Weapon switch builds. Who's got 'em?

So I’ve been looking into creating builds that use the weapon switch mechanic, and am exploring ways to make it useful and interesting. Has anyone else tried this sort of thing? I’m seeing some really powerful uses for it, but have only just started looking into them.

There are some things that I’ve noticed:

  • DoT damage continues after you switch weapons. This means that if you had a set of weapons with dot damage, and a different set of weapons with different dot procs, then all of them would stack if your dot duration is high enough.

  • Devasatation continues after you dis-equip your offhand. This means we could have devastation casting builds that switch to a 2he weapon or something.


  • If you have an item equipped that gives modifiers to a buff skill (like Defender of the Three, the shield that gives +6% phys res to Blood of Dreeg) and you cast the skill, you get the benefits of the equipped item for the rest of the duration of that particular cast. So if you equip the shield, cast blood of dreeg, remove the shield - you still get that added 6% benefit to your build for the duration of that cast. This means that you could minmax a character by stacking modifiers on a skill on your weapons, so when you rebuff, you switch weapons, get all the benefits of that, switch back to your main fighting weapons and continue. This is terribly exciting news. :smiley:

The sorts of situations I think that weapon switching would be helpful are things like

  • A gunner class that could have dual-wield weapons that boost grenado, and a 2he ranged weapon for Primal Strike or something.
  • A melee set that provides tankiness and a ranged set for damage/maneuvrability
  • A caster that has a 2he weapon with a powerful skill on it, so you could have your whatever+offhand to cast certain abilities (like Devastation) before swapping out to the 2he weapon for more weapon damage and different skills etc.
  • Swapping to a shield for certain defensive procs, vs dual wield / 2he for damage procs.

Of course there need to be other considerations that go into building in this way. If your build relies on toggle buffs on weapon components, then switching weapons mid fight will be precarious, risky and will disrupt the flow of gameplay (especially in with lag). So the build would have to be built with weapon-switch-flow in mind.

An example (very draft, haven’t tested, still working on it etc) is this one - Chaos damage with Dual Wield pistols setup for big weapon damage, ranged brimstone, higher attack speed, more attack procs, more chaos RR, then switch to sword ‘n’ shield for +23% physical resistance, more attack damage converted to health, more weapon damage on doom bolt etc.:

Both sets of weapons (Dagger+Shield or Pistol+Pistol) use the same augments and components. Curse of Frailty is only useful when pistols are in use, so I’ve assigned it to right mouse so it only shows up when you switch to pistols etc.

Who’s up for exploring weapon-switch builds with me? :smiley:

Side note to everything: Christmas Devastation (I came across this mechanic while exploring options :stuck_out_tongue: )


WeaponSwitch idea: Amarasta’s Blade Burst - Mace+Shield + 2he Rifle

In melee, Amarasta’s becomes a spammable default attack syled thing with 0s cooldown, but the weapon damage is a bit lower. Then you can switch weapon and treat it like a ranged nuke, with way more weapon damage and way more weapon damage to the attack.

This build is clearly unrefined and in early stages, but maybe serves as an idea of the sorts of ways that weapon switching might become useful or fun :smiley:

Yeah, I’ve tried to look into weapon swap possibilities, although it was done mostly for “roleplaying” purpouses.

Here’s my “best” attempt that I tried to recreate from memory: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/JVlAqLbZ

Main problems are weapon buffs being disabled when swapping, and overall clunkiness. So basically weapon swap is just a relic with no particular use in endgame. Can be somewhat okay if playing some kind of dual damage setup though.

Another idea was to use “buff” weapons such as Touch of Purity, but unlike Diablo 2, where buffs lasted for 5-10 minutes, buffing yourself each 30 seconds or so would be kinda tedious I reckon.

Cool tactician! :smiley:

So what I’ve found is that using things like Touch of Purity where the skill is attached to the item, when you swap out items, the buff cancels.

In the case of persistent buffs like Mogdrogen’s Pact, they refresh every second or so. So if you swap out items that are buffing Mogdrogen’s pact ater casting it, Mogdrogen’s pact will reflect the change shortly afterward.

But, I can see other benefits for the items that boost non-persistent buffs. For example, switching to weapons that boost Call of the Grave (there’s a scepter that gives +100% regen, +15% phys res), or the daggers that give +300% vitality damage to Call of the Grave… You could swap to these weapons before buffing, then swap to something else while it’s active. Put Call of the Grave onto right mouse button in your ‘switched’ weapons, so it only becomes an option when you switch etc.

Otherwise, using things like the regen boosts to Blood of Dreeg (especially with items that boost BoD’s duration by 30s or something).

You could use a set of pistols that boost Word of Renewal giving it +4% OA each before swapping back to your normal weapons…

This means of boosting buffs could become tedious, it does lean into additional ‘piano playing’ with the build for sure.

I think using weapon switch just for buff min-maxing alone isn’t exciting as a concept because it potentially just leads to interrupted flow in game play. But, it is interesting to see what sorts of minmax boosts you could get.

I think using weapon switching in a way that assists playstyle by allowing fluidity between melee and ranged (for example) IS exciting, and that’s what I’m most looking forward to exploring :smiley:

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Another observation derived from your own : an item adding RR to a debuff will carry over weapon swapping after casting

edit: didn’t notice the darkblaze test

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Oh, okay. Good to know I guess. Also totally forgot about duration extenders to BoD and such.

I bet there ARE more profound usages of weapon swap, but I just can’t think of any. Probably because I’m trying to keep the amount of keys used at reasonable level of 4-5 XD

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Actually, good point… I haven’t explicitly tested that… That would make sense, but I’m not sure!

i did this


weapon swap is just way too clunky

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Great idea @WyreZ! I have tried this in the past and unfortunately…

In my experience, it’s just too clunky as @Gnomish_Inquisition mentioned. More often than not, the weapon swap wouldn’t switch for me. I’m not sure why, but perhaps the priority for the command is very low, so you can interrupt it very easily? :thinking: Either that or the game takes too long to do the actual switch…

Not sure, but it was very hard to get working correctly and honestly it was just too many buttons to push. Just my experience though!

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I’m beginning to disagree :smiley:
I’ve just made this build and have tested it in SR 75 - https://www.grimtools.com/calc/qNY0zv7Z

I’m still getting used to the new piloting style for sure, so I did make some mistakes, but weapon switching as a mechanic felt quite fluid. I was still getting used to which circumstances called for melee vs ranged ‘stance’ as well. The build has a lot more damage in ranged format, and a lot more tankiness in melee format, but is 100% functional in either, and it was designed so that there’s no component buffs to deal with when swapping weapons, so as to maximise fluidity.

As you can see, there were times when fighting certain enemies was hard - I kept trying to fight Kaisan in Melee, but it was no good - I ended up standing in AOE too long. But, switching to ranged there meant I could kite and kill him eventually. Kiting Gabal’Thunn was a breeze in ranged, and fighting Alkomos in Melee was much nicer than trying to kite him. A mix of ranged and melee for Zantarin worked nicely. Ranged against trash mobs was really fun until you got surrounded, so you’d switch to melee until the field had cleared up a bit. Once the pressure was off you could switch back to ranged for damage to finish them off, or to finish off any distant lingering mobs.

I think there is STRONG POTENTIAL for interesting, fun and functional builds using weapon switch, but I think it will take a bit of creativity to get the best out of them. The main questions to ask while trying to build for weapon-switch are:

In what circumstances would I want to switch weapon? What does switching weapon allow me to do?
: Boost a skill before casting it (+100% regen to Blood of Dreeg before casting it?)
: Allow you to use a skill that requires a weapon type (Devastation? Upheaval? Shattering Smash?)
: Complete a different set bonus momentarily (in my build above, ranged stance completes Darkblaze set, melee stances gets 3pc Sentinel of the Three set, so each stance provides different set bonuses)
: Tactical advantage - Ranged for kiting? If so, is there any reason to swap out from ranged? Can we come up with a reason to need to switch to melee ever? What about switching to a different ranged weapon, maybe to boost Grenado or something?
: Stacking dot damage from multiple procs off different weapons?

How do I want the build to flow?
: Do I want to have to leave combat every time I switch weapons? I could have a disengage combat rune assigned to my pistols stance right mouse, and Blitz assigned to my melee stance right mouse button. That way as I switch, I can move in or out of combat fluidly.
: Do I want to switch weapons mid-fight without leaving it momentarily? Do I need knockdowns/stuns/freezes to help? (That said - I didn’t have any trouble switching mid fight, without leaving combat. It felt very easy to switch to melee as I got surrounded to keep fighting).

How do I minimise piano playing with weapon switch? Useing left/right mouse accordingly.
: Are some of my skills best used in one stance but not the other? Can I assign them to left/right mouse button?
: Are some skills ones which I could technically use in either stance, but are strongly favoured by one (like if you had that 2he rifle to buff Grenado)? In that case, do you only want to use a skill in one of your stances? In that case, assign that skill to left/right mouse button in that stance, so it only becomes practically available to you when it’s best to do so.
: Are there component based skills on a weapon? They are only available when you switch to that weapon, so put them on Left/Right mouse.

This is a very different way of building characters, and I think will yield very different results because of it. For those experienced builders who are looking for a challenge to try, join me in exploring this concept :smiley:


Fascinating stuff as always, @WyreZ!

My own experience with weapon swap is mostly melee<->ranged primal strike leveling and a bit of the same in endgame, so I don’t really have much to add here except a couple of questions:

  1. At least a couple of items like Wendigo Barb and Alkamos’ Warsword offer conversions to duration buff skills. I think you established that these conversions don’t apply to teammates (see [] Reverence | Dedicated Support for high SR and Superbosses - #5 by WyreZ), but do the conversions apply to the player who casts them and then swaps weapons? It seems like they should if other item skill mods to the buff are retained after weapon swap.

  2. I don’t mean too veer too far off-topic (so feel free to ignore), but it seems like other gear swaps are a natural next item to consider after weapon swaps. Since they can’t be done as easily on the fly, the only endgame application I can think of is dedicated prep for particular SR bosses, though I struggle to think of examples where you might carry around an extra pair of boots, for example, just to fight one boss a bit more easily. Do you carry around any such items?


because the build is crap in melee?
make am actual melee pyro and it would have no trouble dealing with kaisan in melee
you’re doing a darkblaze dw build for dps, yet use a retal shield set, that offers nothing to the build than some phys res and wasted stats (in melee mode)
obviously you’re gonna feel more tanky with more than double the phys res (and lifesteal)

i maintain my stance weapon swap is clunky and there is little to no benefit that an actual dedicated build wouldn’t overcome and do better at - if anything that pyro highlights a dedicate build would be better

wouldn’t surprise me, if weapon swap builds started to get a little traction with buff exploitation use, Blood of Dreeg fighting spirit etc, that it would simply be patched out :confused:

… given how pilot coasting was just removed after being discovered :confounded:


Yo! I don’t know this yet, I haven’t checked it, but this is my current presumption based on how casting other buffs works with weapon swap. I’m keen to try it - There are a couple of items that give damage conversions to Word of Renewal (100% pierce to Chaos or 100% Aether to Elemental), so that might provide for some interesting opportunities.

Not usually, because it definitely can’t happen fluidly mid-fight, but there are circumstances where I absolutely do. There is an item (Brawler’s Distinction) that significantly reduces an enemy’s ability to heal itself. This is integral for deep SR when fighting Kubacabra, and it’s carried by some of the DPS builds and tanks in the Knights of the Eternal Realm SR team who swap out to it if required.

It depends on what you’re looking to achieve, right? Very rarely am I trying to make “the best build” in terms of tankiness or damage output. If I wanted a build stronger than this one I’d just make a pet build. Or a ret tank or something. There are other people here working diligently towards the goal of super-powered solo build, like yourself, and I do find such minmaxed builds inspiring. However, the few times I go looking for such specialty in a build is usually when building for super deep SR, support builds or team synergy. Instead, my goals with building are usually to explore things like diversity in gameplay, build concept (meme or theme builds), and the over all ‘play style experience’. The playstyle experience of “owning everything on screen as quickly and comfortably as possible” is the obvious one that most people are building toward, and one I enjoy from time to time, but is by no means the only one I care about.

The build above is the first attempt I’ve made at a weapon switch build, and for a first attempt I think it shows potential. Even if this particular build isn’t as strong as a well built melee build could be, I think it shows that weapon switch as a concept is functional.

I could argue that the build above is simply a “ranged build with the option of tankiness when needed”. You could counter argue “why not just build a tanky ranged build with less piano playing?”

So instead, I’ll argue - “I find it fun and interesting to be able to dart in and out of melee and ranged combat. For me it brings a freshness of playstyle that I haven’t spent much time doing in this game”.

