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Berserker Vanguard - Mach-5 Massacre (Nightmare Guide) Guide updated for Patch 1.02/1.03 + Isabela build + Isabela Edition 2.0 video added (June 17th)


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AreleX

AreleX
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Update - Guide updated for Patch 1.02/1.03, added Isabela 1.02/1.03 build + showcase video (Berserker Vanguard - Isabela Edition 2.0), check bottom of post.

First and foremost, credit where it's due: Sabresandiego's Ultimate Vanguard guide provided me with the groundwork from which this build was created. If you haven't already, check it out, it's amazingly throrough and helpful.

Berserker Vanguard is a MONSTER. It goes toe to toe with the quickness of a rogue, with the power they could only dream of. You control the battlefield with blistering speed, dispatching enemies before they even have the chance to become a threat to you or your party. In fact, this build is closer to a Rogue than a true two-handed class; you're not dishing out pain through huge spike damage, but an unrelenting barrage of considerably powerful attacks. As a disenfranchised DW Rogue from Origins, I felt right at home playing Berserker. If you want ridiculous amounts of speed, power, and style, this is the class for you!

Do we really need another Vanguard guide? Sabresandiego already made one.
This is a fair point. His guide is very good, and as I said, where I got my start into Vanguard. This guide isn't meant to show him up or anything petty like that; It's just to offer you another way of playing the class. It may seem similar in reading, but in practice, it's very different. Both are effective, so use what you enjoy! On to the guide!

Videos!

I suggest watching in 720p.

The Ultimate Warrior
Berserker Vanguard - Isabela Edition 2.0
Berserker Vanguard - Forces
Mach-5 Massacre Reloaded
Berserker Vanguard - Elite Lockdown
SnS Berserker Vanguard - Post-Patch Varnell Speed Runs
Berserker Vanguard - Isabela Edition!
Low-Level Berserker Vanguard
Low-Level Berserker Vanguard 2
Berserker Vanguard - Two-Minute Nexus Golem Gauntlet Clear / Mini-Guide
Berserker Vanguard - Three-Minute Deep Roads Dragon Boss Kill / Mini-Guide
Berserker Vanguard - Two-Minute Xebenkeck Clear / Mini-Guide
Berserker Vanguard - Repentance
How to solve the Fade Puzzles in Night Terrors
T0rin3 - SnS Berserker Vanguard - Show Me Your Metal Face

Specializations Explained


Berserker
Berserker is an AMAZING choice for the Vanguard. Berserker works by trading in stamina and damage resistance for insane speed and power. It gives you the ability to be almost everywhere on the battlefield at once with how quickly you can get to an enemy, put them down, and move on. Each attack costs a small amount of stamina, but this is largely negligible due to the sheer number of enemies you can kill, and how quickly you can kill them. It also has perfect synergy with...

Reaver
Reaver compliments the Berserker playstyle incredibly well. When you activate Barrage, your attack speed goes up, but your damage resistance goes down. Since you'll be quasi-tanking with this build, you'll be getting hit a bit, which is going to lower your health, and did someone say Sacrificial Frenzy? Because I think someone just said Sacrificial Frenzy. Not to mention that the Fervor passive's 30% speed boost on top of all the ones you'll already have turns you from 'blur' to 'Bruce Lee one-inch punch' once you get it. Devour is also a great skill when you're getting beaten on while your companion's Heal is on cooldown (though I don't use it, due to a fairly limited number of maps available on 360).

Abilities

No spike damage? WHAT?
I know! Let me explain!

With the Berserker, a very large majority of your damage will be coming from basic attacks. This might not sound like much at first, but when you add up all of the speed boosts you will be under (Haste, Barrage, Fervor, Primeval Lyrium Rune, for example), those moderate numbers start to add up VERY fast, so you're looking more towards great passives to compliment your play.

With Berserk active, each attack is going to cost you stamina, and your damage bonus is based on the amount of stamina you have remaining, so it's counter-productive to use active talents with Berserker. I'm not saying don't do it EVER (I love Scythe/Reaper), I'm saying be wise about when you choose to, and be aware that if you take the time to use an active talent, your DPS may very well actually be going DOWN. When I choose to use an active, it's usually to keep an Assassin/Lieutenant under control, or to quickly dispatch some archers to keep them from firing at my party. With the dubious disclaimer out of the way, I'll get into listing my choice abilities to invest your hard-earned points in.

Two-Handed

Mighty Blow

Good for interrupting the tougher enemies if you can use it fairly pre-emptively. Try doing it on reaction the second you see their startup animations, you can interrupt a decent amount of attacks.

Giant's Reach

With Varric using Goad, and you almost always being priority one for enemies, you'll very often be waist-deep in them. Why not get the most bang for your buck?

Scythe (Reaper)

I LOVE Scythe. It's near instantaneous, has great range, does incredibly solid damage, has a HUGE hitbox (good for enemies, bad for mindlessly wandering companions), and you can cancel it into another attack right after it connects. What's not to love?

Sunder
A great passive for setting up cross-class combos. NOTE: As of the new patch, Sunder is BUGGED, and will SUBTRACT from your critical chance. IF YOU ARE PLAYING 1.02/1.03, DO NOT TAKE IT!

Vanguard

Might
A good duration ability. Keep this on with Berserk to up your damage output. When Merrill gets Death Hex (100% critical chance), consider upgrading to Muscle for increased critical damage.

Control

I don't use Control, but you need it to get to the good stuff, so there you go. What do you want from me?!

Cleave (Claymore)
This is where things start getting interesting. Cleave doubles your damage for 10s, and Claymore adds a chance to stagger for setting up cross-class combos. I'll often throw it in when fighting stronger enemies, and in wars of attrition against Lieutenants, I'll drop out of Berserk entirely to conserve stamina and just use this.

