V1.1.9.8 Discussion

In the year 2023, the builds were many, builders retired and un-retired, then retired, then…un-retired, and a playtest was had.

Per usual, we have some tuning in the works for v1.1.9.8, largely based on forum feedback, but we do not have a strict theme for this patch when it comes to targeting changes.

This thread is your opportunity to discuss the game’s balance and let us know where you think our focus will be best spent! I will note however that apart from some extreme exceptions, we’d rather avoid mastery changes. Masteries are in a great place overall and we do not really need to tinker with their baseline performance. Itemization, and to a lesser extent Devotion constellations, are where we’d make the most changes.

Our overarching goal remains the same: to increase the variety of viable builds in the 4:30-5:30 Crucible range, SR70-90 in the Shattered Realm. I think it’s important to remind the community to be honest about these expectations. We are not going to buff builds because someone ran a 4:15 Crucible clear. Realistically, probably 80% of builds are 5:00 or higher, 20% are 4:30 and 1% are less. It becomes abundantly clear where the average lies and where the outliers are. A build clearing Crucible in 5 minutes is going to get practically as much use out of the Blessings as a 4:30 build; and not like those players GD-Stashing gear for their tests care about loot efficiency anyway, so let’s not call something dead because of a few seconds.

It’s never fun to see nerfs, and we’ve consistently made an effort for every patch to have buffs vastly outweigh the nerfs, but approaching nerfs as somehow unhealthy for the game is simply not going to get you anywhere here.

If you wish to help us achieve our goals, please share your personal experience with builds and provide your results! Let’s see what 2023 brings to Grim Dawn.

Feel free to post any builds you’ve been working on that you feel could use a bump. Note that we may not agree with every suggestion, particularly suggestions for How a build should be buffed.

Please don’t make suggestions about changes/redesigns of core skills. Unless you enjoy screaming into the void for therapeutic reasons, in which case carry on. At this point, class skills see extremely minimal, if any, changes.

The most valuable information to provide would be a GrimTools link and where you feel the build struggles, whether that’s survivability or damage, and whether you are testing your performance in the Crucible or the Shattered Realm.

Please be considerate of others posters and, as usual, set reasonable expectations for what a build should be capable of (an indestructible vitality build probably shouldn’t be pushing sub 6 minutes in the Crucible, nor does a 5 minute build need buffs).

Following the guidelines from the Posting Feedback thread applies:


Me thinks tri-elemental build needs more help in terms of survivability/sustain. I think devotion like hyrian, magi, tempest, amatok, and blind sage can get physical res or health regen in them.


Again, I care about DoT retal very much, and I would like to see some helpful changes happen to them. I’ve posted and updated a topic focused on DoT retal performance, and now I think it’s time to put it on the table.

Apart from DoT retal, I with my friends, also found something that is quite unhealthy. It is Octavius. I’ve made some videos on how Octavius is abused and I’m going to create a new topic on it later these days. Anyway, I would like to post the video and the builds here first and when I finish the topic I will add a link here as well.
Video of Octavius being abused: 恐怖黎明 v1.1.9.7 奥套套皮 Octavius - Oathkeeper and a dog_哔哩哔哩bilibili
GT links:
Ocvatius Cadence warlord: Warlord, Level 100 (GD - Grim Dawn Build Calculator
Ocvatius RF Shieldbreaker: Shieldbreaker, Level 100 (GD - Grim Dawn Build Calculator
Ocvatius RF Oppressor: Oppressor, Level 100 (GD - Grim Dawn Build Calculator
Ocvatius RF Dervish: Dervish, Level 100 (GD - Grim Dawn Build Calculator
Ocvatius RF Templar: Templar, Level 100 (GD - Grim Dawn Build Calculator
Ocvatius RF Paladin: Paladin, Level 100 (GD - Grim Dawn Build Calculator
Ocvatius RF Archon: Archon, Level 100 (GD - Grim Dawn Build Calculator
Ocvatius RF Sentinel: Sentinel, Level 100 (GD - Grim Dawn Build Calculator
Ocvatius RF Oathkeeper only: Templar, Level 100 (GD - Grim Dawn Build Calculator
Note that none of these builds have Aegis, forcewave, nor Kalastor, and all of these builds could do sub 6 SR75-76 easily (some of them could even do sub 5). The fastest one is Ocvatius RF warlord (no Aegis nor forcewave) doing 4:10(average 5:40) SR75-76, but I don’t have the copyright, so I would have to ask the author for permission before I could post it in the forum.


