[] Beginner's Cold Dual Wield Melee Saboteur - the journey!


Saboteur (Nightblade + Demolitionist) is a class available since base game. It’s considered one of the weakest classes in the game and certainly not the easiest to build. But Sabo have one type of build in which it excels - dual wield melee. So what are some pros and cons of the class/build.


  • Some synergy for DW melee, auto attack Fire Strike and weapon pool skills in Nightblade mastery.

  • attack speed by both classes.

  • Specific two pieces sets, Elemental harmony rings and Sacred Balance weapon. Especially Nex and Ortus are fine for this class.

  • Can do without fancy gearing.

  • Nightblade solo class is good for leveling early/mid game.

  • Both classes have source of - cold resistance.


  • Only class mastery without exclusive skill.

  • Not many options outside of DW melee.

  • Lack of enough resistances and crow control resistances by masteries.

  • Most of the synergy is through gearing.

  • Early portions of the game Demo have nothing really to offer in support of Nightblade.

As always I will show you some budget build, information about gear, potential end game builds and how I level this class.

Main Build

  • pic with permanent buffs. Sheet damage for Fire Strike.

GRIM TOOLS :arrow_right: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/YZemq4pZ

  • Fire Strike - Auto attack, can trigger weapon pool skills. Since it’s our main attack, put as many points as possible in main skill, Explosive Strike and Brimstone. One point in Static Strike and take Searin Strike transmuter and put 3/3 points.

  • Amarasta’s Blade Burst - Early on it’s useful attack but later it’s role is relegated to support skill. Max Lethal Assault, while main skill is at one point only.

  • Shadow Strike - Can be used for damage but main selling point is a movememt speed, which allows you to cut the distance ftom your opponents.

  • Termite Mines - Source of - Elemental resistance reduction, including cold. Try to max it. Also can be used for devotion procing. I put it often on Bat.

  • Ring of Steel - With transmuter can freeze enemies for crowd control, secondary node have fumble, which is also dope. One point in all nodes. Competition for Ring of Steel is Flashbang, take only one though, don’t use both in same build.

  • Weapons - I use Chillstrifes farmed from bosses Larria and Janaxia in act 5. Also good weapon for leveling is Malkadarr’s Blades. For end game Nex and Ortus are build defining weapon. There are also few other weapons, that occupy this slot like Chillhearts or Chillflame Evokers. IF you use green weapons, look for attack speed suffixes, you’ll need them.

  • Helm - Here BiS item is Namadea helm for it’s fire to cold conversion. Namadea boss it’s located in Barrowholm’s Cellar. To unlock it, you need to be HOSTILE with Barrowholm faction. Also option is to use full Shattered Realm set if you can farm it. SR set includes helmet, chest, shoulders and amulet.

  • Chest - Malmouth Chilling Vestment from with faction points. You need spirit to wear it. Best non-set armor is Frostdread. Also decent can be Silver Sentinel chest.

  • Shoulders - Coven Arcane Spaulders from Coven’’ refugee faction. I like here Silver Sentinel shoulders for acid to cold conversion.

  • Gloves - Any cold/elemental gloves with attack speed will get the job done. Best in slot are Iceskorn Gloves, followed by Haggard.

  • Rings - Very good are Elemental harmony rings, can be crafted at level 82. Best defensive rings are purple Alkamos but they are quite rare.

  • Medal - Galeslice it’s absolute monster here! Galeslice boss it’s located in East March. For medal augment, I use Amatok’s breath, which is high level crafted augment. You can use the best one you have, for leveling Charging Bull is cheap and decent enough.

  • Amulet - Hard to beat good rolled Ellena’s Necklace, this boss it’s located in area unlocked by Kasparov’s quest. Alternative amulet is faction recipe bought Nightstalker from Cult of Bysmiel.

  • Belt - Gargoyle for vitality to cold conversion, slow and +1 Nightblade mastery. It’s farmed by Gargoyle enemies in FG content area.

  • Pants - Solael’s guardian are decent, with life steal and innate resistances. For end game best are either Deathwhisper legendary pants or Kuba green ones.

  • Boots - My choice is Myhical Final March, common blue boots with physical and slow resistances. Best are Wraithwalkers or Amatok’s Step purples.

  • Relic - I’ve used Nemesis, mid-level cold relic with +1 Nightblade class. Best offensive relic is Nidalla and best defensive - Serenity. For leveling, Deatchill is very good, might even be better than Nemesis actually.


