Elder Scrolls Online

The Moondancer – heavy attack pet magsorc build

The Moondancer – heavy attack pet magsorc build

I will not be updating this post anymore, as with Summerset, pet sorcerers are falling more and more behind in terms of dps. Still letting it available for those who want to check it out :).


Welcome to my Moondancer build for magicka sorcerer ! This build is a very effective but simple one, that is beginner and ping friendly. The advantages are :

  • Infinite sustain : you will not depend on your healer giving synergies / applying drain. You will be able to use ward as many times as you like if things go bad.
  • Huge Magicka pool : your shields will actually be super strong!
  • Really easy rotation, so if you are a beginner or if you have high ping or low fps in trial, you will be able to still be consistent.
  • Huge AoE damage.

The drawbacks are :

  • The burst isn’t so big, so if you find yourself in a really bursty situation you won’t get the best damage.
  • You rely on heavy attack channeling, so you don’t get insane speed when doing that.
  • You need to use a pet, which may die and so on.

This build is specifically made for group content – trial or dungeons -, but it can be adapted for solo content as well like vMA. It is not a crazy original build, but it works well. This build will be organized as follow :

1. Race
2. Attributes
3. Food and Potions
4. Mundus
5. Gear
6. Champion Points
7. Passives
8. Skills
9. Stats
10. Rotation
11. Parses

1. Race

Magsorcs still do a lot of shock damage, so in my opinion High elf is the best choice. Second would be Dark elf, third Breton.


2. Attributes

64 points in magicka.


3. Food and Potions

We’ll be using Max Magicka and Max Health blue food, and Spell Power potions (Lady’s smock, Corn Flower, Water Hyacinth), to get major prophecy on both bars and major sorcery. Make sure to have three points in the alchemist passive “Medicinal use” to get 100% on those two buffs.



4. Mundus

According to my calculations, the thief is still the best choice for pet magicka sorcerer, the reason being that our pet deals a significant part of our damage and is not affected by spell damage. The apprentice or the mage are still very close and good choices. If you play mostly solo or if your team doesn’t get good debuffs uptimes, the lover is also a viable option.


5. Gear


NecklaceMoondancerArcaneSpell damage
Ring 1MoondancerArcaneSpell damage
Ring 2MoondancerArcaneSpell damage
Main bar weaponMoondancer lightning staffInfusedFire enchant
Off bar weaponMaelstrom Arena fire staffInfusedWeapon damage enchant


According to my testings, the BiS gear is :

  • 5 Necropotence pieces (drops in Rivenspire).
  • 2  Ilambris  head and shoulders, in heavy and medium (drops in Crypt of Hearts I and undaunted chests).
  • 3 Moondancer jewels (drops in Maw of Lorkhaj) and 1 Moondancer lightning staff, infused, with fire enchantment (drops in Maw of Lorkhaj).
  • 1 Maelstrom fire staff, infused, with berserker enchantment (drops in veteran Maelstrom Arena). With Dragon Bones, you don’t have to apply off-balance anymore and fire blockade provides more dps.

A few notes on the traits and enchantments :

  • My calculations show that as of this patch, running the thief Mundus, infused max magicka is better than divines on big pieces, hence the choice of traits. If you choose to run the mage, the same is true. If you choose to run the apprentice, divines is marginally better than infused if you get minor and major sorcery in your group.
  • You want to run 5/1/1 (Light/Heavy/Medium) for the Undaunted Mettle passive.
  • Infused main hand is a classic for this patch, the fire enchant is very strong because it procs burning but also fire Ilambris. If you play solo, a shock enchant provides more off-balance and minor vulnerability and hence more damage.
  • For the off hand, you want to run a fire staff for the 20% additional damage to burning targets. If no one in your team is using lightning blockade, you should still use a lightning staff on back bar. I choose to run infused on it and a berserker enchant for several reasons : first off, we spend only <1s on the back bar (except during execute), so any other trait wouldn’t be great, while the infused trait provides more spell damage on the front bar. Second, given that we go back bar only every ~8s, and that the cooldown of a non-infused berserker is 10s, we would lose a big uptime on this enchantment without infused as it would not be procced every rotation. In practice, in trial, with a bit of lag and mechanics to do, you wouldn’t lose that much running with another trait.
  • Quick point : infused vs nirnhoned on backbar ? I saw a lot of people running nirnhoned on their backbar, but according to my calculations, when running a berserker enchant, infused is better. Indeed, if you were to spend all your time on back bar, infused would provide with more spell damage on average because of the lower cooldown of the berserker enchant. As soon as you don’t spend all your time on your backbar, infused becomes more potent as it provides more spell damage on your front bar. The other points explained above are also valid of course.
  • Mechanical Acuity ? This set has become quite popular at the end of last patch, with insane parses done with acuity. For this pet magsorc rotation, I didn’t find it that good, and it gave me lower dps than Necropotence+md. The reason for that is that acuity is a bursty set, and this rotation is really not. 🙂 If you decide to give it a try, make sure to use another mundus as acuity becomes better when your critical rate is lower.
  • Zaan ? Zaan provides strong single target damage, however, it forces you to play melee. Furthermore, the Spell Crit bonus of Zaan is not as good as the Max Magicka bonus of Ilambris, and Zaan provides only single target damage while Ilambris does AoE damage. For these reasons, I chose to keep Ilambris this patch. Feel free to use Zaan in fights that are only single target and on which you can play melee safely.

