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Old 04-15-2017, 10:30 AM
LordThundyr LordThundyr is offline
Join Date: Apr 2017
Posts: 33
Default [] Pierce-Trauma Cadence Commando with Silverbolt

Greetings all,

While I've played a fair bit of Grim Dawn I'm yet to clear Ultimate with any toon and my highest level is 82 (not this toon, btw). I play exclusively soft-core because I'm just not that good a player. So look out - there might be some bad assumptions below!

This inspiration for this character came from my old Diablo 2 Amazon who, with 100% Piercing could shoot through enemies at will and trigger "on attack" effects on everything on the screen. When I found Silverbolt with one of my other toons I decided to put this into action (because at the time I honestly didn't even know "pierce damage" in Grim Dawn was not the same as Diablo 2's "Piercing"). Eventually I discovered that only Cadence granted the Amazon's Piercing ability. Soldier it is then, I thought (having never played a Soldier class at the time).

Grim Tools link [includes Gear and Devotions]:http://www.grimtools.com/calc/dVbKLgZJ

I paired Soldier with Demolitionist and basically just threw points into every skill that added base or % Pierce Damage and then realised that Internal Trauma was coming along for the ride so adjusted my devotion path accordingly to include Hammer. I have overleveled these skills, though have no idea whether that's desirable or even necessary. In order to trigger Unknown Soldier I knew I had to have a high OA as well. Ironically the moment this toon could equip Silverbolt to kill Loghorrean on Veteran, I promptly got an improved one from the quest reward for completing Veteran.

The character is currently level 63 (not 85 as per that Grim Tools link, which is why there are so many unallocated skill, attribute and devotion points) and has reached Homestead on Elite difficulty. He has not died since level 48 - getting "the big crossbow" saw a massive leap in DPS, which currently averages 19 700 on the character sheet, and having max run speed even without the Mark of the Traveller I'm able to kite pretty much anything that didn't die on the first Cadence shot. I'm one shrine off unlocking Unknown Warrior's granted skill as it stands.

In terms of gear that I can bring to the toon as levels are gained, I have an Empowered Mask of Delirium, Direwolf Crest, and Windshear Greaves, but that's pretty much it. Not having Crucible or a high level toon with a good clear speed means my gear selection options are likely to remain short for at least some time.

How to play:
1. Buff up! Vindictive Flame (only have it for the HoT), Flame Touched, Field Command, Counter Strike, Oleron's Rage and Silvercore Armament (from Silverbolt).
2. Flashbang to confuse/stun and debuff mob DA by 250 and then mow them down with Cadence and critical damage.
3. Kite anything that lived.

Pros: Seems like good DPS, lots of crits, high run speed
Cons: low resists, 6k health is probably not enough, energy issues (half is reserved for the 6 buffs).

Things I don't know: whether this is viable on Ultimate, how to improve my resists/health/energy, and what gear/components I should keep an eye out for.

Other info:
Skills: I started with Soldier and used Field Command and Counter Strike for the devotion skills from Chariot and Tortoise. I dipped into Demolitionist before maxing Soldier to get Flame Touched and Flashbang, though this was probably not necessary until much later. I don't plan to increase Demolitionist beyond 32. I do plan to max Military Conditioning, Veterancy and Menhir's Will. I don't know whether Markovian's Advantage or Zolhan's Technique trigger with Cadence as my attack - points in the latter might be good if it did.

Attributes: I've put 3 points in Spirit to equip Empowered Warmaster's Pride, otherwise went 1:1 in Physique:Cunning. I have 10 spare, plus at least 22 to come before hitting level 85 (don't know how many are added by quests, maybe 2 or 3 from here to the end of the game). With 1999 OA I'm not sure whether continuing to put points into Cunning is useful due to diminishing returns.

