I've seen and heard a lot of references to how powerful the giants are in Skyrim (e.g. Penny Arcade), so my challenge as soon as I get the game is to go and kill one. I'm sure that if I maxed out my character I could just kill the giant in a fight, but I want to do it as early as possible. Are there any perks or spells which giants are particularly susceptible to? Any particular race I should choose? Any other tricks that would make the task easier?

  • 9
    Y'know, questions prior to launch don't actually count for the competition. Which rather compounds with the general lack of ease of getting an answer to a gameplay question on a game that hasn't met its full launch date.
    – Grace Note
    Commented Nov 9, 2011 at 22:16
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    There seem to be plenty of people with the game already. My copy has been shipped but won't arrive for a little while as it's an import (so probably too late for the contest) so I mainly asked as I was curious after seeing the Penny Arcade comic and hearing about the giant on a podcast. I figure there should be an answer in the next couple of days, at the latest.
    – jwaddell
    Commented Nov 9, 2011 at 22:45
  • I think you kill them by reducing their hit points to 0. Given that there are a near infinte number of ways to do this, and you don't even own the game to give any sort of guidance about doing so with a specific build, I don't think this question is answerable.
    – bwarner
    Commented Nov 10, 2011 at 3:59
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    I think the game is already available in some countries.
    – Shinrai
    Commented Nov 10, 2011 at 15:38
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    The 16x damage daggers can get from sneaking is pretty good! Commented Nov 16, 2011 at 13:28

25 Answers 25


Giants can't jump.

For this method, race doesn't really matter.

  1. Make sure you have enough arrows with you. It takes about 50 steel arrows to kill a Giant, you might want to take at least 75 steel arrows with you to make up for missed arrows or slightly stronger Giants. You can farm steel arrows for free in Solitude.

  2. Find a high enough ledge / rock to stand on in the perimeter of the Giant.

  3. Keep firing arrows at him, make sure that you dodge his attacks if the rock is rather small.

Here is a video demonstrating how this is done, it might be considered a nasty glitch though:

Giants might be slower than you.

For this method, races that give you higher running speed and/or stamina have influence in the succes. You might also want to make sure you don't carry much with you as Weight has an influence on your running speed.

In about any game where your opponent is slower than you, you can kill the opponent by kiting it. In Skyrim, ALT allows you to sprint. You might be able to use a combination of sprinting backwards and firing arrows at the Giant for a long time (it takes longer in between shots than the other method), perhaps using potions to fill your Stamina. The problem with this method is that you might run into other opponents or against a wall, you might want to first inspect the direction in which you will run...

  • When I was on a spot they couldn't reach, they would just run out of my reach. So they aint that dumb :P
    – Ivo Flipse
    Commented Nov 13, 2011 at 20:16
  • @IvoFlipse: The spot might be too big then, try a smaller spot like the one in the YouTube video. It tricks the AI in trying to walk around it to get up on it, but it can't. I don't understand why it ran away for you, because as he is kited he shouldn't just ran away... Commented Nov 13, 2011 at 23:52
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    If you have the destruction dual-casting perk and a large enough magicka supply you can easily keep staggering them until they're dead. Maybe have to sprint away from them once or twice, but no pathfinding bugs required.
    – Joren
    Commented Dec 6, 2011 at 20:17
  • Come one now! Orcs are so strong for giants!
    – Jim
    Commented Oct 15, 2015 at 1:33

I've been killing Giants since about level 8 as a Wood Elf specialized in sneaking and archery. It's gotten significantly easier now at level 17 but here is the basic tactics I use.

Find an environmental object that is capable of obstructing you completely from the giant's view. Stand about 20 feet away from it and fire 2-3 arrows depending on your comfort level. Do not stop sneaking/crouching and run around the rock/obstruction. Keep the obstruction between you and the giant while he looks for you. Gradually, the reticle will reduce in size until you're hidden again and he'll forget about you and walk away. Rinse and repeat until he dies.

At level 17 with ~45 archery and ~65 sneaking -- I can usually down a giant in about 8 arrows, so two or three groups of shots and hiding. When I first did it, it took me about 6-10 minutes to kill a giant (20-30 arrows). Secunda's Kiss is a great place to try it. There are two nice large rock obstructions.

EDIT: DO NOT WEAR HEAVY ARMOR -- IT IS NOISY AND THEY WILL FIND YOU EVERY TIME! Light armor only. Also, when you're away from your cover shooting, make sure you're as far away from the giant as possible so you have lots of time to get behind the rock before he sees you. Night helps.

