[][HC] I am Three - Insanity - The strongest build in Cairn ;)

It is time, my fellow Grim Dawnians…

This build has survived for nearly a year of patches and hotfixes, without losing its power or toughness. It’d been kept secret within the ranks of our small hardcore community. Many valiant battles were won with this pillar of might at the vanguard, bringing swift end to the foes. Not long ago, the community had lifted the embargo and I was finally allowed to share it here.

There are several versions of this build ranging from uber defensive to all-in offensive specs. While the physical build is very decent, the crown, in my opinion, goes to the acid one hands down.

And speaking of the acid spec, there are several variants, but mostly devotion wise. There’s just too many great options to detail here, so allow me to share the one I like the most.

GRIMTOOLS - https://www.grimtools.com/calc/gZwjg8lV

I can talk a lot about the build and its performance, but a picture is better than a thousand words.

Here it is Guys

Gargabol: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9pIH4aABhR8&feature=youtu.be

Ever wanted to roam the world of Cairn oneshotting bosses and nemesis right and left? Ever dreamed about the feeling of utter OPness? Even with the enormous power creep as of late, which was inevitable to happen here, this spec can still humiliate many… most of the newly emerged power builds. And I’m being modest here. The video is showing a balanced (for hardcore) setup, not the top dps one.

Oh yeah, this build can take on Callagadra with very minor optimizations towards physical res and armor.

With this balanced spec I was able to get a sub 9 sec dummy reset without any potions or buffs or gear changes to maximize damage output. People in our HC group tried the DPS focused approach and were able to achieve about 30% damage increase. But I will leave this for your guys to experiment and refine if that’s what you are after. As is, this build has very little competition in the bossing department. The aoe is decent thanks to multiple procs and the gun (100% chance to pass through enemies). Toughness is adequate for HC due to overall decent defensive stats, some life steal, the seal. The seal is rarely needed in campaign. It is required in Crucible and SR. I’d suggest using potions in both of those stress tests as it is possible to RIP under “right” circumstances. You will indubitably get over confident using this build. You will get lazy and relaxed. Which is a bad thing if you are playing hardcore. Hence, try to stay alert at all times! :slight_smile:

So, here you go guys, hope you like it!


I didn’t understand anything but I liked it :cowboy_hat_face:

Retal has always been a bit of an oddity escaping balance passes. Now that it’s slowly comming into the spotlight i guess the balance machine will set its wheels in motion.

Thinking myself in the past of using RF with mods to it to build a retal dmg added to attack build, i have some questions.

What makes the build so unique that it was, as you say, hidden for a year? I see one general idea of using multiple bullets to benefit from retal added to attack. Is that it or is there some other synergy i’m missing? Honest question since i have no clue about retal and want to build a DW one myself :slightly_smiling_face:

You have a bold statement right in the headline. Will there be videos of deep shards, crucible and celestials?

9 sec dummy kill sounds sweet, my kind of a build exactly!

Hell. Yes. I’m excited to give this one a shot! Is dagallons annihilator required or could you also use that new Phasebreaker gun as an option (100% chance projectiles pass through enemies as well).

Also, will you be uploading a leveling guide for your favorite version?

That’s a nice build, no doubt, and our builder’s group had the privilige to test it not so long ago. But it’s definiltely far from “the strongest”. Like it’s not the fastest retaliation build in Crucible nor it is the deepest SR crawler.

Maybe it’s the best well-rounded build for HC, I don’t know. Anyway, it would be nice to see some deep SR videos and some Crucible runs.


Really I never thought this would be posted. And yeah I tried a version of this last patch and while it’s not up to my cruci standards it’s definitely one of the most broken by concept builds out there.

No not phasebreaker. It’s got acid to ele conversion. And it affects retal. Only dagallon guns are viable. Either of the two guns will do but lightning is better if you don’t get bursting round.


Gotcha! Thank you for clarifying that. Yeah this build looks rad. Exploiting retaliation damage added to a ranged attack in general is a concept I hadn’t even considered, as I’m still learning many of the aspects of this game.

One of the cooler builds I’ve seen lately. Next to that ATV Templar build. Both really fun concepts!

It looks really interesting since it exploits both RtA and passthrough of Dagallon guns. Dagallon works extremely well with WPS skills and both Inquisitor ones and Jaxxon have multiple projectiles and each projectile can apply retaliation damage to the attack. And you add this retal to the already strong auto attack damage. Mind blowing single target+AoE. :slightly_smiling_face:


There were builds like this in the past but the weapon choice is the most counterintuitive one. It’s only obvious in hindsight but it’s something that looks stupid if you haven’t tried it yet. I had attempts to for a grimtools on this in the past, same with @thejabrixone but never had the balls to actually finish it and test. Until @sir_spanksalot spilled the beans to me which confirmed that it works. One of the most creative builds (that works) posted in here.


Good on you, Contragor, for sharing these concepts.

It’s not really a secret concept, but with changes to SoT it probably got better for acid. Jaxxons :man_shrugging: I had forgotten about this interaction.

Jaxxon rings and 100% pass through. … core to quite a few builds that I’ve seen iirc. Stormspread for combos without inquis and stormspread x2 for those with inquis. The interacton with either Brimstone or rta +Retribution is insane.

Stormspread is one of those build-defining skills that never goes over 7point investment . (feels inquis rant coming on…) and ultimately you have tons of points to put in FS/Brimstone or - in the case of point-lite RF (specifically Retribution with tons of +bonuses on so many items) - everything else.

