Dark Serpent Stam DK PvE Build


Great Stam DK build for any level of PvE content. This build certainly helped me complete Veteran Maelstrom Arena and I’ve used it in Veteran Trials as well.

This build video was created during the “One Tamriel” update, but that doesn’t mean it’s outdated. These armor sets and skills still perform extremely well with all the content through Summerset.


Bar 1: Dual Wield

  1. Venemous Claw (Searing Strike Morph): Huge Damage over Time (DoT) skill, scales off stamina & weapon damage, insanely low cost. Keep this skill up at all times.
  2. Bloodthirst (Flurry Morph): Main DPS skill, also heals you on the last hit. This skill is a MUST if you want to complete Veteran Maelstrom Arena on a Stam DK.
  3. Steel Tornado (Whirlwind Morph) or Rending Slashes (Twin Slashes Morph): Steel Tornado is great for questing or large AOE battles. Rending Slashes adds a ton of single target DPS and is a great DoT. Use Rending Slashes in VMA, boss fights, or anytime you need more single target DPS.
  4. Igneous or Fragmented Shield (Obsidian Shield Morph): Dragonknight Skill found in the Earthen Heart tree. This skill is essential! Using it not only gives us a damage shield, but it also gives our allies one too. It also gives us and our allies Minor Brutality, which increases weapon damage by 5% for 20 seconds (Mountain’s Blessing passive), and it helps us generate ultimate through the Mountain’s Blessing passive as well. I’m not finished…using it grants us Major Mending which increases our healing done by 25% for 3 seconds (5.4 seconds if you use Fragmented), so this needs to be used before you heal with Resolving Vigor if you want maximum heals! Lastly, it helps give us stamina back through the Helping Hands passive. It’s a beast of a skill & is essential for DK’s to have.
  5. Resolving Vigor (Vigor Morph): Awesome self & group stamina heal that scales off max stamina and weapon damage. It’s a 5 second heal over time but is essential to have on your bar, especially if you’re trying to complete Vet Maelstrom.
  6. Ultimate – Dawnbreaker of Smiting (Dawnbreaker Morph): I love this ultimate! It has a fairly low cost at only 125 and it deals loads of initial damage up front, but then even more damage over 5 seconds. This morph also has a stun, which stuns enemies for 3 seconds. This is really great, especially in VMA if you need a quick breather while you’re getting hammered by mobs. Just knock some of them down! Slotting this also gives you an additional 3% weapon damage through the Fighter’s Guild “Slayer” passive, and Dawnbreaker will also hit 20% harder against Undead, Daedra, and Werewolves if you have the “Skilled Tracker” passive as well.

Bar 2: Bow

  1. Poison Injection (Poison Arrow Morph): Ranged DoT & excecute skill. This poison DoT ticks for 10 seconds and deals up to 200% more damage against enemies under 50% health. Keep this DoT up at all times if you can.
  2. Endless Hail (Volley Morph): Once you get the Maelstrom Bow this skill really turns into a monster, but until then you still want to have it on your bar as it’s still amazing by itself. This skill lasts 10 seconds and deals damage ever 0.5 seconds.
  3. Rearming Trap (Trap Beast Morph): This skill is found in the Fighter’s Guild skill line. Using it costs stamina, but once an enemy walks over your placed trap, the trap goes off dealing damage and then continues to deal more damage over the span of 6 seconds. Having an enemy trigger the trap also gives you Minor Force which increases your critical damage dealt by 10%. Once the trap releases the enemy, it re-arms and can be triggered one more time. Slotting this on your bar also gives you 3% more weapon damage due to the “Slayer” passive in the Fighter’s Guild skill line.
  4. Volatile Armor (Spiked Armor Morph): This is one of our defensive skills. Either morph would work here, but I like Volatile because when you use it, it shoots out spikes that will add a small DoT on any enemy that it hits. It’s not much, but every bit helps. The main purpose of this skill though is to buff you up with Major Resolve and Major Ward, which increases your Physical and Spell Resistances for 20 seconds.
  5. Dragon Fire Scale (Reflective Scale Morph): Honestly either morph works for this slot. The other morph (Reflective Plate) just got buffed in the Summerset patch so now it removes snares, which can be really helpful. But for PvE I think the best choice is Dragon Fire Scale. This is our 2nd defensive skill on this bar and it’s main purpose is to reflect projectiles back at their casters. When used, Dragon Fire Scale lasts 6 seconds and allows us to reflect up to 4 projectiles back at the caster. With Dragon Fire Scale these projectiles deal 35% more damage.
  6. Ultimate – Ballista (Rapid Fire Morph) or Corrosive Armor (Magma Armor Morph): Ballista is the bow ultimate and is my offensive choice on this bar. Corrosive Armor is under the DK’s Earthen Heart skill line and is an amazing defensive choice for this bar. It’s up to you with what you want to use and the situation you’re in. If I’m solo and in Veteran Maelstrom I’ll probably slot Corrosive Armor. Whereas if I’m in a dungeon or trial and we have a healer then I’ll probably slot Ballista. Corrosive Armor costs 200 Ultimate while Ballista costs 175, but I honestly like having these higher cost ultimates in this slot because it means when you use them you get more resources back through the DK’s “Battle Roar” passive. Often times if I’m in VMA and I find myself low on Stamina or health, maybe my potion is still on cooldown and I need more stamina immediately I’ll just pop one of these ultimates if it’s ready.

Overall I find these skills to work the best for me. Feel free to play around with a few of them if you’d like. You can even put some on different bars if you prefer. The rotation is rather simple though. I usually open with a heavy attack on my bow bar, then I fire off a Poison Injection followed by Endless Hail. While I’m doing this I’m either moving towards the enemy or it’s approaching me but usually by this point it’s right in front of me, so then I throw down a Rearming Trap, bar swap to DW bar, weave in a heavy/light attack, then I go into Bloodthirst, then Venomous Claw, then Bloodthirst again, then Rending Slashes, then Bloodthirst. By this point I likely need to re-apply Poison Injection and Endless Hail, so I bar swap back to bow and do the whole rotation all over again. I’m not perfect at it, and it takes practice, but once you get it down it’s quite fun and become second nature.

Other skills I’ve used in this build:
Noxious Breath (Fiery Breath Morph)
Razor Caltrops (Caltrops Morph)

Weapons & Armor

Head: Velidreth – Medium – Divines or Infused – Stamina Enchant
Shoulder: Velidreth – Medium – Divines – Stamina or Health Enchant
Chest: Vicious Ophidian – Medium – Divines or Infused – Stamina Enchant
Legs: Night Mother’s Gaze – Medium – Divines or Infused – Stamina Enchant
Hands: Vicious Ophidian – Medium – Divines – Stamina Enchant
Waist: Night Mother’s Gaze – Medium – Divines – Stamina Enchant
Feet: Night Mother’s Gaze – Medium – Divines – Stamina or Health Enchant
Neck: Vicious Ophidian – Robust – Weapon Damage Enchant
Ring 1: Vicious Ophidian – Robust – Weapon Damage Enchant
Ring 2: Vicious Ophidian – Robust – Weapon Damage Enchant
Dual Wield: Night Mother’s Gaze – 2 Daggers – Nirnhoned – Weapon Damage Glyph & Crushing Glyph
Bow: The Maelstrom’s Bow – Nirnhoned or Defending – Absorb Stamina Enchant (many options here of what you can use, up to you and what you need).

Where to get this gear:
Velidreth – Head pieces drop from the final boss of Veteran Cradle of Shadows. Shoulder pieces can be found by opening Undaunted Chests after obtaining keys from the daily Undaunted Pledges.
Night Mother’s Gaze – Crafted Set located at Eldbjorg’s Hideaway in The Rift, Silaseli Ruins in Bankora, or Old Town Cavern in Reaper’s March. Requires 6 Traits to craft pieces of this set.
Vicious Ophidian (Serpent) Set – Pieces of this set have the chance to drop from the final boss in Aetherian Archive, Hel Ra Citadel, and Sanctum Ophidia.
The Maelstrom’s Bow – Found in the final chest after completing Veteran Maelstrom Arena.

Champion Points

I cover the entire Champion Point breakdown in my video (above), but soon I’ll have it written out here as well.

Other Important Things

Race: Redguard, Khajiit, Orc, Imperial, Wood Elf. Any race would work for this build but you may have to tweak things depending on your stats and racial passives. I play this as an Orc and it works great.

Mundus: The Thief (increased critical strike damage) or The Warrior (increased weapon damage)

Attributes: 64 into Stamina

Food: Any CP 150-160 food that offers Inceased Max Health & Max Stamina works great for the most damage. I use the Braised Rabbit with Spring Vegetables, but for more sustain you can use a drink called Dubious Camoran Throne which will increase your Max Stamina, Max Health, and increase your Stamina Recovery.

Potions: I use the Essence of Weapon Power potion. This gives you Major Brutality (Increased Weapon Damage by 20%), Major Savagery (Increased Critical Rating), Restores 7582 Stamina immediately, and Major Endurance (Increased Stamina Recovery by 20%). It can be crafted using Lorkhan’s Tears, Blessed Thistle, Dragonthorn, and Wormwood.