In Diablo 4, Rogue acts as a hybrid ranged/melee class. Thus, some builds tap into the "Elusive Assassin" fantasy, while others present Rogue as more of a "Mobile Ranger" type of character. There are fans of both playstyles among Diablo players out there, but in this guide we're focusing on the latter one.
Penetrating Shot Rogue is a powerful ranged build at high investment - however it can also let you absolutely smash through the campaign and leveling even as a new player. Even before you unlock the Paragon system, it packs enough power to comfortably clear all the beginner content.
In this Diablo 4 Rogue Leveling Build Guide we'll walk you through everything you have to know about the build as a new player. We'll cover which skills to take and in which order, which Aspects to hunt, and which stats to prioritize. Continue reading below and if you have questions, don't hesitate to ask them in Diablo4.gg Discord!
As a Basic skill, Puncture is your essential 'filler' skill to build Combo points. Thanks to the Fundamental Puncture upgrade, it can reliably proc Vulnerable, and Enhanced Puncture is great for additional Energy generation. Make sure to stay relatively close to enemies so that you actually land two blades on a single target for Vulnerable application.
Our namesake Core skill and the main way we'll be dealing damage. Penetrating Shot is an Imbueable Marksman skill, which means it can be converted to Poison and Shadow damage. Proper Penetrating Shot gunplay requires quite a bit of positioning and aiming. However, after you get an essential Trickshot Aspect the things get quite a bit easier.
Our main tool for clearing dense packs of monsters. Shadow Imbued Penetrating Shot infects all monsters it hits. If those minions die while affected - they will explode, starting a chain reaction for even more explosions. This skill perfectly functions at level one, so we don't need to invest beyond necessary. Trickshot Aspect makes Shadow Imbuement absolutely nuts.
Our main trick against Elites and Bosses. Note that the damage over time it inflicts scales with the damage of the Imbued skill. As such, it benefits from Combo points, as well as from all relevant damage multipliers such as Critical Strike Damage Bonus and Vulnerable Damage Bonus. That's why it's important to invest Skill points in this skill as opposed to Shadow Imbuement.
Your mobility skill is the most flexible slot in the build. Feel free to experiment with Caltrops and Dash. Our choice falls on Shadow Step because it has a baked-in Unstoppable to shake off pesky crowd control effects. With Disciplined Shadow Step it will also be on a fairly short cooldown. The only downside of Shadow Step is that it can't be cast without a target, so you can't use it for mobility while exploring, unlike Dash.
Dark Shroud provides some defensive utility as well as mobility. Make sure to unlock Subverting Dark Shroud upgrade as soon as possible. It gives you additional 20% Movement Speed no questions asked, and maneurabiity is core to Rogue identity. The only annoying thing is that once in a while you have to recast the skill to keep up the Shroud count - those get constantly removed as you take damage.
Specialization and Rotations
Specialization is a powerful class mechanic available to Rogue. You can unlock it after completing a Priority Quest 'True Potential' at level 15. It provides a choice of three unique passive abilities that you can pick up at no cost in terms of Skill points.
In Diablo 4, Penetrating Shot Rogue benefits from the Combo Points specialization the most. Combo is a builder-spender mechanic. Use your Basic Skill attacks to score Combo Points, and then fire off your Core Skill that will be enhanced according to the number of Combo Points collected.
At maximum points, Penetrating Shot deals 133% of your base damage, and has a 80% total Lucky Hit Chance. That's a massive increase from 70% damage and 50% Lucky Hit without Combo enhancements.
Combo Points specialization heavily influences the playstyle of your build and the way your skill rotation works.
- Rotation 1: Clearing Monster Packs
When fighting dense packs, start by building up your Combo Points. At max points, cast Shadow Imbuement and Penetrating Shot - that should clear most packs by itself, especially with Trickhot Aspect. Deal with remaining strugglers and tankier mobs using Poison Imbuement, fill the rotation gaps with Puncture.
- Rotation 2: Fighting Elites and Bosses
The key to fighting more challenging enemies is to keep a 100 percent uptime on your Poison infliction. Start with three Punctures to make the enemy Vulnerable and to build up Combo Points. Fire off Poison-Imbued Penetrating Shot. If there are trash mobs gathered around, look to aim so that the shot goes through some of them on the way to the Boss or Elite (to proc an Enhanced Penetrating Shot multiplier).
Next, repeat the same sequence for a second Poisoned Penetrating shot before switching to Shadow Imbuement. Don't forget to build up Combo points in-between shots. An enemy can be affected by Poison and Shadow at the same time, so don't be afraid of overwriting their afflictions.
Dodge the Boss mechanics and clear packs as you go. Keep the Dark Shroud shadow count at maximum - for mobility and damage reduction. As soon as Poison Imbuement is up, repeat the whole sequence.
