[] Cold DW Caster Infiltrator | SSF Beginner guide, leveling & Advanced | All Celestials | HC friendly


The idea is to make non-set builds and use Spectral Longsword to the fullest potential (vendor farmed for gg affixes).
Full Pierce conversion to boost damage skills: Rune of Hagarrad, Shadow Strike and Chillspikes.
Tons of healing from: Pneumatic Burst, Word of Renewal, Health pot and :bat: & :balance_scale: devotions
benefiting from Vitality conversion. Blade Barrier is cool and great last defense option
but I only thought of it after reaching 100 level and testing the build. Also added :turtle: in an update.

Check out This Post if you’re looking for 100% Shadow Strike focused builds.


Tested mostly in - without :turtle: devotion, before enemies got their :damage_cold: res slightly decreased in

Beginner Basic vs Lokarr 0:30, no pharma
Beginner Basic vs Mogdrogen 4:40
Beginner Basic vs Ravager of Flesh 4:45, less Phys Res, harder than Beginner Crafted
Beginner Crafted vs Ravager of Flesh 4:15, less focus needed than above

Advanced vs Crate 2:45, not for HC
Advanced vs Callagadra 5:30,
Advanced vs Ravager of Minds 1:53 naked / 1:35 pharma

I recommend using consumables for HC.

1:53 naked in

1:35 pharma

1:45 pharma where I don’t forget to show items.

Advanced vs Moosi, MadQueen & Grava SR75
Advanced vs Fabius,Theodin & Kaisan SR75
Advanced vs Reaper, Gargabol & Iron Maiden SR75, 28 CS penalty
Advanced vs Crucible 5:44

Casual player + recording Cruci vid on a potato laptop time :slight_smile:
Pretty much immortal and can take all bosses at once if needed.
Speedrunner could definitely glassify the build for better DPS and time.

You can die if you make mistake!

Character sheet

Final gear


Crafted at Angrim. Of course use some better Legendaries / random loot if you find them along the way.
I had to limit myself to more accessible gear.

  • helm: Fettan Mask
    • I only went for the 94 level version in Ultimate

  • belt: Gargoyle Waistguard
    • easy to farm those on the road to Korvaak by killing all 4 Gargoyle heroes every time
    • farm a bunch of these and then choose the most useful

  • gloves:
    • Fewmet Grips

      • not sure if it’s worth getting them in Ultimate in a secret area, maybe just craft the ones below
    • Emberguard Gauntlets

      • need ones with ~20% Casting Speed and max Phys Res
      • bits shouldn’t be a problem if you sell all greens while leveling and doing other beginner stuff
        you can also dismantle low level purples and blues if you need Scraps
    • Mythical Dreadchill Grasp

      • these are actually quite rare

  • shoulders: Magi Mantle
    • I think I got mine almost instantly and they seemed good enough for me

  • relic: Vendetta
    • faction gear

    • I crafted Vendetta with +1 RoH bonus. Took me 4 tries which was lucky. Generally I don’t recommend try-harding this completion bonus since it may be a waste of mats. Better wait for Advanced Relic Ignaffar’s Combustion. It has higher chance of +1 RoH because it has 2 completion bonuses with it instead of 1 like Vendetta.

  • rings: Elemental Harmony
    • normal (blueprint) drop / transmuting blue set items to get one of the two / 2nd transmutation that gives you another part of the same set if you get duplicates, i.e. 2 Rubys

    • I found blueprint while grinding Malmouth rep

  • chest and pants from The Eastern Oath
    • found Eastern Gloves on SR 50 Normal

    • I was grinding SR80 Normal to have it unlocked and got 2nd piece of Eastern set so I didn’t have to transmute blue set items for it

    • use the other type of transmutation if having dupes / gloves


To get 26 Shadow Strike instead of 25 (if you so desire) you can not only get of Winter Shadows suffix on the belt also get slow res from affix on belt / shoulders and then wear Morgo boots with Shadow Strike bonus.

