Alistair the Juggernaut tank build

By zanuffas
Last updated:
Alistair the Juggernaut tank build

Who hates him? Probably no one. He has excellent conversations, interesting banter, and is probably the best set up to be your main tank in the party. The aim of this build is to make him a walking fortress - Juggernaut. What does this mean? The name goes over the huge Golems which were guarding gates of Minrathous according to Dragon age lore

You can easily use this build on Nightmare difficulty, I did not have any difficulties and it had exceptionally good survivability.


Alistair build attributes

Your priorities early in the game:

  • Dexterity: 26

  • Cunning: Level it to 14 maximum, to get some tactics slots

  • Strength: at least 42, you need this amount to have the heaviest armor in the game

Once you have the above stats allocated here is what you should do every level:

  • +2 dexterity: increases Alistair defense resulting in more blocks
  • +1 constitution or +1 strength: if Alistair dies often or cannot handle enemies put points into the constitution. Otherwise go for strength


Alistair build skills

  • Tactics: 2-3 levels (based on how many skills Alistair will use)

  • Combat training: Max

  • Survival: 1-2 levels


Alistair specializations

Alistair will automatically have Templar specialization and go for Champion. This makes Alistair a true walking fortress where your allies behind you feel safe due to your sustained skills and Warcry.

Talents and Spells

Alistair talents

Here is the progression of Alistair abilities that I recommend taking:

Order Skill Description
1 Shield Defense Will increase defense resulting in more avoided and blocked attacks for Alistair
2 Shield Balance Removes attack penalty for Shield Defense
3 Shield Pummel An effective offensive ability that can stun enemies
4 Shield Wall This is the main tank ability. It will increase armor and missile deflection. Moreover, with Shield Mastery Alistair will get bonus defense
5 Shield Tactics Alistair will no longer get flanked by enemy attacks
6 Precise Striking We mainly take this for progression
7 Taunt This is a useful ability so that Alistair could divert enemy attention to himself if your other party member is being attacked
8 Shield Mastery It will provide an overall boost to all the shield related talents
9 Shield Expertise Will increase the effectiveness of Shield Wall making Alistair immune to knockdowns
10 Cleanse Area A good skill to be used when allies are paralyzed
11 Mental Fortress We mainly take this for progression
12 Holy Smite Extremely effective ability against mages, disabling them, draining mana, and dealing large amounts of damage
13 War Cry This ability will decrease enemies' attack stat. Moreover, the Superiority upgrade will knockdown them
14 Rally Will boost allies attack and defense
15 Motivate Boosts Rally ability
16 Superiority Boosts War Cry ability to knockdown enemies
17 Overpower (optional) If late in the game, Alistair will have free stamina, use it to get more offensive abilities
18 Assault (optional) If late in the game, Alistair will have free stamina, use it to get more offensive abilities
19 Threaten Mainly take it for progression
20 Bravery Boosts physical and mental resistance stats
21 Death Blow Restores stamina after each enemy has been killed

Alistair recommended Equipment

Generally, your priority should be stats that increase: constitution, health, defense, dodge, physical resistance, mental resistance, so feel free to swap your gear if it is already used by another companion, to the one which provides these stats.


Your goal is to get a weapon with 3 runes slots. Use them to either increase damage or Alistair's defensive capabilities

Item Details
Starfang iconStarfang (longsword) This sword should be taken if you want Alistair to deal more damage. Moreover, the weapon comes with 3 rune slots that you can use for improvement in the defense.
Keening blade iconKeening Blade Another good offensive option that has its damage scale well with Frost Runes. Has 3 rune slots.
Maric's Blade iconMaric’s Blade Use this weapon together with Cailan's Shield for the Cailan's Arm set. With the set, stamina regeneration will increase greatly allowing Alistair to use many more abilities
Duncan's sword iconDuncan's Sword This sword can be obtained in Return to Ostagar, a great blade that can even last to the end of the game if you upgrade it with 3 Rune slots.
asturian's might iconAsturian's Might A sword that is a good progression between Oathkeeper and the higher Tier 7 swords.
Oathkeeper iconOathkeeper A decent early game sword that you can obtain in Lothering. Also comes with 1 rune slot


There are many shields to select. Mainly your priority should be the ones with the highest defense bonus. However, there are some exceptions:

Item Details
Howe's Shield iconHowe's Shield This shield gives the largest bonus of +12 to defense. However, check other options in case Alistair will feel comfortable with less defense
Fade Wall iconFade Wall Provides bonus stamina and stamina regeneration. Good if you want Alistair to use more offensive abilities like Assault
cailan's shield iconCailan's Shield Use this shield together with Maric’s Blade for the Cailan's Arm set. Will boost stamina regeneration allowing Alistair to use offensive abilities more often
duncan's shield iconDuncan's Shield A well-rounded shield that boosts willpower, stamina regeneration, and defense. Unfortunately, you only obtain it late in the game
bulwark of the true king iconBulwark of the True King The shield comes with the ultimate edition of the game. So it can be used quite early on Alistair
warden tower shield iconWarden Tower Shield Provides +6 defense, willpower, and stamina regeneration good all-around shield.
eamons shield iconEamon's Shield An early game shield that can be obtained in Redcliffe Castle. It boosts both defense and stamina, allowing Alistair to use more offensive abilities.
Earthheart's Portable Bulwark iconEarthheart's Portable Bulwark Easily accessible shield early in the game. Provides a boost to dexterity, constitution, and strength. however, you will need 36 strength to equip it


Mainly, what armor you use depends on the set that you equip. So try to match your gear.

