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.
Destruction is divided in three types of damage: Fire, Frost and Shock. Each has its own characteristics, costs and effects, as listed below.
FireFire 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 his/her companions) standing in or passing through burning oil will take fire damage.
FrostFrost spells consume an average amount of Magicka, but its spells travel at a slower velocity compared to 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.
ShockShock 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.
- A Hypothetical Treachery
- The Horror of Castle Xyr
- Mystery of Talara, v3
- Response to Bero's Speech
- The Art of War Magic
- Oghma Infinium raises Destruction, and all other magically based skills, by 5 increments when the "Path of Magic" is taken.
The following miscellaneous quests increases the Destruction Skill:
- Find Pantea's Flute for Pantea Ateia in the Bards College in Solitude. This also increases Alteration, Enchanting, Conjuration, Restoration, and Illusion.
- After completing Shalidor's Insights for Urag gro-Shub at the College of Winterhold, he may increase the Destruction skill instead of offering scrolls when the manuscripts have been translated.
The following is a complete list of Destruction spells:
|Rank||Spell Name||Description||Magicka Base Cost|
(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)|
(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|
(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|
(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|
(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.
The following are Destruction spells that the character can start with if the correct race is selected:
- 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.
- Sparks spell is unlocked for Dark Elves at the start of the game. There is a spell tome for Sparks in a cell with a mage within the prison of Helgen.
|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, 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, 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, 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|
- Wuunferth the Unliving (Adept): Palace of the Kings, Windhelm
- Sybille Stentor (Expert): Blue Palace, Solitude
- Faralda (Master): The College of Winterhold
- 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 Dremora Lord and attack him with any spell you like. He won't turn hostile. You need 100 in conjuration to use this, but conjuration is rather easy to level.
- Conjurea 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.
- Repeatedly jumping up and down on a forge causes fire damage, allowing Destruction to level up. Casting healing magic to regain the health lost also raises Restoration. Patch v1.4 corrected this exploit.
Destruction is perhaps the most attractive school of magic to the aspiring mage (after all, it is the only school that focuses on direct damage, and what self-respecting mage wouldn't be tempted by the prospect of freezing, incinerating, and electrocuting everything in their path?) However, there are a number of limitations to Destruction magic: For starters, it is probably the hardest school of magic to level quickly. Thus, in the early game, magically inclined players would be wise to focus on other schools (Alteration and Illusion, for instance) to level up quickly. Furthermore, unlike Combat skills, the damage of Destruction spells is unaffected by level. Thus, the only way to increase the damage of your spells is by taking the Augmented Flames, Frost and Shock perks, using Fortify Destruction potions, or by equipping certain pieces of unique gear. For this reason, while Destruction spells may work very effectively in the early-to-mid game, once your character reaches a high level, you may find even the most powerful Destruction spells dealing only moderate damage to leveled enemies. Additionally, it is important to know what enemies are vulnerable or resistant to the various elemental types. For instance, the majority of enemies you encounter in Skyrim have some form of Frost resistance. This includes Nords, Draugr, Vampires, Falmer, and Dwarven Automatons. In contrast, no enemy type has an innate resistance to Shock Damage (excepting Bretons with their 25% magic resistance), and only a few have a resistance to fire (Dunmer, Fire Dragons, etc.) All in all, at higher levels, Destruction magic is most effective when utilized in conjunction with either other schools of magic (Illusion to control the battlefield, Conjuration to provide distractions) or melee combat.
|Arniel's Convection • Blizzard • Chain Lightning • Fire Storm • Fireball • Firebolt • Fire Rune • Flame Cloak • Flames • Frost Cloak • Frostbite • Frost Rune • Ice Spike • Ice Storm • Incinerate • Icy Spear • Lightning Bolt • Lightning Cloak • Lightning Rune • Lightning Storm • Sparks • Thunderbolt • Wall of Flames • Wall of Frost • Wall of Storms • Vampiric Drain|
|Schools of Magic|
|Alteration • Conjuration • Destruction • Illusion • Restoration|
|Destruction Ritual Spell • Magicka • Perks • Magic • The College of Winterhold • Destruction trainers • Runes • Disintegrate|
|Skills in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim|
|The Mage||Alteration · Conjuration · Destruction · Enchanting · Illusion · Restoration|
|The Thief||Alchemy · Light Armor · Lockpicking · Pickpocket · Sneak · Speech|
|The Warrior||Archery · Block · Heavy Armor · One-Handed · Smithing · Two-Handed|