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Diablo 4 Rogue Bow Build: Cold Archer

In this Diablo 4 Rogue Bow Build I’ll show you how to play my Cold Archer, which is a beginner pure ranged Diablo IV Rogue Build that focuses on Chilling and Freezing as well as Poisoning enemies so that they cannot attack you, take damage over time, while also taking increased damage from your Barrage. If you’ve been looking for a Diablo 4 Bow Rogue Build, then this guide is for you!

If you’re looking for the more advanced version of this Build, be sure to check out our Marksman Rogue Bow Build, which shows you how to play this at levels 50+. If you need help with finding aspects make sure to use our Diablo 4 interactive map, or access the complete skill and item database on the D4 wiki.

Diablo 4 Rogue Bow Build – Cold Archer

The general strategy with this Build is to power up your Barrage using the Puncture skill, and using the Combo Points Specialization. Barrage will fire extra Arrows, which deal more damage for each Combo Point saved up, to a maximum of 3, and Puncture attacks Rapidly allowing you to do this very quickly. More Arrows, equals more Chilled, Freezing and Poison to go around!

Diablo 4 Rogue Bow Build - Combo Points Specialization

Barrage is an excellent Marksman Skill because it deals great damage at point blank range as its arrows all tend to end up in the target in front of you, but also has modest AoE damage since its arrows spread out a bit more than Rapid Fire if nothing is near you. Arrows fired also ricochet around, spreading damage and status effects between more targets, which is great when it’s Imbued.

Using Cold Imbuement will make your next two Barrage attacks deal Cold Damage, as well as apply Chilled and eventually Frozen to enemies. Each time you Chill an enemy, you Chill them for a certain percentage amount, and when that amount hits 100% they Freeze and can no longer move until the Freeze status wears off. The more Chill percentage you can apply, the faster enemies will Freeze.

Diablo 4 Rogue Bow Build - Freezing Elites wipes them out quickly
Freezing Elites with Cold Imbuement makes them very easy to kill.

You deal 15% increased damage to Chilled enemies from a maxed out Frigid Finesse passive skill, and 30% increased damage if they are Frozen. So Chilling and Freezing them doesn’t just provide Crowd Control, but it also provides you with a means to dispatch enemies more quickly, which is why it’s imperative to do so as soon as possible.

I have also added Poison Imbuement to this Build, since Imbuement Skills have longer cooldowns than they had in Beta, and this allows you to spread around even more damage. Poison Imbuement deals damage over time, but it can also help to reduce the damage you take, as well boost your Attack Speed through the Debilitating Toxins and Alchemical Advantage passives. Poisons stack on enemies, so unloading with a Poison Imbued Barrage into an Elite or Boss point blank will stack a lot of Poison up on them!

Diablo 4 Rogue Bow Build – Cold Archer Active Skills

Each Diablo 4 Rogue Bow Build is made up of the 6 Active Skills they have equipped and changing these Skills can drastically change the way the Rogue Class in Diablo IV plays. In this section we’ll take a look at what Skills you should slot for the Cold Archer Diablo 4 Barrage Rogue Build. Your Skill distribution should look something like this:

SkillPoints Spent
 Puncture 1
 Enhanced Puncture 1
 Primary Puncture 1
 Barrage 5
Enhanced Barrage 1
 Improved Barrage 1
 Dash 1
 Poison Trap 1
 Enhanced Poison Trap 1
 Countering Poison Trap 1
 Exploit 3
 Cold Imbuement 1
 Enhanced Cold Imbuement 1
 Mixed Cold Imbuement 1
 Frigid Finesse 3
 Poison Imbuement 1
 Enhanced Poison Imbuement 1
 Blended Poison Imbuement 1
Innervation 3
Adrenaline Rush 3

The above list gives you the general order to invest in Skills, but keep in mind that you should prioritize picking up new Active Skills over investing in passives, so pick up passives later if you can get new Active Skills when you level up.

Puncture – Basic Skill

Puncture is our Basic Skill for this Build for a few reasons. First it attacks rapidly, and because we’re using the Combo Specialization of the Rogue, we not only need to be able to build up Combo Points quickly in order to get more use-ability from our Barrage Skill, but in order to apply its Slow on every third cast.

Second it has a decent spread to it, allowing you to hit multiples enemies with it, which is important since you want to Slow as many enemies as you can to not only keep them away from you, but to also apply the Crowd Control so that you can gain Energy from Enhanced Puncture.

Diablo 4 Rogue Bow Build - Puncture is an amazing skill for this build

Third, the Enhanced Puncture Skill provides you Energy when you hit Crowd Controlled enemies, so Slowing them will actually help you gain resources back, allowing you to fire off more Barrages.

And last, it applies Vulnerable if you hit an enemy with 2 of its 3 blades, which increases your damage against them by minimally 20%. But there is another synergy here, and that’s that Enhanced Barrage guarantees a ricochet when it strikes a Vulnerable enemy. If you make an Elite Vulnerable, and then unload a Barrage into its face from point blank, all arrows will Ricochet!

Barrage – Core Skill

Having used Rapid Fire for this Build in the Beta, I switched to Barrage in the live version of the game. I found that Rapid Fire, while great against Elites and Bosses, did not hit enough enemies for a pure Bow Build. It would be better suited for a melee/ranged hybrid Build, when you use it when you need some focus fire.

Barrage on the other works well as a single target burst skill if you are close, and has AoE if you are further away. This allows it to be used as a primary ranged Skill, since you need AoE to deal with large packs of enemies. Charging this skill up with Combo Points increases the number of arrows you fire, and the damage each arrow deals.

