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Efficient Leveling

Discussion in 'Skyrim Guides and Tutorials' started by Psiberzerker, Aug 21, 2012.

  1. Psiberzerker

    Psiberzerker Author

    Jul 11, 2012
    So, you've done it all, have you? Exploited all the best glitches, crafted the perfect gear, built the perfect 80 perk build, and kilt everthing worth killin. Congratulations, now what? Oh, you haven't? Sorry, this is probably not the right guide for you, yet. Not to worry, you can still get started with step 1:

    Learn to play the game.

    If this is your first build, or you are still working on the main quest, then why are you reading this? Bookmark it, load up the game, and go get some experience! Not character XP, but real experience, personal experience, exploring this wide realm of adventure. If you start off looking up all the exploits, without figuring anything out for yourself, you're cheating, yourself. Sure, you'll get a powerful character, but without the Player Skills, it's kind of like a 4yo with a Pagani Zonda. Even if you can reach the pedals, what are you going to do, where are you going to go? Come back to this, it'll be here.

    That out of the way, lets move on to the ones who are ready for this. No, not you in the glowing Daedric armor of free Destruction. I bet you never had to worry about trivial mundane concerns like squishiness, or casting costs, huh? Go with that kid back to Helgen, and this time, don't touch the Console, nor Ogma Infinidim. Try playing a real Mage, in robes, with so little health because you spent it all on Magicka you actually have to run away instead of starting off with Stunmer. And you, yeah the Nightingale Ninja, with Ancient Shrouded Gloves, and Daedric daggers of Eldritch Evil.

    There's lots of ways to play, and that's {sigh} Okay. Nothing wrong with being a Munchkin, but this is not for you. If you play on Master, but can't survive Novice without Crafting first, and 80 perks this won't help. Now, to the bat-build!


    If this were another build guide, expect to see "Breton, move on." Maybe Orc. Possibly Kajit, if they're clever. I'm sorry, but there's 10 races, and countless builds. More than enough for everbody to have their own unique snowflake. Bethesda went to a lot of trouble giving us lots of choices, so you might as well take advantage of it, or one of the three that someone else decided is "perfect." That's fine, for them, but ask yourself, "What's perfect for me?" This guide is about how you figure that out.

    Each race has 35 free skill points, spread out between a primary, and 5 secondary skills. Now, this means you can start out with an advantage, a significant one if they're all trees you're going to use, but no perks. Here's the thing, if you start of with a skill at 15, then level it to 25, you will open up 2 perk points. If that's a weapon skill, these will increase your damage 40%. However, the higher your Character level, the tougher enemies you will run into.

    This is the essence of level efficiency. If all of your skills make you more effective, without leveling your character to the point that the enemies are proportionate, you have an advantage over the NPS. This can actually make you more powerful relative to the enemies you face than a level 81 compared to their's. The trick is making every point count. Also, you get 1 stat point per level, which you can spend on Health, Stamina, or Magicka. A level 81 can have 900 Health, for instance, while a level 20 is limited to at most 290. (If you spend it all on Health.)

    Another common answer is that skill bonuses are not important. True, if you go straight to level 81, and gear that overshadows your character. Unfortunately, it's a little more complex than that. Here's the tool: Skyrim Perk Calculator - Plan the perks for your Skyrim character before spending them! I bet you've seen it before, but this is the Level 1 nonbuild. Look around a sec, and kindly let me point a few things out.


    Archery: This is pretty much the prototype for the circular "Tree." You want a better example, move down to Block real quick. "So?" Well, the important parts are 1) It goes around an meets at the top, so there's to ways to reach the ultimate perk. I will point out that just because it's on top, doesn't automatically mean you need it. Take Bullseye, for example, it has a chance to Paralyze, great, right? Not necessarily, I'll assume you've played long enough to have seen other archers hiding behind a rock, popping up for pot-shots, and shot back, eh? Now you shoot him, and he falls down. Is he dead, or just paralyzed? How can you tell? It's random, isn't there some kind of indicator? Do you want to try to figure this out in the middle of combat? Every time you shoot someone, and they fall over?

    That's the next lesson, think about each Perk before you pick it, and Save before every level. This means you can try it out, decide if it's really worth the investment, and if not, fix it immediately. Especially with the later ones, levels take forever to earn when you approach the end, and you're not likely to see another one for a while. I'll try to warn you first, if there's concerns like this. Others in Archery to look out for are: Steady Hand (It's a Crutch, which prevents you learning how to shoot) Critical Shot (not all that significant) and Hunter's Discipline (Ask yourself, "Have I ever run out of arrows?")

    Fortunately, the worst of these, the two in the center are optional. You can skip them, and spend the points on something that actually makes you a more effective archer. The others are what I call Gateway Perks, they aren't that great, but open up another that may be wort all three. (If you put 1 point in Crit, and Discipline, you can get Ranger for the same cost as 3xCrit.) One thing very nice about this tree is it's efficient. There's a maximum of 17 points to be spent here, but 5 of them i warned you off of, and really, you can just do 1 side up to Quick Shot, and be a damned good archer for less than 10.

    Block: Skip over Heavy Armor a sec, so we can continue with the theme. If you look to the center, you'll see another optional Slow Time effect. I'm not going to lie to you, this is awesome. Not only does it tell you they're power attacking, but it gives you the time to react. What could possibly go wrong? Well, first of all, it can glitch, but the big thing is it throws your timing off. Even if it don't stick likeat, you will find yourself shifting in, and out of slowmo, and this will retard you developing reflexes of your own. Also, you have to be blocking when they power attzck, which means either you have to know it's coming (and therefore could just counter it) or stand there blocking until the Power Attack. Unfortunately, you can't attack while blocking, nor cast a spell. You can walk, not run (until you get the Block runner perk0 and bash, that's it. Holding up your shield waiting to spring your trap won't win you any fights.

    The rest of the perks in this tree are good, except Disarming Bash, which doesn't prevent you from getting Shield Charge. Also, Shield Wall is optional after 1. Each increment decreases damage by 5%, and there's for of them for a grand total of 20% more. That's as much as the first point, so unless you're using a (2handed) weapon instead of a shield, and/or that's your Only protection, they just aren't worth it. Other than that, 13 points, but just 7 of them will give you a chance to block arrows, 50% protection from elemental damage, allow you run and block at the same time, and deal decent damage with stagger. Arguably the most perk efficient tree in the whole system.

