Penetrating Shot Rogue Leveling Build Guide for Diablo 4 (Season 1)

Alternate leveling build for a ranged playstyle.




Theorycraft Build Maker and Content Creator

Updated: Posted:

PuncturePenetrating ShotDashConcealmentSmoke GrenadeShadow Imbuement

Build Introduction

The Penetrating ShotPenetrating Shot Rogue leveling build blasts through even the toughest foes. This is your guide to building a character for leveling in Diablo 4, with the optimal setup for Skills, Rotation, and Gear.

Penetrating ShotPenetrating Shot always pierces, dealing massive hit damage to any enemies in the way. This ranged build is perfect for players that want a safe playstyle that easily clears groups of enemies. Line them up with the Penetrating Shot Rogue!

Once your Rogue character reaches Level 50 or enters World Tier 3, switch to the endgame guide for Penetrating Shot to continue this build.

Check out the Rogue leveling page for an overview of all our builds and general tips for leveling. While Penetrating Shot Rogue is not the most optimal build for leveling a new Rogue character, it is an alternative option for players that prefer a ranged playstyle. The Dual Core Rapid Fire Flurry or Twisting Blades Rogue builds are our top recommendations for leveling.

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Season of the Malignant

Season 1 Patch Updates

The following list details the changes in the Season 1 Patch Update that may pertain to leveling a Rogue.

  • Siphoning Strikes now also requires a Lucky Hit chance of 75%.
  • Advanced Rapid Fire duration increased from 3 to 5 seconds.
  • Concealment Stealth duration increased from 4 to 5 seconds.
  • Methodical Dash maximum Cooldown reduction increased from 3 to 4 seconds.
  • Enhanced Cold Imbue Lucky Hit Chance increased from 30% to 40%.
  • 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 the Rogue specific changes, multiple sources of Critical Strike Damage and Vulnerable Damage were reduced globally for all classes. Rogues did not receive any major nerfs to damage directly to their class. The biggest direct change to Rogues is the addition of a Lucky Hit Chance requirement for Siphoning StrikesSiphoning Strikes, significantly reducing their ability to tank hits from an entire group of enemies. All other classes received much heavier nerfs, making Rogue a top pick for Season 1.

Best Malignant Hearts Tier List for Rogue Leveling

The Season 1 theme introduces Malignant Hearts that provide build-altering bonuses. The hearts are divided into 4 categories, each with a 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 SkullSkull in Jewelry. Malignant Hearts provide an Armor bonus that scales with its Item Power.

Listed below is the Malignant Heart Tier List for Penetrating Shot Rogue leveling, ranked by importance. Stats displayed reflect what a Level 20 character would receive as a drop.

  1. Caged Heart of The BarberCaged 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.
  2. Caged Heart of RevengeCaged 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 DeterminationCaged Heart of Determination (Devious, Utility): Resource draining effects are 40-50% less effective. In addition, gain 3.0-8.0% increased Resource Generation.
  4. Caged Heart of the Dark DanceCaged 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 PicanaCaged 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 MunitionsCaged 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 ClipshotCaged 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.

Skill Tree Points

The following table shows the order in which to allocate your Skill Points for the Penetrating Rogue leveling build. You gain 48 points at Level 50 and 2 points from completing Renown in each Act zone, for a total of 58.

