Grim Dawn – The Acid Dervish Build (Invincible Dance of Blades)

Other Grim Dawn Guides:

How This Build Works

A Dervish is the combination of a Nightblade and an Oathkeeper. Focussing on acid & poison damage and healing gets the best out of both classes and makes this build very viable for the endgame.

The Oathkeeper grants you Righteous Fervor, a fast single target attack that can have (nearly) 100% acid damage right at the start of the game. This attack doesn’t need a lot of skill points to be effective. So we can focus on putting our points in the awesome supporting skills of the Nightblade.

Nightblades have area of effect attacks that can be activated off of your main attack. This alone makes Righteous Fervor viable for group fights, because fast hits mean more chance of activating the AoE-skill.

They also have some skills which boost poison and acid damage. Most notable is Night’s Chill which is an effect of an aura that decreases the resistances of enemies by a staggering 30%. And our devotion skills will decrease their resistances even more.

Pneumatic Burst is a fantastic buff. It makes you even faster, allows you to evade a large amount of attacks, buffs your life regeneration and can be pressed every five seconds to heal yourself. In this build we will combine this with the health aura of the Oathkeeper, more heals & health from devotion and a constant life leech from our fast attacks.

Shadow Strike is an excellent addition to the whole build. In the beginning, it is used as a movement skill. Then AoE-damage is added (that can sometimes be so huge that you only have to jump into a group with Shadow Strike and then everyone will die from the poison). AoE-Life Leech will be added later in the game. This makes Shadow Strike basically also a full heal that can be pressed every 2,4 seconds.

The result is a warrior that deals a ton of damage, can facetank the Logherrean and can do pretty much every content on Ultimate and in the Crucible.

And most importantly: It is very fun to play!


Bind Shadow Strike to the left mouse button and Righteous Fervor to the right mouse button. So when you run around by holding down the left mouse button you just need to hover it over the next group of enemies and your char will charge at them. Very convenient.

When you’re fighting focus your attacks on bigger foes. The weak ones will die from your area of effect damage. But don’t overdo it. You don’t want to stand it the middle of effects or large groups for too long.

Keep the Pneumatic Burst up all the time. The buff lasts for 24 seconds so it doesn’t need to be spammed.

Hit your current enemy with Shadow Strike whenever it is ready.

Shadow Strike could also be used for hit & run tactics.

Blade Barrier works as an emergency shield. You can’t deal damage while it’s up. But it’s a nice way to survive until your heals are ready or until you can jump out of the group of enemies with Shadow Strike.

Attribute Points

Spend all points in physique. But be aware that good weapons will need about 461 cunning (level 75 sword) / 511 cunning (level 94 sword). For the level 94 sword I’ve spent a total of nine points in cunning and boosted the rest with the Anatomy of Murder passive skill and devotion points. Since you won’t have the exact same gear I recommend to spend about 10-12 points in cunning.

Skill Points & Devotion

Devotion Points

Devotion points are important for this build as they grant you a lot of damage and healing / health. Your main goal will be to get to the Abomination and Yogol nodes.

  • 1. Activate the red point in the crossroads. (1R)
  • 2. Max out the Ghoul node. This will grant you life leech and an emergency heal. Remember to bind the heal to a skill (e.g. Pneumatic Burst). (4R)
  • 3. Respec the red point in the crossroads. (3R)
  • 4. Max out the Wretch node. (5R 3B)
  • 5. Activate the green point in the crossroads. (1G 5R 3B)
  • 6. Max out the Scorpion node. Bind the skill to Righteous Fervor. (6G 5R 3B)
  • 7. Max out the Manticore node. Bind the skill to Righteous Fervor. Bind the skill from the Scorpion node to Shadow Strike. (1P 7G 5R 3B)
  • 8. Respec the green point in the crossroads. (1P 6G 5R 3B)
  • 9. Max out the Lizard node. (1P 6G 5R 7B)
  • 10. Max out the Murmur node (left of the Manticore). Bind the skill to Whirling Death. (1P 8G 7R 7B)
  • 11. Max out Scholar’s Light, Fox and Behemoth in any order. Bind the heal from the Behemoth node to a skill (e.g. Resilience). (1P 20G 9R 7B)
  • 12. Activate every point in Abomination except the two skills (Tainted Eruption & Abominable Might). If you prefer Tainted Eruption over Black Blood of Yugol from the Yugol node, feel free to activate it.
  • 13. Max out the Yugol node. Bind the skill to another one (e.g. Veil of Shadow).

One point is left. You may spend it where you want. E.g. in the Empty Throne for -15% stun duration, in the Eye of the Guardian for another +15% damage or in the Revenant for energy leech.

Skill Points

This is the “core” of the build. You may spend 24 additional skill points for the skills you want.

First of all, it is not vital to do everthing exactly the same as I write. I see this more like a “guide” to reach the goal. So feel free to vary your char like you want to. E.g.: In the early game, the AoE-damage isn’t the best. If this is bugging you just spend more points in Belgothian’s Shears / Amarasta’s Quick Cut or focus on getting to Whirling Death.

