✦ Two-Handed Cadence Warder from scratch ✦
build journal and guide
Transmog/illusion is the “Great Wolf” set from the 2nd loyalist pack! Fits well with the char theme and my username which means “wolf warrior” in old norse language.
Hello! In a previous poll, this build was the runner-up (Poll) Which build(s) shall I do next? SSF - for “beginners” . So in this thread, I will document my journey towards making a “good” “budget” physical damage two-handed warder from scratch! (SSF : self solo found, only use items etc that this character will find, simulating how a new player would approach it).
The name of the character for this journal is “Voldrakia” and she is the younger sister to Voldrak who was not always a troll you know! In fact, he was transformed into a troll by the aetherials and now Voldrakia is out for her quest to avenge him! She will doing so by first setting his spirit free and then using his weapon Voldrak’s Crusher to slay the entire world of Cairn!
Note, this is a build guide - I will assume you know about basics of game, quests and some mechanics. If not, then feel free to ask There are other guides and places of information how to do quests and such. I will focus on what is important for this particular build.
Hope you enjoy thread, I wish you all best in bashing the life out of your foes!
Much text are hidden inside spoilers, click them if you wanna read certain topic.
These are marked with a ► and Lime text.
✦ Introduction and background
There are several very good 2H melee builds for beginners / budget builds. Those uses the soldier skill “Blade arc” to create a nice mix of multiple target and single target damage. There is also forcewave builds, but that skill is like a mix of melee and casting ability. Another very popular starter build is the “Primal strike warder” which is fine too but a bit “retro” for my taste Here is one such guide by Stupid_Dragon [220.127.116.11] Beginner's Lightning Warder you can start following it for a while until you get access to farming Voldrak’s mace (around level 30ish) and then switch back to my warder. The advantage with Primal Strike is that is has better AoE damage than cadence. I did play as 2H cadence from start to finish though. Another option is to level with 2H forcewave, get the diagonal node and a big 2H weapon (and some casting speed!) and smack your way until you can farm Voldraks mace.
In this build, we will focus on the skill CADENCE!!! And with it, I wanted to explore ... (click)
- Leveling with 2H cadence, how is that compared to the meta leveling strategies forcewave and primal strike?
- Cadence is more of a single target skill, but in recent patch zolhans WPS was reworked to have faster animation. Can this give cadence some more QoL?
- How viable is it to farm Voldrak for this weapon? https://www.grimtools.com/db/items/14092
- Not so bad, just try to focus on hero mobs, do not chase everything on the screen!
- Yes Zolhan works very good, also together with Feral Hunger and 12/12 fightning form give at least some kind of AoE.
- Very easy, the route is short and fast and the new affix system makes almost every drop worth saving.
✦ “Final” “budget” build that we made
Grim Tools - level 100 build, stage 1 https://www.grimtools.com/calc/4VxQJqEZ (SR50)
Grim Tools - level 100 build, stage 2 https://www.grimtools.com/calc/dVbmRx42
>>> Grim Tools - level 100 build, stage 3 https://www.grimtools.com/calc/gZwGKGnZ (SR65+) <<<
The main difference in the various stages is the amount of physical resistance (17% to 29%) and Cadance ranks (22 to 26).
Build showcase video https://vimeo.com/489299269
Stage 1 level 100 build with deadly momentum and Ulzaad up.
EZ SR 66 with stage 3 level 100 build.
Explanation of skills
Here I will explain some of the skill choices for the build.
Cadence is the primary damage dealer, you want to max this skill and the final node “deadly momentum”. Deadly momentum (DM) adds flat physical damage to all attack when active. Because armor reduces all flat sources* of physical damage, getting DM to max rank is very important. The node “figthning form” keep at 12/12 for 3 targets or try to get it to 20/12 for 4 targets. If you have it at 18/12, refund to 12/11. (*: x damage converted TO physical damage will bypass armor though)
Cadence is a “Default Attack Replacer” this means that “passive” attacking skills like “Zolhan’s technique” can activate when you hit with cadence (more info about this further down). Zolhan’s technique used to be slow and clunky, bit it has been fixed! We celebrate this by taking it to 12/12 and keep it there. At 12/12 we get 5 targets. The other breakpoints are 8/12 for 3 targets and 16/12 for 6 targets and finally 21/12 for 7 targets. These “passive” attacking skills that can activate from default attack replacers are called “Weapon pool skills” (WPS).
