Skyrim has seen its fair share of bloody battles.
On your way across the plains of this cold region, you will run into a lot of enemies who will try to kill you over and over again.
No matter what kind of enemies you face, there’s always a fear that the next one will be stronger, or that you’ll face something that you just can’t beat.
Don’t worry, though. That’s why I made this list of Skyrim’s most dangerous enemies to help you know what to expect and what to avoid in the northern lands of Tamriel.
Keep in mind that some of these bosses can only be found in DLC, so base game users might not be able to face some of them without upgrading.
- 21. Wispmother
- 20. The Caller
- 19. Forsworn Briarhearts
- 18. Draugr Death Overlord
- 17. Harkon
- 16. Frost Giant Karstaag
- 15. Arch-Curate Vyrthur
- 14. Vulthuryol
- 13. Alduin
- 12. The Forgemaster
- 11. Volkihar Master Vampire
- 10. Krosis
- 9. Lurker Vindicator
- 8. Nightmaster Vampire
- 7. Dremora Valkynaz
- 6. Archmages
- 5. Falmer Warmonger
- 4. Werewolf Vargr
- 3. Ahzidal
- 2. Voslaarum and Naaslaarum
- 1. Miraak
The Wispmother isn’t necessarily a difficult enemy, but there’s something utterly terrifying about encountering one for the first time in Skyrim.
These wispy ghost-like witches usually announce their presence with wisps of light that might guide an unsuspecting player into the Wispmother’s cold and callous embrace.
What makes the Wispmother challenging is her speed and the help of her little wisps during combat.
Her frost spells will also slow the player down, so closing the distance for melee characters is extremely difficult. Good frost resistance is the best counter against her.
20. The Caller
In all fairness, The Caller isn’t the most challenging of enemies in the game.
Even though this counts as a boss fight you may actually avoid it entirely if you have a high enough speech skill, considering you can talk her out of fighting and giving you the books that she stole from the College of Winterhold.
As you might already know, The Caller is an ex-student of the College that went rogue. You’ll need to find her and either retrieve the books that she stole without spilling blood, or killing her and getting back the precious possessions of the College through force.
In any case she makes the list of powerful foes because fighting her can prove to be quite challenging – especially near the beginning of the game.
19. Forsworn Briarhearts
Briarhearts are not only scary in looks, they are also pretty powerful too.
A Forsworn Briarheart is an undead creature that has sacrificed its heart to become an even more powerful entity than it already was, which means big trouble for you.
These enemies only start showing up after level 50 and they come in two forms: Shaman form and a regular Warrior form.
Both types of Briarhearts are equally strong but each in their own way.
A Shaman foe will ensure that you receive as much magic damage as possible using spells from the Destruction school of magic, as well as Conjuration spells to summon unstoppable creatures upon you.
Warriors will wield dual swords and attempt to cut through your skin with sheer strength!
18. Draugr Death Overlord
Draugr Death Overlords are the most powerful of the Draugr undead group.
The creatures are at least level 45, but they will show up before you hit level 39 (you might want to run away if you aren’t at least level 40).
They have Ebony weaponry and almost 1500 points of health so taking them down will be as hard as the hits you’ll take while doing so.
Not bad enough for you?
Don’t worry, they’re also proficient in the language of Dragons which means that shouts will go back and forth when facing one of these mighty foes.
Harkon is the Lord of the Volkihar Clan, a powerful and ancient clan of Vampires that appears in the Dawnguard DLC.
The boss encounter is rather cool and even though the enemy isn’t too difficult to deal with, you’ll probably enjoy the fight if you’re paying attention to the Dawnguard story.
The character is very well built-up and his presence terrorizes the souls of many.
Stopping Harkon is part of the Dawnguard main questline so you’ll have to fight him if you want to finish the DLC completely.
He’s a powerful Vampire Lord so be prepared to make a stand against his powerful attacks.
16. Frost Giant Karstaag
You can summon this creature in the quest “Summoning Karstaag” which will certainly send you down a path to memory lane if you played Morrowind back in the golden days of The Elder Scrolls.
The creature, as you might recall if you played TES III, is slain in the previous game.
However you can encounter its skull in Skyrim and summon it.
Why on Earth would you want to summon this creature, you ask?
Well when you kill its spirit completely you’ll be able to summon it once again, but it’ll fight on your side.
Yes, you can actually get Karstaag to kill enemies for you. Pretty neat huh?
15. Arch-Curate Vyrthur
If you loved the story of Harkon then Vyrthur’s will probably interest you as well.
This is also one of the most powerful Vampiric entities in the realms of Skyrim, and one of the most powerful and relevant foes that you’ll fight in the game.
You’ll have to defeat him when completing the quest known as “Touching the Sky” which is the final quest of the Dawnguard DLC.
He has some very powerful abilities that can drain your health as well as your stamina, leaving you on the brink of death before you even realize what’s happening. Go into this fight prepared.
Vulthuryol is a mighty dragon that needs to be awakened in Blackreach.
Its resting place lies hidden deep in the Great Lift of Mzinchaleft.
You’ll need to shout your famous Fus-Ro-Dah towards his resting place in order to awaken him, but be sure to do it only if you’re ready – he poses quite a fight and beating him is not easy at all.
The colorful dragon is one of those unique creatures that can only be summoned and fought once, so be sure to use as much of your power as possible. If he gets away you won’t have another chance to beat him.
