Twisting Blades Rogue Leveling Guide

Last Updated: August 20th 2023

Season 1 - Malignant

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The Twisting Blades Rogue is one of the fastest leveling builds in Diablo 4. It combines a melee playstyle with extremely high mobility to maximize the number of targets hit and fly through the zones. While it's not easy to play, it feels amazing once it all comes together.

Twisting Blades is a two-step Core Skill that deals moderate single target damage in melee range first before launching returning blades from your target that follow you, dealing high damage to everything in their path. The entire build revolves around the second part of the skill because it's stronger and can decimate entire packs in one go. This converts an otherwise simple melee build into an extremely active hit-and-run playstyle that requires quick thinking and repositioning.

To make all of it work together, we invest into Dash and Shadow Step to zip around the battlefield so that the returning blades destroy everything. Since we have to reposition often between enemies, we use the stun from Methodical Shadow Step, the knockdown from Poison Trap and the Ultimate Passive Momentum to reduce incoming damage.

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

Leveling Setup

Poison Trap

Dark Shroud


Shadow Step


Twisting Blades

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. 

Super Fast
Constant Teleports

Attack and Don't Look Back ✔

❌ Difficult to Play
❌ Mediocre Defenses
High Effort Playstyle
Needs Constant Movement

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 effect 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 Creeping Death: For setups with Poison damage, this is a powerful bonus.
  • Caged Heart of Cluster Munitions: Triggers stun grenades that can Freeze enemies with Frostbitten Aspect once you have found Penitent Greaves. This is a great combo to replace Corruption when engaging high level monsters.

The Barber Setup

If you acquire Caged Heart of The Barber, you have the option to pick up 1-2 points Consuming Shadows for 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.


Twisting Blades

Twisting Blades is our main ability. With this Core Skill you stick two knives into your enemy which return to you from the enemy's position after 1.5 seconds. The second part of the ability is the real damage in this build and everything else is built it around to maximize its potential. In addition, the Advanced Twisting Blades upgrade helps to lower our cooldowns, making this a very fast-paced and fluid build to play.

Skill Tree & Gameplay

Getting Started

To start off we have to put 2 points into Basic Skills to unlock the other sections. Puncture is our choice because we need as much Energy as possible and it can apply Vulnerable to help out with bigger targets.

Point 1: Puncture

Point 2: Enhanced Puncture

Unlocking Twisting Blades

Twisting Blades is the heart of this build. After attacking an enemy in melee range, the blades return to your current position 1.5 seconds later, hitting all enemies in their path.

Whenever you fight more than one target, positioning yourself so that you hit as many as possible with the returning blades is key. Right now you don't have the mobility tools you'll acquire soon, so it comes down to walking and Evade in those situations. Attack enemies 1-3 times, then start running so that pursuing monsters get hit from behind.

Use the Slider to see Progression Steps

Point 3: Twisting Blades

Point 4: Enhanced Twisting Blades

Point 5: Advanced Twisting Blades

Point 6: Fundamental Puncture

Adding Mobility & Damage

At this point you unlock one of the Rogue's signature skills: Dash. This Agility Skill has two charges and allows you to quickly engage, escape or reposition yourself. While we're at it, we also pick up Shadow Step which is another mobility tool that's best used to engage or quickly teleport to another target, allowing you to hit more enemies with Twisting Blades. It also allows teleportation across cliffs which is very helpful in outdoor zones.

At level 13, we unlock Subterfuge Skills, where we pick up Dark Shroud. This is another important skill used in most Rogue builds due to the massive amount of protection it provides. In addition, we use it to boost our Movement Speed with Subverting Dark Shroud.

At level 15, we unlock the Rogue's Specialization class mechanic. Finish this Priority Quest as soon as possible to get Combo Points. While we don't care much about this effect, Puncture is still used regularly to boost our damage and Movement Speed from time to time.

Point 7: Dash

Point 8: Shadow Step

Point 9-11: Twisting Blades

Point 12: Dark Shroud

Point 13: Enhanced Dark Shroud

Point 14: Subverting Dark Shroud

Building Utility & Energy Recovery

This is the part where almost the full build comes online. Poison Trap is an incredible tool to disable monster packs, allowing you to safely do your twisted business. Jumping into the fray with Shadow Step allows you to hit most targets with ease.

At level 20, you unlock the Inner Sight Specialization, which plays a crucial role in solving our Energy troubles. Switch to this Specialization and pay attention to the purple eye icon above enemies. Those are the priority targets you need to hit to trigger a full resource refill. Pairing this with Innervation, you should now be able to use Twisting Blades almost constantly without having to rely on Puncture as much.

Point 15: Poison Trap

Point 16: Enhanced Poison Trap

Point 17: Twisting Blades

Point 18: Enhanced Shadow Step

Point 19: Methodical Shadow Step

Point 20: Switch Combo Points to Inner Sight

Point 20-22: Exploit

Point 23: Sturdy

Point 24-26: Innervation

Point 27: Adrenaline Rush

Point 28-30: Haste

The Final Passive & Journey to Level 50

Momentum is our Ultimate Passive of choice for the build. Twisting Blades is a melee skill and can proc the effect with the returning blades portion of the skill, making it very easy for us to get 3 stacks as we're running away from a dying pack. Aside from small fights, keeping the effect up shouldn't require much attention. Whenever you use Shadow Step you also get one stack guaranteed to keep it rolling. On bosses and big elites, run or Evade behind them from time to time to keep it up.

At this point, the core setup is complete. All of our remaining points go into boosting our damage, defenses, speed or already allocated skills. This makes transitioning into the endgame very smooth with this build.

Point 31-33: Trap Mastery

Point 34: Momentum

Point 35-37: Concussive

Point 38-40: Siphoning Strikes

Point 41: Deadly Venom

Point 42: Alchemical Advantage

Point 43-45: Debilitating Toxins

Point 46-48: Weapon Mastery

Spending Renown

Gathering all Renown in Diablo 4 yields you 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 Twisting Blades Endgame Build Guide:

Point 49: Enhanced Dash

Point 50: Disciplined Dash

Point 51-53: Stutter Step

Point 54-56: Malice

Point 57-58: Dash

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 instead. Once you use Inner Sight, purple eye icon appears next to your resource globe and a similar icon appearing above nearby monsters. Hitting marked targets fills the gauge, and once full you are granted a full Energy refill and unlimited Twisting Blades 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 probably 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 Melee Weapon available for more damage. Your Ranged Weapon is simply a stat stick to fuel their power, so its DPS is secondary. The stats to look for on these are:

  • 1-H Weapons: Pref. Daggers, 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 Melee Weapons 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: Twisting Blades 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. Bladedancer's Offensive AspectJalal's Vigil
2. Ravenous Resource AspectShifting City
Dry Steppes
3. Edgemaster’s Offensive AspectOldstones

Bonus: If you have finished the campaign or skip it when leveling an alt: Get Blast-Trapper's Offensive Aspect from Kor Valar Ramparts in Fractured Peaks as soon as possible.

Warning: DO NOT imprint your Weapons as they will be constantly replaced while leveling. Put Offensive Aspects on your Amulet, Rings, Gloves or Ranged Weapon 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 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. 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.
  4. Resource Aspect of the Umbral - Provides some extra resources to make the build feel more smooth. Can be found in the Dungeon Champion's Demise in Dry Steppes.
  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


  • The Twisting Blades Rogue is a super fast, fun to play leveling build.
  • Attack enemies, then use Evade, Twisting Blades and Shadow Step to hit more enemies with returning blades.
  • Improve your Energy management: Innervation, Inner Sight and Energy Cost Reduction rolls where possible.
  • Use Poison Trap and Dark Shroud to protect yourself from enemy attacks.
  • Focus on improving your Melee Weapons more than any other items.
  • Look out for helpful Legendary Powers in the Codex of Power, especially Bladedancer and 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, Xtra37

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