  • belt: Gargoyle Waistguard
    • easy to farm those on the road to Korvaak by killing all 4 Gargoyle heroes every time
    • farm a bunch of these and then choose the most useful

Leveling gear

Here is a list of useful target-farmable items that can aid you while leveling with their minimal level requirements.
I don’t mention random uniques that might be better.

Skills order

Feel free to grab defensive skills earlier if needed. Might differ slightly from the final setup.
For example there’s not Blade Barrier which you might take if you’d like.

Step 1 / Level 5

  • put 11 points into Storm Box

Step 2 / Level 8

  • after killing Kyzogg respec and max out Rune of Hagarrad

Step 3 / Level 10

  • continue leveling Inquisitor mastery and put single points into Deadly Aim and Word of Renewal

Step 4 / Level 16

  • continue leveling Inquisitor mastery and max out Biting Cold

Step 5 / Level 26

  • continue leveling Inquisitor mastery and max out Chillsurge

  • select your second mastery - Nightblade - and put 1 point into Dual Blades to be able to dual wield Spectral Longswords

Step 6 / Level 30

  • I reached Arkovian Undercity where I faced Cold resistant enemies so I needed to move some points to max out Aura of Censure

Step 7 / Level 35

  • maxed out Artifact Handling for more frequent RoH

    • keep it always as high as needed for max CDR but not more
  • put just enough points into Chillsurge for 3 additional RoH projectiles

  • decided not to invest into Biting Cold now

  • noticed that 1p in Steel Resolve (Word of Renewal line) is really good

  • here’s Step 7b / Level 35 assuming I got Ulraprax’s Sting which I totally forgot about
    basically putting 1p here and there to benefit from +1 to Inquisitor
    also no need to have Artifact Handling or Chillsurge higher than 10 and 9 appropriately for now

Step 8 / Level 39

  • 1p in Shadow Strike for mobility

  • 1p in Inquisitor Seal for proccing Bat; cast as much as possible

    • you can bind Bat to something else if you don’t feel like casting Seal atm
  • if short on Energy, put 1p into Phantasmal Armor

  • here’s Step 8b / Level 39 assuming I got Ulraprax’s Sting

Step 9 / Level 44

  • put 1p in Veil of Shadow and 10p in Night’s Chill
    (keep Night’s Chill at 10/10 even if you could put more thanks to +Nightblade or +All)

  • here’s Step 9b / Level 44 assuming I got Ulraprax’s Sting

Step 10 / Level 47

  • I finally got Ulraprax’s Sting

  • I had point in Pneumatic Burst just to benefit from +3 to Shadow Dance I had on pants

  • I decided to 10/10 Steel Resolve to be able to tweak my setup around its Aether and Chaos resistances and not have to think about it. It also gives damage boost, especially for Chthonics that I was going to fight.

Step 11 / Level 50

  • I needed Elemental Resistance (and didn’t feel like tweaking my gear for it) so I maxed out Inquisitor Seal for it and damage absorption.

Step 12 / Level 56

  • maxed out and started using Shadow Strike both for damage and proccing

  • I could reach 1 additional projectile for Rune of Hagarrad from Chillsurge (had to add some points) because I got pants with bonus to it

  • removed points from Pneumatic Burst for now because I no longer wear pants with bonuses to it

  • found +1 Inquisitor belt before reaching Ugdenbog where it can be found (I’m going there only in Ultimate) and a chest with bonuses to Dual Blades and Shadow Strike

    • the belt allowed me to reach higher CDR for Artifact Handling

Step 13 / Level 67

  • maxed out Dual Blades and Veil of Shadow simultaneously

Step 14 / Level 73

  • maxed out Pneumatic Burst and increased Deadly Aim to level 4

    • forgot to get its transmuter Breath of Belgothian too for more frequent healing

Step 15 / Level 77

  • raised Biting Blades to 12/12

Step 16 / Level 89

  • raised Nightblade mastery and soft cap Nidalla’s Justifiable Blades

  • also remembered to invest Pneumatic Burst’s transmuter Breath of Belgothian for more frequent healing

  • 1p into Phantasmal Armor and Anatomy of Murder

Step 17 / Level 99

  • raised Shadow Dance to 12/12


  • by i.e. Green I mean Green Crossroad, one of the 5 starting nodes in the center.

