The Alik'r Warrior
I've seen a few different Alik'r builds on the internet, but most of them, my own Desert Spellsword included, seem to rely a good bit on magic. Conversely, the Alik’r seen ingame don’t use magic at all in combat (though you get to see Kematu use a Paralyze spell if you side with him during the related quest). Inspired by this, I decided to make an Alik’r build that stayed away from magic, using only combat and stealth skills. This build actually has a lot in common with my Rurouni (mostly due to the fact that both are 0 AR, single sword combatants) but I feel it differentiates itself enough to warrant being posted. Now then, let's get on with the build!
Race: Redguard, of course. This build is based off of the Alik’r seen ingame, after all. Aside from that, it provides the best skill boosts for the build (+10 to One-Handed, +5 to Smithing and Block), Adrenaline Rush is a useful power for this character, and the 50% Poison Resistance stacks with Snakeblood to provide complete Poison Immunity.
Stone: Since this build lacks any sort of defense against magic, and certain magic attacks (such as shock spells or midrange dragon breath attacks) are hard to avoid, I went with the Atronach. Be sure to drink any Fortify Restoration potions you have before selecting the stone to increase its magnitude.
Stats: 0/2/1. Like I said, no magic, so focus on health and stamina.
Shouts: Slow Time is used for a particularly important combo, so pick up the word for it in Hag’s End (you don’t need to get the other two). Aside from that, Elemental Fury provides a quick and easy way to take down tough targets, Aura Whisper and Throw Voice are great for stealth, Become Ethereal is an easy way to avoid ranged attacks, Whirlwind Sprint enables you to close in on your enemies quickly and finally, Unrelenting Force is a great crowd control tool.
Equipment: Scimitar (look at the image below for an easy place to find one), Alik’r Hood, Hammerfell Garb, Redguard Boots (all three articles of clothing can be bought at Radiant Raiment), and a necklace/ring with whatever useful enchantments that you can find. The Dark Brotherhood opens up some alternative equipment options for you, more on this later.
At the red dot, you’ll find an overturned boat with a Scimitar underneath.
One-Handed: Any Alik’r worth his salt is skilled in the use of one-handed blades, particularly scimitars. You’ll want to grab Armsman and the power attack perks. Later on, you can grab Bladesman as well.
Block: Without any armor rating, being able to block and dodge incoming blows is absolutely essential. Grab all the perks in this tree. Block Runner and Shield Charge are used for certain tactics this build uses, hence the reason for perking the left side of the tree.
Sneak: While the Alik’r are skilled duelists, that doesn’t mean they fight all their battles as if they were honorable duels. Rather, they value the ability to get the jump on their opponents. You’ll want to max out Stealth and grab Backstab as well. Later on, you can perk your way up the left side of the tree to Silence.
Lockpicking: Remember the Alik’r Prisoner you encounter during In My Time of Need (assuming you took Saadia’s side)? The one stuck in a jail cell and is forced to bargain with you so you’ll pay the guard his fine, only for the guard to conveniently misplace the key? Yeah, don’t be like him; always have a way out. Besides, there’s lots of treasure to be found for those good at lockpicking. Personally, I think Locksmith and Unbreakable take all the challenge out of it, so I avoided perking them, getting Novice – Master Locks along with Golden Touch and Treasure Hunter instead.
Smithing: All you need here is a single perk in Steel Smithing for keeping your Scimitar honed to a razor’s edge.
Alchemy: Some Alik’r choose to brew different potions and poisons in order to gain an edge in battle. Grab everything in this tree except for Experimenter and Purity.
You should be at level 55 once the build is completed.
Potion of Canis Root, One-Handed Ingredient, and Marksman Ingredient: With the Alik’r, I mostly stuck to simple, single-effect concoctions, but this was the exception. Due to a glitch, fortify marksman potions boost all forms of physical damage, not just archery damage. With the addition of fortify one-handed, your sword damage will be boosted twice as much.
Restore Health: As your primary means of healing, you'll want to have a bunch of potions with this effect on you at all times.
Restore Stamina: Given the importance of Stamina to a warrior build, the usefulness of this effect should be obvious.
Invisibility: Having trouble sneaking up on an enemy? This effect will make it much easier.
Paralysis: A great poison for tight situations; just hit a strong enemy with this to give yourself some breathing room.
The Alik’r seen in Skyrim are mercenaries, making it the choice occupation of the Alik’r Warrior. Since you’re only staying in Skyrim for a little while, don’t bother buying a house; though feel free to use a non-respawning container to store your things. As far as quests go, there are plenty of bounty quests and the like that are a good fit for a mercenary, but as a mercenary, you generally shouldn’t bother with doing any quests out of the goodness of your heart, only the ones that promise payment. With regards to specific quests to do, they are as follows:
Main Quest: While there are no roleplaying reasons to do this questline, it’s worthwhile playing up to the completion of The Horn of Jurgen Windcaller for access to some nice shouts.
