Divinity Original Sin 2 Builds – Duelist

Last updated on October 21st, 2018

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 the unique Build: Duelist. Let’s jump into this Build and see just how it works.

Duelist – Rogue Build

The Duelist is a high risk, high reward Build whereby the character focuses on high damage and Dodging. Because players are more inclined to Duel Wield when playing a rogue-like character (with Daggers) there is a natural synergy here with the Talent Parry Master which increases Dodging by 10% when Duel Wielding. Players wishing to play this sort of Build should also pick the Dwarf race for this character, as they get an additional 5% to Dodging from Sturdy. You won’t have quite as good of Dodging as a Stormbringer, but it’ll still be quite good.

Duelist Divinity 2

Level 15 Duelist. I haven’t quite gotten Warfare maxed out yet, but I’m getting there. You can see I have 45% Dodging with out any help and with many pieces not having Dodging on them yet. I am also not a Dwarf, so I’d have 5% more if I were.

Duelist Attributes and Equipment

The Duelist will focus on Finesse and Wits. Finesse is the primary Attribute of your Daggers, so you’ll need this to increase your damage. Wits will grant you Critical Chance as well as Initiative and is useful for spotting traps and other valuable items around the map. I recommend putting points into these two Attributes in a roughly 2:1 ratio. You can also put a few points into Memory and/or Constitution as needed.


Finesse and Wits are the two most important Attributes for this Build. You want to hit hard and often, as well as go first in combat with the Duelist.

Duelists utilize Armour that requires Finesse, which means you will have a balance of Physical and Magical Armour. Ideally you’d have more Magical Armour than Physical, because with the amount of Dodge you’re going to have you shouldn’t be getting hit by Weapon attacks often, so keep that in mind when selecting Armour. You’ll also want to find pieces of gear that have either Dodging on them or Dual Wielding and stack pieces with these bonuses as high as you can.

In terms of Weapons, as previously covered, you’re going to want to Dual Wield Daggers. This will ensure you get the bonus from Parry Master, as well as allow you to utilize Scoundrel Skills. There are a couple good pairs of Daggers you can get early on. Kniles the Flenser drops the Unique Daggers: Chastity and Abstinence in Fort Joy Prison. If you defeat Dorotya, the Decadent One in the Undertavern of Driftwood you will get Terrorbite and Venombite, which are also very good. These will help get you going until there is a better selection of gear to choose from.


One of several pairs of Unique daggers you’ll find through out the game. The bonuses aren’t ideal on these two, but the damage is quite good for the stage of the game they can be found.

Duelist 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 Duelist.

As a Duelist you will want at least 3 points into Scoundrel so you can use the bulk of the Skills there (5 points if you want Mortal Blow) and you want 10 points into Dual Wielding and 10 points into Warfare. Dual Wielding will not only increase your damage, but will also increase your Dodging, which is important for this Build. Despite Warfare’s tooltip, it will enhance your piercing damage, as well as your physical damage, so it gets high priority here. Keep in mind you will need 1 or 2 points in Warfare early on so that you can use Warfare Skills as well.

Dual Wielding will not only increase your damage, but your Dodging, which is key for this Build. Warfare will not only increase your Physical Damage, but your Piercing Damage as well.

As far as Talents go I’d recommend the following:

Parry Master – I think this one is obvious by now, but I have to mention it here because it belongs in this section. The one Talent this Build cannot live without, so take this first thing.

Opportunist – Pretty much a must for any melee sort of Build. You’ll get use out of this Talent nearly every battle, so take it early.

The Pawn – Excellent for any melee character. Helps you get in range so that you can use a gap closer to start the fight without using any AP. Since we have points in Scoundrel anyway, it’s a no brainer.

Hothead – A great way to increase your overall damage output. Since you’ll have high initiative with this Build you should make good use of it.

Picture of Health – You’ll be maxing Warfare with this setup, so this is a natural fit. This won’t happen until the later half of the game though, so you don’t need to take it right away.

Duelist 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. Duelists will use a mix of Scoundrel and Warfare Skills to deal damage and stay alive. 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.

Scoundrel Skills

Adrenaline – Gives you AP at the cost of AP next round. Very good for this sort of Build, because you will have very high DPS, so you may be able to burn down a target or at least CC them before they get an attack using this skill.

Backlash – A great gap closer that guarantees a Backstab Critical, albeit with a 15% damage reduction vs a basic attack. This should be the first skill you use at the beginning of the fight, if you are in range of your target.

Throwing Knife – A decent ranged skill for this Build (85% damage vs basic attack). It can Backstab, so try to aim for an enemy whose back is already facing you for best results.

Corrupted Blade – A  115% damaging skill with 2 negative Status Effects, both of which are resisted by Physical Armour. Hard to find many Skills this good with no downside.

Rupture Tendons – A great way to prevent targets from getting away from you and making them pay if they try. Deals the same amount of damage as a basic attack and piercing when they move.

Sawtooth Knife – This attack pierces Armour and is a great way to finish off a target, or deal damage to a target with high Physical Armour, that can be finished by a Mage character on its turn. Deals the same damage as a basic attack.

Sleeping Arms – This skill deals 100% damage and sets Atrophy on the target, preventing it from attacking on its turn. You can never have enough of these type of Skills.

Mortal Blow – The best finisher in the game. It’s up to you if you want to invest 5 points into Scoundrel just for this skill or not. Personally I think it works better in an Assassin type Build, but it deals staggering 140% damage vs. a basic attack.


Warfare Skills

Battle Stomp – A decent AoE skill that comes with a Knockdown, which is good. Wait until turn 2 to use this skill, as you’ll want to get in and Backstab turn 1. It will also allow enemies to group up first.

