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 (Righteous Fervor at start then Guardian later) → Crossroads (Chaos) → Rat → Crossroads (Primordial) → Eel → Murmur (Righteous Fervor) → Ghoul (Veil of Shadow) [PARTIAL] → Spider → Hawk → Jackal → Yugol (Path of the Three) → Revenant (Amarasta’s Blade Burst) → 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.

  12. TYVM for putting in tons of hours making these guides for us. I did quit a few when I was playing WoW like a maniac for 7 years straight, running raids and a major raiding guild. It is a massive undertaking. Thanks again!

  13. Thanks for the support; enjoy and let me know how it goes! Venomblade did see a bit of a nerf with the latest patch, but it should still be rock solid!

  14. TYVM for putting in tons of hours making these guides for us. I did quit a few when I was playing WoW like a maniac for 7 years straight, running raids and a major raiding guild. It is a massive undertaking. Thanks again! btw where do we put attribute points at? I heard almost all in physique?

  15. Thanks for all this information. I’m trying out this build and it’s starting to come together and is pretty fun.

    For skills I’m currently at the end of Phase 2 and I’m finishing up maxing out Path of the Three.

    I’m a little bit confused by the soft maxes mentioned in Phase 3 though.

    Does the soft max mean if the skill has a total of 10 levels then I want the number of skill points I put in, plus any extra skill points from equipment to total 10?

    Phase 3 mentions doing the soft max for Veil of Shadow. If I look at the Grim Tools example it has Veil of Shadow with 3/10 points in it so I’m even more confused.

    I’m a complete beginner here playing on Normal/Veteran just making due with whatever equipment I find and none of it really adds any skill points.

    Any chance you can dumb this down a bit more for me so I know how many points to put into each skill for now?

    Thanks in advance.

  16. Morning Kavi! You are correct; soft cap is exactly that (i.e. your 10 point example). Veil of Shadow only has 1 point in it, but with item modifiers, it shows as 3. When looking at GT point distributions, the low (3-5) points are almost always “just 1” and are simply enhanced with gear. The big thing about soft cap management is once your character levels up and gets better gear, you can pull points out of skills that are higher than the defined soft cap to build other skills and the masteries. I hope this helps!

  17. Noob question here, but what do you mean when you stat “Soft Max” within your skill section on several skills?

    Is that like, say the skill has a max of 12 points, and your wearing a piece of gear that increases said skill by 2 points, then you would only put in 10 points so you don’t go over the max of 12?


  18. Hmm I believe so, if I’m understanding it correctly. Between the skills you have labeled as “Soft Max” if I am ever over that soft max on one skill, i should pull those extra points and add them into one of the other soft max skills?

    For instance, Veil of Shadow has a max of 10 points and I Currently have 8 invested, and Nights Chill also has a max of 10 points but with gear i have 12 points invested. I then should remove the 2 “extra” points in Nights Chill and add them to Veil of Shadow as long as it doesn’t put me over the soft max?

    So you won’t necessarily have all of the “Soft Max” skills capped, given your currently equipped gear?

    One question regarding the same section if I am understanding everything lol this part “Pneumatic Burst (Soft 10) → Shadow Dance (Soft 12)” I’m assuming you mean to make the soft max of those particular skills to the amount you listed, However from what i see in GT, Shadow Dance max is 12, so maybe that should just state Soft Max instead?

    Thanks again!

  19. For instance, Veil of Shadow has a max of 10 points and I Currently have 8 invested, and Nights Chill also has a max of 10 points but with gear i have 12 points invested. I then should remove the 2 “extra” points in Nights Chill and add them to Veil of Shadow as long as it doesn’t put me over the soft max?

    Correct. You should have them “soft capped” per the final L100 GT build. Actually, the number of points into Shadow Dance will be <12 -- just make sure with your item enhancements that it's not >12 (total). If you were to put all 12 points into Shadow Dance it would probably be 16 or something; the 12 soft cap just reminds us to remove any points >12 and put them elsewhere. I hope this helps!

