Best party combinations (and some hints)

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Legion_

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Duders. I've been playing a lot of Dragon Age lately. My game clock is currently at 24 hours. Considering I got the game on Wednesday, that may be a unhealthy amount.

Still, I digress. I've someone who's always enjoyed RPG's, and I've played tons of them, so I decided to start this game on the hard difficulty. So far the game hasn't been too difficult, but I certainly feel like I'm missing some key elements to the combat.

For instance, I can't for the life of me understand why my tank's (Blackwall) War Cry doesn't affect every enemy. That makes some fights way harder than they should be. If anyone has some tips for this, please share.

Also, I'm wondering about some of the skill trees in general. The way I've figured it for warriors is that tank's should focus on the Sword and Shield tree (duh) and the Vanguard tree, while DPS guys should focus on Two-Handed and Battlemaster. That seems right, right?

Lastley, I'm wondering about some party combinations in general. For instance, is it viable to go in with two tanks? I really like Blackwall, and I want my own character to be a tank as well. I know I could just change Blackwall's skills, but I like him as a tank.

My party right now is me, Blackwall, Dorian and Varrick. My player character is a two-handed DPS dude. But man, he seems so brittle. It's like he can't take a single blow, and that's why I want to change him to a tank. I don't know though. Some general tips, tricks and lessons would be much appreciated.

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donchipotle

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I'm playing as a dual dagger rogue, so I'm always getting up and behind guys and then evading when they use AoE or before the warrior taunts. I can't exactly say if two tanks would be viable, but I don't see how it could hurt anything other than potential damage output. The party I've been using most often is this:

Cassandra: I've got her loaded with the taunts and some sword and shield abilities, mainly focused on her standing there and taking hits with her guard stacks.

Me: I'm stabbing things and finishing off with Deathblow because if it kills them it has no cooldown and it's awesome to see big numbers pop and dudes explode into colorful corpses.

Vivienne: I as using Solas but I've since had Vivienne around to bring up the damage numbers. I gave her the barrier spell and the threat reducing passive and then pretty much had her focusing on combat magic. I lose the revive that Solas has, but I'm not really dying so it works out.

Sera: I really don't like Sera as a character so far but it's easier to use her over Varric. I mostly use her to plant her on a ridge and rain arrows down on people. Essentially just extra damage.

So I essentially have Cassandra keeping everyone else alive and since she makes us do more damage to taunted enemies, they die reasonably quickly.

I don't think this is the best party or anything, but it works for how I play and how I've built my Herald. Find a combination that works and that'll do wonders.

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halcyonTwilight

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Warcry only hits nearby enemies, which might be the issue that you're running into. Plus with it's short duration (4 sec), you have to either spec your ranged characters into threat-reducing passives or use your party's crowd control abilities/spells (like the warrior's War Horn which fears enemies) to help control the battle.

The skill trees do work as you think they should. No point in wasting points in the Two-Handed tree when you're a sword and shield tank. Generally try to spend your points as efficiently as possible with a goal in mind.

In regards to party compositions, for the most part any comp will work as long as you have an overall battle plan. If you like melee characters, do you have a support mage to cast Barrier on them to let them take more punishment? If you want to run all mages, do you have enough crowd control abilities among your party members to kite enemies?

In Dragon Age: Origins, one of the easier to use party comps actually revolved around two tanks, due in part to how the subclasses worked in that game and how good a properly spec'd Liliana was in that game. In Inquisition things are a bit different, but the idea is still the same. Two tanks to spread the enemies while two ranged dps focus one enemy down at a time. It's a slower but safer strategy for a majority of the fights, especially since the game loves to throw waves of enemies at you. If you want to build such a party invest in some passive skills that help manage stamina/mana costs as fights will be longer.

Also take advantage of the tactical screen for harder fights. Send your ranged party members to the rear and have your tank/melee form choke points so that the enemy has to either fight your melee or take a ton of damage to reach your back line. Charging at the enemy (unless you outlevel them) generally is a bad strategy, try to force the enemy to come to you so that not only can you buy time for your ranged characters to deal damage, but also make trap/mines more useful.

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LawGamer

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I just picked up a huge chunk of characters today and started experimenting, but right now I'm rolling with Blackwall as a S&S tank, Iron Bull as Two-Handed Melee/Off-tank, Solas as the mage (although I'll probably replace him with Dorian, as I seem to be getting close to unlocking him), and myself as a dual-wield rogue. Seems to work pretty well right now. Blackwall taunts stuff, I hit stuff from behind to burn it down, and Iron Bull has AoE damage to hit everything not currently being focused on. He also has an AoE buff, so Blackwall and my Inquisitor are more powerful while standing near him.