There are 4 major cold devotion, Amatok, Yugol, Leviathan and Ultos. Realistically you can take 3 or 4 at max. My choice is Yugol+Ultos here. With Nex and Ortus flat RR, you can bypass the Revenant and take more offensive or defensive route. I used early on Elemental Storm for flat RR, later switched to revenant.

Devotion route is how I leveled it, you can go straight with end game devotion, if you are not leveling it from scratch. You can reset points with Spirit Guide. Also devotions can sustain affinity themselves.

  • Start with green crossroad affinity point
  • Take Bat and assign it to an active skill like Amarasta, remove green
  • Quill
  • Purple
  • Rhowan’s Crown, assign Elemental Storm to Shadow Strike, remove purple
  • Ghoul
  • Blue
  • Sailor’s Guide
  • Murmur, assign proc to Fire Strike or if you don’t use it to Amarasta and put Blade Spirits or Termite Mines to Bat.
  • Viper
  • Revenant
  • Purple point again
  • Remove Crown and then purple
  • Spider
  • Remove Quill
  • Ultos
  • Hawk
  • Raven
  • Green again
  • Yugol

Most of the points should go in physique, in my case 92. Also 15 points in spirit to wear caster’s weapons and chest armor. Throught the game few points in spirit might be needed to wear your best gear.


  • I will show you how I leveled this character, it’s not mandatory to follow it, but you can see which skill/stats to prioritize.

For the purpose of this guide I leveled self found only, without Lokarr set, which grants huge boost for XP. My preferred difficulty to start the game is normal. I initially use Elemental Storm, later switch to Revenant for flat RR. Also worth saying that I prefer going heavy in Nightblade mastery early on. There’s also leveling video done by Grim Dawn streamer and youtuber @RektbyProtoss HERE

  • In GT links click on upper left corner to change difficulty.
  • GT 10 - https://www.grimtools.com/calc/bVAmO91V

  • Start with Nightblade mastery, put 1 point in Dual Blades to wear two weapons and in passive skills listed. Your first attack will gonna be Amarasta’s Blade Burst. Also Veil of Shadow is nice debuff, 5 early points. You can also prioritize Pneumatic Burst.

  • GT 20 - https://www.grimtools.com/calc/8NK1B9nV

  • Continue with Nightblade’s mastery bar, max Night Chill for - cold RR and nice aura damage, that will kill trash mobs alone. Start putting components in gear. Good early weapon components are Chilled Steel.

  • GT 30 - https://www.grimtools.com/calc/YVW1JjdN

  • GT 40 - https://www.grimtools.com/calc/L2J109jN

  • Continue with solo Nightblade and progress in the mastery bar. Put one point in Shadow Strike skill line, second and third nodes of Pneumatic Burst, take it’s transmuter as well. Pneumatic Burst main skill already should be maxed. One point in passive skills and weapon pool skills. You can put more points in Amarasta skill. Check also which components I used. I suggest to put components in every possible slot. Also craft Deatchill relic or take Talisman from Rover’s quest.

  • GT 50 - https://www.grimtools.com/calc/wV1e6LPV

  • GT 60 - https://www.grimtools.com/calc/62am4Mx2

  • You can max Amarasta skill and pick Demo class finally. Progress in Demo’s bar and take Flame Touch and Vindictive Flame passives. You can switch to Fire Strike, but only when you farm Namadea’s helm. For Fire Strike build, max the main skill initially. To get points to do so, remove all but one from Amarasta’s, while Lethal Assault is still maxed. Continue with Demo’s skills taking Searing Strike at 3/3 and 1 point initially at Explosive and Static Strike. Also you can improve your weapons with Chillstrife and/or Malkadarr.

  • GT - 70 - https://www.grimtools.com/calc/a2EmQkb2

  • GT - 80 - https://www.grimtools.com/calc/lNkmxR6V

  • Build is starting to look similar to end game build. Invest more points in Demo and Start working towards maxing Termite mines and take few points in Blast Shield for extra defense. You can use armor augments at level 70. Also weapon and jewels augments. Good low level jewel augments are Survivor’s Ingenuity from Devil’s Crossing. For weapons Creed’s Cunning from Black Legion’s rep.

