[Top 10] Skyrim Best Builds for Legendary Playthrough

Skyrim Best Builds for Legendary, Skyrim Best Builds for Legendary Playthrough
Dragons will be no match for your character with these builds!

Legendary is a whole other difficulty, so it only makes sense for a whole new list of builds. 

Anyone who has dared to play Skyrim on legendary difficulty knows how important your build is. More than ever, you have to take every stat and perk into consideration to stay alive. For anyone who has never tried out Legendary, your character deals 0.25% of the damage they do on Adept (standard) difficulty. Your enemies will be doing 3x the damage as well, so every move is crucial. If you’re looking for a character build that works great for playing on Legendary, check these out!

10.  The Undying

Your enemies will know death quite well. Your character... not so much. 

The Undying is an Altmer vampire build that is great for trying out legendary. Hence the name, your skills focus on keeping you alive and dealing enough damage to keep up with the dramatic decrease in your damage output on legendary. Your major skills are going to be Alteration, Alchemy, and Archery. Your minor skills are going to be Two-handed, Restoration, Block, Sneak, and Light Armor. 

Why this build is great for legendary:

  • This build recommends the Nightingale armor set, which will help with sneaking around your enemies and boost your one-handed attacks and stamina
  • The Ebony Blade is your primary weapon, and its ‘absorb health’ enchantment will make it much easier to take down your enemies as time goes on
  • A crossbow as your secondary weapon will allow you to get some hits on powerful enemies before they’re in melee range
  • Your vampiric skills give you an advantage over your enemies, especially as a vampire lord
  • Your armor also gives you a 15% resistance to frost damage, combined with the Atronach standing stone you will take significantly less magic damage

>Full build details.

9. Stealth Archer

Plan to play a stealth archer from the beginning this time (so your character doesn't 'accidentally' turn into one halfway through).

The stealthy archer and its many variants are good classes to play, but for the sake of variety, I’m putting it lower on this list. A stealth archer is a good option for legendary because you can deal a lot of damage from a far distance. Considering every hit could be life or death on legendary, this is a good advantage to have.  Your major skills are going to be Archery, Sneak, and Light Armor. Your minor skills are going to be Smithing, Enchanting, and Alchemy. 

Why this build is great for legendary:

  • You can get huge damage boosts by getting gear with the fortify archery enchantment, or enchanting your gear with it yourself
  • Choosing to play as a Khajiit will give you a +10 for your sneak skill, which can help you avoid taking extra damage being spotted by enemies
  • Alternatively, choosing to play as a Bosmer gives you a +10 to Archery which will start you out ahead on your most important skill
  • Leveling your skills quickly is vital on legendary, so choosing the Thief stone at the start is great for the 20% boost to your biggest skills
  • Using the Bound Bow spell summons 100 bound arrows upon casting, so it's perfect to use if you run out of arrows in a pinch

>Full build details.

8. Falmer Electromancer 

Falmer armor is terrifying, but not enough for your enemies to flee on sight, unfortunately. 

The Falmer Electromancer is as unique as it sounds! You’re not playing as an actual Falmer creature (obviously) but you do wear the full Falmer Heavy Armor set. This build is primarily a destruction mage that focuses a little more on shock damage. Your major skills are going to be Destruction, Enchanting, and Heavy Armor. While your minor skills are going to be Restoration and Smithing. 

Why this build is great for legendary:

  • Magic is going to be where your damage comes from, but if you can’t go without a weapon, pick up a Falmer Staff of Lightning Bolts
  • Picking up a silver ring and necklace will give you extra slots to attach enchantments to boost your skills 
  • The main enchantment you’re going to want to attach to as many gear slots as possible is fortify destruction, which will have your damage making up for the legendary decrease in no time
  • The Atronach standing stone is a good trade-off that will protect you from mages and dragons
  • Taking the advanced armors perk will allow you to upgrade your armor set to offer the best protection it can

>Full build details.

