I tried using two mages and two warriors for my party. However I have realized that my mage character is more offensive with her spells than using supportive spells for my party. I am thinking about resetting my stats again for $400 gold, so my mage is more supportive to the party? Nightmare difficultly has proven to be very punishing for tactical failure. I want to improve my party's abilities, and tactics, but I do not know where to go for help.

How does anyone survive dragon age inquisition combat on nightmare difficulty? Is it dependent on a specific character class?

10 Answers 10


Well, I made my way to Skyhold around the 20 hour mark, and that's when combat became a hell of a lot easier. Prior to that, I had to abuse the hell out of the tactical camera on some fights. Once I got specializations unlocked though, even Nightmare was a cakewalk. My setup was as follows: Sword and Board Champion Inquisitor, 2H Cassandra, Vivienne, and Archer Cole.

By making myself the tank, I was able to have much more control over the fight than I would by just leaving an A.I. to tank. The Tactical camera is broken, so I only used it to pace fights in the start of the game. Using the tactical camera past that was just redundant, since it glitches out constantly, and won't let you move your characters where you can actually move them. I noticed more often than not, if I moved a ranged character to a vantage point, and went into tac-cam, I would be kicked off of the vantage point because the game thought I shouldn't be allowed up there.

Knight-Enchanter is incredibly overpowered. More often than not, it seemed like I was just 2 manning harder fights with my K.E. and Champion. My Guard never dropped on my Warrior, I'd seldom lose barrier on Viv, Cole usually would stay alive unless it was a dragon fight, because I'd forget to move him during the wing attack. As for Cassandra, she would full-heal the party when she died, with a 60 second cool-down. That same buff also increases the parties damage and damage resistance as well, if I remember correctly. After I equipped her with a crafted piece with the masterwork to give a 15% chance to rez to 50% upon dying, I didn't have to ever rez her with Viv, because that "15%" was 100%. Seriously. She died a good 20 times over the course of one fight, and I didn't rez her a single time with my mage.

In hindsight, I think Solas would have been a better choice than an Archer, but I hate leaving doors unlocked. With Cass in my group, not only did I manage to absolutely destroy all demons/rifts, but when my party was low on health, I could switch to her, sacrifice her to get a full heal on the party, and she'd instantly rez to 50%, I'd say that's a pretty good trade-off. A few times, my tank was the only one left standing on a dragon fight. I would pop damage invulnerability, revive vivienne, get cole and cassandra both up, sacrifice Cassy once again to heal the group and get her to 50% instead of 10% from the revive, and go from there.

Seriously.. Templar and Knight Enchanter in the same party are so broken it's not even funny. By the 30 hour/level 12 mark I was going through Nightmare like it was Casual. I'd go through an entire play session without ever touching a potion. The hardest part about Nightmare difficulty, is getting to Skyhold. After Skyhold, it's a joke if you use a Knight/Enchanter PC or Vivienne, you can solo dragons. Seriously, I've done it.

EDIT: Also, remember, it's not after level 10 that you unlock specializations like some people think, it's as soon as you hit Skyhold. I just unlocked K.E. at level 9.

  • Also KE with few points in fire (Clean Burn) can keep Barrier up almost all the time. I'm also exploiting KE + Templar + Champion + control / support rogue on Nightmare. It's so easy it's almost like cheating.
    – StupidOne
    Commented Nov 30, 2014 at 21:47

I have discovered the following party build that has withstood hordes of rampaging enemies on nightmare difficulty, with no potions, and no health, that can be established at beginning levels. Yes, I said no health.

The most recent test was fighting three wisps, one pure wisp, and three bog-swamp-rhino-bore-rampaging-things, at once, on level 9. I remember Cassandra was bulldozed by those two creatures 30 feet from my party with very little health, yet we survived when I ordered my team to disengage and stand around her, provide protection while she recovered. I think that battle end inside a log cabin, with a battle time of 15 minutes?

My party is two spirit-mages and two shield-warriors with less than 100 armor rating. The shield-warriors are not two-handed warriors, but shield-and-sword warriors.

Here is my theory on why this party is so successful:

The two shield-warriors are specialized in the weapon and shield perk tree and the a little bit of perks in the guard perk tree. All of the perks in those trees help the warriors take tremendous punishment. They also randomly generate guard protection, but I am not sure where that comes from.

The two spirit-mages specialize in all of the spirit support spells, three of the biggest are barrier, dispel, and revival. Barrier protects your two warriors from all damage for a limited time. Dispel removes magical traps created by enemy mages. Revival brings your whole team back to life minus the caster.

The mutual team work occurs when the two shield-warriors taunt the enemy and draw fire from the mages. The mages provide magical defense for the two warriors, and occasionally themselves. Having two warriors doubles the defense against enemies flanking your two mages. Having two mages cuts the defensive spell cool downs in half.

I said no health required. Having two mages with barrier, one can almost spam continuous magical defense on either the two warriors or all four party members. Because the warriors also randomly generate protective guard on top of their health, this combined with the nearly continuous generation of protective barriers decreases the window of damage opportunity to once every 10 to 20 hits. Using my two warriors and two mages party, I was able to restore, dispel, and revive my party through the hairiest battles I would of thought impossible to survive when I first started playing, after I had used all of my potions and everyone's health was at their lowest.

