[] Beginner's ranged Tactician

WARNING: With patch changing Havoc into physical damage gun the build in it’s current form can be considered slightly outdated. Currently I have no plans of updating it, especially since these days I feel that calling a build “Beginner’s” while it requires getting weapons from the gambler a bit of a stretch. The fact that Havocs are now specialized weapons that require change in skills/devotions doesn’t help either.

The 2H Ranged setup still works as intended and quite likely will become a separate build once FG is out.

* - image fully buffed with Deadly Momentum, Deadly Aim, Arcane Empowerment and other buffs, with exceptions being Fighting Spirit and Wayward Soul


Tactician was introduced in Ashes of Malmouth and for whatever reason gained a lot of attention shortly after release, but the interest started to wane shortly after a few nerfs to key end game items were issued and the bug with binding procs to Whirling Blades was fixed. Only recently while browsing faction shops for build possibilities I noticed that this exact build has some pretty good support, so I decided to try building one with using the most out of faction items as a constraint. Turned out...not bad, less than I expected from all the hype that had place three months ago, but still decent. 

Thing I liked the most about ranged Tactician is pierce-though mechanic on Cadence, which is extremely powerful since it delivers full damage to all enemies affected. 

This guide's focus is mostly the way to get started with ranged Tactician, for a more high-end version of it you should check [JoV's “Gunning down the Crucible” Tactician](http://www.grimdawn.com/forums/showthread.php?t=60934). 


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

[u]Warning:[/u] my stat distribution is considered to be non-meta. The meta stat distribution would be the bare minimum of cunning and spirit to satisfy gear requirements and everything else into physique. The reason why I went for higher Cunning is because after assembling my gear setup I found that my OA is somewhat low while my DA and HP are okay, so I respecced stats and went for minimum physique and spirit for gear and everything spare to Cunning.

Gearing up

[u]Gear acquisition techniques[/u]

  1. Faction shops. The build has quite a few well-matched faction items to use, which is part of the reason this build is fine for beginners. The main thing to be aware is stats of items in faction shops are not static, and since you’ll use the item for quite some time it’s worth it to spend some time to get one with better stats. Start game – check shop – remember stats – leave to main screen – repeat. Boring, but efficient.

  2. Batch-crafting. It’s surprisingly easy nowadays to craft something decent. Crafting requires scrap and iron, scrap’s main source is dismantling items, for which you need useless green or blue items (preferably blue) and abundance of dynamite.

Dynamite mostly comes from crafting, because farming the reagents for dynamite is easier than farming dynamite itself - Aether Crystals and Shards can be gained in abundance from a few runs though locations such as Lower Devil’s Crossing or backtracking from Warden’s Laboratory portal. Scavenged Plating is easy to buy from shops (notably Isaac, so don’t kill him), Searing Ember is more tricky but overall also pretty available.

As for the batch-crafting itself – craft with Angrim. 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.

  1. Gacha. There are two blacksmiths that could craft random legendary items (pretty much gambling) – Etram Fald and Bella Fald. Etram can only craft legendary items below level 75 and Bella typically crafts high level legendaries when character reached level cap or close. Besides the great deal of Iron they require rare crafting reagents such as Chthon’s Blood or Wendigo Spirit. These are commonly acquired from either dismantling or farming Treasure Troves.

Important thing to know is to prioritize crafting ranged weapons. The large pool armor and accessories make it unlikely for you to get in a reasonable time something that suits you, so it’s pretty much a waste. The pool of ranged weapons is fairly small though, so who knows – maybe you’ll quickly get your trusty sandalwood revolvers this way. :slight_smile:

  1. Secret Shop. An easy way to get a decent medal is to visit a Secret Shop. Since it’s quite away from the portal the restart gimmick I used to reset Faction Shops are no good here. Use the shop reset trick demonstrated here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_3yYb0RQXGo

[u]General gearing notes[/u]

