Warhammer: Vermintide 2 – Shade Build Guide

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  • Career Overview
  • Weapons
  • Talents

Kerillian's third unlockable Career in Vermintide 2 is the Shade. This Career is the quintessential assassin class, allowing Kerillian to disappear into the shadows before devastating high-value targets like special and elite enemies.

This Career is much more difficult to play than Kerillian's first two classes, but the payoff is more than worth the work it takes to learn its intricacies. Below, we'll take a look at everything you need to know about this Career, including its general playstyle, weapons, talents, and some building tips.

Career Overview



Career Skill – Infiltrate

  • Kerillian becomes undetectable and can pass through enemies for 5 seconds. Her next attack during Infiltrate has greatly increased damage, and will end the ability.

Passive Ability – Assassin's Blade

  • Attacks to the back of an enemy deal twice as much damage.

Perk – Dagger in the Dark

  • Melee attacks during stealth will always critically strike.

Perk – Blur

  • Dodging after parrying an attack grants stealth for a few seconds.

Perk – Murderous Prowess

  • Charged critical backstabs instantly kill small enemies.

Perk – Grim Fortune

  • Increase critical strike chance by 5%.

General Gameplay

The Shade is one of the best Careers at instantly eliminating key targets like specials and elites. Generally, you will be in charge of killing these enemies while your allies clear hordes. Infiltrate is your greatest tool for safely getting close to specials before backstabbing them.

Additionally, the Shade has extremely high single-target damage, allowing her to deal tons of damage to monsters and bosses when they spawn. By stacking damage through the Hunter or Barrage weapon passives, you can quickly rack up damage before going in for the kill with an Infiltrate-powered critical backstab. This combo of attacks will deal massive damage to any enemy you will encounter.


Melee Weapons

The Shade can use the following melee weapons.

  • Sword and Dagger
  • Dual Daggers
  • Dual Swords
  • Glaive
  • Two-Handed Sword
  • Sword
  • Elven Spear
  • Elven Axe (Back to Ubersreik DLC)

As a melee-oriented Career, your melee weapon choice will slightly change your playstyle. The Sword and Dagger or Dual Daggers are best for what the Shade does best — instantly killing high-health enemies. Other weapons can still do this, but you will generally be clearing more horde enemies before focusing on specials in this case.

Ranged Weapons

The Shade has access to the following ranged weapons.

  • Swiftbow
  • Longbow
  • Hagbane Shortbow
  • Volley Crossbow
  • Moonfire Bow (Forgotten Relics DLC)
  • Briar Javelin (Sister of the Thorn DLC)

The Moonfire Bow is an excellent ranged weapon that has infinite ammo, but is locked behind the Forgotten Relics DLC. If you don't have this content, then Hagbane Shortbow or Longbow are suitable ranged weapons for your needs as a Shade. Generally, you will only by using ranged attacks to either stack power through the Hunter or Barrage passives, or when you can't reach an enemy to melee them.


Level 5 Talents

Bleak Vigour

Khaine's Thirst

Blood Kin

  • Melee critical strikes and headshots generate 2 temporary health. Critical headshots generate 4 temporary health.
  • Killing an enemy with a melee attack generates temporary health, proportional to the health of the slain enemy.
  • Using medical supplies also restores the health of nearby allies, equal to 20% of their maximum health.

For the first Talent choice, you will want to decide what type Shade you want to play. If you want to use the Career as a general high-damage wave clearer, Bleak Vigour will provide consistent temporary health to keep you alive during longer encounters against monsters and waves of enemies.

If you want to play the classic assassinate high-health targets Shade, Khaine's Thirst will provide large bursts of temporary health as you kill specials and elites. Due to these enemies' larger health pool, you will gain large amounts of temporary health back after slaying them, allowing you to stay alive until you can kill the next high-health enemy.

Level 10 Talents


Exploit Weakness

Exquisite Huntress

  • Increases critical strike damage by 50%.
  • Damage to poisoned or bleeding enemies is increased by 20%.
  • Gain a stacking buff that increases headshot damage by 10% upon headshotting an enemy. This buff can stack up to 10 times.

