Diablo 4: Best Rogue leveling build and skills

Diablo 4 Rogue Art
(Image credit: Activision Blizzard)

Diablo 4's five classes each present a different way of taking on the demons of Sanctuary, but the Rogue is a good choice for those who want to deal both melee and ranged damage and move at pace across the battlefield. Rogues are fast, agile and deadly switching between bow and blades for a fun and adaptable playstyle.

Rogues can imbue their weapons with poison, ice and shadow effects to further damage their enemies, and if you're in any doubt of how strong they can get, it was the Rogue that took down Ashava solo in the Open Beta and Server Slam, so they have potential to be top of the pack when it comes to damage output.

Let's go over the best Rogue build for leveling in Diablo 4 including which skills to spend your points on so you can experience one of the best PC games while playing as a deadly assassin of Sanctuary.

Diablo 4 Rogue: Base stats

Diablo 4 Camp Fire, pre alpha footage. (Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment)

Before you develop your skills, you need to know the Rogue’s base stats. There are four stats for each class: Strength, Dexterity, Intelligence, and Willpower. Each one gives different passive benefits depending on what you choose to play. Here’s how they help Rogues:

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Base StatsDescription
Dexterity: 10Increases Skill Damage and Dodge Chance by 0.1% per point
Willpower: 8Receive 0.1% Healing and 0.25% Overpower Damage per point
Strength: 7Gives 0.03% Resource Generation and +1 Base Armor per point
Intelligence: 70.02% Critical Strike Chance and 0.05% All Resistance per point

It's worth noting that Rogue possesses a naturally high dexterity, which isn't surprising considering their ability to swiftly switch between blades and arrows. As such, when leveling up, it's important to prioritize increasing your dexterity stat to boost your base damage. Since the Rogue's playstyle involves generating resource to unleash devastating attacks, we recommend focusing on Strength as the secondary priority to aid in generating Energy.

In endgame where resource cost isn't as much of an issue, you can always switch this up and focus on Intelligence as your secondary stat, as this will increase your Critical Strike Chance.

Diablo 4: How to play as the Rogue & fighting rotation

A Rogue needs to constantly replenish their Energy (Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment)

Understanding Energy: A Rogue's main power comes from their store of Energy. This is specific to this class, and allows Rogues to unleash their most powerful attacks. The more powerful the attack, the more Energy it expels. Whilst Energy auto-replenishes to a degree, it does so slowly so you'll need to use your Basic Skills to replenish it.

Here's an example of an attack rotation to use in battle to keep your Energy at a healthy level while wiping out your foes.

  1. Close the distance between yourself and your target with Shadow Step.
  2. Cast Puncture repeatedly to build up Energy.
  3. Activate Concealment to ensure your next hit is critical.
  4. Cast Shadow Imbuement to imbue your weapon for more damage.
  5. Cast Twisting Blades to launch your strongest attack.
  6. Once energy is depleted, repeat.

Best way to level up Rogue in Diablo 4

A rogue with shadow imbued blades (Image credit: Jennifer Young - Windows Central)

To make your Rogue strong enough to face the worst horrors of hell, you need to level up fast. The faster you level, the sooner you can get the best items. Here’s how to spend your time wisely:

  • Choose the correct World Tier, if you're playing solo and are new to the game, we recommend World Tier 1. The faster you can mow down those monsters, the faster you will collect XP. If there is no challenge for you, or you are playing in a group, then go straight to World Tier 2, there's a 20% bonus to XP and you should be able to move through the enemies quick enough to benefit.
  • Prioritize gear with Dexterity bonuses to increase your main damage stats, and anything with cooldown reduction to unleash your most devastating moves.

Diablo 4: Best Rogue leveling skills

The Diablo 4 rogue can switch between ranged and melee attacks easily, but for fast leveling and high damage, it’s better to choose one of them to focus your energy on. You’ll see that the skill tree only unlocks new branches when you put enough points into the previous section, so this order below gets your main skill rotation first before improving your skills.

