Sorcerer Class Guide

Sorcerer GuideSorcerer class is a powerful caster in The Elder Scrolls Online who mainly uses magical skills and spells to destroy or weaken enemies. Anyone who likes casting spells and other magical powers and overall prefers the “mage” play style will definitely fall in love with Sorcerers. If you want to control the forces of nature, conjure dark minions to do your bidding, and dominate in PvE or PvP combat be sure to take a closer look at this exciting class!

Sorcerer Skill Trees

Same as with the other ESO classes, Sorcerers have access to three class specific skill lines, each of which offers a unique set of spells. The three skill sets are Dark Magic, Daedric Summoning and Storm Calling, each of which has its own strengths and weaknesses.

  Dark Magic Daedric Summon Storm Calling




















Crowd Control




If you want to create a perfect Sorcerer class build be sure to take a closer look at the spells in each skill line below!

ESO Sorcerer Builds

Learn about the most powerful Sorcerer class builds from top raiders and PvPers. Top DPS, tanking, and healing builds all in one place, along with hundreds of useful tips about raiding, dungeons, delves, leveling, PvP, weapons, spell rotations, and more…

Full Sorcerer class guide »

Sorcerer Dark Magic skill tree - using Negate Magic in PvPDark Magic

Dark Magic skill line is primarily focused on control, knock back and damage dealing. Various debuffs and crowd control (CC) in Dark Magic will help keep enemies at a distance, all the while destroying their health pools. Take a look at the full list of spells below.

  • Ultimate:
    • Negate Magic – extremely powerful spell dispels all magic effects in an area, and also silences and damages nearby enemies.
  • Active Abilities:
    • Crystal Shard – deals magic damage and knocks down a single enemy.
    • Encase – immobilizes enemies in front of you for a short time.
    • Rune Prison – disorients an enemy for a moderate duration.
    • Dark Exchange – converts your available stamina into health and magicka.
    • Daedric Mines – conjures several mines which damage and immobilize nearby enemies.
  • Passive Abilities:
    • Unholy Knowledge – reduces magicka and stamina costs of all spells.
    • Blood Magic – you restore a percentage of your max health every time you hit an enemy with Dark Magic spells.
    • Persistence – increases the duration of your Dark Magic spells.
    • Exploitation – increases your critical strike rating when you attack an enemy affected by Dark Magic.

Sorcerer Daedric Summoning skill tree - Storm AtronachDaedric Summoning

Spells in this tree allow you to summon helpful creatures and minions, curse your enemies and use protective spells. The downside to Daedric Summoning is that you basically sacrifice your own damage and defense to make your minions more powerful. They can however do a lot of damage themselves which is why this skill line is also good for leveling.

  • Ultimate:
    • Summon Storm Atronach – summons an immobile creature to a targeted location, which also stuns nearby monsters on impact and deals damage to them. With synergy allies can use Charged Lightning to deal additional Shock damage with their attacks and prolong the duration of Storm Atronach.
  • Active Abilities:
    • Unstable Familiar – summons a familiar which attacks your enemies. Also reduces your max magicka by 10% while the minion is active.
    • Daedric Curse – curses your enemy an causes your target and all nearby enemies to take magic damage after a short duration.
    • Summon Winged Twilight – summons a Winged Twilight minion which attacks your enemies. While active your maximum magicka is reduced by 10%.
    • Bound Armor – toggled spell which increases your armor while active, and reduces max magicka by 10%.
    • Conjured Ward – creates a damage-absorbing shield on yourself and all your summoned creatures.
  • Passive Abilities:
    • Rebate – you receive 10% max magicka when one of your summoned creatures dies.
    • Power Stone – reduces the cost of your ultimate abilities.
    • Daedric Protection – increases your health regeneration if you have any summoning ability on your action bar.
    • Expert Summoner – your minions gain additional bonuses (increased damage for Winged Twilight, increased movement speed for Familiar and Clannfear, increased range for Atronach).

Note that you can have a summoned minion and a Storm Atronach at any given time.

Sorcerer Storm Calling skill tree - Mage's Fury spellStorm Calling

Storm Calling is the basic offensive tree for Sorcerers and Sorceress, primarily consisting of lightning spells good for both PvE and PvP combat. A full list of all available spells in Storm Calling tree is below, which should help give you further insight when planning your Sorcerer build.

  • Ultimate:
    • Overload – toggled spell which replaces your basic attacks with empowered ones.
  • Active Abilities:
    • Mage’s Fury – deals shock damage to target, and if the target falls below 20% health within 4 seconds it explodes for additional damage.
    • Lightning Form – increases your armor and spell resistance, all the while dealing damage to all nearby enemies.
    • Lightning Splash – leaves a pool of lightning in an area which deals shock damage to enemies. Allies can activate Conduit synergy, instantly dealing shock damage.
    • Surge – increases your weapon damage for a medium duration.
    • Bolt Escape – teleports your Sorcerer forward and stuns nearby enemies for a short duration.
  • Passive Abilities:
    • Capacitator – permanently increases your magicka regeneration.
    • Energized – increases the damage of all your lightning-based spells.
    • Disintegrate – your lightning spells have a chance to disintegrate low-health enemies turning them into piles of ash.
    • Expert Mage – reduces the cost of all your lightning spells.

