Warrior Reaver Berserker Build

Warrior Reaver Berserker Build - Dragon Age 2 (DA2)

By zanuffas
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In this post, I will cover the extremely risky but strong, Warrior Berserk Reaver build in Dragon Age 2. It will rely on having low health and fast attack speed to shred any enemies you will encounter. The lower the HP the more damage you can expect.

So let's get into it.

Reaver Two-Handed build

This is a build that will shred enemies in a large radius before the Reaver, making most of the encounters very easy. Of course, this requires some practice so that you would not die fast. But once you get a hang of it, you can expect to take out enemies in seconds.

Attributes

Selecting correct attributes is very important. This will enable you to maximize your damage, survivability, and what abilities you can use.

Reaver Two-handed warrior build attributes dragon age 2

Generally, my recommendation is this for every level up:

  • +1/+2 to Strength. The goal is to reach at least 31 for the best gear. The thing is that some of your damage power will come from Berserk which means that you need high Stamina. However, it is also important to have high Strength. This will increase Attack and lessen the chance to have enemies shrugging off the attacks.
  • +1 Constitution. I suggest getting it to about 30-35. Test it out and see where you feel comfortable. After this concentrate on strength attribute. 
  • +1 Willpower. Stop putting points into it after you reach 30. This will greatly increase the amount of damage with Berserk activated. Then put the points into Strength.

Abilities

To pull this off I recommend having a Tank in the party until level 14 at least. Later on, due to the experience and the build power every encounter will become easier. That is the good time to switch out the tank for another rogue or mage.

I also recommend starting following this build from about level 10

Reaver Two-handed warrior build abilities dragon age 2

Here is my recommended progression:

Order Skill Description
1 Mighty Blow We get this ability early as it will allow you to knock back a group of enemies and deal decent damage.
2 Might This sustained ability will increase Reaver's overall damage by 10%.
3 Giant’s Reach Increase's the reach of Two-Handed sword allowing it to hit more enemies in front. This will greatly improve Reaver's Build damage.
4 Sunder This passive ability is very important. It increases your critical chance by 10% and gives a 20% chance to apply STAGGER on a critical hit
5 Control We mainly take this for progression
6 Cleave This is a very powerful ability. It provides 75% more damage, making Two-Handed Warrior do crazy amounts of damage.
7 Scythe Very good ability to charge a group of enemies.
8 Destroyer Enemy damage resistance is decreased to 90% against Reaver's basic attacks and 50% against critical hits.
9 Muscle Upgrades Might ability so that it now provides a 25% boost to critical damage.
10 Berserk One of the main sustained abilities for this build. Each of your hits drains 4 stamina, but your stamina pool is used to increase your total damage.
11 Barrage Increases the Reaver Berserker attack speed by 50% for 10 seconds. Unfortunately, damage resistance is decreased by 20%.
12 Adrenaline We mainly take this for progression
13 Endless Berserk The Berserk sustained ability now drains 2 stamina instead of 4 per hit.
14 Claymore Upgrades Cleave so that it now lasts 15 seconds, can apply STAGGER and do stun combo against enemies with BRITTLE.
15 Massacre Allows Champion to do a Deathblow against enemies with low HP. This will instantly kill them. This is important as Warrior restores stamina by killing enemies, unlike rogues, who restore stamina per hit.
16 Blood Frenzy This is the first Reaver ability of this build. It increases damage the less HP the warrior has.
17 Devour This ability allows to instantly restore some of the HP. Although your damage will decrease it can save you in critical situations
18 Sacrificial Frenzy A very powerful ability that doubles the effect of Blood Frenzy. It costs HP to use.
19 Aura of Pain We mainly take this for progression. Unfortunately, it does friendly fire and makes Reaver lose stamina
20 Fervor Gives Reaver build a 30% attack speed increase after killing an enemy.
21 Unrelenting Barrage Upgrades Barrage, giving additional 10 seconds.
22 Savage Berserk Provides a larger damage bonus for the remaining stamina that the Berserker Reaver warrior has.
25 Bolster Can be used to restore a small stamina portion.
26 Second Wind Restores 100% of stamina. Can be used to create some large damage combos.
27 Reaper Upgrades Scythe, by providing bonus physical force and damage. Moreover, it can now deal combo damage against enemies affected by BRITTLE status.
28 Last Push Reduces cooldowns for the Berserker build abilities.

