[] [Witchblade] Menhir's Templar

Stats shown are with passives, Blood of Dreeg and Deadly Momentum active

Stats shown are with passives, Blood of Dreeg and Deadly Momentum, Overguard and Battle Cry (M. Chausses of Barbaros) active

Ideal setup

Ideal in the sense that this is what I was aiming for.

Current setup

What I am currently using in the screenshots above.

Gearing is pretty flexible (see gear section below) - you do not need an Incorruptible Cronley Signet or a good Badge of Mastery. My previous Cronley Signet was a randomly found Mighty of Protection (% Physique/+DA) and I have made all the same kills below with both rings.


You can skip this if you want.

[spoiler]This is something I was putting together shortly before and had to pause on for some time so it was finished later than expected. The idea for this build came about when I decided I wanted to build something with these objectives in mind:

  • Easy to play
  • Pretty tanky
  • Something fairly unorthodox / wasn’t taken from the forums

Basically I wanted something I could play on those days where I’m feeling lazy and can farm safely while watching a few videos or a stream etc. at the same time.

My first thought then was Retaliation, so probably a hybrid because pure would be a pain in certain situations. Well, after going through handfuls of concepts, I dropped the Retaliation part and started looking at chance when hit procs exclusively to see how well that would do. The gear piece that got me set on this was Korvoran’s Chestguard due to the 100% proc chance and low cooldown of 0.2s. 1-2 concepts later and that got me here.[/spoiler]

Build Concept


This build is not tested/designed for Crucible. I am mainly a campaign player. It can probably do Gladiator 100-150, uncertain on 150-170, however with the changes in opening up more builds to it, I can assume that it’s pretty likely if you know what you’re doing.

“Counter-hits” as they will be referred to are % chance when hit procs. They are essentially retaliatory procs in that when you get hit by any attack be it melee or ranged that they have a chance of proccing and dealing damage. Generally, they deal conventional damage so to get the most out of them, you must stack % damage bonuses as normal instead of % retaliation bonuses.

This build uses several of them to passively deal damage. Does this mean the build is an AFK and kill build? Close but no :p. You still have a few debuffs to cast and maintain and your most consistent form of damage/ADCtH is not a Counter-Hit.

It is also worth pointing out now that this build is not a fast killer or a hard hitter, however you won’t be stood around for minutes at a time either, it is somewhere in the middle.

Fevered Rage

Fevered Rage is an extremely potent debuff. The main uses are it’s -25% DA that even with our underaverage OA allows us to get crits at a decent rate but also the 150% total speed buff which means enemies will attack us at a faster rate, thus more chances for our Counter-Hits to trigger (though this is a double-edged sword and also puts us at more of a risk).

This comes at the price of increasing enemy OA by 25%, though Wasting helps to counteract this by also lowering it by 180. This is why our DA is as high as it is, it should be sufficient to cope with most Fevered Bosses (such as Shar’Zul), Nemeses and most DA reductions (with the potential to stack up to ~3500 if more is needed). The other downside is a 40% total damage buff to our enemies meaning we will take significantly more damage. A powerful tool but not one to be used recklessly.

Retaliation vs Counter-Hits

Both Retaliation and Counter-Hit are in a similar vein of “get hit->deal damage” but they have their differences. I’ll try and go over everything I know about both here and how they differ with my opinions as well.

[spoiler]Retaliation is largely compromised of % to all damage (with other sources providing specialised amounts on top) so it is good at meshing multiple retaliation damage types together.
Counter-Hits generally deal conventional damage so you are more restricted in what procs you can and can’t pick up.

Retaliation is consistent against melee as every swing the enemy makes that connects triggers it.
None of the Counter-Hits this build uses have a 100% chance of triggering, in fact, the highest is 50%, so damage is pretty sporadic.

Retaliation has bigger ways of stacking damage compared to Counter-Hits. This is made worse as Retaliation builds have several proc buffs to skyrocket their damage far beyond what this build can reach.

So why use Counter-Hits then if Retaliation has all of these things over it? Well, Counter-Hits also has it’s own niches to set it apart nicely:

Retaliation does not trigger off of ranged attacks. This is well-known and a big reason that people don’t play pure Retaliation.
Counter-Hits can trigger off of melee and ranged attacks attacks.

Retaliation damage can never crit. While this is a downside, it means pure builds do not need to care about stacking OA.
Counter-Hits can crit. Though this build doesn’t leverage this much (with regards to % crit damage), it’s a nice extra.

