[V1.0] Primitive, The Exiled Starcaller

Alright everyone,
After my poison melee blademaster died and I did not feel like going through the testing and theorycrafting to bring him back…I decided to make a build that I have wanted to make for a while. I would like to introduce…

Primitive, The Exiled Starcaller


Primitive was a top disciple of Trozan before the Grim Dawn and, due to her lust for increasing power and her dabbling in magics that Trozan did not approve of, he exiled her from under his tutelage. She became an apostate mage and pursued powerful magics on her own, eventually learning how to not only conjure comets of solid ice and lightning from the sky, but also flaming meteors from the aether. She has access to the very power of the heavens and is not afraid to use it…

A couple of notes for readers of the build:
-This build was theorycrafted and farmed for extensively. I have put a lot of time into it and, although the gear is not perfect yet, I felt that the character was at a point that I could share it with confidence. This character is entirely legitimate and, luckily, a portion of the best in slot gear is crafted. I am still playing through act 4 of Ultimate and am on my way through the necropolis at the moment. As such, any feedback or ways to improve the build are greatly appreciated and welcomed!

-This build does rely on using the Trozan’s ascension set and Aldanar’s Vanity caster off-hand. The build absolutely works without these items it is just not quite as fun, there are less falling stars, and it clears slower. The build, along with Aldanar’s, uses other sources of cooldown reduction and these are vital to the kill speed. Again, the build works without it, it’s just slower.

-I initially theorycrafted this build as a druid build and, after resetting the skill points on my 85 druid and playing around with it I realized that the only reason I was taking shaman was for the HP bonus on Heart of the Wild. While this is a beautiful and very powerful use of skill points, I decided that playing as a spellbreaker had more utility, more damage and was simply more fun to play. That said, I did lose approximately 3k health from my level 85 build but, with the devotion setup used and with the amount of skills at my disposal, survival is the least of my worries 99% of the time.

-This is not a “lazy, play with one hand only, never use your keyboard build” as seems to be popular on the forums right now. I am not saying anything against those builds at all and the ability of those build creators to create something as powerful as they have is quite impressive. It is just not my style. I love controlling myself and the battlefield and I love having to play a proactive, and reactive Grim Dawn instead of a zoned out watching a movie Grim Dawn.

The Build

Grim Calc + devotion - w/out gear

Grim Calc + devotion - with gear

Disclaimer*** I want to give full credit to Modalsoul and his incredible devotion setup used in his PRM build. It provides amazing survivability and, since both his build and mine rely heavily on skills and gear for dmg, the devotion can be focused almost exclusively on defense. I copied his devotion setup exactly and really seriously check out his build its pretty impressive.

Attribute Allocation
Just to sound like a broken record, I put all of my points into Physique. You don’t need cunning for this build and you get enough spirit from masteries and gear. The physique is necessary to wear the leg armor and for the HP that is not naturally abundant to a spellbreaker.

Active Skills
-LMB - Empowered Lightning Nova from Amber materia. I cannot think of any better skill to use and it actually works pretty well to proc other skills.
-RMB - Trozan’s sky shard - this is your bread and butter damage skill and cast it as often as you can. It calls down three comets of ice and lightning where you click. They do big damage…
-Devastation - this is your big nuke and calls five waves of fiery meteors from the aether. Use it for large groups and bosses. It is awesome.
-Olexra’s Flash Freeze - A screen wide 4 second freeze of all enemies except heroes and bosses. This skill is just…incredible and will save your life so many times.
-Ring of Steel with transmuter - Another 2 second freeze in a 4 meter radius around you. Again it will save your life.
-Shadow Strike - use it as a travel skill and also to place yourself in the best position to inflict maximum destruction with your spells.
-Pneumatic burst - huge heal every 10 seconds and also provides health regen, DA and chance to avoid attacks. I keep it up all the time.
-Mirror of Ereoctes - 3 second immunity skill with a 23 second cooldown that allows you to move and attack during. Again, will save your life if used correctly.
-Blade Barrier - 3 second immunity skill with a 35 second cooldown that stops all movement and actions. Will save your life, stagger it with mirror.
-Nullification - A buff stripper for bosses. This skill is amazing and hugely undervalued I think. The boss loses his buff and also does less damage to you. Win win.

-Veil of Shadow with Night’s Chill - Awesome buff that slows enemies, lowers their OA and lowers their cold resistance. As in TQ, the best way to do more damage is to lower resistances, and this is a big part of that.
-Maiven’s Sphere of Protection - Damage absorption and physical dmg reduction for a small loss in overall DPS? sign me up.
-Star Pact - the arcanist exclusive skill. Massive bonuses to cold and lightning damage and % skill reduction. Perfect for this build.
-Iskandra’s elemental exchange - We really use this for the energy regen and crit damage bonus from elemental balance.
-Void Ward Aura - Chaos and bleeding resistance. From the Imbued Silver materia.