All of these abilities ensure that you can attack groups of enemies, knockback or knockdown them, and have enough stamina for Berserk.

Reaver Weapon and Shield Build

Okay, to be honest, this is the build that I prefer personally. It is much more effective against single targets and also provides additional armor due to wearing a shield.

Attributes

The attribute allocation is recommended the same as for the previous build.

Reaver One-handed warrior build attributes dragon age 2

Here is how to allocate points for each level:

  • +1 to Strength. The goal is to reach at least 31 for the best gear. The thing is that some of your damage power will come from Berserk which means that you need high Stamina. However, it is also important to have high Strength. This will increase Attack and lessen the chance to have enemies shrugging off the attacks.
  • +1 Constitution. I suggest getting it to about 30. Because this Reaver build will use a shield your overall armor will be higher making you quite sturdy against enemies.
  • +1 Willpower. Stop putting points into it after you reach 30. This will greatly increase the amount of damage with Berserk activated. Then put the points into Strength.

Abilities

In this section, I will go through the most important abilities for the Reaver Berserk One-Handed build.

Reaver One-handed warrior build abilities dragon age 2

I suggest following this build from about level 10 as it may be hard to pull off this early in the game.

Order Skill Description
1 Shield Bash This early ability that Warrior can use to knock back enemies. Have in mind it does friendly fire on Nightmare difficulty
2 Might This sustained ability will increase Reaver's overall damage by 10%.
3 Control We mainly take this for progression
4 Cleave This is a very powerful ability. It provides 75% more damage, making Two-Handed Warrior do crazy amounts of damage.
5 Assault This ability is very powerful as it does three hits in a row. Later on, with Reaver buffs, you will be able to take down Lieutenant enemies very fast thanks to it.
6 Muscle Upgrades Might ability so that it now provides a 25% boost to critical damage.
7 Destroyer Enemy damage resistance is decreased to 90% against Reaver's basic attacks and 50% against critical hits.
8 Berserk One of the main sustained abilities for this build. Each of your hits drains 4 stamina, but your stamina pool is used to increase your total damage.
9 Barrage Increases the Reaver Berserker attack speed by 50% for 10 seconds. Unfortunately, damage resistance is decreased by 20%.
10 Adrenaline We mainly take this for progression
11 Endless Berserk The Berserk sustained ability now drains 2 stamina instead of 4 per hit.
12 Unrelenting Barrage Upgrades Barrage, giving additional 10 seconds.
13 Claymore Upgrades Cleave so that it now lasts 15 seconds, can apply STAGGER and do stun combo against enemies with BRITTLE.
14 Massacre Allows Reaver build to do a Deathblow against enemies with low HP. This will instantly kill them. This is important as Warrior restores stamina by killing enemies, unlike rogues, who restore stamina per hit.
15 Blood Frenzy This is the first Reaver ability of this build. It increases damage the less HP the warrior has.
16 Devour This ability allows to instantly restore some of the HP. Although your damage will decrease it can save you in critical situations
17 Sacrificial Frenzy A very powerful ability that doubles the effect of Blood Frenzy. It costs HP to use.
18 Aura of Pain We mainly take this for progression. Unfortunately, it does friendly fire and makes Reaver lose stamina
19 Fervor Gives Reaver build a 30% attack speed increase after killing an enemy.
20 Shield Defense We mainly take it for progression
21 Perception You will now become immune to flanking damage.
22 Battery Upgrades Assault by increasing its damage and decreasing the cooldown
23 Savage Berserk Provides a larger damage bonus for the remaining stamina that the Berserker Reaver warrior has.
24 Bolster Can be used to restore a small stamina portion.
25 Second Wind Restores 100% of stamina. Can be used to create some large damage combos.
26 Last Push Reduces cooldowns for the Berserker build abilities.

This will ensure that you have abilities like Assault and Shield Bash to knock back enemies and deal instant burst damage.

Second Wind will ensure that you can restore your stamina for increased damage

Equipment

This section will cover recommended equipment for the Best Reaver builds.

Two-Handed weapons

Priority Item Description
1 bloom icon da2Bloom This battleaxe comes with two runes slots and deals cold damage. Very powerful for the third act.
2 the celebrant da2The Celebrant This is a very powerful greatsword that will allow generating more threat. Moreover, it deals spirit damage. However, this can be a drawback against enemies that are immune to this element. Use it as an alternative if enemies are resistant to Cold and Bloom is not effective
3 the barbarian's blade da2The Barbarian's Blade This greatsword increases attack speed and provides a 5% chance to stun enemies
4 void's hammer icon da2Void's Hammer A perfect hammer for early Act 2. Provides +5% attack speed and +6% critical chance
5 the dogs of war da2 iconThe Dogs of War This maul levels together with the Reaver, ensuring that it always deals decent damage.