Honestly, how much I like the characters affects things as much for me as straight up party composition. I can adapt to different tactics, but I want party members I can listen to for more than five minutes. That's exactly why Sera isn't in my party - I find her eardrum-destoryingly obnoxious. I'm also thinking I'll probably swap Blackwall out for Cassandra, since I have her specced the same way and I like her more as a character. And if Dorian is even a little bit more interesting than Solas, I'll swap him in too.

As far as getting wrecked as a TH tank, abilities that create guard seem to be a big deal for warriors, even the ones that don't specifically tank, so you might try finding a few of those if you don't have them. I might also suggest taking a look at the crafting if you haven't dug too much into it. Since they took out direct assignment of stat points and you don't get that many from abilities, crafting seems to be the primary way that you are supposed to advance your character. The interface for it sucks, but if you spend the time to buy designs and then craft and add in the augments for weapons and armor for your entire party, you end up a fair sight more powerful than using gear that just drops. My Blackwall and Iron Bull are getting like 100+ more health right now just from my crafted items, which definitely helps survivability.

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bombedyermom

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#5  Edited By bombedyermom

The only constant in my party is Cole. His Dual Daggers and later on his Assassin specialization make him push out crazy DPS. Guys are literally exploding at his touch of "Mercy"

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Legion_

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Wow. I decided to go with two tanks. Both use the Vanguard tree. And man, the game has gone from being somewhat difficult in spots, to just being a cakewalk. Almost can't believe the difference. And I've yet to add Cole to my party. When that happens, I guess I'll pretty much unstoppable.

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Blighte

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#7  Edited By Blighte

Once I unlocked class specializations around level 9 this is what I did. First off I'm playing on hard. Anyhow I was my party's tank up to this point. Now I chose to be a Templar. I have one taunt, a few shield and sword skills, iwent to pay back strike then diagonal to shield bash. Then I put the rest in Templar tree. I have black wall in the champion tree along with some other tanking skills. Vivienne is a Knight enchanter + has barrier. Basically she's abad ass battle mage, think gandalf using his sword. Solace has points in the left side of spirit tree to make his barriers strong, has a few in his spec (rift something?) for the 500% damage skill, and the left part of lighting tree for the .5 second cooldown reducer with each basic attack.

I went from using a lot of potions and tactical camera use to much more just controlling my Templar in live combat. Much more fun, have only had 1 death the past 3 hours. Basically tons of barrier, defense, buffs, RARE potion usage all against mobs my level or higher. Also any rift fights are cake walk with my templars abilities and viviennes dispell on the right side of the spirit tree.. Lots of stun, weaken, etc.

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halcyonTwilight

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On normal it's perfectly viable to go two tanks (in fact you can pretty much go any composition you want on normal), but on higher difficulties you won't have enough sustain to outlast the damage. Once the enemies hit harder you'll need more dps and smarter spell/ability usage to win the fights.

You can probably also spec one of the tanks to the Reaver subclass and the other to Champion once you have them unlocked, but I think you will find that if you swap out one of the tanks with a 2h warrior later on you'll be killing stuff a lot faster, especially if you craft some good gear for your melee characters.

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Lelcar

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#9  Edited By Lelcar

I tend to form my party around whose banter I feel would make for cool combinations and that I also have a variety of classes.

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selfconfessedcynic

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I've gone absolutely min-max on my play through - Blackwall as full on S&B Tank and 3 mages (all with barrier and reduced threat).

I stack the mages in one spot, they keep barrier up 95% of the time. Two have freeze, they all have traits to increase mana regen when not moving (Ice magic tree). Throw down some flame walls, mines, lots of freeze, shock and burning and nothing has come close to stopping me unless it is a much higher level. Once I got Dorian (my 3rd mage since I don't agree with Vivienne on some political issues) I get out of most fights without anyone on my party taking any actual damage.

Once I get blizzard, I think I should be able to play the rest of the game on autopilot :P

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kishinfoulux

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Best party is Knight Enchanter and only Knight Enchanter. O_O

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rethla

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#12  Edited By rethla

Any combination with The Iron Bull will do.

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AlKusanagi

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Geez I must be playing "wrong..." I'm level 13, been playing over 30 hours, and I haven't even unlocked the specializations yet. I didn't even reach Skyhold until 25 hours in.

Either way, I'm playing a dual rogue, and my party is almost always a combination of Cassandra as tank, Solas and a spirit mage, and a second mage as pure DPS of whatever type would help the most for the area.

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Veektarius

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@alkusanagi: I think the specializations unlock when you get to Skyhold, you maybe just didn't notice them?

