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Character Build: The Staff Magister

Tags: #Character Build Necromancer  #Character Build Elementalist  #Character Build Summoner  #Race:Breton  #Rank:Recognized  #Clain's Builds 
  • Member
    March 18, 2016

    The Staff Magister

     A torn up journal page, found deep in Saarthal : -These damn rookies from the College are so green. They think they understand magic and sorcery, but they're barely capable of any magical prowess. At least this Tolfdir seems capable. Good thing I came here. Heard there's a nice staff resting in these ruins. I could use it. These hand spells are nothing compared to the raw might of a staff.  

         The College seems like a nice place. Probably a good place to find sources of power and pursue my experiments. Because I still need to find it. The Staff of Magnus. If I could harness such power, the possibilities would be infinite...

    What I always disliked about mages in Skyrim is the lack of staff-wielders. I always preferred staves than spells. Much more intimidating. I wanted to make a staff-based build. This build really helped me discover the capabilities of a mage. This was my first ''completed'' mage playthrough and I enjoyed it quite a lot. Hope you like it as much as I did...

    The Build

    Race : Breton. Great magic skill bonuses. Bretons also have Dragonskin, which I used quite a lot.

    Stats : 3/1/0. Keep this rate the whole playthrough. The magicka is for spells, which is paired with staves and the health is for surviving in this cold-hearted world.

    Stone : Start with the Lover Stone, because this build has skills in every skill branch. Then switch to the Atronach Stone. The spell absorption and fortify magicka effects are quite useful early on and Restoration perks negate the reduced magicka regeneration effect.

    Shouts (I really didn't use shouts a lot for this build. Switching staves and spells kept me busy, so I didn't give shouts much attention, but here are the ones I occasionally used) Fire Breath, Frost Breath, Dragon Aspect, Slow Time and Storm Call.

    Major Skills :

    • Destruction : To gain more uses from staves and to deal more damage by using spells. I focused on fire and shock spells, runes and staves.
    • Conjuration : Once again to boost staff usage, but also for necromancy. Necromancy will help deal more damage by having a helper of sorts.
    • Restoration : Just for healing purposes.

    Minor Skills :

    • Heavy Armor : Quite useful. Since the Magister has much more magicka than health, Heavy Armor provides some much needed protection.
    • Enchanting : A mage cannot go without enchanting and neither can I.
    • Speech : Pick perks here only if you want better prices.

         As you can see, not a lot of perks have been picked from the Restoration tree. Even with this low amount of perks, you shouldn't have too much trouble healing up, since the Magister doesn't have a very high health value.

    Armor and Jewlery :

    • Ancient Nord Armor (Fortify Destruction, Fortify Magicka Regen)
    • Steel Nordic Gauntlets (Fortify Magicka, Fortify Carry Weight)
    • Steel Cuffed Boots (Fortify Carry Weight, Resist Shock)
    • Unenchanted Mage Hood (Fortify Conjuration, Fortify Destruction)
    • Necklace (Fortify Destruction, Fortify Health)
    • Ring (Fortify Restoration, Fortify Conjuration)

    Weapons :

    • The Staff of Jyrik Gauldurson
    • The Skull of Corruption
    • The Staff of Magnus
    • The Eye of Melka
    • Staff of the Flame/Storm Atronach
    • The Sanguine Rose
    • Staff of Soul Trapping

          Now with all of these skill enchantments, the Magister can reduce the cost of his spells and have more uses with his staves. I didn't want to get a 100% Fortify Destruction or Conjuration effect for this build to have unlimited staff uses, but to have an all-around good reduction. The Fortify Restoration enchantment is purely to reduce spell cost. The Fortify Carry Weight enchantment is to cope with the pretty high amount of staves and the heavy armor you're carrying. For each piece of equipment, the first enchantment is the one you should use at first. The second enchantment should be added when you reach 100 enchanting. The best way to level up enchanting is to take normal weapons and enchant them with Soul Trap under the effect of The Mage Stone and rested bonuses.

         This Ancient Nordic Armor and the Steel Gauntlets/Boots can be found prety early on as well as the unenchated Mage Hood, which can be bought from Colette Marence at the College. Even though these armor pieces aren't the strongest, they will provide decent protection when paired with Heavy Armor perks. It gives off a nice look for the Magister.


         The first staff you'll want to pick up is the Staff of Jyrik Gauldurson, which can be obtained almost immediately when starting the College of Winterhold questline. It will however become obsolete quite rapidly, so switch to the Eye of Melka and the Skull of Corruption. They can also both be aquired early in the game, but the Eye will have a ridiculously low charge at that point. Since the Skull of Corruption isn't governed by any magic skill, it has a pretty high number of uses, even at the beginning of the game. You'll just have to power it up with dreams. The Atronach Staves should be used when magicka is too low and when necromancy can't be used, like in dwarven ruins. Finally the Staff of Magnus will be used to drain magicka (obviously) and the Staff of Soul Trapping to keep your supply of soul gems steady. I used Azura's Star along with other soul gems, but you'll definitely want to pick up that artifact.

         The first thing I want to emphasize is the 100% spell absorption effect I was looking for. Simply by combining the 50% spell absorption buff from the Atronach Stone with the Dragonskin ability, a temporary total magic defense can be used by the Magister.

    Magical Dominance : Atronach Stone + Dragonskin + Staff of Magnus + Shock spells. Using Magical Dominance, the Magister gains complete control over magical forces around him. The Magister gains total magical defense, which also absorbs magic energy from incoming spells. Using the Staff of Magnus and shock spells, an even greater amount of magicka can be drained and ravaged from an enemy's magicka supply. No mage can survive this dominance.

