Elder Scrolls V Skyrim Character Builds Guide

By   /   4 years ago

On this page, you will read detailed guide on Assassin, Mage, Battle Mage and Dual Wield character builds.


Khajiit and Wood Elf races can become good assassins with their racial abilities and unique powers. It’s not easy to play Assassin, you need a good understand of the skills and perks and should have experience fighting with least armor.

You should be good at spells, poisons, potions and equipment, if you are to survive as an Assassin. Assassin is stealth based character build so Illusion and Alteration come in handy.

Because you are relying more on magic than ever, you should probably wear magic boosting equipment. It’s a trade-off, it also makes you vulnerable against melee but you can use Alteration Magic to balance this vulnerability – by increasing your armor.

You can also level up Mage Armor perk to increase your armor rating when you cast Oakflesh spell. Again, you should be really good at these defensive spells and probably should set them as favorites so you can easily swap through these spells.

As an Assassin, you should never engage in a head-on fight, instead opt for Stealth and sneak up on your target with a sword in one hand and a paralyze spell in the other.

Hit your target and then immediately cast paralyze spell to hinder their movement. If you are successful in sneaking up on your target, swap the spell with another weapon and dual attack the target. It’s a good offensive strategy and you can take most of the enemies you encounter in Skyrim using it.

Skills To Level Up
Alchemy, Alteration, Illusion, Lockpicking, One-Handed, Sneak

Perks To Level Up

Alchemy, Physician, Poisoner, Concentrated Poison, Snakeblood.

Level up all the perks under this skill except Alteration Dual Casting.

Animage, Kindred Mage, Quiet Casting

Quick Hands, Wax Keys, Locksmith, Unbreakable

Armsman, Bladesman, Dual Flurry, Dual Savagery

Stealth, Muffled Movement, Backstab, Silence


Breton and High Elf can become good Pure Mages. Playing as a Pure Mage gives you flexibility to level up your favorite perk trees fully and choose your own path to become a devastating Pure Mage. It gives you enough flexibility to play in any particular way and still be successful.

With the Destruction/Restoration perk build, you will be limited to few damage dealing spells and healing spells – which makes things easy really but if you like more options, go for Alteration/Conjuration. You can use Alteration spells to buff yourself and debuff your enemy and then call your creatures to attack your foes.

If you want to focus on Conjuration, limit yourself to summoning and raising spells and level up perks that boost your defense. Avoid Bond weapons as a Pure Mage because they are meant to be used by Battle Mage.

Skills To Level Up
Alchemy, Alteration, Conjuration, Destruction, Enchantment, Illusion, Restoration

Perks To Level Up

Level Up all perks.

Level Up all perks.

Note. Trick is to level up two of your favorite primary perk trees and then spend some time leveling up secondary perks.

Battle Mage

Breton, Dunmer, Imperial, and Redguard can become good Battle Mage with their racial abilities and powers. Battle Mage isn’t an easy character build to play.

You will need a lot of practice and patience if you want to become a lethal Battle Mage. You should be really good with micromanagement of spells and weapons, even the shields if you want to take maximum benefit being a Battle Mage.

As a Battle Mage, you can wield bound weapons and use them in combat effectively. Go for Mystic Binding for more damage. Most effective strategy in combat being a Battle Mage is to summon your creatures and enage in melee combat with your magic weapon and defensive shield up.

Skills To Level Up
Alteration, Block, Conjuration, Enchantment, Heavy Armor, One-Handed, Restoration

Perks To Level UP

Level up all perks but leave Dual Casting and Mage Armor.

Shield Wall, Deflect Arrows, Elemental Protection, Block Runner

Mystic Binding

Enchanter, Soul Squeezer, Soul Siphon, Corpus Enchanter, Extra Effect.

Heavy Armor
Level up all perks.

Armsman, Fighting Stance, Savage Strike, Critical Charge and weapon specific perks.

Recovery, Respite, Ward Absorb.


It’s the most difficult character build to play because using two weapons at once makes you vulnerable to every enemy. This is because, you have sacrificed most of your defense if not all for better offense, which isn’t even effective against most of the enemies.

Dual-Wield may help you finish off few enemies quickly but against tough enemies, you will suffer a lot of damage, which reduces your chances to survive that fight.

Simply put, you should never go for Dual-Wield as you constant fighting style. If you want to dual-wield (Let’s assume you can’t live without it), lock your enemy with a spell like Paralyze and then finish him with a dual wield attack.

As pointed out in comments: You still have a defense. It is known mainly as backpedaling and dodging. using this effectively, you can overtake enemies of a much higher level, like trolls for example, without even taking damage.

I have survived efficiently so far pure dual wielding and some bow use. Your opinion is simply false, as you probably haven’t even tried it. The ignorant can impress the ignorant, but those of knowledge continue laughing at the absurd nonsense you present. Thanks for the tips P1atypus.

Now, go kill the dragons and save Skyrim from the civil war!

Don’t forget to share your own favorite character builds and tips on character progression in the comments below!

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Zawad is the lead editor of SegmentNext. He primarily manages what gets published on the site. He is a finance student and PC games enthusiast.
  • the shadow of death

    I go with a more magic/combat orientation. I use invisibility and muffle to get into the thick of it, cast the master level destruction fire spell, then I whip out my greatsword and pick off the survivors.

  • Jinxx

    Dual-Wielding isn’t as bad as you “try” to say it is. Sure it’s harder to kill a dragon when you dual-wield then it is with a bow or magic, but for most of the things you fight you don’t have much trouble. I’ve got a lvl 41 dual-wielding assassin/thief and kill no problem with it. If you plan out your character ahead of time and set guide lines for yourself you can easily build one of the most awesome dual-wielders. It just takes more brain power than you seem to have.

  • EggtasticTaco

    I play an Orc dual-wield in light armor and I can say it’s probably the most effective style I’ve played thus far. With some perks invested in sneak, restoration, and alteration, as well as high enchanting/smithing levels for maximum DPS, I could take down legendary dragons at level 35. It’s also pretty easy to play as a dual-wield berserker, especially since you can power attack for free if you do it right; don’t go saying something’s difficult and in effective if you’ve never invested any time into it.

