*where it all started
(you can skip this part, note that part of this guide was written in May 2017 :p)
(decided to leave the whole text intact while revising this one in 2023, for historical purposes)
I have a huge history with Diablo franchise. Since my uncle showed this game to me on his old Pentium Pro back in 1996 and since me and my classmate spent countless hours grinding it out in Diablo co-op on his old Playstation, I was always among the first players who played new iterations of the game at good old Battle.net.
We all know how Diablo 3 turned out to be. It’s a disappointment for all hardcore ARPG fans, a game that turned out to be just okay. After I stopped playing it I always had that ARPG itch. Well, guess what game fully satisfied it and then some more.
Grim Dawn is as close to being perfect ARPG as Diablo 2: LoD ever came to. It’s a good example of how things can be done right with relatively small team of developers without massive budget. It is a great game that got me hooked.
When I was choosing my first class (yes, it’s my first character), I happen to choose Druid combination. Partly because I wanted to play that melee guy with a huge 2hander, partly because I just stumbled on a guide I liked (shout out to Thunderaja’s old guide).
However, when I was near the end game, I realised, that my class is innately one of the weaker classes in the game and that another Shaman combos (elementalist or warder) can do what I do but more efficiently. Well, I wasn’t about to give up on my Druid, so I reworked some of the skills and gear and made it into a Lighting God, beastly character that facerolls everything in Ultimate, can clear about half of the Crucible Gladiator and is extremely fun to play.
It is a melee build. But it has all the power to fight as a ranged caster when things get hairy. In fact, while you are fighting bosses/heroes in melee range, your spells do the swift work of any spawns/mobs giving you necessary procs that are sometimes hard to get of some tougher bosses/heroes. We have a circuit breaker in form of Mirror of Erecreotes for desperate moments. We synergize greatly with a lot of different builds in multiplayer.
Crowd control and massive debuffs
We have 4 sources of Resists Reduction (Hand of Ultos/Arcane Mines/Raging Tempest/Elemental Storm). Wind Devil apply slow/impaired aim. Primal Strike applies massive stun. We have Nulification - an excellent skill that nullifies all harmful auras that bosses have as well as reduces their damage. We have Mirror of Erecreotes on a short cooldown. With this build, you feel like you are in a total control of the battlefield.
Massive AoE and procs devastation
It’s what really makes it so fun to play. Once our lighting machine is on, there is always stuff happening on screen. While you are fighting some big mean boss, you are spamming vines/wind devils that proc arcane mines/reckless tempest/Ultos Wrath. Whole screen gets covered with lighting. Everything melts. Most mobs can’t even reach us, they die at the side of our screen.
Lightning God is back! Revived this thread and min-maxed the build again due to nostalgic reasons.
Decided to reshuffle augments a bit to squeeze out 100 more OA with practically the same flat (just a tiny bit less). Build became faster and more consistent (due to higher ADTCH). Can farm 75-76 without much problem again it seems.
Crate swings its nerfhammer yet another time but build perseveres. With minor gear changes build is as strong as ever.
This is the first build that I have posted on this forums. Decided to revisit it and adjust it for current endgame. Changing to Thunderous Strike was inevitable, cooldown Primal Strike is still not nearly as good.
Version 220.127.116.11 updates
Since I could never craft a perfect pair of stoneplates I decided to go for fully legendary setup. And surpisingly it worked really well. Build can now comfortably farm 150-170 with mininmal kiting (Grava’Thul is still an annoying bitch tho). Huge life pool, additional proc from Stormtitans for more damage reduction and juicy Beasts damage from Direwolf Crest make this build powerful and reliable.
Version 18.104.22.168 updates
- Tapped into the power of the Dying God. With maxed out CDR rolls we have constant 10% Total Speed boost and 40% of Critical Damage goodness. Coupled with constant ~3500 OA (~3700 with the proc of Badge of Mastery) we have ~156% Critical Damage and huge OA (not counting crit damage modifiers to Savagery and Primal Strike) our Lightning God is an embodiment of carnage. Unfortunately our beloved Reckless Tempest had to go.
- Moved around some skill points. Found damage absorption from 12/12 Maiven rather underwhelming. Reduced Maiven Sphere to 3/12 and soft-capped Wendigo Totem. I found latter much more effective in current Crucible meta. Added Upheaval as 1 pointer (still not sure if it adds anything)
- Moved around gear components for more racial damage.
Overall new iteration of the build is extremely competitive. I wish I had skills and patience to record a proper 150-170 run. Well, one day maybe.
