MISS MELTYCAKES Dual Wield Melee Acid Poison Dervish

Welcome to the Complete Build & Leveling Guide for the MISS MELTYCAKES Dual Wield Melee Acid Poison Dervish. This build is great fun for new players, easy to play, can complete all campaign content with self-found gear, is solid for farming Ultimate, and is a top-rated BOSS FARMER. If you’re looking for a fun melee DoT build that melts bosses, has great farming abilities, scales well, and has fantastic end-game potential, this is the place!

The GrimTools link is available at the bottom of the guide.

Grim Dawn does melee better than most other ARPGs on the market, making these builds not only fun, but very powerful. As a player who loves Damage Over Time (DoT), I wanted to create a solid melee boss-hunting and “melting” build that could do all content but was also capable of doing end-game super bosses while also being powerful with self-found gear (prior to acquiring the best in slot legendaries). This build delivers, and is great at boss farming!

Focusing on Acid and Poison melee damage, the Dervish can embrace both facetanking and hit & run techniques provided through the Nightblade class while also ensuring great DPS and defensive support through high resists, DA and armor absorption. Using Righteous Fervor as our main attack paired with a number of heavy-hitting devotions covering both single target and AoE, our biggest defensive layer is killing everything quickly and efficiently. We also have fantastic resistance reduction through devotions and our buddies from Celestial Presence and Night’s Chill.

While I played the recommended GrimCalc version, I am also including two additional variations that are capable of Crucible 170 (4:48) and Ravager (1:44).

The idea for a Dervish build was presented by one of my fellow Twitch users roughly a month ago; he shared a GrimCalc (I’m not sure as to the origins) that I made adjustments to myself. Malagant also leveled a Dervish to 90 in just 10 hours (I remember watching parts of his stream). Here is a video of the first alternative Dervish build completing Crucible 170 in under 5 minutes (credit to Marek Kasprzyk). Here is a video of the second alternative Dervish build killing ravager in under 1:45. All of the builds are variances of the Venomblade set and the devotions are nearly identical except the crucible build focuses on added Chaos damage.

Before we begin, I recommend these mods to anyone playing Grim Dawn, especially new players. Note none of these mods cheat or change the core of the game – they just add quality of life:

GrimInternals (https://forums.crateentertainment.com/t/tool-grim-internals/38773
This is hands down the best mod currently out for Grim Dawn. Automatic component pickup and monster name/labeling with legendary drop Sound FX are just a few reasons why every Grim Dawn player should have this.

GD Item Assistant (https://forums.crateentertainment.com/t/tool-grim-dawn-item-assistant/30491)
This mod allows the player to store an unlimited number of items they find. This is fantastic because it supports “account building” with extending storage to be anything the player feels is important in the future or for another build.

Item Color Filter (https://forums.crateentertainment.com/t/tool-rainbow-filter-item-highlighting/42765
A fantastic visual modifier to the game that shows item prefixes and suffixes in colors based on their damage/resist/skill type. Extremely popular and valuable. Note this is for the WanezGD Tool, which auto-installs and manages the rainbow filter. Download the setup.exe for the Tool.

Resistances are everything in Grim Dawn. If you die, it’s probably because your resists were low. Below is a list of recommended components that are commonly used throughout the leveling process:

Components List

  • 7: Wardstone | 7% Elemental, 15% Bleed Resistance | Amulet & Medal
  • 15: Silk Swatch | 18% Pierce & Bleed Resistance | Shoulder, Chest & Leg Armor
  • 15: Imbued Silver | 20% Chaos Resistance & 15% Bleeding Resistance | Mainhand/Offhand (Toggled Item Skill)
  • 15: Purified Salt | 20% Aether Resistance | Mainhand/Offhand (Toggled Item Skill)
  • 15: Antivenom Salve | 20% Poison & Acid | All Armor
  • 15: Unholy Inscription | 10% Vitality, 15% Bleeding | Hand Armor
  • 20: Runestone | 12% Aether & 12% Elemental Resist | Head Armor
  • 20: Soul Shard | 20% Vitality Resistance | Ring, Amulet, Medal
  • 20: Mark of the Traveler | 8% Movement Speed & 10% Slow Resistance | Boots
  • 24: Sanctified Bone | 18% Vitality, 12% Chaos | Chest & Head
  • 24: Aether Soul | 16% Aether Resistance | Amulet & Medal

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) to double 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: Slith Venom | 15% Poison, Acid & Bleeding Res | Rings/Amulet | Devil’s Honored
  • 40: Gazer Eye | 10% Aether Res | Rings/Amulet | Devil’s Honored
  • 40: Corpsefiend Tentacle | 10% Vitality Res | Rings/Amulet | Devil’s Honored
  • 40: Divine Flame | 10% Elemental Res | Rings/Amulet | Kymon’s Honored
  • 40: Blessed Ashes | 15% Fire & Lightning Res | Rings/Amulet | Kymon’s Honored
  • 40: Consecrated Silver | 12% Chaos Res | Rings/Amulet | Kymon’s 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

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 setAnd 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 EssenceRemember, 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!

