Dragonknight Class Guide

Dragonknight GuideDragonknight is a versatile fighter class which is based on the ancient Akaviri martial arts. Dragonknights are extremely diverse and a majority of players are going for full tanks or strong melee DPS. Since DK can fill different roles, you can even build an offensive healer or a ranged damage-dealer.

Dragonknight Skill Lines

As every other class in The Elder Scrolls Online, Dragonknight also has access to three different skill lines: Ardent Flame, Draconic Power and Earthen Heart. You can either focus on improving skills in one category, or mix skills, spells and abilities from different skill trees.

  Ardent Flame Draconic Power Earthen Heart




















Crowd Control




 Below is an overview of the three skill lines, including the spells you can unlock within them.

ESO Dragonknight Builds

Learn about the most powerful Dragonknight class builds from top raiders and PvPers. Top DPS, tanking, and healing builds all in one place, along with hundreds of useful tips about raiding, dungeons, delves, leveling, PvP, weapons, spell rotations, and more…

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Dragonknight Ardent Flame tree - using Lava WhipArdent Flame

The first skill line for Dragonknights is Ardent Flame, focused on fiery attacks and debuffs. This is the most offensive of the three skill trees. The spells include the following:

  • Ultimate:
    • Dragonknight Standard – while standing inside Dragonknight Standard enemies take fire damage every second and receive reduced healing. Additionally your allies can activate the Shackle ability, further damaging and rooting enemies in the area.
  • Active Abilities:
    • Fiery Reach – pulls an enemy towards you and deals damage.
    • Searing Strike – burns your target and deals damage over time (DoT).
    • Fiery Breath – deals fire damage to all enemies in front of you, while also igniting them for additional damage over time.
    • Lava Whip – ability dealing fire damage and causing enemies to become off-balance if they are immobilized or stunned.
    • Inferno – toggled aura dealing damage over time to nearby enemies while also draining an increasing amount of magicka the longer it is active.
  • Passive Abilities:
    • Kindling – increases damage dealt by burning effects.
    • Warmth – dealing fire damage to your opponents snares them.
    • Searing Heat – Increases duration of abilities in the Ardent Flame tree which apply burning.
    • World in Flame – increases the damage of all your fire-based AoE spells.

Dragonknight Draconic Power tree - using Dragon LeapDraconic Power

Draconic Power skill line is focus on defense, improving your durability in both PvE and PvP/AvA. The abilities are:

  • Ultimate:
    • Dragon Leap – your character leaps forward, dealing magic damage on landing and knocking back nearby enemies.
  • Active Abilities:
    • Spike Armor – increases your damage resistance and returns damage to melee attackers.
    • Dark Talons – roots all nearby opponents an deals additional damage to all enemies not already affected by Dark Talons.
    • Dragon Blood – instantly heals and applies a heal over time effect on yourself.
    • Reflective Scales – reflects incoming projectiles.
    • Inhale – absorbs health from all nearby foes, and also deals damage to affected enemies depending on the total amount of health absorbed.
  • Passive Abilities:
    • Iron Skin – increases the amount of damage you can block.
    • Burning Heart – you receive increased healing for every Draconic Power ability on your action bar.
    • Elder Dragon – increases your passive health regeneration for every Draconic spell on your action bar.
    • Scaled Armor – increases your resistances to spells.

Dragonknight Earthen Heart tree - using StonefistEarthen Heart

The last Dragonknight skill tree is Earthen Heart, which is in essence a support tree line specialized in group utility and control. The spells include:

  • Ultimate:
    • Magma Armor – limits the damage you receive by a percentage of your health, and also deals fire damage to all enemies near you.
  • Active Abilities:
    • Stonefist – hurls a rock to an enemy dealing physical damage and knocking them down.
    • Molten Weapons – aura which increases the power of nearby allies. You get double the amount.
    • Obsidian Shield – conjures a shield around nearby allies which absorbs a percentage of damage they take; you also receive double the amount of shield.
    • Petrify – affects your enemy with a long duration stun, but after certain damage is taken by your enemy the stun will break.
    • Ash Cloud – snares enemies affected by it and increases their chance to miss attacks. Allies can also use Ash Shroud synergy.
  • Passive Skills:
    • Eternal Mountain – increases the duration of all Earthen Heart skills.
    • Deep Breaths – when you activate your Ultimate ability your other resources are restored by a certain amount.
    • Mountain’s Blessing – when activating any Earthen Heart ability you gain an additional ultimate charge.
    • Helping Hands – When your Earthen Heart abilities affect another player you gain stamina.