  • final skill-proc bindings are shown in the final GTs

  • consider spamming Inquisitor Seal in the beginner variant - more :cyclone: procs

    • not needed in the advanced variant where :cyclone: is on Blade Spirits

Devotion progression slider with all steps

  1. Green
  2. :candle: Scholar’s Light
  3. –Green
  4. Blue
  5. :shark: Eel
  6. :comet: AmatokRune of Hagarrad
  7. –Blue
  8. :bat: BatInquisitor SealChillspikes later
  9. Red
  10. :woman_white_haired: MurmurShadow Strike
  11. –Red     ↑ level it up a bit, no need to proc it early on
  12. :pen: Quill
  13. :chair: Empty throne
  14. :owl: Owl
  15. :cyclone: Whirlpool proc from Leviathan → Charge rune / Sacred StrikeInquisitor Seal later (Blade Spirits in adv.)
  16. :spider: Spider
  17. :candle:Scholar’s Light
  18. Yellow
  19. :turtle: TurtleAura of Censure
  20. –3 Amatok’s :small_orange_diamond: (the ones not needed for Blizzard)
  21. :leopard: Panther / :beetle: Scarab Beginner / Advanced
  22. :shark: Eel
  23. :lion: Lion
  24. :balance_scale: Tip the Scales just the proc
  25. 1 Amatok’s :small_orange_diamond: (the one with % damage and health)

Beginner tips

  • fight enemies within melee range for Rune of Hagarrad to hit with as many projectiles as possible

    • facetanking bosses and harder enemies for max damage is the way
  • you can try setting up traps for bosses consisting of multiple Runes of Hagarrad

    • and before activating a totem or rifts (cyan).
  • cast Inquisitor Seal as often as possible - the damage doesn’t stack but the proccing ability does

  • priority of 3 heals - use the ones with lower cooldown first

  • you can skip single trash if you find them annoying to finish off at some point of your character development

  • it’s always worth it to spam Rifts so that you can teleport to them after dying

  • you can plan how to use augments & components in GrimTools before doing in on your character

Loot, mats & bits
  • in Ugdenbog always kill all trees and plant, click stomps

  • Early on wear items with Energy Regeneration for example with Of Insight suffix

  • Clear all totems along your way to get a lot of greens and Iron Bits from selling greens, it’s going to be useful later.

  • Keep multiple item pieces for every slot with various resistances so that you have a lot of options while making adjustments.

  • Early on it might be worth it to buy some Scraps from vendors.

  • Coldstone can boost your damage significantly early on

  • Always kill Ch’thon Cultists along the way for a good chance of Blood of Ch’thon.

  • Read blueprints that drop from a totem before farming the next one. I’m not sure of this but I read once that the game checks which blueprints the player has already read.

  • I followed the Ugdenbloom route below but not the whole one - I restarted after clearing Undergrowth:

Campaign and side quests
  • I usually skip optional areas unless I need Reputation or something else from there or it’s Ultimate.

  • Skip Forgotten Gods in Veteran / Normal after choosing a faction.

  • Skip Forgotten Gods in Elite.

  • can do Path of The Three / Outcast Quest / Death’s Vigil quest in one go
Factions & reputation
  • Betray Dreeg and side with Solael just after killing Krieg in Veteran / Normal for an early Charge skill to combine with Shadow Strike.

  • in Ultimate (and Elite if you happen to go there) choose Cult of Bysmiel because its reputation is needed the most

  • Side with Death’s Vigil in Normal and Elite to get access to and buy a reserve of their Armor Augments.

  • In Ultimate switch to Kymon’s Chosen.
    • It can be postponed / not done immediately if you’d like to farm Death’s Vigil rep naturally in Ultimate Campaign or while farming Lunal’Valgoth’s Girdle.

