Enable Artifact Handling for Horn of Gandarr

Horn of Gandarr, after plenty of buffs in the recent patches, remains a meme-tier skill. Even if some builds include Horn, it’s never a main skill, but a filler (with varying degree of importance). Why though? It has decent itemization, it can be played as cold, pierce or elemental (variety of builds), it has a good legendary set and it’s cheap skill point wise. At first glance, it should be possible to make a true Horn of Gandarr build, but…

1. Current situation

Let’s look at some recent builds which use Horn of Gandarr:

First thing you realize when you start playing those builds is the fact that… you don’t really need Horn of Gandarr. It’s rather clunky, it doesn’t deal a lot of damage (it’s ok with Codex), elemental builds don’t need damage reduction (Aura of Censure already has it) and you need Rimetongue set for crowd-control aspect to be useful. You’d probably be better focusing your build on some other skill.
I play pierce version with Phantasmal Blades and the more I play, the more I feel like I don’t need Horn at all and putting those skill points into either Blade Trap or Phantasmal Blades would make my character better. Same goes to the build with Shadow Strike - you could abandon Horn and focus on SS and you’d probably get much better results. Purifier on the other hand has only Grenado so Horn is needed there (unless you make completely different build) but it still plays a secondary role.
Of course, there is nothing wrong with those builds. Horn still has its uses and it’s pretty good filler, defensive tool (except elemental versions), devotion proccer, etc. It’s just… there is “not enough” Horn of Gandarr in Horn of Gandarr builds.

Problems start when you really want to make Horn your “main skill”. It should be possible, there are items to support it. But you still can’t use it on its own and no matter what other skill you’ll use to supplement your build, it will likely overpower Horn and push it back into filler role.

2. Why Artifact Handling instead some other buffs?

It’s simple - this will buff potential builds that will use Horn as main skill, without touching builds that use it as a filler, debuff, supplementary AoE damage or devotion proccer.
Those builds are already skill-point starved. You can’t have powerful Horn of Gandarr, Blade Trap or Grenado, and Phantasmal Blades, Blade Spirits or Shadow Strike on top of it. You have to sacrifice something to make Horn of Gandarr more powerful with Artifact Handling but you still can and probably need to pair it up with other skill (like Blade Trap or Grenado) to make the build work.

3. Lore and RPG aspect

I have to admit - this bugs me more than it probably should:


I guess it’s a common practice at the Luminari Academy to skip Horn of Gandarr lectures and practice…
As for RPG-feel - Grim Dawn is lacking bard-style character and HoG is the only opportunity to make enemies bleed from their ears with the power of our music. Damage is almost there (for thematic/role-playing build at least) - we only need a bit more CD reduction so we can constantly play it. It’s probably possible now to make 0 CD Gandarr right now but I’m not sure if such build would playable.

My bard character would be an Infiltrator. First I’d prepare my stage with Inquisitor Seal, then I’d introduce myself with Word of Pain and make sure my audience is seated comfortably in Blade Trap, and ready to hear my Horn ear-piercing or heart-chilling performance.
Paladin would be my next choice for thematic Gandarr build. I’d name it Herald of Empyrion - travelling the land and spreading the Light of Truth. Those deemed worthy would see Mercy of Empyrion while the rest would experience his Judgment. Funnily enough, double- or tri-elemental Paladin should be quite good with the change to Guardians in the next patch. Still Herald would not be as good as the Bard since there is no obvious synergy and itemization between Horn of Gandarr and any Oathkeeper abilities. You’d have decent Horn, lots of resistance reduction, mediocre Judgment (another skill that could use some buffing or some better synergy/itemization with other skill - at least fire/cold/lightning version) and Stormfire as a filler. It would work and it probably would be good enough to escape meme-tier, though.

4. Final words

Proposed change doesn’t affect any existing Horn of Gandarr builds but they can modified to exchange some of their skills (like Shadow Strike or Phantasmal Blades) for more powerful and - in some cases - spam-able HoG. There would a choice to focus on the Horn or keep using it as debuff/filler/devotion proccer.
Perhaps Rune of Hagarrad or Rune of Kalastor builds would pick it up since those builds use Artifact Handling anyway. This would provide a small boost with low skill point investment for those builds, especially non-elemental versions (Aura of Censure kinda makes Horn partially useless and non-elemental Rune builds could use some love).
Then, there would be more opportunities to make thematic, role-playing builds without them being completely meme-tier.
Finally, I see no reason why only one artifact available to Inquisitors should not be affected by Artifact Handling, especially when it’s already a niche and rarely used skill (and almost never as a main ability).

btw. this thread has nothing to do with the fact that my burn-focused Paladin will get totally rekt in every possible way by the next patch and I’m already looking for potential interesting, fun and “different” builds to re-spec it.


At this point, i’m not sure we’re going to get any further buffs to Horn of Gandarr’s damage/CDR. The last time it was pushed for (and happened mind you) was with the following post in mind:

Suffice to say, i think it’s in exactly the spot they want it to be - on it’s own it’s a superb support skill with it’s debuffs and with enough gear through the Rimetongue set and Codex of Truth, it becomes semi-decent for single targets but it’s not displacing skills with far less natural AoE but more nuke capability/high sustained damage than it does in that area. Hence why I pair it with Grenado or some of the other builds pair it with Shadow Strike/Phantasmal Blades - to try and cover that weakness some more.

Some points I want to make on my Purifier as well as you’ve brought it up:

Even so, Gandarr provides more of it. 30% compared to 19% is massive. When you also consider that % damage reduction reduces the offensive debuffs your character receives, it becomes even more powerful to have a bigger source of it.

In my guide I mention the following:

Damage taken observed by health jumps before and after you start spamming Gandarr on that Purifier in my experience is a day and night level of difference.

I’d honestly say Gandarr is more important than Grenado on that Purifier to the point that it’s the primary skill. If anything, it would not work without Gandarr. Losing it means you lose one of your main sources of ADCtH, you lose a good 200 DA shred, the previously mentioned damage reduction gets cut by a 1/3 going from 30%->19% and you lose a valuable bind for Attak’Seru, one of the most powerful T3s if you can fully convert and proc it consistently - which that build can do.

While Grenado is nice for the additional burst every few seconds and especially on Ulzuin’s Chosen chains, the impact from losing it is lower if you were to remove or replace it than if you were to remove or replace Gandarr instead.

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Yeah. I saw that. But this is not a straight buff since you have to sacrifice skill points to make Gandarr stronger. Maxed Gandarr already clears the entire screen from trash so nothing will change here. You’ll get better performance at bosses but still need some other skill, because Gandarr won’t be enough, even with Artifact Handling.

Well, you are right. But how many builds have luxury of spending skillpoints to get another skill that does the same thing but a bit better while being an active skill with hefty cooldown instead of passive aura?
How many elemental Inquisitors use Gandarr to get that extra 10% damage reduction? With +3/+4 to all skills/mastery it’s not even that expensive but never see it.

And that is exactly my point. Your build was included as a contrast with the idea that the other two could be remade in a similar fashion - to be more Horn of Gandarr builds than Phantasmal Blades or Shadow Strike.

If it weren’t for Artifact Handling adding flat CDR to it’s effected skills (both Runes), I might be inclined to agree here. But the fact that it does means it matters a lot as it would open up the possibility of 0s Gandarr spam which would practically be Callidor’s Tempest with more than twice the AoE range. The only upside to CT comparatively is that you’d be able to use a 2-hander with it as you need Codex of Truth for Horn of Gandarr.

Even just a point in Artifact Handling with a couple of + to all Inquisitor skills from gear provides the last bit of flat CDR necessary, and despite how point starved those builds are, they will find at least a point for how big the returns are.

If Horn of Gandarr is in needs of buffs, I think it’s more pertinent to buff it’s supporting items instead as those are more controllable than the bonuses on Artifact Handling which have been tuned over a couple of years to fit Rune of Kalastor/Hagarrad.

I’ll give you that no other Elemental build picks it up either but it’s because they are built to not need or rely on it. But that Purifier does. There’s no guarantee even with +3-4 to all Inquisitor than you’ll hardcap it either for the full 30% damage reduction without some specific items with + to Horn of Gandarr.

Not sure on Rekt’s build but Snazz’s looks like it follows the same ideology as mine - stack as much CDR and damage onto Gandarr as feasible to maximise it’s usability as a pseudo-spam skill at 0.5s cd or less as a primary skill and support it on Heroes/Bosses with a cd-based nuke, in their case it’s Shadow Strike.

But you kinda can already do that - you just need to reduce that 0,5s cooldown a bit and with average casting speed, and long animation of Horn, you can practically spam it…
Artifact Handling would enable similar, very short CD Horn without Rimetongue set, because with Codex and Azraaka’s amulet you can get -3 s.

This is not true. You need all skill points, especially for Phantasmal Blades. And buffed Horn in that build wouldn’t be even close to PB damage.
Shadow Strike version is similar, except you won’t need SS - you could drop it and use scepter for Horn. But that would be different build, which is exactly my point…

But that’s way too hard and Gandarr’s items are already plenty strong IMO - they just lack a bit of synergy with other skills, outside of Rimetongue set.
Unless you slap some new modifiers for Gandarr on some unused MI, I don’t see other and simpler solution than just enabling Artifact Handling for it.

Congratulations. You are the only one person who can safely and truthfully say that you made a working Horn of Gandarr build.

Yes, but that build also has Blade Trap so it’s not just Gandarr+something else like your Purifier. If I wanted to make that build (objectively) better I would forget about Horn and simply use another Noctirn or Frostblade.

My point is, Horn of Gandarr doesn’t exist outside of Rimetongue set and even those builds, except one and “half”, it plays secondary role at best. Artifact Handling would enable Horn usage outside of that one set.
And if spamming is a problem then slap +0.5s or even more for base cooldown on the skill. Nothing changes for Rimetongue builds that use it for debuffing/filler but other builds won’t be able to spam it (except your Purifier…).

This is correct, the SS damage is for bosses and because I need something to click once while waiting for gandarr to cool down.

Sure I could invest fully in SS I guess, but if I did that I might as well dw and ditch gandarr altogether; then I’d just have another cookie-cutter pierce SS build.

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Objectively better using which metric? My build is slower but more reliable due to the huge damage reduction and debuffs from maxed horn, and the AoE shreds hero packs faster than SS would. It excels in SR where you can’t stack buffs which allow you to clear the screen in 2 seconds. The only way pure SS surpasses my build is in the crucible or against strong single targets, and even then it’s only better in terms of clear speed.


Sure, that’s what we currently have with the Rimetongue set + Codex of Truth, and it works for making Gandarr pseudo-spammable and as a main damage skill other than exotic damage types (really anything outside of Pierce, Cold or Elemental for it). I don’t see why we need more CDR.

Making it fully spammable is completely different to pseudo-spamming it as well. Pseudo-spam versions right now can only use it 2-3 times per second whereas fully spamming it would mean it can readily be used more than 3 times per second. In terms of numbers, it’s a notable increase.

On my Purifier, I could pull a point out of Blast Shield, or pull a point out of Word of Renewal and work towards a relic with a +1 Inquisitor’s Seal + Word of Renewal completion bonus to make it up.

Rekt could pull a point out of Vigor.

Snazz could pull a point out of Anatomy of Murder.

Except you need something to use for damage and ADCtH inbetween Phantasmal Blades casts.

Something I haven’t elaborated on yet - you may as well pick up a second damage skill on a Gandarr build anyway - it’s a single node skill. You’ll almost certainly have spare skill points. The only exception to this would be if you have and invest in a handful of flat damage sources like the Acid Gandarr Infiltrator I brainstormed long ago. And yes, even though Gandarr in that build won’t deal all that much damage itself due to it’s base 1s CDR after it’s skill modifiers, I designed it such that it’s damage will be greatly supported by the plethora of devotion and equipment procs.

I fail to see how this matters. The build makes a number of decisions and choices ultimately aimed at using Gandarr as a core damage ability.

If objective strength is the point of contention, you could then argue that there are stronger builds even than DW Noctirn that you should play instead. We don’t just make builds purely with fast+consistent clears in mind, there’s the fun factor as well and that shows in your first post with the bard roleplay aspect.

Hence why I say: give some small bumps to some of the items like Azrakaa’s Sands instead or make changes to existing MIs to add another Gandarr bonus in their somewhere, preferably in an item slot that also takes the same skill modifier slot as Rimetongue’s set so those builds cannot benefit from the new bonus and from the full set bonus at the same time.

For example, what if a headguard somewhere got -0.5 seconds to Horn of Gandarr? That way, you can use it with Codex of Truth and Azrakaa’s Sands/Gulgazor’s Heart without the bonus interfering with Rimetongue builds in any way. Could also buff Azrakaa’s Sands to -1.5 seconds as well to match Gulgazor’s Heart, though perhaps at the cost of some of the life steal on it.

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My feelings.
I switched my SS Infi into Gandarr and it’s simply more work (button presses) for pretty much the same results. Don’t get my wrong - I love piano builds. They keep me more engaged. But if a build with 8 active buttons, requiring coordination and management, achieves more or less the same results as a build which just runs around with Blade Spirits and uses SS on cooldown, then something is wrong.

We need some CDR so Horn is not completely useless if you are not running Rimetongue.

Sure, your Purifier could spam it.
But the other two? 2s or 0s makes do difference to those builds because they have SS, PB, and Blade Trap among other skills to use. Even if Gandarr had less CD, there would be no point in using it that often.

Except it’s not “core damage utility”. It’s a Gandarr build with Gandarr being little more than a debuff.

That’s the point - to pair Gandarr with other skill. The problem is, you are limited by Rimetongue which greatly limits your options.

You know what would be the best? Fun builds that are also playable and can clear content with a decent speed.

Or simply enable Arifact Handling which does all of that automatically and allows usage of Gandarr in variety of builds (which tbh. was probably intended from the start since it’s a very rare single node skill) without interfering in their gear but also allows more Gandarr-focused builds.
If 0 CD builds are a problem then boost base cooldown and/or remove cooldown mod from Rimetongue.

Also, with each reply I feel like my intentions are misunderstood more and more so let me reiterate what is the goal of this change:

  • enable Gandarr for variety of builds, as debuff/supplementary AoE, outside of Rimetongue set

  • enable Gandarr as damaging ability for variety of builds without the need of sacrificing too many gear slots, for an example weapon+off-hand+amulet for Gandarr and some set for remaining slots to boost other skill - this is because Gandarr lacks gear synergy with other skills and at this point it would be too hard to introduce that synergy.

As an example, I had this build in mind (don’t pay attention to components/augments):

Remaining points would go into Artifact Handling.

Tbh, more gear synergy or even skill modifier node for Gandarr to turn it into spamable skill at the cost of damage/area/debuffing effects would be better than Artifact Handling. A number of ideas would be better. I am aware of that. But what is more likely to be added to this game - a whole set of gear changes, skill rework or simply including one skill into passive effect of another with some minor balancing changes to one legendary set.
I’m not proposing ideal solution but a simple half measure to enable more variety in Horn of Gandarr builds.

When I say we don’t need more CDR, I mean past the base 0.5s Gandarr cooldown mark that Rimetongue + Codex builds can currently reach. Enabling Artifact Handling would push the builds using Rimetongue + Codex past that mark and buff Gandarr more than is needed when it’s already performing well as far as a huge AoE clearer goes as a pseudo-spammable.

Again, at 0.5s cd before % CDR, it’s clear as day that he wants it to be a damage ability. It’s even in his guide:

…which you can do? I’d like to see more builds work for Gandarr but I’m not about to buff every Gandarr build by enabling Artifact Handling for it as Rimetongue + Codex builds don’t really need it in my experience and from Snazz’s build. I believe Dmt and AlexGoldFish also ran Gandarr builds through Crucible sometime ago before the buff in 1.1.9 as well if memory serves well.

I’d argue this is just more work as you then have to tweak the values on every Gandarr skill modifier that reduces it’s cooldown or increases it’s damage to compensate as opposed to just introducing skill modifiers or tweaking existing ones that Rimetongue + Codex builds cannot use. It’s not just cooldown either as Artifact Handling adds a total damage modifier and crit damage to it’s effected skills. You also have less control on the bonuses Artifact Handling introduces to Rimetongue + Codex compared to skill modifiers where you do have control over those and can tune them to the right amounts from the get-go.

Rimetongue + Codex is already in a fine-ish spot after changes across updates - why throw a wrench into that and create unnecessary work when you can just make changes to the items they cannot/won’t use to give bumps to every other Gandarr build? Just makes more sense to me.

I’m not against it. But I am against buffing Gandarr past the current top end cooldown that Rimetongue + Codex builds can reach now based on my experience playing a build with it and based on Rekt and Snazz’s builds - which enabling Artifact Handling would do. Just buff the parts of builds that Rimetongue + Codex builds can’t/won’t use as they’re fine where they are and don’t need buffs or nerfs.

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Then remove CD modifier from Rimetongue. Builds that use Gandarr for debuffing won’t mind (you don’t cast it every second or two anyway) it and builds that want Gandarr for damage will take Artifact Handling.
How is that harder than slapping modifiers for Gandarr on a bunch of gear and ensuring that there is some synergy with other skills, which btw. would automatically limit build variety compared to Artifact Handling.
Take a look at my Paladin and figure out what else you can do with it to fit Gandarr into the build so it can still act as “main skill”. Which gear slots would you change to boost Gandarr? What skills would you use (RF seems like an obvious choice since it could use some AoE but RF with Scepter and off-hand doesn’t seem like a good idea…)?

And you probably need those bonuses if you are going to shift some (or all) points from Shadow Strike/ Phantasmal Blades into Gandarr, Arifact Handling and Blade Trap.
Same goes for every other Gandarr build that doesn’t use Rimetongue… if there are any because I haven’t seen a single one.
Those +15% damage and +25% crit damage (for realistically obtainable 15/10 rank) will totally break those non-existent builds…

Unless you can reliably hardcap Artifact Handling for that precise -2s cooldown, this could be a nerf to builds using Gandarr for damage like my Purifier or Snazzblaster’s character. It will certainly feel more sluggish and dangerous.

You’re already somewhat restricted in gear as is with Azrakaa’s Sands and Codex of Truth if you want to bring Gandarr’s full potential out. What is adding another item going to do?

I fail to see how this is a major point otherwise - just about every other playstyle in the game is “restricted” by taking certain gear pieces or item sets to maximise their potential, which makes sense. If you want to make a character largely or entirely around X skill, it makes sense to take items or make decisions that directly benefit X.

I don’t think you’re going to make Gandarr any more of a main skill than it is but that should be mostly fine as you’re rotating around it, Judgment, maybe Vire’s Might and Stormfire inbetween. You should have a lot of passive and AoE damage going about. Personally, I would consider trying to go for Meteor Shower + Ultos instead like this: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/nZo54m92 as opposed to Elemental Seekers. Swapping the weapon/amulet augments in for % Elemental damage ones like Forgefire helps with your % Lightning damage but does mean less % Burn/Electrocute, worth trying both out to see which is better.

Like I mentioned above, I forsee your Paladin turning out similar to the Acid Infiltrator I envisioned: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/aZqEoPvZ where even though Gandarr’s DPS on it’s own isn’t as remarkable as say, my Purifier, it is supplemented by multiple other skills and damage sources from devotion and gear that all come together.

I don’t see a point dropping Phantasmal Blades/Shadow Strike in this scenario. The point shift to Artifact Handling and Blade Trap (I assume Gandarr is already maxed/hardcapped) will nowhere outweight the damage increase that Shadow Strike/Phantasmal Blades provide for Heroes/Bosses. Anything below should be handled by Gandarr + procs so is irrelevant.

If your intention in the above scenario is to make Gandarr a single-use damage skill on a build, you’re not going to see that happen without the radius at least halved or more, at which point you’re just playing Callidor’s Tempest with some baked in debuffs (and quite strong ones at that, I wager they would be taken into account for balancing). It’s just too much of a paradigm shift for where the skill currently is that I don’t see it happening.

It might be wise to agree to disagree at a certain point as you and I are just repeating points back to one another without coming to a conclusion over several days I realise.


At least we had some discussion going on that wasn’t lightning melee/wind devil leash range/burn damage/health regen public test drama…

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