Welcome to the Magicka Nightblade Beginner Guide for ESO. Playing a Magicka Nightblade can be very rewarding, but is also not the easiest class to master. The skills I chose here are the priority. You can pick up any skill along the way that you like, but this will be the ideal route for survival, damage and support.

If you don’t understand something and it isn’t covered here you might find it in the general New Player Beginner Guide, otherwise join the Discord where you will find a helpful community!

Table of Contents

The Start

This Magicka Nightblade Beginner Guide is here to help you with understanding how the class works and getting used to playing with both bars which is essential for all classes, but especially for Nightblades. I will help you guide through the first 15 levels and then help you reach level 50 and what to do once you hit it.

Level 2 (Attributes & Skill)

  • The first attribute point is assigned at level 2 and goes into magicka. All other points will go into this attribute as well, as you don’t have to worry about health or stamina.
  • The first skill point should go into Strife in the Siphoning tree in your Class skill line and will be your first “spammable”, meaning that you can use this skill repeatedly in any rotation.

Don’t worry about the passive abilities yet. They are nice to have while you are leveling, but you want to maintain a good balance between skills you are using, and passive abilities that help you with resource managment, survival or damage.

You will also most likely not be able to constantly cast a skill and use a lot of light attacks. That is perfectly fine and even wanted for all classes, but especially for a Nightblade.
Try making a Light Attack and then a skill. You might find that this is a good way to inflict damage, and it will help you in the long run (a lot!).
(attribute & skill point images)

Level 3 (Gear & Skills)

In the tutorial you can already find lots of random gear and other items by looking into urns, cupboards, chests and any container you can find. You want an inferno staff early on, as that is your main weapon, but you can use your class skills even without the ideal weapon.

With level 3 you will receive a reward box that contains gear and other goodies which we can utilize for this Magicka Nightblade Beginner Guide.

  • You will receive buff food for the first time. It will increase your primary stats and is an essential part of the game as an always available buff. Double click on it, or hover with your mouse over the item and press E.
  • You will also receive some training gear and weapon. Make sure to wear it, as it increases the experience you gain per enemy killed. You can find more information on how to increase experience gain in the Power Leveling Grind Guide.
  • Upon reaching level 3, you will also receive 2 additional skill points, 1 should go into Veiled Strike in the Shadow tree and 1 into your Class skill line Assassin’s Blade in the Assassin tree. You should now have the following skills on your first skill bar:
    • Strife
    • Veiled Strike
    • Assassin’s Blade

For every ability slotted you will receive experience in their respective skill lines/trees. Which means it is imperative to have an ability for every skill line on your skill bar that you intend to level. The more skills, the faster the skill line levels, but that just as a side note. There is no reson to rush any first.

Buff Food in the Reward Box

Magicka sorcerer beginner guide

Gear in the Reward Box

Magicka sorcerer beginner guide

Level 4 (Weapon Skills)

With level 4 you should have found a destruction staff by now, or, if you didn’t find one, bought one from a Woodworker. You can find them in towns and villages, and they will sell you a staff for 480 gold. I recommend the Maple Inferno Staff, as you will only ever be using inferno staves with this Magicka Nightblade Beginner Guide.
If you can’t find a restoration staff on your own, also buy a Maple Restoration Staff.
Don’t forget to equip it and kill an enemy with either, as that will unlock the skill line.

You can also ask in zone chat if someone has the time to quickly craft you both (type /z in the chat and hit enter to write in zone chat). It isn’t guaranteed that you will find someone that has the time or knowledge to craft you one, but that is at least an option.

If you have unlocked the Destruction skill line with your inferno (or ice or lightning) staff, put your fourth skill point into the first Weapon Destruction Staff skill, Force Shock and keep it on your action bar. This way you will level the skill line quicker. You don’t have to, though, as you will level any weapon that is currently equipped even without a skill on the bar.
It’s also important to mention that staves are considered magical damage and will not benefit from weapon damage buffs.
(The skills shown in the following pictures are just examples)

Buff Food & Drinks

I do recommend saving some money to buy the “Witchmother’s Potent Brew” drink in a Guildstore, or ask a guild member if they can craft/give you some (if you are in a guild already). This will increase your character stats by a lot and this will also help you better with regenerating magicka (which is called “sustaining”).

