Primary note of importance:
Before you look at the guide, please please please do not simply copy over all the skills I use. Also, below is NOT the build set-up I use. It is the core of the build. When 1.6 dropped, I had this build idea. I PvP'd with this set-up for about a week, and throughout that time, I changed many things. Some were easy decisions and some very difficult. These decision improved my game-play by complimenting my personal play-style and philosophies. Nevertheless, below is the core build, and it should be treated as the most "basic" set-up. I will give my preferred set-up later in the post, but I do not suggest that you simply copy what I use. Instead, play around with the core build and swap the skills around to fit your own needs and play-style. I will give several good skill swap choices and explain their pros and cons to help out the less experienced players. Keep in mind, not only can the core build's skills can be swapped, so can the gear set-up. I will also include alternative armor sets to use with this build along with explanations as to why to choose them to help you guys with the decisions.
Also please keep in mind this post is not entirely finished. I will be adding more on in the next few days and even more whenever I gain new information or ideas. In the meantime, I will answer any questions the reader may have to the best of my ability as soon as I see them.
Edit: Please take some time to read the comment section as well. There are some good questions down there and it may be beneficial to the reader to look over the questions and answers to gain a better aspect of the build. There's most likely some general information as well; all-in-all, doesn't hurt to look!
Build video (made by Sypher):
Here is the link to the build video in case the player isn't working:
Survive the Engage
Example of My Build's Great Sustainability, Mobiliy, along with some Group Combat:
Example of 1vX Potential
Small 1v4 Clip
Body: 7/7 Medium Armor
Helm/Shoulders: Undaunted Set Pieces – Trait: Use what you have.
Chest/Gloves/Belt/Pants: Whitestrakes/Hunding's Rage (If you cannot use nirnhoned on Hunding's Rage, use Skirmisher set for damage set- up) – Trait: All Reinforced/Nirnhoned
Shoes: Shadow Walker – Trait: It is always Well-fit.
Necklace: Pendant of the Shadow Walker
Rings: 2x Band of the Shadow Walker
2-Handed Sword: Whitestrakes – Trait: Sharpened – Enchant: Disease
Bow: Whitestrakes – Trait: Sharpened – Enchant: Disease
(Highly recommend undaunted sets: Blood Spawn; Engine Guardian; Malubeth; Valkyn Skoria)
The below skill set-up is not my preferred set-up! This is the finalized draft of my theorycrafting. My preferred build can be seen in the spoilers following this one. Please keep note I'm posting my theorycrafted version to primarily show how much a build can change based on personal preference and extensive testing. However, this is not to say the theorycrafted version cannot be effective.
Critical Rush (Morph of Critical Charge)
Executioner (Morph of Reverse Slash)
Rally (Morph of Momentum)
Burning Breath (Morph of Fiery Breath)
Unstable Flame (Morph of Searing Strike)
Flawless Dawnbreaker (Morph of Dragon Leap; Ultimate)
Flawless Dawnbreaker (Morph of Dragon Leap; Ultimate) -or-
Ferocious Leap (Morph of Dragon Leap; Ultimate)
Poison Injection (Morph of Poison Arrow)
Dragon Fire Scale (Morph of Reflective Scale)
Igneous Shield (Morph of Obsidian Shield)
Fossilize (Morph of Petrify)
Elude (Morph of Evasion)
Ferocious Leap (Morph of Dragon Leap; Ultimate) -or-
Corrosive Armor (Morph of Magma Armor; Ultimate)
My Personal Preferred Gear, Skills, and Stat Set-up
My gear is the same as expressed in the equipment section. My undaunted sets of choice are Engine Guardian and Bloodspawn. In my opinion, both are equally effective in my build/playstyle.
My skill set-up at the moment:
2-Handed Sword/Mace: Uppercut; Rally; Executioner; Critical Rush; Unstable Flame. Ultimate: Ferocious Leap
Bow: Poison Injection; Igneous Shield; Dragon Fire Scale; Petrify; Elude. Ultimate: Corrosive Armor
Mundus Stone (Boon): The Warrior or The Atronach
Stats and Recoveries:
Stat Pool: 18k Health Points; 9k Magicka Points; 21k Stamina Points
Recovery Pool: (With Drinks - All primary stat regeneration buff) 971 Health Regeneration; 1036 Magicka Regeneration; 1432 Stamina Regeneration
Vampire Variation (My current set-up)
After extensive testing, I've found vampire to be a very effective variation to this build. I am enjoying playing as a vampire very much.
My gear is the same.
My skill set-up at the moment:
2-Handed Sword/Mace: Uppercut; Rally; Executioner; Critical Rush; Unstable Flame. Ultimate: Flawless Dawnbreaker
Bow: Poison Injection; Igneous Shield; Elusive Mist; Magnum Shot; Immovable. Ultimate: Clouding Swarm
Stats and Recoveries:
Pretty much the same, except my health regeneration is a joke (due to stage 4 vampirism).
Using 2 stat drinks: Magicka and Stamina. I use this because all my health regeneration gets cut in half, thus adding more health regeneration is not worth it. Moreover, 2-stat drinks give about 50 more regeneration.
Skills Swap Suggestions:
Truthfully, you can make any skill swaps you'd like. The follow are just my personal suggestions. This does not make them the best choices for you individually. Try out different skills and see how they fair for you.
Either Burning Breath or Unstable Flame can be swapped out for Wrecking Blow (Morph of Uppercut).
I know that Wrecking Blow is commonly regarded as a very “broken” skill right now, and many people running this build set-up would think it very odd that I don’t consider it a necessity in my base set-up.
The following is my reasoning:
Although it, indeed, is an extremely strong skill, it can also very also be a waste of a slot, or even your death. I believe the cast time of Wrecking Blow is a little lower than a second, with the high damage that everyone has at the moment, it would be fatal to stop to channel a skill in a 1vX situation (most of the time).
One may argue: “you’re not locked in the animation, you can cancel it.” While this is true, the moment you cancel the Wrecking Blow is also the moment you notice that your health dropped to a dangerous level. Instead of wasting precious time and resources trying to get back on your feet and get to a safe life total, you could have dodge rolled those Crystal Fragments and Lethal Arrows coming your way, thus drastically reducing resources used to mitigate damage and allowing you a much higher chance to kill the enemies.
This build, along with many other builds, counter Wrecking Blow very well. Many players don’t really think about countering this skill, which is why I am one of the only people, if not the only person, that does not think this skill is a pain to deal with.
Later in the guide I will share my Wrecking Blow counter methods.
Poison Injection (also Burning Breath) can be swapped for Charging Manuevers.
Charging Maneuvers’ most useful effect is its Major Expedition buff (40% increased movement speed). This buff is extremely useful for traveling between keeps. I swap to this skill when I am on my horse, heading to my desired location.
Poison Injection can be swapped for Green Dragon Blood.
Green Dragon Blood (morph of Dragon Blood in Draconic Power skill line) provides Major Endurace (30% stamina recovery), Major Fortitude (30% health recovery), and a 30% heal based on missing health. This heal is especially useful when used in conjunction with Igneous Shield because while the shield is present the character gains the Major Mending Buff (30% increased healing done).
This skill’s Major Endurance and Major Fortitude buff is extremely beneficial to one’s gameplay. The stamina recovery buff will be especially noticeable while in combat. While potions already offer these buffs for about 88% uptime. The instant synergized heal along with 100% uptime of Major Endurance and Major Fortitude makes this skill a very reasonable and beneficial choice.
Poison Injection can be swapped for Razor Armor (morph of Spiked Armor).
Razor Armor offers the character Major Resolve and Major Ward, about 5000 armor and spell resist respectively. These stat increases will give your character a very decent amount of defense. Also, this skill lasts for 20 seconds so this skill is not very magicka intensive, thus leaving more mana to be used on Igneous Shields and Reflective Scales.
Unstable Flame (or Burning Breath) can be swapped for Brawler (morph of Cleave).