Destroyer
Another awesome passive, works great with Berserker because it lowers enemy resistance to basic attacks, and cuts resistance in half on criticals as a bonus.

Massacre
One more top-notch passive from Vanguard? Yes please! Massacre gives you deathblows vs enemies down to a certain amount of health, guaranteeing you those kills you need to regenerate your stamina.

Berserker

Berserk (Savage Berserk/Endless Berserk)
This is where it all begins. You want this active almost permanently, and you'll need it to get at the other talents. Be sure to get Savage and Endless Berserk to maximize your damage and minimize your expended stamina.

Barrage (Unrelenting Barrage)
50% attack speed? YES x100000. Get Unrelenting Barrage to double your duration, but hold off on Resilient barrage for better synergy with your Reaver talents.

Adrenaline
Jury's still out on this one, I have to play around with it more. If anything, it would just be icing on the awesome cake. I'll update this once I've tested it further.

Reaver

Blood Frenzy
Every now and then, you're gonna get hit. Why not turn that damage around and jam it down the enemy's throat?

Devour
Don't be fooled by the small number in the talent tree screen; I often get full heals off Devour. It's nice to have, but not completely essential. Good for the times when your healer and is on cooldown.

Sacrificial Frenzy (Sustained Frenzy)
This is one of my favorite abilities. Doubles up your Blood Frenzy damage. Let me tell you, there is NO BETTER FEELING than getting backstabbed by an Assassin/Templar Hunter, activating Sacrificial Frenzy, turning around and BEATING HIM ****ING SENSELESS. In the FACE. Oh my god, it is catharic.

Aura of Pain
I don't know a damn thing about this, and have never used it. There.

Fervor
Now it's just getting unfair. The Fervor passive gives you +30% attack speed for 10s on kill, and with all the enemies you'll be killing, you're basically walking around with free permahaste. Amazing.

Primeval Lyrium Rune

You get the Primeval Lyrium rune (+38% attack speed) from NOT letting Varric keep the piece of the idol in Act III. After this, take it to Sandal, throw it in your best sword (I would suggest the Blade of Mercy), and watch those glorious numbers fly!

Weapons

Weapons hit things. Weapons give you damage. That's simple enough, but where do you get the good stuff? What IS the good stuff? In this part of the guide, I'll be helping you always stay in top-shape damage wise, by going through the best weapons for each act, where to get them, and my personal pick at the end. I'll update with Act II when I get the chance.

Act I


The Ream Ward (23 STR Req.)

17 Physical damage
+55 Attack
+9% Physical damage
Chest (Tal-Vashoth Cavern, Blackpowder Promise)

Red Grace (24 STR Req.)
18 Physical damage
+59 Attack
+4 Fire damage
Tevinter Hunter Captain (Lowtown - Night, Bait and Switch)

Oath-Breaker (30 STR Req.)
28 Physical damage
1 Rune slot
+82 Attack
+23% Healing to this character
Chest (The Deep Roads, The Deep Roads Expedition)

Hayder's Razor (N/A)

18 Physical damage
+24 Health
+24 Mana/stamina
+5% Chance to knock back
Obtained by completing the Dragon Age II Demo

Arelex's Act I Picks - Hayder's Razor & Oath Breaker
Hayder's Razor has a massive stamina boost that can help a bunch before you get Endless Berserk/more points in Willpower. I'd use it all through Act I until you get the Oath-Breaker. The Oath-Breaker boasts the best strength you can get in Act I, plus a great bonus to heals, so it will carry you into Act II nicely. Red Grace is a solid alternative to Hayder's Razor, if you don't have it.

Act III

Blade of Mercy (41 STR Req.)

38 Physical damage
2 Rune slots
+117 Attack
+5% Attack speed
Chest (Secret Meeting Place, Best Served Cold)

Bassrath-Kata (39 STR Req.)

35 Physical damage
+126 Attack
+6% Critical chance
+10% Physical damage
+11 Damage to humans
- The Lost Swords quest reward

Limbtaker (39 STR Req.)
35 Physical damage
1 Rune slot
+126 Attack
+10% Physical damage
+25% Chance of deathblows
Korval's Blades (Hightown)

Her Song (38 STR Req.)

34 Physical damage
1 Rune slot
+117 Attack
+5 Health regeneration rate
+26% Healing to this character
Pile of Bones (Sundermount Caverns)

Sundering (41 STR Req.)
38 Electricity damage
+6% Critical chance
+16% Critical damage
+10% Physical damage
+5 Mana/Stamina regeneration rate
Nexus Golem's Wares (Recently Opened Passage, Sundermount)

The Celebrant (41 STR Req.)

38 Spirit damage
1 Rune slot
+3 Strength
+3 Willpower
+21% Threat generation
Beacon (The Awiergan Scrolls, Sundermount)

Bloom (41 STR Req.)

38 Cold damage
2 Rune slots
+16% Cold damage
+5% Chance to regenerate 4% Health
Arcane Horror (The Awiergan Scrolls, Sundermount)

Arelex's Act III Picks
- Blade of Mercy & Bloom
Bloom gives you great cold damage, and there aren't many cold resistant enemies in the end-game. Blade of mercy gives you increased attack and attack speed. Both have 2 rune slots, throw in the Primeval Lyrium Rune and the Rune of Devastation and DO WORK!

Armor

To properly undertake your role as quasi-tank, you're going to need solid armor so your Hawke isn't yelling about how badly things are going every two seconds. I've included this part of the guide to keep you in the best gear possible up until Act 3, where you get the Champion armor set. Note that there are some better pieces available in stores, but I won't be listing them, so you can be sure your coin purse is always nice and jingly...That sounded better in my head.

