[] Beginner's Albrecht's Aether Ray Spellbinder



Spellbinder ( Arcanist+Necromancer ) is one of the classes available since Ashes of Malmouth expansion. It’s considered to be top tier class. Classes have natural synergy for aether damage and their defensive abilities supplement themselves quite nicely. There are few ways to play and level this build. This is build based on Albrecht’s Aether Ray.

Main Build

  • pic with permanent buffs. Damage listed for AAR.

GRIM TOOLS :arrow_right: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/r2BEJ9DN

Little demo of this build from Shattered Realm 65. Little glassy for this part of the game but can finish it even with this cheap setup. More DA/Stun resistance can help. And ofc better gear/mods.

Grim Dawn Beginner’s AAR Spellbinder Shattered Realm 65 (Ultimate) - YouTube


Albrecht’s Aether Ray - Our main damage dealer, channeling type of skill with ability to pierce enemies in straight line. It scales with casting speed. Even with unconverted portions of lightning and fire damage both the main node and Disintegration need to be maxed (late when you have enough sustain). AAR is also pretty energy hungry skill, that’s the main challenge.

Aether Corruption&Haunt - Fire and forget type of skills, great for devotion procing as well. Seal of Corruption is level 75 component and it’s definitely worth crafting if you have recipe.

Mirror of Ereoctes - Skill to save you in tough situations. End game is usually left in 7/12 or 12/12. For leveling can be just one pointer.

Mark of Torment - Damage absorb skill, which also return damage to your opponents, making it extremely useful skill. For this build I have it as 15/10 but usually is 10/10 or 6/10.

Ill Omen Debuff skill with damage reduction, also suitable for devotion activation. I’ve maxed it. Other option is to use Ravenous Earth+Decay instead.

Nullfication Decent skill worth one or few points. Cast it on you to remove enemy’s debuffs or cast it on heroes to remove their auras. For end game you should have it at 10/10

Passive skills for maxing (put as many points as possible) are: Reckless power as exclusive skill for aether damage and cast speed, Maiven’s Sphere of Protection , Inner Focus from Arcanist side and Spectral Binding/Wrath in Necro’s.

Overload can be maxed as well or left at ‘‘softcap’’ position - 12/12.

Fabric of Reality, Mental Alacrity and Conversion are also softcaped. For weapon damage oriented builds Fabric of Reality can be maxed but here it reaps less benefits.

Iskandra’s base node, Elemental Balance and Arcane Will are all one-point wonders.

*If you like Devastation, you can use it as well but with no mods/conversion will not do that much for this build.


For end game setup your best bet is to use Clairvoyant set, level 94 random drop legendary set, which is focused on AAR skill and will also give some sustain and energy regen, all vital for this build. Other random gear pieces with AAR mods are Mythical Essence of Grim Dawn amulet, which gives life steal to the skill and Mythical Aetherreach gloves. It’s also possible for end game to do non-set setup and focus on converting fire/lightning damage to aether instead. Here’s my setup:

  • Weapon - Dreeg’s reputation, cast speed, energy regen, aether damage and +1 Arcanist mastery, all fine stats. Clair set already have weapon. I also like Wrath of Ascendant scepter.

  • Off-Hand - Pulsing Shard. Our main sustain method with it’s mod to AAR. Without Grim Dawn amulet is mandatory. Drops from Aether Amalgamation boss (main quest) Otherwise Fleshwarped Tome also have mod to this skill but it’s purely offensive.

  • Helm - Fettan Mask, dropped from FG area. There are few green helmets with Arcanist’s skills mods but +1 both classes is pretty valuable. Clair set also have that slot covered.

  • Chest - Chosen robe for lightning to aether conversion. Drop from FG zone enemies. Nice for AAR skill nodes bonus.

  • Shoulders are from Dreeg’s reputation. Log/Valdaran shoulders are also useful.

