Mistborn Reading Guide-Part VI – Allomatic Metals Part II


Mistborn is a sci-fi/fantasy trilogy written by author Brandon Sanderson.  The series is really hard to describe but what I’ve said to others is that it’s like a collision between The Lord of the Rings and X-Men.

As an avid reader, I am picky about who I read.  When I was introduced to Brandon Sanderson and finished reading Mistborn, I placed him as one of my top 3 favorite authors.  He knows how to introduce and develop characters, he maintains a strong storyline and he captures the reader’s imagination.

As I read through the books, I gathered information about the world of Scadrial, the characters in the books and the science behind the three mysterious super-human abilities Sanderson created.


This is the second post about Allomatic metals found throughout Scadrial that affect Allomancers.  It is a list of all Allomatic metals and their attributes

The Eight Basic Allomatic Metals


Atomic Symbol


Misting Title

1.  IronIron


Pulls on nearby sources of metal


  • Iron is an external physical pulling metal (Ars Arcanum in Mistborn)

    Translucent blue lines only seen by an Allomancer
  • An Allomancer burning iron can see translucent blue lines pointing to nearby sources of metal such as doors, windows and even a few at people who have metal on them (Chapter 7 and Ars Arcanum in Mistborn)
  • The blue lines move with the Allomancer as they travel; old ones faded as they move on and new ones appear in front of them (Chapter 7 in Mistborn)
  • The lines appear in different widths; some of them brighter than others (Chapter 7 in Mistborn)
  • The size and brightness of the line depends on the size and proximity of the metal source (Ars Arcanum in Mistborn)
  • All types of metal are shown, not just sources of iron (Ars Arcanum in Mistborn)
  • The Allomancer can then mentally “yank” on one of these lines to Pull that source of metal toward them (Ars Arcanum in Mistborn)
  • An Allomancer shouldn’t Pull on something that weighs less than them unless they want it to come flying at them (Chapter 5 in Mistborn)
  • “…a multitude of faint blue lines sprung from her chest, streaking out into the spinning mists…most of the lines were thin, like translucent pieces of twine, though a couple were as thick as yarn,” Vin’s first encounter with burning iron (Chapter 5 in Mistborn)
  • An Allomancer who is burning iron is still able to see the translucent blue lines, even with their eyes closed
  • Of the two external physical metals, iron is by far the less flashy
  • Utilized by a Misting, iron is generally used as a purely defensive mechanism, cancelling out the efforts of enemy Coinshots by Ironpulling enemy projectiles into a wooden shield
  • Iron is also less useful by itself in jumping, since using iron requires a large, well anchored piece of metal at your destination
  • Both metals’ performance is greatly enhanced when used in tandem, allowing feats like those performed by Kelsier in his battle with the Inquisitor Bendal


Atomic Symbol


Misting Title

2.  SteelSteel



Pushes on nearby sources of metal


  • Steel is an external physical pushing metal (Ars Arcanum in Mistborn)

    Steel shavings
    Steel shavings
  • Just like burning iron, an Allomancer burning steel can see translucent blue lines pointing to nearby sources of metal (Ars Arcanum in Mistborn)
  • The only difference in steel is that the Allomancer can mentally Push on one of the blue lines to send that source of metal away from them instead of towards them (Ars Arcanum in Mistborn)
  • When an Allomancer Pushes on something, it is like they are throwing their weight against it (Chapter 5 in Mistborn)
  • It isn’t wise for an Allomancer to Push on something lighter than themselves unless they want to get tossed in the opposite direction (Chapter 5 in Mistborn)
  • Many Allomancers travel by jumping or “flying” while burning steel by dropping coins on the ground that they use to Push on to move through the air – thus the nickname Coinshot
  • The “jumping” of a Mistborn isn’t like a bird’s flight but more like the path of a ricocheting arrow, so an Allomancer burning steel has to learn to master their steel Pushes (Chapter 8 in The Well Of Ascension)
  • Burning steel is an easy way to tell if someone wearing metal is moving nearby (Chapter 1 in The Well Of Ascension)
  • An Allomancer who is burning steel can still be able to see the translucent blue lines, even with their eyes closed

