Block allows you to reduce damage from melee and ranged combat, using a shield, a torch, a one-handed weapon, or a two-handed weapon. As perks are gained, Block allows you to do additional damage, disarm your opponent, and gain other benefits as below. The Block skill tree has a total of 9 perks, requiring a total of 13 perk points to fill.
In-game Description: The art of blocking an enemy's blows with a shield or weapon. Blocking reduces the damage and staggering from physical attacks.
|Perk||Rank||Description||ID||Skill Req.||Perk Req.|
|Shield Wall †||1||Blocking is 20% more effective. (Actually 10%)‡‡||000bccae|
|2||Blocking is 25% more effective. (Actually 20%)‡‡||00079355||20 Block|
|3||Blocking is 30% more effective.||00079356||40 Block|
|4||Blocking is 35% more effective. (Actually 40%)‡‡||00079357||60 Block|
|5||Blocking is 40% more effective. (Actually 50%)‡‡||00079358||80 Block|
|Deflect Arrows ‡||Arrows that hit the shield do no damage.††||00058f68||30 Block||Shield Wall|
|Elemental Protection ‡||Blocking with a shield reduces incoming fire, frost, and shock damage by 50%.||00058f69||50 Block||Deflect Arrows|
|Block Runner †||Able to move faster with a shield or weapon raised.‡‡||00106253||70 Block||Elemental Protection|
|Power Bash †||Able to do a power bash.||00058f67||30 Block||Shield Wall|
|Deadly Bash †||Bashing does five times more damage.||0005f594||50 Block||Power Bash|
|Disarming Bash †||Chance to disarm when power bashing. (50% chance)‡‡||00058f66||70 Block||Deadly Bash|
|Shield Charge ‡||Sprinting with a shield raised knocks down most targets.‡‡||00058f6a||100 Block||Disarming Bash or Block Runner|
|Quick Reflexes †||Time slows down if you are blocking during an enemy's power attack.‡‡||000d8c33||30 Block||Shield Wall|
To block, hold the Left Hand (block) control. You can block with a shield, a torch, a one-handed weapon, or a two-handed weapon. To block with a shield or torch, equip one to your left hand. To block with a one-handed or two-handed weapon, equip it before using the block control. To block with a one-handed weapon, equip it in your right hand, as equipping it in the left hand is considered dual-wielding. You cannot block if you have a weapon or spell equipped in your left hand.
While blocking, your movement speed is reduced unless you have the Block Runner perk.
The Elemental Protection perk blocks damage to your health from spells that hit you from any direction, not just spells that hit your shield. Its damage reduction stacks with other spell resistances (e.g., resist fire) but it will reduce only health damage. The perk does not reduce damage to stamina from frost spells or to magicka from lightning spells.
Damage Reduction from Blocking
Blocking reduces the damage that an actor (including player character) receives to their health from a physical attack. The block cap is 85%, which means with a successful block you can negate 85% of the incoming damage. Against normal attacks (not power attacks), most shields will be able to reach the cap with 100 block skill and all Shield Wall perks. Blocking stacks with damage reduction from armor, leading to a possible 97% damage reduction.
Effectiveness of this reduction is determined by several factors:
- whether the block is performed with a weapon or with a shield;
- block skill of the blocking actor;
- shield wall perks the blocking actor has; and
- magical Fortify Block effects on the blocking actor.
- Formulas for blocked damage
- Only base (not tempered) armor rating of a shield affects blocked damage, although current armor values for the shield will still contribute to overall damage reduction. The base armor ratings of shields can be found on the Armor page.
- Only the base weapon damage of an enemy affects blocked damage, and even then, only when blocking with a weapon. The base damage of weapons can be found on the Weapons page. Note that base weapon damage is 0 for an unarmed attacker, such as any animal, which will negate how much your block skill contributes to blocking. This means all weapons you can block with block damage equally well, including your fists, but harder hitting weapons base are easier to block (using smithing to set their damage values to the same number, a warhammer and a dagger of the same material will find the warhammer more easily blocked and doing less damage).
