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Demon Hunter Shadow's Mantle Build with Impale (Patch 2.5 / Season 10)

Last updated on Mar 29, 2017 at 11:52 by Deadset 24 comments

Table of Contents

The Shadows Mantle set offers several viable playstyles revolving around the themes of high mobility and assassination. This Impale variant places and even greater emphasis on singling out and bursting down priority targets, an elite hunting playstyle that is unlocked through the following pieces:

1. About the Author

This build is presented to you by Deadset, one of the very few professional Diablo 3 players. Deadset regularly publishes video guides on Youtube, where you can see how this and other builds play out in practice.

2. Video Guide

The following video guide was created to accompany the present written guide and demonstrate how to play the build in-game.

3. Builds

Solo GRs Group GRs Normal Rifts
Active Skills
Left Mouse Button Impale Icon Impale Ricochet Ricochet Right Mouse Button Companion Icon Companion Wolf Companion Wolf Companion 1 Vengeance Icon Vengeance Dark Heart Dark Heart 2 Fan of Knives Icon Fan of Knives Bladed Armor Bladed Armor 3 Vault Icon Vault Rattling Roll Rattling Roll 4 Shadow Power Icon Shadow Power Gloom Gloom
Passive Skills
(battle.net link)
Active Skills
Left Mouse Button Impale Icon Impale Ricochet Ricochet Right Mouse Button Companion Icon Companion Wolf Companion Wolf Companion 1 Vengeance Icon Vengeance Dark Heart Dark Heart 2 Marked for Death Icon Marked for Death Valley of Death Valley of Death 3 Vault Icon Vault Tumble Tumble 4 Shadow Power Icon Shadow Power Gloom Gloom
Passive Skills
(battle.net link)
Active Skills
Left Mouse Button Impale Icon Impale Ricochet Ricochet Right Mouse Button Companion Icon Companion Wolf Companion Wolf Companion 1 Vengeance Icon Vengeance Dark Heart Dark Heart 2 Smoke Screen Icon Smoke Screen Vanishing Powder Vanishing Powder 3 Vault Icon Vault Rattling Roll Rattling Roll 4 Shadow Power Icon Shadow Power Gloom Gloom
Passive Skills
(battle.net link)

4. Rotation

The Shadow Impale playstyle is quite different from other Demon Hunter builds, almost exclusively pursuing Elite enemies to take advantage of its massive single target potential, and skipping many disadvantageous trash fights. When in need of immediate crowd control, or simply to move through the rift at an efficient pace, do not forget to pre-cast Impale Impale — this will make Vault Vault free for 2 seconds with the power of Chain of Shadows Chain of Shadows. When you come across an elite that you consider killable, focus it down and alternate crowd control plus knockback from Vault Vault Rattling Roll Rattling Roll with stationary Impale Impale spam to maximize the Endless Walk set benefits. Position and manage your resources with the Lightning cycle of Convention of Elements Convention of Elements and the damage increase of Wolf Companion Wolf Companion in mind, as the two buffs active at the same time make up your big burst window. Shadow Power Shadow Power needs to be activated only once per run, but you will have to manually reapply your other two defensive buffs — Vengeance Vengeance and Fan of Knives Fan of Knives Bladed Armor Bladed Armor — as soon as they are off cooldown.

Impale Impale is the primary damage dealer of the build, augmented by the Shadow set 6-piece bonus to deal 40 000% additional damage on the first target hit, resulting in the signature assassination playstyle. While other rune choices (such as the cold Overpenetration Overpenetration) are viable, the lightning rune Ricochet Ricochet is generally preferred for its consistency (bouncing daggers vs narrow lined shots), as well as its additional hits proccing the unique property of Karlei's Point Karlei's Point dagger, ensuring resource stability.

The swiss knife Companion Companion skill takes on a role of a damage buff by taking the Wolf Companion Wolf Companion rune, providing you with a sizable multiplicative damage increase. While the Wolf Companion Wolf Companion buff sports a generous 10-second uptime, this build runs a moderate amount of Cooldown Reduction on gear — so try to reserve the Companion Companion active for key moments (preferably the Lightning Convention of Elements Convention of Elements cycle).

During solo GR pushes Vault Vault is not only taken as a movement skill, but also as a source of crowd control with Rattling Roll Rattling Roll. To sweeten the deal, the knockback of the rune will also trigger the worn Strongarm Bracers Strongarm Bracers. Always keep in mind the power of the Chain of Shadows Chain of Shadows belt, allowing you to negate the Discipline cost of Vault Vault for a 2-second window after using Impale Impale, allowing you to cover significant ground for free. In group pushes you will drop Chain of Shadows Chain of Shadows for the pure damage increase of The Witching Hour The Witching Hour, so simply alternate the rune for easier Discipline management with Tumble Tumble.

