As one of the five schools of magic in Skyrim, the Illusion tree governs spells that affect creatures’ perception. You can use Illusion spells to make your targets hostile or pacified, courageous or fearful. You can also make yourself difficult to detect by muffling your movement or even becoming invisible.
Let’s count down the best Illusion spells in Skyrim, including a few that are great for leveling!
10 Best Illusion Spells in Skyrim
Soon, you’ll fool everyone and can steal all of their silverware uncontested!
Vision of the Tenth Eye
The first spell on our list is ranked the lowest because it’s only used for one quest in the game. Vision of the Tenth Eye is used to locate the books that are needed for the Illusion Ritual Spell quest. The spell isn’t entirely useless beyond the quest, though, since it also gives you 30 seconds of night vision, which can be very useful if you don’t have another way of seeing in the dark. The spell doesn’t cost any magicka, so its effects are free. The only downside is that you need to use both hands to cast it.
Learning the Vision of the Tenth Eye spell requires joining the College of Winterhold. Although it’s only a Novice-level spell, you can only learn it by starting the Illusion Ritual Spell quest from Drevis Neloren, which requires you to have an Illusion skill level of 100. Completing the quest will allow you to learn the other master level spells on our list.
Hysteria is the Master version of the Fear and Rout line of spells. It can be used to send all enemies within 250 feet fleeing in terror for 60 seconds. This can help you make an escape when things get hairy, but it’s important to remember that when one minute is up, all those enemies will be back and they will not be any happier with you! In fact, if they run far enough, they may alert other enemies to your presence.
To learn the Hysteria spell, you will need to join the College of Winterhold. Once your Illusion skill is 100, you will be able to obtain the Illusion Ritual Spell quest from Drevis Neloren. Complete the quest to learn the spell. The lower level Fear and Rout spells can both be learned from spell tomes found at vendors across Skyrim.
As a Novice-level spell, Clairvoyance is one of the first Illusion spells you’ll have access to. When cast, it traces a glowing blue path to the nearest quest objective. Note that you can’t specify a quest to track – it will always be the closest objective out of all the quests in your journal. The spell also can’t detect paths that are blocked by a door or gate that needs to be unlocked or opened by a switch or lever.
With that being said, it’s a low level spell that costs very little magicka to cast, and can be very useful when you’re stuck on a quest. It’s also useful for leveling Illusion early on; toss it up when you’re running around with magicka to burn.
Learning Clairvoyance is as easy as locating a spell tome. It’s pretty easy to find: just head to the Riverwood Trader or any court wizard and they should have it in stock.
Call to Arms
The Call to Arms spell is the Master spell that follows Courage and Rally, but it provides a slightly different benefit. Like its lower level counterparts, it boosts the target’s health and stamina. But where those spells reduce the target’s likelihood of fleeing, Call to Arms instead provides a solid combat buff, increasing weapon skills by 25 points for 10 minutes. That makes this spell pretty useful if you tend to travel with a follower, and even more so with multiple follower mods.
Learning Call to Arms requires joining the College of Winterhold. Once your Illusion skill is 100, you will be able to obtain the Illusion Ritual Spell quest from Drevis Neloren. Complete the quest and you will be able to purchase the spell tome from Drevis.
The lower level Courage and Rally spells can both be learned from spell tomes found at vendors across Skyrim. Their effects are separate, so you can have multiple buffs on your followers at the same time! As an added bonus, all three of these spells can be cast on any NPC you encounter without turning them hostile, which makes for an easy way to level your Illusion.
As the Master version of Calm and Pacify, the Harmony spell is excellent for de-escalation, like when you “accidentally” annoy the wrong citizen in a crowded city. As well as giving every NPC within 250 feet a chill pill for one full minute, the spell will actually cause people to forget that they have been pick-pocketed.
Harmony provides the highest experience per second of any Illusion spell in Skyrim. So although you will need 100 Illusion skill to start using it, it’s invaluable for gaining Legendary skill points. Some players have reported leveling from 15 to 100 by casting the spell only five or six times in a crowded city!
