Stamina Dragonknight Dragonknight

Welcome to my Stamina Dragonknight guide! This is a basic guide to the gear, skills, and passives you can use to burn, poison, and smite your foes to death

This guide is mostly designed for PvE group play but can work to some degree for solo play as well. (For extensive solo play, you may need to make a number of adjustments for survivability)

For a nontraditional but incredibly effective and easy-to-use alternative build, check out my Heavy Attack Build guide as well!


Starting Gear

See Leveling Gear below for a detailed example setup. These sets are all craftable! Ask for help in guild chat or Discord if you'd like someone to make them for you. You will want:


Skills and Passives

Skills

I'm listing way more skills than will actually fit on your bars, just to emphasize how many good options there are. See Example Bar Setups below for specific examples of bar setups, but ultimately you can just pick whatever skills you like best!

Choose a spammable

This is the skill you'll be casting most often, while your DoTs are still running

  • Rapid Strikes  Rapid Strikes (Weapon → Dual Wield → Flurry)
    • Powerful spammable option
  • Molten Whip  Molten Whip (Class → Ardent Flame → Lava Whip)
    • Another powerful spammable. We can get a nice stat boost (and a buff to our next Whip cast) by slotting and casting other Ardent Flame abilities. This skill uniquely costs a combination of both stamina and magicka
    • We can also slot this skill passively for the stat buff, even if we're using a different spammable
  • Stone Giant  Stone Giant (Class → Earthen Heart → Stonefist)
    • Slightly less damage, but applies the Stagger debuff to increase the entire group's damage against the enemy
    • Somewhat clunky to use. For a smoother, easier to use spammable, try one of the above options

Choose a high-damage core class skill (optional)

You can optionally use Burning Talons to add a little extra structure and rhythm to your rotation

  • Burning Talons  Burning Talons (Class → Draconic Power → Dark Talons)
    • Excellent AoE damage. Costs a lot of magicka, so can be tough on our sustain since we have a small magicka pool. Also immobilizes enemies
    • You'll want to cast this skill consistently every 5th cast for best results

Choose some DoTs

Fill up the rest of your skill slots with DoTs, and optionally utility skills (see below)

  • Flames of Oblivion  Flames of Oblivion (Class → Ardent Flame → Inferno)
    • A good AoE DoT. Also provides Major Savagery and Prophecy to boost your crit chance
  • Venomous Claw  Venomous Claw (Class → Ardent Flame → Searing Strike)
    • Nice single-target DoT. Does extra damage the longer it ticks
  • Stampede  Stampede (Weapon → Two Handed → Critical Charge)
    • Great AoE DoT. Also a gap closer to bring you into melee range
  • Barbed Trap  Barbed Trap (Guild → Fighters Guild → Trap Beast)
    • Provides Minor Force to increase your crit damage, as well as applying a DoT
  • Eruption  Eruption (Class → Earthen Heart → Ash Cloud)
    • Another very good AoE DoT
  • Noxious Breath  Noxious Breath / Engulfing Flames  Engulfing Flames (Class → Ardent Flame → Fiery Breath)
    • Decent AoE DoT. Use Noxious for the Major Breach debuff to lower enemies' resistances, or Engulfing to increase the entire group's Flame damage against the enemy
  • Carve  Carve (Weapon → Two Handed → Cleave)
    • Another AoE DoT. Gets an extra-long timer if you re-cast it before it finishes. Also provides a damage shield
  • Deadly Cloak  Deadly Cloak (Weapon → Dual Wield → Blade Cloak)
    • Good AoE DoT that also protects you with Major Evasion

Choose some utility skills (optional)

Miscellaneous skills you can use for buffs, recovery, and extra damage

  • Resolving Vigor  Resolving Vigor (Alliance War → Assault → Vigor)
    • Powerful heal skill. Also protects us with Minor Resolve
  • Camouflaged Hunter  Camouflaged Hunter (Guild → Fighters Guild → Expert Hunter)
    • We can slot this passively for the Minor Berserk and Major Savagery and Prophecy damage buffs. (No need to cast this skill, we just have it for the passive buffs)
  • Shrouded Daggers  Shrouded Daggers (Weapon → Dual Wield → Hidden Blade)
    • Mostly useful as a ranged interrupt. Also cleaves to multiple enemies and provides Major Brutality and Sorcery

