Magicka Sorcerer – Abilities and Skill Lines [Part 4]

You know your rotation, you’re weaving, have the basics down and you even have some pretty decent gear – but what else should you be leveling and why are you using these abilities? Let’s find out!

I’ll go through each section of abilities and split everything into a few categories. Must have, good and icing on the cake. Obviously focus on using skill points on the must have abilities and passives first, and as you get spare skill points – add some icing on the cake. The order things are listed within their category isn’t important – I mostly just went through them in the order they are in the game.

Class Abilities

Class abilities are definitely important to unlock and use! Which ones should you focus on early, and what passives are actually important?

Dark Magic

Dark Magic is a bit of an odd skill line. You don’t want many of the active skills, but the passives are great so you definitely want to level it up all the way!

Must Have

Crystal Shard > Crystal Fragments – This is a bread and butter skill of magicka sorcs. For beginners it may be best to avoid this skill as it messes up an otherwise static rotation, but it holds a big punch and allows the passives of this skill line to get unlocked and levelled. 

Unholy Knowledge – This passive directly helps with sustain, and does not require a skill from the skill line to be slotted.

Good to Have

Blood Magic – This passive only comes into use when using one of the abilities in this skill line. If you are using Crystal Fragments you definitely want this skill, but if you’re not – you can pass it over for now.

Exploitation – This passive does require you use a skill from this skill line, but it’s great as it’s the only source of Minor Prophecy other than poisons – which are generally not used in PvE. This not only gives you the Minor Prophecy buff – it also gives it to your allies!

Icing on the Cake

Persistance – This allows an ability to cost less after blocking. In group content you don’t do a ton of blocking so it’s an okay passive for DPS.

Daedric Summoning

This skill line is obviously focused on pet sorcs. My recommendations here are from a non-pet sorc point of view.

Must have

Daedric Curse > Haunting Curse – This is a must have skill for magicka DPS sorcerers in ESO! It’s a bit of an odd skill, containing both single target and AoE damage. It’s also not a DoT – but it takes time for the damage to be fully done. 

Bound Armor > Bound Aegis – This skill is an active skill – but you use it only for it’s passives. This will give you both your minor resistance buffs, ensure the Daedric Protection passive is active and give you 8% extra magicka! Since a lot of your damage scales from how much magicka you have, this is a big buff that shouldn’t be ignored!

Daedric Protection – This passive increases your recovery (by 20%!!) while an active ability from this skill line is slotted. It’s definitely a huge help in sustain!

Good to Have

Conjured Ward – This is a class shield that is a fantastic option to have. You have choose a morph that allows for a larger shield that the light armor skill version, or one that helps with sustain! 

Power Stone – This passive decreases the cost of your ultimate by 15%! That applies to any ultimate, not just sorcerer ones.

Storm Calling

This is where most of the lightning comes from in the Elder Scrolls Online Sorcerer class! We’ll make use of quite a lot of these abilities!

Must Have

Mage’s Fury – This is your execute! Although some builds do offer rotations without your class execute, this skill is important to unlock and level so you have it available if you do need it! One morph does more damage which is normally preferred, but if you tend to do overland content where there are lots of groups of mobs – the recovery morph is decent as well.

Lightning Splash > Liquid Lightning – This is one of your bread and butter skills – this being a DoT (damage over time!).  You want the Liquid Lightning morph so it matches up nicely with your wall of elements DoT, and gives more room for other skills while it runs. 

Capacitor – This passive increase recovery. I know it seems odd we have so many things to help with sustain, but I promise you – you will appreciate all of them!

Implosion – This is like a built in passive execute! As you will always be using Liquid Lightning – this passive always has a good chance to proc on low health mobs!

Expert Mage – This increases your spell damage by 2% for each sorcerer class ability slotted – not just the ones from the storm calling skill line. After all those recovery passives – we want to do great damage too!

Good to Have

Surge > Power Surge – This is a great skill to use during normal dungeon or out in the overland where you do not want to use expensive crafted potions – but still want the benefits of the Major Sorcery buff. This also has a heal that is good enough to be my only heal in VMA! Having a constant small heal up can be a huge help – especially when venturing solo!

Energized – This passive becomes more important if you use a lightning staff. This increases the damage you do with any shock abilities! 

Icing on the Cake

Lightning Form > Boundless Storm – This ability is great for shock themed builds, gives you both major resistance buffs and gives a short speed buff! This is a very fun and useful skill to use when you are venturing solo, as it does damage to enemies all around you and makes you a bit tougher to kill!


The only weapon you will be using is destruction staves.

Destruction Staff

All this applies whether you use 2 inferno staves, or 1 inferno and 1 lightning staff.

Must Have

Force Shock > Crushing Shock – I can’t stress enough how much more utility Crushing Shock has than Force Pulse. So many times (especially in trials) it’s extremely useful for DPS to have a ranged interrupt – and what better than it to be your spammable! This ability hits enemies 3 times with one click of the button!