War Cry & Break Morale is a enemy debuff that reduces their dealt damage. No other global damage debuff can stack with this (only racials will). 12/12 is where we wanna have it. The helmet makes us keep it up at almost 100% and also adds some wpn dmg to it meaning we can steal life using the skill - very handy when surrounded. The modifier Break Morale will reduce enemy resistances and is thus VERY important, max this as far as you can. Note, we can note use any other “flat” resistance reduction (RR) - i.e. something that reads “x reduced target’s resistances”. This is because these kind of debuffs don’t stack.
Oleron’s rage our choice of exclusive. Why? It gives movement speed for QoL and most important offensive ability (OA). OA is crucial for physical builds, we need to crit in order to push as much damage through enemy armor and also to proc the celestial power “Assassins mark” to reduce monsters resistances. The other exclusive Menhir Bulwark might seem tempting with its damage absorption, but not worth it here - not even in a HC setting. Damage = life steal and killing stuff fast, i.e. is safer. What is important with Oleron skill is to know its OA breakpoints: 12, 14, … every even point. Thus do not sit at 17/12, get back to 16/12 instead and use that other point elsewhere.
Squad tactics scales poor after 12/12 do not waste more points here.
Similar with any skill, investigate how much extra they actually do if you spend 1 or 2 more points into them - worth it? Can I get more out of another skill with those points?
Feral Hunger. Similar as soldiers skill Zolhan but always has 5 targets. Max this or at least get to 8.
Upheaval. Strange skill, activates from default attacks that did NOT proc a WPS. Read more further down. We got it to rank 8 with just one invested point so hey no big deal if it is garbage skill (for this build) it is at least “free”
Wendigo Totem / Blood pact as long as you stay inside its radius and there is a mob inside that the totem can damage, you will heal. This effect happens 2 times / s. Some like to take this skill to 12/12 for 10% + 1000 = about 3k hp per second regen. I did not consider this priority, but feel free to try it later when you have found gear with more +skills. “The Blood” pact node for us is important since it adds more life steal (attack damage converted to health). 2/12 is good for +6% more of that.
“Modrogen’s pact” line. The main ability you need to max in order to get as high flat physical damage as possible since it will count as a separate source then checkning against armor. The second node is good to get at 10 but scales horrible beoynd that. The last node “oak skin” is a overall good defensive node, 10/10 is good enough but feel free to go beyond if you can and need more resistances and DA + armor.
This is how Cadence and WPS works:
- Cadence first hits 2 times “normal” attack that can proc devotions and WPS such as Zolhan and Feral Hunger. The third is the cadence hit, it can not activate WPSes or Upheaval. This is why investing in upheaval is “useless”. Assume we attack 3 times second and have 50% chance to cast either zolhan or feral and have 25% crit chance. Thus, on average we “cast” upheaval once per 4 seconds.
Items for a final budget build and farming tips
Here I will list “easy” to find items that fits a budget eng-game build that I made in this guide.
Note, you will use loads of rare green items (craftable, random drops and monster infrequents - MI). It will be 100% IMPOSSIBLE for you to make exact copy of my build. You need to puzzle what you have found together and make them fit together. I suggest you get at least 5 of each piece and try to fit it all together focusing on:
- Resistances, getting to 80% is not enough in ultimate, try to get at least 30% “overcap” (except for the CC resistances and physical resists)
- CC-resists stun, freeze, slow. We get a lot for free here using soldier but you want these at 60% as minumum anyway.
