Best Artificer builds - Archer and Dual Dagger - Dragon Age: Inquisition (DAI)

By zanuffas
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This is an extremely fun build using a bow. You will be utilizing the benefits of bow and use Artificer traps to crowd control the battlefield. This build is also able to take down strong enemies like dragons and giants single-handedly.

Pre specialization, level 1 - 10

Until level 10 you will have standard abilities for an archer.

Order Skill Description
1 stealth iconStealth The first ability to take that greatly increases your survivability and tactical advantage
2 long shot iconLong Shot + Archer’s Lance The first ability allows dealing a large amount of damage from 15+ meters. Great opener
3 death from above iconDeath from Above We take this ability to unlock the next one
4 leaping shot iconLeaping Shot + Shot from the Shadows You can reposition and deal substantial damage to the enemy, especially if you are close to him
Moreover, you will enter stealth after using Leaping Shot
5 evasion iconEvasion We take it mainly for progression
6 evade iconEvade + Shadow Step Shadow Step upgrade makes Evade much more agile. You can use this to come close to the enemies or move away
7 strafing shots iconStrafing Shots It will give you mobility while you auto-attack
8 first blood iconFirst Blood  Attacks, when the enemy has a high HP the Inquisitor will deal increased damage. Will work well with Long Shot + Stealth.

I prefer having many abilities that allow you to reposition yourself rather than many ones that attack, early in the game.

Stats and attributes

Varric stats for artificer build

  • Critical chance – I recommend having at least 70%. It will ensure that you both have fast cooldowns and an almost full stamina bar.

  • Critical Damage – After you have a high critical rate (70%+), prioritize this stat if you are able.

  • Cunning – if you are not able to get direct investment to critical chance get Cunning bonuses

  • Attack – provides larger damage bonus, better than dexterity as you usually get much higher bonuses for Attack

  • Dexterity – alternative to critical damage, but provides less bonus

Artificer Archer Trap build

Get ready to get yourself blown away. This is one of the most powerful archers Artificer builds that uses a bow.

Artificer specialization icon

Your main skill is Leaping Shot. Everything we do is to make this skill more powerful.

How will it work? if you see yourself entering stealth, positioning carefully, and then wrecking a group of enemies this build is for you, thanks to Spike Trap and Leaping Shot.

Not only that, if you encounter a Dragon or another boss-type enemy, Hail of Arrows will allow you to take it down in a few seconds.

Let's start

Abilities - detailed progression

Here I will cover detailed progression for this Artificer build. This should help you understand when to pick what skills

Order Skill Description
1 spike trap iconSpike Trap + Pyrotechnics This will be your main ability to knock down enemies. Although it does not do much damage it can disable a group of enemies instantly when they are close to you.
2 opportunity knocks iconOpportunity Knocks Your best passive ability. Cooldowns are reduced every time you or your companions do a critical hit. This allows you to have much shorter cooldown times if you have a high enough critical rate
3 set them up iconSet Them Up Your traps will deal additional damage because you will use them constantly this ability is essential.
4 elemental mines iconElemental Mines For this build, this is a complementary ability. The reason is that it does not provide any crowd control. However, it can deal substantial damage if enemies are in a group
5 and take them down iconAnd Take Them Down A mandatory passive ability. Your whole party will have an increased critical chance. Greatly buffs the Opportunity Knocks effect.
6 hail of arrows iconHail of Arrows This is one of the most powerful focus abilities in the game. It creates two additional images of yourself. This allows The Archer Artificer to use triple Leaping Shots for unimaginable damage numbers.
7 death from above iconDeath from Above We take it mainly for progression to unlock the next ability
8 leaping shot iconLeaping Shot + Shot from the Shadows The main skill that you will use to deal damage. You will release 12 projectiles with a single hit. This works well with Opportunity Knocks.
9 stealth iconStealth Although we take it for progression it will also synergize well with Leaping Shot as you enter stealth. The first hit after stealth will deal additional damage
10 evasion iconEvasion The passive ability gives a chance to evade enemy attacks
11 evade iconEvade + Shadow Step This is one of your main abilities to position yourself for perfect Leaping Shots
12 caltrops iconCaltrops We mainly take it for progression
13 looked like it hurt iconLooked Like it Hurt Each critical hit will restore stamina. Imagine how well this works with Leaping shot's 12 projectiles
14 strafing shots iconStrafing Shots Allows you to maintain high mobility when auto attacking
15 first blood iconFirst Blood Inquisitor deals increased damage if enemy HP is above 80%
16 explosive shot iconExplosive Shot We mainly take this for progression
17 pincushion iconPincushion Increase your damage when attacking the same enemy.
18 fallback plan iconFallback Plan We mainly take this for progression
19 tricks of trade iconTricks of the Trade Get a 10% damage bonus, at this point in the game every small damage improvement helps immensely
20 cheap shot iconCheap Shot Sunder enemy armor with critical hits
21 ambush iconAmbush As you will be attacking from stealth use this passive ability to increase armor penetration resulting in bigger damage

