The Cultist - Hybrid Necromancer PVE Build

Written guide updated for updated for The Scribes of Fate DLC: Q1 2023

Older video but still relevant.

The Elder Scrolls Online changes ALL the time and keeping up is part of the fun of the game. Constantly having new things to explore, discover, and try out! You never know what mite work for YOU.

In the Ascending Tide DLC Zenimax Online Studios finally allowed for proper stat consolidation when considering how skills are scaled! Basically what that means is, in the past you would have to be forced to stack weapon damage and stamina in order to make most stamina costing damage skills and heals to be effective. Also spell damage and magicka would have to be stacked together to enhance the strength of most magicka costing damage skills and heals.

This is NO longer the case!

NOW in this new addition to the game it is your two HIGHEST stats that count. So magicka + spell damage STILL is a thing if you CHOOSE to play that way, but you don’t have to anymore. You can stack weapon damage and magicka, spell damage and stamina, or whatever you like! Then which ever are the two highest, THOSE will contribute to the strength of ALL damage and healing skills, regardless of what they cost!

So yes, NOW you can stack into spell damage and use vigor, you can stack into weapon damage and use wall of elements, you can stack into magicka and use a stamina blast bones and you can stack stamina and use boneyard! The way you play is literally up to you now!

With the above in mind this build has considered this new system and utilizes it very well! We have a mixture of magicka costing skills, along side stamina costing skills, stacking heavy into stamina and weapon damage like a traditional stamina character but balancing everything out!

The high costing NON spamming magicka skills allow for us to utilize that bar instead of ignoring it, while scaling those skills effectively with the other stats. Our stamina costing skills now are less stressful on your stamina resources because we are using stamina abilities less often. Allowing for constant uptime, great sustainability and above all SPARE stamina in the bar for all those “oh no” situations where you have to dodge, break , or possibly run away for a bit!

Generally speaking most stamina builds struggle with CC situations because their main resource is all used up for damage and heals. Magicka builds struggle because they have a small amount of it. THIS has the best of both worlds. Utilizing both bars for constant aggressive combat with NO down sides!

We also (based on group composition, also explained below and in the video) have the option to swap out main SPAMABLE for a magicka ability meaning we can actually (based on the situation) get even more damage out of something we already have! Again with no down sides, no alterations to the overall build or rotation, and can be quickly swapped out with the armoury system.

This build is a FULL out hybrid, considering players of ALL skill levels and considering ALL content and ALL difficulties and situations. Weather you are stacking and burning, or running around in mechanics, this can ALWAYS perform and you won’t have any “i can’t reach to do damage, rip deeps” situations. Ever!

Strong points about the build:

  • VERY high main resource sustainability allowing for safer amounts of stamina availability in CC situations.

  • HUGE aoe damage while maintaining HIGH single target damage at the same time

  • Base health and penetration bonuses allow for us to be fairly tanky and hit harder with no effort into altering or wiggling traits and passive bonuses

  • Both Melee AND Ranged abilities and weapon types allowing for maximum flexibility inside any mechanics.

  • No over the top bar swapping for the sake of increasing numbers on a dummy while having trouble applying it in heavy content situations. A simple 10second rotation and done! One rotation, rinse repeat!

  • ALL gear apart from monster sets can be acquired on NORMAL difficulty and some of it even from the market!

  • Best of both worlds, full hybrid allows for FUN at the same time as EFFECTIVENESS breaking the boring NORM of magicka vs stamina!

  • Built to slot into ANY group scenario as it is, but with options and potential to be even stronger based on specific additions and compositions of your group.

    Good luck and have fun!
eso necromancer build

As demonstrated in the video, our fabulous setup and dress choice for this character is as follows:

Head: Scorianite Gladiator Helmet
Chest: Annihlarch’s Chosen Jack
Shoulders: Annihilarch’s Chosen Pauldrons
Daedric Skirt
Hands: Dremora Kynreeve Gauntlets
Belt: Fargrave Guardian Sash
Feet: Annihilarch’s Chosen Shoes
Front Weapon: Coldsnap Goblin Sword
Back Weapon: Pyandonean Staff

The colors are all black.  Pick any black you like.  The Coldharbour Ash is pretty cool.


Front Bar – Dual Wield – Daggers

1)  Blighted Blaststones
2)  Barbed Trap
3)  Detonating Siphon
4)  Venom Skull
5)  Camouflaged Hunter
Ultimate – Flawless Dawnbreaker

Advanced Options – Group composition specific!
As explained in the video (refer to the gear section for details) you CAN swap out some of the skills IF very specific situations are different to just “join a group let’s go”. IF you have a group with MASSIVE magicka gaining resource skills…So we are talking Hollowfang, Magic Steal, Luminous Shards, Worm, Minor Intellect, major intellect (from tri pots if a dragon knight is already supplying major brutality), and perhaps a master resto or two in the group, THEN and ONLY then, you can swap out some skills to get MORE damage.

