The UESPWiki – Your source for The Elder Scrolls since 1995
Jump to: navigation, search
Skill: Two-handed

The Two-handed skill governs your effectiveness when using two-handed weapons, including greatswords, battleaxes, and warhammers. Each skill point grants a +0.5% bonus to the damage dealt (+2% for NPCs). The Two-handed skill tree has a total of 9 perks, requiring a total of 19 perk points to fill.

In-game Description: The art of combat using two-handed weapons, such as greatswords, battle axes, and warhammers. Those trained in this skill deliver deadlier blows.

Skill Perks[edit]

Two-handed Perk Tree
Barbarian (5 ranks): 0/20/40/60/80 Two-handed. Two-handed weapons do 20/40/60/80/100% more damage.
Limbsplitter (3 ranks): 30/60/90 Two-handed. Attacks with battleaxes do extra/more/even more bleeding damage.
Champion's Stance: 20 Two-handed. Power attacks cost 25% less stamina.
Champion's Stance
Devastating Blow: 50 Two-handed. Standing power attacks do 25% bonus damage. It may also decapitate an enemy.
Devastating Blow
Great Critical Charge: 50 Two-handed. Sprinting power attacks do double critical damage.
Great Critical Charge
Sweep: 70 Two-handed. Sideways power attacks hit all nearby targets.
Warmaster: 100 Two-handed. Backwards power attacks have 25% chance of causing paralysis.
Deep Wounds (3 ranks): 30/60/90 Two-handed. Attacks with greatswords have a 10/15/20% chance of doing critical damage.
Deep Wounds
Skullcrusher (3 ranks): 30/60/90 Two-handed. Attacks with warhammers ignore 25/50/75% of the target's armor rating.
Two-handed Perk Tree
Perk Rank Description ID Skill Req. Perk Req.
Barbarian 1 Two-Handed weapons do 20% more damage. 000babe8
2 Two-Handed weapons do 40% more damage. 00079346 20 Two-handed
3 Two-Handed weapons do 60% more damage. 00079347 40 Two-handed
4 Two-Handed weapons do 80% more damage. 00079348 60 Two-handed
5 Two-Handed weapons do twice as much damage. 00079349 80 Two-handed
Champion's Stance Power attacks with two-handed weapons cost 25% less stamina. 00052d51 20 Two-handed Barbarian
Devastating Blow Standing power attacks do 25% bonus damage with a chance to decapitate your enemies. 00052d52 50 Two-handed Champion's Stance
Great Critical Charge Can do a two-handed power attack while sprinting that does double critical damage. 000cb407 50 Two-handed Champion's Stance
Sweep Sideways power attacks with two-handed weapons hit all targets in front of you. 0003af9e 70 Two-handed Great Critical Charge or Devastating Blow
Warmaster Backwards power attack has a 25% chance to paralyze the target. 0003afa7 100 Two-handed Sweep
Deep Wounds 1 Attacks with greatswords have a 10% chance of doing critical damage. 0003af83 30 Two-handed Barbarian
2 Attacks with greatswords have a 15% chance of doing more critical damage. 000c1e94 60 Two-handed
3 Attacks with greatswords have a 20% chance of doing even more critical damage. 000c1e95 90 Two-handed
Limbsplitter 1 Attacks with battle axes cause extra bleeding damage. 000c5c05 30 Two-handed Barbarian
2 Attacks with battle axes cause more bleeding damage. 000c5c06 60 Two-handed
3 Attacks with battle axes cause even more bleeding damage. 000c5c07 90 Two-handed
Skullcrusher 1 Attacks with warhammers ignore 25% of armor. 0003af84 30 Two-handed Barbarian
2 Attacks with warhammers ignore 50% of armor. 000c1e96 60 Two-handed
3 Attacks with warhammers ignore 75% of armor. 000c1e97 90 Two-handed


Limbsplitter causes extra damage over a given period of time based on the material of the battleaxe used. It's stackable and ignores armor. Things that don't bleed, however, such as undead and Dwemer constructs, are immune to the effect.

Material[1] Perk Level
1 2 3
DPS Dur. DPS Dur. DPS Dur.
Iron 1 3 1 4 1 5
Steel, Imperial, Ancient Nord 1 3 1.7 3 2.3 3
Orcish 1 4 1.5 4 2 8
Dwarven, Falmer 1.2 4 1.75 4 2 4
Elven, Honed Ancient Nord 1.5 4 2 4 2.5 4
Glass, Honed Falmer 2 4 2.5 4 3 4
Ebony 2 5 2.5 5 3 5
Daedric 2 6 2.5 6 3 6
  1. ^ Dragonbone battleaxes do not benefit from this perk.

Deep Wounds[edit]

Critical Damage is based on the base damage of the weapon, giving approximately 50%, 75%, and 100% bonus damage on each additional perk level. Since it only triggers part of the time, a quick rule of thumb is that it increases overall damage by, at most, 5%, 10%, and 20%.

