The Dragonknight class in Elder Scrolls Online practices the ancient Akaviri ways, embodying the powers of the dragon. Dragonknights are hardy warriors and are usually on the front lines of any team, taking the difficult blows in place of your frailer companions. Dragonknights can be played successfully on any race, but certain race passives help your Dragonknight to excel at the role you want to play in.

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What is the best race for a Dragonknight, you ask? In this guide, we’ll go over ESO’s best races for Dragonknight in terms of maximizing damage output. We’ll follow that up with multiple options for different playstyles and learn about the most lore-appropriate Dragonknight characters for serious roleplayers. Let’s get started.

ESO Best Race for Dragonknight: The Top Picks

Let’s work our way through the list to uncover the best race for Dragonknight ESO has to offer.

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Imperial

Imperial Tank Dragonknight
Image: ZeniMax via HGG

The Best Race for Dragonknight Tanks

Dragonknights are known to be excellent tanks, which may just make the Imperial the ESO best race for Dragonknight overall. Imperial is the best tanking class for this patch, and will make your Dragonknight into a monster of a tank.

The Imperial provides you with an extra 2000 health and stamina, and reduces the cost of all of your abilities by 6%. The Dragonknight dominates as the best class for tanking, and adding the Imperial passives makes for a truly formidable frontline warrior. Dragonknights naturally gain stamina back for casting Earthen Heart abilities, and on top of that provide you with ultimate generation and give your group the minor brutality buff, increasing weapon damage by 10%. Having a larger stamina pool already, sustaining stamina resources will be very easy while you tank. Being able to hold up block for longer from the reduced cost of abilities is such a nice benefit for tanks, especially in groups where synergies aren’t as widely available to help you restore your lost resources.

Your ultimates will also be more readily available with the Dragonknight’s ultimate generation and the Imperial’s ultimate cost reduction. Being able to use the Aggressive Warhorn ultimate more often means your group will have a better uptime of increased stamina and magicka by 10% and increased critical damage by 20%, boosting your overall group damage by a wild amount over fights. When you are on the defensive, your Magma Shell will be easier to activate with its reduced cost, which can get you out of trouble when you’re in a pinch during a tough veteran boss battle.

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Dark Elf

Dark Elf Magicka DPS Dragonknight
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The Best Race for Magicka DPS Dragonknight

Dark Elf is probably ESO‘s best race for Dragonknight in terms of DPS, as you get a lot of stat bonuses that will help with dealing more damage and survivability.

The Dark Elf provides you with an extra 1910 magicka and stamina, and an increased 258 spell and weapon damage, along with 4620 flame resistance. The additional flame resistance (which is pretty fitting for a Dragonknight) also better allows your character to turn into a Vampire, giving you increased spell damage benefits while minimizing the extra fire damage you take as a Vampire.

Dragonknights excel in using damage over time abilities, and stacking multiple of these skills on top of each other amounts to massive damage. Your damage output will be increased from the additional spell and magicka pool you get with Dark Elf, but the extra stamina you gain will help your mobility in combat, and let you break free of crowd control more readily as needed.

Depending on your rotation, consider using the amazing set called Elf Bane, which increases your flame damage over time abilities by five seconds. You’ll have to farm the set in Cyrodiil or buy from a guild trader, but this increases your DOT damage output by a lot having those additional ticks of damage on an enemy. This also allows you to avoid recasting abilities and focus on your spammable. Since you’re focused on dealing fire damage, the mages’ guild ultimate (Shooting Star) will significantly increase the fire damage it deals over time. Be sure to use this on large crowds of enemies for the spell to generate ultimate for each enemy hit by the initial blast of it.

Molten Whip will be your main spammable, but keep in mind that while slotted, your other Ardent Flame abilities will increase the damage of the next Molten Whip you cast, meaning you’ll want to stagger your spammable with alternating skills. This can feel clunky if you’ve played other classes first, but once you get the hang of it, you can see its devastating effect on enemies. 

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Khajiit

Khajiit Stamina DPS Dragonknight
Image: ZeniMax via HGG

The Best Race for Stamina DPS Dragonknight

Khajiit is a very strong race right now and does great with the Stamina DPS Dragonknight playstyle.

Khajiit provides you with an extra 915 for health, stamina, and magicka, along with bonus recovery for each resource (100 health recovery, 85 recovery for stamina/magicka). Khajiit also gain an extra 12% increased critical damage and critical healing, helping their critical hits to land even harder. Stamina Dragonknights excel in damage over time abilities as well, but their primary focus is poison instead of fire.

The poisoned status effect deals damage over time for six seconds as opposed to the fire status effect only lasting for four seconds. This means you don’t need to apply it as often to reap its DOT rewards. Each tick of a DOT ability has the capability of critting, so making sure your critical chance is high with armor or the thief mundus will help you gain the full benefit of the extra 12% critical damage from the Khajiit passive.

