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Character Build: The "Bound Targe" Archer

Tags: #Character Build Archer  #Character Build Bound Weapons  #Rank:Recognized  #Shield  #Conjuration  #Bash  #Block  #Blooded  #Combo  #Targe. 
  • April 17, 2013

    At it's heart, this is a combo build.  She uses Bound Bow to instantly conjure the Targe of the Blooded from inventory when the spell times out.  Normally the point of greatest vulnerability for Bound Weapons, your Armor, Magic Resistance, and Bashes actually get more powerful, and let you bash out of the melee to recast,  This also works with any single hand weapons, or spells as well.

    Name: Elbereth.

    Race: Altmer for Magicka, and Mobility.

    Shouts: Whirlwind Sprint, Unrelenting Force, Ice Form, Aura Whisper, Dragonrend.


    Archery: Overdraw, Eagle Eye, Power Shot, Quick Shot.

    Block:  Shield Wall, Power Bash, Deflect Arrows, Deadly Bash, Elemental Protection, Block Runner, Shield Charge.

    Conjuration: Novice-Expert, Mystic Binding, Summoner, Atromancy, Elemental Potency, Twin Souls.

    Light Armor: Agile Defender, Custom Fit, Unhindered, Wind Walker.


    Heavy Armor: Juggernaut (With Robes of Conjuration.)

    Sneak: Stealth(1) Backstab, Deadly Aim.

    Stats: Nothing but Health, she can wear enough Magicka to cast her spells with the discount perks, Robes, and/or Vokun.  All have Durations, so she doesn't have to Spam.


    First, decide whether you want to go Light, or Medium.  Either uses Heavy Shields, the deciding factors are Stamina Regeneration, or Magicka Regeneration, and some of the available Pre-Enchanted items.

    Either of the Imperial Kite Shields are good starters, easy to get, and good coverage for Deflect Arrows.  Hold Guard Shields are lightweight (though classed Heavy Armor) and have your choice of Heraldry. 

    On the other end of the spectrum, Ebony, Dragonplate, and Daedric Shields do the most Bash Damage (Base Armor Rating.)  Ultimately, I use the Targe of the Blooded, but any of these other three are good for Draugr, and others who don't bleed. 

    I went Heavy Armor for some of the Dragon Priest MasksRahgot for more Bashes, Otar to stack with Elemental Protection, and Vokun to lower casting costs. For added physical defense, Tullius' Armor was the main incentive to finish the Stormcloak's side of the Civil War arc.

    Robes of Conjuration, I stuck with Adept mostly for looks.

    Krosis is a good fit for the Light version, has a lot of armor, and adds damage.  Stack with the Gauntlets of the Old Gods for a 40%.  The Savior's Hide matches the bracers, with whatever boots.  I favor Stormcloak Officers'.

    The Gauldur Amulet, I also swap this for Savos'.  Namira's Ring.


    Primarily the Bound Bow, but I also carry either the Gauldur Blackbow, or a Drainspell Bow for mages.  I usually start with the Longbow>Hunting Bow>Imperial Bow>Foresworn Bow until I get the Bound one.    Also, solid bows don't do the autoswap when they time out, or you sheathe, so the transitions are a little different.  Some Arrows, of course, for these solid backups, but Ancient Nord are good enough to Absorb the Magicka you need to recast the primary.


    Bound Bow is Adept, so you either have to work up to 40 Conjuration to buy it from most spell vendors, or grab it from Fort Amol Prison.  The main reason I went with Altmer is they can cast it with a Novice Hood, or the Atronach Stone, which is in the neighborhood.  (Until you start Summoning, then the Lord, or Lady are better.  By then, you should have Sigdis', or Savos' Amulets.)

    Flaming Familiar is a good Apprentice Conjuration trainer, because you end up spamming it like Fireball.  With a shield, and Elemental Protection, you can get away with using it in close quarters to a degree, but it's generally better to stand behind cover, and let it run around.