One-Handed Weapons

If you went with the One-handed build here are some weapon options:

Priority Item Description
1 Blade of a Thousand Battles da2Blade of a Thousand Battles This blade provides the largest physical damage with runes.
2 Aurvar's Prize da2Aurvar's Prize The mace provides bonus threat generation and armor.
3 fade's fury da2Fade's Fury A decent longsword that also deals AOE spirit damage
4 windsong axe icon da2Windsong Axe The axe deals bonus electricity damage making it quite effective against most of the enemies in the game. Moreover, it provides a boost to offensive stats
5 maelstrom icon da2Maelstrom A perfect offensive option early in the game. It gives a bonus critical chance and attack speed.

Shields

If you went with the One-handed build here are some shields options:

Priority Item Description
1 mage's friend da2Mage's Friend This is a very good shield that gives 3 rune slots.
2 Courage da2Courage This shield improves with level, provides bonus health and damage resistance. Can be worn without any attribute requirements.
3 Shield of the Knight Herself icon da2Shield of the Knight Herself You will need the unrestricted version. It provides +2 strength and increased critical chance.
4 Spirit of 460 Black da2 iconSpirit of 4:60 Black The shield provides decent armor and can be obtained from Fenris's companion quest
5 shield da2Winter-Weight A decent shield in Act 1, will greatly increase defensive capabilities.

Amulets

Priority Item Description
1 Four-Fingered Eddie's Lucky Talisman da2Four-Fingered Eddie's Lucky Talisman Although this amulet gives bonus dexterity and cunning these attributes will boost Reaver's build critical chance and damage. This results in greatly boosted overall DPS. Moreover, it gives bonus attack speed.
2 Heart of the Many icon da2Heart of the Many The amulet provides bonus dexterity and strength.
3 Dull Brass Amulet icon da2Dull Brass Amulet This is another good defensive amulet 
4 Pewter Pendant of Wolves Howling at the Moon icon da2Pewter Pendant of Wolves Howling at the Moon A basic amulet early in the game that boosts critical chance by 2%
5 Meraas icon da2Meraas Increases fortitude and armor. Very good amulet at the beginning of the game.

Belts

Priority Item Description
1 Master Wyvern Hunter's Belt da2Master Wyvern Hunter's Belt This belt is perfect to maximise Reaver build damage. it provides critical chance and attack speed.
2 the belt of promise da2The Belt of Promise This belt gives many good stats, however, the most important is damage resistance of 10%. This makes it a very good option to increase survivability.
3 seven deadly cinch iconSeven Deadly Cinch The unique belt gives a bonus to critical chance and critical damage.
4 Karasten's Belt icon da2Karasten's Belt A decent option for defensive improvements, but weaker compared to the above ones.
5 Enchanted Silverite Chain Belt da2Enchanted Silverite Chain Belt Provides defensive stats and gives +1 to all attributes

Rings

Priority Item Description
1 Etched Ring of the Twins da2Etched Ring of the Twins With this ring, Reaver build will be immune to knockback making it effective against any enemy in the game. Moreover, the ring gives very good offensive attributes
2 Bardin's Folly da2Bardin's Folly
The ring gives bonus strength, attack speed, attack, defense, etc. One of the best rings that Reaver Berserker can wear.
3 the fallen star da2The Fallen Star The ring is quite costly but can be obtained very early in the game. Provides +1 to all attributes
4 Warden's Promise da2Warden's Promise A decent ring that boosts physical and critical damage by a few percentage points.

Tactics

The builds mentioned above are quite similar. They can both be tanks, of course, the One-Handed will probably do that better, but the Two-Handed one, can faster take out groups of enemies.