    A Coinshot
    A Coinshot
  • A Steelpush can be used offensively, as the name Coinshot suggests, to shoot metal objects as projectiles
  • Coins rarely work against koloss – as they have to be hit in just the right place in order to be fatal. Only very few Allomancers can accomplish this (Chapter 51 in The Hero Of Ages)
  • A Steelpush can also be used defensively, by creating a bubble around the user to deflect incoming metal objects

    A Coinshot dropping coin anchors
    A Coinshot dropping coin anchors
  • Several “pathways” were created between cities for Mistborn to travel more quickly. These “pathways” were actually metal anchors that were periodically placed into the ground several hundred feet apart.  Using these anchors, an Allomancer could push against them, and therefore “jump” from city to city.  It was not known who created these “pathways”
  • Several very accomplished Mistborn (including Vin) were able to use horseshoes instead of coins to travel great distances. Unlike using coins, where the coins were left where they are dropped, the horseshoes would be Pulled back and reused to Push off of later.  By doing this, the Mistborn doesn’t waist them like they did when they used coins.  In this way, they can continue to reuse them.  The use of horseshoes by a Mistborn had been described as looking somewhat like a “horseshoe tornado”


Atomic Symbol


Misting Title

3.  Tin Tin


Enhances senses


  • Tin is an internal physical pulling metal (Ars Arcanum in Mistborn)
  • It is one of the slowest burning metals (Chapter 7 in Mistborn)
  • An Allomancer burning tin gains enhanced senses (Ars Arcanum in Mistborn)

    Tin shavings
    Tin shavings
  • They can see farther and smell better and their sense of touch become far more acute (Ars Arcanum in Mistborn)
  • Some tineyes and Mistborn burn tin to enhance fowl smells which makes them aware of places to avoid (Chapter 28 in The Hero Of Ages)
  • This has the side effect of letting them “pierce” the mists, allowing them to see much farther at night than even their enhanced senses should let them (Ars Arcanum in Mistborn)
  • Burning tin allows an Allomancer to feel their clothing and become aware of the places where the cloth is tight against their bodies (Chapter 7 in Mistborn)
  • The wealth of senses tin enhances can be very overwhelming at first (Chapter 7 in Mistborn)
  • A good tineye learns to deal with distraction; they focus on one sound and don’t let themselves get sidetracked; it isn’t about what they see – it is about what they can ignore (Chapter 32 in Mistborn)
  • Several Savant tineyes who constantly burn tin (such as Spook) wrap cloth around their eyes in order to prevent being overwhelmed by the intensity of the light.  Although a normal person would be totally unable to see because of the blindfold, a tineye is able to see through the cloth wrapping and function much more effectively

Duralumin and Tin

  • Combining duralumin and tin makes the senses amazingly acute and amplifies them for a very short time in a single burst; however, it also burns away the remaining tin reserves all at once (Chapter 8 in The Well Of Ascension and Chapter 3 in The Hero Of Ages)


Atomic Symbol


Misting Title

4.  PewterPewter



Enhances physical abilities

Pewterarm or Thug

  • Chunks of pewter before being filed down
    Chunks of pewter before being filed down

    Pewter is an internal physical pushing metal (Ars Arcanum in Mistborn)

  • Allomancer’s pewter is an alloy of ninety-one percent tin and nine percent lead (Chapter 6 in Mistborn)
  • Pewter is the fastest burning of the eight basic metals and normal amounts, if constantly burned, lasts about 10 minutes
  • An Allomancer burning pewter becomes stronger, more durable, more dexterous, better balanced, has more durability, speed and the ability to heal more quickly
  • Pewter can enhance the body’s sense of balance and ability to recover from wounds – the body will naturally burn pewter in an attempt to heal itself even when a thug is sleeping or unconscious (Ars Arcanum in Mistborn and Chapter 16 in The Hero Of Ages)
  • An advantage of burning pewter is the ability to drink alcohol and not become drunk as Spook did while on assignment in Urteau (Chapter 26 in The Hero Of Ages)
  • Burning pewter causes muscles to feel eager”; a pewter burner’s body reacts quicker and their they become tougher; their muscles aren’t any bigger but their strength is enhanced; their bodies are stronger, more able to resist fatigue and pain (Chapters 7 and 24 in Mistborn)
  • When a beginner Allomancer or thug first uses pewter, they might experience their body feeling strange – they don’t feel tired but rather alert (Chapter 7 in Mistborn)
  • Thugs are the most sought after Mistings to hire but are usually rather crude people to be around (Chapter 24 in Mistborn)

