Physical damage so far (March 21 - 4th update)

So far it seems like physical builds are among the ones that are the most affected by the changes. They were amongst the builds who relied mostly on high physical resist/high armor for their defenses and now with the whole physical damage rebalancing some of them lose much more than the others while some actually become stronger.

This is my feedback based on the builds I played, I will be adding more builds as I test them.

1) Warborn Death Knight Death Knight, Level 100 (GD - Grim Dawn Build Calculator (21% phys res in-game)

Notable changes:

Experimented with some devotion setups and decided to invest into DA and drop Scales (which were a source of passive sustain).

Cadence: feels much better but still not as strong as top melee builds. I think initial 45% to 40% weapon damage to Cadence nerf was a bit pre-mature. I would recommend adding ~30-50% weapon damage to the main skill.

Also it would be nice if Warborn set proc gave casting speed too since Death Knight casts War Cry and Bone Harvest (and MoT).

P.S. Tested Warlord with two gavels and it felt worse than DK.

2) Blitz Warlord

Chains of Anguish version: Warlord, Level 100 (GD - Grim Dawn Build Calculator
Normal belt version: Warlord, Level 100 (GD - Grim Dawn Build Calculator

Notable changes:
Physical resist in-game: 43% (down from 83%)

This one was “trimmed” quite a bit. Chains of Anguish version is not really viable anymore as the proc duration increased while value of the remaining physical resist increased too (before it was 83% physical resist minus 15% on the proc, now it’s 43% - 15%).

Version with “normal” belt feels okay, but overall tankiness of this archetype has been nerfed. First and foremost, it’s the physical resist (yes, I know that monsters deal less physical damage now, but not 50% less, right), then it’s the hp and then nerf to wps damage.

Biggest problem still persists: where to get enough adtch. Currently build has 9% from (what it feels like mandatory) Azragor chest and Unholy Inscription component, which doesn’t feel like enough. And this problem persists for all physical SnB builds currently - getting speeds and adtch is almost impossible.

3) Avenger Archon

Current phys res: 35% (down from ~64%)

Notable changes:

Also overall hp regen has been reduced (went from ~2600 to ~2200 with all the procs active).

As you can see this one has been hit from all fronts. It feels very mid in-game: from a stable tanky build with decent damage it became just somewhat tanky build with okay damage.

I don’t think its damage deserved any nerfs. It has been nerfed in previous patches and in the current live patch it’s just good but far from top-tier. Right now it’s less than good. Complete removal of the phys res from proc makes it quite a bit weaker than before since nothing was given back to compensate for it. And it’s really hard to stack armor on Archon (currently just 2400 armor in-game).

I also keep refering to our current top20 testing, as you can see build was just good in all categories and got a lot of points thanks to relatively cheap gear and then very simplistic gameplay.

Why did Crate decide to nerf it on all fronts I really have no idea.

4) Voldrak’s Witchblade

Actually it didn’t in-game. Currently build is not even mid tier. Despite %absorb from Menhir and War Cry build’s performance is very sketchy. Cadence damage output is episodic and inconsistent, the highs are not high at all while lows are really low. 17% adtch is not enough to keep it afloat.

And this is with unrealistic double rare weapon that you will never ever farm probably. 2H Cadence needs a lot of help still.

5) Octavius Paladin

This one on paper gained something from runes rework. It feels okay in-game however its sustain is still mediocre at best: you have to use crutches like converted Scales and hope that + Bear and drops of direct leech will be enough. Again, not many ways to gain adtch.

It also suffers from apparent gaps in physical Paladin itemization. Like there is no weapon with mods to both main skills (and that pistol has a pretty weak mod overall), there are no items that give skill point to both skill (have to use a pierce ring there).

What’s interesting is that if you play this as an snb melee and drop aegis for RF with shield wps it would become much better.

6) Ranged Warlord

Build used to be a lot of fun in 1.9.9.x but after several target nerfs it became pretty mid. This patch is a complete disaster for it. It lost almost two-thirds of its physical resist and about 1400 of hp while gaining absolutely nothing. No armor (because Field Command was nerfed and so were Physical devotion nods with Armor), no damage, just a smidge of DA.

