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

By zanuffas
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A build for those who wish to use Dual weapons with their warrior class. With the selection of talents and equipment below you can have a nimble warrior. You will also have decent armor by using Heavy armor sets.

I definitely recommend this as you do not have the drawbacks of rogue, which needs to use backstabs to deal the maximum amount of damage.

Attributes

Dragon Age Punisher attributes

The damage is split between 50% strength and 50% dexterity for dual wielders

  • Strength – invest 36 attributes, you will need 38 for Wade's Superior Heavy Dragonscale armor set. The additional two you will get from equipment. Of course, you can even try lower with 32 points.

  • Dexterity – invest the rest of your attributes here. As mentioned this stat will provide half of your damage. However, it will also increase attack and defense. This means that you will land hits more often and be harder to hit by enemies.

Skills

This section will cover what skills you should get for the Dual wield warrior build

Dragon Age origins punisher skills

  • Pickpocketing - get 1 point. This unlocks some interesting and rewarding quests in Denerim.
  • Combat Training - this should be maximized as soon as possible. Will increase many stats and unlock better talents.
  • Coercion - I recommend getting this stat as it unlocks many dialogue options during the game.

I do not suggest getting Tactics. This build mainly concentrates on using Sustained abilities and skips active ones. Due to this, you will have enough slots to activate all of them

Specializations

In this section, I will cover which specializations you should be getting with Dual Wield warrior build

Dragon Age Punisher specializations

  • Berserker – will give you Berserker ability which will increase your damage, also it will provide +2 Strength
  • Reaver – you will get the ability: Blood Frenzy, which will provide additional damage based on the lost amount of health. Perfect for this build

Talents and Spells

In this section, I will cover what talents you should prioritize. If you do not meet the talent requirements, I recommend either choose another one or save points until you can acquire it.

Dragon Age Origins Punisher Talents

Here is how I suggest progressing with skills:

Order Skill Description
1 Dual-Weapon Sweep
You need it for progression, but it will also give a good DPS boost early in the game.
2 Dual Striking
This will be one of the main sustained abilities throughout the game for this build. It will make the character attack with both weapons at the same time. (Do not forget to reactivate after changing zones)
3 Dual-Weapon Training
Improves the off-hand weapon damage
4 Dual-Weapon Finesse
Will further boost Dual wielding giving a boost to Warrior's attack and defense
5 Flurry
Take this for progression mainly
6 Powerful
Boosts warrior's HP and reduces fatigue from wearing a heavy armor
7 Berserk
This sustained ability will boost damage but reduce stamina regeneration which we will need less and less.
8 Momentum (get as early as you can)
This is an extremely strong ability that will give the biggest boost to DPS. It will boost your attack speed by lowering stamina regeneration. You can start losing stamina really fast. For this have a weapon or other gear that can boost it.
9 Resilience
Upgrade to Berserk sustained ability.
10 Dual-Weapon Expert
Gives a chance to inflict bleeding on the enemy.
11 Constraint
Will reduce the penalty to stamina regeneration from Berserk. This way you can sustain Momentum for longer during each encounter.
12 Precise Striking (optional)
Only take this ability if you have a mage with a Haste spell and always keep it active. It will fix a bug 
13 Dual-Weapon Mastery
You will be able to wear a longsword in the offhand, increasing your DPS greatly. Moreover, it will slightly have your fatigue reduced.
14 Devour
After you obtain Reaver specialization start with this talent for progression
15 Frightening Appearance
We take it for progression
16 Aura of Pain
We take it for progression
17 Blood Frenzy
This ability is extremely strong. It will boost the Warrior's damage when HP decreases. That is why we take it fairly late in the game when you will have a strong party.
18 Threaten We take it for progression
19 Bravery Gives a bonus to damage and physical resistance.
20 Death Blow A small boost to stamina restoration (if you occasionally use active skills). Not mandatory to take

Although the build is finished you will still have points left. Feel free to get the rest of the talents from the Daul Weapon tree. They will not benefit you much as you will have low stamina. However, you can use them once in a while.

Gear

In this section, I will go through what equipment you should use for this Dual Wielding warrior build.

Weapons

This aspect is especially important and fairly opinionated. Because you will be using Dual Striking, your attack speed depends on the main hand weapon. So it should be a dagger. Also, try to get items that add damage.

Be sure to fill your weapons with elemental master and grandmaster Damage runes. It will greatly boost your DPS.

Mainhand Weapon

Our main priority is a dagger weapon

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
thorn of the dead gods iconThorn of the Dead Gods Tier 2 version can be obtained in Lothering. Great value early in the game. Later on, you can get higher tiers

Offhand weapon

For offhand we want Warden to use as strong as possible single-handed weapon

Item Details
The veshialle iconThe Veshialle This is the strongest single-handed weapon for dealing high physical damage. The reason is that it has a higher strength multiplier and outpaces other weapons at high levels
Starfang iconStarfang (longsword) This sword has high damage, can be obtained in Soldier's Peak, and comes with 3 runeslots
Keening blade iconKeening Blade Another good offensive option that has its damage scale well with Frost Runes. Has 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

Helmets

There are quite many helm choices in the game. Feel free to choose the best one that is available at the time

Item Details
Helm of Honnleath iconHelm of Honnleath This is the best helmet in the game. It is THE BEST option. It will increase Warden'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 Warden to avoid more enemy attacks, especially if you chose him as a tank.
cailan's helm iconCailan's Helm Use the helmet together with the Cailan's armor set. The helmet gives bonus armor and mental resistance
Executioner's Helm iconExecutioner’s Helm This helmet provides bonus stamina. it is not much, but you can probably use one additional ability at the beginning of the combat
Bergen's honor iconBergen’s Honor Great helmet that you can buy in the Party Camp. Not only does it boost your defensive stats but it also provides a bonus attack. This results in fewer attacks being missed
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

Armors

Early in the game, you can use Cailan's armor set or Warden Commander Armor set. They are really great. Later on, your priority should be either Legion of the Dead armor set for maximum damage or Wade's Superior Heavy Dragonscale armor set to increase the stamina and lower fatigue, for better talent management

Item Details
Armor of the Legion iconArmor of the Legion Part of the Legion of the Dead armor set that boosts damage. The armor by itself provides 3 willpower allowing to have a larger stamina pool
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
cailan's breastplateCailan's Breastplate Use the armor together with the Cailan's armor set. The chest piece gives additional armor and physical resistance
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

Gloves

Item Details
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 Use it for Wade's Superior Heavy Dragonscale armor set.
Cailan's Gauntlets iconCailan's Gauntlets Use it together with the Cailan's armor set. The gloves will be effective with a Critical Strike ability.
Warden commander gloves iconWarden Commander Gloves Equip together with the Warden Commander armor set. The gloves give a bonus of 10% fire resistance

Boots

Item Details
Boots of the legion iconBoots of the Legion Part of the Legion of the Dead armor set. unfortunately, the boots by themselves, do not provide any bonuses
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.
Cailan's Greaves Use it together with the Cailan's armor set. The boots provide additional armor.
Warden commander boots iconWarden Commander Boots Equip together with the Warden Commander armor set. The boots give a bonus of 50 stamina

Belts

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
Dalish Hunter's Belt iconDalish Hunter's Belt Provides bonus stamina regeneration. Good belt to allow Warden to use more abilities.
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

Amulets

The High Regard of House Dace is the last recommended amulet. The build's main focus is strength and that amulet, unfortunately, does not provide much of it.

Item Details
Pearl of Anointed iconPearl of the Anointed +1 to all attributes, good all-around amulet
Heart of Witherfang iconHeart of Witherfang This amulet gives +1 to strength, although you will have to kill Witherfang
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.

Rings

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 Warden for +2 to all attributes
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 Warden 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
Lloyd's Magic Ring iconLloyd's Magic Ring The ring can be obtained in Redcliffe Village. it provides +2 strength
the lucky stone iconThe Lucky Stone Another good ring, that provides +1 to all attributes.

Tactics

Dragon Age Origins punisher tactics

The tactics are fairly simple for this character:

  • Activate 4 sustainable abilities – Dual Striking, Momentum, Blood Frenzy, and Berserk

  • You do not really need to use any active abilities like Punisher or Whirlwind. They just slow down your DPS

  • If you have a mage Party member with Haste you can increase the attack speed even more. But there is a bug which you need to take into account for it to be fixed. One solution is to use Precise Striking. Or use mods

Conclusion

If you will be doing your first run, I definitely recommend this build. It is fairly easy to master, you will have high survivability to take on many enemies. This results in not dying too often on higher difficulties.

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Discussion

Anonymous

Might be just a few years late to the party or reading something wrong but you can’t progress with the abilities in that order? You put the first berserker ability at 7 which if you played the game you would know you immediately have one of the abilities as you start plus the additional level you get after becoming a warden. Leaving you with 3 ability points to waste until you get berserker unlocked. Very confused where to put these points. Also you said to get coercion but can’t unless you donate some of your points into cunning.

Hey!

Yeah, at certain levels you just skip and save up the point for the next levels. So when you get Berserk at level 7 you should have some points free. You will use them later on at higher levels.

At the start of the game, you need only 1 Coercion. Once you finish Circle Tower main story quest and collect all statues in the Fade, you will have 16 Cunning. This will be enough to level Coercion to level 3 or 4

Feel free to ask any other questions :)

Anonymous

Is there an updated build for awakrning as well?

Hey, unfortunately no. However, you should have no problems in Awakening with the base talent setup that I talk about in this post.

Anonymous

I'm a little confused by this build, as the game doesn't seem to allow a sword in the off hand?

You need Dual-Weapon Mastery ability, to be able to wield full sized weapons on the offhand.

It is available at level 12 and requires 36 dexterity

Anonymous

Probably a little late to the party here, just wanted to point out that going dagger main hand severly lowers your dps, better to use two mainhand weapons instead. And also dual striking should just be thrown away after getting momentum, it lowers youre dps by a lot and the increased damage to your strikes is negileable

Hey! Thanks for commenting and I see your point. However, I would like to point out that you have not done any calculations. Have in mind that longsword/axe mainhand + longsword/axe is 40% slower than dagger mainhand + longsword/axe WHEN Dual Striking is active.

So if you have equipped something like the Edge mainhand (strongest dagger by pure damage) you will outdamage any full sized weapon dual wielder.

Of course this is all flawed due to Dragon Age Origins mechanics and that Dual Striking is bugged.

All of this doesn't take Momentum into account which further deepens the gap :)

Anonymous

Ill correct myself, i tried it again just now and i think something migth have bugged for me before, because now the attack speed is much greater and the damage better

It could be that this bug happened for you: https://gamestegy.com/post/dragon-age-origins/395/momentum-+-haste-makes-you-attack-slow.-how-to-fix-this

Generally, there is a problem with attack speeds in DAO, so they bug sometimes.

Glad that your DPS improved. Cheers!

Anonymous

Ive tried a few times now and i dont see it, maybe because dual striking is bugged, but it seems im doing far less damage this way. You are rigth i havent done the number crunching though

Updated the build:

  • Included Legion of the dead armor set, which boosts damage for each weapon

  • Explanation on Dual striking and changed what should be used in main and offhands

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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!