One of the most prominent aspects of Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim that sets it apart from other installments of the series are Dragons and molding the game dynamics around it. Skyrim introduced Dragons to the Elder Scrolls series, concurrently making you the Dragonborn – a warrior with the soul of a Dragon, allowing you to easily learn Dragon shouts (Thu’um), and utilize them for combat.
Learning their tongue enables you to face these legendary creatures at the same level. Dragon shouts are incredibly useful for fighting not only Dragons but also gaining the upper hand on other enemies you will encounter on your adventure.
Learning Dragon shouts is a two-step process:
- 1) Finding the Word-Wall to learn the Word of Power.
- 2) Using a Dragon soul to activate the Shout.
In this post, we’ll check out some of the best shouts in Skyrim, but before we do that, let’s check out the selection criteria for making this list.
There are a total of 27 Words of Power scattered throughout Skyrim, which you can learn and utilize. Out of these 27 shouts to be learned, I’ve singled out the top 15 shouts in Skyrim. Taking into consideration:
- Utility: The first and foremost priority is the utility of the Shout. Many shouts in the game are not worth the hassle of reaching the Word of Power. While creating the list, I ensured that only the most useful shouts are mentioned to aid you in your adventure.
- Easy to reach: Accessibility to shouts is also an issue. How would you feel spending hours climbing mountains and clearing dungeons, only to realize that the Shout you have just learned exists as a spell as well? This is why useful shouts that are easily within reach find themselves a place on this list.
- Part of the base game or DLC: The three DLCs of Skyrim introduced more shouts in the game, priority is given to the base game shouts, but the most extraordinary shouts from DLCs are also included in the list.
- Non-mod Shouts: Mods add a variety of different Shouts in the game. This list is solely based on Dragon shouts that you will find in the game.
15. Marked for Death
Location of the Word Wall: Forsaken Cave, West of Windhelm
Effect: Deal damage to your target’s health and stamina
Marked for Death is a shout that lowers an enemy’s armor and keeps reducing their health every second for a whole minute. Marked for Death? More like Marked for a quick nap, because your enemies will be knocked out before they know what hit them. With this Shout, killing legendary Dragons will be as easy as killing a Draugr.
Why isn’t it higher up in the list you might ask? Well, I think that a similar or better effect to Marked For Death can be achieved by having an Ebony, Daedric, or Dragonbone weapon i.e. causing a lot of damage to your enemy in a matter of seconds.
Depending on how many words the Dragonborn has learned, the damage to health will increase as you learn more words of this Shout. With all three words, Marked for Death will take away 75 points of armor and deal 63 points of damage every second for a minute.
The word wall “Marked for Death” is in the Forsaken Cave, which is west of Windhelm. You will have to fight Curalmil, a Draugr boss near the Forsaken Cave, to learn the word of power.
14. Throw Voice
Location of the Word Wall: Shearpoint
Effect: Create a distraction
Throw Voice is a Dragon shout used to distract enemies. While it is not a useful shout for a fight, it’s undoubtedly the funniest Shout in Skyrim. It’s one of the most useless Shouts in Skyrim, but the distracting insults will have you rolling on the floor with laughter.
All you have to do is aim near an enemy and use the Shout; most of the time, enemies will go check out the sound, which can be used as a distraction. The Shout doesn’t reach very far and only works on NPCs that haven’t detected you.
The effect of all three levels of the Shout is the same, but your recharge rate is reduced as you learn all of the words. You will find the Throw Voice shout near Shearpoint after defeating the Dragon priest, Krosis.
13. Storm Call
Location of the Word Wall: Forelhost
Effect: Call a devasatating thunderstorm
The Storm Call shout generates a devastating rainfall followed by a violent thunderstorm above the player that rains down horrifying lightning bolts on anybody below, friend or foe.
If used in a town, this Shout will strike and likely kill people, allies, and followers, resulting in an instant high bounty. Moreover, the Shout can only be used outdoors. Alduin uses a variant of this Shout to demolish Helgen in the Throat of the World fight and in Sovngarde. However, Alduin shouts that it is a meteor shower, not a lightning storm. You can replace your lightning storm with a meteor shower through the Meteor Call mod.
The Storm Call shout comes particularly handy during the Civil War missions when you have to fight off hordes of enemies. The Shout is quest locked and requires the Dragonborn to complete missions from the main quest to unlock the Storm Call shout.
