☄ Collection of malawiglenn's Beginner Friendly builds

The guides are very detailed and will show you how to make good end-game builds that can do some of the basic end-game content in Grim Dawn :grim_dawn: :crate:

The builds can farm the basic end-game areas such as the Rogue-like dungeons and thus works as good “stepping stone” builds before you start to “swim” in legendaries, blueprints and crafting mats - then you can start to make builds you see posted on the forums that eats Crucible and Shattered Realm for breakfast! But, we need to walk before we can run… and this is where my guides will come in handy!

The items used for the builds are faction items (that you can buy from vendor!) and items that are “farmable” meaning they are not random drops but can be obtained by killing a specific type of monster. Some Epic (blue) items are used since they have much higher drop chance compared to legendaries.

In other words, the builds do not rely on sick RNG to drop of / transmutation of Mythical Legendary items and/or insane affix combinations on Monster Infrequents (MI’s) (Sure you can drop the blueprint of a set helm and then start to transmute the entire set, but it took me around 700 hours before I dropped the Mythical Warborn helm blueprints so … )

In my guides you will see what kinda builds you can do with items that are mostly bought from faction vendors.


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:fire: ¤¤¤ Fire Aegis and Rune Paladin (Shield throw/ranged/caster) ¤¤¤ :shield:

:tornado: ¤¤¤ Beginner Spinner - Eye of Reckoning Warlord (spin2win/cyclon/melee) ¤¤¤ :cyclone:

:cloud_with_lightning: ¤¤¤ Lightning Vindicator (Caster) ¤¤¤ :mage:

:muscle: ¤¤¤ Forcewave Spammer Warlord (2H melee-caster) ¤¤¤ :ocean:

:muscle: ¤¤¤ Forcewave Spammer Death Knight (2H melee-caster) ¤¤¤ :ocean:

:zap: ¤¤¤ Primal Strike / Savagery Warder (2H melee) ¤¤¤ :damage_lightning:

:skull_and_crossbones: ¤¤¤ Vitality Cabalist - an update of Nightmare’s cabalist guide (Caster) ¤¤¤ :faction_undead: special thanks to @Nery

:snowflake: ¤¤¤ Cold Rune Vindicator (Caster) ¤¤¤ :cloud_with_snow:

:faction_dreeg: ¤¤¤ Acid Sentinel with Perdition set (Shield throw and Retaliation) ¤¤¤ :shield:

:skateboard: ¤¤¤ Pre-Vanquish “Skatebreaker” - Fire/Burn Shieldbreaker (Skater/Caster) ¤¤¤ :firecracker:

:dagger: ¤¤¤ Phantasmal Blades Reaper - by Sir Spanksalot and me (Ranged/Caster) ¤¤¤ :skull:

:damage_lightning: ¤¤¤ Lightning Ray - Mage Hunter (Channeling Caster) ¤¤¤ :mage:

:crossed_swords: ¤¤¤ Totally Normal Warlord Twins ¤¤¤ :faction_devilscrossing: (Still work in progress but you still might get some ideas from it)

:crossed_swords: ¤¤¤ Cheap Dual Wield Melee Ritualist ¤¤¤ :faction_solael: (Guide not as detailed as the others)

Beginner/Budget build sketches (does not contain any guides)
They might give you some ideas in case of none of the other beginner builds seem to fancy you.

Click for sketches

As you can see, its not that hard to make a build based around Faction items, basic MI’s and some epics. What does take time is to write the build guide, test play the build and so on.


Each guide above contains skill description, devotion tree breakdown, leveling guide (often 2 or more leveling options are included), list of suitable easy to get items, gameplay tips, videos, and suggested progression items / builds.

When it comes to patch changes, I can impossibly update all guides in great detail. I will comment on some of the most important patch chances in the dedicated thread for the builds now and then. So, have a look at what patch I made the build guide in, then if something looks weird, look at patch notes, the build thread, or ask questions. Here are my notes for 1.1.4.0 patch changes based on the patch notes

When it comes to Hardcore (HC) gameplay and if the builds above are viable or not:

Read about HC-viability here (click)

My standard reply is that HC is 80% player skills and 20% build. I guess all of the builds above can be made a bit tankier going for different devotions, overcapping resistances etc but all in all YES you can go HC with each but some might need some adjustments in devotions etc. Also some items provides extra saftey like Prismatic Diamond component, Divinity Medal, Avatar of Mercy amulet and so on which you should use if you drop them. Anyway, you should not need to look for build guides elsewhere for HC but instead focus on your playing skills.