This build starts out a bit slow as we whack away with our default attack and Amarasta’s Blade Burst. But as we start getting points into the top layer support of Nightblade (Belgothian, Nidalla, Amarasta, etc.) even our default attacks start hitting quickly and efficiently. Once we start building the Oathkeeper skillset, everything slowly begins to come together and once we hit our 40’s, we really begin to tear through everything (the Scorpion Sting devotion helps with AoE).

You’ll be amazed at how quickly not only trash mobs melt, but bosses as well. Once you start the Phase III buildout of skills, the Dervish becomes a powerhouse of death.

First, always make sure you have your Buffs up: Path of the Three, Veil of Shadow, Presence of Virtue, and your Envenomed Weapons (x2 – yes they stack!).

The Devotions that proc are: Rumor (Righteous Fervor), which provides a debuff, Scorpion Sting (Guardians) which causes Poison and Defensive reduction, Tainted Eruption (Ring of Steel), which is an AoE (10 meter) Poison hit, and Raise the Dead (Amarasta’s Blade Burst) which summons skeletons that slow and RR your targets.

The General Play Technique is to Shadow Strike (SS) to your targets, use your AoE, and whack away with Righteous Fervor. The DoT is good enough to where you can often leave a group of melting targets behind as you jump to the next set of targets, only to have your previous victims fall dead from the acid and poison DoT.

Survival revolves around top tier resistances, armor absorption (we get 100% with this build and the right gear) and simply killing your targets quickly and efficiently. Hit and run techniques are also great with this build as we can whack a boss to DoT them and then run away to avoid attacks while the damage is still ticking.

Rotation for Trash: Pneumatic Burst (PB) always up. SS in the middle of the pack and execute Amarasta’s Blade Burst (ABB) and Ring of Steel (RoS). That should be enough to kill everything around you (or DoT them enough to die in a few seconds). If you want to hit a few times with RF go for it, but this build quickly jumps from pack to pack using Shadow Strike.

Rotation for Bosses:: PB is always up. Ascension, SS, hit with RF x3, ABB, RoS, and repeat with SS. Run off to kite as your DoT damage does its thing.

Final Level 100 Stat Distribution: All points in Physique.
Faction of Choice: Kymon’s Chosen and Cult of Dreeg (FG)


This build utilizes bonuses from the Mythical Venomblade (Vileblade Pact) set (Weapons, Helm and Jacket) with two pieces from the Perdition set (Shoulders and Gloves) to help with armor and resistances. Note the Mythical Venomblade (Vileblade Pact) set is different from the non-mythical Venomblade (Venomblade Pact). While the non-mythical version is solid, you definitely want to pursue the mythical complete set. The great news is this build rocks prior to securing all the set items, and since both the Mythical and non-Mythical sets can drop helmet recipes, each can be crafted once you have the helmet recipes.

The good news is there are a ton of acid and poison weapons and other items you can use as you level up. These will easily carry you into Ultimate so you can begin to farm the end-game sets.

One important note. Vitriolic Gallstones are fantastic and will put your damage through the roof! Make sure you always have one in each of your weapons once you hit level 20. Remember, you have to toggle the buff – make sure each one is always on! They stack!

While leveling, you’ll find these items to be very helpful:

  • 8+: SlithTongue (1H) Rotting Corpse in Cavern
  • 18: Bone Talisman (Relic)
  • 20: Vitriolic Gallstone (1H Component)
  • 21: Hound’s Bite (1H)
  • 30: Manticore Longsword (1H) MI
  • 35: Ivory Talisman (Relic)
  • 35: Rhowari Gavel (1H) Rovers Faction
  • 36: Rift Scourge Slicer (1H) MI
  • 40: Perdition Armor (Multiple)
  • 40: Fused Carapace Armor (Chest)
  • 50: Sacred Talisman (Relic)
  • 50: Venomlash (1H)
  • 50: Venomspine Greaves (Boots)
  • 50: Venommancer’s Rainment (Chest)
  • 58: Empowered Final March (Boots)
  • 58: Scion of Noxious Wounds (1H)
  • 60: Meditation (Relic) awesome
  • 65: Murmur’s Kiss (Belt)
  • 75: Fist/Razor of Venomblade (1H/OH)
  • 84: Dreeg Cleaver (1H) Cult of Dreeg (FG) Faction


Our first goal is to build out the base Nightblade skills. This gives us a solid starting point for general default attack damage (along with ABB and SS) while we pursue the next stage, Oathkeeper. This is when we start using Righteous Fervor and rush to Path of the Three while putting one point in the defined skills. The third phase focuses on maximizing the Nightblade while pursuing Soft Caps. This is important; we don’t want certain skills to go over the soft cap value (such as 9/8 vs. 8/8) but since these values changes as we equip new gear, we need to keep an eye on those soft cap skills that are over the max value so we can remove points and put them elsewhere. Keep this in mind as you take the character to end-game. We wrap up by maximizing the RR with our Guardians and touching up the remaining skills.

