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Lost Ark Shadowhunter Guide (Builds, Engravings, and Tips)

Shadowhunter Class Guide – Lost Ark

Shadowhunters are an advanced class available to assassins that have a mixture of up close damage and ranged abilities. You’ll be playing around your shadowblades or transforming into a demon to quickly demolish your enemies. This class is listed among the best classes for both PvE and PvP.

They are one of the most beginner friendly melee classes you can play having a straight forward set of skills that still bring a lot of damage to the table.

You do have amazing mobility and short cooldowns on some abilities but sometimes you will find yourself waiting for them to come back up. This mobility is desperately needed, as you’d expect as an assassin shadowhunters do not have the highest health totals outside of Demon form.

If you’re looking for a high damage melee class that has a mixture of melee and ranged attacks plus some awesome demonic abilities then Shadowhunter is the class for you.

Comparisons to other classes

When it comes to Shadowhunters vs Deathblades – the biggest difference is the ability to access two forms with their demonic mode but they also deal great damage from up close and from further away at range. This makes them great for beginners and good for solo content.

Deathblades focus more on party buffs, high damage attacks and great mobility. They need to attack targets from behind so positioning is more important but they can pull off amazing combos when played properly.

Class Mechanics


Shadowhunters have two distinct playstyles with their normal mode or demon mode. In normal form you’ll be concentrating mostly on normal abilities and attacks. You’ll still build up your shadowburst meter but you’ll spend it on empowering skills instead of becoming a demon.

If you want to play as a demon then you’ll focus on filling your shadowburst meter with intrude skills as quickly as possible allowing you to transform and gain a new set of skills, more health and movespeed.

In demon form your skills are extremely powerful and they will also stagger and knock down enemies. You cannot be staggered yourself but you can still be stunned and knocked back. Once demon form ends you will enter composure mode and be unable to fill your shadowburst meter for 30 seconds.

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Shadowhunters in PVP rely more on their mobility and range even though they are a melee class. You’ll be looking to poke and catch players who don’t have their stand up or defensive skills so you can burst them with big demon form abilities.

You have a lot of damage and a lot of mobility but you don’t have huge amounts of health or push immunity so you’re not a frontline damage dealer.

Shadowhunters are pretty good in 1v1 situations but you’ll be fighting from range and dashing around a lot.

Most of your big skills are also skillshots so if everyone is dashing around you might have a few issues connecting your abilities.

Core Abilities

Demonic Slash

Your main mobility spell that also does some damage when colliding with enemies. The most common tripods will be things like Excellent Mobility, Nimble Movement and Chain Charge that all make you even more mobile

Thrust Impact

A burst of energy in front of you that deals huge damage before you slide backwards. Wide explosion, enhanced explosion and spectral explosion will give it some good AoE in front but still pack a major punch single target so you can kill bosses.

Cruel Cutter

Throws your weapons forward and deals damage from range. This ability is great in chaos dungeons and raids, bleed effect, ranged attack are quite common – and encroachment release will make it consume shadowburst meter to deal even more damage.


Another ability that can consume meter to deal more damage. This is a combo skill that can be used three times, the first two are just damage and the third also knocks back. Weak point detection, wave attack and encroachment release are all good tripods to start with.

Demonic Clone

Can be a combo or normal skill that brings out a demon to hit the ground in front of you. It deals a lot of damage but can also knock enemies up too. If you want to go for big damage take vital point hit, fist of destruction and encroachment discharge.


Deals a huge amount of damage and fears enemies for 2 seconds around you. Quick prep, law of the jungle and mighty roar make this amazing for clearing big groups of enemies.


Unlocks at level 50 and swings your arms in front of you and deals a large amount of damage. Quick prep, encroachment discharge and cruel hand will make this annihilate enemies.

Awakening Abilities

Gate of Eruption

Unleashes a gate of hell, dealing massive aoe damage and fears them. It continues to do damage and then explodes at the end of the ability.

Fallen Ruin

Sends you into the air and shoots a ray of energy at the floor dealing damage and eventually knocking enemies away.

Both of these abilities are considered viable though Fallen Ruin is harder to hit and can be wasted sometimes. Fallen Ruin is also only available to use in demon form so with a perfect suppression build you have no choice but to take Gate of Eruption.

Advanced Class Engravings

Demonic Impulse
demonic impulse engraving

Image from Maxroll

The first removes the composure debuff after leaving demon form so you can immediately start to fill it back up and get back to demon form.

