When a ranged build is born...a proper constellations should be "worn"

I have been thinking about some moments, when creating a ranged char, mostly about the constellations, but my thoughts are not limited to them.


  1. What do you pick first and what do you pick later? Or there is no particular order for you to pick? [Gear, components, augments, constellations?] I pick items first, than constellations and the components and augments at the least.
  2. Are there mandatory (or almost mandatory) constellations, when creating ranged chars?
    In my opinion, mandatory constellations are: HYDRA, KRAKEN (for 2H ranged only!). Almost mandatory - Vulture (some resist, life leech foremost), Eel (the lovely bonus), Hound (armor rating bonus), Empty Throne (resists, including stun res), Wolverine (defense bonuses), Harvestman’s Scythe (overall bonuses), Hawk (offensive ability and crit), Raven (offensive ability).
  3. RR constellations (varies, depending of the damage type dealt) - Assassin’s Blade (Physical and Pierce builds), Widow (Light and Aether builds), Solael’s Witchblade (Fire and Chaos builds), Murmur, Mistress of Rumors (Cold and Acid builds), Rattosh, The Veilwarden (Vitality builds, painful to reach it)…
  4. Situational or interesting constellations -
    if defense is needed, Solemn Watcher and / or Obelisk of Menhir (without the last node, which is useless for ranged builds) ; Targo, the Builder sounds like an awesome constellation, provides some defense and armor and the proc skills (if I understand it correctly) provides Armor Rating, so the char is temporarily better prepared against physical attacks),
    if stun res is needed - Scarab
    if some resists are needed - Crane
  5. Do you aim primarily for the T3 constellations (those which don’t provide any constell bonus for completition?) In my experience I do reach the T3 constellations only with Rattosh (RR) or if I have enough ponts to put in… Dying god for chaos DW Ranged or 2H ranged is one of those occasions.

no, rarely - only if affinity is messed up

no - only if desperate for pierce res or need ultra cheap blue points

no, but useful, would prefer over eel if possible

good, (universally good has nothing todo with ranged), bonus because it gives purple to unlock hydra/chariot


regen builds, or phys/pierce dmg/cunning stackers (with enough affinity points leftover)

yes - if the affinity fits and doesn’t have other desperate needs; OA is just necessary on many builds

no, simple to reach, all vit builds handle it easily - the big deal is whether to trade off dying god vs abomination since most vit builds can’t get both+rattosh


no, heck i might not even take it on retal builds, and even less on shield builds, and never for anything other…

can usually get stun res better elsewhere, rarely consider it outside retal or armour stacking

frequently too expensive, i try to get gold points elsewhere if possible and resist elsewhere
unless really needing reflect reduction i would probably not consider it first or second

yes, worth, not complicated to reach, nor does it require big sacrifices usually
some are a bit expensive and used less, Oleron, Sage/Seru tho mostly Sage/Seru can be hard because colour required means end up lacking OA/HP etc on the build types using the dmg.
Hour Glass feels like a relic of the past these days, very rarely worth taking and hugely gimmicky if so and while not super expensive means it tradeoffs other t3 considerations


I’ll always take hourglass on Rah’binger because of the feedback when I drop 2 doombolts back to back and vaporize bosses. I wouldn’t say no to giving it better nodes, but the feel of the constellation is definitely good.

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Why “Targo, the Builder” is not a great constellation, almost “a must” have?
All the nodes provides valueable bonuses (defense and armor rating foremost) and the proc means 25% chance on attack to have another armor rating boost for 5 seconds. That means being more comfortable in combat with physical-oriented enemies.

Or are there, among constellations, better options to get armor rating high(er) enough? (3 000) ?

in my opinion
it’s expensive, out of the way, nodes aren’t actually that great when you look at it as a whole, and the proc is kinda meh too unless you’re retal/shield build and can benefit from it “fully”,
You don’t get much if any CDR on gunners, let alone the types that would usually be able to fit targo into devo map affinity/point wise, which means you wont have very good uptime on the buff; reduces value.
2 nodes are ultra generic, bit %health and res(which you wont need), so that is easily substituted elsewhere.
Hound offers armour cheaper, Hyrian offers armour at similar cost but additional offensive bonuses on an ele route, Chariot offers flat armour proc, leaving just the flat health and DA left which again is offered in numerous devos
It has the “allure” of good defence, but at too high a cost/poor return for investment on most builds, specially gunners that already need Hydra/Kraken so free available points are already precious. Not gonna call it "fools gold"shiny, but just that it might appear too shiny for its actual worth.
Unless you’re planning to facetank Ravager/Calla, with 0 intentions of other build tweaks, i don’t see a scenario where targo offers its worth, let alone for the required investment/return - and considering the amount of builds that manage to deal with ravager/calla i doubt even then it would get its value…
So the reason it’s not a must have is it just sacrifices your devo map, for relatively low effective utility, utility you then can usually substitute elsewhere on top
If i really wanted to stack armour i’d probably just go hound, hammer, obelisk+maybe vire, with targo’s points shifted elsewhere to then compensate other things

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Thank you for the reply, @Gnomish_Inquisition ! You’re right that gun builds can’t benefit fully from Targo.

