ESO: 3 Fun DPS Arcanist Builds (2024)

Harnesses the power of Apocrypha!

The Arcanist is The Elder Scrolls Online’s newest class that features interesting skills. The Arcanists’ power comes from Apocrypha, the mysterious realm of the Daedric Prince Hermaeus Mora. Arcanists can control runes and glyphs to aid them on adventures!

Today, we will be going over 3 Arcanist DPS Builds that fit different play styles and can be used for different content in the ESO. These builds optimize more for having fun and learning the skills!

About the Arcanist

As mentioned above the Arcanist has a new Crux system and resource system. The Crux adds a new mechanic to your rotation in which certain abilities generate or consume the Crux. You can generate up to 3 Crux at a time by using abilities such as Cephaliarch’s Flail or Writhing Runeblades. You can then use abilities that consume Crux such as Tentacular Dread and Pragmatic Fatecarver which makes the ability stronger. Note: DPS abilities that consume Crux deal more damage, Healing abilities will do more healing, and Tank abilities will generate stronger shields or armor.

The resource system is another feature introduced by the Arcanist. Your abilities will now use your highest or in some cases your lowest resource pool. Keep this in mind when creating your build and choosing attribute points!

Build 1: Light Attack Oakensoul Build

Build Summary: This Oakensoul build focuses on generating 3 Crux and using Pragmatic Fatecarver to maximize your damage output. This Oakensoul build can take some time to get used because it requires you to Light Attack weave but still only has one skill bar so it can be less overwhelming than having to switch between two. Once you get the hang of it, you will have a ton of fun with it!


Diagram of the skills needed for this Oakensoul build and the purpose of each skill.
Zenimax Online Studios / Ariana Honavar-Hiro

Rotation: For this Oakensoul build will strongly rely on you generating and using Crux. To maximize your damage you can start by casting Fulminating Rune, a synergy that can be placed on an enemy that will detonate 6 seconds after being cast. Then, Light Attack Weave to generate 3 Crux with Writhing Runeblades or Chakram of Destiny depending on what you need during the fight. The shield is useful if you feel like in a fight you or your teammates are about to take heavy damage or there are lots of AOEs around you for example. The Writhing Runeblades do a solid amount of damage. Both abilities can generate Crux and flow nicely when you are Light Attack weaving which is my favorite part of this build.

Once you have 3 crux you can apply Tentacular Dread to the enemy/enemies. Using this ability will debuff them allowing them to take extra damage for 20 seconds. If you have all three Crux, you can increase the damage your Tentacular Dread does by 20%. The key is to have the enemies debuffed and then generate 3 more Crux before using your channeled ability Pragmatic Fatecarver. You can use any ultimate you prefer here, I chose to run The Tide King’s Gaze!

Armor and Gear

Mythic Item: Oakensoul Ring This build will require you to get an Oakensoul Ring through the Antiquities system in The Elder Scrolls Online.

5 piece Sets: Deadly Strikes and Pillars of Nirn are the two I am using for this build. I recommend sticking with Deadly Strikes but the second set is flexible and you can use anything you like here. I am using a Deadly Bow but you can use any weapon you prefer. Mother’s Sorrow, Tzgovin’s Warband, and Order’s Wrath are all good choices too.

Monster Set Piece: Slimecraw- Wayrest Sewers 1 is a good option but you can use your preferred Monster set piece here.

Champion Points & Attributes

Light Attack Build Champion Points
ZeniMax Online Studios / Ariana Honavar-Hiro

Backstabber is a great perk to get to buff your Crit damage when flanking. Keep this in mind when you are playing so you can position yourself accordingly. Arcane Supremacy and Fighting Finesse are also helpful to have.

Attributes: 64 points into Magicka

Build 2: Velothi Amulet Burst Build

Build Summary: Next up is another build I had a lot of fun creating and using. This Velothi Ur-Mage’s Amulet build centers mostly on Damage Over Time Abilities and Exhausting Fatecarver. This build is great for Dungeon content, Overland content, or the Infinite Archives. The Azureblight Reaper set creates a satisfying bomb effect that procs off Damage-Over-Time abilities. This build is great whether you are fighting mobs or bosses. There is a great balance between sustain and damage abilities which is what I love about this!

Front Bar

Arcanist Burst Build Bar 1
ZeniMax Online Studios / Ariana Honavar-Hiro

Back Bar

Arcanist Burst Build Back Bar
Zenimax Online Studios / Ariana Honavar-Hiro

Rotation: The rotation for this build is fairly easy to pick up. You will focus on casting your damage over time effects on your back bar and charging up 3 Crux to spend on your Fatecarver. The Bar setup is pictured above to help you when working on your build! Start by casting Recuperative Treatise then move on to the damage over time skills. Camo Hunter (Fighter’s Guild Skill line) and Inner Magelight (Mage’s Guild) will provide passive buffs (Major Prophecy and Major Savagery) on both bars; you do not need to worry about using them! This allows you to focus on applying your DoTs and charging up Crux. Structured Entropy and Fulminating Rune are fantastic Damage-Over-Time skills. The Arcanist Domain is a great way to recover some Health and resources when you and your allies are low in a fight.