Head BIS - Trozan’s Hat with Sanctified Bone
Head 2nd - Outcast’s Hood

Amulet BIS - Starfury Emerald with Arcane Spark
Amulet 2nd - This amulet is fairly easily crafted but Arcane Eclipse would work.

Ring 1 BIS - Empowered Starfire with Corpse Dust
Ring 2 BIS - The best option I found/have is Open Hand of Mercy with Corpse Dust.
Rings 2nd - The rings for this build are hard and I had trouble finding ones that really fit besides the empowered starfire. I use the open hand of mercy because it gives me a lot of defensive bonuses. You could use Albrecht’s Duality for the cooldown and some good dmg bonuses but I wanted the defensive bonuses.

Chest BIS - Trozan’s Vestments with Chains of Oleron
Chest 2nd - Eastern Robes

Legs BIS - Empowered Legplates of Valor with Silk Swatch. These legs are just amazing. Phys, pierce, and bleed resist, hp, DA. I do not know what legs would be better so please help me!

Shoulders BIS - Trozan’s Mantle with Silk Swatch
Shoulders 2nd - Empowered Astral Mantle

Gloves - Iceskorn Talons or Aethereach with Antivenom Salve. I do not have either of these gloves and so have not been able to test with them. I think both will be good and both have what appear to be very good procs. Iceskorn is more defensive and Aethereach is more offensive. Hopefully I find them soon and am able to test. Right now I am wearing Wyrmbone Handguards for various bonuses. Eastern Gloves would work too.

Feet BIS - Wraithwalkers with Mark of Mogdrogen
Feet 2nd - Magelord’s Greaves

Weapon BIS - Trozan’s Starkeeper with Imbued Silver
Weapon 2nd - Empowered Coldsnap

Offhand BIS - Aldanar’s Vanity with Amber
Offhand 2nd - Nocturnis

Belt BIS - Phantom-Thread Girdle with Antivenom Salve
Belt 2nd - Dreadweave Girdle

Relic BIS - Iskandra’s Balance
Relic 2nd - Haunt

Medal BIS - Badge of Mastery with Aether Soul. Hope you get lucky and get bonuses that are useful.
Medal 2nd - Star of Frozen Skies

Gameplay Style
For 90% of the enemies in the game I am strong enough to shadow strike into the middle of the pack and throw out a OFF. If the pack is small one cast of TSS is enough to finish them off. If not or if there is a hero then cast your devastation. While masses of comets are falling cast your emp lightning nova to proc additional comets. Use your defensive skills as needed and cast OFF and Ring of Steel as needed. Most groups will die very quickly and because of the devotion set and the skills taken, I can generally sit in the middle of a very large group with about 1.7k hp regen per second and not drop below 60% hp (with PB). One pro and con of this build is that enemy size does matter for how much damage they take. The bigger they are the harder that they fall but the smaller they are… yeah.

Leveling Guide, General
Unfortunately this build doesn’t really come together until you can get at least TSS and devastation up to speed and, even then, they cost butt loads of energy and it’s hard to level. I would level this as a PRM build or as a melee cold spellbreaker and then switch over once you are able. I am not going to post a detailed leveling guide, you can search the forums and find many better ones than I could make. *Edit - Shakes responded to this build and described his leveling process of a cold arcanist that used a maxed OFF from the beginning to kill trash and got TSS to kill bosses. He said it works great and if you really wanted you could level this build like that. I imagine there would be a lag towards the end of normal/veteran and the beginning of elite where OFF damage drops off but… if you feel so inclined :slight_smile:

Gameplay Videos
Ultimate Log Kill

I will record a BoC run a bit later but The Division releases tonight so I am not sure when lol

Thanks for reading

Nice, yesterday I was exactly looking for something like this, for my lvl 30 arcanist. Sadly I didn’t find anything so I continued playing as an aether ray arcanist. But I don’t really like that skill.

Tonight I will switch to your build (or as far into it I can beeing just lvl 30 :P)

A few questions for leveling.

You think I should still use PRM for leveling like you say at 30?
When would you get nightblade? I’m still full arcanist.
What item stats would you priorize while leveling? Cold damage?
Isn’t CDR very good for this build?


