[] Defiler of Justice: Not Your Typical DW-melee Build (u) (c) (g3) (vid)


This build was coceived after getting Blazeheart sword from Dahlia quest for the 4th time and deciding to spend a lot of time in Grimtools theorycrafting instead of doing some actual work related stuff or studying. I wanted to make one of the least supported masteries work, and this sword turned out to be quite a build enabler. I had no previous experience with Necromancer mastery and dual-wielding mechanics, so it took a lot of trial and error kind of testing to make this build balanced, efficient and fun to play at the same time.

Build Concept
(skip this too if you want to go straight to grimtools link and gear/skills/devotions explanation)

This a pure melee build with almost no DoT support. And both masteries are very good support masteries for pure melee classes, but combining them together does not make a very good melee character on paper, skill trees don’t offer passive damage absorption, crowd control effects resistance, dodge/melee/armor/armor absorption or any decent amount of resists. We have couple of cooldown based shield skills and that’s about it. So we have to heavily rely on gear/devotions to make it work. Plus we have to take the best of what both masteries offer in terms of offense and crowd control.
What makes this build different is huge Vitality to Fire conversion enabled by dual-wielding Blazeheart Swords. It converts a lot of vitality damage from Necromancer skills to fire, as well as some devotion procs.

The Build

(weapon switch is for Crucible or for Mad Queen/Lokkar in campaign)

[COLOR=“DarkOrange”]Alternative Grimtools, all offensive setup[/COLOR] (not tested, use at your own risk)


Every piece of gear is there for a reason. Swords have been already explained. Justicar Guardset, despite being designed for a different mastery combo thus lacking +skills that we could use, is a great and really the only option for a fire-based melee character, it offers a lot of armor, flat damage, health and resists (including physical resist) and a nice proc. Korvaak’s Deception relic gives us wonderful mobility/little nuke skill plus best stats among all relics. Chausses of Barbaros are just too good for any melee character to pass on them. Alternative option would be well rolled double rare pair of Solael Pants, but good luck finding that. Rings of Ice and Fire are excellent stat wise and proc is decent, alternative would be Elemental Harmony set for more flat damage, but it lacks total speed which we need in order to cap our walking speed and critical damage, which is a huge damage boost for this build because of how much OA we will be packing. Boots are actually not that big of a deal, we really need “Thunderstruck Stoneplate Greaves”, if you craft ones with good affix, good for you, if not, oh well, just craft couple of pieces of your gear at Steelcap District and roll little extra stun resist.

Notice how 5 of our gear pieces are craftable. This makes this build pretty affordable and gives us awesome option to get a lot of %armor from Angrim or %stun res from Steelcap smith in case we don’t have Thunderstruck of Kings/Featherstep affix.

Skills and Devotions

Our main damage comes from transmuted Fire Strike with 3 WPS skills. We support it with Flame Torrent devotion that has no cooldown and multiple monster debuffs. We are softcapping Fire Strike/Explosive Strike, taking Brimstone to 16-12 (for extra fragment), overcapping Reaping Strike for more ADCtH. Bone Harvest’s Soul Harvest modifier offers us a decent amount of flat fire damage (due to conversion on both swords, plus it’s an excellent skill to proc Eldritch Fire). Devotion wise we have a lot of passive devotions procs that are going to trigger when we are hit, this makes this build excellent in crowded brawls like Blackiron Docks in Malmouth or late waves of Crucible. Ulcama’s Scales should convert its to damage to fire, plus it gives a very decent heal/energy leech. Empyrion is there for its very strong nods, but skill itself is not too bad, but it needs to be buffed a bit for sure. Turtle devotion is pretty weak, but got decent nods, plus it fits nicely into our devotion route puzzle.

Leveling and attribute points allocation

Leveling with Necromancer is super easy. You can max Spectral Wrath/Ravenous Earth and pretty much run thru maps while everyone dies till level 70.

Put all attribute points into physique, put just enough points into cunning so that you can pick up the sword.

The Showdown:


No buffs

Bone Harvests increases our flat fire damage, and Battle Cry/Justice proc greatly increase our attacking speed.


Endgame gameplay: Fleshworks + facetanking Theodin Marcell
Kubacabra being a good boy
Mad Queen

Grava’Thul the Voiddrinker and his annoying Nullification new!

Torment of a new Crucible :frowning:

Initially I had the ambition to make it waves 150-170 Gladiator compatible, but Crucible after wave 150 is just impossible for non-soldier/non-shield melee builds, especially without any circuit breakers or 0 cooldown reduction. I am still trying to make it work, but so far it beats Gladiator till 150 with ease with buffs and can even beat it without buffs with some skill and focus. But after that there is just too much, even with those defensive stats and procs.

