Ultimate Hardcore Spellbinder- The Bone(r)mancer

Build Intro:

If the title wasn’t enough of a clue, I just thought that it would be fun to re-live my Diablo II Bone Necromancer days in Grim Dawn. Suffice to say that she has a bone to pick with almost everyone.

Source: Generic Diablo Immortal Female Necromancer art from Blizzard


Pros & Cons

PROS

  1. Extremely fast mob / Trash clearing
  2. Highly versatile attack modes (Bone Lance for long/mid range, Drain Essence for short/mid range)
  3. Generous health pool for a caster, Good health sustain while Drain Essence is in use
  4. Relatively high Offensive Ability (3,700+)
  5. Great Mobility

CONS

  1. Not the fastest, but still respectable kill times for champions / bosses
  2. Relatively fragile while Drain Essence is not in use, Lower than average Defensive Ability & Armor

Leveling

I used this guide as a reference while leveling up to 94- [1.1.1.2-1.1.6.2] Beginner's vitality Ravenous Earth Oppressor with leveling guide . The gear choices are applicable for all masteries with a Necromancer, but the skill points allocation for a Spellbinder will be a bit different.

To be specific, I would focus solely on the necromancer skill tree at first and bring it up to mastery level 15. From there on, I rushed the Ravenous Earth line- Maxing out RE, Decay & Foul Eruption as fast as I could. Ravenous Earth will be our primary attack for leveling, so this is really important. The next important must have skill is Harbinger of Souls, so invest every single skill point to max out that exclusive ability. The sooner these skills can be fully invested in, the better.

Moving on, we will begin to build into the Arcanist skill tree and we will also be using Soul Siphon from the Necromancer Skill Tree as a secondary offensive skill.

From here on, we will be distributing our skill points following each Level Up by using these ratios:
2 points into Necro / 1 point into Arcanist (Level 2 - 50)
1 point into Necro / 1 point into Arcanist (Level 51 - 90)

Now, these will be our new level up milestones. Refer to the ratios above until the following conditions are fulfilled:

  1. 4 points into Siphon Souls (Start putting points into Spectral Binding if you are done with this)
  2. 12 points into Blood Boil
  3. 11 points into Inner Focus

Once the above tasks are completed, refer to these new sets of objectives:

  1. 12 points into Spectral Binding
  2. 10 points into Spectral Wrath
  3. Level 15 Arcanist Mastery

And finally, one last list to follow:

  1. Max out Siphon Souls
  2. 3 points into Maiven’s Sphere of Protection

From here on out, allocate skill points as you please. My suggestion would be to sink a point each into Mark of Torment and Mirror of Ereoctes. You may ignore the Necromancer Tree for a long while and dedicate all skill points into Arcanist leveling. I like to focus on maxing out both Overload and the Arcanist Mastery. After that, perhaps invest a bit more into Maiven’s Sphere and whatever you feel is necessary. My Skill Tree looks like this at Level 80+: Spellbinder, Level 100 (GD 1.1.9.6) - Grim Dawn Build Calculator


For items, you can refer to the very first link above as stated, but here are some nice alternatives which I retrieved from my stash:

  1. Death Ward Amulet
  2. Bonewraith Pauldrons
  3. Edrick’s Backscratcher Off Hand
  4. Mark of Impurity Medal
  5. Rotdrinker Crest Medal
  6. Riftwarped Grasp (NOTE: I consider the level 50 variant to be superior while leveling this character because it has a 33% chance to cast Doom Bolt on Crit. The Mythical version does not have this as an item granted skill)

For Constellations, you can build it as outlined to make your leveling easier. Do note that you will be respeccing some nodes at level 94, so please look at the “Devotion Leveling” section for the Finalized version.