Retaliation damage cannot be converted.
Counter-Hits that deal conventional damage can be converted opening up a few more options or strengthening already existing ones.

So which is better then? Well, they both have their uses. Retaliation is amazing at what it does - Retaliation characters are typically very tanky builds that are capable of taking on the strongest melee combatants and dealing with them well but will struggle against ranged enemies if they are not adequately prepared to deal with them. They often are best when built for specific targets where they can make full use of these qualities like Ravager. Counter-Hit gives up a substantial amount of this effectiveness against melee for the ability to handle ranged enemies equally as well.


You have 7 Counter-Hit abilities, some are more important than others but I’ll briefly go over them here with their converted damage values and just focusing on Physical/Trauma as that’s what gets scaled the most.

[spoiler]26/16 Counter Strike

35% Chance when Hit
0.5 second Skill Recharge
70% Weapon Damage
585 Physical Damage

Your only Counter-Hit from your masteries. Not much to say, it’s great for AoE and is generally average when it comes to damage. In crowds though, it goes off often and is great for lifestealing from multiple enemies.

Spear of the Heavens

50% Chance when Hit
1 second Skill Recharge
60% Weapon Damage
339 - 479 Physical Damage
236 Internal Trauma over 2 seconds

Between the % chance and cooldown, this is your most consistent Counter-Hit. Compared to others like Counter Strike though, it doesn’t damage as wide an area. It cannot be controlled so you could be seeing Spears drop on adds instead of the Hero/Boss infront you.

Fist of Vire

20% Chance when Hit
1 second Skill Recharge
40% Weapon Damage
245 Physical Damage
970 Internal Trauma over 5 seconds

Fist of Vire is more or less average due to it not doing as much damage as other Counter Hits or being as consistent as Spear, the petrify will also slow trash killing slightly. The main benefit to it is that it shares some affinity with Spear of the Heavens so is easy to fit together, though you could also drop it for other options (see below). Like Spear, it can’t be controlled either.


20% Chance when Hit
1.5 second Skill Recharge
829 - 1991 Physical Damage

Quite possibly your most damaging Counter-Hit, especially on spikes. It is also one of the few that doesn’t deal % weapon damage. Like Counter Strike, it’s good for area damage.

Storm Titan

25% Chance when Hit
3 Second Skill Recharge
3 Second Duration
60 - 210 Physical Damage
260 Internal Trauma over 2 seconds

Nothing too remarkable, just another Counter-Hit that I could squeeze in. Compared to others, it is generally another consistent (but not high) source of damage which is nice.

Targo’s Hammer

33% Chance on Block
0.1 Second Skill Recharge
43% Weapon Damage
203 Physical Damage

Targo’s Hammer is notable for being on Block instead of on Hit and because it’s possible to have several orbitting you. With multiple, they are capable of shotgunning dealing a good amount of damage. It’s also just satisfying to see 5-10 hammers swirling around you.

Markovian’s Wall

25% Chance on Block
2 Second Skill Recharge
18% Weapon Damage
175 - 320 Physical Damage

Similarly to Storm Titan - nothing special, just another free Counter-Hit from gear.[/spoiler]


Cadence (Assassin’s Mark) - Provides a consistent amount of damage to supplement your Counter-Hits, Cadence procs are your biggest source of ADCtH.
War Cry - Provides physical resist reduction and % reduced target’s damage.
Blitz - Used for engaging enemies.
Overguard - Used for increasing your shield capabilities. Also increases your % Physical/Internal Trauma as a temporary DPS boost.
Curse of Frailty - Provides physical resist reduction.
Blood of Dreeg - Provides an on-demand heal, OA, Physical and Acid/Poison Resistance.

Counter Strike (Fist of Vire) - One of your supplemental sources of damage.
Field Command (Targo’s Hammer) - Provides OA/DA and % Armour.
Menhir’s Bulwark (Spear of the Heavens) - Provides flat Physical damage, % damage absorption and some other nice bonuses.

Might of Beronath (Ghoulish Hunger) - Elemental to Physical conversion that empowers/enables some of your Counter-Hits.
Presence of Might - Nice amount of resistances and Aether to Physical conversion that empowers Spear of the Heaven.

Resist Reduction

War Cry - Provides 30 reduced Physical resistance through Break Morale.
Cadence - Provides -32% Physical resistance through Assassin’s Mark.
Curse of Frailty - Provides -25% Physical resistance.
M. Ring of the Black Matriarch - Provides -10% Physical resistance on it’s proc.

In total, this leaves us at -97% Physical resistance. Just about every source can be applied reliably as well (Assassin’s Mark varies but is easily applied on Fevered enemies).


  • Badge of Mastery with +3 to Counter Strike is not necessary. If you can’t get a hold of one, Mythical Markovian’s Stratagem or Mythical Mark of the Dreadblade can work as substitutes but keep in mind that you will have to invest more into Cunning to compensate for the missing -15% to weapon requirements and may have to shift resistances accordingly.
  • Beronath, Reforged or the Mythical version is not required while levelling but it especially helps Avenger and Spear of the Heavens and enables Storm Titan. In short, it is a big DPS boost late game.
  • My grimtools above included my relic completion bonus which was base 25% Bleeding resistance (I got unlucky and actually got 19%). You do not need this exactly, depending on what you get means you will have to tweak my setup, I.e. if you got Chaos resistance, swap out one of the Black Tallows for a Bloodied Crystal, if you got % DA, you don’t need a Shield with an of Protection suffix or can swap out one of the Ravager’s Eye augments.
  • You can use any prefix/suffix on your Cronley ring. Or you can go for other rings like Gollus but you will lose a significant amount of your Pierce overcap unless you use one with an affix that covers this.


Enough in Cunning and Spirit to equip our sword and rings/amulet. The rest goes in Physique.


Optionally, you can drop Solemn Watcher for Ulo if you want the debuff removal (and I have considered this many times). The DA can be made up through a Stalwart Cronley ring.

Other options for T3 celestial powers are:

  • Healing Rain. This solves this build’s low energy problem (if that bothers you) and adds more survivability.
  • Light of Empyrion. Converting the Fire on it to Physical, it becomes a strong proc. Several endgame threats fall underneath Undead/Chthonic aswell like Shar’Zul, Alkamos, Moosilauke, Reaper, Zantarin, Benn’Jahr and Grava’Thul.


Always keep Blood of Dreeg active. For encounters, Blitz in, apply Curse of Frailty/War Cry, Pox if you can manage it and Cadence away while maintaining your debuffs. Use Overguard on cooldown to maximise DPS (due to the % damage buffs it provides) and try and Pox while Overguard is active.

Ghoulish Hunger is a nice cushion if you get bursted/overwhelmed but keep in mind that backing out of a fight and saving it is also an option.


I’m not going to go over perfectly how to level this character as I wasn’t taking notes when I did and because I flat out do not recommend levelling this character as it plays (Cadence/Counter Strike). Trust me on this front, I did it and can say it sucks until much later :rolleyes:.

You have terrible AoE damage throughout Normal/Elite as your only sources are Counter Strike (which isn’t too consistent without Fevered Rage or the Colossal Fortress Shield) and Targo’s Hammer (which won’t be proccing as often either without Fevered Rage/Overguard). In other words, you are trying to work with roughly a quarter of your Counter Hits which is not a good idea. Meanwhile, your single target is also pretty bad as you’re working with a watered down Cadence (as you’re splitting points between it and other abilities like Counter Strike or not investing in it at all).

So you’ll want to level with something else in the meantime. Forcewave with a 2-handed weapon is solid from early on and throughout the entire game. While I haven’t tested it, Physical Blade Arc in looks promising as well for a blend between ok single target damage and plenty of AoE.

So, when is the ideal time to swap over to this build then? The earliest I remember this build feeling ok was at Level 70. This is because you can equip the Avenger relic at this point and should be closing in on enough devotion points to pick up Fist of Vire (40 are required). You’re also only 5 levels away from equipping a non-Mythical Beronath, Reforged to make Avenger even more potent if you can craft one. You don’t need the sword but I definitely recommend having an Avenger relic at least at this point.


Final Thoughts

Someone on the forums once said that when you attempt weird or gimmicky builds that you should lower your expectations of how well it will do. While I agree, I’m surprised at how well it holds up, it is by no means a top-tier build or even close (a Cadence-focused Juggernaut would be be leagues better for instance) but it is fun to play in the same vein as Retaliation how things will run up to you and die without you having to lift a finger.

There is one thing I am torn on with this build though and that is Markovian’s set.

I have gone back and forth on this build with not using Markovian’s set at all, 4-piecing it (which is what I settled on) and using the full set. The reason being is that the set lacks any skill bonuses or skill modifiers to Counter Strike which considering it’s nature (a tanky Soldier whose defense is just as strong as, if not stronger than their offence) seems odd. Yet, we have 3 skill bonuses to Menhir’s Bulwark (on the Amulet, Shoulderguards and Chestguard) and have 2 different skill modifiers to Markovian’s Advantage - I personally would like to see one of the aforementioned bonuses to Menhir’s Bulwark and the skill modifier on the Helmet change in favour of supporting Counter Strike.

