Archon (Shaman, Oathkeeper) is one of the few remaining classes without budget build / leveling guide in the Beginner build guides Compendium (for AoM + FG expansions). This untenable situation is hereby to be brought to an end. As a class with dual resist reduction (vitality, bleeding, elemental), two attack skills of its own, as well as a few support skills, it’s theoretically not a weak class. However, the class is not that popular lately and relatively few endgame builds are posted. Probably because other class combinations offer the same only better.
However, while i can’t really say anything about the current state regarding endgame goodness, there are at least some endgame option listed in the Build Compendium X (Forgotten Gods) - #2 by Stupid_Dragon and also in the GrimSheet: Endgame Build Table - ETE edition [v1.41] .
Another good option to level an Archon should be no cooldown Primal Strike. There is no specific guide, but this [188.8.131.52] Beginner's Lightning Warder should help to get the general idea. The here proposed way to level - given the strong Shaman focus - should also work for other classes with shaman and physical resist reduction, i.p. Conjurer.
This budget character is a physical damage two-handed melee build. Shaman offers special two-handed weapon skills, Oathkeeper brings the resist reduction and minor buffs. The key item here is Troll Bonecrusher, with its bonuses to Feral Hunger and Savagery. Savagery is therefore the standard attack, Feral Hunger is the regular “area of effect” nuke - and works well in this role. Leveling up was relatively smooth, an increase in strength was constantly noticeable and the character rarely felt weak (and than likely self impossed).
The character uses a double rare weapon twice, the first time the weapon was used much longer than reasonable (until level 100 - end of the main campaign and until all items for the final character were found), the second time the farming for a worse weapon was stopped after the self-defined maximum farming time. No single rare weapon with the desired prefix (Tyrant’s) was found - but two other double rares. The damage with a single rare should be roughly comparable (higher attack speed but less damage), with no rare affix weapons the damage will be lower.
A few of the final character’s items are a bit tedious to farm, including the amulet (Zaria’s Pendant), the medal (Rylok Crest) and the girdle (Chains of Brandis). Especially the latter can be quite tedious and time-consuming. In this case, epic gloves and crafted boots were also used for the final character, but the faction gear alternative should also work well enough.
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 started in 184.108.40.206., update to 220.127.116.11 happend between level 20 and 30.
Grimtools of the current character. Attribute points are invested in Physique and Cunning, with a slight stronger investment in the latter.
[Savagery, all permanent buffs]
Using a stronger faction gear setup (different gloves and boots), it is already possible to cap all resistances skeleton character (= without affixes), however, OA is rather low for a physical damage character, so gear should increase OA.
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 (reckles, careless play style), but the character did not felt weak and is rather robust in its final form.
All challenge dungeons were finished in Ultimate relatively painless. Shard 25 was reached in the Shattered Realm in Ultimate for the additional skill points. Shard 65/66 can be finished (however, the way from shard 25 to 65 was not tested - a waystone was used as shortcut to shard 65). The following nemesis were slain in Ultimate: Kubacabra, Benn’Jahr, Grava’Thul and Kaisan. The build can also kill Clones (with 1 Death) and Lokarr (without death). And for what it’s worth, the dummy kill time is about 28 seconds.
Levelling / SkillsThe character starts as Shaman (one point in the Shaman mastery bar) and all other gained skill points are invested into Brute Force until maxed. Brute Force provides flat damage and increases physical damage as well as health. However, keep in mind that Brute Force required a two-handed weapon, so only use one right from the beginning. Ranged might be a bit safer, melee will have the stronger punch. Check the vendors regularily as often (in the first 20 - 30 levels), a new better weapons is bought instead of found. After Brute Force is maxed, max Savagery. Invest the first attribute points in Physique to be able to use heavier armor and better two-handed weapons. After Savagery is maxed, raise the Shaman mastery bar to 5/50, than max Might of the Bear. While using a two-handed weapon, it provides Physical Resistance and a nice damage bonus. Take Mogdrogen's Pact with the next skill point (health regen, flat physical damage), invest two points in Mogdrogen's Pact and one in the Shaman mastery bar with each level up until Mogdrogen's Pact is maxed and the Shaman mastery bar has reached 10/50. Now max Feral Hunger, the skill will provide some multiple enemy damage and life leech amd will be greatly buffed by the later used Troll Bonecrusher.
