The Ultimate Guide To The Best Races In Skyrim

Learn how players can choose their races and the best playstyle that will best fit each race!

The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim, albeit an old game, still has a large player base hooked due to its lore aspect and overall gameplay. Players in the game will be able to choose from a total of 10 races, such as the Argonians, Bosmer, Imperial, Nord, and Redguards, and therefore players might need assistance in figuring out what The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim Best Races might be, and how each race operates! 

Key Takeaways
  • Skyrim has a total of 10 races that players can choose from, such as Argonians, Bosmers, Imperials, Nords, Orsimers, and more. 
  • Each race will have its own skill bonuses/amplifiers, and each of the races will have at least six skill amplifiers. 
  • Each race will also have two special abilities that will be centered around their skill amplifiers and overall playstyle, while some races may have three abilities as well!
  • There will also be starting spells that will be provided to each race, which will make the playstyle all the more enjoyable. 
  • The main benefit of knowing all the information about these races is that players will be able to pick which one might fit them best!

Here’s a summarized look at all the Best Races in Skyrim:

Race Best ForEffects Starting SpellsSpecial Abilities Power
Altmer Best Race For Mages+50 Magicka
Flames (Destruction), Healing (Restoration), Fury (Illusion)Highborn, Fortify MagickaGenerates 25% of the maximum Magicka per second for 60 seconds
Bretons Best Mage-Warrior Hybrid Race25% Magicka Resistance Conjure Familiar (Conjuration), Flames (Destruction), Healing (Restoration)Dragonskin, Magic ResistanceAbsorbs 50% of Magicka for all incoming spells for 60 seconds
Dunmer The Potential Best Race50% Fire Resistance Flames (Destruction), Sparks (Destruction), Healing (Restoration)Ancestor's Wrath, Resist FireSurrounds you in fire for 60 seconds
Argonians Best Race For Breathing Underwater50% Disease Resistance and WaterbreathingFlames (Destruction), Healing (Restoration)Histskin, Resist Disease, Waterbreathing Generates 10x Health faster for 60 seconds
Bosmer Best Race For Archery Mastery50% Disease and Poison resistance Flames (Destruction), Healing (Restoration)Command Animal, Resist Disease and Poison Makes an animal an ally for 60 seconds
Imperial Best Race For Financial SuperiorityFind more coins than usual Flames (Destruction), Healing (Restoration)Voice of the Emperor, Imperial Luck Calms nearby people for 30 seconds
Nords Best Frost Resistant Warrior Race50% Forest Resistance Flames (Destruction), Healing (Restoration)Battle Cry, Resist Frost Frightens nearby enemies for 30 seconds
Orsimer Best Race For Melee DominanceEnter Orc Strongholds without becoming Blood-KinFlames (Destruction), Healing (Restoration)Berserker RageTakes half damage and do double physical damage for 60 seconds
KhajiitBest Stealth Specialist Race+15 Base Unarmed DamageFlames (Destruction), Healing (Restoration)Night Eye, ClawsNight Vision for 60 seconds
Redguards Best Stamina Regenerating Combat Race50% Poison ResistanceFlames (Destruction), Healing (Restoration)Adrenaline Rush, Resist Poison Regenerates Stamina 10x faster for 60 seconds

Altmer 

Best Race For Mages
Altmer
Altmer (Image Credits Exputer)
Skill Bonuses Starting Spells Special Abilities
  • +5 Alteration (LV. 20)
  • +5Conjuration (LV. 20)
  • +5 Destruction (LV. 20)
  • +5 Enchanting (LV. 20)
  • +5 Restoration (LV. 20)
  • +10 Illusion (LV. 25)
  • Flames (Destruction)
  • Healing (Restoration)
  • Fury (Illusion)
  • Highborn
  • Restoration
  • Fortify Magicka
  • Why I Chose This: The ideal pick for anyone who’s looking for a pure mage playstyle character.

The Altmer race excels in magic-based playstyles, boasting +50 Magicka for enhanced spellcasting and regeneration. Their natural affinity for magic makes them ideal mages, allowing them to allocate more resources to health or stamina while maintaining a robust Magicka pool.

Skill Amplifiers 

When it comes to their skill Amplifiers, they will have a total of 6 skill Amplifiers that they will get at specific levels. 

