Are you tired of just standing still while trading blows with your opponent? Just hacking and slashing away until one of you drops? Then you have come to the right place. Alastor, Raidriar and myself have put together a list of unique and helpful tricks and information that may have been presented on character builds in the past, but should be available to those looking for tactics to help them with their playthrough. Hopefully this gets people more involved with Skyrim’s combat system. At a glance it seems simplistic, but plenty of depth can be found with these strategies. So without further ado, lets get started.

Blocking, and why it’s the best investment for a melee character

And by any melee character I mean ANY, further on you will see why not even dual wielders are excluded from this. The block tree has some insanely useful skills, mainly Quick Reflexes and Shield Charge; I will analyze all of these individually, along with the damage reduction formula for blocking.

Block Formula:

With a weapon –

Blocked damage % = {30 + [0.2 * 25 * (1 + skill * 0.015)]} * (1 + Shield wall perk) * (1 + fortify block enchantment)

With a shield –

Blocked Damage % = {45 + [0.2 * shield’s base armor rating * (1 + skill * 0.015)]} * (1 + shield wall perk) * (1 + fortify block enchantment)

Block Shouting

Holding down the shout button while blocking allows you to charge up a shout, which releases once you stop blocking. This can be used in conjunction with Quick Reflexes, and can be devastating when used with the right shouts. In one particular case holding down the button won’t work as well, more on that below.

Quick Reflexes: Credit to Vindictive and Ben C

While this is a pretty common one, by taking this perk you will be able to slow down time if you block while an enemy is attempting to use a power attack in your direction. You can use this time to dodge, bash, or even use a sideways power attack to stagger your foe and move out of the way. As I mentioned above some shouts are very powerful when used in conjunction with this.

  • Slow Time: This shout can be extraordinarily powerful when used with Quick Reflexes, by spamming the shout button right after the effect of Quick Reflexes end; the duration of the effect of the first word will remain active for a full minute. Can be extended even more with fortify alteration potions and the Vamp/Necromage combo. 
  • Become Ethereal: Will negate all damage you would have received if you were hit, and will allow you to combo into one of the abilities discussed below, free of stamina costs.

Another interesting thing about this perk is it's range and stacking. The perk will activate even if an enemy attacks a nearby entity, such as a follower, and will stack based on how many enemies power attack at the same time. Although we still did not get anyone to time exactly how much this stacks, it seams the growth is exponential. The stacking will most commonly occur against an enemy that uses double or triple attacks, like double troll swipes, or dual wilder's triple attacks. 

Shield Charge

This is a fun one, and unlike the name suggests it’s not limited to those using a shield. By holding block and then sprinting with your shield you will be able to enter a charge animation that will knock down most of the enemies in the game. You can also activate this ability by tapping the block button while sprinting with a two handed weapon, or a one handed weapon with nothing in the off-hand. If you find yourself in a desperate situation you can combo this skill with either Become Ethereal or the Slow Time shouts.

  • Become Ethereal: By using this shout you will become immune to damage and unable to deal damage yourself for a certain period of time, but Shield Charge will still activate, allowing you to knock down your opponents while in an invulnerable state, be warned though, ethereal form does not use up your stamina, but Shield Charge does, so it’s not unlimited.
  • Slow Time: By using the Quick Reflexes + Slow Time combo you will get an extended period of slow time, this combos nicely with Shield Charge, as it allows you to knock your opponents into the air and hit them while they are helpless, either on the ground or flying in the air.

Another interesting thing for those who like to use torches, Shield Charge on torches works very similarly to using a weapon shield charge, just like using a unenchanted staff. Credit to Jasper Kane

Ethereal Charge

By using the Become Ethereal shout you can sprint and power attack free of stamina cost. This allows you to use any power attack on your enemies, the most effective one being Critical/Great Critical Charge, as it allows you to stagger and surprise your opponents, leaving them open to further attacks.

Silent Critical Charge/Great Critical Charge

Requires either Critical Charge or Great Critical Charge and Silent Roll from the sneak tree. By holding the attack button while on the Silent Roll animation you will activate a silent power attack, effectively allowing you to lunge on your opponent, pulling off an attack with both the Critical Charge bonus and the sneak multiplier.