This playstyle is great for players who enjoy the fantasy part of becoming a demon annihilating groups of enemies with powerful abilities.

You’ll want to pick mostly intrude skills so you can fill your shadowburst meter as quickly as possible – and you have tripods that can grant even more meter when you use them.

This is not the most optimal build to begin the game with but once you access higher tiers later in the game you will be able to have almost 100% uptime with the demon form.

You will want to try and go into the specialization stat as much as possible and use wealth runes where you can. Specialization keeps you in demon form longer, increases the damage of all your demon form skills and even grants more shadowburst meter from normal skills.

Perfect Suppression
perfect suppression engraving

Image from Maxroll

If you don’t fancy turning into a demon, your other option is perfect suppression that completely disables demon mode so you’re staying as a human all the time.

Your normal abilities deal more damage instead and you fill your shadowburst meter faster which is important because you’ll use that shadowburst to empower some of your normal abilities.

This playstyle is great for players that enjoy the human form and want to play around a dps rotation to bring it to its full potential.

Unlike the demon form – it’s a pretty optimal build straight away so you can enjoy this without having to go too far into the end game

Rather than specialization you’ll go for crit and swiftness as your main stats. This helps you with your movespeed and attack speed, as well as dealing big crit damage from your human form.


Demonic Impulse Build

demonic impulse build tripod

Image from Lost Arkive

The Demonic Impulse build focuses on transforming into your demon form as quickly as possible.

Later in the game you can do this in one rotation of your abilities which means you’ll spend almost all of the fight using Demonic abilities.

You’ll always try to end with Howl and then use Blood Massacre and Leaping Blow as quickly as possible after transforming.

  • Demonic Vision
    • 2-3-1
    • Your highest shadowburst meter generator that also has mid-high stagger damage. Concentrated Release tripod generates more shadowburst meter for players struggling to transform. Once you get enough Specialization and it’s easy to transform, switch to Quick Release to make the skill more consistent to land.
      Has a tripod that can be leveled for more meter generation.
  • Howl
    • 3-2-1
    • Second best shadowburst meter generator that also debuffs the target and makes them take more damage from you and your party members for the duration. Try to use this before you transform into demon form if possible. Once you can transform in one rotation, you don’t need quick preparation tripod for cooldown reduction.
      Has a tripod that can be leveled for more meter generation.
  • Decimate
    • 3-1-1
    • One of your hardest hitting abilities that generates shadowburst meter too. Cruel Hand tripod provides an extra hit that generates more shadowburst meter.
  • Thrust Impact
    • 3-3-1
    • Another shadowburst meter generator. Close range ability with multi hits so make sure you’re close enough to get the full hits and meter generation.
  • Demonic Clone
    • 3-1-1
    • Stagger and shadowburst meter generation. Chain Attack generates a bit more meter if you’re struggling to land but can be very difficult to land all the hits due to lack of attack speed. Switch to Fist of Destruction to make the skill easier and more consistent to use.
      Has a tripod that can be leveled for more meter generation.
  • Demon’s Grip
    • 1-2-1
    • One of your ranged abilities to generate shadowburst meter when you cannot get close. Stretching Hand tripod is better for raids due to more damage but Giant Grasp makes transforming in Chaos Dungeons much easier due to better meter generation against multiple targets.
  • Demonic Slash
    • 1-3-1
    • Is your movement ability, you can use this twice once you get to the third tripod.
  • Rising Claw
    • 2-1-0
    • We take this for a counter ability which is easier to use with the paralysis immunity and wider area tripods.
Stat Priority
  • Heavily prioritize Specialization.
  • All accessories worn should have Specialization. Necklace can use Crit or Swiftness for its substat. Just focus on using the necklace with the highest Specialization stat possible with Swiftness or Crit as the secondary.
  • Specialization is key for this build as it allows you to generate more shadowburst meter and enter demon form quicker. It also keeps you in demon form longer while making you deal more damage.
  • For the same reason as we want the specialization stat, Weath runes are the best for us to use on our human form abilities.
  • As with most DPS – Bleed or Rage work well on your low cooldown abilities in Demon form.
  • Galewind is great to use on your biggest Demon form abilities like Blood Massacre and Leaping Blow.
  • Demonic Impulse 3 is the most important to have at level 3 for the extra crit rate scaling so well.
  • Adrenaline 3 is an amazing secondary engraving that’s very efficient on Shadowhunters due to how easy it is to maintain 100% of the time.
  • Hitmaster 3 works well because our Demon skills do not have any modifiers.
  • Raid Captain 3 is a good engraving because Demon form gives a free 20% movement speed making it easier to get to the cap especially in the future when supports gain relic sets.
  • Grudge 3 and Cursed Doll 3 are both great choices for advanced engravings but have penalties that come with them making them harder to play with.
  • Demonize are the only gems that matter in Demonic Impulse build for both damage and cooldown. Everything else is secondary.
  • The rest of your options are more flexible as you want to ideally go into your Demon form after one rotation of abilities.

