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Best Mage Build for Dragon Age II

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Hi! I'm trying to make a solid build for my mage Hawke (he's at level 26 and I already "Maker's Sighed" his ass ) but I'm extremely indecisive. Opinions and advice would be greatly appreciated. Please and Thanks! --GrimsleyHawke (talk) 06:07, October 24, 2011 (UTC)

Force Mage and Tempest. That's all you need. Futonrevoltion (talk) 08:31, October 24, 2011 (UTC)

I do love Force Mage combined with Elemental for a controller / DPS Hawke. Most big battles start with Gravitic Ring and Pull of the Abyss to slow the enemies to a crawl and have them effectively unable to move from the same small area. Then pound that little area with some of the Elemental spells, particularly Firestorm and Fireball. Works a treat. --NickyStuu (talk) 08:39, October 24, 2011 (UTC)

I've heard some good things about Blood Mage + Spirit Healer, so I'm going to try that one in my new playthrough in combination with Cone of Cold and Winter's Grasp. But what Nicky and Futon suggest sounds nice as well, so.. I know it sounds cliché but it depends on what you like best. --Nialthor (talk) 11:42, October 24, 2011 (UTC)

As of patch 1.03, they can't work together anymore: Blood Magic and Healing Aura.
Wikia sig NicKeL BreaD Talk 14:54, October 24, 2011 (UTC)

My Mage Hawke's are Spirit Healer/Force Mages focusing on Primal. Gruedragon (talk) 12:52, October 24, 2011 (UTC)

If you want a support, non-damaging type of Mage, I'd suggest mastering the Spirit Healer skill tree, then picking skills which ONLY cast physical force; Mind Blast, Glyph of Paralysis, Glyph of Repulsion, Telekinetic Burst, Pull of the Abyss, and Gravitic Ring (the last three being the Force Mage spells). You will require the Fist of the Maker though, that is IF you want to get the Unshakable passive ability and the Gravitic Ring (these two are strongly recommended).

This is because of the Healing Aura, the shining star of this build, which demands that no offensive spells be casted while it is active. Though you can't hurt your foes using these spells, you can still manipulate the battlefield with this "non-lethal" arsenal. For instance, if you see those annoying assassins that stealth to inflict lots of damage, cast Mind Blast nearby them, or use Edge of the Abyss or Telekinetic Burst on where they disappeared. They will surely show up, their "hiding-to-backstab" useless. (Note: Cast them ONLY when 2 seconds have passed after going into stealth; if cast too early or immediately, it won't work. I've tried it.)

Since patch 1.03, Healing Aura has become much more effective; it heals (by drastically speeding up health regeneration) companions faster now, provided that it is fully upgraded. Because of this, Merrill, while in Blood of the First mode, can now unleash hell, as she has an almost infinite health pool to rely on. In the "easiest" Nightmare Difficulty battles, the party gets only scratches as long as Healing Aura affects them; even no potions are used to recover lost health.

This build can somewhat be useful in Nightmare Difficulty, as you don't need more friendly-fire from your companions. In addition, they last longer given that Hawke is nearby them. You will still need potions in this level, but because of the mastery of the Spirit Healer skill tree, you will need less of the Mythal's Favor grenade; one or two may suffice for Hawke in case of death.

Wikia sig NicKeL BreaD Talk 15:13, October 24, 2011 (UTC)

Does Healing Aura still have that bug where the healing effect is re-applied on top of itself with every area transition? How fun is this build to play? Gruedragon (talk) 15:40, October 24, 2011 (UTC)
Forgive me, but my interpretation of what you said is: "The healing effect stacks everytime you go to a new area; for instance, +300 health regeneration rate first, +600 in second, +900 in third and so on.". Is that it? If yes, nope: it doesn't stack. But the party heals really quick, unless they're overwhelmed.
For the "whether it's fun?", it still depends on you. You'll see it for yourself as time passes while you use this build. It's only a detailed suggestion. I experimented with it on Nightmare Difficulty; I made Hawke "non-violent" so as to reduce the incidents of death by friendly fire.
Wikia sig NicKeL BreaD Talk 16:48, October 24, 2011 (UTC)
Yes, that's what I meant. I've been considering such a build for a while now, and I forget where exactly, but in doing some Google searches I thought I came across that bug. I could be mis-remembering, though. Gruedragon (talk) 17:49, October 24, 2011 (UTC)
I think NicKeL BreaD's build is an intriguing way of playing a Healer Hawke. But I'd also like to know if it's a "fun" build to play? I've never played as a healer mage (either in DA:O or DA2) as I find it more fun to play a DPS / melee character, of whatever class, and have healing done by one of the party. Equally, I've never played as an archery rogue, for the same reason that it seems quite a boring build for the PC to play. Final dumb question - how does the Healer Hawke build beat the Arishok? --NickyStuu (talk) 15:50, October 24, 2011 (UTC)
Same as above reply; your opinion matters. Try it out for yourself and evaluate. I didn't control Hawke all the time, just when my companions are dying or dead, or when I need to toy around with the physical force spells. I try to keep him near them most of the time to make use of the Healing Aura's effect.
Archery rogue, hmph... is it boring because it's so easy to find the proper build? Well, the purpose of rogues, other than trap-disarming and lock-picking, is to just deal tons of damage, more especially the ranged one.
As for the Arishok versus Hawke, using this build, YES, you can... but very, very unlikely; possible but improbable. What you can do if you're really that insane is, go run-and-gun. Use Gravitic Ring as often as you can. Even if you are successful in doing so, it would have taken you hours, depending on the difficulty (maybe less than half an hour in Casual). Since this is a support mage, it should never strike alone; battle against with the Qunari with Hawke's formidable companions!
Wikia sig NicKeL BreaD Talk 17:05, October 24, 2011 (UTC)

I forgot to add: Hawke is still unaffected by Telekinetic Burst, Pull of the Abyss, and Gravitic Ring, even if standing within the area of effect. This also applies on Nightmare difficulty. I don't know about Fist of the Maker, though, as I don't use it, and I can't; I keep Healing Aura on all the time. I'm playing in the ps3Icon ps3.

These spells that deal physical force can still affect your allies in the mentioned difficulty, but the things are, you can order them to move away (or carefully place the spell), and even if the spell gets them, they aren't damaged; they're just thrown away or sucked toward.

Wikia sig NicKeL BreaD Talk 17:26, October 24, 2011 (UTC)

A high Cunning and Constitution level would help too. Trollyfaec (talk) 20:27, October 24, 2011 (UTC)Trollyfaec, Oct. 24, 2011
You're joking, aren't you? Maybe you meant Magic and Willpower. Allocation of attribute points into Magic and Constitution applies for those who use the Blood Mage specialization for Hawke, as well as for Merrill (Blood of the First).
Wikia sig NicKeL BreaD Talk 09:02, October 25, 2011 (UTC)

I think the best build for your mage all depends on your playing style. I myself go with Elemental/Spirit Healer. Only reason is cause I like to deal lots of damage but be able to heal myself and party members if need be. I haven't tried a full out Blood Mage or Force Mage yet. Emmalee (talk) 23:28, October 24, 2011 (UTC)

I usually take Spirit Healer for the big constitution bonus. I make sure I have Crushing Prison, Horror, and fill out the Elemental tree. With this build, you can deal, heal, and watch 'em squeal. Yeah, that was weak, I know. LVTDUDE (talk) 23:45, October 24, 2011 (UTC)


I did a run through Nightmare with little difficulty using the Elemental (full), Primal (full tree but only lighting spells were upgraded), Force (full tree but no upgrades till level 28), and Entropy (Horror, Misdirection, & Torment, all upgraded), and a 1 point dip into Creation for some pinch healing. I used Force Spells to cluster enemies together or keep them from attacking, Elemental/Primal spells to deal damage, and the Hexes/Petrify to control priority targets and major threats (Gravity Ring works well too if you trap an assassin or large monster right at the center, hell a lot of enemies can be perma-stunned by cycling these spells). Usually used Aveline to tank with Isabela and Varric to deal good damage in a short time periods, often forgoing the need for a healer. I will admit this lead to more than one boss fight devolving into a one on one with only Hawke standing by the end.... but that suited me fine, especially in the High Dragon and Corypheus fights.--174.3.106.2 (talk) 13:47, October 25, 2011 (UTC)

This weekend I started yet another DA2 playthru as a "non-lethal" mage, and I have to say it is kinda fun. I'm currently probably 1/4 of the way through Act 2, and currently roughly 1/2 to 2/3 of the way through Legacy. I have yet to get Gravitic Ring or Pull of the Abyss. Key spells early on are the Glyphs, especially once they're upgraded. The only major annoyances so far are the Genlock Alpha's, as they don't seem to be affected by the Glyphs. I haven't decided yet if I'm going to dual the Arishock one-on-one or not. Gruedragon (talk) 12:48, October 31, 2011 (UTC)

Nice, hahaha! Too bad I don't have any DLCs yet.
Wikia sig NicKeL BreaD Talk 17:59, November 1, 2011 (UTC)