Unsurprisingly, Shadow Power Shadow Power is a major part of a Shadow set playstyle, as the 4-piece set bonus grants you the effects of all the runes and makes the skill last forever. This makes the rune choice purely cosmetic, since they produce differently colored wings. You should activate Shadow Power Shadow Power immediately upon entering the rift to passively enjoy its damage reduction bonuses, movement speed increase, and increased Life per Hit that notably scales with your Life on Kill from gear. Remember that the benefits of Night Bane Night Bane will still only apply for the listed 5 seconds, so you can use Shadow Power Shadow Power as a situational 8 Discipline active skill to proc Bane of the Trapped Bane of the Trapped, Cull the Weak Cull the Weak and Numbing Traps Numbing Traps.

The class staple Vengeance Vengeance reinforces dominance in yet another build, favored by Impale Demon Hunters for the 50% damage reduction of the Dark Heart Dark Heart rune.

You can adjust your final active skill slot according to content. In solo Greater Rift pushes, consider taking Fan of Knives Fan of Knives for the toughness boost of Bladed Armor Bladed Armor — you can make it permanent with a minor CDR investment, and it offers perfect synergy with Numbing Traps Numbing Traps and Cull the Weak Cull the Weak. In groups, where your toughness and crowd control will be taken care of by support teammates, switch this slot out for the additive damage boost of Marked for Death Marked for Death Valley of Death Valley of Death to better assist your AoE DPS teammate. During normal rift speedfarm, you are free to run a skill of your liking — ranging from a generator like Bolas Bolas Thunder Ball Thunder Ball if you run Focus Focus and Restraint Restraint, to utility skills like Smoke Screen Smoke Screen Vanishing Powder Vanishing Powder and Preparation Preparation Focused Mind Focused Mind.

This concludes the overview of the Active Skills, now let us look through the Passives.

Demon Hunters are notoriously frail, and the Shadow Hunter playstyle has the odds stacked against it with its daredevil dive in, dive out gameplay. Unsurprisingly, Awareness Awareness comes with the highest recommendation, serving as a cheat death on a standard 60-second cooldown.

Cull the Weak Cull the Weak is taken in both solo and group GR progression for the 20% multiplicative damage increase against Slowed or Chilled enemies. In groups, said crowd control will be applied by support party members. When soloing, it needs to be applied passively in point blank range from the 15-yard Bane of the Trapped Bane of the Trapped slow, and active use of Fan of Knives Fan of Knives and Shadow Power Shadow Power. Once you comfortably outscale the content, you can swap this slot out during normal rifts for a speedfarm-appropriate passive like Blood Vengeance Blood Vengeance, for extra resource stability and synergy with Avarice Band Avarice Band.

While you solo push and farm, Ambush Ambush will be a great addition against single target, higher health enemies like Champions and Rift Guardians. Its 40% bonus damage against the first 25% of the target health pool is multiplicative in nature, allowing you to chew through the first quarter of the fight very efficiently. Due to the scaling health numbers in 4-man groups and the stacking mechanic of Bane of the Stricken Bane of the Stricken however, Ambush Ambush greatly diminishes in value for your primary party role — the boss killer. Take Single Out Single Out in its place for consistency during the GR Guardian kill.

Your final passive slot will vary according to content. In solo GR progression, it is recommended you take Numbing Traps Numbing Traps for the consistent 25% damage reduction from surrounding enemies. In group play, where survival is not yours to manage, swap into Steady Aim Steady Aim for the extra damage on isolated targets, especially the Rift Guardian. Finally, use this slot for a massive runspeed boost from Tactical Advantage Tactical Advantage while farming low tier content.

5. Best in Slot Gear and Alternatives

The build incorporates the complete Shadow's Mantle set, taking all six available pieces and opening up the jewelry for the Endless Walk set and its balancing act of damage multiplication and damage reduction. Rolls-wise, this Impale Impale-centric playstyle takes good advantage of Skill and Area Damage affixes. You will be trying to reach at least a 37% CDR breakpoint for permanent uptime of Vengeance Vengeance, attainable from Paragon points, Flawless Royal Diamond Flawless Royal Diamond in the helm, a fully stacked Gogok of Swiftness Gogok of Swiftness gem, and 1 other item with a max CDR roll, distributed as you see fit (i.e. on shoulders). However you will do well to bump up your CDR past the 40% barrier (with one more CDR roll on gear), in order to reach permanent uptime of the 40% armor buff from Fan of Knives Fan of Knives Bladed Armor Bladed Armor.

The BiS roll for The Shadow's Grasp The Shadow's Grasp includes double Crit stats alongside Dexterity and Attack Speed. Full Toughness stats are preferred on The Shadow's Bane The Shadow's Bane and The Shadow's Coil The Shadow's Coil. Area Damage and CDR rolls are greatly desired on The Shadow's Burden The Shadow's Burden. Seek out additional Impale % bonus on both The Shadow's Mask The Shadow's Mask and The Shadow's Heels The Shadow's Heels.

