The Elder Scrolls

TES Races Ranked by Combat Ability

TheElderScrolls12 - TES Races Ranked by Combat Ability

I'm bored so I figured I might as well do this. I'm going to rank all of the races based on combat ability and provide an explanation for each. This is obviously going on the average of each race, obviously there are going to be individuals in lower ranks that are better than most people in higher ranked races. To evaluate each race I'm taking into account both physical, ranged weapon/stealth, and magical combat ability, which will be graded on a 1-10 scale. Even if a race isn't very good at one or two of these they can still be ranked high if they are exceptionally good at one, so a high rating in one type has more weight IMO than a decent rating in all three. Physical combat is also weighted higher than Ranged or Magic because of it's necessity in actual warfare trying to take territory. Ranged is weighted the least because it is the least versatile in terms of large scale warfare, as again, physical battles will likely be of the highest importance in warfare. To save space the rating for each will be abbreviated with P, R, or M. Feel free to argue with me or comment your own list.

  1. Orcs(P: 10, R: 5, M: 3) – Orcs are easily the most naturally gifted warriors in Tamriel. They are larger, stronger, and more aggressive in combat than any other race. While they may not be too gifted at archery, and don't use magic very much in combat, their melee prowess compensates more than enough. Combined with their inherent traits is the culture they are raised in. Orcs learn from a very early age how to fight, as it is an important part of their society. They also learn how to use heavy armor and smith, and with how young they start this gives them a lot of time to develop their skills. Now, I know that Orsinium has been sacked by Bretons and Redguards multiple times, but that doesn't mean the Orcs are inferior. The Orcs always had severe numbers and logistical disadvantages(given that they only have the one city as opposed to entire provinces), but they were still incredibly difficult to overcome despite this. Pound for Pound, in an even fight, there's no doubt in my mind the Orcs would best the Redguards and Bretons. Another bonus is their belief that they must die a good death in battle against a worthy opponent, rather than of old age, this helps make them more fearless in battle.

  2. Redguard(P: 9, R: 6, M: 4) – In close second is the Redguards. They are renowned swordsman and don't have any serious disadvantages. I will admit though, I don't have too much else to say as Redguards are the race I'm least familiar with in terms of lore.

  3. High Elves(P: 3, R: 5, M: 10) – The highest non warrior type race is the High Elves. Magic can be incredibly powerful, and High Elves, have by far the most powerful mages in their ranks. Magic allows them to have a distinct advantage in most matchups, however, their relative lack of physical combat prowess poses a challenge in actual warfare where you must physically take over and occupy different places.

  4. Nords(P: 8, R: 5, M: 3) – Nords are very similar to orcs in terms of their skillset and being raised in a culture that embraces and celebrates battle. Their harsh environment also provides a boost to their toughness, but I still don't think it matches Orcs. While they are similar, Orcs and Redguards IMO are both generally more skilled in physical combat. Nords and Redguards are equal from a physical perspective, but Orcs are still just bigger, stronger, and more aggressive on average.

  5. Dark Elves(P: 4, R: 4, M: 8) – The second mage type race here. Dark Elves don't possess quite the magical ability that High Elves do, but they are still very good at it, especially in terms of destruction magic. While they may not have the same volume of powerful mages that High Elves do, from what I know, I believe that the most powerful Dark Elf mages have historically been more powerful than the best High Elf mages, take House Telvanni for example. Or Sotha Sil and Divayth Fyr, one of them was LITERALLY a god and the other was probably just as powerful as a god.

  6. Argonians(P: Hist, R: Hist, M: Hist) – Ok, I'll be honest, where Argonians rank on this list is honestly irrelevant as they can pretty much be as powerful as the Hist wants them to be. Like during the Oblivion Crisis, they stormed the gates and kicked so much Deadric ass the Daedra had to run away. On the other hand though, when they invaded Morrowind, Morrowind had just suffered a MASSIVE natural disaster, and they had the element of surprise, and they were still pushed back by a severely weakened House Redoran. So, yeah, Argonians are only as powerful as the Hist say they are at that time.

  7. Bretons(P: 6, R: 4, M: 7) – Bretons are a very well rounded group. This is great as they will have great archers, warriors, and mages among them. However, they are not extremely naturally gifted in any one area, and their best in each category would likely be handled easily by the best in that category from another race, for example, a good Breton warrior would likely be beaten by a good Nord/Redguard/Orc warrior, a good Breton mage would likely be bested by a good High or Dark Elf mage, and a good Breton archer would likely be bested by a good Wood Elf Archer.

  8. Khajiit(P: 5, R: 7, M: 5) – Kind of like the Argonians, where Khajiit rank depends mainly on what kind of Khajiit is being discussed. This is based on the main form we see in the games, but there are lots of other kinds, and it's not like they're rare, they're very common in Elsweyr, but they just aren't put in the games. If we were specifically talking about Alfiq, they would be better mages than the vast majority of other races.

  9. Wood Elves(P: 3, R: 10, M: 5) – This is the only true archer type race. This gives them a large advantage in ambush and guerilla warfare. However, they are far less gifted in magic than the other races of Mer, and focus far more on ranged combat as opposed to physical combat. Their physical combat weakness is also amplified by their inherent traits, given that they are much smaller and weaker than every other race. If they have the element of surprise they will most likely win the battle, but in terms of having to physically take, occupy, and defend territory they would be at a large disadvantage in most cases.

  10. Imperials(P: 5, R: 4, M: 6) – Imperials are by far the most underwhelming race from a combat perspective(honestly they're just pretty boring in general too IMO). Their biggest strength comes in the form of the Legion, which is made up of many races that improve it via their knowledge and skills. Orcs for example, often serve in the Legion and are a huge boost to it's front line, they also serve as smiths and help outfit the Legion with better equipment. So yeah, honestly their biggest strength is that they have other races with them. One plus they have are the Imperial Battlemages, but again, if I'm not mistaken these can be any race, and they aren't very common.

Let me know what you think! If you disagree, comment what and why and I'd love to have a discussion about it. Or you could do your own ranking as well.

Edit: formatting, mobile

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