    1/2Handed: Pretty much identical, but I suggest you chose one, because you can't do both at the same time, both are Perk Intensive (the opposite of efficient) and having both gains you next to nothing. Go ahead, and max out Armsman/Barbarian, that's double damage for 5 points. So worth it. Fighting/Champion's Stance halves the Stamina cost of Power Attacks, and is a gateway perk. Either one alone would make them worth it. The specialty perks aren't all that great, of the 3, the bleeding damage for axes is the most noticeable, but you have to build around it. Swords are already the highest base Damage per Second (DpS) in a given tier, and Critical damage doesn't hurt, up to you whether it's worth 3 points. There's more good enchanted regular Swords than any other weapon type as well (not Greatswords, but there's a few of those too.)

    Now, the tree specific perks. 2H has Sweep, with is great, if you can land it. Practice. If there's any enchantment on there, it can spread it across up to 3 enemies, and that includes the extra bleed damage from Limbsplitter, as well as poisons. On the other hands, you have Dual Flurry, and Savagery, which make dual wield extremely powerful, at the expense of Blocking. 2handed weapons can't block as well as a shield, but do more damage with a Bash, and you only have to fill the Bash side of the Block tree. You can also bash quicker than a strike, and use the stagger as an opening to strike without the possibility of being countered. The main advantage of 1H is you can use it with a Shield, Dual Wield, Spell, or switch between all 3 if you fill out all the proper trees. 2H is Bash, Strike, Power Attack, and that's about it.

    Smithing: Here's the big decision, to Craft, or not to craft. The Perks are pretty self explanatory, and it's another one of those topologically circular ones. Here's the best example for Perk Efficiency, either you can invest in your character, or his gear. Smithing is useless in combat, all it does is allow you to take raw materials, and make items that you can use in combat. In return, you get to look for materials, mine, smelt, forge, and temper for this gear. if that sounds fun, go right ahead. I personally find it excruciating, but it can be very powerful with a little level investment. I will point out that it has 2 effects, Improve Weapons, and Improve Armor. It can also produce higher quality base items before you would be able to buy them (level dependent.)

    There's also some idiosyncrasies. Like the Force, there's a light side, and a heavy side. You can go both ways, but that will double your perks, and you can only effectively wear 1 kind at once. (See Armor: below.) Just to complicate things further, if you chose Light, the weapons on the Heavy (and kinda Dark) side are more powerful, and require those perks to make the Epic. If that wasn't bad enough, Dwarven weapons are more powerful than Orcish, but not as powerful as Elven, the same tier on the Light side. You don't Have to take it all the way to Dragon, though (Which doesn't Have weapons, unless you buy Dawnguard, or DL Mods) which isn't as strong as Daedric, anyway. With 100 Smithing, and Advanced Armor (which doesn't have weapons either) you can Cap Steel Plate Armor, though. Oh, and that's the concise simplified version.

    Arcane Enchanter doesn't Slow Time, but doesn't make it fly either. In a nutshell, if you're going to DiY all your own gear, don't get this, Smith, and Temper everything first, then Enchant it. If you're planning on improving artifacts, you'll need it. It's just 1 point, though. My suggestion is if you're using Heavy Armor, take the Dark Side. Light Armor, skip the entire tree, take on lower level enemies and use superior battle tactics.

    Armor: The other great debate, the choice is Tank, or use your mobility. Tanking is passive, once you have a high enough Armor Rating you just don't take as much damage. At lower levels, you will be slowed, and take more hits, though. This is why Light Armor is mostly associated with Archers, Thieves, and Assassins, while Heavy Armor is more in line with melee sluggers. In the Melee (incidentally, a French noun, not verb, nor adjective.) the extra protection is nice, and conversely, the melee is a lot harder to avoid weighed down by a Franklin stove around your torso. In return, Heavy Armor can be perked to halve falling damage.

    The Theif

    Light Armor: Another reason this is the choice for non-crafters is that there's just more pre-enchanted LA than HA. Most of this is for typically LA activities, Fortify Archery, Sneak, Muffle, Backstab, 1H, Lockpicking, and Carry Weight. If you join the Thieves', or Assassins' guilds, you'll get at least 1 set, with access to more/better versions. (The Dark Brotherhood even has unarmored versions.) It also has less perks overall, becomes weightless several levels sooner, and uniquely Fortifies Stamina Regeneration with a perk. It drains less from sprinting in the first place, because that's based on the weight of all equipped items (including Weapons.) You're not just faster in combat, but running around this vast realm, which you're going to be doing a lot of anyway. In conclusion, Light Armor is just outright more efficient in all respects, except for protection.

    Here's the secret about armor. If you aren't dying, it's working. Any investment made beyond what it takes to keep you alive can be better spent on something else, like dealing damage. That's the other trick, armor doesn't win fights.

    Sneak: this is the thief, all wrapped up in 1 skill. You ain't going to be doing much stealing, or backstabbing if you can't sneak. I should stress You, because as good as your character's gear, and skills are, you won't pick that pocket if you creep right up in front of the guard in broad daylight. There's several factors involved with whether you get busted, and how many points you have in Stealth is one of the Least important. 1 point here is a gateway. If you want to backstab at level 20 with Heavy Armor on, you'll need to invest more than that. This is why thieves don't generally wear heavy Armor. Once you get to 40 in this skill, 3 points here won't do you as much good as Muffled Movement, so any more than 2 is completely wasted.

    Sneak Attack Multipliers more than make up for not Smithing. With Alchemy, and Enchanting in a feedback loop to Fortify Smithy you can possibly get 15 times the base damage on a dagger, for a minimum of 160 skill levels, if you're an Orc. or, you can get Sneak up to level 50, and spend 4 perk points. You could do both, that Nightingale Ninja guy earlier probably did, but I'll give you 3 guesses which is more efficient, and the last 2 don't count. The other side is mostly gateway perks for 2-3 good ones. Silent Roll is very nice, for sprinting through traps, across lighted areas, behind pacing guards, and even evading attacks if you perfect it. It can also be comboed with Critical Charge to pounce from the shadows with full multiplier, and stagger with a little Critical damage for a Cherry on Tap. Silence is Muffle, kind of makes muffled Movement even more useless on it's own, but Meh? Shadow Warrior is fun, I won't lie, but if you want to Role Play an assassin you will never lose the sense that you're in a video game once you buy that perk. Some people don't care, up to you, but I'd save first.

    Lockpicking: Learn the minigame, it's not that hard. Master locks can be tough at first, but if you get this skill up above 50, they will still probably not run you out of picks without a single perk in this tree. Treasure Hunter is okay, I guess, but for 5 perks, and 70 skill levels? By the time you get there, you'll have more money than you know what to do with, and "Speacial Treasure" than you can carry, with Fortify Carry Weight if you're not even all that great a thief. Waste of a Skill Tree, you ask me.