  1. yeah you can level with PRM at level 30 for sure. You could level with PRM until level 85 if you really wanted to, its a viable skill all the way through ultimate.
  2. You can pick up NB really whenever you want. Veil of shadow and pneumatic burst are helpful to any build at any level.
  3. What you prioritize depends on how you level. If you level as PRM you want to prioritize elemental dmg%, aether dmg%, cast speed and energy regen (PRM is very energy intense).
  4. 100% yes. CDR is great for this build. I have 41% flat CDR and the proc on Aldanar’s takes away 5 seconds of CD. I can cast devastation pretty often and it is rare that I don’t have one of blade barrier or mirror up at any given time.

Thanks a lot.
On #1 I meant the oposite tho. What I want to know is if lvl 30 is enough to make your build work, or if I should level more with PRM before switching to your skills. :slight_smile:
Yesterday, without having a fixed build objective, I tried Trozan Sky Shard and it wasn’t good enough to kill consitently, so I stuck with aether ray.

It’s so good to see hp regen also works well in this nice build:D

I meant what you meant, it just seems I can’t articulate it lol. Level 30 is not high enough I don’t think to play it and you should stick with PRM.

Now this is creepy, I just came into this forum-part looking for Arcanist + something-else builds in order to get tips for my friend, and I seriously thought this post made by you, where made by him, because he’s in the EXACT same situation with the exact same questions!

I love the look of this build (Witch Hunter myself) and Ill try to convince my friend to try it out. But at what level would you recommend re-speccing into it? Since 30 isnt enough, would 40 be sufficient?

Really you could keep PRM and start incorporating TSS and devastation into your PRM rotation and slowly phase out PRM. At level 40 you could probably get away with it if you leveled as pure arcanist. Really the NB buffs and skills are helpful but not entirely necessary before late elite and ultimate anyways. If you can find some skill cooldown reduction items that would go a long way to letting you convert the build over sooner and there are a bunch of items that give CDR, even at low level. That plus star pact and I think you could start dropping stars around level 40. Just a quick attempt at a level 40 build here

Very nice guide! Clear and well layed out and looks fun. Similar to the cold druid I’ve been playing.

I had zero trouble leveling a solo self found cold spec by maxing Olexras (plus a few in the addon) and then maxing the sky shard then a handful into frozen core. OFF destroys trash through normal and elite and the shards take care of whats left. Mana was only a problem very early on and soon resolved itself without even investing into energy.

I did have wind devils to negate cold immunes but I’m imagining nights chill would do the same…?

In any case I’m definitely adding this to my list. Cheers!

Another question, do the skyshards always hit correctly? I only tried them for a short time, but indoors, sometimes it looked like they didn’t hit properly. For example when the enemies where under a door frame.

-Nullification - A buff stripper for bosses. This skill is amazing and hugely undervalued I think. The boss loses his buff and also does less damage to you. Win win.

Bosses have buffs?
I use Nullification to strip nasty stuff from myself, like dots, slow and entrapment.

Maybe buffs were not the right word to use. Cronley’s shield, reflective shields on archmages, etc… nullification removes all of that stuff.

@shakes it is very good to know that you can level like that! In all honesty I have used OFF as a 1 point wonder in early leveling for safety and then leveled it for the area increase in elite/ultimate where the damage is not really noticeable. I didn’t think that it did enough damage to clear trash in normal/veteran. I will update my build with this alternate leveling right now.

@kalarro yes that can be a problem in very small indoor areas or when they are under an archway or doorway where the stars will hit the doorway instead. Most of the time if you move a few feet to the left or right it resolves the problem but it can get somewhat annoying (SoT is one major culprit).

Thanks, that’s a useful one. Even though I play completely different character :slight_smile:

I posted a video of an ultimate log kill to the main build. Take a look and leave me some feedback!

May i know which augments are you using? I cannot even reach 8k hp/ 3k mana … Thanks!

As far as augments go I am just using whatever ones necessary to fill out resistances. I can go through and figure out which ones exactly but the idea is just to get the best resistances possible. As far as HP and spirit I get most of my HP bonuses from devotion and spirit from mastery points and inner focus. As a spellbreaker your native hp is fairly low but, as you can see, I am at almost 10k hp which is more than enough. If you have more specific questions let me know!

Hello, which faction should I choose?

The one that offers gear helpful for the build you’re playing…

You can ask the NPC " what gear do you offer" or some such

So for the endgame it doesnt matter? Cause the build uses Cold and Lightning Damage, which is offered by each another?

yeah basically the build mostly utilizes cold but also uses lightning, fire and aether dmg. There is equipment from both faction choices and it really doesn’t matter. I would honestly pick kymon’s only because killing Iron Maiden nemesis sucks as any caster and the death’s vigil nemesis is a joke.