Arcanist Class Guide

Arcanist GuideArcanist is ESO’s much-awaited 7th class, releasing in 2023′s Necrom Chapter. The Arcanist utilizes powerful abilities and mechanics drawn from Hermaeus Mora’s realm of Oblivion.

The following Arcanist beginners guide will give you a brief rundown of this curious new spell-weaving class coming to Elder Scrolls Online in June.

Note: parts of this page are still being updated as new info about Arcanist comes to light!

Arcanist class basics

Playing an Arcanist class means you can harness powerful runes, tomes of ancient knowledge, and the energy of Apocrypha to unleash either destructive, defensive or restorative magic.

Arcanist also introduces a whole new combat mechanic called Crux. Crux is generated by using specific class abilities. This Crux can then be stacked up to three, and your other abilities get empowered depending on number of Crux stacks you have.

Crux adds yet another dimension to combat and makes The Arcanist a very unique class compared to others.

Skill trees

Arcanist has three different skill lines – Herald of the Tome, Apocryphal Soldier, and Curative Runeforms. Same as other classes, these three different skill lines have abilities specific enabling a certain playstyle.

Notice: specific ability info is unknown at this point. We will update it all as soon as it becomes available!

Herald of the Tome

Herald of the Tome is the primary damage-dealing skill tree for Arcanists. It allows you to manipulate arcane energies to bombard enemies with damaging blasts, beams and more.

An example of an ability is Runeblades. It launches lethal projectiles at enemies and generates Crux.

Apocryphal Soldier

Apocryphal Solder is the tanking skill line. It includes standard defensive buffs for yourself and your party, a taunt, and an explosive shield in Runespite Ward ability.

Curative Runeforms

Curative Runeforms is the main supportive skill line. It includes healing runes keeping you and your allies healthy and shields to prevent damage.

Apocryphal Gate ability

Apocryphal Gate ability

This skill line also includes Apocryphal Gate ability, summoning a passage between worlds.


There is nothing to suggest Arcanist will play differently to any other class in the game. Standard mix or several of the most powerful class abilities and buffs mixed with a few potent skills from Weapon and other skill lines will likely once again lead to cookie-cutter builds and gameplay we are all very familiar with.

The only difference that might spice things up a little is the addition of Crux. Depending on the strength of this new mechanic, certain Arcanist class abilities may be considered a must-have.

ESO’s severe lack of build diversity means Arcanists will use the same mix of skills as other classes do.

Arcanist Magicka DPS builds

Arcanist Magicka DPS builds will likely have standard abilities used by other classes of the same role, which typically include the following:

Main skill bar:

  • Mystic Orb (Undaunted) – standard for every magicka build, providing over-time damage and more importantly easy to use synergies for group members
  • Inner Light (Mages Guild) – provides Major Savagery and Prophecy, increasing weapon and spell critical and max magicka
  • Shooting Star (Mages Guild) Ultimate – in most cases the best ultimate to use

Second skill bar:

  • Unstable Wall of Elements (Destruction Staff) – good overtime and area of effect damage used by almost every build in the game
  • Channeled Acceleration (Psijic Order) – one-minute duration Minor Force buff which increases Critical Damage by 10% is crucial to nearly every magicka DPS build
  • Harness Magicka (Light Armor) – not often used but can be a good source of defense in a pinch

Best Mundus Stone for Magicka DPS builds is in most cases The Thief. Thief increases your spell critical chance.

Attributes for Magicka DPS Arcanists in most cases have all 64 points into Magicka.

Easy to obtain item sets include Law of Julianos, Mother’s Sorrow, and Magnus’ Gift.

Food buffs: Solitude Salmon-Millet Soup, Clockwork Citrus Filet, Witchmother’s Potent Brew, Ghastly Eye Bowl.

Best potion is Essence of Spell Power (provides Major Sorcery, Major Prophecy, Major Intellect, and restores magicka). Crafting requires Cornflower, Lady’s Smock and Water Hyacinth.

