Making a personalized PvP build: a step by step guide


PvP builds in the Elder Scrolls Online can get really creative, you have so many options and as long as a build works for you there is no real ‘right’ way to build a PvP setup. This guide is meant to guide you along creating something unique and personal that will help you on your adventures in the PvP zones and Battlegrounds. 

If you prefer just copy pasting a build from some content creator this is not the guide for you. However, something you can do is take a content creator’s build and tailor it to your own needs with the info provided in this guide.

There will be lots and lots of info so read it at your own pace, go over each section as you need it or skip ahead to the sections that you need help with.

It’s impossible to add every single option into this guide so you will mostly see the most common choices here that can serve as a good base that you can work from.

This guide will go over all the steps that I personally use when making a new build for myself.

I use this tool to make a build before applying it to an actual character, that way it’s easier to adjust and see what I need, before getting all the parts set up in the game.

For healers I also recommend watching this video:

ESO How to Build a PvP Healer - High Isle Patch

For one bar builds this is also a great resource:

ESO - Guide to Strong & Easy One Bar Builds in PvP

Step 1: Choose a class

The biggest choice to make when creating a build will be the class you want to play. Every class has access to unique abilities and passives that can be suited to a specific playstyle.


The nightblade excels at almost everything, be it burst damage, healing, damage mitigation and even invisibility. This makes them very versatile and it has the highest amount of different specs out of any of the classes. You can gank, bomb, heal, brawl, tank and everything in between. The main downside of the nightblade is its high skill ceiling, it will take some practice and learning before you can truly make use of all its capabilities. If you enjoy the idea of stalking enemies from the shadows and using sneaky methods as a means of staying alive then this is definitely the class for you. But actually, a nightblade also makes for a very strong in-your-face brawler if that’s the route you want to go.


The warden is a nature based brawler or a tanky ice wielding mage on the battlefield. They are also very strong for PvP healing. The warden’s kit provides great healing, tons of CC and utility while getting great burst damage with the Shalks. Due to this being the main burst skill with a relatively short range, warden is almost always a tankier melee to medium ranged build. This is the class for you if you enjoy being a tankier protective brawler that can aid allies while also being able to do great damage on your own.


Often viewed as the classic ‘warrior’ class, this is not too far from the truth. The dragonknight thrives in up close and personal combat. Its main playstyle revolves around applying a ton of pressure through damage over time effects to then finish the opponent off with a final strike. It’s one of the most popular classes you’ll see due to its natural defensive capabilities that are very useful in PvP scenarios.


Sorcerer in PvP is a bit peculiar due to its lack of good self healing. It has a very unique playstyle which revolves around the Streak skill both as a defensive and offensive tool. The main thing about a sorcerer is its unparalleled mobility. If you like zooming around the battlefield being in one place one second and a completely different one the next, you might enjoy this class quite a bit. You will most often find yourself poking down an enemy at range, streaking away when they get too close, then streaking in for the final blow when they are low health.

The stamina version of the sorcerer can also make for a very mobile melee brawler or even assassin.


Raising various corpses to aid you on the battlefield, the necromancer can also be quite versatile. Its main burst tool is Blastbones, which can be tricky to get used to due to having to be cast every 3rd skill cast. Once you get the hang of this, it gets really fun to use in combos. The necromancer is probably the tankiest of the bunch, getting a lot of natural damage reduction and also the Goliath ultimate. Necromancers are also great group supports and pocket healers with their resurrection ultimate.


Templars have mostly been melee in the past, but nowadays ranged templars are also quite common to see. With Power of the Light and Javelin you can learn to land burst combos that are impossible to avoid, so this can be very satisfying. Templar is very straightforward to play as Jabs is a heal and a damaging ability at the same time. Templar healer is one of the strongest PvP healers out there, bringing tons of healing and even a group cleanse that is very crucial for taking down keep gates with battering rams.

Step 2: Choose a race

While your choice of race won’t have a huge impact, it can still make your life easier in PvP. It’s therefore important to consider which racial passives would best benefit your build if you truly want to make the most out of it. But always remember any race can use any build and choosing a race based on its appearance is never bad, because you’ll inherently enjoy playing them more and spend more time on them, and thus become better at it.


Natural brawlers with extra max health and free self healing, this has always been a very popular and strong choice. Its speed boost will also help keep you alive. So all the orc passives are great for PvP scenarios.


Nord gets extra damage mitigation with its armor passive, making you stay alive longer. Extra max health, stamina and ultigen also makes them suited for brawler and tank builds.


