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"Grim Dawn": Nightblade Build Guides for Beginners

Arc is a self-help author/speaker and AI thinker. He also make apps as a side hustle.

The Nightblade mastery is a class that focuses on efficiently dispatching enemies.

The Nightblade mastery is a class that focuses on efficiently dispatching enemies.

Nightblade is a melee assassin mastery that excels in killing enemies. Considered to be the deadliest of all mastery, Nightblade’s set of skills focuses on ending lives quickly as well as walking away from harm.

Note: Recommended Devotions are not in order. It is up to you what constellation you should learn first. Just in case you don’t know, devotion points can also be re-assigned in order to meet certain requirements.

When it comes to gear components, resistance to different damage types should be the priority for your character to survive on higher difficulties.

1. Basic Blademaster (Nightblade + Soldier)

This is a dual wielding build that deals a huge amount of pierce and bleeding damage. This is my most recommended build for beginners since its play style is simple yet powerful.

The build’s foundation in killing enemies is in its basic attacks with multiple passive bonuses.

Attributes

Physique is the primary attribute of this build. It allows you to survive the harsh environment of melee combat. But don’t forget to assign points on cunning to equip the best one-handed weapons, and enough spirit to equip the best jewelries.

Nightblade Skills

  • Mastery Bar (50 points)
  • Dual Blades (16 points) – Belgothian’s Shears (8 points) – Amarasta’s Quick Cut (8 points) – Whirling Death (8 points) – Execution (8 points)
  • Ring of Steel (16 points) – Circle of Slaughter (12 points)
  • Shadow Strike (1 point)
  • Blade Barrier (12 points)
  • Blade Spirit (16 points)
  • Phantasmal Armor (2 points)

Soldier Skills

  • Mastery Bar (50 points)
  • Cadence (1 point)
  • Field Command (12 points) – Squad Tactics (12 points)
  • Oleron’s Rage (12 points)

Devotion

  • Tortoise
  • Assassin’s Blade
  • Empty Throne
  • Harpy
  • Assassin
  • Blades of Nadaan
  • Bard’s Harp
  • Harvestman’s Sycthe
  • Unknown Soldier – Assign Living Shadow on Cadence for optimize effect.
  • Oleron – At this rate, you will be two points short on devotion points. Just learn the necessary prerequisites to get the Blind Fury.

Equipment Priorities

Your main priority here are items that increase pierce and bleeding damage.

It is also a good idea to equip items that give you a chance to auto cast Ring of Steel, such as Reaver’s Claw.

Once you reach level 75, use Seal of Blades on your weapons. The bonus perfectly fits for this build.

How to Play?

Use Shadow Strike to quickly engage enemies, then immediately cast Ring of Steel whenever it is available. The primary damage dealer of this build is its barrage of basic attacks. That’s more than enough to finish enemies in no time.

2. Cold Assassin Spellbreaker (Nightblade + Arcanist)

This dual-wielding build mainly deals cold damage, as well as elemental damage. It's a great path if you prefer to be dealing magical damage while dual-wielding melee weapons. It has also high survivability due to multiple skills that can freeze mobs and absorb full damage.

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Another advantage of this build is that it has the best starting skills for early speed leveling (Olexra’s Flash Freeze, Night’s Chill, Pnuematic Burst). This build can take you from level 1 to 50 in no time.

Attributes

Put enough points on both cunning and spirit depending on the requirements of your desired equipment.

Since this is another melee type build, the majority of your points should be put on Physique.

Nightblade Skills

  • Mastery Bar (50 points)
  • Dual Blades (1 point) – Execution (8 points)
  • Ring of Steel (16 points) – Ring of Frost (1 point
  • Shadow Strike (16 points) – Nightfall (12 points)
  • Pnuematic Burst (12 points) – Breath of Belgothian (1 point) – Shadow Dance (1 point) – Elemental Awakening (12 points)
  • Veil of Shadow (10 points) – Night’s Chill (10 points)
  • Blade Barrier (9 points)
  • Blade of Spirit (16 points)
  • Merciless Repertoire (12 points)

Arcanist Skills

  • Mastery Bar (20 points)
  • Olexra’s Flash Freeze (12 points) – Absolute Zero (12 points)
  • Mirror of Ereoctes (1 point)
  • Maiven’s Sphere of Protection (12 points)

Devotion

  • Tsunami – Assign Tsunami on Olexra’s Flash Freeze
  • Spider
  • Raven
  • Quill
  • Hawk
  • Owl
  • Harpy
  • Amatok the Spirit of Winter – Assign Blizzard to Blade Spirit.
  • Leviathan – Assign Whirlpool to Ring of Steel.
  • Blind Sage – Assign Elemental Seeker to Execution.

