Look Very Carefully: The Shroud Assassin's Handbook
This is the law of life and death: Nothing is permanent but impermanence. When even life and death have passed away, nirvana will be bliss. —Samurai Executioner
To become an Assassin, you must first learn to see. You must strip away preconceptions, reputations, orthodoxy, and see all things for exactly what they are: Mortal. To play an Assassin, you'll need to walk a similar path. Contrary to all you've been taught, this class has power, if you've just got the eyes to see it.
A Hard Look Within: Do You Want To Be An Assassin?
Many guides begin by singing the praises of their class. This guide will not. If you're looking at the class because you think the word "assassin" would look badass on your character sheet, I'd heavily suggest you refluff an avenger, ranger, or rogue. If you've been reading the class descriptions from Dragon, forget them. The Assassin is simply horrendously written, and what potential it has is, if we were honest, probably put there by mistake. But whoever heard of an honest Assassin? The class was written the way it was written, and if you're committed to playing it, then I will wring every drop of strength from it for you that I can.
This isn't to imply the class is without its strengths, however, it just means it's not easy mode. The shroud Assassin has many of the most unique character mechanics in the game, and if played correctly, it offers a solid damage baseline combined with very flavorful utilities and style.
Still with me? Then take a sip of nightshade, and let's begin your initiation into the secrets of the Assassins.
This Handbook will use the standard system for ratings:Show
Red - Garbage, or completely overshadowed by another option. Purple - Situationally useful, but overall pretty meh. Black - OK. You could do worse than pick this. Blue - Good stuff. You probably want this. Sky Blue - You want this. Period. Gold - Why haven't you taken this yet? A defining choice for a build, or even the whole class. Green - There is no way to tell if you want this.
The First Glance: General Capabilities of the Assassin
Control:The Assassin can have an AoE encounter power if it wants, and some of its powers throw out reasonably obnoxious status effects. It comes nowhere near the level of the Bard or Cleric in this respect, however, much less the actual controllers. What really does in this rating, though, is that most of the Assassin's best control options throw down giant zones of darkness that stop its allies from being able to hit things.
Damage Per Round: Assassin DPR starts solid, or even good if you take the right guild. You'll be jumping through some impressive hoops to keep it up in the higher tiers, however.
Durability: The Assassin has Rogue defenses and Wizard HP, which would normally land it a red in this category. However, the Black Flame Form power gives you effectively permanent scaling damage resistance, and if you're using Shade Form instead you're probably spending all your time stealthed, so the Assassin's real durability is actually pretty good.
Leadership: The Assassin does not play well with others. It has no real native enabling capability and some of its powers even making it harder for its allies to hurt its targets. Certain feat and paragon path options can raise this a bit.
Mobility: It's hard to keep an Assassin pinned down, locked in, or locked out. At-will teleportation is a core class feature, and you get plenty of attack and utility options that enhance your mobility as well. Your only real competitor in mobility here is the Scout.
Nova damage: The Assassin unfortunately does not really live up to its name in this respect, but it's not entirely slouching either. The class's nova capability starts out existing only if you manage to shroud pre-combat, but gets better by tiers, and its paragon pair of multi-damage roll single-hit damage powers are among the closest things to "one hit, one kill" powers that exists in the system.
Skills: The Assassin masters five skills (one of which must be stealth) and has a broad set of potential talents to choose from. Not quite up to the Rogue's level, but you'll be rolling a lot more often than the Fighter, to say the least, and can effectively fit in as fetcher, filcher, and face. This category earns a bump from the unique utility powers the Assassin receives, which are useful for skill-like functionality both in and out of combat. Note that if you do not choose Charisma as your secondary stat, you will be notably less good at skills.
A Look Behind The Scenes: Acknowledgements
LordDuskBlade invented this handbook format, so he gets his royalty applause here as always.
Alcestis and Alraune's bitter squabbling over the extra damage rules inspired the second look at the Assassin's Shroud power that made this guide worth writing.
##4eCO acted as a sounding board as I mused over the Assassin's content.
Visualize the Kill: The Underpinnings of Assassination
The Assassin class has four class features, three of which can be switched out for alternate versions and none of which are even remotely internally balanced. In keeping with its title, this guide will ignore the ability to trade Assassin's Shroud for Attack Finesse.