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For sure, it’s not the fastest Crucible or deep SR performer, but that was not the benchmark used to gauge its performance. Our group had consistently tested it against all top results found in the “Fastest Cleaners” thread. Things like fastest Mad Queen, Dummy reset, Callagadra, Ravager, Mog, etc. It was leading in pretty much every one of these tests.

Right. I wanted him to test it inside out, to see if it’s possible to improve the build in any way. It was a thrill having one of the top builders question every skill choice, devotion, augment.

Can you post videos of those kills at least? Along with some Crucible and SR videos. Except dummy reset, I think it’s the most useless metric in the game. We (in our builders group) had a build that was absolutely destroying dummy but was utter SHIT in everything else.

Does this build kill MQ faster than @banana_peel glassified Rah’Zin Witch Hunter? Or kill Cala faster than retaliation Witchblade with Fevered Rage? I am very curious to see.

Not so sure. I never tried tweaking this or any other build for a specific test. So my 3.5sec Mad Queen was done using the same setup I normally use to run HC, - more focused on survivability. But let me dig up some vids…


Lol, while looking for those vids, here’s what I found - my first ever Morgoneth kill. But check out the class!

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Yes. This build can output around 76% retal damage per attack on average. So with the attack speed on the GT link, you get around 253% retal damage pet second. Compare this to stuff like zucc retal DE in my build I estimate only 70% retal damage per second. @mad_lee grasping vines build also outputs around 70% per second. Pre nerf turrion bwc (16% RtA) gets 256% per second at 12/12 bwc but that needs time to stack bwc pools. Usual RF retal melee does something from 36 to 90% per second.

Looking at that data above this build has the highest single target dps among most retal builds (hellborne does better in terms of percentage but your retal sucks cause no shield) and maybe even among most builds including top melee builds. The only reason why this build does not do well (relative to other well known top builds) in cruci and SR is because this build goes all in on two broken mechanics (RtA and passthrough WPS) but misses out on everything else, mainly lifesteal and the fact that it fumbles.


It’s been confirmed since like 1 month after FG release. It’s this specific setup that’s new (to the public).

I didn’t test full set but I just tested this exact concept on sentinel (the class) yesterday and it was nowhere near paladin on cruci. Tho I did some math and turns out paladin wins even with sentinel’s RR.

Interesting build, I was playing some shotter retal paladin in past too but physical version.
I gave a test with your setup, great single target damage but it’s not so tanky, I couldn’t reach 2nd Ravager phase with pharma (didn’t use any short duration consumables, maybe that’s why). Callagadra without kiting may be kinda hard because of her fumble, at least I had troubles with making damage on her with physical version even if I could facetank her.

@arcane_undo I’ve tested physical version, single target damage is nice if you use high conversion acid-phys soldier belt and Targo helmet (39sec Ravager WB with FR), I’ve seen already guy pushing sr 120 with physical warlord, 4 parts of the set too. I would say 4 parts > 3 parts but I didn’t testing it very long.

:point_up_2::point_up_2::point_down::point_down::point_left::point_right::point_left::point_right::b::a: Start Select, Win?

Dying to try this out omg.
Solid work man, truly.

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Hi Contragor

I am busy levelling your EoR Retal Warlord ( havnt chosen a 2nd class yet ) and was wondering if I should rather continue to build this beast that you have posted here ?

I am not sure if this build will work ok, without the exact items since I am playing self found.

Thanx again for sharing all of your build group and your own hard work and testing with the community, the same shout out to all the builders and theorycrafters out there.

You guys are the reason that certain games just keep on going, “forcing” the game developers to make constant changes and add-ons…as a side note, I love the new monster totems, they make levelling through campaign exciting again.


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Thank you for your kind words!

Gearing wise, this build is not more demanding than the EoR Warlord. If anything, it’s easier to gear up. You only need the jaxxon’s lucky rings to get started. The non-mythical version can easily be obtained at level 75 by gambling with Etram Fald - the celestial blacksmith at Tyrant Hold. You do need a decent amount of hearts/blood/brain though. Still, it’s quite doable. Levelling wise, you have a lot of options. For speed, you can go either EoR or Word of Pain.

Didnt know there was a hardcore community that had this build. I have been running variations of this build since… a few versions back as well…In any case the physical/fire retal version was nerfed rather hard early which prompted the change to acid… which kept on getting buffed. Retaliation added to attack not affected by %weapon damage from wps skills means that chilling rounds, storm spread, Jaxxons all come up with multiple applications of retaliation damage in a single attack. While basically taking a bunch of defensive options that come with retal and shield builds.

Personally I hope they never fix this interaction. I’m a huge ranged build player (almost exclusively play weapon ranged builds, so basically this, purifiers, vindicators, some strange ranged retal warlord build), and the only thing really letting range weapons build stay relevant in the top tier is the combination of pass through and multi-hit WPS interactions with default attacks (in terms of either %WD like for firestrike’s explosive/brimstone or retaliation added to attack).

I guess i got lucky that i lucked into this build because i was busy finding a use for all those Jaxxons that keep on dropping for me for some reason. This build been around for so long that I had taken more than half a year of hiatus and came back. I cant even remember if the last time i posted on retal-jaxxon interaction was in the old forums or the current one.

For Callagadra, I find the OA is sometimes not enough to really keep deadly aim up permanently together with the low cdr as well. But i guess there’s ways to build around it that I kind of didnt bother to do.