Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim houses some of the most visually unique and inventive weapons in gaming, which makes selecting the right one for your whirlwind adventure just one of the countless molehills you'll have to scramble over. And thanks to the extensive roster of dragon, monster, and animal variants the open world hosts, being able to know which one will deal the most damage can be equally as important.
The good news is, swords really aren't all that hard to come by in a world like Skyrim, which means you can pretty much waltz into any village and forage the right parts for a weapon. But, to make a quality weapon, and one that bears all the right seals and attributes, you're going to need to dig a little deeper. Forget random blacksmiths, and forget watered-down loot chests — these are the five best swords in Skyrim that you should go out of your way to obtain.
Although your options are pretty much infinite when it comes to quality one-handed swords, only few bear the same legendary prowess as Dragonbane, a slick but devilishly quick blade that comes with additional shock damage and a far greater punch when targeted towards any variant of dragon.
Fortunately, you can grab the Dragonbane sword during the main quest line, meaning you shouldn't have to worry about taking any lengthy steps to acquire it. Simply follow the quest “Alduin's Wall,” which will take you to the inside of the Sky Haven Temple. Once inside, head to the atrium to the left of the main chamber, where you will find the legendary katana on a nearby table.
|Damage: 10 – 14 (+20 – 40 additional damage against dragons)||Weight: 12|
4. Blade of Woe
The Blade of Woe belongs to Astrid, the leader of the underground assassination organization known as the Dark Brotherhood. The blade, like many quest-locked weapons, can be acquired by simply following the Dark Brotherhood story arc. Specifically, at the end of the “Death Incarnate” episode, which will see you fending off Legion soldiers inside the Sanctuary.
There is, however, an additional way to get your hands on the sword, though it does mean having to purchase a preliminary perk: Misdirection, which can be located under the Stealth skill tree. Once unlocked, you will be able to pickpocket Astrid from within the Dark Brotherhood chambers. This is, of course, providing you don't mind bypassing a few steps and cutting out a lot of the arc's quests.
|Damage: 12+||Weight: 7|
Skyrim is excessively rife with undead enemies to maul your way through, which you should be able to do with just about any weapon you find around the continent. That said, if you're really looking to knuckle down on the Draugr, then you'll want to venture towards the beaten path and follow the “Meridia's Beacon” quests. You can trigger this quest by obtaining the beacon in any random chest around Skyrim.
Unfortunately, there is a minor caveat that stops Dawnbreaker from being the all-in-one melee weapon that it aims to be. If you're playing as a vampire, then the unique blade will turn into something of a double-edged sword (literally), as it packs more fire damage when used against any undead enemy. So, if you're running a vamp, then be mindful of the consequences that may bind to your actions.
|Damage: 12+||Weight: 10|
If you're wanting to pack some serious ice power in your arsenal, then you'll want to dig out Chillrend, a leveled blade that deals upwards of 30 frost damage once maxed out. Problem is, getting your hands on the frosty melee weapon does come at a price, which involves building up the lockpicking tier under the Stealth skill tree.
If you're fully stocked up with all the aforementioned skills, then aim to onboard The Thieves Guild quest “The Pursuit.” Once added, make your way to Riftweald Manor. Inside, you'll find a nexus of hidden tunnels that lead to an expert-level lock. If you can crack it, then you'll receive the Chillrend blade as a reward, along with some gems.
|Damage: 40||Weight: 15|
1. Miraak's Sword
The third and final add-on to Skyrim brought a plethora of new weapons, quests, and areas to explore. One of the most noteworthy items that came to light was Miraak's Sword, a legendary treasure that players could get their hands on by slugging through the Dragonborn expansion quests and beating “At the Summit of Apocrypha.”
Not only is Miraak's Sword incredibly light to hold, but also surprisingly effective against most, if not all enemies, too. With a base damage of just 16, the leveled weapon packs one of the heftiest punches in all of Skyrim. With that in mind, if you're looking for an all-round type sword with a number of qualities, then look no further. If you've acquired the Dragonborn DLC, then be sure to loot the weapon before wrapping it up.
|Damage: 16||Weight: 3|
So, what's your take? Do you agree with our top five? Are there any swords you'd recommend for this list? Let us know over on our socials here or down in the comments below.