  • They will have a +5 restoration, which will be at level 20. 
  • Altmers will also have +5 Enchanting at level 20. 
  • At level 20, altmers will also have +conjuration. 
  • At level 20, Altmers will also have +5 destruction. 
  • +10 illusion will also be at level 25. 
  • At level 20, +5 alteration will also be given to the race. 

Special Abilities 

When it comes to the special abilities of the Altmer race, they will have two main abilities, as follows: 

  • One of the main abilities will be Fortify Magicka, which will provide players with a bonus of 50 magicka enhancement. 
  • The second ability will be called Highborn, which will be able to regain a magicka at an enhanced rate for a total of a minute. 
  • High magicka.
  • Great regen capabilities.
  • Low stamina and HP.

Bretons 

Best Mage-Warrior Hybrid Race
Breton
Breton (Image Credits Exputer)
Skill Bonuses Starting Spells Special Abilities
  • +5 Alchemy (LV. 20)
  • +5 Alteration (LV. 20)
  • +5 Illusion (LV. 20)
  • +5 Restoration (LV. 20)
  • +5 Speech (LV. 20)
  • +10 Conjuration (LV. 25)
  • Conjure Familiar (Conjuration)
  • Flames (Destruction)
  • Healing (Restoration)
  • Dragonskin
  • Magic Resistance
  • Why I Chose This: The versatility this race provides as a mage as well as a warrior.

Bretons excel in both magic and combat, making them versatile choices in Skyrim. With a strong focus on magic at the start, they can transition into skilled warriors. Even without heavy armor, Bretons benefit from 85% magic resistance due to racial bonuses, the Lord Stone, and the Agent of Mara.

Skill Amplifiers

Now, as far as the skill Amplifiers are concerned, the Bretons will be able to gain access to a total of 6 skill bonuses which will be as follows: 

  • At level 20, +5 speech will be provided. 
  • At level 20, a +5 illusion will be available. 
  • While being at level 20, +5 Alteration. 
  • At level 20, +5 Restoration. 
  • At level 25, +10 Conjuration 
  • +5 Alchemy at level 20.

Special Abilities 

Moving on, let’s take a look at the special abilities for the Bretons class, and there will be two abilities: 

  • One of the first abilities will be called Magic Resistance which will be able to give a total of 25% magic negation to players. 
  • Another ability will be called Dragonskin, which allows about 50% of magicka to be absorbed in if the Bretons are attacked by any hostile spells for about 60 seconds.
  • Has strong magical resistance.
  • Versatile.
  • Doesn’t specialize in any particular playstyle.

Dunmer 

The Potential Best Race
Dunmer
Dunmer (Image Credits Exputer)
Skill Bonuses Starting Spells Special Abilities
  • +5 Alchemy (LV. 20)
  • +5 Alteration (LV. 20)
  • +5 Illusion (LV. 20)
  • +5 Light Armor (LV. 20)
  • +5 Sneak (LV. 20)
  • +10 Destruction (LV. 25)
  • Flames (Destruction)
  • Sparks (Destruction)
  • Healing (Restoration)
  • Ancestor’s Wrath
  • Resist Fire
  • Why I Chose This: The versatility this race provides as it can be used as a vampire, melee, and as an assassin.

The Dunmer race in Skyrim is versatile, and suitable for various playstyles including melee fighters, assassins, mages, and even vampire classes. Their resistance to fire attacks enhances their survivability and adaptability in different situations, making them a well-rounded choice for players seeking flexibility in their character builds.

Skill Amplifiers 

As far as the skill Amplifiers are concerned for Dunmers, the six Amplifiers will be present below: 

  • +5 sneak at level 20. 
  • + light Armor at level 20. 
  • +10 Destruction at level 25. 
  • +5 Illusion at level 20. 
  • +5 Alchemy at level 20. 
  • +5 Alteration at level 20. 

Special Abilities 

Moving on, let’s take a look at the special abilities that are offered up to Dunmers: 

  • The first ability will be called Resist Fire which will grant the class that is being played 50% fire resistance due to the Dunmer blood. 
  • The next ability will be called Ancestor’s Wrath, with which any enemy that dares get too close to the player will end up taking fire damage for a minute once a day.
  • Versatile.
  • Has resistance to fire.
  • Deals fire damage.
  • Doesn’t specialize in a particular playstyle.

