Arcane Warrior Builds - Ultimate Guide

Arcane Warrior Builds - Ultimate Guide - Dragon Age: Origins (DAO)

By zanuffas
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In this post, I will cover how to build Arcane Warrior in Dragon Age Origins. This will clear any misinformation on this lucrative specialization, suggest what skills to use and how to maximize your talents. In the end, you will be almost unbeatable. Are you interested?

Here is an example of what your stats could look like with one of the builds:

dragon age origins arcane warrior build attributes

As you can see you have high HP, large defense and armor. You have maximum elemental, mental and physical resistances. Not only this, but you will have numerous spells to deal with multiple situations. You can also think of this as Dragon Age origin mage build, however, with some warrior characteristics.

So let us start!

Early Game up to level 7-9

You have a few important decisions to make in the early game that help you maximize how well your build will go through the Dragon Age world.

Character creation

dragon age origins character creation window

When creating your character here is what I suggest:

  • Start as an Elf. This gives you a large boost to Magic that will be your main attribute. Moreover, Arcane Warriors from a lore perspective were elves
  • Get pickpocketing talent one point. It will unlock some additional quests for a lot of gold during the game.
  • Get Glyph of Paralysis and Glyph of Warding as starting spells (you will want Glyph of Repulsion as early as possible, explained below)

Early game ability points

I suggest investing ability points all into Magic. It may be difficult at the start of the game if you are playing on Nightmare, but later on, the payoff is huge:

  • You will increase your spellpower, meaning that enemies will not be able to resist your spells, even if they are bosses.
  • You will deal more damage both with spells and later on with your physical weapon.
  • The bonuses from constitution and willpower can be easily replaced with equipment, for magic that is much harder.

Early game spells

My main recommendation is that all Arcane Warrior builds should use Glyphs:

Glyph icons

Glyph of Paralysis and Glyph of Repulsion combo. The result is Paralysis Explosion. It will AOE paralyze all the enemies (but it also works on allies if they are nearby due to friendly fire)

This way you will have an easy way to crowd control the battles early in the game, which is usually the most difficult part of the game for many.

After that I also recommend:

miasma spell icon

  • Weakness
  • Paralyze
  • Miasma

Miasma will have the AOE effect of slowing and weakening down the enemies. It will help in two cases:

  • When you will be surrounded by enemies if you are fighting in the frontline
  • If an enemy reaches you in the back, and you have no one to support you

Did you forget about Skills?

For skills, I definitely recommend maximizing Coercion to level 4. It will unlock many opportunities for new quest paths, more gold rewards, and XP. Everything to maximize your playthrough.

Arcane Warrior skills

Then concentrate on Combat Training and get maximum investment. It adds passive bonuses to attack and defense. Moreover, you will be less likely to have your spells canceled by enemy attacks.

Get a few points into Tactics if you will want your character to be smart when you are not managing him.

Progressing through the game

You are free to choose whatever way you want to progress through the story. However, for the maximum value I recommend these priorities:

  1. Circle of Tower quest – you will get a passive boost to your attributes (this way you will not need to invest any cunning to get Coercion level 4), and you will get a new companion
  2. Brecilian Forest – you will be able to unlock the Arcane Warrior mage specialization early on.

If you have Arcane Warrior already, you can do Brecilian Forest whenever you like.

arcane warrior icon

Get the specialization as early as you can which will probably be at levels 7-9. Once you have it you are ready to go to the next section.

