I’ve been playing melee builds exclusively and now i’ve settled with my favorite one.
The concept isn’t new, the core of the build was used many times. The credit here goes to @afanasenkov26 who had a build on it for 18.104.22.168 (and updated it). Seeing weapon dmg value on it back then inspired me to make a 0 green version of it last patch and now - to push it to new heights.
_Z buff chaos pls.zip (1.6 MB)
(dps is in Touch of Chaos, all permabuffs + devo buffs with 80-90% uptime)
Melee in Grim Dawn isn’t easy. Monsters get very angy when you stand right infront of them. The only way to handle it is to kill them before they get angry. This is what we’ll be doing.
You’ve probably heard of different ways to take care of your defenses: high DA and armor, high health pool, saving abilities like Ghoul, skills with Fumble. We don’t care for any of those. We will leech.
These two points are what defines our build and will get us all the way to beating the whole content:
- Kill fast
- Don’t ever stop hitting things
If you are feeling ballsy, spirit dump for more damage is absolutely possible for this build and despite extremely low DA it will not hurt you too much in Crucible and <SR75. Because if you are killing things even faster, there is a smaller chance to get into trouble in the first place.
- Few buttons to press. Only one buff (LA) and one debuff (CoF)
- Real melee feel
- Unparalleled single target dps
- Smooth, blink-like gameplay
- 0 green items required: 10 craftable items with 5 blueprints and 3 pieces of jewelry which can be replaced with no major losses
- One of the easiest pure melee builds to make sustainable Crucible completions with pretty good speedrun times
- One of the few no green melee builds outside of SR set to go far past Shattered Realm 75-76 (and to reliably farm SR, of course)
- Flexible gear, attribute distribution, skill choice and devotion map to fill the defense gaps if needed
- You can choose how safe are you going to play without too much time loss: no kiting required, you either kill stuff 1 by 1 or gather everyone together on one spot
- Small AoE
- Have to actively use both movement skills because buff consistency depends on them
- Can’t stop mashing stuff - leech is our only survival tool
Probably the best thing about the build is it has 7 crafted items as BiS options. A perfectly rolled double chaos-green Bloodlord’s Blade can only match the Fang here.
Another quirk worth mentioning is the relic. It doesn’t have chaos dmg or any utility but it allows us to keep two big dmg buffs up 85-90% of the time.
Rings are obvious but not mandatory, medal can be green or Blood Sigil.
The boots-pants part is where we have more freedom. Our goal is to cover slow and stun res, at least for Crucible. Even with 6 crafts it’s not an easy task because some of the crafts aren’t cheap. But you can always go for Tranquil + Final march combo for 80% slow res right away and craft everything else for stun.
BiS options here will be double rare Kuba pants and crafted boots with appropriate affixes to cover CC res. This combo is used in a fantasy version of the build which has several world records for single target dmg. And no green version performance is actually not far behind. More on that in the Performance section.
This is an endgame build so no thorough leveling guide here, sorry. But here are some tips.
Witch Hunter is not the easiest class to get to lvl100 - no autoattack or AoE skill worth having as main attack.
I suggest to focus on the Occultist on early levels. Max out Possession, Aspect of the Guardian, Second Rite and Phantasmal Armor to get the res bonuses and have more flexibility in leveling gear. As the main damaging skill you can use Phantasmal Blades or Sigil of Consumption.
We need to reach lvl94 and get a faction two-hander Spite. It converts chaos and vitality dmg into pierce for PB and we have plenty of both.
Once you get Spite you can pretty much finish the MC ultimate in faction gear, it’s that powerful.
If you don’t have items to complete the build you can farm SR or Crucible with Shattered Guardian set and Spite. Maybe you won’t be able to finish shard 60 to get SR set on the first try. But with such powerful weapon you’ll get there eventually.
Update 22.214.171.124: added Celestial fights, an up to date Crucible run and a triple run, Shard 85 gameplay
The build is the ultimate single target destroyer so dps performace comes first
MadQueen 3.8 sec:
confirmation of the items used:
Dummy 9.5 sec:
Ravager of Souls kill (the worst version of the boss for melee):
Avatar kill (took much longer than it should’ve for unknown reasons, this should be a 2,5 min fight):
Crucible run, 4:45 ingame time (5:00 real time):
Triple Crucible run. For the purposes of stress-testing, Aleks’s meteors, Kymon’s shotgun and Mad Queen rage buffs weren’t being dodged.
126.96.36.199 UPDATE 2:
Crucible run in 4:23 (4:34 real time)
Crucible 151-170 5:39
Crucible 151-170 5:55 without Blade Spirits (all dmg is from melee attacks):
Couple of notes about Crucible gameplay
151-170 completion comes very easily even with the spirit dump. The only thing you have to do is to single out bosses at the start of the new wave. You’ll rarely find yourself surrounded by multiple bosses because every single target dies so fast.
Important waves here are 162 and 169. Mad Queen buff and Anasteria RR debuff are among the few things that can theoretically kill us. Kill them both at the start of the respective waves.
When chasing speedruns, you collect bosses instead of singling them out. With this build you can tank 4 bosses, just like in the old days of Crucible.
Overall the Crucible consistency (with physique dump and careful gameplay) is over 90%.
Shards 85-90 is where the limit of the build is because in higher shards you’d get oneshotted by heros and it’s just a pain to go through. 75-76 looks to be easily farmable within the timer. Its very fast as well.
Feedback section below is outdated, was addressed by the devs in 188.8.131.52
As much as i love the build i can’t help but admit, overall it’s way above pretty much anything you can assemble in chaos melee and probably needs some small adjustments in terms of single target.
Suggestion: reduce Touch of Chaos base WD to 125%, chance of +400% dmg to +300% dmg. Add ABB or RoS mod somewhere: +2m target area, + to base skill. It takes care of over the board single target and adds at least some AoE to the build with no access to AoE in the AoE based game.
The bigger problem tho is not the build itself but rather overall poor chaos itemization. Melee is funneled into Harbinger + Rah’Zin set combo, only thing that can even dream of coming close is Darkblaze Fire Strike. Things aren’t much better in ranged and 2H. The solution i see here is adding more X -> chaos conversion to nonset pieces of gear. If chaos dmg is bound to have low support from the masteries, let it have more creative support from the gear.
Also the only relevant 1H chaos weapon is Fang. Might do smth about that in 184.108.40.206 as well.