This Stamina DK dps build made for PvE group content uses Dual Wield as primary weapons for damage and a two-handed weapon as a secondary weapon mainly for the Weapon Damage bonus and self-heal that the skill Rally offers.
It uses the three sets Valkyn Skoria, Ravager, and Hunding's Rage. It deals mostly physical damage, but also a good amount of fire damage and also relies on triggering the Valkyn Skoria Meteor set bonus as often as possible both on single targets and groups of enemies.
This build is meant for VR 14 characters. You need Valkyn Skoria's Helmet (medium armor type) and Valkyn Skoria's Arm Cops (medium armor type) for it to be efficient. You also need Alliance Rank 12 (for Rank 6 in the Assault skill line) to have access to Caltrops.
My character is a woodelf, but Imperial and Redguard are probably the best choices for this build.
1. Valkyn Skoria:
3. Hunding's Rage:
- Head: Valkyn Skoria's Helmet (Medium Armor type, drops from the final boss in Veteran City of Ash; Infused is probably the best trait, but any trait will do)
- Shoulders: Valkyn Skoria's Arm Cops (Medium Armor type, reward for completing Undaunted Veteran Pledges; Divines or Infused are probably best, but any trait will do)
- Chest: Ravaging Cuirass (Heavy Armor, PvP set item that can be bought for 250k AP; Ravager's is recommended for Chest and Legs since those parts will benefit most from the higher Armor values Heavy Armor offers)
- Hand: Bracers of Hunding's Rage (Crafted 6-trait set with Nirnhoned trait)
- Waist: Belt of Hunding's Rage (Crafted 6-trait set with Nirnhoned trait)
- Legs: Ravaging Greaves (Heavy Armor, PvP set item that can be bought for 250k AP)
- Feet: Boots of Hunding's Rage (Crafted 6-trait set with Nirnhoned trait)
Attributes and Armor Enchantments: Get up to 20k Health with buff food active (but without PvP bonuses). Put everything else into Stamina.
Weapon Bar 1:
- 1 Mace of Hunding's Rage with Sharpened trait (Increase Armor and Spell Penetration by 7%) and Poisoned Weapon Enchantment (+490 Poison Damage)
- 1 Mace of Hunding's Rage with Precise trait (Increase Weapon and Spell Critical values by 3.5%) and Poisoned Weapon Enchantment (+490 Poison Damage)
This setup offers enough Armor Penetration with the Dual Wield passives to completely ignore the Armor of regular monsters. I take Poison Damage enchantments on both weapons since the poison damage can trigger the Valkyn Skoria Meteor set bonus.
Weapon Bar 2:
- 1 Two-handed Mace or Sword of Hunding's Rage with Weapon Damage Enchantment
The 2nd skill bar is mainly used for Rally (Weapon Damage buff + Stamina self-heal) and ground based AoE dots with long duration. If you prefer to get the 20% Weapon Damage buff from potions, you could use another weapon here.
- Necklace: Ravaging Choker (PvP set item that can be bought for 250k AP)
- Rings: 2x Ravaging Ring (PvP set item that can be bought for 250k AP)
You can use a Weapon Damage Enchantment (+64 Weapon Damage) on the Necklace and a Reduce Stamina Cost Enchantment on both Rings (2x Reduce Stamina cost of abilities by 200).
Skill bar 1 - Dual Wield:
1. Rapid Strikes: Main attack skill for weaving with medium attacks (as soon as the skill's animation begins, hold down the left mouse button, release it shortly after the Rapid Strikes animation has ended and then immediately use the skill again). The skill can be used from some range which allows your to stay out of small red circles that appear on top of a bosses location (works for the final boss in the Vet DSA, for example, when he uses the small red circle AoE which does a lot of damage).
2. Evil Hunter: For the crit chance passive and a ton of bonus damage on all undead and deadric enemies. The bonus damage also has a 4% proc chance on normal monsters. If you're not fighting against undead or deadric enemies, you can replace it by Flames of Oblivion which can release a dot attack for extra ticks that may trigger the Meteor from the Valkyn Skoria set bonus. With Flames of Oblivion, however, you need to place the skill on both skill bars so you lose a slot on your second skill bar.
3. Steel Tornado: The most efficient Stamina AoE there is. Will hit low Health targets for like 15k damage.
4. Unstable Flame: The most efficient single-target dot the DK has. Burning Breath is better for AoE, but our AoE damage is good enough already and since we dual wield two maces we don't need the Armor reduction debuff it offers. (Unstable Flame has a lower range than Rapid Strikes and requires you to move really close to your target; be aware of that).
5. Igneous Shield: Igneous shield outperforms Green Dragon Blood when you're near max Health and costs slightly less Magicka. It also gives other group members a small damage shield and lets you recover 5% of your max Stamina once every 6 seconds since it's an Earthen Heart ability. You can easily get the 20% increased Stamina Recovery buff that Green Dragon Blood offers from potions. Volatile Armor on the 2nd skill bar will already grant us the 12% healing received bonus while a Draconic Power ability is active (Burning Heart passive) for 20 seconds at the beginning of a fight.
