For my first build I wanted to create a character that could combine stealth and magic in a unique, perhaps never before seen fashion. What I ended up with was an amazingly effective decoy and ambush specialist. I proudly present...
"They are the threat lurking in the shadows, the conjurers of your darkest fears, and the daggers in your back when you least expect it. Shadowcasters are spell casting assassins that employ misdirection, and personal decoys in the form of foul daedric minions, to waylay their enemies with devastating attacks. Enemies seldom catch glimpse of their assailant, let alone land single blow, before they're viciously cut down, and shadowcasters hold little interest in frontal assaults."
The shadowcaster is a lethal combination of dual wielding assassin, conjurer, and illusionist; The end result being arguably one of the most effective ways to play a dual wield assassin! Dual wielding alone is normally a messy venture, what with the blocking with your face part. But the aforementioned lethal combo of skills allows the shadowcaster to capitalize on a key vulnerability in all enemies' AI that compels them to relentlessly attack the first target they spot until it dies. Once employed, this tactic allows the shadow caster to remain completely unnoticed all the while viciously cutting the enemy down with impunity.
Khajiit work best for this class. Sneak is by far the most important skill tree of this build and the khajiit get a fantastic bonus of 25 levels to sneak right from the start. They also get a nice starting bonus of 20 to One Handed. Night eye is always useful for those dark places and your claws deal solid damage until your weapon attack starts to improve.
Take the Mage Stone early on to level up the Illusion and Conjuration skill trees. Take the Shadow Stone once those trees are maxed out. On those rare occasions you happen to mess up and the enemy is hot on your tail, you'll want to disappear immediately, without delay. The shadow stone provides an instantaneous escape for those situations.
Enchantment: Enables you to keep your magicka levels full by simply attacking. Prevents running out of magicka to summon decoys from ever becoming an issue
Conjuration: Used to create decoys and keep enemy attention diverted.
Illusion: Used in conjunction with conjurations to divert enemy attention away from you and to ensure frenzy rune will work on just about anything
One-Handed: The main damage dealer. The dual wielding perks are vital. They will grant you both the speed and power to end enemies very quickly.
Smithing: Steel smithing and arcane smithing are the only perks you will need here. The blades sword has strong base damage, and only requires steel smithing to improve, and arcane smithing will allow you to boost your nightingale armor a bit.
Destruction: Invested into solely for rune master, which will give frenzy rune a much needed range boost
Armor: Stamina Boost, Frost Resistance
Gloves: Fortify Lockpicking, Fortify One Handed
Circlet: Fortify Conjuration
Sword: Absorb Magicka Dagger: Soul Trap
Perks & Stats
Magicka 2; Health 1; Stamina 1
You are going to want to prioritize magicka as the shadowcaster is highly reliant on two schools of magick with high spell costs. Once your Health totals hit 200 you will want to switch to a 2:1 ratio between Magicka and Stamina. This ensures your spell costs are met while ensuring you have enough Health to scrape by if you slip up, and enough stamina to get in a good number of power attacks.
Sneak, Enchanting and One Handed are the top priority to level up. Luckily you can have sneak and one handed maxed out within an hour if you're willing to use the Ralof/Hadvar exploit. Sneak alone can be maxed out in mere minutes this way.
Enchant your dagger with soul trap as soon as possible. You'll find that Enchanting is a very easy crafting skill to level up. Soul gems are easy to come by. Draugr infested tombs make excellent hunting grounds for souls. Convert all the dwarven junk you come across into dwarven ingots. Making dwarven bows is the most effective way to level up Smithing. You're only going to need to get Smithing to 60 to get all the needed perks, a task which should be simple.
Illusion is very easy to level up with the muffle spell. Once you have access to frenzy rune and invisibility, mastering the Illusion tree becomes a cake walk. Destruction need only be trained up to level 40 for rune master, which is essential for getting the distance necessary to make frenzy rune usable.Lastly, Conjuration can be leveled up to max very easily by casting soul trap on dead bodies.
The overall strategy surrounding this build is simple: Keep the enemy distracted using your conjurations to act as a diversion and illusions and stealth to break line of sight as necessary. For whatever reason enemies never switch targets unless one of three conditions are met: Their target dies, line of sight is lost, or a new target enters their line of sight for too long. Ideally you want to keep as many enemies as possible huddled around your decoys attacking them.
Various Conjuration work best against different enemies. Creating the best distraction requires knowing the best decoy to use in every situation. Generally you want to force enemies into melee range against your decoys.
