The Elder Scrolls V – Skyrim: How to Kill a Dragon
In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim for the PC, PS3, and Xbox 360, you will be encountering dragons quite a bit throughout the game. You are the dragonborn after all, that’s what the whole game is about right?
Some dragon encounters come up through quests, but most are either going to come up randomly, or happen at specific locations like dragon burial mounds, and some are protecting the various word walls scattered around the land.
Sometimes just seeing a dragon fly above your head doesn’t mean it will attack you, sometimes you have to provoke it. For some reason, the best way I’ve found to provoke a dragon is to ride my horse. I’ve tried shooting hundreds of arrows at a dragon while it is flying around, and on multiple occasions it attacks me right as I give up and get back on my horse.
** Note that the 1.2 patch seems to have fixed the dragons not attacking issue supposedly, but I havent’ had enough time to test it yet.
There is also the Dragonrend shout, which will force a dragon to land assuming that there is space to do so nearby. You get the Dragonrend shout during the main quest line, during the “Alduin’s Bane” quest.
First things first, if you’re walking along and either see a large shadow cross your path, or get pelted by some fire or ice from the sky, immediately save your game.
Some dragons will prefer to fly around and spit at you from the sky quite a bit, others will want to come right at you and get in your face, that’s why in my opinion the best way to kill a dragon is through ranged attacks. Even if you’re a straight melee character, you should always be carrying around a decent bow and some arrows, and have at least some basic archery skill. I’m not saying you can’t get within melee range, but most dragon’s won’t stay on the ground for long, so it’s not easy to kill a dragon with 100% melee. You also run the risk of getting hit with the dragons bite attack, which is game over.
Surviving Dragon Fights
One of the best ways to survive a fight with a dragon is to have resistance gear. Most dragon attacks are either fire or ice, especially if you’re staying out of melee range, so carrying around some fire and frost resistance gear can be a life saver. Don’t forget about fire and frost resist potions as well, since all resistance effects stack on each other.
** Note that the 1.2 patch has completely broken the resistance system, so be warned when fighting dragons
When fighting a dragon, always try keep cover or have cover available if needed. It doesn’t matter if it’s a tree or a large rock, find something that you can rotate around to keep between you and the dragon.
Helpful Dragon Fighting Tips
Summoned creatures are always helpful in dragon fights, because they can grab the dragons attention and take some of the damage away from you. Atronachs are especially helpful since they have decent ranged attacks.
Make sure that your follower has a decent bow available in their inventory (if they’re not a caster of course), because they will use it for ranged attacks when necessary. Also, a current glitch is that you can give them a single arrow of your best quality arrows, and they will never run out.
If you can get a dragon to fight you near a town, it’s nearly an automatic win. The guards and others nearby will help you kill it, and you’ll still get the soul and the loot.
If you’re using bows, try to carry around a few different enchanted bows, like one with fire, and one with ice, etc. Most dragons are weak to fire, but obviously having options can be helpful.