[] Beginner Dual-Wield Acid Dervish, fast farmer, SR65+, Lokarr viable


This is a homage to one of my favorite builds.
Acid Dervish using Righteous Fervor was my first character to defeat Ravager and one of my fastest farmers for any content.
Here I will showcase, how you can build your own basic version from absolutely nothing.
In my opinion, this is one of the best builds you can start Grim Dawn with.

This is also an updated variant of the Virulent Dervish by Stupid_Dragon.

Ingame stats with permanent combat buffs:

GrimTools lvl 100 with all skill points

GrimTools affix- & component-less

Strengths and Weaknesses

  • Extremely easy to gear
  • Good single target damage
  • Decent sustain, some passive life leech
  • 3 Movement skills and cooldown reduction, very zoomy, much fast
  • Good upgrade path from basic- to endgame-gear


  • AoE damage is not the greatest
  • not omega-tanky
  • requires active playstyle, with 3 buffs, 3 movement skills plus Evade and attack skill.

How the build works

We attack with Righteous Fervor (RF). The skill transmuter “Dreeg’s Reproach” converts all physical damage of that attack to acid damage.
Because Righteous Fervor counts as a “default attack”, it can trigger “weapon pool skills” (WPS) like Smite, Amarasta’s Quick Cut, Belgothian Shears, Execution and Whirling Death.
These WPS amplify the damage from RF, while inheriting modifiers that apply to it.

Meanwhile we massively buff our own damage with Lethal Assault, a node triggered by Amarasta’s Blade Burst.

The build also has an instant heal & buff in Pneumatic Burst and some damage absorption and a buff in Ascension.

While attacking, we are triggering Guardian’s Gaze from the “Eye of the Guardian” devotion, which provides floating orbs around us, leeching life to heal incoming damage.

Resistance reduction to our enemies is provided by Veil of Shadow, Guardians of Empyrion and the Murmur & Manticore devotions.


General advice for new players
  • Do all the quests, at least on your first play-through. They give you reputation with factions and keep you on track to level 100.
  • Explore the map, especially if it’s your first time playing. Finding stuff like shrines is quite important.
  • Prioritize resistances first, damage second
  • Use crafted components from the smith to fix missing resistances
  • Use 2x Scaled Hide (crafted) in pants, chest or shoulders to fix your armor absorption
  • The inventor can recover components from your outdated gear, whenever you swap to a better piece
  • Additionally to components, you can apply augments, which you buy from the faction vendors. They also sell great gear and blueprints, for leveling and even late-game setups.

Faction choices
  • Ideally you side with Death’s Vigil on normal and Elite, the after buying all their important stuff at max reputation, switch sides to join Kymon’s.
    • That way you can farm the Death’s Vigil Nemesis for shoulders, however, if end up friendly with Vigil, you can still get those in the Shattered Realm
    • not a hugely important choice. If you’re on your first play-through, either faction choice works fine.
  • I prefer Cult of Bysmiel on normal, for the Emblem of the Leaping Mantis. If you desire a different movement skill, the choice is all yours. Alternate cults between difficulties to rank them up evenly.
  • Friendly with Barrowholm. This one is important, so we can buy their faction gear later.
  • Outcasts do not matter, do as you please

Leveling & gearing up!

We start by leveling as a Nightblade, using Amarasta’s Blade Burst. This will require the least amount of respeccing and is very close to the final play-style.

Items listed should be picked up when it is convenient. The stats on the items will vary, don’t farm for exact copies of my example setups. That way lies madness
If an item slot isn’t listed, then I just assume you will fill it with anything that seems to fit, and the exact item isn’t as important.

The guide will provide links to item locations, if you absolutely don’t want (minor) map spoilers, don’t click on those links.

I will provide snapshots of the character roughly every 25 levels, those will include the devotion progression (just scroll through the bar on the bottom in the devotion page).

Stat points are mostly invested into physique, with a few into cunning and spirit for gear requirements.

Level 1-25 -- Act 1 & 2 Items to get:
  • Viloth’s Ring from Viloth the Corruptor
  • 2x Spectral weapons (axe or sword) from the Spined Cove (after Act 1 completion)
  • Gunslinger Talisman (blueprint from Devil’s Crossing faction merchant) or Guile relic (at level 25)

(For the first part of the game, we don’t care about our damage type and just use some cool weapons, anything you want, until we get our hands on the frosty weapons from the ghosts in the Spined Cove.)

