Ultimate Hardcore Shield Ranged Warlord- The Knight Destroyer

Build Intro:

So, this build was the outcome of me being lazy and just mixing the Virtue’s Light & Stronghold of the Legion together just because I wanted easier itemization. Also, since there aren’t many ranged shield playstyles, then I might as well mess around with that.

Image Source: https://twitter.com/gar32drawshit/status/1125143779206242304

Pros & Cons


  1. Highly versatile (Build functions properly from melee to long ranges, and can be played as defensively or offensively as desired without much downsides)
  2. Very good crowd clearing speed
  3. Respectable output vs Single Targets
  4. High health + Moderate defense + Good mobility = Durable gunner


  1. Durable, but not exactly tanky (Especially when Ascenion, Overguard and Absolution are on CD)
  2. Lackluster life steal and no active healing skills- Sustains health thru devotions + Healing potions


For leveling, I referred to this guide [] Pure Soldier [HC] Beginner Forcewave 1-75 Leveling Guide + Endgame Options and Class Combos

There are other ways to get to level 94, but an Obsidian War Cleaver with decent affixes and suffixes is extremely easy to farm. Most notably, it grants a significant damage bonus to Forcewave which turns it into a devastating skill.

Playstyle will switch from melee to ranged at the endgame, but it doesn’t feel that much more difficult to adapt. Given that the option to engage from a distance on ultimate is a pretty huge advantage, it’ll just be that much better for a warlord.

Before moving on, here is how I recommend distributing our skill points following each Level Up:

  • 2 points into Soldier / 1 point into Oathkeeper Skill Tree (Level 2 - 50)
  • 1 point into Soldier / 1 point into Oathkeeper Skill Tree (Level 51 - 90)
  • If you are done with the soldier tree, then focus completely on the Oathkeeper Tree

Soldier tree Skill allocation is as stated in the linked guide. For the Oathkeeper skill tree, Presence of Virtue and its modifiers ( ‘Haven’ and ‘Rebuke’) are the only important parts of the skill tree while grinding to level 94. Max out the entire Presence of Virtue line, then just bring Oathkeeper mastery to 50.

Personally, I like to put one point each into blitz, war cry and vire’s might even if I rarely use them since I can bind celestial powers to them. Because only binded powers can gain experience, I like to start leveling them from normal difficulty whenever possible to make them more effective before Ultimate difficulty. This step is optional though, but it is something to consider.

Ascension was not particularly useful for me while I was leveling, but you can put a few points in if you want or just ignore it until you can equip endgame gear.

My Devotion path for Level 1 - 94 is as follows: Warlord, Level 100 (GD - Grim Dawn Build Calculator

  1. Yellow Crossroads
  2. Assassin’s Blade (Bind to Forcewave)
  3. Green Crossroads
  4. Spider
  5. Red Crossroads
  6. Jackal
  7. Solael’s Witchblade (Bind to Blitz ; I do this purely for the Power xp gain)
  8. Hammer
  9. Toad
  10. Blue Crossroads
  11. Eel
  12. Ulzaad, Herald of Korvaak (Bind to war cry)
  13. Dyrad (Bind to vire’s might or whatever skill you want- I bound it to the Honor relic skill in my case)
  14. Dog
  15. Azrakaa, The Eternal Sands (4 nodes only, I didn’t get this power because I didn’t need it)
  16. Refund blue, red & green Crossroads
  17. Ghoul (4 nodes only, bind to Menhir’s Will)
  18. Behemoth (3 nodes only, bind to Field Command)

Once you have hit level 94, please continue reading and prepare to respec your skill points and devotion points.



Warlord, Level 100 (GD - Grim Dawn Build Calculator : Final Build
Attribute points- Physique /42 Cunning /53 Spirit /12

Generally while on the offense, you will only need to use Righteous Fervor, Aegis of Menhir & Judgement. Try to use judgement (For the -DA to targets and additional damage) and Aegis as frequently as possible while they are off cooldown. Use Ascension as well to increase your durability and damage.

I’ll only use Overguard and absolution when I have lost about 25% of my total health and start kiting / playing defensively until Giant’s Blood (From Behemoth Devotion) can activate or if I choose to consume a healing potion. Overall, I find that this build has more than enough durability to hold out until I heal as far as the campaign is concerned so I’d say that it works fine in terms of taking damage.

One thing to note is that Aegis of Menhir is your biggest source of damage and has a stun that can incapacitate a lot of lesser enemies. If you keep spamming it off cooldown, you’ll usually be able to create a chokepoint of your own since stunned foes tend to bottleneck everything behind. But this other awesome thing is that it can bounce off up to 5 additional targets for full damage, per use. This generally means that you’ll thin out a large group of enemies eventually no matter what target you hit, which actually makes this build one of the most consistent damage dealers if you are into kiting or really defensive playstyles. It might not have the best damage output, but I had a very easy time making bodies while running / teleporting whenever I wanted.


1.Green Crossroads
3.Red Crossroads
5.Solael’s Witchblade (Bind to Righteous Fervor)
6.Ghoul (Bind to Menhir’s Will)
8.Scholar’s Light
9.Ulzuin’s Torch (6 Nodes, Bind to Aegis of Menhir)
10.Magi (Bind to Summon Guardians of Empyrion)
11.Blue Crossroads
13.Behemoth (4 nodes, Bind to Field Command)
14.Refund Red & Green Crossroads
15.Purple Crossroads
17.Chariot of the Dead (5 nodes)

Final Words :

Am actually surprised with how this one turned out since I never imagined that a warlord would be a proper pick for a gun and shield playstyle. While I feel that a regular melee warlord is still better performance wise, being both ranged and able to take quite a beating just gives the build a lot of freedom - It really didn’t matter if I kept my distance or if I was being dogpilled into corner - since I was able to kill at a reasonable rate, and not have my health just disappear faster than I could react, the playstyle really lends itself well to players who like to fight with an equal footing. No matter what situation I got myself into while playing, I never really felt like I was fighting at an disadvantage and I would always be able to gradually shift the outcome of each battle in my favor.

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What do you think about using the full stronghold set instead of the virtue shield? Would it lose to much for what it gains, or would it gain anything at all?

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If you opt to use the full stronghold set, then this build might suit you better- Ultimate Hardcore Stronghold Set Shieldbreaker- The Siege Maiden.

Virtue’s Shield is there for the modifiers to Aegis of Menhir, so it’ll hurt the overall damage output if you opt to go without that. it’s still a viable option however, but just less efficient (Say you have the full stronghold set, but lack Virtue’s Shield, then the Stronghold Shield is a worthy stand-in)

Understandable, I assumed it would hurt damage output, but the +skills and extra defenses seems like it could be an interesting trade off, allowing you to shuffle around points. Thanks for the response.

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