Flawless - Magicka Nightblade PVE Build
Written guide updated for The Lost Depths DLC: Q3 2022
Older video but still relevant.
The Magicka Nightblade known as ‘Flawless’ for the Elder Scrolls Online is finally here updated as Flawless ISH !!!
I waited a LONG time to release this build originally and it was definitely worth the wait, but with the new champion point 2.0 system this got altered a LITTLE. BUT now does have a couple more options to still maintain that extremely high crit chance IF you want it. So with technicalities, it still lives up to its name!
So, how does it work and how is it designed? There are many “crit builds” out there that are not REALLY “crit builds”. They just tend to have SOME crit and rely on chance slapping enemies all day and having varied results because of the inconsistency of the stats. Sure it “works” but also open to lots of fluctuation.
ZOS Noticed how easy it was to stack into critical damage bonuses and critical chance bonuses without really designing a build specifically for it, and decided that simply having one trait and a Mundus stone with not a single crit chance bonus in your sets, was WAY too easy to achieve, deleting balance/choice/options from even being a thing. It’s the base design of the game after all right?
Of course, they decided to make crit chance more of a “build for it, or don’t” scenario. Now if you want SOME crit chance, well that is just fine, but if you want a specific crit playstyle, you have to build for it… Well, with that in mind, that’s EXACTLY what we have here! Even more so after this FIRST release of the build (Markarth DLC) now in the new DLC (flames of ambition) the reduced crit even MORE! Making this particular build design EXTREMELY relevant! And WAY ahead of the patch before it even got here! 😉
This is a PURE CRITICAL CHANCE build! Or for want of a better term, CONTROL of your build making that “chance” actually consistent rather than random!
All you need is a minor prophecy buff from one Sorcerer in the group using a dark magic ability once every 20 seconds (surprise yes, group composition was considered 😉 ). If you have this, you will have an easy push to around 90% critical chance on your front bar ALL of the time with one setup, 95% with another, I can show you how to actually get 101% (although no point) if you really want to AND I can show you how to GUARANTEE 100% critical chance on the front bar every second rotation without fail taking full advantage of burst opportunities with your main ultimate!
This means it lives up to its name ‘Flawless’ because, although before the build was literally 99.9% crit all the time, now there are ways to still FULLY control it for burst and/or consistency…but since it is a matter of choice… let’s add the ISH to the end for giggles!
MOST “crit builds” have about 60 -70% crit chance. Sure their base may be higher so they can crit harder IF they crit, but they crit much less often than us and open up to literally RNG controlling their ability to have a good and bad day.
The way this build is designed, we have options to almost guaranteed control over our damage numbers for MUCH more accurate and consistent results! If you are experienced there will only be about 2-3k fluctuation in your overall results vs some other setups which literally rely on a “good day” and the difference can be as much as 10k+
Most critical builds like to pack heavy into critical damage, but again we have the same problem. You COULD fail…we will RARELY fail to crit at all and with some setups will never fail on the front bar depending on your choices. Or with another choice will always have that critical burst phase.
This means our critical DAMAGE passives/skills/bonuses are no longer chance-based for the most part, instead they are literally constant passive bonuses, staying with us on our main damage bar at all times!
We have multiple sources of critical damage that all stack together to give us big bonuses to damage WHEN we crit (which is always).
Usually, if you spec for critical chance but don’t reach 90-100% you will open yourself up for failure while having low flat.
Of course, flat stats do increase the base of your abilities but when they crit they are higher right? Yes but if you fail then…it’s a waste. We sacrifice a bit of flat but we plug the gap with multiple HIGH critical damage buffs/bonuses. Usually, that would be open to chance, but since it is not… our critical damage IS our “flat” almost all of the time!
So now you can enjoy hardly ever failing a critical execute stab, failing your ground dots, failing your light attacks, heavy attacks or spammables, and even your ultimate. So long as you do not hover on the back bar!
Your back bar has 2 dots, that’s it! (unless you alter). Stay on that front bar as much as you possibly can!
The back bar has HIGH (very high) crit chance, but your front bar is where it all happens.
Not only this but we have stupidly high ultimate regen so long as we get kills. We have guaranteed critical hits with our execute. Get to killing! and spam those ultimates!!
- HUGE critical chance on the front bar, making the damage you can apply extremely consistent with a good rotation (yes practice is still key to any build).