    Picking Pockets: Not really my bag, the only pocket I've ever picked is Maedsi's, and I usually fail that too. If you're a packrat, Extra pockets might be handy, Misdirection is the Only way you can get certain items, duplicates of others, including the most powerful dagger in the game, and still more way before they should be available. There's your "Special Treasure", only a hell of a lot less random, and it can be used to disarm certain enemies. Poisoned is a gimmick, put it on your dagger, and STAB THEM.

    Speech: Not really interested, as a matter of fact, I intentionally avoid this skill for something that will actually do me any good. This is another Player Skill thing to complicated for this post. If you know how to play the Radiant system, you will find what you want in random loot,.. eventually. That, and i already know where all the good stuff is, as far as the scripted items. If you just pick up Gold, it doesn't take long to earn a House, and hire a Mercenary. If you're a Wizard, it might be nice to have the extra cash. Robes&Tomes get EXPENSIVE!i!

    Alchemy: {Sighs} Do I have time for this? Look it up, seriously. Too many effects, recepies, and glitches to cover adiquately without doubling the size of this article. i just can't do it justice, honestly. Don't waste points on Experimenter, and just look up the effects. There's really rather little entertainment possible in discovering every single effect, and combination of all those ingredients, and even that novelty wears thin real quick. Probably my least favorite skills in the history of Mundus, it's that frustrating.

    The Mage:

    Now we're talking! Keep in mind, this is the most difficult (and to me, fun) way to play, especially with efficiency. The reason is Magicka, which means you can't invest in Health that level, much less Stamina. Also incredibly Perk Intensive, if you level all 18 skills to 100, you don't have enough points to master all 5 schools, and Enchanting. The only directly offensive skill, Destruction damage caps far lower than any weapon skill, and cannot be improved with Smithing, nor Enchantment. (You can fortify the Damage with Potions, for a little while, then go make more potions...)

    Destruction: Ok, you can play a Mage without this, but honestly, it's even more challenging. This is where Level Efficiency is critical. Quite simply, if you level past about 30 (Depending on difficulty setting) it will be not be strong enough to be your primary offense. One way around this is to combine it with 1H for a Spellsword, which is rather effective. Keep in mind, you still can't Tank, because of low health, this school is also the most Magicka intensive, since you have to keep casting over, and over (AKA "Spamming.) This is probably the reason why the "Perfect" mage build has been dumbed down to Stunmer Impact Turret.

    If you look to the far right branch, and follow it up, you'll find Impact. This staggers, and you can recharge faster than they can regain their balance, so you can stagger them again. Wrap that in Heavy Armor, Enchant 4 pieces with 25% Fortify Destruction so it costs no Magicka, spend all your levels on Health, and dumb magic down to "I hit him, is he dead? I hit him again." In other words, a Tank, with sparkles. Congratulations, you don't have to learn to play the game. Unfortunately, this is Magicka inefficient, because of Dual Casting. What this does is increase the Magicka cost to 280%, and the effect by 220%. Or, you can cast the same spell in both hands, for 200% the effect, and 200% the damage. Or 2 different spells to double the number of effects in play, or 1 spell with a sword, or with a shield, or you get the idea.

    This is where we get into the Advantages of Destruction (Which can't be used with Stunmer tactics.) Like 1H, you can combo it with something else, which adds versatility. Also, it doesn't slow you down, at all. Try this, charge a spell, let's say firebolt in one hand while releasing with the other. This doubles your rate of fire (pardon the pun) so with Augment Flames, you can actually do more damage-per second than hand weapons. Don't believe me? Get Dual Flurry (2), and swing 2 swords, left, and right. Notice, your left hand swings slower than your right, so you can swap in a dagger to even it up, but that lowers you damage. Now, hold down both buttons for a Double Power Attack. Now we're talking, right? How long can you do that? Even with Fighting Stance? Ok, stamina, just like Magicka, right? Not really.

    Find a handy target, doesn't really matter what it is, and walk backwards, still dual power attacking. Uh oh. Switch back to the firebolts, and straffe left. It takes a bit of practice, but you can literally run circles around it, throwing 2-3 bolts per second until your magicka runs out. Did you keep count? Each one has a Base Damage of 25, times what, 4 with 100 Magicka, Apprentice perk, and Robes of Destruction (Or Thalmor/Mythic Dawn Robes, Armor of the Old Gods...) That was 100 damage in under 2 seconds as an Apprentice at the College of Winterhold. How long does it take your Magicka to recover?

    So, at low levels, Destruction beats Weapons. And Armor, even capped out, it doesn't protect against magic, unless it's also enchanted to resist it. Not to many enemies out there have that, especially before your character reaches level 25. keep your level low. Unfortunately, Destruction is a 17 perk tree. So you need every point you can get, and as much magicka as possible too. Without efficiency, Destruction is useless (Unless you break the game.) This is why i don't do Impact, that's two perks, and Magicka i can't afford. the only way you can is to invest in 100 Enchanting, which doubles your level, and makes Destruction less effective.

    Augment those Elements, and get the Novice-Expert perks to halve Magicka Cost. Use Walls, they're the only Destruction spells with a Duration besides Cloaks, and do 75 Damage for 20 Seconds (Augmented). That's 1500 damage+ being On Fire. If you can keep them in the Area of Effect. Efficient, if you can keep them there. i use a Shield to Stunlock them, You could just as easily use Impact, by switching to Dual Cast (doesn't work with Walls.) 10 perks.

    Conjuration: Sorry about that, but it's not simple. This is much less complex, you got Familiars, Atronachs, Dremora, Necromancy, Bound Weapons, and Soul Trap. All of them have Durations, which last longer than it takes for your magicka to recover, so you're not generally in spamland. The Exception is Flaming Familiar, which is basically fireball, except it's guided, bites, and costs 30 Magicka. For comparison, Firebolt costs 41, and does less damage. No discussion of of Efficincy can ignore this, 25 damage for 41 magicka, or 40 damage for 30 magicka. Yeah.

    The regular Summons also pull double duty as indirect defense. They decoy the enemy, and some are pretty good at Tanking. (Frost Atronachs, Dremoral lords, and well equipped Zombies.) I'll breifly point out that these factors make Conjuration much more efficient. As for perks, it's a good idea to specialize in either Necromancy, or Atronachs. I prefer the latter, because they don't require a body. If you do go Necro, get at least 1 Summoner perk so you don't have to get as close. Bound weapons are extremely powerful, especially at low levels, with at most 5 perks, and can be doubled with 5 more in the appropriate Weapon Skill. Don't bother with Oblivion Binding, it's almost never worth the investment. Soul Stealer is much better than actually Casting Soul Trap, then killing the target.