Equipment Priorities

Equip items that grant cold or elemental damage bonus. For weapons, make sure the character is dual-wielding or else it won’t get bonuses from dual-wield exclusive skills.

How to Play?

This build relies on both normal attacks and spamming skills. After initiating the fight with Shadow Strike, immediately cast Olexra’s Flash Freeze to control the mobs around you, saving your character from potential harm. Once you initiate the fight, use Ring of Steel and a barrage of your basic attacks to quickly finish off your enemies.

Tip: For a more convenient and effective game play, assign Ring of Steel to your left click as your basic attack.

3. Melee Frost Spellbreaker (Nightblade + Arcanist)

This is a Spellbreaker build that wields a powerful two-handed weapon called Soulrend. When in combat, the build deals massive frostburn and cold damage that often scores critical hit.

Attributes

This build also relies on Physique to survive in melee combat, so put a large amount of points there. Then put 15 or 30 points, depending upon your preference, on cunning. This will ensure that you will often deal critical damage. Scoring critical hits is important for this build to often proc Dread Ice from Soulrend and Blizzard from Amatok the Spirit of Winter.

You may choose not to put any points on spirit since the mastery bar from Arcanist and Nightblade can provide enough of those attributes.

Nightblade Skills

  • Mastery Bar (50 points)
  • Amarasta’s Blade Burst (16 points) – Lethal Assault (12 points)
  • Ring of Steel (16 points) – Ring of Frost (1 point)
  • Shadow Strike (16 points) – Nightfall (12 points)
  • Pnuematic Burst (1 point) – Elemental Awakening (12 points)
  • Blade Barrier (8 points)
  • Phantasmal Armor (1 point)
  • Merciless Repertoire (12 points)

Arcanist Skills

  • Mastery Bar (50 points)
  • Iskandra’s Elemental Exchange (1 point) – Elemental Balance (12 points)
  • Maiven’s Sphere of Protection (12 points)
  • Star Pact (12 points)

Devotion

  • Tsunami
  • Spider
  • Raven
  • Quill
  • Hawk
  • Empty Throne
  • Harpy
  • Amatok the Spirit of Winter
  • Kraken
  • Leviathan – Assign Whirpool to Ring of Steel.
  • Blind Sage – Assign Elemental Seeker to Amarasta’s Blade Burst

Equipment Priorities

The first damage type that you should look for from equipment is Frostburn, then cold.

The recommended weapon is Soulrend that can drop from Alkamos, Lord Executioner inside Steps of Torment: Anguish.

How to Play?

Spam your skills on enemies by using Shadow Strike first, then use Amarasta’s Blade Burst and Ring of Steel

To survive enemies that can deal heavy damage like bosses, hit and run tactics is recommended. Burst all your skills on target, then run away to recover your health and cooldown.This will let your massive frostburn damage melt your enemies. Or you can just use Blade Barrier after spamming your skills, then watch your enemies die from frostburn while you are inside a safe haven.

4. Cold Grim Reaper (Nightblade + Necromancer)

This build is very similar to the Melee Frost Spellbreaker. Cold is still the main damage type of this build, while Soulrend from Alkamos is still the recommended weapon to use. The difference in this build is in the primary attack, which is Bone Harvest enhanced by Harvester of Death. This transmuter makes the skill more powerful when a two-handed melee weapon is equipped.

Attributes

Same as Melee Frost Spellbreaker.

Nightblade Skills

  • Mastery Bar (50 points)
  • Ring of Steel (16 points) – Ring of Frost (1 point)
  • Shadow Strike (16 points) – Nightfall (12 points)
  • Veil of Shadow (10 points) – Night’s Chill (10 points)
  • Blade Spirit (16 points)
  • Blade Barrier (12 points)
  • Phantasmal Armor (4 points)
  • Merciless Repertoire (12 points)

Necromancer Skills

  • Master Bar (32 points)
  • Bone Harvest (16 points) – Harvester of Death (1 point) – Dread (12 points) – Soul Harvest (12 points)
  • Necrotic Edge (12 points)

Devotion

Same as Melee Frost Spellbreaker.

