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Dragon Age: Inquisition is a hefty game. There's tons of stuff to organize: what characters are you taking? What equipment do you need? These character guides aim to give you a rough idea of how you can build each character, playing to their strengths and giving them a robust set of options in combat, hopefully making your time playing through the game more fun.
Obviously these aren't meant to be "the best" ways to build each character. Leave a comment if you feel a particular strategy has been neglected and we can all benefit from it.
As perhaps befits his name, Blackwall is the tank warrior in Dragon Age: Inquisition. Barring possibly a dwarf main character, Blackwall will easily be the best option you have when it comes to a defensive fighter in your party.
Of course, Blackwall does share his battlefield role with Cassandra, and there's definitely pros and cons to bringing along either of them. As a general rule of thumb, Blackwall is superior against singular enemies; his unique skill-tree, Champion, along with the best tanking skills from the Vanguard and Sword and Shield Trees makes him an impenetrable wall that'll be very difficult for the enemy to overcome.
In contrast, Cassandra is better versus demons, thanks to her unique skills, and overall, is better equipped for fighter hordes of weaker enemies. Also, she's arguably the more proactive fighter of the two, actually capable of dishing out more damage at higher levels and affecting combat with abilities like Spell Purge.
A lot of what I'll talk about with Blackwall I've already covered with Cassandra, so I do recommend you also check out that article to get a good overview of both characters.
Weapon and Shield
The key skills to grab here are:
- Shield Wall
- Bear Mauls Wolves
- Payback Strike
- Turn the Bolt
There's plenty of other solid abilities here, but if you're just after the key skills to make Blackwall effective here are the ones you need. I also recommend picking up Chevalier's Step, the upgrade to Shield Wall, to provide a little more protection to your entire party.
Again, very similar to Cassandra's basic set-up:
- War Cry
- Call To Arms
- Untouchable Defence
In general, Blackwall will be able to generate more guard than Cassandra, so Untouchable Defence becomes more important, earlier on, for him. Blackwall is also the ideal candidate for picking up Bodyguard and Not Today; with his superior ability at simply shrugging off damage, having him soak up injuries from your squishy rogues and mages is a huge benefit.
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This is where Blackwall gets ridiculous, the entire Champion skill-tree is devoted to turning Blackwall into an impenetrable fortress. One of the skills is even called Walking Fortress in case you didn't already get the hint.
The first skill, Line In The Sand, is a great skill for battlefield control. In general, it's not hard to make a warrior tough to kill, but it's much harder to make sure that the opponent stays hitting your fighter and not running off to attack your support members. As the description states, it's good for blocking off choke points too, so scouting potentially tough fights with the tactical camera can be a good idea. The upgrade is also worth picking up.
We then have a choice of prioritising the left or the right path, and, for me, the right path is the one to go for. The final skill, Walking Fortress, grants you temporary total immunity from enemy attacks, which is incredible. Along the way you get Resilience, giving Blackwall an additional chance to stun, one of the main things he's lacking in comparison to Cassandra. You also getUnyielding, a good passive skill to have handy, just in case something catches you off guard.
With Blackwall, you'll quickly find you don't need all the defensive skills in order for him to be a fine tank, and can then perhaps round him out with a little more versatility. Simply put, he gets so good at his primary job, that giving him every guard-improving skill is potentially overkill.
Once you've got the skills I've outlined, you can either grab more defensive options if you're cautious, such as Bulwark, Adamant, and Turn The Blade, or grab something like Grappling Chain and Hamstring from the Battlemaster tree.
Blackwall is potentially one of the game's best characters, simply because having him around makes your party that much harder to wipe out. However, you choose to build him, just remember, make him draw the nastiest threats, and keep the big monsters away from your mages.
© 2014 LudoLogic
Ziraeal on August 06, 2018:
"Bodyguard" isn't a good skill to pick ? With this skill cassandra can absorve 50 % of damage of her alies, plus with the skill "Will be expensive" (or something like that, i'm not sure how it is in english) she returns 50 % of damage received to the enemy. It's a good combo for tanks.
Oskar Daniel on April 22, 2016:
What about a build where blackwall doesn't use Payback Strike? I found that I've used almost never used it when playing Blackwall.
It is indeed a useful skill for dealing damage as a Tank, but I don't really see why it would make Blackwall more effective at tanking. Any other skills you'd suggest?
Zhivko Stanev from Bulgaria on May 26, 2015:
Thanks man, marked it as useful, cause it really is.