HEALING SUPPORT BUILDS AND HOW TO BUILD THEM
The purpose of this post is to share everything I know about building different types of support builds in GD, going into detail of relevant skills, class combinations, devotions and gear. I will share pros/cons of different healing method focuses. I’ve come up with a lot of support variations, some of which are able to help specialist tanks to survive in SR 165+ (and anything easier including the usual suspects - Crate, Callagadra etc), and I feel that my experience in crafting support builds is quite niche. Thus, I’d like to share with the community what I’ve learned so far.
When it comes to support builds in GD, there are a lot of considerations to make. The obvious choice (and the one I’ll spend most time talking about) is boosting your team’s survivability.
But, just to give you other ideas of how else you can support your team:
- You can boost their damage output. This could be done by either boosting your team’s damage stats (crit damage, OA, % damage, attack/cast speed) or by reducing enemy’s defensive stats (Reduce DA, armor, resistances).
Ok, let’s talk about the many ways to boost survivability. We want to prevent and reduce incoming damage to our team using methods that our team cannot provide for themselves. Then, we want to help the team quickly recover from taking damage that we couldn’t prevent.
The main pillars that we’ll be looking at to boost a team’s survivability then, are: Defensive Ability, Damage Absorption, Physical Resistance, Health, Healing, Debuffs to Enemies.
I have chosen Physical Resistance over an Armor boost because of how well it scales with reducing damage, and most teamwide Armor buff effectiveness depends largely on how high the base armor of the teammates are (looking at you, Field Command). I’ll talk through the options of each pillar, and then talk about good pairings of classes and gear afterward.
:: DAMAGE MITIGATION AND HP ::
Boosting Team Defensive Ability
The best way that we can help our team to avoid damage is by raising their DA. If your team has high enough DA, then they have a 40% chance to avoid taking damage altogether. This is the best form of damage mitigation. Raising the DA also lowers the chances of your teammates getting critically hit. Avoiding critical hits is obviously important, but I’ll talk more about why this is in the HEALING pillar below.
The class skills that can do this for your teammates include:
- Oak Skin (Shaman)
- Word of Renewal (Inquisitor)
- Hellfire (Occultist)
- Field Command (Soldier)
- Temper (Demolitionist)
There are some items that help to boost the DA of allies in a wide AOE:
- Citadel (Relic): 8%
- Mythical Sacred Texts of Menhir (Offhand): 200
The Inspiration devotion also provides a nice 110 DA amongst other goodies.
Boosting Damage Absorption
Damage absorption is one of the most powerful forms of damage reduction that you can provide for your team. The two best sources of flat damage absorption for your team are Inquisitor Seal (430 damage absorption) (especially when maxed), and the celestial power Stone Form (400). These two forms of damage absorption stack and are incredibly powerful when paired together. Keep in mind, Stone Form requires a shield and is based on block chance which means that to protect your team you’ll need a shield and will have to be taking hits.
There is also a relic (Menhir’s Bastion) which provides 20% damage absorption for 8 seconds, which can be incredibly helpful to your team. It also provides a small heal upon cast to the team.
Boosting Physical Resistance
There are three skills that boost physical resistance to nearby allies.
- Aspect of the Guardian (Occultist)
- Aura of Conviction (Inquisitor)
- Emboldening Presence (Shaman)
There are some body armor pieces that also provide additional physical resistance to the team:
- Fateweaver’s Raiment (+5% phys, +15% all other resists)
- Mythical Divinesteel Hauberk (5% phys, 18% vit/chaos, 30% fire, +14% health)
The Defender of the Three shield also provides an additional 6% physical resistance to Blood of Dreeg. With max’d Aspect of the Guardian plus this shield, you can provide +24% physical resistance to the team with Blood of Dreeg/Aspect alone.