    • I filled up the whole Death’s Vigil Honored bar to Revered in an hour. The best (and only) bounties I recommend are the ones in Warden’s Lab due to the amount of Aetherial Heroes and trash mobs there and the ones in Fort Haron.

  • Side with Anasteria but do NOT give her 3 rare crafting mats on any difficulty - it’s a scam. You’ll max out Outcast’s Secret’s reputation easily anyway.

  • Don’t farm bounties on lower difficulties if you can progress smoothly anyway. The higher the difficulty, the more reputation you get.
  • pushing SR Normal, stop every 5 levels for the loot

  • You don’t need to grind SR[1-25] on Ultimate to get 3 Skill Points for doing the following quests:

    You can reach high SR on Normal and do just SR35 on Ultimate instead.

  • Moosi - it’s safer to not fight near crystals and not first to have more space

  • Zantarin - make sure to cast Inquisitor Seal and let him move into it so that you are protected against his deadly shotguns which he can fire just before your Seal is up.

  • Mad Queen - Blade Barrier when you notice rapid Health drop from her retaliation

  • Grava - maybe don’t fight him first to have more space for avoid the balls

The Journey

Might differ from GrimTools links which are up-to-date.

Level 5 - vs Kyzogg

I found the best starting strategy for Inquisitor on Veteran to be investing in Storm Box.
After killing Kyzogg we respec into a Cold caster which you can read about in the next paragraph.

Inquisitor, Level 5 vs Kyzogg on Veteran:

Level 10 - vs Viloth

Wear items with Energy regen for Rune of Hagarrad and Ice Spike from Chilled Steel component which I started using. I’m paying attention to Offensive Ability too as it might help with proccing Blizzard later. Not sure how much will be needed.

Inquisitor, Level 10 vs Viloth:

Level 18 - vs Gutworm

I’m now using:

I farmed Aether Crystals near Kyzogg once.

Inquisitor, Level 18 vs Gutworm:

Level 23 - vs Krieg

I’m using Coldstone for more Cold and Frostburn damage.
And more components that increase resistances.

Inquisitor, Level 23 vs Krieg:

Level 29 - vs Cronley
Level 33 - vs Zarthuzellan
  • reached Blizzard in Devotion and bound it to Rune of Hagarrad

  • needed to move skill points around to reach Aura of Censure quicker for Cold resistant enemies in dungeons after Cronley

  • managed to use 2 x Vengeful Wraith but it’s not mandatory

  • using 3 components to cover Aether Res, not sure if necessary at that point

  • having two Pierce Ring of Steel procs that get converted to Cold by the swords

  • thought about entering Steps of Torment for fun / to get Glacier relic but I’ll just get the skeleton key blueprint and leave it at that because my Cold Res reduction is not the best

  • should have had Ulraprax’s Sting but I forgot about it

Infiltrator, Level 33 vs Zarthuzellan:

Level 39 - vs Karroz
  • chose Death’s Vigil because they have a lot of Cold / Frostburn stuff, mainly +2 RoH rings

  • finally had Chains of Oleron dropped to put in the chest

  • swapped offensive ring components to Soul Shards giving 20% Vit res each

  • improved my Chaos res for upcoming enemies of this damage type

  • should have had Ulraprax’s Sting but I forgot about it

Infiltrator, Level 39 vs Karroz:

Level 46 - vs Loghorrean, Mad Queen, Sentinel (+ Death's Vigil info)

Death’s Vigil Items

  • at Gates of Necropolis I reached Respected reputation for Death’s Vigil

  • I decided to grind the reputation to Honored after doing one bounty and seeting that I got 700 Rep from it I believe. It’s not necessary but I really want those +2 RoH rings. At also I’ll probably switch to Kymon in Ultimate to have all augments (you need to buy all you’ll ever need from Death’s Vigil before switching).

    It’s important to choose simple / short bounties that have Aetherials (best) or Kymon’s along the way which give bonus rep. But don’t go to areas with lower maximum level than yours (can be seen in GT World Map) because then you won’t get additional rep from Aetherials along the way.

