( Vitality Primal Strike Archon - 2 endgame builds + Beginner leveling guide - Suitable for first char and HC viable

Hello there, GD community!

After my first Primal Strike build ( HC Beginner Primal Strike Druid + Leveling guide - suitable for first char and the changes on patch (and the new dangerous sunder debuff), i had an idea to build a char that can stand (even more) it’s ground.

If you’re searching for a lazy and reliable facetanker, this build’s for you!

This char uses easy target-farmable, MI’s, craftable and faction itens and have enjoyable gameplay for those who love melee playstyle. I leveled this char on SC but it didn’t died until now, so it is totally HC viable!

Char was leveled without using pre-farmed gear, merits, mandates. Potion of clarity was used after getting revered with malmouth resistance faction.

Playstyle is simple. Debuff your enemies with Devouring Swarm, cast your vitality totems, attack them with Primal Strike and wendigo totem for extra damage/extra healing! Ascension for dire situations and we even have turtle shell proc as a fail-safe.


I leveled this char like this:

lvl1-10 Shaman, Level 10 (GD - Grim Dawn Build Calculator

Start as a Shaman! Get a 2H weapon (don’t matter if melee or ranged) and start spending 1 point on devouring swarm and 2 points on the mastery bar until you have access to primal strike and thunderous strike.

Lvl 10-20 Shaman, Level 20 (GD - Grim Dawn Build Calculator

Spend 1 point on Primal Strike, 1 point on torrent and 1 point on the master bar until you have access to wind devil and raging tempest. Start spending points on raging tempest. You can put a point or two in wendigo totem too if you want. On devotions, complete the bat and bind it’s proc to primal strike or wind devil.

Lvl 20-30 Archon, Level 30 (GD - Grim Dawn Build Calculator

On this lvl you should have completed Act 1. Take a detour to FG DLC before continuing on the main campaign. Our goals here are to get our main weapon, helmet and restoring all shrines we can! You can farm Korvan Storm Halberd - Items - Grim Dawn Item Database and Korvan Casque - Items - Grim Dawn Item Database . You will eventually drop them by killing enemies and progressing the DLC. Start spending all your points on the oathkeeper mastery bar and complete the turtle and lion on devotions.

Lvl 30-40 Archon, Level 40 (GD - Grim Dawn Build Calculator

Time to go back to vanilla campaign and move on. Spend all your points on the Oathkeeper mastery bar. Don’t forget to upgrade gear and check your resistances. On devotions, complete Lotus, Eel, Kraken, then put 4 points on scales of ulcama to get it’s proc. If you’re on Blood Grove or close to it, don’t forget to farm Grim Dawn World Map for a precious leveling MI, the Bolvar's Pendant - Items - Grim Dawn Item Database .

Lvl 40-50 Archon, Level 51 (GD - Grim Dawn Build Calculator

On this lvl you should have access to chtonic areas where you can farm our main MI for this char, the Rylok Mark - Items - Grim Dawn Item Database , when you get it, you’re gonna respec all points of wind devil and raging tempest and spend on Devouring Swarm, Storm Totem, and max out Path of the Three and Celestial Presence (1 point on Summon guardian of empyrion and 1 point on scion of dreeg). On devotions, remove eel and complete wendigo and scholar’s light.

Lvl 50-60 Archon, Level 60 (GD - Grim Dawn Build Calculator

I finished AoM DLC and started Elite around Lvl52-53. You’re gonna see your char destroying everything without much sweat. Start spending points on Heart of the Wild and Oak Skin. Activate all totems you find on the way and go trough the main campaign. On devotions, complete Rat, Raven and Abomination.

*********** Got lucky and dropped a good vitality 2H weapon on my way trough campaign. If you don’t drop any, don’t worry. just upgrade your korvan storm halberd.

Lvl 60-70 Archon, Level 70 (GD - Grim Dawn Build Calculator

Upgrade your gear and cap your resistances! Activate all totems you find on your way. Start spending points on haven and ascension. At this point you should be close to complete the elite difficulty. Don’t forget to buy faction boosters to speed up the reputation gain.