Saying this as well, I really want to use the full set for this build. The granted skill isn’t the main/only reason (going off of DaShiv’s chart, it would only effect Spear, Vire and Ghoul) but because the 5-piece bonus + the Shield’s adds a boatload of flat Physical Damage and Health.

If I have got any information wrong or there is anything you want to add/want me to change, please send me a PM and I will correct it as soon as I can.

With defenses like that you should be able to do 170 no problem.
I like that Relic, always wanted to make a build around it with both damage types converted to a single one. It basically does Doom Bolt levels of damage on a low CD and has good AoE.

Good to see builds that don’t use several double rare MIs too, those are always welcome.

An Evil_Baka build after a long while. Kudos for creativity, it seems Double Blitzer isn’t the only thing Markovian is good for

Did plan on doing something with Fevered Rage, but now I don’t have to theorycraft.:smiley:
Kinda wondering if there’s a way to make this work with Dawnbreaker…

Thanks for the information on Crucible, I might give it a try then and see how it goes.

Avenger is by far one of my favourite relics that I’ve used, it’s strong defensively and offensively. I haven’t tried Vengeance but I hope it’s just as good.

I have more time for playing and testing concepts since it’s summer now :rolleyes:. I think someone updated Fluff’s Bleed Markovian as well somewhere so that should still work, Blood Knight and Bloodrager will still get better ticks though.

Should still work yes. Infact, TZ Tz did a Lightning hybrid Retaliation Vindicator some time ago mixing the Dawnbreaker and Dawnshield pieces together. It might give you some ideas of your own.

Tried something like this once but was pure phys CS with BK helm and warborn for max break morale. Was able to do cruci but was slow for my tastes. This should be good if you don’t care about speed (which you probably don’t cause you’re not a cruci main). I’ve always been looking for a counter hit build that’s not retaliation. And this has filled the slot for me.

I’m wondering can this build be done with Oathkeeper+Soldier. The only real counter hit from skills is from solider and the occulist is mostly for the blood of dreeg and phys resist down with curse of fraility.

I’d think this build could work as warlord but that would need 50 in both as oathkeeper phys-% resist is at 50 oathkeeper and therefore you’d have less points to add to skills. And you could use righteous ferver tree to make use of some of the retaliation dps.

I’m trying this build as my first in grim dawn forgotten gods as its tanky and makes some use of retaliation damage on righteous ferver except playing as a warlord. Though i have no idea how its going to turn out though I do know the regular witchblade build works as i leveled that to 100 pre forgotten gods. And that witchlade counterhitter was my most consistent char though little slow on the killing speed

Counter Hit-centric builds should still work to some extent in FG but with the new Retaliation added to damage stat, they have competition.

Counter Hits that mainly deal conventional damage and Retaliation have different modifiers and types of flat damage that they want (thus would have different gearing, devotion, etc.) so they will be completely different builds.

Unrelated but it’s good to see players from other games/communities Atom :slight_smile:

Ya I’m guessing if i reached the end with this build the retaliation damage will be lower then a pure build and the phys damage lower then a counter hit build, i only looked at this cause its possible to get messager of war, spear from the heaven, covert the fire dps from the retaliation to phys, light of emerion, anvil, and whatever procs from gear so you still get the counter hits and do some retalition dps idk how much though

so avenger proc, proc from storm titan, and the tankiness of both classes and drop cadence for the oathbrerers one that adds retalion, ya idk if this is going to work as well but it should still mostly counter hit and add the retalition of some skills of both.
edit: nm i’ll just do retaliion warlord as thats sorta makes more sense and i already played this toon to the end and its really good. Thankfully i got a lot of retalation gear saved up from when i started playing though no mis but it should suffice

Is this build still viable in Forgotten Gods ?.
I see the devotion setup has been completely changed.

Is it still viable? Well for starters, it’s outdated in the sense that it doesn’t take any new gear or devotions into account - plenty of room for improvement/optimisation. Depending on your goal, it’ll work for some stuff sure but it’s nowhere near top tier.

It was made as a fun gimmick/novelty “Retaliation” build back when Retaliation had problems. Now it no longer has those problems in FG, you’ll find better results in other builds/mastery combinations like Warlord unless you really like the look and play style of this Witchblade and can accept that it’ll be overall weaker.

Worth mentioning, I messed around with it a bit before FG and full Markovian has grown on me now.