Sanctum Ophidia Trial Guide

The Sanctum caverns are works of art, carved masterpieces sealed long ago. Unfortunately for Craglorn, the Ophidians were always the most … fervent of the Celestial sects.

Sanctum Ophidia 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.

Sanctum Ophidia Location

Sanctum Ophidia is located in the northcentral region of Craglorn.  Travel north from the Skyreach Wayshrine to reach Sanctum Ophidia.  You can also access Sanctum Ophidia specifically on your Craglorn map.

Inside Sanctum Ophidia

Sanctum Ophidia is a two-level trial with four bosses and one weekly quest.  The enemies in this trial include lamias, serpent fangs, scaled court warriors, and rockheaver trolls.

The Oldest Ghost

Turuk Redclaws told me of the dangers of the Serpent. How it wants to destroy the cities of Tamriel, and see the forest overtake the land.

Completing The Oldest Ghost

You will need to defeat the Possessed Mantkora, Stonebreaker, Ozara, and the Serpent. Speak to  Atildel to complete this quest.  Completing this quest will reward you with gold, and a Serpent’s Languid Coffer (for normal difficulty) or a Serpent’s Coiled Coffer (for veteran difficulty).

NOTE:  This quest is repeatable weekly.

Sanctum Ophidia Boss Mechanics

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

Trash Fights

There are many trash pulls in this particular trial and they are for the most part relatively easy to manage. However, there are some that prove to be a big problem even for the best of groups out there. The trick is fully understanding the mechanics of them individually and of course, prioritizing targets in order! At the same time, of course, positioning is key for the tanks and the healers in order to be able to stack the adds/mobs while the healers can focus on keeping people up. There are a lot of opportunities in this trial for you to accidentally KILL your own group members if you are not careful!

Overchargers – These are your HIGHEST priority targets in the entire trial! Any overcharger in the room is already there too long, you MUST focus on these targets at all times.  They fire off single-target lightning attacks to whoever they are aggroing at the time which can do fairly harsh damage to the players targeted by this. However, that is not the main concern.

The main concern is the overcharger lightning aoe effect. The overcharger will pick a random player and a large circular aoe on the player. This will last a few seconds (around 10 or so) and will constantly do damage. The healers need to focus on this person and keep them alive. The danger here is when people don’t understand the aoe. 

IF the player runs around they will of course overlap other players with the aoe and THEY TOO will take damage every tick. This aoe is physically attached to the player! So if they start moving, it stays with them!  An easy way to manage this is to simply stay out of the group when this effect is on you, OR stand completely still and let people move away from YOU.

In the meantime while this effect is active the overcharger will call down lightning bolts which hit the ground aiming also at the same player. These hit with very high direct damage. You can wiggle a little to avoid them but you must be extremely careful to not kill people with the lightning aoe you have on you. So again, it is safer to just block and let the healer do their job in keeping you up.  This mechanic alone (overcharger lightning) is what will completely wipe out groups over and over, you MUST kill them.

Also note in some parts of the trial there are Shaman enemies. These have a totem with them. The totem controls the location of the overchargers, they tend to run TO it. So if you want to control the over-chargers as a tank and not have them run around…The group must KILL the totem. Not the sham himself, but the totem!

Trolls – These are your second priority targets. They are not so hard to deal with but they can be stubborn and also add a very nasty mechanic to the trial where complacent or selfish players will kill their group members! Taunting them can be a pain since they are melee targets but technically have ranged attacks, so you will need a capable tank to position these in a nice little stack if possible.

The trolls have a ground pound which can be avoided by simply not standing in it. This is a small aoe surrounding them and will go away after about 3-4 seconds.  They occasionally throw a boulder at a random player of their choice. The ONLY way to avoid this is to dodge roll. If it hits you it WILL knock you down even if you are blocking and you cannot CC break from it. Dodge roll it, or get dropped basically!