Beginning Tips

  • 11951959_1022863067736755_5093748904411857155_nBeginner Allomancers and thugs tend to always flare their pewter, thinking that the stronger they are, the better they are; however, they don’t always want to hit as hard as they can with each blow (Chapter 24 in Mistborn)
  • If a thug uses more strength than they need, they can knock themselves off balance (Chapter 24 in Mistborn)
  • Pewter enhances physical abilities but not innate skill; so it is unwise for thugs to rely on their pewter so much that they disregarded training and practice (Chapter 24 in Mistborn)
  • There is no substitute for training and practice, no matter how strong and powerful a pewter burning Allomancer becomes (Chapter 6 in The Well Of Ascension)
  • The enhanced strength and dexterity from burning pewter can be disorienting unless an Allomancer or thug is used to it (Chapter 6 in The Well Of Ascension)

Fighting Skills

  • 15698364_1360420127314379_4452145278400220687_nA competent thug can stand against a half-dozen regular men and still lift more, endure more and move faster than any other hired muscle (Chapter 24 in Mistborn)
  • thug needs to vary their pewter burning.  They tire faster and they give their opponent information about their limitations if they always hit their hardest (Chapter 24 in Mistborn)
  • A smart thug paces themselves and hits the hardest at the end of the battle when the opponent is the weakest (Chapter 24 in Mistborn)
  • An Allomancer burning enough pewter can fight at near-peak efficiency for hours (with a few pewter refills) but pewter dragging like that takes practice and eventually when the pewter runs out, the fatigue can be deadly (Chapter 24 in Mistborn)
  • Pewter burning can be used defensively too.  If a thug doesn’t want to make others aware of their Allomancy, they burn pewter sparingly only to give them an instant sense of balance or when they dodge, they burn it to get out of the way quicker (Chapter 24 in Mistborn)
  • If a thug doesn’t know how to use a weapon or if they aren’t practiced at thinking quickly in a fight, they can lose to a more skilled fighter no matter how strong they are (Chapter 24 in Mistborn)

 Physical Abilities

  • While burning pewter at a steady flare, a thug can run with incredible speed – like a jocko-willinksprinter in their quickest dash without growing tired (Chapter 52 in The Well Of Ascension)
  • Allomancers or thugs are inhumanly strong, capable of surviving a great deal of physical punishment and are very dangerous up close (Chapter 2 in The Well Of Ascension)

Effects on the Body

  • The process of burning pewter does something to the body – it keeps the thug moving but it also bottles up their natural fatigue; the juxtaposition makes their mind fuzz, bringing on a trance-like state of exhausted energy; their soul wants to rest yet their body continues (Chapter 52 in The Well Of Ascension)
  • An Allomancer burning pewter is able to remain awake for days on end.  However, once the pewter runs out, the pewter drag can leave them extremely tired
  • Pewter burning Allomancers have to be careful how much and how often they burn because they can become addicted to the superhuman strength and abilities pewter burning gives them; thus transforming them into a pewter Savant


Atomic Symbol


Misting Title

5.  BrassBrass


Soothes or dampens or lessens emotions


  • Brass is an external mental pushing metal (Ars Arcanum in Mistborn)
  • An Allomancer burning brass can soothe another person’s or a group’s emotions, dampening them and making particular emotions less powerful (Ars Arcanum in Mistborn)
  • For example, soothing emotions can be used to decrease someone’s fatigue, fear or happiness
  • soother cannot use emotional Allomancy on themselves (Chapter 46 in The Well Of Ascension)
  • Soothing is a much more complex Allomatic ability than others and it demands constant attention (Chatper 52 in The Well Of Ascension)

    Brass shavings
    Brass shavings
  • A careful Allomancer can sooth away all emotions but a single one, essentially making a person feel exactly as they wish (Ars Arcanum in Mistborn)
  • Brass, however, does not let a soother read minds or emotions as some seem to think (Ars Arcanum in Mistborn)
  • It is difficult for a soother to focus their Allomancy on so many people at once because they cannot be very specific (Chapter 36 in The Well Of Ascension)
  • Soothing doesn’t give an Allomancer the ability to know someone’s feelings; they usually have to guess them on their own and with much practice, many became very good at it (Chapter 36 in The Well Of Ascension)
  • True subtlety in soothing is about encouraging natural emotions, all done by carefully making the other emotions less powerful (Chapter 36 in The Well Of Ascension)
  • A careful soother sees what is beneath the surface – they understand what a man feels, even when that man himself doesn’t understand or acknowledge those emotions (Chapter 36 in The Well Of Ascension)