Act I

I'm just going to assume you all have the Blood Dragon armor (18 STR, 18 CON Req.) unlocked, since that makes my life easier. You'll want to keep this until you can complete the Armor of the Fallen set (21 STR, 21 CON Req.) in the Deep Roads, and you'll be wearing that into Act II.

Act II

The Armor of the Fallen gets outclassed pretty quickly, and you're kind of left at an impasse; you won't have any major sets available to you for a while, so you'll have to grab the best pieces you can and throw them together. I suggest Dissention or Templar Armor - Superior Heavy Issue (22 STR, 22 CON Req., both from Ser Alrik, Dissent) for starters, then the Stonehammer Boots (25 STR, 25 CON Req, Chest, Bartrand's Mansion, Family Matter). For the gauntlets, go with the Handcrafted Dwarven Cuffs (Reward, Last of His Line), then the Stonehammer Gauntlets (Chest, The Killer's Lair, All That Remains) later on. Last, cover your hideous face (I'm kidding, you're all gorgeous and I love you) with the Helm of the Emerald Knights (22 STR, 22 CON Req, Chest, Cavern of Dead, Bone Pit Mines), and later, the Stonehammer Helm (25 STR, 25 CON Req, Thug Leader, Winding Alley, Following the Qun)

Act III


Champion armor (31 STR, 31 CON Req.). That is all.

Attribute Allocation

You're going to want to invest your attribute points into Strength (for damage/fortitude), WIllpower (talents and Berserk), and Constitution (survivability/armor equips). As a general baseline, you'll need 41 STR to equip the best swords, 31 CON to equip the Champion armor, and the rest should go into Willpower. On one of my level 18 saves, I currently have:
39 Strength
21 Willpower
31 Constitution

Companions - Optimal Party

I feel that this is the best party to bring along. They compliment you the best, bring the most to the table, and DON'T HAVE MAN JAWS AND WALK INTO YOUR ATTACKS CONSTANTLY (I love you Aveline, but you need to get the **** out of my way), Set all to Ranged.

Anders

Anders is your support mage/savior/best friend/love interest/Grey Warden that looks like a weasel. He keeps you/your party buffed and alive. Invest his ability points in Magic, Willpower, and Consitution. He'll have most of his mana shackled to sustains, so be sure to set him to chug Lyrium Potions when he gets low.

Merrill

Merril is your offensive mage/adorable blood magic user/occasional tank. She's aces in my book, for making the most of your staggers, and also giving you Elemental Weapons. Invest points in Magic and Constitution. SInce you'll have her using Blood of the First, the low mana pool is a non-issue.

Varric

Varric's job is to open chests, disarm traps, keep the hate on you, and off your mages. Get Goad soon as possible, and have him using it when your other companions are under attack. Invest in Dexterity and Cunning, and maybe throw a few points into Constitution to make him a little less squishy.


Tome/Elixir Locations


Act I

Tome of Technique (+1 Skill)
(Hubert's Fine Goods, Hightown)

Avernus's Experimental Draught (+2 Attribute)

(Dark Epiphany, only if you spared him in Origins DLC)

Act II

Greater Tome of the Mortal Vessel (+2 Attribute)
(Trinkets Emporium, Lowtown)

Tome of Technique (+1 Skill)

(Ilen's Crafts, Sundermount)


Elixir of Heroism (+1 Bonus Level)
(Corpse, after meeting with Orsino during Qunari attack)

Act III

Arcane Tome of the Mortal Vessel (+1 Attribute)
(Korval's Blades, Hightown)

The Black Emporium

Greater Tome of the Mortal Vessel (+2 Attribute)


Greater Elixir of the Mortal Vessel (+2 Attribute)


Elixir of Arcane Technique (+1 Skill, Mage)

Elixir of Physical Technique (+1 Skill, Warrior/Rogue)


You can also get bonus attribute points from:

- Completing the Fade puzzles in Feynriel's dream. (Act II,  Night Terrors) Make sure you save before trying them, because if you fail to solve them in the allotted number of moves, you lose your chance at them. Check this video to see how it's done.

- If you spare Idunna, the blood mage you meet in the Blooming Rose, you will get a quest in Act II called Forbidden knowledge. Destroy all of the tomes except for the Fel Grimoire (read it), or you will NOT be able to complete this quest/fight Xebenkeck!

- I won't even list Torpor, because if you take his offer, you are a bad person, and you should feel bad.

Level-up Guide

Check above for Tome/Elixir locations. Use Maker's Sigh potions to remove undesirable talents (Pommel Strike) from Hawke and companions. These are just numbered to make it easier to read and check, not the order you should get them in. I'm doing another playthrough, and I will update with an order as I go along.

Hawke - Two-Hander

Level 1: Maker's Sigh (remove Pommel Strike), Save talent point
Level 2: Save talent point
Level 3: Mighty Blow, Giant's Reach, Might
Level 4: Control
Level 5: Scythe
Level 6: Cleave
Level 7: Berserker Specialization, Destroyer, Sunder (Tome of Physical Technique)
Level 8: Berserk
Level 9: Barrage
Level 10: Claymore, Adrenaline (Elixir of Technique)
Level 11: Endless Berserk
Level 12: Unrelenting Barrage
Level 13: Savage Berserk
Level 14: Reaver Specialization, Blood Frenzy
Level 15: Death Blow, Massacre  (Tome of Technique)
Level 16: Devour
Level 17: Sacrificial Frenzy
Level 18: Aura of Pain, Fervor (Elixir of Heroism)
Level 19: Bolster
Level 20: Second Wind
Level 21: Deep Breath
Level 22: Last Push
Level 23: Deep Reserves

