5 Great Warrior Builds to try in Skyrim Special Edition

Here are a few fun warrior builds to try when Skyrim Special Edition hits the shelves next month.

Here are a few fun warrior builds to try when Skyrim Special Edition hits the shelves next month.

Even though I personally prefer a mage, I won’t deny that the “real” way to play The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition is with a warrior build.

Because come on — when you think of a dragon slayer, do you think of a thin, frail dude hurling fireballs or ice? Probably not. You likely think of a muscular, fearless guy (or gal) charging straight at the thing with a sword or axe in hand. (And after all, that’s what you see in every trailer for the game.)

There are lots of options for warrior builds, too. That’s part of what makes Skyrim so amazing. Here are a few different ideas to try:

Skyrim Warrior Build #1: Paladin

If you’re no stranger to RPGs, you have an idea of what a paladin would look like. Every game makes their variant slightly different, but there are a few similarities.

  • Heavy Armor – Paladins run straight into the thick of battle. They know their faith will protect them to an extent, but that doesn’t mean they can forgo armor! Pallies should wear armor that looks somewhat noble, like Steel Plate or maybe Dwarven. Others like Orc or Daedric don’t exactly make you think of a holy knight.
  • Shield and Mace – Club/mace type weapons are typical for Pallies because they’re less barbaric than a sword or axe. Obviously a powerful mace is still something to be feared in the arms of a strong paladin, and the shield provides the extra defense you need to block attacks while diverting attention from allies.
  • Restoration – Paladins aren’t able to heal the most serious of wounds, but they have a few Restoration spells at their disposal. They can heal themselves and allies, helping them to recover from fights more quickly. Their ability to Turn Undead comes from a long history of fighting skeletons, Draugr, and vampires. And they can restore the stamina of themselves and allies, which ensures they can fight at full strength from the first enemy to the last. 

Those are the key components of a good Paladin build. 

As far as roleplay, remember that  Paladins are holy knights, so they’re pretty good folks. They help local townspeople with issues, don’t join the Thieves Guild or Dark Brotherhood (as those are “bad” factions,) and are excellent candidates for joining the Dawnguard.

Warrior Build #2: The Barbarian

Let’s turn in a completely different direction. A Barbarian is in it for himself and his clan, and will generally do whatever he feels is his best option for survival- regardless of whether it’s the most moral thing to do.

Here are a few key components:

  • Two-handed Sword or Axe – These guys are animals. They forego the extra defense provided by shields for the extra power that two-handed weapons offer. 
  • Forsworn or Fur Armor – Barbarians often live in tents, caves or basic huts. They’re much more in-tune with nature than most warriors. To keep to their roots and provide mobility in combat, they prefer light, warm armors like Fur. It also helps them look more like a bear charging you, which (when paired with a greatsword) is frightening!
  • Blacksmithing – Because they don’t feel comfortable in large cities, Barbarians need to develop some kind of ability to craft their own weapons and armor. They never develop great skill, but enough to craft and improve their own fur armor and steel weapons.

Barbarians are savage and like to test their strength. They’ll charge into a fort held by bandits or take on a quest to kill something (or someone) just for the fun of it! 

Warrior Build #3: Duelist

The Duelist is sometimes considered more of a rogue, but it depends on the how you look at it. On the one hand, Duelists are like rogues in that they’re a bit sneaky and don’t always fight fair. 

On the other hand, Duelists love to fight! They have superior sword skills and like to show them off. They’re actually pretty cocky about it, which has been the death of more than one Duelist but in general, they come out ahead.

Here’s what they rock:

  • Dual Swords – Duelists don’t like shields, seeing them as too cumbersome and unnecessary. Likewise, they don’t want to use a giant weapon, preferring instead to use two swords. The extra sword provides not only an extra defensive measure (i.e. thing to block with,) but lets them overwhelm opponents with a flurry of fast blows. 
  • Light Armor – Leather is the armor most typically used, as it’s inexpensive and the Duelist doesn’t get hit very much anyways! They prefer light armor due to the superior mobility. 

That’s it. 

If you want to add your own flavor, feel free. For example if you want to add Blacksmithing to the mix to make/improve your on stuff or Alchemy to poison your swords, you can.

Warrior Build #4: The Dragonborn

The trailers for Skyrim depicted the Dragonborn (i.e. YOU) using Iron armor and weapons. These are literally the weakest heavy armor and weapons in the game, but so what? You’re the freakin’ Dragonborn, savior of the world! 

You can make it work.

  • Heavy Armor – Again, you have to use Iron. 
  • Sword and Shield – Iron…
  • Blacksmithing – To make this build viable, you’ll need to use the best Iron weapons and armor you can get your hands on. Unfortunately vendors don’t really sell upgraded stuff, so you’ll need to make/improve it yourself.
  • Dragon Shouts – Lots of shouts. Even though every single build should use shouts of some kind, they lie at the core of being the Dragonborn. You can use any shouts you want — whatever gives you the edge you need to come out victorious.

So how do you roleplay as the Dragonborn? Simple — you slay every dragon you come across, and hunt them down across Skyrim.

…granted, how you do that is up to you. There is a dragon or two that you may want to let live, but I won’t tell you what to do!

You’re also more of a “good” guy or gal than an evil one. Since you’ve taken up the call to save the world, you probably aren’t going around kicking puppies or killing livestock for no reason. 

Warrior Build #5: The Werewolf

My personal favorite.

The best part about Skyrim Special Edition is all of the flexibility it offers. The fact that you can become a freaking Werewolf and rip out the throats of human enemies is sick. 

Like, sick in a good way. And sick in a gory, gross way, too.

Unfortunately you can’t run around in Werewolf mode all the time. But you can do the majority of your fights as a Werewolf, and build out your weak, human side like this:

  • One-Handed Weapons – This is the perk tree that helps increase your Werewolf damage. Most perks aren’t directly applicable, you can either choose to ignore them or invest in them for those cases where you have to fight in human form.
  • Fur Armor or Forsworn Armor – You need to wear something light to shed quickly when you transform. By wearing fur, you are staying closer to your true, beastly self.
  • High Health – Perhaps the most important thing about a Werewolf build is investing in high health — perhaps moreso than any other Warrior build. That’s because your healing options are limited as a Werewolf- especially if you aren’t fighting humanoid enemies.

Most Werewolves are part of a certain guild, so it makes sense to join them and progress through the ranks. Not only for the extra benefits and abilities they can teach you, but also for the companionship and protection offered in numbers.

Plus, dogs and wolves are pack animals. I would assume Werewolves would be the same way.


These are just a few warrior builds to try in The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim Special Edition. There are plenty of others out there, but I just wanted to share a few from my personal experience.

Thanks for reading and have fun! If you want more sweet builds, check out GameSkinny’s other Skyrim build guides.

About the author


I've probably put more hours into video games than my kid has been alive. Call of Duty, MOBAs and Skyrim are to blame!