  • Witchmother’s Brew Drink
    • Increase Health, Magicka and Magicka Recovery
    • Can be used at any level
    • Not that expensive in the guildstore

Food buff

Training Gear

If you want to level up as fast as possible, you would want gear that has the trait Training (or so called “training gear”). If you want to check out all the experience boost options available I recommend checking out the Power Leveling Grind Guide.
If you are already in a guild, ask a guild member of yours to craft you some training gear. You can get it crafted at any level, but the higher the quality, the less often you need it crafted:

  • 5 Light Armor with training trait
  • 1 Heavy Armor with training trait
  • 1 Medium Armor with training trait
  • 1 Destruction Staff with training trait
  • 1 Restoration staff with training trait (will be used later)

Magicka sorcerer beginner guide

Level 5 (First Milestone & Skills)

You want to morph your first skill now, which is going to be Strife (Siphoning skill line) into Swallow Soul. Morphing is the further stage of a skill and changes the way it is being used. You don’t have to morph a skill, and in this guide we will not morph every skill either, simply because we only need the base skill in order to level the skill lines, but usually you morph a skill to get the more advanced version.
Now you probably see why it is important to have a skill on your bar, as you need to reach and fill Rank 4 of each skill in order to be able to morph it.
Simply select the icon next to the skill and choose between two options. This will make you consume a skill point.

  • Morph Strife (Siphoning) into Swallow Soul. It will automatically replace the skill on the action bar.
  • Put 1 skill point into Grand Healing in the Restoration Staff skill line (Weapons). Continue using the inferno staff, but keep the skill on the bar.

We have five skills now on the bar. You will notice that you can’t use Grand Healing with an Inferno Staff, or Force Shock with a healing staff. These skills are weapon bound and can be utilized fully when we get two weapon bars with Level 15 and you follow this Magicka Nightblade Beginner Guide to the tee.

Level 6 (Skill morph & Execute)

  • Morph Assassin’s Blade (Assassination) to Impale

If an enemy is at low health, some classes can utilize a skill to inflict a lot of damage upon the enemy. Nightblades excell at this. If the target is at 25% of their health or lower, Assassin’s Blade will cause the target to take 300% more damage from the skill. Which is why this skill is rarely or never used before this health threshold.

Level 7 (Skill & Lorebooks)

  • Put a skill point into Wall of Elements and replace this skill with Force Shock

Depending on how you level (quest, grind, etc), you should have found your first lorebook by now. These are books spread throughout the world and shimmer blue. They will help you level a new skill line called Mages Guild. You will need that for this build. Best would be maximum (rank 10), but it can be a bit tedious, so don’t worry if you haven’t reached maximum rank by reaching Level 50.

Level 9 ( Skill morph & Reward)

  • Morph Wall of Elements into Unstable Wall of Elements

Also choose the Prophet’s Inferno Staff from the rewards and continue choosing this reward, unless you find something better, of course, or get something crafted/craft something yourself.

Level 10

Congratulations, you have reached your first game changing milestone with the Magicka Nightblade Beginner Guide!
We have to cover some ground now, so read carefully.

These are the things you will receive and get access to:

  • 3 Skill Points
  • 3 Attribute Points
  • Horse
  • Dungeon Finder that also includes Player versus Player (PvP), namely Battlegrounds (arena) and Cyrodiil (open world)

First off, the skill points:

  • 2 Racial skills, 1 Refreshing Shadows (Shadow tree passive)

Your bar should look like something like this now:

Magicka Nightblade Level 10 Bar Setup

You will probably want to assign a hotkey to the horse. Mine is H. You can do so in the keybindings. You also have to activate it from your mount collection under U (default). Now, every day you are able to, feed the horse at the stable master. This increases either the speed, stamina or weight capacity. My recommendation is speed first.

Dungeon Finder:
The Dungeon Finder (default key is P to open it) is a tool to help you find a group regardless of whether you ask around, or have a guild or friends to ask. It will queue you randomly with other people that are looking to run the same dungeon. The first random dungeon of the day will reward you with a lot of EXP upon completion and I recommend you do that every day. You will have to specify a role, so you can either go as a damage dealer, or a healer, as long as you have the healing staff equipped to actually heal.
Remember, you can still use your class skills, so you can inflict damage and heal at the same time. This only works well though in early dungeons. The further you level up, the harder the content will become and you will want to specialize on being a damage dealer.

