Skyrim Skill Tree Guide

Ready yourself for Skyrim by delving into these skill trees and decide what character you want to play.

Skyrim's a few days out, and like so many others, we're just dying to turn it inside out and spend hundreds upon hundreds of hours with everything it has to offer. If Bethesda's past games are any indication, Skyrim will be modded—and then some—once players are through with the vanilla content.

Ryan Patrick of Armada Studio says he's freaking out about Skyrim and got tired of waiting for the release date, so he decided to redo the game's skill trees with beautiful graphics. The result is pretty much what you'd expect from a graphic designer: gorgeous.

This guide was inspired by Ryan O'Nan's fantastic illustrations on his blog.

Index

Skill tree: Restoration | Skill tree: Destruction | Skill tree: Conjuration | Skill tree: Illusion | Skill tree: Two-handed | Skill tree: Speech | Skill tree: Sneak | Skill tree: Smithing | Skill tree: Pickpocket | Skill tree: One-Handed | Skill tree: Lock picking | Skill tree: Light Armor | Skill tree: Heavy Armor | Skill tree: Enchanting | Skill tree: Block | Skill tree: Archery | Skill tree: Alteration | Skill tree: Alchemy

 

First up is the Restoration skill tree, which revolves around healing spells and buffs. Each upgrade on this tree helps to improve the effectiveness of your spells by reducing magicka usage and so forth.

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Skill tree: Restoration | Skill tree: Destruction | Skill tree: Conjuration | Skill tree: Illusion | Skill tree: Two-handed | Skill tree: Speech | Skill tree: Sneak | Skill tree: Smithing | Skill tree: Pickpocket | Skill tree: One-Handed | Skill tree: Lock picking | Skill tree: Light Armor | Skill tree: Heavy Armor | Skill tree: Enchanting | Skill tree: Block | Skill tree: Archery | Skill tree: Alteration | Skill tree: Alchemy

The Destruction skill tree is where it's at for offensive spellcasters. The tree is roughly focused on three elements: ice, fire, and lightning. Further improvements can extend the reach of your spells and reduce their magicka requirements.

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skyrim destruction skill tree

Skill tree: Restoration | Skill tree: Destruction | Skill tree: Conjuration | Skill tree: Illusion | Skill tree: Two-handed | Skill tree: Speech | Skill tree: Sneak | Skill tree: Smithing | Skill tree: Pickpocket | Skill tree: One-Handed | Skill tree: Lock picking | Skill tree: Light Armor | Skill tree: Heavy Armor | Skill tree: Enchanting | Skill tree: Block | Skill tree: Archery | Skill tree: Alteration | Skill tree: Alchemy

Conjuration allows you to summon elementals, demons and the undead. It even allows you to steal souls with Soul Trap and bind them to your weapons and armor.

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skyrim skill tree conjuration

Skill tree: Restoration | Skill tree: Destruction | Skill tree: Conjuration | Skill tree: Illusion | Skill tree: Two-handed | Skill tree: Speech | Skill tree: Sneak | Skill tree: Smithing | Skill tree: Pickpocket | Skill tree: One-Handed | Skill tree: Lock picking | Skill tree: Light Armor | Skill tree: Heavy Armor | Skill tree: Enchanting | Skill tree: Block | Skill tree: Archery | Skill tree: Alteration | Skill tree: Alchemy

The Illusion skill tree caters to the sneaky player, and offers a variety of spells that allow you to mislead, entrance, and enrage your opponents into killing one another while you sneak under the cover of darkness and pick them off one by one.

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skyrim illusion skill tree

Skill tree: Restoration | Skill tree: Destruction | Skill tree: Conjuration | Skill tree: Illusion | Skill tree: Two-handed | Skill tree: Speech | Skill tree: Sneak | Skill tree: Smithing | Skill tree: Pickpocket | Skill tree: One-Handed | Skill tree: Lock picking | Skill tree: Light Armor | Skill tree: Heavy Armor | Skill tree: Enchanting | Skill tree: Block | Skill tree: Archery | Skill tree: Alteration | Skill tree: Alchemy

The Two-Handed skill tree is for warriors who carry big weapons and charge into the fray, bringing death as they deliver deadly blows to all who stand in their way.

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skyrim skill trees

Skill tree: Restoration | Skill tree: Destruction | Skill tree: Conjuration | Skill tree: Illusion | Skill tree: Two-handed | Skill tree: Speech | Skill tree: Sneak | Skill tree: Smithing | Skill tree: Pickpocket | Skill tree: One-Handed | Skill tree: Lock picking | Skill tree: Light Armor | Skill tree: Heavy Armor | Skill tree: Enchanting | Skill tree: Block | Skill tree: Archery | Skill tree: Alteration | Skill tree: Alchemy

Speech allows you to intimidate, persuade, and bribe your way into, and out of difficult situations. It also improves your standing with merchants, allowing you to haggle and get better deals.

