We often get questions like "what's the meta composition" or "what's the best raid composition" for Trial X/Content X? And often we find ourselves under fire from various groups of players who accuse us of elitism or toxicity when we do give our input.
Usually most endgame players answer with either what our teams have run or what we think could be most optimal. This post and accompanying video is no different or is irrelevant as a large part of it looks at a more narrow scope of raiding which is scorepushing.
What works for one group does not always work for another. This needs to be emphasized.
While yes there are objectively better sets, better ways to pull numbers, better rotations, sometimes better classes, better compositions when compared to worse ones (like 12 magwardens vs a more optimized composition) there is never, for the majority of the playerbase, an absolute best composition so long as the basics are covered.
At a certain point we're not even sure what “best” would entail. Is it the composition and item setup of the team with the highest score? If so, what if a different team beats that score with just one additional different class and maybe incorporating a different set? What were the circumstances of that score? Better RNG? Mistakes? What if the group just wants to play safe for TTT? What if the group just wants a clear with people who just want to play their mains? What if it’s a beginner group? What if people can’t just get a handle on the classes? What if people are struggling to learn MK/Zens?
In the end, it's about finding the best setup for yourself and your group. There's always room for improvement and thus the meta changes for many people whether it's in one direction or another.
The best advice we can offer is to always ask why other groups are running what they are and critically think what would be best for your group rather than blindly following one example. With that all said, please consider viewing the first basic raid comp guide or if you're interested in PvP raid comps we have a guide for that too as well.
Due to the post-U32 cap on players' Critical Damage modifier, thinking about raid itemization or even the choice of class you play has become another thing to be concerned about. The U32 Critical Damage cap is 125% and anything over that is pretty much useless or is meant to fill in for downtimes.
A useful and simple calculator can be found here for you and your groups to determine what can be dropped on specific setups or groups.
The Critical Damage modifier is particularly interesting as on the surface level it provides multiple pathways to optimizing your group or fulfilling this cap to the point you can consider running other things such as dropping Elemental Catalyst or Minor Brittle or even an Aggressive Warhorn rotation. For scorepushing groups this may not even be a factor as we will discuss later,
The concepts of player load (not putting too much on one player), covering the basic Class buffs such as Minor Prophecy from a Sorcerer for a Magicka DPS composition or Minor Savagery from a Nightblade for a Stamina DPS composition and how comfortable your group is with running specific itemizations or fight strats are still important for your consideration.
General rules of thumb such as having 3x-4x Aggressive Warhorns/3x Colossi are still in play and just like the Critical Damage Cap, certain sets such as Saxhleel's Champion are strong options to consider in order to magnify the strength of Warhorn or Ultimate rotations.
There are three categories of compositions: Magicka, Hybrid and Stamina. Magicka denotes a purely Magicka DPS raid, hybrid refers to a mixture of Stamina and Magicka DPS that for the past few years would see a clear superiority of Stamina DPS being supported by Magicka DPS through itemization whereas Stamina compositions are purely Stamina DPS raids.
From Update 30 up until 32, hybrid compositions proved to be as competitive as the meta Magicka DPS compositions in terms of scorepushing. Following Update 32 with the various changes including hybridization of sets, the continued ease of Penetration access for Magicka DPS, specific class changes such as Magicka Dragonknight adjustments, the critical damage cap and more, Magicka DPS compositions became stronger.
Where does this leave Stamina?
Since the Dragonhold patch, Stamina DPS raid compositions fell out of favor due to the loss of cleave damage, Armor passive changes, the prominence of Magicka DPS support sets such as Z'en's Redress and Elemental Catalyst that couldn't be easily fit into the Stamina raid itemization in conjunction with the desperate need for Penetration that also demanded for more item sets such as Alkosh that would simply exacerbate the itemization issue. All of this would lead to many groups across the spectrum to not want to try Stamina DPS compositions.
However beginning with Update 29, aspects of Stamina DPS including cleave started getting slight buffs and the DPS gain specific Stamina classes such as Stamina Necromancers was certainly noticed which led to some usage of hybrid compositions that saw world record success. As it happened with meta shifts in 2015, 2017 and 2019, it's taking players awhile to try adjusting to different compositions, playstyles and so forth.
As further demonstrated below by a no Portal clear of Cloudrest Hard Mode, it was clear that the question was not about how effective Stamina DPS were but how effective they could be in more specific scenarios or how easily organized they were compared to Magicka.
Update 32's Critical Damage cap comes as both a blessing and a curse for Stamina DPS as the critical damage modifier cap allowed Stamina DPS compositions to drop Elemental Catalyst or Minor Brittle which slightly relaxed the itemization strain but at the same time, at least min-max wise, made Stamina DPS less desirable which with the easy usage of Bahsei's Mania for Magicka DPS has made the gap difficult to close between the two comps.
With little testing already done as of this post however, at minimum Stamina DPS compositions are still very comparable or almost equal to Magicka DPS compositions in terms of fight times, cleave and single target. However for scorepushing due to the factors of easy organization and comfort, most likely Magicka DPS compositions will remain in play until Stamina DPS far outstrips Magicka DPS comps in terms of damage in the near future.
Yet for the large majority of players, without a basic guide on what the itemization is for Stamina compositions, most likely they will also continue using Magicka DPS compositions which some of this guide/following video will hopefully help remedy.