Brawler should be slotted in two distinct situations. The first situation is when you are fighting guards. More specifically, when you are taking a resource. You will be able to spam this skill on the flag guards while light-weaving for ultimate gain and roll dodge some of the tower mage’s attacks. The shield from Brawler will make you especially enduring against the guard’s attacks. The next situation is when fighting a zerg WITH your zerg. This skill will help you sustain yourself in the midst of the fight, especially when the enemy is bunched up in a tight group. Brawler will offer a decent amount of AOE damage and high sustainability, and while you are spamming this skill, you can watch the enemies’ health to look for execute opportunities. If you are fighting a large group by yourself or with a smaller group, you do not want this skill. This is because it has almost no kill potential considering a large group usually harbors several healers. Brawler’s damage is especially low and when fighting in a 1vX or outnumbered situation one should use roll dodge and a burst-and-retreat strategy to fight the enemy.
More suggestions later...
Regeneration/Recovery in patch 1.6 is exceedingly more important to one's character now than in the previous patches, ESPECIALLY for stamina builds. Willows Path gives 15% additional regeneration for Health, Magicka, and Stamina with its 5-set bonus. None of the regens will be wasted. The health and stamina recoveries speak for themselves. The magicka recovery is extremely good because the Dragonknight has very high magicka costing class spells. The magicka recovery helps tremendously.
I am personally not a fan of weapon damage stacking but if you are a group player and you want to beat down some face with really high damage, go for this set! Hundings Rage's 5-piece bonus gives you 300 weapon damage.
This set offers 400 weapon damage and 10% weapon critical (the critical buff is bugged as of now I believe) for 5 seconds after a dodge roll. In fights, you will be able to keep this buff up almost 100% of the time. This set offers an insanely large damage boost, some stamina recovery, and some max stamina. You will be sacrificing some sustain/defense but if you're the damage stacking kind of player, you can definitely not go wrong with this set. Arguably better than Hunding's Rage, however, this set is not a crafted set. It is extremely expensive to buy and it has the trait Well-fitted. This trait itself is very good but there are obviously better traits.
More suggestions later...
Wrecking Blow Utilization and Counter Notes
How to use Wrecking Blow
Charge it on an enemy when you have CC-immunity (with Break-Free or Immovable). When charging, follow the enemy with your camera to the best of your ability and make sure your opponent is right in front of you at all times to prevent breaking the Wrecking Blow "lock-on."
Why use Wrecking Blow?
Because Zenimax didn't think Stamina Whip morph made more sense than Stamina Burning Breath (APPARENTLY?!).
Why is Wrecking Blow OP?
Admittedly, Wrecking Blow is unreasonably difficult to counter because of its ability to be spammed on a player to force them to go full defense, yet the pure damage of this skill (along with it's long hard-cc and it’s self-buffing capability while being used consecutively) makes going defense mode against this skill futile.
STFU Aetcharian; Wrecking blow sucks, but here's some ways to counter it if you haven't figured it out already.
Here are some ways to counter Wrecking Blow extremely effectively along with some tips as to how I do it:
A.If the enemy channeling the Wrecking Blow does not have CC immunity, swap to bow and Magnum Shot the enemy. This skill knocks both you and the enemy player in opposite directions, creating a great distance. After cancelling his Wrecking Blow with your CC, this is a great opportunity to Critical Rush in to him for a high distance bonus. This situation is clearly a win; stamina fights are all about offense (because a damage stamina build in defense is more resource intensive than being offense and forcing opponent on defense).
B.After you Critical Rush your opponent, feel free to apply Burning Breath + Unstable Flame. These DOTs do massive damage and kill the opponent’s armor value. At this point he may be looking to Wrecking Blow you again, considering you just came in to his close proximity again.
Do NOT make the following mistakes against Wrecking Blow.
I.Mistake No.1: Roll dodging in the beginning of wrecking blow. NEVER roll dodge in the beginning of the Wrecking Blow channel. The channel takes a few seconds, so if you roll dodge towards the beginning of the channel, you will be hit by a full Wrecking Blow the moment your roll dodge ends. This is an extremely fatal mistake because after the attacker knocks you up with the skill, he will be able to follow it up with another WB with a 20% damage buffer; ESPECIALLY pay attention to this. The correct way to roll dodge against Wrecking Blow is rolling right before he swings; more specifically, when the sword reaches its lowest area before the enemy swings upwards. This will ensure no damage taken from the uppercut.
