Best Mage Builds - Dragon Age: Inquisition (DAI)

By zanuffas
Last updated:
Best Mage Builds

In this post, I will cover the best Mage builds in the Dragon Age Inquisition. I will go in great detail to cover the most important spells, attributes, and progression aspects.

Do you see yourself as a mage who commands nature elements? Or a wizard covering yourself with barriers, wearing a two-handed sword, and casting spells from close range? Or maybe you want to make enemies explode?

The builds covered in this post can easily work on Nightmare difficulty. However, you may need to have a good tank ready to cover your threat generation like this Blackwall build

Let's start!

Mage build, Levels 1 -10

The early game is all about learning how to use the mage and dealing with enemies that the game throws at you.

Order Skill Description
1 barrier iconBarrier + Energetic Defense Mandatory ability to have for a mage build, at the beginning of the game
2 Energy barrage iconEnergy Barrage + Energy Bombardment An excellent ability that does elemental damage based on your staff element
3 immolate iconImmolate Main fire element skill that you will have early in the game
4 Flashpoint iconFlashpoint If your spell does a critical hit, the next spell has no cooldown. Can work well in the early game with Energy Barrage
5 Clean burn iconClean Burn Will decrease your spell cooldowns by one second each time a spell is cast
6 Fade step iconFade Step + Energizing Step Use this ability to restore mana at any time. Moreover, you can use it to reposition the mage at will
7 chain lightning iconChain Lightning + Arcing Surge Your main lightning element ability. Can stagger multiple enemies.

Once you have these abilities covered you should be at level 10+ and you can select the specialization. Below I cover the best mage builds for different specializations

Necromancer Fire Mage build

This is the best mage build for crowd control and damage over time in Dragon Age Inquisition. Moreover, you will use Pyro spells to put fear into the enemies, making them run away.

Necromancer Mage is to be used with Fire Element due to natural synergies which I will cover below.

Ability points allocation

Before starting the build respec your ability points

To be able to fully utilize any build correct ability points allocation is necessary. Here is the order in which I would obtain spells and their upgrades:

Order Skill Description
1 horror iconHorror Main crowd control ability for Necromancer Mage. Try to use it on archers as they can shred you in a few seconds, so you need to have them under control
2 death siphon iconDeath Siphon This is one of the main abilities that will allow you to faster regenerate mana. However, it may take a while for it to activate. So it is best to have a large mana pool with Sigil of the Great Bear equipped.
3 blinding terror iconBlinding Terror The mage deals more damage (+15%) to panicked enemies.
4 simulacrum iconSimulacrum Last resort ability. Probably you will die more often than needed until you get a hang of this build. Use those 10 seconds to dish out some non-stop spells.
5 walking bomb iconWalking Bomb + Virulent An extremely good ability, although quite costly for 65 mana points. Try to use it every time it resets. With the Virulent upgrade, the explosions will spread to other enemies.
6 barrier iconBarrier + Energetic Defense Essential spell for every mage build, use it at the start of the combat or if you are getting attacked to put up a barrier
7 Energy barrage iconEnergy Barrage + Energy Bombardment An excellent ability that does elemental damage based on your staff, good to mix up your elemental damage
8 flashfire iconFlashfire A strong single-target ability to put Fear into an enemy. I recommend using it on enemies who start attacking you to make them run away
9 Flashpoint iconFlashpoint If your spell does a critical hit, the next spell has no cooldown. Can work well in the early game with Energy Barrage
10 Clean burn iconClean Burn Will decrease your spell cooldowns by one second each time a spell is cast
11 Fade step iconFade Step + Energizing Step I would even suggest getting this before Barrier if you feel safe enough. This ability has two purposes:
- Reposition yourself at will, to run away or get closer
- Run through enemies to restore mana, before Death Siphon will activate

This covers an essential part of the build. However, as I mentioned to make it shine we will also need to do a heavy investment into Inferno tree

Order Skill Description
12 Pyromancer iconPyromancer Although we take it to unlock the next ability it will boost the fear and burning duration of your spells.
13 Fire mine iconFire Mine + Flaming Array One of the strongest spells in the game. Will activate instantly but mines will appear before the character. So to best use it, you will need to be close to the enemies.
14 wall of fire iconWall of Fire + Lasting Flames Use this ability to put fear in the enemy group and make them run away
15 peaceful aura iconPeaceful Aura Decreases the likelihood that enemies will target the mage
16 power of the dead iconPower of the Dead Killing an enemy will increase your damage by 20% for 10 seconds

With these abilities, you will have no problems dealing with any enemies.

