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After years of waiting, western audiences will finally get their hands on Lost Ark in 2022. The game's closed beta gave players a sneak peek of Lost Ark's launch classes and endgame systems, giving players a chance to find their main class before launch.

Related: Lost Ark: How Long Does It Take To Hit Max Level?

Shadowhunters will likely be a favorite amongst many Lost Ark players. These shapeshifting demons are easy to play, have some of the game's flashiest skills, and deal immense damage. This guide will go over how the Shadowhunter plays, how turning into a demon works, some of the best skills and Tripods you can use, and we'll give a brief overview of the Shadowhunter's endgame builds.

Updated February 5th, 2022, by Charles Burgar: In preparation for the NA and EU release of Lost Ark, we've been hard at work updating all of our class guides. We've updated the Shadowhunter guide to include more information about Engravings, recommended skills, and we've made a few tweaks to ensure that your demonic assassin dishes out as much damage as possible.

This guide covers the western version of Lost Ark, not the KR or RU versions. Values listed in this guide are for PvE.

Class Overview

Shadowhunters, known as "Demonic" in Korean and Russian clients, is an advanced Assassin class that has mastered demonic shapeshifting. Shadowhunters dominate the battlefield with their pair of bladed tonfas, demonic-themed powers, and their true demonic form.

Mechanically, Shadowhunters have two forms: human and demon. While in human form, you utilize melee and demonic-themed attacks to harm your foes. Damage done with any ability will build up a Shadowburst meter, demonic-themed abilities granting more energy. When the gauge reaches 100%, you can transform into a demon temporarily, granting an immense boost to your health and movement speed while active. You also swap to a new skill bar, accessing some of the hardest-hitting abilities in Lost Ark. But beware: once you exit your demonic form, you'll have to wait 30 seconds before you can build up your Shadowburst gauge again.

Overall, the Shadowhunter is a class that's easy to play, deals excellent damage, and features some of the flashiest abilities in the game. It doesn't have the best group utility when compared to other specs, but if you love the idea of carving through hordes of opponents as a demon, Shadowhunter is the class for you.

Pros Cons
  • Easy to play
  • Demon form is incredibly powerful
  • Has two radically different endgame builds
  • Lacks Super Armor on most of its abilities, making it a tough PvP class for beginners
  • Demon builds are clunky to play while leveling
  • Human builds require more effort to gear

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Shadowburst Mechanic

Shadowburst: Damage foes to build up the Shadowburst gauge. Press Z when full to become a demon temporarily. When the transformation is over, you cannot build up Shadowburst again for 30 seconds.

All Shadowhunters build up the Shadowburst gauge by damaging opponents with their skills. Demon skills accessed in human form, known as Intrude Skills in-game, grant additional Shadowburst progress. When the meter is full, press Z to turn into a demon, gaining 20% increased HP and movement speed while active. All of your abilities are replaced with six demon-exclusive powers, most of which deal an immense amount of damage.

When the demon form ends, you'll enter Composure State for 30 seconds. You cannot build up Shadowburst energy while in this state.

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Related: Lost Ark: Gunlancer Best Builds

Best Shadowhunter Engravings

Let's dive into the Shadowhunter's class Engravings and learn which class-agnostic Engravings work best for this class.

Class Engravings

The Shadowhunter has two exclusive Engravings that both affect how the Shadowburst mechanic works:

Demonic Impulse Perfect Suppression
Composure State does not trigger when Demonize ends. Upon Demonize, Demonic Skill cooldown is reset. Increases normal damage and Shadowburst meter build-up for all skills. Disables Demonize.
Engraving Levels
No Bonus Effect +20% normal damage, +50% Shadowburst meter build-up
+15% Crit Rate while in Demonic Form +25% normal damage, +50% Shadowburst meter build-up
+30% Crit Rate while in Demonic Form +30% normal damage, +50% Shadowburst meter build-up

Demonic Impulse is a favorite for demon builds, allowing you to bypass the 30-second wait period between each transformation. The increased critical chance buff also enhances the strength of your abilities while in demon form.

Perfect Suppression is used in human builds that want to ignore the demon-switching mechanic. The enhanced meter build-up is invaluable for certain Tripod skill upgrades that consume your Shadowburst gauge.

