This page details an overview of the Illusion skill in Skyrim, including recommended perks, leveling tips, and where to find Illusion trainers.
The higher your Illusion Skill Score is, the lower the Magicka cost of Illusion spells. Illusion spells allow you to cause fear, incite rage, pacify or bolster creatures of a certain level. Purchasing perks in this skill tree will increase the maximum level of affected creatures, allow your spells to influence different types of creatures and make all your spells cast silently.
Illusion spells influence the minds of others, typically allowing you to cause them to go berserk, become passive, or to induce fear or bravery. Unlike most skill trees, you won’t get the most mileage out of Illusion by simply strapping on some Magicka cost reducing armor. The best spells in the tree, the aforementioned mind-affecting effects, have level limits… limits which are raised by buying various perks. To get the most out of this spell skill you’re going to need to invest some perks into it, and it’s worth considering, as the master level spells can actually be quite effective. There’s also several spells that help with skulduggery, like Muffle and Invisibility. An invisible character who has invested a few perks into the Sneak tree is unlikely to be detected, so long as you don’t run into an enemy.
Unlike many spell skills, Illusion does actually have some appeal as an effective combat choice, at least once you invest around eight perks into the skill. After that commitment you can get the master-level Illusion spells to work on some pretty strong enemies - anything short of Draugr Death Overlords, higher-level NPCs, and Dragons. Take the required throwaway perk Novice Illusion to get to Hypnotic Gaze, Aspect of Terror, Rage, Animage, Kindred Mage, Quiet Casting, and of course, Master of the Mind.
If you are aching to make a “controller” spell-caster build, Illusion has some of the most effective spells in the game, and one of the highest perk requirements to bring any tree up to snuff. There are some issues, however. First, all Master spells take a long time to cast, which means it’s very likely that they’ll get interrupted. The solution, of course, is to sneak, and in this Illusion has a helping hand in the Quiet Casting perk. This isn’t foolproof, and it does beg the question… if you’re already sneaking, why not start out with a sneak attack?
A high-powered weapon will be killing almost any enemy in just a few hits, after all, and since you’re going to want a good damage-dealing option to make good on any opportunities opened up by the Illusion spells you cast, and since weapons kill enemies so quickly, casting those Illusion spells just seems like adding another step before the quick and painless slaughter begins. It’s also worth pointing out that Alteration’s Mass Paralysis spell is a very good control spell with absolutely no perk requirement whatsoever.
If you want to diversify (if not necessarily improve) your build with Illusion spells, invest in the perks mentioned in the first paragraph. Otherwise, you can ignore this spell skill entirely outside of personal preference.
Take the typical spell-leveling tactic of creating armor that reduces your Magicka costs to nothing, then simply run around casting Muffle. Easy-peasy.
Illusion Trainer Locations¶
|Expert (Lv. 51 - 75)
|Largashbur (Orc stronghold west of Riften)
|Master (Lv. 76 - 90)
|College of Winterhold