- For similar spells in other games, see Shield.
Mage Armor denotes a perk and corresponding spells from the Alteration School of Magic in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Serving as Skyrim's counterpart of the Shield spell from previous titles, Mage Armor spells boost the armor class of the caster and may be dual-casted.
Requiring "Apprentice Alteration" to unlock, "Mage Armor" can have three total points allotted to it, at levels 30, 50, and 70 respectively. The perk causes protection spells like Stoneflesh to become twice as strong if the caster is not wearing armor (+0.5x per additional rank). Clothing, robes, hoods, rings, amulets, and circlets constitute as non-armor pieces under this perk. Although labeled as Light Armor, some circlets, such as Diadem of the Savant, still permit the armor class bonuses offered by "Mage Armor." In addition, equipping a shield will still allow the full bonus of Mage Armor, allowing the Dragonborn to boost the armor rating to a higher degree.
Mage Armor spells bolster the caster's defense against physical blows. When cast, a glowing teal light encompasses the caster, fortifying them. Five Mage Armor spells exist in total; the name of each spell denotes its potency, weaker materials signify weaker spells. Ranked from lowest to highest, they are:
Effectiveness of perks
Allocating perks to "Mage Armor" increases the protection offered by Mage Armor spells so long as no armor is worn. The perk "Alteration Dual Casting" will double the duration the spell lasts for. "Novice-," "Apprentice-," "Adept-," "Expert-," and "Master Alteration" all decrease spell costs when the corresponding Mage Armor spell has been cast. Furthermore, the perk "Stability" extends the duration of Mage Armor spells by 50%.
Mage-based classes benefit from Mage Armor spells. Due to lowered carrying capacity, mages struggle to lug around heavy pieces of armor. "Ebonyflesh," outfitted with three "Mage Armor" perks, reaches an armor class total of 300. One downfall of Mage Armor spells lies in their limited duration. It may be difficult to switch between offensive spells and Mage Armor spells during battle to protect against melee blows. Conversely, Mage Armor spells can make close combat situations easier, especially when wielding some Bound Weapons or when Soul Trapping at melee range. Coupling Mage Armor spells with cloak spells such as Lightning Cloak causes foes to take damage per second from the cloak, while shielding the caster from the physical blows of the target.
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