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"Grim Dawn": Soldier Build Guides for Beginners

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

The Soldier primarily deals physical damage with its attacks.

The Soldier primarily deals physical damage with its attacks.

Soldier is a physical damage dealer that can either be played as tank or heavy hitter. The mastery is also not limited to melee combat. Some of Soldier’s skills can work with a ranged weapon as well.

Due to its skill Squad Tactics, which increases all damage and attack speed to you and your allies, Soldier can be easily integrated to other masteries.

Now let's explain what all damage does, because that's what really matters in this skill. Basically, the game has nine damage types: physical, pierce, fire, cold, lightning, vitality, chaos, acid, and aether. There are also eight DOT (damage over time) types: internal trauma, bleeding, burn, frostburn, electrocute, vitality decay, and poison. All damage increases the power of all the above mentioned damage types. This means that any masteries you play will benefit from it.

The recommended Devotions here are not in order. It is up to you what constellation you should learn first. 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. Forcewave Commando (Soldier + Demolitionist)

This is a melee to mid-range build that offers high damage and high survivability. This setup relies heavily on Forcewave as its attack skill.

Attributes

After you assign some points on spirit for item requirements, put everything on physique. You may also put some points on cunning, but it's not recommended.

Skills Soldier

  • Mastery Bar (50 points)
  • Forcewave (16 points) – Tremor (1 point) – Rending Force (12 points) – Internal Trauma (12 points)
  • Oleron’s Rage (12 points)
  • Blitz (1 point)
  • Field Command (12 points) – Squad Tactics (12 points)
  • Fighting Spirit (12 points)
  • Menhir’sWill (16 points)
  • Military Conditioning (10 points)
  • Decorated Soldier (8 points)
  • Scars of Battle (1 point)

Skills Demolitionist

  • Mastery Bar (32 points)
  • Flame Touched (1 point) – Temper (12 points)
  • Vindictive Flame (16 points)
  • Blast Shield (12 points)

Devotion

  • Lion
  • Bull
  • Hammer
  • Anvil
  • Empty Throne
  • Lotus
  • Kraken
  • Dire Bear
  • Ulzaad, Herald of Korvaak
  • Autumn Boar
  • Oleron

Note: Since you only have Forcewave and Blitz as offensive skills, it is up to you what Devotion skills you’ll be attaching to those.

Equipment Priorities

Equip a two-handed melee weapon that grants damage bonuses to physical and internal trauma.

How to Play

Simplicity of playstyle is another good thing about this build. Use Blitz to close the gap between you and your opponents. Then destroy them all with Forcewave.

2. Rifle Commando (Soldier + Demolitionist)

The real commando that you deserve. This build uses a two-handed ranged weapon to kill enemies with your deadly pierce damage.

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Attributes

A high amount of cunning is needed for damage and weapon requirements. You also need spirit for accessory requirements. It's up to you on how many points you want to put into physique.

Skills Soldier

  • Mastery Bar (50 points)
  • Cadence (16 points) – Fighting Form (12 points) – Deadly Momentum (12 points)
  • Field Command (12 points) – Squad Tactics (12 points)
  • Oleron’s Rage (12 points)
  • Markovian’s Advantage (12 points)
  • Zolhan’s Technique (12 points)
  • Decorated Soldier (8 points)

Skills Demolitionist

  • Mastery Bar (40 points)
  • Flame Touched (1 point) – Temper (12 points)
  • Canister Bomb (12 points) – Improved Casing (10 points)
  • Blash Shield (12 points)
  • Flash Bang (2 points) – Searing Light (1 point)

Devotion

  • Order Crossroads
  • Harpy
  • Assassin’s Blade
  • Assassin
  • Kraken
  • Hydra
  • Bard’s Harp
  • Chariot of the Dead
  • Harvestman’s Sickle
  • Azrakaa, the Eternal Sands

Note: Put the remaining two devotion points on Empty Throne.

Equipment Priorities

Valdun’s set, especially the rifle one, fits perfectly with this build. But while you’re collecting the Valdun set, go with items that increases your pierce damage.

How to Play

Throw Canister Bomb first, then continuously fire your weapon using Cadence. If you need to control the crowd, you have a flashbang to do that.

Once you have Valdun’s Rifle, don’t forget to use Fragmenting Rounds. Like Canister Bomb, the skill is also good in cleaning up mobs.

3. Retaliation Warlord (Soldier + Oathkeeper)

The set of attack skills in this build allows you to do major damage from retaliation.

Attributes

Almost all of your attribute points should go to physique. But you can assign some points on spirit when needed for gear requirements.