- Offensive and defensive ability
- Damage (+%physical damage)
You will also find plenty of epic blue items. Same holds regarding stats as above. In ultimate, you wanna focus on getting physical resists (after you have fixed high armor), which are pretty common on blue pants and boots.
Voldrak’s Crusher drops from the boss Voldrak the destroyer in the Smuggler’s pass. Very fast farm route. There is also a chance for an ancient totem to spawn there, when you think you are ready for it - complete it and you will get general loot. Drop chance for mace around 65%. Focus on getting attack speed, it will improve dps and sustain most. The boss Voldrak can hit pretty hard so be prepared for a hard fight. Will be easier though the more armor and phys res you get.
Fleshwarped Casque very good helm, drops from fleshwarped heroes in Fort Ikon, Fort Ikon weaponry and south & north east just outside Homestead. Also drops in Port Valbury.
My preferred way to get this helmet is to shop it in Port Valbury. You can go there in elite or normal too, vendors care only about your level. Go there (costs a skeleton key) (use Grim Tools map to find the place, the rift is north east of homestead) and visit shop, you will see he sells 2-3 helmets of this kind. If you do not like what you see, go to the previous area (old town) and wait in there for like 30 seconds then go back to shop. He will now sell new items. Do this over and over again until you find something dope! Like if you see he sells “Formidable” or “Overseer” prefix - buy!!! Be preperad to invest some time and iron bits, do not go there with less than 1M iron bits. Good “farming” method but boring and cheesy
As you saw in “stage 3” build, I found in the shop “Formidable” prefix and “of Ruin” suffix - pretty much BiS and it costed me like 15 resets of the shop and around 300k iron bits
Similar trick as above can be used to get a decent shoulder too, and for the belt - but for the belt we need to go to another skeleton key dungeon instead (ancient grove).
Here we have basically 3 options:
Elite Malmouth Vanguard Pauldrons from Malmouth resistance faction. Good resists, good damage.
Fleshwarped Pauldrons drops from same monsters as the helmet and can also be shopped in Port Valbury using same method as with helmet. If you find “Formidable” prefix, buy!
Iron Maiden’s Shoulderguard BiS for budget build imo. It always rolls with physical resists. Drops from the Kymon’s choosen nemesis Iron Maiden. However we will not hunt her in the Main Campaign, that is just waste of time. Instead we can get this in the Shattered Realm (SR) and in Crucible, even in normal/aspirant and elite/challenger given that you are clearing high enough shards/waves You wanna start your SR-journey in normal anyway to get the blueprints for the waystones at least shard level 50. Then you can directly go to Elite or Ultimate and farm there for better drop chances (amount of loot in the reward chests). The reason why we do normal first is because it is super easy and faster - we wanna get blueprint for waystone that unlocks SR 50 asap. I found the shoulder for stage 3 build in elite when I did, think it was 60-61. Right, you need to do at least 2 shards to get best amount of loot, just one shard is not worth it!
tl;dr - just farm SR around shards 50 and get Iron Maiden shoulder
Ugdenbog Girdle farm from crab monsters in the ugdenbog area. The “Barrowholm mine” area and the boss “Carraxus Foul” (in “Den of Carraxus”) are good places to farm it. You can also do similar trick explained for the helmet, but the vendor that sells the belt is located in the skeleton key dungeon “Ancient grove” east of Covens basecamp. In order to reset the vendor go to “Tainted wood” and wait there like 30 seconds then go back to “Feral thicket” where the vendor is and he now sells new items. You can do this in normal and elite too. If you decide to “shop farm” this vendor, make sure to grab the blueprint if you have not found it yet Prismatic Diamond for helmets.
Elite Coven Combatant’s Chestguard from Coven faction, to push deadly momentum up.
Mogara’s Fangs drops from the manticore boss “Mogara” who lives in the west side of the pine barrens (Jagged waste). About 62% drop chance, quick farm - she is not as dangerous as Voldrak, but beware.
Mythical Goliath Signet is craftable so you need to get the blueprint first. Farm totems in ultimate.