Hawke - Sword & Shield
Level 1: Maker's Sigh (remove Pommel Strike), Save talent point
Level 2: Save talent point
Level 3: Shield Defense, Might, Control
Level 4: Perception
Level 5: Taunt
Level 6: Cleave
Level 7: Berserker Specialization, Destroyer
Level 8: Berserk
Level 9: Barrage
Level 10: Claymore, Adrenaline (Bonus from Act 1 Tome)
Level 11: Endless Berserk
Level 12: Unrelenting Barrage
Level 13: Savage Berserk
Level 14: Reaver Specialization, Blood Frenzy
Level 15: Death Blow, Massacre (Bonus from Act 2 Tome)
Level 16: Devour
Level 17: Sacrificial Frenzy
Level 18: Aura of Pain, Fervor (Bonus from Black Emporium Tome)
Level 19: Bolster
Level 20: Second Wind
Level 21: Deep Breath
Level 22: Last Push
Level 23: Deep Reserves

Merrill
0. Blood of the First
1. Stonefist
2. Golem's Fist
3. Rock Armor
4. Chain Lightning
5. Chain Reaction
6. Spirit Bolt
7. Elemental Weapons
8. Mind Blast
9. Crushing Prison
10. Paralyzing Prison
11. Hex of Torment
12. Death Hex
13. Horror
14. Despair
15. Misdirection Hex
16. Petrify
17. Dessicate
18. Galvanism

Anders

1. Mind Blast
2. Barrier
3. Summon Ser Pounce-A-Lot
4.  Heal
5. Greater Heal
6. Heroic Aura
7. Valiant Aura
8. Glyph of Paralysis
9. Glyph of Binding
10. Glyph of Repulsion
11. Glyph of Defiance
12. Haste
13. Great Haste
14. Panacea
15. Aid Allies
16. Regroup
17. Vengeance
18. Swift Justice

Varric

1. Pinning Shot
2. Bursting Arrow
3. Rapid Pinning Shot
4. Disorienting Shot
5. Blindside
6. Truce
7. Goad
8. Corral
9. Back-to-Back
10. Brand
11. Rhyming Triplet
12. Nameless Grace
13. Well-Oiled
14. Bianca's Song
15. Embellishment
16. Kickback
17. Backlash

Tactics

Merrill
Self: Health: <50%: Deactivate: Blood of the First
Self: Health: <25%: use Health Poultice
Enemy: STAGGERED: Chain Lightning
Enemy: STAGGERED: use current condition for next tactic
Enemy: Target rank is Elite or higher: Crushing Prison
Self: Being attacked by a melee attack: Mind Blast
Self: Health: >75%: activate: Blood of the First
Enemy: Attacking Varric: Stonefist
Enemy: Attacking Anders: Misdirection Hex
Enemy: Target rank is Elite or higher: Hex of Torment
Enemy: Target rank is Elite or higher: Horror
Enemy: Target rank is Elite or higher: Petrify
Enemy: Clustered with at least 3 enemies: Tempest
Self: Any - Activate: Rock Armor
Self: Any - Activate: Elemental Weapons
Self: Health: <50% - use current condition for next tactic
Self: Mana or stamina level - <25%: Use Lyrium Potion
Enemy: Target of Hawke - Attack

Anders
1. Self: Health: <50%: deactivate: Vengeance
2. self: mana: <10%: use Lyrium Poultice
3. ally: hp <50%: Heal
4. ally: hp: <50%: jump to tactic 16
5. self: any: deactivate: Panacea
6. enemy: STAGGERED: Chain Lightning
7. self: at least 1 enemy is alive: Haste
8. enemy: clustered with 2 enemies: Glyph of Paralysis
9. self: mana <75%: activate: Heroic Aura
10. self: hp: >75%: activate: Vengeance
11. self: mana: >50%: skip tactics
12. self: hp: >75%: Martyr
13. enemy: target of Hawke: Attack
14. self: any: skip tactics
15. self: any: deactivate: Vengeance - *actual jump destination*
16. self: any: deactivate: Heroic Aura
17. ally: hp: <50%: activate: Panacea
18. ally: status: dead: Regroup
19. ally: hp: <50%: Aid Allies

Varric

1. self: hp: <25%: use: Health Poultice
2. self: stamina: <10%: use: Stamina Draught
3. enemy: target of Hawke: use current condition for next tactic
4. enemy: elite or higher: Brand
5. enemy: attacking Varric: use current condition for next tactic
6. Anders: any: Back-to-Back
7. Anders: being attacked by a melee attack: Armistice
8. self: being attacked by melee attack: Armitice
9. enemy: attacking Anders: Kickback
10. enemy: elite or higher: Pinning Shot
11. enemy: target of Hawke: Rhyming Triplet
12. self: stamina: <50%: activate: Speed
13. Anders: Being attacked by a melee or ranged attack: jump to tactic 16
14. Merrill: Being attacked by a melee or ranged attack: use current condition for next tactic
15. Hawke: any: Goad ----- *actual jump destination*
16. self: any: activate: Bianca's Song
17. enemy: target of Hawke: Attack
18. self: at least 1 enemy alive: skip tactics
19. self: any: deactivate: Speed

Patch 1.02 (Console) and 1.03 (PC) Build/Tactics/Notes Updates

Set your companions to the 'Aggressive' behavior preset. By choosing this, this means that the only time your companions will move is to get in range of an enemy. In the past, this would be a problem due to friendly fire, but the patch has removed FF from basic attacks. In addition to the above, when a character is set to 'Aggressive', their tactics will not be disrupted by using 'Hold', which will be great on those occasions where they start running into Firestorms like idiots.

This build will require a touch more intuition on the part of the user, due to the addition of using Walking Bomb and Firestorm to give more consistent Sacrificial Frenzy setups. Fire resist runes in your armor + Elemental Aegis are needed to help mitigate the damage from both of your mages very likely dropping Firestorms on your head. Two-Hander will develop a bit faster than SnS, but SnS will ultimately be more powerful. Respec as soon as possible, then follow the guides below. Click on companion names for build/level-up guides.