It is worth noting that to optimize your farming convenience in regular rifts, you can afford to drop one of the Shadow set pieces and cube a Ring of Royal Grandeur Ring of Royal Grandeur to attain a synergistic legendary power for the content. The default recommendation is Gloves of Worship Gloves of Worship, but there are other decent options like Leoric's Crown Leoric's Crown and Hexing Pants of Mr. Yan Hexing Pants of Mr. Yan.

Not skipping on any of the pieces required to obtain the 6 piece set bonus of The Shadow's Mantle opens a powerful offensive combo in the jewelry: the Endless Walk set, The Compass Rose The Compass Rose ring and The Traveler's Pledge The Traveler's Pledge amulet. This 2.4 rework adds a unique mechanic that slowly increases your damage by up to a 100% if you remain stationary, and drains it away and increases your damage reduction while moving. This dynamic fits the Shadow DH playstyle, as you alternate between Vault Vault Rattling Roll Rattling Roll bursts of movement with periods of stationary Impale Impale spam.

Your other ring slot will be taken by Convention of Elements Convention of Elements, whose rotation of elemental bonuses you will have to keep under close scrutiny. Once the sequence reaches the Lightning element, you will enjoy a significant increase to your damage — so try to adopt a strategy of drawing monster attention during the off cycles, and major Impale Impale spam during the Lightning cycle. An alternative for the slot is the Elusive Ring Elusive Ring, a Patch 2.4 addition that reduces incoming damage by 60% after casting a mobility skill — a vital bonus you will easily keep up by Vault Vaulting at least once every 8 seconds. When pushing group GRs and speedfarming, the timing of Convention of Elements Convention of Elements and the defense of Elusive Ring Elusive Ring will both be misplaced, so you can swap to the consistent damage increase from a Lightning-rolled Stone of Jordan Stone of Jordan.

During Torment farm it is also recommended to swap away from the Endless Walk set, as it promotes a static fighting style unfit for normal rifts; use the more offensive combo of Avarice Band Avarice Band and a Hellfire Amulet Hellfire Amulet. Avarice Band Avarice Band's pickup radius bonus is an incredible boon during speedfarming, as it benefits not only your movement speed through a socketed Boon of the Hoarder Boon of the Hoarder, but also negates downtime picking up progression orbs and gold. While any well-rolled amulet can fill the slot for Torments, a crafted Hellfire Amulet Hellfire Amulet with a solid fifth passive (from the recommendations above, or a generic speed-oriented one like Hot Pursuit Hot Pursuit or Blood Vengeance Blood Vengeance) is easily the best in slot.

You have a several legendaries vying for the bracer slot, adjusted according to content. During solo Greater Rift progression, take Strongarm Bracers Strongarm Bracers for the 30% additive damage increase from the Rattling Roll Rattling Roll knockup. In group progression, consider taking Lightning damage Lacuni Prowlers Lacuni Prowlers for maximum damage output on the Rift Guardian. Finally, during speedruns Nemesis Bracers Nemesis Bracers will provide you with more champions to fight, playing into the elite hunting flavor of the build.

The same principle will apply to the belt slot, where adapting to the content will yield the best results. Helpfully named after the set it fits, the Chain of Shadows Chain of Shadows belt adds a powerful mobility tool for solo GR progress and speedfarming: free Vault Vaulting for 2 seconds after using Impale Impale. This power single-handedly allows you to cross great distances, ignoring the limitations of your Discipline pool. In group GRs where you will be limited by the pace of the party, simply switch to the glass cannon staple The Witching Hour The Witching Hour to optimize damage against the boss.

Reworked into a definite best-in-slot for Impale builds in Patch 2.5, the Holy Point Shot Holy Point Shot quiver is a mandatory piece that practically triples your damage output. An ideal roll would include Lightning elemental damage and Impale % alongside the usual high Dexterity, Attack Speed and Crit Chance.

The best-in-slot weapon for the build is the Impale-specific Karlei's Point Karlei's Point dagger; where it lacks in flashy damage bonuses, it more than makes up with a Hatred-refunding effect that cements your resource management despite the costly (and otherwise unsustainable) main spender of the build. An ideal roll would feature Attack Speed alongside high Damage range, Damage % and Dexterity.

6. Stat Priorities per Gear Slot

Slot Pieces Stat Priority
Head
  1. Dexterity
  2. Critical Hit Chance
  3. Socket
  4. Impale %
  5. Vitality
Shoulders
  1. Dexterity
  2. Vitality
  3. Cooldown Reduction
  4. Area Damage
Torso
  1. Dexterity
  2. Vitality
  3. 3 Sockets
  4. Elite Damage Reduction
  5. All Resistance
Wrists
  1. Dexterity
  2. Critical Hit Chance
  3. Lightning %
  4. Vitality
Hands
  1. Dexterity
  2. Critical Hit Damage
  3. Critical Hit Chance
  4. Attack Speed
Waist
  1. Dexterity
  2. Vitality
  3. All Resistance
  4. Life %
  5. Freeze on Hit (Secondary Stat)
Legs
  1. Dexterity
  2. 2 Sockets
  3. All Resistance
  4. Vitality
Feet
  1. Dexterity
  2. Impale %
  3. Vitality
  4. All Resistance
Ring #1
  1. Socket
  2. Critical Hit Damage
  3. Critical Hit Chance
  4. Cooldown Reduction
  5. Flat Damage
Ring #2
  1. Socket
  2. Critical Hit Damage
  3. Critical Hit Chance
  4. Cooldown Reduction
  5. Flat Damage
Amulet
  1. Socket
  2. Critical Hit Damage
  3. Critical Hit Chance
  4. Lightning %
Weapon
  1. Damage Range
  2. Dexterity
  3. Socket (preferably from Ramaladni's Gift Ramaladni's Gift)
  4. % Damage
  5. Attack Speed
Off-hand
  1. Dexterity
  2. Critical Hit Chance
  3. Lightning %
  4. Attack Speed
  5. Impale %

7. Paragon Points

Slot Paragon Points
Core
  1. Movement Speed up to 25% cap
  2. Dexterity
  3. Maximum Hatred (up to personal preference)
  4. Vitality
Offense
  1. Cooldown Reduction
  2. Attack Speed
  3. Critical Hit Damage
  4. Critical Hit Chance
Defense
  1. All Resistance
  2. Life %
  3. Armor
  4. Life Regeneration
Utility
  1. Area Damage
  2. Life on Hit
  3. Resource Cost Reduction
  4. Gold Find

8. Gems

Bane of the Trapped Bane of the Trapped is a potent source of additional damage, as it is its own multiplier in your total damage calculation. The gem procs itself with its level 25 property when in melee range, where Shadow DHs mostly fight; it can otherwise be triggered by an activation of Shadow Power Shadow Power Night Bane Night Bane in mid range, or through a follower's Thunderfury, Blessed Blade of the Windseeker Thunderfury, Blessed Blade of the Windseeker.

Gogok of Swiftness Gogok of Swiftness is one of your gemming staples, indirectly providing you with more damage and survivability by increasing Cooldown Reduction for essential breakpoints, Attack Speed for faster Impale output, as well as scaling Dodge chance. If you trust your ability to focus down and chain elites in regular rifts, you can safely swap this gem out for Boon of the Hoarder Boon of the Hoarder — enabling the trinity with Goldwrap Goldwrap and Avarice Band Avarice Band for optimal farming convenience.

Bane of the Powerful Bane of the Powerful's duration scales very well with levels, and having a low uptime on a decently leveled gem is a telling sign that the rift is unfavorable for a solo Impale DH anyway (winding layout, lacking density, insufficient or overly dangerous elites). The gem's default 20% damage increase has been reworked into multiplicative, and the level 25 bonus now increases AND reduces elite damage by 15%, making it a well-rounded choice for the build. For extremely high end pushing or group Greater Rifting in general, swap this gem out for Bane of the Stricken Bane of the Stricken to assist you in taking down the Rift Guardian.

Slot Gems
Jewelry
Helm
Torso and Pants
Weapon

9. Kanai's Cube

A cubed Dawn Dawn reduces Vengeance Vengeance's cooldown by the maximum 65%, allowing for permanent uptime with a modest investment into Cooldown Reduction — an opportunity you cannot pass up with Vengeance Vengeance's damage, resource and protection bonuses. Only in a highly optimized normal rifting setup, you can consider swapping this slot out for the farming powerhouse In-geom In-geom.

With resource stability ensured by Karlei's Point Karlei's Point, it is only logical to minimize the infamous Demon Hunter frailty with a cubed Aquila Cuirass Aquila Cuirass in solo Greater Rifts. An alternative for Groups is Leoric's Crown Leoric's Crown to optimize your Companion Companion uptime. During regular rift farm, no other convenience item beats out Goldwrap Goldwrap.

As previously mentioned, you can pick between your best rolls of Elusive Ring Elusive Ring and Convention of Elements Convention of Elements to wear, and simply cube the inferior. If you opt to include an additional legendary power in place of one of the Shadow set pieces during speedfarm, you will need to cube Ring of Royal Grandeur Ring of Royal Grandeur to maintain the 6-piece bonus.

10. Follower

For more information regarding followers, we advise you to read our Follower Guide, which contains detailed advice for choosing the skills and the gear of your follower.

11. ChangeLog

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  • 29 Mar. 2017: Guide added.
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