Skyrim Stealth Archer Build Guide

Skyrim Stealth Archer Build Guide 2023

Are you searching for Skyrim Stealth Archer Build Guide? In the vast world of Skyrim, where axes and fireballs have their limitations, the well-placed arrow takes center stage. The art of sniping in Skyrim allows you to hit targets as far as your gaming device can render them. When done stealthily, it’s not just a skill; it’s a stylish way of eliminating foes. Enter the legendary Stealth Archer build, a powerhouse setup in one of the most beloved Western RPGs of all time. But is it as complex as it seems? Not at all, and we’ll show you just how to master it.

Choosing the Best Race for a Stealth Archer Build

Selecting the right race for your Stealth Archer is a crucial decision that can significantly impact your gameplay. While it’s possible to create a viable stealth archer with any race, certain races offer distinct bonuses and abilities that give you a head start in this role. Here are three standout race choices:

Bosmer (Wood Elves):

  • Special Abilities:
    • Command Animal (Makes an animal an ally for 60 seconds)
    • Resist Disease and Poison (50% resistance to poison and disease)
  • Skill Bonuses:
    • +10 Archery
    • +5 Alchemy
    • +5 Light Armor
    • +5 Lockpicking
    • +5 Pickpocket
    • +5 Sneak


  • Special Abilities:
    • Night Eye (Allows seeing in the dark for 60 seconds, unlimited uses per day)
    • Claws (Unarmed attacks deal 22 points of damage)
  • Skill Bonuses:
    • +10 Sneak
    • +5 Alchemy
    • +5 Archery
    • +5 Lockpicking
    • +5 Pickpocket
    • +5 One-Handed

Orsimer (Orcs):

  • Special Abilities:
    • Berserker Rage (Takes half damage and deals double damage for 60 seconds, excluding spells)
  • Skill Bonuses:
    • +10 Heavy Armor
    • +5 Block
    • +5 Enchanting
    • +5 One-Handed
    • +5 Smithing
    • +5 Two-Handed

While Bosmer is the traditional choice for Stealth Archers due to their Archery skill bonus, Khajit offers Night Eye for improved visibility in the dark. Orsimer, often overlooked, provides the powerful Berserker Rage ability, which synergizes exceptionally well with archery. Consider your playstyle and preferences when choosing your race.

Best Standing Stone for a Stealth Archer Build

Skyrim Stealth Archer Build Guide
Skyrim Stealth Archer Build Guide

At the beginning of your adventure, you’ll encounter three Standing Stones to choose from: Warrior, Mage, and Thief. Despite the in-game text suggesting that the Warrior Stone benefits Archery, it’s actually the Thief Stone that provides this advantage. However, if you’re using the Unofficial Skyrim Patch, opt for the Warrior Stone. Here’s why:

  • Thief Stone (with Unofficial Skyrim Patch): Boosts Archery skill.
  • Warrior Stone (without Unofficial Skyrim Patch): Enhances Archery skill.

The choice between the two depends on your mod usage. Additionally, Skyrim offers a variety of other Standing Stones that can provide alternative benefits as your character progresses.

Skills, Perks, and Leveling Up for a Stealth Archer

Primary Skills: Sneak and Archery

  • Sneak:
    • Key Perks: Muffled Movement, Backstab, Silence, Shadow Warrior
    • These perks enhance your stealth capabilities, allowing you to move quietly, deal devastating sneak attack damage, and disappear from combat momentarily.
  • Archery:
    • Key Perks: Eagle Eye, Ranger, Quick Shot
    • These perks improve your archery skills, granting the ability to zoom in while aiming, move faster with a drawn bow, and draw your bow faster.

Secondary Skills: Light Armor, Illusion, Pickpocket, Speech

  • Light Armor:
    • Key Perks: Custom Fit, Unhindered, Wind Walker, Deft Movement
    • Light Armor enhances your agility and survivability, with perks that boost armor bonuses, eliminate weight penalties, and provide damage avoidance.
  • Illusion (optional):
    • Key Perks: Kindred Mage, Rage, Master of the Mind
    • If you wish to incorporate illusionary magic, these perks can amplify your stealthy capabilities by influencing higher-level NPCs, inducing frenzy, and affecting undead, daedra, and automatons.
  • Pickpocket (optional):
    • Key Perks: Poisoned, Extra Pockets, Perfect Touch
    • Pickpocketing skills allow you to silently harm enemies, increase carrying capacity, and steal equipped items.
  • Speech (optional):
    • Key Perks: Bribery, Merchant, Persuasion, Master Trader
    • Enhance your speechcraft to bribe guards, sell any item to any merchant, and improve persuasion attempts.

Leveling Up

  1. Prioritize Health: Increase your Health pool almost every time you level up to ensure survival during challenging encounters.
  2. Invest in Stamina: Allocate points to Stamina for improved bow drawing speed and maneuverability when needed.
  3. Consider Magicka (for Illusion): If you incorporate Illusion magic, invest in Magicka as required.

Best Weapons, Armor, and Potions/Poisons | Skyrim Stealth Archer Build Guide

Skyrim Stealth Archer Build Guide

Bows vs. Crossbows

  • Crossbows (Dawnguard Expansion):
    • Pros: Faster shooting, higher damage per shot, reloads faster.
    • Cons: Heavier, limited types of bolts, slower rate of fire.
    • Best Crossbow: Enhanced Dwarven Crossbow (available through the Dawnguard faction).
  • Bows:
    • Pros: Lighter, various arrow types, more suitable for stealth.
    • Cons: Slower shooting, lower damage per shot.
    • Best Bow: Dragonbone Bow (requires Smithing level 100 and Dragon Armor perk) or Karliah’s Bow (console command only).


  • Ancient Shrouded Armor Set:
    • Provides immunity to poison, muffles footsteps, and increases bow damage by 35%.
    • Acquired during the Dark Brotherhood questline.
  • Nightingale Armor Set (Alternative):
    • Offers bonuses to lockpicking and illusion spells.
    • Obtained through the Thieves’ Guild questline.

Potions and Poisons

  • Create or purchase potions and poisons to enhance your combat effectiveness:
    • Fortify Light Armor, Fortify Marksman, Fortify Sneak: Boost your armor, archery, and sneaking abilities.
    • Invisibility: Render yourself invisible for sneak attacks.
    • Ravage Health, Damage Health: Weaken and damage foes.
    • Damage Magicka: Disrupt enemy spellcasting.

Best Followers for a Stealth Archer Build

As a stealth archer, you may opt to adventure solo due to the potential drawbacks of having a follower. However, if you desire a companion, consider these followers:

  • Aranea Ienith: A mage follower with no moral objections (max level 30).
  • Eola: A nightblade follower with no moral objections (max level 30).
  • Mjoll the Lioness: A warrior follower with no moral objections (max level 40).
  • Jenassa: A ranger follower with no moral objections (max level 40).
  • Teldryn Sero: A spellsword follower with no moral objections (max level 60).
  • Aela the Huntress: A ranger follower with a tolerance for crimes (max level 50).
  • Initiate: An assassin follower with no moral objections (max level 100).

Ultimately, the Stealth Archer build in Skyrim offers a thrilling and versatile playstyle. Whether you prefer picking off enemies from the shadows or engaging in full-on combat, mastering this build will make you an unstoppable force in the land of Skyrim.

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