[] BYOB (Build Your Own Breaker) (pending crucible assessment)

(Updated for

Spellbreaker is a mastery combination notorious for being squishy and rather dependent on gear to get enough damage output to justify its flimsy nature and give it enough hp to not simply vaporize to stray glances. At the start of Ashes of Malmouth I assessed the new items and found there was enough to support a lower budget spellbreaker build…

Thus was born the Burger Breaker(grimtools link, updated 3/27/2020).
Faction Gear(grimtools link, updated 3/27/2020). assumes a roll on the belt but it’s trivial to roll useful resistances on the belt.

A budget build that doesn’t ask for fancy affixes on greens nor the many hours and runs it takes to nab yourself a pair of alkamos rings.

The base build is obviously not a god crucible farmer though with sufficient gearing you can easily pull sub 7min times using appropriate devotion setups. You may have deaths in campaign if you don’t watch your mirror uptime/cooldown, stand in stuff, or otherwise not respect the fact that you’re running a budget build. This build is a template to start with as you build towards a more refined Spellbreaker that annihilates whatever you click on. The general concept of a Shadow Strike Spellbreaker is for demolishing campaign, clearing areas (at least the noteworthy loot dropping heroes and bosses) at exceptional speed and putting out absurd damage numbers, and yes deleting everything that moves in crucible once you have sufficient gearing. You can also neglect the arcanist portion and use this as a leveling template for just about any nightblade setup, though an acid focus will be better if you’re doing acid (duh!)

Baseline Budget goodies
You don’t have anything purple worth mentioning, heck you’re not even level 94. What do you use?

  • Helm: Something to help with resistances or if you are comfortable on res and hp (and have the option), Fettan Mask as soon as you can pick it up for +1 all.
  • Weapon: Spectral Longsword, see the section further down on how to vendor farm these. Loxmere’s Frostblade becomes available in late elite (basically start of ult) and outperform SLs without any affixes on the loxblade.
  • Necklace: Resistances or +1 class. Coven of Ugdenbog offers a faction L90 necklace that has +1 nightblade. Cult of bysmiel offers a blueprint for a +1 nightblade amulet that has %OA and cold %.
  • Rings: For the most part use whatever you need to cap your resistances. At level 90 the Coven of Ugdenbog sells blue faction rings that have generous helpings of useful stats (Defender Seal, Sky Seal, Storm Seal)
  • Chest: Resistances
  • Gloves: Overall resistances are great, if you can fit attack speed in here it’s a good idea to do so. The faction piece you see in the link above is initially amazing but later on remains a “break glass in case of-” backstop if you absolutely can’t find anything on level that has good resistances.
  • Shoulders: Early on Devil’s Crossing will offer you the Devil’s Spaulders which are okay, but the main faction item to be excited for is the Wendigo Bladed Pauldrons (Barrowholm!). Flat cold damage, +2/3 shadow strike and two resistances mean this will be your shoulders for a good while. Deathmarked can be used IF you have the resistances to fit it in, and represents a nice damage boost with the conversion IF you are also managing high bonuses to lethal assault via silly gear.
  • Pants: Resistances (and hp, don’t forget hp along with all these mentions of res). If you find yourself lacking pants you might be inclined to poke Guardian of Solael on the hidden path a few times assuming it’s not too stressful for your current setup.
  • Boots: Res,hp, movespeed! Remember runspeed = leveling speed. If you get stoneplate greaves blueprint you should be able to craft up something decent to replace the faction boots so you’re not running around with low armor boots.
  • Belt: +1 class, failing that get res/hp. Factions now offer +1 class belts so it’s trivial to obtain one.
  • Medal: res/hp
  • Relic: +1 nightblade as soon as you can work it

The usual suspects: MIs

Spectral Longswords? They have shadow strike bonuses that will outvalue mostly any legendary. The ones in the build link have no rare affixes which means they’re relatively easy to find. The blood grove secret vendor and the vendor in Steps of Torment both sell Spectral Longswords. All you really need is Chilled as a prefix. Frostborn is a major upgrade over chilled (or an Of Shattering suffix) but not needed for the leveling process.


Weapons: Loxmere’s Frostblade. Beat out SLs with zero affixes, trivial to roll with at least +% cold damage.

