Shadow Impale Demon Hunter Guide

Introduction

Shadow Impale Solo Push (Stationary Fire Setup)
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The Shadow's Mantle Impale is a classic for Demon Hunter, allowing since its redesign in Season 5 for a melee playstyle similar to Assassin in Diablo II. It used to be the Rift Guardian Killer of choice in Season 10 and remained a solid starter choice the Seasons following for its consistency and easy gearing.

Fast, easy to build, easy to learn, it can help you get started early on and help you push quite high without too much effort involved.

Focused on heavy single-target damage through the combination of Impale and the (6) Bonus providing 75,000% extra Weapon Damage to the skill for the first enemy hit, it allows you to dish out devastating damage. Point, click & kill is the philosophy of the set, and it's very effective at searching and destroying the right targets—especially Elites.

With the Season 25 update this set was buffed to now include 25,000% extra Weapon Damage for subsequent hits in the cases of Impale Ricochet and Overpenetration or another 75,000% extra Weapon Damage for the DoT effect of Chemical Burn, either greatly buffing the set's AoE or single target DPS potential depending on the setup. This rework has also made mobile ranged playstyles competitive with the typical stationary face-tank builds that traditionally dominated the set's leaderboards, offering a variety of choices in how to play now.

Along with that goes the (4) Bonus giving Shadow Power all runes and infinite duration. While the rune Gloom provides less damage reduction than other typical set bonuses, this is still a very solid layer of protection through immense values of Life per Hit you get on top. Combined with other effects such as Elusive Ring or the Aughild's Authority set, you can become very tanky.

Strong Season Starter ✔
Unique Melee Playstyle ✔
Straightforward Mechanics ✔
Good Single Target Damage ✔

❌ Static Playstyle
❌ No AoE Damage
❌ Positioning is Important
❌ Inconsistent Damage Reduction


Core Setup

Core Item Build

Items

  • The Shadow's Mantle set provides huge damage bonuses: x61 through the (2) Bonus and x101 through the (6) Bonus, for a total of x6,161 damage with your Impale (against the first enemy hit only). This damage is doubled with Impale Chemical Burn or 1/3 of it is applied to other targets hit by Impale Ricochet and Overpenetration.
  • Due to the (2) Bonus, you are required to use a Melee Weapon, which will be Karlei's Point. This item gives you effectively infinite Hatred in most scenarios on top of a 375% separate damage multiplier.
  • Holy Point Shot is another key item, providing a 100% separate damage multiplier and 2 additional knives to Impale, effectively tripling your damage when you stand close enough to the target's hitbox to hit it with all of your knives. Additional knives will be thrown in a small cone-shape in front of you.
  • Dawn is a staple cubed Weapon for Demon Hunters, in order to get a permanent Vengeance uptime without having to care too much about Cooldown Reduction.

Season 26 Echoing Nightmares

Echoing Nightmares are a new rewarding endgame activity set within the memories of fallen Nephalem. You must first acquire a Petrified Scream from a Greater Rift Guardian, and then cube it to enter. Once inside you'll be challenged with an endless wave of enemies until you are either overwhelmed or killed. Your goal here is to reach Wave 125 for the highest possible Whisper of Atonement with extra XP rewards added for going higher. Read our complete Season 26 Echoing Nightmare Guide for full information on how it works, and check out our brand new Echoing Nightmare Build Tier List and our META post for the best strategies!

Echoing Nightmare Setup
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This build is decent for this game mode. Typically we utilize a Greater Rift speed build with a few tweaks.

Changes

  • We add more damage to the setup than usual: Bastions of Will and Bane of the Powerful.
  • If you don't use it already, run with Awareness.


Gameplay

  1. Reach Wave 100 and click Speed Pylon to boost your mobility and dodge Green Meteors.
  2. When you are more than 40% overwhelmed click Power Pylon.
  3. When you are more than 60% overwhelmed click Channeling Pylon and Conduit Pylon.
  4. After all Pylons expire, run away from monsters and dodge everything to squeeze out an extra 3-5 tiers.

At the start, make sure to activate Shadow Power once to receive the effects. Keep your Vengeance up at all times (cast once every 20 seconds). Use your generator frequently in the early waves so you don't run out of Hatred all the time, otherwise just throw Impale in all directions.


