All-around Mage build?

#1brygoPosted 4/14/2013 1:59:16 AM
I'm currently playing my first mage and I want to use a little bit of every spell in the game effectively. Where should I put my stats and perks? I don't have any of the DLC and I'm on the latest patch, if that matters.
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#2SparklelordPosted 4/14/2013 2:23:09 AM
*inhales*

By all around, I assume you mean only magic, no armor, etc?
Most of that is just trial and error, but Destruction is seemingly lacking if you don't know the tricks to it.

I'll only mention destruction for brevity. Ask if you need specific advice on the other trees.
Also ask about hotkeys if you don't know.

Take these perks.
http://skyrimcalculator.com/284815

Fire is the main attack spell type, and should be used almost specifically. Its cheaper and does 10% more damage than the other trees. Did you notice the Illusion perks? The Aspect of terror perk increases fire spell damage by 10-15 points. Dragons who breathe fire resist fire spells by 50%. Ice breathing dragons are 25% weaker to fire.

Frost slows enemies down for 3 seconds. It also does stamina damage, preventing stamina attacks.
Unfortunately most enemies like Nords, Falmer, dwemer machines and Undead resist or are flat out immune to frost. It makes a good companion to fire early on because it does +25% damage to fire dragons. In addition it causes dragons to land and sit around exhausted after it drains their stamina. The Icy storm spell goes through walls making a neat assassination tool if you take the silent casting perk on the Illusion tree. The Master ice spell Blizzard is glitched doing reduced damage based on your frost resistance.

Last is shock. Its meh. Only one enemy specifically resists it, the rare storm atronachs, but its too costly to use early on. It travels immediately making it useful for dragons, and even better lowers their magicka preventing them from shouting and breathing fire/ice at you. The disintegration perk is useful because it 0hkos enemies with less than 10% health. Any enemy. Best used on shock cloak or against a dragon.

The Flames/ Frostbite/ spark concentration spells do more damage cast with short bursts.
Rune spells are only useful for leveling up quicker. Projectiles stagger when dual casted, and wall spells act like concentration spells, doing more damage in sort bursts but also leave a mildly damaging "wall" behind.

Take alchemy for Fortify Destruction potions and enchanting for lower costs armor enchantments provide.
With all the useful cost perks and 50% reduction, you can get away with only 500 magicka. Sooo put at least half in health.
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#3Orpheus_DemigodPosted 4/14/2013 2:45:44 AM
I've been really enjoying my pure mage play through lately. I'm only on about lvl 20 or so but it's been going well so ill outline my choices.

I've been using all schools of magic equally, using a high elf and taking magic/health in a 3:1 ratio. This has kept me from running out of magicka often. I haven't done any enchanting, just using what I buy or win from quests/loot which has been more fun for me. Ive been using alchemy for the first time though and it's a really useful tool to have for the harder fights.

I haven't been using dual cast or impact. It's really helped with not running out of magicka and you learn to rely on illusion/conjuration/turn undead for keeping enemies from getting too close.

Another thing I really wanted to get into was using wards properly, so I took the apprentice stone. It really makes a difference when your magicka regens faster and the weakness to magic means if I don't use wards, I die. So as you can imagine my restoration is levelling up just as fast as the other schools.

Lastly don't forget to have a good destruction staff handy. You won't always have enough magicka to fry everyone and I find switching to a staff is really useful to help conserve magicka.
#4brygo(Topic Creator)Posted 4/14/2013 2:52:47 AM
Thanks for the very detailed reply, it's just what I needed!

Instead of me asking about specific schools, what other spells are worth using to compliment this playstyle? Should I put all points to magicka for now and branch out to health later in the game? And yes, I do mean no-armor and strictly mage skills.
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XBL GT: BorgyWorgy
#5brygo(Topic Creator)Posted 4/14/2013 3:03:48 AM
Sorry, for some reason I missed reading the part about magicka and health. Anyway, thanks to both of you! I have been mainly dual casting spells but it seems short bursts are better. I also do need to practice warding since I have been having a difficult time fighting mages.
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XBL GT: BorgyWorgy
#6HoonDingPosted 4/14/2013 3:13:46 AM
The cool thing about magic is that you've got all kinds of tools for any situation. The best mages don't focus on just one or two schools of magic; in fact, I strongly advise against that.