Argonians 

Best Race For Breathing Underwater
Argonian
Argonian (Image Credits Exputer)
Skill Bonuses Starting Spells Special Abilities
  • +5 Light Armor (LV. 20)
  • +5 Alteration (LV. 20)
  • +5 Pickpocket (LV. 20)
  • +5 Restoration (LV. 20)
  • +5 Sneak (LV. 20)
  • +10 Lockpicking (LV. 25)
  • Flames (Destruction)
  • Healing (Restoration)
  • Histskin
  • Resist Disease
  • Waterbreathing
  • Why I Chose This: The underwater breathing ability coupled with HP regen and disease resistance.

Argonians in Skyrim excel as assassins and thieves, thanks to their stealth and agility. Their ability to breathe underwater is a unique advantage, eliminating the need for potions in aquatic environments.

Skill Amplifiers 

Next up, let’s take a look at the six different skill Amplifiers that are offered to players who decide to go for the Argonian’s race. 

  • +5 Sneak skill.
  • Restoration skill at +5 Modifier. 
  • Alteration skill at +5 modifier. 
  • Pickpocket skill at +5 modifier. 
  • Lockpicking skill at +10 modifier. 
  • Light Armor skill at +5 modifier. 

Special Abilities 

As compared to other classes that have two special abilities, the Argonians will have a total of 3 special abilities: 

  • The water-breathing ability will allow Argonians to breathe underwater, which makes it incredibly useful. 
  • Another ability will be called HIstskin, which can allow Argonians to use the hist power in order to regenerate their HP at 10x speed for about a minute. 
  • The third Skill will be called Resist Disease, and it will basically grant Argonians 50% disease resistance. 
  • Is able to breathe underwater.
  • Has rapid HP regen for 1 minute.
  • 50% chance of resisting diseases.
  • Not as versatile as the Dunmer race.

Bosmer 

Best Race For Archery Mastery
Bosmer
Bosmer (Image Credits Exputer)
Skill Bonuses Starting Spells Special Abilities
  • +5 Alchemy (LV. 20)
  • +5 Light Armor (LV. 20)
  • +5 Lockpicking (LV. 20)
  • +5 Pickpocket (LV. 20)
  • +5 Sneak (LV. 20)
  • +10 Archery (LV. 25)
  • Flames (Destruction)
  • Healing (Restoration)
  • Command Animal
  • Resist Disease & Poison
  • Why I Chose This: The stealth capability this race provides is second to none and the ability to gather animal allies.

The Bosmer race excels as archers, focusing primarily on stealth-based gameplay. They possess abilities that grant immunity to disease and enhance their stealth capabilities, making them formidable archers.

Skill Amplifiers 

When discussing the skill Amplifiers for the Skyrim best character Bosmer, they will be as listed below: 

  • Sneak Skill at +5 modifier at level 20. 
  • Lockpicking skill at +5 modifier at level 20. 
  • Light Armor skill at +5 modifier at level 20. 
  • Lockpicking skill at +5 at level 20. 
  • Archery skill at +10 modifier at level 25. 
  • Alchemy skill at +5 modifier at level 20. 

Special Abilities 

As for the special abilities, there are going to be two main ability, such as: 

  • The first ability will be called Command Animal, which can allow them to make any kind of animal their ally for about a minute. 
  • The next ability will be both Poisons as well as Resist Disease, which allows them to gain 50% negation to both disease and poison.
  • Precise ranged attacks.
  • Make animals your allies for 1 minute.
  • Poison and disease resistance.
  • Limited versatility.

Imperial 

Best Race For Financial Superiority
Imperial
Imperial (Image Credits Exputer)
Skill Bonuses Starting Spells Special Abilities
  • +5 One-handed (LV. 20)
  • +5 Enchanting (LV. 20)
  • +5 Heavy Armor (LV. 20)
  • +5 Block Skill (LV. 20)
  • +5 Destruction (LV. 20)
  • +10 Restoration (LV. 25)
  • Flames (Destruction)
  • Healing (Restoration)
  • Voice of the Emperor
  • Imperial Luck
  • Why I Chose This: The ability of imperial luck provides great help financially and great healing capabilities.

The Imperial race in Skyrim is best suited for battle mages, crusaders, or cross-class characters. With a mix of Paladin and Templar elements, they excel in heavy armor and offer versatility in gameplay styles.

