I just completed the final (I think) main quest of the College of Winterhold and became the Arch-Mage, although I have no idea how I did it. Nothing I did seemed to be having any effect, either on the Eye of Magnus, or on Ancano. Eventually, Ancano simply keeled over and was dead.

I was shooting the staff all over the place, so I'm not sure which target had an effect and which completely ignored my attempts.

What is the intended way to claim victory in this battle?

5 Answers 5


You're supposed to close the eye with the staff, which makes Ancano vulnerable. Then you can kill him however you wish. I found the staff to be more than adequate for this.

  • 2
    Just to add a bit of additional clarification: using the staff on the Eye doesn't work until Ancano finishes his "let's rumble" type speech, stops channeling into the Eye, and the other mages charge forward to engage him in real combat. Until that point you're just wasting item charge.
    – Cypren
    Nov 17, 2011 at 9:07
  • Even when I use the staff on the orb, it does nothing :\ don't know if the game is glitching. When I enter the hall he stops what he's doing and attacks straight away. Ive watched game play online, and in all the videos he continues to take power from the orb. Don't know why I can't kill him :\
    – user15795
    Dec 3, 2011 at 15:32
  • Tolfdir actually says "use the staff on the eye" but I didn't hear it at first.
    – Jared Beck
    Feb 2, 2014 at 3:12
  • For anyone struggling with @user15795's problem (the staff doesn't close the Eye of Magnus), make sure you're not too close or too far away. The sweet spot for me was like 5-7 ft. away. Also close the gate before Tolfdir runs in and wait for Tolfdir to open the gate for the cutscene.
    – Corion
    Mar 12, 2019 at 21:58

From the Unofficial Elder Scrolls Pages wiki, "The Eye of Magnus" article (important parts emphasized by me):

Ancano and Tolfdir will talk for a short time before Tolfdir launches a spell at him, but with no effect. Tolfdir is knocked down and remains incapacitated while Ancano attacks. He will still have his protective barrier, which can be removed by using the Staff of Magnus on the Eye of Magnus.

It is important to use the Staff for a sufficient amount of time on the Eye of Magnus- until it returns to a solid, non-glowing sphere - because the protective barrier gives Ancano near immunity to magic and physical attacks when the Eye of Magnusis only partially weakened. When the glow surrounding Ancano dissipates he will be vulnerable to attacks.

During the fight he may approach the Eye and regain his protective barrier, which must be removed again. When the Eye separates into several hovering and rotating pieces, it is gaining strength, so Magic Anomalies may appear; be sure to use the staff on the Eye, so as to get it to lose more power and return to its original form for some time. The Magic Anomalies will yield soul gems when killed, allowing the Staff of Magnus to be recharged if it depletes during the battle. It is possible to leave Ancano to fight the magic anomalies and get himself killed that way, as they will attack him as well.

When Ancano is defeated several members of the Psijic Order will appear once more. The player is congratulated on their efforts, and declared worthy of being the new Arch-Mage. They will also state that the Eye of Magnus is unstable, and too dangerous for this world. Shortly after they will vanish in a glow of light, along with the Eye.


I defeated Ancano by :

  • Activating the Eye of magnus with the Magnus staff (the eye opens in reaction to this)
  • At some point, Ancano stop focusing on the eye and begins attacking you
  • This is when you use this great anti-mage staff you just acquire to drain his magicka and health.
  • i opened the eye of magnus and when ancano attacks me the attacks of me don't hurt him whats wrong ?
    – user14568
    Nov 16, 2011 at 22:02
  • @Mike are you using the Staff against him? Is it still charged?
    – M'vy
    Nov 17, 2011 at 0:12
  • @mikekersten The staff drains magicka first, THEN health when the target is out of magicka.
    – Thomas
    Nov 26, 2011 at 4:34

You dont use the staff on him you use it to SHUT the eye , when the eye is open Arcano will not take any damage. You are even told to use the staff on the eye. It becomes EXTREMELY easy to kill him off if you make sure the eye gets CLOSED when ever it is opened by Arcano.


I waited until he finished his speach and then shut the eye using the staff of Magnus. After that I used the "Ice Form" shout to freeze him solid to keep him from dodging my battle axe, since I'm really a nord two-handed/heavy armor type.

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