Player versus Player:
Battlegrounds and Cyrodiil will let you best yourself against other players, and the first successful Battleground of the day will award you with a lot of EXP, too. You can do it, but you don’t have to. It is a good way to get a lot of experience points, but it is not guaranteed that you can get either first or second place with your group in order to complete the quest.

Another important mechanic of the game are Mundus Stones and Guilds.

Mundus Stones:
A Mundus Stone will increase your stats by a lot. I recommend to get this as early as possible, as you will notice the difference. They are spread all over the world and you can decide between 13 different Mundus Stones.

I recommend either The Lover or The Mage. The first increases your Physical and Spell Penetration and makes you inflict more damage, whereas the second increases your Maximum Magicka so that you can use more spells.

Daggerfall Covenant

Glenumbra – The Lover
Magicka DD Beginner Guide

Stormhaven – The Mage
Magicka DD Beginner Guide

Aldmeri Dominion

Auridon – The Lover
Magicka DD Beginner Guide

Grahtwood – The Mage
Magicka DD Beginner Guide

Ebonheart Pact

Stonefalls – The Lover
Magicka DD Beginner Guide

Deshaan – The Mage
Magicka DD Beginner Guide

There are three important guilds in the game, the Fighters Guild, Mages Guild and Undaunted. It is imperative to start with all three of them early on, especially Mages Guild as you will need a couple of skills from there, so start collecting the lorebooks early on.
In the Fighters Guild, Mages Guild, Undaunted Video it is showcased how to get those skill lines.
Fighters and Mages Guild will let you enter upon talking to a specific NPC, for Undaunted you will have to do a little quest.
Each skill line is leveled up in a different way.
* Fighters Guild: Kill Undead and Daedra or complete a daily quest
* Mages Guild: Collect lorebooks or complete a daily quest
* Undaunted: Complete dungeon achievements or daily quests

Level 11 (Ultimate Ability)

  • 1 skill point into Death Stroke (Assassination) and 1 skill point into Soul Shread (Siphoning)

Ultimate Abilities require a special resource called Ultimate before they can be used and isn’t available immediately. You gain Ultimate by engaging in combat over time. Once you have enough Ultimate, you can use it, but don’t have to. Sometimes it is worth waiting until you either engage against a strong enemy, or have multiple enemies to use it against.

Death Stroke is a Single Target ability and best used against strong opponents (but works against smaller ones of course, too), whereas Soul Shread is a Multiple Target ability. Depending on whether you are leveling on your own, or in a dungeon, you might want to switch these out.

Don’t be afraid to use your Ultimate Ability, or wait for the right moment. It is a rarer resource than a normal skill, but will not have such an incredible high impact on your gameplay that you would want to use it in only the rarest circumstances.

Level 13 (Passive Ability)

  • 1 skill point into Magicka Flood, passive ability of Siphoning (Class)

I haven’t covered Passive Abilities much yet, but that is because they are relatively unimportant in the beginning. You first want to acquire a skill in order to level that tree. The more you play the game though, the more you want to look into helping you inflict more damage, survive longer or help you control your ressources.
Try to always prioritize an active skill over a passive while leveling.

Level 15 (Passives & Weapon Swapping & Skill Setup)

  • 1 skill point into Catalyst under Siphoning (Class), Executioner under Assassination (Class), 1 into Racial ability and 1 into Evocation under Light Armor

Executioner is a passive ability that shows you why Impale (your Execute) is so important. If your enemy dies quickly enough, you get a lot of resources back.

And then there is Weapon Swapping with Level 15.

Magicka sorcerer beginner guide
It is something that not many new players like, but it is incredibly important and an essential gameplay mechanic.
I recommend you to have your Inferno Staff equipped on your first bar and your Healing Staff on your second. Just open your inventory and drag and drop the second weapon onto the second weapon slot.

You can copy the skills from the first bar to second bar for now, but you will notice that on the second bar with your Healing Staff you won’t be able to use Unstable Wall of Elements, just as you can’t use Grand Healing on your Inferno Staff bar.
So, if you want to heal, you have to switch to your so called backbar, or second bar.