However, there are some important tips that you should take into account on how to best play out:

  • When starting a fight I recommend first evaluating the number of enemies that attack you. If that is a small number (1-3), use Barrage. It will decrease your damage resistance and increase Attack Speed. If there are 3+ enemies attacking you, I suggest using Blood Frenzy and being ready for your HP to fall down quite fast.
  • As the fight progresses and you lose HP your damage will greatly increase. Then is a great time to activate Cleave for a 75% damage bonus.
  • You should try to optimize your HP to stay at 30%-50%. This way you can have high damage. Otherwise, if you see that Berserker is close to death, use Devour ability to restore HP.
  • You can use abilities like Shield Bash, Mighty Blow to knock back enemies and slow their DPS. This is also a great way to take out normal enemies and activate abilities like Fervor
  • Fervor is best activated by killing the small HP bar enemies that are below Normal tear. This way you will get an instant 30% attack speed increase.

Companions

  • Tank - Aveline. I think she should be included in the group until level 14 at least. This will ensure that your group can safely attack enemies. After that, you will get the hang of the Reaver berserker build, and you should see that a tank is not needed.
  • Anders. He is very important in the group as he will give you a Haste buff. This will buff your DPS tremendously. Moreover, he can heal, has Heroic Aura, making your whole party much stronger
  • Merrill - is another good option. But for her to shine you should take Hex of Torment + Hex of Death to maximize the damage output.
  • Rogue - Varric, Sebastian, Isabela. I think it is good to have one of them as they can use Fatiguing Fog and Chameleon's Breath to increase your survivability and debuff enemies.

Conclusion

Thank you for reading this post. I hope it covered all that you need for a Reaver build in Dragon Age 2. This Specialization is very fun as it relies on you making correct split-second decisions and constantly having low HP.

Feel free to leave a comment or join Discord if you have any questions.

Discussion

Anonymous

Should have asked in my earlier post but i also notice you don't bother at all with either Dex or Cunning which seems like the way to really maximize damage. I eschew to your far greater play experience and assume that high strength is more than enough?

You are right. However, there are a few things to account for. Berserker, gets bonus damage from high Stamina, so we need some willpower. Enemies can easily shrug off attacks, so you need to avoid that, as then even high damage with Berserk, serves no purpose.

Also, Dexterity and Cunning, are purely rogue stats, and most of the benefits come there. Strength also improves warrior skill damage (although you will mostly use basic attacks)

Sadly, I have not added any gameplay gifs :/ It would showcase more of how the build works. I started doing it for the recent game builds

Anonymous

Hmm..I thought Cunning at least helped with critical chance even for warriors. I'm sure it does for Defense though I agree the points should be spent elsewhere for tank warriors especially the pseudo 2 handed tankers. Live and learn.

yes it helps, but you have to evaluate pros and cons. With mediocre critical rate you would invest into critical damage (or both of them), only to lose bonuses from Berserker and make your attacks chip away due to lower strength.

I don't have math for this, but using this build was a breeze through all the encounters.

Anonymous

I'm thinking of respecing my Sword and Board Templar Hawke into a S and B Reaver or Berserker but one thing I have noticed is that you have 31 more attribute points than me and I am currently 23rd level. Do you remember how you get this many more? Equipment I assume? Do you use multiple Runes Of valiance?

Hmm, I do not have DA2 installed now, but I would assume it is from equipment. I definitely had good runes added to equipment as this is late game.

Anonymous

Well I can certainly see that putting multiple Valiance runes into the separate pieces of the Champion armor and also whatever Rune capable shield would really up the points perhaps at too great a cost in resistance runes. Sadly because of a decision to give to Red Lyrium idol piece to Varric (it's been a long time since I first played this and I didn't remember about the Rune that could be created by Sandal) so at least I don't have to wrestle with myself on that choice. And of course there are some Rings and belts and Talismans for even more attribute points-just have to decide the cost against the gain.

You often recommend pieces of equipment that are often quite expensive to buy and while I have a few such fairly big purchases I think I can make do with what I have obtained from the DLC's. Thanks for reply.

Nice! Glad to hear that it worked out well. Yeah any kind of rogue build is deadly if managed by the player. Cheers!