For leveling, we recommend the melee route, and this Twisting Blades build is the best to go for. Twisting Blades was capable of taking down Ashava in the Server Slam, and despite me preferring a ranged playstyle, I found this close combat style much stronger in lower levels:

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Level Skill and investmentType
2Enhanced PunctureBasic
3Twisting BladesCore
4Fundamental PunctureBasic
5Enhanced Twisting BladesCore
6Improved Twisting BladesCore
8Shadow StepAgility
9-11Twisting Blades levels 2-4Core
13Enhanced StealthSubterfuge
14Countering StealthSuberfuge
15Twisting Blades Level 5Core
16Enhanced Shadow StepAgility
17 Shadow ImbuementImbuement
18Enhanced Shadow ImbuementImbuement
19Mixed Shadow ImbuementImbuement
20Shadow CrashImbuement
21-23Consuming Shadows Levels 1-3Imbuement
24Methodical Shadow StepAgility
25Adrenaline RushUltimate
26-28Haste Levels 1-3Ultimate
29-31Concussive Levels 1-3Agility
32-34Trick Attacks Levels 1-3Agility
35Close Quarters CombatKey Passive
36-38Stutter StepCore
39-41Exploit Levels 1-3Subterfuge
42-44Malice Levels 1-3Subterfuge
45-47Agile Levels 1-3Subterfuge
48-50Sturdy Levels 1-3Core

In addition to the skill points you get from leveling up, you can earn an extra 2 points for completing each Act which should take you to level 58. 

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LevelSkill and investmentType
51-53Siphoning Strikes Core
54-56Precision ImbuementImbuement
57-58Impetus Ultimate

Your rotation of the main skills will be much like the steps we have mentioned previously: 

  • Close the distance between yourself and your target with Shadow Step and Dash using these mobility moves to reposition yourself on the battlefield and avoid AOE attacks.
  • Cast Puncture repeatedly to build up Energy and apply Vulnerable effect to your enemies, ensuring you deal 20% more damage.
  • Activate Concealment and Shadow Imbuement buffs when not on cooldown.
  • Cast Twisting Blades to launch your strongest attack and watch demons explode across the screen.
  • Use Dash to send blades twisting through additional enemies.
  • Once energy is depleted, cast Puncture and repeat.

You'll notice I haven't recommended a main Ultimate skil here, only the passives. This is because the Ultimates are pretty underwhelming and your points are better spent keeping an extra skill.

Diablo 4: Unleash your true potential

Once you hit level 15 you'll need to complete the priority quest True Potential and choose your Rogue Specialization.

This quest will be in the Fractured Peaks and you will be given it by Leyrana in Menestad. The quest will take you to the Forsaken Quarry dungeon. Upon clearing this dungeon, Leyrana will reward you with Bakira's Sting Dagger and the ability to choose a Specialization.

Note: In my playthrough of this quest, Leyrana bugged and wouldn't speak to me in the dungeon, so I needed to leave and return to trigger her dialogue.

What Rogue specialization do I choose? 

Not all specializations will be available to you straight away, there are three to choose from and they unlock at different levels. You can also switch between them at will, which we recommend depending on the encounter. 

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Best Enchantment Slot Skills
SpecializationWhat it does
Combo Points (level 15)Your basic skills now generate combo points, certain skills will consume these points for additional damage.
Inner Sight (level 20) Attack marked enemies to fill up your Inner Sight gauge. When it's full, gain unlimited Energy for 4 seconds.
Preparation (level 30)Every 100 energy you spend reduces your Ultimate skill's Cooldown by 4 seconds. Using an Ultimate Skill resets the Cooldowns of your other Skills.

Combo Points will be the only specialization available to you at first, and I recommend sticking with this for the leveling Twisting Blades build. Build your combo points using the combo points gauge above your moveset icons, and deliver the full damage potential of Twisting Blades. So hit your primary skill at least three times to build the combo points until you have a full gauge, and release a critical damage dealer with Twisting Blades on the fourth beat.

In single target, boss encounters, you may find it better to switch to Inner Sight so you can target your damage on one specific strong enemy. 

