Plenty of weapons exist in Skyrim for players to find. From war axes to bows, there is a weapon type that can fit any play style. War axes are one of the most interesting options in Skyrim due to their perk pool and how easy they are to obtain.
That said, there aren’t many unique war axes to find. With only ten options to choose from, it can seem disappointing to use war axes that aren’t crafted. Fortunately, some war axes are more than capable of dealing with Skyrim’s plethora of dungeons and quests. Here are all ten war axes in Skyrim ranked from worst to best.
10 Ghorbash’s Ancestral Axe
Ghorbash the Iron Hand was supposed to give players his axe at some point during Skyrim’s development, but this weapon was cut before the game was released. It isn’t that great, however, packing eight damage per swing. There are far better axes to find in Skyrim.
9 Notched Pickaxe
Likely a reference to Minecraft, the Notched Pickaxe is a unique war axe that can be found at the tip of the Throat of the World. While it only deals 5 damage per swing, it makes up for this by dealing an additional 5 points of shock damage to targets while enhancing a player’s Smithing skill by 5. It’s not a remarkable war axe compared to most options, but it’s by no means a terrible weapon.
8 Poacher’s Axe
The Poacher’s Axe is much stronger than what its stats would imply. It deals 5 damage per swing but has the attack speed of a dagger, capable of attacking 1.3 times a second. It also deals 3 extra points of damage to animals, an enchantment that can be learned at an Enchanting Table upon dismantling the item. It’s a very solid early-game axe that can be found from various merchants or bandits.
7 Ceremonial Axe
The Ceremonial Axe is tied to the “Silenced Tongues” quest and must be obtained to finish it. It deals a solid nine damage per swing, but it can not be removed from a player’s inventory until the quest is finished.
This can result in strange bugs where the weapon can never exit a player’s inventory regardless of quest status. Besides this, the Ceremonial Axe is a standard Ancient Nord War Axe.
6 Ulfric’s War Axe
Ulfric Stormcloak has a signature Steel War Axe that deals nine base damage per swing. It can be obtained rather early by starting the Civil War questline and siding with the Stormcloaks. Ulfric will give his axe to the player and ask them to deliver his weapon to Balgruuf in Whiterun. Instead of giving this quest item away, players can keep it to make the earlier portions of Skyrim slightly easier.
5 Lunar Iron War Axe
Northwest of Whiterun lies the Silent Moons Camp, a strange location that has a unique forge. This forge crafts lunar weapons, granting a powerful enchantment that makes these weapons deal 20 additional points of damage while the moons are out. Besides this powerful enchantment, it’s a standard Iron Axe that deals eight damage a swing.
4 Lunar Steel War Axe
Differences between the Steel and Iron War Axe variants are in their base damage alone. The Steel variant deals nine base damage instead of eight. They are identical besides this.
Hoarfrost is a deadly pickaxe found in the Dragonborn DLC. This axe belongs to Ralis Sedarys and can be obtained by either killing him or stealing his weapon. It only deals five base damage, but it has a massive 15 frost damage enchantment that has a small chance of freezing targets solid.
This weapon won’t stunlock targets since the freeze property is rather rare, but the enchantment is so strong that is makes Hoarfrost one of the most powerful War Axes in the game.
Okin is a powerful Ancient Nord War Axe that deals 12 base damage and has a ten-point frost enchantment. It’s much less interesting than most weapons on this list, but its high damage potential with every swing make it a reliable option for all content. It can be obtained a few hours into the game in the Volunruud dungeon and can tackle most of Skyrim’s content with ease. It’s just a shame so many foes are resistant to frost damage.
1 Dawnguard Rune Axe
On the surface, the Dawnguard Rune Axe is a great mid-game option that deals 11 base damage alongside ten points of Sun damage to undead. However, this axe becomes much stronger when it kills undead. Every undead slain by this axe grants it one additional point of sun damage, up to a cap of 100.
This weapon is supposed to have its bonus reset every sunrise, but tempering the Rune Axe will prevent it from resetting its kill count. Since sun damage is tripled against undead, this weapon is capable of one-shotting Dragon Priests, Draugr Deathlords, and Master Vampires. It’s a mediocre weapon against normal foes, but this weapon gives Dawnbreaker a run for its money when it is used against undead.