I spent a great deal of time in my previous Skyrim Battlemage articles discussing the best routes to take when it came to creating the most effective sword-swinging-spellcaster. Since then, I’ve maxed out all the skills I think necessary, and everything I level up now is just gravy.
Only at level 59, I am by no means done with the leveling in Skyrim. However, for all intents and purposes, my battlemage build is as complete as it ever will be.
Here’s a breakdown of a couple of my choices, good and bad, in my battlemage build.
Keep one hand handy
One handed weapons are necessary for good battlemage play. No matter where you are in your journey across Skyrim, having that one hand free to heal, summon, throw fire, or flip off is essential. As both Restoration and One-Handed level up with direct use, your best bet in the early game is to summon something and switch to Healing. Hold down the cast button as you swing away. You’ll gain 10 HP per second, which at low levels will keep you alive.
When fighting larger foes, especially dragons, sometimes you need more range than a one handed weapon offers. Either you dual wield Destruction spells or equip a bow of some kind. Both methods use both hands, and short of a third-hand mod, your One Handed skill won’t be levelling that quickly. In such cases, remember that dragons tend to land for a short period, and that if there are NPCs around, the dragon might focus on them some as well. Maneuver in such a way that you’re at the dragons side and wail away.
Always remember that there is a favorites option built into Skyrim. Knowing the hotkey/button for its use is a godsend. Organized alphabetically, you’ll want to keep it as clutter free as possible. Keep your armor, weapons, dragon shouts, and your most used spells at the ready. You’ll probably have one or two Conjuration, Destruction, and Restoration spells in the menu at least. Since the game pauses while inside menus, take your time and choose carefully which spell is best for the situation. At the same time, remember how to get to your inventory quickly, as sometimes casting a healing spell isn’t as advantageous as just downing a few healing potions.
You need to be more enchanting, sweetheart
It seems obvious now, but when I first starting playing Skyrim, I didn’t give Enchanting the credit it deserved. As such, it wasn’t until late in my build that I began seriously levelling it. Take my mistake to heart and train Enchanting from the moment you have access to an Arcane Enchanter. You’ll create a lot of items that have no immediate use, and many of them are just easy ways to increase your gold supply. All of them serve to increase your rank in the Enchanting skill, and all of the perks in the Enchanting tree are useful no matter what level you are.
Soul Siphon is something of a hidden gem. Even though by game’s end you’ll have more soul gems that you know what to do with, it can grow tedious going through the menus to charge your weapon. The elemental and skill perks are useful if you know you’ll be dealing with a lot of a certain enemy type. Even Soul Squeezer is helpful, as it increases how much a gem charges a weapon by. The best perk is undoubtedly Extra Effect. You can create Artifact level items with this level 100 Enchanting perk, and when you combine armor and weapon abilities, make yourself almost invincible.
Alchemy is another skill I regret not developing, or even using. However, if you choose to get high on Enchanting potions and go to town, there’s every possibiliy that magic will never cost you anything ever again, you will take no damage from fire, cold, ice, and swords, you will cause things to spontaneously combust when you hit them, and you can fly.* As Enchanting levels up based on the strength of the enchantment you place on an item, such godly items will get you levelled quick.
Conjuring victory from the fires of defeat
In my initial Skyrim battlemage guide, I mentioned that the Destruction school was where to be early in the game. Many people in the comments corrected me, saying Conjuration was the powerful school. By that point in my explorations, Conjuration was barely good enough to summon weapons, let alone creatures. I had Fireball and its equivalents, and was beginning to see their point. Briefly, Destruction begins to to weaken significantly around levels 15-20.
Enemy HP and stats scale with your own, and since Destruction spells deal a fixed amount of damage, scaling isn’t in their purview. Conjuration, on the other hand, has several tiers of power, each appropriate for a distinct character level. If you want to be a deadly battlemage, I cannot stress the importance of starting on Conjuration early.
As a mage, your HP and defenses aren’t made to tank a lot of damage. Instead, your best bet is staying out of your enemy’s reach. Most humanoids have archers in their ranks, and at the higher levels, one arrow can do a ton of damage. Summoning creatures to deal with distant foes while you take care of the melee makes fights more about keeping summons alive than keeping your health up. Summoned creatures also act as replaceable meatshields, and if you need a couple minutes to let your heath regen, conjure a servitor and cower behind it.
Consistency is king
The most important lesson I’ve learned is also the most fundamental. I dabbled too much in the various skill trees. Levelling up grants a limited supply of perk tokens, and I spread myself too thin. Using my this guide and my previous ones, chart a course for yourself before you enter the wilds of Skyrim. If you know generally what your character will be able to do, you can still experiment without needing to sacrifice your combat effectiveness.
Be consistent with your unlocks. As awesome as a battle-thief-tank-mage is, Skyrim limits you enough that you can’t do absolutely everything. Building a battlemage already takes up two skill trees, you don’t need to waste time developing skills you’ll rarely use. Once you’ve completed done most of the quests and reached the maximum rank in the most important skills, by all means branch out. You’ll need to if you want to continue levelling up. But a battlemage is a battlemage.
He can kill things with fire.
P.S. If you want me to expand further, I can do that, going through skill trees and such, or my combat styles. Next time I’ll be talking about my favorite mods for PC Skyrim, and hopefully Pokemon and Minecraft. If needs be, I can interrupt the flow with expanded battlemage strategies.