So let’s move to the juicy parts

Dual-Wielding Mage Build

This build uses everything that is available to maximize its physical damage. Only sustainable abilities and passives matter here. Active spells, well... There will not be enough MP for them.

arcane warrior build attributes


These are the attributes that I recommend investing into:

  • Magic – your aim is to have enough Magic so that your spellpower would be at about 75. This is needed to maximize Flame Weapons talent that you will get later on
  • Dexterity – this one is a bit more complicated and will depend on your weapons selection. If you go with Sword + Shield invest just enough so that you would not be missing attacks. If you will go for dual-wielding (and daggers specifically) put the rest of the points here

Second Specialization

I recommend taking Spirit Healer as the second mage specialization

spirit healer icon

You will not use its spells, but you will get additional combat HP regeneration and  additional magic for more damage and spellpower


In this section, I will go through the talents that you should get. This is a list of spells that will explain which ones of them should be taken

Creation Tree

This tree provides more support and crowd-control spells that help you on the battlefield

creation tree

Heroic Offense, Heroic Aura, Heroic Defense, and Haste – you will want these talents for Haste specifically. It will increase your attack speed

Spellwisp is optional

Primal Tree

Flame Blast and Flaming Weapons – Flaming weapons work well against undead and Dark Spawn.

primal tree spells

Rock Armor – this will give you sustained increased armor

Entropy tree

These spells are important for the build. Miasma will give you better control of the battlefield by slowing all enemies around. Moreover, it will decrease the enemy's defenses making it much easier to hit them

dao arcane warrior entropy tree build

Arcane Warrior tree

This tree will be unlocked after you get Arcane Warrior specialization

arcane warrior talents

Combat Magic, Aura of Might, Shimmering Shield, Fade Shroud – main arcane warrior abilities. Shimmering Shield will maximize your resistances.

Spirit tree

You will skip most of the spells in this tree, unfortunately, as you will not have much MP to use them.

spirit tree talents

Mind Blast, Force Field, Telekinetic Weapons – works well against armored opponents or those that are strong against fire. Use this or Flaming weapons.

Mage tree

The base tree for mages.

mage tree talents

Arcane Shield – as you will not use any spells get this sustainable for more defense.

Optional: Staff Focus, Arcane Mastery (for an increase in spellpower for Flaming Weapons)

You will have some points left. Based on my experience, I found that the talents mentioned above are the main ones. You will not be able to cast many spells due to low mana.



Item Details

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
Duncan's Dagger iconDuncan’s Dagger Large boost to dexterity, great against dragon fights due to bonus damage.


My general recommendation is to use the Legion of the Dead armor set.

Item Details
Armor of the Legion iconArmor of the Legion Part of the Legion of the Dead armor set
The Felon's Coat iconThe Felon’s Coat Boosts dexterity, increasing your damage. However, you will be a bit more squishy with light armor
warden commander armor iconWarden Commander Armor You can get this armor early in the game, gives defensive and offensive boosts


Item Details
Helm of Honnleath iconHelm of Honnleath Best helm in the game is obtained with the 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


As previously recommend go for Legion of the Dead set pieces

Item Details
gloves of the legion iconGloves of the Legion Part of the Legion of the Dead armor set
Cailan's Gauntlets iconCailan’s Gauntlets A bit worse option, however, use it if you do not have the above set


Item Details
Boots of the legion iconBoots of the Legion Part of the Legion of the Dead 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


Item Details
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
Pearl of Anointed iconPearl of the Anointed The second best amulet gives +1 to all attributes
Heart of Witherfang iconHeart of Witherfang Provides +1 to magic


Item Details
Andruil's blessing iconAndruil’s Blessing The best belt available all around
Cinch of skillful maneuvering iconCinch of Skillful Maneuvering You will need to finish Witch Hunt DLC to unlock this accessory
Guildmaster's belt iconGuildmaster’s Belt Provides cunning, so not the best choice



Item Details
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

ring of the warrior iconRing of the Warrior

Gives +2 to dexterity for increased damage

keeper's Ring iconKeeper’s Ring

+1 to dexterity, boosting your attack and damage


The recommended tactics mainly revolve around activating all the required sustained abilities. You will not use many or any spells (maybe one or two at the start of the fight).

Arcane warrior dual dagger build tactics

Otherwise, you just need a good tank in the group and you are free to lash out with damage. The good thing is that you do not need to get behind enemy backs as you do not do backstabs.

