Anyone got any tips on how to beat down a Dragon solo? I've managed to get it down to 3/4 health, but keep running out of potions and getting owned.

I tend to whittle it down with bow from cover, then hit it with akimbo Lightning Strike which is awesome btw. Then poison and some sword.

I can't see a way to achieve this without having about 1000 points of stamina to run away from it when it does a swooping breath attack which seems to track you no matter what way you go.

Any advice please? This is for fighting them out in the open, "wild dragons" if you will.

  • 5
    Solo? If this was Baldur's Gate I would say 'run'.
    – DrFish
    Commented Nov 14, 2011 at 10:22
  • 1
    Solo? Get a companion (some are free, some are for hire/sale (mercenaries/horses), some are there for a quest but follow you as long as you don't finish the quest ;)) or conjure an ally to distract/hurt the dragon.
    – Konerak
    Commented Nov 14, 2011 at 10:50
  • 6
    Unrelenting force shouts will interrupt fire/frost breath. Commented Nov 14, 2011 at 13:36
  • 6
    for a real challenge, you should go harass mammoths :P
    – l I
    Commented Nov 14, 2011 at 14:24
  • 1
    @Domocus, the dragons used to have more power in the early versions of the game, but they took an array to the knee
    – Shahbaz
    Commented Dec 16, 2011 at 5:39

16 Answers 16


I would say as Konerak said, get yourself a companion. I got one not that far in the game for free for becoming a thane of something something. And after that me and her killed a lot of dragons together. For some strange reason the dragons always focus more on companions then you. So mostly I stay next to it or behind it and fire arrows at it, while my companion tanks the damage. Doing some of the dark brotherhood quests you get a spell to summon an old ghostly assassin, that might help aswell.

But to do it just you vs a dragon I would say shout a lot and remember the 5 D's : Dodge, Duck, Dip, Dive and Dodge!

  • 10
    If you can dodge a titanic plume of all-consuming dragonfire, you can dodge a ball.
    – dpatchery
    Commented Nov 14, 2011 at 15:02
  • 1
    Yeah, and after two dodges your stamina hits 0 and he noms your face :(
    – Neon1024
    Commented Nov 14, 2011 at 16:06
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    I'll put this as the accepted answer as its not reliant on a single skill really, except having "ranged dmg" of some type.
    – Neon1024
    Commented Nov 14, 2011 at 16:10
  • @dpatchery Haha +1 for Dodge-ball reference Commented May 2, 2012 at 1:31
  • What level was OP, I wonder? I pulled it off using a poisoned ranged sneak attack while wearing the Dark Brotherhood gloves. Mark of Death + hitting it with my sword(s) worked wonders. And I was level 30 or so, as I recall.
    – KBKarma
    Commented Oct 18, 2012 at 15:06

the key for dragon slaying is a reliable way to have knockback. Unrelenting force thu'um, the impact perk(destruction) or any other way.

I find that mana regen and health regen items help, any resistance potions related to the dragons breath, any enchanted armor with that resistance would help as well.

always look for cover, as breath attacks will bring you down really fast.

Get a companion that uses ranged attacks(there is a mage in riften that costs 500g, he is pretty good for this). In all, fight smart and dont take any damage that you dont need to

  • 2
    +1, any form of knockback interrupts the flame, which is very useful to have.
    – l I
    Commented Nov 14, 2011 at 18:05

I've gotten pretty good at dragon slaying. I'm a level 28 and I bring em down in only a few minutes with my trusty bow and sword.

It ain't hard once you get the hang of it -- Just keep shooting arrows at it, and move around a lot. Then, if you're feeling brave, run up to it when it stays grounded (due to low health) and finish him with your favourite melee weapon.

  • 1
    Dragons can also become grounded if you plink enough holes in their wings with arrows (not necessarily due to low health).
    – Dan
    Commented Jun 17, 2016 at 12:23

What I do with my "wild" dragons (killed two so far) is to summon a Flame Atronach(spelling?) and then hide behind a tree or large rock in order to avoid the fire/frost breath. When the dragon switches focus to my Atronach I step out from behind my cover and go all out with destruction spells. Then rinse and repeat. If you go out of mana just keep your cover between yourself and the dragon.

It's a coward's way to go, but it works.

  • This does rely on having some Conjuration, but it's a good idea. How does it fare against fire dragons? (I'm assuming fire dragons take less fire dmg, as they share the attribute)
    – Neon1024
    Commented Nov 14, 2011 at 16:09
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    Flame Atronachs are immune to fire damage and given dragons focus on summons and companions surely the Atronach will tank the damage while you pepper the dragon with Ice/Lightning/Arrows from afar? Commented Nov 16, 2011 at 14:45
  • 1
    Exactly, it's intended mainly for the tanking part. Mobs seem to focus on summoned companions no matter how much damage you do.
    – westmark
    Commented Dec 6, 2011 at 8:06

Dragons are very, very easy to kill in Skyrim if you are going a melee/archer build. Magic I'm not so sure.

