Sunshine Daydream's Guide to ESO

Guide to Nightblades


PDF available here Style Key & Glossary

Nightblades are adventurers and opportunists with a gift for getting in and out of trouble. Relying variously on stealth, blades, and speed, Nightblades thrive on conflict and misfortune, trusting their luck and cunning to survive. (description within character creation)

The three class-based skill trees for Nightblades are Assassination (DPS), Shadow (defensive), & Siphoning (crowd control or support). For stamblades the weapon trees are often even more important than class trees, although several class skills can be morphed into stamina-based skills.

Magicka-based

If one designs a Magicka-based Nightblade for DPS, I would suggest considering an Altmer for the boosts to Destruction Staves, Max Magicka and Magicka Recovery or a Breton for its boosts to Max Magicka, Magicka cost reduction, and rapid training in Light Armor. A Dunmer vampire build seems like it could also be an interesting choice.

To run Magicka DPS, Light Armor would be ideal and for a Nightblade sets to consider include...

A Nightblade in a group could cultivate a strong role in helping with crowd control or be built for defense through resistances and health passives along with a trickle of self-healing. However, the majority of a Nightblade's defensive skills focus on evasion and stealth rather than openly drawing an enemy's rage. This fact combined with very few class abilities that target multiple enemies makes designing a Nightblade to be a group's Tank seem a difficult if not impossible stretch.

While Tank itself would not an ideal role to attempt to fill, a defensive Magicka-based Nightblade could be designed as a Breton thanks to inherent boosts to magicka and spell resistance or an Argonian to self-heal through a fight; each could be workable as defensively played Magicka-based choices. Whether one should consider Medium Armor for benefits to stealth, Light Armor for benefits to Magicka, or Heavy Armor for its defenses would be a setting-based or individual style choice of balance here. Sets to consider would include... The Destruction Staff skill line would need to be strongly blended in for this to work although Shadow's passives for defense/recovery would be important and potential skills would include:

A Nightblade would be a poor choice for a Healer. The Siphoning skill line has a few intriguing passive skills, but only a total of 4 Nightblade skills heal others: Soul Siphon (Soul Shred), Shadow's Refreshing Path morph of Path of Darkness, Siphoning's Funnel Health morph of Strife, and Siphoning's Sap Essense morph of Drain Power. These skills are Magicka-based so could at least be blended with Restoration Staff abilities, but this very small collection of skills means that a Nightblade Healer could not be very individualized, and I'd not recommend pursuing such a build. The only racial option worthy of consideration here is the Argonian to try to compensate for the weaknesses of the class in this role.

Stamina-based

The only role a Stamina-based Nightblade would be well-suited for is DPS. Nightblades can definitely be highly varied and effective in this role, either melee or ranged builds who frequently use a stealth-oriented approach and gain extra damage from attacking while stealthed. If you choose to melee, expect to focus on dual-wielding daggers; other weapon types may be of interest, but the boost to critical strike chance with daggers — once you have the Twin Blade and Blunt skill — is frequently the best option.

Khajiit skills add to the stealthy style of DPS that a Nightblade typically delivers. A Bosmer or Redguard melee Nightblade might feel like it has limitless Stamina. A Nord, Orc, or Imperial Nightblade might feel invulnerable. These would be some of things to consider if desiring a Stamina-based Nightblade.

Although you might consider wearing a cuirass (heavy chest) and sash (light waist) if you also want to level those armor skill lines as you progress, medium armor must be your focus.

Defensive Nightblade skills leans heavily toward Magicka-based skills. Hence this class's contribution to a tank would mainly be buffs/debuffs. If one does pursue a Stamina-based Nightblade Tank that character would surely be relying upon Heavy Armor and Shield-based skills which means other classes may have far more to offer in the role.

A Nightblade for the role of Stamina-based Healer is simply a non-starter as not a single Stamina-based Nightblade skill heals other players.

Some enticing Nightblade designs would include:


It should be noted that values shown below reflect the ability and/or morph once it is fully trained which sometimes differs from earlier costs, durations, or damage values. All costs and damage values here are without attribute points placed, without equipment, without passive skills acquired or active skills slotted and without champion points spent to make it easier to compare skills regardless of gear/build differences.

