Barrage Rogue Leveling Guide

Last Updated: August 20th 2023

Season 1 - Malignant

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The Barrage Rogue is a simple to play, short to mid-range archer build that is great for leveling in Diablo 4. It combines a good mix of AoE and single target damage with high movement speed and solid defenses for an overall smooth experience.

Barrage is a Core Skill that fires multiple arrows spread out in a cone in front of you. While it's a ranged skill, it can only deal with large packs of monsters from a distance and you need to get close to hit individual targets with multiple arrows (shotgun), making it a very active playstyle that requires constant maneuvering.

Over time you unlock multiple ways of recovering Energy which allow you to spam Barrage all the time. This includes Consuming Shadows from Shadow Imbuement, Innervation and most importantly the Inner Sight Specialization.

Once you have the main setup together, it's all smooth sailing until the endgame. We include Shadow Imbuement to improve the build's otherwise mediocre AoE clear and blow up packs of monsters easily while applying the mighty Vulnerable debuff pretty much all the time.

This guide teaches you all about how to reach the endgame in Diablo 4 with the Barrage Rogue. Let's get started!

Leveling Setup

Poison Trap

Dark Shroud

Shadow Imbuement

Shadow Step

Invigorating Strike


Inner Sight


This build guide takes you through the Campaign up to Level 50. If you're looking for Endgame guides, check out our Rogue Guides section. 

High Mobility
Great All-rounder
Arrows Can Shotgun

Blows Up Monster Packs ✔

❌ Easily Misses Shots
❌ Stays in Close Range
Frequent Repositioning
Low Single Target Damage at Range

Season 1 - The Malignant

Players on the Eternal Realm should ignore this section of the guide. This build is designed to work without Caged Hearts, though it can be enhanced by them.

Diablo 4 Season 1 introduces a new questline to hunt Malignant Monsters across Sanctuary. Defeating them drops Caged Hearts that are placed in Jewelry infested sockets to gain build-altering powers. Check out the full Season 1 The Malignant guide from Chewingnom to learn more!

  • There are 32 Caged Hearts divided into 4 different colors, 1 color for each type:
    • Vicious: Orange, Offensive Power
    • Brutal: Blue, Defensive Power
    • Devious: Pink, Utility Power
    • Wrathful: Black, Super Power
  • The first 3 must be socketed into their respective infested socket color, while the 4th can be placed into any infested socket.
  • You can only have one Wrathful (Black) heart equipped at a time.
  • Once socketed, they cannot be removed. Instead they can be broken down into Invokers to target farm the Caged Hearts you want inside Malignant Tunnels.
  • Higher powered Caged Hearts drop at higher levels.

With this in mind, let's look at the top 3 best Caged Hearts (and alternatives) for this build:

Best-in-Slot Caged Hearts

  1. Caged Heart of The Barber: Allows us to trigger AoE explosions that multiply our damage in monster packs.
  2. Caged Heart of Revenge: Adds tons of damage reduction that's always useful (the explosion is irrelevant).
  3. Caged Heart of the Dark Dance: Gives us free attacks every 5 seconds, helping with resource management.

Alternative Caged Hearts

  • Caged Heart of the Vile Apothecary: Powerful extra damage procs that help us in all situations.
  • Caged Heart of the Malignant Pact: Cycles through great bonuses all the time.
  • Caged Heart of the Picana: Adds extra AoE damage procs to clean up packs.

The Barber Setup

If you acquire Caged Heart of The Barber, you gain extra Energy recovery because the Heart's explosions are considered Shadow damage. In general, you are looking for:

  • a short timer (best case 2.0 sec) for farming content
  • a long timer (best case 4.0 sec) for high-end content

Caged Heart of The Barber absorbs all outgoing damage but immediately triggers as soon as the target has absorbed enough to be defeated. The main advantage of a short timer is that if you don't deal enough damage to a single target, the explosion triggers sooner and can chain react from multiple targets to blow up an entire pack whereas a longer timer helps in prolonged combat due to the stacking damage buff.

If you don't like the delayed damage playstyle around Caged Heart of The Barber, you can run with Caged Heart of the Vile Apothecary which is a great alternative in all situations.



Barrage is our main ability that fires 5 arrows in a cone in front of you. Standing close to an enemy results in multiple hits against the same target. Whenever possible, we spam this ability all the time to deal damage, apply Vulnerable and carry our Imbuement Skill effects.

