Skyrim Character Building » Discussions

Character Build: The Swordmaster

Tags: #Character Build Warrior  #Character Build Rogue  #Character Build Alchemist  #Rank:Legendary 
  • March 9, 2014

    The idea came to me from two things, the collaboration between Alastor, Raidriar and myself that resulted in the creation of the Advanced Melee Corner, and playing too much Fire Emblem. Merging these two ideas together I discovered the perfect way to bring my favorite Fire Emblem class into Skyrim, without further ado, I present:



    The Swordmaster

    Swordmasters are agile warriors, dealing death to those who cross blades with them. These fighters don’t have a definitive school, thus it is not uncommon to find Swordmasters wandering the lands, looking for powerful swords and opponents to test them against. The Swordmasters are known to be the fastest warriors in Tamriel, unmatched in both skill and speed, there is little that these warriors can’t take care of. The Swordmaster is skilled with the blade; it is his only means of dealing direct damage, to compliment this style he also is a master of blocking and sneaking, along with a distinctive ability to harden their own skin to survive enemy strikes, without having to worry about the burden of armor. The Swordmaster is also capable of improving his weapons of choice and mixing special brews that enhance his combat prowess.


    The Myrmidon


    The Myrmidon is an apprentice Swordmaster, he still has much to learn, and much obtain. He is an agile warrior that focuses on dodging, parrying and evading to gain the upper hand. A Myrmidon must reach certain goals in order to become a fully-fledged Swordmaster, like obtaining his arms and reaching the required level of finesse to take the title.

    Race: I chose to play Imperial for both gameplay and roleplay reasons, they start with boosts in both block and one-handed, along with the Voice of The Emperor, which is a lifesaver early on. Other excellent races to pick are Redguard, with their starting boost for one-handed and their racial ability, Adrenaline Rush, and Orc, because of Berserker Rage.

    Stats: I recommend leveling 1/2/2 until you have enough to cast ebonyflesh with the proper perks and skill, after that go with 0/1/1

    Stone: Warrior for leveling, keep it until you reach level 100 in block, then switch to either the Lord or the Lady. The Lord will give you the much welcome defense you will need for survival, while the lady provides you with additional stamina regeneration.

    Shouts: Slow Time, Become Ethereal, Unrelenting Force, Whirlwind Sprint, Marked for Death, Clear Skies and Elemental Fury

    Powers: Shadowcloack of Nocturnal, Bardic Knowledge, Mora’s Boon and Bones of The Earth

    Major Skills

    One-Handed: As a Myrmidon you see the sword as the ultimate weapon, and have no need for lesser means. Your blade is an extension of yourself, and with it, you will prove to other warriors that your methods are superior, using only one sword with nothing in the off-hand to slow you down. This is your main combat skill, and your only way of dealing damage.

    Block: As a Myrmidon you will need to defend yourself, but not only that. Myrmidons are known to be the fastest warriors in Tamriel; this is a result of their lighting reflexes. They also learn to use their swords in the most efficient way possible; the hilt of the weapon can prove to be as deadly as the blade in the right hands.

    Alteration: Myrmidons wear no armor, which is one of the reasons they are known as the quickest fighters in the land. With this knowledge the enemy goes into battle thinking that if they can get a lucky hit the Myrmidon will fall, their mistake. Using very discreet magic the Myrmidon can turn his flesh into iron, leaving your enemy wandering why his blade could not pierce you, while yours cuts him just fine.

    Minor Skills

    Sneak: Most Myrmidons will walk the path of the Assassin at one point of their lives. From the shadows they learn the special techniques of the Assassin, and they also learn that the most efficient killer is the one left alive in the end.

    Smithing: The Myrmidon is a traveler, because of that he rarely finds someone who knows how to properly take care of his sword, that is why he chooses to maintain and sharpen his blades on his own. This is listed as a minor skill, but it is more dependent on the Myrmidon, I only put two perks in this tree because of my choice of weaponry, since your sword is an extension of yourself, choose your perks here according to the blade you wish to wield.

