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Character Build: The Twilight Warden

Tags: #Character Build Spellsword  #Character Build Elementalist  #Character Build Alchemist  #Race:Dunmer  #Rank:Mythic  #Raidriar 
  • Member
    August 10, 2015

    Firstly I'd like to say this has been a helluva long time coming, and I'd like to thank all of the folks in the Workshop for their input and help! It really kept me going guys.

    Welcome to what I believe is my most unique offering to the site. I've been experimenting with Necromage a lot recently, and realised I've never made a build that actually used it for its intended purpose (slaying undead).

    I really wanted to make this build my magnum opus, so I decided to go all out with new techniques, synergies and abilities. I hope you're ready to bear witness to the ultimate hunter of undead (and many other things besides) that is the Twilight Warden...

    The Twilight Wardens are an ancient order of demon hunters who worship a heretical trinity of Meridia, Azura and Molag Bal...

    In an attempt to take their unwavering pursuit of the destruction of the undead to its limits, the Twilight Wardens become vampires themselves in order to understand their enemy better and remove themselves from mortal needs like sustenance and slumber...

    Rumours about the twisted experiments initiates undertake to become a Twilight Warden are numerous; many have died to attain the status. However, the few that survive are known to be nigh unkillable, and to have an immense mastery of magic and artifice no mortal should possess...

    Not only are they master wizards, Twilight Wardens are also devout scholars and searchers of forbidden knowledge. Known to seek out the darkest depths, Twilight Wardens will go to any measure to empower themselves for the hunt to come...


    The Build

    Race: Dark Elf Vampire

    Stone: Atronach and Ritual

    Shouts: Become Ethereal, Fire Breath, Frost Breath, Slow Time

    Stats: 2:2:1

    Major Skills: Alchemy, Destruction, Restoration, Alteration

    Minor Skills: Block, Illusion, One Handed

    Weapons: Red Eagle's Bane, Dawnbreaker, The Pale Blade

    Apparel: Aetherial Crown, Master Robes of Destruction, Boots, Ahzidal's Ring of Necromancy, Ring of Peerless Restoration, Necklace of Peerless Destruction, Ahzidal, Dukaan, Dawnguard Rune Shield

    Powers: Seeker of Shadows, Sinderion's Serendipity, Dragonborn Flame, The Fire Within, Secret of Arcana, Sun Flare, North Wind

    Recommended Quests: Rebel's Cairn, Lost to the Ages, J'zargo's Experiment, The Break of Dawn, Coming of Age, Throat of the World, The Pale Lady, Unearthed, College of Winterhold, Mourning Never Comes, Destruction Ritual Spell, Restoration Ritual Spell, Alteration Ritual Spell

    The Twilight Warden is, in my opinion, the quintessential hunter of undead. Capable of summoning Fire Storms with damage in the thousands, stacking three cloaks to achieve unprecedented DPS and having constant access to Dawnbreaker's Meridia's Retribution power (effectively Bane of the Undead), you'll be annihilating undead like never before. Aspect of Terror, Augmented Flames and Necromage are all key perks that boost the damage of both fire spells and Dawnbreaker massively.

    But the awesomeness doesn't stop there. Frost magic comes into play against human enemies, with Blizzard also becoming a WMD through clever exploits. The Pale Blade allows for brilliant crowd control, and is powered up through perks like Augmented Frost, Animage/Kindred Mage and the innate Champion of the Night vampiric bonus. This leads to a very fun build with two delicious personalities; the righteous purger of evil and the darker, sinister vampire. Both are powerful in their own right but combined is when they really shine. And this goes to show in gameplay.


    Alchemy is the skill that really ties everything together. It saves the Twilight Warden a whopping 12 perks, with potions removing the need for rank perks in One Handed as well as the Expert and Master perks in spell schools. Tinctures of Aetherius are your most diverse potion; their insane Fortify Magicka magnitude means you can fire off two Master spells with ease during its 7.5 second duration. Elixirs of Dominance make One Handed perks redundant, and allow you to hit harder than any being has a right to. The other potions are useful for enhancing specific spells, and Vial of Fury is particularly special in that it drastically increases the range and damage of your cloak spells (you can fill entire rooms with it).

    Alchemy plays a big part in this build. The magnitudes of potions can be taken to new heights with Necromage, Fortify Alchemy gear and Seeker of Shadows. I found that a Necklace and Circlet of Peerless Alchemy (bought at Radiant Raiment at level 40), Orcish Gauntlets of Extreme Alchemy (bought from a blacksmith at level 30) and Muiri's Ring (bonus reward for Mourning Never Comes) to be the most effective combo of equipment that you stand a good chance of finding/buying. This nets you with 87% Fortify Alchemy (108.75% with Necromage), which is in turn enhanced by Seeker of Shadows (1.1 with Necromage) for 129% Fortify Alchemy! Not to mention Necromage will increase the magnitude and duration of every potion you drink by 25% and 50% respectively, since potions count as an active effect.

