[Top 20] Skyrim Best Combat Mods For A Better Experience

Skyrim with a modern combat system

Even though combat isn’t really Skyrim’s main appeal, you can’t deny that Skyrim is a combat heavy game. Unless you’re roleplaying as a civilian, I don’t see how you wouldn’t get into a fight. And even then, it wouldn’t be a very fun playthrough once the novelty wears off.

So in this list, I have a bunch of mods that improve the combat experience. While some of these are specific, a lot of them do the same thing but differently. Make sure to read the descriptions from the mod pages and look at the compatibility sections before using two that make the same changes. And then there are some mods that aren’t really combat, but affect it.


20. SkyrimSouls - Unpaused Game Menus

The biggest advantage in Skyrim and most RPG combats is that in the middle of a fight, you can always stop, strategize and use whatever item you have. The only ones that don’t have it are FromSoftware games. And now, so does Skyrim.

You might be wondering why I’m starting with something that sounds like UI mod. Well, even though this mod makes changes to UI the only thing it really affects is combat. With the menus unpaused, everything else will remain unaffected. It’s just aesthetics. But now you’ll be pressured to think fast during combat.


Download Mod: Legendary | Special


19. Equipment HUD

Yes, this is another mod that technically isn’t about combat. But think about it! Equipment mostly affects combat as well, and this mod replaces the quick menu. This one too is inspired by a mechanism from Dark Souls.

With this mod, you’ll be able to add favorite equipment to different cycles for different slots. Using hotkeys you’ll be able to navigate what is equipped. So instead of opening a long scrolling list, you’ll save time by cycling smaller ones.


Download Mod: Legendary | Special


18. No Saving In Combat

Here’s another thing that so many other RPGs do better. Skyrim lets you save pretty much whenever, which isn’t a bad thing. But when you have the ability to save during combat, it takes away from the edge. You can just save and load every iteration like it's a simulation.

With this mod, you’ll only be able to save outside combat. It’s a simple mod that does one thing only, but it really changes how to approach combat. No longer will you be able to use your foreknowledge and dodge, losing means starting the fight again. It also raises the stakes without doing much else.


Download Mod: Legendary | Special


17. VioLens - A Killmove Mod

Whoever said violence is not the answer clearly never used this mod. Sorry, I know that was bad, I just really had to say it. One of the most noticeable differences between Skyrim and its predecessor is the killcam. It's a good cinematic feature, and this mod lets you take it further.

VioLens lets you customize the conditions for when the cinematic scenes will play. So with this mod, you can have it okay every time you kill someone. If like me you find the ranged killcams annoying, you can customize that too. And if you find it immersion breaking, you can turn it off altogether.


Download Mod: Legendary | Special


16. Mortal Enemies

One of the most annoying things about Skyrim’s combat is how your enemies never seem to miss. Or how they always find a way to dodge your arrows. We know we’re up against AI, but come on! We need a little believability to suspend our disbelief!

This mod makes the enemies mortal, meaning they won’t dodge arrows like ninjas. This mod also features attack commitment, meaning that once you or the enemy has attacked, neither of you will be able to switch direction until the animation finishes playing. Finally, it makes subtle changes to movement speeds and turning speeds depending on the weapons. There really isn’t a picture available to explain what this mod does, but the video will give you quite a good idea.


Download Mod: Legendary | Special


15. Smart NPC Potions

Potions and poisons are abundant in the land of Skyrim. So it’s a wonder how so few of your enemies will ever use either to give themselves a boost. While it’s not that big of a deal, all things considered, it does give the player an unfair advantage. And that makes combat uninteresting.

So this mod distributes potions and poisons to NPCs so that they can use it during combat. There’s a chance now that they will use these against you to gain an upper hand. Only 40% of enemies will carry it, so it won’t break the game. And the type of potion distributed is based on the type of NPC.


Download Mod: Legendary | Special


14. Weapon Parry


Weapon Parrying is a cool feature that a lot of games do not have. And for good reason. It seems like a taxing system to implement. And to be completely honest, it seems to be one of those things that sometimes works, other times doesn’t. But it’s a fun system, and I find myself using it now and then.

The idea is pretty simple, whenever you and your enemy swing your weapons at the same time, a block animation will play. The game will consider it a block and you know how it goes from there. The mod I’m linking for Special Edition is even better, because it has support for Precision, a very cool mod that I’ll further explain later in the list. 