Global Stat Priorities

The most important for almost any Demon Hunter build is reaching permanent Vengeance uptime. This is achievable through the 65% Cooldown Reduction effect provided by Dawn (Cubed) and having 37% Cooldown Reduction. What you will always use is the Flawless Royal Diamond in your Helmet, 10% from Paragon Points. Additional sources are Gogok of Swiftness, Captain Crimson's Trimmings and a roll on your shoulders if necessary.

Impale Attack Speed Breakpoints

There are two competing variations of the build, one using Cold and another using Fire. While Grievous Wounds seems to be way better at first glance, its damage bonus for crits is simply additional Weapon Damage, just like The Shadow's Mantle (6) Bonus, hence it does not really improve your DPS.

Pay extra attention to Life per Kill as a Secondary Affix on your gear. Shadow Power Blood Moon turns 50% of that into Life per Hit. By stacking Life per Kill you can boost your sustain without sacrificing any important stats. This is why we want to use Bottomless Potion of Mutilation, as you can snapshot it (see Mechanics).

Apart from that, you want to stack damage stats wherever possible, especially Critical Hit Chance & Damage, Elemental Damage, Impale Damage, Attack Speed and lastly Area Damage (only for Solo Push). The rest goes to defense, especially All Resistance on Pants, Boots, Belt, Shoulders. We can add up some Vitality rolls and Elite Damage Reduction on Chest. Physical Resistance is also extremely useful, as you generally stand very close to your enemies and most of the incoming damage will be of that type. Because of that, you should always use Flawless Royal Diamond in your Chest and Pants sockets.

Assembling the Build

1. Do the Challenge Rift for the materials to cube Legendary Powers. You can complete this once a week for additional resources and we always update the guide for you!

2. Gather the full The Shadow's Mantle set. Each piece can be gambled from Kadala for Bloodshards. Do not salvage any duplicate pieces you find! Instead convert them to another part of the set with Recipe 4 in Kanai's Cube. If you have extra materials you can use Recipe 3 to craft the remaining pieces, but this is expensive and not recommended for new players.

3. Gamble from Kadala in this order:

  1. The full The Shadow's Mantle set
  2. Holy Point Shot
  3. Goldwrap and Chain of Shadows
  4. Warzechian Armguards and Wraps of Clarity
  5. Aquila Cuirass
  6. St. Archew's Gage and Stone Gauntlets
  7. Elusive Ring, Avarice Band, The Compass Rose, Convention of Elements, Focus and Restraint

4. Craft using Recipe 3 in Kanai's Cube in this order:

  1. Daggers to get Karlei's Point
  2. Hand-crossbows to get Dawn
  3. Amulets to get Squirt's Necklace and The Traveler's Pledge
  4. Create a level 1 Witch Doctor and upgrade Maces to get Echoing Fury
  5. Anything from the Gamble list in Step 3 that you haven't already acquired.

5. Do Bounties to acquire several important items for this build:

  • Act 1: Ring of Royal Grandeur
  • Act 2: Gloves of Worship
  • Act 3: Avarice Band
  • Act 4: Can drop any bounty item from any act
  • Act 5: Pandemonium Loop
  • Bounty Turn In: Recipes for Sage's Journey, Cain's Destiny and Aughild's Authority

