Shade Rework

As someone who doesn’t play Kerillian at all, and only leveled her to 35 and played through all the Legend missions with her careers, Shade in my mind has the chance to be the most fun and interesting elf career to play - but not in her current state.

Since before 2.0, she was always pidgeon-holed into the same playstyle, and that was what Cloak of Pain is now. After 2.0, that didn’t change until Cloak of Mist debuted in its near current form, and together with Vanish made her incredibly broken and overpowered. Even in its current state, and without Vanish, it’s still an incredibly strong talent, that overshadows Cloak of Pain in nearly every regard. But most importantly, it’s boring. The nerf to Bloodfetcher, while deserved, also took away a layer of complexity from her.

The aim of this proposed rework is to fix the power level of Shade, introduce multiple unique playstyles that are roughly equal in efficacy, and make each talent row far more interesting than it currently is.


  • Level 30 talent row

This rework hinges on the ultimate talent row to determine what kind of playstyle you will have on Shade, depending on the ‘Cloak’ you will choose.

    • Cloak of Blood - Kerillian becomes undetectable, can move through enemies and blinks forward, passing through enemies. Melee attacks don’t break stealth, but no longer gain a damage bonus on attacking. Lasts for 5 seconds.

This is what I want to happen to Cloak of Mist - no 45% CDR, no 4s of guaranteed crits, no awkwardness with the first hit not being a crit and needing Vanish to work as an assassin from the back. The damage is already high enough when you consider Assassin’s Blade passive for 50% more damage, talent to increase it to 75%, and the fact you will still have around 20-25% crit chance. I envision this to be the horde clear playstyle that Shade could specialize into - an undetectable reaper from behind, who then repositions at the last second of her ult duration.
I also merged current Shadowstep into this talent, because a) it adds some utility and saves time going behind the horde, b) preserves the effort that Fatshark put into the talent, and actually makes it see use, c) is cool, and d) is fun.

    • Cloaca of Pain - Kerillian becomes undetectable, can pass through enemies, and deals greatly increased melee damage on her first hit. Hitting an enemy while under the effect of Infiltrate does not break stealth, and killing an enemy with a backstab reduces cooldown by 20%. Can only trigger once. Lasts for 5 seconds.

Cloak of Pain remains identical to how it is now, but with the added bonus of the 20% CDR from killing an enemy with a backstab. This is to add incentive to actually backstab anything less than a monster, like a Chaos Warrior, Stormvermin or Mauler, due to normally not needing to do so and being able to smash it from the front, which does not emulate an assassin playstyle. This has the benefit of not increasing monster damage. As it is now, this would be the single-target damage specialization, for killing high value targets like Chaos Warriors and monsters.

    • Cloak of Shadows - Kerillian becomes undetectable and can pass through enemies. Ranged attacks don’t break stealth, and gives some sort of ranged boost and ammo sustain, but no longer gain a damage bonus on attacking. Lasts for 5s.

A new cloak to replace the defunct and completely useless current Shadowstep. This would be the ranged playstyle you could specialize into, for assassinating special enemies from the shadows, and still doing respectable monster damage, depending on the weapon. Shade should have a ranged playstyle, since in Warhammer lore, they are hybrid ranged & melee units, and their signature weapon is the Repeater Crossbow, which Shade has exclusive access to. I would like some ideas on how to make this talent work specifically, however. What kind of boosts should it have exactly?


  • Level 25 talent row

I envision this to be where her defensive talents are located at. As it stands right now, the row is completely impotent. The primary talent that’s picked here is the 20% damage reduction, which I think is completely nonsensical for Shade to have. The other 2 choices are 10% movement speed, and another talent for movement speed that gives 20% instead, but needs a crit. Meme talents that few pick, but most importantly - it’s boring. Here’s my suggestions:

    • Shadowstep - Kerillian’s dodges can now pass through enemies.

