By Morthadis
This is an extensive guide on the nightblade class when used as assassin. It is how I designed my character in the last beta sessions, and it worked pretty well
So let's get started.
In this guide I will go over the following parts of my assassin build:

  • Attribute points distribution
  • Armor
  • Weapons
  • Traits and enchantments
  • Skillpoints distribution
  • Fighting NPC's/Exploring
  • PvP tactics
  • Combo's


Attribute points distribution

There are several ways to distribute these points. You will find out that most of the time, you will have a shortage of magicka/stamina in fights. Still, placing a lot of attribute points in magicka/stamina won't change it that much.
The best way to spent your points in my opinion is 1(magicka)/4(health)/1(stamina). Health is much more useful in a battle than the little extra magicka or stamina. Instead, you should get more of this by enchanting your armor, this gives a much greater buff and you will notice the difference, unlike with attribute points.


There are several options to go here: heavy, medium or light armor.

  • Heavy armor: This gives you more survivability which is fine, but do you want that as an assassin? The greatest disadvantage heavy armor brings is immobility. I think as an assassin you should be as mobile as possible, so that you can kite and stay in/out of range as you please. So I would not advice heavy armor. The extra damage isn't neccesary.
  • Medium armor: This does give you some more survivability and there are some passives, which can be obtained by putting skillpoints in medium armor, that give a higher critical strike rate. Though this armor does not make you really tanky, it also doesn't really slow you down. So you do gain survivability, critical strike rating and you're still mobile, in my opinion this is the best armor for an assassin.
  • Light armor: This does give you great mobility, and with all the attribute points invested in health, this is definitely a valid option to take. As a warning though, Keep an eye on your health bar, because with this armor, it can go down in seconds... Mobility and reduce spell cast costs are the advantages, the disadvantage is that you're squishy.



I would choose to take dual wield, simply because of the increased damage output. As second set of weapons, I would go for a bow, in order to deal damage on range first before you go in with your melee-weapons. A very nice thing about a bow is, it uses mostly stamina as a resource, while the melee skills use magicka. This way you can deal a lot of damage without really burning up your resources.
For melee weapons I prefer daggers, they attack quickly and it just looks way more awesome on an assassin than a sword would. If you manage to control your assassin really well, you can even do basic attacks between your skills, to increase your sustain damage output. With a sword or an axe, this would take too much time, making you take more damage than you get extra.

Traits and enchantments

In ESO there are a thousand possibilities here, I do not claim mine is the best, but at least mine works :D.

  • Armor/jewelry enchantments: This greatly depends on your main damage source, melee or ranged.
    • For melee: In the early game, you will be in desperate need for magicka. I advise you to take any piece of armor with a magicka enchantment over another piece without it.(Unless you feel the difference is big enough to do without the extra magicka.) Most of it will depend on what you need to have your optimal experience in ESO.
    • For PvP I do recommend some magicka enchantments, in order to complete your entire combo and get away, you can use the "Increase Physical Harm" and "Crushing" on jewelry, to deal more damage and to crush you opponents armor. You will have to find your own balance in these.
    • For ranged: Early in the game, It really doesn't matter what you take, just take the best you looted or crafted. You will need some stamina, and also a fair bit of magicka, so I would advise to take one or two armor pieces with those resources.

Later in the game, you need to decide what you value more, killing their squishy targets and exposing yourself, or staying safe and killing tanks. If you go for squishy's I would take "Increase Physical Harm", you will deal more damage and kill them quicker.
If you want to stay safe and kill their tanks, take "Crushing" which will reduce the targets armor, so they will die faster.

Weapon enchantments:

Deal (x) [Insert; frost, disease, shock, poison, fire or magic] damage. DO NOT TAKE THESE IF YOU GET A CHOICE! Take Unresistable damage and Reduce targets Armor. These will help you kill even faster, because even if they have a little armor, you will still manage to get the kill through these enchantments. On the other hand, if you take a DoT effect, you will need more time killing them, or you leave them with a DoT to die and risk the chance of them being healed, leaving you with nothing. If you have no other weaponry available, take the weapon that deals the most damage in total.

Skillpoint distribution

In this guide I will only touch on active skillpoints. Skillpoints in passives aren't really that important for a guide I think. You need to decide for yourself what you take in these area's. For example, if you have a skillpoint and there isn't a morph or active(which you will use), then you should take a point in a crafting skill or a passive of your choice.