This is most important for deep SR, or if your teammates have low DA and find themselves getting critically hit often. Also, many of the heals in this game heal a percentage of HP as a part of their healing thus, the higher your team’s HP is, the more effective your heals are for them. There are a number of class skills that boost the team’s flat health or % health:
- Vigor (Inquisitor) - Flat HP
- Haven (Oathkeeper) - % HP
- Heart of the Wild (Shaman) - % HP
- Mogdrogen’s Pact (Shaman) with Death-Watcher Pendant - +10% Health
There are a number of items that can boost the health of your teammates:
- Mythical Divinesteel Hauberk - Body Armor (+18%)
- Mythical Touch of Purity - Scepter (+18%)
Touch of Purity also provides a heal, and instantly nullifies all incoming dot damage to you and your team with it’s active ability. Even without the active ability, it gives 50% reduction to bleed and poison durations to Word of Renewal.
Debuffs to Enemies
Generally you want to first and foremost find skills that reduce enemy’s damage output through reduction to Enemy Damage, or by reducing their OA (to reduce hit/crit chance on your team), or by providing Fumble and Impaired Aim (further reducing enemy chance to hit). Light of Empyrion devotion becomes very help as it reduces damage to enemies often and in an AOE, and uses a lot of blue/yellow devotion points so it is in the same devotion region as Stone Form and Healing Rain.
:: HEALING ::
All of your damage mitigation efforts must be paired with healing. Your best efforts to reduce incoming damage to your team will not reduce it to 0. However, even if you can heal your teammate for 30,000 hp per second, or provide 5,000 regen per second, it is moot if your teammate gets one-shot before any of it has a chance to take effect.
Damage mitigation efforts are to prevent your team from getting one shot so that your healing can take effect. The better your damage mitigation efforts are,the less healing you’ll need to provide. However, you can provide a lot of both, so why not?
Let’s take a look at regen, active heals and passive heals.
Regeneration healing is good because it’s usually got a high uptime that provides constant healing, and regen boosting skills are often wide reaching. Even if you’re not healing everyone a ‘lot’, you might be healing everyone consistently. In the instance where you see teammates standing in floor AOEs, if you use active heals like Word of Renewal or Blood of Dreeg, the flat healing they provide may end up on cooldown while they’re still taking - when your team still needs continuous healing. Regeneration is great at countering dot damage or floor AOE damage, or for keeping a feeling of steadiness in your team across a wide area.
Regen is best achieved with a balance of providing flat regen, and % regen. As an example, if you stack % regen without flat regen, then it’s like giving a 500% modifier (5x) to 100 regen, you still only get 500 regen. When incoming damage is often into the thousands or tens of thousands per second, 500 regen is simply ineffectual. Similarly, if you boost someone’s regen by 500 flat, but only provide +50% modifier, it’s a lot better (750 regen to the team), but still not enough. If we want to heal effectively with regen, we should stack a lot of flat and %.
Let’s look at regen skills, items and devotions.
:: Blood of Dreeg can provide a very good amount of flat regen. One of the best things about it, is that there are two items that significantly boost the % regen that it provides for the team:
- Mythical Dreegal’anore (2h Sword) +100% regen to Blood of Dreeg
- Fleshwarped Bulwark (shield) +80% regen to Blood of Dreeg
:: Word of Renewal doesn’t innately provide regen, but with the use of the Mark of the Voracious One medal, it can provide a +50% regen buff.
:: Inquisitor Seal at max rank can provide +65% regen to anyone standing in it. This combined with Word of Renewal+Mark of the Voracious One gives +115% regen to the Inquisitor class. This can obviously pair quite well with Occultist for the flat regen.
:: Mogdrogen’s Pact + Heart of the Wild are a great pairing, as MP provides flat regen and HotW provides % regen.
:: Mythical Combat Medic’s Mark (medal) provides a small heal and +100 flat regen every 6 seconds. Depending on what your healing focus is and gear set up, this could become Support best in slot.
:: Mythical Sacred Texts of Menhir (Offhand) provides +250 flat regen.