By having and using both bars, you can also equip two different Ultimate Abilities. I recommend using Death Stroke on your frontbar, or first bar, and Soul Shred on your backbar with the healing staff.
Keep in mind though that you will only gather experience on the bar that is active at the moment you receive experience.

Level 15 Skill Setup

Frontbar (Destruction Staff)
1. Elemental Blockade
2. Swallow Soul
3. Veiled Strike
4. Impale
5. Grand Healing
6. Ultimate: Death Stroke

Unstable Wall of Elements Swallow Soul Veiled Strike Impale Grand Healing Death Stroke

Backbar (Healing Staff)
1. Grand Healing
2. Swallow Soul
3. Veiled Strike
4. Impale
5. Elemental Blockade
6. Ultimate: Soul Shred

Grand Healing Swallow Soul Veiled Strike Impale Unstable Wall of Elements Soul Shred

The Road to Level 50

From now on I will not guide you through levels anymore, but what you have to do upon reaching skill line rank, as everyone progresses slightly differently, depending on how strict they follow this guide, what you might have already noticed.

I will nonetheless list the ranks that you already unlocked for the sake of completeness.

The passives unlock at specific ranks, but won’t be fully available yet. Insert the next skill point as soon as you can and continue leveling the passives that you already unlocked. To make sure you won’t miss them, I will include the rank they unlock at again.

You can always take other skills, of course, as long as you remember to put one of each skill line unto your bar. You will most likely not have reached Rank 50 in all skill lines upon reaching Level 50. That is normal and on the road to Champion Points 160 you have plenty of time to get them to max rank.

Also, you can reset your skills or morphs at any given time in either the major cities of the alliances, or in Vivec City or Alinor at the Shrines, and if you don’t need a skill anymore like Veiled Strike as soon as you have unlocked Path of Darkness at Rank 20 in the same skill line.

The following is a list of the must haves for the Ideal setup. You can neglect the Mages Guild and Fighters Guild maximum rank if you just want to go with the Minimum setup for now.



  • Rank 14 – Executioner (Passive)
  • Rank 22 – Pressure Points (Passive)
  • Rank 39 – Hemorrhage (Passive)
  • Rank 42 – Grim Focus (Morph: Merciless Resolve)

(Grim Focus is the reason why we want to learn how to Light Attack between each skill from an early level on. This is used most effectively after you have used your skills and light attacks, instead of light attacking five times and then using the proc Assassin’s Will which damages the target. This skill is also called Bow as the description says that you fire an arrow. Morph this into Merciless Resolve.)

Executioner Pressure Points Hemorrhage Grim Focus


  • Rank 8 – Refreshing Shadows (Passive)
  • Rank 22 – Dark Vigor (Passive)
  • Rank 39 – Dark Veil (Passive)
Refreshing Shadows Dark Vigor Dark Veil


  • Rank 8 – Catalyst (Passive)
  • Rank 22 – Soul Siphoner (Passive)
  • Rank 30 – Siphoning Strikes (Morph: Siphoning Attacks)
  • Rank 39 – Transfer (Passive)
  • Rank 42 – Drain Power (Morph: Sap Essence)
Catalyst Soul Siphoner Siphoning Strikes Transfer Drain Power


Destruction Staff

  • Rank 5 – Tri Focus (Passive)
  • Rank 10 – Penetrating Magic (Passive)
  • Rank 25 – Elemental Force (Passive)
  • Rank 28 – Ancient Knowledge (Passive)
  • Rank 41 – Destruction Expert (Passive)
Tri Focus Penetrating Magic Elemental Force Ancient Knowledge Destruction Expert


Light Armor

  • Rank 2 – Grace (Passive)
  • Rank 6 – Evocation (Passive)
  • Rank 14 – Spell Warding (Passive)
  • Rank 22 – Annulment (Morph: Dampen Magic)
  • Rank 38 – Prodigy (Passive)
  • Rank 42 – Concentration (Passive)
Grace Evocation Spell Warding Annulment Prodigy Concentration

Heavy Armor

  • Rank 2 – Resolve (Passive)
  • Rank 6 – Constitution (Passive)
  • Rank 14 – Juggernaut (Passive)
Resolve Constitution Juggernaut



  • Rank 4 – Supernatural Recovery (Passive)
  • Rank 7 – Undeath (Passive)
  • Rank 8 – Unnatural Resistance (Passive)

Soul Magic

  • Rank 1 – Soul Trap (Morph: Soul Splitting Trap)
  • Rank 4 – Soul Shatter (Passive)
Soul Splitting Trap Soul Shatter


Fighters Guild

  • Rank 5 – Banish the Wicked (Passive)
  • Rank 7 – Skilled Tracker (Passive)
  • Rank 8 – Trap Beast (Morph: Rearming Trap)
Banish the Wicked Skilled Tracker Trap Beast

Mages Guild

  • Rank 2 – Magelight (Morph: Inner Light)
  • Rank 3 – Mage Adept (Passive)
  • Rank 5 – Everlasting Magic (Passive)
  • Rank 7 – Magicka Controller (Passive)
  • Rank 9 – Might of the Guild (Passive)
  • Rank 10 – Meteor (Morph: Shooting Star)
Magelight Mage Adept Everlasting Magic Magicka Controller Might of the Guild Meteor


  • Rank 6 – Undaunted Command (Passive)
  • Rank 7 – Undaunted Mettle (Passive)
Undaunted Command Undaunted Mettle





  • Rank 8 – Medicinal Use (Passive)
Medicinal Use


  • Rank 3 – Gourmand (Passive)
  • Rank 5 – Connoisseur (Passive)
Gourmand Connoisseur

Minimum Skill Setup (79 Skill Points)

Frontbar (Destruction Staff)

  • Dampen Magic
  • Swallow Soul
  • Merciless Resolve
  • Impale
  • Inner Light
  • Soul Harvest
Dampen Magic Swallow Soul Merciless Resolve Impale Inner Light Soul Harvest

Backbar (Destruction Staff)

  • Unstable Wall of Elements
  • Soul Splitting Trap
  • Sap Essence
  • Siphoning Attacks
  • Inner Light
  • Elemental Rage
Unstable Wall of Elements Soul Splitting Trap Sap Essence Siphoning Attacks Inner Light Elemental Rage

Ideal Skill Setup (115 Skill Points)

Frontbar (Destruction Staff)

  • Dampen Magic
  • Swallow Soul
  • Merciless Resolve
  • Impale
  • Inner Light
  • Soul Harvest
Dampen Magic Swallow Soul Merciless Resolve Impale Inner Light Soul Harvest

Backbar (Destruction Staff)

  • Unstable Wall of Elements
  • Soul Splitting Trap
  • Rearming Trap
  • Siphoning Attacks
  • Sap Essence
  • Shooting Star
Unstable Wall of Elements Soul Splitting Trap Barbed Trap Siphoning Attacks Sap Essence Shooting Star

What’s next?

By now you should have learned that weapon swapping is one of the most essential game mechanics. In a lot of build videos you will see that especially Nightblades barswap a lot to reapply their buffs and debuffs, and to get the maximum out of their DPS.

You will also have noticed that light attacking has a lot of benefits. It will help you regenerate Ultimate, increase your DPS, work with your skills (especially Grim Focus/Merciless Resolve) and more. The Elder Scrolls Online has a specific game mechanic which is called Light Attack Weaving. It means that you are canceling the animation of a light attack with a skill in order to be faster in your rotation and therefor put out more damage. It is one way to cancel an animation, there are others, going to be explained in a future guide.

For now the most important thing to learn about it is that you will have to learn to use a Light Attack inbetween each Skill. Don’t worry about the animation cancelling yet.

You might also want to respec back to a pure Damage Dealer (DD) by now, using either the Minimal or Ideal Skill Setup, if you haven’t done it already. The dungeons will get harder, especially the DLC dungeons, and people don’t appreciate Hybrids very much.

Also, don’t worry about a specific gear setup yet.

If you have found a guild or friends that offer to help you out with gear, then you can ask them to craft you gear suggested in other guides, but it isn’t necessary and usually a waste of resources/money.

The next big and last milestone gear wise will be Champion Points 160. This is when you can start with collecting the gear you want or need, upgrade it and grind trials, dungeons or overland activities. It might seem like a big step, but you will get Enlightenment for being logged out of the game, which will give you a bonus to the Experience Points that you earn. That way you can earn Champion Points at an accelerated pace.

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