  • Soothing isn’t as precise as Pushing steel.  The emotional makeup of a person is a complex jumble of thoughts, instincts and feelings.  A soother can’t control minds or actions, they can only nudge them (Chapter 44 in The Hero Of Ages)
  • Being a soother gives an Allomancer remarkable control – a wonderful feeling of being able to influence those around them, always feeling like they have a handle on how people react (Chapter 36 in The Well Of Ascension)
  • soother spends a lot of their time watching people – tweaking, nudging and soothing; it causes them to look at people the same way and it is hard for them to be just friends with someone when they see them as something to be influenced and changed (Chapter 36 in The Well Of Ascension)
  • Some Soothers see themselves as invasive and find it difficult to trust anyone who say they love them without thinking they forced them to love them (Chapter 36 in The Well Of Ascension)
  • If brass is in short supply, an accomplished soother can sometimes be capable of influencing other’s emotions without burning brass by using the charm or character they gained while being so used to influencing emotions

Duralumin and Brass

  • A duralumin-fueled Brasspush is a terrible thing; it flattens a person’s emotions, making them feel empty, completely void of all feeling (Chapter 37 in The Hero Of Ages)


Atomic Symbol


Misting Title

6.  ZincZinc


Riots or enflames or increases emotions

Rioter or Zinc Counselor

  • Zinc is an external mental pushing metal (Ars Arcanum in Mistborn)

    Zinc shavings
    Zinc shavings
  • An Allomancer burning zinc can riot another person’s emotions, enflaming them and making particular emotions more powerful (Ars Arcanum in Mistborn)
  • A rioter cannot use emotional Allomancy on themselves (Chapter 46 in The Well Of Ascension)
  • Zinc does not let one read minds or even emotions (Ars Arcanum in Mistborn)
  • Rioting isn’t as precise as Pushing steel.  The emotional makeup of a person is a complex jumble of thoughts, instincts and feelings.  An Allomancer can’t control minds or actions, they can only nudge them (Chapter 44 in The Hero Of Ages)


Atomic Symbol


Misting Title

7.  CopperCopper


Hides Allomatic pulses


  • Copper is an internal mental pulling metal (Ars Arcanum in Mistborn)

    Copper shavings
    Copper shavings
  • It burns very slowly but is a vital metal to learn (Chapter 7 in Mistborn)
  • When burned, a smoker doesn’t sense much; the only change they feel is a slight vibration inside themselves (Chapter 7 in Mistborn)
  • Copper’s influence occurs in a “bubble” around the smoker; this cloud – called a coppercloud – hides anyone inside of it from the senses of a seeker (Chapter 7 in Mistborn)
  • Copper is mostly used to hide Allomancers  from Inquisitors; however, some very powerful Inquisitors and Mistborn are able to pierce copperclouds and still detect Allomancers smoker was trying to hide (Chapter 7 in Mistborn)


Image may contain: one or more people
A Skaa smoker
  • Many Mistborn keep their copper on all the time, as copper can hide one Allomancer from another Allomancer who is also burning bronze (Chapter 7 in Mistborn)
  • soother or rioter cannot manipulate the emotions of a smoker.  However, while inside a copper-cloud, a non-copper burning person is not immune to emotional manipulation by a soother or a rioter (Chapter 7 in Mistborn)
  • smoker can allow other Allomancers to practice their abilities inside the coppercloud without fear of being discovered (Chapter 7 in Mistborn)
  • Copper is not a “flashy” metal but it can be very powerful in the hands of a properly trained smoker (Chapter 20 in Mistborn)
  • smoker is relatively unimportant in a fight but covers other Allomancers with a coppercloud in order to hide them from seekers (Chapter 2 in The Well Of Ascension)
  • One of the roles smokers play in fights is to carry wooden paddles with them.  They smack these paddles together, causing great irritation for Allomancers burning tin