    Atronachs are good for fire support while you turtle up.  Once you get to Dremora Lord, you can let him tank, and cover him, or turtle/bash in close quarters while he handles the damage dealing.  I mostly used a Frost Atronach in this role until I got Expert Conjuration.  Storm Atronachs help you shoot down Dragons, especially with Twin Souls, and eventually, you can get Storm Thralls to conserve your Magicka.

    With Atromancy, the Atronachs have the same duration as Dremora Lords, and the Bound Bow, which you have to cast after the summon.  The summons timing out is a warning that you're about to lose your bow, so you can prepare to recast, or stand your ground, and bash your way out of the Melee. 

    Elbereth training up Archery by "Juggling Trolls" in Labrynthian.  They heal while you wear the other down.

    Strategy, and Tactics

    For the most part, use standard Archer Strategy, stay out of reach, try not to get surrounded, start off with a Sneak Shot if you can.  Even in Heavy Armor, you can cast the bow out of ear shot, and get within the range undetected.  I crouch right before the shot, and to get the eye to tell me if they know I'm there, then stand up for mobility as soon as the alarm is raised.

    The shield is a Tactical backup for when you get rushed, or the bow times out.  It allows you to "Turtle Up" and bash your way out.  When charged, I bow bash for an opening, and sheathe backpedaling, or side-step.  Once you get Shield Charge, you can just bulldoze the melee, and recast while they're getting back up.  You're weak in the melee, but also have the highest Defence.  Whirlwind Sprint is especially useful for this, so I keep it cued up by default.  Unrelenting Force, or Ice Form can also clear a lane, or stop a Blitz so you can keep shooting.

    Summons are used to keep the enemy focused on them while you support them with Arrows.  Tactically, they also double as Damage Dealers while you turtle up.  Followers can fill the same roles in Mixed unit Tactics, especially with the "Wait Here" (Fire Support) and "Attack Him" (Tank) commands.  You can also mix/match to have all three combat types on the field.  For example, you could have a Housecarl for the Tank, and Flame Artronach for Mobile Artillery Magic while you play Archer.  With Twin Souls, you can even expand this to a 4 man band (With a Dremora Lord, Storm Thrall, and Brelyna, for example.) or up to 5 if the Follower also Summons.

    Note, these tactics work with Wind Shear instead of the Targe of the Blooded.  The main differences being: 1) Neither Block, nor Elemental Protection, 2) Stagger for no Stamina, 3) Critical Charge instead of Shield Charge, 4) Bladesman adds a Critical Chance instead of the unperked Bleed damage 5) Slight lag from drawing the sword instead of the quickbash, 7)  Reverses the button mapping with the Scimitar in the right hand, and Spell in the left.  It also costs a lot more Perks in One Handed. 

    You also have to run the Dark Brotherhood to get it, rather than the Main Quest to Mzark, so Light Armor would be a better idea.  I chose to post the Targe variant over the Scimmy because it's a bit more unique, and a lot more defensive turtled up.  In the end game, the ability to Bulldoze the melee with Shield Charge then recast is immensely powerful.


    Help out especially in the beginning, when you don't have the Targe, Bound Bow, or any powerful summons.  I started with Faendal for support fire while I ground up Block, then switched to either Uthgerd (Heavy) or Eric (Light) as another melee damage dealer.  Eric: the Slayer doesn't tank as well, but gets you busted less often when you're setting up for a Sneak Shot.  I finally went with Eola for her complimentary skillset, and the jewelry.  Jenassa is also another good choice.

    The Necro-Archer

    A variant with Necromancy instead of Summons to use Vampire Master Thralls.  Add Master Conjuration, Necromancy, and Dark Souls instead of Summoner, Atromancy, and Elemental Potency.

    The trade-off is that summons don't require a Body, so can be cast anywhere without killing someone for Raw material.  They can also be re-cast where you need them for a "Teleport" effect, especially either of the Tank summons.  Unfortunately, you're limited to two summons, and they're incompatible with Spell Absorbtion.

    With Necromancy, you can raise a small army with 2 Vampire Thralls, and Eola.  Those 3 can raise three more, quickly increasing your numbers to 7, if the secondary undead can't raise more on their own.  You can also stack up Spell Absorbtion without worrying about it swallowing your reinforcements.

