Divinity: Original Sin 2 is in full swing, and one of the major issues players are having with the game is Builds. What Build do I use? What’s a good Build for a Warrior? Ranger? Mage? etc. Since the game is extremely difficult this has come much more into focus than one would expect. In this Build Guide were going to cover one of my personal favorites: Death Knight. Let’s jump into this Build and see just how it works.
Death Knight – Warrior Build
The Death Knight is a popular well-known Build around the community, and it uses a mix of Warfare, and Necromancer Skills. The reason Necromancer synergizes well with melee characters is because most of its Skills are resisted by Physical Armour and some have short range (making them slightly less useful to Rangers). Characters who utilize this skill line will also be able to heal themselves for a good amount of Vitality quite regularly, which is great because you should be taking more damage as a melee character. Note that any Race can play this Build, there is no obvious choice.
Death Knight Attributes and Equipment
When making a Death Knight build you really only need to focus on a few Attributes. First is Strength. Strength is what all your Warfare Skills will use if you use a Sword, Axe or Mace, and it will boost your damage with Skills that use Strength by 5% for each point. Secondly there is Constitution. Constitution is very important for a Death Knight because you want to get hit, but not die. This Attribute will provide some leeway by increasing your max HP, allowing you to take hits and then heal through Necromancer Skills and dealing damage. I recommend splitting the distribution of these Attributes in roughly 1:1 ratio. You can put a few points into Memory as needed.
Because you’ll be focusing on Strength and Constitution you will be able to use any Armour that has a Strength requirement and any Shield you wish, if you decide to use one. This means that you will have much more Physical Armour than Magic Armour, as Strength-based Armour is skewed heavily towards physical protection. This is perfectly acceptable for this Build, because it is harder to be CCed by elemental effects than physical ones, an you will constantly be replenishing Magic Armour. You can also acquire gear (like Amulet of the Deep) that grants immunity to things like Stunned or Frozen, which is very useful.
When it comes to Weapons, you will have to choose between a Two-Handed or a Single-Handed and a Shield. You will do roughly 50% more damage with a Two-Handed Weapon, but you’ll lose out on a lot of Armour and you won’t be able to capitalize on a few Warfare Skills like Deflective Barrier. I strongly suggest going with a Single-Handed and Shield early on in the game when you have almost no gear, and then swapping over after you’ve geared up a bit and gotten a bit more comfortable with the Build.
Death Knight Abilities and Talents
One of the hardest parts about making a Build in Divinity: Original Sin 2 is getting your Abilities distribution correct. It’s easy to get spread too thin, and often people make the mistake of not spreading points around enough. The bonuses you gain from Abilities in this game are somewhat different than the original, so it’s easy to see why people can get confused. Let’s take a look at what Abilities and Talents you need for a Death Knight.
For this build you want to shoot for 10 points into Warfare and 2 in Necromancer. This will maximize the damage of your Skills, both Warfare and Necromancer, as well as allow you to use the needed Necromancer Skills for a Death Knight. You can of course add more points into Necromancer to increase your healing, but none past 2 are needed for the use of the necessary Skills.
If you are looking to increase your damage after maxing Warfare, I suggest adding points into either Single-Handed or Two-Handed, depending on which setup you went with. By doing these last, you also grant yourself time to figure out which setup you like better before committing. It is also perfectly fine to have a point spent here and there in various other Abilities in order to unlock other Skills (like those mentioned below). Just be sure that you only spend the absolute minimum to unlock said Skills.
As far as Talents go I’d recommend any of the following:
Living Armour – This Talent works AMAZING with this build because it triggers from every healing I have tested and passive healing from Necromancer will trigger this. This means you’ll constantly be replenishing Magic Armour just by using your Skills and attacking. This should be your first or second pick.
Picture of Health – This Talent increases your Vitality pool by 3% for each point in Warfare, which works perfectly with this build.This should be your first or second pick.
Opportunist – Pretty much a must have for anyone playing melee. It nearly doubles your damage output.
Leech – Heals you when standing in blood. Might be a bit overkill, but better than most Talents for this build.
What a Rush – This Talent will give you an extra AP when below 50% health. Since you’ll have a rather large HP pool from Constitution this could come in very handy.
Comeback Kid – This essentially prevents you from dying once per encounter, which is really good to have while learning this build. I would recommend taking this Talent early and then getting rid of it later on when you can respec if you find you aren’t dying.
Death Knight Skills
Now that you’ve decided which Talents and Abilities you want, you’ll need to identify just which Skills work best with this kind of setup. Let’s start with Necromancer first, since they should be pretty much the same no matter what other skill lines you use. Since Builds evolve over the course of the game, I’m going to put the Skills in order from earliest obtainable to latest, because you won’t be able to get them all right way.
Decaying Touch – This skill again scales off Intelligence, which isn’t ideal. It isn’t particularly useful early game, as most enemies don’t heal anyway. Consider picking it up later on when the fights get tougher.
Raining Blood – This is a great way to cover the battlefield in blood for you to use to heal, and also make enemies bleed themselves. It requires 1 Hydrosophist though, so keep that in mind when making a decision about this ability.
Death Wish – This skill has great synergy with this build because you want to take damage so that you can heal from dealing damage. This will allow you to heal up faster when at lower health and is just really win/win.
