Magic users are among the most fun characters to play in any RPG. They’re always pretty feeble and vulnerable at the start of the game, but by the end, they’re the ones capable of unleashing the most spectacular, fantastical attacks. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is, of course, no exception.

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Developing a powerful mage in Skyrim requires care and patience at the start of the adventure. A lack of armor and low health makes mages vulnerable even to mud crabs in the early game, but they’re a formidable character build later on. Part of the process of realizing the potential of a mage is finding, stealing, looting, earning and crafting the right equipment. To that end, here are some items that mages should look out for.

10 Bloodthorn

Hag's End in Skyrim

This unique dagger is enchanted with a Soul Trap spell. If an enemy dies within three seconds of being struck by Bloodthorn, their soul is absorbed into a Soul Gem carried by the wielder. It also looks pretty awesome when modded.

While Soul Gems aren’t necessarily important for all types of mage, for the all-round complete magic user, they are extremely useful both for enchanting items and for recharging staves. Find Bloodthorn on an altar on a balcony in Hag’s End, which is accessed via Deepwood Redoubt in the mountains directly north of Karthwasten and directly west of Dragon Bridge.

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9 Potion Of Regenerate, Fortify & Restore Magicka

a character in hooded robes mixing potions in Skyrim

The most commonly used potions among mages, regardless of their specialization, are those that restore that all-important Magicka, and this recipe restores Magicka in three separate ways at the same time.

Brew this potion using:

  • Jazbay Grapes, commonly found on rocky terrain near hot springs.
  • Briar Hearts, which can be pickpocketed or looted from Forsworn Briarhearts (common in The Reach, the western region of Skyrim around Markarth).
  • Moon Sugar, which is rare, but can always be bought from Khajiit caravans. Look for them outside Dawnstar, Markarth, Riften, Solitude, Whiterun and Windhelm.

8 The Black Star

the Shrine of Azura in Skyrim

This Daedric artifact acts like a reusable Soul Gem, capable of absorbing both white souls and black souls. This makes it very useful for enchanters and staff users, especially when used in conjunction with Bloodthorn or the Mace Of Molag Bal.

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The Black Star can only be acquired on the quest of the same name, which is started by visiting the Shrine Of Azura, high in the mountains directly south of Winterhold. At the end of the quest, give the Broken Azura’s Star to Nelacar in Winterhold’s Frozen Hearth Inn, and he will transform it into the Black Star before giving it back.

7 Mage’s Circlet

a female mage wearing the Mage's Circlet in Skyrim

This circlet simply grants the wearer additional Magicka, but the amount of Magicka is dependent on the level of the character when the circlet is first obtained. It’s awarded to the player for completing the “Good Intentions” quest, which is part of the main College Of Winterhold questline.

In order to get the maximum 70 Magicka bonus from the Mage’s Circlet, the player needs to be at least level 25 upon completing “Good Intentions”, so it’s best to hold off until at least level 24 before starting that quest.

6 Mace Of Molag Bal

the Mace of Molag Bal in Skyrim

This might seem like too heavy a weapon for most mages, but it has excellent benefits for any magic user interested in using staves or enchanting items. Not only does it inflict heavy Stamina and Magicka damage, it also casts Soul Trap.

It’s awarded to the player upon completion of “The House Of Horrors” quest, which begins and ends in the abandoned house in Markarth. The player must kill Logrolf to complete the quest and receive the mace.

5 Ahzidal’s Ring of Arcana

Kolbjorn Barrow in Skyrim

This unique ring grants the wearer the power to cast two awesome destruction spells, Ignite and Freeze, neither of which can be learned in any other way. Ignite and Freeze are similar to Firebolt and Ice Spike respectively, but cost less Magicka and are more powerful.

The ring is obtained inside Kolbjorn Barrow on Solstheim, during the quest “Unearthed.” Find Kolbjorn Barrow southeast of Raven Rock and speak to Ralis Sedarys to begin the quest. After the third investment (of 3,000 gold), and clearing the barrow of Draugr, continue along the passage and up the stairs to a large room. Light all of the floor tiles simultaneously (using Whirlwind Sprint or Slow Time) to open the gate and retrieve the ring.

4 Gloves, Boots & Necklace Of Peerless Destruction

a mage casting lightning in Skyrim

The fact is that, as a general rule, it’s more efficient to reduce the cost of casting spells than to increase the amount of Magicka the caster has. It’s even possible to equip four items of Peerless Destruction (or any other school of magic), effectively meaning that spells from that school never deplete Magicka.

Many players regard this as cheating – it certainly makes things boringly easy – but using three items to reduce casting cost by 25% each is generally regarded as fair game. Besides, there are no interesting unique gloves, boots, or necklaces for mages, so do-it-yourself enchantment is the best way to go.

3 Miraak’s Staff

Miraak in Skyrim

This staff is enchanted with the unique effect Mora’s Agony. This allows the player to conjure poisonous, impassable tentacles out of the ground, which is really useful for mages because it can be used to prevent enemies from getting close and striking the player. The poison they inflict is pretty handy too.

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The staff is looted from the remains of Miraak after the player defeats him at the end of the Dragonborn questline. The only other way to get the Mora’s Agony power is by reading the Black Book at the end of the “Black Book: Hidden Twilight” quest.

2 Staff Of Magnus

a mage holding the Staff of Magnus in Skyrim

This staff drains Magicka from its target, which replenishes the magic power of the player wielding it, while also rendering magic using enemies much less harmful. Once the target has been fully drained of Magicka (or if they don’t have any in the first place), the staff instead drains their Health at a notably faster rate than any vampiric powers.

The staff is obtained during the quest of the same name, which forms part of the main College Of Winterhold questline. The player must use it to destroy the Eye Of Magnus at the climax of the questline, and can keep it after the quest is complete.

1 Archmage’s Robes

Savos Aren in Skyrim

Only the Arch-Mage of the College of Winterhold (the most powerful mage in Skyrim, at least officially) is allowed to wear these robes, which should be a fair indication of how good they are. They reduce the cost of all spells by 15% and give hefty bonuses to both Magicka and Magicka regeneration.

No other clothing in the game comes close to the power of the Archmage’s Robes. The only way to receive them is to get promoted to Arch-Mage, and the only way to do that is to complete the main College Of Winterhold questline.

NEXT: Skyrim: The Best & Worst Things About Playing A Mage

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