MR. WHACKY Savagery 2H Vitality Ritualist

Welcome to the Complete Build & Leveling Guide for the MR. WHACKY Savagery 2H Vitality Ritualist. This build is great for new players, is a boss killer with solid AoE trash support, and can easily farm Ultimate with self-found drops. If you’re looking for a fun melee 2H starter build that absolutely destroys content, this is the place! Note the GrimTools links are available at the bottom of the guide.

JAN 2020 UPDATE! Click here to see a detailed announcement by the Guide Creator about the issues he encountered with the Grim Dawn Community, Forum Moderators and why he moved his guides from the Grim Dawn Forums.

In my continued quest to find the best starter builds that can get to and farm Ultimate on self-found gear, I wanted to focus on a melee build that could wreak havoc on bosses while also clearing trash efficiently. This build does exactly that. It utilizes 2H Vitality damage and leech paired with Vitality resistance reduction (RR) make for a potent combination. Orange bosses in Ultimate can die in just 2-3 hits (often in under 2 seconds when Savagery is maxed), and tougher bosses melt with efficiency. It’s fantastic. One thing I really like about this build is the AoE support from Swarm and Storm Totems (converted to Vitality). It’s a powerhouse combination.

This build is only hardcore viable for experienced HC players because of the leech management, which can be challenging with certain boss fights.

I originally saw this build on the Fastest Cleaners in the World thread as the Ritualist of the POWERgamer. I don’t know who the author is – if I find out, I will update the credit section here. I built out my own version (below under GrimTools) but also had some feedback from RektByProtoss, a great streamer.

Before we begin, I recommend these mods to anyone playing Grim Dawn, especially new players. Note none of these mods cheat or change the core of the game – they just add quality of life:

GrimInternals (
This is hands down the best mod currently out for Grim Dawn. Automatic component pickup and monster name/labeling with legendary drop Sound FX are just a few reasons why every Grim Dawn player should have this.

GD Item Assistant (
This mod allows the player to store an unlimited number of items they find. This is fantastic because it supports “account building” with extending storage to be anything the player feels is important in the future or for another build.

Item Color Filter (
A fantastic visual modifier to the game that shows item prefixes and suffixes in colors based on their damage/resist/skill type. Extremely popular and valuable. Note this is for the WanezGD Tool, which auto-installs and manages the rainbow filter. Download the setup.exe for the Tool.

Resistances are everything in Grim Dawn. If you die, it’s probably because your resists were low. Below is a list of recommended components that are commonly used throughout the leveling process:

Components List

  • 7: Wardstone | 7% Elemental, 15% Bleed Resistance | Amulet & Medal
  • 15: Silk Swatch | 18% Pierce & Bleed Resistance | Shoulder, Chest & Leg Armor
  • 15: Imbued Silver | 20% Chaos Resistance & 15% Bleeding Resistance | Mainhand/Offhand (Toggled Item Skill)
  • 15: Purified Salt | 20% Aether Resistance | Mainhand/Offhand (Toggled Item Skill)
  • 15: Antivenom Salve | 20% Poison & Acid | All Armor
  • 15: Unholy Inscription | 10% Vitality, 15% Bleeding | Hand Armor
  • 20: Runestone | 12% Aether & 12% Elemental Resist | Head Armor
  • 20: Soul Shard | 20% Vitality Resistance | Ring, Amulet, Medal
  • 20: Mark of the Traveler | 8% Movement Speed & 10% Slow Resistance | Boots
  • 24: Sanctified Bone | 18% Vitality, 12% Chaos | Chest & Head
  • 24: Aether Soul | 16% Aether Resistance | Amulet & Medal

Augments are the most important thing for end-game and require honored or revered reputation with a faction to access them. Rule of thumb: as soon as you hit Honored with any faction (which will begin to happen in Elite mode), immediately buy the Writ (for 88,000 iron) that doubles your faction gain. This will help you get to Revered much quicker, and give you access to the necessary augments to help your resists in Ultimate.

Augments List
The factions a player gets Honored and Revered with first are generally: Devil’s Crossing, Rovers, Homestead, Black Legion, Order/Kymon, and Coven of Ugdenbog. I’m listing some of the most popular defensive Augments below for reference, which can greatly help in surviving both Elite and especially Ultimate.

