[ –] Build Overview - Fire Retaliation Commando (SR75-80+)

Overguard is definitely a keeper, even in chunks it’s a noticeable boost to survivability if you pulled too many nasties at the higher shards and it’s pretty important to survival if you end up doing double or triple pulls in boss rooms and find out it may have been a bit too much. One could argue you just relax on the pulls then but then, even if not directly, you’re effectivelly nerfing your damage output by having to play much safer.

how about this: more block recovery, more oa, more tankiness (due to relic choice, but can switch back to Pyroclasm) and some trap res and racial damage on top

Sure. But in the process you’ve lost about 10 % of the build’s total retal damage. Even shifting back to Pyroclasm nets you less damage than my version. And if you do so (shift to Pyroclasm I mean), and do a comparison, what was achieved, really? There’s slightly more block recovery but less block chance, which is more important for on-block procs. The build now has less health than it did before, it lost about 10 % of its armor, and it’s still down 5% damage across the board, all for what? 200 OA, unreliable 25 % total damage on two skills, and 8 % racial damage on enemies the build does not struggle with in the first place.

If you think the sacrifices are worth the gain, go ahead. Like I said, this is an overview of what I did, not a guide on the optimal way the build should be done. You’re free to deviate. But I’ll reiterate, you’re working on improving a build that already functions flawlessly for the content it’s used for. It’s like working your ass off to get a discount on something that’s free. It’s not gonna suddenly get free-er.

Also, don’t think I overlooked what you did with the reists on the gloves in order to make that component reshuffle happen :wink: Let me tell you, just getting the Ulzuin’s Flame affix on the gloves bankrupted me on mats and nearly also on sanity. If you’re willing to venture into the dream greens territory, you do you, but that’s a path I do not tread. The gloves I had I crafted the hard way and this is the best I got. That reshuffle is outside the realm of realistic possibility unless you have the patience of a saint or boosted your luck by snorting 50 ground-up leprechauns. And, yes, I saw the amulet as well so that you maintain a semblance of viable lifesteal. I don’t generate greens so this “slight update” would necessitate hunting down Kaisan across the universe for untold hours to…maybe(?) make an essentially unstoppable build slightly better.

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My point was that you can easily slot better components if you wanted to. Your damage net loss calculation don’t take into acount additional Grenados/Canisters from Ulzuin’s chosen and racial.

My approach is to present a spec that is optimal so players who follow it know what direction to take when picking up items and looking for upgrades. Your approach is just to document what kind of spec you have achieved while playing legitimately and not necessarily going into the nitty gritty of min-maxing. That’s totally understandable. By the way, from my experience it’s possible to sustain a retal spec that doesn’t have adtch skills (like Aegis or Vines) with Dryad, something that might be worth looking into if you are struggling to find sustain and sacrificing shield component slots for Seal of Blades.

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Lol that’s a damn long read for that one! I was posting very similar build few years ago and then updated this build so many times. (and even more, this was my first character from wich I started to play in GD from a times of alpha) and this is still my fav build. But in my case results was SR100 and all superbosses except Crate (as it’s slow as hell) but you did it actually another way, and as I see, worked a lot on the concept and conclusions about item. Great to see, retal build still alive and fun (shakehand)


Till the day I die I will make sure the word brevity is never associated with my name! :smiley:

Also props on your build, if I hadn’t found it when I did I’m not sure I would have ended up going the retal route in the end. The fact you had success with it is what cemented my commitment to see it through, cause on paper I really didn’t see it working.


I saw commando , I liked it.
I once made one too since , my version was not optimized at all :rofl:

Hello there,
Is there any comfortable way to level it as a thorn-based character, or only respec it after 94?
Never tried to level retaliation type before, so bit confused on this

depends how you like to level
if you speed level it’s basically irrelevant, imo
if you normal level, and have “twink”/pre-stored items it’s easy
if you normal level, and don’t have pre-stored items, it will entail a bit of “grind”/target farming during levelling, which imo isn’t totally outrageous/feels fine
retal levelling is mostly fine, although a lot of your dmg wont actually come from retal early game ofc, and vindictive flame and counterstrike MIs are both available in malmouth/can even be bought from vendor

example Level 100 (GD - Grim Dawn Build Calculator

that’s ofc aside from the several RNG epic retaliation drops, tho many will be acid oriented, and regular drops that can get retal affixes, and iirc Dawnshard legendary has some elemental/fire retal too?

Sadly since I decided to switch to retal at around level 75-ish on this build, can’t speak on how it levels. But generally the base game is easily doable with pretty much anything, you can be clearing with Vindictive Flame and Counter Strike damage only (like, the raw damage, not even retal), plus maybe mix in Grenado (either for raw damage or retal % if you already have some retal) and it’ll work, it’s just not the fastest. It’ll slow down considerably in the expansions since those have some enemies that are quite a bit taniker. But there’s the MI shield that’s available in Ashes of Malmouth, you can even buy it from a vendor in Steelcap District once you complete a quest there.

The biggest issue will definitely be that the build lacks a spammable attack, you won’t have a good retal relic early, and Canister Bomb won’t have any retal % on it until endgame so your damage sources will be pretty sparse. You’re probably better off levelling it as Cadence until Malmouth so that it’s smoother and faster, and then maybe the MI shield can power up your Counter Strike and Vindictive Flame enough that you might be able to switch off of it. Especially if you level the Devo tree for retaliation and not standard damage.

There are a lot of things that on Calc Grim Tools look superb, but not working in game, and vice versa. I was working on my build and testing it in many ways, after Commando I can’t say that any of my other retal builds was more successful that this one, but I did them a lot. Many patches ago I did sick Sorcerer build on Blackwater Cocktail with Turrion’s Reprisal shield, but than it was nerfed very fast :P, explosive damage that never will be great again.

Still missing two pieces to complete the build, but already by far the most lazy + quick experience I’ve ever had (got 10+ builds for SR75-6 farming). Pets, EOR, bombadier, caster. Nothing comes close to the level of explosive speed this build is capable.
Thanks @lMarcusl.

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Old age creeping up on ya. Juggernaut is Defense and Earth. Battlemage is Warfare and Earth. :wink:

Aw shit! Time to retire.


Any changes to this for 1.2?

Given that the patch literally came out yesterday, no clue. Haven’t even gone over all the item changes on GT yet. But my guess is, probably not, going over the GT link nothing significant has changed for the worse, only regen for the better as far as I can tell, so if anything the build should be more immortal than it was.

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Just did an SR80-81 with the build, everything works just fine as is. Ended the 81 boss room with a triple pull of Kubacabra, Iron Maiden and Moosilauke and it wasn’t a problem. Build also comfortably ignored any Sunders I’ve encountered in the run. The only notable change is that the proc on the weapon is now on attack, not on kill, making the build faster in the boss room.


I suspect it’ll will do good against The Manifestations of Hunger too, they’ve been majorly buffed and now are a potential run ender for less tanky builds. Reminds me too, I need to level this lawl.

btw - that Dreadknight version of your vitality blade arc build I’ve been messing around with is now in a really good spot. Need to run more SR80-81 to see how it handles the Manifestations, with it’s still obscene adctch it should be good. Maybe even 85-86 good :3

I dunno, I was majorly disappointed by the Howl of the Wendigo changes. I thought the 60 extra flat damage would do some work but the sheet DPS has literally moved by 5k damage. That’s an improvement by an entire 2 %. That’s pretty pathetic. The removal of knockdown now finally makes Blade Arc an actual good AoE skill but the damage output could still use work, given that the build’s working with the most resisted damage type on a single RR mastery. All the build’s getting for committing to Vitality on Soldier is 200 flat.

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I’ve been feeling that fact on my Warder version - gets 190k sheet dps with Blood Pact + Dying God but it’s often bloody slow to kill bosses due to it relying solely on blade arc for damage. And this is despite it having over 100% RR for vitality: Warder, Level 100 (GD - Grim Dawn Build Calculator

I think if I shift points and try either of the 2 solider exclusive skills I might be able to push damage higher as any flat physical get’s converted, but even staking shatter souls that might not be enough to make it more solid.