:: Augur Set (Mythical Apothecary) is hands down the best set for providing flat team regen. The gloves alone have an active buff that provides +150 flat regen (and a generous heal with 6s cooldown). This heal is fairly short range, so you need to be stationed near the teammate for it to be effective. The set bonus provides a heal proc that gives an additional 210 regen to the team. Neither of these skills have 100% uptime, but the combined 360 flat regen that they provide is very good, and the rest of the healing on their heal procs are powerful and come around often.
:: Healing Rain devotion is basically a must have for all support builds. It provides +180 flat regen +60%, a lovely energy+energy regen boost, and a heal.
Active and Passive Heals:
These are heals that restore healing to your teammates in a flat chunk, rather than over time with regeneration. ACTIVE heals are heals where you need to press the skill every time you want to heal the team, PASSIVE heals are where they either proc automatically (off chance to attack or chance when hit), or where once you’ve cast it once, it continues to provide healing even if you stop inputting buttons.
The benefit of active heals is that you can save them for when you need them, and just like there can be ‘spike damage’, these active skills will allow you to provide ‘spike healing’. This is great for quick recoveries to massive damage when you see a teammate suddenly get critically hit or faceplant Aleksander’s big green rock or something. They’re great when you want to make sure they’re healed enough to take the next hit before it happens. You have a lot of control over when and who you heal with active healing.
Passive healing means you have less control over when your heals are happening, but that usually allows for a much more relaxing playstyle; No more piano builds for you! So long as you’re ‘around’, everything should be under control…
In this list I’ve only included the skills that provide %hp healing:
Long cooldown = ~30seconds
Medium cooldown = ~15 seconds
Short cooldown = ~5 seconds
Wide area = 20 meters
Medium area = 10-15 meters
Small area = ~5 meters
:: Word of Renewal (Inquisitor) - Wide area, long cooldown
:: Blood of Dreeg (Occultist) - Wide area, long cooldown
:: Touch of Purity (Scepter) - Medium area, medium cooldown
:: Bysmiel’s Iris (Amulet) - Wide area, long cooldown
:: Apothecary’s Touch (Gloves) - Small area, short cooldown
:: Menhir’s Bastion (Relic) - Wide Area, Long Cooldown
:: Empyrion’s Touch (Mythical Apothecary’s Set Bonus) - Medium area, short cooldown
:: Healing Rain (Devotion) - Wide area, medium cooldown
:: Field Medicine (Mythical Combat Medic’s Mark) - medium area, short cooldown
:: Wendigo Totem (Shaman) - Small area, heals once per second
:: Mend Flesh (Occultist, Raven) - Single heal from a great distance, heals once per second.
Shaman’s Wendigo Totems and Mend Flesh from Occultist’s ravens provide the most consistent passive healing, but each comes with caveats. Let’s talk about them.
Wendigo Totems can be buffed and stacked. If you use 2x Mythical Crimson Spikes and the Dark One’s set, you can have two totems, each of which heal for a total of 15%+1950 per second to everything they cover. With both up, that’s 30%+2900 hp every second, this is huge. But there are cons. Wendigo totems have a small healing radius, and they’re planted to one spot. This forces the team to fight within the totem’s cover when it otherwise might not be ideal to do so - It might lure glass cannon teammates into precarious fights that they should be running from. Wendigo totems also only heal in the circumstance where an ally AND AN ENEMY are within range of the totem. If you slip out of the fight to heal up and place a totem, it won’t do anything unless an enemy is also present within its short range influence. This means that all of the potential healing can be rendered useless. Imagine the circumstance where your team has just won the fight, but are still taking damage from dots or floor AOEs. If Wendigo Totem is your only healing option, your team may still die after the fight because they will not heal when there are no enemies present.
The other concern with Wendigo totems is their short casting range. If you see a teammate surrounded by enemies that are physically blocking your path to them, and your movement augments are on cooldown, you may not be able to get close enough to place a totem. Or, they might not be able to move over to where your totem is.
The totem’s shortcomings are its short area effect and it’s short distance placement range.
