Skyrim Magic Spells and Mage Builds Guide

There won’t be any Skyrim without Magic. Magic is the breath of Dragons, it is shared by spells, potions, and enchanted items. If that isn’t enough to stress the significance of magic in Elder Scrolls V Skyrim, then consider the racial abilities. Skyrim Magic Spells form the core of your gameplay and this guide will dive deep into everything magic in the game.

Even Warriors can use Magic when they learn Dragon Shouts from the Word Wall. That’s why Magic is one of three skill types in Skyrim. There are five schools of Magic in Skyrim and they are – Alteration, Conjuration, Destruction, Illusion, and Restoration.

Every spell that you can learn belongs to one of these schools. Each magic school in Skyrim dictates certain magical effects, which determines the type of spells that you can learn from that school. For example, healing spells are part of Restoration School Magic because they restore health.

Each Magic Skill has its own perk tree and leveling up certain skill perk tree will determine the strength of that particular skill, and in turn, spells of that type. Your skills and perks determine the strength of every spell you use but that is not true for Dragon Shouts.

Skyrim Magic Spells

Mage magic character build is one of the most powerful but tricky characters to play within Skyrim. There are a handful of abilities and perks provided by Skyrim mage build. It has its own strengths and weaknesses. The following information will help you set up your mage build.

One thing you must first understand is that there are a total of 5 schools of magic; we’ll list each one and what the pros and cons of each one are:

  • Alteration: This kind of magic, which can effectively be used by anyone, gives you armor and magic resistance, while simultaneously providing stealth benefits.
  • Conjuration: This school of magic allows you to conjure up summons, which can be your sword and shield in combat.
  • Destruction: This form of magic has the potential to devastate all would-be opponents, however it comes at the cost of burning through magicka. Unless you have a great deal in reserve, Destruction spells will deplete them quickly.
  • Illusion: This type of magic is nigh undetectable by enemies, allowing you to turn invisible, or manipulate the battlefield and turn enemies against one another.

Restoration: The final school of magic can restore health and stamina, and is especially useful for one-handed warriors as they can continue fighting while healing themselves.

How To Use Magic Spell

If you want to use a magic spell, first you will have to assign it to either your left hand or right hand. If you want your spell to be stronger, assign the same spell to both hands. When you cast a spell, it depletes your Magicka.

You can also use spells to create magic traps or ruins. Which are essential traps placed on the ground using certain spells, which will activate when an enemy walks over them.

Leveling Up Your Spells

Every spell has a difficulty level, which determines the skill required to cast that spell. These difficulty levels are:

Name (difficulty level)

  • Novice (0)
  • Apprentice (25)
  • Adept (50)
  • Expert (75)
  • Master (100)

If you are worried about consuming Magicka, level up the right perks and reduce the cost of casting these spells. You can even reduce the difficulty level required to use these spells, when you level up certain perks.

You can read our Leveling Guide for in-depth tips on how you can level up particular skill faster and more effectively.

How To Learn Spells

You can learn the spells by either buying them from the Merchants or by reading the Spell Books. Following are the NPCs that sell Spells:

Colette Marence
She teaches the Restoration spell. She sells restoration spells and gear (robes and hoods of restoration, spell books and soul gems). She can either be located in the Arcaneum Library or in the Hall of Countenance. You must be at Level 90 and need to have completed the ‘Good Intentions’ Quest before going to her to learn this magic.

Drevis Neloren
Drevis specializes on illusion magic. He will sell you illusion spells and gear (robes and hoods of illusion, spell books and soul gems). He can either be located in the Arcaneum Library or the Hall of Countenance.

Tolfdir
This man will teach you everything you need to know about Alteration magic. He will sell you alternation spells and gear (robes and hoods of alteration, spell books and soul gems). He can be found solely in the Hall of Attainment.

Farengar Secret-Fire
He is the court mage of Jarl Bagruuf The Greater. He advises Jarl when Whiterun faces a magic-based threat. He is doing research into dragons and will ask you to retrieve a Dragon Tablet – found in Bleak Falls Barrow. He can be found outside of the College of Winterhold.

Phinis Gestor
He is a Breton Conjurer from the College of Winterhold. He specializes in Conjuration school of Magic and sells many high-level Conjuration spells.

Wuunferth the Unliving
He is the court wizard of Windhelm, in service of Ulfric Stormcloak. He is a common trainer in Destruction and, like all court wizards, sells spell books.

Faralda
She is a Mage from the College of Winterhold. She specializes in Destruction school of magic and offers destruction training. She has a very high-level destruction spells available, which you can buy for a price.

Magic Spells

You will find these magical effects in different spells, potions, or enchanted items. Some may have limitation to their use, like few racial powers that can only be used once a day.

