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The Carnival: a guide To peTS By, Maya

Index: 1. Introduction 2. General Guide to GrimDawn 3. Classes 4. Pets 5. Builds 6. Beginner’s Guide to Pets 7. Crucible & Shattered Realms 8. How to Make Your Own Build 9. Useful Tools 10. Abbreviations 11. Conclusion

Note: The guide is made with the assumption that you have both Ashes of Malmouth and Forgotten Gods Expansions. If you do not have them, then some information presented will not make any sense.

INTRODUCTION Who I am, is not important. We are all but faceless names here anyway. But what is important is what I have to offer you, stranger. The Carnival is, as the name suggests a festival; a festival of man and beasts. I could tell you more about it, but you won’t listen and probably just berate me for wasting your time. So instead, let me just show you that which has led you here. The prize at the end, or perhaps I should say, beginning of your journey. Let’s get right to it, shall we?

As the sand trickles down in the hourglass, we shall find you all you need to carve your name in the Hall of Heroes. And while I cannot lead you to your fame and glory, I hope to show you the way to immortality. Whether you seek to bind Eldritch creatures to your will, or reap and use the very Souls of your fellow man or perhaps a more noble approach in becoming a simple master of Beasts blessed my nature, you will find your path here.

But I must also warn you of something. To become a summoner is no easy task and it demands much of you. Should you hold steady in your current course, you must be willing to give yourself entirely to the art. Attempts at trying to mix it with traditional roles of spell casting or close combat will end only in tears and blood. <<Go to Index>>

General Guide To GrimDawn So you have decided to enter this grim and dying world. Glory, power, perhaps wealth, whatever your obsessions or reasons might be, I welcome you. Though there is not much wealth to be had and power always comes at a price. You may strive for glory then, but what use is fame in a world of corpses? Ah, forgive my ramblings. Do not let them concern you much. Now let us get straight to the point, for the journey you are about to undertake is a long and perilous one and I do not wish to keep you here any longer than necessary. So, you know the story. A stranger from a far away land happens upon those in need of help and rises to the occasion, thereby becoming their hero and savior and eventually going on to fight and hopefully win against some great evil. Here, of course you start at the end of a hangman’s noose and is no more of a hero than a swamp rat. But hopefully that can change with time and to do so, you need to learn some basic things. That is what we will be discussing here.

1. Resistances and Resistance Reduction play an important part. Do not skimp on either. 2. You get to choose 2 Masteries that will then combine to form your Class. Choose wisely for once you have made your choice, there is no turning back. 3. Devotions play another important part in shaping your destiny. You need to either present certain offerings once you uncover a Shrine or cleanse it of the corruption that has set upon the once holy place of worship, in order to gain the favour of the gods. 4. Skill and Devotion choices are not permanent and can be changed at the Spirit Healer for a cost. Do note that the cost increases with the number of times you do this. 5. Area of Effect skills, or in this particular case, Skills that damage in an area are good for leveling up with and this applies to all Masteries. 6. When it comes to choosing sides on faction quests, Allying yourself with Anasteria the Aetherial Witch & with Barrowholm is generally a good idea. 7. Do not ignore Augments and Components. They make a lot of difference. Augments can be purchased from Faction Vendors once you have enough reputation. Some Components can be found while others have to be Crafted using Blueprints. 8. It is generally not a good idea to farm for specific items at lower levels as you will out level them rather fast. Focus instead on Leveling up and on gaining Devotion points.

9. When leveling up Attributes, focus on Physique. Put points in Spirit & Cunning only as needed. You will get a special potion later on that lets you reset your Attributes. 10. Relics are special items that can only be crafted using their Blueprints & materials. 11. Take a note on Vinelton. He is a vendor from Ancient Grove. He can be found in the Feral Thicket and sells blueprints for a lot of useable items. 12. Exclusive Skills are special skills in that only one can be active at any given time. So, make your choice carefully and do not waste points in a second exclusive skill. 13. Devotion Bindings are not permanent and can be changed any time you want. Certain devotions can only be bound to certain skills. It is by design. 14. There are 3 types of Resistance Reduction(rr) : -%rr, rr & %rr. Sources of “-%rr” stack while the highest “rr” and “%rr” gets counted instead. “-%rr” stacks additively with “rr” and they both stack multiplicatively with “%rr” 15. Cool down reduction applies to both skills & devotions, but not to item granted abilities. 16. Every skill can be upgraded by 10 more levels from its maximum, using specific items.

Damage Types:

Usually, this is not where you are supposed to stumble upon this. But even though this is most likely not the right place for this to be, it might perhaps be the best place to add it in due to the rather relevant importance of it when it comes to choosing your build and building upon it. One might wonder, why is it so important?

The question becomes even more pressing early on when you wouldn’t have access to damage conversion and hence the entire discussion or relevancy of it might seem redundant. However, since Resistance Reduction plays a rather important part interms of actual damage you, or should I say, your pets will be able to do, it is rather crucial that you try to convert as much as possible into one or two damage types.

Now, certain types are easier to work with than others and you will find that certain masteries support particular types over others. In other cases, you might come across certain combinations of skills and items that oddly enough behave in ways previously though impossible, resulting in odd builds taking place and new options emerging.

But all that said, this is still not the place for this and even in the author’s limitless insanity and hunger for ice cream, there must still be some sense of order afterall..

So then why are we here and why are you reading through this here rather than elsewhere? The reason, simply put is due to a certain rather universal issue or perhaps “quality” when it comes to a certain rather prevalent damage type.

Pierce damage based Pet builds, at this time are not possible for there does not exist proper support or itemization to make it probable. Aether damage in regards to pets is something that may have better options and yet at the same time, falls short of being something you can choose without deliberately crippling yourself in the process.

But those two aside, every other option, remains options for you to choose from. And yet, we are here to converse about one such choice that is more deceptive than it might seem. Physical damage is something you will see most pets doing atleast in some part, by default. And you might even find items, skills and the very stars themselves lending aid and support to this. But make no mistake that giving into temptation here, will undoubtedly leave you in despair later on.

Reason is how physical damage and armor interacts. Since every source of physical damage gets checked against enemy armor individually, the flat physical damage you get are mostly going to waste though pets thrive on sources of bonus flat damage.

Now, to explain it, I am going to use a hypothetical situation.

Let us say that you have pet that deals 100 physical damage. Then, let us say that you get 20 flat bonus physical damage from 5 different sources (skills,devotions, items etc, etc).

So your pet would now have 200 total physical damage, right?

Now let us take an enemy with 20 armor and for the sake of simplicity, 0 physical resistance. Let us also say that you have no resistance reduction for the same reason, i.e., simplicity.

Normally, you'd expect your pet to deal 180 damage, right? Since the 20 armor would block 20 of the 200...

Only, that is not how it is designed. Each source of flat physical damage gets checked individually against armor instead of adding them together first and then checking it against the armor value.

So, in our hypothetical situation, it will basically check the base 100 damage against the 20 armor. Then the sources of flat 20 physical damage, each separately against the 20 enemy armor.

So.. 100-20 = 80 20-20 = 0 20-20 = 0 20-20 = 0 20-20 = 0 20-20 = 0

And the result is that instead of doing 180 damage, your pet will only do 80 damage. That makes up for a pretty big difference to the end result.

But if you can convert that into another damage type, you don't get this problem. So in my example, if you convert 100% Pet Physical Dmg into Fire and the enemy has 0 fire resistance, your Pet will be doing 200 Fire Dmg in total (100 base & +20 * 5 flat)

It is supposed to be balanced by low enemy physical resistance, but in practice, doesn't quite work as intended, atleast on pet builds. Now, another thing to remember is that the reason why Pet builds love Flat sources of damage is because their effectiveness is multiplied by the number of pets you have.

So if you have 100 Flat damage and 5 pets, you are effectively gaining +500 Flat damage.

But in the above hypothetical situation, that +500 {(20 flat physical *5 sources) *5 pets} will still amount to a grand total of +0 damage if you go up against an enemy with a mere 20 flat armor.

Now I mentioned that it is supposed to be balanced by low enemy physical resistance values. But the problem is that most of the sources of Physical RR available to pet builds are also unreliable to be effective enough.

Curse of Frailty is good ofcourse, but on a conjurer, there is nothing else from skills. On a Cabalist, you need to get hit to proc your Spectral Wrath and even then, Necro pets aren't exactly physical focused and there is no way to Convert Pet dmg Into Physical as things stand for now.

So half you pet damage will be something else. For all other types of pet damage except bleed, it is rather easy to convert most of it, if not all of it into the same damage type and thus benefiting more from the same type of resistance reduction and +% bonus damage stacking.

Also your sources or Resistance Reduction from Devotions are pretty much limited to Assassin's Blade and Manticore, on a Physical focused Pet build. Both of them I have found to be rather unreliable unless facing a single enemy. Even then, as I painfully learned in my experience against certain rather tougher adversaries with Physical Pet builds, it simply isn't enough to make up for the issue with Armor.

Note that while you can also use the Bysmiel devotion Pet instead of Manticore for RR, even with the recent buffs, I do not find it to be that effective. Your mileage may vary.

All that said, it still works out pretty decently for non-pet builds even with the way how armor and physical damage interacts, but unless Pets get something like Armor shred or are made an exception to the whole armor/physical damage interaction, or something more to help with the situation... other damage types will fare much better, everything else being equal.

<<Go to Index>>

CLASSES So you seek a companion to aid in your quest. Who doesn’t? After all, all life craves someone or even something to share it with and why should you be any different. But fret not. It is that search that has led you here and it will not be in vain.

But enough of all that, let us look into your options first, shall we?

Companions, henceforth addressed as “Pets”, come in two distinct forms. There are those that gain their strength directly from you and are mostly immortal extensions of your very being and then there are creatures which willingly follow you or are either bound to yourself by some strong and ancient magic. For ease of differentiation, we shall address them as “Player Scaled Pets” & “Pet Scaled Pets”.

Player Scaled Pets are those like Wind Devils and Wendigo Totems, the Guardians of Empyrion and even the likes of Blade Spirits. We will however be focusing primarily on Pet Scaled Pets, or True Pets. I am fully aware of how it sounds to say it out loud, but do bear with me for the moment.

While you shall learn more about them in the next section, let us focus on the various masteries and classes that you have the option of pursuing for now.

Occultists, Shaman & Necromancer, are the three basic masteries that you’d require if you are planning to focus on Pets.

But in the world of Grim Dawn, you are not limited to a single mastery as you have the option to select a second one once you acquire sufficient experience (Lvl -10).

So, in other words, you need not start with one of the three Pet Masteries unless you want to. And even then, you do not have to start with pets right away. You may decide to simply acquire more power before eventually switching over to the path of a Summoner .

Now let us look at the choices in a bit of detail shall we?


I may sound like I am being partial to my Lady Bysmiel, but I assure you that my judgment has not been clouded by my adoration of my mistress. Occultist is widely considered by many as one of the best choices for any aspiring summoner. You might be wondering why that is. The answer is quite simple. It has everything needed within the confines of the mastery.

The Great Raven & the Hellhound both serve as reliable minions.

The acidic Blood of Dreeg not only heals you and protects you, but also serves to strengthen your blows against your enemies. And it also affects your minions, both healing and strengthening them as well.

Possession, as sinister as it sounds, also serves to protect you from harm and bolster your resistance against the chaotic energies. It does however prevent you from using another “exclusive skill” for Solael does not like to share.

And now, to talk of my mistress, Lady Bysmiel, the “Bonds of Bysmiel” and its subsequent skill “Manipulation” empower your pets in such a way that you could not even dream of.

But it does not stop there, for with just a word, your Curse of Frailty can both weaken your foes and empower the attacks of your minions against them in a way very few skills can hope to.

Another one of Dreeg’s Blessings, “Dreeg’s Evil Eye” lets you weaken the physical blows of any who gets struck by them, provided you take “Focused Gaze”.