Choose ultimates

Very high damage skills you can cast when your Ultimate meter is full. Slot one on each bar (either two different ones, or the same one on both)

  • Standard of Might  Standard of Might (Class → Ardent Flame → Dragonknight Standard)
    • One of the best ultimates in the game! Damages enemies, boosts all of your other damage, reduces incoming damage, and provides a damage synergy for your allies
  • Flawless Dawnbreaker  Flawless Dawnbreaker (Guild → Fighters Guild → Dawnbreaker)
    • You can optionally slot this on your frontbar for the Slayer passive in Fighters Guild, with Standard on your backbar. (You won't normally actually cast Dawnbreaker; it's just there for the passive stat boost)

Example Bar Setups

Skills marked "Flex" in particular can be replaced with other skills that you prefer, or ones of the opposite stat cost if you're having sustain trouble

Setup 1 (Burning Talons)

Rapid Strikes Burning Talons Barbed Trap Flames of Oblivion Resolving Vigor    FlexFlawless Dawnbreaker

Stampede Venomous Claw FlexCarve FlexNoxious Breath Molten Whip    Standard of Might

  • Front Bar: Rapid Strikes, Burning Talons, Barbed Trap, Flames of Oblivion, Resolving Vigor || Ultimate: Flawless Dawnbreaker (flex)
  • Back Bar: Stampede, Venomous Claw, Carve (flex), Noxious Breath (flex), Molten Whip || Ultimate: Standard of Might

Setup 2 (Whip Spam)

Molten Whip FlexDeadly Cloak Barbed Trap Flames of Oblivion Resolving Vigor    FlexFlawless Dawnbreaker

Stampede Venomous Claw FlexCarve FlexNoxious Breath Molten Whip    Standard of Might

  • Front Bar: Molten Whip, Deadly Cloak (flex), Barbed Trap, Flames of Oblivion, Resolving Vigor || Ultimate: Flawless Dawnbreaker (flex)
  • Back Bar: Stampede, Venomous Claw, Carve (flex), Noxious Breath (flex), Molten Whip || Ultimate: Standard of Might

Priority Passives

All passives are useful for something, but these are the passives that will be most relevant to combat

Ardent Flame

  • Combustion Combustion / Searing Heat Searing Heat / World In Ruin World in Ruin

Draconic Power

  • Iron Skin Iron Skin / Scaled Armor Scaled Armor
  • Use all four passives if you're using any skills from this line, like Burning Talons

Earthen Heart

  • Battle Roar Battle Roar / Mountain's Blessing Mountain's Blessing
  • Use Eternal Mountain Eternal Mountain as well if you're using any magicka skills from this line, like Eruption

Dual Wield

  • Everything: Slaughter Slaughter / Dual Wield Expert Dual Wield Expert / Controlled Fury Controlled Fury / Ruffian Ruffian / Twin Blade And Blunt Twin Blade And Blunt

Two Handed

  • Forceful Forceful / Heavy Weapons Heavy Weapons / Balanced Blade Balanced Blade

Light Armor (only if wearing some light pieces)

  • Evocation Evocation / Spell Warding Spell Warding / Prodigy Prodigy / Concentration Concentration

Medium Armor

  • Dexterity Dexterity / Wind Walker Wind Walker / Agility Agility / Athletics Athletics

Fighters Guild

  • Slayer Slayer / Banish The Wicked Banish The Wicked / Skilled Tracker Skilled Tracker

Undaunted

  • Everything: Undaunted Command Undaunted Command / Undaunted Mettle Undaunted Mettle

Assault

  • Continuous Attack Continuous Attack

Racial

  • Everything

Alchemy (if using potions)

  • Medicinal Use Medicinal Use

Example Rotations

You can use these "static" rotations to practice the rhythm of your rotation, as well as light-attack weaving. Once you're comfortable with these ideas, you can consider switching to a "dynamic" rotation (i.e. casting your skills on their individual cooldowns, instead of in a specific order), which will tend to be more optimal and yield higher damage if you can perform it well

Skill casting has a cooldown of one second, so your goal should be to cast a skill (and then a light attack!) roughly every second. Casting a bit slower can also be helpful while you're learning to weave and do your rotation

We're using a 30 second rotation, since many of our DoT skills last for around either 15 or 30 seconds. If you're using Burning Talons or Stone Giant, these can split up the rotation into convenient 5-second chunks; if not, just keep track of the 30-second count

