Stamina Warden 

Welcome to my Stamina Warden guide! This is a basic guide to harvesting the power of animals and nature to vanquish your foes

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!

Warden Basics

Wardens are themed based on nature and frost abilities. Many of their damage skills summon animals and creatures to help you out, and they have one semi-permanent summon in the form of a bear that can accompany you all the time to autonomously attack enemies. Wardens’ frost abilities allow them to apply special frost-based debuffs and damage to enemies, and their passives give extra benefits for using more animal abilities and dealing lots of frost damage

Gear

Basics

  • We’ll use mostly medium armor. The Medium Armor skill line provides damage bonuses and stamina recovery that will be very helpful to doing as much damage as possible and keeping up our resources
    • One or two light armor pieces can be helpful as well, as the Light Armor skill line provides penetration, one of the most potent of all stats. Most endgame builds will use one light armor piece and six medium
  • We’ll use dual wield daggers on our frontbar. Dual daggers will provide the best damage stats of any weapon, mostly because of the Twin Blade and Blunt passive providing a large critical chance bonus
    • If you’d like, you can also use a different weapon such as a bow or a two-handed sword. These will generally do a little less damage, but they’ll still do just fine
  • We have a few different good options for our backbar weapon. Two-handed greatswords, bows, or even inferno staves will do nicely. My preference is a greatsword, so this guide will favor that option; however, a few different setup options will be shown for bows and staves
    • Note that despite the magical inclination of a staff, we can still use a staff on a stamina-based build. There’s no penalty or disadvantage for doing so; in fact, using a staff backbar can be helpful to regulating our stamina usage, since staff skills cost magicka and won’t dip into our stamina

Gear Setups

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!

Try this setup until you reach CP 160 (the gear cap). These sets are all craftable! Ask for help in guild chat or Discord if you’d like someone to make them for you. The Training traits will get you a bunch of extra XP

If you have some extra skill points available to invest in the Light Armor skill line, swapping the head and/or shoulder piece to light armor will usually yield a little bit more damage

This setup uses Shattered Fate for a huge penetration buff to tear through enemies’ resistances, and Adept Rider for extra movement speed, perfect for new characters that tend to struggle to move quickly around the world. Night Mother’s Gaze is just filler for our last two pieces, providing a little extra crit chance

Gear SlotTypeSetTraitEnchant
 Head
 Shoulders
MediumNight Mother’s GazeTraining Max Stamina Max Stamina
Medium Chest Chest
Medium Hands Hands
Medium Waist Waist
Medium Legs Legs
Medium Feet Feet
MediumAdept RiderTraining TrainingMax Stamina Max Stamina
Necklace NeckShattered FateRobust RobustStamina Recovery Stamina Recovery
Ring Ring
Ring Ring
Shattered FateRobust RobustWeapon Damage Weapon Damage
Dagger Front Main HandDaggerShattered FateTraining TrainingPoison Poison
Dagger Front OffhandDaggerShattered FateTraining TrainingFlame Flame
Greatsword
Bow Back Weapon
Staff
2H Sword
or Bow
or Inferno Staff
Shattered FateTraining TrainingWeapon Damage Weapon Damage

Alternatives

You can substitute Adept Rider with:

Once you hit CP 160, 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

If you have some extra skill points available to invest in the Light Armor skill line, swapping the head and/or shoulder piece to light armor will usually yield a little bit more damage

This setup uses Shattered Fate for a huge penetration buff to tear through enemies’ resistances, and Order’s Wrath for big bonuses to our critical hits. Night Mother’s Gaze is just filler for our last two pieces, providing a little extra crit chance

Gear SlotTypeSetTraitEnchant
Medium Head Head
Medium Shoulders Shoulders
MediumNight Mother’s GazeDivines DivinesMax Stamina Max Stamina
Medium Chest Chest
Medium Hands Hands
Medium Waist Waist
Medium Legs Legs
Medium Feet Feet
MediumOrder’s WrathDivines DivinesMax Stamina Max Stamina
Necklace NeckShattered FateRobust RobustStamina Recovery Stamina Recovery
Ring Ring
Ring Ring
Shattered FateRobust RobustWeapon Damage Weapon Damage
Dagger Front Main HandDaggerShattered FatePrecise PrecisePoison Poison
Dagger Front OffhandDaggerShattered FateCharged ChargedFlame Flame
Greatsword
Bow Back Weapon
Staff
2H Sword
or Bow
or Inferno Staff
Shattered FateInfused InfusedWeapon Damage Weapon Damage

Alternatives

I recommend the above gear for the simplicity in acquiring it, but here are some additional options

  • Briarheart: Provides some extra healing along with extra damage
  • Leviathan: Provides a big stat boost, somewhat similarly to Order’s Wrath

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

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 gear listed in the Intermediate Gear section 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!

