[ -] Budget Physical Cadence S&B Warlord


After publishing my [] Budget S&B Physical Battlemage, a rightful comment stated

While in the case of Battlemage - because of the Spellsource set - I would slightly disagree, there is in fact a great synergy between the Soldier and Oathkeeper mastery for shield builds. The beginners section in the Build Compendium X (Forgotten Gods) and Beginner build guides Compendium (for AoM + FG expansions) have currently two beginner Warlords, a two-hand melee weapon Forcewave spammer ([] Budget physical Forcewave Warlord) and a Blitz orientated S&B build (Blitz Krieg - A SSF, HC-Viable, New-Player-Friendly Warlord). So there might be enough room left to provide another levelling alternative. The idea to use Deadly Momentum to increase the punch of Blitz is e.g. already used here [] Blitzer Physical Warlord: The Tank Who Hits Hard and Fast

A Shielded Life - Part 2

The intention of the build is to have the Cadence S&B Warborn Warlord gameplay on a budget build. Therefore, Cadence is used as main damage source, and War Cry is used for the resist reduction. Another target was to have a rather strong defense, centered around Overguard - especially at the end. A deliberate descision was to not use Forcewave at all - even while levelling. In the early levelling phase, Blitz is used as rather dominant damage source, so there is some kind of natural overlap with Cenos build.

While Blitz is important, the improved Milton’s Casque, paired with Safeguard and later Deadly Momentum give the normal attacks - even with a rather limited investment in Cadence - a rather good punch. So the typical gameplay while levelling will be Blitz (or Charge) into a group of enemies, use the main attack (Cadence) and Blitz again when the cooldown ends. And if the gear is updated regularly, it plays rather smooth that way. Overguard is not really needed for a long time, but provides a good boni just in case - even if the increased health regen might be more important early than the other boni.

At higher levels, the focus on Cadence will be more dominant and after level 90, the Overguard aspect is strengthened by increased investment of skill points. In this was also done by using Colossal Bulwark, however, the added physical damage converted to aether damage with patch reduced the value of the shield for the build. Therefore, the shield was changed to Kalis’Ka’s Harvest. To have some kind of stress test - beside the challange dungeons and nemesis on Ultimate - some superbosses kills were attempted at lower difficulties - and these attempts were not total failures with the version.

Self Found?

Only self-found equipment and self-found crafting materials were used while levelling. Also, no mandates were transferred, writs were bought as soon as possible. However, all necessary blueprints were already found with earlier characters. The character was played solely in

Current Character

Grimtools of the current character. Most attribute points are invested in Cunning to increase the offensive ability (OA) and damage. The bare minimum is invested in Spirit to meet the gear requirements.

[Cadence, all permanent buffs and Deadly Momemtum and Overguard. Damage is higher without Overguard.]

Using the same components and nacked gear, it is already possible to cap all resistances skeleton character (= without affixes), however, the OA and defensive ability (DA) is rather low, so the gear must mainly support this aspects. Keep in mind that increasing Cunning will help to increase the OA and the damage here.

Version History

  • inital version
  • shield changed to Kalis’Ka’s Harvest, Fighting Form increased to 12/12, skill points taken from Decorated Soldier (2), Safeguard (2) and Field Command (2)


The new level 100 version with the new shield was tested at Korvaak, Morgoneth, Lokarr - as well in Shard 25 in the Shattered Realm (all in Ultimate).


The full campaign (softcore) with both expansions was finished in all three difficulties (Veteran, Elite, Ultimate). Monster totems were activated on sight - after cleaning the surrounding area. Deaths happened, but were rather rare. In Veteran, four deaths were caused by my total ignorance of my chaos resistance, five are related to my attempts to kill superbosses in Veteran / Elite - and the last one happened while facetanking Kymon in Ultimate (and might be related to a 9.7k hit taken by the character).