watched the video, checked the GT, i don’t see it? what’s going on, and what’s the abuse?
just looks like phys dmg chonk doing phys dmg stuff in a tanky set ? :man_shrugging:

Octavius is designed for Aegis, fw, and Kalastor, but now you need none of them to make Octavius work and perform much much better than most builds. And the second class could be whatever, with Oathkeeper being the first class.
I dont know how you think about a 4:10 SR75-76 run without any skill that the set is designed for. I called it abuse.

The real problem is global trauma damage. I’ll create a new topic talking this later these days.


sorta like how justicar was once used on majority of fire builds? :sweat_smile:

all i’m saying is, partial set usage shouldn’t be considered “abuse”
the problem here is getting effectively 50k flats, while getting sky high DoT
sorta just looks like phys dmg build doing the same thing phys dmg been doing for 18months now ? pretty sure when Banana asked for oathkeeper tweaks he was also using octavius on the solo oathkeeper build ? - and Octavius hasn’t seen any direct dmg buffs since then/9.2, it’s been “global” elsewhere, buffs to some phys values here and there etc etc
Octavius just fits the sweetspot in that it brings the dot while you can still get the flat elsewhere, but it’s been strong for a while, because of phys since back then
dial back some flats and trauma, % values still too mebe? it’s an ongoing process still i suppose

unsure if i made it more confusing/didn’t clarify my meaning proper,
what i mean is partial set/“using a set without using the skills full set boosts” shouldn’t be considered abuse - the problem here is phys dmg, and the flat+dot values obtainable at the same time, guessing specially for oathekeeper (still), - just dial those values back a bit with octivius in mind and partial set can maybe still be used without being considered abuse territory

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Let’s forget about “abuse” issue.
Yep, the problem is the sky high global trauma, esspecially on shield, so all you need is a % WD skill for shield, and Oathkeeper turns out the best class. Besides, Oathkeeper provides Crit damage and trauma duration, and it has everything for a trauma S&B build.

Though physical dmg still performs the best among all, I think it’s not as op as what it was in v1.1.9.2 to v1.1.9.5. Battlemage, Avenger set, and so on, has been nerfed alot, as well as physical oathkeeper. Now the issue turns to trauma, and Octavius happens to be the most OP one.

I understand that for a long time trauma Aegis and Kalastor were weak. What really should be done to them was buff the skills themselves or buff their modifiers, rather than put on tons of global flat damage. This is also what I’m worried about Virtue’s Light set, which is also putting on global flat rather than modifiers. Who wants to see Virtue’s Light set being the second Justicar or even worse?


Limiting the maximum resistance of enemies that can use gear to 80 / 90 % (with overcaps) - to finally solve the issue of overly resistent enemies. Seeing the own damage reduces to 1-2% per hit (in the rare cases when you run into such a guy), is “unfortunate”.

Edit: And can we can get an acid MI levelling shield (there is the lvl 90 faction item - but no real target farmable MI shield for the levelling phase - the only alternative in the levelling phase would the shield of the perdition set)


I’d love for Bonebleach Basin to be accessible in Normal and Elite so that you could play the Main Campaign with Bonebleach Halberd. Or maybe :dromedary_camel: and :camel: could be added to some other place.

[edit] another solution could be to add it to Yurith vendor in Tomb of the Heretic


Do you guys know that forgotten set called “Allagast’s Masterpiece”? N with some items the cooldown for storm box literally becomes 0.