Download Mod: Legendary | Special


13. Locational Damage

This is a pretty simple mod. But what it does makes you wonder why it wasn’t in the game in the first place. After all, the Fallout games have locational damage and were made in the same engine.

Simply put, this mod applies damage to different parts of the enemy’s body. These damage can only be afflicted by melee weapons, so no spells unfortunately. Of course, it’s not just for show. Depending on the part you’ve attacked, the enemies will suffer different debuffs.


Download Mod: Legendary | Special 


12. Potions Animated Fix


Here’s another mod that borrows something from the Souls-like games, but it really does help a lot. One of the most Skyrim-things is pausing mid-game and chugging twenty potions. That’s unrealistic, but I can hardly complain about that in a game about a Dragon God’s fractured soul. The main problem is it makes it easy and unstrategic.

With this mod, you’ll be playing a drinking animation when you try to drink a potion. Instead of instantly healing you when you click a button, the potion will affect you once the animation finishes playing. You can also be interrupted if you’re attacked. Thankfully, the animation is quick. Regardless, this forces you to carefully consider when and where to drink your potion.


Download Mod: Legendary | Special


11. Arena - An Encounter Zone Overhaul

Encounter zones are some pretty important stuff. If you don’t know about it, it’s the set of rules that determine what level of enemies you’ll encounter. Skyrim uses encounter zones where the enemies more or less scale around your level. Morrowind’s encounter zones are unleveled, so the enemies will have their level regardless of your level.

What I love about this mod is that it doesn’t deviate too much from Skyrim’s original formula. Just enough to make it a little more fun. It brings up the minimum level for each zone, meaning you’ll meet slightly higher level enemies earlier in the game. But the disparity is not high enough for you to get overwhelmed.


Download Mod: Legendary | Special


10. Know Your Enemy

Skyrim’s combat doesn’t really require you to know much. End of the day, all you really need to do is grab the weapon that deals the highest damage and swing. Or spell and cast. Same difference. With this mod, your knowledge will truly become power.

Now every enemy type has different traits and resistances. For example, all undeads have shock resistance and everything that lives in caves have poison resistance. While the base game has some of these features, this mod expands them and now you’ll need to know a little more before jumping in. Of course, it’s not too big of a departure to be a headache.

The mod also has an armor module, forcing you to be a little more thoughtful about what to wear. For example, dragonscale is non-conductive, giving it resistance to shock but weakness to fire. Leather, on the other hand, resists fire, making it an ideal choice for certain scenarios.


Download Mod: Legendary | Special


9. True Directional Movement - Modernized Third Person Gameplay

You might be wondering why I’m putting something like a movement mod in this list. Then again, I’ve put 2 UI ones so you might see where I’m going. For an enjoyable third-person combat experience, the feeling of movement is very important. And Skyrim’s movements often lack fluidity.

This mod is jam-packed with features. The most important one here is movement and camera, which gives a better feel of motion for your player. You can move in any direction, not just in front. It also adds a lock-on mechanism that is definitely the best implementation of that feature. Another fun bonus is that you can now swim up or down with keyboard keys.


Download Mod: Special


9. Enhanced Enemy AI

A mod that handles Enemy AI is very important. Otherwise, you’re stuck with Skyrim enemies who mindlessly follow you and swing away without aim. That’s no fun, so we can’t have that. This mod adjusts a bunch of settings called ‘Combat Styles’, which is a bunch of rules that determine how the enemy approaches combat. Of course, that’s simplifying it.

With this mod, all the enemies will seem more intelligent and aggressive. So you’ll see enemies bash more or try to stagger you. Archers and mages will try harder to stay out of your way, rather than standing still. It also affects animals. The only type that’s left unaltered is dragons, and I made an entirely different list dedicated to them.


Download Mod: Legendary | Special


7. Valravn - Integrated Combat of Skyrim

EnaiSiaion is a well-known name in the Skyrim modding community, and this mod is their latest combat mod. This is from the author of Wildcat and Smilodon. In case you’re wondering about the similarities, it is not near as feature-rich as Wildcat. It does what Smilodon did, but better.

The mod's goal is to enhance Skyrim’s combat without making it feel like a different game. It slows down combat by making stamina much more important during combat. You can also expect NPC AI tweaks to make them more hostile and careful during combat. It makes changes to weapon reaches, making it feel more believable. 