Hats: One of the Ravager’s Dreadgazes. Ravager hat isn’t the easiest thing to obtain but if you have the means to get one it performs very nicely, especially the purple one which pads up your chaos resist. Fettan Mask: a 100% droprate filler item you can pick up in forgotten gods. Check grimtools for the location of the secret area.

Necklace: Mythical Night’s Embrace: Your ideal amulet

Legs: Solael sect pants are nice. Base aether and bleed res, plus some ADCTH.

Rings: Alkamos Rings, BiS. Farm em, trade for em. Magi rings are also pretty stellar, though honestly harder to find than alkamos rings and they force you into building your devotions to Yugol to get % reduced target’s damage.

Shoulders: Zantarin’s Shoulderguard has a nice chunk of hp on the base item. With good rolls you can get more HP from suffixes like Of Kings or Of Vitality. A nice prefix like Ordered will help greatly with chaos resistance.

Boots: Stoneplate greaves, craft them with good affixes that help you not die. Resistances, reduced stun duration, hp.


Start with nightblade. 1 pt Blade Burst, 1 pt Veil of Shadow, max Night’s Chill and Lethal Assault. Keep climbing the mastery bar so you have the stats to equip your gear. 1 or more points in pneumatic burst for movespeed (movespeed = faster leveling, up to you how much you invest). 1 pt shadow strike for mobility, later on putting more points in to use it for boss sniping. 12/12 Nidalla’s Jusitifiable ends to lower shadow strike cooldown. Boost shadow strike until you feel it does enough damage. If you desperately want AoE you can consider going for nightfall early, though you’re going to want it eventually regardless.

Once you feel comfortable with your killing power you can pick up arcanist, 1pt IEE, 1 pt nullification, 1 pt inner focus, 1pt mirror if you desire a panic button. OFF can be used for clearing trash in normal but it tapers off hard in elite and should be respeced out of. Maiven’s is an option if you feel you need more durability beyond having good resistances. Stop and think before grabbing maiven’s early, if you have low resistances that’s why you’re taking a lot of damage and it’s a better idea to juggle gear to cap those resistances than spending points on a moderate amount of global mitigation when it’s only one or two damage types that are wrecking you.

Grab Ring of Steel when you reach it, though do strongly consider pushing arcanist to 50 once you have the points to spare and your damage feels adequate. Most of your damage is coming from cooldown abilities making Star Pact a very important boost to everything you do (not to mention more points in the mastery bar brings health and stats to equip gear.) Just don’t stretch yourself thin to get it, NJE comes before star pact, and nightfall before star pact if you feel behind on damage.

Once you hit blood grove be sure to farm the secret vendor for a pair of chilled/frostborn spectral longswords, ideally put a coldstone in each. If you don’t know where he is located a quick google search will get you there.

How to vendor farm

  1. Talk to him, check his inventory
  2. Rift to homestead, talk to isaiah (really any vendor anywhere should do)
  3. use homestead’s rift to return to the blood grove secret vendor
  4. Peruse his refreshed inventory

Once you have star pact at the right level (highest odd number possible) it is advisable to finish up nightblade and max out nightfall if you have not already done so.

If you feel you seriously lack durability the first skill to softcap is Maiven’s then Shadow Dance can be pushed to softcap next.

If you feel you lack single target damage or are just greedy for more, inner focus is the first stop. 12/12 for additional OA to make use of the innate crit damage on shadow strike. One point into dual blades will let you pump execution to 5 (lowest investment to get max proc chance). Elemental Balance on IEE is another avenue so long as you have sufficient OA to be reliably critting. And Overload will be a late acquisition for OA and aether res.

Beyond this fill out the various abilities that have multiple points invested in them. Pick up the one point wonders once you have a few + class items to support them, they don’t do all that much if they’re sitting at 1/X (with the exception of ones that have already been called out).

pending update

Blue Xroad -> Eel. At this point you’re still walking past stuff as it dies to 10/10 veil of shadow or is outright obliterated by basic attacks on LA steroids. The purpose here is to get early movespeed as most early game stuff dies in a heartbeat and you are limited by how fast you can walk.