You need to constantly click the mouse over groups of enemies… this also was suggested before (could be even multiple times).

Point is, I personally, would like to be able to hold my mouse button similarly to the Eye of Reckoning build, then it would start to make the gameplay feel more natural. Would also be the cherry on top if we get some small life leech back like 2% from storm box similar to the devastation with spellscourge. It would solve tankiness problem quite a bit imo.


I’d like to suggest/see the following changes:

  • buff Seal of Consumption as a skill. Currently it’s only playable with Radaggan set and shiled that gives extra duration and LL. There are some items for cold/li, fire and vit sigils support but all of them are weak and none give the valuable duration/-cd (like you can’t take the shield on, say, Valguur). It would be cool to see the damage values of the skill buffed and making the supporting items a bit better, or increasing the base duration etc.
  • I’d REALLY love to see spam bwc getting some love. I made a vid in the previous PT and it’s still relevant.
  • Same goes for Callidor’s Tempest. Having a spam skill with 60% wd at hardcap and less than 1000 flat total (iirc) is sth ridiculous. Chain Lightning, a free filler skill from component, has higher wd than 26-22 mastery skill.

IK set terribly needs stats and resists, and spam bwc itself couldget LL mod as full-set bonus or as a part of some item, like the mace or anything.

  • More love to 3-elemental damage and builds. For example, the Scion of Arcane Force supports ele battlemage but gives only 1 more RR that rhowan’s crown and we also know that battlemage has no -%RR which makes this mod kinda wasted. Ele Battlemage needs some horse hormones to be at least okayish build, not only Cadence mod. Also would be cool to see more LL in the 3-ele devotion part.

  • Decree of Malmouth could get some CS or at least mana regen or -manacost to FoI. I’ll probablu add vid or GT later.


I’m a fan of tri elemental builds, especially Bonemonger apostates:
Ranged version with Runebinder crossbow aa replacer: Apostate, Level 100 (GD - Grim Dawn Build Calculator
Melee version with Fleshwarped Shard, more BH focus with Reaping Arc filler: Apostate, Level 100 (GD - Grim Dawn Build Calculator

Both builds do pretty good damage, especially since the recent buffs, I do around 6:00 crucible for me (a good player can probably do less), clear SR80+, but I run into the same issues with both character.

  • If you want to deal actual damage, you need to go Attack Seru+Blind Sage route, however this route gives little to no sustain and very little tankiness in general. Both builds are too squishy to do Ravager reliably. Asking for adcth on arcane currents is probably unreasonable, but some armor or more health would be welcome.

  • Gearing: Living rings are pretty much the only option for rings on this class and honestly the bonus to word of agony on living ring feels so out of place. Very few elemental builds use WoP, and for those builds this bonus doesn’t really make a difference. Can we make this a bonus to Steel Resolve or Vigor instead?

  • Aura of Censure in general. The %damage reduction always feels really low. The melee version has to use Ill Omen, but I would prefer having the elemental shred mod from the weapon on siphon souls, remove a button and have AoC reduce damage more significantly.

  • Null Field is virtually useless. It’s the worst transmuter in the game : the penatly is harsh and the bonus isn’t really impactful. Surely there’s a way to make it more interesting without making it OP? Give it dodge chance too? Grant %armor instead?


agree on this. AoC itself is pretty weak all in all. also I don’t like the Ill Omen mod as it’s an extra button and in Crucible mobs bounce as mad, which results in slower clear times. I’d suggest moving the RR mod either to SS or AoC since they’re used already in this build.


tqFan’s GDautocaster.

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Don’t know if new items are still possible but would like to point out that 2h melee chaos has nothing to play with during leveling.

Edit. I mean the MI’s as there is blue scythe and purple hammer available from lvl 50/58 respectively.

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There are few things remaining to fix but they are glaring. Several skills at their baseline are still incredibly weak and are not worth playing even for flavor purposes.