Hawke - Two-Hander

Level 1: Mighty Blow
Level 2: Giant's Reach
Level 3: Might
Level 4: Control
Level 5: Scythe
Level 6: Cleave
Level 7: Berserker Specialization, Destroyer, Elemental Aegis (Tome of Physical Technique)
Level 8: Berserk
Level 9: Barrage
Level 10: Claymore, Adrenaline (Elixir of Technique)
Level 11: Endless Berserk
Level 12: Save talent point
Level 13: Unrelenting Barrage, Savage Berserk
Level 14: Reaver Specialization, Blood Frenzy
Level 15: Death Blow, Massacre  (Tome of Technique)
Level 16: Devour
Level 17: Sacrificial Frenzy
Level 18: Aura of Pain
Level 19: Fervor (Elixir of Heroism)
Level 20: Rally
Level 21: Bolster
Level 22: Second Wind
Level 23: Deep Breath
Level 24: Last Push
Level 25: Deep Reserves
Level 26: Unite

Hawke - Sword & Shield

Level 1: Shield Bash
Level 2: Shield Defense
Level 3: Might
Level 4: Control
Level 5: Assault
Level 6: Cleave
Level 7: Berserker Specialization, Destroyer, Elemental Aegis (Tome of Physical Technique)
Level 8: Scatter
Level 9: Berserk
Level 10: Claymore, Barrage (Elixir of Technique)
Level 11: Adrenaline
Level 12: Endless Berserk
Level 13: Unrelenting Barrage
Level 14: Reaver Specialization, Savage Berserk
Level 15: Battery, Massacre  (Tome of Technique)
Level 16: Disperse
Level 17: Blood Frenzy
Level 18: Aura of Pain
Level 19: Sacrificial Frenzy (Elixir of Heroism)
Level 20: Fervor
Level 21: Death Blow
Level 22: Bolster
Level 23: Rally
Level 24: Second Wind
Level 25: Deep Breath
Level 26: Last Push

Companion Builds/Level-up Guides/Tactics

Anders

Set to Aggressive. Invest in MAG/WIL 2:1, then MAG/WIL/CON 1:1:1, alternating each level. Purchase the Black Emporium Tome for Anders as soon as possible (likely sometime in Act II). Build assumes you do Dissent at level 15 for free Vengeance.

Self: Health <50% - Deactivate: Vengeance
Self: Health <25% - Use Potion
Self: Mana or stamina <10% - Use: Lyrium Potion
Hawke: Health <10% - Heal
Varric (or Sebastian/Isabela): Health <25% - Heal
Enemy: Clustered with at least three enemies - Glyph of Paralysis
Enemy: DISORIENTED - Walking Bomb
Enemy: DISORIENTED - Spirit Bolt
Enemy: DISORIENTED - Stonefist
Self: At least one enemy is alive - Haste
Enemy: Clustered with at least three enemies - Fireball
Enemy: Target between medium and long range - Firestorm
Enemy: STAGGERED (or Clustered 3+) - Chain Lightning
Self: Health >=50% - Activate - Vengeance
Self: Any - Activate: Heroic Aura
Self: Mana or stamina >=50% - Skip tactics
Self: Health >=75% - Martyr
Enemy: Using ranged attack - Attack

Merrill

Set to Aggressive. Invest in MAG/CON 2:1, stopping at 225-250 health.

Self: Health <50% - Deactivate - Blood of the First
Self: Health <25% - Use Potion
Enemy: Target of Hawke - Use current condition for next tactic
Enemy: Target rank is Elite or higher - Hex of Torment
Enemy: Clustered with at leas three enemies - Wounds of the Past
Enemy: STAGGERED (or Clustered 3+) - Chain Lightning
Enemy: DISORIENTED - Stonefist
Enemy: DISORIENTED - Spirit Bolt
Enemy: Clustered with at least three enemies - Ensnare
Enemy: Target between medium and long range - Firestorm
Enemy: Target between short and medium range - Tempest
Self: Health >=50% - Activate: Blood of the First
Self: Any - Activate: Wrath of the Elvhen
Self: Any - Activate: Rock Armor
Self: Any - Activate: Elemental Weapons
Self: Health >=50% - Skip tactics
Self: Mana or stamina <10% - Use: Lyrium Potion
Self: Any - Activate - Death Syphon
Enemy: Using ranged attack - Attack

Varric

Set to Aggresive. Invest in CON to 15, WIL to 15, enough CUN to open traps at your level, and the rest into DEX.

Self: Health <10% - Use Potion
Self: Mana or stamina <10% - Use: Stamina Draught
Enemy: Clustered with at least three enemies - Fatiguing Fog
Enemy: Target of Hawke - Use current condition for next tactic
Enemy: Target rank is Elite or higher - Brand
Enemy: Target of Hawke - Use current condition for next tactic
Enemy: Target rank is Elite or higher - Disorienting Shot
Anders: Being attacked by a melee attack - Armistice
Self: Being attacked by a melee attack - Armistice
Enemy: Target at short range - Kickback
Self: Being attacked by a melee attack - Rush
Anders: Being attacked by a melee or ranged attack - Jump to: 19
Self: Being attacked by a melee or ranged attack - Jump to: 19
Merrill: Being attacked by a melee or ranged attack - Jump to: 19
Self: Any - Activate: Speed (or Precision)
Self: Any - Activate: Bianca's Song
Enemy: Attacking Anders - Attack
Enemy: Using ranged attack - Attack
Hawke: Any - Goad

Sebastian

Set to 'Aggressive'. Invest in CON to 15, WIL to 15, enough CUN to open traps at your current level/area, and the rest into DEX. Note that Sebastian gets a free skill point, on top of your current level at recruitment.