Even if the build above doesn’t meet your standards of what you feel a ‘good build’ should be, I still think that it shows mechanically that good builds MAY be viable with more exploration of the concept.

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thing is, at least on that one, in order to utilize the weap swap buff benefit you are using an item that is boosting the ranged side more, if all you did was buff switch
the build (obv) punches out more dps in gun version, so the benefit of the weapon swap would be +6% phys res on swap every 30secs or so
but then changing to actual melee fight, “in that setup” just hinders it a bit, because the dmg output is much lower, can’t really leech enough despite over double the lifesteal, and all it gains is a chunk of phys res. Which means there is no actual advantage to the weapon swap fight stance itself, since whatever the melee version could kill, gunner format could kill too, and gunner can kill stuff that melee can’t; ie there is no reason to utilize melee stance for fighting
which then means that mainhand could(/should?) be swapped to something that could be utilized on weap swap, buff exploit or whatever
or the build “needs” to be as capable as gunner format in actual fighting, through either equal or circumstantial dps, or tankyness that allows it to survive tougher fights that gunner format can’t dps its way through
^the last 2 points i just see that type of weapon swap “hard”, if not impossible, to come up with, since it would probably requires more items than merely 2 weaps slot swaps could offer

think what i’m trying to say is, that a weapon swap build that uses weapon swap for fighting in both stances, needs to both be equally “strong”/useable in one way or another, otherwise there is no need or use for the 2nd stance (if 1st stance can do everything and the other can’t where is the purpose?), and all it would be is buff mod utilization
(if that makes sense)


It absolutely does make sense - Essentially and in a broad sense, you’re saying “the pros of weapon switching need to clearly outweigh the cons”. In this, I agree, and I think exploring that balance is what I’m excited to try. But you might also be right in that, it might end up being fruitless: There’s a chance that whatever “best weapon switch” build I can come up with might still not be as effective as a dedicated, non-weapon-swap build.

I guess that’s what I’m hoping to find out - Is there ever a (very niche perhaps) circumstance where weapon swapping IS better/stronger/preferred?

In the above build I conceptually like being able to double the phys res/lifesteal when cornered/surrounded or unable to kite (fast enemies, CC etc). But again, why not just make a build that is never fussed about being cornered/surrounded/doesn’t need to kite?

*le ponder *

i think the part of weapon swap that is potentially universal and clear in its benefit is stuff like the buff exploit, “passive gains”, - it’s also my concern that that’s the part that would be potentially patched out if utilized/“used too much” :sweat_smile:

the idea of having ex a dmg version in stance 1, and then a tank version in stance 2 in theory seems good; have a pew pew version that takes down nemesis and chonk boi that can face ravager (obviously extreme end of the scope in exaggerated comparison term)
i just think that type of “yin yang” fight format is gonna be heckuva difficulty to get with the change of just 2 items/weapon slot (partially because shield by default in itself doesn’t offer that much defensive advantage)

the idea to hunt down those diff potentials is good tho :+1:, then we just have to cross our fingers that the hammer of Zantai doesn’t strike :sweat_smile:

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Yeah, agreed on all fronts. :slight_smile:

I’m also wondering about just using offhand+devastation as a massive damage booser. Of course this means spec’ing for spirit a bit in a build that otherwise might not use it… I haven’t started looking into it at all, I just had the idea. This is in a similar playstyle vein to swapping stance just to cast a skill before quickly swapping back to go about what your normal playstyle would be.

The other things that I’m keen to explore are swapping out for added dot damage or specific nukes or something, like getting added fire dot damage on Callidor’s Tempest. Switch to those Callidor-boosting
weapons as enemies draw near, then slam them all with Callidor’s (plus the addon), switch back and keep fighting. Or something. Idk, there’s a lot to think about :stuck_out_tongue:

a potential benefit in such case could be RR weapons Mythical Herald of Blazing Ends - Items - Grim Dawn Item Database, since resist is calculated on first attack/dot hit, one could ex have RR boosting weapons and cast a (long) CD dot skill, then swap back to main weaps, and the DoT should keep rolling with the increased RR in effect for however long the duration is with dot duration increase
(true dots not pseudo dots)

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Huh. Yeah. Interesting thought: Weapon switch to max debuffs to enemies, then weapon switch to max buffs to self or something. :open_mouth: