I am not a guru in these kind of games and I'm trying to play as a Mage. At level 6 I have an imperial guard buddy that helps and I kill most things easily enough with fire or firebolt. Some things are just too tough. Ice Wolves, for example. They just lay into me and I'm dead before I can do enough damage.

I had a hard time with a Draugr Dreadlord. He killed me and my buddy about a million times. Eventually I got my buddy out of there by paralysing the Dreadlord and then ran to the entrance. Luckily he started hacking on the ghost at the dungeon entrance and I killed him with fire from behind a statue while he did that.

Anyway I'm looking for tips to kite the enemy like in WOW, other ways to get the mobs off me while I regenerate mana etc. Basically I need another trick apart from "kill it with fire".

  • 4
    Just exploit the AI and have the enemy crash against a solid wall while you pelt it with magic damage. Commented Nov 20, 2011 at 17:46
  • Kill it with fire works fine for me. My sidekick Lydia tanks, while I run and blast firebolts.
    – Joren
    Commented Nov 20, 2011 at 22:26
  • @ sergio <3 the AI of this mobs defeat nahkiin thanks to this :D blocking her behind a wall and killing her with the firebreath shout :P
    – ronnie
    Commented Nov 21, 2011 at 9:17
  • @Joren not everyone are playing on easy... Commented Mar 4, 2012 at 18:29
  • @disponser: Yup, I play on Expert. Only real difficulty is the draugr that one hit kill your pathetic unarmored 100 hp, but you can basically stunlock them with dual cast firebolts/balls, and with a bit of luck your sidekick gets the aggro so you take no damage.
    – Joren
    Commented Mar 4, 2012 at 18:44

13 Answers 13


Keep moving. Sprint away, jump on a ledge, go behind pillars, chairs, tables. Let your magicka regenerate, turn around and do some more damage to the enemy, sprint away, and whittle em down.

Also try and use traps that are in the dungeon on enemies, not only will they inflict damage on you but others as well.

I recommend taking the horse carriage to the Mages College at Winterhold, so you can get some good magic gear and improved spells.

  • 6
    As an addendum to this, make sure you take Impact and Dual Casting, if you have both putting the same spell in both hands can allow you to take down foes with a volley of shots as they will stagger after a hit. This is done by activating both hands at the same time. You will know it worked as the hands will come together to fire one bigger spell.
    – Gary.S
    Commented Nov 20, 2011 at 19:14

How to play as pure mage - AKA Have you saved recently?

  • Learn which elements work against which foes (fire for undead, etc)

  • Dual-Casting, Dual-Casting, Dual-Casting

  • Impact

  • Wait, did I save?

  • Try to figure out if this battle best for staff damage or spell damage

    • If you need to level your mage skills, you'll have to use spells sometimes. Having a super staff is great but you're not going to improve Destruction primarily with a staff unless you one hand staff and one hand Firebolt, etc, so only use the Staff if you're unable to sustain your Magicka.
  • Favorites will save your life and lower your stress

    • I may use too many favorites but, if you ask me, the power to pause the game, collect your thoughts and grab the right spell at the right time is a god-send. Put most of your spells in favorites. It sounds counter-intuitive but you don't wanna chance getting an Autosave during a very bad moment while losing a boss-fight by bringing up the general menu and having the game save for you. While we're on the topic, multiple saves are a must as well.
  • Practice weaker abilities on weaker foes (mudcrabs, wolves, etc) and go with your best stuff in boss, arena-type situations

    • This will teach you how to point and shoot better and level up your skills. Have fun with it! Try to kill multiple fast-moving wolves with one low powered spell. This is a great way to improve your targeting skills (I'm on PS3 - keyboard + mouse IS cheating). Learn how much damage each spell can do. You're a mage. Learn your craft.
  • Use the real elements of magic

    • Tables, pillars, large rocks, bodies of water (you know, the elements!) are great for playing a friendly game of keep-away. Run around the table dropping frost runes or wall of frost and watch the baddies drop like flies. Use your favorite elements, of course.
  • Conjuration isn't my strong suit so I only use it to RAISE AN ARMY worthy of an Age of Empires tournament

    • Send in the army... one by one. Here's a zombie! Here's another one! And another! I could do this all day.
  • Did I save?

