Imbuements Rogue Build Guide
Imbuement Rogue is a new build to the Diablo franchise, specialized in the use of Imbuement Skills, with Shadow Imbuement being the main source of high area of effect damage, Poison Imbuement adding damage and DoTs to whatever will survive the Shadow explosions, while Cold Imbuement for this specific build isn’t strictly necessary but could be used as additional Crowd Control tool in general.
As you level up and get some good gear with correct stats while improving Imbuements skills through the Paragon Boards, this will become one of the strongest builds in the game for erasing whole screens at once, as the “Corpse Explosion” Shadow area damage caused by enemies killed after being hit with a Shadow Imbued skill can cause a chain reaction of explosions dealing insane damage overall, so your tactics will vary from targeting weak Minions under Vulnerable proc to trigger such chain reactions, to applying powerful Poison DoTs on groups of enemies or focusing a single target with a Vulnerable proc followed by a “burst window” where you wanna throw in as much damage as possible to benefit from multiple damage multipliers. This build can be set up for both Melee or Ranged playstyle by changing some Skills, Passives and Aspects in theory, but in practice is gonna be much better if you decide which playstyle to adopt before level 50 because then you will start investing Paragon points into Paragon boards. I will cover both playstyles and which stats to look after when farming base items for your best Aspects, both can bring you all the way up to grinding the highest difficulty and farming Ancestral Sigils (equivalent of very high Greater Rifts Tiers in Diablo 3) up to tier 90 (100 is maximum actual tier) and even beyond by min/maxing all there is to min/max
This build also has a decent amount of damage mitigation and great Mobility, which makes the Ranged version in particular the safest option for higher difficulties as you won’t need to stay in Melee range and thus better for beginners too.
- Powerful Area Of Effect
- High Mobility
- Explosions Chain Reaction
- Reliable Vulnerable procs
- Ranged or Melee variants available
- Ranged variant is the most beginner friendly
- Can be clunky at times
- Squishy later on
- Needs precise strategy to perform well
- Punish mistakes with low damage
- Unforgiving at very high tiers
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Skills & Early Game
For Imbuement Melee setup, your Basic skill will be Blade Shift for movement speed buff (which are rare to come by), select +15% non-physical Resistances and -20% control impairing reduction effects from skill points, you can just invest 1 point into the skill itself if you wanna have more skill points for useful Passives, use this skill to level up until level 3 then learn Flurry as your main Core skill, this is your Energy spender, dealing higher damage and further empowered by your desired Specialization from level 15 (Combo Points, we will discuss them in the Specialization section).
Flurry is one of the best choices for this melee build as it is a multi-hit skill and can proc Lucky-Hits with each of its hits, same goes for Imbuements being active for each successful hit, plus there is also an Aspect which makes Flurry radius a complete AoE circle rather than a frontal cone attack while increasing its damage to further improve the overall power of this skill.
Although Twisting Blades could arguably be used as well, the playstyle involved with its optimization wouldn’t synergize well with this build in my opinion, as rather than making a “dance” with Twisting Blades this build is more focused towards sniping the right targets with the correct sequence of debuffs, imbuements and skills to cause screen-erasing chains of Shadow explosions, examining the field while always having the right imbue available for the situation you find yourself into, not throwing swords and running in such a way that while they come back at you, you maximize the number of enemies hit. It could be done like that, but that is Twisting Blade centered Rogue build that is just not the same as the Imbuements Rogue.
Best passives from the Core skills are Sturdy because of the much needed damage reduction, Stutter Step once you have high critical chance if you wanna get that +15% extra movement speed proc with Critical Hits, while Siphoning Strike is pretty niche but can be used once you have high critical chance as self recovery tool, but given the strict amount of Skill points available I suggest to know your priorities and spend your points wisely.
From the Agility branch, Dash is extremely good for mobility if you need more of it, while Weapon mastery is a great passive to max giving you 15% extra damage to Healthy enemies with Daggers or 9% extra Damage with Swords.
From Subterfuge skills Dark Shroud is a very powerful defensive tool for any Rogue build who can keep the stacks count high and can grant increased movement speed too, Smoke Grenade can have its uses too as a 1 point wonder by really wanting it in dangerous situations and as a debuff for powerful enemies, while the Best passives from this sections are Agile for 9% extra evasion quite often since you will often use Dash and Imbuements which are Cooldown skills, Exploit greatly increase your damage by 18% against Injured and Healthy enemies, Malice will increase damage to Vulnerable enemies by a further 9%.
Finally we reach the soul of our build, Imbuement skills, specifically Poison Imbuement enables strong DoTs spreading and synergize very well with Flurry like all other Imbuement skills do, Cold Imbuement for crowd control mostly and finally the potentially most powerful skill in our kit, Shadow Imbuement which is our main damage skill, needs to be maxed and boosted by +skills on gear too possibly and makes enemies hit by it explode with a Corpse Explosion when killed, dealing massive Shadow damage. This skill can become really overpowered when properly used and with you choosing the right passives and stats from the Paragon Boards, it will allow for fast clear times of high density areas by targeting weak minions to unleash a Shadow Imbued Flurry, often causing the chain reaction effect when there are multiple enemies and minions hit, will also take a good chunk of a Champion’s Life to clear all its minions like this.
Consuming Shadows passive combined with the latter skill will refill your resource bar to full basically every time you kill some enemies with Shadow elemental damage, Deadly Venom can be used to increase poison Imbuements damage, Debilitating Toxins can be considered for team play later on when enemies will hit hard, Potency passive is a must for this build since it increases the power of your Imbuements by 30%, also Precision Imbuements and Trick Attacks are very good to max, the latter with less priority. Rapid Imbuement passive reduces all their cooldowns by 15% when maxed so max it.
Ultimate skill will be Shadow Clone which is very powerful for most situations, Notable passives from this skill tree section, Aftermath to recover resources upon using the Ultimate, Haste is very useful and adds a bit of rotational playstyle based on how much Energy you have giving +15% movement speed above 50% max energy or +15% attack speed when having less than 50% Energy.
Innervation can help with Resource management if you lack in that department, it will recover 8 Energy with a 10-30% chance upon executing a Lucky Hit.
Ultimate passives are found at the bottom of the skill tree and you can only select one of them since they are very powerful, Victimize provides a sort of “area damage” and will be our choice.
The Ranged version of this build is safer than its Melee counterpart, using Forceful Arrow is a reliable source of Vulnerable and optional knockback upgrade is also useful. The Vulnerable proc will define your burst window timings, Barrage for dealing with any large pack of enemies (particularly good to spread Imbuements), while Rapid Fire will be your multi-hit Ranged boss killer skill, specially when paired with Vulnerable and other damage multipliers to execute powerful “burst windows” while under the effects of Shadow Imbued Barrage, use also an imbued Rapid Fire on a minion to start the chain reaction effect, to destroy high density scenarios quickly and spam it on Bosses.
however Rain Of Arrows synergizes particularly well with Ranged Imbuements builds and the third type of Specialization.
Apart from the skills mentioned above, all other skills and passives used in the Melee version are relevant to this build obviously, like Dash for mobility, Imbuements skills for damage and so on.
Class Specializations chosen can vary, Combo Points are better for Boss fights and when you need stronger Single Target damage, aligning all damage bonuses and procs to be used during a Vulnerable window to unleash a devastating Rapid Fire, Barrage or Flurry depending on your variant (if Melee or Ranged), to quickly deplete the enemy’s Life.
Third specialization will work well on builds who benefit from casting Ultimate as often as often as possible, so it is absolutely viable for both Melee and Ranged playstyle as we wanna use our Shadow Clone or Rain of Arrows on cooldown and as often as possible. Holding it it’s worth only if it would hit a lot of targets and you do not skip 1 full cast by delaying it ideally..
Best Class specific Codex of Power Aspects:
General Imbuement Rogue Aspects:
- Enshrouding, Uncanny Resilience will give you plenty of damage reduction (highly suggested to combine with generic Aspects Might and Protecting at least for even more overall much needed damage reduction from Hell onwards) and Ravenous will be great to increase resource regeneration (if the passive refilling Energy with Shadow damage kills won’t be enough because of a long single target fight)
- Corruption, Sleeting Imbuements, are definitely strong, while Unstable Imbuements is nice but not imperative to have.
Melee Build Aspects
- Encircling Blades, Vengeful, Siphoned Protection, Cheat’s are best on a melee build
Encircling Blades is what will make your Flurry hit all around you and thus will be a very important Aspect to prioritize, while the other Aspects are good to have but not strictly essential.
Ranged Build Aspects
- Arrow Storm, Branching Volley’s, Vengeful are good for Ranged builds
Arrow Storm is a great dps addition for your Ranged Imbuement Rogue since will cause up to 5 arrow storm procs damaging enemies when hit for some seconds, Branching Volley’s will help spreading more Imbuements ad Barrage hits ricochet to more enemies and Vengeful will increase our Critical Hit Chance
Aspects suggested per Slot:
Head – Disobedience (damage taken by enemies with a DoT effect reduced)
Chest – Might (25% damage reduction after using Basic skill)
Gloves – Rapid (increases basic attack speed by 25%, if you don’t have good Aspects for the Bow yet, use this in the weapon for 50% value)
Legs – The Protector (when healing Life past 100%, the extra amount gets added as a barrier up to an extra 50-100% max Life)
Boots – Windstriker (? BiS still unknown, these are decent to have)
Amulet – Protecting (the “Bubble” very strong barrier you get when struck)
Ring 1 – Enshrouding (to gain more stacks and thus damage reduction when standing still to shot) or Sleeting Imbuements (Rain of Arrows always has all imbuements effects, for ranged build variant)
Ring 2 – The Deflective Barrier (when you got a barrier up, 20% chance to ignore damage) or Edgemaster’s (up to 24% bonus damage depending on how much Energy you have when casting the skill)
Dagger 1 – Uncanny Resilience (damage reduction boost every time you score a Lucky hit)
Dagger 2 – The Expectant (increases damage by 5% for every hit with a Basic skill up to 50% of your next Core skill)
2h Bow – Corruption (to give double bonus to the strongest Imbuements boosting Aspect)
Once you unlock Paragon Boards you will gain access to a long grindy system which will increase your power by a lot. Focus on Dexterity tiles and purchase as many rare tiles and “Glyph Slots” tiles as you can, while once you find some nice Glyphs through drops by playing the game, equip them in the Paragon Boards to obtain the specified bonus. Level up the Glyphs in Nightmare normal, sacred or ancestral Dungeons to increase the bonus they give (similar to Legendary Gems in D3) and once you finish your first paragon Board by reaching the border, you will be asked to choose the next major Board, select the one with Imbuements skills Legendary Nodes and in general with your Paragon Points try to always follow the paths with the most Dexterity, Imbuement skill damage %, Elemental damage % bonus and general Damage % tiles.
With the release of the game and by having access for a long time to the full Endgame we will be able to find more Uniques for the Rogue to define the Best definitive in Slot equipment for this build.
Note: All the informations in this guide are taken from Diablo 4 Beta and might be subject to changes for the official release