All challenge dungeons were finished in Ultimate relatively painless. Shard 25 was reached in the Shattered Realm in Ultimate for the additional skill points in one try (and it should be possible to go higher; @Ulvar1 could finish shard 65 with the build, but for higher shard farming check/really consider the comment at the end of the levelling section about bringing Fighting Form to 12/12 for three target Cadence like proposed by @Ceno). The following nemesis were slain in Ultimate: Moosilauke, Kubacabra, Valdaran, Benn’Jahr, Grava’Thul and Kaisan.

Additionally, because the character is rather defense orientated, the ability to kill some superbosses was tested (not in Ultimate - it is a budget build after all). Shortly after reaching level 100, Ravager (of Souls) and Callagadra could be killed in Veteran, Callagadra needed a more careful approach and some kiting to avoids death (the kill was the third attempt). The first attempt to kill Ravager (again of Souls - stupid me) in Elite failed, with some pharma the second attempt - after the move to the more Overguard centered build - ended again prematurely (with a death) after reducing Ravager to 3 million hit point. The last and finally successful attempt was with the final character (all skill points, final gear) and pharma. It took a little less than 14 minutes. Clones and Lokarr are relatively easy and possible without pharma.

Levelling / Skills The character starts as Soldier and always uses a shield (note: In the early phase (level 1 to 10), using a one-handed ranged weapon strongly increases the defense - as not being hit is still the best defense.) The first skill points are invested in the Soldier mastery bar, after reaching 10/50 in the mastery bar, invest one point in Blitz and one in Menhir's Will. Blitz will be for some time the main source of damage - especially considering groups of enemies. The skill points gained with the following level ups are invested in Blitz (2) and the mastery bar (1). At level 9, it sould be Blitz at 9/16 and the Soldier mastery bar at 15/50. Oathkeeper as second mastery is taken with level 10, Blitz is reduced to 4/16 and the Soldier mastery bar to 10/50. Invest one point in the Oathkeeper mastery bar and max Safeguard immediately (for the armor, flat physical damage and % physical damage).

The next targeted skill is Deadly Momentum. With the next level up, invest one skill point in Cadence, one in Shield Training and one in the Soldier mastery bar. The skill points gained with following level ups are mainly invested in the Soldier mastery bar. However, after reaching 15/50 in the mastery bar, invest one point in Fighting Form and after reaching 32/50 in the mastery bar, one point in Blindside and one point in Overguard. Farm a good Milton’s Casque, as the finally accepted one will be used until the area can be visited in Elite. After 40/50 in the Soldier mastery bar is reached, start and max Deadly Momentum. Farm a good Warden’s Fortress and Gutworm’s Mark (after Deadly Momentum is taken), get a movement rune (with shield damage) and craft Calamity (is needed for Juggernaut). After maxing Deadly Momentum, max the Soldier mastery bar and start and max Menhir’s Bulwark. Menhir’s Bulwark is taken as exclusive skill because health regen, increased healing effects and the damage absorption are key parts of the defensive setup.

After Menhir’s Bulwark is maxed, invest one point in Field Command and in Squad Tactics with each level up. The third point is invested in Military Conditioning (1), Veterancy (1), Decorated Soldier (1), Scars of Battle (1) and than the Oathkeeper mastery bar (in this order). Farm a good Mogara’s Fangs, a new Warden’s Fortress, Milton’s Casque, Gutworm Medal, Solael-Sect Legguard and craft a Devil’s Cord. As soon as possible, craft a Juggernaut relic. If you don’t have the blueprint, keep in mind that some vendors sell the blueprint.

Because of the used chest armor, one point was invested in Zolhan’s Technique (without, the investment would have happened later). The moment the Oathkeeper master bar reaches 5/50, instead of investing in the mastery bar, invest one point in Presence of Virtue and with the next level up one in Smite. After Field Command and Squad Tactics are maxed, invest two skill points in the Oathkeeper mastery bar and one in Presence of Virtue. After reaching level 50, you can move to the first Totally Normal Shield.