Leveling up in order:

  • 1 point Nightblade

    • 1 point Dual Blades
    • Amarasta’s Blade Burst to 10
  • Nightblade to 10

    • 1 point Pneumatic Burst & Breath of Belgothian
    • 1 point Shadow Strike
  • Nightblade to 15

    • 1 point Veil of Shadow
    • then splitting points between Night’s Chill, Lethal Assault
    • a few points into Pneumatic Burst, until Pneumatic Burst’s healing feels good and Night’s Chill, Lethal Assault are maxed
  • Amarasta’s Blade burst to max level

    • 1 point into Belgothian Shears, Amarasta’s Quick Cut, Phantasmal Armor
  • Nightblade to 20

    • 1 point Anatomy of Murder

At this point if you followed the quest-line, you should be roughly in Broken Hills.
After crafting the relic and fixing the resistances, using components from the smith, the build looks something like this:

Level 25 snapshot

Level 26-40 -- Act 3 & 4

At this point you should have the Dynamite from Cronley’s Hideout to start the Hidden Path quest-line in Lower Crossing.
We need that to acquire an important item, our pants.

Items to get:

  • Solael-Sect Legguards from Guardian of Solael
  • Bolvar’s Pendant from Bolvar, the Bloodbinder (after Homestead)
  • Harvest Footpads, Rhowari Grips from the Homestead and Rover (Old Arkovia) faction vendors
  • Updated versions of our weapons (optional)


  • Nightblade to 25

    • 1 point Nidalla’s Justifiable Ends
    • 1 point Whirling Death
  • Oathkeeper to 25

    • As soon as you reach them, 1 point each into Smite, Resilience, Vire’s Might, Volcanic Stride, Presence of Virtue, Haven, Ascension
    • max out Rebuke

At this point we are about ready to take on the final boss of the main campaign (after fixing our resists again):

Level 40 snapshot before big boss fight

After finishing the vanilla campaign is a good time to level up to about level 50 and fetch some crucial items for the build.
Thankfully, almost all of them drop in the Forgotten Gods DLC.

Level 41-50+ -- Forgotten Gods

Items to get:

  • 2x Gannar’Vakkar’s Sting from the King of the Sands (preferably with some attack speed rolls)
  • Chosen Raiment from Sister Crimson or Segarius
  • Legion Greaves & Legion Headguard from the Black Legion faction vendor (Homestead or Fort Ikon)
  • Devil’s Spaulders (optional, Devil’s Crossing faction vendor)
  • Endurance relic (optional, blueprint from any cult faction vendor)
  • Gargoyle belt (optional, only if you get a lucky drop)
  • Harvest Venom Seal rings (sold my Homestead faction, only if you already reached Honored)

After we have acquired these items, we can respec into Righteous Fervor:

  • Remove all but 1 point from Amarasta’s Blade Burst (keep Lethal Assault maxed)
  • max out Righteous Fervor, 1 point into Dreeg’s Reproach & Consecration
  • 1 point each into Nidalla’s Hidden Hand, Shadow Dance
  • 4-5 points each into Belgothian Shears, Amarasta’s Quick Cut, Whirling Death, the rest into Smite and Dual Blades
  • a few into Phantasmal Armor, if the resists are needed

Now, after reaching level 50, the setup should look sth like this:

Level 50 snapshot

Level 50-75 -- Ashes of Malmouth, Elite, Prep for Ultimate In Ashes of Malmouth we make friends with all factions, because we require their faction gear.

After playing through AoM we have the option to go to Elite, which I recommend to get a few extra level-ups, cleanse some more shrines for devotion points and get some upgrades for our old and outdated items.

You probably don’t need to do a full play-through of Elite, but it can smooth out the progression to Ultimate.

Items to get:

  • Wendigo Vile Spaulders, Wendigo Guardian Cuirass (Barrowholm faction vendor)
  • Malmouth Bladed Waistguard (blueprint from Malmouth Resistance faction vendor)
  • 2x Gannar’Vakkar Stings of appropriate level
  • 2x Viloth’s Rings
  • Bolvar’s Pendant
  • Solael-Sect Legguards
  • Fettan Mask, from the Urn near the Maw of Enaht

Leveling up:

  • Oathkeeper to 50
    • 1 point Guardians of Empyrion, max out Celestial Presence
    • 1 point Scion of Dreeg to convert their aura to our damage type
    • Path of the Three to 13 total
    • 1 point Clarity of Purpose, Tectonic Shift
    • remaining points to fix resistances with Phantasmal Armor, Consecration

With a few extra levels, fresh new gear and components and a few augments, the build should look similar to this:

Level 75 snapshot

This setup was working absolutely fine for me in Ultimate, at some point I even fixed my Chaos resistance :clown_face:
But otherwise, this was used all the way to 100 and for farming the last set of gear.