Blood Mage Tank Build

I would say this build is the most overpowered. You will have no equals. This type of Arcane Warrior uses spells, can act as a tank, and can easily survive most encounters alone.

So let’s dig in


Blood mage tank attributes

Dexterity – As you will be using your weapon to hit enemies you need to have a decent attack. For this, a minor investment in dexterity is needed. It will all depend on your items, buffs, enemies, etc. but investing one point every two levels should be enough.

Magic – the main attribute that you must put all your points into. It will boost the main spells that you will use constantly. It will also boost spellpower, which is used to determine if a hit will be successful.

Second Specialization

The cornerstone of this build is the Blood Mage mage specialization

blood mage icon

Unfortunately, you will only get it at level 14. Due to this, it is mandatory to save 3 spell points before reaching level 14. You will need to get a Blood Wound as soon as it becomes available.


An important mechanic you need to know is that some spells need you to sheath your weapon if it is not a stave. Check this list for spells that can be cast without sheathing weapons

Due most of the talents are chosen to not be limited by this drawback

Arcane Warrior tree

This tree will provide you with the ability to tank as a mage

arcane warrior talents

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

Blood Mage tree

It is mandatory to get: Blood Magic, Blood Sacrifice, and Blood Wound.

blood mage talents

Blood Control is optional after you get the spells mentioned below. Blood Wound will be your main spell to crowd control and deal damage.

Primal tree

You will only need one spell from this tree:

Arcane warrior blood mage primal tree

Rock armor - for more armor as you will be a tanking

Entropy tree

These spells are important for the build. Miasma will give you better control of the battlefield by slowing all enemies around. Moreover, it will decrease the enemy's defenses making it much easier to hit them

dao arcane warrior entropy tree build

Spirit tree

Mind Blast, Force Field, Telekinetic Weapons, Crushing Prison.

arcane warrior spirit tree

Mind Blast is great at the beginning of the game. Crushing Prion can be cast without sheathing your weapon. This is important for this type of build as you want to switch between physical hits and spells fast.

Mana Drain, Mana Cleanse, Spell Might, Mana Clash. The last spell will allow you to take out most of the mages in the game with one hit. This is an extremely deadly spell in Dragon Age Origins, easily accessible by all mages.

Mage tree

Arcane Shield, Staff Focus, Arcane Mastery.

mage tree talents

Arcane Shield is a decent sustainable providing some good bonuses as you are a tank. Arcane Mastery is low priority spell that you should invest in once you have your main offensive spells covered.

Creation tree

Besides Glyphs, you can take Spellwisp as the lowest priority.

creation tree arcane warrior

It will boost spellpower if you will have available mana to sustain it


In this section, you will find the gear that should be used with the build. Generally, the lower item is in the table the lower its priority


Item Details
Spellweaver iconSpellweaver

Provides a +5 magic bonus. Great for this type of build where you cast magic abilities often

Maric's Blade iconMaric’s Blade

The idea of this blade is to use it together with Cailan’s Shield to get Cailan’s Arms set. Will greatly boost mana regeneration

Duncan's blade iconDuncan’s Sword

Provides Medium mana regeneration

The veshialle iconThe Veshialle

If for some reason you find yourself more doing physical hits than casting magic, get this weapon. It outmatches any other single-handed weapon from 60 magic/strength.


Item Details
Fade Wall iconFade Wall Boost to Stamina and mana regeneration one of the best shields for this type of build
cailan's shield iconCailan’s Shield Use this shield with Maric’s Blade for an increased stamina/mana regeneration bonus. Get this shield in Return to Ostagar DLC
warden tower shield iconWarden Tower Shield Gives a mana regeneration bonus that you can obtain in Warden’s Keep DLC.
bulwark of the true king iconBulwark of the True King The shield comes with the Ultimate Edition of the game and can be used early in the game. Provides adequate stats bonuses to armor, willpower, and defense
eamons shield iconEamon's Shield A decent early shield that you can get in Redcliffe Castle. Boosts both defense and mana pool