  • 40: Arkovian Rose Powder | 10% Elemental Res | Rings/Amulet | Rovers Honored
  • 40: Slith Venom | 15% Poison, Acid & Bleeding Res | Rings/Amulet | Devil’s Honored
  • 40: Gazer Eye | 10% Aether Res | Rings/Amulet | Devil’s Honored
  • 40: Corpsefiend Tentacle | 10% Vitality Res | Rings/Amulet | Devil’s Honored
  • 40: Divine Flame | 10% Elemental Res | Rings/Amulet | Kymon’s Honored
  • 40: Blessed Ashes | 15% Fire & Lightning Res | Rings/Amulet | Kymon’s Honored
  • 40: Consecrated Silver | 12% Chaos Res | Rings/Amulet | Kymon’s Honored
  • 40: Necrotic Flesh | 15% Bleeding Res | Rings/Amulet | Order Honored
  • 40: Chillheart Powder | 15% Cold & Vitality Res | Rings/Amulet | Order Honored
  • 70: Venomguard Powder | 15% Poison & Acid Res | All Armor | Rovers Revered
  • 70: Nightshade Powder | 7% Pierce & 10% Cold Res | All Armor | Rovers Revered
  • 70: Bladeward Powder | 10% Pierce Res | All Armor | Devil’s Revered
  • 70: Mogdrogan’s Touch | 10% Poison & Acid Res, 7% Vitality Res | All Armor | Devil’s Revered
  • 70: Kymon’s Blessing | 15% Fire Res | All Armor | Kymon’s Revered
  • 70: Kymon’s Conduit | 15% Lightning Res | All Armor | Kymon’s Revered
  • 70: Demonbane Powder | 7% Vitality & Chaos Res | All Armor | Kymon’s Revered
  • 70: Mankind’s Vigil | 7% Aether Res, 7% Chaos Res | All Armor | Black Legion Revered
  • 70: Kingsguard Powder | 7% Pierce Res, 10% Poison/Acid Res | All Armor | Black Legion Revered
  • 70: Flameweave Powder | 7% Pierce Res, 10% Fire Res | All Armor | Homestead Revered
  • 70: Solarstorm Powder | 10% Fire Res, 10% Lightning Res | All Armor | Homestead Revered
  • 70: Wraithtouch Powder | 15% Cold Res | All Armor | Order Revered
  • 70: Spiritguard Powder | 10% Vitality Res | All Armor | Order Revered
  • 70: Spellward Powder | 10% Lightning Res, 7% Aether Res | All Armor | Order Revered
  • 90: Coven Warding Powder | 7% Elemental Res | All Armor | Coven Revered
  • 90: Coven Black Ash | 8% Pierce and Chaos Res | All Armor | Coven Revered

This is a new and critically important feature introduced with Forgotten Gods that allows the player to convert set items to another item of the same setAnd it works with BLUE (non-legendary) set items! The quest to unlock Transmute is given by Kargon in the Conclave of the Three. The quest unlocks after you’ve progressed to the Oasis area. The Tome is found on Canen’s Corpse. It costs 120,000 iron per transmute, and uses 1 Eldrich Essence (which is quite rare, so make each transmute count!). Luckily, a player put together a guide on Farming Eldrich EssenceRemember, if you can craft the helmet of a set, you can transmute those helmets to other pieces. This means you can craft an entire set just from the helmet recipe!

Another technique is to convert a set item to another random set item. This costs 30,000 iron, scrap and crystals (which is a lot cheaper than converting to the same set). A good example of this technique is if you want the Mythical version of a set item (but you have none, and don’t have the recipe to craft the helm), you can take another mythical set item and convert it to a random set item with the possibility of getting a mythical of the set you’re looking for!

Final Level 100 Stat Distribution: All points in Physique
Faction of Choice: Order of Death’s Vigil


This build performs a bit slowly during the initial leveling process but begins to shine around level 50. Devotions play a key part, and it’s only after 40 or so points we start assigning our three key skills, with the final being Savagery bound to Will of Rattosh. The good news is the build is not overly gear dependent during the leveling process, and while the Wildblood Crusher is the BiS weapon, it drops rather often and it’s easy to farm a Reaping Halberd from the Watchers in Forgotten Gods to use until the Crusher drops.

