The idea behind this build is to create a character with all the strengths and abilities of a pure mage, with none of the weaknesses. This spellsword doesnt just hold a sword in one hand and a spell in the other all the time as the name suggests, but switches between spellsword and dual wielding spells depending on the situation. so without further ado:

Breathtaking views of the college of winterhold and surrounding areas taken from the roof of ysgramor's tomb.

                                                               The Spellsword

Spellsword has always been my favourite style of play, with dual wielding spells mixed in. i recommend a breton, although altmer is certainly an option. this is likely the tankiest and strongest arcane character your ever likely to meet. Spellswords are known for full on offense and a lack of defense, but between healing spells and the occasional ward, the paralysis spell not to mention the perks from the alteration tree, illusion spells, heavy armor, conjured minions and high amount of health thats no longer an issue. at higher levels a few stealth skills are also learned.

Major skills

illusion - good for crowd control, by the time this character is finished everything from draugr to dragon priests will be affected.

restoration - healing is important for anyone, especially those who find themselves outnumbered in melee. wards can block shouts.

alteration - the perks in this tree bolsters this characters already considerable magic resistance, the paralyze spell is also nice.

One-handed - Turns into the main damage dealer lategame as enemies start to withstand even expert level destruction spells.

Heavy armor - Robes are suicidal in melee fights on master difficulty, and for those powerplaying to level 81, the enchants are almost as good as the archmages robes anyway.

Minor skills

Destruction - Compliments one handed damage and the only source of ranged damage, stunlocking dragons  mid flight with impact is a powerful ability.

Conjuration - has both offensive and defensive uses, from the flame atronach right through to the goal of 2 dead thralls.

sneak - these perks combined with invisibility, muffle and quiet casting allows the option of a thief mage playstyle.

tertiary skills

alchemy, smithing and enchanting - the spellsword enrols in tertiary education in their old age and in doing so creates godlike gear.

Level 25, 50 and 81 build


Level 25

240 magica / 200 health / 100 stamina. mage stone.

6 perks in combat, none in stealth

Heavy armor - fists of steel, juggernaut x1, well fitted

one handed - armsman x2, fighting stance

18 perks in magic

illusion - novice illusion, apprentice illusion, illusion dual casting, hypnotic gaze, animage

conjuration - novice conjuration

destruction - novice destruction, destruction dual cast, impact, augmented flames,  augmented schock

restoration - novice restoration, apprentice restoration, regeneration, recovery x1

alteration - novice alteration, apprentice alteration, magic resistance x1

this early in the game the spellsword will be using whatever heavy armor and one- handed sword they can find, starting from iron or preferably steel sword and armor found on bandit chiefs. the flame atronach and lydia will prove to be valuable companions at this point. i recommend doing the companions and civil war questlines first, then college of winterhold, then main questline due of the degree of difficulty.

if you are ready to start grinding all 3 crafting skills to create enchanted legendary daedric armor skip to the level 81 part of this build if not, keep reading.

humble beginnings

Level 50

new perks are highlighted in red

300 magica / 340 health / 150 stamina. lord stone.

14 perks in combat

Heavy armor - conditioning, cushioned, fists of steel, juggernaut x1, well fitted, tower of strength

one handed - armsman x5, fighting stance, savage strike, critical charge

3 perks in stealth

sneak - stealth x1, muffled movement, backstab

32 perks in magic

illusion - novice illusion, apprentice illusion, adept illusion, illusion dual cast, animage, kindred mage, quiet casting, hypnotic gaze, aspect of terror, rage

conjuration - novice conjuration, necromancy, dark souls

destruction - novice destruction, augmented flames x2, augmented frost x2, augmented schock x2,  destruction dual cast, impact

restoration - novice restoration, regeneration, respite, recovery x1, apprentice restoration, adept restoration

alteration - novice alteration, apprentice alteration, magic resistance x2

if you havent done the thieves guild and dark brotherhood questlines now is the time to do so. this build has a lot of its full power already, but destruction and conjuration spells are getting really expensive to use, to fix that alot of grinding is required...for those powerplayers among you read on.

Level 81

new perks are highlighted in red.

300 magica / 500 health / 300 stamina. atronach stone.