Dragonknight Builds

Optimized Dragonknight class builds for leveling, dungeons, trials, and PvP, plus hundreds of other tips, tricks, leveling strategies, and more.

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For the most part DK players are going with heavy armor. Of course heavy armor offers the best protection against both attacks and spells, and since most Dragonknights are essentially tanks heavy armour is most suited for them.

Nothing prevents you from using medium or even light armor however, and the choice mostly depends on your endgame build. If you prefer using a bow or other form of melee DPS medium armor is likely going to be superior, and even in highest endgame content (Trials) magicka-based casters with Destruction Staves wearing light armor are more than welcome.

Experiment with different types of armor, and tell us your preferred choice in the comments below!


One-handed weapons and shields are Dragonknight’s preferred choice. As mentioned since a vast majority of players choose Dragonknight class for their tanking prowess a shield is always a must-have tool to mitigate damage in any group setting. You can also wield a two handed weapon of course, or even a staff if you’re more inclined to play a support or damage-dealing caster.

Dragonknight Builds

To get optimized Dragonknight class builds that simply work be sure to see this guide, it also includes tons of other tips, tricks and strategies for Dragonknight players!

We highly recommend at least giving it an honest try, and we’re sure you won’t regret it.


Dragonknight class players should focus their skill points into increasing health and magicka. If you primarily intend to be a tank then a greater focus on health and stamina is recommended, but for more offensive DKs a higher magicka pool can be beneficial. Stamina requires the least amount of points spent, however a larger stamina pool can help you block and evade attacks more frequently, which is especially important if you’re the main tank in groups.

My recommendation would be to put all attribute points into bonus health, or go with something like 35 into health and 15 into magicka. Truth be told in most situations you will either be tanking or dealing damage, and this distribution of points will be the best in any case.

Your tank equipment (or medium armor for melee/bow DPS) can easily be enchanted with Stamina, and it’s much easier to swap equipment than respec attribute points. For everything else, Health and a few points in Magicka will be great.

Recommended Races

Orcs, Nords and Redguards are best races for tanks. High Elves are the most common race choice for mage-oriented Dragonknight players, but Bretons and Dark Elves are equally good for the role. If your focus is on melee DPS, Khajiit and Redguards are top two choices. Choosing a race doesn’t heave a very significant effect on your play style so players tend to choose whatever race they like playing, which is probably what you should do as well. Nevertheless, you can view our racial bonus comparison here.

Why play a Dragonknight?

Players who enjoy being useful in groups and tanking while also having utility will surely enjoy Dragonknights. Do remember that simply picking a class doesn’t limit your options to Dragon Knight skill trees though as various other tree lines are available and can be combined to create even deadlier tanks or more powerful mages.

To learn more about Dragonknight class including more detailed ability descriptions, skill builds, leveling guide, gameplay information, combat tactics and other must-know information be sure to take a look at this guide. It’s well worth the read and will help you gain further insight into how to make your Dragonknight more effective!

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26 Responses to Dragonknight Class Guide

  1. Dimi says:

    there’s no healing rating even though the DK can self heal with Draconic abilities.

  2. ElSlayer says:

    In a “Why play a Dragonknight?” section “To learn more about Nightblade class [...] ” should be replaced to Dragonknight

  3. FerrumBruti says:

    Good article, it would be nice that with the Dragonknight class they also do a Heavy Assault type of Heavy Armored class of character as well. That way you have the tank, and also the shock trooper as well. Although knowing from experience Nightblade is awesome. Still also be nice to have an offensive shock trooper type class too.

  4. Chelle Taylor says:

    Good infomercial. I appreciate the free overview of information, which seems valid now that I’ve played every other class at least to mid-levels. For those who like to purchase guides I would think this would be the perfect one to buy.

    (No I was not paid/rewarded/solicited to make this comment.) ^

  5. Anthony R. says:

    I want to be a High Elf Dragon Knight, going with a mage look… is there any reason not to have heavy armor with this class?

    • admin says:

      You could easily go for a staff-wielding, light-armored mage with your Dragonknight. They have very good DPS as mages, comparable to any other class including Sorcerers.

  6. Ibrahem says:

    I’m stuck between being a DK or a NB can anyone help? Id mainly want to focus on agility and stamina one handed sword only but I’m not sure which would be better for the job. Not very fond of the heavy armor either so Id use medium or light to be as quick as possible suggestions? I’m not fond of the NB skill trees either but from what I know that’s the best class for what I want any help would be appreciated

    • admin says:

      Main difference between Medium and Heavy armor is whether you prefer to deal DPS or tank in groups. For solo play you can go with either one, so if you prefer medium armor it shouldn’t be too big of a deal.

      Though Medium armor has been considered sub-optimal for quite a while now, just for the record.

      DK is in my opinion even better as DPS in heavy armor than medium, an dual-wield is available to either class.

      In the end I think your choice should be about what you want to do in endgame dungeons, trials, and PvP. You can tank and DPS with either one, but I personally always prefer a DK for tanking and NB for DPS.

  7. yojo says:

    So for clarification, if I plan on being a heavy armored two handed weapon user, would ardent flame be the best choice or draconic power?

    • admin says:

      Spike Armor and Dragon Blood from Draconic Power are good to have for leveling in almost any build. You can fill in other spell slots with any combination of 2-hand and Ardent Flame abilities you prefer.

  8. Jaymes says:

    Great article!! Very informative, I recently watched one of deltia gamings DK builds, and after more than a thousand hours on the pc version, he highly recommended the Dunmer as the best class for DK, due to their fire buffs, which work great with his fire damage focus build, he also recommended a strong fire staff as whepon,

  9. Edward says:

    I prefer the idea of 5 pieces medium armor and 2 pieces of heavy for the DK build, This way you get more of a Damage bonus from the Medium build and then some of the bonus from the Heavy class for increase to damage again and health increase. I know the health increase would be little but even so you can still add health bonus’s to the Heavy Armor to make it even more of a bonus.

    • Edward says:

      Then go with the Dark Elf Race to use it’s passive abilities to increase your damage dealing as well and fire resistance since most of the offensive skills are fire based.

  10. Zach says:

    I would like to be the most effective tank I can be and can’t decide about whether or not I should go with templar or dragonknight. Somebody please help me decide, thanks.

    • admin says:

      I would always first suggest to play whatever class you like better. Besides that, there are a few things to consider: are you looking to play a tank mostly while solo leveling, will you focus on veteran dungeons, or also (or only) trials?

      For endgame raiding (trials), most guilds will be looking for Dragonknights. They are considered the best tanks, and while I think both Templar and Nightblade can be just as good that opinion may not be shared by everyone.

      Dragonknights have plenty of tools for tanking, even self-sustain and restoring stamina which is very important. Spiked Armor and Dragon Blood will likely always be on your action bar. Dragonknight Standard ultimate with Standard of Might morph is considered one of the best abilities to have in trials (and just as useful anywhere else), which is why it’s common to see several DKs just rotating them all the time.

      Templars are a bit more based on magicka, but with a combination of different spells along with Sun Shield you can constantly absorb damage, and even provide some healing in a clutch situation if necessary. For veteran dungeons I definitely prefer tanking with a Templar, usually with some fun ability combo like Sun Shield, Restoring Aura, Cleansing Ritual, and even Breath of Life for emergency heals.

      With fairly high mana usage, I typically only wear 5 heavy armor pieces on templar, with light armor filling the other slots. Templars have a lot of utility and for 4-man content they’re way more entertaining and dynamic to play for me than DKs.

      DKs are mostly facetanking and spamming 2-3 self-cast spells, at least that’s how it feels whenever I play mine. While they may be a bit more efficient and generally better accepted as tanks, I’m personally just not having as much fun tanking with them.

      Overall it’s hard to say which is better, as I suppose it depends on the player. I usually go as a healer, but when tanking I prefer more of a supportive/utility role where Templars are definitely superior.

      If you intend to stick mostly to trials and want a reliable and preferred tank then go with a Dragonknight. With a fire staff they’re also comparable and in some ways better than any other DPS class (including Sorcerers), so you can always change to a damage-dealing role if needed as well.

      Again, my recommendation is to first consider playing whatever class’ playstyle fits you better; face-smashing melee warrior (DK), or a utility paladin (Templar). And if you’re very serious about raiding, put more emphasis on DK.