Flame Atronach: Very good for the early game. It works especially well against fire wielding mages and dragons. By mid and late game the flame atronach is rendered obsolete by the storm atronach which performs better against dragons, and the frost atronach which perform far better at melee range. Flame atronachs have a tendency to back away from the fray to fight at range, which is the opposite of what you want unless you're against a dragon.
Ash Spawn: If the situation absolutely calls for a fire resistant melee decoy, the ash spawn is perfect. It may not be completely immune to fire damage like a flame atronach, but its sturdy and costs very little magicka to summon. Unlike a flame atronach, this summon tends to favor closing in on his target rather than gaining distance.
Frost Atronach: Very good even in late game against most enemies. It comes with frost cloak which does wonders against warriors. While not as durable as the Wrathman, it remains the go to option against frost magic users. If you're lacking Dawnguard, stick to this decoy for all your melee needs
Storm Atronach: Much like the Flame atronach this guy prefers to fight at range, but its chainlightning attack absolutely wrecks dragons. Enough zaps from these guys make it harder for dragons to use their breath attacks. These guys are strong enough to take down even an elder dragon on their own given enough time.
Wrathmen: The overall best summon to use. Summoning cost is quite cheap for an expert level spell, and wrathmen come with nearly as much durability as a dremora lord. The only flaw with these guys is having to get a fair ways into the Dawnguard questline to get them.
Requires: Invisibility + Shadow Warrior
The Shadowcaster vanishes in a shroud of darkness causing all enemies to lose sight of their target. Enemies are forced to seek out more readily visible targets
Shadow warrior causes enemies to lose track of you and invisibility keeps it that way. This combo lets you disappear anywhere anytime, no running and hiding required. Combine this nifty trick with conjurations and you get.....
Requires: Any Summon(s) + Shadowcloak
The Shadowcaster vanishes in a shroud of darkness leaving up to two daedric minions behind to act as decoys. Enemies focused on decoys are left vulnerable.
With this combo you can not only vanish, but also shift your enemies' focus onto your summoned daedra. Enemies will not bother targeting you until those daedra die. This skill is fine for a small, close group, but enemies are often spread out. To counter this you can lead them into an....
Requires: Throw Voice Lvl 3 + Decoy + Marked for Death
A deadly trap is sprung that leaves all affected enemies distracted, weakened, and unable to respond to attacks at their flank.
The perfect way to lead a small but scattered group to one location to be slaughtered all at once. Lure enemies to one spot, then summon your decoys next to them. The mob huddled around your decoys are lined up perfectly to get hit with Marked for Death. Once the ambush is set, enemies will find themselves in a near inescapable situation; Attacks coming from all sides, weakened armor and their lifeforce ebbing away.
Requires: Slow Time + Dual Wield Power Strikes (Repeat until enemy is thoroughly eviscerated)
A poor unsuspecting target is singled out and mercilessly slaughtered with a series of deadly precision strikes.
Enemies far enough from the fray have a small chance of turning their attention towards you once attacked. This combo allows you to counter this by making it impossible for them to retaliate or retreat fast enough.
Requires: Throw Voice Lvl 3 + Frenzy Rune + Summon(s) + Marked for Death
The Shadowcaster weaves a malicious spell that leaves all enemies confused and frenzied. Affected enemies will attack allies as well as decoys, lose armor every second, and are left highly vulnerable to attacks at their flank.
A more powerful version of Ambush which enables you to take on an overwhelming number of enemies by turning their numbers against them. Lure enemies to a single point with throw voice. Cast Frenzy Rune in the middle of the mob, then send out your decoys. A frenzied, confused, and weakened mob makes for a very easy target.
Any compliments or constructive criticism is very much welcome. I really enjoyed creating this build and hope you enjoy it as well. If you enjoyed my build and would like to see more like this, be sure to 'like' it. You support means a lot. Thanks.
Not bad, but you tagged it incorrectly. You need to put the tags in "inverted commas", eg
"Character Build Illusionist" "Character Build Nightblade" "Character Build Summoner"
Thanks for catching that. It's fixed.
This is your first build?
Wow, I would have never known man, this is good!!!
Ive been playing around with a similar concept (Coming soon) But with more conjuration based on my rp build, I like this!
Well put together and a great start as a builder!
+1 from me
That's a very nice build! +1
Nice to see the use of Nightingale Subterfuge. It's my favorite Nightingale power - it even works on dragons!
I personally love it because, unlike frenzy spells it can't be resisted.