20 perks in combat

Heavy armor - conditioning, cushioned, fists of steel, juggernaut x1, well fitted, tower of strength

one handed - armsman x5, fighting stance, savage strike, critical charge

smithing - steel smithing, dwarven smithing, orcish smithing, ebony smithing, daedric smithing, arcane blacksmith.

10 perks in stealth

Sneak - stealth x1, muffled movement, backstab

alchemy - Alchemist x5, physician, benefactor

50 perks in magic

illusion - novice illusion, illusion dual cast, animage, kindred mage, hypnotic gaze, aspect of terror, rage, quiet casting, master of the mind, apprentice illusion, adept illusion, expert illusion

conjuration - novice conjuration, necromancy, dark souls, twin souls

destruction - novice destruction, augmented schock x2, augmented frost x2, augmented flames x2, destruction dual cast, impact

restoration - novice restoration, regeneration, respite, recovery x2, necromage, apprentice restoration, adept restoration, expert restoration

alteration - novice alteration, apprentice alteration, magic resistance x3, adept alteration, expert alteration, atronach

enchanting - enchanter x5, insightful, corpus, extra effect

you may notice spell absorption goes from 0% to 80% constant between levels 50 and 81, you may be thinking "wont this mess up my conjuring?" by this point the only conjuration spell used should be dead thrall, preferably on orchendor, malkoran or whoever you feel like. flame thralls could be used as a last resort if no bodies can be found, but 80% spell absorption and no magica refunds for failed flame thrall summons will have you pulling your hair out. keep in mind in order to use dead thrall with this build, 29% cost reduction and 100 skill in conjuration is required, along with 422 magica provided by the base stats, atronach stone and fortify magica gauntlets.

in my experience paralyze works on everything except dragons, dragon priests and magical anomalies.

necromage not only boosts the level illusion spells work on undead, the level dead thrall works but also works well with vampirism, something i intend to try myself later. no arcane build is complete without having all 3 destruction elements at hand, couldnt call one an archmage without them.

 i recommend the following gear:


legendary daedric helmet - fortify destruction 29%, fortify restoration 29%

legendary daedric armor - fortify magica regen 10% and fortify destruction 18%, fortify conjuration 29%

legendary daedric gauntlets - fortify magica 72 points, fortify one-handed 47%

legendary daedric boots - fortify one-handed 47%, fortify stamina regen 36%

gold diamond necklace - fortify destruction 29%, fortify illusion 29%

gold diamond ring - fortify destruction 29%, fortify illusion 29%

legendary daedric sword, "Alduin's bane" - frost damage schock damage

as for how to create it, first you have to level alchemy, smithing and enchanting to level 100 then create crafting gear. for details on the best way to do this follow this guide:

of course ignore the wood chopping part, as you should have tens of thousands of septims from doing quests by now.

took me 2 days, so good luck.

the sword damages stamina, magica, and immense amounts of health with impunity. the enchants and perks allow for all the schools of magic to be used, infinite dual thunderbolts can be thrown around now. Also dead thrall becomes usable thanks to reduced conjuration spell cost.

dead thrall will use literally all of your 422 magica, fortunately necromancy is unaffected by spell absorption unlike summoning.

this build has 422 magica once you count the base stats, atronach stone and fortify magica enchant on the gauntlets. with 100 skill in conjuration and only 1 piece fortifying conjuration(29%)dead thrall costs 421 magica. 300 stamina feels pretty optimised as thats how much you get back from grand healing+respite. 500 health for general tankiness.

"uh oh, this cant be good" "whats the meaning of this?" "im about to be killed by some crazy wizard" "whoa, whoa, watch the magic"

here is some alternative armor, helmets, amulets and rings for those with different playstyles or just want to experiment or have fun. boots and gauntlets stay the same as the "spellsword" gear above.

"Mehrunes dagon"

legendary daedric armor - fortify magica regen 10% and fortify destruction 18%, fortify conjuration 29%

legendary daedric helmet - fortify destruction 29%, fortify restoration 29%

gold diamond necklace - fortify one-handed 47%, fortify destruction 29%

gold diamond ring         - fortify one-handed 47%, fortify destruction 29%

one of the more amusing ways of dispatching ones foes

for those that want to use less illusion spells in favor of maxing out one handed and one shotting pretty much everything in sight.

"thief mage"

legendary daedric armor - fortify magica regen 10% and fortify illusion 18%, fortify destruction 29%

legendary daedric helmet - fortify illusion 29%, fortify destruction 29%

gold diamond necklace - fortify illusion 29%, fortify destruction 29%

gold diamond ring         - fortify illusion 29%, fortify destruction 29%

for a more stealthy mage. dead thralls just get in the way and alert enemies.

keep in mind free illusion spells means all those perks to reduce illusion cost were for nothing.


legendary daedric armor - fortify magica regen 10% and fortify destruction 18%, fortify restoration 29%

legendary daedric helmet - fortify destruction 29%, fortify restoration 29%

gold diamond necklace - fortify destruction 29%, fortify restoration 29%

gold diamond ring         - fortify destruction 29%, fortify restoration 29%

for the ultimate anti-mage mage, if that makes sense. this gear looks weird on the surface, your probably thinking "free restoration spells!?! why?" the premise is simple:

1. equip greater ward in the left hand, storm wall or if you have already leveled destruction to 100 hevnoraaks staff in the right hand

2. hold down mouse 1 and mouse 2 at your foe

3. ???

4. profit!

magebane in action, equip a sword in the right hand for much higher damage when they land. thunderbolt may have higher damage too.

i would consider it extremely effective against mages, dragon priests and to a lesser extent dragons. mainly because while they cant really hurt you 1v1, it takes so long to kill them, having said that ward+sword can work. shouts now do nothing to you as long as the ward is up. a word of note, may make gameplay boring.

alternative weapon: legendary daedric sword "frostmourne" soul trap and frost damage. for lore reasons those enchants probably fit best.

other great weapon enchants: firey soul trap, paralyze and of course fire damage.

and there you have it, a smooth transition from a humble mortal or elf in rags stumbling through helgen to a god like level 81 spellsword with all the power of a pure mage, and some stealth elements mixed in too. all with playing the game normally and no grinding necessary until you hit level 50. i will be using this build myself with the "spellsword" gear i recommended above(not the alternative gear), as a breton. have fun!


What if i want to get the perks shadow warrior and assassins blade for a spellsword assassin?

remove the following perks: atronach, and 5 of the spell cost reducing perks. my recommendation is adept/expert alteration and apprentice/adept/expert restoration, if your a breton take out 1 perk from magic resistance and keep apprentice restoration. then fill out the entire sneak tree, except stealth is x1. replace atronach stone with lord stone. reason being spell absorption breaks shadow warrior. take 50 points from health and put it into magica, otherwise you cant use dead thrall. as for gear, see "spellsword" or if free illusion spells is a must have, "thief mage".


vampire section

legendary daedric helmet - fortify restoration 38%, fortify illusion 38%

legendary daedric armor - fortify conjuration 38%, fortify magica regen 12% and fortify destruction 23%

legendary daedric gauntlets - fortify one-handed 63%, fortify magica 97 points

legendary daedric boots - resist schock 73%, resist fire 73%

gold diamond necklace - fortify illusion 38%, fortify destruction 38%

gold diamond ring - fortify destruction 38%, fortify Alteration 38%

legendary daedric sword, "Dragonrend" - 87 schock damage 87 fire damage

lord stone, remove 100 points from stamina put 50 in magica 50 in health

replace the 3 sneak perks with fire/frost/schock enchanter to obtain the above enchant strength. if your a breton, replace 1 of the magic resist perks with bladesman. i recommend getting the shadowcloak of nocturnal with this build.

i know what your thinking, 23+38+38 = 99, but i keep testing this and the destruction spells are completely free, my sword never needs to be recharged too. i cant explain why, all i can say is vampirism+necromage is really good.

literally every master spell from all schools can be cast now, true mastery of magic is achieved in vampire form with this build. all expert spells are cheap to cast, especially illusion, restoration and destruction is completely free. 

keep in mind 38% enchants are required on the crafting gear, your looking to make 153% smithing potions and 38% enchanting potions. all the stats in the vampire section of this build can only be seen in the active effects, not on the gear itself.

Tags: Character Build Elementalist, Character Build Juggernaut, Character Build Spellsword, Rank:Recognized

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Replies to This Discussion

Like the changes you've made Magebane! Removing all that craft grinding from the start was a good move, but you didnt have to wait till level 50+ before doing any crafting! I like the focus on illusion, it guarantees an amusing playthrough.

