Pillars of Eternity 2 Deadfire Builds Guide: Savage Archer

In this Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Build Guide we’re going to be taking a look at the Savage Class, which is a mixture of Ranger and Barbarian. I’ll be providing information on AttributesWeaponsArmor, and most importantly, what Abilities to take and how to use them. Please keep in mind that this is my Savage Build, and there are plenty of ways you can build this class, and this is not the only one. If you’re new to Pillars of Eternity 2, or you just love creating characters as much as I do, then this Guide is for you. Please note that this Build Guide was updated for the 5.0 version of the game, as well as 1.01 on console (as of January 20th, 2020), and works with both Real Time with Pause and Turn-Based.

Savage Archer Build Guide

The Savage Archer uses a combination of the quick attack speed of the Barbarian and the increased efficiency of the Ranger class to deal substantial burst damage to enemies around it. On top of that you get the added benefit of an extremely tanky pet that can handle several enemies at once, taking some pressure off yourself. If you’ve been looking for a good Ranger Build, then try out the Savage Archer!


Stats on my level 20 Savage Archer. Not really geared that well, but it is still effective.

There are 2 parts to this Build. The first is having zero Recovery Time after killing an enemy, allowing you to fire again instantly, or twice back to back on your next shot, and we accomplish this two ways 1) using the ability Crushing Blow which removes Recovery Time if the target is killed, and 2) by taking the passive Blood Thirst which does the same thing. This allows the Savage Archer to fire multiple shots in quick succession often, resulting incredible burst damage. This is not as effective in Turn-Based because you will only get to go at the beginning of the next round, instead of extra attacks, so use Barbaric Smash instead to maintain your Rage pool.

The second part of this Build involves the War Bow Frostseeker which strikes in an AoE each time it Crits. Since it fires 3 projectiles, this gives it 3 chances to have an AoE, striking each nearby enemy. Once you gain the passive Driving Flight, this becomes 6 projectiles, with a potential for 6 AoEs. This can deal insane damage, and whenever you down an enemy you fire away again, never letting off the pressure! In Turn-Based you will not get to attack again, but you will go first next round killing more enemies before they can attack.


You can deal incredible AoE damage with this Build!

Savage Archer Subclasses (Sharpshooter and No Subclass)

Sharpshooter is an easy choice for our Ranger class because it increases our Hit to Crit chance by 15% when shooting far away targets, which we want to help trigger the AoEs from Frostseeker. It’s a small price to pay for reduced Deflection and increased Recovery Time, and Recovery Time is not really an issue in Turn-Based anyway since it just means you’ll go later in the turn order. If you really don’t want to have to worry about your Pet, you can take Ghost Heart, you just won’t get that extra Crit chance.


Ghost Heart is a great option for those who don’t want to worry about keeping their Pet alive.

There really aren’t any Subclasses that help Barbarian here so we take No Subclass. Berserker would give you increased Penetration with your attacks, but makes you Confused and that means all the AoEs would hurt your teammates, unless you use Devil of Caroc Breastplate, or find some other way to prevent Confused. Additionally, you don’t generally have Penetration issues War Bows since they have some of the highest in the game, can increase it further with the Weapon Modal (+2), and both Crushing Blow and Barbaric Smash increase Penetration by 2.

Savage Archer Weapons and Armor

As mentioned above you want to use Frostseeker as soon as you can get it. It’s located on the same island of Neketaka, to the southwest in an encounter called Maukotu’s Canopy, which means you can get this relatively quickly if you can defeat the monsters there. Until you obtain it, however, I would suggest using a Hunting Bow for the Weapon Ability that decreases your Recovery Time by 50%, making you attack lightning fast. If you play Turn-Based just stick with a War Bow, because Recovery Time is much less important.


This weapon makes this Build shine in ways that you only dreamed of!

Savage Archers will use Light Armor to keep their Recovery Time as low as they can, in order to fire off arrows quickly. The best defense is a good offense with this Build, so wear the lightest you can get away with without getting yourself killed. Your Pet should be taking some of the damage meant for you, so you shouldn’t need as much anyhow. If you’re playing Turn-Based you can use whichever Armor type you wish, because as mentioned above, Recovery Time is much less of an issue.

Savage Archer Abilities

In this section we’re going to cover the “must have” Savage Archer Abilities for this Build. You are free to pick and choose which you want outside of these because everyone’s style of play is different and there is no perfect way. However, these ones will be needed for this Build to work effectively.

Ranger Abilities

Wounding Shot – This ability deals Raw Damage over time to the target, which is great for beginning fights, as it will weaken them between shots. You won’t use it that often, but enough to warrant grabbing it.

Marksman – This passive increases your Accuracy against targets more than 4m away by +5. You can never get enough Accuracy with this Build so it’s an easy choice here.

Two-Handed Style – This passive further increases your damage with any Two-Handed Weapon, including Bows so we take it. Every little bit helps!

Accurate Wounding Shot – This increases your Accuracy by 20 with Wounding Shot, upping the likelihood that you will Crit, which we need to do. It’s a great way to open up a fight before using Crushing Blow or Barbaric Smash.

Driving Flight – This passive makes it so that you hit an additional target with another shot when using Ranged Weapons. Because we use Frostseeker, this means 3 more projectiles!

Uncanny Luck – Increases our Hit to Crit chance 5% which will create a few more Crits now and then so we take this one.