I have also learned additional tactics with this party. The mind blast can interrupt any enemies attack. This is very useful for pausing the lesser-terror-stick-tree-like-screaming-popping-out-of-ground-creatures from stunning your team almost indefinitely. Remember, you have two spirit-mages to spam the mind blast spell. I found myself actually moving the mages closer to, but behind the warriors at all times, so they can utilize the mind blast spell. This turns into an elegant dance of the party, where the warriors attack the current highest property enemy of your choice, and the mages dance around the warriors. Any enemy that tries to target the mages, either becomes taunted by the warriors, or they are mind blasted. It helps to have at least one additional crowd control spell on the mages, such as freeze or shock, but optional. I found battle proximity for the mages is matter of preference for the player. The revival spell is the most devastating weapon in the party. Once the enemy has thrown everything at the party to near exhaustion to kill all but one of the mages, that mage will revive the whole party back, with additional protection from the upgraded revival spell. If the party dies again, you can cast revival a second time with the other mage. This party is a living nightmare for the enemy.

One issue resolved : The barrier spell is double casted automatically by both mages, which waste the opportunity to cast them in chains. I resolved this problem by making sure I was in selection of one of the two mages in the tactical view, which prevents the game from auto-casting the spell, and allowing the other mage to cast the barrier spell automatically.

Disclaimer : The full benefit of this party build requires full use of the tactical view. The smallest window between chain casting barrier with two mages was less than three seconds, but keep in mind that the barrier spell is only one out of many different defensive tools at your disposal, such as: all of the warriors crowd control attacks, the randomly generated warrior guard, the strategic positioning of your team mates to minimize damage from incoming spells and arrows (such as attacking archers first and moving the mages behind the archers), the mind blast spell, and the revival spell.

Additional Disclaimer : This party is not invincible, but it is a die hard party. Because of the 3 second window between chaining barrier spells, there is a possibility that one attack out of ten will kill one of your team mates with no health.

I challenge anyone to try my suggested party build and test if it works or not to what I have written.

  • 1
    You can disable auto-casting in Behaviours tab of the character - open "spell book" (default P) and switch to said tab, from here find Barrier spell and simply put it on "Disabled" (if I'm not mistaken). You can also disable AI as whole - also in one tab in "spell book", but can't recall the name of it.
    – StupidOne
    Commented Nov 30, 2014 at 21:28

What works for me is two mages, archer and shield tank. For the mages, I build them the same. Barrier, flashfire to panic, winters grasp to freeze. Anything that takes an enemy out of combat even for a few seconds, and dispel to get rid of demons when closing rifts before they even spawn.

For rogue, get sleep powder and upgrade ASAP. You can take an enemy out for 20 seconds! Just don't hit him or he wakes up. Then all archer tree. For tank, all the taunts, shield wall.

Don't ever let your mages do things on their own. Disable their abilities in tactics menu. Focus fire all members on one enemy at a time and remember to barrier your tank and always be stunning, freezing or putting things to sleep. With all that CC you shouldn't have too many issues. This is tactical cam heavy so if it's not fun for you then Nightmare is gonna give you issues. Hope this helped.


I am playing on Nighmare difficulty, and besides skills, is more of armor and weapons i think. Right now im 35 hours in, just got skyhold, and im having a hard time with the swamps at lvl 10. 2 mages, Varric and my warrior as my main party. The problem is the mages are undergeared and to tell you the truth, is kinda hard on the gap between 10 and 12. Just have some patience to craft the right armors and to gather enough materials. Dont rush the game and you will have a good time.

Regarding mages , i would sugest having both mages have at least barrier, then spect on any tree u want. Remember that after lvl 10 you get the specializations so plan accordingly, not like me :P


Nightmare difficulty is it?

I went through Nightmare with three mages and Cass, a lot of the big bad guys have elemental weaknesses that can be abused to make fighting against them easy - Dragons I'm lookin' at you. My set up is with myself as a mage, Knight-Enchanter, Viv and Solas as the mages, though I switch Solas around for Mr.SassyTevinter when fighting dragons with spirit damage weaknesses for his Necromancer tree DOTS, if all have barriers then your enemies will have a hard time doing any damage especially with perks for Viv and my own character that allow damage I do to be added to barrier strength, meaning I can sustain my barrier indefinitely if I avoid getting surrounded and beat on.

Mages are pretty much the bane of bosses, anything with a weakness can be obliterated by them, the hard part is when versing large amounts of little bastards with resistances in which you can't set up on them first (I remember running over to the dragon in the Hinterlands as a mage just to see what the dragon was made of so I could prepare for the fight by making good staffs of their weakness and the lovely energy barrage spell that takes the element of your staff - a must have for me), such as undead and despair demons to cold or Rage demons to fire which is why Spirit damage from the Knight-Enchanter's sword is useful.

