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The ancient rock wraith is a creature encountered during The Deep Roads Expedition in Dragon Age II.

Intro Edit

Completing this battle on Nightmare difficulty is the culmination of everything you've learned in Act 1 regarding the game's mechanics, particularly holding position, moving as a group, spreading out, kiting, retreating to defensible positions, using chokepoints and sight-breakers, focusing fire, and Tactics and Behavior. This is not a fight where standing still is an option, characters must remain on the move in order to survive. With a firm grasp of the game's mechanics, certain preparations can be made based on who you brought into the Deep Roads (or would like to bring) and how they've been built throughout the Act, allowing you to focus on offense or defense depending on what best suits you as a player.

Preliminary preparations Edit

Regardless of the player's ultimate strategy, certain preparations can be arranged throughout Act 1 to make this fight much easier:

  1. First, completion of all main, secondary, companion, and side quests puts your characters at Level 11 before entering the Deep Roads, while reaching Level 12 en route to the Ancient Rock Wraith. Keep this in mind as you plan your talent points. Quests associated with imported saves and pre-built histories and premium/promotional content (such as Duty and Lothering's Lament) can add enough XP to tip Hawke's level over 13, which in turn scales the health of your opponents even higher and not offering much in return. Thus, it may be a better idea to postpone anything that can be done in a later Act.
  2. Second, this battle may consume many potions, so be sure to overstock them. On Nightmare difficulty the game has a soft cap of 4 for each type of restorative item, in that no more will spawn in loot containers and on corpses while you're holding that many. To work around this, loot crates until you have 4 and return home to store them, then return to loot more, and bringing only 1-2 Healing Potions to quest-related locations. A recommended number is 20+ Healing Potions, 5 Stamina Potions per rogue and warrior, and 5 Mana Potions per mage before setting out. A player can easily build twice these numbers over the course of the Act using these methods. Injury Kits are also recommended in case anyone falls in battle, as there's no automatic mending of injuries at any point in the quest. A character can compound 4 injuries on Nightmare, so having 16 will ensure entering the vault with maximum health (plus a few more to deal with injuries en route, as the lowered maximum health from a single injury tends to facilitate even more). Purchase any you still need to shore up the numbers, and Elfroot Potions and Restoration Potions can be crafted as substitutes. The difficult part is conserving this stock as you traverse the Deep Roads, as no more will spawn with such a high stock. However, every fight, including the Dragon fight, can be made significantly easier by holding position at key chokepoints and closing doorways to break line-of-sight (see The Deep Roads Expedition for specific details), making it possible to avoid using a single item. The corpse before the vault has 2 of every potion regardless of how many you hold, so take this into account as well.
  3. Third, the Wraith is vulnerable to the frost and spirit elements, thus crafting Runes of Frost will also be of great help. Bianca, the Staff of the Primal Order, and the Arm of Adruil all have weapon rune slots, and enchanting them or similar weapons will boost their damage output. In addition, the Blade of Red Birth, Oath-Breaker, and Stone's Breath are all obtained during the expedition and make great weapons to wield in this particular battle. Sandal provides a Rune of Frost upon being rescued, so with a rune already added to the other weapon(s) at some point in Act 1, only 1-2 more have to be crafted before the expedition begins, depending on who you brought.
  4. Finally, accessories that raise maximum health are of the utmost importance where available; not only do they make you better able to withstand the enemy's blows, they raise the amount of health restored with potions and spells. The two Gallows Slave Finger-Cuffs obtained during The Bone Pit (quest) can add 14 health to Varric while preserving his concentration in Dexterity and Cunning, for example.

VarricEdit

Varric is a required companion during this quest. However, the layout of the battle favors him greatly compared to the other companions. He is the only companion that can add a rune slot to his companion armor in Act 1, into which he can enchant a Rune of Lightning Warding. This makes him virtually immune to the Ancient Rock Wraith's and Profanes' ranged lightning bolts, making him an excellent pseudo-tank for this fight. The fact that Bianca improves with level up and has a weapon rune slot means she can be enchanted with a Rune of Frost at any point in Act 1 and the rune will always be at its ideal strength relative to Varric's level. Archer's Lance can pierce enemies, hitting multiple Profanes at once if properly lined up, and it is possible to inflict the Disorient condition on the Wraith with Disorienting Shot, setting up cross-class combos.

HawkeEdit

Hawke, being the main character, is also required. Your class and first specialization choice determines just how useful Hawke can be, here in this particular fight, and you may find that the Hawke that got you through Act 1 can't get you through this fight.