So, if it is not already obvious, what I am trying to tell you is that for every situation you may find yourself in, there is a tool in the Occultist mastery.

Also as I have said before, even though we are looking at it from the view of a summoner, you need not invest in pets at all and can go for a more traditional route as a spell caster or even use the mastery to support another. Its uses are many and will certainly not disappoint.


Ultos and Mogdrogen will be your patron gods should you decide to become a Shaman.

The things available to you are mostly beasts and spirits of nature and should you delve deeper, the power of storms and the dark and savage side of life.

Do you seek brute strength? Do you seek to tame the beasts of the wild? Do you perhaps desire to be an embodiment of both Nature’s Kindness and its Cruelty?

No matter your pursuit or the nature of your quest, you will most likely find your place in Gaia’s Bosom.

Before we delve deeper, I must turn your attention to what I have told you before regarding Player Scaled Pets. You will see that Wind Devils and both Wendigo Totem & Storm Totem are Player Scaled Pets. That means, their uses for a pure summoner like ourselves will be limited. But they are not entirely useless either, well except for perhaps the Storm Totem which we will avoid for now.

When it comes to Wendigo Totem, it is a decent source of Area wide Heal. A single point in Blood pact might be worthwhile, but any more is a waste. Now, as for Wind Devils, avoid putting points in the skill itself. Instead, you should be focusing on leveling up “Raging Tempest” as it reduces the elemental resistance of your enemies and make them take increased damage from elemental attacks.

Do keep in mind that a Shaman does not naturally possess any true pets that do elemental damage. So you will either have to convert their physical damage into elemental by some means or use pets like the Raven Familiars from the Occultist mastery to make use of the Wind Devils.

But, enough about that. Let us look at the actual Pets of the Shaman mastery. Briarthorn will be both your sword and shield here.

Primal Spirit, which you will be able to summon once you have invested enough in the mastery, is a Temporary spirit. While it functions just like any other true pet, it will disappear after a certain duration and will need to be summoned again. Keep that in mind.

Mogdrogen’s Pact and Primal Bond empower both you and your pets. In the case of Mogdrogen’s Pact, it is because the skill is an Aura. And as is the nature of all such things that affect allies in an area of radius, it also benefits your pets provided they do not leave the Area of Effect. And yes, “Heart of the Wild” and “Oak Skin” both affect your pets too.

Devouring Swarm reduces your enemy’s resistances against Bleed & Vitality. So if you are focusing on those, putting a few points here will help you tremendously. An example would be Bleed based pet builds focusing on Briarthorn & Primal Spirit or Vitality focused Ritualist that combines both Shaman and Necromancer masteries.

Grasping Vines won’t do us much good since we are focusing on pets, but it is still a decent skill to bind Devotions to as it damages in an area and hits for multiple times. So note it down as well.

The rest of the skills from the Shaman mastery are unfortunately not of much use to us as we are trying to stay far away from the action as possible and will not be joining our pets in direct combat.

However, just like when it comes to Occultist, you can level up without using pets and in such cases the skills that we are avoiding here, will be of use to you.


Perhaps you do not like to serve the Gods. Perhaps instead of submitting your being to other powers in return for their gifts, you wish to make other beings submit to you. Or maybe, you simply like playing with life, death and life after death, just like any aspiring necromancer. It could also be that you find the dead, strangely alluring. Whatever your reasons are, I am not here to judge, but to aid.

Now, let us get straight into the pets at your disposal.

As one might expect of necromancy, you have Skeletons. They are your basic pets and pretty fragile, but come in numbers.

Then there is the BlightFiend, a bloated corpse of pestilence that can be used as a great source of area wide damage.

And finally, you have the Reap Spirit skill that lets you attack someone and then summon a Spirit at the location of your enemy. The Spirits are temporary minions that disappear after a short period of time, but are basically immortal.

Master of Death, as the name would suggest, bolsters both you and your army of undead, along with any other minions or pets that you may have.

Call of the Grave empowers your minions for a duration, both strengthening their attacks and giving them some regeneration.

Spectral Binding bolsters your health and damage even though the damage part is kind of useless for a summoner.

Spectral Wrath weakens the resistances of anyone or anything foolish enough to attack you and makes them more susceptible to the attacks of your minions.

Mark of Torment, helps you take more punishment than otherwise possible, by absorbing part of the damage intended for you and then then reflecting it to the unfortunate foe that bears the Mark. Its only real downside is the cool down period on the skill.

Ravenous Earth is a decent skill to level up with if you are not interested in doing so with pets. But outside of that, it is still useful to us for binding devotions to. Also, if you can afford to put points in Decay, it lowers the damage of affected enemies, giving the skill another use.

Honorable mention also goes to Bone Harvest. While we won’t be using it much, its usefulness comes from “Soul Harvest”.

If you are going for a Vitality Pet build using Skeletons, the extra damage from it will be of use to you. Otherwise, I would only recommend the skill if you have points to spare.

Also, due to how they work, putting points in the main skill of neither Ravenous Earth nor Bone Harvest is recommended for Summoners as it will only serve to increase their mana requirements as pets are our main source of damage.

Also note that the Resistance Reduction from “Foul Eruption” (Ravenous Earth) only applies if the skill itself scores a killing blow. That makes it quite useless in a pet build.

And thus we say farewell to this section and move on to the next.

<<Go to Index>>

PeTs Here we will look into the various options we have in a little bit of detail and see if we can find you the perfect minions.

We will also be looking into pets that do not come with the Masteries but are available through certain items and devotions.

Note that you will not be able to focus on all the mastery based pets at the same time due to a lack of skill points and so, will have to choose between them.

Since Item Sets often also end up conflicting with each other due to occupying the same item slots, you will be forced to decide on a primary pet and play style to focus on.

But that is all for later. For now, let us just jump in and look at the fluffy little things.

From Masteries:

Familiar – The Raven acts as a source of damage and heals. Being a ranged pet, it also survives longer than other minions. Used in Elemental or Lightning pet builds.

It is also a bit unique in other regards. To begin with, its basic attack is actually a spell and uses pet cast speed instead of attack speed. Also, the number of projectiles increases at certain intervals as you level up the skill, culminating at 5 projectiles per attack at lvl 26/16.

Mend Flesh is an Area wide Heal. But it requires some investment to be effective and hence is best left as an option for later. Storm Spirit is an Aura that affects the player and all allies in the radius of effect including other pets and the Raven itself. Lightning Strike is a powerful spell that deals damage in an area and is used automatically by the Raven once you put points in the skill.

“Bysmiel’s Trinkets” is a legendary set of items that lets you summon 2 Familiars instead of just one. So if you wish to focus on the Familiar, acquiring the full set is highly recommended.

HellHound – The hellhound mostly serves as a tank and a pet to bind devotions to. It mostly sees use in Elemental or Chaos Pet builds while sometimes making a rather rare appearance in Vitality focused builds. To make it a competent source of damage requires heavy investment in the supporting skills and that comes at the cost of skill points that many prefer to spend elsewhere.

Also note that while it can tank for you, it does not have a high amount of Health and so some care must be taken.

Ember Claw is what lets the HellHound tank for you by generating threat focused on the Hound itself, making enemies target it instead of you or your other pets like the Familiar. It is usually left with just 1 point invested in it unless you are focusing on the Hellhound.

Hellfire is an Aura like the Familiar’s Storm Spirit, but outside of builds that focus on converting pet physical damage into chaos damage, it is not really used.

Infernal Breath is an attack that gives another way of dealing area wide damage to the Hellhound apart from Ember Claw. Not prioritized unless focusing on HellHound.

Briarthorn – It comes with a high amount of health and deals heavy damage. Mostly used in Elemental or Bleed/Physical pet builds.

With Ground Slam, it also makes for a great tank for any aspiring summoner who has chosen the Shaman mastery.

Ground Slam works like the HellHound’s Ember Claw in generating threat and making your enemies focus their attention on the Briarthorn. At lvl 17/12, it also gains the ability to taunt your enemies, making Briarthorn an even better tank.

Emboldening Presence is an Aura similar to Storm Spirit & Hellfire. Just like Storm Spirit, it is extremely useful in terms of the bonuses it provides. But note that going above lvl 12/12 is not recommended.

“Nature’s Call Regalia” is a legendary set of items that lets you summon 2 Briarthorns instead of just one. Highly recommended if you wish to focus on Briarthorns.

Primal Spirit – It has high health and does a great deal of damage. Indispensable in Bleed based Pet builds.

However it is a temporary pet that will disappear after a certain duration and have to be summoned again.

It also costs a considerable amount of mana to summon it. However with particular items and enough cool down reduction, you can reduce the cool down enough to be able to resummon it instantly or at the very least, within a few moments.

It is also a pretty fast pet that teleports around, attacking your foes and due to the previously mentioned high health, it can also take some punishment before it goes down.

If you can afford it, there is very little reason to not invest in the Primal Spirit.

Do note that while there is no particular item set focused on Primal Spirit, “Nature’s Call Regalia” despite being a Briarthorn related Set can be considered as the ideal choice.

Skeletons – The staple of every necromancer’s army. The corpses of the fallen stripped of flesh and animated by dark magic. Used primarily in Vitality based pet builds.

They make for fragile minions in most cases except when you use certain items and devotions with the particular intend of making them much more durable. But under normal circumstances, their use comes from their numbers. One could say that they are the embodiment of the idea, “quantity over quality”. However, note that with every point in “Raise Skeletons”, the quality of the skeletons you can summon increases. But regardless, due to their fragile nature, you might need to take control of them manually in certain situations lest they stand in a field of area wide damage and be destroyed all at once. Undead Legion decreases the cool down of the skill along with the mana cost and increases the limit on the number of Skeletons you can field at any one time. Meanwhile, Will of the Crypt increases their damage and survivability.

If you wish to focus on Skeletons, consider getting the full set of the legendary items known as “Shepherd of Lost Souls”. As a bonus the set also lets you summon 2 Hellhounds.

BlightFiend – Bloated Corpses of decaying flesh and pestilence. Used primarily in Acid/Poison based pet builds. Does a tremendous amount of Area wide damage.

I will refrain from commenting on the smell of having one up close for after all, necromancy is not for those with a weak stomach or a keen sense of smell. It does however work wonders upon your foes, shattering their defenses and dealing significant damage in an area.

Also should you feel like it, the Fiends can be used as un-living bombs of death and decay. Unstable Anomaly is what you need if you desire to use them as such. It does however turn the BlightFiend into a temporary minion that crumbles after a certain duration, but with the reduced cost and enough cool down reduction, you can keep it up indefinitely, or at least until boredom over takes you.

Rotting Fumes… Remember my mentioning of the smell? As it turns out, not only does it shatter the defenses of the unfortunate soul who gets caught in the area of effect, but also has a chance to reduce their aim and make them miss their attacks. It also works like the HellHound’s Ember Claw in generating threat, making your enemies target the BlightFiend over you.

Blight Burst is an area wide damage skill that generates threat like Rotting Fumes and also confuses your enemies. Combined with the high amount of damage it deals and the wide area of effect, it makes for an attractive skill for clearing out packs of enemies.

If you wish to make the most out of Unstable Anomaly, you need to use the item, “Mythical Circlet of the Great Serpent”.

Also, the Legendary set of items known as “Ghol’s Malice” increases the summon limit of BlighFiends by an additional 1.

In other words, it lets you Field 2 of them at once if you are not using Unstable Anomaly and a total of 4 if using Unstable Anomaly, provided you have enough Cool down reduction.

As a bonus, the above mentioned set also provides you with an additional pet which we will look into in the coming pages.