Atomic Symbol


Misting Title

8.  BronzeBronze


Allows one to hear Allomatic pulses


  • Bronze is an internal mental pushing metal (Ars Arcanum in Mistborn)

    Bronze shavings
    Bronze shavings
  • An Allomancer burning bronze can sense when people nearby are using Allomancy  (Ars Arcanum in Mistborn)
  • Allomancers burning metals nearby give off “Allomatic pulses” – something like drumbeats that are audible only to a seeker (Ars Arcanum in Mistborn)
  • When an Allomancer burns bronze, a strange vibration is felt (Ars Arcanum in Mistborn)
  • The vibrations seem to originate from other Allomancers (Chapter 7 in Mistborn)
  • Seekers feel rhythmic thumpings in the air; soundless pulses washing over them like the beating of drums or the washings of ocean waves that are mixed and muddled (Chapter 20 in Mistborn)
  • Determining the pulse’s origins takes practice (Chapter 20 in Mistborn)
  • For example, a seeker must concentrate to distinguish the specifics about the Allomatic pulses they sense (Chapter 20 in Mistborn)
  • Pushing metal feels like it is beating against the seeker (Chapter 20 in Mistborn)
  • Pulling metal feels like it is pulling the seeker towards it (Chapter 20 in Mistborn)
  • If a seeker focuses on the pulses, they can distinguish the wave-lengths and tell the difference between them (Chapter 20 in Mistborn)
  • It takes most seekers about six months of practice to distinguish between pulse lengths (Chapter 20 in Mistborn)
  • There are three things a seeker must do to distinguish between metals: pulse length, metal group and Push-Pull variance (Chapter 20 in Mistborn)
  • Once a seeker knows these three things they can tell exactly which metal an Allomancer is burning (Chapter 20 in Mistborn)


  • For example, a long pulse that beats against a seeker (Pushes) and has a quick pattern is pewter (Chapter 20 in Mistborn)
  • Usually, bronze is not that useful unless an Allomancer happens upon a Steel Inquisitor searching for a skaa Misting (Chapter 7 in Mistborn)
  • Bronze is not a “flashy” metal but it can be very powerful in the hands of a properly trained Allomancer (Chapter 20 in Mistborn)
  • With care and practice, a seeker can recognize very minute changes in their opponents’ Allomatic burnings (Chapter 20 in Mistborn)
  • A master seeker can identify precisely which parts of a person’s emotions a soother or rioter intends to influence; they can also tell when an Allomancer is flaring their metal and when an Allomancer is running low on their metals (Chapter 20 in Mistborn)
  • Many Steel Inquisitors were seekers before they were transformed to the beasts they became

Duralumin and Bronze

  • Some very powerful Mistborn use duralumin with bronze to control koloss armies
  • Mistborn can also control a kandra with this combination.  It is known as the secret (Chapter 59 in The Hero Of Ages)
  • In The Well of AscensionVin was able to gain control over TinSoon’s body for a short period of time using the duralumin/bronze combination
  • King Elend was also able to control koloss armies as many as thirty-thousand by using this combination

Higher Allomatic Metals


Atomic Symbol


Misting Title



The user is able to see who they could have been in the past, had they made different choices


  • Gold is an internal temporal pulling metal
  • Gold is not understood very well and burning it is a somewhat uncomfortable experience at first (Chapter 27 in Mistborn)
  • Burning gold makes an Allomancer feel like they are in two places at once by seeing two versions (or hallucinations) of themselves called “gold shadows” (Chapter 27 in Mistborn)
  • The first time after an Allomancer burns gold, they might feel a sudden rush of emotions, a sense of worthlessness and confusion (Chapter 27 in Mistborn)
  • The experience of seeing both versions of themselves at once, of seeing themselves twice over, can be disturbingly eerie, shocking and unfamiliar (Chapter 27 in Mistborn)
  • Gold works in a similar way as atium does but it lets the user see into the past – or at least it gives them a glimpse of another version of themselves, if they had made certain choices and things been different in the past (Chapter 27 in Mistborn)


