Welcome to our ESO Arcanist Class guide! Here you will find a detailed explanation of all Arcanist class skills, plus how to play the Arcanist class more effectively by utilizing Crux. We also have a full list of helpful builds to get you started on your Arcanist journey!
The Arcanist Class Explained
Empowered by the secrets of Apocrypha and the forbidden knowledge of Hermaeus Mora, the Arcanist is a powerful new Class capable of destructive, restorative, or defensive magic by channeling the arcane, ancient runes and lost tomes of power.
The Arcanist is ESO’s 7th class, the third new class added since the game’s release in 2014, and is set to debut on June 5th for PC and June 20th for consoles as part of ESO’s new Necrom Chapter. The Arcanist brings a unique approach to combat and abilities, including a new combo point system and a dark, cosmic horror aesthetic.
Arcanist Class Skill Lines
The Arcanist class for ESO has three unique skill lines, each thematically and visually centered around the Daedric Prince Hermaeus Mora. Their names are Herald Of The Tome, Soldier Of Apocrypha, and Curative Runeforms. Each class line will serve a specific playstyle purpose including one for Offense (DPS), one for Defense/Tanking, and one for Healing.
Herald of The Tome
The Herald Of The Tome skill line for the Arcanist Class is focused on dealing damage (DPS). Players using these skills can manipulate arcane energies to bombard their foes with damaging blasts, beams, and more.
The Herald Of The Tome skill line for the Arcanist includes the following abilities:
- Runeblades – Craft a series of Apocryphal runes before launching them at a foe, dealing 776 Magic Damage three times and generating Crux. This ability deals 3% increased damage for each active Crux when cast. Morphs: Writhing Runeblades, Escalating Runeblades
- Fatecarver – Harness pure knowledge into a beam of energy that scars the world in front of you. Channel the beam for up to 4 seconds, dealing 919 Magic Damage every 0.3 seconds. Casting Fatecarver consumes all Crux and increases damage done by 33% per Crux spent. Morphs: Exhausting Fatecarver, Pragmatic Fatecarver
- Abyssal Impact – Infuse your arm with abyssal magic to form tentacles that lash out at your foes, dealing 2016 Physical Damage. Enemies are immobilized for 3 seconds and marked with Abyssal Ink for 20 seconds. You deal 5% increased damage to enemies drenched in Abyssal Ink. Morphs: Cephaliarch’s Flail, Tentacular Dread
- Tome-Bearer’s Inspiration – Etch a series of runes onto your weapon that pulse with power once every 5 seconds. Each pulse enhances your class abilities, and striking an enemy with one deals an additional 1244 Magic Damage and generates Crux if you have none. While slotted on either ability bar, gain Major Brutality and Major Sorcery, increasing your Weapon and Spell Damage by 20%. Morphs: Inspired Scholarship, Recuperative Treatise
- ‘The Imperfect Ring – Summon a flawed rune under an enemy that etches foes nearby with scrawled glyphs, dealing 4802 Magic Damage over 20 seconds. An ally near the initial target can activate the Runebreak synergy, dealing 2986 Frost Damage to enemies within 7 meters. Morphs: Rune Of Displacement, Fulminating Rune
- The Unblinking Eye (Ultimate) – Tear open the fabric of the Aurbis to summon a scion of Hermaeus Mora. This being casts forth a beam that rends asunder reality for 6 seconds and deals 1456 Magic Damage to enemies within 3 meters every 0.5 seconds. The scion’s beam can be repositioned by recasting The Unblinking Eye. Morphs: The Languid Eye, The Tide King’s Gaze
Soldier Of Apocrypha
The Soldier Of Apocrypha skill line for the Arcanist Class is focused on defensive skills and crowd control (tanking). Players can use these skills to dominate their foes’ attention, buff themselves or their party’s defensive capabilities, and even conjure an explosive damage shield.