    Illusion: Fear, Rage, and Calm spells are all right, but lack much actual punch. Rage is about the most offensive, because it turns your enemies against each other, but won't End a fight, unless they kill each other simultaneously. (Highly unlikely.) This is not a stand alone Combat Skill. You need something to finish them off, but Calm, and Fear can suspend, or end the fight so you can get away. Also provides Muffle, and invisibility to support stealth (along with the Quiet Casting perk.) Dual Casting just extends the level of people, and animals you can affect (everyone is affected by the Stealth Spells.) Don't waste Magicka on Claivoyance, or Courage.

    Alteration: Mostly Defensive, but very good in this role. In addition to Armor Alternative spells, it can be perked for magic Resistance, and Spell Absorption (the latter will randomly eat Summons, though.) Also some utility effects, like Enemy Detection, Telekinesis, and Light. Mage Armor depends on if you wear real Armor, or not. Any spell that ends in Flesh adds Armor rating to whatever you're wearing, so you can go with Robes, Heavy Gloves, Boots, and helmet. This is nice, because if your duration times out, you aren't completely naked. A Shield Mage can even use the Mage Armor Perks if the board is the only armor he wears, and further reinforce it with Block.

    Restoration: Hoo boy! Hope you recovered from the Destruction rant, because this is the other one. Make yourself comfortable, or take a break if you need to. First off, Healing. Pretty simple, spend Magicka, get Health, and Experience. Respite is nice, you can sprint almost indefinitely, and your Magicka should recover before you have to replenish your Stamina again. Regeneration is so worth it, Necromage, less so. (I know, Vampires Suck. Done, son.) Regeneration is worth grinding up to 60 for all by itself for any mage, if you can spare the levels. Unfortunately, this is a slow leveling skill, and not standalone. Don't bother with Dual Casting, and double cast instead.

    Turn undead is pretty useless in most situations, and not indespensible in most of the ones it isn't. The exception is Circle Of Protection, and Guardian Circle. They have a duration, and a radius, the letter even heals you as long as you're standing inside. (They can also power Spell Absorbtion for monumental abuse. Gamebreaker.) Wards are tricky. Far too expensive, and they can stagger you if they break, but with Ward Absorb (doesn't work with the circles) can power spells by absorbing the enemy's. Also completely block Dragon Breath, and can block Shouts. Take a sec to charge up, though. Bane of the Undead leaves you vulnerable for 3 seconds, and is effective, but only in circumstances that could be handled with a faster tactic.

    Well, that wasn't as bad as I thought, moving on...

    Enchanting: The most time, and material efficient Craft. Disenchant an item, you have the effect. Then all you need are souls, and items to put them on. Clothing effects are permanent, weapons can be maintained with souls. Don't bother with Soul Stealer, much less Siphon. Fire Enchanter is best, Frost is nice for the slow effect, especially on a Bow. Insightful, and Corpus Enchanter is the best way to get to Extra Effect.
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  2. Psiberzerker

    Psiberzerker Author

    Jul 11, 2012
    Racial Pures:

    The first step is right after Hadvar asks "Who are You?" Depending on your choice, you will get +5 to 5 skills, and +10 to another. Now, if you start as a Nord, for example, then level up all 6 Magic skills to 20, except Illusion, which you take to 25, you'll find yourself at level 5.6. That means for a Pure Mage, you're better off taking High Elf at the start, because you would have the same magical ability at level 1. This goes for all races, but we'll start there.


    Pure mage, obviously. Not only do they start with this level in all magical skills, they get 50 points of Magicka as if they had spent them. I can't over stress how huge this is, no other race starts with a stat bonus, much less half again as much of the most precious thing for a Wizard. Unfortunately, they don't start with any Perks, and as noted above, this is the least perk efficient of the Guardian Stones. However, low level is paramount, because you're not going to have much health anyway, armor would only slow you down while increasing your level, and Destruction is only at an advantage before the enemies buff past it.

    Here's where we run into the biggest paradox of level efficiency. If you start with level 5 in skills, but no perks, you might not have enough to go around by limiting your character level. Conversely, if you jack all 18 to 100 (Usually with exploits, it takes a week to train them all up honestly) you've got plenty of perks, but run face first into the hardest enemies in the game. No bandits, they're all Marauders. The solution is to limit the number of skill trees, and perks to make do with a bare minimum. I'll start with the one maxed for everything, then another pared down to the least I can get away with.

    Skyrim Perk Calculator - Plan the perks for your Skyrim character before spending them! First, just about everything you'd need to be an effective wizard, leaving off a few that are entirely worthless for this build. No weapons, so the Bound Branch, and Elemental Enchants won't do you any good (unless you want to enchant a follower's weapon/s.) I skipped the Atronach, because there's some summonation in there, and you can't turn it off. Ward Absorb gives you 20%, if you get it up in time, helps with the high Magicka Drain, and is at will, so it won't eat your Atronachs. (See what they did there?) There is one major problem, here. You've leveled 6 skills to 100, which isn't nearly enough for 69 perk points no matter what skills you started with. As an Altmer, you probably won't even have 50. So, either skimp on a lot of these, slash the maximum level that your illusions work on, most likely drop Dual Casting, and Impact, and still probably have to take a couple out of class skills to 100 to free up those last few points. On the bright side, 840 magicka is a lot, you should even be able to afford some health in there to offset your squishiness. (I do the first 5 levels, so I'm on par with lower born Wizards, but have an advantage in Health.) Speech, and Lockpicking are good choices, because they work well enough without a single perk in them. You can do some sneaking too, sometimes it's unavoidable. Even with invisibility, and muffle, it's nice to have that little eye tell you everone's chilled out.

    Imperial: Skyrim Perk Calculator - Plan the perks for your Skyrim character before spending them! Starts with 20 Destruction, and Block, 25 Restoration. That's good, because Resto is the slowest leveling of these three skills, and that's a total of 20 levels you don't have to train. This is maximized for Destruction, with the rest minimized for the 1 item you need in defense. Spellbreaker. I named this build after it, because it's the lynchpin. Restoration is primarily for Ward Absorb, which can be used to regenerate Magicka, and throw Thunderbolts while the Dragon stops to catch his breath. Stay back, and they won't hit you, just keep breathing to charge up your next salvo. They Haaate this build. Works on everyone else, simply by changing out spells for specific tactics. For instance, once you force them down with half health, you can hose them down with Wall of Fire/Frost, or Shock if you don't want to play elemental rochambaux. In the melee, use bashes to keep them in the Wall of Fire, which is 75 damage per second, for 20 seconds, +On Fire damage, that's >1200 damage, if you can keep them stunlocked in the inferno. The Targe of the Blooded makes this even more abusive. (Not that you need Dragonrend, but I still suggest the main quest for this, and Nahkriin. Don't worry about Heavy Armor experience, one you learn how to play this, you won't get hit enough for it to be significant.) Mages, I shouldn't have to explain, you just don't take damage from them, and again, they power your counterspells. Have fun! This is Just, So, Wrong at level 25. I left the shield at home, and hard cast Lesser Ward to cherry tap The World Eater in a loincloth. One thing about that, you can't cast, nor even charge a spell with Block up, but you can right through a Ward, as long as he's breathing to keep your charge up. He stops for a breather, hit him with Dragonrend again so he doesn't take back off.