The traditional pure mage builds in Skyrim don't use any form of armor; instead, they use flesh spells in conjunction with the Mage Armor perk (Alteration magic), which up to triples their effectiveness while unarmored. If you ever find yourself in a fight, it's important to pop one of these off beforehand, so that you don't get killed immediately.

Of course, if you're going unarmored, you ought to consider being a bit more cautious about entering a fight. No armor means you move faster, and more quietly; consider investing some perks into stealth, to take better advantage of this. If you take the stealthy approach, you've got some important friends to make: Detect Life (Alteration) will help you see your enemies before they see you, and Rune spells in the Destruction tree are handy tools for laying some hurt on them without directly engaging them. Admittedly, Rune spells become less useful as your enemies grow stronger, but there's no harm in using them when they are useful. Illusion is an essential skill for stealthy mages; the Quiet Casting perk applies to all spells of every school of magic, and even most shouts! Dual-casting Illusion spells doubles their effective level, which means you can control some powerful opponents.

Now, when you're actually in the glory of battle, you've got even more options. Destruction requires a bit more savvy than melee skills, but you can get plenty of mileage out of it. If you're hurting for perks, you don't need to invest in all of the Augmented Element perks. Fire spells are generally the best choice, since there are plenty of enemies that are weak to it, and it has a burning after effect that does 10% more damage. That said, Shock spells aren't resisted by anything other than Storm Atronachs, their magicka drain is useful against dragons and enemy mages, and the Disintegrate perk essentially means all enemies have 15% less health. Frost magic is pretty good, at least when your enemy doesn't resist it; like Sparklelord said, the (minor) slow effect and stamina drain is handy against melee opponents, and fire-breathing dragons are hit extra hard. I have to give credit to the Deep Freeze perk, though; being Paralyzed at health that low is functionally the same thing as being disintegrated, although you'll have to pay the extra magicka to finish the job and kill them.

Don't forget to use all of the Destruction spells at your disposal, though. The Cloak spells and the Wall spells are really useful for adding a layer of passive damage. The adept level spells (Ice Storm, Fireball, and Chain Lightning) can hurt multiple enemies at once, so they're still efficient once you get the Expert level spells. Hint: The Slow Time shout makes Cloak and Wall spells, and Ice Storm, even more effective because of how they work. I'd strongly advise you to focus your cost reduction enchantments on the Destruction school; when you're using it a lot, it's the one you want to keep using.

Restoration is a perfectly valid school of magic. Healing spells are useful for obvious reasons, so I'll talk about the *other* spells in this school. Wards are sadly underrated; they're incredibly handy for blocking Dragon breath, and with the Ward Absorb perk, they can even be used to replenish your magicka pool. A useful trait, indeed. Turn Undead is great for crowd control in Draugr ruins, and it's also a handy way to level up the Restoration skill. I'd honestly recommend most of the perks in Restoration, save for Master Restoration, Respite, and Restoration Dual-Casting.
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#7SparklelordPosted 4/14/2013 3:14:25 AM
brygo posted...
Thanks for the very detailed reply, it's just what I needed!

Instead of me asking about specific schools, what other spells are worth using to compliment this playstyle? Should I put all points to magicka for now and branch out to health later in the game? And yes, I do mean no-armor and strictly mage skills.


Well....Magicka should go all in (point-wise) until you hit 250, then I usually split it with health.

Flesh spells make a good hotkey. Open up the favorites menu and press left or right on the control pad to assign a hotkey. Hot keyed spells are equipped to the left hand when pressed once and to the right for dual casting if pressed twice.

Wards are nifty since they block all magic damage until they break. One caveat, wards are affected by your resistances so they can become an almost perfect aegis to dragon breath with decent magic and/or fire and frost resistances.

The Necromage perk on restoration makes undead foes a joke. Forgot to mention it before, but in increases damage (and adds to level effectiveness) 25% from a destruction spells' damage and increases effect duration (like fire spells fire effect or paralysis ) by 20% in length.

The repel undead spells stagger all undead enemies. Always.

Dremora Lords are affected by Atromancy on the conjuration tree and resist 50% of fire damage making them a good conjuration for a mage (although you need about 70 conjuration for them to appear in stores). Just use fire and ice atronachs until then.

Fuuuu, what else.....