If you are not so lucky with blueprint drops this is a very good faction ring from Coven that you can use meanwhile Coven Storm Seal the level 100 “stage 1” build used this.
Juggernaut for +1 soldier skills. Can be shopped from the vendor in Port Valbury and in Ancient grove. Also by Hyram in steelclap district, after you have saved him!
In the stage 3 build I used Doom which was not easy to craft I can ensure you. This is also a very good high-end relic Deathstalker that is a bit easier to craft. This blueprint drops from one of the Manticore-bosses in the Ancient Grove. The pet skill supplies and aura that reduces monsters resistances.
Any glove with good stats and most importantly, attack speed! Like you can use greens that you drop or craft. This Plagueguard Grips blueprint is a good base but you can also craft regular gloves and hope for good luck.
These Epic (blue) gloves Mythical Turin’s Grips, Mythical Obsidian Grasp and Bloodrite Gauntlets are good and also Kriegs glove Krieg’s Grip that you can farm from Valaxteria in Crown Hill. Don’t worry about that your Blitz damage get’s converted to aether - it is not a damage dealer anyway for us.
My favorite gloves on budget build is Mythical Obsidian Grasp, especially if you roll high physical resistances on them.
Solael-Sect Legguards you can farm from the 2nd boss in the hidden path quest. Always rolls with bleed, aether resits, life steal and freeze res.
Same as for gloves and pants, any green one with good resists and stats. Boots have a higher tendancy to have CC resists on them so look out for that. You can craft regular ones or these Stoneplate Greaves if you have the blueprint.
Components and Augments
You can look at my grim tool links and see what I use. It is important to get 100% armor absorption and getting resists high (and CC resistances) as first priority, the look for stats like OA, DA, and damage, and after that speed, life steal etc.
Devotions - explanation and how to make the final build
This is not 100% how I did it, but here is a way to get final build devotion tree. First I wanna explain why we take these devotions, in particular the ones that I think are most important. When I started the char, I took some other devotions meanwhile to help out in the AoE department (like Falcon).
Assassins blade: for reducing monsters resistances to our damage type - physical.
Kraken: good overall for 2H builds, gives ton of needed attack speed.
Ghoul: good life saver, will make you almost immortal for 5 seconds as long as you keep attacking.
Ulzaad: will make you deal more damage, and get some more armor.
Azrakaa: the nodes are the most interesting to us, damage and speed etc. The proc is decent, lowers monsters offensive abilty (OA)
Dire Bear: proc that reduces monsters armor so we hurt them more. Not sure how valuable it is for a 2H build but the nodes are at least good.
Sailors guide and Empty Throne we take for their affinity bonus and their CC (crowd controll) resistances.
Panther: good OA (offensive ability)
Toad: extra life steal and affinity
Jackal: 2 points for attack speed.
Ok this is how you can get the devotions I had in my final build:
- Yellow crossroad
- Assassins blade (bind to Cadence)
- Purple crossroad
- Empty throne
- Blue crossroad
- Ulzaad (bind to War Cry)
- Refund Yellow crossroad
- Solemn Watcher
- Azrakaa (bind to blitz)
- Dire Bear (bind to wendigo totem)
- Refund Blue and Purple crossroad
- Ghoul up to its proc (not its right foot) (bind to Field Command)
- 2 nodes in Jackal, for the 6% total speed (casting, attack and run)
Note, the dire bear proc can not heal your character if bound to a player scaled pet, such as the wendigo totem. Bind it to cadence instead and Assassin mark to Wendigo totem instead if you wanna utilize it’s heal. However, I think casting Assassins mark asap is more important then getting some extra small heal… we already have enough heal tbh.
Feel free to experiement with other devotions too, I know Oleron devotion is good and popular.
