Sten - two handed warrior tank build

Sten - two handed warrior tank build - Dragon Age: Origins (DAO)

By zanuffas
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Sten is a polarizing character. During the dialogue, he says strange things, that not many people would agree with. However, he has interesting views and opinions. Due to this even though I feel reluctant I took him on my journeys, I still used him in my recent play through as a two-handed warrior. Sadly, he has a big drawback compared to other characters, but building him in a certain way overcomes this issue.

Sten Attributes

Sven build attributes

Your priority should be the strength for increased damage and dexterity. Dexterity is what makes this build interesting (probably Sten will be your tank in this setup, or I recommend him to be), it will provide a defense that will allow you to avoid many of the attacks. So my suggestion would be:

  • +2 Strength

  • +1 Dexterity every level


Skill should not play a major role for Sten. Feel free, to also invest in trap making if you feel that you need it

Sten build skills

  • Tactics: 0-2 you should not need many tactics slots for this build as you will only have 2 sustainable abilities and a few active skills.

  • Combat training: Max - this will give you attack and defense bonuses. Moreover, you will be able to acquire all talents in the Two-Handed tree

If you will have any points left, you can invest them into survival for some increased resistance or trap-making


Sten Specialization build

The big drawback with Sten is that he doesn’t have a default specialization. This leaves him with a bit lower stats and fewer talents compared to other characters. Because we are making a tank build, my suggestion would be to go for Champion due to Warcry talent.

Talents and spells

Sten tank build talents

  • Because you will be using Sten as a tank, be sure to get Taunt ability, you will need it to attract enemies to yourself.

  • Invest in two-handed skills as the game progresses, your aim is to use active abilities, like Mighty blow, Critical Strike, Sunder Arms, etc.

  • Be sure to get Warcy and Superiority Talents, this will be the cornerstone for crowd control together with Two-Handed Sweep.

Here is a suggestion of how I would prioritize ability investments:

Order Skill Description
1 Shattering Blows Not impressive passive ability, but we still take it for progression
2 Two-Handed Strength Another passive ability that may not be too useful for, unless you decide to use Powerful Swings
3 Stunning Blows This passive ability gives a chance to stun an enemy with each hit
4 Sunder Armor This active ability lowers the enemy's armor. Great against mini-bosses are elite enemies
5 Two-Handed Sweep Great active ability to knock out enemies in AOE, that stand before Sten
6 Critical Strike This is an extremely strong active ability, that guarantees a critical hit and can kill most normal enemies in one hit
7 Bravery Boosts Sten's physical and mental resistances
8 Death Blow Killing an enemy will restore a portion of Sten's Stamina
9 Destroyer Each normal attack with a Two-handed sword will weaken the enemy's armor
10 War Cry This ability lower's enemies' attack and defense. Moreover, with Superiority upgrade, it can knock them down
11 Rally I do not use this ability in the build, but you can try it out. It will boost allies stats
12 Motivate Increases effectiveness of Rally
13 Superiority Will allow to knockout enemies with War Cry


In this section I will try to go in great detail what gear should you equip on Sten in Dragon Age Origins


For weapons, you should go for increased stamina equipment like Chasind Great Maul. This will allow you to use more active abilities and regenerate your stamina faster.

Before you get any of these weapons feel free to use whatever you find.

Item Details
Chasind great maul iconChasind Great Maul An extremely good maul. It provides increased damage, three rune slots, and an increase in stamina. Perfect for a build that uses many active abilities
stafang greatsword iconStarfang (Greatsword) Specifically for this Sten build, it is a bit worse than the first option
Dragonbone cleaver iconDragonbone Cleaver To get this axe you will need to play WItch Hunt DLC and kill Varterral
Nug crusher iconNug Crusher If you play Return to Ostagar early, you can get this Maul. It gives increases dexterity and stamina.