II.Mistake No.2: Roll dodging backwards. This is actually not a devastating mistake like the first one, but why roll dodge in the wrong direction when you can do it the right way and gain a bigger advantage on the opponent? Many players are intimidated by the Wrecking Blow that is about to happen, and thus the roll backwards as to back AWAY from the player using the skill. The correct direction to dodge roll against Wrecking Blow is INTO and PAST the enemy. Here is why: the Wrecking Blow is a “target” ability. If you roll past the enemy such that your character is not in their direct sight, the WB channel will cancel itself and you are free to go on full offensive after this move. Even if the enemy is able to somehow follow your character with their sights (most likely won’t happen), if you didn’t make Mistake No. 1, the Wrecking Blow would not have hit you in the first place. And making the enemy turn their entire camera will disorient them to an extent nonetheless. Thusly, this method of countering Wrecking Blow is extremely beneficial.
How to utilize Magnum Shot:
Magnum shot is one of the most important skills in this build and thus, in my opinion, irreplaceable. There are two important uses for this skill.
A. The first usage is for its synergy with Critical Rush. The Magnum Shot morph will knock the enemy forward 6 meters and your character back 6 meters (relative to the way your character is facing), and putting the enemy in a disorient CC for two seconds. After making a large distance between you and the enemy with magnum shot (and CCing the enemy with it) you can immediately switch to your 2h weapon for a long-ranged Critical Rush. Keep in mind that the longer the distance between you and the enemy, the harder Critical Rush will hit. Magnum shot offers great synergy with this 2h skill.
B. The second usage is for kiting. While you are making a group chase you down, a great way to create more time and distance for your maneuvering (so you can get to a more geographically advantageous area or just to escape) is to turn around and knock-back+CC the person that is closest and most aggressive towards you. The knockback will give you a plus-12-meter gap between you and the aggressors, and the CC either force a break-free, reducing the enemy’s stamina resource and will stop the enemy for about 1 second, or stun the aggressor for the full 2 second disorient, giving you a much larger distance between your pursuers.
But Aetcharian, why not Sword & Shield instead of Bow?
Sword & Shield argument extended…
Sword & Shield offers increased damage mitigation and block cost reduction, Major Defile (30% healing reduction) with Reverberating Bash, and many other great Sword and Shield skills.
Why I use Bow over Sword & Shield...
The reason I use Bow over Sword and Shield can be summed in one word: mobility. The Bow passive Hasty Retreat increases the character’s movement speed by 30% for 2 seconds after a roll dodge. Considering how much this build will dodge roll during 1vX and outnumbered situations, it would be almost foolish to not utilize the mobility that a bow offers. Moreover, the kiting potential of magnum shot is staggering. In a 1vX or outnumbered situation, I can definitively say that the bow is much more beneficial than the Sword and Shield.
More sword and shield notes:
However, my picking Bow over Sword and Shield is not to take away from the Sword and Shield. In fact, the S&S is very powerful. It gives great defense in group/zerg combat scenarios, providing a source of reliable sustainability (with block) and constant damage output with 2-handed weapon.
What about Dual Wielding?
Why to choose Dual Wield:
Actually, Dual Wield is a great choice for this build as well! It provides high mobility and defense with Quick Cloak (Major Expedition, 40% movement speed, and percentage damage decrease from AOE), high AOE damage with Steel Tornado for group/zerg combat and 1vX and outnumbered combat alike, and the great ranged ability, Flying Blades.
Why Do I Use the Whitestrake's Retribution Armor Set?
As a Stam DK build that focuses on Stat sustainability (such that I can stay in the fight longer with better resource management) while still having enough damage to sufficiently kill people, the build will generally be susceptible to burst that will kill me quite quickly if I slip up. Every 15 seconds, Whitestrake's Retribution will offer me a 8.5k shield padding to either remedy my mistake, or simply help me survive through multiple enemies' onslaught. Moreover, I do use uppercut in my open-world set-up. The extra health is very helpful in helping me survive while I charge multiple uppercuts on a target while I have CC-immunity. All-in-all this is a great defensive set-up for the build!
General notes about the build:
Healing with this build is very resource intensive because dodge roll is a mechanic that will need to be utilized frequently in a 1vX/outnumbered situation. Thusly, the precious stamina and magicka you have should be used efficiently as much as possible, regardless of whether you have vigor or not. This rule applies to ALL builds, of course.