  • Warrior Hawkes can take a lot of abuse from the wraith, but they'll need to raise their maximum health, heal regularly, and draw threat from more vulnerable companions. Two-Handers should use the Oath-Breaker, weapon-and-shield warriors should use the Winter-Weight, which in turn should help Hawke's resilience. The wraith's force will be just as much a problem as its damage, and only a warrior can properly blunt both. Shattering Blow and Disperse make the most damaging cross-class combo detonators available, so consider trying to inflict these statuses during the collapse phase with Winter's Blast and Disorienting Shot respectively. Templars can use Holy Smite to great effect on the Profanes, whereas Berserkers can use Barrage, trading their less effective damage resistance for +50% additional attack speed, making even shorter work of their assailants.
  • Mage Hawkes are useful if they have Elemental spells and Hex of Torment, less so with Primal and without. Firestorm can completely envelop the wraith in its "collapse" state, dealing impressive damage as every plume hits its mark, and Cone of Cold can clean up the Profanes when they draw near. The Force Mage specialization grants access to Unshakable, a passive that makes them more resilient than most warriors, while Spirit Healer can provide much needed revival spells, group healing, and even total elimination of the injury mechanic.
  • Rogue Hawkes have the most difficult time in this fight; dual-wielders lack the resilience and damage reduction necessary to effectively counter the wraith in close combat, and archers fall behind Varric's armor rune and mages' spells. However, the Assassin specialization provides the most powerful single-target damage talent in a rogue's arsenal regardless of weapon, and Mark of Death, particularly with Enduring Mark. The Shadow (Dragon Age II) specialization grants access to Pinpoint Precision and Decoy, which boost critical damage and provide an additional target for the Profanes, allowing you to more single-mindedly focus on the Wraith. There's no shame in equipping a dual-wielding Hawke with the Nevarran Lancer for the duration of the fight; even denied of their Dual Weapon talents, ranged basic attack DPS combined with their specialization of choice allows them to hold their own.

AndersEdit

Anders is worth bringing to this fight; his importance to the fate of Hawke's sibling, if brought along, as well as his own usefulness down here makes him a common companion for this battle. Heroic Aura, upgraded to Valiant Aura, still leaves enough ability points to obtain Elemental Mastery even with a point burned in Mind Blast. However, the player has to decide if the added damage is worth the loss of Panacea and Regroup. Even on Nightmare difficulty it is possible for a pure DPS party to advance the battle far enough that revival becomes unnecessary.

BethanyEdit

Bethany makes a better Elemental mage than Anders because she can learn the Entropy spells, whereas he cannot. Hex of Torment is a great addition to her arsenal, while still leaving plenty of points to attain Elemental Mastery right at Level 10. Bringing both her and Anders is required, however, if you wish her to live past Act 1.

Carver/FenrisEdit

Carver and Fenris are virtually interchangeable; they will provide the role of not only distracting the wraith while ranged allies attack, they will also be responsible for clearing out the Profanes. Fenris is slightly better due to his Tevinter Fugitive passives and Lyrium Ghost, but both should focus on Vanguard rather than Two-Handed; the latter's abilities favor decent damage across multiple enemies rather than great damage to a single enemy, and they all carry friendly fire risk. That being said, Shattering Blow can inflict a lot of damage if the wraith is successfully Brittled, but all in all Cleave is a great way to boost damage timed to the use of Hex of Torment/Mark of Death by another companion, as they have comparable uptimes.

MerrillEdit

Merrill can put a couple points into Spirit to get Spirit Strike, which in turn gets better use out of the Stone's Breath staff than a primarily Elemental mage would. Combined with Varric's Disorienting Shot, a single Hex of Torment, about 34 Magic, and Stone's Breath, this normally lackluster spell can inflict at least 1800 damage during the collapse phase. The short cooldowns of this and the fully upgraded Pinning Shot allow the combo to be triggered twice in a single collapse phase. On that note, Hex of Torment is her best asset. Wrath of the Elvhen deals additional Nature damage, which is effective for softening up the Profanes that draw close. In general, she is great for delivering your party to the wraith's front door and can hold her own even without being an Elemental mage.

AvelineEdit

Aveline is your most resilient companion bar none. There's no one better suited to lead the charge against the rock wraith, hold its attention, and blunt if not dodge its attacks. Thick Skin is an excellent passive available at Level 11, while Stonewall helps stop many of the wraith's attacks dead in their tracks. Disperse makes for an excellent Disorient detonator. However, dodging the wraith's melee attacks is still preferable to getting hit, and for that reason she should leave Immovable off, otherwise her movement speed gets hampered too much.