But that brings another practic surprise to my mind.
Many builds use Iskandra’s Elemental Exchange (although they are not elemental, just for the OA flat bonus), many builds use Solael’s Witchfire (although they are not chaos or vitality builds, just for the attack speed).

What am I trying to say is that many skills are used for a very particular bonus (not the whole package, what skill or node offers), so I thought with “Targo”, I can apply the same approach.

Because in general, gun builds need to be sturdy, in my opinion. OA 3K minimum (with permanent buffs and temp buffs, not the proc ones), DA 3K minimum (with permanent buffs and temp buffs, only exception in proc buffs is Arcane Will), and AR 3K minimum (with permanent buffs, temp buffs and with proc buffs like targo). Resists 80+40% overcap.

That’s what I try to aim. Being able to survive (at least a bit) in the very middle of group of enemies, not fleeing or running around or away.

devo points are much more limited than skill points remember, so already there it’s not a 1:1
Then you have the additional benefit of skill+ from gear, so a few points can go a long way, aside from even without then 10pts is usually not heavy investment for a build
Add on top an additional constraint of devos then having requirements and XY limited balanced affinity returns, that can hamstring you/adds an additional layer to the precious 55 total pts value
This suddenly mean a devo costing a certain amount of points on its own can be relative decent important factor, but also how much affinity it returns on top or which type, for the overall puzzle.
and for me that just means Targo is expensive in general, (mentioned i sometimes don’t even take it on actual retal/shield builds?), but then more so expensive when you benefit less as a whole, eg regular gunner.
Armour is no doubt good, possibly more than ever next patch, but i’d probably look for it elsewhere first and second before considering Targo as a tertiary choice - if not straight up finding alternative defensive/survival means that fits overall better in the devo route.

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Let’s talk some constellations…
Is it worth to put points into Turtle? Flat DA, and when on 50% health, there is a “break” in receiving damage unless 6 100 is absorbed. Sounds like a (tiny) pause in combat to realize something dangerous is happening and take some action to avoid a death, during the time 6 100 damage absorption takes place.
Healing constellations: Long time agon, I tried Dryad and I never remember it has activated, so I dropped Dryad as ineffective. On paper, it sounds great, 33% chance on attack to restore your health, but …
Wayward Soul and Giant’s Blood - you have to be hit in order to activate the proc… sounds kinda dangerous…
Ghoulish Hunger - A lot of builds use it, almost like a mandatory skill. It looks like it works similar way like Turtle, but it grants more attack speed and ADCTH in order to heal yourself, instead of pausing the incoming damage…

“yes”, i’d say turtle had huge value up until current PTR 1.2.1, right now it’s been stripped a bit of it’s glory so it’s use might vary a bit more
the passive nodes are good, the absorb is good because it’s almost last line defence
and it’s even better on cdr builds (which ofc wont apply to most gunners)

no, it has 100% chance; because you tie it to a specific trigger that guarantee a controlable heal every 2.5-3sec or so depending on your cdr. This is very easy to do; and what makes Dryad super good, aside from the passive nodes also being decent, but the sustain it provides can’t be underestimated, specially on builds that otherwise lack sustain methods or have sparse healing sources.
(and the buff is pretty decent too against dots)

it’s not: if you can play grim dawn without ever being hit, you’re a highly skilled player, dare i say one of the most skilled gamers in the world :smile:
you basically can’t avoid taking some hits, remember taking hits doesn’t mean taking lethal hits or big dangeours hits. Something simple as being cursed counts as a hit, debuffs, aoe novas etc that deal relative low safe dmg; but still strike you
Chariot is really good now because low cooldown and the Armour+DA is then very nice, heal is a handy bonus but not the main draw, the changes to the buff is probably what’s made the otherwise expensive devo more worth now (imo)
Giant’s blood has almost no rival in terms of regen builds, for low sustain method/healing proc builds it’s also decent, but once again requires CDR to proper use. On regen builds it’s however one of the strongest devos in the game for the cheap investment necessary (nerf inc? :grimacing:)
the direct heal isn’t really that important for regen builds, but the bonus regen it offers, it can skyrocket you to basically immortality on the right regen setup because you can passively outheal any incoming dmg for 20?seconds