I don't think that I have a solution on the ideal party mix, because I've tried basically every combination and I'm still respeccing some characters to better suit their specializations. The only thing I never try is Cole, because I don't like him and because my Inquisitor is already a dual blade, and Sera pretty much hates me, so I don't include her out of principle. I've had the most success with a party containing a heavily defensive mage (Vivienne with specializations works best), a tank, and a ranged DPS, either Dorian or Varric, usually.

On hard, I've had terrible luck with melee DPS like Iron Bull, or my Inquisitor, when I let the AI control them. They can really cut up easy fights, but against armored enemies who are immune to being controlled and have high damage area effect attacks, they lack the self-awareness to avoid getting beat up.

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N7

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@veektarius: You have to do a thing at the War Table to bring in some specialized people to help the Inquisitor.

I've got no idea how to actually get the specialization itself though. I apparently need to craft something but I've got no idea how to get any of the items on the list.

When it comes to my party, I have troubles deciding between Cole, Dorian and Vivienne, or Blackwall Dorian Cole, or Cole Cassandra and Varrick. Or Blackwall Ironbull and Dorian. Goddamn I love all of these guys and have lots of trouble choosing. Vivienne for my barrier and rival action, Dorian for his sick Necromancer bullshit, and a heavy to get in and fuck shit up while I stab dudes in the back with my daggers.

Sometimes I just say fuck it and take Dorian, Vivienne and Solas and let the biotic magical explosions take me away. Mage's'r OP and I love it.

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Veektarius

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@n7 said:

@veektarius: You have to do a thing at the War Table to bring in some specialized people to help the Inquisitor.

I've got no idea how to actually get the specialization itself though. I apparently need to craft something but I've got no idea how to get any of the items on the list.

When it comes to my party, I have troubles deciding between Cole, Dorian and Vivienne, or Blackwall Dorian Cole, or Cole Cassandra and Varrick. Or Blackwall Ironbull and Dorian. Goddamn I love all of these guys and have lots of trouble choosing. Vivienne for my barrier and rival action, Dorian for his sick Necromancer bullshit, and a heavy to get in and fuck shit up while I stab dudes in the back with my daggers.

Sometimes I just say fuck it and take Dorian, Vivienne and Solas and let the biotic magical explosions take me away. Mage's'r OP and I love it.

Oh, the main character specializations. Yeah. I actually looked that up. The only thing I looked up other than a couple bugs.

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Zanthus

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@legion_: here is what I do. I take blackwall since his tankyness is invaluable. The champion tree is all about not taking damage. The best way to deal with damage is to not take it in the first place. This brings me to Dorian. Dorian is a fantastic control mage if setup properly. The best method I found is to go frost take the first talent in necro with its upgrade and the passive to make his fear last longer. Then go to spirit tree and take mind blast. What's interesting about the build is it gives you a freeze, a a shield and 2 effective fears all in one character. Being able yo control the field is invaluable. Now at this point you need to make a decision Sera or Cole. Verrik can be used but I find sera or cole to be better choices. No matter what you do blackout powder is s good choice. However if you go with Cole you might want to go full on cookie cutter build. That's fine too. I found this setup for me worked. Dorian to me is far too invaluable to pass up. Also cassandra setup as 2 hnded is a good choice as well. Since you are a warrior i say go tank (either champion or templar) and take dorian for the control. Then fill in the other 2 slots with what you want. Hope that helps.

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lun49gameon

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I mostly go with the main dude, and keep cassandra always in the party. The third spot is occupied by vivienne or varric and I sometimes add in Ironbull cause he is pretty cool. I do like Cole's sweet dagger moves so I have been experimenting with him on my team. I barely put sera on my team because I just dont get her and I am very uninterested in solas.

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Legion_

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Geez I must be playing "wrong..." I'm level 13, been playing over 30 hours, and I haven't even unlocked the specializations yet. I didn't even reach Skyhold until 25 hours in.

Either way, I'm playing a dual rogue, and my party is almost always a combination of Cassandra as tank, Solas and a spirit mage, and a second mage as pure DPS of whatever type would help the most for the area.

You unlock them at the war table. It's a mission called "Specializations for the Inquisitor". Also, best party setup in my opinion is two tanks (one templar and one champion), a mage (knight enchanter) and a rogue. You're champion and knight enchanter will basically never go down, and if you're templar goes down, you can have her speced in a direction which heals the whole party. At higher difficulties, it's the only way to go.

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Zeds_Dead_Baby

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The game does a poor job of introducing the specializations. Unless you know to look, you could quite easily play for several levels worth of time beyond when you could have them unlocked. They make a huge difference to so if they were more "organic" in how they come up it would be nice IMO.