6. Ultimate: Flawless Dawnbreaker: Passively increases your damage with weapon attacks by 8%.
Skill bar 2 - Two-handed
1. Volatile Armor: Increases your Armor and Spell Resistance and deals a 10 second dot to all enemies near you when you cast it which can trigger the Valkyn Skoria Meteor set bonus.
2. Utility slot: Depending on the situation and what the group needs, you can use Retreating Maneuver (extra speed and immunity to slow effects) or Extended Chains (can pull in enemies) in this slot.
3. Rally: Increases your Weapon Damage by 20% for 30 seconds and is a strong self-heal if used repeatedly. Can be combined with the 30% increased healing bonus that Igneous Shield grants for 7 seconds after use.
4. Razor Caltrops: A strong dot with a very long duration and a huge radius. Very useful for any Stamina build.
5. Eruption: A ground-based AoE dot with a very long duration that ticks twice per second and may inflict the burning status effect. The total damage of the skill itself is quite low (around 7k), but each tick also has a chance to trigger the Valkyn Skoria Meteor bonus.
6. Ultimate: Standard of Might: Reduces damage you take, increases damage you deal, deals a lot of damage by itself, can cause burning.
Put a decent amount of points into Spell Shield. Split the rest more or less evenly among Medium Armor Focus, Hardy, Elemental Defender, and Thick Skinned. Avoid unlocking the Critical Leech star because that effect reminds me too much in sound and look of being tagged by a Nightblade's Mark Target ability.
Split points between Warlock and Mooncalf depending on what you feel you need more. Eventually, put a few points into Tumbling as well if you want to or maybe put a few points into Magician and Arcanist.
Put the first 30 points into Mighty so you unlock the Perfect Strike passive.
After that, you want to put points into Mighty and Elemental Expert. Mighty affects light and heavy attacks, Rapid Strikes, Steel Tornado, Caltrops, and Volatile Armor damage. Elemental Expert affects the Standard of Might, Searing Strike, the Valkyn Skoria Meteor, Eruption, and the Burning status effect's damage.
You may put a few points into Precise Strikes which affects only physical attacks just like Mighty. Piercing is not really needed for this build. Thaumaturge would only increase the damage of Evil Hunter and Flawless Dawnbreaker in this build so it's not very useful. Possibly, put a few points into Blade Expert as well (affects only light and heavy attacks) once your reach a higher Champion Rank.
The Tower is more preferable over the Warrior for more survivability (and it still offers some extra damage for all Stamina-based attacks as well).
Being a werewolf is very helpful for any Stamina build, of course (15% more Stamina Recovery without any downside to it).
Use triple heal potions when you have to (in tough situations in Vet DSA), otherwise you can just use regular Stamina potions that drop from monsters when you need to.
You can use epic triple-buff food. You need that bit of extra Magicka, Health, and Stamina in my build and epic food has the longest duration. With the Emperor health bonus (when your side has an emperor in your home campaign) it should be possible to switch to food that increases just Stamina and Magicka instead.
Skill Rotation in combat:
Groups of regular monsters: Use Rally first, then drop Caltrops and Eruption. Charge in (with a dodgeroll if needed) use Volatile Armor, switch to Dual Wield and spam Steel Tornado.
Caltrops can easily get you all the aggro, so be ready to dodge again when needed or use Igneous shield. Block when an enemy uses a charged ability like Uppercut on you. If there's a stronger monster in the group, hopefully the tank in your group will taunt it, otherwise just kite it, don't stand next to it. In general, it's a good idea to keep moving in circles while spamming Steel Tornado.
On bosses: Again, use Rally first, drop Caltrops and Eruption (on a location where, hopefully, the boss won't move for a while), charge in, use Volatile Armor if needed, drop the Standard of Might. Use Searing Strike, then start weaving with Rapid Strikes and medium attacks (partially charged heavy attacks). Keep Searing Strike up before it runs out. After 30 seconds, when Rally runs out, start over again (skip Volatile Armor if you're low on Magicka or don't need it; against single targets skipping it might increase dps).
It's very important that the tank doesn't pull the boss out of all the ground-based AoE effects (Caltrops, Eruption, and Standard of Might) or your dps will go down by a lot.
With this build you should be able to get 15k single-target dps average on most bosses. It's also very efficient at clearing large groups of regular monsters very fast.
1. Example of an average dps result for the first boss in the Aetherian Archive trial with non-optimal rotation:
2. Soloing the Maw of the Infernal in Veteran Banished Cells (scaled to VR 12):
3. Soloing a group of monsters in the Veteran Banished Cells dungeon:
... and after:
4. An old screenshot of dps values from a boss fight in Veteran Elden Hollow (VR 12 scale):
5. A secret in the Howling Sepulchers? Real Spoilers warning here!