The elf races of Skyrim are known for their mental prowess in battle. Some of the oldest races in Skyrim, they are followed by folklore wherever they go.
Skills: +10 Destruction, +5 Alteration, +5 Illusion, +5 Sneak, +5 Light Armor, +5 Alchemy
Spells: Flames, Sparks, Healing
Power: Ancestor’s Wrath
Ability: 50% Fire Resistance
The Dark Elf is great for stealth mages, as perks in Destruction, Illusion, and Sneak are the cornerstone skills for a character that throws fireballs hidden in the shadows. The racial power of Ancestor’s Wrath covers your body in a cloak of flames for 60 seconds for free once a day, a medium level spell that can save your butt when you get caught. Resistance to fire is probably the most advantageous of the resistance abilities, as many enemies (and dragons) in the game use fire as main attacks. Take the race of dark elf if you want to look cool, but you don’t really want anyone to see you except through your fireballs to the face.
Skills: +10 Illusion, +5 Alteration, +5 Conjuration, +5 Destruction, +5 Restoration, +5 Enchanting
Spells: Flames, Fury, Healing
Ability: Highborn Magicka
This class is what any offensive mage need to take. If you want to skip the sneaking around and rely on your powerful spells to take down your enemies, take this class before all others. The natural +50 to magicka that comes with the racial ability Highborn Magicka is a huge advantage early in the game, as well as later when you are required to have large amounts of magicka for powerful Destruction and Conjuration spells. The power of the Highborn also adds 25% to your magicka regeneration, which can make a huge difference in long battles when you find yourself drinking all your potions away. This is the first race you should choose if you want to spit high powered fireballs or strong daedra lords at your enemies.
Skills: +10 Archery, +5 Sneak, +5 Lockpicking, +5 Pickpocket, +5 Alteration, +5 Light Armor, +5 Alchemy
Spells: Flames, Healing
Power: Command Animal
Ability: 50% Disease and Poison Resistance
Different than the Dark Elf and the High Elf, the Wood Elf is more suited for thievery and sneaking. Instead of relying heavily on magic, the Wood Elf uses archery and stealth to make deadly, long-ranged attacks your enemy only notices after it is too late. The Command Animal power can be very good while wandering around the wilderness, since wild animals are very large in numbers and can be used to your advantage. The 50% Disease and Poison Resistance is a step up from the Redguard ability, and it can be useful when coming face-to-face with vampires and other plagued animals in your travels. This is the number one race for stealth archers and those who want to take to the darker side of Skyrim through thievery.