  • You know... there are perks that make light/heavy armor less noisy. You did not include this fact in your answer. -1 Commented Jan 4, 2012 at 20:09
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    @MonochromaticPalette The question was about killing a giant as early in the game as possible. These perks you speak of aren't really an option early game.
    – bummzack
    Commented Feb 1, 2012 at 9:08
  • "DO NOT WEAR HEAVY ARMOR -- IT IS NOISY AND THEY WILL FIND YOU EVERY TIME!" Completely unfair you should get a down-vote for that never matters unless for the skill or course.
    – Jim Jones
    Commented Nov 25, 2015 at 2:40
  • Besides, Heavy Armor is stronger than light. That depends on your sneak skill, not armor.
    – Jim Jones
    Commented Jan 17, 2016 at 5:58
  • Unless you're meantioning killing a giant the stealthy way, but what about a warrior way?
    – Jim Jones
    Commented Jan 23, 2016 at 20:35

Giants are very challenging foes in Skyrim - they're actually able to take on dragons!

The best way to kill a giant is to exploit its AI. Giants are big, dumb, and relatively slow, so kiting them is the easiest way to kill them. Attack from a distance, preferrably from a place that the giant can't climb up to. Engaging them in melee combat is not suggested at all - one hit from a giant's club will kill a lower level player.

Alternatively, if there are any suitably equipped NPCs nearby, they'll take up arms against an angry giant most of the time. Try luring a giant into the attack range of a Fort or watchtower, and let the guards wear it down!

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    Just take note though that if they kill named NPCs they stay dead. Commented Nov 12, 2011 at 6:31
  • What level should he be, though? This doesn't seem to answer the question.
    – Mana
    Commented Nov 12, 2011 at 17:42
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    @Mana That's the thing, it's really hard to say. I took out one at level 6 by kiting him and not getting hit by any of his attacks, but I'm approaching level 20 and I still don't want to take one on in melee combat. Commented Nov 12, 2011 at 20:40
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    @Holger Gah! Uh. Yes. You're missing that I'm a bit of a klutz and that when I merged the old question this answer was on into this question, I forgot to clean up my old comments.
    – Mana
    Commented Nov 21, 2011 at 14:51
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    @Mana hehe ok, who has time for correcting comments, when there are things to do i Skyrim :)
    – Holger
    Commented Nov 21, 2011 at 16:11

Last night, while trying everything I could think of to kill the two giants at Bleakwind Basin (just outside of Whiterun), I stumbled across a trick. It's not really a glitch, just a product of the giant's large size. Not sure if you could use it anywhere else, but it works great for those two particular giants. I am currently only a level 10 or 11, with pretty low skill levels. Fortunately, this works for anyone, no matter what level or experience.

First, locate the Western Watchtower. It is directly south of Bleakwind Basin. You need to have already been there and cleared it. It helps to have a more powerful bow (I had a bow with Frost damage), but any bow will do for this technique. Try to have a lot of arrows, though.

NOTE: If you have a horse or a housecarl (like Lydia), make SURE they are out of the picture! Leave your horse at the Whiterun stable. I took Lydia up to the top of the Western Watchtower and told her to wait there. Otherwise, they will try to fight for you, and if they die (which they will), you won't be able to save your accomplishment without losing them permanently.

Get as close as necessary to one of the giants to hit it with an arrow or two. Your goal is only to piss it off enough to follow you. If you can manage to hit both giants before one of them can hit you, and get them both to follow you, great. Otherwise, you can just repeat this for the second giant. Once the giant's damage bar appears, get moving to the Western Watchtower. No need to waste Stamina sprinting, just a quick trot is enough. In fact, you may need to stop a couple times and makes sure he is still following you.

When you reach the Western Watchtower, just go through the door. Once you are inside, you're safe! The giant is too big to fit through the door, so while he throws himself against it, simply fire arrows into him for as long as it takes (it took me 14 or 15 arrows with the Frost bow). You will even get some token help from the Watchtower guards, which the giant will inevitably kill, and you can collect their belongings afterward.

Be aware: The giant will fall down and look dead, but you must shoot him at least once more to actually kill him! Make sure his damage bar disappears before going outside to search the corpse! Also, there is a sabre cat in the area between Bleakwind Basin and the Western Watchtower, so be alert for that.