The next steps are - Oathkeeper mastery bar reaches 15/50: invest one point in Haven and one in Resilence, with the next level up, one in Markovian’s Advantage and Zolhan’s Technique (if not taken already earlier) - Oathkeeper mastery bar reaches 20/50: invest the second gained skill point (if available) in Presence of Virtue and than with the next level ups all skill points in Shattering Smash (until 6/10 with gear is reached). The distribution for the following level ups is: one Oathkeeper mastery bar, one Presence of Virtue - after Presence of Virtue is maxed, the second skill point is invested in Shattering Smash. Don’t forget to farm a new Milton’s Casque and Warden’s Fortress in Elite after finishing the Veteran base campaign.

After Shattering Smash is maxed, max the Oathkeeper mastery bar, only invest in between one point in Rebuke when possible. Starting with level 65, Coven Combatant’s Chestguard and later Malmouth Vanguard Pauldrons are potential gear options. At level 75, get the second Totally Normal Shield. After the Oathkeeper mastery bar is maxed, invest one point in Guardians of Empyrion and Celestial Presence. The following level ups are one in Celestial Presence and one in Cadence - until both are maxed. Only than start to take War Cry (target: 12/12 with gear) and Break Moral (max).

At level 90, it is time for the final faction gear update (rings, elite version of chest and shoulder armor). While trying to buy good rolled ones - start to look for a good level 94 Colossal Bulwark. There are different good affix options depending on the personal preference, it is e.g. possible to focus on cooldown reduction (more Overguard, War Cry and Blitz) or physical resistence (here). Keep in mind that the of Barricades suffix allows to take a second Seal of Might while still having a 90%+ block recovery with Overguard, so it is more or less a “rare” suffix. If wanted (as keeping Milton’s Casque and Warden’s Fortress is an option to have a more offensive Blitz orientated build) - move from Warden’s Fortress to Colossal Bulwark and from Milton’s Casque to Fettan Mask should at level 94. After the move, adjust the skill points: remove the 23/22 point from Deadly Momentum, reduce Blitz to 1/16 (without gear), bring Overguard to 12/12 (with gear) and take Markovian’s Defense. Regardless of the equipment decision, reduce shattering smash to 6/10 (with gear) and invest the skill points in Break Moral. The last skill points gained with level ups and quests are used to max Break Moral, getting (=investing one skill point) in Fighting Sprit and raising Decorated Soldiers (I had a not so good rolled Fettan Mask and wanted to have a bit more elemental resistance overcap reserve).

Another worthwhile target for the last skill points is Fighting Form, at 12/12 another Cadence target is added (so Cadence will hit up to three targets compared to two). Six skill points are needed to increase Fighting Form to 12/12, four can easily be taken from Decorated Soldier and Squad Tactics, and two from another skill, e.g. Safeguard.

With patch the build was affected by the added physical damage converted to aether damage to the old shield. This change reduces the sheet damage from ~125.000 to ~ 115.000. While the build seems still solid using a Colossal Bulwark, I would no longer consider the shield as best option for the build. Therefore, the shield was changed to Kalis’Ka’s Harvest. The stats of this shield were buffed with patch and %physical damage was added to Presence of Virtue, so the damage under overguard - even with Markovian’s Defense - could be kept and is now at ~129.000. However, the downtime of Overguard has become longer. A minor buff is the increased attack converted to health on the pants.

With the change to the shield, also the proposed increase of Fighting Form for the third Cadence target was done. To bing Fighting Form to 12/12, six skill points are needed, points were taken from Decorated Soldier (2), Safeguard (2) and Field Command (2).