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skyrim speech skill tree

Skill tree: Restoration | Skill tree: Destruction | Skill tree: Conjuration | Skill tree: Illusion | Skill tree: Two-handed | Skill tree: Speech | Skill tree: Sneak | Skill tree: Smithing | Skill tree: Pickpocket | Skill tree: One-Handed | Skill tree: Lock picking | Skill tree: Light Armor | Skill tree: Heavy Armor | Skill tree: Enchanting | Skill tree: Block | Skill tree: Archery | Skill tree: Alteration | Skill tree: Alchemy

Sneak is for the stealthy player, who hides his or her movement within the shadows. Your skills at taking out enemies quickly and quietly are improved thanks to bonuses to sneak attacks with bows and daggers.

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skyrim sneak skill tree

Skill tree: Restoration | Skill tree: Destruction | Skill tree: Conjuration | Skill tree: Illusion | Skill tree: Two-handed | Skill tree: Speech | Skill tree: Sneak | Skill tree: Smithing | Skill tree: Pickpocket | Skill tree: One-Handed | Skill tree: Lock picking | Skill tree: Light Armor | Skill tree: Heavy Armor | Skill tree: Enchanting | Skill tree: Block | Skill tree: Archery | Skill tree: Alteration | Skill tree: Alchemy

The Smithing skill tree lets you forge your own weapons and armor, from basic steel to glass smithing to dragon armor. It's an arms race, and you'd better be the one to win it.

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skyrim smithing skill tree

Skill tree: Restoration | Skill tree: Destruction | Skill tree: Conjuration | Skill tree: Illusion | Skill tree: Two-handed | Skill tree: Speech | Skill tree: Sneak | Skill tree: Smithing | Skill tree: Pickpocket | Skill tree: One-Handed | Skill tree: Lock picking | Skill tree: Light Armor | Skill tree: Heavy Armor | Skill tree: Enchanting | Skill tree: Block | Skill tree: Archery | Skill tree: Alteration | Skill tree: Alchemy

Besides pilfering gold and stealing keys, the Pickpocket skill tree allows you to steal your enemies' weapons right out of their hands, leaving them defenseless to your attacks. You can even plant poison into their inventory, killing them before they even know what hit them.

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skyrim pickpocket skill tree

Skill tree: Restoration | Skill tree: Destruction | Skill tree: Conjuration | Skill tree: Illusion | Skill tree: Two-handed | Skill tree: Speech | Skill tree: Sneak | Skill tree: Smithing | Skill tree: Pickpocket | Skill tree: One-Handed | Skill tree: Lock picking | Skill tree: Light Armor | Skill tree: Heavy Armor | Skill tree: Enchanting | Skill tree: Block | Skill tree: Archery | Skill tree: Alteration | Skill tree: Alchemy

The One-handed skill tree allows you to focus your skills on becoming a bladesman capable of dishing out critical strikes, or an armsman who focuses on the strength of his or her attacks. Each skill improves your combat ability.

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skyrim one handed

Skill tree: Restoration | Skill tree: Destruction | Skill tree: Conjuration | Skill tree: Illusion | Skill tree: Two-handed | Skill tree: Speech | Skill tree: Sneak | Skill tree: Smithing | Skill tree: Pickpocket | Skill tree: One-Handed | Skill tree: Lock picking | Skill tree: Light Armor | Skill tree: Heavy Armor | Skill tree: Enchanting | Skill tree: Block | Skill tree: Archery | Skill tree: Alteration | Skill tree: Alchemy

Lock Picking gives you the golden touch, allowing you to bypass and circumvent just about any mechanical obstacle in your way. These skills not only improve your ability to crack any locks, but also improve your chances at finding special treasure.

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lock picking skill tree

Skill tree: Restoration | Skill tree: Destruction | Skill tree: Conjuration | Skill tree: Illusion | Skill tree: Two-handed | Skill tree: Speech | Skill tree: Sneak | Skill tree: Smithing | Skill tree: Pickpocket | Skill tree: One-Handed | Skill tree: Lock picking | Skill tree: Light Armor | Skill tree: Heavy Armor | Skill tree: Enchanting | Skill tree: Block | Skill tree: Archery | Skill tree: Alteration | Skill tree: Alchemy

Light armor is for the agile defender, who relies on his or her deft movements to swiftly circle the battlefield in an unhindered manner. Who needs heavy armor when you've got speed at your side?