  • This setup uses Ansuul’s Torment, which provides a flat 7% bonus to our damage. You can get a huge additional 7% bonus by interrupting enemies, but this is not a priority; we’re wearing this set mostly for the always-on bonus
  • We also have Pillar of Nirn, which will proc extra DoT damage to run almost constantly as long as we’re dealing damage
  • Velothi Ur-Mage’s Amulet is an excellent mythic that gives a flat 15% damage bonus as well as the Minor Force buff for extra critical damage and a big penetration bonus to tear through enemy resistances; however it has the drawback of mostly negating the damage of our light attacks
    • Despite the damage negation, make sure to use light attacks anyway, because light attacks proc our weapon enchants and also cause us to generate ultimate
  • The Merciless Charge arena weapon will give us some extra damage by buffing our direct damage (i.e. instantaneous non-DoT damage)
  • Finally, we’ll top off our build with one piece of Slimecraw monster set, just providing a crit chance bonus
Gear SlotTypeSetTraitEnchant
Light Head HeadLightSlimecrawDivines DivinesMax Stamina Max Stamina
Medium Shoulders ShouldersMediumPillar of NirnDivines DivinesMax Stamina Max Stamina
Medium Chest Chest
Medium Hands Hands
Medium Waist Waist
Medium Legs Legs
Medium Feet Feet
MediumAnsuul’s TormentDivines DivinesMax Stamina Max Stamina
Necklace NeckVelothi Ur-Mage’s AmuletBloodthirsty BloodthirstyWeapon Damage Weapon Damage
Ring Ring
Ring Ring
Pillar of NirnBloodthirsty BloodthirstyWeapon Damage Weapon Damage
Dagger Front Main HandDaggerPillar of NirnNirnhoned Nirnhoned
or Precise Precise
Poison Poison
Dagger Front OffhandDaggerPillar of NirnCharged ChargedFlame Flame
Greatsword
Bow Back Weapon
Staff
2H Sword
or Bow
or Inferno Staff
Merciless ChargeInfused InfusedWeapon Damage Weapon Damage

Alternatives

A wide variety of additional options listed here

  • Five-Piece Sets
    • Whorl of the Depths: Excellent alternative to Ansuul, providing a proc to do large amounts of extra damage. However, Depths is a light armor set. To maintain your medium armor setup, you’ll need to use Depths on your jewelry and weapons, and swap Pillar to your body pieces
    • Arms of Relequen: High single-target damage, but low AoE and requires very good light attack weaving to use well. For most purposes, another set will be better
    • Kinras’s Wrath: Gives us Major Berserk, a big boost to our damage. Reasonable alternative to Pillar but requires very good light attack weaving to keep up the buff; for most purposes, another set will yield more consistent results
    • Berserking Warrior: Gives us a big crit chance bonus. Like Kinras, this set can substitute Pillar but needs good light attack weaving
  • Monster Sets (requires rearranging your gear setup, e.g. swapping out the Velothi mythic)
  • Arena Weapons
  • Mythics
    • Harpooner’s Wading Kilt: Gives us a huge stacking damage boost. This mythic can yield higher damage than Velothi, but only if we can keep up the buff stacks by not taking direct damage. Anytime we take direct damage will drop a large portion of the buff, so use this set with caution

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

  •   Cutting Dive: A ranged spammable that also applies a nice DoT to the enemy
  •   Silver Shards: Also ranged, and does some cleave damage to nearby enemies
  •   Whirling Blades: AoE spammable. Does extra execute damage, hitting enemies harder when they’re already at low health percentages. Use this when fighting large packs of enemies. Less damage per target than the above options, but more damage overall when you hit multiple enemies with it

Choose one of these high-damage skills

This skill will make up a significant portion of our damage and will more or less define the rhythm of our rotation

