Champion Tank build - complete guide

Champion Tank build - complete guide - Dragon Age: Inquisition (DAI)

By zanuffas
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This post will cover Dragon Age Inquisition Best Tank build. Moreover, in this Dragon Age entry, tanks usually go hand in hand with Champion specialization. It relies mostly on sustaining Guard and making yourself invincible.

I will go through great detail about what abilities you should use and when to get them. Moreover, I will provide recommendations for the best gear to maximize fighting capabilities

The build is perfect for Nightmare difficulty.

You should also understand what Guard is as it is an important mechanic for an effective tank

Early game abilities, level 1 - 10

Here are my recommendations for tank abilities early in the game

Order Skill Description
1 war cry iconWar Cry + Call to Arms Main AOE taunt ability, use it at the beginning of the fights.
2 charging bull iconCharging Bull Knockdowns enemies and get Guard. Use it early in the combat to build up Guard and clear out the enemies.
3 challenge iconChallenge + Call them Out Single target Taunt ability. With the upgrade, the ability has no cooldown.
4 trust the steel iconTrust the Steel Gives bonus armor if you have Guard
5 untouchable defense iconUntouchable Defense Bonus to maximum Guard.
6 itll cost you iconIt'll Cost You Returns 50% of damage to the enemies. As you will always be attacked this gives a small amount of DPS for you.
7 livid iconLivid + Still Standing Buff the tanking capabilities for yourself when being surrounded by enemies.

At about level 10 you will reach Skyhold where you will be able to get a specialization

Champion Tank build

I think this is the best tank build in Dragon Age Inquisition. All thanks to the Champion specialization. It will greatly boost the survivability of the Inquisitor. Remember to do ability respec before starting.

Generally, you can start by using a single-handed weapon + shield. If you feel that you can easily control the battlefield you can go for a Two-handed weapon for a little bit more damage output.

So let's go through the Champion build Dragon Age Inquisition

Abilities progression

Order Skill Description
1 line in the sand iconLine in the Sand Progression ability
2 resilience iconResilience Gives a chance to stagger enemies that attack the Champion.
3 unyielding iconUnyielding Will make you invulnerable rather than letting die. The effect lasts for 5 seconds
4 walking fortress iconWalking Fortress + Siege Breaker Makes the Champion Tank build invincible. Best ability in tight situations. The upgrade also generates bonus Guard
5 war cry iconWar Cry + Battle Roar AOE taunt ability, which is effective over a 10-meter radius with the upgrade
6 challenge iconChallenge + Throw the Gauntlet Single target Taunt ability. The upgrade will increase your stamina regeneration allowing you to use other abilities at the same time
7 trust the steel iconTrust the Steel When the Champion tank has any Guard this gives a +20% armor bonus
8 untouchable defense iconUntouchable Defense Drastically increases total Guard. This allows soaking more damage before Tank HP is affected.
9 itll cost you iconIt'll Cost You Gives damage returned effect of 50%
10 livid iconLivid + Still Standing Gives bonus damage and guard based on the number of enemies surrounding the tank
11 bulwark iconBulwark Increases the maximum Guard bonus by 25%. mandatory for a Tank build
12 adamant iconAdamant Gives a 20% armor bonus. A great passive ability that will further make the Champion Tank invincible.
13 to the death iconTo the Death + En Garde An extremely good skill works well against bosses or enemies which you want to die fast. Enemies get weaker as time passes, however, they will be dealing more damage to you. Use this Champion ability to maximize party damage against bosses
14 shield wall iconShield Wall Progression ability
15 bear mauls the wolves iconBear Mauls the Wolves Will not allow enemies to do any flanking damage. Moreover, decreases the chance that the Tank gets staggered

Further ability Variations

For now, we have only talked about the tanking abilities in general, and there are a few variations that you can take with the rest of the points. This will either allow you to deal more damage on concentrate further on tanking and defense

Two-Handed weapon

If you decided to go with a Two-handed weapon you can invest in this tree. Taking Mighty Blow or Pommel strike (one of the best two-handed abilities) will allow dealing some damage and knockbacks in addition to high Guard. However, you will lose some armor due to not wearing a shield

Order Skill Description
16 block and slash iconBlock and Slash Progression ability
17 flow of battle iconFlow of Battle Enables cooldown reduction by 1 second for each critical hit
18 pommel strike iconPommel Strike + Lightning Jab The strongest two-handed weapon ability deals large amounts of damage and stagers enemies. Further empowers the Champion build


Order Skill Description
16 might blow iconMighty Blow + Easy Target Knockouts enemies and also deals adequate damage. Upgrade further enhances how often the Champion can use Mighty Blow.

Sword and Shield

Sword and Shield – when wearing a sword and shield you will further increase your defensive capabilities.