Character Snapshots

level 10: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/a2EMYwn2

level 20: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/qNYp0XgZ

level 30: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/eVLwy1d2

level 40: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/62aaGmk2

level 50: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/O2GnR16N

level 60: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/xZy01QrV

level 70: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/lV70nmvZ

level 80: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/YVWwa10V

level 90: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/dVbrjqEV

level 100: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/q2mXealN (reaching level 100)

level 100: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/lNkGvO4N (v.

level 100: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/JVljDopN (current status)

  1. Crossroad yellow
  2. Assassin’s Blade: Resist Reduction
  3. Remove Crossroad yellow
  4. Toad: Adcth
  5. Empty Throne: Resistances
  6. Panther: OA
  7. Eel: temporarily (see step 11)
  8. Harvestman’s Scythe: stats, health regen, DA
  9. Solemn Watcher: DA
  10. Dire Bear: physical damage, DA, proc, affinity
  11. Remove Eel
  12. Azrakaa: physical damage
  13. Shieldmaiden: Shield Boni
  14. Owl: affinity
  15. Oleron: physical damage, proc

The devotion setup is a mixture between defensive devotions (Solemn Watcher, Shieldmaiden, Harvestman’s Scythe) and offensive devotions (Azrakaa, Oleron). The proc from Oleron was choosen to have a reliable Area of Effect offensive skill. As Menhir’s Bulwark and Haven increase healing effects (including Adcth), the effective Adcth is higher and Adcth devotions are not needed that strongly. Another pillar of the defense is life regen, which is supported by Harvestman’s Scythe.

see Grimtools

Gear This build relies on specific Monster Infrequent items. Early core items are Milton's Casque and Warden's Fortress. In some cases, it is important to farm suitable version more than once. However, while levelling, acceptable ones will be good enough, as they must be exchanged later by higher level versions. In case of amulett and medal, a good rolled lower level version might be better than a not so good rolled higher level version (see, e.g., the amulett used in the final build). For some slots (cloves and boots) random non faction drops or Epic / Legendary items might provide better stats, however, faction gear allows to provide a more standardized baseline character and is therefore used here - even if some of the mentioned alternative gear for these slots was found.

Guaranteed Epic / Legendary Drops

head: Fettan Mask - +1 to all skills, guaranteed drop from Urn Cluster
weapon: Totally Normal Shield - +1 to all skills to Soldier/Oathkeeper, guaranteed drop from Urn Cluster

Monster Infrequents:


amulett: Mogara’s Fangs - +1 to all skills in Soldier, can be farmed from Mogara, the Prime Matriarch
medal: Gutworm’s Mark - +3 to Deadly Momentum, can be farmed from Gutworm, the Maneater
pants: Solael-Sect Legguard - Adcth, resistances, can be farmed from Guardian of Solael
girdle: Ugdenbog Gridle - +1 to all skills in Soldier, can be replaced with Wendigo Warder Girdle


head: Milton’s Casque - Blitz and physical damage, can be farmed from Milton Hart
shield: Warden’s Fortress - Blitz, can be farmed from Warden Krieg

Final Build

shield: Kalis’Ka’s Harvest - physical damage bonus to Presence of Virtue, can be farmed from Kalis Ka, the Bonehunter

Faction Gear:

chest: Coven Combatant’s Chestguard - +3 to Deadly Momentum
shoulder: Malmouth Vanguard Pauldrons - +3 to Cadence, Blitz and Smite
rings: Coven Storm Seal - faction physical damage rings, with bonus to DA, attack speed and +2 to Field Command / Presence of Virtue
gloves: Elite Rhowari Grips - generic attack speed faction gloves, can be replaces by better random drop or craft
boots: Elite Legion Greaves - physical resistance faction boots, can be replaces by better random drop or craft


Juggernaut - +1 to all skills in Soldier, OA and proc (health regen)

Notable Other Gear Option:

Alternative gear for the final build, but also earlier versions are suitable while levelling the character.


boots: Mythical Final March - Menhir’s Will
boots: Mythical Runeguard Greaves - Field Command, Presence of Virtue
boots: Mythical Stonetreaders - Overguard
boots: Mythical Dreadnought Footpads - Blitz, Blindside, Rebuke


gloves: Mythical Turin’s Grips - Safeguard, Markovian Advantage, Break Moral
gloves: Mythical Colossal Grasp - Overguard bonus


amulett: Spellsource Deflector - Overguard bonus, +1 to all skills in Soldier

What Else / What Now

Go Farming: The character is able to farm totems, challenge dungeons and nemesis and (low) shards in the Shattered Realm in Ultimate relatively safe. With a bit patience also stronger enemies are possible like Ravager in Elite.

