Playing the paladin build like in Skyrim. I've got a combination of heavy armor, but mainly my strategy is to be a self-healing tank.

My base configuration is: - left hand shield - right hand mace/healing spell

I've experienced, when I switch from mace to healing spell, that the swap is quick, but when I swap back from healing spell to weapon, it takes more time, sort-of looks like it's reloading both shield and weapon.

Instead, if I swap healing spells with shield, it's a lot quicker on the left hand. It looks like that as long as I keep the weapon in the right hand fixed, it's smoother to swap between shield and healing on the left hand. Unfortunately I prefer to play this character more defensively and would like to swap the right hand weapon with spells. My understanding is that so far I won't be able to effectively do as I like.

What's your experience with this?


  • I would hazard a guess that the extra time to switch from a spell to a weapon is your character drawing the weapon from it's sheathe and readying it. Whereas a spell just appears in the hand. Assuming that though would mean that it takes no time to sheathe the weapon.
    – David Yell
    Aug 1, 2012 at 12:51
  • @Emanuele, what is the question? Are you asking which is actually better or just what people normally use?
    – Ids
    Aug 1, 2012 at 16:04
  • My main question is that if the game assumes a particular hand is faster to swap magic/shield/weapons. Cheers
    – Emanuele
    Aug 1, 2012 at 17:49
  • Left hand for shield, right hand for weapon, other hand (potentially added to improve ski-boxing) for magic.
    – Alex
    Aug 1, 2012 at 19:33

2 Answers 2


From my personal experience, the best choice is shield/magic for left hand and weapon for right hand; this is because it balances attack and defence - Two handed weapons are great but leaves you almost defenseless.

A pure mage can have some hard time if he/she runs out of magika, and sharing the right hand with magic and weapon is just not as fast for weapon switching.

  • As is mine, and also as mentioned in the question ^^;
    – David Yell
    Aug 1, 2012 at 12:49
  • Hey Rodrigo, welcome to the site. Can you elaborate a bit on why this is the best choice? Does your experience match up with the OPs?
    – Mana
    Aug 1, 2012 at 12:50
  • Thank you, Mana. I think it's the best choice because it balances attack and defense. Two handed weapons are great but leaves you almost defenseless. A pure mage can have some hard time if he/she runs out of mana. And sharing the right hand with magic and weapon is just not as fast for swapping as the combination I mentioned before. Aug 1, 2012 at 13:01
  • 1
    I second that. I have a paladin myself that uses the hotkeys to switch healing spells, shield and swords. Since drawing a weapon costs time it is indeed more time efficient to swap the shield with your healing spell, which is what automatically happens when using the hotkeys. In my case only switching to dual wielding or going back from dual casting spells takes time this way.
    – Assile
    Aug 1, 2012 at 16:45

Shield always goes to left hand and Spell defaults to the left hand. Left hand is preferred. Swapping items on the main hand is quite a bit slower, but I do not think it's that big of deal. There are lots of little pauses and openings and down time when you are in battle.

There are situations where you may want shield on the left hand and healing spell on the right hand. Say your health is lower than you'd like and want to heal, but you are still getting hit and unable to get to a safe place and would like to keep Armor Rating as high as possible. In that case I would use spell on the right hand and shield on the left hand.

If there is a moment in battle when you are disengaged from the fight, you may want to switch both hands to healing, to heal twice as fast before getting back in the fight. I do this a lot.

Weapon on right hand and spell on left hand is also very good alternative to weapon and shield, especially if you have higher level healing spell. As long as you have enough magicka, you can heal yourself quicker than the rate at which you get damaged.

If you are on a PC, hot-keying the weapon, shield and healing spell is very convenient.

For example, you set 1 - weapon, 2 - shield, 3 - spell.

You are wielding a weapon and shield.

  • 3 - takes you to weapon and spell
  • 2 - back to weapon and shield
  • 3 3 - dual wield spell
  • 1 2 - back to weapon and spell
  • 3 3 2 - spell and shield
  • 1 - back to weapon and shield
  • On PS3 and I can tell that spell in right hand, is very not convenient because if you want to put a weapon then you have to wait quite a bit. As per your answer, basically putting the spell on right hand has got to be a last resort situation. Cheers
    – Emanuele
    Aug 1, 2012 at 20:35

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