Skills Soldier

  • Mastery Bar (50 points)
  • Menhir’s Bulwark (12 points)
  • Blitz (1 point)
  • Counter Strike (16 points)
  • Menhir’s Will (10 points)
  • Military Conditioning (10 points)
  • Overguard (12 points)
  • Field Command (12 points)

Skills Oathkeeper

  • Mastery Bar (32 points)
  • Aegis of Menhir (1 point) – Avenging Shield (10 points) – Aegis of Thorns (1 point) – Reprisal (12 points)
  • Righteous Fervor (1 point) – Consecration (12 points) – Retribution (12 points)
  • Presence of Virtue (12 point) – Haven (10 points) – Rebuke (10 points)
  • Ascension (12 points)

Devotion

  • Hound
  • Scarab
  • Wolverine
  • Tortoise
  • Lion
  • Spider
  • Messenger of War
  • Hyrian, Guardian of the Celestial Gate
  • Alladrah’s Phoenix
  • Shieldmaiden
  • Obelisk of Menhir

Equipment Priorities

Use equipment that provides and multiplies your retaliation regardless of the damage type. As long as it's retaliation, it's good.

How to Play

You don’t need to wait for enemies to attack you. Just strike normally with your offensive skills.

If enemies hit you, then it's good for retaliation.

4. Cadence Blademaster (Soldier + Nightblade)

This Blademaster build relies heavily on Cadence and activated passive skills during basic attacks.

This build can easily take down boss enemies.

Attributes

You priority is to put points on cunning until you meet the requirements for high level swords.

Put a high number of points on physique since this is a melee character. Then put a few points on spirit until you can wear high level accessories.

Skills Soldier

  • Mastery Bar (50 points)
  • Cadence (16 points) – Fighting Form (12 points) – Deadly Momentum (12 points)
  • Field Command (1 points) – Squad Tactics (12 points)
  • Oleron’s Rage (12 points)
  • Markovian’s Advantage (12 points)

Skills Nightblade

  • 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)
  • Blade Spirit (16 points)
  • Shadow Strike (1 point)
  • Blade Barrier (6 points)

Devotion

  • Tortoise
  • Assassin’s Blade
  • Assassin
  • Blades of Nadaan
  • Harpy
  • Bard’s Harp
  • Harvestman’s Scythe
  • Azrakaa, the Eternal Sands
  • Unknown Soldier

Note: Put the remaining three devotion points on Empty Throne depending on the resistance that you need.

Equipment Priorities

Sword is mandatory because you’re using Blades of Nadaan. For your equipment attribute, choose items that increase your pierce damage.

How to Play

Initiate the fight with Shadow Strike, then attack continuously with Cadence and let your multiple passive skills triggers. When in danger, use Blade Barrier as your panic button.

Don’t forget to always summon Blade Spirit whenever it's available to deal more damage to your enemies.

5. Elemental Tank Battlemage (Soldier + Arcanist)

This is a tank-type build that strikes with elemental basic attacks.

Attributes

The primary attribute is physique. But you can also put some points on spirit or cunning if you prefer to boost your damage.

Skills Soldier

  • Mastery Bar (50 points)
  • Cadence (16 points) – Discord (3 points)
  • Field Command (12 points) – Squad Tactics (12 points)
  • Markovian’s Advantage (12 points)
  • Blitz (1 point)
  • Menhir’s Will (16 points)
  • Military Conditioning (10 points)
  • Fighting Spirit (12 points)
  • Menhir’s Bulwark (12 points)
  • Scars of Battle (8 points)
  • Shield Training (1 point)

Skills Arcanist

  • Mastery Bar (25 points)
  • Iskandra’s Elemental Exchange (12 points) – Overload (12 points) – Elemental Balance (12 points)
  • Maiven’s Sphere of Protection (12 points)
  • Arcane Will (10 points)

Devotion

  • Order Crossroads
  • Primordial Crossroads
  • Spider
  • Tortoise
  • Scholar’s Light
  • Owl
  • Rhowan’s Crown
  • Chariot of the Dead
  • Hyrian, Guardian of the Celestial Gates
  • Behemoth
  • Alladrah’s Phoenix
  • Blind Sage

Equipment Priorities

Shield is required for this build. When it comes to boosting your damage, choose bonuses for electrocute, burn, and frostburn damage.

How to Play

For maximum damage, even as a tank, attach Blind Sage to Cadence, Rhowan’s Crown to Markovian’s Advantage, and Alladrah’s Phoenix to Blitz.

6. Force Blade Warder (Soldier + Shaman)

From the name of the build itself (which sounds cool by the way), this build uses Forcewave and Blade Arc as its main attack. These skills can unleashe painful internal trauma and physical damage.

Attributes

Same as the Forcewave Commando.

Skills Soldier

  • Mastery Bar (50 points)
  • Blade Arc (16 points) – Clean Sweep (1 point) – Laceration (12 points)
  • Oleron’s Rage (12 points)
  • Forcewave (16 points) – Tremor (1 point) – Rending Force (12 points) – Internal Trauma (12 points)
  • Fighting Spirit (12 points)
  • Field Command (12 points) – Squad Tactics (12 points)
  • Military Conditioning (10 points)
  • Decorated Soldier (8 points)
  • Scars of Battle (8 points)
  • Menhir’s Will (5 points)

Skills Shaman

  • Mastery Bar (15 points)
  • Brute Force (12 points)
  • Mogdrogen’s Pact (12 points) – Heart of the Wild (10 points)

Devotion

  • Bull
  • Lion
  • Hammer
  • Hawk
  • Empty Throne
  • Sheperd’s Crook
  • Kraken
  • Dire Bear
  • Ulzaad, Herald of Korvaak
  • Rhowan’s Scepter
  • Oleron

Note: Put the remaining two devotion points on Crab.