Main stats

There are numerous equipment options in Dragon Age Inquisition. To decide the best gear decide on it based on the stats priority below. Have in mind this is more geared toward level 15+ Inquisitor:

  • Critical rate – the higher the better, more increased damage

  • Critical Damage – prioritize after critical rate

  • Cunning – increases critical rate, some armors provide huge bonuses

  • Magic - increases magic damage

Tactics and tips

Just taking correct spells is not enough. You should do some careful tactics planning. Here are my main suggestions for this mage build:

Fire Mine effect DAI

  1. The largest damage dealer is Fire Mine. To use it effectively you need to be close to the enemies. As a mage, it may be hard to retreat or get close to the enemies so user Fire Mine together with Fade Step to reposition yourself
  2. Wall of Fire is a great spell to make enemies run away. Use it when they are close to the mage, companion. Moreover, use it if you want to block a pathway. Have in mind, AI companions will not attack them, so you will have to force them with the Attack command (y button on PC)
  3. Walking Bomb is an extremely strong ability that best works over long periods of time. Due to this cast it early in the combat and whenever it is available.
  4. Death Siphon is a strong Necromancer mage passive, however, for it to activate you need to kill an enemy. So it will take time till you can restore your mana pool. To counteract this equip Sigil of the Great Bear

Rift Mage build

This is another great build that utilizes the Rift Mage specialization. The main idea is to use spells that weaken your enemies. There are multiple advantages to this status effect: large mana regeneration, lower enemy armor, increased damage.

So how would you best utilize all of this?

Ability points allocation

Before starting the build respec your ability points

To be able to fully utilize any build correct ability points allocation is necessary. Here is the order in which I would obtain spells and their upgrades:

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 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 passive abilities. It will restore mana when the mage deals damage to weakened enemies.
5 barrier iconBarrier + Energetic Defense This is a mandatory spell for a mage build. It generates a barrier. Use it before combat or in extreme situations. The upgrade will make the barrier start decaying after 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 mage build's main spell. It will 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 + Energy Bombardment 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, necessary for this mage build
12 immolate iconImmolate We mainly take this for progression
13 Flashpoint iconFlashpoint This ability will allow you to use the next spell without cooldown if the current spell hits with a critical hit
14 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.
15 Clean burn 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

There is one additional spell that I recommend to get: Blizzard + Winter Winds. This is an extremely good AOE ability that you can use to further control the battlefield.

Main stats

There are numerous equipment options in Dragon Age Inquisition. Decide what gear to wear based on the stats priority below. Have in mind this is more geared toward level 15+ Inquisitor:

  • Critical rate – the higher the better, the more increased damage. However, if you have Ring of Doubt, feel free to leave it at 30%

  • Critical Damage – prioritize after critical rate

  • Cunning – increases critical rate, some armors provide huge bonuses

  • Magic - increases magic damage

Tactics and tips

Just taking correct spells is not enough. You should do some careful tactics planning. Here are my main suggestions for you:

  1. As most of the mage builds have a strong Tank in the party so that he could draw the enemy's attention.
  2. It is good to start the fight with Veilstrike. It can weaken enemies making sure that you deal more damage and have constant mana regeneration
  3. Pull of the Abyss and Energy Barrage are the main Inquisitor spells to fight against enemies that have cold resistance
  4. Your strongest spell combo is Frozen enemy + Winter's Grasp or Stonefist. I recommend using Ice Mine first. Once the enemies are frozen use one of the spells that have been mentioned.
  5. Fade Step provides two important options: change your position or run away and restore mana in case you are out of it.

Knight Enchanter Mage build

This is the strongest and the best mage build that you can do in Dragon Age Inquisition. You will constantly have a full barrier, deal a large amount of damage, and have the ability to reposition yourself at will.

Moreover, the most important part is to obtain Blade of Tidarion or Blade of Tidarion schematic. This weapon is what makes this mage build stand out from others. It will make Energy Barrage release 2x more particles

Ability points allocation

Before starting the build respec your ability points

To be able to fully utilize any build correct ability points allocation is necessary. Here is the order in which I would obtain spells and their upgrades:

Order Skill Description
1 Spirit Blade iconSpirit Blade + upgrade You will use this ability often as you will constantly be close to the enemies. I suggest using whenever Energy Barrage of Fire Mine is on cooldown. Choose your preferred upgrade
2 Combat Clarity iconCombat Clarity Additional MP regeneration in case enemies are close
3 Fade shield iconFade Shield Extremely good skill will synergize well with Chaotic Focus. Moreover, increases your survivability as you gain barrier per hit.
4 knight-protector iconKnight-Protector Reduces barrier decay, will synergize well with Chaotic Focus later on
5 immolate iconImmolate Casts instantly and deals moderate damage
6 Flashpoint iconFlashpoint After a critical hit, the next spell does not have a cooldown
7 Energy barrage iconEnergy Barrage + Energy Storm
Your main spell, because it launches many projectiles, one of it should trigger Flashpoint. Moreover, the element is based on your staff
8 Pyromancer iconPyromancer We take it for progression
9 Fire mine iconFire Mine + Flaming Array The strongest spell in the game now will spawn three times. This will result in instant activation and more damage. However, the mines appear in front of the Inquisitor
10 Clean burn iconClean Burn Reduces cooldowns when using a spell by 1 second.
11 Conductive Current iconConductive Current Boosts damage 5% for every 10% mana that is missing
12 Static Charge iconStatic Charge Even though we take it for progression to reach Static Cage, this skill still has good passive effects.
13 Static cage iconStatic Cage + Lightning Cage Combo this spell with Energy Barrage, to deal additional lightning damage to enemies.
14 Fade step iconFade Step + Energizing Step Use this spell to recharge MP fast during combat. Moreover, you can use it to change your position on the battlefield.
15 Fade cloak iconFade Cloak + Decloaking Blast This spell will deal 1000% Weapon damage as Spirit Damage if you reappear inside an enemy. Moreover, you can instantly get up from knockback when using this skill

With these spells, you Knight Enchanter mage should have no problems taking out any group of enemies.

Main stats

There are numerous equipment options in Dragon Age Inquisition. Select gear on stat priority below. Have in mind this is more geared toward level 15+ Inquisitor:

  • Critical Rate - your aim is to have around 35% if you have Ring of Doubt, otherwise put at least 45%. This will easily activate Flashpoint

  • Critical Damage - once you have Ring of Doubt I suggest investing in this attribute. It will contribute the most to your overall damage.

  • Attack - increases overall damage a bit worse than critical damage boost

  • Willpower - increases your Attack indirectly but the bonus is lower than pure direct Attack increase

  • Magic - increases your Attack indirectly but the bonus is lower than pure direct Attack increase

Tactics and tips

Just taking correct spells is not enough. You should do some careful tactics planning. Here are my main suggestions for you:

Blade of Tidarion crafted DAI

  1. Blade of Tidarion or Blade of Tidarion schematic. This weapon is essential to wear. It will allow your main damage spell: Energy Barrage to deal crazy amounts of damage and also to constantly activate Flashpoint. But for this effect you need to have a rune with different elemental damage than the weapon's
  2. Use Fire Mine to deal large burst damage to enemies close by. Ring of Doubt further increases the spell damage due to a 100% critical hit.
  3. The easiest and efficient combo that I have found is Energy Barrage + Static Cage and then Fade Step. It should be cast so that enemies inside Static Cage would get additional lightning damage. After this, you can use Fade Step to move through enemies and restore MP
  4. Use Fade Cloak to instantly stand up if Inquisitor gets knocked down. This will make the mage far stronger in close combat.
  5. Spirit Blade can be used to attack while other spells are under cooldown.

Enchanter Support mage build

This mage build variation concentrates on having many elemental spells and keeping a distance from the enemy.