There are a bunch of other features in armor and resistance. Attacks of opportunity is a feature that allows you to deal extra damage under certain circumstances. For example, you’ll deal or receive more damage when the enemy is drawing their bow.


Download Mod: Special


6. Vigor - Combat and Injuries

Skyrim combat is not hardcore at all. This might not be a bad thing, but if you’re looking for a challenge then Skyrim is not the game. Fortunately, there are several mods that make it just that, I personally have a soft spot for this one.

Stamina management in Vigor is a huge deal, and almost everything you do will cost stamina. Blocking only costs stamina, so you won’t take any damage until your stamina bar is down. One of the hardcore features of this mod is the combat injury, which you will rack during combat. Afterwards, they will heal. 

Enemies will also use potions, so you might want to be careful if you’re using a different mod. Vigor also has a parrying system, identical to the one by Weapon Parry Standalone. If you’re on Special Edition, I recommend turning Vigor’s feature off and using the one added by Simple Weapon Swing Parry, simply because of Precision support.


Download Mod: Legendary | Special


5. Valhalla Combat

As far as combat overhauls go, this one is one of the newest and the best. The name might put some off, as it could remind you of Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla. But I can assure you that it doesn’t make any changes that feel too out of place.

Like most other combat mods, it changes how stamina is consumed. But the model is significantly different from others which can seem too punishing. One example is that stamina is only consumed when regular attacks miss, giving you an incentive to be careful.

Another awesome feature is exhaustion and execution. That’s right, when your enemies are stunned, now you can perform a seamless execution for extra damage. You can also block and deflect projectiles, if you have enough magicka. Regular blocking against attack consumes stamina, and if you’re out, you’ll lose health and might get staggered. Overall, it’s one of the coolest combat mods out there at the moment.


Download Mod: Special 


4. Combat Gameplay Overhaul

Skyrim combat has a lot of limitations, that much is known. And while many mods have tried to tweak variables or add features, for years the limitations seemed set in stone. Until this mod came out and threw a lot of them out of the window.

The mod does a lot of things. It adds a dodge feature which is smoother than any other mods, and procedural leaning that makes movement seem much more believable. It lets you choose whether to wield weapons with one or two hands. And it lets you attack mid-air. While most of these were achievable by other mods, none of them worked quite as good as this one.


Download Mod: Legendary | Special 


3. Attack Behavior Revamp

There are a lot of mods that make combat more challenging, responsive or fluid. They all fail to solve one problem, however. The attack behavior of Skyrim is too simplistic. At the end of the day, all you have are regular and power attacks, and that’s the end of the story. 

Attack Behavior Revamp introduces combos to Skyrim. Instead of a button-mashing contest, your pattern of attacks will determine what combo the character will execute. This makes combat much more decisive and intense. It doesn’t hurt that it also has many animations to support these combos.


Download Mod: Legendary | Special


2. Distance Based Combat

You installed several mods like CGO and ABR to make the combat more fun. And it’s very enjoyable at first, until you realize one problem. The combos are only available to you, making it a lot less challenging.

With this mod, that will be a problem of the past. Enemies will be a lot more careful about how to attack. They will assess their distance from you and will make strategies based on that. Expect them to close the gap, use charged attacks and even chain combos! There’s a few other mods that do similar things, but I prefer this one for compatibility.


Download Mod: Special


1. Precision

You know how when you swing you’re attacking the enemy, it sometimes feels like you’re just slicing through air? Forget sometimes, make it all the time. To see a demonstration, you just need to try hitting a wall in third person. You don’t have to be near it for it to hit.

The problem with Skyrim’s combat collision is that it uses an abstract cone for all weapons to predict where the attack might land. Sounds imprecise, right? That’s why we need a little bit of… precision. Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.

This mod replaces these cones and makes the weapon models actually collide. So your attacks will only hit if they actually hit. This will change how you play the game too. When weapons hit, you’ll experience recoil. And your attacks might not even land if you accidentally hit a wall or some other obstacle.


Download Mod: Special

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A prolific and published author with a fervor for gaming, I have decided to dedicate myself to these two bring in a way that inspire passion and desires to learn and explore in others.
Gamer Since: 2000
Favorite Genre: RPG
Currently Playing: Dishonored
Top 3 Favorite Games:The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Dragonborn, Assassin's Creed 2 , Dishonored

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