    I Thrall Master Vampires, because they can raise more Undead, drain health, use weapons, and armor.  Along with Eola, they can handle a fight while you hang back, and pick off bodies for them to use.  Not as powerful to start as summons, but if there's enough enemies, your little army just gets stronger as they die.  I highly recommend the Civil War Questline (I went Empire to get Ulfric's Clothes) it doesn't matter which side.  This arc has the most massed battles to use your growing horde of undead, but either use the Ritual, or Thralls, because the former can cancel the latter.  Otherwise, you pretty much have to raid towns, or rampage through Solitude (Always fun) to really use them to their potential.

    Mixed-Unit Tactics

    The tradeoff for numbers, other than rustling Master Vampires (Pro-Tip: Dawnguard) is Control.  You can Command a Follower like Eola to "Attack Him" to designate a target, but the Dead Thralls will pretty much attack/rez who they do.  However, they can be outfitted, when they're dead (You have to let them be killed to adjust their equipment, but they're containers at this point, if they don't randomly ash.  They can glitch, randomly, so don't hand out anything too valuable.  

    However, a Dremora Lord (Doesn't require, nor use the Atromancy perks) can at least be recast from her to over there.  And fill in when you don't have spare bodies to Thrall.  He doesn't resurrect secondary undead, or drain life, and he does time out (Same duration as the bow)  though.  I'm basically saying if you have some idea where you're going, and what you should be up against, you can adjust your party, somewhat.  

    So, this is a Strategic style of play, with Mixed Unit Tactics, you're still the only one who's capable of critical thinking, triage, and sneak attacks.  So, it's your responsibility to take out the biggest threat, while your allies keep their's occupied.  Also, when to Sneak (Eola, and Vampies can do this too, Dremora Lords, just Don't.)  And when to do something else, like Bulldoze the melee with a Shield Charge, Ice Form, break it up with FRD...

    However, with Mystic Bow, and a shield, in addition to everything else in your squad, you generally can, more effectively than any other build I've been able to come up with.  Even in Book Quests, okay, no follower, and no usable corpses, but you can still throw 2 stompy beaters, and provide Fire Support.  If you know when to play King(Tank) Bishop(Archer) Rook(Shield Charge) Knight(Wuld) or Queen...

  • April 17, 2013

    Hopefully, this is a complete build without any need to edit it.  However, if there's some changes you'd like to see, I'll do what I can.

  • Member
    April 17, 2013

    people will probably tell you still to slow down with posting builds and all that….but this is a vast improvement over the last ones you have posted

  • AJ
    April 17, 2013

    Yeah, I think it's fine

  • Member
    April 17, 2013

    Finally, you got it. See now, this build is unique not a basic archer and with that reason it's good. 
    Nice job.

  • April 17, 2013
  • April 17, 2013

    Don't get me wrong, I appreciated all the constructive input, and learned from it in less than a week.  I'm new here, so it took a little training to dial it in.

    Yes, other than posing screenshots, all are playtested extensively.  Most of them have several serial versions I used to try different things, and figure out which combinations work best together.  That's why there's so many variations, and how I eventually zeroed in on "Medium Armor" (Heavy with robes) on this one, though the intuitive solution is to go Light because of being an archer.

    I don't use leveling exploits, because I like building, training, and learning from it.  I've never used the OI, for instance, so I wasn't heartbroken when it finally got patched.  This means anyone can train one of these builds from start to finish by dealing damage, taking hits, casting spells, and otherwise using skills.  (Some are faster, and easier than others.)

  • April 17, 2013

    Incidentally, this is the kind of detail people don't like to see in Builds, but the name "Elbereth" come from Nethack.  A word you could write on the floor so monsters don't attack you, it's in referance to being an Archer that can stand her ground.

  • Member
    April 17, 2013

    I can finally say this is a good build :)

  • Member
    April 17, 2013
    I like the armor mismatch of that last pic! I knew you'd get it down ;)