Playing As A Tempest Archer In Dragon Age: Inquisition Is Still Fun As Hell

From reavers to artificers, to necromancers and knight enchanters, Dragon Age: Inquisition has a huge amount of variety when it comes to combat. It may have removed the previously beloved Blood Mage class – which looks like it could make a return in Dragon Age 4 – but there are still plenty of specializations to choose from when it comes to cultivating a unique combat style for your Inquisitor. But despite the versatility of Inquisition’s combat suite, there’s only ever been one class for me: the Tempest Archer.

Archery in Dragon Age is a bit dry at the beginning. It feels as if you’re miles away from the action, firing arrows as your tank’s AI aggroes mobs and keeps you safe and sound at the back of the map. I usually play rogues in RPGs, and have a penchant for dual blades, although something in Inquisition made me want to try the bow. It was fine for the most part – I was playing on Nightmare, so slow and steady play was necessary for progression anyway. But once I hit level ten and was able to specialize as a Tempest Archer everything changed. To this day, Thousand Cuts is probably my favourite ability in an RPG ever.

If you’re unfamiliar with the Tempest Archer class, you might not know what Thousand Cuts actually is. Essentially, you select a target, dash around them like a shadowy, blade-donning assailant, and wreak havoc with up to 38 individual slashes – not quite 1,000, but this will annihilate most enemies without needing to be.

The best thing about this is that while Thousand Cuts has a huge stamina cost, Tempest Archers revolve around unique powers known as Flasks. There’s Flask of Fire, Flask of Lightning, and Flask of Frost – Fire causes you to consume no stamina while using abilities, Lightning slows time, and Frost increases your armor rating. As you might imagine, comboing Flask of Fire with Thousand Cuts allows you to use an immensely powerful move without exhausting any of your stamina, which you can follow up with the excellent Leaping Shot in order to remove yourself from the action just as swiftly as you entered it.

That brings me to my main point here. Not only are you a DPS machine as a Tempest Archer – you’re incredibly mobile and can actually lean into your more active rogue abilities, as opposed to having to sit behind cover while your companions have all the close combat fun. You can shotgun enemies with Leaping Arrow – which is monstrous when combined with Pincushion – use Flask of Lightning to charge up powerful abilities at point-blank range, and use moves like Shadow Step to control engagement almost as well as any decent tank. Sure, you’re a glass cannon, but you’re basically invincible so long as you remain mostly invisible by leaning into agility and strategic positioning. Before you know it you’ll have transformed from a low-level static archer to a ballerina of death, flitting between enemies while launching rapid barrages of devastating arrows without consuming a single ounce of stamina. Combine this with the right gear and abilities and you’ll be rotating Flasks at all times, allowing you to benefit from passive buffs like Flaskmaster and Killer Alchemy while simultaneously raining down hell on your demonic adversaries. I’ll never forget the time I ran Inquisition on Nightmare with a Master Cooldown Amulet and armor designed to boost crit chance – Corypheus didn’t know what hit him.

Dragon Age is pretty well known for class variety, and there’s a whole lot of fun to be had in experimentation. Nothing will ever compare to Tempest Archer, though, and even if we see the return of Blood Mage in Dragon Age 4, I won’t be happy unless I get to use my Flask of Fire and Thousand Cuts combo as soon as humanly possible.

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Cian Maher is the Lead Features Editor at TheGamer. He’s also had work published in The Guardian, The Washington Post, The Verge, Vice, Wired, and more. You can find him on Twitter @cianmaher0.

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