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:
- Stealth: This skill enables Varric to easily avoid danger.
- Long Shot + Eagle Eye: A great opener skill that deals significant damage. Use it at the start of fights.
- Death From Above: While not crucial, this ability helps with progression.
- Leaping Shot + Shot from the Shadows: This is an incredibly powerful ability when enemies get too close to Varric.
- Poisoned Weapons: Although optional, this skill increases Varric’s overall DPS.
- Looked Like It Hurt: This skill restores stamina on critical hits and pairs well with Leaping Shot.
- 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.
Archery Tree – Grants Varric powerful abilities like Leaping Shot and Pincushion.
Artificer Tree – Contains an extremely strong Focus ability and useful passive skills.
Subterfuge Tree – Focus on acquiring Shadow Strike and its upgrade.
Abilities Investment – Long Version
Now, let’s take a more detailed look at the abilities you should invest in for this build:
|1||Spike Trap + Pyrotechnics||A great ability with crowd control capabilities.|
|2||Opportunity Knocks||One of the best passive talents in the game. Critical hits reduce cooldowns.|
|3||Set Them Up||Provides a 25% damage boost to traps.|
|4||Hail of Arrows||An extremely strong Focus ability that can help Varric take down dragons solo when combined with Leaping Shot.|
|5||Elemental Mines||Optional ability for progression purposes.|
|6||And Take Them Down||Boosts the entire party’s critical hit chance by 5%.|
|7||Death from Above||Acquire this ability for progression purposes.|
|8||Leaping Shot + Shot from the Shadows||The best offensive archer skill. Shoots multiple projectiles from a short range. The upgrade allows Varric to enter stealth after the attack.|
|9||Stealth||A useful ability for Varric to escape danger.|
|10||Evasion||A passive ability that increases Varric’s odds of survival.|
|11||Evade||Obtain this ability for progression purposes.|
|12||Shadow Strike + Long Shadows||This ability allows Varric to restore stamina. The upgrade also enables it to be used as a ranged ability.|
|13||Caltrops||Acquire this ability for progression purposes.|
|14||Looked Like It Hurt||Each critical hit restores Varric’s stamina by 10.|
Late Game Skill Investments
Once you reach the late game, focus on maximizing Varric’s damage output with these additional talents:
|15||First Blood||Obtain this ability for progression purposes.|
|16||Explosive Shot||Acquire this ability for progression purposes.|
|17||Pincushion||Each consecutive hit with Bianca increases Varric’s damage by 5%.|
|18||Fallback Plan||Obtain this ability for progression purposes.|
|19||Tricks of the Trade||Boosts the duration and status effects of skills used by party members.|
|20||Poisoned Weapons + Infected Wounds||Coats Varric’s weapons with poison, increasing his damage for a short period.|
|21||Fighting Dirty||Extends 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.
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.
Bianca – Obtainable Upgrades:
|Aiming Module||Aiming Module III||Provides the largest bonus (+8%) to critical chance.|
|Arms||Superb Crossbow Arms||Trespasser DLC alternative available in the Winter Palace.|
|Arms||Bianca Arms VI||Offers a large bonus to critical damage, although not the highest raw damage.|
|Grip||Firm Bianca Grip||Provides +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 Module||Bianca Aiming IV Schematic||The best schematic with the highest number of slots. Obtainable in The Descent DLC.|
|Aiming Module||Bianca Aiming III (Enhanced) Schematic||The best schematic available in the base game.|
|Arms||Bianca Arms VII Schematic||The strongest Arms option, offering 16 offensive leather slots and 10 offensive metal slots.|
|Arms||Bianca Arms III (Enhanced) Schematic||A great option in the base game before accessing any DLC content.|
|Grip||Masterwork Gilded Bianca Grip Schematic||Provides 14 leather utility slots, the best obtainable grip for the crossbow.|
|Grip||Masterwork Firm Bianca Grip Schematic||The best grip available in the base game.|
Armors – Obtainable:
|1||Stone Stalker Coat||Matches this build perfectly, providing a boost of 45 Cunning for a higher critical chance.|
|2||The Skin That Stalks||Only obtainable in the Trespasser DLC. Boosts critical damage, critical chance, and attack.|
|3||Masterwork Prowler Armor||Reduces ability stamina cost by 20% if not attacked for 5 seconds, which is feasible for Varric due to his avoidance playstyle.|
Armors – Craftable:
|1||Superior Prowler Armor Schematic||This armor offers 23 utility leather slots, including upgrades. Adjust dexterity or cunning depending on Varric’s needs.|
|2||Sturdy Prowler Armor Schematic||A more affordable alternative to the Superior Prowler Armor Schematic, providing slightly less defense and 22 utility leather slots.|
|3||Stone Stalker Coat Schematic||Obtainable from The Descent DLC. Offers decent slots but is inferior to the aforementioned options.|
Helmets – Obtainable:
|1||Stone Stalker Mask||Provides good bonus stats and armor rating. Obtainable in The Descent DLC.|
|2||Helm of the Drasca||A decent mid-game option that boosts critical damage by increasing dexterity.|
|3||Ambassador’s Mask||An alternative to the Mask of the Grand Duchess if you have a high critical chance (50%+).|
|4||Mask of the Grand Duchess||An alternative to the Ambassador’s Mask if you have a low critical chance.|
Helmets – Craftable:
|1||Superior Skirmisher Hat Schematic||The best craftable helmet, offering 10 leather utility slots and easy to obtain.|
|2||Skirmisher Hat Schematic||A cheaper alternative to the Superior Skirmisher Hat Schematic, with only 8 leather utility slots.|
|3||Superior Adventurer Hat Schematic||Costs only 182 Sovereigns and provides 7 leather utility slots. Ideal if you’re short on money.|
|–||Amulet of Power||Grants Varric a single ability point, which will be consumed upon use.|
|1||Malika’s Guard||Significantly increases Varric’s attack power, especially useful since he won’t focus on flanking damage.|
|2||Superb Amulet of Dexterity||Boosts dexterity, resulting in higher critical damage.|
|3||Amulet of the Rogue||Increases both critical chance and critical damage.|
|4||Superb Amulet of Cunning||Enhances critical chance, reducing ability cooldowns.|
|1||The Bind That Guides||Enhances critical chance. Only obtainable in the Trespasser DLC.|
|2||Superb Belt of Staggering||Allows Varric to stagger enemies.|
|3||Superb Belt of Sunder||Provides a chance to decrease the enemy’s armor.|
|1||Superb Ring of Critical Damage||Offers a significant boost to critical damage, especially potent with a critical chance of 50% or higher.|
|2||The Hand That Cuts||Exclusive to the Trespasser DLC, this ring provides notable offensive bonuses.|
|3||Ring of Slicing||An expensive ring available for purchase in the Black Emporium. Enhances critical damage and critical rate.|
|4||Superb Ring of Critical Chance||Increases critical chance, allowing the Opportunity Knocks ability to activate more frequently.|
|5||Superb Ring of Attack||Boosts Varric’s overall damage.|
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.
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!