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Dragon Age Inquisition - Mage, builds, skills, abilities, offensive, defensive, utility

We've got an essential guide to all of the Mage's most important spells and abilities, along with three great builds to help you beat the game.

The Mage is a particular;y powerful class in Dragon Age Inquisition, and you should focus your stat acquisitions on Magic, then Willpower when bulking out your preferred magical fighter. There are no healing options beyond chugging down potions in the game, and so the magical defensive barriers provided by Mages are invaluable throughout the story. As for your offensive spells, you'll start out with Lightning and Flashfire.

Your Spirit skillset focuses on defensive skills, while the Storm tree provides many debilitating spells. The Winter and Inferno trees are more orientated toward dishing out the pain. With that said, there are all kinds of tools packed within each tree, and you should definitely pick and choose from the lot when it comes to crafting your own glass cannon.

Here's a look at some of the most useful Mage spells, skills and abilities you can get in the game.

Mage spells and skills guide

  • Name: Barrier
  • Set: Spirit
  • Barrier: 5,500 per cent of weapon damage
  • Area of Effect: 4 meters
  • Cooldown: 24 seconds
  • Mana cost: 50

This powerful buffing ability provides every party member in range with a healthy amount of armour. Note, however, that the casting circle is not the precise range of effect - imagine it stretching around 25% further and you'll have the right idea. As long as your party members aren't too far outside of the visible perimeter, they'll receive the benefit of the cast.

We recommend enhancing this skill with Rejuvenating Barrier and Elegant Defense as you level up. The latter will reduce the cooldown of the spell by four seconds each time an earlier application expires. In longer fights you could be casting this three or four times, giving you a glorious 16 second cooldown as you approach the fourth application.

As for Rejuvenating Barrier, this will boost the mana and stamina regeneration of each team member affected by the spell by 35 per cent. Combined with Elegant Defense, this spell is now your most potent - and important - defensive ability in the game. If you want to cheese your way through a particularly tricky fight, consider playing a taunting Warrior with three Mages - if each Mage throws out a Barrier spell one at a time, you'll have a near permanent protective shield in play.

  • Name: Chain Lightning
  • Set: Storm
  • Distance: 5 metres (9 with Arcing Surge)
  • Number of targets: 4 (6 with Arcing Surge)
  • Shocked Duration: 8 seconds
  • Cooldown: 8 seconds
  • Mana cost: 50

While every Mage will possess the Chain Lightning skill, you'll have to supplement it with Arcing Surge yourself - and we strongly recommend that you do so. This will not only cause the spell to affect more targets, it will also increase its range. Expect this lightning strike to shock your main target while also damaging any foes nearby. This is a very powerful way to start any multiple-target fight, and should be used immediately after casting Barrier.

  • Name: Dispel
  • Set: Spirit
  • Area of effect: 5 metres
  • Cooldown: 8 seconds
  • Mana cost: 35

Use this to remove any debilitating magical effects cast against your party members. You can also use it to remove any defensive spells put into play by your enemies. When closing rifts, you'll notice green cracks on the floor after defeating the first wave of enemies. Throw Dispel on this patch to prevent the demons from appearing and fighting your team. Do this often enough and you can skip a whole wave of enemies, and get that rift shut down even faster.

  • Name: Energy Barrage
  • Set: Storm
  • Damage: 66 per cent of weapon damager per hit
  • Number of hits: 12
  • Cooldown: 16 seconds
  • Mana cost: 50

This spell is based on whatever elemental flavour your current weapon possesses. It fires out a total of 12 elemental projectiles, inflicting 792 per cent of your weapon's damage in total. It's an extremely important tool in the Mage's offensive arsenal, but do make sure your enemy isn't immune to the elemental damage in question.

