Shade is all about playstyle. Without the 15% power talent working rn two handed weapons and wave clear are pretty bad. Also her ult only hitting once if you have a 2h or 1h equipped, but twice with dual wield is an issue. I have a lot of exp as Shade on Legend. It feels viable now, but can do with a few tweaks. Shade’s only issue atm is that Waywatcher is too good and Handmaiden is better for wave clear. If you play Shade right you should have no problem doing good damage though.
To play Shade you really need a good melee front line. If you have too many range it’s not very good (maybe after power is fixed). A tank Kruber or Bardin is perfect. Our comp is usually Kruber(Hal), Bardin (Axe+Shi), Sienna (God Staff) and Shade(Daggers). I mostly float around the back of Bardin and Kruber quickly moving in on Elites so they can keep clearing.
The most viable alternative to Glaive is Dual Daggers, and the playstyle with them is to stand behind melee clear making sure they don’t get flanked and helping with hordes. You sacrifice your own wave clear and survivability for Elite/Boss/Special killing and a bit of utility.
Flanking Elites whenever possible, Ulting Chaos Knights and quickly killing specials is your job. Being able to chunk Elites by playing smart and flanking when it’s safe is huge. The pressure relief from being able to kill a Chaos Knight inside a horde or just for efficiency is great too.
Stealth gives you huge flexibility during big fights and where your team feels like it’s losing. You can get almost anywhere and do what you like. I’ve been running off and picking up bandages, coming back and healing people etc. Using the ‘Shoot while stealthed talent’ is huge for this too. Killing specials in hordes is gamebreaking.
Bosses and patrols. As Waywatcher with Glaive, I can knock off one or two in a Chaos Knights with charged attacks and vs a Stormvermin patrol it’s easier( except for Shield Vermin, which are just silly rn). As Shade I have an insta-kill for at least one enemy vs Chaos Knights and my backstabs are way more devestating, reliable and safe than Glaive charged combo. If Bardin taunts a Chaos patrol, there’s nothing to stop you getting 3-4 kills on Knights and cleaning them up afterwards.
In regard to bosses. Only Daggers and Dual Swords are worth using with 2h + 1h being classed as a single hit and dual wield as 2. You’ll get 2 ults on map bosses and 1 on normal ones. Her Crossbow damage from behind is really good.
Shade’s main issue is that other classes are just so strong right now. BH and Pyro to be specific. They can both easily outdamage Shade on unarmoured bosses and their special killing capabilities can make Shade feel useless. This is where you would run Handmaiden or Waywatcher. I’m not sure that giving her a huge buff instead of tweaking her and other classes is the answer.
TLDR: is Shade viable? Yes. Is Shade harder to make viable than other classes? Yes, probably the most difficult class to play and get right rn.
I think the power bonus from the talent will fix a lot of the issues. (I have a big feeling that they’re going to do lots of class changes in the future too.)