i personally don’t think it’s very good these days, for a while even: the cooldown is way way too high imo… So it’s more the passive nodes that are great with the proc itself being a slight bonus. Issue is the cooldown being so long means it can both be unreliable, but also that you can’t really use it fast enough, ex in SR boss room you can often easily kill bosses before it’s ready again in terms of dps speed; despite encountering dangerous enough situations/attacks where you want or even feel you need the safety; but it was just used 25secs ago.
When it does proc, for weapon attackers, yes it’s highly useful and grants you 5sec of almost invincibility, but 5sec is over fast, and then you need to wait another 25 before you can be saved again, and lots can then happen in 25secs…
I’d rather just attempt to stack higher passive constant lifesteal, than relying on the lifesteal proc, and for the phys res i’d probably just try to get other mitigations or soaking capabilities to provide some alroudn buffer instead of just 5secs
i haven’t really used ghoul all that much in a while because of it, if i had lots of cooldown redcut, sure it would be awesome, or some other niceh cases like low WD caster with few other ways to lifesteal or ultra low on phys res/armour/hp where the phys res becomes desperate; but then the build might already have signs of troubled waters elsewhere that should be addressed

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CDR = cooldown reduction…

Do ranged builds need to take into consideration mana regen and cooldown of anything? I mean - I never came across the situation I was on low mana or waiting for a skill to be ready again…

no, i don’t remember a gunner that really needed to worry about mana, because you can usually leech stuff if necessary with ex Arcane Spark component
and generally AA+WPS is pretty cheap on the mana side

aeh, mostly just debuff stuff or if you use like a specific or clunky trigger
ex can be Inquisitor Horn of Gandar might be used on Pierce builds, but the native cooldown makes it a really bad fit for several devotions being just short of 5sec to create perfect 100% activation
or like if you have War Cry as Damage Reduct or RR you ofc want that fired off all the time
but other stuff might not require similarly so, like Curse of Frailty lasts 10secs at certain points investment, so casting it sooner can be a waste. Likewise with type like Lethal Assault or Soul Harvest buff you might not want to use the activation skill (Amarasta/Boneharvest) because the dmg they deal isn’t really worth outside buff refreshment - but then if you attach a devotion to them you might suddenly want to
Good example would be Dryad, you can put it on a skill you use every 3secs; but then you might heal when you dont’ need to it, or you can put it on a low priority skill with proper cooldown for 100% dryad activation you can then use when you feel you need the heal, but ensuring the activation skill doesn’t have other important properties that might require it to be used at certain other moments like Boneharves/Soulharvest, since you don’t want soul harvest to run out
if that makes sense?

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Let’s talk another two things, which kind of blow my mind.

  1. the importance of attack speed. It is very logical that more attack speed is better, but sometimes it seems, like the builds are created “weirdly” just becuse to have as high attack speed as possible. If I attack 40K with 2,9 attacks per second or 30K with 3,4 attacks per second - both scenarios sound great to me.
  2. the importance of having WPS… some builds are easy to have WPS to cover 75% and higher percentage of the regular attacks or attack replacers… but some builds are difficult to have at least one or two WPS. It needs to be said that WPS are obtainable from skills, but also from gear. But I don’t think that build, which has low number of WPS or is not covering 75% or higher percentage of attacks with WPS, is weaker.
    Yes - I deal less damage. Yes - I need to spend more time in combat, but if the build is “sturdy enough”… ?

This will be a personal tolerance thing, which imo is fine
There is no rule that says all builds have to be “meta” nor have XY clear speed/performance metric
To me what’s important is the build is fun and comfortable to play
There are several high performing meta builds i just never enjoyed and subsequently never used much

it’s weaker in terms of dmg, that’s just it.

wps is a dmg, boost, so not having wps will be a dmg loss, relatively simple; there is no rule that says builds can’t operate on a technically lower effective dmg than others
you could make an AA build with 0 wps and it could be perfectly playable, it will just deal less dmg/dps as a result.

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There is one more confusing “procedural” thing.

Some skills (no matter if they are obtained from a mastery, item or component) have “weapon damage” as a part of them. Some skills don’t have that “weapon damage” part.

How “Attack damage converted to health” will be applied to skills with weapon damage part and without weapon damage part?

I assume, e.g. Albrecht’s Aether Ray will be “life stealing” only if I wear items adding ADCTH directly to AAR, or if AAR skill is tied with constellation skill with ADCTH. Because AAR has no “weapon damage” and no item adds to AAR the weapon damage part.

