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High dragon (strategy)

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High Dragon Vital Stats
Level 15
Hitpoints: 3765
Mana/Stamina: 405
Attack: 62.5
Damage per hit: 96.1
Defense: 57
Armor: 33.4
Spell Resistance: 0
Mental Resistance: 19
Physical Resistance: 85.5
Fire Resistance: 75%
Cold Resistance: 0
Electricity Resistance: 0
Nature Resistance: 0
Spirit Resistance: 0
Special Attacks:
Immunities: Knockdown, Stun, Charm, Confusion, Fear, Slip

The High Dragon is a formidable opponent and this page details tips on how to defeat her.

Note: These tactics are for the High Dragon at the Mountain Top while on the quest for The Urn of Sacred Ashes.

High Dragon CapabilitiesEdit

The High Dragon possesses the following offensive capabilities: Fire Spit, Flame Breath, Massive Attack, Grab, Buffet. It can also attack with its tail and hind legs when you try to flank it. Occasionally, notably when the highest threat target is out of melee range, the High Dragon may briefly fly up out of view. Afterwards, it comes crashing down in an open location in the area. Any companions caught in the vicinity of the boss when it lands take massive physical damage.

Companions Edit

  • Alistair is your main tank, and if sufficiently outfitted with defensive suggestions listed below can take the brunt of the attack. He should have all of his Weapon and Shield talents learned by now, and Shield Wall activated via tactics at all times, to prevent knockdown.
  • Wynne's healing capabilities are invaluable when facing the High Dragon.
  • Shale is an excellent choice for the party main tank in this scenario. Equipping Large Brilliant Fire Crystal will increase resistance to the dragon's fire breathing attacks. Shale is also immune to the dragon's 1-hit kill move; couple this with the Stoneheart ability to make it a very durable tank.
  • Oghren as a tanking berserker with Yusaris and the Juggernaut Armor works great alongside another warrior. Indomitable will make him immune to stunning effects, but not necessarily knockdown. With Destroyer and Sunder Armor, he can take down the dragon's armor for the sake of your other warriors. Sten can be used interchangeably with Oghren, but his specialization may be different, thus reducing his effectiveness.
  • Morrigan has many useful spells by default/available with one level up each, regardless of her endgame build, namely Frost Weapons.
  • Leliana, with all of her Archery talents learned, can also be of use in this fight. Shattering Shot mitigates the dragon's armor, Arrow of Slaying deals massive damage. She should have Marjolaine's Recurve, a Tier 7 bow that only she can equip, as well as Tier 7 armor, preferably Wade's Superior Drakeskin Armor Set.

Equipment Recommendation Edit

Defensive Edit

The High Dragon deals fire damage therefore fire resistance is recommended. Bear in mind that elemental resistances are capped at 75%. Here is a list of upper tier fire resistant items:

Ico lesser warmth balm Lesser Warmth BalmLesser Warmth Balm
Herbalism
This light balm attunes the user to the element of fire.

+30% fire resistance for 180 seconds.
Ico greater warmth balm Greater Warmth BalmGreater Warmth Balm
Herbalism
This light balm attunes the user to the element of fire.

+60% fire resistance for 180 seconds.
Ico armor light Wade's Drakeskin armor setWade's Drakeskin armor set

Drakeskin (Tier 7)

Armor: 12.75
Fatigue: 4.02% (before set bonus)
+35% fire resistance
Set: -10% fatigue
Ico armor light Wade's Superior Drakeskin armor setWade's Superior Drakeskin armor set

Drakeskin (Tier 7)

Armor: 12.75
Fatigue: 4.02%
+4 dexterity
+70% fire resistance
Set: -10% fatigue
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 armor robe Reaper's VestmentsReaper's Vestments
Clothing
Reaper was an apostate mage who evaded the templars for many years before being captured. Part villain, part folk hero, it is said he led a charmed life avoiding dangers that would have killed lesser men.

+6 constitution
+20% fire resistance
+16% spell resistance
+10% chance to dodge attacks
+12 armor
Ico amulet Smith's HeartSmith's Heart
Amulet
Droplets of molten metal that fall from the forges of the dwarven smiths are often collected and worn for good luck. This one is steel, roughly shaped like a clenched fist.

+20% fire resistance
-1 dexterity
Ico amulet Spirit CharmSpirit Charm
Amulet
A flat disk of solid iron bearing the image of the flame of Andraste hangs on this hemp cord.