  20. So I think I’ve got this now but I have one more question. So phase 3 mentions:

    Veil of Shadow (Soft Max) → Night’s Chill (Soft Max) → Nidalla’s Hidden Hand (Soft Max) → Pneumatic Burst (Soft 10)

    So for now as I’m just playing somewhat casually and my equipment is pretty much whatever I can find I should max out Veil of Shadow, max out Night’s Chill, max out Nidalla’s Hidden Hand and only put 10 points into Pneumatic Burst.

    Then as I keep playing if I find equipment that makes any of these skills go any higher then I pull points out and move them to something else?

  21. You got it! Just strive to keep them at Soft Cap and not above. You don’t need to move points every time one goes beyond soft due to a new item; I find reviewing the points every 5 levels or so is good practice. 94 is usually the final stop before 100. Enjoy!

  22. Gotta say, hard to stick with this after playing your Burn the World fire build lol Granted I’m only 16 with this build so far, so I’m assuming it’s just a slow starter lol

  23. Sorry but I’ve got another probably dumb question, this time about the devotions.

    I’m at the point where I’m putting points into the Spider constellation and the stars don’t seem that great. The first one is +15 Spirit and Cunning, One is like less damage from insects and spiders, etc.

    And looking ahead to the Hawk that just has +15 Offensive Ability, +8% Crit Damage and +3% Offensive Ability.

    These don’t seem that amazing to me. Is there a specific reason for these constellations that I’m not seeing?

    Meanwhile there are other constellations like that Manticore that seem to have a bunch of poison bonuses. Why not put points into that one instead?


  24. Not a problem! I haven’t played MELTYCAKES in awhile, but if I recall, those constellations are “base” constellations necessary for the points to get to the end-game constellations – and the crit damage and OA modifiers provide more support for BiS and end-game than the boons from Manticore. Not sure if another route would work any better (or at all) for securing Yugol, Revenant, etc. Given I’ve seen other builds follow the same path, I think it’s still optimal. Once you get to end-game and some BiS you can try different configurations – let me know how things go!

  25. Ah I figured it might be something like that. Thanks for the info. I’ve hit level 53 now and this build is getting pretty great.

  26. I have a question in a similar vein as Kavi concerning Devotions, specifically two of the late ones.

    1) I have trouble seeing the point in Jackal. Just one point filling out Ghould would get you the three Chaos affinities needed as a prerequisite. Is it the 2% physical resistance that’s the draw factor here? Or the 6% total speed (I have never understood whether that means both run speed and attack speed … which would explain much)?

    2) I don’t get the 3 points in Ulzuin’S Torch at the end. The 5% offensive abilty make sense I guess, but I am unsure how much the 10% crit damage really.

    I get that three points into Ulzuin’s Torch might be worth more than 3 points into Manticore, but 6 points filling out Manticore is still worse than Jackal and a partial Ulzuin’s?

    Just trying to better understand theorycrafting here. Thanks.

  27. Hey Kit! I’d really have to dive into things again to determine the reasons – and if your concepts might be better (which they might!). My recommendation is to build out your new version in GrimTools (based off the original template) and compare OA/DA, and other factors, and then test it out from a mechanics perspective – definitely let me know how it goes!

  28. Will do, thank you.

    The fascinating thing about GD is that there are so many factors to calculate – it never gets boring.

    I honestly have never been the best theorycrafter in any game, so evaluating whether a 3% better hit chance is better than a 10% damage increase or vice versa is admittedly not my forte. 😉

    Devotions certainly are the most fascinating part of a build to me, so I am always grateful when people like you dive deeply into all the options and intricacies as it very much adds to my enjoyment of the game. 🙂

