Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has plenty of races for you to pick from, each with its own racial benefits and backstory. We’ll tell you Skyrim’s best race for your unique playstyle.
Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – How to Choose the Best Race for Your Playstyle
Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition contains the same ten races that launched with the original game back in 2011. Many players might hop into a new game, choose their favored race and go about the game without ever thinking about the consequences. However, each race in the game has a particular set of advantages, and today we’re going to teach you about every race and racial advantage in Skyrim.
The first race on our list, the Argonians, are built for thievery. They feature favored skills towards Lockpicking, Pickpocket, Sneak, Alteration, Restoration and Light Armor. They start off with the Flames and Healing spells, and regenerate health 10X faster for 60 seconds thanks to their Racial Power, Histskin.
The Bretons are built more around the game’s Magicka system. Their favored skills include Conjuration, Illusion, Restoration, Alchemy, Alteration and Speech. They start off the game with Flames, Healing and Conjure Familiar. Their Racial Power, Dragonskin, allows this race to absorb 50 percent of the Magicka from incoming spells for 60 seconds.
Dark Elves are one of the few races that are best used when focusing on two playstyles. By using Thief and Mage features, this race has favored skills in Destruction, Illusion, Sneak, Alteration, Alchemy and Light Armor. Their Racial Power, Ancestor’s Wrath, creates a Flame Cloak that damages nearby enemies 10 points for 60 seconds.
Players wishing to play as a more offensive based Mage should check out the High Elf race, as their starting spells, Flames, Fury and Healing make them exceptionally dangerous on the battlefield. They also have favored skills in Illusion, Conjuration, Destruction, Alteration, Enchanting and Restoration. This race’s Racial Power, Highborn, allows them to regenerate 25 percent of their maximum Magicka each second.
Looking to make your living as a Battlemage? Then the Imperial race is the perfect choice for your character. With highly favored skills like Restoration, Destruction, Enchanting, Block, Heavy Armor and One-Handed, this race is built to dominate the battlefield with magic and muscle. This race starts out with the Flames and Healing spells, and its Racial Power, Voice of the Emperor, calms any nearby people for 60 seconds total.
This race of cat-like creatures is perfect for players looking to build up an offensive Thief character. With favored skills in Sneak, Lockpicking, Pickpocket, One-Handed, Archery, and Alchemy, this race makes the perfect thief/assassin combination. Featuring starting spells like Flames and Healing, and a Racial Power that improves night vision for 60 seconds (Night Eye), this race is perfect for slinking around the dark alleyways of Tamriel.
The Nords are a brutal and powerful race, and the raw power of this warrior race shows in their favored skills and Racial Power. Not only does their Racial Power, Battle Cry, cause all nearby enemies to flee for 30 seconds, but their favored skills in Two-Handed, One-Handed, Block, Speech, Light Armor and Smithing make them exceptionally powerful on the battlefield. They also begin with the Flames and Healing spells, which give them a slight use of magicka, though it isn’t one of their stronger abilities.
The fearsome Orc tribes that roam the land of Tamriel are known for their defensive warrior capabilities. This class is perfect for those who want to be able to take a beating in battle and still keep fighting. With favored skills like Heavy Armor, One-Handed, Two-Handed, Enchanting and Smithing, this race is perfect for providing a solid defense against any enemy. Their Racial Power, Berserk, allows them to inflict double damage in melee combat, while only taking half damage for 60 seconds.
Often heralded as the most naturally talented warriors in all of Tamriel, this race has favored skills in One-Handed, Archery, Block, Smithing, Alteration and Destruction. Their Racial Power, Adrenaline Rush, allows them to regenerate Stamina 10X faster for 60 seconds, which makes them an almost unstoppable force on the battlefield. This race is perfect for those looking to make their living as a Spellsword, or as a duel-wielding warrior.
Built for Archery, this race of elves is known for their ability to command animals using their Racial Power, Command Animal. This allows them to ally with beasts of the wild for 60 seconds. They also have highly favored skills, like Archery, Sneak, Lockpicking, Pickpocket, Light Armor and Alchemy. If you prefer the life of a thief, but wish to focus on ranged combat with bows, the Wood Elf is the perfect race to naturally progress towards the Archer skillset.
That’s all the basic information you need to know about the ten races that make up the world of Tamriel in Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Remastered. While you’re at it, take a look at these tips to help you survive in Skyrim, or head over to our guide on all the Dragon Shout and Word Wall locations hidden throughout Tamriel. We also have a complete guide to help you find all the Standing Stone locations, which offer up special bonuses depending on which one you activate.
Best Skyrim Race for Mage Builds
By far, the single best Skyrim race for mages is the High Elf. Throughout Elder Scrolls history, the Altmers have always been the most magically gifted, and the same holds up for Skyrim. High Elves get a huge racial bonus to magic, along with pretty good skill bonuses to various magic fields like Illusion, Destruction, Conjuration, and Enchanting. They also come with the racial powers Highborn (regenerate magicka for 1 minute once per day) and Fortify Magicka (grants additional 50 points to magicka).
You can learn more about each race by picking up the Prima Games Official Strategy Guide. We also have more information about the game available for free in our Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim walkthrough, so be sure to head back over there for more tips and tricks to help you stay alive.
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