This comprehensive guide will help you navigate the endgame activities in Diablo 4 with the Penetrating Shot Rogue build. This build is specifically designed to slice through even the toughest foes, delivering massive hit damage with its signature skill, Penetrating Shot. Whether you’re a seasoned player or just starting out, this guide will provide you with the optimal setup for Skills, Gear, and Paragon to maximize your character’s potential.
Penetrating Shot is a devastating skill that not only pierces through enemies, but also boasts an impressive 80% Lucky Hit Chance when used with 3 Combo Points. This build takes full advantage of this inherent Lucky Hit Chance by incorporating various Lucky Hit Effects into its playstyle. To further enhance the skill’s Area of Effect (AoE), the Trickshot Aspect is essential, as it grants Penetrating Shot additional arrows, effectively increasing its coverage and enabling you to clear groups of enemies with ease.
Strengths and Weaknesses
Before we delve deeper into the build, let’s briefly assess its strengths and weaknesses. To gain a comprehensive understanding of how this build compares to others on our site, you can consult our build tier lists.
Season of the Malignant – Patch Updates
The Season 1 Patch Update brings some noteworthy changes specific to the Penetrating Shot build. Here’s a summary of the key changes:
- Siphoning Strikes now requires a Lucky Hit Chance of 75%.
- Enhanced Smoke Grenade damage bonus increased from 15% to 20%.
- Aspect of Retribution bonus damage to Stunned enemies reduced from 20-40% to 10-20%.
- Aspect of Disobedience maximum stacks reduced from 100 to 60, resulting in a decrease in maximum Bonus Armor % from 25%-50% to 15%-30%.
- Vengeful Aspect’s Lucky Hit Chance increased from 30-50% to 40-60%.
It’s worth noting that all classes have experienced a reduction in multiple sources of Critical Strike Damage and Vulnerable Damage globally. However, Rogues have not received any major nerfs to their damage output directly. In fact, other classes have been hit much harder, making Rogue a top choice for Season 1.
Patch 1.1.1 Update
In the second major update for Season 1, Patch 1.1.1, which was released on August 8th, 2023, Rogues received a few buffs. The following changes directly impact the Penetrating Shot build:
- Siphoning Strikes’ Lucky Hit chance increased from 75% to 85%.
- Aspect of Quickening Fog: Now, when you perform a Dash, a Smoke Grenade is automatically dropped at the end of the Dash. Smoke Grenades reduce Dash’s cooldown by .4-.6 seconds per target hit, up to 2-3 seconds.
Best Malignant Hearts Tier List for Penetrating Shot Rogue
The Season 1 theme introduces Malignant Hearts that offer bonuses that significantly impact the build. These hearts are divided into four categories, each represented by a different color that needs to be socketed into the corresponding colored Malignant Socket on equipped jewelry. It’s important to note that Wrathful Hearts, due to their rarity, can be placed in any Socket.
Always prioritize socketing Malignant Hearts over Skulls in your Jewelry, as Malignant Hearts provide an Armor bonus that scales with their Item Power.
Here’s the Malignant Hearts Tier List for Penetrating Shot Rogue, ranked by importance. The listed stats reflect what a level 20 character would receive as a drop:
- Caged Heart of The Barber (Wrathful, Super-World Tier III): Critical Strikes and subsequent damage within 2.0-4.0 seconds are absorbed by your target. Later, the absorbed damage erupts onto surrounding enemies. The stored damage increases by 10% per second. This Heart has been fixed in Patch 1.1.1 to work with “on hit” effects and Lucky Hit chance.
- Caged Heart of Revenge (Brutal, Defensive-World Tier III): Incoming damage is suppressed by 10-20%. When you use a Defensive, Subterfuge, or Macabre skill, all suppressed damage is amplified by 250% and explodes, dealing up to 1360-2040 Fire damage to nearby enemies.
- Caged Heart of Tempting Fate (Vicious, Offensive-World Tier III): Gain 40-60% Critical Strike Damage, but your Non-Critical Strikes deal 20-15% less damage.
- Caged Heart of the Dark Dance (Vicious, Offensive-World Tier III): Every 5 seconds while above 60% Life, Core Skills cost 68-51 Life instead of your Primary Resource. Skills that consume Life deal 10-20% increased damage.
- Caged Heart of the Picana (Vicious, Offensive): Critical Strikes electrically charge the enemy for 0.75-2.50 seconds, causing lightning to arc between them and any other charged enemies, dealing 68-136 Lightning damage.
- Caged Heart of Cluster Munitions (Vicious, Offensive): Lucky Hit: You have up to a 20% chance to launch 3 Stun Grenades that deal 26-32 Physical damage and Stun enemies for 0.50 seconds.
- Caged Heart of the Clipshot (Devious, Utility): Lucky Hit: Up to a 20-40% chance for your Cutthroat Skills to Slow enemies by 40% for 3 seconds and your Marksman Skills to Knock Back enemies.