  • Spam BwC doesn’t provide nearly enough dmg and utility for a spam skill with no inbuilt sustain. The only semi-competitive spam BwC build in the game is RtA
    Suggestion: buff animation, add leech mod to some generic item
  • Spam Stun Jacks is very weak. It cannot compete with the best skills for solo dmg, it has very bad AoE in spam version even with Light’s Defender mod
    Suggestion: increase area, decrease area punishment for transmutor, reduce cone of fire
  • Ulzuin’s Wrath. Outright disfunctional skill. Doesn’t work against targets in melee range in a game where 60%+ of enemies get into melee range with you in a few seconds
    Suggestion: Enable melee range hits, reduce dr scaling as counter-balance


  • Sigil of Consumption. Worst damaging skill from any mastery in the game. Works in two instances (Radaggan and Trozan) that have the base dmg of this skill multiplied by 4-10 times
    Suggestion: drastically increase all baseline stats, reduce Trozan and Radaggan mods accordingly
  • Dreeg’s Evil Eye. Kinda works with few dmg types, again with absolutely insane mods. Has one competitive build with one set. Absolutely doesn’t work at all for RtA even with absurd defensive stats
    Suggestion: Baseline WD value needs to be drastically buffed, it will positively affect leech for all dmg types, including RtA
  • Bloody Pox. The only use of this skill in the game is Fevered Rage for few retal/warlock builds. Zero damage even with heavy mods, bad utility because it is a target cast that needs to be manually applied to multiple targets to properly spread
    Suggestion: heavily increase both dot parts of the skill, including mods, add area to cast


  • Ring of Steel. Very weak skill for damaging purposes, even as bleed and even with huge mods. Has one single semi-competitive pierce build that reduces base cooldown fro 3sec to 0.7. And is still weaker than its DW counterparts. Even Korba in minmaxed version has this skill at 1-1
    Suggestion: buff WD scaling, add off-hand hit to the base. It’s mind-boggling that all 3 Nightblade’s active damaging skills hit with one hand


  • Callidor’s Tempest
    Just a very weak skill at its baseline. At hardcap and converted, provides dmg similar to filler skills.
    Suggestion: Buff WD scaling and dot scaling. Reduce transmutor cd by 1 sec.

There are other skills that are underperforming. But the listed ones are in the worst state


First; Some Battlemage feedback.

2H Fire Callidor’s Tempest Sorc Sorcerer, Level 100 (GD - Grim Dawn Build Calculator

Yeah it’s a thing since the mace supports it. But CT damage is quite disappointing overall to focus on as only damage source. Getting a lightning>fire conversion mod to CT on somewhere else than off-hand would be good.

DW Lightning ABB + CD PS Trickster Trickster, Level 100 (GD - Grim Dawn Build Calculator

Yeah it’s a meme I know but somehow it performs better than DW Lightning Savagery Trickster. For ABB one, more ABB points and even ABB modifier that suits lightning builds would be good.

But since there’s no character limit, we can also talk about Crystallum builds. One I linked above Trickster, other is Archon one Archon, Level 100 (GD - Grim Dawn Build Calculator. Both perform mediocre. I think Crystallum should support WPS in addition to Savagery instead of SboE and Ascension. Ascension mods should be changed with Smite, SboE use is kinda obsolete so it can be changed with Whirling Death mod.

DW Pierce EoR Paladin Paladin, Level 100 (GD - Grim Dawn Build Calculator

Damage is not good.

Bleeding War Cry variant of Warring Whisper. Example build Warder, Level 100 (GD - Grim Dawn Build Calculator

It doesn’t provide any ground breaking Bleeding damage on Warcry. Using it on physical bleeding builds is obsolete since Bloodrager fills the amulet spot. Pierce and Vitality Bleeding builds are only proper options(Blood Knight and Goredrinker also fills the amulet spot). So the amulet should be build definingly good.

Blazerush; it needs physical&lightning>fire on Savagery mod. Conversion mod of Upheaval is kinda unnecessary. There are items that provides global lightning>fire but the main goal of the build is stacking OA so that just not add up.

