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The Ultimate Guide to Building Varric in Dragon Age: Inquisition

Varric, the charming Dwarf companion, is one of the first characters to join your party in Dragon Age: Inquisition. Known for his intriguing banter, Varric’s versatility and unique abilities make him a valuable asset. In this guide, we will dive deep into the best strategies and build options for Varric to help you maximize his potential as a companion.

Varric’s Level 1-10 Journey

Before reaching level 11, it’s recommended to stick to the same build, whether you prefer daggers or bows. This is because Varric’s survivability is higher with a ranged weapon like Bianca, especially when playing on harder difficulties. Additionally, lacking good gear may make close combat encounters more challenging for him.

Here are some essential skills to focus on during this early phase:

  1. Stealth: This skill enables Varric to easily avoid danger.
  2. Long Shot + Eagle Eye: A great opener skill that deals significant damage. Use it at the start of fights.
  3. Death From Above: While not crucial, this ability helps with progression.
  4. Leaping Shot + Shot from the Shadows: This is an incredibly powerful ability when enemies get too close to Varric.
  5. Poisoned Weapons: Although optional, this skill increases Varric’s overall DPS.
  6. Looked Like It Hurt: This skill restores stamina on critical hits and pairs well with Leaping Shot.
  7. Evasion: Improves Varric’s survivability.

Once Varric reaches around level 11, it’s time to start working on the specialized build we’ll discuss next.

Varric’s Archer Build

This build focuses on playing Varric as a rogue archer using his trusty bow/crossbow, Bianca. Bianca is the only crossbow available in the game, making it a unique weapon choice for Varric.

Before diving into the details, remember to respecialize Varric’s skills to align with this build.

Abilities Investment – Short Version

Here’s a condensed list of abilities to invest in for this build:

Sabotage Tree – Not mandatory, but provides some perks to maximize Varric’s damage.
Varric archer build sabotage

Archery Tree – Grants Varric powerful abilities like Leaping Shot and Pincushion.
Varric archer build archery

Artificer Tree – Contains an extremely strong Focus ability and useful passive skills.
Artificer tree varric

Subterfuge Tree – Focus on acquiring Shadow Strike and its upgrade.
subterfuge tree varric

Abilities Investment – Long Version

Now, let’s take a more detailed look at the abilities you should invest in for this build:

1Spike Trap + PyrotechnicsA great ability with crowd control capabilities.
2Opportunity KnocksOne of the best passive talents in the game. Critical hits reduce cooldowns.
3Set Them UpProvides a 25% damage boost to traps.
4Hail of ArrowsAn extremely strong Focus ability that can help Varric take down dragons solo when combined with Leaping Shot.
5Elemental MinesOptional ability for progression purposes.
6And Take Them DownBoosts the entire party’s critical hit chance by 5%.
7Death from AboveAcquire this ability for progression purposes.
8Leaping Shot + Shot from the ShadowsThe best offensive archer skill. Shoots multiple projectiles from a short range. The upgrade allows Varric to enter stealth after the attack.
9StealthA useful ability for Varric to escape danger.
10EvasionA passive ability that increases Varric’s odds of survival.
11EvadeObtain this ability for progression purposes.
12Shadow Strike + Long ShadowsThis ability allows Varric to restore stamina. The upgrade also enables it to be used as a ranged ability.
13CaltropsAcquire this ability for progression purposes.
14Looked Like It HurtEach critical hit restores Varric’s stamina by 10.
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Late Game Skill Investments

Once you reach the late game, focus on maximizing Varric’s damage output with these additional talents:

15First BloodObtain this ability for progression purposes.
16Explosive ShotAcquire this ability for progression purposes.
17PincushionEach consecutive hit with Bianca increases Varric’s damage by 5%.
18Fallback PlanObtain this ability for progression purposes.
19Tricks of the TradeBoosts the duration and status effects of skills used by party members.
20Poisoned Weapons + Infected WoundsCoats Varric’s weapons with poison, increasing his damage for a short period.
21Fighting DirtyExtends the duration of the poison effect.

Stats and Attributes

Choosing the right stats for Varric is crucial to building the best version of him. Consider the following recommendations when deciding which equipment to equip:

  • Critical Chance: Aim for at least 60% critical chance to ensure fast cooldowns and a nearly full stamina bar.
  • Critical Damage: After achieving a high critical rate (50%+), prioritize investing in critical damage, as it provides the most significant damage boost.
  • Cunning: If you’re unable to directly invest in critical chance, focus on gaining Cunning bonuses.
  • Attack: Provides a larger damage bonus and is better than dexterity, as you’ll usually receive higher bonuses for Attack.
  • Dexterity: An alternative to critical damage, but dexterity bonuses may be lower compared to a direct boost to Critical Damage.

Equipment Guide

Choosing the right gear is essential for achieving the optimal Varric build. Here’s a breakdown of the recommended gear for this build:


  • Bianca is the only weapon Varric will use in this build.
  • Upgrade it as soon as you obtain better components and don’t forget to insert runes.
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Bianca – Obtainable Upgrades:

Aiming ModuleAiming Module IIIProvides the largest bonus (+8%) to critical chance.
ArmsSuperb Crossbow ArmsTrespasser DLC alternative available in the Winter Palace.
ArmsBianca Arms VIOffers a large bonus to critical damage, although not the highest raw damage.
GripFirm Bianca GripProvides +8 Cunning, the highest obtainable amount.

Bianca – Craftable Upgrades:

Here are two options for craftable upgrades. One is easily obtainable, while the other requires high-level characters:

Aiming ModuleBianca Aiming IV SchematicThe best schematic with the highest number of slots. Obtainable in The Descent DLC.
Aiming ModuleBianca Aiming III (Enhanced) SchematicThe best schematic available in the base game.
ArmsBianca Arms VII SchematicThe strongest Arms option, offering 16 offensive leather slots and 10 offensive metal slots.
ArmsBianca Arms III (Enhanced) SchematicA great option in the base game before accessing any DLC content.
GripMasterwork Gilded Bianca Grip SchematicProvides 14 leather utility slots, the best obtainable grip for the crossbow.
GripMasterwork Firm Bianca Grip SchematicThe best grip available in the base game.

Armors – Obtainable:

1Stone Stalker CoatMatches this build perfectly, providing a boost of 45 Cunning for a higher critical chance.
2The Skin That StalksOnly obtainable in the Trespasser DLC. Boosts critical damage, critical chance, and attack.
3Masterwork Prowler ArmorReduces ability stamina cost by 20% if not attacked for 5 seconds, which is feasible for Varric due to his avoidance playstyle.

Armors – Craftable:

1Superior Prowler Armor SchematicThis armor offers 23 utility leather slots, including upgrades. Adjust dexterity or cunning depending on Varric’s needs.
2Sturdy Prowler Armor SchematicA more affordable alternative to the Superior Prowler Armor Schematic, providing slightly less defense and 22 utility leather slots.
3Stone Stalker Coat SchematicObtainable from The Descent DLC. Offers decent slots but is inferior to the aforementioned options.

Helmets – Obtainable:

1Stone Stalker MaskProvides good bonus stats and armor rating. Obtainable in The Descent DLC.
2Helm of the DrascaA decent mid-game option that boosts critical damage by increasing dexterity.
3Ambassador’s MaskAn alternative to the Mask of the Grand Duchess if you have a high critical chance (50%+).
4Mask of the Grand DuchessAn alternative to the Ambassador’s Mask if you have a low critical chance.
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Helmets – Craftable:

1Superior Skirmisher Hat SchematicThe best craftable helmet, offering 10 leather utility slots and easy to obtain.
2Skirmisher Hat SchematicA cheaper alternative to the Superior Skirmisher Hat Schematic, with only 8 leather utility slots.
3Superior Adventurer Hat SchematicCosts only 182 Sovereigns and provides 7 leather utility slots. Ideal if you’re short on money.


Amulet of PowerGrants Varric a single ability point, which will be consumed upon use.
1Malika’s GuardSignificantly increases Varric’s attack power, especially useful since he won’t focus on flanking damage.
2Superb Amulet of DexterityBoosts dexterity, resulting in higher critical damage.
3Amulet of the RogueIncreases both critical chance and critical damage.
4Superb Amulet of CunningEnhances critical chance, reducing ability cooldowns.


1The Bind That GuidesEnhances critical chance. Only obtainable in the Trespasser DLC.
2Superb Belt of StaggeringAllows Varric to stagger enemies.
3Superb Belt of SunderProvides a chance to decrease the enemy’s armor.


1Superb Ring of Critical DamageOffers a significant boost to critical damage, especially potent with a critical chance of 50% or higher.
2The Hand That CutsExclusive to the Trespasser DLC, this ring provides notable offensive bonuses.
3Ring of SlicingAn expensive ring available for purchase in the Black Emporium. Enhances critical damage and critical rate.
4Superb Ring of Critical ChanceIncreases critical chance, allowing the Opportunity Knocks ability to activate more frequently.
5Superb Ring of AttackBoosts Varric’s overall damage.

Best Tactics

Setting up Varric’s tactics correctly is crucial for effective combat. Here’s our recommended tactic configuration:

  • Shadow Strike – Preferred or Active. Varric should use this ability as often as possible to restore MP.
  • Leaping Shot – Active. This ability deals the most damage for Varric.
  • Poisoned Weapons – Preferred or Active. Keep this skill always active.
  • Spike Trap – Active. Varric should place traps strategically to knock enemies back when they approach.
  • Elemental Mines – Disable or Active. Experiment with this ability to see if it suits your playstyle.
  • Stealth – Active. Use this ability when Varric is under attack and needs to escape.

Set all other abilities to Disabled.

In Conclusion

Thank you for reading this comprehensive guide on building Varric in Dragon Age: Inquisition. By following these strategies and investing in the recommended abilities, gear, stats, and tactics, you can ensure that Varric becomes a formidable force in your party.

Feel free to provide feedback below and happy gaming!

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