Learning Harmony requires joining the College of Winterhold. Once your Illusion skill is 100, you will be able to obtain the Illusion Ritual Spell quest from Drevis Neloren. Complete the quest and you will be able to purchase the spell tome from Drevis. The lower level Calm and Pacify spells can both be learned from spell tomes found at vendors across Skyrim. Vampires also gain access to the Vampire’s Seduction spell which has a similar effect.
Changing things up from the Master-level spells, we’ve chosen something a little different from the Fury/Frenzy/Mayhem line of spells. Frenzy Rune is a spell that was added by the Dragonborn expansion which allows you to place a trap.
The first creature to walk over the rune will trigger the spell and become hostile to anything that is nearby. This is a great way to get your enemies to fight each other, leaving less work for you. However, you should be careful using these spells near any city or other settled areas.
Frenzy Rune also offers a high amount of experience when used, making it great for leveling – second only to Harmony, which is a Master-level spell (Frenzy Rune is Adept-level).
To get your hands on the Frenzy Rune spell, you must purchase the spell tome from Talvas Fathryon in Tel Mithryn. He will only sell it after you complete his quest From the Ashes. The Fury and Frenzy spells can be learned from spell tomes at vendors across Skyrim, and the Mayhem spell can be purchased from Drevis Neloren after completing the Illusion Ritual Spell quest at skill level 100.
The best reason to practice Illusion in Skyrim is for its stealth-enhancing spells, and Muffle is the first such spell you gain access to. It’s an Apprentice-level spell that can be learned as early as skill level 25. It also serves a slightly different purpose than spells like Invisibility, allowing you to continue using it even when you gain access to those. Muffle makes your movement much quieter, and effectively makes you invisible to the Falmer, who rely on hearing. It doesn’t help you hide in plain sight, though.
Muffle has another advantage in that it’s one of the few spells you can use to gain experience out of combat. This combined with its relatively low level make it excellent for leveling.
Learning the Muffle spell is as simple as locating its spell tome, which should be available for purchase from most court wizards.
The next spell in our list is probably the quintessential Illusion spell: Invisibility. Prior to the Anniversary Edition of the game, this spell would have been #1 on the list. In fact, #1 and #2 are just enhanced versions of this spell. For most players, the goal of tapping into the Illusion school of magic is to improve their stealthiness. Invisibility does just that, making you nearly undetectable.
While many actions will break the spell, there are some surprising things you can get away with. You can drag objects around, forge business ledgers, and even feed as a vampire. Keep in mind that some things that don’t break the spell will still make noise and therefore alert enemies of your presence. That’s where the Muffle spell is still useful.
Invisibility is an Expert-level spell. Learning it is a simple matter of getting your hands on a copy of its spell tome, which you may find at a vendor or in a dungeon.
Orum’s Aquatic Escape
Orum’s Aquatic Escape is essentially an enhanced version of Invisibility, albeit with a shorter duration. All the same benefits apply, with bonus water breathing and night vision. Aside from Vision of the Tenth Eye, which requires two hands and level 100 Illusion, this spell is the only one that provides night vision.
Now part of the Anniversary Edition of Skyrim, Orum’s Aquatic Escape was originally added to the game with the Arcane Accessories Creation. The spell tome can be found in a chest in Hob’s Fall Cave between Winterhold and Dawnstar.
And here we are with the #1 spell on our list, and yes, it’s another Invisibility spell! Fenrik’s Welcome may only last for five seconds, but in that five seconds you can open almost any lock. With this spell in your arsenal, only Master locks will stump you, and no one will see who opened that door or chest. As an added bonus, the spell is silent, so you won’t alert nearby enemies when you use it.
Like Orum’s Aquatic Escape, Fenrik’s Welcome was originally added by the Arcane Accessories Creation, and is now available as part of Skyrim Anniversary Edition. The spell tome is also found in the same location in Hob’s Fall Cave.
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And that’s our list of the best Illusion spells in Skyrim! Thanks for reading! If you have any questions, leave a comment below, and be sure to subscribe to High Ground for more useful guides!