Newbe Sentinel seeking advice


I am a quite new player and still learning how this game works. I have a Lvl 59 Sentinel and just beaten the last boss of malmouth on normal. I feel like I am a bit at a crossroads right now and want to seek advice in which direction I should develop my character.

(1). So the most pressing question is wether it actually makes a difference which of the three witch cults in forgotten gods i choose. This is related to question 2, because I am not sure if I wanna change my damage type later on. At the moment I focus on vitality damage, but I am not sure if the things work out as planned or if need to change the damage type among other things (more on that later). So do I have a problem if I choose e.g. solael now and later realize I want to go into acid? I assume the green faction items are only relevant for leveling and have nothing to do with endgame builds. But maybe I will have a hard time leveling when I dont find for example a decent armor and decided to join the „wrong“ cult? Same for the legendary blueprints, because it would certainly take a long time to have another char get enough rep. I am thinking about joinging Dreeg as their stuff has vitality and acid covered.

(2). My main question here is if my character concept is viable. I am worried that I am going in the wrong direction here, because I didn’t found any builds in the forum that do roughly the same thing and a brief search on grim tools didn’t turn up any good legendarys that would suit my concept later in the endgame phase. On the other hand I wonder if I am overlooking something as my concept isn’t that odd.

I play a melee/hybrid (I hope that is the right term) with focus on vitality and vitality decay damage.

I attack with Righteous Fervor (Transmuter) and use sigil of consumption a lot (thats why I called it „hybrid“). I recently started leveling Curse of Frailty and Mod for the Vitality RR. As for Buffs, Solaels Witchfire plays a big role in my damage output.

This is my Char right now: Grim Tools Link
(The tooltips doesnt show the same damage as ingame, as you probably know. If you want to, I can later add some screenshots.)

In the Future, I planned to get Guardian of Empyrion plus Transmuter and Mod to get more RR, Posession and maybe Blood of Dreeg or one of the Oathkeeper Buffs.

For Devotion I planned to get Rattosh and put that skill on Righteous Fervor and maybe get Dying God.

Here is a rough idea of how I planned to spend my devotion points: Other Grim Tools Link

At the moment I am quite satisfied with my concept. My char dies very rarely, I dont have big problems with HP, and he kills the enemies quick enough that I can make progress at a decent speed. I know that this might change in FG or higher difficoulties.

For my taste, I would follow this concept through until I reach lvl 94 or 100 or even transform it into an endgame build (if possible), because I really like how it feels to play this Character, especially the combination of melee with sigil of consumption. Thats the reason why I didn’t change it to acid melee yet. My question is just if this is possible. I am a bit unsure if this concept will hold up on the way that lies before me and would like to get some opinions of veteran sentinels on that. I just dont want to walk into any „traps“ I hardly can get out of, thats the reason for question 1, too.

I know that leveling to 100 and „endgame“ builds are two completely different things. So my primary question here is, will this concept be okay for leveling to 100? I think when I hit level 94+, the next step would be to farm legendary equipment. If I understand it right, a „build“ mainly revolves around legendary equipment, and I haven’t got any of that. So would I be able to farm some legendarys with my char if I hit 100 or do you see any serious flaws in my concept?

I laid the foundations to this long before I read up on the games mechanics, and I tried to incorporate things I newly learned, like getting Resistance Reduction. I didn’t read everything out there, though. The game mechanics are way more complex than what I am used to, and especially this forum just feels like a huge information overload to me. So if I overlooked a must read source for my particular questions, please dont be mad and I would appreciate a link.

I tried to read up on things in small, digestable bits, though, like the game mechanics compendium and some more general guides in this forums, among other sources. So I am not completely lazy, I just dont have a good overview about all the information aviable, and to be honest, some things I just dont understand (yet).

(3). Last question I got is, what do I actually do when I hit lvl 94+ ? I already read that I need to farm legendary items, and that a good place to do so are the roguelike challenge dungeons like steps of torment on ultimate. And when I have enough legendaries to put together a „build“, I can do shattered realms and crucible to find out how good my build is (?).

But how do you actually tackle that transition phase as a first timer? Say, you have a character concept X which you used to level up, and now you get the first lvl 94 legendaries. Do you just see what drops and as soon as you get the main items of a certain build for you class, change your char into that build? Or do you start a completely new char if you have the items for a different class build? Or do you wait until the items drop for the build you originally envisioned for your char?

Do you think that I could transform my concept (vitality damage, melee plus sigil of consumption) into an actual endgame build or is that combination just not viable?

Thanks to everyone in advance for helping a newbe, and thanks to everyone who wrote guides and manuals here, it really helps a lot.


