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Divinity Original Sin 2 Builds: Sanguine Bowman

Divinity Original Sin 2 Definitive Edition arrived a little over a 2 weeks ago, and with it came some interesting changes to the game. While most Builds remain untouched, there are some tweaks to a few of them. Players have been asking me to not only update these Builds, but also create new ones. In this guide I will be introducing the Sanguine Bowman, and explaining just how it works.

Stats on my level 10 Sanguine Bowman.

Sanguine Bowman – Ranger/Necromancer Build

The Sanguine Bowman uses a mix of Huntsman and Necromancer Skills in order to deal good damage to many targets, as well as give the character multiple ways to deal Physical Damage. The biggest weakness of Rangers and Necromancers is that they blow through their Skills rapidly, leaving them with gaps in their cooldowns. With the Sanguine Bowman, we not only rectify this by adding more Skills to use, but we also add versatility to both of these Builds.

The best way to start this Build is by picking the Ranger Class and removing the point from Wits and placing it in Intelligence. Then remove the point from Pyrokinetic, place in into Necromancer, and then select the Mosquito Swarm skill. This will give you two decent Skills early on, and allow you to buff your Bow damage with Elemental Arrowheads. When creating this Build you’ll want to be sure to select Elf as a Race, because you will absolutely need Flesh Sacrifice.

Divinity: Original Sin 2 - Definitive Edition_20180914102651
How my preset looks after editing.

Sanguine Bowman Attributes and Equipment

As far as Attributes go, you will be splitting your points between Finesse and Intelligence. Usually this is not recommended, however, because Warfare will increase the damage of both your Huntsman and Necromancer Skills you can get away with it (not to mention that Huntsman will also benefit both skill lines). You do not need a perfect split between these Attributes, and I recommend favoring Finesse earlier in the game when you don’t have access to Grasp of the Starved. You will also find Memory is not an issue for this Build because there are so few attack Skills of these to skill lines.

Sanguine Bowmen have some flexibility between Intelligence-base and Finesse-based Armour and should look to have a good mix of Physical and Magical defense. Sanguine Bowmen don’t have many defensive abilities, so they will need to have good Armour values to prevent them from getting Status Effects. When selecting Armour be sure to prioritize equipment with Warfare on it in order to maximize your damage output.

Ring Warfare
Warfare is the single most important stat that you need to increase the total damage of this Build. Look for gear that has it and slot it.

For this Build you’ll be using a bow, big surprise, and you want to look for crossbows or bows with Critical Chance on them. This will increase the likelihood of your Necromancer Skills critically striking as well as your Huntsman Skills, so is ideal. You’ll want to be on the lookout for bows or crossbows with Acid, Atrophy or Bleeding on them as well.

Sanguine Bowman Abilities and Talents

In terms of Abilities you will start with one point each in Huntsman and Necromancer; this will give you access to Level 1 Skills of both skill lines. Then you will take Polymorph to 1, granting you access to Bull Rush and Chameleon Cloak. Next you will take both Huntsman and Necromancer to 2 in order to gain Tactical Retreat, Sky Shot, Infect and Death Wish. If you took the Torturer Talent you will want to place 1 point into Hydrosophist here in order to gain Raining Blood. From this point onward you will pump Warfare in order to increase your damage with both skill lines, only putting points into Necromancer or Huntsman to gain some Level 3 Skills if you wish. If you manage to max Warfare then you’ll want to pump Huntsman for bonus damage from elevation.

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

Elemental Affinity – This will allow you to cast Necromancer Skills for 1 less AP if you use Flesh Sacrifice, which you will nearly always do at the beginning of combat. I would begin the game with this Talent.

Torturer – This Talent will allow your Bull Rush, Raining Blood, and Mosquito Swarm to set Bleeding through Physical Armour. In addition, it will allow you to set Acid as well and will increase the Duration of these effects, as well as Death Wish. (Note: that at the time of this article the Duration is currently bugged, and not being added, but this is expected to be patched).

Savage Sortilege – This Talent will allow your Necromancer Skills to critically strike, which you will want as your Critical Chance starts to improve. This is usually near the end of Act 1 or beginning of Act 2, so aim to get it around there.

Executioner – This Talent will provide you with +2 AP per round if you manage to kill a target. Has particularly good synergy here because of your high damage, and because of the amount of Bleeding you will cause. If an enemy dies from bleeding on its turn you will gain +2 AP to begin yours, and then you can gain an additional +2 AP if you kill an enemy on your turn. Note that you will not gain +2 AP if an enemy dies from Bleeding if you’ve already gained an Executioner bonus during your turn.

Living Armour – Because you will heal often with this Build, this Talent is a great way to replenish your Magic Armour. Consider taking this one if you are having trouble staying alive.

