DW Firestrike Purifier: A build diary from Normal to 170 Glad



Steam Summer Sale has started 2 days ago and Grim Dawn as well as all the DLCs are on sale! We should now see an influx of new players, and with that, new forum members who will seek help. On my side, I felt burnt out by the constant theorycafting and recently I ended up thinking about a lot of wonky builds for 170 that all ended up below my standards. Think Vortex of Souls Savagery Ritualist, 2h Chaos Blade Arc, DW phys Blade Arc - all capable of clearing 170 but just not enough for me. I thought, I should start fresh again and work towards cruci from nothing just for a change, so here we are.

My objectives

  • Start a new game with zero influence from my previous characters aside from my game knowledge. This means I deleted my shared stash and blueprints (I made backups lol)
  • Play as a DW Firestrike Purifier from the point it is possible until the character can clear 170 gladiator below 10-12 min
  • Provide detailed explanations on skill choices as I level up. Devotions and gear, not so much cause the former will depend on my endgame vision and the latter on drops.
  • Provide a rough guide on where to level up and what quests are essential

I will not:

  • Provide a detailed walkthrough on what to do on each act/quest. That’s too much of a hassle. I’ll leave those to new players to discover.
  • Kill any of the superbosses. I don’t like taking too much time just to kill one guy. Not to mention it requires tweaking the build so much.
  • Level this character in the most efficient way. Efficiency doesn’t always equal fun.

Why DW Firestrike Purifier? (for new players: Purifier is Demolitionist + Inquisitor)

As I have observed, the most popular and recommended choices for new players are: S&B Soldier (physical, Krieg aether), Dark one vit necro, Various nuke/dot casters (Runes, BWC, DEE, totem), and ranged fire strike (DW or 2H). The main reason for me to choose this out of all these builds is that DW ranged isn’t exactly easy to farm. S&B works with scraps, Krieg/Dark one are farmable, Runes have Witch moon for an easy boost to farming. DEE/Totem have effigies. BWC has a friggin yellow book. 2h ranged Firestrike has a fucking faction item as it’s BiS Weapon. DW has none of these so it will be quite a challenge for this to farm for additional items compared to the others.


PART 1: Starting out in Veteran

1.1 Veteran Act 1

There are two main ways to get started in the game, one is going the normal way and just start the game, while the second is going straight to crucible to farm devotion points. I went the first route cause I don’t think it’s normal for a new player to grind cruci immediately.

As with all new characters, you start on that screen above and you do quests. Not gonna spoil a lot on the quests but they’re awesome. I will be putting things for later acts on spoiler tags so I won’t spoil those who don’t wanna be spoiled. Act 1 is pretty straightforward, tohugh. This act is more of a tutorial act so the game will pretty much spoonfeed you at this point. Just one reminder:

-Activate ALL the devotion shrines with no exception (applies to all acts). Getting that first 6 devotions is very important for this build (and almost any build) to get an advantage with 1 devotion proc. Some of these shrines you will encounter just on your way while doing the main quest but many of these are rather obscure. Click the link below for a list of all the shrines in the game.

The list for that one is really detailed with maps, except for the AoM one but it’s not important for now as we’re still in Act 1. I recommend bookmarking that link cause you’ll need it from start to end.

Skills, Items, Devotions

Below is the grimtools for my character at level 18 after I killed the boss for the first act (Krieg). Click the “ultimate” in the upper left side and change to normal to reflect the correct stats.


Skill progression: At level 2, select Demolitionist, put 2 points to the mastery bar (the plus icon at lower left) and 1 to Fire Strike, as you level up fill the Demolitionist Mastery Bar up to 10 points and max Explosive Strike. You will be able to do that before level 10. Save skill points until you get to level 10. Pick inquisitor at level 10 and put 1 point on Inquisitor mastery and 1 in Ranged Expertise. Fill Inquisitor Mastery to 5 points and get Bursting Round to level 6, then alternate putting points to Bursting Round and Fire Strike (2:1 ratio) until you max Bursting round. Afterwards, alternate points between Fire Strike and Inquisitor Mastery (2:1 ratio) until you max Fire Strike. Dump all points to Inquisitor Master afterwards. The goal is rushing Aura of Censure for the resist reduction and damage reduction.

Items: Search for Francis’ gun at the beginning of the game (it’s in some house) until you get a 2 handed ranged weapon that’s better than the pistol. That will be your weapon of choice until you get to level 10 and get Ranged Expertise (along with two pistols) to dual wield.

Devotions: I haven’t decided on an endgame goal for devotions yet but the first step to any fire build is to get Flame Torrent (Fiend Constellation) so do that ASAP. Next points will go to Hawk and Viper to Solael’s Witchblade.

My character after finishing Act 1 (took me 1 hr, 33 mins):

1.2 Veteran Acts 2 - 4

Below is the character just after I killed the Act 4 boss Logorrhean.

Grimtools: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/p255bEE2

A few notes about what happened:

  • Died twice. 1st was me facetanking Cronley from start to end like a retard. Second was me forgetting to pause the game while answering a call.
  • All significant Pre AoM content done after almost 12 hours. Took long cause I wanted to be level 50 before killing Log so I can get a legendary as a reward.Got Touch of the Everliving Grove. Not bad but I was hoping for something better like a deviltongue. This was also a habit that I’ve been doing since my noob days.
  • Decided to go lightning route cause I find it fun :stuck_out_tongue: Fire should be more efficient so go for it if you want it. Will provide some tips on fire later on.

Some tips:

  1. Don’t craft relics carelessly. They cost so much for someone who has nothing and if you craft the wrong relic and it becomes useless in the midgame then it’s a waste. What I do is to designate a target endgame relic and craft the requirements for that relic that is relevant for the build. The relic of choice here is Ignaffar’s Combustion. Among the relics needed to craft it, Conflagration is relevant for fire, while there’s Squall for lightning. I’m going for Squall since I went lightning but I haven’t found it yet. If you still don’t find the recipe for the relic you need, then use Bone Talisman. See the next tip (spoilers) on how to get it.

2. After reaching the Arkovian Foothills rift, go to southwest and you’ll encounter a group of Rovers that will give quests. One of them involves a choice whether you keep a talisman for yourself or give it to the Rovers. KEEP IT. That’s the Bone Talisman.

  1. Do the Hidden Path Quest. And do this on all difficulties.

Will be adding things I missed here.

Skills: Check the Grimtools above.
For lightning: From the previous GT, the idea is to rush Aura of Censure to get that sweet RR. Get 7/10 Storm Spread along the way. 7/10 adds an additional projectile which is a nice boost. I decided to (almost) drop Explosive Strike and get Flame touched to help with lightning. I still recommend Flame Touched for Fire. 1 pt Word of Pain to proc Elemental Storm. After Maxing Censure, get Inquisitor’s Seal, distributing equal points between it and Demo mastery. Once you max Seal and get 25 points in Demo, alternate points between Static Strike and mastery. I decided to rush 5/12 on static cause it coincided with the point where I fought Log and the extra damage will help me kill him faster.

For Fire: Skills the same as before but get Explosive Strike instead of static.

Devotions:You’ll have 28 points by the end of Act 4 if you got all shrines. For Lightning After Redcrossroad > Fiend, refund Red, get Quill, Blue, Eel, Widow, refund Eel, get purple, Rhowan’s Crown, refund purple, get Hawk, Viper. You have 1 point extra which should be used to get reds to rush Ultos. Ghoul is good for less refunding while Jackal gets you to Ultos faster, but you’ll have to refund it later for Ghoul. For fire after red>ghoul, refund red, get quill, purple, rhowan’s crown. Refund purple, get viper, solael, you’ll have 5 points extra to work on meteors. I recommend completing ghoul to get the proc earlier and level it up cause you’ll want it endgame.

Items: For weapons just get anything with Fire/Lightning and roll with it. Socket Flintcore Bolts/Hell’s Bane Ammo/Haunted Steel to weapon as you see fit. At level 50, you have a chance to get Deviltongue which can practically carry you past Elite if you go fire. For armor, since you don’t have anything good that increases your damage yet, just go with whatever has the most useful resists. Try to balance resistances and adapt according to what your enemies deal, if you can.

That’s all for now! Will update this again when I decide to move on to Elite. Thanks for reading!


2.1 ACT 5 Vet, Elite ACTS 1-2 then back to Malmouth in Vet.

Lumping AoM veteran in here cause I’m going back and forth between these two. Here’s a screenshot after I got the Black Legion to Malmouth.

Was about to give up going lightning after a lot of levels without getting lightning guns but around level 59 I got 2 Charged guns of Alacrity better than the guns I was using so I’m glad I stuck with it.

What I did after Act 4 was: Proceed to Act 5 (killing Gargabol along the way), move on to Elite Acts 1-2, where I got Honored rep on DC just before killing Cronley. Did Origin of the Slith quest on Elite (got a dupe relic :frowning: ) then did the same quest on Normal,where I got fucking Squall. Proceeded to continue to Act 6 until I got Malmouth Resistance on my list. Will probably go back to Elite after this and wait till I’m at a higher level before getting the free legendary after Theodin. Did a random BoC run on Vet somewhere where I died to Shar’zul :rolleyes:

Tips for this part:

  1. Don’t rush AoM till Act 6. You’ll find yourself be underleveled (remember, talking about a completely new run here. Lokarr/exp potion users will have it better) after finishing Act 5, or even during the Void stage. Act 6 enemies in Veteran start ataround level 60.

  2. Don’t forget about the shrines.

  3. One-shot chests are a lot more important here compared to Veteran. These chests are the best source of legendaries in early Elite so pray to RNGesus before opening each one. Always keep an eye for them. Google a oneshot chest location list.

  4. Many of those who are playing their first char might find out that there are a lot of low level relics missing and only the higher level ones are dropiing. The best way to farm for these relics is to farm for treasure troves on Normal but even then it’s a low chance. Origin of the Slith quest in Normal also gives a low level relic blueprint but will frequently reward duplicates. I was lucky. If anything else fails then starting a new char is the best way. Good luck in farming!

Skills: Here’s a Grimtools if the current char: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/YVWQwgLN Basically you wanna rush Brimstone. I decided to move 4points from Bursting round to Vindictive Flame for the extra speed, but that’s optional. After filling demo mastery bar put 1 point each to static and brimstone.

Devotions:For lightning: Lizard then Ultos. For Fire:After Ghoul, get Scholar’s Light, Hawk, Torch.

Items: Just the same as the previous section, really. Go with the best weapons you get, balance resists according to what you will face. Getting max all is great but hard so focus on elemental, aether, poison, pierce when you get to Act 2 elite, chaos during the void phases on Acts 5 and 6. Try to keep HP to 100*level. Harvest Footpads is great cause it gives you good resists.

2.2 Levelling to 70 and starting Ultimate to Level 90

From this part onward, I’ll be exclusively talking about the Lightning route cause that’s what I’m playing. Fire builds can still pick some things out there but itemization as well as devotions will be very different from what’s shown. Don’t worry if you’re playing fire, you’ll have a waaay easier time compared to me :slight_smile:

If you haven’t hit 70 yet and you’re in the middle of Elite, then rush for it. You want to hit that level by the end of Act 4, so if you choose to start Ultimate immediately after Act 4, then you will at least have decent resistances by then.

LEVEL 70 GRIMTOOLS HERE> https://www.grimtools.com/calc/m23Pp6QV

You’ll notice that our resistances is shit for Ultimate, but mostly capped for Elite. It all depends on what items you have so you might be lucky and get some better stuff. Also, you most likely don’t have Revered status on the factions at this time so you don’t have armor augments.

so at level 70, your goal should be:

  1. Get Respected on Coven - If you reached them on Veteran then this should be automatic, but if you haven’t then go straight to Ugdenbog. This is where we’ll get our faction gear. You won’t be able to use the gear above if you don’t have this status.

  2. Get revered status on even just one faction while on Elite. Easiest for this would be Kymon, Order, Anasteria or Homestead, as the guys you need to kill for them are plenty in the higher elite levels. I chose Kymons on mine so running BoC a few times was EZ revered for me. If you chose Order, then Conflagration>Valbury should be your route. Kymon was a big priority of mine as their augments provide Vit resist, which is pretty scarce in my setup. If you lack Vit in your non-faction items then Kymon/Order is a must to get reps.

  3. Grind levels up to level 90, while picking up things that will improve the build. Legendaries like Ultos set, Light’s Defender set are very good so you equip them if you ever find them.

Skills, Devotions, Items

The main skills have already been taken as shown in the Grimtools link above. I don’t think the above link needs an explanation in terms of skill so I’ll just leave it at that. From level 71 to 90 your focus should be in pumping points towards Steel Resolve and Vindictive Flame (to 11/10) for resists and speed, respectively. Keep Brimstone at 5 unless you’re playing fire, then Static is 1 pt and Brimstone (and explosive) maxed.

On devotions, you’ll see me working towards Dying God. That’s an endgame goal for crucible. Don’t worry about the negative regen, it’s minor. Do beware of it when not on battle, though. Having Hungering Void active will not allow you to regen through constitution, even if your regen is positive, so be careful.

Itemization is where I’ll probably talk a lot. As you can see in the grimtools, it’s mostly Coven wares + random things I found to get resists better. Alternative faction items include anything from Kymon’s if you’re revered with them, Coven Arcane Mantle. As for guns, you’ll have a haaard time getting one. What you should do is to vendor farm. relevant Yellow guns(i.e. Charged of Alacrity ones) will upgrade every 10 levels, so level 70, 80, 90 is where you farm the store for them. Green ones have a more complicated level distribution so I suggest just look out for them when you have time. Prioritize Attack speed, Lightning damage. Don’t use anything that converts damage to anything other than lightning. Always keep an eye for good legendaries, especially lightning items. If you get Ulzuin relic craft it ASAP. Same with Empowered essence of beronath. Don’t craft anything epic/legendary if it’s temporary. It’s just a waste of resources.


This part will cover levelling from 90 to 100 and gearing up until build is good for 170 gladiator.This includes Aspirant/Challenger/Gladiator 150 runs. The next part will then cover what the ‘final’ build will be.

3.1 Level 90 - Another Faction Gearing

I hit level 90 just after owning Fort Ikon.

At the point where you reach level 90, you should already hit Revered with the following factions:

  • Devil’s Crossing
  • Coven of Ugdenbog
  • Outcast
  • Barrowholm

This assumes you already hit Revered with Homestead and Kymon/Order as mentioned in the previous part. Hitting revered with Rovers and the others are also good but not really mandatory as they don’t exactly have game-changing items for the build.

Grimtools for Level 90 BEFORE changing to higher level faction gear: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/62awj9bZ

That’s my char before changing to new gear. As can see I got some new gear and augments to help cap resistances. I already got BiS amulet :stuck_out_tongue: but still Squall Relic. Damage is still really good. Killed Benn’Jahr (one of my only two Nemeses) in just around a minute with lots of kiting. That’s really squishy though and can easily die to even trash mob hordes if you stop hitting, that’s why a gear update is necessary.

Grimtools for Level 90 AFTER gear change: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/qNYDBxBZ

That’s what I came up after upgrading gear. Of course you’ll mostly have different gear from me so just use that as a basis. Damage isn’t really improved that much, though it’s significant, however survibability really increased a lot after this change. I’d still change some things for that but most other items are level 94 so I can’t do that yet. Hope I can get Light’s Defender gloves before hitting 94 :stuck_out_tongue:

Skills you can see on Grimtools. As I wrote in the levl 70 update, I focus on maxing Steel Resolve and getting Vindictive Flame to 11/16. The rest depends on what you need.

Devotions, just finish Dying God and get Tempest.

Screen after Elite Gargabol

3.2 Hitting Level 100 - Gearing and Farming

Levelling: After hitting level 90 and switching gear, the next thing to do is of course, rushing to level 100. To do that, I basically just farmed BoC over and over again until I hit that point, taking with me whatever useful items I get. I ignored AoM after getting to Coven because I didn’t feel like there was any benefit to doing that, except maybe the Act 5 relic reward (which will probably just be a duplicate).

GRIMTOOLS - just after hitting level 100: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/1NXyKeB2

Wasn’t that different compared to the level 90 spec, meaning if you got something similar, then you’ll probably continue farming BoC/SoT until you get better items. That spec can already do aspirant 150, but imo, the drops are shit and it’s not worth it. Stay in BoC.

GRIMTOOLS - after several hours of grinding roguelikes: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/eZPLdydZ

Was lucky to get a few useful items, With this, everything in campaign is easy except Kuba/Grava, though I haven’t been to Valbury yet, and I haven’t met Alex yet cause I just completed Act 5. Challenger should also be doable with 2 buffs, IF MAIDEN DOESN’T SPAWN. That should be highlighted as Maiden can singlehandedly ruin your run. I don’t even farm challenger in this setup yet except when testing, which significantly lowers the farming rate. With a few more additional items that help, this should be able to handle that maiden. Probably needs more DA though, and damage against that resistant bitch is still a problem.


Reserved for Crucible

Looking forward to this. I do believe adkong’s purifier is one of the most popular builds, so good call on a DW purifier.

P.S. Instead of solael’s, consider elemental storm first.

Thanks! Actually decided to go lightning route so went Widow instead. Elemental Storm would’ve been great but it’s not so practical to switch devotions often if you don’t have much resources yet so I’m not going back for now.

Fun project! As a newbie myself, I will come in and read regularly :slight_smile:

Ultos + 2x dagallon?

2x lightning dagallon + both armors is the most ideal. Fluff shared a link in another thread of mine. However, since this is a fully legit run starting from nothing, I’ll roll with whatever I’ll get and use that for 170. Fire dagallons, justicar, arcanum sigillis. As long as I get decent pistols, enough attack speed and % lightning (or fire if I don’t get my luck on lightning) then it should probably be enough.

Btw, specced on Elemental storm immediately after getting arcane bomb lol. I should just write a general guide on possible devotion pathways with just a little emphasis on what I did.

Thanks! This will take long, though. Probably a month or more, especially considering that farming can be a bitch sometimes along with irl stuff. And I’m not exactly the most efficient player so you might call my run slow. I should probably finish veteran Log tomorrow if there are no problems and Part 1.2 (acts 2-4) should be up the day after that.

Why don’t you just go 2-hander trough normal and elite? Use the lvl 35 hammer from the Homeastead shop early, then the Archon or whatever hammer (from the dude that’s on fire, Order quest), anything of alacrity will do. Get Twin fangs first and then the entire Kraken constellation, grab a few points in the fire strike line, then max seal and Aura of Censure. Should be a breeze.

Of course you could do something easier at the start but that defeats the purpose of the thread. :stuck_out_tongue:

A great idea!
I often see new, and a bit older players alike, ask which route to take while leveling a build
Guides like this one may help in understanding the leveling process
I’m going to follow this, who knows, I might even learn something

I thought the purpose was to show new players how to build a DW pistols Puri from scratch and beat all of the endgame content with it, in which case showcasing the easiest leveling path would be logical (see post above mine).

If the purpose is to make it a challenge run, then it would make sense to go DW from the start, but then playing SC makes no sense. If you are allowed to die as many times as you want, it does not matter how many restrictions you give yourself, eventually you will finish elite with any build.

Edit: upon second reading of my own post, it seems exceedingly harsh. Nvm me, should still be a fun ride. Brb, gotta wash some sand out of my vagina.

Edit2: the point about Censure+Seal making normal and elite ezpz still stands and doesn’t conflict with your desire to go DW guns.

Edit3: Gonna respond here so I don’t hijack the thread even more.

Seriously though, the correct answer to “Help leveling my DW Puri” is “forget about guns AT LEAST until you get 2x Flametongues, pick up an Archon hammer and respect to Twin Fang + Kraken”, that was the whole point of my post. I don’t like Storm box, takes forever to kill bosses. Runes or BWC are decent alternatives if you die too much in melee.

Consider stormbox for ez lvls.

I did state in the OP that I want to “Play as a DW Firestrike Purifier from the point it is possible until the character can clear 170 gladiator below 10-12 min”. Imagine someone opens a “Help levelling my DW Purifier” thread and you say “Storm Box!”. Doesn’t seem right cause Storm Box isn’t a DW purifier skill, at least not normally. That said, I did rush Censure, but only after maxing FS, Flame touched, Bursting round and 7/10 Storm Spread.

That’s the most efficient answer. Correct is subjective here. Well, I won’t argue anymore since we all have different opinions. I would just say that the most efficient way is not always the right way. Whatever makes you have fun, do it.

Also, updated until Veteran Act 4!

Nice update!

I just hit Elite with my second char, and thought about doing Hidden Path for the first time. I went to get the Runestone of Dreeg (in Elite) first, but when I went back to same place in Veteran, I could not pick up the Runestone of Dreeg… do they count as same item, so I should continue with the Runestone of Solael and Bysmiel in Veteran first, and then repeat the procedure in Elite?

Yes, that’s the normal way. I had a trick before that’s a bit scumy. Don’t know if it will still work in AoM. What you do is to put the runestone of dreeg to your personal stash before killing the guardian again. That way, you can pick the runestone again. Repeat till you have three. Keep one in your inventory and go to solael. Do the same trick and also tobysmiel. Since now you have three of each runestone, you’ll be able to go straight to sentinel in elite and ultimate

Ah cool, thanks alot. It only matters in which difficulty you kill the sentinel? nice

There are two parts for the quest. First is collecting the stones, which gives you 1 attribute point. It doesn’t matter where you got the stones as long as you get them, you’ll have the reward, but can only be claimed once per difficulty so you move to the next to get the points. The second part is killing the sentinel, which provides 1 skill point for each difficulty.