    Once again, pretty much every ingredient can be grown in either the Greenhouse or Fish Hatchery for maximum efficiency. Salmon Roe can be harvested by killing the salmon in the hatchery (either with Unrelenting Force or a sword strike from shallow waters), then looting their floating corpses. Hanging Moss is the only exception, which is bountiful in the Solitude Catacombs in the Wolf Queen Awakens quest (a great mission for an undead/demon hunter too). Salt Piles are very common in barrels across Skyrim.

    Note: Only a couple of the Flasks of Cursed Soul and Frozen Heart are required at any given time, as they are only used for enhancing the damage of Blizzard (see the Glacier ability). Save most of your Longfins and Spadetails for the Tonic of Righteousness.


    Elixir of Dominance

    Fortify One Handed 171% + Fortify Marksman 171%

    Canis Root + Hanging Moss + Juniper Berries


    Vial of Fury

    Fortify Destruction 215% + Fortify Health 171pts

    Glowing Mushroom + Nightshade + Wheat


    Tonic of Righteousness

    Fortify Restoration 171%

    Abacean Longfin + Cyrodillic Spadetail


    Draught of Strength

    Fortify Carry Weight 171pts + Fortify Alteration 171% + Restore Magicka 268pts

    Creep Cluster + Grass Pod + River Betty


    Tincture of Aetherius

    Fortify Magicka 2147pts + Regenerate Magicka 215%

    Jazbay Grapes + Salmon Roe


    Flask of the Cursed Soul

    Fortify Restoration + Weakness to Magic

    Creep Cluster + Cyrodilic Spadetail + Salt Pile


    Flask of the Frozen Heart

    Fortify Restoration + Weakness to Frost

    Abacean Longfin + Salt Pile + White Cap


    Ice and Fire

    Destruction is the main form of damage, with Adept spells being the major focus. Fireball can absolutely destroy undead once you pick up Augmented Flames, Dual Casting and Necromage with afterburn. I'll link James' discussions on it in the credits but in short you'll be doing upwards of 500 damage per Fireball once you throw in a Fortify Destruction potion, with half of that being the taper damage over a few seconds.

    Ice Storm can still be pretty damn powerful with perks and potions, and is great for crowd control against living foes. The real treat with Destruction though is the Master spells. Both Blizzard and Fire Storm can be enhanced immensely in different ways. In conjunction with some self crafted Weakness to Frost potions, Blizzard can be dealing nearly 100 damage per second (since it is affected by the player's resistance to frost). Fire Storm can be boosted to 4000+ damage with Necromage and other perks (again, taper damage).

    Restoration grants access to the awesome Necromage perk,which enhances all of the Twilight Warden's abilities. Healing spells are also useful, as are the Sun spells if you want some more cost efficient damage. The higher level spells are the aim though. Circle of Protection and Guardian Circle can be active simultaneously, letting you cover entire rooms with holy light. Bane of the Undead is another great damage dealer, though becomes somewhat redundant once you unlock Fire Storm.

    Finally we have the Dawnguard Rune Shield. At earlier levels this allows for some much needed defence, but the real treat is its Stendarr's Aura effect when facing undead, which stacks with both Flame Cloak and J'zargo's scrolls!

    Know Thine Enemy

    In order to become the ultimate hunters of undead, Twilight Wardens undergo some pretty dark rituals to perfect their fighting style. Here is where we get into some of the glitches and techniques...

    The Aetherial Crown is filled with the Ritual Stone, and can be toggled on and off to allow for infinite uses of it, effectively removing the need for the Conjuration tree. Here's a simple, step-by-step guide that works for both console and PC players:

    1. Hotkey the Aetherial Crown to 1 (left on the d-pad) and the Ritual Stone to 2 (right on the d-pad). Both will need to be favourited so that they can be hotkeyed.
    2. Now pressing 2 will enable you to equip the Ritual Stone power. Use the power button to activate the Ritual Stone power and raise all corpses around you.
    3. Pressing 1 twice will un-equip and re-equip the Aetherial Crown (you'll hear the equipping sound effect each time).
    4. Now you should be able to press 2 to re-equip the Ritual Stone (you'll hear the sound effect again). Press the power button and the power will activate again! 
    5. Repeat steps 1-5.

