Aetherian Archive Trial Guide

For untold ages this tower has loomed over Elinhir, its portals mystically sealed, all entry forbidden. Someone exerted immense effort to place impenetrable wards on this place—but now those wards are sundered.

Aetherian Archive is a twelve-person trial in the game The Elder Scrolls Online. The trial consists of various areas each with its own challenges and enemies.  In this guide, I shall explain the mechanics as well as what you should and shouldn’t do while facing the trial’s bosses.

Aetherian Archive Location

Aetherian Archive is located in the southeastern region of Craglorn.  Travel east from the Elinhir Wayshrine to reach Aetherian Archive.  You can also access Aetherian Archive specifically on your Craglorn map.

Inside Aetherian Archive

Aetherian Archive is a six-level trial with four bosses and one weekly quest.  The enemies in this trial include flame atronachs, illusory menders, imps, and frost atronachs.

The Mage’s Tower

I’ve discovered the Aetherian Archive, an enigmatic tower that had previously been sealed. Mighty Mordra and her Undaunted had planned to climb the Archive, but her allies are missing. If I choose to, I could explore it and reach the top before them.

Completing The Mage’s Tower

You will need to defeat the Mage. Speak to Mindil the Untested to complete this quest.  Completing this quest will reward you with gold, and a Mage’s Ignorant Coffer (for normal difficulty) or a Mage’s Knowledgeable Coffer (for veteran difficulty).

NOTE:  This quest is repeatable weekly.

Aetherian Archive Boss Mechanics

Need specific info?  Click these quick links to go directly to each section.

Lightning Storm Atronach

This boss is a very simple one but can go horribly wrong if people do not pay attention.  The room has 5 positions around the main large one in the middle. You can call these whatever you like but you MUST make sure your group can fully understand and coordinate which one is which.

From the position that you first enter the room, if you are facing the main middle pad (where the boss is), I would name them as follows:  ”front, back, left, right, top right.” This way whatever direction is called, people know where to go. Front and back by the way are simple. Front is the furthest one away near the bridge and back is the one that will be directly behind you when you are on the middle pad if still facing the same way as when you came in.

KEEP your eyes open for upcoming mechanics and make sure your direction doesn’t get muddled!  The tank should hold the boss still in the middle of the room while turning away from the group at all times.

Punches – The boss will throw several slow punches at the tank (or whoever has agro, SHOULD be the tank!). These hit fairly hard but so long as the tank blocks them these won’t be a problem. A dps can sometimes be one shot by these so do NOT drop taunt.

Storm! – Every few seconds (10-15 seconds) the boss will raise his hands and call down an almighty storm which will do lightning damage every second, getting stronger and stronger with every tick. You MUST protect yourselves. To do this you must locate (front, back, left, right, top right) which safe zone has the LIGHT! This will be a big yellow beam (note: some players cannot see this so be fast and follow the group).

If you make it to the location fast you will be protected and must stay in there until the storm is over. If you don’t make it you are pretty much dead. You must have fast reactions for this, do NOT hang around finishing rotations!  This mechanic is the opposite of every other mechanic/rule I have mentioned in the All About Mechanics series…in THIS case, RUN LIKE HELL!

Shockwave – After every STORM phase, when he has finished, everyone should run back to the middle and carry on fighting him like before. However he will channel a large growing ground-based lightning burst, and following that explosion will be several small fast-moving ground aoes.

When you see this effect, put on a damage shield (if you are magicka-based) or BLOCK if you are stamina based. Both can block if you choose but for the most part damage shields can cover it. Stamina won’t survive if they get hit with one of the small aoes if not blocking unless they have VERY high resists and currently have full health.

Foundation Stone Atronach

This boss is simple but it can be messy if people don’t pay attention to the mechanics. It can be a stack and burn to some extent, OR it can be a complete wipe.  The tank should taunt the main boss and turn it 90 degrees so it is NOT facing the group. Note by the way the boss has an awkward hitbox so highlighting the boss helps to maintain a taunt over time. The group should stack together out of the face of the boss and do what they are good at, killing it!

