Skyrim Races Ranked, Best Races For Different Roles

Will you choose to be a human? An Orc or a High Elf maybe?

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has a deep character creation system. You can make your character look cool thanks to the different appearance options; however, when choosing a race in Skyrim, players usually have to think before they can finalize their race.

Choosing a race in Skyrim primarily depends on the play style and the type of build you seek. Generally, High Elf is a good race if you plan to go for a magic build, and Orcs are good for Strength and melee weapons. While certain classes are good for certain roles, choosing a specific race in Skyrim doesn’t lock you to play a specific role. You can try different combinations as well and choose whatever you feel fit for your character.

The game offers 10 races to choose from, and in this guide, we will rank them based on their pros and cons. We will also discuss the best classes for different roles in Skyrim.

Every Skyrim Race Ranked

10ImperialFind more gold than any other race. Minor boosts to armor and weapons. Voice of the Emperor (Calms people around you for 30 seconds).Nearest to humans in terms of race hence do not have any special ability or skill buff.
9NordsHave 50% resistance to Frost. Good with two-handed weapons. Battle Cry (Enemies around you are frightened for 30 seconds).No buffs to primary stats.
8Khajiit15% Increased damage for bare-hand attacks. Night Eye (Players can see at night for 60 seconds).Do not have any specific skill buff. Only good for stealth-based build, not mage or warrior.
7Redguard50% resistance to poison. Adrenaline Rush (Regenerates Stamina 10x faster for 60 seconds). Good for Warrior builds.No improvements to base stats. Not good at stealth or stealth-based builds. Stamina usage is noticeably more than other races.
6Bosmer (Wood Elf)Have 50% increased resistance to Poison and Disease. Base movement speed is increased. Command Animals (Make a nearby animal your ally for 60 seconds).Resistance to poison and disease is only good until you find a good enchantment. Not built to support heavy weapons and armor playstyle.
5Dunmer (Dark Elf)Have 50% resistance to Fire. Base magic damage is increased. Ancestor’s Wrath (Cover your body with fire for 60 seconds).Elves are only good for Mage builds.
4Breton25% Magic Resistance. Increased base magic damage. Dragonskin (Absorb 50% of Magicka from enemies for 60 seconds). Good for Mage builds.No stat bonus in combat. Not built for heavy weapons and close combat.
3ArgoniansWaterbreathing. Resistance to disease by 50%. Stealth base stats are increased to any other race. Histskin (Health regeneration is 10x faster for 60 seconds).Disease resistance is not useful after levels 15-20. Active power is applicable only once a day.
2OrcsBest race for Heavy weapons and armor. Can enter Orc strongholds. Increased base stats of health and damage. Berserker Rage (For 60 seconds, take half damage and do double damage to enemies).Not the race to be used as a Mage. No attribute that aids in the Magicka aspect. Slow mobility.
1Altmer (High Elf)Increased base stats for magicka and health. +50 Magicka as a passive ability. Highborn (Regenerate 25% of Magicka for 60 seconds).Only good for Mage build. Passive abilities do not support any other build. Slow mobility than most races.

Best Skyrim Races For Beginners

Considering the differences of races in Skyrim, it is hard to understand which race suits you the best at the beginning of the game. For players who cannot choose a build, Imperials, Wood Elves, and Orcs can be good races to start your adventure in Skyrim. Imperials and Wood Elves are the best races when it comes to deciding on any build to choose from. They are swift and have decent base stats in all aspects, giving players a balanced character to use in the game. Orcs are more inclined towards survival and close combat, so if players feel like that is the way to go, then choosing Orcs is the wise step.

Best Skyrim Races for Warriors and Melee Characters

As mentioned earlier, Orcs are the best race for Warrior builds. Orcs have increased stats and an active power supporting their close combating nature. Orcs gain passive boosts when equipped with Heavy weapons and armor. Besides Orcs, Khajiit and Redguard are good choices for this build. Redguards get an increased stats rating upon using light armor and one-handed weapons. Similarly, Khajiit is also granted agility boosts, which aid in combat.

Best Skyrim Races for Mages

High Elf, Dark Elf, and Wood Elf are the best selection of races when players want to walk on the path to becoming a Mage. These races are gifted with increased stats in magic and also have passive boosts to their elemental resistances. Also, their active powers grant them magicka restoration and absorption for a certain duration. Abilities like that are what aid Mages in battle, not sword-swinging or firing arrows.

Best Skyrim Races for Survival Mode

Survival Mode is the latest addition in Skyrim in the Anniversary Edition update and has given players another great reason to truly immerse themselves in Skyrim. With no fast travel and other natural hesitations like fatigue, hunger, cold, and diseases, it is important to prepare yourself in all aspects when venturing through Skyrim in this mode.

Picking a race that is best suitable for this mode can prove vital. Orcs and Nords are the best races to choose in Survival mode. The biggest difficulty players face in survival mode is cold damage, as it decreases not only health regeneration but also overall health. This can be tackled by choosing one of the two mentioned races. These races have some degree of immunity to cold (25% for Nords, 10% for Orcs). Orcs also have 15% resistance to hunger and fatigue, making them the ultimate survivors in Skyrim. Attach their natural buffs to their attack and defense stats, and Orcs become the best choice for Survival Mode in Skyrim.

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Ali is a passionate RPG gamer. He believes that western RPGs still have a lot to learn from JRPGs. He is editor-in-chief at but that doesn't stop him from writing about his favorite video ...