7. No Kill Build

Use your spells to manipulate your enemies into doing all the work for you! 

This build is similar to some of the other pacifist builds out there, but this one is built specifically with the legendary difficulty in mind. The idea is pretty self-explanatory: no kills. Your character should have no kills to their name by the end of the game. This build is more for someone looking for a unique playthrough, maybe a challenge between friends to see who can complete it! Your major skills will be Alchemy, Alteration, Enchanting, and Illusion. Good choices for minor skills are Smithing, Sneak, and Speech. 

Why this build is great for legendary:

  • This build suggests 3 main approaches to combat situations, the first of which is sneaking through undetected (perfect to avoid taking that 3x damage)
  • The second approach is to use calming spells, which again is helping you stay alive with that legendary damage scaling
  • The third option for if you absolutely get stuck in combat is having enough health to absorb that damage until you get to safety
  • Your armor set will be fully upgraded Chitin Armor, which you’ll have enchanted to increase your health and decrease your magic costs (details to which enchantments in the link below)
  • Playing on legendary is great motivation to try out a no-kill build, as it's a great way to avoid the increased damage against your character and challenge yourself  

>Full build details.

6. The Dragonborn 

Make your character as close to the Dragonborn nord on the cover. 

The Dragonborn build intends to stick as closely as possible to the Dragonborn figure used to advertise Skyrim. It takes roleplaying into account in the details but is made specifically to be a viable build for legendary gameplay. For the full, role-playing effect, you’ll be a Nord through and through, Talos worshiper and all. Your major skills will be One-handed, Block, Enchanting, and Alchemy. Your minor skills will be Heavy Armor, Speech, and Speech. 

Why this build is great for legendary:

  • The Armsman perk reaching 5/5 will really increase the damage you deal with your weapon, as One-handed is your main way of taking down enemies
  • Blocking with your shield in order to level your Block skill is very important for this build, as your shield will be how you avoid damage in combat
  • Shield bashing is also something you’ll want to do often, as stunning your enemies will keep you from taking too much damage in fights
  • As this build tries to keep the iconic Dragonborn gear, enchanting and smithing are absolutely crucial to make sure your gear doesn’t fall behind as you level up
  • Investing some time into magic perk trees will allow you to cut down on the damage you take from magic

>Full build details. 

5. The High King of Skyrim

Play as the High King (or Queen) of Skyrim with this uniquely royal build. 

The High King of Skyrim is another build that is highly immersive but is crafted to work on your legendary playthrough.  Your main skills will be Enchanting, Heavy Armor, and Smithing. Good choices for your minor skills are One-handed, Block, and Speech. 

Why this build is great for legendary:

  • Focusing on maxing out your Enchanting skill is great for a legendary character as you can get the ‘extra effects’ perk to place two enchantments on every item
  • Your armor (a Steel-Plate set with a Jagged Crown) will be extremely beneficial, especially once you can place two enchantments on each piece
  • Use a gold diamond necklace and ring to give you even more room for enchantments to make this build powerful enough to withstand the difficulty
  • Auriel’s shield will give you even more advantage over your enemies, which is crucial with how much damage they’ll do if they hit you 
  • The recommended standing stones for this build are the Lord stone or the Lady stone 

>Full build details.

4. Ahzidal

Follow in the footsteps of a Dragon Priest in this rather complex build. 

This build is named after the dragon priest Ahzidal and uses the Ahzidal’s armor set acquired in the Unearthed quest. This build uses magic damage primarily and is heavily focused on Conjuration magic. Your major skills will be Conjuration, Destruction, and Restoration. Your minor skills will be Heavy Armor, Alchemy, and Smithing. 