  29. I have a noob question for you about damage and weapons. If i have a weapon and it tells me if i replace the weapon it will have minus 70 DPS, is it accounting for the stats on the other weapon as well? because if i have a weapon that has say 25% acid and 28% poison on it and I am playing a Dervish so i have bonuses to those stats, are they being accounted for in dps calculation? So i don’t know if i should replace a weapon when it tells me it will have minus DPS but the other weapon has big percentage bonuses to acid and poison which a Dervish needs. I know I didn’t clarify this very well but You probably understand what I am saying. I see this confusion a lot on the internet but no good explanation, lol. TY

  30. Depending on the build, there can be a LOT of mechanics at play, including set buffs, component buffs and other factors as well. I’d need to see the two GrimTools exports to compare the two to answer the questions specifically. With MELTYCAKES a weapon upgrade should always provide a DPS boost – but it depends on the level you are and the other bonuses (e.g. are we talking legendary/mythical weapons?).

  31. Hi. Thanks for the build, it’s really well done 🙂

    One question though, in the skill phase section, I can only see “Righteous Fervor (1)”. But when I look at the lvl 100 grimtool, RF has been maxed out.
    As RF is supposed to be “our main skill”, when should more points be put into it?

  32. Thanks, glad you’re enjoying it! RF gets maxed out at the end, after you get execute. You can put points in before then, but getting to execute is pretty important. I hope this helps!

  33. Damn, I was almost done building when GrimTools went down (and it’s likely going to be down all week they said).

    You wouldn’t happen to remember what you used in the pants, rings (I do remember Black Matriarch was one) and amulet slot in your standard build?

  34. Unfortunately not – we’ll need to wait until GrimTools is back up. I hope this serves as a wake up call to Crate to adopt and host GT since it’s so important for the game.

  35. Unfortunately, GrimTools is down this week – we have to wait until the author sets up new hosting. This emphasizes the need for Crate to host their own version of GrimTools because it’s so needed and used by the community.

  36. Love your guides man. I do have a question. You suggest joining Kymons for this build. Is that due to the chaos resist augments, or is it something else?

    I’m LOVING this build, but killing my Order friends kicks me in the feels every time …

  37. Hey Adam, thanks for the support – MELTYCAKES rocks, by far my favorite melee build 🙂

    If I recall, the decision to go with Kymon was for the augments to support the end-game BiS loadout. But with GrimTools being down, I can’t verify. Apologies for not having a more clear answer at this point. GrimTools being down is causing quite a bit of havoc with the game 🙂

  38. Not a problem- we definitely are struggling without GrimTools! That is exactly what I was suspecting so you confirmed my thoughts.

    Thanks for your continued support. The fact that you post these builds and continue to actually answer all these pesky questions quickly and efficiently is amazing. Hats off to you sir!

  39. I hope Crate wakes up and decides to host GrimTools themselves; it’s such a valuable and critically needed tool, it really shouldn’t be in the hands of a 3rd party. Too many players rely on it.

    Thank you for the feedback – I’m always happy to provide whatever support I can for good players to enjoy the game!

    I look forward to hearing how far you take the build!

  40. I can’t remember the setup – once GrimTools is back up it will show you what skills are registered where. I believe GT should be back up today or tomorrow. Sorry for the inconvenience – we rely so heavily on GrimTools that Crate really should be hosting it… not a 3rd party 🙂

  41. It turns out I pretty much went the same route as amulet and rings go, even without having GrimTools available. 😉

    One thing I have never understoof though is how one does get those bonus attribute points (that don’t seem to come from gear)? My reason for asking is this: As I maxed out I have 472 points in cunning, while you appear to have 516 without putting any points in cunning (511 being needed for the Venomblade sword).

    I can compensate using the Really Great Pants – it’s not optimal, even if it does provide more health. I would love to test the added survivability I figure Barbaros provides.

  42. Hidden Path Quest and Shattered Realm are ways to acquire additional points (beyond the norm). I can’t remember the entire list, but a quick google search should list all the ways you can get the extra points. Also remember each point in your class mastery will provide additional stats. Don’t worry about putting stat points elsewhere as it’s easy to respec at end-game. I hope this answers your question!

  43. Thanks for the great and detailed guide! This is my first time playing Grim Dawn and I really appreciated the leveling guide and skill order. I’m too scared to use any of the consumable components that you slap on your armor and weapons right now, but the build is playing great once you get around level 40 as you mentioned. I have a couple questions though since I’m still trying to understand the overall mechanics of the game.

    I’m assuming the in-game character DPS is inaccurate, since we’re relying on poison (?) for our main damage output. So when I’m equipping items what stats should I be looking for? For example I picked up a dagger that has +118% acid and +84% poison damage among other stats, but it says if I equip it, i’ll lose about 86 DPS. The item it’ll replace has no poison/acid damage though its just an elemental axe with some attack speed. Should I be looking for weapons that have poison/acid and not worry about the ingame DPS?

    You mentioned using Vitriolic Gallstones when you hit level 20 for a good DPS boost, however I only have enough components to craft2 in total. I’m assuming once you use them you can’t remove them and re-use them. So should I be waiting until I pick up a crazy good weapon to use the Gallstone? That also applies to the consumable components that you mentioned would be helpful, should I be saving them or just slap them on? I only have a couple of the ones you mentioned so I’m scared to invest them if I’m just replacing the gear in a couple levels.

    I’n your skills you mentioned leveling to the soft cap, which if I understood it you meant leveling it to the point where additional gear will put it to the intended cap? Ex. pneumatic burst being a cap of 12 if I have gear that gives +3 I should only level it to 9. Is there any downside to leveling it all the way to 12 and then having gear that pushes it over the cap? I did that with one skill and then picked something up that pushed it over so I don’t know if that ruins the build or anything.

    Sorry for the word dump but I really appreciate the guide! I love DoT builds in any game and I’m really happy I picked this guide for my first character. I’ll definitely be referring to this website for future guides for my next characters =) Thanks!

  44. I’m glad you’re enjoying the build! Once you get MELTYCAKES to end-game with solid gear, you’ll love it 🙂

    Yes, the DPS display can be a bit wonky and doesn’t take into consideration all procs from devotions, etc. so if the DPS difference is negligible but you get a ton of poison/acid support, it’s probably better to pursue that. You’ll notice how well it does from a synergistic perspective during gameplay. If you’re just starting out, it’ll take some time to use the complete Gallstones – and yes, you want the complete versions, not the pieces. It’s a HUGE difference. But since this appears to be your first playthrough, don’t worry – just play and be patient, and in a few levels you’ll probably have what you need.

    Regarding soft cap – you are correct. Since each character has different equipment during leveling, it’s important to not put too many points into some of the skills so we can put them elsewhere, so if you get an item that takes a soft cap skill to 14/12 (where it says 12 is the soft cap) you can take 2 points out of the skill and put them elsewhere.

    I hope this helps! Let me know if you have any additional questions, and I look forward to hearing how far you take the build!

  45. May I ask some dumb question:
    Does one point in each skill is enough to clear mobs and leveling up to unlock the path of the three ?
    In the grimtool, you put a lot of points in blade burst of righteous fervor, so I don’t really understand your skill path (I’m new to Grim dawn by the way)
    Many thanks

  46. Yes, for this build, rushing Path of the Three and putting 1 point (per the guide) works like a charm 🙂 You don’t start pumping up the skill points until after you’ve acquired Path of the Three – then you go back and boost skills like Lethal Assault, etc. I hope this helps!

  47. I’m currently level 70 of your build in Elite. What should my DPS be? I’m at 21;000 right now. How can I improve my DPS going into Ultimate. I never seem to find legendary weapons that increase my DPS.

  48. I can’t remember what a good range is at that level, but it’s better to run Act I in Ultimate than Act IV+ in Elite if you want to farm Legendaries. So if you want to start pursuing legendaries, you can farm the Warden, or if you’re strong enough, Steps of Torment (although that’s tough without good gear at that level). Ultimately it comes down to gear drops and what you’re able to equip. With some patience and farming, you’ll definitely get better gear!

  49. Sorry for being obtuse but what do you mean by “Note the below number represent the points you put IN for each stage”. What does stage mean?