  • Gearing a character is a complex optimization task, but there are a few guidelines – you would want your character to have capped resistances on Ultimate, at least 2k armor with 100% absorbtion, and at least 2.6k DA. Your max health matters less, but you wouldn’t want it below 10k. On offensive side of things you’d want at least 2.6k OA, highest attack speed you can manage without crippling everything else, as well as some crowd control resistances – most notably from stun. Making all this happen is like a puzzle mini-game of it’s own.
  • Slots I called “wildcard” below means that there’s no particular easily-accessible item and you’ll have to use “something”. It means that you’re not bound to copy the exact combination of affixes on items (you’re unlikely to get these exact combinations anyway), you just need to use these slots to satisfy the requirements from above.
  • Not filling the armor augments below is intended, because if I did so they would be all filled as “use whatever will help you to cap resistances on Ultimate difficulty”.


  • Devil’s Retribution (Faction – Devil’s Crossing) is the poor man’s choice until you manage to get something better.
  • Barbaric/Frenzied/Heart Piercing/Officer’s/Relentless/Sinister/Tyrant’s Pistol of Alacrity/Ferocity/Fervor/Fury/Onslaught/Ruthlessness/Slayer – if you just batch-craft some pistols something good is bound to come sooner or later.
  • Havoc. Good thing about ranged weapons is that the pool is quite small so it’s very likely to gamble from Etram Fald.
  • Mythical Havok is probably the best in slot weapon for this build. The reasoning is the same, but gamble from Bella Fald instead.
  • Component in Weapon 1 – Seal of Blades. If you don’t have Seal of Blades then use Vicious Spikes.
  • Component in Weapon 2 – Seal of Might. If you don’t have Seal of Might then use Oleron’s Blood.
  • Augment in both weapons – Ulgrim’s Guile (Faction – Black Legion).


  • Elite Coven’s Combatant Chestguard (Faction – Coven of Ugdenbog). Roll the decent one using the restart reset gimmick. Prioritize getting good resistances, but if other stats would be low then it’s no good.
  • [u]Component[/u] – Titan Plating or Ancient Armor Plate. Titan Plating is better if you manage to cap the damage absorbtion through some other way.


  • Elite Coven’s Combatant Spaulders (Faction – Coven of Ugdenbog). Roll the decent one using the restart reset gimmick. Prioritize getting good resistances, but if other stats would be low then it’s no good.
  • ComponentSacred Plating or Living Armor, the choice mostly depends on which resistances you end up lacking. If you still have neither then Scaled Hide or Silk Swatch usually goes there.


  • Wildcard. I went for the heavy helm with Overseer’s, because it’s full of defensive bonuses you’ll struggle to find anywhere else.
  • [u]Component[/u] – if you have no issues capping resistances then Titan Plating, otherwise whatever would help you to cap them (usually Sacred Plating or Living Armor). High-end Tacticians who geared to convert Elemental to Piercing would probably prefer Prismatic Diamond. Earlier in the game either Sanctified Bone or Runestone goes there.


  • Wildcard. Gloves are the only armor pieces that could get an attack speed affix, so go for that.
  • Mythical Quickdraw Gloves – very fitting gloves to this build, they are craftable so you can try grinding Treasure Troves for the blueprint. You’re far from guaranteed to get it early though.
  • [u]Component[/u] – settled on Restless Remains for extra 3% ADCtH. Alternatively Unholy Inscription or Ugdenbog Leather are used in case of lacking the particular resistances they provide.


  • Wildcard. I went for the heavy pants with Stonehide, because it’s a silver bullet against lack of poison, pierce and bleed resistances, with armor bonus on top.
  • [u]Component[/u] – pretty much Ancient Armor Plate without competition. Earlier in the game Silk Swatch is typically used instead. Alternatively Ugdenbog Leather if you chose to use non-Stonehide pants.


  • Wildcard. I decided to try and craft Stoneplate Greaves, which are quite expensive to craft and require a recipe. Alternatively craft normal heavy boots until you get something decent.
  • [u]Component[/u] – I typically use Mark of the Traveller since it provides a bit of slow resistance. Alternatively Ugdenbog Leather or Mark of Mogdrogen.