Reap Spirit – Can be used in pretty much any build due to its unique nature and immortality. To describe how it works, you attack someone and then summon a Spirit at the location of your enemy. The Spirits are temporary minions that disappear after a short period of time, but are basically immortal. Like the Primal Spirit, it also comes with a substantial mana cost. While they do not possess high amounts of health, they have high resistances to every single damage type and that is where their so called immortality comes from. Also, they have a low cool down and comparatively high duration and hence you can keep them up with no down time provided you have the mana and enemies to target, as you need a target to use the spell on, in order to summon the Spirit. Do note that the summon limit increases at certain intervals as you level up the skill. At 17/16, the number of Spirits you can field increases to 2 & at 23/16, you can have 3 Spirits. Also note that the skill itself is treated as a spell like any other for the purposes of Proc’ing Devotions. The Pet Attacks do not proc the devotions the skill is bound to, only the initial cast does.

The legendary Item Set known as “Diviner’s Vision” further increases the summon limit to a total of 5 Spirits that you can have at any one time.

From Devotions:

Eldritch Hound – Bysmiel’s Bonds is the only devotion that provides a proper pet. The devotion itself is useful to pet builds, but the Hound’s use primarily comes from its ability to reduce enemy resistance and offensive ability.

With enough cool down reduction (cdr), the pet can also act as a tank and a source of damage. Its downside is that you cannot summon it directly and instead must bind the devotion to an appropriate skill and use the skill to proc the devotion which will then summon the hound.

Also, while the devotion is useful to pet builds, you will not be able to get it in certain devotion paths and as such, in practice its use will be rather limited. Another issue is that the resistance reduction (RR) it offers is primarily single target based. While it does have an AoE based RR, it has a low duration and a comparatively high cooldown.

From Items:

For the sake of time, we will only be looking at those that you can summon at will, without requiring any special conditions to make them spawn.

Skeletal Servant – I am starting with my favourite. It is from the Legendary Relic “Dirge of Arkovia”. The minion has the highest amount of Health out of any pet you can summon and deals a significant amount of damage. It also does decent area damage and has a skill that lets it trap enemies in the area of effect in a prison of bones, also dealing damage and reducing their resistances to physical, elemental and vitality. However, do note that despite its high health, it cannot exactly tank for you in the way Briarthorn can for example, as it does not have a “taunt” skill. But if you are not planning to use any other relic, this one is the best pet you can get from items. Or at least, that is my humble opinion.

Chillmane Rocksplitter – The Legendary amulet “Heart of the Mountain” and its Mythical counterpart both let you summon the Chillmane. It is basically a fluffy bundle of unbridled rage and carnage. Good for you, bad for your enemies. It does not possess high amounts of health like the Skeletal Servant, and cannot tank for you like Briarthorn. But is pretty fast and due its element being Ice, can freeze enemies. It also does decent damage. If you have a free amulet slot, consider getting this one.

Eldritch Talon – This one requires the full set of “Ghol’s Malice” and is basically a dragon without wings and a rather poisonous one at that. It has decent health and damage attributes, but its major use comes from its Aura that reduces the attack and cast speed of your enemies and more importantly, their resistance to Acid and Poison based attacks. Since you will be using a poison/acid build if you are going for the full set, it will help tremendously to have an additional pet and a source of additional resistance reduction. But it is not worth getting the set only for the pet, on a pet build focusing on other types of damage.

Revenant of Og’Napesh – It comes from the Off-hand, “Grimoire of Og’Napesh” and its Empowered and Mythical counterparts. The pet is rather fragile, but does decent damage. However, it is also kind of slow and, tends to be not so useful in practice. If you don’t have anything else, it will keep you company. But there are much better choices for Off-hand items that you will most likely forget about the Revenant sooner or later.

Salazar’s Harbinger – It is a temporary pet available for summoning from the weapon,“Salazar’s Soverign Blade”. It also tends to be one of the slowest pets ingame. However, it possesses high amounts of health and damage. It also has a skill that reduces resistances of your enemies in a small area. The item that lets you summon it, is also relatively easy to get. So while it is not useful for general exploration, if you need an extra bit of assistance early on against tougher enemies, give this one a consideration. If you have a skill or item that lets you dual wield, you can have 2 of these, but considering their weaknesses I would recommend going for the traditional Weapon + Off-hand combination instead.

Crab Spirit – Yes, it is a ghostly crab. It comes from the Relic appropriately named “Hysteria”. While the Crab is not particularly useful against tougher enemies, the item is easy to acquire and early on in your journeys, it will be of tremendous help. While the Crab does not possess high amount of health, it still manages to do decent damage and has skills that deal damage in an area. Also, being cold based, it can freeze your enemies. While you will eventually and inevitably replace it, it remains unparalled for the choice of relic in your days as a new summoner.

You can acquire the blueprint for the relic from the “Homestead” faction vendor.

StormHound – Its name has “hound” in it, but the thing looks like a frog… It is available from the Relic “Savage” and is decent early on. But considering the requirements of finding the blueprint for the relic and then the materials, and finally the fact that even though it appears to have better stats than the Crab Spirit, it only does similar damage in practice, means that in the end whether it is worth the upgrade or not is debatable. It also has less health than the Crab Spirit.

Blighted Rift Scourge – Ranged Pet from the “Blightshard amulet” and the mythical version of the same item lets you summon 2 of them. However the pet is not particularly useful later on and is generally best left alone unless you do not have anything better for an amulet. Early on, however, it acts as a decent source of damage.

VoidFiend – It is from the “Will of Bysmiel” amulet and it provides you with 3 temporary pets at once. But they don’t last for long and have a long cool down between uses. Personally, I am not a fan, but I shall let you decide for yourself.

<<Go to Index>>


Fluffy Squishy – Pet Conjurer: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/p25aw0y2

Ishtar – Pet Ritualist: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/M2gg01y2

Will-O-Wisp – Pet Cabalist: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/0V09w8yZ

Skulls & Bones – Pet Cabalist: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/r2B86WrZ

Nevermore – Pet Conjurer: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/4VxXnOaV

Note: “Fluffy Squishy”, “Ishtar” & “Will-O-Wisp are my strongest builds and can kill every single boss in the world of Grim Dawn, including Celestials. Note II: All the builds given can Complete Gladiator Crucible 170 and conquer Shattered Realms in Ultimate difficulty up to Shard 76 and above. Note III: Skulls & Bones, while not my strongest build, can do all content as well and is a Skeleton Pet Cabalist for those interested in that. Note IV: Nevermore is a Support Pet build aimed mostly at multiplayer and uses the farmable Dark One Set along with Bysmiel’s Trinkets.

Budget Builds:

Starting out, you won’t have all the fancy sets and items to make the builds given in the previous page. And that is where the budget setups come in. These are by no means intended to be endgame builds, but mere stepping stones that will hopefully help you farm the items you need to become a powerhouse later on.

Dodo – Pet Conjurer: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/4ZDvk8Y2 Rawr – Pet Cabalist: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/M2g7rbv2 Doctor – Pet Ritualist: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/nZobREQV

Birb – Pet Occultist: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/aZq4e4mV Boo – Pet Necromancer: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/w266B6A2

How to level –

In the next section, you will find build diaries chronicling my journey through the world of Grim Dawn, but I will be writing down a basic Skill & Devotion path here, for you to follow just in case. No information regarding items will be given here though, since that will take too much space.

However do note that it is intended to be used when you have both Ashes of Malmouth and Forgotten Gods expansion or at the very least, Ashes of Malmouth. In other words, it is not for those who only have base game.

Another thing to note is that this section will only contain information on Single Mastery Occultist and Necromancer. That way, I can cover pretty much all Viable Pet mastery combinations.

Shaman based ones without Necromancer/Occultist as support mastery are still viable, but I don’t like them and hence haven’t actually leveled any. So I won’t be talking about those here.

Now without further delay, let us move onto the stuff you are reading this for, unless you are here for my personal stash of Ice Cream. If that is the case, know that I will defend it with everything I have!


We will be focusing on Hellhound, Familiar and Elemental Damage. If you are going for a Conjurer, it is recommended that you put enough points in Shaman early on, to get a 16/16 Briarthorn before going back to focus on the Occultist Side. If you are going for a Cabalist, it is recommended that you put enough points in Necromancer early on, to get a 16/16 Blight Fiend before going back to focus on the Occultist Side. However, do note that it is optional and not necessary for success.


Purple Crossroads > Shepherd’s Call > Remove Purple Green Crossroads > Raven > Rhowan’s Crown > Remove Green Blue Crossroads > Eel > 4 points in Amatok (for Blizzard) Yellow Crossroads > Tortoise > Remove Yellow Sailor’s Guide > Crane > Panther > Solemn Watcher Ishtak + 4 points in Tree of Life (for Healing Rain)


Lvl 10 – 16/16 Familiar, 1/16 Mend Flesh. Lvl 20 – 16/16 Hellhound, 1/10 Curse of Frailty, 7/10 Vulnerability, 1/16 Blood of Dreeg, 1/12 Storm Spirit. Lvl 30 – 5/10 Curse of Frailty, 10/10 Vulnerability, 1/12 Ember Claw, 16/16 Blood of Dreeg. Lvl 40 – 12/12 Lightning Strike, 1/12 Aspect of the Guardian, 7/12 Bonds of Bysmiel. Lvl 50 – 12/12 Manipulation, 1/12 Infernal Breath. Lvl 60 – 12/12 Bonds of Bysmiel, 12/12 Possession. Lvl 70 – 12/12 Storm Spirit, 12/12 Aspect of the Guardian. Lvl 80 – 12/12 Ember Claw, 12/12 Infernal Breath. Lvl 90 – 10/10 Curse of Frailty, 16/16 Mend Flesh. Lvl 94 – Respec as needed, according to the build you are going for.


We will be focusing on Skeletons first before respec’ing halfway through, into Blight Fiends & Reap Spirit and then going back to invest points in Skeletons later on. The reason for this is that Skeletons struggle Mid-game and hence the shifting of focus for a bit helps make things a bit easier. If you are going for a Ritualist, it is recommended that you put enough points in Shaman early on, to get a 16/16 Briarthorn before going back to focus on the Necromancer Side. However, do note that it is optional and not necessary for success. For a Cabalist, starting Occultist first is recommended.


Purple Crossroads > Shepherd’s Call > Remove Purple Green Crossroads > Raven > Blue Crossroads > Eel Red Crossroads > Viper > Murmur > Remove Red Scholar’s Light > Remove Raven > Remove Green 5 points in Manticore (for Acid Spray) > Sailor’s Guide Yellow Crossroads > Crane > Panther > Stag Ishtak + 4 points in Tree of Life (for Healing Rain)


Lvl 10 – 16/16 Raise Skeletons, 1/12 Undead Legion. Lvl 20 – 14/16 Summon Blight Fiend, 12/12 Undead Legion, 1/16 Ravenous Earth (RE). Lvl 30 – 16/16 Summon blight Fiend, 12/12 Rotting Fumes, 6/12 Will of the Crypt. Lvl 40 – Remove points from RE, Raise Skeletons and its nodes, 12/12 Blight Burst, 1/1 Unstable Anomaly, 16/16 Reap Spirit, 11/12 Master of Death. Lvl 50 – 1/12 Spectral Binding, 1/10 Spectral Wrath, 16/16 Raise Skeletons, 1/12 Undead Legion. Lvl 60 – 12/12 Master of Death, 12/12 Will of the Crypt, 8/10 Spectral Wrath. Lvl 70 – 10/10 Spectral Wrath, 12/12 Spectral Binding, 8/10 Call of the Grave. Lvl 80 – 10/10 Call of the Grave, 10/10 Mark of Torment, 1/16 Bone Harvest, 1/12 Dread, 6/12 Soul Harvest. Lvl 90 – 12/12 Soul Harvest, 1/16 RE, 12/12 Decay. Lvl 94 – Respec as needed, according to the build you are going for.

If you only have the base game –

The Sammich Demon: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/q2MrnXbV

Note: The above build is untested, except for the devotion setup, which should be solid. Note II: The above build is also a budget build aimed at providing you with an idea of what to go for when starting out. Note III: For Relic, you can go with the best one you find. But the Blueprint for the Relic “Savage” can be bought from the merchant Agarrad in Port Valbury. The Blueprints for “Rampage” & “Inferno”, the relics required to make “Savage”, can be bought from Marris Kas, the merchant in Steps of Torment or from the merchant Karros Adal at Bastion of Chaos.