Devotion sequence:
Ascendant -> Harpy
Remove Ascendant -> Eldritch -> Raven
Remove Eldritch -> Chariot of the Dead (bind to any buff/aura skill)
Remove Raven
Order -> Tortoise (bind to any buff/aura skill)
Empty Throne
Ascendant -> Unknown Soldier (bind to Cadence)

Once I've completed Unknown Soldier I'll probably get Assassin's Blade and bind it to Thermite Mine. After that I guess I'll just be taking anything that gives % Health, resists or % OA, but I've not thought about that at this stage. The "bottom line" on Hydra certainly looks tempting though (OA, %OA, base piercing damage), along with a few % health nodes (Lion, Scales, or maybe Behemoth).

I'm encouraged at how the toon has performed, particularly so far in Elite, but could use some tips for the road ahead, especially regarding components, which are a complete mystery to me hence my scattered use of them in the build above.

EDIT: Grim Tools link at level 69 (taking into consideration the comments in the first few posts). http://www.grimtools.com/calc/DV9nylZj

Last edited by LordThundyr; 04-16-2017 at 09:04 AM.
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Old 04-15-2017, 10:30 AM
LordThundyr LordThundyr is offline
Join Date: Apr 2017
Posts: 33

Reserved for future.
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Old 04-15-2017, 10:31 AM
LordThundyr LordThundyr is offline
Join Date: Apr 2017
Posts: 33

Reserved for future too.
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Old 04-15-2017, 08:21 PM
MoridinB MoridinB is offline
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 78

How is your survivability? Hard to imagine you aren't getting wrecked with resistances and health that low. Also, Veterancy is not worth the points. I would say you are better off going with War Cry for more DR on Ultimate.

I would go for Kraken in devotion - massive DPS boost right there. Also, Assassin's mark, as RR is king.


An idea, with devotions. You could make it more offensive minded, but I lean towards staying alive. You will need to stack as much flat pierce as you can, if that is your emphasis.

Definitely use components! They are a great way to supplement DPS, resists, or whatever you are lacking. They will also not bind an item to that character like augments. If you aren't worried about binding you should use augments to up those resists as well - even the difference between 75->80% resist in GD is a significant portion of damage. Also, a Focusing Prism and a couple Mark of Illusions might help those mana issues.

P.S. - Forgot you are ranged, in which case Menhir's won't activate. Requires shield or 2H melee.

Last edited by MoridinB; 04-15-2017 at 09:22 PM.
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Old 04-15-2017, 09:00 PM
Nssheepster Nssheepster is offline
Join Date: Dec 2016
Posts: 1,424

The only gear you have on right now that shouldn't be replaced is your Silverbolt, and your gloves. Thermite Mine is no use to you, it's only good for Fire/Lightning, or Chaos if you get the second piece. Ulzuin's Wrath is mostly a waste right now, maybe one point in it at around 80, but right now you don't have points to spare so easily. Fighting Spirit, Counterattack, Veterancy, all should go. Plan for not keeping Decorated Soldier around, it's not valuable late game and you'd be better off getting your resists from gear and sometimes Devotions. Menhir's Will actually will NOT work for you on this build. 2H Melee Weapon or a Shield is needed to use that skill, says so on the tin. Max Scars of Battle if you can, but prioritize maxing Military Conditioning above that, as that is an amazing defensive boost. Maxing Flame Touched and Vindictive Flame eventually is a good idea as well.

As for Devotions themselves... Unknown Soldier is okay, it's not really the greatest ever but it's a preference thing. As has been said, Kraken is very much needed, as is the skill out the Assassin's Blade constellation. Link that to your Cadence, because you want that going of ALL the time. To get into Kraken you need 5 Blue total... Which means, after you get Kraken and Blade, you might want to grab Harvestman's Scythe, you'll be eligible for it at that point. I suspect your best CURRENT route is to temporarily unspec from Unknown, and then remove Crane. Spec instead into Panther and Lion, getting you the 2 Blue you are short on for only two points, rather than the three it would otherwise cost. Then grab Blade, and remove both Crossroad points. At that point, either respec into Unknown Soldier, and find what you'd like to bind it to, or go direct to Kraken and on from there. If you DO stick with Unknown, keep in mind you're going to need another attack, AND you're going to need to use that attack until it crits to trigger the Shadows. I'm not really sure it's worth it in this specific build, because in this kind of build all you really want to be using is Flashbang and Cadence.
For those who need comprehension aids:
Best/Opinion/Fact http://www.grimdawn.com/forums/showthread.php?p=492058#post492058
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Old 04-16-2017, 06:28 AM
LordThundyr LordThundyr is offline
Join Date: Apr 2017
Posts: 33

Level 68 update time.

