Deathmatch with Good Awareness
This video showcases how to carry a team to a huge comeback win.
Carrying in PVP requires 3 things
- A functional build (skills + gear)
- Good awareness
- Solid aim / good targeting
I can’t stress enough how much good awareness contributes to carrying a team!
- a 210-pt deficit is 14 kills, not 17. I fail at maths 🤣. Still a sweet comeback ✌️
- the opposing warden actually died 10 times, not 3 times
6. Attributes, Mundus Stone, Passives, Food, and CP
- Magicka: 0
- Health: 14
- Stamina: 50
Even though I run Tri-Stat armor enchants, I do allocate some attribute points to Health to get to over 30k Health in BGs with the Maturation passive.
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.
Following are the minimum skill point investments to make in passives.
- Animal Companions: all
- Green Balance: all
- Winter’s Embrace: all
- Two-Handed: all
- Dual Wield: all
- Medium Armor: all
- Heavy Armor: all
- Assault: Continuous Attack, Combat Frenzy
- Support: Combat Medic, Battle Resurrection
- Fighters Guild: Slayer, Banish the Wicked, Skilled Tracker
- Undaunted: all
- Alchemy: Medicinal Use
If you’re min / maxing, the Undeath passive (Reduces your damage taken by up to 30% based on your missing Health) in the Vampire skill line is regarded as the single strongest passive for PVP in the game.
FWIW, my Warden doesn’t have an affliction and I do fine without it.
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.
- Master-at-Arms: 6% increase to direct damage
- Biting Aura: 6% increase to AoE damage
- Occult Overload: when you kill an enemy under the effects of a status effect, they explode for 5185 Oblivion damage in a 4m radius
- Ironclad: 6% reduction to direct damage taken
- Pain’s Refuge: up to 20% reduction to direct damage taken, based on negative effects on you
- Celerity: 10% movement speed
- Sustained by Suffering: 150 Health, Magicka, and Stamina Recovery
- Relentlessness: 10% reduction damage taken (Major Protection) for 3 sec when stunned or feared
- Steed’s Blessing: 20% movement speed out of combat
- Gifted Rider: 10% mount speed
- Treasure Hunter or Master Gatherer (no impact on PVP)
- Meticulous Disassembly (no direct impact on PVP, but MD helps you farm materials needed to improve your gear)
Top Addons for PVP
Here are the top 8 addons that I highly recommend for PVP (in alphabetical order)
- 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 skill names to the numbers you see on your screen. The minimeter is very helpful to understand how much your skills and procs are contributing to your overall damage and healing
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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. One caveat: the kill counter is sometimes missing some of your kills, but the next addon on this list fixes that
- PvPMeter – Updated: to track your kills and deaths accurately. Also tracks the history of your performance across BGs: wins / losses, medal scores, kills, deaths, damage done, healing done, etc.
- 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 skill ** 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 *** PvPMeter - Updated: to show accurate kill and death totals in BGs. Also tracks historical performance across BGs *** 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
8. Change Log
Here are key changes to the build, listed in reverse chronological order. For brevity, minor copy edits are not included.
- 2022-12-04: replaced Reverse Slice with Evil Hunter, as I found that EH improves my ability to pressure and kill meaningfully. Also changed from using 3 heavy and 4 medium to 2 heavy, 1 light, and 4 medium to maximize the Undaunted Mettle passive
- 2022-11-13: replaced Agility with Titanic Cleave and 1-pc Magma Incarnate, and replaced Dizzying Swing with Brawler. I was delighted to get the Perfected TC Maul from vDSA and found that it synergizes terrifically with this build. Here’s why: Brawler with TC provides scaling AOE damage and a scaling damage shield
- 2022-09-24: replaced Absorb Stamina weapon enchantment with Fiery Weapon for the direct damage and DoT status effect. Quick Cloak and the backbar enchants now account for ~10% of my damage
- 2022-09-21: given that Arctic Blast provides an on-demand PBAoE stun, I replaced Dawnbreaker of Smiting with Flawless Dawnbreaker. FB has lower tooltips on the direct damage and DoT compared to DoS, but the 300 Weapon Damage buff for 20 sec is well worth it
- 2022-09-03: to better leverage backbar enchants, I replaced Elude with Quick Cloak. I also replaced a Frost weapon enchantment on the backbar with Absorb Stamina, to help with sustain. Added tradeoffs when selecting one of the following HoT skills: Leeching Vines, Living Trellis, or Resolving Vigor. I’ve experimented with all 3 extensively and now prefer Leeching Vines
- 2022-08-28: in service of generating more damage, I replaced Merciless Charge and Gaze of Sithis with Markyn Ring of Majesty and Agility. The tradeoff to gain more damage is worth it in Lost Depths, given that kills are harder to come by, MC was nerfed, and damage is lower across all classes. Farewell Merciless Charge and Gaze of Sithis, you served me well!
