Hi guys! Shadow is my favourite class by far, and this is just a build I've come up with in preparation for 1v1 fights in PvP whilst also not neglecting the AOE PvE aspect of it.
It's a build that focuses on building the shadow around a CI build, focusing mainly on ES and evasion, using Lightning Strike as the AOE CC skill, elemental hit as the main dps skill in 1v1 bosses/pvp situations and flicker as a skill to spam in situations when you get punctured and can't move and need to dodge spells, or simply to blink next to a ranged enemy and save the trouble with walking.
DPS-wise it leans heavily on criticals and hence revolves around a high crit-chance and high crit damage multiplier build for dealing damage.
I'm a level 67 shadow at the moment and my build is
Invalesco level 67 (Previously)
Invalesco Level 67 (Now)
This is how i look like :D
Stats (take note that these stats were from the previous build that had not been modified yet)
Mana and mana reserved
The below skills are shown with 4 frenzy charges up
an example of how much elemental damage a leveled elemental hit can add
My current gear and gems:
as you're a high crit chance character, increased critical damage gem is a must to massively increase your dps! I only have it on LS at the moment, but i'll place it together with faster attacks, mana leech and elemental hit once I can get the right colours. Same goes for flicker strike, I can replace item rarity with increased critical damage. But since this char is my mfer for the moment as I'm still building up my mf character, it'll have to do
another item not here is my swapped out weapon which I use for casting auras. It basically consists of any 3L weapon where I connect Grace, Discipline with a Reduced Mana Cost gem.
Overall, this is my gameplay.
Auras and Active Skills
Grace, Wrath, Discipline and Tempest Shield.
Grace, Discipline and Tempest Shield for survivability. (don't underestimate the extra 4% block chance) and Wrath for added dps, with tempest shield also adding slightly to the dps with a chance to shock the enemies. Tempest shield is optional of course, but I like it because it looks cool, gives lightsaber sounds, and the 4% extra block chance could be vital. not to mention I sometimes like to watch my character afk and kill enemies (lol)
Need I say more? You're CI this skill is what makes you awesome! Switch it on, kill a few mobs, watch the frenzy charges pile up, and be even more awesome!
Lightning strike will be your main skill. There's no need to tank the enemies. You can just stay from distance, hold down shift and then press whatever button it is that controls your lightning strike and watch it
annihilate the mobs!
Some pointers to take note regarding LS
- LMP LMP LMP! enough said
- always useful to get a weapon/amulet/ring with cold damage and fire damage as well so you can freeze your enemies and burn them (remember, your crit chance is very high so you'll be crit-ing very very often
- if you're a MF-er, adding in IIQ gem will help
- a quality LS has pierce, which will be very very useful
- if it is heavy in terms of mana usage, throwing in a mana leech will always help!
Elemental Hit. Awesome DPS. Who needs a normal default attack when you can sustain your elemental hit with mana leech and make it even faster as compared to a default attack with a faster attack gem? Also, take note that the DPS shown above for elemental hit does not included the extra elemental damage that it adds on top of the already shown DPS. If you want to amplify the added damage, throw in a weapon elemental gem! Also, the added elemental damage will help in freezing/shocking/burning your opponent when you crit. It is most effective with a fast weapon as a fair amount of damage dealt is skill-based and is independent of your weapon damage. (in that sense it is somewhat similar to viper strike except viper strike is capped at 4 buffs/second)
Always a useful spell when you want to catch/hit an opponent who is running away, be it a ranged mob or an enemy player. Not just that, it has tremendous dps as well, especially if you link more damage based gems to it. (note that I did not add much dps gems to it and it still deals a heck load of damage)
- If you get bored of owning mobs with LS and want to give yourself a mild headache, top up your frenzy charges and let loose with flicker spam! 0 cd with your charges up and if you get to KO enemies with 1 hit, which is often the case as you crit often, your frenzy charge recharges and you get to flicker more. My flicker usually lasts on average 8 times before exhausting all my charges.
- If you find yourself in a situation where you get punctured (CI's WORST ENEMY) and you cannot move (or else you'll take added damage) while mobs are starting to surround you, use flicker to get out of trouble by flickering to a ranged mob outside of the pack surrounding you, or just spam flicker strike and flicker till the puncture cds, allowing you to deal damage and avoid damage from puncture and from most normal hits/spells. (you don't take damage from puncture while flickering, but you will if you whirl out of battle)
Whirling blades, that is all
Other gems that you should continue to level and keep in your inventory for situations where it might come in handy:
- Viper Strike
- Phase Run
When and how to switch to CI?
For me, the main objective for the earlier part of the game is to survive until you get to cruel and get your grace and determination auras as part of your quest rewards. Hence, in this stage of the game, I usually stack equipment very haphazardly, getting any defensive equipment which is a decent enough upgrade from my previous equipment, not focusing more on armour and evasion rather than ES (take not that at this stage the flat ES values of the equipment in normal are not that great anyway and you're not of a high enough level to have enough ES increase % nodes) I also focus alot on HP and i dump skill points in HP areas, such as the Fitness node next to the shield block area slightly to the below-right, the big 30 strength node, and the 8% increased maximum life next to arcing blows. these I feel, with leather belts and HP equipment are usually sufficient for me to get by until I decide to change to CI. If still uneasy, you can dump more points in the 8% increased maximum life nodes just below the CI node. However, do not dump so many points as to neglect your dps nodes and the general build progression nodes. Once you reach a suitable stage where you have a high enough ES, use the refund skill points that you get from your quests and remove the fitness and maximum life nodes and place them in your build progression. There isn't a need to remove the 30 HP strength nodes. they each provide you with 6% increased melee physical damage and allow you to use strength based skills such as lightning strike, reduced mana cost and increased item quantity.
Next question, when to switch to CI? make sure your build is just 1 point away from CI (so u can remove a point from fitness and place it in CI) whenever you're nearing a situation where you want to go CI. There are 2 ways to go for CI.
1. it is usually safe to go for CI if you fulfil a criteria of having 1K ES or so (with our without discipline) as once you put a point in the CI node your ES rises again dramatically. (this option is however not my favoured option, and I do not use this in hardcore)
2. this is my favoured option and is the one I use in hardcore mode. CI is not chosen just because it's awesome and allows you to use blood rage, it is chosen because of increased survivablity, which is the most important aspect in hardcore, mainly due to Chaos immunity. Even if you find yourself at a stage whereby you have more than 1K ES, around half of that as HP, (approx. 700 hp or so) you will still be able to survive the chaos dps dealers in the whole of cruel difficulty as long as you keep an eye on your hp bar, use your flasks and be aware of the viper strike arachnoids in weavers chamber whilst kiting and NOT TANKING the vaal constructs in the ancient pyramid and vaal ruins. However, once you go to ruthless, you will not be able to survive the chaos dpsers with that amount of HP, so it will be a good time to switch to CI just before silk's spear quest in ruthless.
My route of action everytime I reach act2 (no matter what difficulty) is usually to do all the east side quests first. Meaning I grind at fellshrine to a decent enough level before heading to chamber of sins quest and kill kraitlyn. I only switch to CI when I feel I can no longer handle the chaos aspect of act2, which is usually by the time you get to silk's spear quest in ruthless difficulty or vaal ruins/ancient pyramid in cruel difficulty.
This build is definitely viable in HC, and I used it in the 2 Week HC race, switching to CI only in ruthless difficulty (because I loved my panicked HP flasks) at weavers chamber. At that time I was at 700 odd Hp and 1.5k ES.
The DPS shown might not seem that impressive, but take note that my gear shown is mainly MF gear with hardly any base damage enhancing support gems. and in addition, this build is a high crit chance character with a high crit damage multiplier. Multiply the shown DPS by the crit damage multiplier and that is one heck load of damage that you're dishing out! Once I build up my MF char I'll switch the gear here to DPS gear and we'll see how much more damage I dish out :)
Some gameplay videos with my build
Merciless Fellshrine Run
Merciless Waterfall Cave Level 2 Run
Skill Tree Progression
At this point you have a few options:
1. If you need more mana, branch downwards from the ES tree to increase your maximum mana.
2. If you want more crit chance, branch to the top right to bloodthirst
3. If you want more crit damage instead, just invest points in the crit damage multiplier points just below the CI node
Early game gameplay
You will not be getting Lightning Strike as a quest gem till somewhat later in the game. If you want it earlier, you can always level a templar till level 10, kill Brutus, get it as a quest gem and then transfer it to your stash for usage by your shadow or simply trade for it from another player. For the early levels however, you might find yourself lacking somewhat in AoE. I would advise you to get Fire Trap first to help you in kiting and dealing AoE damage to mobs until you manage to get lightning strike.
Similarly with Elemental Hit, it is most effective with a fast weapon and at a high level. However, at high levels, it consumes alot of mana and hence is not that practical early in the game, at least not until you get the Mana Leech support. You will however have access to Viper Strike early on in the game and that will be a very useful skill early on in the game all the way till end-game as the mana cost barely increases even as the gem levels, and will come in useful when you face bosses that you need to kite or elemental resistant rare mobs.
Hope my build has been helpful :) feel free to comment or point out any areas of improvement!