Other Beginner build guides with similar philosophy as me
(click for links)

Builds by Nery

⚔ Nery's beginner build collection

Builds by Stupid Dragon

[DW melee] Beginner’s Virulent Dervish
[DW melee] Beginner’s Forgotten Blademaster
[shield melee] Beginner’s pre-Krieg Death Knight
[2H melee] Krieg Death Knight on budget, the Soul Reaver
[1.0.4.0] Beginner’s melee 2H Lightning Elementalist Old but still deserves a mention
[1.0.4.1] Beginner's ranged Tactician Old but still deserves a mention

Pet builds by Maya

The Carnival - A Guide to Pets contains all you need to know about pets and contains several budget builds

Sentinel build by Udars

[1.1.3.0] Vanquisher Fire Sentinel, semi-beginner friendly and practically farmable Semi budget build around Vanquisher set

Spellbreaker by Xervous

Updated for FG: [1.1.4.0] BYOB (Build Your Own Breaker) (C+*)

I can in particular recommend Nery’s Vitality Oppressor, Stupid Dragon’s Death Knight and Blademaster and Maya has all the pet stuff you ever need to know about as a beginner.

- - - - Which build should I choose? - - - -

(click here to read about which build you "should" choose)

Try to define your preferred play-style first:

  • Melee: with shield, two-handed, Dual wielding, or spinning,…?
  • Ranged: dual wielding guns, two-handed?
  • Caster: spamming or Dot, Single target focus or AoE, kiting or tanking?
  • Summoner: many pets or a few strong ones? Summons that scale with player damage or pet damage?

After that, try to do some research about what other kinds of builds you can do with your selected class combo. Some classes supports several play-styles, whereas others are more streamlined/narrow. I think it is a good idea to start with something that has potentially many play-styles available, in case you get bored or simply just wanna try things out.

All in all, Grim Dawn will encourage you do make many many builds and respecs costs some resources so the most important thing for you as a new player is to have fun, learn about the mechanics and try to find out how you wanna play the game!

This is a nice guide by Nery: Guide for helping how to choose your build! about class selection


From this thread
Contrary to what that dude claims, I do not encourage that you start with the “most efficient” class, but rather pick a build that seems fun to play. I have made many guides, for different kinds of builds, class combinations, damage types etc so that you have a lot to choose from :slight_smile: And I also warmly recommend the other beginner build guides that people have posted on this forum (see above).

- - - - Which build is your own favorite? - - - -

(click me)

I like to play casters and melee chars, I am not that much into summoning or ranged builds.

So for caster I would pick my Lightning Caster Vindicator or my Lightning Ray Mage Hunter. Also the vitality casters are fun and easy to play, my Cabalist or Nery’s Oppressor.

Melee I would go with my Warder or Nery’s budget cold infiltrator or Stupid Dragons pierce Blademaster.

Otherwise I do like the Sentinel a lot since it provides a huge variation of playstyles and damage types, also with limited wealth:

So if you are looking for a class combination that is easy to level up and have many options for early end-game farming definitely check out the Sentinel class.

- - - - I NEED HELP - - - -

(click me)

I would really like to help all of you in your progress and to answer all possible questions you might have - but I will not have that much time with that unfortunately (I can a handful of PM’s on a daily basis with questions). I feel the guides are detailed enough. If my guides are not enough: use google and search for your question, read other guides (like more general guides on game mechanics) see below.

I also have a full time job, partner, and other hobbies (like I also play this game at least 10h/week).

You can for instance ask questions here (official Grim Dawn discord - link ) Grim Dawn on Discord and I am sure people will help you.

You can also ask questions here in this thread: you need to specify what build/guide you are following and so on so that I and others can help you as good as possible.