Alternation Spells

  • Candlelight
  • Detect Dead
  • Dragonhide
  • Ebonyflesh
  • Equilibrium
  • Ironflesh
  • Magelight
  • Mass Paralysis
  • Oakflesh
  • Paralyze
  • Stoneflesh
  • Telekinesis
  • Transmute
  • Waterbreathing

Conjuration Spells

  • Banish Daedra
  • Bound Battleaxe
  • Bound Bow
  • Bound Sword
  • Command Daedr
  • Conjure Dragon Priest
  • Conjure Dremora Lord
  • Conjure Familiar
  • Conjure Flame Atronach
  • Conjure Frost Atronach
  • Conjure Storm Atronach
  • Dread Zombie
  • Expel Daedra
  • Flame Thrall
  • Flaming Familiar
  • Frost Thrall
  • Raise Zombie
  • Reanimate Corpse
  • Revenant
  • Soul Trap
  • Storm Thrall

Destruction Spells

  • Flames
  • Firebolt
  • Firebolt Storm
  • Fire Rune
  • Flame Cloak
  • Incinerate
  • Wall of Flames
  • Fire Storm
  • Frostbite
  • Ice Spike
  • Frost Rune
  • Ice Storm
  • Frost Cloak
  • Icy Spear
  • Wall of Frost
  • Blizzard
  • Sparks
  • Lightning Bolt
  • Lightning Rune
  • Lightning Cloak
  • Chain Lightning
  • Thunderbolt
  • Wall of Storms
  • Lightning Storm

Illusion Spells

  • Calm
  • Clairvoyance
  • Courage
  • Fade Other
  • Fear
  • Frenzy
  • Fury
  • Harmony
  • Hysteria
  • Invisibility
  • Mayhem
  • Muffle
  • Pacify
  • Rally
  • Rout

Restoration Spells

  • Bane of the Undead
  • Circle of Protection
  • Close Wounds
  • College Practice Ward
  • Fast Healing
  • Grand Healing
  • Greater Ward
  • Guardian Circle
  • Heal Other
  • Healing
  • Healing Hands
  • Lesser Ward
  • Meridia’s Light
  • Repel Lesser Undead
  • Repel Undead
  • Steadfast Ward
  • Turn Greater Undead
  • Turn Lesser Undead
  • Turn Undead

For detailed overview of the Magic Spells, read our Spell Books Guide.

The Fastest Way to Level Up Mage Skills

Unlock all of the Perks for ‘Enchanter’, ‘Corpus Enchanter’, and ‘Insightful Enchanter’ and enchant yourself a set of armor or clothing – head, hands, chest and feet – which has the enchantment of 25% reduction in magicka cost for the skill you have in mind. With all four pieces combined, you’ll be able to cast spells for free in that school, meaning you can infinitely cast them for power-levelling.

Level up Alteration:

  • Cast the Telekinesis Spell on a random item and then fast travel to the furthest point (do not let go of the cast button). This is a glitch where the game will assume that you travelled to the new location by foot, and since your Magicka never runs out, it will assume that you were casting that spell all the way; you will level up Alteration all the way to level 100.

Level up Conjuration:

  • You can continuously use the spell Bound Weapon whilst in combat. Pick a fight with something easy to avoid and stay nearby. You can resummon the weapon as soon as you hear the noise it makes on activating the spell, making it very easy to repeat at high speed.

Level up Destruction:

  • Dual cast Destruction spell on the indestructible equine, Shadowmere, to quickly grind your way to level 100.

Level up Illusion:

  • You can cast Rally on NPCs without turning them hostile, meaning that spamming it in heavily-populated areas is a fast way to level. You can also cast Rout and Pacify on a single enemy, equipping one spell to each hand.

Level up Restoration:

  • Multiple ways to level this up. You can damage Shadowmere with one hand while simultaneously it with the other; dual-cast the Equilibrium Spell which converts Health into Magicka; or you can also repeatedly cast spells such as Circle of Protection and Guardian Circle anywhere – although they give you more experience if anything classed as undead is inside the circle.

Enchanting

You can read our in-depth Enchanting Guide and learn how you can learn different magical spells by breaking the enchanted items and how you induce different magical effects by enchanting items.

Daedric Artifacts

There aren’t easy to find but reward is great. Spirits of shrines assign you some of the most challenging tasks and those involve retrieval of these artifacts. You can learn more about these artifacts and where you can find them in our handy Daedric Artifacts Locations guide.

Alchemy

You can read our in-depth Alchemy Guide to learn you can create magical potions and poisons. It will also has a list of alchemical ingredients which you can combine to create a positively or negatively related mixture.

Dragon Shouts

These Shouts are magical in nature but don’t deplete Magicka. Each Dragon Shout is made up of three Words, which can be learned from the Word Wall, that is mostly guarded by a dragon. So, you know what you need to do to get all the Dragon Shouts. You can read our detailed Dragon Shouts Guide to locate and learn the all the Shouts.

Mage Character Build

Your ability to cast powerful spells will be enhanced if you choose Mage Character Build. There are two types of builds you can choose as a mage and these are Pure Mage and Battle Mage. You can read our Mage Character Build guide for in-depth insight about which skills and perks you should choose as a mage and how you should play the game.

With the Destruction/Restoration perk build, you will be limited to a few damage-dealing spells and healing spells – which makes things easy really but if you like more options, go for Alteration/Conjuration. You can use Alteration spells to buff yourself and debuff your enemy and then call your creatures to attack your foes.

If you want to focus on Conjuration, limit yourself to summoning and raising spells and level up perks that boost your defense. Avoid Bond weapons as a Pure Mage because they are meant to be used by Battle Mage.

Skills To Level Up
Alchemy, Alteration, Conjuration, Destruction, Enchantment, Illusion, Restoration

Perks To Level Up

Conjuration/Alteration
Level Up all perks.

Destruction/Restoration
Level Up all perks.

This was our Skyrim Mage Magic Guide if you have any questions take to the comments below.