If you are wondering how to level it up, unfortunately, I cannot be of much use here with base game only since the expansions have added too much content. But hopefully I can be of some help in atleast pointing you in the right direction.

Abilities -

Lvl 10 – 16/16 Familiar, 1/16 Mend Flesh. Lvl 20 – 16/16 Hellhound, 1/10 Curse of Frailty, 7/10 Vulnerability, 1/16 Blood of Dreeg, 1/12 Storm Spirit. Lvl 30 – 5/10 Curse of Frailty, 10/10 Vulnerability, 1/12 Ember Claw, 16/16 Blood of Dreeg. Lvl 40 – 12/12 Lightning Strike, 1/12 Aspect of the Guardian, 7/12 Bonds of Bysmiel. Lvl 50 – 12/12 Manipulation, 1/12 Infernal Breath. Lvl 60 – 12/12 Bonds of Bysmiel, 12/12 Possession. Lvl 70 – 12/12 Storm Spirit, 12/12 Aspect of the Guardian. Lvl 80 – 12/12 Ember Claw, 12/12 Infernal Breath.

You can put enough points in Shaman after getting Familiar, to get a 16/16 Briarthorn before going back to focus on the Occultist Side. In that case, you use the points that would otherwise go to Ember Claw & Infernal Breath. Also, if going for Briarthorn, get Curse of Frailty to 10/10.

After level 80, you can change points to whatever your final build is going to be :3

Devotions -

Purple > Shepherd’s Crook Green > Raven > Rhowan’s Crown > Remove Green Yellow > Assassin’s Blade > Remove Yellow Blue > Sailor’s Guide Amatok the spirit of winter (4 points to get Blizzard) Empty Throne > Scholar’s Light > Hawk Mogdrogen the Wolf > Leviathan

If you have Ashes of Malmouth Expansion, but not Forgotten Gods:

(Note that the leveling process is more or less the same as for the full game even without Forgotten Gods expansion)

Flying Dodo – Pet Conjurer: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/O2GOGAq2 Budget Version: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/M2g7kW62

<<Go to Index>>


So, you have looked up the ancient texts on how to make some of the most powerful armies of minions to serve your nefarious ambitions. But getting there is no easy task and the path before you is a perilous one with many hidden dangers. It is dangerous to go alone, even with pets. So take some wisdom from here.

Note: The author has lost all sense of sanity at this point and goes by the name of Fwuffy for some reason. So the great wisdom you are about to receive might not be the best. Note 2: Do not listen to the above note. Note 4: Look towards the end of this section for 2 build diaries with GrimTools links for every 10 levels. Note 5: There is no Note 3 and definitely no Note 6. Note 8: The number of build diaries is actually 4.

Devotions: Instead of marking out the path for every single possible combination, we are instead going to focus on just one as an example on how to go about it. While mapping out the stars can seem like a complex and complicated task, rest assured that it is rather simple once you understand the basics.

Something that might come in handy when dealing with Devotions is knowing how Affinities work. You will see in the step by step devotion part that I ask you to buy back the points at certain steps. I will try to explain the process behind it with an example: Shepherd's Crook is an Ascendant devotion that requires 1 point in Purple before you can get it. So, let us say that you put 1 point in the Ascendant Crossroads. Now note that Shepherd's Crook also has a Complete Constellation Bonus that provides 5 Ascendant devotion points. So, once you complete it, you can buy back the point from Purple Crossroads since its requirements are already met as the constellation provides 5 points for completion. In other words, it is now self-sustaining.

Do note that if you wanted to remove Shepherd's Crook now, you will need to put that point back in Purple Crossroads again or get at least 1 more Ascendant point from Completion Bonus of some other devotion.

Also, some devotions provide Points for two different Colours as their Completion Bonus. For example, Assassin's Blade requires 1 point in Order and provides 2 Yellow and 3 Purple points once you complete it.

What it means is that not only will Assassin's Blade be able to sustain itself after completion, it will also be able to unlock and sustain and Purple devotion that requires 3 or less points and any Yellow devotion that requires 2 points or less.

The key to making a good devotion setup is to work out which devotions you need/want and what is the best way to get them.

There are also multiple paths you can take to reach the same place, so feel free to experiment. That is half the fun.

Now for the Step-by-Step mini Guide to the Devotion setup:

1. Purple Crossroads 2. Shepherd's Crook 3. Remove Purple Crossroads 4. Green Crossroads 5. Raven 6. Rhowan's Crown 7. Remove Green Crossroads 8. Yellow Crossroads 9. Tortoise 10. Remove Yellow Crossroads 11. Eel 12. 4 Points in Amatok to get Blizzard 13. Panther 14. Crane 15. Sailor's Guide 16. Solemn watcher 17. Ishtak 18. Blue Crossroads 19. Tree of Life Without making use of the knowledge regarding how affinities work and the self-sustaining nature of constellations, the above setup will not have been possible. It also rings true for pretty much all the devotion paths you will come across. But as long as you understand the basics behind it, working out how they are done should not be too difficult.

Skills:Much of the information you will find herein has already been discussed elsewhere. But we will be doing it again, one last time. We will be going over the various tools you may find in your disposal, in a brief manner. Skills from Occultist/Shaman/Necromancer masteries.

Exclusive Skills Exclusive skills are special skills in the sense that only one of them can be active at any given time. They can be toggled on or off and are passive skills.

Primal Bond: Useful for every pet build. You can’t really go wrong with taking this as your exclusive skill if you have the Shaman mastery.

Possession: If you do not possess the Shaman mastery and are not going for a Vitality pet build, this is the best choice.

Master of Death: For Vitality Pet Builds. Or if you do not possess Shaman/Occultist masteries.

Aura of Censure: This one is a bit special since it is from the Inquisitor mastery. But if you are going an elemental pet build and going for the Inquisitor as your secondary mastery, then give this a consideration.

Toggle Skills – They can be toggled on or off and are passive skills.

Bonds of Bysmiel + Manipulation: Boosts pet Health, Total damage, Total speed & Energy regeneration. Total Speed includes Cast speed, attack speed & Movement speed.

Mogdrogen’s Pact + Heart of the Wild + Oak Skin: Is an Aura. The affects apply in a radius around the summoner and applies to all allies in the area of effect including the summoner and pets.

Spectral Binding + Spectral Wrath: Since Summoners do not generally find much use for Offensive Ability, Spectral Binding only really provides extra health for us. Spectral Wrath however, does provide Resistance Reduction, but comes with the problem of having to get hit first in order for the skill to activate.

Pets –

Faimiliar: Heal + High Damage. Extremely Useful Aura. Ranged attack. Won’t die easily despite having mediocre health.

Hellhound: Tank + Damage. With proper investment, can be a decent pet. Situational Aura useful for particular builds.

Briarthorn: Durable Tank + High Damage. Extremely Useful Aura. High health.

Primal Spirit: Temporary Pet. High health + damage. High mana cost. Considerable Cool down period.

Skeletons: Comes in numbers. High damage. Mediocre Health and weak to Area of Effect attacks.

BlightFiend: Tank + Area damage. Mediocre Health. Useful Aura. Can be used as Un-living Bombs with Unstable Anomaly. Slow attack speed.

Reap Spirit: Temporary Pet. Immortal for the duration. Low Cooldown compared to High Duration. High damage. Pet attacks do not trigger Devotions, only initial cast of the skill itself does.

Wendigo Totem: Temporary Player Scaled Pet. Stationary Pet. Heals in a Radius around the Totem.

Wind Devil: Temporary Player Scaled Pet. Used with Raging Tempest for reducing enemy resistances in Elemental Pet builds.

Other Skills – The list for those that do not fall in any other category.

Curse of Frailty + Vulnerability: Used primarily for Resistance Reduction and Triggering Devotions. Despite not doing any damage, can trigger “proc on attack” devotion and item skills. With high enough Offensive Ability, can also trigger “proc on crit” devotion and item skills.

Blood of Dreeg + Aspect of the Guardian: Area wide Heal with a temporary passive Aura. Both the summoner and the Pets benefit from Heal and Aura. Double the Duration of the Skill Cool Down and hence the Aura will be active without pause, provided you remember to activate the skill at least once every 30 seconds.

Call of the Grave: Provides Pet damage and Crit damage bonuses. Also provides health regeneration to Pets. Due to High Cooldown, there will be a significant downtime between casts.

Items & Factions: The reason why these two are given a combined section is rather a simple one. What items you may find on your journey through the world of Grim Dawn is something neither of us can predict. The future is uncertain and so we shall simply manipulate it to our advantage rather than waste time trying to prophesize it.

And so, we will focus on what you are guaranteed to find and ignore chance. For example, Fettan Mask is an Epic level Head Armor that provides +1 to all skills. It can be found inside an Urn Cluster near the Maw of Apesh, in a secret area of the Korvan Sands, west of the Riftgate. But when it does come to chance, there are certain guidelines you can follow.

o. Resistances are important. That of the summoner and that of the minions. o. Anything that improves the Pets in any way or form is good. o. Anything that provides extra Pets is also good. o. Anything that provides “+# to Skills” is also good. o. Anything that Converts Pet damage into the intended type is great. o. Since the summoner will not be fighting alongside their minions, anything that only improves offensive capabilities for the summoner is bad and should be avoided.

Now back to Factions, the only way to get Augments is to buy them from their respective Faction Vendors and to do that, first you need to increase your faction reputation and in turn, your status within the faction. Besides augments, Faction Vendors also sell some useful items and Blueprints. You can aid a faction by slaying their enemies or undertaking quests given out by the various members of that faction. However, you will only begin earning reputation with a faction from slaying monsters once you have completed an initial quest for that faction. Once you have earned enough favor with a faction, they will begin to unlock unique rewards such as discounts at vendors, access to previously inaccessible quests, and faction only items. Factions offer Bounties via their respective Bounty Tables. These are small quests where you can earn additional rewards and reputation. Writs and Mandates are special items sold by the faction Quartermaster, to boost reputation gain. They can be stored in the Shared Stash to be used by your other characters. Do not ignore Augments and Components. They make a lot of difference. Augments as said previously can be purchased from Faction Vendors once you have enough reputation. Some Components can be found while others have to be Crafted using Blueprints. Speaking of Crafting, it also applies to items. Relics for example cannot be purchased, but need to be crafted at a Blacksmith after acquiring their blueprints.

“Hysteria” Relic deserves a special mention due to how easy it is to acquire the blueprint for it. It can be bought at both Homestead and Coven of Ugdenbog, making it the Relic of choice for most aspiring summoners. The previously mentioned Vendor, Vinelton, from Ancient Grove sells Blueprints for a lot of useful items, including the Blueprint for Beastcaller's Cowl. “Ancestor” also deserves a mention for being pretty good for starting out and being rather easy to get. The blueprint can be purchased from Hyram, the Rare Goods vendor in Steelcap District. He can also sell the blueprint for Haunt which is required to make Ancestor. The blueprint for Mistborn talisman (also required to make Ancestor) can be found from the Troll boss at the end of the Smuggler’s Passage.

A bit more on Crafting: Horrus - Cursed Smith, is a Blacksmith found in Gates of Necropolis. He is unique in offering the following crafting material trades: 1 Ancient Heart for 1 Blood of Chthon 1 Blood of Ch'thon for 1 Tainted Brain Matter 1 Tainted Brain Matter for 1 Ancient Heart Kaylon - Forgemaster, is a Blacksmith found in the SteelCap District. He is also unique in offering the following crafting material trades: 6 Ancient Hearts for 1 Wendigo Spirit 6 Tainted Brain Matter for 1 Aetherial Mutagen 6 Tainted Brain Matter for 1 Aetherial Missive

Some Merchant NPC’s to keep an eye out for as they may have useful stuff for you regardless of your build or class:

Marris Kas - (Anguish) [Steps of Torment] {Skeleton Key Dungeon} Vinelton - (Feral Thicket) [Ancient Grove] {Skeleton Key Dungeon} Karros Adal - (Anarchy) [Bastion of Chaos] {Skeleton Key Dungeon} Agarrad - (Port Valbury: High Town) {Skeleton Key Dungeon} Hyram - (Steelcap District) [Malmouth] Benevald - (Blood Grove Secret Area)

Do note that you don’t need to restart the Skeleton Key Dungeons to refresh the Merchant’s Wares. You can simply move onto a different area of the dungeon, like for example, From “Anarchy” to “Entropy” of “Bastion of Chaos”, move around the area for a bit and then return to the merchant who then should restock/refresh their items for sale. Another option is to simply wait long enough in the area for the wares to get reset automatically. However, it might take too long and hence not be an efficient use of your time. The above trick(s) should save you precious Skeleton Keys early on. Benevald should have the blueprint for “Empowered Black Grimoire of Og’napesh” among his wares if you are lucky, allowing for another pet early on*

Early Monster Infrequents (MIs) to look out for:

Korvaak's Burning-Blade (Weapon) [Elemental Pet builds] Salazar's Sovereign Blade (Weapon) [General Use] Warden’s Judgment (Weapon) [General Use / Skeleton Pet builds] Scorpius Pummeler (Weapon) [Poison Pet builds] Bargoll's Core (Weapon) [Cabalists] Bloodsworn Codex (Off-Hand) [Briarthorn] Bound Wraith (Off-Hand) [General Use / Primal Spirit]

Bloodsworn Signet (Jewelry - Ring) [General Use] Wendigo Gaze (Jewelry – Medal) [General Use / Briarthorn] Bysmiel-Sect Legguards (Pants) [General Use] Chosen Visage (Helmet) [Occultist] Spectral Crown (Helmet) [Necromancer / Skeleton Pet builds] Ascendant Cowl (Helmet) [Briarthorn] Zaria's Pendant (Amulet) [Briarthorn / Hellhound / General Use] Halion's Crest (Medal) [General Use / Hellhound / Primal Spirit]

What stats to look for in Items:

One of the frequently asked questions I come across is about which stats to prioritize when it comes to deciding between 2 items and choosing which to keep and which to discard. Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to that. It depends upon what you have, what you don’t have & what you need. And yes, I know that for someone just starting out, that is not exactly helpful either. So instead, I will answer the question like this; - Prioritize the Summoner’s Defenses first and foremost. The reason is that if your pets die, they can be resummoned. If they are not doing much damage, it only results in taking longer to kill stuff. But no amount of pet survivability or damage will matter if their Master has a hard time Surviving. Also, since pets will be doing all the damage, Offensive Stats for the Summoner is not needed. - So, going by above, you should be looking for Resistances, Defensive Ability, Health & Armor (with decent Armor Absorption too). - Once the Summoner has enough to Survive without trouble, you should look towards your pets. Here too, your priority should be Defenses first. But for pets, that comes from Resistances. So the rest of the defensive stats can be ignored without consequence. - Then comes Pet Damage, Speed, Offensive Ability & Critical Damage.

Now while all that should prove to be a decent enough guideline to follow, there are still a few issues with that answer. For example, you almost always want extra Pets over everything else as one of the strengths of Pet builds lie in their numbers. But things are seldom that easy. See, Quantity without Quality is worthless. So numbers alone aren’t enough. You need those Pets to be Individually Strong too. And that means you need +X to Skills, for no realistic amount of stats from items will compare to maxing out the Pet and its respective Skills. Also, Pet builds tend to be Skill Point heavy. So you need every single extra point you can get so that you don’t need to make compromises and cut corners. But still, if all those pets have zero resistances then they are going to get shredded like paper. So the trick is to find the Balance between everything. But then again, that requires knowledge that can only be acquired from experience. Fortunately, Grim Dawn can be rather forgiving when it comes to making mistakes and Respec’ing is rather cheap and easy provided you do not overdo it like crazy. So in the end, do not be afraid to experiment. After all, that is half the fun and fiddling about until you find a build that feels perfect for you can be quite rewarding.

Some low level components to look out for:

Aether Soul


Black Tallow Wardstone


Amulets & Medals


Rings, Amulets & Medals


Soul Shard

Imbued Silver


Weapons & Off-Hands

Purified Salt


Silk Swatch


Shoulder, Chest & Leg Armor



Head Armor

Antivenom Salve



Molten Skin


Rigid Shell Dense Fur

/ /


Forgotten Gods expansion introduced a new mechanic called “Transmute” that is available at the Inventor NPC once you complete The Tome of Eanatum quest for Kargon at the Conclave of the Three. Once the quest is completed all Inventor NPCs are able to exchange one piece of an item set for another random piece of the same set for a cost.

For example: If you manage to acquire the Blueprint for Mythical Beastcaller’s Cowl and have the necessary materials in abundance, you could theoretically get the Entire “Nature's Call Regalia” Set 1 by making enough Helmets and then using the Transmute feature to turn them into other parts of the set.

For Cabalists & Ritualists, the Entire “Ghol’s Malice” Set can be crafted this way provided you have the Blueprint for the Ghol’s Raiment Chest Piece.

By no means is it cheap and can be quite expensive, but if you can get the complete set, it will be quite powerful. So, that is an option if you are not having much luck with Legendaries.

Faction Choices:

There are certain points in time where you will asked to make a rather difficult choice and the one you choose will change the fate of the world forever. But more importantly, it can help or hinder the progress of your quest for power. So, keeping that in mind this is what I ask of you:

Ally yourself with The Outcast (Anasteria) and with Barrowholm. You have very little reason to side against Anasteria and you don't have much of a choice with Barrowholm if you want to make the best of Pets.

Kymon's Chosen vs Death's Vigil is your choice. That said, Death’s Vigil does provide more useful items when it comes to pets. Also, should you decide to be a Necromancer, you won’t have a choice here but to join the Order of Death’s Vigil.

You can go with any of the Witch God Cults as choosing one does not lock you out of the other two. However, as a worshipper of Lady Bysmiel, I must implore you to choose the sect of my Mistress.

Pet Stance & “Pet Attack Command” –

How to use the "Pet Attack" Command If you are using the pet attack command, remember to first click on the ground near the enemy you want them to focus and then on the enemy unit itself. What it does is make your Familiar move close to the enemy and then attack, which in turn makes all their projectiles hit the same enemy creating a "shotgun" effect for more damage. If not using the Familiar, you can skip the step of clicking on the Ground first. The Pet Attack Command can also be used to move your pets out of danger and Area of Effect skills and abilities of your enemies, like the various damaging ground effects. And you do not need a target to use it as you can click on the ground and pets will simply move there.

Pet Stance Most pets have three stances; Normal, Defensive & Aggressive. To toggle it, right click on the pet health bar, on the top left, after summoning it. The default stance is Normal. If you want to use a different stance, you have to set it manually for every pet you have and re-set it each game session. I prefer to put everything on Aggressive since the "Leash" range on pets is otherwise too short. You can experiment with it to see which works best for you. Note that for pets that do not display a portrait with health bar, you cannot manually set their stances.

Build Diary : I wanted to take Single Mastery Pet builds from lvl 1-100 and chronicle the journey through GrimTools Links for every 10 levels. Note that since the items are mostly random, those should not be given much importance. The purpose here is to showcase an example of how you can plan out your skills and devotion path. As for why Single Mastery, it is so that you can mix and match to your liking as needed instead of having to go with any particular class combinations. Also note that I went into the Crucible at lvl 10, did waves 1-10, a few times to get tributes and then exchanged them at Torralia, the Immortal Archmage, for Devotion Points. I repeated it enough times to get the complete Shepherd’s Crook Devotion so that my pets would start out powerful from the very beginning. And then I went back into the Campaign. You can ignore it if you do not have the Crucible DLC or don’t want to bother spending time there gaining tributes for extra devotion points. Also, it might be a good idea to get into Shattered Realms early on and complete just 1 shard to get the shrine from the rewards room. You can also buy Medal Augments to use as a movement skill from the Conclave of the Three. I went with the “Emblem of the Leaping Mantis” one since it is available early on and is pretty decent. Try to get enough Homestead Reputation as soon as you can and then buy the Blueprint for Hysteria Relic and craft it for an extra pet. Save your Aether Clusters for tough encounters. You can also buy “Wrath of the Beast Tincture” potions from the Rovers faction to use as a temporary pet buff to help you tackle powerful enemies.

Occultist 1 – 100 :

1 – 10: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/vNQY8qMN 10 – 20: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/d2jlawjZ 20 – 30: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/nZo4kkEN 30 – 40: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/eVL0xgGV 40 – 50: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/YZewpbv2 50 – 60: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/nZo4jQzN 60 – 70: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/62a17LD2 70 – 80: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/lNkK9DbN 80 – 90: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/0V0Wne92 90 – 100: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/4NOkodaN

Note that the items are mostly random drops and not intended to be a showcase of what you should aim for.

Milestones – 10-20 : Shepherd’s Crook & Raven Devotions done. 40-50 : Loghorrean done, Hidden Path quest completed 51 : Ancient Grove Skeleton Key Dungeon completed 61 : Theodin Marcell done. 66 : Korvaak done. Normal mode finished. Starting Elite. 67 : 55/55 Devotion Points. No further Shrines needed. 70 : Hidden Path Quest Completed on Elite. 75-77 : Bastion of Chaos Skeleton Key Dungeon completed on Elite. Loghorrean done on Elite difficulty. Empowered Og’Napesh Off-Hand Recipe from Vinelton. Ancient Grove on Elite. Ravager summoned on Normal + Elite. 82 : Theodin Marcell done on Elite Difficulty. Revered with Malmouth Resistance. Xp Potions purchased. Skipping Forgotten Gods content and going into Ultimate. 90 : Hidden Path Quest Completed on Ultimate. 95 : Loghorrean done on Ultimate Difficulty. 96 : Bastion of Chaos done on Ultimate Difficulty. Remember that the above are simply a showcase of how I went about it and you will probably do most of those things at different speed.

Necromancer 1 – 100 :

1 – 10: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/O2Gz5q6N 10 – 20: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/YZewX8d2 20 – 30: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/eVL09oOV 30 – 40: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/JVlWq7o2 40 – 50: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/mN4YKQx2 50 – 60: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/RZRQGo0V 60 – 70: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/O2G7QLn2 70 – 80: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/62aE4gb2 80 – 90: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/eZP7WYjV 90 – 100: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/d2j8wBxZ

Note that the items are mostly random drops and not intended to be a showcase of what you should aim for.

Comments – So, you have noticed that instead of “Milestones”, it instead says “comments” up there. You have also probably noticed that in the Necromancer links for 1-100, I am using a Legendary item set called “Lokarr’s Spoils”. That is the reason why there is no milestones section here. The above mentioned set is farmable from the end boss of a secret quest in the Ashes of Malmouth Expansion. It provides quite a bit of resistances early on along with a +1 to all skills, while also being wearable from level 1. But the main attraction is the increased bonus to experience gained, which allows us to level up much faster. It is however, not without drawbacks as the set does not have any pet bonuses and provides very little armor, making you much more susceptible to physical damage. Also the boss you need to farm for the items; Lokarr, is a Celestial tier Superboss. Because of that, you will either need a strong character already at your disposal or trade for the items with someone willing. While the Set remains unfeasible to build around for beginners who are only starting to venture into the world of Grim Dawn, it is still sought after due to the boost it gives while leveling new characters, especially when used alongside Potion of Clarity and Faction Mandates. And so, I wanted to see if I could use the Set to level up a pet build from 1 to 100, or at the very least, to lvl-94 before having to switch to pet focused items. And in case you are wondering, the “Lokarr’s Spoils” set is not required, and is entirely optional.

