[] [Something Clever about - HOLY CRAP WHAT HAPPENED TO HIS HEALTH?] - Rah'zin's/Harbinger Witchblade. (SR 90, Callagadra, Crate of Entertainment [with a controller!])

Part two of my controller friendly build series: Rah’zin’s/Harbinger Witchblade

7/12/2020: Major Edit: updated for SR80 clear, plus changes to guide format.
3/20/2023: updated with Crate of Entertainment kill.
4/04/2023: updated with Callagadra Kill.
11/22/2023: updated for, reworked to clear SR90.

Don’t be fooled by the low sheet DPS. This build hits like a truck dropped off a skyscraper. Doom Bolt more than lives up to its name.

It also should be said that this build isn’t entirely controller friendly. It clearly works with a controller, since that’s all I use, but using a controller results in plenty of missed Doom Bolts, errant attack targeting, and wasted WPS.

Update for with SR>79 now giving rewards, this build had room for growth. Since this was one of my first builds, it turned out that there was room for improved defense without losing damage.

Update for this build has received a few direct buffs, none of which affect the playstyle. Doom Bolt has a slightly larger radius, which is nice. More importantly, however, the change to projectiles on WPS means that it’s stronger, and can substantially benefit from Pyroclasm Mark. grimtools link. Get one stun and two physical resist crafting bonuses, or 3 physical resist and put a runebound topaz into combustion band. [I’m actually running 3 armor, but that’s because my luck is awful] for reference Crate of Entertainment variant Callagadra variant
Both variants require only minor modifications.

Screenshot with Blood of Dreeg active, Abominable Might inactive (would bring DPS to 137716)

Playstyle: cast Curse of Frailty, cast doom bolt, shoot until you’re in danger, back up and repeat.


After getting frustrated with purifier builds, I started looking for a ranged build that could kite freely - neither relying on inquisitor seal for defense (and offense!), nor thermite/hellfire mines. Not finding one, but seeing the synergy between Rah’zin’s, The Harbinger, and Witchblade, I made this build. Later I found out that there was a deceiver version of this build, but although it looks similar, it actually plays very different: when doing hard content (such as high SR), the deceiver is only strong when it’s inside inquisitor seal. Enemies which are fast and strong will pose a tremendous threat, whereas the Witchblade version can safely kite away, using its health regen and the lifesteal on doom bolts to stay alive in the process. This allows the Witchblade to defeat extremely tough (IE unlucky) enemy combinations, which would simply steamroll a deceiver. With Pyroclasm Mark, the WPS gets to 90%, and the build has some mild multi-target damage.

Performance notes

I was able to do SR90 with only a single consumable on shard 3, but I felt like this build was approaching its limit. That said, I think that this build could clear SR95, and perhaps I’ll try it at some point. It will take some luck with mutators and bosses, and possibly better micromanagement than I’m capable of with my controller.

As for Mad Queen, this wasn’t anything special; it was just the first clear with neutral mutators. <5s should be possible.
I don’t do crucible, but I can’t imagine this having trouble with it. This build frequently does 1,000,000 damage in a single frame, thanks to doom bolt.

Video proof of clear
Old Video proofs of clear
Crate of Entertainment

Obviously wasn’t my first attempt, but that only makes it harder since the fight started with crates spawned around the map. Wasn’t thrilled about the mutators either. Only used one consumable though.


The build as modified for Callagadra: Witchblade, Level 100 (GD - Grim Dawn Build Calculator, back in
No consumables required. Took me only two tries. I would’ve gotten it the first time, but apparently Callagadra can heal 50% of its health if you kite it next to a monster pack. That happened twice, and, more than 50,000,000 damage in, I eventually made a mistake. Once all the monsters were cleared out, it just took a while. I only have my computer set up to record 2 minutes at a time, but the final two minutes aren’t very different from all the ones before.

Fight tips: clear the area BEFORE summoning Callagadra. Kite like crazy. The area has a few dead ends, so make sure you avoid those. You can be at the edge of melee range and be OK, but don’t let Callagadra get on top of you. Calla’s teleport has limited range, so if you need to you can just run far away until your heals are back up. Avoid the minions Calla summons. They don’t look like much, but they will kill you. And be patient. It will take a while.

Mad Queen
Fight tips
  • Offense: if you’re using a controller, make sure doom bolt goes where you want it to go.

  • Defense: a good doom bolt gives a ton of healing, so don’t underestimate that. Unlike inquisitor ranged builds, you don’t need to stand in inquisitor seal for your defense. That’s what makes this so strong. For survival, the best thing to do is almost always to keep moving and trust your health regen, using doom bolt on cooldown, but only shooting when absolutely safe.


As usual, the resists are overcapped to deal with resist reduction on high SR.

