The final boss of the College of Winterhold questline is Ancano, and he's a tricky one to defeat. Instead of going straight up to him and whacking him with your weapon, you'll need to make him vulnerable first. Here's the best way to beat Ancano in Skyrim.
How to defeat Ancano in Skyrim
When you get to Ancano, you'll see he has a protective bubble around him, making him impervious to damage. All is not lost, however, as you should have the Staff of Magnus with you. Instead of hitting him when the fight starts, set your sights on the big orb. Drain its energy with the staff; if you run out of charges, use some Soul Gems to get the staff filled back up.
When you finish doing this, Ancano will become vulnerable. This means you can start attacking him like any enemy up to this point in the game. He's still powerful with his spells, so watch out for them. However, the hard part is now out of the way, and you can wipe him out.
Tips for beating Ancano in Skyrim
With him being a spellcaster, it can be difficult for melee-focused players to get in close. If you're equipped with armor that resists magic, things will be much easier for you. Ranged players will also have an easier time with this fight, as you can attack from a distance and dodge spells using the pillars. All in all, he's not too terribly difficult to beat, especially if you're making good use of your save files.
Once Ancano falls, you'll wrap up the College of Winterhold questline and move on to other parts of the game. There's a lot to do in Skyrim, and mods to use, so leave no stone unturned in your exploration!
For more Skyrim news and guides, check out Skyrim Unarmed Build Guide (2023) on Pro Game Guides.