Diablo 4 Rogue Bow Build - Barrage is a the best of AoE and focus fire for a Bow Build

Improved Barrage makes every 3rd cast of this Skill make everything it strikes Vulnerable, and Enhanced Barrage ricochets when it hits Vulnerable enemies. This means you want to fire back to back Barrages after your 3rd Barrage if possible to hit Vulnerable enemies for extra damage before the effect wears off. Note that later on you will acquire the Aspect of Branching Volleys which will improve the damage of this skill markedly, but it’s not located until much further into the game unless you get a lucky drop.

Dash – Agility Skill

Dash is really only used in this Diablo 4 Rogue Build for mobility, as often times you need to get far away from a group of enemies, and it can be used to Dash through enemies as well, dealing damage. You can also Imbue Dash with Cold or Poison Imbuement, to Chill many enemies at once or deal damage over time, though I don’t recommend doing this if you can help it since Barrage is a much better use generally.

You can upgrade this later on to make it Slow enemies, which helps to facilitate Energy gain from Enhanced Puncture when used against Slowed enemies, but you’ll save the points here for now and just spend 1 on the main skill.

Poison Trap – Subterfuge Skill

Poison Trap has a delay before it arms, but then it deals Poison Damage over time to enemies that trigger it in a small AoE. It also Knocks Down enemies standing in it when it fires if you have the Enhanced Poison Trap upgrade.

And finally, the Countering Poison Trap upgrade has a 30% chance to refresh the cooldown on your Imbuement Skills when it is armed. This work well for this well because we use 2 Imbuement Skills. One tip is that you can drop the Trap, and then activate and Imbuement before it arms, and sometimes it’ll be instantly refreshed and you can still fire off 2 Barrages of whichever Imbuement you used.

Cold Imbuement – Imbuement Skill

Cold Imbuement not only changes the damage of your next 2 Imbued attacks, but it also adds 25% Chill per hit to enemies with those attacks. This will more than certainly Chill many enemies on the screen, but when used point blank on Elites it will Freeze them nearly instantly. And as mentioned before Mixed Cold Imbuement further increases the damage of Imbued Skills to Crowd Controlled or Frozen targets, making it more deadly with your subsequent Barrage than your first. And remember, Frigid Finesse further boosts your damage against Chilled and Frozen enemies.

Poison Imbuement – Imbuement Skill

Poison Imbuement is great against groups of enemies and Bosses alike. It deals damage over time, and damage over time effects, even if they are from the same source stack. This allows you to put a whole ton of Poison Damage on an Elite or Boss if you hit them point blank with Barrage, or spread it around a bit into a group of medium distance enemies.

There are some great benefits to having Poisons on enemies as well, such as: boosting your Attack Speed through the Alchemical Advantage passive, and also reducing the damage you take from Poisoned enemies through the Debilitating Toxins passive. Attacking Faster and taking less damage are both very important to a Rogue.

Diablo 4 Rogue Bow Build – Legendary Aspects

Legendary Aspects you want to look for are for this Diablo 4 Barrage Rogue Build are as follows:

Rapid Aspect to boost your Basic Skill Attack Speed. The faster you hit them with Puncture, the faster you can fire off a full Combo Point Barrage.

Aspect of Corruption improves the effectiveness of your Imbuement effects against Vulnerable enemies. This boosts the amount they are Chilled if you use Cold Imbuement, and the amount of Poison Damage they take if you use Poison Imbuement, so it’s worth getting.

Energizing Aspect is another to look out for. This provides you Energy when you use a Basic Attack against an Elite. This is more often than not when you have Energy issues, so this is great.

Aspect of the Expectant is also good since it boosts your Core Skill damage when you do Basic Attacks. This happens a lot with this Build as we rotate through 3 Punctures and then a Barrage.

Defensively, you’ll want Cheat’s Aspect, which reduces the damage you take from Crowd Controlled enemies, and Aspect of the Protector which gives you a Barrier when you damage an Elite. Mighty Aspect is also good, because you Basic Attack often, and it reduces the damage you take for a few seconds after using Puncture.

Final Tips

Fore this Diablo 4 Rogue Bow Build, be on the look out for gear that has Vulnerable Damage, Damage to Crowd Controlled, and Distant Enemies. Dexterity is also good, as is Core Skill Damage or any Damage to Slowed or Chilled enemies.

Caltrops is not a bad alternative to to Poison Trap if you want to Chill Enemies more. The Methodical Caltrops upgrade of it will change the damage type to Cold and will Chill enemies 20% every second they stand inside. This will boost your damage thanks to Frigid Finesse, and will also protect you. I just don’t like its long animation, so I went with Poison Trap.

Bosses are immune to Freezing and Chilled, and in those cases you want to use Poison Imbuement more than Cold, since they are not Immune to that. Additionally, the Exploiters Aspect can increase your damage against Unstoppable enemies, or those that cannot be CCed (like Bosses), so it’s worth checking out.

Lastly, Energy management is a huge part of playing a Rogue in the early going. Picking up passives like: Innveration and Adrenaline Rush can really help with your Energy, on top of the things we mentioned, so make sure you get these until you no longer have Energy issues.

Be sure to check out our Diablo 4 Wiki for any other questions you have about the game and the Builds page if you are looking for more Diablo IV Builds, as well as our Getting Started Guide and Best Class to Play in the Beta Guide if you are looking for more Diablo 4 content!

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4 responses to “Diablo 4 Rogue Bow Build: Cold Archer”

  1. curious as to why you wouldnt select an ultimate skill for this, is there a reason why?

  2. I was curious about using this build past level 30? I’m currently level 45 and you mentioned this covers the 1st 30 levels.
    What do you reccomend for stats after 30?


  3. In your build video you say to use Fundamental puncture but in the guide its Primary puncture? Is the fundamental puncture the right one ?

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