Anonymous

Well I was afraid to take Isabella into the whole Meredith and just before fights but somehow when you are romancing her and she's maxed as a friend it just seemed too theme-y not to. I left her as a DPS build along with a bit of Fatfog but I took personnel control over her for almost the whole fight. As you as keep an eye out for sudden aggro shifts to her and get her out of the way manually or with other abilities like Stealth she was a holy terror as a duel dagger wielder and armed with weapons that could stun and reduce attack speed/movement. Those giant statues didn't last long especially after Fenris rejoined the party as an NPC for the Meredith fight. Only Sebastian left-understandable since I sided with the mages-so I fought with S and B Hawke, Aveline ( a bit redundant but she's just so tough to kill), Isabella, and Merrill. the only regret perhaps is not including Anders as his haste on Isabella would have been glorious. Next playthrough I will Two Hand Hawke as a warrior so Aveline won't seem so much like my first Hawke (wish he could have been a guardian). Funny how those last Boss fights that I did like Corypheus and Meredith seemed easier than than a few of the street battles in Kirkwall at the end. That Pride demon with all his adds was a pain at the Docks. One thing I must correct was my belief you could use multiple Runes of Valiance on separate pieces of armor-no you can't so only one per character apparently. Still 12 more attribute points certainly helps. Moving on to Inquisition now where I will use some of your ideas and builds for that game too but will eventually return to DA2 for another try. Thanks for advice-made the game much more interesting since I hate micromanaging and indeed even consider it cheating but I'm sure even so I did it sometimes but not nearly as before. thanks again.

Nice write up. Yeah Isabella was a bit of a headache, but that build should perform okay as AI, as that was its goal.

I think what matters in Dragon Age 2, particularly, is how well you can CC. It's combat is unique, as enemies appear from nowhere in multiple waves. So even if you have a good tank it takes time to build up aggro. That's why even glass cannons are effective if they can CC well.

Anonymous

The change to my Hawke is coming very late in the game-just before the city goes up in fighting in Act 3-because some of the cool sounding templar abilities inconveniently fail to work aaginst some of the worst Elite bosses (Sky Horror, pride demons for example where Silence doesn't seem to do squat unless my resistance rolls are continuously bad) so would like a Hawke where I can actually be playing my main rather than having to take control of Glass Cannons like Isabella cuz I don't trust the AI with her though your suggested build for her may be worth a try on my next play through-she's just too appealing visually to me and my Hawke lol to leave out of my party most of the time. Aveline is a much better S and B tank than my Hawke tries to be but as you point out you can make it such that you don't need her.

But in this game and before making the changes to Hawke I've been talking about but using your builds for the other characters with only a few Tactics adjustments I was able to pretty easily bring down the Hubri pride Demon. I had to do some micromanagement simply because the AI is too dumb to get out of harms way of those ridiculous Pillars he casts and I redirected most of the characters to the adds when they appeared but still it's a whole lot better than constant pausing and ordering I used to do. he was only able to get off one Pillar before he was down anyway so overall your tactics worked pretty well. Used S and B Hawke, Fenris armed with Bloom with cold runes, Merrill, and Varric (not always Isabella mind you). Varric was using Fatiquing Fog as Isabella would. I just wish Fenris could take advantage of Staggers rather than just create them though. As it is he can really only combo with Brittle which I can do far less frequently with only one mage in the party. perhaps I should consider running with both Merrill and Anders. I just worry that is too many Glass cannons in the party at once with a weak HP rogue. Guess I may try it on the last part of Act 3 and see how it goes.

well I am listing the best options, and then a few alternatives, so the reader could choose. Would like to hear how the build plays out for you!

Anonymous

I felt like Guts from Berserk using this build hahahaa!

Anonymous

hey man! thanks for the guides, they are awesome! what about other equipement like headgear and chest?

Hey, for now I do not have them added. But generally, they do not make any major difference as the core of the build is ready.

I will update them in the next month

Anonymous

Im really enjoying the guides man, thanks for your work, nice to have some reliable info on the game

Thank you!

It's my first time playing the game and I really like high damage high risk gameplay

so I want to follow this build.

Question is, why is there no armor equipments identified in this build to follow.

Does that mean I don't need to follow or use a specific armor to get results?
How about runes?

Hey! I think I may have forgot armors, but generally this should not have any major impact on it.

Regarding runes, you should mostly care about these end game ones: Primeval Lyrium Rune, Rune of Striking and Rune of Devastation

For now, I am concentrating on other games, but I will come back to incorporate this info into the build :)

All the years of playing the dragon age series. I just build my characters and companions with no thought into it. Now trying out your guides I'm having a blast with it. Keep up the great work. Can't wait for the rogue build.

Thank you! The rogue build is coming this weekend :)

Anonymous

These builds are making my new trilogy gameplay awesome. Thank you.

Thank you!

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Post author zanuffas avatar zanuffas
Gamestegy Founder. I have been writing game guides and builds for 4 years. I like to push myself to create something wonderful for the readers!