Since Mundus buffs can be changed but not removed, either no mundus buff was in place (template character on PTS) or the Lover mundus (which only alters penetration) was used.

Remember that if a skill costs Magicka, it scales with your maximum Magicka (and Spell Damage) while if a skill costs Stamina, it scales with your maximum Stamina (and Weapon Damage). Ultimate abilities and Synergies scale with the combination that provides you with the best offensive stats.




Assassination Skill Line

(DPS)
Required Skill Level Skill Name Benefit Cost
1 Assassin's Blade
(range: 5 meters)
Thrust a magic blade with lethal precision to stab an enemy for 410 Magic Damage (deals 300% more damage to targets below 25% Health). 2430 Magicka
Morph Option 1 Killer's Blade Converts to a Stamina ability with Disease Damage and if enemy dies within 2 seconds also heal for 1805 Health (20% Max Health). 2066 Stamina
Morph Option 2 Impale
(range: 28 meters)
Expands the ability's range from 5 meters to 28 meters. 2430 Magicka
4 Teleport Strike
(range: 22 meters)
Flash through the shadows to ambush an enemy, leaping to their position to deal 534 492 Magic Damage while Stunning (or snaring in PvP) afflicting them with Minor Vulnerability for 2 8 seconds. 4050 3780 Magicka
Morph Option 1 Lotus Fan
(radius: 6 meters)
Instead Snare the enemy by 40% for 8 seconds. After the 493 Magicka Damage to the target, a fan of knives deals 472 1312 Magic Damage over 8 seconds to all nearby enemies. 4050 3780 Magicka
Morph Option 2 Ambush Converts to a Stamina ability with 509 Physical Damage. Also grants you Empower. 3442 3213 Stamina
8 Master Assassin Increases Weapon Damage by 5% & Spell Damage by 5% while Sneaking or invisible and increases the duration of the Stun from Sneak by 100%. Passive
12 Death Stroke
(range: 5 meters)
Deals 1294 1315 Magic Damage and increases your damage against the target by 20% for 6 seconds. Also afflicts with Major Defile for 6 seconds. 70 Ultimate
Morph Option 1 Incapacitating Strike While slotted, gain the Reave buff. In addition, converts the damage to Disease Damage and, if cast with 120+ Ultimate, also Stuns Silences the enemy for 4.5 3 seconds. 70 Ultimate
Morph Option 2 Soul Harvest While slotted, killing an enemy grants 10 bonus Ultimate. Also afflicts with Major Defile for 6 seconds. 70 Ultimate
14 Executioner Restores 938 Magicka or 938 Stamina (whichever has the higher max value) if an enemy dies within 2 seconds of being damaged with your Assassination ability. Passive
18 Master Assassin II Increases Weapon Damage by 10% & Spell Damage by 10% while Sneaking or invisible and increases the duration of the Stun from Sneak by 100%. Passive
20 Blur Surround yourself in an phantasmic aura to gain Major Evasion for 26 seconds. 3780 Magicka
Morph Option 1 Mirage Also gain Minor Ward and Minor Resolve for the duration. 3510 Magicka
Morph Option 2 Double Take Phantasmal Escape Also grants Major Expedition immunity to Snares & Immobilizations for 4 seconds. 3510 3780 Magicka
22 Pressure Points Increases Weapon Critical and Spell Critical ratings by 219 for each Assassination ability slotted. Passive
27 Executioner II Restores 1876 Magicka or 1876 Stamina (whichever has the higher max value) if an enemy dies within 2 seconds of being damaged with your Assassination ability. Passive
30 Mark Target
(range: 50 meters)
(can only have one marked target at a time) Expose an enemy's weakness with Major Fracture and Major Breach, both for 20 seconds. When a marked enemy dies, heal for 3612 (40% of Max Health). 2700 Magicka
Morph Option 1 Piercing Mark Increases duration from 20 to 30 seconds. For 5 seconds you can also see the target even if they use stealth or invisibility. 2700 Magicka
Morph Option 2 Reaper's Mark When the target dies, gain Major Berserk for 5 seconds and heal instead for 5597 (60% of Max Health). 2700 Magicka
36 Pressure Points II Increases Weapon Critical and Spell Critical ratings by 438 for each Assassination ability slotted. Passive
39 Hemorrhage When an Assassination ability is slotted, you deal 5% more Critical Damage. Dealing Critical Damage also grants you & your group Minor Savagery for 10 seconds. Passive
42 Grim Focus Grants Minor Berserk for 20 seconds. For 20 seconds while remaining in combat, your Light or Heavy Attacks grant a stack of focus (up to 5), each of which reduces Damage Taken by 3%. When you reach 5 stacks, this ability to Assassin's Will which, at half cost, allows a spectral bow shot that deals 1479 Magic Damage. Also, if you are within 7 meters of the target when firing the spectral bow it heals you for 33% of the damage dealt. Firing the spectral bow ends all of the ability's effects. 2700 Magicka
Morph Option 1 Relentless Focus Converts to a Stamina ability and the spectral bow instead causes 1527 Disease Damage. Also grants Minor Endurance for 20 seconds. The ability's duration also increases to 30 seconds. 2295 Stamina
Morph Option 2 Merciless Resolve Assassin's Will calls a more powerful spectral bow which can now deal 1646 1680 Magic Damage and heals for 50% of the damage dealt if within 7 meters. 2700 Magicka
50 Hemorrhage II When an Assassination ability is slotted, you deal 10% more Critical Damage. Dealing Critical Damage also grants you & your group Minor Savagery for 20 seconds. Passive



Shadow Skill Line

(defensive)
Required Skill Level Skill Name Benefit Cost
1 Veiled Strike
(range: 5 meters)
Slash an enemy for 821 Magic Damage. Using this ability while Sneaking or invisible also Stuns the enemy for 4 1 seconds and sets them Off Balance for 5 seconds. 2700 Magicka
Morph Option 1 Surprise Attack Converts to a Stamina ability with Physical Damage. Also afflicts with Major Fracture for 15 seconds. Also when you use this ability from a flanking position (behind or at sides of enemy), reduce their Physical Resistance by 5% for 8 seconds. 2295 Stamina
Morph Option 2 Concealed Weapon While slotted, also increases Movement Speed by 25% while Sneaking or invisible. 2700 Magicka
4 Shadow Cloak Cloak in shadow to become Invisible for 2.5 1 seconds. 4050 Magicka
Morph Option 1 Shadowy Disguise Slightly reduces the cost and also guarantees your next direct damage attack within 3 seconds will Critical Strike. 3780 4050 Magicka
Morph Option 2 Dark Cloak Instead of becoming invisible for 1 second gain Minor Protection for 6 seconds while you heal for 32% of your Max Health over 3 seconds 541 (6% of Max Health) each second for 6 seconds. 3780 4050 Magicka
8 Refreshing Shadows Increases your Health Recovery, Magicka Recovery, and Stamina Recovery by 7%. Passive
12 Consuming Darkness
(radius: 5 meters)
Conjures a ring of shadows for 13.5 12 seconds which reduces enemy Movement Speed by 70% while granting Major Protection to you and nearby allies.