IsabelaEdit

Isabela does not have the luxury of equipping a bow, and for this reason she's too much of a liability on Nightmare difficulty. Defense provides little comfort against a Boss who annuls most of it just by being Boss-ranked. If invested in Subterfuge she can inflict stun with upgraded Evade, which should lock down any Profanes you don't feel like fighting right away, and Chameleon's Cloud provides the Obscure status, which can be of benefit to a Shadow Hawke with Disorienting Criticals, but it's nothing that Hawke or Varric couldn't obtain themselves and bringing one of the others instead.

Forms and phases Edit

It is important to note that the Rock Wraith has two main forms: a "rogue" form and a "warrior" form. When you first encounter the Rock Wraith, it is by default in its Rogue style. The Warrior style will come later, after the first Radiation Burst.

Regardless of the form, however, the Rock Wraith has high damage resistance especially at higher difficulties. Coordinating damage buffs and combos with resistance reduction abilities such as Hex of Torment is a must.

Attack phase: RogueEdit

The "rogue" form has the following abilities and attacks:

  • Default Attack: Swings blades and shoots lightning bolts from the tips of these slash attacks. The slashes can deal 50+ damage per hit and inflict full knockdown, whereas the bolts deal far less damage and arc a la Chain Lightning. Thus, range is preferable. Mitigate the bolts by keeping companions at least 5 meters apart, which is too great a gap to arc.
  • Spike: The Rock Wraith crumbles back, transforms into a spike that lunges upwards into a party member. Causes knockback and heavy damage. Nearby non-flanking party members will stagger. Can be avoided by strafing to the side of the Wraith.
  • Teleport: The Rock Wraith can teleport to any position in the map, a la Stone's Throw.

The Spike attack can be avoided by strafing the tank to the side of the wraith. This requires close monitoring of the wraith's attack patterns, which is more difficult than it looks. The signature animation is the wraith's disassembly. If the Wraith crumbles back, and NOT straight down, you know a spike is incoming. Crumbling straight down into a heap signifies a teleport.

Initially, the party is cutscene-teleported from the west end of the vault to the east end. The rock wraith will teleport from the center to the northeast corner. Order everyone to move to the center, then spread them out slightly, as the rock wraith will likely begin firing bolts of lightning. Take command of the wraith's primary target and guide the wraith to hit them with ranged attacks (avoid drawing close without a warrior) while returning ranged attacks of your own. As it teleports around the field, keep an eye on the mini-map and reposition everyone as necessary. With Behavior set to Ranged they should attack without issue. Another approach is to line up a fully-ranged party, at least 5m apart (the AoE radius of a Miasmic Flask, for reference) in a north-south line through the center. The wraith will tend to stick to lightning bolts, which will only hit one person because they are outside the arcing range, and the party will be able to hit the wraith wherever it teleports with relative ease. It tends to forgo the spike attack if companions are far enough away.

Radiation phaseEdit

Once you've chipped its health down to ≈90%, the Wraith will teleport into the center of the chamber. This signifies its radiation phase, unleashing a burst of radiation that fills the room and can only be avoided by moving your party behind one of the four red lyrium pillars. The best place to hold position appears to be the southeast pillar, on the north side of the crates. The narrower space prevents the party from arranging into a square, bunching them into a slightly more linear arrangement, and it becomes very easy to visualize the margins of the radiation burst, among other factors useful to a DPS party in the next phase. Hold position here until the attack is done, taking potions if needed; as the attack takes 6 seconds to charge up and lasts about 5 seconds thereafter, this provides a great buffer in which to top off your health while still keeping additional potions within a reasonable window of usage.

Collapse phaseEdit

Once this attack is finished, the wraith collapses into a heap with its core exposed for upwards of 25 seconds, only to be surrounded by 6 Critter-ranked Profanes. These can be easily handled with AoE attacks, as they only have about 400-500 health on Nightmare difficulty. However, they take about 9 seconds to become fully active and do not actually "die" before that point if depleted of health, thus they will remain as targets on the battlefield and waste your precious attacks. Thus, it is best to use these first few seconds on the Wraith's exposed core. Using the crate pillar for cover not only puts you a single pace away from a direct line of sight on the wraith (granting an extra few seconds for damage), it tends to obscure you from any Profanes that spawn to the southeast; "warrior" profanes have to walk around to engage you, and even though "rogue" profanes can hit you through the crates if you catch their attention, ranged characters like Varric can hit them right back. Manage the Profanes as best befits your party and hit the Wraith with everything you've got before it can reassemble its armor. The process of reassembling takes about 5 seconds, giving you a total of 30 seconds for the whole collapse phase.