Early in the game, I think the best option to go for here is the assassination-tree. This grants you a lot of dps, which in turn makes you able to quickly kill npc's one by one. I would not advise you to take points into the Siphoning-tree, DoT's are funny, but in PvP your target will get healed and you will be left without a kill(more on that in the PvP tactics part)
The skills I advise you to use the following skills (actives):



As you see, it is all focused on single target damage. The reason for this will be made clear later in the guide.
Besides of that, you can see that the morph for Veiled Strike in the ranged skill line differs from the morph in the melee skill line. If you prefer the ranged assassin, you should go for the Concealed Weapon, so you have that movement speed buff to quickly get away. If you prefer the throat slitting kinda guy, you may want to morph your Veiled Strike into Surprise Attack, so your enemy has less armor to rely on.

Fighting NPC's/exploring

When fighting NPC's you will almost every time be in a 1v1 or 1v2 situation. Knowing that fact, you can tell that the single target spells are a great advantage in this situation. The tactics you will most likely use here is simple:

  • Use your bow and the stamina-skills to kill one NPC.
  • Use your daggers and the magicka-skills to kill the other, or the next NPC.

Fighting NPC's shouldn't really be a problem using this build and I will not spent more pixels on this matter.
The exploring part is also not very important. I think you should stick to quests and if you are a crafter, you should definitely explore and get those raw materials.

PvP tactics

Since this is mostly, if not only, single target damage your main goal is to assassinate an enemy here. There are various target you can go for, depending on the situation.
There are two types of battles in Cyrodiil, first you have the massive PvP battle (100 vs 100), and second there is the skirmish (2v2 at least till 10v10 as max). There are of course other forms of battle, but these are rare and I won't discuss them.

First, the big ones:

There are a lot of different classes and build in ESO, and in a great battle, you will encounter all of them.

As melee:

There are only a few valid targets for you to engage upon. The person you want to kill will need to be squishy enough to do it quickly, so no tanks, but healer and archers are the characters you are looking for. There are of course a few things you need to consider before you decide to engage for a kill.

  • Are there any other enemy players nearby who could lock you down?
  • How long will you take in killing this enemy player?
  • In what time will the enemy army react?
  • Can I get out?
  • Is it worth it?

If there is a nearby dragonknight, be aware of the fiery reach (that annoying chain) he might use is on you and you will most certainly die. If you see him use it, or if he is spamming skills, feel free to go in on a healer or backline dps character. He will most likely not target you, sometimes not even see you and you should be fine. The most important thing is that you should know the skills each class has available (just the dangerous ones).
Time used
How long will it take to assassinate the target? If the target is tanky, then it's gonna take a while, so you better don't go in. If you can kill the target in under 5 seconds, it's a go! Of course you will have to use your own insight, and the still execute the correct combo and hope you can get out.
Enemy reactions
This is the biggest chance factor in the calculation. If there are enemies nearby who use spells and skills like maniacs, go in after a short while, because they will be out of resource(magicka/stamina). On the other hand, if there are players who use there skills wisely(seeing this requires knowledge about each class) you'd better pick another moment to go in. Just use your own wits to predict whether you'll get out.
Getting out
These subjects are all linked very closely. I'll just add, that you should know if you will have resources(stamina/magicka) available after the kill. If you will use only magicka and you stamina bar is full, you can roll out cleanly. If you are low on stamina(sprinting) and you have enough magicka for a kill, keep in mind you will need some extra magicka to stealth away after the kill. If you are low on stamina and you just have enough magicka to go in and kill someone, decide if you are willing to sacrifice yourself for that kill, or if you will just wait for another opportunity.
Is the kill worth it? If you risk everything to kill one of the ten healers, it's definitely not worth it. On the other hand, if you can kill their leader(don't know if that's visible) or one of the two healers they have, go in! Even if you die, its most likely worth it. This is also depending greatly on you judging the situation correctly.

As ranged:

Shoot as you see fit, you are safe in the backlines, target the enemies closest to you. If you see a squishy target go to close to the frontlines, use 'tab' to focus on him, and burst him down with your poison and critical stealth attacks.

The skirmishes

As melee:

In these little groups there is most likely only one healer or one backline dps character as assassin you will want to engage on them as soon as you can. Destroy them and their group will lose the skirmish.

As ranged:

Either you go in from the side and try to kill their healer(s) quickly. Or you stand in the middle of your group, dealing damage on a safe distance and leave the tanks to take damage and die, as long as you survive till the end, the battle is most likely won. When you have to run away, don't be brave.
You will most likely not be able to save someone, so run for your own live, and live to fight another day.
If you see an opportunity to cast your ultimate, do it. It might give some of your fellow warriors a change to take advantage of the snare, which will apply to your enemy and it'll give your allies the chance to go in stealth, which may be lifesaving. The pirate code is still relevant, if someone falls behind, you can’t do a thing for him. Pray the Divines he will hold op your pursuers long enough so you and the others can get away.




Your abilities:

  1. Death Stroke (Ultimate) > morph into Soul Harvest
  2. Assassin's Blade > morph into Killer's Blade
  3. Teleport Strike > morph into Ambush
  4. Shadow Cloak > morph into Shadowy Disguise
  5. Mark Target > morph into Reapers Mark
  6. Veiled Strike > morph into Surprise Attack

Use your skills in the following order(if you are on a distance):
3 (you teleported next to the target) > 5 > 4 (you are now stealth and next to the marked target) > 6 (target is stunned) > 1 (target should be at least half death).
A: If target is low on health > use 2 for the 300% damage to finish him
B: if target is not really low on health > use another 6(or more) until you can finish with a final 2 with 300% damage.

Use your skills in the following order(if you are close):
5(marked) > 4(stealthed) > 6(stunned) > 1(half death) > 6(to get him low enough) > 2(to finish the kill).


  1. Consuming Darkness (Ultimate) > morph into Veil of Blades
  2. Shadow Cloak > morph into Shadowy Disguise
  3. Veiled Strike > morph into Concealed Weapon
  4. Poison Arrow > morph into Poison Injection
  5. Scatter Shot > morph into Magnum Shot
  6. Snipe > morph into Lethal Arrow

As a ranger you don’t have that many offensive combos. You want to fill your enemies with arrows, and to do so, you need to stay out of trouble. As you can see there are two abilities for damaging your enemy. Start with your Lethal Arrow (6) to reduce the healing your enemy might get. Follow with your Poison Injection (4) for a nice DoT. It will especially scare them to death if they are low on HP, because your Poison Injection will do more damage if your enemy is below 35% health.
Besides that, you can sometimes enter your Shadowy Disguise stance (3) for an easy critical hit.
Most important are the combo’s to get rid of overconfident melee guys who see you as an easy target. If an enemy get's too close to you, you can make some distance between you both by using your Magnum shot (5). This will knock you both away of each other. Try to get away with your increased movement speed while you are in stealth, Shadowy Disguise (2)
If this isn’t enough and your enemy is still on your tail, get in your Shadowy Disguise (2) again, turn, and hit him with your Concealed Weapon (3). This will stun him for 4 seconds, precious time to get away. If you feel this won’t give you enough time and mobility to get in a safe spot, cast your ultimate, Veil of Blades (1) to snare your pursuer and grant yourself the stealth to get that so much needed movement speed. While your pursuer is snared he will get some nice damage, if you see a chance to burst him down with your melee skills, take it, kill him…

May the Shadow guide you,
- Derendis & Morotharbei

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    • Anonymous

      As an Stam/Medium Dark Elf Assassin Dual Wield/Bow this really helps, i always keep a life stealing skill at my melee bar as a mandatory for help like the sanguine altar, the switching between magic/stam skills also is helpful as you use one while the another recharges and i rarely have to use potions

      • OMG thank you so much for this! I'm just starting out and am still a bit overwhelmed by the thousands of things in the game! This helped me immensely.

        • Anonymous

          Your claiming it's viable to use this build in PVP? seriously man did you even test it?? Personally can tell from reading this it won't work the bow bar is fine but your DW bar is harnessing no DPS! Don't use this for pvp

          • Anonymous

            I see. This is much appreciated. I'm actually happy I found this page as most other builds are rather confusing and don't include a rather straight forward split here. So basically certain upgrades are if I decide to play primarily a melee build while others are if I do a ranged build. The Veiled Strike upgrade to either Surprise attack or Concealed Weapon is dependent on this then. Useful. Thanks a lot for the useful information!

            • Anonymous

              REDGUARD STAMINA 0MG 20000HP +STM DUAL WEILD ambush surprise mass hysteria steel tornado killer blade flawless or soul harvest Bow dark cloak doble take piercing mark poison arrow vigor or( something that heal ) ........ 7MD ARMOR, WHAT SET??? Thief or Shadow or Warrior?? Im thinking in dagger bcs more CRITS??? im lvl 46 HELLPPP !! THANKS !!! ;))

              • Now the nightblade's melee abilities are mostly Stamina, not Magicka, so your Attribute distribution part needs updating, maybe? Otherwise, thanks so much for the guide, I'm using it and hopefully when I get in PvP, i'll kick some arse ;)

                • So, I took it to PvP, and it wasn't doing what the build suggested it would. I wasn't even coming close to killing my marks after I issued the combo. :/ Might be because they updated it a bit since then, who knows.

                  • Anonymous

                    You stated that the bow skills were stamina and your melee was magicka. That's not the case with the morphs you posted. Otherwise this is an amazing guide and wondering if maybe there was a typo

                    • Anonymous

                      HOW TF AM I SUPPOSED TO MORPH VEILED STRIKE INTO BOTH CONCEALED WEAPON AND SURPRISE ATTACK? Make sure you are sober before you write a guide

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