  •   Deep Fissure: Provides two huge damage bursts, making up a significant portion of the warden’s damage. Be careful not to re-cast this skill early, since it does a big damage burst at the end of its cooldown. Also applies the Major and Minor Breach debuffs. Can be useful for sustain since it costs magicka
    • Fissure has a nine-second cooldown. For optimal damage, cast it consistently every 9th cast
  •   Subterranean Assault: This morph does a bit less damage than Fissure, but on a shorter cooldown. This morph has a six-second cooldown, so for optimal damage, cast it consistently every 6th cast

Choose some DoTs

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

  •   Fetcher Infection /   Growing Swarm: Nice DoT. Also provides the Minor Vulnerability debuff to make the enemy take more damage from everyone. Use Infection for extra single-target damage (or if you need a magicka skill for sustain), or Growing for AoE damage
  •   Stampede: Great AoE DoT, also a gap closer to bring you into melee range
  •   Barbed Trap: Provides Minor Force to increase your crit damage, as well as applying a DoT
  •   Winter’s Revenge: Another AoE DoT. Also helps apply the Chilled debuff, which does lots of damage via our Glacial Presence passive
  •   Carve: Another AoE DoT. Gets an extra-long timer if you re-cast it before it finishes. Also provides a damage shield
  •   Deadly Cloak: Good AoE DoT that also protects you with Major Evasion
  •   Rending Slashes: Decent single-target DoT
  •   Arctic Blast: Only a mediocre DoT, but helps apply the Chilled debuff, which does lots of damage via our Glacial Presence passive. Also an excellent burst heal
  •   Anti-Cavalry Caltrops: Decent AoE DoT

Choose some utility skills (optional)

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

  •   Resolving Vigor: Powerful heal skill. Also protects us with Minor Resolve
  •   Bull Netch: Useful sustain skill; also provides Major Brutality/Sorcery for some stat boosts, and purges negative effects
  •   Deceptive Predator /   Bird of Prey: Slot this passively for Minor Berserk or Evasion. I prefer Deceptive for group content and Prey for solo, since group healers normally already provide Berserk. Also useful as a utility skill for the Major Expedition movement speed boost
  •   Camouflaged Hunter: Another skill you can slot passively for the Minor Berserk and Major Savagery/Prophecy damage buffs
  •   Shrouded Daggers: Mostly useful as a ranged interrupt. Also cleaves to multiple enemies and provides Major Brutality/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)

  •   Wild Guardian: Summons a bear pet to fight with you! Cast it while summoned for an extra attack, especially when the enemy is at low health for the execute bonus
    • Needs to be slotted on both your bars, or else the bear will un-summon when you swap

Using the bear is a great way to put out easy, passive damage, but some people find pets inconvenient and obtrusive. If you don’t want to use the bear, some other good ultimate options are:

  •   Shooting Star: The next-best ultimate choice, though requires the daunting task of leveling the Mages Guild skill line
  •   Northern Storm: Not as powerful as Shooting Star, but is easier to acquire and will do some decent damage
  •   Flawless Dawnbreaker: You can optionally slot this passively on your frontbar for the Slayer passive in Fighters Guild, with Shooting Star or Northern Storm on your backbar

Example Bar Setups

Consider these setups as templates for your own setup; there’s not necessarily a need to follow them exactly. Skills marked “Flex” in particular are good candidates to be replaced with other skills that you prefer, or ones of the opposite stat cost if you’re having sustain trouble

Single-Target Fight

Fighting a boss? This setup will do nicely

Cutting Dive
Deep Fissure
Barbed Trap
Deadly Cloak
Flex
Camouflaged Hunter
Wild Guardian
Stampede
Flex
Carve
Fetcher Infection
Arctic Blast
Flex
Bull Netch
Wild Guardian
  • Front Bar: Cutting Dive, Deep Fissure, Barbed Trap, Deadly Cloak, Camouflaged Hunter (flex) || Ultimate: Wild Guardian
  • Back Bar: Stampede, Carve (flex), Fetcher Infection, Arctic Blast, Bull Netch (flex) || Ultimate: Wild Guardian

A bow backbar can substitute in Endless Hail Endless Hail and Anti-Cavalry Caltrops Anti-Cavalry Caltrops for Stampede Stampede

