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Best Destruction Spells in Skyrim (2024)

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has a number of different noteworthy Destruction spells. To help you improve your arsenal, we’ve ranked the best Destruction spells in Skyrim for every aspiring mage. Our breakdown includes where you can obtain each spell, saving you the trouble of searching the whole frozen north.

Though we’ve tried to be specific with our locations, some spells can be purchased from multiple vendors at different prices. To save some gold, you can always look for the cheapest option, or loot boss chests to see if you can get them for free.

Looking for more Skyrim tips and tricks? View all our Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim guides.

Best Destruction Spells in Skyrim, Ranked from Chaotic to Catastrophic

With all of that in mind, let’s get to the top 10 best Destruction spells in Skyrim! Keep in mind that even though we’ve ranked our picks, the spells you choose should still be based on your personal playstyle and build. Any Destruction spell can be effective in the right hands!

10/10

Frost Rune

Frost Rune is an Apprentice Level spell that allows you to cast a rune symbol on a surface near you. When a target enters the AOE, it activates an explosion that does 50 points of Frost Damage to their Health and Stamina. This double-down damage makes Frost Rune one of the best Destruction spells in Skyrim.

You can improve Frost Rune by acquiring the Rune Master Perk, which increases the range for casting the spell. This is helpful if you want to put some distance between you and your enemies but still deal a lot of damage. You can use Frost Rune to set a trap for your target to walk into without having them get very close to you.

You can purchase Frost Run from Enthir at the College of Winterhold or from Farengar Secret-Fire at Dragonsreach in Whiterun. 

9/10

Flame Cloak

Flame Cloak is an Adept Level Destruction spell that surrounds you with a wall of fire. When an enemy approaches you and gets close to the flames, they’ll take 8 points of fire damage (or more, if the spell sets them on fire). Flame Cloak lasts for 60 seconds and is especially effective against enemies that are weaker to fire damage. Flame Cloak is one of the best spells in Skyrim for dealing with Undead enemies. 

You can purchase Flame Cloak from Faralda at the College of Winterhold once you reach Level 40 in Destruction magic. You can also find the spell tome near Yisra’s body by Yisra’s Beachside Combustion, located between Dawnstar and the Tower Stone. The tome may also appear in some boss chests throughout the game.

8/10

Chain Lightning

Chain Lightning is an Adept Level Destruction spell that allows you to shoot a lightning bolt at your enemy. It deals 40 points of Shock Damage to your enemy’s Health and Magicka, and will jump to the next available target. With the perk Augmented Shock, you can do up to 60 extra points of Shock Damage to your enemies. If you have the Dual Casting perk, you can increase the amount of damage you do to targets. Chain Lightning is one of the best Adept Level Destruction spells in Skyrim because of how much damage it does to your enemy’s Health and Stamina.  

You can purchase Chain Lightning from Faralda at the College of Winterhold once you reach Level 40 in Destruction magic. Different court wizards around Skyrim also sell the Chain Lightning spell tome; it may also appear in boss chests or as enemy loot.

7/10

Fireball

Fireball is an Adept Level Destruction spell that allows you to toss a ball of fire at an enemy that explodes on impact and deals 40 points of fire damage. When the fireball lands, it will set all enemies in a 15-foot radius on fire.

The Augmented Flames perk pairs well with Fireball because it increases the fire damage done by 25% with the first point. If you unlock the second point, it will increase the fire damage done by 50%. Having the Adept Destruction perk is helpful for reducing the cost of the Fireball spell, allowing you to cast it faster. 

You can purchase Fireball from Faralda at the College of Winterhold once you reach Level 40 in Destruction magic. You can also purchase it from Farengar Secret-Fire at Dragonsreach in Whiterun. 

6/10

Ice Storm

Ice Storm is an Adept Level Destruction spell that allows you to create a whirlwind of ice that surrounds you. Ice Storm does 40 points of Frost Damage per second to your enemy’s Health and Stamina. This spell is incredibly useful for fighting multiple enemies, and is one of the most potent Destruction spells in Skyrim, doing damage to your enemy’s Health and Stamina.

With the Augmented Frost perk, you can increase the amount of Frost Damage you can do by 25% with the first point or 50% with the second. You can slow enemies down while also doing damage to their Health.

You can purchase Ice Storm from Enthir or Faralda at the College of Winterhold, or from Farengar Secret-Fire at Dragonsreach in Whiterun. 

5/10

Thunderbolt 

Thunderbolt is an Expert Level Destruction spell that allows you to charge up a Thunderbolt and then toss it at your enemy. The Thunderbolt does 60 points of Shock Damage to your enemy’s Health and Stamina. The Thunderbolt spell is one of the most helpful spells for hitting ranged targets like dragons.