  • Scott

    My first play through was with a Redguard and was primarily a dual wielder with LIGHT armor. I never once had a problem. I spent a lot of time in the beginning upgrading my smithing to get better weapons and armor and enchanting to make everything more powerful. By level 30 I had Daedra Weapons, dual wielding a sword and axe, and Light Dragon Armor and was virtually unstoppable. My biggest issue was getting dragons to land until I got the shout (cant remember the name) that makes them land. 10 seconds after landing I have a dead dragon. The game was so easy I increased the difficulty slider. I thought that I had chosen the easy, noob way out by choosing to dual wield. It’s strange to see so many people doubting it.

  • Clayton

    Fine I take back the Mage thing I played as a Mage over the weekend.

  • Rictofen

    im a nord trying to be a great theif

  • Clayton

    Orcs are very good warriors so i’m going to say they are the best because they can go into battle head on and win.

  • Jack

    If you play a necromancer with the ritual stone power and know the glitch to get armies of undead using it, then why spend points on combat,magic,or stealth? I kill ancient dragons without lifting a finger.

  • Clayton

    Orcs are very good warriors so i’m going to say they are the best because they can go into battle head on and win.

  • Clayton

    Assassian are the best!

  • DarkFear

    Be an Orc with maxed out heavy smithing, two handed and heavy armor. You become pretty much unstoppable as long as you block and keep a good supply of health potions
    You can take on anything and win all the time

  • le’vita

    i hate heavy armour i think the best armour in the game is dragon scale after you get the second perk in the light armour tree your armour rating is amazing and you look realy badass

  • http://www.here2serve.co.uk/ Frederick Holmes

    Running your own building projects might look like a good idea, but with all those sub contractors comes a whole lot of trouble, with each one blaming the others for mistakes and delays. What is needed is to get all from one source, managed by them as well. That way you get the job done on time at the best price (and get to keep your hair).

  • http://www.here2serve.co.uk/ Hedrick Owl

    Running your own self build might look like a great idea, but with all those sub contractors comes a whole lot of trouble, with each one pointing the others for mistakes and delays. What is needed is to get all from one source, managed by them as well. That way you get the job done on time on budget (and get to keep your hair).

  • jpo

    Also, im not gonna lie, pretty good guide… But you people ask him questions like you dont have your own mind/imagination… Try out you’re own thing. Who knows, maybe you’ll come up with way better characters. Afterall, that is why there are so many options…

  • jpo

    I play with dual wielding being my major interest. I first did about four main storyline quests, and got my smithing to 100 to have my full dragon heavy armor, daedric legendary swords, and my.. i wanna say “windfury”(?) dragonshout, allowing me to swing much faster. Just wanted to say now ive beaten it, being level 37 by endgame, and dual wielding kicks ass. More so after the dragonrend shout is aquired. No resto. reliance, simply few bought healing potions and a whole lot of speed on top of 80+ damage per hit. K.oing dragons in seconds flat, untouchable by trolls/giants, orcs berserker only needed on the toughest of enemies. Strongly reccomend it to the average action loving nerd 😉

  • RockIsBack

    Hi,just wanted to put down my race and perks build.I’m a nord specced into 2hander/block/1hander/archery/light armor/smithing/resto lvl 19.I’ve only just started with 1hander/block/archery recently sine the other stats need a while before i can unlock the next perk,but i think it’s going really well.Anyway just looking for some friendly tips,though if it concerns heavy armor no i can’t bother with it i like to move around;)thnx!

  • Son of Man

    Assuming everyone knows how to do the level 15 Septimus quest get to level 81 and level 100 skills, any type of character you do will be able to defeat all enemies. After doing a character with one handed and destruction magic, bow and destruction, and all out mage; ive found that the fun way to play is Two handed weapon, Alteration and restoration. You always want to level up the Speach tree to sell and make money. Likewise you wanna level up Smithing and Enchanting so you can create and double enchant your gear and gear for your followers. Sneak i like to level for traps and to run undetected. I use the Stead sign so armor doesn’t effect my speed. I don’t put any points on my Light and Heavy Armor perks except for the initial perk which after 5 points, gives you 100% bonus to both. My follower is the Companion Aela the Huntress and give her Glass armor set with enhancements on One Handed, Archery, Health and Light Armor. She has a Daedric Legendary one handed sword and Daedric arrows for long range support. Ancient dragons take two swings from Legendary Daedric Greatsword. Bottom line, get to level 15 and complete the Transcibe the Lexicon quest and the following quest to get to Level 81, after that, level your character how you see fit but you best choose One handed or Two handed and level the tree for max damage. Eventually, you gonna use a sword!

    Son of Man

  • infidel

    I also play a dual wielding character. I use Chillrend and Nightingale Blade, Light Armor and heavy use of Sneak and Archery. I’ve had great success. My main defense when things get out of hand is the Slow Time Shout. I can take out one or two bad guys and sheath my weapons before they can swing once. Especially with Dual Blade perks that deal 50% bonus damage.

  • Bill

    My Orc warrior is two handed, heavy armor and can take a giant and a dragon at the same time.
    No need to sneak or run away….
    Playing a thief is really fun though…..

  • Jeff

    I actually have a lvl 35 high elf that i use dual wield consistantly it works very well i upgraded all the one handed perks heavy armor and smithing… i also enchanted my weapons to absorb health thus creatind a defense with ofenense… i beat the whole main quest and can 3 hit a dragon so good luck with bashing dual wield smarty pants

  • Toochi

    It’s easy, Get your sneak up high quickly by doing the theives guild questline followed by the dark brotherhood questline with a bow and arrow based character right after the point in the main quest where you begin running into dragons in the wilderness. It should be an easy character progression to follow with minimal health and magic (just enough to cast basic illusion spells, and survive light skirmishes) with the rest being dumped into stamina. At the peak of development with points into every sneak skill and archery skill; basic illusion skills and light armer skills. Get the stone that allows you to go invisible once per day and utilize all shadows throughout the game. By holding to sneaking arrows from shadows you can kill most anything in the game without being seen. Even upon sight, with all of that stamina you can easily scurry out of range hide in a shadow and return from a different angle for the kill. Ive beaten all the major questlines only using the tactic described above with a wood elf and I’ve been hit so few times throughout the entire game that my light armer skill is 21. Thats my easy guide to the ultimate character.