-Fury/ Frenzy are useful. Calm too, though become ethereal is better in a tight spot.
-Staff of Chain Lightning staggers. Always. That's pretty cool.
-Become Ethereal and Slow time should be the shouts you use. For defence and offence respectively.
-Elseweyr fondue covers magics one glaring flaw, the inability to regenerate magicka when casting a spell. Very nice for long fight.
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#8Orpheus_DemigodPosted 4/14/2013 3:20:12 AM
brygo posted...
Thanks for the very detailed reply, it's just what I needed!

Instead of me asking about specific schools, what other spells are worth using to compliment this playstyle? Should I put all points to magicka for now and branch out to health later in the game? And yes, I do mean no-armor and strictly mage skills.


Don't know if you're asking me or SparkleLord but I find the fear spell in the illusion school to be more effective than frenzy, as often an enemy I cast it on will still rather attack me than his allies. With fear an attacking enemy will flee and hide but you can continue to attack them without them hitting back.

I use atronachs for conjuring, the fact that fire and storm atronachs have ranged attacks is useful. Fost atronachs are great tanks.

I use all elements of destruction. Ice for melee attackers (bandits etc) fire for undead and lightning for magic users. I find them all useful. Runes IMO use too much magicka to cast until higher levels. Cloaks aren't ideal as the enemy has to be close to be effected, which is something you'll be trying to avoid. I'm undecided if the wall spells will be useful to me yet. Experiment and see if you like them.

In resto I use wards, turn undead and healing frequently, all spells and perks are good here. Except maybe respite, if you're not swinging any weapons at all it's not terribly useful. Amazing perk of you're a battlemage though.

Use the flesh spells in alteration if you're likely to be hit. Definitely cast them if there are enemy archers.

I'd say just use the 3:1 ratio of magicka to health from the get go. If you are not a high elf or you're feeling like you need more magicka maybe go 4:1 for a bit.

As a final tip, I tend to use fear/turn undead to make sure there isn't more than one or two enemies attacking me at once. If there are several enemies ill summon an atronach and cast fear/turn undead on whoever gets too close.
#9HoonDingPosted 4/14/2013 3:25:28 AM
I want to keep talking.

I don't use Conjuration much, so someone else can sing you it's praises. In the very least, if you're going with Atronachs, use Atronachs that match the element of destruction you're using. Don't have to worry about friendly fire.

I will sing the praises of staves, though! Destruction staves are a great way to reserve on magicka, and you can get some really good ones from fighting Dragon Priests. But the real bread and butter are the summoning staves; they're what I use instead of Conjuration, and they're almost just as effective! In addition, they don't have any limited range, like normal Conjuration spells do. I was using the Sanguine Rose to rain Dremora Lordy doom upon some Forsworn, hundreds of yards away! Get yourself a Staff of Summon Storm Atronach, or Sanguine Rose, and have a ball, man.

Spell absorption is something to consider. It's really useful, for both defense, and restoring magicka. The only downside is that it's glitched, and whatever chance you have to absorb enemy magic is the same chance you have to absorb your own Conjuration spells, which is frustrating to say the least. On the flipside, Spell Absorption + Guardian Circle = Amazing Circle of Constantly Restoring Magicka. You lose out on the Restore Health effects of Guardian Circle if this happens, though.

Oh, and shields don't negate the Mage Armor perk, so you can use them however you like. Spellshields are actually a rather fun build, in my opinion. The Ward Absorb perk works with Spellbreaker, too! A word of warning, though, if you go get Spellbreaker: The Afflicted are magic resisting Bretons, and Orchendor is outright immune to your destruction magic. Have a contingency plan.
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#10Orpheus_DemigodPosted 4/14/2013 3:30:43 AM
Sparklelord posted...

-Staff of Chain Lightning staggers. Always. That's pretty cool.
-Elseweyr fondue covers magics one glaring flaw, the inability to regenerate magicka when casting a spell. Very nice for long fight.


I didn't know these two things, that's pretty awesome. Also, does anyone else find that when playing a pure mage it's actually more enjoyable to play on adept? I usually play on expert or sometimes master but I feel for a pure mage adept feels like the balance is just right. It could be that I avoid using followers and haven't used enchanting this time round as well but I'm finding that up to lvl 20ish the balance has been pretty much spot on.