Respec Blue Xroad

Green Xroad -> Quill, HawkPurple Xroad Nice stats and prereqs leading up to…

Respec Green Xroad

Rhowan’s Crown. Resist reduction proc with a bit of damage on it and other benefits, overall a big damage boost. Bind this to Shadow Strike

Respec Purple Xroad

Red Xroad -> Viper

Murmur: more RR, bind it to ring of steel

4 points into amatok to get the proc

Ghoul, green Xroad, lizard

Ultos and Solemn watcher into dying god in whatever order you prefer

Old health stacking devotion setup

There are various ways to go about reaching all the devotions in the budget build. The below is an example of an aggressive, zip through campaign approach that nicely complements the build’s style. If you feel you want more health you can shift priorities on what to get first.

Blue Xroad -> Sailor’s Guide AND/OR Eel. At this point you’re still walking past stuff as it dies to 10/10 veil of shadow or is outright obliterated by basic attacks on LA steroids. Sailor’s Guide is a bundle of nice resistances and movespeed while Eel is mainly just movespeed at this point in time. If you don’t want to waste time and resources later speccing out of Sailor’s Guide just go with Eel. The purpose here is to get early movespeed as most early game stuff dies in a heartbeat and you are limited by how fast you can walk.

You will respec out of sailor’s guide at some point, Eel being more point efficient for the purposes of this build. Only take Sailor’s Guide for an earlyish boost (the movespeed).

Respec Blue Xroad

Green Xroad -> Quill, HawkPurple Xroad Nice stats and prereqs leading up to…

Respec Green Xroad

Rhowan’s Crown. Resist reduction proc with a bit of damage on it and other benefits, overall a big damage boost. Bind this to Shadow Strike

Respec Purple Xroad

Red Xroad, JackalBlue Xroad (respec Red Xroad - optional, you’re just going to put the point back in soon)

Murmur, Mistress of Rumors Another resistance shredding proc mixed in alongside other benefits. Bind this to Ring of Steel, or Blade Burst if you don’t have Ring of Steel yet.

1 point back into red xroad, Respec jackal

To get to leviathan first

Empty Throne

Chariot of the Dead A lot of OA and some mingled benefits, a useful proc that will help keep you alive. Building affinity towards Leviathan.

WolverineGreen Xroad

Leviathan Here we are at last, lots of damage all over the place and a proc that’s getting bound to Blade Burst.

complete viper and get your 4 points in amatok for his proc.

Alternatively go viper->amatok and then follow the path leading up to leviathan. Do note that amatok proc is dependent on crit chance so low OA during leveling = it’s not as good.

The other health nodes figure into this whenever you desire

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Crescet moon/witch moon is better that most MI you can possibly find in the game. I highly doubt that Leviathan worth the effort of getting it. If you need dmg go for Aeon+OA stacking. If feel too squishy go for obelisk + tree. Elemental awakening does almost nothing in terms of dps increase btw =)

You mean this? Witch Moon has no relevant skill bonuses nor does it add much cold damage.

Crescent Moon is okay filler until you can get a serviceable Longsword or Loxblade. While the +1 all nightblade is nice it is by no means necessary. Flat damage is lackluster and by using it you miss out on a cooldown reduction to shadow strike. Pre XPAC the resist shred was very helpful as Breakers only had access to Night’s Chill and Ele Storm. The advent of Murmur has reduced the impact of Crescent’s RR proc. It’s still decent but will only shine against the infrequent hero boasting high cold resistance.

Flat damage comparison, assuming 2x Chilled Longsword (45% conversion) vs. Longsword + Moon (50% conversion), using a coldstone on one weapon

Average Chilled Longsword
71 cold + 75 phys

Average Crescent
22 cold + 119 phys

2x longsword: 142 cold + 150 phys -> 209.5 cold + 82.5 phys
longsword + moon: 93 cold + 194 phys -> 190 cold + 97 phys
phys damage has +80% modifier in the grimtools so it’s a rounding error. Approximate flat damage difference of 20. If we consider Malmouth’s Aegis that’s like playing without weapon augments and even then that’s ignoring the impact of reducing shadow strike’s base cooldown from 2.4s to 2s. Basic math says that’s 20% more shadow strikes and again we’re ignoring the impact of the skill conversion on the longswords.

