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Dauntless builds - the best builds for early game and late game

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There are several different things that make up a good build in Dauntless. Weaponry, Armour, Lantern, Cells, Perks, Potions, Grenades… It’s a fair amount to juggle at once when you’re deciding upon your loadout for your next Behemoth fight. Allow us to lift some of this burden with our Dauntless builds and loadouts guide, where we’ll walk you through an early-game and a late-game build for each different type of weapon, complete with tips and explanations of our choices so you can better understand how to put together your own builds in the future.

This guide on builds and loadouts is just one part of our larger guides series on Dauntless, all of which you can peruse from our central Dauntless guide & tips hub. There you’ll find in-depth beginner’s explanations and useful tips, as well as links to every other part of our series, from the best Dauntless weapons and Dauntless cells/perks to strategies on defeating each of the Dauntless Behemoths, and much more.

Dauntless builds guide – best builds for early-game and late-game

The perfect build really doesn’t exist in Dauntless, because it depends entirely on the Behemoth you’ll be facing next, the weapon type you’re most familiar or skilled with, and so on. But the following builds should give you a decent idea of where to put your materials if you’re not sure where to begin. Click any of the links below to skip ahead to a particular section.

The best builds in Dauntless – contents

Early-Game Late-Game
Sword Sword
Axe Axe
Hammer Hammer
Chain Blades Chain Blades
War Pike War Pike
Repeaters Repeaters

Weapons, Armour, and Cells in Dauntless

As mentioned, there are a number of different things that go into creating a build in Dauntless and making yourself fully prepared for the coming conflict. I won’t spend much time explaining each of them, because… well… we already have guides on those things. So if you’re confused about a particular choice or a particular item or piece of terminology below, then your best bet is to consult our Dauntless weapons, Dauntless armor, Dauntless cells/perks, or Dauntless crafting/supplies guide depending on what needs answering.

Now let’s get into the builds themselves. I’ve put together two builds for each weapon type, based on a combination of my own findings and builds and the builds of others online that I’ve tried out and seen to work. The early-game builds are designed to be achievable without too much progression (we’re talking pre-Hellion level, Tier 1-2 Perks, etc.) – whereas the late-game builds are designed to be the very best that the game can provide, with fully upgraded gear, Tier 6 Perks, all that good stuff.

Note: for each build I’ve provided a link to the Dauntless Builder site, a useful tool that allows you to plan out and showcase your builds to the community. Be aware though that it automatically sets your gear to the maximum possible level, so the links below may not be fully accurate in terms of the overall Tiers of each Perk for the early-game builds.

Early-Game Sword Build

  • Weapon: Ember Cutlass (Embermane)
  • Armour:
    • Head: Fiery Helm (Embermane)
    • Torso: Shell of the Swarm (Kharabak)
    • Arms: Gnasher Grips (Gnasher)
    • Legs: Gnasher Treads (Gnasher)
  • Lantern: Skarn’s Defiance (Skarn)
  • Cells: Bladestorm (x2), Sharpened (x2), Evasion (x2), Energized (x1)
  • Link: RPS Early-Game Sword Build

This build is probably the best you’re gonna get for a while when it comes to breaking Behemoth parts in record time. The Ember Cutlass is a fantastic early-game sword thanks mainly to its unique trait, which deals bonus Part damage on your seventh hit in a row – and the Evasive Fury Perk makes this even easier to proc thanks to the attack speed buff it provides whenever you dodge through an attack.

Gnasher Arms and Legs are some of the earliest gear you can lay your hands on, but don’t underestimate them; they’re very viable choices thanks to the Power Cell slots they provide (most Power Cells are extremely powerful) – and their Perks aren’t bad to have either. The Fiery Helm provides further attack speed to your loadout, and the Shell of the Swarm chestplate is valuable for its inherent Bladestorm perk and its Technique Cell slot, which you can use to buff that Bladestorm even further. All in all you’ve got a great and easy to obtain build for dancing through attacks and dealing massive Part damage in a short space of time.