    It takes a bit of practise to get the timings right (toggling the Aetherial Crown too quick will result in the Ritual Stone not appearing in the favourites menu, and thus being unable to be toggled), but after a few tries you'll easily master it. Just don't rush. I've found playing in third person makes it much easier, as you can see the crown being un-equipped and re-equipped. What takes this power to new heights is Ahzidal's Ring of Necromancy. Individual exploding corpses are rather lacklustre but once you've amassed quite a few the damage begins to add up. What's even better about armies of exploding zombies is that they can be set off with Dawnbreaker. So after combat you can raise a load of foes, and when you reach the next set just hit one of your zombies and you've got quite a high chance to set them all off at once! Not to mention that they can be infinitely raised, since the Ritual Stone doesn't turn corpses to ash. 

    But the fun doesn't stop there. With the Alteration skill tree comes the Atronach perk, which when combined with the Atronach Stone and Necromage nets you 100% Magic Absorption. And because you're a vampire, you can be affected by Dawnbreaker's explosion effect. This means that every time you set off a chain explosion of undead, you'll be absorbing Magicka. This can be a very efficient way of levelling Destruction or Restoration too - just spam rune spells and keep exploding your zombies for more Magicka.

    Illusion also provides some handy buffs. Hypnotic Gaze and Kindred Mage boost the power of Vampiric Seduction, and let you calm almost any human foes, even mid battle! If you take both Augmented Flames perks before Aspect of Terror you'll gain a 15 point boost to all Fire spells. While this may not seem significant when you're already hitting the hundreds and thousands with Fireballs and Fire Storm, this dramatically boosts the potency of Flame Cloaks. Animage and Kindred Mage also increase the Pale Blade's magnitude (along with Augmented Frost) letting you send people up to level 34 and animals up to level 32 running in fear!

    Although One Handed isn't perked directly, you'll still be using it quite a lot throughout your playthrough. Both the Pale Blade and Dawnbreaker are chosen for crowd control, against the living and the dead respectively. Both can be enhanced with the Elixir of Dominance and Vial of Fury, not to mention Augment perks, letting you deal some pretty significant damage without even investing in Armsman!

    Straight off you'll want to start acquiring the Aetherium Shards to forge the crown. The quest can be completed pretty easily with the help of a follower and Healing Hands to keep them on their feet. Hold off on Bleak Falls Barrow until you're level 12; that way, you're almost guaranteed for Meridia's Beacon to spawn in the boss chest. Red Eagle's Bane can be very helpful in completing Meridia's quest, and is powered by Augmented Flames too. Once you get Dawnbreaker the fun really starts, and you have a bit more choice in what to do next.

    A useful piece of equipment at early levels is Nirya's Expert Destruction Robes. Once you've completed Under Saarthal she becomes unessential, so you can kill her, take her robes and only have to pay 250 gold as a fine! You'll want to pick up Necromage around level 20, when your powers really start to take off. Remember to pay a visit to Frostmere Crypt at level 27 for the best version of the Pale Blade too.

    Also, you'll want to complete J'zargo's Experiment for his Flame Cloak Scrolls. These beasties do 10 damage per second, last 30 seconds, are affected by all the perks a Flame Cloak is affected by, and can be duplicated! You'll want a big stock of them, as they are part of a very unique ability. 



    By stacking J'zargo's Flame Cloak Scroll, a Flame Cloak and the Dawnguard Rune Shield's Stendarr's Aura, you can achieving an immense amount of DoT, (over 200 in fact) which is only enhanced further with perks and potions. Block Runner allows for greater movement with the shield, and Stamina potions may be necessary to maintain the cloak.

    Requires: Destruction Dual Casting, Augmented Flames 2/2, Aspect of Terror, Necromage, 100% Spell Absorption, Block Runner, Vial of Fury, Flame Cloak, J'zargo's Flame Cloak Scroll, Dawnguard Rune Shield



    Ahzidal's Ring of Necromancy is useless no longer! Raising a group of corpses then setting them off all at once with one swing of Dawnbreaker is so satisfying, and with 100% Spell Absorption you'll be gaining a lot of Magicka tin the process!

    Requires: 100% Spell Absorption, Ahzidal's Ring of Necromancy, Aetherial Crown, Ritual Stone, Dawnbreaker



    With this move the Twilight Warden can make the Master Alteration spell Dragonhide (which normally lasts only 30 seconds) into an effect that stays with you for an entire dungeon run. As it can be dual casted, Dragonhide's duration is more than doubled, and with Stability, Necromage and a Tonic of Strength you'll have nearly 7 minutes of 80% damage reduction. A Tincture of Aetherius will grant you the Magicka to cast such a demanding incantation. 