  • I don’t think it’s worth to buy armor from Death’s Vigil due to how quickly it can become redundant

  • You can “reroll” those items if you restart the session

  • Finally I remember to farm Ulraprax’s Sting for +1 to Inquisitor

  • Used Death’s Vigil augments with Vitality res

  • I bought some faction gloves as my random ones were nothing special

Infiltrator, Level 46 vs Loghorrean:

vs Mad Queen:

vs Sentinel:

Level 52 - vs Krieg in Elite
  • after the fight I started investing in and using Shadow Strike for damage and proccing

Infiltrator, Level 52 vs Krieg:

Level 54 - vs Cronley in Elite

Infiltrator, Level 54 vs Cronley:

Level 60 - vs Karroz in Elite
  • wore (50 / 70) Outcast’s Chilled Pauldrons

  • swapped to better gear (with more armor) in many slots

  • found Ugdenbog Waistguard with +1 to Inquisitor before reaching Ugdenbog where it can be found (I’m going there only in Ultimate) and a chest with bonuses to Dual Blades and Shadow Strike

    • the belt allowed me to reach higher CDR in Artifact Handling
  • put +5% total speed Dread Skulls in gear although they’re not that useful yet

Infiltrator, Level 60 vs Karroz:

Level 65 - vs Loghorrean, Sentinel in Elite
  • did 5 levels of SR for Eldritch Essence to be able to craft Glyph of the Ravenous Wendigo to have a charge rune with lower cooldown and be able to proc Whirlpool more often

    • very optional, did it for a change of pace, not needed in the long run
  • in Ultimate (and Elite if you happen to go there) choose Cult of Bysmiel because its reputation is needed the most

Infiltrator, Level 65 vs Loghorrean:

vs Sentinel:

Level 70 / 72 - vs Krieg / Cronley in Ultimate

Infiltrator, Level 70 vs Krieg:

vs Cronley:

Level 78 - vs Karroz in Ultimate
  • buffed up my char for the rest of the Ultimate if possible

  • reached Revered with Devil’s Crossing, Homested, Outcast, Rovers, Death’s Vigil naturally besides a bounty or two

  • bought Elite Outcast’s Chilled Pauldrons

  • bought Elite Outcast’s Chilled Vestments for fun, not really necessary

  • dropped some points from Chillsurge because I decided to no longer wear pants with bonus to it that allowed me to reach that +1 projectile breakpoint

  • you can see that I’m stacking Casting Speed for Chillspikes that I was hoping to get in near future

  • I chose Kymon’s Chosen this time in Ultimate

Infiltrator, Level 78 vs Karroz:

Level 80 - vs Loghorrean in Ultimate

Infiltrator, Level 80 vs Loghorrean:

Level 92 - vs Ekket'Zul in Ultimate
  • remembered about getting Pneumatic Burst transmuter

  • I wanted to get the blueprint for Chillspikes skill at this point but

    • totem farming didn’t work
    • Ultimate SR1+2 didn’t work either

    so I decided to push SR Normal at get loot at levels 5, 10, 15… because new players had to do it anyway. No point in getting the waystones in Ultimate. Got Seal of the Night after finishing SR40.

  • used Arcane Spark because of high Energy usage when enemies were not hitting my character. I was not sure if I would have Energy problems later and how I’d solve it (i.e. components, Spark, Spirit dump)

  • I got a better movement skill with Cold damage but was not using it to deal damage so I wasted 1 Eldritch Essence to craft it

Infiltrator, Level 92 vs Ekket’Zul:

Level 97 - vs Theodin in Ultimate
  • upgraded my gear with various items I found, Mythical Dreadchill Grasp being the most important

  • also managed to get +5 projectiles from Chillsurge which is probably not going to be the case
    in the final setup because I’m not going to use random legendaries in it, while leveling I use them for fun

Infiltrator, Level 97 vs Theodin:

Level 100 - vs Kymon & Korvaak in Ultimate
  • crafted Vendetta, for now without +1 RoH bonus

