Elder Scrolls
Elder Scrolls

Greater Ward is an Adept-level restoration spell in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.


Greater Ward acts as a magic shield for blocking spells and reducing physical damage by increasing the caster's defense. In order to cast the spell, it must to be charged up to full strength. The shield does not block physical attacks such as arrows or melee weapons, only spells and other magical attacks are absorbed. Enemy spell-casters frequently use this spell if their opponent also casts magic. Of the three ward spells, Greater Ward ranks first, with Steadfast Ward and Lesser Ward ranking below it.


Mage builds employ wards best, especially if they do not have high skill levels or perks invested in the Light Armor or Heavy Armor skills. Additionally, wards are effective against necromancers and other mages who cast Destruction spells. Wards can also dispel magic damage inflicted by soul gem traps.

Summoning atronachs or undead may make better "shields" than wards for an armor-less mage. Employing this option also frees up a hand for double casting Destruction spells. 

It could easily be argued that this ward, as well as the others, is a very specialized type of defensive spell with limited applications. The majority of attacks that just about any player will face in the game will be physical rather than magical, and while the greater ward will add 80 points to the player's armor rating when cast, archers and nearby melee attackers can quickly negate those 80 points because the ward does not literally block arrows or the weapons of melee attackers. It is all very well for a skilled player to be so equipped that he or she can project and maintain a ward at no cost more or less indefinitely, but this simply is not necessary very often, nor is it the only way to deal with a spell-casting enemy mage. An alternative method would be for the player to use a shield enchanted with Resist Magic coupled with the Elemental Protection perk, which decreases incoming fire, frost, and shock damage by 50%. The shield will provide the player with protection from magical as well as physical attacks simultaneously while utilizing just one piece of equipment, leaving the other hand free to use a weapon or a spell. Admittedly, it is fun and challenging for a player to test his or her skills against an enemy mage by using only magical defensive and offensive abilities, but frankly such straightforward, one on one encounters are fairly rare. It is much more common for a player to be outnumbered by a diverse group of antagonists like the Forsworn, for example, and such groups frequently have semi-skilled spellcasters along with archers and melee attackers. In these situations, even a continuous ward will only provide protection from enemy spellcasters, while the enchanted shield/block perk mentioned earlier will provide protection from all attackers. 

However, wards also block shouts, which can prove very useful against draugr and some dragons, even a lesser ward can stop the player from being throw around or disarmed. Wards can be used to block the poison attacks of Frostbite Spiders and Chaurus, as the game classes them as spells. Additionally, you move faster while casting a ward than you do while raising a shield, unless the Block Runner perk is gained.

Spell tome[]

Restoration Skill Book


  • Weight: 1 WeightIcon.png
  • Value: 341 Gold
  • See Spell Tome for a complete table of spell tomes, their descriptions, and their values.



  • To maintain the spell indefinitely, assign it to one hand. Then, in the other hand, assign a one-shot projectile Destruction spell, such as Incinerate, Ice Spike, or Firebolt. Fully charge the ward. Once it has, charge up and fire the selected Destruction spell. Almost immediately after doing so, sheathe the spell while keeping the ward's respective button held down. The result should be that the Dragonborn is merely standing there, empty-handed, with a ward projected before themselves and no magicka lost. While this is active, you cannot sprint, attack, or jump without deactivating it. This trick is very useful against dragons, since the ward blocks dragonbreath and apparently, also Dragon Shouts like the Drain Vitality shout that the legendary dragons are so fond of using.