Skyrim Character Building » Discussions

Event Build: The Cutthroat

Tags: #Race:Nord  #Character Build Archer  #Character Build Warrior  #Rank:Exemplar  #Character Build Duel-Wield 
  • Member
    May 23, 2015

    After over ten years of sea banditry, the Cutthroat decided he was tired of the sailor life. Home is, as they say, where the heart is, and his heart was in Skyrim. His native province is the land of rebellion, the land of strength, and the land of easy targets. Money doesn't grow on trees...

    The Cutthroat

    Once a seafaring pirate, the Cutthroat now fulfills his greed through thieving and paid assassinations. He wields the the bloodthirsty blade, Windshear, and a nasty ebony dagger in combat. He is an adept sneak as well, sometimes going for a backstab with his knife rather than confronting his enemies head-on. The Cutthroat is also an experienced marksman, and can pick off weak targets with extreme accuracy. When not in combat, he has other skills such as picking locks with ease, and speaking with a silver tongue.

    The Basics

    Race: Nord. Nords are not necessary, but they are a known seafaring race. Their racial abilities are pretty useful, too. Battle Cry is a good "uh-oh" button, and the Frost resistance is pretty handy.

    Standing Stone: Thief/Serpent. Thief is a good choice for leveling. Serpent helps you focus on who you want, when you want.

    Stat Allocation: Pure Stamina. No need for Health if you're not getting hit. No need for Magicka if you're not casting spells. The extra carry weight is a great bonus, too.

    Major Skills: One Handed (Dual Wield), Sneak, Archery

    Minor Skills: Lockpicking, Speech

    Shouts: Elemental Fury, Slow Time

    Weapons: Windshear, Ebony Dagger, Bow and Arrow,

    Apparel: Shrouded Set (Endgame: Linwe's Set)


    Windshear is a game changer. The whole point of an acrobat is to not get hit, and with the 100% stagger chance of the Windshear, it is hard to get hit without bad play. The Windshear also has a chance to paralyze with a bash, and with our big stamina pool, we can take advantage of that overlooked part of Windshear.


    This is the best part of the build in my opinion. You haven't played Skyrim if you haven't played the Cutthroat. Seriously. The Cutthroat is a kind of gameplay experience that you cannot get elsewhere. Once you acquire Windshear, an Ebony dagger (from Cicero), and three words of Elemental Fury, the build is a whole new monster. Most melee builds just involve mashing the attack button for the right hand, but this build differs from that. What makes this build so fun is that there is strategy involved in melee combat. When playing, I had a few "stances" that I used. Here they are:

    The Vortex Stance:

    First off, put Windshear in your left hand, and the Ebony dagger in your right. Next, slice your enemy with Windshear, staggering them. Once they are staggered start spamming attacks with your dagger to increase your DPS. Rinse and repeat.

    Every enemy has a different stagger time. On most humanoid enemies, you can get five dagger swings in before they recover. On Frostbite Spiders, you can get about three safe dagger swings in. What makes this stance so fun is learning your enemies. I kept a mental note about how many extra swings I could get on certain enemy types.

    The best shout to use with this stance is Elemental Fury. It will make your dagger swing at the speed of light! Not literally, but it is so fast that you can hardly see your dagger at all. Your DPS is off the charts with this one.

    Against multiple enemies, this stance is still decent, but it can be hard to have enough time to use your dagger. You might end up just slapping 6 bandits with Windshear in a cycle, which will take a while, and is dangerous if you accidentally mess up.

    This is also the stance I used when going for backstabs, and I suggest you do the same! You still get the epic throat-slitting animation since the Ebony dagger is in your right hand, and you can go into the combo explained above if your enemy somehow survives or you get caught.

    Pros: High damage output, best for sneak attacks.

    Cons: Less effective for big groups.

    Recommended For: Dragons, High Health Enemies, Bosses.

    Note: Putting the dagger in your left hand and Windshear in your right is a different way to go about playing this stance. It opens up a faster dual power attack, especially with three words of Elemental Fury.


    The Samurai Stance:

    This stance is way more defensive than the last one. Instead of dual-wielding, equip the Windshear in your right hand and leave the left one empty. With nothing in your left hand, this opens up Windshears ability to paralyze enemies. Not only does it let you focus on who you want, it actually makes use of your giant stamina pool! With your large stamina resource, you can spam bash your enemy until they get paralyzed, and not fret about running out of stamina.

    When fighting a single enemy, just hack away with your scimitar, and mix in power attacks to increase DPS.

    Against multiple enemies, I paralyzed the one closest to me and started staggering the rest as best as I could. The recommended shout for this stance is Slow Time. You can paralyze an entire room of Falmer if you are fast enough, and then mop the floor with them.

    The Serpent Stone is also best used in this stance as well, since it is a free paralyze. The great thing about the Serpent Stone paralyze is that you don't have to get close to your enemies to drop them!