  • bought Malmouth Badge of the Elements, restarted a few times till I got high OA and resistances, doesn’t matter

  • progressed in Forgotten Gods till Korvan Sands where I grabbed Fettan Mask

  • farmed Marris Kas for great weapons (2h of resetting)

  • found Eastern Gloves on SR 50 Normal

  • got Amatok’s Breath movement skill on SR70 Normal

  • respecced 2 free nodes of Amatok for more Phys Res

  • beat SR80 Normal to have it unlocked and got 2nd piece of Eastern set so I didn’t have to transmute blue set items for it

  • unlocked Transmutation by doing one of FG quests

  • transmuted 2 pieces to have Easter Robe + Pants

  • while farming Malmouth rep I found Mythical Elemental Harmony blueprint so I didn’t have to gable it by Trasmutation of Epic Set Items

  • I started crafting these rings and forgot about Blacksmith Bonuses but got Stun Res at Kaylon since I was in Malmouth. That was a nice lucky one

  • crafted the 2nd one and transmuted into Ruby

  • grinding Coven and Barrowholm rep because I’d like the augments now, perhaps I should have unlocked these factions in Normal

  • needed Kymon’s Vitality - Chaos res soI had to grind their rep, Blood Grove the best

  • found random Vit → Cold Nightblade belt before reaching the end of FG where it’s farmed


Mods and tools

I’m a tool enthusiast and this is what I use:

  • I deleted Word of Renewal / Pneumatic Burst sounds

  • https://www.grimtools.com/
    • Calculator (Planner) to test item / augment changes while leveling

    • World Map displayed on my TV not to miss any secrets

    • Checklist - didn’t use it but I should have to check if I did all important quests

    • Item Database to find best items

    • Monster Database to prepare for bosses

  • [Tool] Grim Internals for
    • being able to make cool screenshots

    • debuff icons on enemies

    • auto-pick up of greens which normally takes a lot of time after conquering totems

    • visual and sound notifications about being nullified which I otherwise often missed

    • display of health / energy potions cooldowns

    • fixing time of the day

    • removal of fog which makes the game look better

  • camera hack - for improving Rotate Left / Right Camera rotation because it’s otherwise very slow

  • YoloMouse for having bigger and more visible cursor

credit to

  • RektbyProtoss for his guide on Super Bosses
  • fordprefect for using Blade Barrier in his builds
  • Crate for continuous development of the game
  • Willnoword for a link with devotion progression

Let me know if you are using this guide and having some problems along the way.


Quite an extensive (and impressive) write up, I really hope everybody will appreciate the work and time you have invested into this guide. I try (well relatively) to keep my ones shorter, as writing them up sometimes feel likes work instead of fun …


I think one should find the balance between not enough information vs too much text. Remember if it’s a chore to write, it’s a chore to read. Of course with drop down menus players can select what they need and that speeds up the process.

That being said, my philosophy is more colour coded text and less overall length :stuck_out_tongue:

But since we are commenting in build topic, I have to say it’s really great guide, nice write-up!


Thanks @The_Coyote @Nery.
I make notes while playing. I’ve already started a new character.
I think you’re gonna like it but for different reasons:

  • The_Coyote - because it’s your type of beginner build
  • Nery - because it’s a beginner build for one of your endgame builds

This guide is not as rich in sections, pictures, videos and formatting as my previous DEE one
and I think I’ll keep this tendency in the next one, especially that there won’t be endgame variant testing
and planned gear for it is simpler and easier to optimize.


@tqFan Great guide, i do enjoy my time with it very much so far. There is just one thing i noticed. Under “Beginner Tips” “Factions & Reputation” you suggest to side with death’s vigil in normal and elite, however since we are playing as inquisitor this is not an option or am i missing something? As a follow up question to this: how much does it hurt to not have access to their augments?

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nvm im stupid, i just had to read the dialouge for once

Yeah, Necro is the only mastery that has some faction limitation in this game.