    Stunmer: (as) if it wasn't obvious, the name is a portmandeau of Stun, and Dunmer. In short, this is your Impact Mage. I know, one of the top 3 most hated glitch builds on My personal list, but with a difference. Honestly, if you're going to stunlock everything into submission, why are you leveling Smithing, and Enchantment? I mean, this is a 1 trick pony anyway, are your really afraid of getting hit? The answer is, because they only play on Master, of course, plus the hidden nerf that with all those extra levels, you have to be able to stand there spamming all day, and therefore actually need 100% free Destruction.
    Skyrim Perk Calculator - Plan the perks for your Skyrim character before spending them! Why Dark Elf? 25 Destruction, that's why! This is what I call a "Fast, and Dirty" build, if I'm going to exploit a glitch to break the game, I'm going for broke. At level 15, though, it just doesn't take all that many dual cast Firebolts to finish off a Draugr. Primary Spell is Ice Storm, because you can hit the most mobs into it (by kiting them into a line, or bottlenecking) slow them, so they just never get to you in time, and possibly Paralyze. The icing on the cake is it goes right through cover, to hit those pesky Archers that keep playing peekaboo behind boulders.

    Now, a word here about the special effects past Augment Elements, and why I chose them. Deep Freeze is actually kind of nice, if you're a squishy mage (did I mention 130 Health, with the Gauldur Amulet? 150 with an Enchanted Ring.) and basically using Archer tactics. Disintegrate lowers health in the target, I hear it's 15%, no way to test it in game, but it does make a noticeable difference in follow up shots. In other words, Kill Them Quicker. With no defense, this is your motto, even with stunlock. I call this a War Lock build, because that's what he does, locks down the battlefield like Ponza Rotta Red does with Land Destruction. The point is, by eliminating Smithy, Heavy Armor, and Destruction, you can actually Kill Them Quicker because you're still within the butter zone where Destruction is most powerful. The Battlecrafters don't realize that instead of making themselves more powerful, they're buffing up the Enemy. While this won't get them killed, because of stunlock, it reduces every single battle to an endless button mash. I don't mind the tactic, but I really don't have the patience to do it all day. It's also not the Only tactic, whenever I don't Have to, I switch to more efficient ones like half stacking, or at least lay down a Lake of Fire for them to immolate in while they try to get their balance.

    The main difference is, an Archer has to stop, or at least slow down a lot to draw, and fire. With a spell charged in either, or both hands, he just can't sprint. This makes him as close as you can get to Run&Gun in TES. Aiming isn't as critical with Adept spells, for the Civil War, I just did Turn&Burn, spamming Ice Storm indiscriminately into the fray, while circle straffing to dodge all the arrows. You don't want to Impact cast on some enemies, like Sigdis, because he teleports whenever you hit him, (also Vals Varen, the Caller...) so the Impact is wasted, but you have time to charge them separately, and doublecast them. (Don't use fire, either. It may cause him to die in transit, so he doesn't reappear, Lightning works great.)
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  3. Psiberzerker

    Psiberzerker Author

    Jul 11, 2012
    Dunmer Nightblade: I know, this is two builds on the same race, but 1) damnit, they just rock, and b) they're born Nightblades. Lets go down the list, Sneak, Light Armor, Illusion, alchemy, alteration and destruction. That's a pretty good start! 1H handed, obviously, but I don't have to tell you how fast this levels with Backstab bonuses. I downplayed the other skills, because either they're not needed, or counterproductive. Alchemy helps a lot, but it's a lot of investment you could be using to get OP for your level, it just about breaks even if you have the patience for it. Alteration, what for? You've got Light Armor, you're probably going to be using as an Enchantment carrier, Paralyze might be nice, but are you going to splash 55 skill levels for one spell? Telekinesis is fun to play with, and Light will get you busted. Moving on...

    Destruction. NOT STEALTH. I know it's in the classic 3rd era class build, and I didn't understand it back then. Some have argued that you can use it to fight your way out, but by then, you're in the middle of the melee, where a lightly armored spellsword isn't much better off than a Nightblade caught red handed. (or black, as the case may be.) The final nail in it's coffin is it's the most perk inefficient tree, pretty damned ineffective unless you dedicate at least 10 points to it, and limit all other skills so that most leveled NPCs don't laugh at your firebolts. Skip it.

    Archery: Might not be a bad idea. As noted earlier, it's the most efficient weapon skill, plus at lower levels, you can shoot them from out of earshot to get easy Sneak experience. Arrows are also a handy "What was that?" distraction that doesn't cost magicka, or require hunting down word-walls, so at least a splash of this couldn't hurt. I suggest Archery for 1 simple reason, Dragons. I've heard stories about 1 shotting them on their roosts, sticking an ancient dragon in the tail and running away, giggling. That's great, now how about that random encounter that drops in like a giant's stomp, including stagger, and says "Hi There!" Get your bow out while you run away. Other than that, the cardinal rule is The Dragon Doesn't Have to Land. Not until he's down to half health, or you've got Dragonrend. Now, which questline are you going to do first, the main one, Dark Brotherhood, or Thieves' Guild for the Nightingale set? Survey says? XXX don't bet your entire strategy on Dragonrend, nor the Dragons cooperating. There's oh so many other very good reasons for this, but a big #2 starts with Nightingale, and ends with Bow.

    This isn't a bare minumum build, anyway, we're just trying to avoid not having enough points to go around, nor enough perks to spend them all on. Neither way is what I call perk efficient. Skyrim Perk Calculator - Plan the perks for your Skyrim character before spending them! Crafting? NO, bad munckhin! I hate to say Ur doin it wrong, so "Do a Barrel Roll!" "But, I can get down to 20% damage, and stoopid weapons!i!" Sneak Attack Multipliers are where you get your big stupid damage from, and if you're invisible, YOU'RE NOT GETTING HIT!i! You won't even have that much in Light Armor experience, without Tanking, Wind Walker is honestly optimistic, you might get to 60 way late in the game. It very well may be the last point you spend in this entire build. See what I did with Illusion?