Good luck, and hope this helps someone!

  • -1 For letting your follower away from giants. You need help from giants. Doesn't care if they die, just focus on the giant.
    – Jim Jones
    Commented Jan 23, 2016 at 20:36

I killed two by ducking into a stream whenever it came too close, and shooting it from the other side. The giant never set foot in the water and it ran away once I was out of reach. I crossed the river again and it came after me again so i shot it again and ducked into the water agian. Wash; rinse; repeat.


As a Wood Elf you can also charm the Mammoth that often accompanies a wandering Giant. Cast Command Animal on the Mammoth and shoot an arrow at the Giant. Then watch the Mammoth and perhaps your companion make short work of the Giant.

The racial ability is usable once a day. Which is a good thing, because my first Giant kill seemed stupidly easy and uneventful done that way...


Another non-trick approach is simply get the best bow and arrows you can for you and your follower. Bows with Fire or Frost damage are pretty good. Then sneak in a little bit, and start shooting from the furthest distance. I did that once with Lydia. As the Giant closed in, Lydia melee'd it to death, while I kept peppering it with arrows. Lydia wasn't defeated, as the Giant was already quite weak once in melee range.


The easiest way I have found for a one-handed weapon and shield warrior is just to keep yourself behind them and use their slow swings against them.


For a 2-h greatsword/axe/hammer user and mid game with freezing shout and stoneflesh alteration spell

  1. Cast alteration spell to increase physical defense and poison your weapon
  2. Do a charging attack, then slash a couple of times
  3. Giant recovers from charge, then hits you once. (1/4 health bar gone for me)
  4. Use freezing shout, then follow with a power attack to damage and stumble.
  5. Finish em >:)

p.s this is one on one only. If coupled with 2 mammoths, I will still kite around with flame shout and shock spell.

  • 2
    1/4 health gone. You sir are a tank! :)
    – theorise
    Commented Nov 16, 2011 at 12:51
  • many thanks :). but truly, if I were to take them head on without buffs or shouts or charges, I doubt if I would last 2 swings of their clubs.
    – Leo
    Commented Nov 22, 2011 at 3:51

If you go full on stealthy backstabber and feel confident enough to try, you can one-shot a giant with a dagger backstab. Provided you have the sneak perks spent to pull off the 15x backstabs and a decent bit of 1-hander skill. Works with sleeping dragons too.

If it wasn't clear, you have to be using a dagger. I suggest a dagger that's fully upgraded. For instance, I've been using an Elven Dagger(Exquisite). So blacksmithing is a good skill investment as well.

  • That doesn't sound like it matches the "as early as possible" criterium, given that you're talking about quite a lot of perks and high-level Smithing to get that dagger... Commented Oct 24, 2012 at 9:27

Giants can't enter water that goes any deeper than about waist-down for your character. You can easily use this to your advantage and take down a Giant with long range weapons. Just make sure that you're at a good enough distance to be able to avoid the club attacks. :P


Just keep shooting with arrows and keep your distance. It also works better if you poison your arrows with a slow potion, which makes him a lot slower and therefore easier to kill.

You can also try using a paralyzing potion, a scroll, and/or a serpent stone blessing. Giants are slow to get on their feet, which makes it easier to plant severe hits on their skulls; it's way better than playing chicken with them.


Killed it with my Flame Atronach, just stood on the tall rock like the video shown and kept conjuring my Atronach.


If you manage to get the ×2 backstab damage gloves, you'll be able to one-shot a giant with a half decent dagger and the ×15 dagger damage perk.

×30 damage with a flawless elven dagger is total overkill :)


My first Giant encounter was probably while I was still in the single-digit levels, on my way to Whiterun. Of course, as a total newbie to the game, I made the mistake of messing with the Mammoths.

After reloading once for having been killed by a Mammoth, and again for having been knocked skyward by a giant's club, I found a bit of terrain nearby to be particularly useful.

The camp I'd stumbled into wasn't far from the Western Watchtower. The nice thing about this tower is that you can get in, but Giants can't. Perhaps more importantly is that the Giants (and Mammoths too, for that matter) will still try to swing at you fruitlessly while you hurl flaming death into their face.

That's pretty much how I took down my first Giant and Mammoth back-to-back, and I later used a similar tactic to deal with my first Dragon. Unfortunately, this isn't always an option. But it does go to show that when you are out-gunned and even- or out-numbered, your best choice is to use the terrain to your advantage where you can.