Alternative gear :

  • The Infallible Mage set can be used as a replacement for the Moondancer. My calculations show it’s slightly less good using the thief, but both sets are very close. Both sets can be farmed in normal trials, blue jewels don’t make you lose that much damage.
  • The Law of Julianos set is a craftable set that could also be used instead of one of the previous sets. You will need to use Necropotence jewels if you choose this option.
  • The Maelstrom  staff makes our heavy attacks extremely potent, as it buffs all the ticks. If you do not possess one, I strongly encourage you to try and complete the Maelstrom Arena : give it a few hours regularly, and you’ll be able to finish 😀 ! As an alternative, you can use a second Moondancer staff (infused, berserker enchant), or Infaillible mage, or Julianos. Be aware that it will make you lose a significant amount of damage.


6. Champion Points

Keep in mind that green and red champion points should be adapted to what you are doing. For your blue champion points, the number of points in spell erosion will depend on your team and the uptime you have on penetration debuffs. The rest of my blue CPs have been determined using the awesome Constellations addon by Decay2, on fights such as Zhaj’hassa the Forgotten and Rakkhat.

Green tree :

Arcanist 75

Tenacity 75


Warlord 31


Shadow Ward 26

Tumbling 23


Red tree :

Ironclad 66

Spell Shield 16


Thick Skinned 56

Elemental Defender 49

Hardy 43


Blue tree :

Thaumaturge 75 (Even with the off balance nerf, after testing, it still seems that 75 thaumaturge is worth it if you can set off balance the boss, cause we have a lot of DoTs anyway)

Elemental expert 49

Elfborn 48

Spell erosion 37


Master-at-arms 28

Staff expert 3


7. Passives

For this build, the following passives are essential (of course, it’s good to have all the passives from at least the three sorcerer skill lines …) :

  • Daedric Summoning : Rebate II, Daedric Protection II, Expert Summoner II.
  • Dark Magic : Unholy knowledge II.
  • Storm Calling : Capacitor II, Energized II, Implosion II, Expert Mage II.
  • Destruction Staff : Trifocus II, Penetrating Magic II, Elemental Force II, Ancient Knowledge II, Destruction Expert II.
  • Light Armor : Recovery III, Evocation II, Spell Warding II, Prodigy II, Concentration II.
  • Fighter’s guild : Banish the wicked III.
  • Mage’s guild : Magicka Controller II, Might of the guild II.
  • Undaunted : Undaunted Command II, Undaunted Mettle II.
  • All your racial passives.
  • Alchemy : Medicinal Use III.

Vampire ?   Being a vampire stage two gives you 10% increase in magicka regen, which is always a nice bonus but is not really needed for this build as you pretty much have infinite sustain. I personally dislike the look of vampirism, but be one if you want to be :D!


8. Skills

Front bar (Moondancer lightning staff, infused with fire enchant):

  • Bound Aegis : Minor ward/resolve (which is given by combat prayer already, but always nice), and 8% max magicka, so a really great boost.
  • Daedric Prey : A nice damage skill with delay, but the important part is that it will boost your pet damage by 50% while active.
  • Volatile Familiar : Your mighty pet ! Produce nice damage in single target and AOE fights, with a tick every 2s.
  • Liquid lightning : One of our main source of damage, high damage AOE. Be careful that its radius isn’t so big, so it must be positionned adequately.
  • Inner Light  : 5% max magicka (and an extra 2% with Magicka Controller II), and Major Prophecy (which isn’t really needed if you use spell power potions).
  • ULTIMATE : Elemental rage. You need it on front bar to enjoy all the passives from your destruction staff. One of the most powerful ultimate in the game, insane damage and a very large AOE, which makes it imo the best choice for trash fights but also for boss fights if the boss is not perfectly static (that the major part of bosses …).


Back bar (Maelstrom inferno staff, infused with berserker enchant):

  • Bound Aegis : This is a toggle, so you must have it on both bar.
  • Empowered ward : What gives the magsorc a high survivability. Not only is it a strong ward, but it also gives 10% extra magicka recovery to you (which is not so useful) and to allies (which is cool for them), but for me the most important part for me is that it lasts 10s, which makes it possible, if the situation requires it, to cast it once per rotation and keep it up 100%.
  • Volatile Familiar : This is a toggle, so you must have it on both bar.
  • Elemental blockade : Strong AOE dot as well, must be up 100% to enjoy the insane crushing wall bonus from our Maelstrom as well. Fire blockade does 20% more dps to burning enemies, so it will be more potent than blockade of storms.
  • Mage’ wrath/ Endless Fury : Our execute, which isn’t as powerful as impale but still nice damage. Strictly speaking, Mage’s Wrath is more damage. However, I run with endless fury cause it’s better for solo PVE (and in particular in vMA) and I’m too lazy to remorph it.
  • ULTIMATE : Greater storm atronach. With Dragon Bones, the atronach has been buffed cause it now scales with your max stats, and now provides awesome single target as well as a nice major berserk for the teammates who can use the synergy. You want to use this morph as the longer duration brings better single target damage. On burst situations, or on fights with a lot of adds, the destro ult is still preferable.