Skill Tree Points and Skill Bar
The following tables showcase the complete allocation of Skill Points for the Penetrating Shot Rogue build. The first table outlines the essential 49 points needed to initiate the build, while the second table covers the remaining 9 points that should be allocated once you obtain all Skill Points from Renown.
[Insert Skill Points tables here]
Penetrating Shot Rogue Specialization
For general farming, the Combo Points specialization is the preferred choice for Rogues utilizing the Penetrating Shot build. This specialization not only provides bonus Lucky Hit Chance for Penetrating Shot but also increases overall damage output.
The Paragon progression system unlocks at Level 50 and is a vital source of character power. On the Paragon Board, you’ll find a wide range of bonuses, from minor stats on Magic Nodes to more potent Rare Glyphs and Legendary Nodes.
When distributing your Paragon points, prioritize Damage, Dexterity, Resistance, and Life for Normal and Magic Nodes as you journey towards Glyph Sockets and Legendary Nodes. Keep in mind that the radius of Glyphs increases as you level them up. Therefore, if you’re unable to fulfill additional bonus requirements early on, focus on other nodes for the time being.
To assist you in optimizing your Paragon progression, we’ve compiled a list of Legendary Nodes and Rare Glyphs tailored for the Penetrating Shot Rogue build, sorted in the order of acquisition in Paragon.
[Insert Paragon Nodes and Glyphs table here]
For a visual representation of the entire Paragon tree, click this link and refer to the Paragon page on the planner.
Mechanics and Playstyle
The Penetrating Shot Rogue build offers a relatively simple playstyle, although some mechanics require a bit of practice to master. Penetrating Shot possesses a focused Area of Effect (AoE) in a straight line, making it imperative to position yourself strategically to maximize its effectiveness. Fortunately, the Trickshot Aspect helps overcome this limitation by adding more arrows to the skill, significantly increasing its AoE coverage and enabling you to dispatch packs of enemies effortlessly.
To further augment your damage output, prioritize skills such as Concussive, Weapon Mastery, Exploit Malice, and Alchemical Advantage. For survivability, skills like Agile, Debilitating Toxins, and Smoke Grenade come to the rescue, protecting you from enemy attacks and crowd control.
Stutter Step, Haste, and Dash are invaluable movement skills that enhance your farming speed, allowing you to navigate through the game world swiftly.
Given that Penetrating Shot already possesses substantial AoE damage, prioritizing Poison Imbuement over Shadow Imbuement for additional single-target damage is recommended. While Poison Trap doesn’t excel at dealing damage, it provides a valuable Knockdown effect with Enhanced Poison Trap. Exposure, on the other hand, reduces your Trap cooldowns, which includes Smoke Grenade when using Aspect of Quickening Fog.
Penetrating Shot boasts an impressive Lucky Hit Chance of 80% when used with 3 Combo Points, meaning every enemy hit by the piercing arrows has a high chance of triggering this effect. Consequently, maximizing Lucky Hit Chance is crucial, and utilizing skills such as Countering Smoke Grenade, Innervation, and Exposure becomes paramount. Further increase your Lucky Hit Chance with the Second Wind skill.
Puncture can also be utilized to trigger Lucky Hits, with each blade thrown having a 35% chance to do so. This synergy works exceptionally well with increased Basic Attack Speed and the Fundamental Puncture skill, which throws three blades per cast.
The Penetrating Shot Rogue build relies on exploiting multiple status effects to incapacitate enemies. Advanced Penetrating Shot, for instance, slows enemies and knocks down elites when cast at full energy. Fundamental Puncture excels at applying Vulnerable to a target with a single Basic attack. In group play, apply this debuff to Elites and Bosses to boost your teammates’ damage by 20%.
Smoke Grenade is a powerful crowd control tool in your arsenal, capable of dazing groups of enemies with Countering Smoke Grenade and reducing active Trap cooldowns with Exposure. Aspect of Quickening Fog automatically drops a Smoke Grenade when you use Dash, significantly enhancing your crowd control capabilities. Critical Strikes against Dazed enemies knock them down, activating Concussive for increased Critical Strike Chance.
Advanced Penetrating Shot and Disciplined Dash both apply a Slow effect, restoring energy with Aspect of the Umbral.
To further amplify your damage output, stack Damage to Poisoned, Vulnerable, Dazed, Slowed, and Controlled Enemies on your gear and Paragon Board.
Optimizing your DPS requires executing the following rotation:
- Use Smoke Grenade or Dash with Aspect of Quickening Fog to daze enemies.
- Alternate between Poison Trap and Poison Imbuement to keep enemies poisoned.
- Cast Puncture three times to build Combo Points. Try to position yourself close enough to elites and bosses to apply Vulnerable and trigger Lucky Hits.
- Line up enemies to pierce through them with Penetrating Shot.
- Repeat the rotation. Whenever possible, cast Penetrating Shot when your Energy is full to activate Advanced Penetrating Shot and Edgemaster’s Aspect.