I'm playing as a Rift Mage and am melting groups of enemies at a time with practically never ending mana.

What's working for me is Blackwall as a tank heavy into the Champion and Vanguard trees, Dorian heavy into Spirit with Necromancy and Lightening up to the improved Static Cage, and Sera as Tempest/Archery.

The game became markedly easier once the specialties were unlocked and I respecced everybody. I like having a second mage on "Barrier Duty" so my own character can just fry enemies. Pull of the Abyss to Stone Fist combo, followed by repeat Immolates and Lightening Strikes and Dorian laying down Static Cage when enemies get mobile from my initial combo is just destructive. Blackwall doesn't always have a lot to do.

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jadegl

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#21 jadegl  Moderator

Blackwall as an unstoppable tank. Vivienne as my awesome unstoppable mage. Me as the butt stabby rogue. The only wild card is the fourth party member. I usually roll with Varric for the banter, plus I keep Bianca as upgraded as possible, but sometimes I'll slot in another mage or tank depending on what I am feeling. But Blackwall and Vivienne are locked in. Knight-Enchanter is crazy in action.

I also craft armor to give my rogues stuff like guard generation. It really helps when you can give your party members survivability skills that they normally wouldn't have. Crafting is so much fun and essential. All the stuff I end up picking up is kind of blah compared to what I can make at this point.

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Karkarov

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On normal it's perfectly viable to go two tanks (in fact you can pretty much go any composition you want on normal), but on higher difficulties you won't have enough sustain to outlast the damage. Once the enemies hit harder you'll need more dps and smarter spell/ability usage to win the fights.

You can probably also spec one of the tanks to the Reaver subclass and the other to Champion once you have them unlocked, but I think you will find that if you swap out one of the tanks with a 2h warrior later on you'll be killing stuff a lot faster, especially if you craft some good gear for your melee characters.

This is and is not true. The best way to win many fights in nightmare (like all but a couple dragon fights) is to go all warriors. Warriors specced as tanks are also the best at dealing with ranged caster mobs like wraiths and arcane horrors because magic damage does almost nothing to guard stacks. Your dps is low sure, but you are much much harder to wipe. Cole gets aggro on nightmare he will be dead within 5 seconds even from "weak" mobs. In fact I won't use him on nightmare, melee is a death sentence unless you plan to control the character all the time yourself or they are a tank.

Personally I played a two hand warrior and my advice is learn how to properly focus target and CC when possible. Lots of mobs can be really nasty on nightmare, but once you learn the right skills you can lock them down for a looooong time. What I liked to do as a two hand warrior is grappling hook from range (with the kick talent), do the slam move all two hand warriors start with since it does bonus damage to downed enemies, then as the mob gets up pommel strike. This will lock one target completely down for at least 7 seconds or so and you should be within a few seconds of your chain cooldown resetting. In the middle of all that have a mage drop a trap spell right on the mob, have a rogue prep a sleep shot, etc etc. Meanwhile just let the tank fight everything else on their own.

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overnow

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I'm fairly early on but as of right now I'm running myself as a mage, Blackwall, The Iron Bull, and Vivienne. I'm pretty close to getting Dorian (I know cause I played up to that point on a dagger rogue then restarted) and I'm pretty sure I'll put him in there cause Vivienne seems kind of boring so far. I also might drop Bull for Cassandra, I haven't made up my mind yet. I don't know about rogues. I like having 2 warriors cause that makes it less likely for enemies to make it to me and I like having a second mage for Barrier. I find my party uses way less health potions this way. Maybe at some point I'll see the need to use a rogue again, but if I do it sure as hell won't be Sera.

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koolaid

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I'm playing on hard. And so far my best combo has been two SS tanks (me and Cassandra or blackwall), Iron bull as Reaver DPS and Solas as a support mage/ light dps.

I don't know how you are supposed to play this game without a mage throwing down major barriers and my tanks trying to shield wall everything. At least on hard. Otherwise I burn through all my health pots in one battle.

Also, grinding seems like a bigger deal on this difficulty. Not that I'm complaining. When you are getting something meaningful off the side quests, I like doing them. Hell, you could even say there are entire zones that are optional.

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Slininstien

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Here's what I like to run.

Blackwall: Sword and shield, mostly tanky with some dps skills in there.

Iron Bull: Mostly dps with some guard gaining skills.

Vivienne: CC beast, full ice mage with 3 points into spirit for defence and barrier.

Myself: I run a fire based mage (fire mark hit 2k at level 9 on an archer lvl 10) with three points in spirits and 2 in ice for mana regeneration and a getaway at times.

Only issue with this is no rogue but otherwise the warriors always have either guard or barrier up and myself and bull do most damage in the group but we all can combo each other very easily.

I noticed a comment above saying they ran 2 ice mages and a dps one and a tank, I hope you already completed the undead map because they are practically immune to ice damage so yea.

I just unlocked specializations and i plan on going necromancer because it seems to work well with the fire/panic the fire brings. Blackwall gets the pure bunker specialization iron bull gets reaver which is the damage warrior line and viv is the overpowered mage one so I'll probably run Solas for his defense soon...

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teddyschantz

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I've been tinkering around with party combinations for awhile. This team is really "Try-hard" and focuses on abusing some serious glitches/exploits that makes the game very easy.

Inquisitor- Tempest rogue:

get fire flask and focus ability thousand cuts (huge dps for free lol)

get archer abilities the most important being explosive shot

stealth and shadow strike

Vivienne- Knight Enchanter:

All knight enchanter skills

all of the left side of the barrier skill tree (u can decide whether or not to use revive since you have the focus ability

fade step and the rest of the skill points are iffy but i like the right side of the fire skill tree

solas rift mage- all rift abilities, a touch of lightning cage and winter guard

iron bull- reaver and taunt abilities

I think this is prob the most broken party you dont even need to give a damn about solas and iron bull, just let the ai do their thing (unless they are starting to get really hurt but even then you can spam barrier around them). really all you need to do is keep track of you flask and efficiently spam thousand cuts, and make sure the barrier never depletes around vivienne and you should be set for the entire game.

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RB201122

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Me - Knight Enchanter Mage. I was able to get in up close when I needed to due to my specialization but also dealt massive damage from a distance with my Tempest Staff, 131 DPS after adding a rune. I put all my skill points into the KE tree first and then about half of the barrier tree. The rest I distributed evenly between my preferred spells in Fire, Ice and Lightning. Overall, very strong mage character that was able to support the rest of the party well but also deal massive damage.

Blackwall - Two Handed Champion. Originally I was not interested in Blackwall but I heard so much good stuff about him, about how he was near impossible to kill, so I tried him out. At first, I made him a sword and board champion. The DPS was decent but not as high as I wanted it, although he was basically immortal. Even in a dragon battle he just wouldn't go down, insanely OP. When I gave him a two hand weapon, I was absolutely amazed at the results. I recommend everyone to try this. After this, I had no use for squishy Iron Bull. Blackwall was dealing massive DPS but the champion+vanguard tree nearly maxed also prevented him from every dying. If he lost any health at all, my mage would just barrier him and he would be unkillable again. Overall, great character and can result in some hilarious party banter. Insanely powerful yet also immortal.

Cole- Assassin Stealth Rogue. Gave him two daggers with high damage output, result was just as I expected. Big numbers and excellent support for my Warrior. Iron Bull could replace Cole, but I had no need. I feel a dual wielding rogue is very different to an archer rogue, almost making for two different classes. By investing in the stealth tree, Cole became quick and defensive. He could dissappear and stab enemies from all sides, dealing insane amounts of damage. The assassin tree gave him a range of impressive abilities, helping to make him harder to kill and also a great support character. Finally, the dual wield tree gave him powerful abilities which once again increased his DPS and made him a must have.

Sera - Tempest Archer. As I mentioned previously, Dual Wield and Archer are extremely different. Sera is in a class of her own with this build. This is by far, along with KE mage, the most OP build ever. I was able to kill the Hinterlands Dragon in 5 mins with this build. In the tempest tree, I filled out the right side and picked up Thousand Cuts, including all upgrades. When Flask of Fire is active, Thousand Cuts takes up no focus. Hence, infinite Thousand Cuts, DPS goes through the roof, depleting quarter of a dragons health with a single button press. Plus, I can keep doing this since Flask of Fire has a very quick cooldown. I invested alot of points in the archer tree as well to increase DPS and get more bow based skills. In Subterfuge, picked up full left side and in Sabotage, poisoned weapons and some others. By setting Sera's behavior to defend Cole, Cole basically never died, making her an amazing support character.

Overall, this party brings an insane amount of DPS, defense, variety and more to the table. I recommend it to everyone. When I told my friends about it, almost everyone tried it out and was shocked by the results. I have tried every other party combination on this list and the only other one which arguably matches this is the Iron Bull+ Cass one. Vivienne is ok, but too annoying. Sera isn't any better, but damn is she OP and the party banter with Cole is priceless. Blackwall gets awesome down the line, later in game. Overall, awesome party IMO.

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