Item Details
Wade's Superior Dragonbone Plate Armor iconWade's Superior Dragonbone Plate Armor Part of the Wade's Superior Dragonbone Plate armor set. Will increase Alistair's stamina and stamina regeneration. Moreover, it will reduce fatigue with the total set.
Juggernaut Plate Armor iconJuggernaut Plate Armor Equip the armor together with the whole Juggernaut armor set. The armor provides a large boost to different elemental resistances
warden commander armor iconWarden Commander Armor Equip together with the Warden Commander armor set. The armor gives bonus stamina regeneration
Blood dragon plate iconBlood Dragon plate I recommend using this armor early in the game because you get it with the Ultimate Edition and no investment is needed. Later on, switch it with one of the armor sets mentioned above


Match the gloves with the set that choose to use. Otherwise, before the sets pick the ones that have the highest armor value

Item Details
Wade's Superior Dragonbone Plate Gloves iconWade's Superior Dragonbone Plate Gloves Part of the Wade's Superior Dragonbone Plate armor set. Will increase Alistair's stamina regeneration. Use it together with the whole set
juggernaut plate gloves iconJuggernaut Plate Gloves Equip together with Juggernaut armor set. The gloves provide bonus elemental resistances
Warden commander gloves iconWarden Commander Gloves Equip together with the Warden Commander armor set. The gloves give a bonus of 10% fire resistance


Choose the boots to match the set you wish to use. Otherwise, take the ones with the highest armor value.

Item Details
Wade's Superior Dragonbone Plate Boots iconWade's Superior Dragonbone Plate Boots Part of the Wade's Superior Dragonbone Plate armor set. Will increase Alistair's stamina regeneration. Use it together with the whole set
Juggernaut Plate Boots iconJuggernaut Plate Boots Equip together with Juggernaut armor set. The boots provide bonus elemental resistances
Warden commander boots iconWarden Commander Boots Equip together with the Warden Commander armor set. The boots give a bonus of 50 stamina


Item Details
Helm of Honnleath iconHelm of Honnleath This is the best helmet in the game. It is THE BEST option. However, I would recommend putting it on another character who is responsible for dealing damage.
corruption iconCorruption Helm Although this is an extremely good helmet for a tank, you obtain it close to the end of the game. You can use it against the last boss due to the high Spirit Resistance it provides
Juggernaut helm iconJuggernaut Helm Equip together with Juggernaut armor set. The helmet provides +1 bonus armor
Bergen's honor iconBergen's Honor The helmet can be obtained early in the game and bought from the camp. It provides bonus armor and physical resistance.
Executioner's Helm iconExecutioner’s Helm I would say this is on an equal level with Bergen's Honor. However, it provides bonus stamina if you want Alistair to use more abilities
Helm of the deep iconHelm of the Deep Boost to the constitution for a bigger HP pool. A great helmet as you earn it for free early in the game


The top belts may be taken by other characters, so check in order which one you should get

Item Details

Andruil's blessing iconAndruil’s Blessing

The best belt in the game provides a large boost to all stats and gives stamina regeneration

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.

Embri's many pockets iconEmbri's Many Pockets

This belt provides +5% resistance to all elements. If you do not need this stat as much check the options below

buckle of the winds iconBuckle of the Winds

Provides a small boost to the defense. Will allow Alistair to block more enemy attacks

Dwarven Warrior's Belt iconDwarven Warrior's Belt

This belt can only be obtained if your main character has Dwarven commoner origin. It provides a bonus to armor and strength

Dwarven Smith's Belt iconDwarven Smith's Belt

This belt provides +1 armor. Not as good as the other options, but can be useful early in the game


Item Details
The spellward iconThe Spellward I recommend this amulet as it increases willpower greatly. However, if you do not need Alistair to have additional stamina, check other options below
Mark of vigilance iconMark of Vigilance This amulet will boost all the relevant tank stats. The most important is that it gives a bonus to a defense stat.
Magister's Shield iconMagister's Shield Another amulet that provides bonus defense. however, it also decreases the nature resistance
Apprentice's Amulet iconApprentice's Amulet An amulet that can be easily obtained early in the game. it will boost Alistair's armor and elemental resistances


Item Details
lifegiver iconLifegiver I think this is the best ring for Alistair. It gives huge amounts of the constitution, health regeneration, and increased armor. All that this tank build needs
Key to the city iconKey to the City As this is one of the best rings in the game it may be taken by another character. However, if there is a possibility, equip it on Alistair for +2 to all attributes
ring of ages iconRing of Ages This ring can be used effectively with Juggernaut armor set. Minimizing spell damage
harvest festival ringHarvest Festival Ring Equip this ring if you want Alistair to deal more damage and miss fewer attacks.
ring of the warrior iconRing of the Warrior Similar to Harvest Festival Ring, however, does not provide bonus attack
the lucky stone iconThe Lucky Stone Another good ring, that provides +1 to all attributes.
band of fire iconBand of Fire A decent starter ring until you get the ones mentioned above. Gives bonus constitution


Alistair Tactics

There isn't much here to do, your main aim is to tank:

  • Generally, always have Shield Wall active.

  • Have Rally active to buff yourself and your allies

  • If you have Taunt use it whenever an ally is attacked

  • If you are surrounded by more than two enemies activate Warcry

  • Use Holy Smite if the target is using magic attacks (he is a mage then)

  • If enemy health is above 75% user Overpower and Shield Bash

  • Use Shield Pummel on the nearest enemy

  • If an ally is paralyzed activate Cleanse aura to negate the effect


Thank you for reading the Alistair build for Dragon Age Origins. I am really proud of this build and please share your opinions on it!


I have recently updated the post with new images, included Tactics section and some updates to equipment

I did Dragon age run about a year ago. I did a similar setup for Allistair. Can definitely confirm it works. The only difference is that instead of spending points on constitution I chose dexterity/strength. So that he could avoid almost all attacks