The Augmented Shock perk increases the amount of Shock Damage you do to your enemies, making the spell even more devastating. With the Expert Destruction perk, you can reduce the cost of this spell by 148 points of Magicka.

You can purchase Thunderbolt from Farlada at the College of Winterhold once you reach Destruction Level 65. You can also find the spell tome in some boss chests or carried by hostile Mage enemies.

4/10

Wall of Storms

Wall of Storms is an Expert Level Destruction spell that allows you to create a wall of lightning wherever you place it. The lightning does 50 points of Shock Damage per second to your enemies if they pass through the area. The spell lasts for 30 seconds, and you can cast up to ten walls at the same time before the new walls you cast to replace the old ones.

Wall of Storms is one of the most useful Destruction magic spells in Skyrim because you can create a damaging barrier between you and your enemies. Since you can place more than one wall at a time, you can place several around your enemy and trap them. 

You can purchase Wall of Storms from Faralda at the College of Winterhold or Talvas Fathryon at Tel Mithryn. Tel Mithryn is a Telvanni Tower located in Solstheim. If you haven’t been there before, you can travel to Raven Rock by ship from the Windhelm docks. Tel Mithryn is located to the East of Raven Rock and Fort Frostmoth. You can also find the Wall of Storms spell tome in some random chests around Skyrim.

3/10

Firestorm

Firestorm is a Master Level Destruction spell that summons a storm of fire around you. The spell does 100 points of Fire Damage when it hits enemies in the area. This spell does not do any damage to you or your followers. When combined with the Augmented Flames perk, you can increase the amount of damage the spell does by 25–50%, depending on how many points you invest.

If you get the Master Destruction perk, Firestorm will cost 50% less to cast. Master Level spells cost a lot more to cast, so having this perk is beneficial. When casting Firestorm, it is important to note that items in the room will get flung away. Firestorm is one of the most powerful spells you can use in Skyrim because of the high amount of fire damage it does to enemies, especially Frost enemies. 

You can purchase Fire Storm from Faralda at the College of Winterhold upon completing the quest “Destruction Ritual Spell.” You’ll get the quest once you’ve reached Destruction Level 90–100. 

2/10

Blizzard

Blizzard is a Master Level Destruction spell that creates a blizzard around you for 10 seconds. Blizzard does 20 points of Frost Damage per second to the enemies in its radius. This spell can cause damage to you and any followers in its range, so it’s important not to use it when you or your follower has low health.

The Augmented Frost perk pairs well with this spell, increasing the amount of Frost Damage by 25% with the first point and by 50% with the second point. Some items may get thrown from their place, so be sure to cast the spell in an area where you’ve already picked up the items you need. The Blizzard spell is perfect for fighting multiple enemies at once since you can do harm to everyone in range of the spell.

Faralda at the College of Winterhold will sell you Blizzard once you have completed the quest “Destruction Ritual Spell.” Faralda will offer the quest to you once you reach Destruction Level 90–100. 

1/10

Lightning Storm

Lightning Storm is a Master level Destruction spell that sprays lightning toward a single target when cast. They 75 points of Shock Damage per second, and half that to their Stamina. Lightning Storm is a spell that is especially powerful against dragons and other ranged enemies.

You can further enhance Lightning Storm with the Augmented Shock perk, which increases its damage by 25–50%. The Master Destruction perk reduces the spell’s cost by 69 points of Magicka per second. Just make sure that you’re in a safe spot when you cast it — Lightning Storm takes a few seconds to charge up before reaching its full strength, and you’ll be vulnerable for the duration.

You can purchase Lightning Storm from Faralda at the College of Winterhold. You will need to complete the quest “Destruction Ritual Spell” before it becomes available. Once you reach destruction Level 90–100, Farlada will allow you to begin the quest. 

Helpful Tips for Leveling Up Destruction Magic in Skyrim

Here are some tips to help you level up your Destruction Magic skill tree faster:

  • Level up your Destruction Magic faster by using the buff from the Mage Standing Stone. The Mage Stone allows you to level up all your Mage skills 20% faster.
  • Faralda at the College of Winterhold offers training in Destruction Magic and has spell tomes and other useful Mage gear for sale. You can also train in Destruction Magic with various court mages, like Sybille Stentor at the Blue Palace in Solitude.
  • Wear mage gear that can help boost your Magicka Regeneration and overall Magicka. Faralda sells Mage Robes that give you up to +150% Magicka Regen buff
  • There are various perks in the Destruction skill tree that will make it much easier to cast spells that cost more Magicka. The Apprentice, Adept, Expert, and Master Destruction perks are incredibly helpful to have, especially when spells begin to get more expensive to cast.
  • Invest your skill points back into Destruction Magic. Perks like Augmented Frost and Augmented Shock are useful to increase the amount of elemental damage your spells do when you cast them.

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