12. Battle Fury
Location of the Word Wall: Throat of the World
Effect: Increase the combat abilities of allies
Battle Fury enchants the weapons of followers to do greater damage. This Shout is only effective if the player has a follower with them. This Shout can also work on reanimated dead body allies through the conjuring spell.
Travel to the Tomb of Vahlok and vanquish Vahlok the Jailer. While finishing the Lost Legacy quest, all three-word walls may be located within the tomb.
11. Whirlwind Sprint
Location of the Word Wall: High Hrothgar
Effect: Quickly dash across a distance
Whirlwind Sprint is a powerful shout that lets you dash forward quickly, making it perfect for crossing large distances in a flash.
It’s especially handy when you’re carrying too much weight, and it can even help you solve timed puzzles. You’ll unlock this shout early on in your journey through the Greybeards’ main quest missions.
I simply use the Whirlwind Sprint shout to quickly ascend the stairs of High Hrothgar. Don’t judge, I just want to savor my adventure, not fast forward through it like a movie on 2x speed.
10. Aura Whisperer
Location of the Word Wall: Northwind Summit, Valthume, and Volunruud.
Effect: Reveal the location of all living things within the area
Aura Whisper is used to highlight nearby moving creatures. The Aura Whisper shout reveals both NPCs and animals. Unlike Detect Life, it does not indicate whether the observed creatures are enemies or friends. It is risky to use this Shout in a dungeon, or an enemy lair where you want to maintain stealth, as using this Shout will direct enemy attention towards you.
The three words of power for Aura Whisperer can be found in Northwind Summit, Valthume, and Volunruud.
9. Dragon Aspect
Location of the Word Wall: Temple of Miraak
Effect: Grants the Dragonborn temporary dragon-like abilities
With the help of the Dragon Aspect shout, the Dragonborn can take the form and acquire the abilities of a Dragon. When the Dragonborn activates Dragon Aspect (using all three words of power), they temporarily don a spectral suit of Dragon armor, granting them a significant boost to power attacks, a higher armor rating, and improved resistance to fire and frost. These impacts increase exponentially as you learn more words of power. The Dragon armor’s impressive visual effects grow with each new power word.
The Dragonborn DLC questline begins at the Temple of Miraak, where you’ll also find the first word wall of Dragon Aspect.
8. Frost Breath
Location of the Word Wall: Bonestrewn Crest
Effect: Deal frost damage to enemies
The Frost Breath Thu’um casts a breath of ice, inflicting frost damage. A chilly blast is unleashed in front of the Dragonborn, dealing Frost damage and temporarily slowing anybody caught in its path.
This Shout is beneficial early on in the game when you are fighting low-level enemies; as you progress to higher levels, the damage of Frost Breath is not enough. The frost breath has no impact on frost creatures because of their inherent resistance to Frost damage, including Ice Wolves and Frost Trolls.
7. Fire Breath
Location of the Word Wall: Dustman’s Cairn
Effect: Deal fire damage to enemies
Fire Breath or Yol is one of the coolest shouts in the game, as it’s one of the few shouts that give you the impression of being a fire-breathing Dragon. It is the opposite of Frost Breath, being one of the most basic Dragon shouts. Frost enemies and Vampires are prone to fire damage; hence Fire Breath plays a big role in defeating such enemies with ease.
The Fire Within is an ability gained via meditating on the Fire Breath shout with Paarthurnax that boosts the damage dealt by 25%. Without becoming a Companion, the Dragonborn has no way of accessing the rest of Dustman’s Cairn and learning all the words of this Shout.
6. Slow Time
Location of the Word Wall: Hag’s End
Effect: Slow time (Who could’ve guessed?)
As the name indicates, the Slow Time shout bends time to your will and gives you the upper hand over your enemies. The player is restricted by some of the Shout’s effects yet has the advantage of speed over their foes. This Shout also comes in handy to solve timed puzzles such as those that need Whirlwind Sprint to solve.
Slow time gives you the most advantage on enemies and lets you inflict more strikes within a short period and without giving your enemy a chance to defend themselves or land a strike. You can slow time up to 90% for 16 seconds with all three words of Slow Time shout learned.
Location of the Word Wall: Throat of the World
Effect: Force dragons to land
It’s one of the key ones you’ll come across in the main quest, and let me tell you, it’s a game-changer. See, dragons love to attack from the sky and they keep landing in different places, making it tough to take them down. But with Dragonrend, you can make them land right in front of you, and even the odds.