Late-Game Sword Build

  • Weapon: Inferno’s Razor (Hellion)
    • Special: Valiant Overdrive
    • Mod: Reactive Hilt
  • Armour:
    • Head: Hellplate Casque (Hellion)
    • Torso: Light’s Virtue (Rezakiri)
    • Arms: Gnasher Grips (Gnasher)
    • Legs: Greaves of Valour (Valomyr)
  • Lantern: Drask’s Eye (Drask)
  • Cells: Aetheric Attunement (x2), Overpower (x1), Aetherhunter (x1), Cunning (x1), Knockout King (x1), Conduit (x1)
  • Link: RPS Late-Game Sword Build

You’d better get used to seeing the Hellion variants at the top of the ladder for each weapon set. Not only are the unique traits extremely powerful, but they also provide the highest PPP (“Power Perk Potential”) of any weapon. In this case the Inferno’s Razor provides the Overpower Perk, which is just fine for what we have planned with this build.

I’ve deviated a bit from the norm with this build, exchanging the usual Predator Perk for Aetherhunter. But aside from this, the old familiar favourites are present: Tier-6 Overpower, Cunning, Ragehunter, and Aetheric Attunement for our Drask’s Eye Lantern. Basically, stupendous amounts of damage, particularly when the Behemoths are enraged or aether-charged (which often happens simultaneously). The Knockout King helps to make your Overpower as useful as possible, and the Conduit is there simply because it’s the best thing to put into the Utility Cell slot you have left over. All in all, with this build you’ll be able to tear apart any Behemoth in a mere 2 minutes of fighting, as long as you avoid getting hit.

Early-Game Axe Build

  • Weapon: Thundering Scythe (Drask)
  • Armour:
    • Head: Brow of Ice (Pangar)
    • Torso: Draskscale Plate (Drask)
    • Arms: Gnasher Grips (Gnasher)
    • Legs: Gnasher Treads (Gnasher)
  • Lantern: Embermane’s Rapture (Embermane)
  • Cells: Overpower (x2), Ragehunter (x2), Knockout King (x1), Aetheric Attunement (x1), Tough (x1)
  • Link: RPS Early-Game Axe Build

Another extremely Power Cell-heavy build for the Axe, which makes sense seeing as the Axe’s whole thing is to deal as much direct damage as possible. For our early-game build we’ve opted for the excellent Thundering Scythe, which gives you a natural damage bonus against Behemoth heads, along with some Aetheric Attunement for your Embermane Lantern (which is by far the best choice for Axes, I’ve found, to help speed up your attacks so they actually land).

What’s nice about this build is that all four Armour pieces give you some decent Perks alongside a Power Cell slot each. The Pangar helmet’s Knockout King synergises excellently with the Overpower Perk that you’ll add to your Cell slots, and Ragehunter is there for any remaining slots to give you that extra damage potential against enraged Behemoths. The aim with this build is, basically, just to do your thing with the Axe. Aim for the head, constantly charge up your attacks, pop your Lantern whenever you can for the extra attack speed, and whale on the poor innocent Behemoth whenever it gets staggered.

Late-Game Axe Build

  • Weapon: Valomyr’s Decree (Valomyr)
    • Special: Grim Onslaught
    • Mod: Volatile Axecore
  • Armour:
    • Head: Hellplate Casque (Hellion)
    • Torso: Core of Ice (Pangar)
    • Arms: Grasp of Thorns (Koshai)
    • Legs: Hellplate Greaves (Hellion)
  • Lantern: Embermane’s Rapture (Embermane)
  • Cells: Aetheric Attunement (x2), Overpower (x2), Evasive Fury (x1), Ragehunter (x1), Aetherhunter (x1)
  • Link: RPS Late-Game Axe Build

Valomyr’s Decree is, in my opinion, one of the very best Axes around, supplying you with natural Aetherhunter (and a Power Cell slot we can use to buff it to Tier 6), and a bunch of extra damage with every full charge.