Remember, you are limited by your action bar and can only use several abilities at any given time. It’s important to carefully plan your character for whatever playstyle you prefer and make sure you morph the right abilities.

Sorcerer Builds

Optimized Sorcerer builds for leveling, dungeons, trials, and PvP, plus hundreds of other tips, tricks, leveling strategies, and more.

Get the builds »


Sorcerers predominantly use Destruction Staves, something that shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. There are however various Sorcerer builds, some of which include a bow or even a two handed mace (though typically on weapon swap). Unless you have a very specific build in mind such as some sort of a battle mage, it might be best to simply stick with staves until you’re more experienced with the game and able to come up with your own amazing builds (at which point, don’t forget to share them in the comments below!).

While the “Battle Mage” build gets thrown around in the community quite often, truth be told it’s just not optimal to deviate too much from “standard” class roles. Sure you can make it work and it will be fun for awhile, but once you swap to Destruction Staff (and especially once you start using Impulse ability) you will likely never go back. It’s just way more optimal in terms of damage and it will make leveling much easier and faster.


The armour of choice for a vast majority of Sorcerers is of course light armor. Magicka regeneration and spell critical are the two most important stats for majority of Sorcerers in The Elder Scrolls Online, which is usually found on light armor. Most Sorcerer builds are Destruction Staff mages, and Light Armor provides exactly the bonuses you need to deal damage.

If you prefer experimenting with bow or melee builds, a 5+2 combination of medium and light armor is the best way to go about it. Despite Sorcerers wishing for it, unfortunately they don’t make particularly good tanks so it’s unlikely you will ever find yourself wearing heavy armor.

Sorcerer Builds

To find optimized Sorcerer builds for leveling, PvP or dungeons we recommend finding them in this more detailed guide, along with tons of other tips, tricks and strategies for Sorcerer players!


Sorcerers spend a majority of their attribute points into increasing their magicka, allowing for a larger magicka pool to spend for casting a multitude of spells and abilities. Magicka is very important for Sorcerers who spec into Daedric Summoning, as summoning minions decreases your maximum amount of magicka. A small amount of stamina is also very helpful, especially for Dark Magic Sorcerers, as the Dark Exchange ability can convert your stamina pool into health and magicka.

Furthermore, having a larger health pool is beneficial as well as it provides more durability to your character, and also synergizes well with Blood Magic passive spell in Dark Magic, which restores a percentage of your maximum health every time you hit an enemy with a Dark Magic spell.

For the most part Sorcerers spend attribute points into magicka, and some points into health can be very helpful as well. Certain builds and skill lines can benefit from a large health pool, and even stamina can be put to good use with some spells. Both Destruction Staff and class skill lines damage increase by having a larger magicka pool, making it a no-brainer choice. If you’re in doubt just dump 40 or even all 50 attribute points into magicka, and then get other stats via enchantments and food.

Recommended Races

Dark Elves, Bretons and High Elves are amongst the most popular of Sorcerers. They are skillful casters and the most suitable Sorcerers due to numerious magicka and spell damage bonuses, but by no means are you required to pick any of those races. Picking a race doesn’t in any way limit your choice of skill trees or funnel you into a particular play style, so simply pick a race which you think looks the best.

Why play a Sorcerer?

The most powerful mages in Elder Scrolls Online are without a doubt Sorcerers. While other classes have access to magical spells (mainly Templars), Sorcerers are the kings of magic with extremely potent and destructive forces and debilitating curses and crowd control. If the path of a mage is your preferred play style then you certainly won’t regret picking a Sorcerer class.

To learn more about the Sorcerer class in Elder Scrolls including more detailed ability descriptions, skill builds, leveling guide, gameplay information, combat tactics and other must-know information be sure to take a look at this comprehensive guide. It’s well worth the read and will help you gain further insight into how to make your Sorcerer most effective!

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43 Responses to Sorcerer Class Guide

  1. Trancecast says:

    You’re missing a Dark Magic ability.Crystal Shard; Deals 29 Magic Damage to enemy and knocks down for 2 seconds. its the first one you get.

  2. tony says:

    I’m thinking of making a tank/pet build

  3. Michael says:

    How many skill point are available at all?
    Do I have to choose one skill tree or are there enough to skill all three of them?

    There are so many possibilities where to put my skill points it is rather hard to decide.