    Alchemy: The Myrmidon learned several brews from his master, substances to help him with his battles. You are still a bit new to the environment of Skyrim, so you will need to experiment with the ingredients in this land to find new recipes for special teas and sword oils that will augment your fighting prowess.



    One-Handed, Sneak and Alteration will level up pretty fast and organically through your game, since you will be using these very frequently.

    Block takes a special attention to level. Since you will not be using a shield and the whole point of the Myrmidon is to be a fast, hard to hit target, you will need to actively train this skill. It has been pointed out that the best way to do this is to lower your difficulty down to novice and Novice and block hits from giants.

    Smithing could receive some special attention if you so choose. Since the sword is an extension of yourself, you will need to use a sword that suits you best. In my case I used Blades Swords, but if your Myrmidon would feel more comfortable with another design then you are encouraged to take the perk specific to said weapon.

    Myrmidon Equipment

    For gear we will use Cultist Robes, Cultist Boots, Fine Armguards and a Copper Circlet. The Myrmidon is an agile fighter; he achieves this by wearing no armor at all. Instead he trusts an ancient magical ability that hardens his skin, allowing him to move freely and survive IF the enemy manages to get a lucky hit. For Jewelry I used an Amulet of Talos and an enchanted ring of Fortify One-Handed I found on a dungeon.

    As I pointed out while covering Smithing, the Myrmidon’s sword is an extension of himself, thus he should use the sword he is more comfortable with. The Myrmidon uses a single blade, perfect for quick and precise strikes. I chose to use the Blades Sword; it requires only one perk to upgrade, deals decent damage and because its lightweight it can power attack for less stamina than heavier swords.

    Brews and Sword Oils

    Falka’s Blood – Damage Health

    Death Bell, Falmer Ear, Night Shade, Red Mountain Flower, Skeever Tail

    Hanged Man’s Venom – Slow + Damage Health

    Death Bell + River Betty

    Vulnerary – Fortify Marksman + Fortify One-Handed

    Canis Root + Juniper Berries + Hanging Moss

    Elixir – Fortify Health + Restore Health

    Blue Mountain Flower + Giant’s Toe + Imp Stool or Blue Mountain Flower + Wheat

    Dracoshield – Resist Fire, Frost and Shock

    Fly Amanita + Hawk Beak + Snowberries

    Myrmidon’s Abilities

     Avoid Plus

    Requires: Become Ethereal

    The Myrmidon is trained to be the fastest warriors in Tamriel, able to avoid hits that would be otherwise impossible to dodge, moving so fast that the enemy often thinks his weapon went straight through you, leaving him vulnerable to counter attacks. 


    Requires: Quick Reflexes

    The Myrmidon always attacks first, even when the enemy has the upper hand and initiates the assault. With his lighting reflexes he is able to move faster than his opponent’s eyes can follow, dealing death before his opponent can react.


    Requires: Whirlwind Sprint + Critical Charge

    Sprint with unmatched speed towards your opponent, striking with full force, staggering him and leaving him open to further attacks.


    Requires: Drawing your weapon with your left hand

    There are times when the Myrmidon gets caught by surprise, when the enemy already has his weapon in hand and ready to chop him in half. Luckily the Myrmidon trained both his hands in the art of sword fighting. His right hand is much more precise, allowing him to block, but his left is much faster, allowing him to instantly draw his sword, staggering the enemy with a power attack and buying you time to properly assume a combat stance. 


    Requires: Critical Charge + Silent Roll

    Lunge from the shadows and split your opponent in half, catching the rest of your enemies off guard, and allowing you to combo into other strikes. 


    Requires: Quick Reflexes + Slow Time

    In your eyes it slows time down to a crawl, in your opponent’s eyes you become a blur, concentrating all of your energy into a burst, allowing you to move at ungodly speeds, none can match you. (Activate Quick Reflexes, when the effect ends, spam the shout button until Slow Time takes effect, you should remain in the shout’s effects for a full minute)

    Combat with the Myrmidon

    The Myrmidon is a fast and tactical fighter; he seeks to prove to other warriors that his method is best, that he is the most efficient. He learned from his master that the best killer is the one alive at the end; as such he is not above using underhand tactics to achieve victory. He will use surprise to his advantage, using his Acrobat skill to open the fight, then quickly using Vantage if the enemy is already too close, or Luna to quickly reach him. Try to prioritize ranged enemies like mages and archers, since they go down quickly and your defensive abilities don’t work very well with them.

