Warhammer: Vermintide

The Shadiest Shade – A guide

warhammer 1 - The Shadiest Shade - A guide

Here is my slightly redundant and not entirely perfectly optimal guide to building and playing Shade. Enjoy 🙂

~The Shadiest Shade~

Let’s build a fun and very shady Shade who will contribute greatly, both to your team’s but also to your own success!

Let’s start with talents:


Level 5: Shadowstep

In the land of lumberfoots, the dodger is king. While increased attack speed is nice, greater dodge distance really helps when dancing with the hordes.

Level 10: Hekarti's Bounty

Increased power is always good, even if tied to carrying a grim. On Skittergate, it’s basically free +15% damage for the entire level. The only exception is when doing Fortunes of War, where there are no grims at all. Here, pick Gladerunner instead.

Level 15: Mistress of Sacrifice

So… I know, I know, Bloodfletcher is better, and it really helps when using a weapon like Hagbane or Crossbow where you rapidly deplete your carried ammunition. But it’s also a bit boring and not quite as shady as stabbing rats in their backs. The increased angle of Mistress really helps and together with the +% crit chance on equipment you, 1/3 of your backstabs will instantly kill most enemies!

Level 20: Bleak Vigour

Getting temp health from crits is the best and most reliable way to stay up during intense fights, but if you’re not getting hit at all, by all means, pick healshare instead.

Level 25: Shadespirit

Normally, reduced cooldown on your sneakiest ability makes for a very shady shade, but if you are going to play Fortunes of War you might want to consider Shadowhunter instead, if nothing else but to stay safe from disablers and pick them off one by one.

On to equipment:


Dual Daggers, +5% crit chance, +5% Attack speed, Swift Slaying

Daggers are the shadiest weapon. Fast, deadly and perfect for stabbing things in their backs. Increased crit chance to augment our already high crit rate, and then speed, as much speed as possible. Some people say the Daggers are already quick enough, but you can never get enough speed! Also, the main point of increased attack speed is to have fast heavy attacks. Being able to get heavies in before a Stormvermin brings their glaive down on you is life saving. It also helps mightily when poking bosses to their death.

Also, don't forget how much cleave Heavy2 has. Stick it into hordes, preferably from behind a teammate or a corner.

Volley Crossbow, +10% vs Skaven, +10% vs Armoured, Barrage OR Conservative Shooter

Looking at pictures of Shades, it seems like they're all wielding crossbows, so I conclude this is the shadiest option. It fires fast, it hits hard and has… well it has ammo, just not very much of it. Don't waste your shots on hordes or even on targets your local Kruber has already got in his sights.

With +20 Skaven and +10 armoured you can bodyshot Stormvermin. This a great panic button when five of the are bearing down on you. One burst takes down most specials unless they are far away. But remember to reload, and don't waste ammo!



Necklace +20hp, -30% Block stamina cost, Barkskin

You're not going to push stab that much and dodging is preferable to blocking, so +2 stamina isn't that important. Barkskin is a nice life saver when things go south.

Charm +10% vs Skaven, +5% Attack speed, Decanter OR Concoction

vs Skaven to hit that crossbow Stormvermin breakpoint. Use Concoction if you are good and aggressive or Decanter if you like to play it a bit more safe.

Trinket 33% curse reduction, +5% crit chance, Shrapnel OR Explosive Ordnance

Run curse reduction unless you play Fortunes of War, where movement speed or cooldown reduction serves you better. Shrapnel is generally preferred for increased damage output, but Explosive Ordnance isn't too shabby either.

So, let's put all this together:



Take on horde together with teammates if possible. Dance around the edges while slashing and occasionally create space by pushing. Try getting behind your enemies to take advantage of your backstab insta-kill.

If you are well positioned, you can also use the heavy attacks against hordes. Heavy2 is especially good for this, but watch out so you don’t get massacred by a hyperdense cluster of fanatics.


Use the Heavy1 stab to headshot elites in the middle of hordes (they’re always taller than other enemies) or get around them for backstabs (very effective against Maulers). Chaos Warriors might warrant the use of your ultimate, particularly in tight spaces.

As mentioned above; the crossbow will take down Stormvermin in one burst, very nice when in a tight spot.


Let snipers in the group (if you have them) handle specials at really long ranges. Use your crossbow to quickly kill those who come close. You can fire 5 bursts at a rapid pace before reloading, making you very effective against multiple disablers.


Go wild with potions and infiltrate! Bonus tip: if you have lots of ammo, the crossbow deals pretty good damage against bosses.

Grims and tomes

You benefit greatly from potions, so let others carry the grim. Usually they do. Tomes are quite alright for Shades to carry; the amount of healing you need is entirely dependent on your skill.

Staying alive

Dodge and dodge some more. You have the dodge distance and the number of dodges on your opponents. Blocking is a last resort; you should never rely on it constantly.

Try using map knowledge and good positioning to get out of danger instead of relying on your ultimate. If you need to use infiltrate to escape, you probably shouldn’t have been where you were in the first place.

Stay with your team. You are most effective when you can pick your targets and aren’t forced to constantly defend yourself. Your team creates the opportunities you need to shine!

I hope this will help somebody have a fun time playing Shade!

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