Blood Mage build - maximum spellpower mage - Dragon Age: Origins (DAO)

By zanuffas
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This build is about being all offensive and lashing out elemental spells. You will have limited survivability capabilities, but this pays off with over the top damage

Before starting

  • This build works for the main character. However, Morrigan can also definitely use this, as she also has many skills in elemental tree

  • Elves are the best starting race in terms of starting attributes for mages.

  • If you use it on the main character do Circle of Tower first to get 16 Cunning (I recommend doing this on all characters)

  • You will need to have a healer in your party like Wynne to keep your tank with high HP (more on that later on)

  • For this build to work you will need to have a strong tank that can ensure that you are not being hit. Because you will have low hp and you will use it to cast spells

  • Get pickpocketing talent to unlock additional side quests in Denerim

Attributes

dragon age origins blood mage stats

Magic – attribute which will increase your spell damage. This is all that you need for this build

Contrary to thinking that blood mage needs constitution you should avoid it. Your mana pool will be your HP + MP. Due to this you will be able to cast spells easy without any big limitations

Skills

DAO blood mage skills

  • Pickpocket - Level 1 (if you are the main character)
  • Combat Training - Level 4
  • Tactics - Level 4

If you have any other points left invest based on your preference.

Specializations

dao blood mage spirit healer

You will use two main specializations: Blood Mage and Spirit Healer. I suggest getting the latter one second at level 14 and Blood Mage at level 7. This will increase your casting pool early in the game.

NOTE: you can also take Arcane Warrior and invest 1 ability point into Combat Magic. This will allow you to use Helm of Honnleath, the best helm in the game giving +2 to all stats. Otherwise, if it is being used by others you can skip it

How to unlock Blood Mage?

To unlock this specialization you will need to do the Arl of Redcliffe story quest. You will need to be a mage and enter the Fade.

Once you reach the last Demon it will show its true form. You will then have a conversation with it. If you are able to strike a deal one of the rewards will be the Blood Mage specialization.

Spells

For this type of build, you will want to use all the spells that scale Spellpower.

Level 1 - 7

At the beginning of the game, we want to build the offensive capabilities of the mage,

  • Winter's Grasp – great single-target spell, freezing enemies

  • Frost Weapons – progression spell, to get the next talent

  • Cone of Cold - area of effect skill, petrifying enemies (even though it looks like they are frozen)

  • Heal – good to have at a start until you will have a dedicated healer.
  • Flame Blast

  • Flaming Weapons

  • Fireball - an area of effect crowd control skill that knocks back enemies. Great when dealing with weaker enemies.
  • Spell Wisp - provides a moderate bonus to spellpower

Level 7-14

Get Blood Mage specialization at level 7. If you do not have it unlocked do Redcliffe castle's main quest to obtain it. You can also wait till level 14 and just take the Spirit Healer specialization.

Your strongest crowd control skill will only be available on the Blood Mage tree at level 14. So before that, you will want to have unlocked Blood Sacrifice

  • Blood Magic – allows using hp to cast spells
  • Drain Life - does not do much damage but can be used to quickly regenerate some of hp.
  • Death Magic - this is optional, but you can use it to recover HP. It synergizes well with Blood Magic.
  • Curse of Mortality - great damage over time ability. Scales with spellpower
  • Death Cloud - an ability that deals a lot of damage and can trigger Entropic Death. Be careful how you use it, as Friendly Fire is possible
  • Blood Sacrifice – your main healing spell, which you will use to take HP from your tank

Level 14+

Get the second specialization either Spirit Healer or Blood Mage

  • Blood Wound – tremendous skill, allowing to paralyze living enemies in a wide area with fast casting. It also has a low cooldown and deals damage over time.
  • Vulnerability Hex
  • Affliction Hex
  • Misdirection Hex
  • Death Hex - Cast this on enemies when they enter the Death Cloud area. The result will be an Entropic Death combination. This is the biggest damage-dealing spell combo in the game.
  • Mana Drain - can be used to recover some MP
  • Mana Cleanse
  • Spell Might - this sustained ability will allow you to further maximize your spellpower.
  • Mana Clash - this ability will allow you to one-shot almost all enemy mages in the game

If you have any points left feel free to put them into Waking Nightmare, Arcane Mastery or any other spell that looks interesting or useful to you.

