Skyrim: Stealth Archer Build Guide

Skyrim: Stealth Archer Build Guide

Axes have a limit of a few feet. Fireballs have a limit of a few yards. But a well-placed arrow in Skyrim can hit targets for as far as your gaming device can render them. Call them archers, snipers, bowmen, whatever you want, but don’t call them names unless you want to end up looking like a reverse porcupine.

That is, of course, being a bit charitable. Anything alive after one hit from an archer is likely not going to survive for a third round, especially against the dreaded stealth archer. Allies of a fallen foe will go into a frenzy, but they can’t kill what they can’t see and you’ll be the shadow that shoots their way to victory in Skyrim.

7 Fortify Restoration?

It’s hard to say that any guide is complete without at least mentioning this “glitch.” If you do want to have the best character in the game, for any build, this is how to do it.

  • Acquire and equip a full set of Fortify Alchemy gear.
  • Gather a set of gear that has the stats that you like.
  • Stock up on Salt Pile, Cyrodillic Longfin, and Abacean Longfin.
  • Collect at least two of the following: Blisterwort, Spriggan Cap, Glowing Mushroom, or Sabre Cat Tooth.
  • Make a Fortify Restoration potion.
  • Drink this potion.
  • Unequip your gear.
  • Re-equip your gear.
  • Repeat the last four steps until your fortify alchemy boost is in the millions.
  • Make a Fortify Smithing potion.
  • Drink this potion.
  • Improve your set of gear that has the stats that you like.

All that said, it’s not very fun and it does break the game, even if the team doesn’t want to take it out of the game. If you’re the type of archer looking to play the game in a challenging way, though, then don’t do this. You’ll be much more proud of yourself if you follow all steps in this guide except for this one.

6 Race

  • Wood Elf

The real trick with any good build is knowing what skills need to be maxed out and which ones need to be avoided since enemies get more powerful as you level. To keep leveling at a minimum, choose a race that has a boost to the skills that you want. For archers, it doesn’t get better than the Wood Elf, who has the best Archery skill and the second-best Sneak and Light Armor skills in the game. The ability to convert animals to your side won’t hurt either, especially in open environments that have less cover than cities and castles.

5 Sign

  • The Thief.

Though Archery appears to benefit from the Warrior sign, the community has done their homework and discovered that this is a visual bug, it’s actually a Thief stone skill. Not only is this your primary method of attack, but your secondary skills, Sneak and Light Armor, also benefit from the Thief stone, so grab this buff and never look back.


4 Skills

  • Archery

Doing damage with your bow is the name of the game, so make sure you use a bow and try not to use anything else. It can be tempting to finish off an enemy with a dagger or a mace, but each swing will make your enemies that much stronger in the long run.

  • Sneak

Stay hidden. Sneak around everywhere until this skill gets to 100, even if it slows the game down to a crawl. You can realistically get there in one session of gaming and, after that, you’ll be free to run as you please.

  • Light Armor

You don’t actually have to intentionally level up Light Armor, but definitely equip some just in case you get hit. The best armor in the game for you is light, so it’s senseless to be wearing anything else.

3 Perks

  • Deadly Aim

Without a doubt, your biggest boost in damage will be from this skill right here. You should be shooting from stealth close to 100% of the time, so this is essentially a triple damage increase.

  • Overdraw

You’ll be able to do double damage with five points into Overdraw. This stacks perfectly with the last skill, so your shots will be doing six times the damage even without factoring in a headshot bonus.

  • Steady Hand

This skill is really what will strike fear into your targets. You’ll be able to slow down time and zoom in, making it so shots that might have been risky from a football field away are now a piece of cake.

Leftover perks can be spent in finishing the Archery and Sneak tree. If, for some reason, you still have some perk points leftover, feel free to pop a few into Light Armor.

2 Leveling Up

  • Health.

Stamina is really only useful if you’re having to take tons of wild shots. In the stealth build, you’ll be going slow and steady. The health helps for falls and in cases where your plans don’t work out.

1 Best Equipment

  • Enhanced Dwarven Crossbow

You’ll have to side with the Dawnguard, but the reward is worth it. It’s somehow available as a straight-up purchase from Sorine Jurard at Fort Dawnguard. It has the highest base damage of any bow. Crossbows fire slower than regular bows, but that works just fine for the stealth build. This device also ignores 50% of armor, so just in case your blast isn’t of the one-shot variety, you’ll be able to finish the job against big bosses quickly.

  • Dragonbone Arrows

You’ll only be able to regularly get these from the Soul Cairn and even then you have to be level 45 or more. You can craft them as well, but don’t do that, just use the best arrows available. The extra damage is not worth how much your enemies will increase in difficulty. Still, if you do come across these, keep them and save them for special moments.

  • Ancient Shrouded Armor Set

This will give you immunity to poison, automatically muffle your footsteps, and increase your bow damage by 35%. During the Dark Brotherhood questline, if you’ve done the Breaching Security bonus requirement, you’ll be rewarded this armor after finishing the Locate the Assassins of Old quest. Alternatively, after you’ve visited Olava the Feeble, you can find this set on a corpse behind the throne in a secret room at Hag’s End.

Best of luck out there, archers!

Next: Skyrim: Enchanting Skill Guide – Trainers, Fast-Leveling, & More

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Hodey Johns is a writer for Game Rant based out of the Rocky Mountains in North Ogden, Utah. He’s had a passion for video games and literature since he was a child growing up along the beach in San Diego, California. As a graduate of Theology from Liberty University, he puts his experience with religion, philosophy, and debate into his work. His other interests include sports, bike riding, and good old-fashioned barbecue.

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