In My Time of Need: Considering that it’s the only quest in the game where the Alik’r play a significant role, this is a natural choice for the Alik'r Warrior. It’s up to you how you want to complete it; you don’t have any need to kill the Alik’r for their equipment and the game doesn’t really indicate which side is telling the truth. You could even ignore this quest if you so choose.
Companions: Their radiant quests are ideal for a mercenary-type character, and if you choose to take on Lycanthropy, you’ll have total disease immunity to compliment your poison immunity.
Thieves Guild: A great place to get in touch with your greedier side, and practice some of your stealth skills while you’re at it.
Dark Brotherhood: You can easily tack on the Shrouded Hand Wraps to the existing equipment loadout for doubled backstab damage, and near the end of the questline you can get Windshear, a unique Scimitar that paralyzes enemies for a tenth of a second when you bash them with it. If you decide to use it, you’ll also want to grab the Arcane Blacksmith perk so you can temper it. However, it’s bugged in that it staggers on every strike, making it too overpowered for my liking. So, instead of joining the Dark Brotherhood, I opted to…
Destroy the Dark Brotherhood: With this option, you can still get the Shrouded Hand Wraps if you so choose, but you can also loot Nazir’s unique version of the Alik’r outfit, giving you an alternative look if you ever desire it.
Extended Slow Time: By using one word of Slow Time immediately after the slowdown effect of Quick Reflexes ends, Slow Time’s duration is extended significantly. This is absurdly useful for the Alik’r and by far the most effective of all his techniques, allowing him to effortlessly dodge his opponents and defeat them before the Slow Time effect even ends.
Quick Dodge: The slowdown effect from quick reflexes lingers a little after disengaging block. Thus, with good timing, you can disengage the block and use the lingering slowdown effect to dodge the power attack instead by sidestepping it, or better yet, circling around to the enemy’s back. This is particularly easy to do against opponents performing a charging power attack. Once you’ve dodged the attack, you can either follow up with an attack of your own or use Extended Slow Time.
Advanced Quick Dodge: Quick Reflexes works wonderfully when paired with Block Runner. With the two of them combined, you can use the slow time effect to avoid enemy attacks without disengaging block, enabling you to reap the benefits of quick reflexes while moving at full speed. You can basically run circles around your opponent while he’s forced to complete the power attack animation in slow motion. This becomes particular pronounced against groups of opponents, where any one of them might be power attacking at a given time, giving quick reflexes more opportunities to activate. In the off chance that an attack does connect, however, it’ll be hitting your sword rather than your soft flesh, as a result of staying in block.
Shadowstrike: This is a fairly well-known trick by now, but if you have Critical Charge, use Silent Roll and then use a power attack at the end of the roll, the resulting sneak attack will also deal the double critical damage of Critical Charge. Be sure to judge your distance with this one; too far and you’ll alert enemies to your presence, too close and you’ll bump into your enemy, thereby becoming detected and foiling the sneak attack.
Sword Charge: By sprinting into an enemy and pressing the block button the moment you make contact, you can activate Shield Charge without actually using a shield. Needless to say, it’s a useful tactic for the Alik’r.
Ethereal Strike: The problem I have with Paralyzing Strike is that performing a backwards power attack usually puts you out of range of your opponent. An easy way to get around this is by waiting until your enemy starts advancing on you before using it, but doing so usually results in you getting hit as well. This isn’t too big a deal for armored builds but it can be disastrous for a 0 AR one. Thus, by using Become Ethereal first, you can use Paralyzing Strike without fear (or stamina, for that matter).
The basic battle plan with the Alik’r is as follows. Start off battles by sneaking if you can, moving into the ideal position to hit an enemy with a Shadowstrike. Once detected, one of your opponents will likely charge at you with a power attack, so use Quick Dodge to avoid it, and then launch into Extended Slow Time, using your other techniques as well as your shouts and alchemical concoctions as necessary to defeat your attackers. However, there are other strategies to keep in mind when in battle.
One of the most important things to do when fighting as the Alik’r is to keep moving. The nice thing about one-handed weapons is that you can stay in motion while swinging your weapon, unlike two-handers, where you slow down to a crawl during swings. Thus, you should always try to keep moving in order to avoid enemy attacks, stopping only when absolutely necessary (such as to perform a power attack). If you’re unable to avoid an attack, stop it with a well-timed block, or better yet, preempt it with a bash if you can.
Another useful strategy is to move in close enough to your opponent to bait them into attacking, but far enough away that you can dodge it. When you do, you can follow up with a couple swings of your own. In some cases, and with practice, you can even do an “in and out” type thing, moving in to hit your enemy, moving out before their attack hits you, then moving back in to hit them again, and so on.
Archers are perhaps the most difficult enemy to fight as the Alik’r, since it can be difficult to dodge arrows while in the midst of melee combat with other opponents. To counter this, all you have to do get close to the archer, which will prompt them to draw their melee weapon (usually a simple dagger). Unless you put a good deal of distance between you and the archer, they will stick with using their melee weapon instead, making them much more manageable.
Well, that’s it for this build. While it may have some obvious similarities to the Rurouni, it was still a fun build to play, and one that was (in my opinion, at least), worthwhile posting. If you liked this, then check out my other builds to see more!