[] Beginner's melee 2H Lightning Elementalist

Patch Update

Originally I didn’t plan to update this build. There are several major problems with it, but the main one is Elementalist is just not the greatest class for 2H Lightning builds anymore. It was great in vanilla times, it was passable on AoM release, but now the go to classes for Ultos set builds are Warder, Druid and Vindicator. Another reason was I wanted to leave this build an AoM build for people without the latest expansion, and Forgotten Gods introduced plenty of fresh budget options for it.

But since for some weird reason you guys keep bumping it up instead of leaving it in limbo I decided to update it a bit.

Patch AoM Friendly Grim Tools Link


When it comes to 2H builds in Grim Dawn the most widely known since times immemorial is a so called Ultos build, which, as the name suggests, is based on Ultos set. Back in vanilla days it was often suggested to beginners as the most powerful 2H build. In my opinion back then it was never a good idea for a beginner to level such a build since farming Ultos set might take a while (literally months if you play self found singleplayer), and there was little to no items to aid the player in the process besides Legion Warblade. This had changed in expansion.

The build is intended for beginners, with focus on using faction items. If you’re interested in high-end Ultos build I would recommend checking mad_lee’s Melee Druid or jajaja’s Electrocute Warder (although the latter doesn’t even use the Ultos set).

Why Elementalist?

Elementalist is a classy choice for Ultos build, but most important is it’s one of the most diverse classes in the game – there is a lot of gear to support various Elementalist playstyles, so if you have no luck farming Ultos items but e.g. got Light’s Defender set instead you could respec into Stun Jacks / Storm Totem caster. Or if you found Dagallon pistols you could try speccing into Fire Strike gunslinger.

If you are dead set on doing a high-end Ultos build then Warder and Druid currently look like better choices since Soldier and Arcanist have crowd control resistance skills and provide better damage mitigation in general.


[u]>>> Grim Tools Link <<<[/u]

[u]Savagery vs Primal Strike[/u]
Primal Strike was drastically buffed in and using it as the main attacking skill is no longer a joke at high levels. Savagery and PS/TS have similar sheet DPS, but while Primal Strike has way superior AOE, Savagery is preferable due to utility stuff – OA, DA and Slow Resistance from Tenacity of the Boar, 8% physical resistance from Might of the Bear, as well as being able to use Feral Hunger, which is a superb sustain ability.

But when it comes to early levelling Primal Strike is one of the best abilities in the game. That’s why it’s feasible to level with Primal Strike and switch to Savagery later on. See more about early game levelling in the dedicated section below.

Gear acquisition techniques

  1. [u]Faction shops.[/u]
    Some faction items are pretty good and stat-wise could rival legendaries. The main thing to be aware is stats of items in faction shops are not static, therefore you can make it so the stats are satisfactory. Start game – check shop – remember stats – leave to main screen – repeat. It’s boring and may take a hour to get good rolls on every piece, but it’s worth it. I recommend doing one item at a time rather than checking all items you need at once.

  2. [u]Batch-crafting[/u]
    The way the game is, you’re very likely to craft something good if you have about 300-400 scrap and iron to back it up. The problem is you need a lot of scrap. The main source of scrap is dismantling items. Usually people dismantle only epic items, some also dismantle legendaries with bad rolls, but if it comes to scrap this’ll typically be the limiting factor. When I need some scrap quickly I’ll even dismantle rare items. In this cast the limiting factor becomes the dynamite. Dynamite is craftable, and it’s components are fairly easy to acquire (easy to buy from Isaac, so don’t you dare to kill him).

As for the batch-crafting itself – craft with [u]Angrim[/u]. Right now it’s the best crafter with every crafting bonus being very useful. Angrim is one of two possible blacksmiths for Devil’s Crossing, so you’ll have to pick him over Duncan.

Gearing up


  • Malmouth Greatsword (Faction – Malmouth Resistance)
  • Component – Seal of the Skies (or Amber, if you have no Seal of the Skies recipe)
  • Augment – Potent Creed’s Cunning (Faction – Black Legion)
    Stats to maximize are conversion to lightning (53-54%) and attack speed (8%), if you can also get %lightning and %electrocute close to 300% - good!


  • Elite Coven Warder Chestguard (Faction – Coven of Ugdenbog)
  • Component – Ancient Armor Plate
  • Augment – wildcard, use whatever helps you cap resistances on ultimate (typically something with %pierce resistance)
    Stats to maximize are resistances – you wouldn’t want any of resistances rolled below 30%, preferably 33%+, if you can also get %lightning and %electrocute close to 100% and at least average OA - good!


  • Elite Coven Warder Spaulders (Faction – Coven of Ugdenbog)
  • Component – Sacred Plating (or Scaled Hide, if you have no Sacred Plating recipe)
  • Augment – wildcard, use whatever helps you cap resistances on ultimate (typically something with %pierce resistance)
    Stats to maximize are resistances – you would especially want elemental resistance close to 40%. If you can also get %lightning and %electrocute close to 100% - good!


