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Shadow Impale Demon Hunter Guide


Introduction

Shadow Strafe Impale Solo Push
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The Shadow's Mantle Impale is a classic for Demon Hunter, allowing since its redesign in Season 5 for a melee playstyle similar to Assassin in Diablo II. It used to be the Rift Guardian Killer of choice in Season 10 and remained a solid starter choice the Seasons following for its consistency and easy gearing.

Fast, easy to build, easy to learn, it can help you get started early on and help you push quite high without too much effort involved.

Focused on heavy single-target damage through the combination of Impale and the (6) Bonus providing 75,000% extra Weapon Damage to the skill for the first enemy hit, it allows you to dish out devastating damage. Point, click & kill is the philosophy of the set, and it's very effective at searching and destroying the right targets—especially Elites.

With the Season 25 update this set was buffed to now include 25,000% extra Weapon Damage for subsequent hits in the cases of Impale Ricochet and Overpenetration or another 75,000% extra Weapon Damage for the DoT effect of Chemical Burn, either greatly buffing the set's AoE or single target DPS potential depending on the setup. This rework has also made mobile ranged playstyles competitive with the typical stationary face-tank builds that traditionally dominated the set's leaderboards, offering a variety of choices in how to play now.

During Season 27, this build is significantly changed and stronger than usual thanks to Sanctified Powers with Sanctified Strafe and a mechanical change to Strafe allowing it to be used with Melee Weapons.

Along with that goes the (4) Bonus giving Shadow Power all runes and infinite duration. While the rune Gloom provides less damage reduction than other typical set bonuses, this is still a very solid layer of protection through immense values of Life per Hit you get on top. This build is your go-to choice to get the feel of a Rogue playstyle while awaiting for Diablo IV or simply climb in the Shadow's Mantle leaderboards!

Strong Season Starter ✔
Unique Melee Playstyle ✔
Straightforward Mechanics ✔
Good Single Target Damage ✔

❌ Static Playstyle
❌ Low AoE Damage
❌ Positioning is Important
❌ Inconsistent Damage Reduction


Core Setup

Core Item Build

Items

  • The Shadow's Mantle set provides huge damage bonuses: x61 through the (2) Bonus and x101 through the (6) Bonus, for a total of x6,161 damage with your Impale (against the first enemy hit only). This damage is doubled with Impale Chemical Burn or 1/3 of it is applied to other targets hit by Impale Ricochet and Overpenetration.
  • Due to the (2) Bonus, you are required to use a Melee Weapon, which will be Karlei's Point. This item gives you effectively infinite Hatred in most scenarios on top of a 375% separate damage multiplier.
  • Holy Point Shot is another key item, providing a 100% separate damage multiplier and 2 additional knives to Impale, effectively tripling your damage when you stand close enough to the target's hitbox to hit it with all of your knives. Additional knives will be thrown in a small cone-shape in front of you.
  • Dawn is a staple cubed Weapon for Demon Hunters, in order to get a permanent Vengeance uptime without having to care too much about Cooldown Reduction.

Season 27 Sanctified Items

Angelic Crucibles are new consumables that drop anywhere once you're Level 70. Using them on items reforges them into Sanctified Items with Primal Ancient stats, and adds one of three new unique Class Powers listed below. For full details on how they work, check out this Seasonal Guide by Chewingnom!

Let's look at our Class Powers and see how they apply to our build:

  1. The best power for us is the Sanctified Strafe. It enables a completely different playstyle this season by throwing Impale automatically similar to the GoD DH with Hungering Arrow. This massively upgrades the build because our rate of fire is way higher than normal and we profit from other various effects like Mantle of Channeling and Taeguk.
  2. The Sanctified Vengeance also helps us but is nowhere close, so go for the top power.
  3. The Sanctified Cluster Arrow power doesn't help us, so go for the one at the top.

Since you can only equip one of them, choosing the right item to craft it on matters! Great candidates are Weapons, Offhands, Jewelry or any item with an important multiplier. With that in mind, we recommend Sanctifying one of the following items:

  • Karlei's Point
  • Holy Point Shot
  • Squirt's Necklace

Global Stat Priorities

The most important for almost any Demon Hunter build is reaching permanent Vengeance uptime. This is achievable through the 65% Cooldown Reduction effect provided by Dawn (Cubed) and having 37% Cooldown Reduction. What you will always use is the Flawless Royal Diamond in your Helmet, 10% from Paragon Points.