Level to 100 and farming the final setup At this point a full play-through of Ultimate will provide the experience and most of the reputation needed. Once you reach "Honored" with a faction you should buy and read a "Writ" to increase the reputation gain with them for the grind to "Revered". Once we reach about level 90 and Honored/Revered with factions like Coven and Barrowholm, we can start to farm, buy and suit up in some endgame gear:

Items to get:

  • 2x Gannar’Vakkar Stings, ideally level 94 and with attack speed
  • alternatively Riftscourge Slicer, a dagger dropped by Rift Scourges, for example in the Guardian of Dreeg area or in the Temple of the Three. They are slightly harder to farm, especially with good affixes, but if you can find a good pair, they work very well
  • 2x Viloth’s Rings, ideally at least one with attack speed
  • Solael-Sect Legguards
  • Chosen Raiment
  • Fettan Mask (Ultimate version, from the Urn near the Maw)
  • Elite Wendigo Vile Spaulders (from Barrowholm faction vendor at “Revered” standing)
  • Mark of Lethal Intents (crafted, blueprint from Coven of Ugdenbog at “Revered” standing)
  • Coven Darkener Pendant (Coven faction vendor at “Honored” standing) or
  • Gulgazor’s Heart, from the poison crab in the Ancient Grove dungeon
  • Malmouth Bladed Girdle (from the Malmouth Resistance faction vendor at “Honored” standing)
  • Stoneplate Greaves (crafted, blueprint is a random drop, but very common, chances are you’ll have it at this point)
  • Mythical Vilescorn Bracers (random epic drop, starts to drop around level 80 and is very common, until it drops: Use any gloves with attack speed and some resists or HP)

Leveling up:

  • Nightblade to 50
    • 1 point Elemental Awakening, Merciless Repertoire
    • 1 point Nightfall, Execution
    • Shadow Dance to 10, Pneumatic Burst to 12
    • Dual Blades to 16
    • finally, respeccing some levels from Phantasmal Armor, Belgothian Shears to invest into Presence of Virtue & Haven (getting Haven to the softcap of 10/10 for safety)

I had to drink a potion to reset my attributes as well, to get the requirements for my gear in cunning and spirit. Every spare point went into physique.

Level 100 snapshot, before completing Shattered Realm

Augments for the endgame setup

Our desired augments are sold by all factions at “Revered” standing. If you play through all three difficulties, you’ll reach that rep either late in Elite or after you have done their quests on Ultimate.
If you buy and read a “Writ” after you reach Honored with a faction, you will get bonus reputation for your future actions. Strongly recommended.

Various armor augments are used to fix our resistances, until they are all ~33% over the maximum cap, ideally.
After we have reached our desired overcaps, we can use Solael Bloodbinding (Cult of Solael) or Wendigo Lifescent Powder (Barrowholm), to improve our pool of HP and Defensive Ability.

Rings and amulets are enhanced with damage augments, our main augments are:

  • Irrah’s Venomtogue (Cult of Solael) for offensive ability
  • Rotgut Venom (Malmouth Resistance) for defensive ability
  • Basilisk’s Gaze (Coven of Ugdenbog), if you feel your armor needs a little boost
  • Arcanum Dust (Malmouth Resistance) for elemental resistances and defensive ability
  • Survivor’s Ingenuity (Devil’s Crossing) for offensive and defensive ability, can be quite a big boost and is accessible very early.

