Ultimate Hardcore Two Handed Ranged Saboteur - The Infernal Arsonist

Build Intro:

After years of playing Grim Dawn, I decided to give myself a bit of a challenge- A hardcore attempt with a character that has the aptitude of both a Nightblade and Demolitionist. More specifically, a saboteur. And then to spice things up even further, I had this wild idea when sorting out my collection of items- Why not make a 2 handed ranged variant? Considering that I’ve chosen to mix two masteries with next to no synergy in terms of damage and top it all off with a playstyle that offers limited build variety; The end results were surprising to say the least.

Source: https://twitter.com/Terk_MC/status/1320782797422972930

Pros & Cons


  1. Good (but not excellent) & consistent Single Target damage
  2. Good crowd control in the form of Blackwater cocktail + Thermite Mine
  3. Able to deal damage in a large radius while kiting or playing defensively from range
  4. Devastating when fighting around chokepoints and corners
  5. Good survivability vs projectiles (Shadow Dance + up to 1,000 health regeneration, high mobility)
  6. Great at taking down large and slow moving or stationary targets
  7. Has access to debuffs (flashbang + Veil of Shadow) which can seriously hinder mob efficiency


  1. Bulk of damage is not frontloaded (Due to Blackwater cocktail + Thermite Mine)
  2. Terrain may get in the way of positioning enemies within the damage radius of skills
  3. Significantly slower clear times due to defensive playstyle
  4. Fast and mobile enemies can easily outrun damage radius of skills
  5. Must always avoid big hits whenever possible
  6. Has some energy issues (Use skills sparingly during drawn out engagements)
  7. Recommended for players who want a bit more challenge, since this build is restrictive than most


For this build, you would want to:

  1. Invest 1 point into Demo mastery, then max Fire Strike
  2. Bring Demo mastery up to 5, then max Flame Touched
  3. Bring Demo mastery up to 10, then raise Explosive Strike to 6
  4. Bring Demo mastery up to 15, then max the modifier- Searing Might
  5. Invest 1 point into Nightblade mastery, then raise Veil of Shadow to 3
  6. Bring NB mastery up to 5, then raise Pneumatic Burst to 4
  7. Per level up- 2 points into Blackwater cocktail until it is maxed, 1 point into Vindictive Flame until it is at 6 points
  8. For the next two level ups- 1 point per level into Vindictive Flame until it is at 8 points, 2 points per level until Demo mastery is at 19 points
  9. For the next level up- Put 1 point into Demo mastery (It should be at 20 now), 1 point into Temper and 1 point into Ulzuin’s Wrath
  10. Per level up- Put 2 points into Demon fire, 1 point into NB mastery (It should be at 11 now)

From this point on per level up, follow the list below as closely possible. My skill points distribution is usually 2 Demo / 1 NB per level ( From Lvl 2 - 50) and then 1 Demo / 1 NB (Lvl 51 - 90):

  1. max Agonizing Flames in the Demo Tree
  2. max Brimstone
  3. Keep pumping 1 point into Nightblade tree per level up until it reaches 20. Anatomy of Murder is now unlocked. Allocate 1 point into Anatomy of Murder per level up until it is maxed. This is crucial in order to meet Cunning requirements for future gear.

Put only a single point into Static Strike Along the way and ignore every other skill that isn’t mentioned until the 3 tasks above are done.

Once the 3 requirements are fulfilled, then it is up to you to fill in the rest of the skills. I recommend prioritizing Thermite mine and Hellfire mine, Then shadow dance.

Blade barrier is a nice skill to grab along the way and 8 points into blast shield would be wise at this point.

The rest are up to you, but leave out flashbang and searing light until the desolator rifle has been assembled.

At level 50, try to equip a Burning Purifier if possible

At level 75, Empowered Hellmaw Shotgun if possible. This can carry you until level 94 provided you DON’T switch over to ultimate difficultly

Farmable / Buyable substitutes are:

  1. Devil’s Musket
  2. Fleshwarped Incinerator
  3. Elite Devil’s Musket
  4. Ugdenbog Flamethrower



  1. Blue Crossroads
  2. Gallows
  3. Green Crossroads
  4. Scholar’s Light
  5. Kraken
  6. Fiend (Bind skill to Blackwater Cocktail)
  7. Solael’s Witchblade (Bind skill to Fire Strike)
  8. Giant’s Blood (4 nodes only, Bind skill to Vindictive Flame)
  9. Ghoul (Bind skill to Flame Touched)
  10. Refund Blue Crossroads
  11. Purple Crossroads
  12. Empty Throne
  13. Hydra
  14. Magi
  15. Refund Purple Crossroads
  16. Ulzuin’s Torch (6 nodes only)

  1. Saboteur, Level 100 (GD - Grim Dawn Build Calculator : Final Build
    Attribute points- Physique / 43 Cunning / 52 Spirit / 12


Note that there seems to be a difference between the actual skill points I acquired in game when compared with the total spent on my build in the planner. I actually lack about 5 - 6 extra skill points in game.

Either I made a mistake (If so, then please point it out in the comments) or the item attributes have changed after the recent patch and I’m still not aware about it.

Either way, feel free to deduct points from ‘Temper’ in the Demolitionist Tree since my actual value in-game currently sits at 12/12 points, while the linked build planner shows up as 17/12 points. It’s not really a huge loss though, since Temper isn’t that huge of a damage contributor in this case. But feel free to redistribute points from blast shield or from the Nightblade Tree if you like a bit more damage.

-Gear Breakdown-

This build utilizes The Infernal Champion set to drastically enhance the effect of Blackwater cocktails, with the other non-set legendary items being picked based on their +skill bonuses and +% fire damage.

In terms of a 2 handed ranged build, the Desolator rifle felt like the most natural pick to deal with enemies that can easily close the distance. When BC + TM prove to be ineffective, Spamming Flashbang when it is off cooldown tends to greatly disrupt the amounts of hits that the enemy can land long enough for the Saboteur to move/teleport out and counterattack from range. This can be repeated for as long as necessary since the Desolator causes Flashbang to use zero energy.

For the Medal, Korvaak’s Brand was picked solely due to the fact that it grants 6% ADCTH to Fire Strike, which helps a lot in terms of survivability.

Head: Mythical Infernal Knight’s Faceguard

Amulet: Shard of the Eternal Flame

Ring 1: Mythical Combustion Band

Ring 2: Mythical Combustion Band

Weapon: The Desolator

Chest: Mythical Infernal Knight’s Jacket

Shoulder: Mythical Infernal Knight’s Pauldrons

Belt: Mythical Infernal Knight’s Girdle

Pants: Mythical Runeplates of Ignaffar

Gloves: Mythical Wyrmbone Handguards

Boots: Mythical Wyrmscale Footguards

Medal: Mythical Korvaak’s Brand

Relic: Korvaak’s Deception

Final Words:

On paper, it felt as if the build would fail catastrophically once I hit Ultimate difficulty, but the reality was that it actually performed well and finished the campaign alive.

Unfortunately, I also can somewhat understand just why the Saboteur isn’t even half as popular as other class combos- it’s ‘good’, but never ‘great’.

-Purifier (Inquisitor + Demolitionist) Already does ranged fire strike better
-Sorcerer (Arcanist + Demolitionist) Can do Blackwater Cocktail better (I haven’t tried it, but I’ve seen several guides based on this)

Arguably, the Ranged Saboteur’s shinning point is the fact that the class can literally be built to kite monsters to death, which not every class can do easily. However, the strongest counter-argument is that the Saboteur might be more powerful and distinct as a combo class of its own if it went down the DW melee route. The Sacred Harmony weapon set is practically made for the saboteur and I do recall a lot more items that a melee build can use, which is certainly better than the limited selection of ranged options available.

But the biggest take at the end of the day is that the Saboteur isn’t as bad as anyone thinks it is- It might be one of the worse choices for Min-maxers or for those who are super into Crucible/SR/Super Boss hunting, but it offered a breath of fresh air for people like me who are more into unorthodox playstyles. This is the first time I’ve ever seen the Nightblade mastery being picked solely for its support/defensive skills. I’ve always regarded the Nightblade as a damage only pick, but having the demolitionist tree contribute almost all the damage while investing minimally down the Nightblade path, made me felt as if my understanding of the game was challenged yet again after so long.

in closing, there really isn’t anything I can do to sell this kind of build, but I do urge veteren players who want a different experience to give this a go, because it certainly did shake up my perceptions of the game quite a bit even after playing for so long now.

Thematically, the name ‘Saboteur’ couldn’t have been more appropriate in this case due to how the class uses flashbangs to disrupt foes, while forcing them to attack from range whenever possible and having an easier time dodging said projectiles. It’s basically all about putting the hostiles at a disadvantage. In fact, it would be of greater benefit in a coop setting since another player can help to lure enemies into the effects of BC + TM, while the Saboteur suppresses with Flashbangs from a range to help melee allies survive longer and making every mob more vulnerable.


Interesting. Might try it. Was looking for a 2nd Mastery for my Demolitionnist and I wanted to make a 2H Ranged + Fire damage type.

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Purifier (+Inquisitor) is the usual choice for this.


As tqFan mentioned, Purifier blows this build out of the water (you might need to change the items though, since this was built around blackwater cocktail and kiting. Purifier is just a fire strike killing machine from ranged, so I’d ditch BC in that instance.)

So if you are looking for spectacular results then try that instead.

Saboteur is more of a ‘fun and challeging’ combo for people like me who loves toying with build diversity.

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Hello everyone.
I know I’m necroing a bit but I do own a two handed ranged Saboteur. Actually it was my first character ever made upon buying the game on its release. Boy was I stupid right ? Anyway I’ve always enjoyed it since it’s a bit special for me, and the build I have underwent various reworks given the multiple changes of the game through the years. Only constants of it are ranged, two handed, Ulzuin’s set, Ulzuin’s torch, and a lot of things the author JY_626 spoke about (like the defensive nightblade capacities).
What I’d like to ask is a bit of help regearing it/tweaking it somehow. It is actually efficient, hell I can facetank a lot of shit with it even though it’s a Kiter From Hell, but it’s not the most practical I can do I’m sure of it. Especially concerning resistance, augments and such things.

Link to Grimtool

Everything’s as accurate as possible, down to celestial procs attached to skills and the seemingly few points I still miss (haven’t finished all the quests on ultimate). As you can see, there’s still old stuff I’d need to remove but well. My main prob is that I played too little FG for various reasons and I’m totally lost upon those stuff (except the mythical version of what I know).

Thanks for reading :).

Edit : for those interested in other stupid builds I’d made, I’m going to soon post a dual ranged Witch Hunter because hmmm, I suppose everyone knows why :p.

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Here, I tinkered with it a bit. I did my best to not mess with your main gear choices too much, apart from the rings, medal and belt since those are a huge upgrades if you intend to take the build to the end of the campaign.

Also fixed a lot of the components just to meet resistance caps. I only reallocated one point for your devotions since I feel that the meteor shower celestial power is absolutely going to wreck mobs with your build. Feel free to use your default choice if you feel that the meteors clutter up the screen, because that is about the only argument as to why I wouldn’t pick it.

Most of the changes were done in terms of skill point allocation since you didn’t pick thermite mines at first- The ’ -% elemental resistance’ is by far the best way to significantly ramp up your damage in ultimate.

Apart from that, I put in the effort to push your OA to at least 3,000 because you’ll be doing critical hits pretty consistently for extra damage.

I’m kind of worried about energy usage tho, so you might want to test it out on the dummies first. The best I could do is give you 2 arcane spark components for energy leeching, since your default energy regen is super low. Not really much I can do aside from that, and I don’t really recommend raising spirit stats for this build.

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Testing Energy usage on dummies is not a good idea. It doesn’t reflect normal fights at all since you cannot leech energy from them, if I’m not mistaken.

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Ah, thanks for the clarification.

Kind of forgot about that bit. Though in that case, act 1 areas are pretty good testing grounds.


I thank you very VERY much, I was more expecting some general guidelines and ideas rather than a full rework of the grimcalc. So thank you for taking the time.
For the meteor shower I use it since I’ve first hit the 50 devotion points :p. Must be a missclick on my end. And it is indeed very powerful. Some times ago I had even bound it to fire strike because why not making rains of meteors every time I shot things right ?
For the energy consumption, it’s already totally awful, and had always been actually. I run consistently royal jelly extract and consume a ton of energy potions. I could technically use elixir of the void but it’s costly as hell. That’s how it is to be a maddening devout of Ulzuin ^_^. Maybe using some Cairn’s Hope instead of Wendigo Bloodscent Powder may help (augments on pants and gloves) ? It’s more bleeding resistance and health/energy regen.

Overall I was expecting a rework of the skill points, you don’t know how much I did it for this build ahah. Let me tell you that at first I was going full grenado xD. The 50 → 32 for Nightblade isn’t a surprise but I think I’ll do everything in one go when I’ll have enough stuff to transition, I surmise some problems with equipments, as usual when you touch those things. Now I shall look into my stash to see what I already have. I do know though that I don’t have the belt and I’ve always wanted to but alas, Grind Dawn is Grind Dawn sometimes.
Is it for the cunning that you took anatomy of murder ? Also for thermite mines, I’ve already used it, quite a lot, but I’ve always been a bit dissatisfied with how it works. I’ll give it another try, maybe this time it’ll be better.

Anyway thank you again :).

Edit : if you do wonder my meteor shower was bind on an item’s skill.

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Yes, I took Anatomy of Murder for the cunning boost since that affects OA as well.

Though, if you don’t really like thermite mines then you can try playing without it for a bit. I found it quite ‘rigid’ at first, but do remember that it can easily be recast and repositioned wherever you need it.

Since this is a kiting build in certain regards, even keeping enemies exposed for 1 or 2 seconds within the mine’s radius is going to be pretty painful for them. Personally, I like placing mines in a tight formation close to each other so the area of effect spans a wider radius. This allows you to ‘dance’ with enemies by keeping them stationary within the fire or you can keep luring them back and forth within the fire as they try catching up with you. The Displacement movement ability also helps alot in this regard, but that depends if you want to use it or not. Personally, that is my top pick for hardcore, since once you are used to it, you can kite around mobs in a circle even in tight quarters.