Edit: Formatting

  1. It doesn’t matter althrough joining the Cult of Dreeg on normal, for enough reputation received to be able to buy the Emblems of the Riftstalker is great. It’s enough to just speak to join them, and you get enough rep with them to be able to do that. You still can trade and get reputation from the other cuts to buy their stuff, you probably only won’t get any reputation for them from main storyline quests within the DLC, only the rep from the one you choose afair, you can chose a different cult on the next difficulties.

  2. Righteous fervor only for resistances? Better get some better gear. This here, a build of mine uses faction vendor trash & quest items, example: Sentinel, Level 55 (GD - Grim Dawn Build Calculator
    Practically didn’t change my gear from since like level 40. Already beat Elite, practically almost res-capped for Ultimate. Don’t mind my devotions, they are all acid because that was my end-goal. I don’t really care what devotions I pick up while playing, even if they don’t match my current state of the build. I usually just go for sailor’s guide & ghoul & behemoth shenanigans as my picks, which are enough to beat the game effortlessly, all the rest is just braindead pattern follow and I’m fine.

Your cunning and spirit investments are a waste, imo. I’d rather do a full physique dump and re-tweak it once your done with the top-end items.

  1. Totems are better than Dungeons imo.
    You just tweak up your character to be even better. Gather the stuff you need, use those pieces that you can immediately afford to use as long as they don’t ruin your character in terms of survivability or something and play till you are ready for a full swap of gear and respec-adjust later-on to your main goal.

Don’t see why shouldn’t it be viable. Sigil of Consumption is overpowered for fresh start, actually one of my own top picks when levelling new characters, anything that is aoe both defensive&offensive scaling, and needs no stats whatsoever throughout to be able to outperform stuff is absurdly strong in this game.


Vitality S&B melee sentinel… you might run into dmg problems in Ultimate. It’s not really an endgame viable archetype. Drop melee. If you like Sigil here’s an endgame build Acid Sigil spam Sentinel (9.2 test) 4:23 (4:31) - YouTube

Get flat RR. As opposed to “-x%” RR, flat RR doesn’t stack so only need one source. I suggest Scales. There’s also Revenant.

Finish Ultimate. Don’t forget Allostria hidden quest (Malmouth dungeon, closed door by the end of the first map, teleport to Coven from there and talk to an NPC in the south of the village). Try to get to 25 SR for the remaining skill points. Farm roguelikes, Crucible or SR for gear. Farm Blooms and Cthoninc Seals.

I’d farm gear and mats with the first char as much as possible and see what drops. Once you see a beginnings of a new char there, open one and rotate beetween leveling it and farming with your old char for more gear.


I really can’t understand how combination of masteries with auto-attack replacer, 2 WPS skills and 2 super handy resistance reduction skills for vitality can run damage problems or being non-viable for endgame. Less damage in comparison to something without shield? - yes, but more tanky. Can’t beat crucible in 5-6 minutes? - yes, but who cares except attendees of very special olympic games on this forum?
For example - Sentinel, Level 100 (GD - Grim Dawn Build Calculator , this build will definitely beat whole campaign, roguelike dungeons and SR65-66; it is safe, reliable and comfortable to play except for maybe energy problems, which anyway can be solved by potions. And I drafted it literally in 30 mins, it is not min-maxed etc. Sheet damage per strike in grimtools is not impressive, but it does not count 100% phys to vitality conversion for RF. So, I see zero reasons why it can’t be enjoyable. It requires special gear of course, but the same applies to all endgame builds anyway.

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Not really. Without shield stats, shields don’t really do anything. They eat trash dabs once in a while. They are stat sticks, just like off-hands. In principle, off-hands are actually tankier because cdr affects safety skills.

Beginner players who wanna expand their gear inventory, possibly through Crucible farming, which is a chore if you can’t do sub 6 because you can’t run it thrice on one set of blessings.

Besides, why do you insist on taking part in a discussion about build viability, if you disregard the most important factor of a viable build: damage?

Scales for Revenant then.

I never said anything about enjoyability. Only about endgame viability, of which we seem to have different definitions.

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I don’t disregard damage, I disregard your criteria on “viable damage”. I do think that sub-6 crucible builds sacrifice too much QoL for damage and this trade off does not make any sense outside of the crucible being used as metrics of build quality (very questionable metrics in my humble opinion). Stable runs to SR 65-66 can be better option for farming than crucible. Whereas crucible meta assumes that you exchange a lot of your sturdiness for damage, since you significantly rely on cruci buffs to survive. For beginner player it is much easier to play with semi-meditative tanky build with moderate damage rather than glass canon.

