Beginner build guides Compendium (for AoM + FG expansions)

name Ulvar1 is the author of this compendium.

:grim_dawn: :baby_bottle: :baby:

▧ What and why is this compendium?

Most of these builds are already included in the ”real” compendium but might be hard to find. From my experience on discord, reddit etc, most people do not even know that these build guides exists. Perhaps by moving them to a separate compendium can make these builds and guides a bit easier to find and link to.

A common thing on the forum is to hide text within ”spoiler boxes”.
To read what’s inside them, click on them.
These spoilers are marked with a


Beginner builds – what are they?

Items are key for making good builds in Grim Dawn (GD). As a new player, you naturally have no items, so how to make a good build that can farm items? These builds and guides can help you with that, they are kind of ”transition” builds, something you can make even with terrible RNG luck. The builds are focused around faction items, “target farmable” green Monster infrequent (MI) items with not too good rolls (target farmable means you can target a monster or area and you have high chance to get them compared to random drop legendary items). Also some blue items (epic) are used since they have much higher drop chance than legendaries.

Most of these builds also contain leveling advice, some have journals to show real life examples of builds in various stages of the progress.

Some of these builds also uses the target farmable legendary sets Krieg’s Armament and Dark One’s Gift.

But what about this or that build guide I saw on reddit / youtube?

I have limited myself to include the build guides that are posted here on this forum. The guides included have a dedicated thread and follow the “philosophies” of beginner build like focuses on faction items and easy to get monster infrequents as described above.

Patches – is the build still viable?

Patches in Grim Dawn does not work the same way as in say Path of Exile. Even if a guide is 3-4 patches old, it is still 95%-100% accurate. Given that the purpose of these build guides are to help you get a char to start doing end-game, you should not care about it being ”old” or ”outdated”. You can also just ask in the thread for that particular guide if there is some important item or skill change.

What is more relevant is if the endgame - Best in Slot (BiS) geared builds that are often presented last in these guides are updated and viable. But the leveling and budget gearing part is as mentioned 95%-100% accurate and relevant.

Build uses items with variable rolls – how can I even try to replicated those?

Green items can be very powerful and drop way more often than legendaries (purples). The presented builds are just examples, never try to get exactly those rolls of affixes. Instead, try to puzzling good greens that you have found to cover resistances and stats like offensive ability (OA) and defensive ability (DA).

A particular kind of green item type is “Monster Infrequent” (MI) which very often give very nice skill bonuses. They drop from fixed monster sources so they are pretty easy to get. Mind though, a perfect roll might take forever to get, but a perfect roll is not needed for a build to “work”. Get around 5 or so of each MI and save them in your stash. Then you combine them together with other items that you find and faction gear to cover resistances etc.

What builds are HC viable?

For me, HC success is about your own play style and playing skills. Also, I think most people start with softcore to learn about the game and builds first. Some authors here only play HC, like Stupid_Dragon so check out his builds maybe. But again, he is an experienced and good player and builder, just because he was able to pull if off will not mean that you necessarily will. Vitality casters are also a safe bet, mostly because the amount of life steal they have. Finally soldier based builds can also provide the extra defenses for HC if you are new.

Playstyles - what are they?

Personally I think the most important thing is to figure out what playstyle fit you most, what do you enjoy playing? In this compendium builds are sorted in playstyle so it will be easier for you to pinpoint what builds looks interesting for you to try out.

You can learn more about playstyles in this guide Builds types and styles in GD

  • [Caster] - a generic tag for casters. Here are some important sub-categories:

    • [Spam caster] - have its main spell(s) as skills that scales with casting speed and have essentially no cooldown.
    • [Cooldown caster] - have its main spell(s) as skills that have cooldown and thus make it ideal for kiting/“hit and run”.
    • [Channeler] - a build that has to “channel” a skill to do damage. Eye of Reckoning counts as one, even though it scales with attack speed instead of casting speed.
    • [2H Caster] : for any caster that uses a two-hander weapon. No cooldown Forcewave counts as one.
    • [Shield Caster] : for any caster that uses a shield for whatever reason, builds based around Aegis of Menhir and cooldown Forcewave automatically count as one.
  • [DW Melee] - a melee autoattack build that hits enemies with two weapons;

  • [2H Melee] - a melee autoattack build that hits enemies with a two-hander;

  • [Shield Melee] - a melee autoattack build that carries a shield;

  • [Melee Hybrid] - a hybrid of a melee autoattack build and caster, implies that a good chunk of damage is going to be from other sources, like cooldown spells and pseudo pets;

  • [DW Ranged] - a ranged autoattack build that hits enemies with two weapons;

  • [2H Ranged] - a ranged autoattack build that hits enemies with a two-hander;

  • [Pets] - summoners and the kind; There are two kinds of pets, those that scale with pet bonuses and those that scales with player bonuses (pseudo-pets) often when we talk about pets in GD we refer to pets that scales with pet bonuses.

