This is a guide to making a Stamina Warden healer for 4-person PvE content.
By the Green, why would anyone do such a thing? Because we can. The Warden is the first class with the abilities and passives needed to make stamina healing viable. It makes for a very different play style than magicka healing and can be a lot of fun.
To be clear, this is not an optimal build. If you want an optimal healer build, make a magicka healer (probably a Templar, but definitely magicka). This build is 100% viable, but if you feel the need to min/max in content that doesn’t need min/maxing, then this isn’t for you.
Also, “Stamina healer” is slightly misleading, as we still need to use magicka for various buff abilities. “Hybrid healer” may be a bit more accurate. Our heals scale off of stamina, but both resources are important.
- Powerful Assault: This is the medium armor equivalent of Spell Power Cure, the go-to set for all magicka healing. When you cast an assault ability (i.e. Vigor), it increases the weapon and spell damage of up to 4 targets within 10 meters for 15 seconds. You want to use this for the same reason magicka healers use SPC – your job is to buff the group in addition to healing them, and this is a very powerful buff. This set can be obtained from the Tel Var merchant in the Imperial City, or from guild stores.
- War Machine: This is the medium armor set added with the Halls of Fabrication trial in Morrowind. When you use an ultimate, you and your two nearest allies gain Major Slayer for 15 seconds, increasing damage done to dungeon and trial monsters by 15%. With the proper positioning and a cheap ultimate like the Warden’s healing ultimate, you can keep high uptime on this very powerful buff.
- Sentinel of Rkugamz (monster set): Healing procs a Dwemer spider that heals and restores stamina to allies in the area. This is a great way to help the tank out with their resource management in addition to your own.
We are able to run two 5-piece sets plus a monster set due to the nature of the 5 piece bonuses on Powerful Assault and War Machine. Both abilities trigger an effect when you do <thing>, therefore you only need the 5-piece active on the bar you’ll use to do <thing>. The effect will remain active when you swap bars. In our case, we’ll have PA on our frontbar with Vigor and WM on our backbar where we’ll use our ultimate.
- Head/Shoulder: 2x Sentinel of Rkugamz. Ideally Light/Heavy for the Undaunted passive and a small bit of the light armor magicka passives.
- Body/Jewelry: 4x Powerful Assault, 4x War Machine. It does not matter which piece goes where.
- Weapon #1: Bow of the Powerful Assault (Precise or Powered). Weakening enchant.
- Weapon #2: War Machine Destruction Staff (Precise or Powered). It does not matter which element you have.
Ideally all body pieces are divines with stamina enchants. Jewelry should be stamina recovery; if your sustain is ok you can swap one or two for a weapon damage enchant (those increase healing as well).
Why a bow frontbar? To take advantage of Green Lotus, we want to light attack frequently. Being right next to the boss is often challenging as a healer, so we want a ranged weapon. Plus a healer spamming bow light attacks will drive some people in a PuG absolutely bonkers.
Why a destruction staff backbar? Healers are expected to cast Elemental Drain, so we need a destruction staff. We don’t use the staff for anything else. Plus you get to relish the reaction from your group when you ask for a destruction staff in a stamina set.
- Echoing Vigor (Assault): Our main heal. This provides a 5-second heal over time to all allies within 15 meters. We will want to cast this on cooldown pretty much always, as it is enough to keep the group at full health much of the time. As this is an assault ability, it procs Powerful Assault (so always cast it at least once every 15 seconds).
- Soothing Spores (Green Balance): Stamina conal heal. This is our burst heal and triggers the Green Balance passives, all of which are great for improving our healing abilities and buffing the group. It heals for more if you’re close to your allies, so try to stay near them if possible.
- Green Lotus (Green Balance): While active, this causes our light and heavy attacks to heal a nearby ally. The heal isn’t much but it’s a nice way to keep the group topped off while doing a bit of damage. The heals also proc the Green Balance passives. The main draw is Major Savagery, which increases your Weapon Critical rating and therefore your healing.
- Subterranean Assault (Animal Companions): This does a nice chunk of damage while also applying Major Breach and Fracture to all enemies it hits. These debuffs (effectively) increase the amount of damage enemies take; tanks will apply them when they taunt, but in add pulls they can’t taunt everything so the ability to apply them to the entire group is very helpful. Additionally, having this on our bar enables the Flourish passive, which increases Mag and Stam recovery while an Animal Companion ability is on our bar. It also provides 4 Ultimate once every 8 seconds through the Savage Beast passive, so try to use it or the Netch once every 8 seconds.
- Flawless Dawnbreaker (Fighter’s Guild): This passively provides a large Weapon Damage bonus. We never actually use the ultimate; we always want to use the ult on our backbar with War Machine.
Destruction Staff Bar
- Elemental Drain(Destruction Staff): this applies Minor Magickasteal and Major Breach to an enemy. Major Breach is redundant, but Minor Magickasteal is essential for sustain of magicka dps.
