Ritualist (Shaman + Necromancer) class is available since AoM. It’s probably the best class for going from ‘‘zero to hero’’ in reasonable time frame. This guide will show you how to build yourself a great build from scratch. So I will provide leveling tips, budget build with some explanation and also link very nice end game build following same principles.
So why is this build suitable for beginners?
- Vitality casters are very strong defensively with their leeching abilities.
- You have target farmable set in Dark One as best end game gear.
- Leveling weapon is easy to farm and drop in abundance.
- Shaman and Necromance have nice synergy for vitality builds:
- Double RR sources, Swarm have big value and Spectral Wrath is passive.
Gameplay-wise build is piano caster, so you will have to use number of keys in rotation, although for leveling you can limit the active skills. It could be either advantage or disadvantage depending on your preferred playing style.
In terms of damage build have decent balance between single target and AoE with latter being slightly ahead. Since we are going to rely on Ravenous Earth, this skill is gonna carry the load during leveling for normal/early elite and later build can rely on more skills and devotion procs. Next is the ‘‘budget’’ build.
- picture with permanent buffs only.
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As I said this is piano build with few active skills. But in reality, since most of them have cooldown keeping perfect rotation isn’t mandatory or missing Call of Grave refresh is also no biggie. And passive healing from Scales/Wenidgo devotions should keep you safe.
Ravenous Earth - Skill with multiple fragments, decent damage dealer and great devotion procer. Put as many points as possible in main skill and Decay. Foul Eruption can be left at single point, especially without end game gear. Main skill benefit from extra skill points bonus from gear and should go at least 23/16 for end game content. Decay have damage reduction, Foul Eruption triggers ONLY WHEN RE SCORE A KILL!!!
Devouring Swarm - Skill with 5 second duration. It’s here for resistance reduction (RR). Eventually should be maxed You shouldn’t spam it, despite being a skill with no cool down.
Bone Harvest - Nice supplementary damage skills with huge weapon damage. Soul Harvest is nice buff and can be maxed. If you die for some reason with this build, you can sub it with Siphon Souls.
Wendigo Totem - Without Dark One set is one pointer healing/filler skill but Dark One makes it shine also offensively, so should be maxed. Second node of it is one pointer, since build isn’t focus on weapon damage anyway.
Storm Totem - With corrupted totems transmuter is dealing full vitality damage, I am not fond of it without skill mods, but you can max it leveling or leave it at 11/16.
Mark of Torment - Primarily a defensive skill, which can absorb a damage and reflect it back to your opponent. Really great skills vs tough bosses. 6/10 is break point or one can go 10/10 or max points.
Call of Grave - Pet skill but it was added some time ago vitality damage and crit, so it can act like buff in our build. Skill have low priority during leveling.
Passive skills - Max Spectral Binding/Wrath and Harbinger of Souls. Moggrogen line is one point in initial skill, 10/10 second node and max third.
Key for the main build is Dark One’s set, one of the two target farmable sets in the game. It’s great fit for Ritualist class. Most of the other gear listed is easy to get, being target farmable, faction based or crafted.
Weapon - Bonespike Farmed from Trog Enemies in Mountai Deeps and few other areas. Pretty common drop. Best in slot item is Decree of Malmouth.
Off-hand - Hallanx’s Head is probably the best in slot, can be farmed from the FG area boss with the same name but drop chance is low. This item synergize well with Dark One set, boosting Wendigo Totem, also provides skill bonuses and conversion.
Relic - Impurity Nice mid-range vitality relic with healing proc and +1 Necro. During leveling I’ve used faction recipe’s Mortality, also fine if you don’t have Impurity’s blueprint.
Rings - I use some blue rings , tough to say what’s good or not. Some legendary rings, like Prime Ring of Morgoneth can be better.
Medal - Basilisk Crest Green medal with support of green Ravenous Earth skill. Pretty easy item to farm from basilisk enemies. For RE focused build is hard to beat!
Amulet - Venomfire crafted (with slow) recipe from Cult of Dreeg. Pretty decent item supporting Ravenous Earth, BiS item is random purple Soulcatcher.
Belt - Lunal Valgoth from Chtonic boss, in rift area before reaching Malmouth. I think with good rolls will be the best in slot with it’s Necromancer +1 class bonus and stun resistance.
Pants - Solael green pants, they are very good way to cover your resistances. Best in slot are Wendigomane with physical resistance, vitality damage and +vital skills.
Boots - Final March boots, common blue ones with physical and slow resistances. Best are Voidwalker Footpads or Boneshatter both giving vitality damage and slow. Slow for this build is hard to come by in this build, so boots slot should provide it.
For bottom of barrel build, check this link. It’s with few yellow crafted items, low level jewels and faction bought armor pieces. It’s pre farming Dark One set and off-hand. Also low level components across the board! GT: Ritualist, Level 100 (GD 188.8.131.52) - Grim Dawn Build Calculator (grimtools.com)
Movement rune - I used Bull Rush for leveling, low level charging rune. For end game you have plenty of options. I like Amatok’s Breath for freezing enemies but perhaps the best for Dark One build is Rune of the Dark Progenitor, since it’s possible to reach full chaos to vitality conversion and rune have nice flat DA/OA shredding ability, which is something build is lacking.
Key for any vitality build is to get both Rattosh devotion for RR and Dying God for the massive boost of % vitality damage. Also decided to take Wendigo, nice vitality devotion and Scales for flat RR and nice defensive proc. Other must devotion is Bat, I usually start my map with it. Other devotions are for affinity points, since our map is going in all directions. Best procer for this build Ravenous Earth and it’s on Rattosh. During early levels when I had just Bat proc, used RE on Bat for machine gun attack. Other bindings are Swarm on Wendigo, Storm Totem on Bat and Bone Harvest on Dying God. Here are devotions in order, suitable for leveling phase and also same are used in main build.
