Best impression of a dark Sith Lord or Jedi Master this side of role playing games
This is the second in the continuing series of build guides for Dragon Age Inquisition, this time focusing on my favourite mage class, the Knight Enchanter. Note that this build is for Impossible difficulty, including pre-Skyhold parts.
What is a Knight Enchanter?
Anyone who played Dragon Age Origins and decided to go with the Arcane Warrior will know exactly what this class is about. This is the kind of mage that can get up close and personal, all while remaining nearing invincible, casting devastating spells, and lightsabering your enemies to death. Or, it can stay in the lines, throwing damage at anything and everything, picking off targets of opportunity.
Some call this class totally overpowered. However, most classes, once past level sixteen, and using top range gear become overpowered regardless, even on Impossible. So really, the question you need to ask yourself is this: in what way do I want to be overpowered, since a rogue can one shot practically any normal mob in the game at this point, a tanking warrior can stay up with full guard through pitched battles and any mage will have so many crowd control and damage over time abilities that battles are a cakewalk.
If you’re going to go down the path of Knight Enchanter, the party mix can be quite varied. You will still want one tank in the party, because you need someone to hold aggro. The enemies in Inquisition aren’t terribly smart, but they will divide and conquer, which is not what you want.
Blackwall or Cassandra, and to a limited extent, even Iron Bull could work here as someone who will grab the attention of enemy mobs, while you run around doing whatever you want to do. The other two party members could be either rogues or mages.
The Spirit Tree
You will need barrier. In fact, every mage needs this ability. On the other hand, you can safely ignore its upgrade, which reduces the ability’s cooldown by four seconds. This will waste one of your ability points.
The first passive that you will find extremely useful in this tree are Rejuvenating Barrier, which increases your mana generation, absolutely essential in the late game. The second is Strength of Spirits, which increases the amount of damage absorbed by your barriers by fifty per cent.
Because these passives are both at the end of the tree, you’ll pick up Dispel, which is extremely helpful, and Mind Blast, which isn’t, along the way. Disable Mind Blast. Keep Dispel for negating enemy barriers, lightning effects and taking out demon spawn points at fade rifts.
The Knight Enchanter Tree
Obviously, you’ll pick up Spirit Blade. This is your new go to skill, a ten mana, zero cooldown automatic lightsaver that hits in a massive arc like a two handed weapon. Even better, it gives you damage bonuses against both guard and barrier.
When spending skill points, I tend to go down the left side of this tree first, because you gain Combat Clarity and Fade Shield. The Combat Clarity passive increases your mana generation when you’re near enemies, and likely to be smacking them with Spirit Blade. Fade Shield returns part of the damage you do to your barrier. This is what makes the Knight Enchanter nearly impossible to kill.
On the right hand side, you have Fade Walk and its upgrade, which allows you to phase out of existence and then pop back in for two seconds. You can still attack and do damage in this time, and if you take the upgrade, you can deal 1000 per cent of your weapon damage to a target, and knock it down. I would grab both, but use it in the knowledge that it is relatively situational.
Veiled Riposte is the last of the passives I personally use, which returns twenty per cent of damage to an enemy when you have a barrier up. It’s a bit like a damage trampoline. Useful to take, but really optional.
The Knight Enchanter also has a skill which keeps mobs locked down in a time bubble, but I’ve never picked it up or used it because the size of the bubble means that big things that you actually need to worry about, like Pride Demons, aren’t affected by it.
The Winter Tree
You only need one skill in this tree, and that’s Frost Step, allowing you to frit around the battlefield and support your party if need be, or escape from danger. As an option, you could also go for its upgrade, which deals damage to anything you pass through. If you have a spare skill point, Winter’s Grasp is a good single target control ability.
The Inferno Tree
This is the tree where you will get most of your actual damage dealing from. Unless whatever you’re going up against is immune or resistant to fire, of course, but there aren’t that many enemies in that category.
So, as a mage, you will likely start off with Flashfire. It might be an OK skill for the first character level or so, but you really should spec out of that, and into Immolate and its upgrade as soon as you get to Haven.
In this tree, you’ll want all the passives, and Fire Mine and its upgrade as well. Fire Mine will deal lots of spike damage, while the passives help in three vital ways, which should devastate your opponents.
First, Clean Burn reduces your cooldowns by one second every time you cast a spell. Handy this, since Spirit Blade counts as a spell. Flashpoint grants you a bonus free recast of a spell when you critical hit. Chaotic Focus increases the damage of a fire spell when you have barrier.
The Storm Tree (optional)
There’s only one passive in Lightning that would help, and that’s Conductive Current, which gives you a damage bonus the less mana you have. Along the way, you’ll also be able to pick up Energy Barrage, which is a useful single target damage spell. Of course, because you’re limited to eight spells, you might use this in the early game, and then dump it once something better comes along.
I certainly recommend the highest damage staff possible, with a rune of your choice. If you can make one out of dragonbone, you could, but limiting your elemental damage purely to fire may not be the best idea. Lightning is my second favourite staff element, and you will find plenty of ore that will give you that type of damage.
Because of the build’s reliance on activating Flashpoint as much as possible, you’ll want staff addons that gives you as much critical hit chance buffs as possible.
In terms of armour, you’ll want something that is at least as protective as your warrior tank’s. Because the Knight Enchanter can find itself in a fight where it’s surrounded by multiple enemies, there’s no assurance that the barrier will stay up permanently, even with all the damage you can deal.
You could also add guard on hit masterwork items to your equipment, to add that little layer of protection. Any masterwork material that reduces your mana cost can also help, because this build is very mana intensive.
Your Battle Strategy
These can be many and varied. However, the general theme is this:
1. Cast Barrier on yourself and your team.
2. Frost Step into the middle of a mob.
3. Smack things with Spirit Blade.
4. Cast something on another target and support your team with lots of Fire Mines.
Because the Knight Enchanter is so damn flexible, these are the four things are pretty much all that you need to do. You’ll be kept busy though, as the battles are very frenetic.
Knight Enchanters are powerful mage builds in Inquisition. Of course, you might get bored spamming Fire Mines and Spirit Blades, but playing the game on Impossible is still hard. You still have to manage your party and yourself. Just because this class is hard to kill, doesn’t mean it’s invincible.