Its performance overall is pretty mediocre and that is with unrealistic greens (now that we know that Imposing prefix is at the bottom of all of the loot tables).

Suggestions (so far)

- Cadence main skill still needs more. There should be an extra tdm modifier for 2H cadence.

- Physical devotion map and items lack adtch. With means of passive defenses being taken away physical builds need help with sustain.

- Nerfs to damage on Avenger should be reverted (including previous patch nerfs). It’s the only viable 2H AA/WPS archetype and its damage is far from op to begin with. Set should also be compensated for the loss of phys res.

- Octavius Paladin needs more support from items. Ugdenbog Repeater could use a second mod to Rune of Kalastor and set could give an extra projectile to rune as wel.


I only played Spellscourge Battlemage Battlemage, Level 100 (GD - Grim Dawn Build Calculator but can drop a couple of words 'bout it.
so, the build lost ~50% phys res (from 46 or so to 25) and it’s the main change; it also gained some buffs to BA but they’re unnoticeable. all in all, during last patches build slowly turned from one of the tankiest in the game into just medium build with actually bad damage (your almost only way to increase it is to consistently pull multiple bosses or shitton of enemies).

so, the problems are:

  • very low LL and troubles with getting it - green axe is mandatory but it’s worse both damage- and skill-point wise. also LL nerf on Deva is very noticeable (it was reduced from 3 to 2 and them monsters LL res increased etc).
  • pretty low damage output, especially against solo-targets.
  • I know, this was never a balancing methric, but the build used to kill all supers pretty easily due to being very tanky. now it can’t kill any of them, simple as that.

what I suggest?

  • as @mad_lee said, add LL somewhere on phys devo route - maybe on Bear and increase the LL to Deva to 4-5% - or at least add similar mod to BA.
  • damage needs love. 1h BA is somewhat working only with this set (and as a bleed nuke) but damage output is meh.
  • tbh, extra OA/DA bonuses (or % damage ones) are highly welcomed.

I’ll add some videos when I record them.


There is some imbalance in the game right now,some equipment still provides high physical resist,some of the equipment was weakened too much.

Such as Avenger,it wasn’t very good before,it’s much weaker now.

Such as Mythical Leviathan,this one weapon still gives you up to 19% physical resist now,and Avenger was reduced by 16% physical resist than before,it’s not fair.

Mythical Leviathan fits DK well,but it provides some useless effects,I think whether it should be redesigned to reinforce 2H cadence.

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I have to agree that generally speaking “Dual wield” physical builds feels weaker in SR 75-76.
To me it’s a lack of sustain.
Especially true for Dual Wield Cadence warlord or even Dual Wield Dervish.

I would like to update the devotion of my warlord to the devotion of my dervish but here it goes :
Warlord : Warlord, Level 100 (GD - Grim Dawn Build Calculator I could change the pants for Solael pants and maybe it would be ok-ish but not sure

Dervish : Dervish, Level 100 (GD - Grim Dawn Build Calculator

I mean this build with The Unseeing Gaze epic set feels tankier, just need a bit more HP through gear : Infiltrator, Level 100 (GD - Grim Dawn Build Calculator
With this build the inquisitor seal definitly helps a lot vs bosses in SR.
Even this Aether Dual Weild build feels tankier to me : Spellbreaker, Level 100 (GD - Grim Dawn Build Calculator

As for Avenger set it seems ok with my Warder : Warder, Level 100 (GD - Grim Dawn Build Calculator.

For physical builds, the devotion usually do not provide a lot of dcth compared to other builds/damage type, but that’s in relation to how they can reduce/absorb damage.
I didn’t try every physical builds in the game so my opinion is based on builds noted (grimtools links).


Mythical Leviathan didn’t have its phys res removed or reduced, but got some benefit from Deadly Momentum buff. Maybe you can try on some Leviathan Cadence DK.

Since Seal of Might gives armor instead of phys res, maybe it’s time to switch to Seal of Blades for adcth? As it also gives armor and % pierce res, so you end up losing flat phys, 50% phys damage and poison/bleeding res.
And seems Ghoul, Toad or Fox, Scales sees mandatory for physical auto attackers. Revenant does not fit into the devotion map and Hydra is only for ranged builds. Not much left to find adtch anywhere else, outside of components and Solael-Sect pants. Mythical Lifegiver Signer could be an option, too, perhaps.

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SoB’s adcth only works on 1 hand, you know. And all of the mentioned devos not really fit into Phys maps either.


imagine if it was part of the buff portion along the armour bonus and pierce res, oh well… :neutral_face:

Hi, sorry for the offtopic :slight_smile: I wonder why you don’t take the proc on vire on your avenger warder? I’ve seen this phenomenon with others as well but cannot really understand as ths reduced %phys target dmg seems very valuable in eg SR. Thanks :slight_smile:

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I got a similar question, why not sands either?

Look, valid suggestions, but they all basically come down to “just sell damage % to go out of your way to get a devotion or an item with adtch”. Physical damage as you know is a very fickle thing in this game: you want your total % as high as possible so more of your instances of physical damage go mostly thru armor. And it’s already not the most damaging damage type.

Are the Top20 builds being redone before being posted as a result of the new patch changes?

not actively but we are playing some of them and adjust them a bit, yeah, but we can’t re-tool the whole list for it


I don’t take shifting hands because with that set-up i don’t have another skill to efficiently proc it for more damage. As for the reduction of OA on ennemies, the build don’t need it as it is.

As for fist of vire, I don’t need the CC out of it because the build survive with decent armor/physical resist + good damage converted to hp + damage converted to HP with Feral hunger + good hp regen.
I wanted to focus on damage, and it’s better vs single target this way, if you look at the top node on Fist of vire (120 physical damage + 3%cunning) and the node on Azrakaa (DA + attack speed that i need to reach close to 200% attack speed). I am saying those nodes because you could potentially give up on them to takes the procs without changing the rest of the devotion.

AOE damage is being done with Zolan’s Technique + Feral Hunger + Upheaval
Also War Cry is taking care of the damage reduction on ennemies.

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Updated feedback with Octavius Paladin.


it’s not really related to the OP but the RoC base skill itself should gain +1 proj, tbh (and then mod on Runebiner reduced to +1 to balance it).

This whole concept of “this devotion route is perfect and the only possible route and we must have every possible buff on this route and can’t have any trade-offs whatsoever” is so wild. The devotion system already suffers from being stale and uninteresting, and these sorts of complaints just make it so much worse.

I’m not going to pretend to know what the optimal %percent Physical damage is, but if the damage system is really that fickle that enemy armor is a real issue (and you’d only know by comparing damage against enemies with differing values of armor), then I’d rather see flat instances of phys damage improved across the board.

Despite the criticisms, I do appreciate the work you do trying to figure out an optimal balance for everything. +1 to seeing more Cadence buffs across the board.


I would argue that Physical devotion meta is anything but stale right now. You have a lot of routes you can take for different setups and they all have their strengths and weaknesses. It’s pretty good.

And at the same time it is missing adtch and physical builds are in general not as good at sustaining unless it’s outliers like Avengers. Another problem with sacrificing chunks of %damage for leech devotions is that your actual final leech might barely improve because you will be penetrating mobs armor less effectively.

And Physical damage is currently the one that is suffering the most from Phys res nerfs/rework, let’s be real. Your most common prefix and your weapon component suddenly lose a lot of value plus all the hp nerfs and some %armor nerfs. I don’t think having even 8% adtch nod somewhere on bear will really compensate that (because casters won’t benefit from it as much).

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I just want to not be forced into resistance reduction devotions for everything :/. It makes devotion choices feel very limited and pigeon holes into only specific avenues or certain end devotion constellations. You then can’t use some of them because they just don’t have rr and you won’t be able to do damage.

you always have to take resistance reduction to the damage you do