Nearby allies can activate the Hidden Refresh synergy which grants Invisiblity, increases Movement Speed by 70%, and heals 3249 Health over 4 seconds.
200 Ultimate
Morph Option 1 Bolstering Darkness Even after leaving the target area the Major Protection buff remains on you and your allies. 200 Ultimate
Morph Option 2 Veil of Blades Also deals 361 381 Magic Damage every second to enemies within the ring throughout a longer duration of 15.5 seconds. 200 Ultimate
14 Shadow Barrier For 3 seconds after activating a Shadow ability, gain both Major Resolve and Major Ward. The duration increases 25% per piece of Heavy Armor worn. Passive
18 Refreshing Shadows II Increases your Health Recovery, Magicka Recovery, and Stamina Recovery by 15%. Passive
20 Path of Darkness
(AoE: 17x7 meters)
For the next 10 seconds a corridor of shadows grants you & your allies Major Expedition which persists for 2 4 seconds after leaving the AoE. 3510 Magicka
Morph Option 1 Twisting Path
(radius: 15 meters)
Also deals 168 Magic Damage every second for 10 seconds to enemies within 15 meters of its center. 3510 Magicka
Morph Option 2 Refreshing Path Also heals you and your allies for 168 Health each second. 3510 Magicka
22 Dark Vigor Each Shadow ability slotted boosts Maximum Health by 2%. Passive
27 Shadow Barrier II For 6 seconds after activating a Shadow ability, gain both Major Resolve and Major Ward. The duration increases 25% per piece of Heavy Armor worn.Passive
30 Aspect of Terror
(radius: 6 meters)
Summon a dark spirit to terrify up to 2 3 enemies, causing them flee cower in Fear for 4 seconds. After the fear ends, their Movement Speed is reduced by 50% for 2 seconds. 3780 Magicka
Morph Option 1 Mass Hysteria The slowed enemies also suffer Minor Maim Doubles the number of Feared targets to 6. 3780 Magicka
Morph Option 2 Manifestation of Terror Instead conceal 2 traps (one targeted up to 22 meters away, the other at your position) which last for 60 seconds. Each trap needs 2 seconds to arm then can terrify up to 6 enemies, causing each to flee cower in Fear for 4 seconds then to have Movement Speed reduced by 50% for 2 more seconds. 3780 Magicka
36 Dark Vigor II Each Shadow ability slotted boosts Maximum Health by 3%. Passive
39 Dark Veil Increases the duration of Shadow abilities by 8% 1 second. Passive
42 Summon Shade Summon a shade to fight nearby for 15 seconds; the shade slashes enemies for 238 204 Magic Damage every 1.5 seconds 2 seconds and also inflicts Minor Maim for 4 seconds. Scales with either Max Magicka & Spell Damage or Max Stamina & Weapon Damage, whichever is higher. 2700 Magicka
Morph Option 1 Dark Shade The shade's attacks instead deal 238 318 Magic Damage. It also occasionally whirlwinds AoE damage, which deals 238 382 Magic Damage to all nearby enemies. 2700 Magicka
Morph Option 2 Shadow Image
(range: 28 meters)
The shade instead stays in place, using ranged attacks at up to 28 meters that instead inflict 318 for 205 Magic Damage which continue to afflict with Minor Maim for 4 seconds. Using the ability again while it is already active will instead teleport you to the shade. 2700 Magicka
50 Dark Veil II Increases the duration of Shadow abilities by 15% 2 seconds. Passive



Siphoning Skill Line

(crowd control or support)
Required Skill Level Skill Name Benefit Cost
1 Strife
(range: 28 meters)
(radius: 15 meters)
Steal an enemy's life force, dealing 369 385 Magic Damage and healing you or a nearby ally for 50% of the damage inflicted every 2 seconds for 10 seconds. 2700 Magicka
Morph Option 1 Funnel Health Heals both you and an ally either you or 2 nearby allies. 2700 Magicka
Morph Option 2 Swallow Soul Cause greater harm as it now deals 766 771 Magic Damage but no longer can heal an ally and only heals you for 35% of the damage inflicted every 2 seconds for 10 seconds. 2700 Magicka
4 Malevolent Offering
(range: 28 meters)
Heal an ally in a cone in front of you (this is a "smart heal" not a chosen target) for 1232 Health (scales with Magicka). 568 Health over 8 seconds
Morph Option 1 Shrewd Offering Decreases the self-inflicted damage and instead heals for 1273 Health. 460 Health over 8 seconds
Morph Option 2 Healthy Offering Instead heal for 1273 Health and also gain Minor Mending throughout the 8 seconds while your health drains. 568 Health over 8 seconds
8 Catalyst Gain 10 Ultimate whenever you drink a potion. Passive
12 Soul Shred
(radius: 6 8 meters)
Deal 1193 1232 Magic Damage to nearby enemies and Stun them for 4.5 4 seconds.