    If all of the enemies are not dead by the time you activate Acrobat and Luna, cast a flesh spell to prevent you from dying and assume a combat stance, slashing, parrying and power attacking your way through enemies, all while gracefully dodging their strikes. If you are greatly overwhelmed than your best bet is to use Galeforce, which will give you some breathing space.

    Dragons are scary things. They are bigger than you, stronger than you, and breath hell on you, but you are faster than them. Against these bastards your best bet is using Marked For Death to weaken him (I roleplay this as observing my enemy, looking for any weaknesses I can exploit) and Avoid Plus to counter his breath attack. Once you find an opening, down an Elixir, a Dracoshield and use a Critical Charge to quickly get in. Then Whirlwind Sprint to safety and repeat the process.

    Followers to the Myrmidon

    The Myrmidon can greatly benefit from followers, especially early on. The Myrmidon will recruit followers that best compliment his combat style; your best choices would be tanks or ranged damage dealers. I used Faendal early on, taking advantage of his ranged abilities, switching only when I reached my Swordmaster title.

    Build Video for The Myrmidon


    Roleplay, The path to The Swordmaster

    The Myrmidon’s goal is to eventually become a Swordmaster. To do that he needs to master Block, learning the Shield Charge skill, Dual Wielding, acquiring the Swordmaster’s set of equipment and walking the path of the Assassin.

    Regarding questlines, there are a few that are very characteristic of the Myrmidon:

    Thieves Guild and Dark Brotherhood – This is the path of the Assassin, walked only by the most deadly of the Myrmidon. By completing these quests you will learn the secret art of the Assassins, Lethality. You will also be able to test your mettle against two skilled swordsmen, Linwe and Mercer, and obtain two very powerful swords in the process.

    Main Quest – You are always looking for ways to improve your skill and prove your strength, by doing the Main Quest you will find that you are Dragonborn. You will take it upon yourself to show the world that your strength exceeds even the might of the dragons. You will do this until you reach Paarthurnax, the rest will be completed once you take the title of Swordmaster.

    Companions – Mercenary work suits you, and Skyforge Steel is a nice weapon to have before upgrading. When the choice is upon you to receive the gift of Hircine, you are confronted with a dilemma. Either you accept his gift and add to your strength, or you chose the arrogant approach, refusing the gift, and proving you can still be stronger than them without it.

    Civil War Imperial – Before you came into Skyrim you heard rumors of a man who was so powerful; he was able to use his voice to tear another man apart. You want to defeat him. To do that you ally yourself with the Empire, awaiting your chance to cross blades with this powerful warrior.



    The Swordmaster

    Once the Myrmidon walks The Path he earns the right to the Swordmaster title. The Swordmaster is a much more powerful version of the Myrmidon, doubling his efficiency and finesse by wielding an additional sword, yet still taking full advantage of the Block skill tree.



    Now you will be maxing out One-handed, Block and Alteration, since at this point the Swordmaster feels more confident, having less need for Sneak and Alchemy.

    After achieving level 25 you will start prioritizing One-Handed and Block, the sooner you max these out the sooner you will be able to fully appreciate the swordfaire of your character. Prioritize Dual Wielding perks, Block Runner and Shield Charge; these will be the main perks on your gameplay.

    Swordmaster Equipment

    Regarding jewelry there is little change here, the Amulet of Talos is the best necklace for this character and you should use the highest fortify One-Handed ring you find.

    For gear you will use Thalmor Robes/Gauntlets/Boots with any fortify Alteration circlet you find or buy. It is no secret that Thalmor Robes look amazing, and they fit the Swordmaster look perfectly.

    The Swordmaster wields two swords instead of one, even if he only draws his second sword when entering Mist Stance, or performing Astra (more on these below). I used a Blades Sword and a Skyforge Steel Sword here; I don’t like dual wielding identical swords because I think it’s annoying to change them up in the favorites menu, but that’s just me.