The direct endgame version of the concept is a Warborn S&B Cadence Warlord. Unfortunately, as S&B builds - beside retal - are currently not considered that favourable for endgame content (as other concepts can do the same but faster or stronger), only some have been published, e.g. [] Classical S&B Cadence Warlord tank for easy SR 75 (for a Ravager farmer build see e.g.: Which Ravager should I face). There are also other non Warborn based builds, e.g. [] Dual Shield Warlord! SR75~76 easy, Callagadra, Scion of the Sands Kill 2m50s, Ravager of Minds Kill 1m40s, Avatar of Mogdrogen Kill 3m16s [vid] Callagadra very easy version or [] The new Carrot tank - Markovian S&B Warlord! SR 75+/Crucible buffless

And as Warlord is a relative versatile class, respecing to one of the other concepts like retaliation Warlord, EoR Warlord, Shield Caster etc is always possible. See Build Compendium X (Forgotten Gods) for the most current builds.


I see fighting spirit, I hit like :wink:

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I see Cadence, I hit like.

Minor nitpick, however: I feel any melee Cadence build without additional targets modifiers from items is doing itself a disservice by not maxing Fighting Form. You can take two points out of Squad Tactics without sacrificing any much-needed Attack Speed, and four points out of Safeguard for a minor single-target dps loss but the gain of ~33% improved AoE killing by diverting these six points into FF. I’d really recommend this.

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Have thought about it, but would likely take 2-4 points for the 6 needed from Decorated Soldier. I also thought about using the MI increasing the max number of targets, as I even found a relative good one this time (level 94 superior of fury). But to not require a challenge dungeon MI, to keep the build relative cheap, I decided against the MI.

But in the end, Guardians of Empyron paired with Blind Fury and Blitz provided in most cases enough AoE damage for the content - so I at least have not felt that the third Cadence target is imperative. However, I will add a comment in the levelling section.

Edit: Have added the final build savegame folder to the character snapshots section - if someone wants an earlier snapshot savegame - just ask (for each snapshot in the section, I have a copy of the savegame folder)

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Pretty easy

Damage is ok, but I do miss having vire’s might or another “no target” movement skill to quickly change position. Getting fightning form to 12/12 will help too clearing multiple heroes or heroes + nemesis in SR chunks :slight_smile:

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Thx for proving the SR capability :slight_smile: I was a bit too lazy (as I would have played all levels from 25 up to 65 which takes a bit of time - but was hopeful that SR 40/50 should be reachable [a rather conservative estimate - as you have proven now]). And yeah, group of heroes or other high life enemies are surely the situation were the build would profit the most from a three target Cadence.

Regarding the movement rune, for other content (crucible, SR), I would likely have used a different one - but for the main map - charge like movement skills are a bit more fun for me - especially the possible long distance runs (only followed by jump runes - jumping around corners / above certain walls). But I also prefer relative easy to play builds with not too many buttons to press, therefore no Vire Might as third alternative.

Edit: And added your achievement to the performance section.
Edit 2: Clones and Lokarr are relatively easy and possible without pharma.

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shield now now got conversion so one has to change it unfortunately.

I can try to think about suitable replace shields later today, perhaps best “bet” is a Warden Krieg “fortress shield” …

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seems possible - as it was already a contender for a more offensive setup (and was even the base shield most of the time)

Edit: another option might be Kalis’Ka’s Harvest - as the PoV physical damage bonus would increase also the Cadence damage part

Edit 2: e.g. something like this: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/RVvDjBGN (using a shield with the same affixes - but Overguard with long cooldown [or another affix with cooldown reduction for the shield is target farmed - or 4.5 sec are an acceptable cooldown])

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Looks good.