Finally, the most annoying ability in the trial which so many people get wrong and are not considerate enough to fix…The trolls will pick a random player and throw a small ball at them. You CAN (if you are quick) dodge roll this. If you dodge it you will completely avoid it. But if not, you will have a small pulsing poison damage over time on you with a small AOE on YOU!

Just like the overcharger lightning, this is attached to the player, which means if you run around like a headless chicken you will SPREAD it! Not only will you hit other people with it but you will give THEM their OWN new poison aoe. The more people touched with this the more it spreads and the longer it lasts, inevitably of course dealing more damage over time. Do NOT stack up, do NOT run around aimlessly and selfishly spread the poison to your entire group. Stand to one side and wait for it to disappear. You have NO need to stand on each other’s heads. If you do, you will kill people!

Archers – These are pretty standard. They fire an arrow spray which you want to try to avoid, they fire off light attacks and of course, they can fire a “take aim” type ability where they pick a random player and wind up a long casting snipe. This is very simple. If you see an orange light on a player, or coming from the archers, simply bash/interrupt it, to stop it from happening. If this does hit someone it will do VERY high single-target damage. If interrupted, it is not a problem. This is a low priority target but should be dealt with AFTER the trolls and overchargers.

War Priests – These are extremely low priority. They have an aoe snare and they fire off heavy attacks which will knock people down. They do NOT hit hard but you want to avoid being knocked down. The tank should always hold these very still in with the priority targets and they will die to aoe. You do NOT need to focus on these unless they are the last target left. Low priority, easy to deal with, kill everything else and these will die with the aoe from killing the priority targets.  All the tank will ever need to do is hold these still! Note if you are a dps or healer and one of these is attacking you, don’t panic, simply block.

Possessed Manticora

This fight is the first boss in Sanctum Ophidia and can be a massive challenge for new trial groups if they do not understand the mechanics and/or work together as a team. One wrong move can potentially cause a domino effect wipe!

The tank should, of course, taunt the boss and maintain a taunt at all times (see over taunt below) and face the boss AWAY from the group.  The group should create a semi-circle behind the boss so that everyone has their own space. NOT overlapping, NOT stacking (popcorn explained below for the purpose of this formation). You must have plenty of room. In the meantime, at least 2 dps and/or healers (can get away with more) need to play ranged and stay well back loosely stacked together. This is for kiting the shards (also explained below).  So in a nutshell, ranged dps together at the back, and everyone else semi-circle spread out behind the boss while the tank holds it still. Simple!

Overtaunt!!! – That’s right! This boss can be OVERTAUNTED! Do NOT spam taunt. Make sure you apply it and keep the uptime on it passively of course but if you apply taunts too often (more than once every 7-10 seconds, you WILL make her completely lose the plot. The Mantikora if overtaunted will rampage around the room killing whoever she feels like killing until she has calmed down again. Do NOT spam that button!

Heavy Attack – Very simple, the boss will fire off a heavy attack. The tank MUST have the boss facing away from the group and the tank MUST block this attack or take HUGE damage. Failure to block is almost certain death and if not will knock you over. Pay attention to this attack!

Cleave – This is also a very simple mechanic. The boss will cleave in frontal aoe. If any player is within its reach it will cause massive damage (dps/healers will die to a one-shot) do NOT stand in front or close to the front of the boss unless you are a tank.

Popcorn – This is where random players will see a fast-growing aoe under their feet which will POP and explode throwing the player into the air (hence the name popcorn). However, this doesn’t just happen ONCE but 3 times! So if you get caught by one and it does not kill you, the next one will pop pretty much as you hit the ground and you WILL die. Do not get caught by this and do NOT run around like a headless chicken into your group.

Your formation should be covered to accommodate for this mechanic. When you see it coming, run BACKWARDS (not side to side, not forwards, BACKWARDS!) in order to pull it away from the group. Once the 3rd pop has gone off you can come back in again and carry on as normal.

TIP:  If you dodge roll INSIDE of it, it will not harm you but try not to show off doing that too much because players with lesser skill and/or spatial awareness will actually run into others doing so. Use this as a tip to get back in quickly if you must, however.  Basically, run backwards for 2x pops, and then dodge roll THROUGH the last one back towards the boss.  If you cannot manage this, just go back till they are all gone.

Stomp – Usually after two popcorn phases the boss will do a large STOMP mechanic. This stomp is easily seen by a massive aoe that pretty much fills the entire room (everyone can see it, no excuses). When this happens everyone needs to BLOCK or they will die. Once blocked everyone will receive a bleed which does a HUGE amount of damage. The healers need to really be on point here to either heal people through it’s duration OR heal them to full health. If any player hits full 100% hp during the dot, it will basically be cleansed. This does happen a lot throughout the fight so people must pay attention to this.

Portal – When you hear The Serpent’s voice the Mantikora will be in a stunned state and a portal will randomly appear on the ground in the room. As soon as you hear that sound you MUST spread out! Doing this will present you with enough time to spot the portal and not have everyone fall in it at once!

Once you can see it, be sure that you assign 1 tank and one dps to go into it. It can hold 4x people but depending on your group capability you can get away with less. There is a reflection of the serpent down there. The tank should hold it still while the dps player/s kill it. It has relatively low health but has similar mechanics to the last boss (heavy attack and cleave). The tank must NOT spin the target because it will one-shot a dps. Also if the tank fails to block the heavy attack, 9 times out of 10 the tank would generally be killed.

The most important thing to note about this phase is TIMING! When the portal is up, the boss will NOT cast ANY popcorn at all! This is your window to burn the boss. You will get shards and stomps but you will get no popcorn while the shade downstairs (in the portal) is alive.

So, what you can do is you can have JUST a tank downstairs and make everyone else nuke the boss IF you have extremely high dps. You can burn the shade quickly just so you can come back up and carry on the fight as normal…OR You can play tactically. The shade must be killed within 1 minute and 45 seconds. Have someone with a stopwatch as soon as that portal opens up.

This helps because you can deliberately make sure the dps player/s downstairs KILL the shade SLOWLY to give your team more time upstairs with the boss burning it with no popcorn mechanics present.  ONCE the shade is dead, all people in the portal will come back up and the fight will resume as normal. Unless the boss is of course dead.

Shards/Spears – This is the reason for having people together at range. The shards are thrown at the furthest players throughout the fight after the portal phase and these land with an initial stun and do HIGH poison damage. The trick to this is to make sure the ranged stay together to deliberately place them where they want them. When the shard is on the way the players targeted should BLOCK. Once it lands, get out of the aoe quickly ready to receive the next one. Basically, you are being dummies at the back for these to be placed in a semi-circle so they stay AWAY from the front of the fight.

If you do not systematically place these shards at the back(ranged locations) the will land in melee positions and then of course the boss will need to be moved a lot more than you want to in order to get the group out of danger.

Enrage – At low health the boss will flash red and enrage doing more and more damage the longer it is alive. This is your window for basically “KILL IT!!”. Hold it still and make it dead, do not panic 😉


This fight is actually pretty straightforward if you have ever encountered trolls before out in the wild, and especially if you have been to Blessed Crucible. Pretty much the same mechanics as the troll king. BUT there are a couple of extras AND he hits a LOT harder. This troll is protecting his bridge and he tries REALLY hard to do so.

The tank should taunt the boss while maintaining a taunt of course and turn it AWAY from the group. It helps a LOT if people can help the group with damage shields (bone shield, igneous shields, etc) if available within your group. If not, some damage mitigation bonuses (circle of protection, etc) can also come in handy. People will take a LOT of damage here if they are not careful and sometimes even if they ARE careful.

The group should be positioned in a circle around the boss, but NOT in front of the boss! Only the tank belongs there.  Two adds (archer and war priest ) will come with the boss to start with. These should be positioned with the boss and generally should die passively during the fight with aoe damage, BUT I would advise you to focus them to make them less of a bother so you can concentrate on the boss mechanics properly.

