Rampage an example of a max PVE stamina Nightblade build using DW/bow
Silencium an example of a bow/bow gank build for Nightblades in PvP.
Sniper, a YouTube video of a bow/bow gank build that inspired me quite a bit.
Sodon Tok’s stamina bow/bow PvE guide for all classes
Fear’s stamina bow/bow Nightblade PVE guide, which was very useful for rotations
ESO-Skillbook an online reference with current tooltips for skills
ESO-Skillfactory builder is one of the better builders out there, but tooltips are outdated, see reference 6.
I have been digging into what works for a ranged stamina build for Nightblade as of June 2019, and thought I would put up what I found in case anyone else is going down that road. My aim was to come up with something that is pretty good for PvE and PvP. So I did some reading and put up some of the references above if any of you are so inclined to go down the same path. I watched a bunch of YouTube videos also to get a feel for what is out there.
On the PvE side, the top ranked DPS build for Nightblades is something close to the Rampage build linked above. It involves dual wield and bow, with most of its damage coming from Surprise Attack. The other morph of that skill is Concealed Weapon, which grants you 25% movement speed in sneak. You can not use both. So if you want to be fast and sneaky in PVP, and you want to do top DPS in PVE, you have to remorph each and every time you switch.
On the PvP side, there are two basic directions to go. One is a bow/bow gank build, and the other is a melee heavy gank build. My impression is that stamblade gank build is even stronger post patch, but it is the sort of thing that you need really great gear, lots of Champion Points, and probably a pile of AvA experience to pull off. The bow/bow gank build is more of a beginner AvA build, letting you snipe from the fringes. Examples of this are in the Silencium reference and the Sniper video.
So for me the sweet spot seems to be bow/bow. Two good starting points for understanding the PVE side of this are in Sodon Tok’s guide which is for all classes, and in particular Fear’s reference for Nightblade.
My present take on what a good PVE build is for bow bow is in the builder I linked above. I do not fully understand gearing yet, but I think I have a better clue on rotations.
You have 2 bars, main and back. The main bar has Flawless Dawnbreaker, which ups weapon DPS by 5% and another 3% from the Fighter’s guild passive. You want to stay on this bar as much as you can to maximize your DPS. So I rearranged the powers such that all the bow skills and other damage dealers were on the main bar. The back bar has the defensives and buffs and pressure ultimate, Ballisatae.
The rotation goes like this for PVE
A. prebuff /maintain
- endless resolve (30s) to reduce your damage taken by 15% and generate Assasin’s scourge
- leeching strikes (20s) to make weapon attacks return stam/health and sustain you with stamina
- reaper’s mark (20s) to apply major fracture and breach and set you up for heals and berserk
- channeled acceleration (36s) for minor force buff
B. Apply DOTs/maintain
- endless hail (10s)
- poison injection (10s)
C. Main Rotation with everything up
- Assassin’s Scourge (the spectral arrow from Relentless Focus) to pressure/heal
So you apply your buffs and mark, then lay down the DoTs, and mostly snipe thereafter. You should light weave (light attack and clip with the ability) or heavy weave (heavy attack clipped by ability) on all damage abilities. Light attack if stamina is not an issue, heavy if it is.
Since all of the DoTs and all of the damage attacks are on the main bar, you only have to go to the back bar to rebuff mark, leeching, or channeled acceleration. Or you go there to Shadowy Disguise to drop agro, or hit a defensive like Elusive Mist to deal with panic damage.
The specific skills used
Poison injection, a must for any of these builds. Cheap stamina wise, does a ton of damage in execute range.
Focused aim, the choice snipe for PvP. I saw in Fear’s build he uses the poison morph Lethal Arrow, but I think that is not as important for PvE as Focused aim is for PvP, thus stick with that
Caltrops, come from the assault line in Alliance War, requires rank 6 to unlock. I do not have them yet, but they do a lot of damage and snare and have nice AoE. Until then I will use my PvP AoE skill Bombard. Fear used Silver Shards here, and mainly had it there for another 3% weapons damage boost from Fighter’s guild. I know Acid rain is a good PvE option particularly if you get a bow that operates off of it.
Endless Rain, is there mainly for the longer duration. THe other morph is 8s, and the DOT timers do not line up as well with that one. On the PvP side in the Sniper video, he never uses this skill at all, so it makes sense to pick the optimal PVE morph
Relentless Focus, after 5 attacks you take 15% less damage. THis is huge for PvP, and also PvE. Also you then can use Assassin’s Scourge, your single hardest hitting skill short of the Ballistae ultimate. Everybody uses this, and it is on the main bar because it gives you one Assassination skill there (unlocking those passives) and it can benefit from Flawless Dawnbreaker
Flawless Dawnbreaker- used mainly for passives, but if you are in tight , it can hit a lot of enemies really hard. For instance I was sneaking a Delve and got pinned in a cave, and used it to win.
Shadowy Disguise, the main cool thing about Nightblade. You can hit this and stealth, and if you break line of sight you will regain stealth even though you were in combat. You can also do this to have that boss in PVE stop chasing you and go for someone else. You also crit if you attack while invis.
Channelled Acceleration, this one is a major expediton for 12s on magicka, and a minor force for 36s. You can do this from stealth and it will not break stealth. You need to unlock the Psyjic Order on Summerset DLC to use this. I don’t have it yet, and will use Charging Maneuver (from Alliance/Assault) until I do so for its speed boost.
Elusive Mist, I am a vamp so this is pretty much top tier for defensive. PEople who are not vamps use other defensives here.
Reaper’s Mark, strips off physical and magical resistance, heals you if it dies by around 5K health, and if it dies you get a 25% damage boost for 5s (major berserk). Can be used from stealth and it will not break stealth, which makes it very handy to have on the back bar for when you are zipping about stealthed.
Leeching strikes, weapon attacks heal you for a lot and return stamina, and you get a 4K chunk of stamina when it expires. It only costs 1K stamina to cast, and lasts for 20s. This is your PvE sustain, all nightblade builds have this for PvE.
Ballistae, a fire and forget single target heavy hitter. You can do this and DPS at the same time to put a lot of pressure on and kill someone.
For solo, I would swap out to this where I replace leeching strikes with concealed weapon. Most stuff dies quick solo, so sustain is not much of an issue.
You can use Concealed Weapon with the combo Shadowy Disguise/Concealed weapon. If you are in combat and it is in melee range, that combo will stun it for 1s and put it off balance for 5 and do a crap ton of damage, but that combo burns magicka.
For PVP, I think it will look something like this where the solo build has been updated with Bombard and Draining Shot.
Bombard is an AOE mash skill that will burn some stamina if you do it, but it will immobilize and snare what is on you. For PvP this will de-stealth other characters and let you kite groups. There is no snare on the acid rain version.
Draining Shot knocks them back 6m, stuns them for 1.5s, and heals you for around 1K health. You can use this as a heal, and the knockback can be fun.
So this is where I stand at the time of posting. I will update this as I learn more.