  • [Pets / Player] - builds which have pets scaling with pet bonuses and player scaled skills both dealing significant damage

  • [Skater] – Vire might skill, you skate back and forth dealing damage and activate procs. Fast movement means you can be quite efficient farming totems and materials for crafting.

I got stuck - what should I do?

You can read the other guides linked in the bottom of this page. You can also make a forum account and ask the author in the guide you are trying to follow. Also make sure to read all the comments in the guide thread, there might be others who have asked the same question.

You can also join the official discord Grim Dawn and ask there - try to be specific and explain what guide you are following and what you are trying to do and are having problems with.


▧ Beginner build guides:

The formatting is as follows:

  • Link to guide thread (main damage type)(class)(author)

Here are the different classes (a class = two masteries) source:

▧ Beginner build guides:

(New!) Builds sorted by classes and masteries  
Apostate (Inquisitor + Necromancer)
Archon (Oathkeeper + Shaman)
Battlemage (Arcanist + Soldier)
Blademaster (Nightblade + Soldier)
Cabalist (Necromancer + Occultist)
Commando (Demolitionist + Soldier)
Conjurer (Occultist + Shaman)
Death Knight (Necromancer + Soldier)
Deceiver (Inquisitor + Occultist)
Defiler (Demolitionist + Necromancer)
Dervish (Nightblade + Oathkeeper)
Druid (Arcanist + Shaman)
Elementalist (Demolitionist + Shaman)
Infiltrator (Inquisitor + Nightblade)
Mage Hunter (Arcanist + Inquisitor)
Oppressor (Necromancer + Oathkeeper)
Paladin (Inquisitor + Oathkeeper)
Purifier (Demolitionist + Inquisitor)
Pyromancer (Demolitionist + Occultist)
Reaper (Necromancer + Nightblade)
Ritualist (Necromancer + Shaman)
Saboteur (Demolitionist + Nightblade)
Sentinel (Oathkeeper + Occultist)
Shieldbreaker (Demolitionist + Oathkeeper)
Sorcerer (Arcanist + Demolitionist)
Spellbinder (Arcanist + Necromancer)
Spellbreaker (Arcanist + Nightblade)
Tactician (Inquisitor + Soldier)
Templar (Arcanist + Oathkeeper)
Trickster (Nightblade + Shaman)
Vindicator (Inquisitor + Shaman)
Warder (Shaman + Soldier)
Warlock (Arcanist + Occultist)
Warlord (Oathkeeper + Soldier)
Witchblade (Occultist + Soldier)
Witch Hunter (Nightblade + Occultist)
(New!) Builds sorted by authors
Nery (16)
Stupid_Dragon (11)
The_Coyote (10)
Ulvar1 (5)
banana_peel (2)
Evil_Baka (2)
Monceaux (2)
teppieteptep (2)
thepowerofmediocrity (2)
AlexGoldFish_322 (1)
AlkamosHater (1)
Ceno (1)
gargabolo (1)
JY_626 (1)
mostmost (1)
Salvor (1)
sp00ky (1)
supertolik (1)
Udars (1)
Uncle_Mac (1)
tqFan (1)
Xervous (1)
Builds sorted by playstyles as explained above

Spam caster

Cooldown caster

2H Caster

Shield Caster


DW Ranged

2H Ranged

DW Melee

DW Hybrid

2H Melee

Shield Melee


Pets / Player


Build collections

Some authors have made a compendium of their beginner builds with additional information and tips.

More Guides etc. (click me)
[] Budget 2-handed ranged "The Desolator" Fire Strike Fire Purifier
[][HC] Beginner's Shield Caster Sentinel - SSF + Viable for first character
[ -] Budget Physical Two-Handed Melee Savagery Archon
[] Budget Alkamos' Scythe Cold Cadence Blademaster
[] Budget S&B Physical Battlemage
[] Budget Physical Melee Dual-Wield Righteous Fervor Oppressor
[] Budget Physical Cadence-Blitz S&B Witchblade
Beginner Farming Build Advice
[] The Burning Crusader: Reloaded - DW Melee Fire Shieldbreaker SR 75-76/85/Ravager of Minds/Avatar of Mogdrogen
Want to finally play start to finish
[] Hellborn RAtA Shotgun Paladin [SR75]
[] Conduit of Dreeg - Acid DE Reaper [SR80+]
[] Tempest - Lightning Doom Bolt Warlock [SR110] [Crucible 5.15] [All Celestials]
New player 2 chars
[] Beginner's vitality caster Conjurer guide, how to build monster build from the scratch! Suitable for first character
Hello! Beginner not sure where to start
[] Beginner's Acid Shadow Strike Witch Hunter Guide
[ -] Budget Physical Cadence S&B Warlord
Newbie Needs Help With Build
[] Fireworks, fireworks everywhere..... | Tanky aether PRM spellbinder | SR 80
New to the game, only just survived the Warden - how should I respec my Reaper?
Good class/build for Hardcore?
What are the current best Starter Builds (good at farming legendaries)?
Miserable loot
New player, question about builds
Casual gamer looking for ease of use
Casual gamer looking for ease of use
What beginner builds do you want to see?
Ultimate Hardcore Dual Gargabol Cabalist- The Crimson Death
New player, need some guidance
SFF build for a new player?
[] Voldrakia : budget Two-Handed Cadence Warder from scratch (SR65+)
Seeking a caster build!
Just finished first run - very confused
Starting again, need help
[] Conduit of Dreeg - Acid DE Reaper [SR80+]
The best build for class-by-class farming that everyone thinks
Major Druid problems
Build Compendium Organized by Skill (Version 1.20 Newly Added: Reaping Arc Builds)
[Pet] [] (cr) (sr+) (hc) (vid) Unstoppable Briar-Swarm Conjurer (Deeblemin)
[ -] [vid] The Root and the Crown | Lightning Retaliation Grasping Vines Warder | SR75+, ~13s MQ, Mogdrogen, Lokarr, etc
[] 2H Melee Chaos Savagery(Upheaval) Vindicator. SR 90/Ravager of Minds
Please, help me how to follow
Newish here, looking for specific guides
[] Beginner's Lightning Warder
Newbie need advice for build
:globe_with_meridians: Nery's beginner builds collection
Occultist+Shaman beginners build
Good build for farming?
New Player & Difficulty
Noob friendly build? couple years since I played
Few starter questions
[][Guide] Trozan's Ice Shards - A cold Warlock Beginner Guide
Help picking a build
[] Stronghold Fire RF Paladin - SR 85, Ravager of the Minds, Mogdrogen
[Grim Tools] Builds
Help me to pick a build :)
Gunsnilger with demolitionist/inquisitor build 2021?
Having trouble with Loghorrean on Elite
Hi i need some help with my char
The Carnival - A Guide to Pets
Build Compendiums
Return Player
Newbie looking for help on a Sorcerer Build (or, My First Sorcerer)
Farmer build for noob
Some DW ranged for beginner!
Looking for suggestions for a viable Ice Mage Build?
Looking for a bit of advice on my Blademaster please
2x einhand schusswaffen Purifierskillung gesucht c+ und sr+ tauglich
List of Beginner/starter builds for current patch?
Another which build, sry
Do i need a good build for endgame?(asked by someone with 200h... oof)
Just finished the game for the first time, getting into expansions as we speak, here is my review
Low level chaos caster
2H melee class choice help for a newbie
Help with demolitionist build
Beginner Looking for Cabalist Build/Guide
A few beginner's questions
Demolitionist 2h ranged second class?
I can't understand grim daw, please, help me
[] Beginner's vitality caster Conjurer guide, how to build monster build from the scratch! Suitable for first character
When can I add points to devotion?
Question about devotion path order in endgame builds
Noob question about gear drops


  • Separated “casters” into “spam casters” and “cooldown casters”
  • Added damage types and classes to each build. Also added chart about mastery combos and classes.
  • Added link to “leveling guides for each solo mastery” by @RektbyProtoss
  • Changed color theme to include less colors and less aggressive colors so @Monceaux eyes no longer bleed.
  • Added color coding for the damage types.

Great collection!