Item Details
Helm of Honnleath iconHelm of Honnleath This is the best helmet in the game. It is THE BEST option. It will increase Sten's damage and stamina
corruption iconCorruption Helm Although this is an extremely good helmet, you obtain it close to the end of the game. It will boost dexterity allowing Sten to avoid more enemy attacks, especially if you chose him as a tank.
Juggernaut helm iconJuggernaut Helm Equip together with Juggernaut armor set. The helmet provides +1 bonus armor
Executioner's Helm iconExecutioner’s Helm This helmet provides bonus stamina so that Sten could use more active 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


For armors, your priority should be Wade’s Superior Heavy set or Wade's Superior Dragonbone Plate armor set. I would take this decision based on whether you prefer Sten to stay more as a Damage dealer (take the first option) or tankier (take the second option).

However, if you want to go for pure damage you Legion of the Dead armor set. It will greatly increase the offensive capabilities of Sten.

Before these armor sets, you can take Juggernaut armor set, which gives strong elemental resistances. Warden Commander Armor set is another strong option that you can get early in the game. It will increase your stamina, decrease fatigue and allow Sten to use more active abilities

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
Wade's Superior Dragonbone Plate Armor iconWade's Superior Dragonbone Plate Armor Part of the Wade's Superior Dragonbone Plate armor set. Will increase Sten's stamina and stamina regeneration. Moreover, it will reduce fatigue with the total set.
Armor of the Legion iconArmor of the Legion Part of the Legion of the Dead armor set. The armor by itself provides 3 willpower allowing to have a larger stamina pool
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 Use it together with the Warden Commander Armor set. The armor provides stamina regeneration and armor
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


Item Details
Wade's Superior Heavy Dragonscale Gauntlets iconWade's Superior Heavy Dragonscale Gauntlets Use it for Wade's Superior Heavy Dragonscale armor set.
Wade's Superior Dragonbone Plate Gloves iconWade's Superior Dragonbone Plate Gloves Part of the Wade's Superior Dragonbone Plate armor set. Will increase Sten's stamina regeneration. Use it together with the whole set
gloves of the legion iconGloves of the Legion Part of the Legion of the Dead armor 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


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.
Wade's Superior Dragonbone Plate Boots iconWade's Superior Dragonbone Plate Boots Part of the Wade's Superior Dragonbone Plate armor set. Will increase Sten's stamina regeneration. Use it together with the whole set
Boots of the legion iconBoots of the Legion Part of the Legion of the Dead armor 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
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. It provides +1 to all attributes
buckle of the winds iconBuckle of the Winds Provides a small boost to the defense. It will allow Sten to avoid some more 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


There are mainly defensive options and only Pearl of the Anointed provides damage increase

Item Details
The spellward iconThe Spellward I recommend this amulet as it increases willpower greatly. However, if you do not need Sten to have additional stamina, check other options below
Pearl of Anointed iconPearl of the Anointed Provides +1 to all attributes. Great amulet to improve all stats of Sten
Heart of Witherfang iconHeart of Witherfang This amulet gives +1 to strength, although you will have to kill Witherfang
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


There are many ring options for Sten. Choose based on what is available to you

Item Details
Key to the city iconKey to the City As this is one of the best rings in the game it may be taken by the main character. However, if there is a possibility, equip it on Sten for +2 to all attributes
lifegiver iconLifegiver This ring will greatly boost Sten's survivability. It will increase constitution and health regeneration
Dawn ring iconDawn Ring This ring is extremely good and provides +4 to strength. Unfortunately, it is available quite late in the game
harvest festival ringHarvest Festival Ring Equip this ring if you want Sten 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 a 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


Sven tank build tactics

  • Your main skill is Indomitable, which allows you not to be knocked down by any physical or magical attacks.

  • You should lunge into the swarm of enemies and use War Cry. After this, the number of enemies attacks should go down and they would not be able to hit you as often. Your survivability would increase dramatically.

  • After this, you can lash out your skills until you have the stamina

  • Your other companions should be taking care of any mages/archers in the back rows.


Even though Sten has its drawbacks in terms of builds, we can still utilize him with smart decisions. This build will make him useful as a tank. It really shines if you have two other DPS characters as rogues or mages, which will take care of the enemies when they are knocked down.

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