Our Armour is chosen carefully to provide us with all the Cell slots we need to buff all those inherent Perks up to Tier 6 as well; so in total, we’ve got top-tier Ragehunter, Overpower, Aetherhunter, Evasive Fury, and Aetheric Attunement to up our damage potential to the highest imaginable level; and we’ve also managed to net ourselves a +6 Fortress Perk, which gives us a decent 100 Health shield after not getting hit for 10 seconds – just in case the Behemoth you’re facing somehow wakes up from its stupor as you’re slicing it up like sashimi.

Early-Game Hammer Build

  • Weapon: Ember Maul (Embermane)
  • Armour:
    • Head: Brow of Ice (Pangar)
    • Torso: Shell of the Swarm (Kharabak)
    • Arms: Gnasher Grips (Gnasher)
    • Legs: Gnasher Treads (Gnasher)
  • Lantern: Skarn’s Defiance (Skarn)
  • Cells: Overpower (x3), Bladestorm (x1), Knockout King (x1), Evasion (x1), Stunning Vigour (x1)
  • Link: RPS Early-Game Hammer Build

Hammer builds will – and should – always revolve around Stagger damage, and benefitting from Staggered Behemoths. To that end, this build is jam-packed with Power Cell slots so we can add all the Overpower and Knockout King Perks we need (thanks again, Gnasher Grips/Treads!).

With early-game Hammers, there are a fair few viable options, but I love the Ember Maul. It essentially does exactly the same as the Ember Cutlass we used for our early-game Sword build, but for Stagger damage instead of Part damage. Plus, I find it’s very useful to have a little bit of attack speed in Hammer builds to offset the Hammer’s primary weakness.

In fact, this build is very similar in weapon and armour choice to the Sword build above – the only difference in Armour is our Brow of Ice helmet, made from Pangar remains (relax; he’s a pushover really), which provides a Power Cell slot along with the inherent Knockout King Perk.

Late-Game Hammer Build

  • Weapon: Inferno’s Burden (Hellion)
    • Special: Mighty Landbreaker
    • Mod: Extended Clip
  • Armour:
    • Head: Hellplate Casque (Hellion)
    • Torso: Light’s Virtue (Rezakiri)
    • Arms: Light’s Refuge (Rezakiri)
    • Legs: Stride of Thorns (Koshai)
  • Lantern: Drask’s Eye (Drask)
  • Cells: Aetheric Attunement (x2), Overpower (x1), Ragehunter (x1), Cunning (x1), Predator (x1), Conduit (x1)
  • Link: RPS Late-Game Hammer Build

Yeah, I don’t think you can get much better than this build for the Hammer. Say hello once again to some Hellion parts – namely, the Head Armour and the weapon itself, both of which provide good Power Perks and room for other excellent Perks such as Cunning, Overpower, and Ragehunter.

We once again have Drask’s Eye as our Lantern for its crazy +30% damage instant ability; and much of this build revolves around proccing it as often as possible, with the Aetheric Attunement and Conduit Perks both maxed out to supply you with crazy DPS whenever you activate it. Add this to the bonus damage provided by the Inferno’s Burden every sixth hit, and the top-tier Predator, Overpower, Ragehunter, and Cunning Perks… there aren’t many Behemoths that could stand the kind of pain this build can dish out.

