[] New Player, Critique My Bleeding Witch Hunter Build Plan

Hi all, I just started Grim Dawn recently and am interested in playing a bleed-damage-based Witch Hunter. I was hoping the community could give me some tips or point out any flaws in my planned build to level from 1-85. I’m currently playing him with 3 other friends in a group on Veteran, around level 15 at the moment.

Here’s the GrimCalc, with devotions: http://grimcalc.com/build/1006-MmCSAj

My skill plan is as follows:

Occultist->Bloody Pox (max)->Curse of Frailty (max)
Nightblade->Phantasmal Blades (max)->Frenetic Throw
Heart Seeker (1 pt)->Blade Barrier (1 pt)->Anatomy of Murder (max)
Heart Seeker (max)->Occultist->Blood of Dreeg (1 pt)
Occultist->Wasting (1 pt)->Occultist->Aspect of the Guardian (11/12 pts)

At level 45: Last point in Aspect of the Guardian, Vulnerability (1 pt), Occultist

Occultist->Black Death (1 pt)->Occultist (max)->Possession (max)
Blood of Dreeg (max)->Vulnerability (max)->Black Death (max)
Nightblade->Blade Trap (10/12 pts)

Devotion plan:
Crossroads: Order->Assassin’s Blade (Assassin’s Mark on Phantasmal Blades)
Recover Crossroads->Falcon (Falcon Swoop on Bloody Pox)
Bat (Twin Fangs on Curse of Frailty)
Tortoise (Turtle Shell on Possession)
Huntress (Rend on Blade Trap)
Empty Throne
Mogdrogen the Wolf (Howl of Mogdrogen on Curse of Frailty) - Not sure what to do with Twin Fangs at that point, but this is all theory anyway!

These devotions grant 533% increased bleed damage, with an additional 15-33% reduced enemy bleed resist, and another 50-200% bleed damage from Howl of Mogdrogen for a possible +733%. This seems good to me, though with no experience beyond Normal Gates of Necropolis, I’m not entirely sure.

So the intent of this build is to maximize bleed damage, and stay at range and kite things with the slow from Curse of Frailty, while throwing Phantasmal Blades (with Frenetic Throw) and Bloody Pox on them. I think I might possibly need to get Blade Trap earlier than the planned level (after 80) in order to make use of it’s -DA, or maybe put more points in Vulnerability earlier for the same reason.

What do you all think?

This is not gonna work at all.

  1. Phantom blades are a horrible way of applying bleed. Only once instance of bleed damage is applied regardless of how many blades hit. The base damage is low as well. Edit: just saw you mentioned Frenetic throw… Nooooo! It will do no bleeding damage what so ever, the transmuter reduces the already weak damage to 1/4 of it’s stated value. Subsequent hits don’t stack bleeding dmg.

  2. Avoid Pox like… well, the plague. It’s the most impractical skill to use and it is not nearly good enough to justify the jankyness. Blade trap is also janky and nonsensical, and it doesn’t work on bosses. some like 1 level in it for crowd control, i dislike having an extra button to concentrate on for something so situational and underwhelming.

  3. Bleeding is a very mediocre choice, especially for a starting character. Yes, it is easy to get resistance reduction for it, but everyone and their mother has huge bleeding resistance, most enemies over 100%. Damage over time effects can stack up reasonably well, and you can kite while they are ticking, which makes them prefect for taking down bosses. However, they are horrible vs mobs (poison is much better here because the poison nova skill you get form the Abomination constellation clears the fucking screen of mobs) because your setup will lack high attack/cast speed while your 200k dmg ticks are useless vs 70k health monsters. Most of the time, you will fight mobs, so…

If you insist however…

  1. Shaman is the king of bleed. Warder (Blade arc + Savagery, coupled with physical and trauma damage) and Trickster (Savagery + Dual blades, coupled with piercing or lighting damage) and Conjurer (Devouring swarm + Vines + procs, coupled with vitality dmg or summons) all work (depends on your definition of work, neither are physical Witchblade or psn Witch hunter levels), but you need Shaman! Devouring Swarm and Savagery are the best, most versatile sources of bleed out there.

  2. Bleed has to be applied trough weapon damage. Poison has some good spells and procs, but bleed does not compare. This means that you usually want some skill with around 300% weapon damage, preferably in an aoe. Good candidates are Blade Arc, Shadow Strike, Execution (requires 2 weapons), Cadence, Rift Strike (requires Riftstone in your weapon or shield). I’m not counting Savagery here. You must always use Savagery, because Savagery damage gets multiplied if the buff is active. Because bullshit.

  3. Continued from 2., you want items and Constellations with +xx bleeding damage over yy time, and you want xx to be high and yy to be low. Good sources of weapon bleeding damage are the Guillotine 2-hander or the Brutallax+Bloodsong weapon combo, Mogdrogen constellation, Bloodrager or Wildblood sets, Bloodfury spaulders, left hand of the Berserker constellation (only one weapon has to be an axe, it will apply to both weapons) and the Fox has some as well.

  4. Resistance reduction is king in GD, but in the case of bleeding, it’s a must just to keep it viable because everything seems to be immune. Max Devouring Swarm because it’s insane, supplement it with the Huntress constellation proc, Curse of Fragility, Vileblood mantle, Blood of Chthon (Legion weapon augment) and Manticore constellation OR Black star of deceit.

5, As I implied before, bleeding is meh on it’s own. A lot of resistances and damage comes in chunks which sucks vs large mobs. Because of this, you need to invest in a secondary damage source, depending on your second class. Trickster, for example, can gear like a piercing Blademaster build, but still benefit from stacking large amount of bleed because it makes killing bosses easy. You will still kill normal monsters by just hitting them with 2 weapons at 200% attack speed instead of waiting for bleed to start ticking. Don’t turn your char into a gimmick, thing efficiency.

Alternatively, just make a poison/acid Witch hunter because it’s broken and it’s still a dot theme. Kinda.

Well that’s disappointing, hah!

Oh wow, I totally missed that -75% total damage. That does seem bad. I wanted to remove the cooldown to at least have a spammable ability (and the conversion to Vitality damage seemed appropriate.)

I really like the idea of Bloody Pox, but I have indeed seen some serious jank with it. Specifically, it seems like on certain enemies which die to the first tick of damage, the Pox doesn’t spread, while on others who potentially take more than one tick, the Pox even spreads from their corpses?? Weird.

This is an interesting point, I’ll look into an acid/poison build.

I kinda do, heh!

Conjurer actually seems closer to the core idea I wanted: ranged bleed / kiting, compared to my original proposal.

Savagery definitely sounds like it’s the default attack I need.

Oh, Berserker requires an axe? I only looked at it in GrimCalc and a lot of those kinds of things aren’t displayed it seems. I’d ideally like to use a ranged weapon of some sort.

Yeah the extra resist reduction on Devouring Swarm sounds really nice paired with Curse of Frailty.

Definitely going to give this bleedy ranged Conjurer a try and see how I like it.

Solid alternate path suggestion since I already have this character started.

Thanks so much for your comprehensive reply! It’s great to get some insight from experienced players! I’m really loving the wealth of options for builds in this game so far (even if some of them are significantly sub-optimal :stuck_out_tongue: )