Short Version: select Assassin's Shroud, Night Stalker, and Black Flame Form.
Assassin's Shroud represents the Assassin's mystical ability to analyze the best way to attack a target. They are the Assassin's core damage feature, and the biggest thing which people have cried endlessly to fix about the class. Understanding exactly how this unique and oddly worded feature functions is necessary if you intend to build an Assassin that won't disappoint you.
"If you invoke your shrouds, the attack deals 1d6 damage per shroud, minus one shroud if the attack misses, and all your shrouds then vanish from the target. This damage roll never benefits from bonuses to damage rolls, and is in addition to the attack’s damage, if any."
There are five things to note in these two sentences.
"the attack deals 1d6 damage". The attack, not the shrouds, deal the damage. This is important for two reasons. First, modifications to the attack will affect the shrouds. Second, it proves that Assassin's Shroud is not itself an attack power according to the definition in the rules compendium, which would get in the way of any other free action attacks you picked up.
"and all your shrouds then vanish from the target". The shrouds do not vanish from the target until after the damage is dealt. This is important for certain timing interactions.
"This damage roll". Shrouds are explicitly their own damage rolls, and therefore their own instance of dealing damage.
"never benefits from bonuses to damage rolls". Alright, that means we can't add anything to our shroud damage, right? Wrong. It means we cannot add "bonuses to damage rolls" to it. This is huge, because it means shrouds are free to be increased by extra damage, vulnerabilities, critical hit damage bonuses, and all the miscellaneous dregs of the system that are not "bonuses to damage rolls". In short, if a source of damage benefits brutal barrage, it generally benefits a shroud roll.
It is clear that you recieve at least one additional damage instance. It is unclear whether each shroud is its own damage roll or if the shrouds together are a damage roll. Expect table variation on this. (My personal advice to DMs? Let it be per shroud, because otherwise you're removing all incentive to stack them and essentially castrating your poor stealth Assassin who took Hidden Insight and persuaded the entire party to hold back for three rounds so he could build up. The occasional one-shotted monster with preptime from a character named "Assassin" is a good thing.)
This realization will form the core of the Assassin's DPR optimization. If your DM rules that each shroud is a roll, it with also make you an excellent critfisher and nova character, but I won't aim my general advice towards that idea.
Shadow Step allows the Assassin to walk unseen paths from one place to the next, teleporting at-will as a move action. It's quite tactically useful and opens a couple of damage options at higher levels. They haven't invented a thing to screw yourself over by trading it for yet, so that's all I need to say here.
There are three guilds that teach the way of the Assassin, each of whose insights will grant you a benefit. Unfortunately, only one of the three guilds is competent.
The Night Stalker Guild teaches Assassins that fear and deception are key tools in the Assassin's arsenal, but more importantly, that dealing damage is a good thing. This guild gives a +CHA bonus to damage rolls against isolated foes, and should be the choice of all standard Assassin builds, due to giving a large and continuously valuable benefit from chargen to retirement.
The Bleak Disciple Guild teaches Assassins that the key to successful assassinations is gaining small amounts of THP each round. This goes about as well as one would expect. While worthless in heroic, this guild is black rather than red overall because there are feat, item, and paragon path options that can allow the Assassin to deal +CON damage all the time, at which point you've achieved close parity to Night Stalker, and the guild rider effect simply becomes a minor freebie to help offset your lousy HP.
The Executioner's Guild teaches Assassins to channel all their energy into a single devastating strike in each battle, rather than learning more varied shadow magic. This build has the opposite progression of the Bleak Disciples, being reasonably powerful in heroic tier due to the fact that Assassins Strike's extra damage is doubled by application to the shroud roll, but becomes a complete trap option at level 13, when you gain a single encounter power that does more damage than Assassin's Strike all by itself.
The last, and flashiest, of the Assassin's class features is the ability to manifest an otherworldly form once per encounter. As with the guilds, there is a clear default option.
Assuming the Black Flame Form enshrouds the Assassin in the black flames of death, blunting attacks directed at them and harming all who attempt to touch them. This form would already have the edge on a striker due to granting a free use of Assassin's Shroud as a minor action, but there's a trick to it: the sustain line's wording, "The form persists until the end of your next turn." is phrased such that it overrides the form's ending clause, meaning that for an Assassin with the patience to not attack between triggering the form and their next turn, the Black Flame Form can be maintained indefinitely at the cost of a minor action each round.
