The Elder Scrolls

A Good Beginner’s PVP Build: The Chill Warden

TheElderScrolls9 - A Good Beginner's PVP Build: The Chill Warden

Since people enjoyed my dungeon tank build, I thought I’d share another off-meta build that’s served me well this Midyear Mayhem: a PVP Magden.

I recommend this build for beginners because it’s eminently versatile: it can fight alone or in groups, in melee or at range, and it's equally suited to Battlegrounds, Cyrodiil, or the Imperial City. It also has a nice balance of damage, mobility, and defensiveness that's very forgiving for a new PVP player.

The core idea is to stack defensive buffs and AoE frost damage until you're a walking, unkillable pain in the ass: your various skills and sets can activate six frost AoE's in one spot. This applies heavy pressure to groups of enemies—damaging, slowing, chilling, and immobilizing them—giving your team a powerful edge in a brawl, and helping you control the layout of the battlefield. Damage mitigation and healing keep you alive, while Major Expedition helps you get away in a pinch (or reach a flag or relic before the other guy).

As an added bonus, this build fulfills the Frost Mage fantasy in a very satisfy way—even our Green Balance and Animal Companion skills have a pleasant blue hue.


  • buffer of the swift - A Good Beginner's PVP Build: The Chill WardenBuffer of the Swift (Weapons and Jewelry): I really enjoy this as a defensive light armor set. The sustain and penetration from the Light Armor passives are too good to give up, and this set makes up for the lost survivability. The fact that you can get it in traders is a nice convenience too.
  • Winterborn (Light Armor): Would New Moon Acolyte provide higher damage output? Probably. However, I love the burst on both these sets: Winterborn's AoE damage and snare fit the build perfectly, and proc frighteningly often in a crowd, but Icy Conjuror is a nice, reliable alternative if you find yourself in 1-on-1 fights.
  • Iceheart Monster Set (Heavy Armor): Even after the nerf, this set provides a nice balance of the defensiveness and AoE frost damage that are so central to this build.

Front Bar (Nirnhoned Frost Staff with Frost Glyph):

  1. Deep Fissure: A powerful source of burst damage and Major Breach that can stack with other attacks, thanks to the 3-second delay.
  2. winters revenge - A Good Beginner's PVP Build: The Chill Warden
    Winter's Revenge: Another powerful AoE that snares and applies the Chilled status effect
  3. elemental blockade - A Good Beginner's PVP Build: The Chill Warden
    Elemental Blockade or
    crystallized slab - A Good Beginner's PVP Build: The Chill WardenCrystallized Slabs: Elemental Blockade helps you layer on the frost DoTs and status effects if you're in offensive mode, but Crystallized Slabs can substitute if you need more tankiness.
  4. Screaming Cliff Racer: Our main single-target spammable, which is especially useful for finishing off targets at long range.
  5. Bird of Prey: This is primarily slotted for the passive Minor Berserk buff, but the added speed can come in handy if you're fleeing a fight or racing to an objective.

  6. Elemental Rage or
    healing thicket - A Good Beginner's PVP Build: The Chill WardenHealing Thicket
    (Ultimate): Elemental Rage is our most powerful Frost AoE—good for unsuspecting groups that are busy duking it out. However, if you're filling a more support-oriented role, you can sub in Healing Thicket for some extra healing.

Back Bar (Infused Frost Staff with Weapon Damage Glyph):


  1. Fetcher Infection: A great DoT that applies Minor Vulnerability, and can reliably proc the Icy Conjuror set.
  2. Lotus Blossom or Enchanted Growth: Lotus Blossom is a self-heal that can be activated before a fight, and the Major Prophecy buff boosts our damage and helps proc the Iceheart set. However, if you're running with a large squad, you might want to swap in Enchanted Growth for the group heals and buffs.
  3. Arctic Blast: Our primary self-heal, which also adds AoE damage and stuns enemies.
  4. Blue Betty: A free source of Major Sorcery, Magicka recovery, and cleanses. Indispensable.
  5. Ice Fortress: A source of Major Resolve for our entire group, and Minor Protection for us. Try to cast this when teammates are nearby so they can reap the benefits.
  6. Northern Storm (Ultimate): While Northern Storm doesn't deal as much damage as Elemental Rage, the AoE moves with you (like Iceheart and Arctic Blast), making this a superior choice for fast-paced brawling—the group Major Protection fits that application as well.

Other Details:

  • Mundus: The Lover to help boost Spell Penetration
  • Attributes: All points in Magicka
  • Food: Witchmother's Potent Brew if you're feeling offensive, Bewitched Sugar Skulls if you need to survive
  • Enchantments: Tri-Stat for armor, Spell Damage for jewelry
  • Traits: A mix of Infused, Impenetrable, Well-Fitted, and Arcane
  • Tips and Combos:
    • Burst Damage: LA > Deep Fissure > LA > Elemental Blockade > LA > Winter's Revenge is a simple, effective combo that can layer 4 sources of burst damage at once (with Winterborn).
    • Battlegrounds: Because of your tankiness and access to Major Expedition, this build is ideal for running Chaosballs and Relics.
    • Opening Combo: Buff up before combat with Blue Betty, Ice Fortress, and Lotus Blossom, open with a backbar light attack and Fetcher Infection to finish buffing/debuffing, pop Arctic Blast for the HoT and CC, then switch to your front bar to start bursting down enemies.

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