Early-Game Chain Blades Build

  • Weapon: Flight of the Shrike (Shrike)
  • Armour:
    • Head: Shrikedown Helm (Shrike)
    • Torso: Shell of the Swarm (Kharabak)
    • Arms: Gnasher Grips (Gnasher)
    • Legs: Dance of the Swarm (Kharabak)
  • Lantern: Shrike’s Zeal (Shrike)
  • Cells: Cunning (x3), Ragehunter (x2), Conditioning (x1), Aetheric Attunement (x1)
  • Link: RPS Early-Game Chain Blades Build

With Chain Blades, I’d honestly just save up until you reach Hellion, and then get the Inferno’s Fangs (below) – because they are by far the best Chain Blades currently in Dauntless. But if you wanted some Chain Blades to use before Hellion, then you won’t go far wrong with the Shrike’s variant. In fact, lots of this build comes from the Shrike, which makes farming up the required materials that much easier.

The strength of Chain Blades is that they hit so damn fast. So you need to take advantage of this by bolstering your kit with on-hit effects and the like. That’s why we’ve overloaded this build with Technique Cell slots so you can fill them with Cunning – a straight up chance to double your damage each hit. Your other damage potential comes from Ragehunter, the Bladestorm in your Torso, and your Shrike’s Zeal Lantern. We’ve also got Conditioning coming from your weapon, legs, and one Cell slot, because Chain Blades are very stamina-draining and you’ll be thankful for that extra stamina regeneration.

Late-Game Chain Blades Build

  • Weapon: Inferno’s Fangs (Hellion)
    • Special: Cruel Riftstrike
    • Mod: Serrated Blades
  • Armour:
    • Head: Hellplate Casque (Hellion)
    • Torso: Mantle of Thorns (Koshai)
    • Arms: Light’s Refuge (Rezakiri)
    • Legs: Stride of Thorns (Koshai)
  • Lantern: Drask’s Eye (Drask)
  • Cells: Cunning (x2), Aetheric Attunement (x2), Conduit (x1), Overpower (x1), Ragehunter (x1)
  • Link: RPS Late-Game Chain Blades Build

Oh look! Another late-game build with Hellplate Casque and a Hellion weapon! Seriously, Power Perks are OP at the moment.

As with the early-game build, you’ll want to focus on Cunning because Chain Blades are the weapon with which you’ll proc that Perk most often. Aetheric Attunement and Conduit are once again present and upgraded to Tier 6, so you can get the most use out of your Drask’s Eye Lantern. Add to that the usual suspects: Ragehunter, Predator, and Overpower, all Tier 6 as well. As with all our other late-game builds, the emphasis is on extreme DPS that’ll allow you to take down the toughest Behemoths in S++ time.

Early-Game War Pike Build

  • Weapon: Nayzaga’s Fang (Nayzaga)
  • Armour:
    • Head: Shrikedown Helm (Shrike)
    • Torso: Quillspike Jacket (Quillshot)
    • Arms: Quillspike Grips (Quillshot)
    • Legs: Dance of the Swarm (Kharabak)
  • Lantern: Skarn’s Defiance (Skarn)
  • Cells: Savagery (x2), Barbed (x2), Energized (x2), Overpower (x1)
  • Link: RPS Early-Game War Pike Build

In general, good builds for any weapon should focus on taking what that weapon does really well to the next level. For the War Pike, this means Wound damage, and Exposure (and if you’re unsure about what this means, check out the Damage Types and War Pike sections in our Dauntless weapons, then pop back here).

Our weapon of choice here is the Nayzaga War Pike, thanks to its Barbed Perk, which provides extra Wound damage, and its unique, which gives you a touch of lifesteal against exposed parts (synergy, yay!). The Armour has been chosen to supply you with all the Technique Cell slots you need to buff your wounding up to ridiculous levels, with Perks like Barbed and Savagery – which the Quillshot pieces already contain inherently, adding further fuel to your blood-soaked fire. Your two Utility Cell slots should ideally be filled with Energized so you can ramp up your weapon charge meter quickly, and unleash more Concussive Payloads as a result.

