Skyrim’s Schools of Magic, Ranked From Worst To Best There are quite a few schools of magic in Skyrim but which among them is the best? And which are you better without?
Like any good fantasy RPG, Skyrim offers players a chance to master the arcane arts. Playing through the game with a pure mage build can be challenging, but highly rewarding for those who want to immerse themselves in this fantasy world. Any Dragonborn who plans to rely heavily on magic needs a strong grasp of each distinct magical school, and the advantages that they offer.
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Every school of magic has the potential to be incredibly powerful. However, some have a narrow range of uses, while others have more diverse applications. Some require tedious work to raise to high levels, while others climb quickly. To help players decide which schools to focus their Magicka on, here”s a ranking of each mage skill in Skyrim from worst to best.
Most Alteration magic is highly situational. Detect Life and Detect Dead allow players to anticipate battles, but are high-level spells that cost a lot of Magicka. Paralysis helps buy time in a tough fight; however, it requires a high Alteration skill. Similarly, Waterbreathing can occasionally come in handy, but the effect is more easily achieved through enchanted gear.
The most useful skills in this school are protection spells like Oakflesh and Ebonyflesh. With the Mage Armor set of perks, magically inclined Dragonborns can use these spells to make themselves untouchable. However, the Magicka cost can put users at an offensive disadvantage going into battle, especially at lower levels. Alteration magic can have great defensive power, but it takes a lot of practice to use effectively.
With spells like Calm, Fear, and Fury, Illusion magic can be very useful for avoiding direct confrontations. However, it takes a lot of work to raise this skill to an actually useful level. Master-level spells only work on enemies up to level 25, and no Illusion spells affect undead or daedra. The player can invest in perks to circumvent these issues, but this requires raising Illusion to expert levels.
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For stealth-based mages, this school can provide interesting gameplay opportunities. High-level Illusion wizards can use Illusion to cause mass panic and bloodthirsty rages, all while crouched invisibly behind a barrel. However, be ready to put in effort and think strategically—and to risk bounties for casting failed Fury spells.
Sometimes, the best defense is a good offense. With fireballs and lightning bolts, destruction spells are how magic users fight their way through the unforgiving land of Skyrim. They can choose to specialize in a certain element (fire, frost, or shock), or train in all of them to account for enemy resistances.
Though powerful, Destruction ranks here because its utility is relatively limited to mages. It takes constant use to level this skill to explosive levels. Players have to use their strongest spells carefully, or risk running out of Magicka mid-fight—which is especially deadly during a ranged assault. However, Destruction is worth the effort. Nothing”s quite as satisfying as a well-placed fireball that reduces a hoard of enemies to cinders.
Conjuration earns its place on this list by being possibly the most diverse school of magic in Skyrim. Players skilled in this school can summon atronachs, raise undead, trap souls, and create spectral weapons out of thin air. The spells Banish and Command Daedra also fall under Conjuration, making hostile Daedric creatures a cinch to handle.
Summoned atronachs and undead provide offensive aid and can redirect enemies, helping turn the tide of difficult battles. Bound weapons, with the right perks, become wickedly powerful blades capable of trapping souls and banishing Daedra. Destruction tends to get all the glory when it comes to offensive magic; however, Conjuration mages can do just as much damage to their foes.
Regardless of playstyle, everyone has dipped their toes in the pool of Restoration magic. Every player starts the game with Healing, the most basic spell in this school. And since Skyrim is a dangerous place, the Dragonborn has ample opportunity to practice. Once players build this skill through healing spells, they can gain access to powerful wards that block magical damage, as well as the ability to burn and terrorize undead creatures.
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What”s more, with the Dawnguard add-on, the Restoration school gains even more destructive potential. Spells like Sun Fire do flaming damage to undead, making them incredibly valuable for dungeon-diving quests. For both defensive and offensive power, Restoration is worth raising to expert levels—and it”s not very hard to do so.
Mages, rogues, and warriors alike can all benefit from powerfully enchanted gear. Though magic items can be found throughout the world, building the Enchanting skill allows players to create custom outfits, weapons, and accessories according to their own play style. Leveling is fairly simple: Keep soul gems on hand, and use them to enchant unneeded equipment.
Virtually any skill can be increased through armor enchantments, not to mention effects like muffle or waterbreathing. Furthermore, plenty of Destruction and Illusion-based magical effects can be applied to weapons. Lastly, Enchanting is the only magical skill that helps the Dragonborn make some money. Players can sell their experimentally enchanted gear throughout the world for a huge profit—and keep the best pieces for themselves.