If by not going for Leviathan you want to skip out on another 22 flat cold damage plus an assortment of other niceties then sure. Though I don’t see where the comment of it being hard to reach comes from. Throne is a great devotion, wolverine helps immensely on the DA this build needs to ride safely in the no-crit range. Hawk is a no brainer, quill is highly efficient on points and has good bonuses on top. Murmur is a given as this is a cold build, same deal with Rhowan’s. Then chariot is a nice chunk of OA topped by a heal with more DA. Everything you want to take for a breaker (exempting CDR stacking DW breakers that want Aeons) leads right to Leviathan. Deviate from the two general trends and you’ll end up with something lackluster that looks like a fat dumb cousin of a pierce infil/blademaster, not the spellbreaker people expect.

Time Dilation + Nature’s Guardians can also be used to increase tankiness.

It is possible to get these and Rumor + Elemental Storm at the same time, but it will be very tight on points. However you can still choose between {Lizard or Hound} and {Quill or Toad}. You can also go for Manticore + {Hawk or Scholar’s Light} instead of Rhowan’s Crown + {Quill or Toad}.

TD allows for some powerful up-front burst damage using multiple cooldown skills (ABB, SS, Scourge, Oleron’s Might, Chaos Strike, etc.) twice in a row. Mirror can be used initially, buying time for Nature’s Guardians to proc. Then Mirror can be used again afterwards. This whole process can be repeated as frequently as the net cooldown of TD will allow.

Ghoul devotion possible? Another 4% ADCtH. And a nice “Oh snap” devotion when you hit 45% health.

Would it be worth putting in a Shard of Beronath for an autoattack skill? It has physical to elemental conversion.

No idea if it’s worth it, I’m not an expert by any means, curious about your thoughts on these ideas, and if it’s worth it or not.

@Dioarchet your GrimTools link is a blank character.

If you’re not going for hourglass there are enough spare points to fit ghoul if that’s what you typically rely on. You’ll be giving up portions of Targo or behemoth to do so and this may result in a less durable build even with the proc if you don’t have much bonus hp from gear (zantarin shoulders etc). Ghoul does nothing against non physical burst but is useful against basic enemies when you lack sufficient armor. If it’s primarily the adcth you want there’s ways to stack up a high % value for that through components and choice of pants. 2x seal of blades + solael pants + restless remains gets you a minimum of 10% adcth per hand. If a build can’t sustain with that either you don’t have enough burst mitigation, it doesn’t do any damage, or you’re doing silly things like standing in zantarin shotgun.

Shard of beronath is a wasted component here given the majority of your damage comes outside of basic attacks. This build focuses on boosting shadow strike and does not heavily invest in % attack speed that would amplify the portion of damage coming from basic attacks. A value point is in execution for the massive returns for that one point, I might get around to testing if other WPS are worth one pointing but the fact remains that this is a shadow strike build and auto attacks are light filler. Seal of blades (you can use two if you want) gives useful stats all around: % armor, adcth, and flat damage that’s converted mostly to cold. Coldstone is just a ton of flat damage, seal of the night is a sidegrade when you don’t have ridiculous OA.

Check the devotions. :stuck_out_tongue: That’s the point of posting that link.

posting the link with just devotions hides the compromises you’re making that will leave the build with junk OA and thereby lackluster damage output.

Compared to your burger breaker devotion setup, the only constellations with OA that my setup is missing are Hawk and Chariot. That’s not a huge deal really especially when considering the dramatically higher defense TD + NG gives. Certainly it’s not going to necessarily result in “Junk” OA, whatever that exactly means.

My setup has Viper and Panther while yours doesn’t; so basically yours only has Chariot as an advantage. And, as stated before, my setup can use Manticore + Hawk instead of Rhowan’s Crown + Quill to further narrow the gap down to only 1% OA difference (with further slight differences in flat OA of course).

Let’s compare.I put in the hawk + manticore setup without changing anything else. Resistances are an augment to shuffle, little more.