    What spell do you need besides Invisibility? Calm? Backstab him, he's dead, don't get no calmer'n that. Fury? If they're running around killing each other, it's almost impossible to sneak up behind them for a backstab. Muffle? Pay attention, you're already in light armor, and have the Muffled Movement perk. Ok, that's not entirely true, I do suggest Calm for training. You don't come out the gate with Invisibility, you need the Illusion XP, and this is the cheapest (in so many ways) most efficient way to get it. Backstab, Calm, wait for them to wander back towards their post... Doitagin! Illusion, Sneak, and 1H level up insanely fast all at once, virtually no Light Armor experience.

    Equipment: Whatever's clever. Shrouded, Nightingale, I really shouldn't have to cover this. If you do add Enchantment, do yourself a favor, go up the Elemental Branch for one, and double enchant Absorb Health, and Absorb Stamina. This is where it gets OP, which is why I suspect they didn't do anything like this in game. Why not Absorb Health? For one, it's a common Enchant, offhand the Blade of Woe, or Nightingale Blade. Absorb Stamina, because you just hit him with a Power attack, and you're going to want to Silent Roll away. Absorb Magicka, because now you're visible, and it sure would be nice not to be when all his buddies are looking over at him slumping lifeless to the floor. Invisibility, Backstab, POOF! Cut another throat. With Absorb Stamina, and Magicka, you can do this all day. You'll run out of throats to cut before you run out of charges.

    This is the only place where Destruction just might could come in handy. Absorb Stamina is technically a Frost effect, as Absorm Magicka is governed by Shock. Augment both, with the appropriate Enchanting Perks, and that's more per strike, you can keep backstabbing, disappearing, and rolling away all day! I put Absorb Health on my bow. Things go south, you have to run away, the whole time they're trying to catch you, you're healing. Insanely mean combo, again probably why they didn't put it in the game...
  4. Psiberzerker

    Psiberzerker Author

    Jul 11, 2012
    Spellblade: Redguard. 1H (25) Alteration, Destruction, Smithing, Block, archery. Continuing on with the Magic Hybrids, this is probably the most rounded character possible. Offense up close, and at a distance, a little defense, with some support skills that stay out most of the time. The advantage here is with a weapon in one hand, and spell in the other, you don't have to switch in the midst of combat and can keep the relentless assault coming. I won't say the best defense is a good offense, but a decent one, like _flesh is about all you need if you kill them fast enough.

    This is why I downplay Archery. It's powerful, it's efficient, you have to put away whatever you're doing to get it out, then put the bow away to switch tactics again. There goes your #1 advantage. The motto of this build is DO NOT STOP ATTACKING UNTIL THEY'RE DEAD. More a rule of thumb than unwavering moratorium, but a good thing to keep in mind, until it starts going bad. Your first warning is your Armor spell wore off, so you have to retreat long enough to recast. This is about the only time you have to give them a break, so learn your lesson. Each time you cast _flesh, you have 1min-90 seconds to finish the fight in front of you. You don't make it, next time kill them faster. You'll probably get the hang of it fairly quickly.

    You can't keep this up indefinitely, using the same tactics, so the trick is switch it up. Burn them from afar as you advance, then chop them up, while your magicka recovers. It should be back by the time your stamina runs out, so kill what's in front of you, or disengage to go back to Destruction. Because of these battle tactics, que up Wuld, and leave it there. I use Adrenaline Rush to sprint to the next battle (and Wuld makes cross country a lot faster too.) Since you're moving, this makes you a harder target for archers, and mages as well. If you stand still, you die.

    Skyrim Perk Calculator - Plan the perks for your Skyrim character before spending them! Now, a few points: Critical Charge - Notice there's no Savage Strike? The operable word is Standing power attacks. You're not going to be doing too much standing. I know Moar Damage! But, in return, you get to charge in, hit someone, and disengage before they recover from the stagger. No counter attack, they never get a shot on you, move on. Hack&Slash, you want an axe, because they will keep taking damage while you are moving on to the next target. They're probably still on fire from your bolts while you advanced, so the coup de grace' is either from the hack, or the residual damage from bleed&burn.

    Dual Cast/Wield, no. Spell in one hand, axe in the other, so you never have to switch, right? This means you always have what you need out at any given time. (After the prep spell for defense) Single cast your Alteration too, it's mostly just to prevent getting 1shotted, by arrows, because you're never within reach long enough to get hit by a hand weapon (and Magic Resistance comes from Perks/Stone, Evasion...) The only time you should have magic in both hands is for Dragons on the wing. At that point, your axe won't reach them, so shoot them down, then go back to business as usual. Use lightning, because none of them are resistant, and it's a hit-scan. Also handy for other mages to drain their Magicka.

    Augment Elements, and Adept Destruction: Fireball, and Ice Storm are your bread, and butter. They don't do as much damage as Icy Spear, or Incinerate, but they don't cost as much magicka either. Both are more magicka efficient If You Hit Multiple Enemies. Ice Storm especially. Wall Spells are more efficient, but only in a static battle, and that just ain't his style, baby!

    Conjuration: Here's the deal, eventually, you will have that build done, and keep leveling, so perks will start piling up. At that point, get Expert Alteration, Ebonyflesh, and head for High Gate ruins. Now, it gets nasty. Remove Fireball from your quick menu, beat up Vokun, and say hello to Flaming Familiar. If you juggle fast enough, you can cast this, and switch out Ice Storm for a chaser. Charge in and finish any survivor. I'm serious, it's just that easy. Or, just carpetbomb with your self guided fireball, and keep the sword out in case you need it. Not perfect for every fight, but that's why you have destruction as a fallback.

    You remember everything I said about destruction? That mostly just applies to it as your primary offense. Around level 30 is when it becomes a tad under powered, but that's what the Axe is for. This is your primary offense, destruction/conjuration is just to soften up what you can't reach, yet. Again, the plan is to keep the damage coming the whole way in, so you shouldn't have to hit them more than once. Used this way, it isn't underpowered, it's just not Over powered, either.

    Skyrim Perk Calculator - Plan the perks for your Skyrim character before spending them! I want to point out something I did there. If you'll look at Light Armor, you'll see Wind Walker, which is nice for the stamina regeneration. I knew I'd be doing this build in 2 stages, so I posted 2 ways you could go about it. Also note that Mage Armor was removed, as if you were lightly armored this whole time. If you stuck with the original build, it's 1 less level, which just by coincidence ( ;) ) happens to be when you can pick up a maxed out Nightingale Blade. I know, I'm an Axe man, but this sticker is so sweet, it doesn't matter. Don't let this confuse you, this was the most efficient way to present several possible builds in just 2 links.