- Critical damage bonus from racial passives, class passives, skill (Merciless Resolve), minor force (set), champion points, all stacking, not to mention what you can get from warhorns and minor brittle!
- Your critical damage is non longer tied to CHANCE as much as most builds we have multiple options which allow us to control it, it’s our PASSIVE!
- Extremely easy to follow rotation taking full advantage of passives with a 100% static rotation that NEVER changes apart from execute which gets even easier!
- Great for beginners AND experts!
- Capable of ALL PVE content (yes that means the hard stuff too!!)
- NO TRIAL GEAR in ANY variation of the build ever required!!!
- VERY high ultimate regen with 10 ultimate per kill IF you slot a particular version of the front bar ultimate (explained in the video).
- And finally…pretty much everything we do heals us! And due to the control of crits…it is VERY consistent!
As demonstrated in the video, our fabulous ESO fashion setup and dress choice for this character is as follows:
Head: Heavy Greymoor
Shoulders: Heavy Greymoor
Chest: Heavy Greymoor
Legs: Heavy Greymoor
Hands: Medium Greymoor
Belt: Light Greymoor
Feet: Light Greymoor
Front bar: Ebonshadow
Back Staff: Abnur Tharn
As for dyes, pretty much everything is Void Pitch Black and Motif Master Brown
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
- Fighting Finesse
- Deadly Aim
Thaumaturge was a replacement for Backstabber for when you couldn’t get behind the enemy but with the crit damage cap lowered to 125% it is now recommended overall.
If you find you are in multiple large pull situations with many adds while using Whirling Blades, you should swap to Biting Aura.
- 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 nor combat in general just quality of life.
Some people like to steal, craft, use less potions, whatever, it’s your choice.
- Boundless Vitality
- Siphoning Spells
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 really helps you in content.
So a good balance of flat, contributing slotables are helpful as a DPS build.
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.
Note your first rotation will be winding up the bow procs, the rotation below is considered as something you should repeat after your FIRST one is in full swing.
Be sure before any fight that your Merciless Resolve, Siphoning attacks and Dark Shade are ready. This is all explained in the video also for reference with a timestamp in the description.
Front bar: Light Attack, Spectral Bow (Merciless Resolve proc), Light Attack, Swallow Soul x4, Light Attack, Degeneration, weapon swap.
Back Bar: Light Attack, Twisting Path, Light Attack, Dark Shade, Light Attack, Unstable Wall Of Fire, weapon swap…
Every second rotation, swap Dark shade for Siphoning Attacks. They are both on 20-second timers so one rotation cast one, next rotation cast the other. Nice and simple!
Repeat over and over and over!
Mystic Orb/Consuming Trap: If you are using this and you can sustain it (optimized situation for you resource-wise) be sure to use it like Siphoning Strikes but EVERY rotation.
During Execute: Replace your Swallow Soul with Impale (ONLY under 25% health) and do not fire your bow anymore to keep up the 10% critical damage bonus!
Sustaining + keeping up your Spectral Bow (Merciless Resolve) procs:
Remember 1 light attack counts for one bow proc, 1x heavy attack counts for 2x! IF you are struggling with sustain…Replace 2x light attack, Swallow Soul with 1x heavy attack Swallow Soul. This will keep your timing and rotation on point alongside your sustain IF you are struggling! And remember, you WON’T fail to crit on your front bar…so, heavy attacking is still hitting hard!
Easy mode: IF you cannot maintain the rotation, if Merciless resolve and bow procs are too difficult and if the alternating rotations prove too tricky. Trim it all down. Your DPS overall will be of course a LITTLE less but not by much. Simply remove the pet from the equation. Never cast Merciless resolve more than ONCE in the fight.
Literally cast it from the beginning and leave it running for the 10% crit buff the entire forever. Explained also in the video and demonstrated also in the rotation section of the video.
Poisons, Potions, & Food
Potions really help a LOT. We already have major sorcery, we already have major prophecy on both bars, we NEVER need spell pots. So tri pots all day long! This also enhanced our survival and stamina bar sustainability!
Food is very simple, the highest level food you can consume with 2 stats only, MAX health and MAX magicka. There are 3 variations of recipes but all are the same in the stats they give so your choice of which one you use.