Late-Game War Pike Build

  • Weapon: Inferno’s Arrow (Hellion)
    • Special: Concussive Payload
    • Mod: Balanced Spearhead
  • Armour:
    • Head: Hellplate Casque (Hellion)
    • Torso: Quillspike Jacket (Quillshot)
    • Arms: Quillspike Grips (Quillshot)
    • Legs: Stride of Thorns (Koshai)
  • Lantern: Drask’s Eye (Drask)
  • Cells: Aetheric Attunement (x2), Overpower (x1), Ragehunter (x1), Predator (x1), Barbed (x1), Savagery (x1)
  • Link: RPS Late-Game War Pike Build

Early-Game Repeater Build

  • Weapon: Repeaters
    • Barrel: Shock for Neutral, Everything else depends on Behemoth element
    • Chamber: Salvo Chamber
    • Grip: Captain’s Grip
  • Armour:
    • Head: Fiery Helm (Embermane)
    • Torso: Shell of the Swarm (Kharabak)
    • Arms: Gnasher Grips (Gnasher)
    • Legs: Gnasher Treads (Gnasher)
  • Lantern: Drask’s Eye
  • Cells: Ragehunter (x2), Evasive Fury (x2), Evasion (x2), Aetheric Attunement (x1)
  • Link: RPS Early-Game Repeater Build

The Repeaters are hugely popular at the moment in Dauntless thanks to their easy customisability, particularly with regards to switching out the Barrel between fights so you’re always dealing the maximum amount of damage to the Behemoth you’re facing next. Aside from this, everything else above is set to give you a good early-game setup for your Repeaters.

Our focus in terms of Perks here is first and foremost on Evasive Fury (because, as with the Chain Blades, attack speed really shines with Repeaters), and secondly on Ragehunter for that added damage potential. And then we’ve got a smattering of other nice little Perks such as Evasion, to help land those dodges and proc Evasive Fury more often; and Aetheric Attunement, so you can more frequently pop your Drask’s Eye Lantern, which is where the bulk of your damage potential will be coming from with this build.

Late-Game Repeater Build

  • Weapon: Repeaters
    • Barrel: Shock for Neutral, Everything else depends on Behemoth element
    • Chamber: Full-Bore Chamber
    • Grip: Captain’s Grip
    • Prism: Searing Prism
    • Mod: Lucky Magazine
  • Armour:
    • Head: Hellplate Casque (Hellion)
    • Torso: Mantle of the Rift (Riftstalker)
    • Arms: Gnasher Grips (Gnasher)
    • Legs: Dance of the Swarm (Kharabak)
  • Lantern: Drask’s Eye (Drask)
  • Cells: Evasive Fury (x2), Overpower (x2), Conduit (x1), Aetheric Attunement (x1), Evasion (x1)
  • Link: RPS Late-Game Repeater Build

Late-game, I always opt for the Full-Bore Chamber on Repeaters, because the piercing nature of the shots allows you to deal huge damage to Behemoths as long as you aim them correctly (for reference, you should always aim for the longest travel time through the Behemoth so you hit as many parts as possible). The Lucky Magazine Mod is there to give us some extra crit potential – and is also the reason why I’ve neglected to add any of the Cunning Perk to this build.

Instead, we’ve jam-packed this loadout with Tier-6 Evasive Fury, Overpower, Ragehunter, and Conduit, which – along with our Drask’s Eye Lantern – results in an enormous DPS boost. Aetheric Attunement is present once more to help speed up the Lantern charge; and we’ve also added some Evasion to boot. Overall, this build is a godsend for Repeater mains, striking a balance between attack speed and sheer damage; and as long as you stay up close and personal, and take advantage of your Empowered Reloads, there won’t be a Behemoth living that… actually, let’s just leave it at that. There won’t be a Behemoth living.

And there you have it. One early-game and one late-game build for each of the weapons in Dauntless. But here’s the cool part: they’re not meant to be definitive. There will always be room for experimentation and tweaking of builds to suit particular playstyles or Behemoths; so use the builds above as a stepping stone down the path of customizing your own superpowered Dauntless loadouts.

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