Ground Pound – The boss will occasionally pound the ground 5x and then resume basic attacks, the tank should of course block if necessary but the group is out of his face and the healers should focus heals on the group to be sure they don’t die from the splash damage.

Adds! – During the fight adds will spawn in twos! ONE Chain Spinner and One Nullifier.  These can be dealt with in many ways but for the sake of the guide, we will assume you have 2x tanks.  The main tank has the boss and should stay there. The off tank can grab the adds and stack them IN the middle on top of the boss. The Chain spinner is easy to position because he is melee, but the Nullifier will need to be manipulated position-wise (ranged target. Taunt it, get OUT of its range so it comes to you, and then come back in again. Try to position them BOTH in the middle so the group can dps them down.

The Chain Spinner has nasty stun attacks and aoe effects and the Nullifiers heal. So, focus the chain spinners first if you have to eventually focus them down, and the Nullifiers are the lowest priority. However, they will require interrupting when they are trying to heal.  Throughout the fight they will spawn in twos so if you do NOT kill them fast enough they will overlap and you will have multiples. So be careful.  A high-damage group can burn them, but a low-damage group will have to lay off the boss and focus them down before revisiting the boss as a main target.

Rock Throwing! – At 75% health and under the boss will crouch into a ball and all around the room will be floating rocks that will be launched AT members in the group. If they hit people they will do HIGH direct damage, knock back and stun, and damage in aoe. The trick to this is very simple indeed.  Instead of stacking at the boss, everyone should spread out, and hold the block to avoid being knocked down. You can still cast some abilities and heals while blocking.  Once he stands up again, go back to stacking and burning. Rinse and repeat this, and spread out the blocking tactic every time he crouches down for the rest of the fight.


This boss as far as mechanics go is pretty simple but this can be a complete mess! This is the well-known PUG KILLER of the trial. The tank should stand by the boss and taunt it, and pretty much keep her facing the tank at all times while maintaining a taunt/debuffs, etc.  The group should be in a large circle NOT stacking, everyone must have their own space.

Magic Bolt – During the fight, the boss will fire magical bolts at the person who has the aggro (this should be the tank). These deal moderate damage and shouldn’t prove too much of a problem BUT if a dps is hit by more than one of these they will most likely die.

Split! – The boss will split into 3 ghosts during the fight and each one will position themselves by the pillars around the room. Once they have been killed after a time, the boss will cast a huge explosion. The more ghosts still alive the stronger the hit. If no ghosts are alive you will be completely fine!

Every explosion starts the next phase and each phase lasts 30 seconds until the NEXT split. Each consecutive split will add one more ghost to the room. The maximum is 6!  There are a couple of ways to manage this, especially as new groups.
One way is to have everyone assigned to a pillar. Two people per pillar EXCLUDING the reddish-orange one with the mushrooms on it.

This way every phase people know where to go, they can kill their add in twos, and then any remaining, people who have finished theirs can help finish off.  With the above being successful there will of course be one left on its own.

Here is where your second choice comes in. Get your group collectively to nuke it since the others are dead and everyone can kill it fast. OR get back to the middle and be ready to BLOCK when the explosion happens.  So long as the boss has minor maim on it (debuff ) leaving ONE ghost alive and blocking the explosion will NOT kill your team. BUT with the debuff missing and people not blocking(or using a damage shield) they will most likely die.

So in a nutshell, 2 to a pillar, kill the ghost, and come back in, OR 2 to a pillar and ignore the mushroom one, but be sure to block the boom!  If you have an off tank by the way, they should run around taunting all of the ghosts to make sure the “Magic Bolts” attack stays off the group (the ghosts have the same effect as the boss) and also debuff them so people can kill them faster.

