Combat is pretty consistent in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Different builds have their strengths and weaknesses, but pretty much everyone can agree that the most diverse and adaptable playstyle is a magic build. Each type of magic holds a special niche, with spells focused on healing, summoning, defense, or attack.

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The most consistent damage-dealing spells in the game belong to the Destruction school of magic. While some mods add a plethora of new spells to the game, the base game has enough spells for any playstyle. Each element has its place, with fire dealing extra damage over time, frost draining stamina, and shock destroying enemy Magicka. However, contrary to popular belief, the most powerful spells of the Destruction school aren’t all higher mastery levels, and some of the most useful ones can be cast right out of the gate.

Updated July 24, 2021 by Erik Petrovich: The Destruction skill tree and its associated spells are perhaps the most direct method of taking down enemies as a mage in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. The Elder Scrolls series is known for encouraging players to try a little bit of everything in their games and don't lock players into one specific role. In Skyrim, it's perfectly feasible to take on Destruction as a secondary skill to complement a different build. Some of the most fun Destruction spells come from the Community, though, available through the in-game official Creator Club. What are the best Destruction spells in Skyrim?

12 Mara's Wrath – Turn Undead, Set Them Ablaze

Skyrim Destruction Spells Maras Wrath
  • Requirements: Expert Destruction magic unlocked, Arcane Accessories Creation Club kit downloaded
  • Cost: 329 Magicka
  • Effect: Deals Flame damage in melee range, turns undead, and grants immunity to freezing water

One of the most powerful spells given to players via the Bethesda Creation Club is Mara's Wrath. It deals 16 Fire damage to melee opponents, forces the Undead to run for 30 seconds, and allows the player to swim care-free in normally damaging water.

It's an Expert-level Destruction spell that can quickly change the tide of an overwhelming battle, especially if the mage is surrounded by draugr or skeletons. The Arcane Accessories Creation Club kit is priced at 100 CC credits, though, so be sure to stock up and install this pack before starting up the game.


11 Touch of Death – Your Health Is Mine, Now

Skyrim Destruction Spells Touch of Death
  • Requirements: Expert Destruction magic unlocked, Arcane Accessories Creation Club kit downloaded
  • Cost: 316 Magicka
  • Effect: Steals 40 health per second for 4 seconds (160 total health absorbed)

Similar to the Mara's Wrath spell, the Touch of Death spell is only accessible through the Arcane Accessories Creation Club pack, which costs 100 CC credits. Touch of Death is a close-to-mid-range spell that turns enemy health into personal healing.

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It's an expert-level spell, so be prepared to spend a lot of time developing the Destruction tree before picking this up. It's the most powerful absorb-type spell available in Skyrim, though, and well worth a try for any Destruction mage looking to expand their survivability.

10 Ignite – Low Tier, But Effective

Ignite Skyrim
  • Requirements:  Apprentice Destruction magic unlocked
  • Cost: 30 Magicka
  • Effect: Sets target on fire for 4 damage per second over 15 seconds (60 damage)

The over-time damage from fire is one of the most consistent forms of damage in Skyrim. For a low cost, the ignite spell sends out a blast of flame to set targets on fire. With a one-time cost of 30 Magicka, this spell pays dividends as you can set enemies ablaze and then switch to other better spells for big damage while the fire does its work.

Overall, this spell isn’t the most powerful in a Destruction mage's spellbook, but it's a useful tool for any enterprising practitioner.

9 Flames – A Mage's First Taste of Fire

Skyrim Destruction Spells Flames
  • Requirements: None
  • Cost: 14 Magicka per second (channeled)
  • Effect: Sets target on fire, deals additional 8 damage per second while casting

Flames is the first spell any Destruction mage has and should be using. With solid damage and the ability to set enemies on fire to deal increasing damage over time, this is the Destruction spells any early player should be using. It’s very useful for crowds of enemies at higher levels as well, as the spell functions through concentration.

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Holding down the cast with one hand creates a steady stream of flames to pour over unsuspecting melee enemies, whittling away their health and sending them to Sovngarde.

8 Whirlwind Cloak – A Powerful Crowd Control Ward

skyrim ghostly aura spell effect
  • Requirements: Adept Destruction magic unlocked
  • Cost: 338 Magicka
  • Effect: Chance to launch nearby enemies away for one minute

This spell is a little out there and not always the best, but in a bad situation, it certainly doesn’t hurt. For 60 seconds, the Dragonborn is surrounded by a cloak of wind that occasionally hurls enemies away.

When surrounded by powerful enemies that quickly drain the Dragonborn's health, this spell can buy the player some precious time to charge up a new spell or focus on individual enemies, rather than one large crowd. Talk about magic armor!