    • admin says:

      Total number of available skill points still hasn’t been confirmed, but it’s been said you can get around 300 at VR10. That should be enough to fully max all 3 class skill trees, all professions and still have some leftover points for armor or other skill lines.

  4. Gregory Jason says:

    I thoroughly enjoy playing as a Sorcerer, since it keeps you away from most enemies which have physical attacks. I started a game with a High Elf Nightblade, bad choice. Then I started over with the same race in this class, leveling and grinding is so much faster, not to mention less death. I mainly use light and medium armors for this class, and destruction staffs as mentioned. Currently experimenting on dual wielding as part of my battle mage thing :)

  5. Slipsoul says:

    Would Sorcerer be good for a ranger build ? an if so what skill line do you think would be best ?

    • admin says:

      I think every class can make a really good ranger build, sorcerers too. You’ll probably want to focus at least some points into Dark Magic for crowd control, so you can keep enemies away from you. Also, while pets have a mind of their own they are still very useful for leveling, so you can try investing into Daedric Summoning as well.

      You have plenty of skill points available and you can always respec later on, so just go ahead and experiment with what works best for you.

  6. Akkale says:

    I actually dislike the destruction staff (except for the knock back spell number 1)i find the destruction staff to be a little useless and leaves you too vulnerable should you get into melee, currently testing shield sword with a restoration staff… So far definitely helps survivabilty and i dont have to lose my sorceror specific skills for damage and resto staff does ranged damage without having to use magicka

    Im only lvl 15 atm so might change as i climb the ranks, just a thought though

    • Maraqua says:

      I have notice that when I get stuck in melee at low level, using encase gives you enough time to roll away and go back to using ranged attacks.

    • Amoclies says:

      You have a good idea, blocking and physical attacks with restoration. The only thing is that as you level the destruction staff skill line, you get some pretty heavy spells. Injunction with the staff attack, which is a magicka-free attack, and its spells, you can carve much health from an enemy. Regardless, at level 27, I can understand not wanting to ditch the restoration staff; it just saves our tushies far too much.

  7. Kre'ton says:

    I am currently a level 22 breton Sorcerer and omg am I just loving this class. I was using strictly Destro staffs until recently when i switched to using bows and it makes a huge difference in damage I think. You have to be able to think quickly however due to the fact that it does put out more damage than a staff does but it also requires more clicking and timing than a staff. For leveling i definitely recommend putting most of your points into Daedric Summoning and using the storm atronarch ultimate. The aoe morph damage from the ultimate is insane and when you combine it with the dark magic crystal shard knockdown and the pool aoe in storm calling you can easily take on 2-4 foes at a time and succeed. Light armor is and obvious choice unless for some reason you feel like tanking damage (should have chose a templar or dragonknight) the passive abilities and annulement ability is amazing sustain for both magicka and health. As a sorcerer in pvp if you have a large magicka pool you can basically keep people kissing the ground continuously throughout the fight if you time your crystal shard attacks properly. Personally i think they are the best all around class in the game and definitely the most fun. If any of you needs help in game i am on the NA Megaserver and my character name is Eruptionn. I have high woodworking, alchemy and clothing and know where all the secret little station’s are the make armor sets and what you will need to be able to craft at them, as well as the best farming spots for your professions.

    • Brandon says:

      I’m also a sorcerer. High elf/ vampire in the N/A server Al Dominion lvl 38 currently maybe we can team up some time GT- XTHEY call ME B

  8. Kivi says:

    putting attribute points into stamina does not work with dark exchange because this spell is percentage based. @ lvl49 it uses 20% stamina per sec to restore 216 hp/magicka. I’ve tested this theory and noticed no change can anyone collaborate on this?

  9. Senaxu says:

    Storm Calling has crowd control? I missed something :D
    Healing of Critical Surge is very strong. 3 stars in Storm Calling.
    The rest is ok.

    My main weapon is Restoration Staff for single burst cause circle of life gives me 10% to my damage. The critical strikes are amazing.

    2nd hand for AoE is the Destruction Staff with Impulse and Critical Surge (fire) really strong and sustain.

  10. Little_Beeyatch says:

    Is it possible to dual wield spells in your hand or do you hold a staff and use the hotbar for other spells??

    • admin says:

      Nope, you’re holding a staff and cast spells as you like. Personally I liked Skyrim’s “dual-wield” spells, it could make for some very interesting combinations.

  11. Keith says:

    I have used killer guides in the past and even though some of their information is helpful, I do say some, most is outdated big time and what they do provide is not worth the money and can be found on the web posted by helpful people not out to make a buck off someone.

  12. A says:

    Heavy armor sorcerer is getting to be a pretty regular thing now.

  13. Henry says:

    What’s this about a clannfear in the daedric summoning skill tree? It keeps mentioning it but I don’t know what it is. Is it the winged twilight summon entities name? Or something I’m not seeing? Also, gonna miss all my flame atronachs and my dremora and my ice atronachs and my undead :( Wish you could have kept them in the game.

