Shadow Strike - status check in

We’ve had some time to toy around with the new shadowstrike yet I haven’t seen the skill being discussed much at all. Between my experience in testing various cold setups, previous demonstrations on this forum and some common sense stuff these are my observations.

  • Dunefiend dervishes are more builds that happen to use SS than they are SS builds. Dunefiend is acid EoR end of story more or less.

  • Deathguard for SS tempts a few obvious questions and answers. First, why not get more RR since the goal here is to boost SS? This leads us to dervish and WH, with the hands free RR and presence of CDR on dervish making it the obvious QoL choice. But at this point it looks like any old acid dervish except it does less damage.

  • Nex and Ortus are similar to dunefiend in that they have SS stuff but are not aimed towards a SS centric build.

  • Crescent moon loses to MIs pretty easily (green allergic builds using it clock a pitiful ~7min while being rather glass). C moon does other things, just not good for heavy weapon damage based stuff with its low % cold relative to what MIs start with.

  • Being a weapon damage based skill on a cool down you’ll see a bigger gain from flat damage than extra overcap ranks in most cases. Building like this leads one to wonder why you’d put points in SS instead of just developing the existing auto attack platform you’re sitting on.

At this point I’m not advocating for changes, merely looking to share my observations and start a discussion of SS build options and how (un)favorable they are.

So nobody else is testing this skill and I’m free to suggest buffs / item tweaks to the empty echoes of the room?

The overarching question on SS is how much the mobility is really worth, how much the skill should be behind other premier options due to its utility. With shattered realm being a measure of kiting or facetanking and crucible being a “take on everything” mosh pit I’m not seeing an exceptional amount of value coming out of having a low CD SS(vs a 1 pointer) in tandem with a mobility rune.

Cold shadow strike is in an interesting position due to the lack of serviceable legendary weapons and the limited range of options for boosting damage to a competitive level while still maintaining enough durability to be playable. There’s not really a respectable shake and bake setup to point to and say “7:30 clears could use a little more of X on the set”. Crescent moon’s design is already packed but we wanted steak and it’s filled with Skittles.

So we’re forced to consider MIs. I know there’s not much of a precedent for balancing around MIs but there’s simply no other options here. The other slots in the build will be taken up by general use cold equips that have all proven to be powerful in their own right.


  • boring strong RR
  • enjoyable aether res. You want it, you want a healthy overcap. Chillstrife provides where other pieces don’t.
  • OA. Cooldown based nuke build that doesn’t pack tremendous OA on its own. Ignoring free OA in crucible this stat is also very welcome.
  • extra passive AoE. SS is single target focused, free AoE is great
  • +skills to your RR and more passive AoE. Literally every stat is Gucci


  • CDR mod is nice (but could be bigger)
  • flat frostburn is underwhelming but better than nothing.
  • global crit damage is nice for AoE, but again there’s not bunches of OA involved
  • crit damage to SS itself is excessive. This only affects single target, night’s embrace also adds this, NJE already is jacked with single target crit damage.
  • +3 nightfall is useful

Spectral Longsword is a filler item clearly, I’ll ignore it here.

Aether and chaos are the two problem resistances for cold SS. If one of the lesser bonuses on loxblades could be traded for chaos res (or just have it added, and maybe bump up the CDR modifier) it would be a stronger specialist item that defends its niche from the likes of the generalist chillstrife.

From what i’ve seen overall, deathguard set still needs a buff, dunefiend set’s SS mod is ok, loxmere daggers need a buff and SS itself needs another buff (on overcap lvls). Also deathguard set and dunefiend are a little too similar. Deathguard should be even more posion focused than now.

How’s aether SS? I tried theorycrafting around old Superfluff’s build but the result looks pitiful even in GT

@Stupid_Dragon Aether SS is still meme tier owing to the lack of AoE. Skill modifiers don’t apply to nightfall so loxblade crit bonus is worthless there and the aether conduit does nothing for your AoE while you’re crying about being unable to convert the DoT.