Self: Health <10% - Use Potion
Self: Mana or stamina <10% - Use: Stamina Draught
Self: Health <75% - Guardian Angel
Anders: Health <90% - Chameleon's Breath
Enemy: Clustered with at least three enemies - Fatiguing Fog
Enemy: Target of Hawke - Use current condition for next tactic
Enemy: Target rank is Elite or higher - Brand
Enemy: Target of Hawke - Use current condition for next tactic
Enemy: Target rank is Elite or higher - Wounding Arrow
Anders: Being attacked by a melee attack - Armistice
Self: Being attacked by a melee attack - Rush
Anders: Being attacked by a melee attack - Jump to: 15
Self: Being attacked by a melee attack - Jump to: 15
Self: Any - Activate: Speed
Hawke: Any - Goad
Enemy: Attacking Anders: Attack

Isabela

Set to 'Aggressive'. Invest in CON to 225-250, enough CUN to disarm traps at your current level, and the rest into DEX. Give her The Fallen Star from the Black Emporium (or other health-boosting gear, i.e Brass Nug Charm), and a Fire Resist rune in her armor.

Self: Health <10% - Use Potion
Self: Mana or stamina <10% - Use: Stamina Draught
Enemy: DISORIENTED - Use current condition for next tactic
Anders: Any - Back-to-Back
Enemy: Clustered with at least two enemies - Fatiguing Fog
Enemy: Target of Hawke - Use current condition for next tactic
Enemy: Target rank is Elite or higher - Brand
Enemy: STAGGERED - Use current condition for next tactic
Enemy: Target rank is Elite or higher - Explosive Strike
Self: Surrounded by at least three enemies: All Hands on Deck
Anders: Being attacked by a melee attack - Armistice
Self: Being attacked by a melee attack - Armistice
Anders: Being attacked by a melee attack - Jump to: 16
Self: Any - Activate: Speed
Self: Any - Activate: Lacerate
Hawke: Any - Goad
Enemy: Target rank is Normal or higher - Twin Fangs
Enemy: Attacking Anders - Attack

Enemy Resistance Chart

(Courtesy of People Magazine Sexiest Man Alive IN1)

Different enemies have different weaknesses and resistances. Keep a few different staves on hand for Merril and use this guide to make sure you're always getting the most out of her Elemental Weapons.

Enemy Type: C(old), E(lectricity), F(ire), N(ature), S(pirit)

Arcane Horror type: C=low, E=low, F=normal, N=low, S=immune.
Carta type: C=low, E=normal, F=normal, N=normal, S=normal.
Coterie type: C=normal, E=normal, F=normal, N=normal, S=immune.
Dalish type:  C=normal, E=low, F=normal, N=immune, S=normal.
Darkspawn type (including Emissaries and Ogres): C=normal, E=normal, F=normal, N=low, S=low.
Desire demon and shade type: C=normal, E=low, F=normal, N=low, S=immune.
Dragon type: C=low, E=normal, F=immune, N=normal, S=normal.
Fire Pride demon type: C=low, E=normal, F=immune, N=low, S=normal.
Generic undead type (including corpses, skeletons, Shadow Warrior captains):  C=normal, E=low, F=normal, N=immune, S=low.
Golem type (including Gate Guardians): C=low, E=low, F=normal, N=immune, S=normal.
Kirkwall type (including Bloodrager Thralls): C=immune, E=normal, F=low, N=normal, S=normal.
Mabari type: C=low, E=normal, F=immune, N=normal, S=normal.
Mage type (including Blood and Circle High mages): C=normal, E=normal, F=normal, N=normal, S=low.
Mercenary type: C=immune, E=normal, F=normal, N=low, S=normal.
Orsino: C=normal, E=low, F=normal, N=immune, S=low.
Poison Pride demon type: C=normal, E=low, F=low, N=immune, S=normal.
Profane type (including Ancient Rock Wraith): C=low, E=immune, F=normal, N=normal, S=low.
Qunari type (including the Arishok): C=low, E=immune, F=immune, N=low, S=normal.
Rage demon type: C=low, E=normal, F=immune, N=normal, S=normal.
Raider type: C=normal, E=low, F=normal, N=immune, S=normal.
Revenant type: C=immune, E=low, F=nomal, N=immune, S=low.
Spider type (including Varterral): C=normal, E=low, F=normal, N=immune, S=normal.
Street thug type: C=low, E=normal, F=immune, N=normal, S=normal.
Templar type (including Meredith): C=low, E=normal, F=normal, N=normal, S=low.
Tevinter (slaver) type: C=immune, E=normal, F=low, N=normal, S=normal.

Closing Notes
That's it for the guide! I'll be updating it with info and videos as I learn/play more, and hopefully, with the help of all of you. Post here if you have questions, and I'll try my best to give you the answers you need, or you can PM me your questions. Dragon Age 2 is still young, so share what you know/things that I missed or could do better, and we'll make this the best damn build in the game!

:wizard:

Edited by AreleX, 17 June 2011 - 11:53 PM.

  • SuicidialBaby likes this

#2
Sabresandiego

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A berserker vanguard is a great alternative to my build. I prefer using active abilities because I love bursting people down with scythe, mighty blow, and whirlwind while under the effect of cleave/claymore. Being a berserker and constantly attacking at 50%+ speed is a great alternative combat style and also very satisfying. Awesome video too.

Edited by Sabresandiego, 20 March 2011 - 11:03 AM.


#3
DA Trap Star

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That video was insane lol. I'm a level away from getting barrage, watching your first just makes the wait harder lol.

