Questions about classes and endgame content, recommend a fun and fast melee build

Hi everyone, I’m new. Nice place you’ve got here.

Question 1:

I have been looking up builds for Grim Dawn + all DLCs, and I’ve been a little surprised to find that there doesn’t seem to be any agreed-upon “optimal” builds.

Coming from Diablo II, I was expecting to find the equivalent of the Meteorb Sorceress (Meteor + Frozen Orb), something that’s regarded by the player base as a top tier build for clearing all the content and farming most areas really well. I also expected to find builds that are optimized for farming certain spots, such as a Furyzon Amazon (Lightning Fury) for running the Cow Level or a Blizzsorc Sorceress (Blizzard) for farming the Ancient Tunnels.

These are builds that are widely considered to be the strongest for clearing the game, and for efficiently farming the best and hardest spots. Are there no such equivalents for Grim Dawn?

Question 2:

If I just select a build that seems fun, will it be able to scale well in the endgame once I start finding some godlike items? I already know you can respec attributes and skill points, but I think you’re stuck with the two classes you select and I’m a bit worried I’ll have some problems if I pick a weak class combination.

Recommend a build:

I’m playing a Necromancer right now and that’s been going really well, but I would like a secondary character for variety. Nightblade’s Shadow Strike is a really fun movement ability, and I’ve been looking for builds that revolve around NB’s quick movement, high burst damage, and evasion. Can someone point me to builds that meet the following criteria:

  • Fast movement and repositioning using abilities like Shadow Strike
  • Either some form of facetanking through life leech, or hit & run DoT + evasion
  • High burst damage / high DPS for area clear speed
  • Satisfying to play well, requiring proper use of a variety of skills
  • Can clear a decent chunk of the game without godlike gear, but which also…
  • …scales well and becomes a top tier build once I start getting rich

I looked at a Spellbreaker (Nightblade/Arcanist), which looks strong but seems to turn the class into more of a caster.

Throw some stuff at me. I’m an ARPG vet, I’m used to doing nutty builds in Diablo II hardcore mode, and I got really bored with Path of Exile’s “hold down this one skill button and watch 3 screens of enemies disappear” style of gameplay.

Thanks! :heart:

  1. GD might not have the backing of a multimillion dollar corporation but in terms of creativity - that of the devs but especially that left for the player to express when making builds - it has no equal in the history of the genre. There are literally hundreds upon hundreds viable endgame builds which might be the reason why endgame is not dominated just by a few builds. Another reason is Zantai, lead dev. He hates oupiedness with all his heart. Whenever a very strong build pops up, he might give it some lifespan but eventually he’ll put it down.

Yet, you are wrong. There are a couple archetypes that are unarguably some of the strongest. If I were to choose just 3 I’d say: Clairvoyant spellbinder, Stormreaver vindicator and Dark One conjurer. These three can do everything and - save for the latter - have some of the fastest clear times.

  1. In legit game you’re stuck. There’s a tool called GD Stash where you can edit you characters, though.

That being said, GD as opposed to D2 is not about holding on to one char and pushing it to godliness through an endless grind. It’s more about making dozens of characters, finding out what’s your fave, tweaking, optimizing, finding new solutions, etc. So you never really get stuck. You can always make a new character. And every class can make an endgame viable builds.

If you don’t have time, though, and want a top op build, stay away from battlemages, defilers and saboteurs.

  1. Arcanist for AAR (laser but it’s gonna be nerfed soon). Oathkeeper for EoR (spinning channeling attack) or Ravenous Earth (placement shotgun spell). Occultist for pets. These are top tier. I have mixed feelings for pets, though, I believe they were overnerfed especially in clear speed department.

Hi and welcome to the forum!

1 . For certain game challenges some builds are better than other, but usually there are not builds that are overpowered everywhere and trivialize the game completely. That’s the point of game balancing :slightly_smiling_face:

2 . Some builds are easy to start level but don’t shine end game. Some builds shine only with end game gear. But usually if you learn mechanics it’s easy to level characters and it’s ultimately fun experience. Also there are lots of viable end game builds, so chance to screw yourself is little. Every mistake can be repaired. So pick, something you like!

3 . I love Nightblade class. Spellbreaker is nice class fro pure Shadow Strike build. I find it little bit squishy/skill demanding. Infiltrator is nice idea, cause Inquisitor is great support class. Trickster with Shaman for cold damage, Soldier for pierce and Oathkeeper for acid are also super dope fast Nightblade melee builds.

Op asked about engame a lot so I’m talking strictly endgame. It goes without saying that all competent builds in all classes are great in leveling/main game. So…

I too love nightblade but it’s been overnerfed for some reason (the reason of Season :wink:) on many fronts. If op’s looking for an easy top-tier solution to everything, I’d stay away from nightblade altogether - maybe except the pierce blademaster. Cold infiltrator fell from the position of a strictly top tier class to somewhere below mid-tier. Pierce infiltrators are strong but sketchy when it comes to things like deep SR or celestials. Acid dervish is still fast as hell but compared to top tier builds these days it’s half the man it used to be. Spellbreakers are cool but not easy and even for the very weak nightblade in general they are rather below average. Tricksters are also cool. Other nightblade classes struggle (unless SR set but SR set is like a separate class lol).

Caster nightblades like PB or Spirits are strong, though. There’ve been a couple super creative builds lately by top builders here - and they managed to save nightblade dignity through brilliant solutions (conversions and such) and produce amazing results. But to come up with that shit yourself you need to know every item in the game by heart.

Welcome to the game and to the forum. :slightly_smiling_face:

As ya1 said, there are literally dozens and dozens of builds that can do endgame content, the dual mastery class combo gives you a lot of build diversity to play around with.

What I suggest you do is have a look in the Build Compendium at the beginner builds section. Find a class there you’d like to play and then check in the relevant section for an endgame build for that which you can respec into if needed.

The beginner guide will help you with levelling, the devotions to look for, gear, etc, and could even carry you though endgame as is. A bit of tweaking from an endgame build should be all you need if necessary.

Try Dunefiend Dervish then. It’s aka Whirlwind barb from D2, but with extra mobility skills. Required Dunefiend set to be competive.

Well, almost every decent build does that. The one i mentioned included.

Again, every decent build should do that. The one i mentioned included.

I dont really understand this… What do you mean?

Hmm, can suggest a lightning AAR there, it feels great as SSF starter from scratch, and remains great with good gear too.

I read the questions finely quoted by BoG again and I’d recommend Cadance blademaster with Shattered Guardian set and Reaver Claws - currently one one the best rounded melee builds. SR set is guaranteed items, and you can do main game in faction gear and common drops no problem, and get in proper farming shape easily because it’s a soldier.

“Requiring proper use of various skills” sounds like you want a hybrid. Silver Sentinel infiltrator with Chillheart swords is one on the builds that can be (except the fucking Alkamos rings but can do without) fully assembled very early in your GD career, and it’s relatively very strong and very satisfying to play. Silver is a blue set - easy drop - and Chillheart is guaranteed. Another strong melee hybrid is Venomblade dervish and lately posted Chillwhisper trickster.

I’ll link you those builds of interested.

I’m game. Much as I like grailing in Diablo II, my favorite moments are spending time creating a new character with new skills. I’ve got a Hydra character at level 93, and that skill is just awful.


Thank you!

I noticed! One of my favourite builds that I found when perusing the compendium was your Chillstrifes cold Infiltrator. That’s damned impressive. Maybe if I get rich enough I can give it a shot.

I also found this pierce Infiltrator from Valinov which looks great as well. Overall I’m leaning slightly towards Infiltrators right now – there’s plenty of great looking endgame builds that I can maybe graduate into once I get out of my training shoes. Blademaster is probably a more stable choice, but I don’t mind a challenge.

Thanks! I appreciate it. =)

Already did. There’s loads. I’m currently experimenting with my custom Spellbinder (Necro/Arcanist) character, as I don’t mind failing at making a good build for my first ever character. So far I’m stomping everything on Veteran, but if the game ever becomes impossible there’s apparently loads of Spellbinder builds I can fall back on. Including a top tier one, if I get rich enough.

Interesting, but I’ve had my fill of Whirlwind. The last Path of Exile league I played was all about that Cyclone.

I mean I don’t want a mindless build that just uses one or two skills, Path of Exile style. If the build relies on properly juggling several skills to kill, stay alive, and reposition, I’d be all over it.

My Nightblade is level ~25, and I can already say with conviction that Grim Dawn features the absolute best melee system I’ve seen in an ARPG. It feels satisfying in all the ways that melee in most ARPGs don’t.

You’re the second person to mention AAR. Apparently that skill is so good that it’s used by multiple top tier builds. Nice to know that if I do go Arcanist, I can at least fall back on AAR and make it work. Thanks a lot. :heart:

I am definitely interested, especially in the Infiltrator. As I told Nery above, his Chillstrife Infiltrator is already on my shortlist of favourite builds. What’s Silver Sentinel? Something different from his?

Edit: Found your Silver Sentinel Chillheart build. That’s fantastic and inspiring and would take me way too long to learn how to pilot.

Please do link these builds, if you can. I’m happy to do some reading.

Everyone, thanks a lot for the warm welcome, and for answering all of my questions. I really appreciate the time. I’m especially thankful that several people who have made top tier, well-regarded builds have piped in with their answers and suggestions.

I’ll keep playing my Spellbinder for today. Hopefully I’ll know what to do with my Nightblade in a day or two.

Cheers everyone. :heart:

Edit: Just killed the Warden on Veteran mode with my custom Spellbinder. He took a while (and a few health potions) to bring down. Progress is slowing down a bit though. =)

Edit 2: Also it’s my birthday today, so I’ll be gone for a bit. I’ll catch up on replies later.


Holy new gigantic patch.

I just started!

Fellow D2 fan, you won’t be disappointed here! Unlike Diablo, GD doesn’t limit you to a handful of viable endgame builds. Here, you have hundreds and some. And still there’s room to create something unique, your own!

Just to give you an idea. Out of 50+ chars I’ve made in hardcore, every single one can clear the entire campaign. A half can farm some super bosses, a handful can do celestials. But that’s hardcore. In softcore, most of them can clear everything. Out of the builds proposed here so far, there’s not a single one from my favourite list of strong specs. That should tell you how much diversity there is! If D2 is a lake of builds then Grim Dawn is a 10km deep ocean. Same goes for content and lore btw.

So welcome aboard! The journey has only started! :sunglasses:

@Contragor Thanks for the welcome. :heart: So far, Grim Dawn is actually scratching that Diablo II itch that Path of Exile couldn’t quite reach. Hell, when it comes to melee it’s so much better.

And I just killed Gollum. So, that’s a thing.

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Btw Cane just pay attention to the cave with Swarm Queen Ravna. See the mini map is shaped like a smiling gun :slightly_smiling_face:

So not only Gollum is Easter egg.

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There are at least 3-4 more mobs from LOTR in Grim Dawn, btw.

Oh, definitely not. When I found the Boots of Unseeing Swiftness I realized it was a reference to the Boots of Blinding Speed from Morrowind.

“Gollus” is definitely the most on-the-nose reference so far, but at least he’s an optional boss.