Looking for help with a caster build (very bad)

I want to try out a caster build in Grim Dawn, but I keep making a mess of things. The trouble is that I want to start with the Arcanist. There is not an issue because he is bad, but because he is too good: almost everything I could ever want for a caster is present on this single Mastery! Here is how I am going about it:

I like Panetti’s Replicating Missile, Trozan’s Sky Shard and Devastation. PRM and Devastation have the best synergy, with aether/fire damage, PRM to clear trash mobs from the screen and the long-cooldown Devastation to provide burst damage to bosses. Distortion, Supercharged and Proliferation all make PRM better. Since aether/fire is the primary damage component, Reckless Power seems a no-brainer.

Inner Focus, Arcane Will and Mental Alacrity are all no-brainers for a caster, while Fabric of Reality provides a rare aether damage buff. Maiven’s Sphere of Protection and Conversion is a no-brainer for defense, while Mirror of Ereoctes and Nullification provide useful panic buttons. Iskandra’s Elemental Exchange is not great for this build, but one point for the energy regen could not hurt. Olexra’s Flash Freeze is also a useful panic button (Freeze) and it reduces fire resistance!

OK, second Mastery. Hmm, I have a couple of points left, I guess.

  • Demolitionist could boost fire damage and provide crowd control, but probably not what I need.
  • Nightblade has a heal (Pneumatic Burst), but probably not great synergy to this build.
  • Occultist provides a resistance debuff (Curse of Frailty+Vulnerability), a heal (Blood of Dreeg) and a heal/elemental damage buff (Summon Familiar+Mend Flesh+Storm Spirit), though the latter is probably over-kill.
  • Shaman can boost survivability a bit (Mogdrogen’s Pact+Heart of the Wild+Oak Skin), but probably does not have great synergy with this build.
  • Soldier can boost survivability through more health (Military Conditioning) general combat buff (Field Command) and another panic button (War Cry+Terrify), but perhaps poor synergy with Devastation (ie no shield).

Hmm… Occultist may be the only half-decent fit. Devotions? I could add more Elemental/Fire Damage (eg Magi, Rhowan’s Crown), more Cast Speed (Spider, Oklane’s Lantern), more health/resistances (plenty of options!), find something nasty I can proc like crazy with PRM (eg Magi) and something even nastier I can enhance Devastation with (eg Ulzuin’s Torch).

As you can see, I am all over the place. I could use some help refining this basic idea into a viable build. Almost nothing I picked HAS to be used, but I do want to build around PRM, TSS and/or Devastation, as those are the three spells I like the most.

Check out Modalsoul’s great Ultimate viable PRM build here

And check out my starcaller build here

You could for end game, just go PRM and Devastation. TSS is not really needed once you start getting a shit ton of damage from procs. Demo actually offers Blast Shield which is insane, Flame Touched for fire damage boost and more importantly offensive ability, Vindictive Flame for some residual damage and total speed, Flashbang which is also an insane debuff on big bosses, Blackwater Cocktail for a nice physical damage reduction. If you go further in, you can add a nice resistance reduction on to BWC. Demo is QUITE nice with Arcanist.

If you want pure fire damage and burn damage overtime, check out my pyrotechnician/sorcerer build.

My build has 3-4 AoE skills in mastery and 1 AoE skill in devotions.


I’m currently using Primeval’s StarCaller build which is primarily cold damage based. It is a very beginner friendly build.

Level with maxed OFF and support it with fireblast & lightning nova from components. Maxed OFF can basically clear an entire screen of trash mob with one hit in normal/vet.

In this way you can save up your skill points and think of what skills to invest in as you level up. I’m currently level 15 and have already maxed out OFF with a single point in Maiven’s sphere.

I have used the two of these as a basis for a build, then tried to tweak it into something that appealed more to myself:
Most of the numbers are exactly half maximum. That is my personal notation for “not 1 point, not max, tweak in play as requires.” A point may be ‘taken’ from one to buff another if I feel I need it.

Active Skills:

  • PRM (on LMB)
  • CoF (on RMB)
  • Devastation (bosses, tough groups)
  • MoE (panic button)
  • BoD (heal)
  • Nullification (possibly not required even!)


  • IEE
  • MSoP
  • Reckless Power
  • Summon Familiar, providing a heal and buff


  • Arcane Will
  • Fabric of Reality
  • Inner Focus
  • Mental Alactity


  • Crossroads: Primordial
  • Lizard
  • Crossroads: Eldritch
  • Scholar’s Light
  • Widow
  • Solemn Watcher
  • Crossroads: Chaos
  • Viper
  • Behemoth
  • Panther
  • Ulo the KotW
  • Scales of Ulcama
  • Tree of Life
    (crossroad points respecced once no longer required)

Does that look like a viable build, or does it need a little more tweaking? I am not sure I like not having OFF. Perhaps remove the points from Summon Familiar to place there? Not certain Overload/Elemental Balance is worth the points either, but both builds I based this on took them (so I am assuming I am wrong).

I am farming Ultimate with a PRM Warlock, and it is alot of fun. I was using Summon Familiar for awhile, but eventually I didnt feel like it was doing enough for me and the points would be better spent in Curse of Frailty, Vulnerability, or Blood of Dreeg, or even to add more damage on the Arcanist side.

One thing you might try is using Rhowan’s Crown and binding it to PRM. Since you will be spamming the shit out of PRM, Elemental Storm will proc very often, and I have one piece of gear with a chance for Elemental Seal, which also helps with trash. Devastation is awesome, as you already know, so I tried to pump Reckless Power up as well.

I just need better gear at this point, but the game just keeps dropping Legendary 2 hand shot guns and weapons. The gear I find is also for other classes as well. I need more vitality, and better bleeding/vitality resistances, but as long as I play smart, I can do alright. I want to be able to take a hit, if need be, even though the idea of an Arcanist is to stay out of the fight, in my mind being able to take a hit in a worse case scenario is important.

Elric you are basically running a PRM build with devastation as a nuker. I think the idea looks good but your grimcalc is a bit borked. I would try this one instead. I took out some of your more useless points and reallocated them. OFF is way too powerful to not have trust me. And the heal from the crow would be nice if his AI was better but it is just not unfortunately. You now can see the main downside to a PRM build, you have to invest so heavily into the arcanist tree that it is really hard to pick up useful stuff from your second class. I would love to have enough mastery points into occultist to pick up aspect of the guardian but its just not in the cards.

But really your build looks pretty good, you have the right idea with devotions. Btw nullification is awesome but now that water keepers skill can be bound to a long cool down spell ie devastation with basically a 100% proc rate it kind of satisfies your nullification needs. On the other hand its just one point and it is nice to have two buff strippers!

Arcanist-based casters are incredibly fun, I’ve made every type except Druid, but I’ve seen druid in action because a friend I played with had a fully equipped caster Druid. Here’s how things usually work depending on the second mastery:

Demolitionist - Calidor’s tempest + Devastation, insanely strong. Full defensive devotions (Tree of life + Obelisk + Behemoth) and 3-5/5 Iskandra set together with Demo passives help keep you alive in melee range while CT + Agrivix + Devastation destroy everything.

Nightblade - Phantasmal blades + Devastation, probably the fastest BoC farmer in the game. 32 points in Nightblade, 50 in Arcanist. Full Clairvoyant + Tome of arcane wastes for skill bonuses and all damage. Albrecht’s duality to convert 100% of chaos into aether. All the Arcanist passives for max cast speed, crit and OA bonuses, Pneumatic + Shadow dance for survivability. Manticore + Oklaine’s lantern + Behemoth, then get as many defensive devotions as you can. The build really shines if you can acquire +5 PB Badge of mastery. Mirror + Barrier help you stay alive in melee range. This setup is weak vs the tougher Nemesis, you can modify it for Fabius farming but it’s not worth it.

Occultist - Even though devs seem to be pushing a chaos+aether Warlock trough items, it’s not good. Warlock is best suited going Dreeg’s evil eye, mostly because you need both Maiven and Possession to stay alive. It’s still probably the worst class combination in the game, mostly because the two classes compete for skill bonuses but don’t complement each other. You need a full defensive devotion setup to be able to sustain yourself in fights, but your innate damage is not as high as Saboteur’s or Sorcerer’s to justify it.

Shaman - Cooldown caster. Sky shard + Wind devil + Storm totem. Storm totem is the big one, You need to get at least 25/16 (which unfortunately means you need Celestial stone of Halakor + Wyrmbone boots occupying these important slots). I’m not a huge fan of cooldown-based casters, but Druid is probably the best if you like that sort of thing. I just started making one, will post my experience after I hit 75.

Soldier - PRM + Devastation. Aether ray works, but it’s generally weaker. Soldier is tanky enough (standard passive package + War cry) and PRM gives you range, which means you can go full offensive items (Outcast’s secret, Clairvoyant shoulders and chest, some OA boosting pants…). Focus on the Aether part of PRM because it’s easier to reduce resistances. The biggest pain about this build is getting Outcast’s secret, but it’s worth it (got mine today after around 200 Anesteria runs over 3 different chars), it’s probably the best single damage boosting item in the game.

Thank you for the tips. This gives me a good roadmap on where to take things. I will get the character started now and see what happens.