There are three competing variations of the build, Cold, Fire and Lightning. The Lightning rune Impale Ricochet can be used for very fast-paced speed runs because of its auto-targeting. The Fire rune Chemical Burn applies the first-hit bonus twice (on impact & 2sec burn), effectively doubling single target damage. The Cold rune Overpenetration allows for some AoE damage, especially in high GR pushes.

Pay extra attention to Life per Kill as a Secondary Affix on your gear. Shadow Power Blood Moon turns 50% of it into Life per Hit. By stacking Life per Kill you can boost your sustain without sacrificing any important stats. This is why we want to use Bottomless Potion of Mutilation, as you can snapshot it (see Mechanics).

Apart from that, stack damage stats wherever possible, especially Critical Hit Chance & Damage, Elemental Damage, Impale Damage and lastly Area Damage (only for Solo Push). The rest goes to defense, especially All Resistance on Pants, Boots, Belt, Shoulders. We can add up some Vitality rolls and Elite Damage Reduction on Chest. Physical Resistance is also extremely useful, as you generally stand very close to your enemies and most of the incoming damage will be of that type. Because of that, you should always use Flawless Royal Diamond in your Chest and Pants sockets.

Attack Speed is only a priority for dedicated Rift Guardian Killer setups, otherwise other stats are more important.

Assembling the Build

1. Do the Challenge Rift for the materials to cube Legendary Powers. You can complete this once a week for additional resources and we always update the guide for you!

2. Gather the full The Shadow's Mantle set. Each piece can be gambled from Kadala for Bloodshards. Do not salvage any duplicate pieces you find! Instead convert them to another part of the set with Recipe 4 in Kanai's Cube. If you have extra materials you can use Recipe 3 to craft the remaining pieces, but this is expensive and not recommended for new players.

3. Gamble from Kadala in this order:

  1. The full The Shadow's Mantle set
  2. Holy Point Shot
  3. Goldwrap
  4. Warzechian Armguards and Wraps of Clarity
  5. Elusive Ring, Convention of Elements, Focus and Restraint

4. Craft using Recipe 3 in Kanai's Cube in this order:

  1. Daggers to get Karlei's Point
  2. Hand-crossbows to get Dawn
  3. Amulets to get Squirt's Necklace
  4. Create a level 1 Witch Doctor and upgrade Maces to get Echoing Fury
  5. Anything from the Gamble list in Step 3 that you haven't already acquired.

5. Do Bounties to acquire several important items for this build:

  • Act 1: Ring of Royal Grandeur
  • Act 2: Gloves of Worship
  • Act 3: Avarice Band
  • Act 4: Can drop any bounty item from any act
  • Bounty Turn In: Recipes for Sage's Journey, Cain's Destiny, Captain Crimson's Trimmings and Guardian's Jeopardy

Item Stat Priorities

SLOTITEMSTAT PRIORITY
Main-HandKarlei's Point
Echoing Fury
Dawn (Cubed)
1. Damage Range
2. Socket Ramaladni's Gift
3. Damage %
4. Area Damage
5. Attack Speed
6. Dexterity
Off-HandHoly Point Shot1. Elemental Damage
2. Critical Hit Chance
3. Impale Damage
4. Area Damage
5. Dexterity
HelmThe Shadow's Mask
Guardian's Gaze (Crafted)
1. Socket Flawless Royal Diamond
2. Impale Damage
3. Critical Hit Chance
4. Dexterity
GlovesThe Shadow's Grasp1. Critical Hit Chance
2. Critical Hit Damage
3. Area Damage
4. Cooldown Reduction
5. Dexterity
ShouldersThe Shadow's Burden
Mantle of Channeling
1. Dexterity
2. Cooldown Reduction
3. Area Damage
4. Vitality
5. Life %
Chest The Shadow's Bane1. Sockets Flawless Royal Diamond
2. Dexterity
3. Vitality
4. All Resistance
5. Elite Damage Reduction
6. Life %
PantsThe Shadow's Coil
Captain Crimson's Thrust (Crafted)
1. Dexterity
2. Sockets Flawless Royal Diamond
3. Vitality
4. All Resistance
BootsThe Shadow's Heels
Captain Crimson's Waders (Crafted)
1. Impale Damage
2. Dexterity
3. All Resistance
4. Vitality
Ring 1Focus
Ring of Royal Grandeur (A1 Bounties, Cubed)
1. Socket
2. Critical Hit Damage
3. Critical Hit Chance
4. Average Damage
5. Area Damage
6. Attack Speed
Ring 2Elusive Ring
Convention of Elements
Restraint
Avarice Band (A3 Bounties)
1. Socket
2. Critical Hit Chance
3. Critical Hit Damage
4. Average Damage
5. Area Damage
6. Attack Speed
7. Dexterity
BracersWraps of Clarity
Warzechian Armguards
Nemesis Bracers
Guardian's Aversion (Crafted)
1. Elemental Damage
2. Critical Hit Chance
3. Dexterity
4. Vitality
5. All Resistance
AmuletThe Traveler's Pledge
Squirt's Necklace
1. Socket
2. Critical Hit Damage
3. Elemental Damage
4. Critical Hit Chance
BeltCaptain Crimson's Silk Girdle (Crafted)
Guardian's Case (Crafted)
Goldwrap
1. Dexterity
2. Vitality
3. All Resistance
4. Life %
PotionBottomless Potion of Mutilation To snapshot the increased Life per Kill with Shadow Power for permanently increased healing