         The Staff Magister is talented in all magic schools. Necromancy and summoning techniques are some of his specialties. These can be used to increase this wizard's damage output by using thralls. Since the Magister doesn't use hirelings and followers, having a demon and/or a revenant to fight for you is crucial in a tight situation. 

     Abyssal Wrath : Slow Time + Twin Souls + Staff of the Flame/Storm Atronach + Any Necromantic Reviving Spell + Skull of Corruption. The Staff Magister is capable of controlling time itself. He travels through the currents of time to bring back dead creatures and demons to fight for him. He is also able to overpower enemies with nightmares, having total control over life forces.

         Don't forget, the Staff Magister is a powerful mage, one that is able to fully grasp the power of the most raw form of power and energy. Fire. A very strong element any mage can use to cause havoc, but no fire mage can bind spells that compare with the ones the Magister can use. Using fire to wreak chaos across the battlefield, the Magister can become a walking inferno.

    Hail of Carnage : Augmented Flames + Fire Rune + Flame Cloak + Fire Breath + Fireball/Firebolt + Eye of Melka. Taking control over every heat source surrounding him, the Magister burns anything, living or not, to a crisp with blistering heat. All flea in terror from this chaotic sight. And those that are left standing perish by the blazing hand of the Magister.

         This very talented warlock also has to learn healing techniques, since he is no alchemist and doesn't make much use of potions. Priests of the Divines can only dream of possessing such mastery over Restoration magic. An ability you'll want to acquire is Sailor's Repose, which can be obtained by completing the miscellaneous Frostflow Lighthouse murder investigation quest. Sailor's Repose makes healing spells heal 10% more. So along with Regeneration, which makes healing spells cure 50% more, a decent 60% healing increase can be used.

    Well of Healing : Regeneration + Sailor's Repose + Fast Healing. They'll swear they've killed him, but there stands the Magister, stronger than ever. Like a spirit, the Staff Magister quicly restores his health and energy, ready to destroy again.


         While playing as the Staff Magister, play as a good guy, but don't be a happy-to-go-fetch-your-stuff character,but don't steal or harm innocents and defend the common man. Of course you'll want to join the College of Winterhold. Join the Companions can help, as a master heavy armor trainer becomes available. So joining them is an option, even they don't focus on magic. Refrain from joining the Thieves Guild and destroy the Dark Brotherhood. Fight for whatever side you think is right in the civil war. Pursue any quest that involves magic. The Staff Magister is also a knowledge-seeking character, so try to collect lots of books. Everybody might not like this aspect of the build, but I do. As such, you'll need to have a house with a lot of bookshelves to store your books and tomes, like Proudspire Manor or Vlindrel Hall.

         As I specified in the Tactics section, The Staff Magister doesn't really benefit from a follower. They mostly just get in the way of explosive spells like runes and fireball. This is why you should use necromancy and atronachs. Feel free to get married and adopt children, if you have the Heartfire DLC.

         Hunt for Daedric artifacts and other treasures, especially Azura's Star, as mentioned earlier. With decent Fortify Carry Weight enchantments, you'll be able to carry quite a bit of loot to sell off. You can also try to become Thane of every hold to become some sort of High Court Wizard. 

    Important quests : Main Questline, College of Winterhold, Frostflow Lighthouse (to get Sailor's Repose), The Black Star, Waking Nightmare, A Night to Remember, The Book of Love, The Heart of Dibella (especially useful as a female character) and any other quest you like !

    Recommended mods (all available on the Steam Workshop):

    • Helmetless Combat Perks, by sp0ckrates : Very useful to gain more from your armor, as full-body heavy-armor perks won't require a helmet. You might as well flush the Speech perks and use them in here. 
    • SkyUI, by Psychosteve, Mardoxx, and snakster : Mostly for the ''Group'' part of the favorites menu. Very practical to change staves/spells quickly.
    • Bandoliers - Bags and Pouches, by Cyrax : Having some more strorage to carry your staves and loot is a must !

    Final Note

    I just wan't to say that i really enjoyed planning, writing and especially playing this build ! As my first mage playthrough it has been quite an experience and I hope you like this build as much as I did ! This is only my second build and I'll try to keep 'em coming !

  • March 18, 2016

    First off, I love your pictures. They can be a HUGE part of a build, but a lot of people use the generic ones that you can see in every other build, but these I haven't really seen before.

    I don't think we have a lot of staff builds, so good for you for thinking outside our little box here. I'm a fan of the character you've made here, this kind of arrogant staff-empowered mage, but I feel you could have pushed staffs even further. While I can understand not wanting to do staff enchanting over with Neloth on Solstheim, potions like Fortify Restoration and Fortify Destruction are incredibly powerful when used with staffs, even a Fortify Conjuration potion can help. Then again, I use Alchemy in most of my builds, so I'm a little biased but I would still say that staffs are one area that is massively helped along by Alchemy.

    The tactics section is also well-written and you explain the entire build well. Maybe not in the most exciting voice, but you definitely don't get boring. I would still advise you to work on your writing voice a little bit.

    But, in any case, this is a very nice early build overall with some cool ideas. +1

  • Member
    March 18, 2016

    Get this to legendary real quick, everyone. Awesomeness +1.

  • Member
    March 18, 2016

    Dragon Age icons 

  • Member
    March 18, 2016

    "Unenchanted Mage Hood" - starts to list enchantments. I know how this is ment, but that made me giggle.

  • Member
    March 18, 2016

    I never played a staff mage interesting. perhaps the wabbajack

  • Member
    March 18, 2016
    Thanks a lot ! And I like your suggestions. Potions might work but honestly, I am completely incapable of using Alchemy. Maybe I'll challenge myself for my next build...
  • Member
    March 18, 2016
    You know it !
  • Member
    March 18, 2016
    Wow thanks Mortiferous !
  • Member
    March 18, 2016
    Haha didn't think about it ! :)