Conjurer & Cabalist 1 – 100 :

So you just saw how I leveled up my Solo or Single mastery Occultist and Necromancer, from level 1 to 100. But the most popular (& easy to play) pet builds remain Conjurer and Cabalist. Also, the world of Grim Dawn is balanced around having 2 Masteries. So if you are going for either Conjurer or Cabalist, it might not make sense to limit yourself to a Single mastery when there is potential for much more.

So how does one level them up? What is the difference? Do you like Ice Cream? Read on to find out more.

First things first, I did not actually level the following in the game. The GrimTools links are just modified Occultist ones. And for that same reason, do not pay too much attention to the items. The good news is that if you can do it with just a Single mastery, having access to Two of them will only make things easier.

Also, I prefer Chocolate Ice Cream but do not mind Vanilla either. Weird flavours are however a no-no. *Omnomnom intensifies*

Conjurer 1 – 100 :

L10 - https://www.grimtools.com/calc/vNQY8qMN L20 - https://www.grimtools.com/calc/b28egoGV L30 - https://www.grimtools.com/calc/q2MnWqQV L40 - https://www.grimtools.com/calc/YNn6EOyN L50 - https://www.grimtools.com/calc/bVAwPd1N L60 - https://www.grimtools.com/calc/YZeKzdp2 L70 - https://www.grimtools.com/calc/JVl605oN L80 - https://www.grimtools.com/calc/YVWO3BdV L90 - https://www.grimtools.com/calc/m233o5j2

o) “Wait, you said 1 – 100. But it is only 1 – 90?”

The reason for it is that once you reach level 94, a lot of options open up before you in regards to how and where you want to take your build.

Cabalist 1 – 100 :

L10 - https://www.grimtools.com/calc/vNQY8qMN L20 - https://www.grimtools.com/calc/4VxmBKaZ L30 - https://www.grimtools.com/calc/Q2zDk9vZ L40 - https://www.grimtools.com/calc/eZPOkYBV L50 - https://www.grimtools.com/calc/vNQOgoMV L60 - https://www.grimtools.com/calc/RVvLjvmN L70 - https://www.grimtools.com/calc/JVl6DEXN L80 - https://www.grimtools.com/calc/dVbnQE3V L90 - https://www.grimtools.com/calc/D2p6koeZ

That should work. Try to get an Early Scorpius Pummeler if you can. It is a 1-handed scepter that drops from the Scorpion like monsters in the Forgotten Gods Expansion.

Also, same reason as for the Conjurer on why it is only 1 – 90.

Lokarr’s Secret Quest –

Since I am guilty of using an Item set that requires you to kill a Superboss multiple times, in what was supposed to be a beginner guide… I thought I could at the very least tell you more about it. Do note that as I said previously, using the set is entirely optional and is not required, so feel free to skip this section entirely if you want to.

But eventually, after your first few characters perhaps, the slow pace of leveling each new one will start to get boring. While Potion of Clarity available from the Malmouth Resistance Faction Vendor will also do the job, there is no reason not to use both if you have the option to. So, this may nor may not be useful to you right now, but might come in handy in the future.

Now, first things first; Lokarr's Secret Quest is available on Ultimate difficulty only. There are several steps required, with no attached quest and only cryptic clues given for each step.

But you can instead just jump straight in, without having to worry about clues and cryptology.

1) The quest begins with finding “Arcturus - Cursed Smith” in Gloomwald. On completing The Gloomwald Stash side quest, he can be found west of the secret area containing Nane's Stash, in a second secret area accessed by passing under some giant tangled roots. There, next to Arcturus, can be found a Rotting Corpse which holds the “Turn Back!” Note. This note provides a clue for finding the Sanctum – “Do not be so Blue in the face. When Flame meets Flame, so shall the way forward be opened...” Arcturus himself can be used to craft the Heart of Darkness, the flavor text to which provides another clue – "Teeming with vile energies that hunger for an ashen altar"

2) This leads the player to the Desolate Wastes, accessed via the Altar of Rattosh. On the northern edge of the area is a stone altar with an Urn next to it. The Urn contains the “Mythical Stormheart”. The Urn can only spawn if the Heart of Darkness is in the player's inventory.

3) In the Malmouth Outskirts, the player will find, next to the Shrines, an altar and circle with a blue flame. This is one of the flames referred to in the “Turn Back!” note. The other is “Flameond Bleu”, an Aetherial zombie creature who has 3 possible spawn points around Malmouth Outskirts.

On finding Flameond, he must be led to the altar next to the Shrine - it is helpful to clear the area first, as other creatures will attack him. Sacrificing Flamond Bleu at the magic circle will open an Aetherial Rift to a secret area adjacent Malmouth Outskirts.

4) There, the player will encounter a Bound Spirit, who will ask for the three objects: Heart of Darkness, Mythical Stormheart and Sahdina's Memento. “Sahdina's Memento” can be found in Devil's Crossing, next to the corpse of the Aetherial Colossus lying over the destroyed merchant stand. Moving close enough will add the item automatically to the player inventory. Handing the items in to the Bound Spirit will destroy two of them, but the Mythical Stormheart will be retained. Another Aetherial Rift will be opened, which leads to the Sanctum of the Chosen.

5) The Sanctum contains the “You Are Not Welcome!” note, which provides the final clue – “Root of All Evil, flourishing in the wake of blood”. Behind the Ruined Shrine in the Sanctum is a Stone Door, which leads to the Edge of Reality. About a quarter of the way along the area is a secret path leading to the Root of All Evil, a creature that, when destroyed, will open an Aetherial Rift to the Crucible of the Dead, where Lokarr can be found.

Where to Farm for Items and Blueprints –

Ever wondered what do to after hitting level 100 with the budget builds? The usual response would be to do Skeleton Key Dungeons on Ultimate and maybe Crucible once you can. But personally, I would advise against all that. Instead, what I find easiest and also most efficient is to do Shattered Realms Shards 65-66 on Normal. You do need to grind your way to there before you can Craft Celestial Waystones and start on Shard 65, but that is a one time thing and we are talking about doing it on Normal difficulty. So that shouldn't be a problem.

If you are worried about dying, then don't be. That is, unless you are playing on Hardcore where death is permanent. Because on Normal difficulty, even in Shattered Realms, enemies do not heal their health upon your death. It makes the entire thing much easier compared to Skeleton Key Dungeons and the Crucible. Now, you might be wondering, why 65-66. Why not say 75-76, maybe. Well, the answer is simple. It is just easier and there isn't much of a difference in terms of reward.

Monster Totems –

I just advised to use the Shattered Realm for Farming. But what if your build isn’t strong enough yet? Or what if you find it boring or taking too long or are simply not interested in it? Fret not, for we have Monster Totems as an alternative. Monster Totems are a feature designed to make the Corrupted Shrine mechanic a repeatable experience. Similar to Corrupted Shrines, Totems can be activated by the player to spawn a wave of enemies. When all monsters have been defeated, the Totem will collapse and explode with loot, and grant Experience points. Unlike Corrupted Shrines, however, the Totems will not grant Devotion Points. Totems can spawn in most areas of Grim Dawn, with locations partially randomized - they will typically spawn in one of three possible places within an area. And with Pet builds, farming them is easy on any difficulty. While the loot you get from farming these Totems tend to be less than what you get from Shattered Realms, given how easy Totems are, you don’t need to wait till you have a good build to start farming.

<<Go to Index>>

Crucible & SHATTERED REALMS Here I shall discuss some strategies, if you can call it that, to help you conquer these strange arenas of glory and wealth or a gruesome death. Do note that conquering both the Crucible and the Shattered Realms are only possible once you have grown strong enough to tackle their challenges and thus is not for someone who has only just begun their life as a summoner.

The Shattered Realms: A broken world abandoned by its creator, the Shattered Realm is chaotic and unpredictable. But to those brave or perhaps foolish enough to attempt it, it holds untold riches. Or so the legend says. Unlike the Crucible, death is not the end of your journey in the Shattered realms unless you are taking your chances in a parallel world of Grim Dawn where death is permanent. However, do keep in mind that if you fail to complete the Shards within the allocated time, your rewards will be considerably less. And speaking of Shards, sooner or later you will run into rooms where you will find the number and strength of your enemies to be overwhelming. That is where the strategy of “Divide & Conquer” comes in. The trick is to go to the nearest wall and keeping your back to it, move inch-by-inch to either side until you lure an enemy, at which point you go back to your starting position and hopefully kill it with great care and as little movement as necessary lest you unintentionally garner the attention of another enemy.

If that for some reason feels not enough, or due to a stroke of ill luck or cruel fate, fails in the most spectacular of fashions, despair not. There is another, easier way. It involves fiddling with your Camera. What you do is rather simple. Before entering the Boss Room, simply rotate your Camera so that Up is Down and North faces South. As an extra precaution, also Zoom in on your character and then enter the Portal. What it does is, essentially make it easier for you to draw out the enemies one-by-one and greatly reduce the risk of pulling more than one at a time. With a bit of Finesse and Training, the simple Rotation of the Camera can become a quite powerful Tool in your hands. So, do keep it in mind if you intend to brave the deeper shards of the Shattered Realm. Note that the Camera trick can also at times be used to lose Aggro on enemies hot on your heels. But that requires precise control and some luck and hence is not something you should rely on always.

Some general Tips on Crucible:

We shall be focusing on Crucible Waves 150-170 as they are the hardest and the lower waves are comparatively much easier to complete. Also note that this is for when you have become a Gladiator of the Crucible, attempting to finally conquer it with powerful items and artifacts and with the full might of your minions and the blessings of your Gods.

1. Pick Crucible of the Dead. It is the best map choice for us. 2. Place the Vanguard banner in Bottom-Left corner. Skip this part if you don't use banners. 3. Get your blessings. Skip this part too if you don't use blessings. 4. Camp the Bottom-Left Spawn. Most of the things that you want dead as soon as possible, spawn here. 5. On wave 154, kill the monsters that spawn from Bottom-Right first and then Kubacabra if playing with blessings & banner. If not, then take care to avoid his blood pools and you may want to focus on other bosses first and leave him for last. 6. On wave 159, always kill Sentinel first. He is the one that causes the most problems for pet builds.

7. On wave 161, head to Top-Right Spawn and kill the Healers that spawn here. If Aleksander comes to you before you can kill them, then quickly run to the Bottom-Left Spawn and fight and kill him there. It will take a while for the healers to get there, so you should have plenty of time. 8. On wave 163, head to Top-Left and then lure the spawns to Mid if playing with Banner or just fight and kill them at their spawn if not. Another choice is to head Bottom-Right and kill the monsters that spawn there instead. While fighting the 3 Bosses in the middle, remember to take out the Healers first. Otherwise they will heal the Bosses quite a lot, making the wave last too long. 9. On wave 167, head to Top-Left and kill the boss's first form. Try to take out his second form before wave 168 starts for an easier time. 10. On wave 169, stay within the banner radius and focus Theodin/Korvaak first. If playing without banner, then take care to not lose your pets to Anasteria. You may need to use the pet attack command a bit to reposition your pets and to make them focus on a particular enemy. Here the important point is to kill Theodin/Korvaak before wave 170, meaning you need to kill both their forms as soon as you can. Otherwise, you will have to face their second form along with whatever spawns on the next wave. 11. On wave 170, go back to Bottom-Left and kill whatever spawns there. Then just kill the other 3 however you want. Just take care not to die to Aleksander's Aether meteors to the face.

<<Go to Index>>

HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN BUILD So you have read up on all those texts containing valuable notes of wisdom and now know how to get started, where to go for the things you need and what to do.

But there is one small problem. Most of what you have read is from my perspective, my ideas and thoughts, also my prejudices. You are still the traveler but I have only shown you the path I took and continue to take. In other words, I have been teaching you to make my builds instead of your own.

So here, we are going to rectify that. Do not expect anything profound or detailed. Think of it as more of a few guidelines to get you started and not a complete guide. You will still have to do most of the work yourself for the idea here is to help you visualize your own style.