The Soldier Of Apocrypha skill line for the Arcanist includes the following abilities:
- Runic Jolt – Craft a defensive Apocryphal rune that deals 1259 Magic Damage and applies Minor Maim for 15 seconds, reducing their damage done by 5%. The rune also taunts for 15 seconds if it would not cause taunt immunity, and generates Crux. While slotted, damage taken is reduced by 2% per active Crux. Morphs: Runic Sunder, Runic Embrace
- Runespite Ward – Like the rune knights of old, summon a shield that absorbs 5000 damage for 6 seconds, scaling off your Max Health. The first time you take direct damage, the shield retaliates and deals Magic Damage to the attacker, scaling off your Armor. Consume Crux to heal yourself for 1800 Health, scaling off your Max Health, per Crux spent. Morphs: Impervious Runeward, Spiteward Of The Lucid Mind
- Fatewoven Armor – Forge defiant runic armor around you, granting Major Resolve for 20 seconds, increasing your Armor by 5948. While the armor persists, taking damage applies Minor Breach, reducing the Armor of your attacker by 2974 for 6 seconds. Morphs: Cruxweaver Armor, Unbreakable Fate
- Runic Defense – Cast forth a complex rune granting you and your group members Minor Resolve for 20 seconds, increasing your Armor by 2974. You gain Minor Protection for 20 seconds, reducing your damage taken by 5%. The first time you are damaged while below 50% Health, the Minor Protection is consumed to heal you for 4950 Health, scaling off your Max Health. Morphs: Runeguard Of Still Waters, Runeguard Of Freedom
- Rune Of Eldritch Horror – Etch an incomprehensible rune on your enemy’s mind, paralyzing them in fear after a 1 second delay, stunning them for 4 seconds. This terror applies Minor Vulnerability for 10 seconds, increasing their damage taken by 5%. If used against a monster, the paralyze lasts for 8 seconds. This ability cannot be dodged. Morphs: Rune Of Uncanny Adoration, Rune Of Colorless Pool
- Gibbering Shield (Ultimate) – Gather the true strength of Apocrypha around you, forming protective tentacles and a damage shield that absorbs 60% of all damage for 10 seconds, up to a max of 40563 damage, scaling off your Max Health. When the shield collapses you lash out, dealing all of the damage absorbed as Magic Damage to enemies within 5 meters over 10 seconds. Morphs: Sanctum Of The Abyssal Sea, Gibbering Shelter
The Curative Runeforms skill line for the Arcanist Class is focused on healing skills and buffs. Players can use these skills to keep their party (or themselves) healthy, shield allies from damage, or even help them navigate the battlefield via portals.
The Curative Runeforms skill line for the Arcanist includes the following abilities:
- Runemend – Craft a series of precise Apocryphal runes, then propel them at yourself or an ally in front of you. The runes heal for 1253 Health three times and generate Crux. Each active Crux reduces the cost of this ability by 3%. Morphs: Audacious Runemend, Evolving Runemend
- Remedy Cascade – Channel the abyssal sea to coalesce a beam of restorative energy. The beam heals you and your allies in its path for 11955 Health over 4.5 seconds. Consume Crux to also restore 728 Magicka and Stamina per Crux spent to your allies over 4.5 seconds. Morphs: Curative Surge, Cascading Fortune
- Chakram Shields – Carve the runes of the Blind Man to call forth spinning mystical discs. Discs surround you or up to 4 allies in front of you, granting a shield that absorbs 3336 damage for 6 seconds. Discs prefer your reticle target, or low-Health targets without shields. Morphs: Chakram Of Destiny, Tidal Chakram
- Arcanist’s Domain – Draw forth your tome and invoke the vigoratum of Hermaeus Mora to conjure a vortex of eldritch power. Standing in this vortex grants you and your allies Minor Courage, Minor Fortitude, Minor Intellect, and Minor Endurance, increasing your Weapon and Spell Damage by 215 and your Health, Magicka, and Stamina Recovery by 15%. Morphs: Zenas’ Empowering Disc, Reconstructive Domain
- Apocryphal Gate – Breach the world walls to create a portal at a target location. Its twin appears directly before you. Crossing the threshold allows you to teleport from one to the other for as long as the portals remain open. Apocryphal Gate generates Crux each time you teleport. Morphs: Passage Between Worlds, Fleet-Footed Gate
- Vitalizing Glyphic (Ultimate) – Summon an Apocryphal glyphic saturated with vitalizing energy, which you and your allies can heal. The glyphic spawns at 30% Health and grows stronger the more you heal it. The antediluvian power within the glyphic pulses every 1 second, granting up to 200 Weapon and Spell Damage and healing you and your allies around it for up to 961 Health in proportion to its Health. Morphs: Glyphic Of The Tides, Resonating Glyphic
Arcanist Class Lore
We don’t know much about the story of the Arcanist Class quite yet, other than the fact that it is closely associated with the Telvanni Peninsula region and especially with the Daedric Prince Hermaeus Mora. It seems that Arcanists in ESO are devout seekers of knowledge, so much so that they have an intimate connection to the Deadric realm on Apocrypha, including knowledge of the powerful Tomes and Runes within which express themselves as active and passive Arcanist abilities.