    So, with Light armor, what you get is Stamina Regeneration which means you can do more Critical charges, and have the extra protection to survive closer to the melee. Still don't want to hang around there, but when your Ebonyflesh wears off, it's rather nice not being completely naked with a bunch of mean guys tapping their palms menacingly. Since your best damage is 1H, putting the Blade in front of the Spell might not be a bad idea. Alteration just happens to be slightly more efficient with Mage Armor, and a lot less gear. It means more magicka, though, so with LA, invest in more Health, (and no Stamina. You just need enough for the occasional Critical Charge.)

    Also note, I threw in my standard Enchantment picks for good measure. Absorb Health is what you want, on a handaxe, and Fire/Soul trap couldn't hurt (you.) If you're enchanting, you'll need to combat harvest, but If you can get flames in there too, it'll stack with Hack&Slash. So, pay Warlord Gathrik a visit (or two, that dude don't always stay dead) and grab something nice behind his chair. Get your timing dialed in first, because this build is about the best way to fight this guy (other than not fighting with Exploits.) Icy Spear, by the way, he hates it. Critical Charge, disengage before he recovers, and THAP! him again. Barring that, run College for the Drainblood axe, and double enchant with Absorb Health/Absorb Health. Health/Stamina is a good combo too, like the NGB with bleed damage.
  5. Psiberzerker

    Psiberzerker Author

    Jul 11, 2012
    Orc: The only race with bonuses to Smithing, and Enchantment, if you're going to do a Warcrafter, this is your race. That doesn't mean you Have to hit the Forge, and Arcane table first, there's no hurry, and the strengths of this build are just as better at low levels if you don't skip past them getting ready to play. Thing is, I hate grinding, so I'd rather get them done in short breaks between long stretches of brutal violence. So, before you make the choice which to do first, ask yourself, do you want a craftsman who's handy in a fight, or a Warrior who also knows how to make stuff?

    Heavy Armor is pretty much a no-brainer, it's closer to the Armor Cap, and you've got a bigger bonus! Also, when it comes to Smithing, the same perks that temper your Heavy Armor also work on the most powerful weapons. So, you can eliminate half of the skill tree just by taking the path of least resistance. The next question is 1H or 2? You have both skills, you don't need both, so which is "better?" The more efficient choice is 2H, you only need half of the Block tree, (the Bash side) and it has less total perks than Dual Wield. It's such a personal choice, I think I'll do both for comparison. This is what will determine the other skills to compliment it, so it's the axle you build around.

    1H: Skyrim Perk Calculator - Plan the perks for your Skyrim character before spending them! While it's less efficient, the trade offs are: Deflect Arrows, Elemental Protection, Block Runner, and Shield Charge. 4 perks that make you Much more OP. You can Dual Wield too, if you're confident in your Armor's ability to keep you alive without Blocking, but against Dragons, Mages, and big bads like DDLs with Ebony Bows, you just might Really like to Turtle up, and enjoy a lot more protection. 50% Resist Fire, Frost, and Shock, blocking arrows like any normal attack, and the ability to just knock them down, then beat them to death before they can get up really helps those few fights you can't just run in swinging FTW! In short, versatility.

    In this same interest, I added Archery so you have yet a 3rd option. Dual Wield, Hack&Bash, and when you do take out that deadly bastard with the Ebony Bow, you can loot it, and use it! Note, you can reach the Armor Cap with Orcish, and being an Orc, it's a lot easier to get your grimy mitts on Orichalcum than Ebony. Save that for your weapons, after level 30, you should be able to find plenty of DDLs to loot them from. (Try Lost Volskygge, Arcwind Point...) Yes, you can get slightly more out of Daedric, and in Dawnguard, Dragonbone weapons, but this is about Efficiency. How much time do you want to spend hunting down Daedra Hearts, Dragon Boned, and working the belows? How much is enough, and how much is enough? Ebony is right at the cusp where further improvements start costing a lot more for a lot less in return. It's kind of not unlike Dual Casting.

    Lest we forget, you've also got a built in Doubler in Berserker Rage. For Armor, (down to 10%) and weapon damage (Not counting Archery)
  6. Psiberzerker

    Psiberzerker Author

    Jul 11, 2012
    Nord: I changed my mind, while you could just as easily do this build with an Orc, and take advantage of the daily OP, let's give the home team a little love in a highly efficient build. First, notice a little difference in the Skill spread, 25 in 2Handed, so we know what we'll be swinging, and Light Armor, instead of heavy. The classic matchup! Also, Smithing, but no Enchanting, but to make up for it Speech! ('cause we all know, the Nords are renowned for this as much as Imperials, and Bretons![/sarcasm]) Also, they've got 20 in 1h, just like Orcs have Light Armor, but we Just did that, so I'll ignore it here too.

    What's the advantages here? Well, for one, there's a whole heck of a lot more decent pre-enchanted Battleaxes in the game. I'll be dropping Enchantment then, and see what I can get off the shelf that's better than anything you can make even with Crafting Loops. Impossible! You say? Well, not if you count effects you can't disenchant, specifically Fast Striking. There's 3 weapons in the game that swing faster than they're supposed to (not counting the Bastard Blade, you know, the one that does Dagger Damage, yet can't be dual wielded, and gives XP opposite to the perks it gets more damage from?)

    The Headsman's Axe works with Sweep, and Limbsplitter so you can spread the blood around. Unfortunately, it can't be Tempered, but can be Enchanted, so totally wrong for this build. Good low level trainer with it's massive reach, though, especially as we're saving Crafting for last, and it's the easiest to get. Similar conflict with the Longhammer, but it's a thumb of the nose at Orcs, and you can skip enchanting to use Elemental Fury for even more DPS. Not the easiest to fight your way to with a meleer, though. And finally, we got the Fellhammer. Volendrung, ouch. All three of these would really be better for an Orc with 2H instead of 1, so just use the point spread from here up there, and add Enchanting.

    That's not the only ones, by far. The nastiest by far is the Drainblood Axe. Absorb Health, wicked, but not exactly unique. What you can't get anywhere else is it weighs less than most daggers (5) which determines how much Stamina it takes to Power Attack. Less Stamina=more Power Attacks, including special ones like Critical Charge, and Sweep. Ahhhh! You can hit 3 people at once, once you set it up, and pull it off, for a total of 45 health straight to you on top of 21 base damage. Unfortunately, you can't improve it on a grindstone, but honestly, 36 damage without counting Barbarian, Healing, Bleed Damage, and discount Power Attacks, that ain't bad!

    Another potential hiccup is where to get one. Labrynthian, only during the Staff of Magnus quest, which kind of requires joining the College of Winterhold. Why just to get in, you have to demonstrate some degree of skill with magic. A Nord, in the Mage's Guild? Whoever heard of such a thing? (I mean, besides Onmond ;)) Ok, it's not like I haven't added out of class skills to almost all the builds in this thread, so why start now?