  • Elite Coven Flameweaver Casque (Faction – Coven of Ugdenbog)
  • Component – Sacred Plating (or Sanctified Bone / Wardstone if you have no Sacred Plating recipe)
  • Augment – wildcard, use whatever helps you cap resistances on ultimate (typically something with %pierce resistance)
    Stats to maximize are resistances – you wouldn’t want any of resistances rolled below 24%, preferably 26%+, if you can also get %lightning and %electrocute close to 100% - good!


  • Coven Storm Seal (Faction – Coven of Ugdenbog)
  • Component – Runebound Topaz (a peerless component for rings, but if you don’t have the recipe then use Corpse Dust instead)
  • Augment – Survivor’s Ingenuity (Faction – Devil’s Crossing)
    Main stats here are %DA and %attack speed, and it is of great importance to get the maximum of 4% DA and 5% attack speed. If it also has above average resistances – very good! You will be buying two of them so spending extra time to get good ones is worth it.


  • Wildcard, batch-craft heavy armor gloves until you get something satisfactory. Gloves are the only armor piece that could get attack speed affix, so you would want it. The build also tends to be short of pierce resistance, so my target was gloves with pierce resistance and attack speed.
  • Component – Unholy Inscription
  • Augment – wildcard, use whatever helps you cap resistances on ultimate (typically something with %pierce resistance)


  • Wildcard, batch-craft heavy armor boots until you get something satisfactory. The thing I was initally searching for is yet again pierce resistance and some OA/DA, something like Stonehide of Readiness.
  • Component – Enchanted Earth or Spellscorched Plating (or Mark of the Traveller if you don’t have the recipe or for some reason struggle to cap movement speed)
  • Augment – wildcard, use whatever helps you cap resistances on ultimate (typically something with %pierce resistance)


  • Wildcard, batch-craft heavy armor pants until you get something satisfactory. I focused on OA/DA and some resistances here.
  • Component – Ancient Armor Plate
  • Augment – wildcard, use whatever helps you cap resistances on ultimate (typically something with %pierce resistance)


  • Wildcard, but if you have Stoneplate Waistguard recipe I suggest you to craft this instead of normal yellow belts. The belt has 50 extra armor and what’s more important a bunch of crowd control resistances, which would make this item even with sub-par affixes quite good. It’s quite expensive, but batch-craft a few and see if you got anything good. I looked for OA/DA and some extra resistnaces.
  • Component – Enchanted Earth or Spellscorched Plating (or anything low tier like Antivenom Salve if you don’t have recipes)
  • Augment – wildcard, use whatever helps you cap resistances on ultimate (typically something with %pierce resistance)


  • Wildcard, I use Empowered Essense of Beronath, which is technically craftable, but the recipe is a random drop. If you don’t have the recipe then batch-craft something good with OA/DA, like Tempest Amulet of Readiness.
  • Component – Arcane Spark (Faction – Black Legion)
  • Augment – Survivor’s Ingenuity (Faction – Devil’s Crossing)


  • Kymon’s Badge is just perfect for the build. Yes, it’s a Monster Infrequent, but this one could be bought from secret shop. Since running there every time is a bother use a shop reset trick. The game only remembers the state of last two shops you used, so get to secret shop, do some economic activity, open a portal, go to some town that has two vendors and do some economic activity with both, then return and check if secret shop vendor’s wares had changed. For “economic activity” even checking vendor’s wares counts, but there’s no reason not to buy some Scrap or Searing Ember if you could.
  • Component – Tainted Heart (if no recipe then Aether Soul or Black Tallow)


  • Eye of the Storm

Devotion Order

  1. Crossroads (green)
  2. Scholar’s Light
  3. Crossroads (blue)
  4. Eel
  5. Remove Crossroads (blue)
  6. Kraken
  7. Crossroads (purple)
  8. Owl
  9. Tempest
  10. Remove Crossroads (green)
  11. Chariot of the Dead
  12. Rhowan’s Crown (4 points early on, 3 points later)
  13. Viper
  14. Quill
  15. Wraith
  16. Remove Eel
  17. Remove Owl
  18. Ultos (without proc node)
  19. Toad
  20. Remove Scholar’s Light
  21. Widow
  22. Remove Wraith
  23. Solemt Watcher
  24. Jackal
  25. Remove Viper
  26. Crossroads (red)
  27. Revenant (without proc node)

[b]Devotion proc binds[/b]

Elemental Storm (Rhowan’s Crown) – to Savagery
Reckless Tempest (Tempest) – to Upheaval
Arcane Bomb (Widow) – to Wendigo Totem
Chariot of the Dead – to any buff

During the levelling I bound Reckless Tempest to Primal Strike and Elemental Storm to Gavel of Justice (Arbiter relic skill). See levelling section below for more details.


[u]Levels 1-10[/u]
Fairly easy to mess things up. Pick up Hevill’s Greatsword from the corpse in Lower Devil’s Crossing (map). Start with Shaman, put 2 points into Brute Force on level 2. Proceed to invest into Shaman mastery bar until you hit Primal Strike, invest 5 points into Primal Strike. At level 5 you should have 2 points into Brute Force and 5 points into Primal Strike. Next you need to open Thunderous Strike, which will make your Primal Strike have no cooldown. To counter the drastically increased energy consumption rate throw a few points into Mogdrogen Pact. This is also the reason why you’d want to get Scholar’s Light devotion quickly – it has 2.5 flat energy regen, which’ll help a lot.

At level 10 your build should be something like this

[u]Levels 10-35[/u]
From this point it’s much more smooth. The main thing to learn is energy management. Primal Strike consumes a lot of energy per attack. The temporary solution is Mogdrogen’s Pact. If you feel you’re running out of energy then go find a respec NPC in Devil’s Crossing, remove one point from Primal Strike and put it into Mogdrogen Pact instead. See if things became more manageable.

With patch the old way of managing energy cost – investing into Torrent instead of Primal Strike – is also available, I’d say it’s probably better to do it this way, but since I levelled the build pre- I’ll leave it as a mere guess.

Skill-wise you should push shaman mastery bar while also improving Primal Strike as much as your energy regeneration allows you.

Aim for something like this for level 35.

[u]Levels 35-65[/u]
Level 35 is typically a power spike because you get access to your first faction items. Check Devil’ls Crossing and Rover faction shops and see if there’s anything useful.

If you’re lucky to have Arbiter recipe then craft one – it goes well with Primal Strike, both stats and granted skill, which is basically a phys/elemental version of Soldier’s Forcewave. If you already managed to get Elemental Storm devotion proc then bind it to Arbiter’s skill, Gavel of Justice.

A thing worth noting is that there’s a vendor in Steelcap District that among the other stuff sells a random T2 relic recipe, so once you get to this point you could grind all the recipes from him, including Arbiter.

Skill-wise in this level range I’ll aim to start the second mastery and get Flame Touched maxed quickly, then I would aim for access to Vindictive Flame and put 11 points into it.

If you have issues facetanking enemies then you might want to get Heart of the Wild and Wendigo Totem instead, but I don’t feel like they are necessary until later.

At level 65 your build should resemble this.

[u]Levels 65-90[/u]
At this point it’s just getting to level 90 by all means. It’s about time you got Raging Tempest and Thermite Mines. At level 70 you can get Legion’s Warblade if you already have revered faction standing with Black Legion, and at level 84 you could get the first item from gear list above, which is a weapon.

Level 90 is where you get access to all end-game faction items.

[u]Levels 90-100[/u]
These levels are when you optimize and review your build. Levelling was done with Primal Strike, while I believe Savagery is still better for end-game. Primal Strike is fine too though, so you could leave it as is if you prefer that way.


As far as beginner friendliness is concerned the build is mostly complete, although some formatting (I’m so new to this :o), grammar and other minor edits are a given. I do not plan to update it with a version fully-decked in legendaries and will instead refer you to other people’s builds. As I had mentioned in the beginning, mad_lee’s Melee Druid or jajaja’s Electrocute Warder are something worth checking, authors even posted performance videos. If more of the similar builds appear I’ll consider adding links to them as well.

Thanks to people who from time to time displayed some support for opinion that there is a place for non-optimal and beginner friendly builds on this forum.

Also special “thanks” to Zhuuge – your recent faux pas greatly speeded up work on this guide. Hope you enjoy it in your peculiar way. :smiley:

reserved just in case

This is so nice guide !
Beginner Friendly build with all capped resistances with easy to obtain gears !
Also with details leveling guide and devotion :wink:
Very nice Stupid Dragon :slight_smile:

This is a pretty good build for a stupid dragon (which are pretty stupid in the first place).

Great beginner’s build, all items are very affordable and all things should work pretty well!

Couple of things:

  • if you are overcapping Wendigo Totem, put 1 more point into it to get it to 15/12, it’s where 5% heal becomes 6%. Otherwise 12/12 is enough
  • Bind Mines to Savagery for best single target dps and bind Elemental Storm to Wind Devils. Wind Devils are great at proccing it.
  • Bind Hand of Ultos to Upheaval
  • Put 1 point into Maelstorm, I am not sure if it’s true, but it feels like with Maelstorm Wind Devil procs stuff better
  • I would suggest Seal of Might (or even Seal of Blades) as a weapon component

Thanks :slight_smile:

Um…thanks? :eek:

Thanks! :slight_smile:

I don’t use Hand of Ultos. I would have to sacrifice hp/chaos res node or 6% attackspeed/+15% undead dmg from Reve.
Wind Devil is great, but sometimes tends to wander off and if Elemental Storm is bound to it then it’ll proc ES afar. :undecided:
Don’t think I could improve Totem up to 15/12 because it’s already at 12. Maybe I’ll heed your advice and downshift it to 12/12.
I had considered Seal of Might, but I’m pretty sure losing 10% conversion to lightning would have a very noticeable impact on my DPS. I might try though.
Seal of Blades? No, don’t think I need more sustain.

