With the two expansion packs and the base game, Skyrim players have access to a staggering number of powerful and useful weapons. Granted, with the enchanting skill any weapon can become deadly and players will find that their own customized weapon beats a legendary sword or mythical bow any day.

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But for those who want to find the most powerful weapon in the game without putting in any work there are a number of bows, blades, and axes that the player can use to become an unstoppable Dragonborn.

Updated on July 9, 2021 by Ben Baker: There are a wealth of weapons to find in Skyrim for any kind of character. With a variety of enemy types with varying strengths and weaknesses, such a wide array of weapons only fits. To help players out, it seemed appropriate to include even more weapons that could serve the player well throughout this game. Some are ideally suited to some of the stronger enemies, and others are great at the beginning and hold up into the late game.

15 Staff Of Magnus

Skyrim Lich Holding Staff Of Magnus

The Staff Of Magnus can be acquired during three separate quests:

  • The Staff Of Magnus
  • The Eye Of Magnus
  • Aftershock

It has a number of potent abilities and specialties in combat. However, it does not possess the usual characteristics of more traditional weapons in the game.

  • Base Damage 0
  • Absorb 20 Magicka
  • If target has 0 Magicka, Absorb 20 Health instead.

To get the most out of this weapon, players must be prepared to quickly drain an opponent’s Magicka. Otherwise, they need to be patient while the Staff of Magnus does that job. Once drained of Magicka, the Staff of Magnus will drain the target of health instead. Against traditional enemies it’s not the greatest, but against Magicka users this thing is devastating.

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14 Ebony Blade

Skyrim Ebony Blade

Obtained during the Daedric quest The Whispering Door, the Ebony Blade is a solid weapon after the player has reached level 20. It comes with the following damage base and special effect.

  • 11 Base Damage
  • Absorb 10 points of enemy health to heal player.
  • Slaying friendly characters increases health absorption by four points for a maximum of 30.

The ability to deal solid damage to an enemy and heal the player by 30 points with each strike is an incredible edge in combat. The reason it isn’t the most powerful weapon is that there are others that outpace it in terms of damage. The Ebony Blade makes endgame battles achievable thanks to the healing, but these fights can take forever to complete.

13 Dragonbane

Skyrim Dragonbane

The Dragonbane katana is obtained during the Alduin’s Wall quest. It’s the perfect weapon for the Dragonborn as it gives special benefits against dragons and decent base damage.

  • 10 - 14 base damage
  • 20 - 40 points of bonus damage against Dragons.
  • 10 points of Shock damage to non-Dragons.

When fighting Dragons, one could argue that this is the most powerful weapon in Skyrim. For facing anything else, it is one of the better weapons, but certainly not the best out there. Still, it’s highly advised that players looking to beat Dragons as a warrior or complete the main quest should wield this blade.

12 Windshear

Skyrim Windshear

Players can acquire the Windshear scimitar  during the Dark Brotherhood quest Hail Sithis. It comes with some clever perks that make it a fun and effective weapon to wield.

  • 11 Base Damage
  • Stagger with every attack.
  • Block-bashing has a 39% chance of paralyzing enemy for 0.1 seconds.

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That brief paralysis translates to an enemy incapacitated for several seconds, as they fall down and then get back up. The stagger with every attack is also brutal, as fast players can effectively stunlock all but the heartiest of foes. It’ll just take a while to whittle down their health if using the Windshear.

11 Chillrend

Skyrim Chillrend

Players can get their hands on Chillrend by prying it from the cold dead grasp of Mercer Frey, the former Thieves' Guild leader. It has decent DPS potential and a very strong effect enchanted upon it.

  • 15 Base Damage
  • 30 Points of Frost Damage to enemy
  • Chance to Paralyze enemy for two seconds

The DPS achieved with the base damage and the Frost makes this weapon worth considering on its own. But the paralyze for two seconds makes this a very capable weapon in the right hands. Under the right circumstances, the enemy will be helpless as the player attacks. This is a great weapon for beginners that carries long into the latter parts of the game, unless the opponent can resist Frost damage.

10 Bloodskal Blade

Skyrim Bloodskal Blade

Stats wise, the two-handed Bloodskal Blade is the same as a glass greatsword, giving it a base damage of 21 and a weight of 16. While not exactly impressive on its own, what really makes this weapon shine is its special ability.

  • 21 Base Damage
  • 30 Energy Wave Damage

With this weapon, the player can cast a wave of either vertical or horizontal energy that deals 30 damage. This wave can reach up to 15 feet, hit multiple enemies and even go through walls. It’s great for surprising foes or softening up a group of enemies before wading into melee battle.

9 Dawnbreaker

Skyrim Dawnbreaker

This Daedric weapon is a quest reward for serving the Daedric Prince Meridia. This weapon does a basic 12 points of damage, but it deals 10 points of burn damage which makes it a decent weapon against any foe.

  • 12 Base Damage
  • 10 Burning Damage

Given the Daedric Prince’s hatred of undead, this weapon is especially effective against such fies. Upon killing a shambling corpse, the weapon has a chance to trigger a fiery explosion that will either turn or utterly eliminate any nearby undead. It’s very helpful for dealing with necromancers, vampires, or any undead in general. Just don’t be a creature of the night when wielding this in battle — the Prince will not be mocked, and the explosion will harm the player too.