Light attacks are marked with LA, and weapon bar swaps are marked with WS

Note: Remember to weave a light attack between every skill to maximize your damage

Setup 1 Rotation (Burning Talons setup)

Using this bar setup. (Substitute any alternative skills in as needed):

Rapid Strikes Burning Talons Barbed Trap Flames of Oblivion Resolving Vigor    Flawless Dawnbreaker

Stampede Venomous Claw Carve Noxious Breath Molten Whip    Standard of Might

  • We'll cast Burning Talons every 5 seconds. In between, we'll cast all our backbar DoTs, then our frontbar DoTs, and then spam our spammable for the rest of the rotation

Burning Talons Light Attack + Weapon Swap Stampede Light Attack Venomous Claw Light Attack Carve Light Attack Noxious Breath Light Attack + Weapon Swap

Burning Talons Light Attack Barbed Trap Light Attack Flames Of Oblivion Light Attack Rapid Strikes Light Attack Rapid Strikes Light Attack

Burning Talons Light Attack Rapid Strikes Light Attack Rapid Strikes Light Attack Rapid Strikes Light Attack Rapid Strikes Light Attack

For a more optimal dynamic rotation, you can use a similar format. Cast Talons every 5 seconds, and in between, cast either (1) a DoT if one has just expired, or (2) your spammable otherwise

The framework below works as a basic semi-dynamic rotation that should be an improvement over the static one. For the skill casts marked "F," cast a skill on your frontbar: simply cast a DoT (Trap or Claw) if one has run out, or your spammable otherwise

Burning Talons Light Attack + Weapon Swap Stampede Light Attack Venomous Claw Light Attack Carve Light Attack Noxious Breath Light Attack + Weapon Swap

Burning Talons Light Attack Frontbar Light Attack Frontbar Light Attack Frontbar Light Attack Frontbar Light Attack

Burning Talons Light Attack Frontbar Light Attack Frontbar Light Attack Frontbar Light Attack Frontbar Light Attack

Setup 2 Rotation (Whip Spam setup)

Using this bar setup. (Substitute any alternative skills in as needed):

Molten Whip Deadly Cloak Barbed Trap Flames of Oblivion Resolving Vigor    Flawless Dawnbreaker

Stampede Venomous Claw Carve Noxious Breath Molten Whip    Standard of Might

  • We'll cast all our backbar DoTs, then our frontbar DoTs, then spam our spammable

Stampede Light Attack Venomous Claw Light Attack Carve Light Attack Noxious Breath Light Attack + Weapon Swap Deadly Cloak Light Attack

Barbed Trap Light Attack Flames Of Oblivion Light Attack Molten Whip Light Attack Molten Whip Light Attack Molten Whip Light Attack

Molten Whip Light Attack Molten Whip Light Attack Molten Whip Light Attack Molten Whip Light Attack Molten Whip Light Attack + Weapon Swap

For a more optimal dynamic rotation, you can use a similar format. For every cast, use either (1) a DoT if one has just expired, or (2) your spammable otherwise


Character

Race

Racial differences are relatively minimal, so I advise simply picking a race you like. But if you're wanting to optimize, the best options are:

Attributes

All 64 points belong in Stamina. This will maximize our stamina resource pool, which also increases our damage

Attributes

Mundus Stone

  • The Lover  The Lover
    • Gives you extra penetration to shred through enemies' defenses. This is a great option for (1) when you're leveling, or (2) when you're not with a particularly organized group. When in doubt, Lover is likely the way to go
  • The Thief  The Thief
    • Increases your critical chance, which is another excellent stat for maximizing damage. This is the best option when you have skill points, Champion Points, and group support invested into maxing out your penetration already

Consumables

Foods/Drinks

Potions

  • Crown Tri-Restoration Potion Crown Tri-Restoration Potion (free option if accumulated from daily rewards)
    • Max Health/Magicka/Stamina, Health/Magicka/Stamina Recovery
  • Stamina Potion Stamina Potion (cheaper craftable potion)
    • Max Stamina, Stamina Recovery
    • Only practical at CP150+
  • Weapon Power Potion Weapon Power Potion (most powerful but more expensive craftable)
    • Max Stamina, Stamina Recovery, Major Brutality/Savagery
    • Only practical at CP150+

Champion Points (level 50+)