Playtstyle and performance
Because we are single target focused killer, we try to skip all regular “trash mobs” and focus on heroes and bosses. Cast war cry, stand inside wendigo totem and blitz on boss for deduffing (lowering its Defensive Ability - DA). Then just smack until dead, repeat process of war cry and blitz every 5s and refresh totem. Some bosses you need to kite now and then, when your menhir will and ghoul are on cooldown. If there are many heroes and bosses at one place, try to lure them. If you wanna do this, remember to cast war cry from afar because it taunts targets. So lure first, then do the rotation mentioned above. Make sure to watch the gameplay video in the beginning of this guide.
Lokarr (kite when menhir will is on cooldown)
Morgoneth (note I did not have 100% success rate)
EZ SR 50 with stage 1 level 100 build.
EZ SR 66 with stage 3 level 100 build.
✦ Leveling and build diary with tips and tricks
Level 16 (normal)
Try to get 1 or 2 points in the mastery bar for every level up, all attributes goes to physique now. Will get a buffer of 5 or so points later.
Devotions started with Jackal for speed and will do ghoul for life steal and proc now. After Ghoul will get Faclon for some AoE or whatever. Assassins mark will be 4th devotion.
Try not to kill every single monster, just go for the big and important ones (like the sliths for their necklaces to get Slith Primal ring – I will use it later when I get more attack speed elsewhere)
Weapon – just a big 2H one.
Level 27 (normal)
Just killed cronley and got to FG to pick up a movement skill arugment. Went with Bysmiel, will choose them in all difficulties I think.
Devotions we are working on Falcon now.
Skill wise gonna aim to get to Oleron exclusive.
Relic we took the bone talisman for some dmg boost for bosses. Do the lost elder quest and select ”no I did not find a talisman” and you get this relic. Also exists elite and ultimate tiers and is kinda nice (its free too lol).
Level 36 (normal)
Just killed amalgamation. Got a pretty nice Voldrak weapon on the 6th run. He hits like a truck, be careful. Skip the totem in Smugglers pass.
Also got nice Mogara amulet on the 2nd run.
Run speed is dope now with oleron. Gonna grab shaman skills soon, devour swarm for proccing Assassin and heart of the wild
Devotion, after Assassins mark I think I will try to get Ulzaad.
Level 47 (normal)
Just about to go and kill Ekket Zhul.
Have some quests left for Coven though.
Farmed a new Voldrak weapon.
Things are running smoother. Will try to get figthning form to 12/12 now for three targets. Will get War cry after fighting form.
Devotions: gonna finish sailor guide then start Ulzaad. After Ulzaad – work to get kraken.
Level 57 (normal)
Gonna kill Master of Flesh then finish FG elite quests. After that, farm and upgrade shoulder, helm and chest to something with a bit more armor and resistances for Elite. Spent so much time in Normal already with this char, not very fast but pretty fun and good single target damage.
Level 55 (start of elite)
https://www.grimtools.com/calc/4NO1xRXV looks good!
Level 66 (elite)
https://www.grimtools.com/calc/O2G19MnZ just came to homestead and finished the first FG quest for Bysmiel.
Devotions will be to finish Panther and after that Dire Bear and Behemot… or do Azrakaa… or just change to get the goal build devotions.
At level 70 we are gonna farm a new Voldrak weapon, have one level 70 ”superior of alactrity” that might be enough.
First death at level 70, hit a reflective monster and just got one-shotted by myself lol.
I got rid of Faclon Swoop proc, not needed anymore. Completed Behemot and then removed falcon to get Solemn watcher instead.
Level 78 (elite)
Changed devos abit to get more OA so we can crit…
Changed component in gloves for more life steal.
Got augment in weapon and rings + amulet. Just some basic ones.
Just about to farm upgrades for Ultimate: weapon, helm and shoulders. Maybe a new medal for resistances. Amulet is still fine I guess. Soon revered with Homestead so can use some armor augments.
Left to do in Elite is killing Master of Flesh in AoM and Father Kymon and Korvaak in FG. Will get back to them once we are done with vanilla game quests in Ultimate.
Level 87 (ultimate)
Got to vanguard of the three in FG and Fort Ikon. Gonna go back to Elite now and finish Master of Flesh and Korvaak to get some reputation. Gonna hit revered with Malmouth so we can buy experience potions.
