[] Meat Shield Vitality Aegis Archon [SR80+]

Can’t beat the heat? Yeet the Meat!

Meat Shield has been around since the base game, but outside of niche weapon-swap gimmicks designed around the proc, Meat Shield has not been used in a serious build. Meat Shield has the most flat damage out of the Vitality shields in the game, and thanks to the Oathkeeper Conduit, Vitality Aegis can make good use of all this flat.

I ultimately decided on Archon as Wendigo Totem + Blood Pact provides a ton of flat Vitality damage, and Dark One’s Set turns Wendigo Totem into a decent damage skill. It does make this build effectively a worse version of other Dark One builds like Ritualist, but this was the only way that Meat Shield could actually be used as a BiS Shield and not a dumb gimmick that can easily be beaten by other options (like the MI Shield for Occultist Sigils).

GRIMTOOLS: Vitality Aegis Archon

Equipment Options
  • Meat Shield: The namesake of the build. Has a ton of flat damage baked into the Shield, which is great for Shield weapon skills like Aegis of Menhir. The Ascension bonus is very good as well, as we aim to get Ascension as much uptime as possible.

  • Dark One’s Set: Gives a ton of damage to Wendigo Totem, provides damage reduction, a great proc. Leaves the Weapon + Off-hand + Amulet slot open, which stands it out from other sets.

  • Oathkeeper Conduit: Converts all damage from Aegis of Menhir into Vitality damage. The other mandatory piece for this build

  • Mythical Soulbearer: Mainly chosen for the flat recharge reduction to Wendigo Totem, so that you can start building single-target damage a lot sooner by having both totems up.

  • Mythical Voidwalker Pads + Ring of Basti: Some of the few available equipment pieces that give Vitality damage and + points to Aegis of Menhir. Can’t use Voidsoul Set as it takes up the Shield Slot and the other set pieces are taken by the Dark One’s Set

  • Mythical Wendigo Leggings + Mythical Signet of the Fallen: Give valuable points to Blood Pact, as that drives your Weapon damage for Aegis. Signet of the Fallen also gives a nice RR proc which is always welcome on Vitality builds.

  • Meditation: Gives a really good stat boost, plus gives valuable Poison resistance, which is hard to find elsewhere.

  • Mythical Tinker’s Ingenuity: Patches up the Poison Resistance hole, plus the proc goes perfectly with the Meat Shield proc and provides more damage as well as much-needed Physical resistance.

  • MI Lagoth’s Bloodbinding: The most expendable slot of this build. I wanted to get as many points into Aegis of Menhir as possible, but if you don’t want to bother farming for the specific prefix, Solael Mark of Blood is the next best option, as you gain roughly 25 extra flat between the medal and the last point of Blood Pact, as well as getting valuable Elemental Resistance.

For devotions, I took the Dying God + Aeon’s + Rattosh route, as I assumed that keeping good uptime on Ascension - with the massive OA boost and CC stats - was more important than getting something like flat RR or an additional damage proc. Hourglass specifically has such good stats that it’d be a tough order giving that up for something like Revenant.

In heart, this is essentially a Heal Tank with tons of Health, so while it can beat things like Crucible, it’s very slow in doing so. I am very out of practice from not having played Grim Dawn in half a year, but I was easily able to beat SR80 with few problems. If I want to tryhard and fight Ravager and company for the sheet points, I can do so, but that would be more on the strength of Dark One’s Wendigo Totems than this particular Archon.

All in all, it’s nice seeing Meat Shield used in a build for once, and nice to see this gimmick somewhat succeed.


:clap: :clap: :clap:
What is this beautiful monstrosity?! I love it.

It also got me thinking, have you tried Meat Shield+Rotgheist Vire’s Might Archon? Class synergy lets you put some emphasis on bleed, and itemization should allow you to convert flat physical (when using VM) and basically all elemental (globally). Seems like it should …almost work(?).