When it comes to magic in Skyrim, most players consider Illusion and Alteration magic to be the weakest spell types and hardly ever use either one. This guide will show you how to get the most out of these spell types, and show you how both of these spell trees can effectively break the game.
There are two simple builds for both spell types that help maximize the efficiency and damage output of spells that fall under the trees of Alteration and Illusion magic. The Alteration tree has the ever classic “Battlemage” while the Illusion tree has a “Mage-Assassin” loadout. Combining the two spell types presents the “Night-Blade” loadout.
Let’s start with the harder of the two to use, Alteration magic. The Battlemage loadout of Alteration magic focuses around using magic to buff the players defense, while using basic weapons such as maces and daggers to deal damage. Any race will do, though races strong in magic tend to make the loadout easier to manage. The Battlemage tends to not wear armor, as wearing armor diminishes the effects of “Mage Armor” spells. Instead, a Battlemage should try to use clothing that has been enchanted with Magic Regen and Magic Resist.
The first spells you are going to want to learn are Oakflesh/StoneFlesh, which can be purchased from Tolfdir at the college of Winterhold, or from Madena in White Hall of Dawnstar. These spells are going to be what protects the Battlemage from basic attacks, and are going to allow the Battlemage to not have to worry about constant healing. Don’t get cocky though, as powerful enemies will manage to deal heavy damage, in which case the player should have both potions and restoration magic ready.
The Battlemage should take levels in One-Handed (particularly mace upgrades) and Alteration (particularly the stability upgrade) when possible. The player should level whatever backup skills that they want, such as sneak or restoration. Early levels of the Battlemage can prove somewhat tough, but once the player can begin to use spells such as Ebonyflesh (bought from Tolfdir after a skill level of 70 Alteration) and Paralyze (bought from Tolfdir after level 75 Alteration) the game becomes easy no matter what the difficulty of the game.
The Illusion tree’s “Mage-Assassin” loadout is meant to be played as a stealthy character that uses magic in order to confuse and terrify opponents, while also using spells such as “muffle” in order to enhance the user’s sneaking prowess. Races that have bonuses to sneak are handy, such as Khajiit, Dunmer, Bosmer, and Argonian. The Dunmer stand out, as they also take a bonus to illusion magic. The Bosmer and Khajiit take bonuses to archery, so if you want your assassin to wield a bow, they stand out as well.
Any weapon can be theoretically used, though daggers and bows stand out due to ease of use. Light armor or clothing is preferred, because heavy armor tends to make too much noise and weigh down what is essentially a light-weight class. If the player insists on wearing heavy armor, the spell “muffle” must be used constantly, or at least until the player learns higher sneak skills.
Fury should be learned along with muffle. While muffle will keep the assassin quiet, fury will allow the assassin to stay safe whenever a fight is going to happen, yet the player would rather avoid conflict. Fury can also be used in public without retribution from guards, so it makes assassinations in public easier.
After the assassin has leveled up to 70 in Illusion, the spell invisibility becomes available from Drevis Neloren at random times. Though this spell does not guarantee “easy” kills, it makes things much more easy. As sneak levels up, the player will want to take either assassin’s blade or deadly aim, depending on whether they are using daggers or bows. The only Illusion spells that are absolutely needed for this loadout to work are fury, muffle, and invisibility.
The “Mage-Assassin” is completely dependent on fighting from the shadows, and should always run and hide rather than stand and fight. When discovered, spells such as fury or fear come into play, but if the user is playing correctly, the assassin should never be caught. The user should focus on sneak, illusion, and the weapon of choice, and then can specialize in whatever else the player finds beneficial.
Finally, we come to the “Night-Blade” loadout. The Nightblade is an amalgamation of mage and thief. In battle they traditionally tended to use destruction magic to weaken their foes with spells such as drain health or damage armor, afterwords dispatching the enemy quickly. In Skyrim, Night-blades are a bit harder to come by, due to the lack of mystcism spells, but nevertheless Night-Blades are still effective character archetypes.
Basic races that stand out for this class are the Altmer, Dunmer, Breton, and the Khajiit. Altmer and Breton work if you tend to favor magic, Dunmer works if you prefer archery, and a Khajiit works best if you for a player that likes to sneak. No matter what race you choose, becoming a Nightingale helps, due to the bonuses that the player receives from them.
This loadout is an amalgamation of the strengths of both classes, and uses defensive buffs from Alteration to stay in the thick of battle when needed, while using the stealth aspects of the Illusion magic in order to remain in the shadows when warranted. The user will want to specialize in destruction, illusion, sneak, and alteration for optimal results.
Again, the player will want to use light armor or clothes, to make as little noise as possible. Otherwise, make sure muffle is in effect at all times. The class generally uses short blades and bows only when deemed necessary, which makes it a very versatile class, as they can avoid combat entirely, engage with a short blade in close combat, or weaken the opponent using destruction and accurate marksmanship. While leveling up, the player should take ranks in sneak first followed by whatever spell tree the user tends to favor. Other than that, this class allows for customization that is up to whatever the player enjoys. If you like sneaking, upgrade Sneak and Illusion first. If combat is more your thing, then destruction and one handed should come first. Other than that, the levels can be whatever the player would like them to be.
Hopefully these basic guidelines will allow you to make the most out of the two most underused spell trees in Skyrim. The playstyles invovled with these magic trees tend to be completely different styles of gameplay, so be sure to try them out if you haven’t before.
Article from Gamersyndrome.com