  11. Elie says:

    Hi I’m a High elf dragon night I’m a rank 1 veteran. I’ve played with a 2 handed weapon throughout all my leveling. I changed up my weapon to a shield and sword. I want to tank and hold the attention what’s the best way meaning skillbar since I want to Beba good tank for dungeons and PVP??

    • admin says:

      Spiked Armor, Dark Talons, and Dragon Blood are abilities you’ll want to look at (all in Draconic Power skill line). Spiked Armor and Dragon Blood are (in my opinion) must have for tanking, giving you good damage mitigation and health regen. Dark Talons is less useful, but does quite often keep monsters from attacking your allies.

      I usually prefer using Inner Fire taunt from Undaunted (it uses magicka), since the taunt from 1H & Shield skill line (Puncture) uses stamina (you’ll often lack stamina due to constant blocking). If you want, you can put both on your skills bar and rotate depending on which resource you’re lacking, though it’s usually not necessary.

      For ultimate ability, you’ll want Dragonknight Standard (Ardent Flame).

      I also recommend having weapon swap with Molten Weapons and Obsidian Shield, you can use both just before you pull monsters to buff yourself and your group. You can also put Immovable from Heavy Armor. When tanking I usually have another 1h+shield set equipped so I can swap in the middle of the combat if needed and use some utility spell.

      So, try with Spiked Armor, Dragon Blood, Inner Fire, and Dragonknight Standard. You can use a variety of other abilities depending on what you prefer.

      And some general tanking advice: you don’t need to taunt every single monster. In Vet dungeons which you’ll be doing monsters often come in larger groups (6+), and unless players are not knowledgeable about the game they won’t even expect you to aggro the full group. Keep 2-3 monsters taunted and on yourself (especially if they’re melee), and let others fend for themselves. Your healer can AoE heal (and even block), so it’s even more efficient damage-mitigation wise if the damage is spread on multiple group members.

      And, always block. When you’re a bit more experienced you can get some of your own autoattacks in between monster attacks to help with damage, but otherwise if you’re taking damage just keep your shield up at all times (not just for heavy attacks). You’ll be taking FAR less damage making your healer’s job much, much easier. I’ve healed inexperienced tanks who only block monster’s heavy attacks, and it’s incredibly difficult. Keep that shield up, and leave damage dealing to your DPS.

  12. Jack Parker says:


    I play a Orc Deathknight Vet 3 (DPS). I’ve been playing with a two handed sword throughout my whole entire levelling process. My main abilities used are from the two handed and ardent flame section for dps, then use moves like immobile/dragon blood ect to protect myself and get out of sticky situations.

    My main aim in the game is be the boss in PvP. As well as PvE. What would anyone advise in terms of the best moves? And what sort of enchantments and armour set stats are key to being best at this? I feel that despite the epic enchantments/weapons/armour I have, my character is not as good as I feel it should be. What sort of Jewllery stats shall I be looking for? Just a run down my character sits at -

    17k health. Health recovery 488
    14k stamina. Stamina recovery 514
    Weapon dmg 1239. Physical resistance 13013
    Weapon critical 13.1%. Spell resistance 15663

    Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks

  13. Gerard Thompson says:

    If I am a dragonknight does that mean I can’t use shock or conjuring familiar spells only the three you listed

  14. Meghan allen says:

    Hey, I’ve got a level 38 dark elf DK. I’ve used 2H Weapons throughout most of the game, what would be a good secondary weapon skill line to do? 1H&shield or Dual weild?

    • admin says:

      1h+shield is usually used for tanking in dungeons, but you can give it a try for leveling too if you’re curious about it. It may help you at certain encounters once you reach 50+ and mobs start hitting harder.

      If you’re just into DPS then try dual wielding. Good news is that you’re reaching the point where you have plenty of skill points to distribute in various abilities and you can easily test multiple skill lines to see which ones you like best.

  15. Tina says:

    New to ESO, new patch just came out with new gear drops and options. Currently a level 40 and looking for recommendations/suggestions for PVP skills to put on my bars. I’m going completely Magicka with Resto Staff and Duel. Any help would be appreciated.

  16. Mystical Wellendorff says:

    Why would the Nords not be good with the magic part for dps? I have one and she has not died yet. Just don’t know what to do for her skills. She is an Inferno Dragonknight.

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