Survival of the Fittest – This increases your Accuracy and your Pet’s Accuracy when above 75% Health against enemies who are below 50% Health. Again we need all the Accuracy we can get, so we take this one.

Improved Critical – We’ll be doing lots of Crits with this Build so this helps our damage by a modest amount.

Barbarian Abilities

Frenzy – We use this constantly to buff our Action Speed, helping to increase our overall damage output. Take it during Character Creation.

Barbaric Blow – This ability gives you a high damaging attack with a +30% Hit to Crit chance and increased Crit Damage. It’s a great way to ensure those projectiles from Frostseeker Crit, giving you those AoEs you want.

Bloodlust – This passive increases your Action Speed when you kill an enemy, further increasing your overall damage, so we grab it.

Bloody Slaughter – This ability generally isn’t that great, but it counts for more in this Build as we want every Hit to Crit in order to trigger those AoEs.

Unflinching – This ability is great at preventing some Afflictions that would disable you. Get this one when you have a spare point.

Blood Frenzy – This makes our Crits cause Raw Damage bleeding on enemies hit, which will be often.

Crushing Blow – This upgrade of Barbaric Blow allows for faster attacks by eliminating the Recovery Time you have if you kill the target. This is one way we bump out incredible burst damage.

Brute Force – This passive allows us to target Fortitude if it is lower than Deflection in order to gain better Accuracy. This is great at increasing the likelihood of a Crit.

Blood Thirst – This removes your Recovery Time when you down a target. This does stack with Crushing Blow, so if you kill an enemy with Crushing Blow you will get 2 additional attacks immediately.

Blood Storm – This upgrade increases the Duration when you kill an enemy which synergizes nicely with this Build. We want to cast Frenzy once and use all 8 other points on Crushing Blow, so we take this.

Savage Archer Attributes

In this section we’ll cover Attributes for the Savage Archer, and explain a bit about each and why we need it or why it’s important. Savages need Perception, Might and perhaps a bit of Dexterity. Because this Build is Ranged, it doesn’t need to worry about getting Hit as often, and so doesn’t really need Constitution. You can dump Resolve, but leave Intellect so your Frenzy Duration is as long as possible. Note that if you’re playing Turn-Based you don’t want to place any points into Dexterity at all.

Perception is key to this Build because you need to Crit with every possible shot, creating AoE damage and softening up targets to then be killed. You want to max this out if possible because Crits are the best way to increase your total damage with this Build.

Might is important for increasing your Damage because you need to get kills in order to reap the benefits of this Build. In addition, it will help with healing your Pet if you have one, which prevents you from getting a nasty Bonded Grief debuff. 14 or 15 points should do it.

Final Tips

For Race I chose Hearth Orlan to get the extra Hit to Crit chance. Between this, Sharpshooter, Barbaric Blow and Uncanny Luck you should have 60% Hit to Crit chance when firing Frostseeker on top of your insane Accuracy. This will nearly guarantee you solid AoE damage reliably, which is the point of the Build. You can however, choose any Race you wish, and Human is a good secondary choice.

As mentioned above, until you gain Frostseeker it’s a good idea to have a Hunting Bow so that you can use the Weapon Ability to gain further increased attack speed when you don’t need the Penetration of the War Bow. Alternate between the two Bow types as needed until you obtain this Bow just southwest of Neketaka. If you’re playing Turn-Based you can still use the Hunting Bow for increased Accuracy (+5), but you won’t be using the Weapon Modal.


Rapid Shot works great until you grab Frostseeker and helps to boost early game DPS.

Try to save Crushing Blow for when the enemy is close to dying in order to gain the zero Recovery Time bonus. It’s best to open with Accurate Wounding Shot, and then fire either Crushing Blow or just basic attack and then Crushing Blow. Don’t spam Accurate Wounding shot though, save some Bond so you will be able to spend it on other abilities like healing your Pet or using Binding Roots in order to immobilize enemies. Keep in mind that you will burn through Rage quickly with this Build and remember to use Empower to gain some back if you need to. If you’re playing Turn-Based you should have much less issue with this because Barbaric Smash will refund its cost often.

Concerning Pets, I would recommend the Bear or Boar as these two types rarely die and keeping your Pet alive is vital in combat. The best way to keep them alive is by stacking Armor and healing them when needed, and Bears have the highest Armor rating and Boars heal over time. Be sure to take the Resilient Companion ability to add additional Armor to them, reducing the damage they take. Also, be sure to target what your Pet is targeting if you can, for increased effectiveness!

If you like this Build and you want to experiment with another similar type, you can run a perhaps even more effective Frostseeker Build by going Single Class Ranger. By doing so you will gain access to Twinned Shot which deals +25% damage and fires 6 projectiles instead of 3. And because you have Driving Flight you will get 6 extra projectiles resulting in catastrophic damage. Single Class Ranger is the new black!


Twinned Shot does incredible damage with Frostseeker and makes a great case to play a Single Class Ranger.

Stay tuned for more Pillars of Eternity 2 Build Guides through out June, as we make some more specific Guides covering some of the most fun and interesting combinations we could find. If there is a specific combination you would like to see, please post in the comments and we will do our best to accommodate!


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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One comment on “Pillars of Eternity 2 Deadfire Builds Guide: Savage Archer”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Hi, please, mention Race before the Classes. It helps with the process of character creation.

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