After Feral Hunger is maxed, the life as Archon starts, raise the Oathkeeper mastery bar to 5/10 and invest five points in Smite for the additional multiple damage WPS. For a long time this will however be the last skill points invested in an Oathkeeper mastery skill. After Smite has reached 5/10, raise the Shaman mastery bar to 15/50. With each following level up, invest one point in Tenacity of the Boar (offensive ability, slow resistance) and two in the Shaman mastery bar. After Tenacity of the Boar is maxed, go on with one point in Storm Touched (attack speed and % phyiscal damage) and two in the Shaman mastery bar. Attribute points are now relatively equal distributed between Physique and Cunning - but always keep some in reserve to be able to meet gear requirements.
Around this time, I crafted a Guile relic (and kept it until replaced by the final one) for the additional physical damage. Also, after reaching Smugglers Pass, farm a reasonable good Troll Bonecrusher, but keep in mind, that level ups happens still rather often and a newer better higher level one must be farmed soon enough. If the Homestead reputation criteria is meet, buy the blueprint for the Solar Belt and craft a good one (e.g. best of ten). Also try to get a reasonable Zaria’s Pendant when reaching the area.
After the Shaman mastery bar has reached level 50, go on with one point in Storm Touched, but invest the other two points in Primal Bond. After Storm Touched is maxed, invest all skill point in Primal Bond until maxed. Primal Bond is used here for the damage absorption and because of the higher + to all skills in Shaman at the end. The following skill points are used to invest one point in Heart of the Wild, Oak Skin, Wendigo Totem and Blood Pact each. Cast Wendigo Totem from now on if the larger life leech is necessary, but keep in mind that the bonus is not applied immediately. With the Solar Belt and Zaria’s Pendant, the return of the minimal investment in this skill provides reasonable bonuses. Than use all skill points to max the Oathkeeper mastery bar (will take some time). This also means that for a rather long time every increase in damage can only come from devotions, attributes and new gear. With reaching level 65 and the necessary Coven reputation, check e.g. if the Coven gear (head, chest, shoulder) is not an improvement for your character. I used it testwise til level 90, but than the “age” could be felt.
After the Oathkeeper mastery bar is maxed, invest one point in Guardian of Empyrion and max Celestial Presence for the resist reduction. Than max Presence of Virtue for the offensive ability bonus, followed by maxing Oak Skin (armor, defense ability, resistances). With reaching level 90, shift to the final faction gear (rings, chest and shoulder armor) - be ready to invest some time for good rolled ones. The remaining skill points are relatively free, here they are used to bring Heart of the Wild to 10/10 (with final gear), two points are invested in Haven, one point to increase Smite, and one point in Upheavel, Resilence and Vire Might each. Vire Might was taken rather late (for Shattered Realm), as the movement rune skill was considered enough for the campaign, but the lacking move to point skill was felt from time to time and was surely also the reason for some of the deaths.
The shift to the final gear happened after completing the main game campaign and finishing around half of each expansion - to reach the farming grounds for Rylok Crest and get the Ultimate Fettan Mask. The pre-update character - while able to do all the stuff - slowly started to feel weak. Especially the age of the used weapon was felt. The final weapon ideally has a Tyrant’s affix for the phyiscal damage bonus and the Reduced Target’s Damage, as it is the sole source of reduced damage in this setup. The gear change increased the sheet damage by around +50% and the normal life leech. The rather expensive components really helped to increase the armor value, surely one of the reasons for the higher robustness of the final build.
Factionwise, the character sided with Kymon’s Chosen, it is more likely that you will need their augments. Barrowholm was kept friendly to be able to fight Ravager. Cult of Bysmiel were selected in Veteran to get easy access to their basic movement rune. However, at the end, you need maximum reputation with all three cults, so select the one you prefer (e.g. movement rune from quest) in the following difficulties.