Assuming the Shade Form allows an Assassin to "step back" from the material plane, becoming difficult to harm or notice. It has strong utility for characters who wish to be stealthy, and gives the otherwise unattainable ability to hide in the shadow of another creature, but it cannot match the incredible power of the black flame.
Examination of the Self: Your Aptitude for Assassination
Before you can see how others must die, you must see if you are fit to kill them. The Assassin's skillset is both elitist and egalitarian: there are few born able to achieve the true potential of the Assassin, but anyone willing to face the great equalizer of death can unlock its power.
Short version: select Revenant, 20 Dexterity and 16 Charisma.
Strength: Strength is not especially useful for the standard Assassin, but can be important for certain feat qualifications so it should not be dumped entirely. Strength is also a potential secondary for niche builds, which will desire it at 16-18 postracial.
Constitution:Thanks to the Assassin's natural survivability and the terrible Bleak Guild, Constitution can be almost ignored in the heroic tier. For a paragon-tier Assassin, however, Constitution deserves serious consideration as a secondary stat. This one's pretty binary, you either want 16 postracial or to ignore it, depending on build.
Dexterity: Every Assassin needs Dexterity, as it drives their attacks, AC, and key skills. It will be a very niche build that starts this below 19-20 postracial.
Intelligence: The designated Assassin dumpstat. Some Assassins may want to start with 11 Intelligence so that they have a +1 modifier in Paragon.
Wisdom: As with Intelligence, multiclass options are the only reason to pay attention to Wisdom. It can be safely ignored, in general, but some builds will desire a starting 12 to reach 13 in paragon, and there are a handful of PPs that can justify making a true secondary out of it.
Charisma: The designated secondary stat of the Nightstalker Guild and the basis for all of the Assassin's "face" skills, this stat is pegged at postracial 16 for the default Assassin. For Assassins who've created themselves a different secondary, this is a dumpstat, while some chargers who've snagged a CHA-based MBA may desire a postracial 18 instead.
Due to their survivability, ideal stat match, thematic perfection, and ability to access the feat support of whatever other race they want, the Revenant race dominates the field of Assassin races to a frankly unfair degree. I'll fill in the remainder at a later date, but in the mean time, just know that the only two races to have fielded an effective argument for not being better off dead are Pixie and Goliath.
Meditation on the Past: Histories and Dayjobs for Assassins
The Assassin's path is not taken up for nothing, and few Assassins can identify themselves as such openly. What events in your life have pushed you to become a killer, and what is your public place in society?
Short version: select Sohei and Born Under A Bad Sign.
You're a low-HP class with a single key attribute. Born Under A Bad Sign/Auspicious Birth are the obvious choices. This is another section to be filled out at a later point.
Theme selection is much more competitive than many of other choices the Assassin must make. The default Assassin will find it very difficult to go wrong with Sohei, however, and that will be the standard recommendation until I do this section in detail.
Visions of Weakness: Heroic Tier Assassination Techniques
You can see death, or at least the path towards it, but you still have a great deal to learn. The heroic tier Asassin does have some attack powers worth using, but they're mostly situational and mediocre. The utility list will likely excite you more. Note that your most damaging at-will option will be charging, even with the loss of damage due to melee training, due to it allowing you to apply extra damage sources such as the horned helm and vanguard weapon repeatedly.
Executioner's Noose (D379) - This power does low damage, but it's ranged, and it pulls and slows. It'll do. Inescapable Blade (D379) - You lose your primary stat to damage in exchange for gaining two range and ignoring cover. Occasionally more accurate than Shadow Storm, but the damage tradeoff won't typically be worth it. Take this if you really hate the idea of making ranged/implement attacks, so Executioner's Noose is off your list for some reason. Leaping Shade (D379) - One of the worst-written powers in the game. Deals a tiny amount of extra damage for not using your striker feature. Do not take this power. Shadow Storm (D379) - Well look here, it's our first non-"bonus to damage rolls" damage booster. This power's rider effect deals "plus 1 damage for each creature adjacent to the target", which should add on to shroud for a not-entirely trivial bonus, especially if you play flanking buddy with your defender. It's not great, but you'll be using it a lot in heroic, so get used to it.