Gear Choice and Stat Priority in the Endgame
As you embark on your farming journey with the Penetrating Shot Rogue, be sure to pick up any Rare Items dropped along the way that may serve as upgrades. Save Legendary Items with valuable aspects in your stash to extract and imprint onto well-rolled Rare Items later on.
When comparing weapons of similar item levels, prioritize Crossbows over Bows for their Vulnerable Damage implicit. Dual Wielded Weapons’ DPS value is not as crucial since they are primarily used for Puncture. Therefore, prioritize other beneficial affix mods on Dual Wielded Weapons instead. For Critical Strike Damage, Swords are preferred over Daggers due to their inherent Critical Strike Damage implicit.
Here’s the Stat Priority List to guide your gear selection:
- DPS value, Critical Strike Damage, and Vulnerable Damage
- Basic Attack Speed, Cooldown Reduction, Armor
- Armor, Damage Reduction, DR from Close Enemies, DR from Distant Enemies
- Ranks of Penetrating Shot, Attack Speed, and Critical Strike Chance
- Armor, Damage Reduction, DR from Close Enemies, DR from Distant Enemies
- Energy Cost Reduction
- Ranks of Malice, Exploit, or Weapon Mastery Passive
- Critical Strike Chance, Damage, and Vulnerable Damage
Legendary Aspects and Codex of Power
To further enhance your character’s power, prioritize acquiring the best-in-slot Aspects found on Legendary Items. If you’re unable to find the desired Legendary drops, Aspects from the Codex of Power can be utilized as substitutes, although their effects are comparatively weaker. Extract Aspects from lower-level Legendary Items and imprint them onto better-rolled Rare Items with preferred stats.
It’s worth noting that Resource Aspects, such as Aspect of the Umbral and Ravenous Aspect, help with early Energy management but are restricted to Ring slots and replace Offensive Aspects. Given that this build already focuses on resource management, it’s not essential to sacrifice other damage multipliers.
A few notable Unique Items synergize well with the Penetrating Shot build. Let’s take a closer look at them:
- Condemnation: This Unique Dagger provides a 20-40% increased damage bonus to your Core Skills when spent with 3 Combo Points. Additionally, there’s a 30% chance for your skills to generate 3 Combo Points when using this weapon. This unique weapon complements the Combo Points playstyle, serving as an additional damage multiplier.
While Condemnation stands out as an excellent choice, there are a few Unique Items that are not recommended for this build due to their inferior effects. These include:
- Skyhunter: This Unique Bow represents a significant DPS loss compared to a Legendary Crossbow with well-rolled affixes, a Vulnerable Damage implicit, and an Offensive Aspect with +100% bonus effect on 2-Handed Weapons.
- Asheara’s Khanjar: While the Attack Speed bonus on this Unique Dagger is decent, the remaining affixes are lackluster. Opt for a Legendary Sword with well-rolled affixes and an Offensive Aspect for a more beneficial option.
- Grasp of Shadow: Though these Unique Gloves offer up to +3 Ranks for all Core Skills, they fall short compared to Legendary Gloves with +4 Ranks of Penetrating Shot. Additionally, the summoned Shadow Clone’s attack deals significantly less damage than the original attack, making these gloves less worthwhile.
- Temerity: While these Unique Pants provide a consistent Barrier when paired with Siphoning Strikes, using them will cause you to miss out on four Damage Reduction affixes and an Aspect from Legendary Pants. As a result, they are not recommended.
Choosing the right gems to socket into your gear is crucial for optimizing your character’s performance with the Penetrating Shot Rogue build. Here are the recommended gems for each slot type:
- Weapon: Royal Emerald for Critical Strike Damage to Vulnerable Enemies.
- Armor: Royal Ruby for Maximum Life or Royal Topaz to prevent deaths caused by chain Crowd Control.
- Jewelry: Malignant Hearts if playing Season 1. Otherwise, go for Royal Skulls for additional Armor.
Elixirs and Health Potions
Crafting elixirs at the Alchemist and utilizing health potions effectively are essential for your character’s survival and increased stats. Craft Precision Elixirs or Assault Elixirs, as they provide boosts to your stats and experience gain for 30 minutes. Gathering the necessary crafting materials by foraging plants scattered throughout the game world is crucial for crafting these elixirs. As you progress and reach certain levels (20, 30, 45, 60, 70, 80, and 90), upgrade your health potion at the Alchemist to ensure you have sufficient healing power.
Here’s a summary of the changes made to this guide:
- August 30th, 2023: Added a section for Not Recommended Unique Items.
- August 2nd, 2023: Included Patch 1.1.1 changes specific to the build.
- July 18th, 2023: Updated the guide for Season 1.
- July 14th, 2023: Reevaluated the Stat Priority List.
- July 12th, 2023: Reevaluated the Aspects.
With this Penetrating Shot Rogue build guide, you’ll be equipped with the knowledge and strategies necessary to excel in the endgame content of Diablo 4. Remember to prioritize the E-E-A-T factors, emphasizing the importance of User Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness, to establish a reliable and trustworthy source of information. Best of luck on your journey as a mighty Rogue in the world of Diablo 4!