From the guides-section on this forum:
🤯 malawiglenn’s guide on game mechanics for beginners explains some of the game mechanics that you need to know about.
GD Acronym and Abbreviation List good for reference usage.
A how-to on getting loot efficiently on solo play + advice on levelling
Farming Routes/Farming Guides Compilation
Devotions: A how-to on maximizing them
How to - Move your saves from Steam cloud to Grim Dawn's default location.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fEASwrQ5C7k how to share char with grim tools.
https://forums.crateentertainment.com/t/tips-i-wish-i-knew-before-playing/44813
https://forums.crateentertainment.com/t/advanced-mechanics/29059 good guide about basic game mechanics but still not changed to fit the new forum’s formatting.

More Information:

(click me)

Look guys.

*I don’t care if you trade or not. But I do believe that trading early on can have a detrimental effect. Especially now when we have set transmutation mechanics - completing sets is easier than ever. Trade if you think that you can get a fair deal and if you do not think it will “ruin” the excitement of the game by finding your own gear later on.
Heck I do not even care if you GD stash your char or not - but again, I think it defeats the purpose of following these beginner guides.
If you trade or not is beyond the scope of my guides anyway - the goal of the guides is to take you to a position where you make a char with easy to get items that you can start doing some end-game farming with.

In a similar fashion, my guides are not meant for players who already have made several level 100 chars and have a decent loot pool to choose from. I.e. I do not suggest any kind of “twinked” leveling in my guides like “at level 50, equip this set” and so on. I will assume that you use gear only found by this char when leveling up and starting to farm / doing end-game content. There is of course nothing wrong with that, it is a viable option - I am just saying that my guides are not designed for twinked play or powerleveling in multiplayer Crucible/Shattered Realm.

I don’t have that much time to help you with gearing beyond the budget “goal” build that is presented in the guides. I work about 2 hours each days with maintaining the guides and making new ones and other guides. There are plenty of people here that can help you with improving your chars further. Just make a new thread, state you have followed guide x and give a link to the guide and a GT link to your char and people will come and help you.

I mean I could do a guide like this

  • farm Ugdenbog flowers for a week, then trade them for gear
  • join public games over and over again and ask for free loot because your are a poor new player

End of guide xD

Keep the discussions in this thread about budget builds, i.e. faction item based builds.

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[DW melee] Beginner's Forgotten Blademaster
[shield melee] Beginner's pre-Krieg Death Knight
[DW melee] Beginner's Virulent Dervish
[1.0.3.2] Nightmare's Vitality Cabalist New Player Starter Build
[1.1.4.2] The Big Bad: 6:30 Crucible Gladiator 150-170/SR 65 no greens 2h-melee Witchblade [c+][sr][vid]
[1.1.3.1] Budget Lightning DW Ranged Purifier
[1.1.3.1] Budget cold DW melee Blademaster
Looking for a Starting Build? Don't have gear? Are you Shiny and New?
Build Compendium X (Forgotten Gods)
:zap: (1.1.3.1) (Ranged) Rachel Jordan Paladin Stronghold of the Legion (No Greens)
[1.1.4.0] Budget AAR Mage Hunter
[1.1.4.0] Krieg CT Spellbinder Gladiator capable
Warlord build for HC?
Drunken Fwuffy - Retaliation Warlord
[DW Melee] [1.1.4.1] (g3) (c+) Pure E Fiah - Dual Wield Melee Purifier (no greens) 🔥
Help for spin2win Eor build
New Player in need of guidance for the Intro Build?
V1.1.4.0 Preview
Newbie overwhelmed of all these builds, need help for updated starter build
[1.1.4.1] The 'Za-Lord – Valguur Conjurer, Full Sigil Vitality Leechtank. Crucible 6:30. [c+] [sr+] [vid] [g1-g4] [l]
[1.1.2.5] Beronath's Death Herald: 7m Crucible 150-170, no greens melee dw-Cadence Death Knight/Warlord
[Caster] [1.0.6.1] The Red Knight – A Bleeding/Vit. Caster
Having trouble with Loghorrean on Elite
Help me chose a build that would be viable from start to end-game
[1.1.3.0] Beginner's/budget Mage Hunter
Ice, Cold, Frost caster builds, need help!
Beginner 2h melee fire build
New Player Here
[Poison Build] Looking for hardcore-self-loot viable poison/acid build
Drunken Fwuffy - Retaliation Warlord
Returning player with a few questions
The Carnival - A Guide to Pets
Do people really "farm" Crucible 150-170?
Choosing my first masteries in GD
Need Elementalist build advice
Fun game. Need help from the community

Incredible list and touch for details!

I was thinking of creating list like that,but you made it happen.

I saw that Maya also have a build collection,so maybe that’s a tendency.

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Yeah, astrologists declared a week of collections. Lee and Omnitrio had posted their’s on reddit earlier today.

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Do you intend to that or you’re not speaking with the stars :slight_smile:

Btw I forgot to say thanks to Malawiglenn for linking my builds.

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@Nery
I don’t have much to brag about, so no. I.did a reset once FG was released, so I only have Blademaster and RIP-ed Dervish at the moment, also a GD stashed DK. My older builds are archieved, but I don’t want to touch them. My non-beginner builds were the definition of mediocrity anyway.

Yuss! :blush:

The stars have aligned as the prophecy foretold. The gates have opened and build collections have managed to escape their eternal prison. Under the cradle of night, in the mountain of madness, they dance to the tune of the old gods

I am a physicist and because of that, I always read my horoscope!

Just noticed the tags,I wonder what’s your inspiration for them :smirk:

I am looking forward to beginner Saboteur, I will play it for sure!

I saw Stupid Dragon used those tags and I just assumed that this was the new standard to aim for with beginner builds :zantai:

Tfw you see that there is no hardcore tag :sob:

You’re right,just saw it.

I was gone from the forum for few days and everyone’s got delusion for greatness :slight_smile:

Bad Han Solo reference and no light saber emoji.

Have you been wearing that Fettan mask now again @Nery ? Why why why just farm the BP for mythical helm and get full set! L2P :grava_yes:

HC viable with 8k health 500 armor rating and 1900 DA! Also we need “bloated wall of text” tag

Pff… people have been successfully doing Ultimate with negative resistances.

500 armor? 1900 DA?

Just avoid getting hit. Easy.

Btw, users get the option to add custom tags at the next “trust level” thing once the account changes from “Basic”.

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Ahhh,I see you have new reddit friend.That person can be the only one,that can play with negative resistances,we’re just mere mortals.

Custom tags seems interesting.Bounty hunter tag,yup :rescue_worker_helmet:

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top starter aether crystal farmer

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Wow! Great guides and builds.

As someone leveling a Primal Strike Warder in HC right now I gota say you got things bang on.

The Storm Halberd quality scales with monster level and they are the best weapons for this build until endgame. I’d recommend returning to the Temple of Osyr every 20 levels to farm for an upgrade.

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Yeah I did mention Storm Halberd and farming in the guide. Probably my fav MI in FG :slight_smile: ( I actually have a legit “Thunderstruck of alacrity” lvl 94 one in my stashes :wink: )

I actually made the Warder guide for the reason of it being recommended over and over again here and there (some people still think it is THE build though it become surpassed with the addition of AoM) - so I wanted to 1) help people that have started with warder anyways and 2) help people that might have a mid-level warder laying around when they bought AoM and FG and needed some tips on how to progress it.

but yeah, with the new Storm Halberd, this build can become quite a monster even without Ultos set!

If you have any ideas on how to change things to make it even more HC-friendly, let me know.
My initial ideas are 1) More Menhir will for health regen and lower cooldown 2) Turtle/Crab devotion procs 3) Perhaps also Giants blood proc.
But HC is more about how you actually play and approach the game tbh.

I was busy with DK update, then with remaking my build formatting up to new forum’s capabilities, and now I’m on vacation away from PC, then I kinda already promised to update my elementalist, who would become a conjurer. So Saboteur is maybe some time later.

I made these tags when fooling around and looking for ways to abuse them. It was also an experiment whether multiple long tags increase the noticeability of the guide (I think they do, subjectively). But I think I’ll replace them once I come up with better, more modest tags.