In the end, you should have all of these abilities at your disposal:

blood mage build talents and spells

Equipment

I list out by the priority which equipment you should use. The first ones are for the end game or close to it.

NOTE: you need to have at least one item with “Improved Blood Magic” status:

NOTE: if you will be using equipment that boosts Elemental Damage, for example, +10% fire damage, there is a cap of 30% for that element. So, having Wilhelm's Magus Staff and Dalish battery will reach that limit, and equipping ring Twitch ( with a 5% increase to electric damage) would have no effect.

Weapons:

Item Details
final reason iconFinal Reason This staff is for pure spellpower and bonus fire damage
staff of magister lord iconStaff of the Magister Lord One of the best staves in the game due to overall bonuses to magic, mana regeneration, and willpower
Corrupted magisters staff iconCorrupted Magister's Staff Provides +5 spellpower and increase in spirit damage of 15%
magister's staff iconMagister's Staff Similar to Corrupted Magister's Staff. However, gives less spirit damage bonus but more mana regeneration
Wilhelm's Magus staff iconWilhelm’s Magus Staff The staff gives bonus fire damage. It is on equal footing with Enchanter’s Staff
Enchanter's staff iconEnchanter’s Staff This staff is quite easy to obtain. It also boosts fire damage and gives +1 to magic

Helmet:

Item Details
Helm of Honnleath iconHelm of Honnleath If you will pick Arcane Warrior instead of Spirit Healer this is a much better helmet
Collective Arming Cowl iconCollective Arming Cowl This is the recommended helmet if you did not take Arcane Warrior. It will increase your hp a bit allowing you to cast more spells
the libertarian's cowl iconThe Libertarian’s Cowl This helmet will provide a small amount of mana regeneration and some defense to avoid enemy attacks.
enchanter's arming cap iconEnchanter’s Arming Cap I recommend this cap as the worst option. It only provides willpower which allowing to cast the one spell more at best before you change to HP.

Armor:

Item Details
Vestments of the Seer iconVestments of the Seer One of the best choices if you have other items with the "Improved Blood Magic" effect equipped. It will boost your armor and offensive power
robes of avernus iconRobes of Avernus Provides "Improved Blood Magic" effect, that reduces HP consumed for each spell cast with Blood Magic active. If you already have an item with this effect, check other Robe options
tevinter mages robes iconTevinter Mage Robes  Easily obtained robe and provides +5 spellpower to increase your spell damage
First enchanter robes iconFirst Enchanter Robes  Boosts both magic and willpower resulting in higher damage and more MP.
Senior Enchanter's Robes iconSenior Enchanter's Robes I would say this is equal to Archon Robes. The robes give a bonus to magic and willpower, increasing spell damage and allowing to cast few more spells before blood magic
Archon Robes iconArchon Robes Gives a small boost to spellpower and health regeneration in combat. Great robe early in the game

Gloves:

Unfortunately, nothing special here, get gloves that boost your most used elemental skill:

Item Details
black hand gauntlets iconBlack Hand Gauntlets Provides a boost to spirit damage of 20%. Will greatly increase the damage of Blood Wound and a combo of Death Cloud + Death Hex
Storm talon iconAshen Gloves Boosts cold damage by 20%
cinderfel gauntlets iconCinderfel Gauntlets Boosts fire damage by 20%
elementalist's grasp iconElementalist’s Grasp Boosts all elemental damage by 5%, good if you use all spells equally

Boots:

Unfortunately, there are not many options for a mage:

Item Details
fade striders iconFade Striders The best option for a mage, if you do not have them, equip any other boots
Magus war boots iconMagus War Boots These are some of the best light boots in the game. They give +12 defense.
Bard's dancing shoes iconBard’s Dancing Shoes These boots reduce hostility and also increase defense.