@RektbyProtoss I haven’t played around with DG set recently though I suspect a key to its success is going to be pushing high rank nightfall as there is plenty of conversion baked in for turning it into a serious DoT. Dunefiend is an EoR set that just happens to have SS for single target: again modifiers don’t work on nightfall so it does pitifully little for AoE (just spin, that’s what the set is for anyhow :upside_down_face:).

On the topic of SS overcap levels

  • The main skill itself has decreasing practical benefits for investment owing to it being a single target nuke on a cooldown. Most stuff you click on has the chance to simply evaporate from the direct hit. The gains you’d see here from better overcap ranks would only be taken as a freebie and not encourage the builds to pursue more +SS than they currently are. Past a tipping point of gearing SS absolutely obliterates bosses on single target. The skill probably doesn’t need more direct damage here and it looks a little late to ask for gear reworks to make the +SS show up in a place where it could even be desirable (unless you stick it on loxblades but I’d rather see chaos res for the love of Cairn).
  • NJE bonuses are spoon fed to acid such that it’s basically getting the loxblades CDR mod for free. +NJE isn’t seen on any respectable cold pieces since the demise of ye olde DM jacket.
  • Cold gets 22/12 nightfall taking loxblades which all I can say is lovely but not up to par with literally everything that chillstrifes get. This should be a main source of a SS build’s AoE but instead of bumping its values up more I’d rather see a lower cooldown to address consistency of single target as well as the AoE. I know acid is somewhat behind in the AoE department but some setups compensate with astronomical single target… again, need to test acid.

I’m well aware of SS’s history with low/no cooldown and the fixes crate had to implement. But in this day and age powercreep has brought us to a setting where weapon pool skills are easily combined with auto attack replacers to yield continuous output of near shadow strike quality hits that often cleave for amounts approaching the single target damage. The only high performing SS options involve numerous MIs at this point and that simply isn’t going to change. For the skill to be respectable in absence of these outlandish items it needs some more love. Again, I understand that it’s a slow process tuning up a skill that has been historically problematic.


You can’t seriously compare dunefiend SS + DG SS side by side…come on.

DG is a very meh attempt at BH spam. Honestly, it’s subpar in every regard to Blood knight, but I digress.

Dunefiend ss…wouldn’t there be a lack of AoE as well?

Also i feel that the increase in CDR to SS on DF just makes it too unreliable a skill

I like Shadow strike focused build, but every time I look it, is it worth over auto attacks with all that flat? And sustain can be difficult. AdctH with constant attacks is smoother.

Deathguard, why SS was added at same time Dunefiend was created. DF needs less CD for it. Lox daggers are definitely the most interesting SS archetype…

Dunefiend isn’t even a shadow strike set, it’s a set that happens to include SS as a single target nuke.

Deathguard was a 2p for shadow strike even before the changes and the added bonuses make it much more favorable for acid SS in general. You never fooled around with the necro side of it because necro is made of paper and has no acid RR. Before FG you could get some outlandish numbers on a witch hunter courtesy of deathguard pieces. Now with dervish coming equipped with starpact+ the whole set offers 12% CDR, slap in unseeing eye and some viloth rings and thats 34% CDR (probably get a different necklace because 27% should be sufficient for hourglass boosted ascension). I forget what the shortcomings of the build ended up being, don’t recall an MI’d version being posted anywhere.

Interesting tidbit about deathguard… I didn’t know that it was used on SS WH’s.

I tried to make a DG cabalist -

was a terrible time

Yup, base acid damage, attack speed, +1 nightblade and each dagger converts half of second rite. Adding in Putrid Necklace and viloth rings shot it up to near chaos levels of flat damage but there was a lack of AoE and the gearing demands made it prohibitive to assemble.

I made Deathguard feedback thread and it seems it was completely ignored. Deathguard SS Dervish does Crucible 150-170 in 7 minutes and does every second time. It’s squishy, it’s wonky, damage is not there.

