Grim Dawn Mastery & Build Guide

Published: Saturday, August 1, 2020 - 06:00 | By: Jackson Wery
Make the Grim Dawn Grim Gone

Grim Dawn features a wide variety of ways to dispel the encroaching darkness. With dozens of class combinations through the game's Mastery system and multiple builds for each combo, the mechanics can seem quite overwhelming at first. TechRaptor has compiled a few simple builds that work for beginners. Whenever possible, class combinations provided required only the base game. If you're ever unhappy with your character, you can refund builds for a price at any Spirit Guide (such as Sahdina in the base game).

Grim Dawn Masteries Chart

 
 

For reference, the class combination chart is just above. The order of Masteries doesn't matter, though you will likely lean into one more than the other.

Grim Dawn - Arcanist

The Arcanist takes the role of the most "mage-like" character in Grim Dawn. Most will put points into their Spirit, then round it out with Physique. Arcanists can take advantage of Fire, Cold, Lightning, and Aether elemental damage. Chaos damage is also accessible with the right choices. Some skills require a caster off-hand to equip. These are things such as spellbooks, skulls, and carved bones. Arcanists prefer to keep a solid distance from foes, so many will pair their off-hand gear with a one-handed gun.

Grim Dawn Arcanist

Grim Dawn Spellbreaker (Arcanist/Nightblade) Build - Frozen III: Grim Song

Summary: Cold Damage Bulky Caster

This spellcasting build takes advantage of Cold damage, relying on Olexra's Flash Freeze, Blade Spirit, and Trozan's Sky Shard to do most of the work. This gives it decent burst, so keep the cooldown for TSS rolling. Boost your Cold damage and cooldown reduction, and keep your resistances up for higher difficulties.

Your strategy is simple. TSS has impressive range, so drop it on a group of enemies, freeze the stragglers, rinse, and repeat. Maiven's Sphere of Protection and Pneumatic Burst make you quite durable for a caster.

For Devotions, Tsunami is a good early choice for the Cold damage, and try to build for Amatok the Spirit of Winter. Supplement with constellations such as Empty Throne for your defenses, and reassign as needed. Drop many of your stat bumps into Spirit (about 24 should be enough) and the rest into Physique. This build leaves 3 Mastery Points left over.

Arcanist

  • Mastery 50/50
  • Olrexa's Flash Freeze 12/12 > Absolute Zero 12/12
  • Mirror of Ereoctes 1/12
  • Trozan's Sky Shard 16/16 > Frozen Core 12/12
  • Maiven's Sphere of Protection 12/12
  • Arcane Will 10/10
  • Nullification 1/10
  • Star Pact 12/12

Nightblade

  • Mastery 50/50
  • Pneumatic Burst 12/12
  • Blade Barrier 5/12
  • Elemental Awakening 12/12
  • Merciless Repertoire 12/12
  • Blade Spirit 16/16

Free Points: 3

 

Grim Dawn - Demolitionist

While many classes can boast some Fire damage, the Demolitionist is king of it. These engineer-sorcerers can bring mighty foes to their knees with a barrage of explosives, traps, and munitions. Their balanced growth and lack of weapon dependency lets the build for either melee or ranged combat. Demolitionists also provide decent utility with skills like Flashbang.

Grim Dawn Demolitionist

Grim Dawn Commando (Demolitionist/Soldier) Build - Hot Drinks

Summary: Fire/Physical Melee Bruiser

A basic Fire melee build. Two-handed weapons will get you the best results. This is a very straightforward build. Blitz gets a bit funky when targeting foes at other elevations, since you'll rush all the way there. This build uses all of your Mastery Points, but until you grab a specific weapon you can drop Menhir's Will to upgrade Flashbang or Stun Jacks instead. Increase your Fire and Burn damage, and don't neglect your resistances.

 

Open fights with Blitz to approach and bash down enemies. Use again to chase down stragglers and clean up. Use Flashbangs/Stun Jacks as needed. Many points are passives, but they'll pull their weight. Field Command and Squad Tactics give some hefty bonuses, and will be repeated in other Soldier builds. Try to acquire an Infernal Brimstone, a unique two-handed mace that grants Rain of Fire on critical hits and boosts all of your Demolitionist skills. Mash into a fine paste and bake at 375° until crusty.

As a melee build, most points will go to Physique, but 20 or so level-ups into Cunning will let you get reliable critical hits. Spirit is needed for some jewelry as well. Devotions that boost Fire damage will help, so check out Kraken and Ulzuin's Torch.

Demolitionist

  • Mastery 50/50
  • Fire Strike 12/12 > Explosive Strike 12/12 > Searing Might 3/3 > Static Strike 12/12 > Brimstone 12/12
  • Stun Jacks 1/12
  • Flashbang 1/12
  • Flame Touched 12/12
  • Vindictive Flame 16/16
  • Blast Shield 12/12

Soldier

  • Mastery 32/50
  • Markovian's Advantage 12/12
  • Fighting Spirit 12/12
  • Menhir's Will 14/16
  • Military Conditioning 10/10
  • Blitz 1/16
  • Field Command 12/12 > Squad Tactics 12/12

Free Points: 0

Grim Dawn - Nightblade

A rough analogue to your archetypical rogue, the Nightblade has a variety of illusory blades and prefers surgical strikes to prolonged fights. Typical Nightblades use two one-handed weapons, dancing in and out of combat. They can specialize in Physical, Cold, or Poison damage depending on their setup.

Grim Dawn Nightblade

Grim Dawn Blademaster (Nightblade/Soldier) Build - Blender White Noise 10 Hours

Summary: Quick, Lethal Piercing/Bleeding Attacker

Compared to the Commando, the Blademaster is more nimble, using two one-handed weapons. This means adding attributes to two weapons, of course, giving you a bit of flexibility. You'll want to enhance Piercing/Bleeding damage and increase your resistances for higher difficulties.

With 5 Mastery Points, consider upping Cadence, Phantasmal Armor, or putting points into Deadly Momentum in the Soldier tree. Try to proc Amarasta's Quick Cut for juicy triple attacks. Your other actives and passives make you the Magic Bullet of Grim Dawn builds.

Most points go into Physique, but have enough Cunning to wield top-tier one-handed weapons. Spirit lets you equip trinkets as well, so don't forget it. Invest in constellations such as the Assassin's Blade and Blade of Nadaan, since you'll mostly use one-handed swords.

Nightblade

  • Mastery 50/50
  • Dual Blades 16/16 > Belgothian's Shears 8/8 > Amarasta's Quick Cut > 8/8 > Whirling Death 8/8 > Execution 8/8
  • Shadow Strike 1/16
  • Phantasmal Armor 1/12
  • Ring of Steel 16/16 > Circle of Slaughter 12/12
  • Blade Barrier 12/12
  • Blade Spirit 16/16

Soldier

  • Mastery 50/50
  • Cadence 1/16
  • Field Command 12/12 > Squad Tactics 12/12
  • Oleron's Rage 12/12

Free Points: 5

Grim Dawn - Occultist

Occultists skirt the line between true casters and summoners, able to make use of both. They also make passable fighters. Occultists specialize in Chaos, Poison, and Vitality damage along with their associated DoTs. Pets allow you to go for a minionmancer build or just have a distraction, making them quite solo-friendly.

Grim Dawn Occultist

Grim Dawn Pyromancer (Occultist/Demolitionist) Build - Witch Time

Summary: Chaos/Vitality damage rifleman with a Hellhound to help

Using Solael's Witchfire, we enchant our bullets with Chaos and Vitality damage. The tree gives us a solid conversion to Chaos damage from our Physical attack. Use a two-handed ranged weapon and play like any ranged character. Boost your Chaos damage and cover weaknesses, as normal.

With leftover points, you can take Stun Jacks or Flashbang. If playing multiplayer, dipping into Summon Familiar and Mend Flesh to support allies isn't the worst idea either. Otherwise, use Thermite Mine and Sigil of Consumption to keep enemies at bay. The Hellhound runs interference and distracts enemies for you, and Doom Bolt gives you something spicy to drop on anyone getting too fresh. You can do a little casting as well as plink away with your rifle, but you'll mostly stick to Fire Strike.

Drop points into Cunning and then Physique. Between Occultist and Demolitionist's points, Spirit isn't a huge concern. Constellations to keep an eye on are Solael's Witchblade and Dying God.

Occultist

  • Mastery 50/50
  • Solael's Witchfire 12/12 > Consecrated Blades 3/3 > Second Rite 12/12
  • Sigil of Consumption 1/12 > Destruction 12/12
  • Summon Hellhound 16/16 > Hellfire 12/12 > Infernal Breath 12/12
  • Doom Bolt 12/12
  • Possession 12/12

Demolitionist

  • Mastery 50/50
  • Fire Strike 1/12 > Searing MIght 3/3 > Brimstone 12/12
  • Thermite Mine 1/16 > Hellfire Mine 12/12
  • Blast Shield 12/12

Free Points: 3

Grim Dawn - Shaman

Shamans wield the forces of nature, specializing in Lightning damage. They're also combatants capable of making good use of two-handed weapons. Bleed and totem-based builds are also viable.

Grim Dawn Shaman

Grim Dawn Warder (Shaman/Soldier) Build - Mjolnir

Summary: Lightning Melee Crit-Bruiser

This build plays similarly to the Commando above, using Lightning instead of Fire. Close in with Blitz and smash away, relying on crits to proc an AoE attack with Upheaval. Seek out Lightning damage and two-handed weapons. Supplement your defenses with resistance boosters from monsters.

Leftover points can be spent on Menhir's Will or another Soldier passive. Toggle on your skills at the start of a session and go to town. Mogdrogen's Pact and Heart of the Wild improve the Health and Energy regeneration and boost Physical damage of allies in the area.

Since you rely so much on crits for Upheaval, invest in Cunning and a bit of Spirit to increase the Lightning damage. Of course, don't forget Physique to survive in melee. Grab Kraken, Tempest, and Spear of the heavens with your Devotion Points.

Shaman

  • Mystery 50/50
  • Brute Force 12/12 > Upheaval 10/10
  • Savagery 16/16 > Might of the Bear 3/3 > Tenacity of the Boar 12/12 > Storm Touched 12/12
  • Mogdrogen's Pact 12/12 > Heart of the Wild 10/10
  • Stormcaller's Pact 12/12

Soldier

  • Mastery 32/50
  • Markovian's Advantage 12/12
  • Fighting Spirit 12/12
  • Menhir's Will 5/12
  • Military Conditioning 10/10
  • Field Command 12/12 > Squad Tactics 12/12

Grim Dawn - Soldier

What the Soldier lacks in flashiness, it makes up for in practicality. Three of the previous builds made use of Soldier as a subclass for its strong passives and bonuses. As a main class, it can be played as a tank or heavy melee hitter, and a firearm build isn't out of the question either.

Grim Dawn Witchblade (Soldier/Occultist) Build - The Tick

Summary: Self-sustaining Vitality Sword-and-Board Tank

Steal health from enemies and use it to fill your own health bar. Using your standard attack bolstered by Cadence, you have a truly obnoxious amount of sustain. Your biggest limiter is running out of things to suck dry. Be sure to cover resistances on higher difficulty levels, especially as a tank.

This build features a whopping 18 leftover Mastery Points, giving you considerable flexibility. Pump stats into the Occultist Mystery, Menhir's Will for emergency healing, or Shield Training to make shields better. Pump Vitality and Vitality Decay damage and go nuts.

You'll require a one-handed weapon and shield. Most points go into Physique, with a bit of Cunning and Spirit as needed to improve your offense or equip trinkets, respectively. As for constellations, go for the Bat, Wendigo, and Rattosh, the Veilwarden (Rattosh is at the bottom of the celestial map).

Soldier

  • Mastery 50/50
  • Markovian's Advantage 12/12
  • Cadence 1/16
  • Fighting Spirit 12/12
  • Military Conditioning 10/10
  • Blitz 1/16
  • Field Command 12/12 > Squad Tactics 12/12
  • Menhir's Bulwark 12/12

Occultist

  • Mastery 32/50
  • Solael's Witchfire 12/12 > Second Rite 12/12
  • Bloody Pox 12/12 > Wasting 12/12
  • Blood of Dreeg 16/16 > Aspect of the Guardian 12/12

Free Points: 18

Grim Dawn - Inquisitor

Requiring the Ashes of Malmouth expansion, Inquisitors rely on mystical artifacts to dispel the Grim Dawn and fight evil. Many specialize in ranged combat, but they can turn their talents to fighting up close and personal. Fire, Cold, Lighting, and Piercing damage are all at their fingertips.

Grim Dawn Inquisitor

Grim Dawn Purifier (Inquisitor/Demolitionist) Build - Tricolore

Summary: Multi-elemental Dual-Pistol Striker

This simple dual-pistols setup relies on several passives and the Fire Strike attack replacer from Demolitionist. Keep your distance and use skills like Flashbang to keep enemies back. Don't neglect resistances, but boost Fire, Cold, and Lightning (Elemental) damage.

With 9 extra Mastery Points, you can add to and upgrade a few different components of the build. Take Vigor to get some resistance to annoying status effects, or improve your Flashbang. You can also boost your mastery if you want more raw stats.

You'll require two one-handed firearms for this build, but that's the only real restriction. Cunning is important to proc critical hit effects, but you'll also want to drop points into Physique (20 or so, more if you want more survivability). As for constellations, Rhowan's Crown and Attak Seru, the Mirage will give you elemental damage bonuses.