Yes, this is Handmaiden’s Wraith-Walk, but hear me out. I think this effect fits Shade far more than it does Handmaiden, who uses it primarily to be an unkillable clutch career. The talent would be more dangerous for Shade to use than for Handmaiden, due to not having the stamina regeneration aura and stronger defensive abilities. Shade could use it far more aggressively, dodging through enemies and getting behind them, making use of her passive backstab damage increase, and most importantly - feel like an assassin, and not just a frontliner. Keep in mind she will have no other defensive talents to pair this with, no extra dodge range, no damage reduction or anything of the like. Still, a very strong talent, but a fun one, and hopefully not overpowered.

    • Vanish - When struck with lethal damage, Kerillian turns invisible for 5 seconds and survives with 1 Health. All attacks break stealth, and no damage bonuses are granted. Can only trigger once every x seconds. (like 60 seconds maybe)

A unique defensive talent. The idea is that Shade manages to slink away from certain death, emulating Gutter Runners who can smoke bomb their way out of melee if enough time is given. Would be hard countered by chip damage though, and definitely needs some feedback. Tell me what you think.

    • Spring-Heeled Assassin - Increases dodge range by 15.00% and adds +2 stamina.

A generic defensive talent without any special gimmick, for those who choose. Better than WHC talent I guess, but a basic +20% dodge range likely couldn’t compete in this talent row, so I don’t think this is that bad.


  • Level 20 talent row

The row that enhances her passive ability. A mix of damage, utility, and survivability.

    • Ereth Khial’s Herald - Assassin’s Blade is increased to 75% additional damage when attacking enemies from behind.

Identical as it is now, I don’t see too much point in changing this, especially since it’s likely this will be more important due to Cloak of Mist no longer existing with this rework and no more guaranteed crits insta-killing everything, which currently renders Assassin’s Blade nearly useless.

    • Bloodfletcher - Killing an elite or special with a backstab restores 5% ammo. Can only trigger every x seconds.

Improved Bloodfletcher that would hopefully be more useful. Disproportionately benefits Repeater Crossbow, and does nothing for Moonfire Bow or Javelins. Specific timer I’m not capable of giving.

    • Khaine’s Thirst - Backstabs increase healing received by 20%.

Yes, I stole the name of the tHP on kill talent, cause I’m assuming the Stagger & THP rebalance mod will get added officially some day. I think this is fitting for a Dark Elf career, who revel in bloodshed, invigorating them. Adds a bit of extra survivability.


  • Level 10 talent row

The damage row. As it is now, it’s a “pick your x% damage increase talent of your liking”, which isn’t very interesting to me. Here’s my ideas for it.

    • Flay - Enemies hit by melee attacks bleed for extra damage. Maximum of 1 (or 2) bleed DoT effect.

Yes, this is Flense from Witch Hunter. Regardless, I think this is a good fit for Shade. As it is right now, the talent would be incredibly powerful, which is why I’d want to introduce a cap for it (and WHC too). Thematic for a Dark Elf career, especially one that is Khaine focused.

    • Every 5 (or 4) hits grant a guaranteed critical strike. Critical strikes can no longer occur randomly.

Yes, Smite and Helborg’s Tutelage from Zealot and Mercenary respectively. Again, I think this is a better fit for Shade, seeing as it is a career that sort of specializes in critical hits. Don’t think it would be too powerful, since Shade already reaches 20-25% crit chance, this would let you control your crits and potentially use them in a better way, knowing they are guaranteed. This also helps with ranged, and disproportionately helps Repeater Crossbow wink.

    • Exquisite Huntress - Headshots increase headshot damage bonus by 10.0% for 5 seconds. Stacks up to 5 times.

Same talent as it is in the current game, but nerfed the stacks to 5 instead of 10. Shade has access to a lot of high finesse weapons, which disproportionately benefit from this talent. A more moderate 50% damage increase seems good.


That’s my proposed rework idea for Shade. Tell me what you think! The way I see it, this would open up at least 3 primary playstyles, which can then further be tuned depending on the secondary talents you take. I think this opens up a lot for Shade, balances her better, and most importantly, makes her significantly more fun to play, and makes the career feel more like an assassin.

