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How to Defeat Dragons in Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Updated on April 22, 2012

Elder Scrolls V Skyrim features dragons that you will either face during the game's main quest or will fight randomly during your travels. They can also be found residing in certain areas of the game and will attack if you are in their area. Dragons can attack at anytime and it can be hard to predict when they will. Sometimes you will see them flying near a mountain, near a city, or other locations in the game. Just because they are flying nearby does not mean they are attacking you, however. If a red enemy marker is marked on your compass, this means they are attacking in the area and are hostile towards you and other creatures/animals.

Dragons are very swift when flying in the air, but will sometimes land to attack you up close. While you can defeat dragons with melee weapons like swords, daggers, axes etc., it is not the best approach. Bows and destruction magic are the recommended way to go because you can keep your distance. A sword in hand is useless when the dragon is flying. At least with a bow you can shoot a dragon when it is flying in the air. However, if you use melee weapon, try and use one that has an enchantment (see video on the page).

Some dragons in Elder Scrolls Skyrim prefer to fight on the ground more. If you are a higher level character, you may run into a Blood Dragon randomly. Blood Dragon's tend to fight on the ground more than other dragons. You probably will not face a Blood Dragon until you are 15+ level in the game, however.

Fighting Dragons in Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

  • Shoot arrows at a dragon while it is flying around and if it lands, back away to avoid it's attacks. You may need to compensate by aiming in front of the dragon whilst it's flying so you do not miss. Buy the Archery Perk that allows you to zoom in with the bow.
  • Shoot longer range destruction magic at the dragon and dual cast for more damage. For example, combine fire bolts with fire ball. Note you will do more damage if you upgrade the perks in destruction skill tree.
  • Use the shout "Dragonrend" to make the dragon come on the ground so it's easier to attack (unlocked in main quest).Or use the shout "call dragon" so a dragon can help you fight (also unlocked in main quest).
  • Hire or get a follower. They will help you defeat a dragon if one attacks. The dragon may also pay less attention to you if they attack the follower.
  • Sometimes a dragon will attack other animals/people in the area and may ignore you. Take advantage of this and shoot at the dragon when it is not paying attention to you. Other animals and people can potentially damage the dragon, making it easier for you to kill the dragon.
  • Use healing spells with one hand and cast magic with the other hand. This is another way to deal damage to the dragon, while also healing yourself with healing magic. I recommend getting "faster healing" or better because the novice level spells for restoration magic are not that great.

These are just some tips to keep in mind when fighting dragons in Elder Scrolls Skyrim. You can fight dragons at close range too, but it's not the safest way. If fight them at close range, use weapons that are enchanted with magic to deal more damage.

NOTE: This article may be updated with additional information about defeating dragons in Elder Scrolls Skyrim.If you know of any additional ways to defeat dragons, leave a comment below, or share your dragon fighting stories.

Fighting Dragons in Elder Scrollls V: Skyrim

As mentioned, it's best to use bows and destruction magic to defeat dragons. You can keep your distance when using bows/magic while fighting a dragon and will be able to damage them while they are in mid air. If you are using a bow, make sure to equip the best bow, and equip it with the strongest arrows. Use a bow that is enchanted to deal even more damage to the dragon.

When using destruction magic against dragons, use (Dual Casting) if you have it. This allows you to have the same spell in both hands and combine the effects to create an even more powerful spell.

Dragons will land on top of buildings, land on the ground, and will fly around an area. When they are flying, use a bow and try and aim in front of them. If you do not aim in front of them when a dragon is flying, you may miss because the arrow is not fast enough to make contact with the dragon.

Note watch for Dragon's attacks as they can blind you.

Share Your Dragon Fighting Experience that happened in Skyrim

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    • profile image

      dan 5 years ago

      sure you should use magic and bows while they're flying, but once they set foot on soil I find it much more efficient to charge through their breath attacks with the first word of "become ethereal" and dig into their side with whatever your strongest available power attacks may be. (I currently double down with glass daggers). With a companion in tow, most normal dragons never take to they sky again if I reach them

    • David 470 profile image

      David 470 5 years ago from Pennsylvania, United States

      3 Legendary Dragon's attacked me yesterday! I think it is because I am level 81.

      It killed a bunch of people in Riverwood, though. The damn Blacksmiths always seem to think they are badass and attack the dragons only to get killed.