Weapon augments only have one real option, Dreeg’s Spinedust (Cult of Dreeg)

Shattered Realm Run, 65-66 in ~8 minutes

Shattered Realm Run, 65-66 in ~9 minutes, with Riftscourge Slicer setup

Lokarr, with a little bit of drug usage (Potions for HP & 1 Aether Cluster for safety)

Gargabol & Morgoneth
Grava'Thul & Kaisan in the Wild

Helpful farming and crafting guide for gear pieces listed above

Crafted items

Crafting items at the Blacksmith adds a “crafting bonus” stat, depending on the blacksmith.
My recommended smiths are:

  • Kaylon, Steelcap District - for Freeze or Stun resistance
  • Egellon, Sunbane Oasis (hidden) - for Slow or Reflect resistance
  • Angrim, Devil’s Crossing - for Armor, Physique (even pierce resistance can help)

If you don’t get your desired bonus, it’s not the end of the world, usually.
The bonus doesn’t apply to relics, they get a different bonus, unrelated to the blacksmith.

Scrap & crafting mats

  • Collect dynamite while you are leveling, to blow up Legendaries. Anything below level 84 can be blown to bits, without regrets. A lot of higher level stuff as well.
  • This will provide the scrap needed for crafting and also the rare material that you don’t want to painstakingly farm
  • Dynamite can be crafted from Aether Shards, shards can be crafted from crystals. Farming Aether Crystals (in the Warden’s lab for example) is going to yield more dynamite, than picking up individual sticks

Viloth’s Ring

  • Simply run into the basement under Devil’s Crossing to smack the snake
  • Look for attack speed, offensive/defensive ability, resists
  • “of the Cabal” & “Maniacal” are good rare affixes with acid damage, for example

Gannar’Vakkar’s Sting

  • Start from Sunbane Oasis rift, walking North. Gannar will zip West to East and then South. if he dashes away, he can run quite far
  • Look for “Venomfang”, “of the Venomclaw”, “Eldritch”, “Corrosive” and any affix with attack speed

Riftscourge Slicer

  • The area of the Guardian of Dreeg and the Temple of the Three are the best farming locations
  • I will mostly drop from heroic Rift Scourge mobs, those only spawn in good quantity on Ultimate, which is why I advice farming them only on that difficulty. If your want some on normal, swapping to Veteran might be your best bet
  • They can spawn with affixes for caster-weapons and have slightly less good average quality than Gannar’s weapon as a result, but a well rolled Riftclaw Slicer can perform better in some cases
  • You really want “Venomfang” or “of the Venomclaw” on these, as you will lack skill points otherwise.

Solael-Sect Legguards

  • Start at Broken Hills, take the loop to the Guardian’s hidden area. There is often a totem on the path, which will provide good opportunities to find blueprints and the blue gloves.
  • Look for health, resists and (if you are lucky) physical resistance on those pants

Chosen Raiment

  • Start at the Infernal Wastes rift, walking North to the Tomb of Sethan. Inside there’s Sister Crimson, often also a totem on the outside and the inside. One totem spawn is right next to the other exit outside of the tomb.
  • She “only” has a ~25% chance to drop the right chest armor, but it often has good rolls for acid builds.

Gulgazor’s Heart

  • This drops inside the skeleton key dungeon in the Ancient Grove, so you’ll have to burn a key each time you try to get one.
  • The amulet has a 100% drop rate. Rolls can be similar to Viloth’s rings.
  • You can farm a lot of useful items in the dungeon, crafting material and a bunch of Legendaries will drop there on Ultimate.
  • If Gargabol is a bit much, resetting the session before the last boss isn’t a big deal.
  • You can entirely skip this amulet and go for the Coven Darkener Pedant, until you upgrade to a Kaisan amulet with good rolls.

Upgrade possibilites and endgame farming

The build transitions very smoothly into the Venomblade/Vileblade set.
The 3-piece combo of the set provides everything a growing boi needs and leaves one weapon slot open for customization.
The CDR on the set makes the build much faster and way more enjoyable.

By far the biggest upgrade would be the Meditation relic, the blueprint for which might actually drop while farming or even leveling.

Other good gear choices include:

My current final setup: Dervish, Level 100 (GD - Grim Dawn Build Calculator

Hope you enjoyed and maybe found helpful information.

Let me know if there is anything crucial that I have left out! :wave:


Scions of Dreeg :upside_down_face:



  • Added Scion of Dreeg in the guide AND on my character (RR is overrated :clown_face: )
  • updated SR video
  • Added mention of Riftclaw Slicers, while they are less easy to farm, they perform well and should be mentioned. Added SR run with them.
  • Swapped a few points around and adjusted the guide, to include softcap Haven
  • Added section for augments
  • Added recommendation for blacksmiths to the crafting section
  • Added a few items to the endgame options

To-Do: Alternative devotion map.

awesome guide, and nicely detailed, :+1: also love the inclusion of cheeky tips like vigil/kymon rep swap “cheese” :ok_hand:

Riftscourge Slicers, riftclaws are eor weaps


ty so much for the build and the detailed guide

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does this build do fine on controller? thanks for the guide :slight_smile:

No idea never played GD on a controller.
I heard if you uncheck “Gamepad Target Lock” in the options the movement skills work better.
After that, it’s really just a holding a button to attack while using 3-4 to buff and move around, so I don’t see why it wouldn’t work on controller.