Amulet:

The amulets are listed by the ones that provide the largest boost to spellpower

Item Details
lifedrinker iconLifedrinker  This amulet provides the biggest boost to spellpower out of all amulets. The result is the biggest increase in damage
Pearl of the Anointed Provides +1 to all attributes
Heart of Witherfang iconHeart of Witherfang Gives +1 to magic, so it is similar to Pearl of the Anointed, however, it provides fewer overall bonuses
blood-gorged amulet iconBlood–Gorged Amulet  I would suggest equipping this amulet if you find yourself dying too often. It will increase your constitution resulting in a bigger HP pool and allowing you to cast more spells with HP.

Belt:

There are many options here so choose based on what is available to you

Item Details
Sash of forbidden secrets iconSash of Forbidden Secrets To get this belt you will need to finish DLC Golems of Amgarrak, which should be played after you finish the game. So you can go for the next belt
Andruil's blessing iconAndruil’s Blessing One of the best belts in the game, however, it is quite costly
destructionist's belt icon Destructionist’s Belt The belt provides +3 spellpower and is quite cheap to get in Ortan Thaig
Belt of the Magister Lords icon Belt of Magister Lords Similar to Destructionist’s Belt but does not give mana regeneration bonus
Cinch of Skillful Maneuvering Although the belt is quite good by providing +1 to all attributes it gives a lower amount of spellpower compared to other options

Rings:

Item Details
blood ring iconBlood Ring Top priority if you don’t have any other items equipped with “Improved Blood Magic”
Key to the city iconKey to the City This ring provides +2 to all attributes, one of the best rings in the game. It will increase your spellpower, give more HP and mana
Lifegiver I would recommend this ring if you want a larger pool of HP to cast more spells or survive against enemy attacks, otherwise, go with the next options
frostshear iconFrostshear Provides +10% cold damage bonus
dreamsever iconDreamsever Provides +10% spirit damage, will work well with Blood Wound and Death Cloud + Death Hex combo
ring of faith iconRing of Faith Gives +10% fire damage bonus
the lucky stone iconThe Lucky Stone A good all-around ring that provides +1 to all attributes
ring of study iconRing of Study A great ring at the beginning of the game that you can obtain if you chose Magi origin

Tactics

Blood mage tactics

As this build is low on Hp and uses hp to cast spells, play it with your main character. However, it can be used both by Wynne and Morrigan.

You should apply all the buffs: Spell Wish, Blood Magic and Spell Might to maximize your damage dealt.

Use Heal to heal your tank after Blood Sacrifice (if you do not have a healer or she is out of MP)

Constantly use Blood Wound as it has a short cooldown and allows to control the battlefield

To deal maximum damage use Death Cloud + Death Hex.

Conclusion

The build deals tremendous damage, the Blood Wound will paralyze most of the enemies and if you are not being attacked by archers, there should be no troubles dealing with other opponents.

Just always have a lookout on your HP as you can drain it fast.

Feel free to leave your feedback below

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Discussion

Anonymous

So, with the skill of blood magic itself, I assume that I should expend all my mana, then activat blood magic?

In theory yes, but in practice you will probably have one or two sustainable abilities active and also you will want to cast Blood Wound instantly without waiting. So I ended up having Blood Magic active most of the time

Anonymous

Hey! Thanks for the all builds! What do you think is more fun? This mage or 2-handed warrior?

Anonymous

Thanks much!

Anonymous

Blood magic sucks before you get blood wound (and use blood sacrifice on lelianas bear). This is not until level 14 so most of the game it's better to do get other stuff and just save up 4 points. Entropic Death combo is a huge waste of 8 points imo (and has an annoying visual effect on top of that)

nah, definitely not a waste. The huge damage on some bosses that are a headache is needed. You also have Mana Clash to deal with mages instantly, so you have ways to overcome most hard-hitting enemies :) More or less this build is about maximizing damage output, as we put everything into magic attribute

Good point on Leliana's bear!

Cheers!

Anonymous

No mention of walking bomb, which is better than pretty much everything else until you get blood wound

Yeah, it's really problematic on Nightmare difficulty. Enemies can explode too close to your group members, shredding their HP. On normal it works, but if you are playing on normal, almost everything works there :)

Anonymous

Hey just want to say I'm dusting off DAO after 10 years or so and found this page searching for build suggestions. Nice to see someone making guides for this game in 2023! Thanks for your effort

Glad you liked it!

