Last updated on October 22nd, 2018
Welcome to the first installment of a weekly segment where we dive into one Elder Scrolls Online’s many Sets, and explore what sort of Builds you can make. Not only will we show you how to get the most from these Sets, but we’ll explain where to get them, what requirements there are to obtain them (if any), and everything else you could possibly want to know about them. This week’s Set is a lesser used, and perhaps not so well known one named Varen’s Legacy. This Set is named after Varen Aquilarios, also known as The Prophet, who guides the player through the main quest line of ESO.
An Introduction to This Set
Varen’s Legacy was introduced to Elder Scrolls Online in May 2016 with the addition of the Dark Brotherhood DLC. It was one of 3 new Crafted Sets added and requires 7 Traits to craft. This Set can be found in Gold Coast’s southern territory at Strid River Artisans Camp, which will require the Dark Brotherhood DLC to gain access to. Players can, of course, still have another player craft it for them if they do not own said DLC.
Since it is crafted, it can be made in any craftable Style, Light/Medium/Heavy Armor, and both Weapons and Shields. Since Jewelcrafting has not yet been added to the game, it is currently unobtainable on Jewelry. Because this set is for those players who block a lot, having a Shield with this Set is pretty much a must. So all you really need to decide is what you want it to look like…
This Set caps out at 3000 damage once you hit Champion Rank 160 and does not increase no matter the quality of the items involved in the Set. Only the 2 and 3 piece bonuses on this set will increase with quality improvement, since 4% Healing Taken does not change either. This means it is not necessary to upgrade to Legendary to get the most of Varen’s Legacy, which could save you some valuable crafting materials.
What You Need To Know About This Set
How this Set works is that when you Block an attack you have a 10% chance to gain a buff called “Varen’s Wall” that grants you 7 seconds to use a “Direct Damage” AoE ability which will be increased by 3000 damage on EACH target it hits. There was a bug in a previous version of ESO that made it so this only increased the damage against one target, but this is no longer the case. When you use an ability that is compatible with this Set, it will “consume” the Buff and it will vanish from your bar. This is how you can tell if an ability will work with this Set or not.
With the introduction of the Champion System, and the frequent updates to it, this Set can become extremely confusing as some abilities affected by Man-at-Arms are not affected by Varen’s Legacy. A good example of this is Spear Shards in the Templar Skill Line. For all intents and purposes only abilities that deal Direct AoE Damage with no Damage Over Time associated with them will work with this Set. As mentioned above, this disqualifies Spear Shards, and other abilities like Meteor or Dawnbreaker.
While I was doing my testing I did find a few oddities, such as Proximity Detonation not being affected no matter if Varen’s Wall was active at the time of detonation or was active at the time of casting (or both). The same goes for Blazing Shield, however, Sun Shield and Radiant Ward are both buffed by Varen’s Wall, so it would seem that the damage must be done instantly. That is to say, you can’t have a “Direct Damage” AoE on a timer, it must deal the damage at the time the ability is cast.
Monster Helm Sets that do direct AoE damage will also be buffed by Varen’s Wall. I have tested Valkyn Skoria and it buffs the AoE damage from the meteor, but not the single target damage. I have not tested other sets, but only Infernal Guardian (in theory) should proc from this buff.
Another interesting thing about this set is that the damage is added with the damage of the ability itself, although not displayed on the tooltip. These means that if your tooltip says 3500 Magic Damage, for example, you will do 6500 Magic Damage, with a normal attack. However, if it Critically Strikes then you will get 1.5-1.9x higher depending on your Critical Multiplier. That makes this Set even more potent as it can potentially hit for an extra 4500-5800 damage!
Reducing Your Block Cost
Regardless whether you are a player focusing primarily on PvE or PvP the first thing you’re going to want to do when using Varen’s Legacy is reduce your Block Cost since you will need to Block a lot in order to make full use of this Set. The cost of Blocking is 2160 Stamina every .25 seconds currently (assuming you are being hit) and you will need to reduce that number significantly or you will not be able to Block more than a couple of seconds tops. Luckily there are many ways to do this.
For PvE players (tanks) you’ll want to have the Sturdy Trait on just about every piece of Armor you can, and since this Set is crafted, that will be extremely easy to do. PvP players will want some Sturdy and some Impenetrable else they will die quickly if they are caught with their Shield down.
Secondly both PvE and PvP players will want to invest heavily into the Shadow Ward star of The Shadow Champion Tree. There is no hard and fast rule here as to just how much you need to invest, but it is not difficult to get -20% Block Cost reduction from this star.
Again, both PvE and PvP players will want to have the passive skill: Fortress in the One-Handed and Shield Skill Line. Maxed out, it will reduce your Block Cost by 36% when you have a Shield equipped.
Finally, and most importantly, both PvE and PvP players should put Glyph of Shielding on your Jewelry. The reason that these Glyphs are the most important is because they actually reduce Block Cost by a flat value AFTER it has been reduced by the above. If you play around with Blocking at all, you’ll find there is no way to make it sustainable without them. You don’t need to put them on all your Jewelry, but at least 1 or 2. It isn’t necessary to go for a “perma-block” build, but you will need to reduce Block Cost significantly for this Build to work. For more information on Blocking please see this video.
Picking a Skill That Works With This Set
Once you have reduced your Block Cost then you will need an ability that synergizes with Varen’s Legacy to get the foundation of a Build put together. Skills that work really well with this Set are as follows:
Solar Barrage – You can hit mobs for huge damage with this ability as it also Empowers your next attack for +20% damage. It also can be cast while Blocking, so you never have to drop your guard. Consider adding a Set like War Maiden for increased Magic Damage or any defensive Set if you simply wish to be tankier.
Radiant Ward – The initial hit when you cast this damage shield does get buffed by Varen’s Legacy, which can make it hit for substantial damage. Consider adding a Set like War Maiden for increased Magic Damage or any defensive Set that increases your Max Health if you simply wish to be tankier.
Dragon Leap – This ability already does massive damage and you can increase that significantly with Varen’s Legacy. Depending on which morph you take, Bone Pirate’s Tatters or Silks of the Sun would be a good fit here or something tankier for more defense.
Inhale – Not only will this ability deal more damage, but it will heal you for even more Health since healing is based on damage done. Either Burning Spellweave or War Maiden are a good fit with this ability.
Notes For PvE Players
PvE players are really only going to be Tanks if they are using this Set so they will most likely need to choose a defensive Set to pair with Varen’s Legacy depending on the sort of content they usually run. There are a ton of great Tanking Sets so I won’t list them here, but really any will do for this Build as long as they keep you alive. Varen’s Legacy isn’t going to really work for hardcore Trials, but it should be very effective in farming or speed runs once you get the hang of it. Consider this Set if you run with a low DPS group or just want to have a bit of fun.
Notes for PvPers
Because you’ve lowered your Block Cost so much, you’ll be able to jump into large crowds of players with your Shield up and still survive (with a little practice). Since Varen’s Legacy is going to increase your damage by a fair bit, especially against a larger group of players, you’ll really need a second Set that has some Recovery. Whether it be Stamina or Magicka, you will struggle to sustain with Glyph of Shielding on all your Jewelry (if you put them on all) and zero Recovery on Varen’s Legacy. Magicka players should consider Shroud of the Lich or Syrabane’s Grip (which allows you to regain Magicka when you Block spells), and Stamina players should consider Bone Pirate’s Tatters for decent Stamina paired with Stamina Recovery.
Elusive Mist is a must have skill for this kind of playstyle, because it allows you regain Stamina while you take very little damage, so you’ll want to be a Vampire. Learn to use this when you are low on Stamina and learn how to juggle your resources.
Unless you’re a Dragonknight or Nightblade, consider using Devouring Swarm as your Ultimate to help keep you alive in the middle of a bunch of players and help kill them.
Using a Monster Helm set that keeps you alive such as Pirate Skeleton or does AoE damage like Grothdarr or Nerien’eth (Nerien’eth got a 20% boost with the Horns of the Reach Update) may be the way to go with this. Or perhaps use Valkyn Skoria and try to maximize its AoE damage, as it is compatible with Varen’s Wall.
Whether you play a Magicka character or a Stamina, this Set can work for you. The key is simply reducing your Block Cost to a point that you can sustain Block against multiple targets long enough to trigger Varen’s Wall and for you to kill them. Make sure you have enough of a Stamina pool to accomplish this, and increase it if you need to.
The ideal Classes for this sort of Build should be kind of obvious from the above Skills section, but Dragonknights, Nightblades are the ideal choice. Even Templars will be much easier to play (and more flexible in their setups) than Sorcerers or Wardens.
You can play this sort of build with an Ice Staff because the passive Ancient Knowledge in the Destruction Staff Skill Line lowers the Block Cost, much like Fortress. The downsides are that you cannot Block and cast at the same time with a Staff, like you can with a Shield. And, you cannot get 2 5 piece bonuses without breaking up a Monster Helm Set.
Consider making it so that you have the 5 piece bonus on your Sword and Shield, with 3 body pieces to form the set. That way when you are on the opposite bar, where you won’t be Blocking, you can use a Maelstrom Staff or 2 Willpower or Torag’s Pact Swords. This will increase your damage when you are playing purely offensively.
I’ll leave you with a video of some gameplay of this sort of Build. This is not my gameplay but another’s who is exceptionally skilled with this setup. Enjoy!
Stay tuned next week for our Build Guide around another ESO Set, and one you might not use too frequently!
Be sure to check out our other ESO Guides!