Item Details
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 deep iconHelm of the Deep Boost to the constitution for a bigger HP pool
Executioner's Helm iconExecutioner’s Helm Boost to stamina/mana will allow you to have more sustainable


Item Details
Evon's The great mail iconEvon the Great’s Mail Counts toward Wade's Superior Heavy Dragonscale armor set. Provides larger bonuses than base armor
Wade's SUperior heavy dragonscale armor iconWade's Superior Heavy Dragonscale Armor If you cannot afford Evon the Great’s Mail, this is a perfect alternative that you get by crafting from Wade
warden commander armor iconWarden Commander Armor Use it for the Warden Commander Armor set until you get access to Wade's Superior Heavy Dragonscale Armor or Evon the Great’s Mail. Obtain it in Warden’s Keep DLC


Item Details
Wade's Superior Heavy Dragonscale Gauntlets iconWade's Superior Heavy Dragonscale Gauntlets Use it for Wade's Superior Heavy Dragonscale armor set.
Warden commander gloves iconWarden Commander Gloves Best gloves until you get Wade's Superior Heavy Dragonscale Gauntlets


Item Details
Wade's Superior Heavy Dragonscale Boots iconWade's Superior Heavy Dragonscale Boots Use it together with other Wade's Superior Heavy Dragonscale armor set items.
Warden commander boots iconWarden Commander Boots You get these boots in Warden’s Keep DLC. They are the best boots until Wade's Superior Heavy Dragonscale armor set.


Item Details
blood-gorged amulet iconBlood-Gorged Amulet Immense boost to the constitution. It Will greatly increase your mana pool as you will use hp to cast spells
Pearl of Anointed iconPearl of the Anointed +1 to all attributes, great amulet until you find Blood Gorged amulet
lifedrinker iconLifedrinker Provides +4 spellpower boost. It’s a tradeoff with survivability so use it at your own risk.


Item Details
Andruil's blessing iconAndruil’s Blessing The best belt in the game provides a large boost to all stats
destructionist's belt icon Destructionist's Belt Boost spellpower and mana regeneration. A decent alternative until you get Andruil’s blessing
Cinch of skillful maneuvering iconCinch of Skillful Maneuvering You get this belt after you finish Witch Hunt DLC. So it may not be accessible to everyone.
Sash of forbidden secrets iconSash of Forbidden Secrets Only accessible if you finish The Golems of Amgarrak DLC. An alternative to Blood Ring and a bit overpowered.


Item Details
lifegiver iconLifegiver Boosts your survivability and hp pool for spell casting
blood ring iconBlood Ring Provides a boost to Blood Magic. This item should be mandatory because your spells will cost 25% less hp.
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
band of fire iconBand of Fire A decent starter ring until you get the ones mentioned above.


There is a lot to cover about tactics. You should always have as many sustainable abilities in this priority:

  1. Combat Magic - Uses spellpower for increased damage and other great boosts
  2. Rock Armor – boost to armor
  3. Miasma – slows enemies, lowers their attack and defense
  4. Blood Magic – when you are out of mana you can use HP to cast spells
  5. Shimmering Shield
  6. Arcane Shield
  7. Spell Might
  8. Telekinetic Weapons

Now, this is how I usually approach fights:

  1. First I would do mana Clash if there was a mage around
  2. Then, I would use Glyph of Repulsion. Use it in tight spots, like corridors or doors.
  3. After that Glyph of Paralysis to do Paralysis Explosion
  4. Cast Blood Wound to start dealing AOE damage on enemies that were not caught by paralysis
  5. I would use Arcane Bolt/ Crushing Prison once in a while especially if I know that an enemy is weak to spirit damage or it may take a while to run to it.
  6. Now my companions would have killed a few of the weaker enemies and I would concentrate on the boss or lieutenant by using melee damage


So here it is, the Dragon Age: Origins Arcane Warrior build that I recommend using in your playthrough. I tried to go into as many details as I can so that you would get the best knowledge of the class.

Feel free to leave feedback below


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!