This Shout works only on Dragons (what else are you going to land… butterflies?), but it’s still a useful power to have since making Dragons land makes the fight a lot easier.
4. Summon Durnehviir
Location of the Word Wall: Soul Cairn
Effect: Summon Durnehviir
As the name suggests, this Shout summons Durnehviir, an undead Dragon from the Soul Cairn.
If you call on him when you’re not in battle, he flies above you as a battle sentry, ready to take on any enemy that might cross your path. Durn Frost Breath, Drain Vitality, and unique shouts to summon Boneman, Mistman, and Wrathman from the Soul Cairn during battle.
You will learn this Shout during the Beyond Death quest in the Dawnguard DLC. This Shout is not learned through a word wall; instead, the Dragon that you summon – Durnehviir, teaches you all three words of this Thu’um. You need to activate the Shout through Dragon souls, and it only works if you use all three words together. If you shout only the first and second words, nothing will happen.
3. Ice Form
Location of the Word Wall: Frostmere Crypt
Effect: Freeze your enemies
Unlike Frost Breath shout, Ice Form completely freezes the enemy and immobilizes them. This Shout feels more like a special power as the effects of Frost Breath can easily be mimicked by a frost spell or a frost-enchanted weapon.
Using the Ice form shout, strong enemies will be frozen for as long as 20 seconds, while weaker enemies are frozen for a longer duration. It is an extremely useful shout to immobilize your enemy and strike them multiple times to deplete their health entirely.
You come across the word wall of Ice Form through the College Of Winterhold quest line.
2. Become Ethereal
Location of the Word Wall: Ironbind Barrow
Effect: Gain invincibility for a short time
With this Shout, the Dragonborn will take on an ethereal form and become immune to harm for the duration of the effect. You are immune to any harm, including poison and falls, while this Shout is in effect.
This Shout is extremely handy for when you are about to jump from high ground. Moreover, your stamina won’t be depleted (nor will it regenerate) while this Shout is in effect. You come across the word wall for this Shout near The Horn of Jurgen Windcaller.
1. Unrelenting Force
Location of the Word Wall: Bleak Falls Sanctum
Effect: Sends enemies flying
The Unrelenting Force shout is a Skyrim signature power. It is one of the most commonly known powers of the game and has a lot of popularity throughout the gaming community. It is the first Shout you learn as the Dragonborn when you discover you are the Dragonborn.
Following the main quest will land you to the greybeards, who will teach you each word of the Shout and provide the Dragon souls necessary to unlock it.
Comprising of the three famous words ‘Fus, Ro, Dah’, using the whole Shout sends enemies flying away to huge distances. It’s like the ‘This is Sparta’ kick version of Skyrim, so you can send enemies flying off from ledges to fall to their deaths.
The classic Unrelenting Force shout tops the list of the best shouts in Skyrim by a mile.
Question: How Do I Unlock Dragon Shouts In Skyrim?
Answer: After discovering word walls for specific shouts, the Dragonborn will need Dragon souls to unlock shouts. You absorb Dragon souls after slaying Dragons you find across Skyrim.
Question: Do All Dragon Shouts Have 3 Words Of Power?
Answer: Yes, all Dragon shouts in Skyrim have three words of power that you will need to learn from different sources. Moreover, you will need Dragon souls to unlock each word to utilize it fully. By combining all three words of power, the effect of the Shout is increased exponentially.
Question: Who Else Uses Dragon Shouts In Skyrim?
Answer: Apart from the Dragonborn, you will see Ulfric, Greybeards, Dragons, and some Draugr bosses using the power of Thu’ums. It is a skill that can be learned through years of training, but it comes naturally to the Dragonborn.
Dragon shouts are a huge part of Skyrim. While you come across the majority of the Dragon shout word-walls during your exploration and adventure across the huge world, some of the shouts can only be acquired through particular quests and the main storyline.
While Dragons in Skyrim are mighty creatures, a huge chunk of their power is their shouts which grant them the upper hand on all other creatures in Skyrim. Being the Dragonborn, you are born with an ability to learn these Words of Power far more quickly and easily than other mortals in Tamriel.
All Thu’ums or Dragon shouts in Skyrim are comprised of three words, and using all of the words together leaves a bigger impact as compared to shouting one or two words.