Solo option : when running solo (in vMA for example), I remplace inner light by endless fury on front bar, and put surge on back bar.


9. Stats

Here are my stats, unbuffed, on front bar. The screenshot isn’t updated at the moment (wrong CPs and back bar staff).

Superstar magsorc.


10. Rotation

 The rotation : (la is light attack, ha heavy)

 (Activate pet, make sure your potion is up, cast ELEMENTALE RAGE) LIQUID LIGHTNING >(swap)> la > ELEMENTAL BLOCKADE >(swap)> ha > DAEDRIC PREY > la > VOLATILE FAMILIAR > ha > Restart.

 During execute :



A few remarks :

  • Liquid lightning is on front bar, which is a bit unusual. The reasons for these are that first, its animation is a bit long, and with this rotation you can just swap cancel it easily. Second, with this rotation, we spend the major part of the fight (that is, apart from the execute) on our frontbar on which we have more spell damage, more magicka, and the fire enchantment. It is, however, a bit awkward to heavy attack before LL as you can’t “queue” it the same way other skills usually do. My trick for that is that I wait till my character lifts up her staff at the end of the heavy attack, then stop pressing left click and cast LL.
  • When you swap to back bar, make sure to never miss the light attack before casting elemental blockade, as otherwise you won’t proc berserker.
  • With this rotation, you should have plenty of magicka when you reach execute, hence you should be able to do the execute rotation without any heavy attacks. If it’s not the case, say you had to ward a lot before, just cast 2 times endless fury, then swap back front bar, heavy attack, and continue.
  • If this rotation is done well, you should recast the pet just after it runs out and hence get two ticks of the pet almost at the same time : this is why I prefer casting prey before the pet, so that this double tick is buffed.


11. Parses (not Dragon Bones)

On all the parses below, CPs are the same as above, that is, my trial CPs, no extra point in penetration, no lover. The parses on skeleton are averaged parses, the uptimes on off-balance and minor vulnerability are not extra lucky.

3m dummy parse, self buffed, self draining with elemental susceptibility.

3m parse.

6m dummy parse, self buffed, self draining with elemental susceptibility. (The sustain from ele drain is not needed even on the bigger dummy :))

3m parse.

Ra Kotu, with minor force.

Ra Kotu parse.

The warrior without hm (special thanks to Poty and Arthas for this awesome minor berserk uptime <3).

The warrior parse.

I will eventually add more parses.


7 thoughts on “The Moondancer – heavy attack pet magsorc build”

  • With this rotation (pet sorc heavy attacks) that has no spam skill, why liquid lightning instead of lightning flood? You do:
    LIQUID LIGHTNING >(swap)> la > ELEMENTAL BLOCKADE >(swap)> ha > DAEDRIC PREY > la > VOLATILE FAMILIAR > ha > Restart

    I don’t think 3 skills and 2 HA between casts of LL take 10 seconds

    (but Im not even 50, just wondering bc in theory the 10 secs are not needed as far as I can tell)

    • Hi ! Your rotation should be around 8s, because you aim for 100% uptime on blockade. Should you use Lightning flood, you would lose actually 2 ticks of damage as it would be up only 6s instead of 8s, so it’s quite a big deal :).

  • You do not give an explanation as to why you use moondancer over other sets. If you are not getting the use of the extra magicka recovery from the 5 piece when it just so happens to proc it, wouldn’t a different set be able to push a more continuous damage increase instead of a 50/50 chance ? And you parses are said to be done solo, with no one assisting in giving major breach. I would assume that means you did those parses without a moondancer proc as well. Is it safe to assume these parses could be bigger due to missing that 500ish spell damage?

    • Hello ! I didn’t update this build for Summerset, which is why it is still using Moondancer, since at that time only 4 pieces were counted ! So yes the parses are without Moondancer’s 5-piece bonus. With the Summerset update, the difference between heavy attack rotations and no pet light attack rotations becomes even bigger than before, which is why I didn’t bother updating. :<

    • Hi! Pet sorcs are quite powerful this patch, however, heavy attack rotations are really weak. I do not play dd anymore, so I won’t update this guide, however, I really recommend you to check Liko’s channel on youtube. He has some videos on pet sorc rotations which are quite strong. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VKL2qZyPpZ0
      I hope this helps :)!

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