  • At this point look for the end game build and grind :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: At level 82 don’t forget to craft Elemental blue rings and look for legendary gear, that will start to drop in abundance.
Factions selection
  • Common question is which factions to select. This is perhaps only build, on which choices DO matter. It’s imperative to select to be hostile with Barrowholm in order to kill Namadea for the helm. Also Kymon Choisen are needed to be friendly in order to kill the Necromancer Malkadarr for his weapon. Outcast is debatable, Anasteria have nice green pants but it’s hard to reach Nemesis status with her, so I selected the friendly approach.
Leveling tips, problems, FAQ
  • Stats priority is, first to cover your resistances. Then try boosting your DA/OA to decent levels. Health is gonna be a struggle. Also physical, stun and slow resistances (third page of character’s sheet) are really important. % Cold and flat cold damage is crucial but since values are really low early on it’s a focus in higher levels/difficulties.

  • Weapon choice? I suggest to filter out everything except 1H melee weapons and daggers/scepters. I don’t advice to level as range, 2H or with shield.

  • Bosses/heroes are too slow? First few levels might be the case, later most of them will die quickly.

  • I have problem with specific boss? You should check what damage the boss deals. You probably missing resistance against it. Also is worth to try learning bosses mechanics and try avoid the most dangerous attacks, usually they are telegraphed and predictable. And also do you have enough life steal? For melee build is important for your survival.

  • When to start elite/ultimate. Since you have resistances penalties, -25% upper row on elite and further -25% on ultimate. So cover your resistances. I personally start elite at 65 and ultimate at 85.

End Game Builds

Main build it’s my cold Saboteur with similar gearing, it’s actually very good build suitable for both Crucible and Shattered Realm.

Also take a look in other Nightblade builds like:[] Return of the Rogue - 6s Mad Queen, 6m Crucible, SR 75+ tanky no greens melee Saboteur SR set build by @mad_lee. [] [HC] Snow Baller - cold Grenado Saboteur (sr65+, cr170) Cold grenadier by @RektbyProtoss or go crazy with fire DW version by @fordprefect >< DW FS Flamoteur SR 75-76


Nice sabo build! Cheap but powerful!

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Thanks, that’s the idea. :smiley:

Also Nightblade offers strong base for leveling character irregardless of your second class.

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have you thought about acid/poison shadow strike witch hunter budget version? Those MI weapons for that build drops like candy, I have like 14 double rares ones just by farming sentinel over and over again for helmet recipie

Hi sorry to bother you again, how you get colors of the text for these?

how to get this text to have another colour

I have no idea :confused:

Actually yes, acid SS/ABB hybrid pre Venomblade build. Problem is lack of skill points and some stats but I have made it in game.

Click quote and copy&paste the code. You can edit the orchid text into any color.


<font color=‘yellow’(pretend this parenthesis doesn’t exist)> type </font(pretend this parenthesis doesn’t exist)>

You can enter different colours instead of yellow by just trying like brown, red, green etc. I myself have just learned from Nery that tyoing Orchid gives you different shade of purple :smiley:


perhaps wrong with my browser because I do qoute and i just get non formatted text

Try copying that text and answer me only replacing orchid with cyan.

@Ulvar1 you have to click reply and then click quote in upper left corner, just as I showed you in that PM.

I just get this :confused:

Copy this text, delete the parenthesis in both end type cyan instead of yellow. It should look like formatted text but it will turn coloured text when you replied and you also can observe it at preview section of reply window.

I know how to change color of text but I do not get it to work in the details function

<font color=‘yellow’>Summary</font>

This text will be hidden

I just get this

Remove ‘’ from ‘yellow’

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Hi Nery :vulcan_salute:


What is the use of Thermite Mines?

(Pretty new to the game so i am sorry if this is a dumb question)

It provides Resistance Reduction to enemies that stands on them. Which is a key stat/debuff that every build should have. The logic is, it increases your damage output without increasing your damage stats but diminishing the monsters’ defenses. For more information please read the game guide, and do some search on Forum.


For instance, if monster has 50% resistance, you deal 50% damage to it. Reduce that resistance by -30% monsterthen has 20%, and you deal 80% damage. That is effectively 60% more damage.

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Nice buff this build got:

  • Namadea’s Horns: added 5% Physical Resist modifier for Vindictive Flame and increased its Cold damage modifier to 160. Added 45% of Fire dealt as Cold modifier for Pneumatic Breath.
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