Arcane Hunter - Arcane Warrior Dual Wield Build

Arcane Hunter - Arcane Warrior Dual Wield Build - Dragon Age: Origins (DAO)

By zanuffas
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In this post, I will cover Arcane Warrior Dual Wielder Build - Arcane Hunter for Dragon Age: Origins. The build revolves around sacrificing all of the mana pool to enhance your combat capabilities and weaken foes. This will result in extremely fast dual wielder slashing through enemies.

Arcane Warrior Dual Wield Build - Arcane Hunter

The build is an interesting take on mage class. Its specialization Arcane Warrior is well known for Blood Mage Tank Build. This is a different take, where most spellcasting is forgone to maximize the number of sustained abilities active at the same time.

What do I mean by that? Your mana pool will be used to activate spells like Haste, Miasma, Rock Armor, etc. With all of them, you will gain substantial attack speed, attack, defense, and various other bonuses.

Another important aspect is that you will be dual-wielding daggers. This simplifies the build as you can concentrate on a single attribute point - Dexterity. Still, you will want decent Magic, to be able to equip the most powerful armors in the game.

With everything set up, you will be clearing enemies left and right with fast dagger attacks. Various runes and other buffs can help you wonders in improving this as much as possible.

The build has been played and tested on Nightmare difficulty

Character Creation

If you are into optimizing there are a few things that you can do to optimize your build a bit.

dragon age origins character creation window

Race

There are 2 race options in my opinion:

Attribute Description
Human A little less optimized but can also be a choice for Arcane Warrior builds.
Elf The go-to choice for this build as it gets the biggest bonus to Magic.

Class

The choice here is obvious:

Class Description
Mage Get's access to spells and Arcane Warrior specialization

Background

Sadly only one choice is possible here:

Background Description
Magi All mages have to start in Circle Tower, no matter the race choice.

Attributes

For the start of the game, all points should be invested - +5 Magic. You will want the mage spells to be effective, especially on Nightmare difficulty. Moreover, this stat will play a crucial role in becoming a powerful Arcane Warrior.

Need help with level-by-level attribute/talent progression? For my supporters on Ko-Fi or Patreon, I offer attribute picks on each level, for optimal progression.

Skills

I would recommend getting Coercion, this will help with some early-game dialogues and quest options.

Skill Description
Coercion 1 level will help in the early game to unlock some additional dialogue options.

Spells

As the build will mostly use sustained abilities, the idea is to get those spells that will help obtain them.

Spells Description
Weakness Used for progression.
Paralyze Used for progression, but is also an excellent spell early in the game, to Paralyze incoming foes.

Quest Priority and Locations

Once you have finished Ostagar and Lothering, the world will open up and you can visit multiple areas. Below I will cover some progression recommendations, to obtain a few core items needed.

If you do not have Specializations unlocked:

  1. Soldier's Peak - obtain Warden Commander Armor Set.
  2. Brecilian Forest (at least until you unlock Arcane Warrior)
  3. Circle Tower - additional attributes for progression. I would make sure to have Mana Clash or be close to getting for this quest.
  4. Your preferred quests

For those that have Specializations:

  1. Soldier's Peak - obtain Warden Commander Armor Set.
  2. Circle Tower - additional attributes for progression. I would make sure to have Mana Clash or be close to getting it, for this quest.
  3. Your preferred quests

Full Build Setup

In this section, I will go with in-depth explanations of each important selection for attributes, talents, and skills. This will give you a better understanding of what role each decision will have on your overall build. The explanations can also be used to better decide your picks for optimizations

Attributes

In this section, I would like to go through the recommended attributes for Arcane Warrior Dual Wielder Build. You will be required to pick them every level up, so optimizing and not wasting any of them will prove vital for the build.

Attribute Description
Magic - at least +2 every level up. Stop at 34-38 It will act as a Strength attribute for weapon damage, so it will give additional damage to Daggers. Moreover, it will allow wearing heavier armor. The goal is to have enough to wear the heaviest armors in the game, which have a 38-42 strength requirement. You can stop before that and obtain part of your strength from gear - Andruil’s Blessing, Helm of Honnleath, etc.
Dexterity - everything else This will be the main attribute that will decide the dagger's damage. Moreover, with high enough dexterity you can avoid most of the enemy attacks as your defense value will be very high.
Need help with level-by-level attribute/talent progression? For my supporters on Ko-Fi or Patreon, I offer attribute picks on each level, for optimal progression.