7 Flame Cloak – A Powerful Damaging Ward

Flame Cloak Skyrim
  • Requirements: Adept Destruction magic unlocked
  • Cost: 289 Magicka
  • Effect: Melee attackers take 8 Fire damage per second for one minute

Although flame cloak is another consistent fire spell, it works a little differently than the others and functions much more as a utility spell for non-magic builds. The spell wreaths the user in an aura of flames, dealing damage to nearby enemies. What makes the flame cloak spell so powerful and so useful is how it also adds additional fire damage to melee attacks done by the player, effectively doubling its damage.

This pushes players from decent damage territory into the absurd as flames spring from the quick slashes of a dragon bone sword. Not only is this spell great for combat, wreathing the Dragonborn in flames is a surefire way to heat up the romance with one of the many marriable NPCs of Skyrim (don't actually try this in a crowded city).

6 Icy Spear – Skyrim's Iconic Icycle

skyrim mage hit by icy spear
  • Requirements: Expert Destruction magic unlocked
  • Cost: 320 Magicka
  • Effect: 60 Frost damage to Health and Stamina on hit

Many players who reach middling levels know the dangers of an ice mage wielding the icy spear spell. A one-time projectile that slings towards the target dealing significant damage to health and stamina and sometimes slowing the target. But fear not – players can make use of this powerful ice lance and snipe their enemies from across the arena.

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This spell is perfect for starting fights with unsuspecting draugr or dragons perched up above their shrines, as the quick damage will deal a major blow for even the most powerful enemies.

5 Wall Of Storms – AoE Health and Magicka Damage

Skyrim Destruction Spells Wall of Storms
  • Requirements: Expert Destruction magic unlocked
  • Cost: 145 Magicka
  • Effect: AoE spell that deals 50 Shock damage to enemies standing in the Wall

Wall of storms is an expert-level Destruction spell and is an incredibly helpful tool. Casting for 145 Magicka per second is a hefty cost, but creating a wall of lightning that deals 50 points of shock damage to health and Magicka adds up very quickly.

With the capability to deal large amounts of shack damage to a large number of enemies, this spell is certainly a powerful tool that Destruction casters should always consider using, especially when being chased by unrelenting draugr or bandits.

4 Blizzard – The Most Powerful Frost Mage Spell

skyrim hammer fighting a dragon in a blizzard
  • Requirements: Master Destruction magic unlocked
  • Cost: 656 Magicka
  • Effect: 20 Frost damage per second for 10 seconds (200 damage)

Blizzard is the most powerful frost magic spell in the game as a rare master class spell. Acting like a flame cloak but with better range, Blizzard deals 20 damage per second to any enemy that enters the spell’s effect for its 10-second duration. The 200 damage over time can be a massive damage bonus to melee or other non-magic builds.

This spell is especially useful against large groups of enemies or powerful melee enemies who are likely to follow the Dragonborn and stay within the blizzard’s range. This is a great spell for damage over time while attacking with other spells or weapons.

3 Wall Of Flames – High-Rank AoE Damage

Wall of Flames spell Skyrim
  • Requirements: Expert Destruction unlocked
  • Cost: 118 Magicka
  • Effect: Deals 50 Fire damage per second to enemies standing in the Wall

Like the wall of lightning spell, wall of flames creates an area of effect that deals fire damage to enemies who stand in or pass through the flames. What makes this spell so powerful is that it doesn’t harm the Dragonborn or their followers.

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This means that players can kite enemies into the wall to whittle down their health, all while NPC allies chase the enemies themselves. This damage adds up very quickly when combined with other one-time cast spells, such as flame cloak or ignite.

2 Fire Storm – The Ultimate Inferno

skyrim dragon fight fire wall
  • Requirements: Master Destruction magic unlocked
  • Cost: 846 Magicka
  • Effect: Deals 100 Fire damage to everything around the player including allies

A 100 point fiery explosion erupts out of the Dragonborn dealing massive damage to all enemies within range. This spell is the culmination of what fire magic is meant to be. The spell deals even more damage to enemies the closer they are to the Dragonborn.

This means great damage on large hordes or on dragons as the player leaps into battle. Overall, the Fire Storm spell will leave players feeling beyond powerful. There is no greater joy than finding a skeever and obliterating it with this absurdly powerful fire explosion spell.

1 Lightning Storm – A Destructive, Effective, Reliable Spell

Skyrim Destruction Spells Lightning Storm
  • Requirements: Master Destruction magic unlocked
  • Cost: 138 Magicka per second (channeled)
  • Effect: Deals 75 Shock damage to health, halved for Magicka

For less Magicka cost per second and nearly twice as much damage, the lightning storm spell will have players feeling like Avatar Roku as they shoot actual lightning out of their fingertips towards their enemies. Dealing massive 75 damage to health and half as much to Magicka per second, this spell is the culmination of what Destruction magic is meant to do: destroy.

Quick zaps for efficient and quick combats, or longer streams of lightning to drain the health from dragons and giants, no matter what situation, this spell will turn the player's enemies into piles of dust.

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