Lvl 70-80 Archon, Level 80 (GD - Grim Dawn Build Calculator

I started ultimate at Lvl 79. Upgrade your gear, check your resistances, activate all totems and spend points on ascension and max out Haven. i was very lucky and dropped a Wildblood Crusher - Items - Grim Dawn Item Database . You can just upgrade you Storm Halberd if you didn’t drop this weapon.

Lvl 80-90 Archon, Level 90 (GD - Grim Dawn Build Calculator

At this point, you must have achieved revered with most of the factions, or be in a rush to achieve it. When you get revered wit malmouth resistance, buy some potions of clarity to speed up your leveling proccess.

Lvl 94 Archon, Level 94 (GD - Grim Dawn Build Calculator

When you get Lvl 94, go farm Dreeg’s guardian near Devil’s crossing to obtain a Dreeg-Sect Legguards - Items - Grim Dawn Item Database (look for vit dmg affixes). On boots, if you didn’t dropped the Stoneplate greaves blueprint yet, you can shop Elite Legion Greaves - Items - Grim Dawn Item Database ,on hands , if you didn’t dropped a plagueguard grips blueprint yet, use the Elite Harvest Grips - Items - Grim Dawn Item Database (i planned using plagueguard grips, but dropped voidrend talons and it fit well till acquiring endgame gear). Craft a decent Solar Girdle - Items - Grim Dawn Item Database for belt. Go farm viloth in devil’s crossing to get 2 good Viloth’s rings (look for vitality affixes, i didn’t have the patience on this… LOL)
Your Head, Shoulder and Armor will be farmed on FG DLC.

Got UBER lucky and dropped a Mythical Wildblood Crusher - Items - Grim Dawn Item Database on my way to Tomb of the Heretic. ( If you didn’t drop it, you can farm Morgoneth for his Nightbringer - Items - Grim Dawn Item Database .

With this budget setup i finished all dungeons and even managed to beat lokarr without much sweat. You’re now ready to finish all dungeons and farm all totems you may find. The next step i did was farming the Dark One's Gift - Item sets - Grim Dawn Item Database (if you never farmed this set before, check my beginner vitality elementalist build ( Beginner Dark One's Elementalist - From scratch to endgame solid farming + Leveling guide to learn how you do it).

Char Spec (DARK ONE SET)

With this gear, char completed SR65 easily, facetanking almost anything (beware with the freezing fakin crystals from moosilauke)

Char actual spec (ROTGHEIST)

Well, i never used this set for this skill until now, so i farmed SR for some days until i got some of its parts and the blueprint, got 2 good vitality rings too. The char lose some of its toughness but you’ll see your DPS increase a LOT.

Gonna try superbosses soon and post the results.

here’s some video proof of this lazy facetankin’ lady

( Vitality Primal Strike Archon - 2 endgame builds + Beginner leveling guide - Suitable for first char and HC viable) x Morgoneth (full dungeon run, budget spec)

( Vitality Primal Strike Archon - leveling guide - HC viable x Lokarr (budget spec)

( Vitality Primal Strike Archon - 2 endgame builds + Beginner leveling guide - Suitable for first char and HC viable) x Korvaak

( Vitality Primal Strike Archon - 2 endgame builds + Beginner leveling guide - Suitable for first char and HC viable) x Mad Queen

( Vitality Primal Strike Archon - 2 endgame builds + Beginner leveling guide - Suitable for first char and HC viable) x Kra’Vall

( Vitality Primal Strike Archon - 2 endgame builds + Beginner leveling guide - Suitable for first char and HC viable) x SR 65 - DARK ONE spec

( Vitality Primal Strike Archon - 2 endgame builds + Beginner leveling guide - Suitable for first char and HC viable) x SR 65 - ROTGHEIST spec

Thank you all for reading , appreciate any comments/suggestions!


Hey, wanted to comment that you can try improving your endgame Vitality PS spec by investing heavily into attack speed. You have around 140% attack speed on both, you can raise thru using better components and items, especially gloves. Using Dark One set or gloves really holds that kind of build back.