Gems

  • Bane of the Trapped provides us with a 60% separate damage multiplier for close range combat.
  • Taeguk gives us a great damage and Armor bonus. As an RGK in groups, this is replaced with Bane of the Stricken.
  • Zei's Stone of Vengeance gives us another damage bonus based on the distance to our target.
  • Boon of the Hoarder is great for extra Gold and Movement Speed in T16 Rifts.

Skills

  • Impale on the skill as our main damage dealer. Karlei's Point gives a huge damage boost and infinite Hatred.
  • Strafe automatically fires Impale thanks to Sanctified Strafe.
  • Shadow Power for defense, utility and healing.
  • Vengeance along with Dawn and the necessary Cooldown Reduction provides a permanent x1.4 damage and most of the time also x2 toughness boost (through the Dark Heart rune).
  • Smoke Screen protects us from harm when needed.
  • Bolas (Freezing Strike for farming, Bitter Pill for pushing) are used to activate Bastions of Will and Wraps of Clarity.

Passives

  • Cull the Weak is the strongest Demon Hunter damage passive.
  • Awareness helps you out in tough times and saves you a death.
  • Ambush is another generic DPS passive that works in every build.
  • Thrill of the Hunt applies slows at range.
  • Blood Vengeance is great to recover Hatred and Discipline while farming.
  • Other options can include Numbing Traps, Tactical Advantage for most purposes like farming or pushing. As an Rift Guardian Killer (RGK) in groups, you should also choose Single Out.

Paragon Points

CoreOffensiveDefensiveUtility
1. Movement Speed1. Cooldown Reduction 1. All Resistance1. Area Damage2
2. Dexterity2. Critical Hit Damage 2. Armor2. Life per Hit
3. Vitality13. Critical Hit Chance 3. Life %3. Pickup Radius
4. Maximum Hatred4. Attack Speed 4. Life Regeneration4. Resource Cost Reduction

1 Add a bit of Vitality if you feel too squishy (a total of 800,000 Life is recommended in Solo Push, 600,000 Life otherwise).
2 Avoid any source of Area Damage for RGK variants as this is useless and it can lag the game.

Follower

Patch 2.7.0 revamped the follower system giving all 3 hirelings new powers and the emanate system. The first thing you should do is read our complete follower guide and remember the key takeaways:

  1. The emanation system allows followers to share certain legendary and set powers with you. The most important ones are: The Flavor of Time, Nemesis Bracers, Avarice Band, Sage’s Journey and Cain’s Destiny. Click the guide above for the full list.
  2. Follower’s powers are based on their main stat (maxed at 25,000, but they have a 2.5x multiplier so you only need 10,000). This means we stack Intelligence on the Enchantress, Dexterity on the Scoundrel and Strength on the Templar.
  3. Guardian's Jeopardy (2) Bonus works for followers by improving their inherent stat multiplier from x2.5 to x3.5, making it slightly easier to hit the 25,000 main stat threshold if needed.
  4. Followers share 20% of their Experience, Magic and Gold Find stats with you.
  5. Legendary gems do not work on followers, except Esoteric Alteration and Mutilation Guard.
  6. Enforcer can be equipped on the player to keep followers alive even without an immortality relic. The 90% damage reduction counts for them, too.
  7. Cooldown Reduction does not work for any follower skill except the Templar’s Heal.
  8. Followers never deal significant damage; you’re on your own to clear the content.

