Dragon Age: Inquisition - Iron Bull - Skill Guide

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 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.

Iron Bull

Iron Bull is the odd one out when it comes to the trio of Warriors you meet in Dragon Age: Inquisition. For starters, he's a Qunari, and, much like Sten in the original Dragon Age game, his best job is dishing out a world of hurt.

There's definitely the option of kitting out Iron Bull as a tank and having one of your other fighters (probably Cassandra), take on the role of two-handed death dealer. However, given the lack of decent armour for Qunari, and the fact that Iron Bull's unique class emphasizes damage dealing, it's perhaps best to build up Iron Bull as a two-handed Warrior.

Two-Handed Fighting - Skills

The best options here lie in the right side of the skill-tree. Mighty Blow is a handy ability to have, knocking opponents down, ensuring you're piling damage onto them, but they're unable to hit back. Remember, whilst he's a close combat fighter, Iron Bull isn't necessarily designed to be taking tons of hits, especially early on in the game.

Shield Breaker is also good but it's the next two skills that really make going this route worthwhile. The combination of Whirlwind and Clear A Path allows you to smash through foes pretty much indefinitely, provided you're hitting multiple enemies each time. Grabbing the upgrade Rising Winds is also a good idea. It's worth noting the A.I. doesn't always to a great job handling the Whirlwind skill, so you'll sometimes want to switch over and control Iron Bull whenever you want to get the most use out of it.

Finally, we reach Earthshattering Strike, another terrific ability that's geared to putting the smackdown on a bunch of enemies at once. The upgrade is also a must-have, causing damage to continue to occur for several seconds after you've used the skill.

Those are the core skills from this tree, but there's a few others that are decent pick-ups. Block And Slash and Flawless Defense are worth picking up if you finding Iron Bull taking a few more hits than you'd like. The fact that this skill defends him in a way that still enables him to kick out more damage means you're not "wasting" skill points grabbing it. Finally, even if you don't upgrade Block And Slash, Flow Of Battle is a great skill, allowing you to pull off Earthshattering Strike and Whirlwind more frequently.

Battlemaster - Skills

The support tree for Two-Handed Warriors offers some interesting options, as well as a vital skill that Iron Bull will need. Chain Grab is important for an offensive-based Warrior; he's not drawing enemies towards him by taunting, so Iron Bull needs to make sure he has this skill handy to always drag in an opponent to face him. The upgrade isn't necessary, and we have plenty of other options here. Crippling Blows is good, but it's Coup De Grace that we really need here. Enemies will be getting knocked down and stunned all over the place, not just by Iron Bull, and the fact that it simply allows us to kick out more damage makes it a solid skill.

Lastly, spare a thought for Combat Roll and more importantly, its upgrade, Roll With It. The upgrade causes the skill to wipe any effects from Iron Bull whenever you use Combat Roll, this is perfect, allowing Iron Bull to always be kicking out optimal amounts of damage. Again, there's different ways to build Iron Bull, depending on your tastes, but for me a character that can be depended upon to always be up and running is the best.

Reaver- Skills

Iron Bull's unique tree is a bit of an oddball. It's essentially a reboot of the original game's Reaver skill-tree, one that allows you dish out more damage by taking hits, dancing on the edge of death. This isn't Origins, where you could program individual responses to events, ensuring each character had a clear battle plan, now you have to rely more on the (sometimes less than optimal) A.I.

For that reason my recommendations from this skill-tree ensure that Iron Bull remains a steady source of damage dealing, rather than a all-out berserker-style haymaker. It might not always deal the most damage, but it'll much more consistent.

The right side is where you want to be here, after you've picked up the obligatory Ring Of Pain. Fervor and Scenting Blood allow Iron Bull to deal more damage, provided enemies are dying on a regular basis, which shouldn't be too hard with him around. Then you can reach Devour a handy skill that, in theory is designed to mitigate the life-loss component of the Reaver class by allowing Iron Bull to heal himself. If you find yourself using Devour regularly, then you'll also want to upgrade the Ring Of Pain at some point.

This is where I stop in this skill-tree. Obviously, if you want to go the full Reaver option and take Dragon-Rage then you'll definitely want to upgrade Ring Of Pain and Consume. Consume will be what'll keep you alive, whilst spamming Dragon-Rage will hopefully clear out enemies before they can do too much damage to you. The most important thing is to keep an eye on Iron Bull's health, learn how far you can let it drop before cracking in some healing.


Iron Bull is an interesting character, simply because there's a good amount of ways to build him. My recommended approach would be to take the less gambling method, focus on having him churning out a reliable amount of damage hit after hit, rather than getting caught up in all the flashy Reaver toys.

© 2014 LudoLogic

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Comments 1 comment

Gaz 14 months ago

'Scenting Blood' rather than 'Scenting Pain' ?

I suspect the guides/advice could do with a proof read ?

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