Cole Dual Wield Build

Cole Dual Wield Build - Dragon Age: Inquisition (DAI)

By zanuffas
Last updated:
In this post, I will cover how to best Cole Dual Wield Build in Dragon Age Inquisition. This approach is somewhat difficult to make work effectively due to enemy AI. However, with some tweaks, you will be able to have an effective Assassin who can always lend a hand to Inquisitor.

Cole Build - Dual Wield Assassin

This build is for those who wish to still use Cole as a dual-wielding assassin. As you know AI is quite bad at handling Dual Wielding Rogue.

However, with this build, you should mitigate many of these effects allowing you to shred enemies from the back with Cole.

Cole dual daggers stats

This build will rely on constantly entering stealth and hitting with critical hits from it. Moreover, Your weapons will be constantly releasing poison clouds to ensure that you can avoid their attacks and deal damage over time.

The companion build is compatible with Nightmare difficulty, however, to pull it off correctly, be sure to have a good Inquisitor build

So let's go through the details.

Abilities - Early Game, levels 1 - 10

Although you may recruit Cole close to level 10, here is what I recommend when starting. First, get a bow for Cole, early in the game this is the best option. Second, invest in these skills according to the priority:

Order Skill Description
1 stealth iconStealth + Clinging Shadows Allows Cole to escape from enemies easily
2 poisoned weapons iconPoisoned Weapons + Infected Wound Early ability to increase overall damage you do with skills and auto-attack
3 long shot iconLong Shot Does 600% weapon damage if shot from more than 15 meters
4 first blood iconFirst Blood Passive skill that will increase damage if enemy health is full
5 death from above iconDeath From Above We take it mainly for progression
6 leaping shot iconLeaping Shot + Shot from the Shadows Fire spell is cheap and deals decent damage
7 explosive shot iconExplosive Shot + Shockwave Effective knockback skill to take out a specific target.

This way you ensure that Cole can survive encounters and does not die easily. The problem with dual wielding is that early in the game he may get hit a lot in melee range while not having good equipment.

Abilities - Full Progression

Here I will explain how you should prioritize what skills to invest in and when.

IMPORTANT: Get a relevant Amulet of Power for Cole to maximize the number of ability points

Order Skill Description
1 throatcutter iconThroatcutter Gives a larger damage bonus the less HP the enemy has.
2 hidden blades iconHidden Blades + Overkill One of the main Assassin abilities. It will hit the enemy with six hits each having 300% weapon damage.
3 i was never here iconI Was Never Here After killing the enemy Cole will enter stealth this ability will synergize well with the next one
4 knife in the shadows iconKnife in the Shadows Attacking from stealth will ensure that Cole deals critical hits
5 mark of death iconMark of Death This ability will work extremely well on strong enemies. I do not recommend taking the upgrade as the additional skill points can be spent elsewhere.
6 poisoned weapons iconPoisoned Weapons + Infected Wounds With this active skill, Cole will coat its weapons with Poison. This will his daggers to deal larger damage
7 fighting dirty iconFighting Dirty The poison effect will last 25% longer
8 explosive toxin iconExplosive Toxin If the enemy is killed while under the effect of poison, their bodies will explode releasing a cloud of poison. This will synergize with Toxic Cloud
9 toxic cloud iconToxic Cloud + Lost in the Mist  This is the main ability that will ensure the survivability of Cole and also party members. Every few seconds party members will gain a stack of Elusive if they stand in the cloud. This will negate a single hit from the enemy on the party member. The effect can stack up to 3 times.
15 stealth iconStealth + Clinging Shadows A good ability when you need to escape enemies. Moreover, when you attack from stealth you will get guaranteed critical hits due to Kine in the Shadows passive ability.
16 caltrops iconCaltrops We take this mainly for progression
17 looked like it hurt iconLooked Like It Hurt Each critical hit will restore 10 stamina. An essential skill to have the stamina for all the skills
13 flank attack iconFlank Attack + Skirmisher It allows it to deal decent damage and enter stealth if the attack is used from the front of the enemy.
14 first blood iconFirst Blood We take this mainly for progression
15 explosive shot iconExplosive Shot We take this mainly for progression
16 pincushion iconPincushion Although this ability is in the Archery tree it also works for dual daggers.
17 gaps in the armor iconGaps in the Armor Increases Armor penetration by 25%