    Do not underestimate your ability to stand right in front of an NPC in a shadow and shoot him from point blank without being seen!

    • christopher

      for the playstation 3 other bit like building you should release the extra bit for those who ant online. set download dise for the playstation 3 we all that got the game can go further on the game and dawnguards is well 2 dise on the same cover

  • Ric

    You’d need that overkill damage if you want to backstab a dragon. It is confirmed that with dual-weiding Blade of Woe (with Legendary refinement) Dark Brotherhood armor and all related perks, you can one-shot kill an ancient dragon in Master difficulty with Shadow Warrior effect — just crouch before it’s head and strike when it’s breathing fire or ice. No need for power strike, just normal dual swing is sufficient. It works even when the dragon is not targeting at you. Of course, you’d need to survive from breathing first.

    BTW, you can get TWO Blade of Woe with Misdirect perk — just pickpocket Astrid in the beginning of Dark Brotherhood quest line.

  • Ric

    The assassin build part is completely wrong. The most important perks in the Sneak tree had never been mentioned in the article.

    First, the Assassin’s Blade perk. With this perk you can deal x15 damage using a dagger to perform stealth attack.

    Second, the Shadow Warrior perk. With this perk you can do stealth attack even you’ve been detected and engaged in combat.

    Third, enchanting on dagger does NOT count into stealth attack. But Smith refinement and Armsman perk in One-handed tree will.

    And last, the Dark Brotherhood armor — especially the glove, which will further double your stealth attack.

    With Shadow Warrior perk, you can just go straight to your target without stealth and crouch in front of you victim. Within one second, all your attacks will be counted as stealth attack. AND with Assassin’s Blade perk, Armsman perk, and Dark Brotherhood glove, you can deal 60x of base damage with a dagger. It would literally ONE-SHOT ANYTHING in the game, even a dragon.

    • xanhisam

      Dual-wielding critical strike increasing daggers, and then using the dual wield power attack deals tons of damage, and each of the strikes in the power attack combo are considered sneak attacks and critical strikes. Yeah, it pretty much kills anything in one go. I agree with you. Taking perks for critical strike on bladed weapons, and smithing are necessary for greater damage. Overall, the game itself is too easy on even Master difficulty. You don’t even need that much damage.

  • Tiktok

    You’re rather too negative about dual wielding. Try a conjuration/dual-mace-wielding/stamina-heavy build for max damage output. I play Expert level and everything dies too quickly to have to worry about incoming damage; anything harder than a standard dragon use Elemental Fury shout for extral lollygagging.

  • InitArt

    Some builds, all with enchanting / smithing and alchemy for the best Equip at all:
    Archer: skyrimcalculator.com/#49189
    Assassin: skyrimcalculator.com/#49446
    Unarmed Tradesman: skyrimcalculator.com/#49196 (All he needs is heavy armor to deal some unarmed damage, would be nice for Multiplayer I think.)
    Pure Tradesman: skyrimcalculator.com/#49197 (Maybe for Skyrim Multiplayer, could be hard to level that guy…)
    Tank: skyrimcalculator.com/#49436
    Thief: skyrimcalculator.com/#49442

  • Brennan Rodriguez

    Welcome to the Elven Assassin build!

    Unlike most character builds, this one allows for a bit more freedom, taking into account the best part of skyrim. Freedom. Starting at the beginning, we can move either into a melee, stealth assassination based character or a sniper assassination type. For the better operational of the 2, we win start with archery based. The best suited character race is the Bosmer, or wood elf. They get a great initial boost in Archery, and because of this they do great as snipers. This character should grab a bow as soon as they can, but also grab a quick sword. The Elven aspect of this is archery and magic, a based off of lord of the rings type elf. So magic takes part in this build. When ever in close combat, always have a destruction spell and one handed weapon on hand, when ever far away have a bow. In the beginning you should start out giving perk points to your bow abilities, such as overdraw. When you get high enough skill in archery, get eagle eye and max focus. Now to get focus and eagle eye, U have to wait a bit. This is where u give a point or two into dual casting for conjugration and destruction. These spell areas help out when your in a close range fight and out of stamina. It’s also good to get the bound sword spell as it keeps up with your one handed level, so when u can’t find a nice sword U have those. *NOTE* when u have conjugration dual cast, do not dual cast this. Cast them seperatly to get dual wielding. Now, once you have the eagle eye and two on focus, put more perk points on over draw. When that’s maxed out, try to get the quickshot perk as it’s awesome for ambushes, a great tactic for this build. Speaking of tactics, they should be mentioned. For the archer class, always sneak up on your prey, and try to take them out as fast as you can who remaining undiscovered. Once discovered, shoot until they get close. If there health is low enough, attack them for a one hit kill. If not, get out your sword and spell or dual wield swords and go berserk. As a wood elf, you have the benefit of calling upon a wild animal to assist you in combat. If your outdoors and out numbered, gain an ally. If there’s none, and u have the ability, summon a familiar or any other helper. This is a great idea and great way to spend your money. Now this build as you’ve seen so far is all for the archer based. For those of us with less accuracy, let’s go back to the beginning. Starting out as the Khajiit, they are built for assassination. With their beginning in sneak, they can start out lethal. All they need is a melee and a dagger. Keeping in mind that the dagger can size away without giving your location away, you should probably wield a dagger in one hand and a sword in another. Use this as a tactic and try to slice with your dagger first to get good sneak attack then bombard with sword. This class is far less effective agianst groups then the prior character and should have invested in the light armor area. This aspect, The melee assassin is much more built to you. The only recommended perks are the damage multipliers for sneak and some in one handed weapon. As the archer, a great thing to do is try and get your hands on the bound bow. This weapon is a nergasam in itself, as it follows the power-as-your-level bound weapon effect. It also allows for unlimited arrows as you get 100 each time you summon the bow. Combining this with the conjugration effects of bound weapon enhancement perk, the sneak attack bow damage multipliers, and the archery overdraw perk, U get a incredible amount of damage from a arrow from your infinite stash. This is well over your level amount of damage. Once you get the elite bow abilities, put plenty of perks on on handed, and try to get the sneak damage multipliers as they make for beast assassins. This concludes the build, enjoy slaying dragons Dovahkiin!

