Rift Mage Build - Ice Breaker

Rift Mage Build - Ice Breaker - Dragon Age: Inquisition (DAI)

By zanuffas
Last updated:
I will cover Ice Rift Mage Build for Dragon Age: Inquisition - Ice Breaker. This concentrates on using Ice spells to shatter, freeze, and knock down enemies. Even if they don't get frozen, they will be slowed, making them perfect pickings for your companions.

Rift Mage - Ice Breaker build

This is the best Rift mage build that I recommend. It makes Dragon Age Inquisition a bit more interesting game even in the late game. The main idea of the build:

  • Freeze enemies
  • Shatter frozen enemies
  • Crowd control them by knockdowns and freezes
  • Stay close to the enemies

To fully use this build you will need to do Impact Detonator combos that can be activated with Stonefist after the enemy is frozen.

Let's start going through the build

Abilities - before Specialization, Levels 1-10

Early in the game, your inquisitor should be a simple mage with these core abilities:

Order Skill Description
1 Barrier iconBarrier A great ability to survive critical encounters. Recommend having it at the start of the game, especially if you play on Nightmare.
2 immolate iconImmolate + Wildfire Easily accessible AOE fire ability. The upgrade gives more damage and a shorter cooldown
3 peaceful aura iconPeaceful Aura
The Inquisitor will generate less threat
4 dispel iconDispel
Good early in the game, when rift enemies can be strong. You can use it to take out summoning circles
5 Energy barrage iconEnergy Barrage + Energy Bombardment This is an amazing ability, releasing multiple particles. With it, there is a higher chance to generate a critical hit for the next passive ability. Moreover, the element damage depends on the staff you have equipped
6 Flashpoint iconFlashpoint
If you land a critical hit, your next spell does not have a cooldown
7 Pyromancer iconPyromancer
We take this mainly to unlock the next ability
8 Fire mine iconFire Mine
Very strong ability allowing to deal 1600% of weapon damage.

It is a well-rounded skill allocation, allowing for an effective way to deal with enemies. At about levels 10-12, you should get Rift Mage specialization. Once you have it respec your abilities.

Abilities - Overview

Short overview of what skills to pick. For a detailed explanation check the next section

Rift Mage

Rift Mage Ice build Rift Mage tree

Spirit Tree

Rift Mage Ice build Spirit tree

Storm Tree

Rift Mage Ice build Storm tree

Inferno Tree

Rift Mage Ice build Inferno tree

Winter Tree

Rift Mage Ice build Winter tree

Abilities - progression till Endgame

Here I will cover detailed progression and explanations on when and where to invest Inquisitor ability points

Order Skill Description
1 stonefist iconStonefist + Shatterstone This ability has a short cooldown and it can apply a weakened state. Moreover, it deals damage and also knockouts enemies in AOE with the upgrade.
2 encircling veil iconEncircling Veil Increases spell duration bonus against weakened enemies.
3 veilstrike iconVeilstrike + Punching Down This ability does not deal damage. However, it sets the Weakened state + knockback enemies in the AOE range. However, for me, it gives a small breather as the ability enters the tactical camera to go through what is happening in the field. Moreover, you can use it quite often to put enemies in place
4 restorative veil iconRestorative Veil One of your main abilities that will restore mana when Inquisitor deals damage to weakened enemies.
5 Barrier iconBarrier + Energetic Defense This is a good ability to put up a barrier when low on HP or starting a battle. The upgrade will make the delay the decaying for 5 seconds
6 Fade step iconFade Step + Energizing Step A frost ability that has two purposes:
- Reposition yourself and run away
- Restore mana with each enemy you pass by
7 winter stillness iconWinter Stillness We mainly take it as an upgrade path. Although the ability looks good, many of the spells used in the game make the Inquisitor move a little and cancel the effect.
8 ice mine iconIce Mine + Chilling Array This build's main ability that you will use to stop enemies, create shatter combos and boost Winter's Grasp damage. The upgrade will activate the traps instantly but they can only appear right before the character
9 winter's grasp iconWinter's Grasp + Winter's Ruin This ability is quite costly. However, with the Winter's Ruin upgrade, you will be able to deal 1000% weapon damage. For this to work you will need to use this on Frozen enemies. This is easily doable with Ice Mine
10 Energy barrage iconEnergy Barrage We take this ability as an alternative to having other element types besides Ice. Inquisitor will lose about 50% of effectiveness against enemies that have Ice resistance
11 twisting veil iconTwisting Veil Boosts your damage against weakened enemies
12 pull of the abyss iconPull of the Abyss + Devouring Veil With the upgrade, the ability will do 500% spirit damage in AOE. As you will be weak against Ice resistant enemies this ability greatly boosts your combat capacity.
13 immolate iconImmolate We mainly take this for progression
14 Flashpoint iconFlashpoint This ability will allow you to use the next spell without cooldown if the current spell hits with a critical hit
15 cleanburn iconClean Burn Each spell cast will reduce your cooldowns by 1 second
16 Conductive Current iconConductive Current Your damage will be increased the less mana you have