Although this build is already crazy powerful, there is one additional skill that I think improves it further:

Poisoned Weapons + Infected Wounds and Fighting Dirty - this will give you a little bit of damage boost for 8 seconds, further increasing your DPS.

Equipment and items

This section will explain what gear you should equip for the Artificer build.

Weapons - obtainable

Unfortunately, there are no exceptional options for the bows. If you want to maximize Tempest  DPS, you should invest in getting a crafted version.

Priority Item Description
1 tezpadams bane iconTezpadam's Bane Extraordinary bow, that provides 41 dexterity resulting in 41% critical damage increase. Moreover, gives an effect that makes enemy bodies explode on kill
2 arrowwood iconArrowwood This bow is available during the Trespasser DLC. Gives 95% armor penetration. I think it is an interesting bow to try but you get it quite late in the game.
3 heartstring bow iconHeartstring Bow Obtained in Frostback Basin and provides adequate stats.

Weapons - craftable

Priority Item Description
1 elgarnan Enaste schematic iconElgar'nan Enaste Schematic Obtained with Trespasser DLC. Has adequate slots and most importantly explosive arrow effect.
2 Grunsmann's Bow Schematic iconGrunsmann's Bow Schematic Provides 3 offensive leather slots excellent to maximize either critical chance or critical damage
3 Bow of the Beresaad Schematic iconBow of the Beresaad Schematic Provides leather slots for maximizing critical chance and critical damage.

 

Armors - obtainable

Priority Item Description
1 stone stalker coat iconStone Stalker Coat This armor is a perfect match for this build as it provides a large boost to of 45 Cunning resulting in a much higher critical chance
2 the skin that stalks iconThe Skin That Stalks Obtainable only in the Trespasser DLC. Boosts Critical Damage, Critical Chance, and Attack.
3 Masterwork Prowler Armor iconMasterwork Prowler Armor This armor reduces ability stamina cost by 20% if not attacked for 5 seconds. This should be easy.

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 Artificer 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 Has both good bonus stats and armor rating. Can be obtained in The Descent DLC
2 helm of drasca iconHelm of the Drasca A decent mid-game option that gives a good boost to critical damage by increasing Dexterity.
3 unique Mask iconAmbassador's Mask Alternative to Mask of the Grand Duchess if you have a high critical chance (50%+)
4 unique Mask iconMask of the Grand Duchess Alternative to Ambassador's Mask if you have a low critical chance

Helmets - craftable

Priority Item Description
1 Superior helm schematic iconSuperior Skirmisher Hat Schematic The best craftable helmet that gives 10 leather utility slots and is easy to obtain
2 skirmisher hat schematic iconSkirmisher Hat Schematic A cheaper alternative of the Superior Skirmisher Hat Schematic. Has only 8 leather utility slots
3 Superior Adventurer Hat Schematic iconSuperior Adventurer Hat Schematic Costs only 182 Sovereigns and gives 7 leather utility slots. Get it if you are short on money.

Amulets

Priority Item Description
1 Malika's Guard iconMalika's Guard As Archer Artificer build will not concentrate on flanking damage this amulet will greatly increase the overall attack power.
2 Superb Amulet of Dexterity This amulet will increase dexterity resulting in higher critical damage.
3 Amulet of the Rogue This amulet will increase both critical chance and critical damage
4 Superb Amulet of Cunning The amulet will increase the critical chance, allowing to reduce ability cooldowns.

