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Event Build: The Shadow Renegade

Tags: #Character Build Juggernaut  #Character Build Battlemage  #Character Build Mage Armor  #Rank:Event Exemplar  #Event:Teams 
  • Member
    October 2, 2015

    This latest Teams event gave me a great opportunity to flex some CB muscle once more with another talented builder, Omega, as our team the Beginning and the End. It was great to get into the concepting mindset again and both Omega and I came up with some solid ideas to create the build below! Omega handled the playtesting, so I hope you enjoy playing this build as much as they did!

    The Shadow Renegade

    I was a soldier of the Shadow Legion - the Empire’s pet group of military battlemages. When they surrendered to the Dominion in the Great War, they brought dishonor to all under their banner. What remained of my unit - battered and broken from the fighting in Hammerfell - was recalled back to Cyrodiil after the Redguard province was renounced by our so-called Emperor. I chose to stand with the warriors of Hammerfell against the Dominion, refusing to let the sacrifice of our brothers and sisters be in vain. After many hard years of fighting, the Dominion withdrew from the province.

    20 years have passed since then. The Empire calls me a deserter, and I would not be able to return home with my head still attached to my shoulders. I have heard rumblings of a group in Skyrim who wish to throw off the yoke of the Aldmeri Dominion and the Empire…

    The Shadow Renegade is a veteran of the Great War, having served as a battlemage in the Shadow Legion. Now, the Renegade has travelled to Skyrim to assist the Stormcloaks in the bid for freedom, as well as search for ways to further their magical power - whether by traditional or forbidden methods. The Renegade brings a wide range of magical abilities to the cause, allowing him to dispatch any foe effectively in combination with a dagger and shield. The Renegade’s target as a Stormcloak is General Tullius, who fittingly bears the armour of an Imperial general. Such armour, as well as being an impressive trophy, is also designed to be used by a general of the Shadow Legion - and as such, does not interfere with Mage Armor spells, and allows the Renegade to be very durable.

    Race: We recommend choosing Breton, allowing for some base magic resistance and boosts to various magic skills. The Dragonskin power also provides a significant boon at any stage in the character’s development!
    Stats: While ultimately up to the individual player, a focus on Magicka and Health is recommended. The Renegade’s melee weapons of choice - daggers - use little in the way of Stamina.
    Stone: The Atronach stone serves to improve the Renegade’s Magicka capacity, and has some excellent synergy with the Breton racial power.
    Perks: Level 50


    Alteration, of course, provides the Renegade with options to augment both offense and defense. Mage Armor can be used to boost your AR significantly - even working in conjunction with General Tullius’ Armor, allowing you to take a lot of punishment in combat - and Ash and Paralyze spells can be used at high levels to gain an edge over powerful opponents.

    The Shadow Renegade, being a Legion battlemage, is of course trained in Destruction magic. This is primarily used to provide damage over time using Cloaks - and at higher levels, Wall spells. These can be used in conjunction with melee combat to maximize damage output. Shock is the focus here, as the Disintegrate perk will instantly kill any enemy damaged by your spells below 15% health - very handy for cloaks in melee! Spells such as Lightning Bolt provide a means to attack creatures at range and in the air.

    One-Handed weapons provide a source of both physical and magical damage in the form of the Renegade’s weapon of choice - enchanted daggers. These weapons might deal less damage than a sword or axe, but swing much faster and carry enchantments which are just as lethal - used at the right time with the right abilities, they can deal out an insane amount of damage! The Renegade utilises a variety of powerful and unique daggers - we will cover these weapons and their use in the equipment section below.

    Further adding to the Renegade’s survivability and utility is the Restoration school of magic. On top of keeping the Renegade alive with healing spells boosted by perks such as Respite and Regeneration, it also provides access to some very efficient damaging spells. Poison Rune can be used in conjunction with other Destruction spells to further boost damage over time output, and Sun spells can make battling undead much easier.

    Rounding out the Renegade’s defenses are Block and Heavy Armor. The Renegade uses a shield with to further boost defense and block incoming attacks (both physical and magical) between the fast strokes of a dagger. In some situations, the Renegade can simply hide behind their shield and wait for their opponent to fall from damage over time effects! Heavy Armor is used to max out the potential AR of General Tullius’ Armor, meaning Juggernaut is the only perk taken here.

    Finally, the Renegade makes some use of Enchanting and Smithing. Old artifacts such as Keening and the Blade of Woe need to be kept in top shape, and there’s always room for improvement when it comes to the General’s armour. Additionally, mundane clothing can be enchanted to improve combat effectiveness without limiting mobility or spellcasting effectiveness.

    The Shadow Renegade battles General Tullius for Skyrim's freedom and a rare prize


    The Renegade’s equipment can all be obtained fairly easily.

    • General Tullius’ armour can be acquired at the end of the Stormcloak questline
    • Adept Hood can be found or purchased in the College
    • Mythic Dawn gloves can be found on the search for Mehrunes Razor
    • Any clothing boots can be used

    As we have 5 slots of unenchanted equipment, here’s our recommendations for enchantments:

    • Adept Hood - pre-enchanted with Fortify Magicka
    • General Tullius' Armor - Fortify Health
    • Mythic Dawn Gloves - Fortify One-handed (Note this may be bugged for daggers without the Unofficial Patch)
    • Any Boots - Fortify Stamina
    • Any Ring - Fortify Magicka Regen
    • Gauldur Amulet - Pre-enchanted with Fortify Health, Magicka and Stamina
    • Shield of Solitude - Pre-enchanted with Fortify Magic Resistance and blocks more damage

    As you can see there are quite a few unique items in here. The Shield of Solitude is earned by simply completing 'The Wolf Queen Awakened' quest in Solitude - though note that it is leveled. The Gauldur Amulet can be first found during the College of Winterhold questline, the other parts can be collected whenever you want.

    As mentioned previously, the Renegade uses a brace of unique daggers. The following were the most important:

    • Keening - Absorb 10 points of Health, Magicka and Stamina    
    • Blade of Woe - Absorb 10 points of Health
    • Mehrunes' Razor - 1.98% chance to instantly kill any opponent (with the exception for Miraak and Karstaag)
    • Valdr's Lucky Dagger - 25% chance of a critical hit, inflicting bonus damage

    Valdr’s Lucky Dagger can be acquired very early on in the adventure, though Mehrunes Razor makes an excellent replacement once it is acquired. As you are probably aware, Keening and the Blade of Woe have very few charges for their enchantments - and Keening loses its enchantment permanently after a single use! The Secret of Arcana Black Book bonus from the Dragonborn DLC negates spell and enchantment costs once per day, allowing you to use these powerful artifacts with impunity to regenerate resource pools and deal out massive damage!

    The Shadow Renegade's weapons of choice


    When playing as the Renegade, it is very important to know when to use Shouts and Powers. Without any Shout cooldown reduction, timing can mean the difference between life and death, and some Powers (such as those from Black Books) can only be used once per day! These should be saved for boss fights, or when performing one of the Renegade’s special moves.

    Your general combat strategy should start with making preparations with Flesh spells and your damage over time abilities such as Lightning Cloak and Poison Rune, then letting your shield and dagger (typically either Valdr’s Lucky Dagger or Mehrunes Razor) handle the rest of the work. However, if you simply rush in you will quickly find yourself surrounded. The best way to avoid this with massed opponents (such as a bandit camp) is to lure them out. Your Flesh spells and shield can protect you while you draw their attention, and you can drop a Poison Rune and/or Mora’s Agony to weaken them as they approach. Once in melee combat, your AR and shield can take some hits while you finish off foes with your dagger and Lightning Cloak. A well-placed Shout such as Marked for Death can weaken enemies even further!

    When dealing with Dragons, focus on defending yourself with your shield, wards and healing spells until they land - though don’t be afraid to pop off a few lightning spells while they’re hovering if you can spare the Magicka. Once they land, throw everything you’ve got at them - the Crimson Pact special move for example will unleash a flurry of critical hits and can even slay the dragon instantly.

    The Shadow Renegade introduces this Thalmor soldier to the business end of the Blade of Woe

    Special Moves

    Daedric Companion
    Secret of Arcana + Flame Thrall
    Even without training in Conjuration, the Renegade can call a permanent companion from Oblivion using forbidden knowledge from Hermaeus Mora’s Black Books. The Sallow Regent, in addition to containing the Seeker of Sorcery buff, has a guaranteed Flame Thrall spell tome. The Secret of Arcana can be used to negate the spell cost, allowing the Renegade to summon this powerful, permanent companion to deal out damage from range.

    Drain Vitality + Secret of Arcana + Keening + Flesh Spell
    Absorb the life force from your opponent, dealing constant damage to their Health, Stamina and Magicka and taking it for your own, rendering you nearly invincible and rapidly restoring your Magicka and Stamina. This combination is capable of nearly completely disabling magic users and preventing warriors from using power attacks. In order to wield Keening correctly for this move, the Renegade taps into the Secret of Arcana.

    Crimson Pact
    Elemental Fury + Valdr's Lucky Dagger & Mehrunes Razor + Mora's Agony + Lightning Cloak
    You surround yourself with a cloak of lightning and show your foes Mora's Agony! Forget about your shield and wield both Valdr's Lucky Dagger and Mehrunes Razor. Combine this with all words of Elemental Fury to greatly increase your attack speed, boosting your damage output significantly and maximizing your chances for Mehrunes Razor to score an instant kill.

    Secret of Arcana + Blade of Woe + Marked For Death + Poison Rune
    Poison the body and soul of your enemies, weakening their Health and Armour over time. Show your enemies no mercy with the Blade of Woe, dealing out massive damage through their negative armor rating and constantly absorbing Health.

    The Shadow Renegade scours Apocrypha for forbidden knowledge with his Atronach companion

    Roleplaying and Quests

    In addition to working with the Stormcloaks in their fight for freedom from the Empire and the Thalmor, the Renegade seeks to further their abilities with powerful knowledge and artifacts - such chances come with great risks and rewards!

    The Civil War (Stormcloaks): As a veteran of the Shadow Legion, you helped Ulfic claim his title of High King. General Tullius' Armor is a reward more than worth your time.

    The College of Winterhold: As a battlemage, it's only natural that you end up here at some point. Not only does it help you increase your effectiveness in the magic schools, but you even hear rumors of the ancient artifact Keening! You also find part of the Gauldur Amulet during
    your travels for the College.

    Hunter and Hunted: After helping Ari, he rewards you with this unique dagger. It will prove you great use in combat during your entire playthrough! This quest can be taken straight out of Helgen, providing a great start for the character.

    Main Quest: Dealing with the dragon crisis is beneficial for everyone, and as the Dragonborn it’s your duty to help them out. This also gives you the ability to cast shouts like Elemental Fury, Drain Vitality and Marked For Death.

    The Dark Brotherhood: It’s up to you whether you join or destroy the Brotherhood - destroying them gives you access to the legendary Blade of Woe much sooner, though joining them offers the opportunity to remove the Thalmor’s puppet Emperor...

    The Black Books: As you have noticed by now already, this builds relies heavily on the Secret of Arcana, which can only be acquired from the Black Books. Mora’s realm provides many other boons, such as Seeker of Sorcery, which boosts the strength of all enchantments by 10%!

    In general, keep in mind you are a former soldier - you prefer order over chaos. You don’t give your respect freely - it must be earned - but you don’t mind helping people out if there’s a reward involved. Remember that you’re fighting to free Skyrim and Tamriel from the grip of the Thalmor, meaning that you should try and disrupt their operations whenever possible.


    Closing Remarks

    Overall it was great fun to get some ideas I’ve had floating around for awhile with regards to General Tullius’ Armor and the Seeker of Sorcery bonus down into a build. It was great for Omega and I to work through and really refine the concepts that make up the Shadow Renegade, so if you do decide to give this one a try I hope you have as much fun as we did creating it for you!

  • Member
    October 2, 2015
    Awesome work you two! Might give this. A roll some day
  • Member
    October 3, 2015

    I am so glad to see that the build presentation looks just as badass as the actual build! It was a real pleasure working with you and the result is, in my opinion especially worth the effort! (on a sidenote; great job on those screenshots, they are amazing!) 

  • Member
    October 16, 2015

    Even though its almost three weeks later, this build is great and well balanced too for durability and effective strategies. Excellent storyline, excellent presentation. This a great display of a battlemage's might to the fullest. Especially using my most favorite dagger ever in the game, The Razor. Considering the busy week I had, this build is the best I've read for this week. Kudos!