A rough progression of what CP nodes to start with once you hit level 50. You'll be able to use more and more of these nodes as you gain experience and accumulate more Champion Points. Fill each node completely before moving on to the next one

Warfare Warfare

  • Start with Precision and (in the Extended Might sub-tree) Piercing
  • Then add these four slottables: Deadly Aim, Wrathful Strikes, Thaumaturge, Master-at-Arms. (Make sure you add them to your Champion Bar or they'll have no effect!)
  • Next grab Tireless Discipline, and also the non-slottable CP from the Extended Might sub-tree (i.e. skip any CP with the "Add to Champion Bar to activate" note)
  • Finally add the rest of the non-slottable CP throughout the Warfare tree

Fitness Fitness

  • Take these three slottables: Rejuvenation, Boundless Vitality, Fortified. (Make sure you add them to your Champion Bar or they'll have no effect!)
  • Grab Sprinter, Hasty (in the Wind Chaser sub-tree), and Hero's Vigor
  • Take the rest of the non-slottable CP throughout the Fitness tree, including those in the three subtrees
  • At some point during the above step, take one more slottable CP of your choice (Celerity (in the Wind Chaser sub-tree), Bloody Renewal, Spirit Mastery are some of the most useful ones)

Craft Craft

  • Use whatever you'd like here; these points mostly don't affect your combat skill. There are lots of options for crafting, stealth, movement speed, and more in this tree
  • Some early nodes I find good for very general usage include Steed's Blessing, Breakfall, and Wanderer

Gear

Note: There are many great options for gear. These are some of my favorites that I've found to do especially high damage, but experiment with other sets and find what works best for you!

Leveling Gear

Try this setup until you reach CP160 (the gear cap). It uses all crafted sets, which you can get made for you by guild members. The Training traits will get you a bunch of extra XP, and Heartland Conqueror will boost those traits even further

Gear Slot Type Set Trait Enchant
Medium Head Head Medium Night Mother's Gaze Training Training Max Stamina Max Stamina
Medium Shoulders Shoulders Medium Night Mother's Gaze Training Training Max Stamina Max Stamina
Medium Chest Chest Medium Heartland Conqueror Training Training Max Stamina Max Stamina
Medium Hands Hands Medium Heartland Conqueror Training Training Max Stamina Max Stamina
Medium Waist Waist Medium Heartland Conqueror Training Training Max Stamina Max Stamina
Medium Legs Legs Medium Heartland Conqueror Training Training Max Stamina Max Stamina
Medium Feet Feet Medium Heartland Conqueror Training Training Max Stamina Max Stamina
Necklace Neck Order's Wrath Robust Robust Weapon Damage Weapon Damage
Ring Ring Order's Wrath Robust Robust Weapon Damage Weapon Damage
Ring Ring Order's Wrath Robust Robust Weapon Damage Weapon Damage
Dagger FB Main Hand Dagger Order's Wrath Training Training Poison Poison
Dagger FB Offhand Dagger Order's Wrath Training Training Flame Flame
Greatsword BB Weapon 2H Sword Order's Wrath Training Training Weapon Damage Weapon Damage


See Starting Gear above for some additional set options that can give you running speed or a fun fire-breathing proc. If you want one of these other sets, simply swap out either Heartland or Order's for a full five pieces of that other set

Intermediate Gear

Once you hit CP160, swap off your training gear and set up for pure damage! This gear will serve you well through the vast majority of content throughout the game

Gear Slot Type Set Trait Enchant
Medium Head Head Medium Night Mother's Gaze Divines Divines Max Stamina Max Stamina
Medium Shoulders Shoulders Medium Night Mother's Gaze Divines Divines Max Stamina Max Stamina
Medium Chest Chest Medium Hunding's Rage Divines Divines Max Stamina Max Stamina
Medium Hands Hands Medium Hunding's Rage Divines Divines Max Stamina Max Stamina
Medium Waist Waist Medium Hunding's Rage Divines Divines Max Stamina Max Stamina
Medium Legs Legs Medium Hunding's Rage Divines Divines Max Stamina Max Stamina
Medium Feet Feet Medium Hunding's Rage Divines Divines Max Stamina Max Stamina
Necklace Neck Order's Wrath Robust Robust Weapon Damage Weapon Damage
Ring Ring Order's Wrath Robust Robust Weapon Damage Weapon Damage
Ring Ring Order's Wrath Robust Robust Weapon Damage Weapon Damage
Dagger FB Main Hand Dagger Order's Wrath Charged Charged Poison Poison
Dagger FB Offhand Dagger Order's Wrath Charged Charged Flame Flame
Greatsword BB Weapon 2H Sword Order's Wrath Infused Infused Weapon Damage Weapon Damage