Note the below number represent the points you put IN for each stage, not the final value – unless it states Soft, which means you want to keep the value (adjusted) no higher or lower.

Phase I (Nightblade)

Dual Blades (1) → Amarasta’s Blade Burst (1) → Veil of Shadow (1) → Belgothian’s Shears (1) → Pneumatic Burst (1) → Nidalla’s Hidden Hand (1) → Shadow Strike (1) → Phantasmal Armor (1) → Amarasta’s Quick Cut (1) → Lethal Assault (1) → Shadow Dance (1) → Night’s Chill (1)

Phase II (Oathkeeper) Rush Path of the Three

Righteous Fervor (1) → Dreeg’s Reproach (1) → Presence of Virtue (1) → Resilience (1) → Consecration (1) → Haven (1) → Ascension (1) → Rebuke (1) → Clarity of Purpose (1) → Summon Guardian (1) → Retribution (1) → Scion of Dreeg (1) → Celestial Presence (1) → Path of the Three (Max)

Phase III (Nightblade)

Lethal Assault (Max) → Veil of Shadow (Soft Max) → Night’s Chill (Soft Max) → Nidalla’s Hidden Hand (Soft Max) → Pneumatic Burst (Soft 10) → Shadow Dance (Soft 12) → Ring of Steel (1) → Anatomy of Murder (1) → Nidalla’s Justifiable Ends (1) → Whirling Death (1) → Elemental Awakening (1) → Merciless Repertoire (Max)

Phase IV (Oathkeeper)

Celestial Presence (Max) → Execution (1)

Feel free to put the rest of the points where you would like to finalize the tree. Remember to keep an eye on your soft caps!


Crossroads (Eldrich) → Scorpion (RF/Guardian) → Crossroads (Chaos) → Rat → Crossroads (Primordial) → Eel → Murmur (RF) → Ghoul (Veil of Shadow) [PARTIAL] → Spider → Hawk → Jackal → Yugol (Path of the Three) → Revenant (ABB) → Abomination (Ring of Steel) → Remove Crossroads (Primordial, Chaos) → Ulzuin’s Torch [PARTIAL]

As covered above, this build utilizes the Mythical Venomblade (Vileblade Pact) set and two Perdition set items for support. One of the alternative builds (the Crucible 170 in under 5 minutes) uses green items, but the Ravager kill build also uses the Perdition set, showing it’s solid for most end-game content.

Below are additional complete build guides you might be interested in!

  1. This build has been amazing for me so far (Veteran, level 47). I have the Perdition armor and a pair of Hounds Bites with Vitriolic Gallstones (and high resistance all around). At this point, I’m shredding mobs with minimal effort. Even bosses are easily managed with hit-and-run tactics, as the DoT on this build is ridiculous. (Also, the Guardians of Empyrion seem completely busted.) Anyway, I’m an experienced ARPG player but fairly new to Grim Dawn, and I really appreciate having a guide like this that is detailed and helpful throughout the leveling process. Thank you!

  2. Thanks a ton for the feedback! This is my favorite melee build – a complete blast to play – and when you get BiS gear at end-game, it just melts … everything 🙂

  3. Why we don’t want some skills go over soft cap? Will it hurt the build/gameplay in some way?

  4. Since this build uses so many different skills, it’s a good mechanism to keep track of when you should put points into other skills. There are certain skills that have a threshold based on the build type, but for MISS MELTYCAKES it’s more about value management so the player can distribute the points elsewhere.

  5. Oh my god, this build is incredible. I’m only level 40, but dear gods, things seem to melt so fast! Having a good bit of cold damage to periodically freeze things is fantastic as well. I’m having a blast with this. Thanks so much for sharing it! 🙂

  6. You’re very welcome! It’s definitely one of the most powerful builds I’ve ever played – and it’s fun! In addition to being Crucible and super-boss (Ravager, etc.) viable, it’s also fantastic at hunting Nemesis 🙂

  7. Unfortunately, they are all random drops. However, if you find the helmet recipe, you can craft and transmute the helmets to other pieces of the set.

  8. Considering that we have to spend 18 points just to reach Execution tier, is it worth it considering that it does not reduce enemy resistances anymore?

    Was it nerfed, by the way? Wikia pages state that previously it was going over 20% chance and reduced enemy resistances, but now it is 20% chance cap and no RR.

    Since bosses are generally highly resistant to these hp reduction skills, maybe it is better to spend all those points on something else?

  9. Hey Frozen; well, it’s 10 points (since we take Circle of Slaughter) and I believe a 20% chance to do 2.5x damage with 17% health reduction is well worth it – some builds also like to put a point (or more) into Nightfall. I can’t think of a better use of points given the core layout of the build…

  10. Thanks for the replies. One more question: what can you say about Malediction relic instead of Serenity?
    I do not have Serenity yet,so I am using Malediction, which is a significant boost to damage. Is switching to Serenity essential to survival, does it help a lot?

  11. Yah Serenity is a big deal and makes a substantial difference (especially with survival), but Malediction is good to use until you can craft Serenity.

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