    Brennan Rodriguez ©

  • Toston Thief/Assassin

    Actually i made a Thief/Assassin (I think its the same thing) and i pickpocked the blade of woe from Astrid (With friends like these) and now i have 2 Blade of Woe 😀

    I don’t level up any perk of illusion or some kind of magic, i leveled up Pickpocket(100) Lockpick (65 don’t level up any perk) Sneak (100) Archery (72) One Handed (51 but dont level up any perk of 1 handed!) Enchanting for your armor and weapons (60) and actually no enemy have a chance against my sneak attack’s :)

    Sorry for bad english

  • the orc Dual wielder

    by the way a very good shout for dual wielders is elemantal fury it not only enhances damage but it also increases your attack speed

  • JCL

    okay guys pretty interesting page but i got some things to suggest/say.
    Alright so my first character was a wood elf and i used a bow and mainly heavy armor. i almost got my smithing to around 97 before i stopped the account. Fun for a while but he had very little stealth and i just wanted to start over. A few builds later i made a Breton. i would call him a battle mage. more battle than mage as the magic i use is mainly defensive and all around helpful rather than offensive. The main skills i use are one handed-armsman/damage
    heavy armor- juggernaut/armor buffing
    restoration-reducing costs/respite fast healing and more health healed
    illusion- for muffle and fury and calm kindred mage animage
    alteration- for roleplaying purposing not really battling
    conjuration-which i despise by the way but i like to soul trap
    smithing-everything in heavy armor category
    enchanting-pretty self explanitory
    speech-wanted bribery and i got it,waste of 2 perks dont get
    block-nothing yet but investing soon
    i am currently lvl 31 and with my armor at 67 one handed i do about 85 damage with my mace and i use spellbreaker shield or restoration/maybe even calm muffle or clairvoyance
    birth stone- apprentice stone for 2x magicka regen and items from perks/ worn items planting my total regen at about 3x normal w/ about 270 magicka at lvl 31
    however the apprentice stone makes you twice as vulnerable to magic. so i have breton blood +25 resist, otar +30 resist, and restoration perk+ 10 resist. soon ill get lord stone so ill have 90% magic resist overall and another +50 armor to my character who already has around 400 armor.
    right now im working on a khajiit lvl 25 or 26 i believe hes got 100 sneak and 60 pickpocket and 66 smithing 52 archery and 50 onehanded w/ around 35 light armor hes a work in progress when hell be done though he’ll be able to one hit and elder dragon with right build

  • Johnwayne

    Dual wield is the best fighter ever, on high level with a good armor. the dual weapon power attack (pressing both mouse buttons) is the strongest and with the right skills this char is an absolute damage dealer.
    I would not use block if i could im runnig around so noone can hit me. this works very good because the two hand char is fast.
    The only thing that really sucks is that when you use magic you have to use the menu to switch back to your secondary weapon.

    Greatings to all and
    level sneak, you are a god with it

  • The assassin

    As for your take on assassins it is completely wrong. You don’t need paralyze at all. Take perks in sneak (primarily) one handed light armor archery (optional) alchemy, smithing (if you want to me more durable in combat) or enchanting if you would rather have it. And you can level illusion without perks for the sole purpose of invisibility and muffle which you don’t even need late in your sneak tree. Get ypuself a set of ancient assassins armor and nightingale armor. Or if you prefer the enchanted dragon scale so that. Improve it as far as you can. With your light armor perks and improved bonuses you are quite durable in combat. As for combat I haven’t seen a single enemy you can’t oneshot with dual bqckstab with a mehunes and a blade of woe. But if you happen to get I. Close combat swap out to your prefered close combat armor and drop the daggers for your preffered one handers. Bows are mainly for dragons and opponents you wanna soften up and once you get dragon rend you won’t need them at all. Cheers

  • obsidian

    There are more useful tips in comments than in article itself :P.

    As was posted above, proper assassin uses 0 armor and gets most (like 99%) of his kills through sneak attacks with a dagger. It’s easy in 1vs1 situations. Not so easy if you are low level and facing a group of enemies. So how do you kill them?

    You need FURY! It’s a ranged novice level illusion spell that cost like 50 mana. IF it won’t land, you still will be able to draw groups attention and they will spread out looking for you. Then you will take them one by one. Just keep your distance and look for shadows especially early in the game. Later in the game also, daylight is your enemy, well lighten rooms also.

    More tips for assassins.

    *Join Dark Brotherhood and finish it first. You will get awesome dagger and jesters clothes. They both are the best for sneaky assassin type of play.
    *Focus on Sneak tree first, then level Smithing to 60 (so you could upgrade Blade of Woe). These 2 are your major trees, the rest aren’t really important so you could spend all your perks on lockpicking/pickpocketing (two most useless trees) and still one/two hit everything on master difficulty. Yup guys, Skyrim is THAT easy if you are a sneaky assassin! :)

    oh and one more protip, go to Shrine of Azura asap! Finish the quest, get the Black Star (by bringing back quest item to Nelecar not the lady that gave you the quest).

  • Raigeki

    I’m having trouble with the assassin class; I can one hit one enemy just fine, but what if there is a large group? any tips?