Farmed a new Voldrak weapon
Level 94 (ultimate)
ok now time to farm some gear upgrades and loot the faction shops for faction gears and augments.
Are revered with Devils crossing, Homestead, Black Legion, Malmouth and Coven. The rest are Honored. Also gonna craft Juggernaut relic.
Have found good belt and helmet, gonna farm for upgrade on amulet and weapon so Voldrak and Morgara runs for a while. Then we can respec devotions, skills and attributes and aim towards making the ”final” build for this journey. After that farm totems and stuff and see if we can get some blue item upgrades and blueprints.
Maybe also start hidden path on ultimate so we can farm solael pants.
Level 95 (ultimate)
After farming Voldrak and Morgara around 10 times, we managed to do this! New are also these faction boots to cap slow res.
Also crafted a new movement augment.
Time to hit 100 and do the all the quests and try some endgame stuff
Level 100 (ultimate, stage 1)
Gonna do as much and as hard content as possible before doing totem, dungeons and SR runs to improve build.
Master of Flesh – full facetank done
Dravis & Steward - Done
MQ – full facetank done
Kravall – full facetank done
Lokarr RIP x 2 … try later again with upgrades…
Father Kymon – full facetank done menhir will procced
Korvaak – menhir will procced when I was too late in dodging meteors, otherwise full facetank
SoT – do not stand too long in blue pool.
BoC – menhir will procced
PV – do not attack when they have their shield-bubbles up.
AG – do not stand in his fissures.
Morgoneth – be careful for where you stand and attack, menhir will procced a few times, Morgoneth spawned with Sethris RIP. You need high petrify res here so use two frozen hearts.
2nd attempt Morgoneth went better, got orissa as first spawn. Kite when menhir will / hp pot is on cooldown. You can also use aether cluster (once/fight bc 80s cooldown).
SR 50 – Done
Level 100 (ultimate, stage 2)
Lokarr – went much better. Kite when menhir will and ghoul is down.
Morgoneth – still insta RIP when Morgo spawns sethris.
Level 100 (ultimate, stage 3)
Other good shoulders are the fleshwarped pauldrons.
Helmet: look for overseers or formidable prefix and shoulders formiddable prefix
SR 65 & 66 done
✦ Conclusions and prospects
This is a very strong 2H melee build and can be improved upon a lot. I excells at single target killing while being mobile and tanky. Your “goal” gear should/would be the avenger set (Nature’s Avenger) for a similar playstyle. You can then either focus on Savegery or Cadence. The three builds below demonstrates the concepts,
Avenger set Savagery build: https://forums.crateentertainment.com/t/1-1-8-1-2h-melee-you-wanna-crush-lets-crush-avenger-warder-c-sr/104787 very strong build and natural progression from my budget build though uses savagery instead of cadence.
This is my Avenger set Savagery build, with savagery as attacking skill https://www.grimtools.com/calc/M2gQ7Q7Z uses shaman conduit amulet and MI Korvan helmet to make Devouring swarm lowering monsters physical resistances by additional 30%! Now we do lose the extra weapon damage on Savagery from helmet so in most cases this is a small dps loss comprade to the build above. Although, we gain lots of damage against monsters that has high physical resistances (like Lokarr, Ravager, Iron Maiden). Concept can be improved upon further I think.
Avenger set build with Cadence as main skill: [18.104.22.168] Oleron - 2H melee physical Cadence Warder, Ravager killer, very easy SR 80+ uses cadence as main-skill and Warborn helm for War cry uptime. Can be changed a bit, see mine and mad_lee’s comments in that thread.
In case you wanna try another warder build, maybe you found some new shiny gear also - just check in the Build Compendium X (Forgotten Gods) or search the tag “warder” in the forum and you will find plenty of warders. The most popular build types apart from 2H savagery/cadence are 2H lightning primal strike and lightning retaliation builds.