We are going to divide it into neat little sections, each outlining and containing little pieces of information relating to that particular topic and then at the end of it, an example of sorts to show you how to apply all that information into making a proper build.

So let us get started, shall we…

Choosing your Class:

This is perhaps the most important decision you will have to make, for once you make your choice, only way to undo it is by using external tools for no such option exists within the world of Grim Dawn. Now, you may have seen some insane and depraved individuals like the author of this guide make abominations such as Pet Purifiers and achieving some measure of success still. But be warned that such cases are the exceptions and not the rule. Or in other words, it is best to stick to a proper combination of mastery choices to make up your class instead of the strange and weird ones. Also the balance of the world is shifted towards two masteries combining together to form the summoner’s class. While sticking with a single mastery is perfectly viable, it is also basically a self-inflicted handicap and never will outperform a proper dual mastery one.

Alright, now with that out of the way let us discuss the basics. We shall start by looking at the Pet masteries of Cairn. Oh and Cairn, for those of you who are blissfully unaware is the world of Grim Dawn. But that is mostly irrelevant to the matter at hand. So the choices are “Occultist”, “Necromancer” & “Shaman”. You are going to want or should I say, “need” at least one of them in your build.

And the one you go with will be your primary mastery and the one you focus on. As for your secondary or supporting mastery, it is best to choose one that complements your primary. To give an example Inquisitor pairs well for an Elemental Pet build.

However, that said it is still best to make a build out of two pet masteries instead. After all, we are making a pet build. It is only natural that if both masteries support pets, the build will be stronger.

So if we go by that, your options will be - Conjurer (Occultist + Shaman) - Cabalist (Occultist + Necromancer) - Ritualist (Shaman + Necromancer)

Remember that the point here is to help you make your own summoner, in your own style. So, feel free to experiment and remember that you do not have to limit yourself to the above three combinations. There is however something else that might limit your choices. Before you settle on a Class or combination of masteries, you need to decide on what kind of a pet build you wish to make and the type of damage you want your pets to deal.

The reason why it is important is because certain combinations are better for certain things as opposed to others. For example, if you want to make a bleed based pet build, a Conjurer would be the best choice. Or maybe you want to make an acid & poison based pet build, in which case Cabalist & Ritualist will serve you better. There is more to it than just damage type, however. There is also the issue of play style. A pet Conjurer for example will be easier to play and provide for a more passive play style in general when compared to a Ritualist due to the Conjurer having sturdier pets and better defensive options.

Look at what each mastery has to provide for the build you have in mind and take your time reading about their skills and how they fit into the puzzle you are trying to solve. After enough deliberation, if you are content, make your choice. And do not worry if you later find out that you have made the wrong decision. There are ways to undo your mistakes using certain tools and if you are averse to it, rest assured that you can still salvage your build by remaking it into a different pet build. As long as at least one of the mastery choices contain a Pet mastery, you do not have any cause to worry nor the need to start over with a different character.

Choosing your Skills:

So you have decided on your Class. Now it is time to penetrate deeper into it and take a look at what you have to play with. But before that there is one more thing you need to deal with. And that is to choose your primary pet. First things first, let me tell you that if you are thinking of investing equally into all the pets you have at your disposal, that is a bad idea. You need to choose one to focus and the rest will be in supporting role. There is however a slight exception to this with my Will O Wisp build that uses 2 full item sets and focuses on both Familiar and Reap Spirit at the same time. But as I said, an exception. Your choice of pets will depend on your preferred play style and damage type. For example, if you prefer sturdier pets or want to focus on bleed damage, you will want Briarthorn and Primal Spirit. I cannot however tell you which you will find to your liking and so it is for you to experiment and find out for yourself. However at the time of writing this, Hellhound is unfortunately on the weaker side of things and hence not viable as a primary pet. If you want to read more about the various pets at your disposal, you can refer to the Pets section of this guide. Also note that you should invest as many points as you can into the base pet itself (summon familiar for eg) if you wish to focus on it. The point investment on the Pet’s Skills (mend flesh for eg) is situation dependent.

Once you have chosen your primary pet, it is time to choose your supporting pets which can come from either masteries or items and such. The trick here is to choose the ones that complement your primary pet, just like how you choose your combination of masteries. For example, in a bleed based pet Conjurer, you will not have much points to spend on Hellhound or Familiar as you will need to spend them elsewhere. So you need to pick and choose and go with the strongest option.

Now for non-pet skills, you want things that support your pets either directly (like Manipulation) or indirectly (like Aspect of the Guardian). You also want some form of Heal if either of your masteries provides one (like Blood of Dreeg). Then ofcourse, comes Resistance Reduction (RR). The more you have, the better. Do note that different forms of RR stack differently. Refer to the “General Guide to GrimDawn” section to know more. Also be mindful of the fact that certain items can grant RR to certain skills.

Another important thing to note is how much points to invest in particular skills. Some have specific thresholds after which further points grant less than efficient returns. So keep that in mind and remember that “more” is not always the best choice. You need to be efficient with how much and where you spend your points. Also items can grant extra points to particular skills or sometimes to the entire mastery. Keep that in mind while planning out your build.

Choosing your Devotions:

If choosing your Class was the most important thing you will do, choosing your Devotions is likely the most confusing part of the whole thing. Especially if you are starting out, the vastness of the constellation can be a little bit intimidating and it is easy to feel lost.

I am going to start by reiterating something I have already mentioned in the Beginner’s section of the guide –

Something that might come in handy when dealing with Devotions is knowing how Affinities work. You will to buy back the points at certain steps to make the most out of your devotion points. I will try to explain the process behind it with an example: Shepherd's Crook is an Ascendant devotion that requires 1 point in Purple before you can get it. So, let us say that you put 1 point in the Ascendant Crossroads. Now note that Shepherd's Crook also has a Complete Constellation Bonus that provides 5 Ascendant devotion points. So, once you complete it, you can buy back the point from Purple Crossroads since its requirements are already met as the constellation provides 5 points for completion. In other words, it is now selfsustaining.

Do note that if you wanted to remove Shepherd's Crook now, you will need to put that point back in Purple Crossroads again or get at least 1 more Ascendant point from Completion Bonus of some other devotion. Also, some devotions provide Points for two different Colours as their Completion Bonus. For example, Assassin's Blade requires 1 point in Order and provides 2 Yellow and 3 Purple points once it is completed. –

Ok, so now we got that out of the way it is time to look a bit into the constellations themselves so that you can get an idea of how to plan out your route and what to get. However do note that we won’t be going over every single constellation or looking into any of them in detail.

We are going to start by neatly splitting the sky into 4 little parts – -

Crossroads Tier 1 Constellations (T1) Tier 2 Constellations (T2) Tier 3 Constellations (T3)

Now that we have done that, it is time to see exactly what they mean and include.

The Crossroads – This is the central area where you need to invest atleast 1 point before you can unlock the rest of the sky. It is also the easiest part to figure out since there are no pre-requisites and 1 devotion point gets you 1 point of a particular colour. You also want the least number of points invested here once your devotion setup is complete. In other words, this is where you will be buying back points from in most cases. Your choices here are: -

Ascendant (Purple) Chaos (Red) Eldritch (Green) Order (Yellow) Primordial (Blue)

Tier 1 Constellations – They require 1 point of any particular colour and provide multiple points of the same colour or more than one colour once completed. Example: Tortoise, Eel, Rat, Lion etc. This is where you will be really beginning your journey into the rest of the sky and also contains one of the most powerful and important pet constellations; Shepherd’s Crook.

Tier 2 Constellations – They require multiple points of the same colour or points of different colours and provide points of a single colour or multiple colours once completed. Example: Solemn Watcher, Behemoth, Wendigo etc.

Do note that both T1 and T2 constellations serve 2 different purposes. The first one is ofcourse, the bonuses from their individual nodes and proc’s if any. The second one is the colour points they give as completion bonus. Example: Tortoise’s individual nodes mostly provide defensive stats while its proc grants a “shield” that absorbs a certain amount of damage. It also provides 3 Blue and 2 Yellow points upon completion.

Tier 3 Constellations – They require multiple points of 2 or more colours and are more powerful than T1 and T2 constellations. They do not however provide any colour points upon completion. Example: Tree of Life, Mogdrogen the Wolf, Dying God etc. It is highly recommended to atleast have one T3 constellation in your devotion route and sometimes you can even include two if your route allows for it.

Something to note is that you do not need to complete all constellations and sometimes you will not be able to, if you want to make the most of your devotion points. Also sometimes you will have to make sacrifices along the way. Just like with skills, you will need to decide on the ones you need, the ones you want and the ones you are willing to give up. The objective is to make the most of the devotion points you have and using them, make the strongest devotion setup appropriate for the build you have envisioned. Ideally, as previously mentioned you want atleast one T3 Constellation. You also want to grab some that provide useful Resistance Reduction. Since we are making Pet builds, Shepherd’s Crook is more or less non negligible. As for the rest, it is a bit more complicated than picking all the devotions that provide pet bonuses. You see, the summoner is still more important than the pets since if your pet dies it can simply be resummoned. But if the summoner dies, it is over. So first order of business is to make the summoner sturdier and able to withstand punishment long enough for the pets to do their job. You will naturally want to focus on increasing your resistances, perhaps getting a source of Heal, some Defensive ability, Movement speed etc. Then comes Proc’s. Take Blizzard from Amatok the Spirit of Winter for example. It provides an excellent source of Area wide damage when bound to a Pet like Familiar in an Elemental Pet build. Note: When bound to a Pet, the proc does scale based on Pet Stats.

Also one other thing you need to keep in mind while planning out your route is that different types of builds require different constellations to work properly. Sometimes you will only need to make small variations from your preferred route, but sometimes you will need to change it entirely. An example of the above would be the devotion route of my Elemental Pet Conjurer – Fluffy Squishy vs that of my Bleed Pet Conjurer – Scarlet. If things still seem a bit too complicated for you, one way to hopefully simplify things is to first look at which T3 constellation(s) you want to include in your build and work your way backwards from there. So let us say you want “Tree of Life”. You see that it requires 20 Blue points and 7 Yellow. So you then look for devotions that provide points of those two colours and see which ones provide the most for the least devotion point investment. Then you find out which ones are the most useful for the build you are making and include those. Sometimes you will however have to take constellations whose bonuses you don’t need, just to fill in the colour requirements. Also, you might see that “Ishtak, the Spring Maiden” is right next to Tree of Life and at 15 Blue and 10 Yellow, has similar costs. So you then proceed to see if you can include it in your devotion setup without making too many sacrifices. Remember that T3 constellations are extremely powerful and if you can include more than one, there is no reason not to.

Alright, now that all that is done, you need to decide on which constellation proc’s to bind to which skills. Ideally you want any damage proc to be bound to pets since we aren’t focusing on the summoner’s offensive stats in a pet build. Resistance Reduction (RR) proc’s can be bound to a pet if you have any free ones, or to a skill like say “Bloody Pox”, “Grasping Vines”, “Ravenous Earth” etc. Ideally, you want to minimize the number of active skills in your build for you will have plenty of buttons to push thanks to the various buffs from both masteries and items that you will have to keep running. You also want RR proc’s on a readily available skill with little to no cooldown and something you can spam at will. Or as said before, bind it to pets. As for the defensive proc’s, you want them bound to a Toggle skill. That way you won’t have to worry about the skill being on cooldown when you need it. For example, Tree of Life’s proc can be bound to Primal Bond or Bonds of Bysmiel etc… Then comes the Proc’s that buff your pets or summon pets of their own. You cannot bind these to your pets, so will need to bind them to an active skill. For example, the proc from Shepherd’s Crook will need to be bound to a skill like Curse of Frailty. The same rule for RR proc’s apply here too when it comes to which skills are best suited (except the fact that you cannot bind it to pets). At the end of the day, experiment and find a setup you are comfortable with.

