So I’ve been replaying the excellent Divinity: Original Sin 2 recently like many others in the recent wake of the early Baulder’s Gate 3 footage. Because of this renewed interest in the game, there’ll be people playing the game for the first time, and might be slightly overwhelmed if they aren’t familiar with CRPGS. Considering this, I wanted to put together a quick overview of a team composition that I think is really effective at getting through the early game, and breaking down some important skills.
Now I’ve gotta state here I’m by no means an expert Divinity player, all my knowledge is largely gained through research from people much smarter than me, but I think this mini guide could still be helpful.
The anchor of my team is my main character, the Eternal Warrior. This is a custom build you can find in extreme detail here, and was the result of me really wanting to play a death knight style character. It’s a simple concept; you hit hard in melee with a two handed weapon, have a number of crowd control tools to lock down opponents, and have a whole lot of sustain through necromancy healing/damage spells, which ensures you can keep yourself healed on the front lines.
The necromancy magic works especially well in this build because it’s one of the few magic types that targets physical armour, meaning you aren’t splitting your damage between the two armour types. You do want a good spread of both physical and magic damage across your party to deal with a variety of threats, but I find it’s easier to specialise on a per character basis, so combining necromancy and physical damage synergises really well.
In terms of the early game, you don’t even start with points in necromancy, and you instead rely on a few key skills from the Warfare and Polymorph trees. The most important skill you have to begin with is Battle Stomp. I’m going to put it in bold to get the point across; crowd control is the most important skill in the early game. If you’re losing fights in Fort Joy that you think you should be winning, it’s probably because you aren’t knocking enemies on their asses enough. Of course it’s not just physical skills that can crowd control, plenty of magic types can freeze or stun, but Battle Stomp is one of the most reliable early on.
The underrated skill you start with in this build is Bull Rush. This ability you activate for free, giving your character bull horns and a once per turn ability to charge in a direction, dealing damage and bleeding a character without physical armour. The strength of this skill is actually that you get to move a fair distance ignoring elemental effects on the ground. If you get ambushed in a fight and have a slowing tar thrown on the ground around your character, you can charge out of it with no movement penalty, and the same goes for damaging effects like fire or poison. This allows you to get into melee range with virtually no penalty and can save you from a lot of passive damage.
Some key early game talents to pick up early on are Opportunist (free attacks when enemies run away from you), Living Armour (heals a portion of magic armour every time you heal health- cancels damage from effect like burning) and Executioner (two free action points per turn if you kill something).
Our second team member is the Summoner. Look up any guide on powerful early game skills and this class will be mentioned. This is because of the Summon Incarnate and Totem abilities. They’re easily the most efficient skills you can use during a fight at this point, because of their flexibility and duration.
Summon Totem drops a totem on the ground that will shoot (usually) at the closest enemy. Depending on what surface you drop it onto, it changes damage type, meaning it can do physical or magic damage as you need it. They last a number of turns, unless your enemy uses their turn to kill it, and you can summon one per turn, meaning you can have multiple at a time. The incarnate functions in a similar way; summon him on water or ice and he’ll come with a healing spell and do water damage, summon him on blood and he’ll have a powerful ranged attack that chunks enemy armour. His damage skyrockets as you level up Summoning and Intelligence, along with gaining access to the infusion skills, which are buff spells that also power him up.
With all of this he quickly becomes as powerful as your actual party members, and if you max out Summoning to level 10 he even evolves into a larger, much more fearsome beast. The other great part about these temporary creatures is they act as damage mitigation; if the enemy uses their turn attacking a totem or your incarnate, that’s damage not going into your actual characters. In the early game this can be the difference between life and death, and is one of the biggest advantages in having a Summoner on your team.
Another huge advantage to the Summoner is that all your summons act on their own turns, which means they’re free to do other things once they’re up and running. I like to stack buff and heal spells on them, so as fights get tougher he becomes more of a support class, but you can also spec into a different form of magic to become a wizard hybrid and blast enemies from afar.
In terms of talents, the only super important one is Far Out Man, where the range of your spells and abilities are extended by two metres, further talents kinda depend on how you want to spec them for the long term.
Third up is The Ranger. This class is simple: point bow at things and kill things. Bows and crossbows just do huge amounts of damage in this game, and even though they’re not the most dynamic class, they are a solid addition to the team as a long range damage dealer who can do both physical or magical damage.
Part of the power of the ranger comes from its ability to boost their high ground damage bonus. Divinity is a vertical game and most fights have some opportunity to get your characters up above the enemy, not only extending their range but giving them a 20% bonus to their damage. Rangers can multiply this, along with their raw physical damage, to pretty crazy heights, so even early on they’ll be hitting surprisingly hard. They also have some decent utility through a healing spell and a few buffs, meaning they’re useful in every situation.
As you move out of the early game you will have options to hybridize the class if you don’t like the one dimensional playstyle, adding some magic or spec into the Scoundrel tree, letting them pull out a pair of daggers and get stuck in at melee range if that appeals to you.
Like the Summoner, in terms of talents you want Far Out Man first to extend their range, and then Executioner to gain that extra AP on kills, because you’ll be getting a lot of final blows with them.
The final member of the team is also the one I’m least certain about, but for now we’ll call it The Cleric. This character initially will not only be your main healer, but also tank, standing on the front lines with a shield taking hits and while providing healing and magical support to the party.
The reason I say I’m not sure about them is that I’m torn between how to spec them offensively. On one hand you can make them a full battlemage; able to hit enemies with a one handed weapon and do some crowd control, while dishing out water spells and healing. The problem with this is he becomes very jack of all trades, he won’t hit for much damage with either his weapon or spells, and it doesn’t feel very satisfying or fun compared to the more optimised characters in this team.
The other option is going full spellcaster; keep the shield for tankiness but use a wand and rely completely on spells to hurt the enemy. This issue with this, at least initially, is you lose those crucial knock downs to control the fights, and you’re limited to only a few spells this early in the game.
I think with some experimentation I’ve found a good middle ground for this issue. Keep the one handed melee weapon and invest the bare minimum into Warfare to get knockdown skills for the utility, then put points into intelligence and spec evenly into Hydrosophist and necromancer (you can add in some Aerotheurge if you want) to get access to spells that can hit either magical or physical armour. This gives them the front line utility of being able to take big hits and control the fight alongside your eternal warrior (while protecting your ranger and summoner), and still being able to heal and deal damage through spells.
In terms of talents, you can go for many of the same things as your eternal warrior, but swap out Executioner with Elemental Affinity. This discounts the AP cost of your spells if you’re standing the corresponding surface type, which you can easily control with the Rain and Rain Blood spells.
So, that’s my team. Of course, this isn’t a definitive list; one of the great things about Divinity is you can pretty much play anyway you want and be successful, but if you’re new to the game and want a team that can overcome anything thrown at it, give this a go.