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Thank you for the reply! Yeah, for toughest battles my atk speed is super slow… i was thinking in using consecrated wrappings and try another glove with atk speed bonus like plagueguard’s on superbosses


Hey just used this build to get my first HC level 100! Still getting used to items and whatnot is there a reason you still use Ryloks mark with the Rhotgheist set when they both convert PS to Vitality or is it just the best medal you can get for vitality damage?

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Hi! I still use rylok mark for the 10% ADCTH and resists but it’s optional


Am I missing something with how this is HC viable? I’m in veteran on my 1st playthrough, following this guide to the T (I’m 49), but can’t even begin to farm Bolvar, the Bloodbinder because he literally one-shots me. Not sure how this can survive in HC with this guy one-shotting me once I spawn in. Resists are all around 80% with the exception of aether and chaos.

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Bolvar does a LOT of chaos and fire dmg. With the new patch he’s seems much stronger then he was before 1.2. Cap chaos resist before trying to facetank him

Am i just missing something or do none of the build calculator links have any points in devouring swarm?

Edit, some of the later ones do, but the first few (up to level 30 or 40) do not, but the guide said to start with points in devouring swarm

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Hi there! Thank you for the reply. Well, i like using devouring swarm for rhe first 10 LVLs it’s a great skill for starting. When i have enough skill points to get primal strike, thunderous strike and torrent, i respec devouring swarm points PS and its nodes. I use devouring swarm again only when i got the rylok mark

For someone new to this (since this is a beginner/level guide), what do you mean by “unlock totems along the way”?

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In other words, activate all monster totems while progressing the story

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Ah understood, thanks.

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Been using this guide and really enjoying it! I’m getting to homestead
And since i lost my previous character to Bolvar i need to ask what are some good components for level 40-50 to try to defeat him?
Also given that i’m not a fan of devouring swarm would it be better for me to put those points into the guardian? or is it better if i stick to the guide and use the swarm anyway? I’m ok with using it just wanna know if it’s a good idea to change it a bit(sorry for the question i’m not the best at this >…<)
So far great guide, really loving this build, every attack i do BOOM lighting!! so fun!
I’m a bit afraid of some enemies but the damage is great :smiley:
Have a good day :slight_smile:

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Hey there mate! Glad to know you’re having fun with this build! Well, for bolvar fight it’s a good idea to farm one Incendiary Shoulderguard from Cronley’s thugs and Fleshwarped Platemail from the aetherial soldiers near homestead (a lot of chaos resistance) and try to cap you chaos resistance with other pieces of gear to at least 70%. I assume you don’t have the Rylok mark on medal yet, so you can respec all devouring swarm points on celestial presence and wendigo totem for extra healing. While fighting Bolvar, if you feel your life going down very quickly, its ok to run away of the battle and return, it might take a while but it’s a safe way of killing him. Believe me, after you get the rylok mark, you will feel even more powerful

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Hey @S.E.P_Ralf, thank you a lot for the build, I am enjoying it a lot right now :slight_smile: !! Started Ultimate difficulty for the first time without much sweat so far. Looking forward to push that character into the end game.

Thanks again

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Hi, thanks for the build guide, I have one question, in the step by step guide you said to start with spending 1 point on devouring swarm but when I click the build calculator for level 1-10 link I see that devouring swarm is 0/16, and it is only full on the 40-50 link, is it by mistake or am I missing something?

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Hi! Thank you for the reply! I used devouring swarm just until i was able to get Primal Strike and Thunderous strike, then get a 2H weapon and respec devouring swarm nodes to our main damage skill. I think you can already do this at lvl 6-7. Since i uploaded my char at lvl 10, i had already respec those devouring swarm points

Nice now it makes sense to me, what about the attributes, how do you suggest to add them ?

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Well i spent almost all points on physique. Save a few for spirit too. But on endgame you can respec those points using a potion, if you need.

Thanks for your quick reply!

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