Hey, great job focusing on faction gear. Comments/Questions:

  • Mention Riftstone? It saves a lot of time even if there could be a DPS or life steal drop. Since you’re using faction gear you can always weapon swap for tough fights, buying the same weapon twice to enable that.
  • Legion Warblade is also available at level 50
  • Why no Flashbang?
  • Why is Temper so high?
  • 1 point in Maelstorm indeed helps WD proc devotions (not that it matters for your build)

Personally I have the following devotion bindings:

Hand of Ultos - Savagery
Reckless Tempest - Upheaval
Arcane Bomb - BWC w/ High Potency
Elemental Storm - Wind Devil
Hungering Void - Flashbang

I don’t use Wendigo Totem in every battle, so I don’t bind anything to it. The devotion setup I use is not newb friendly though since it has health drain from HV and it lacks DA and life steal, but it is an option for those who prefer more offence.

Excellent post, Stupid Dragon. I’ve added it to my New Player Knowledge Compendium. It’s great to see more beginner friendly builds that focus on craftable/faction gear.

I personally don’t use riftstone, but yes, it’s a possibility. I’ll consider adding it to the guide in the next round of edits.

On Legion Warblade - actually nice advice, I mislooked it since I had used Razorleaf at the time. Also would consider adding it to the guide in the next round of edits.

Temper - all conversion 2H builds have significant portion of their damage stored in phys, so +%phys does improve my damage a little bit. I also value extra armor highly and after a few facechecks in Ugdenbog I decided I need it. But to be 100% honest Temper is a leftover since Primal Strike, I think it’s less necessary for Savagery.

Flashbang - no points, but considering that I could respec Temper it’s not a valid concern. The real reason is WD + WT + Thermite + BWC is plenty of buttons to press already for me, so it’s just personal.

I think I’ll try speccing out of Temper and getting Flashbang and see how it goes.

I either use nothing or use at least WD + WT, while Thermites and BWC for the most tough encounters.

Your devotion setup reminds me of jajaja’s, but with ultos instead of SotH. I have this irrational dislike for DG since I play HC :rolleyes: Love my setup more since it has plenty of extra ADCtH, Wayward Soul and 5% DA from Solemn Watcher.


Is the ultos proc not stronger and more what the build would want then that awful tempest proc? Awful because of its graphics. Also the ultos proc has really good resistance reduction. I mean ultos proc looks like a total upgrade from the tempest proc unless I am missing something?

Ultos hits once Tempest several times over it’s duration. Ideally you’d want both.

Yeah, ideally I want both, but without altering my setup too much the only sound solution is to remove hp/chaos resist node from Ultos, which would put my chaos resist at smth around 70. It’s possible to cover with better rolled medal, just would take some time.

Hi Stupid Dragon! I liked your description(Beginner’s melee 2H Lightning Elementalist ) I am begginer in game. I want to start Aether Spellbinder character. I would like to ask for your help character development. Thanks for the answer

PM’ed you.

Thanks for the helpful answer. Can you recommend something for beginners? caster cast

I’m not very experienced when it comes to caster builds.

Forcewave build is technically a caster since it uses casting speed instead of attack speed, but the vibe is of some exotic warrior of eastern sagas rather than caster. It’s quite beginner friendly though, at least should be according to my info.

Can you help Beginner Friendly Forcewave build? Ty dude :smiley: :smiley:

I don’t even have plans for the Forcewave build for now, so the best I could do is link you this.

This build is similar to an elementalist build I’ve been working on, still leveling my character (level 77 currently).

Here’s the build I’m aiming for: GrimTools

I currently have all the items except Mythical Pyroclasm Mark, Mythical Stormcage Leggings, and Mythical Invoker’s Burning Hand. The pants and the medal don’t matter that much, but missing the ring hurts.

I was hoping to make my own guide for this sort of character (2-h Lightning Elementalist).

Your build has a lot of weird ideas, most glaring is not getting Wendigo Totem , not getting attack speed nodes from Kraken, picking up Grenado, some other fairly major stuff. Looks like you was initially trying to do a purely kiting DoT build based around PS and Storm Totem, but somehow switched to facetanking variant midway without picking up necessary stuff. :undecided:

Not sure why you decided to mention that, but good luck :slight_smile: