Top 10 Skyrim Alteration Spells

Skyrim Alteration Spells

Let’s be honest; for most players alteration spells are the forgotten discipline. They lack the obvious offensive benefits in combat that the other disciplines have, and some of the spells are outshined magical items with the same ability. However, there are fun and useful spells in the alteration class that are handy when exploring as well as in combat. What’s more, some of the best spells in the class are actually not necessarily the highest skill level to learn. Read on to discover Nerds and Scoundrels Top Ten Skyrim Alteration Spells.

Top Ten Skyrim Alteration Spells

10. Candlelight

Skyrim Alteration Spells
Skill Level: Novice
Magicka Cost: 21

One of the first alteration spells you can learn is also one of the most useful. Candlelight creates a hovering light that will follow you for 60 seconds. The spell is excellent for exploring dark caves and looking for hidden features. The spell can also be used to catch the attention of enemies so that you can serve as a diversion. It can also be used outdoors at night to attract insects that can be farmed for alchemy ingredients.

9. Oakflesh

Skyrim Alteration Spells

Skill Level: Novice
Magicka: 103

The weakest of the mage armor spells, Oakflesh boosts your armor rating by 40 points for one minute. If you have the Marge Armor perk it can more than double the armor boost. Mage Armor rank 1 boosts your armor by 80 points, rank 2 boosts it by 100 points, and rank 3 increases by 120 points. These defensive spells can give your mage a sturdy tank without needing to carry armor.

8. Stoneflesh

Skyrim Alteration Spells

Skill Level: Apprentice
Magicka: 194

Similar to Oakflesh, Stoneflesh will give you a noticeable boost in armor rating compared to Oakflesh but at twice the cost of Magicka. Without perks, Stoneflesh increases your armor rating by 60 points for 60 seconds. The Mage Armor perk will increase that buff to 120, 150, or 180 points at ranks 1, 2, or 3 respectively.

7. Ebonyflesh

Skyrim Alteration Skills

Skill Level: Expert
Magicka: 341

The strongest of adaptation spells that increases your armor rating, Ebonyflesh is only surpassed by Dragon Hide when it comes to adaptation spells that increase your tank. The base buff for Ebonyflesh is an increase to your armor rating of 100 points for 60 seconds. That can go all the way up to 300 points with the Mage Armor perk at rank 3.

6. Mage Light

Skyrim Alteration Spells

Skill Level: Apprentice
Magicka Cost: 84

The clear successor to the skill Candlelight, Mage Light creates the same lighting effect that candlelight does. It has the same benefits and also lasts for 60 seconds. It can be used to light dark areas or attract insects for harvesting. The major difference between the two spells is that Mage Light does not follow the caster. Instead, you launch a ball of light at a static object or NPC. You can use these balls of light to mark your way back through tricky tunnels or remind yourself where a chest is. This can be quite the useful tool in the hands of a creative mage.

5. Detect Life

Skyrim Alteration Spells
Skill Level: Adept
Magicka: 100 per second

An excellent spell when you are exploring or are unsure if hostiles are nearby, Detect Life will show you exactly how many people are nearby. The spell will travel through nearby walls and will identify all creatures other than machines, undead, or daedra. The spell is effective to 100 feet outdoors as well as up to 200 feet indoors. At 100 Magicka per second, you will need to be judicious with your use of the spell.

4. Dragon Hide

Skyrim Alteration Spells

Skill Level: Master
Magicka Cost: 837

One of two Mastery level alteration spells, Dragon Hide is a defensive spell that operates differently than any of the Flesh spells described above. Instead of increasing the raw armor points you have, Dragon Hide resists incoming damage. Once cast, Dragon Hide reduces the total amount of damage you receive by 80% for 30 seconds. This spell can allow you to survive an incredible amount of incoming damage. The only reason it is not higher on the list is the inherent problem with Master level spells. Master level spells must be cast with two hands and the spells can be disrupted if you are hit mid-cast. This makes it very difficult to cast Dragon Hide in the midst of battle. One trick is to use the shout Become Ethereal. You cannot take or do damage while in ethereal form. However, you only break ethereal form when a spell is actually cast, meaning you can’t be disturbed while attempting to cast Dragon Hide.

3. Mass Paralysis

Skyrim Alteration Spells

Skill Level: Master
Magicka Cost: 937

The second Master level alteration spell, Mass Paralysis is the AOE version of the spell Paralyze (see below). The spell itself is incredibly powerful, especially when you are at risk of being overwhelmed by large numbers. The spell staggers and freezes all enemies within 40 feet of casting for 15 seconds. During that time they are defenseless, allowing you to even a numbers disadvantage or take out a much stronger opponent. The biggest problem with this spell is the same drawback Dragon Hide faces; namely that you must cast with two hands and casting can be interrupted when attacked. Like Dragon Hide, you can use Become Ethereal to avoid having your spell disrupted.

2. Transmute

Skyrim Alteration Spells
Skill Level: Adept
Magicka Cost: 100

A unique spell, Transmute allows you to transform common pieces of unrefined metal into precious metals. When cast, you will turn one piece of unrefined iron into silver. You can also transmute silver into one piece of unrefined gold. The advantage of this is obvious; you can quickly earn money by collecting these common metals, transmuting them into gold, and either selling them or crafting jewelry for even more profit.

1. Paralyze

Skyrim Alteration Spells
Skill Level: Expert
Magicka Cost: 450

Our favorite alteration spell in Skyrim is Paralyze. It is incredibly useful when battling a single large enemy that is stronger than you. When cast, Paralyze will freeze one enemy for 10 seconds. It will also stagger that enemy. This spell works on most creatures in the game other than dragons. It is an excellent equalizer that allows you to fight well above your size.

Nerds and Scoundrels

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Travis Scoundrel

A life long gamer, Travis spends his time writing about and playing games when he's not suing people or hanging out with his family.

Travis Scoundrel
About Travis Scoundrel 348 Articles
A life long gamer, Travis spends his time writing about and playing games when he's not suing people or hanging out with his family.