Skyrim Character Building » Discussions

Character Build: The Sorcerer

Tags: #Character Build Elementalist  #Character Build Sorcerer  #Character Build Enchanter  #Rank:Legendary 
  • June 18, 2012

    Steel plated armor is locked in limbo over on the wrong side of the smithing tree. It’s always annoyed me because it’s one of the most loved sets in the game. For this build I decided to stick my finger up at the oddities of the smithing skill tree and spend some time with one of the most powerful classes from the elder scrolls series.

    The Sorcerer

    Besting even the most well-equipped fighters, Sorcerers rely on the spells of the mystic arts. Unique to these mages is the bodily stamina to be armed with the thickest armor. Sorcerers also possess the unique ability to absorb spell points from spells targeted at them, serving in essence as magical batteries.

    Sorcerers are adept at the use of a wide variety of weapons and armor, but typically do not utilize shields, preferring to keep their hands free for defensive spellcasting instead, their speciality.

    Race: Any

    Stone: Lord or Atronach

    Major Skills: Enchanting, Conjuration, Destruction, Restoration.

    Minor Skills: Heavy Armor, Alteration, Alchemy.

    Weapons: Silver Swords

    Armor: Steel Plated Armor

    Essential Quests: The Black Star, College of Winterhold, Driftshade Refuge, Ironbind Barrow.


    The Build

    The official description has it absolutely spot on; a sorcerer is one of the strongest builds I’ve played in a long time. All the strengths of a mage, yet capable of standing toe to toe with the toughest melee enemies in the game and dishing out some serious pain. I’ve been getting a lot of requests for more details on my perk placements so I’m presenting this build at both level 25 and 50.

    I decided to follow the Oblivion skillset to the letter apart from mysticism which has now been merged with the alteration school in Skyrim.

    It didn’t take me long to realise that playing as a sorcerer in their purest form opens quite a few doors in Skyrim.

    • Sorcerers can function like a fighter but don’t have to worry about any combat perks due to over 90% of their weapon damage being purely magical.
    • A melee attack from a sorcerer completely bypasses any opponents armor rating and cannot be blocked with a shield.
    • Sorcerers do not have to manage stamina during close combat because power attacks actually decrease their damage output due to being slower to execute.
    • Common diseases like 'Rockjoint' and 'Bone Break Fever' can be shrugged off by a sorcerer and have no real impact on their combat effectiveness.
    • Sorcerers are pre-prepared to exploit the elemental weaknesses of their opponents.
    • Although posessing the mage skillset a sorcerer is not dependant on magicka during longer battles, favouring their weaponry instead.
    • Because sorcerers are highly skilled in enchanting they also have a natural resistance to enchanted weaponry used against them, this ranges from 1 - 15% depending on the sorcerers enchanting level.


    Skyrim provides the perfect weapons for a sorcerer, silver swords!

    Silver weapons can’t be smithed and do low physical damage so nobody thinks to use them much. In the hands of a sorcerer however they come alive! They carry a permanent +20 damage to the undead and once imbued with fire they are absolutely devastating against draugr, vampires, trolls, and frost dragons. It just so happens that they also look perfect with our chosen armor set and are light weight allowing you to carry three or four of them for different situations.

    Enchanting is this builds core skill, it governs how much damage our weaponry is capable of doing and the elemental perks synergise with the destruction schools corresponding augmentations creating some very strong items.

    The Black Star should be considered an essential artefact for this build allowing for consistant charges on all the sorcerers chosen weaponry.

    When a mage runs out of magicka they are forced into recovery, this is never a problem for a sorcerer and they can happily unleash their entire magicka tank at the enemy before engaging them in melee with powerful enchanted weaponry.



    At enchanting level 60 (around character level 12) a sorcerer should choose to specialise in one or more schools of magic. Spellcost in a single school can potentially be reduced by up to 80% at this point. 

    A sorcerer who specialises in destruction magic will be an almost unstoppable combatant gaining the important augmentation perks earlier and bolstering the elemental damage of their weapons. The weapons of a destruction sorcerer will also burn through charges much slower allowing for near limitless use in combat.

    A sorcerer who specialises in conjuration can call upon a tide of minions during battle and capture souls quickly to improve their vital enchanting core skill. A summoner arrogantly sets their sites on the ‘Twin Souls’ master perk and strides forth.





    A restoration sorcerer will be able to tank through scores of enemies easily and their heavy armor rating will improve faster than the other professions. Although not as offensive, a restoration sorcerer will almost certainly be the last man standing after serious battle. They will also be even greater undead killers due to obtaining the necromage perk earlier.

    Reducing the cost of alterations shield spells a little is also a good move for a sorcerer focusing more on restoration.

    A patient sorcerer seeking balance may choose to devote time to two or more specialisations.





    In previous games the trademark of a sorcerer was spell absorption; unfortunately any absorption in Skyrim interferes with casting atronachs and using the sanguine rose. Those who want to use the atronach stone may wish to create a dark sorcerer and pursue necromancy instead.