The ESO design team themselves confirmed that the Arcanist’s entire persona revolves around the Black Books of Hermaeus Mora which inspired how the Arcanist’s skills look and sound. While players will not be wielding the infamous Black Books themselves they will be using their own style of Tome in which they’ve scribed their own powerful magic.
How do you play the Arcanist?
As ESO’s 7th class, the Arcanist has elements that should be familiar to any experienced ESO player, like dedicated skill lines for Damage Dealing, Tanking, and Healing, but the Arcanist also features many new elements that make playing the class feel fresh and unique even for ESO veterans. The Arcanist was literally designed to play differently than any other class in ESO.
As we’ve already seen, one of the major differences with the Arcanist class is that it has some longer channeled abilities. For example, the Arcanist’s main source of damage is a unique AOE channeled beam attack called Fatecarver which lasts around 5 seconds and has to be aimed.
While this sounds simple there’s actually a lot of planning involved to optimize your damage as an Arcanist as you can also cast other skills to build up a combo point system called Crux (more on this later).
Timing is important too as you’ll need to make sure your buffs and debuffs have at least 5 seconds of duration left before casting Fatecarver’s channel or they’ll run out mid-beam, leaving you more vulnerable.
Having such a strong damage ability like Fatecarver built into a long-duration AOE skill also makes the Arcanist class extremely powerful for beginners and easy for current players looking for a build with a simple rotation. The Arcanist seems to have been designed to be just slightly more challenging to play than the easiest play style in the game: that of an Oakensoul Heavy attack build. Instead of holding down your heavy attack button to deal damage you instead build up Crux and then let your Beam do the work.
Arcanist Class New Mechanic: CRUX
The Crux system is yet another unique mechanic built into the Arcanist class that sets it apart from other classes in ESO, allowing you to build up Bonus points during combat that supercharge your abilities to make them more effective or add bonus effects.
Crux are very easy to track visually, so you don’t need to worry about buff timers or tracking icons – just look for these bright green triangles spinning around your character. This is Crux. You start with zero and you can build up to a maximum of three.
The way this works is that some Arcanist skills are builders, adding to your overall Crux count, while other Arcanist skills are spenders – when you use these skills they consume any Crux you have built up, whether its 1, 2, or 3 Crux, and this gives you that extra damage, or healing or bonus effects.
What Weapons Are Best For The Arcanist?
The best weapon for a Magicka-focused Arcanist in The Elder Scrolls Online is the Destruction Staff. A Lightning Staff is recommended for AOE-focused builds while an Inferno Staff is recommended for single-target-focused builds.
For a melee or Stamina focused Arcanist, a great option for your Primary Weapon will be either Dual Wield or Two-Handed. Both weapons do great damage while also offering powerful Damage Over Time (DOT) effects and some utility.
What Armor Should an Arcanist Wear?
The best armor for the Arcanist class in The Elder Scrolls Online is light armor, which provides bonuses to Critical Chance, Offensive Penetration, Magicka Recovery and Magicka Cost Reduction.
There are some exceptions to this rule, particularly if you prefer melee weapons and stamina-based skills. In this case, you will want to prioritize medium armor instead which boosts your Critical Damage, Stamina Recovery, and Stamina Cost Reduction.
What Is The Best Race For Arcanist?
The best race for an Arcanist in The Elder Scrolls Online is High Elf due to their bonus Max Magicka, increased Weapon and Spell Damage, and damage reduction while channeling.
It is important to note that sometimes other races can be preferred depending on what particular build you are trying to optimize for. For more details be sure to review our ESO Race Guides for each role.
Tanks as well as players interested in PVP will also want to invest in some solid Heavy Armor sets for extra protection.
Arcanist Class Builds
The Arcanist Class can be used for powerful builds in both PVE and PVP content in The Elder Scrolls Online. The Arcanist is a fantastic choice for every role in the game, including DPS, Tanking, Healing, and even Solo Gameplay. Here are some great build options for you to explore!
The CRUX CANNON Build is a POWERFUL Stamina Arcanist Build you can play in ESO for both Solo and Group Content! With a flexible and EASY One Bar Rotation and No Trials Gear needed this is the ultimate starter build for the Arcanist Class!
The RUNE KNIGHT Arcanist Tank build for The Elder Scrolls Online is a beast! With access to many powerful buffs and debuffs this build will be an outstanding addition to any dungeon or trials group in ESO!
The FATE LORD Build is a POWERFUL Stamina Arcanist DPS option, capable of massive damage numbers, even without Trials gear! Plus, the rotation is simple to learn, making this build a great option for players at all skill levels looking to boost their damage.