⭐ Top 20 Softcore builds in Grim Dawn (An Opinion)

Some links to videos and posts in the descriptions are added.

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I’ll answer that with my particular experience as an example, but I’m sure this applies to a lot more people. I admit that I’m not a great pilot, and I hope that the example still makes sense to someone who can run crucible in his sleep…

When things get chaotic on screen, lots of enemies, lots of things with stars next to their name and such, I tends to lose sight of where my character is, and what I SHOULD be doing (especially if I see my health bar go down and up very fast) … so I kinda just panic and mash the keyboard, hoping to activate circuit-breakers, defensive layers and pharma to just make the problem “go away” … and hopefully I’ll have survived those 2-4 seconds of confusion and be able to rationally go back to controlling my character. Oftentime, that won’t be enough because things are on cooldown or were not enough…

That kinda never happens with pets… There are no buttons to smash… So I’m able to concentrate on just kiting, because I know my firepower is out there doing their thing without my input.

Everything you had to do to kill what’s around you, you’ve already done… you just have to “trust the process” so to speak.

That also sort of applies to PSP builds, assuming you don’t have to resummon them every 18 seconds…

In that sense, not even all pet builds would make it on such a list… skeleton builds that need to protect them from AoE and resummon them regularly, or transmuted Blight fiend builds, for example, will need special care that are outside of just “summon your army and let it get to work”

I hope that makes sense…


Builds sensitive to timed presses are the hardest to pilot. For almost everyone. Diviner didn’t make it into top20 primarily because it’s so hard to play.

A good number of builds in the top20 list are not that. Have you ever played an optimized Avenger? You literally hold left click. Same for a few gunners. No circuit-breakers, no tracking your stats and enemies on the screen (except the arcane ones). Hold left click.

And if you happen to panic with one button builds designed for facetanking - that’s would be an individual psychological factor and can’t be accounted for in any rankings.


Yeah, that’s fair enough. (I did play avenger, though that would be silly to say it was anything close to optimized :stuck_out_tongue: )

Which means that in a hypothetical “easiest to play” build list, avenger would also be one of the top dogs. (Also the EoR Warlord, for sure) along with beastcaller and such. Ease of play is one of pets’ strong suits, not that its EXCLUSIVE to pet builds.

I see the builds at the top here, and at least half of them are pretty straightforward. I’m basically playing devil’s advocate here, trying to find a reasonable use case where pet build’s strong points would push them somewhere near the top…

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At this level of performance it’s all about particular builds that have all the right synergies and, let’s not beat around the bush, escaped the major individual nerfs to push them to the top20.

There is nothing inherently inferior about pet builds that pushes them out of contention. If anything, they were likely candidates because in the end we did kinda favor safety over dmg in our rankings. It’s just all about the individual builds and the state of the game.

There was a time when at least one pet build was one of the best in the game.
There also was a time when top10 would have 5 if not more pierce builds.
And not longer than a patch ago Physical S&B Warlord/Shieldbreaker was one of the best if not the best build in the game.

When balance is as tight (for a single player game) as in GD, it is extremely hard to recover from major nerfs.


Not true. You can get by with very little active skills.

Could do that with pets too- Mnemosyne - Pet Conjurer, Petwalker - Walking Simulator Budget Pet Conjurer by Maya

Depends on how one calculates damage.

If said builds have enough to kill superbosses and complete SR boss rooms in deeper shards, they have enough damage.

Their DPS might be pitiful against the Training Dummy. But since those builds are tailored towards getting away with as low as a dps as possible it would make sense.

Using one’s brain

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Perhaps should use ingame data instead then.

Yeah something like vids of pet builds actually doing damage while being safe at the same time.

Like this?


Took 221 replies for this to be posted when banana has been asking for stuff like this since day 1. Discussions would’ve been healthier if this came out earlier smh.

Edit: duskdeep actually posted some stuff already. Still these aren’t what’s in the criteria but better than nothing.