    Skyrim Perk Calculator - Plan the perks for your Skyrim character before spending them! Well, first of all, you'll probably need a decent weapon to train up, and fight through the questline, not to mention Labrynthian. While you're trying to earn your way past Faralda, no reason not to savescum her for Flame Atronach, amirite? As far as 2H trainers go, it's pretty hard to do much better than Bound Battleaxe. Prior to that, you might want to try out with the Companions, for a Skyforge Steel Greatsword (Proving Honor.) Steel Smithing perk, but Elven level damage, and the best damage/weight ratio of any basic weapons. (You can also pick up a Silver Greatsword, which is more effective in some situations until you get back to the Grindstone.) Doesn't work with the Limbsplitter Perk, but you have to Earn it.

    That'll get you to school, anyway, and help out when you don't want to, or can't cast your Axe. This is tricky, because you have to get up to cast both Novice level spells, hopefully without spending points on Magicka, and you need 10 levels to earn the Apprentice Conjuration Perk. Unfortunately, there's no easy way to do this outside of the College itself. I used Potions of Fortify Magicka to cast the Flame Atronach, swung my way through Saarthal for the gauldur Amulet Fragment, and with a Novice Hood, was able to cast the summon enough times to Level UP! Then, you can cast it natural.

    Believe it or not, those weapons will get you through every battle in Skyrim, with highly Tempered Armor, and Summons for support. Mostly Artillery Atronachs, if you know how to use them. Flamers don't tank very well, but don't have to, they can spank while you tank, scate around faster than most can catch up, and if they do get surrounded, they may take them out in their death throes. Frost Atronachs do make good Tanks, and can't hurt you as much due to your intrinsic resistance. Stormies PWN Dragons, or at least easily ground them so you can hack them to bits. (Even if you can't Cast it, right after you get the DBBA, go beat up Ancano, so you don't have to steal the Staff of the Storm Atronach from Your quarters.) Note, with Atromancy, your summons will last as long as your Bound Weapons, so when one wears off, you can get ready to cast the other.

    As for Battle Tactics, there's actually plenty. You'll have Reach, and Mobility, so use it! Dance around at the critical distance where you can hit them, but they can't hit you, or time chargers to hit them right before they get to you. (Works real good on Wolves, and Sabecats, as well as rearing Bears.) Great Critical Charge to start the fight with a stagger, then Hack&Bash to keep them stunlocked while healing with every strike. (Both of these really benefit from Windwalker.) If you do het overwhelmed, straffe sideways, and see how many to can hit with a sweep. (Multiply both the healing, and bleeding damage.)

    I call this Haakon: the Arcane Axeman, but it's just some ideas you may, or may not use.
  7. Psiberzerker

    Psiberzerker Author

    Jul 11, 2012
    Breton: If you ran a poll of who the best Race in the game is (Don't bother, it's been done to death) the #1 answer is invariably Breton. Why? 25% Magic resistance. Okay? I mean, I get it, but really? Not exactly a gamebreaking ability. The reason why is that this caps at 85%, and you can get the other 60 rather easily with the Lord Stone, Agent of Mara buff, and 2 points in the Alteration perk. No Enchanting, all incoming magic is reduced to 15%

    That's great, but another thing you get, beyond some Skill bonuses is a 60 second Spell Absorbtion effect that has half a chance to Absorb incoming spells, and fill up your Magicka bar. Cool, eh? Thing is, instead of the Lord, you can get the Atronach to make this constant, then cast Dragonskin to make it 100% when you really need it. 100% is better than 85%, especially when it protects you, AND fills up your Magicka bar. So, since this is all about Efficiency, I'm going to go with that.

    Skyrim Perk Calculator - Plan the perks for your Skyrim character before spending them! Wait a minute, what's Block doing in there? Well, the thing is, I'm not Enchanting for free Destruction (Nor any of the other effects) so you can run yourself out of Magicka, and it's nice to have a Solid Backup. Scroll up to Block for why this it such a perk efficient tree, but the short answer is, I get more for my points than I would with a Weapon. There's some protection, which works with Mage Armor to survive while my Magicka recovers, but you can also bash, especially if they're taking Damage over Time.

    The best sources of these are again, Walls, and Cloaks. Both have a Duration, so your Magicka can recover before you have to cast them again, but also keep hurting them as long as they don't leave the AoE. You can add even more with the Burning after effect of Fire, and Bleeding from something like the Targe of the Blooded. I will admit, this is not the fastest fighting style, but it's the backup, because nobody avoids the melee forever, and I don't want to spend more on my secondary tactics than I do on my Primary.

    As you can see, that's Impact, which works at a distance, but runs you down quickly. This works best against Dragons, especially hovering, but also once they're grounded if you keep their distance. They can still breathe on you, but this is a Spell Absorption build, so that just tops you off for more dual cast Lighting. The last potentially puzzling piece is Restoration, which is great, and all, but you may be wondering what it's doing in this particular build?

    Well, first off, Recovery really helps you not be out of Magicka quite as long. That means not depending on the backup plan, and getting back to the stunlocking. The crucial Perk though is Ward Absorb. This gives you another source of Spell Absorbtion at will to partially offset it's own high Casting Cost. What's more, you can cast Thunderbolts right through it, while a raised shield won't even let you charge a spell. There's also a little used Expert spell called Circle of Protection, which can be cast in one hand, and Absorbed for a minute to keep your blue gauge topped off (it also can turn some Undead.) and finally, if you do want to have the Bash ability of a Shield, then you can even use it with Spellbreaker.

    This is your basic anti-mage kit, they'll block your Dual Casts with their own Ward until you shatter it, and probably try to run you down with Shock, so you might as well beat them at their own game. Or break it by running them over with Shield Charge, Warded, and Absorbing whatever they're throwing at you. "Damn, broh. Sorry, man, ah, that's got to hurt. Here, let me help you u, Psyche!" Dual cast Thunderbolt, and watch them rag-doll, again.

    The difference between this and the typical magitank is mostly Armor, and Enchanting. They spend half the game getting ready to play, while this dude runs around, and grinds up in Combat. Also, you have a lot more options than just "Hit him, is he dead? Hit him again." (The Warrior's Mantra from the D&D days.) You're still nigh invulnerable to Magic itself, only instead of capping at 85%, you get 55% from Alteration/Breton Blood, then 50% off of THAT from Elemental Protection, but the main thing is that's about 75% off of what doesn't get Absorbed, and refills your Magicka. This means as long as they're throwing it at you, you can throw it right back, and if they aren't, you have the tactics (Bash&Burn with Cloak/Wall spells) to beat them in the melee, without a Weapon.
  8. Andre2807

    Andre2807 Member

    Feb 18, 2013
    South Africa
    This is by far, the most in depth character build guide I've seen thus far.
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