Here are some additional skills that I recommend getting if you reach a higher level or have free ability points:

  • Upgrade Energy Barrage
  • Blizzard + any upgrade.
  • Peaceful Aura
  • Frost Mastery


As with most builds at the start of the game, your priority should be base stats and critical chance. Later on, you should be concentrating on critical damage to maximize your DPS.

  • Critical chance - with Ring of Doubt, try to keep it at 20%, without it 50%+ is recommended

  • Critical Damage – your priority from level 15~ or when you reach 50% critical chance

  • Attack - boosts overall damage, usually, the bonuses are higher than attribute-based ones
  • Willpower - boosts Rift mage overall damage and also gives magic defense.
  • Magic - boosts overall damage

  • Armor – a priority for low levels, up to level 12

Rift mage stats

Equipment Recommendations

In this section, I will go through the recommended equipment for the Dragon Age Inquisition Rift mage build

Weapons - obtainable

The staves are quite good, however, they are usually surpassed once you can get Tier 4 materials

Priority Item Description
1 dai hakkons wisdom iconHakkon's Wisdom This staff gives +100% critical damage. It is a good alternative to Isana's Song if you have at least a 50% Critical chance
2 Isana's Song iconIsana's Song This staff can be obtained in The Descent DLC. Provides +41 to magic. In terms of pure damage, it has no equals. It also has a 10% chance to cast Chain Lightning.
3 Earnest reprisal iconEarnest Reprisal I recommend this staff, only if you have a high critical chance of 50% or more. Or you have equipped Ring of Doubt
4 staff of the void iconStaff of the Void The staff is obtained from high dragon Hivernal. Moreover, it provides adequate stats

Weapons - craftable

Generally, I prefer craftable staves if you have good masterwork and other materials

Priority Item Description
1 Encore iconStaff of Corruption Schematic Although this is Tier 4, I would still go for Wrath of Lovias Schematic which provides better slots for the end game.
2 Encore iconEncore Schematic One of the best staves in the game as it gives offensive buffs for all party members
3 Encore iconWrath of Lovias Schematic The stave gives leather slots for increased critical chance or critical damage

Helmets - obtainable

Priority Item Description
1 cowl of the pure iconCowl of the Pure Can be an alternative to the Mask of the Grand Duchess. However, it will only increase attack and not critical stats
2 helm of drasca iconHelm of the Drasca
A mid-tier helmet, I would recommend equipping this if you do not have the Winter Palace masks or Cowl of the Pure
3 unique Mask iconAmbassador's Mask I would still recommend Mask of the Grand Duchess. However, if you have a high critical rate (50%+), this helmet is much better.
4 unique Mask iconMask of the Grand Duchess The best helmet in terms of the boost to critical chance.

Helmets - Craftable

Priority Item Description
1 Superior helm schematic iconSuperior Skirmisher Hat Schematic Great slots for increasing critical stats. best craft
2 battlemage cowl schematic tier 3Battlemage Cowl Schematic Upgraded version of Tier 2 schematic. Provides better utility slots. Similar to other Tier 3 schematics
3 superior seer cowl schematic iconSuperior Seer Cowl Similar to the other options in Tier 3.

Armors - obtainable

Here is a recommended list of obtainable armor that you can wear.

