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Dragon Age: Inquisition Skill Combo Guide

Creating the ultimate dream-team party in Dragon Age: Inquisition is something that all players want to experience, and in BioWare games, mixing and matching party members is half of the fun.

Finding that perfect balance between Rogues, Mages and Warriors can be a long-winded process full of experimentation and testing. Sometimes you won’t know if a particular skill is worth getting, or if a passive is too good to be true.

In a sprawling RPG game like Dragon Age: Inquisition, it helps to know what you’re doing and be on the top of your game as soon as possible–otherwise you’ll feel the need to re-spec or even restart the game and lose your progress.

If you want to go toe-to-toe with towering dragons and take on the fiercest demons of the Fade, you’ll need to arm yourself with knowledge. Luckily we’ve come across an immensely handy guide courtesy of Reddit user Legacy_Raider, which reveals the dynamics of spell combos.

We’ve broken down the basics and fundamentals of combos, and tell you everything you need to know about status effects, detonators and the resulting bonus chaos so you can take on the biggest and baddest in Thedas.

Dragon Age Table

Anatomy Of A Spell Combo

Certain skills in Inquisition are must-haves that can set up devastatingly powerful combos that wreak havoc on foes. Experimenting with class abilities can lead to some pretty surprising results (like Whirlwind with Static Cage) and decimate baddies with substantial damage bonuses.

But first we have to understand what status effects are, and how they work in tandem with “detonation” skills to pull off high damage.

Every class–Rogue, Mage and Warrior–has its own set of skills that inflict varying status effects as well as specific detonation skills. Combos essentially begin with incapacitating an enemy with a status effect followed up with a “detonator ability”.

Essentially combos are just a specific rotation of skills that deliver bonus damage and affects when properly executed, and keeping things simple is the key to understanding how they work.

Dragon Age Combo Starters

Status Effects: Combo Starters

There are four basic status effects–Stun, Sleep, Freeze and Paralyze–and below we have a breakdown of the classes and skills that inflict them. Note that these abilities are also synonymous with “incapacitating” effects and the “disabled” status.

Incapacitating Effect –> Class –> Skill (Skill Tree)

  • Stun –> Warrior –> Pommel Strike (Two-Handed Tree)
  • Sleep –> Rogue –> Knockout Powder (Subterfuge Tree)
  • Freeze –> Mage –> Winter’s Grasp // Flask of Frost (Tempest Rogue)
  • Paralyze –> Mage –> Lightning Bolt (Storm Tree)

The above skills are essential abilities to pick up for all classes in some mixture or another. It’s advised that you spread out and vary your party members, but they’ll all need some form of combo starter skill. You can’t go wrong with any of the above, but the passives can get a bit tricky.

Let’s just stick with combos for right now.

Dragon Age™: Inquisition_20141126231126

Detonators: Combo Finishers

Now that we know how to start a combo, let’s explore some basic finishers.

Just like the status effects, detonators are typified by the class they belong to and are made up of three basic types: Impact, Precision and Eldritch. All of these lead to different combo outcomes and can afford tremendous strategic advantage.

Detonator –> Class –> Skill 

  • Impact –> Warrior –>
    • Lunge and Slash
    • Shield Bash (Weapon & Shield Tree)
    • Mighty Blow, Whirlwind (Two-Handed Tree)
    • Spell Purge (Templar)
  • Precision –> Rogue –>
    • Longshot (Archery),
    • Twin Fangs, Death Blow (Double Daggers Tree)
    • Shadow Strike (Subterfuge)
  • Eldritch –> Mage –>
    • Mind Blast, Dispel (Spirit)
    • Energy Barrage (Storm)
    • Immolate (Inferno)
    • Spirit Blade (Knight-Enchanter)
    • Stonefist (doubles as Impact, Rift Mage)

Combos are all about strategy, and to effectively use them, you’ll need to hop into the freeze-frame tactical menu to plot your party’s actions. Having full step-by-step control over your party is essential to pulling off the combos, and the RTS-style tactical view is a fantastic way to learn the basics of this craft.

Learning the flow of battle is paramount to successful execution of spell synergies, but with time you’ll get the hang of it.

Now let’s move on to the advanced course in spell combos 101.

Combo Effects

Incapacitating skills set the bomb in place, detonators light the fuse and combo effects are the resulting explosion.

The most amazing thing about combos in Dragon Age: Inquisition is that status and detonator spells can be mixed and matched to deliver different explosive results. This is the advanced course, and we’ll be taking a look at the true dynamics of spell combos as tactical tools of destruction.

