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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.
Solas is the first mage character you acquire, provided you yourself are not playing a mage. Mage's are somewhat easier and harder to get right than rogues or warriors. There's less focus throughout the few main skill-trees, ensuring you have greater flexibility picking spells, but this also means you can have a character that lacks a particular role. If you dabble in all four trees without rhyme or reason you'll probably end up with a lacklustre generalist, one that's not really kitted out to do much of anything.
For that reason, it's best to use each character's unique skill-tree to dictate their battlefield role. For Solas, his skill-tree is the Rift Mage, turning him into a very effective defensive crowd-controller, with several, powerful, area-of-effect attacks. So for Solas, his job is going to be the defensive mage, ensuring the party remains as protected as possible, whilst dishing out attacks that slow down, or stop, more difficult enemy threats.
The most important skill for any mage is the Barrier skill. No healing spells in Inquisition means having any ability that provides additional protection to your party members is a good thing. The upgrade is worthwhile too, simply speeding up the spell's cooldown.
Peaceful Aura is another practically compulsory ability for mages. It's especially important for Solas, as, if there's one character who you do not want to die, it's the one that can revive fallen party members. This also handily leads us on to Dispel Magic, a somewhat underrated ability that does far more than it initially appears to. As well as removing enemy buffs or party debuffs, it can also be used pre-emptively on rift gates. If you cast the spell on a spot where a demon is about to appear, it'll nullify the summoning, granting you what amounts to an instant kill.
The only other mandatory skill here for Solas is Revival, ensuring that fallen party members can contribute more in tough fights. There's plenty of other options here, the passive abilities are worthwhile, and Mind Blast gives him a good self-defence option - it's up to you how much further you want to invest in this skill-tree.
Inferno and Storm magic offer very little for a defensive-oriented mage but the Winter tree is perfect. Winter Grasp is the perfect spell for damaging enemies, whilst also preventing them from taking part in combat. Its upgrade is unnecessary, as it doesn't freeze additional enemies. The skill further along however, Mana Surge, is ridiculously good, turning your barriers into area-of-effect freeze spells and making it easier to cast future spells - perfect.
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Winter Stillness is another handy passive ability, enabling Solas to spit out a more consistent series of spells, as well as ensuring Barrier remains online as much as possible. Progressing down the centre of the tree to Blizzard is worthwhile but by this point you'll also have access to the unique (and very good) Rift Mage skill-set. Oh, and always take Ice Mine over Ice Wall, the latter is simply too narrow to be of much use.
This tree is unbelievably good. It's not especially flashy but if you want a reliable list of abilities, there's not really any dud in this list. Veil Strike and Punching Down are worth picking up first, and then moving along the left path, making a beeline for Pull of the Abyss and its upgrade, Shaken, is what you're after. Following that you can take the other route, primarily to pick up the remainder of the passives that weaken the overall combat abilities of nearby enemies.
Solas is a hard character to get "wrong" at this point, given that the Rift Mage set is so ridiculously powerful, and synergizes well with the Winter spells we've already picked up.
This type of build for Solas is perfect to bring along for a tough fight. He's not going to add all that much damage, but between him and a sturdy tank like Blackwall, you'll be hard-pressed to see any of your characters fall in combat.
Just remember to keep him away from the main fight, he doesn't take hits very well, and you don't want to have him die and have no way to revive people. Keep him safe!
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Alhb on July 19, 2020:
this build also works for the inquisitor
Poppy from Enoshima, Japan on November 26, 2018:
I always use Solas when I need a mage. He is by far the most powerful. However, it's great fun to take Dorian along with you for the hilarious dialogue such as "I'm too pretty to die!"
Taking Solas is good as well because you can get bits of approval for activating elven artifacts. Good guide!