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Updated the level 100 version of the build because of the change to the old shield. The build now uses Kalis’Ka’s Harvest. The damage under Overguard is slightly increased, the downtime of Overguard obviously increased. Also increased Fighting Form to 12/12

Build was tested at Korvaak, Morgoneth, Lokarr - as well in Shard 25 in the Shattered Realm (all in Ultimate). New level 100 version also uploaded under character snapshots.


I ran with the build until level 94, then switched to the spare Myrmidon set I had in my inventory (by which time I was about halfway through FG on Ultimate, having completed AoM). I’ve kept a lot of the skills and all of the devos though, it’s pretty good. I’d also say it’s an okay levelling experience for a cadence / blitz S&B character, not as painful as I feared. Also, ofc, super-tanky. So thanks and well done, I think this is a great starter build to get going / farming.

There was one death only, a freaky shotgun sort of attack by Zaria outside Darkvale Gate (I was about level 45ish on elite). Maybe it was a retaliation thing, idk, but I was one-shotted by her.

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Thx for the feedback, the Zaria death might have been caused by her chrystals - low chaos res and a double chrystal strike can lead to an instant death (had one as well because of this).

For the levelling phase, I think Kalis’Ka’s Harvest is now a rather good alternative to Warden’s Fortress - as the Cadence part of the build is also buffed by the Presence of Virtue %physical damage bonus.

I experimented with a load of different shields as I went, the great thing about this build is it’s forgiving when it comes to equipment. Never tried Kalis’Ka, kept the Warden’s shield as I really, really like Blitzing about.


first off all thanks for the build. It was fun and really easy to level up. (Maybe not as 2h forcewave, but what is…)
Only one death - in ultimate while stil leveling I didn’t notice that totem spawned second arcane hero :frowning: .
And other almost came when on SR50

Still have few things to upgrade, but I was wondering if my gloves are better than Mythical Turin’s Grips and what would be upgrade for relic.

With the Cadence mod, the gloves surely are suitable for the build (for budget builds - there will be rarely recommandation regarding legendary items, as the focus lies on (relative) easy to obtain equipment - to have some kind of guranteed baseline).

Juggernaut as relic is rather good - but if you no longer feel that you need the proc and the OA bonus, you can use one of the higher level “+1 to all skills in soldier” relics - depending on your preferences with either a more offensive or defensive focus. In your case however, you might need to adjust your build a bit than, as Juggernaut has an %OA bonus and with your current gear and another relic, your OA will be a bit on the lower end.

Blade Arc version Played a bit around in grimtools and did just for fun a quick 1h physical blade arc version of the level 100 version of the build (stashed, not levelled). I think the result should be acceptable for the main campaign. With the not so bad affixes of the gear used here, the sheet damage can go up to 177k with Ulzaad's Decree. For testing puropse, I made a nacked 1 - 100 gladiator crucible run.

(with all permanent and non permanent buffs)

As the key gear is available around mid-game, it should be another viable Warlord S&B levelling alternative for the second half of the journey. But as it is rather similar to the Cadence build, a complete levelling guide (including the complete levelling part) seems unnecessary, so I leave/post the idea just here.

grimtools link: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/Q2zzKzv2

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I managed to push it to 200k in test patch, but my gear is less budget than yours I guess.

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I would guess, one reason is also that my build is not really optimized and there is still some space for improvement. It was only a quick try, getting all the MIs with boni to Blade Arc in one build and checking how it looks in game - and as it was okish I stopped fine tuning it. :slight_smile:

This is my current version:

Will probably post it after goes live.

Levelling-wise it’s very fun, perhaps a bit behind Forcewave and Primal Strike in efficiency, but shouldn’t be losing to much else.


Looks great and seems fun to play (and luckily I have not invested the time to level my idea). And finally a budget build using the hundreds of Baldirs typcially collected while levelling :slight_smile: I also thought about using the set as it not that rare and it is rather likely to have a complete one al level 100, but decided than to use faction stuff - just to be more similar to the Cadence guy.

Than I can safely and slowly try to get my 2h ranged Purifier to level 100 (currently not satisfied with the damage at level 46)

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