[] The Bloody Pox Cabalist (Fevered Rage, non-Retal, Ravager, SR 95)


Like many aspiring Occultists new to the Grim Dawn, I immediately took to the Bloody Pox (BP) skill. What’s not to love? With a single button press, you can spread a plague that can wipe out an entire screen of enemies. Unfortunately, the damage of BP has historically been pretty lackluster with the skill itself suffering from severe diminishing returns in the late game. BP has mostly been relegated as a supporting skill, acting as a debuffer and as a way to trigger devotions for many builds.

Enter patch with its host of BP buffs. If there was ever a time to use BP as a main damaging skill, it was now. I started this character with very low expectations; it’s BP after all. Because I truly believed that this would just turn out as a meme build, I went into character creation with a bunch of less than optimal conditions to at least make the gameplay somewhat unique compared to my other characters.

  • Condition 1: The build must use BP as THE main damaging skill, preferably also using the Fevered Rage (FR) transmuter (the most efficient way to boost BP damage). FR meant that my defenses needed to be on point.

  • Condition 2: Stay true to the gameplay of BP which is cast debuffs/dots directly on enemies and then run away. No ground effects like Wendigo Totem, Ravenous Earth (Basically Dark One casters which have been done to death) or anything else that requires face-tanking.

  • Condition 3: Has to be non-retaliation. Currently, there are no mods that give retaliation damage to BP. Going retaliation would then go against my first condition (BP must be the main damage dealer).

  • Condition 4: Dual vitality/bleed. I wanted to make full use of all nodes of BP, and I have never played with a dual element build before. Pure vitality or pure bleed is probably better damage-wise though.

The Build

And some stats:

Bloody Pox damage breakdown buffed

Bleeding damage buffed

Vitality damage buffed

Vitality Decay damage buffed

First defense layer: Near maxed out Physical Resist

I went Cabalist because Siphon Souls and Ill Omen felt more in line with BP gameplay. Siphon Souls also has a very on-theme animation with all the ghostly red skulls. Lastly, Maw of the Damned is an insane shield and Cabalist can make better use of the mods it gives.


Basically, cast debuffs, layer dots, cast BP and then run away until the enemy dies. This sounds a lot worse than it is. The item mods for BP, along with FR actually gives the skill pretty respectable damage. Against enemies which I know can’t really kill me, I like to just wail on them with auto-attacks. I got a point in Reaping Strike just for this purpose. It’s not a significant part of the damage output, but damage is damage.

Defense wise, the character able to survive FR boosted mobs because of its near maxed out physical resist (current is at 78%), % damage reduction from Ill Omen and % damage absorb from Possession. Sustain comes from the ADCTH of multiple devotion procs, Hungering Maw, Siphon Souls and heal from Blood of Dreeg. Mobility is also an undervalued defense layer that this build makes full use of. No need to stand still and take damage when you can move away and still do damage.

As you can see from the title and the videos linked below, the build is apparently much stronger than anticipated. I was able to clear Lokarr, Bourbon Clones, Ravager of Souls and SR95. The character can somewhat face-tank first phase Ravager while the second phase requires kiting. I also felt that the build can push up to SR100 but will require heavy fishing for beneficial mutators / dodging of certain bosses (Kaisan is extremely deadly).


Bourbon Clones kill: (202) [Grim Dawn]Bloody Pox Cabalist vs Bourbon Clones - YouTube

Lokarr kill: (202) [Grim Dawn] Bloody Pox Cabalist vs Lokarr - YouTube

Ravager of Souls kill: [Grim Dawn] Bloody Pox Cabalist vs Ravager (Fevered Rage, non-Retal, Vitality/bleed) - YouTube

SR95 clear: [Grim Dawn]Bloody Pox Cabalist vs SR 95 (Fevered Rage, Non-Retal, Vitality/Bleed) - YouTube


Why Cabalist? As I said, I prefer the synergy of Siphon Souls and Ill Omen together with BP. Cabalist also had better defenses in my testing thanks to % damage reduction from Ill Omen and Mark of Torment. Other class combinations like Conjurer and Sentinel would most likely give more damage at the expense of defenses.

Why is your DA so low? I originally started with much higher DA with Ravager’s Eye augments. I eventually realized that with FR boosting enemy OA by a massive 25%, mobs were going to crit me anyway, DA or no DA. Might as well drop all pretense of stacking DA and go for more damage. As it turns out, DA truly is optional if you build accordingly.

Why no Dying God / Howl of Mogdrogen? Why not go full Vitality or full Bleed? Choosing to build this character as a dual element caster meant that some things had to go. In this case, it was the use of tier 4 devotions. Going pure Vitality damage with Dying God is probably better for a Cabalist, albeit a bit boring. I haven’t tested full Vitality damage Pox though. For bleeding damage, my preliminary Youtube research before posting this revealed that banana peel has a full Bleeding damage Pox Sentinel that has much better damage output than my version. See that version here: (202) Bleeding Pox Sentinel vs Ravager [] - 2:11 - YouTube. Most of the gear choices are similar to mine, with a greater focus on spamming Vire’s Might to help stack bleeds.


Bloody pox is now, for the first time in the history of Grim Dawn, a viable main damage dealer at late game. Enjoy while it lasts.


This is super cool. I’ve always liked Seal of Corruption for its ability to spread and actually do damage, so this is right up my alley. And a build that maxes Siphon Souls! Don’t see that often! Extra cool and thematic, as you said. Think I might have to actually fire up the game instead of just Grimtools, haha.

Yeah, Ill Omen and Plague of Shattered Souls from the amulet also spreads like BP. Pretty on theme I would say.

This build is pretty good, but combining the prefix and suffix is hard. I can’t for my life get the Boneblade with Demonic and Decay. Hopefully, that is fine. :frowning:

You should be able to np once the new 1.2 patch hits in 3 days.
They’ll drop with less frequency but have better quality.

If you nerf this Z,we riot! well fevered rage is such a risk i kinda doubt it would get nerfed,if anything there may even be more room for other BP support

Too late :laughing:

On the other hand:

Those nerfs to Dark One’s are just evils, especially since I still haven’t levelled up my one using that set /ADHDftw

At least this one seems like it’ll hold the line until Zantai notices it’s performance and gives an evil grin of I-must-nerf-this.

Wait, what?! Only 2161 DA?!

How the flaming hell is this build murderised by critical hits? As while the OA shred’s it’s got is impressive, the problem is is that it needs more stun resist and far, far more freeze resist to avoid being block from casting it’s OA shredding skills.

Still impressive of course, and I may just have to get off my butt and do a test run with it. Definitely going to level up a character using this build though :wink:

Bring out the pitchforks boiz