2959 OA vs. 2962. Mostly identical
10774 hp vs. 10273, burger has slightly more it seems
2602 DA vs. 2500, Burger has ~100 more putting it comfortably in the uncrittable zone
14768-16093 cold vs. 12686-13729. burger has about 2k more cold weapon damage. Or shall we say 15% as an approximation
2267% total cold vs. 2041%, burger having about 10% high modifier when we look at base cold damage of abilities. This will diminish with better gearing (but at that point why do you need excess survivability for this build archetype when things die nigh instantly?)
whirlpool + ele storm vs. manticore for passive AoE on trash

hourglass cooldown: .89 * 16 = 14.24. Roughly 2.5 belgo carnage procs will occur during the cooldown giving it about a 11.75s cooldown. proc timing not always being optimal we can safely round to 12 for an approximation. One reset on 1.78s shadow strike every 12 seconds.

12 / 1.78 = 6.74 SS default. 2.5/1.78 = 1.40 SS from belgo, + 1 from hourglass.

So optimistically 8.14 SS default, 9.14 with hourglass. Both numbers will be lower in practice with hourglass being even closer to default due to cooldowns not lining up perfectly.

Nature’s guardians @ 17.8s cooldown. If you want to run simulations to see the precise uptime feel free to post your documentation. At a glance it looks like it will fit within the rotation. a 50-60% uptime if it procs on cooldown.

Mirror @ 16s, 30-35% uptime expected.

Numbers are up, the public gets a say.

Hey, thanks for posting numbers. One optimisation would be to only cast Mirror when NG is on cooldown. This increases the effective uptime of having either NG or Mirror up. This requires good micro though so it’s not ideal for more relaxed players.

Honestly my devotion setup originally wasn’t intended for DW but for Soulrend specifically. Still, it’s one option to explore for a DW build if enhanced tankiness is desired at the necessary cost of some offense.

Just wanted to post a quick thank you for taking the time to write this guide. It helps newer players out A LOT. Thank you!

One thing I don’t understand, is “default attacks”. I see there are many skills in the Dual Blades tree that only proc from a “default attack”. But I don’t see any skills, like Shadow Strike, or Blade Burst that describe themselves as as default attack.

So…what in this build is considered a “default attack”? Is it only using the plain Weapon Attack? Or is there something else? I’m very confused here.

Just a weapon attack that has an icon of a simple sword or a weapon attack that happens when you click on the mob with “move to” button. It’s also happens when you press on the mob with your attacking skill (like ABB or SS) while it’s on a cooldown.

There are skills that act as default attack, like savagery or fire strike. You could just google it or search these forums, plenty of info like that.

Right, I understand the skills that act as a default attack have that in the skills description. What I don’t get with this build: there’s a lot of points spent in skills that only proc on default attacks, but in Nightblade and Arcanist, there are no skills that are considered default attacks.

So then I’m supposed to be using the basic Weapon Attack quite a bit, between the cooldown skills?

I have already explained it, mate, you don’t have to use “Default Attack” button. Shadow Strike mashes two buttons - Amarasta’s Blade Burst (for self-buff) and Shadow Strike, mostly Shadow Strike, because it has very low cooldown if you have built your breaker correctly. Now when you press Shadow Strike and it’s on a cooldown, you attack with a default attack. Same with any attacking skill with cooldown, if you press it while it’s on cd, you swing your weapon with a default attack. Clear now?

Yes. If you try to use a cooldown skill like Shadow Strike or Blade Burst while on cooldown, it’ll default to your standard attack instead. Those WPSes are to make your attacks between cooldowns stronger.

Ok, so maybe I’m showing my ignorance here, but when I have either Shadow Strike or ABB on cooldown and try to use that as an attack, it doesn’t do anything but tell me “I can’t do that now” or something to that effect. I just went into the game and verified that. My character doesn’t attack, it just stands there.

I use a controller, but I also have buttons setup for KB and Mouse, and neither gives me a “default attack” when I try to use the skill on cool down. So it’s not a controller issue.

Also: you say “Shadow Strike mashes two buttons”. I don’t understand that either? Do you mean that I can somehow setup SS to also cast ABB at the same time?

The usual SS breaker setup is ABB on LMB and SS on RMB or vice versa. If you follow those bindings and press either of those skills on cooldown you get a default attack. If you bind them to any other key it won’t do the default attack. Now since you’re using a controller it might be a bit different and I’m not familiar with that part.

Note that you have to click a unit here cause of course, SS doesn’t do shit without a target.