  • Name: Flashfire
  • Set: Inferno
  • Damage: 300 per cent of weapon damage
  • Effect Duration: 8 seconds
  • Cooldown: 20 seconds
  • Mana cost: 65

Energy Barrage will likely be your most useful offensive spell when it comes to dealing with single targets. If you're up against an opponent who's immune to the elements of your weapon of choice, however, you should switch over to Flashfire - assuming fire immunity isn't the issue! As well as the 300 per cent of damage, this spell also imbues the target with Fear, which seriously reduces the combat effectiveness of the enemy for the spell's duration.

  • Name: Lightning Bolt
  • Set: Storm
  • Damage: 200 per cent of weapon damage
  • Effect Duration: 2 seconds per nearby enemy
  • Cooldown: 24 seconds
  • Mana cost: 65

Lightning Bolt is a fantastic spell when it comes to dealing with packs of enemies. It will paralyse any opponents it touches, giving you the chance to inflict at least one more offensive spell against them before they can catch up to you. Just have a meaty Warrior ready to taunt up the approaching danger.

  • Name: Revival
  • Set: Spirit
  • Area of Effect: 2 meters
  • Cooldown: 60 seconds
  • Mana cost: 85

This is the game's core resurrection spell. Should a team member die in battle, use this to bring them back to life fast. If you bolster this spell with Life Ward, you can even boost your friends' defenses, and revive them automatically if they fall in battle.

Dragon Age Inquisition Mage builds

Barrier Mage

If you want to create a defensive mage, here are the spells we recommend using in order of importance:

  • Chain Lightning
  • Barrier
  • Peaceful Aura
  • Dispel
  • Revival
  • Elegant Defense
  • Lightning Bolt
  • Rejuvenating Barrier
  • Transmute Magic
  • Guardian Spirit
  • Mind Blast
  • Fortifying Blast
  • Strength of Spirits
  • Life Ward

If you only want to include one Mage in your party, then this is the build we recommend using. It focuses mainly on the Spirit tree, and is about as close to a healer as you can get in the game. Get Barrier as quickly as possible, as it's the foundation of your build. Protection in battle is the order of the day for this character, and you should only throw out damage when there's nothing else to do. Get Barrier up as often as you can if there's not one already in play.

Black Mage

  • Chain Lightning
  • Barrier
  • Energy Barrage
  • Stormbringer
  • Lightning Bolt
  • Flashfire
  • Arcing Surge
  • Exploding Bolt
  • Energy Bombardment
  • Flashpoint
  • Blistering Pain
  • Conductive Current
  • Pyromancer
  • Elegant Defense
  • Winter's Grasp
  • Peaceful Aura
  • Dispel
  • Rejuvenating Barrier
  • Revival
  • Winter's Chill

As you'd expect, the Black Mage is focused on dishing out the pain, but you should only include one of these characters if you're also going to run a Barrier Mage in your team. While the focus of this second magical character is on providing offensive damage, you should also be prepared to put it in a defensive role if anything happens to your primary protector.

You'll get Chain Lightning right away, so pick up Energy Barrage as your first offensive ability. When you reach approximately level 10, you can focus on more secondary spells like Revival. This ensures you have the means to resuscitate a comrade, should something happen to your Barrier Mage.

Red Mage

  • Chain Lightning
  • Barrier
  • Energy Barrage
  • Peaceful Aura
  • Dispel
  • Stormbringer
  • Lightning Bolt
  • Revival
  • Elegant Defense
  • Arcing Surge
  • Rejuvenating Barrier
  • Flashfire
  • Exploding Bolt
  • Transmute Magic
  • Revival
  • Energy Bombardment
  • Flashpoint
  • Blistering Pain
  • Conductive Current
  • Pyromancer

In terms of function, this characters sits somewhere between the Barrier and the Black Mage. If you want to add a little more oomph to your offensive output, you can use a Red Mage rather than a Barrier Mage if you only fancy packing one of these characters archetypes into your party. In the early stages of the game, have your Red Mage concentrate on using Barrier and Dispel to keep your team alive.

You can find the rest of our Dragon Age Inquisition walkthrough from the first page of this article.

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