  • Dualwielder

    I totally disagree. I don’t know how someone can say \isn’t even effective against most of the enemies.\ Well it is. I never had problem with any enemy. They mostly lay down ready to be looted after one power combo from both hands tbh. All you need to do is put some perks into One hand for increased damage + ( which i prefer) Mace perks. 75% armor penetration. End of story. Now get 2 one handed maces and try it on any enemy. I bet they will die so fast that you wont losr any hp, or ,if you fighting dragon, you may loose like 1/4 of your hp, cuz dragon wont survive more then 2 power combo. It would be also good if you have any items with fortify one hand + 25% dmg bonus. I already have 2 of them. With perks it is +150% weapon dmg + upgrade. Bitch, please, noone will survive this :D. I’m already lvl 30 with 2x Deadric Mace upgraded to legendary ( around 117 dmg each ) with enchanted 10 health absorb. Ah btw I RECOMMEND power leveling smithing. OP skill. Just buy iron ignots + leather strips (you can also make 4 leather strips from one leather on rac) and make Iron Dagger. 1 ignot + 1 strip. Amount of \exp\ on skill is still same so you can do it until you hit 100 smith. You will also get some lvls for perks :). From now on you can forge some ebony, daedric or orcish weapons which are very good tbh. I used 2x Ebony War Axe before i used Daedric maces. Ebony Ignots are kinda rare but you can still find them , or steal from mine southeast from Windhelm :). There are no enemies there, just orcs who mine some ores. If you are orc they wont say anything while mining, not sure about other races, but well…you can kill them anyway 😀 . Do that and then try to say once more, that Dual Wield is not effective. It is. Against all enemies. Even on high levels. Btw Elven Mace at low levels on dual wield is kinda good for start , dont hesitate to use it :). And sorry for my english. I know there are many mistakes here , but I did my best 😀

  • justsayin

    umm pure mage doesn’t use heavy or light armor. pure mage uses spells to enhance their defense.

    To add to assassin build.
    level up sneak first, use bow until you can get 15x dmg increase and DBH gloves. Then life will be easy and to make it even more easier invest in illusion.
    Light armor ain’t necessary for good assassins, save DBH gloves you can wear normal clothes. By doing so no one will ever suspect that you are an assassin lol!

    • mortendk

      Hi. Gpassucc would you mind telling exactly what tour build is? Thanks

  • gpassucc

    So I finished the game as a pure mage (100 des, 100 conj, ~70 resto, full double enchanted daedric armor, can pretty much cast destruction spells for free, really fun) so I started my second character as an assassin build. This was fairly difficult at lower levels when sneaking was not leveled and sneak attacks did not compare well to enemy health (especially with bows). However, I now have sneak at 100, one handed to 50, light armor to 50 and archery to 60 and can say this build is insanely fun. Do the thieves guild quests first as this utilizes all of your important skills as well as gives you


    gives you Chillrend, Nightingale Armor, Sword and Bow. Right now I roll with this equipment plus the Krosis Dragon Priest Mask (awesome for thief characters) I have killed groups of 10+ falmer just rolling into their huts, slitting their throats and rolling out. My Sistine Chapel came today when I did indeed assassinate a Dragon. So yes a dual wield/ assassin build with no magic can be insanely fun and also very successful. Again I can’t stress enough doing Thieves Guild, Dark Brotherhood and also getting Mehune’s Razor is nice. Go assassins!

  • aubrrr

    Assassin build should looks like this:
    a) get ALL perks from Sneak tree.
    b) IGNORE one handed tree, it’s utterly worthless for assassins! Assassins use daggers and bows, not some kind of sword, dual dagger mix or similar yada yada. That’s what warriors do! Also if you do chose to invest in one handed tree you sacrifice your assassins versatility!
    c) Archery is very important, especially these perks: Overdraw (5) and Eagle Eye. You should also get Steady Hand (2) and Critical Shot (3) but they aren’t as important as the first two perks I’ve mentioned.
    d) put 2 perks in Smithing (Steel Smithing and Arcane Blacksmith), don’t spend more in there!
    e) 8 points in Enchanting (middle branch all the way to the top).
    f) Alchemy and 8 perks there: Alchemist (5), Physician, Benefactor, Poisoner.
    g) ILLUSION! It’s a must have for an assassin! Don’t think that invisibility potions or 2min/once a day power can properly replace Invisibility spell. They simply can’t. Also Calm is ability that will help you A LOT during early levels. Perks to get: Novice Illusion, Animage, Kindred Mage, Quiet Casting, Hypnotic Gaze (optional). Now there’s debatable part. If you don’t want to use \illusion spells that cost no magicka\ exploit, you should also get Apprentice, Adept and Expert Illusion perks.

    You will need 50 perks in total. Feel free to invest the remaining 30 perks wherever you want. Just do that AFTER you reached level 51 or else you will probably run into major problems.

    Also aim for something like this: Magicka 300 (you need that if you won’t be using enchanting exploit (proper way to play therefor more fun!), Health 300 and Stamina 200.

    p.s.: difficulty lvl doesn’t matter, assassins are OP! 😛

  • wisp the purger

    Sheild/destro!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is the tits so far… as for those who say shields can not be used for a main wep they are wrong!!!!!!! if one consumes VEGETABLE SOUP ( can be crafted at any cooking station thing) with the foods; potato, tomato, leak, and cabbage they will regenerate 1 every second for 720 secs!! this allows for constant shield bash. Shield bash dmg scales with armor rating of your shield, along with the perks “shield bash” and “deadly bash” and juggernaut under the heavy armor tree. Your shield becomes a force to be feared. Now for the off hand, make it what makes you happy 😀 as for me i like to purge a path for the almighty stendarr with my righteous flames!!!!!!! if ya have any questions reply to this id really like to know what others think about shield as your main wep

    • wisp the purger

      lol sry… Vegetable soup regenerates one stamina every sec for 720 secs, takes one stamina for a shield bash. that also includes the power bash

  • Thermie Winters

    I agree with Zach12_9 on this. I believe that archery is one of the must-have traits for assassins. Think about the maskless shrouded hood or the ancient shrouded hood, both give huge archery bonuses.

  • primex

    i dont like this guide for dual wield, but i got to agree! dammit now every thing are so hard for me, why would they pause the movement when atak with dual wield? fak! and how to sneak up with dragons????!!! they practically always see me! even though i got 100 sneak and invi pot.

  • fleshlings

    I only duel wield as well, as a thief/assassin without any illusion tree. My secret.. simple.. DO A TON OF DMG… lol.