Choosing your Items:

Another complicated part. There are many to choose from and it is not always clear which is the better choice. Also a section that is a bit too difficult and time consuming to go into a detailed discussion about. So instead we will be focusing on a way to make the choices easier. Before we get to it, do note that I won’t be discussing it from a beginner’s perspective. This entire section on how to make your own builds, is directed at endgame oriented builds and thus won’t be dealing with budget items or the leveling phase. We are instead going based on the perspective of a fully leveled summoner.

So this is how we simplify the process. Start with an Item Set. You already have decided on your Class, your Primary Pet & the type of build you want to make. So choosing a Set should be an easy task. Simply pick one for the Pet of your choice. The “Pets” section of the guide contains information on which sets are for which pets. So refer to that part if you need to. Then once you have done that another important thing you need to focus on is “Damage Conversion”. You ideally want all your pets to do the same kind of damage, the one you have previously decided on and selected the most amount of Resistance Reduction for. So you should see if there are any items that convert Pet damage into the kind you want.

As I have said previously, the Summoner is actually more important than the pets. So also focus on items that boost your defensive stats and resistances. At the same time, your pets are your sword & shield. So they cannot be completely ignored either. You should find items that also boost their stats and resistances. The trick here is to balance out offense & defense while also finding the balance between the needs of the pets vs that of the summoner. Unfortunately, other than giving you a pre-made build, there isn’t much I can do to help out here. Maybe you could look at the builds I have given in this guide and use them as examples or reference points instead of starting from scratch. But only having all that to worry about sounds a bit too easy, doesn’t it. Don’t worry, for there is more. See, pet builds are some of the most Skill point intensive builds out there. You will never have “enough”. Also for certain pets like the Familiar or Reap Spirit, you need to get them at certain point levels like the 26/16 for the Familiar to make the most out of them. So it is not just a matter of more skill points, but also about having enough skill points for a particular skill. And once again, you will have to balance between what you need, what you want and what you are willing to sacrifice. One silver lining is that, when it comes to Pet builds, you can make do without requiring MIs (Monster Infrequents) with specific affixes to succeed. But it can also be a double edged sword since there is an extreme reliance on Sets and also on Legendary items.

Now, when discussing items, it is never complete without discussing Augments and Components.

Augments are all sold by the vendors of different Factions and hence easy to acquire. Give priority to covering the summoner’s resistances and defenses. After that, focus entirely on buffing your pets. If an Augment can do both, then prioritize it over the others.

Components can be a little tricky to get, especially since you have to farm for the blueprints of the rarer ones before you can craft them. But they are relatively easy to actually use due to the fact that you can ignore the needs of the pets and focus entirely on the summoner.

Weapon & Off-Hand components might be considered as an exception to the “Ignore Pets” part. But you can simply make do with 2x “Seals of Might” in general. Should you find yourself without said component or any way of getting it, you can always rely on “Purified Salt” & “Imbued Silver”, both of which are craftable by default without requiring a blueprint. Also a mention to Eldritch Mirror (Chest & Head component) which provides Pet Total Speed and is best in slot if you can get it.

An Example Build:

Ok, so you have read all that. Now comes the part where I hopefully show you how to apply the information to get results. And I have heard that using an example is the best way to do it, so that is what we are going to do. To that end, we will be using my Bleed Pet Conjurer – Scarlet – Pet Conjurer: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/wV1E0vnV

Choosing your Class – Alright, first comes choosing your masteries. I want to make a bleed based pet build. Briarthorn and Primal Spirit both have innate bleed damage. Devouring Swarm has bleed RR & Primal Bond provides flat bleed damage to pets. All-in-all, Shaman seems like a pretty good choice. Now for the secondary mastery, let us say we are deliberating between Necromancer or Occultist. Necromancer has very little Pet support and no support for Bleed damage. Occultist, on the other hand provides better pet support and has bleed RR. I also want sturdier pets, which Necromancer is not known for. So ultimately I decide to go with Occultist as my secondary mastery and make a Pet Conjurer.

Choosing your Skills – The choice of pets here is obvious. You want both Briarthorn and Primal Spirit. So you focus mostly on those 2. Familiar still provides us a useful Aura, so we take it for Storm Spirit. Only 1 point is invested in Hellhound since it is only there to be an extra body to apply Bleed damage to the enemies and maybe proc a constellation skill. Then we look towards supporting non-pet skills to take. - Curse of Frailty for the RR. - Dreeg’s Evil Eye + Focused Gaze for damage reduction and proc’ing devotions if necessary. - Blood of Dreeg + Aspect of the Guardian for the Heal and Resistances. Extra Offensive Ability doesn’t hurt either. - Bonds of Bysmiel + Manipulation for the Pet stats. - Devouring Swarm for the RR and proc’ing devotions if needed. - Primal Bond as the Exclusive Skill for the Pet stats and damage absorption. - Mogdrogen’s Pact mostly for Heart of the Wild’s extra Health. - 1 point in Oak Skin for the extra bit of resistances.

Obviously you can and probably will be doing things differently, but I wanted to explain my reasons for taking the skills that I took.

Choosing your Devotions – Here, we are going to focus on the T3 constellations first and work backwards. Since it is a bleed based pet build I wanted Mogdrogen. So that is where I start. Huntress is nearby and provides Bleed RR, so we take that too. Then working our way back, we try to include as many useful constellations as we can while also trying to be efficient with our devotion points. Shepherd’s Crook is ofcourse taken by default. Then I see if there are any proc’s I can add to the devotion route and see that both Oleron and Falcon provides proc’s that have a high amount of Flat Bleed damage which will be magnified when proc’ed by pets. So I try to find a way to include both of them into the build. Do note that it is made somewhat easier due to both Mogdrogen and Oleron sharing the need for Purple points. If they had opposite colour requirements, it would have been hard to impossible to get both. Falcon also provides Purple and Green points, both of which we require. And on the way to Oleron, I see that Assassin’s Blade provides both Yellow and Purple points while also having a proc that provides Physical and Pierce RR. Since we can use both the proc and the colours it provides, we take that too, even though the individual nodes do not provide anything we need. We also get a spare point to invest wherever we want and in this case, I decide on the first node of Wolverine for extra Pet Pierce resistance.

Choosing your Items – Since we are focusing on both Briarthorn and Primal Spirit, we need to get items that support both. The obvious set of choice here is Mythical Beastcaller’s Set which also lets us summon an additional Briarthorn. Then I look to finding ways to lower the Cool Down (CD) of Primal Spirit since it is a powerful but temporary pet with a long CD. I also look for items that can perhaps increase its duration instead. Bound Wraith and Mythical Will of Bysmiel both serve that purpose while Will of Bysmiel also removes the mana cost of Primal Spirit and Bound Wraith increasing Primal Spirit’s attack speed. All-in-all, good choices so far.

We don’t need to convert the damage types of our pets, so we can dedicate the Weapon slot to more damage and RR and our Ring slots to get some extra levels in Briarthorn + Pet damage & Health. Gloves and Boots are selected primarily for the defensive stats and proc they provide to the player. The fact that they also have pet stats is an added bonus. Pants cover the much required Aether resistance for the player while also providing a lot of decent stuff for the pets. Belt provides flat bleed damage, provides useful pet resistances and at the same time provides a +1 to Occultist skills. All of which are useful for us.

Relic slot is flexible, but Mogdrogen’s Ardor provides +1 to all skills, some health, a lot of useful stats for pets including Aether & Chaos resistances and also has a useful Aura since the build is a bit low on summoner’s movement speed. It can also have a quite useful completion bonus.

Augments and Components have been explained in general previously, so I won’t be going into each one in detail here. Do note that since I prefer defense over offense, I make all my builds with defense in mind and hence might sacrifice some more offensive options if it means that I can make it more defensive. You might see it in some of the item and augment + component choices here.

And finally the build is ready. All that is left now is to test it out and make minor variations if needed to make it even stronger, whether it be offensively or defensively.

Recommended Stats for Endgame –

For Pets, this is what I personally like:

150%+ HP 1000%+ Total dmg 90%+ attack speed 50%+ cast speed 100%+ Crit dmg 40%+ OA

As for the player, 2600+ DA, Capped primary resistances, 40%+ Phys res. You can get by without overcapping Aether/Chaos and without focusing on armor.

But ofcourse, builds vary a lot and the required amount of stats and how much you can actually get depends on your build and what your goals are. The above should still be a decent amount to aim for, however.


And thus we come to the end of this little section. I am aware that the information presented here is not complete nor that useful for someone seeking to make their own builds. However, for the sake of everyone’s time and sanity, I cannot go into any further detail than I have and I hope that whatever wisdom you gained from here proves useful, atleast in part. Everyone has their own play style and ideas on how to do things. So feel free to experiment with your own and come to your own conclusions instead of blindly following my words. I know the irony of that sentence in a guide, but I say it because I myself did exactly that. Instead of following in someone else’s footsteps, I decided that I wanted my builds to be the epitome of laziness above all else and worked towards that end. If I may boast, I daresay that I succeeded in that task too. So who knows where your journey might take you. Only you can answer that question. I am just providing you some refreshments for the journey incase you get hungry.

<<Go to Index>>

USEFUL TOOLS As I have mentioned previously, it is dangerous to go alone. Take these:

GrimTools: https://www.grimtools.com/ An excellent multi-purpose tool for Grim Dawn, created by Dammitt. The Checklist and Build Calculator will turn out to be extremely useful for any hero wishing to make their mark on this dark and damned world. The existence of Item Database is the reason why I am not giving you a detailed list of all the equipment and trinkets that will be of use to you. As a bonus, there is even a detailed explanation on Pets therein.

GD Stash: https://www.nexusmods.com/grimdawn/mods/2 I might be scorned for providing you with this, but while it lets you play God in the world of Grim Dawn, it need not be used in such a way. It also has many other uses and can also help revert some unfortunate past mistakes. Made by Mamba.

<<Go to Index>>


You may come across certain words while on your journey. Some, familiar & some, strange. It helps to have a list of commonly found words and their meaning in the common tongue.

RR = Resistance Reduction. OA /DA = Offensive Ability / Defensive Ability AoE = Area of Effect CD / CDR = Cool Down / Cool Down Reduction DoT = Damage over Time

Proc = Programmed Random Occurrence: Chance on attack/crit/being hit BiS = Best in Slot - Best for a build in its slot CC = Crowd Control: Stuns, freezes, slows, blinds, confusion etc.

Transmuter = Transmuters are skill upgrades that are branched out from the skill trees instead of going along with it. They are represented with an Aether Crystal symbol.

Total Speed = Affects Attack Speed, Cast Speed & Movement Speed.

(%)WD = (%) Weapon Damage: Skills can have %WD on them, which makes them deal the amount of flat damage you gain from gear, skills and devotion, to the given percentage.

Crit = Critical damage. When you Crit, your damage is multiplied by your Crit amount.

MI = Monster Infrequent: Occasionally, enemies can equip certain items that will drop when they die. These items are known as Monster Infrequents.

<<Go to Index>>

Conclusion Who I am, is not important. We are all but faceless names here anyway. But what is important is what I have offered you, stranger. The Carnival is, as the name suggests a festival; a festival of man and beasts. And I hope that during your stay here, you found something of use to you. I may not be the best guide to show you the path you are about to undertake, but I have tried my best. The rest I fear, is on your shoulders. But do not limit yourself to my narrow minded teachings. After all, not everyone finds pleasure in serving my mistress, Lady Bysmiel. Who knows where your path may lead you or what wonders await your presence. The world is vast and full of experience to be earned, some good and others, not so much. Yet, they all serve to shape you into the legend you will become. Learn from them and carve out your own path through the ages. Use my wisdom as mere guide lines rather than absolute truths. And when possible, gain knowledge from wherever you find it. In the end, may you find what you seek and may Lady Fortune bless you in your endeavor.

Mayst thou thy peace discov'r <<Go to Index>>

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The Carnival - Pet Guide  

The Carnival - Pet Guide  

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