Here are some other considerations and tips regarding abilities

  • Evade - I suggest avoiding it, it does not work well with how AI handles it in my opinion.
  • Bloodied Prey - a passive ability that gives additional damage if the enemy hp is lower than Cole's
  • Easy to Miss - reduces threat generation, making enemies less likely to target Cole

Tactics and Behaviours

For this build here are my Tactics recommendations:

Cole rogue assassin tactics

  • Set to Preferred - Toxic Cloud. We want Cole to use it as often as possible. This way he and party members can easily avoid enemy attacks increasing survivability
  • Disable - Caltrops and Explosive Shot
  • All others should be set to Active

For behaviors here is what I recommend:

  • Mana/Stamina % reserve - 0%
  • Targeting Behavior - follow the tank

I think with these settings Cole will be extremely powerful. However, keep in mind that he is still a glass cannon. Cole will manage to take on a few hits and for all of this to work a good tank is essential.

Stats and attributes

Here is what Stats I recommend to best maximize Cole:

  • Critical Chance - 40%+. Due to constantly being in stealth and Knife in the Shadows synergy Cole will do many critical hits already
  • Critical Damage - once you have reached the Critical chance threshold of 40%, concentrate on increasing this stat as it will scale your damage well.
  • Cunning - boosts critical chance (until 40% critical chance)
  • Dexterity - boosts critical damage
  • Attack - overall boost to damage

Items and Equipment

This section will cover some item recommendations for Cole. Generally, in the early to mid-game, there won't be too much powerful gear. However, what matters is the ability to pick. So take whatever items you find with the highest stats. Later on, feel free to start optimizing.

Masterwork crafting materials

If you want to take Cole's damage to the next level I recommend this:

  • Hidden Blades - this is a strong effect to boost DPS. It will give a chance for Hidden Blades to be activated after each hit. These materials will active it: Fade-Touched Ring Velvet, Fade-Touched Velveteen, Fade-Touched Plush Fustian Velvet
  • Guard on Hit - not personally a fan of it, but it increases the survivability of Cole. Materials:  Fade-Touched Obsidian, Fade-Touched Silverite
  • Abilities cost *% less Mana/Stamina -will reduce the cost of using active abilities. Materials: Fade-Touched Velveteen, Fade-Touched Ring Velvet, Fade-Touched Fustian Velvet

Weapons - craftable

Priority Item Description
1 Stone Stalker Blade Schematic iconStone Stalker Blade Schematic Gives decent slots, and large damage, but can be hard to obtain. It has the highest base damage out of all daggers.
2 Blade of Red Birth Schematic iconBlade of Red Birth Schematic Alternative to the first option, and can be acquired much easier. Gives 11 Leather offensive slots for bonus flanking damage
3 Coiled Strike Schematic iconCoiled Strike Schematic Single target dagger that has excellent leather slots. Can be bought in Black Emporium. Also comes with a grip slot
4 Barbarian Rock-Crasher Schematic iconBarbarian Rock Crasher Schematic Provides better slots than Coiled Strike Schematic even with a grip, but loses on DPS.

Weapons - obtainable

There are plentiful dagger options to choose from for Cole.