Skill Tree & Gameplay

Getting Started

To start off we have to put 2 points into Basic Skills to unlock the other sections. Invigorating Strike is our choice because it buffs us with extra Energy regeneration. In addition, it applies Vulnerable when on low resources.

Point 1: Invigorating Strike

Point 2: Enhanced Invigorating Strike

Unlocking Barrage

Barrage is the centerpiece of this build. It fires multiple arrows in increasingly larger angles in a frontal cone. We use it as much as possible to deal damage and apply the Vulnerable debuff with Improved Barrage. Against monster packs, you can simply spray'n'pray from a distance while on bigger targets like Elites and Bosses you have to get almost in melee range to hit them with more arrows. Always position yourself so that all of your arrows hit something.

Use the Slider to see Progression Steps

Point 3: Barrage

Point 4: Enhanced Barrage

Point 5: Improved Barrage

Point 6: Fundamental Invigorating Strike

Adding Utility & Damage

At this point you unlock some of the Rogue's signature skills: Dash & Shadow Step. The first of these two Agility Skills has two charges and allows you to zip around the battlefield to either engage, escape or reposition yourself. While you can choose either of them, the second option is the preferred choice for this guide as it allows you to teleport right into the fray to position yourself for an attack. It also grants the powerful Unstoppable effect and extra Movement Speed to fly through the early game and you can use it to teleport across cliffs which is very helpful in outdoor zones.

At level 13, we unlock Subterfuge Skills, where we pick up Poison Trap and Dark Shroud. The former is a great tool for close range combat, which Barrage is all about in big fights. It enables extra Trap & Poison damage synergies and knocks down enemies to make fights more safe. The latter is great due to the massive amount of protection and Movement Speed it provides, especially against bosses.

At level 15, we also unlock the Rogue Specialization. Finish this Priority Quest as soon as possible to get Combo Points. Before we can fully solve our Energy recovery to spam Barrage at all times, we still regularly use Invigorating Strike for chip damage and to buff subsequent attacks. These Combo Points are displayed in the center right above your XP bar.

At level 18, we unlock Imbuement Skills. Here we pick up Shadow Imbuement which gives us a great tool to deal with Barrage's biggest weakness: low AoE damage. Imbuement Skills amplify Core Skills (Barrage) by converting their damage to another type and adding extra effects. Activate Shadow Imbuement whenever you fight a big pack of monsters and fire away for some satisfying explosions!

Point 7: Shadow Step

Point 8-11: Barrage

Point 12: Poison Trap

Point 13: Enhanced Poison Trap

Point 14: Dark Shroud

Point 15: Enhanced Dark Shroud

Point 16: Subverting Dark Shroud

Point 17: Shadow Imbuement

Point 18: Enhanced Shadow Imbuement

Point 19: Blended Shadow Imbuement

Solving Energy Recovery

At this point we unlock several important effects to help us solve any Energy issues. Consuming Shadows refills our resources every time we use Shadow Imbuement against a pack of monsters. Innervation gives us extra Energy procs randomly as we spam Barrage, which helps against single targets.

At level 20 we also switch the Rogue Specialization to Inner Sight, which regularly refills all Energy and allows infinite spamming of our skills. At this point you should not have to press Invigorating Strike much anymore and you apply Vulnerable easily with your other skills, so remove its upgrade and change it to Primary Invigorating Strike for an extra Lucky Hit buff whenever we actually use it.

Here we also pick up Countering Poison Trap to allow us even more Energy refills via Consuming Shadows. For extra synergy, we use Methodical Shadow Step for the stun on engaging in combat. Aim it at an elite in the pack to combo with Poison Trap's knockdown.

Point 20: Switch Combo Points to Inner Sight

Point 20: Change to Primary Invigorating Strike

Point 20: Shadow Crash

Point 21-23: Consuming Shadows

Point 24-26: Innervation

Point 27: Adrenaline Rush

Point 28-30: Haste

Point 31: Countering Poison Trap

Point 32: Enhanced Shadow Step

Point 33: Methodical Shadow Step

The Final Passive & Journey to Level 50

Precision is our Key Passive of choice for the build. Since Barrage is a multi-hit Marksman Skill, we can get multiple stacks of it with a single attack to unleash a powerful combo frequently. Now it becomes clear why we chose a Cutthroat Basic Skill at the start: If you used a Marksman Basic Skill, you'd frequently lose all your Precision stacks on an attack that does nearly no damage.

These synergies working together give us a lot more damage output against tougher enemies, improve AoE clear due to Barrage's ricochet effect and allow us to heal in combat with Siphoning Strikes. This is further assisted by picking up various damage and Critical Strike Chance passives all over the tree. Once you have collected all these passives, the full build is pretty much online and it's going to be smooth sailing into the endgame from there.

Point 34: Precision

Point 35-37: Trap Mastery

Point 38-40: Exploit

Point 41-43: Concussive

Point 44: Sturdy

Point 45-47: Siphoning Strikes

Point 48: Malice

Spending Renown

After gathering all Renown in Diablo 4 you have 10 extra Skill Points to spend on every character. Your first priority is to spend them toward the leveling progression we've shown above. Once you've reached the end, put them into these nodes to build toward the Barrage Rogue Endgame Build Guide (coming soon).

Point 1-2: Malice

Point 3: Deadly Venom

Point 4: Alchemical Advantage

Point 5-7: Debilitating Toxins

Point 8-10: Weapon Mastery

Check out our Renown Guide to unlock all your additional rewards efficiently. 

Rogue Specializations

The Rogue's Class Specialization allows you to choose one out of three powerful passive effects to boost your build. The three available choices are:

  • Combo Points (lvl 15) - Use Basic Skills to boost your subsequent Core Skills.
  • Inner Sight (lvl 20) - Provides regular Energy refills after attacking marked enemies.
  • Preparation (lvl 30) - Resets your Ultimate Skill and allows it to reset all other skills.

Unlocking Specializations

Once you reach level 15, you have to complete a short questline starting in Menestad, Fractured Peaks. A Priority Quest leads you there to help out Leyrana. After a few stops outside of town you have to enter the Forsaken Quarry Dungeon and finish the questline there, unlocking Combo Points. After that, the other two Specializations unlock automatically once you reach their minimum level.

How to use the Specializations

Each Specialization is very powerful, so you need to build and play around them. The one we're after in this build is Inner Sight which helps us out with our struggle for more Energy recovery. Until you unlock it at level 20, simply use Combo Points, then switch and never look back. Once you use Inner Sight, you start seeing a purple eye icon next to your resource globe and a similar icon appearing above nearby monsters. If you hit marked targets, you fill the gauge that eventually grants you a full Energy refill and unlimited Barrage spamming for 4 seconds. Depending on how low you are on resources, you need to pay more or less attention to this effect.

Learn more details in our full Rogue Specialization Guide.

Gear Progression & Global Stat Priorities

Leveling up in Diablo 4 is similar to most other ARPGs and MMOs - we're at the mercy of what drops. For the most part this means replacing Rares with better Rares all the way up to 50. If you're lucky enough to find some Legendaries you can get a significant power boost and you likely want to equip it. Assuming you don't find any of those, let's look at some key stats to look for along the way:

Hint: Press SHIFT over an item to compare it to what you're wearing!


Always use your highest DPS Ranged Weapon available for more damage. Your Melee Weapons are simply stat sticks to fuel its power, so their DPS is secondary. The stats to look for on these are:

  • 1-H Weapons: Pref. Dagger, High DPS, Core Skill Damage, Vulnerable Damage, Damage to Close Enemies
  • Ranged Weapons: Pref. Crossbow, Core Skill Damage, Vulnerable Damage, Damage to Close Enemies

Focus on upgrading your Ranged Weapon at the Blacksmith while leveling to save materials for other items later.


Armor pieces typically grant us Defense and Utility stats, except the Gloves which offer a tidal wave of Offense. Here are the important stats to look for:

  • Helm: Cooldown Reduction, Armor, Life
  • Armor: Damage Reduction, Armor, Life
  • Gloves: Barrage Ranks, Critical Strike Chance, Attack Speed
  • Pants: Damage Reduction, Armor, Life
  • Boots: Movement Speed, Energy Cost Reduction


Jewelry provides powerful Offensive stats that help us on our leveling journey. Pay close attention to the rolls as higher leveled pieces aren't always better:

  • Amulet: Movement Speed, Energy Cost Reduction, Damage, Cooldown Reduction
  • Rings: Critical Strike Chance, Critical Strike Damage, Damage

If you're lucky enough to have some sockets on your items, fill them with the following:

  • Weapons: Emerald
  • Armor: Ruby
  • Jewelry: Skull

Read more about itemization in our Damage Explained, Defense Explained, and Stats Explained articles.

Codex of Power

The Codex of Power is a collection of Legendary Aspects you can imprint onto Rare or Legendary items at the Occultist. They unlock after completing specific Dungeons located around Sanctuary. For leveling there are a few powers that can significantly help us if we have the funds to imprint them:

Top 3 Codex Leveling Powers in Order:

1. Offensive Aspect of Branching VolleysShadowed Plunge
2. Vengeful Offensive AspectInferno
3. Edgemaster’s Offensive AspectOldstones

Warning: DO NOT imprint your Ranged Weapons as they will be constantly replaced while leveling. Put Offensive Aspects on your Amulet, Rings, Gloves or Melee Weapons instead.

Learn more details in our article covering the Codex of Power.

Helpful Legendary Aspects

If you're lucky enough to find a Legendary while leveling, chances are it'll be an upgrade for you and you should equip it immediately. However they are not all created equal, and some of them can accelerate your journey tremendously. Let's look at the top 5 powers you could find and how to take advantage of them:

  1. Accelerating Offensive Aspect - Provides extra Attack Speed after critting, making the build a lot more powerful.
  2. Smiting Offensive Aspect - Provides extra Critical Strike Chance and Crowd Control Duration for better defense.
  3. Mangler's Utility Aspect - Provides the chance to Daze enemies, making close-range combat more safe.
  4. Defensive Aspect of Disobedience - Provides a ton of extra defense and stacks up easily because we hit many targets with our attacks. Can be found in the Dungeon Halls of the Damned in Kehjistan.
  5. Ghostwalker Mobility Aspect - Provides extra speed and the ability to move through enemies, which is great for better targeting. Can be found in the Dungeon Broken Bulwark in Scosglen.

Discover every Rogue Legendary Power in our Rogue Overview.

Leveling Tips and Tricks

Before we end this leveling guide, let's look at some general tips and tricks to remember for all classes and specs!

Complete the Campaign or follow our Leveling Guides. Follow the Campaign if you haven't completed it yet. If you have, use our Alt Leveling Guide and Renown Speedrun Guide to progress your character quickly!

Level Up Your Potion. Many players don't know that you need to farm materials to upgrade your character's potion. Make sure you collect all materials as you explore Sanctuary, especially Gallowvine which is used in many recipes!

Alchemist location in Kyovashad

Compare your Items... Literally. Press Shift over an item in your inventory to compare it to what you're wearing. This makes it easy to determine what is and isn't an upgrade.

Renown is your Friend. While exploring the different zones, take time to gather Renown along the way. It has long-term benefits for your entire account, including more Skill/Paragon points and Potion charges. Renown is gained by activating Waypoints, finding Altars of Lilith, completing Side Quests/Dungeons and rescuing Strongholds.

Be Careful with Gold. A lot of endgame processes, like extracting and imprinting Legendary Aspects, are extremely expensive for a brand-new character. Don't spend all of your Gold along the way!

Don't Imprint Your Weapon. The most critical piece of gear while leveling up is your weapon, which gets replaced constantly. This makes imprinting a Legendary Aspect on it a waste of resources. Instead, put your best offensive Aspect on your Amulet, which can be used for a long time.

Next Steps

Video Guide

Coming soon.


  • The Barrage Rogue is a great all-round build, combining mobility, single target and AoE damage into one complete package.
  • Stack tons of Energy recovery: Consuming Shadows, Innervation, Inner Sight, Energy Cost Reduction on items.
  • Activate Shadow Imbuement when needed to blow up monster packs.
  • Shadow Step on elites and knock them down with Poison Trap to disable them and get massive damage buffs.
  • Focus on improving your Ranged Weapon more than any other item.
  • Look out for helpful Legendary Powers in the Codex of Power, especially those that generate Energy and buff your damage/damage reduction.
  • Read the Next Steps above to continue your journey.


Written by wudijo
Reviewed by DiEoxidE

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