5 Fun Ways to Play an Assassin in Skyrim Special Edition

Need some Skyrim Special Edition assassin build ideas? Here are 5 fun ones to try.

Even though I personally tend to lean towards mage builds, I can't deny that stealth/assassin builds will be more prevalent in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition. At one point I saw a poll that showed 50% of players played assassins, and mage/warrior builds each had about 25% of players.

So if you plan on going the sneaky route, here are a few fun assassin builds to play in Skyrim.

Skyrim Assassin Build #1: Fury Sniper

The Fury line of spells is among the most fun in the game. But if you aren't a mage, you can still enjoy watching enemies fight each other. Thanks to Fury poisons, mages aren't the only ones having all the fun.

Fury Snipers combine a bow or crossbow with Fury poison to take out their enemies from afar. Simply coat your first arrow with the poison and fire it off at the strongest enemy. All of its buddies will start attacking it, and you can just enjoy a sweet roll while you watch.

Here's how to play this build:

  • Bow or Crossbow - Duh.
  • Alchemy - You can plan on buying your Fury/Frenzy poisons, but that's a long shot. Instead it's better to plan on making your own, and the best poisons require a few points in Alchemy.
  • Archery - Again, duh. Just keep in mind that if your bow does too much damage, your Fury'd friend won't have much health left to fight your/its enemies.
  • Light Armor or Robes or Clothes - Your choice, but Light Armor is the more traditional route. 

Of course, some mods may come out (as they have on PC) for Frenzy enchantments, which would allow you to bypass the Alchemy/Poison route altogether. But then you have to use Enchanting, which is more of a mage route, not assassin.

Assassin Build #2: Pickpocket Poisoner

This build relies on what of the silliest skills in Skyrim. The "Poisoned" perk in the Pickpocket tree allows you to put a vial of poison in your enemy's pocket.

...how that works I'm not really sure. Maybe it spills, goes through their clothes, touches their skin and instantly takes effect?

I dunno. 

But it does. And it can make for a funny way to defeat your humanoid opponents.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Damage Health - The most obvious type of poison to use is the kind that just takes health away. Pretty funny to see an enemy just drop dead from poison slipped into their pocket.
  • Frenzy - This can be fun, just keep in mind that you're probably the closest thing to the person, so they'll likely unload on you. But if you can get away quickly, his/her friends will become the new target.
  • Paralysis - This effect is fun. They basically just drop straight down and can't move, making them an easy target to slice and dice (if you so choose.) 
  • Calm - Just like the Illusion spell, it causes them to basically ignore you. Can be useful at times, but but I think the others are more fun.

As far as gear goes, you can basically use the same weapons/armor as a "normal" assassin build. i.e. dagger and bow. 

Skyrim Assassin Build #3: Nightblade

The Nightblade is my personal favorite. It's basically a "normal" assassin that throws Illusion spells into the mix.

Here's why that's useful:

  • Invisibility - Enough said.
  • Muffle - Chances are good you'll already have some perks to reduce the noise you make, but Muffle is a great way to make your footsteps almost completely silent. Muffle + Invisibility = Ridiculous.
  • Silent Casting - This lets you cast your other spells... well, silently. That way you don't alert enemies to your presence, whereas normally they hear the spells take effect.
  • Frenzy - Could be useful for thinning out a herd of enemies or making a quick getaway.
  • Calm - Calm + Dagger = Broken. An enemy can see you and come at you, then you just calm them down, walk up right behind them and slit their throats. It almost feels like cheating.

You can also use Fear but I never found it as useful as the others. Especially for a stealthy character, because those enemies will come back and may bring their friends!

Assassin Build #4: Trapper

Even though this is probably the weakest of these 5 builds, it is still fun!

You can basically do this one of three ways:

  1. Destruction Runes
  2. Bear traps
  3. Dungeon traps (those activated by pressure plates)

The basic idea is you rely on laying down traps for enemies than tricking them to walk over it. Enemies are generally oblivious to these things, so it's not difficult -- the difficult thing is just getting enough of them down to do some damage.

Granted, the pressure plates are often 1-hit kills, but obviously you can't always rely on having one around. Bear traps can be nice since they don't require any magic ability, but they don't do tons of damage (unless you get a mod specifically for traps.)

As far as getting your enemies to run over traps, your best two options are to either cast a spell or fire an arrow at a wall close to your enemy. You could also try running up to them and smacking them in the face then running away, but you risk running over your own traps.

Skyrim Assassin Build #5: Sniper

There are a few key points to roleplaying this build correctly. While at first glance it may seem like a stereotypical range-based assassin build, there's a little more to it than that:

  • Crossbow - You can't use a bow with this build. Crossbow is required because it is closer to a gun i.e. a sniper rifle. Plus, the crossbow's ability to penetrate 50% of your enemy's armor makes it perfect for taking out all types of enemies.
  • No Melee - Military snipers aren't exactly known for their hand-to-hand combat skills. Their focus is taking out targets from far away, meaning they're in trouble in close combat. If you get caught and enemies get in your face, this build has just two options: 1) Try to take them out ASAP with your crossbow at melee range or 2) RUN. You can carry a dagger if you want, but no One-Handed perk points are allowed.
  • Clothes (i.e. no armor value) - Remember, your job is to be as silent as possible. Even though Light Armor is more popular for assassins, you can't afford to make ANY noise. Even though there are perks that help muffle Light Armor noise, you'll never get up to a skill level that high unless you work with trainers several times.
  • Crafting - Crafting is allowed because snipers need the best weapons possible. While you may be able to find a good crossbow at a shop, creating and customizing your own is much more reliable. 

Kinda like this...but without the armor. 


Notice that I didn't make any specific references to the shouts you should use. Because shouts can almost break the game, I'll leave it up to you whether or not you incorporate them into your builds.

On the one hand, they're great for getting you out of sticky situations or just having fun. Plus some work better for stealth builds than any other, such as the "Throw Voice" shout.

But if you do your job right as an assassin, you won't be getting into many real fights. Your enemies should go down before they even know what hit them.

Thanks for reading, and I hope these Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition assassin build ideas help give you an idea of what's possible in this awesome game. Good luck! 

Published Sep. 14th 2016
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