- Green crossroad affinity
- Bat+remove green point
- Yellow crossraod affinity
- Stag+remove yellow
- Scholar’s Light
- Rattosh, the Veilwarden
- Oklaine’s Lantern
- Green crossroad affinity
- remove Scholar’s Light
- Scales to the proc WITHOUT utmost left nodes
- Red crossroad affinity
- Dying God to the proc WITHOUT last node
You will need 724 points in spirit to use the end game off-hand, also spirit boost will grant you % vitality damage and energy regen. Weapon have some minor cunning requirement, so you might need 10-15 points invested. Cunning will also increase OA, so it isn’t total waste of points. Physique is required by some armor pieces (not Dark One) and will provide extra health and DA. For leveling one can start first levels with (almost) equal split between physique and spirit and leveling in elite/ultimate 2/1 in physique favor. When you reach level 94/100 and can equip end game gear and Dark One set, use blue potion to reset attributes and increase the points in spirit for more damage.
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. If you find the logic behind them, you can level your next characters without guides.
If you prefer to watch leveling video instead check wonderful video(s) by @RektbyProtoss [HC] Grim Dawn Speedleveling - Ritualist vitality Ravenous Earth - part 1 normal/elite - YouTube
In GT links click on upper left corner to change difficulty.
GT 10 - Click
Start with Necromancer class, putting few points in mastery bar. Unlock Bone Harvest, one pointer for now. It will deal more damage than basic attack. Also start putting points in Spectral Binding, pretty nice buff with OA and health. Next push the mastery bar to 15 in order to unlock Ravenous Earth. Next priority is to max it, alongside Spectral Wrath. Level 10+ you should take Shaman mastery. First unlockable skill is Devouring Swarm. Considering casting it requires a lot of mana is tough to max it together with Ravenous Earth and not tun out of energy. Spectral Wrath is also providing vitality resistance reduction, without depleting your mana in few seconds. For energy use components like Ectoplasm.
GT 30 - Click
After maxing Spectral skill line and Ravenous Earth progress down the Necro mastery bar and unlock/max Decay. It will give you damage reduction and small damage boost as well. Few points in Shaman for stats and one point in Mogdrogen pact for extra regen.
More components are available. Focus on those with resistances and I would like to boost the movement speed with Mark of Traveler/Wardstone.
GT 50 - Click
Since after level 50 you are rewarded 2 skill points, instead of 3, it will be nice to reach end of Necromancer (main class) skill bar by then. In the meantime put single point in Mark of Torment for defense against tough enemies, one point in Soul Harvest buff and Foul Eruption. Next top priority is Harbinger Souls, the only vitality exclusive skill for Ritualist class. Also few points in Shaman and one point (for now) in Heart of the Wild for extra % health.
Items, craft Solar belt for +1 Shaman, recipe from Homestead. Try to craft Mortality relic, Bonespike should be farmed and do some quests for Death Vigil, their quartermaster have low level vitality apparel.
GT - 60 Click
Points in Shaman for extra bit of stats, one point in Oak (or more if you need pierce/aether resistances) and Wendigo Totem for extra healing, although it you should out heal everything even without it. By now you probably have enough energy to sustain Swarm on top of Ravenous Earth, max it if you haven’t already.
GT - 70 Click
GT - 80 Click
Now you can use augments on your jewels, armor and weapons. Also you will probably find some useful legendary gear. Begin to focus more on gear with % vitality damage. Some factions offer gear with vitality damage, resistances and valuable +skills. Mind that jumping to elite reduce your top row resistances by 25 and another 25 all resistances in Ultimate. Also don’t neglect physical resistance, since more enemies can land heavy hits. Skill wise take Corrupted Totems and integrate them in your rotation. Max points in Heart of the Wild and Oak Skin.
At this point you should have all 55 devotion points and start gearing towards main build. You should farm for Dark One set in ultimate difficulty. Look also for the cheaper gear build in terms of selecting replacement items or use whatever you can find. Try reaching revered status with every major faction, so you can have versatility in terms of armor augments.
Common question among new players is, which factions should be selected. It’s not really that important, except of course that you should be friendly with Barrowholm, not just 'cuz this build looks like Wendigo follower, *cough cough.
Death Vigil over Kymon, well Kymon won’t accept Necromancer in their ranks, their loss for sure.
Be friendly with Barrowholm and Outcast.
Cults, eventually should max them, not super important which one you pick.
- You should always focus first to cover your resistances. Since build is vitality % damage and decay is really helpful. Flat damage have little to no use, since skills like Ravenous Earth/Swarm and Totems don’t have weapon damage compartment. OA numbers shouldn’t be low in order to crit more. DA is less important, since build have tremendous leech and huge health pool acts like a buffer against critical hits. Physical resistance is fairly important, since build can’t stack armor. Also stun/slow shouldn’t be left at zero even in normal and elite/ultimate try pushing them to 50+.
End Game Build
Main goal is this Dark One caster posted by Retal_Abuser. [184.108.40.206 - 220.127.116.11] Dark One’s Reborn: Vitality Caster Ritualist ( 4:30m Crucible, 5:33 Naked Ex, SR 100, Ravager of Flesh, Crate, Callagadra, Mogdrogen) - Grim Dawn / Classes, Skills and Builds - Crate Entertainment Forum and besides the super long title, you will notice the build is almost identical to the ‘‘budget’’ version of this guide. This shows the perks of being wallflower Ritualist.