Nightblade is designed as the assassin class, and they use stealth to perform sneak attacks with extra damage. They often use magic to weaken their enemies, or even make themselves stronger. Typical “rogue” archetype as found in other similar games, Nightblades can be very effective in both ranged and melee combat.

Nightblade Skill Lines

As every other class in The Elder Scrolls Online, Nightblade also has access to three different skill lines: Assassination, Shadow and Siphoning. You can either focus on improving skills in one category, or mix skills, spells and abilities from different skill lines.

Assassination

The name of the skill line should be pretty self-explanatory: it’s focused on killing your targets as fast as possible. This skill tree is aimed for melee fighters, and the spells include killing targets on low health, increasing your attack speed or evasion and similar.

Assassination skill line includes the following spells and abilities:

  • Ultimate:
    • Death Stroke – ultimate ability that deals damage depending on your Ultimate resource pool. It also debuffs a target so it receives less healing.
  • Active Abilities:
    • Assassin’s Blade – attack that deals additional magic damage to your enemy, but also deals 300% increased damage to enemies on low health.
    • Teleport Strike – in addition to teleporting you to your enemy, this spell also deals damage and stuns your target.
    • Blur – the only defensive spell in the Assassination tree, Blue increases your chance to avoid attacks.
    • Mark Target – your attacks ignore a percent of the target’s resistances, and killing a marked target also heals you. It has an added drawback though: your marked target’s attacks also ignore half of your resistances.
    • Haste – this skill increases your attack speed with heavy and light weapon attacks.
  • Passive Abilities:
    • Master Assassin – increases your damage when stealthed or invisible, and stuns targets for a longer duration.
    • Executioner – slain enemies restore your magicka.
    • Pressure Points – increases critical chance for every Assassination ability on your action bar.
    • Hemorrhage – increases your bonus strike skill for each Assassination ability on your hotkey bar.

Nightblade: Shadow Skill Line - StealthShadow

Shadow skill tree of course improves your stealth-based abilities and attacks. Stealth is a giant part of the assassin gameplay in TESO which is why this line is very important. The abilities include:

  • Ultimate:
    • Consuming Darkness – Ultimate ability which creates an area of darkness that snares your enemies and provides you with invisibility, which is broken for a short time after attacking. Your allies can also benefit from Consuming Darkness by activating Slip Away synergy.
  • Active Abilities:
    • Shadow Cloak – you gain invisibility for a short time, but you don’t regenerate any magicka while invisible.
    • Veiled Strike – deals magic damage and sets the enemy off balance, as well as stunning them for a short period.
    • Summon Shade – summons a shade which attacks your opponents, and also debuffs them which makes them deal less damage.
    • Path of Darkness – creates a dark path in front of your character which deals damag to enemies and increases your movement speed when on the path.
    • Aspect of Terror – an AoE ability that fears all nearby enemies.
  • Passive Abilities:
    • Refreshing Shadow – your stamina regeneration is increased for the duration.
    • Shadow Barrier – after coming out of stealth or invisibility you take less damage.
    • Fortitude – your maximum health is increased for every Shadow ability on your action bar.
    • Dark Veil – increases the duration of Shadow abilities.

Nightblade: Siphoning Skill Line - PvE CombatSiphoning

Siphoning tree is focused on weakening your target with various debuffs, while also providing you with some benefits. Many spells here are DoTs.

  • Ultimate:
    • Soul Shred – Ultimate spell which deals area of effect damage and stuns everyone caught in the radius. Allies can also activate Leeching Strike synergy which is a strong attack with a life leeching effect.
  • Active Abilities:
    • Strife – medium duration DoT which leeches life from your opponent and gives you a portion of it.
    • Agony – stuns your target and deals damage to it, however the stun is broken if the affected target receives any other damage.
    • Cripple – deals damage to your enemy and siphons its movement speed.
    • Siphoning Strikes – a toggled spell which reduces your damage but restores some of your magicka and stamina with every attack.
    • Drain Power – area of effect spell that decreases the attack power of nearby enemies, while giving you extra AP for every enemy affected.
  • Passive Abilities:
    • Catalyst – increases the effectiveness of your potions.
    • Magicka Flood – increases your maximum magicka when you have Siphoning abilities on your hotbar.
    • Soul Siphoner – increases healing your Nightblade receives from Siphoning abilities.
    • Transfer – when dealing damage with a Siphoning ability you gain Ultimate (resource).

Weapons

Nightblades prefer to use daggers and one handed swords, and also axes. Of course you can also use any other type of weapon, but players typically pick the Nightblade class to be assassins, therefore fast and light weapons are most commonly used.

Nightblade class also has access to great passives that increase your damage, critical strike chance or even add a bleed effect to your enemies when using daggers, swords and axes, thus further cementing the aforementioned as their weapons of choice.

While all classes can be effective with a Bow, Nightblades really shine with this weapons and it’s not uncommon to see them. Unfortunately Bow builds are often times considered less than optimal (for good reason), and you’ll rarely see them in groups or high level dungeons.

Armor

Definitely the best armor type for Nightblades is medium armor, assuming you go with typical melee builds. Medium armor provides more protection than light, while also providing other benefits: more quiet movement speed which helps with stealth and generally improved sneaking. Medium armour also increases your critical strike chance for each medium armor piece you have equipped, and if you use a full set of medium armor you gain an agility bonus improving your attack speed, as well as increased stamina regeneration. Consider using 5 Medium Armor and 2 Light Armor pieces, to get the 5-set bonus while still maintaining some magicka bonuses provided by Light.

For characters relying on stealth heavy armor is not the best choice as it doesn’t provide any bonuses for sneaking or stamina. However, heavy armour does increase your damage mitigation further and there are some builds that use it for extra durability in fights. Several self-sustain and mitigation skills enable Nightblades to become tanks comparable to any other class, so heavy armor usage is definitely not out of the question.

Another popular build is of course Destruction Staff, and while Nightblades aren’t exactly ideal mages they are certainly not the worst either (those would be Templars). If you prefer the mage playstyle, you’ll most likely be using Light Armor for magicka, crit, and spell cost bonuses.

Attributes

Nightblades typically spend most of their attribute points into Health and Stamina. You need a certain amount of health to be able to survive in fights since your self-healing options are limited, and stamina is widely used to maintain stealth or more importantly to take advantage of block, dodge and interrupt during combat.

Some increased magicka is helpful as well considering abilities from class skill trees require it, an it’s highly unlikely you won’t be using any of them.

Essentially your attribute points and enchants will likely go into supporting your desired play style: tanks will want Stamina and Health, with a preference on the latter. Mages and healer builds will spend most of their stats into increased Magicka. Melee DPSers will go with a combination of stamina, magicka, and health (probably in that order).

Recommended Races

While typically not important, most players choose Khajiit or alternatively Redguard races for Nightblade class. Khajiit are the most obvious choice as this feline race is great at sneaking around, which is what Nightblades are usually all about. Redguards are strong warriors, making their useful stamina bonuses a great choice for up close and personal melee Nightblades. 

Why play a Nightblade?

If you ever played a rogue or assassin in other games, the Nightblade will be perfect for you! Their damage dealing potential and control during fights is immense and sneaking around and waiting for the right opportunity to strike can be highly rewarding. Nightblades are also surprisingly durable even when focused on dealing damage so it’s no surprise many players pick this class as their main.