Cole Builds - Archer and Dual Dagger

By zanuffas
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Cole Builds - Archer and Dual Dagger

In this post, I will cover how to best build Cole in Dragon Age Inquisition. This should help you how to allocate your skills, what tactics and gear to use.

Cole is a Spirit that lives between the human world and Fade. Inquisitor will meet him on one of the main quests. After receiving help from him Inquisitor can decide to let him join the Inquisition. He specializes as Assassin.

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

Cole level 1 - 10

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

Order Skill Description
1 Stealth + Clinging Shadows Allows Sera to escape from enemies easily
2 Poisoned Weapons + Infected Wound Early ability to increase overall damage you do with skills and auto-attack
3 Long Shot Does 600% weapon damage if shot from more than 15 meters
4 First Blood Passive skill that will increase damage if enemy health is full
5 Death From Above We take it mainly for progression
6 Leaping Shot + Shot from the Shadows Fire spell is cheap and deals decent damage
7 Explosive 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

Cole Build - Assassin Archer

This part of the guide will cover how you should build Cole as an Assassin Archer. I personally recommend this build, because it will ensure that Cole can survive more difficult encounters. Moreover, it will remove its weakest weakness: bad AI for Dual daggers.

Cole stats archer build

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

Abilities - Overview

This section will give an overview of where to put your abilities. For detailed explanations check the next section.

Assassin tree

Cole archer Assassin tree

Subterfuge

Cole archer Subterfuge tree

Sabotage

Cole archer Sabotage tree

Archery

Cole archer Archery tree.JPG

Abilities - detailed progression

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

Order Skill Description
1 Throatcutter Gives a larger damage bonus the less HP the enemy has.
2 Hidden 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 After killing the enemy Cole will enter stealth this ability will synergize well with the next one
4 Knife in the Shadows Attacking from stealth will ensure that Cole deals critical hits
5 Mark of Death + Lasting Mark This is an extremely strong ability if used on bosses. I recommend taking the Lasting Mark upgrade for AI to use. THe other upgrade may go to waste if AI does not activate it properly
6 Stealth + 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.
7 Caltrops We take this mainly for progression
8 Looked Like It Hurt Each critical hit will restore 10 stamina. An essential skill to have the stamina for all the skills
9 Long Shot Archer skill to deal additional damage when attacking from long distances with Cole
10 Death from Above We take this mainly for progression
11 Leaping Shot + Shot from the Shadows With the upgrade, Leaping Shot will ensure that Cole enters stealth. This way you will be able to deal more critical hits.
12 First Blood Deals 15% more damage to enemies that have HP above 80%
13 Explosive Shot We mainly take this ability for progression.
14 Pincushion Each hit to the same enemy will increase the damage that Cole does
15 Poisoned Weapons + Infected Wounds With this active skill, Cole will coat its weapons with Poison. This will make the bow do more damage.
16 Fighting Dirty Poison will last 25% longer
17 Explosive Toxin If the enemy is killed while under the effect of poison their bodies will explode releasing a cloud of poison.
18 Gaps in the Armor Increases Armor penetration by 25%

If you will have additional points left, feel free to take Toxic Cloud + upgrade for additional AOE damage.

Tactics and Behaviours

For tactics, my recommendation is to have them set up like this:

Cole archer build tactics

  • Disable - Caltrops and Explosive Shot (if you are playing with Friendly Fire on)
  • Set Preferred Poisoned Weapons. This way you ensure that Cole's poison explosion will activate after each enemy's death.
  • All others can be set to Active
  • You can also set Leaping Shot to Preferred. However, I have found that this way Cole leaves the battlefield too far. However, pick it if it works well for you.

With these in mind here are some Behaviour recommendations:

  • Mana and Stamina reserve should be set to 0%
  • Targeting behavior - follow your tank.

