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Destruction (Skyrim)

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SkillDestruction
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"The School of Destruction involves the harnessing the energies of fire, frost and shock. This skill makes it easier to cast spells like Fireball, Ice Spike, and Lightning Bolt."
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Destruction is a skill in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, and is one of the skills that falls under The Mage play-style. Destruction skill is raised by casting Destruction spells and wounding/killing enemies with them. These spells identify themselves as coming from the Destruction school, because their tomes depict an open palm, circled in fire. Destruction spells serve as the main offensive for mages, as it is the only spell school to cause direct damage. (Multiple Conjuration spells cause damage, such as Bound Sword, but the damage is not technically caused by the use of the spell directly.)

Since custom spell creation no longer exists, destruction spells, and other spells must be learned by reading spell tomes found in various dungeons and purchased from various characters. Notably, Faralda of the College of Winterhold is the master of Destruction and sells the bulk of Destruction spell tomes.

Branches

Destruction is divided in three types of damage: Fire, Frost and Shock. Each has its own characteristics, costs and effects, as listed below.

Fire

MAGINVFireballArt
Fire spells consume the least amount of magicka of the three types of Destruction spells. Fire spells travel at an average velocity and inflict damage on contact as well as over time. Most fire spells inflict a "burn" effect on enemies, which boosts damage from other weapons. Dark Elves are 50% resistant to this kind of spell, which can be helpful in fighting fire-breathing dragons. Fire spells also boil small amounts of water when cast at them. A good place to try are the small waterways all around Whiterun.
Fire spells can also ignite oil that is sometimes found spilled on the floor of dungeons, crypts, etc. Creatures (including the player and their companions) standing in or passing through burning oil will take fire damage.

Frost

MAGINVIceSpellArt
Frost spells consume an average amount of Magicka, but they travel at a slower velocity than shock spells. Frost spells slow the target's movement, while dealing damage to health and stamina. Nords are 50% resistant to this kind of spell, which can be an advantage when fighting frost-breathing dragons. Also, vampires resist between 25% and 100% (20% and 50% in Dawnguard) of frost damage, depending on the stage of vampirism.

Shock

MAGINVShockSpellArt
Shock spells consume the most Magicka of the three types of Destruction spells, but its spell velocity is instant. Shock spell damage drains health and magicka, making it a choice against mages. Altmer may benefit more from using this kind of magic, as they have a Magicka recovery-boosting ability called Highborn. Only Bretons, with a 25% resistance to all magic, have an innate resistance to shock spell damage.

Books and quests

The following is a list of books that raise the Destruction skill. Specific locations can be found on each, individual book page.

The following miscellaneous quests increases the Destruction Skill:

Spells

The following is a complete list of Destruction spells:

Rank Spell Name Description Magicka Base Cost
Novice
(Skill level 0)
Flames A gout of fire inflicting a base damage of 8 points of fire damage per second. Targets on fire take extra damage. One of the two basic spells. 14 per second
Frostbite A blast of cold inflicting a base damage of 8 points of frost damage per second to Health and Stamina. 16 per second
Sparks Lightning which inflicts a base damage of 8 points of shock damage per second to Health and Magicka. 19 per second
Arniel's Convection Burns the target 1 point per second. Targets on fire take extra damage. 0 per second
Vampiric Drain Absorb 2, 3, 4 or 5 points (depends upon the level of vampirism) of health from the target. 6, 10, 13 or 17 per second (depends upon the level of vampirism)
Apprentice
(Skill level 25)
Firebolt A bolt of fire that inflicts 25 points of fire damage. Targets on fire take extra damage. 41
Freeze DB A spike of ice that does 20 points of frost damage to Health and Stamina and slows the target for 15 seconds. 30
Ice Spike A spike of ice that inflicts 25 points of ice damage to Health and Stamina. 48
Ignite DB A blast of flame that sets targets of fire, doing 4 damage per second for 15 seconds. 30
Lightning Bolt A bolt of lightning that inflicts 25 points of shock damage to Health and half as much to Magicka. 51
Fire Rune Cast on a nearby surface, it explodes for 50 points of damage when enemies come near. Affected targets take extra damage. 234
Frost Rune Cast on a nearby surface, it explodes for 50 points of damage to Health and Stamina when enemies come near. Movement speed is reduced for affected targets. 293
Lightning Rune Cast on a nearby surface, it explodes for 50 points of damage to Health and half as much to Magicka when enemies come near. 323
Adept
(Skill level 50)
Chain Lightning A lighting bolt inflicting 40 points of damage to Health and half as much to Magicka, then leaps to a new target. If the character has learned Augmented Shock 2/2, the lightning jumps on one additional target and does 60 damage. Caution! Friendly-fire is possible. 156
Fireball A fireball which explodes on impact for 40 points of damage in a 15 foot radius. Targets on fire take extra damage. If the character has learned Augmented Flames 2/2, the radius of the fire explosion is increased by 5 and damage increases to 60 points. Does harm Followers, but not Dragonborn. 133
Ice Storm A freezing whirlwind that does 40 points of damage per second to Health and Stamina. The whirlwind radius is increased if the character has Augmented Frost 2/2. Spell range is smaller if cast with Destruction Dual Casting. Does harm Followers, but not Dragonborn. 144
Flame Cloak For 60 seconds, opponents in melee range take 8 points of damage per second. Targets on fire take extra damage. Does not harm Followers. Does harm neutral NPCs like town guards. 289
Frost Cloak For 60 seconds, opponents in melee range take 8 points of damage per second to Health and Stamina. Does not harm Followers. Does harm neutral NPCs like town guards. 316
Lightning Cloak For 60 seconds, nearby opponents take 8 points of damage per second to Health and half as much to Magicka. Does not harm Followers. Does harm neutral NPCs like town guards. 370
Whirlwind Cloak DB For 60 seconds, opponents in melee range have a chance of being flung away. 338
Expert
(Skill level 75)
Icy Spear A spear of ice that does 60 (90) points of frost damage to Health and Stamina. 320
Incinerate A blast of fire that does 60 (90) points of fire damage. Targets on fire take extra damage. 298
Thunderbolt A thunderbolt that does 60 (90) points of shock damage to Health and half that to Magicka. 343
Wall of Flames Sprayed on the ground, it creates a wall of fire that does 50 points of fire damage per second. Does not harm Followers or Dragonborn. 118 per second
Wall of Frost Sprayed on the ground, it creates a wall of frost that does 50 points of frost damage per second. Does not harm Followers or Dragonborn. 137 per second
Wall of Storms Sprayed on the ground it creates a wall of lightning that does 50 points of shock damage per second. Does not harm Followers or Dragonborn. 145 per second
Master
(Skill level 100)
Blizzard Creates a blizzard that surrounds the caster. Targets take 20 point of frost damage every second for 10 seconds, plus stamina damage. 656
Fire Storm A 100 point fiery explosion centered on the caster. The closer a target is, the more damage they take. 846
Lightning Storm Fires a continuous stream of lightning. Target takes 75 points of shock damage per second to Health, and half that to Magicka. 138 per second

