Best Destruction Spells In Skyrim


  • Destruction spells in Skyrim are powerful, with different elements offering unique effects like damage over time or line of fireballs.
  • Magic builds are versatile, especially for players who want to focus on destruction spells for combat and crowd control techniques.
  • Experiment with different spells like Fire Storm or Ice Spear to inflict massive damage on enemies or control the battlefield with AoE effects.

Combat is pretty consistent in The Elder Scrolls 5: 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. The most consistent damage-dealing spells in the game are Skyrim‘s Destruction spells, which are rather tame early on before turning into something truly impressive that can sweep most enemies off their feet in no time at all!


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While some mods add a plethora of new spells to the game, the base game has enough spells for any play style. 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 Skyrim Destruction spells aren’t all higher mastery levels, and some of the most useful ones can be cast right out of the gate. Players who have played as stealth archers too many times in this game will certainly enjoy embarking down a path of pure and utter destruction as they use the many damaging spells present in the Destruction school of magic.

Updated on April 8, 2024 by Ritwik Mitra: There are numerous ways that players can approach Skyrim’s gameplay, with most people resorting to a mix of melee and ranged combat in the early going without really focusing on the magic system. This is understandable, especially since there are so many schools of magic in Skyrim that trying to choose from just one of them can be a huge task. If players are confused about the choices they can make in this department, then a great course of action is to learn Destruction magic. These spells are actively geared towards harming enemies and serve as a natural step towards understanding Skyrim’s complex and engaging magic system. With that in mind, more Destruction spells have been added to this list to encourage spellcasting Dragonborn to keep exploring this school of magic.

29 Ice Spike

An Iconic Spell That Damages Both Health And Stamina

Ice Spike in Skyrim

  • Requirements: Apprentice Destruction magic unlocked
  • Cost: 48 Magicka
  • Effect: Deals 25 Frost Damage to Health and Stamina

To this day, there’s something so hilarious about watching an enemy functioning like normal with a massive ice spike in their abdomen. The novelty of this spell coupled with its iconic imagery is why so many people continue to remember this spell fondly even now.

Sure, it may not be the most effective Frost damage dealer in the game, but it’s great at lower levels when players don’t have a lot of Magicka to spare. Impaling enemies with multiple ice spikes makes for a rather cool image that players won’t forget anytime soon.

28 Lightning Bolt

A Quick, Easy-To-Cast Spell That Shocks Enemies

Lightning Bolt in Skyrim

  • Requirements: Apprentice Destruction magic unlocked
  • Cost: 51 Magicka
  • Effect: Deals 25 Shock Damage to Health and half of that to Magicka

There’s something oddly satisfying about unleashing a torrent of lightning magic at a steady rate and watching the enemy’s health bar fall. While Lightning Bolt may not seem like the most effective spell the Dragonborn can use, players need only level up their Destruction a bit to witness the true power of this magical technique.

It shaves off an enemy’s health and Magicka at a steady rate, making it perfect to tackle any enemy that uses magic in battle. Until players unlock bigger and better spells, the Lightning Bolt will be a trusted and loyal servant during the early game.

27 Freeze

Stops Enemies In Their Tracks

Freeze in Skyrim

  • Requirements: Ahzidal’s Ring of Arcana equipped
  • Cost: 30 Magicka
  • Effect: Deals 20 Frost Damage to Health & Stamina and slows down the target for 15 seconds

No matter what video game players check out, there’s something oddly satisfying about freezing an enemy in their tracks if the player has access to Frost magic. In Skyrim, this can be enjoyed relatively soon if players manage to get their hands on Ahzidal’s Ring of Arcana.

It gives players access to both Ignite and Freeze, with the latter being perfect for slowing enemies down and potentially stopping them in their tracks. If the Dragonborn is lucky enough, they can potentially dispose of an enemy in a truly humiliating manner with this spell.

26 Elemental Flare

Extremely Broken And Extremely Cheap

Skyrim Anniversary Edition Best Spells Abilities Staff of Elemental Flare

  • Requirements: No rank requirements, Arcane Accessories Creation Club kit downloaded
  • Cost: 45 Magicka
  • Effect: Deals 15 Fire Damage, 15 Shock Damage, and 15 Damage to Stamina in an area of effect

Elemental Flare is extremely cheap to cast with devastatingly powerful effects. Elemental Flare deals 15 Fire Damage and 15 Shock Damage at the same time for only 45 mana – almost four times the amount of damage as the Flames spell in a single bolt.


