Dragon Age Inquisition Katari Basic Build Guide

Dragon Age Inquisition Katari Basic Build Guide by jal0001


Feel free to skip this. My name is Isms and I play on the PC server. It’s been a while due to finals but I once was on the top 80 before I had to take a break to finish up my school/thesis. I’ve been “maining” Katari since I first tried him as I found him to be the most reminiscent of a Souls game. He doesn’t have any fancy high fantasy spells or skills that allow him to button mash his way through a level. Instead, he requires careful managing of your cooldowns, stamina, blocks, knockdowns, and attacks with precise timing. If you prefer to look flashy or spam the same buttons over and over, I suggest you check out Reaver or another guide. This build is focused on using basic “Vanilla” 2-handed warrior skills with low cooldowns to master the battlefield through combat precision.


  • Charging Bull: This is your bread and butter move as it gives you mobility that other melees do not have. However, do not underestimate this as its own combat skill. The cooldown is short enough that unless you know your tiny battleground will be clear in the next second or two, you should use it whenever it is up in order to continuously keep enemies on the ground and building guard. Also make sure to use it towards the end of fights, even when the last enemy is in the death animation, so you can carry your guard over to the next fight. Don’t bother upgrading, as you’ll never run out of stamina with this build. The upgrade is a complete waste as it doesn’t give any bonus stats also.
  • Mighty Blow (upgraded): This skill synergizes incredibly well with charging Bull. It allows you to do 700% damage to targets that are knocked down in an AOE. If you combine this with opportunist which doubles your crit chance to enemies you flank, 30% extra damage to enemies stunned or on the ground from Coup de Grace, and the inherent 25% flanking damage bonus, you can easily one shot multiple lesser creatures in one blow while also getting some nice crits for cooldown reduction (Flow of Battle) and stamina restoration.
  • Pommel Strike: This skill makes it very easy to take out stalkers/shadows, terrors, elite demons without barriers up, or other creatures that you can’t disable due to cooldowns or can’t block. What makes this skill good is that it has a very fast attack animation and is basically used as a filler for when all of your other short disables are down. It allows you to remain active and more importantly reactive in your playstyle, unlike many other classes that just spam the same spells over and over again. The downside to this skill is the very long cooldown; however, with enough crit chance this doesn’t become too much of a problem as it isn’t the first go to skill on your list. The upgrade is rather crappy, as you don’t get any stats for it, and without it being a priority skill that you use every time it’s available, the 4 second window is rarely utilized.
  • Block and Slash (upgraded): Yes I said it. The great thing about this skill is that it allows you to practically negate damage twice (the block and the guard building), deal damage in a slight AOE cone, and knockdown (leading to more damage reduction and damage dealing through passives, etc.). Many people underestimate this ability, but with a lot of practice you start to learn the enemies’ patterns and you rarely are stuck holding your weapon up and just waiting. This build utilizes lots of CC, so you quickly learn the patterns the enemies use when they first engage you or right after they’ve picked themselves up, making for an easy repeat knockdown.

Optional Skill replacements

  • Grappling Chain can be swapped out with Pommel Strike. They both can serve a similar purpose when a single target CC is needed, as well as provide more utility. It has very low stamina cost and a much shorter cooldown than pommel strike so it is a very good trade.
  • Combat Roll. Yes Combat Roll instead of Block and Slash. The gameplan for a Katari is to keep everything around him CC’d so he can freely do damage without risk. This build is built around keeping those cooldowns available as much as possible and more importantly, knowing what to do in the very small windows you have in between your rotations. If you find that block and parry is too difficult for you, sometimes combat roll can be used to just roll around like an idiot until you have more cooldowns back up. However, you’ll be losing out on DPS, more crowd control, and guard building if you go this path. I much prefer the Block and Slash approach.
  • Other skills don’t work with this build because they require you to branch further down into the Tactics tree. Regardless, Whirlwind can be fun if you have a keeper with static cage, but would ruin your build unless you wanna screw around. To the Death can be useful if you want to stick to a single large target while continuously gaining guard to stay alive; however, there just isn’t enough of these scenarios in the game where that is needed yet.

(4) Base total spent on abilities and upgrades.

Mandatory Passives

Tactics Tree

  • Adamant for the armor bonus.
  • Bear Mauls the Wolves for the flanking protection (minimum 25% reduced damage from ALL flanking targets, and more).

(3) spent on Mandatory Tactics

Onslaught Tree

  • All the ones down the middle, because you don’t have a choice and you want to reach the end. You are playing a “Vanilla” warrior playstyle here, so any sort of passive that just makes you overall stronger is worth taking.
  • Flow of Battle is the bread and butter of what will someday make Katari’s broken as hell. A single crit will reduce the cooldowns of your skills by 1 flat second. When you have a skill with as much utility and control asCharging Bull on an 8 second cooldown, a single crit reduces it by 12.5%, and don’t forget you’re often hitting multiple targets who are often flanked for double crit chance. Luckily, all of your skills have super low cooldowns and provide crowd control. Theoretically, as your crit chance continues to increase, we could someday see Kataris permaCCing groups of mobs while constantly building guard.
  • Coupe de Grace. With Charging Bull, Mighty Blow, and Block and Slash,you’ll be spending a lot of your time attacking people on the ground.
  • Piercing Blows, Scenting Blood, and Blood Frenzy are all basic passives that make us stronger. There are no special synergies here with our skills, but we are building a “Vanilla” warrior here, so we want him as strong as possible.