Far Out Man – Nearly all your Skills with this Build are targeted and affected by this Talent. Consider taking this one in order to be able to reach more enemies, but this one isn’t necessary if this isn’t an issue for you.

Hothead – This will increase your overall Critical Chance by 10% and Accuracy by 10% when at Max Vitality. Accuracy isn’t useful for casting, but will help with the increased Dodge Chance enemies have in the Definitive Edition. You also heal a lot with this Build, so you will likely be at or near Max Vitality constantly.

Sanguine Bowman Skills

Sanguine Bowmen use a mix of Huntsman and Necromancer Skills in order to keep enemies Bleeding and deal tons of Physical Damage. Below is a list of Skills you will use and I will put them in the order you should obtain them in.

Character Creation

Ricochet – This Skill will allow you to hit multiple enemies, which helps soften them up for Physical Damage CCs that your warrior will do. It also helps to spread Status Effects on your weapon that can go through Armour because of the Torturer Talent.

Elemental Arrowheads – This Skill allows you to coat your arrows in blood if you use Flesh Sacrifice, making them deal increased Physical Damage. This will also increase the damage Bull Rush does as well, which is an added bonus.

Mosquito Swarm – This Skill will set a target Bleeding and heal you for the damage done. This is a great way to heal offensively and only costs 1 AP if you are standing in Blood (with Elemental Affinity).

Character Levels 1-3

Bull Rush – Bull Rush, funny enough, actually works with a bow or crossbow and can set Bleeding through Armour with the Torturer Talent. It also is a great way to spread any Status Effects on your weapon, like Acid as well. Scales with the Attribute of your weapon.

Chameleon Cloak – This Skill will allow you to go Invisible when you are in danger and is just great all around. Use it when you would otherwise be in a bad spot at the end of your turn.

Raining Blood – A great way set Bleeding on many targets at once, an only costs 1 AP with Elemental Affinity. You will use this situationally and works extremely well when paired with Grasp of the Starved.

Character Levels 4-8

Tactical Retreat – This skill will allow you get up high where you will gain bonus damage and range, out of range of melee units, and also gives you an extra AP next turn. This should be the first thing you do in combat to position yourself up high if you can, and then use Flesh Sacrifice once there.

Sky Shot – This skill will grant you elevation bonus damage, even if you are not up high. Useful for dealing extra damage when not elevated and can also help you reach targets you might not otherwise be able to.

Infect – This skill has a hefty cost at 3 AP, but it is reduced by 1 with Elemental Affinity, and sets Diseased on the target if it has no Physical Armour. It out performs a basic bow attack by about 25% when you have the same amount of Intelligence and Finesse. Try not to use it unless you are standing in Blood.

Death Wish – This skill is great for dealing increased damage when your Vitality is low, which won’t be as often as you’d like. When using it try to aim for targets with Armour first to avoid healing from the Necromancer passive as long as possible, maximizing your damage.

Character Levels 9 and up

Ballistic Shot – This skill hits extremely hard from long range, and gains even more damage when elevated. This is your go-to obliterate target skill. Use this when you need to deal a lot of damage in a hurry, and don’t waste in on targets you can kill with other Skills.

Assassinate – This skill deals increased damage from Sneak, making it a great choice to begin an encounter you know is coming. This skill DOES work from Invisibility, as well as Sneak, making it great from Chameleon Cloak!

Grasp of the Starved – This skill deals insane damage in an AoE if there is a lot of Blood on the ground. Use Raining Blood, then cast this for best results. This is one of the more powerful Source Skills in the game.

Challenge – This skill costs 0 AP and increases your Armour, Vitality and Damage if you kill the target with in 3 turns. An absolute must have skill for any Build that uses Warfare as a means to increase damage.

You can add other Skills to this as well, but these are the minimum ones I would add. For example, Shackles of Pain is not a bad choice to prevent damage, and Bone Cage can work under certain circumstances. You could also add First Aid and Marksman’s Fang if you wish for even more flexibility.

Final Tips

You can begin combat with extremely low health in order to gain the most possible damage from Death Wish if you want. If you do so, however, be sure that you have high Initiative so that you can go first. Some enemies have attacks that penetrate Armour, and you may die before you can even do anything otherwise. A great way to lower your health easily is by putting a poison pool near any Waypoint. The poison will never vanish, allowing you to port there and just walk around in it until your health is low and then port back to where ever you want.

low health
You can begin combat with low health like this in order to take advantage of Death Wish. Just make sure your Initiative is the highest in your group so you don’t get killed before your turn.

Bleeding deals Piercing Damage, which goes through all Armour types, and this is true whether you have Torturer or not. This makes it effective at dealing damage to any target, and helps in mixed parties. Bleeding cannot critically strike and does not increase in damage with any Attribute, it simply gets more powerful as your level increases. My kingdom for a skill like Combustion that consumes Bleeding for burst damage!