Regarding choosing Scales instead of Revenant, it can be an option indeed, nice input.


Stable what? 16-17 min SR 65-66 runs? These timers are so slow you are better off farming totems in main campaing.

No it doesn’t. Not all builds are glassified to reach record timers. Some builds can even clear naked ( buffless) with extra spawns in less than 6 mins.

And Aether crystals. You need crystals for crafting.

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Did I go back in time and I’m suddenly in 2019? Sub 6 cruci being the criteria for glass cannons is so 2 years ago. 5:30-5:50 is the timer for the tankiest non retal mofo (by design) in GD - markovian warlord


I don’t wrote about all builds, but a common practice assumes huge cunning/spirit dumps with lack of DA for MOAR damage and other decisions that rely on polished piloting skills and crucible playing context rather than making build all-rounded. I don’t mean that this is necessarily bad, but I don’t agree that these performance criteria should be an only standard, especially for beginner players. So, I just tried to provide for topic starter an alternative view.

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In hands of a pilot who plays in crucible for days. For those who use crucible as a funny side activity add at least 1 minute to an average timer.

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I didn’t mean it’s not possible to play vit s&b and farm gear in endgame with it. I mean you’be better off with just about any other archetype. Do the job faster and more efficiently.

Guy asked about vit melee sentinel s&b endgame viability and every word in this phrase feels like an oxymoron. I’m not sure anyone could come up with many worse archetypes than that (outside mastery non-supported dmg types)? Give me 10, anyone?

But also I’d like to point out that I’ve never tried it. Maybe vit s&b sent is the hidden melee machine? Nobody knows. Nobody tried… :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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Now apply that same logic to your build and to SR. A build can clear SR 65-66…

In hands of a pilot who plays in crucible for days. For those who use SR as a funny side activity subtract at least 10 shards to the highest playable shard.

Now onto the actual topic, it was good that you guys gave suggestions to OP who needed help. That’s all he needed, not the debates.

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Already done, I don’t see any reasons why the suggested build could not reach SR 75-76 in hands of experienced player. After all, it has more than 30% phys resist, good life leach and a shield. Regarding debates, you are 100% correct, but we are still humans, and humans like to be right and hate to be wrong. And the TS still can evaluate the arguments to make his/her personal decision.

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Well, if that’s the case then go at it. Thing is, any well crafted build should be able to do 75-76. Thing is, time is also a constraint in that 75-76 (and 65-66 for that matter) is a farming zone and you want your farming done as fast as possible. S&b vit autoattackers will never have enough damage to do that, and in the rare event that it would have that damage (which I think would require oppressor and not sentinel), you might have finished farming 2 characters worth of items for it to be worth the hassle. Enemy vit resists are just too high for the limited number of damage sources melee has.

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Oh wow my questions sparked a real discussion :nerd_face:
First of all huge thanks to all of you guys for this input. I just read it quickly and def will read it a second time to get all of your arguments when I have a little more time on my hands.

Just my first thoughts on this:
The main point here seems the archetype and damagetype combo. It might be a misunderstanding that I wanted S&B (that means Sword and Board, right?). I just like melee and might change to 2h or dual wield or whatever later on. My whole thing here revolved more around the combination of melee with sigil of consumption, because thats what I play at the moment and I really like how it feels.

I actually thought about leaving the vitality route and go into acid&poison instead. what held me back is that I liked sigil of consumption so much. I didn’t know that you can turn sigil of consumption into acid until a saw that build @ya1 posted. I wonder, could you use sigil of consumption with acid melee instead of spam caster, or does the sigil of consumption only makes sense for casters? Maybe I would have less damage problems if I would go into that direction, because it sounds that monsters high vitality resistance is part of the problem here.

Talking about RR, got some issues understanding. I learned that RR is king so I thought I would take course of frailty and guardian of empyrion and rattosh devotion and I have a lot of resistance reduction. now you suggested I should take flat RR, and I dont understand yet why that is better than -x% Resistance Reduction. I mainly used this mechanics guide to learn about the types of RR. I am still unsure how its calculated in general. I def have to read more on that topic, so if you got a link to a good guide or something, that would help me a lot.

So to clarify, I should get scales instead of rattosh, but keep curse of frailty and still get guardian of empyrion? why is 20 flat RR better than -25% ?
And, in general, is there a rule of thumb how much RR i should have as a minimum in any viable build?

I defenitly gonna need some time to think all of this through.
Maybe I will slowly change to acid while on the elite difficoulty. I mean, if I see this correct, I can change my skills and devotions as often as I want, so I could try out different things when I am on ultimate and see what works for my personal taste. The only thing I was worried about urgently was joining the wrong cult and getting locked out of items i need or making any other mistakes I can’t remedy. but if that can’t happen then I am all good.

Thank you to all of you, I really appreciate your replies

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It can work but it’s either gonna feel like a sigil caster if you focus more on it, or melee if you focus more on melee. So depending on how you split the build, you might find one side disappointing.

It uses a caster set, so it’s better to focus fully on being a caster.

They are, but vitality as a dmg type generally has the most options for resistance reduction out of any other dmg type.

What you went for is the optimal way, getting as much resistance reduction is usually good.

-x% from different sources like Rattosh and Vulnerability stack ( they are additive) and come first in the calculation.

Reduced %x targets resistances come second in calculation and it’s multiplicative not additive, unlike the other 2 RR types. It’s not something you really have to worry about grabbing, unless you play an elemental or single element build since Viper devotion has this type of resistance reduction ( the specific one only works on skills with weapon dmg, or your basic attacks, because it’s not bound to a skill itself.)

Reduced X targets resistances ( flat RR) comes last ( it’s additive) and only the highest source applies. You can take it from Revenant or Scales in the case of Vitality builds.

You can grab all of them ( well, either Revenant or Scales since they don’t stack). Usually around - 100 ( -x% and flat RR, reduced % is rarely impactful) resistance reduction with all the debuffs is fine. Some dmg types want more than that ( fire/cold/lightning, which is why they have easier access to reduced target’s resistances, Vitality dmg needs higher values too).
Others can get away with lower values because enemies are not as resistant ( Physical/Pierce/Bleed) with some exceptions.

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It’s not. -20% and 20 reduced got the same value. Only that -x% stacks with everything, and flat RR does not stack with other flat RR.

For future reference, it applies to anything: if it has the word “reduced” in it, it doesn’t stack.

No. Ratosh stacks with everything. Always take it on every vitality build. Scales doesn’t stack with Revenant or Manticore so only take one of them.

You can do whatever you want in GD and it can be played. Just some builds will be slower than others. If you want a Sigil build, that shield is in it. And s&b melee will always be weak. Also, Sigil wants to be cast as often as possible, and every frame you’re casting, you’re not meleeing. So hybridizing melee with Sigil is not among top tier concepts.

Is it gonna be better on acid? Probably. I’d have to see gear and see what can be done, I guess Radaggan set will block many acid melee options. But acid melee is generally good, while vitality is among the worst dmg types for melee. Again, not to say vit melee isn’t possible.

I guess Dunefiend acid EoR and maybe Dreeg acid DEE are best sentinels now. The first is a bit like melee, and the second is a spam caster. But you need sets for that. Best beginner sent would probably be some custom acid melee on faction gear.

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@Retal_Abuser @ya1 you guys are awesome :star_struck:

I just misunderstood you there regarding not taking rattosh, thanks for clarifying.

Good this is how I thought it worked, I just was confused by my misunderstanding above and thought I got it wrong. Its great to have it clarified, so now I can be sure that I understood it.

THIS is a really solid explanation, helped me a lot right now.

I will definitely change my damage type to acid, that seems like the most solid strategy. I m gonna follow your advice and will do a custom acid melee on cult of dreeg and other faction gear. Good think I posted this before I made the decsion, because I almost picked solael cult. :grimacing: now I’m gonna pick dreeg. and when I am lvl 100 and start to farm legendary equip, I am gonna see in what direction I go. EoR, DEE and Acid Sigil sound like three interesting build-archetypes I can choose from. I actually never tried out Eye of Reckoning and it never crossed my mind that it could make a cool combination with classic occultist damagetypes like acid.

I just have to tinker out now how to transist my char from vit to acid while leveling. guess I will be on the lookout for acid equipment and as soon as I have enough stuff I switch over.

Thank you very much for your solid advice, I have a much clearer picture now in which direction I’m gonna develop my sentinel :compass:

I switched over to acid now and the char works quite well. I have the feeling that the damage output ist noticeable better, especially on elite. Plus my HP almost doubled (not exactly sure why tbh :sweat_smile: ). Got some good acid items on FG normal. I guess the RNG gods liked my decision.
Have to work on Chaos Res and OA, I just didn’t get enough there item wise. On the other hand, I started almost at zero in regards to my equip and I am happy that I could get something decent in a very short time, amost without farming (2 additional quick runs through chosen valley to get better rolls on the halberd).

Grimm Tools

PLUS my Guardians look just like me :hugs:

(DPS with Righteous Fervor on 8, second picture with Blood of Dreeg)