Here's my more 'glass cannon' dps setup for a mage: http://social.bioware.com/forum/1/topic/305/index/7075118/1 The general concept for Hawke is that of a crit-mage - using equipment and abilities to increase crit chance and damage. Also, by using death syphon instead of bloodmagic/willpower you can max magic earlier and move to pumping dex. By ~level 24 you should have maximum base damage, ~75% critical chance, ~90% critical damage, and a solid amount of +%elemental damage (if you follow my itemisation). This means it deals the highest possible damage possible for a mage (but is rather fragile). Mr Afk (talk) 14:56, October 31, 2011 (UTC)

That's pretty unique. But it's more of a rogue's job, though; a critical-damage dealer. The only way I know how a mage can do critical damage is through Hex of Torment, fully upgraded, in the Entropy skill tree.
Wikia sig NicKeL BreaD Talk 18:03, November 1, 2011 (UTC)
Yeah, without specialised equipment/ability allocations it's reasonably hard to increase critical chance for mages and warriors. Although I would hope that a critical chance of 75% by level 24 is enough to suggest that a mage can deal critical damage in a way other than the entropy tree (which kinda sucks tbh). An upgraded hex of torment could work (so if you were aiming for maximal spike damage you would move to pumping cunning rather than dexterity and invest in critical damage% gear rather than chance%), but it only gives guaranteed criticals against one target and by late game enemy magic resistance will cut down its duration significantly (on nightmare anyway).
But if you think about it, there's nothing that special about critical damage- it's just another damage modifier. And dealing the greatest damage is sort of 'Hawke's' job simply because he/she can do it best (as you can get the modifiers from armour, more attributes and abilities etc).
I can't remember which way it works, but a 75%+ chance to deal either around the max base dmg*190%*151% = 287% max base damage (if the modifiers modify the modified amount), or max base dmg + max base damage*90% + max base damage*51% = 241% max base damage (if they are applied separately) is more than any purely elemental modifiers can achieve.
What makes a crit-mage/glass-cannon particularly powerful is the way spells can crit, making all elements that much more damaging (rather than just specialised elements).
In fact, increasing critical chance and damage is more effective for mages and warriors than rogues, due to the larger proportional change it has.
That said, I'm not sure how many people can cope with little health as maintaining absolute crowd control takes a while to get used to.Mr Afk (talk) 18:51, November 1, 2011 (UTC)
Actually, the protagonist mages in Dragon Age 2 don't have low health (except for Anders and Bethany); Merrill will need Constitution for her Blood of the First (same applies for mage Hawke's Blood Magic), and a Spirit Healer Hawke has Vitality, which increases Constitution by 10.
I think it's still possible to have "glass-cannon" mages, but not warriors; they're the frontlines and they can't be paper-thin.
Wikia sig NicKeL BreaD Talk 17:58, November 2, 2011 (UTC)
Well, I don't know how you can say the 'protagonist mages' don't have low health when potentially only merrill has a reasonable amount of health. Also, it isn't necessary to pump constitution that much even for blood mages, just over 200 hp (~220) is usually enough assuming you finish fights fast enough and don't allow any enemies to injure them. Due to the blood magic ratio (3:1 even without equipment) from half her health you already have more than 300 mana, which is all you need really. But that's besides the point.
All I am saying is that the extreme end of 'damager' mage builds becomes quite fragile.
Heh, and your point about warriors is highly debatable. Well.. it depends on your definition. By virtue of their armour bonuses (+health/damage resistance), warriors are usually a lot more durable than other classes. This means that pumping no con will still result in a character that is more sturdy than a no-con mage or rogue.
In my opinion, this extra durability is reason enough to make dps builds with everything going towards damage. They still can take a few hits (so they aren't 'paper-thin'), but they actually deal reasonable damage.
Additionally, having less health means that you can drop down to lower levels of health and get a larger blood frenzy bonus faster.
By this, they become more effective at drawing threat (protecting your allies) and then utterly destroying the clustered enemies via spike damage abilities.
I find it weird how the wikia has such a different mentality to builds than the bsn (classes, character's and builds/gameplay and strategy forums/nerd corner haha). Maybe it's something to do with the lack of build guides and speed runs out there. While speed isn't everything- where's the fun in simply outlasting enemies? :P Mr Afk (talk) 06:51, November 3, 2011 (UTC)
I usually put up to 40 Permanent Constitution for Merrill (other attribute points come from the equipment, like Rune of Valiance), for two purposes; health and "mana". The rest goes to Magic.
About your last paragraph, it's like guerilla warfare: it's "unconventional"; irregular, but exceptional. Unique methods, nonetheless.
Wikia sig NicKeL BreaD Talk 10:14, November 3, 2011 (UTC)

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