Ground Slam – The boss will slam the ground with a HUGE very noticeable AOE. When this happens, the group inside of the circle should BLOCK to mitigate the damage.

Ground Pound – The boss will repeatedly punch the floor 3 times and there will be 3 straight lines of damage aimed at the tank. This needs to be blocked, BUT, sometimes these actually go behind the boss too! So whenever he is smashing the floor, everyone should BLOCK or else can be subjected to a ONE SHOT! Do not let this mechanic kill you.

Poison Ball – This boss like all other trolls in Sanctum Ophida will throw a ball of poison at a random player. When this happens, if the player sees it coming, they can dodge roll and avoid it. If not they will suffer poison damage over time aoe attached to them! They should stand aside and let it pass. If they touch other players, each person touched by it will ALSO receive it. It spreads, DON’T run around giving everyone your germs!

Enrage – At low health (20% or so) the boss will glow red and be enraged! He will deal MUCH higher damage and the mechanics need to be followed even stricter than before. If you do NOT block his ground slam, while he is enraged, you WILL die. Be careful.

Overchargers #NoCheese – Throughout the fight, the boss will spawn overchargers which must be killed. There will be a shaman in the room who controls them, so if you kill him and/or his totem it is a lot easier for the tank to maintain agro. If the sham is alive they will run where ever the totem is and it can be a pain. So do make sure he dies.

The boss will spawn 1 overcharger at 75%, 2x at 50% and 3x at 25%. So yes you guessed it, if you DON’T kill the overchargers as they spawn, you can end up with 6x of them. Make sure they die!  Remember of course as explained in the Trash Fights section, these can put nasty lightning aoes on the players so positioning and not panicking is key!


This fight is every PUG’s worst nightmare. Luckily for those of you who have never seen this, a long time ago it was altered to decrease the difficulty, BUT it can still be a pretty big challenge for new groups. She has low health but there is a LOT going on.

Positioning wise the tank should hold Ozara by the doorway (closed door) on the right of the room as you come in. DO NOT stand too close to the door because she can heavy attack you through it and you can get stuck but loosely stay in that vicinity. This is to be sure that the damage is in the right location for when the adds come in.

In the meantime, the group should be in a semi-circle around the back of the boss and all have their own space. You do not want to stack and/or overlap. The off tank (if you have one) can do one of two things.

1) Hold the adds (troll, archer, and war priest) close by to receive heals and help throw buffs, etc at the group.

2) Take all the adds to the corner of the room, hold them there, and survive. DO NOT touch the overcharger, leave that with the group.

Heavy Attack – This is pretty simple stuff. The boss will heavy attack whoever has agro (should be the tank) if she heavy attacks, be sure to block it. It doesn’t hurt much but it will knock you down if you fail to block it and it makes positioning her a difficult task. Even a dps/healer can block this.

Overcharger – The door in which I have stated you need to fight in front of it where the overcharger comes from. It will spawn at the beginning of the fight and then continue to spawn every few seconds each time one dies. You MUST focus on this target.

If you have a low dps group, make sure all single target is on the Overcharger and aoe down the boss each time one of these spawns. If you have a very HIGH dps group, you can get away with focusing the boss and killing the overcharger with aoe. It must die however so each spawn is really when you should be utilizing your ultimate abilities for the burn!

Shaman’s Totem – There are many adds in the room and each one that dies will respawn! So you will have an endless flood of adds to deal with during the fight (small ones). However, the Shaman is one you do NOT want to kill.  His totem controls the overcharger. If the totem is active he will NOT stay near the door so you can kill him, instead, it will run to the totem and things get messy really fast (no control). 

So you must KILL the totem (assign one dps to kill it at the beginning). If you kill the totem, the overcharger will never run away and be easy to deal with. The totem will NEVER respawn.  BUT if you kill the shaman by accident (or even on purpose) he will respawn and make a NEW totem. DON’T kill the shaman, kill the TOTEM!