Perfect Suppression Build

perfect suppression build tripod

Image from Lostarkive

The perfect suppression build prevents you from transforming into a Demon but instead provides your normal abilities with bonus damage. You’ll be spending that shadowburst meter instead on empowering skills like Cruel Cutter and Demolition which deal much more damage than before.

As you increase your collection, using the meta for two spender skills (Cruel Cutter + Demolition) is ideal but until then, using one spender skill (Cruel Cutter only) is recommended.

  • Cruel Cutter
    • 2-2-2
    • Your highest damage ability and it is a shadowburst meter spender. Cruel Cutter should be the priority for spending your shadowburst meter over any other skill. This tripod set up is most effective against large bosses. Experiment with ideal ranges to use this skill since you’ll lose out on hits if you use it from too far away.
  • Thrust Impact
    • 3-3-2
    • Secondary DPS to your spender skills. Tripod set up makes does not generate shadowburst meter.
  • Decimate
    • 3-1-1
    • Secondary DPS that does huge burst damage even though it isn’t human skill that benefits from the engraving damage buff. You can switch to Enroachment Discharge for extra damage if only using one spender and don’t need the extra meter generation.
  • Howl
    • 3-2-1
    • Tripod setup gives it a party synergy skill that increases your parties damage to all monsters hit by the ability for the duration of the debuff.
  • Sharpened Cut
    • 3-2-1
    • Secondary DPS skill to your spender skills. Multi-hits make conviction/judgment runes trigger very easily with this skill.
  • Demonic Clone
    • 2-3-2
    • Good substitute for Demolition as a consistent damage dealing option until you are comfortable with your shadowburst meter generation. Chain Attack tripod does more damage than Fist of Destruction but the extra duration can make it difficult to land the full attack without sufficient attack speed so we don’t recommend it.
  • Demonic Slash
    • 1-3-1
    • Is your movement ability, you can use this twice if you go to the third tripod. A good place to put leftover points when you can’t put anymore points into your damage skills.
  • Rising Claw
    • 2-3-0
    • Works perfectly fine with no points. Leftover points go here when you have nothing else to level up.
Stat Priority
  • Prioritize Crit and Swiftness.
  • Higher Crit provides higher damage rotations while Swiftness allows for a smoother, comfier, and more reliable way to deal damage. Balance these stats according to your preferences.
  • Unlike the Demonic Impulse build you don’t need Specialization at all so we aim for Crit and then some Swiftness to make sure we hit harder.
  • Those Wealth runes we had in Demonic Impulse build are very important on Howl and Decimate to generate meter faster and make sure we never run out.
  • As with most DPS – Rage can be slotted onto low cooldown abilities (like Demonic Slash) to proc more often.
  • High rarity Conviction and Judgment are important for lower Swiftness build and work well with Shadowhunters multi hit abilities.
  • If no good Conviction and Judgment runes or you’re prioritizing Swiftness for cooldown reduction then Galewind and Overwhelm will round out your other choices. Overwhelm works well on Cruel Cutter and Thrust Impact. Galewind works well on Demolition and Cruel Cutter.
  • Perfect Suppression is most efficient at level 1 and shouldn’t go higher than that.
  • Ambush Master 3 is your best damage engraving to take because all of our abilities are back attacks. Just remember that this will force you into landing all your back attacks otherwise you’ll lose out on a lot of damage.
  • Grudge 3 and Cursed Doll 3 are both great advanced engravings but have penalties that come with them making them harder to play with.
  • Keen Blunt Weapon, Adrenaline and Raid Captain are all good other choices. Once you meet their requirements to make them efficient.
  • You want to empower your highest dps abilities so focus on Cruel Cutter gems. After Cruel Cutter then focus on your secondary DPS gems like Sharpened Cut and Thrust Impact as examples.
  • Decimate, Howl are great cooldown gem targets since they generate you shadowburst meter.

Thanks for reading! For more articles and guides, check out the rest of our Lost Ark blog.