(9) spent on Mandatory Onslought

Final Choices: Choose 3 of the following

  • Shield Breaker will clearly synergize with our build, but 20% armor reduction isn’t much if you don’t have a decent chance to proc it. I’d only pick this up once you build enough crit chance on your character. Remember, this build doesn’t require we have HIGH crit because even 1 critical strike will reduce our cooldowns by an entire second.
  • Grisly Mutilation fears enemies on kill. It has a pretty large range and you are good at getting kills with your high crits on mighty blow. The build still works without it, but it’s up to you.
  • Crippling Blows is in the same bucket. Unless you have a high crit chance, this skill isn’t that great as most of the enemies you are attacking will be on the ground anyways.
  • Hamstring I would only pick up if you find yourself chasing enemies who are running after your squishies a lot. This spell is extremely useful as it doesn’t put you in that akward chasing mode where you miss every spell; however, you usually will have enough CC and mobility not to have to do deal with that.


You want to prioritize Crit Chance > Cunning over everything else. You can find Cunning through accessories, promoting rogues, and 6 from the skill passives we choose.

Obviously choose the best weapon available to you, but don’t be afraid to use Mauls. Mauls may be single target, but their skills are still AOE, you’ll rarely be cleaving with your auto attacks, Mauls can craft shafts that increase crit chance, and they often come with some nice defensive passives such as ranged defense.


  • The strength of this class builds off of the synergies that critical strikes give to reduce your already low cooldowns. With how often you are flanking enemies who are knocked down, you can easily get crits to reduce the cooldown of your other abilities. This build is about consistently rotating your skills so that all enemies are disabled at all times. There will be short windows when you don’t have anything available, and that is why I choose Block and Slash (and some Combat Roll) in order to survive or improvise within these windows. Your biggest weakness as a Katari has to do with ranged mobs. Never run into a room first and begin charging the archers. If every archer is nice and clumped up, that is fine; however, they often will scatter and you will be helpless to keep them all CC’d or killed simultaneously. If your team utilizes line of sight pulls, this is even better for a Katari as now you can easily hit multiple enemies with Charging Bulland Mighty Blow for heavy CC, guard generation, and damage.
  • Make sure not to hold onto your Charging Bull. With a <8 second cooldown, it’s almost always available, so use it as a way to just charge forward an inch or two in order to knock someone down for increased damage and guard. Also use it at the end of fights for guard to carry over.
  • Block and Parry has a high skill cap to use. Over time you’ll learn the very repetitive patterns of each enemy you encounter. For example, when zealots first enter the fight, they will spot you and charge with an immediate swing. This gives an easy block/guard/knockdown/dmg combo. You’ll also learn that after your knockdowns are over, mobs will get up and predictably attack you immediately for another block. If you don’t finish off an archer, this is when you use pommel strike since you can’t block arrows. If you spot a shadow or a stalker, either use Pommel Strike to quickly stun him or just block one of his hits by locking onto him. This will interrupt his combo and knock him down.
  • This build requires decent crit chance on your gear. Your primary stats to look for are crit chance and cunning. It’s difficult to find crit chance for this build, but luckily any crit chance you find is doubled through theopportunist passive while flanking and you don’t need much to notice the benefits. The highest I’ve found through a weapon is 8% on a Greataxe, but you can also find it through jewelry (cunning too). I truly believe this build will be an absolute powerhouse once we have access to better weapon schematics down the road. Even in single player you can’t find passives as strong as Flow of Battle, which is why Bioware makes crit chance so difficult for 2-handed warriors to get a hold of in multiplayer. Luckily, this the playstyle of this build still holds even without decent gear, the crit is just a plus.
  • Against demon factions, don’t bother charging the wraiths unless you’ve seen them recently sidestep. They will make you look dumb and you can’t knock them down anyways. It’s best to just hang back and take out their front lines/protect your backlines against those assholes.
  • Also, although most of the time you’ll be using skills, make sure to utilize the auto attack reset after each swing (tap shift on KB or left click on gamepad right after your weapon makes contact) to dramatically increase your basic auto attack dps. Using a Block and Slash can allow you to get 3 or so good autos off on a downed target immediately once you get it into your muscle memory.
  • Hopefully this guide has been helpful. I kind of lost myself halfway through so if you have any questions just comment below.

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2 Responses

  1. Illahstrait says:

    Very well written, hope to see more guides from you in the future. Although many people claim the Katari is the worst in multiplayer if you know how to use him he can be pretty decent.

  2. Pyxis Omboixii says:

    This guide is amazing and I appreciate you taking the time to make this guide and posting it online.

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