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The Arcane Warriors once widely existed amongst the ancient Elves. However, after their fall, the art of the Arcane Warriors is seemingly all but lost. This is also a specialization of the mage class in Dragon Age: Origins.


According to Solas, the Arcane Warriors were elven elite guardsmen serving as bodyguards or champions for ancient elven nobles. The formal name of their techniques is Dirth'ena Enasalin, knowledge that led to victory. Mages who eschewed physical confrontation called it Ghilan'him Banal'vhen, the path that leads astray. Mages who focused on spirits or the Fade might sneer at their physicality but never doubted their honor. They were the willing embodiment of will made manifest - mind shaping the body into the perfect weapon. Knight-Enchanters use techniques derived from those used by Arcane Warriors.

Nowadays if any elf mage, be they: city elf, one of the elven clans, an Agent of Fen'Harel or Sentinel elf, as long as they can use the techniques derived from the original Arcane Warriors, are called Arcane Warrior.

Arcane Warrior spells[]

Combat Magic Combat Magic
Range: Personal
Upkeep: 50
Fatigue: 50%
Cooldown: 10s
While this mode is active, the arcane warrior channels magic inward, trading increased fatigue for an attack bonus and the ability to use Spellpower to determine combat damage. Aura of Might and Fade Shroud improve the effects. Additionally, regardless of whether the mode is active, an arcane warrior who has learned this spell may use the magic attribute to satisfy the strength requirement to equip higher-level weapons or armor.
Aura of Might Aura of Might
Requires: Level 12
The arcane warrior's prowess with Combat Magic grows, granting additional bonuses to attack, defense, and damage while in that mode.
Shimmering Shield Shimmering Shield
Range: Personal
Upkeep: 40
Fatigue: 5%
Cooldown: 30s
Requires: Level 14
The arcane warrior is surrounded by a shimmering shield of energy that blocks most damage and grants large bonuses to armor and all resistances. When active, however, the Shimmering Shield consumes mana rapidly.
Fade Shroud Fade Shroud
Requires: Level 16
The arcane warrior now only partly exists in the physical realm while Combat Magic is active. Spanning the gap between the real world and the Fade grants a bonus to mana regeneration and a chance to avoid attacks.


Arcane Warrior

Arcane Warrior

This specialization can be unlocked while doing the Nature of the Beast quest line. It is located in the Lower Ruins of the Brecilian Ruins. In the north-east corner of the map, just south of the Elven Burial Chamber, the corridor forks east and west into dead ends. The room is in the dead end to the west.

Inside a small chamber which looks like a ruined library, there is a Broken Stone Altar. The phylactery is hidden in the far right corner of the room, beside the headless statue holding a shield. (It is not automatically highlighted, so for xbox360xbox360use the left trigger, for ps3ps3use L2 and for pcpcuse TAB to highlight all the items in the room.)

When you touch the phylactery you experience the memories of an elven arcane warrior who has remained trapped inside of the phylactery for centuries. It offers to teach you the secrets of the Arcane Warriors in exchange for setting its spirit free by placing the phylactery on an ancient altar. Although the spirit has been imprisoned for so long that it has forgotten where the altar is located, the altar is directly to the left. By receiving the memories from the phylactery, you unlock the Arcane Warrior specialization for the mage as well as 250 XP.

In order to unlock the specialization, interact with the phylactery.

  1. {Touch the gem}.
  2. {Is this some kind of trapped spirit?}
  3. {Is there anything I can do for you?}
  4. {Yes. I will try to help you}
  5. {Approach the stone altar with the gem.}
  6. {Yes give me your memories}
    1. {Place the artifact on the stone altar.} Approves Alistair, Leliana (+2)
    2. Nah. {Toss the artifact aside.}
    3. Sorry, you may have a use later.

Mechanics and tactics[]

An Arcane Warrior gives flexibility to the mage and the party and allows the mage to equip most armor and weapons. Trading off on fatigue and mana managing allows the mage to be played as a hybrid weapon user and armored mage. The mage can use sustained abilities to get very high levels of defense/armor/spell resistance, but at a heavy mana cost. This and high fatigue limit how many spells your character can use. Note that fatigue penalties also cause potions to become less useful. With equipment and attributes placed accordingly, an Arcane Warrior can mimic a Warrior or Rogue in base damage with auto attack but with mage abilities and spells. See Arcane Warrior spellcasting for a complete list of spells that can be cast with a sword in hand.

Arcane Warriors are highly vulnerable to individuals who can dispel buffs, such as Templars. Without the addition of these enhancements they lose all warrior-like combat abilities (like Combat Magic) and become extremely ineffective in close combat.

Play styles[]

Play styles for Arcane Warriors: Damager/Nuker, Defender/Tank, & Healer/Supporter, further customizations are referred to as Hybrids. Many recommendations on how to play an Arcane Warrior can be overwhelming but it is key to understand all mage Spells. Knowing how combinations work and what does not work together will give you an advantage.


A damager can be either melee with casting or casting with a staff. If you are going to use your Arcane warrior as dps, be sure to combine it with a better suited damage dealing specialization. The upside is that you can now equip your mage with some of the game's strongest weapons for melee damage, and still be able to throw the occasional spell in to soften up enemies.


Arcane Warriors can be setup to tank with the ability to wear heavy armor and manage fatigue makes this caster extremely tough, at the expense of a weaker mana pool. One can take advantage of the specialization's strong defensive spells in conjunction with regular defensive mage spells. By activating Shimmering Shield, Rock Armor, Combat Magic, Arcane Shield, Miasma and other buffs, you can make an arcane warrior tougher than any class in the game. Be sure to enhance your Arcane Warrior's mana rate with proper gear and keep in mind that gear with stamina regeneration buffs also apply as mana for Arcane Warriors.


By using your Arcane Warrior as a healer, you give your party a huge boost in survivability. Most of the time you have to manage aggro carefully with the warriors so that your fragile healer isn't instantly torn to pieces, but by using the heavy armor available to this specialization you can give your healer a huge buffer to damage. This means that a sneak attack by some shrieks on your mage is no longer a dealbreaker on harder difficulties.


Hybrids are variations of play style, gear, attribute placement and role in the party. This is also what is considered when picking up a second or third specialization.

With other Specializations[]

Blood mage[]

Blood Mage can help to offset the disadvantages of a low mana pool at the cost of health by allowing the Arcane Warrior to cast spells using health as mana. A reasonable amount of constitution would be highly recommended with this specialization combination. The effective Blood Wound spell can also be acquired, which is an ideal choice for both a more offensive Arcane Warrior and a tank drawing Threat.

Spirit Healer[]

Spirit Healer produces a mixed character with offensive and defensive magic and good durability. This combination works best with light and medium armor, since a decent amount of mana is needed to power the high-level healing spells.


Shapeshifter possesses a fair bit of redundant overlap with tree, as they both offer exclusive options in melee, but a foremost Shapeshifter with secondary Arcane Warrior can use massive armor and Bear Shape and be incredibly hard to kill with weapons. The main problem with this is the fact that Shapeshifter overall does very poor damage because of the fact that, unlike what the tooltip for Shapeshifter says, it does not actually use magic to calculate damage.


Battlemage is an especially potent option as you can use the sustained and activated spells from the Battle Mage with the Arcane Warrior's ability to wear heavy and massive armor. This has drawbacks however, mana managing is even more intense and limits your use of sustained and activated spells. However, with good spell combinations can be very effective in damage and threat.

The Stoic passive from Battlemage works incredibly well with melee-oriented Arcane Warriors, since it converts 50% of damage taken (self-inflicted damage when Blood Magic is active included) into mana, therefore significantly easing player's pressure to keep mana-consuming sustained abilities like Shimmering Shield and Haste active infinitely.

Another tactic with the battlemage specialization would be to wear robes instead of heavy and light armor, and use arcane warrior to gain access to high tier close range weapons; this allows your mage to take full advantage of spells like Elemental Chaos and Arcane Field. However, if you still want your mage to pump out weapon damage, it is almost crucial that you activate Combat Magic making an extremely high fatigue, this can be lowered with equipment with the—fatigue enchantment and runes, or it can be countered late game with pumping four skill points into the clarity tree and putting a majority of your points in willpower (in some cases more than magic, depending on how many activated spells your mage will use). It should be noted that this tactic will leave your mage with little armor or defense, so you should consider putting a fair amount of points into constitution if your tank and healer can't cope with keeping your battlemage from being overwhelmed (20-30 should be enough).


Keeper is an area of effect and crowd control specialization with a passive health regeneration ability. This can be very useful for any play style. This can be a high threat combination and with the draw back of rooting with One With Nature and may want to be a third specialization.

Arcane warrior: equipping[]


There is only one arcane warrior specialization specific item in the game:


  • For melee close combat and tanking, equip armor sets with -fatigue, equipment/weapons with +stamina/willpower, +mana/stamina regeneration, +dodge, +damage and of course +magic/spellpower.
  • For casting unless wearing heavy armor in which case you can invest in fatigue as well. +magic/spellpower, +stamina/willpower, +mana/stamina regeneration, and reduced threat.
  • Any further equipment and gear choices can be customized to your play style.
  • It is possible to fully counter the severe mana cost of Shimmering Shield, granting you a 100% uptime of the massive bonus. For example: You could use Wade's Superior Dragonbone armor set + Andruil's Blessing + Spellweaver + stamina/mana-regen gear to get the required 10+ mana regen.
  • Equipment that grants a bonus to stamina also grants the same bonus to mana, even though the descriptions do not say so.

Known arcane warriors[]


  • Upon inspection, armor requirements will still show strength if the player has neither the required strength nor magic skill to equip an item. The player's magic skill must be equal or larger than the value shown for it to display magic as the required stat. The number stays the same, however.


  • The specialization bonus is +1 dexterity on pcPC, though it normally applies the +2 dexterity bonus in-game.
  • While affected by the Combat Magic mode upgraded by the Fade Shroud the Warden's eyeballs are visible from any direction but en face.



  1. Amell or Surana only; the other origins have the knowledge and can teach this spec to mage companions, however.