Shield Charge/Critical Charge combo

This one requires quite a bit of timing, but if you manage to pull it off it can be quite devastating. Once the animation for the Critical Charge power attack (either with Silent Roll or with regular sprint) ends, you can hold down the block button to activate Shield Charge, sending anyone touching you flying into the air.

  • To pull this off you need to wait for the animation of your attack to end, once it does you have a split second in which the game counts as if you were still sprinting, by pressing the block button at that time you will hear the Shield Charge sound and a green aura will be seen around your body, that is the confirmation that it worked. 

I find this to be particularly useful when you overshoot your Silent Critical Charge, if you touch your target before the attack is complete, then the enemy will detect you and you will not get the sneak bonus, by using this you will effectively knock him down, making him defenseless to your attacks.

Quick Draw

This is for all you spellswords out there, a simple one, but simply by equipping your melee weapon on the left hand instead of the right you will be able to instantly draw your weapon and spell, without the hassle of the draw animation. Also quite useful for when you find yourself in front of an enemy that has already drawn his weapon and you haven't, this allows you to pull off a quick power attack, staggering him and allowing you to switch your weapon to your main hand.

Silent Charge without Silent Roll: Credit to Lozhar

When sneaking, jump while holding the sprint button, and you will activate the silent roll when you land, quickly follow up by holding the attack button to activate Silent Charge. You still need the respective one handed/two handed Critical Charge perk to do a silent attack dealing the full sneak multiplier plus critical charge damage, effectively x12 damage with a one handed sword. This can also be done with Shield Charge, turning your own body into a bowling ball. 

Silent Charge without Silent Roll 2: Credit to Jasper Kane

This one was brought to my attention recently, simply by holding the sprint button while sneaking and quickly tapping block you will roll forward. Can be used as a nice combo into either Shield Charge or Critical Charge.

  • Drawing the weapon will result in the same result as above, simply hold sprint while in sneak mode and draw you weapon, you will enter the roll animation and draw your blade mid roll. Thank you Vazgen for bringing this to my attention

Dual Wield Blocking: Credit to Michael-Kingsley

Similar to Bow Blocking, this works in a similar way.

  • To activate this simply start blocking with your main weapon, then while still blocking equip melee weapon in the off-hand.
  • The weapons will appear as if they are crossed across your face.
  • While in this state you can move around just as you would while blocking normally, so you can still benefit from the Block Runner perk.
  • The bash attack uses the striking edge of the weapon, so it will do full main hand weapon damage instead of regular bash damage.
  • Bashing won’t remove you from the block stance, but it won’t stagger either, since it is treated as an attack from the main hand’s weapon, dealing damage from your main hand’s weapon.
  • Since it is not treated as a bash, it is not affected by deadly bash.

Endless Dual Power Attacks

A useful tactic for any dual wielder, this is a very powerful technique for any dual wielder, stun locking your opponents while raining death on them. This can be further improved with dual wielding perks and the elemental fury shout.

  • Start by performing a regular dual wielding power attack, holding both attack buttons.
  • Then press (not hold) the attack button during each swing and it should use no stamina.
  • There are 3 swings in total, so you will have to press the buttons according to them. First left, then right, and finally left again.
  • Pressing (not holding) both attack buttons at the end of the attack will add a forth swing to this move.

The timing can be hard to get used to, but like the Critical Charge/Shield Charge combo, can be devastating when you master it.

Endless Dual Power Attacks 2: Credit to Jasper Kane

Same technique as the one mentioned above, this one is much easier to pull off. 

  • Hold down both attack buttons as you normally would for a dual wield power attack.
  • Just before your strikes start, let go and tap both buttons.
  • This will result in a four hit combo, with no stamina cost.
  • After the combo ends, simply rinse and repeat, resulting in an infinite combo.

Speed Charge

This allows you to overwhelm any enemy with lighting fast attacks, moving with an accelerated pace and doing massive damage. By using Elemental Fury and Dual Wielding perks this becomes even more deadly.

  • Simply hold sprint while repeatedly pressing the attack button. This will allow you to move at insane speeds while dealing fast DPS to everything in front of you. Can be done until Stamina runs out.

Power Attack General Formula

Some people know this, some don’t, but power attacking stamina cost is affected by weapon weight. Some players think that going for Dragonbone and Daedric is always the best option; this is why it’s better to stick to your Blade’s Sword and Scimitar.