You also skip making your own thread and instead made topic with all builds. :slightly_smiling_face:

Sorted by play styles is also very cool! I find the lack of ranged builds disturbing. May do some 2H Purifier. I’ve left the leveling process some time ago, due to not being enjoyable but it’s worth trying again, I guess.

Edit, you missed my Battlemage.


Hi nery, not sure what you mean here?

I also thought of that, I had sketch of 2H ranged ABB dervish that looked promising, like cheap version of this [] Acid Ranged Dervish - 5:50 Crucible [g5][c+][vid]

yeah I did! I had this text in draft in a word file that I made like 1 week ago and forgot to add bottlemage!

1 Like

I mean Ulvar’s top beginners, ultimate farming beginner builds collection. :rofl:

Also Dervish is nice idea but the class already have great DW melee guide.


ah yes true I need to have more hype and advertisments like those You Tube builds :slight_smile: Perhaps add some commercials “this build is sponsored by coca cola”

Yeah that is why I thought “sword and board” chaos blade arc witchblade would be redundant, also sword and board warlord…there is forcwave :stuck_out_tongue:

Here is a gun and shield paladin I made

ABB 2H ranged dervish

And this can be fun, COMMANDO (yeah I know of Ba amulet but 8% OA is nice too)

1 Like

At this point, I can conclude that people just want their stuff spoonfed to them. Beginner builds is literally one of the first sections on the compendium and people still don’t find it.

But more places to find stuff is never bad. And I love how you formatted it by style! Noobs usually don’t know classes or damage types sorting by style is a good idea.


I can also add more clear what damage type and also class combo. Maybe also separate spam and cooldown casters

Sometimes I wonder if I should just delete the single class builds from Compendium and use the first post for budget builds instead.


Now if you want you can link to this thread perhaps

Looking good brother, a few ideas :

  • This isn’t too necessary right now as there aren’t many guides, but a summary linking to each playstyle section would be handy to navigate faster

  • Inspired from the end game compendium, a tag to indicate the guide has gameplay video(s), maybe other tags like “hc viable” (if the builder considers it is), etc

  • Where are the links to Rekt’s channel/guide compendium ? D:
    And perhaps other youtubers that do quality stuff

  • I’d remove that little jab in the green spoiler, that does not feel very professionnal :thinking:

Good job on the disclaimers at the beginning, those questions come back often and they’re answered well :ok_hand:

1 Like

Thanks for feedback. I can add some more tags. HC viable is for me play skills primarily.

I wanted to limit build guides that have dedicated thread on forum like dragons compendium so no YT guides.

True, though some builds do feel safer and fool-proof (looking at you, vitality casters) and HC enthusiasts may want to begin with a safer bet so indicating those would help
Rekt does have a compendium thread and a dedicated thread for each build so I think he qualifies for the criterion, given he’s the largest resource for HC gameplay, he makes a fine addition to the collection

One question, if someone wanted to add his guide from an external source like, Reddit for example, is that possible and would there be a form to fill ?


Thanks for the proposal, but I’ll have to deny it. Long ago I’ve beaten certain someone to Compendium management by volunteering myself, and time proven me right. I’m fine with you doing a beatiful version of budget build section of Compendium, but mine has to remain as a backup.

1 Like

Yeah maybe but I think dividing into hc viable and not can be a bit missleading too. Also most ppl start in softcore to gain knowledge of game. I know dragon play hc exclusive so his builds are of course safe bet.

To be fair, all rekts builds do not have own thread and the vast majority of them are not ssf or geared with same philosophy as these other beginner/budget builds. I have watched some of this SSF stuff, and I see whenever he drops a good legendary he just equip it which would go against this beginner/budget build philosophy. Like my warder, I dropped two avanger set items but refrained of using them just to make a point that build works even without RNG luck so to say,

Format I guess just make a dedicated thread about build guide on the forum. I think 99% of content should be written format. So no thread with a link to yt or reddit only.


TBH I should remove Mayas pet builds for consistancy, because not even I can find them… linking to her compendium “the carnival” should be enough.

1 Like

9 posts were split to a new topic: Reddit and builds discussion

A post was merged into an existing topic: Reddit and builds discussion

I made an account here literally just to tell you how much of a beautiful bastard you are. Been wanting something like this for ages, seeing as I’m both new and awful at this game. Thanks a million.


Hot damn @Ulvar1! This is great! Glad to have you in the community, brother. Keep this stuff coming, man!