Dual Wield Stamina DPS builds:

Main bar abilities:

  • Deadly Cloak (Dual wield) – 20-second long damage over time ability which also provides defense through Major Evasion makes this a must have for most dual wielding builds
  • Barbed Trap (Fighters Guild) – crucial buff to keep up all the time, providing Minor Force which increases your critical damage done
  • Camouflaged Hunter (Fighters Guild) – simply having it slotted provides Major Savagery and Prophecy which increase weapon and spell critical rating. Also buffs you with Minor Berserk when attacking enemies from flank.
  • Flawless Dawnbreaker (Fighters Guild) – in most cases the strongest Ultimate ability to use since it deals good AoE damage but also boosts your weapon damage for 20 seconds

Deadly Cloak, Barbed Trap and Flawless Dawnbreaker are considered must-haves for most builds.

Secondary bar abilities:

  • Stampede (2h) – strong single target and AoE ability from the 2-handed skill tree line
  • Carve (2h) – another overtime damaging ability which also provides a small amount of shielding
  • Resolving Vigor (Alliance War – Assault) – not mandatory but potent self-heal providing quick healing along with Minor Resolve (increased physical and spell resistances)

Stampede and Carve are off-bar abilities used by almost every dual-wield build.

Bow/Bow Stamina Build

Main bar:

  • Lethal Arrow (Bow) – main spammable ability
  • Acid Spray (Bow) – damage over time hitting multiple enemies in a cone
  • Camouflaged Hunter (Fighters Guild) – simply having it slotted provides Major Savagery and Prophecy which increase weapon and spell critical rating. Also buffs you with Minor Berserk when attacking enemies from flank.

Secondary bar:

  • Endless Hail (Bow) – area of effect, damage over time ability which should be kept up most of the time
  • Poison Injection (Bow) – important to use damage over time ability
  • Barbed Trap (Fighters Guild) – crucial buff to keep up all the time, providing Minor Force which increases your critical damage done

Camouflaged Hunter and Barbed Trap abilities from Fighters Guild may not be necessary if you get Major Savagery and Minor Force from other sources.

Two-Handed Stamina Build

Main bar:

  • Carve (2h) – deals overtime bleeding and provides a shield
  • Wrecking Blow (2h) – your main spammable ability
  • Reverse Slice (2h) – strong execute ability which also hits everyone around your target
  • Stampede (2h) – deals single target and area damage along with giving you better battlefield mobility
  • Flawless Dawnbreaker (Fighters Guild) Ultimate – strong area of effect also buffing your weapon and spell damage for 20 seconds after usage

Secondary bar:

  • Endless Hail (Bow) – likely the strongest DoT and AoE ability to keep activated
  • Barbed Trap (Fighters Guild) – deals overtime damage but also increases the damage of your other abilities by providing Minor Force (increased critical damage)
  • Resolving Vigor (Alliance War – Assault) – provides a quick self-heal with additional protection from damage

Endless Hail and Barbed Trap are crucial in almost every 2H stamina build.

Top food buffs for all stamina builds are Lava Foot Soup-and-Saltrice, Artaeum Takeaway Broth, and Dubious Camoran Throne.

Essence of Weapon Power potion grants you Major Brutality, Major Savagery and Major Endurance, increasing your weapon damage, weapon critical rating and stamina recovery respectively, along with an instant boost of stamina.

Best Mundus buff is undoubtedly The Thief, giving you additional weapon critical.

Craftable and other easy to get item sets for stamina builds include Hunding’s Rage, Briarheart, Night Mother’s Gaze, Leviathan.

Good races include Orc, Khajiit, Dark Elf, Nord, Redguard, Wood Elf.

Attributes in most cases are 64 into stamina. Consider 20 health 44 stamina if your health pool isn’t sufficient to survive encounters.

Arcanist tanking builds

Main bar:

  • Pierce Armor (1h+s) – this is your main taunt ability, with added utility of debuffing enemies with Major Fracture and Major Breach, reducing their physical and spell resistances
  • Absorb Missile or Defensive Stance (1h+s) – worthwhile alternative to consider if you don’t want other abilities in this slot. Defensive Stance morph is typically preferable as it further reduces block cost.
  • Heroic Slash (1h+s) – gives you Minor Heroism which increases Ultimate generation, and also debuffs enemies with a 5% damage reduction via Minor Maim
  • Temporal Guard (Psijic Order) Ultimate – excellent for use in a pinch

Secondary bar:

  • Inner Rage (Undaunted) – ranged taunt is always helpful, it also uses magicka resource which can be crucial in a pinch if you don’t manage your stamina well
  • Spell Symmetry (Mages Guild) – trades your health for magicka, thus providing an excellent source of resource regeneration. Keep in mind you will receive less healing and shielding for 4 seconds after using this, so make sure to avoid using it unless you have high health. Balance morph is a good alternative providing Major Resolve and increased physical and spell resistances if you don’t have this provided from other sources.
  • Aggressive Horn (Alliance War) – excellent Ultimate ability for many situations, as it increases your entire group’s Magicka and Stamina and provides Major Force buff, increasing everyone’s Critical Damage by 20%

Good Mundus stone for tanking can be The Lord, giving you extra health. You can also utilize many other Mundus effects well, which depends on your abilities, equipment, and other sources of stats and buffs.

Easy to get tanking gear for Arcanists includes Fortified Brass, Drake’s Rush, Batallion Defender, Bahraha’s Curse, Leeching Plate, Turning Tide, … Fact is there are dozens of excellent tanking item sets for Arcanists, and unless players are min-maxing for raids this often involves personal preference.

Attributes for tanking: 20 magicka, 20 health, 24 stamina, or 10 magicka 54 health and 0 stamina, or similar. Attributes greatly depend on your item sets, enchantments, food buffs, and ability choices. Stamina is often more important for tanks than health.

Good racial passives for tanking come from Nord, Redguard, Orc, Imperial races. Any health or stamina bonuses are best, but also practically every race can make a good tank as shortcomings are easy to work around with.

Arcanist healing builds

Main bar:

  • Combat Prayer (Restoration Staff) – cone area of effect heal providing Minor Berserk and Minor Resolve to you and your allies, resulting in increased damage done and reduced physical and spell damage taken.
  • Radiating Regeneration (Restoration Staff) – very easy to use healing over time spell targeting several allies around you and providing constant regeneration
  • Illustrious Healing (Restoration Staff) – large radius healing, best paired with specific item sets for maximum effect
  • Energy Orb (Undaunted) – perhaps the most crucial ability on your bar, this provides overtime healing along with a synergy to provide your allies with extra resources
  • Life Giver (Restoration Staff) Ultimate – there are very few situations where this ability won’t be the strongest hail-mary button in an emergency

Secondary bar:

  • Echoing Vigor (Alliance War – Assault) – good long-duration HoT (heal over time) ability that uses stamina as resource
  • Aggressive Horn (Alliance War – Assault) Ultimate – provides increased Magicka and Stamina to allies along with Major Force, boosting their damage by 20%
  • Elemental Blockade (Destruction Staff) – you can use this for extra damage and utility if you don’t mind using a Destruction Staff on your off-bar

Healing item sets considered easy to get but very strong include Spell Power Cure, Powerful Assault, Kagrenac’s Hope, Seducer. Sentinel of Rkugamz is one of the more fun Undaunted or monsters sets you can use.

Excellent food buffs for healers include Clockwork Citrus Filet, Witchmother’s Potent Brew (cheapest), Bewitched Sugar Skulls, and Longfin Pasty With Melon Sauce.

Potion you will want to use is Essence of Spell Power. This will provide you with Major Sorcery, Major Prophecy and Major Intellect, boosting your spell damage (and healing), spell critical rating, and magicka recovery respectively. It will also provide an instant boost of magicka.

Mundus stone for most including Arcanist healers is The Atronach, which provides increased magicka recovery.

Attributes should in most cases be 64 into magicka. You can consider a few points into health for added survivability.

Best races for Arcanist healers include Breton, High Elf, Argonian, and Dark Elf.

Learn more about:

Arcanist Gameplay

The only thing making Arcanist different from other classes is the Crux mechanic. It still remains to be seen how impact Crux will truly be, as Arcanist abilities still aren’t finalized.


Arcanist is the first class added to the game in several years, since 2019′s addition of Necromancer. As such it is expected to be highly popular among players who are desperately seeking for a fresh take on combat.

For veteran players who yearn for a combat overhaul, the Arcanist is unfortunately not the savior. Nothing suggests this class and its builds will play much differently compared to other classes.

Nevertheless, any added diversity to ESO is always good, meaning the Arcanist class will be a welcome addition to the game.

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