Inquisitor

  • Mastery 40/50
  • Ranged Expertise 10/10
  • Bursting Round 10/10
  • Word of Renewal 12/12
  • Deadly Aim 12/12
  • Chilling Rounds 10/10
  • Steel Resolve 10/10
  • Storm Spread 10/10

Demolitionist

  • Mastery 50/50
  • Fire Strike 12/12 > Explosive Strike 12/12 > Static Strike 12/12 > Brimstone 12/12
  • Stun Jacks 1/12
  • Flashbang 1/12 > Searing Light 1/10
  • Flame Touched 12/12
  • Blast Shield 12/12

Free Points: 9

Grim Dawn - Necromancer

Also introduced in Ashes of Malmouth, Necromancers lean even heavier into the minionmancy than Occultists and Shamans. They can also elect to skip pets entirely and instead focus on necrotic spells to deal Vitality and Aether damage with some Cold and Poison sprinkled in.

Grim Dawn Necromancer

Grim Dawn Cabalist (Necromancer/Occultist) Build - Too Many Cooks

Summary: Wow, lots of pets

If your ultimate goal is to chaotically put everything you possibly can on the battlefield, look no further. You and each of your friends should run this and destroy the Grim Dawn through sheer numbers. Mix and match with Shaman totems for an alternative. Focus on your own survival, letting the minions do the heavy lifting.

Your spare 7 Mastery Points can improve any of your various pets, especially on the Occultist side. You may also wish to level up Will of the Crypt to further enhance your skeletons. Adding another active skill to your repertoire isn't a terrible idea, either, even if most of your time is spent refreshing and replacing your various pets. Blood of Dreeg is a good candidate for group healing, but the buffs from Bone Harvest and Soul Harvest may be too hard to give up for the points.

Physique is your most important stat, as you must stay alive. A few stray points put into Spirit will let you equip better items as well. Otherwise, use whatever makes your pets stronger. For constellations, look at Dying God or Mogdrogen the Wolf for solid picks.

Necromancer

  • Mastery 50/50
  • Raise Skeletons 16/16 > Undead Legion 12/12 > Will of the Crypt 1/12
  • Bone Harvest 1/16 > Soul Harvest 12/12
  • Summon Blight Fiend 16/16
  • Reap Spirit 16/16
  • Master of Death 12/12

Occultist

  • Mastery 50/50
  • Summon Familiar 16/16
  • Summon Hellhound 16/16
  • Bonds of Bysmiel 1/12
  • Manipulation 12/12

Free Points: 7

Grim Dawn - Oathkeeper

Added in the Forgotten Gods expansion for Grim Dawn, Oathkeepers are religious zealots who mete out divine justice. Many Oathkeeper builds get into the thick of things with melee. They can dish out Physical and Fire or Acid/Vitality damage, depending on their beliefs.

Grim Dawn Oathkeeper

Grim Dawn Archon (Oathkeeper/Shaman) Build - I Need Six Human Teeth

Summary: Two-handed bruiser with two attack options

Like the Commander and Warder, this is a straightforward two-handed weapon build with an attack replacer. Righteous Fervor and Savagery are both options, and the passives will apply to both. Pick your favorite element between Lightning and Fire and boost appropriately. Cover elemental weaknesses, and you're good to go. Retribution gear can also increase the effect of Retaliation.

Play like the Warder, using Vire's Might as a gap closer. Its range is a bit more limited than Blitz, but it will work for an approach and small AoE. Toggle various skills as needed. You can shuffle around your points to increase your defenses with Mogdrogen's Pact or Heart of the Wild. For more damage, add to Righteous Fervor/Retribution and Savagery/Storm Touched. This build assumes you're using the Shaman's Savagery line, so adjust as needed. Max the Mastery and pick up the appropriate Exclusive Skill with your remaining points.

Your weapon should be two-handed. Put most points into Physique, but look at Cunning and Spirit. Like the Warder, Upheaval will require crits to proc, so Cunning is more important if you're working with a Lightning build. If building with Fire, look at the Commando's Devotions above. Otherwise, check the Warder's. Either way, Kraken is a must-pick for your two-handed build.

Oathkeeper

  • Mastery 50/50 (Fire build) OR 32/50 (Lightning build)
  • Righteous Fervor 16/16 OR 1/16 > Consecration 12/12 > Retribution 12/12
  • Smite 10/10
  • Presence of Virtue 12/12 > Rebuke 10/10
  • Resilience 12/12
  • Divine Mandate 10/12 OR 0/12

Shaman

  • Mastery 32/50 (Fire build) OR 50/50 (Lightning build)
  • Brute Force 12/12 > Upheaval 10/10
  • Savagery 1/16 OR 16/16 > Might of the Bear 3/3 > Tenacity of the Boar 12/12 > Storm Touched 12/12
  • Mogdrogen's Pact 5/12 > Heart of the Wild 5/10
  • Stormcaller's Pact 0/12 OR 1/12

Free Points: 0


Do you have any other Grim Dawn builds you find particularly fun? What's your favorite Mastery? Let us know in the comments below, or find us on social media. Be sure to check back with us frequently for all sorts of gaming and tabletop news.


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