8 Blade Of Woe

Skyrim Blade Of Woe

The Blade of Woe is a small dagger wielded by the traitorous leader of the Dark Brotherhood, Astrid. Players can obtain it after learning of the attack on the guild and performing a Black Sacrament on Astrid as her dying wish.

  • 12 Base Damage
  • 10 Health Absorption

This weapon is ideal for an assassin, as it deals a base damage of 12 and has the ability to absorb 10 points of health with each strike. Players are strongly advised to have a high Destruction skill and use Sneak to get the full effect of the blade.

7 Harkon’s Sword

Skyrim Harkon's Sword

Wielded by the legendary vampire Lord Harkon, this blade does a paltry 8 points of base damage, but possesses a number of vampiric abilities that make it worthy of a lord of the undead. The one-handed sword has the ability to absorb 15 points of health, magicka, and stamina with each strike.

  • 8 Base Damage
  • 15 Health Absorption
  • 15 Magicka Absorption
  • 15 Stamina Absorption

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This stunning ability does have the downside of being greedy on charges, so the player will need a lot of filled soul gems. It also only works for a vampire, but given how powerful this sword is, becoming a member of the undead is absolutely worth it.

6 Drainblood Battleaxe

Skyrim Drainblood Battleaxe

A unique weapon wielded by the spectral form of a Draugr the Drainblood Battleaxe is one of four ghost weapons that’s very powerful for anyone skilled in axe fighting. The stats are great with a base damage of 21 and a weight of a shockingly low five pounds.

  • 21 Base Damage
  • 15 Health Absorption

This two-handed battleaxe also absorbs 15 points of health with each hit. What’s even better is that unlike Harkon’s Sword, this ability doesn’t require a charge, meaning the player can use it an infinite number of times and never need a soul gem. Players won't find a better axe in the game.

5 Bloodscythe & Soulrender

This pair of scimitars was wielded by Haknir Death-Brand, the pirate king. Both blades deal a base damage of 13, but shine when they are wielded together while wearing Deathbrand armor. Bloodscythe will absorb 15 points of health with a chance to lower the enemy’s armor, and Soulrender will absorb 15 points of magicka with a chance to lower magical defenses.

  • 13 Base Damage
  • 15 Health Absorption
  • 15 Magicka Absorption

If the blades are wielded by a player wearing Deathbrand armor, they’ll both receive a 40% boost to damage and a boost to the player’s armor rating. This combination of gear makes the player a force to be reckoned with.

4 Zephyr

Skyrim Zephyr

Zephyr is a dwarven bow that belonged to an unfortunate adventurer killed in an earthquake. The bow deals a base damage of 14, which is admittedly low compared to other weapons, but its special ability more than makes up for it.

  • 14 Base Damage
  • 30% Increased Fire Rate

This bow can fire arrows 30% faster than a standard bow. With this fire rate increase, it becomes the highest DPS bow in the game as the player can pump arrow after arrow into the enemy. The reason it doesn’t rank higher is that the player will burn through arrows, and its low damage output per attack makes it a weak bow for sneaky archers who will want to do a lot of damage in the first hit.

3 Dwarven Black Bow Of Fate

Skyrim Dwarven Black Bow Of Fate

The Dragonborn can obtain this powerful bow after solving the puzzle inside the Dwemer ruin of Kagrumez. It has a base damage of 13 similar to an Elven Bow, but its special ability is really what makes it worthwhile.

  • 13 Base Damage
  • 50% Chance to Absorb Magicka, Health, Or Stamina

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With each strike, it has a 50% of triggering the absorption of health, magicka, and/or stamina. While it’s not a guaranteed absorption like with Harkon’s Sword, it’s almost double the points, and players will be fighting from a distance rather than taking damage in melee so they’ll hardly notice the tradeoff.

2 Nightingale Bow

Skyrim Nightingale Bow

This bow is wielded by Karliah a member of the Nightingales, who gives it to the player during a Thieves Guild quest. This leveled bow is great for lower level players. It’ll rise in power as they level up, before capping with a base damage of 19 once the player is level 45.

  • 19 Base Damage
  • 30 Freeze Damage
  • 15 Shock Damage

Its special effect also improves, and at level 45 gives the player the ability to freeze targets for 30 points and shock them for 15. With decent base damage and the elemental boost added on, players can deal a whopping 64 points of base damage, assuming there are no resistances.

1 Auriel’s Bow

Skyrim Auriel's Bow

The ability to damage foes from a distance where they can’t retaliate makes bows naturally the strongest weapons in the game. Thus, it’s no surprise that Auriel’s Bow is the most powerful weapon a player can find in Skyrim.

  • 13 Base Damage
  • 20 Sun Damage
  • 60 Sun Damage Vs Undead

Once wielded by the Elven god Auri-El himself, this bow deals 13 base damage with 20 points of sun damage stacked on top for 33 points of damage and has a faster rate of fire than the average bow. This weapon is even more powerful against the undead, as sun damage triples, meaning a single shot can deal 73 points of base damage.

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