    Perk Placement - Level 25

    Stat Placement - Magicka 1 / Health 1 / Stamina 0

    So this was my sorcerer at level 25, he showed a massive early dominance over undead opponents due to his flaming silver sword, even at level 12 I was hitting draugr for upwards of 60 damage per strike. My other silver sword was imbued with frost for dealing with fire dragons. I also kept a dragon priest dagger with a level 21 fear effect ready in case I encountered anything I couldn’t handle; it came in handy against a rogue chaurus reaper I ran into near Morthal.

    I chose to hybridise my sorcerer evenly between destruction and restoration (40% reduction for each). Armor rating is sitting pretty at around 300 (including lord stone and stoneflesh) it would be simple to increase this even further by tossing some corundum ingots at my plated armor prior to enchanting.

    Synergised Weaponry

    At around level 30 a sorcerer should be ready to take the 'Extra Effect' perk and will have placed points into either augmented fire/frost/shock from destruction. A very powerful synergy exists between these perks.

    A weapon created with fire will already be enhanced by 50% for an enchanter skilled in destruction magic (Augmented Flames 2/2) thus creating a flaming weapon with a 50% magnitude bonus.

    However, when we add on our second enchantment that same bonus is added again, so if we add absorb health (normally at 20 for a master enchanter) it becomes 30, the same as a fully enhanced Ebony Blade.

    The same goes for the Fear, Turn Undead, and Banish enchantments, their maximum magnitude is usually locked at 25 but gets increased by 50% taking them to 37 when combined with a sorcerers chosen element giving you command over the strongest creatures in the game.

    If the sorcerer has Augmented fire 2/2 and Augmented shock 2/2 they can then create a fully synergised weapon. Placing a fire and shock enchantment on a weapon at this stage will create a chaos weapon with 100% increased damage in both elements, all four of your augmentation perks will be activated in its creation. This is sorcery...



    Perk Placement - Level 50

    A sorcerer has two character defining perks, twin souls and extra effect. These two perks basically double your effectiveness in battle.

    Destruction and restoration are kept at adept level, destructions area of effect spells are easier to target and restorations close wounds is more than enough to stay alive.

    Armor rating is very high by this point, approaching 500 and a fully synergised silver sword is capable of 150 damage per strike.



    Alchemy is this builds wild card, opening up some effective potions that can seriously maximise your elemental offense. These are some recipes that hyperdrive your weapon during boss and dragon fights.

    Name: Trollbane

    Ingredients: Bleeding Crown, Deathbell & Juniper Berries

    Effects: Weakness to Fire/Weakness to Poison



    Name: Magebane

    Ingredients: Bleeding Crown, Bee & Giant Lichen

    Effects: Weakness to Shock/Weakness to Poison



    Name: Dragonbane

    Ingredients: Bleeding Crown, Ice Wraith Teeth & Abecean Longfin

    Effects: Weakness to Frost/Weakness to Fire/Weakness to Poison


    As pointed out earlier this build is also highly suitable for a dark sorcerer by switching out atronachs for necromancy instead, benifits of this change would include:-

    • 2 additional perks saved.
    • Ability to use the atronach stone with no penalties making you a very complete sorcerer.
    • Raise the strongest undead in the game (lvl50) due to the necromage perks 25% bonus.

    Demonstration Video

    Many thanks to Matt Vieira!

  • Member
    June 15, 2013

    I going to be doing this build after I'm done with my current playthrough.

    How am I supposed to get Enchanting to 100 by Lv.30?My current character is around Lv. 70,and his Enchanting is around 75. 

    Otherwise,+1 like.

  • Member
    June 15, 2013

    With dragonborn, (to the best of my knowledge) by enchanting some of neloth (spelling?) staff, some will instantly level it 100

  • Member
    June 17, 2013

    I trying to make a paralyze staff,since it is very valuable;but Neloth NEVER has any unenchanted Alteration staves.

  • Member
    June 17, 2013

    You can find a guaranteed Staff of Paralysis in the Snapleg Cave 

  • Member
    June 17, 2013
    So do I need to wait till I get augmentation perks before I enchant my swords?
  • June 17, 2013
    The destruction augmentation perks will automatically increase the damage, before or after you make the weapon so it does not matter. But, of course, you do need the enchanting perks before enchanting the weapons. :D
  • Member
    June 17, 2013

    Just started this build, finally...feels so strange not putting perks into 1 handed when I use a sword as my main attack. Question....was it really worth it to use the silver swords on everything, or would you keep a glass sword (enchanted of course) for dragons and bandits...leaving the silver sword for just the "undead"? Also, did you go hunting for the silver hand to collect their swords, or did you join the companions and kill the silver hand that you came across during your questing for them?

  • Member
    June 19, 2013

    I'm not a fan of using poisons...don't know why...just never really liked using them...always a pain to go find them, apply them to weapon, then swing.  So I dropped alchemy and put those points into armsman, just to make me feel better, and make me feel like my sword is doing more than just holding an enchant...especially with an already low damage weapon like silver swords.  This gave me the effect of doing a bit more damage before the enchant goes into effect. 

  • ICE
    June 26, 2013

    damn very very unique build you got there mason