Why this build is great for legendary:

  • Conjuration magic is perfect for legendary gameplay as your conjured familiars can do a good amount of fighting for you and absorb damage
  • The unique enchantments on Ahzidal’s armor set work great for this difficulty: having a chance to paralyze any enemy striking you with a melee attack
  • Having both of Ahzidal’s rings allow you to use them depending on the situation, the Necromancy variant allowing creatures you’ve reanimated to explode dealing damage to those around them
  • Ahzidal’s Helm of Vision lets you increase the range on your Conjuration attacks at a 25% increase in cost
  • The Ritual stone is a great choice of standing stone for this build as it pairs well with your armor enchantments

>Full build details.

3. The Dark Knight

No Batman here, just a very powerful warrior on a skeletal horse. 

The Dark Knight build is unique from the other builds on this list as it focuses on mounted combat. Mounted combat is not everyone’s cup of tea, but this build has been made specifically to make it viable whilst playing on legendary. Your major skills are going to be Two-handed, Archery, and Enchanting. While your minor skills will be Heavy Armor, Smithing, and Alchemy. Lord stone magic resistance. 

Why this build is great for legendary:

  • Mounted combat offers a unique advantage playing on legendary as you can evade enemies more quickly 
  • Shadowmere is a good choice for your steed, but Arvak, the skeletal horse from the Soul Cairn is suggested for this build
  • Your armor is Ebony Mail with all of the Ebony armor set pieces with enchantments that make up for your damage decrease
  • Your main weapon will be an Ebony Battleaxe, which through the Two-handed skill tree with the ‘limbsplitter’ perk you can deal extra DOT bleeding damage
  • Damage over time effects are crucial to this build to have continuous damage dealt to your enemies 

>Full build details. 

2. The Bandit

Commit crimes against Skyrim and her people and live to tell about it!

Who says you always have to play as the hero? The Bandit is a build that allows you to roleplay as the classic enemies all over Skyrim. As with the builds in this list, this one is tested to be a great fit for playing on legendary. Your major skills here are going to be Heavy Armor, Two-handed, and Speech. Good choices for your minor skills are Smithing, Sneak, and Archery. 

Why this build is great for legendary:

  • Roleplaying as a bandit and stealing whenever you get the chance is a perfect way to earn the funds you’ll need to get everything you need to upgrade all of your gear
  • Essential perks for this build are ‘dual flurry’ (2/2) and later ‘dual savagery’ to maximize the damage you deal
  • Dual wielding is a huge part of this build, and not having a free hand for a shield available means you’ll be investing a ton of points into increasing your health
  • This build prioritizes power attacks, so carrying a ton of vegetable soup for your stamina is highly recommended for this build
  • Speech is not just important for roleplaying, but for bribing guards and turning merchants into fences to sell all of your stolen goods

>Full build details.

1. Dawnguard Vampire Slayer

Vampires don't stand a chance against your character with this build. 

For this build, you’ll obviously want your character to join the Dawnguard as soon as they can. This build is the best at going up against undead enemies and uses the Dawnguard Heavy Armor set, along with some unique healing spells from the faction. Your main skills here will be Restoration, Heavy Armor, and Enchanting. Your minor skills will be Alteration, One-handed, and Archery. 

Why this build is great for legendary:

  • The Dawnguard Heavy Armor set gives you a ton of resistance from undead attacks as well as Magicka regeneration
  • A fully upgraded Enhanced Dwarven Crossbow gives you a huge advantage, as attacks ignore 50% of your enemies armor 
  • Your high enchanting skill is crucial to this build, as you’ll be adding enchantments to your gear, especially ‘fire damage’ and ‘absorb Magicka’ to your weapons
  • Unique Dawnguard restoration spells are essential for keeping your character alive while playing on legendary
  • Playing as a Breton is suggested so that you can start out with some magic resistance 

>Full build details.

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As she continues to level up in life, Lyric has made it her goal is to discover every realm of gaming and write her way through her journey.
Gamer Since: 2003
Favorite Genre: RPG
Currently Playing: Genshin Impact
Top 3 Favorite Games:Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward, Tomb Raider, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Dragonborn

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