Power Attack Formula:

Power Attack cost = (40 + weapon weight * 2) * attack cost multiplier * (1 – perk effect)

Power Attack Multiplier:

Attack Type                                    Damage            Stagger            Stamina Use

Single Weapon                        x2                        x1                           x1

Dual Wield (x3 attacks)            x1.5                      x1                           x0.5

Bash                                      x0.5                      x0.5                        x1

Power Bash                            x1.5                      x1.5                        x1

Unarmed                                 x1                        x0.5                        x1

Negative Stamina

Interestingly enough, Power Attacking with different amounts of stamina can leave you at a disadvantage, information is as follows.

  • Case 1: The player has 80 stamina. By performing a power attack his stamina is reduced to 0. The stamina bar immediately starts to refill.
  • Case 2: The player is at 50 stamina. By performing a power attack his stamina will be reduced to – 30. The stamina bar is shown to be 0 for 3 seconds, after that time ends the stamina bar will begin to refill.
  • Case 3: The player is at 10 stamina. By performing a power attack his stamina will be reduced to – 70. After 5 seconds his stamina level will be increased to – 20. Because of fStaminaRgenDelayMax = 5, his stamina immediately jumps to 0 and begins to fill.
  • Case 4: The player is at 10 stamina. He performs a power attack and his stamina is reduced to – 70. He immediately drinks a potion that increases his stamina by 15 per second for 5 seconds. His stamina bar immediately begins to refill the moment he drinks the potion.

Unenchanted Staves

This is an interesting one, albeit a little less useful. You can block and bash with Unenhanced Staves, this is mostly aesthetic, as they will mostly do regular weapon bash damage, with the occasional chance of doing full weapon damage in a bash. As I said it’s mostly aesthetic, but it could be a nice option for a wizard that only uses staves for magic to have a blocking option.

So that’s all friends, I hope this helped, and I hope we brought you some new stuff to get you interested in Skyrim’s combat once more. If there is anything you guys found that isn’t in here than feel free to share. Be sure to check the build that was born from this concept: The Swordmaster, and also be sure to check this guide's counterpart: The Advanced Archery Corner!

Tags: Tips and Tricks Guides, Tips and Tricks Showcases

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Replies to This Discussion

Nice guide! You talk about Critical Charge/Shield Charge combo in Endless Dual Power Attacks section, is it intentional? Also, how do the unenchanted staves work when blocking? Are they used similar to the shields or to the weapons in terms of blocking?

It was just a reference for how powerful it is, and one like the other require very precise timing. They block like if you were blocking only with your weapon, and there is a very random chance of doing full weapon damage on one of it's bashes, like I said, the staff blocking is mostly cosmetic, but is still superior than just blocking with your sword, since it still has a chance of doing full weapon damage on a bash.

Could you credit me for finding out about the slow time and quick reflexes exploit? Lohzar and Michael got mentioned for their's so I think it's only fair.

Well I've been using the slow time thing even before I got into this site so I didn't think to look it up and credit the guy who made the first post on it. But since you did make the original post I'll make the change...

There you go 

Thank you Soneca it means a lot to me! And I know what you mean I've been using the whole silent roll without perking sneak thing for over a year.

Are you sure it stacks more time than the slow time glitch? It already happened with me before, and it doubled the quick reflexes time for sure, but it was only a few more seconds. Although that is some useful info, I will add some of that

Oh it's ok, I misread the first time around. Although it still seams that the slow time glitch is still the more reliable one, since there is very little info on the multiple power attacks stacking your quick reflexes, and it seems very unstable. I've had situations where I have four forsworn attacking me with power attacks at the same time and it only seems to activate the first "tier" of quick reflexes, and others where only two bandits attacked me and I got the extended time

Still seems that the window is too short for someone to rely heavily on that, still useful info is useful info, added a note mentioning that and credited you for the information

Interesting, so it does not require multiple enemies to actually pull of the quick reflexes stack, only one that uses a double or triple attack like a troll double swipe or a dual wielder's flurry?

Ok, I will edit the info right now to include this, I had not noticed that before, and like Jasper pointed out, probably best way to kill forsworn dual wielders 

Its quite effective. Once I had a frost atro power attack and the perk was in action for at least 6 seconds! From the moment he raised his hand to when it came down. Its epic shit now that they have it fixed with the patches.

Better to get someone on pc for this, I'll add the info about the stacking and credit you for it, thanks for the help :)

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