Whirlwind – Absolutely excellent for AoE damage as you don’t suffer a damage reduction from using it. In other words, this will deal the same amount of damage as a basic attack, just to every target it hits.

Crippling Blow – Another skill that can be used to prevent your target from getting away from you. Deals 115% damage vs. a basic attack, and hits targets adjacent to your initial target.


Miscellaneous Skills

Bless – This Skill provides you with an additional 15% Dodging while the effect lasts for 1 AP and 1 SP. This is a great way to buff yourself at the start of combat to help ensure you are not struck, especially during Act 2.

Final Tips

With 10 points into Dual Wielding, the Parry Master and Sturdy Talents, you should be at 25% Dodging without any gear, which is pretty good. You want to shoot for 50% or better near the end of the game with your own equipment. This isn’t overly difficult to do, since that’s essentially 3 pieces of Armour with +7% Dodge on them. Also, keep in mind that Leadership increases your Dodging, so having a Summoner in the party or someone with a decent amount of points into this Ability, you will further increase your Dodging. This makes it possible for you to to hit over 75% Dodging near the end of the game. Not bad…


At 10 Leadership you will grant other friendly characters 20% Dodging and 30% resistances. Ideally you’d have this on a Summoner type character who Summons a lot of Totems and a Pet.

Chicken Claw and Rupture Tendons when combined are one of the most deadly combinations in the game. Chickens will move around a lot and take piercing damage in mass quantity when Rupture Tendons is applied. So much so that Larian recently nerfed the amount of steps chickens take so that this specific combo will deal less overall damage. Consider adding a point into Polymorph to get this skill just for that combo.

Blinding your enemies reduces their accuracy by 35%, which can essentially make you actually unhittable later on in the game when you’ve acquired some decent gear. Because Blind is a Status Effect that is resisted by Magic Armour, it’s difficult to pull off with this Build so consider having a party member put some points into Geomancer to take the Throw Dust and Dust Blast skills to help you out (or use Razzle Dazzle Grenades).


Because these scale off Intelligence and Blind is blocked by Magic Armour, it is advised you have your Geomancer learn these Skills at some point.

Thunder Runes increase your Dodging when slotted into necklaces that have Rune slots. Be sure to find ones that do and slot the best Thunder Rune you can in there and it will increase your Dodging by up to 6%. Although that isn’t a huge amount, it all adds up to a much larger number! Also, one of the benefits of Dual Wielding is that your offhand Weapon will also have a Rune slot, which won’t be the case if you’re a Two-Handed Build of some sort (Shields have a Rune slot too).

Lastly, consider dropping a point into Hydrosophist, so that you have a way to replenish Magic Armour (Armour of Frost), since that will be your one vulnerability. This will also grant you access to at least 1 heal, which can also come in handy.

Be sure to check out our other Build Guides! Good luck Sourcerers, Rivellon is counting on you!


Senior Editor at Fextralife. I enjoy gaming, playing and watching sports, cooking yummy food, watching a good movie and hanging out with Fex.

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8 comments on “Divinity Original Sin 2 Builds – Duelist”

  1. Djwolfanger88 says:

    Hello, I want to thank you for making these guides. I was very new to this type of game and overwhelmed; but these helped me out greatly to understand basic build setups and what not. Atm the moment I’m using your Tidalist, archer/summoner, juggernaut and this duelist build. Seems to be going fairly well. around 52 hours in and just started act 2. I explore everything and take my time. I view these about everytime I level up lol.

  2. Hafgrim says:

    At level 9 in multiplayer, with a buddy specking leadership, I have ~37% Dodge. I’ve noticed 2 things: (1) the AI tries to avoid attacking me at all, even moving and switching melee targets when Rupture Tendons is on and proc’ing an oppurtunist Attack.

    However, (2) when they do attack me, I almost never actually evade any attacks. The mobs still seem to hit me as accurately as they hit anyone else.

  3. Hafgrim says:

    Also, Potion of Nimble Tumbling (empty potion bottle + any water essence) seems like a perfect fit for this spec. It gives +50% evade for TWO turns.

    I’ll provide more feedback as I progress in level. Thanks so much for these spec guides! 👍👍

  4. Sgthk says:

    Good guide. The recommended skills listed here has greatly improved my overall duelist gameplay. Although I always have Sebille as the rogue duelist as her character fits in with the job nicely.

    Also, take note that if you have a rogue duelist in your party the AI enemies will try to put their backs against a wall to protect themselves from backstabs. It’s annoying but impressive at the same time.

  5. Anonymous says:

    only thing i don’t understand: why no necro? necro is so useful, even if it are only 2-4 points

  6. Anonymous says:

    Hello first I want to thank you for making these great guides I used one to follow my first play through in tactician. I did want to add something to your duelist guide though. It is 100% worth it to put a few points in strength and utilize heavy armor as a finesse character in divinity 2 . I also wanted to add taking 2 in aurothage on a duelist is also a must for teleport and evasion. Other than that spot on guide just needs a few small tweaks for rogue perfection. TY

  7. Deyadr says:

    Hi! Why is there no duelist build with living armour, similar to eternal warrior but finesse based? With piercing damage it should work even better than eternal warrior?

  8. Whelmed says:

    Since the addition of the gift bags, the Duelist has become quite deadly. I put a combination of the Reactionary and Opportunist talents on mine. He would get a free counterattack when someone would miss him, and then another free attack when they would decide to walk away from him. At least in the later game I may have had Torturer thrown into the mix. He was an undead Dwarf who got two more talents when I had him temporarily become Sworn. But the Reactionary/Opportunist combination was my initial point of the post anyway.

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