- Expansive Frost Cloak (Winter’s Embrace): this applies Major Resolve and Major Ward to up to 6 allies (e.g. the entire group in 4-person content). This helps group survivability a lot so keep it up all the time.
- Energy Orb (Undaunted): this provides a synergy to allies that will restore magicka or stamina (depending on which max stat is higher) to them and nearby allies. This is another essential sustain tool. We can afford magicka to cast it occasionally but can’t spam it as much as magicka healers can.
- Bull Netch (Animal Companions): this restores a small amount of stamina over time for a long period and provides Major Brutality, increasing weapon damage and therefore healing. It also activates the Flourish passive increasing our resource recovery.
- * Flex
- Enchanted Forest (Green Balance): this is the centerpiece of the build. This applies a large AoE heal with a follow-up HoT at the incredibly cheap cost of 75 ultimate. If you heal an ally under 50% health, you regain 20 ultimate immediately, in which case it effectively costs 55 ultimate and is the cheapest ultimate in the game. We want to spam this as much as possible to proc War Machine and grant Major Slayer to our DPS.
If you’re just fooling around, you can also use the bear. Activating the bear’s swipe attack is cheap (75 ult) and will proc War Machine (just be sure to activate it on the back bar). This makes you less effective as a healer but is awesome.
- Poison Injection (Bow): a cheap but powerful DoT, particularly against low health enemies. You often don’t need to be healing 100% of the time, so this is a nice way to contribute to group DPS.
- Frozen Retreat (Winter’s Embrace): cast a portal on the group (or under an enemy) that pulls the first enemy to walk over it to you. This is the Warden version of chains; if your tank is not able to pull enemies together to AoE down, you can use this to help out. Allies can activate a synergy to teleport to you, which sounds really awesome but I haven’t found a use for it yet.
- Either morph of Nature’s Grasp (Green Balance): this pulls you to an ally; our long range healing abilities are very limited so this can be useful if an ally wanders out of range and starts taking damage. But, honestly, you’ll use this because it’s awesome (for you) and annoying (for them).
- Efficient Purge (Support): this cleanses harmful effects from allies. It is very situation because most effects that are cleanseable can be healed through. It is VERY expensive so use this wisely.
- Shimmering Shield (Winter’s Embrace): this absorbs the next three projectiles cast at you and grants Major Heroism, providing 12 ultimate over 6 seconds. You won’t normally have projectiles shot at you so this often isn’t useful, but if people are going to shoot at you, why not get some ult out of it?
- Blade Cloak (Dual Wield): to use this, you’ll need to use dual wield weapons on one of your bars instead of bow/staff. This reduces AoE damage you take by 25%, which helps your survivability a ton. This is not normally necessary, but is worth considering if you’re having issues staying alive.
- Attributes: aim for 18K health, then put the rest in stamina. The exact distribution will depend on your race and whether or not you have the undaunted passive.
- Race: Argonian is probably optimal because they have a healing bonus, great resource management, and the extra mag is nice to help cast your magicka abilities. Beyond that, any stamina race will work fine; my character is a Wood Elf for the stamina regen and lore reasons.
- Food: Purple tri-stat food or Dubious Cameron Throne (health/stam/stam recovery). Tri-stat food gives you a bit more room to use magicka abilities, but isn’t necessary. Dubious Cameron Throne helps a lot with sustain.
You have several good options:
- The Thief – increases critical, meaning more critical heals
- The Ritual – increases healing done
- The Serpent – increases stam recovery
- The Atronach – increases mag recovery
If you find yourself having sustain problems, use one of the recovery stones. Otherwise, use one of the other stones.
I’ve yet to figure out the optimal setup, so I will just list the passives that are helpful. In Morrowind, you want to spread your points out across many more trees, so you’ll probably want to put some points into all of these.
- Mage: Blessed, Precise Strikes. Unless you’re sure you want to do nothing but heal, you probably want some points in DPS trees as well – Piercing, Mighty, Thaumaturge, Master-At-Arms, Physical Weapon Expert.
- Warrior: Elemental Defender, Hardy, Thick Skinned, Quick Recovery, Ironclad, Spell Shield, Medium Armor Focus
- Thief: Mooncalf, Arcanist (we use mag abilities, too, remember?), Tenacity, Warlord, Shadow Ward, Bashing Focus
A Note About Positioning
This build is a more reliant on sane ally positioning than the traditional Templar healer because we don’t have Breath of Life. Our heals still have a fair amount of range – Vigor is 15 meters, Soothing Spores is 20 – but if a DPS wants to stand as far away from us as possible we may be unable to heal them. This is generally their fault for being an idiot.
In addition, getting the most out of War Machine requires careful positioning. It affects the two closest allies, whom we want to be the two DPS (tanks get no benefit from increased damage). Therefore, we need to work with the DPS to ensure they’re always closer to us than the tank is. This can be tricky in some fights, but it’s also not the end of the world if the tank gets the Major Slayer buff sometimes because we’re reapplying it frequently.