    Requires: Alteration Dual Casting, Necromage, Stability, Tincture of Aetherius, Tonic of Strength, Dragonhide



    Here is where we use Necromage for its intended purpose; becoming the ultimate undead wrecking badass by augmenting Fire Storm's 'afterburn' (as in 'targets on fire take extra damage') and base damage with the listed items below. You'll easily be hitting over 4000 damage at this build's peak. Because Master Destruction is such a grind, you can substitute Fire Storm for Sun Flare at earlier levels.

    Requires: Necromage, Augmented Flames 2/2, Aspect of Terror, Tincture of Aetherius, Vial of Fury, Ahzidal, Fire Storm/Sun Flare



    Another ultimate move that instead focuses on maximising the damage of Blizzard. By sundering their own body, heart and soul, a Twilight Warden can achieve unprecedented dps with Blizzard. As Blizzard's damage is increased the weaker you are to frost and magic, you can stack on the two flasks to create an insanely high weakness, as each flask enhances the next due to their Fortify Restoration effects.

    Requires: Augmented Frost 2/2, Tincture of Aetherius, Vial of Fury, Flasks of the Cursed Soul, Flasks of the Frozen Heart, Blizzard/North Wind



    Retribution is a great way to open up combat. By raising the corpses of enemies from previous battles, you can keep going for an entire dungeon with the same set of corpses, constantly raising them then detonating them once you reach the next set of enemies. It's a great way for weakening your foes before the fight even begins.

    Radiance is great for tougher dungeons when you'd rather be on the defensive. It allows for some awesome passive damage against undead while still being defended. Don't forget to take advantage of Quick Reflexes, and whenever an enemy power attacks use the slow time to circle around him and maintain your guard.

    Bulwark is another great defensive ability, and basically makes you immortal for the duration of an entire dungeon.

    Inferno and Glacier are your ultimate moves, and I'd advise against overusing them purely because they absolutely decimate any enemies in the vicinity. Sun Flare and North Wind are great substitutes before getting the Master spells, as they can be acquired quite early on by doing the Dragonborn questline.

    At earlier levels you'll want to favour your swords over spells, but as you level up your spells become much more powerful. At later levels though you're looking at an almost unlimited supply of Magicka whenever there are corpses to raise and explode, so your swords become less useful. They're still worth having equipped, as their damage can still be pretty good with the Elixir of Dominance nearly tripling their physical attack and the Vial of Fury increasing their enchantment magnitude.

    If you're ever caught in a bad place and need to escape, Slow Time is your best friend. With the Draught of Strength, Stability and Necromage its duration will easily outlast its cool down, and it allows you to fire off Master spells without interruption.

    Fire Breath and Frost Breath are both excellent shouts in their own right too. The former works very well with Retribution - instead of setting your opponents off with Dawnbreaker, use Fire Breath with Dragonborn Flame to spawn a horde of angry Fire Wyrms! Frost Breath is the real damage dealer though, as it is affected by the Vial of Fury as well as all relevant perks and masks, unlike Fire Breath.

    Speaking of masks, Dukaan and Ahzidal are great for empowering your spells further. While you may be missing out on infinite exploding zombies, you're gaining quite a chunk of damage, particularly once you work out that Ahzidal's 25% can boost Fire Storm by around 800 damage. Do not use Dukaan with Blizzard though! The 25% bonus damage is nullified by the extra resistance, so that's a combo you'll want to avoid.



    Closing Notes and Credits

    Thank you to those in the Workshop who commented and gave feedback.

    Thank you to James for his discussions on Afterburn and Fire Storm (well worth a read).

    Thanks to Teccam for some helpful testing on the Dawnguard Rune Shield.

    Thanks to Google, DeviantArt and Thraen for the various images.

    And thank you for reading!

    Ning is a derp, but thats no surprise to anyone. Heres how many people liked this build before Ning derped up the likes.

    -Mr. C.N. Dying





  • Member
    August 10, 2015
    Amazing just amaxing, definitely one of my favorites out of your builds and quite possibly one of my favorites on the site
  • Member
    August 10, 2015
    Not completely sure here Raid but you might be able to stack 4 cloaks by adding ancestors wrath.
  • Member
    August 10, 2015

    Another workshop success +1

  • Member
    August 10, 2015
    Wow! Nice build. I might actually try that sometime! Welcome to the little club of builds I've actually attempted to use! +1
  • Member
    August 11, 2015
    Thanks mouse rat!
  • Member
    August 11, 2015
    Unfortunately not, Ancestor's Wrath interferes with Fire Cloak.
  • Member
    August 11, 2015
    Thanks Ylva! If you do give it a try, let me know how it goes!
  • August 11, 2015
    Wow I agree this may very well be your magnum opus. I absolutely love the use of alchemy here.
  • Member
    August 11, 2015
    Whenever I get through this run of Morrowind I'll let you know :p