“Skyrim is arguably the most influential game of its decade.” It won’t be far off if we start the article with this statement because Skyrim was released at a time when gaming was transitioning into the next generation and this game perfectly embodies the next generation experience.
Skyrim revolutionized the RPG genre at the time and paved the way for modern games as we see today. What made Skyrim so revolutionary was its ability to grant the player unlimited freedom of customization.
There is no right or wrong way to play Skyrim and it does not hold the player’s hand through the gameplay. The player is free to carve his own path in the Skyrim universe and tackle the different objects at his own will.
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What are Builds in Skyrim?
The freedom allowed by the game for the player led to people creating different builds to take down their enemies. The builds in Skyrim vaguely refer to the abilities of your character.
The no-restriction approach in Skyrim has led to people creating unique and interesting builds. The strive in the community to make the best Skyrim builds is what keeps most people playing the game actively even today.
This article will contain the best Skyrim builds that are tried and tested in the community to be powerful and fun to play. If you are just starting out the game, picking a strong build from the get-go will save you a lot of the end game hassle. Alternatively, you can also try some builds to experience the game from a different angle altogether.
The Best Builds in Skyrim
The following builds are in no particular order and the last one as viable and capable as the first one. Before we get into the builds though we have to clarify that some of the builds require extra content and mods.
For your convenience, we have only listed builds with mods that are available on all platforms and are easily accessible. The builds included are also transitional and can be deployed at the start of the game. With that being said, let us get into the builds.
1. The BattleMage
- Race: Altmer
- Stone and Shouts: Lord Stone and Slow Time for the shout
- Primary Skills: Destruction, Conjuration, Alchemy, Heavy Armor, Alteration
- Main spells: Firebolt, Icy Spear, Whirlwind Cloak, Frostbite(later in the game)
Who does not want to play as a badass mage right? This mage build is different from the others in the way that it is not only focused on dealing magic damage. Do not get us wrong, destruction spells are still the primary way of dealing damage but with this build, players can remain in the heat of the battle and get close and personal with the melee weapon. As the game progresses, the battlemage build only gets stronger with the use of better equipment and perks
2. The Paladin
- Race: Breton
- Standing Stone and Shout: Fierce Spirit for standing stone and Lifestream for the shout
- Main Skills: Restoration, Destruction, enchantment, Heavy Armor
- Main spells: Scorching Hands, Flame cloak, Lamb of Mara, Godform, Circle of Protection, Strenght, Moons, and Death, Holy Hands
The paladin build is for the players who want a more direct and streamlined approach when fighting enemies. This build embodies the stand your ground and fight playstyle and therefore is very good in terms of aggressiveness. With the right equipment and perks, you cant tune this build into one of the stronger builds of the game.
3. The Warrior
- Race: Redguard
- Stone and Shout: The Warrior or The Lord for stone and Elementary Fury or Slow Time for Shout
- Primary Skills: One-handed, Alchemy, Light Armor, Block, Conjuration, Enchanting
- Required Potions: The Hammer, The Avil
Swinging Swords and dodging blows. If this sounds good to you then the warrior build should be right up your alley. This build is not only strong on the offense but also has a good defensive capability.
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4. The Unseen Theif
- Race: Redguard
- Stone and Shout: The Steed for stone and Become Ethereal, Whirlwind Spirit and Masked for Death for shout.
- Primary Skills: Illusion, Alteration, Archery, Block, Sneak, Speech
The thief playstyle holds either a love or a hate relationship because it involves a lot of sneaking which some players are despair. This build is primarily for the players who like raiding dungeons and sneaking into homes to get the next set of loot they desire without being detected.
5. The Night Reaver
- Race: Nord Vampire
- Stone and Shout: Ritual and Atronach for Stone, Slow Time, Become Ethereal, and Marked for Death for Shout
- Primary Skills: Archery, Conjuration, Restoration, Alteration, Illusion, Sneak
- Spells: Bound Bow, Frenzy Rune, Invisibility
The night reaver build is an embodiment of the evil archer playstyle. This build is for the players who want to stick with the tried and tested formula of archery while having more tools at their disposal. In the beginning, this build can be a little underwhelming but we guarantee as you get better equipment and perks this build will blossom without something special.
6. The Wayfarer
- Race: Redguard
- Stone and Shout: Warrior Stone or Lord Stone, Become Ethereal, Unrelenting Force, Marked for Death for Shout
- Primary Skills: One-handed, Block, Light Armor, Alteration, Smithing
- Spells: Ebonyflesh, Paralyse
The Wayfarer is a rough and tough build for players looking for a traditional sword and shield playstyle. While we know that this playstyle and build can be boring on the surface but this one is made in a way that is fresh by incorporating spells that are engaging to use.
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7. The Reborn Emperor
- Race: Imperial
- Stone and Shout: Ritual Stone, Soul Tear, and Battle Fury for the shout
- Primary Skills: Conjuration, Illusion, Restoration, One-handed, Block, Heavy Armor, Enchanting
An emperor plays off his pawns and dictates the fight by his wisdom. This build also has a similar playstyle and the ritual stone is befitting to use for this purpose. When playing with this build spawn any tough enemy that lays dead on the ground and use him to fight your enemies. That is not to say that this build lacks attack power on the contrary with the right equipment you can be an unstoppable emperor yourself.
