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Character Build: Drainblood Archmage

Tags: #Dunmer  #dragonborn  #Character Build Warrior  #Character Build Elementalist  #Character Build Battlemage  #Rank:Recognized  #Pyromancer  #2H  #Archmage  #Combos  #Synergy  #Telvanni.. 
  • April 17, 2013

    Funny story, the inspiration for this build came from witnessing Savos Aren attack a Dragon in the College courtyard with an Iron Battleaxe.  (Don't ask me where he got it.)  After I stopped laughing, I started thinking about how to actually make it into a viable fighting style. 

    Going through the Dunmer's starting skills, I noticed there was no Weapon Skill, and most people add One Handed to make them a Spellsword, or Nightblade.  In some ways, he's a lot like a Spellsword with a Battleaxe, which is why I call him a "Spellblade."


    • Race: Dunmer
    • Major Skills Destruction, 2 Hand, Block.
    • Minor Skills Light Armor, Alteration, and Conjuration.
    • Standing Stones: The Thief to train up Light Armor, then either The Lady, or Lord.
    • Shouts Whirlwind Sprint, Ice Form, Unrelenting Force, Dragonrend, Aura Whisper. 

    Stats Health>Magicka.  At first, you'll need to be able to cast Oakflesh, then Ironflesh with Flame, or Frost Cloak.  Finally Ebonyflesh, a Dual Cast Cloak, and Dremora Lord in rapid succession in the endgame. All the rest is Health, Stamina is managed by spacing Bashes, and power Attacks between regular attacks, and Spells.


    • Destruction Novice-Adept, Augment Flames, Frost, and Shock.  Deep Freeze, Disintegrate, Dual Casting, and Impact.
    • Two Handed Barbarian, Champion's Stance, Great Critical Charge, Sweep, and Limb Splitter.
    • Light Armor Agile Defender, Custom Fit, Unhindered, Wind Walker.
    • Alteration Novice-Expert, Resist Magic, Stability.
    • Conjuration Novice-Expert, Summoner.


    I wear Leather, Elven is lighter, or you can take it all the way up to Dragonscale.  Ebonyflesh makes up for not Smithing, which can't improve his favorite weapon.


    Firebolt, Lightning Bolt, Fire Rune, Ice Storm, Flame Cloak, Frost Cloak.

    Flaming Familar, Flame Atronach, Frost Atronach, Storm Atronach, Dremora Lord.

    Magelight, Oak-Ebonyflesh, Detect Life/Undead, Paralysis.  (Telekinesis in Dragonborn.)

    Strategies, and Tactics

    His signature combo is Battleaxe, and Flame, or Frost Cloak.  Cast with Ebonyflesh, then Great Critical Charge to start with Stagger. Impact is reserved for interrupting Dragons hovering to shout, or Stun/Slow/Paralyse massed enemies with Ice Storm.  (To create an opening to draw the axe, and advance.)  Lighting Bolts are used with Disintegrate to lower Resistance/Armor/Health, for the Coup de Gras.  Sweep up to 3 targets to Absorb 45 Health. 

    I've never played him below Adept, which starts losing the challenge once you get Flame Cloak, and Ebonyflesh.  Just about balanced on Expert, you'll have to think about it more, and find a good challenge. 

    On Master, I had to use footwork, timing, and Reach to his advantage. He's not just an Archmage with 3 schools under his belt, but a Master of the Battleaxe.  This is more than an adequate Damage dealer, (Elven Tier, but dagger light, with 15 more points that heals you at the same time, and Bleeding.) but also used to stagger with Quickbashes to make up for it's slow striking.  Against other 2 Handers, this can be fast enough to interrupt them with the right timing, and create an opening for a healing Strike. 

    Beat 1 handers with Reach, then back pedal, or side step so they can't hit you, but you can hit them again.  Sweep multiple enemies for Health whenever you can set it up.  This mobile style with Stagger to counter the enemy is how he wins most fights with relatively little Armor.  If you aren't any good at this, you may have to upgrade to at least Scaled Armor/Ebonyflesh, or play on a lower Difficulty.  You may want to get up to Twin Souls for 2 Dremora lords, but I never had to.


    He also uses Mixed Unit Tactics with a Dremora Lord, and either of his usual sidekicks.

