Zevran the Assassin build

Zevran the Assassin build - Dragon Age: Origins (DAO)

By zanuffas
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You meet this charming elf on your adventures, where you will be deciding his fate. He is a perfect pick to be a true assassin if you are roleplaying. Zevran has the potential to deal tremendous damage with already unlocked Assassin specialization and some other skills at his disposal.

Attributes

Zevran build attributes

With this build, you will have to play your attributes smart. Generally your main ones are: cunning and dexterity. However, you will still need some strength to equip best gear, but it should stay at about 18-19, because you will get bonuses from equipment to reach requirements

Dexterity: +2 every level

Cunning: +1 every level, it should be higher than strength for Lethality talent to be activated. Otherwise, you miss on damage.

Skills

Zevran build skills

  • Tactics: 2-3 levels

  • Combat training: Max

If you will have any points left, you can invest them into survival or poison-making.

Specializations

Zevran build specializations

As Zevran comes with Assassin specialization, I would recommend going for Duelist at level 14, as you get some passive benefits for duel wielding.

Talents and spells

Zevran build talents

From the Dual Weapon, tree obtain Momentum as soon as possible (if you get Zevran at level 7 he should already have it)

Then prioritize investing to Lethality (Rogue tree) and Exploit Weakness (Assassin tree).

Now you are free to invest however, you want. But I would suggest avoiding lockpicking talents, as you will need to put 4 points. Rather have Leliana or your main character with Lockpicking.

You can also max out the Assassin tree for some additional boosts if you use active abilities

Stealth is another option as Zevran is heavily invested in it already.

Here is my suggested progression for Zevran (feel free to choose as you prefer)

Order Skill Description
1 Lethality Uses cunning as a damage modifier instead of strength if it is higher than the latter one
2 Momentum It will make Zevran attack much faster
3 Exploit Weakness Gives bonus damage when backstabbing based on the cunning value.
4 Dual-Weapon Training Increases damage of the off-hand weapon when dual wielding.
5 Dual-Weapon Finesse Provides bonus attack and defense when dual wielding
6 Combat Movement Gives a wider flanking angle when backstabbing an opponent with Zevran
7 Coup De Grace Makes Zevran do automatic backstab if the enemy is stunned or paralyzed even from the front.
8 Whirlwind (optional) I suggest having a single offensive ability so that Zevran can fully use the stamina that he has
9 Dual-Weapon Expert Increases critical chance and also provides a chance to cause bleeding with each attack
10 Lacerate Inflicts bleed when backstabbing an enemy
11 Feast of the Fallen Restores part of stamina when an enemy dies.
12 Evasion (optional) Even though this allows Zevran to avoid an enemy attack, the animation also cancels attack actions resulting in less DPS.

Gear

In this section, I will cover what equipment you should be using to maximize the Zevran stats in Dragon Age Origins.

Weapons

Your main weapons should be daggers. They have the highest attack speed.

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 This dagger is quite expensive and can be bought in Orzammar. However, it gives all the bonuses this Zevran build needs
Duncan's Dagger iconDead Thaig Shanker Obtainable with Stone Prisoner DLC. Provides +5 to Cunning so perfect to use with Lethality ability
Duncan's Dagger iconDuncan’s Dagger Large boost to dexterity, great against dragon fights due to bonus damage.
thorn of the dead gods iconThorn of the Dead Gods Tier 2 version can be obtained in Lothering. Great value early in the game

Helmet

There are quite many options to choose from.

Item Details
Helm of Honnleath iconHelm of Honnleath One of the best helmets in the game. Provides +2 to all attributes
Free scout arming cap iconLongrunner’s Cap Provides additional stamina regeneration.
Free scout arming cap iconQuicksilver Arming Cap Gives +2 to Cunning. When Zevran has Lethality this is his main damage attribute
Free scout arming cap iconFree Scout Arming Cap Gives +2 to Dexterity. Not as good as the above ones, however, still useful to wear

Armors

Item Details
The Felon's Coat iconBattledress of the Provocateur It outperforms The Felon's Coat by a small margin giving a 50 base stamina increase. Equip it if you want Zevran to use more active abilities
The Felon's Coat iconThe Felon’s Coat Boosts dexterity, increasing your damage. It will also increase stamina regeneration, allowing to sustain Momentum for much longer.
The Felon's Coat iconWade’s Superior Drakeskin Leather Armor I only recommend equipping this together with Wade's Superior Drakeskin armor set if you want Zevran to use more active abilities. The armor by itself provides a bonus to dexterity
Dalish armor iconDalish Armor Great armor early in the game. Can be bought in Dalish Camp. Moreover, you can equip it with other items for the Dalish Leather armor set bonus.