You can swap out Blighted Blastbones for the Fire damage, magicka costing variant. This will technically allow for the SAME damage output but cost magicka instead of stamina so helping maintain your stamina resource pool MUCH more for CC situations but at the same time (so long as you can maintain it) allow for a BIG bonus to damage IF certain criteria are met.

If all the above is in place then GREAT you get the same damage but cost magicka (skills scale off highest damage stats now). BUT if you have a  Dragonknight with Engulfing flames, and/or Encratis in your group, since the other variant of blast bones is FIRE damage, THAT will get buffed by 2 separate sources, allowing for around 10-15k more damage per cast.

This is a significant boost to the build but it is only going to work out in situations where you can both sustain it and have the buffs required to enhance it.

Champion Points 2.0

The NEW Champion Points 2.0 introduced in the Q1 2021 DLC: Flames Of Ambition is quite possibly the BIGGEST change/addition to The Elder Scrolls Online since One Tamriel! And these were further altered in the Blackwood Chapter, giving us a lower base for capping out some of the essentials and also adding some more slotables!

Before it was a case of “I have limited points as a CP, so HOW should I spend them”? Now that is NOT the case as SUCH! Now, it is a case of, buy ALL the things, but which SLOTABLES should you take?

Everything before was a passive bonus with huge diminished returns, awkward calculations, and was messy to all players for the most part. The new system underlines NO diminished returns, no majorly confusing passives, and the ability to buy EVERY single passive available for tanking, DPS, and healing on the SAME character with enough points to spare for buying slotables. Being able to slot 4x special slotables from each tree when there is an abundance of them means you are only limited by your CHOICES, not by your CP.

Buy all the passives, CHOOSE which slotables to take vs the situation, and the rest of the points are spare. Or are they? Well here is the crunch…Once you go over 1800ish (depending on slotable choices, some are more expensive in the Craft tree) you basically have every single passive available PLUS 4 slotables per tree…

If you JUST wanted to focus on combat alone (all red and blue passives and 4 slotables for each one) you only actually need around 1600cp to be completely maxed in those areas. And if you wanted to go FULL glass cannon, only really focusing on one damage type you can achieve your max potential for that as low as 900 or so! You won’t have any resistances or healing bonuses from the Warfare (blue) tree doing this, but you can at least cap out the hard-hitting stuff, right? And this is considering slotables too so there is no harm in actually deliberately specing for a couple of damage resistance slotables instead even at THIS stage.

For tanking it is even easier! Push for your slotables and stack your resistance passives and it is game over! The rest are just a bonus!

So what’s next? Well, if you have higher champion points you can buy more slotables and switch stuff per situation as and when needed. If you don’t, then if you want to swap it will cost you gold for respecing. So in a nutshell, 1650-1800 (depending on build) is you’re pretty much done! Anything else is convenient due to not needing to spend gold swapping things you already have access to! How cool is that?


No matter what, THESE are the most important parts of the Champion Points 2.0 system. So this is your main FIRST goal when pushing for the build. You need to slot these even if they are not max level. However, there are swap-outs for situations as explained in the video.

BLUE (Warfare) are important for resistance, heals, and damage. Red (Fitness) are important for resources, health, and Crowd Control counters. Green (Craft) are literally quality of life! (aka your choice so not THAT important for combat).

It doesn’t matter what level you are at anymore, you can play ALL content regardless of your champion points level because during Flames of Ambition all players/characters had their base stats improved to make everyone somewhat more balanced at lower levels.

However, as mentioned above, the slotables are your main goal. Unlock the prerequisite passives to unlock access to your slotables if there are any…fill them up, and then just grab the remaining passives as you go.

300, 600, 900 champion points are not really important as checkpoints anymore for optimization. Just fill as you go, because ALL characters can have ALL passives with NO negative effects unlike before!

What should I aim for with this build?

  • Master At Arms
  • Biting Aura
  • Thaumaturge
  • Backstabber

Swap out instead of Backstabber if you do not find you are behind the target much OR cannot GET behind it (example: dragon in vSS) with Fighting Finesse.

  • Rationer
  • Liquid Efficiency
  • Treasure Hunter
  • Steed’s Blessing

These really are up to you but these are most useful IN content for loot and movement if not in combat.
What you do with this tree is NOT make or break for mechanics or combat in general just quality of life.

  • Boundless Vitality
  • Rejuvenation
  • Fortified
  • Bloody Renewal

These are designed to increase your health/armor and at the same time manage your resources. High recovery and return for being active in combat and GETTING kills.

The video below explains how the changes work in more detail. Of course, over time, additions will be and have already been made to the system but the main BASE of it is the same.


Basic Rotation

Front bar: Light Attack, Venom Skull, Light Attack, Blastbones, Light Attack, Detonating Siphon, Light Attack, Venom Skull, Light Attack, Blastbones, Light Attack, Barbed Trap, Weapon Swap.