  • Spray low to get more AOE damage. Aim high to do more direct bodily damage

  • Also, one hand Healing and Destruction and stay with your enemy provided they can't one or two shot you.

  • Magicka to Health 4:1

    • Not so much a rule, but for me, every four times I do Magicka I definitely put one into Health. Even as High-elf I go through a lot of magicka. Magicka is your friend and magicka regen is your lover. Remember this.
  • This may not be the best method for you but I don't use helpers

    • If I can't conjure another one I will just wind up with another person to kill. Why? 'Cause I shoot spells all over the place and I don't care who gets burnt. Which usually pisses off my companions and they wind up turning on me. Plus this is about me and my magicka. Magicka is my side-kick.

This post was dedicated to my gf at the College of Winterhold, Faralda. Ugly as sin but she keeps me going. You archmages know what I'm talkin' 'bout.

  • 8
    I LOL'd at the "Did I save?"s. So many guys can one hit kill me, at which point I immediately ask "when did i last save?"
    – justinhj
    Commented Nov 24, 2011 at 17:50
  • 2
    "(I'm on PS3 - keyboard + mouse IS cheating)" I otta down vote you just for that silly comment :P
    – l I
    Commented Jan 11, 2012 at 3:08
  • 4
    This might be the funniest realistic answer I've read on this site yet. Bravo!
    – Ender
    Commented Feb 27, 2012 at 19:47
  • The failure of consoles to provide decent controls for first/third person shooters does not mean that PC users are cheating. Commented Nov 7, 2013 at 9:37

During battle, use all your options:

  • Before attacking, buff up. Get defensive spells going, quaff a potion that speeds up health/magicka regeneration.
  • Start with sneaking and land a poison arrow in their chest.
  • Immediately conjure something to hide behind
  • Attack the enemies, using magick, potions and shouts
  • When out of health/magicka, either use potions or retreat and hide for a bit.

As a mage, remember:

  • You are dependant on your spells. So don't forget to learn them!
  • Choose fire/frost/shock depending on the situation.
  • Most magical equipment will be better than armor for a mage.
  • When leveling, always choose magicka. Always.
  • 4
    Increasing Health is just as important as Magicka for a Mage. Commented Nov 20, 2011 at 19:05
  • 2
    Depends on how you play, my Mage character avoids (aka. runs away from) most damage while stunning opponents with dualcasting, thus the health is relatively unimportant while magicka is very important.
    – Elva
    Commented Nov 20, 2011 at 19:09
  • I can transform magicka into health. 10 magicka is worth more than 10 health, as I can use the magicka for other things than purely health.
    – Konerak
    Commented Nov 20, 2011 at 20:22
  • 5
    It's called Healing, I guess
    – Nicolas78
    Commented Nov 20, 2011 at 23:12
  • 1
    @justinhj One of the largest benefits comes in the form of movement speed. Being good at Magic requires a lot of investment of perks - and can make mastering armor use as well difficult. Add to this the increased drain on Stamina when you sprint (which is important for kiting, which is important as a Mage), and, well, until you reach 100 Enchanting, craft a bunch of potions, and buy a one-way-ticket to exploitsville, you're not going to improve on Robes. Especially robes like the Arch-Mage Robes. Commented Nov 22, 2011 at 23:59

Invest in the Impact perk, and Dual-Cast your apprentice-level Destruction bolt spells to "stagger-lock" the enemy.

  • 1
    In my option, this is the #1 way to make the game much easier as a mage.
    – Karew
    Commented Nov 21, 2011 at 3:52
  • @CoreyCsuhta and much cheesier.
    – kotekzot
    Commented Aug 16, 2012 at 20:11

First of all, like WoW, Skyrim has several Mage Trees so you have to decide what kind of mage you are going to focus on.

Destruction is the standard elementalist that destroys foes with fire/ice/lightning.

Conjuration is the same as WoW's Warlock, you capture souls and use summons to fight along side you.

Illusion is your crowd control which is used to manipulate your foes.

Personally I think you should focus on Destruction and Restoration in the beginning. Get Dual Casting and Augment spells early on and you will be extremely powerful. I would only augment Fire first then focus on Restoration. From that tree get Dual Casting and Mana Regeneration.