- Blocked Damage with a Weapon
Blocked Damage % = (30 + 0.2 x EnemyWeaponBaseDamage x (1 + BlockSkill x 1.5 / 100)) x (1 + Shield Wall perk) x (1 + Enchantment1 + Enchantment2 + Enchantment3) x (1 + Potion)
- Blocked Damage with a Shield
Blocked Damage % = (45 + 0.2 x BaseShieldArmorRating x (1 + BlockSkill x 1.5 / 100)) x (1 + Shield Wall perk) x (1 + Enchantment1 + Enchantment2 + Enchantment3 + Enchantment4) x (1 + Potion)
- Blocked Damage with a Weapon with 100 skill and all 5 perks
Blocked Damage % = (45 + 0.75 x EnemyWeaponBaseDamage) x (1 + Enchantment1 + Enchantment2 + Enchantment3) x (1 + Potion)
- Blocked Damage with a Shield with 100 skill and all 5 perks
Blocked Damage % = (67.5 + 0.75 x BaseShieldArmorRating) x (1 + Enchantment1 + Enchantment2 + Enchantment3 + Enchantment4) x (1 + Potion)
- Inferred full Blocked Damage with a shield calculation
Blocked Damage % = (fShieldBaseFactor x (1 + ShieldWallPerk) + 0.0075 x BlockSkill x BaseShieldArmorRating) x (1 + Enchantment1 + Enchantment2 + Enchantment3 + Enchantment4) x (1 + Potion) x (fBlockPowerAttackMult if power attack)
- Worked example from table below for hide shield
Hide shield, 100 skill, all perks, normal attack (0.45 X 1.5 + 0.0075 X 100 x 15) X (1.0) X (1.0) = 78.75%
Hide shield, 100 skill, all perks, power attack (0.45 X 1.5 + 0.0075 X 100 x 15) X (1.0) X (1.0) X 0.66 = 51.98%
Hide shield, 100 skill, all perks, power attack, 64% fortify block 0.45 X 1.5 + 0.0075 X 100 x 15) X (1.64) X (1.0) X 0.66 = 85.24%
As you can see, even without enchantments or potions, a shield needs only an armor rating of 23.33... or higher to reach the 85% cap against normal attacks (this means a chitin shield or better for light shields, or a steel shield or better for heavy shields). When blocking power attacks, "Blocked Damage %" is multiplied by the fBlockPowerAttackMult variable, which is set to 0.66, so it will block less damage. This implies that to get the full 85% block cap for most shields under all types of attacks (normal or power), a further 52% (1 / 0.66 - 1) Fortify Block is required using any combination of enchantments/potions in addition to having 100 Block skill and all shield wall perks, if you had a 23.33... shield. Without any enchantments or potions, with full skill and perks, you would need a shield with a base armor rating of 81.7171... or higher, which does not exist in the game. How much fortify block you need is higher the worse your shield; to provide some perspective, here is how well every forgeable shield in the game works, plus Spellbreaker (remember, you can't actually put a custom enchantment on Spellbreaker; it is only there for perspective):
|Name (ID)||Base Block Percent||Power Attack Block Percent||Fortify Block Needed|
|Banded Iron Shield
|Improved Bonemold ShieldDB
The use of NPC's weapon damage instead of the actor's in the block calculation is most likely a bug, as creatures do not carry weapons and blocking with a weapon against a creature always blocks 30% times multipliers. By contrast, if the actor's weapon damage used, instead of warhammers being easier to block than daggers, warhammers become easier to block with than daggers.
- Shield Wall Perk: How much extra block you get from shield wall. (10% = 0.1 and 50% = 0.5)
- Enchantment#X: How much extra block you get from fortify block enchantments. (18% = 0.18 and 95% = 0.95)
- Potion: How much extra block you get a fortify block potion. (25% = 0.25)
- fBlockWeaponBase = 0.30 is the base value of blocking with a weapon (or a torch)
- fShieldBaseFactor = 0.45 is the base value of blocking with a shield
- fBlockWeaponScaling = 0.2 is the scaling factor of blocking with a weapon.
- fShieldScalingFactor = 0.2 is the scaling factor of blocking with a shield.
Tapping the attack button while blocking will bash your opponent with a shield or weapon. Bashing is an attack to an opponent's health; it carries a chance of staggering an opponent and of interrupting an opponent's power attack. This applies to dragons as well, whose "power attacks" are shouts. If you acquire the Power Bash, Deadly Bash, or Disarming Bash perks, press and hold—instead of tapping—the attack button while blocking to achieve the associated benefit. You can bash (with or without benefits from perks) with two-handed weapons as well as shields; but if equipped with a bow, you can perform only a regular bash. Bashing with a torch will set opponents on fire.
The damage that a bash inflicts depends on the base armor rating (for shields) or the base damage rating (for weapons). Weapons deal more damage than shields. A Power Bash inflicts 3 times as much damage.
Blocking an incoming attack uses a small amount of stamina. Bashing consumes a notable amount (35), while power bashing uses significantly more (55).