Wall of Elements > Elemental Blockade – This is a bread and butter skill for all magicka DPS in ESO – whether you are a sorcerer or not. You do want the longer lasting morph to simplify your rotation and allow other skills to be used while this runs. 

Penetrating Magic – This passive is like a secret boost to your spell penetration – but only works with your destruction staff abilities. 

Elemental Force – This increases the chance of you applying very useful secondary effects such as burning – which add more free damage!

Ancient Knowledge – This is the reason it’s important your spammable/front bar is an inferno staff! This passive makes whatever staff is currently equipped the one that makes a change. While on your lightning staff back bar – your AoE’s (like elemental blockade) are doing more damage, but once you swap to the front (fire) bar – elemental blockade is no longer doing extra damage – but crushing shock is!

Good to Have

Weakness to the Elements > Elemental Drain – You honestly won’t really use this in battle, but it’s an important skill to have unlocked if you like to practice your rotation or test your dps on a target dummy while solo.

Tri Focus – This makes your fire heavy attacks do more damage, and adds that cool splash damage to lightning staff heavy attacks!

Destruction Expert – Remember how I keep saying sustain? Yes, this is another passive to help it.


Light Armor

You’re wearing 5 pieces of light armor, so pretty much everything is important – but I’ll still let you know what is most important!

Must Have

Annulment > Harness Magicka – This shield is available to anyone wearing at least 5 pieces of light armor, but is incredibly useful. I prefer to take harness magicka here with helps with sustain, and when I need a shield where there is no incoming magicka damage – I used hardened ward for a larger shield! This allows a large shield and a sustain shield being available to you without respeccing any skills.

Evocation – Sustain sustain sustain.

Prodigy – This increases your spell critical rating, which means your spell will crit more often!

Concentration – Increases your spell penetration! Especially important when playing solo!

Nice to Have

Spell Warding- This allows you to be slightly more resilient again magicka attacks.

Icing on the Cake

Grace – This is probably more useful in PvP, but snare reduction and cheaper sprint is nice to have!

Medium Armor

You’re wearing one piece of it, so might as well take advantage! There are no must have’s in this section though!

Good to Have

Athletics – The main reason I list this as good to have is the reduction in roll dodge cost. As a magicka DPS character, you have not invested anything into stamina – so the amount you can roll dodge is pretty limited.

Icing on the Cake

Wind Walker – This is definitely an ‘icing on the cake’ type of passive. Normally percentage bonuses are amazing – but due to our limited stamina recovery this doesn’t do anything huge – but could make a difference in you being able to do that live saving roll dodge or block!

Improved Sneak – There is exactly 1 dungeon in the entire game that this will prove useful in a combat type situation, but it’s nice to have for completing some of the sneakier DLC and quests.

Heavy Armor

Oddly, the heavy armor skill line has a few passives that will definitely help you out – even though you are only wearing one piece of it!

Must Have

Juggernaut – If you get any odd passive – make it this one. This passive increases your max health by 2% per piece of heavy armor warn, that means for you – 2%. This sound small, but when we want enough health to survive but don’t want to give up glyphs that would otherwise be magicka – this passive can make that difference!

Constitution – I struggled with whether this should be must have or good to have. It’s not as important as Juggernaut, but is definitely more inmportant than resolve! Health recovery isn’t something we put into anywheres else, and it can take us off the edge of death while we resurrect our healer, plus has a small sustain bonus built in!

Icing on the Cake

Resolve – This passive makes us a bit less squishy! 


Fighters Guild

Don’t worry about focusing on levelling this skill line up, just unlock the skill line by joining the fighters guild – and this skill line will level up naturally as you play!

Good to Have

Banish the Wicked – Every time you kill an undead – you gain some ultimate! There is a lot of undead in this game, especially in dungeons so it really helps build ultimate up faster!

Mages Guild

Must Have

Meteor – I’ll let you pick the morph you choose, but this is often put on a bar to benefit from the mages guild passives rather than to be used. The ultimate definitely it useful though!

Inner Light – This not only makes sure you benefit from Mage’s Guild passives, but also increase your magicka by 5%!

Magicka Controller – This passive is active on any bar you have a mages guild ability slotted. This increases your max magicka by 2% and increase your magicka regeneration by 2% Definitely a big help!

Icing on the Cake

Mage Adept – As per my 30 second testing on the PTS – this passive does not actually change the cost of meteor and it’s morphs. You may actually wonder why I bring it up at all. At some point – you will accidentally press that inner light button and swear to yourself for how much magicka it just consumed. At least acccidentally pressing it now won’t consume at much. 


You level up undaunted by completing group dungeons and group dungeon achievements! You also can level it up by going pledges and daily undaunted quests!

Must Have

Undaunted Mettle – This passive is practically the entire reason we are wearing 5-1-1 armor weights. It helps all of your stats, just grind it out and get it.

Nice to Have

Undaunted Command – Once you play at a higher level, you’re going to be hoping to be seeing orb or shard synergies to synergize on cooldown to help you sustain. This will help those synergies help your sustain even more!

Racial Skills

If they say something about magicka, or spell something – get it. It’s important. 


It’s surprising that you’ll appreciate leveling crafts on your main DPS character as well. I didn’t split the crafts up since there are so few skills though.

Must Have

Alchemy – Medicinal Use – This makes your potion effects last longer. On a standard Spell Power potion that is crafted – the effects of the potion will actually outlast the cooldown – therefore allowing 100% uptime! 

Nice to Have

Provisioning – Gourmand/Connoisseur – Which one of these passives is more important to you depends on if you use a food or drink. It’s nice to be able to have your buff food/drink last longer!

Why would I…

Here’s some skills that you are super confused as to why I suggest you level them – but they might actually come in handy some day and you will be glad you leveled them up! These are definitely not as important as what’s listed above.

Alliance War – Purge > Efficient Purge – A few different dungeons and trials have effects that you want to purge (or in some cases – absolutely must) and it’s great for some DPS to have it on their bar too!

Fighters Guild – Silver Bolts > Silver Leash – In a very very limited set of cases, it’s handy for DPS to be able to pull adds in because the tank just can’t. Your group will thank you.


Magicka Sorcerer DPS School Part 4 - Skills - Elder Scrolls Online PvE Guide

Are there any skills or passives you feel deserved to be on this list but wasn’t? Let me know in the comments below!

Magicka Sorcerer – What to Wear – Gear [Part 3]

You’ve got a sorc and have been practicing a rotation.. but what are you wearing? In this guide I’ll cover not only specific sets for Magicka Sorcerer DPS in Elder Scrolls Online, but basic gear guides for any DPS in ESO.

I will be covering some basic gear tips and explanations before we talk about any sets at all. If videos are your preferrred content delivery method, check out this guide in video form on youtube.

If you haven’t read/watched part 1 or part 2 yet, I really suggest going through those first!


For a magicka sorcerer you will be using two destruction staves. Your front bar will be an inferno staff, but your back back you can use inferno or lightning staff. Although a back bar inferno staff will be technically higher DPS – lightning staves help with off-balance in a non-optomized groups or solo situations – also the splash damage of the channeled heavy attack is nice.

Your “front bar” is whatever bar your spammable is on.

Armor Weight

Armor weight does matter in ESO. You want to wear 5-1-1, this means 5 pieces of light armor, 1 piece of medium armor and 1 piece of heavy armor. You may be confused as to why, so don’t worry – I will explain!

You require 5 pieces of light armor so that you get to receive benefit from all the light armor passives which are magicka based.

You want to wear at least one of each armor type to take advantage of the Undaunted Mettle passive in the Undaunted skill line. This also allows you to take some other armor passives such as Heavy armor’s Juggernaut passive that increases your max health by 2%.

Though it would make a huge different for which armor pieces are different weights, there is a difference and you can use this to your advantage to gain a bit or armor rating. I’ll list out how much armor each piece at epic quality has. Light/Medium/Heavy

  • Chest – 1348 / 1964 / 2676
  • Head/Shoulder/Legs/Feet – 1179 / 1760 / 2341
  • Hands – 775 / 1006 / 1338
  • Waist – 505 / 754 / 1003

As you can see, it is most beneficial for your single heavy armor item to be chest, and you single medium armor item be head/shoulder/legs/feet. Unfortunately that is only possible if you are using a crafted set. Otherwise you generally use shoulder/helm because that is your monster set – and it doesn’t matter which of those two slots is medium or heavy.



This is pretty simple for magicka DPS. Here are your options

  • All armor divines trait
  • “Big” pieces infused, small pieces divines.

But what are big and small? This is like the armor ratings – but the same pieces aren’t big and small.

Big (possibly infused) – Head, Chest, Legs
Small (always divines) – Shoulder, Hands, Waist, Feet.


Jewelry traits are still up in the air mostly. A lot of guides recommend all or at least some bloodthirsty. That isn’t bad and you can go ahead – but it isn’t exactly necessary. Arcane is still a great trait for magicka DPS.


It is best to have infused on both of your staves. If you play solo rather than in groups – using the sharpened trait is a great option.



This one is really simple – all magicka enchant on armor!

I really recommend a minimum of 170000 health with food active on DPS characters, but I prefer to use attributes to get to this number rather than enchants. This allows you to swap out gear for different scenarios without worrying if you still have the right amount of health enchants on.


Often many guides will tell you to use all spell damage enchants. Is that best? Sure. Will you be able to sustain it? Probably not. You will want to use a mix of magicka regeneration and spell damage on your jewelry depending on your CP level and comfort level with sustain. I personally like to run 2 spell damage enchants and 1 magicka regen enchant as a max CP player. 


This has been up in the air over the last few patches, but likely any of these options will still be good.

Absorb Magicka on your back bar. This will be a big big help with your sustain. 

Flame or Shock enchant on your front bar. Shock if you are a solo player, fire if you tend to play in groups.

Those who are really brave can use shock on one staff, and lightning on the other. If you still have a weapon damage enchant on your staves from past patches, that isn’t terrible and is fine too.

Gear Setup

There is a few different setups for magicka sorcerer

  • Two full 5 piece armor sets and “fancy” staves (VMA, asylum etc.)
  • A monster set, one full time 5 piece set, one front bar only 5 pc set, and VMA staff.
  • A monster set, two full 5 piece armor sets.

Gear Quality

You don’t need all your gear to be legendary. It will not make much of a difference other than making you go broke. Don’t do it! If you’re playing at a higher level you will want to make your weapons gold, but the gear is not necessary. The quality of your weapons is far more important than the quality of your armor or jewelry. Not high level yet? Go ahead and use blue armor and purple weapons! Weapon quality makes a decent different – armor quality doesn’t.

Gear Sets

Finally! I’m actually going to talk about specific sets you can wear as a magicka sorcerer! 


I consider leveling to be anything below CP160. So I consider level 1-50 along with champion point 10-150 as the leveling experience. Don’t rush this, this is when you’ll be leveling up different skill lines, abilities and getting to know your class! So what gear do I recommend?

  • 5 pieces Seducer (crafted)
  • rest whatever light armor set happens to drop in the zone you are in

Levelling doesn’t take a ton of time, so spend it enjoying the game instead of focusing on gear. Seducer is a crafted set that requires only 3 traits researched to make. I recommend making both weapons, heavy chest, one medium piece (head,should,legs,feet), and one light armor piece in seducer. Although you won’t take advantage of things like the undaunted mettle passive as you level, this will help you level those other armor skill lines. Making a new set ever 10-15 levels would be a good idea – and no need to make it any better than green or blue quality.

There is a light armor set that drops in each zone. Just use whatever you have from the zone. Using what you find will allow you to keep your armor a bit closer to your level and just offer convenience. Dolmens are how you get jewelry so don’t pass those by!

While you are leveling you will likely want to focus more on sustain than on damage. If you’re having trouble sustaining just go ahead and make some absorb magicka glyphs for both weapons – and leave the jewelry you pick up as is. It will generally be magicka cost reduction enchants by default on jewelry.


So you made it to CP160 and are looking to get into the BIS (best in slot) gear instantly! Settle down! You may be max gear level, but you still have a ways to go. You’ve got some CP to get, probably some passives to unlock and even level up some more skills.  So what do I suggest? Make some Julianos!

To get you started – head out to Orsinium to make yourself a full julianos set. Julianos is a solid set that is always a great option for any magicka DPS characters – and it’s crafted! This set is definitely about damage  and not sustain.

Once you have crafted that Julianos set, go ahead and run the group dungeon Veteran Crypt of Hearts 1 over and over. Why? Well a couple reasons. As a lower CP player you are still missing some raw stats (these come with CP until CP300) and are missing some sustain without many champion points. Lich is a solid set that is great for sustain, that is in one of the simpler group dungeons – that has the bonus of a solid monster helm drop at the end. Lich also drops in Crypt of Hearts 2 dungeon – but then you don’t have a chance at the Ilambris monster helm, and it’s a bit more challenging.

To acquire the shoulder piece of Ilambris you will need to do some undaunted pledges and open up Gilirions chest!

Best case scenario: at CP160 make yourself a Julianos set. Make both weapons (CP160), make head/shoulder medium or heavy CP150, and make another light piece. This means when you get a Ilambris helm and shoulder you didn’t waste many materials, and then after can craft other julianos piece at CP160 to match you mosnter set keeping you at 5-1-1. This also stops you from having to get a medium helm – since you can just craft a julianos piece and use whatever helm you got.

For the start of this farming, wearing the pieces is more important than the traits. Wear whatever lich you first pick up to give you the bonuses from the set while you continue to farm the dungeon to get it in better traits. The 5pc bonus is more important than it being divines.

Use this gear setup until you feel more comfortable with sustain. 

Dungeon Gear

Burning Spellweave (BSW) and Netch’s Touch are both dungeon sets that can come from group dungeons. Burning Spellweave was BIS not long ago, though I never cared for it much on a Sorc since we do a lot of shock damage, but it’s definitely still a solid set. Netch’s Touch is a decent set that is awesome to use if you want a themed lightning sorcerer! Both of these are base game dungeons – no DLC or chapters required!

BSW – City of Ash
Netch’s Touch – Darkshade Caverns

Overland Gear

Only one of these overland sets is really an option for you. If you are a magicka sorc DPS who does not use pets (who this guide is intended for) you will love Mother’s Sorrow. If you are a pet sorc – use necropotence.