Gloom Thief (D379) - 2[w] and invisibility for a round. You could do worse, but this really isn't much. Nightmare Shades (D379) - Combat advantage is super-easy to get, and weapon attacks are generally preferable to implement ones. If you're a Night Stalker though, and you should be, then this is a power you take and sit on, as +CHA to damage rolls for a round is the best nova enabler you're going to have access to for a loooong time. Shadow Darts (D379) - While this power is nothing in comparison to the improved versions at E13 and E17, Shadow Darts is extremely accurate and has a high crit chance, since any of the three rolls critting will max the whole power. Building up a few shrouds and letting loose with this is a good way to try to take out a big target at low levels. Smothering Shadow (D379) - Deadweight, directly worse than Gloom Thief. If you're a Bleaker with a bunch of CON, it does improve, so they might want this for a couple levels in paragon. Assassin's Strike (HoS) - Not technically level 1, but that's where you'll get it if you make the trade. Assassin's Strike will hold its own through heroic, if you are allowed to count the extra damage per shroud rather than only twice is a better choice, but as mentioned, should never be taken if you're going to reach paragon.
Grave Spike (D379) - The +2 power bonus to attack for the encounter isn't nothing, though the ongoing is pretty worthless since any target you might want to use it on will shake the ongoing damage almost immediately. Strangling Shadow (D379) - Reasonably accurate at Weapon vs. Fort, but bad single-target control is not something the Assassin has space to mess around with. Targeted For Death (D379) - Targeted For Death doubles your shrouding of a single target for the entire encounter. The obvious best choice at L1, and sadly one of the better dailies you'll ever get. Terrifying Visage (D379) - Let's not mince words: this power is awful. It doesn't help you deal damage and it doesn't even get you any meaningful control, since you're forced to immobilize the guy right next to you. Ignore it.
Cat's Trickery (D379) - This power is great for ambushing people by yourself in an alley someplace, or scouting. Which is the nice way of saying it's actively harmful in party-based combat, because blinding your allies is a bad thing, and you should only take it if you have a cooperative DM for going on actual assassination missions. Cloak of Shades (D379) - Defense bonus that can maintain or enable hiding as a minor action. Not a bad pick. Converging Shadows (D388) - On the plus side, this is an interrupt and being able to hide midway through an opponent's attack sequence can be great. On the down side, this is an interrupt to targeting, so you have to use it before knowing what the enemy rolled, and Assassins tend to have concealment at all times. Distracting Illusion (HoS) - In rules terms, this power does basically nothing at all. However, it's a very open-ended effect, very easy to use, and you can crank your bluff up high enough that it will continue to fool people for a good bit. Basically, this power is like stunt rolls: as useful as you can convince your DM to let it be. Lurking Shadow (D379) - Mostly useful outside of combat, but has its niche for scouting there. Do be aware that the longest this (or any) power can be sustained is five minutes. Shadowed Legion (D379) - This stance lets all your allies use your stealth modifier for an encounter. Like Lurking Shadow, it's mostly useful out of combat, but it's notable for being one of the few bits of enabling the Assassin can do and for making certain skill challenges a piece of cake. This is another one that'll be situational by campaign type, but may be a good call in certain LFR adventures, for instance, or any intrigue-heavy campaign where someone decided to play Clanko the Dwarf Fighter. Silent Stalker (HoS) - This power lets you move out into plain sight while remaining hidden. Waste of a slot for the generic Assassin, but those who've optimized around stealth will find it more useful. Smoke Bomb (D404) - The classic ninja escape trick, Smoke Bomb allows you to react to an approaching foe by shifting your speed away. I would consider this the default pick. Summon the Mists (HoS)- You create a massive encounter-long zone of concealment... making your enemies harder to hit for you and your allies.