After successful detonation, certain combo sets will hit enemies with powerful afflictions that can weaken baddies, dish out huge elemental damage, or even send them in a crazed panic of fear. These debilitating statuses are the key to tackling strong bosses or playing on higher difficulties.

Essentially the formula is like this, along with a breakdown of each of the combo effects and what they do.

Incapacitating Spell + Detonator = Combo Effect

  • Basic Combo –> Moderate bonus damage, no bonus status effect.
  • Rupture –> High damage over time (DoT) that ignores armor, similar to a bleed effect.
  • Shatter–> High cold elemental damage.
  • Nightmare –> High damage, inflicts Panic effect (enemy stops attacking and moves randomly around the battlefield).
  • Discharge –> High AoE lightning damage to enemies within range.
  • Weakness –> High damage bonus and inflicts Weakness effect (target’s attacks do less damage)

Now that we know all the basics of the incapacitating spells, detonators and the combo effects, let’s go over some sample combos and their respective results in battle. Every detonator will trigger different outcomes, all of which can be the difference between life and death in those tough situations.

Dragon Age Skill Combos

 

It’s best to start out with the simple combos like Pommel Strike + Lunge and Slash, then work your way to using Mage skills like Winter’s Grasp and Lightning Bolt to start off your combos.

One of the more effective starter synergies is just Winter’s Grasp + Shield Bash, which works incredibly well if the opponent is shielded or heavily armored. Varric or Cole’s Knockout Powder is an excellent combo starter as well, as it puts baddies to sleep and allows you to kick off the bleeding effects of Rupture or terrorizing them with Nightmare.

If you happen to unlock the Templar specialization, he can actually combo off of his own skills: the  Wrath of Heaven ability–which delivers a Stun AoE attack–can be detonated by the Spell Purge attack, dealing huge damage.

If we consult the table above, a Stun starter combined with an Eldritch detonator kicks off Weakness, and for an added bonus, Spell Purge also dispels and de-buffs baddies of all their bonuses.

Another amazing combo is using Knockout Powder on group of clustered enemies then rampaging in with a two-handed Warrior’s Whirlwind ability. This will combo off of the entire group, dealing impressive damage across the board.

Static Cage also works exceptionally well with Whirlwind.

The former is a spell from the Mage’s Storm tree, and essentially traps enemies and paralyzes them in a given space. Once paralyzed, two-handed Warriors can jump in and stir up a frenzy with Whirlwind, rending the poor hapless souls to bits.

Dragon Age Spell Combos

To take full advantage of these synergies you’ll want to pay attention to enemy strengths and weaknesses. These can be seen at any time when you use the tactical menu, where you can hover over a demon or Red Templar and see their stats.

Should an enemy not have any weaknesses, well you can just fire up a recipe like Pommel Strike (Stun) + Mind Blast (Eldritch Detonator) and Weaken them yourself.

At their core combos are strategic advantages that can sway any battle in your favor. Using the right conjunction of spells at the right time can lead to an ultimate victory against the strongest foes of Thedas.

With the power of combos every party member has the capacity to be a huge asset for the entire team. Be sure to pick up all of the combo starters and check through the detonators to find which you like the most. But be careful as you’ll want to invest in passives to round out your characters.

Now that you know the basics of combos be sure to give them a try! At first it’ll be slow-going, but once you get all the rotations and Tactics down pat, battle will flow like a finely tuned machine.

We hope you’ve learned a thing or two with this guide, and be sure to let us know in the comments section below if you’ve found any other interesting character class skill combos!

  • Never underestimate the power of Elfroot.

  • Juri

    NICE!!!

  • Alex Marciniak

    lol. that’s a lot of effort put into a combo system that is broken. whirlwind, immolate, mighty blow, and others either do not work or do 1 damage, or are bugged in some other way. i cannot believe more people are not noticing this, as combos are essential to combat in this game. nice article, aside from being pointless..

    • Ruffian

      ? I’ve been comboing mighty blow with freeze consistently and it seems to work fine. Immolate as well.

      • Alex Marciniak

        seems to work fine? the combo does the detonate animation but if you pay attention the damage it is simply 1, in “blue”, which represents the freeze damage detonation amount, on top of your standard physical damage represented in red from a physical attack, i.e. mighty blow. They are separate numbers and both exist for every combo. Please send me a link to a video where mighty blow operates correctly.

    • HappyFreek

      1 damage combo=enemy is resistant to that damage.

      • Alex Marciniak

        what in God’s name are you guys talking about? They do not work, there is evidence of this everywhere online, reddit posts, youtube, etc. I damage = broken, considering it does this for EVERY enemy. And you haven’t mentioned the other examples of the combos being broken. Whirlwind? Stonefist? Immolate? all either not detonating or doing no damage. You just just picking and choosing examples to to try to defend your position or are you just lazy? or maybe something else? Have you guys even played the game???