8. Bare Knuckle Brawler
- Race: Khajit
- Core Skills: Enchanting, Heavy Armor, Restoration. Conjuration. Smithing
- Primary Enchantment: Fortify Unarmed and Fortify Stamina Regen
This build functions exactly as the name suggests. Khajiit is a race in Skyrim that has the increased unarmed damage racial perk and this perk is the reason we run this build. Also, this build is stupidly simple to make, and collecting equipment is also straightforward. On top of the build provides a unique experience and is fun to play.
9. The Blacklion
- Race: Altmer
- Stone and Shout: Lord Stone, Elemental Fury, Slow time, or Whirlwind Sprint for the shout
- Primary Skills: One-handed, Illusion, Archery, Enchanting
- Main Spells: Bound Bow, Frenzy
The black lion build focuses on versatility and combines all the necessary aspects into a single build. With this build, players will not only be capable of offense but also defense, stealth, and some magic.
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10. The Claw Ranger
- Race: Khajiit or Argonian
- Shout: Animal Allegiance, Elementary Fury, and Whirlwind Sprint
- Primary Skills: Archery, Light Armor, Alchemy, Smithing, Alteration
- Main perks: Experimenter, Physician (Alchemy), Mage Armor (Alteration), Long Shot (Archery)
The Claw Ranger is arguably one of the most unique builds to play. The combination of short-range and long-range damage capability opens a whole new playstyle and the sneak perk adds the element of surprise to a fight. Overall, this build for the players who have completed Skyrim before and want to enjoy the game in a different light.
11. Dual-Wield Assassin
- Race: Orc
- Primary Skills: Sneak, Light Amor, One-handed, Enchanting, Illusion
- Primary Spells: Frenzy, Muffle, Invisibility
An assassin is one of the coolest characters you can play. There just is something about being in the shadows and striking the enemy when he least expects. This build also tries to replicate something similar albeit in a much elder scrolls kind of way. When using this build make sure to make the most out of your sneak abilities and stab the enemy with a critical blow.
12. The Knight
- Race: Breton
- Primary Skills: Block, Conjuration. Heavy Armor, One-handed
- Main Spells: Bound Sword, Summon Dremora Lord
Offensive in Skyrim can break your enemy but a good defense can win you effortless fights. This build mimics the character of a medieval knight. The knights were known for their unbreakable armor and hard-hitting weapons and this build captures that essence of being a knight. With this build leveling up your block and heavy armor and unlocking new perks is crucial. The more you spec points into perks the better this build will get.
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13. The Illusionist
- Race: Altmer
- Primary Skills: Sneak, Illusion, One-handed
- Main Spells: Invisibility, Frenzy, Calm, Pacify, Bound Dagger, Bound Bow
Leaving your opponents stranded with an illusion and finishing them undetected is one of the most badass things you can do in Skyrim. If you want to adorn that playstyle then this build is for you but beware as this build and playstyle require some experience so players who are just starting the game may find it challenging.
14. The Monk
- Race: Nord
- Stone: The Mage (at the beginning) and Seed Stone (at the endgame)
- Primary Skills: Restoration, Archery, Alchemy, Enchanting, Speech, Destruction
This is a one a kind build and although it is not the best it stills lays the foundation for something special. The combination of archery and elemental damage is very intriguing and given the right person, this playstyle can be very deadly. If you as a player are open to experimenting then go ahead and try this build.
15. The Eternal Prowler
- Race: Dunmer (Vampire)
- Shout: Soul Tear, Storm Call, Dragon Aspect
- Primary Skills: Restoration, Heavy Armor, One-handed, Alchemy, Smithing, Enchanting
- Main Spells: Thunderbolt, Lightning Storm, Close Wounds, Icy Spear, Lightning Rune
The main objective of this build is to turn your character into a soul-searching prowler. Feeding on the souls will not make him stronger but also increase the lust for more. The playstyle with this build is also very distinct. You have a handful of spells at your disposal and when the going gets tough you can always wield a hard-hitting heavy weapon. The other abilities are meant to compliment your build and get you through some tough enemies.
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16. The Mage Descendant
- Race: Breton
- Stone: Atronach Stone
- Primary Skills: Alteration, Destruction, Restoration, Conjuration, Enchanting, Alchemy
- Main Spells: Lightning Bolt, Ice Storm, Close Wounds, Conjure Frost Atronach
Going full mage in Skyrim requires commitment and resilience because in the early game most of the spells are not available for the user and also some required perks are locked. But on the other hand, mastering magic and seeing your character grow is rewarding.
Using various spells to take down the opponents in an awe aspiring faction is wholely satisfying and this makes you keep grinding for that perfect mage build. This mage build will lay a solid foundation for that perfect mage build that you have in mind.
This was our list of the best Skyrim builds that are both powerful and fun to play. We cherry-picked the most influential 16 builds from the plethora of builds floating around. These all builds are tried and tested therefore will provide you with the best possible experience. But keep one thing in mind that regardless of how strong the build is it will require some minor changes before it is suited for you.