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It has an area of effect, too, meaning that a mage can cast this over and over again into a group of enemies and hit each for near-full damage, even if they aren’t hit directly. It’s one of the most powerful Skyrim Destruction spells, but Elemental Flare and its upgraded versions are only available with the Arcane Accessories pack, included with Skyrim Anniversary Edition.

25 Choking Grasp

Steal Health From Enemies

Skyrim Anniversary Edition Best Spells Abilities Choking Grasp

  • Requirements: No rank requirements, Arcane Accessories Creation Club kit downloaded
  • Cost: 39 Magicka
  • Effect: Absorbs 8 Health per second for 3 seconds, for a total of 24 Health absorbed

Choking Grasp is a powerful Novice spell with three stronger versions at higher Destruction levels. This spell absorbs health from a target at a rate of 8 health per second over three seconds, which adds up to 24 health absorbed in total with each cast. It only costs 39 Magicka to cast, too, making it a cheap source of regeneration.

Choking Grasp and its higher-level versions are part of the Arcane Accessories pack, which vastly expands the number of Skyrim Destruction spells. This spell allows non-vampires to absorb health from their enemies with a spell rather than a vampiric power and is available right from the get-go.

24 Unbounded Flames, Freezing, And Storms

True Master-Level Power

Skyrim Unbounded Flames

  • Requirements: Master Destruction unlocked, Arcane Accessories Creation Club kit downloaded
  • Cost: Flames costs 118 Magicka per second, Freezing costs 89 Magicka per second, Storms costs 69 Magicka per second
  • Flames Effect: Casts a line of fireballs at the target dealing 50 Fire Damage per second and leaves foes burned
  • Freezing Effect: 50 Frost Damage per second to nearby attackers, knocks down nearby enemies too
  • Storms Effect: Short-range 40 Shock Damage and 20 Magicka damage, can summon random Lightning to hit enemies too

The three master-level Destruction spells included in the base version of Skyrim are a bit underwhelming. Fire Storm, Blizzard, and Lightning Storm are powerful but the delayed cast time means they aren’t as effective as simply dual-casting a lower-tier spell. The Arcane Accessories pack rectifies this by adding three additional Master-level Destruction spells worthy of the rank.

Unbounded Flames, Unbounded Freezing, and Unbounded Storms are concentration-based spells that deal insane amounts of damage to enemies despite the wind-up. Unbounded Freezing acts as an extremely strong Frost Cloak, dealing 50 damage per second to nearby enemies, while Unbounded Flames and Storms are cast in a stream of fireballs or lightning, respectively.

23 Hangman’s Noose

A Great Spell To Absorb A Target’s Health

Hangman's Noose in Skyrim

  • Requirements: Adept Destruction magic unlocked, Arcane Accessories Creation Club kit downloaded
  • Cost: 143 Magicka
  • Effect: Absorb 26 Health for 3 seconds

One of the best spells players can use to turn the tide of battle in any conflict in Skyrim is to use a spell that damages enemies and helps players regain health at the same time. After all, mages tend to be rather fragile in combat, so any spell that helps the Dragonborn restore their vitality is a useful one. With such spells, both offensive and healing options can be combined for a superb strategy.

Hangman’s Noose is one of the many powerful spells players can acquire via the Creation Club. The benefits of this spell are quite palpable, with the amount of health absorbed being pretty massive. The fact that this effect lasts for three seconds is also something that needs to be highlighted.

22 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.


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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.

21 Elemental Burst

A Powerful Multi-Elemental Projectile

Elemental Burst spell in Skyrim

  • Requirements: Adept Destruction magic unlocked, Arcane Accessories Creation Club kit downloaded
  • Cost: 96 Magicka
  • Effect: Unleashes a projectile that deals 30 points of magic damage and 15 points of stamina damage; targets also receive a burning effect that deals 6 magic damage and 3 stamina damage for 2 seconds

Any spell that stacks multiple forms of elemental damage is something that needs to be pointed out and admired for how useful it can be. Such is the case with Elemental Burst, an excellent spell that players can access once they become Adept in the use of Destruction magic.

This spell is so powerful because it was added via one of the many packs players can download from the Arcane Accessories Creation Club pack. The projectile hits like a truck and has an even stronger variant players can use if they want to completely obliterate their opponents from a distance without expending too much effort.

20 Touch Of Death

Essentially Just Better Vampirism

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 Mara’s Wrath, 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.

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.

19 Ignite

Low Tier, But Effective

Skyrim Bards College Quest Tending the Flames

  • 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 of the Skyrim Destruction spells, but it’s a useful tool for any enterprising practitioner.