    Alchemy, I use potions and poison my blade, the poison stacks with ring for 30% dmg with one hand weapons, and the one hand weapon talent trees have awesome multipliers to boost the dmg further. There is a stone that gives you a prolonged invisibility and the thiefs guild chain, finish and become a nightingale and you get a 2 min/day invisibility ability if you choose it, and you can use poitions if you need. I only used it for thief quests here and there though, with a perked up sneak tree you can hide pretty easily anyway. stealth attaks are almost always a one shot for me, and one duel wield power attack kills most enemies. Killing the dragons is a joke.. use a resist potion for whatever they’re spitting out of thier mouth and destroy them. of couse i leveled blacksmithing and I upgrade my armors to legendary. helps with tanking the dmg without a shield. After the initial ambush, use the knock-back shout on whatever is left standing, spint to then and one/two shot them. it’s actually really OP.

    • fleshlings

      forgot to mention, a drain health enchant on both weapons is really nice with it, as you hit very fast, so you drain alot of health.

  • Player

    Have u changed the article recently? There isnt something about how to skill in mana/health/stamina anymore. And whats up with One handed Warrior? First u say that Heavy Armor is our best Friend and it may be slow but we level it to change it? And that we shouldnt go head on with light armor except to sneak and its bad in close combat? But then if u say what perks to raise, u dont even take the perk to make heavy armor faster and only the half tree, what makes it weaker. So instead u give all these points to all skills in Light armor, we shouldnt wear that much? Im sure the site is the same with the Pic and links to walktrough and so on but the article is different and 2 different names for the warrior Specs. Am i wrong?

    • http://segmentnext.com Zawad Iftikhar

      Some of the content got removed during editing by mistake, fixed now.

  • Kirchheim

    And the Dragonrend shout, to make them land

  • Kirchheim

    Here’s my build for one-handed warrior, I took the one-handed build from here, tweaked it a bit, and it’s way better now, i could kill a Elder Dragon alone, just by using Healing potions and a bit of Archery.

    One-Handed Warrior

    Imperial, Nords, and Redguards are suitable races to become good one-handed warriors. Your heavy armor in this character build is your greatest ally and will help you fight even the toughest of enemies in Skyrim.

    You may move slow and have difficulty fighting at the start, but you will soon become an effective one-handed warrior when you level up the perks above.

    Learn Alchemy to create healing potions for emergencies since you will most probably be fighting up close and personal, which leaves you vulnerable all the time.

    Skills To Level Up
    You should level up Block, One-Handed, Smithing, Heavy Armor and Alchemy(For Potions) to enhance your combat effectiveness as a one-handed warrior.

    Perks To Level Up
    You are limited to 70 perks at one time, that means you can’t level up all the perks in the skills specified above. If you want to enhance your combat effectiveness as a one-handed warrior, choose these perks to level up.

    Shield Wall
    Deflect Arrows
    Elemental Protection
    Armsman (5/5)
    Fighting Stance
    Savage Strike
    Critical Charge
    Arcane Blacksmith
    Heavy Armor Side
    Heavy Armor
    Well Fitted
    Tower of Strength
    Matching Set
    Reflect Blows
    or Steed Guardian Stone

  • http://totheluckless.tumblr.com Leo

    Perfect Assassin build;

    Ebony Mail (Daedric Quest; Boethia)
    Ebony Boots w/ Muffled (Random loot/Smith and Enchant)
    Ancient Shrouded Hood (Dark Brotherhood; Help Gabriella)
    Shrouded Gloves (Dark Brotherhood; With friends like these…)
    High Mana Regeneration Ring/Necklace

    Main Weapons;
    Blade of Woe (Dark Brotherhood; Death Incarnate)
    Enchanted Bow (Random loot/Smith and Enchant)

    Secondary Weapons;
    Anti Zombie – Dawnbreaker (Daedric Quest; Mephala)
    Anti Dragon – Dragonbane (Main/Blades Quest; Alduin’s Wall)
    Anti Everything else – Nightingale Blade (Thieves’ Guild – Hard Answers)

    Conjuration – Summoning in case of detection.
    Restoration – Healing in case of detection (Potions are faster).
    Enchanting – If you can’t find something, make it.

    Main Perks; (13/81)
    Archery – Overdraw (5/5), EagleEye, Steady Hand (2/2)
    Sneak – Stealth(1/5), Muffled Movement, Backstab, Deadly Aim, Assassin’s Blade.

    Secondary Perks; (42/81)
    Conjuration – Novice, Apprentice.
    Restoration – Novice, Dual Casting, Regeneration, Respite, Recovery (2/2).
    Smithing – Steel, Elven, Dwarven, Orcish, Arcane, Glass, Ebony.
    Enchanting – Enchanter (5/5), Fire, Frost, Shock, Skill, Double Enchant.
    Illusion – Novice, Animage, Kindred Mage, Quiet Casting.

    Note; You now have a grand total of 39 perks left over, for use on any extraneous skills or perks you would like to use.

    Aura Whisper – Ten second major detect life with a 200 feet or more range. what else need be said?

    The Blade of Woe, coupled with Assassin’s Blade, a high level of stealth, and enough muffling, will literally allow you to sneak kill every single enemy including DragonPriests in less than four hits on Master difficulty. The Backstab perk on the gloves doubles the damage bonus of Assassin’s Blade, making any stealthed knife attack to 30* damage, easily getting into the +900 damage range with a forged Blade of Woe.
    For less deadly enemies, or far away ones, the bow with those perks will allow for sniping and remaining undetected afterwards, even if the enemy survives your initial onslaught.
    Conjuration can make the hell of being caught on higher difficulties a lot more bearable, if you ever do get caught (which will be rare with this build). If you find yourself using it more often than not, feel free to invest more points. I’ve found that a basic flame Atronach can handle most enemies, and if not, just resummon.


  • Vampyre

    My build is all over the place. He is High Elf pure mage starting out. My stealth is very high. Points have been put into all spells, archery, some dual weilding(not used a lot) and thieving skills. Nearly all levle ups went to magic, a few to health and very few to end.

    I like to sneak in. Take out a target. Fade out until things are calm an ddo it again. I use a bound bow and use it to. Flush out enimes by shooting walls. The come to check on the noise and get an arrow between the eyes. Toss in summoned criter. for distration and. Fade away.

  • Facts

    1) Opinions cannot be true or false, they’re OPINIONS
    2) There are so many possible combinations of play styles (inclusive of the variation caused by weapons, armors, spells, potions, scrolls, and races) that it would take thousands of hours to gain an understanding of each; hence we need forums that this.
    3) When you assume, you make an ASS out of U and ME.

