Skyrim Character Best Archetypes Guide

Find out everything you need to know about every Archetype in Elder Scrolls V Skyrim. All Skyrim Character Builds discussed.

If you are confused about which fighting style you should choose in Skyrim and how you will get your answer in this Skyrim Character Builds guide. We have detailed every aspect of choosing a certain character build aka archetype but in a rather direct way. You won’t find tips on how you should play a certain character so if you are looking for that, read our Characters Build guide.

The purpose of this guide is to walk you through all the available Archetypes you can choose and suggest races, skills, perks, weapons, and armor for each archetype. You will also find recommendations to which followers you should choose – subject to whatever archetype you select to play the game.

Elder Scrolls V Skyrim Archetypes

The following Skyrim Archetypes are going to help you figure out all the details you need to know before heading into combat. Your character type will determine how well you will perform and how easy or difficult certain quests will be for you.

All Skyrim Archetypes feature different abilities and perks. Each has its own strengths and weakness. There are 11  Archetypes that you need to understand. Each works differently and you need to select yours depending on your playstyle.

Warrior Archetype

If you want to become a Warrior, choose Nords. As a Warrior, you don’t need Magicka, so keep your focus on Health and Stamina in 60/40 ratio. Your primary skills should be one-handed and block. For Secondary Skills, level up Light Armor and Archery.

If you are to go for the two-handed warrior, heavy armor is the way to go. Smithing and archery are the recommended skills to level up.

To give a quick boost to your skills, you can get a blessing of Warrior Stone. For perks, you can choose a combination of the following perks and level them up to become a formidable Warrior in Skyrim:

  • Armsman
  • Fighting Stance
  • Power Bash
  • Disarming Bash
  • Elemental Protection
  • Agile Defender

Since you have leveled up one-handed skill, pick a good one-handed weapon in one hand and shield in your second. Alternatively, you can use Bow and arrows from distance.

Your armor should be light combined with a shield. Heavy armor would only limit your movement so it isn’t recommended – unless you change the perks combination and level up few perks which increase your movement wearing heavy armor.

You can choose between Marcurio and Jenassa as your potential followers.

Pure Mage Archetype

High Elves are good mages and for mage, your focus should be mostly Magicka. Level up Magicka and Health in the ratio of 80/20%. Your primary skills should be a combination of any two schools of magic. For example, destruction and conjuration. You can level up few of the good perks from the other two of your favorite schools of magic. For example, Illusion and Restoration.

To level up your Skills faster, get the blessing of the Mage stone. Following are the perks you should level up if you want to become a good mage. Again, the trick is to find the right balance between your skills and your fighting style.

  • Spellcasting Perks
  • Destruction and Dual Casting
  • Augmented Flames, Frost, or Shock
  • Summoner
  • Elemental Potency
  • Illusion Dual Casting

Spells are your weapon. Remember, you are a ranged fighter, getting your enemy close to you and getting forced to melee is the worst possible situation you can find yourself in, so practice for the worst. You can learn all the spells by reading the Spell Books or consulting our Magic Guide.

Your armor is your Mage Robe. Magic Spells deplete Magicka so if you want to find any robe, find the one that restores Magicka at good rate. As a mage, you should always look for armor pieces that either regenerate Magicka or reduce the cost of spells.

As a Mage, go for heavily armored Warrior as your follower. You can choose between Varstag or Lydia.

Archer Archetype

Wood Elves are good Archers. Your focus should be on Health and Stamina in 80/20 ratio. Your primary skills should be Archery and Sneak. For your secondary skills, level up Light Armor and Block. Deadly Aim is recommended. Always have a follower to create a distraction, so that you can take out the enemy easily.

Get the blessing of Thief Stone to get a quick boost in leveling up your skills. You can choose between these perks that will help Archer fighting style:

  • Overdraw
  • Eagle Eye
  • Power Shot
  • Quick Shot
  • Stealth
  • Deadly Aim

Your weapons are bows and arrows. You can enchant yours bows with elemental enchantment to get the best out of them. Your armor should be light because as an archer, you should be more mobile. Jenassa, Faendal, Vorstag, or Argis can be good followers for Archer type characters.

Warlock Character Build

Level up Destruction Magic for the most part, while spending some points in Conjuration and Enchanting to make yourself a deadly Warlock. Don’t forget to add few skill points in armor so at the very least you can defend yourself.

Berserker Character Build

Orcs are good Berserkers. If you want to choose this fighting style, focus equally on Health and Stamina. Your primary skills should be Two-Handed and Heavy Armor while for secondary skills, you should level up Smithing and Block.

Get the blessing of Lord Stone to get a quick level boost to your skills. There are a variety of perks you can choose for this type of fighting style but these are ideal:

  • Barbarian
  • Champion’s Stance
  • Juggernaut
  • Well-fitted
  • Tower of Strength
  • Power Bash

You can choose any strong Two-Handed weapon and don’t forget to wear Heavy Armor. As for followers, you can choose between Stenvar, Belrand, Vigilance, or Meeko.

Spellsword Character Build

Dark Elves are great Spellswords. You will have to level up all three attributes if you choose to play this archetype. Level up Health, Magicka, and Stamina in 40/30/30 ratio. Level up One-Handed and Destruction as your primary skills and for secondary skills, choose Light Armor and Illusion.

Get the blessing of the Lover Stone if you want to level up your skills faster. When it comes to perks, you definitely a lot of options, but these perks seem ideal:

  • Armsman
  • Fighting Stance
  • Destruction Rank Perks
  • Augmented Flames, Frost, or Shock
  • Impact
  • Agile Defender

Pick any one-handed weapon and learn good Spells. You can wear any enchanted Light Armor – this is important, because you want to have magical characteristics in your armor and be mobile at the same time. You can choose between Lydia and Vorstag as your followers.

Necromancer Character Build

Bretons are great Necromancers. If you want to play as a Necromancer, your focus should on Magicka but don’t forget health either. Level up these attributes in 70/30 ratio and you should be fine.

You can level up Conjuration and Illusion as your primary skills and for your secondary skills, you can level up Alteration and Restoration. To get a quick level up boost, you can get the blessing of Ritual Stone.

These are the idea perks you should go for as a Necromancer:

  • Spellcasting Perks
  • Conjuration Dual Casting
  • Necromancy
  • Dark Souls
  • Mystic Binding
  • Mage Armor

Your weapons are your spells and Bound Weapons. For armor, you should have a regenerate robe. You can have some followers as a Mage, recommended above.

Assassin Character Build

Khajiit are good Assassins. If you want to become an Assassin, your focus should be on all three attributes but with varied focus. You can level up Health, Magicka, Stamina attributes in 60/20/20 ratio.

Your primary skills should be One-handed and Sneak. For secondary Skills, you should choose Alchemy and Pickpocket. To get a quick level boost, you can get the blessing of Shadow Stone.

These would be the ideal perks for you as an Assassin:

  • Stealth
  • Backstab
  • Assasin’s Blade
  • Armsman
  • Dual Flurry
  • Dual Savagery

You can choose any dual one-handed weapon. Like Dagger in one-hand and Assassin’s Blade in other. We have detailed the advantages and disadvantages of dual-wielding here. Don’t forget to read that first.

For armor, you can’t afford to wear Heavy Armor because it will compromise your movement, so go for Light Armor. You are better off without followers because your followers may compromise your stealth – giving away your position.

Battlemage Character Build

Imperials are good Battlemages. As a Battlemage, your focus should be to level up Magicka and Health attributes in 60/40 ratio. Your primary Skills should be Destruction and Restoration. For secondary skills, you should choose Illusion and Heavy Armor.

To get a quick level boost, get the blessings of Apprentice Stone. Though you have a lot of magic related perks available, specifically for Battlemage archetype, these seem to be ideal:

  • Spellcasting Perks
  • Illusion Dual Casting
  • Destruction Dual Casting
  • Augmented Flames, Frost, or Shock
  • Recovery
  • Juggernaut

Spells are your weapons and staff is what you need to cast them. You can also use a one-handed weapon because you are a battle mage and have required skills to fight with a weapon also. You can wear heavy armor – don’t worry, you will be fine.

You can have any follower really, it doesn’t make much of a difference when you play as a Battle-Mage.

The Weaponmaster Character Build

Redguards are good Weaponmasters. As a weapon master, your focus should be on Health and Stamina in 60/40 ratio. Your primary skills should be One-Handed and Heavy Armor. Your secondary skills should be Archery and Enchanting.

To get a quick level boost, you can get the blessing of Steed Stone. Following is the list of ideal perks for a weapon master:

  • Armsman
  • Fighting Stance
  • Dual Flurry
  • Dual Savagery
  • Juggernaut
  • Well-fitted

You can use bows and arrows, even dual-wield – choose whatever weapon you are comfortable with and go to battle! but don’t forget to wear heavy armor. You can choose between Marcurio and Illia as your potential followers.

Rogue Character Build

Argonians are good Rogue. As a rogue, you should level up your Health, Magicka, and Stamina attributes in 40/40/20 ratios. You can choose Sneak and Illusion as your primary skills. For secondary skills, you can choose Archery and One-Handed.

To get a quick level boost, you can get the blessing of Serpent Stone. Following are the ideal perks you can level up to become a formidable rogue:

  • Stealth
  • Illusion Perks
  • Illusion Dual-casting
  • Quiet Casting
  • Overdraw
  • Armsman

You can use spells, bows, and arrows or any one-handed weapon that you are comfortable with, but don’t forget to wear enchanted light armor because nothing beats it as a rogue. You can choose between Jenassa and Faendal as your potential followers.

Best Playstyles

Following we have the best playstyles in Skyrim. We will be doing this in descending order. Starting with number 5 we have:

Sword and Board

You can call this sword and board, or you can even use an axe i.e. you need a one-handed weapon and a shield. This playstyle is often underestimated but it is undeniable that it is a classic and one of the best choices as a playstyle in Skyrim.

You can both block and attack the opponent using this playstyle elegantly. The character might have light or heavy armor, enchantments and other things going on but the key here is the one-handed weapon and the shield.

One of the main things that make this playstyle is the block perks like; block runner, shield bash, deflect arrows, quick reflexes and shield charge. This playstyle gives you that powerful warrior feel or that ultimate tank feel or against the world feeling when arrows bounce off you. Dragon fire barely touches along with those awesome kill moves where you smash away their defense with your shield only to plunge your mighty sword into their chest.

You can use the Centurion build with this playstyle.

Illusion Controller

This playstyle allows you to dominate the minds of your enemies and then manipulate the situation as you see fit. You can make one bandit kill his best friend and then have him killed by his pet dog and then you will leave the dog alone because we love animals. Sometimes adding in things like conjuration or weapon skills is a good idea too but overall the main thing is controlling the minds of people. Basically, with this playstyle, you can win a battle without even having to touch anyone.


There is a reason for this playstyle being on this position because it’s just so damn good to sneak as it is one of the safest most powerful and fun playstyles around. No one can touch you because they never saw you, never knew you existed. One moment they were just wandering around doing bandit things and lights out because they are in the afterlife.


The classic dagger-wielding assassin with the assassin’s blade perk. You do 15 times more damage in sneak attacks with your daggers and with the Shadow Warrior perk you can even abuse this by getting some mid-combat sneak kills by crouching and in slashing immediately. It doesn’t always work but it is really cool aside from that it’s one of the coolest play styles and in my opinion more fun than snake archers mainly because it’s far riskier.

It gives you that little adrenaline hit when you get that throat slit animation and pull it all off fantastically. It’s far more rewarding and if you want to even upgrade the experience of this play style making it a knight blade, you would totally become a shadow in a dark. The Spectre build works well with this playstyle.

Conjuration Warrior

The final place goes to the conjuration warrior. Because with conjuration you can summon fearsome creatures or have dead thralls of your favorite characters follow you into battle, which is awesome sometimes warriors can get a little plain and there is nothing like some conjuration to spice it up.

Walking into battle with simply a shield and armor is so badass, your enemies are not expecting anything more but then you spring out to draw more Lords and summon a bound sword from the plains of oblivion and lay waste to them. Daedric armor, Daedric shield, conjure Daedra and a bound sword is awesome. A bound sword is an option with the conjuration warrior which is so cool even with no gear you are never defenseless being able to summon dual bound swords. Which is my absolute favorite thing about this playstyle

For more help on Skyrim, read our Skills/Perk Tree, Leveling Guide, and Standing Stones Locations guide.

This was our Skyrim Character Builds guide if you have any questions take to the comments below.

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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 ...