2H Cold Vire’s Might

First setup ; Dervish, Level 100 (GD - Grim Dawn Build Calculator

Damage wasn’t good so I had to change into this Dervish, Level 100 (GD - Grim Dawn Build Calculator. Adding ABB provided more damage than VM and increased lifesteal. So increasing the flat damage on would be good and maybe even adding some frostburn damage.

Also let’s remember cold judgment feedback I provide a while ago;

Infernal Brimstone Shieldbreaker Shieldbreaker, Level 100 (GD - Grim Dawn Build Calculator

Damage is good if you prefer Torch route but the defense and sustain was terrible so I had to balance it with Empyrion route. Anyway what I’m asking is some Judgment modifier. Either add Fire Judgment mod on the weapon or buff the complete set Justicar mod, preferably with some burn damage.

2H Melee Cooldown Primal Stike

It’s still bad. I know it’s hard to buff it without buffing range versions that already has good CR times.

Build examples I used;
Ultos Conjurer Conjurer, Level 100 (GD - Grim Dawn Build Calculator


For the last; Mad Queen Claws it got some buffs which are good but the problem still remains. Purpose…

Dervish has Venomblade Set, Misery Swords and even Venomlash which all are really good.

Witch Hunter has Venomblade Set, Basilisk Claw which are also better than Mad Queen setup.

It’s a classic weapon, drop is not easy to get, Boss is hard to challenge for casual players. I don’t know what it can be, adding Soldier support is suggested before and didn’t happen but it should have a build definer feature even it’s a meme. Acid Cadence is logical since there are gear support aswell. Acid FS might also work since there is a conduit. Acid Savagery would be more meme but atleast something. Acid Rune of Hagarrad maybe?

Anyway these are my opinions about different gears and setups. Feel free to quote me and share your opinion on those matters.


I planned to write one topic with suggestions, but I kept putting it off. Let me speak here.
The idea does not concern specific builds, but the whole archetype: a pistol-and-shield. Although, in 1196 ranged builds received a major change concerning 100% passthrough, I thought about how to increase the number of pistol and shield builds. For example, in one not very successful game (Wolcen) there is a mechanic when you equip both a pistol and a shield, an auto attack is replaced by a shotgun: a smaller radius, but a wide cone. So here are some ideas:

  1. Warden.
    Warden Krieg is famous for his shotgun attack, and his shield only has 1 modifier (hence 2 free slots). Therefore, I suggest adding at least cold to aether conversion as a modifier for Chilling Rounds. In this case, the Shield can be paired with Rutnick’s blaster.
  2. Bloodsworn.
    The Bloodsworn Repeater also only has one modifier for doom bolt, which limits the number of builds that can be used. And here I propose to add a modifier that converts damage to chaos for any WPS with a single shot, for example, for Markovian Advantage and add +2 projectiles. In this case, such a pistol will become a ranged analogue of Naren Kur’s blade.
  3. Ugdenbog
    The Ugdenbog Repeater is very strange pistol: it has a modifier for Aegis of Menhir (also only one slot) - spells that scale from casting speed, but with a built-in attack speed bonus. Yes, you can also add a WPS modifier with or without +2 projectiles to the pistol, which will increase the variability of its use.
  4. Dreadchill
    Mythical Dreadchill Mark medal boosts melee Necrotic Edge by increasing the attack cone and the number of targets. For ranged, it would be nice to also add +2 projectiles.
  5. Watcher
    Watcher of Erulan is pistol oriented shield can also get at least one more WPS modifier

Since I did not touch builds, maybe other players can join and share own experience with pistol and shield builds.

Tri-elemental builds are outdated. Quad-elemental (Elemental+Aether) is a Future! :crazy_face:

UPD. Almost forgot…



Can confirm this
This basically Cabalist, Level 100 (GD - Grim Dawn Build Calculator can’t get through Cuba’s healing at sr 75 with average mutators, tho sigils there have 1k< flat