Mother’s Sorrow (MS) is an amazing set that has the bonus of being an overland set. You do not need to do any instanced group content to get this set. You can farm it yourself in Deshann (base game zone!), or buy it from other players.

Necropotence is pretty much a given for all pet sorcs! You can find this set in Rivenspire (base game zone!) or buy it from other players.

Trial Gear

Infallible Aether comes from the 3 (base game) Craglorn trials, which you can often find PUGs (pick up groups) looking for more in that zone that you can join. If you are struggling with sustain on your magicka sorcerer you may find yourself using a lot of heavy attacks, or maybe it’s just part of your rotation. If so, this is a great set that will not only benefit you – but everyone around you! This set means the enemy you applied it to take 8% more damage from everyone! This used to be a standard healer set, but with other great options for healers now you generally won’t have to worry about a healer also wearing it.

Crafted Gear

Julianos also fits in this category as an amazing crafted set option for magsorc gear, but I didn’t include it here as I covered it earlier.  Mechanical Acuity is not best in slot by any means, but I wanted to include it because I figure you may already have a set from when it was previously BIS. I’m  a big believer in using what you already have. If you don’t have a set of mechanical acuity already, I don’t really think it’s worth making, but if you have it – it’s worth using! I use this on my magsorc currently. If you do use mechanical acuity you must be using crushing shock (or force pulse) as your spammable. This is because that ability counts as 3 direct damage hits and therefore gives this set a much better chance at proccing. 


The asylum staff speaks to a crushing shock sorcerer very well. Master staff is okay, and more is just “I want to use it because I earned it dammit!” rather than it actually being great – but great DPS can be achieved with it too! Both of these staves require you use a specific skill for them to be of any use though!

The Asylum staff is great and something I use on my sorcerer! This staff can be found from the Asylum Sanctorium trial in the Clockwork City DLC. You are not required to do the veteran version to gain the non-perfect staff as I have shown. You must use crushing shock (or force pulse) as your spammable if you are using this staff. I really love it as it’s a simple staff to get (the trial is very short), and it’s jsut fun! 

The Master Staff comes from Veteran Dragonstar Arena that is in Craglorn – a base game zone. This staff isn’t best in slot by any means, but allows for a simpler dot based rotation with sustain help!

Best in Slot (BIS)

This is maybe why you came here, but also why I wanted you to learn all those basics first! Best in Slot gear is only the best if you are using it to it’s fullest abilities. Both Siroria and Spell strategist rely on you constantly weaving properly – as it’s the light attacks that generally proc the set bonuses. Zaan comes from a difficult DLC dungeon – and also requires you stay quite close to your enemy – which is a bit off as a ranged magicka character. If you go this route, you’ll want spell strategist to only be front barred – so you can use both a monster set and VMA staff.

If you have a VMA staff – use it. It will be a considerable DPS increase. 

  • Sirora – Cloudrest trial (Summerset chapter)
  • Spell Strategist – Rewards for the Worthy (PvP), Guild Stores/Other players
  • Zaan – Vet Scalecaller dungeon (DLC)
  • Maelstrom Staff – Veteran Maelstrom Arena (Orsinium DLC)

Current Bizz Gear

My magplar is currently my main, so she is holding on to all the BIS gear I have so this is currently what my magicka sorcerer is wearing! She still pulls 30k+ DPS even though I don’t play her as much as I used to. This is a mix of gear I already owned from when I did play her as my main, and just spare gear I found as I farmed gear for my magplar. Both weapons I use are gold, but still have the “old” best in slot enchants on them. Don’t get too hung up on your gear, and just go play!


Magicka Sorcerer DPS School Part 3 - Gear - Elder Scrolls Online PvE Guide

Magicka Sorcerer – Finger Pressing – Rotation [Part 2]

Missed out on Part 1 of MagSorc School? No worries, just head on back to the Part 1 article with video!

So now that you heard about Sorc School, and got a general idea of magsorc with what to level and what gear to farm… you need to learn the most important part!

Yes. Finger pressing is the most important part.

You can have all the perfect gear upgraded to the max, the best race for that class and champion points perfectly optimized… but if you aren’t using skills in the right order, with the right timing – your DPS won’t be very good.

I’m sure you already know this though. I’m sure you’ve went on over to Alcast’s website and made your character perfectly match – just to find out you get approximately 40k DPS less than he does. Don’t worry, I did too the first time I tried.

Understand what a rotation is, and why you want to use a rotation. Honestly, go read Mapplinators Guide to Gitting Gud at DPS and then come back. You read it yet? Quick, go read it again. That guy was my mentor in learning how to git gud, and has a lot of valuable insight.

I learned magsorc DPS as my first DPS class because, well, I wouldn’t let Mapp make my main (Aewnes) a non-scrub – and because magicka sorcerer is considered pretty easy to learn! Their rotation can be quite simple.

