written by Justin Prince (@prince_justin)
The most standard build people use for assassins in Dragon Age: Inquisition is to build the specialization around a Dual Wielding Rogue, which makes sense... but building a class around a damage dealing death-from-the-shadows tactician feels like it'd be right at home with an archer... it's like a Dragon Age sniper!
Specializations come about 10 some odd levels into the game, so much like the Knight Enchanter build guide, we will focus the meat and potatoes of this piece on the first ten levels, so let's keep this at the first ten ability points.
Initially we will fit these first ten points into three primary skill trees; Assassin, Archery, and Sabotage. Secondary abilities can be purchased later on, after you reach higher levels your Assassin Archer will be even deadlier, but with this guide... it's a fantastic starting off point... and you'll still deal quite a bit of death!
Hidden Blades: A flurry of hits that seem to attack from the shadows, this move can be used as an opening attack or mid battle to help turn the tide. Hidden Blades boasts three hits at 300% Weapon Damage, if these attacks crit you can expect an even larger bonus... all from the comfort being out of “getting-cut-in-the-face” range.
Throatcutter: This can turn the tide in long or drawn out battles, tacking on an additional 2% damage bonus for every 10% of health an enemy is already missing... while useful, this passive is mostly there to lead to...
Knockout Bomb: … the perfect way to start a battle, you toss a grenade that knocks out your target with a powerful sleeping powder. While the effects are similar to Knockout Powder, the grenade has the added advantage of range.
First Blood: The first shot hits hardest, granting you a 15% damage bonus to enemies with 80% or greater health remaining. This allows you to hit harder the healthier an enemy is... though that bout of health won't last long.
Death From Above: A useful passive, especially when playing on terrain like the Hissing Wastes. You deal a whopping 25% extra bonus damage when shooting from elevation. With more places to perch in this game than previous installments, this makes Death From Above a crucial passive to grab.
Leaping Shot: For the moments when an enemy gets too close, take a tactical leap back while pushing forward your assault. Useful for getting out of a sticky situation.
Strafing Shots: Useful, and speed is always appreciated... but this is leading mostly to...
Full Draw: The best way to start a battle off right. You deal 800% weapon damage with a 800% bonus when enemies are at full health, making Full Draw an excellent opening attack... like sniping!
Caltrops: pointless... useful only to lead to...
Looked Like it Hurt: One of the best passives for a rogue, this grants you the ability to regenerate stamina whenever you score a critical hit.
Now that does it for the first ten point... much like the last guide you can go ahead and dump any remaining points into skills you want, but I urge you to check out my suggestions, especially going down the right of Subterfuge.
Down the Right of Subterfuge: Grabbing Stealth isn't a bad idea, following up with Easy to Miss to help drop your enemies likelihood they'll aggro on you. Knockout Powder is a throwaway skill... but it leads to Mercy Killing which turns attacking panicked and sleeping enemies into automatic crits.
Stunning Shot and Rolling Draw: Two upgrades in the Archery tree offer more tactical options for your Assassin Archer. Rolling draw grants a bonus to the next attack that follows a Leaping Shot (also knocking your enemy down) and Stunning Shot puts your enemy to sleep for 20 seconds after the attack... couple Stunning Shot with the passive Mercy Killing make for a crit filled joyride of death and arrowy things.
More Assassin: I Was Never Here, Knife in the Shadows, and Mark of Death make excellent additions to your arsenal. Especially Mark of Death, when activated... every attack adds a portion of its power to the mark, when you either manually detonate it or after the 8 second duration this stored damage is transferred from the mark to your unsuspecting foe.
Poisoned Weapons + Infected Wounds: Never hurts to have a little extra damage, Poison Weapons plus its upgrade Infected Wounds adds another layer of damage to your already deadly arsenal.
The Assassin Archer plays a battlefield like a conductor, initiating the cues of battle with a devastating opening shot. Depending on who I battle, I like to start the fight off with Knockout Bomb, putting my enemy to sleep. If you have Mercy Killing, you can auto-crit sleeping enemies, a good opening blow is Full Draw with it's massive damage bonus and addition bonus if you are at full health (this is further compounded if you have Stunning Shot, knocking your enemy out again for another autocrit).
Leaping Shot is great when enemies rush at you and if you have Rolling Draw you'll knock your enemy off their feet and your follow up attack is granted a bonus. Now if you follow the guide, Mark of Death plays an amazing role in taking down baddies and compound this with Poisoned Weapons, your Archer will be a pro at dealing all kinds of death.
Like the Knight Enchanter, you can build this around one of your other fellow companions, but that means forcing Cole to use a bow and arrow... and personally I've always enjoyed having two death dealers on the field at the same time... one up close and personal and another from a high enough perch to leave your enemies dumbfounded about where they're being attacked from.