AOE Bursts – Throughout the whole fight, the stacking and burning AND the killing of the ghosts, players will have nasty popping aoes under them. This is why you do NOT stack. You can step out of them if you can coordinate without running around like a headless chicken OR you can stand still and take heals.

MOST important of all though, again, do NOT stack. stacking will make multiples land in the same place. If a dps/healer is hit by ONE at full health, they will survive, if they are hit with 2x, they WILL die!

Watch your feet!

The Mage

THIS boss can be SUCH a mess, but it really doesn’t have to be! The tank can have a hard time, the dps can have a hard time, and the healers can struggle all day long. BUT, I am going to explain to you how to do this with EASE and then of course add the hard mode mechanics at the end.

The tank should TAUNT the boss BUT! stay a few feet away, let’s call it “arm’s length”!  The group (despite all other complicated methods you may have seen) Should stack BEHIND the boss.  Read On…

CHAIN LIGHTNING!! – THIS is the single most hated mechanic in the trial and wipes people for countless hours because people do NOT understand it. So I’m going to explain what it DOES and then I will explain how to defeat it!

Chain lightning happens when the boss zaps a player and they are standing next to another player (too close). The chain gets stronger and stronger and the person at the end of it usually dies.  There have been many ways to lessen the impact of this but over time I still see groups not understanding how it works…and HERE is how!

The boss has a 180-degree field of vision. ANYONE in FRONT of her can be her potential “zap zap” victim…  Anyone BEHIND her 180-degree field of vision will NOT. She only hits what she can see!  So potentially, if you draw an imaginary line through her center, 180-degree at the front and 180 at the back, so long as you don’t CROSS the line, you will NEVER get zapped!

NOW, the tank CAN get zapped. Which means something else needs to be paid attention to.  On a Dragonnight for example, pierce armor has a 7-meter range, so the tank can stand WAY back and still maintain a taunt for the debuff, AND to keep her attention.  The melee, dps BEHIND the boss can also hit for about 5-7 meters away. SO, between the TANK (at the front 180) and the dps (at the back 180) try to make a MINIMUM of a 10-meter gap between you all!

So, the tank stands back a bit, and so does the dps. With this method, the tank will always be the one to get zapped, and NO ONE will be in range to receive it! SO it will simply disappear! This tactic is applicable in the regular AND Hard Mode!

NOTE: No matter what happens, NO ONE EVER CROSSES THE LINE! Selfish players thinking they are clever by showing off and nudging over the imaginary line will get zapped, and they are close to everyone else which means THEY will get zapped! Pay attention and stop dancing! 🙂

Axes – During the fight the mage will shout several different lines of dialogue, “i cannot stop these weapons”, and “I cannot control my armory” etc…when you hear this, she is spawning large purple axes. These need to be grabbed by the tank ASAP and kept with him/her at all times.

Do NOT run through the group to taunt them because you will spin the boss and/or cause chain lightning.  The longer the fight goes on, the more axes you will get in the room and the harder it becomes for the tank.

The axes deal moderate damage BUT if they wind up a heavy attack and you don’t BLOCK it, they will knock you down, stun you and potentially kill you. Or another axe will kill you while you are down. Don’t miss the blocks!  Also what helps here is actually if you have an OFF tank, then you can split the axes between you and use some of the far side of the room to keep the axes away from the group.

Mines – During the fight, mines will randomly appear on the floor. These can be avoided but do deal high damage if you are caught by them and also over time can end up overwhelming the room with too many. You can ignore them for the most part if you prefer, BUT if not, any dps with a damage shield and full health can run into them to blow them up, or any stam dps with full health blocking while walking into them. Failing that if your off tank is doing nothing, tell him/her to activate mist form and simply run through them all, you won’t get stunned while in mist form, and you can get rid of many at a time.