First, thank you for the feedback! These posts gave me a lot to think about, not just now but also in future. Note that I made most of the initial changes before I read the posts - hence the later reversal of Devotion and Veterancy.

Gear update: Shooter McGee found Sharpshooter's Glass Eye off a devotion shrine! Along with the planned Direwolf Crest and Karoz giving me a slightly improved Grasp of Unchained Might, this brings the sheet DPS to almost 25k. Max damage dealt is now over 79k! Empowered Mask of Delirium is back in the stash. Given that I seem to be out of poison territory, I switched the leg armour for Empowered Templar's Leg Armour to boost health and elemental resists instead of the poison-focused legs.

Component Update: I put Ectoplasm on each ring and Restless Remains on the hand armour. This has resulted in a gain of almost 1000 energy and I've not had to drink an energy potion since. It may be that 1 Ectoplasm is enough. I will have a look at Focusing Prism and Mark of Illusions as suggested by MoridinB above.

Skill and Devotion Update: I put all skill points into Military Conditioning (maxed it) and Veterancy. I hit 3 devotion shrines, and put those points into Unknown Warrior (completing it) and 1 into Chaos (intending to go to Hydra). This brings my health to a much more respectable 8200 or so. The ADCtH on Restless Remains now rapidly restores my health bar to full, rather than having to rely on stamina, Vital Essence and Food Rations.

The addition of the Spirits from Unknown Warrior (I essentially have 2 up all the time) plus the other changes, have lead to a faster clear speed with much improved safety. The ADCtH means I don't need to kite quite so much, and having 2 meat shields that dish out crits (and respawn next to me) takes a lot of heat off me. I'm enjoying the play style and unless the spirits lose effectiveness I'll probably stick with them. However, the character did die along the way (before I'd made any of these changes, gained a level or hit a devotion shrine), but only because I didn't realise I was shooting at a reflective mini-boss and my internal trauma damage killed me. I managed to not make that mistake again despite facing several reflective mobs through Blood Grove.

Devotion Path: Judging by the replies, quite clearly I should be taking Kraken instead of Hydra! I didn't realise quite how many damage boosts there are in that constellation, especially the 15% boost to crit damage. I did a quick respec, cutting the Chaos node and Crane for Lion and Panther as suggested by Nssheepster. This cost me the 250 health, 5% attack speed node on Ultimate Soldier, which didn't seem to affect my sheet DPS but did drop my health down to 7k8. I can complete Kraken and get Assassin's Mark with the remaining 9 shrines. Harvestman's Scythe looks interesting but I'd need to give up one of those or Unknown Soldier to get it, so my thoughts are that this is something to reconsider later.

Skill path: When I read MoridinB's point about Veterancy I understood why he felt I had wasted points there - the character just doesn't rely on constitution anymore. I made a number of changes, bringing non-pierce related over-leveled skills back down to X/X, cutting Veterancy, Menhir's Will and Counter Strike. I used the regained points to max Temper, push Vindictive Flame to 16/16, and then maxed out Oleron's Rage. Sheet DPS is now 26k5, OA is 2241.

Updated Grim Tools link: http://www.grimtools.com/calc/a2d1K0VJ

Back into the fray...

Last edited by LordThundyr; 04-16-2017 at 06:38 AM.
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Old 04-16-2017, 07:55 PM
LordThundyr LordThundyr is offline
Join Date: Apr 2017
Posts: 33

So quite clearly I'm meant to graduate to Valdun's set - or at least the non-rifle parts anyway. Dropped the blueprint for the hat a moment ago, crafted it, and wow - this set was probably designed with this build in mind.

Direction! Now if only I could find the other parts.

Level 71, into the Necropolis and still cruisin', by the way.
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cadence, commando, pierce, silverbolt

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