  1. Green Crossroads
  2. Raven
  3. Blue Crossroads
  4. Wraith
  5. Widow (NOTE: We are rushing this first solely to bind it to any random skill that is applicable so that it will begin accumulating XP early on. This will ensure that it is at a very high level once you reach Ultimate.)
  6. Spider
  7. Red Crossroads
  8. Vulture
  9. Yellow Crossroads
  10. Crane
  11. Rattosh, The Veilwarden (Bind to Ravenous Earth)
  12. Empty Throne
  13. Affliction (Bind to Maiven’s Sphere of Protection)
  14. Wendigo, 5 nodes only

Build

20220718171443_1

Spellbinder, Level 100 (GD 1.1.9.6) - Grim Dawn Build Calculator : Final Build

Attribute points- Physique / 42 Cunning / 65 Spirit / 00

I should mention that I theorycrafted this from scratch, so it was kind of surprising when I found out that most of the gear are similar to that of certain Necromancer themed builds. In my defense, it was easy for me to decide on itemization as +Aether Damage gear is just somewhat limited, which allowed me to make clear cut choices.

Though I feel like the Mythical Decree of the Circle of Five is a huge game changer as far as Drain Essence builds are concerned- By itself, Drain Essence has a range that is kind of lacking and sometimes you don’t want to stand around for more than one second especially on Hardcore ; The Bone Lance skill from the item I mentioned fixes that problem.

By replacing your default attack with Bone Lance, it gives this character a means of dishing out quick bursts of damage while moving in situations where standing still could result in death (I’m looking at ya’ll Ancient Shambler, Gannar’vakkar & Ekket’Zul). Do note that Bone Lance is governed by cast speed and this build has that capped at 200% ; You can do some significant damage by just keeping your distance and firing off Bone Lance in bursts of 3 - 4 projectiles. Try to position multiple enemies in one straight line and watch the underlings fall like flies.

While Drain Essence is still your main damage dealing skill, it should be regarded as only one half of your offense. Different enemy types call for different tactics, so getting a feel for alternating between Bone Lance + Drain Essence is your key to success. But if you really need the distance, then Bone Lance and Aetherial Corruption is still a good combo to keep the damage ticking until you find an opening to use Drain Essence.

In terms of skills and abilities, I’m quite satisfied with how my points are spent. One good thing about this build is that it leaves a lot of spare points to sink into passive skills, so you can easily softcap abilities such as Mark of Torment and Mirror of Ereoctes for a great increase in survivability. However, this build doesn’t suffer from energy problems, so you may choose to move points from Iskandra’s Elemental Exchange elsewhere.

For my hardcore builds, I generally only test them by completing the main quest (including AoM + FG expansions) so if you want to expand that benchmark, you can compare mine with [1.1.4.2] Aether Drain Essence Spellbinder & customize your own build as you see fit.


Devotion Pathing
  1. Green Crossroads
  2. Raven
  3. Blue Crossroads
  4. Wraith
  5. Widow (Bind to Drain Essence)
  6. Spider
  7. Red Crossroads
  8. Vulture
  9. Yellow Crossroads
  10. Crane
  11. Rattosh, The Veilwarden (4 nodes only)
  12. Owl
  13. Toad
  14. Empty Throne
  15. Respec Blue Crossroads Node
  16. Respec Green Crossroads Node
  17. Attak Seru, The Mirage (5 nodes only towards the left)
  18. Alladrah’s Pheonix, 2 nodes only
  19. Harvestman’s Scythe, 1 node for +Movement Speed

Final Words:

Personally, I only went for a spellbinder just out of curiosity since I knew I could build a functional Diablo II bone Necromancer. There’s really no other reason in particular why I decided to do this, but it did feel like a solid experience. I wasn’t too impressed with the killing speed in some instances but hey, not every class must chunk mobs and health bars like a Cold Shadow Strike Spellbreaker. There’s not a lot I can say to increase the appeal of this class from a damage dealing perspective (which I assume most of the GD playerbase are in for anyways), but I would say that in terms of themes and aesthetics, this is how I imagine a bona fide Necromancer would go around killing things; And that’s always a good reason to play a build like this if you love to role play a certain way or have a weird attraction to all things morbid just like me.

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