One thing that’s worthy to note is Repeater Crossbow. It has languished pretty much since the beginning of the game in mediocrity, and even with the buff it received in the previous Big Balance Patch, it hasn’t seen much use since. Shade as it is now has little to no synergy with the weapon, despite it being one of the signature weapons of Shades in lore, and being her exclusive ranged weapon. Part of this proposed rework is to add some synergy between the career and weapon. The advantage of being exclusive to one career, is that it can be custom-fitted to the career pretty easily. Ideally, it should be better than longbow with a full ranged playstyle, but a bit worse than longbow in a more melee-centric focused role, for sniping specials without the abundance of ammo or power you would get otherwise.


Inspiration for the post was messing around in the modded realm with cosmetics, and seeing that Shade can look pretty cool:



Small little rant here:

Why did Fatshark focus so much more on reworking Huntsman than some other careers? In my opinion, Shade and Pyromancer need it so much more. Huntsman already has multiple playstyles available to him, he can use all of his ranged weapons well and buffs them each in different ways, he has multiple viable melee weapons available to him, and has some good talent variation available to him, unlike the 2 careers I just mentioned. Is it because he’s not as flashy or overpowered?

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Interesting read. I always thought that the 20% DR talent was the meme one, heh. It’s too little to be significant on Cata, given the size of her health pool. 20% movement speed on crits was always the pick for me, mainly because it made clearing hordes so much safer. They can’t really catch you unless you have an elf main moment and move back into the overhead you avoided a moment prior.

But yeah, I really like the suggestions for the Level 30 line. Right now I feel that all of the other elfs have been rendered obsolete by the vegetable elf, but something like that might actually make Shade interesting to play.

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Absolutely fine as is on paper. Maybe some galaxy brain would try and eat an overhead so they could go invisible to pick up a teammate? That’s the only exploit I can see. Maybe it would have some cheese interaction with the weaves, but that’s acceptable.


Oh, something to consider is taking damage fills ult charge. I’m all for more invisibility, but for sake of playing devil’s advocate: you take that talent, you int, you go invisible for 5 seconds, hit ult for 5 more seconds of invis, find the elite, eat him and regain much HP because of your Khain’s Thirst talent. The possibility exists for some reckless/suicidal plays (on paper), but would need to see it in action to know of it would work.

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Flashiness, pick-rates and making him more “accessible”
They achieved the accessibility goal with Keep it coming among other things.

As for Shade lore, is there any untapped potential besides stealth?

I suppose the 20% movement speed could be good, I just have a hard time putting a value on movement speed. Damage Reduction is always there and reliable.

The rework makes Shade as close to lore-friendly as possible with good gameplay in my opinion. They’re ranged-hybrid assassin type dudes with high damage output, stealth, sneak but low durability. Threw in some Dark Elf stuff like flaying people for bleed DoT’s and more tHP for backstabbing.

Hmmm. I have horrible doubts that this is an unintentional typo …

Not commenting on balancing. But I have some problems with understanding on some wordings. Could you help me understand the difference in

and

I mean one gives you the blink while the other one gives increased melee damage on first hit + potential cdr. I understand that part. But is there a difference between “Melee attacks don’t break stealth” and “Hitting an enemy while under the effect of Infiltrate does not break stealth”? As Infiltrate is basically the career skill, shouldn’t the condition of the second talent include the conditions of the first? Like hitting enemies (including ranged?) not breaking stealth should actually be better than the melee only, right? And you keep the increased damage. So I would only lose the blinking forward. Is this an issue with my understanding of the wording? In the second talent you specifically mention Infiltrate so I assume the detail I miss lies there. But Infiltrate is active during all career skill talents

I am confused.

No, Cloak of Pain works exactly the same as it does right now. So only the first hit doesn’t break stealth, and melee only. Cloak of Blood wouldn’t break stealth from melee attacks at all.

Hm, okay. Then the wording for the current talent description is chosen poorly. Hitting an enemy does not break stealth would mean to me that hitting enemies would not break my stealth. Unless hitting means by moving which is however covered by passing through enemies.

Anyways, I understand the difference in talents.

EDIT: Ah, I checked the description and I know now where the confusion comes from. Both descriptions - yours and in-game - have the “Can trigger only once” part. In the game, the only effect is not breaking stealth so it was more straight-forward for me. With the addition of the cooldown reduction in your description I refered the “Can trigger only once” to that and excluded in my mind the earlier part.

I have very little qualifications to chip in about a Shade rework, but I just cannot let this go uncommented:

Freudian slip?!

EDIT:
Ah, I see Adelion saw it as well.

Me neither, I literally haven’t played her in like over a year, and have maybe 20 hours total with her.

I compulsively have to try shade after every patch to see if she’ll ever be fixed and have the opinion that the current iteration is the most frustrating she’s ever been. Shadowstep is actually the only talent with no RNG interaction for Shade right now, it’s terrible.

There is another Shade rework on the modrealm discord that completely removed all invis and made her a 100hp frontliner that still inexplicably has her backstab passives and talents. It makes no sense and played horribly by removing all utility.

Your rework actually makes sense. If the class is going to be based around stealth and backstabs then they should do that. If they’re going to have a unique ranged weapon then they should have a reason to use it.

Devs, plz, why is Cloak of Mist still in game.

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A lot of this sounds great. The ult talent changes in particular look much more interesting than what Shade has now. I have limited time however, so I’m going to point the problems I see out before I go to bed.

I’m not convinced. It doesn’t hit worthwhile breakpoints to meaningfully increase clear speed. We’re talking reducing a 4 hit to 3 on a Chaos Marauder. This talent doesn’t get ignored because of crit instant kills.

This wouldn’t work. You aren’t just sacrificing a good pseudo-random crit rate by picking this talent. You’re also sacrificing the other talents on the row.

In case anyone is wondering, it’s an increase to the headshot damage bonus, not the total damage.

With Dual Daggers if you have a 100% headshot rate at 10 stacks with the charged attacks, Huntress is equivalent to roughly 40% power without any of the benefits of power and no damage on bodyshot, with a narrow timer, and in many instances far lower horde dps. DD has the highest finesse values out of all of Kerillian’s weapon.

You, I and no one has a 100% headshot rate, or even a 50% headshot rate the vast majority of the time. It’s realistically closer to a 20% power talent without the extra benefits of power. Nerfing this talent is unnecessary. There’s also One in the Eye and Deathnkell, which would just be flatout superior versions of this talent. This wouldn’t compete with a nerfed Flense. It wouldn’t compete with a 15% power talent on any career.

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That’s a possibility. I’m not entirely sure myself what advantages 25% more damage gives. But it sounds good.

Maybe. You think 1 in 3 would be better? Or would that be overpowered then? I think the latter is likely.
Honestly I’m not entirely sure it’d be that bad. The advantage for it is you could time your crits with big sweep attacks like Dual Sword heavies and cleave apart a section of a horde. It’s also guaranteed ammo value for ranged weapons like repeater. Keep in mind this would also let you phase out crit chance properties for other stuff, so that’s a slightly hidden benefit. Like stamina on your dual gaggers, or CDR on your trinket
I suppose one way to indirectly buff it would be to remove the unlisted 5% crit chance passive. But that’s just an option.

True. Do people think Exquisite Huntress with just a flat 50% headshot damage boost would better? Or keep it as it is right now and leave it at 10 stacks? The latter is more interactive and unique. Or should it be replaced with another talent?

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You realize this proprosed change is kinda just a much worse ranger smoke right? With no crit or cooldown baked in there and her not really hitting any breakpoints with her backstab bonus it´ll be really weak, especially since she cant make use of the level 20 row without it.

I suggest keeping the cooldown reduction since having the assassin go into stealth and hit things seems about right.


Problem with ranged weapons is to a large degree that many of them when enabled and free of their limitations become very, very, very strong. Imagine a coat of BoP´s with much more ammo and no need to reload a whole bunch of them after firing.

Now apply that to elf hagbane, bolter, moonbow, javelin or hagbane with barrage and consider that giving that to shade might not be a good idea.

And even worse is that a shade built for ranged business is likely to end up as a discount waystalker in effect, more capable in surviving in a bad spot likely but still just overall worse.

A talent that´s only useful when you´re supposed to die? How about i just pick shadowstep to ever having to end up in that spot if i am playing properly?

That´s not a good suggestion at all.

Just keep the dang movespeed booster here, it helps getting good ability uses off and getting to enemies before the backliners get to shoot everything. And even in melee when kiting things.

She´s an assassin, not a dodge tank or a fighter at all, she hits and then she´s gone or running away.

The problem with all level 20 row suggestions is that they are backstabb dependent. Backstabbing which you cannot do unless invisible or have a pocket ironbreaker you can throw out to distract enemies. Therefore all the level 20 options are basically useless much more consistently then they are not, this is a problem that predates vanish being added.

The only way around it is a consistently available stealth…like cloak of mist + vanish.

Flense is a problematic thing that already should not exist, lets not, no : (

Too abusable on weapons like javelin/spear where you can time for big hits or too weak on elf dual weapons. Elf dual weapons calculate crits/power boosts individually per weapon, like if you have 2 stacks of doomsight on SoT and use a dual sword heavy attack then both stacks are used.

So if you then pick this talent you effectively make yourself unable to crit with both weapons during a heavy attack which occurs pretty frequently in practice if building for it, especially with CoM.

But if both weapons crit it´d be too strong.

Huntress is already effectively on the weaker side to the point where it might need buffs rather than nerfs.

Overall i do not think this quite hits the mark, i agree that changes are needed but i dont think these are it, the only change i think was good was the one for cloak of pain.Simply because that ability is already kinda weaker than a GK holy stab and having a thing like that baked in helps shade compare.

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Would probably be little bit careful about the ranged stealth window because the 1.6 stealth had it, and it was pretty abusable at times. Otherwise I don’t have too many problems with ultimate talents.

Otherwise my feedback is pretty similar to what velsix already said.

Probably needs to be something else entirely. Its only really noticeable when you dps something like bosses and like velsix said barely gives any breakpoints.

Personally I don’t believe talents like this even belong to this game. Either you make it too good by making it proc every 2-3 attacks or natural crit will simply make it better with pseudo.

I would probably change the trigger from lethal damage to just taking a big hit instead. Something like how the old zealot/slayer damage reduce talents worked in the past but not as busted.

Rest I’m mainly fine with.

How so? RV ult is twice the cooldown at 120s, compared to Shade that is 60s. What breakpoints does it need to hit to be viable? You’re not forced to one-shot enemies, since melee attacks wouldn’t break stealth, so you can attack as much as you can from behind, and you’re still getting crit backstabs, especially with very fast weapons, or weapons like Dual Swords, that could one-shot an entire section at once. Shade already recharges ult quickly with melee.

And without the cooldown reduction, you wouldn’t be able to go into stealth and hit things? Seems nonsensical, 60s cooldown is middle of the road in terms of length, and melee would recharge it quickly. I will absolutely never tolerate any CDR on this ult ever.

You’re assuming a lot of things when I didn’t specify what boosts it would have exactly, precisely because I’d want feedback on this. I never mentioned that ranged weapons would consume no ammo like with HS ult, or give 50% ranged damage, or anything of the sort. There is also no basis that this ult would work well with every single weapon like Moonfire Bow or javelins, depending on how it’s done and whether it gives back only ammo specifically.

Except that you’re still Shade and vastly superior in melee, with stealth to get out of any bad situation.

And Gromril Curse is a talent that only works when you get hit.

So with this talent she no longer plays like an assassin? You have to keep in mind, keeping a career in invisibility 90% of the time is unfeasible and bad gameplay. This is a talent for someone who doesn’t want to bother with the gimmicks of the other 2, and still benefit in straight engagements.

Literally exactly as they are now, yes. Her passive is backstabs, and each career has a talent row that targets their passive specifically. Like Mercenary getting a talent row to modify his Paced Strikes.

Luckily, Shade has invisibility. And also Shadowstep to dodge through enemies and get behind them. And also just walk behind enemies when they’re fighting someone else. Or stagger an enemy and hit them from behind. You’re saying you can’t backstab unless you do these very basic things that you already can do with Shade, and would still be able to continue doing.

Are you saying the only way the backstab talents will work is if you have permanent invisibility? Man, you don’t need to backstab literally every single enemy you fight. It’s fine that you don’t get use out of your passive literally every single encounter. Mercenary doesn’t get Paced Strikes with a lot of his weapons, depending on the enemies he fights. Is that bad design?

It’s problematic because it’s too powerful. Add a cap so it’s no longer too powerful.

Literally the point of the talent is to time your hits. I don’t see how it’d be abusable, if anything there’s question if it’s not good enough.

It’s on the weaker side because 50% crit damage exists, when 80% of all your attacks can be crits with Mist Shade. Although I agree nerfing it is not the play.

You’re saying Shade’s ult is weaker because it doesn’t do the same damage as GK, even though Shade’s ult offers 10x more utility by going invisible and walking through enemies? This ain’t about him, does it have to be identically strong to his ability?

Well, what would you rather have?

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Poor comparison. It’s not unusual to go through a playthrough without ever going down (healing, temp health). Much less common to go through without ever being hit. Not to mention GC easily saves you from most disablers.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. This is why I never run kruber’s instant revive, which is more analogous. Why hold out for a bad situation when I could prevent the situation entirely with another talent choice?

Not to mention that it wouldn’t even save you in a variety of situations. (AOEs, multiple attackers swinging at once, nearby teammate attracting blows, disablers)

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I agree it’s not a great comparison. What about Zealot’s passive? Seems functionally very similar and I’ve never once seen someone say Zealot’s resist death is a bad passive. As with any get out of jail free card on some runs you may see no use out of it. Doesn’t mean it isn’t strong when it comes into play though. Cheating death seems the opposite of weak to me.

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Kruber’s revive ult encourages very conservative usage, might actually be good with something like FK “Hero Time”.
Resisting death & entering stealth sounds like a really powerful tool to me, even if it’s situational and/or doesn’t contribute to her DPS.

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I like a lot of what I’ve read. I appreciate the idea of putting more emphasis on the repeater crossbow, because quite frankly I never see it ; even before Moonfire bow and Javelin were in the picture I rarely saw it.

I like the row 30 : one stealth, one burst and one ranged seem like great, defined playstyles. I didn’t expect the ranged part and I don’t think it fits that much because most if not all of her focus is melee oriented, but I see no harm in being able to shift a bit of her power to ranged for comps where it could matter.


I also like the row 25, though I see some gameplay issues with Vanish : elf’s weapons are fast, and it’s easy to be spamming LMB and eat an overhead while attacking ; and then vanish is basically instantly cancelled.
That would be fixed by having a one-second grace period of guaranteed invisibility, or like @dannylew8299’s suggestion, rewording it to something more active like “taking fatal damage refills your ability bar to full, X seconds cooldown”.

Edit : It could also trigger when disablers grab you ?


Regarding row 20, I also like it, but I’d like a clarification on Khaine’s Thirst : do you mean “backstabs increase healing received for X seconds”, or “THP generated from backstabs increased by 20%” ?
I like the Bloodfletcher idea : it also doesn’t disproportionately affect the bows (1 ammo for Hagbane (0,8) and Longbow (1), 3 for swiftbow (2,5)), but giving back 2 (2,25) on the repeater crossbow seems a bit low… I guess it all depends on the cooldown. I also see a slight dichotomy in the synergies : ranged elf would take Bloodfletcher and Cloak of Shadows, but Cloak of Blood is the one that reliably allows the procing of Bloodfletcher. I think there could be some better synergy there.

Edit : I didn’t see the “ammo sustain” part of Cloak of Shadows, might not be a big issue anyway.
Edit 2 : I hadn’t noticed the Bloodfletcher text “on elite or special kill”. That feels a bit too restrictive.


Level 10 : a cap on flense feels necessary. Idk how it could stack in practice with DD’s inherent bleed for instance, nor with DS’s above-average cleave.
Never been a fan of replacing pseudo-random crits with definite ones, specially not on Zealot or Merc, but I do see the appeal here. It has to be kept in line so that Cloak of Pain with guaranteed crit doesn’t become too strong, but otherwise I like it.
As is though, I think Flay will be overwhelmingly picked.

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