Shackles of Pain – This skill won’t deal any damage when first cast, but only costs 1 AP and will help you deal damage as you get hit. Be sure to use it after you have taken down your target’s Physical Armour or it won’t work.
Living on the Edge – This skill will prevent you from dying for 2 turns which will often buy you enough time to heal up through damage output. Use this when you think you might fall, or when you want to charge in and swing for the fences.
Battle Stomp – A good source of AoE Knockdown with only a slight reduction to damage (10%) over a basic attack. Also clears non-cursed surfaces and clouds, which can help you get to where you need to go without taking damage.
Bouncing Shield – A must have skill for Death Knights that use Shields as it will significantly increase your damage output. Getting a better Shield is very noticeable when using this skill. Disregard this if you use a Two-Handed Weapon.
Whirlwind – A great skill that only gets better when surrounded by more enemies. Use this to soften other nearby enemies while still dealing damage to your primary target. Deals full damage, which is great.
Blitz Attack – Probably the best gap closer you can have that isn’t a Scoundrel skill. Hits up to 3 targets for 70% of what you would deal with a normal attack. Try to save it, if you can, when enemies are grouped.
Deflective Barrier – Another excellent skill for would be Shield users. Not only does it grant Physical Armour, it reflects all projectile attacks back at casters for the duration. Again disregard if you don’t use a Shield.
Guardian Angel – Because your Vitality will constantly be seesawing with this build, and taking damage isn’t necessarily a bad thing on Death Knight, this Skill fits in nicely. Be sure to time its use properly or you will just get yourself killed.
Overpower – Destroys all a target’s Physical Armour and knocks them down. At 1 Source Point it’s quite cheap, so be sure to use it as much as you can. One of the best Source Skills in the game.
Other Skills You Might Add
Chicken Claw – Turn target into a chicken for 2 turns. This skill is resisted by Physical Armor, so it works well here. Chickens cannot attack or use Skills, so it’s a great way to remove an enemy from the fight while you kill it or another target.
Tentacle Lash – This Skill scales with Strength, which fits well here. Besides dealing good damage, it also prevents the target from being able to attack for 1 turn. Be sure they have little or no Physical Armour before using.
Forced Exchange – Since you will be taking damage quite often with this build, this “OH SHIT” Skill might save your character, as well as make a really tough target go down easy. It costs 2 Source Points so, you’ll probably only get one use per fight.
Fortify – Great way to recover Physical Armour which you will need a lot of. It also prevents you from being teleported and you can use it on other teammates as well if needed. Yay for teamwork!
Reactive Armor – A great AoE that deals damage in relation to your Physical Armour. This skill is so good that it was nerfed in a recent patch, but not badly enough for me to not suggest it.
The Death Knight is a flexible build, so be sure to tweak it to meet your party’s demands. If you’re playing as the “Tank”, you’ll want to be sure that you have a Shield and you may want to increase your Constitution a bit more than suggested, especially if you are the only melee character in your party. If you’re playing the melee “DPS” role, you’ll want to make sure you have a Two-handed Weapon but I wouldn’t lower Constitution much if at all. If you find you are dying too much, whichever role you are playing, up your Constitution until you aren’t. It’s better to stay alive than die after all.
This build also has some good synergy with Summoning Skills if you wish to play more of a hybrid character with a pet. You can drop a few points from Warfare early on and add them to Summoning to pick up Conjure Incarnate and either of the Infusions for him. This will essentially drop you into the “Tank” role, however, since you’ll be missing out on extra damage from Warfare. It is quite fun though and later on in the game you can drop Skills like Soul Mate on your Incarnate and you two can dual tank together. Putting points into Summoning will also allow you to use the Raise Bloated Corpse and Raise Bone Widow abilities effectively, although you cannot use them simultaneously.
You can play a Death Knight using Scoundrel Skills instead of Warfare, but it synergizes differently. You will most likely deal more damage, but you will be less tanky, and Scroundrel doesn’t increase the damage of Necromancer Skills the way Warfare does. If you’re going to the Scoundrel route, make sure you only put the bare minimum in Scoundrel (3 or so) and the rest into Warfare for this reason. You will heal more in this setup because Scoundrel Skills pierce Armour quite frequently and you should prioritize the gear on this character because they will need the best of what you can get to stay alive. Don’t get Tentacle Lash if you go this route either, as it scales with Strength.
You can be Undead while playing the Death Knight, as the healing from Necromancer Skills will still heal you, but I would advise against it if it’s your first play through, as the game is hard enough as it is. If you do, however, decide to play as an Undead, I recommend taking some Geomancer Skills that cause poison like: Poison Dart, Contamination and Poison Wave in order to heal yourself as necessary. This will also allow you to slot Fortify and Reactive Armor, which are both great for this build.
This build is particularly good for Lone Wolves because when there are less people to hit, you will be hit more often. When playing as Lone Wolf in a duo or solo, be sure you take the Executioner Talent instead of The Pawn, as it will drastically increase your AP per encounter. Also if you are duoing, make sure at least one of you has the Summing Skills Soul Mate, as it will help keep you both alive.
Lastly, even if you build the perfect Death Knight it won’t guarantee victory if the rest of your party isn’t up to snuff. This build won’t carry your whole team through, so be sure to research other builds for other roles and make sure each one is the very best they can be.
Be sure to check out our other Build Guides! Good luck Sourcerers, Rivellon is counting on you!