Atomic Symbol


Misting Title



Allows the user to see possible future actions of oneself


  • Electrum is an internal temporal pushing metal
  • Burning electrum will reveal possible futures of the Allomancer, up to several seconds (Ars Arcanum in Mistborn)
  • Electrum is the Allomatic complement of gold (Chapter 3 in The Hero Of Ages)
  • It is an alloy of mixing 45% gold and 55% silver (Chapter 31 in The Hero Of Ages)
  • It is also known as “poor man’s atium” because, although it doesn’t grant the same invincibility as atium, it counters and makes one immune to atium (Chapters 3 and 5 in The Hero Of Ages)
  • While burning electrum, the user’s future will not be revealed to an enemy Allomancers burning atium, it will cause the user’s observed atium shadow to split, preventing the enemy Allomancer from predicting one’s actions (Chapter 3 in The Hero of Ages)

    Electrum ore
    Electrum ore


Atomic Symbol


Misting Title



Allows the user to see a past version of an opponent (malatium shadow)


  • Malatium is an alloy of atium and gold (Ars Arcanum in Mistborn)
  • It is the fundamental opposite of gold
  • Allomatic theory teaches of ten metals: the eight basic metals and the two high metals (Chapter 4 in Mistborn)
  • Malatium, “The Eleventh Metal“, is unknown to most (Chapter 4 in Mistborn)
  • The Lord Ruler suppressed malatium but it could still be found, if one knew where to look (Chapter 4 in Mistborn)
  • According to a legend in the north, the Lord Ruler wasn’t completely immortal and could be killed with the right metal – The Eleventh Metal (Chapter 4 in Mistborn)
  • Kelsier acquired malatium “in the north…in the land near the Far Peninsula where people still remembered what their Old Kingdom was called in the days before the Ascension” (Chapter 4 in Mistborn)
  • Malatium looks like a thin bar of metal, perhaps as long and wide as a small finger, with straight sides and is silvery white in color (Chapter 4 in Mistborn)

The Effects of Malatium on Mistborn

  • Malatium only works on Mistborn and does not affect Mistings
  • When a Mistborn burns malatium, they see an earlier, younger version – what a person could have been and who they might have become, had they made different choices – standing beside anyone they look at.  This is called a “malatium shadow” (Chapter 5 in The Hero Of Ages)
  • Malatium is much like gold but affects others instead of the Mistborn burning it (Chapter 5 in The Hero Of Ages)
  • In MistbornVin used malatium while up against the Lord Ruler; it gave her the clue she needed to defeat him (Chapter 8 in The Well Of Ascension)


Atomic Symbol


Misting Title



Allows the user to see future moves of an opponent (atium shadows)


  • Atium is one of the two god metals and is the most valuable metal in the world
  • It is incredibly rare, supposedly only used by noblemen (Chapter 4 in Mistborn)
  • The Lord Ruler stockpiled huge amounts atium at a secret location only known to himself and the First Generation of kandra (Chapter 4 in Mistborn)
  • The Lord Ruler sold the metal only in small bits, charging outrageous sums to the nobility (Chapter 4 in Mistborn)
  • The Lord Ruler had to keep a huge reserve of atium to make certain he controlled the market and that he had enough wealth for emergencies (Chapter 4 in Mistborn)
  • House Venture was in charge of overseeing the Pits of Hathsin where atium was mined
  • The value of atium is based in the economy of an empire.  Without the trappings of a reserve system and an upper class giving the mental implied worth, atium had no real value (Chapter 60 in The Hero Of Ages)

 The Source of Atium

  • Atium is slowly mined from the earth by skaa slaves at the Pits of Hathsin
  • It is a very fragile metal as using Allomancy near the atium-producing geodes shatters and destroys them (Chapter 21 in Mistborn)

Atium Geodes

  • The crystal buds that contain the atium geode grow in a wide, circular pattern along the cave walls; they are
    An atium geode
    An atium geode

    small at the edges but were gradually bigger near the center (Chapter 32 in Mistborn)

  • At the direct middle of the circular pattern, the crystals curve inward, following a pocket-like hollow in the wall (Chapter 32 in Mistborn)
  • Here the crystals grow long, each one having a jagged, sharp edge; like teeth lining the maw of a stone beast (Chapter 32 in Mistborn)
  • It takes hundreds of years for an atium geode to grow (Chapter 32 in Mistborn)