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 Vestments of the pure iconVestments of the Pure Similar to the craftable version. So choose the one that you prefer. Gives 45 points to willpower
3 Unique robe icon.pngMasterwork Battlemage Armor Reduces the cost of the abilities and spells. Moreover, gives +6 to the magic attribute
4 robes of high keeper iconRobes of the High Keeper The Robe provides decent stats, especially if you use Focus abilities often. However, you have to be an Elf Rift Mage to wear it

Armors - craftable

I think all of the armors listed below are extremely good, choose the one to your liking

Priority Item Description
1 Superior Robe schematic iconSuperior Battlemage Armor Schematic This version has one Cloth and a leather utility slot. Quite powerful and can be bought in Hissing Wastes. Moreover, you can add Arms and Legs upgrades to have an even larger boost to damage
2 suberp antaam saar iconSuperb Antaam-saar Schematic
The schematic gives 3 Leather Utility slots to increase offensive stats. I think it trades blows with Superior Battlemage Armor Schematic, due to the leather slots that it provides
3 Vestments of the Pure schematics iconVestments of the Pure Schematic Top-tier armor schematic. However, it does not have leather utility/offensive slots


Try to find and obtain amulets that have higher priority. They are better for this build

Priority Item Description
1 Superb Amulet iconAndraste’s Sacrifice The best amulet for a mage. Gives higher mana regeneration and decreases ability cooldown. However, you will constantly taunt enemies, so it can be risky without a good Tank.
2 Superb Amulet iconSuperb Amulet of Dexterity Boosts dexterity, which increases your critical damage
3 Superb Amulet iconSuperb Amulet of Cunning Equip this amulet if you do not have Ring of Doubt. This way you can increase the critical chance of naturally.
4 Superb Amulet of willpower iconSuperb Amulet of Willpower Boosts willpower which increases Rift mage damage health and magic defense


Try to find and obtain belts that have higher priority. They are better for this build

Priority Item Description
1 Superb Belt iconThe Bind That Guides Great belt, for this build. Unfortunately only available in the Trespasser DLC
2 Superb Belt iconMaster Belt of Focus or Superior Belt of Focus More Focus results in more often Mark of the Rift if you are the Inquisitor
3 Superb Belt of health iconSuperb Belt of Health or Belt of Life Boosts HP resulting in better survivability especially mid-game or end-game encounters.


Try to find and obtain rings that have higher priority. They are better for this build

Priority Item Description
1 Superb ring iconRing of Doubt Probably the best ring for the Rift mage. The character will enter stealth during combat which will guarantee a critical hit.
2 Superb ring iconThe Hand That Cuts Only obtainable in Trespasser DLC. However, provides a large boost to critical damage
3 Superb ring iconSuperb Ring of Critical Damage Boosts critical damage by 20%. A strong option that will work well with Ring of Doubt
4 Superb ring iconRing of Slicing Expensive ring bought in Black Emporium. Boosts your critical damage and critical rate. I suggest getting this mid-game.
5 Superb ring iconSuperb Ring of Critical Chance Boosts critical chance. Equip it, if the rift mage has a low critical chance.

Tactics and tips

Here I would like to give some tips on how to best use this build:

  • The main suggestion I can give is to have a good tank so that it can draw enemy's attention
  • Against enemies that are strong against Ice like Despair demons, use Energy Barrage (with any staff that does not have an ice element) and Pull of the Abyss.
  • Use Stonefist and Winter's Grasp on Frozen enemies for maximum damage.
  • Use Barrier spell throughout the fight. If you get hit by a single enemy as an archer put it on instantly. You will not survive many hits as a mage.

Here is how I enter combat:

  1. Cast Barrier on yourself + party members
  2. Use Fade Step to get close to a group of enemies
  3. Cast Veilstrike + Ice Mine
  4. Once enemies are frozen use Stonefist
  5. Use Winter's Grasp on another Frozen enemy, this should deal a lot of damage.
  6. Enemies should start standing up. You can do Veilstrike + Pull of the Abyss.
  7. Use the Fade Step to pass through enemies to restore some MP and position to the next group of enemies.
  8. Use Ice Mine and continue from step 4.

Rift Mage Ice build hotbar

So the best Rift Mage build partly relies on good equipment, spells, and how you use all of this together on the battlefield


I hope you enjoyed reading the Ice Breaker - Rift Mage Build for Dragon Age: inquisition. The post goes into detail on which Ice spells to pick and how to use them together with Rift Mage's unique abilities for maximum effect.


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!