Skill Amplifiers 

The six main skill Amplifiers that players will gain when using the race for their classes will be: 

  • Restoration skill with +10 modifier at level 25. 
  • One-handed Skill with +5 modifier at level 20. 
  • Enchanting Skill with +5 modifier at level 20. 
  • Heavy Armor skill with +5 modifier at level 20. 
  • Block Skill with +5 modifier at level 20. 
  • Destruction skill with +5 modifier at level 20. 

Special Abilities 

There will be two special abilities that will be as follows: 

  • The voice of the emperor skill will allow players to calm down humanoids that are close for a minute. 
  • The imperial luck ability can allow players to gain more gold coins. 
  • Versatile.
  • Provides financial advantage with extra gold coins.
  • Has powerful healing.
  • It is not specialized in any particular playstyle.

Nords 

Best Frost Resistant Warrior Race
Nord
Nord (Image Credits Exp
Skill Bonuses Starting Spells Special Abilities
  • +5 Block (LV. 20)
  • +5 Light Armor (LV. 20)
  • +5 One-Handed (LV. 20)
  • +5 Smithing (LV. 20)
  • +5 Speech (LV. 20)
  • +10 Two-Handed (LV. 25)
  • Flames (Destruction)
  • Healing (Restoration)
  • Battle Cry
  • Resist Frost
  • Why I Chose This: Warrior capabilities with abilities that allow for great control in crowded battles.

Nords are suited for warrior and barbarian classes, possessing the ability to make foes flee for 30 seconds. They naturally resist 50% of frost damage without enchanted gear and excel in one-handed weaponry and light armor.

Skill Amplifiers 

Next up, let’s discuss the six starting skill Amplifiers that players will get if they decide to play as a Nord

  • Speech skill with +5 modifier at level 20. 
  • One-handed Skill with +5 modifier at level 20. 
  • Light Armor skill with +5 modifier at level 20. 
  • Smithing skill with +5 modifier at level 20. 
  • Two-handed Skill with +10 modifier at level 25. 
  • Block Skill with +5 modifier at level 20. 

Special Abilities 

When it comes to the two special abilities, they will be from the following:

  • The first special ability will be called Battle Cry, which we mentioned before, can allow players to make opponents flee for about 30 seconds. 
  • The second ability will be called Resist Frost, which will grant resistance to frost to players by 50%.
  • Excels in one-handed and two-handed weaponry.
  • Battle cry allows for enemies to flee.
  • 50% frost damage negation.
  • Not versatile.

Orsimer 

Best Race For Melee Dominance
Skill Bonuses Starting Spells Special Abilities
  • +5 Block (LV. 20)
  • +5 Enchanting (LV. 20)
  • +5 One-Handed (LV. 20)
  • +5 Smithing (LV. 20)
  • +5 Two-Handed (LV. 20)
  • +10 Heavy Armor (LV. 25)
  • Flames (Destruction)
  • Healing (Restoration)
Berserker Rage
  • Why I Chose This: The combat capabilities this race provides with berserker rage ability for great advantages.

The Orsimer race in Skyrim excels as deadly warriors, primarily focusing on heavy armor and combat prowess. Players often choose to play as tanks or blade masters due to their natural strength and resilience.

Skill Amplifiers 

As far as the six skill Amplifiers are concerned, they will be as follows: 

  • Smithing skill with +5 modifier at level 20. 
  • Enchanting Skill with +5 modifier at level 20. 
  • Heavy armor skill with +10 modifier at level 25. 
  • Block Skill with +5 modifier at level 20. 
  • Two-handed Skill with +5 modifier at level 20. 
  • One-handed Skill with +5 modifier at level 20. 

Special Abilities 

There will be just one special ability that the Orsimers will have, and it will be called Berserker Rage, players will be able to take in half damage but be able to dish out double damage for one minute. 

  • Excels in heavy armor usage.
  • Is able to half incoming damage and 2x outgoing damage for 1 minute.
  • Limited magic focus and versatility.

Khajiit

Best Stealth Specialist Race
Khajiit
Khajiit (Image Credits Exputer)
Skill Bonuses Starting Spells Special Abilities
  • +5 Alchemy (LV. 20)
  • +5 Archery (LV. 20)
  • +5 Lockpicking (LV. 20)
  • +5 One-Handed (LV. 20)
  • +5 Pickpocket (LV. 20)
  • +10 Sneak (LV. 25)
  • Flames (Destruction)
  • Healing (Restoration)
  • Night Eye
  • Claws
  • Why I Chose This: The superiority this race provides in stealth capabilities and the ability to see in the dark is extremely useful.

