Regardless of the types of characters you enjoy creating within Skyrim, the armor your wear is an extremely important part of your equipment. Whether it’s cloth, leather, or plate, armor provides you with a line of defense against the harsh conditions in Tamriel and, occasionally, with a set of bonus enchantments that boost your character’s skills as well. With Skyrim: Special Edition pulling us back into countless hours of playing once again, we took a look back at some of the best armor sets available.
Here’s our picks along with their locations in Skyrim.
Wolf Armor Set
The Wolf Armor is the garb of choice for the elite members of the Companions. Classified as Heavy Armor, the set consists of a helmet, breastplate, gloves, and boots all adorned with feral motifs such as wolf heads, skulls, or teeth. While this set cannot be crafted by the player, it can be obtained for free during the Companions questline or purchased from Eorlund Gray-Mane after completing the “Proving Honor” quest. It shares the same values as Steel Armor but features a lighter set of boots, thus making it preferable for players who focus on Heavy Armor in their character builds.
Added in the Dragonborn DLC pack, the Skaal Armor set is worn by the inhabitants of Skaal Village located on Solsheim. It shares defense values comparable to Leather Armor, but features a much better visual appearance for characters roaming around in the snowy conditions present throughout Skyrim. Unlike many other sets, the Skaal Armor generally must be looted from specific NPCs or pickpocketed with the Misdirection Perk. You can also find a complete set by exploring Highpoint Tower.
Dawnguard Heavy Armor
Worn by the members of the Dawnguard, this Heavy Armor set features one of the best visual aesthetics available throughout Skyrim. The mixed set of leather and plate comes complete with a medieval crusader-inspired helmet that reduces damage you take from vampires when worn and a shield that increases your bashing damage against vampires, making it a must-have for vampire hunters in-game. You’ll receive a set for joining the Dawnguard, or, if you’re a vampire, from completing a side quest that requires you to frame a member of the Dawnguard for murder.
Linwe’s Armor Set
This unique armor set is designed for those who prefer a stealthier approach to combat, providing bonuses to your character’s stamina, sneaking skill, one-handed attacks, and bow damage. While it may look like the Thieves Guild Armor set, Linwe’s features a different color pattern focused on black, grey, and brown leather with a unique hood matching many worn by casters. You’ll receive it from looting or pickpocketing Linwe at Uttering Hills Cave during the Thieves Guild quest “Summerset Shadows” — it cannot be obtained anywhere else.
Blackguard’s Armor Set
The Blackguard’s Armor set is another set of light armor that is nearly identical to Linwe’s armor set from a visual standpoint, but features a completely different (and more powerful) set of bonuses that are built for characters who aren’t too fond of combat. Instead of providing bonus damage, the Blackguard set provides increasing your carrying capacity by 50, boosts your lockpicking and pickpocketing success chance by 40%, and lowers prices from merchants by 25%. You’ll receive it as a reward from Glover Mallory for completing the quest “Paid in Full.”
Ancient Shrouded Armor
This old set of armor is typically worn by members of the Dark Brotherhood, but instead of provided a basic array of enchantments, it has a much more powerful set of bonuses than the base set of Shrouded Armor in Skyrim. It may look the same, but gives you a 100% resistance to all poison effects, muffles your footsteps and movement, allows bows to deal 35% more damage, and doubles the sneak attack damage of all one-handed weapons. It’s basically a match made in heaven for assassins and can be obtained off the corpse of an assassin inside a secret room during the quest “Locate the Assassin of Old.”
Worn by members of one of the most highly regarded organizations in all Tamriel, the Blades Armor is a set of Heavy Armor heavily influenced by the Blades origins within the Akaviri, featuring a samurai-like design complete with a dragon crest on the helm. From an attributes standpoint, the entire set isn’t anything to write home about and doesn’t provide any unique bonuses to the wearer. But, that doesn’t stop it from being one of the best-looking sets in Skyrim. You’ll be able to find a full set in Sky Haven Temple while completing the main quest.
Like the Nightingale Bow, the Nightingale Armor set is one of the best-looking sets in the entire Elder Scrolls franchise. This set is given to members of the Nightingales, a faction dedicated to the service of the Daedric Prince Nocturnal, and it can be obtained by the player over the course of the Thieves Guild questline. This set of light armor offers bonuses to stamina, lockpicking, illusion spells, one-handed attacks, frost resistance and allows the user to move around silently — making it the penultimate goal of characters designed for stealth gameplay. Unlike the other sets in this list, the Nightingale Armor is also leveled, meaning that the bonuses provided scale with the level you receive it at. As such, make sure to complete the quest “Trinity Restored” when you’re past level 32 for the maximum bonus the armor provides.
Photos via Nicholas Bashore