Occultist’s Ravens are absolutely fantastic for providing healing. The heals are long range; the raven can be fairly far away from the fight and still heal whoever needs it. With Bysmiel’s Trinkets jewellery set, you can have two ravens pumping out significant healing (at 16/16 Mend Flesh, it’s 15%+750 per bird per second. I haven’t explored maxing Mend Flesh before).
However, Ravens come with two clear shortcomings. The first; you cannot control who they are healing. They will default to healing whoever’s on lowest hp in the battlefield. That might be one of your Necromancer friend’s skeletons. We all know how quickly spike damage can turn the tides of a fight in Grim Dawn. As these pets only heal once per second, imagine if both pets turned to heal some expendable pet just as a tank starts taking spike damage. A second can be a long time between heals in Grim Dawn!
The second shortcoming: They can die. Aside from the Support Build itself, Ravens are the only source of dealing that can die. If you choose to go down the Raven healer path, consider the protections that you can offer to them. Keep them alive so they can keep you alive. This might mean gearing for a pet build to ensure that they have decent resistances and HP.
:: ENOUGH TALK, GIVE ME A BUILD ::
If you want to just grab an ‘all-rounder’ support build, here are two that I’d recommend. But remember, these are NOT solo builds, they will be actually USELESS on their own; They’ll deal no damage at all, so bring a friend and buff the @#$% out of them. <3
If you want to boost your team’s OA and DA by a tonne, provide +2300 regen, 830 damage absorption some crit damage and shred enemy OA and DA significantly, choose the first link. This build also provides +34% physical resistance to the team.
This second build brings a bit less damage absorption, but has five active heals and two heal birds. It can facetank Cally and Ravager, and is fun and very powerful as a support. It also provides some OA/DA and 31% physical resistance to the team.
:: OTHER THEORYCRAFT EXAMPLES WITH PROS/CONS ::
Here are some example builds for you. Some of them are unfinished drafts just to give you an idea what the gear and devotion setups would look like. I was lazy and didn’t finish off the components and augments, so you get to fill in the dots
For finished and balanced support builds, check out Passive Heal Example and the Hybrid Examples below.
Some things you’ll find I use often in support builds: Mythical Eye of the Beholder (gives +8% OA to the team), Mythical Chausses of Barbaros pants (Gives +10% Total Speed and +150% damage to the team), Mythical Apothecary gloves (Heal, regen). These are the only items in their slot that give benefit to allies, and so they are typically seen in all of my support builds unless I need skill points toward something else that will benefit the team (eg if I’m trying to max Inquisitor Seal or something).
The rest of the gear should be chosen based on either how much it boosts your benefits to the team or how much it boosts your own survivability (think armor boosts, health boosts or resistance overcaps). Otherwise, if you know the damage type that your team will be using, you can consider bringing gear that will lower the resistances of that damage type to your enemies (eg If your friend is bringing vitality damage and you’ve got a ring slot spare, bring Signet of the Fallen for Vita RR etc).
All of these builds will have a combination of heals and buffs, but here are some examples of builds with a ‘leaning’ toward regen, active, and passive healing. Generally, hybrid builds work best as their healing abilities are diverse and thus, each healing type’s shortcomings are overcome.
Regen Example: (unfinished) Not bad but not great
(This specific example is really “Why you should use a shield as a support build”):
Read this example to see why this support build is ‘ok’ but not amazing. For a much better version of a regen build, have a look at Hybrid Example Build1
Even without augments or components, this build has 23k hp, 3200 DA and up to 6600 regeneration. This build provides 1032 + 99% Regen to the team. To bolster healing further, we have Wendigo Totem, Raven, Apothecary’s Touch and Bysmiel’s Authority for active and passive heals.
27% Physical Resist
8% +402 OA
8% + 394 DA
Light of Empyrion for reduction to enemy damage
Overall the build is looking really strong. The phys res and DA boost will help to reduce incoming damage, but beyond that there isn’t much in terms of damage mitigation (no damage absorption). This style of build would work best if there was someone else providing Inquisitor Seals and/or Stone Form in the team.
This build is an example of why a shield is almost always better to have; If I used Fleshwarped Bulwark, the build would have a 179% boost to regen instead of 99%, at the expense of only 250 flat regen. It would also allow me to bring Stone Form for the team, and the damage mitigation that it provides would allow the regen to be more effective. (It’s easier to regenerate health when health isn’t being as diminished)
Active Heals Example (Unfinished but will be very strong)
To keep active heals off cooldown, I’ve chosen to use Time Dilation in this build. This build provides massive physical resistance, and having six heals up plus some passive healing means that you’ll be able to constantly bust out heals for the team. If you somehow chew through your heals (use them all at once), even with Time Dilation, you may find yourself fresh out of spike healing, especially if in that circumstance your raven is dead or healing something it shouldn’t. Generally this build will still be quite potent with it’s many heals and solid damage mitigation.
+44% Physical Resistance to the team
Six active heals
210+400 damage absorption (inquisitor seal + stone form)
Light of Empyrion for reduction to enemy damage
-195 OA to enemies (Wasting)
260 Reduced Target’s Defensive Ability (Biting Cold)
Horn of Gandarr and Rune of Hagarrad also provide confuse/freeze to enemies which will lower the damage output of enemies affected by the CC.
Passive Heal Example (Finished)
This build combines Dark One’s Set + Mythical Crimson Spike for wonderfully potent dual Wendigo Totems PLUS the Bysmiel’s Trinkets set for 2x Ravens. In terms of healing per second, this build takes the cake and by a long shot. But it relies on two of the most circumstantial types of healing in the game - Totems which have their poor radius and limited cast range, and ravens which can be distracted or dead. Another consideration to make is that, when pushing for deeper SR, we realised that healing per second meant nothing if the builds were getting one-shotted. Thus, too much healing at the expense of other defensive bonuses can be redundant. Briarthorn will take a lot of damage as well. This build does incredibly well to keep an unbuffed Briarthorn alive, but if the Briathorn dies your team loses an important physical resistance buff, OA and damage (emboldening presence).
+27% Physical Resistance
58% + 3570 healing per second (THIS IS NUTS)
Light of Empyrion’s 24% Damage Reduced to Enemies
+9% Attack Damage Converted to Health
Hybrid Example Build1: Focus on high regen and HP with balance of active and passive heals
Here is a powerful example of an all-rounder healer. It provides very good regen, it has a few active heals, a few passive heals and provides a bit of physical resistance and OA/DA. The MIs with any affixes would be fine so long as resists are balanced, so don’t pay too much attention to the affixes.
Hybrid Example Build2: Focus on Damage Absorption and Passive Healing
Near-maxed seals and 2x wendigo totems.
Hybrid Example Build3: Balance of Damage Absorption, Regen, Active Heals
Stone Form, Inquisitor Seals, Menhir’s Bastion for damage absorption. Time dilation to keep active heals up.
:: OTHER SUPPORT OPTIONS AND IDEAS ::
There are many other types of support that a build can provide for the team.
Other class benefits to consider:
Temper - DA boost
Flame Touched - OA Boost
Ulzuin’s Wrath - Reduction to Enemy Damage
Blackwater Cocktail - Reduction to enemy OA
Searing Light - Fumble / Impaired Aim
Haven - Healing Effects Increase and Health Increase
Rebuke - Resistance to Life Reduction
Presence of Virtue (OA, Energy regen boost)
Elemental Balance (Crit Damage)
- Field Command (25% armor buff, OA and DA)
Here are some other gear setup options to give you ideas for potential team supports:
Team Lifesteal Example: (reduces life leech resistance and provides lifeleech)
-21% Life Leech Resistance Reduction to enemies
+14% Attack Damage converted to Health to teammates
Team OA+ Crit Damage:
407 + 24% permanent OA boost
+57% Crit Damage
Demolitionist OA Boost:
24% permanent OA
I hope I’ve covered everything. If I haven’t, this is surely a lot to get you started with. Occasionally I will come back here to post other support build ideas in the replies below, so check back from time to time to see if anything’s new. Happy building!