  • Gloves/Boots are Krieg’s set pieces. They provide 2pcs set bonus and physical resistance. It’s possible to even go full set if you can cap AAR nodes and have enough energy sustain. If you don’t have Krieg set, use crafted/aether boots and gloves with casting speed.

  • Pants - Crafted Leggins. Alex monster infrequent pants are also good fit here for +3 Disintegration but I didn’t want to use Nemeses apparel for this budget setup. Best in slot, either Wraithborne or Arcane Harmony.

  • Rings - Solael faction rings for Disintegration skill points. Best combo is 1x Albrecht’s Duality and 1x Eternal Haunt. For conversion setup - Magelord Rings duo.

  • Amulet - Aetherbolt Pendant. With Clair set it’s actually bad, since it converts fire damage to lightning. But we don’t have conversion anyway, so it’s useful. Obviously Essence of Grim Dawn is beast for this build.

  • Medal - Shadow Queen crafted medal from Bysmiel reputation. Best rune for this build is Fallen Kings.

  • Belt - Coven reputation crafted belt… For end game version purple Violent Decay belt or Chains of Ygraad belt (Port Valbury dungeon) are very good.

  • Relic - Haunt. Very nice low level aether relic. Best end game relic is Agrivix’s Malice. Other options are Eternity and Impurity.

  • Items are crafted with physique and stun. USE Arcanum Dust augment on all jewels. (Malmouth’s Resistance)

For aether Binder your map is usually focused on Spear of Heavens/Aeon’s Hourglass combo. Spear is nice damage dealer on it’s own and have nice nodes as well. Aeon will refresh cooldown of your defensive skills but also to your devotions (Ghoul). Ghoul and Bat are also good defensive skills on casters, Imp have nice area damage proc. For - resistance reduction is used Widow of course, for flat you have two good options - Revenant or Scales. Revenant have better RR application and cast speed, so it’s good fit. Devotions in order:

  • Green crossroad affinity point
  • Bat, remove green
  • Blue
  • Sailor’s Guide, remove blue
  • Imp
  • Widow
  • Ghoul
  • Jackal
  • Revenant
  • Eel
  • Lizard
  • Spear
  • Aeon (you can take it first if you need more defense earlier)
  • first three nodes from Wendigo for cast speed/physical resistance

Best skill for procing is your main attack - AAR, put it on Widow. Ravenous Earth and Corruption/Haunt skills are also quite good. They can go on Imp/Bat. I used movement rune to reset Aeon.


Spirit is the most useful attribute, boosting both your damage and energy regen. Use physique to wear your armor (~30-35 points) and rest should go to spirit. Leveling early on I did my major investment in physique and then bumped spirit.

Tonic of Reshaping can reset attributes. CLICK to reset attributes, so be careful!


  • I will show you how I leveled this character, it’s not mandatory to follow it, but you can see which skill/stats to prioritize.
    For the purpose of this guide I leveled self found only, without Lokarr set, which grants huge boost for XP. My preferred difficulty to start the game is normal.

On this build decided to star with Necromancer class maxing quickly Spectral Binding/Wrath skills and use Ravenous Earth for AoE damage dealer paired with granted skill by component (Lightning Nova for instance) I switched to AAR, when I farmed my Pulsing Shard off-hand and was able to afford energy requirements of the skill (you need Ectoplasm components). Alternative route for leveling Spellbinders: [Caster] Beginner’s Nephrite Spellbinder - Grim Dawn / Classes, Skills and Builds - Crate Entertainment Forum

  • In GT links click on upper left corner to change difficulty.
  • GT 10 - Spellbinder, Level 10 (GD - Grim Dawn Build Calculator

  • Start with Necro class, unlock Spectral Binding/Wrath and star putting points in these two skills. 1 point for now in Ravenous Earth. Also unlock Arcanist and put one point in Iskandra/Inner Focus. Use component granted skill and use whatever component you can find.

