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DiabloDec 23, 2021 1:00 pm CT

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

Diablo 3 - Monk - Red Soul Shard

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 (Diablo himself). This Shard 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 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.

Like Season 24’s Ethereal Weapons, Soul Shards can technically drop everywhere in Sanctuary. That said, the shards are more likely to drop from Act Bosses (excepting Vidian in the Temple of the Firstborn) and Rift Guardians. For Act bosses, the Shard dropped depends on the Act you are in (listed with the Soul Shard’s details below); Acts with two shards are a 50/50 chance on which one drops. Rift Guardians drop Soul Shards from the overall pool of seven.

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 Soul Shard’s ranks and unique powers.

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, or % experience
  • Rank 2: Primary attribute augments a single stat such as Strength, Intelligence, Dexterity, Vitality, All Resistances, or % reduced damage from ranged attacks
  • Rank 3: A second unique power pulled from a pool of three available for each Shard

Baal’s Fragment of Destruction is one of two drop options from Act 3 bosses. The helm shard 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 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 pool:
    • You have a 25% chance to restore 5% health when an enemy dies with Mark of Destruction active.
    • When you apply Mark of Destruction to an enemy, you increase your movement speed by 5% for 7 seconds. Max 10 stacks.
    • You now leave a trail of fire in your wake that slays enemies with the Mark of Destruction who are below 10% health.

Mephisto’s Shard of Hatred drops from Act 5 bosses. The base buff impacts your damage output based on the number of enemies in your proximity:

  • 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 pool:
    • Killing an elite enemy pulls all enemies within 40 yards to where the elite died.
    • Your Movement speed is increased by 50%. Each enemy within 25 yards reduces your movement speed by 10% up to 70%.
    • You now deal 10% increased damage for every enemy instead of 5% (to a maximum of 100%).

Diablo’s Sliver of Terror is one of two options from Act 4 bosses. The Sliver ties your skill cooldowns to taking reduced damage and dealing increased damage at the cost of increased cooldowns for yourself:

  • 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 pool:
    • Your attack speed and critical hit chance are increased by 5% for each skill on cooldown.
    • You cast a devastating Ring of Fire after killing 100 enemies.
    • If three or more skills are on cooldown, your lightning and fire skill damage are increased by 50%.

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

Players will equip the Lesser Evil Soul Shards in weapon sockets. 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, or thorns damage
  • Rank 2: Attribute augments to single damage type stat — Cold, Fire, Lightning, Poison, or Physical
  • Rank 3: A second unique power pulled from a pool of three available for each Shard

Act 1 bosses drop Andariel’s Essence of Anguish. The Essence shard boosts specific stats when you deal out poison damage.

  • 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 pool:
    • Your movement speed and cooldown reduction can be increased up to 15 times by dealing poison damage to an enemy.
    • When you deal poison damage to an enemy they receive 50% increased poison damage from all sources for 10 seconds.
    • Killing an enemy deals the damage done by the death blow to all enemies within 25 yards.

Azmodan’s Stain of Sin is the second shard option from Act 3 bosses. The base rank reduces the base damage you deal, but killing an elite creates a pool with significant damage received debuff to non-elite enemies.

  • 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 pool:
    • The pool of blood now negates Elite affixes within its area.
    • You gain an additional Rift Progress Orb when you kill an elite pack.
    • The pool of blood now collects Rift Progress Orbs.

Belial’s Dregs of Lies drops from all Act 2 bosses (except Vidian). The base buff reduces the damage enemies deal to you, but you also deal reduced damage.

  • Rank 0: Reduce the damage of enemies hit by 33% for 5 seconds. Damage you deal is reduced by 50%.
  • Rank 3 pool:
    • Killing an elite enemy reduces all your active cooldowns by 5 seconds.
    • On receiving fatal damage, spawn a shadow that prevents your death, restores your health to 35%, and grants +225 All Resist to all party members while it is active. The shadow lasts 15 seconds.
    • Each time your pet hits an enemy, your damage is increased by 0.5% for 5 seconds. This stacks up to 100 times. When you reach 100 stacks, stacks quickly reset to 0.

Finally, Duriel’s Remnant of Pain (the second Soul Shard available from Act 4) reduces your crit chance but grants automatic crits against incapacitated (rooted, stunned, frozen) enemies.

  • Rank 0: Your Critical Hit Chance is reduced by 15%. Attacks against incapacitated enemies are automatically critical hits.
  • Rank 3 pool:
    • Hitting enemies with cold damage has a 50% chance to freeze them. Cold skill damage is increased to frozen targets by 20%.
    • Gain passability while your movement speed bonus is over 50%. When you move through enemies you knock them back and stun them for 2 seconds.
    • When you critically hit an enemy you increase the attack speed all players by 5% for 5 seconds. Max 10 stacks.

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 may work against you; for someone like a Barbarian, it will be a magical experience.

I tested the Remnant of Pain/Shard of Hatred combo on the PTR. Playing a Demon Hunter with the Impale build meant I was making use of the Haedrig’s gift gear, and I was up close and personal with my targets to trigger the helm’s Shard buff. In the live season, I’m playing a Monk with Dregs of Lies/Sliver of Terror, farming gear for the Inna’s Mystic Ally build, and holy cow-level; it is FUN. I really can’t wait to see how high I can push with the complete set.

Season 25 is live now, so get out there and harness the powers of the evils of Sanctuary!

Originally published 11/11/2021. Updated 12/23/2021.

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