Nightblade archer build is back and as fun as ever! This is a double bow setup, one bar focuses on single target damage, other on buffs and utility, with a little bit of AOE as well. Mobile, stealthy and deadly.
Weapons & Armor SelectionOpen
I am using 1x of Molag Kena & Velidreth, both should be medium armor and preferably divines trait.
The first set that this build employs is the Spriggan’s Thorns set.
Spriggan’s Thorns is an overland set that drops in Bangkorai. It adds stamina & weapon damage, as well as a nice physical penetration bonus that helps against medium & heavy armor targets.
I am using this set on the following pieces:
- Chest (divines, medium).
- Legs (divines, medium).
- Hands (divines, medium).
- Waist (divines, medium).
- Feet (divines, medium).
The second set that I am employing in this setup is the Agility set.
Agility can be rewarded to players for doing daily random dungeons, but it also drops in Imperial City vaults and can be bought in guild stores (that’s how I got it).
It simply adds more stamina and weapon damage, and in combination with our two different monster pieces, it serves as a 5x set that adds weapon damage and stamina. But a lot of it.
I am using this set on the following pieces:
- Necklace (robust, weapon damage glyph).
- 2 Rings (robust, weapon damage glyphs).
I also use a double VMA Bow setup (both sharpened).
If you don’t have VMA bows, just use any other, it’s totally fine.
You can also put the Oblivion damage enchantment on your bows if they aren’t VMA, the damage will be pretty much the same.
If you do have VMA bows, then you can put double damage over time poisons to squeeze a little bit more power every now and then.
The weapon damage bonus will always apply, but the VMA enchantment from the first bow (which is a single target damage bar) is not needed.
All gear should be medium in divines, and have maximum stamina enchantments. You can also get another 2% undaunted stats with this setup.
Skills & LoadoutOpen
- Piercing Mark, morph of Mark Target from the Assassination skill tree.
- Radiant Magelight, morph of Magelight from the Mages Guild skill tree.
- Poison Injection, morph of Poison Arrow from the Bow skill tree.
- Camouflaged Hunter, morph of Expert Hunter from the Fighters Guild skill tree.
- Focused Aim, morph of Snipe from the Bow skill tree.
- Toxic Barrage ultimate, morph of Rapid Fire from the Bow skill tree.
Toxic Barrage is a hard hitting bow ultimate that I will generally only use when it’s totally clear and you’re trying to kill a target that is already fighting.
Strong initial damage over time, as well as another damage over time component when it end, it will really put a lot of pressure on your opponent.
Piercing Mark is also used only when trying to kill a target that is already aware of incoming damage, and is preferably fighting someone else. Otherwise do not use it, you will only alert your unsuspecting targets needlessly.
Radiant Magelight is used to get the empower bonus that gives us 20% more damage when launching our first hard hitting projectile, but it can also help when you want to reveal someone who’s hiding or cloaking.
Poison Injection will deal initial as well as damage over time, and is generally almost always used in the standard rotation which I will explain below.
Camouflaged Hunter is a passive ability that gives us 10% more critical strike rating, but also a 8% damage boost (minor berserk) when we critically strike (which we always will from stealth), and this enables us to simplify rotations and avoid using skills such as relentless focus.
Focused Aim is our main hard hitting projectile and when fully buffed up and empowered, becomes a deadly shot.
The rotation looks like this;
- Use the potion that I will show you below in the consumables section, it will give you speed, weapon damage and stamina.
- Empower your first Focused Aim shot and launch it.
- As soon as the arrow leaves the bow, keep charging another one (two in a row) quickly. First hit will stun the target (unless they have crowd control immunity) and by the time that they break free, second hit will get to them as well as our follow up rotation.
- Once the second focused aim has been dispatched, move forward to make sure that your light attack & poison injection can reach your target as well. You will need to practice shooting & distances in Cyrodiil until you get comfortable with it.
My secondary Bow bar has the following skills:
- Arrow Barrage, morph of Volley from the Bow skill tree.
- Concealed Weapon, morph of Veiled Strike from the Shadow skill tree.
- Retreating Maneuver, morph of Rapid Maneuver from the Alliance War Assault skill tree.
- Shadowy Disguise, morph of Shadow Cloak from the Shadow skill tree.
- Resolving Vigor, morph of Vigor from the Alliance War Assault skill tree.
- Flawless Dawnbreaker ultimate, morph of Dawnbreaker from the Fighters Guild skill tree.
Flawless Dawnbreaker is only used to provide additional weapon damage (you can also put it on the first bar). It gives 5% more weapon damage, but also another 3% from the fighters guild passives, effectively 8%, which is a nice little boost.
Arrow Barrage can be used when players are packed tightly together, to do a little bit of damage and annoy them. The VMA bow on the 2nd bar will buff it up a bit too.
Concealed Weapon at rank 4 will give you 25% increased speed while in cloak or sneaking, this is how we can be extremely fast while sneaking. It is only used on the off bar for faster travel.
Retreating Maneuver is also only used while traveling and not in combat, in order to preserve potions that give us speed. It will briefly pull you out of stealth, but you will go into it again very quickly.
Shadowy Disguise is our escape tool. Once someone is killed, weapon swap and use shadowy disguise to vanish. If you keep your distance and position yourself well, it will be very hard for players to deal with you.
Resolving Vigor is used to heal up, when needed. Generally we are extremely squishy with this setup, so if someone gets close to you and you happen to survive, use this and run, as well as cloak.
Consumables & MundusOpen
Maximum stamina means more damage, and magicka recovery means more cloaking and utility.
The Thief stone is used for more critical strike chance. The Shadow and The Warrior are great stones too, especially in the coming update (Horns of the Reach), when Thief will be reduced a bit and Warrior bumped up. Experiment and see which one feels the best to you.
In the past, I would have preferred Thief in order to get closer to 70% weapon critical, and this is because you want all follow up attacks to critically strike too, netting you more damage in the long run.
But, in the following game updates when Warrior and other munduses are buffed up, other possibilities will open.
The potions that this setup utilizes are very specific, giving us a major speed buff, weapon damage and stamina management. This way, we do not need to use any skills to get speed & weapon damage before attacking and escaping, it’s already there for over 40 seconds on a cooldown.
Race & PassivesOpen
Bosmers & Khajiits get stealth damage increase and this is a good bonus because you want to do as much damage initially as possible. However, if your Nightblade is another race, it’s totally fine.
I am a stage 4 vampire, mainly for the sneaking penalty removal. This is very important and your sneak speed depends on it.
Also, do not forget to level up the improved hiding passive in the legerdemain world skill tree, this will give you another 40% reduced cost of sneak, which is huge and will help your sustain dramatically.
- Arcanist: 100 points.
- Mooncalf: 20 points.
- Tumbling: 19 points.
- Shade: 71 points.
- Master-at-Arms: 72 points.
- Precise Strikes: 37 points.
- Piercing: 50 points.
- Mighty: 51 points.
- Ironclad: 72 points.
- Hardy: 19 points.
- Elemental Defender: 19 points.
- Thick Skinned: 37 points.
- Expert Defender: 12 points.
- Quick Recovery: 51 points.
This build was created for the Morrowind update. In the future it might require an update, but until then – check out the builds section for all other builds that I’ve done so far.