The second last race will be the Khajiit, and when it comes to their playstyle, it will mostly be centered around stealth-based, which allows them to fit into classes that take advantage of stealth, such as thieves and assassins. Khajiitsare also able to become pretty good archers, especially since their sneak level is amazing. 

Skill Amplifiers 

For the Skyrim best character playing as Khajiit, the skill bonuses will be as shown: 

  • Pickpocket skill with +5 modifier. 
  • Archery skill with +5 modifier. 
  • Sneak Skill with +10 modifier. 
  • Lockpicking skill with +5 modifier. 
  • Alchemy skill with +5 modifier. 
  • One-handed Skill with +5 modifier. 

Special Abilities 

As far as the abilities are concerned, Khajiitwill has two abilities: 

  • Night Eye ability allows them to see in the dark for a minute.
  • As for the second ability, it will be called Claws, with which any unarmed attacks that are carried out by the players will deal 12 damage. 
  • Great stealth capabilities.
  • Is able to see in the dark for 1 minute.
  • Not so focused on magic abilities.

Redguards 

Best Stamina Regenerating Combat Race
Redguard
Redguard (Image Credits Exputer)
Skill Bonuses Starting Spells Special Abilities
  • +5 Alteration (LV. 20)
  • +5 Archery (LV. 20)
  • +5 Block (LV. 20)
  • +5 Destruction (LV. 20)
  • +5 Smithing (LV. 20)
  • +10 One-Handed (LV. 25)
  • Flames (Destruction)
  • Healing (Restoration)
  • Adrenaline Rush
  • Resist Poison
  • Why I Chose This: The strong poison resistance and rapid stamina regeneration make it a menace in combat scenarios.

Last but not least, let’s take a look at the Redguards race, who will have their playstyle centered around combat. They are known to be mostly centered towards being defensive fighters, as they will start off by having a one-handed starting skill. 

Skill Amplifiers 

As for the six skill amplifiers, they will be: 

  • Smithing skill with +5 modifier. 
  • Block Skill with +5 modifier 
  • Alteration skill with +5 modifier
  • Destruction skill with +5 modifier 
  • One-handed Skill with a +10 modifier 
  • Destruction skill with +5 modifier. 

Special Abilities 

The Redguardswill have abilities such as: 

  • The Adrenaline Rush ability will allow their stamina to regenerate at an enhanced 10x rate for a minute. 
  • The resist Poison ability will allow them to gain 50% poison negation. 
  • Great defensive capabilities.
  • Rapid stamina regeneration for 1 minute.
  • Has a 50% poison resistance.
  • The playstyle is limited to combat only.

Summary 

And there we have it! All races, alongside their abilities, and with that, we will wrap up our The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim Best Races guide! While you’re at it, you might want to take a look at our Skyrim Best Builds guide, which will cover a plethora of builds that players might want to try out, whether they are just starting out in the game or have been playing it for a decade! You might also want to check out our Skyrim Best VR Mods guide that showcases mods that are currently functional as of 2023!

Up Next: 

Did you find this helpful? Leave feedback below.

Thanks! Do share your feedback with us. ⚡

How can we make this post better? Your help would be appreciated. ✍

Subscribe to our newsletter and get up-to-speed gaming updates delivered to your inbox.

We don’t spam! Read more in our privacy policy.


Hammad Ijaz is a Guides Writer on eXputer who is into various gaming genres. He has this pure passion for enjoying games and then reflecting that passion back into his writing. Along with a gaming experience of 10+ years, he also has many years of writing experience. Hammad further solidifies his status as a true gamer by showcasing hundreds of hours of game time on Warframe, Witcher 3, and Elden Ring. Feel free to explore his extensive gaming library on Steam.

Experience: 3+ Years || Education: Bachelors in Computer Sciences.

Related Articles

Join Our Community

Enjoyed this article? Discuss the latest gaming news, get expert help with guides and errors, and chat about all things gaming on eXputer Forums and Discord Server. Connect with fellow gamers who share your passion by becoming a part of eXputer's community.