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I'm at level 67 and I have a couple skills at 100, so I'm considering whether to make one legendary to improve leveling. But I'm not sure how making Alteration, Illusion or Destruction legendary would affect my spells. Will I lose my more powerful spells when my skill level resets?

For example, Fireball is an adept level Destruction spell, available at Destruction 40. If you reset Destruction to 15 after learning Fireball, do you:

  1. Forget Fireball and have to buy it again?
  2. Keep Fireball, but have to get back to Destruction 40 to use it?
  3. Use Fireball, but do less damage or pay a higher magicka cost?
  4. Use Fireball as normal?

One webpage I found suggested that casting master-level Destruction spells after making Destruction legendary allows fast leveling, which suggests that either #3 or #4 is true, but I couldn't find anything that definitely stated this was true. Can anyone confirm? Also, from the wiki descriptions and answers here on Arqade, I know I have to reassign perk points, and won't be able to buy high-level perks in legendary skills until I build my skill back up. So, I'm guessing I won't have the stagger effect of dual-cast Fireball and will have to pay more to cast it. Also true?

Should I just avoid making a crucial skill legendary and go with something safer, like Alteration or maybe Smithing, which is also 100?

  • You should avoid making a crucial skill legendary. The best skill, by FAR, is to make the Illusion skill legendary after you have gotten the Harmony spell. One cast in Whiterun will level it from 15 to 55+. – Nelson Apr 19 '15 at 21:46
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    Comes with a caveat though. You need to setup gear that gives you free illusion spells. Harmony will cost over a thousand magicka at skill 15. – Nelson Apr 19 '15 at 21:51
  • I consider Illusion critical, too, the perk to cast Illusion on undead and dwemer automata is too useful. But as I noted in a comment below, I have the gear, and that seems to remote the sting of resetting skill and losing high-level perks. However, doesn't Harmony act like Pacify, which makes NPCs hostile when the effect wears off? – John Laviolette Apr 20 '15 at 0:35
  • It is not an aggressive act. You should check out the details on the usep for details – Nelson Apr 20 '15 at 5:44
  • I don't see anything on the wiki about it not being aggressive. I know from experience that if I use Pacify on a target, it will make them hostgile when the spell ends or if they resist the spell. – John Laviolette Apr 20 '15 at 6:47
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All of the perks for that tree are reset, so you will lose stagger effects and other bonuses that leveling up gave you.

You do not lose the spells themselves, nor have to get back to a certain level to use them again. There isn't a skill level requirement for using spells, so long as you have enough magicka to use them. Option 3 is probably the most accurate, in that they'll be a lot less effective due to your skill level and associated perks resetting.

Be wary of making a skill you use frequently legendary, especially a combat one. Going with alteration or smithing would be a good idea in my opinion.

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  • I made sure I had a saved game, made four enchantments to reduce Destruction cost to 0, and tried to verify. The spells do indeed work, and casting Fire Storm for zero magicka lets you earn back 2-3 levels at a time, although I think you need to attack stronger opponents to get the full XP benefit possible. I'm currently hunting giants and mammoth, which is still tricky. I wind up sneaking up close while invisible, casting Fire Storm, then turning around and using Whirlwind Sprint to get out of there and hide, then repeat. – John Laviolette Apr 20 '15 at 0:29
  • Harmony is the best leveling skill possible. One cast in Whiterun levels illusion from 15 to 50+. – Nelson May 9 '15 at 5:40
  • Telekinesis fast travel(Alteration) is excellent too. With 100% cost reduction, hold an item with the spell(maybe pine thrush or rock warbler egg) and open your map. Fast travel a long way like between Riften and Markarth or vice versa(or their stables) and you can go from 15 to 100 Alteration in a single load screen(almost instant if Skyrim is installed on an SSD). Instead of cost reduction, you can use Secret of Arcana from black book Filament and Filigree in Kolbjorn Barrow on Solstheim. Riften and Markarth are 25.5 hours apart. Beware dragons after fast travel(mainly in/around Riften). – Jtenorj3 Nov 12 '18 at 21:06
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Making any Skill Legendary does two things:

  1. Resets the levels of the skill itself to level 15, and
  2. Returns the Perk points to you.

You will not lose knowledge of any spells, however, they will cost more to cast again. You will not lose the knowledge of Fireball, or the Master spells you’ve learned, and you won’t have to do master quests after the first time.

Spells seem to crawl down in cost to about 60% of their original through leveling a skill to 100 alone. Perks further reduce these amounts as you know. Without either, the spells you’re use to casting will cost a little over 3x as much in magicka.

Casting them may not be wise unless you are sure you have enough resources to finish the mission (think beyond each fight).

For instance, sneak into enemy camp (Or Shout self ethereal), cast Mass Paralysis, followed by Firestorm. This could work, and would give a lot to xp, with minimal casting, however, unless you have gear that makes all this free, I wouldn’t recommend it.

It seems to be better to use the minimal spell needed to get by- as experience is relative to the spell’s cost vs damage rate. Other schools, cast your highest level spells, as the situation calls for, and as long as you have enough magicka to survive the fight.

This is however NOT the case with new spells added through the creation club. Those do more damage, ramp up exponentially with perks, and return much, much lower experience. They are like an, “Oh, no. This was a mistake, I need a way out or it’s over” spell. Terrible for leveling destruction.

One of the main benefits for making a skill legendary (especially if it’s a class/racial skill), is you get to keep the health, stamina, magicka already collected. This is why you don’t have to give up casting any spells, as long as you’ve made the correct choices along the way. It’s ok to use a lower spell. No less a wizard.

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