Welcome to the Poison Shredder build guide, your go-to resource for creating a powerful toxic werewolf character in Diablo 4. This build focuses on inflicting poison damage with every bite and claw swipe, allowing you to shred through enemies effortlessly. In this guide, we’ll delve into the mechanics of the build, provide skill and gear recommendations, and even include a video demonstration for your reference.
Strengths and Weaknesses
Before we dive into the specifics, it’s essential to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the Poison Shredder build. For a detailed comparison with other builds, feel free to consult our build tier lists.
To make the Poison Shredder build fully functional, certain Legendary Aspects are required. While the 1-handed Unique Waxing Gibbous is optional, it adds extra benefits. The following non-codex Legendary Aspects are crucial for this build:
- Dire Wolf’s Aspect
- Aspect of the Dark Howl
- Aspect of the Blurred Beast
- Aspect of the Crowded Sage
- Accelerating Aspect
To get started with the build, we recommend having at least the first four Legendary Aspects. However, for optimal performance, acquiring all the recommended Legendary Aspects listed in this guide is highly recommended.
Season of the Malignant
As we embark on Season 1, Patch 1.1.1 brings notable changes to the Poison Shredder build. Here are some specific updates:
- Enhanced Claw Attack Speed bonus increased from 10% to 15%.
- Prime Grizzly Rage now grants Unstoppable for 6 seconds instead of while active.
- Masochistic also requires a Lucky Hit chance of 75%.
- Aspect of Disobedience maximum stacks reduced from 100 to 60, decreasing maximum Bonus Armor % from 25-50% to 15-30%.
- Fixed an issue where Stormclaw’s Aspect allowed Shred to deal excessive damage.
- Cooldown Reduction: Reduced by ~30% on gear slots.
- Significant reductions to Vulnerable and Critical Strike Damage values (requires further testing).
Patch 1.1.1, the second major update for Season 1, was released on August 8th, 2023. While it brings positive changes, none of them are detrimental to the Poison Shredder build.
Season 1 introduces a new legendary gem called Malignant Hearts. These gems need to be socketed into matching colored slots on your equipped jewelry. Here are the Malignant Hearts useful for the Poison Shredder build, ranked by importance:
- Caged Heart of Tempting Fate
- Caged Heart of Revenge
- Caged Heart of the Dark Dance
Please note that our rankings are based on early opinions, and we will update them as needed.
While our written guide provides comprehensive information, please remember that videos cannot be easily updated. Therefore, the video serves as a guideline, while the written guide always contains the most accurate information.
Skill Tree Points and Skill Bar
For a complete 58-point build, follow the point allocation image provided above. Acquire additional skill points beyond Level 50 using the Renown system.
If you are still leveling up to Level 50, prioritize raising Poison Creeper to 5/5 and adding the two enhancements as soon as possible. After allocating these 7 points, focus on investing points into Call of the Wild. Maintaining a strong Poison Creeper will be crucial for efficient leveling.
Spirit Boons – The Druid Specialization
Boons are additional buffs unique to the Druid class. To unlock your Boons, complete a simple quest in the stronghold of “Tur Dulra” on the west side of the map. This quest becomes available at Level 15 and should be completed early on. By selecting specific buffs from master animals, you can customize your Boons to enhance your playstyle.
While leveling to 50, focus on enhancing your Poison Creeper skill as much as possible. The following Boon setup allows Lucky Hit strikes to reset the cooldown of Poison Creeper through the “Packleader” Boon.
In the endgame, after completing the recommended skill tree, use the following Boons for optimal results.
As with many other Druid builds, utilizing the Boon Calamity extends the duration of Grizzly Rage. Season One’s balance patch changes make maintaining Grizzly Rage challenging. However, this build offers a short Cooldown, allowing you to keep Grizzly Rage constantly active.
To fully optimize your Poison Shredder build, we recommend using specific Legendary nodes and Rare Glyphs. Each Rare Glyph’s information below corresponds to the Level 21 version.
Let’s examine the beneficial nodes and our placement of paragon points on each paragon board. This breakdown is presented in order of importance. If you don’t have enough paragon points for your paragon tree, gradually work towards each step.
- Head towards the right-hand side and select the Rare Node Prime. This grants flat damage and increases your Maximum Life.
- Proceed towards the open Glyph slot and insert Territorial. This Glyph enhances your offenses and defenses against close enemies.
- Inside the Glyph radius, obtain the Rare Nodes Impel and Resolve. These Nodes boost your Resistances and provide a flat damage increase.
- Collect the Dexterity Nodes beside Resolve to complete the bonus for Territorial.
- Move down the left side and unlock the Rare Node Tenacity.
- Finally, head to the top of the Board and attach our next Board, Lust for Carnage.
Lust for Carnage (2nd Board)
- Head towards the Rare Node Ferocity and select the additional Critical Strike Damage node. This continues to boost your Critical Strike Damage bonus.
- Move towards the Legendary node Lust for Carnage and choose it.
- Proceed towards the middle of the Board and select the Glyph Node. Insert our next Glyph, Undaunted.
- Within the Glyph radius, acquire the Regenerative Node. These Nodes increase your damage and offer a small healing bonus.
- Collect enough Intelligence Nodes to activate the bonus for Undaunted, enhancing your damage and Damage Reduction while fortified.
- Before heading towards the attachment point on the right-hand side of the board, pick up the Rare Node Wild’s Call. Focus on the Attack speed bonuses provided by the Magic Nodes.
- Attach our next Board, Inner Beast, to the right side of the Board.
Inner Beast (3rd Board)
- Proceed towards the open Glyph slot and unlock the Rare Node Nimble. This enhances your Attack speed and damage.
- Move towards the Glyph slot and insert the Glyph Werewolf, which boosts your offenses and defenses while in werewolf form.
- Obtain the Rare Nodes Shapeshifter and Determination inside the Glyph radius. These Nodes enhance your armor and damage. Ensure you also select the corresponding Magic Nodes.
- Head towards the top of the board and collect the Rare Nodes Tenacity and Havoc. These increase your health pool and Critical Strike Damage.
- Please note that this board has three attachment points. Refer to the image above to follow the proper pathways as you progress through the next three boards.
- Return to the Inner Beast board and navigate towards the new attachment point. Attach our final board, Thunderstruck.
Thunderstruck (4th Board)
- Proceed towards the empty Glyph slot and unlock the Rare Node Hubris. This provides damage reduction against Vulnerable enemies.
- Move towards the Glyph slot and insert Fang and Claw. Focus on the Willpower Nodes inside the Glyph’s radius to maximize your bonus damage against Close Enemies.
- Head towards the Rare Nodes Deluge, prioritizing the Magic Nodes that boost your Critical Strike Damage.
- This board is complete. Head back to the Inner Beast board and follow the pathway to the right-hand side. Attach Survival Instincts.
Survival Instincts (5th Board)
- Take the short pathway towards the Rare Node Bulwark to enhance your fortification generation and damage reduction.
- Acquire the Magic Nodes for additional Damage Reduction while fortified.
- Return to the Inner Beast board and head up the pathway to the new attachment point. Attach Heightened Malice.
Heightened Malice (6th Board)
- Path towards the open Glyph slot and select the Rare Node Nature-born and its surrounding Magic Nodes. These enhance your Critical Strike Damage.
- Next, move towards the other Rare Node and choose Sinking Fangs. Again, prioritize the corresponding Magic Nodes.
- Fill the Glyph slot with Exploit. Remember to select the Dexterity Nodes displayed above to increase your damage against Vulnerable enemies.
- Take the attachment point on the left-hand side of the board and attach our final board, Constricting Tendrils.
Constricting Tendrils (7th Board)
- Path towards the Glyph slot and insert Spirit. Collect all the Dexterity nodes for increased Critical Strike Damage.
- Finish off with the Rare Node Courage, selecting the Magic Nodes for additional Maximum Life. Your paragon tree is now complete.
Please note that the paragon board images are courtesy of d4builds.gg.
The Poison Shredder build centers around the Shred skill, which is the primary source of damage for a Core werewolf. Shred inflicts damage in three stages: an initial dash towards targets, a simple second strike, and a larger finishing move. By utilizing Enhanced Shred and Primal Shred, this build benefits from increased attack speed, life steal per enemy hit, and amplified critical damage.
When combined with a high critical strike chance, generous spirit reserves, and Aspect of the Blurred Beast, the Poison Shredder build truly comes to life. Aspect of the Blurred Beast unleashes a flurry of poison damage, instantly triggering any poison damage over time effects (DoTs) on poisoned enemies. This significantly amplifies your damage output against all afflicted foes.
In the endgame, the Poison Shredder build becomes a lethal force, flickering through hordes of enemies with ease. By chaining your deadly attacks, you’ll be able to leap from pack to pack, leaving a trail of devastation in your wake.
The Poison Shredder playstyle involves a dynamic approach, alternating between engaging and disengaging during combat. By leaping towards enemy packs with a flickering attack pattern, you can exploit Aspect of the Blurred Beast to trigger instant poison damage. Mastering this maneuver may require finesse, but it is crucial to maximize the potential of the build.
Start by applying poison damage to surrounding enemies using Poison Creeper, Claw, or Shred. For our example, let’s begin with Poison Creeper, which immobilizes targets and spreads poison. As enemies break free and rush towards you, find a central location and prepare Grizzly Rage.
Once activated, Grizzly Rage pushes enemies away slightly, creating an opportunity to utilize Shred. The Aspect of the Blurred Beast triggers all the poisons you’ve inflicted as you flicker between enemies, thanks to Primal Shred’s enhanced bonus. Each Shred attack dashes between targets, activating the Aspect of the Blurred Beast and inflicting instant damage equal to 60%-90% of the poison’s DoT.
Continue jumping and striking enemies with Shred, using Claw to keep the poison circulating through their ranks. Additionally, employ Debilitating Roar to immobilize enemies and bolster your defenses with increased Damage Reduction. After Grizzly Rage expires, you can repeat the entire skill rotation once it is off cooldown.
While waiting, keep Poison Creeper active to control enemies and buy time until Grizzly Rage is ready again. With the right gear investments, you’ll be able to activate Grizzly Rage shortly.
This rotation allows you to move from enemy pack to enemy pack, flickering between them as Aspect of the Blurred Beast triggers. Blood Howl acts as a backup healing skill or a means to replenish Spirit.
When confronted with a single target or endgame bosses, maintain the same pattern but incorporate an additional move. Here’s how it will look:
- Apply poison DoTs to the boss using Claw or another Shred attack.
- Step back and utilize your dodge skill to create distance.
- Re-engage with a fresh Shred attack, reactivating Aspect of the Blurred Beast.
By bouncing in and out of the boss’s range, you’ll ensure that all poison DoTs deal damage instantly. If you manage to activate Grizzly Rage during the boss encounter, your damage output will increase significantly.
Gear Choice and Stat Priority
As you progress through World Tier 3 and 4, you’ll encounter Rare and Legendary item drops more frequently. Saving targeted Legendary items with the recommended Legendary Aspects is highly recommended. Inspect each Rare item drop and prioritize affixes based on the recommended rolls. The chart below outlines the targeted affixes for each gear slot, listed in order of importance.
Please note that the above affixes are our recommendations for maximum effectiveness. Alternative affixes may work, but they might not be optimal. Several specific affixes are essential for the build to function correctly:
- Critical Strike Chance: This value should ideally be close to 50% to facilitate Spirit generation with each Critical Strike.
- Cooldown Reduction: Vital for maintaining continuous Grizzly Rage uptime. Without it, the Poison Shredder build may struggle.
- Skill Rank-Ups: Numerous skills in the build require high ranks. Neglecting these affixes will affect your skills’ performance compared to our showcase.
Additionally, please consider the recent balance changes in Season 1. Cooldown Reduction on gear has been reduced by approximately 30%, potentially making the build feel less responsive during cooldown periods. We plan to reassess this aspect as Season 1 progresses.
To acquire the right affixes and Legendary Aspects, utilize Obols to target farm them. Obols are obtained from various activities in the game, so accumulate them until reaching the maximum. Instead of spending them randomly, use them to target specific loot slots. This approach allows you to obtain the items you need more effectively.
If you need assistance with Obol gambling, an optimization tool can be found in the article below from Icy Veins.
Obol Gambling Optimization Tool
Here are the optimal Legendary Aspects for the Poison Shredder build, listed with their corresponding gear slots. Please try to keep each Aspect in its respective slot.
Please note that in our YouTube showcase, we utilized the Unique 1-Handed Axe, Waxing Gibbous, and a Totem with the Aspect of the Blurred Beast. While not mandatory, they offer unique benefits. If you don’t have this Unique item, don’t worry; any melee weapon, either 1-handed or 2-handed, with strong stats can suffice as long as you imprint the Aspect of the Blurred Beast on it.
For each gear slot, consider the following gems:
- Weapon: Royal Emerald for increased critical strike damage against vulnerable enemies.
- Armor: Royal Ruby for an increase in Maximum Life.
- Jewelry: Exclusively utilize Malignant Hearts for these slots.
Elixirs and Health Pots
Craft helpful Elixirs at the Alchemist in main towns. These elixirs enhance stats and provide experience gain for 30 minutes. Ensure you gather crafting materials, such as foraged plants, during your adventures.
Upon reaching Level 20, 30, 45, 60, 70, 80, and 90, return to the Alchemist to upgrade your potion for additional healing.
- August 10th, 2023: Updated full build for Season 1.
- August 8th, 2023: Added notes about Patch 1.1.1.
- August 4th, 2023: Improved clarity in the Hearts and Paragon sections.
- July 19th, 2023: Added Season of the Malignant section.
- July 18th, 2023: Reviewed and adjusted build with Season 1 Patch Notes.