Attack phase: WarriorEdit

The wraith will reassemble into its "warrior" form, arranging its left rock mass into a shield and its right mass into a flail. Its attacks are:

  • Horizontal swipe: Swipes a target for damage. Deals damage to party members nearby. With both this and the heavy swipe, the wraith holds its shield out while advancing on the target and whirling its flail, much like its smaller brethren. Both this and the heavy slam are difficult to dodge.
  • Heavy slam: Has a farther reach than the default attack and a narrower range, causes knockdown for all caught in its impact radius. This goes through the columns. As the wraith's size allows it to cover ground quicker than you can run, kiting isn't an option. Instead, the player should take manual control of the character and rush towards the wraith, not away, while ordering the others to scatter. By pressing the wraith's left flank (shield side), they can slip through the attack's hit box and avoid getting damaged (sometimes, but not always).
  • Roll: Forms into a ball and rolls into party members, dealing heavy damage and causing Knockdown. Can be avoided by Moving to Point perpendicular to its path of travel. Pause the game when it curls up and get a better idea of its primary target, then move everyone in that line out of the way. This tends to cancel into a flail attack.
  • Explosion: Charges and explodes, dealing 360-degree heavy damage. When you see this, run to the corners. The pillars will block the blast. Additionally, if you are far enough away, damage will be avoided.
  • Vortex: The Wraith becomes a vacuum, dragging your party into it while causing single digit damage. To avoid, order everyone to "Move to Point" in the exact opposite direction, or duck them behind the nearest pillar. When safe, this attack takes a good 7-8 seconds to abate, so use this time to take a breather and consume potions or allow their cooldowns to lower (as with the radiation attack).

The warrior form's damage is somewhat reduced compared to the rogue form's spike, but it is still capable of knockdown. Since the warrior form cannot teleport and would rather make your party a chainmail pancake, there is time to move your archers and/or mages away from the rolling attack's trajectory. If you're lucky, the wraith will roll into one of the pillars and keep on rolling while your tank can deal damage safely.

At times, the wraith may transform into a form of shards, ready to explode. If your party is positioned correctly, the only concern should be your tank. Move your tank to a safe distance until the attack finishes.

Keep maintaining a safe level of health for all your party members and look after your tank. Abilities like Barrier and Stonewall will help in the tight spots. The wraith can change its form anytime it wants, so keep changing your tactics to adapt; focus on keeping everyone spread far apart during the warrior form, and keep them focusing fire during the rogue form.

Subsequent phasesEdit

When you've dealt enough damage (≈60% health remaining), the wraith will teleport and carry out its radiation attack again, collapsing into a heap again. It does this a total of three times including the initial, summoning more Profanes with each cycle; first 6, then 5-7, and finally 8-10. It's hard to predict where the clusters of 2-3 will spawn, but they can be dealt with quite easily. Dispatch them and focus on the core. After the 60% mark it will incorporate the Vortex and Explosion attacks previously mentioned, which can actually help as the wraith will spend less time using the more troublesome rolls and flail attacks.

After the third radiation burst (≈25-30% health remaining), the wraith will no longer collapse and will switch between rogue and warrior states until defeated. Thus, depending on your party makeup, it behooves you to inflict as much damage as possible during the collapse phases in spite of the Profanes attacking you and spend as little time engaging the wraith's full armor as possible. If you are DPS-centric and managed to take more than 30% per collapse, go for the kill now as the Profanes do not affect the experience earned from this battle.

Strategy 1: Core Blitz Edit

Due to the way the wraith switches phases based on its health percentage, the attack phases can be completely avoided if enough damage is dealt fast enough, forcing it to immediately begin the next radiation and collapse phases. The best time to inflict such damage is when it enters its collapse phase after the radiation phase, when the wraith's damage resistance has been reduced to its lowest level. Even though the Profanes can be targeted, there is a several second delay before they actually start attacking, so use this time to inflict damage on the wraith.

Begin the fight normally, advance to the center and turn around. The more ranged characters the better. Focus on maintaining range rather than going for colossal damage right now, and chip its health under the 90th percentile. Position behind the pillar, preferably the southeast pillar on the north side of the crates and wedge everyone into that space. Wait for the radiation blast to abate, take potions no matter how much health has been lost.