Belts

Priority Item Description
1 Superb Belt iconThe Bind That Guides This belt boosts the critical chance. Only obtainable in the Trespasser DLC.
2 Superb Belt iconMaster Belt of Focus or Superior Belt of Focus These belts will help you to generate Artificer focus ability much faster. This way you can use Hail of Arrows in more encounters.
3 Superb Belt iconSuperb Belt of Staggering Allows to interrupt enemy attacks and stagger them more often with normal attacks

Rings

Priority Item Description
1 Superb ring iconSuperb Ring of Critical Damage Provides a large boost to critical damage, especially powerful once you have 50%+ critical chance
2 Superb ring iconThe Hand That Cuts Only obtainable in Trespasser DLC. However, provides large offensive bonuses
3 Superb Ring of Critical Chance Increases Critical chance allowing Opportunity knocks ability to activate more often
4 Superb ring iconRing of Slicing Expensive ring bought in Black Emporium. Boosts your critical damage and critical rate.
5 Superb Ring of Attack Increases overall Artificer Archer damage

Tactics

The tactics are fairly simple, please watch the video above to understand how to best utilize this build. As I was testing some abilities, I do not have poisoned weapons at starting fights, however, the core of how to use your skills is all there

Artificer Archer build quickbar Dragon age inquisition

At the last fight, I take on boss Giant with some normal enemies - solo. You can then see the full power of Hail of Arrows. This combo also allows you to take out dragons easily.

For the written version:

  1. Before the fight use Stealth: to position yourself well and get a damage bonus

  2. Activate Poisoned Weapons. (If you took this ability for Artificer build)

  3. Either start with Leaping Shot or Spike Trap

  4. Now you can use Evade to get close to the enemies again or for example throw Elemental Mines

  5. Once you are close to the enemies, activate Spike Trap to knockdown enemies

  6. Now use Leaping Shot again.

  7. Rinse and repeat

If you have your focus ability ready:

  1. Activate Mighty Offense Tonic

  2. Activate Hail of Arrows

  3. Spam Leaping Shot

  4. Everyone should be dead

Artificer Dual Wielding Dagger build

This Dragon age inquisition Artificer dual wield build is a bit different. It relies on spamming traps to create elemental explosions with mines. Also, this is a melee build so you will constantly stay close to the enemies.

This Artificer build is fairly exciting. Unfortunately, it takes some practice to learn to use it, but once you through that, you can easily take down a group of enemies.

Abilities - detailed progression

Order Skill Description
1 spike trap iconSpike Trap + Pyrotechnics
The first ability to take that greatly increases your survivability and tactical advantage
2 opportunity knocks iconOpportunity Knocks Your best passive ability. Cooldowns are reduced every time you or your companions do a critical hit. This allows you to have much shorter cooldown times if you have a high enough critical rate
3 set them up iconSet Them up Your traps will deal additional damage because Artificer Dual wield build will use them constantly, this ability is essential.
4 elemental mines iconElemental Mines + Throw Everything This is the Dual dagger Artificer build main ability. You will spam the whole battlefield with elemental Mines, dealing large amounts of damage. Unfortunately, this will cost all of your stamina, but other abilities will allow circumventing this drawback.
5 and take them down iconAnd Take Them Down A mandatory passive ability. Your whole party will have an increased critical chance. Greatly buffs the Opportunity Knocks effect.
6 stealth iconStealth This is a good ability to have so that you could run away from enemies close to you.
7 caltrops iconCaltrops Take this for progression
8 looked like it hurt iconLooked Like it Hurt This ability will allow the Artificer build to restore stamina for each critical hit. You will have many of those, so you can instantly restore stamina pool
9 cheap shot iconCheap Shot Enables the Artificer to Sunder enemy armor for a period of time after a successful critical hit.
10 throwing blades iconThrowing Blades + Precision Targeting Due to multiple hits, this ability is effective at generating critical hits. This way you can restore stamina and abilities much faster.
11 flank attack iconFlank Attack + Skirmisher This ability plays an important role. It enables to deal damage and enter stealth at the same time
12 bloodied prayBloodied Pray Increases damage by 10% if Artificer HP is higher than the enemy that it attacks.
13 unforgiving chain iconUnforgiving Chain A passive ability that adds a bonus critical chance if you make a hit with a normal attack. This piles up until Artificer makes a critical hit.
14 spinning blades iconSpinning Blades + Neverending Spin This is another ability together with Throwing Blades that you can use to instantly generate many critical hits. With the upgrade, you make 9 hits, which can instantly restore most of your stamina.
15 Easy to Miss Reduces the threat that Artificer generates, allowing to avoid enemy attacks. Moreover, provides a bonus for flanking damage.
16 poisoned weapons iconPoisoned Weapons + Infected Wounds This ability allows poisoning your weapons. This gives a small boost to overall DPS
17 fighting dirty iconFighting Dirty Gives a 25% bonus duration to the Poison effect.

