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Penetrating Shot Rogue Endgame Build Guide

Last Updated: February 28th 2024

Season 3 - ConstructA-Tier

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Are you looking for a ranged, nuke the entire screen playstyle on the Rogue? Well this is it! The ‍Penetrating Shot Rogue is a relatively easy to understand powerful build that scales really well into the end game. There are many different tools and tactics you can use that assist in keeping you safe as you unleash hell from many angles.

‍‍Penetrating Shot Rogue is a Core Skill that fires one massive, piercing arrow. Pretty straight forward, literally, and while this doesn't sound exciting at first, when you spice it up with Imbuements and the ‍‍Trickshot Aspect, your nuke comes to life. As with most Rogue skills, maximizing its potential requires good positioning as you deal more damage the more enemies you hit in a line. Do so, and be rewarded with a fireworks display of demon body parts.

Bow builds like this one are now using Umbrous Aspect that allows a 7th skill for free. We still take points into Dark Shroud for the extra movement speed as the Umbrous Aspect picks up all perks we put into the skill.

This is a very satisfying and rewarding build that requires some planning ahead to maximize its potential and this guide is to teach you the best way to tackle end game with ‍‍Penetrating Shot Rogue! Let the fireworks begin!

Penetrating Shot Rogue Endgame

This build guide assumes you have a Level 50 Character and finished the Campaign. Level up with our Penetrating Shot Leveling Guide. If you are looking for a different Rogue playstyle, check out all of our Rogue Guides

DifficultyAverage
SpeedfarmingExcellent
NM DungeonsExcellent
BossingGood
DefenseAverage

Season 3 - Season of the Construct

In Season 3, you obtain the Seneschal Construct through the Season Questline, then collect Governing Stones or Tuning Stones to add attacks and augment them to support your build. Only certain Tuning Stones work with a particular Governing Stone. Look at the bottom of any Tuning Stone tooltip to see if it is compatible with your Construct's currently equipped Stones. Lastly, they can be leveled up by getting duplicates to max out their power. Check out our full Season 3 guide for more information.

  1. Tempest - To apply buffs and debuffs efficiently with its fast tick rates.
    1. Frigid Support - Applies chill, giving us easier access to freeze and other crowd control buffs.
    2. Breaking Support - Helps to keep up Vulnerable and remove Barrier from enemies in Nightmare Dungeons or monsters like Knights and the Butcher.
    3. Arcing Support - Allows Tempest to hit multiple targets for widespread buff and debuffs.
  2. Flash of Adrenaline - A free damage buff to boost our character further.
    1. Duration Support - To improve the uptime of the buff.
    2. Tactical Support - To improve the uptime of the buff.
    3. Safeguard Support - Free damage reduction.

Alternative Stones

Many other options are possible to support this build, including different Governing Stones to apply the effects. Feel free to experiment!

Governing Stones

  1. Autodefense - Great to increase survivability.
  2. Reconstruct - To recover health more reliably.
  3. Lightning Bolt - Decent damage with built in bounce attack
  4. Firefly - Nice sustain damage over the course of an encounter.

Tuning Stones

  1. Slowing Support - Great to help stay ranged.
  2. Poison Support - Can be combined with Debilitating Toxins for additional defense.
  3. Initiative Support - Helps keep your construct close to when it's off wondering and not doing anything.
  4. Resource Support - Helps to keep the setup smooth to play.

If you are lucky enough to get either Evernight or Genesis from Uber Malphas, you want to swap Breaking Support for Evernight and Safeguard Support for Genesis on your Construct for their powerful effects.

Skill Tree & Gameplay

  • Heartseeker is our Basic Skill of choice for additional critical strike chance, critical strike damage and attack speed. It also has a homing effect, making it very easy to use.
  • Penetrating Shot is our main ability. It is the best AoE clear skill on Rogue, more so with the Trickshot Aspect. Make sure to line up enemies to use this effectively.
  • Rapid Fire gives us the single target damage that Penetrating Shot innately lacks. Imbue this skill the same way you would Penetrating Shot.
  • Dash gives you incredible mobility to fly across the battlefield and an easy way to get out of tough situations.
  • Concealment provides stealth which benefits us in multiple ways. It provides us with an unstoppable to get out of sticky situations while enhancing defense through additional elemental resistances with the new Resistant Assailant's.
  • Shadow Imbuement fills the last slot. It buffs Penetrating Shot by converting it to Shadow damage. We lower it's cooldown drastically with Nightstalker and Concealment synergy. Its primary use is to blow up trash packs efficiently and improving Energy restoration.