Anonymous

Does the tactics do all in order or change the tactic priority on condition?
I add 2 more tactic below your tactic:

If Mana lower than 25% actived Blood Magic
If Alistar have higher or equal to 25% HP use Blood Sacrify on him

Does this make main character semi-auto battle?

Maybe after go to the DLC or Awakening I use 1 more Specialization class like Battlemage? Active both Death Magic and Drainning Aura for full time heal/ replace Winter's gaspe with Hand of Winter, Stoic (passive) to refuel mana when taking dmg and Active Element Chaos for extra AOE DoT with this Mana is something to be forgoten. How do you think?

So the ones at the top take priority to the ones at the bottom. So something like healing should go at the top. Same for Blood Magic activation.

In awakening you will get bonus specialization, so yeah Battlemage is a good choice. I think your setup should work well :) Feel free to share how it goes, so that other readers could also use it, if needed :)

Cheers!

Anonymous

As I see on the img, all stat come from Armor
And the comment from below said you stuff all point into Magic
Then how can you get Cunning 16 for Tactic 4?

Check the above section "Before Starting". There is a Fade quest in Circle Tower that gives you bonus Cunning. If you did not collect all of the attributes, feel free to put points from Magic into it.

Anonymous

Oh maybe I just don't read that but do I able to get cunning 16 before join the Gray Warden?

no this comes, a bit later, after you have become grey warden and are tasked with three major story quests

Anonymous

I've been playing DA:O since inception, but never tried a blood magic build. The idea of leeching off your tank is genius, but would require your tank to take more points into constitution no? Or would you be using a second mage on the team to cast Force Field on said tank to keep him alive while you leech? Is it even possible? Would one spell cancel the other? I also tend to favor the electricity branch because you face more physical enemies than magical, and electricity drains stamina...

I've always played a ranged mage that does a combo of support and damage. So this will be new challenge for me.

Hello! Tanks overall should have higher HP from the gear they have equipped. Of course, some investment in constitution is necessary :)

To be honest I did not have too many problems. The party healer (usually Wynne) would keep tank HP at high levels.

Just having one branch will not be enough as spells will be on cooldown.

Anonymous

What is the optimal number of points to invest in Willpower? I see that you have 40 with item bonuses. 1 point every other level?

I did not put any points into willpower, this comes from items. All points go to Magic.

Anonymous

Would the Reaper's Vestments work better for the robe slot? I think it provides better armor, a CON bonus, and there's the 10% chance to dodge physical attacks.

The build concentrates on maximum spellpower and blood magic efficiency. So either we need "Improves Blood Magic" effect or boost to spellpower.

Of course, if you see more armor and con would suit your play style better, definitely take Reaper's Vestments.

Anonymous

Is it better to get arcane warrior or spirit healer?

I didn't release the blood mage or spirit healer specialization, just arcane warrior and I've reached lvl 6, is it worth choosing arcane warrior soon or do I hold the talent point until I release blood mage?

The Blood Mage most powerful spell is available form level 14. So I think there is no problem if you use the point on Arcane Warrior. And at level 14 get the Blood Mage

Anonymous

I used another save to buy the spirit healer tome hehe

Thanks for answering :)

Anonymous

This build of blood mage on the main character and the morringan with the control/heal build that you have here on the site, does this build work?

playing on normal

Hey! yeah the builds work. Especially well on lower than Nightmare difficulties

Anonymous

Thank you very much! I'm having a lot of fun playing and using your builds

Anonymous

Hey! Thanks for this build, trying to use this on my first DAO playthrough!

Cheers! Have a nice journey

Anonymous

I have been using this build on my play through. But I just noticed that it’s different than it was yesterday, is there anyway I can view what you had up before?

Anonymous

Great build. Im getting ready for another run through and will give it a try. Do you plan on expanding the build for spells and talents in Awakening?

Hey! Unfortunately not planning this at the moment. However, you should have no problems building on top of this build with any better gear you find.

Same talents will work perfectly fine on Awakening. Of course you can expand it with the preferred ones, that you will get from the expansion.

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zanuffas
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