    Swordmaster Abilities


     Mist Stance

    Requires: Dual Wield Blocking + Block Runner + Bardic Knowledge

    To enter Mist Stance simply block with a One-Handed weapon then equip another in your left hand through your favorites menu. With this Stance you will be able to move normally while maintaining your guard up. This stance is most effective when fighting multiple enemies. You see, the range of quick reflexes is amazing, any time an enemy attacks you or your follower with a power attack, regardless of how far away they are, Quick Reflexes will activate. You will be able to move freely because of Block Runner, and while Dual Wield Blocking your bash will deal the damage of your right hand weapon. Since the only way of dealing damage from Mist Stance is by bashing, Bardic Knowledge will keep your stamina reserves up.


    Requires: No Stamina Dual Wield Power Attack + Force Without Effort

    To execute this hold both attack buttons to do a normal Dual Wield power attack, when the animation starts, quickly let go of the buttons and tap both of them, this will execute a four hit power attack with no stamina cost. Force Without Effort will aid with the stagger.


    Requires: Marked For Death + Shadowcloack of Nocturnal + Acrobat

    After walking the path of the Assassin the Swordmaster learns their secret technique, becoming an even more efficient killer. The Swordmaster dodges and parries his opponent, all while observing his armor and defense patterns, once he has observed enough he vanishes into thin air, only to reappear seconds later, killing his enemy with a single, precise cut.


    Requires: Luna + Shield Charge

    Activate Luna, charging your opponent and staggering him with your power attack, once you finish your power attack animation, immediately hold block, it will activate Shield Charge, sending your opponent flying into the air.

     Great Aether

    Requires: Galeforce + Aether + Astra

    Activate Galeforce, then send your foe flying into the air with Aether, and while he is still in the air, draw your second sword and activate Astra.

    Combat with the Swordmaster

    Once you obtain the title of Swordmaster your character will assume a much more aggressive role, only needing to sneak when you notice the odds are against you. Your approach to combat will be much more offensive than the Myrmidon’s, spending less time using Vantage and Avoid Plus and more time using Astra, Luna and Aether.

    With the addition of the second sword and Shield Charge you gain much more damage output, but to still take full advantage of the Block tree you will only need to draw your second sword when activating Astra or entering Mist Stance.

    Mist Stance is a fun little thing, it is a defensive pose, but when you use it things will turn in your favor almost instantly! You see, the fun thing about quick reflexes is that it activates when an enemy power attacks, the range, is impressive.  The way this perk works is that it activates every time an enemy power attacks, power attacks you, your follower, other mobs around you, it’s GREAT! In Mist Stance you are blocking ALL THE TIME, this means that EVERY power attack that an enemy mob uses will activate quick reflexes. You will move normally because of Block Runner, and while you are Dual Wield Blocking you will be able to attack, albeit at a lower pace. When you bash you will use up stamina like a regular bash, but it is treated as an attack from your main hand weapon, this means that you will deal full main hand weapon damage, but your attack won’t stagger.

    That doesn't mean you can't take the offensive while using Mist, by activating quick reflexes then letting go of the block button you will be ready to use Astra immediately after, dealing major damage, then switching back to Mist.

    Lethality is a once per day ability, your trump card, so use it wisely. I usually activated this ability against troublesome mages and spellswords, since you have little means to blocking their spells.

    Remember those big scary dragons? Well now is payback time. With the addition of Astra you will be able to rain hell in those overgrown lizards, staggering them free of stamina cost. Sometimes I was even able to kill them so fast, that when I was done I realized I forgot to cast a flesh spell.

    Swordmaster’s followers

    As a Swordmaster I chose to change things up a little, instead of using a follower who complemented my combat style I chose to take an apprentice, giving her my old Myrmidon equipment and teaching her the Swordmaster’s Path. Another way to do this is to just upgrade the follower you were using before, using the Wabbajack to update his stats, and giving him better equipment, essentially giving him a “Master Seal” in Fire Emblem terms.

