Mistborn Explained: What is Allomancy? - The Fantasy Review

Mistborn Explained: What is Allomancy?

In this article we explore Allomancy, the magic system in the Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson. This article includes SPOILERS for all three books in the series.

Allomancy is a magic system that enhances physical and mental abilities through the use of metals. Allomancers can burn one or more of the 16 available metals, which must be pure when ingested or mixed in specific proportions if they are alloys. Allomantic metals are grouped into Physical, Mental, Temporal, and Enhancement metals. Allomancers who can burn one metal are called Mistings, while those who can burn more are known as Mistborn.

what is allomancy

Basic Metals

The basic Allomantic metals are grouped into external and internal metals. External metals allow a Misting or Mistborn to exert control over their environment. Internal metals allow a Misting or Mistborn to exert better control over their body.

Physical Metals

  • Steel: Coinshots can push on nearby metals
  • Iron: Lurchers can pull on nearby metals
  • Tin: Tineyes can enhance all five of their senses
  • Pewter: Pewterarms can greatly enhance their physical capabilities

Mental Metals

  • Bronze: Seekers can determine if someone is using Allomancy in the immediate area
  • Copper: Smokers can hide themselves and others from Seekers by dampening Allomantic vibrations caused by burning metals
  • Zinc: Rioters can inflame the emotions of those nearby
  • Brass: Soothers can soothe or guide emotions in a particular direction

Higher Metals

The higher Allomatic metals were previously thought to be exclusive to Mistborn but have been revealed to be accessible to Mistings as well.

Temporal Metals

  • Gold: Allows an Allomancer to see what they might have been if they had made different choices in the past
  • Electrum: Allows an Allomancer to see into their own future, which effectively disables Atium
  • Cadmium: Allows an Allomancer to subtly pull on time in a bubble around them, stretching it and making time pass more slowly
  • Bendalloy: Allows an Allomancer to subtly push on time in a bubble around them, compressing it and making it pass more quickly


  • Aluminum: Drains all other metal reserves of a Mistborn, leaving them powerless
  • Duralumin: Reacts with other metals currently burning to create an exceptionally large flare of the metal, consuming the remaining supply
  • Chromium: Destroys another Allomancer’s metals
  • Nicrosil: Causes the target Allomancer’s currently burning metals to be burned in a brief, intense flash

God Metals

There are 3 God metals: Lerasium (body of Preservation), Atium (body of Ruin), and Malatium (an alloy of Atium and Gold). Lerasium allows anyone to become a Mistborn, while Atium allows a Mistborn to see a few seconds into the future, making them invincible for a short time. Malatium allows an Allomancer to see the past of someone else, like an external version of Gold’s power.

Related to: Mistborn Explained: What is Allomancy?

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