Skyrim Guide: Best Thief Builds To Use

After waking up on a horse-drawn cart, the player is delivered to their own execution. This is how life starts in Skyrim for new adventurers. The first taste of freedom comes when the guard demands to know who the player is. At this, the view pans around and we get to choose who we will be. There are a lot of options to go through, so allow us to simplify them for any new players among you, or any returning Dragonborn who want to brush up on their knowledge. This is our character creation guide for building a thief in Skyrim Anniversary Edition.

Player’s Choice

Credit: Bethesda

First, some good news. Unlike other RPG’s, Skyrim doesn’t put a huge burden on the player to pick the right choices upfront. Most of the choices you make here, you are stuck with for the game. However, while each race has its traits, no decision you make here rules out certain play styles or gear. Each race has a main skill which starts with ten extra level points, and five sub-skills that grant five points each. Some have passive effects, such as the Nord’s resistance to all things cold and the Argonian natural resistance to poison. These differences are important but needn’t rule out your own personal preference.

If you have a good idea of what kind of character you want to be, there are reasons to choose certain races over others. That’s something we will discuss further in this guide, but it’s worth pointing out that there is no need to stress about your decisions. If you want to take a big muscly Orc and join the thieves guild, go for it! Now, if you have your heart set on being the best assassin or thief you can be in Skyrim, here is our guide for you.

Argonian Thief Guide

Credit: Bethesda

Argonians are hands down the best thief race in the game. Their top skill is lockpicking. They are proficient in alteration, light armour, pickpocketing, restoration and of course, sneaking. None of these skills are particularly combat-focused, so you better not get caught.

Argonians have some really handy traits too, like the ability to breathe underwater. One great way to avoid detection is to never come up for air! With a fifty per cent resistance to disease and Histskin, Argonians know how to take care of themselves. Histskin is their greater power, and for a time it grants a ten times boost to health regeneration.

Khajiit Thief Guide

Credit: Bethesda

Everybody wants to be a Khajiit, because a Khajiit’s the only cat who knows where it’s at. Khajiit are born stealthy, like their real-world feline equivalents they are naturally quiet and can disappear when they want to. Of course, their number one skill is sneaking, followed up by alchemy, archery, lockpicking, one-handed and pickpocketing.

Whether your quarry is a person or their possessions, Khajiit can get it done quickly and quietly. Especially in the dark, where their lesser power Night Eye grants them enhanced vision. Khajiit have a lesser power rather than a greater one, this simply means that instead of a single use per day, their power can be used repeatedly. Khajiit are no slouches in a fight either, they have some martial prowess and they have a passive bonus of twelve damage to any unarmed attacks. It helps to have claws!

Wood Elf /Thief Guide

Credit: Bethesda

Wood Elves are on the other side of the sneaky coin from Argonians. They are well-rounded, but much better suited to assassination than thievery. They primarily focus on archery, with sub-skills in sneaking, light armour, pickpocketing, lockpicking and alchemy. A Wood Elf prefers to pick off targets from a distance, only closing in to sneak into enemy territory when necessary.

Wood Elves have a naturally fifty per cent resistance to disease and poison, something you probably need when you live in a tree. Their greater power is Command Animal. This fun ability charms a targeted animal into fighting alongside you for sixty seconds. Did a guard dog catch you sneaking? Make that guard dog work for you!

Your Guardian Stone

Skyrim thief guide
Credit: Bethesda

Upon starting Skyrim, when you leave the opening scenario in Helgen you are free to go where you please. That said, there is an intended path the game nudges you toward, sending you to Riverwood to follow the main quest. Follow that road for a bit and you are bound to discover the Guardian Stones. These are three of the thirteen standing stones dotted around Skyrim that grant you bonuses. Of the three Guardian stones, you want to interact with the Thief Stone. This will grant a twenty per cent boost to all experience gained in stealthy endeavours.

With this guide, you are well on your way to becoming a sneaky thief or deadly assassin in Skyrim Anniversary Edition. Where you go from here is entirely up to you, but if you’re not sure feel free to check out some of our other guides. We have guides for starting out as a warrior or a mage.


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Featured Image Credit: Bethesda