    Listen to everything, assume nothing.

  • Foulcor

    i personaly play a stealth hunter at lv20 with 50 Archery and 45 Sneak my wood elf has a dwarven Bow(exquisite)*sry if i mispelled* with fiery soul enchant(captues souls killed within X seconds n does 10 fire dmg more if target on fire) have it set to 1 second on capture with dwarven arrows, its a 1shot kill to most enemies n with the slow down time perk in archery its evry usefull as i can take many target on while at long range reming slightly hidden and dealing x2 dmg most of time, when im not hidden any more still does fair dmg may take up to 2 fully drawn bow shots, and its great when going against a dragon as i can hit itt while in the air even when on land i use me WU shout to move behind it if it lands in fron of me so i can get more shots in
    takes around 7 shots to kill if the dragon surprised me 4 if i sneak up to it :)

  • Silentturtle

    Well you pay for the book. . .this is free.

    I liked it personally, thank you.





  • Simon

    Regarding the Battle Mage build, Soul Stealer and Oblivion Binding DO NOT make bound weapons inflict more damage.

  • william

    to be honest its a nice guide but to focused on normal RPG to be that useful in skyrim. elderscrolls will and have always been about finding a balance of what you like vs what can work. with good enchantments any one can fight in any gear at all regardless if its good or bad.

    my general warrior which i have played since morrowind is the nicest looking lightarmor i can find (i am vain i admit) best arrows i can loot in large quanties (even with retrive arrows i still like a stockpile) a nice 1 hander sword and a good shield. NO MAGIC! with these simple items i can down 99% of enemies in the game and with me using sneak or silver/enchanted weapons i can not be beaten as i normally have killed or 1/2 killed enemy before they know whats happened or get close enough to harm me.

  • 00gab00ga

    I disagree, not all of us can afford or want to buy the game guide. I personally like to discover the game as I play it but also enjoy hearing how others build out their character.

  • Joeh

    Also to note… I’m using your battlemage guide as a reference to start with as i mold my fancy magic warrior.

    I noticed a lack of conjuration spells that are not listed under the perks that you suggested, preferably the summoning buffs. Your demonstration on the build is to summon your (a) or (b) and hop in and start slashing. Wouldn’t it be wise to beef up your little allies in the perk tree to help with the slaughtering? With the several skills that do not apply to this build, that were mentioned by gregg, would it be okay to slap these few extra points into your summoning conjuration tree?

    Also I’m finding alteration a little unhelpful right now as a lvl 15 battlemage. Is the extra armor buffs really worth spending points along side of your already beefed up heavy armor? I seem to kill things rather quickly, but this could change further down the line. Im thinking this tree is mainly aimed for the top skill that gives you 30% resist to all magic? I can see this being helpful against dragons and high level magics.

    I guess its too soon to tell yet , but good job on the builds. Definitely helped steer me in the direction i needed. kudos

  • Grenn

    Your information about bound weapons (Battlemage) is mostly incorrect.

    It is possible that you would be very well off to have read the descriptions of what the perks do when making suggestions (i.e. while Mystic Binding does up the damage of bound weapons, Soul Stealer and Oblivion Binding do not).

    Also, as bound weapons by their nature cannot be enchanted, your suggestion to take Soul Siphon from the enchanting tree for the purpose of “keeping magic bound weapons recharged” is a bit superfluous.

    When added to P1atypus’s observation about your comments on Dual Wield, one gets the impression that you may not know what you’re talking about at all. :(

    • http://segmentnext.com Zawad Iftikhar

      I can only say, I am not perfect :) Thanks for suggestion, I will add them up in the guide.

  • thabeast

    well could you put the attributes to put them in 😛
    im like ocd when it comes to RPG games

  • Savage

    My first toon was a dual wield/heavy armor spec nord, Survivability was not an issue, i concentrated on Damage/speed boost, axes being a good balance of speed/power as weapon choice with stam priority over health so possibly 60/40.. once you have the Shout for forward rush ( forgot the name ) i use it like a warrior charge from World of Warcraft haha no ranged/caster stood much of a chance, also bind a shield to a quick select key (you can bind to a number key from favorites menu) and you can switch to shield during charge, stagger them then switch back to dual axe and with the necklace that reduces the shout Cool down by 20% thats a quick double Charge. I cant remember off the top of my head the exact perk setup and my brother recently \Accidently\ Deleted all my saves, but i was trying to copy a fury warrior from World of Warcraft haha.

  • Gaete

    good guide, i completely agree on whats about duel wielding

    i used duel wield for my first character build and it was the hardest thing to do, if its open space, ur in luck because with light armor u can dodge and slash, if its enclosed, your pretty much done for, and also up agnist mages is the toughest.

    then so i used hevy armor+shield build, funny i do much better damage now when i can power bash, staggers apponent and slash the hack out of him, way better then duel wield

  • josh

    I’m making one-handed warrior aka knight. Some of your tips are great except light armor/sneak perks. Knight should never be afraid of direct confrontation! 😛
    My addition to this build:
    *Health/Stamina 70/30% split.
    *MAXED Block tree or else why would you play this class if not for shield eh?:)
    *If there are some perks left, invest in Alchemy.

  • JC

    Yes he did, he just used the other name for them.

  • chrisD

    I notice you didn’t recommend dark elves for anything. I know how you feel about them now… Let’s go hurl insults at them in the Grey Quarter…

  • Aleswyn

    Hi there, great guide! Just a couple of questions. First of all, I see above you told thabeast to split stamina and health in a 70/30% split. But, the thief seems to use illusion a fair amount. Was that a mistype, or do you really leave it at 100?

    Also, when you say to \level up all the perks in this tree\, what should we do about ranked things? Take all the ranks? Or just unlock what’s necessary to move to the next part (IE, 1 out of X ranks)? What about when it doesn’t say to level the full tree, such as the stealth perk for Thieves? I want to build the Thief role, so if you could gear this part of the answer towards that, it would be most appreciated.