What you want at the start of the game is of course your attack skill. So put a few points in Righteous Fervor. Then boost Oathkeeper to level 15 and put your points in Consecration.

When your character reaches level 10 you can choose Nightblade as your second class. Then you want to put one point in Dual Blades (makes dual wielding available) and boost Nightblade to level 5. Put one point in Belgothian’s Shears and a few in Pneumatic Burst.

In the next phase, you can boost Nightblade to level 15, spend one point in Shadow Strike, one in Amarasta’s Quick Cut, in Dreeg’s Reproach (the acid conversation of Righteous Fervor) and in Phantasmal Armor. The rest goes in your Oathkeeper skills, Pneumatic Burst and its link Breath of Belgothian.

Now boost Nightblade to level 25. One point in Blade Barrier helps you surving until you have decent life leech and regeneration. Respec Belgothian’s Shears and Amarasta’s Quick Cut and max out Whirling Death. Put a point in Veil of Shadow and max out Night’s Chill. Also put points in Shadow Dance and Nidalla’s Justifiable Ends.

Boost Nightblade to level 32. Max out Merciless Repertoire. Put a point in Presence of Virtue, five in Haven and one in Resilience. Max out Dual Blades and Nidalla’s Hidden Hand.

In the last phase, you can boost Nightblade to the maximum and put your points in Shadow Strike and its link Nightfall.

It doesn’t matter very much at which time you put points in Anatomy of Murder. You can max it out for a better chance to deal critical strikes. Or you can just spend a few points to have enough cunning for the next fancy Sword.

As I wrote in the beginning you will have 24 skill points left. I used them to push the Oathkeeper to level 32 and put one point in Retribution, Rebuke and Ascension. I’ve spent the rest in Clarity of Purpose. The only reason I did that is because I was unhappy with stuns etc., because they can be a real threat for this build. But this is of course just one way to spend these points. Just use them how you like.

The exclusive skill of the Oathkeeper (Path of the Three) would be nice to have. But you will have to spend a ton of points just to get to this skill. And in my opinion it isn’t worth it, because we already have 100% conversion for Righteous Fervor and more than enough +damage from other sources.

Items and Their Addons

There are countless of items and item combinations so it’s no use to post my entire gear here.

But if you’re asking what kind of gear you should wear, the most important things you want to have on your items are:

  • 1. +resistances – (components and augmentations will help very much to max them out).
  • 2. +flat acid & poison damage – (we have +2000% acid damage. Therefore it is better to add more flat damage instead of more +%-damage).
  • 3. conversion of physical or pierce damage to acid damage – (physical will boost the damage of Shadow Strike very much, because you’ll most likely have weapons that deal physical damage. Pierce will boost all attacks, because the damage of Dual Blades will be converted).
  • 4. +level of skills (preferably for Righteous Fervor).
  • 5. +chance to avoid melee or projectile attacks.
  • 6. +% of Offensive Ability.
  • 7. +attack speed.
  • 8. +% of acid & poison damage (preferably without a longer poison duration).
  • 9. +health & health regeneration.

It isn’t difficult to find decent weapons for this build. Every one handed melee weapon with a lot of +acid & poison damage and attack speed will do. To get the best out of your weapon, I recommend to use Vitriolic Gallstones in both weapons. So you can have two more auras that increase your damage. The physical to acid conversion will boost the damage of Shadow Strike significantly, since now 20% of its damage is modified by all your acid damage bonuses (provided that your weapons deal physical damage). I also recommend to augment both weapons with either the Blight Beast Pustules from the Coven of Ugdenbog or the Outcast’s Venom from the Outcast.

The latter will do a bit more damage.

The best weapons I’ve found so far are these:

Last but not least here are a few items that are very useful for this build and can be obtained rather easily:

These shoulders can be found by the dozen in the late game. Got mine in Malmouth. They alone boost your damage by about 2000. The health bonus is also pretty neat.

This is the relic you want to have. Really a must-have. It boosts the damage of Righteous Fervor by about 4400 and Shadow Strike by about 8000.

If you don’t have the recipe for this relic, you can use the relic from the quest in Old Arkovia where you have to search the elder (on Ultimate). After finding him return to the Rover camp and tell them that you didn’t find the relic.

This belt can be crafted. The recipe can be purchased from the Solael cult (honored reputation needed). It has outstanding defensive stats. The heal doesn’t seem to be much, but it has only 4 seconds of cooldown and can therefore be a decisive factor.

Volodymyr Azimoff
About Volodymyr Azimoff 13365 Articles
I love games and I live games. Video games are my passion, my hobby and my job. My experience with games started back in 1994 with the Metal Mutant game on ZX Spectrum computer. And since then, I’ve been playing on anything from consoles, to mobile devices. My first official job in the game industry started back in 2005, and I'm still doing what I love to do.

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