Ranged Equipment for Death Knight

My next level 100 (currently at 73) is a Death Knight, because I wanted to play a 2H reaping strike build. I have lots of 100 melee characters already though (Warlord, Spellbreaker, Templar), so I wanted a ranged character. My only other ranged heroes are a Spellbinder and an 83 Purifier dual wield. This was my first character using a 2H ranged. I did start with 2H melee, but I didn’t care for how it felt.

Cadence (with Reaping Strike, Necrotic Edge, Markovian’s Advantage, and Zolhan’s Technique), and Bone Harvest. My passives are Spectral Binding and Field Command. I’m not sure what my Exclusive will be. I want Harbinger of Souls for the attack to health and attack speed, but I do piercing and cold damage. My current weapon is Silverbolt, which has 100% Armor Piercing. Bone Harvest does mostly Piercing as well, but some Cold and Vitality damage as well.

Looking ahead to equipment at 100… my options seem pretty small. There are two sets I can use: Warborn and Krieg. Krieg though is for melee builds focused on Blitz and War Cry and it provides a melee ability. Warborn is awesome… except one of its four pieces is a one-handed mace. You can still use the 3 piece, but you lose out on +3 to Cadence and Warborn ability, which is a great ability.

One of the only belts to use is Gladiator’s Distinction, which is pretty nice, its skill even benefits from two-handed ranged weapons. However… the item converts Vitality Damage to Physical Damage. And I don’t want to do that. I’m already converting all my physical to piercing with Silverbolt (one of the only ranged weapons that benefits Soldier AND Necromancer and provides great attack speed). But if I take Harbinger of Souls for the Attack damage converted to health and the attack speed, its +Vitality damage is wasted.

Unfortunately, Oleron’s Rage only increases movement speed, not attack speed. Although the offensive ability increase is nice.

Ultimately, what I’m looking for is equipment that has Pierce Damage, Cold Damage, or Attack Speed. But some item slots are severely lacking. Pants, Relic (Plunderer’s Talisman is probably the best and it’s a level 60 relic), and rings are pretty bad.

curious why you want that for a death knight
which is like the “physical dmg/vitality dmg/aether dmg” archetype

what this means is, you will find very little items geared towards piercing dmg for death knight, because that’s not their main orientation. Necro has some pierce/cold support in bone harvest, that’s mainly it
it has some cold support in morgo set intended mainly for reaper
but other than that cold support is very minimal for necro side of things, and even smaller for soldier
likewise, there is pierce support for soldier side, because of nightblade and inquisitor, but you wont really find it in conjunction for a DK theme

so if you insist on this very offbeat dmg type combo for Death Knight, you’re gonna have to piece meal individual items/parts together not directly intended for death knight “specifically”
nothing wrong with that by the way, that’s how lots of builds are made, and is why many items support 2-3 masteries or dmg types

If you absolutely must go with Ranged Death Knight, I have theorycrafted (but never tested) an Aether Cadence build using Silverbolt: Death Knight, Level 100 (GD - Grim Dawn Build Calculator

The key is the Soldier Conduit that converts 100% Physical damage to Aether on Cadence. Since it’s a skill-based modifier, the conversion happens before Silverbolt’s 100% Physical to Piercing conversion, and with Bonemonger set + Valbury belt, you’re converting 100% Vitality to Aether damage, meaning you’re covering Necromancer’s biggest supporting damage types (Vitality and Aether) in one build.

Obviously, the biggest caveat is that you need very specific gear to pull something like this off, which is hard to recommend to a player just trying to get Legendary gear. But at the very least, the conduit is craftable, and if you can’t get the Aether conduit, you can use a Physical DK build to farm the pieces one by one.

TLDR: It’s much better to go with 2H Blade Arc Physical DK, especially with Krieg’s set, than anything ranged, but it’s technically possible to pull off. If you want an accurate guess as to how it would do, I’ve had a similar build doing Acid Cadence (as a Warlord, not a Death Knight) that was capable of clearing SR80. I see Aether DK doing at least SR65 since DK is fairly sturdy and you’ll have tons of Life Leech using Necro’s Exclusive skill.

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