I chose Death’s Vigil for their rings with +2 to RoH rings. It seems I used at least one of them at least till 97 level. But I doubt you’ll have problems if you skip them. I really like optimizing my character at every level not only focus at 100 like most players.

It doesn’t look like I use any of their augments in any of the 3 GT links in the OP. The only endgame worthy seems to be Spellward Powder but the probability of you really needing it is low.

Thanks. I like it because the progression of this character is rewarding and how the build plays changes with level and gear. Also can use RoH in a strategic way at the beginning. I’ve started some Physical Eye of Reckoning Borelord recently and it’s pleasant but kinda boring as it looks I will be playing in the same way (right click / spin till they’re dead) from when I can put points into EoR for the first time till level 100 and endgame gear. Let’s not forget Cold is the coolest damage type FACT.

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Advanced vs Crucible 5:44

Casual player recording Cruci vid on a potato laptop for the Compendium time :slight_smile:
Pretty much immortal and can take all bosses at once if needed.
Speedrunner could definitely glassify the build for better DPS and time.

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First Crate kill in my Grim Dawn career.


Builds updated to use Turtle:

Advanced Devotion screenshot

For Beginners the same except Panther instead of Scarab
because they have more Bleed Res from 2 Spectral Longswords
and less DA debuff due to lack of Crescent Moon.

Should’ve fought :crate: with :turtle:, might have been easier.

Would Mythical Crest of Winter Fortitude be BiS?

Love the guide btw (fairly new to game).

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Hi. Unfortunately I need the +2 to Rune of Hagarrad from the blue medal to 26/16 it.

The medal you linked doesn’t really have anything special anyway (Health and Skill Bonuses on it are ok though).
Perhaps you thought that

  • 1 Summon Limit to Rune of Hagarrad

is good but in the endgame I don’t make traps of multiple Runes of Hagarrad - it’s hard to make them explode properly to hit with many projectiles and debuff enemies resistances with your character at the same time for RoH to deal damage. For example I tried to set up traps for Crate a few days ago and it didn’t do anything. But in Main Campaign it’s fun and effective for quite a long time.

But maybe it’s just me and I simply didn’t do it well enough in SR Boss rooms for example :thinking: Or maybe I just didn’t bother.

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Added Chillwhisper variant to the OP. Honestly it might be even stronger
as it not only has 26/16 Shadow Strike and Rune of Hagarrad
but also 26/16 Blade Spirits supported by the set.


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Love the build because SS and RoH are my two favorite skills, and I tried to combine them many times, before and after the Spectral Longsword change. But it always seemed like gearing for and pumping SS to the hardcap isn’t worth the stats you pay for it. SS with lowly caster weapon dmg, no LA, no acid conversion, no NJE hardcap and the mods from gear to SS not scaling with ranks… Ultimately, three pointing SS (or with 12/12 NJE) and putting points in stats and stuff like Artifact Handling and Chillsurge got better results and didn’t really change the playstyle at all.


Thanks, I thought you did as an author of many cool Cold Infiltrator builds.

That very well might be the case. Maxing out both SS together with the main skill RoH was my gimmick from the start and I like neatly looking skill points distribution. I also like when my skills are not used just for proccing but deal good damage as well. I believe I felt Shadow Strike damage while playing but I’m not sure.

The only test I did was Shadow Strike vs 2 Blade Spirits on a dummy. Very rough and with some low level character. I concluded Shadow Strike was much better and that Cold Blade Spirits are only good with Chillwhisper support (maybe also with the weapon that adds Frostburn to them).

One thing that came to my mind. Could it be that Shadow Strike is not worth it in Crucible on such builds because it’s single target and you’d better just spend points into things that boost your AoE as well? I’m more single target focused as I’m not really good at Crucible.

Anyway, I’l try to estimate Shadow Strike damage just out of curiosity for the Advanced setup. But I gotta admit, taking Shadow Strike from 16 to 26 is a lot of skill points that you could for example put into Night’s Chill. If it’s the weaker of many skills, it can potentially be not worth maxing in such scenario.

  • at 16/16 we have 600% Weapon damage and 1790 damage on the main node

    • I skip other nodes for simplicity
  • at 26/16 we have 770% Weapon damage and 2610 damage on the main node

Now global flat damage. I’ll calculate the flat damage on the weapons at 50% value because I assume they only count for hits with their respective hands. What I got is

  • 354 Cold damage and 102 Frostburn damage → 405 Cool damage

    • counting Frostburn alongside Cold for simplicity but dividing by 2 as Frostburn doesn’t stack in 2 hits


  • at 16/16 we have 1790 + 6 * 405 = 4220 Cool damage

  • at 26/16 we have 5728 Cool damage.

Again gotta admit, not a huge difference between 16/16 and 26/16.
I can see that it might be better to for example leave Shadow Strike at 16/16 and I’d then personally put

  • 7 points into Night’s Chill

    • never enough RR for some super Cold resistant monsters
  • 2 into Artifact Handling

  • 1 into Chillsurge and borrow another one from some other skill to reach 22/12

I’d add some remark about to the Foreword.

Thanks for the breakdown. That’s just my opinion, and honestly it’s only relevant when trying to save single seconds in speedruns. Here’s my Chillwhisper for comparison that did sub 4 so it’s kinda glassy but SR75 okay: Infiltrator, Level 100 (GD - Grim Dawn Build Calculator

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Great, I actually wanted to ask you about that yesterday (DPS optimized Chillwhisper with Spectral Longsword).

Starfury Emerald is BiS DPS-wise. Maybe like this Infiltrator, Level 100 (GD - Grim Dawn Build Calculator without extreme stuff like dropping Runebound Topazes for Vengeful Wraiths. But it’s not gonna live.

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First Callagadra kill in my Grim Dawn career. 5:30 in with the Advanced setup. Pretty easy fight, should be doable faster by playing more aggressively. Beat her in my 3rd attempt, after getting into the groove and following a very safe strategy of just fighting when my heals and barrier were off cooldown. Also if a defensive potion / cluster were near refreshing, I waited for them too.

I didn’t pay attention to any of her attacks or summons, just my Cooldowns and Health. I had to watch out for not being in the range of Inquisitor Seal - it can happen with such a big enemy. I was changing locations in the hope of her stuff not accumulating on me. Tornadoes sometimes tanked my FPS. My game minimized at around 0:57 but fortunately the game stopped when it happened.

Adjustments for the fight (GrimTools):

  • :turtle: devotion like in the OP’s update

  • Titan Plating instead of Diamond in the helmet

  • augments to reach at least 58% overcaps in Pierce / Bleed / Fire resistances (see the guide by RektByProtoss)

    • I totally overdid it with Fire and Bleed overcaps - forgot that you drink 30% potions for those
      Titan plating most probably not needed
  • Courageous Tincture - probably not necessary, was fighting in the 2nd phase without it and Cluster sometimes

  • all long duration pots beneficial for this fight


Hello! :wave: New player here, very interested in Infiltrator.

I appreciate this immensely thorough guide, and the extent to which you lay this out with such care and detail. By no means do I mean to go against the thoughtfulness of this build, but as a new player who loves the idea of Nightblade’s early game, do you think it would be possible for me to level the two trees more in tandem, or even prioritize Nightblade first?

I’m coming from a very different video game background so my understanding of the deep skill synergies here is limited to put it generously. But from my point of view, it seems like the offensive skills (Shadow Strike, Amarasta’s Blade Burst, and Veil of Shadow w/ Night’s Chill) plus the big defensive boosts (Phantasmal Armor and Pneumatic Burst w/ some light investment in its upgrades like Breath of Belgothian and Shadow Dance), would make for a really fun early game.

Am I way off base here? I definitely don’t want to mess anything up, but I wasn’t sure if this was a “do what suits your playstyle” thing (since it can all end in the same place eventually) or if this just won’t work.

Sorry for the slightly rambling question - I won’t be at all offended if you don’t respond, and either way I hugely appreciate this write-up! :pray:

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