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Thalmor Exterminator Build in "The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim"

Daniel Merrier is an Elder Scrolls enthusiast and loves taking deep dives into the lore of its races and cultures.

Skyrim is a land rife with political turmoil. The Civil War has ravaged the country, pitting brother against brother and ripping families apart.

A High Elf, disgusted and betrayed by the Thalmor, seeks refuge in the foreign land of Skyrim and plan his revenge.

A Thalmor patrol, consisting of Thalmor Justiciar and Thalmor soldiers escorting a Talos worshiper to his demise.

A Thalmor patrol, consisting of Thalmor Justiciar and Thalmor soldiers escorting a Talos worshiper to his demise.


You lived a childhood of decadence in the Summerset Isles, children of two powerful Thalmor officers. You were a prodigy among your peers, showing great prowess in Destruction magic and rivaling many others in Conjuration. While you proved a natural in the Arcane Arts, you also showed an interest in traditional Elven smithing practices, sneaking out to see the nearest forge after your lessons.

It wasn't long until your tutors reached their capacity - you had learned everything that could be taught. Your proud parents decided it was time to show you the family business - the Thalmor interrogation room. You were mortified - helpless victims tortured for useless information in unspeakable ways, with the very same spells you had mastered.

Your mind hazy, you wake up in the same binds you saw just moments before. You were captured and taken prisoner in your own country. The Thalmor spat words of treason in your face while your once-beloved parents looked shamefully on. In your disgust, you incinerated half the building, losing prisoners and destroying government property. You are now a threat to the Aldmeri Dominion and can no longer be trusted - so the rehabilitation begins.

You remain prisoner for what seemed like years, becoming a test subject for the next generation of Thalmor soldiers, some of who were your peers. Flames, Sparks, and Frost spells used over and over scarred your body, while Healing Hands sealed the wounds.

One day you manage to escape, and you end up on a cargo ship bound for Skyrim.


Race: Altmer (High Elf)

While any race could have a hatred for the Thalmor, making a High Elf character fits the mage persona well and explains the personal hatred this character has and the refusal to conform. The Highborn ability in Skyrim that grants your Elven blood an extra 50 bonus Magicka also gives you an edge against mages of other races.

Gender: Male or Female

Other than a few dialogue changes, gender plays no role in your adventures in Skyrim. I usually play as a male character, but there high-ranking Thalmor female officers are a common sight.

The Mage Stone is found at the beginning of the game, southwest of Riverwood.

The Mage Stone is found at the beginning of the game, southwest of Riverwood.

Standing Stone: Mage Stone/Lord Stone

The Mage Stone helps recover all the skills you lost sitting in Thalmor prison. Found in the beginning of the game, the Mage Stone is one of the first three Standing Stones that gives you a skill bonus of 20%. The skills that benefit from the Mage Stone are Alteration, Conjuration, Destruction, Enchanting, Illusion, and Restoration.

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After your skills are high enough, you could switch over to the Lord Stone, which boosts your armor rating.

Stat Allocation: 80% Magicka, 20% Health

Your greatest asset early on will be a high Magicka pool. Because of your aforementioned Highborn ability, you will have an excellent start to a mage build. You have little to no use for Stamina, so it isn't worth using your precious stat points.

An example of traditional Elven weaponry. While you may not use many weapons, having a warrior or ranged follower is important.

An example of traditional Elven weaponry. While you may not use many weapons, having a warrior or ranged follower is important.

Possible Followers

As you play a primarily ranged, heavy Magicka build, your followers will need to take up the distance between you and your opponents. Most Nords make great tank followers and add to the role play aspect of this build.

Erik the Slayer

Found in the humble hamlet of Rorikstead, Erik is a personal favorite of mine. You find him the son of a humble Nord innkeeper, but he has plans to see the world. After you you finish a small quest that convinces his father to let him follow his dreams, he's ready to explore with you as his guide. He has decent Light Armor and One Handed weaponry skills, and doesn't look too shabby decked out in Elven glory. From a roleplay perspective, you could take Erik under your wing and show him your culture while allowing him to train his mercenary skills. He is also an excellent choice if your follower's dialogue is important to your gameplay, as he has something unique and fun to say about a lot of in-game locations.

Primary Skills


This is your preferred school of magic and the one you originally showed mastery in. Destruction should be your primary form of offense, and weapons should only be used in extreme circumstances. Fire spells are great for relearning your lost skills without using heavy Magicka, but you should eventually turn towards more traditional and powerful lightning spells of your youth. Having a variety of spells at your disposal is convenient for varied enemies, but try to have storm-based attacks your main line of offense.


Don't be a glass cannon. If you choose to wear only clothing and mage robes, you don't need to use any stat points invested in Stamina. Mage Armor is also an immensely useful perk in the Alteration skill tree and should be invested in as early as possible.


Enchanting is an excellent skill for any mage to have. Armor only weighs you down, so you should have well-enchanted clothing to help you on your journey. Whether you choose to enchant mage robes or blend into the crowd with civilian clothing is your choice, but it is worth the time to study properly.

Secondary Skills


Although your high Magicka stats allow you to prosper in any school of Magic, the majority of your resources should be offensive. In the heat of battle, you shouldn't have to choose between healing yourself and summoning a Daedroth to help on your behalf. The perk Purity will prove to be very helpful, as you don't want any negative side effects while carrying out your mission. Poisons aren't very useful to you, unless you plan on frequently poisoning your follower's weapons or taking up a weapon skill yourself. Alchemy can also help restore Magicka points to maintain a steady stream of attacks to dwindle down a tankier opponent. Potions (and poisons) are also an excellent source of income, especially early game.


A mage is only as strong as the creatures he can conjure. Whether you choose to have undead thralls or creatures from Oblivion, try to have some extra help with you whenever you can. They can act as a buffer against melee opponents or hit dragons in the sky while you plan your defense. If you choose to complete the College of Winterhold Questline, you can obtain some particularly powerful Thrall spells.

Factions, Guilds, and Questlines

These are all just suggestions to fit into the backstory of this particular character build.

Thieves Guild

Petty thievery is above your esteemed background. You are in Skyrim to make a difference and get rid of the Thalmor influence. What you can't get through hard work and your new mission, you won't have at all. With your various crafting skills, you don't have any reason to join. Leave that to the rats in the Ratway; you have larger matters to attend to.

Civil War Questline

Siding with the Imperial Legion would only grant legitimacy to the political stranglehold the Thalmor possess in Skyrim. You want the Empire to stand on its own or not stand at all. Because of your years in Thalmor custody, you may feel a deep kinship with Ulfric Stormcloak and your shared troubled pasts. Whether you decide to support the Stormcloaks is up to your own moral guidance, however.

The College of Winterhold

As a former master of the Arcane Arts, it would only make sense to enroll in the College of Winterhold. You should finish this questline to completion, becoming the Arch-Mage and sending a message to your fellow Thalmor back home.

© 2017 Dani Merrier

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