All I do is stand in one spot, shoot it with arrows repeatedly. Then when it breathes, just use whirlwind sprint to get out of the way, or if you don't have that just run a few steps backwards. Use the basic recovery spell to heal up when the dragon is in the air and hard to hit. No potions, and no skill ups in magicka required.


Use magic. You'll have powerful ranged attacks that way. When the dragon breathes, just put out a ward or two and enjoy the graphics as the fire/frost stream flows around you.

A problem arises if you play a close range only warrior while ignoring main quest line. Then the dragons are just annoying, as they can't kill you with their breath due to your large health and you can't kill them because they don't come close that often. This applies to the master difficulty; I hear that the dragon's AI changes somewhat at the lower ones. I found only one solution to this problem - learn some ranged attacks.

Companions are for noobs. It's fun to fight yourself, not watch your immortal companion(s) get beaten.


If you know dragon rend use that. Make sure you have decent armour, run up with sword and shield, and when it tries to bite or breath flames/ice, bash it with your shield and it stops and just hit it with your (preferably enchanted) sword. When dragon rend runs out, just use it again when it tries to fly away.

I would also suggest fighting it in third person, not first, only because it means you can see if it tries to hit you and try and stay in the middle of the dragon so it can't bite or slash you with its tail. Do this with a decent level one handed skill - mine is 57 and I can kill a dragon in about a minute.


If you have akimbo magic I suggest you stock up on magic potions and whenever you encounter a dragon find a piller or rock to hide behind. Make sure the obstacle is between you and the dragon whenever its about to attack. Do this correctly and you have infinite time to whittle it down.

Also the first knock-back shout stuns the dragon and makes it temporarily stop shooting fire/ice.

Also the dual casting perk that causes stuns will stun lock a dragon. You can knock of half half its health bar before running out of magica if you do it right.

Primarily though if you are going ranged, make sure there is always something you can put between yourself and the dragon.


Do dark brotherhood quests. You get Shadowmere, which is a black horse with red eyes of evil and is invincible. It becomes easier to beat anything, from 10000 guards to a dragon because they all just try to beat the horse who is close-to-invincible.

  • 2
    Shadowmere doesn't have unlimited health. It gets knocked out and stands up regenerating health after a short period of time (10-15 seconds).
    – Lerkes
    Commented Nov 15, 2011 at 14:07

how i did (killed 17 dragons so far..): mage build: while the dragon flies use long range attacks just to make him land, when he lands hide behind a rock if he shoots fire at you then keep hiding, if he shoots fire at someone else then use any DPS magic on him (its good to have companions as mage.).

melee/archer build: while he flies shoot! while he lands attack!


Well, just to add my view to this topic, I am playing a battleaxe wielding (two handed), heavy armor Nord warrior. I have currently 350 of health, 200 of stamina and 100 of magicka. My axe is a Flawless Skyforged Steel Battleaxe enchanted with 18 fire damage per hit. I simply run towards the dragon when it lands, hit him with 3 standing power attacks and start lashing it when my stamina is depleted. After 6 hits the dragon is down.

It has worked with all dragons I faced so far (about a dozen). They don't even get to take half of my health away.

  • I'm a warrior too, only level 47 or so and Daedric everything, and I've been able to kick dragon butt the same way. Except now, I have ancient dragons after me and they kill me in two hits. Commented Apr 22, 2012 at 7:07

Magic is the best way to go. Get destruction dual casting and impact from the destruction perk tree, dual wield lightning bolt and hit the dragon with the spell while it flies or lands somewhere. Stand to the side to avoid its breath when it's near the ground.

If possible, get destruction up and get higher level lightning spells ( lightning is best vs dragons as it hits instantly whereas fire/ice take time). With lightning storm, the highest level lightning spell, you can change the beam direction while casting, so it is perfect for killing dragons. Another good thing to do is enchant loads of armour with fortify destruction so Destruction spells cost nothing. The ability to wave a lightning-laser of death around with no mana cost makes it relatively easy to knock a dragon from the sky without it even hitting you.


Well, I've killed about 34 dragons, but I can kill them in about 5 hits with my Daedric greatsword. As for armor, I have 930 protection from my legendary Daedric armor. So, just get good armor and a good weapon.


Just stand near the wing and keep slashing with a sword. You can try this too: Run to a large city, the guards can kill them.


All I would do is get an axe, have a companion, a dog, a horse, and summoning powers. Use all of these on the dragon and I killed it within a matter of seconds.

Or you can use the Dragon call and make the two dragons fight to the death


The most effective tactic against dragons I have found is to use a staff of chain lightning and either the Staff of Magnus or the Staff of Jurick Glaudason (sp ?).

Very effective (even at long range).

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