As an action RPG filled to the brim with random loot drops, building the perfect Grim Dawn character is a heavily RNG-focused prospect as you hope for the best weapons and rare crafting materials to magically appear after slaughtering a horde of creatures.
Tainted Brain Matter is one rare material that players have trouble finding, especially as they level up and outpace the starting normal mode difficulty. There are three main ways to acquire Tainted Brain Matter, which we’ll cover in depth below:
- Random chest drops
- Farming specific aetherials and aether corruptions
- Trading at the Gates Of Necropolis
Random Chest Drops
All of the rare crafting materials such as Tainted Brain Matter, Blood Of Ch’thon, and Ancient Hearts (very) occasionally drop from heroic chests, end boss chests, and one shot chests.
In particular, I’ve had success finding Tainted Brain Matter after defeating The Master Of Flesh and opening the chests labeled as The Master’s Trove at the end of Ashes of Malmouth.
The locked chests that have to be opened with dynamite in Deadman’s Gulch also occasionally drop them.
Frankly, the percentage chance on chests is low enough that its more of a “Hey, cool, it finally dropped,” than anything that can be reliably farmed, however, so this isn’t the best way to go about finding rare crafting ingredients.
Best Spots To Farm Tainted Brain Matter
Instead on relying on chests to effectively farm Tainted Brain Matter, your best bet is to go anywhere where aetherials and aether corruption creatures spawn at a high level. Tainted Brain Matter will drop randomly from these creature types:
- Heroic creatures: These aetherials and aether corruptions are marked with the star next to their name and typically have extra titles such as Azar The Wrathful, Aetheron The Plaguebearer, or Kamladris the Rimeheart
- Bosses: Such as Commander Lucius, Warden Krieg, Herald Of The Flame, or The Amalgamation
- Nemesis spawns: These rare, high level atherials and aether corruptions won’t spawn until you hit the lowest reputation with those factions, which won’t happen until much later on a 2nd – 3rd playthrough on a higher difficulty
The best spots to find plenty of these are types of enemies are The Hidden Laboratory (Act I), the Gates Of Necropolis (Act IV), Port Valbury (the roguelike challenge dungeon in Act III) and any area in the city of Malmouth (Ashes Of Malmouth expansion).
Warden Krieg in the Hidden Laboratory near the end of Act I is by far the best boss to farm at lower levels, because you get plenty of potential aetherial hero spawns along the way to fighting him.
No matter where you go to find aetherials for farming Tainted Brain Matter, it is critical to note that this rare crafting component will not drop from creatures that are 10 or more levels below your character level.
Why does that matter? Because each difficulty level of the game has level caps for creatures in specific areas. This is easily the top reason why new players can’t ever seem to find Tainted Brain Matter no matter how many aetherials they kill.
If you’ve already hit level 65 – 70, then you simply can’t farm Tainted Brain Matter on normal mode any longer. At that point, it’s time to move up to epic difficulty and replay the campaign until you reach areas with aetherial and aether corruption heroes.
Trading For Tainted Brain Matter
Horrus the Cursed Smith found to the north of the rift gate at the Gates Of Necropolis (near the end of Act IV in the base campaign) will trade items for Tainted Brain Matter, which sounds like the quickest and easiest way to get them, right?
Well, it’s less easy than you may think, because he will only trade other rare crafting materials, which obviously also drop very infrequently. If you’ve been playing through areas heavy with chthonic enemies however, you may have extra Blood Of Ch’thon for trading.
You can trade these items on a 1 for 1 basis with Horrus:
- Blood of Ch’thon for Tainted Brain Matter
- Ancient Heart for Blood of Chthon
- Tainted Brain Matter for Ancient Heart
What Is Tainted Brain Matter Used For In Grim Dawn?
In addition to completing the Tainted Brains faction bounty in Devil’s Crossing, the main usage for Tainted Brain Matter is crafting legendary equipment and relics.
Note that you unlock the Relic From The Past achievement when first crafting an empowered relic (which will probably include Tainted Brain Matter, since that’s the earliest rare crafting material to drop).
Those empowered relics are then used as materials for crafting transcendent and mythic relics. Tainted Brain Matter can be used specifically in these crafting recipes:
- Agrivix’s Malix (mythic relic)
- Bloodsworm Amulet (empowered relic)
- Bloodrager’s Cowl (legendary helm)
- Calamity (empowered relic)
- Clairvoyant’s Hat (legendary caster helm)
- Desolation (transcendent relic)
- Elixer of the Aether (consumable)
- Equilibrium (empowered relic)
- Fortitude (empowered relic)
- Iskandra’s Hood (legendary caster helm)
- Juggernaut (transcendent relic)
- Gunslinger’s Talisman (empowered relic)
- Maw of Despair (legendary heavy helm)
- Mortality (transcendent relic)
- Ruination (empowered relic)
- Scourge (mythic relic)
- Specter (empowered relic)
- Whisperer of Secrets (legendary helm)
Have you found any other treasure chests or locations that seem to drop Tainted Brain Matter more frequently? Let us know in the comments!
Still need more help navigating this post-apocalytpic grim dark fantasy ARPG? Check out our other Grim Dawn guides here:
- Devotion Shrine Locations (Acts I and II)
- Devotion Shrine Locations (Acts III and IV)
- Lost Elder Quest Guide
- Helping or Defeating Ugdall
- The Absolute Best Grim Dawn Build (2018 version)
- Necromancer Build Guide