    Uthgerd the Unbroken, I renamed her "The Unburned" after her helmet.  It came with a Honed Ancient Nord Greatsword of Scorching, and we picked up a spare from Red Eagle.  Draugr don't Bleed, but are weak against Fire, so it helps to have a backup of Burning on hand, and it doesn't have to be a Battleaxe.  I also ran a lot of the College of Winterhold quests with Brelyna, because of her Fire Resistance, and complimentary skills. 

    Concentrate attacks on one target to even the sides until you gain the advantage.  (Called Piling in Runescape PVP.)  While he can only hit one of you, all 3 hit for Fire Damage, and Bleeding from your axe so they keep taking damage between your swings.  Brelyna also tends to lead with a Flame Atronach and hang back to hit them with Destruction.  Axeon can do either, but with both of them on Fire Support, you can step in with the Dremora Lord, and a Cloak Spell.  Like a Chess king, this threatens all the adjacent spaces (In Chess, the King is considered a power piece, because you can checkmate with just him, and a Rook, or Queen.) especially with Sweep.


    What it's all about, I'll try to be brief.  Obviously not maxed for Damage/Reduction at the expense of all else, this tends to make fights long, epic, and fun, so Endurance is a major goal of the build.

    The Light Armor, and Axe consume a minimum of Stamina Sprinting (6 total Equipped weight with Unhindered.) Power Attacking, and combining both with Great Critical Charge, plus recovering it quickly with Wind Walker (Especially stacked with the Lady Stone.)

    Additionally, the Drainblood absorbs Health, for more damage, and healing.  With Sweep, you can spread this between 3 enemies for a quick 45 points.  Flame Cloak (Dual Cast for greater radius) keeps doing DPS all around, and if the target bleeds, this stacks on Limb Splitter.  Uthgerd's Sword of Scorching, and the Dremora Lord (If I need him) also Burn on strike, stacking up the Afterburn effect to finish all but the most resistant quickly.

    Block is Bash, to stagger up close so they can't counter, especially if they're all ready off Balance.  It also adds another layer of Physical Damage Resistance to the Armor, reinforced with Ebonyflesh for the few strikes they do get in.  With the Stamina Efficiency, you can continue this long enough that if they do survive, you get a massive head start in the damage race.  This is how he gets away with only about 200 Armor Rating (300 with the hidden bonus from each piece) the outfit is mostly to proc Wind Walker.

    Other than Impact, and Flaming Familiar, all spells have Durations so your blue gauge can recover before they wear off.  Even Dual Cast Ice Storm (The least efficient one in his spellbook) travels slowly, staggers, and slows so you don't have to spam it, can switch to use Stamina, or just attack while it recovers.  It can also be cast with Flaming Familiar to hit with 2 elements (Nobody's resistant to both) burning, fatigue, and Slow to multiple opponents.  It's a waste of Magicka on a single target, unless you can get a 1HK (Cuts short the fight with the Caller, though.)

    He wears the Archmage's Robes, and Morokei around the office as a sign of rank, then switches back to Leather for adventuring.  (An Allusion to Arena, and Daggerfall, where Battlemages could only wear Leather.)  He has also been known to wear a Scaled Helm, as well as anything else that strikes his fancy.  No "Barbarian," he enjoys some of the finer things, like clean clothes, a warm bed, and fresh mead.

  • April 17, 2013
  • Member
    April 17, 2013

    This is your 3rd build I think in less than 60 hours, there's surely no way you've playtested this? Er..... -____-

  • April 17, 2013

    Where did I get the screenshots, then?  This is not a new build, none of them are.  I'm new here, so I have a lot of old builds to share.

    Yes, I have playtested him.

  • April 17, 2013

    I can verify this, took a little trip to the Skyrim Forums about a week ago and found this on there already.

  • April 17, 2013

    dude no build is perfect. You just happen to dont have fancy borders lining your pictures or a happy face at the end.

    This seems like a fast play. Jump in and Go!

  • Member
    April 17, 2013

    Hey fair enough man! You playtested it, good job I suppose! All the hosts can ask is playtesting and good presentation, then there is no reason not to like it. It's not a bad build, then it has my like man, and I'd feel like an asshole if you actually have playtested it anyway :P

    So a +1 since you don't seem to have many likes.....

  • April 17, 2013

    Yes, other than reloading him when I got Dragonborn, he was done in a day.

  • April 17, 2013

    I discovered the site months ago, and even got some ideas from it.  I only Joined, and started posting this week, though.

  • April 17, 2013

    On the "Builds du Jour" Thread.  Yeah, I used to make at least one new character a day.