Skills

The goal in my opinion is to get Combat Training and Coercion to a maximum. This will cover all the aspects that the main character would need in my opinion.

Skill Level Description
Coercion 4 Allows to overcome various dialogues, finish quests earlier, or avoid unnecessary combat.
Pickpocket 1 Access to one of the most lucrative quests in the game in terms of gold rewards.
Poison-Making 1 Allows using coatings and poison on weapons for additional damage.
Combat Training  4 Improves mana regeneration, and casting while under attack, mainly we want that +2 regeneration.
Tactics 1 Unlocks more slots, for the situations when you are controlling another character.

Specializations

Okay, so the build core is 2 Specializations. When playing the game for the first time you will have access to neither. But there are ways to unlock all of them if you are curious, check the internet for that.

Specialization Description
Arcane Warrior The specialization will give access to the ability to wear the heaviest armor using your Magic attribute. In addition, you will get some other bonuses to help you improve.
Spirit Healer You will not be using any spells from Spirit Healer. However, the +2 Magic will decrease the amount of Maigc investment you need to wear heavy armor and improve your weapon damage a little.

The first one should be Arcane Warrior. This will allow you to wear heavy armor and you can start using the build very early.

Talents and Spells

So the build only uses spells early in the game, and it will mostly be control ones. Later on, you will stop utilizing them and continue activating Sustained Abilities + mele weapon hits.

Need help with level-by-level attribute/talent progression? For my supporters on Ko-Fi or Patreon, I offer attribute picks on each level, for optimal progression.

Arcane Warrior Tree

Get all the talents. They will maximize your resistance, damage, and armor.

arcane warrior talents

Spell Description
Combat Magic The core spell of the build will allow you to increase the weapon damage based on your magic attribute, and wear heavy armor.
Aura of Might Additional bonuses to the most important stats for Arcane Warrior.
Shimmering Shield It adds huge bonuses to various magic elemental resistances. Still, I did not prioritize this one, as the build does not have gear that would counteract the big mana drain this imposes.
Fade Shroud A further bonus to improve mana regeneration and a chance to dodge attacks.

Mage

This tree has a very low priority and I would delay it once you have everything else covered.

Spell Description
Arcane Bolt Can be used to inflict fast damage when you need to finish off an enemy. Moreover, this is the first spell you obtain, so not many choices to avoid it. Excellent use for the early game.
Arcane Shield Additional defense bonus, that will work with very high dexterity of this build.
Staff Focus Only for progression.
Arcane Mastery Provides additional spellpower which in turn increases damage slightly.

Primal Tree

This tree mainly provides elemental spells.

Path of Fire Tree

Spell Description
Flame Blast Only for progression.
Flaming Weapons Very powerful buff, especially for the late game when you will be fighting hordes of Darkspawn. Sadly only one of these can work at the same time on a single caster. The others like Frost Weapons can be activated with another caster.

Path of Stone Tree

Spell Description
Rock Armor A great sustained spell that can be used as lower priority once you have other aspects covered.

Creation Spells

These spells will give access to a few sustained abilities improving the combat performance of Dual Wield Arcane Warrior.

Heroism Tree

Spell Description
Heroic Offense Can be used as a buff before you obtain substantial Dexterity. However, I would keep this as a low priority.
Heroic Aura Only for progression.
Heroic Defense Only for progression.
Haste One of the core spells of this build increasing attack speed. If you have a second mage get the spell also and enjoy a 50% attack speed increase.

Nature Tree

Spell Description
Spell Wisp A very important spell that will improve spellpower and in turn improve weapon damage and attack values.

Spirit Spells

Mana Drain Tree

Spell Description
Mana Drain Progression spell
Mana Cleanse Progression spell
Spell Might Very valuable spell, if you have mana capacity as it will improve weapon damage and spell success chance.

Entropy Spells

Spell Description
Weakness Only for progression.
Paralyze Excellent spell for the early game, but will be phased out once you start using dual-wield weapons.
Miasma Miasma will greatly improve your hit chance, by reducing enemy defenses. This is mandatory for this type of build, especially early in the game.