  • As the collapse phase begins, take your tank or Varric w/Rune of Lightning Warding out first to attain most of the threat. From the crate pillar, you have but a single step out to become able to target the Wraith, minimizing the travel time from behind a pillar. Weaken 3 of the 6 Profanes, preferably those who are posed in the rogue style rather than the warrior style, and cast Hex of Torment on the wraith. Then, unleash powerful AoE spells like Firestorm and single-target abilities like Winter's Grasp and Spirit Bolt, magnifying them with the strongest staves in your inventory. Using the crate pillar for cover is also of particular benefit to this strategy because it reduces the number of Profanes that can engage you directly, allowing you to dedicate even more seconds to the Wraith. When the health bar advances past the 60% mark, you know you've dealt enough to force the next phase, so focus fire on the remaining profanes, take potions, and get back behind the crate pillar.
  • After the next radiation phase, repeat the tactics from before, although many of your abilities may still be on cooldown. Thus, take down a few more Profanes than before (7-8), preferably 3-4, and simply use basic attacks until your abilities return (or the Disorienting Shot -> Spirit Strike combo, which should have no problems cooling down). You should still be able to get to 30% and force the last radiation and collapse, so kill the remaining Profanes with ranged attacks while you have nothing better to do.
  • After the final radiation phase, wipe out as much of the Wraith's remaining health as you can. Ignoring 10 Profanes is a good way to get several characters killed in quick succession, so make sure to kill about 5-6 at a minimum. They're close enough together that AoEs like Bursting Arrow and Cone of Cold can take down 3 at once (especially if they're upgraded and Deep Freeze can Brittle any).

This means that, under the right circumstances, this fight favours a DPS setup over one more durable, as dealing enough damage can allow tougher phases (like the first warrior phase, which is simply rolls and flails) to be skipped. In fact, with optimized setups it is possible for the ARW to never get the chance to deal any damage.

Dealing enough damage to effectively make use of this strategy is done through the combination of several key aspects:

  1. DPS Character Builds - Place a greater emphasis towards increasing the primary attribute (strength/dexterity/magic) rather than on constitution, willpower, or cunning. A completely glass cannon setup should not be necessary, but durable tank setups are not advisable as they take away damage potential for a few extra points of health or mana/stamina, which can be increased with accessories. In choosing abilities, emphasis should be placed on those that increase damage or deal spike damage.
  2. Elemental Weaknesses - Spirit and Cold weapons and spells will deal double damage against the Ancient Rock Wraith. Additionally they benefit from the ignore armor property intrinsic to all elemental damage. Ideally mages will use the Staff of the Primal Order due to its relatively high item level, but any spirit or cold staff will do, particularly Stone's Breath. In spite of their rocky nature, Fire and Nature work to deal additional (though not as much) damage, thus only Electricity should be actively avoided.
  3. Debuffs - Decreasing damage resistance can be useful for dealing extra damage. This can be done via Hex of Torment and/or Mark of Death. Hexes do suffer from reduced duration due to enemy magic resistance, however. Brand is also worth considering, which greatly increases the critical chance of your non-rogue characters, giving a +25% chance to deal at least 50% additional damage (which roughly averages to 12.5% additional damage).
  4. Buffs - While debuffs are important, it should be noted that certain buffs are even more so. Haste will greatly increase the attack speed, and therefore DPS, of your whole party. Heroic Aura is another extremely useful buff to consider, especially when upgraded to Valiant Aura.

Warriors can also be used to buff the party with Might and Rally, the latter of which temporarily adds Might's effects to the group. Cleave is the best of the damage buffs available to warriors bar none. Bravery can be used to draw threat to a warrior while also elevating their attack and critical hit chance.

  1. Cross-class combos - Specifically, a mage with Winter's Blast and Elemental Mastery can inflict Brittle without having to cross their fingers, while an archer like Varric can inflict Disorient with Disorienting Shot. Shattering Blow, Shattering Arrow, and Punishing Lance inflict the highest Brittle detonations, while Disperse and Spirit Strike inflict the highest Disorient detonations available at this point in the game. Spirit Strike from a mage with 34+ Magic can exploit the boosted spirit damage of Stone's Breath, the wraith's elemental weakness, and Hex of Torment for about 1800 damage. On top of this, Rapid Pinning Shot allows this combo to be used at least twice per collapse. This level of damage combined with the sheer efficiency of these abilities on all levels (mana/stamina cost, talent points to invest in both characters, and cooldowns) means the value of this combo can't be stated enough.
  2. Focus Fire - The key aspect to this fight is to focus fire on the Ancient Rock Wraith immediately when it finishes its radiation attack and collapses in the middle. You have 30 seconds to remove 30% of its health in order to skip its attack phases. For the first 10 of those seconds the Profanes are still assembling themselves and not a significant threat, so use every second you have available attacking the Wraith.