Black Holes – These will spawn randomly around the room and MUST be avoided as they deal HUGE damage over time ticks.  The method above regarding the chain lightning (the group behind the boss tank in front WITH a large gap) if the tank has to move left or right, make sure the whole group moves in the opposite direction as to maintain the formation and be sure no one crosses the 180-degree line.

Failing that, the dps in the middle should for the most part if in position MISS these due to their placement. The only time it will be an issue(as stated above) is if the tank/healers get them.  In which case deal with it as a unit as and when it happens!

Reflections – During the fight, you will see randomly in random locations a fast-spreading aoe and then a burst! If you are inside this get out fast and reposition when it is gone. This is a reflection of the mage entering the room. These MUST be killed.  As soon as one is in the room switch your damage focus over to them and kill them.  They emit a rather nasty room-wide damage over time and if you don’t kill them fast enough you will end up with multiples and things will really get messy.

Remember the 180-degree line? If the reflection is on the TANK’s section, kill it with range. If it is in the DPS’s section, you can physically run over to it and smack it to death and then return to your previous stacking spot OR do the same as if it was on the other side and range it anyway, your choice.

Meteors Hard Mode Only) – During the fight large aoe meteors will land on players’ heads. This is easy, BLOCK! If you don’t block you will be stunned, if you DO block you will be fine. Pay attention!

Atronachs (Hard Mode Only) – During the fight as well as the Axes, you will get Storm Atronachs constantly entering the fight, these MUST be killed! The tank can position them close to the boss but remember that gap! You must NOT be too close in case you zap them.

OR you can kill them at range, whichever is easiest. BUT they must be killed fast and even more so when they get to low health. At low health they will have a complete meltdown and spam aoe lightning damage infinitely until they die. Execute these asap!  The tank can hold on to 2-3 of them occasionally so that you can nuke multiples at once, but whatever tactic works for you.

Execute!! – At around 15% the boss will knock the group down repeatedly 3x in a row. Any remaining Reflections SHOULD disappear here but they sometimes do not, so be sure they are all dead before you push her to execute phase! All axes will also be removed from the fight for the remainder!

NOW it is about focus. The boss has a massive upside-down nova heading slowly toward the group and the group takes massive damage over time, and this gets progressively stronger the longer the phase goes on. 

So, healers need to focus heals as much as they can, tanks need to maintain a debuff from taunt while controlling stray Atronachs, and the group as dps players need to focus rotations like never before. Tanks can also help with damage shields for the group to help for survival! Nova, permafrost, veil, and any protection buffs you have as a group should be used wisely here  Stagger them throughout the final phase to keep everyone alive!

Best of luck to you all!!!

Aetherian Archive Loot

Below is a list of all the loot you can expect to find in Aetherian Archive.

Normal weapons can drop from the last boss of the arena on normal difficulty.  Perfected versions of the weapons only drop in Veteran difficulty modes.  However, this particular trial does not offer perfected versions.

Got the gear in the wrong traits?  Don’t worry!  You can alter the traits by either transmuting or reconstruct the piece with a trait of your choice.  For more information see the Introduction to Transmuting and Reconstructing article.

Builds That Use Aetherian Archive Gear

Aetherian Archive Achievements

ESO In-Game Icon Achievement Update 11 Dungeons 002
Aetherian Archive Conqueror

Defeat the Celestial Mage in Veteran Aetherian Archive.

ESO Achievment 026 Icon
Craglorn Trials Conqueror

Complete Hel Ra Citadel, Aetherian Archive, and Sanctum Ophidia at their highest difficulties.

ESO In-Game Icon Acheivement 020
Time Trial:  Aetherian Archive

Completed the Aetherian Archive within a time limit of 33 minutes.

Aetherian Archive Leads

There are currently no leads located in Aetherian Archvie.

Final Note

Thank you for taking the time to watch the content and read this guide. Be sure on your travels to remember, although once you get very experienced you may make these dungeons much easier and faster… it starts from the ground up and it’s…