Edit2: now idk how much damage is good damage in SR 125. I’m not used to seeing 5 min boss room clears. I don’t even know if that’s boss room or SR125 cause @Skelemental screwed up OBS and still posted it anyway. Like man, if SR 125 is easily doable you just gotta do it again and get a better vid, right?

And that is why you get people arguing that the criteria is only useful to find top SR farming builds at 75-76.

There are others in the thread as well-

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~10 mins boss room coming from a death. So much for safe and has damage, huh. Looking at the kind of kiting done there, it takes just as much skill as most rotation casters, if not more since there’s screen clutter with that amount of pets. So not easy either. Even without looking at the criteria for this list, this only proves that the build can do SR125 with enough effort. Nothing else.

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I don’t think anyone argued that SR 125 can be done with zero risk of death.

Whether pet builds take as much skill as rotation casters or not would come down to the pilot and how experienced they are at pets/casters. Kiting needs to be done regardless on anything that is not melee facetank or Mageslayer permafreeze at such high shards. Hence it can be argued that pets are easier if you have to kite since they can hold aggro while you merely reposition.

But if the question was regarding damage then there is more than enough evidence to safely say that deep SR pet builds do have plenty and that the claims saying otherwise are simply exaggerated.

If the top builders and pilots of the community however feel that pets are lacking in all departments such as damage, being easy to play, tankiness & gear friendliness then perhaps pets could be unanimously buffed across the board in the upcoming patch or the one after. That should make everyone happy.

tbh it feels like the majority of people are already happy, huh

Very hard to compare builds made for balance of speed and tankiness to SR crawlers, obviously, but a few words on the linked build.

  1. In the presented variant it is out of contention as it uses multiple items that are impossible to farm and would “score” 0 in gear access department. And i respectfully doubt you would get “95%” of this performance with a realistic build because the greens grant a lot of specific, best +skills bonuses.
  2. It is by no means an “AFK build”. There is a number of active skills. And even in the fight against Ravager the build has to move around. While most of top20 facetank it with very easy gameplay or outright holding left click.
  3. Presented videos cannot serve as any indication of pet builds having “plenty” of dmg. 3:47 for Ravager kill is 3x lower solo dps than top20 builds have on average. And most of them have vastly superior AoE dmg as well.

Unfortunately, the only thing the listed videos tell us, we already know: you can tune some pet builds for deep SR gameplay.


No, it does not.

None of the builds in the presented list are budget and would require farming regardless with drops being random. Hence the presented variant is just as realistic as any of the ones on the list.

No one to my knowledge goes for that afk playstyle with pets other than Maya. x1 asked for videos which Maya does not make(to my knowledge).

Skelemental’s Pet Conjurer also has as many active skills as the Spellscourge Battlemage listed in the op.

Facetanking Ravager with pets while using consumables for health regen is an incredibly easy feat. But whether builders go for that or not is upto them.

How many of the top20 do SR125 while also maintaining 3x faster Ravager kill and vastly superior AoE?
Please link video proof as well.

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That’s a straw man argument. You’ve made a statement about “plenty” of dmg SR125 pet builds have. 4 mins Ravager is not “plenty” by any stretch of imagination. You’ve made a false statement, don’t try, in return, make me prove smth i didn’t state.

This can only be said by someone who 1) either doesn’t play the game and has zero understanding of drops it has 2) or purposely wants to derail the topic and discredit the work by people listed in the OP. In any of two cases, i can’t procede with this conversation.


4mins Ravager is plenty by every stretch of imagination and it is not a straw man.

I am asking why you would think a faster kill time on Ravager by a couple of builds that would get absolutely demolished in deeper shards is worthy of boast or why you would expect a build tanky enough to do SR 120+ to be just as fast as the ones tuned for 75-76.

That’s a false dilemma fallacy.

As long as the items used can realistically be obtained ingame, calling them unrealistic is objectively false.
Randomness and luck involved also applies to the ones listed in the op unless the argument here is that those legendaries can be target farmed and that the rares with the exact same affixes can be obtained with zero luck involved.

That’s enough…please redirect future posts to discussing builds in this thread or do yourself a favor and don’t post at all.