Welcome to the Shred Druid leveling guide. If you want to level up as a Werewolf, this is your place to be.
Focusing on the Werewolf's Shred ability, this build combines great defensive tools with the offensive power of Companions.
The Shred Druid is a melee build with excellent mobility and decent single target damage. Until he has access to Poison Creeper, he lacks some AoE-damage.
Blood Howl and Trample give you access to large amounts of Spirit which smooths out the rotation. Blood Howl also pairs with Debilitating Roar to provide incredible healing that makes you very hard to kill, even against bosses.
This guide teaches you all about how to reach the endgame in Diablo 4 with the Shred Druid. Let's get started!
This build guide takes you through the Campaign up to Level 50. Endgame guides will follow soon in our Druid Guides section. Stay tuned!
Melee Combat ✔
Great Mobility ✔
Excellent Healing ✔
Great AoE Damage ✔
❌ Slow Start
❌ High Cooldowns
❌ Intensive Spirit Management
❌ Mediocre Single Target Damage
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!
The Heart needs to match the color of the socket in your Jewelry (Ring and Amulet) to be able to socket it. We will update these guides as more information becomes available.
- 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
- The first 3 must be socketed into their respective infested socket color, while the 4th can be placed into any infested socket.
- 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
- Caged Heart of the Malignant Pact The cyclical nature and lack of agency takes some of the value away, but all 3 bonuses are good for the build.
- Caged Heart of the Picana This synergizes exceptionally well with the build. It's easy damage.
- Caged Heart of Determination Our third option is limited. We take Determination because the Resource generation is high DPS than the single wolf from Moonrage, but the difference between these is minimal and the power gain here is negligible regardless.
Alternative Caged Hearts
- Caged Heart of Inexorable Force This is a high value Heart if you get it after you have access to Ultimate skills. To take advantage of it, you must be willing to make some adjustments to your build that give you less defense for more offense. That means the BiS setup is safer, but this one is a lot of fun and will increase your XP per hour. To use it, replace Determination and switch Debilitating Roar for Cataclysm. Now you can use your Ultimate to pull enemies together and then DPS them all down at once with Poison Creeper!
- Caged Heart of Creeping Death It's a big boost to our Poison Creeper damage. Use if you don't have Malignant Pact
- Caged Heart of the Moonrage Not great but it's free damage. The Wolves seem bugged and only ever spawn 1 additional beyond what you get from the skill, making it even worse than it seems. Take if you're missing one of the top non Wrathfuls or don't have Malignant Pact or Creeping Death.
- Caged Heart of the Agitated Winds It's a small CC buff. Better than nothing, but not by much.
To start off we have to put 2 points into Basic Skills to unlock the Core Skill section. Storm Strike is our choice because it is a melee skill that generates Spirit extremely reliably, and it provides massive damage reduction.
Point 1: Storm Strike
Point 2: Enhanced Storm Strike
Shred is the centerpiece of this build. The Spirit costs are decently high, but you get 3 hits per cast out of it. Keep an eye on your Skill bar. Once the first hit is executed, you find a bar there that indicates the time you have to hit with the second strike without additional Spirit costs.
Point 3: Shred
Point 4: Enhanced Shred
Point 5: Primal Shred
Point 6: Fierce Storm Strike
Damage & Creeper
Continue to increase your damage output by maxing out Shred.
Poison Creeper adds incredible burst damage against larger monster packs. Use it wisely.
Point 7-10: Shred
Point 11: Blood Howl
Point 12: Enhanced Blood Howl
Point 13: Innate Blood Howl
Point 14: Poison Creeper
Point 15: Enhanced Poison Creeper
Point 16: Ferocious Poison Creeper
Point 17-20: Poison Creeper
Point 21: Ancestral Fortitude
Point 22-24: Vigilance
Unlocking Key Passive
Trample gives us another movement option that provides Unstoppable to get us out of Crowd Control effects. It also provides another source of Spirit Regeneration. Lupine Ferocity is a great all-around option that increases Damage and Critical Strike Chance.
Point 25: Trample
Point 26: Enhanced Trample
Point 27: Savage Trample
Point 28-30: Call of the Wild
Point 31-33: Predatory Instinct
Point 34: Lupine Ferocity
Point 35-37: Digitigrade Gait
The Final Stretch
Toxic Claws applies Poisoning to targets, which allows us to take advantage of several buffs that are conditional on the target being Poisoned, including Envenom. Debilitating Roar is an excellent defensive skill that will make it much easier to get through the first Capstone Dungeon.
Point 38: Neurotoxin
Point 39: Toxic Claws
Point 40-42: Envenom
Point 43: Debilitating Roar
Point 44: Enhanced Debilitating Roar
Point 45: Preserving Debilitating Roar
Point 46-48: Debilitating Roar
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 completed all of those, finish off your Skill Tree with the following:
Point 49: Debilitating Roar
Point 50: Heart of the Wild
Point 51-53 Abundance
Point 54-56: Defensive Posture
Point 57-58: Thick Hide
Check out our Renown Guide to unlock all your additional rewards efficiently.
Druid Spirit Boons
The Druid Spirit Boons allow you to select a total of 5 Boons from 4 Spirits that act as a Passive buff to your character. You can select 1 Boon per Spirit by default. The 5th Boon can be allocated once ALL Spirit Boons have been unlocked. This requires you to bond with one of the Spirits, choose one and interact with it in Túr Dúlra.
Unlocking Spirit Boons
Once you reach level 15, you have to complete a short questline starting in Túr Dúlra, Scosglen. To gain access to the Priority Quest, you first have to defeat the Stronghold of evil forces that has overrun Túr Dúlra. You receive 25 Druidic Spirit Offerings to unlock your first Boon when you complete the questline.
Each Spirit has 4 Boons that are unlocked with 25 Druidic Spirit Offerings each. On 3 of the Spirits, they unlock in a specific order. The outlier is the Snake Spirit - You have to unlock all his Boons simultaneously, meaning you need to collect 100 Druidic Spirit Offerings to gain access to its Boons.
Spirit Boon Progression
- The first 25 Druidic Spirit Offerings go to the Wolf Spirit to activate Packleader.
- Collect 25 Druidic Spirit Offerings and unlock the first 2 Boons of the Eagle Spirit. Activate Scythe Talons for additional Critical Strike Chance.
- Save up to 100 Druidic Spirit Offerings to gain access to Masochistic on the Snake Spirit.
- Pick up 75 Druidic Spirit Offerings to unlock Wariness on the Deer Spirit.
- Collect another 175 Druidic Spirit Offerings to unlock the remaining Boons and the ability to bond with one of them. Bond with the Eagle Spirit and activate Swooping Attacks.
Learn more details in our full Druid Spirit Boons 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 or Uniques they can provide a significant power boost (discussed in the next sections). 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 2-Handed Weapon available for more damage.
- 2-H Weapon: Pref. Staves, Core Skill Damage, Vulnerable Damage, Socket
Only upgrade your Weapon at the Blacksmith and fill weapon sockets with a Sapphires.
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: Poison Creeper ranks, Life, Cooldown Reduction, Willpower
- Armor: Damage Reduction, Life, Willpower, Armor
- Gloves: Shred ranks, Critical Strike Chance, Attack Speed
- Pants: Damage Reduction, Life, Willpower, Armor
- Boots: Movement Speed, Spirit Cost Reduction, Willpower
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, Spirit Cost Reduction, Companion Skill Ranks, Damage
- Rings: Critical Strike Chance, Damage to Close Enemies, Life
Do not upgrade Armor or Jewelry while leveling. Socket Armor with Rubies and Jewelry with Skulls.
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 Aspects that can significantly help us if we have the funds to imprint them:
Codex Leveling Aspects in Order of Priority:
|Stormclaw's Aspect||Anica's Claim - Fractured Peaks|
|Aspect of Disobedience||Halls of the Damned - Kehjistan|
|Skinwalker's Aspect||Fading Echo - Kehjistan|
|Aspect of the Protector||Lost Archives - Fractured Peaks|
|Eluding Aspect||Caldera Gate - Fractured Peaks|
|Aspect of Retaliation||Seaside Descent - Dry Steppes|
|Edgemaster’s Aspect||Oldstones - Scosglen|
|Aspect of the Umbral||Champion's Demise - Dry Steppes|
Warning: DO NOT imprint your Weapons as they are constantly replaced while leveling. Put Offensive Aspects on your Amulet, Rings, or Gloves instead.
Learn more details in our article covering the Codex of Power.
Helpful Legendary Powers
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 Aspects you could find and how to take advantage of them:
- Accelerating Offensive Aspect allows you to generate and spend your Spirit much faster.
- Aspect of the Blurred Beast is a sizable damage boost, especially on single target. To benefit from this, use it after applying Poison Creeper by taking several steps back from the target, then use Shred to Dash into them. You can do this several times before the Poisoning wears off.
Discover every Druid Legendary Power in our Druid 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!
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.
- The Shred Druid has great AoE and decent Single Target damage.
- The build really shines thanks to incredible movement from Primal Shred.
- Focus on improving your 2-Handed Weapon, ideally Staves.
- When you unlock the Stormclaw's Aspect, put it on your Amulet to get a big damage boost from every Critical Strike.
- Look out for helpful Legendary Aspects in the Codex of Power, especially those that generate Spirit and buff your damage/damage reduction.
Written by McFluffin
Reviewed by Jymnasium