Varric build - Best detailed Guide - Dragon Age: Inquisition (DAI)

By zanuffas
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Varric build - Best detailed Guide

Varric is one of the first companions to join the Inquisitor. He is a charming Dwarf always full of interesting banter. In this Dragon Age Inquisition Varric build guide I will try to cover all you need to know for this companion

Even though you can build Varric as a Dual wielding rogue. I do not recommend this. AI is simply not clever enough to handle all the micromanaging that this type of build needs.

Due to this, I recommend Varric + Bianca build

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

Varric level 1-10

Before reaching level 11 I suggest using the same build, doesn't matter if you like daggers or bows. The reason being is that if you play on Hard difficulties it is easier for Varric to survive with Bianca. Moreover, not having good gear will make you weak in close combat.

Order Skill Description
1 stealth iconStealth With this skill, Varric can easily avoid danger
2 long shot iconLong Shot + Eagle Eye Great skill for openers. I recommend using this with Varric at the start of the fight
3 death from above iconDeath From Above
Ability is taken just for progression
4 leaping shot iconLeaping Shot + Shot from the Shadows
Extremely strong ability if used when enemies come close by
5 poisoned weapons iconPoisoned Weapons
I would say this is optional, but it increases overall DPS for Varric, good skill that AI can use
6 looked like it hurt iconLooked Like It Hurt
Restores Stamina on critical hits, works great with Leaping Shot
7 evasion iconEvasion
Increases survivability

Once you reach about level 11 start working on the build below

Varric Archer build

This build concentrates on playing Varric as a rogue archer with his bow/crossbow Bianca. This is the only crossbow in the game.

Remember that you will need to respecialize skills before making this build

Abilities investment - short version

This section is a short version of abilities that I recommend getting to create this build

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

Sabotage tree

Not a mandatory tree, but gives a few perks to maximize Varric damage.

Varric archer build sabotage

Archery tree

Will give you Leaping Shot, strongest bow user shooting ability and Pincushion

Varric archer build archery

Artificer tree

This tree has extremely strong Focus ability and passive skills

Artificer tree varric

Subterfuge tree

Our aim is to get Shadow strike + upgrade

subterfuge tree varric

Abilities investment - long version

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

Order Skill Description
1 spike trap iconSpike Trap + Pyrotechnics
Great ability with Crowd control capabilities
2 opportunity knocks iconOpportunity Knocks One of the best passive talents in the game. When you or your allies do a critical hit they reduce your cooldowns.
3 set them up iconSet Them Up
Gives 25% damage boost to traps
4 hail of arrows iconHail of Arrows
Extremely strong Focus ability. With it + Leaping Shot Varric can take down dragons solo
5 elemental mines iconElemental Mines
I take this ability just for progression
6 and take them down iconAnd Take Them Down
Boosts entire party critical hit chance by 5%
7 death from above iconDeath from Above We take this ability just for progression
8 leaping shot iconLeaping Shot + Shot from the Shadows 
Best offensive archer skill. Shoots multiple projectiles from short range. With the upgrade, Varric will also enter stealth after the attack
9 stealth iconStealth
Good ability to use so Varric could escape danger
10 evasion iconEvasion
Passive ability increases odds of survival for Varric
11 evade iconEvade
We take it just for progression
12 dai shadow strike iconShadow Strike + Long Shadows
This ability is important as it allows Varric to restore stamina. The upgrade also enables it to be ranged ability
13 caltrops iconCaltrops
We take this ability for Progression
14 looked like it hurt iconLooked Like It Hurt
Each critical hit will restore your stamina by 10

Late game skill investments

At this point, you will maximize Varric damage output by getting a few more necessary talents

Order Skill Description
15 first blood iconFirst Blood
We take this ability for progression
16 explosive shot iconExplosive Shot We take this ability for progression
17 pincushion iconPincushion Each consecutive hit with a bow (in this case Bianca) will increase your damage by 5%
18 fallback plan iconFallback Plan We take this ability for progression
19 tricks of trade iconTricks of the Trade
Boosts the duration and status effects of all skills that your party members use
20 poisoned weapons iconPoisoned Weapons + Infected Wounds
For a short period of time coat your weapons with poison increasing your damage
21 fighting dirty iconFighting Dirty
The poison effect lasts longer

Stats and Attributes

In this section, I go through the recommended stats that you should look at when choosing what equipment to equip. This will ensure that you make the best Varric build:

  • Critical chance – I recommend having at least 60%. It will ensure that you both have fast cooldowns and an almost full stamina bar.

  • Critical Damage – After you have a high critical rate (50 %+), invest in critical damage. This should be your priority investment as it gives the biggest damage boost.

  • 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 usually you get less of it compared to direct boost to Critical Damage

Equipment guide

In this section, I will cover what gear should you use for this build

Bianca

The only Weapon that Varric will use for the build is Bianca.