Equipment Priorities

Equip a two-handed mace weapon that grants a bonus to internal trauma and physical damage.

How to Play

Use Blade Arc first for its massive damage overtime followed by non-stop Forcewave. Repeat the process when Blade Arc is on cooldown.

7. Vitality Tank Witchblade (Soldier + Occultist)

This build is similar to the Elemental Tank Battlemage. However, this variant uses vitality damage instead.

Attributes

Same as the Elemental Tank Battlemage.

Skills Soldier

  • Mastery Bar (50 points)
  • Cadence (1 point)
  • Fighting Spirit (10 points)
  • Blitz (1 point)
  • Markovian’s Advantage (12 points)
  • Field Command (12 points) – Squad Tactics (12 points)
  • Military Conditioning (10 points)
  • Menhir’s Bulwark (12 points)

Skills Occultist

  • Mastery Bar (40 points)
  • Bloody Fox (12 points) – Wasting (12 points) – Black Death (12 points)
  • Solael’s Witchfire (12 points) – Second Rite (12 points)
  • Blood of Dreeg (12 points) – Aspect of the Guardian (12 points)

Devotion

  • Crossroads Eldritch
  • Toad
  • Bat
  • Tortoise
  • Gallows
  • Lotus
  • Jackal
  • Typhos, the Jailor of Souls
  • Revenant
  • Wendigo
  • Rattosh, the Veilwarden

Note: Put the remaining five devotion points on Affliction. Then choose the path that increases your Vitality damage.

Equipment Priorities

The first thing that you should not forget is to wear a shield. All of your items should increase your vitality and vitality decay damage.

How to Play

Aside from being a tank, this build also relies on having its multiple attack damage converted to health, so make use of this advantage.

8. Force Blade Tactician (Soldier + Inquisitor)

Just like its Commando and Warder counterpart, this build also uses a two-handed weapon that deals physical and internal trauma damage.

Attributes

Same as the Force Blade Warder.

Skills Soldier

  • Mastery Bar (50 points)
  • Forcewave (16 points) – Tremor (1 point) – Rending Force (12 points) – Internal Trauma (12 points)
  • Blade Arc (16 points) – Clean Sweep (1 point) – Laceration (12 points)
  • Blitz (1 point)
  • Oleron’s Rage (12 points)
  • Field Command (12 points) – Squad Tactics (12 points)
  • Decorated Soldier (8 points)
  • Menhir’s Will (6 points)

Skills Inquisitor

  • Mastery Bar (32 points)
  • Word of Renewal (12 points) – Word of Arms (1 point) – Vigor (10 points) – Steel Resolve (10 points)
  • Deadly Aim (12 points)

Devotion

Same as the Force Blade Warder.

Equipment Priorities

Same as the Force Blade Warder.

How to Play

This build has the advantage of the Word of Renewal skill, which has multiple uses. It can buff your damage and defense in addition to making you more mobile. The skill can also replenish your life, so it's a good backup when health potions are on cooldown.

When it comes to attacking enemies, use Blitz for closing the gap, Blade Arc to soften them up, then finish them with Forcewave.

9. Pierce Shield Death Knight (Soldier + Necromancer)

This is a sword and shield build that takes advantage of pierce skills from both classes. Bone Harvest is the primary area attack while Cadence is the basic attack.

Attributes

Since this build uses a sword, get cunning first until you met the requirement for high level one-handed swords.

Put some points on spirit for ring and amulet requirements.

The rest of your points should go on physique since this build is a melee build.

Skills Soldier

  • Mastery Bar (50 points)
  • Cadence (16 points) – Fighting Form (12 points) – Deadly Momentum (12 points)
  • Blitz (1 point)
  • Oleron’s Rage (12 points)
  • Fighting Spirit (12 points)
  • Markovian’s Advantage (12 points)
  • Menhir’s Will (15 points)
  • Overguard (12 points)
  • Field Command (12 points) – Squad Tactics (12 points)
  • Military Conditioning (10 points)

Skills Necromancer

  • Mastery Bar (20 points)
  • Bone Harvest (16 points) – Dread (12 points)
  • Spectral Binding (12 points)

Devotion

  • Tortoise
  • Assassin’s Blade
  • Assassin
  • Blades of Nadaan
  • Harpy
  • Bard’s Harp
  • Harvestman’s Scythe
  • Azrakaa, the Eternal Sands
  • Unknown Soldier

Note: Put the remaining three devotion points on Empty Throne depending on the resistance that you need.

Equipment Priorities

Because you have Blades of Nadaan in your Devotion, using a sword is mandatory for this build. All your equipment should increase pierce damage, which includes your shield, which is also mandatory.

How to Play

This has the same play style as the other build. Clear mobs with Bone Harvest, then attack with Cadence while it's on cooldown.

A look at the Soldier skill tree.

A look at the Soldier skill tree.

© 2019 Arc Sosangyo

Comments

Beau Baddok from UK on September 13, 2020:

very cool game and guide

Deepa from India on December 11, 2019:

Nice..artical.keep it up

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