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light armor skill tree

Skill tree: Restoration | Skill tree: Destruction | Skill tree: Conjuration | Skill tree: Illusion | Skill tree: Two-handed | Skill tree: Speech | Skill tree: Sneak | Skill tree: Smithing | Skill tree: Pickpocket | Skill tree: One-Handed | Skill tree: Lock picking | Skill tree: Light Armor | Skill tree: Heavy Armor | Skill tree: Enchanting | Skill tree: Block | Skill tree: Archery | Skill tree: Alteration | Skill tree: Alchemy

Heavy Armor benefits the tank—an immovable juggernaut who stands his or her ground on the battlefield, taking blow by treacherous blow with aplomb.

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skyrim heavy armor skill tree

Skill tree: Restoration | Skill tree: Destruction | Skill tree: Conjuration | Skill tree: Illusion | Skill tree: Two-handed | Skill tree: Speech | Skill tree: Sneak | Skill tree: Smithing | Skill tree: Pickpocket | Skill tree: One-Handed | Skill tree: Lock picking | Skill tree: Light Armor | Skill tree: Heavy Armor | Skill tree: Enchanting | Skill tree: Block | Skill tree: Archery | Skill tree: Alteration | Skill tree: Alchemy

Enchanting allows you to imbue your weapons and armor with various enchantments, greatly improving their usefulness. You'll have an edge against your opponents when you smite them with your elemental weaponry.

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skyrim enchantment skill tree

Skill tree: Restoration | Skill tree: Destruction | Skill tree: Conjuration | Skill tree: Illusion | Skill tree: Two-handed | Skill tree: Speech | Skill tree: Sneak | Skill tree: Smithing | Skill tree: Pickpocket | Skill tree: One-Handed | Skill tree: Lock picking | Skill tree: Light Armor | Skill tree: Heavy Armor | Skill tree: Enchanting | Skill tree: Block | Skill tree: Archery | Skill tree: Alteration | Skill tree: Alchemy

The Block skill tree allows you to deflect enemy attacks and bash the weapons right out of their hands. Your quick reflexes will protect you from their power attacks and allow you to knock your opponents down with brute strength.

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skyrim block skill tree

Skill tree: Restoration | Skill tree: Destruction | Skill tree: Conjuration | Skill tree: Illusion | Skill tree: Two-handed | Skill tree: Speech | Skill tree: Sneak | Skill tree: Smithing | Skill tree: Pickpocket | Skill tree: One-Handed | Skill tree: Lock picking | Skill tree: Light Armor | Skill tree: Heavy Armor | Skill tree: Enchanting | Skill tree: Block | Skill tree: Archery | Skill tree: Alteration | Skill tree: Alchemy

Some prefer to be up close and personal, others rely on their skill at Archery to take enemies out from a distance, picking them off one by one before eliminating the survivors. Reach out and touch someone.

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skyrim archery skill tree

Skill tree: Restoration | Skill tree: Destruction | Skill tree: Conjuration | Skill tree: Illusion | Skill tree: Two-handed | Skill tree: Speech | Skill tree: Sneak | Skill tree: Smithing | Skill tree: Pickpocket | Skill tree: One-Handed | Skill tree: Lock picking | Skill tree: Light Armor | Skill tree: Heavy Armor | Skill tree: Enchanting | Skill tree: Block | Skill tree: Archery | Skill tree: Alteration | Skill tree: Alchemy

Alteration allows you to alter the very fabric of nature, changing physics to your whim and bypassing the limits that would otherwise leave you vulnerable. This skill allows you to run fast, carry more items, and absorb enemy spells with ease.

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skyrim alteration skill tree

Skill tree: Restoration | Skill tree: Destruction | Skill tree: Conjuration | Skill tree: Illusion | Skill tree: Two-handed | Skill tree: Speech | Skill tree: Sneak | Skill tree: Smithing | Skill tree: Pickpocket | Skill tree: One-Handed | Skill tree: Lock picking | Skill tree: Light Armor | Skill tree: Heavy Armor | Skill tree: Enchanting | Skill tree: Block | Skill tree: Archery | Skill tree: Alteration | Skill tree: Alchemy

The Alchemy skill tree will allow you to become the Walter White of Skyrim. By brewing your own potions and poisons, and collecting the herbs and ingredients necessary for their creation, you'll be well on your way to becoming the continent's greatest chemist.

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skyrim alchemy skill tree