Gloves

Zevran has many options for gloves. So check them all to decide which ones you can get at the current point in-game

Item Details
Gloves of guile iconGloves of Guile These gloves are obtained close to the end of the game after the Landsmeet. They provide a large boost to armor penetration.
Red Jenny SeekersRed Jenny Seekers These globes will boost Zevran's backstab damage by 15%
Backhands iconBackhands These gloves will boost Zevran's backstab damage by 10%
Wade's Superior Drakeskin GlovesWade's Superior Drakeskin Gloves I only recommend equipping this together with Wade's Superior Drakeskin armor set if you want Zevran to use more active abilities.
dalish gloves iconDalish Gloves Use these gloves together with Dalish Leather armor set
Wade's Superior Drakeskin GlovesAngled Strikers These gloves are on the same level as the Dalish Gloves.

Boots

Item Details
cadash stompers iconCadash Stompers Equip these if Zevran will have 22 strength
Bard's dancing shoes iconBard’s Dancing Shoes One of the best light boots in the game. Provide a large boost to the defense.
Silverhammer's Tackmasters iconWade’s Superior Drakeskin Boots I only recommend equipping this together with Wade's Superior Drakeskin armor set if you want Zevran to use more active abilities.
Silverhammer's Tackmasters iconSilverhammer's Tackmasters Provides +2 dexterity. Due to this, they are good boots that you can buy at the Party Camp.
Dalish Boots iconDalish Boots Great early boots that you can obtain cheap in Dalish Camp. Use these boots together with Dalish Leather armor set

Belts

Item Details
destructionist's belt icon Guildmaster’s Belt As the build relies heavily on Cunning, this belt will definitely be handy
Andruil's blessing iconAndruil's Blessing One of the best belts in the game. unfortunately, it may be used by other characters, so check other suggestions.
Cinch of skillful maneuvering iconCinch of Skillful Maneuvering Equip this belt if you have finished Witch Hunt DLC. It provides +1 to all attributes
Mixed Metal Rounds iconMixed Metal Rounds Zevran by default comes equipped with this belt. So you can definitely wear it until you get one of the better ones

Amulets

Item Details
The high Regard of House dace amulet iconThe High Regard of House Dace You could call this an overpowered amulet. It gives a lot of cunning, stamina, stamina regeneration, etc. However, to get it you need to finish Golems of Amgarrak DLC.
Pearl of Anointed iconPearl of the Anointed +1 to all attributes, good all-around amulet, that you get early in the game
Mark of vigilance iconMark of Vigilance This amulet provides +6 defense. Great for avoiding enemy attacks. However, I put it at the lowest priority, due to the reason that I prefer more damage

Rings

Zevran has many options for rings. Choose what is available at the current point in the game for you.

Item Details
Key to the city iconKey to the City Provides +2 to all attributes, found in Orzammar.
wicked oath iconThe Wicked Oath
One of the best rings available to Zevran
blood ring iconDusk Ring Decreases Strength by one, however, gives Cunning +3
harvest festival ringHarvest Festival Ring Obtained in Stone Prisoner DLC. Gives bonus strength and dexterity.
the lucky stoneThe Lucky Stone Gives +1 to all attributes, available early in the game.

Tactics

Zevran build tactics

  • There are two ways to utilize this build. Either go with auto-attacks or use talents, like Whirlwind.

  • Always have Momentum activated. However, if you have an ally with Haste ability there is a bug when using them together.

  • Mark of Death should be used on Elite or higher enemies. This talent will increase all received damage for the target.

  • As Zevran has Stealth from the start you can also use that to get behind enemy lines, to take on mages and archers.

  • Be careful as you are not using Heavy armor so your survivability may be limited.

Conclusion

With this build, I think we utilized Zevran to the fullest. He should be able to deal substantial damage and move around the battlefield where needed.

Would like to hear your opinions 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!