Mining for Atium

  • The Pits of Hathsin
    The Pits of Hathsin

    When a skaa slave mines for atium, they are in complete darkness and have to grope around in tight crevices, feeling for the tell-tale roughness of the budding crystal that contain atium.  Once these pockets are found, the skaa slave has to ram their hand all the way to the elbow into the fist-sized, circular opening (Chapter 32 in Mistborn)

  • The crystals rip their arms, tearing long, shallow gashes in the skin (Chapter 32 in Mistborn)
  • The skaa slave finds a small rock formed by the mysterious drippings of crystals at the center of the pocket; a geode containing atium shaped like a small rock sphere (Chapter 32 in Mistborn)
  • Once this is done, the slave has to retract their arm from the crystal pocket while holding onto the atium geode; again gashing their arm on the way out (Chapter 32 in Mistborn)
  • This is how Kelsier received the thin lines of scars on both arms; proof that he was the Survivor of Hathsin
  • Skaa slaves in the Pits are given seven days to find an atium geode or they are executed

The depths of the Pits of Hathsin

 The Effects of Atium on Mistborn and Seers

  • Atium works on Mistborn and Mistings (who were known as seers)
  • Seers are extremely rare – so rare in fact that even the Lord Ruler was unaware of them
  • The only known Seer is an Obligator named Yomen who ruled the city of Fadrex after the fall of the Lord Ruler when governor Lord Cett left for the Siege of Luthadel
  • One of the reasons why many seers are never discovered is because atium is too valuable to use in testing people for Allomatic powers.  Many seers don’t find the power that useful (Chapter 74 in The Hero Of Ages)
  • Atium allows the Mistborn and seer to see a few seconds into the future, thereby allowing them to anticipate the moves of an opponent
  • When burning atiumMistborn and seers see dozens of “atium shadows” or possible moves their opponent is going to make
  • Atium shadows aren’t just hallucinations, they show what an opponent would do (Chapter 27 in Mistborn)
  • If an atium burner encounters another atium burner, they see dozens of atium  shadows coming from their opponent, rather than a single atium shadow from a non-atium burning opponent; this is a sign that the other opponent is burning atium and shows every possible move the opponent could make
  • Atium enhances the mind to cope with and understand these new insights, effectively turning an atium burner invincible for a short time
  • Atium burns very quickly and has to be used sparingly
  • The best way to outwit an atium burner (if an opponent is not burning it) is to surprise them, catch them in an unavoidable situation or overwhelm them (Chapter 22 in The Well Of Ascension)
  • An atium burner can show the non-atium burning opponent what they are going to do because they can see into the future – all the non-atium burning opponent has to do to surprise the other opponent is to change their mind at the last second and react against them, thus catching them off guard (Chapter 47 in The Well Of Ascension)

Duralumin and Atium

  • In The Hero of AgesElend burned duralumin and atium during the final battle with the koloss.  All of a sudden, he experienced sight, sound, strength, power, glory and speed.  Blue lines sprayed from his chest like rays of light.  They were, however, overshadowed by one thing.  Atium plus duralumin.  In a flash of knowledge, Elend  felt a mind-numbing wealth of information.  All became white around him as knowledge saturated his mind (Chapter 81 in The Hero Of Ages)

History of Atium

  • When people burn atium, they are drawing upon the power of Ruin – which is, perhaps, why atium turns people into such efficient killing machines (Chapter 78 in The Hero Of Ages)
  • Atium burners don’t use up this power, they simply make use of it.  Once a nugget of atium is expended, the power returns to The Pits and begins to coalesce again – just as the power at the Well of Ascension would return there again after it had been used (Chapter 78 in The Hero Of Ages)
  • Presumably, the name “atium” is inherited from Ati, the name of the original holder of the Shard Ruin, just as the name “lerasium” is inherited from Leras, the original holder of the Shard Preservation
  • Atium is notable as it is the condensed power of the Shard Ruin. It was sequestered away at the Pits of Hathsin by Preservation when the latter gave up his mind to trap Ruin

