Shadow Impale Demon Hunter BiS Gear, Gems, and Paragon Points
Below, we detail the items and gems that you should use for your Shadow Impale Demon Hunter in Diablo 3 and why. We also list your paragon points and Kanai's Cube items. Updated for patch 2.6.4 and Season 16.
1. 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-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, attainable from Paragon points, Flawless Royal Diamond in the helm, a fully stacked 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 Bladed Armor.
For Season 16 adjustments, please refer to our dedicated section below.
The BiS roll for The Shadow's Grasp includes double Crit stats alongside Dexterity and Attack Speed. Full Toughness stats are preferred on The Shadow's Bane and The Shadow's Coil. Area Damage and CDR rolls are greatly desired on The Shadow's Burden. Seek out additional Impale % bonus on both The Shadow's Mask and The Shadow's Heels.
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 ring and 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 Rattling Roll bursts of movement with periods of stationary Impale spam.
Your other ring slot will be taken by Convention of Elements, whose rotation of elemental bonuses you will have to keep under close scrutiny. Once the sequence reaches the appropriate 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 spam during your strongest cycle. An alternative for the slot is the 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 Vaulting at least once every 8 seconds.
You have a several legendaries vying for the bracer slot, adjusted according to content. During solo Greater Rift progression, take Strongarm Bracers for the 30% additive damage increase from the Rattling Roll knockup. 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 belt adds a powerful mobility tool for solo GR progress and speedfarming: free Vaulting for 2 seconds after using Impale. This power single-handedly allows you to cross great distances, ignoring the limitations of your Discipline pool.
Reworked into a definite best-in-slot for Impale builds in Patch 2.5, the Holy Point Shot quiver is a mandatory piece that practically triples your damage output. An ideal roll would include your preferred 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 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.
1.1. Season 16 Adjustments
During Season 16 (and in seasonal play only), you will be getting the benefits of Ring of Royal Grandeur passively, without the need to wear it. For the Impale Demon Hunter builds, this allows you to free up a single armor slot for a synergistic legendary item.
The freed up set piece spot should ideally come from the gloves, where you replace The Shadow's Grasp with Frostburn. This unique glove increases the damage of one of the top damage runes of Impale, Overpenetration — and is the main reason why the Cold rune will be preferred over the Lightning Ricochet during S16.
The 50% chance to Freeze enemies on the Frostburn is both a blessing and a curse, however; it can provide temporary safety against a stack of dangerous mobs, but it can also botch a pull to a Pylon. If you would rather not risk the latter, you can replace The Shadow's Bane with Aquila Cuirass instead, freeing up the armor Cube slot for the power of Chain of Shadows and equipping The Witching Hour instead.
2. Paragon Points
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 Night Bane in mid range, or through a follower's Thunderfury, Blessed Blade of the Windseeker.
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.
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 however, you will need to gamble on high density rifts where the scaling Attack Speed prowesss of Pain Enhancer triumphs over your other options with the sheer number of Impales you will output per second.
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4. Kanai's Cube
A cubed Dawn reduces 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's damage, resource and protection bonuses.
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.
- 17 Jan. 2019: Added suggestions for the baseline Ring of Royal Grandeur for Seasonal characters.
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