Essential Gear:

  • Rah’Zin’s: core
  • Harbinger: core

Stuff I’m pretty sure is best in slot:

  • Voidheart: Chaos RR, +2 to posession, bleed resist, and up to 30% fire converted to chaos (which affects combustion band and seal of the burning void)
  • Combustion Band: Chaos RR, and much needed attack speed, defensive ability, and elemental resist, and the health and casting speed aren’t bad either.
  • Pyroclasm Mark: I was using Black Star of Deceit before the changes to penetration on WPS on one of the big patches. With that change, Pyroclasm mark is stronger. It may not give you important lifesteal, but the build can lack in multi-target damage, and Pyroclasm mark makes a substantial difference there.

Other stuff:

  • Serenity: I was torn between this, Solael’s Decimation, and Eldritch Pact. Ultimately, for SR90+, the defenses from Serenity are crucial. The build is more fun with one of the other options though.
  • Demonbone Legplates: has a lot of great stats, and the chaos nova should help clear swarms, which is where this build struggles.
  • Footpads of the Grey Magi: has a bunch of good stats, but anything with trap resist would work. Windshear greaves are tempting for the attack speed buff. That said, trap resist is essential, since this build needs to keep moving to survive.
  • Rune of Murmur’s Kiss: gives damage reduction and OA reduction, so it’s great when your back is (literally) against a wall, espcially during the downtime on War Cry’s debuff. It does, however, sometimes fail to cast, when I don’t appear to be crowd controlled. I don’t know if that’s my game, or my character, or my computer, but it is a problem.

There is a ton of room for flexibility in these devotions, but these choices work.

  • Ghoul: pretty much necessary for defense

  • Solael’s witchblade: obvious chaos RR

  • Kraken: necessary for attack speed.

Everything else is optional, but I highly recommend abomination since it gives about a 20% damage boost, and increases health regen.

more questionable choices:

  • Hydra: lifesteal, damage, and slow resist. You could probably get by without this to be honest.

  • Chariot of the Dead: switched to this for, and I like the result. The OA and slow res are a pretty big deal, and the uptime on the ability is good.

Leveling tips

I leveled this a while ago, so I don’t remember too many details on how it went.

For devotions, get solael’s witchblade ASAP, and then get Abomination ASAP so you can get to work on leveling it, since it requires so much xp to max.

For skills, you can do pretty well with cadence + zolhan’s + markovian’s, putting points into defenses as necessary

For items, the level 75 harbinger set should be pretty good, but anything with chaos damage will work. Aside from the hydra and kraken devotions, there’s nothing that necessitates using a 2h ranged weapon until you have the harbinger set. If you want to use melee there are a ton of good options, though Servitor’s Corruptor strikes me as particularly strong. If you want a shield, Obsidian Defender stands out. For ranged, Curse of Burrwitch looks like the best 2h option, while Witchstalker and Exterminus look like the best 1h options, with Bloodsworn Repeater an alternative once you have doom bolt.

Final note: If you get a good crucible or SR clear, let me know and I can update the build. Suggestions are welcome.


Great to see such an original build for an older mastery combo. What crossbow could fill in for levelling until you get the BiS version?

Switching Inquisitor to Soldier in an otherwise well known build for questionable benefits doesn’t strike me as very original.

As for levelling it simply doesn’t work without gear. Closest you can get is DW Bloodsworn pistols and Cadence instead of Touch of Chaos.

I’d recommend creating a “controller-friendly” tag to append to such builds. Would make it easier for me to find them and link them when someone asks for builds good for controller.

First we need to define what it actually means.

For example in this build there’s Doom Bolt and I don’t think there’s a way to cast it precisely (if your main enemy is standing behind trash mob etc.). Even Forcewave is not precise with a controller (ie you cannot shoot in between two zombies not standing in a line to hit them both, you have to kill them one by one because of target lock)

Do we say that this build is controller friendly because Doom Bolt is not the main ability, shooting works well with controllers so build does not lose too much if using a controller? And Doom Bolt spammer where it’s the main ability and precise casting is crucial is not controller friendly?

I would say that if he is actually clearing SR75 on a controller with little issue then it is most likely “controller friendly”. Precision with such skills in Grim Dawn comes down more to the player understanding how to properly place themselves for best effect.

Ok but with such definition it would be hard to find builds that are not controller friendly and yet capable of SR75. Which means definition has little use.

Yes I can agree with that. You definitely play differently with a controller. But it means there’s no need for a tag since you can always adjust your gameplay.

It’s not really what I’m going for anyway. Having an easily searchable tag denoting builds a creator deems as “friendly” would be useful to me. I see such request for controller friendly builds on Steam often enough that it would certainly be handy to have a single link I could give showing them the way.

If a builds creator has played and verified a build to be able to do what they claim on controller comfortably then that’s definition enough for me.


Ok I’m fine with that.

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I haven’t tested it myself yet but I made a version of this build with the Oblivion relic for smoother trash clearing: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/O2GqXz5Z

Thinking about building this a few characters in the future but I’m not sure how well it will perform.