  14. Matt says:

    Soooo is there fire and ice spells ???? (Flames, firebolt, fireball, frostbite, ice spike) like in Skyrim????

    • Deric says:

      No there’s none of that at this moment I’m VR14 and the best is the storm calling tree for that skyrim feel but soft be to discouraged. In time they plan to add spell making capabilities. As well as summon vast other creatures than just the two in the summon tree.

      • lucas says:

        There is a skill line for joining the mages guild that I havent fully inspected but the fist skill in the mages guild skill line is meteor.

    • lucas says:

      There is also a skill line for the mages guild that I know had a meteor spell along with others. Also the dragoknight has a fire damage class that uses fire magic

  15. michael says:

    this might seem like a stupid question but I just started my mage and it seems like I need 12 skill points to know any spell if this is true just go with a staff or something until I get the 12 skill points

    • lucas says:

      You can immediately put skill points into all of the first spells in each skill tree. You can get your second skill in any tree once that skill is lvl 4. You get access to your first passive at skill lvl 8 and your skills ultimate at skill lvl 12. So no dont wait till you are lvl 12 and habe 12 skill points to start putting points into your spells lol necause not lvl 12 yet and I already have 4 spells 2 passives and 4 weapon skills (2 destro staff 2 resto staff)

  16. admin says:

    Assuming you have available skill points, you should be able to skill into Unstable Familiar in Daedric Summoning, Crystal Shard in Dark Magic, or Mage’s Fury in Storm Calling tree.

    You need level 12 in a particular skill tree before you can skill into the Ultimate spell, which is the first one on the list, and which is probably what caused the confusion.

    Simply gaining character experience/levels while having at least 1 ability on your spells bar from a particular skill tree will level up the tree (using more abilities from the same tree gives more experience).

  17. Parker says:

    So my question is “is it effective to use this set at lvl.10″ set is: summon unstable clannfear, mages wrath, blockade of storms, consuming trap, shock clench, and storm atronauch as ult. I’m trying to go full storm/summoner mage, so feedback would help.

    • admin says:

      Sounds good, though I’d possibly replace Consuming Trap with Magelight (from Mages Guild). If you need some defenses you can consider Encase from Dark Magic as well.

      Best bet with Sorcerers is to get to level 38 and start using Impulse, it’s pretty much the only ability you’ll need from then on.

  18. Conway Simmons says:

    Should I put 40 attribute points into Magicka and 10 into health?

    • admin says:

      Anything can work well, just fill in health or magicka with gear enchantments.

      If all of your equipment is currently enchanted with extra magicka, then you might consider a few more points into health.

      Most caster item 2-set bonuses add extra magicka, and if dropped can often be already enchanted with it as well, so you may want to consider putting close or even more than half points into health.

  19. Will says:

    Would like more details. And example builds

  20. TaterTot says:

    Has anyone experimented in argonian. Sorcer so far I have built the normal lines. But as well use the healing ability of staff to beef up healing. It’s very convient to so far next to never use a potion. I run it as a summoner spam mainly. One summon all times. Ultimate for the big guys. First healing staff spell to keep my mini party alive. So far I can be out numbered 3+ and lower level and clear it in seconds.

  21. Warner says:

    Im getting ready to get back on this game and start a tank healing class, any suggestions

    • admin says:

      Templar is the obvious choice. You can also go with a Dragonknight, but they’re not considered optimal healers in endgame content.

  22. Squatch says:

    I just found your website while searching for information about crafting traits. I have 3 different classes in the game, so far I enjoy playing a DK tank, just hit champion point level. I also play a high elf sorc, this will help me get a better understanding of the class. Just wanted to say thanks for all the work you put into this site.

  23. Nicathaniel says:

    How far could a magical thief go in the game? Storyconcept was for a magically gifted kid from the streets to join the thiefsguild. Daggers and medium armor, but magic for ranged attacks. Is it possible or does it get unplayable after a certain level?

    • says:

      Stamina build for a Sorcerer (medium armor and melee weapons) works just as well as a stamina build on any other class. However, pairing it with some sort of magicka build for ranged spellcasting won’t. You can do the stamina-standard bow build on second bar, but purely spellcasting will be mostly ineffective for decent damage dealing. If you’re mainly looking to do some RP and solo quests and not looking for an optimal character then you can make it work, but most group content will be a bit rough in comparison to other characters. It’s possible to have essentially a 1-bar build with decent damage, while your 2nd bar can be mainly spells for RP, just don’t expect to kill things quickly with it.

  24. Zandon 16 says:

    You guys say destruction staff it makes sense if you’re talking about the skill line but not about damage and not only is the skill line different depending on what staff you are using

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