Be sure to let me know, if you try it :wink:

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Hey thanks for the guide, it’s been super helpful for me! I’m pretty new to GD so I’m trying to farm up Death’s Vigil rep while doing normal/elite, if I wanted to switch to Kymon’s for ultimate, is there a general recommendation on what things I should be buying from death’s vigil first? Or does it not really matter in this case

The dual res armor augment from each of the two factions is quite useful, so I would buy ~30 or so before switching.
The other armor augments they sell don’t see much use, but it can’t hurt to have a few.

Weapon and ring augments are generally outclassed by the DLC faction augments.

The gear they sell is just for fashion nowadays, you can buy a copy and sell it back to them instantly to unlock the illusion.

Quite possibly the most important thing would be a Mandate (or two), for your next characters.

Thanks a lot, that’s super helpful!

soo quick question, why do we not invest into Spirit? it boosts the acid damage if i remember correctly, also what do you think about later upgrading into the deathguard set and using the Occulant shield from the dreeg cult?

Since the Resistance Reduction comes from passive sources (Veil of Shadow and Oathkeeper Guardians), this build is extremely controller friendly. I tend to map X (left) to the default attack (Righteous Fervor in this case), Y (top) for healing (Pneumatic Burst), A (bottom) for temporary buffs (Ascension) and B (right) for pet attack (so you can command the Guardians).

From there, the only button you need to worry is making sure you apply ABB for the big damage boost. Then you can map the 2-3 movement options to whatever buttons you have left. Very easy and capable!

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Physique is a safe default to stick in any guide intended for newer players. It’s arguably a bit overrated but going down to 662 Physique here (the lowest you can get away with for the revelant acid sets like Venomblade, Deathguard, or Dunefiend) nets you around 10% damage at a cost of around 10% of your survivability - and some of that loss comes in the form of taking extra crits.

If you’re comfortable with it (and don’t want to wear any 900+ Physique required gear like a Korvan Gaze, which is a really good hat for acid RF builds) there’s nothing wrong with investing more into Spirit.

Because the Defensive Ability (DA) is tanking quite badly then.

If you want to use Stoneplate Greaves, you can drop down to ~780 Physique, but that will lower your DA by around 200 points in this setup.
At that level, even some regular campaign bosses can crit you.

If you can find other sources of DA, like more “of Readiness” on your gear, feel free to put some extra points into Spirit.
But don’t expect a miraculous jump in DPS, it makes a relatively minor difference.

A few questions about this build…

  1. Why max Dual Blades? For the phys res? Doesn’t seem like it scales a lot
  2. Same for Celestial Presence, just 20% more acid dmg?
  3. Seems like Merciless Repertoire or Nidalla’s Hidden Hand would scale better
  4. Not sure why you wouldn’t go scorpion over spider on devotion either
  5. Also I think you forgot to update your relic
  1. Yes for the Phys res. Phys res is very important. Also, you convert some Piercing damage to Acid. Once gear gets better, you can convert nearly all Pierce->Acid, with Mad Queen’s Claw for example, Vileblade Set or possibly Mythical Widow’s Sting.
  2. For the resistance reduction. The resistance reduction is converted with Scion of Dreeg and is cumulative with the Nightblade Aura and Murmur devotion.
  3. NHH in particular is quite good, but the build is incredibly strapped for points. Once you get more gear with +skills, you can divert some points into NHH. Merciless Repertoire isn’t exceptional.
  4. Because Spider is better. It has much needed attack speed and OA, it also grants an extra required green point for the devotion over Scorpion. The 40% acid damage on Scorpion isn’t important.
  5. No, I didn’t. This is the budget version which uses only guaranteed or easy to farm items. Meditation is not a guaranteed drop, while Endurance can be bought from faction vendors. If you have Meditation, it is a massive upgrade.

ah i see thank you very much! this build is a blast, am currently 43 hours into the build lol

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