Order Skill Description
16 warriors resolve iconWarrior's Resolve Restores stamina for losing every 10% health. Although this will not happen often for the Tank, it will enable you to use your abilities in a critical situation.
17 lunge and slash iconLunge and Slash + Effortless Lunge Great ability to allow Champion to cover the ground better. Use this to move from enemy to enemy.
18 turn the blade iconTurn the Blade Gives 20% damage resistance. Recommended passive ability for sword and shield build
19 shield bash iconShield Bash + Crippling Smash Use this ability to stun enemies and also deal additional damage with the Tank.

Battlemaster Horn of Valor

By using Horn of Valor skill you can buff your party members and also allow them to generate their own Guard. I think this is a perfect addition for this Champion build.

Order Skill Description
16 grappling chain iconGrappling Chain Progression ability
17 crippling blows iconCrippling Blows Progression ability
18 coup de grace iconCoup de Grace Progression ability
19 horn of valor iconHorn of Valor + Fortifying Blast Use this ability to power up your allies and with the upgrade, they also can generate bonus Guard

Grappling Hook

Further Vanguard specialization and Grappling hook – this will require you to continue investing in Vanguard by getting Bodyguard and other abilities in the tree.

Order Skill Description
16 grappling chain iconGrappling Chain + Chains for Days Control the battlefield by pulling enemies together
17 crippling blows iconCrippling Blows Progression ability
18 combat roll iconCombat Roll + Coming Through Use this together with Grappling Chain on a group of enemies. Do deal 500% weapon damage AOE

Bests stats and attributes

  • Constitution – provides health and increases melee defense

  • Willpower – increases the damage and provides magic defense

  • On hit gain * guard – you will get more Guard on each hit. You can obtain this stat from Masterwork materials when they are used in crafting.

  • Ranged defense – bigger defense from ranged attacks

  • Magic defense – overall more magic defense, better than specific element defense

  • Melee Defense – more defense from melee attacks

  • Attack – overall increase to damage

  • Strength – provides damage boost and some Guard damage boost

Recommended Equipment

This section will cover what equipment you should use for the Dragon Age Inquisition Champion build.

You will find the recommendations for both two-handed and single-handed weapon versions of the build. Feel free to choose based on the variation that you took.

Weapons two-handed - obtainable

Priority Item Description
1 edgewise iconEdgewise This is the best defensive sword. It gives constitution, bonus armor rating, and chance to taunt enemies
2 demons advocate iconDemon's Advocate This Maul gives +19 Constitution and provides the effect of exploding bodies when an enemy is killed.
3 chromatic greatsword iconChromatic Greatsword Not only it gives a large boost to damage but also raises elemental resistances by 30%
4 prismatic greataxe iconPrismatic Greataxe The weapon gives a large boost to damage and +15% elemental resistances.

Weapons two-handed - craftable

Priority Item Description
1 dai masterwork brute hammer iconMasterwork Brute Hammer Schematic Due to a large number of metal utility slots, this Maul is perfect for a tank.
2 Masterwork Serrated Greatsword Schematic iconMasterwork Serrated Greatsword Schematic This blade provides both offensive and utility metal slots. So you can equip it if you decide that Cassandra can deal a bit more damage.
3 prismatic greataxe scehmatic iconPrismatic Greataxe Schematic The schematic comes both with offensive and defensive slots. Moreover, the weapon effect doubles the damage dealt. Use it, to deal more damage
4 chromatic greatsword schematic iconChromatic Greatsword Schematic The schematic comes both with offensive and defensive slots. Moreover, the weapon effect doubles the damage dealt. Use it, to deal more damage

Weapons single-handed - obtainable

Priority Item Description
1 greatest hits iconGreatest Hits Overall best single-handed weapon for the tank. Similar to Encore staff it has a chance to apply defensive buffs for your whole party.
2 ritual breaker iconRitual Breaker This sword gives a 10% chance to grant the horn of Valor. Powerful for constantly buffing yourself and your allies.
3 valos atredum iconValos Atredum A decent sword that generates 5 Guard on hit. Great for sustaining tanking capabilities of the Champion

Weapons single-handed - craftable

Because single-handed weapons deal small amounts of damage there is no exceptional choice here.

Priority Item Description
1 revered defender longsword schematic iconRevered Defender Longsword Schematic The best one-handed schematic in terms of offensive slots and damage output.
2 masterwork heavy axe schematic iconMasterwork Heavy Axe Schematic This schematic comes with a Haft upgrade and 4 metal utility slots. Perfect to increase Champion's defensive capabilities
3 Avenger Schematic iconAvenger Schematic This schematic additionally offers a utility metal slot. Use it to increase the constitution of this Tank build

Shields - obtainable

Priority Item Description
1 the best defense iconThe Best Defense Although the shield may not be best defensively, it has an extremely strong passive ability that deals AOE damage.
2 isatunoll iconIsatunoll The shield is perfect for the maximum defensive capabilities of the Tank character. It gives a 10% chance to activate Walking Fortress.
3 path to glory iconPath to Glory I recommend this shield because it is easy to obtain from Black Emporium and it has adequate stats. Perfect for this Tank Build mid-game

Shields - craftable

The shield is all about maximizing armor and front defense for the tank build in the Dragon Age inquisition.

Priority Item Description
1 revered defender bulwark schematic iconRevered Defender Bulwark Schematic The best craftable shield in terms of pure stats. Check the options below for more interesting choices
2 The Knight's Second Schematic iconThe Knight's Second Schematic The shield guarantees blocking one attack every 30 seconds, moreover, it comes with decent stats. However, it may be hard to obtain it.
3 The Best Defense Schematic iconThe Best Defense Schematic I recommend this shield for Champion for offensive considerations. It has a special effect that does large AOE damage every fifth block.
4 Shield of the Emperor Schematic iconShield of the Emperor Schematic The shield has good defensive slots and can be bought in Black Emporium.

Armors - obtainable

Priority Item Description
1 revered defender armor iconRevered Defender Armor Gives a bonus to the constitution and decreases ability cost by 10%.
2 masterwork battlemaster armor iconMasterwork Battlemaster Armor Increases base stamina and provide a decent defensive stats bonus

Armors - craftable

Priority Item Description
1  Revered Defender Armor SchematicRevered Defender Armor Schematic This schematic has the most metal utility slots in the game. Makes perfect armor for a tank
2  Superior Battlemaster Armor SchematicSuperior Battlemaster Armor Schematic More expensive alternative to Battlemaster Armor Schematic. Although it has worse slots, the armor value is higher. Moreover, comes with upgrade slots.
3 normal heavy armor schematic DAIBattlemaster Armor Schematic Has the most utility slots if includes the upgrades. Perfect for maximizing Champion's defensive options and constitution

Helmets - obtainable

Priority Item Description
1 revered defender helmet iconRevered Defender Helm The Helmet can be obtained in The Descent DLC. Provides very good defensive bonuses: constitution, melee defense, etc.
2 dukes mane iconDuke's Mane A decent helmet that gives a bonus  +8 Strength and +8% Melee Defense

Helmets - craftable

Priority Item Description
1 Revered Defender Helm Schematic iconRevered Defender Helm Schematic Gives very good utility slots that you can use to increase constitution or strength.
2 Duke's Mane Schematic iconDuke's Mane Schematic Provides 11 utility metal slots to increase constitution.
3 helm of the Inquisitor Schematic iconHelm of the Inquisitor Schematic The schematic is quite cheap and provides 10 metal utility slots.


The amulets are listed by Tier. Usually, the Best tier can be obtained late in the game, but it provides maximum bonuses.

Priority Item Description
1 master cooldown amulet iconMaster Cooldown Amulet or Superb Cooldown Amulet Reduces the cooldown for skills. This will give more capabilities to handle aggro around the field for Champion Tank.
2 Superb Stamina Amulet iconMaster Stamina Amulet or Superb Stamina Amulet Increases the pool of stamina. Great for using abilities early in the fight
3 Superb Amulet of Constitution iconSuperb Amulet of Constitution Increases Consitution that results in higher melee defense and HP pool


Priority Item Description
1 Master Guard Belt iconMaster Guard Belt of Superior Guard Belt Increases the Maximum Guard for the Tank. This way you can take more damage before HP will be affected.
2 Superb Belt of health iconSuperb Belt of Health Increases Health pool, allowing to soak more damage
3 belt of life iconBelt of Life Increases Health pool, allowing to soak more damage


Priority Item Description
1 Superb Ring of Life-Drain iconSuperb Ring of Life-Drain This ring will drain HP from dying enemies. However, look for other options if Champion always has full Guard
2 Superb Ring of Staggering iconSuperb Ring of Staggering Increases the chance to interrupt enemy attacks and stagger them

Tactics and tips

There are not many tactics here. Your aim is to keep the enemies taunted to yourself and based on the build variations use the relevant skills in different situations.

You want to keep generating Guard as much as possible. This is especially important on Nightmare difficulty. Unfortunately, if you get knocked down or stop for a few seconds you may easily die.

It is a good idea to use Walking Fortress ability when you will be running to the next enemy and you won’t be able to generate Guard


Thank you for reading. This is an extremely good build if you are playing on Hard or Nightmare difficulty. Should make your playthrough much easier.

Feel free to leave any comments and suggestions below.


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!