      I have a couple game files for Skyrim and in my imperial one -- the blackmith in riverwood is dead because of a dragon.

    • profile image

      the legendary MOO 5 years ago

      But I wanna fight an ancient or elder dragon. Blood and regulor dragons are regulor game for me every day.

    • profile image

      the legendary MOO 5 years ago

      ive killed 15 DRAGONS in just 4 days. And I am level 17 already :P

    • profile image

      paya 6 years ago

      By the way what difficulty do you have? Try raising it a bit, then it starts to be finally fun. If you're still bored by how fast the dragons die, use an unenchanted bow. If it is still so, hand-to-hand is an okeyish alternative too :p

    • profile image

      Ezio 6 years ago

      Its very fast and easy to kill dragons as a werewolf as long as there on the ground

    • profile image

      Paulmcawesome 6 years ago

      I just use my legendary daedric bow ( got up to over 100 damage) And kill them in a few shots

    • profile image

      jordanMiller 6 years ago

      i was on my way to clear out some silverhand and a dragon stopped me on my way. i am a mostly melee character so i'm not the best at fighting them so as i am part of the companions sub faction called the circle i just turned into a wereeolve and mauled its ass

    • profile image

      ArgymeTehArgonian 6 years ago

      For me, blood dragons are EVIL.They'll only land on buildings.I'm fighting one on NOVICE and having a tough time in riverwood...AND the guards are dead.

    • profile image

      tamlin 6 years ago

      dont know how you do it so far i have only killed 3 dragons but you guys make it sound sooooooo easy and whats up whit the guards always trying to kill me

    • profile image

      destructionmagicwhore 6 years ago

      Im level 71 with max destruction and conjuration magic school, whenever a dragon shows just cast two powered-up storm atronachs and watch them beat the poor lizard. Or chain-cast dual cast thunderbolts + stagger = one dead dragon. I dont use shouts anymore cause I can kill them in air or almost dying at least.....

    • profile image

      Anonymous 6 years ago

      One thing is that if you use a shield, you can bash them to interupt their breath attack and rocks and other terrain can provide cover from their breath while they're in the air. Hope this helps!

    • profile image

      Some rand 6 years ago

      Once dragons land for me it's pretty much a done deal. At low levels, I waited till dragons would land, fus roh dah them in the face and duel wield the life out of there face. Now I jus dragonrend an etc

    • profile image

      Abc123 6 years ago

      All wrong :-) dragon rend shout followed by a Daedric Legendary battleaxe to the face

    • profile image

      n00b 6 years ago

      I just jumped on it's head and bashed it's face in.

    • profile image

      Justin 6 years ago

      When I fight I use a bow and then quick-switch to a sword and fire/shock, depending on what breath they have. Simultaneously casting and hacking at the wings causes the dragon to fall over and not take off again. As long as you don't let up, the dragon never flies off.

    • profile image

      Zen Flame 6 years ago

      Im level 11. I cant find any dragons. I usually stick around Whiteruns area tho...

      if ur high enough lvl with all shouts u could probaly take over Skyrim urself...

      or u could kill everyone...

    • ecosimon profile image

      ecosimon 6 years ago from United Kingdom

      Just love fighting those dragons in Skyrim. I tend to enchant my armor with fire and ice protection, as most dragons tend to breath these at you.

      Also i enchant two swords with health and stamina absorption on strike, so not only can i regenerate health but also have enough stamina to use power attacks constantly to damage dragons more.

    • profile image

      watup 6 years ago

      if theyre so easy for some of you then probably increase the difficulty level

    • profile image

      yessir 6 years ago

      Actually dragons arent that easy, though I do usually kill every one I find, I'm quite depleted after I finish with one depending on the type, I never carry health potions because frankly I think they're too difficult to find, and I am a strictly melee character, if your finding dragons are too easy just change up how you play, while dragons aren't the toughest thing in the game (frost troll, giant, mamoth) they are still really fun to fight, give a strictly melee playthrough a try and you'll find dragon battles can be freakin epic at times:p

    • profile image

      sugar queen 21 6 years ago

      Wow dragons r so easy i killed 7 in an hour they reaallyy need to step up their game haha lol :)

    • profile image

      tailboard343 6 years ago

      How do I get my weapons to be so powerful....