    Pros: Hard to get hit.

    Cons: Low damage output.

    Recommended For: Multiple Enemies.

    For long distance enemies, you are going to want to sniper shoot them with your bow. Mainly target the weaker enemies that you can easily one-shot, so you deal with less baddies once you get found.

    Early Gameplay

    Early on is played a bit different than late game though. In the early game, focus on getting sneak attacks, be it with a bow or dagger. Whenever I had to fight someone head on, I put a dagger in my left hand, and a mace in my right. Once I had that done, I started spamming power attacks (all thanks to your giant stamina pool). Summon Spectral Assassin is a great help early on, too.

    Use your sharp tongue to buy health potions; you'll need them. Lockpicking is there just to make life easier. For some reason Adept level locks are extremely hard for me, so Lockpicking was a personal choice. And besides, what pirate can't crack open a treasure chest?

    No matter what point you are at in the game, you are going to want to sneak attack mages and archers. All they do is backpedal and shoot projectiles at you, so killing them from stealth is the best option.

    I feel like there should be a special note for bears and sabre cats. Instead of walking backwards and shooting them with a bow, what I do is quite bizarre (in my opinion). Whenever I spot one (watch out for snowy ones near Windhelm!), I immediately sprint towards them and try to get them into a stagger-lock with Windshear. If you are fast enough, you will always get the first hit on them, and then it's a done deal. If there are two or more bears or sabre cats... RUN.



    --The Dark Brotherhood: This is a no-brainer. Not only is the Cutthroat an assassin, but this questline is the only way to get Windshear. This is also where I got my ebony dagger.

    --Thieves Guild: Every pirate likes his gold, no? Not only did I felt like this was a fitting questline (at least up until before you become a Nightingale), but it leads to this important quest...

    --Summerset Shadows: The only way to get Linwe's set. Other than that, you get access to a fence in Windhelm, which is nice. The set itself has great enchantments for the Cutthroat.

    --Main Quest: If you want to use Shouts, you have to start this questline. I personally didn't finish the Main Quest, but that's just because I didn't think it would be fitting for a thieving pirate to save the world. I am sure someone could make it work, though.

    --Civil War: What swashbuckler doesn't like mercenary work? You could also roleplay that you are a privateer in the military. Either way, joining the Imperials would make the most sense. This is an important questline because you get a word of Slow Time during it. Alternatively you could always just dungeon backdoor for the word of Slow Time, but it isn't worth it in my opinion.

    --Mercenary Work: This pirate loves his gold, and doing random mercenary work is a good way to fill his pockets! From retrieving Amren's sword, to slaughtering the Forsworn for the Jarl of Markarth, any random radiant quest that pays good gold will do!


    Closing Notes

    First off, I would like to thank Casey for reminding me about how putting the dagger in your left hand speeds up your power attack.

    I would also like to thank Paul England for giving me the idea about dungeon backdooring for the other words of Slow Time.

    Thank you Lord Bee for mentioning the Mourner's hat! The Mourners hat is a great looking pirate hat, and since your AR is low anyways, you won't notice the difference.

    I would like to thank Curse Never Dying for the amazing perkspread.

    Another person to thank is Ponty, because he made the guide for dungeon backdooring. Click me for a guide on how to backdoor dungeons

    And finally, I would like to thank EVERYONE for all of the support. It really means a lot for someone as unknown as me to have content that is enjoyed by others.





  • Member
    May 23, 2015
    Great job Gollum
  • Member
    May 23, 2015

    Thank you very much

  • Member
    May 23, 2015

    A nice one indeed Gollum +1

  • Member
    May 23, 2015


  • Ed
    May 24, 2015
    That was brilliant, really enjoyed reading that!
  • May 24, 2015
    I can help make you a perkspread. Just get me a picture that you wanna use for it and I'll get to work.
  • May 24, 2015
    Short, sweet, and to the point. You've earned yerself a like, boyo!
  • Member
    May 24, 2015
    Just wanna point out that your vortex stance would benefit from keeping your dagger in your left hand, as the weapon in that hand prompts the attack speed. The stagger from wind shear will keep them down, no matter what hand, especially at the speed of two dual flurries being perked, let alone the full power of elemental fury. I do like the aesthetic of left handed swordsmen doing the thrust and such with the off hand while the dagger hovers on high waiting for the strike.
  • Member
    May 24, 2015

    I love a good rapscallion... this is a great one!

    There are a lot of cool things going on here: Windshear first and foremost. I've only ever been able to mess about with that blade once because I usually don't go far enough in the DB to pick it up, but that auto-stagger is awesome! I never thought to pair it up with a dagger, though... great idea.

    I just finished an all-stamina build... a total blast to play! The sprinting feels limitless, and I never had an issue with hauling loot ;D

    Again, great job on this! :D