Equipment Priorities

Same as Melee Frost Spellbreaker, but cold damage should be prioritized instead of frostburn.

How to Play?

Just like Melee Frost Spellbreaker, spam your skills, including your main damage dealer, Bone Harvest.

5. Melee Dual-Wield Pierce Infiltrator (Nightblade + Inquisitor)

This is an Infiltrator build that makes use of almost all the pierce damage skills in your arsenal for melee combat. This build has the survival advantage of having Inquisitor Seal that can benefit this character and its allies.

Attributes

Invest 20 or 30 points in cunning depending on your preference. Then put the rest of your attributes on physique. You will be needing a lot of defense since Inquisitor mastery doesn’t provide a lot of defensive bonus.

Put points on spirit if you think you don’t have enough spirit to wear high level jewelry.

Nightblade Skills

  • Mastery bar (50 points)
  • Dual Blades (16 points) – Belgothian’s Shears (8 points) – Amarasta’s Quick Cut (8 points) – Whirling Death (8 points)
  • Ring of Steel (16 points) – Circle of Slaughter (12 points)
  • Shadow Strike (1 point)
  • Blade Spirit (16 points)
  • Blade Barrier (10 points)

Inquisitor Skills

  • Mastery Bar (50 points)
  • Deadly Aim (12 points)
  • Inquisitor Seal (12 points) – Null Field (1 point) – Arcane Empowerment (12 points)
  • Aura of Conviction (12 points)

Devotion

Same as Basic Blademaster build.

Equipment Priorities

Same as Basic Blademaster build.

How to Play?

After initiating the fight with Shadow Strike, immediately cast inquisitor seal to basically boost your survivability. Just like the Basic Blademaster build, use your deadly Ring of Steel and basic attacks to quickly end enemies life.

6. Melee Dual-Wield Storm Trickster (Nightblade + Shaman)

This is a melee dual-wielding trickster that unleashes lightning and cold type of damage with extra electrocute and frostburn on every attack.

Attributes

Same as Melee Frost Spellbreaker.

Nightblade Skills

  • Mastery bar (50 points)
  • Dual Blades (1 point) – Execution (8 points)
  • Ring of Steel (16 points) – Ring of Frost (1 point)
  • Shadow Strike (16 points) – Nightfall (12 points)
  • Veil of Shadow (10 points) – Night’s Chill (10 points)
  • Blade Barrier (6 points)
  • Merciless Repertoire (12 points)

Shaman Skills

  • Mastery bar (50 points)
  • Savagery (16 points) – Tenacity of the Boar (12 points) – Storm Touched (12 points)
  • Stormcaller’s Pact (12 points)

Devotion

  • Chaos Crossroads
  • Eldritch Crossroads
  • Tsunami
  • Lizard
  • Vulture
  • Raven
  • Quill
  • Hawk
  • Empty Throne
  • Harpy
  • Amatok the Spirit of Winter
  • Leviathan
  • Ultos, Shepherd of Storms

Note: As an alternative, you may choose Tempest over Amatok the Spirit of Winter.

Equipment Priorities

Wear equipment that increases cold and lightning damage, then use melee dual-wield weapons.

How to Play?

Use the default basic attack of this build called Savagery that increases damage as charges build up. Don’t forget to burst enemies with Shadow Strike and Ring of Steel whenever it is available.

7. Melee Dual-Wield Elemental Saboteur (Nightblade + Demolitionist)

This melee dual-wielding saboteur can unleash both individual and combined elemental damage. Aside from the elemental damage, the build can also deal separate fire, lightning, and cold damage.

Attributes

Same as Cold Assassin Spellbreaker.

Nightblade Skills

  • Mastery bar (50 points)
  • Dual Blades (1 point) – Execution (8 points)
  • Shadow Strike (16 points) – Nightfall (12 points)
  • Ring of Steel (16 points) – Ring of Frost (1 point)
  • Blade Spirit (16 points)
  • Pneumatic Burst (12 points) – Elemental Awakening (12 points)
  • Blade Barrier (5 points)
  • Merciless Repertoire (12 points)

Demolitionist Skills

  • Mastery bar (32 points)
  • Fire Strike (12 points) – Searing Strike (3 points) – Static Strike (12 points)
  • Flame Touched (12 points)
  • Blast Shield (12 points)

Devotion

  • Eldritch Crossroads
  • Turtle
  • Lion
  • Spider
  • Quill
  • Scholar’s Light
  • Hawk
  • Empty Throne
  • Owl
  • Rhowan’s Crown
  • Crab
  • Blind Sage – assign Elemental Seeker on Fire Strike.
  • Attak Seru, the Mirage – assign Surge on Ring of Steel.

