Best Diablo 4 Rogue builds: Penetrating Shot and Twisting Blades AOE damage

Diablo 4 character creation screen
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Best Diablo 4 builds

Diablo 4 Necromancer build - A necro wearing armor with a sickle

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Diablo 4 Sorcerer build: Element-ary
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Diablo 4 Necromancer build: Stay undead

The best Diablo 4 Rogue build that will sweep through demons and bosses on your way to the endgame depends on your playstyle. Bow lovers will want to take a look at the Penetrating Shot build we've put together, but stabby Rogues can just as easily pick up Twisting Blades and see a similar amount of success.

Diablo 4 classes start out very versatile and start to narrow down as you get closer to level 50. As you spend points in the skill tree, it gets more expensive and more of a hassle to swap them around. You don't need to fully commit to the builds here, but if you want to feel confident that you won't have to waste too much gold perfecting your build, we've got you covered.

Best Rogue ranged build guide: Penetrating Shot

(Image credit: Activision Blizzard)

Rogue rating: 🗡️🗡️🗡️

Pros: Quickly carving through large groups of enemies in dungeons.

Cons: Suffers in single-target and can feel slow under level 30.

The best Diablo 4 Rogue ranged build only sort of feels like playing a Rogue. Penetrating Shot is certaintly shot from a bow but it acts like a magical bolt of energy rather than a powerful arrow. But what this build lacks in classic Rogue fantasy, it makes up for in sheer power when it comes to obliterating weak enemies.

Like many Diablo 4 builds, think of this one as a framework for your Rogue. Don't be afraid to tweak it if you pick up a particularly powerful piece of gear or Legendary Aspect.

  • Skills: Puncture, Penetrating Shot, Dash, Shadow/Poison Imbuement, Dark Shroud
  • Specialization: Combo Points
  • Legendary Aspects: Aspect of corruption, Trickshot Aspect, Edgemaster's Aspect, Rapid Aspect, Aspect of the Expectant

Think of this build as a bunch of tools to apply Vulnerable to enemies and to fill time between your Penetrating Shots. Vulnerable is a status effect that makes enemies take 20% extra damage and it's the primary reason your Penetrating Shots will nearly insta-kill weak enemies.

We take Puncture as a mid-range basic skill and upgrade it with Enhanced Puncture and then Fundamental Puncture. Now, when two daggers hit an enemy, they'll become Vulnerable.

For Penetrating Shot, grab both Enhanced Penetrating Shot and Improved Penetrating Shot. This is where you should drop four more points into Penetrating Shot and then one into Weapon Mastery before moving on to Dark Shroud.

This Rogue build requires a lot of movement. You need to keep yourself outside of melee range and lined up to send your Penetrating Shot through a row of enemies. Diablo 4 will throw a lot of annoyances at you though, so I recommend taking Dark Shroud to protect yourself. Enhanced Dark Shroud and Countering Dark Shroud are important, too.

After that, you need to work your way to Shadow Imbuement. On the way, you can pick up Poison Imbuement, but it's mostly only useful on bosses for its damage over time effect. Boss fights in Diablo 4 don't give you a lot of time to stand still and shoot, so having ticking poison on a boss while you dodge attacks can help a ton.

Once you reach Shadow Imbuement, upgrade it with Enhanced and Blended Shadow Imbument. This is where you can start to work around guaranteed Vulnerable effect applications. Pick up gear and skills that increase this damage, like Malice in the Subterfuge section of the skill tree.

You can pick up any one of the Rogue ultimate skills; they're not super important for this build. What's key is the Key Passive Victimize, which causes Vulnerable enemies to explode.

It's a simple build to play: Keep Dark Shroud up as much as you can. Spam Puncture or a Shadow Imbued Penetrating Shot to apply Vulnerable to groups of enemies. Dodge or Dash into position and send a Penetrating Shot through a line of enemies until you're out of Energy. Then repeat.

Best Rogue melee build guide: Twisting Blades

(Image credit: Tyler C. / Activision Blizzard)

Rogue rating: 🗡️🗡️🗡️🗡️🗡️

Pros: A defensive melee build with loads of movement.

Cons: Suffers in single-target fights where movement is limited.

Say what you will about glass cannon classes, but the best Diablo 4 rogue build can help you actually survive at close range while dealing all the intense damage that scoundrels with daggers are known for. Twisting Blades is the highly powerful damage skill that you'll be buffing up with Shadow Imbuement for infection damage and the Bladedancer's Aspect to turn it into an area-of-effect skill. Who says a knife's only good at close range?

  • Skills: Blade Shift, Twisting Blades, Shadow Step, Shadow Imbuement, Dash, Shadow Clone
  • Specialization: Combo Points
  • Legendary Aspects: Bladedancer's Aspect, Aspect of Surprise, Aspect of Unstable Imbuements

There are a few variations on this build going around the Diablo 4 community, but the four core skills are Twisting Blades, Shadow Step, Shadow Imbuement, and Dash. You can take either Blade Shift (melee) or Puncture (ranged) at the first node—I'd recommend the former but Puncture can upgrade into making enemies Vulnerable instead or if you just want the Slow debuff every third cast. Some versions suggest Concealment at node four but I'd hold out for Shadow Clone at node six. 

The current Twisting Blades Rogue build on has a good map that includes passive skill picks and skill upgrades. Don't miss Advanced Twisting Blades for huge cooldown reduction. Here are some high value passives to snag early:

  • Sturdy: close damage reduction to help with survivability
  • Siphoning Strikes: heal from critical strikes on close enemies
  • Precision Imbuement: increased crit rate for imbued skills

(Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment)

Every version of this build calls for the Bladedancer's Aspect as the most important legendary aspect, which causes your Twisting Blades skill to orbit around you when they return, dealing additional short-range damage. I really enjoy the Aspect of Surprise as well, which drops a group of Stun Grenades behind you every time you use Shadow Step or your normal evade ability. I got attached to that effect real fast. If you choose the Puncture skill, you can pair it with the Ravenous Aspect as well. Aspect of Unstable Imbuements is a good pair for the Shadow Imbuement skill.

The playstyle for this build is very fast-paced and super mobile, so expect to be bouncing around targets and firing off skills in very quick succession. Use Shadow Step as a gap closer on any primary enemies in the group, pop your Shadow Imbuement, and then set to work casting Twisting Blades. Use Dash or your normal evade ability to create distance for your Twisting Blades to return to you.

If you happen to have the Aspect of Surprise mentioned above, those Stun Grenades you leave behind will cover your retreat. Once you've got the Shadow Clone ultimate unlocked, it will mimic your attacks and deal additional damage of its own.

You can adjust this build for single targets like dungeon bosses or world bosses by using the Inner Sight specialization instead of Combo Points. With Inner Sight, attacking marked enemies fills your gauge which, when full, gives unlimited energy for four seconds. Along with the cooldown reduction you'll get from Advanced Twisting Blades, you'll stay mobile and fire off serious burst damage with the same Shadow Step > Shadow Imbuement > Twisting Blades > Dash rotation.

Lauren Morton
Associate Editor

Lauren started writing for PC Gamer as a freelancer in 2017 while chasing the Dark Souls fashion police and accepted her role as Associate Editor and Chief Minecraft Liker in 2021. She originally started her career in game development and is still fascinated by how games tick in the modding and speedrunning scenes. She likes long books, longer RPGs, multiplayer cryptids, and can't stop playing co-op crafting games.

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