Skills like Encourage and Peace of Mind can really help this Build because of the split Attributes. Consider adding them to your party and using them just before combat begins. You can gain nearly +50% damage later on in the game for the 2 AP cost of these Skills, which is a lot!

The stats on these buffs scale with your level and get more powerful as the game goes on.

Lastly, you can play this Build as an Undead if you use the Mask of the Shapeshifter to gain Flesh Sacrifice. The advantages of this are that you can reliably deal damage to yourself via healing spells, allowing you to make better use of Death Wish, and you are immune to Poison Damage. The disadvantages are that you will fill your helmet slot with the Mask, and that it may be harder for you to lower your health in between fights since the Poison pool trick will no longer work. You will also not gain this Mask until further on in the game, meaning you will be less effective earlier on.

As always, be sure to check out our other Build Guides, and good luck Sourcerers, Rivellon is counting on you!

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17 responses to “Divinity Original Sin 2 Builds: Sanguine Bowman”

  1. Hi just wondering why elemental archer is not used in this build. is it to do with elemental arrowheads and the fact that you would want to be standing in blood for most attacks?

  2. Ok, i’m not sure why you said that this build feels awkward.
    I’m playing Lone Wolf playthrough with my friend and we are using Sanguine Bowman and Eternal warrior builds. Honestly, it doesn’t feel fair. I mean, after level 12 we had to choose higher level fights just so we would have a challenge. Most of them we finish without even letting our enemies make a move(when enemies are few that is). Only downside was physical damage immune enemies, but those are extremely rare and we get by using elemental arrows/scrolls and grenades.
    So, you know… thanks for making the playthrough so easy, lol
    Thanks for the guide. It’s an awesome build.

  3. Not sure if you’re still looking at this, but I’m just starting to play DOS 2 and these guides are super helpful. Is there a reason not to take the Elemental Ranger talent with sanguine bowman? If I set bleeding on enemies they’ll be standing in blood and it should do extra damage right? Or does this conflict with the Elemental Arrowheads skill somehow? Similar question about the Sadist talent that also deals increased physical damage to bleeding targets.

  4. Bull Rush is definitely situational, and I like to use it when enemies are all in a line. You can also use Marksman’s Fang when they are lined up for maximum damage.


  5. For Bull Rush whats the best way to use that ability? Seems counter intuitive to close distance to hit enemies as a ranger. Do we rush in and then cloak so no enemy retaliates?

  6. >
    Sanguine Bowman, Summoner of Sparks, Tectonic Sage and Juggernaut would make fearsome team…


  7. Hey Cas, I’m not sure if you’re still checking this, but if you are, could you provide me with some insight? I really like necro characters and rangers, and so I’m thinking of creating a party like this:

    Sanguine Bowman
    Summoner of Sparks or Glacial Guardian
    Radiant Battlemage or Teutonic Sage
    Occult Flame Wielder or Juggernaut or eternal warrior

    I played a lot of Divinity Original Sin 1, where it got beat into me that I should be able to have characters who can cast fire, aero, geo, and water, and I think that’s reflected in what I wrote above. I just simply don’t know what party combination works in Divinity Sin 2. Thoughts?

  8. So first, you gain spells that cannot miss. Regular ranged attacks have a hit chance. Second, spells like Infect and Mosquito Swarm can “go around” one enemy and hit the one behind. Sometimes you cannot do this with ranged attacks and must hit the closest enemy. In addition, Mosquito Swarm heals you and Infect can debuff the enemy, while Bow Attacks cannot.


  9. Cas you said that it’s not 100% optimized for damaged, but what it lacks in damage it makes up for in utility , but all the skills that this build adds to a traditional ranger build is some damage-type necrospell , can you explain the ‘utility” of this build compared to a traditional build please =)
    Sorry for my bad englis i’m french but i love your guides

  10. Maybe this one?? Sanguine Bowman (Custom Character Elf); Eternal Warrior (Sebille); Terramancer (Red Prince); Blood Mage or Crystalline Cleric (Lohse), not sure whats best on this last one?!

  11. Or maybe create a custom character and move sebille to one of those builds?? (I kinda like sebille and wanted her in my party, ive heard her romance is good ;P )

  12. Maybe a good combination is Sanguine Bowman (Sebille); Blood Mage (Lohse); Duelist (Beast); Eternal Warrior (Ifan), is that good enough of a physical party combination?

  13. Also love this build (always loved archers) but if possible i wanted to know which party members to use and what would their builds be, Thanks! ;)

  14. It isn’t 100% optimized for damage, like many hybrid builds, but what it lacks in damage it makes up for in utility.


  15. I’m a big fan of some of your builds, however this doesn’t work well. Had a play with it – altering skills and points and was still awkward. Not saying it’s all about the number – after all this is more of a fun build than a damage dealer. But it doesn’t flow very well, I have no doubt this is something you can fix in time.

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