Suggested Engravings For The Shadowhunter

Grudge Grants +20% damage to bosses and above in exchange for +20% damage taken. This is a meta pick for any DPS character, Shadowhunter included.
Raid Captain Increases damage by 45% of your Move Speed modifier. Both Demon and Suppression builds get a solid amount of Move Speed, giving you bonus damage.
Keen Blunt Weapon +50% Critical Damage for the chance to deal -20% damage. All Shadowhunter builds get some source of Crit, so this is a net DPS gain.
Master of Ambush Back attacks deal 25% more damage. Since Shadowhunters deal bonus damage with back attacks by default, this is a great pick.

If positioning your Shadowhunter proves too difficult to consistently land back attacks, feel free to replace Master of Ambush for Cursed Doll.

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Best Skills And Tripods

Each Shadowhunter skill is divided into one of four categories:

  1. Normal Skill: Attacks dealt from your bladed tonfas while in human form. Builds up a small amount of Shadowburst energy.
  2. Intrude Skill: Demonic-themed abilities used while in human form. Builds up a large amount of Shadowburst energy.
  3. Demon Skill: Abilities accessed while in demon form. These are also known as "Transform Skills." Unsupported by Tripod upgrades.
  4. Awakening Skill: Ultimate abilities with long cooldowns. Unsupported by Tripod upgrades.

Normal and Intrude skills can all be upgraded with Tripods, passive bonuses you select from the skill menu. Investing points into a skill will unlock Tripod slots. As the name implies, supported skills can only use three Tripod upgrades at a time—one from each Tripod tier.

Related: Lost Ark: A Complete Guide To Pets

Covering every skill on the Shadowhunter would take quite a bit of time, so we'll only be covering the best skills and Tripods in this section.

Best Normal Skills

Five Normal Skills stand out from the rest: Demonic Slash, Thrust Impact, Demolition, Cruel Cutter, and Sharpened Cut. These abilities are commonly used in human-focused and demon-focused builds, albeit with different Tripods for each build.

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Best Intrude Skills

If you're making a demon transform build, you'll want to use most Intrude skills since they build up your Shadowburst gauge faster than your other skills. But for those leveling or playing a human build, there are three Intrude Skills that you'll want to consider using: Demonic Clone, Howl, and Decimate.

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Related: Lost Ark: Striker Class Guide

Endgame Builds

Unlike most classes in Lost Ark, the Shadowhunter has two radically different endgame builds that are both equally viable. Demon builds focus on transforming as often as possible, utilizing the Demonic Impulse Engraving to remove the 30-second cooldown between each use. Human builds focus much more on using melee and demon-themed attacks to dish out damage. Below is a short overview of how each build works and plays. More in-depth views of these builds can be found in our Shadowhunter best builds guide.

Demon Build

This style of build focuses on using the Shadowhunter's demon form as often as possible. Achieving this will require two things:

  1. The Demonic Impulse Engraving
  2. Many Intrude Skills

Since you have to build up the Shadowburst meter first, you'll want to spec heavily into Tripods that increase your Shadowburst meter build-up. Some common skills for this build include Thrust Impact, Howl, and virtually every Intrude Skill. You'll want to drop at least one of the seven available Intrude Skills for Demonic Slash, preferably two so you can also run Demolition or Sharpened Cut.

Gameplay-wise, it's fairly simple. Throw out as many of your skills as possible to hit targets, building up your meter. When it's full, immediately become a demon. Throw out your flurry of short-cooldown abilities to tear apart every enemy on your screen. The human form of this build typically plays at range to apply crowd control effects and ramp up their gauge, while the demon form wants to stay fairly close to the action.

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Human Build

If the name didn't give it away, human builds focus on enhancing your Shadowhunter's standard abilities while ignoring demon mode entirely. This build takes advantage of the Perfect Suppression Engraving, disabling the ability to transform in exchange for stronger normal abilities.

For this build, you'll want to grab abilities and Tripods that utilize your Shadowburst meter. Some good choices include Demolition, Spinning Weapon, and Cruel Cutter. Demonic Slash and Sharpened Cut are also recommended for their great mobility. You can still run demonic-themed abilities with this build, so feel free to rock Terror and Demonic Clone for even more damage and utility. When played properly, you'll be dishing out a great amount of damage without needing to focus on your Shadowburst gauge as often as a demon build.

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Next: Lost Ark: Complete Guide And Walkthrough