Some of those endgame weapons sound nasty, consider adding piccys to add some flavour to your build, especially as one of them is your name-sake. (back on later to file this, must work now)

i gave my recommended gear the same name as this build "spellsword" to avoid confusion. between it and the level 81 perks it makes all 5 schools of magic viable, bringing it as close as possible to a pure mage without the inherent weaknesses of one.

by far i would say "mehrunes dagon" is the best of the alternative gear, very strong in a straight up fight.

"thief mage" is only there for those who insist on having free invisibility/muffle spells, unfortunately it makes all those illusion cost reduction perks useless, and im sure the "spellsword" gear combined with expert illusion perk reduces illusion spell cost plenty.

"magebane" is just something i made up, despite being my namesake its not my recommended gear at all. free wards is an interesting concept against non-melee/archer opponents though.

as for why all the gear has free destruction spells, destruction is the only school of magic that has to be made free to become useful imo, all the others just have to be casted once to work their magic, so to speak.

i hope you like my pics and captions  i got lucky on the timing with the decapitation and hitting printscreen there.

Nice illustrations, they go a long way to help builds look appealing. 

I liked this build, if where to make a spell-sword it would near identical. Shadow warrior seems to be acting up based on the player's spell absorption gradient. This is such a fuck up, its a shame they haven't been able to deal with yet. Even conjuration seems to crippled at times because of the absorption...

Good idea to include armor variants, this should have no problem making it into the elite pages :)

glad you like the pics. i really wanted to make spell absorption work as without it, stuff like poison becomes lethal on master. 70% magic resistance and 80% absorption feels superior to just 85% magic resistance plus 60s of immortality from all non-physical attacks as breton is awesome.

i think i have worked around spell absorptions drawbacks. using dead thrall as the only conjuration spell seems the best workaround conjuration wise. 80% spell absorption makes mid battle conjuring useless, not the time you want to pull of a master conjure spell anyway. you may notice this build cuts the magica requirement for dead thrall real close, if the spell cost is the exact same as the total magica it wont work. this build with 29% fortify conjuration has exactly 1 more magica point than dead thrall cost, talking about magica/enchant optimisation lol.

the 3 stealth perks specifically benefit armor noise and one-handed weapons crit damage, perfect for what this build is designed for, heavy armor one-handed sword and spells only. 

at the end i even give the option of replacing all the spell absorption with magic resistance and a filled out stealth tree, at the cost of 4-5 spell cost reducing perks.

tbh "thief mage" and "magebane" arent very good, "spellsword" and "mehrunes dagon" is where its at depending if someone prefers the magical or physical side of this build.

I included a god armor variant on the Utopian build. While I was playing around with this new armor, I realized that the restoration glitch can be used to strengthen both Alchemy and Enchanting much like how those skills effect iterating perks like Juggernaut. The restoration glitch can be used to save 8 perks, 4 on Alchemist and 4 on Enchanter. Using those 8 perks I overhauled the Utopian to completely master the Illusion tree. 

This god armor is fucking awesome. When you have a minute I'd appreciate your feedback on it. If you feel like the stamina regeneration, health regeneration, archery, one-handed and sneak enchants are way to over powered. You could always make those at normal max level, then glitch to get the cost reducing perks to 100%.
Mage, I thought I'd discuss your message to me here, that way if any other blog member was thinking along these lines they could use us as a reference.

I prefer not to become a vampire of werewolf until after I've leveled to 81. Both of these diseases hinder training and mobility. The werewolf transformation is powerful but the lack of control we have is crippling; no looting, spells, potions, or  skill training bonuses. 

