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Cauthrien (strategy)

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Ser Cauthrien
Level 19
Hit points: 3415
Mana/Stamina: 615
Attack: 116.5
Defense: 101
Armor: 21.3
Damage per normal attack: 106
Armor penetration: 7.5
Spell Resistance: 0 + difficulty-based bonus
Mental Resistance: 33.5
Physical Resistance: 100
Fire Resistance: 0
Cold Resistance: 0
Electricity Resistance: 0
Nature Resistance: 0
Spirit Resistance: 0
Special Attacks:
Immunities: none

Ser Cauthrien is one of the hardest enemies in the game. She scales up to level 19 so it is not recommended to begin the quest Rescue the Queen until your party is at least level 19. If you are having trouble dealing with her, this page may offer some insight and tips on how to defeat her. If you are really unable to defeat Ser Cauthrien during Rescue the Queen, it may be a better idea to surrender and engage Ser Cauthrien again just before the Landsmeet.

Skills and abilities Edit

  • Ser Cauthrien is a two-handed warrior armed with:
Ico greatsword The Summer SwordThe Summer Sword
Silverite (Tier 6)
Requires: 34 strength

Damage: 16.50
Critical chance: 2.25%
Armor penetration: 5.25
Strength modifier: 1.10
Rune slot Rune slot
+20 physical resistance
Chance to knock target back
which has a chance to knockback an opponent with each hit.
  • She is a slow attacker. During the attack animation, there is more than enough time for the targeted party member to make one or even two actions. Ser Cauthrien does not hit often but deals tremendous damage when she does.

Skills Edit

Talent 2h stunningblows Stunning Blows
Talent 2h criticalstrike Critical Strike
Talent 2h powerfulswings Powerful Swings
Talent 2h sunderarms Sunder Arms
Talent 2h sunderarmor Sunder Armor
Talent 2h destroyer Destroyer

Backup troops Edit

Cauthrien is supported by 10 static archers, 2 melee warriors and 1 static mage. These support troops possess the following abilities combined (depending upon difficulty level):

Spell-CleansingAura Icon Cleansing Aura
Talent arch scattershot Scattershot
Talent arch aim Aim

Ser Cauthrien has tons of support. The best way to take her out is to go back to the area you just came from -- only Cauthrien and two other guards will follow you. Deal with them, then the mage and finally the archers, who are pretty easy to take care of.

Party setup Edit

  • It is recommended that the Warden's party have a mage with healing skills and an archer.
  • You can use a defensive party setup by using one dedicated healer, one DPS mage, one support mage, and one tank.
  • It is recommended to have a lot of health poultices and lyrium potions and not be shy about using them. Using up to 50 potions during this battle is not uncommon.

Positioning advice Edit

The majority of Cauthrien's support troops are static and will not move from their positions. To take advantage of this, it is recommended to retreat the party to either Anora's room, the library or the corridor to avoid taking damage from archers. Priority should be given to evacuating the healers whereas ranger pets could be used to continually close the door. Casting Lifeward and Heroic Aura prior to initiating the dialogue can help to ensure survival. Sleep provides an easy way to separate Cauthrien from her troops: cast it on the guards and direct the party to the library. Once there, wait for Cauthrien, who should now be in sole pursuit.

Playstyle advice Edit

Spellcasting Edit

  • If you are targeting Cauthrien directly, here is a list of recommended spells to reduce her combat effectiveness:
Spell-MisdirectionHex icon Misdirection Hex
Spell-VulnerabilityHex icon Vulnerability Hex
Spell-AfflictionHex icon Affliction Hex debuffs every enemy in the room, making them easier targets for area-of-effect spells.
Spell-DeathHex icon Death Hex
Spell-Petrify icon Petrify
Spell-Paralyze icon Paralyze
Spell-ConeOfCold icon Cone of Cold
Spell-Stonefist icon Stonefist
  • If you are targeting the enemy mage to prevent him from firing offensive spells or healing, below is a list of recommended spells to disable and/or take him out:
Crushing prison icon Crushing Prison
Force Field Force Field
Spell-ManaClash icon Mana Clash
Walking Bomb Walking Bomb
Spell-Blizzard icon Blizzard
Spell-Tempest icon Tempest
Spell-Sleep icon Sleep
Spell-Earthquake icon Earthquake (may not work since the archers do not move)
Spell-MassParalysis icon Mass Paralysis
Spell-ConeOfCold icon Cone of Cold
Spell-Grease icon Grease
Spell-BloodWound Icon Blood Wound
Spell-Sleep icon Sleep
Spell-WakingNightmare icon Waking Nightmare (only works if your party members do not generate threat against the archers)
  • Use a mage to cast Misdirection Hex and Death Hex on Cauthrien and quickly kill her before dealing with her other guards.
  • If a mage is backing Cauthrien up, use Crushing Prison against the mage to temporarily incapacitate him while dealing with Cauthrien or dispatch a party member to kill the mage immediately.
  • Petrify and Paralyze can be also be used to slow Cauthrien down and if she is focused on the party's mage, use the mage to cast Force Field on themselves while other party members attack Cauthrien from the rear.
  • After killing Cauthrien, use a mage to cast sleep/waking nightmare/mass paralyze on archers and slowly kill each, one by one.
  • if hex spells are available, debuff her and allow warriors to finish her and her sidekicks off quickly; Death Hex and Misdirection result in a significantly quicker demise.
  • An alternative method would be to freeze her with Cone of Cold from one of the party's mages and use melee fighters in the team to hit her until she goes down whilst using a support mage heal as necessary -- misdirection hex is extremely helpful here.
  • Requires a high level, high powered mage with 80+ spellpower, Spell Might, Blizzard, and Tempest. Turn on Hold Position, run your mage to the room behind as soon as possible, and then move one or more of your tanks/fighters to back up the mage. Stand about 3 body lengths away from the door, protect the mage, and have them cast Blizzard and Tempest, both centered at the main door in the entry room, the one over the other. This will summon a Storm of the Century, and if you positioned yourself right, you will take negligible damage, while Cauthrien and her guards should still be taking serious damage. Move your party if you're too close to the Storm and are taking damage. The problem is, enemies aren't willing to stay inside. You'll need Cone of Cold to stop melee guards, Crushing {rison (all other spells she resists often; if you don't have prison, use Vulnerability Hex at least) for Cauthrien and Blizzard/Earthquake for ranged fighters.
Note: Using some game meta-knowledge, you can actually pre-cast Storm of the Century on the room in which Ser Cauthrien is located, and if you skip through the dialogue fast enough, it will still be active when you engage in combat. If you have enough health and run away fast enough, this will clear all the lesser enemies, and leave Ser Cauthrien heavily damaged.
  • If not, use Crushing Prison on the strongest opponent that is not Cauthrien (she will not be affected by it), use Force Field on her if possible or the next strongest opponent. Keep your mage healing only while the second character deals with the enemies. Be patient, keep Life Ward active. Use your mage to cast earthquake and then revive any fallen companions. Have them all regroup/remove injuries/rebuff in the side room. From there you can cast Blizzard and Tempest from a position that the archers can't see you but you can engage them. If the enemy mage is still alive use Crushing Prison or Force Field on him to prevent him healing the others. After 1-2 Blizzard/Tempest combos, re-enter and clean up the few stragglers.
  • Misdirection hex and debuff Cauthrien.
  • The rest of the archers can be killed off one by one (either using blizzard or Tempest).
  • Freeze or imprison her right in the hall, retreat to the doorway and have your mages throw in all area-of-effect spells they know. Use instant controlling spells, like Sleep or Earthquake to make archers stay where they are or sacrifice one of your characters by sending them into the room (they must be far enough from mages or their casting may be interrupted by scattershots). Double Blizzard and/or Earthquake will keep Ser Cauthrien inside the voidzone for a considerable period of time (don't forget to help her with Stonefist and Cone of Cold), so she either dies within or leaves it with almost no hitpoints and can be taken down before doing any damage.

An example strategy is to use one mage to cast sleep/mass paralyze on archers, kill Cauthrien's mage as soon as possible and use another mage to focus on Cauthrien.

Trap layer Edit

If you know in advance where the enemy will be, it is possible to lay traps underneath the enemy combatants before talking to Anora.

Fifty traps may be sufficient to kill Ser Cauthrien. 30-40 traps will be able to wear Ser Cauthrien down significantly if you place all traps in the hallway all the way to the far end and into the other room. If she hits most of them, she will be at <25% health, which will result in the rogue having so much threat that it's virtually impossible to peel her off. This can be used to your advantage if you, for example, cast Force Field on your rogue.

Melee Edit

  • The sword and shield warrior should use Shield Wall immediately and be equipped with decent armor.
  • Use Force Field on the warrior with highest threat.

Ranged Edit

  • A viable method is to use Leliana or any character with a ranged weapon to kill the archers at the entrance from a distance.
  • Kiting is possible with a mage with Crushing Prison and Stonefist. Start by casting Crushing Prison on Cauthrien. This will provide a lot of threat, enough to have the boss stuck on your mage the entire battle. It is very important to keep your mage on the move and to not stop until you reach the end of your selected kiting route. At this point throw Stonefist on Cauthrien (and hope that she does not resist) and move back the way you came. During this time the rest of the party can safely shoot her with ranged weaponry. Anything that will slow Cauthrien down is a plus.
  • Kiting is possible with a character using the Taunt ability to keep Ser Cauthrien in pursuit and away from the rest of the party, who should be using ranged attacks against her. Continue to run around the library using Taunt, repeating until she is killed by the ranged attacks. Although time consuming and micro intensive, kiting strategies will allow even an underpowered party to emerge victorious without consuming an exorbitant amount of healing potions.

Stealth Edit

This is a simple but effective strategy. As soon as the combat begins, set your party to Hold. Quickly get each ally in turn out of the room back to where you picked up Anora. Only Ser Cauthrien and two of her guards will follow you. This is few enough that they are not too hard to kill. Then if you wait in the back room briefly, combat mode will suspend and you can loot them, gaining the Summer Sword.

At this point you can hold most of the party there, and heal. Using stealth mode, send your rogue in to dispatch the mage. Leave quickly and regain your health. Then go back to stealth mode, and repeat with the remaining guards one at a time. If you can get them to follow you out or near the door before killing them, you will be able to come back and loot them in the next round.

You can repeat this until you have defeated them all. Alternatively, if you want to do the Captured! quest, leave a couple alive, and send your party in one at a time to be defeated by the holdouts.

Quick nuking Edit

It's possible to win the battle without running out of the room, even on Nightmare. A mage with either Blood Wound or Sleep, and Haste, together with several party members with Poison-Making and a tank with effective taunt/threat allows for a quick, violent victory. It is essential to prevent Scattershot from the ten enemy archers. No party can survive ten scattershots. When the fight starts, the mage must immediately (without moving or buffing) cast Blood Wound (a correct placement of the spell allows you to trap all but one enemy) or Sleep, to freeze the archers. The tank must immediately taunt Cauthrien. If she attacks your mage, run away or use Force Field to protect the mage, because Cauthrien can kill them with one hit. Bomb the frozen archers with grenades or Fireball. Three grenade-throwers with multiple grenade types can kill all the archers before they get a single scattershot. The tank should help with this, rather than hitting Cauthrien. Paralysis Explosion also works great here, but be careful not to trap your party. As long as your tank is quick and tough enough to survive Ser Cauthrien while you bomb everything else, the victory should be yours. Once you prevent the archers from firing scattershots and kill the mage, the rest is a standard boss take-down. Debuffing Ser Cauthrien with Misdirection Hex helps, if you can afford it. Obviously, a second mage makes things easier.

Aside from preventing scattershots, the crucial management issue in this fight is keeping Ser Cauthrien on the same target. This is tricky, because grenades have no selected target, so if you allow any AI control, your mage or rogue will likely target and hit Cauthrien the second they finish throwing their bombs. Don't let anything hit Cauthrien once she is chasing your tank. This simple tactic is harder than it seems.

An alternate and likely easier strategy is to immediately retreat to the corridor just outside the room Anora was being held in immediately when the battle starts. You should only be pursued by Cauthrien and two of the guards. Once you dispatch them, the rest of the guards in the entry room will just be standing there doing nothing. With a perfectly placed Blood Wound, you can hit every single one of them at once, dropping them to near death. A second Blood Wound will kill them all. If you have other area-of-effect spells, use them after casting Blood Wound, since everyone will be paralyzed and thus will be unable to avoid the attack.

If your mage does not have access to fire spells and/or the Blood Mage specialization, the following tactic can help. The basic idea is the same: Sleep and/or Waking Nightmare on the far archers, and charge the leftover archer as quickly as possible with your melee party members; Cauthrien and the elite guards will give chase and be caught by the sleep spell right in front of the three other archers, allowing you to use Cone of Cold and shattering to take them down. The idea though is to use Greater Elixir of Grounding to allow your mage to cast Tempest on your melee characters, Cauthrien, the elite guards and the close archers, while making sure not to target the far archers with the spell, and making absolutely sure that Ser Cauthrien stays on the tank when she thaws out. Concentrate your ranged attacks on the enemy mage to force him to heal himself, and provide mage support against the healer and the melee group with Lightning and Chain Lightning respectively, though this may pull Cauthrien off your tank if you use her as the primary target. Keep fighting inside the storm for as long as possible, and re-freeze, Force Field or use Horror on Cauthrien (if you haven't used it already) when the attacks are cooled down. Affliction Hex works well to support the storm and soon the nine enemies should have dropped down to only two or three. Kill the mage quickly if you can spare the time, and after Cauthrien falls it should only be the four or five archers from the other side. Focus fire and kill them off one at a time. If you still have plenty of potions, this should be pretty easy, even if your tank and your mage have been downed.

A win can similarly be achieved without a mage nuking so long as you have area-of-effect stun/knockdown attacks (such as Scattershot), at least two people in your party with at least one rank in Poison-Making, and at least two or three different types of grenades. The basic premise remains the same. The tank draws aggro from Ser Cauthrien while the area-of-effect stun/knockdowns target as much of the room as possible. While the archers recover and try to aim scattershots, quickly hit them with a volley of as many grenades as it takes to kill them. This should take about four on nightmare. Since each group of archers is tightly clustered, one grenade can hit a good number of them. Also, since the use of one type of grenade doesn't subject other types to cooldown, it's possible to quickly kill a group of archers with a volley of different grenades before they fire their first scattershot. Doing this correctly on nightmare can kill both wings of archers in seconds leaving only the two in the middle left. If you have a third character with Poison-Making and enough grenades, it's possible (though more difficult) to get rid of the melee guards and the mage in the center in a similar manner. Mixing and matching the two techniques as needed is also an option.

Drawing-out Edit

If you can draw Ser Cauthrien to the first big room directly east of where you start the battle (Vaughan will be there if you released him from the dungeon below the estate), you can use the big table on the northern part of the room to run around while making Ser Cauthrien chase you (thus leaving your ranged characters unharmed and free to attack/use spells). Use a melee character to do this but try not to run too far from her as it will make her choose a new target. If you have Pommel Strike and/or Stonefist, etc. use them every chance you get to knock her down and get some extra hits (might not always work on Nightmare difficulty). Haste also works wonders here. If you are using more than one melee character for this fight then leave the rest out of it as the path between the table and the wall is rather narrow and you could get yourself blocked in there and eventually killed.

Protecting the tank Edit

Another option is to comprise your party of three mages (1 DPS, 1 Support, 1 healer) and one tank; two mages need to have Force Field, so that you can Taunt with the tank and keep him immune. You can fight in the room, but this will need some mana potions. You can send your tank to the middle of the room, then use Taunt, and cast Force Field on him. Two mages need to have Fireball and at least one Walking Bomb, so you can kill the archers quickly, and repeat the tactic in the other group. Then just nuke the mage (Force Field helps here), and kill the last of guards. Be sure that the support mage has Group Heal skill, as it will be very useful here, and keep your tank on Force Field. After killing all of the guards you can then focus on Ser Cauthrien by just using force field on your tank or taunting her through the room.

General advice Edit

  • The Warden's party is heavily outnumbered, so do whatever possible to even the odds.
  • Prioritize targets. After tackling the key opponents, at that point, her guards should be easier to defeat.
  • Your other party members will most likely die fast. You can try and keep them alive as long as possible by using the health potions, but they will most likely die early on.
  • Immediately before the cutscene, it is possible to have a mage cast e.g. Blizzard prior to entering the room to get a headstart. It should be targeted as not to freeze your party after the dialogue completes. Targeting the middle group (at the door) and the furthest group (left of the door) generate the best results, leaving the closest group on the right untouched. Just before Blizzard is cast, begin entering the room. The goal is for it to be cast right before you enter dialogue. This should knock everyone to the ground as the dialogue begins. Quickly select option 2 and exit the room.
  • It is also a good idea to seal off the door with a Glyph of Repulsion. Ser Cauthrien will be able to pass through the glyph; all others will be trapped inside the room. Combining this with the strategy above allows you to fight with Ser Cauthrien alone while the soldiers are damaged by the area effect spells. A Storm of the Century will easily clear the entire room.
  • If you just run back away from the exits, only Ser Cauthrien and the two melee guards will follow you. The mage and archers will stay by the exit.
  • It is especially important to get out of the archers' line of sight as soon as possible. The hardest part of the battle is getting damaged and stunned by 10 Scattershots in a row. Since Scattershot auto-hits, there are few ways to resist the stun, and while you're stunned Cauthrien will hit you for around 150 damage per hit,
  • If you do not wish to exit the room, then the key to victory is to prevent the archers from using Scattershot. Use any crowd control spell like Blood Wound, Waking Nightmare, paralytic explosion (cast Glyph of Repulsion on the ground before the fight) and even Grease, but the key is to use them immediately.
  • Using Soldier's Bane poison on your weapon can also be helpful. Cauthrien will not have the stamina to activate her abilities.

Second encounter Edit

Should the Warden surrender to Cauthrien, another opportunity to fight her will arise when arriving at the Landsmeet where she will accost the party in order to prevent interference in the proceedings. At this point, she will only have a few guards with her, but both Cauthrien and her guards will need to be tackled at the same time since any fight will take place in a small room. Fighting her in the Arl of Denerim's estate may still prove to be an easier battle, provided Cauthrien can be isolated from her men.

Solo strategy Edit

A Icon shapeshifter Shapeshifter Warden can successfully beat this encounter solo with no poultices, without leaving the room. Spells required: Spell-Sleep icon Sleep, Spell-FlyingSwarm icon Flying Swarm, Spell-MasterShapeshifter icon Master Shapeshifter. High dodge and mana regeneration gear is a must-have.

Full discussion of this strategy can be found here.

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