When it comes to the player races in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, there are a number of choices to be made. You can be a Nord, a High Elf, a Dark Elf or a Wood Elf, but have you chosen the best?

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The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is a game that could be easily described as one of the best RPG’s of all time, and the best part is that you can play it on pretty much every system you own. It’s a classic, and one that spawned a series of sequels as well as a whole new series of games.

One of the first decisions you’ll have to make in Bethesda’s blockbuster RPG Skyrim is where your character comes from. There are ten races to select from, each with its own set of special abilities, extra effects, and stat boosts. The stat boosts aren’t crucial since you’ll be able to customize your character to any class you choose as you level up through the game thanks to the skill tree, but they may be a good starting point. In the end, you should play whichever race you want, although combining all of these factors may offer some builds considerable advantages.

However, weighing the benefits and drawbacks of all those extras may be difficult. That’s why, at High Ground Gaming, we’ve compiled a list rating the races in Skyrim from worst to greatest so you can get a head start on your journey!

Skyrim’s Best Races, Ranked from Worst to Best

Always keep an eye on your knees. It’s time to put Skyrim’s races in order of worst to greatest!

10/10

Kajiit

Khajiit Image courtesy of Bethesda Game Studios and HGG.

Elsweyr’s Homeland | Night Eye’s Unique Power | Bonus Effect: +15 percent Base Unarmed Damage

Elsweyr is home to the cat-people known as Kajiit. They’re a rogue race, having 15 additional points in Sneak and 10 extra points in One-Handed, Archery, Lockpicking, Pickpocket, and Alchemy (even though J’zargo is the greatest mage NPC in the game). Unfortunately, none of their abilities are very useful. In Skyrim, it’s simple to see at night, thus the Night Eye skill’s enhanced night vision isn’t really necessary. Unless you’re trying a very particular kind of challenge run, a boost to unarmed damage is similarly worthless. Unless you’re a cat lover, the Kajiit are best avoided.

9/10

Bosmer is a character in the film Bosmer (Wood Elf)

Bosmer Image courtesy of Bethesda Game Studios and HGG.

Homeworld: Valenwood | Special Ability: Command Animal | Bonus Effect: 50% Disease Resistance and 50% Poison Resistance

Valenwood is home to the Bosmer, or Wood Elves. They get 15 bonus points in Archery and 10 bonus points in Light Armor, Sneak, Lockpicking, Pickpocketing, and Alchemy. This makes them natural rogue candidates, although their perks don’t assist much. The Command Animal ability makes all nearby animals your friends for 60 seconds, which is entertaining but only helpful in exceptional situations. Potions to cure disease and poison resistance are scattered throughout the game, making 50 percent Disease Resistance and 50 percent Poison Resistance almost worthless.

8/10

Redguard

Redguard Image courtesy of Bethesda Game Studios and HGG.

Homeland: Hammerfall | Special Ability: Adrenaline Rush | Bonus Effect: Poison Resistance 50%

The inhabitants of Hammerfall’s eastern country are known as the Redguard. Their numbers are most suited to warriors, although there is a smattering of magic sprinkled throughout. Smithing, Block, Archery, Destruction, and Alteration each have a bonus of 15 points, while Smithing, Block, Archery, Destruction, and Alteration each have a bonus of ten points. Their Adrenaline Rush ability enables them to recover stamina 10 times quicker over the course of sixty seconds, which is useful for launching a barrage of powerful strikes or blocking for an extended period of time. However, as we saw with the Bosmer, the 50% Poison Resistance is almost worthless.

7/10

Argonians

Argonian Image courtesy of Bethesda Game Studios and HGG.

Homeland: Black Marsh | Special Ability: Histskin | Extra Benefits: 50% Disease Resistance, Waterbreathing

The lizard-folk of Blackmarsh’s south-eastern regions are known as Argonians. They’re designed specifically for rogues, with 15 bonus points for Lockpicking and 10 bonus points for Light Armor, Sneak, Pickpocket, Restoration, and Alteration. Fifty Percentage Disease Waterbreathing, although amusing at first, soon loses its allure as you discover there’s virtually nothing to explore under Skyrim’s murky waters. The Histskin ability is the Argonians’ primary draw (apart from the pure awesomeness of being a Lizard person). This enables them to recover health 10 times quicker for 60 seconds, which may come in handy if you’re in a pinch and your HP bar is decreasing.

6/10

Dunmer is a character in the Dunmer series (Dark Elf)

Dunmer Image courtesy of Bethesda Game Studios and HGG.