Skill Point Allocation
Below is the recommended skill progression for this Diablo 4 Rogue leveling build.
Note: 50 Skill Points are available through leveling. Additional 8 Skill Points are claimed as Renown Rewards.
|1||Puncture - 1/5|
|3||Penetrating Shot - 1/5|
|5||Enhanced Penetrating Shot|
|6||Advanced Penetrating Shot|
|7||Shadow Step - 1/5|
|8||Penetrating Shot - 2/5|
|9||Penetrating Shot - 3/5|
|10||Penetrating Shot - 4/5|
|11||Penetrating Shot - 5/5|
|12||Dark Shroud - 1/5|
|13||Enhanced Dark Shroud|
|14||Subverting Dark Shroud|
|15||Exploit - 1/3|
|16||Malice - 1/3|
|17||Shadow Imbuement - 1/5|
|18||Poison Imbuement - 1/5|
|19||Enhanced Shadow Imbuement|
|20||Blended Shadow Imbuement|
|21||Enhanced Poison Imbuement|
|22||Mixed Poison Imbuement|
|23||Poison Imbuement - 2/5|
|24||Adrenaline Rush - 1/3|
|25||Haste - 1/3|
|26||Haste - 2/3|
|27||Haste - 3/3|
|28||Enhanced Shadow Step|
|29||Disciplined Shadow Step|
|30||Shadow Crash - 1/3|
|31||Consuming Shadows - 1/3|
|32||Poison Imbuement - 3/5|
|33||Poison Imbuement - 4/5|
|35||Poison Imbuement - 5/5|
|36||Malice - 2/3|
|37||Malice - 3/3|
|38||Exploit - 2/3|
|39||Exploit - 3/3|
|40||Innervation - 1/3|
|41||Innervation - 2/3|
|42||Innervation - 3/3|
|43||Precision Imbuement - 1/3|
|44||Precision Imbuement - 2/3|
|45||Precision Imbuement - 3/3|
|46||Weapon Mastery - 1/3|
|47||Weapon Mastery - 2/3|
|48||Weapon Mastery - 3/3|
|49||Sturdy - 1/3|
|50||Sturdy - 2/3|
|51||Sturdy - 3/3|
|52||Stutter Step - 1/3|
|53||Stutter Step - 2/3|
|54||Stutter Step - 3/3|
|55||Agile - 1/3|
|56||Agile - 2/3|
|57||Agile - 3/3|
|58||Alchemist's Fortune - 1/3|
Aspects are extremely powerful gear modifiers available only on Legendary and Unique items.
Most Aspects can be earned as first-time clear rewards for completing Dungeons throughout the world of Sanctuary. These Aspects are stored in your Codex of Power - you have full access to them and can imprint them onto your Rare gear at the Occultist.
There are also other Aspects that are more scarce and can be found only on Legendary drops in the world. These can be extracted from their host items and saved in the stash to be later imprinted onto another Rare piece of gear.
Since this is a leveling guide, in the list below we will include only Aspects that you are guaranteed to get through Codex of Power system.
Helm: Aspect of Might
Basic Skills grant 20% Damage Reduction for [2 – 6] seconds.
Unlocked by completing Dark Ravine in Dry Steppes. Unconditional Damage Reduction is one of the best defensive stats in the game.
Chest Armor: Aspect of the Protector
Damaging an Elite enemy grants you a Barrier absorbing up to *825 damage for 10 seconds. This effect can only happen once every [X] seconds.
Unlocked by completing Lost Archives in Fractured Peaks. A Barrier this big at the leveling stage of the game is essentially an immunity to damage.
Gloves: Vengeful Aspect
Lucky Hit: Making an enemy Vulnerable has up to a [30 – 50]% chance to grant +3% increased Critical Strike Chance for 3 seconds, up to [3 * 3]%.
Unlocked by completing Inferno in Kehjistan. With Puncture and Shadow Imbuement we have Vulnerable for days. This Aspect converts that application into more Critical Chance, which is a very precious stat to get.
Pants: Aspect of Disobedience
You gain x[0.25 – 0.5]% increased Armor for 4 seconds when you deal any form of damage, stacking up to x[25 – 50]%.
Unlocked by completing Halls of the Damned in Kehjistan. We're not the best at keeping stacks high for really high armor gains, but multiplicative Armor increase is still nothing to scuff at.
Boots: Wind Striker Aspect
Critical Strikes grant +[8 – 16]% Movement Speed for 1 second, up to [1*6] seconds.
Unlocked by completing Shivta Ruins in Kehjistan. Rogue is all about maneurability and constant repositioning in a fight. This Aspect really kicks in later in leveling, as you get more crit.
Crossbow: Aspect of Arrow Storms
Lucky Hit: Your Marksman Skills have up to a 10% chance to create an arrow storm at the enemy's location, dealing [891 – 1113.75]*825 Physical damage over 3 seconds. You can have up to 5 active arrow storms.
Unlocked by completing Howling Warren in Scosglen. We have 80% Lucky Hit base chance off of our Penetrating Shot alone, so those arrow storms will not be a rare sight to behold. We put this aspect on a Ranged Weapon since its damage benefits the most from the 100% effectiveness increase.
Amulet: Trickshot Aspect
Whenever Penetrating Shot damages an enemy, 2 additional arrows split off to either side. These side arrows deal [10 – 25]% of Penetrating Shot's Base damage and do not split.
Unlocked by completing Bastion of Faith in Hawezar. The most important Aspect for the build, get it first! The playstyle and quality of life change dramatically. Unfortunately, the area level for the Dungeon is 36, so you will have to be patient until you can finally get it.
Ring 1: Aspect of the Expectant
Attacking enemies with a Basic Skill increases the damage of your next Core Skill cast by x[5 – 10]%, up to 30%.
Unlocked by completing Underroot in Scosglen. This Aspect synergizes very well with the Combo Points specialization and naturally enhances our rotation. It is effectively a free global damage multiplier.
Ring 2: Edgemaster's Aspect
Skills deal up to x[10 – 20]% increased damage based on your available Primary Resource when cast, receiving the maximum benefit while you have full Primary Resource.
Unlocked by completing Oldstones in Scosglen. Since we take time to build Combo Points between Core Skill casts and have some Energy Regeneration working for us, our Penetrating Shot will more often than not fire on full (or close to full) Energy.
Dagger 1: Rapid Aspect
Basic Skills gain +[15 – 30]% Attack Speed.
Unlocked by completing Buried Halls in Dry Steppes. Puncture has fairly high base attack speed by itself - and with this Aspect rotation will feel even smoother.
Dagger 2: Aspect of Corruption
Your Imbuement Skill effects have x[20 – 40]% increased potency against Vulnerable enemies.
Unlocked by completing Renegade's Retreat in Kehjistan. With this Aspect you'll be melting Bosses even faster as long as you don't forget to keep the Vulnerable up with Puncture.
During early leveling, substats on items do not matter that much. You will be replacing your gear very often, equipping the items with the highest Item Power you can find.
You don't have to pay much attention to substats (affixes) until level 30-35. Around that time, the Item Power of drops should reach the 340 breakpoint - this where substat values arguably start to get some really impactful rolls that you can actually feel in your play.
As such, the section below will only matter in the later part of your leveling as you move through your first Capstone Dungeon and towards World Tier 3.
|Gear||Best Substats||Good Substats|
|Helm||Cooldown Reduction, Ranks of Poison Imbuement||Armor, Basic Attack Speed, Dexterity,Ranks of Shadow Imbuement|
|Chest||Damage Reduction, Damage||Armor, Dexterity, Damage Reduction from Close Enemies, Damage Reduction from Distant Enemies, Damage Reduction from Poisoned Enemies, Imbuement Skill Damage, Marksman Skill Damage, Damage with Ranged Weapons, Imbued Skill Damage|
|Gloves||Attack Speed, Critical Strike Chance, Critical Strike Damage, Ranks of Penetrating Shot||Dexterity, Critical Strike Damage with Imbued Skills, Lucky Hit Chance|
|Pants||Imbuement Cooldown Reduction, Damage Reduction||Armor, Dexterity, Damage Reduction from Close Enemies, Damage Reduction from Distant Enemies, Damage Reduction from Poisoned Enemies, Dodge Chance, Damage to Elites, Ranks of Dark Shroud|
|Crossbow||Critical Strike Damage, Damage Over Time, Core Skill Damage, Vulnerable Damage||Dexterity, Critical Strike Damage with Imbued Skills, Damage to Poisoned Enemies|
|Amulet||Cooldown Reduction, Damage Reduction, Damage, Movement Speed, Ranks of All Imbuement Skills||Armor, Imbuement Cooldown Reduction, Damage Reduction from Close Enemies, Damage Reduction from Distant Enemies, Damage Reduction from Poisoned Enemies, Imbuement Skill Damage, Marksman Skill Damage, Damage with Ranged Weapons, Damage to Elites, Energy Cost Reduction, Dexterity, Ranks of the Malice Passive, Ranks of the Weapon Mastery Passive|
|Rings||Critical Strike Chance, Critical Strike Damage, Damage Over Time, Poison Damage, Vulnerable Damage||Critical Strike Damage with Imbued Skills, Imbued Skill Damage, Damage to Poisoned Enemies, Lucky Hit Chance, Resource Generation|
|Daggers||Critical Strike Damage, Damage Over Time, Core Skill Damage, Vulnerable Damage||Dexterity, Critical Strike Damage with Imbued Skills, Damage to Poisoned Enemies,|