A staff backbar can substitute in Unstable Wall of Elements Unstable Wall of Elements and Anti-Cavalry Caltrops Anti-Cavalry Caltrops

How To

  • Cutting Dive Cutting Dive is our spammable. You’ll be casting this skill much more than all other skills
  • Deep Fissure Deep Fissure does a large amount of damage and also provides Major and Minor Breach debuffs to lower enemies’ resistances and let us do much more damage. Make extra sure to cast this skill on cooldown, every 9 seconds
  • We have a variety of DoT skills (Barbed Trap Deadly Cloak Stampede Winter's Revenge Fetcher Infection Arctic Blast) that will put out lots of extra damage throughout a fight
  • Bull Netch Bull Netch provides us with extra resources, as well as a big stat buff
  • Arctic Blast Arctic Blast is our heal (as well as being a DoT); use it for emergencies when your health is running low
    • If you find you need a stamina-based heal, swap this out for Resolving Vigor Resolving Vigor
  • Don’t cast Camouflaged Hunter Camouflaged Hunter; it’s just giving us passive buffs to our critical chance, and also to our weapon damage through the Slayer passive
  • Activate your Wild Guardian Wild Guardian’s special ability to make it do extra damage, especially when the enemy is at low health, which will let the bear do extra execute damage

AoE Fight

Try this setup if you’re fighting a large pack of enemies. You’ll get less damage on each individual enemy, but much more damage overall as you hit more enemies at once. We’ll dispense with most single-target abilities here

Whirling Blades
Deep Fissure
Deadly Cloak
Growing Swarm
Flex
Camouflaged Hunter
Flawless Dawnbreaker
Stampede
Flex
Carve
Winter's Revenge
Arctic Blast
Flex
Bull Netch
Shooting Star
  • Front Bar: Whirling Blades, Deep Fissure, Deadly Cloak, Growing Swarm, Camouflaged Hunter (flex) || Ultimate: Flawless Dawnbreaker
  • Back Bar: Stampede, Carve, Winter’s Revenge, Arctic Blast, Bull Netch (flex) || Ultimate: Shooting Star

A bow backbar can substitute in Endless Hail Endless Hail and double-barred Camouflaged Hunter Camouflaged Hunter for the 2H skills

A staff backbar can substitute in Unstable Wall of Elements Unstable Wall of Elements and double-barred Camouflaged Hunter Camouflaged Hunter

How To

  • Whirling Blades Whirling Blades is our spammable. You’ll be casting this skill much more than all other skills
  • Deep Fissure Deep Fissure does a large amount of damage and also provides Major and Minor Breach debuffs to lower enemies’ resistances and let us do much more damage. Make extra sure to cast this skill on cooldown, every 9 seconds
  • We have a variety of DoT skills (Deadly Cloak Growing Swarm Stampede Carve Winter's Revenge Arctic Blast) that will put out lots of extra damage throughout a fight
  • Bull Netch Bull Netch provides us with extra resources, as well as a big stat buff
  • Arctic Blast Arctic Blast is our heal (as well as being a DoT); use it for emergencies when your health is running low
    • If you find you need a stamina-based heal, swap this out for Resolving Vigor Resolving Vigor
  • Don’t cast Camouflaged Hunter Camouflaged Hunter; it’s just giving us passive buffs to our critical chance, and also to our weapon damage through the Slayer passive
  • Always use Shooting Star Shooting Star for your ultimate; Flawless Dawnbreaker Flawless Dawnbreaker is just slotted passively, giving us some extra damage from the Slayer passive
    • You can swap either or both of these ultimates out for Northern Storm Northern Storm if you haven’t completed the fairly substantial tasks of unlocking them

Quick Guide to Skill Casting

Remember, there is a one second global cooldown (GCD) for casting skills. After you cast a skill, you are unable to cast another skill for one second. Therefore it is ideal to cast skills on a consistent rhythm of one skill per second, the maximum speed allowed by the GCD. Consider using a metronome to get accustomed to this rhythm

  • Naturally, casting this frequently will burn through a lot of resources, but any second where you’re not casting a skill is a second wasted where you could have been doing more damage! But see Sustain Tips below if you’re running out of resources
  • Also remember to weave a light attack between each skill. Along with dealing extra damage, this will cause you to generate ult and also assist in applying your weapon enchantments, which are activated by light attacks and weapon skills. A successful weaver will cast one skill and one light attack in each one-second interval