Diablo 4: Best gear and gems for Rogue

Diablo 4 rogue inventory (Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment)

The gems you choose for your Rogue should aim to enhance your chosen skills and also reduce any weaknesses in your build. Most people playing Diablo 4 early on sacrifice their health for power, but we recommend using gems to make your assassin a little less squishy, and go for some damage reduction as well as just increasing your damage output.

Here are our recommendations for what gems to slot in your gear and the effects you will get:

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GearWhich Gem to use and why
WeaponRuby to increase Energy generation
ArmorAmethyst for damage reduction over time
JewelryDiamond to provide resistance

Legendary aspects for Rogues and where to find them

Occasionally, and increasingly as you climb the levels in Diablo 4, legendary items will drop. These legendary items come with affixes that dramatically increase your damage for certain skills. Better still, you can extract these affixes (called Legendary aspects) and imprint them on other pieces of gear if you wish.

Some aspects will be on loot drops, and others will be rewards for completing dungeons in areas around the game. Here are the aspects you should be looking for, to take your Twisting Blades Rogue to its ultimate evolution.

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Legendary AspectPowerLocation
Bladedancer (PRIORITY)Twisting Blades orbit for a short time after they return to you, dealing 10% of Twisting Blades' return damage per hit. Based on the distance the blades returned, the orbit damage increases up to 20% of the return damage. Jalal's Vigil, Scosglen
EdgemasterSkills do more damage (up to 10 – 20%) depending on how much Primary Resource you have when you use them. You get the most benefit when your Primary Resource is full.Oldstones, Scosglen
ExpectantYour next Core Skill cast does (5 – 10%) more damage when you attack enemies with a Basic Skill, up to 30%.Underroot, Scosglen
RavagerYou can use Shadow Step one more time. If you kill an enemy with Shadow Step, you get a Charge back and Shadow Step does (1 – 6%) more damage for 2 seconds, up to (5 – 30%).Found on loot
MightYou take 20% less damage for (2 – 6) seconds when you use Basic SkillsDark Ravine, Dry Steppes
RapidBasic Skills gain (15 – 30%) Attack Speed.Buried Halls, Dry Steppes
AcceleratingYou attack (15 – 25%) faster for 3 seconds when you hit a Critical Strike with Core Skills.Found on loot
ExploiterYou have 20% increased Crowd Control Duration. While enemies are Unstoppable, you deal (20 – 50%) increased damage to them.Found on loot
CheatYou take (15 – 25%) less damage from Crowd Controlled enemies. Whenever a Crowd Controlled enemy deals direct damage to you, gain 15% Movement Speed for 2 seconds.Luban’s Rest, Scosglen
VengefulLucky Hit: Making an enemy Vulnerable has up to a (30 – 50%) chance to grant 3% increased Critical Strike Chance for 3 seconds, up to 9%. increased Critical Strike Chance for 3 seconds, up to 9%. Inferno, Kehjistan

Remember, once you imprint an aspect you cannot then extract it again, so be wise with your imprint choices. As you level up, prioritize imprinting your amulet and rings, as you will be regularly replacing your weapons.

Most importantly, have fun!

The guide above is purely to give you an idea of the most efficient playstyle for a Rogue when leveling, but for your first playthrough there's no need to worry too much about efficiency.

Remember to enjoy the game however you wish, and if you find a legendary with an amazing affix that enhances Poison skills or Shadow Clones for example, don't be afraid to experiment and build around that. If you have the gold you can respec at any time and change up your playstyle, that's part of the allure of Diablo and aRPGs in general.

Don't forget we have more guides here at Windows Central, as well as a full review, and we'll be updating with Endgame builds in the days to come. Stay tuned, and have a HELL of a good time!

Jennifer Young

Jen is a News Writer for Windows Central, focused on all things gaming and Microsoft. Anything slaying monsters with magical weapons will get a thumbs up such as Dark Souls, Dragon Age, Diablo, and Monster Hunter. When not playing games, she'll be watching a horror or trash reality TV show, she hasn't decided which of those categories the Kardashians fit into. You can follow Jen on Twitter @Jenbox360 for more Diablo fangirling and general moaning about British weather.