So, I think Mages are the best way to go, but I've done nightmare on others.

As far as I can tell, for Rogues abusing the hell out of Crit and Stealth is the best way to go, stealth is also good for running away, as you can run far enough to get your party back up and go back and your enemies will not be replenished, this works for little enemies and groups but not for bosses really, Death Blow is great, large damage with colossal damage on a crit as well as two strikes when an enemy veers near the half health mark and it increases damage the closer they get to death, I highly recommend it for dagger rogues. Bow rogues I'm not so great at, I've not really tried them, I imagine they play a lot like a less adaptable mage.

Warriors are the very tricky part, they're great for keeping attention, but I find that to be all, Warriors against enemies with armor and physical damage resistances which make the warrior have to trade blows toe-to-toe for an extensive period of time definitely aren't all that great. If you have a few mages to support however, you can abuse Dragon Rage as a reaver behind barriers to great effect if you don't mind carrying around plenty of regen potions all the time.

Bottom line, Nightmare is definitely beatable but you have to pay attention to battles, abuse the stop-start pause function and build your characters to be able to benefit one another rather than going for abilities to make each character individually strong.

With your mage, provided friendly fire is on, I suggest you invest heavily into the spirit tree and whatever spec you go for, then fine tune the tactics page of your character profile so that your support skills are preferred, rather than enabled or disabled, this means they cast them with much more regularity when mana is available and the situation needs it.

Probably strayed off topic a lot there, but came back around to the point xD.


Im running Cass,black wall and I build all as shielders plus the skyhold specs. My inquisitor is Ke with barrier focus. My whole party is in the enemies face with guard and barrier constantly up. Ke is very strong so not having guard isn't an issue. Also make sure to max out potions and grenades just in case. Jar of bees is very funny and effective.

This is basically just a brute force through and through, but as long as you focus and stay grouped its nuts.


Either get blackwall or make your main character champion. 2 mages and a range rogue, rotate barrier to keep it up 100% keep 1 mob sleeped as rogue with the sleep arrow. Then CC mobs with flashfire and winters chill while you focus dps them down 1 and 1. I recommend Vivienne as one of your mages, cause knight enchanter is op and also her focus ability is really nice. Im 60+ hours in on nightmare and doing fine nothing is difficult after you get like level 12 with the proper setup and spec. A champion tank cant die ever, you shouldn't even use pots on your tank if he is champion.


Honestly I didn't bother reading the other walls of text, so this may be repetitive:

  • Get used to playing with the tactical camera. Early and mid-game it is necessary for proper positioning your party and to set up combos.

  • Identify your clutch abilities and remove them from the AI tactics. Things like an Archer's upgraded Full Draw (20 second single target sleep, refreshable; cooldown is less than duration) and any Mage's Barrier are abilities you do NOT want to see on cooldown when you really need them.

  • Consider getting the extra potion slot and maybe even upgrading the maximum number of potions you can carry. Equipping all your characters with Regeneration pots will help you recover out of combat and save your insta-heal pots for in-combat scenarios. The third slot can be used to equip a variety of tactical grenades. Slow Pitch is excellent for keep enemies grouped up for combos and AoEs, and the Jar of Bees does more damage than it has a right to, being a damn Jar of Bees.

  • Most encounters have a 'key'. It may be one particular enemy that needs to either die fast, or be crowd controlled throughout the fight. The 'key' might be as simple as a bottleneck near the engagement area or a pillar to line-of-sight ranged attackers, making them come to you rather than having your party cross an open arena to engage them.

  • It's okay to not play as your Inquisitor; different encounters play to the strengths of different classes. Some have good terrain for archers to get above the action, and you'll benefit by positioning them and protecting them while they dish out the extra damage. Other times, you'll want to control bottlenecks or specific enemies with your tank. As the player, you'll always be better than the AI so, if the situation calls for it, take control of those lynch-pin party members to make sure things are done right.


So i made a list of compositions which i found that worked well:

  • Blackwall - 2 handed w/special = Unkillable
  • Sera- Bow + Tempest special = no cooldown barrage Heavy draw. + Time stop
  • Viviane - Spirit + KE = Unkillable mage w/ great buffs
  • Inquisitor - Dual blade + Tempest rogue = pure no cooldown dps monster

Setup with time stop. When things get tight, Ice armor damage mitigation 75% w/taunt freeze. Half of enemies are dead before they start their attack. Bosses become notably easier.

  • Okay. And how is someone supposed to get to this point? Presumably, you don't start overpowered.
    – Frank
    Commented Dec 3, 2014 at 17:37
  • You should format this better, it is unreadable like this.
    – Sentry
    Commented Dec 6, 2014 at 20:32
  • @nopesalot, i improved the format of your question. Could you take the time to format your question the next time? Commented Jan 12, 2015 at 11:30

Cass, Blackwall, Dorian/Solas, Ranged Rouge inquiz, poison + archer. I walked through nightmare, just don't rush the story and fight things of your own level. Both of my tanks were sword and shield.

  • Could you clarify why?
    – aytimothy
    Commented Nov 30, 2014 at 9:22

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