Cruelty provides an extremely high damage boost for your highest damaging attacks. This Talent will make the Shade even better at killing high-health enemies, and increases your overall damage more than Exploit Weakness. If you want to play a ranged-focused Shade, Exquisite Huntress can be a good option, especially when paired with the Hunter or Barrage weapon passives.

Level 15 Talents



Enhanced Power

  • The first enemy hit with a melee attack always counts as a stagger. Staggered enemies take 20% more damage, and each attack against a staggered enemy adds another count of stagger, increasing the bonus damage to 40%.
  • Staggered enemies take 20% more damage. Staggering an enemy that is already staggered adds a count of stagger, and enemies suffering more than one stagger take 40% more damage, and headshots and critical strikes deal 40% more damage.
  • Increase power by 7.5%.

The Assassin Talent will even further increase the damage of your critical strikes, especially when paired with Cruelty. With these two Talents, your critical strikes against bosses and monsters will deal extremely high damage, making this Talent much more valuable than Smiter or Enhanced Power.

Level 20 Talents

Chain Killer

Focused Slaying


  • Charged backstabs increase the power of the next backstab (within 5 seconds) by 25%, up to 2 times.
  • Increase cooldown reduction for 3 seconds after killing an enemy with a backstab.
  • Backstabbing an enemy returns 1 ammo. This effect can occur once every 2 seconds.

All three of the Shade's level 20 Talents can be viable options, and ultimately depend on the playstyle you are pursuing. With Chain Killer, you can backstab your way through patrols of elite enemies, gaining high damage bonuses for each successive backstab.

Focused Slaying will help keep the cooldown of Infiltrate low as you backstab enemies, and is generally the preferred option between these Talents.

If you're running a ranged-focused build, Bloodfletcher will help keep ammo in stock, but relies on you switching to melee weapons to score backstabs. Don't use this Talent if you're using the Moonfire Bow, as the ammo restored will serve no purpose.

Level 25 Talents

Blood Drinker

Spring-Heeled Assassin


  • Reduce damage taken by 20% for 5 seconds after dealing a critical strike.
  • Increase movement speed by 20% for 5 seconds after dealing a critical strike.
  • Increase movement speed by 10%.

Because the Shade is typically a high-risk, high-reward Career, you will want to play into your strengths and offset your weaknesses. To that end, Blood Drinker can provide a bit of damage mitigation after dealing critical strikes, which you will already be doing a lot of.

Spring-Heeled Assassin will allow you to do better at what you do best — moving around the field quickly to kill high-health enemies. If you can keep the effects of this Talent up when it matters, the bonus is twice as high as Gladerunner, but not as consistent.

Level 30 Talents

Shimmer Strike

Hungry Wind

Cloak of Pain

  • Gain stealth for 3 seconds after exiting Infiltrate. This bonus is extended by 1 second after killing an elite or special enemy.
  • Increase movement speed by 10%, power by 15%, and pass through enemies for 10 seconds after exiting Infiltrate. Infiltrate no longer grants increased melee damage.
  • After exiting Infiltrate, enter Infiltrate again. This effect can't chain off of the second Infiltrate.

For your final Talent, Shimmer Strike and Cloak of Pain are the two best options, and will slightly change your playstyle. With Shimmer Strike, you will be able to keep the stealth bonus of Infiltrate active as long as you can continuously kill elites. When paired with the level 20 Talent Chain Killer, this Talent is perfect for dealing with patrols of elite enemies.

On the other hand, Cloak of Pain allows you to perform a second Infiltration after the first one has ended, letting you take advantage of its bonus damage effects a second time, usually against the same target. This Talent is perfect for killing monsters and bosses.

Hungry Wind provides redundant bonuses due to Spring-Heeled Assassin or Gladerunner, and loses the most important aspect of Infiltrate — the increased damage bonus. Only choose this Talent if you want to move really fast.

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