Of course, due to Fade Shield, you can soak a decent amount of damage and fight enemies up close. but we mainly use the barrier to pump up Knight Enchanter's spell damage.

Abilities - detailed explanation

Once you get Knight Enchanter specialization remember to respecialize skills. The abilities are listed in order how they should be taken. So once you level have a free skill point invest into the next ability.

Order Skill Description
1 Spirit Blade iconSpirit Blade Needed to progress further in the tree. As you will avoid melee range, this ability should only be used on rare occasions
2 Combat Clarity iconCombat Clarity Additional MP regeneration in case enemies are close
3 Fade shield iconFade Shield An extremely good passive ability that will synergize well with Chaotic Focus. Moreover, increases your survivability as you gain barrier per hit.
4 knight-protector iconKnight-Protector Reduces barrier decay, will synergize well with Chaotic Focus later on
5 immolate iconImmolate Casts instantly and deals moderate damage
6 Flashpoint iconFlashpoint After a critical hit, the next spell does not have a cooldown. A mandatory ability for any mage build.
7 Energy barrage iconEnergy Barrage + Energy Bombardment
Your main spell, because it launches many projectiles, one of it should trigger Flashpoint. Moreover, the element is based on your staff
8 Pyromancer iconPyromancer Buffs Flashfire, but we take it more as progression passive
9 Fire mine iconFire Mine + Searing Glyph Extremely good spell. We use Searing Glyph upgrade so that Chaotic Focus would be activated
10 Clean burn iconClean Burn Reduces cooldowns by 1 second for each spell that the mage uses.
11 Chaotic focus iconChaotic Focus The cornerstone passive ability of this build. Use it with other fire spells, to increase their damage by draining your barrier.
12 Winter's Grasp iconWinter's Grasp Fairly expensive ability to use. However, allows you to use cold spells, allowing you to deal higher damage to Cold weak enemies
13 Winter Stillness iconWinter Stillness You will need every possible way to increase your mana regeneration due to the many spells that you will be using
14 Chain Lightning iconChain Lightning A great ability to hit multiple enemies, that can be switched to Lightning Bolt
15 Conductive Current iconConductive Current Deal more damage with your spells the less mana you have.
16 Barrier iconBarrier + Elegant Defense It is a useful ability to generate a barrier for your party members on demand
17 Peaceful aura iconPeaceful Aura With this ability, the mage will be attacked less due to lower threat generation.
18 Dispel iconDispel Although we take this ability for progression it is still useful. It can one-shot Rift spawning locations, making fewer enemies to spawn.
19 Rejuvenating Barrier iconRejuvenating Barrier Because the mage build will be using some costly spells, having increased mana regeneration, will be beneficial for this build all the time

Main Stats to prioritize

These are the stats that I recommend prioritize to make this best mage build in Dragon Age Inquisition:

  • Critical chance - reach 35% if you have Ring of Doubt, otherwise 50%+. After that concentrate on other stats
  • Critical damage - invest in it once you have Ring of Doubt or high critical chance. It will drastically increase your damage.
  • Cunning - use this stat to increase your critical chance
  • Dexterity - invest in this attribute so that your critical damage would be higher. Only worthwhile if you have a 50%+ critical chance.
  • Willpower - increases the damage that you deal and increases magical defense.
  • Magic - increases the damage for mages.

Tactics

Here are the tactics which I use:

  1. Cast Chain Lightning/Lightning Bolt to set up a barrier

  2. Use Energy Barrage

  3. Now depending on the situation, I would do this:

    1. If the tank is surrounded by enemies cast Fire Mine near him, which will activate after 3 seconds. You need to have enemies in place for it to work well (if you did not take Flaming Array)

    2. If I am having difficulties with particular enemy use Flashfire

  4. Cast Winter’s Grasp if enemies are weak to Cold

  5. Repeat from the start

I also change staves based on the enemies which I fight. So if enemies are weak to Fire take out Fire staff, so that Energy Barrage would to Fire damage. I really recommend having a few of these items

Gear Recommendations

The best mage build needs good gear to complement it. Here are my recommendations:

Weapons - obtainable

Here are some great staves that you can obtain for the Knight Enchanter build

Priority Item Description
1 dai hakkons wisdom iconHakkon's Wisdom Gives +100% critical damage. Extremely strong staff if you have Ring of Doubt equipped
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 The staff gives a large bonus to critical damage. Use it together with Ring of Doubt for maximum damage
4 staff of the void iconStaff of the Void Gives a small boost of 6% to critical chance and bonus magic
5 blade of tidarion iconBlade of Tidarion Only for Knight Enchanter build. Use it to enable the build to double the number of projectiles Energy Barrage releases.

