Character Build: The Claymore

Their organization has no name. All that is known about them is that they split off from the Vigil of Stendarr in the early Fourth Era due to their heretical method used to combat daedra, vampires, and other abominations. Said method was to infuse a warrior with the blood of a vampire, giving them unparalleled strength and speed, but forever rendering their own blood impure, something which has potential implications on their souls. These warriors are known as Claymores on account of the large swords they carry, and due to their vampiric blood, they are viewed with suspicion by the masses, but when it comes to hunting abominations, there is no one better.


The Claymore

Heavy Armor is slow and clunky. Two-Handed weapons are arguably even slower and clunkier. So only a guy who has made way too many builds like me would look at those two things and think: “I want to make a nimble warrior out of this.” Yes, that is exactly what I’m trying to accomplish with this build. Thus, in order to force myself to rely on dodging rather than tanking despite wearing heavy armor, I left my heavy armor skill completely unperked along with no magic defense, but used the Steed Stone via the Aetherial Crown to make sure my character could move with grace in heavy armor. The result was an unusual, but rewarding to play warrior.

Race: For both aesthetics and gameplay a (female vampire) Nord is your best bet. They get some nice skill boosts for the build (+10 Two-Handed and +5 Block), and both their 50% Frost Resistance and Battlecry power are quite useful for the build.

Skills: Two-Handed, Heavy Armor, Block, Restoration, Enchanting.

Stone: The Claymore uses the Lady augmented with fortify restoration potions and Nercomage Vampirism in order to achieve advanced healing capabilities. By drinking an Elixir, then Philter, then another Elixir of the Healer, you can boost the Claymore’s regenerative capabilities to 45% health and stamina regeneration. Add in Necromage Vampirism and you get 56% regeneration.

Stats: 0/2/1. Your base 100 magicka is enough for the Claymore’s needs, leaving the focus on health and stamina.

Shouts: You’ll want one word (and one word only) of Slow Time for the combo with Quick Reflexes, so go to Hag’s End and pick that up. Aside from that, Elemental Fury is great for taking down tough targets, 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.

12347781491?profile=RESIZE_584x Equipment

Silver Greatsword (+20 damage against undead)

Aetherial Crown (Steed Stone)

Amulet of the Demonslayer (Gold Diamond Necklace with Two-Handed/Health Regen)

Claymore Plate (Steel Armor with Health/Stamina Regen)

Gauntlets of Vanquishing (Steel Nordic Gauntlets with Two-Handed/Block)

Beacon Ring (Gold Diamond Ring with Two-Handed/Health Regen)

Warding Boots (Steel Cuffed Boots with Two-Handed/Stamina Regen)

For the Steel Armor, go with the version that has the pauldrons. The Silver Greatsword can't be tempered and has low base damage, hence the reason for all of the fortify two-handed enchantments. Also, if you don’t have the Dawnguard DLC, simply go helmless and spend four perks to pick up Conditioning in the Heavy Armor tree.

Nothing too surprising here. Note that Shield Charge can actually be used without a shield, more on this later. Restoration is there for healing, obviously, as well as for Necromage-Vampire synergy.


I played my Claymore as a demon hunter of sorts, going after not only daedra and vampires, but any who would prey on the common folk. To that end, I pursued the Main Quest, Dawnguard and Dragonborn questlines, and completed any daedric quests that involved me messing up the Daedric Prince’s plans. I also played the Companions questline.

Regarding the Dawnguard questline, Isran will repeatedly become irate with you if you become a vampire and won’t let you progress through the questline unless you cure yourself. The way I chose to handle this was by waiting until after completing A New Order to contract vampirism, which meant that I would only have to cure myself once to complete the questline (right after starting Kindred Judgement). Afterwards, I had Serana turn me back into a vampire and stayed that way for the rest of the playthrough. 12347782673?profile=RESIZE_710x


As mentioned earlier, the Claymore relies on being quick and nimble in order to defeat foes in combat, which is why the Quick Reflexes + Slow Time combo is so useful. By using one word of Slow Time immediately after the slowdown effect of Quick Reflexes ends, Slow Time’s duration is extended significantly, with the result that it usually doesn’t end until most, if not all, the enemies in the vicinity are defeated.

Quick Reflexes also works nicely for dodging too; since its slowdown effect lingers a little after disengaging block, 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.

Regarding Shield Charge, it can be used without a shield by sprinting into an enemy and pressing the block button the moment you make contact with the enemy, sending them flying forward. I like to follow this up with Great Critical Charge; then continue to hammer them with sword strikes as they’re getting up.

Vampirism, in its normal form, doesn’t grant any boosts that would be particularly useful for the Claymore, certainly nothing that would grant “unparalleled strength and speed.” This is where the infamous Necromage-Vampire glitch comes into play, which makes any effects bestowed upon you will be 25% stronger and last 50% longer. In particular, this will boost the effectiveness of your most important shouts (Slow Time, Elemental Fury, and Become Ethereal). The improved Elemental Fury will be especially useful, turning the Claymore into an absolute death machine.

In moments of extreme duress, Claymores are capable of awakening the vampiric blood within them to become a Vampire Lord. Limited magicka forces you to be sparing with your blood magic usage, meaning you’ll be relying on your claws a lot. Therefore, I recommend filling out the center part of the perk tree as soon as you can. Also, note that using Slow Time before transformation will enable you to transform much faster than your enemies can react, preventing them from attacking you during this vulnerable time.



Those of you who are familiar with the source material have likely already figured out that this build is based on the Claymores seen in the anime/manga series of the same name. If you’re interested, there's a mod that lets you wield a claymore (as in the sword) like the ones seen in the series, but the texture doesn’t look that great, if you ask me. As always, if you liked this, then check out my other builds to see more!

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  • Ooh I love this manga series! The anime not so much.
  • Albino, after having watched Claymore, and started the manga, I appreciate this wonderful little build even more now

    • Thanks Chris

  • Huge fan of Claymore. The manga, not the anime series they half assed and cut off early. 

  • Hey Albino, truly beautiful Build. I rarely use Two Handed weapons as they're so damn slow. But this - I like this. Oh you hit Rank:Adept

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