  • GT 20 - Spellbinder, Level 20 (GD - Grim Dawn Build Calculator

  • Progress down the Necro bar until Decay. One point in this skill and more in RE main nods (unless you can’t sustain it’s energy cost). Also Spectral Binding should be maxed… I used Attuned Lodestone component for damage reduction/damage proc.

  • GT 50 - Spellbinder, Level 50 (GD - Grim Dawn Build Calculator (grimtools.com)

  • GT 60 - Spellbinder, Level 60 (GD - Grim Dawn Build Calculator (grimtools.com)

  • With Pulsing Shard farmed, time to switch to Albrecht’s Aether Ray skill. Take points from Ravenous Earth skill to power AAR. I later removed RE entirely and used Ill Omen for damage reduction/procing instead. AAR investment depend how much energy regen you can muster. Max Reckless Power for exclusive skill and 10/10 in Mental Alacrity for cast speed/sustain. I added slightly more defense by taking Nullification/Mark of Torment. Focus on gear with aether damage/useful skill points or mastery +1 like this belt. At this point you should unlock factions for nice gear and weapon augments, especially Outcast is crucial.

  • At this point you will drop some legendary gear. Follow end game skill distribution. Also it’s helpful to unlock Spear/Aeon devotions as soon as possible.
Factions selection

It’s really important to side with Outcast. Be friendly with Barrowholm as well. You can’t select Kymon as Necromancer.

For this build take closer look at faction pieces, for leveling these are best possible items (chest, shoulders, helmet, etc.) especially Outcast but also Coven, Vigil and Black Legion.

Stats Priority
  • Stats priority -first to cover your resistances. Then aether % damage. For this build you don’t benefit from flat aether damage. Physical resistance is also fairly important, since this build can’t stack armor anyway. Especially important for ultimate difficulty and Shattered Realm. Cast speed should be 200% for channeling skill as usual. OA will naturally be high and DA… well lower (:D)

End Game Builds

You can check forum for AAR Spellbinders but they are outdated. I suggest looking for this newer build by @romanN1 Spellbinder, Level 100 (GD - Grim Dawn Build Calculator (grimtools.com)

Here’s my defensive version (for Ravager) with different gearing/devotions. Spellbinder, Level 100 (GD - Grim Dawn Build Calculator (grimtools.com)


Casually strolling SR65 on a budget build :ok_hand:



It’s my usual test ground for such builds.


Sh*t man you did it again) One excellent guide) TY as always, great job Nery :muscle::muscle::muscle:


Nery pushing the beginner’s build ladder with his 16th beginner’s build lol.

The build looks quite insane considering how budget it is (I especially enjoyed the yellow pants). The rolls on the MIs also look really easy to get. I had a feeling that a budget aether AAR binder with that off-hand would probably be OP, but somehow nobody did it before (I guess that’s mainly because Stupid_Dragon already had a CT aether binder beginner’s guide). Interesting that you got bat without any conversion, especially when you have that off-hand. Is it really worth it here or are you just getting it as a filler devotion? Or are you considering the player will eventually upgrade the belt to a Chains of Ygraad? An alternative would be to just go for hawk plus red crossroads and the fourth wendigo point for some extra life, less racial damage taken, OA, and crit damage.

I am also glad to see that the heavy spirit dump and 2.4k DA meta reached the beginner’s guide section. I know it is a Spellbinder - which relies on active defensive mechanisms - but it is still interesting to see this applied to a budget setup rather than an endgame one.

You mean your newer ones, right? I would guess some of the old ones might not be able to reach that far (but I say that only by looking at them and I am a bad pilot, so maybe on your hands they can). I would say SR65 is quite impressive for a budget guide. There are several from the compendium that can reach this far, but still a great achievement.

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Thanks for your comment!

The items have only yellow affixes, not a single rare. Actually players can roll better items. Belt is in my alternative gear. Valbury isn’t the most popular location for aether builds but definitely worth it. I started with Bat devotion and decided to not over-complicate matters and to keep it even without conversion. For instance one could easily take Behemoth instead for passive healing (can save extra button too).