- Formulas for players bash damage
Weapon Bash: BaseDamage x 0.5 x [0.1 + (BlockSkill / 100) x (0.5 - 0.1)] x (3.0 Power Bash) x (5.0 Deadly Bash) Shield Bash: BaseArmorRating x 0.5 x [0.1 + (BlockSkill / 100) x (0.25 - 0.1)] x (3.0 Power Bash) x (5.0 Deadly Bash)
- Formulas for enemies bash damage
Weapon Bash: BaseDamage x 0.5 x [0.1 + (BlockSkill / 100) x (0.25 - 0.1)] x (3.0 Power Bash) x (5.0 Deadly Bash) Shield Bash: BaseArmorRating x 0.5 x [0.05 + (BlockSkill / 100) x (0.25 - 0.05)] x (3.0 Power Bash) x (5.0 Deadly Bash)
Fortify Block enchantments and potions do not increase bash damage. The highest possible damage with a weapon is 105 (Dragonbone Warhammer) and 71.25 with a shield (Spellbreaker).
- Game Settings affecting bashing
- fWeaponBashMax: 0.25
- fWeaponBashMin: 0.1
- fWeaponBashPCMax: 0.5
- fWeaponBashPCMin: 0.1
- fShieldBashMax: 0.25
- fShieldBashMin: 0.05
- fShieldBashPCMax: 0.25
- fShieldBashPCMin: 0.1
- fStaminaBashBase: 35.0
- fStaminaPowerBashBase: 55.0
If you consume vegetable soup or any food item that regenerates stamina over 720 seconds, you can shield bash or power bash an unlimited number of times, resulting in your target being continually staggered (or stun locked) and unable to attack you. This will slowly kill them and level your Block very quickly while protecting you from damage. If you want to level Block quickly, do not take the Deadly Bash perk, as even on Master difficulty you will quickly kill bosses with shield bash.
You can also quickly increase your block skill by engaging a weak opponent, such as a single mudcrab, and continually blocking its repeated attacks. Holding down your block button should increase your blocking by at least 2-3 levels per minute. This only works effectively at lower levels. At early-medium levels, stronger opponents can do the same thing: e.g., wolves and their variants. It is more convenient if you can position yourself next to a barrier (such as a tree). This will reduce the amount of maneuvering you will need to do because the opponent will often attack you from different angles. Standing next to a tree reduces the frequency of this.
For mid-high levels, the same technique can be used against giants and mammoths. If you wish to level up your block skill later in the game, some ideal opponents are the Draugr Deathlord or Dwarven Centurion, because of their powerful physical attacks. Forsworn Ravagers and Forsworn Briarhearts are also very effective because of their rapid dual-wielding attacks. By continuously blocking such attacks, healing your health and stamina as necessary, you can raise your block skill from its base level to level 75 in about 10 minutes, and to 100 in about 20 minutes.
Using 4 Block enchantments (40% each on shield, hands, finger and neck), the Warrior Stone, the Lovers' Comfort bonus, and the Lovers Stone (via the Aetherial Crown) Block can go from 15 to 100 in under 13 minutes by engaging a single giant on Legendary difficulty.
If your blocks are very strong, you can get the last points by blocking dragons after forcing them to land (about 5 hits by an Ancient Dragon for one level when over 90).
Once you become the Harbinger of the Companions, you can exploit the Follower/Trainer method with Njada Stonearm.
If you got into a brawl, you can equip a shield and a healing spell (or otherwise restore your health) to block attacks and protect against too much damage. Bashing also increases points toward raising your Block level, while brawling or otherwise.
The following races provide initial skill bonuses in Block:
- Njada Stonearm of the Companions in Whiterun (Expert)
- Chief Larak in Mor Khazgur (Master)
Free Skill Boosts
- +1 Block (as well as One-handed) from Amren (Whiterun) for finding his family sword.
- +1 Block from Roggi Knot-Beard (Kynesgrove) for finding his ancestral shield.
- +1 Block (and all other combat skills) from Giraud Gemane (Bards College) for completing the quest Rjorn's Drum.
- +1 Block (as well as One-handed) from the Ghost of Old Hroldan (Old Hroldan Inn) for completing the quest The Ghost of Old Hroldan.
- +1 Block from Horgeir (Dragon Bridge) for giving the mead to him instead of his wife during the quest Dragon's Breath Mead.
- +1 Block (and Archery, Heavy Armor, and One-handed) from Wulf Wild-BloodDB for finding his brother during Filial BondsDB.
- +5 Block (and all other combat skills) by selecting "The Path of Might" from the Oghma Infinium after completing the quest Discerning the Transmundane.
Gaining Skill XP
- In Skyrim, Block skill gains are based on the amount of damage resisted when blocking, regardless of the shield used. Whether you use a Light Armor shield or a Heavy Armor shield, it levels up just the same. Also, blocking with a shield does not contribute to raising the Light Armor or Heavy Armor skill, only Blocking (you should not Block if you want to level up the Armor trees instead).