I think Z. just doesn’t like Shadow Strike, he is probably getting 'Nam flashbacks from the days of Spellbreaker dominance or something. So “buffs” to SS are not really buffs. Dunefiend SS is completely useless with added cd, Deathguard is between mid-tier and trash-tier, cold SS does not have any items support.

The most recent buff to the skill line was pretty sizable. acid and cold can push the base cooldown to 1.7 before CDR while it was 2.3/2.1 acid/cold before. The extra 10% on nightfall helped as well. Such a big leap was not without risk as SS has a history of causing issues. At this point we’ve seen the jump fell short of causing any issues. Another round of buffs would put the skill at a point where the accessible builds actually have a hope of doing stuff.

What are those changes? Because I must’ve missed them or something. Iirc Dunefiend adds cd to SS and from my Dervish SS tests cd was low and damage tooltip was respectable but it still wasn’t nearly enough to build around.

Here is my Deathguard thread by the way. SS cd with max CDR everywhere 1,6. And it had 50% success rate in pre- Crucible. I am afraid in current patch it will be squished like a bug.

Only working version of acid SS that I have seen (and tested myself) was @Safarel Nightshade’s Reach/Shattered set SS Dervish. It was a 6:30-7 minute build with ok consistency (obviously lower than other Shattered builds).

  • Shadow Strike: reduced Cooldown to 3.5s, energy cost reduced accordingly. Increased % Weapon damage scaling at ultimate ranks to 385% by max ultimate rank.
  • Nidalla’s Justifiable Ends: increased Poison damage scaling with rank, particularly at ultimate ranks. Increased Cooldown Reduction scaling at ultimate ranks to -1.8s by max ultimate rank.
  • Nightfall: Radius now scales with rank, increased base % Weapon damage by 10%, increased Frostburn and Vitality Decay damage scaling with rank

Seems I was a bit off with the top of my head numbers, I’ll correct those in the other post too

Original 3.8s cd -> 3.5s
Cold SS with nje and loxblades 2.1->1.7 (gained 0.1 on nje)
Acid SS capped nje 2.3-> 1.7 (0.3 on nje)

Testing with cold has shown that nightfall is a serious contributor for crucible times as it culls even heroes given time. Double DG blade and global cold-> acid could make it even better on dervish but I still expect durability shortcomings to be the main issue.

well, maybe I should try that ss dervish again then, it’s still in my gdstash folder.


You were right, CD is pretty low now:

Gonna report with Crucible videos.

So I have modified the spec a bit and here is what I have tested with: As you can see, defensive devotions (because otherwise it has no chance). It certainly feels better than pre SS buff, however, because Crucible got buffed too it’s still a 50% success rate build. I am guessing less experienced players will be dying with it all the time.

My runs: death at 170 and 6:42 run. I made two more runs at died at both once at 169 and once at 170. I can’t even imagine how horrible Reaper would be with a similiar spec. But this Dervish is certainly not worth it. Deathguard is still below mid-tier and SS is still meh.

The usual problem for SS builds is constant sustain, unlike DW auto attackers. But times aren’t bad. Just is squishy. Same thing for Lox Spellbreaker.

Btw is it really needed the Aeon? Do you think defensive procs can save it?

Phone is potato for using grintiols so commentary has to wait until later.

How much of it is the skill, how much the set, and how much acid in general?

@nery hourglass for permanent ascension and lower ghoul cd I guess?

From your exp do you think it’s worth on all SS builds or just Dervish?For Arcanists I guess that still can reset your mirror.

Without Aeon and Dying God and with classic Acid devotions build has no chance. With it it has 50% chance.

I don’t know, I am guessing it’s mostly Dervish with its insane synergy for Acid (double passive RR, CDR etc.). Set is borderline bad (3 items set bonus is Bleeding resistance ffs). Overall build feels and plays like a squishball lottery with you winning the prize every second time.