Let’s see you stand against my green fist of stone!!

Welcome to my final build guide for Dragon Age Inquisition. Today, we’ll be looking at the Rift Mage, which is one of the two mages used for crowd control in the game. The other is the Necromancer, but I find the Rift Mage is much more powerful and flexible.

Now, you might wonder why this is the last class. The simple reason is that I’m moving on to Witcher 3: Wild Hunt until new DLCs come out for Inquisition. Also, the remaining two classes, Templar and Necromancer don’t interest me.

What is a Rift Mage?

A Rift Mage is probably best described as a completely new class, with elements of the Force Mage and Elemental Mage skills from Dragon Age 2. It’s mainly a control class, using knockdowns and status effects, as well as the ability to self trigger multiple cross class combos, which is absolutely awesome.

It’s a very flexible and high damage type of class, but it can still be quite flimsy, and it will be up to you to decide how to go about the game. Support or all out damage?

The Party

Aside from the obligatory tank, you could seriously go into battle with three mages. If you take Vivienne and Dorian, you’ll have two control mages, and a secondary, flexible tank.

If you don’t want to miss out on locked doors (which are few and far between, by the way), you could bring Varric, who has passive bonuses for status effect duration and damage, which is better for overall party mechanics.

The Build

This is the kind of class that requires a lot of poaching from each tree to be effective. Just be careful though, as you can only have eight skills in your skill bar (which, by the way, is enormously stupid), so you might want to cycle through different combinations for certain encounters.

The Spirit Tree

Obviously, you’ll want Barrier, Dispel, Peaceful Aura and Guardian Spirit. The upgrades to Barrier and Dispel are optional, and I’ve personally never found them all that useful. Your mileage may vary though.

The issue with the Rift Mage is mana, or rather lack of it. What you’ll likely need to do, in the long term, is to also pick up Rejuvenating Barrier, which gives you extra mana generation whenever you have an active barrier in your party. Bring Vivienne, if you want that bonus constantly on!

You might wish to get Strength of Spirits as well, which gives all your barriers a 50 per cent bonus to damage absorption. It still drains at the same speed if you don’t get hit though.

The Rift Mage Tree

This is where the magic (no pun intended) lies. I would take absolutely everything in this tree, including Firestorm, which is an awesome direct damage Focus Skill.

The specific upgrades you will want to pick up though, are for Stone Fist and Pull of the Abyss. The upgrade to Veilstrike is optional, and I tend not to use Veilstrike much because it doesn’t do any damage and its cooldown is three times longer than Stone Fist’s.

The Inferno Tree

Now, if you’re like me, the first thing you do when you get to Haven is respec out of Flashfire and get Immolate. Its upgrade is optional in this case. In this tree, I would pick up all the passives, which give you free spells and increased damage. I would also pick up both levels of Fire Mine, which is awesome. Except when you’re facing Rage Demons.

The Winter Tree

You won’t need much of anything here. What you want is the passive ability Winter Stillness, which grants mana generation when you stand still. Pretty nifty passive for a Rift Mage. Whether you pick up Frost Step or Winter’s Grasp is up to you. If you have spare points, you could also grab Ice Mine and its upgrade.

The Storm Tree

You’ll also want to grab a few passives here, along with useful attacks that you might wish to take advantage of. Energy Barrage is a good combo detonator, along with Stone Fist and much better than Chain Lightning in terms of overall damage.

You’ll want the passives called Conductive Current and Gathering Storm, and you may also want to pick up Static Cage and its upgrade if you want another crowd control spell in your arsenal. Conductive Current adds damage to all spells when you have less than full mana. Gathering Storm lowers your cooldowns for any standard staff attacks you make.

Your Gear

This mage relies on standing still with barriers to assist in mana generation. You do not want to be in the thick of a pitched melee battle. If you are, well, your whole party was toast anyway. However, you’ll want armour to give you bonuses to magic and willpower to boost your overall attack multiplier.

In terms of your staff, a high-ish critical hit chance will help you deal more damage, since you want to take advantage of the Flashpoint passive as often as possible. Any other bonus to magic and willpower stats will help as well.

For the staff’s elemental damage, again that’s your choice. You may even want to carry multiple staves with you to deal with different kinds of enemies. I find lightning to be the most flexible, followed by fire. Who doesn’t like a good staff spewing fire?

Battle Strategy

This will of course depend on your choice of eight primary skills. But, needless to say, the last thing you want is to have the battle come to you. Let your tank take the brunt of the attack first before doing anything. Also, stand still as much as possible, otherwise you won’t have enough mana.

My eight hot key slots are taken up by:

1. Barrier

2. Dispel

3. Fire Mine

4. Energy Barrage

5. Lightning Cage

6. Stone Fist

7. Pull of the Abyss

8. Firestorm/Mark of the Rift

Most of these are control spells which also double as damage dealers. The whole point of this build is to have your enemies suffer from the Weakened status effect, which means they deal 30 (or 60, if you have maxed out the Rift Mage passives!) per cent less damage. Detonating Weakened makes enemies go to sleep.

Lightning Cage gives opponents the shocked effect, which you can detonate with Energy Barrage or Stone Fist to deal lightning damage an area of effect. You can throw an Ice Mine down and detonate with Stone Fist for shatter, which deals an enormous level of ice damage.

As you can see, the options with this class are multiple and enormously fun.

In Closing

Rift Mages are awesome fun in Inquisition, because they’re just so versatile, both in crowd control and high damage output. If you got a bit bored with playing a Knight Enchanter (like I did), you should seriously try this class out. You won’t regret it!


2 thoughts on “Dragon Age: Inquistion – Rift Mage

  1. I also tried Knight Enchanter before branching into other mage builds. Haven’t played Inquisition in months now but it got a couple of consecutive run-throughs and a good 150 hours of play. Great game…

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