Stone Giant will be your main spammable, and will make the enemy take increased damage with each cast of the skill after activating it. Keep in mind that the Stagger debuff from this skill will fall off and needs to be reapplied every five seconds. Venomous Claw is another ability you will need to keep up, as it does a wild amount of damage over time, but make sure not to reapply it too quickly. Venomous Claw deals 20% more damage every two seconds, and this will cancel if you reapply the skill too early, so make sure to let it seep for the fourteen-second duration before recasting.

Keeping track of all of your DOT abilities may seem daunting at first, but as you get used to applying them and managing the cooldowns, you will notice your DPS will increase a great deal. Memorizing the timers of each ability, or even using an add-on that helps keep track of them is a solid idea for improving your Dragonknight gameplay.

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High Elf

High Elf Dragonknight Healer
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The Best Race for Dragonknight Healers

High Elf is a great race for magicka characters, and will help the Dragonknight Healer maintain its magicka resources more efficiently while still providing strong healing. The Dragonknight Healer is a difficult class to pull off, as it has never been a meta pick for healing. That said, it can be a contender for best race for Dragonknight in PvE — if you choose the right race.

Using a High Elf will make healing on a Dragonknight more viable, and will be the meta pick for this not-so-meta playstyle. The High Elf provides you with an extra 2000 magicka, 258 spell and weapon damage, and 625 magicka/stamina back every six seconds from activating a skill depending on which resource is lower. The extra magicka and spell damage will help your healing abilities to scale better and heal for more, keeping your group alive more easily. Dragonknight Healers focus on shielding their allies, and utilizing the restoration skill line for many of their actual healing abilities. 

Cauterize is the Arden Flame skill tree’s main healing ability, and gives a solid heal over time along with granting you Major Prophecy while slotted, increasing your spell critical rating. Cinder Storm (from the Earthen Heart skill tree) provides great crowd control, slowing enemies by 70% in the area as well as healing you and your allies within once every second for fifteen seconds.

Keep in mind that as a healer in ESO, the role of a healer is not only to keep your allies alive of course, but to also mainly buff your allies and debuff the enemies, so that your group can output more damage. Applying skills like Combat Prayer and Aggressive Warhorn will make your group fight at peak ability, increasing their overall damage and stats. Keeping your allies alive is the primary objective, but buffing yourself and allies and dealing damage should be a goal you can easily realize as a Dragonknight Healer as well.  

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Nords

Nord Dragonknight Lore
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The Best Race for ESO Dragonknight Lore

The Dragonknight skills and practices originate from the Akaviri dragon hunters, which would later transform into the Blades (who you encounter in Skyrim which occurs around 1000 years after the ESO timeline). Nords work as Dragonknights for a number of reasons — one such reason that they are in the Ebonheart Pact, whose main symbol is a dragon.

According to the Elder Scrolls lore, the Nord Greybeards are the only people other than the Dragonborn that can learn the dragon shouts called “Thu’um” (although it’s technically not a requirement to be Nord to be a Greybeard). With their history of constant connection and interaction with dragons, Nords just fit the theme.

The Nord provides you with an extra 1000 health, 1500 stamina, 2600 physical and spell resistance, and you will even gain 5 ultimate every ten seconds when you take damage. Nords also provide you with an additional 4620 cold resistance, which can help you situationally. Nords are naturally tanky and were the meta tank race for a long time, so making your Dragonknight a Nord will still provide you with the near best meta racial passives. Nords are second to only Imperials when it comes to tanking. A Nord could also be played as a magicka DPS, but their passives are better suited for stamina DPS.

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Orc

Orc PVP Stamina Dragonknight
Image: ZeniMax via HGG

The Best Race for PVP Dragonknight (Stamina)

What is the ESO best race for Dragonknight when it comes to PvP? The mighty Orc, of course! While running a stamina Dragonknight in PVP won’t give you as much burst as a magicka Dragonknight would, it better enables you to fight groups, which means you’ll be on the frontlines for a lot longer.

The Orc provides you with an extra 1000 stamina and health, an extra 258 weapon and spell damage, and 2125 health restoration upon dealing damage once every four seconds. This makes Orcs natural bruisers, and they can focus on dealing raw damage rather than needing to cast healing spells as frequently as other races would need to. You’ll still need to pre-buff battles with vigor, but when your non-Orc opponents are getting overwhelmed without natural healing sustain, you’ll find it much easier to continue using your high damage skills to keep them on the defensive. Dragonknight kits are naturally strong in defense, so you’ll be able to sustain yourself very well in 1v1s and against mobs of enemies. 

Dizzying Swing will be your main spammable, but you want to cast as many DOT skills on your enemies as you can, so you can slowly burn them down and then overwhelm them with the burst of your spammable followed by the Executioner skill. Dragonknights can control the flow of battle very easily with their crowd control and chip away at their opponents health before they become aware of the danger they are in. Take advantage of the slow and steady playstyle, then burst down with your Take Flight ultimate and other combos. 

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Dragonknight is a solid choice for any of the major roles, and we hope you can put to use some of our tips to find ESO‘s best race for Dragonknight for your playstyle. Check out our other ESO guides and other gaming content, and stay up to date with our newsletter.

Happy gaming!