Equipment

This is another important pillar of Arcane Warrior build, as good gear will make or break it. Due to the nature of the game and various story progression paths, it's hard to recommend a single-gear path.

In this section, you will find the gear that should be used with the build. Generally, the lower the item is in the table the lower its priority and the earlier you can get it. So the top ones are generally the best.

So what are my gear recommendations?

Weapons

Going with daggers allows to concentrate on Dexterity and reach very high defense values. Going with a Longsword would result in more damage, but in turn this would require bigger investment in magic and lower defense values. So this is the reason I recommend picking daggers:

Item Description
thorn of the dead gods iconThorn of the Dead Gods Tier 2 version can be obtained in Lothering. Great value early in the game
Duncan's Dagger iconDuncan’s Dagger Large boost to dexterity, great against dragon fights due to bonus damage.
The Edge Has two rune slots and also provides the largest bonus to damage out of all daggers
The Rose's Thorn iconThe Rose’s Thorn Quite expensive but an excellent dagger all around, boosting critical rate, critical damage, and dexterity – all things that you need

Helm

Item Description
Helm of Honnleath iconHelm of Honnleath The best helmet in the Dragon Age Origins game all around. Get it in Stone Prisoner DLC
helm of the red iconHelm of the Red A decent Heavy Helmet, that provides +1 to dexterity.
Free scout arming cap iconFree Scout Arming Cap It is a light helmet, so you will lose some armor, but it gives +2 to dexterity

Armor

Item Description
Armor of the Legion iconArmor of the Legion Legion of the Dead armor set is best in terms of damage potential as it gives a flat boost. The build does not care about fatigue, so wearing massive armor just benefits the build with higher armor values.
Evon's The great mail iconEvon the Great’s Mail The Wade's Superior Heavy Dragonscale armor set is lighter on the fatigue stat and gives a bit less armor. Still, you won't be casting anything. The highlight is Evon the Great’s Mail which can be used instead of Wade's Superior Heavy Dragonscale Armor. Besides that, this set is more aimed at improving defensive and utility stats.
Wade's SUperior heavy dragonscale armor iconWade's Superior Heavy Dragonscale Armor
The Felon's Coat iconBattledress of the Provocateur If you can land your hands on this, it is extremely good early-game armor for this build, before you obtain anything else.
warden commander armor iconWarden Commander Armor The Warden Commander Armor set gives +50 stamina which is a significant boost, especially in the early game. Now you can easily stack more sustained spells, before obtaining some of the later game expensive items.

Gloves

Item Description
gloves of the legion iconGloves of the Legion Part of the Legion of the Dead armor set.
Wade's Superior Heavy Dragonscale Gauntlets iconWade's Superior Heavy Dragonscale Gauntlets Part of Wade's Superior Heavy Dragonscale armor set
Warden commander gloves iconWarden Commander Gloves Part of the Warden Commander Armor set.

Boots

Item Description
Boots of the legion iconBoots of the Legion Part of the Legion of the Dead armor set.
Wade's Superior Heavy Dragonscale Boots iconWade's Superior Heavy Dragonscale Boots Part of Wade's Superior Heavy Dragonscale armor set
Cailan's Greaves These greaves are very powerful if you are not using a set. The 20% chance to avoid attacks is big.
Warden commander boots iconWarden Commander Boots Part of the Warden Commander Armor set.
Cadash stompers iconCadash Stompers Gives a boost to critical chance and dexterity, but comes with the drawback of attracting more hostility
Silverhammer's Tackmasters iconSilverhammer’s Tackmasters Gives +2 to dexterity but has low armor
Fade striders iconFade Striders Excellent starting boots giving +1 to Magic.

Accessories

Item Description
Andruil's blessing iconAndruil’s Blessing The best belt available all around. The bonuses to stamina regeneration are great to counteract the sustained abilities like Shimmering Shield, Haste, etc.
Sash of forbidden secrets iconSash of Forbidden Secrets Gives a significant boost to the core stats of the build. This is a truly powerful option but requires to finish The Golems of Amgarrak DLC
Cinch of skillful maneuvering iconCinch of Skillful Maneuvering You will need to finish Witch Hunt DLC to unlock this accessory. The chance to dodge is excellent for survivability improvement.
destructionist's belt icon Destructionist's belt A decent belt that boosts spellpower and damage.