    • Leon Benjamin Archer

      1 Damage = You didn’t look at your enemy’s resistances

      • Alex Marciniak

        what in God’s name are you guys talking about? They do not work, there
        is evidence of this everywhere online, reddit posts, youtube, etc. I
        damage = broken, considering it does this for EVERY enemy. And you haven’t mentioned the other examples of the combos being broken. Whirlwind? Stonefist? Immolate? all either not detonating or doing no damage. You just just picking and choosing examples to to try to defend your position or are you just lazy? or maybe something else? Have you guys even played the game?

        • Leon Benjamin Archer

          All three of those examples work fine for me. I specifically tested them out after reading your comment. In fact, the only place I’ve seen where it doesn’t work is in a pirated copy of the game.

    • Alex Marciniak

      what in God’s name are you guys talking about? They do not work, there is evidence of this everywhere online, reddit posts, youtube, etc. I damage = broken, considering it does this for EVERY enemy. And you
      haven’t mentioned the other examples of the combos being broken.
      Whirlwind? Stonefist? Immolate? all either not detonating or doing no
      damage. You just just picking and choosing examples to to try to
      defend your position or are you just lazy? or maybe something else? Have you guys even played the game?

  • nalrya

    I was wondering why my Rift Mage build sometimes has endless mana. Thought it was a bug but when Stun + Eldritch causes Weakened that explains everything. Very nice article, thanks! 🙂

  • Derp

    Yet another game released by EA before it was thoroughly tested. By the time they fix the myriad of issues affecting this game, most will have already purchased and completed it. Still a great game, and I appreciate the amount of effort that had to have gone into this game, but when basic gameplay mechanics aren’t functioning properly I find it difficult to ignore.

  • Glowyrm

    Thanks for this guide, it’s exactly what I needed. After reading this I immediately purchased a round of respec amulets for my whole party and made my choices for everyone based on combo synergy (only lvl 5 at the moment though).

    My 1 giant complaint for DA:I so far is that I feel like 75% of battles are waiting for cooldowns. I feel like the game would have benefited from a slightly faster pace in regards to spell/ability usage. MOST of the time me and my party are auto attacking which is just not exciting at all. If I use 1 spell I have to wait 5+ seconds to get enough mana to use a 2nd spell. It’s rare that I can use abilities back to back (depends on what they are, there are definitely circumstances where this happens, but not often).

    In short, too much waiting, needs more ability usage, and then this combo system would be much more fun.

    PS – Having to HOLD down a button to auto attack is lame as hell. If you’re going to have a basic auto attack, go all the way and make it a toggle on/off.

    • Malihulya

      toggling basic attack is retarded.

      • Glowyrm

        Excellent argument. It was eloquent, succinct…

        My point is that holding down a button for the sake of holding down a button (there’s no skill or thought involved) is lame.

        Your point was…what again?

        My second point, basic attack shouldn’t be such a huge part of gameplay that this is even a thought. If it was used sparingly then I agree that it should need to be pressed. If casters were faster paced it would be fine the way it is since you would be using abilities and spells more often than basic attacks.

        See, that’s how you have a discussion.

        • Jeremy Brunette

          See that’s where you are wrong. Dragon Age isn’t meant to be played like Skryim where you run around and fight people. Dragon Age is meant to be played in the tactical screen so that you can control all four members at the same time.

          It’s all about the team in DA. In tactical mode, you tell someone to auto and they do.

          There are also a lot more abilities/spells to worry about if you are playing as four people.

          Longer cooldowns also makes you be more tactical.

          If you’re still bored, maybe you should play a harder difficulty 😉

    • MikeB513

      Been playing as a 2 handed weapon warrior and I’m currently lvl 16. My experience has not been boredom.

    • Mikko Halonen

      There is a toggle in the options, guy from two years ago.

  • Mikko Halonen

    You say shatter is high frost damage, but it added only 67 frost damage to my 1100 Twin Fangs hit. Insignificant.

    • Coollogic

      Likely a mob that was resistant to frost damage, Long shot on my level 10 rogue typically hits for around 600 (varies on distance) but when it shatters a target that is not resistant to frost I get 900-1000 additional frost damage, not so insignificant.

      • Mikko Halonen

        You are correct. It was a corpse.

  • Ryan DeVries

    Static Cage and then Immolate works really well too. If there is a large group of enemies heading toward you to attack you, then you can use static cage, they all get transported toward the middle, and while they are paralyzed use immolate and they all burn.