Back Bar: Light Attack, Boneyard, Light Attack, Blastbones, Light Attack, Skeletal Archer, Light Attack, Unstable Wall Of Elements, Weapon Swap

Rinse repeat and never change. Everything will land when it is supposed to and have full uptime. There will be a 1-second gap every rotation between the blast bones cool downs however this is done on purpose to allow for more fluidity in combat and deliberately NOT forced staggered rotations with countless unnecessary bar swaps, which quite frankly cannot be maintained in high load situations.

This is designed for ease of use and application, so once you understand the flow and rhythm of the rotation, you never have to change a thing.

Bear in mind of course if you are firing your ultimate, you will have to cater for that if you are using the kinra variant since you WILL have fall-off issues. The way to resolve this is to skip the pet cast during that rotation, but THAT will take practice and COULD cause more worse than good. While an experienced Elder Scrolls Online player could manage it, it is not for all.

Sometimes, less is more. Keep it simple. It’s not all about the dummy anyway, it’s about how you perform in the content the dummy is apparently preparing you for 😉


Poisons, Potions, & Food

Potions really are up to you but they DO offer a crit chance bonus AND a 20% increase to your weapon damage and recovery while giving a burst of stamina back at the same time.

Food is very simple, the highest level food you can consume with 2 stats only, MAX health and MAX stamina. There are 3 variations of recipes but all are the same in the stats they give so your choice of which one you use.

Alkahest + Nirnroot + Nightshade + Fleshfly Larvae

Weapon Power Potions:  
Dragonthorn + Blessed Thistle + wormwood + Lorkhan’s Tears

Recovery Food:
Artaeum Takeaway Broth – Fish(20) + Torchbug Thorax(5) + Powdered Mother Of Pearl (5)
Dubious Camoran Throne – White meat(1) + Beetle Scuttle(1) + Insect Parts(1) + Guts(1)

Flat food:
Sticky Pork And Radish Noodles – White Meat(1) + Radish(2) + Flour(3)
Garlic Cod with Potato Crust – Fish(1) + Potato(2) + Garlic(3)
Braised Rabbit with Spring Vegetables – Small Game(1) + Greens(2) + Seasoning(3)

If you would like to make your own potions, I now have a fully functioning potion maker on the website. Here you can TEST any combination of potion or poison you like and check the outcome without having to know the combinations in-game! Check here for the App, working on Android and IOS – Potion Maker

Gear Setup

Below is a chart showing the overall gear set-up, noting the optimal set requirements in terms of weight, enchants, and of course, traits!

We are using the Thief Mundus stone. We have 64 points are into Stamina! However if you are in BIG fights and not all penetration supporting buffs and bonuses are present, you can do very well with the Lover Mundus stone. This depends on the group.

We are an Orc but other races are also usable. Redguard, Wood Elf, or Imperial are good substitutes, also some people like the Khajiit.


Flip horizontal on mobile device

SlotGear SetWeightTraitEnchantment
ChestArms Of Relequen
/ Pillar Of Nirn
WaistArms Of Relequen
/ Pillar Of Nirn
HandsArms Of Relequen
/ Pillar Of Nirn
LegsArms Of Relequen
/ Pillar Of Nirn
FeetArms Of Relequen
/ Pillar Of Nirn
Ring 1Venomous Smite / Kinra’s WrathMediumInfusedWeapon Damage
Ring 2Venomous Smite / Kinra’s WrathMediumBloodthirstyWeapon Damage
NecklaceVenomous Smite / Kinra’s WrathMediumBloodthirstyWeapon Damage
Weapon 1Venomous Smite / Kinra’s WrathDaggerChargedFlame Damage
Weapon 2Venomous Smite / Kinra’s WrathDaggerChargedPoison Damage
Weapon 3Maelstrom’s StaffInferno StaffInfusedWeapon / Spell Damage

As explained in the video, you CAN use Kinra if you prefer but remember you are not RESTRICTED from picking up another Major Berserk bonus because they do not stack and you are also stuck having to be 100% accurate with your rotation so that you don’t lose the stacks when you switch to the back bar.

The damage output with kinra VS venomous was extremely close HOWEVER, venom damage is aoe not just single target so technically in aoe situations, or with more than one target, venomous would contribute more overall. AND is simpler to apply.

Also note a very important point! Venomous may do 2-3k tops less damage than kinra, BUT if you have Major berserk in your group fro  buffs/synergies etc (ie. Sorc ultimate) then you can have venomous AND major berserk at the same time, meaning overall in an “optimized” situation (ie, when specific supporting buffs are available) you will perform MUCH better with venomous than kinra’s.

The dummy is a very specific rigged scenario, it doesn’t reflect real content unless those specific individual buffs are applied at the exact amount of uptime and timing, with a target standing completely still having exactly that amount of health. (no trial boss has 21mil health exactly, just saying).

The choice overall is yours, enjoy the build!

Gear Locations

Other Necromancer Builds