Morrowind | Ancestor’s Wrath | Bonus Effect: 50% Fire Resistance | Homeland: Morrowind

The Dunmer, often known as Dark Elves, hail from Morrowind, a north-eastern island that served as the backdrop for The Elder Scrolls III. Light Armor, Sneak, Alchemy, Illusion, and Alteration all receive a boost of 10 points, while Destruction gets a bonus of 15 points. As a result, they’re a cross between a rogue and a wizard. Their Ancestor’s Wrath ability engulfs the player in flames for 60 seconds, and they start the game with a free Sparks spell. In addition, they have a 50% Fire Resistance, which is much more important than Disease or Poison Resistance. After all, this is a game about slaying dragons. The Dunmer are excellent magicians and competent rogues, although neither is their strongest suit.

5/10

Nords

Nords Image courtesy of Bethesda Game Studios and HGG.

Homeworld: Skyrim | Special Ability: Battle Cry | Bonus Effect: 50% Frost Resistance

The Nords are the natives of Skyrim, so there are lots of narrative reasons to select this race for your character, but they’re also capable warriors. They receive 15 bonus points for Two-Handed and 10 bonus points for Block, One-Handed, Smithing, Light Armor, and Speech. Their Battle Cry ability causes surrounding foes to become “Frightened” for 30 seconds, which may be helpful when you’re feeling overwhelmed. They also have a 50% resistance to frost damage, which is a common occurrence in Skyrim. They’re rugged, powerful, and – most importantly – story-relevant.

4/10

Imperial

Imperials Image courtesy of Bethesda Game Studios and HGG.

Homeworld: Cyrodiil | Special Ability: Emperor’s Voice | Bonus Effect: Find More Gold Than Normally

In Tamriel, Cyrodiil is the seat of imperial authority. It’s in the middle of the continent, and it’s where the Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion takes place. Imperials are a jack-of-all-trades kind of race. Restoration magic gives them 15 points, while Heavy Armor, Block, One-Handed, Destruction, and Enchanting gain them 10 points. Imperials may seem to be designed to be warrior-mages – and they are – but their unique powers also make them the ideal class for rogues. They have the Emperor’s Voice talent, which calms surrounding individuals for 30 seconds. Wherever gold is discovered, they also tend to find a little bit more gold. That means they can not only take more stuff, but they can also soothe enraged parties if they are discovered stealing or assassinating targets.

3/10

Orsimer is a character in the game Orsimer (Orc)

Orsimer Image courtesy of Bethesda Game Studios and HGG.

High Rock and Orsinium are their homelands | Berserker Rage is their unique power | Bonus Effect: They may join Orc camps without becoming Blood-Kin.

Some Orsimer are from High Rock, while others are from Orsinium, but they collectively make up the game’s greatest warrior race. Heavy Armor gains 15 bonus points for Orcs, while Smithing, Block, Two-Handed, One-Handed, and Enchanting get 10 bonus points for Orcs. That they’re skilled in creating and employing the most advanced weaponry and equipment accessible. Their Berserker Rage is also one of the game’s greatest special powers. For 60 seconds, they may inflict twice damage and absorb half damage. They may even enter Orc camps without initially becoming “Blood-Kin,” but this is less effective in the long term.

2/10

Altmer is a character in the game Altmer (High Elf)

Altmer Image courtesy of Bethesda Game Studios and HGG.

Summerset Isles | Highborn | Bonus Effect: +50 Magika | Homeland: Summerset Isles

From the Summerset Isles, the Altmer, or High Elves, sailed to the mainland. They are undoubtedly the greatest race in the game for mages. Illusion gives High Elves a 15-point boost, while Conjuration, Destruction, Restoration, Alteration, and Enchanting give them a 10-point benefit. Their Highborn ability grants them free access to the Fury spell and enables them to recover 25% of their maximum magika per second for 60 seconds. They also only have a bonus of 50 magika at the beginning of the game. Not only do they start with five additional levels of magika, but they also have a special power that grants them a minute of near-limitless magika.

1/10

Breton

Breton Image courtesy of Bethesda Game Studios and HGG.

High Rock as a home base | Dragonskin as a unique power | Bonus Effect: 25% Magic Resistance

The Bretons of High Rock take the top position on our list of Skyrim races. With a 15-point boost to Conjuration and 10-point bonuses to Speech, Alchemy, Illusion, Restoration, and Alteration, they’re mainly designed to be wizards. Their Dragon Skin ability also enables them to absorb 50% of all incoming magika for 60 seconds and grants them free access to the Conjure Familiar spell. However, the Bretons’ additional effect is the actual reason they’re number one on our list. They have a 25% resistance to all forms of magic. This alone makes them a valuable addition to any build, since they reduce incoming spell damage passively.

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Thank you for taking the time to read our ranking of Skyrim races from worst to greatest. We hope it proves useful in surviving Tamriel’s icy north. Follow High Ground Gaming on Twitter for more gaming news, reviews, and lists like this one.

Have fun gaming!

Frequently Asked Questions

Which race in Skyrim is best?

The best race in Skyrim is the Nord.

Do races matter in Skyrim?

Races do not matter in Skyrim.

The Argonian is the least popular race in Skyrim.

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