Using only a handful of the abilities outlined in these principles allows enough damage to be dealt such that the entire warrior phase is skipped and it cycles back into the radiation phase immediately, followed by its collapsed phase. Do this once more and pick off the Profanes while the radiation phase is in effect and get set up for the next round. Rinse and repeat for the kill. This means that all that is necessary to get through this fight is to deal enough damage, hide behind a pillar during its radiation phase, deal enough damage, hide behind a pillar, and so on. The more of these concepts you apply simultaneously, the more damage you'll deal, and with optimization may even be possible to remove 60% or more of its health in a single cycle.

Strategy 2: Defend and Dodge Edit

Should you find yourself unable to deal sufficient DPS to power-cycle the radiation and collapse phases, take a more defensive approach. Bring a tank, a ranged DPS, and a healer to accompany Varric, whether one of those roles can be filled by Hawke or not, and whether or not your healer can double as a DPS. Varric leans towards ranged DPS in his own right, so deal what damage you can while focusing on keeping the Profanes in check and the party's health high. When the wraith rebuilds its armor, focus on keeping its attention on the tank and observe how it telegraphs its attacks. Leaving Panacea active on Anders denies him his offensive spells, but he can still use Creation magic to fortify health, damage, attack, and attack speed, and basic attacks to fend off the Profanes. This fortification can grant three party members the strength of four in exchange for gimping Anders, although this places a greater requirement on keeping him alive.

If Dog is available, he should be automatically-summoned with a "Self: Any" tactic. The group itself should be kept on "Hold Position" all the time, as repositioning and movement are vital. Always pause the game between attacks if you need to think about the best place to where they should be relocated.

The 3 phases in Nightmare:

  • At 100 to 90% health, it uses its Rogue form: Try to keep the Wraith looking in a different direction than the rest of the group. Spread the ranged members out to avoid the lightning arcing to all of them. Besides this, use the strategy described above. The wraith's single-target damage is monumental in this phase, so burn it down quickly.
  • At 90% health, first Radiation Burst. Make sure you shield the group behind a pillar, kill the 6 Profanes arranged in a hexagon and hit the Wraith again.
  • At 85% to around 60% health, Warrior form. Keep the group members scattered, dodge the rolling stone attack and stay focused! One error can kill a party member, making the fight truly a war of attrition. Avoid melee most times. Needle the Wraith while he is rolling, provided the ranged damage dealers are out of the way.
  • At 60% health, another Radiation Burst and collapse, with a summoning of 5-7 Profanes. Get in as much damage as you can while eliminating Profanes. Chip damage from a whole group of them at once adds up, so thin their numbers.
  • At <60% health, the Wraith will switch between forms and adds Vortex to its repertoire. This can actually be a welcome addition, as it results in lower DPS on the wraith's end compared to simply using Roll and flail attacks. It tends to follow the Vortex with Explosion, so move away quickly. Once you have a good idea of how to dodge his attacks, the Roll and Vortex tend to be little more than annoyances, and at best a welcome time-sink of several seconds that allows cooldowns on abilities and potions to elapse, as well as modest health and mana regeneration.
  • At 30% to 25% health remaining, final Radiation Burst and collapse. Defeat the 8-10 Profanes and get ready for the final push. Use the same tactics as before and don't take any unnecessary risks.


This battle is the final test of Act 1 and everything you've learned up until now. Practice will make you better than your character builds might belie at first, and once you have full understanding of your own strengths and weaknesses you can decide how to proceed with this fight and modify the two stratagems to suit the tools at your disposal, such as killing an additional Profane in lieu of an extra 400 damage on the Wraith during its collapse phase. Regroup is unnecessary if you don't feel like getting it, Varric and two mages are sufficient to power-cycle the radiation phases, and a well-built Varric can finish the last 10% or so of the Wraith's health on his own. DLC and promotional equipment, while powerful, are also entirely unnecessary. With the most expensive and restrictive venture in the game behind you and even more options at your disposal going forward (such as rune slots for every companion, not just Varric), completing this fight on Nightmare difficulty will set you up for greater success in the years to come in Kirkwall.