Alkamos’ Scythe - a Damage Monster in Theory
With 184.108.40.206 various Monster infrequents items were buffed, two received a special treatment and got modifiers to Menhir’s Bulwark similar to Sunherald’s Claymore. As currently one battlemage ([WIP] Beginner's Lazy Battlemage Diary) using the buffed Fleshwarped Core is levelled, a Sunherald Claymore ([220.127.116.11] Beginner's Fire Blade Arc Commando) guide already exists, only Alkamos’ Scythe is missing. After finding a nice one while levelling my last character, I theorycrafted a build using it and was positively surprised by the sheet damage. So I decided to level an Alkamos’ Scythe blademaster.
Blademaster (Soldier, Nightblade) is one of the natural classes for an Alkamos’ Scythe build, Soldier because of Menhir’s Bulwark and Blitz modifier, Nightblade for cold damage boni and cold resist reduction. Current beginner builds for Blademaster are either dual wield ([18.104.22.168] Beginner's Forgotten Blademaster, [22.214.171.124] Budget cold DW melee Blademaster, [126.96.36.199] American dream: from 0 to beating endgame with scrap metal and bare hands (Blademaster, For beginners, Faction gear, Pure DW melee, SR75, Crucible 150-170) - Grim Dawn / Classes, Skills and Builds - Crate Entertainment Forum) or 2-hand caster ([188.8.131.52] Beginner's pierce PB Spite Blademaster 65SR, crucible viable). So this guide might fill a tiny empty spot.
For endgame bladmasters check Build Compendium X (Forgotten Gods), for other beginners builds/guides Build Compendium X (Forgotten Gods) / Beginner build guides Compendium (for AoM + FG expansions).
Disclaimer and Contact with Reality
As the character uses two harder to get Monster Infrequents (Alkamos’ Scythe, Kubacabra’s Chausses), it might be questionable to call it budget build, but with normal luck a good Scythe can be farmed at higher levels, and there is a fair chance to find Kubacabra’s Chausses without farming that much. In fact, the used pants in the final build were the first chausses found in Elite. However, the gated way to Alkamos’ Scythe, paired with the relativ rarity of Skeleton Keys at the beginning and the 50% drop chance of the Scythe might delay the move from physical Forcewave to cold damage. While levelling this character, I had rng lucky and found my first Scythe the first time I tried it. The currently used one was found after 12 runs (counting all runs on all difficulties).
While showing an impressive damage output, the character feels weak from time to time. The killing speed is rather good, as long as the cold resistance of the enemy is not overly strong (will happen from time to time), however, the main issue is that the character depends seemly rather strong on Attack damage converted to health (Adcth). As long as enought damage is converted to heal the character all is fine and the character feels rather immortal and is a fun build to play, but from time to time, the life goes down really fast and a quick death happens. After having no issues at all in Elite, having this issues in Ultimate was a small surprise. Well, perhaps it was also not the best idea to play such a character after playing a sturdy S&B Battlemage.
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 184.108.40.206.
Grimtools of the current character. Attribute points are distributed between Physique, Cunning and Spirit. Points in Physique to raise the defense ability, Cunning to have an accaptable offensive ability, and the rest in Spirit to increase the damage.
[Cadence, all permanent buffs and Pneumatic Burst, Deadly Momemtum and Lethal Assault]
Using the same components and affixless gear, it is not possible to max all resistences, so the exact layout will be gear dependent (skeleton character).
PerformanceThe 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 from time to time, mainly in Ultimate.
All challenge dungeons were finished in Ultimate, against Morgoneth one Aether Cluster was used (and it was needed). However, Ancient Grove was already no painless task and three attempts were necessary. Shard 25 was reached in the Shattered Realm in Ultimate for the additional skill points (not without death, but relatively easy). The following nemesis were slain in Ultimate: Moosilauke (shortly after reaching level 100, possible, but not painless), Kubacabra, Valdaran, Benn’Jahr and Grava’Thul (no fun at all, one error = instant death).
Levelling / SkillsThe character starts as 2-hand melee weapon Forcewave spammer Soldier. In the first 40 levels, all skill points are invested either in the Soldier mastery bar or Soldier skills. At the beginning, invest with each level up two skill points in Forcewave and one in the Soldier mastery bar. When possible, invest one point in Tremor and get a 2-hand melee weapon. After reaching level 10/50 in the Soldier mastery bar, invest one point in Blitz. Raise the mastery bar to 15/50, followed by one in Rending Force and two in the Soldier mastery bar with each level up. Farm a reasonable Shambler's Heart - after all, the character is still a Forcewave Soldier. After Rending Force is maxed, invest with each level up one point in Field Command and two in the Soldier mastery bar. The target for now is to max the Soldier mastery bar to be able to take Menhir's Bulwark. Max it, followed by Field Command and Squad Tactics.
In my case, I was lucky and got an Alkamos’ Scythe at level 38, so at level 40 I could move from physical to cold damage, however, I kept my character as Forcewave spammer for now. If you have less rng luck, keep on using a physical weapon. The reasoning behind the decision to use Forcewave a bit longer was that there is still a lack of skill points to move to the targeted cold Cadence setup and as it is not guaranteed that a Scythe can be got in the first try, the difference between physical and cold damage levelling is minimized. With the shift to cold damage, I also reduced the investment in Rending Force to one point and invested the points in Internal Trauma (as the damage will be converted). With the next level up, Internal Trauma was than maxed. After Field Command and Squad Tactics are maxed, invest one point each in Military Conditioning, Scars of Battle, Veterancy, Decorated Soldier, Menhir’s Will and Blindside. Get / farm new gear: Mogara’s Fangs / craft a Devil’s Cord when possible. I crafted also a Bladesworn Talisman (just to have one - and it is not wasted as it is later needed for the targeted Relic). After the above mentioned Soldier skills are taken, start with the Nighblade mastery. Raise the Nightblade mastery bar to 15, while doing so, invest one point in Pneumatic Burst. After 15/50 in the mastery bar is reached, invest in Veil of Shadow (5/10) and max Night Chill. After Night Chill is maxed, invest one point in Amarasta’s Blade Burst (ABB) und start to max Lethal Assault.