    Finally, when you list perks such as the Sneak perk Silence, I’m sure you understand that there are other perks that must be taken before to unlock it. Did you take that into account when writing the suggested perk lists? Are there enough perks to get everything recommended? And while you’re at it, any recommended guardian stone for that role?

    • http://segmentnext.com Zawad Iftikhar

      Guardian Stone – Shadow Stone. Yes, You obviously have to unlock all the perks leading to the perks listed in recommendations. Perks – Ranked Trees…

  • Zach12_9

    I really disagree with this assassin build, you shouldn’t be relying on magic, the best option is yes alchemy and possibly illusion but really a 2 dagger wielding assassin with skill perks in sneak to get the 15 times bonus sneak damage and increased 1 handed dmg/attack speed such a dual flurry. you make paralyze poisons if you’re that worried you won’t one hit them. as a assassin you should one hit most enemies. and you don’t describe the importance of archery, when no good stealth route is available archery is a great distraction and damage output especially since stealth isn’t an option with a random dragon encounter. Also for an assassin shrouded armor given straight away in dark brotherhood quests are amazing. the best assassin armor in the game. I really dislike the magic dependence in this assassin build, it for me does not seem like a proper assassin build but more like a mage/rogue.

    • fleshlings

      nightingal armor with a replaced head gear peace is the best assissin armor to me, the only difference is that it has higher armor stats, and your glove enchant boost one handed dmg by 25% as oppose to sneak only by 50%. I still one-shot everything that i sneak attack, and this way I’m not limited to daggers, actually make one handed swords a better option as they do more dmg. Nightingale blade does a ton of dmg sneak attack or not. Anyway though, point is nightingale armor is much better than the shrouded armor for assassins, but the helm has an illusion magic boost, so i just sub the shrouded helm for the extra sneak.

      • HungoverTurnip

        Actually, the Shrouded Gloves are far better than the Nightingales.

        Nightingale Blade (Sword) = 32 x 15 = 480
        Blade of Woe (Dagger) = 21 x 30 = 630

        I have not calculated the percentage damage increase from the Nightingales, as these would have applied to the dagger as well and will therefore scale for both.

        General one-handed damage will not be a factor, as you are not supposed to be seen. At all. And, if you play an assassin right, you will even in the situations where you are caught be able to get out of them minimally damaged and prepare for another sneak attack.

        I do agree on the Nightingale head gear, though, as I steer clear of Illusion alltogether (invisibility is a total game-breaker).

  • thabeast

    should i put all stamina in the thief build?

    • http://segmentnext.com Zawad Iftikhar

      You can focus on stamina and Health – Mix of like 40/30%/30.

  • thabeast

    i would like to know the attribute that i should put for these
    like for the theif what should i put the points in stamina health or magikca?

  • Subasauruswrx

    Psh spells…I’m with a P1atypus on this one, dual-wield is the way to go. If you get Assassin’s Blade perk along with the Dark Brotherhood set, you deal 30.0x normal dagger damage on targets that you back stab = instant K.0. on most things. Just gotta be patient as an assassin and strike when the timing is right.

  • a

    just build an assassin mage 😀 sneak up to your enemies and blast them to pieces the vanish again XD

  • Faust

    Personally i’m going heavy/light armor destro mage. You get some nice bonuses from the heavy and light sections (black smithing gives access to some fairly nice gear, but if you’re lucky you can find the majority)
    and with dual casting, or dual wield casting you are really hard to kill.

    The only issue is low magicka that comes with wearing less than pref. gear for continuous bouts of magic casting.

  • Ravenge

    I like that guide, exactly what I was looking for, saved me hours of thinking and/or $! thx

  • a P1atypus

    I noticed a mistake in the Dual Wield section. You still have a defense. It is known mainly as backpedaling and dodging. using this effectively, you can overtake enemies of a much higher level, like trolls for example, without even taking damage. I have survived efficiently so far pure dual wielding and some bow use. Your opinion is simply false, as you probably haven’t even tried it. The ignorant can impress the ignorant, but those of knowledge continue laughing at the absurd nonsense you present.

    • http://segmentnext.com Zawad Iftikhar

      Thanks for the feedback. Added your suggestions in the article.

    • Chris

      Dual Wielding may have no innate defense, but if you slap on Adsorb health enchantments onto two swords the speed at which you make contact will keep you alive against even a dragon. Alternatively you can have one sword absorb stamina so that you never run out and can endlessly spam power attacks. (With the master Enchanting perk you can get creative).

      I play a Dunmer that relies on:
      Light Armor/Conjuring for defense
      Destruction/Dual Wield for offense

      Other than Destruction, I only needed to go up one perk line in each Skill. If you want to use other magics you probably have boosted your magika enough (+ enchantments) that you don’t need their perks. Enchantments can make up for any of the lack of skills in the Stealth skills if you choose to explore that gameplay.

      I think the key to Skyrim is to avoid building a character where you need to boost all 3 attributes or choosing skills that require a lot of perks to be effective. Eg a 2-handed battlemage is difficult to play.

    • viankoxxx

      I am playing dual wield as well with the difference that i use dual daggers. needless to say that i loved that way of playing because of the inteligence and stealth needed to play as a true ASSASSIN(´S CREED LOL)and i highly recomend dual wielding daggers with light armor and health or armor enhanced apparel.

    • Thankfully not platypus

      p1atypus, try reading out loud your comment to anyone you know: 90% of them will call you an asshole. What’s beautiful about this game is that you can do whatever you want, however you want to do it. And people like you take the fun of it… Kill something and spam soul trap on it until you get level 100 conjuration, it’s the most efficient way to do it, but some of us think that is not fun to do it. Maybe the people of knowledge know the best way to do things on a game, but i guess they’re not very proficient on other things like “subjectivity” and “respecting other’s opinions”.

      tl;dr: P1typus, you’re either a troll or an asshole.

    • Aaron

      Combine dual wield with elemental fury shout!! its pretty bad ass. Not worth getting all 3 levels of shouts words though…..its makes you wait too long between shouts. i stayed with just the first level so i could use it alot more against bigger bosses

  • dogyeo

    If u buy the game guide it has character builds that are way more specific than this not trying to dog but I mean come on u shouldn’t even have this up.