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Archdemon (strategy)

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Archdemon Vital Stats
Level 22
Hitpoints: 4180
Mana/Stamina: 495
Attack: 75.5
Defense: 69
Spell Resistance: 0
Mental Resistance: 24
Physical Resistance: 100
Fire Resistance: 60
Cold Resistance: 75
Electricity Resistance: 75
Nature Resistance: 25
Spirit Resistance: 75
Special Attacks: Massive Attack, Cleave, Sweep, Spirit Breath
Immunities: Charm, Confusion, Fear, Knockdown, Slip, Stun

This page contains detailed tips on how to fight the Archdemon.

Preparation Edit

Archdemon Capabilities Edit

  • The Archdemon is immune to the effects of Charm, Confusion, Fear, Knockdown, Slip, Stun.
  • The Archdemon has some very powerful attacks, including Massive Attacks from the side, Cleave from the front, and Sweep from the back. Further, it has a Spirit based breath attack, along with several other long range Spirit attacks such as Archdemon Corruption Blast (single target), Spirit Smite (bombards in area of effect), and Vortex (dark purple tornado). As it summons darkspawn reinforcements, it may use Darkspawn Detonation to make them explode on your allies.
  • The Archdemon is not classed as either a dragon or a darkspawn - therefore it is immune to bonuses against dragons (e.g. Duncan's Dagger, Yusaris) and bonuses against darkspawn (e.g. Silverite runes).

Army Recommendation Edit

  • Choosing the Dalish elves (who use ranged attacks) as the support army can be useful, because melee will suffer much more damage from its cleaves, and the area spells from the mages can interrupt your melee attacks as well. Summoning the Dwarves can also be useful for holding off the darkspawn groups that the Archdemon summons midway through the battle.

Party Members Recommendation Edit

  • If you have Wynne or another healer, have them save their mana to restore your party's health and attack the Darkspawn hordes that will arrive later in the battle.
  • If Shale is in the party, turn on Crushing Blows and, by default, she will Slam as often as she can. Also, have Shale equipped with Small Brilliant Nature Crystals to take advantage of the Archdemon's low resistance towards nature damage.
  • Have at least two ranged party members fire enchanted arrows. For instance, at high level Leliana is capable of doing 40+ damage per hit.
  • It is also recommended that any healers in the party has maximized all healing abilities including the additional ones like Heal, which requires low mana to cast and has quick activation time, or Rejuvenate to allow members to regain stamina or mana. Using Rejuvenate on a spell caster and making use of that spell caster to cast the same spell on the other one will keep both mages at a sustained level of mana.
  • Putting the members on defensive tactic will keep them close to the main party member from my experience and using Cleansing Aura will keep them alive while you engage the Archdemon from range. Also using Heroic spells often will help members engage with better skills.[1]

Equipment Recommendation Edit

DefensiveEdit

The Archdemon deals Spirit damage, so stock up on those resistances where possible. Corruption is espescially effective on tanks as it maxes out Spirit resistance without any other gear. Note that elemental resistances are capped at 75% so bear this in mind when swapping armour pieces and potentially losing set bonuses. Here is a list of recommended equipment to protect against spirit damage:

Ico lesser spirit balm Lesser Spirit BalmLesser Spirit Balm
Herbalism
This balm has a soothing effect on the mind.

+30% spirit resistance for 180 seconds.
Ico greater spirit balm Greater Spirit BalmGreater Spirit Balm
Herbalism
This balm has a soothing effect on the mind.

+60% spirit resistance for 180 seconds.
Ico armor med Ancient Elven armor setAncient Elven armor set

Veridium (Tier 4)

Armor: 11.20
Fatigue: 12.95%
+1 constitution
+2 dexterity
+4 armor
+4% spell resistance
+35% spirit resistance
Set: +5 defense
Ico armor massive Juggernaut armor setJuggernaut armor set

Silverite (Tier 6)

Armor: 27.31
Fatigue: 37.50%
+20% fire resistance
+20% cold resistance
+20% electricity resistance
+20% nature resistance
+20% spirit resistance
+1 armor
+10 mental resistance
Set: +3 strength
Set: +3 constitution
Ico helm massive CorruptionCorruption
Massive helmet
Dragonbone (Tier 7)
Requires: 42 strength

Armor: 3.75
Fatigue: 3.90%
+5 dexterity
+1 armor
+75% spirit resistance
Ico ring Ring of AgesRing of Ages
Ring
The shopkeeper claims this artifact may be among the oldest magic items in all of Thedas, from an era before even the elves mastered the magical arts. Quite likely that is mere salesmanship, but the ring is certainly powerful and feels truly ancient.

+20% fire resistance
+20% cold resistance
+20% electricity resistance
+20% nature resistance
+20% spirit resistance
Band of Fire Band of FireBand of Fire
Ring
The magical fire used to forge these rings requires great care, but unfortunate incidents of singed eyebrows and burnt hair still result. There is some speculation that this is why the Formari often shave their heads.

+3 constitution
+25% fire resistance
+10% spirit resistance
Ico amulet Aneirin's TokenAneirin's Token
Amulet
This teardrop-shaped pendant is a chunk of dried sap on a length of twine. It's warm to the touch, and the same pale gold as the rising moon. While equipped, it augments Wynne's Vessel of the Spirit spell.

+10% electricity resistance
+10% nature resistance
+10% spirit resistance
Ico amulet Gateway AmuletGateway Amulet
Amulet
A mirror on a silver chain, etched with glyphs. The mirror reflects nothing, only swirling mist.

+20% spirit resistance
-1 willpower
Ico amulet Spirit WardSpirit Ward
Amulet
Seven gold disks, each bearing a star sapphire, make up this necklace. The clasp bears the mark of the Formari. Shifting figures can be seen dimly in the depths of the gem stones.

+10% spirit resistance
Ico staff Enchanter's StaffEnchanter's Staff
Staff
Varies (Tier 1-7)
Requires: 16 magic

Damage: 4.00 (Cold)
Armor penetration: 20.00
+1 magic
+10% spirit resistance
+5% cold damage
+5% electricity damage
+5% fire damage
Shl d spirit Large Brilliant Spirit CrystalLarge Brilliant Spirit Crystal
Large Crystal
Dark colors swirl within this crystals glow, leaving you strangely ill at ease.
Requires: 38 constitution

Armor: 22.50
Fatigue: 28.60%
+1 to all attributes
+50% spirit resistance
+16% spell resistance
+25 mental resistance
Ico warpaint Kaddis of the Mountain-FatherKaddis of the Mountain-Father
Warpaint
An extremely old design used by Ash Warriors, meant to invoke the Avvar god Korth.

+20% nature resistance
+20% spirit resistance

OffensiveEdit

If you wish to take advantage of the Archdemon's weaker nature resistance, here is a list of recommended items which deal or enhance nature damage:

Ico quiver Arrow of FilthArrow of Filth
Arrow
These arrows have barbed tips and will cause grievous wounds and profuse bleeding. They are also coated in a substance that proves irresistible to animals and could result in severe mauling.

+3 nature damage
Ico staff Sylvan's MercySylvan's Mercy
Staff
Veridium (Tier 4)
Requires: 24 magic

Damage: 5.20 (Nature)
Armor penetration: 29.00
+5% nature resistance
+1 spellpower
+10% nature damage
Ico staff Oak BranchOak Branch
Staff
Veridium (Tier 4)
Requires: 24 magic

Damage: 5.20 (Nature)
Armor penetration: 29.00
+1 magic
+2 constitution
10% nature damage
Ico acid flask Acid FlaskAcid Flask
Poison-Making
A flask of corrosive acid.
Ico ring Ring of SelectionRing of Selection
Ring
A cruel application that claims adherence to nature's most unforgiving reality, sparing none but the fittest.

+10% nature damage
Shl o nature Small Brilliant Natural CrystalSmall Brilliant Natural Crystal
Small Crystal
This crystal exudes a pungent, earthy smell, as if of a forest swept with rain.
Requires: 38 strength

Damage: 8.00
Critical chance: 0.80%
Armor penetration: 8.00
Strength modifier: 1.00
+6 constitution
+6/+12 health regeneration in combat
+30% nature damage
Converts all damage to nature damage
Ico gloves light Silk Weave GlovesSilk Weave Gloves
Light gloves
Inscribed Leather (Tier 6)

Armor: 1.33
Fatigue: 1.13%
+20% nature damage

For mages, a staff dealing physical (or secondarily, nature) damage is recommended, unless your staff of choice provides a greater advantage in other departments such as spellpower, mana regeneration, etc. Recommended physical-damage staves are:

Final Reason Final ReasonFinal Reason
Staff
Silverite (Tier 6)
Requires: 32 magic

Damage: 6.00 (Physical)
Armor penetration: 35.00
+3 damage
+10 spellpower
+15% fire damage
Ico staff Malign StaffMalign Staff
Staff
Veridium (Tier 4)
Requires: 24 magic

Damage: 5.20 (Physical)
Armor penetration: 29.00
+1/+2 mana regeneration in combat
+5 spellpower

-1 willpower
+10% spirit damage
+10% electricity damage
Ico staff Staff of the Ephemeral OrderStaff of the Ephemeral Order
Staff
Silverite (Tier 6)
Requires: 32 magic

Damage: 6.00 (Physical)
Armor penetration: 35.00
+3 willpower
+5% spirit damage

Play Style Notes Edit

Spellcaster Edit

For heavy magic users, note that the Archdemon has enormous resistance against just about everything, so mages must maximise their Magic (or even just Spellpower) attribute to do at least some damage via sheer power or prolonged duration.