Weapons - craftable

This is a list of craftable staves that you can make to maximize the builds' damage

Priority Item Description
1 Blade of Tidarion schematics iconBlade of Tidarion Schematic Only for Knight Enchanter build. Use it to enable the build to double the number of projectiles Energy Barrage releases.
2 Encore iconEncore Schematic One of the best staves in the game as it gives offensive buffs for all party members
3 Encore iconStaff of Corruption Schematic Although this is Tier 4, I would still go for Wrath of Lovias Schematic that provides better slots for the end game.
4 Encore iconWrath of Lovias Schematic The stave gives leather slots for increased critical chance or critical damage

Armors - obtainable

Here is a recommended list of obtainable armors 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 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.
4 robes of high keeper iconRobes of the High Keeper If you are an elf this armor is also a good option

Armors - craftable

This section covers a list of schematics to craft armors

Priority Item Description
1 Superior Robe schematic iconSuperior Battlemage Armor Schematic Best craftable Armor. 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
For this armor, you will need Spoils of the Qunari DLC pack. However, the schematic gives 3 Utility slots to increase offensive stats
3 Vestments of the Pure schematics iconVestments of the Pure Schematic The armor is not as powerful as the options above. However, it can be a good alternative if you think that the second option does not have enough armor

Helmets - obtainable

Priority Item Description
1 stone stalker mask iconStone Stalker Mask Gives a large boost to offensive stats and also increases armor
2 helm of drasca iconHelm of the Drasca
Provides bonuses to dexterity resulting in +8% increased critical damage. Gives a higher armor rating than Winter Palace masks
3 unique Mask iconAmbassador's Mask This mask provides a large boost to critical damage
4 unique Mask iconMask of the Grand Duchess Gives a large bonus to critical chance

Helmets - craftable

Priority Item Description
1 Superior helm schematic iconSuperior Skirmisher Hat Schematic Great slots for increasing critical stats
2 battlemage cowl schematic tier 3Battlemage Cowl Schematic Gives a Cloth Utility slot to increase magic related stats
3 Helmet schematics iconSkirmisher Hat Schematic Can be obtained earlier in the game with a leather utility slot.

Amulets

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 amulet of mage iconAmulet of the Mage A cheap amulet that can be bought in Black Emporium. Definitely recommend it when you have 3k gold
3 Superb Amulet iconSuperb Amulet of Dexterity Boosts dexterity, which increases your critical damage
4 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 naturally
5 Superb Amulet of willpower iconSuperb Amulet of Willpower Boosts willpower which increases your damage

Belts

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, unfortunately, available only in the late game during Trespasser DLC.
2 Superb Belt iconMaster Belt of Focus More Focus results in more often Mark of the Rift for the Inquisitor
3 Superb Belt iconSuperior Belt of Focus A weaker version of the above belt.
4 Superb Belt iconSuperb Belt of Staggering The belt will give a higher chance to temporarily stun enemies with normal attacks

Rings

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 a mage. Guarantees a critical hit after attacking from stealth
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 iconSuperb Ring of Critical Damage A perfect ring to be used with Ring of Doubt. It will greatly boost the mage build damage
5 Superb ring iconSuperb Ring of Critical Chance Boosts critical chance by 10%, use it if your mage build has a low critical chance as Chaotic Focus may not activate.

Conclusion

I hope this post will help you better to select your best mage build in Dragon Age Inquisition. As you can see there are many options between melee, support, or wizard-like mages.

For more builds feel free to check the build feed

Dislike post
Enjoy what you read?
Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Discussion