Columbine + Mountain Flower + Bugloss + Lorkhan’s Tears
Minstral Banana-Bunny Hash – Small game(1) + Bananas(2) + Seasoning(3)
Melon-Baked Parmesan Pork – White Meat(1) + Melon(2) + Cheese(3)
Solitude Salmon-Millet Soup – Fish(1) + Tomato(2) + Millet(3)
Clockwork Citrus Filet – Red Meat(1), Lemon(1), Perfect Roe(1), Frost Mirriam(1)
Witchmother’s Potent Brew – Nightshade(1), Bervez Juice(1), (Rice(1), Small Game(1)
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
Below is a chart showing the overall gear set-up, noting the optimal set requirements in terms of weight, enchants & traits!
We are using the Thief Mundus stone. All 64 points are into Magicka. |
You CAN choose the Shadow but bear in mind your crit chance will drop a substantial amount and may end up in SOME cases getting you much less DPS overall depending on the roll of the dice. On a good day you can sometimes hit higher, on a bad day you can hit a lot lower. For the highest damage you can get out of the Shadow you would literally have to hit the dummy 100x and take the top 3 best ones to compare even close to the consistency of the thief, which overall was MUCH better and the intended design for the build!
We are a Khajiit but other races are also usable. High Elf, Dark Elf, and Breton are good substitutes and now even Orc is a good choice too! In testing, the Orc was only about 1-2k DPS less than the others! Technically ANY race can “work” and it won’t lessen the credibility of the build or its ability to complete ANY content in the game. However, the above choices were slightly more optimal for maximum output. Either way, the choice is YOURS!
|Head||Zaan / Maw Of The Infernal||Light||Divines||Magicka|
|Shoulders||Zaan / Maw Of The Infernal||Light||Divines||Magicka|
|Waist||Mother’s Sorrow / Mechanical Acuity||Light||Divines||Magicka|
|Hands||Mother’s Sorrow / Mechanical Acuity||Light||Divines||Magicka|
|Legs||Mother’s Sorrow / Mechanical Acuity||Light||Divines||Magicka|
|Ring 1||Medusa||Jewelry||Bloodthirsty||Spell Damage|
|Ring 2||Medusa||Jewelry||Bloodthirsty||Spell Damage|
|Weapon 1||Mother’s Sorrow / Mechanical Acuity||Inferno Staff||Precise||Weapon / Spell Damage|
|Weapon 2||Maelstrom / Mother’s Sorrow||Inferno Staff||Infused||Flame / Magicka Return|
As explained in the video there are other options IF you choose to, including 2x daggers on the front bar but that is EXTREMELY situational. It’s a choice but I MOSTLY would not recommend it due to your lack of ability to play ranged if you need to in mechanics especially when it comes to your light attacks. You lose fire staff passives and bonuses, you lose status bonuses to chance without the destruction staff and you gain the ability to have a bit more crit, it is extremely hit and miss. Again however that was explained IN detail IN the video so feel free to alter as you wish. Just know the risks and the fact the damage is actually pretty much the same…So is it worth overcomplicating it?
IF you choose to go dual daggers on the front with Medusa you WILL lose the minor force buff when you swap. However, due to passives being all light now, you can hit about 95% crit chance…IF you really want to, but the damage was about the same due to fluctuating effects and of course limiting your range to only 5 meters for your light attacks.
If you remove one piece of Zaan and replace it with Slimecraw (high crit chance) you can hit 101% BUT you will lose your monster proc so a LOT of damage will be lost!
However, if you have acuity you can actually control 78% crit ALL of the time on the front bar and have 100% crit every second rotation, GUARANTEED! So the choice is yours!
The dummy is becoming less and less relevant the more people over time have started to realize it is mostly just fluffed for the sake of competing for numbers in THAT situation. When it comes to content it is a totally different ball game. I build for content, what you do with that information is 100% up to you! Practice by ALL means but spend time in content actually playing the game and THAT is where you will see your performance of your build and allow you to apply it in the situations it was designed for.
Other Nightblade Builds
The Ninja – Criminal Nightblade Build Written guide updated for The Lost Depths DLC: Q3 2022 Older video but still relevant. Ever wanted to benefit from a life of crime in The Elder Scrolls Online? Ever wanted to revisit the real Dark Brotherhood and Thieves Guild playstyles you enjoyed in
Hircine’s Hammer – Nightblade Werewolf PVP Build Written guide updated for The Lost Depths DLC: Q3 2022 Older video but still relevant. Sick of facing those shield stackers in Cyrodiil and wondered how the HELL you are supposed to break through the shields at the same time? Let’s face it,