Bianca weapon

The main point is to upgrade it as soon as you have better components. Moreover, do not forget to put ruins

Bianca - obtainable upgrades

Type Item Description
Aiming Module aiming module III iconAiming Module III Provides the largest bonus +8% to critical chance
Arms superb crossbow arms iconSuperb Crossbow Arms The Trespasser DLC alternative is available in the Winter Palace
Arms bianca arms VI iconBianca Arms VI Although not the best by pure damage, it gives a large bonus to critical damage.
Grip firm bianca grip iconFirm Bianca Grip Provides +8 Cunning, the largest amount for obtainable Grip.

Bianca - craftable upgrades

I list two options for the upgrades. Usually, one of them can be obtained easily and another requires having high-level characters.

Type Item Description
Aiming Module bianca aiming IV schematic iconBianca Aiming IV Schematic The best schematic with the highest number of slots. You get it in The Descent DLC.
Aiming Module Bianca Aiming III (Enhanced) SchematicBianca Aiming III (Enhanced) Schematic The best schematic available in the base game
Arms bianca arms VII schematic iconBianca Arms VII Schematic The strongest Arms option that gives 16 offensive leather slots and 10 offensive metal slots
Arms Bianca Arms III (Enhanced) SchematicBianca Arms III (Enhanced) Schematic A great option for the base game, before you reach any DLC content.
Grip Masterwork Gilded Bianca Grip Schematic iconMasterwork Gilded Bianca Grip Schematic Gives 14 leather utility slots, the best that you can get for the crossbow.
Grip Masterwork Firm Bianca Grip SchematicMasterwork Firm Bianca Grip Schematic The best grip that you can get in the base game.

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 Varric as he will be avoiding enemies most of the time.

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 Varric 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
- Amulet of Power Gives Varric a single ability point. It is consumed once you use it.
1 Malika's Guard iconMalika's Guard As Varric 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 iconSuperb Belt of Staggering This belt will allow Varric to stagger enemies
3 superb belt of sunder iconSuperb Belt of Sunder Gives a chance to decrease the enemy's armor.

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 Varric damage

Best Tactics

Here is my recommendation on how you should set up your Tactics:

Varric tactics

  • Shadow Strike - Preferred or Active. Varric should use this as often as possible to restore MP
  • Leaping shot - Active. This ability will deal the most damage for Varric
  • Poisoned Weapons - Preferred or Active. You want this skill to be always active
  • Spike Trap - Active. Varric should place the trap at least once below his feet until enemies come by. This way he can ensure that enemies are knocked back
  • Elemental Mines (Optional) Disable or Active. Try out this ability and see if you prefer its usage
  • Stealth - Active. Should be used in case Varric gets attacked by enemies.

All other abilities should be set to Disabled.

Conclusion

Thank you for reading this Dragon Age Inquisition Varric build. This guide should help you understand how to make your companion as strong as possible.

Feel free to leave feedback below

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Discussion

Anonymous

You describe 'Hail of Arrows' as 'Extremely strong' but in Tactics it falls into the 'All other abilities should be set to Disabled' category - is this right or is it a passive ability despite it being a skill? Thanks otherwise for all your great guides.

Hello, check out this post https://gamestegy.com/post/dragon-age-inquisition/459/easily-kill-any-dragons

I show in the second part how I use Hail of Arrows to take out a dragon. So I set it to disabled. The reason being I do not want Varric to waste this ability on normal enemies and save it for bosses or difficult encounters. During them I activate it manually

Anonymous

As I do not have the Trespassers DLC ... does 'shadow strike' still make sense? Even without the 'long shadows' Upgrade?

I would suggest testing it out. However, you still have Looked Like it Hurt for stamina regeneration

You can then put that point into Cheap Shot or Ambush

Anonymous

I tested it ... doesn't work. Varric jumps into close combat when shadow strike is activated without the Trespassers-Upgrade. Will spend the points somewhere else ...

By testing I mean, if Varric dies often when using it. The thing is that from the close range Varric can land more effective Leaping Shots. So that is not all bad.

Another good option is to get Throwing Blades instead of Evasion + Evade + Shadow Strike. This should replace Shadow Strike as one of the abilities and it also has mid range.

Anonymous

what are the skills that should be disabled?

Hey updated the post with this information :)

Anonymous

thanks

Anonymous

You say take long shot+eagle eye but in the pictures of the skill trees it is not skilled. I am really confused. And later on in the ability investment long version you mention the abilities which you skilled from lvl 1 to 10 but you take them there much later in the middle to late game? but in the beginning you say take them from lvl 1 to 10.

Hey, I do not know if you read the guide fully, however, here is the idea:

From level 1-10 Varric does not have Artificer specialization. So we invest into abilities based on the basic archer template

After level 10 I suggest to respecialize and invest into abilities from in the order of "long version"

As you see, in the long version I do not even take the Long Shot as it becomes obsolete. The reason being - Artificer passive abilities, which allow to use Leaping Shot more often and Shadow Strike.

Hope this helps

Anonymous

Thanks for explaining. Now i understood. Great guide! Maybe you can add that the part with "respecializing" is meant after lvl 10. I understood it wrongly in the beginning.

Great guide. Appreciate you making these guides in 2021.

The Leaping shot made a big difference to the game.

I think the only thing you forgot to add was Shadow strike into the abilities investment -long version. Thanks again.

Thanks!

For some reason I called Shadow Strike as Shadow Step. Fixed it now :)