Pins – The boss will cast a spell with both of her hands in the air and PIN members of your group. This is the most important mechanic in the fight. People who are pinned cannot get out by themselves, they must be set free by the team/group by running over to them and activating a synergy.  You must free the player, and then get BACK into your formation. Do not panic, do not run around aimlessly. If you can reach someone close by, unpin them asap.

This can get a little messy because of everyone screaming “I’m pinned”. This is very easy to fix. Simply don’t do this! Anyone pinned to the ground should simply put out an emote, perhaps “hello” or something, which will let the group know of their position. Tanks and Healers however should speak up because they are priority!  As the fight goes on the boss will place more and more pins on the group to a maximum of 4x people, so be quick on releasing these victims of the mechanic.

The Serpent

This boss is both simple and hell depending on the group and their ability to co-ordinate. The non-hard mode is basically a stack and burn so long as the tank holds the boss still. But hard mode really tests people to see if they are paying attention or not and to see how much they understand about not panicking!

The main tank should turn the boss away from the group and hold it still at ALL times!  The group should stack on the circular pad BEHIND the boss and NEVER go in front of it.

World Shaper! (hard mode only) – This is the simplest and most difficult mechanic of the fight. It is extremely easy to execute but collectively it can sometimes be a nightmare to get people to work as a team.  Basically, the whole fight you want to be as close to the boss as possible (bit of a stack and burn) but this mechanic it is SO important that you stay close.

The boss will raise his hand and a growing green ball can be seen above him. This is where he is deciding which player randomly is going to get it! NO ONE moves! You do not yet know who the target is so stay still.  Once the boss’s hand moves, he will throw the ball into the air, and his chosen target will have it aimed at their head and will land on the ground with a HUGE AOE.

The way to work with this mechanic is simple. If you are the target and you run too soon, that mechanic will be going with you and potentially will land where ever you are, including on other people’s heads who ALSO tried to get away. Don’t run early. Once it leaves the boss’s hand its location IS already decided…

Stay close to the boss, and as soon as the boss throws it, everybody RUN! It MUST physically leave the boss’s hand BEFORE you start running!  Once it lands, everyone comes back in again. Plain and simple. Run too early, people die, run too late, people die. Focus!

Sprinting by the way is much more efficient on both resources and maneuverability in this mechanic.  Again, in a nutshell…Stay close, stack up, his hand moves, you run, it lands you come back in. Rinse repeat.

Heavy Attack – The boss will heavy attack the tank and this MUST be blocked. If not blocked it WILL hit incredibly hard and possibly kill the tank outright.

Cleave – This cleave is HUGE in aoe and can wipe out the entire group in one hit. It has an incredibly wide arc so NO ONE but the tank should be in front of the boss and any time. This should also be blocked by the tank.

Poison Phase – The boss will teleport to the very center of the circle pad on the ground no matter where he currently is in the room and crouch down. The entire room will be filled with a high-damage ticking poison dot. This is where stacking is important because the healers need to really spam out those heals here to keep people alive. Once the poison phase is over (about 10 seconds) you can carry on as normal.

NOTE:  If the off tank is too far from the heals, they can put on damage shields to help mitigate the damage.  Also, note. There are 5x poison phases BEFORE the bubble/orbs phase (explained later)

Lamias – At the beginning of the fight before the first poison phase there will be 2 lamias spawning from the left corner of the room. These must be grabbed and moved away from the group by the off-tank. If these get killed they will explode and one shot anyone caught inside of the explosion.

Be sure that your off tank grabs these asap and they don’t get stuck in the group. The off-tank should keep these occupied to one side the WHOLE fight. They will scream (interrupt them) and they will also heavy attack (block). Above all be sure to maintain your resources while holding on to these but be careful while heavy attacking them if you need to because they sometimes block. Hitting a blocking target with a heavy attack will knock you off balance and you will have to break free.