Priority Item Description
1 bosun's blade iconBosun’s Blade Deals huge damage when attacking from the back
2 bloody bargain iconBloody Bargain The dagger provides a unique ability that increases movement and attack speed after each kill. Only obtained in the Trespasser DLC.
3 silencer iconSilencer Obtained with The Descent DLC. Gives a large boost to dexterity resulting in higher critical damage
4 cordovas smile iconCordova’s Smile The dagger provides a large boost to Flanking damage and a 20% bonus Focus Gain.
5 gift of the talons iconGift of the Talons The dagger is extremely powerful and hard to obtain early in the game. However, if you manage it, your DPS will skyrocket due Hidden Blades effect

Armors - obtainable

Priority Item Description
1 the skin that stalks iconThe Skin That Stalks Obtainable only in the Trespasser DLC. Boosts Critical Damage, Critical Chance, and Attack.
2 stone stalker coat iconStone Stalker Coat Gives 45 points boost to Cunning and +5 to Dexterity. Moreover, increases movement speed during stealth
3 Masterwork Prowler Armor iconMasterwork Prowler Armor This armor reduces ability stamina cost by 20% if not attacked for 5 seconds.

Armors - craftable

Priority Item Description
1 superior prowler armor schematic iconSuperior Prowler Armor Schematic This armor has 23 utility leather slots if you include upgrades. Feel free to increase either dexterity or cunning based on what the Cole build needs more.
2 Sturdy Prowler Armor Schematic iconSturdy Prowler Armor Schematic This is a cheaper alternative to Superior Prowler Armor Schematic. It also gives less defense and 22 utility leather slots.
3 Stone Stalker Coat Schematic iconStone Stalker Coat Schematic Can be obtained from The Descent DLC. Has decent slots, but is worse compared to the options above.

Helmets - obtainable

Priority Item Description
1 stone stalker mask iconStone Stalker Mask The best obtainable helmet for this Cole build. It provides both dexterity and cunning.
2 helm of drasca iconHelm of the Drasca This is a high-level helmet. Although it does not provide the best offensive stats it has fairly high armor.
3 unique Mask iconAmbassador's Mask Perfect helmet before you can get Stone Stalker Mask or better crafting materials

Helmets - craftable

Priority Item Description
1 Superior helm schematic iconSuperior Skirmisher Hat Schematic This helmet is perfect for Cole as it can  increase offensive stats like flanking and critical damage
2 Helmet schematics iconSkirmisher Hat Schematic Mid-game crafting schematic that has good leather slots for Cole


Priority Item Description
- Amulet of Power Gives Cassandra a single ability point. It is consumed once you use it.
1 Enhanced amulet iconEnhanced Amulet of Barrier Will generate a barrier on each hit so that Cole will not die easily when fighting close to the enemies.
2 the eye that weeps iconThe Eye That Weeps Provides +10% Attack. This is the best compared to other amulets as none of them provide bonus flanking damage
3 Superb Amulet iconMaster Cooldown Amulet to Superb Cooldown Amulet The cooldown amulets will allow the use of abilities like Hidden Blades more often. This will result in an overall higher DPS
4 Superb Amulet iconSuperb Amulet of Dexterity Boosts dexterity, which increases your critical damage


Priority Item Description
1 Superb Belt iconThe Bind That Guides Available only in the Trespasser DLC. It gives a bonus critical chance
2 Superb Belt iconMaster Belt of Focus More Focus results in more often Mark of the Rift if you are the Inquisitor
3 Superb Belt iconSuperb Belt of Staggering The belt will give a higher chance to temporarily stun enemies with normal attacks
4 Superb Belt iconSuperior Belt of Focus A weaker version of the above belt.


Priority Item Description
1 Superb ring iconThe Hand That Cuts You only obtain this ring in Trespasser DLC. However, it gives a +20% Critical Damage bonus
2 Ring of Slicing The rings boost critical damage by 10% and critical chance by 5%. It is one of the best rings for this build
3 Superb Ring of Critical Damage Gives +20% critical damage, equip it once you have a high enough critical Chance
4 Superb Ring of Critical Chance Gives a +10% critical chance. Great to boost it, if you have less than 40%
5 Superb Ring of Attack Boosts overall attack damage


Thank you for reading Cole Dual Dagger Build's post. It should have helped to better optimize this character to make it effective in melee combat. However, Cole will still not be able to fully utilize flanking mechanics.


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!