For the most part all rotations work like this – lay down DoT’s (damage over time spells) and use a spammable until those DoTs run out. Rinse and repeat. Fortunately magicka sorc skills time up pretty nicely with this mentality. Magicka Sorcs do have a skill that throws a kink into this idea though – Crystal Frags. Loved by many – this skill can help your DPS and throws a big punch – but it may also mess up your rotation when you’re new to it – so I give some options without it.

The best of the best DPS do not use static rotations. A static rotation is always using the same skills over and over and never changing the order. When people get really good, they start applying their DoT’s exactly when they run out (a dynamic rotation). This usually causes the rotation to be constantly changing along with a ton of weapon swaps. For the purpose of this Sorc School I’m going to keep the back bar rotation static (always using liquid lightning after elemental blockade) and basing our rotations purely around when elemental blockade runs out.

Remember that, DoT’s are extremely important. Everything hinges on when elemental blockade runs out. You want to be barswapping to your backbar to reapply it – the second it runs out. If you are letting elemental blockade run out for 3 seconds every rotation – try using 1 less spammable. You want as much uptime on your DoTs as possible – but don’t want to be reapplying them too early – as that is a waste of magicka! Some great addons to help you manage your damage over time skills are Action Duration Reminder or Srendarr.

DoT’s are extremely important.

Something Mapp always told me is to practice with purpose. This means don’t just keep hitting a target dummy over and over an expecting something to be different. You need to focus! A great thing for brand new DPS to focus on is their DoT uptime. Practice your rotation, slowly, but try to make sure you are always putting elemental blockade down exactly when you should. Also try to see if you can get above 80% uptime on haunting curse – this may require you to make your front bar rotation slightly dynamic.

Weaving – What’s the deal?

What’s the deal with animation cancelling? Weaving? What is it? It is not a bug, it is not cheating, and it will help your DPS a TON by learning to use it. The level up advisor even gives a tip at some point to try to do a light attack between skills! Weaving refers to putting a light attack between your skills. Animation cancelling means you get so fast at it (without going too fast) that you clip some of the light attack animation off. Animation cancelling can also be taken advantage of during barswap and block.

Weaving is important, more important than you probably care to think. Here is another great thing to focus on so you are practicing with purpose – focus on learning to weave.

Weaving is important, more important than you probably care to think.

Start with very simple weaving. Use a light attack, and then use your spammable – now repeat. You don’t want to worry about going super fast and animation cancelling yet – just practice simply using a light attack right before your spammable. It’s good to think of it like a heart beat Light Attack>Crushing Shock,   Light Attack>Crushing Shock. Getting those light attacks in is more important than going fast – slow down your entire rotation to get them in if you need to. Next just try using all your skills in order with a light attack in between, just get a feel of light attacking before each skill. Now if you’re wanting to learn how animation cancel – try speeding it up a bit. A skill can overwrite the end of a light attack skill, that is why the light attack needs to be first. Barswaps can overwrite the end of a skill animation – so try using a barswap earlier than you normally would after your last skill on that bar. An amazing addon I use to help remind me if I am getting light attacks in is Light Attack Helper.

Now that you have some things to practice – let’s introduce you to some sample rotations! I also did the rotations with beginner gear/CP – as well as full CP with better gear to give you an idea. LA means Light Attack. Remember when using Crushing Shock to light attack between each one. Get a feel for how many of them you can do before needing to barswap. If you are getting low on magicka (under 35%) use heavy attacks instead of some crushing shocks. I tried to do the example parses with a very static rotation – but if you can make your front bar more dynamic – go for it!


I’m going to go over every skill I use here. I use the skill name, followed by the base name of the skill in brackets, then skill line it is found in.

Crushing Shock (force shock)Destruction Staff – This is your spammable. A spammable is a skill you just spam while you you DoT’s (damage over time skills) are running. I prefer crushing shock over Force Pulse because of the utility of the skill. This skill will interrupt casting targets. If you have ever been to top side Hel Ra boss, you know interrupting can be super important! Force pulse will be slightly better DPS. If you are using Mechanical Acuity – you want to use this skill are your spammable because each cast counts as 3 hits, so more chances at proccing your set.

Flame {Destructive} Clench (Destructive Touch)- Destruction Staff – This is a single target DoT available from the destruction staff skill line – that will take on different effects depending on your staff type.

Bound Aegis (Bound Armor) – Daedric Summoning – This skill increases your max magicka by 5% when slotted, and also grants you Minor Ward & Minor Resolve. Minor Ward/Resolve increases your spell and physical resistance to help keep you alive! You are not intended to actually press the button for this skill (increases block mitigation for 3 seconds) so feel free to slot it in a slot that is inconvenient to press.