Rotation

Watch your skill timers! Your main goal in your rotation is to keep your DoT timers all running as much of the time as possible. When you see a timer run out, cast that skill again

Your goals in your rotation are:

  • Keep your DoT and buff timers running at all times
  • Cast a useful skill on every one-second GCD

Your priorities in casting your skills are:

  • Whenever one of your DoT timers has run out or is about to, cast that skill again to keep it running!
  • Whenever your cooldowns are all still running, hit your spammable skill (Cutting DiveSilver ShardsWhirling Blades) for extra damage
    • Try to avoid recasting DoTs before their timers expire, unless the enemy has moved out of the skill’s area. This will usually not provide much or any additional damage

You should spend most of your time on your frontbar. Just go to your backbar briefly to refresh skill timers

Casting skills infrequently is one of the biggest things that holds back most DPS from doing lots of damage. Dealing with mechanics and staying out of enemy attacks can take some time to get used to, but once you’re familiar with the fight, pushing your damage skills as close to that one-cast-per-second rhythm as possible will let you put out huge amounts of damage. Don’t spam your skills as fast as possible, since only one skill per second will cast, but don’t cast too slowly either

Priority Passives

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

Animal CompanionsEverything: Bond With Nature, Savage Beast, Flourish, Advanced Species

Green Balance: Maturation

Winter’s EmbraceEverything: Glacial Presence, Frozen Armor, Icy Aura, Piercing Cold

Dual WieldEverything: Slaughter, Dual Wield Expert, Controlled Fury, Ruffian, Twin Blade and Blunt

Two Handed: Forceful, Heavy Weapons, Balanced Blade

Light Armor (only if wearing some light pieces): Evocation, Spell Warding, Prodigy, Concentration

Medium Armor: Dexterity, Wind Walker, Agility, Athletics

Fighters Guild: Slayer, Banish the Wicked, Skilled Tracker

UndauntedEverything: Undaunted Command, Undaunted Mettle

Assault: Continuous Attack

RacialEverything

Alchemy (if using potions): Medicinal Use

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. Your skills do more healing based on your Max Stamina value (or Magicka, whichever is higher), so it is ideal to build one value as high as possible

Attributes

Mundus Stone

  •   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
    • 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: Max Health/Magicka/Stamina, Health/Magicka/Stamina Recovery
    • Easy free option if accumulated from daily rewards
  •  Stamina Potion: Max Stamina, Stamina Recovery
    • Also a probably-free option that is easily looted from the wild; also craftable
  •  Weapon Power Potion: Max Stamina, Stamina Recovery, Major Brutality/Savagery
    • This will give powerful damage buffs but is a more expensive option to craft

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 

  • Start with Precision and (in the Extended Might sub-tree) Piercing
  • Then add these four slottables: Deadly Aim, Wrathful Strikes, Thaumaturge, Exploiter (in the Extended Might sub-tree). (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 

  • 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 

  • 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

Sustain Tips

Try to avoid heavy attacking for extra stamina when possible. A heavy or two once in a while is okay, but doing many heavy attacks takes lots of time away that you could be using to cast skills and do more damage. It’s much better to improve your sustain in other ways whenever possible

Need some more stamina sustain? Try these tips, in roughly this order:

  • Have you bought all your passives? Your Medium Armor and class skill lines in particular have several passives that will give you extra stamina
  • Are you using mostly medium armor? If not, consider doing so to get lots of extra stamina from the Wind Walker passive
  • Do you have CP points in the Rejuvenation passive (red tree)?
  • Are you using several magicka-costing skills like Deep Fissure Deep Fissure, Fetcher Infection Fetcher Infection, and Arctic Blast Arctic Blast? The more you use magicka skills, the less you’ll be using up your stamina
  • Are you using food with a stamina recovery buff, like Dubious Camoran Throne Dubious Camoran Throne?
  • Are you using a potion with a stamina recovery buff?
  • Are you using stamina recovery glyphs on some or all of your jewelry?


Written by @IIIlIlIIlllIIlllIIll (Updated 05/2024 – U41 / Scions of Ithelia)

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