[v1.0.5.0] Hybrid Pet Build Series - Winter King Showcase [Trickster, Ritualist]

Yesterday was the first chance I had to play with the new version update, and with the site being down most of the day, I had a chance to see how well these builds fare. With the generous buffs granted to the Spiritseeker rings and other pet equipment (thank you, based sempai), Cold pets have finally reached a point where they can be considered good for Campaign use. I don’t have time for more detailed explanations of these builds, but I’ve had a few people ask me to post these builds, so I’m glad to provide Grimtools and general build concepts and then flesh out the posts later.

Hybrid Pet Build Series?
Yes, I have a few other pet builds that are designed to be hybrid pet builds. It’s a common complaint in Grim Dawn that pet builds are designed only to buff pet skills / party wide buffs while the Summoner just sits there as a buff-bot. DaShiv’s Dracarris Incarnate is the gold standard of hybrid pet builds, where the gearing and skill allocation allows both Summoner and pets to rack up large amounts of damage to proc “On Enemy Death” abilities that pure Summoners wouldn’t have the chance to use.

And as Bysmiel as my witness, I will have a usable Death Knight pet build for these forums, even if I end up driving myself mad.

What constitutes as a hybrid pet build?
For all intents and purposes, a hybrid pet build is a build that incorporates pet-scaled pets while also investing in abilities whose primary purpose is damage (at least up to soft-capping the skill, if not a full overcap). For the Trickster, it’s 16/16 Savagery combined with the Winter King Hat skill, while for the Ritualist, it’s 26/16 Bone Harvest with the 2-H transmuter. As such, hybrid pet builds much take care to combine Summoner damage bonuses and pet damage bonuses, while taking particular care to steer pets away from damage spikes that can easily spell their demise due to a lack of Health / resistances a full Summoner would provide.

Which build is more viable?
As always, my builds come with the caveat that I haven’t taken many of my ideas to AoM yet (time constraints + more ideas to test, really), but if I had to choose between the two, Trickster comes with a lot of RR to deal with high-resistance enemies better, much better secondary resistances, and Primal Instinct fits this build really well, while Ritualist is the trash-cleaner extraordinaire and doesn’t have to auto-attack to get the most use of its abilities. Dying God really hampers the Ritualist’s ability to sustain itself, while the Trickster has a much worse time with AoE. I’d have to say the Ritualist is more viable at the moment simply due to how much better synergy there is with the equipment - the Ritualist is the first one of my pet builds that don’t require any MI’s at all.

Without further ado, here is the Winter King showcase:

Hrothnar, the Winter King Trickster (No Greens)

General Build Concept:

  1. Apply Savagery Charges to get TotB’s OA & DA buffs, not to mention the 8% Physical Resistance
  2. Use ABB for the 100% Weapon Damage + Viper Debuff while granting even more OA
  3. -136% Cold Resistance (before Viper’s 20% debuff)
  4. Apply Hat of Discipline
  5. Profit!

Equipment alternatives?
When I was playing with this on v1.0.4.1, I was using Elite Wendigo Spellweaver Spaulders for the Shoulders and Mythical Mogdrogen Sigil for the medal while using a Bloodsworn Signet MI for resists. Between the Mythical Spiritbinder Glyph granting Cold damage and the nerf to Runebound Topaz, I needed to switch things around as Trickster has heavy trouble finding decent OA / DA to fight Nemeses.

The Shaman’s buff to Primal Bond means that any additional point in it brings about 3% pet crit damage, so the Legwraps of the Tranquil Mind fit in perfectly, as not only did it provide OA and enough Spirit to place all 105 attribute points in Physique (and thus more DA for the Trickster), it gave our pets an equivalent 6% Crit damage. Pet OA is less thanks to replacing the rings with the new Bysmiel Rings; you can replace one of the rings with Spiritbinder Glyph if you want more pet OA.

For components, since the OA from Seal of the Night got nerfed, you can very well go with Coldstone and give your pets more Cold damage. I like having as much initial OA as possible so Savagery and ABB land properly, but the choice is up to you.

I’d like to get a nice Bone Harvest damage picture, but until then, Fabius with 120% Cold Resist, flat pierce damage and 600% Pierce bonus is why we can’t have nice things.

Guardian of Death’s Gates Ritualist [Fallen Gods]

General Build Concept:

  1. Use Guardian of Death’s Gate. Deathrite Gloves, & Master of Death to get 100% Pet Conversion from Physical to Vitality
  2. Use Azragor and Revenant to give your Skeletons 9% ACDTH (sadly, you can’t get Toad + Time Dilation with my set-up).
  3. Guardian of Death’s Gate has 25-30 flat RR which applies when you’re using Bone Harvest or Reap Spirit. You have enough RR to apply critical hits, meaning you have 135% Vitality RR when Mark of the Fallen is applied.

Ravager, mog and glad crucible are the ultimate tests to pet builds.
I played a ritualist before, but the skeles has little health pool and no battlefield heal options like blood of dregg which make them fragile in glad crucible or in front of hard hitting mobs like grav or super bosses.

I’m kind of wondering how do this ritualist build fare against those contents? Thanks!

For the most part, I primarily concern myself with campaign, and even with that, I mainly concern myself with vanilla Nemeses to determine how well my pet builds perform. I don’t care too much about Crucible - I enjoy it as a final test for 100% optimized builds rather than the ultimate criterion as to whether a build is worth posting. Hybrid pet builds in general are considerably weaker compared to full summoners because combining Summoner damage - and skill point allocation to even do damage on your own - with pet Health, damage and resistances means the player is spread far too thin to compete with traditional summoners.

Based on my experiences fighting creatures like Fabius and Moose with their 120+% Cold Resistance, this particular Ritualist has no place fighting super-boss content. Wendigo Mark sustain can only do so much, but between the Dying God health costs and the build’s fragile resistances when the Briarthorn bites the dust, it’s far squishier than most pet builds I test through the gauntlet.

If you want a Ritualist that has a good chance at 100-150 Gladiator, there’s Arm Quimson’s Ritualist who has videos on YouTube of beating Hardcore Gladiator before Crate introduced the 150-170 death waves. Additionally, there’s a Reap Spirit Diviner’s Ritualist in the Discord somewhere that reaches Gladiator 150 fairly reliably, according to the build creator.

Updated the Winter King Trickster with a no-MI version using the new FG items. The fact that it’s no-MI makes the build much more accessible than the initial build was. Since you have 100% Physical to Cold conversion, Assassin’s Blade is no longer necessary, so I selected Crab for more damage and sturdiness.

Highlights of this build involve 26/16 Briarthorn using 12/12 Ground Slam. Even if you’re only using 1 Briarthorn, it should further help you.

Dreeg Mark of Chills got a big change, converting all Fire damage to Cold damage, meaning Swarmlings now do all Cold damage. As such, I have updated my Grimtools to account for this.

https://www.grimtools.com/calc/w263z8pV (Original with Mogdrogen)
https://www.grimtools.com/calc/O2GDyb5V (Better OA/DA and all-cold Meteors, but less damage and pet stats)

Mind you, stats are now at a premium, and it might require greens to make up for the lack of OA / DA this build faces. Shoulder slot is the most expendable, so if you find a nice green with OA / DA and Chaos resistance, it may end up being better for your build.