DA is really low and I didn’t even have OA shred from Siphon Souls as usual. For end game builds usually have good sustain, so it’s less important than budget setups. But still unless build is one-shotted, which is hard given Mark of Torment can be active fairly often, it’s relatively safe. Against bosses with high OA like Lokarr might be too low :thinking: At same time build really need that spirit dump. Energy sustain and with off-hand mod, more damage is equal to more life steal.

SR, you’re right, I haven’t done it with my earlier setups but then again SR 65 was considered a norm for end game setups. Either 65 for glassier types and 75 for tanky bastards. I did SR 65 with vitality Conjurer (easy obviously), Blade Arc Witchblade and Lucius Battlemage. I was able to beat with Vindicator as we but I didn’t felt that safe and off-hand physical resistance was nerfed as well. I think if I update some of the older specs, they should be able to achieve it as well, to be more precise DW Infiltrator and Pistols Tactician.

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Hi Nery ,

Excellent build and guide , once again. Have you considered using Hex Launcher faction gun ? You can combine with Chains of Ygraad to get very high vitality damage converted to aether damage , assuming you can roll some cunning stat on your gear.


Hex is good idea, since recipe is faction bought and conversion will help with Bat. The problem is that cunning is truly unnecessary stat and without Hawk I need to fulfill the whole cunning requirement. But I can see Ygraad belt/Hex +Bat and Wendigo devotions will be really nice.


what about the Conley gang shoulders? i presume the conversion will be more useful than a little crit damage.


Sure, conversion will be very helpful for this build. Tried limiting random dropped greens in favor of faction items. But Cronley Shoulders+Alex will give both conversion and Disintegration at 22/12.

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Nery, what if choose scales instead of revenant? is it crucial for RR? Or in endgame there will no be mana issues? On 60+ i have, even tho AAR and Disintegration is not fully maxed

UPD: i tried to do devotion map with scales, and it appears that i can’t find a proper way to keep scales, aeon and spear all together, so is it ok for this build to live without aeon?

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Scales is good devotion. But Revenant RR is really easy to apply and Skeletons can hit multiple targets, while Scales is single target only. Furthermore Scales proc, which gives energy leech requires WD, AAR have none. So it’s better to use Scales on builds with WD based attack (100%). Mana issue can be real but remember that Revenant’s first node have energy absorb, which of course is still less important than flat regen.

I haven’t tried to fit map with Scales/Aeon and Spear. I would assume it’s possible :thinking:

But Aeon devotion is really important. I would be inclined to give up on it but maybe with Eternity relic.

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I see. Didn’t notice aboud WD requirement on scales somehow :man_facepalming: :man_facepalming: :man_facepalming: Then let there be revenant, actually i like rev in many builds. TY for answer


WD needed for ADCtH, but not mana regen? I am completely confused… ADCtH is always depend on WD? If there is no WD, it is useless?

Nothing its required for this proc to work fully. All its stats apply to it not the character and their attacks.
Well except of course Reduced Target’s Resistances debuff which increase our attacks damage because it debuffs enemies.


So then, if i understand it right, even if i have no weapon damage, i will have mana regen and ADCtH from scales proc?

Yes, you’ll have full Energy and Health leech no matter what because they apply to the proc, they are not temporary buffs to your character stats (like Ghoul).

That’s why this ACDTH (132%) is so big - it has to for the leech depending just on Tip of the Scales damage to be meaningful.


TY. Will try it, mb it will feels subjectively better.

Mb the way to do it is scales on leveling, while change then on aeon in endgame

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Ok, cool, yeah, that’s what I always thought too re: Scales. I got very concerned for a few posts. :laughing: Thanks for confirming.

Btw, another great beginner’s guide Nery. Up to number 16??? Whoa mama.