Amulets

Item Description
The high regard of house dace iconThe High Regard of House Dace Great amulet as it gives increased critical chance. But to obtain it you need to finish The Golems of Amgarrak DLC
The spellward iconThe Spellward One of the best amulets as it increases the mana pool for more sustained abilities, adds a chance to dodge, and has significant spell resistance.
Pearl of Anointed iconPearl of the Anointed The +1 to all attributes is a significant boost, especially at the start of the game.
Heart of Witherfang iconHeart of Witherfang Provides +1 to magic

Rings

Item Description
Key to the city iconKey to the City One of the best rings in the game. It gives +2 to all attributes. Can be obtained in Orzammar
the lucky stone iconThe Lucky Stone Gives +1 to all attributes
wicked oath iconThe Wicked Oath Improves armor penetration and mana regeneration to counteract sustained ability mana drain.
ring of the warrior iconRing of the Warrior Gives +2 to dexterity for increased damage and improved defense values.
keeper's Ring iconKeeper’s Ring +1 to dexterity, boosting your attack and damage
ring of study iconRing of Study A great ring at the beginning of the game that you can obtain if you chose Magi origin

How to use the Build

In this section, I would like to go through some general tips on how to correctly utilize the build.

Main mechanics

In this part, I would like to go through the core mechanics of the build. Using them you can construct your preferred playstyle and utilize everything that the various talent and equipment picks have to offer.

Sustained Spells

As with all Arcane Warrior Builds, this one will heavily rely on Sustained spells, and a lot of them. More or less you will skip all mana and use it for one thing - maintaining sustained abilities:

  1. Combat Magic - well this will ensure that your sword attacks deal sufficient damage.
  2. Spell Wisp - a simple and cheap spell that will improve everything for the Arcane Warrior Build.
  3. Haste - increases attack speed by 25%. Stack it with another mage's Haste and you have a 50% attack speed bonus...
  4. Miasma - debuffs enemies by lowering their defenses and slowing them down, this in turn makes it easier for you to hit your foes.
  5. Arcane Shield - a decent boost to defense stat. Because the build heavily invests into Dexterity this will ensure you can avoid almost all enemy physical attacks in the late game.
  6. Flame Weapons - an easy investment that improves damage against most of the enemies in the game.

And here are some optional ones, that I might use depending on the situation:

  1. Spell Might - increases spellpower and in turn your hit chance, and damage. I would use this if you have mana to spare, especially in the late game.
  2. Rock Armor - Improves armor, this will improve survivability, but I would leave it only if you have mana to spare.

Maintaining Mana and Sustained Spells

Although this build skips the huge mana-draining spells like Shimmer Shield, having some regeneration will help immensely to maintain Haste or Spell Might.

So a few items and Combat Training should be enough to maintain those few sustained abilities.

Ensuring high Attack

The build needs high attack values to hit. The good thing is that it is quite easy to improve with this build

  • Invest into Dexterity - this is the main attribute of the build and each point will improve it by 0.5.
  • Magic - this is the main stat that improves spellpower and in turn weapon damage, spell damage, and hit chance.
  • Spell Wisp - gives spellpower that increases Attack.
  • Spell Might - improves spell power that increases Attack
  • Miasma - does not increase attack directly, but reduces enemy defenses.

Early Game Combat

For the early game, you will be playing a normal mage. I recommend pushing through with the spells available

  • Use Paralyze to disable particular foes, especially Archers, Mages, or bosses.
  • Arcane Bolt, allows for some instant spirit damage, between auto attacks.
  • Use Heroic Offense and Heroic Defense to boost allies' combat capabilities, until you get Arcane Warrior specialization.
  • Miasma should be always active so that enemies that come close to you get slowed and you can run away.

Late Game Combat

  • Enable all the sustained abilities that I have mentioned in the mechanics section. Remember to reactivate Miasma each time you enter a new map.
  • Attack, attack, and attack. The build is simple and you just pick a target and unleash your attacks until they are obliterated.

Conclusion

This post covered in-depth how to build Arcane Warrior Dual Wield Build for Dragon Age: Origins. The build is a fun variation of mage, offering a truly unique playstyle, that replicated Dual Wield Warriors. This does require some support from group members, but that should be easy.

Feel free to leave feedback below

Discussion

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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!