Master spells can't be purchased initially. To unlock Master Destruction spells, the Destruction Ritual Spell quest must be completed upon reaching level 100 Destruction.

Starting spells

The following are Destruction spells that the character can start with if the correct race is selected:

  • The Flames spell is unlocked for all races at the start of the game. It is unknown why there is a spell tome for this spell.
  • The Sparks spell is unlocked for Dark Elves at the start of the game.

Perks

Destruction-skill-tree
The following are the perks that become available to select as the skill is leveled up. 17 Perk points are required to max out the tree.

Perk (Ranks) Requirements Description
Novice Destruction None Cast Novice level Destruction spells for half magicka
Destruction Dual Casting Destruction 20, Novice Destruction Dual casting a Destruction spell overcharges the effects into an even more powerful version
Apprentice Destruction Destruction 25, Novice Destruction Cast Apprentice level Destruction spells for half magicka
Augmented Flames (2) Destruction 30/60, Novice Destruction Fire spells do 25% more damage (50% for second rank) (Affects all fire weapon enchantments, not just self-enchanted ones.)
Augmented Frost (2) Destruction 30/60, Novice Destruction Frost spells do 25% more damage (50% for second rank) (Affects all frost weapon enchantments, not just self-enchanted ones.)
Augmented Shock (2) Destruction 30/60, Novice Destruction Shock spells do 25% more damage (50% for second rank) (Affects all shock weapon enchantments, not just self-enchanted ones.)
Impact Destruction 40, Destruction Dual Casting Most destruction spells will stagger an opponent when dual cast
Rune Master Destruction 40, Apprentice Destruction Can place runes five times farther away
Adept Destruction Destruction 50, Apprentice Destruction Cast Adept level Destruction spells for half magicka
Intense Flames Destruction 50, Augmented Flames Fire damage causes targets to flee if their health is low
Deep Freeze Destruction 60, Augmented Frost Frost damage paralyzes targets if their health is low
Disintegrate Destruction 70, Augmented Shock Shock damage disintegrates targets if their health is low
Expert Destruction Destruction 75, Adept Destruction Cast Expert level Destruction spells for half magicka
Master Destruction Destruction 100, Expert Destruction Cast Master level Destruction spells for half magicka

Training

Leveling

  • Wearing four items with 25% reduction to the cost of Destruction spells completely negates the magicka cost, allowing the casting of several spells infinitely. In this sense, it also means there is less of a purpose in taking the Adept, Expert, or Master Destruction perks, allowing the Dragonborn to spend perks on other skills.
  • Using Magic Runes can level Destruction quickly because they deal more damage per second. If using these on a non-hostile character, however, they must be set off by the caster using another Destruction spell or the Unrelenting Force shout.
  • Conjure a Frost Atronach and blast it with a fire spell or Conjure a Flame Atronach and blast it with ice. These creations explode upon death. Because Frost Atronachs are too large to fit through certain doorways, they can get stuck, leaving them vulnerable to incoming assaults. Alternatively, after damaging the atronach, use healing spells from the Restoration school to level a third spell type all in one session.
  • Using the Flames and Healing Hands method on essential characters can be used to level Destruction, Restoration, and Heavy Armor or Light Armor simultaneously.
  • Master destruction spells are a good and fast way to level up again after getting the Destruction skill promoted to Legendary, granting an increase from 2 to 3 levels per spell casting.
  • Destruction can be increased and leveled up by jumping in blacksmith forges with no spell casting at all.
  • It can be quickly leveled up if the Dragonborn has access to the Flame Thrall spell and the Blizzard spell. Simply conjure a Flame Thrall and continuously cast Blizzard. The thrall will be recognized as a target, thus granting experience to the Dragonborn. The damage dealt with Blizzard against allies is low enough where the thralls will not become hostile.
  • Another way to level up quickly is to dual-cast a cloak spell(longer range) and single-cast the highest level spell you have. This way you are dealing damage twice as fast, damage per second with the cloak, and impact damage with the other.


Start a Discussion Discussions about Destruction (Skyrim)

  • Frost is Useless

    5 messages
    • I use frost all the time and I will say it is useful. I was able to take out a entire bandit camp using frost cloak and no other spells. 
    • while they do resist the damage from frost they  still slow down a lot and lose stamina, it's not the most damaging element, but it is still v...
  • Training with Giants.

    • You can use giants as very effective method of training. Go to the watchtower outside of Whiterun (the one where you fight your first drago...
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