As a Mage, Mana Regen is critical to your survival. You will cast lots of damage spells and then pause while regenerating. If done correctly you shouldn't need potions unless there is an emergency. As for survival Heal and Fast Heal are your friend. Have your keys set to quickly change between a dual cast Firebolt and dual cast Heal or Fast Heal.

That being said you will expend a lot of mana this way. Thus you should stack only Magic for the first 30 levels. You don't need more than 100 HP because those enemies that can do more can one shot you anyway, thus it's a waste to stack HP. Instead plan on once you get hit instantly using Fast Heal to recover 75 HP. As you grow you can add 50 HP can thus it takes 2 Fast Heals (or one dual cast to fully heal)

As I've mentioned above REGEN and MAGICKA are key to survival. That being said your armor should consist of buffs which increase both. Right now at level 40 my mage uses the following:

Archmage Robe:  100% Magic Regen and +50 to magic
Morokei:  100% Magicka Regen
Savos Aren's Amulet: +50 magicka
Ring: +28 Magicka
Hands: +20 Magicka
Feet: +30 Stamina

As you can see I virtually have no armor (only 45 total with most being light armor) The upside is you kill everything very fast. The downside is you heal a lot and run to recover magic when necessary and sometimes get 1 shot.

Since then I've been levelling Light Armor and Heavy Armor to 80% and now my gear even in mage robes can take hits with no problem. I can stand there and get hit and barely take anything. Even with 5 enemies on me they barely hurt, then I Fast Heal and instantly are full again. This method plays like a Disc Priest and it virtually impossible to die. Even fighting dragons I can just stand there and heal through it then hit them back.


get the mobs off me while I regenerate mana

If you're a high elf, don't forget your daily racial ability to regenerate like mad for 1 full minute. Anything that can survive continuously dual casted lightning bolts for 1 minute should win.

Also - check out the calm spell. This lets you take enemies out of combat. You can separate them, or if you calm them all you can move away and enter hiding.

If you're imperial, don't forget your daily aoe calm ability.


Invest some time in practicing conjuring. The conjure familiar spell is very weak, but the flame atronach is much better. They provide a good meat shield and some damage.

I would suggest using a companion as well such as Lydia. As a mage you really need a little time to get set in the fight, having a summon (and eventually two) plus the companion really helps.


I read this in another post on a different board.

Buff or gear up this gear that reduces your Mana Cost for your go to magic school.
Example the Arch Mage robes give you -15% to all schools. So if your go to school in combat is Destruction add enchants or gear that increases the % until you get 100% reduced cost in that school. You will be casting spells from that school for free.

Sure you will be using mana for the other schools if you have to mix them in for heals and such, but for throwing out spells to take the mob down you can cast all day and still keep a full mana pool. And again the 100% mana regeneration on the Arch Mage robes will keep that pool fairly well sustained even though Combat Mana Regeneration is only 1-3% of normal mana regeneration.

  • 1
    Please add in the link to that post in the other forums or board. Commented Oct 20, 2012 at 10:36

Here are my suggestions:

  • Focus on schools for dealing damage. This pretty much leaves Destruction and Conjuration. Restoration for undead if you like, but the other two are your primary means of dealing death and damage to enemies.
  • Feel free to ignore Alteration in lieu of light or heavy armor. Although mage armor can become almost as powerful as regular armor and reach the armor cap, it's also very obnoxious to have to recast it periodically. I prefer light armor.
  • If you are going to utilize destruction magic end-game, you MUST have the impact perk. The fact is, destruction magic in vanilla Skyrim does very low damage at higher levels. But if you're smart and using % reduction in destruction cost equipment, you'll be able to cast them indefinitely. The impact perk will stagger the enemies while you're blasting them with repeated 0 cost fireballs.
  • Speaking of which - GET % REDUCTION IN SPELL COST ENCHANTMENTS. Enchanting is vital for a mage. Disenchant some of the apprentice robes you'll find - easiest place is at the College in Winterhold.
  • Alchemy is a perfectly viable alternative to restoration, and personally I find it more fun too.
  • Early on, have a follower to tank, but be ready to reload a save if they die. It can be pretty easy to accidentally hit them, especially with the novice destruction spells and with runes. But they'll usually rush into the room and give you a few seconds to set up some runes, cast some buffs, or do whatever else you want to do to increase your odds of survival.

