Grim Tools (Level 35-50 Example): Shieldbreaker, Level 35 (GD 126.96.36.199) - Grim Dawn Build Calculator
Grim Tools (Level 50-65 Example): Shieldbreaker, Level 65 (GD 188.8.131.52) - Grim Dawn Build Calculator
Grim Tools (Level 100): Shieldbreaker, Level 100 (GD 184.108.40.206) - Grim Dawn Build Calculator
Dahbadu’s Generic Leveling Advice:
- Generally, when leveling you one point wonder most active skills, spreading your skills out, while you rush mastery ranks. So instead of dumping all of your points into your “main” skill before you can sustain the energy cost, you one point wonder it, and rush mastery ranks. Mastery ranks increase all of your stats, so consider increasing mastery as a minor buff to all of your skills. It will also let you equip more gear that drops because you have higher attributes, giving you more flexibility in itemization.
- This will lend itself to a “piano-style” gameplay while you level, because your hotbar will be filled up with a bunch of different skills. So instead of using the same skill 8x, you’re using 4 different skills x2 in the same time frame. Due to early game scaling, you generally get the most “bang for the buck” that way. More importantly, it’ll let you test out a bunch of different skills, and find synergies you like.
- The exception to this are skills that provide flat damage absorption or armor, such as Blast Shield. 100 armor or flat damage absorption is very strong during the early game, although in the late game it’s not as powerful by itself. Your belt slot is important, because flat armor there applies to your entire character. So components that add flat armor to your belt are the best RoI at the beginning.
- For example, early game if you equip a shield because it has some nice stats and resistances, and dump some points into Safeguard, you’re gonna find you’ll be super tanky because the flat armor can trivialize early-game physical damage, which is the most common damage type. Don’t worry about equipping items for damage increases. Focus on armor, resistances, health, health regen, and enough energy/regen to allow you to spell spam. Percentage increases to attributes and offense/defense are less worthwhile. A nice proc, like Brawler’s Exhausting can be very powerful as well.
- Support/Debuff skills that change game mechanics can also worth being investing in, especially it increases their AoE significantly, as long as it shores up a weakness to your character and you can sustain the energy cost. e.g. Flashbang (this applies to this character), War Cry, Curse of Frailty, Flash Freeze, and Word of Agony are skills that come to mind.
- With this character (Bang Bro), I one-point wondered most skills while rushing mastery and new active skills for both classes, as soon as they were available. The first skill I invested in moderately was Safeguard (temporarily, when I had a shield before I got my hammer), then Flashbang just to get its AoE to a nice size. The first skill I maxed out was Blast Shield > then brought Flash Bang to the 12 breakpoint > then maxed out Guardians main attack (because of my hammer) > then Blackwater last.
- For devotions, if the character uses Wendigo’s Mark and relies on it for sustain (like Bang Bro), you generally want to rush it. So blue point > Eel > red point > Jackal > Wendigo’s Mark on your best proccing/reliable skill.
Gearing and Notes:
You’ll need all the different expansions for the gear. Use Grimtools to determine drop locations of gear and components.
You’ll be using Barthollem’s Gavel (a 2-handed mace that you can target farm) for most of the character’s life.
Although I talk a lot in the video about shields, avoid investing in devotions and skills that are shield related while leveling to avoid pigeonholing yourself with gear choices.
While leveling, focus on resistances, armor, and making sure you have enough energy regen to power your spell spam. Many times a green or even yellow piece of gear is worth it if it’ll max out a resistance or shore up a weakness.
If you look at the level 50-65 example, that will give you an idea of itemization to shoot for while leveling. It also contains some legendary (purple) items that are great for enabling other mid-level builds, so try to collect them.
If you can’t spam your blackwater cocktail, fit in more ectoplasm components as soon as possible. If that means you lose out on other stats from components, that’s fine.
How does the build play?
You Flashbang a group of enemies, which debuffs them and also places Eldritch Fire on them.
While enemies are coming to you, blanket their pathing with Blackwater Cocktails and place Thermite Mines in locations it feels they’ll linger in. This will tag enemies with Wendigo’s Mark, so you’ll be life leeching them.
You have 4x Bros, Thermite Mines and many other sources of resistance shredding. You’re converting most of your damage to fire and you’ll do a ton of fire damage. Your crits hit really hard too.
When you get hurt (knocked below 60% life), you’ll have several seconds of near invulnerability due to Blast Shield and Resilience proccing, which should give you time to recover or reposition. You’re pretty tanky, have some decent block mechanics (near end game), and decent sustain (mostly from life leech mechanics). You’re not a super tank, but just “tanky enough” while being able to melt the screen with some serious firepower.
The build could be tankier. It’s not like you can facetank several nemesis mobs without ever moving. You can tank a couple at once, but not the entire screen filled with them.
It would be nice to have another means of curing debuffs on you, but Ulo is fine given your defense profile.
There will be a transition near the end of the game where you’ll switch to shields, once you have enough devotions and have collected the gear. This may be tricky for some to make this switch, but you can always continue to use Barthollem’s Gavel and progress the mid-leveling concept of the character to end-game until then.
If you’re not using shields, feel free to get creative at the end-game with devotions, because you’ll have some points to spend.
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