    The follower I used for an apprentice was the Dark Brotherhood Initiate; she is just flat out the best follower for this, even being able to be upgraded into a lightly armored version of the Swordmaster since she in one of the few followers in the game that is able to dual wield swords. To make her dual wield you will have to give her a forsworn sword for her off-hand.


    Roleplay, The Swordmaster’s Path to legend

    Finishing the Main Quest – After your first encounter with Paarthurnax you realize you are still not strong enough to defeat Alduin, this has changed now. After acquiring your new title, along with a new set of skills, you feel strong enough to take on the devourer of worlds.

    Dawnguard – You hear of a group of vampire hunters forming in the Rift, so you join them to test your strength against the creatures of the night. You are faced with a choice when confronted by their lord Harkon, either become one of them, or fight them. This is the same dilemma you faced when you were offered the gift of Hircine, either join the Vampires to add to your strength or prove to them you are stronger by defeating them. Either way, you notice during your brief visit that Harkon not only is a very powerful man, but also that he holds a powerful sword, your top priority is getting your hands on that thing.

    Dragonborn – Miraak served as a priest under the rule of the dragons, they chose him because of his exceptional skill as a Swordmaster, one of the first in history, and one of the most powerful. The only thing greater than his personal strength was his ambition, causing him to deal with the Demon of Knowledge, and resulting in him becoming the first Dragonborn. Aside from the fact that killing him would be an excellent test of your strength, he received a specialty crafted armor from the dragons, and a sword from old Herma Mora, both of which would be wonderful additions to your arsenal.

    Ebony Warrior – I eventually got to that point in the game. I was already playing dead is dead up to that point so the decision came naturally that it would be my last fight. My apprentice had already reached her rank as Swordmaster; Skyrim was safe from Alduin, Harkon and Miraak. I already had a house, wife and children. It was time to retire this character, a last test to his might.

    Build Video for The Swordmaster

    Closing Remarks

    So this is it guys, I hope you enjoyed it. I would like to thank Raidriar and Alastor for helping me with the melee corner, which gave me inspiration for this build. I would also like to add a special thank you to Raidriar for making me these amazing perk spreads. Thank you HeroicXCV for the build video!

    For any and all who played any of the Fire Emblem games I do realize some of these abilities, like Aether are unobtainable by the swordmaster class, for those I say, this build would be a lot duller if we only had Avoid Plus, Vantage and Astra.

  • Member
    March 9, 2014

    +1 Because It's an agile swordsman, my favorite style of playing.

    There's some weird spacing in the alchemy section, it's that intentional?

  • March 9, 2014

    There, is that better?

  • Member
    March 9, 2014
    Looks great Soneca! Only one thing I can say, is make those ability icons larger. They're barely visible in their current state. Also the spreads could be a little larger too. EDIT: Also, your race/rank tags are a bit off. There are no spaces, so it's just Race:Imperial and Rank:Bloodworks.
  • Member
    March 9, 2014


    You can wield two identical (Looking) swords without messing with the favorites if one is unique/enchanted with a different name, Like Blades Sword + Bolar's oathblade.

    The dual-wield blocking brings some awesome moves to the combat! all the increased speed and DPS of a dual-wielder and the defensive capabilities of the block tree on one character!

    One question, did you beat the Ebony Warrior? 

  • March 9, 2014

    Yes, it was a very tough fight and I had to resort to Lethality in the end but I did eventually kill him

  • March 9, 2014

    There, is that better? The abilities are small and there is little I can do about them, I made the icons a bit bigger, but if I increase the size any more they will get disfigured 

  • Member
    March 9, 2014

    Planning to make anymore Fire Emblem builds?

  • Member
    March 9, 2014

    Can I suggest some formatting changes? Like you seem to use two line breaks for each new line, leave only one everywhere. Also, Myrmidon's abilities are not really special (not that they need to be) but they take up precious space. For potions, remove the extra breaks and bold the effects. Overall tighten up the build so it doesn't look huge, the more condensed you can make it the better. Set the formatting of ability images to "Left" to have the text go next to them, not after them...

  • March 9, 2014

    Well if I had any other inspiration then maybe, but for now I don't have any more plans for character builds. I'll just focus on my blog for now, The Outsider.