Version 22.214.171.124. Ashes of Malmouth updates
- Changed some skills and augments/devotions
- Build is now Crucible Gladiator 150-170 viable (around 12 minute clear time with some amount of skill)
- Added a new video of Crucible 150-170 clear
Version 126.96.36.199. Ashes of Malmouth updates
- Updated GrimTools link
- Optimized skill setup and celestial procs bindings
Version 188.8.131.52 Ashes of Malmouth updates
- Updated Grim Tools link
- Added a new video of Crucible Gladiator wave 145-150
Quite a bit has changed in Ashes of Malmouth. Shaman mastery received a massive buff, but whole melee meta got a massive overhaul as well.
This build defeats all the regular bosses of AoM with ease (finished AoM on ultimate in old Ultos set), facetanks Alexander (Vanguard nemesis), conquers Crucible Gladiator (although it’s an average build for crucible). It can defeat both Kupacabra and Grava’Thul, it does require a lot of kiting, knowledge of new nemesis moves and a lot of focus.
New level cap granted us with new skill points so the build that I have envisioned when I first geared him in full Ultos back in vanilla Grim Dawn is complete. Mythical Ultos seems to cater to my vision somehow, buffing both Savagery and Primal Strike. One thing that is really hard to get is double-rare Green Boots. This build would benefit immensly from something like Thunderstorm Stoneplate Greaves of Kings, but alas, I still couldn’t craft such item.
Version 184.108.40.206 updates:
- Changed some devotions’ assigned skills
- Updated Grim Tools link
- Added a new video of Crucible Gladiator wave 120-130
Overall build got only stronger with the new update. Despite Reckless Tempest proc from Wind Devils being nerfed (we had it coming) we gained a considerable increase in damage (Primal Strike is now a huge nuke on a 2.4 seconds cooldown). And you can have Reckless Tempest almost 24/7 by assigning it to Grasping Vines. It’s still not exactly solo Gladiator viable, I made it to wave 140 this time, but Iron Maiden and (surprisingly) Herald of Flame got me (Herald of Flame seems to have some kind of lingering debuff attack or something that multiplies with time and gets you across the map, so you can’t really run away from him).
<<<< GRIMTOOLS >>>>
*Craft one item for %Physique and two items for Slow resistance. Rings are vendor farmable. You can get formidable either on gloves or on pants, but getting green gloves with attack speed is crucial.
Just follow the grimtools link.
Keep your Savagery charges up and avoid skill disruptors in Crucible. Drop a totem on hard waves, don’t be shy with your Nullification and Mirror. Build chews thru everything Crucible throws at it.
In Shattered Realm avoid Grava’s Nullification, aggro bosses one by one, facetank everyone, but don’t stand on volcanoes and dodge meteors. (maybe don’t facetank second faze Gargabol).
You can level your Druid however you deem necessary. Look up leveling guides in Build Compendum.
EDIT: Thanks to Kralw here are some simple leveling tips:
- Start as Shaman Max Devouring Swarm and get to level 20/25. At this point it start to get slower switch to a two handed build (Falcon Swoop and Kraken in Devotion) if you don’t have any good weapon there is a great Maul with Fire Damage in Homestead Reputation (level 30 or 35 not sure) that should get you to level 50. At that point move towards that end build.
- Start as Arcanist Max out OFF and use Fireblast / Greater Fireblast (Skill from Component) it should bring you up to the end of normal and probly even part of Elite. At that point you could re-spec towards what this build should look like.
Put 20-30 points into Spirit and rest into Physique, depending on your gear DA rolls. Aim for ~2900 DA.
Primal Strike damage
Example of how AoE works on this build (second half of the video is just a game on pause, sorry) OLD
The Sentinel - things got little hairy because I pressed wrong buttons quite a few times, usually it’s pretty smooth. OLD
Von Aldritch and Friends (with a suprise cameo) OLD
Build is extremely powerful and fun to play. All skills and gear you use synergize well with each other. This build can be improven tonns in upcoming expansion with all the extra skill points and new devotions it can use.
One of the shortcomings of this build is that it’s PC hungry since we cover all screen with lightings. Might be a problem in multiplayer when you are playing with friends with slower PCs (shouldn’t be in 2017 though). Another shortcoming is that build struggles in Gladiator as all 2-handed builds do. Sure, I can clear up to wave 100 with it, but without very specific upgrades it’s very hard to progress against some bosses/nemesis combinations.
Shout-out to Krawl and Seamann for making very favourable trades with me and explaining some of the gear value and game mechanics to me. As well as for some fun multiplayer Crucible/Vanilla games together.