In Conclusion

Overall it’s a very fun build to play. It’s a true melee build, but with a lot of fireworks. It’s fast, has a mobility skill and it can kill everything in Main Campaign except Ravager, plus it can farm Crucible Gladiator till wave 150 quite comfortably. I hope Crate sees this and adds some more support for Defiler in future patches.


Carrie and Lowell

Such a long time ago

Very nice, but why no Decay and not maxed Soul harvest??

We are debuffing enemies damage by using transmuted BWC and we don’t really have skill points for Soul Harvest or Decay. It’s a melee build and any extra cast is interfering with our attacks. And we have already quite a bit of stuff to cast.

25% total damage reduction better then 18% phys only. Also this increase your dps, decreasing kiting, much more then pressing one extra button.

Did you actually test it with Harmony? I read that you gave importance to the bonus crit but that flat damage feels too good to pass up imo.

Glad you posted it. Surprised you took Soul Harvest as you were pretty against it :smiley:

What does the vial of pee do (bound to “0”)? You seem to have 41 Pee vials so it must be something good

Courageous Tincture, % Armour and DA off the top of my head.

Edit: Nice to see more Defiler builds here as well. Good job mad_lee!

I thought it was some sort of Loyalist thing
“Vial of Troll Pee - Gross out your enemies”

This build looks really really nice, good job ! Have u tried myth elem harmony ? https://www.grimtools.com/db/itemsets/79 ? U should give them a try also.

I don’t have problems with Damage reduction in campaign, I don’t kite at all (well probably will have to kite Lokkar and Grava to dodge his nullification). And I strongly doubt that would help me past wave 150 in Crucible, although I might give it a try.

Did not test it with Harmony. I think flat damage compensates lack of crit damage, but 8% movement speed is going to be hard to compensate really. Plus I get more procs from two Ice and Fires than I would from Elemental Harmony set.

EDIT: I also did explain why I chose Ice and Fire over Elemental Harmony in the guide, guess people don’t read it and look for grimtools/videos straight away :slight_smile:

I edited my comment 3 minutes before your reply. Guess I was a little late :rolleyes:

In para related to the rings it was unclear to me if you came to your conclusion through theorycrafting or actual testing. So I improved the phrasing of my comment since I expected a “Read the guide” reply (cause I give those a lot :p)

Highlighted changes for you

I concur, I did not! I mean, there is only a damage part that needs to be tested, otherwise I am loosing 8% movement speed no matter what, don’t need test for that :slight_smile:

Good guy madlee posting 5 pc craftable+ 2pc guaranteed builds. The only bad thing about this build is that the next defiler item they’ll add is a vit pistol (gargabol). Nice build.

Thank you!

Ok, so I tested Ravenous Earth with two softcapped modifiers as an alternative to modified BWC. It was extremely underwhelming. However, I made a very critical adjustment that boosts build performance quite a bit. Solution was simple - soft cap Blackwater Cocktail. Bigger radius and longer duration do wonders in Crucible. So I updated Grimtools link. Will update post with Crucible Videos later.

Edit: Reuploaded better quality video of Mad Queen fight and a more exciting version of Kubacabra fight (with updated build).

Nice build!

DW FS Saboteur was one of my favorite builds pre-AoM but it really lost most of its mojo in AoM. Even jaja’s updated build made a lot of defensive compromises and the stats are lower with no Burning Justice and Elemental Harmony procs.

This build looks to recapture the spirit of the old Sabo with the 3 WPS and does it even better with the crazy OA and DA with no temp buffs. The rings are not as hot as the Warpfire-d Elemental Harmony combo but you get double the procs with 2 Ice and Fire. :smiley: Minor quibble, it sucks that Ice and Fire’s proc looks like a spinning PRM instead of the visually awesome trails of Elemental Harmony.

I do remember when I first got this sword in 1.0.2 and it had no phys to fire conversion and had no innate fire damage. Was very disappointed as my level =<75 fire legendaries were better than this 94 weapon. Happy to see that is not the case now.

Pro tip: never ever use foul eruption if you’re not running a RE build or at least have good invesent on the main skill. The skill only triggers when a unit dies from ravenous earth. BWC is way better than RE provided that you don’t wanna change devotions.

This looks interesting.

One little thing, perhaps try taking Eel instead of Sailor’s Guide so you can use the 150 armour node in Obelisk? Feels a bit wrong to not use that particular one when you made the effort to open Obelisk.

Good advice, but, I will lose 2% movement speed (gonna be down to 134) and phys/slow/freeze res. Phys and Slow res seem to be a lot of +EV, more +EV than DA/Armor, since I have enough DA/Armor already. Slow res in particular is a very nice stat to have, especially when you are running at 135% movement speed.

Added a video to show how build performs versus tough crowds like ones in New York Comedy Cellar, but also in Fleshworks. Facetanking old bud Theodin Marcell all the way at the end of the video.