Best Equipment and items

In this section, I will cover the best items for dual wield artificer build in Dragon Age: Inquisition

Weapons - craftable

Priority Item Description
1 Stone Stalker Blade Schematic iconStone Stalker Blade Schematic Gives decent slots, 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 the Assassin.

Priority Item Description
1 bloody bargain iconBloody Bargain The dagger provides a unique ability that increases movement and attack speed after each kills. Only obtained in the Trespasser DLC.
2 silencer iconSilencer Obtained with The Descent DLC. Gives a large boost to dexterity resulting in higher critical damage
3 cordovas smile iconCordova’s Smile The dagger provides a large boost to Flanking damage and a 20% bonus Focus Gain.
4 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 stone stalker coat iconStone Stalker Coat This armor is a perfect match for this build as it provides a large boost to of 45 Cunning resulting in a much higher critical chance
2 the skin that stalks iconThe Skin That Stalks Obtainable only in the Trespasser DLC. Boosts Critical Damage, Critical Chance, and Attack.
3 Masterwork Prowler Armor iconMasterwork Prowler Armor This armor reduces ability stamina cost by 20% if not attacked for 5 seconds. This should be easy for Artificer build.

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 ARtificer 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 Has both good bonus stats and armor rating. Can be obtained in The Descent DLC
2 helm of drasca iconHelm of the Drasca A decent mid-game option that gives a good boost to critical damage by increasing Dexterity.
3 unique Mask iconAmbassador's Mask Alternative to Mask of the Grand Duchess if you have a high critical chance (50%+)
4 unique Mask iconMask of the Grand Duchess Alternative to Ambassador's Mask if you have a low critical chance

Helmets - craftable

Priority Item Description
1 Superior helm schematic iconSuperior Skirmisher Hat Schematic The best craftable helmet that gives 10 leather utility slots and is easy to obtain
2 skirmisher hat schematic iconSkirmisher Hat Schematic A cheaper alternative of the Superior Skirmisher Hat Schematic. Has only 8 leather utility slots
3 Superior Adventurer Hat Schematic iconSuperior Adventurer Hat Schematic Costs only 182 Sovereigns and gives 7 leather utility slots. Get it if you are short on money.

Amulets

Priority Item Description
1 Superb Amulet of Dexterity This amulet will increase dexterity resulting in higher critical damage.
2 Amulet of the Rogue This amulet will increase both critical chance and critical damage
3 Superb Amulet of Cunning The amulet will increase the critical chance, allowing to reduce ability cooldowns.

Belts

Priority Item Description
1 Superb Belt iconThe Bind That Guides This belt boosts the critical chance. Only obtainable in the Trespasser DLC.
2 Superb Belt iconSuperb Belt of Staggering This belt gives a bonus chance to stagger enemies. This way they will have their attacks interrupted.
3 Superb Belt of health iconSuperb Belt of Health The belt can be obtained in Emerald Greaves. It gives +200 health.
4 belt of life iconBelt of Life Similar to the above belt provides a large increase in HP.

Rings

Priority Item Description
1 Superb ring iconSuperb Ring of Critical Damage Provides a large boost to critical damage, especially powerful once you have 50%+ critical chance
2 Superb ring iconThe Hand That Cuts Only obtainable in Trespasser DLC. However, provides large offensive bonuses
3 Superb ring iconRing of Slicing Expensive ring bought in Black Emporium. Boosts your critical damage and critical rate.
4 Superb Ring of Critical Chance Increases Critical chance allowing Opportunity knocks ability to activate more often
5 Superb Ring of Attack Increases overall Artificer build damage

Accessories

  • Amulet – Andraste’s Sacrifice (this could be risky), Enhanced Amulet of Barrier (if you die often) Superb Amulet of Cunning, Amulet of the Rogue, Superb Amulet of Dexterity

  • Belts – Belt of Life, Belt of the Elements, Superb Belt of Melee Defense

  • Rings – Superb Ring of Critical Chance, Ring of Slicing, Superb Ring of Critical Damage, Superb Ring of Attack