Select Follower

Gameplay

The build is overall fairly easy to play once you understand the core concept. Most of the damage dealt is done to the first enemy hit. This puts a large focus on your and your target's positioning, you generally want to single out valuable targets and elites while ignoring small trash.

Sanctified Strafe totally changes the typical playstyle of the build and makes it more similar to the GoD DH. Spin, then win!

Whenever you enter a game or start a Greater Rift, make sure to activate Shadow Power once to receive the effects. After you took some damage, activate Bottomless Potion of Mutilation and press Shadow Power again to snapshot the effect. The same applies after a death or in case you press the skill without the potion up for whatever reason. Keep your Vengeance up at all times (cast once every 20 seconds). Activate Focus regularly with your Generator and use Smoke Screen to survive.

Whenever you are not actively traveling but fighting in the same place, tap Impale while holding Strafe. This fires extra knives in between the automatic ticks and increases your DPS.

Hardcore

The build is overall quite tanky and a popular choice among Hardcore players. Additionally, you have permanent immunity to Crowd Control effects and high mobility to get out of dangerous situations with ease when you have to. Don't forget to replace Ambush with Awareness, if it isn't already included in the build.

Check out our dedicated Hardcore Survival Guide to learn more about how to succeed in this game mode!


Variants

Nephalem Rifts
Shadow Impale Solo T16

Concept
The Shadow's Mantle is typically not really a very competitive Torment farming build, due to it's limited AoE coverage and way too high damage. It's mainly useful there in case this is the first set you complete and to start farming up others like UE Multishot or GoD, or when you get it as a season starter from the Haedrig's Gift.

Here we include all the Movement possible to improve our runs.

Gameplay
Sanctified Strafe totally changes the typical playstyle of the build and makes it more similar to the GoD DH. Spin, then win!

Whenever you enter a new rift make sure to activate Shadow Power once to receive the effects. Keep your Vengeance up at all times (cast once every 20 seconds). Use Smoke Screen to survive and improve your speed.

Setups
While farming in groups, replace Krelm's Buff Belt and Convention of Elements with Nemesis Bracers and Avarice Band.

GR Speeds
Shadow Impale Solo Speeds

Concept
We focus on going fast to complete runs lasting between 2.5-3min. Both Cold and Fire are viable options that can be played depending on your available items. You also have the option to play a Lightning variant for even faster runs at a lower tier to aim for 90-120sec clears, which has better AoE coverage at such a pace.

Gameplay
Sanctified Strafe totally changes the typical playstyle of the build and makes it more similar to the GoD DH. Spin, then win!

Whenever you enter a game or start a Greater Rift, make sure to activate Shadow Power once to receive the effects. Keep your Vengeance up at all times (cast once every 20 seconds). Activate Focus regularly with your Generator and use Smoke Screen to survive.

Whenever you are not actively traveling but fighting in the same place, tap Impale while holding Strafe. This fires extra knives in between the automatic ticks and increases your DPS.

Setups
At higher Paragon (2500+), you can replace Guardian's Authority with Captain Crimson's Trimmings. This allows you to stack more Resource Cost Reduction to spam Smoke Screen and protect Squirt's Necklace better.

GR Solo Push
Shadow Impale Solo Speeds

Concept
This is the version described in the main sections of the guide. We stack up as much damage as possible to clear the highest tiers.

Gameplay
Sanctified Strafe totally changes the typical playstyle of the build and makes it more similar to the GoD DH. Spin, then win!

Whenever you enter a game or start a Greater Rift, make sure to activate Shadow Power once to receive the effects. After you took some damage, activate Bottomless Potion of Mutilation and press it again to snapshot the effect. The same applies after a death or zone change or in case you press the skill without the potion up for whatever reason. Keep your Vengeance up at all times (cast once every 20 seconds). Activate Focus regularly with your Generator and use Smoke Screen to survive.

Whenever you are not actively traveling but fighting in the same place, tap Impale while holding Strafe. This fires extra knives in between the automatic ticks and increases your DPS.

Setups
At lower Paragon (2000 or less), replace Captain Crimson's Trimmings with Guardian's Jeopardy.

For extra toughness, wear or cube Stone Gauntlets or Aquila Cuirass instead of Mantle of Channeling.

GR Group RGK
Shadow Impale RGK

The set is one of the best Rift Guardian Killers (RGK) during Season 27.

Concept
As a RGK, you just need to get to the boss somehow, and then kill it. We optimize this setup for most Boss DPS possible, which will leave you quite squishy and helpless, especially during high tier pushing.

To achieve this, we add lots of DPS items at the cost of utility, such as Squirt's Necklace, Aughild's Authority set and we even drop Chain of Shadows for The Witching Hour. Also, we have to include Bane of the Stricken, it's the most important gem for a RGK.

Gameplay
Sanctified Strafe totally changes the typical playstyle of the build and makes it more similar to the GoD DH. Spin, then win!

Whenever you enter a game or start a Greater Rift, make sure to activate Shadow Power once to receive the effects. After you took some damage, activate Bottomless Potion of Mutilation and press it again to snapshot the effect. The same applies after a death or zone change or in case you press the skill without the potion up for whatever reason. Keep your Vengeance up at all times (cast once every 20 seconds). Activate Focus regularly with your Generator and use Smoke Screen to survive.

Typically you can't contribute much damage during the rift, so assist your team by aggroing enemies from all directions. Use your mobility and Strafe to explore the area for your team.

At the boss, tap Impale while holding Strafe. This fires extra knives in between the automatic ticks and increases your DPS.

Setups
If you can't stay alive at all, switch Convention of Elements to Elusive Ring.

Echoing Nightmare
Shadow Impale Solo Speeds

Concept
For Echoing Nightmares we are using almost an exact copy of the Speed GR build. The main difference is the we run with Impale Overpenetration. We also use the Templar for his stronger Cheat Death ability and include Awareness. For more information check out our full Echoing Nightmare Guide and take a look at our Echoing Nightmare Build Tier List and META post for the best builds and strategies!

Gameplay
Click Speed Pylon as soon as the challenge starts and all the other Pylons at around wave 90. At wave 122 you can stop attacking and run to the corner to let the timer run out.

Sanctified Strafe totally changes the typical playstyle of the build and makes it more similar to the GoD DH. Spin, then win!

Make sure to activate Shadow Power once to receive the effects. Keep your Vengeance up at all times (cast once every 20 seconds). Activate Focus regularly with your Generator and use Smoke Screen to survive.

Whenever you are not actively traveling but fighting in the same place, tap Impale while holding Strafe. This fires extra knives in between the automatic ticks and increases your DPS.


Video Guide


Mechanics

Karlei's Point

  • Hatred will only return starting on the second hit.
  • Impale Ricochet can give you Hatred back on the first attack (due to bounces).

Impale

  • With The Shadow's Mantle equipped, the first enemy hit will take massive damage and other targets of Impale Ricochet or Overpenetration take 1/3 of that amount.
  • Chemical Burn doubles your damage done against single-targets since the 2sec burn DoT applies the extra damage from the set, too.
  • Grievous Wounds adds extra Critical Hit Damage but is about 30-40% worse than Chemical Burn in any realistic scenario.
  • Your knives are thrown in a cone-like shape, so standing close to the target is necessary to hit with all of them at once.

Shadow Power

  • Use once to get the buff, it will stay on permanently thanks to The Shadow's Mantle (4) Bonus.
  • Activating it again will only apply the Slow from Night Bane.
  • Life per Kill from Bottomless Potion of Mutilation can be snapshot during its effect, as long as you don't use Shadow Power again without it. This will increase your healing overall and is very useful, especially for pushing.
  • The snapshot has to be done again on death or when the skill is used without the potion up.


Summary

  • Reach the necessary Cooldown Reduction (37%) for permanent Vengeance.
  • Spin to win with Sanctified Strafe!
  • Only the first enemy hit takes the big damage.
  • Make sure to use Shadow Power at least once at the start of a run, preferably right after pressing your Bottomless Potion of Mutilation.
  • Hunt down Elites and juicy trash mobs to progress, ignore small, stray enemies.

We hope you enjoyed this guide! Shadow Impale is an ideal beginner build, and if you're not familiar with it yet, just hop in and try it out!


Credits

Written by Northwar & wudijo.
Introduction by Chewingnom.
Updated by wudijo.


Changelog

Sep 11th 2022
Added extra info about different elements in Speed GR variant.

Aug 19th 2022
Updated for Season 27 / Patch 2.7.4. Adjusted Setups for Sanctified Strafe.