Shadows are a hybrid class, making use of both Dexterity and Intelligence. Hence, the class excels in many different builds, including mage casters, assassins, and the popular bow-wield.
“The Shadow worked the dark hours in Oriath, making a living and a name for himself as a ruthless killer-for-hire. Arrogant and self-assured, he prided himself on his ability to take out his targets by surprise, before vanishing without a trace.”
For more help on Path of Exile, read our Witch, Ranger and Templar Builds Guide.
Path of Exile Shadow Builds – The “Crit-Dagger” 1hp
I would have rather mentioned “Chaos Inoculation” instead of 1hp, but in case you’re oblivious to what that stands for; Chaos Inoculation grants you immunity to Chaos damage but also reduces your maximum health to 1.
So how can you survive with just 1hp? Well, to start off the CI node is located at the very top of the skill tree, and it’s going to take you a lot of time to reach there. Until then, your character will be ready for the inevitable.
This build focuses on high Critical damage and chance with substantial leech towards your Evasion Shield. Your Shield basically is the thing keeping you alive. The “Ghost Reaver” node will apply leech towards your Shield instead and hence, your high crit-damage will ensure that the Shield stays healthy.
As for abilities, use Lightning Strike as the main AoE skill and, Viper Strike/Elemental Hit/Double Strike as the main skills for single targets. As for “Flicker Strike”, spam it as needed.
Note that this build is extremely difficult to play with at the early levels.
Path of Exile Shadow Builds – The “Lightning Sparks” Mage Shadow
Courtesy of Invalesco, this is a relative easy build to follow and play with when compared to the 1hp one. Here you’ll be playing as a caster Shadow who will be utilizing an easy-leveling process, range, and of course, a good amount of damage.
To make this build work flawlessly, you’ll have to focus on two skill gems: Spark and Fork. However, since you’ll be main-ing Lightning as your main source of damage, enemies with substantial Lightning resist will be hard to kill.
Path of Exile Shadow Builds – The “Physical-Bow” Shadow
Putting aside all those Elemental and caster builds, Ashgod has a pretty popular Shadow build that focuses on Physical damage with the bow. That said, this build does depend on good decent gear. Hence if you fail to come up with high-level wears, chances are that you’ll end up being annihilated by the mobs.
With a total of seven frenzy charges, your character will be firing those arrows at an astounding rate. If you play your cards right, you’ll probably be able to dent in a bunch of arrows before the enemy even reaches you.
Your stable skills for a major portion of your game will be Frenzy and Split Arrow. Take on auras in the rest of the available slots.
As for Frenzy, link it with Fast Attacks and Added Fire Damage or Increased Critical Damage/Increased Critical Strikes. For Split Arrow, link it with Faster Attacks, Chain, Life Leech or the like.
Remember that attack speed matters a lot on archers.
Path of Exile Shadow Builds – Shadow Ethereal Knives Hybrid Tank
Another caster build, this one focusing on resilience and Ethereal Knives. You’ll easy plow through till late-game when playing the default Normal. Things will pick up from cruel and it’ll depend on how good you’ve managed to build your character.
Taking advantage of your bonus Intelligence and the “Lord of the Dead” node, take up “Raise Zombie and Specter” with your wand. They’ll be real handy in containing a horde. Perhaps add in a “Minion Life” gem too to increase their maximum health and make them more durable.
For your off-hand shield you have many options to choose from depending on your play style. A “Faster Casting” gem would be a must but other than that it’s really up to your preference.
As for your primary skills take up Ethereal Knives, with Mana/Life Leech, Fork and Faster Casting.
Don’t forget to share your own Shadow Builds with us in the comments. Explain your builds to make it easy for other readers to follow!