Tactics

The hard part is to learn to correctly activate Elemental Mines. They take some practice to use, however they deal huge damage after you get it right.

artificer skillbar

Here is how I approach the fight:

  1. Enter Stealth

  2. Use Poison Weapons (if you don’t have it skip the step)

  3. If enemies are in a group throw, Elemental Mines, otherwise use Spike Trap

  4. Use Throwing Blades

  5. Use Spinning Blades

  6. Use Flank Attack/Stealth to enter stealth and get a breather and check how the situation changed on the battlefield.

  7. Apply Poisoned weapons while in stealth

  8. Repeat from step 2

Of course, you can continue Throwing Blades -> Spinning Blades -> Throwing Blades -> Spinning Blades if you are not being attacked.

Conclusion

Thank you for reading this Artificer build guide in the Dragon Age Inquisition. It should help you understand all that you need to know to build the best damage dealing specialization.

Feel free to leave your feedback below

Enjoy what you read? I'm passionate about creating exceptional and high-quality gaming builds and guides. If you find value in my work and would like to see more, I would be grateful for your support on Patreon/Ko-Fi. It helps me to focus on expanding the website, relying less on ads, and continuing this journey full-time. Every bit of support makes a big difference :)

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Discussion

Anonymous

I had a question what race you go with this build? Qunari or Elf or Dwarve? I read on reddit they use Qunari for there Artificer Build because they can wear "Vitaar armor" to increase dmg.

I personal like the elf better cause easilly to mod for better looking character

Hey, I don't think the race matters much. If you are optimizing for damage, Qunari is great and they get bonus physical damage resistance and Vitaars provide offensive bonuses. However, humans get an additional ability point, so you could obtain more skills. Personally, I never cared too much about the race.

Anonymous

Ah can you add some early armor or something to find?

Do I start at 1-10 or straight to the build section? And I notice i start with longshot and stealth ability so do i start like your advice lv 2 skill at the lv1 to 10 section?

Just use any armor you find, there is nothing spectacular early in the game :) You can also check the lowest priority armors, as those will be found the earliest.

It's as described if you are below level 10 and don't have specialization follow the 1-10 progression. After you obtain specialization (this can happen 10-12 levels) respec and follow the specialization progression :)

Anonymous

great build! all the archer builds I saw beore are based on one-shotting things n thats very boring for me,ty for this :)

With hail of arrows its possible to one shot dragons and most of the enemies :D But it's a fun build, glad you liked it :)

Anonymous

Awful build that does not use the artificer's strongest possibililties.

Hey!

Would be glad to know why this is awful build, and what are those possibilities that are not being used

Cheers!

You recommend using poisoned weapons but don't include it as a skill to take in the Archery Build

Hey! Poisoned weapons are more of an optional choice for this build. Included some explanation in tactics section.

Cheers!

Anonymous

Why not include Full Draw in your rotation? Full Draw is a devastating opener, especially from stealth. I understand the gimmick of the build is keeping (near) max stamina and (near) zero cooldown with the high number of crits you should get from Leaping Shot, but the 15-18k damage (at end game for the base game, assuming it crits) from a Full Draw initial attack is awfully hard to pass up! :)

Hey! Valid point I think you can definitely get and use Full Draw. I just wanted to convey the idea of the build, which you already mentioned :)

Do you have builds for companions as well?

Hey, Yoco,

All of my builds also work for companions, check them here: https://gamestegy.com/zanuffas/posts. There is interesting mechanic on Dragon Age Inquisition: for all specializations there is a companion.

So for example this build works perfectly for Varric, as he has Artificer specialization.

However, the issue with companions is that their AI can be dumb... so the builds will not be as strong as controlled by the player.

Thank you for replying!

That's my issue with this game. AI is really dumb. I don't like to take control of any characters other than mine that I created. That's why I love Origins, you can set tactics for companions and not worry!

I feel you :D Well, one suggestion that I can make is to setup "Preferred" abilities. They help a bit. Generally, when you get good equipment, your companions start to steamroll through stuff, but that takes some time.

I definitely recommend this build: https://gamestegy.com/post/dragon-age-inquisition/429/optimal-tank-build-single-and-two-handed for the tank (if it is Blackwall). It does a decent job as AI. And minimizes chances for you and your companions dying

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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!