Mantikora – There are 2 methods here. During the fight, you will hear a flushing sound and from one of the blood pools will spawn a Mantikora. Over time you can end up with 2x of these. How you deal with them is up to you. The first Mantikora will spawn after the 2nd poison phase. The second Mantikora will spawn after the 4th poison phase.

Method 1) The off tank takes the Mantikora/s to one side and holds them still with the Lamias at the back of the room away from the group. Until the bubbles phase.

Method 2) The main tank taunts the Mantikora/s IN to the group and the group kills it.

Be aware the Mantikoras do heavy attack, which needs to be blocked by the tank and they DO have a MASSIVE stomp ability much like the first boss of the trial. Anyone who fails to block this…will die!  IF your group is NOT capable of this simple mechanic. Make sure you apply method 1 and keep the Manti so far back that the stomp won’t reach (bottom left corner up the stairs).

Magicka Bomb – The Blue totems that spawn during the fight will randomly put a magicka bomb on a player. When this happens the player will glow blue and a growing sound will erupt from them until it explodes!

If you dump your magicka and spend as much as possible (basically empty your bar to 0-10%ish) the bomb will explode, you will survive and you will be given some magicka back to carry on in the fight.  However, if you fail to empty your bar, you will die when it blows up.

These blue magicka bomb totems CAN be destroyed however IF you wish to do so. If you destroy these then magicka bombs are GONE until you see a new one spawn. Sometimes you can move your whole group and shift your position to stack the boss on top of it in order to kill it. BUT that is a little advanced.

Pull Totems – In the room not only do you have blue magicka bomb totems but you also have pulling totems. These will pull a random group member to them from wherever they are in the room. If you are pulled you need to dodge roll mid-pull to break it. If you are quick enough it will put you back where you were. If not you will be snared heavily close to the totem and will have to dodge roll from where you are as far away from the totem as possible in order to break the snare and get back to the group.  Again, these totems CAN be killed if you choose to get rid of them.

Poison Totems – Poison totems look very similar to pull totems (green) and they physically connect with beams to the boss. This will buff his poison damage during the phases.

Orbs/Bubbles – After every 5th poison phase (and at execute) the boss will fire out several pink shards across the floor. Every player must run to a shard each and this will coat the player in an orb/bubble. There is always one where the main tank is standing, so do NOT steal this, the tank needs it. And for the rest of the group, you should assign at the beginning who goes left and who goes right. There is ONE for each player. Do NOT race each other for the same one, all get one each.

If you do not pick one up fast enough you will not get a bubble and the boss will cause an explosion and you will die. No bubble = dead.  Go get your bubble, get back in the middle, and carry on as normal.  Once the explosion actually happens all Lamias, Mantikoras, and totems will also be killed. The fight basically starts again from scratch until the next orb/bubble phase.

Sanctum Ophidia Loot

Below is a list of all the loot you can expect to find in Sanctum Ophidia.

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 Sanctum Ophidia Gear

Sanctum Ophidia Achievements

ESO Achievment 026 Icon
Craglorn Trials Conqueror

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

ESO In-Game Icon Achievement Dark Brotherhood 038
Sanctum Ophidia Conqueror

Defeat the Celestial Serpent in Veteran Sanctum Ophidia.

ESO In-Game Icon Achievement 022
Sanctum Ophidia Difficult Mode

Defeat the Celestial Serpent after desecrating the sacred banners of the Scaled Court.

ESO Icon Achievement 024
Sanctum Ophidia:  Feeding Pit

Use the feed pile in Sanctum Ophidia and survive the ensuing battle.

ESO In-Game Icon Acheivement 020
Time Trial:  Sanctum Ophidia

Completed the Sanctum Ophidia within a time limit of 33 minutes.

Sanctum Ophidia Leads

There are currently no leads located in Sanctum Ophidia.

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…