The Draugr dreadlord is probably level 20 or so. (Check in console using getLevel) If you're level 6, then avoid if possible until you can take him on in a fairer fight. Remember, this is not the same as Oblivion, i.e. not all enemies are scaled to your level.

  • Cool. I finally beat this level last night at level 10 and it was challenging but possible.
    – justinhj
    Commented Nov 24, 2011 at 17:50

I'm a high-elf with virtually all level-up perks dedicated to MP production. First things first, get to 100 destruction, and learn how to kite. And whirlwind shout is your friend. Where I am in the game now, my flame atronach gets 1-2 shotted, but being a sneaky mage with master level destruction spells makes many things less intimidating. And carry a zillion MP potions, and MP regen rate + potions.


:D Having trouble with giants at lvl 3? Get dualcasting and frostbite. Backpedal and keep blasting it with frostbite. :D Get gold, LOTS of gold for early lvl! It can't hit you once! Just be sure to have a few magicka potions! (I have 160 hp, 100 magicka and stamina) (now I'm lvl 6) Remember, frost against melee, thunder against other mages, and fire on undead! >:D Be unstoppable!


First of all, don't waste a single level-up on magicka. Why? because you can enchant gear to have at least 2 schools completely free. There is no point whatsoever in putting points into magicka, as well as no point whatsoever in using cast-reduction perks.

If you plan on ever playing on master or legendary, you NEED to invest every level up with health. NO MATTER WHAT KIND OF CHARACTER U PICK!

Don't waste your time with mage armor either. It makes a million times more sense to just go for light or heavy armor, as they will eventually reach that 567 armor cap that mage armor will never achieve. Not to mention you don't have to cast anything either, it's just there permanently.

Destruction is an obvious must, but don't waste perks. Don't use anything that isn't fire. It's the cheapest magicka cost (before you get 100% cast reduction), it does the most damage especially with aspect of terror perk from illusion granting an extra 10 damage to all fire spells. Destruction is incredibly weak at higher levels anyway. There is virtually nothing that is immune to fire except atronachs, and there is only a few things that are resistant to fire. Not to mention fire has the best AOE spell in the game, fireball ( it's also virtually impossible to miss, I might add).

Illusion is your best friend, period. Sneak+ frenzy on a group is really awesome to just sit there at watch the enemies kill each other meanwhile your just picking up loot in the other room! Pacify is also really sweet if your in a tight spot, it's your "get out of jail free card". Every perk is useful (except the cost reduction ones)

Train in Alteration up to the point where you can have 3x magic resistant perks, or spam spells to level it up. Paralyze is overrated since illusion pretty much takes care of crowd control anyway.

Conjuration is a must as well. The atronachs are great against dragons or anything with magic, since you cast the one that is immune to the damage in question. Dremora Lords are overall the best because they dish out more damage than any other summon.

Some people swear by raised undead, but I find it impractical. First of all, you need a corpse, second of all, most aren't very impressive anyway, and there is no perk to raise the damage unlike the atronachs. With atronachs you simply cast them at will and there may be situations where there arent any corpses around.

Restoration is less useful past level 10. Alchemy is your friend, and is 10x more efficient and effective at healing yourself, especially since there is no magicka cost burden. I only train in restoration up to the point where I can get the perk that makes all spells better against undead

And don't forget, before you get 100% cost reduction from enchantments, pick a high elf, equip as much fortify magicka or reduce destruction or whatever as much as you can (equipment you find, quest rewards etc). I know it's hard in the beginning to resist the temptation to put points into magicka as you level up, but trust me, in the long run you will thank yourself when your playing on legendary and a Draugr Deathlord hits you once for over 200 damage. I put every level up into health, have the 567 armor cap, as well as 85% magic resistance (capped), and I STILL am defeated on legendary if I'm careless.

REMEMBER: the single most important thing you can do for ANY character build, is max out Alchemy, Enchanting, and Smithing. They are simply a must have, and they also compliment each other. Just don't use the fortify restoration potion glitch. I'm talking about doing trillions of damage with any weapon or having trillions of health. It will ruin any and all enjoyment.

  • 6
    This is an awful answer. There is some reasonable advice in there, but it's buried under piles of rant and steer manure. Consider cleaning it up so it meets minimum standards of respect for the reader? Otherwise it'll just get buried in downvotes and no-one will ever see it again. Commented Oct 4, 2013 at 3:18

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