#4
Salladdbladd

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Hi,

nice guide.
I made something similar but also with extremly high burst.

SnS Warrior with Berserker, Reaver and Vanguard.
Check it out.

social.bioware.com/forum/1/topic/305/index/6608426

#5
T3hAnubis

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I posted about doing this build but with Sword and Shield. Despite what people think, a one handed weapon and a two handed weapon of equal quality do the same DPS, the 2 hander is just slower and does more per swing but DPS is even actually. Two handed do have better bursts but Berserker isn't about bursting, so the lost for gaining the Shield Armor and ability to tank is worth the trade off by a long shot.

Here is the topic: THIS IS KIRKWALL! A Concept for a Berserker Damage Tank

Here is the original post:

T3hAnubis wrote...

Posted Image

Despite what many believe, Auto Attacking with a Shield and Sword of equal quality is just as strong as Auto Attacking with a Two Hander of equal quality.

Zhel_Ryn wrote...

Posted Image


You're trading a wider arc (25% vs 33%) for a lot of survivability from your Shield.

The idea is to get as much as you can out of your Auto Attacks . This means the Vanguard Tree and Berserker Tree (and consequently the Battlemaster's Stamina Skills) are your Bread and Butter.

I was thinking of something like this (not learned in that order of course):
http://biowarefans.c...elDEvHGInpNL0bU

Anyone ever done anything like this? 


Edited by T3hAnubis, 18 March 2011 - 01:52 AM.


#6
Altima Darkspells

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This is jsut fantastic.

#7
Stardusk78

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I had a similar build going...but I personally invest in Reaver first, even before a lot of the 2H stuff; it's passives are great, especially the first and sustained frenzy is great too...did get far enough to get the 2nd spec but I think I might do a warrior run after my mage run and get berserker 2nd.

Anyone who had played a 2H warrior with heavy Reaver talents can only say: engine of destruction.

#8
Stardusk78

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Sabresandiego wrote...

A berserker vanguard is a great alternative to my build and much more friendly fire safe. I prefer using active abilities because I love bursting people down with scythe, mighty blow, and whirlwind while under the effect of cleave/claymore. Being a berserker and constantly attacking at 50%+ speed is a great alternative combat style and also very satisfying. Awesome video too.


Give a couple of days and I might make a Reaver vanguard guide; I LOVE the Reaver.:o

#9
SpezXVII

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Now this is what I call fun. After the Sebastian/Isabella glitched destroyed my 2H Reaver/Templar, I wasn't sure if I wanted to go back to the Warrior. (I play on PS3 so I can't just edit my stats back.) This, however, has made the Warrior so much more fun to me. I liked my build that was similar to Sabresandiego's but I hated all the kiting. Running away and then charging back in to do 1-2 attacks quickly became tedious. This, to me, is not!

Edited by SpezXVII, 18 March 2011 - 12:34 AM.


#10
praliban

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I'm running a similar build concentrating on vanguar, reaver and berserker. So far its has been a killing machine. As for abilities, I use them all the time. Death Blow and Second Wind will make sure your stamina is always full.

#11
L4r90

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FORCES!
great vid on your end^^ i enjoyed reading berserk myself. the guide and vid made me think about getting a respec again just to try this out. but i dont like how slowly this builds up early game since it's very stat and skill point dependant (at least it seems that way to me). so it's basicly a vanguard build until lvl~18. as for the idea itself; great^^ since the release day i was playing a lot of warriors... deleted em half way in the story (soo many bugs...), just to start a new. and every time i thought of the berserker tree as lack luster... and this proved me wrong^^

#12
T3hAnubis

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T3hAnubis wrote...

snip

Now that I think about it, Two Handers have another advantage over One Handers, the slower speed means less losses of Stamina per swing from Berserk. So, anyone else still think an One Hander variation is still viable?

#13
AreleX

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L4r90 wrote...

FORCES!
great vid on your end^^ i enjoyed reading berserk myself. the guide and vid made me think about getting a respec again just to try this out. but i dont like how slowly this builds up early game since it's very stat and skill point dependant (at least it seems that way to me). so it's basicly a vanguard build until lvl~18. as for the idea itself; great^^ since the release day i was playing a lot of warriors... deleted em half way in the story (soo many bugs...), just to start a new. and every time i thought of the berserker tree as lack luster... and this proved me wrong^^


I understand what you're saying, but It isn't as slow-building as it may seem. In fact, once you get Haste for Anders and Barrage for yourself, you'll be plenty fast already. 

I started a new 2H Berserker Vanguard to better facilitate writing the guide from an early-game standpoint, and I could record some vids if you feel it would be helpful.

:wizard:

#14
L4r90

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sure^^

#15
X-Frame

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This is EXACTLY the guide I was looking for. I was using Templar for most of my last playthrough but it wasn't until the end that I put Reaver, Berserker, and Vanguard together to take on the final bosses that I was kicking myself for not doing this sooner.

Going to be coming back to this guide once I go Warrior again.

#16
Jamster1990

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T3hAnubis wrote...

T3hAnubis wrote...

snip

Now that I think about it, Two Handers have another advantage over One Handers, the slower speed means less losses of Stamina per swing from Berserk. So, anyone else still think an One Hander variation is still viable?


Does the 50% stagger on crit skill from 2h work with a WnS? if not thats another major benifit of 2h as you can stagger from auto not needing to use stam on skills for it. CCC helps alot with taking down bigger foes.