Equipment Priorities

This character should be wearing equipment that increases elemental damage. You can also wear equipment for cold, fire, and lightning damage.

How to Play?

The primary damage dealer of this build is Elemental Seeker from Blind Sage that is attached to your basic attack, Fire Strike. It can always proc with your basic attack as long as the skill is available. Just like from other builds, use Shadow Strike, Ring of Steel, and Blade of Spirit whenever it is available to use.

8. Melee Dual-Wield Elemental Witch Hunter (Nightblade + Occultist)

This is a Witch Hunter build that mainly deals cold as primary damage and elemental as secondary damage. The role of pets in this build is to support your character’s capabilities with its aura.

Attributes

Same as Cold Assassin Spellbreaker.

Nightblade Skills

  • Mastery bar (50 points)
  • Dual Blades (1 point) – Execution (8 points)
  • Ring of Steel (16 points) – Ring of Frost (1 point)
  • Shadow Strike (16 points) – Nightfall (12 points)
  • Pneumatic Burst (12 points) – Elemental Awakening (12 points)
  • Veil of Shadow (10 points) – Night’s Chill (10 points)
  • Blade of Barrier (10 points)
  • Merciless Repertoire (12 points)

Occultist Skills

  • Mastery bar (32 points)
  • Summon Familiar (1 point) – Mend Flesh (16 points) – Storm Spirit (12 points)
  • Summon Hellhound (1 point) – Hellfire (12 points)

Devotion

Same as Melee Dual-Wield Elemental Saboteur.

Equipment Priorities

Wear equipment that increases cold damage or elemental damage.

How to Play?

Just like the other melee builds of this article, use Shadow Strike to initiate the fight and Ring of Steel whenever it is available. Use normal attacks when everything is on cooldown.

Important: Don’t set your pet’s behavior to aggressive. Their primary role in this build is to support your character, not one that engages enemies.

The various Nightblade skills.

The various Nightblade skills.

© 2018 Arc Sosangyo

Comments

Fancy Apple from New York City on October 16, 2020:

Hi guys, is that a working guide for 2020? I played PoE a lot and want to start Grim Dawn with killingmachine character

Doychev on August 26, 2020:

Well, it's me again, you didn't reply to my question but I succeeded to unlock all the devotions by myself the trick is to unlock Sailor's Guide in order to unlock Bards Harp and Harvestman's Scythe, then after unlocking the whole Harvestman's I removed Sailor's Guide and got the 5 extra points for the final devotion - Oleron :) thanks!

Doychev on August 23, 2020:

Hello, by following the Basic blademaster devotion build I'm unable to unlock the Harvestman’s Sycthe and Bard's Harp because I have only 3 Primordial points and Harvestman's need 5, is there any mistake in this build or I do something wrong lol?

Waiting for your answer, thanks!

Jethro elohor on April 09, 2020:

Wow it a wonderful game never knew ,this is one kind of a game

Carib on April 09, 2020:

I was wondering about assigning skills to the devotion points. The very first point I go to spend in Tortoise asks me to assign a skill and I don't know what to choose?

Akhlak on March 31, 2020:

Extremely helpful..

Philippe from Fribourg on May 25, 2018:

I do many builds, but not guide tho. I'm not really playing Grim Dawn that much. But trying to make one of build work. Maybe one day my friend :)

Arc Sosangyo (author) on May 25, 2018:

Glad to know that :)

Looking forward to see your own build guide too

Philippe from Fribourg on May 24, 2018:

I'm always here to say what's wrong ;)

Arc Sosangyo (author) on May 24, 2018:

@Philippe - Thanks for checking on my behalf. It's a typo error and I already corrected it.

Philippe from Fribourg on May 24, 2018:

Also the Trickster Melee Dual Wield have 250 Skills points assigned and not 244. So it means Stormcaller's Pact is 6/12 ^^'

Philippe from Fribourg on May 24, 2018:

Hey again ! For the Melee Frost Spellbreaker you assigned 245 points instead of 244. With what i've done on grimtools i have 11/12 Start pact. I guess we need to took off the 1 in Phantasmal armor to put the 12/12 on Star pact. ^^' Have fun

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