I recommend the above gear for the simplicity in acquiring it, but here are some additional options. These options require farming from overland and basegame dungeons but may be a little bit more powerful than Hunding's Rage. Order's Wrath on the other hand is quite powerful and should generally not be replaced

If you're ready for vet dungeons, consider swapping out your Night Mother pieces for a monster set. These basegame monster sets are some of the easiest ones to get but are still quite powerful

Note that if you're not looking for maximal damage, the sets listed in the Starting Gear section can still be very useful too!

Advanced Gear

Consider this setup once you have some trials and veteran dungeons under your belt. This setup uses very optimized sets and traits but will require significant trial and dungeon farming

The Intermediate Gear listed above is entirely adequate for most content in ESO. The gear listed below will often provide noticeably more damage, but crafted gear will be plenty for anything short of seriously dedicated veteran content. If you're not interested in vet content and you're not interested in farming, you can skip this section!

Gear Slot Type Set Trait Enchant
Light Head Head Light Slimecraw Divines Divines Max Stamina Max Stamina
Medium Shoulders Shoulders Medium Ansuul's Torment Divines Divines Max Stamina Max Stamina
Medium Chest Chest Medium Ansuul's Torment Divines Divines Max Stamina Max Stamina
Medium Hands Hands Medium Ansuul's Torment Divines Divines Max Stamina Max Stamina
Medium Waist Waist Medium Ansuul's Torment Divines Divines Max Stamina Max Stamina
Medium Legs Legs Medium Harpooner's Wading Kilt Divines Divines Max Stamina Max Stamina
Medium Feet Feet Medium Ansuul's Torment Divines Divines Max Stamina Max Stamina
Necklace Neck Pillar of Nirn Bloodthirsty Bloodthirsty Weapon Damage Weapon Damage
Ring Ring Pillar of Nirn Bloodthirsty Bloodthirsty Weapon Damage Weapon Damage
Ring Ring Pillar of Nirn Bloodthirsty Bloodthirsty Weapon Damage Weapon Damage
Dagger FB Main Hand Dagger Pillar of Nirn Charged Charged / Nirnhoned Nirnhoned Poison Poison
Dagger FB Offhand Dagger Pillar of Nirn Charged Charged Flame Flame
Greatsword BB Weapon 2H Sword Merciless Charge Infused Infused Weapon Damage Weapon Damage


A wide variety of additional options listed here

Alternative Setups

Here are some other good options for weapons and gear setups:

  • Switch the backbar 2H for a bow
  • Switch the backbar 2H for another pair of DW daggers

Some additional possible gear setups are displayed below, including different mythic and monster set configurations. I'm using Relequen, Pillar, and Maw sets throughout these presentations, but these sets can easily be replaced with alternatives. You can also replace the weapons with different options like a bow as mentioned above

Harpooner's Kilt + Maelstrom 2H Monster Set + Maelstrom 2H Monster Set + Kilt + Maelstrom 2H Kilt with no Arena Weapon Oakensoul One-Bar Setup


Sustain Tips

Need some more stamina sustain? Dragonknights have some unique sustain mechanics we can take advantage of. Try these tips:

  • Use the Charged trait on one or both of your frontbar weapons, if you aren't already. This will make your Poison enchantment proc more often, so that your Combustion passive gives you back more stamina
  • Make sure to cast your ultimate! This will proc your Battle Roar passive, which will give you a ton of resources back
  • Swap a jewelry enchantment or two to Stamina Recovery
  • Swap one of your stamina-costing skills to a magicka skill

Build Summary

From left to right, summaries of several setups from above: Leveling Gear (with Burning Talons), Advanced Gear (with Burning Talons), and Advanced Gear again (with Whip Spam). (Note that perfected and gold gear are completely unnecessary to the build; they're just what I had handy for the screenshots)

Leveling Build (with Burning Talons) Burning Talons Build Whip Spam Build

Written by @IIIlIlIIlllIIlllIIll (Updated 10/2023 - U40)