Elder Scrolls
Elder Scrolls
For other uses, see Two-Handed.

Two-Handed is a skill in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, and is one of the six skills that falls under The Warrior play-style. Two-handed skill is raised by the use of large melee weapons that are wielded with two hands.

Due to the use of both hands, a spell or another weapon cannot be used while a two-handed weapon is equipped. When using two-handed weapons, the weapon can be used to block incoming attacks. Two-handed weapons can do significantly more damage per strike than single one-handed weapons made of the same materials, but they take more time to swing and their power attacks drain stamina faster. Two-handed weapons have a greater reach than one-handed weapons and cannot be dual-wielded.

Comparisons with other games[]

Staves no longer require two hands to wield.



The following books provide a permanent one-time increase to the Dragonborn's Two-Handed skill. See each book's page for a list of possible locations.


The following quests increase or help to increase the Two-Handed skill:


Two-Handed weapons[]

"The Gods gave you two hands, and you use them both for your weapon... I can respect that."
Hold Guard[src]

The following are the weapons that benefit from this skill:

Craftable weapons[]

This is a list of Two-Handed weapons that the Dragonborn is able to craft at a Forge given the appropriate perks.

Non-craftable weapons[]

This is a list of Two-Handed weapons that are not able to be crafted by the Dragonborn. They are either received as a quest reward or looted throughout the world. They may or may not be unique.


The following are perks that become available to select as the skill is leveled up.

Perk (Ranks) Requirements Description
Barbarian (5) Two-Handed 20/40/60/80 Two-Handed weapons do 20% more damage (+20% per additional rank)
Champion's Stance Two-Handed 20, Barbarian Power attacks with two-handed weapons cost 25% less stamina
Limbsplitter (3) Two-Handed 30/60/90, Barbarian Attacks with battle axes cause extra bleeding damage (Additional ranks raise the bleeding damage)
Deep Wounds (3) Two-Handed 30/60/90, Barbarian Attacks with greatswords have a 10% chance of doing critical damage (+5% per additional rank)
Skull Crusher (3) Two-Handed 30/60/90, Barbarian Attacks with warhammers ignore 25% of armor (+25% per additional rank)
Devastating Blow Two-Handed 50, Champion's Stance Standing power attacks do 25% bonus damage with a chance to decapitate your enemies
Great Critical Charge Two-Handed 50, Champion's Stance Can do a two-handed power attack while sprinting that does double critical damage
Sweep Two-Handed 70, Devastating Blow OR Great Critical Charge Sideways power attacks with two-handed weapons hit all targets in front of you
Warmaster Two-Handed 100, Sweep Backwards power attack has a 25% chance to paralyze the target


The two-handed skill directly increases the damage dealt with two-handed weapons. For each skill level, the damage increases by 0.5%. This increase is multiplicative with damage increase from the barbarian perk and weapon improvements.

Comparison to other combat styles[]

A two-handed build is balanced between dual wielding and shield builds in both attack and defense. Both hands are reserved for an offensive weapon, giving improved damage over weapon and shield builds; however, not as high as dual wielding against single foes as with the Sweep perk, two-handed weapons may deal more area damage.

The greatest advantage of two-handed weapons over dual wielding is blocking, and particularly activating the Quick Reflexes perk in the Block skill tree, which slows down the world whenever the weapon is used for blocking a power attack, allowing for greater reactions and manoeuvrability. Blocking is impossible while dual wielding, though they may always switch to using a shield or unequipping one weapon to block with the other to take advantage of their Block skill and related perks.

Another advantage of two-handed weapons as opposed to dual wielding or use of a weapon and shield is that two-handed weapons can strike multiple targets with a single strike using the Sweep perk. Since two-handed weapons have best chance to stagger a target, a sweeping power attack may cause damage and stagger multiple targets in front of the Dragonborn.

The biggest disadvantage of two-handed weapons is that they do not work nearly as well with stealth combat. There are three perks in the Sneak skill tree to give one-handed weapons (especially daggers) as well as bows and crossbows significant sneak attack bonuses over even the most powerful two-handed weapons.

Overall, two-handed weapons represent a melee combat style all its own. Although, two-handed weapons do not necessarily do more damage per second than other melee combat styles, two-handed weapons as opposed to one-handed weapon styles have greater reach and can potentially affect several targets at once.


  • Upon delving into any ruins which contain vampires and necromancers, using the "Devastating Blow" perk will prove to be useful, as beheaded enemies cannot be raised through Conjuration, thus leading to fewer enemies that the Dragonborn will have to face.
  • The "Devastating Blow" perk will also work if a Kill Camera is activated, even with weapons that do not normally behead humans, elves, and beastfolk, such as warhammers.


This section contains bugs related to Two-Handed (Skyrim). Before adding a bug to this list, consider the following:

  1. Please reload an old save to confirm if the bug is still happening.
  2. If the bug is still occurring, please post the bug report with the appropriate system template  360  /  XB1  ,  PS3  /  PS4  ,  PC  /  MAC  ,  NX  /  PS5  ,  XS  , depending on which platform(s) the bug has been encountered on.
  3. Be descriptive when listing the bug and fixes, but avoid having conversations in the description and/or using first-person anecdotes: such discussions belong on the appropriate forum board.
  •  PS3   Sometimes, when an enemy is decapitated, they will not die and will keep fighting.
  • "Decapitated" enemies may not actually lose their heads.
  •  360   Greatswords and other two-handed weapons may sound incorrect e.g. A person with a warhammer hitting the wall for the first time will sound like as if the wall was being hit with a one-handed sword.
  •  360   When standing close to an enemy with no space in between, and with another NPC behind the enemy, striking may make the weapon phase through the target and hit the NPC behind the enemy.
  •  PS3   The strike from the Critical Charge perk can be used repeatedly at sprint speed, even when all stamina is drained.
  • After decapitating an enemy with a helmet, the helmet may stay hovering over the body as if the head had never left.
  •  PS3   When leveling up via a trainer, two attempts are required to reach level 29. On the first attempt, gold will be paid, and one of the five times that the Dragonborn can train for their Character Level will be used up. The skill level, however, will not advance until the Dragonborn pays a second time.
  •  360   Occasionally, when equipping and unequipping a two handed weapon from the favorites shortcut, the game may glitch and cause the weapon to be held in one hand, leaving the left hand with nothing equipped. When this happens, the Dragonborn will be unable to swing the weapon, thus rendering the right hand useless. To fix this, sheath the weapon and fast travel, then unsheath the weapon afterward.

See also[]