Thanks to an open-ended passive skill tree, Path of Exile is a game that largely allows classes to overlap in similarities. Because Witches that use shields, Rangers that use maces, and Templars that cast spells, it’s often difficult to look at a person playing the game and determine which class is on the screen. In a world of homogeneous heroes, the Shadow shatters the world of similarities by being entirely unique.
No other class is going to be stealthing around, racking up critical hits, and stabbing backs like the Shadow class. As if this weren’t enough individuality, the Ascendancy classes further make the Shadow a nightmare for opposing enemies to handle. It’s very easy to build a Shadow poorly and this class is often tossed out early. Pro players have some advice and, after a bit of a grind, players will find themselves putting up the highest physical damage numbers in the game.
10 Take The Life Nodes
Obviously, it’s not very thrilling to pick a rogueish Shadow and then be forced to pick skills that bolster health. While it’s a great intention to perk up the damage first, this means enemies will start wiping out the character in a single hit by Act 3. And there are much better things, like the harvesting nerf, to be angry about.
Don’t go overboard or out of the way for these bonuses. The passive health skills needed are right next to the starting position on the passive skill tree. This will boost maximum HP to about 4,000 and that should be plenty of life all the way through Act 10.
9 Max Out Resistances Early
Every pro is going to tell every class to max out resistances. It’s just a universal necessity. But while most classes get to gear up for damage first and then move into resistances later, the Shadow has to flip this order around.
The Shadow’s short range and early incapabilities make him susceptible to being absolutely shredded by magic early on. If the right items don’t come up, don’t be afraid to learn how to trade for the gear that is needed to get through the mid-game.
8 Find A Skill And Stick To It
Path of Exile is one of only a handful of looter games alive and well in 2021. To keep the game alive, the team has flooded the game with active skill gem options. This does keep the game fresh, but it’s also a trap for beginners.
Naturally, players will want to give every spell a shot and see what works. It’s alright for the Shadow to experiment, but don’t put any levels into skill gems that don’t seem useful. The Shadow’s only defense is offense in the early going and switching between spells reduces the offensive capabilities.
7 Look Over The Late Game Weapons
As players flock to isometric action RPGs to bide their time until Diablo 2: Resurrected comes along, people are surprised at how Path of Exile‘s classes are able to use any weapon effectively.
The Shadow is expected to pick a weapon to focus on early on, be it bows, claws, daggers, or otherwise. Trying to upgrade all of them with passive skills is a waste of points for the weapons that don’t end up being used. Set a goal on a weapon type and commit to it early.
6 Pick The Trickster
Unless using a build that is specifically designed around traps or critical strikes, pick the Trickster Ascendancy. For many, this alone is the entire reason people play the Shadow class as opposed to a Duelist or Ranger.
Why is it routinely ranked at the top of all the other Ascendancies? It gives the Shadow exactly what he needs; lots of damage and protection based on the total amount of damage dished out. It also makes other classes jealous, but that’s their problem.
5 Always Have An Ailment Going
Having a debuff on enemy targets is a good thing, that’s something that even beginners who are learning about the game already understand. But it takes on extra meaning for the Shadow, who has several skills that do extra damage to targets with ailments.
Any ailment will do; even elemental ailments like Freeze and Scorch. But if the option is there, try to apply Bleed or Poison instead as these will stack better with the Shadow skills. Always have at least one ailment that is applied 100% of the time on a hit.
4 Don’t Rule Out A Shield
Depending on which skill gems the player has opted for, there might not be any perk at all to dual-wielding. If this is the case, don’t feel like it is betraying the essence of the class to strap on a shield and beef up those defenses.
Shields are obviously always going to help with defense, but for the Shadow, this can be turned into offense. If the shield is providing enough defense, other gear can be weaponized and repurposed to boost damage instead of more protection. These builds go a long way in completing the perfect heist.
3 Use A Spell
Nobody is going to mistake the Shadow with the Witch. But the Shadow has a mana pool and very little in the way of becoming a full-fledged spellcaster. That doesn’t mean he should ignore mana altogether.
Many rookies just ignore the blue globe altogether. Remember that some spells can protect the character or make enemies more susceptible to the Shadow’s attacks. Find a spell, even just one spell, that uses mana to help out with the physical damage.
2 Have A Gem For The Mobs
It’s not going to drop anyone’s jaw on the floor to state that the Shadow’s main role is to do huge amounts of single-target physical damage. Some builds can alter this role, but the game encourages the Shadow to fulfill this task.
Wishful thinking does not magically make the mobs go away. There are a few choices of how to handle them. Gems and skills that help the Shadow escape are one way to do it. Or socketing something that takes out groups works as well. The prior will farm slower than the latter, but stealth has additional utility.
1 The Case For Blood Magic
Blood Magic drains health instead of mana. The Shadow has several spells that are good for him that use mana. So there is a good amount of wondering whether or not Blood Magic is intelligent for the player’s preferred setup.
The pros have advised that if the Shadow has Life Leech or some other kind of life steal, this is almost always stronger than any spell drain, meaning the Shadow can gain health back faster than casting it out. For most builds, this deserves serious consideration and should be selected based on player preference.