Coming only with the imperial upgrade, this race is the most stat dense out of any of the races (totally not pay to win). The cost reduction passive also helps greatly with sustain which can make a difference between life or death.

High elf

A mostly magicka based race you will often find on magicka specs that don’t need extra defense from other race passives or are building mostly into damage. But they also gain weapon damage and a bit of stamina recovery so they work for stamina as well.

Dark elf

Great for both magicka and stamina damage specs. The flame resist passive also helps you deal with all the fire damage from siege weapons. This race is especially nice since it’s also the best for PvE dps so you can easily switch between PvE and PvP.


Mostly used for crit based builds such as nightblades and crit templars. Also very versatile because it gets all 3 stats and recoveries. 


Best at magicka sustain so they are great for healers and magicka specs that struggle with sustain. Also gets a tiny 1% bonus to alliance points gain. 


Amazing for PvP healers because unlike PvE having more healing output is actually useful here. Also great for sustain but only if you are good at remembering to chug your potions.

Wood elf

Unfortunately a bit pigeonholed into stamina damage builds, but they can still excel at this niche. The built in armor penetration and movement speed are quite nice for PvP.


Redguards regain a lot of stamina which can make them more forgiving to play when starting out. More stamina means more roll dodges, breakfrees, or blocking. Most other races get more stats though so it’s a tradeoff that’s not always worth it.

Step 3: Choose your weapons

Your choice of weapons will greatly influence your playstyle. It’s most common to have your backbar dedicated to buffs and healing with the offensive skills placed on the front bar, so your weapon choices will reflect this. The backbar should protect you while you reapply your buffs and heals, as this is when you are most vulnerable. The frontbar will aid you in dealing damage and killing opponents. Of course this is not a set rule and there are some variations but it’s a good base to start from. Remember almost all skills are hybridized so you can perfectly use a bow on a magicka spec or a resto staff on a stamina spec for example as long as you can sustain it.


The bow is a very nice ranged weapon that also provides you with great mobility. It’s not as popular due to it being hard to set up a good burst combo with it on most specs. It’s very strong on classes that have access to a ranged burst combo, such as nightblade, sorcerer, templar and necromancer. The bow has a very particular playstyle that makes it so people either hate it or love it. It can also be nice to use on the backbar because of the mobility it provides after you roll dodge. Another thing to keep in mind is that experienced pvp players always view bow users as easy targets so be prepared to be targeted a lot. Snipe is one of my favorite skills in the game so you’ll almost always see me with a bow on my more serious pvp builds and my main bowblade.

Two Handed

This has always been a staple in PvP due to its built in burst heal, cc, and execute. The passives are also very good for damage. The twohander is either a really strong frontbar brawler weapon or a backbar buff/defensive weapon with Rally. It should therefore always be considered when making a stamina based build.

Dual Wield

Dual wield is also a popular choice mainly due to having similar passives and skills as the 2 hander. Blade cloak is great for defense and Whirlwind aka ‘Spin to Win’ is amazing for dealing with and executing larger groups of enemies. The bleed dots it has can also add great pressure to your opponents.

Destruction staff

Destruction staves can be a great option for long ranged poke style builds, but one should never underestimate the strength of an ice staff backbar. You will find most high end builds using a frost staff as their defensive option, due to the great utility and passives it provides. On mag wardens a frost staff front bar is also one of the strongest options. The lightning staff is more suited towards AoE type gameplay such as bombing, while the flame staff is better for single target damage.

Restoration staff

Resto staves can be great on any spec, mainly used by PvP healers or as a backbar defensive option when combined with the resto staff ulti and rapid regen for self healing. This is a bit less popular with hybridization and how strong Vigor is now. It can also be a great backbar option for pocket healers in group oriented builds looking to keep their teammates alive.

Sword & Shield

The sword and board is also a classic, it gives great damage mitigation and major and minor breach for melee offense. Mostly used on backbar but can also be frontbarred on tank-focused specs or really tanky brawlers.

Step 4: Gear


There are over 300 sets in the game with varying degrees of usefulness. While it is impossible to list them all, I’ll go over some of the more common ones and give them a score out of 5 so that you can use it as a base to build from.
So, if a set is not here it’s not always because it’s a bad set. When picking sets try to view it as, what does this set provide me that another set would not. If there is a set that would give you more bonuses than another set with the same effect there is of course a clear winner.
Also a lot of sets have been replaced by skills so try to stay away from sets that give buffs or effects that you already have in your kit as they don’t stack.
And, when looking at proc healing and especially shielding sets remember these values are halved due to Battle Spirit.

The most common setup is usually:

1 mythic
1 filler piece of Trainee, often a heavy chest in Reinforced (!Gallant Chain!)
2 piece Monster set
Backbar weapon of a defensive set + 3 other pieces on either jewelry or body
Front bar weapon of an offensive set + 3 other pieces on either jewelry or body

Which one is on body pieces most often depends on the weights of the sets.

Make sure the set you choose can be backbarred if you want to use this type of setup. This means they have an effect that can be active on only one bar.

You can of course easily use 2 offensive sets or 2 defensive sets. 

5-piece sets

Defensive sets

Aetherial Ascension: 3 / 5

Most flat armor out of any set at the cost of a great loss of sustain. Make sure to make up for this with some choices in the build, for example a block cost reduction CP node or Well-Fitted/Sturdy traits.

Buffer of the Swift 3 / 5

Decent damage reduction with no drawback other than the set not doing much else for you.

Daedric trickery: 4 / 5 and 5 / 5 on DK

Only useful on classes and builds that don’t already have access to a majority of these buffs such as Dragonknight. On DK it is one of the strongest options for this reason, it makes use of all of these very powerful buffs it normally wouldn’t have access to.

Mara’s Balm: 4 / 5 but 3 / 5 after Necrom Patch

This set is currently a bit overtuned as it provides a ton of healing and even a burst heal with a cleanse attached. It has already received multiple nerfs and will get another one in the Necrom Patch.

Pariah: 4,5 / 5

It’s essentially like the vampire passive, boosting your defenses when your health gets low, giving you more time to react. It’s therefore very beginner friendly.

Trial by fire: 4 / 5

Nice defensive set that can be used to cheese a bit: you’ll often get hit by bugged permanent status effects in Cyrodiil that will proc this set. So something you can do is wear Aetherial Ascension until you get this bug and then swap to Trial by Fire.

Wretched Vitality: 5 / 5

The amount of sustain you get from this set is insane and the highest out of any set, making it one of the best options for beginners and builds that struggle with sustaining. It can easily be procced from the backbar using the Race Against Time skill which has minor force and major expedition thus activating both sustain buffs.

Offensive sets

Clever Alchemist: 4 / 5

Very strong damage buff but the uptime isn’t the greatest (less than 50%). Requires some micromanagement of potion usage, you’d have to drink your potion in order to go on the offense rather than defensively when your resources are low. And if it’s only on 1 bar you even have to remember to only drink potions when on that bar.

Gryphon’s ferocity: 3,5 / 5

This set essentially replaces Race Against Time on crit builds if you are too lazy to grind Psijic. Also really nice to offset the snare from the Serpent’s Coil mythic.

Gryphon’s reprisal: 3,5 / 5

Really strong damage over time bleed proc set but with a bit of a long cooldown.

Order’s wrath: 4 / 5

Really nice crafted set for crit builds.

Plague Slinger: 3,5 / 5

Nice melee proc set. Very nice on stamDK especially.

Serpent’s Disdain: 3 / 5

This is a bit of a fun niche set that will make your status effects stay on the enemy for ages. For example you’ll have a 24 second duration on Poisoned. If you take into account that status effects also apply strong debuffs such as hemorrhaging with decreasing the enemies’ max health by 10% you can see why this is one of my favorite niche sets to build around. Combines super nicely with the Force of Nature CP and charged weapon traits. Unfortunately the 2-4 piece bonuses are not great and sets it back a bit.

Shadow of the Red Mountain: 4 / 5

Fun and strong proc set that spawns your own personal volcano. Can sometimes proc on the wrong target so it’s not always reliable.

New Moon Acolyte: 3 / 5

Most flat offensive stats out of any set at the cost of sustain.

Morag Tong: 4 / 5

Underrated set that is very strong especially in group play when you have stamdks, stamcros, stamdens or bow users playing with you. Also buffs Plaguebreak and other poison/disease proc sets :)

Twice Fanged Serpent: 4,5 / 5

Nice penetration set for DoT builds. Downside is that it’s from a trial almost no one does these days.

Way of Fire - 5 / 5

Currently the best proc set out there, low cooldown, high damage, easy to proc.

Bombing sets

Vicious Death - 5 / 5

The #1 bombing set, allows you to blow up groups of players at once.

Plaguebreak: 4,5 / 5

Bomber set that’s really nice to combine with Vicious Death. The per target cooldown makes it so only 1 person per side in a fight can really benefit from this set.

Dark convergence: 4,5 / 5

This is a bomber set, setting you up to be able to kill many opponents at once. It will pull in unsuspecting players. Often combined with Vicious Death or Plaguebreak.

Rush of Agony: 4,5 / 5

Bomber set similar to Dark Convergence but you have to be in melee range.

Hybrid sets

Essence thief: 4,5 / 5

This set requires you to be a mobile melee spec but you get so much in return for picking up the little orbs, a heal, stamina sustain and even a damage buff, which is more than you could need from a great set like this.

Rallying Cry: 5 / 5

Really strong for both offense and defense and even buffs your group as well. Frees you up from having to run Impenetrable on your armor as well.

Heartland Conqueror: 3 / 5

Boosts your weapon traits so it’s super versatile. For example you can have your damage on the front bar boosted with Sharpened and have more defense on the backbar with Defending, both would get double the value.

Dragon's Appetite: 4,5 / 5

Used in combination with Master Dual Wield for strong dot damage and healing.

Support/healer sets

Gossamer: 4,5 / 5

Major evasion is a strong buff you can apply to your allies if you have a lot of healing over time effects going on with this set, making them take much less damage from area attacks including bombers and siege weapons.

Healer’s Habit: 5 / 5

Nice increase to healing output, very straightforward.

Hiti’s Hearth: 3 / 5

Nice HoT and sustain buff for the group but requires people to stay close to you which will be hard to pull off in less optimized groups.

Kynmarcher’s Cruelty: 4 / 5

Great for applying debuffs to enemies that your group may not have access to. You do have to be in melee range for this to work.

Phoenix moth theurge: 4 / 5

Nice group buffs which will have decent uptime in PvP due to people not constantly being full health. Downside is that it’s medium armor.

Powerful Assault: 5 / 5

Unique weapon/spell damage buff for group members when you cast Vigor.


Death Dealer’s Fete: 4 / 5

This mythic is great on builds that rely on stacking higher resource pools, like health on Wardens and Arcanists or magicka on magsorcs.

Gaze of Sithis: 3 / 5

Lots of defensive stats though the downside is you can’t use a monster set when wearing this.

Markyn ring of Majesty: 5 / 5

Simple but effective, this is really just a good stat stick giving you at least 200 weapon/spell damage and 2200 armor without having to worry too much about it.

Oakensoul Ring: 4,5 / 5

Giving up a second bar in return for a perfect 100% buff uptime is not such a bad tradeoff in PvP. You will lose about 2 skills and a defensive ultimate in most cases. This can make PvP much more beginner friendly so if you are just starting out I do recommend giving this mythic a go even if it’s just ‘training wheels’!

Sea-serpent’s Coil: 5 / 5

This is the highest damaging mythic which has no downside if you build around countering the snare. It also helps keep you alive from gankers and bombers with its damage reduction. Not as great on builds that rely on mobility for survival.

Monster sets

Balorgh: 5 / 5

This set is a staple and very necessary in a lot of situations. Saving up to 500 ultimate will allow you to burst down very tanky players that you wouldn’t have been able to kill otherwise.

Bloodspawn: 3,5 / 5

Provides a bit more armor and some ultigen but the proc isn’t always super reliable as 6% is a low chance.

Earthgore: 3,5 / 5 and 5 / 5 on healers

A built in cleanse and a nice heal that often prevents you or an ally from dying.

Engine Guardian: 4 / 5

The best sustain monster set that also provides you with a decoy that enemies can accidentally target instead of you.

Magma Incarnate: 3 / 5

A little less useful now that Vigor provides Minor Resolve so this set is mostly useful when not using Vigor already. Very nice as a sustain 1 piece as well.

Ozezan the Inferno: 4,5 / 5 on healers

Armor when people are full health and healing buff that helps allies get back to full health faster.

Roksa the Warped: 4,5 / 5

This is a sustain monster set like engine guardian, with a bit more recovery but doesn't have the added bonus of being a decoy as well.

Zaan: 5 / 5

Very popular melee damage over time pressure set.

Zoal the ever wakeful: 3,5 / 5

Anti-gank monster set

Maarselok: 4 / 5

Really strong melee proc set for builds with a lot of status effects, like the dragon's appetite + master dual wield combination.

Arena sets

Arena sets can be used but you usually have to drop either a mythic, monster set or even a 5 piece to be able to fit these in a build.

Frenzied momentum: 4,5 / 5

You will almost always be using Rally on cooldown when using a 2 handed weapon so this arena set can provide a nice amount of extra weapon damage and even serve as a bit of a proc set when using a fully stacked heavy attack.

Titanic Cleave: 4 / 5

Popular choice for melee bombing large groups.

Wrath of Elements: 5 / 5

Often used from the backbar frost staff with the Elemental Susceptibility skill for nice pressure over time.

Master Dual Wield: 5 / 5

Used in combination with Dragon's Appetite to go all in on the bleeding effect and healing it provides.

Other sets

Agility and Willpower: 4 / 5

Used for 2-piece or 3-piece filler, nice boost in stats.

Potentates: 4 / 5

Great for a filler piece on your backbar for more defense or even as a 3 piece for ultimate generation type builds.

Trainee: 5 / 5 as filler

Trainee is just an amazing filler set, it comes in any weight and gives a nice boost to your max stats. Most commonly used as a 1-piece.


Armor traits

The armor traits you choose for PvP will depend greatly on your playstyle and are very flexible (not like PvE where divines is the only viable one). The most popular options are:


The classic choice for PvP and still great. More crit resistance will help you stay alive especially against gankers and other crit focused builds. You should always aim for around 2k total crit resistance when playing a more facetank-focused spec. This can also be achieved by using the ‘Resilience’ CP in the blue tree or having someone in your group wear the Rallying Cry or Robes of Transmutation set.


Mostly used on the larger heavy armor pieces such as heavy chest, head, legs for more resistances.


If your playstyle includes a lot of blocking as a form of damage mitigation this can greatly improve your sustain, if you never or rarely block this will be a dead trait for you.


If your playstyle includes a lot of roll dodging as a form of damage mitigation this can greatly improve your sustain, if you never or rarely roll dodge this will be a dead trait for you.


Used mostly on fully damage focused specs and glass cannons as this is the only trait that can give you more offensive stats with the right Mundus Stone. Good for gankers, bombers, etc.

A generic setup I like to use is
- Reinforced head and chest
- 2 impenetrable pieces (doesn’t matter which)
- 3 well fitted pieces

As I like to roll dodge a lot but still want to be tanky enough to facetank some hits.

Weapon traits


For: Front bar

The extra penetration is great against players with a lot of armor. Penetration is one of the strongest stats in PvP so this trait is always my favorite for the front bar.


For: Front bar

A great offensive option especially for the main hand dual wield weapon. A little bit worse than Sharpened when using a 2-slot weapon such as bow, staff etc.


For: Front bar or Ice staff back bar

Can be great for status effect focused builds or the dual wield off-hand weapon. Also really nice on Ice Staves to provide more Minor Brittle (+10% crit damage taken debuff to the enemy) uptime with the Chilled status effect.


For: Back bar

Gives you more armor on your defensive bar making it easier to survive while you reapply your buffs and heals.


For: Back bar or Resto staff front bar

Gives stronger heals making it an amazing option for your backbar, it’ll help you heal back to full faster so you can go back on the offensive sooner.


For: Front bar

Higher damage on crit focused builds or more juicy crit heals on healer specs. Sharpened is usually more reliable for damage.

Jewelry traits

For PvP jewelry you generally have 3 options with the first 2 being the best:


This is the standard choice, it buffs both your damage and healing when used with a weapon damage enchant. It also scales the best with other enchants providing you with the most stats.


A bit more niche but great for survivability and general quality of life, gives you more mobility which can help you survive or catch up to your target. Especially nice on classes that rely on mobility to survive such as Sorcerer and Nightblade. This comes at the cost of some other useful stats that you would get with Infused though.


This trait only buffs your damage when enemies are low health. Though this can be great on some DoT builds that need help finishing off targets or on pure damage builds, it leaves you with lackluster healing. Full infused is generally better, or it can be combined with infused. (1 bloodthirsty 2 infused for example)

The other traits are not really useful or extremely niche (such as Arcane on a shield stacking magsorc)


Armor enchants

The strongest enchant for pvp is the prismatic enchant because of how much extra stats it gives you, so full prismatic is quite common to see. However this gets very expensive so if you want to cheap out I recommend having Health enchants on the large pieces (head, chest, legs) and your main resource on everything else. If you are playing a glass cannon build or already have enough max health from other sources you can also have either mag or stam on everything.

Weapon enchants and poisons

Front bar

On the front bar my favorite enchant is the Shock enchant because it can proc the Concussed status effect which makes the enemy take 5% more damage, greatly helping you burst them down. Another good option can be the Disease enchant if you don’t already have this in your build somewhere, doing up front damage and making the enemy heal less. Quite common is also the weapon damage enchant more commonly referred to as the Berserk enchant. It’s quite straightforward and just gives more weapon/spell damage for a short period. The Poison or Flame enchant can also add some extra DoT pressure, as well as Double dot poisons. Absorb Magicka or Stamina can help your sustain if you need it.

Generally Shock will be the best option with Disease in the offhand if you are dual wielding.

Back bar

Back bar enchants should support your defensive capabilities in most cases, or provide you with a buff or debuff that carries over to your front bar.

The most popular option for back bar is the classic Escapist Poisons. They will aid you in countering CC while also immobilizing the enemy, letting you escape, true to its name.

The Berserk enchant is once again a good option if you don’t already have it on your front bar, same with the Absorb enchants. Hardening might seem like a good option at first but Battle Spirit will halve this shield so it’s not too amazing.

Jewelry enchants

The most common jewelry enchant is the Weapon/Spell damage glyph, or ‘increased harm’. It is the most versatile because it buffs both your damage and healing. Combined with the infused trait it’s especially strong. If you are struggling with sustain either Recovery or Cost Reduction can be considered. Play around with them a bit until you find a combination that works for you. The amount of recovery you need differs from person to person. All the other enchants are very niche or almost useless. Also never build for health recovery in pvp because it is halved and you will get much more value from having stronger heals with a weapon damage glyph.

Step 5: Defensive skills and self buffs

Armor buffs

Each class has access to Major Resolve through one of their class skills or passives. This buff is crucial for staying alive, as 6k armor is nothing to sniff at. When you are learning PvP for the first time the first thing you will learn is to keep your armor buff up at all times.

So step one of picking your skills will almost always be placing your armor buff on your back bar.

These skills (and their morphs) are:

Oakensoul also provides this buff for you.


The second most important skills to consider are your healing abilities, without them you won’t be staying alive for long. In PvE you get a healer that will babysit you but in PvP this is usually not the case so you are responsible for your own healing. 

Generally you can use some form of burst heal, often your class burst heal along with some healing over time. For general use I recommend using your class burst heal along with resolving vigor, so you can go ahead and place these on your back bar as well next to your armor buff. You can even add more healing over time effects that may be present in your kit for more tankiness, but one burst heal and one HoT is the minimum.

Major Brutality/Sorcery

Just like in PvE dps this one must be active when you are trying to do damage. There are several ways to get this buff so it’s very important to include one of them in your build. The skill can be either on your front or backbar, depending on weapons or if you need to slot more class abilities. The backbar is generally the easiest though.

Once again Oakensoul also provides this buff for you.

The best Brutality/Sorcery skills are those that don’t require you to hit an enemy and/or have extra bonus effects to them, such as Rally (burst heal) and Netch (recoveries, purging negative effects). So this can help you decide which one you want to use.

If you don’t have space for one of these skills you can also use potions with this buff but this will prevent you from using other useful potions such as tripots or detect pots.

Major Savagery/Prophecy

This is a buff that boosts your critical chance. Camouflaged hunter from the Fighters guild skill line is almost always used for this as it also doubles as a stealth detection skill and gives 3% extra weapon damage. So you can put this skill on your front bar as that’s where you’ll need the crit buff active to do damage.

Flames of Oblivion/Cauterize from the DK line can also replace this and be a nice extra damaging/healing skill.

Lotus blossom for Warden is a little less useful but can provide a tiny bit of extra healing and has a very long duration.

This buff can also be provided by Oakensoul or potions.

If you need bar space or are not building into crit whatsoever this can be considered a flex spot.

Minor Force

Minor Force is a crucial buff in PvE, and it’s also very useful in PvP and especially if you are building crit in any way. Even having camo hunter on the front bar is enough reason to want to have Minor Force going on.

The main way to get Minor Force in PvP is the Psijic skill called Race Against Time. This skill is extremely overpowered as it also gives a speed buff and a CC immunity. Since this is a buff/escape skill, it usually goes on the back bar.

If you don’t have the time or crowns to get psijic leveled up a good alternative is the Gryphon’s Ferocity set which also gives you a small speed boost and can be back barred.

If you are not building into crit and don’t need Minor Force the vampire skill Elusive Mist can be a great escape tool and source of Major Expedition as well, to replace Race Against Time.

Don’t try to use beast trap or Tzogvin’s in pvp.

And yet again, this is a buff that is on Oakensoul.

Defensive ultimates

Your backbar/defensive ultimate should either have a good defensive passive attached to it or serve as an ‘Oh Shit’ button.

A skill that does both of these is Temporal Guard from the Psijic skill line. (you are probably starting to see why I buy Psijic instead of doing it over and over on all my characters)

Barrier is also quite nice as it provides mag recovery and can be an oh shit button for all your close by allies as well.

Necro Goliath will almost always keep you alive as it resets your healthbar to full with both transformations (to and back)

Same with the Vampire Ultimate.

Magma shell on Dragonknight is a literal immortal button.

Life giver on the Resto Staff will also make you very hard to take down and can be cast on an ally as well.

Of course you can also have a second offensive ultimate on your backbar if you feel like you don’t need the extra survivability.


If you followed all these steps, your skill bars should now look similar to this (with your respective class and weapon buff skills). Of course this is very generalized and there is some room for adjustment based on what kind of build you are making. For example a healer won’t need Minor Force but the speed and CC immunity from Race against time is still very useful.

Step 6: Offensive skills

Now that we got defense out of the way you will notice we don’t have that much bar space left for offense so we have to make the best out of the skills we use.

When choosing offensive skills it’s important to remember that in PvP you don’t ‘parse’ your enemy down as a good player will just outheal it. The way you kill someone is by landing a ‘Burst Combo’. This is a way of timing and combining several skills so that they all land at the same time giving the opponent very little time to react.

A lot of classes have a form of ‘delayed burst’ that you have to learn to use.

For example on Templar the Power of the Light skill explodes after a certain amount of time, on Necromancer you have Blastbones, Shalks on Warden etc. The idea is that you put this delayed burst down and then try to make as many damaging effects land at the same time as when the delayed burst skill hits. Debuffing the enemy before you try to land your burst can also be a part of this.

My favorite combo is on Templar, starting off with PoTL and then putting in some damage to charge it up and get the enemy low. Then hit Comet a few seconds after so that the comet lands at the same time as the explosion. Finish it off with a Javelin which stuns people through block so they are forced to take all of the damage and this will most likely nuke someone if not get them very low health so you can finish them off quickly.

You should always be looking to apply this principle to your own builds if you want to be able to kill other good players by yourself. Dawnbreaker is also a common tool for this if you are melee.
To prevent players from healing up after your burst combo, it’s nice to have an execute ability such as Executioner or Whirling Blades. (does more damage to low health targets)

A good way to figure out burst combos is by looking at what PvP content creators are using in their builds, the good ones will often explain it in some section of their videos, often at the end.


Here the burst combo is:

0: make sure all backbar buffs are running

1: use Power of the Light on the enemy

2: a few casts of Crushing Weapon to apply an armor debuff to them and to count towards the PoTL explosion damage.

3: use Meteor a little bit before PoTL will explode

4: Javelin so they can’t block the meteor

5: finish it off with Radiant Oppression

If this did not kill the opponent it’s important to go back on the defensive and reapply all your buffs before trying to combo them again.

Step 7: Consumables


Potions are consumable buffs, remember to chug them often and make sure you have the Medicinal Use alchemy passive to make the most use of them.

The 2 main potions you want to have in your arsenal are:


Restore magicka, restore stamina, restore health

These are great in any situation and greatly buff your sustain. Make sure to always use them while in combat. You also get these for free from daily login rewards.

Detect pots

Restore magicka or stamina (depends on build), Detection, Immovable

These are for when you know there’s a nightblade around and you want to ruin their day. Expect the ‘but how did you hit me in stealth???’ whispers.
Also prevents you from getting stunned so it can be great (if a bit cheesy) for dueling too.

Other potion options can be customized to your liking, potions are very versatile so try to see what combinations you can get until you find one you’d find useful, once you already have the 2 main ones.


Due to PvP builds making use of all your resources, Hybrid foods with max health are usually the best option.

The best food is Orzorga’s Smoked Bear Haunch but it is extremely expensive so I wouldn’t recommend using this unless you’re super serious about it and got the gold to blow on it.

The best actual usable food that doesn’t cost a fortune is Jewels of Misrule. It’s got a tiny bit less stats than bear haunch and no Health recovery but you don’t really need this anyway. Jewels is great on any build, giving max health and both recoveries.

Bewitched Sugar Skulls is also nice if you are good on sustain and need higher resource pools. 

Parse foods’ (Ghastly Eyebowl for mag and Lava Foot Soup for stam) can be used on high risk glass cannon builds.

Step 8: Champion Points

Red Tree

The red CP tree mostly provides defensive buffs.

Rejuvenation - Flat sustain, always nice

Fortified - Flat armor bonus, nice for defense

Boundless Vitality - Can help you get to the 30k health mark

Celerity - Great speed boost

Sustained By Suffering - Sustain slottable, you will almost always have negative effects on you in PvP

Pain’s Refuge - Similar to Sustained By Suffering but with damage reduction

Slippery - Auto break free can be great for beginners and when lagging

Bastion - The only damage slottable in the Red Tree so nice for glass cannon builds

Piercing Gaze - Not a slottable but don’t underestimate this as it helps detect Nightblades around you.

Blue Tree

The blue tree offers a mix of offense and defense.


Deadly Aim - When you mostly do single target damage

Master-At-Arms - A large portion of your burst combo will be direct damage so this one is an essential damage slottable to have. Direct damage is white or yellow when you have damage numbers turned on, while DoT damage is always orange.

Thaumaturge - Can be nice on DoT builds but a bit niche since dots alone usually won’t kill anyone

Biting Aura - mostly used on bombers and AoE focused builds

Exploiter - If your build has good access to Off-Balance this can be a nice damage slottable

Force of Nature - nice amount of armor pen when building into status effects

Untamed Aggression - boost to weapon/spell damage so increase to both healing and damage

Wrathful Strikes - Larger weapon/spell damage buff than Untamed Aggression but only applies to offensive skills, not healing.

Fighting Finesse - Extra crit damage and healing for crit builds and healers

Backstabber - mostly for gankers that can kill someone from behind

Occult Overload - Bombing slottable


Ironclad - Main defensive slottable, most of the damage you will take is direct damage.

Resilience - When you need more crit resist (try to get around 2k in total on brawlers)

Duelist’s Rebuff - Single target damage will likely be the highest so it’s a good idea to try and mitigate this


Remember you don’t have to be a healer to make use of the healing boost slottables as healing is a part of the defensive kit of any pvp build. Oftentimes Focused Mending is better than a defensive slottable. Also remember Fighting Finesse is a healing slottable.

Focused Mending - Nice defensive healing slottable for any build

Swift Renewal - This boosts Vigor and other healing over time effects making it great for defense as well

Soothing Tide - For healers with AoE heals

Enlivening Overflow - Sustain boost for allies if you are a mag stacking healer

Green Tree

The green tree is mostly utility and won’t give any combat stats.

Breakfall - Not a slottable but essential in PvP when falling off buildings and ledges

Rationer - Saves some gold when using expensive food

Liquid Efficiency - Saves a lot of gold using tripots etc

Steed’s Blessing - Run around faster

Gifted Rider - Really nice because you’ll spend a ton of time riding your horse in cyrodiil

War Mount - Another horse riding slottable but this one costs a lot of points to get so focus on the others first. Mostly useless if you have stamina maxed on your mount.

Step 9: Attributes

It might seem strange that this one is so far down the list but the reason is simple. The attributes are used to fill in gaps in your main stats that haven’t been covered by all the other options that are higher up in this guide. Mainly the health pool. 

For almost all PvP builds you want to comfortably sit at around 30k max hp or above. So, set all your CP, use your chosen food, enchant your gear. Then put points into health until you reach this threshold. The rest of the points can generally go into your primary offensive stat, or split between the two depending on your needs. 

The only exceptions are builds that can reliably survive with a smaller healthpool or just want to stack as many offensive stats as possible (gankers/bombers) but it’s very risky to do so and will also put your allies in danger if you die too close to them.

Step 10: Mundus Stone

Your mundus stone is a nice extra boost to your stats that can be changed whenever you want without a fee. I recommend going to a house with all the mundus stones available to change this, such as our crafting guild hall. This bonus will also be boosted by the Divines armor trait. 

Just like the attributes you can look at it as a way to fill in some gaps in your stats, or increase your overall damage.

The Serpent & The Atronach

These stones will boost your sustain. Great options for builds that don’t need extra damage or are lacking recoveries.

The Warrior & The Apprentice

Weapon or Spell damage boosts. Usually the most common brawler option when not going for a sustain stone. As with any weapon/spell damage buff, it increases damage as well as healing.

The Lover

Increases armor penetration. This one will give you the highest flat damage increase out of the bunch, as penetration is such a valuable stat in PvP.

The Ritual

Increases healing done, making it the most valuable stone for healers that don’t need extra sustain from the Atronach.

The Shadow

Increases critical damage and healing. This stone is mostly used on nightblade gankers and other builds that heavily rely on crit. It is the strongest on nightblades though because they get a free guaranteed crit when using cloak.

The Thief

Can be nice on crit builds that need more crit chance. You can also get more crit heals this way.

The Lady

Nice extra armor boost if you need it.