+10% fire resistance

Large Fire Crystals

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 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
Ico helm heavy Helm of the RedHelm of the Red
Heavy helmet
Steel (Tier 3)
Requires: 22 strength

Armor: 1.75
Fatigue: 2.48%
+1 dexterity
+10% fire resistance
Ico greatsword YusarisYusaris
Greatsword
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% fire resistance
+10 damage vs. dragons
Ico axe AodhAodh
Waraxe
Silverite (Tier 6)
Requires: 27 strength

Damage: 9.00
Critical chance: 1.50%
Armor penetration: 3.50
Strength modifier: 1.10
Rune slot Rune slot
+3% melee critical chance
+20% fire resistance

-5% cold resistance
+1 fire damage
Ico shield towermetal Howe's ShieldHowe's Shield
Heavy shield
Silverite (Tier 6)
Requires: 38 strength

Fatigue: 6.00%
Strength modifier: 1.00
+12 defense
+10% fire resistance
+10% cold resistance

-2 willpower

Note that getting Wade's leather armour sets involves returning to the High Dragon at a later time.

Most importantly, and this goes for the Flemeth and Archdemon fights as well, is that the dragon will make excessive use of stun and knockdown in conjunction with the damage from its physical effects. The fire attacks are one thing, but nothing will leave frontline fighters more vulnerable than getting stunned with every flap of its wings or swipe of its claws. Load Hale runes into your warriors' weapons. Owen, if you've upgraded his stock by returning Valena to him will have a Grandmaster Hale Rune available for just under 10 sovereigns. It's powerful enough to give a warrior a full check in physical resistance, enough that he can better resist the debilitating secondary effects than without. The damage itself can then be managed with armor, poultices, and healing magic. There is also a Master Hale Rune available at Wonders of Thedas, which is almost as good and together can make a warrior immovable.

Offensive Edit

Ico greatsword YusarisYusaris
Greatsword
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% fire resistance
+10 damage vs. dragons
Ico axe AodhAodh
Waraxe
Silverite (Tier 6)
Requires: 27 strength

Damage: 9.00
Critical chance: 1.50%
Armor penetration: 3.50
Strength modifier: 1.10
Rune slot Rune slot
+3% melee critical chance
+20% fire resistance

-5% cold resistance
+1 fire damage
Ico Dead Thaig Shanker Duncan's DaggerDuncan's Dagger
Dagger
Varies (Tier 5-7)
Requires: 24-30 dexterity

Damage: 5.60-6.40
Critical chance: 4.20%-4.80%
Armor penetration: 6.40-8.00
Strength modifier: 0.85
+4 dexterity
+10% critical/backstab damage
+10 damage vs. dragons
Ico axe AxameterAxameter
Waraxe
Silverite (Tier 6)
Requires: 27 strength

Damage: 9.00
Critical chance: 4.50%
Armor penetration: 5.25
Strength modifier: 1.10
Rune slot Rune slot
+2 damage
+10% critical damage
Lucky
+4 damage vs. Dragons
  • Ice arrows for any archers in the party.

Beyond this, Tier 6 and 7 weapons will suffice. Archer Wardens should have one of the Rapid Aim bows (one of which is unavailable unless the Grandmaster Hale Rune is forfeited), a two-hander should use Yusaris without question, Weapon and Shield warriors or dual-wielders should have Topsider's Honor and/or the Keening Blade.

Playstyle Advice Edit

Spellcaster Edit

  • The dragon is not immune, but merely highly resistant, to freezing or certain spell effects which halt the target.
Spell-ConeOfCold icon Cone of Cold
Spell-Winter'sGrasp icon Winter's Grasp
  • The dragon is vulnerable to some entropy spells.
Spell-Sleep icon Sleep
Spell-Sleep icon Sleep+Spell-Horror icon Horror: It takes damage for the Nightmare spell combination, but is immune to the fear effect.
  • Hexes are an effective way to reduce the High Dragon's damage capability and defences:
Spell-MisdirectionHex icon Misdirection Hex
Spell-DeathHex icon Death Hex
  • Nature Spells seem to work on the dragon, a mage could finish a dragon with half health left off single handed while all other party members were dead by using the following spells:
Walking Bomb Walking Bomb
Virulent Walking Bomb Virulent Walking Bomb
Spell-StingingSwarm icon Stinging Swarm
  • Arcane Warriors with high mana/stamina regeneration, high armor, and Shimmering Shield make ideal tanks, with an unparalleled 60 armor with Rock Salve.
Spell-ShimmeringShield Icon Shimmering Shield
Spell-RockArmor icon Rock Armor
  • Having a mage ready to cast Force Field can readily counter the dragon's efforts to Grab your tank. The effect occurs instantly and doesn't seem resistible, though it will only trap the dragon briefly.
  • It is advisable to have at least one mage with the Spirit Healer spec, and the first three spells it grants the player. Group Heal and Revival can be huge here, and set up a tactic for them to cast Lifeward on anyone that gets grabbed in the dragon's jaws(Ally = Grabbed => Use Lifeward). That's generally a death sentence in this battle, even using Heal/Group Heal on the grabbed party member, but Lifeward can save the day for any grabbed party member. That Lifeward tactic is great for ANY boss-like enemy that has a powerful grab move.
  • If you have Morrigan, or any other mage with the cold tree, now is a great time to turn on Frost Weapons.
  • If you have 2 mages, both with the ability Force Field, and Shale (the last party member can serve the role of ranged DPS, but is not actually necessary), then it is possible to keep the dragon's attention on Shale while the ranged attackers slowly chip away at the dragon's health, while Shale takes no damage in the process. After summoning the dragon, turn on Shale's Stoneheart ability (this is so that the dragon exclusively targets Shale) and have Shale use taunt. Then, have the ranged attackers back away from the location of Shale and the dragon and cast force field on Shale. Due to a bug in the way force field works, the dragon will still target Shale even though using force field should draw all hostility away from the target. Because of the cooldown of force field, if both mages have the ability, there should be no time where Shale does not have force field on her, and is thus immune to damage for the duration of the fight. A key point in this strategy is to avoid using many abilities that draw a lot of hostility from the target so the dragon does not leave Shale.
  • If you have 1 mage with the ability Force Field, you can recast this almost as soon as its effect wears off of your tank. If you have one mage with the Spirit healer spec, it is not difficult to keep your tank alive between force fields. Have your tank taunt when the force field wears off, have your mages and another ranged DPS only attack. This tactic makes this fight very easy.

Trap Layer Edit

  • Another tactic to use is traps. Position your party and trap the High Dragon's landing spot. You will have to place about 50 Tier III traps there, but don't use Fire Traps because the High Dragon is 75% resistant to fire damage. After she lands, she will be killed instantly from the ~80 damage per trap triggered. Video demonstration here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iFkR2qF7zs0
Ico freeze trap Freeze TrapFreeze Trap
Trap-Making
When packed next to each other, this trap can keep a cut of meat fresh for days longer than otherwise. But its primary use is still as a deadly weapon.
Ico acidic trap Acidic TrapAcidic Trap
Trap-Making
The surface of this device has been terribly etched by small leaks of its corrosive contents.
Ico large claw trap Large Claw TrapLarge Claw Trap
Trap-Making
The real pain comes not when this trap bites through flesh, but when it collides with bone.
Ico large shrapnel trap Large Shrapnel TrapLarge Shrapnel Trap
Trap-Making
This is not the sort of trap you use to hunt animals for dinner, unless you like your meat tenderized.
Ico shock trap Shock TrapShock Trap
Trap-Making
Even packed safely, this trap causes hair to stand on end.
Ico soulrot trap Soulrot TrapSoulrot Trap
Trap-Making
To know this trap is to know despair.
Note: You don't need to actually put 50 Tier III Traps, with around 24 Small Claw Trap and a bit of moving around it's pretty doable.


Melee Edit

See Also Tanking: An Alternative Approach.
  • Keep your warriors to the flank/back area as much as possible. She'll fly up & turn around on you(reposition yourself at that point), but it's the best way to avoid her devastating grab & chomp move. Avoid her front area in general, as much as possible, to avoid that grab move.
  • Warriors that have specialized in either weapon and shield or two-handed weapons can use Shield Wall or Indomitable to ignore the dragon's knockdown attack.
  • A fully specialized Arcane Warrior also works very well as a tank with a combination of Combat Magic, Rock Armor, and Shimmering Shield. This will render the Arcane Warrior highly resilient to the dragon's physical attacks and almost impervious to its fire attacks. However, note that an Arcane Warrior is vulnerable to knockdown effects, unlike the Weapon and Shield Warrior, so the damage output is highly dependent on how well the Arcane Warrior can resist knockdown effects.
  • A Warrior can be behind the dragon and attack while the caster heals, and the other two party members take attention of the High Dragon.
  • Though potentially difficult, a rogue with Combat Movement can flank while remaining out of range of the High Dragon's kick attacks. If attempting this, make sure to stay as close to 180' as possible, as it's easy to unintentionally find yourself in kicking range if you're not careful.

Ranged Edit

  • Attacking at long range can protect your character from most of the dragon's attacks, with the obvious exception of the fire attacks. For non-warriors, it may be easier to mitigate the fire damage than the stun and knockdown from its physical attacks.
  • Elemental arrows/bolts other than fire will help boost the damage per shot.
  • An all ranged party (bringing Leliana, Wynne, and Morrigan with an archer or mage Warden) and placing them around the dragon is a good strategy to avoid its melee attacks and grab. As the dragon can fly short distances while on screen and fly to any of the three set landing areas, be sure to reposition as needed (not as feasible on consoles). When the dragon uses Buffet and drags a party member towards it, switch to them and move them away as soon as they stand up while the rest of the party continues to attack.
  • Positioning in the ruined structure with the three chests is a good way to damage the dragon reliably with a lower risk of it flying towards you, as the entrance is too narrow for the dragon to fit through.

General Advice Edit

  • The death of a melee character from the dragon's Grab attack can be prevented by using well timed healing spells. Lifeward is especially useful in this. Freezing the dragon or casting a spell such as Force Field will stop the Grab attack. Stonefist can also stop the grab attack, but is significantly less reliable.
  • Using Force Field on your tank will stop all damage from the High Dragon. Unless you're within the safe spot where the dragon can't land, be careful of not losing aggro from the tank this way.
  • Assign your party members, especially the melee, to use lesser health poultice when below 75% health. Similar tactics can also be used on mages to keep their mana available by using lesser lyrium potions.
  • Engage the dragon near the entrance to the temple on the opposite side of the open field where you first see her. Your archers and support mages can take cover behind the walls near the entrance. This does not protect from the dragon's breath attack, but it keeps them away from the melee and counters the dragon's ability to hop around the battlefield, forcing her to attack from a single direction.

Positioning Advice Edit

Mountain Top Path

Path the High Dragon can't attack

  • There are various ways to exploit surrounding environment to escape the dragon's attacks or even cause it to become stuck.
  • One strategy is to hide behind the crumbled circle tower to evade the dragon's Buffet (pulling) spell. You will simply hit the wall and get back up in complete safety. When the dragon flies into the crumbed circle tower, simply move to the other side of the wall, but don't let yourself get caught on the same side of the wall as the dragon. If you have spells that can cast through walls, you can kill the dragon more quickly.
  • Another strategy involving the use of the crumbled circle tower is to use ranged characters (Leliana and Zevran) as well as spell casters and position them inside the tower against the wall at equal distances from one another. The dragon should land in the middle of the tower, using only flame breath on your characters. You just have to protect your team members with warmth balm or any other fire resistance means and use range attacks (and heal regularly). With the right strategy commands the fight is effortless. It may even happen than the dragon stumbles on one character and then get stuck in this position. Finish the dragon with range attack.
  • There is a glitch outside the circle on the mountain side that can actually make the game think you have left the area. This means that if your party is dead, they will suddenly appear next to you alive and at full health. Eventually, the game seems to recognize what you are doing and stops (Confirmed on Xbox, untested on PC and PS3).
  • Similar to the crumbled circle tower ranged method - using your ranged character, ring the gong and run towards the entrance to the Gauntlet. Just before there, on your left is a wall with an opening. Position yourself against the cliff wall so that you can see the dragon (once he comes after you) and launch arrows (etc.) into it. Using health poultice tactic at 50% health can keep your comrades alive and you will need to heal yourself from time to time. This method can take quite a while (especially if your teammates die) and may use a lot of poultices but has been proven successful at lvl 8 on Hard.
  • Another strategy is to get all the melee except Wynne (preferably Oghren and shale plus the warden) and have Wynne heal them through the fight as much as possible. Once the melee characters die after doing as much damage as they could to the dragon take control of Wynne and run between the lower portion where the gong is and the higher portion where the bridge is. When the dragon flies up to change sides quickly run then side he flew away from and vice versa. Wynne can cast things like stonefist and arcane bolt to slowly but eventually taken the high dragon down to 0 health. (Use potions to ensure that Wynne doesn't die and can cast arcane bolt and stonefist when needed.) This is not a preferred strategy but is a VERY useful one if the player has lost everyone except Wynne. This can also be done with Morrigan, without any health potions, using drain life on the dragon to replenish health. In running back and forth, be careful to ensure that the rocks will prevent the dragon from pulling you into her clutches, so the only way to be damaged is via the occasional fireball. The dragon will spend most of her time flying back and forth while your lonely mage slowly whittles her down.
  • The petrify spell also works on the dragon approximately half the time in my experience, but combined with melee and non-fire elemental attacks this can come in really handy!
  • The easiest way to do that is to bring 3 ranged (1 healer 2 DPS, or 1 healer 1 DPS and 1 support), so you use the hold command, and use your tanker to taunt the dragon far from they, so you just kite the dragon while he is being nuked, you don't even need great fire resistance to do that, your healer should do. Its important that if you see dragon landing near the ranged move them all and continue tanking and kiting. May need only a few lyrium or health potion, if you make sure your tanker don't attack the dragon (only use taunt). Pretty easy fight.
  • This fight is much easier than it first appears: you can do the whole thing with nobody ever getting hurt but your main tank. I used Wynne, Morrigan, and a Mage Warden (an archer works fine, too, though you need two mages with Heal) on the broken bridge, right at the line where it goes from basically flat to down-sloping. This puts them in range of firing and healing the tank, but OUT of range of aggression, unless you pull the tank up too far. Have your tank summon the dragon at the clearing just below the bridge, then run to the bridge where the chunk is missing. At this point the dragon has two attacks: Fireball and "pounce" which will drag the tank down to it... just run back to the original spot. All mages should have three tactics: Self < 50% heal, Ally < 50% heal, Enemy Nearest Visible Attack. Just get the tank away from the dragon when it pulls him and splat. I advise Massive armor if you come at this at low levels.

Exploits / bugs: Edit

  • pcIcon pc If the high dragon is killed as it jumps it is possible for it not to drop anything. The Dragon will appear dead on the floor with the Highlighted name 'High Dragon' but you will be unable to loot it.
  • pcIcon pc It is possible to call the dragon and kill it without taking any damage whatsoever, with any class chosen. Once you enter the Mountain Top area for the first time there will be two other exits, the Gauntlet and the eastern part of the Ruin. Head over to the bridge where you go back into the east ruin. Walk straight to the door (fairly close), and tell you party to hold their ground (H key). At the top of the bridge keep trying Kolgrim's Horn until you are still as far from the battlefield as possible. Once the horn is successful (even before you spot the dragon) run back down to your party. If done correctly the dragon will be unable to attack you with anything other than buffet which causes no real threat. Equip bows and arrows or just use a mage and attack for a while. Just don't press H again until the dragon is slain. There is a spot on the right side of the bridge where it almost becomes ground where the dragon's attack "Fire Spit" cannot reach you. However, it can still use non-damaging moves such as "Roar." The dragon must not be able to move for this to work! (Please note: It has been reported that this technique does not work for some people, it might have been patched. Needs confirmations.)
  • The dragon AI can leave it permanently stuck in a position just to the right of the bridge from the Caverns, between the bridge and the pool of fluid. If you get it there, it will be unable to move or attack and can be taken down easily. This is a collision bug which might be very difficult to trigger, but it has been observed.
  • pcIcon pc The dragon might get stuck in the gap between the path leading to the east ruin, and the path from where you came. If it is stuck you can circle it, so you are positioned behind it, and it will not be able to attack you, unless you engage it in melee.
  • If your tank moves around a lot, the dragon will have a very hard time landing many attacks, trivializing the fight even if playing on nightmare with a party of melee classes using ranged weapons (and a healer of course to heal the minor damage the tank does take).
  • pcIcon pc There is another way to kill the Mountaintop High Dragon, although it takes quite a while and is a bit difficult to do. If Shale is in your party, even better. Place her in "Stone Aura" within the small round stone ring on the right, preferably near the chests. This can be done without her, but the extra resistance she offers can help. Tell your party to Hold Position somewhere. Select the Mage ("Spirit Healer" Specialisation would be best for the "Group Heal" spell, as it has a short cast time and heals both involved characters) and go into the ring. Summon the dragon in the middle of the ring and go on the outside, behind a wall. "Stone Aura" should still reach you and the dragon descends within the ring. hit her with one or two spells (or a couple normal staff bolts) and she will fly out towards you. When it does that, go inside the ring and hit from there, and so on. As it comes in, go out and the other way around. From time to time, it does the "Buffet" (if there's a wall between you and it, the Mage just hits the wall and stops, thus nullifying most of the effect)and "Roar". Some micromanaging will be required to keep your characters alive, as the "Fire Spit" passes through walls for some reason, every now and again a tail "Slap" also pops out. A good idea is to stock up on the smallest lyrium and health potions, as they are cheap.
  • xbox360Icon xbox360 If you are fast enough, you can ring the gong and run for the southern exit (The tower, not the gauntlet). If you were fast enough, you can make it to the door with the High Dragon aggroed and zone into the tower. When you return, the High Dragon will be sleeping next to the Gong.
  • An Archer character can run between the two cone-shaped mini hills below the ramp into the area. The dragon keeps flying to the ground in the centre, then back to the lower area. The archer is untouched and after a short while the dragon will perish from a withering hail of pinpricks. This worked on the PC version.

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