1PuncturePunctureBasic SkillBasic Skill
2Enhanced PunctureEnhanced PunctureBasic SkillBasic Skill
3Penetrating ShotPenetrating ShotCore SkillCore Skill
4Fundamental PunctureFundamental PunctureBasic SkillBasic Skill
5Enhanced Penetrating ShotEnhanced Penetrating ShotCore SkillCore Skill
6Advanced Penetrating ShotAdvanced Penetrating ShotCore SkillCore Skill
7DashDashAgility SkillAgility Skill
8Penetrating ShotPenetrating Shot Level 2Core SkillCore Skill
9Penetrating ShotPenetrating Shot Level 3Core SkillCore Skill
10Penetrating ShotPenetrating Shot Level 4Core SkillCore Skill
11Penetrating ShotPenetrating Shot Level 5Core SkillCore Skill
12ConcealmentConcealmentSubterfuge SkillSubterfuge Skill
13Enhanced StealthEnhanced StealthSubterfuge SkillSubterfuge Skill
14Countering StealthCountering StealthSubterfuge SkillSubterfuge Skill
15Smoke GrenadeSmoke GrenadeSubterfuge SkillSubterfuge Skill
16Enhanced Smoke GrenadeEnhanced Smoke GrenadeSubterfuge SkillSubterfuge Skill
17Countering Smoke GrenadeCountering Smoke GrenadeSubterfuge SkillSubterfuge Skill
18Shadow ImbuementShadow ImbuementImbuement SkillImbuement Skill
19Enhanced Shadow ImbuementEnhanced Shadow ImbuementImbuement SkillImbuement Skill
20Blended Shadow ImbuementBlended Shadow ImbuementImbuement SkillImbuement Skill
21Shadow CrashShadow CrashImbuement SkillImbuement Skill
22Consuming ShadowsConsuming ShadowsImbuement SkillImbuement Skill
23Consuming ShadowsConsuming Shadows Level 2Imbuement SkillImbuement Skill
24Consuming ShadowsConsuming Shadows Level 3Imbuement SkillImbuement Skill
25Adrenaline RushAdrenaline RushUltimate SkillUltimate Skill
26HasteHasteUltimate SkillUltimate Skill
27HasteHaste Level 2Ultimate SkillUltimate Skill
28HasteHaste Level 3Ultimate SkillUltimate Skill
29ExploitExploitSubterfuge SkillSubterfuge Skill
30ExploitExploit Level 2Subterfuge SkillSubterfuge Skill
31ExploitExploit Level 3Subterfuge SkillSubterfuge Skill
32MaliceMaliceSubterfuge SkillSubterfuge Skill
33MaliceMalice Level 2Subterfuge SkillSubterfuge Skill
34PrecisionPrecisionKey Passive Skill
35MaliceMalice Level 3Subterfuge SkillSubterfuge Skill
36Weapon MasteryWeapon MasteryAgility SkillAgility Skill
37Weapon MasteryWeapon Mastery Level 2Agility SkillAgility Skill
38Weapon MasteryWeapon Mastery Level 3Agility SkillAgility Skill
39Enhanced DashEnhanced DashAgility SkillAgility Skill
40Disciplined DashDisciplined DashAgility SkillAgility Skill
41ConcussiveConcussiveAgility SkillAgility Skill
42Trick AttacksTrick AttacksAgility SkillAgility Skill
43ConcussiveConcussive Level 2Agility SkillAgility Skill
44ConcussiveConcussive Level 3Agility SkillAgility Skill
45Stutter StepStutter StepCore SkillCore Skill
46Stutter StepStutter Step Level 2Core SkillCore Skill
47Stutter StepStutter Step Level 3Core SkillCore Skill
48AgileAgileSubterfuge SkillSubterfuge Skill
49AgileAgile Level 2Subterfuge SkillSubterfuge Skill
50AgileAgile Level 3Subterfuge SkillSubterfuge Skill
51Precision ImbuementPrecision ImbuementImbuement SkillImbuement Skill
52Precision ImbuementPrecision Imbuement Level 2Imbuement SkillImbuement Skill
53Precision ImbuementPrecision Imbuement Level 3Imbuement SkillImbuement Skill
54InnervationInnervationUltimate SkillUltimate Skill
55InnervationInnervationUltimate SkillUltimate Skill
56InnervationInnervationUltimate SkillUltimate Skill
57ImpetusImpetus Ultimate SkillUltimate Skill
58ImpetusImpetus Level 2Ultimate SkillUltimate Skill

Penetrating Shot Rogue Specialization

Combo Points is the preferred Rogue Specialization for general farming due to it providing bonus Lucky Hit Chance for Penetrating ShotPenetrating Shot, in addition to increased damage.

Combo Points Rogue Diablo 4
Combo Points Are Counted Above the Skill Bar

Mechanics and Playstyle

The Penetrating Shot Rogue build is fairly simple to play, but has some complex mechanics to learn. Penetrating ShotPenetrating Shot has a focused Area of Effect (AoE) in a straight line that can be hard to utilize. Trickshot AspectTrickshot Aspect helps overcome this downside by adding more arrows to increase coverage and help clear packs of enemies.

Damage is increased further with ConcussiveConcussive, Weapon MasteryWeapon Mastery, ExploitExploit MaliceMalice and ImpetusImpetus.

Smoke GrenadeSmoke Grenade prevents enemies from attacking you, greatly increasing survivability.

Finally, Stutter StepStutter Step, HasteHaste, and DashDash speed up movement for faster farming.

Shadow ImbuementShadow Imbuement is used to help clear packs of enemies and generate Energy with Consuming ShadowsConsuming Shadows.

Lucky Hit

Penetrating ShotPenetrating Shot has a high Lucky Hit Chance of 80% when used with 3 Combo Points, and it has a chance of proccing on every enemy hit by the piercing arrows. Therefore, Countering Smoke Grenade and InnervationInnervation are used for Lucky Hit Effects.

PuncturePuncture can also be used to proc Lucky Hits with 35% chance per blade thrown. This works extremely well with increased Basic Attack Speed and 3 blades thrown per cast on Fundamental PunctureFundamental Puncture.

Status Effects

The Penetrating Shot Rogue utilizes multiple status effects to render enemies helpless. Advanced Penetrating ShotAdvanced Penetrating Shot Slows enemies and Knocks Down elites when cast at full Energy.

Fundamental PunctureFundamental 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!

Smoke GrenadeSmoke Grenade is another powerful Crowd Control (CC) in our trapper arsenal. This Skill can be used often to Daze groups of enemies with Countering Smoke GrenadeCountering Smoke Grenade. DashDash also drops an automatic Smoke Grenade with Aspect of Quickening FogAspect of Quickening Fog. Critical Strikes against Dazed enemies knock them down with Trick AttacksTrick Attacks, activating ConcussiveConcussive for increased Critical Strike Chance.

Advanced Penetrating ShotAdvanced Penetrating Shot and Disciplined DashDisciplined Dash both apply Slow to restore Energy with Aspect of the UmbralAspect of the Umbral.

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

Damage Rotation

Use the following rotation to optimize DPS.

  1. Use Smoke GrenadeSmoke Grenade or DashDash with Aspect of Quickening FogAspect of Quickening Fog to Daze enemies.
  2. Against large groups of enemies, activate Shadow ImbuementShadow Imbuement for AoE explosions and Energy generation.
  3. Cast PuncturePuncture 3 times to build Combo Points. Try to stay close enough to shotgun elites and bosses to apply Vulnerable and proc Lucky Hit.
  4. Line enemies up to piece through them with Penetrating ShotPenetrating Shot.
  5. Repeat the rotation. Try to cast Penetrating ShotPenetrating Shot while you have full Energy to activate Advanced Penetrating ShotAdvanced Penetrating Shot and Edgemaster's AspectEdgemaster’s Aspect.

Gear Choice and Stat Priority while Leveling

Make sure to pick up all Rare Item drops that may be upgrades while you are farming with Penetrating Shot 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, Crossbows are preferred over Bows for the Vulnerable Damage implicit affix. The DPS value on Dual Wielded Weapons doesn’t matter as much, because they are only used for PuncturePuncture. Therefore, other beneficial affix mods on Dual Wielded Weapons can be prioritized instead.

Listed below are the stat affixes to prioritize on gear for Penetrating Shot Rogue, ranked by their importance. Affixes on the same level have roughly the same importance.

1DPS value on Ranged Weapons
2+ Rank of Penetrating Shot
3+ All Damage
+ Damage to Trapped, Poisoned, Dazed, Slowed, Healthy, Injured and Crowd Controlled Enemies
+ Damage with Ranged, Core and Marksman Skills
+ Damage while Healthy
+ Vulnerable Damage
+ Critical Strike Chance and Damage
+ Attack Speed and Basic Skill Attack Speed
+ Dexterity
4+ Damage Reduction
+ Any Elemental Resistances
+ Dodge Chance
5+ Crowd Control Duration
+ Cooldown Reduction
+ Movement Speed
+ Life

Legendary Aspects and Codex of Power

To unlock Aspects in the Codex of Power, you must complete the corresponding Dungeon where the specific Aspect drops. Trickshot AspectTrickshot Aspect can be unlocked in the Codex of Power by completing the Bastion of Faith in Hawezar. Visit the Occultist to imprint this Aspect onto an item. Imprint this on an Amulet for +50% bonus effect.

Aspects found on dropped Legendary Items have stronger effects than those applied from the Codex of Power. Additionally, it is important to know that certain Aspects can only be obtained by finding them on a legendary item, and are not accessible through the Codex of Power. Extract Aspects from unusable Legendary Items to imprint them onto well-rolled Rare Items. Avoid imprinting valuable extracted Aspects onto weapons, because weapons they get replaced often while leveling.

We have a dedicated in-depth Aspect and Codex of Power guide that you can check out for more information.

Listed below are all the Aspects found on Legendary items that are important for the Penetrating Shot Rogue leveling build. They are listed in order of priority.

Aspect NameLegendary Aspect PowerSource
Trickshot AspectTrickshot AspectWhenever Penetrating ShotPenetrating 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.Bastion of Faith, Hawezar
Edgemaster's AspectEdgemaster’s AspectSkills deal up to [10 – 20%] increased damage based on your available Primary Resource when cast, receiving the maximum benefit while you have full Primary Resource.Oldstones, Scosglen
Aspect of the ExpectantAspect of the ExpectantAttacking enemies with a Basic Skill increases the damage of your next Core Skill cast by [5 – 10%], up to 30%.Underroot, Scosglen
Aspect of the UmbralAspect of the UmbralRestore [1 – 4] of your Primary Resource when you Crowd Control an enemy.Champion’s Demise, Dry Steppes
Aspect of MightAspect of MightBasic Skills grant 20% Damage Reduction for [2 – 6] secondsDark Ravine, Dry Steppes
Rapid AspectRapid AspectBasic Skills gain [15 – 30%] Attack Speed.Buried Halls, Dry Steppes
Accelerating AspectAccelerating AspectCritical Strikes with Core Skills increase your Attack Speed by [15 – 25%] for 3 seconds.Random Drop Only
Exploiter's AspectExploiter’s AspectYou have 20% increased Crowd Control Duration. While enemies are Unstoppable, you deal [20 – 50%] increased damage to them.Random Drop Only
Aspect of Quickening FogAspect of Quickening FogYou automatically drop a Smoke GrenadeSmoke Grenade at the end of DashDash. Dash’s Cooldown is reduced by [0.25 – 0.35] seconds for each enemy Dazed this way, up to [0.75 – 1.05] seconds.Random Drop Only
Aspect of Explosive VerveAspect of Explosive VerveYour Grenade Skills count as Trap Skills. Whenever you arm a Trap or drop Grenades, you gain [10 – 18%] increased Movement speed for 3 seconds.Derelict Lodge, Fractured Peaks
Cheat's AspectCheat’s AspectYou take [15 – 25%] less damage from Crowd Controlled enemies. Whenever a Crowd Controlled enemy deals direct damage to you, gain 15% Movement Speed for 2 seconds.Luban’s Rest, Scosglen
Wind Striker AspectWind Striker AspectCritical Strikes grant [8.0 – 16.0%] Movement Speed for 1 second, up to 6 seconds.Shivta Ruins, Kehjistan
Vengeful AspectVengeful AspectLucky Hit: Making an enemy Vulnerable has up to a [30 – 50%] chance to grant 3% increased Critical Strike Chance for 3 seconds, up to 9%.Inferno, Kehjistan


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

Elixirs and Health Potions

Visit the Alchemist 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 the highest quality Assault ElixirAssault Elixir to increase Attack Speed.

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 to survival.


  • July 18th, 2023: Guide updated for Season 1.
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