- 2022-08-24: replaced Enchanted Growth with Arctic Blast (AB), given that AB was changed in Lost Depths (Update 35) to provide a class PBAoE stun. You lose off-healing and sustain, but the stun complements Rush of Agony and greatly improves the build’s performance
- 2022-06-19: replaced Resolving Vigor with Living Trellis (LV), given LV potentially heals for significantly more over a longer window, can be cast on friendlies, and uses Magicka
- 2022-06-19: after extensive testing with Titanborn Strength (TBS) in Battlegrounds, I missed the positional control of Rush of Agony (RoA), so I switched from TBS back to RoA. Remember, RoA acts as a mini AoE root effect
- 2022-06-13: in High Isle (Update 34), multiple classes had their damage meaningfully buffed (e.g. Stamsorc, Stamblade) and the new Oakensoul Ring is overpowered, so it’s been harder to stay alive. Therefore, I replaced Rush of Agony (RoA) with Titanborn Strength (TBS), as the latter’s 5-pc set bonus of TBS boosts Weapon Damage and Offensive Penetration as your Health drops, which increases not only your damage but also your healing
Updated per Update 34 (High Isle, patch 8.0.5):
The Warden changes in High Isle have zero affect on this build.
2H skill line’s Reverse Slice got buffed:
This change should improve the performance of Reverse Slice so I look forward to trying it out ✌️
The nerfs to the Warfare constellations affects all builds that use it.
Updated the Recent Notable Changes section with the following:
Updated again for High Isle. Changed the Recent Notable Changes section to this:
So I’ve gone back to my pre-High Isle gear sets but swapped out Resolving Vigor with Living Trellis, as the latter is better against incoming focus fire.
Nice! I am currently grinding out Sithis to try this build. My weapon is currently the rush of agony hammer before I get a better option. I just hit cp300 so there is some ways to go :) But this build is exelent to have as an ingame goal! Had to grind out scrying, I really like it, and then I have to do some of the Dark Brotherhood story to get Sithis! I’m all in :) Thank you again for this guide!
Hopefully you’re all geared up now.
Let me know how things are going with the build!
Still working on it, got distracted leveling a stamsorc 😅 Trying to get the last leads for Sithis to drop.
What are you up to ingame, is summer = a break for you?
I’m still playing regularly.
I’ve been keeping an eye on the massive changes coming in Update 35. I would prefer that ZoS revert most of them as I think incremental change is much more effective (and easier to assess for ZoS and players) as opposed to the planned massive changes that were put on the PTS.
Updated the Recent Notable Changes section with the following:
It’s awesome to FINALLY have a class stun, and it complements this build’s bully nature.
In service of generating more pressure and bursting targets down, I replaced Merciless Charge and Gaze of Sithis with Markyn Ring of Majesty and Agility. The tradeoff to gain more direct damage is well worth it in Lost Depths, given that kills are much harder to come by. Farewell Merciless Charge and Gaze of Sithis, you served me well!
For reference, my old (now outdated) gear sets are listed below…
1-pc Gaze of Sithis¹
2-pc Merciless Charge
5-pc Rush of Agony
3-pc Wretched Vitality
1-pc Gaze of Sithis¹
5-pc Rush of Agony
5-pc Wretched Vitality
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
To gain mitigation, I replaced Living Trellis with Resolving Vigor. To better leverage backbar enchants, I replaced Elude with Quick Cloak. I also replaced a Frost weapon enchant on the backbar with Absorb Stamina, to help with sustain
I find with this new setup that I have to monitor my Stamina pool more carefully, but the overall build performance is better.
Last week I replaced Resolving Vigor for Leeching Vines. LV’s lifesteal ends up generating a lot of healing in group fights.
Updated the guide to explain the pros and cons for Leeching Vines, Living Trellis, and Resolving Vigor. All are viable options, it’s really a matter of what you’re optimizing.
Over a week ago, given that Arctic Blast provides an on-demand AOE stun, I replaced Dawnbreaker of Smiting with Flawless Dawnbreaker. FB has lower tooltips on the direct damage and DoT compared to DoS, but the 300 Weapon Damage buff for 20 sec is well worth it.
I now feel confident in recommending FB over DoS.
The Brawler build now uses the Brawler skill!
Replaced Agility with Titanic Cleave and 1-pc Magma Incarnate, and replaced Dizzying Swing with Brawler.
I was delighted to get the Perfected TC Maul from vDSA in early October and found that it synergizes terrifically with this build. Here’s why: Brawler with TC provides scaling AOE damage and a scaling damage shield. Without TC, Brawler is not worth using in PVP due to the low per-target damage.
Keep in mind that Brawler has a high resource cost. To help with sustain, remember to cast Leeching Vines on a friendly player. This essentially converts your Magicka to Stamina as your friendly gets hit and triggers the reactive heal.
I’ve been meaning to update this guide for a month and finally got around to it. Happy cleaving with Brawler and Titanic Cleave!
Hello, i am not that experienced in Builds and i am wondering if the 5 piece Effect from Wretched Vitality is still active, when activated with ICE Fortress on Backbar, when i switch to my Frontbar, or do i only have the extra sustain on the Backbar?
Yes, the buffs from Wretched Vitality carry over from the backbar to the frontbar. The WV buffs are yellow icons of a person with cross swords. You’ll see they persist regardless which bar you’re on, until they expire (15s).
One really nice feature of WV is that the buffs can be refreshed any time. Some sets have procs that can’t be refreshed until the duration expires, e.g. Seventh Legion Brute.