Even though the vampire state is more cumbersum to maintain at stage one. The bonuses to illusion, coupled with the right illusion perks and necromage from the restoration tree. Allow use to turn dragon priests into sex dolls, so I am beginning to slide towards the vamps.

the heart of this build is actually a pure mage vampire, i dont need to tell you how vulnerable such a character is on master difficulty. here is how this build fixes each issue:

fire weakness: 70% magic resistance, 80% permanant spell absorption, 100% once-per-day spell absorption.

spell absorption eating summons: dead thrall is permanant and unaffected by spell absorption.

cant take a hit: legendary daedric armor and all 3 crafting skills behind it.

cant 1 hit kill anything: legendary daedric sword powered by one hell of a sword arm(armsman x5) again all 3 crafting skills.

this build is not meant to be used with the restoration glitch despite having all 3 crafting skills, but the strongest magic/melee character using legitimate means, if that makes sense.

btw, im already dual wield pacifying level 50 dragon priests without necromage or vampirism, with master of the mind via quiet casting and hypnotic gaze.

Agreed regarding the vampires massive bonus to illusion!

If your going to do it i think its worth doing at early levels to completely capitalise on the illusion bonus for your entire playthrough. When you made changes to this build i noticed a big push on early illusion leveling, vampirism is going to do nothing but take this to the next level.

Narmis is correct in saying that its hard to maintain stage one vampirism when trying to level smithing and other crafting skills due to having to wait two days for merchants to re-stock. I found feeding in the drunken hunstman in whiterun helped with this, there's a lazy guy who spends plenty of time in bed here making it feed central.

Another thing to consider is making the college of winterhold the first place you join at very early levels. You may have already noticed that the mages there stock massive amounts of petty soul gems when your level 0-5, usualy 8 - 10 per cycle. But when your level 20+ they only stock 1-4 and sometimes their pre-filled which just costs you more.

My approach to any build that wants to rely on enchanting is to join the college at level 1 and do about 7 - 8  'enchanting services' run for the college enchanter who pays out 250g per run at level 1. This also activates Skyrims cities as you pick up items for him which makes navigation easier during the rest of your playthrough. After about 7 - 8 runs you should have around 70 - 80 empty petty soul gems, once filled this will put a massive dent into the enchanting skill, especially if your under the well rested and mage bonus. (It put me close to 70 in enchanting last time i did it, that does include items i'd disenchanted as i played though).

vampirism boosts more than just illusion once the necromage perk is aquired, at least according to vids i have seen. correct me if im wrong, does stage 4 vampirism mean immunity to frost? frost breathing dragons become a joke and dragonskin means immunity to all non-physical damage where otherwise fire beathing dragons would mean a quick death, or at least a big chunk of health if 80% spell absorption doesnt stop enough. civilians attacking is the only major problem i see with vampirism in general and thats only stage 4, this character can remain undetectable until they can feed im sure.

conveniently the only difference between the 2 best choices of gear, "spellsword" and "mehrunes dagon" is the ring and necklace, easy enough to carry around extra jewelery.

with expert illusion the "thief mage" gear is totally redundant, illusion spells are so cheap with "spellsword" gear the only use for free illusion spells is multiple master illusion spells.

"magebane" was just added for the lulz, would be interesting if it actually turns out to be good. im not sure who else has tried free restoration spells to keep greater ward up indefinitaly.

quicksave + kill merchant + quickload = restock. feels like punishing the merchant for not supplying the right stuff. ironically you need a legendary sword of some kind to 1 hit kill merchants so its a chicken and egg situation.

i would recommend against being a vampire during the crafting stage, and finish the companions questline early to cure lycanthropy forever, allowing for earlier vampirism. personally im not getting vampirism until i get necromage.

finally tried vampirism+necromage, apparently it makes all enchantments 25% stronger. it shows in the active effects, but not on the equipment itself in the items menu. being able to cast 3 dual wield pacify's instead of 2 proved it. dead thrall was cheaper too, because i have armor fortifying conjuration. 29% enchants get boosted to 36%, that means 100% spell cost reduction is achievable with 3 pieces, not 4! thats 1 whole enchant that can be put into another shool of magic for vampires! if you go for 2 free schools of magic, thats 2 enchants saved! please tell me someone knew this already.

crafting gear gets boosted by necromage+vampirism too so i had to test it as well. fortify enchanting potions 37% fortify smithing potions 147%. as for the strongest possible spell cost reduction enchant without using the restoration glitch, 38%! only shows in the active effects, so i assume if you cure the vampirism it reverts to what shows on the equipment itself, 31%.

casting spells and looking at the cost of each spell shows whats in the active effects is indeed correct.

for those wanting to play a vampire this will require different gear, different  perks too if one chooses to make 2 schools of magic free.


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