Stats

Here is what Stats I recommend to best maximize Cole:

  • Critical Chance - 40%+. Due to 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 of 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

Masterwork crafting materials

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

  • Hidden Blades - works well with Energy Barrage and will proc quite often. These materials will active it: Fade-Touched Ring Velvet, Fade-Touched Velveteen, Fade-Touched Plush Fustian Velvet
  • Walking Bomb - will generate Walking Bombs more often. Materials: Fade-Touched Imperial Vestment Cotton, Fade-Touched Lustrous Cotton, Fade-Touched Cotton

Items

Here is some gear that I recommend equipping Cole with:

  • Malika's Guard - gives a boost to attack and dexterity. Extremely good for an archer. Can be found in Crestwood's locked house once the rift in Flooded caves is closed.
  • Cooldown Amulets - will allow Cole to use his abilities more often. Due to Looked Like it Hurt and a high critical chance you will have plentiful of stamina.
  • Mask of the Grand Duchess - gives a large boost to critical chance and cunning. Received if you expose Florianne de Chalons during the Wicked Eyes and Wicked Hearts quest.
  • Ambassador's Mask - boosts cunning and critical damage. Awarded if Celene is assassinated and you support Briala during the WIcked Eyes and WIcked hearts quest
  • Superior Prowler Armor (craftable) - gives good slots to craft critical boosting equipment
  • Bane of Red Crossing - decent early bow that you can acquire by collecting Astariums in the Storm Coast
  • Grunsmann's Bow - easily obtainable bow from Skyhold merchants

Cole Build - Dual Dagger Assassin

This build is for those that wish to still use Cole as 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.

So let's go through the details.

Abilities - short overview

This section will shortly list what skills to get, for detailed progression check the next part.

Double Daggers

Cole dw build Double Daggers tree

Archery tree

Cole dw build Archery tree.JPG

Sabotage Tree

Cole dw build Sabotage tree

Subterfuge

Cole dw build Subterfuge tree

Assassin

Cole dw build Assassin tree.JPG

Abilities - detailed progression

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

Order Skill Description
1 Throatcutter Gives a larger damage bonus the less HP the enemy has.
2 Hidden 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 After killing the enemy Cole will enter stealth this ability will synergize well with the next one
4 Knife in the Shadows Attacking from stealth will ensure that Cole deals critical hits
5 Mark of Death This ability will work extremely well on strong enemies. I do not recommend taking the upgrade as the additional skill point can be spent elsewhere.
6 Poisoned Weapons + Infected Wounds With this active skill, Cole will coat its weapons with Poison. This will his daggers deal larger damage
7 Fighting Dirty The poison effect will last 25% longer
8 Explosive 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 + 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 + 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 We take this mainly for progression
17 Looked Like It Hurt Each critical hit will restore 10 stamina. An essential skill to have the stamina for all the skills
13 Flank Attack + Skirmisher Archer skill to deal additional damage when attacking from long distances with Cole
14 First Blood We take this mainly for progression
15 Explosive Shot We take this mainly for progression
16 Pincushion Although this ability is in the Archery tree it also works for dual daggers.
17 Gaps 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 really work well with how AI handles it in my opinion.
  • Bloodied Prey - passive ability that gives additional damage if 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, have in mind that he is still glass cannon. Cole will manage to take on a few hits and for all of this to work a good tank is essential.

Stats

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

Masterwork crafting materials

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

  • Hidden Blades - works well with Energy Barrage and will proc quite often. 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
  • Walking Bomb - will generate Walking Bombs more often. Materials: Fade-Touched Imperial Vestment Cotton, Fade-Touched Lustrous Cotton, Fade-Touched Cotton

Items

Here is some gear that I recommend equipping Cole with:

  • Cooldown Amulets - will allow Cole to use his abilities more often. Due to Looked Like it Hurt and a high critical chance you will have plentiful stamina.
  • Amulet of the Rogue - gives attributes points boost to dexterity and cunning
  • Mask of the Grand Duchess - gives a large boost to critical chance and cunning. Received if you expose Florianne de Chalons during the Wicked Eyes and Wicked Hearts quest.
  • Ambassador's Mask - boosts cunning and critical damage. Awarded if Celene is assassinated and you support Briala during the WIcked Eyes and WIcked hearts quest
  • Superior Prowler Armor (craftable) - gives good slots to craft critical boosting equipment
  • Poisoned Weapons Ring- will boost the duration of Poisoned Weapons skill
  • Ring of Slicing - gives 10% boost to critical damage and 5% boost to critical chance
  • Superb Amulet of Dexterity - boosts dexterity resulting in higher critical damage
  • Blade of Red Birth (schematic) - haves good crafting slots for this build. Moreover, easily obtainable from Black Emporium

Conclusion

I hope these builds for Cole in Dragon Age Inquisition will help you. They concentrate on different playstyles: melee and ranged, however, they are sufficient to make Cole an extremely strong group member.

Feel free to share your feedback in the comments

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