- Blocking with a shield grants 2 times the XP compared to blocking with a weapon. (fWeaponBlockSkillUseMult=1.0, fBlockSkillUseMult=2.0)
- Bashing with a shield grants 5 times the XP compared to bashing with a weapon. (fWeaponBashSkillUseBase=1.0, fShieldBashSkillUseBase=5.0)
- Enchantments, potions, spells and skill perks that increase the percentage of damage blocked will increase the XP gained per block (up to the block cap of 85% or armor cap of 80%).
- Performing shield bashes increases the skill considerably less than simply blocking, and costs a lot of stamina. Use enchants, potions, and food to regenerate faster, if you choose to level it this way.
- Experience is gained when using weapons for blocking or bashing, as well as when using shields.
- Regenerate Health potions and enchantments can help staying alive while training, potentially allowing to leave the game unattended. This can also be accomplished with natural health regeneration during brawling sessions with NPCs or fighting very weak enemies like skeevers, though skill gains will be very slow.
- Using the Spellbreaker shield allows you to train Block against tougher, magic-wielding opponents, such as conjured Dremora Lords.
- Blocking is also useful when being bombarded by arrows. The Deflect Arrows perk increases the effectiveness of blocking arrows, but, since the hard cap of blocking is 85%, the Deflect Arrows perk does not reduce the damage to zero, rather only by 85% (and you can get this damage reduction percentage without it, particularly since arrows won't power attack). This is fixed by the official patch (see below).
- Armor rating high enough to reduce physical damage by 80% (the hard cap for physical damage resistance from armor rating) combined with physical damage resistance from blocking (the hard cap for which is 85%) can aggregate to as much as 97% total physical damage resistance.
- The Block Runner perk benefit continues even if the perk is later removed.
- Weapons are worse for blocking a creature or weaponless opponent than even the weakest hide shield: with no perks and skill of 0 a weapon would block 30% of damage and hide shield would block 48%; with no perks and skill of 100 a weapon will block 30% and hide shield will block 52.5%.
- Shield bashing can be used to wake up draugr in tombs propped against walls, similarly to how Unrelenting Force can wake up draugr in tombs on the floor.
- Disarming Bash only works if the enemy is mid swing. So wait for them to start an attack, and then perform a power bash.
- The Quick Reflexes perk does not partially slow the player, unlike Slow Time. This allows most power attacks to be easily sidestepped. The time slowing effect appears to stack with the latter.
- Shield Charge may stop working after some playing time.
- Shield Charge can be exploited for use with two-handed weapons or one-handed weapons without a shield. See the block discussion archive page for an explanation.
- Shield Wall's listed values are incorrect. It actually improves blocking effectiveness by 10% for each rank.
- This issue has been addressed by version 1.1 of the Unofficial Skyrim Patch; the perk description was corrected to reflect the actual values.
- Sometimes, when fighting with the Quick Reflexes perk, the slow time effect will continue indefinitely if you shield bash an opponent while they are power attacking. A variety of methods can be used to break the effect, however the only fool-proof way is to stand in front of an enemy and block until they power attack you again.
It has been determined that multiple attackers attempting power attacks while you are blocking is the cause of the bug.
- This issue has been addressed by version 3.0.1 of the Unofficial Skyrim Legendary Edition Patch; USLEEP inserts a script into the magic effect that will cause it to self-terminate if it's still active after two seconds.
- A possible fix for this bug is to save, quit, and relaunch the game. If that fails, you may have to reload an earlier save.
- To fix this on a PC, use the console command
sgtm 1to set the time multiplier back to normal.
- Deflect Arrows sets blocking effectiveness to the maximum value of 85% against all attacks, regardless of your Block skill, Shield Wall ranks, or Fortify Block effects.
- This bug is fixed by version 1.5 of the Official Skyrim Patch.
- Occasionally, the Deflect Arrows perk will fail to work. If you put your shield up and block incoming archery attacks, some arrows may still deal damage as though you failed to block at all.
- Argonians are unable to use Disarming Bash unless they're a vampire.
- This bug is fixed by version 1.0 of the Unofficial Skyrim Patch.
- With the Block Runner or Shield Charge perk, one can sneak at running speeds while holding block.
- This issue has been addressed by version 1.3.2 of the Unofficial Skyrim Patch; the patch disables both perks completely while sneaking.
- With the Block Runner perk, when sneaking and blocking, move forward, tap the sprint button, and stop blocking, and you will execute a silent forward roll without needing the Silent Roll perk from the Sneak skill tree. ?
- Bashing with your shield while equipped with a paralyze-enchanted weapon, has a chance of applying paralyze. ?