  • Malmouth Bladed Girdle (Faction – Malmouth Resistance) has some stats and skill bonuses well suited for this build. The downside is it only can have a single affix, which is a general rule for all craftable “green” items.
  • Alternatively, batch-craft Stoneplate Girdle. Since it’s a craftable “yellow” item it can properly get two affixes. Requires a recipe, which has a chance to be sold in Secret Shop. The extra 50 armor and crowd control resistances make it very worth it to craft this belt instead of default yellow belts.
  • [u]Component[/u] – Spellscorched Plating. Belt slot is the only one where it’s worth it to put flat armor instead of %armor, hence the choice.


  • Coven Storm Seal (Faction – Coven of Ugdenbog). While these are techinically Ultos build rings, the %DA, attack speed, a bunch of resistances and %physical damage make them hard to ignore.
  • [u]Component[/u] – Runebound Topaz, and nothing comes close. Earlier in the game Corpse Dust is used instead.
  • [u]Augment[/u] – Survivor’s Ingenuity


  • Wildcard. I use Empowered Essense of Beronath because of +1 to all skills.
  • [u]Component[/u] – Dread Skull, because attack speed. Alternatively Tainted Heart or Arcane Spark
  • [u]Augment[/u] – Survivor’s Ingenuity


  • Kymon’s Badge – you can buy one from the Secret Shop. Use the shop reset trick for efficiency.
  • [u]Component[/u] – Dread Skull. Alternatively Tainted Heart or Arcane Spark.


  • I use Aegis. It provides a lot of defense and a nice heal.
  • Other options are Avenger, Oleron’s Wrath, Vengeance and most importantly Doom. The latter is probably best in slot, but sadly it doesn’t want to drop for me :frowning:

Devotion guide

Devotions typically give some challenge to beginners, so I’m posting the way to reach my setup. It ended up surprisingly straightforward, without many detours.

  1. Crossroads (Purple)
  2. Falcon (bind Falcon Swoop to Cadence)
  3. Remove Crossroads (Purple)
  4. Harpy
  5. Hawk
  6. Chariot of the Dead (bind Wayward Soul to any buff or aura)
  7. Crossroads (Red)
  8. Hydra
  9. Crossroads (Yellow)
  10. Assasin’s Blade (bind Assasin’s Mark to Cadence, re-bind Falcon Swoop to Oleron’s Might (see explanation below)
  11. Hammer
  12. Crane
  13. Unknown Soldier (without proc node)
  14. Empty Throne
  15. Remove Falcon
  16. Toad
  17. Oleron (without head and proc nodes)
  18. Remove Crossroads (Red)
  19. Remove Hawk
  20. Manticore (without hind legs node, bind proc to Word of Pain)
    Falcon swoop is bound to Cadence first because at the beginning it’s the only option. Once you get Assasin’s Mark it’s better to bind Assasin’s Mark to Cadence, but since the Falcon is still useful at that point I’m binding it’s proc to Oleron’s Might, which is a nuke-type skill given by the component called Oleron’s Blood. Later on both Falcon and Oleron’s Blood are dropped for better options.


