Welcome to the Complete Build & Leveling Guide for the BURN THE WORLD Blackwater Cocktail and Rune of Kalastor Purifier. This build is one of the best starting builds in the game, can do all content (save a few super bosses) and easily farm Ultimate for set gear with self-found drops. It’s hardcore viable, new player friendly, and scales very well. If you’re looking for a fun, powerful and top tier starter build with a complete leveling guide, this is the place! Note the GrimTools link is at the bottom of the guide.
JAN 2020 UPDATE! Click here to see a detailed announcement by the Guide Creator about the issues he encountered with the Grim Dawn Community, Forum Moderators and why he moved his guides from the Grim Dawn Forums.
Blackwater Cocktail (BWC) and Rune of Kalastor (RoK) have been around quite some time, yet I rarely see anyone playing with these skills. In my missions to find Top Starter builds to share with the community, I decided to revisit these old skills, and look out… This build is awesome. It outperformed my Acid Ravenous Earth build (as a starter) in both damage and survival. An additional great factor of this build is you start using BWC right at level 3, which begins the mission of melting all content in the game with ease. It’s truly badass – but more importantly, it’s fun!
This build is hardcore viable and can easily reach 100!
Augments are the most important thing for end-game and require honored or revered reputation with a faction to access them. Rule of thumb: as soon as you hit Honored with any faction (which will begin to happen in Elite mode), immediately buy the Writ (for 88,000 iron) that doubles your faction gain. This will help you get to Revered much quicker, and give you access to the necessary augments to help your resists in Ultimate.
Augments List The factions a player gets Honored and Revered with first are generally: Devil’s Crossing, Rovers, Homestead, Black Legion, Order/Kymon, and Coven of Ugdenbog. I’m listing some of the most popular defensive Augments below for reference, which can greatly help in surviving both Elite and especially Ultimate.
40: Arkovian Rose Powder | 10% Elemental Res | Rings/Amulet | Rovers Honored
40: Necrotic Flesh | 15% Bleeding Res | Rings/Amulet | Order Honored
40: Chillheart Powder | 15% Cold & Vitality Res | Rings/Amulet | Order Honored
70: Venomguard Powder | 15% Poison & Acid Res | All Armor | Rovers Revered
70: Nightshade Powder | 7% Pierce & 10% Cold Res | All Armor | Rovers Revered
70: Bladeward Powder | 10% Pierce Res | All Armor | Devil’s Revered
70: Mogdrogan’s Touch | 10% Poison & Acid Res, 7% Vitality Res | All Armor | Devil’s Revered
70: Kymon’s Blessing | 15% Fire Res | All Armor | Kymon’s Revered
70: Kymon’s Conduit | 15% Lightning Res | All Armor | Kymon’s Revered
70: Demonbane Powder | 7% Vitality & Chaos Res | All Armor | Kymon’s Revered
70: Mankind’s Vigil | 7% Aether Res, 7% Chaos Res | All Armor | Black Legion Revered
70: Kingsguard Powder | 7% Pierce Res, 10% Poison/Acid Res | All Armor | Black Legion Revered
70: Flameweave Powder | 7% Pierce Res, 10% Fire Res | All Armor | Homestead Revered
70: Solarstorm Powder | 10% Fire Res, 10% Lightning Res | All Armor | Homestead Revered
70: Wraithtouch Powder | 15% Cold Res | All Armor | Order Revered
70: Spiritguard Powder | 10% Vitality Res | All Armor | Order Revered
70: Spellward Powder | 10% Lightning Res, 7% Aether Res | All Armor | Order Revered
90: Coven Warding Powder | 7% Elemental Res | All Armor | Coven Revered
90: Coven Black Ash | 8% Pierce and Chaos Res | All Armor | Coven Revered
Transmutation This is a new and critically important feature introduced with Forgotten Gods that allows the player to convert set items to another item of the same set. And it works with BLUE (non-legendary) set items! The quest to unlock Transmute is given by Kargon in the Conclave of the Three. The quest unlocks after you’ve progressed to the Oasis area. The Tome is found on Canen’s Corpse. It costs 120,000 iron per transmute, and uses 1 Eldrich Essence (which is quite rare, so make each transmute count!). Luckily, a player put together a guide on Farming Eldrich Essence. Remember, if you can craft the helmet of a set, you can transmute those helmets to other pieces. This means you can craft an entire set just from the helmet recipe!
Another technique is to convert a set item to another random set item. This costs 30,000 iron, scrap and crystals (which is a lot cheaper than converting to the same set). A good example of this technique is if you want the Mythical version of a set item (but you have none, and don’t have the recipe to craft the helm), you can take another mythical set item and convert it to a random set item with the possibility of getting a mythical of the set you’re looking for!
Final Level 100 Stat Distribution: 94 Physique, 11 Spirit Faction of Choice: Kymon
This build can easily make 100 and faceroll Ultimate up to AoM with self-found gear, so don’t worry about having the BiS complete legendary sets. You only need those for the really tough end-game content. The end-game build of this character uses the 3-piece Justice set of armor, however you can also use the Infernal Knight Armor set, or even a Flame Keeper’s Armor set. Whatever you have the gear for, you can make it work!
While leveling, you’ll find these items to be very helpful:
Phase II (Inquisitor & Demolitionist) Deadly Aim (1) → Word of Renewal (Max) → Rune of Kalistor (1) → Vigor (1) → Ignition (Max) → Inquisitor Seal (1) → Steel Resolve (1) → [Demo] Flashbang (1) → [Demo] Searing Light (1) → Aura of Centure (Max) → [Demo] Thermite Mines (6)
Phase III Deadly Aim (Max) → Temper (1) → Steel Resolve (Max) → Blast Shield (Max) → Flame Touched (Max) → Inquisitor Seal (Max) → Null Field (1) Distribute the rest as you see fit!
Crossroad (Chaos) → Fiend (BWC/Fire Strike) → Quill → Hawk → Wolverine → Chariot of the Dead (Flame Touched) → Solael’s Witchblade (BWC) → Magi (RoK) → Viper → Ulzuin’s Torch (Flashbang) → Oklaine’s Lantern → REMOVE Quill → Eel → Behemoth (Aura of Centure)
This build is so strong to play while leveling, most of the time you’ll just drop your BWC and run ahead, knowing you leave a trail of burning screams of anguish behind you. Your goal is to stack fire and burn damage any way you can while keeping good resists and health. I recommend the 100 health per level rule (e.g. at level 50, have at least 5000 – and at level 90 have at least 9000).
While this build can facetank later on with great DA, you are a kiter. You run around and avoid taking any damage, and often kill everything (including mini-bosses) before they even have a chance to reach you. If you do get some great DA and health early on, facetanking with Fire Strike is devastating and you’ll kill bosses 2x (or more) faster. You’ll get a feel for what works or not rather quickly.
Survival revolves around a combination of Blast Shield, Word of Renewal, Flashbang and kiting. Synergizing each of these allows you to down most any content in the game (paired with the right equipment). It takes time to get this down, but the good thing is farming up to Ultimate (and even the beginning of Ultimate) is such a cakewalk, you’ll have plenty of time to get it down.
Rotation for Trash: Toss your BWC or RoK when it’s on cooldown… that’s all. Everything will die behind you as you run away, manically laughing.
Rotation for Bosses (Kite): Thermite in area, BWC in controlled area, RoK behind you as you’re being chased, Flashbang when necessary, and WoR. Forget fire strike – too dangerous.
Rotation for Bosses (Facetank): Seal at your feet, Thermite Mines in front of you, BWC at your feet, RoK in front of you, Flashbang, Word of Renewal (WoR), Fire Strike 3-5 times, rinse and repeat.
Grand Priest Zarthuzellan, the boss at the entrance to the Steppes of Torment dungeon, has a 17% chance to drop a great Codex that gives an absolute ton of damage to BWC and is BiS until you need a shield for defense (or switch to Stronghold Defender at 94).
Mythical Warpfire is the ultimate weapon goal for this build (L94), however it’s very rare. However, if you want some ranged kiting fun with Fire Strike, you can use a Stronghold Revolver with your Stronghold Defender. It’ll be less damage, but the ranged proc of Fire Strike could compensate for hitting tough bosses at range. Give it a try!
Below is the recommend end-game goal for this build, however, as mentioned above, you can also use the Infernal Knight armor set. The Justice Armor Set is simply tankier and allows for better survival.