Passives

  • ‍Precision is the Key Passive of choice, granting you a guaranteed critical strike upon consuming max precision stacks that gets exponentially stronger the more critical strike damage you have on your gear.
Penetrating Shot Rogue Skills

DISCLAIMER!!! Weapon Mastery is bugged when using a Crossbow. Simply put, skills that swap weapons while using the above causes Weapon Mastery to give a much higher damage bonus than intended. Using Puncture with Crossbow and the passive is all that's needed to proc the bug naturally. While we don't and won't change the original guide planner to accommodate the bug, we did leave a planner in the FAQ section of the guide if you want to use the bug with this guide. We do this because we know blizzard will fix this and we don't want to brick people's setup when it happens.

Alternatives

While the above is designed for optimal performance, there is wiggle room in the skill selection while keeping the core build intact. Not everyone enjoys a dual core skill setup. You can add Cold Imbuement or Poison Imbuement for additional enhancements. You can opt for a Trap Skill such as Caltrops or Poison Trap in place of Rapid Fire for more of a lure playstyle.

Forceful Arrow is also a great basic attack to use if you prefer the knockback to stay at a distance a bit easier over ‍Heartseeker. Puncture is and will always be viable if you prefer to play a bit closer.

Gameplay

Use what you can to keep enemies at bay while lining them up to achieve as much damage as possible with the Advanced Penetrating Shot passive. The more successful you are at lining up your shots, the quicker you clear enemies and loot.

  • Use your Agility Skill wisely. Use Dash to reposition in battle to prevent backing yourself into a corner you can't escape from. This is very effective in helping you relocate to better line up Penetrating Shot.
  • Heartseeker isn't used for DPS, but for its utility. It stacks ‍Combo Points and gives you additional critical strike chance, critical strike damage and attack speed.
  • Build 3 Combo Points with Heartseeker, activate Shadow Imbuement, then fire Penetrating Shot. Always activate Shadow Imbuement first when approaching a large pack of enemies, as it's really good at taking out big packs with its AoE explosion damage. This also keeps your Energy full with Consuming Shadows and synergizes well with Edgemaster’s Aspect.
  • Pop Concealment for additional defenses, get out of sticky situations with unstoppable and to lower the cooldown on Shadow Imbuement. Since Dash can be Imbued, be careful to not waste charges on this skill.
  • Use Rapid Fire for single target situations and bosses.

Rogue Specialization - Combo Points

Rogues can choose one out of three special passives that enhance their playstyle. Since like other Rogue builds, Penetrating Shot is resource hungry with limited ways of Energy recovery, we choose Combo Points for high burst damage which scales really well with Penetrating Shot per point. You get slightly over double the damage and additional lucky hit chance (up to 30% more) at 3 Combo Points. Additionally, Rapid Fire gets additional arrows per combo point gained as well as more damage.

Basic Skills (‍Heartseeker) are required to build Combo Points, which are spent by Core Skills (Penetrating Shot). For the best damage/Energy ratio you always want to build up 3 Combo Points before using Penetrating Shot. Shooting more or less than 3 Combo Points results in less damage overall. Later on you unlock further synergies that make this Combo Point playstyle even more powerful with Condemnation and Aspect of the Expectant. Rapid Aspect and attack speed rolls work well in building Combo Points quicker for faster burst, however it can make it difficult to manage your Energy.

Learn more details and how to unlock this class specification in our full Rogue Specialization Guide.

Resource & Cooldown Management

As with all Combo Point builds, resource management is rather easy as you're naturally regenerating Energy when you're not using Penetrating Shot. ‍Heartseeker, Consuming Shadows and Energy cost reduction on gear all aid in resource management to where you don't have to think about it.

As for cooldown, you only have to keep up with Shadow Imbuement and Concealment. With cooldown reduction on helm, pants (imbuement cooldown) and neck, you can comfortably use these skills reliably without much trouble. Due to the heavy investments in imbue stats, it is critical that you're using an Imbue before firing Penetrating Shot, otherwise your damage falls off hard.

Mobility

Feel free to use Dash whenever necessary to go faster. Usually it's best to use the first after a pack to reach the next one. When you see elites or mob types that have lots of crowd controls, it's best to keep one charge of Dash to reposition safely.

Paragon Board

Carefully check your Paragon Boards to ensure correct board rotation. Glyphs go from a radius of 3 to 4 when they reach level 15!

Penetrating Shot Paragon Board

Level the Paragon Board by scrolling. Each step optimizes progression.

Glyphs

We need to level up our Glyphs to increase their power and activate their Additional Bonus with surrounding nodes. Glyphs have a radius of 3 by default, this increases to 4 at Glyph level 15. Complete Nightmare Dungeons to obtain Glyph experience.

Note that there are some Glyph position swaps and a few adjustments to surrounding Paragon nodes once they reach level 15. See the last two steps in the Paragon progression above for details. The setup displayed by default is the final version of the build.

Glyph Leveling Priorities

Level 15

  1. Exploit
  2. Combat
  3. Nightstalker
  4. Control
  5. Canny
  6. Ranger

Level 21

  1. Combat
  2. Control
  3. Canny
  4. Ranger
  5. Exploit
  6. Nightstalker

Alternative Glyphs

After finishing your main setup, you can also level up the following that can be useful:

  • Infusion (for boss one shot variant)
  • Devious
  • Efficacy

Also check out our dedicated in-depth guides to learn more about Paragon Boards and Glyphs.

Endgame Gear & Skill Progression

When you start diving into the Endgame, you don't have all the tools available to achieve the final build versions. Let us guide you through different progression points to give you a smooth transition from our Leveling Guides to the final build version.

Progression Goals

Some of your Skill Tree choices depend on what Legendary Aspects and Unique items are available to you. While we can guarantee that everyone has access to the same Codex of Power Aspects, the exact progression is different for everyone.

  1. Unlock the following Aspects in your Codex of Power:
  2. Find the following Legendary Aspects by farming in Dungeons, Nightmare Dungeons, Helltides, through the Tree of Whispers, or gambling with Obols:
    • Icy Alchemist's
    • Shared Misery
    • Umbrous Aspect
    • Resistant Assailant's
    • Juggernaut's
  3. Acquire the following Unique items either as a random drop or by farming specific Boss drops.
    • Condemnation
    • Skyhunter
    • Beastfall Boots (For Boss one shot variant)
    • Godslayer Crown (For Boss one shot variant)
    • Banished Lord's Talisman (For Boss one shot variant)
    • Tibault's Will (For Boss one shot variant)
  4. If you're lucky enough to obtain the following Uber Uniques, they're useful for the build.
    • Harlequin Crest
    • Ring of Starless Skies

Learn more details and how to farm Legendary Aspects and Uniques in our General Farming Guide.

Progression Steps

Starter
Early
Endgame
Late Endgame &
Speed Farming
T100 NM
Dungeons
Uber
Uniques
Boss
One Shot

Once you have completed the leveling guide, only the Codex of Power Aspects are guaranteed. With this setup, you can farm the Legendary Aspects and Unique items you need for the next progression point.

Gear & Strategy

  • Unlock Trickshot Aspect, Edgemaster’s Aspect, Rapid Aspect and Aspect of the Expectant in the Codex of Power.
  • Continue following the Penetrating Shot Rogue Leveling Guide for skills and keep Dark Shroud on skill bar until you find Umbrous. Once acquired, use Concealment and drop Dark Shroud as shown in the original skills section of the guide.
Starter

In this setup, you have access to all Legendary Aspects, allowing you to pilot a much stronger version of this build. Additional Legendary Aspects are used to fill slots that may be replaced with Unique items later on.

Gear & Strategy

  • Work on acquiring Umbrous Aspect as much as possible by gambling Chest or Pants with Obols. A good roll gives you nice uptime on Dark Shroud shadows which essentially gives you a free skill.
  • Shared Misery: This effect allows us to spread chill and freeze from using Icy Alchemist's and the frigid tuning stone from the Construct pet.
  • Accelerating: Grants lots of extra Attack Speed for more damage output, healing and lucky hit effects. Look for better rolls from Aspects that you may have used in the Codex. Look for Umbrous Aspect.
  • No skill changes.
Penetrating Shot Rogue Early Endgame

In this setup, you have access to all Unique items and Legendary Aspects. This allows you to pilot this build at its peak efficiency. Let's take a look at the changes you need to make to implement them.

Gear & Strategy

  • Condemnation: This Dagger gives you extra damage that synergizes well with Combo Points. The 30% proc to generate 3 combo points is not important as you still have to stack 3 stacks of Aspect of the Expectant.
  • Skyhunter: This bow gives you lots of critical strike damage, which synergizes well with Precision Key Passive. The reworked unique affix also provides a nice damage buff that also synergizes nicely with Precision
  • No skill changes
Penetrating Shot Rogue Best in Slot

Speed Farming

Rogue naturally does well with speed farming early and endgame, so the normal build is technically the best speed farming setup. No changes here are necessary.

Skills

No changes are needed to skills.

Penetrating Shot Rogue Speedfarming

The Nightmare Dungeon Push setup allows you to dive into much deeper into Nightmare Dungeons where the difficulty increases significantly! Blizzard recently nerfed the damage and health in the higher difficulties of nightmare dungeons in a recent patch significantly, but still use the below to help you achieve the highest tier!

AVOID THESE Nightmare Dungeon Affixes

Before we go into what you should change on your build, take a look at Nightmare Dungeon Affixes that you need to avoid for a successful push:

  • Lightning Storm
  • Stormbane's Wrath
  • Nightmare Portal
  • Suppressor
  • Monster Barrier
  • Crowd Control Resist
  • Vulnerable Resist

Gear

  • Keep all Aspects the way they are on gear.
  • Consider going more defensive on the amulet slot. Take Damage Reduction and Close Damage Reduction in place of Energy Cost Reduction and ranks to Weapon Mastery.
  • No skill changes needed.
Penetrating Shot Rogue NMD T100

Gameplay

  • You have to play a little more defensively in a high tier Nightmare Dungeon. Use your range to your advantage.
  • While you can get hit by a few regular monsters, Elites slap you eventually. Kite Elites around and make sure you always have save ground to retreat back to.
  • Use Smoke Grenade for extra damage and to apply Daze, which prevents enemies from attacking/casting skills.

Paragon Board

No real changes are necessary, but consider taking more armor nodes in place of some damage nodes if you feel too squishy.

With the ability to target farm Uber Uniques from Duriel, many players may need to answer the question "How do I fit these items onto my build?". This setup makes use of the most valuable Uniques that are available for it in the game.

Note that this build does not require any uber uniques to be effective and only benefits slightly from wearing them. You can choose to ignore the Duriel farm and have a complete build that feels almost as powerful.

Gear

The Harlequin Crest "Shako" is an incredibly powerful addition to the build for maximizing our damage and added a ton of Damage Reduction.

Ring of Starless Skies is a powerful uber unique that's usually used for builds that spam a single skill, but can be used in this combo point setup. This is because there's a 3 second window to keep up the buff and combo point rotations can be tight due to utilizing a basic attack. If you find yourself dropping the buff often due to the short window, you should skip this uber unique all together for a regular ring with an aspect.

If you find a Doombringer you can wear it for additional toughness in place of Icy Alchemist. Unlike last season, Doombringer isn't a necessity due to being fully ranged and able to stay safe in most fights. In hardcore, definitely wear it if you found one, otherwise you'd have to gauge whether it's beneficial for you as losing any offensive aspects as well critical strike damage is a big hit to your damage.

Penetrating Shot Rogue With Uber Uniques

Here we talk about one shotting bosses with abnormal amounts of damage! While not particularly useful in other content, this is a great way to carry friends in 4 man Uber Duriel and Uber Malphas runs! It does require a good bit of changes to run the setup and the sequence can be tricky. Below is a variant that is user friendly with the least amount of changes/prep possible coming from the original Maxroll guide. Great thing is, no Uber Uniques are necessary or required!

Gear

  • You want Godslayer Crown, Banished Lord's Talisman, Tibault's Will and Beastfall Boots uniques. Skyhunter is optional, though you should already have one at this point. Crossbow with the Elements works really well here too.
  • Chest stats have to change due to the unique boots to cap your resist. We keep most stats the same, even if they're not relevant to the setup.
  • We add Inner Calm for more damage.
Penetrating Shot Boss One Shot

Skills

  • For skills, we're going to build around just Rapid Fire, as it's easier, requires less changes to the build to perform the one shot and is already part of the original build.
  • We replace Heartseeker with Puncture.
  • We pickup Shadow Clone to activate the Beastfall Boots
  • Flurry is slotted mostly for convenience. It's only there as a cheap and fast way to spend Energy for the Banished Lord's Talisman as it shaves off a bit of time. You can drop this for a trap and the Ambush paragon legendary node if you prefer to one shot with a higher critical strike damage number.
Skills

Paragon

We try to keep the paragon changes as small as possible. We remove the 6th board and we go with Infusion in place of Nightstalker while removing Control all together. We pick up Tricks of the Trade legendary node and Cunning Strategem legendary node.

Boss One Shot Paragon Board Simplified

Gameplay

Now comes the crucial part! It is important that you follow these steps in order to successfully pull off the one shot variant.

  1. Use Flurry (or Rapid Fire if you opt out of Flurry) to spend 300 Energy for the Banished Lord's Talisman effect.
  2. Stack Precision to 6 and Combo Points to 3.
  3. Do the first 2 steps before the Boss spawns.
  4. Use Shadow Clone to activate Beastfall Boots
  5. Use Shadow Imbuement
  6. Hit evade and then Dash through the Boss.
  7. Use Rapid Fire for instant Boss kill.

There are many different variants of the Boss one shot. Remember we're keeping it simple with the least changes and requirements.

Build Scaling & Stat Priority

The answer to many questions can be found in the following sections.

Damage
Defense
  • Combo Points: With the Combo Point Specialization you can use Heartseeker up to 3 times to boost your next Penetrating Shot. This is further enhanced by Condemnation and Aspect of the Expectant. You use the Rapid Aspect to build Combo Points faster and reduce downtime between your nukes. Building Combo Points allows you to keep your Energy high for the Edgemaster’s. Use Aspect of Elements for high burst damage, especially on bosses.
  • Critical Strikes: You boost your Critical Strike Chance in various ways including Precision Imbuement, Intelligence and stat rolls on your items.
  • Critical Strike Damage: The key passive Precision scales well with Critical Strike Damage. Get as much of this stat on gear and paragon.
  • Crowd Controls: Penetrating Shot at full Energy always Slows, and knock elites down, making it easy to stack Crowd Control related damage modifiers if you choose. This is also great for the Cheat's Aspect.
  • Don't get hit: Snipe enemies from a distance and use Evade to stay out of danger.
  • Defensive Legendaries: Aspect of Might and Cheat's Aspect are both great defensive aspects as you're always attacking and have access to a Crowd Control. Aspect of Disobedience is good too after you pick up a bit of attack speed. Umbrous Aspect is excellent as it gives you free Dark Shroud shadows just for attacking. The best defense however is not to get hit.
  • Movement Speed: One of the most important stats you can get for defense. The faster you are, the easier it is to dodge and not get hit. Stack as much of this as you can with Wind Striker Aspect, Haste, Subverting Dark Shroud, and movement speed stats on boots and amulet.

Our Damage Explained article explains how to scale your Offense.
Learn all you need to know to scale Defense with our Defense Explained Article.

Stat Priorities & Gear Options

Choosing the right stats for your gear can make or break your build. You won't always find perfect stats (also known as affixes or modifiers) though, and you may need to make a tough choice between two good pieces of equipment. Use the following list of priorities to compare your gear and pick the best.

  • Helm: Umbrous
  • Direct swap for Harlequin Crest if you find one.
    1. Cooldown Reduction
    2. Life on Kill
    3. Maximum Life
    4. Basic Attack Speed
  • Chest Armor: Juggernaut's
    1. Damage Reduction
    2. Damage Reduction from Distance
    3. Total Armor %
    4. Maximum Life
    5. Damage Reduction from close
  • Gloves: Rapid
    1. Ranks to Rapid Fire
    2. Ranks to Penetrating Shot
    3. Critical Strike Chance
    4. Attack Speed
    5. Lucky Hit Chance
    6. Dexterity
  • Pants: Resistant Assailant's
    1. Damage Reduction
    2. Imbuement Skill Cooldown
    3. Poison Resistance
    4. Ranks to Concealment
    5. Imbuement cooldown
  • Boots: Shared Misery
    1. Any 3 Resistances
    2. Movement Speed
    3. Movement Speed on Elite Kill
    4. Dodge Chance
  • Amulet: Trickshot Aspect
  • 1. Ranks to Weapon Mastery
  • 2. Cooldown Reduction
  • 3. Movement Speed
  • 4. Imbuement Skill Cooldown
  • 5. Damage Reduction
  • 6. Ranks to Weapon Mastery
  • 7. Ranks to Malice
  • Rings: Edgemaster’s & Expectant
    1. Critical Strike Damage
    2. Critical Strike Chance
    3. Maximum Life
    4. Vulnerable Damage
    5. Damage to Distant Enemies
    6. Damage to Close Enemies
    7. Damage with Imbued Skills
  • Bow: Skyhunter
  • Otherwise Look For:
    1. High DPS (Item Power)
    2. Critical Strike Damage
    3. Core Skill Damage
    4. All Stats
    5. Dexterity
    6. Damage vs Distance Enemies
    7. Vulnerable Damage
  • Main Hand: Condemnation
  • Otherwise Look For: Icy Alchemist's (Sword)
    1. Critical Strike Damage
    2. Core Skill Damage
    3. All Stats
    4. Dexterity
    5. Damage vs Distance Enemies
    6. Vulnerable Damage
  • Off-Hand: Accelerating (Sword)
    1. Critical Strike Damage
    2. Core Skill Damage
    3. All Stats
    4. Dexterity
    5. Damage vs Distance Enemies
    6. Vulnerable Damage

This build benefits the most from the following consumables:

  • Elixirs: Elixir of Cruelty, Iron Skin Elixir, Elixir of Fortitude, Heady Assault Elixir & Heady Precision Elixir
  • Incenses: Song of the Mountain, Reddamine Buzz & Chorus of War

FAQ & Mechanics

Once a guide is released, many players have questions on why and how we are approaching certain choices. In this section you can find the answers to the questions that have been asked the most.

I feel like I'm not doing a lot of damage. What am I doing wrong?

Isn't this build bad on single target?

Weapon Mastery is bugged. How do I best take advantage of that in this build?

I was following the previous paragon board. Any way I can look at that still?

Mechanics

Dark Shroud Scaling

Video Guide

Summary

The Penetrating Shot Rogue is a ranged powerhouse of a build that excels at destroying big packs of monsters with impactful nukes that reward good timing and positioning. Due to its safe ranged playstyle it is also able to push high in Nightmare Dungeons without much trouble and super fun to play!

  • Build 3 Combo Points with Puncture, then finish with Penetrating Shot.
  • Line up enemies in front of you for maximum damage.
  • Use Rapid Fire for single target situations and bosses.
  • Use Concealment and Shadow Imbuement in tandem.
  • Use Agility Skills cleverly to gain advantages in combat, rather it's positioning for keeping distant.

This is initially a tough to manage build. With multiple cooldowns, precise positioning, and active buffs that must be activated in order to deal damage, this can often times puts you in danger if you're not careful. Patience is required to master the rotations and once you do, you shall unleash its true power.

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Credits

Written by: DiEoxidE
Reviewed by: Tenkiei, Wudijo

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