level 20: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/62ar0kgV
level 30: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/r2BeK9BN
level 70: Archon, Level 70 (GD 18.104.22.168) - Grim Dawn Build Calculator (shows the level 65 faction gear update)
level 90: Archon, Level 90 (GD 22.214.171.124) - Grim Dawn Build Calculator (faction gear update)
level 100: Archon, Level 100 (GD 126.96.36.199) - Grim Dawn Build Calculator (reaching level 100 - used for finishing the main campaign in Ultimate and around half of each expansion)
level 100: Archon, Level 100 (GD 188.8.131.52) - Grim Dawn Build Calculator (update to final gear setup)
level 100: Archon, Level 100 (GD 184.108.40.206) - Grim Dawn Build Calculator (current status)
- savegame folder: _Aera.zip (1.3 MB)
- Crossroads green
- remove Crossroads green
- Crossroads blue
- remove Crossroads blue
- Crossroads yellow
- remove Crossroads yellow
- Crossroads purple
- remove Crossroads purples
- remove Fox
- Assassin’s Blade
- Dire Bear
- Solemn Watcher
- Remove Lizard
- Scales of Ulcama
- remove Lion
- Empty Throne
- Azrakaa (without proc)
- remove Hawk
- Chariot of Death (5 nodes)
The devotion setup rushes to Kraken, before moving to the intented final setup with Solemn Watcher (defense), Dire Bear (defense and damage), Azrakaa (damage) and Ulzaad (damage). Quite some devotions are taken only temporarily to reach the current target. Assassin’s Blade (resist reduction) and Scales of Ulcama (resist reduction) come relatively late, but were also not needed earlier. The last five nodes are free, Chariot of Death was taken here for the OA bonus.
GearThis build relies on specific Monster Infrequent items. Core items is Troll Bonecrusher, farm a relative good one as early as sensible possible (Smugglers Pass) and repeat to get an up to date version while levelling. Other Monster Infrequents are mainly there for the "+1 to all skills in Shaman" (amulet, girdle), just use one which is the most suitable for your build but don't expect a perfect one. Rylok Crest provides some nice bonuses to Savagery, but farming a perfect one can be rather time consuming (and demotivating), so accept a good one. As the ideal combination of all variable gear option is only visible at the end, keep good drops in the stash. And keep in mind that you don't need always the highest level version, e.g. a good rolled lower lever amulet can be good enough here.
weapon: Troll Bonecrusher - Savagery, Feral Hunger, Conversion, key item of the build, can be farmed e.g. in Smugglers Pass, also sold by Benevald
amulet: Zaria’s Pendant - +1 to all skills in Shaman, can be farmed from Zaria, the Carver
medal: Rylok Crest - Savagery bonus, +3 to Tenacity of the Boar, can be farmed e.g. in Void’s Edge
pants: Solael-Sect Legguard - Adcth, resistances, can be farmed from Guardian of Solael
girdle: Chains of Brandis - +1 to all skills in Shaman, can be farmed from Watcher Brandis
chest: Malmouth Vanguard Cuirass - physical resistance, reduced stun duration
shoulder: Malmouth Vanguard Pauldrons - +3 to Smite
rings: Coven Storm Seal - faction physical damage rings, with bonus to DA, attack speed and +2 to three used skills
boots: Stoneplate Greaves - physical resistance, higher armor value than faction gear
Eye of the Storm - +1 to all skills in Shaman, attack speed
gloves: Rhowari Grips - faction gear attack speed gloves
boots: Legion Greaves - physical resistance faction boots
head: Coven Combatant Casque
shoulder: Coven Combatant’s Spaulders
chest: Coven Combatant’s Chestguard
girdle: Solar Girdle - early way to have a +1 to all skills in Shaman (all three version)
girdle: Bysmiel Lethal Girdle - +1 to all skills in Shaman, final build alternative
Go Farming: The character is able to farm totems, challenge dungeons and nemesis and in the Shattered Realm in Ultimate relatively safe. One possible clear path could be the way to an Avenger Archon, e.g. [220.127.116.11] 2H Avenger Archon Callagadra kill 2m50s, Ravager kill 1m40s, Mogdrogen kill 1m55s, Crate of Entertainment kill 1m, SR 75~76 easy farm[vid] or [18.104.22.168] Thor, the Strongest Avenger: 4:20 Crucible Gladiator 150-170, Shard 90, Celestials, the ultimate melee - physical Archon; last build by mad_lee + unreleased builds (listed as the TOP build in this list - ⭐ Top 20 Softcore builds in Grim Dawn (An Opinion))