Alduin, the “most powerful dragon in Skyrim”. At least that’s what he’s supposed to be in the TES canon.
However Alduin is quite an underwhelming boss to be the game’s final enemy, which is why he’s ranked near the middle of this list.
He can be disposed of rather quickly which is partly understandable because every player needs to be able to kill him, but it still makes for quite an underwhelming fight compared to some others later in this list.
In any case, the story of Alduin alone merits him a place here. And everyone who loves the Skyrim story will surely enjoying putting an end to this mighty creature.
12. The Forgemaster
The Forgemaster is the one and true protector of the Aetherium Forge, which can be found in the Dawnguard DLC.
The Forgemaster is a very tough opponent.
In fact, it’s one of the strongest pieces of Dwarven machinery that was ever created by the long-lost civilization.
It’s up to you to destroy it if you want to access the legendary forge, and the efforts will pay off in the end.
Furthermore, destroying this legendary machine will grant you a piece of Aetherium gear so there’s much at stake when fighting the Forgemaster.
11. Volkihar Master Vampire
Volkihar is a level 53 mini-boss that serves as the strongest vampire in the game.
He isn’t a unique foe– they spawn in many locations and often do so with a couple of other vampires alongside them.
Be careful when fighting them, though!
Depending on the type of vampires that accompany them, you might be at risk of turning into one of these night-roamers yourself.
Krosis is a powerful dragon priest(who holds one of those precious masks that you might want to obtain) that needs to be beaten in one of the toughest boss encounters in the game.
He fights alongside a dragon that only attacks you, making his already powerful might even more difficult to overcome.
Be sure to save your game before fighting Krosis. Almost no player in the world is capable of killing him on their first attempt.
9. Lurker Vindicator
Lurkers are special types of Daedra that commonly spawn in Solstheim.
They can spawn up to level 54 and they can poison you with their regular attacks, which will cause you to go through hell when dealing with one of these mighty creatures.
Easy if you have a strategy in place but certainly an enemy worth looking out for.
8. Nightmaster Vampire
Even though the Nightmaster Vampire isn’t a unique entity, they are the most powerful types of regular bosses in the game.
As such you can expect them to take a ton of hits to take down.
They have over 1000 health points, but they only spawn after level 65!
As you might imagine they are capable of draining your health, and they are very annoying to kill to boot.
7. Dremora Valkynaz
There isn’t a set location where you can encounter the Valkynaz.
These Dremora can only be fought if an enemy conjurer summons them from the depths of Oblivion, and if you’re unlucky enough for this to happen you can rest assured that you’ll struggle to stay alive around them.
They often wear Daedra heavy armor and weaponry, meaning they can resist a ton of hits and deal enormous amounts of damage all at once. Fun times!
Archmages are the most powerful mages that you’ll encounter in the wild.
They will spawn up to level 46 and with different affiliations to the schools of magic that you know in Tamriel.
They often wear clothes and jewelry that further enhances their power, making them incredibly difficult to take down but very rewarding to kill. If you fight back with magic you’ll need to plan accordingly.
5. Falmer Warmonger
These powerful level 35 monsters will cause you trouble even after level 45; if you have the Dawnguard DLC installed, that is.
As if their strength wasn’t enough these monsters also wear heavy armor and can be very tough to take down!
Keep an eye out and just make sure you bring enough preparations to last a lengthy fight(or to help you run away if needed).
4. Werewolf Vargr
Even though this isn’t a final boss but rather a common creature, fighting and killing a Vargr can prove to be one of the most difficult tasks of the game.
They’ll start spawning at level 48 and you better be ready to get slashed multiple times if you dare to face one of these monsters.
They will only spawn in the Silver Hand, though, so worry not if you aren’t going to roam around those parts.
They have a massive boost to unarmed combat damage which means that their strikes are almost as hard as you’d expect to receive from a mighty sword.
Get those spells ready and sharpen your weapon – you’ll need them at full strength if you dare to fight one of these mighty beasts.
Ahzidal, much like Krosis, is the strongest dragon priest in the game.
You’ll only face him during the end of the “Unearthed” quest, and you better be ready to receive a ton of powerful spells against you.
He is a true master of magic and a powerful enemy that can kill even the most skillful of players. A fitting end to a rather challenging quest.
2. Voslaarum and Naaslaarum
These two dragons only spawn in Forgotten Vale, a region that gets added to the game with the Dawnguard DLC.
Both dragons are twins and their combined power is as mighty as these dragons are ancient.
In fact, they are so powerful that they are the two main enemies of the penultimate quests of the DLC’s questline, and they are even stronger than Alduin himself.
Since they spawn in an ice lake you’ll have plenty of space to fight them and enjoy one of the toughest fights in Tamriel without having to worry about holding back your power.
Miraak, the First Dragonborn.
Arguably one of the most powerful beings in Tamriel, Miraak is a foe that you’ll only face once during the ending of the Dragonborn DLC questline.
This mighty mortal sits amongst the most powerful non-divine beings in the realm. And he was the first human in the history of Tamriel to master shouts and the language of dragons themselves.
As you might expect, he’s an incredibly tough opponent.
He’ll heal up various times during the fight so be prepared to strike him down multiple times before he ultimately dies.
Most die-hard Skyrim fans tend to consider Miraak as the true final boss of the game. And for good reason!