#17
Koross

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I guess having the Berserk soundtrack playing in the background is a must to enjoy this build 100% =)

#18
AreleX

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I've added a new video, Low-Level Berserker Vanguard, to give you some ideas on how to play before you get all of your attributes and skills filled in,

I'm level 8 in the video, using the Anderfel Cleaver (my internet is WAY too slow to ever let me download the DA2 demo, but if you have it, Hayder's Razor is the best choice for most of Act I, I think), and you'll notice me dropping out of Berserk a lot. I do this to conserve STA, since I don't have a huge stamina pool yet. Cleave is a great way to keep your damage output high when you do this, so fire it up, get some kills, and reactivate Berserk when you have a comfortable margin of stamina regained. I'm using accessories that boost my stamina over almost anything else at this point in the game, as well. Also, at this point, I do not have Barrage.

Koross wrote...

I guess having the Berserk soundtrack playing in the background is a must to enjoy this build 100% =)


My friend, it is truly something one must try to fully appreciate. Hell, just throw Forces on repeat, and do your best Guts impression.

:wizard:

Edited by AreleX, 18 March 2011 - 10:33 AM.


#19
T3hAnubis

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Jamster1990 wrote...

T3hAnubis wrote...

T3hAnubis wrote...

snip

Now that I think about it, Two Handers have another advantage over One Handers, the slower speed means less losses of Stamina per swing from Berserk. So, anyone else still think an One Hander variation is still viable?


Does the 50% stagger on crit skill from 2h work with a WnS? if not thats another major benifit of 2h as you can stagger from auto not needing to use stam on skills for it. CCC helps alot with taking down bigger foes.

I planned on testing that later. Although Sunder require one point before in Two Handed.

#20
T3hAnubis

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Wouldn't the Might of the Sten be better for SE Owners than Hayder's Razor?

Edited by T3hAnubis, 18 March 2011 - 12:15 PM.


#21
SirValeq

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Sabresandiego wrote...

A berserker vanguard is a great alternative to my build and much more friendly fire safe.


Indeed. With much less FF from activated abilities (and FF from Giant's Reach auto-attacks seems to be somewhat smaller than from talents) it may even allow me to find a use for Isabella and Fenris on a few less difficult quests.
I'm definately going to try this build, seeing as I can't play anything but Warriors in this game. It's the only class that allows me to play almost 100% pause-free.

#22
ExcitedApathy

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T3hAnubis wrote...

Wouldn't the Might of the Sten be better for SE Owners than Hayder's Razor?


I would think if Stamina isn't an issue, then yes. I've been using the Razor on my Vanguard (lv 9) and personally like it better than Might of the Sten. I've been basing my Vanguard on Sabre's build, but I will have to try this build since I find myself using auto-attack more than abilities.

Edit: The reason I prefer the Razor is mainly cosmetic. It makes me feel like ol' Cloud Strife; big weapon on my little FemHawke.

Edited by Bahanix, 18 March 2011 - 12:43 PM.


#23
AreleX

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iLikeBWgames wrote...

Indeed. With much less FF from activated abilities (and FF from Giant's Reach auto-attacks seems to be somewhat smaller than from talents) it may even allow me to find a use for Isabella and Fenris on a few less difficult quests.
I'm definately going to try this build, seeing as I can't play anything but Warriors in this game. It's the only class that allows me to play almost 100% pause-free.


I would suggest against Isabela, because her and Sebastian's friendship passives are bugged.

Also, yes, friendly-fire is greatly reduced when you're just doing normal attacks. In my Forces video, I beat the **** out of Anders after he gets backstabbed (I was locking down the Templar Hunter, about to take him out, and he ****ing meanders into that very room at the VERY SECOND I'm about to set up a Sacrificial Frenzy off the backstab, I was so angry), and he takes a good 3-4 swings at low health, but doesn't die.

T3hAnubis wrote...

Wouldn't the Might of the Sten be better for SE Owners than Hayder's Razor?


I don't know anything about the SE bonuses (I'm going to cut everyone at Gamestop for screwing that up, I swear), but that does look pretty solid. Hayder's Razor gives you a very sizable stamina boost, which would be useful early-game when your stats are still fairly low, so I was thinking that would be best.

In fact, would you guys be willing to help me compile a list of the best greatswords for each act? I'd like to work something like that into the guide to help people always be at their strongest for that respective part of the game.

:wizard:

Edited by AreleX, 18 March 2011 - 01:55 PM.


#24
T3hAnubis

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AreleX wrote...

iLikeBWgames wrote...

Indeed. With much less FF from activated abilities (and FF from Giant's Reach auto-attacks seems to be somewhat smaller than from talents) it may even allow me to find a use for Isabella and Fenris on a few less difficult quests.
I'm definately going to try this build, seeing as I can't play anything but Warriors in this game. It's the only class that allows me to play almost 100% pause-free.


I would suggest against Isabela, because her and Sebastian's friendship passives are bugged.

Also, yes, friendly-fire is greatly reduced when you're just doing normal attacks. In my Forces video, I beat the **** out of Anders after he gets backstabbed (I was locking down the Templar Hunter, about to take him out, and he ****ing meanders into that very room at the VERY SECOND I'm about to set up a Sacrificial Frenzy off the backstab, I was so angry), and he takes a good 3-4 swings at low health, but doesn't die.

T3hAnubis wrote...

Wouldn't the Might of the Sten be better for SE Owners than Hayder's Razor?


I don't know anything about the SE bonuses (I'm going to cut everyone at Gamestop for screwing that up, I swear), but that does look pretty solid. Hayder's Razor gives you a very sizable stamina boost, which would be useful early-game when your stats are still fairly low, so I was thinking that would be best.

In fact, would you guys be willing to help me compile a list of the best greatswords for each act? I'd like to work something like that into the guide to help people always be at their strongest for that respective part of the game.

This link should help.

#25
Voylodion01

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AreleX,

Thanks for putting this guide togetther. I was wondering about the tactics for Anders. Is this correct?:


Anders
...
...
...
...
Enemy: Target of Hawke - Haste


Should Haste not be used on friendlies?