  50. What it means is the numbers represent how many points you put in rather than the total number of points that should be in the skill at that point. As the skill progression outlines, we only put one point into each skill until we max out Path of the Three then begin to max the remaining skills. I hope this answers your question!

  51. This build is insane. I’ve got about 10 or so solid builds, some form you and some my own, all fairly strong I’d say, and this one really has surprised me. Just absolutely joy. Nice job. 😀

  52. Out of curiousity, David, have you played this build all the way up to Ultimate SR75?

    I am currently at Ultimate SR60 (doing 5 levels a day so I don’t get bored). SR in general stopped being fun in the 50s due to the boss combinations and the tiny boss fight room, but that is certainly not due to this build. It admittedly has taken me much further than I had anticipated so far.

    I am most grateful to you because Meltycakes has allowed me to farm a lot of recipes, which in turn now allows me to craft a ton of sets and runes.

  53. I’m actually not a fan of Shattered Realm, so once I went through it a number of times, I stopped trying to push it. I know other players have taken this build >75 but that was before the nerf from the last patch. I don’t know if it’s still SR75+ capable – with BiS I think it should be.

    I agree – I think MELTYCAKES is the best (most fun) melee build I’ve played. Glad you’re enjoying it as well!

    I think to push SR, one needs to build a SR-pushing specific character. When it comes to Melee I think cold is still king. Check out Reinan22’s twitch channel – he’s the master at all that is melee with SR pushing.

  54. What is meant by putting one point for each stage? Should put only one point into each skill until phase three when is says to max out?

  55. Thank you very much for your help!

    I have a brief question.

    I found a nice legendary medal but when I try to equip it, my off hand weapon will no longer equip. I’m not sure why they don’t work together. This has happened to me on other occasions. Do you happen to know why I can’t equip both items together? Thank you

  56. You can’t mix melee with ranged. So if you’re trying to equip a 1H Gun or Crossbow and a 1H sword, that won’t work. My guess is that’s what you’re trying to do? For specifics I’d need to know the exact items you’re trying to duel wield.

  57. I am using the Mad Claw Queen 1H weapon which requires around 460 Cunning. My equipped medal adds 35 to Cunning. Therefore, if I try to change out my medal for a better one, it will no longer allow me to carry my Mad Claw weapon. Is it worth putting some points in Cunning to keep the mad claw weapon or are there much better weapons that don’t require Cunning? I’m have just started Ultimate difficulty and am level 84.

    Thank you

  58. If the DPS from the weapon(s) outperforms other drops, it’s not a problem to temporarily put points into a supportive stat; you can re-roll them at end-game once you start getting BiS items.

  59. Are there better weapon components than the Vitriolic Gallstone? I have been using them the entire game thus far.

    Thank you

  60. I haven’t found the venom blade set yet but I have a mythical venom lash, is it worth putting points into spirit to use it? It seems to go well with my amaratsan crusher

  61. I have been working my way through Ultimate with your build. There are certain bosses that just one shot me and the only way to kill them is to run in circles around them until my pets kill them. I can kill most packs quickly without dying, but it is annoying getting one shotted. I’m having trouble getting any stun resistants. Is there a way to increase my stun resistance? Also what do I need to do to be able to better tank some of these bosses? I have resistances from augments but I need more. I have followed your build as close as possible. Any tips on fighting bosses with this build?

    Thank you!

  62. Just to confirm, are you running the MISS MELTYCAKES build? You mentioned Pets (I assume you mean Guardians) — but making sure you aren’t running the Skelemancer 🙂

    Also, can you post a GrimTools of your current character?

  63. I’m using the Summon Guardian skill you have listed above. How do I post GrimTools of my character? Sorry for being so new.

  64. If you’re trying to run Ultimate, the issue is your resists. Your cold, blood, Aether and Chaos need to be maxed out. I bet if you max those, your survival rate will skyrocket. The rest looks fine for a SSF character at L95. Replace your Chest and boots components, etc. and get components in your rings and belt. I hope this helps!

  65. Thank you for your help!!! I gave up on my character because some of the bosses kill me instantly when I hit them. I don’t even get a chance to fight. It’s almost like they have instant retaliation damage and I don’t have a chance. I increased my resistances as much as I can right now, but it doesn’t seem to matter. I used to play my soldier build and I could tank almost every boss. I must be doing something wrong.

  66. Oh dang! Do you recall what bosses did that, and was this in Ultimate and only Ultimate? So far MELTYCAKES seems to be one of people’s favorites, and even with the recent changes, it’s still going strong. I spoke with a friend who mains MELTYCAKES (and has been playing it over a month) and he didn’t encounter any insta-death issues like that (but he had maxed resists the whole time in Ultimate). Did you max all of your resists and still have the same issues?

  67. I increased my resists to max all of them, but it came at a great cost to my DPS. I went from $50K to $30K. Killing monsters is now harder but I don’t die as easily.

  68. Yes now that I don’t get one shotted all the time. By the way, what skills would you recommend adding to my skill tree now that I have extra points?

  69. Well, im very new to GD…. I struggle with your recommended Devotion points. I dont really know how to spend them effectively. It’s my first Char so far and I’m a little confused about devotion…

  70. Morning Mike! Each build has a step by step devotion point distribution process; for example, with this build the devotions start out as:
    Crossroads (Eldrich) → Scorpion (RF/Guardian) → Crossroads (Chaos) → Rat → Crossroads (Primordial) → Eel → Murmur (RF)

    This means put your first point into the Eldrich (Green) Crossroads, and then put all points into Scorpion then bind Righteous Fervor (Guardian is later), then put a point into the Chaos (Red) Crossroads, then fill out Rat, etc. Don’t worry, you’ll get it after just a day or so – GD is a learning process for new players. Let me know if you have any other questions – but most importantly, just play and have fun!

  71. Hi, ty for Your guide im new to GD, I followed devotion path until Jackal but only have 14 points on eldrich 8 point on chaos and 6 point on ptimoldial and can’t get to yugol. I have 3 devotion point available but im stock,I have unlocked 38 point so far(counting the 3 I have not spend yet) having fun but getting frustrate that can’t get it right. don’t know what I’m doin wrong. thx for any advice You can give me.

  72. Did you do the partial points for Ghoul? Remember, we don’t take that last node. Can you post a GrimTools link to your character? The issue is probably that 1-2 points are misallocated (and often very difficult to see for new players) or one (or more) of the devotions is missing a final point to complete it. Note you can reset your devotion points and build them out again to make sure. If you reset, you can follow the steps exactly and should be solid.

  73. Hey David thx for response, I went over the constellations (again) and was missing the left point on the spider constellation. would link char but no idea how to. I’m playing with anything i get on loot and still going strong even i know I’m missing lots of stuff(well I’m on veteran diff. only) Thank You again for response really enjoying Your build.

  74. That’s a good question; if I recall it’s due to the +1 in all Oathkeeper skills. I think the overall DPS and Defense comes out better with that. Definitely worth trying both and seeing which one “feels” like it performs better. If you give it a shot, let me know the results!

  75. Re Justin:

    I just beat Elite with a version of this character at level 70, and let me tell you she kicks serious ass. She ate Alkamos and Rashalga for breakfast (Alkamos went down in under eight seconds) on Elite level 71. I rode with Sanctuary for a relic up until Necropolis and then switched to Malediction and the dps shot up to 36k dps. Loghorrean died a gruesome death.

    It’s possible that Meditation is better than Malediction for an acid dervish but I have no idea since I don’t have the damn recipe for it yet. I’ll tell you when I farm the damn thing. A specific one can be hard to come by sometimes.

    I used Malediction for a long time on my Witch Hunter as well but had to switch up when I got close to lvl 100. It’s not always a max level relic for a character, but in theory it could be.

    Just go with what feels good. And Malediction feels yummy.

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