    • profile image

      blackfire2003 6 years ago

      Where do u get the dragon rend shout

    • profile image

      craig 6 years ago

      hit and fade weaken them with spells and arrows duck into cover they cannot enter heal and hit them be sporting when they are at 25% hits left go in for a melee kill..takes patience but very effective.

    • profile image

      Robin 6 years ago

      every frost dragon is weak against fire spells and every fire dragon is weak against fire use it as your advantage (25% more damage)

    • profile image

      Vanguard 6 years ago

      Dragons kinda got boring for me. My legendary daedric bow is at 277 damage with 30 frost damage to Hp and stamina. I mainly use dwarven arrows which add another 14 dmg. I kill dragons in several arrows. :/

    • profile image

      Poopsacs 6 years ago

      Just shoot them in the wings while they fly, as these are the largest targets. If they land, get behind them so they cant fire breath you and shoot em more. Its not that hard.

    • profile image

      Level 81 weapon master 6 years ago

      Cast dragonrend smash dragon in the head and yea dragons are all over the place after you beat the main story line they are a pain

    • profile image

      ungjaevel 6 years ago

      Soooo, Bethesda has made the flagship enemy of the game incredibly annoying for melee classes to fight? Great.

    • profile image

      .. 6 years ago

      You could just use the dragonrend shout which makes them land

    • Eranofu profile image

      Eranofu 6 years ago from Europe

      My blood dragons just love to tease me from above. Maybe because I have a melee character. :D

    • profile image

      Motzerator 6 years ago

      i find it difficult to attack flying dragons wirh bow and arrow, i prefere to fight them with healing spell in left hand and legendary ebony axe right hand :)

    • profile image

      CrazyDude 6 years ago

      i killed 4 dragons in 45 mins!!

    • profile image

      crimeer 6 years ago

      use a fast weapon like a dagger or sword and slash at its side and whe it turns to hit you go to hs tail end and hit

    • profile image

      karim 6 years ago

      i am a melee fighter, use the dragonrend shout to force it to land, and just get up close and batter away with the most devestating two armed weapon. attack from behind and keep shifting, so the dragon doesnt use fire or frost on you.

      the dragonerend shout recharges in 5 seconds, so as soon as it recharges use the dragonrend again.. it will never get a chance to fly away, and you can kep pumelling it.

      if youre good you can kill it by yourself without using any health potions, but if not use your ally/ guards as pawns, let the dragon go after them, and then sneak up and attack

    • profile image

      Mr. EpicSaxMan 6 years ago

      Love Fighting dragons I do 71 damage w/ my ebony bow so they're pretty easy to kill

    • profile image

      Gamermate 6 years ago

      If you weaken them with you bow and then go in for a melee kill it is also easier. When you melee get behind the wing and the dragon will have a harder time attacking you!

    • profile image

      jace 6 years ago

      or u could use healing and a sword (i prefer a blades sword or magic one handed weapon) and just run to its back legs and slash away but is easy for me ause if got dragonrend and lots of other shouts

    • profile image

      Malfurion 6 years ago

      I always seem to have trouble engaging in combat when i see a random dragon after i fast travel somewhere.It always circles overhead outside my bow range and it's very irritating. Besides that though it is incredible fun to fight a dragon or maybe even two at the same time. One hander and a shield always do the trick.

    • profile image

      Shatteredsky 6 years ago

      I wanted to point out that when using destruction spells to hit an airborne dragon, it's best to use ones from of the lightning type, since it will travel faster than fire or frost.

    • profile image

      blah 6 years ago

      some are just like bandits and respawn but some are questy and dont

    • profile image

      Patrick 6 years ago

      Are there dragons after you complete the game

    • profile image

      kaleb 6 years ago

      i fought a dragon last night sooo intense cant wait to play after school :) gooo bethesda best game ever!!!


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