That looks pretty good, although I’m concerned about the 0% trap resist, and the low stun resist; this build excels on the move. Overall, if you want to stand still and attack stuff, I think you’re going to be better off with a deceiver. I’m also not sure that the ~10% damage from dying god is worth the defense you’d lose in the process though, since this build hits so hard anyway.
Trash clearing isn’t so much of a problem as boss spawned trash blocking your auto attacks (and doom bolts if using a controler), and I’m not sure if the abilities from enropic coil and eldritch pact will make a big enough difference there. It’s worth trying though.

I’ve seen a lot of builds which either use abilities that are misereable with a controller, like AAR, or that have too many active abilities to use on a controller. With a standard xbox controller, I have 8 buttons available for skills. This build uses 5 of them, so that isn’t an issue. Doom bolt can be a problem, but with practice you can usually get it to land where you want, although sometimes you need to delay its cast, so using a controller doesn’t ruin the build.
Since pretty much every build will be weaker on a controller, I’d say a build is controller friendly if the build itself doesn’t need to be changed to be successful on a controller.

I’m new to this game, so I didn’t know that the deceiver version was well known. I made this build because, after trying out a DW purifier, I wanted a ranged build that didn’t derive any strength from standing still. Anything with inquisitor is going to use inquisitor seal, and anything with demolitionist is going to use thermite mine, so with either of those kiting will always result in a loss of damage and/or defense. Being able to safely output high damage while on the move is a pretty good benefit, worth giving up a little peak damage, in my opinion.

I’ll add a few leveling tips.


Just an idea: use Harbinger as main weapon when doing ranged and kiting and weapon swap to Wrath of Tenebris to quickly clear trash mobs or face tank the boss. Zolhan’s technique can give you decent aoe damage with melee weapon.

I dont see any aoe damage in this build. I am missing something?

Man I can’t even do SR65 boss room with this build?

Hi may i know ur devotion route pls? Thankyou :slight_smile:

Technically there is Zolhan’s Technique and Deciamation relic as kind of “Aoe” but yeah the build lack AoE. It was 1.1.7 build which is pretty much a year ago ( i think )

It’s available on the grimtools link (click the book near the bottom left of the screen, then click on devotion)

It seems you can do well with guns, chaos damage and two complete sets.

Let me ask two things:

  1. Why Witchblade (Occu+Sold) instead of Warlock (Occu+Arca)? Because Soldier makes the build more “sturdy”?

  2. What about this build? (Make any change you want, if you fell it is necessary, the build is actually lvl 10)… Warlock, Level 100 (GD - Grim Dawn Build Calculator

Soldier brings some very valuable things for an AA build: attack speed and WPS. Rah’Zin set supports these WPS so it’s kinda meant to take either soldier or nightblade.

Also the soldier passives at the bottom give good cc resistances; stun and slow. Edit: and freeze as well. Soldier op? :sweat_smile:

Soldier gives some very useful defense, and a big AS boost. More importantly, it gives 2 WPS (weapon pool skills), one of which is buffed by Rah’Zin’s. Judging by your build, you’re unfamiliar with the importance of WPS: they allow ranged attacks to penetrate targets (well, some of them do), and their damage stacks with the default attack replacers, additively for flat damage, multiplicatively for %weapon damage. Here is a great primer on the subject Turbo-charge your auto-attacks with default attack replacers and WPS. It’s a bit old so it doesn’t contain penetration info since that was added in a recent patch, but it explains it really well.

In summary, the percentages add up (until you get over 100%) so in this build, 90% of the attacks will utilize one of the four options: 16% Burning Void, 18% Blazing Fury, 27% Markovian’s Advantage, and 29% Zolhan’s Technique, while the remaining 10% are default attacks. Markovian’s Advantage and Zolhan’s Technique apply some pretty substantial debuffs as well.

Let’s run the damage numbers on the best WPS for this build, Zolhan’s Technique: the basic attack is Touch of Chaos, which does 133% weapon damage + 33-135 chaos damage. Zolhan’s Technique does 238% weapon damage (with the buff from the build) some small internal trauma damage that can be ignored, and 50 chaos damage. If I understand correctly (99% sure I do), the 133% and the 238% get multiplied, for a total of 317% weapon damage, plus 83-185 flat chaos damage on top. To make it even better, this super attack will penetrate targets (I think no more than 6). Basically, if you’re using an auto attack build (that isn’t cadence), the biggest factor in your damage output is WPS.

Your build doesn’t have WPS, so it will do maybe half of the single target damage, and far, far less against multiple targets. It should still be reasonably strong, given that my build could clear SR80 before they added penetration to WPS, but it won’t be top tier. (also, you should take the last 10 points out of arcanist and put them into a skill, probably overload. Skills > attributes).