18 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 spell 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.

17 Fireball

A Massive Fiery Blast

Skyrim Fireball

  • Requirements: Adept Destruction magic unlocked
  • Cost: 133 Magicka
  • Effect: An AoE fire explosion that deals extra damage to enemies already set on fire

The Fireball spell is pretty self-explanatory — it allows players to unleash a powerful AoE attack that hits like a truck and causes damage to multiple enemies if the user places it correctly. Dual casting this spell allows the Dragonborn to overcharge this attack to make it even more effective in battle!

The best part about this spell is that it deals extra damage to an enemy who is already set on fire, humiliating them even more! It’s a really fun spell that players can whip out in combat at a moment’s notice to take out a group of enemies in no time at all. With enough Magicka, players can burn their enemies to a crisp and look incredibly cool while doing so.

16 Elemental Blast

Toughest Variant Of This Unique Projectile Spell

Elemental Blast in Skyrim

  • Requirements: Expert Destruction magic unlocked, Arcane Accessories Creation Club kit downloaded
  • Cost: 144 Magicka
  • Effect: Unleashes a projectile that deals 40 points of magic damage and 20 points of stamina damage; targets also receive a burning effect that deals 8 magic damage and 4 stamina damage for 2 seconds

The most powerful multi-elemental projectile spell players can obtain from the Arcane Accessories Creation Club content is Elemental Blast, which hits for both health and stamina damage. Not only is this a great way to take out opponents, but it also reduces the threat they pose by ensuring that they can’t unleash powerful attacks over and over.

The added benefit of this spell being ranged is that players don’t have to struggle too much to fight against certain enemies. They can simply pick their shots from a distance and turn most enemies into mincemeat in no time.

15 Chain Lightning

An Entertaining And Shocking Spell

Player Using Chain Lightning From Skyrim

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

Reaching the Adept level in the Destruction spell tree opens up a whole new avenue of possibilities when it comes to casting magic in the game. One of the very best spells in this regard that players can use to decimate their enemies is Chain Lightning.

This spell targets one enemy and depletes both their health and Magicka before moving on to the next target. It’s a simple yet fun Destruction spell to use, although players should be forewarned that this spell can target friendly targets as well!

14 Ice Storm

A Frosty AoE Attack

Ice Storm in Skyrim

  • Requirements: Adept Destruction magic unlocked
  • Cost: 144 Magicka
  • Effect: Conjures an icy whirlwind that does 40 points of damage to health and stamina

Ice Storm is a great spell that players can use to chill a group of enemies to their very core. It summons a whirlwind that causes 40 points of damage every second to both health and stamina.


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Any enemy caught in the grasp of this attack will be sent to an early grave sooner rather than later. It helps that this move exhausts enemies as well, meaning that they can’t counterattack with any powerful physical attack of their own.

13 Lightning Cloak

Shocking Overzealous Enemies

Skyrim Lightning Cloak Spell Tome

  • Requirements: Adept Destruction magic unlocked
  • Cost: 370 Magicka
  • Effect: Cloaks the Dragonborn in a protective layer of electricity

The three elements in Skyrim are all mostly identical with a few differences here are there. Fire attacks cause pure health damage, while the ice element leads to players losing both their health and stamina. Finally, any lightning attack deals damage to both health and magicka, making it perfect to use against opponents who love wielding a wealth of spells in battle.

The Lightning Cloak is a powerful spell that players can use to punish any enemy who gets too careless while attacking the Dragonborn. It depletes an attacker’s health and Magicka whenever they get too overzealous in battle.

12 Frost Cloak

A Protective Freezing Aura

Skyrim Frost Cloak

  • Requirements: Adept Destruction magic unlocked
  • Cost: 316 Magicka
  • Effect: Cloaks the Dragonborn in a protective layer of frost

The AI in Skyrim isn’t all that smart, with enemies trying their hardest to take out the player by walloping them over and over again using the attacks of their choice. So, it makes sense for players to utilize magic that can exploit a foe’s overzealous nature and turn it around to aggravate their injuries instead!

This is where the various forms of cloaking magic from the Destruction tree come into the picture, allowing players to cover themselves with a protective elemental layer that damages any enemy stupid enough to try and hit the Dragonborn in this state. The Frost Cloak causes a set amount of frost damage while depleting the stamina of an enemy in the process.

11 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

Whirlwind Cloak 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.


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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!

10 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, but 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 try this in a crowded city).