Because it is not impacted by enchantments, perks, or skill level, the effect of Deep Wounds is reduced as the game progresses. Getting 5/5 points in Barbarian will cut the total effectiveness of the perk in half, to 2.5%, 5%, and 10%, and further diminishes with enchantments and skill level.

Skull Crusher[edit]

Skull Crusher's effectiveness is limited by enemy armor rating. However, this does include the hidden 25 armor rating given by wearing any armor at all. Against well-armored bandits, the effect can be upwards of 40%. However, creatures, automatons and dragons are not armored, and Draugr typically wear only a helmet, giving approximately a 5% damage bonus.

Skill Usage[edit]

Greatswords and battleaxes swing faster than warhammers. To balance this, warhammers deal more damage than battleaxes which deal more damage than greatswords. In comparison to one-handed weapons, two-handed weapons are slower, but they inflict much more damage with each blow. Additionally, two-handed power attacks are much more likely to stagger an opponent, whether they're blocking or not.

While the One-handed skill can easily exceed this level of damage with dual-wielding, two-handed weapons retain the ability to block. However, the effect is diminished, and two-handed weapons prevent you from equipping a shield, thus preventing the use of certain Block perks that specifically use shields (e.g. Deflect Arrows, Elemental Protection).

The only long-term advantages of two-handed weapons over a one-handed weapon and a shield (which has superior blocking, and due to the nature of how smithing works, higher DPS eventually) against a single target are greater stagger, as previously mentioned, and reach: there's a sweet-spot where a two-handed wielder can attack freely without worry about getting hit by one-handed or creature attacks.

In regards to individual perks, both weapon skills are very much alike, making the choice of Two-handed over One-handed mostly preferential. For example, Limbsplitter, Deep Wounds, and Skullcrusher are the Two-handed parallels to One-handed's Hack and Slash, Bladesman, and Bone Breaker perks, respectively; they have almost completely identical effects, but affecting either one- or two-handed weapons. However, Two-handed has a unique Sweep power attack that strikes multiple foes, meaning if you can maintain it (such as via vegetable soup), its speed becomes a function of how many opponents you can keep within the Sweep, raising your DPS against hordes. There is no equivalent in One-handed, which instead gets perks to support dual wielding that raises its speed while dual wielding and its power attack damage while dual wielding; for comparison, a dual wielded dagger with both speed perks is functionally speed 1.755, while a sweeping warhammer needs 3 opponents within the sweep to be functionally speed 1.8.

Comparison of Two-handed Weapons[edit]

Approximate weapon speeds are given in the following table:

Weapon type Attacks per second Relative damage
Greatsword 0.7 (see Bugs) +0
Battle Axe 0.7 +1
Warhammer 0.6 +3

Exceptions exist; particularly notable two-handed weapons include Volendrung and The Longhammer, which are warhammers that swing at faster speeds (equivalent to a battleaxe and mace, respectively), and the Headsman's Axe, which is a battleaxe with longer reach (making it easier to catch multiple targets in a sweep).

Skill Increases[edit]

Character Creation[edit]

The following races have an initial skill bonus to Two-handed:


Skill Books[edit]

Free Skill Boosts[edit]

Gaining Skill XP[edit]

  • Weapon skill gains are based on weapon base damage. Choosing the best available DPS weapon should result in fastest skill gains.
  • Boosting weapon damage via skill perks, equipment enchantments or smithing does not increase XP earned per hit. In fact, you gain less XP per enemy because they take fewer hits. The same rule applies to damage modifiers from difficulty setting.
  • You can exploit certain targets for training combat skills, because they are essential, and therefore cannot normally die; because they are expendable; or because they have high health or can regenerate health. They are not normally "enemies". They include: Shadowmere, Hadvar or Ralof during Unbound, creatures you have conjured, Paarthurnax (before starting his quest), and M'aiq the Liar.
    • Note that the target in question must actually sustain damage for it to count. For this reason, practicing on invincible targets such as children and Brynjolf will not level your skill.
  • Mathematically, the best weapon for leveling Two-handed is the Dragonbone BattleaxeDG (26x0.7). In the base game, Daedric Battleaxes, Volendrung, or Wuuthrad (25x0.7) are the best choices.
  • The Elemental Fury shout will expedite the XP per second for two-handed weapons.


  • Blocking with a two-handed weapon, though less effective than using a shield, will benefit from any Block perk that does not mention a shield.
  • The Block perk Block Runner allows you to move faster if you block while sneaking. This specific effect applies to all types of block including with two-handed weapons.
  • Great Critical Charge adds a new power attack animation. You have to use the sprint button and do a power attack. Without the perk you cannot even attack while sprinting. All power attacks have double damage compared to normal attacks.
  • Warmaster is not actually a paralysis effect. It is a knockdown, so it will work on things that are immune to paralysis.
  • When you have a high skill in Two-handed, guards may sometimes say, "The Gods gave you two hands, and you use them both for your weapon. I can respect that."
  • When standing close to an enemy with no space in between, and with another NPC behind the enemy, striking will make the weapon phase through the target and hit the NPC behind the enemy.