Skyrim One-Handed and Dual Wielding Guide

This tutorial is a part of an up coming series of guides regarding character optimisation for end-game. I know alot about the game and therefore don't hesitate to PM me if you don't understand something here or have a general question regarding Skyrim or Oblivion.

The Ultimate One-Handed Guide!

One-Handed Attacks

Primary Attack: Attacks done with the right hand do the damage listed in the equip menu. Chaining these will produce a follow up swing.

Off-Hand Attack: Attacks made with the left hand swing approximately 15% slower than your primary hand.

Power Attacks: Charged attacks are executed by holding down the attack button. While immobile you perform a standing power attack which multiplies damage by two. Moving in different directions while executing a power attack allows for different manoeuvres although all variations of power attacks boast the same damage multiplier.

Dual Wield: Pressing both attack buttons with two weapons equipped executed a dual wield attack. The damage of both weapons is inflicted at the same time.

Dual Wielding Power Attacks: Charged attacks with two weapons equipped will perform a triple hit. You get a 12.5% damage increase per hit meaning you can achieve close to six times multipliers. A normal dual wield attack directly after the dual wielding power attack animation has ended allows for a follow up hit quicker than you normally would be able to.

While dual wielding, your off-hand determines the speed of your dual wield attacks. Need I remind you one-handed attack speed in Skyrim varies with different weapons, Maces being the slowest and working its way down with War Axes, Swords and Daggers, which are the quickest weapon. Viable dual wield combos include dagger mace, the high damage of the mace pairs well with the high attack speed of the dagger. You may also experiment with combos like sword mace, where the sword will benefit from one-handed enchantments and most potions.

Worthwhile Perks:

Armsman Perk - The armsman perk consists of five perks that increase damage of all one-handed weapons in 20% increments. Weapon damage is doubled when all five perks are purchased, it is worth noting however that Skryim does not use odd numbers in its algorithms and therefore rounds down. The result is the typical 17 damage sword will become 33 damage instead of 34.

Dual Flurry: This perk increases the weapon attack speeds if you have two weapons equipped which translates to fast one-handed attacks in addition provided you have a weapon in each hand. There are two stages to this perk, the first multiplies speeds by 20% while the second sports a 15% improvement. It is wise for any dual wielder to purchase both perks as soon as possible however, this perk will not increase the speed of dual dagger power attacks because of unique animation; daggers lose again.

Dual Savagery. - This perk increases weapon damage by half if you have two weapons equipped.

Savage Strike: Buying this perk means all standing power attacks do an additional 25% damage. Multiplier increases with this perk mean one handed users will see a 1.8x damage increase while dual wielders get 8x damage increases in the time frame of 10% what it would take without dual wielding. Necromancers may experience problems with this perk as decapitation is then included as a finisher. Decapitation removes the opponents head and Dead Thralls will no longer work on that body as the head is detached. Dead thralls are incredibly useful, I'll go into detail on them in a forthcoming guide.

Useless Perks:

Bone Breaker - It may seem like a solid investment at first, however, the majority of animals you will face in the game including dragons, mammoths, frost trolls and the like do not have armour ratings as they aren't wearing armour, and the usefulness against an enemy wearing armour will be minimal as their typical armour rating isn't very high.

Bladesman: Again, sword users looking to benefit more from their attacks might purchase these perks, only to have learnt that the 20% increase in damage on the rare occasion a critical hit is performed is an increase on the base amount of damage. This perk will completely disregard smithing upgrades and enchants, making the damage increase twenty at best, far from a good tradeoff considering the three valuable perks that can be spent for necromage vampire in order to craft significantly more powerful weapons.

Hack And Slash: This perk is the only one that will do any meaningful damage, however the usefulness is questionable. When all three perks are purchased any axe will do bleeding damage of 5 for a period of time and this number will stack as you continue to hit the enemy. The downside is that this only does bleeding damage to the enemies that have the potential to bleed, this excludes spectrals, dwarven contraptions etc.

Critical Charge: While this may grant 100% chance to critical hit someone while sprint power attacking, as we covered earlier the critical damage is questionable and a sprinting power attack may prove to be a difficult manoeuvre as enemies will occasionally back up or move to the side. This also leaves you vulnerable as a sprinting power attack takes some time to start inflicting damage.

Paralysing Strike: It's far better to enchant your weapon with paralyse as a backwards power attack is an annoying manoeuvre and will only paralyse the opponent for one second. Stay far away from this waste of a perk and the perks needed to buy this one.

Stamina Penalty Equation:

Power Attack Stamina Penalty = (20+ weapon weight)
* attack cost multiplier
*(1- perk effect)

In which attack cost multiplier is equivalent to two for a single weapon in contrast to 3 for dual wielding and where perk effects are 25% if one-handing.

The Use of Alchemy to Maximise Damage:

Fortify One-Hand Potions: This potion works on all weapons except daggers.
Fortify marksman: This potion is meant to increase damage on bows only, however, due to a glitch it also works for all one handed weapons including daggers. Players with low trade skills looking to maximise usage of their daggers may find this useful if you're willing to cheat.

Fortify One-Handed Ingredients: (Click to View)
Fortify Marksman Ingredients: (Click to View)
Note you only need to use two of these ingredients to craft one of these potions.

The Use of Enchanting to Maximise Damage:

Fortify One-Handed Enchantment: This enchantment increases One-Handed damage based on the percentage generated by your level of trade skills. I will have a trade skill guide posted soon to allow members to get the most out of their weapons. Without necromage vampire, the best percentage possible is 48%, with necromage vampire and a plethora of other glitches the maximum is 55%.

Protip: It's easier to obtain the fortify one-handed enchantment by disenchanting apparel with the desired enchantment purchased from Radiant Raiment in Solitude. Pay no regard to the strength of enchanted apparel as with all enchants disenchanting a stronger enchantment will not give you a stronger base enchant.

The Use of The Sneak Skill Tree And Items to Maximise Damage:

The Dark Brotherhood gloves may be a perfect combination with daggers and the dagger fifteen times multiplier, although the item applies to all one-handed weapons. By purchasing the six times multiplier from the sneak tree for swords and the like, you are able to gain a twelve times damage multiplier while sneaking, which pairs well with power attacking while sneaking. Purchase the Shadow Warrior perk which allows you to become invisible for a few moments during a fight and you can abuse this to get a multiplier every time. Overkill at high end but it works extremely well for players still looking to level up.

The Use of Shouts to Maximise Damage:

The shout Elemental Fury increases attack speed of all weapons by 30%, 50% and 75% if you have all three words respectively. With this shout you can achieve insane attack speeds, and although this doesn't work by enchanting, by dual wielding and using a non-enchanted weapon in your off hand you can dual wield and dual wield power attack while still keeping the benefits of using an enchanted primary weapon. Using the Amulet of Talos and Talos Shrine necromage vampires can chain cast this shout.

Elemental Fury Word Wall Locations (Click to View)

Currently Bugged Items or Perks:

~ Unique weapons like the dagger given to you by Astrid, the Blade of Woe, are bugged and while are considered daggers retain the attack speed of a sword.

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