Other Allomatic Metals


Atomic Symbol


Misting Title



Destroys all of an Allomancer’s  reserves

Aluminum Gnat

  • Aluminum is an internal enhancement pulling metal

    Aluminum shavings
    Aluminum shavings
  • Any Allomancer who burns aluminum has their other metal reserves stripped away from them, leaving them powerless
  • An Allomancer’s body instantly metabolizes its metal reserves without any other effect. As such, an aluminum Misting serves no purpose and gains nothing from their powers (Ars Arcanum in The Alloy of Law)
  • Aluminum metal (and some of its alloys) are “Allomantically inert” – they cannot be Pushed or Pulled, and can shield people from emotional Allomancy (Ars Arcanum in The Well of Ascension)
  • Aluminum also generates no atium shadows
  • Aluminum has been confirmed to have strange effects to all super-human manifestations (Theoryland, March 21, 2014)
  • Aluminum was kept secret by the Steel Ministry and used to take away the abilities of Allomancers


Atomic Symbol


Misting Title



When combined with another metal, it enhances that metal’s ability

Duralumin Gnat

  • Duralumin is an external enhancement pushing metal

    Duralumin bars
    Duralumin bars
  • Duralumin is an alloy mixture of 96% aluminum with 4% copper (Chapter 5 in The Well Of Ascension)
  • In order for duralumin to be effective, it has to be burned with other Allomatic metals
  • An Allomancer burning duralumin is able to greatly enhance other metals they are burning
  • Because of this, it is only effective when used by Mistborn – as a Misting can only burn one metal at a time
  • A duralumin Misting gains nothing from his powers (Ars Arcanum in The Alloy of Law)

Duralumin and Tin

  • This alloy makes the senses amazingly acute and amplifies them for a very short time in a single burst; however, it also burns away the remaining tin reserves all at once (Chapter 8 in The Well Of Ascension and Chapter 3 in The Hero Of Ages)
  • Mistborn burning duralumin and tin can experience great shock caused by sensory overload as well as be temporarily be numb, blind and deaf

Duralumin And Brass

  • A duralumin-fueled Brasspush is a terrible thing; it flattens a person’s emotions, making them feel empty, completely void of all feeling (Chapter 43 in The Hero Of Ages)

Duralumin and Bronze

  • Some very powerful Mistborn use duralumin with bronze to control koloss armies
  • Mistborn can also control a kandra with this combination.  It is known as the secret (Chapter 59 in The Hero Of Ages)
  • In The Well of AscensionVin was able to take control of TinSoon’s body for a short period of time using a duralumin/bronze alloy

Duralumin and Iron or Steel

  • Using iron or steel with duralumin is unwise for an inexperienced Mistborn as an iron pull and steel push mixed with duralumin can become so strong it can feel like the user is being torn apart

Duralumin and Atium

  • In The Hero of AgesElend burned duralumin and atium during the final battle with the koloss.  All of a sudden, he experienced sight, sound, strength, power, glory and speed.  Blue lines sprayed from his chest like rays of light.  They were, however, overshadowed by one thing.  Atium plus duralumin.  In a flash of knowledge, Elend felt a mind-numbing wealth of information.  All became white around him as knowledge saturated his mind (Chapter 81 in The Hero Of Ages)

Other Posts from “A Reader’s Guide to Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn Trilogy”:

Part I – Gods and Religion

Part II – Supernatural Powers

Part III – Supernatural People

Part IV – Groups of People

Part V – Allomatic Metals Part I

Part VI – Allomatic Metals Part II

Part VII – Feruchemal Metals or Metalminds

Part VIIIHemalurgic Spikes

Part IX – Events, Terms, Places and Titles of People

Part X – Creatures Part I: Koloss

Part XI – Creatures Part II: Mistwraiths and Kandra

Part XII – Characters

Part XI – Characters


1.  Sanderson, B. (2006). Mistborn (First ed.). New York: Tom Doherty Associates.

2.  Sanderson, B. (2008). The Hero Of Ages (First ed.). New York: Tom Doherty Associates.

3.  Sanderson, B. (2007). The Well Of Ascension (First ed.). New York: Tom Doherty Associates.

4.  Theoryland of the Wheel of Time. (n.d.). http://www.theoryland.com/intvmain.php?i=1052#79. Retrieved August 21, 2015.

5.  Sanderson, B. (2011). The alloy of law: A Mistborn novel. New York: Tor.

6.  A “Late-Breaking” Report – Events and Signings. (n.d.). Retrieved August 24, 2015. http://www.17thshard.com/forum/topic/1729-a-late-breaking-report/

7.  Flagg, A, and Kapera, P. (2012). Mistborn Adventure Game [role playing]. Portland, OR: Crafty Games.


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