Item Stat Priorities

SLOTITEMSTAT PRIORITY
Main-HandKarlei's Point
Dawn (Cubed)
1. Damage Range
2. Socket Ramaladni's Gift
3. Attack Speed
4. Damage %
5. Area Damage
6. Elite Damage
7. Dexterity
Off-HandHoly Point Shot1. Critical Hit Chance
2. Impale Damage
3. Area Damage
4. Dexterity
HelmThe Shadow's Mask
Aughild's Spike (Crafted)
1. Socket Flawless Royal Diamond
2. Impale Damage
3. Critical Hit Chance
4. Dexterity
GlovesThe Shadow's Grasp
St. Archew's Gage (Cubed)
Stone Gauntlets (Cubed)
1. Critical Hit Chance
2. Critical Hit Damage
3. Attack Speed
4. Area Damage
5. Dexterity
ShouldersThe Shadow's Burden
Aughild's Power (Crafted)
1. Dexterity
2. Cooldown Reduction
3. Area Damage
4. Vitality
5. Life %
Chest The Shadow's Bane
Aughild's Rule (Crafted)
Aquila Cuirass (Cubed)
1. Sockets Flawless Royal Diamond
2. Dexterity
3. Elite Damage Reduction
4. All Resistance
5. Vitality
6. Life %
PantsThe Shadow's Coil
Captain Crimson's Thrust (Crafted)
1. Dexterity
2. Sockets Flawless Royal Diamond
3. Vitality
4. All Resistance
BootsThe Shadow's Heels
Captain Crimson's Waders (Crafted)
1. Impale Damage
2. Dexterity
3. All Resistance
4. Vitality
Ring 1The Compass Rose
Focus
Ring of Royal Grandeur (A1 Bounties, Cubed)
1. Socket
2. Critical Hit Damage
3. Critical Hit Chance
4. Average Damage
5. Area Damage
6. Attack Speed
Ring 2Elusive Ring
Convention of Elements
Restraint
Avarice Band (A3 Bounties)
1. Socket
2. Critical Hit Chance
3. Critical Hit Damage
4. Average Damage
5. Area Damage
6. Attack Speed
7. Dexterity
BracersAughild's Search (Crafted)
Wraps of Clarity
Warzechian Armguards
Nemesis Bracers
1. Elemental Damage
2. Critical Hit Chance
3. Dexterity
4. Vitality
5. All Resistance
AmuletThe Traveler's Pledge
Squirt's Necklace
1. Socket
2. Critical Hit Damage
3. Elemental Damage
4. Critical Hit Chance
BeltChain of Shadows
Captain Crimson's Silk Girdle (Crafted)
Goldwrap
1. Dexterity
2. Vitality
3. All Resistance
4. Life %
PotionBottomless Potion of Mutilation To snapshot the increased Life per Kill with Shadow Power for permanently increased healing

Gems

  • Bane of the Trapped provides us with a 60% separate damage multiplier for close range combat.
  • Gogok of Swiftness grants 15% Cooldown Reduction & Attack Speed and 30% Dodge. Typically this gem competes with Pain Enhancer, which is generally used for the highest Tiers.
  • Esoteric Alteration provides massive amounts of toughness if needed, especially for stationary setups with Endless Walk.
  • Bane of the Stricken is used as RGK or for Cold solo push variants.
  • Bane of the Powerful or Molten Wildebeest's Gizzard (to protect Squirt's Necklace buff) can be used in speedfarm variants.
  • Boon of the Hoarder is great for extra Gold and Movement Speed in T16 Rifts.

Skills

  • Impale on the skill as our main damage dealer. Karlei's Point gives a huge damage boost and infinite Hatred.
  • Shadow Power for defense, utility and healing.
  • Vengeance along with Dawn and the necessary Cooldown Reduction provides a permanent x1.4 damage and most of the time also x2 toughness boost (through the Dark Heart rune).
  • Vault, especially when paired with Chain of Shadows (and perhaps Tactical Advantage) gives you ridiculous mobility at all times.
  • The last 2 skill slots vary a lot from version to version. Popular choices are Fan of Knives Bladed Armor, Companion Wolf Companion or Boar Companion, Marked for Death Valley of Death, Bolas (in the Bastions of Will setups) and Sentry Guardian Turret.

Passives

  • Cull the Weak is the strongest Demon Hunter damage passive.
  • Awareness helps you out in tough times and saves you a death.
  • Ambush is another generic DPS passive that works in every build.
  • Steady Aim and Thrill of the Hunt are used for the mobile ranged versions of the build.
  • Other options can include Numbing Traps, Tactical Advantage, Blood Vengeance for most purposes like farming or pushing. As an Rift Guardian Killer (RGK) in groups, you should also choose Single Out.

Paragon Points

CoreOffensiveDefensiveUtility
1. Movement Speed1. Cooldown Reduction 1. All Resistance1. Area Damage2
2. Dexterity2. Critical Hit Damage 2. Armor2. Life per Hit
3. Vitality13. Critical Hit Chance 3. Life %3. Pickup Radius
4. Maximum Hatred4. Attack Speed 4. Life Regeneration4. Resource Cost Reduction

1 Add a bit of Vitality if you feel too squishy (a total of 800,000 Life is recommended in Solo Push, 600,000 Life otherwise).
2 Avoid any source of Area Damage for RGK variants as this is useless and it can lag the game.

Follower

Patch 2.7.0 revamped the follower system giving all 3 hirelings new powers and the emanate system. The first thing you should do is read our complete follower guide and remember the key takeaways:

  1. The emanation system allows followers to share certain legendary and set powers with you. The most important ones are: The Flavor of Time, Nemesis Bracers, Avarice Band, Sage’s Journey and Cain’s Destiny. Click the guide above for the full list.
  2. Follower’s powers are based on their main stat (maxed at 25,000, but they have a 2.5x multiplier so you only need 10,000). This means we stack Intelligence on the Enchantress, Dexterity on the Scoundrel and Strength on the Templar.
  3. Followers share 20% of their Experience, Magic and Gold Find stats with you.
  4. Legendary gems do not work on followers, except Esoteric Alteration and Mutilation Guard.
  5. Enforcer can be equipped on the player to keep followers alive even without an immortality relic. The 90% damage reduction counts for them, too.
  6. Cooldown Reduction does not work for any follower skill except the Templar’s Heal.
  7. Followers never deal significant damage; you’re on your own to clear the content.

Select Follower

T16 Enchantress

Speed GR Enchantress

GR Pushing Enchantress

T16 Enchantress

For T16 we recommend this Enchantress setup because she is the only follower that gives Cooldown Reduction, allowing you to spam your abilities more. Since this is T16 content, she’ll stay alive with Esoteric Alteration and Mutilation Guard and use Hand of the Prophet to gain all skills. This will give us Cooldown Reduction, Elemental Damage, Reduced Damage from Ranged Attacks, Armor, Attack Speed, and a Cheat Death.
Stat Priorities:Since we do not have the immortality focus, we need to stack survivability on our Enchantress.

Intelligence > Vitality > Life % > Armor > All Resistance > Life Per Hit > Attack Speed.

Key Items:

  • The Flavor of Time: For double duration on Pylons.
  • Nemesis Bracers: For extra Elites, Death’s Breaths and In-geom procs.
  • Avarice Band: For the insane pickup radius.
  • Ring of Royal Grandeur: To complete our sets.
  • Gloves of Worship: For 10 Minute Shrine Buffs.
  • Sage’s Journey: For double Death’s Breaths.
  • Cain’s Destiny: For 25% more Greater Rift Keystones.

Gameplay

The build is overall fairly easy to play once you understand the core concept. Most of the damage dealt is done to the first enemy hit. This puts a large focus on your and your target's positioning, you generally want to single out valuable targets and elites while ignoring small trash.

Whenever you enter a game or start a Greater Rift, make sure to activate Shadow Power once to receive the effects. Then, after you took some damage, activate Bottomless Potion of Mutilation and press it again to snapshot the effect. The same applies after a death or zone change or in case you press the skill without the potion up for whatever reason. Keep your Vengeance up at all times (cast once every 20 seconds). If you are using Chain of Shadows, make sure to throw knives after every 4-5 uses of Vault to not run out of Discipline.

General Advice
Cold Rune - Impale Overpenetration: Focus more on gathering large packs of monsters to profit from the AoE part of The Shadow's Mantle (6) Bonus.
Fire Rune - Impale Chemical Burn: Focus more on hunting yellow elites to profit from your double damage to single targets.

Stationary Playstyle
For stationary setups with Endless Walk, Vault around to find a valuable target (typically a yellow elite) and position yourself to hit it first with all three of your knives. If you spawn an Oculus Ring, Vault over to it and repeat. Sometime you may not be able to hit your main target this way, so try to stutter-step into the right place if you can or just prioritize other valuable targets nearby while waiting for the next Oculus Ring.

Mobile Playstyle
For mobile setups with Bastions of Will you can more freely move around the battlefield and gather large packs of monsters without having to worry about losing much damage. You don't have to fight only elite enemies and can use any spawned Oculus Ring more deliberately to just nuke down whatever is in your path. In situations with very few enemies around, stutter-step and dodge as much as possible to keep up Squirt's Necklace.



Hardcore

The build is overall quite tanky and a popular choice among Hardcore players. Additionally, you have permanent immunity to Crowd Control effects and high mobility to get out of dangerous situations with ease when you have to. Don't forget to replace Ambush with Awareness, if it isn't already included in the build.

Check out our dedicated Hardcore Survival Guide to learn more about how to succeed in this game mode!


Variants

Nephalem Rifts
Shadow Impale Solo T16

The Shadow's Mantle is typically not really a very competitive Torment farming build, due to it's limited AoE coverage and way too high damage. It's mainly useful there in case this is the first set you complete and to start farming up others like UE Multishot or GoD, or when you get it as a season starter from the Haedrig's Gift.

Concept
The idea here is to stack lots of movement speed while still being able to kill most big enemies quickly as you are passing by. To achieve this, we use the whole arsenal: Avarice Band on our follower combined with Boon of the Hoarder and Goldwrap, Tactical Advantage, Hot Pursuit.

We add other damage and utility items such as Squirt's Necklace, which will be protected by Molten Wildebeest's Gizzard. Finally, we are using Vengeance Seethe, because in T16 all enemies die in one hit and Karlei's Point doesn't restore that much Hatred.

Gameplay
Hunt Elites, kill some of the big trash monsters on the way, ignore everything else. Impale is (in)famous for its simplicity and in Nephalem Rifts there's literally nothing you have to worry about.

Setups
While farming in groups, replace Warzechian Armguards and Pandemonium Loop with Nemesis Bracers and Avarice Band.

It is also possible to use Sage's Journey in groups for extra Death's Breath drops by wearing two pieces along with a cubed Ring of Royal Grandeur and cubing the Chain of Shadows. Likewise, Impale is so strong that it's possible to swap two pieces of The Shadow's Mantle to Cain's Destiny at the Rift Guardian spawn in Nephalem Rifts, allowing you to acquire more Greater Rift Keystones.

GR Speeds
Shadow Impale Solo Speeds

Concept
In speedruns, both Cold and Fire version are possible. The former focuses more on AoE while the latter is stronger on single target. Additional Resource Cost Reduction rolls can help you out if you run low on Hatred or Discipline, but Blood Vengeance usually takes care of that.

Due to the heavy movement, we cannot use Endless Walk, and rather rely on Focus & Restraint. Because we have to use a Generator (Bolas) skill to activate them anyway, we also include Wraps of Clarity for the additional defense.

Finally, we use Squirt's Necklace for double damage. On top of standard Molten Wildebeest's Gizzard we use St. Archew's Gage. This item works wonderfully in speedruns, giving us a massive shield when we encounter an Elite pack—precisely when we need it most. 10 second duration is more than enough to kill the Elite and move on. With this setup you only lose the buff when you find multiple Elites in the same spot.

Gameplay
Keep up your buffs with one generator cast every 5 seconds, otherwise jump around and hunt mainly for Elites and big packs of monsters. When you find an Elite, try to kill it as fast as possible; if it has aggressive affixes, you might lose the shield after a few seconds, but by then Elites should be almost dead, and by the time you reach the next pack, your shield will regenerate.

Setups
If you don't want to worry about the small shield gained from Molten Wildebeest's Gizzard, replace it with Bane of the Powerful.

For an even faster but squishier version, also replace Dawn with Echoing Fury and swap Companion, Vault and Cull the Weak to Preparation Focused Mind, Smoke Screen Displacement and Blood Vengeance. Additionally, stacks lots of Cooldown Reduction and Resource Cost Reduction where possible. This setup works best for extremely short runs (90-120sec).

GR Solo Push

Select Build Version

Stationary

Mobile

Shadow Impale Solo Push (Stationary Fire Setup)

Concept
In pushing, both Cold and Fire versions are possible. The former focuses more on AoE while the latter is stronger on single target.

In order to survive facetanking monsters at higher tiers, we need to add more survivability to the setup. This is done through the Stone Gauntlets, Elusive Ring, Numbing Traps and Boar Companion. For damage we use Endless Walk set and Pain Enhancer. Attack Speed boost from the latter also helps with our recovery, but it can be replaced with Gogok of Swiftness for more consistency and toughness. Extra damage and toughness come from Aughild's Authority.

Gameplay
You mostly want to hunt down Elites and kill them off, however not every one of them is necessarily worth it once you approach the limits of your setup, as you might simply require too much time to finish them. This applies especially to Illusionist packs, Champions packs, Juggernaut Rares or enemies that tend to run away and hide. While fighting Elites, try to gather trash monsters around you to kill through passive Area Damage procs from the attacks to your main target.

Setups
At high Paragon you can make more offensive choices such as switching your Companion rune to Wolf Companion or even Elusive Ring to Convention of Elements.

GR Group RGK
Shadow Impale RGK

The set is quite strong as a Rift Guardian Killer (RGK), however typically not the prime choice. Regardless, it remains a decent option and capable of the highest tiers with a group that wants use it. The only viable choice here is the Fire rune, which effectively doubles your single-target damage.

Concept
As a RGK, you just need to get to the boss somehow, and then kill it. We optimize this setup for most Boss DPS possible, which will leave you quite squishy and helpless, especially during high tier pushing.

To achieve this, we add lots of DPS items at the cost of utility, such as Squirt's Necklace, Aughild's Authority set and we even drop Chain of Shadows for The Witching Hour. Also, we have to include Bane of the Stricken, it's the most important gem for a RGK.

Gameplay
It can be very difficult to reach the Rift Guardian without dying, so you have to be careful with your movement and defensive abilities such as Vault in order to not run out of Discipline and die in a corner. On the Rift Guardian, you hold down Impale until it's dead, potentially repositioning yourself sometimes in case they move or spawn adds, to make sure all 3 Impale projectiles are hitting the boss' hitbox.

You need to stay at least 10 yards away from the boss to activate Steady Aim. At the same time, you don't want to be much farther away than that to hit with all three knives. To get a good feel of how far away 10 yards actually is, you can play UE Multishot DH and pay attention to your (4) Bonus buff. It refreshes every 0.5 seconds, if there is no enemy within 10 yards of you—the same condition as Steady Aim.

Setups
If you have trouble keeping your Squirt's Necklace buff, switch to an Endless Walk setup by dropping the amulet and Stone of Jordan. This setup is a lot more tanky, but deals a lot less damage.


Video Guide


Mechanics

Karlei's Point

  • Hatred will only return starting on the second hit.
  • Impale Ricochet can give you Hatred back on the first attack (due to bounces).
  • Overpenetration is useful for Hatred Return and Pain Enhancer stacks, but the piercing knives won't deal any significant damage.

Impale

  • The first enemy hit will take massive damage and other targets of Impale Ricochet or Overpenetration take 1/3 of that amount.
  • Chemical Burn doubles your damage done against single-targets.
  • Your knives will be thrown in a cone-like shape, so standing close to the target is necessary to hit with all of them at once.
  • The bonus damage of Grievous Wounds runes stacks additively with The Shadow's Mantle (6) Bonus, thus it's almost irrelevant.

Chain of Shadows

  • Provides a buff for 2 seconds to vault freely after using Impale.
  • Make sure to use Impale often enough while moving, so that you don't run out of Discipline.

Shadow Power

  • Use once to get the buff, it will stay on permanently thanks to The Shadow's Mantle (4) Bonus.
  • Activating it again will only apply the Slow from Night Bane.
  • Life per Kill from Bottomless Potion of Mutilation can be snapshot during its effect, as long as you don't use Shadow Power again without it. This will increase your healing overall and is very useful, especially for pushing.
  • The snapshot has to be done again on death, zone change, level-up or when the skill is used without the potion up.


Summary

  • Reach the necessary Cooldown Reduction for permanent Vengeance (37% including active Gogok of Swiftness).
  • Choose to play either a stationary or mobile version using Fire or Cold damage.
  • Stand close to your target, only the first enemy hit will take the big damage.
  • Make sure to use Shadow Power at least once at the start of a run, preferably right after pressing your Bottomless Potion of Mutilation.
  • Hunt down Elites and juicy trash mobs to progress, ignore small, stray enemies.

We hope you enjoyed this guide! Shadow Impale is an ideal beginner build, and if you're not familiar with it yet, just hop in and try it out!


Credits

Written by Northwar & wudijo. Introduction by Chewingnom.
Updated by wudijo.


Changelog

Mar 23rd 2022
- Updated for Season 26 / Patch 2.7.3. - Adjusted Solo Push Setups