Skyrim’s incredible depth can be seen in the sheer number of NPC companions to choose from. There are over 70 followers available, but not all of them will be of equal value while traversing through the Tamriel.
Each of these followers has its own special set of skills. While some choices may boil down to your playstyle, there are definitely some followers that truly stand out.
Let’s meet them—here’s a list of the 10 best followers in Skyrim available.
Farkas is a Nord Warrior that will jump head-on in any fight and soak up the damage. On the other hand, he is Blacksmith, which means that his skills are somewhat mismatched.
His primary skills are Smithing and Speech, but he is also great in One-handed. Farkas is a solid companion in the early game, although his personality is a bit bland.
He lives in Jorrvaskr, Whiterun and can be recruited after finishing The Companions Quests.
How about a powerful Imperial spellcaster well versed in Destruction magic? Although a bit generic in dialogue, Marcurio more than pays off with his Chain Lightning, Lightning Bolt and restoration spells like Fast Healing and Turn Undead.
He is one of the strongest mages in Skyrim, so if you protect him, he will deliver massive damage. Marcurio is yours for 500 gold and can be found in Riten’s local inn Bee and Barb.
Switching up back to Warriors, let’s continue with a Nord mercenary called Stenvar. He is particularly skilled in Two-Handed, which is quite rare, and also resilient.
Stenvar has an aggressive playstyle and has many points in Heavy Armor. Couple this with innate Frost resistance, and there’s no wonder why he’s such an excellent tank.
You can find him in Candlehearth Hall in Windhelm, and recruitment will cost you 500 gold.
7. Aela the Huntress
If you are a brawler who needs a highly-skilled archer backup, look no further then Aela. Her hurricane of arrows will easily dismantle most of the enemies—that is, of course, if she is offered good protection.
Primarily, Aela uses Light Armor and Sneak skills, coupled with Speech and One-handed. You should avoid giving her shield, and replace her heavy armor as soon as possible.
Aela can become your follower after you’ve completed The Companions questline.
Frea is another powerful NPC from Dragonborn DLC that combines magic and melee. She is highly skilled in One-Handed and uses powerful Alteration spells like Ebonyflesh and Ironflesh.
On the defensive side, she offers Heal Other, Fast Healing, and Close Wounds. Although not ideal for ranged combat, Frea is a well-rounded follower that might save your ass in dozen of combat situations.
To recruit her, you have to make significant progress in Dragonborn and have over 25 Speech. Frea can be found in Skaal Village.
5. Teldryn Sero
Teldryn is, in his own humble opinion, the best swordsman in Morrowind. He is highly skilled in Destruction and One-Handed, while also having the option to fall back on his conjurer skills and call up a flame atronach. In combat, he’ll start by blasting his enemies with Firebolt, which he can also dual-cast for bigger damage.
If more enemies focus on him, Teldryn might use a combination of ward spell and Fast Healing to keep himself on his feet. At closer range, he will switch to Elven sword to finish off his enemies. His highly offensive battle mage build makes him a good choice for players who like to go into fights head-on.
To acquire him, you need to have the Dragonborn DLC installed. Teldryn Sero can be found in Raven Rock’s inn and is available for hire for a measly 500 gold.
4. Mjoll the Lioness
Mjoll is another Nord Warrior that will absorb a ton of damage on your behalf. She can easily hold her own even in the late game and cannot be killed. Her primary skills are Two-handed, Heavy Armor, and Archery.
It’s worth noting that she is fiercely opposed to the Thieves’ Guild, so it’s best to keep her away from heists.
You can find Mjoll hanging out in Bee and Barb inn or roaming through Riften. To acquire her, you must be over level 14, be on good terms with citizens of Riften, and finish her quest
3. J’ Zargo
Aside from having no level cap, J’ Zargo also has the highest HP of all NPC’s, which is a little weird considering he is not a tank.
He is skilled in many Destruction spells, including Sparks, Lightning Bolt, and Frostbite. Unfortunately, his spells are Apprentice level, so his full potential is a bit hindered.
You can acquire J’ Zargo’s companionship by completing a few of his tasks at the College of Winterhold.
For those of you with the Dawnguard DLC, Serana comes highly recommended. She is an essential NPC, meaning that she cannot die in combat.
Aside from her beauty, Serana is a ridiculously strong necromancer. She will frequently raise powerful backup, including Dremora Caitiffs. Most of the time, she will use a combo of Ice Spike and Vampiric Drain, occasionally spicing things up with Lightning Bolt or Chaing Lightning.
As long as Serana remains a vampire she will be resistant to frost spells. Aside from her powers, Serana has quite an interesting back story that will keep your interest for quite some time.
You can recruit Serana immediately after encountering her in either Fort Dawnguard or Volkihar Keep.
Cicero is a deadly assassin/jester NPC with a particularly bizarre sense of humor, who enjoys dancing in his spare time between quests. He is another essential character, so you don’t have to worry about him dying.
On another hand, Cicero has no ranged abilities, so he will not be ideal for some players. Cicero will happily stand on your side after you’ve finished Dark Brotherhood questline.
Depending on your progress, you will find him in Dawnstar or Falkreath Sanctuary.
Choosing the Best Followers in Skyrim
Aside from their strength in combat, you should also choose the followers which you enjoy being around. The best NPC’s in Skyrim, like Serana, will bring additional depth to this mysterious world and not just stand blandly beside you until it’s time to engage in combat.
At their best, Bethesda has given us something more than followers—a true companionship that will enrich our time spent on this epic adventure.