An ally can target the affected enemy to activate the Soul Leech synergy to deal 1104 Magic Damage while healing for the same amount.
150 Ultimate
Morph Option 1 Soul Siphon
(radius: 28 meters)
Instead of damaging enemies, heals you and nearby allies for 1193 1273 Health immediately plus 3336 3312 Health over 4 seconds if they remain within 28 meters. Also grants you & your allies Major Vitality for 4 seconds. 150 Ultimate
Morph Option 2 Soul Tether Increases the duration of the stun to 4.5 seconds Now deals 1273 Magic Damage and also siphons 207 221 Health to you after each second for 8.5 8 seconds if the enemies remain within 10 meters of you. 150 Ultimate
14 Magicka Flood Boost Max Magicka by 4% if a Siphoning ability is slotted. Passive
18 Catalyst II Gain 20 Ultimate whenever you drink a potion. Passive
20 Cripple
(range: 28 meters)
Deal 1410 Magic Damage over 8 seconds 1740 Magic Damage over 10 seconds while the first 4 seconds also slow the target's Movement Speed by 40% 30% and grant you Major Expedition. (cannot Cripple additional enemies while active) 3240 Magicka
Morph Option 1 Debilitate If an enemy dies while debilitated, restores 100% of the Magicka cost. Also, this ability can now be applied to an unlimited number of targets simultaneously. Increases the damage to 1800 Magic Damage over 10 seconds while the snare now reduces enemy Movement Speed by 50% instead of 30% and also afflicts the target with Minor Magickasteal. 3240 Magicka
Morph Option 2 Crippling Grasp Also deals an additional 248 307 Magic Damage instantly while immobilizing the target for 1.5 2 seconds in addition to before dealing the 1745 Magic Damage over 10 seconds. Also reduces their Movement Speed by 30% for 4 more seconds after the immobilization ends.. (can only have one) 3240 Magicka
22 Soul Siphoner Increases the effectiveness of healing done by 2% for each Siphoning ability slotted. Passive
27 Magicka Flood II Boost Max Magicka by 8% if a Siphoning ability is slotted. Passive
30 Siphoning Strikes For the next 20 seconds, your Light & Heavy Attacks also heal you for 1438 Health and your fully charged Heavy Attacks heal you for 2876 (double that amount). 1350 Magicka
Morph Option 1 Leeching Strikes Converts to a Stamina ability. In addition to a slightly increased healing (1452 & 2904), Light Attacks now also restore 106 Stamina while fully charged Heavy Attacks also restore 212 Stamina. When the ability ends, up to an additional 4270 Stamina is restored based on the length of time this ability was active (i.e. less if recast early). 878 Stamina
Morph Option 2 Siphoning Attacks Reduces the cost. In addition to a slightly increased heals (1452 & 2904), Light Attacks now also restore 106 Magicka while fully charged Heavy Attacks also restore 212 Magicka. When the ability ends, up to an additional 4270 Magicka is restored based on the length of time this ability was active (i.e. less if recast before it expires naturally). 1080 Magicka
36 Soul Siphoner II Increases the effectiveness of healing done by 3% for each Siphoning ability slotted. Passive
39 Transfer Gain 1 Ultimate each time you activate a Siphoning ability. (cooldown: 4 seconds) Passive
42 Drain Power
(radius: 8 meters)
Deals 495 615 Magic Damage to all nearby enemies. If any enemy suffers damage, grants you Major Brutality Major Sorcery for 20 seconds. 3240 Magicka
Morph Option 1 Power Extraction Converts to a Stamina ability with 639 763 Disease Damage. If any enemy suffers damage, you gain Major Brutality for 20 seconds instead of Major Sorcery. 2754 Stamina
Morph Option 2 Sap Essence In addition, heals you and your allies for 204 plus 20% more for each enemy hit. and if you gain Major Sorcery also gain Major Brutality. 3240 Magicka
50 Transfer II Gain 2 Ultimate each time you activate a Siphoning ability. (cooldown: 4 seconds) Passive


Want to check out another topic? Click here for more of
Sunshine Daydream's Guide to ESO

Sunshine Daydream

Deadheads rocking Elder Scrolls Online

dead.net Elder Scrolls Online