Luckily, our end-game (and BiS) Sacrifice Relic is BiS at level 50 and provides quite the buffed powerhouse for targeted boss damage.

While leveling, you’ll find these items to be very helpful:

  • 20: Spectral Warmaul (2H)
  • 20/40/55: Korvan Reaping Halberd (2H)
  • 25: Gluttony (Relic)
  • 40: Alvarick’s Rebuke or Farmstead Liberator (2H)
  • 40: Lunal’Balgoth’s Girdle (Belt) 22%
  • 40: Dread Lord’s Rylok Mark of Tormented Souls (Medal)
  • 45: Wretched Necessity (Neck)
  • 50: Glyph of Disorder (Movement/escape)
  • 50: Sacrifice (Relic)
  • 58: Soulcatcher (Amulet)
  • 68: Wildblood Crusher (2H)
  • 94: Mythical Wildblood Crusher (2H)


Phase I (Shaman)
Devouring Swarm (6) → Savagery (6) → Brute Force (1) → Mogdrogan’s Pact (1) → Feral Hunger (Max) → Savagery (Max) → Devouring Swarm (Max) → Tenacity of the Boar (1) → Heart of the Wild (1) → Storm Touched (1) → Storm Totem (Max) → Corrupted Storm (1) → Tenacity of the Boar (Max) → Heart of the Wild (Max) → Storm Touched (6)

Phase II (Necromancer)
Reaping Strike (9) → Spectral Binding (1) → Ill Omen (1) → Necrotic Edge (1) → Spectral Wrath (Max) → Reap Spirit (1) → Harbinger of Souls (Max) → Necrotic Edge (8) → Spectral Binding (Max) → Ill Omen (Max)


Crossroads (Chaos) → Jackal → Crossroads (Primordial) → Gallows → Crossroads (Order) → Stag → Crossroads (Eldrich) → Hawk → Crossroads (Ascendant) → Toad → Kraken → Hammer → Typhos → (Remove) Hammer → (Remove) Crossroads (Ascendant) → (Remove) Crossroads (Order) → Chariot (Mogdrogan’s/Harbinger) → Panther → Dying God (Feral Hunger) [PARTIAL] → Will of Rattosh (Savagery)

As mentioned, this build can be a bit slow while leveling and there may be instances where the leech doesn’t support the mini-boss battles. Don’t worry. It’s part of the growing process and once you approach level 60, the build really begins to shine. By the time you hit 80 or so, you’ll be destroying everything you come across. Just make sure you keep your resistances maxed (stun resist is very important with this build) and synergize your leech so you’re never without it. The only time you’ll die is if you stop leeching and you get heavy hitters whacking you at the same time. For bosses that like to freeze or shock you, be sure to have some Ointment buffs ready to counter the affects.

While nearly any build can be played in Hardcore, the leech spike requirement of this build makes it a HC option only for the most experienced HC players. 

This build is designed to facetank, but always have your movement glyph (I prefer Disorder) ready to get you out of tough situations.

Survival is dependent on life leech from uninterrupted damage of Savagery, but the good news is Swarm also brings in the leech, but not enough to counter heavy hitting bosses (only Savagery can do that). The only time I encountered an issue was when I got stunned or had a room full of projectile mobs on me before I could cast swarm/totem.

Rotation for Trash: Hit with Swarm and drop a Totem and just keep running through. They’ll all die behind you.

Rotation for Bosses (Facetank): Swarm, Totem, Sacrifice, Ill Omen, Reap Spirit, Savagery. Just whack on them with Savagery until the Swarm debuff disappears, and reapply. Also put your totems down when you can. Most bosses won’t last more than 10 seconds.

Rotation for Bosses (Kite): You will occasionally encounter bosses you just have to run from. With these nasties, make sure you always have Swarm on them and your Totems down. You only need Sacrifice up when you’re running in to whack them with Savagery. Basically use the above technique, but after hitting a few times, Glyph away and recover.

There are multiple variations of end-game gear for this build. I’m going to include the “generic” self-found hit “100” version, and then two BiS considerations; one for general content and one for murdering celestials.

Below are additional complete build guides you might be interested in!

  1. how do you kill celestial without resistances ? is that a joke ? i get oneshoted by casual mobs

  2. This build requires some pretty focused play and gear to do something like the Avatar (you can see a video clip here: I had no problems farming AoM/FG in Ultimate with it – but the key is to have that leech coming in – without that, the build will die. It is a glass cannon of sorts, but a hell of a lot of fun to play 🙂

  3. Hmm, I tried to put devotions in Build Calculator and I can’t complete Will Of Rattosh, I need 2 SP more. My affilities in the end are 9-8-10-6-15. Any changes in devotion system in last updates?

  4. I’m not aware of any changes to the devotions since the initial guide was posted; it could be you overlooked nodes at the crossroads or you filled out a complete devotion when it might call for a partial. If you want to post the GrimTools link to your current build I can look and compare them side by side (which you can do as well).

  5. Playing through GD for the first time and following this guide. The way the guide reads, I should do all of the shaman skills first, then start in on the Necromancer skills. Is that correct?

  6. Well you want to follow the order, so Phase I is just Shaman skills, and Phase II is Necromancer – then anything leftover you compare to the GrimTools L100 loadout. I hope this helps!

  7. Hi, thanks for the guide it’s very helpful. Just one question, what’s the best time to put points in “might of the bear”? I see it on the final build but not on the leveling guide (if it’s there sorry I missed it)

  8. If I recall you do it after the skill distribution list; it’s been awhile since I’ve run WHACKY but if it’s not in the initial list, that’s when you would want to pursue it. I hope this helps!

  9. The best thing I can recommend is reset your devotions and walk them exactly per the guide. Remember, Dying God is only partial – not complete. That could be where you’ve lost a few points.

  10. Heya buddy. After using your cabalist skeleton build, i’m on this one now. Level 40 and re-starting campaign on Elite dificulty now, after finishing on normal.

    I am however being decimated (sometimes 2 shotted) on some hard-hitting mobs. I understand that this build should pick up after level 60 or so, but atm i’m not having much chances on Elite.

    Not sure if this is intended (after ending main campaign on normal, should i go to the expansions content or go straight to elite from scratch?). All my previous characters afer ending main campaign (vanilla content) i was straight to elite and was OK, but i suspect this was before the latest balancing patch, not sure.

    I did make one change from your build to test it, i ditched strom totem and went with grasping vines (anticipating the 2H weapon leech component at late game to test the gameplay). I don’t suspect that it should make a lot of diference in the leveling process since grasping vines also does pretty good AOE damage as storm totem.

  11. Interesting; I had no problems in Elite at all, but made sure I had maxed resists and I got some really good blue dropped gear (whenever I play a character through, I use only the gear I find – that’s part of the “test” to qualify a build as new player and starter friendly). Are your resists maxed? Which mobs are killing you? Chaos and Aether damage are usually the culprits at that point if the other resists are maxed. Note I did all the expansion content in order: Veteran Main->AoM->FG->Elite Main->AoM->FG and then Ultimate (same).

  12. Thanks. Problem was resists. This build realy needs higher than what i was used to (at least prior to the leveling dificulty patch build).

    What do you think about incorporating grasping vines (with the wildwood2H bonuses) into the build, swapping out storm totem?
    I’m still not max level to try it out at endgame but at least while leveling grasping vines (even before the 2H bonuses) it’s realy clearing screens…

  13. Glad to hear you figured it out! Grasping Vines loses its damage at end-game, and Storm Totem is far superior for overall damage, plus it persists for a lot longer duration as well.

  14. OK thanks for the answer.

    Between this build and the Sir Boody dots wich do you think it’s stronger end-game?
    I see some discusssions around about ritualist vs Conjurer and it seems divided, but i do follow them with interest.

    For example:


  15. I think Sir Bloodydots will have better survival, but Mr. Whacky can dish out more single-target damage. Ultimately, it depends on what you want to do. From a play style perspective, between, the two, I’d choose Sir Bloodydots. I just like the playstyle 🙂

  16. would be nice for a new player to see which dmg type are prefered, for example when i get a new item with phisical should i used this ore focus on bleeding dmg.

