The Penetrating 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 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 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 Skull 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.
- Caged 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.
- Caged 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.
- Caged Heart of Determination (Devious, Utility): Resource draining effects are 40-50% less effective. In addition, gain 3.0-8.0% increased Resource Generation.
- Caged 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.
- Caged 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.
- Caged 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.
- Caged 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.
Penetrating Shot Rogue Specialization
Combo Points is the preferred Rogue Specialization for general farming due to it providing bonus Lucky Hit Chance for Penetrating Shot, in addition to increased damage.
Mechanics and Playstyle
The Penetrating Shot Rogue build is fairly simple to play, but has some complex mechanics to learn. Penetrating Shot has a focused Area of Effect (AoE) in a straight line that can be hard to utilize. Trickshot Aspect helps overcome this downside by adding more arrows to increase coverage and help clear packs of enemies.
Smoke Grenade prevents enemies from attacking you, greatly increasing survivability.
Penetrating 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 Innervation are used for Lucky Hit Effects.
Smoke 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 Grenade. Dash also drops an automatic Smoke Grenade with Aspect of Quickening Fog. Critical Strikes against Dazed enemies knock them down with Trick Attacks, activating Concussive for increased Critical Strike Chance.
Use the following rotation to optimize DPS.
- Use Smoke Grenade or Dash with Aspect of Quickening Fog to Daze enemies.
- Against large groups of enemies, activate Shadow Imbuement for AoE explosions and Energy generation.
- Cast Puncture 3 times to build Combo Points. Try to stay close enough to shotgun elites and bosses to apply Vulnerable and proc Lucky Hit.
- Line enemies up to piece through them with Penetrating Shot.
- Repeat the rotation. Try to cast Penetrating Shot while you have full Energy to activate Advanced Penetrating Shot and Edgemaster’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 Puncture. 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.
|1||DPS 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
|4||+ Damage Reduction|
+ Any Elemental Resistances
+ Dodge Chance
|5||+ Crowd Control Duration|
+ Cooldown Reduction
+ Movement Speed
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 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 Name||Legendary Aspect Power||Source|
|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.||Bastion of Faith, Hawezar|
|Edgemaster’s Aspect||Skills 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 Expectant||Attacking 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 Umbral||Restore [1 – 4] of your Primary Resource when you Crowd Control an enemy.||Champion’s Demise, Dry Steppes|
|Aspect of Might||Basic Skills grant 20% Damage Reduction for [2 – 6] seconds||Dark Ravine, Dry Steppes|
|Rapid Aspect||Basic Skills gain [15 – 30%] Attack Speed.||Buried Halls, Dry Steppes|
|Accelerating Aspect||Critical Strikes with Core Skills increase your Attack Speed by [15 – 25%] for 3 seconds.||Random Drop Only|
|Exploiter’s Aspect||You have 20% increased Crowd Control Duration. While enemies are Unstoppable, you deal [20 – 50%] increased damage to them.||Random Drop Only|
|Aspect of Quickening Fog||You automatically drop a Smoke Grenade at the end of Dash. 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 Verve||Your 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 Aspect||You 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 Aspect||Critical Strikes grant [8.0 – 16.0%] Movement Speed for 1 second, up to 6 seconds.||Shivta Ruins, Kehjistan|
|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 9%.||Inferno, Kehjistan|
Listed below are the best Gems to socket into gear for each slot type for Rogue leveling.
- Weapon: Emerald for Critical Strike Damage to Vulnerable Enemies.
- Armor: Ruby for Maximum Life.
- Jewelry: Malignant Hearts if playing Season 1. Otherwise, Royal Skull for Armor.
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 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.