Game Mobalytics

Twisting Blades Rogue: Mastering the Endgame in Diablo 4 (Season 1)

Are you ready for a build that will leave your enemies in tatters? Look no further than the Twisting Blades Rogue. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll show you how to create the ultimate character for endgame activities in Diablo 4. From optimal skill choices to the best gear and paragon progression, we’ve got you covered. So buckle up and get ready to fly through the battlefield with the Twisting Blades Rogue!

Build Introduction

The Twisting Blades Rogue is a high-damage build that strikes fear into the hearts of your enemies. With two sources of damage per cast, this build is designed to eviscerate your foes before they even have a chance to react. The target is first damaged with an impale, followed by an even more devastating hit when the blades are ripped out and fly back to the Rogue. With proper positioning, the blades pierce through all enemies on their return flight, dealing massive damage. With buffs to the opening Twisting Blades, this build is capable of one-shotting Elites and wiping out entire packs of mobs in an instant.

This fast-paced burst leveling build is perfect for players who crave a more complex and involved playstyle. If you’re looking to fly through the battlefield with style, then the Twisting Blades Rogue is the perfect choice. Alternatively, if you want even faster speed farming, be sure to check out the Dual Core Rapid Fire Flurry Rogue build.

The only requirement to start this endgame build is to have a character around Level 50 in World Tier 3. If you need help reaching that level, be sure to check out our Rogue Leveling Guide.

Strengths and Weaknesses

To get a better understanding of how this build compares to others, you can check out our build tier lists.

Video Overview and Gameplay Footage

Twisting Blades Rogue Gameplay

Season of the Malignant

Season 1 Patch Updates

The Season 1 Patch Update for Twisting Blades Rogue brings some exciting changes and improvements. Here are the details specific to this build:

  • Siphoning Strikes now also requires a Lucky Hit chance of 75%.
  • Concealment Stealth duration increased from 4 to 5 seconds.
  • Aspect of Retribution bonus damage to Stunned reduced from 20-40% to 10-20%.
  • Aspect of Disobedience maximum stacks reduced from 100 to 60, reducing maximum Bonus Armor % from 25%-50% to 15%-30%.
  • Vengeful Aspect Lucky Hit Chance increased from 30-50% to 40-60%.

In addition to these build-specific changes, there have been global adjustments to Critical Strike Damage and Vulnerable Damage for all classes. Rogues have not received any major nerfs to their damage directly, making them a top pick for Season 1.

Patch 1.1.1

The second major update for Season 1 brings a few buffs to Rogues in Patch 1.1.1, released on August 8th, 2023. The only change directly affecting the Twisting Blades build is the Lucky Hit chance increase from 75% to 85% for Siphoning Strikes, reducing the nerf made at the beginning of Season 1.

Best Malignant Hearts Tier List for Twisting Blades Rogue

The Season 1 theme introduces Malignant Hearts that provide build-altering bonuses. These hearts are divided into 4 categories, each with a corresponding color that needs to be socketed in the corresponding colored Malignant Socket on equipped jewelry. Wrathful Hearts are a special case due to their rarity and can be placed in any Socket.

Always socket Malignant Hearts instead of a Skull in Jewelry. Malignant Hearts provide an Armor bonus that scales with their Item Power.

Listed below is the Malignant Hearts Tier List for Twisting Blades Rogue, ranked by importance. The stats displayed reflect what a level 20 character would receive as a drop.

  1. Caged Heart of The Barber (Wrathful, Super-World Tier III): Critical Strikes and all subsequent damage within 2.0-4.0 seconds is absorbed by your target. Then, the absorbed damage erupts onto surrounding enemies. Stored damage is increased by 10% per second. – Fixed in Patch 1.1.1 to work with “on hit” effects and Lucky Hit chance. Check the Barber Variant section for the setup details.

  2. Caged Heart of Revenge (Brutal, Defensive-World Tier III): 10-20% of incoming damage is instead suppressed. When you use a Defensive, Subterfuge, or a Macabre skill, all suppressed damage is amplified by 250% and explodes, dealing up to 1360-2040 Fire damage to nearby enemies.

  3. Caged Heart of Tempting Fate (Vicious, Offensive-World Tier III): You gain 40-60% Critical Strike Damage, but your Non-Critical Strikes deal 20-15% less damage.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. Caged Heart of the Clipshot (Devious, Utility): Lucky Hit: Up to a 20-40% chance for your Cutthroat Skills to Slow by 40% for 3 seconds and your Marksman Skills to Knock Back enemies.

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Skill Tree Points and Skill Bar

The following tables show the full allocation of Skill Points for the Twisting Blades Rogue build. The first table has the most important 48 points to start the build, while the second table has the remaining 10 points that are allocated once you obtain all Skill Points from Renown.

Twisting Blades Skill Tree - Part 1
Twisting Blades Skill Tree - Part 2

Twisting Blades Rogue Specialization

Combo Points are the preferred Rogue Specialization for general farming due to the burst damage playstyle of the Twisting Blades Rogue. Build Combo Points with Puncture to unleash additional damage for Twisting Blades.

Paragon

The Paragon progression system unlocks at Level 50 and provides a vast amount of character power. On the Paragon Board, bonuses range from minor stats on Magic Nodes to more powerful Rare Glyphs and Legendary Nodes.

As you path towards Glyph Sockets and Legendary Nodes, prioritize Damage, Dexterity, Resistance, and Life for Normal and Magic Nodes. Glyph radius increases as you level them up, so if you cannot fulfill Additional Bonus requirements early on, skip allocating extra nodes for now.

Listed below are the Legendary Nodes and Rare Glyphs to use for the Twisting Blades Rogue build, sorted in the order obtained in Paragon.

Twisting Blades Paragon - Starting Board
Twisting Blades Paragon - Tricks of the Trade (2nd Board)
Twisting Blades Paragon - Exploit Weakness (3rd Board)
Twisting Blades Paragon - Cheap Shot (4th Board)
Twisting Blades Paragon - No Witnesses (5th Board)

Click here to see a visual of the entire tree.

Mechanics and Playstyle

The Twisting Blades Rogue build requires more finesse and skill to master compared to other builds. Twisting Blades’ damage is increased by several buffs to deliver a devastating hit. Combo Points can be generated for additional damage, while Shadow Imbuement turns the attack into Shadow damage. Additionally, Concealment guarantees your opener to be a Critical Hit.

After impaling the first victim with Twisting Blades, use Dash and Shadow Step to reposition around other enemies so that the returning blades hit them. The flying blades retain the damage buffs of the initial impale, including the guaranteed Critical Hit!

Damage is further increased with Close Quarters Combat, Concussive, Malice, Exploit, Precision Imbuement, and Impetus.

Survivability is gained through Agile and Sturdy, while Siphoning Strikes sustains Life.

Finally, utilize Stutter Step and Haste to speed up your movement for faster farming.

Status Effects

The Twisting Blades Rogue utilizes Crowd Control effects to render Elites helpless. Methodical Shadow Step Stuns for 2 seconds and closes the gap. Follow up with Twisting Blades to Daze your target. Once Dazed, Critical Hits activate Trick Attacks to continuously Knock Down the enemy.

Fundamental Puncture easily applies Vulnerable to a target with a single Basic attack. In group play, apply this debuff to Elites and Bosses so your teammates deal 20% more damage.

Stack Damage to Vulnerable, Dazed, Stunned, and Controlled Enemies on gear and the Paragon Board to scale your damage further.

AoE Damage Rotation

Explode groups of mobs with the following rotation:

  1. (Optional) Initiate combat with Shadow Step to close the gap, targeting the toughest opponent to Stun it.
  2. Rapidly cast Puncture three times to build up Combo Points.
  3. Immediately activate both Concealment and Shadow Imbuement to buff your next attack.
  4. Cast Twisting Blades on the target.
  5. Use Dash or Evade to move through any additional enemies so the returning blades pierce through them.
  6. Use Puncture to finish off any injured enemies, generate Energy, and build Combo Points for your next Twisting Blades.
  7. Cast additional Twisting Blades on any remaining enemies with high health.
  8. Repeat the rotation when cooldowns are ready.
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Single Target Damage Rotation with Combo Points

Use the following rotation against Bosses for high sustained single-target DPS:

  1. (Optional) Close the gap to the target with Shadow Step.
  2. Rapidly cast Puncture three times to build up Combo Points. Stand close enough to the target to hit twice, applying Vulnerable.
  3. If not on cooldown, activate Concealment to guarantee the next Critical Hit.
  4. If not on cooldown, activate Shadow Imbuement for more damage.
  5. Cast Twisting Blades once on the target.
  6. Repeat the rotation. Get into the rhythm of casting 3 Basic attacks for Combo Points before each Twisting Blades.

Gear Choice and Stat Priority in the Endgame

Make sure to pick up all Rare Item drops that may be upgrades while farming with the Twisting Blades Rogue. Save Legendary Items with useful aspects in your stash to be used later for extraction and imprinting onto well-rolled Rare Items.

When comparing weapons with similar item levels, Swords are preferred over Daggers for higher damage per hit and the Critical Strike Damage implicit. The DPS value on ranged weapons does not matter, so prioritize affix values instead. Crossbows are preferred over Bows for the Vulnerable Damage implicit.

Stat Priority List

Listed below are the affixes to prioritize on gear for Twisting Blades Rogues. Each line of affixes is listed in order of importance. Affixes on the same line are considered to be equally important since their exact values differ for each character. All stats have an effect that is dependent on how much is already stacked. Bolded stats are the most important and sometimes vital for the build to function properly.

  • 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 Twisting Blades, Attack Speed, and Critical Strike Chance
  • Armor, Damage Reduction, DR from Close Enemies, DR from Distant Enemies
  • Energy Cost Reduction
  • Energy Cost Reduction
  • Ranks of Malice, Exploit, or Weapon Mastery Passive
  • Critical Strike Chance and Damage, Vulnerable Damage

Legendary Aspects and Codex of Power

Listed below are all the best-in-slot Aspects found on Legendary Items that are important for the Twisting Blades Rogue build. Aspects from the Codex of Power can be used if you cannot find the proper Legendary drops, but they have weaker effects. Extract Aspects from lower-level Legendary Items and imprint them onto better Rare Items with preferred stats.

  • Twisting Blades’ Shadow Step

Unique Items

Condemnation

Condemnation – Your Core Skills deal [20 – 40%] increased damage when spending 3 Combo Points. Your Skills using this weapon have a 30% chance to generate 3 Combo Points.

This Unique Dagger synergizes well with the Combo Points build for an additional damage multiplier.

Penitent Greaves

Penitent Greaves – You leave behind a trail of frost that Chills enemies. You deal [7 – 10%] more damage to Chilled enemies.

These Boots provide a decent damage increase in the Unique Effect, but the rest of the affixes are a bit lacking. They are worth using when combined with Frigid Finesse to apply Chill for a damage increase.

Not Recommended Unique Items

Listed below are the Unique Items not recommended for this build and the reasons they are not worthwhile.

  • Skyhunter: This Unique Bow is a huge 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: The Attack Speed bonus on this Unique Dagger is decent, but the rest of its affixes are lacking. A Legendary Sword with well-rolled affixes and an Offensive Aspect is more beneficial.
  • Grasp of Shadow: These Unique Gloves provide up to +3 Ranks for all Core Skills, but Legendary Gloves with +4 Ranks of Twisting Blades are better. The summoned Shadow Clone attack does significantly less damage than the original attack being copied.
  • Temerity: These Unique Pants provide a consistent Barrier when paired with Siphoning Strikes. Conceited Aspect can also be used with this Barrier generation for increased damage, but this build already has enough Offensive Aspect choices. Using Temerity causes you to miss out on 4 Damage Reduction affixes and an Aspect from Legendary Pants, making them not worthwhile.
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Gems

Listed below are the best Gems to socket into gear for each slot type for the Twisting Blades Rogue build.

  • Weapon: Royal Emerald for Critical Strike Damage to Vulnerable Enemies.
  • Armor: Royal Ruby for Maximum Life or Royal Topaz to prevent deaths from chain Crowd Controls.
  • Jewelry: Malignant Hearts if playing Season 1. Otherwise, Royal Skull for Armor.

Elixirs and Health Potions

Visit the Alchemist in any main town to craft helpful Elixirs that increase stats and experience gain for 30 minutes. Make sure to forage plants and pick up the necessary crafting materials during your adventures; they randomly spawn around the world. Craft a Precision Elixir or Assault Elixir.

Return to the Alchemist again when you reach Level 20, 30, 45, 60, 70, 80, and 90 to upgrade your potion. The extra healing is essential for survival.

Barber Variant for Twisting Blades Rogue

Caged Heart of The Barber is available in Season 1 of Diablo 4. A faster speed farming setup for the Twisting Blades Rogue is possible with this Malignant Wrathful Heart. The explosion from The Barber is Shadow Damage; therefore, it activates Consuming Shadows for Energy generation.

This Barber Variant still has Puncture equipped as a Basic Attack to utilize Combo Points, Aspect of the Expectant, Condemnation, Close Quarters Combat, and Tricks of the Trade. This variant is the best setup for speed farming or pushing Nightmare Dungeons.

Patch 1.1.1 Update: Caged Heart of The Barber has been fixed to work with “on hit” effects and Lucky Hit chance and no longer has any downsides other than the delay. The Wrathful Heart can be used in the original version of the build. Nothing needs to be changed to use the Caged Heart of The Barber. Simply switch Shadow Imbuement to Mixed Cold Imbuement since Caged Heart of The Barber already deals exploding Shadow Damage for Consuming Shadows.

How to Farm for Caged Heart of the Barber

August 9th, 2023 Hotfix Update: Wrathful Invokers can now drop from Elites, and they can easily be obtained while farming Nightmare Dungeons. Use the Wrathful Invokers at the end of Malignant Tunnels for a chance of Caged Heart of The Barber dropping. You no longer need to go out of your way to get Wrathful Hearts, but the previous strategy is still listed below if desired.

  1. Enter the Ravening Pit Malignant Tunnel in Dry Steppes.
  2. Circle around the first area of the Malignant Tunnel to check 3 Malignant Elites for the Wrathful affix. Killing a Wrathful Elite drops a Wrathful Heart that has a chance of being Caged Heart of The Barber. Finishing non-Wrathful Malignant Elites is optional, as waiting for them to spawn takes some time.
  3. Check the 4th Malignant Elite in the next main room for another chance at a Wrathful Heart. There is no need to go further into the last 2 rooms.
  4. Leave the dungeon through the Emote Wheel. Then open the World Map and click the Reset Dungeons button in the Journal tab. Re-enter the Ravening Pit to restart the farming strategy steps.

Skill Tree Points for Barber Twisting Blades Rogue

An active Caged Heart of The Barber effect that is storing damage on an enemy prevents other “on hit” effects from working, including Fundamental Puncture, Siphoning Strikes, and Innervation. Patch 1.1.1 fixes Caged Heart of The Barber to work with “on hit” effects and Lucky Hit chance. The following changes are made from the original version of the Twisting Blades Rogue:

  • Shadow Imbuement is switched to Mixed Cold Imbuement since Caged Heart of The Barber already deals exploding Shadow Damage for Consuming Shadows.
  • Siphoning Strikes Level 3 is changed to Precision Imbuement Level 3, or Frigid Finesse Level 3 if not already obtained.
  • Switch to Subverting Stealth to apply Vulnerable against Bosses since Fundamental Puncture does not work while Caged Heart of The Barber is active.

Changelog

  • August 30th, 2023: Not Recommended Unique Items section added.
  • August 9th, 2023: Barber Farming Strategy updated with new hotfix change.
  • August 8th, 2023: Guide updated with Caged Heart of The Barber fixed to work with “on hit” effects and Lucky Hit chance in Patch 1.1.1.
  • August 2nd, 2023:
    • Patch 1.1.1 section added with another Siphoning Strike change.
    • Video guide added.
  • July 31th, 2023: Penitent Greaves and Barber Variant added.
  • July 18th, 2023: Paragon redone to include a 5th board and more Rare Node bonuses.
  • July 18th, 2023: Guide updated for Season 1.
  • July 14th, 2023: Stat Priority List reevaluated.
  • July 12th, 2023: Aspects reevaluated.

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