  17. You can look at the GrimTools link and go to the II (2nd) page on the right and see what damage types the end-game version focuses on, and that should help in determining what damage types you should pursue while leveling. I hope this helps!

  18. In the Necromancer leveling section you have Necrotic Edge (8) → Reap Spirit (1). Shouldn’t it be Reap Spirit(max) considering reap spirit is already at 1 in prior leveling.

  19. Actually we only put 1 point into Reap Spirit – so I removed the duplication of the single point. Thanks for bringing it to my attention!

  20. Hey thanks for the guide! I’m new to the game and settled on Ritualist as my first class!

    My question is in relation to the skill order, can you describe what you mean as Phase I and Phase II? Do I go all shaman skills until the end of the shaman section and then go into Necromancer skills? My understanding is you get your 2nd class at level 10, should I be allocating skills to Necro then? Much appreciated!

  21. Thank you for the support, Draxen! If you like hard hitting melee builds, you’ll love MR. WHACKY. The different phases are to focus on the different class skill point distributions. We first focus on Shaman, then Necromancer. Other builds mix the two and have up to IV phases. And yes, you want to only focus on leveling up Shaman until you put 6 points into Storm Touched; then you’ll start putting points into Necromancer. You don’t need to select the Necromancer class until that point. I hope this helps!

  22. Your builds and advise are amazing, had the game for the last few years but gave up and just played poe because there just wasnt any help or guides like this. For this one im around level 38, i find some vitality two handers but the dps is lower than the the phys one i am using. do you go by dps or is it a bad marker for strength. again much appreciated.

  23. Thanks for the support, and I’m glad the guide is helpful! You don’t want to start stacking Vitality damage until you have the support devotions to boost it, so if I recall, going pure Phys while leveling (to 64+) is the way to go. I hope this helps!

  24. I’m sorry but this build blows for a starter build… maybe you already have some of the end game gear, I’m sure it’s great – but as a starter build this is terrible, ad a huge waste of time. I wish you would have done a better job actually vetting what’s a great STARTER build…

  25. Strange; every build I wrote a guide for, I use only dropped items and components – I didn’t power level at all (it’s the only viable way to test if a build is a good starter). I don’t recall having any issues leveling this build (each build is defined as a starter build because it played great as a starter). Sorry to hear it wasn’t a good experience; did you use the defined components as soon as they were available?

  26. First off I’d like to say that I’m really enjoying this build (fyi not sure if game or just because first character).

    So I’ve recently hit 100 in Ultimate and there are some mobs that just wreck me pretty hard. First time I noticed getting absolutely decimated was fairly early on at the beginning of Act 2 when facing Edmund “Shanks” Doyle, and mind you it wasn’t him that seemed to destroy me but rather his lackeys with all of their explosion attacks, and for the first time ever I was dead in like 2 seconds.
    AoE type puddle/cloud attacks (or whatever you’d call them) also seem to overwhelm my sustain to the point where I often have to hit & run, a strategy that was foreign to me given this build.
    I was pretty much steamrolling through everything up until Ultimate.

    I’ll attach my build to this post: to give you a better idea of what’s going on. (Resistances are actually – 70% Fire, Lightning, 80% Cold and 65% stun, the rest are accurate). I’m trying to find my way to maxing them of course, but I don’t feel like that is my only problem.

    I’m getting quite a few Legendary drops for sure (Ultimate seems to just have a plethora of them!) but they don’t quite seem to fit the bill for my build or for my current gear set up.
    I was hoping you’d have some tips for me that would allow me to have some better sustainability going through Ultimate.

    Thanks a lot for an enjoyable build, all the best!

  27. Congrats on hitting 100! Whenever you start farming end-game with a new L100 in Ultimate, unless you have complete gear sets waiting for you, there’s going to be challenges. The first thing you need to focus on is maxing out all resists. Having your elemental resists <80% and Pierce at 62% is probably 95% responsible for your deaths - I'd focus on maxing those out ASAP, and you'll see a huge jump in survival. The end-game item drops are really RNG, so just need to keep pushing it. I hope this helps - enjoy!