Inner Light (Magelight) – Mages Guild – We slot this to get the increased max magicka (5%) as well as the Major Prophecy. Major Prophecy increases your spell critical by 2191. You can make this skill even more giving by ensuring you have the mages guild passive Magica Controller as that means you will further increase max magicka by 2% and increase your magicka regeneration by 2%! This is another skill you are not meant to cast – so put it in an awkward slot to press too!

Haunting Curse (Daedric Curse) – Daedric Summoning – Haunting curse is a bit of a weird skill. You think it’s a dot because you have to wait for the timer to run out, but it isn’t – as it is not doing constant damage, just 2 big bursts of damage X seconds apart. The first explosion happens 2.5 seconds after you cast it, with the second explosion happening 8.5 seconds after the first one. It does damage to the target plus a bit of damage to other mobs around the target. Something important to remember is that is you cast the ability again before the second explosion – you don’t get that second explosion from the initial cast. Make sure both explosion happen before recasting!

Blockade of Storms {Elemental Blockade} (Wall of Elements) – Destruction Staff – This is the bread and butter of all magicka DPS builds in PvE. This is a DoT (damage over time) skill that is also AoE (area of effect) so it can be hitting multiple targets at once! Once again, as it’s a destruction staff skill, it will have an extra bonus depending on staff type.  We take this morph over the Unstable morph because the extended duration helps us with our rotation and getting more skills in during the time it’s running.

Liquid Lightning (Lightning Splash) – Storm Calling – Liquid lightning is another AoE DoT. The added bonus of this one is that it also gives something for your tank to synergize! Once again we chose the longer morph so we have more time to fit some other skills in.

Elemental Drain (Weakness to the Elements) – Destruction Staff – This skill is only used by you during target skeleton parses. The reason we slot this is for the minor magickasteal it places on the target, helping us sustain. In overland we don’t need it because the fights are short to make it unnecessary, and in group content we don’t slot it because the healer will. When doing actual content please slot your shield in here.

Harness Magicka (Annulment) – Light Armor – This damage shield caps at 40% of your max health, but also will help restore some magicka if it gets damage by magicka attacks. This is the shield I tend to use – as a lot of damage in ESO is elemental/magicka. You are required to be wearing 5 pieces of light armor to be able to use this shield.

{Hardened/Empowered} Ward (Conjured Ward) – Daedric Summoning – As a sorcerer, you actually have a class damage shield as well. Hardened ward allows a bigger shield, but empowered ward helps with magicka for you and your allies – while lasting longer than the others. In difficult content with a boss doing mostly physical damage I will change to one of these.

Power Surge (Surge) – Storm Calling – I didn’t actually use this skill in any of the below rotations, but wanted to bring your attention to it. This skill can give you a small heal along with offering the Major Sorcery buff you normally get from potions. For very difficult content you are better off getting the buff from potions – but for overland and group dungeons the small heal (and not needing crafted potions) can be nice. Depending on the content I would slot this either in place of my shield or inner light.

Sorcerer Skills – I also want to bring to your attention that for every sorcerer skill you slot, you help increase your spell damage by 2% (per skill!) thanks to the expert mage passive in the Storm Calling skill line.

Practice and Improving, Target Dummy Parsing Tips

Now, while you wait on the next part of Sorc School to come out – I want you trying some different rotations. Once you find the one you are most comfortable with – practice it. When practicing rotations I always use the 3 million target skeleton – and normal dropped potions (not crafted). Focus on raising your DPS each parse, don’t focus on what the number itself is. If you are adamant on seeing some improvement after each session on your true dps parse number – do one parse with crafted spell power potions – using either 3 or 6 million dummy, at the end of each practice session, and track your progress!

Here’s some tips for practicing your rotation:

  • Practice rotation with dropped potions, test your DPS with crafted spell power potions
  • Slot elemental drain where your shield goes – and keep it up on the dummy. This will help DPS and your sustain.
  • Practice rotation on 3 million dummy, test your DPS on a 6 million
  • Always use food while parsing
  • Keep the same mundus stone you normally have
  • Always finish off (kill) the dummy. Do not stop part way through killing a dummy.
  • Don’t get frustrated. Miss a skill? Do not go back and try to hit it, just skip it and get it next time.
  • Focus on improving your DPS number, rather than focusing on exactly what that number is. If you get 5000 DPS, don’t worry, but focus on improving it to 6000 DPS.

Parse/Gear Notes

All builds used here have a very comfortable amount of health. If you are a beginner you will want more health than most guides say to have to give you a bit of room for error in mechanics! Take these parses and ‘builds’ with a grain of salt. I didn’t practice any – if I messed up I kept the parse anyways, and they are far from perfect builds. The idea is to show suitable numbers with any CP/simple gear combos.

I just forgot to enchant my julianos waist piece in CP160/410 – and both staves should have been infused instead of precise. On my CP810 gear setups/parses, I forgot to change the jewelry enchants to spell damage. Normally 2 of the jewels would have a spell damage enchant.

For CP160 and CP405 I used the Ilambris monster set, 5 piece Lich set and 5 piece Julianos. Both Ilambris and Lich are available from the Crypt of Hearts 1 group dungeon – which is one of the easier group dungeons and great for learning! I chose these sets because Julianos is craftable, since both the monster helm and non-crafted set drop from the same dungeon you only need to farm 1 dungeon, and that dungeon is on the easier side of the scale.

Focus on the skills and order of skills for this lesson – don’t get hung up on your gear or if your stats match mine.

Rotation #1:
LA > Elemental Blockade > LA > Liquid Lightning > Barswap
LA > Haunting Curse > LA > Destructive Clench > LA > Crushing Shock x 4-5 > Barswap
LA > Elemental Blockade > LA > Liquid Lightning > Barswap
LA > Destructive Clench > LA > Crushing Shock x 4-5 > Barswap

Pros: Extremely easy, completely static rotation. Great with Asylum or Master staff.
Cons: DoT’s will fall off – low uptime on haunting curse and destructive clench.

Looking to improve this? Use both haunting curse and destructive clench on that first bar. Wait until they expire and reapply them while working the extra crushing shocks around those two skills. This makes the rotation less static (changes slightly each time) but will bring up your DPS! Also – remember to light attack between every Crushing Shock!

CP Gear Parse

Rotation #2:
When enemy health is above 20%
LA > Elemental Blockade > LA > Liquid Lightning > Barswap
LA > Haunting Curse > LA >  Crushing Shock x 4-5 > Barswap
LA > Elemental Blockade > LA > Liquid Lightning > Barswap
LA > Crushing Shock x 5-6 > Barswap

When enemy health is below 20%
LA > Elemental Blockade > LA > Liquid Lightning > Barswap
LA > Haunting Curse > LA >  Mages Wrath x 4-5 > Barswap
LA > Elemental Blockade > LA > Liquid Lightning > Barswap
LA > Mages Wrath x 5-6 > Barswap

Pros: Extremely easy and completely static rotation – you just change what spammable you use at 20%
Cons: Boring

CP Gear Parse

Rotation #3:
LA > Elemental Blockade > LA > Liquid Lightning > Barswap
LA > Haunting Curse > LA >  Crushing Shock x 4-5 > Barswap – **Use Crystal Frags as soon as it procs every time, and do 1 less crushing shock for that frag**
LA > Elemental Blockade > LA > Liquid Lightning > Barswap
LA > Crushing Shock x 5-6 > Barswap – **Use Crystal Frags as soon as it procs every time**

Pros: Teaches you to watch for Crystal Frag procs. Great if you have a asylum staff.
Cons: Can be confusing as how many crushing shocks you use, and the order in which you use front bar skills will change constantly.

CP Gear Parse

Rotation #4:
When enemy health is above 20%
LA > Elemental Blockade > LA > Liquid Lightning > Barswap
LA > Haunting Curse > LA >  Crushing Shock x 4-5 > Barswap **Use Crystal Frags as soon as it procs every time, and do 1 less crushing shock for that frag**
LA > Elemental Blockade > LA > Liquid Lightning > Barswap
LA > Crushing Shock x 5-6 > Barswap **Use Crystal Frags as soon as it procs every time**

When enemy health is below 20%
LA > Elemental Blockade > LA > Liquid Lightning > Barswap
LA > Haunting Curse > LA >  Mages Wrath x 4-5 > Barswap **Use Crystal Frags as soon as it procs every time, and do 1 less crushing shock for that frag**
LA > Elemental Blockade > LA > Liquid Lightning > Barswap
LA > Mages Wrath x 5-6 > Barswap **Use Crystal Frags as soon as it procs every time**

Pros: Great with an asylum staff. Can be made non-static which is what really helps DPS.
Cons: Can be confusing as you change what your spammable is on top of changing each rotation depending on Crystal Frags RNG.

CP Gear Parse

Psijic Order

If you’d like to use some psijic order skills…

  • Slot Elemental Weapon in place of Crushing Shock
  • If using Elemental Weapon in place of Crushing Shock, swap ultimates. Put destruction staff ultimate on your front bar – meteor on back. This is so you still receive the ‘Ancient Knowledge’ destruction staff passive.
  • Optionally use Channeled Acceleration on back bar. I prefer to replace inner light so we keep our major resistance buffs from bound aegis.
  • Have all Psijic skill line passives

Now go ahead and practice your rotation! Be sure to practice with a target dummy, as well practice it while out questing and doing things like dungeons! Do you use a different rotation for you MagSorc? Or did you try these and find a new favourite? Feel free to ask any rotation specific questions in the comments below – or let me know what rotation you chose and why!

Ready to talk gear? Then move along to part 3!

Magicka Sorcerer DPS School Part 2 - Skills & Rotation - Elder Scrolls Online PvE Guide