  1. Levels 1-10. With your first skill points gained on level 2 open with Inquisitor and put 1 point into Mastery bar and 2 points into Ranged Expertise. Each next level put 1 point to Ranged Expertise and 2 points into Mastery Bar.
  2. Levels 10-30. At level 10 go visit the Spirit Guide and revoke all the points from Inquisitor’s Mastery Bar besides the first one (you can’t :D), leave Ranged Expertise on 10/10. Open Soldier, push the Soldier’s Mastery bar to 15 while putting 1 point into Cadence. Put the remaining points into Fighting Form. With next few levels you should max Fighting Form (your level should be around 14-15). After than just push the Mastery Bar again till 40, and max Deadly Momentum; and then yet again push the Mastery bar to 50 and get Oleron’s Rage maxed. With this your level should be around 32-33.
  3. Levels 30-50. Focus on maxing Cadence (or at least getting it to 10+), push Inquisitor mastery bar to 10 and get Deadly Aim maxed. Get Field Command and Squad Tactics from Soldier.
  4. Levels 50-90. Push Inquisitor mastery to 20, once you did respec Oleron’s Rage, Squad Tactics, Field Command and Soldier mastery bar to 40, use these points to push Inquisitor mastery to 50 and get Aura of Conviction. After this the core of your build is ready. Use subsequent skill points to restore Field Command, then get Vigor, Steel Resolve, Squad Tactics, Warcry, Inquisitor’s Seal. The order doesn’t matter much, try various things. I recommend getting Inquisitor’s Seal first because it’s another layer of your defense that’ll allow you to kite less.
  5. Levels 90-100. That’s the time when you shape the build to it’s final form. Since you’ll probably get some skill points from gear a lot of your skills will be beyond maximum level. While ultimate levels of some skills scale well, a lot of them don’t. You don’t need Fighting Form above 12, so just remove a few points from it to keep it that way. Deadly Aim also doesn’t scale well above 12, so keep it at that as well.
  • There are also a few tricks to grow stronger quicker.
  • Once you get full Serrated Spike insert it into one of your guns and activate the buff, it’ll increase your damage a lot early on.
  • Craft Vicious Spikes and insert them into your other gun, and activate the buff as well. Buffs from Serrated Spike and Vicious Spike stack.
  • Best early relic to use is Guile. It requires a recipe, but if you happen to get it then craft asap – it’s very strong for this build, you wouldn’t want to switch it till very late into the game.

Credits & future plans

The guide is mostly complete, but I might expand it with a few alternative builds, like reiterating this pierce shield build or reanimating this one from oblivion

Special thanks goes to atata from GD Discord who gave me a few useful insights, which resulted in significant improvement of the build over what I had before.

Now excuse me – the man in black fled across the Ugdenbog…

Update #1 - 2H Ranged setup for beginners

* - image fully buffed with Deadly Momentum, Deadly Aim, Arcane Empowerment and other buffs, with exceptions being Fighting Spirit and Wayward Soul
** - picture outdated! It was taken with old devotion setup, which was revised. With the devotion setup below I have slightly less DPS, but OA increased by 200

This is pretty much the same setup gear-wise, but using the Malmouth Rifle instead. Since it’s 2H, devotions received a review since they have to include Kraken. Also since I lost some skill-specific skill points from Myth. Havocs the skill-points were moved around a little.

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

The biggest advantage is that this setup uses a faction rifle. Ironically, the sheet DPS ended up being significantly higher :rolleyes:, but since OA had also sank by whooping 400 I’m not that happy about it. Since this setup gained some %crit damage from Kraken and Panther I want better OA to make use of it.

Since it’s a 2H weapon I had to choose between Seal of Blades and Seal of Might, and since I’m also losing in-built life steal from Havocs Seal of Blades looks like a better choice. Notable loss due to that is 4% physical resistance.

As for the augment I snapped Potent Ravager’s Eye for more DA and health.

Devotion-wise we ofcourse need to get Kraken while sacrificing something. And that’s how it ended up after some revision.

Extra! There’s also an alternative, super defensive devotion setup: Here’s GT link

reserver’s reserved post of reservation

Great build. Looks a lot like one I just beat Gladiator 150 with 2 days ago. I have one question, why not take Blind Fury, and bind it to Inquisitor Seal? I was a bit hesitant on how useful it would be with Inquisitor seal, but it procs a ton on it.

I…haven’t considered it, to be honest. Interesting idea, will try.

Do u think the build can clear 150-170 gladiator crucible?

No idea to be honest, I don’t play crucible besides bootstrapping fresh characters there. Clearly not with this kind of gear for sure.

I found mine, which is very close to this, was probably at its limit up to Gladiator 150, but I’m also not the most skilled player. Mine is more defensive and with more legendary gear: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/JVlk1Ao2

I do have 51% physical resistance, and still it felt a bit fragile to me. I do think I want to try closer to Stupid Dragon’s devotions. It should help me get my OA up higher. I used JoV’s setup.

Bit of a typo in the weapon section. Augment should be Ulgrim’s guile instead of Creed.

Really appreciate you making newbie builds, even though I myself don’t use them.

Hurrah! Keep up the great work, Stupid Dragon. Already updated my Knowledge Compendium to link to this build too. Now beginners at least have decent starting guides for caster (vitality cabalist), melee (2H elementalist), and ranged (this tactician).

This game is so time consuming for getting that sweet end game gear that these types of beginner builds are desperately needed (imo). Thanks for making them.

What is manticore for? I fell like falcon or ghoul (for example) would be better.

Proc node is for resist reduction, can shine in much builds (not acid-based only)

Why no bursting round/chilling round/storm spread? Even with cadence surely these are a dps boost?

Is it really worth it? Five devotions for RR proc (28 to all resists), 35 OA, 4% Health and 25% Acid/Poison resist. Hm, maybe it is, especially taking into account that proc is 1 sec CD with 15% chance on atack (so quite reliable). Guess I’ll have to reconsider some stuff.

Chilling rounds are DPS loss (unless you have +cold dmg). Here main selling point is freeze.
Storm Spread is also DPS loss in non-lightning builds (because of 33% main/off-hand dmg).
If you have free points, it’s better to spend them on Markovian Advantage or Zolhan’s Technique. Both are DPS buffs even for ranged DW builds.

Bursting round are actually DPS buff, plus it’s AoE. This one is actually quite good.

The 28RR is more or less a 28% DPS increase, it’s just the best value you can for 5 devotion point (unless you can get the flat RR from elsewhere). You could use War Cry instead, like all melee physical build, but for a range build it might not work very well

Not exactly. It’s actually strictly more than than 28, and the more resist target has, the higher the DPS increase is (unless you overdo and it goes negative). The probem is, it’s 4 meter range single target (if I understand it correctly), so it’s only important against big guys, and I prefer to avoid close-ranged combat with big guys as a ranged dude.

That’s incorrect. The distance between you and your target doesn’t matter. Acid Spray damages the target and every enemy “behind” the target at max distance of 4m. Details on what exactly is “behind” or what’s the arc/width of the AOE are unknown to me though.

You’re also wrong about Chilling Rounds being a DPS loss, but let me get home at least, writing long posts at work on the phone is kinda too much.

Wa-a-ait a minute. So it’s any distance AoE debuff?

Which is why I said “more or less” but well …
Btw most monsters have 25% physical resist, which goes in negative just with Assassin’s Mark, so you usually have less than 28% damage increase, not the other way around.

It’s not, I use it on range vitality casters, and it work wonders. It should have a 4m AoE, that’s all.

Checked in detail.

  1. Yes, the distance between you and enemy doesn’t matter
  2. When skill procs it casts an acid breath of sorts originating from the target it procced on.
  3. Acid Spray’s flavour text says that it affects target “behind” the initial target. “Behind” means that it’s targeted afar from player.
  4. The form is apparently an arc, 4m is the radius and the angle is around 90-120 degrees. It’s a rather small AOE but AOE nonetheless.

I don’t have an explanation for this, to be honest. I thought I won’t have enough skillpoints, but just noticed that I have +3 to inquisitor, so even one-pointers become 4/10. I’ll give it a try.

I don’t take the 20 OA & 25% acid/poison resist node - no spare devotion points. If you have any ideas where I could cut some slack - I’m open to them. Overall RR proc just tips the scale, making an otherwise worthless investment somewhat decent.

The thing that is not widely known about Chilling Rounds is that it is basically a ranged version of Amarasta’s Quick Cut - it hits more than once. Twice, actually.

It works okay, but yet again skill points. Also War Cry reduces only physical resistance, while this build is spread between phys and pierce.

Yes, the math works this way, but it’s not very useful to estimate how efficient your RR is because you don’t know enemy’s resistance. 28% is pretty much the pessimistic estimation - it means that at the very least it’s that effective. I use the very same approach to roughtly estimate the real DPS.

I vaguely understand what you mean, but the way you put it is very confusing :undecided: