ESO Nightblade Magicka Guide - Strong Magblade Build
ESO Nightblade Magicka Build
Welcome to our Scalebreaker updated Magblade guide for PvE! Magicka Nightblade builds are currently much less popular for the PvE group content, than the ones focused on Stamina. However, even though not too many people play like that, they still can dish out huge amounts of damage, while having access to great sustain and some defensive tools. The build is also really fun and satisfying to play! This guide is devoted to a single build. If you need some more general information, check out our Beginner Guide.
In general, Nightblades are not the easiest class to play, so take into account that mastering all the intricacies might take you a while. That being said, if you like this kind of damage-heavy spell caster playstyle that also utilizes the damage boost from light attacks, it will definitely be worth it.
This build uses a Destruction Staff on both skill bars. As pretty much every ESO build, it utilizes a long list of the non-class specific passives and abilities. It also deals a significant amount of damage with light attacks, what makes weaving them in extremely important. In terms of attributes, you will get the most damage by simply investing all the points into Magicka - that's what you should do.
Main Skill Bar
Impale – it’s the ranged morph of Assassin’s Blade in the Assassination skill line. It’s a single target execute that hits really hard when the target is below 25% HP. It’s the main execute in this build. You should spam this ability on bosses, after they’re below the Health threshold.
Merciless Resolve – another skill from the Assassination tree. This one is a morph of Grim Focus. It allows you to stack up to 10% of damage reduction. When it’s fully stacked, you can either keep the defensive buff on, or consume it to fire a magic damage arrow called Assassin’s Will or Spectral Bow. The second part of this ability can also heal you.
Elemental Weapon – it makes your next light attack in two seconds deal additional damage and apply a status effect. It’s morphed from Imbue Weapon in the Psijic Order skill line. It’s the main spammable source of direct damage before the enemy gets into the execution range.
Crippling Grasp/Debilitate – they’re damage over time abilities with an initial burst that also roots and later slows the target. Their base skill is Cripple in the Siphoning tree. Debilitate restores extra Magicka, while Crippling Grasp deals more initial damage and offers stronger crowd control.
Soul Splitting Trap – another source of damage over time. It can also affect enemies surrounding the primary target. It’s a morph of Soul Trap in the Soul Magic skill line.
Incapacitating Strike/Soul Harvest – both of these ultimate skills are morphs of Death Stroke in the Assassination tree. There are two important parts of each of them. First of all, both hit really hard and increase the amount of damage that you deal to their target by 20% for 6 seconds. At the same time, having Incapacitating Strike slotted makes your light and heavy attacks restore 100 Magicka and Stamina when you hit an enemy that has a negative effect applied to them. Soul Harvest’s passive generates ultimate when you kill enemies. It’s basically a choice between better sustain of Magicka and Stamina or being able to sue ultimates more frequently.
Secondary Skill Bar
Unstable Wall of Elements – in our case it’s going to be the Unstable Wall of Fire. It’s an AoE damage over time ability that deals additional damage to burning enemies. This skill is a morph of Wall of Elements in the Destruction Staff tree. It greatly synergizes with the staff that we use for this bar. Optionally, you can go with the other morph - Elemental Blockade.
Siphoning Attacks – it’s morphed from Siphoning Strikes in the Nightblade’s Siphoning skill line. It’s a 20 second spell that makes your light and heavy attacks restore Health and Magicka. It provides additional Magicka based on the duration when the effect ends.
Harness Magicka – it provides a powerful shield that’s based of your Magicka (but not bigger than 50% max HP). While active, it also restores Magicka every time it absorbs damage. The amount scales off of the number of light armor pieces that you’re wearing. It’s a morph of Annulment in the Light Armor skill line.
Degeneration – it’s morphed from the Mage’s Guild skill called Entropy. It’s a single target DoT that also temporarily increases your spell power and lets you restore Magicka by hitting the affected enemy with light and heavy attacks.
Channeled Acceleration – this ability provides a buff to movement speed and critical damage. It’s a morph of Accelerate in the Psijic Order skill line.
Shooting Star - as the secondary ultimate we’re using this morph of Meteor in the Mages Guild tree. It deals a lot of AoE damage in the initial blast and then more over time. It restores 12 ultimate for each enemy that you manage to hit with the first part of the ability. That being said, it has a huge cost and you’re not going to use it very often.
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Inner Light – you can slot it just for the powerful passives. 5% maximum Magicka and 10% and Major Prophecy (10% spell crit) can be worth playing over an ability that you’re not getting a lot of value from. It’s morphed from Magelight in the Mages Guild tree.
Dark Shade – use this ability to summon a clone of yourself that deals a decent amount of damage and inflicts Minor Maim to its targets. This reliable source of damage reduction can be really valuable in boss fights. The Shade sometimes uses an AoE attack that applies the debuff to all targets. It’s a morph of Summon Shade in the Shadow skill line.
Twisting Path - a morph of Path of Darkness in the Shadow tree. It provides a team-wide movement speed buff and deals some AoE damage over time.
Swallow Soul - this skill provides some damage over time and self-healing. It's morphed from Strife in the Siphoning skill line.
Assassination: Executioner provides really nice Magicka sustain if an enemy dies in 2 seconds after you hit them with an Assassination skill (every execution with Impale will restore this resource). Pressure Points increase your weapon and spell critical chance. Hemorrhage increases your critical damage and provides a weapon crit chance buff to you and your group. You can also take Master Assassin, but it’s irrelevant for this build.
Shadow: Refreshing Shadows increase Health, Magicka and Stamina recovery. Shadow Barrier provides powerful defensive buffs after casting a Shadow ability. You can get bonus max Health from Dark Vigor. Dark Veil increases the duration of your Shadow skills (really valuable if you’re using Dark Shade).
Siphoning: Catalyst provides ultimate for drinking potions – which is really useful. Magicka Flood grants 8% max Magicka. Just make sure that you have a Siphoning ability on each bar to always have access to it. You can empower your healing with Soul Siphoner. Finally, Transfer provides another source of ultimate generation.
Destruction Staff: Tri Focus further empowers your fully charged heavy attacks. Your Destro Staff skills can ignore 10% of enemy resistances thanks to Penetrating Magic. Elemental Force enables you to inflict burning status effect more reliably. You get extra single target damage from Ancient Knowledge. Destruction Expert restores 3600 Magicka when you kill an enemy using a Destruction Staff ability.
Light Armor: Grace reduces the snare duration and sprint cost – it’s not that necessary for this build. Evocation increases your Magicka recovery and decreases the Magicka costs of your abilities for each piece of light armor that you’re wearing – we’re going to use at least five of them anyway and these stats are actually really useful. Spell Warding provides additional spell resistance. You can also get a significant boost of spell critical chance from Prodigy. Finally, Concentration provides additional spell penetration.
Heavy Armor (you’re not going to use that many pieces, but it will still provide some stats): Resolve, Constitution and Juggernaut provide small amounts of resistances, resource sustain and maximum HP.
Fighters Guild: Banish the Wicked provides additional ultimate generation. Skilled Tracker increases the damage that you deal to Undead, Werewolves and Daedra.
Mages Guild: Mage Adept decreases the cost of your non-ultimate Mages Guild skills. Everlasting Magic extends the duration of these skills by 20%. Magicka Controller increases your max Magicka and Magicka regeneration by 2% for each Mages Guild ability on your active bar. These skills will also empower your next light attacks thanks to Might of the Guild.
Psijic Order: Clairvoyance reduces the cost of Psijic Order skills. Spell Orb is a stackable passive that provides some extra damage. You will charge it up with the multiple costs of Elemental Weapon. You can get a 5000 damage shield while blocking, thanks to Concentrated Barrier. Deliberation reduces the damage that you take by 30% while you’re casting or channeling a Psijic Order ability – this one is optional.
Undaunted: Undaunted Command provides resources when you activate an allied synergy. Undaunted Mettle will provide extra 2% of max Health, Stamina and Magicka for every weight type of armor that you’re wearing (we aim to get 5 light, 1 medium and 1 heavy, what makes it extra 6%).
Alchemy: Medicinal Use is of course welcome in every build, as the extra duration of potions is just really nice to have.
