Everything you need to know about using Soul Shards in Season 25 of Diablo 3

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 Everything you need to know about using Soul Shards in Season 25 of Diablo 3


Don’t faint, but somehow we’re coming up on 25 years of Diablo. Where does the time go? In celebration of this anniversary milestone, the Diablo 3 developers have planned a unique theme for Season 25, with Soul Shards from the Lords of Hell (which would make a fantastic band name).



Prepare yourself to leverage the powers of Hell against its very denizens.



Diablo 3 Darkening of Tristram Portal



What are Soul Shards?



We (as players) have seen Soul Shards drop before! During the annual Darkening of Tristram event, the Red Soul Shard drops from the Dark Lord (aka — Diablo himself). This was the first (and only, before 2.7.2) legendary gem that allows socketing; it also provided a killer transmog effect that you can admire in our header!



The new Soul Shards coming in Season 25 represent each of the seven Lords of Hell. Players will equip a Prime Evil Soul Shard in their helm slot and a Lesser Evil Soul Shard in their weapon slot to “embody a Prime and Lesser Evil.” Sadly, they don’t seem to come with a unique transmog like the Red Soul Shard.



Unlike normal legendary gems, the season’s Soul Shards are only upgradable through Hellforge Embers (a new item that can drop from anywhere in Sanctuary). However, they are correspondingly powerful as they are ranked up. Let’s review each Shard’s ranks and unique powers.



Everything you need to know about using Soul Shards in Season 25 of Diablo 3



Soul Shards of the Prime Evils — Destruction, Hatred, and Terror



Like the Red Soul Shard, players equip the Prime Evil Soul Shards in their helm. Each rank follows a specific configuration:





  • Rank 0 — A unique power based on the Shard type.


  • Rank 1 — Attribute augments to % Life, cooldown reduction, resource cost reduction, % extra gold from monsters, and % experience.


  • Rank 2 — Primary attribute augments a single stat such as Strength, Intelligence, Dexterity, Vitality, All Resistances, or % reduced damage from ranged attacks.


  • Rack 3 — A second unique power based on the Shard type.




Baal’s Fragment of Destruction leverages a debuff applied to your enemies. At rank 0, killing your debuffed enemies reduces a skill cooldown by 1 second per death but can also reduce your health if the debuff ends before they die. Rank 3 adds a fire trail to kill your debuffed enemies:





  • Rank 0 — You move unhindered through enemies. Each enemy you pass through will be marked by destruction for 7 seconds. Each marked enemy that dies removes 1 second from one of your skills on cooldown. If the Mark of Destruction expires before the enemy dies, you lose 2% of your maximum health as damage. Marks are not applied if you are below 35% health.


  • Rank 3 — You now leave a trail of fire in your wake that slays enemies with the Mark of Destruction that are below 10% health.




Mephisto’s Shard of Hatred impacts your damage output based on the number of enemies in your proximity, while rank 3 pulls enemies into proximity (thus buffing you) on elite kills:





  • Rank 0 — You deal 15% reduced damage while you have 3 or fewer enemies within 25 yards. If more than 3 enemies are within the same distance, you deal 10% increased damage per enemy.


  • Rank 3 — Killing an elite enemy pulls all enemies within 40 yards to where the elite died.




Diablo’s Sliver of Terror ties your skill cooldowns to taking reduced damage and dealing increased damage at the cost of increased cooldowns for yourself. Rank 3 adds a slick damage AOE every 50 kills:





  • Rank 0 — Your cooldowns are increased by 25%. For every skill on cooldown, you take 12.5% reduced damage and deal 75% increased damage.


  • Rank 3 — You cast a devastating Ring of Fire after killing 50 enemies. Enemies killed is tracked with a buff icon.




Everything you need to know about using Soul Shards in Season 25 of Diablo 3



Soul Shards of the Lesser Evils — Anguish, Sin, Lies, and Pain



Players will equip the Lesser Evil Soul Shards in their weapons. Each rank follows a similar configuration to the Prime Evil Shards but increases different stats:





  • Rank 0 — A unique power based on the Shard type.


  • Rank 1 — Attribute augments to damage, % critical hit damage, % increased damage vs. elites, life per hit, and thorns damage.


  • Rank 2 — Attribute augments to single damage type stat — Cold, Fire, Lightning, Poison, or Physical.


  • Rack 3 — A second unique power based on the Shard type.




Andariel’s Essence of Anguish provides a boost to specific stats when you deal out poison damage. In addition, rank 3 adds a debuff, so enemies take increased poison damage when poison damage is dealt out.





  • Rank 0 — Every time you deal poison damage to an enemy you increase your cooldown reduction, movement speed, and damage received by 5% for 10 seconds. Max 10 stacks.


  • Rank 3 — When you deal poison damage to an enemy, they receive 50% increased poison damage from all sources for 10 seconds.




Azmodan’s Stain of Sin reduces the base damage you deal out, but killing an elite creates a pool with significant damage received debuff to non-elite enemies. Rank 3 adds a freeze effect to the spawned pool.





  • Rank 0 — You deal 25% less damage. When you kill an Elite enemy, you spawn a pool of blood that increases the damage non-elite enemies receive by 250% and lasts 7 seconds.


  • Rank 3 — The pool of blood now also freezes non-elite enemies.




Belial’s Dregs of Lies reduces the damage enemies deal you, but you also deal reduced damage. Rank 3 boosts this damage reduction based on your critical hits.





  • Rank 0 — Reduce the damage of enemies hit by 33% for 5 seconds. Damage you deal is reduced by 50%.


  • Rank 3 — Double the damage reduction enemies receive when you critically strike them.




Finally, Duriel’s Remnant of Pain reduces your chance to critically hit but grants automatic crits against incapacitated (rooted, stunned, frozen) enemies. Rank 3 grants you a knockback and stun buff when you move at increased speed. Class passives (such as the Demon Hunter’s Tactical Advantage) work wonderfully here.





  • Rank 0 — Your Critical Hit Chance is reduced by 15%. Attacks against incapacitated enemies are automatically critical hits.


  • Rank 3 — While your movement speed is 50% faster than normal, you gain passability. When you move through enemies you knock them back and stun them for 2 seconds.




Everything you need to know about using Soul Shards in Season 25 of Diablo 3



Which Soul Shards should you equip?



With 12 different combinations of Prime and Lesser Evil Shards, you’re going to have to play around a bit to determine what works best for you. Consider these questions:





  • Does the rank 0 ability take you to a grinding halt? Especially at low levels, the damage reduction of the Dregs of Lies or Stain of Sin could be the difference between successful leveling and a dead character.


  • Do you need a particular skill to best leverage the Shard’s buffs? We’re looking at you here, Essence of Anguish. Unfortunately, only Witch Doctors and Necromancers leverage poison damage naturally through their abilities. You can potentially find other ways to make it work (like weapons with Poison Damage), but this may be too much effort for an unknown return.


  • What kind of character are you playing? If you’re playing the ranged game, the Shard of Hatred can work against you; for someone like a Barbarian, it will be a magical experience.




I’m testing the Remnant of Pain/Shard of Hatred combo on the PTR. Playing a Demon Hunter with the Impale build means I’m making use of the gear that the Season rewards will provide, and I get up close and personal with my targets to get the damage buff from my helm’s Shard. I’m not sure about keeping the Remnant of Pain, but so far, the Shard’s buff works beautifully whenever I use Vault or Shadow Power and receive the speed buff from Tactical Advantage.



Patch 2.7.2 is on the PTR from now until roughly November 18. If you don’t get the chance to test, we’ve estimated Season 25 start is on December 10, so you don’t have long to wait!