I am using Flawless Dawnbreaker on the front bar for the Ultimate because it grants you 300 extra Weapon and Spell damage for 20 seconds after you use the Ultimate. For your back bar, you can use any ultimate you prefer. If you are running Infinite Archives you can switch to Sanctum of the Abyssal Sea for extra protection if needed.

Armor and Gear

Mythic Item: Velothi Ur-Mage’s Amulet

5 Piece Sets: The first set you will use for this build is Deadly Strikes. You can get this in Cyrodil. The other set you will use for this build is the Azureblight Reaper set from the Lair of Maarselok dungeon. Your Azureblight Reaper set will apply the Blight seed effect to your target, explode, and cause Disease Damage. For weapons, you can choose what to use since we are not using weapon skills I am running a Deadly Bow as my primary and a Deadly Lightning Staff as the backup.

Monster Set: Slimecraw in Light Armor is a great beginner set for this build. If there is a Monster set you like better for this make sure to include it when creating your build!

Champion Points & Attributes

Wrathful Strikes Champion Points
Zenimax Online Studios / Ariana Honavar-Hiro

For this build, putting points into perks that buff my Weapon and Spell Damage and Damage over time effects will help maximize your damage. Thaturmage and Mighty are also helpful to use for this build.

Attributes: 64 points into Stamina

Build 3: Infinite Archives Velothi Amulet Build

Build Summary: Last but not least, this is a build great for the Infinite Archives game mode. This build has helped me from everything from mobs to Marauders and Tho’at at various Arcs. I liked it so much that I have been running it for Normal/Veteran Dungeons and Overland content and it works just as well. This build works well for dungeons but you can always swap out some of the defensive skills to help with damage if you need. This build uses the Velothi Ur-Mage’s Amulet and allows for heavy damage and high survivability which is nice when you are in the Archives with a friend or Solo.

Primary Bar

Arcanist Infinite Archives Build Front
ZeniMax Online Studios / Ariana Honavar-Hiro

Back Bar

Infinite Archives Back Bar
ZeniMax Online Studios / Ariana Honavar-Hiro

Rotation: The goal for this build is to charge up 3 Crux and spend them using Fatecarver. On the front bar, make sure to use Recuperative Treatise first because you will gain one Crux from it. The fifth slot on the first bar is where you can use a weapon ability or any skill you enjoy using that also does damage. I am using Venom Arrow because it’s a good Damage-Over-Time ability and a ranged Interrupt which can be super helpful for the Infinite Archives.

The back bar of this build consists of some abilities that will provide buffs, healing, and shields for yourself and any allies. The Fulminating Rune and Reconstructive Domain are two abilities you will need to have 100% uptime on so make sure you have the timers on to make this easier. Cephaliarch’s Flail, Chakram of Destiny, and Evolving Runemend are all Crux generators. Runeguard of Still Waters is a great “oh crap” shield to use when your health goes low and provides Minor Protection. This skill also immobilizes nearby enemies which is a great bonus for the Infinite Archives. For ultimates, I am using the Tide King’s Gaze and Shooting Star but Sanctum of the Abyssal Sea (Soldier of Apocrypha) is helpful to use too!

Armor and Gear:

Mythic Item: The Velothi Ur-Mage’s Amulet

5 Piece Sets: Deadly Strikes is the main set I recommend for this build. I am using Deadly Bows on both bars for my weapons. You can choose weapons based on what passives you prefer. Sets like The Blessing of High Isle (overland set), Mother’s Sorrow, and Tzgovin’s Warband would work well for your second set. You just have to determine what would be the most helpful for your build. For the Monster set piece, I just went with Slimecraw (medium) for the Crit bonus.

Champion Points and Attributes:

ZeniMax Online Studios / Ariana Honavar-Hiro

For this build, slotting points into Magicka Regeneration and buffing the damage your Fatecarver does with Biting Aura is helpful. Arcane Supremacy and Fighting Finesse are helpful here as well.

Attributes: 64 points into Magicka.

Helpful Info for Your Build!

Food: Using food to help restore resources and health is incredibly helpful, the ones above are some of my favorites to use!

Traits and Enchantments: For your traits, you can decide what is missing from your build and decide what would be most useful. I am using Divines on my gear but my weapons have Precise or Sharpened. For my rings, I like to use Blood Thirsty. For your enchantments, I like to focus on having resource regeneration and increasing weapon and spell damage.

Mundus Stone: The Apprentice, The Shadow, The Thief, and The Warrior are all great choices for your Mundus Stone. I like to check out my character sheet and do a parse test to see which one works best for a build.

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