E.g. third node of “Toad” won’t add ADCTH to AAR nor the node of Bat will do. But the proc skill from “Bat” when triggered, will cause some ADCTH thanks to AAR.
Azragorian Tactics buff won’t grant any ADCTH to AAR.

But with Cadence, node of Toad, node of Bat and Azragorian Tactics will grant ADCTH to Cadence, right?


no - will only get the lifesteal from the proc itself unrelated to AAR and thus still might not factor in other lifesteal

the key is weapon dmg vs global lifesteal (if the lifesteal appears in char page 2)
Global lifesteal like Toad, Restless Remains component or Necromancer Harbinger buff/Azragor chest, only ever applies to weapon dmg and attacks/skills with %weapon dmg listed, and will be scaled down below 100% effect if less than 100%weapon dmg
ex can be Callidor’s Tempest, it has weapon dmg, so it will benefit from global lifesteal, but the first couple ranks has below 100% wd, so lifesteal will be scaled down, 50% weapon dmg = 50% lifesteal amount, so if you have 20 lifesteal you now have 10% lifesteal on this attack. This then caps once reaching 100% wd (so you don’t get 40%lifesteal effect on 200%wd attacks)
Siphon souls doesn’t have weapon dmg but it has native lifesteal, so it will still leech
AAR has neither weapon dmg nor native lifesteal, so only way for AAR directly to lifesteal is either adding weapon dmg to the skill (via a modifier) or add direct lifesteal to teh skill (via a modifier)
If a skill has no native weapon dmg and no native lifesteal and no modifiers exist to grant it either; it will never be able to lifesteal.
If you attach Twin Fangs to a skill it’s still twin fangs that lifesteals, unrelated to actual skill dmg (ie AAR dmg wont impact twin fangs lifesteal amount), it only factors in in terms of trigger rate for the proc
^this is why conversion might as example be important if relying on a lifesteal devo proc like twin fangs, because pumping trigger skill’s dmg wont increase it, so converting the pierce or vit portion into build’s main focused dmg type might increase the proc’s healing effect more from then higher lifesteal (ie if doing Aether AAR one might want to convert vitality into aether to get higher lifesteal benefit of twin fangs proc)

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If a ranged char with dealing one specific damage type uses buffs or auras with built-in damage conversions, is it a problem?

Example: Trickster dealing Cold (and frostburn) damage.

The only exclusive aura, available for Trickster with Cold dmg, is Stormcaller’s Pact. There’s a decent Phys → Lightning conversion, 15%, but should I care about it, when I don’t aim for physical or lightning damage? I assume, I should only care about the damage conversion, if the conversion is OUT of the desired damage type, right?

Or picking Arcanist as secondary mastery to Nightblade, where Star Pact is, and there are two decent conversions INTO the desired damage (but that would need redo the build in the terms of gear and picking the right one, because the point distribution in Arcanist is bigger point investment than in Shaman…).

no, you only have to worry about it if dmg is lost
stormcaller would only lose you dmg; if you had 100% phys to cold global conversion; which you likely wont/rarely get, and it wont impact direct conversion such as Korba (which is melee i know, just as example) - most builds don’t get 100% global phys to X; so there being 15% on a buff usually doesn’t end up interfering anything

good example could be pierce infiltrator, obviously uses aura of conviction for pierce dmg, some time ago ring of steel gloves got changed to have conversion Mythical Grasp of Unchained Might - Items - Grim Dawn Item Database
this means that pierce infils could no longer use these gloves for Ring of Steel RR because had conflicting conversion

Star Pact likewise also shouldn’t conflict or lose dmg to conversions for cold/lightning builds in most cases, would have to check on a build by build basis ofc.
Conversion itself existing is not an issue, it’s only an issue if takes your desired dmg type and convert away or meaningfully competes with the conversion (ex could be attempting to global convert aether to lightning on Arcanist, then star pact might compete, and then it would be a question of how much the proportions got messed up), rarely i think it’s ended up being an issue tho

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Yeah that is unfortunate, with the Mythical Grasp of Unchained Might.

I remember in one of recent patches, how the flat vitality damage modifier for Spectral Binding was removed from Namadea’s Eye. It got replaced by flat Defensive ability bonus, but stil…

@Gnomish_Inquisition Let me ask: Why there are not specific categories on the forum, which would be realated to a specific damage type or specific classes?

There are no sections (if I’ve looked carefully) which would be dedicated to Tactician(s), or Physical damage builds and so on…

I have some questions and I feel some discomfort to ask it through a new Topic / Thread…

if i had to guess because it would needlessly create too many sub categories?

no worries, the forum wont run out of space, feel free to make your topic

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