Recommended spells that may work on the Archdemon:

Spell-Petrify icon Petrify
Force Field Force Field
Force Field can help the party re-position itself by paralysing the archdemon for a short time, but remember that the target is immune to damage for the duration.

Recommended spells for continuous sustained damage:

Spell-Inferno icon Inferno
Spell-Tempest icon Tempest
Spell-Blizzard icon Blizzard
Virulent Walking Bomb Virulent Walking Bomb
Very effective in combination with Affliction Hex

To take advantage of the Archdemon's weaker nature resistance:

Spell-StingingSwarm icon Stinging Swarm

Melee Edit

Melee combatants may find it difficult to maintain their striking distance due to the Archdemon's knockback, knockdown, and flight abilities. If the party is mostly melee-oriented, it's recommended to attack from multiple sides at once (to avoid having all of them knocked down by a single blow, or all damaged by a single breath attack). Use Shield Wall (with Shield Expertise) and Indomitable when available.

With a melee-heavy rogue, stay behind the Archdemon as much as possible; Combat Movement will improve both backstabbing opportunities and avoidance of its Sweeps. Duelist talents can help with this fight, especially Pinpoint Strike towards the end of the fight. A Ranger's summoned beast might distract the Archdemon, but it will probably be killed, and summoning another takes a long time.

Ranged Edit

Ranged combatants will find it easier to deal continuous damage to the Archdemon, whether it is on the main platform or across the fissure. The most useful ammunition for archers is elf-flight and/or filth. Acid Flasks can be thrown with little risk of friendly fire if aimed away from the central circle, especially across the fissure, and if darkspawn distract the party's melee efforts. Note that drawing threat with archers and mages placed between objects forces the Archdemon to use ranged attacks which are less efficient at dealing damage (it is too large to get between the objects and hit physically).

Traps Edit

In the early battle, the Archdemon will take off from and periodically land on the central circle. Before the darkspawn reinforcements arrive, this is the party's first opportunity to inflict extensive damage. Acid traps are the surest damage dealers, but the cooldown means fewer can be left before the next landing. Acid grease traps also deal significant nature damage, but fighters can be caught in the residue when rushing the dragon on the ground. Fire Traps are somewhat helpful; Large Shrapnel Traps are less effective but also less problematic than Acid Grease (unless no melee, or extremely high physical resistance, is involved). Freeze, Shock and Soulrot traps are much weaker, but the damage can add up given time enough to place them.

A Mage with glyph spells should take advantage of the Paralysis Explosion combination to halt the Archdemon in its place; most glyphs will be helpful in avoiding incoming darkspawn.

Engagement Edit

Note: There is no trophy for conserving allied armies (not even in Nightmare mode), so if you haven't used them in Denerim, use them now, and save yourself unnecessary agony.

Early Phase Edit

Note: On Casual difficulty the ballistae which ring the rooftop will never jam. (May jam on the PS3.) However, the Archdemon will still fly around, preventing the use of a single ballista for the entire fight, though if done properly the entire fight can be completed taking almost no damage to any party member.

The Archdemon periodically flies to another spot on the fortress. It is easily attacked but will use various knockbacks, wing buffets, grabs and other attacks, making it difficult for melee fighters to engage it. For this reason you may want to try having your warriors use ranged attacks whether they have any Archery talents or not. You will be joined (PC only) by Arl Eamon, First Enchanter Irving or Knight-Commander Greagoir (depending on Broken Circle's resolution), Zathrian or Swiftrunner (depending on Nature of the Beast's resolution), and/or Kardol (if he was persuaded to join the battle). They are valuable allies; spare healing spells for them if you can.

If your party is having trouble, call an army (the golems are particularly helpful here) to distract the Archdemon while retreating to the ballistae on the towers. These siege weapons auto-target the Archdemon and, if it is within range, fire bolts that do between 40 and 120 damage. When hit with a ballista bolt, the Archdemon will roar in pain, interrupting its attacks and giving the ballista enough time to reload. Though significantly less exciting, this is an efficient way to chip its health away without actually fighting it. On any difficulty above Casual, the ballistae will eventually jam and require a Rogue to fix them; the Archdemon will also fly to a new position and require using a different ballista.

One effective strategy with the ballistae is to take control of a Rogue, while sending the rest of your team after the Archdemon itself. If you effectively prevent the Archdemon from attacking, and inflict enough damage before jamming, you can quickly advance to the second and third phases of the battle. Note: having an army to back up your attackers works well - preferably elves to draw larger attacks (like the vortex) away from the party, or golems (which will endure the longest).

Middle Phase Edit

In this phase, the Archdemon will jump to an isolated platform; melee fighters will not be able to reach it due to a fissure in the roof. At this point, darkspawn reinforcements will pour onto the roof to assist the Archdemon (as before, the Alphas, Emissaries, and Shrieks have normal health, while the Grunts are still generally one-hit kills. Any Hurlock Generals you didn't kill on your way through Denerim will also join the battle).

The Archdemon will simply launch Spirit-based attacks at its enemies during this phase, so throw Area of Effect spells and/or fire ballistae at it. If you choose to 'camp' near the ballistae, be sure to have a strong army to keep all enemy units busy. If you have a ranged army (i.e. Dalish or Mages) active on the field, make sure to engage darkspawn with party members and/or use immobilizing spells; similarly, a melee-based army (Dwarves, Redcliffe soldiers, Golems, Werewolves, or Templars) can engage the darkspawn while the party uses tactics that could be disrupted by them.

To avoid being overwhelmed by darkspawn, use area-of-effect abilities - almost all of the battle will take place in a small pocket, directly in front of the Archdemon, as it is a common spawning place for both sides. You may also want to crowd your offensive forces on a 'spawn door' to stop Alphas from getting too far into the fray. Shrieks usually run out too fast and Grunts aren't always worth attacking, but Alphas usually activate a buff once they arrive (use that time to draw their aggression with your choice of character/ally). Alternatively, if you wish to take on the Archdemon by yourself using bow/staff/ballistae, and two members of the party can engage at melee range, send them to the spawning points to keep the late arrivals busy.

At this point it may prove difficult keeping your allies alive. Arl Eamon (indeed, any allied melee NPC listed above) usually insists on moving close to the spawning points, potentially creating a 'double front' to attend to. Do not necessarily worry about losing major NPCs, however. Like party members in any fight, they will not die permanently as long as a party member remains 'up'. Never forget that your main focus is the Archdemon.

Note: In order to draw the Archdemon to melee range, the current wave of darkspawn must be defeated.

Late phase Edit

This begins when the Archdemon is at around 15-20% health, but can actually be avoided if it is damaged quickly enough (not so much to do with its exact health, but rather how fast you can deal damage). Spell Combinations in particular will be highly useful for this purpose. The Archdemon flies to the upper part of the main platform, while darkspawn spill from the doors at an increased rate.

The Archdemon will continue to attack anything within range while many of the darkspawn switch to ranged weapons. There are two ballistae in range of the Archdemon: one from the middle phase and one 'across the Archdemon' from that one. Use them until they jam, as they can do up to 115 damage per shot. A melee army (i.e. Dwarves, Templars, Soldiers, Golems, or Werewolves) can distract darkspawn or a ranged army (i.e. Elves or Mages) can increase ranged damage against the Archdemon.

Keep an eye on the party in case their tactics allow target switching - tanks should concentrate all their efforts on the Archdemon. Rogues should engage darkspawn to keep them off the tanks (when not needed to fix a ballista). The final stage is the hardest to keep track of since you may be firing and repairing ballistae, healing, and making sure your tanks don't stray (turn off all attacks that do not affect the Archdemon and set all effective enemy-targeted tactics to 'Boss'). As a final aesthetic note, the Archdemon has a unique deathblow animation should the killing blow come from a melee weapon.

Tips on how to save armies for the final battle:

  1. . If you don't really have to, don't rush into the battle headfirst, but rather lure out small groups or singles.
  2. . With at least one party member with Survival skill upped, you should be able to determine type of enemy, level and such info; use this to your advantage by killing the grunts with ranged member, or mage, thus eliminating the weak.
  3. . Kill grunts first, then pull the stronger darkspawn one by one; this can be time-consuming but efficient.
  4. . Petrify can be a deadly combo with Critical Strike, Slam, Killing Blow and the like (see Shattering).

It is very handy if you manage to save all allied armies for this fight; close-quarters warriors like men or dwarves can keep it busy for quite some time. Probably most useful abilities of Shale in this battle are those from Stoneheart and Rock Mastery tiers. Pulverizing Blows are good, but unless you want to get your golem killed quickly, the other two are better. Stoneheart grants additional sturdiness and regeneration, while Rock Mastery allows Shale to make some damage from distance.

(tested on party with a two-handed offense-tank, shield-defense tank, Shale, Wynne, and the human and dwarven army groups)

Bugs and glitches Edit

  • Sometimes the Archdemon will remain "landed" for an extended period of time, effectively "skipping" one or more of the phases detailed above.
  • There is also a bug where (unfortunately) the major NPCs such as Arl Eamon and Zathrian will not join the fight, but (helpfully) additional darkspawn minions will also 'stay away'.
  • During the Early Phase, talking to Wynne may revive fallen party members. (Occurred on PS3 while trying to operate a ballista; after the 'conversation' two unconscious party members respawned.)
  • Sometimes a ballista will not fire when The Warden attempts to use it, and thereafter becomes useless. If this happens, reload your most recent save.

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