  28. 60…and I was shining already before. I told myself to let you know how smooth it reall feels. I will survive while smiling. Many thanks *flower blooming going on

  29. Too less input hmm .. To tell a loyality just a hello. Thanks for just confirm it without any other advices

  30. Thank you for your build. I try some builds but mostly lost their strenght around 40 – 50 level. This one is perfect and fung to play. I was like death squad 😀

  31. I’m a new player so thank you for this methodology, very clear and useful. I picked shaman because I expected to be mostly grouping up and I thought that there would be some decent group buffs but I’ve stuck with this build rather than trying to freestyle. Now I’m running out of phase 1 and having done some group play bosses have a lot more health. If the boss decides to focus on one of the ranged then they kite round my totems and that’s all good (or they screw up and die but that’s just funny :P), if the boss focuses on me then their extra health (from group play) means that I’m somewhat reliant on my group to lay in the damage or I am exposed to spiky life gain for an extended period but that isn’t a big deal unless I screw up (which is just funny).

    Both the people I run with use pets so I’m thinking that Mogdroged’s Pact should feature more highly in my build. Wendigo totem doesn’t look like a very good investment even though it would help everyone and do a bit of damage Primal Bond looks OK for the many pets but it doesn’t do anything for me and it’s a big investment, one of my team is a necromancer and I’m unsure if both sets of pet buffs would stack or if it is even desirable.

    I don’t understand the game well enough to know if this shifted focus is going to cause serious problems due to reduced necromancer later (Ill Omen doesn’t look like it adds much) on or if there are superior group play devotions. I guess there will be gear dependent answers to this dilemma but so far the build rocks.

  32. Morning! Doesn’t really matter; in the end you get access to all the FG factions – it comes down to which movement skill you prefer. A quick google search should answer any questions you have. Sorry I can’t recall more off the top of my head, but I haven’t played GD in more than a year. Have a great weekend!

  33. Hey, really great build. Tried to go summoner first but this feels much more fluid and fun. One question tho… Some devotions there seem a bit off to me (chariot, Typhos mainly). Are they there just cuz of affinity req on Rattosh? Trying to squeeze max from my char. Thanks a lot.

    Also, Behemoth seems like a better alternative to Chariot to me, with same affinity but better stats. Might be wrong, would like to hear your opinion.

  34. Thanks for the feedback Fernet! Sadly, it’s been so long since I’ve played this build, I can’t really comment on the devotions. I don’t think enough has changed since the build (which is well over a year old) to warrant a complete overhaul or change of major devotions; my guess is the choices have to do with certain procs and such. But you can definitely try different variations and see if they work – and if they do, definitely post the results here!

  35. Calculated the devotions to avoid stuff i dont think is necessary.
    My main goal was really to be efficient with affinities to get to Rattosh and Dying god ASAP. Removed Chariot, Panther, Typhos.
    Added Lion, Eel, Hydra. Owl is there just to place the remaining points after Rattosh and Dying God are finished. Last remaining point into first star of Affliction.

    Would like to hear your feedback. Thank you 🙂

  36. Sadly, it’s been so long since I played GD, I couldn’t really offer any feedback on this build. My apologies; I recommend trying the Subreddit for additional questions relative to that particular build. Good luck!

  37. Hey David–

    First, thanks for the guide! I’ve been getting into GD and I appreciate the advice here.

    I do realize that it’s been a while, but I’m curious:

    I’ve been pursuing a similar build, playing hardcore and focusing nearly exclusively on weapon damage–so, no totems. Instead, when I face something I can’t safely facetank, I switch to a ranged weapon–as long as it’s 2H vit-based, I keep all the bonuses, and the safety factor is worth the lower DPS. I also feel this makes the character more versatile in general, e.g., when enemies are approaching in a line, piercing shots are just more time-effective than going melee.

    That said, I’m still just lvl 45 (highest-level character is lvl 67, still in normal/softcore), and I don’t think I’ve seen one build on the internet that actually uses two weapon sets.

    Do you think it’s a viable strategy, or will I end up having to drop it eventually?


  38. Hey Anton! I wish I could be of more help, but it’s been so many years since I played Grim Dawn, I simply cannot provide any helpful feedback. Best I can recommend is try the subreddit or the forums – you can also find twitch streamers and try there as well. My apologies. Good luck!

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