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!

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

Magicka Sorcerer – The Basics [Part 1]

Welcome to Part 1 of Sorc School! This is the first “ESO School” I am doing, so if you have any comments or suggestions as it goes on – please feel free to leave them on my posts, in my discord or on the videos of it!

This series will be dedicated to no-pet magicka sorcerer DPS in Elder Scrolls Online! Let’s dive right in!

What it means to be a no-pet magsorc!

To me, a no-pet magsorc is an easy class to learn due to it’s possibly very limited skill usage, but definitely has a steep learning curve once you get close to the top of the DPS pile. MagSorc’s are very aggressive in their style, but fortunately can stay a safe distance away from bosses and their cleave. In their top PvE form they don’t feel like they move very fast, but their rotation does! Magicka Sorcerors are very elemental – and very much so a mage.

What race do I use?

Do you already have a sorcerer in ESO you would like to follow this course with and learn magicka DPS? Then that one! Or whatever one you like! If you’d like your racial passives to help a bit, here’s is my personal preference of races from best to the rest. It is not necessary to have the first in the list – having one I care to even list will help out more than ones I don’t, but honestly, if you’re learning from me – you probably don’t really care about that 0.0003% difference once you get to high levels.

High Elf (Altmer)
Dark Elf (Dunmer)
The Rest

What to level!

So you would like to follow along with this course and don’t know where to start? Well, if you are just now creating a magicka sorcerer in ESO – be sure to level these skill lines up as a priority! If you already have a magsorc, be sure these are already leveled!

Must Haves
Dark Magic Skill Line – Fully – All Passives
Daedric Summoning Skill Line – Fully
Storm Calling Skill Line –  Fully – All Passives
Destruction Staff Skill Line – Fully – All Passives
Light Armor Skill Line
Mages Guild (Up to Inner Light)
Racial Passives

Great to Have
Mages Guild – Up to Meteor (ultimate)
Heavy Armor – Up to Juggernaut passive
Undaunted Passives (all)
Alchemy Medicinal Use Passive

Nice to Have
Medium armor passives
Provisioning  – Connoisseur passive

If you are choosing a route using any psijic skills, all psijic passives fall under must/great to have. For these lessons I will not be including these in my examples.

What to wear?

This list is huge because I wanted to give you lots of options so you could pick something that you can actually get your hands on! Definitely don’t need it all!
Super Awesome
Siroria – Cloudrest Trial (Summerset)
Julianos – Crafted (Orsinium)
Mechanical Acuity – Crafted (Clockwork City)

Infalliable Aether – Craglorn Trials
Burning Spellweave (I’m not actually a fan of this on Sorc) – City of Ash Dungeons
Mother’s Sorrow – Deshaan Overland

Necropotence – Rivenspire Overland
Netch’s Touch – Darkshade Caverns Dungeon
Destruction Mastery – Dragonstar Arena

Must be built around
Scathing Mage – Imperial City Prison Dungeon (Imperial City)
Spider Cultist – Fungal Grotto Dungeon

Spinner’s Garment – Malabol Tor Overland
Way of Martial Knowledge – Craglorn Overland
Moondancer – Maw of Lorkhaj Trial (Thieves Guild)
Literally any set with magicka bonuses

Levelling/Low CP
Seducer – Crafted
Lich – Crypt of Hearts Dungeon

Monster Sets
Ilambris – Crypt of Hearts 1
Skoria – City of Ash 2
Slimecraw (Solo Play) – Wayrest Sewers 1

VMA Staff (Veteran Maelstrom Arena destruction staff) (Lightning)
Asylum Destruction Staff (Fire)
Master Destruction Staff (Fire or Lightning)

It’s the little things…

Lover – solo play only

Witchmother’s Potent Brew.
Clockwork Citrus Fillet for the disgustingly rich
Blue magicka/health food while levelling – or if you can somehow sustain?

Dropped magicka pots when practicing rotation or questing
Spellcrit Potions (Cornflower, Ladys Smock, Water Hyacinth or Namira’s Rot) on test parses and difficult content

What to Help?

If you’re on PC, these are some key addons I use to help me on my magsorc!

Action Duration Reminder – AWESOME addon to help me make sure I keep my dots up! must have
Can I Horn? – Tells me when warhorn is active so I can time ultimates or just ensure I’m getting every bit of DPS out.
Champion Point Respec – “Profiles” of different champion points for general use and each different trial.
Combat Metrics – Tells me my DPS, uptimes and a whole lot more! must have
Crafted Potions – Colors crafted potions in my inventory so I make sure I’m using the ones I want!
Dressing Room – Helps me switch between different gear and skill setups quickly!
Dryzler’s Better Rezzing – Points on downed teammates and also let’s me know if they are being resurrected yet or not.
Kyoma’s Repair ‘n Recharge – Keeps all my gear is top shape!
Light Attack Helper – HUGE for helping you know if you are weaving properly! must have
Raidificator – Keeps track of all my raid scores
RaidNotifier – Helper addon for trials and arenas.
S’rendarr – Gives me a louder noise when crystal frags procs. (I don’t use it for anything else)
Show Global Cooldown – Helps you learn about the GCD and how often to press buttons. must have

That’s all! Now that you have an idea of what to use, head out and level your sorc up! Try all the different skills, practice weaving and just learn the class. Our next lesson will be focused on finger pressing – your rotation!