At level 53, the move to cold Cadence was performed. It should be possible at this level to farm a reasonable Alkamos’ Scythe. All points from Forcewave and its nodes were removed, Cadence was taken (4/12), one point went in Fighting Form and Deadly Momentum was maxed. The remaining points were used to raise ABB to 5/16 and raise Lethal Assault to 9/12 (with gear 12/12). As Cadence is mainly a single target attack, the area effects / group attack damage stems from Blitz, ABB and the proc from Eye of the Guardian (devotion) from now. A good Ilgorr’s Eternal Vigil cannot harm - if you get one - invest one point in Shadow Dance. The following level up are used to bring ABB to 6/16 (with gear), maxing Lethal Assault and bringing Cadence to 16/16 (with gear).
The following level ups are used to invest in the Nightblade mastery, raise the mastery bar to 32/50 - using one skill point per level up. Invest the other skill point either in Pneumatic Boost (lack of OA, speed) or Shadow Dance (lack of DA). After the mastery bar has reached 32/50, max Pneumatic Boost, Shadow Dance and Merciless Repertoire. Use the skill points for the skill which increases the aspect most needed. Afterwards, max Elemental Awaking (only invest in it before Merciless Repertoire is maxed if the elemental resistance bonus is needed). If you have at least one gear part with +1 to all skills in Nightblade, invest one point in Phantasmal Armor and Anatomy of Murder. While levelling, try to improve your gear, i.p. don’t forget to check (at level 50/65/70/90) if faction gear might be an improvement. If you are lucky and get Kubacabra’s Chausses, use them as soon as possible.
The last skill points were invested to increase military conditioning to 10/10, raising Anatomy of Murder to 8/12 and Scars of Battle to 7/8 (to get almost maxed reduced stun duration). The remaing skill points were invested in Blitz. I used for most of the levelling Mogara’s Fangs as amulett and only moved to Ellena’s Necklace with a more faction gear orientated - and therefore standardized setup at level 100.
level 10: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/L2JA9YgN
level 20: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/gZwajG82
level 30: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/aZqMkEpZ
level 40: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/w26rlop2
level 50: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/m239lk7Z
level 53: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/Q2zBy8d2 (Cadence, ABB)
level 60: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/wV19lBYV
level 70: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/eVLwaR42
level 80: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/4ZDP9rkZ
level 90: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/62aakQg2
level 100: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/pZrdgk02 (reaching level 100)
level 100: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/0V09b0rZ (medal, amulett farming, faction gear)
level 100: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/dVbrgmzV (current status)
- Crossroad green
- Spider [stats]
- Remove Crossroad green
- Crossroad blue
- Sailor [stats, slow resistance, physical resistance]
- Remove Crossroad blue
- Kraken [2 hand melee - attack speed and other stats]
- Eye of the Guardian [devotion points, and proc]
- Jackal [devotion points, physical resistence]
- Murmur [cold damage, resist reduction]
- Hawk [devotion points, offensive ability]
- Crossroad Purple
- Rhowan’s Crown [damage, resist reduction]
- Remove Crossroad Purple
- Lizard [devotion points - only needed to be able to get Solemn Watcher]
- Solemn Watcher [defense ability]
- Remove Lizard
- Raven [devotion points, offensive ability]
- Yugol [damage, Adcth]
- fours nodes of Ultos (no right arm) [damage]
The entire devotion setup is rather offensive orientated, targeted to get as much %cold damage as possible while still having two strong resist reduction procs. Solemn Watcher is taken to increase the defense side of the build a bit, Eye of the Guardian for the proc which also helps with AOE damage and Adcth. Some devotions are taken/kept to have a least a tiny bit of physical resistance.
GearThis build relies on specific Monster Infrequent items, the core items are Alkamos' Scythe and Kubacabra's Chausses. 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 version. For some slots (rings, shoulder, cloves and boots) random non faction drops might provide better stats, however, faction gear allows to provide a more standardized baseline character and is therefore used here.
weapon: Alkamos’ Scythe - key part of the build, can be farmed from Alkamos, Lord Executioner
pants: Kubacabra’s Chausses - key part, Deadly Momentum and Lethal Assault, can be farmed from Kubacabra (Beast Nemesis), multiple spawn points
amulett 1: Mogara’s Fangs - +1 to all skills in Soldier (early amulett, later replaced by Ellena’s Necklace), can be farmed from Mogara, the Prime Matriarch
amulett 2: Ellena’s Necklace - +1 to all skills in Nightblade, cold damage, can be farmed from Ellena, the First Slith
medal: Gutworm’s Mark - +3 to Deadly Momentum, can be farmed from Gutworm, the Maneater
chest: Coven Combatant’s Chestguard - +3 to Deadly Momentum, flat physical damage (converted to cold)
shoulder: Outcast’s Chilled Pauldrons - +2 to Lethal Assault, %cold damage
rings: Coven Sky Seal - faction cold damage rings, with bonus to OA and DA
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
belt: Wendigo Warder Girdle - craftable faction belt, +1 to all skills in Soldier
Notable Other Gear Option:
What Else / What Now
Go Farming: The character is able to farm totems, some challenge dungeons, some nemesis and low shards in the Shattered Realm in ultimate (however, this relatively fast). Some endgame 2-hand cold Blademaster can be found in the Build Compendium X (Forgotten Gods).