Welcome to the Complete Build & Leveling Guide for the MR. WHACKY Savagery 2H Vitality Ritualist. This build is great for new players, is a boss killer with solid AoE trash support, and can easily farm Ultimate with self-found drops. If you’re looking for a fun melee 2H starter build that absolutely destroys content, this is the place! Note the GrimTools links are available at the bottom of the guide.
In my continued quest to find the best starter builds that can get to and farm Ultimate on self-found gear, I wanted to focus on a melee build that could wreak havoc on bosses while also clearing trash efficiently. This build does exactly that. It utilizes 2H Vitality damage and leech paired with Vitality resistance reduction (RR) make for a potent combination. Orange bosses in Ultimate can die in just 2-3 hits (often in under 2 seconds when Savagery is maxed), and tougher bosses melt with efficiency. It’s fantastic. One thing I really like about this build is the AoE support from Swarm and Storm Totems (converted to Vitality). It’s a powerhouse combination.
This build is only hardcore viable for experienced HC players because of the leech management, which can be challenging with certain boss fights.
I originally saw this build on the Fastest Cleaners in the World thread as the Ritualist of the POWERgamer. I don’t know who the author is – if I find out, I will update the credit section here. I built out my own version (below under GrimTools) but also had some feedback from RektByProtoss, a great streamer.
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:
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: All points in Physique Faction of Choice: Order of Death’s Vigil
This build performs a bit slowly during the initial leveling process but begins to shine around level 50. Devotions play a key part, and it’s only after 40 or so points we start assigning our three key skills, with the final being Savagery bound to Will of Rattosh. The good news is the build is not overly gear dependent during the leveling process, and while the Wildblood Crusher is the BiS weapon, it drops rather often and it’s easy to farm a Reaping Halberd from the Watchers in Forgotten Gods to use until the Crusher drops.
Luckily, our end-game (and BiS) Sacrifice Relic is BiS at level 50 and provides quite the buffed powerhouse for targeted boss damage.
While leveling, you’ll find these items to be very helpful:
20: Spectral Warmaul (2H)
20/40/55: Korvan Reaping Halberd (2H)
25: Gluttony (Relic)
40: Alvarick’s Rebuke or Farmstead Liberator (2H)
40: Lunal’Balgoth’s Girdle (Belt) 22%
40: Dread Lord’s Rylok Mark of Tormented Souls (Medal)
45: Wretched Necessity (Neck)
50: Glyph of Disorder (Movement/escape)
50: Sacrifice (Relic)
58: Soulcatcher (Amulet)
68: Wildblood Crusher (2H)
94: Mythical Wildblood Crusher (2H)
Phase I (Shaman) Devouring Swarm (6) → Savagery (6) → Brute Force (1) → Mogdrogan’s Pact (1) → Feral Hunger (Max) → Savagery (Max) → Devouring Swarm (Max) → Tenacity of the Boar (1) → Heart of the Wild (1) → Storm Touched (1) → Storm Totem (Max) → Corrupted Storm (1) → Tenacity of the Boar (Max) → Heart of the Wild (Max) → Storm Touched (6)
As mentioned, this build can be a bit slow while leveling and there may be instances where the leech doesn’t support the mini-boss battles. Don’t worry. It’s part of the growing process and once you approach level 60, the build really begins to shine. By the time you hit 80 or so, you’ll be destroying everything you come across. Just make sure you keep your resistances maxed (stun resist is very important with this build) and synergize your leech so you’re never without it. The only time you’ll die is if you stop leeching and you get heavy hitters whacking you at the same time. For bosses that like to freeze or shock you, be sure to have some Ointment buffs ready to counter the affects.
While nearly any build can be played in Hardcore, the leech spike requirement of this build makes it a HC option only for the most experienced HC players.
This build is designed to facetank, but always have your movement glyph (I prefer Disorder) ready to get you out of tough situations.
Survival is dependent on life leech from uninterrupted damage of Savagery, but the good news is Swarm also brings in the leech, but not enough to counter heavy hitting bosses (only Savagery can do that). The only time I encountered an issue was when I got stunned or had a room full of projectile mobs on me before I could cast swarm/totem.
Rotation for Trash: Hit with Swarm and drop a Totem and just keep running through. They’ll all die behind you.
Rotation for Bosses (Facetank): Swarm, Totem, Sacrifice, Ill Omen, Reap Spirit, Savagery. Just whack on them with Savagery until the Swarm debuff disappears, and reapply. Also put your totems down when you can. Most bosses won’t last more than 10 seconds.
Rotation for Bosses (Kite): You will occasionally encounter bosses you just have to run from. With these nasties, make sure you always have Swarm on them and your Totems down. You only need Sacrifice up when you’re running in to whack them with Savagery. Basically use the above technique, but after hitting a few times, Glyph away and recover.
There are multiple variations of end-game gear for this build. I’m going to include the “generic” self-found hit “100” version, and then two BiS considerations; one for general content and one for murdering celestials.