Two handed weapons:

You usually don't have the speed to dodge them, but you have the strength to kill them rather quickly. Note that I've done this trick at about level 14. What's interesting is tht when you are close to a giant (and i mean hugging their legs), they'll only try to do the hand slash attack. But this attack can easily be dodged by jumping forward and toward the hand. You will pass under it. Land a hit (only one.), dodge, hit, rinse and repeat.


I found that at level 25 onwards I could engage two giants in melee combat and kill them both with little damage, but when levelling up, I generally stuck to improving health and stamina. It is possible to take on 2-3 giants and then 4 mammoths, but it does make it a lot easier if you're around level 28-30.

NB: I was using an enchanted warhammer, using the enchantment that steals health. Each giant has about 270 gold on average, at least, that's what I found, so if you wanna get rich quick, go giant-slaying. If you kill giants with a bounty, you get even more gold. :)

The giants will usually have sacks of mammoth cheese and such things nearby.

  • Also, no spells or shouts used xD
    – isolde
    Commented Jan 10, 2012 at 17:58
  • and no comapnion
    – isolde
    Commented Jan 10, 2012 at 18:01

Sneak in back of a giant with a bow (the most powerful one you have), and sneak attack it with support. Even enemy camps will come to help. Skeletons tried killing the giants when I ran into a abandoned graveyard my first time. They were a help. So mainly, you need to launch a powerful attack your first hit, then get support. If you're high level, sneak attack, then do what you please.


The first giant I encountered was at Cradlecrush Rock at about level 7 or 8 mage. I'd already killed my first Dragon at that point and thought, just like the Penny Arcade strip shows, that Giants should pose no problem for a Dragon slayer.

Obviously wrong and the Giant demonstrated how to one-shot low level mages many times. But then I figured it out - Frostbite (Health and Stamina) spell to slow it down and constant circling around the Giant's dinner (the cow on the wooden stove(?)) meant the Giant couldn't attack but I could. Once my magic ran out I switched to my bow to wait for regen and the Giant was slow moving enough that I had plenty of time to aim, shoot and move before he could attack. The bow took his remaining health and he was finished.

Looking back I should have switched to bow earlier, as soon as the Giant's stamina had bottomed out, as the bow was much quicker.

That was the only Giant I ever killed, attacking them in the open (to try to get a Mammoth tusk) has been suicidal and I've decided to wait until I have more powerful attacks.


You can be a werewolf and claw the crap out of a giant. Just do be quicker then him, though.


I killed the two giants at Level 4. It's all about strategy. There's an outpost near the giant's camp. Let them chase you all the way to the tower. Run as fast as you can then go inside the tower. As soon as you're inside you can "flame them to death" or fire your arrows away. That's all you need to do. :-)


As an orc, you can take a giant down with a few hits with Berserker Rage.

I've used it to take on two giants at low levels (lvl 11) with a Dwemer battle axe and no followers, with the following tips.

  • Armor is obsolete
  • Focus on dodging and dealing damage
  • Avoid forward power attacks due to its slow attack speed
  • Instead get close and use the standing power attack

I killed a giant at level 6 by first sneak attacking then using the command power to control his mammoth who tanks for you while you can use melee combat to kill it.


First time I attempted a giant's life, it smashed me to the sky. You need to Fus Roh Dah him and when he's on the ground, kill him with a battle-ax. You can use your companion to distract giants while you assassinate them.

Or you could turn into a werewolf and roar. You will scare them and you can easily kill them.


In my experience, as soon as they strike, I move to the side. When they are getting ready for their next attack, I strike them.

When I'm low-level, around 7, I sneak attack them and run to the nearest city (if there is one). Alternatively, I shoot them with a bow and run and if you're a Bosmer/Wood Elf, you can use your ability to recruit wild animals to help you.

Another strategy—if you're a werewolf—is to use your werewolf abilities if your one-handed skill is pretty low.

Finally, the Frost Breath shout helps, but if you use Storm Call and it hits, the giant goes a bit slower. Plus, it deals a ton of damage (100 with all three words).


You could summon Odhaviing. He's a great dragon and all I did is watch him killing two giants using Fire Breath.

  • Most people don't get Odhaviing until late in the game; did you get him pretty early? Any particular tricks for clearing the main plot quests to this point at low levels?
    – agent86
    Commented Oct 31, 2012 at 13:02

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