Finally, you should also max out all your racial passives. Optionally, you can consider becoming a Vampire, but it's not necessary for this build to work - it comes down to personal preference.
Magblade Race choice
The race choice is not the most important part of the build, you can definitely play this setup with a character from any of the ESO races. If you wanted to optimize though, we recommend going with Breton. They get the extra 2000 Magicka as well as some Magicka sustain and reduced cost of skills. That makes managing this resource relatively easy. Other considerable options are Khajiit, Altmer and Dark Elf (Dunmer).
This is an example of a 810 points setup. Remember that you’re always free to make some adjustments.
The Mage (blue)
The Ritual: Thaumaturge – 81
The Atronach: Master at Arms – 40, Staff Expert – 29
The Apprentice: Elemental Expert – 49, Elfborn – 61, Spell Erosion – 10
The Thief (green)
The Shadow: Tumbling – 56, Shadow Ward – 56
The Lover: Arcanist – 100
The Tower: Warlord – 56, Sprinter – 2
The Warrior (red)
The Lady: Hardy – 49, Elemental Defender – 49, Thick Skinned – 48
The Steed: Ironclad – 81, Spell Shield – 43
Just like most other PvE DPS builds, we will prioritize the Divine item trait on armor. All the damage-heavy Nightblade setups utilize the critical strikes really well, making The Shadow Mundus Stone really valuable. Additionally, get the max Magicka enchantment for extra resources.
On jewelry, the Bloodthirsty trait provides empowers your executions, but you can also consider Arcane for more max Magicka. Spell Damage enchantment increases your overall DPS. As we said, both our weapons are staves. First one should have the Precise trait with Fire enchant for the extra flame damage. In the back bar staff you should optimally get the Infused trait and Weapon Damage enchant. The secondary staff is key in this build. You need the Crushing Wall Inferno Staff for even more light and heavy attacks damage after you swap to the back bar.
The most important set in this build is Mother’s Sorrow - an overland set that drops in Deshaan. It provides some maximum Magicka and a lot of spell critical chance. As the secondary sets, you could go with Burning Spellweave (dungeon set that drops in City of Ash), False God’s Devotion (trial set from Sunspire) or Mantle of Siroria. Zaan monster set provides even more damage from weaving light attacks between abilities. For starters, the crafted Law of Julianos is an efficient, easy to obtain option if you only have some gold or the necessary materials.
A full gear example looks like this:
Head and shoulders: Zaan monster set (optimally heavy helmet and medium shoulder piece - this set drops in the Scalecaller Peak dungeon)
Chest, belt, gloves, pants and boots: Mother’s Sorrow
Necklace and two rings: Burning Spellweave
Weapon 1: Burning Spellweave Inferno Staff
Weapon 2: Crushing Wall Inferno Staff (getting it might require some Veteran Maelstrom Arena attempts)
Of course you can make some adjustments, but we strongly recommend staying with Mother’s Sorrow, Crushing Wall staff and Zaan monster set. These three components are a perfect match for the playstyle that we described here. Of course, it's not the only way to play Magicka Nightblade, there are plenty o other possibilities.
ESO Magicka Nightblade DPS
The Magblade build has access to high level of damage as well as a significant amount of crowd control and sustain. It can work really well in a trial or dungeon. Weaving in light attacks between spells is crucial if you want to reach high Magicka DPS numbers with this setup (all ESO players should do it, no matter what setup they're playing, but in this case it's even more important). Especially on your back bar, you have to catch your enemies inside the Unstable Fire Wall and hit them with light and heavy attack empowered by the Crushing Wall. That's a mechanic that's currently utilized by numerous Magicka builds played by multiple respective classes.
Magicka Nightblade PvE setup might not currently be the most popular DPS build in the game, but it’s definitely worth giving a shot. The inherent bonuses to critical rate and critical damage significantly increase the damage output of your rotation and let you draw on The Shadow Mundus Stone extremely efficiently. You can also play a really similar build for solo farming. You're just going to need a bit more sustain and survivability. Other popular Nightblade builds include the Stamina DPS with dual wield and bow, but you can also play this class as a tank, or even healer! If you're not that interested in PvE, you can check out our Nightblade PvP Guide!
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