Army of the Night (D379) - On the one hand, this power does low base damage and is really situational. On the other hand, in cramped quarters having the elite get a bonus attack against all its allies is a really nice effect. I'd consider it mostly in a party with a controller who can mass-immobilize to force the trigger. Cloaking Mist (D379) - One of the Assassin's rare AoE powers. Helps people who like hiding, and thanks to the fact that your shroud damage applies to every target of an AoE attack rather than just the one you've been shrouding, the damage may not be totally negligible. Inescapable Shadow (D379) - You get to teleport 5 as part of this power making it decent for approach, but as with everything at level 3 you should really be taking whichever of Shadow Darts or Nightmare Shades you didn't get last time. Nightshade's Kiss (D379) - This power's accurate and combos great with level 9 daily Wall of Shadows. It's basically deadweight the rest of the time, however.
Heart of Dust (D379) - This power's actually bad enough to be better on a miss. Shadow Soul (D379) - This power would be great if you were for some reason fighting another Assassin one-on-one, and he were trying to run away. That will never happen though, so it's useless. Treacherous Shades (D379) - A lousy AoE attack whose only rider effect is combat advantage. Skip. Twilight Assassin (D39) - The only Assassin D5 with anything whatsoever to recommend it, this power eats your minor action each round for a flat 6 damage when you hit with it. You should probably take Grave Spike from level 1 instead, or heavily consider swapping for a poison if you've got a feat slot to spend.
Darkness (HoS) - On the plus side, this is a large sustainable LoS-blocking zone of darkness. On the down side, this is a large sustainable LoS-blocking zone of darkness. While there are cases this is helpful you'll find your melee allies hating you for using it quite a lot, which knocks its rating down a bit. If you do take this power, do have the courtesy to stop sustaining it once your allies run in. Darting Shadow (D379) - It's Silent Stalker, but worse and 4 levels later. Feathery Tread (D404) - Want to walk across water? Ignore difficult terrain? Avoid traps? Jump one inch higher? This is the power for you. Note that this effect lasts only until the start of your next turn for some reason, so if you're still standing over water when your next turn begins, you're going in the drink. Ghost of the Rooftops (HoS) - You climb or jump your speed without making a check. Highly useful both in and out of combat, and one of the reasons the Assassin is one of the most mobile classes in the game. The default choice for the level. Shadow Adept (D386) - This power would be a staple for stealth builds, except that it's an immediate interrupt and you break hidden on your own turn, so it's useless instead. Sheltering Dark (D379) - Creates a zone that conceals you and offers you invisibility until the end of your turn when you leave it. You have worse options, but this isn't a good one. Slayer's Escape (D379) - There is a power named Vanish two lines down. It is better in all ways. Slithering Shadow (D379) - Shift 1 as a minor action for the encounter. Given that you want your minors for Black Flame Form, this isn't actually an improvement in action economy, but even if you don't run BFF it's really not worthwhile vs. one of the encounter powers. Vanish (HoS) - Another escape power. That you have to be hit to trigger it isn't the best, but it lets you turn invisible and then teleport your speed, which means it's automatically a trigger for a stealth check as well. Solid.
Blinding Menace (DSG) - Everyone but the target can't see you for a round, even with blindsight or tremor sense, but only if you don't attack. In other words, basically always worse than L1's Gloom Thief. Captured Shadow (D379) - You get to teleport the target to a square adjacent to you of your choice, but not hindering terrain. It's hard to come up with cases where this is an appreciable benefit, but depending on what powers your allies have, you may be able to make a case for taking it. Echoing Threat (D379) - It's easy to trigger this power's rider effect, but the rider unfortunately isn't very good since it's just static damage. Shadow Jack (D379) - A perfect example of why designing attacks for flavor rather than actually doing anything useful is a terrible idea. This attack merges you to your opponent's shadow and gives them control of your movement, meaning they can jump off a cliff/into the acid vat/etc. with you, while giving zero actual benefit. Shadow Link (D379) - Lets you use your shroud against the target whenever you're hit for the next round. You might be able to milk a bit of value out of this by provoking a bunch in Black Flame Form, but it's not exactly a quality power
Black Garrote (D379) - Does no damage on a hit, but grabs the target and lets you sustain the grab for some automatic damage. Did I mention it does no damage on a hit? Bound By Shadow (D379) - Until the end of the encounter, the target takes 5 damage whenever you take damage. Feel like running around provoking on purpose? This might be the power for you. Otherwise, ignore it. Obscuring Shadows (D379) - The only good part about this power is that's it's Weapon vs. Will and therefore quite accurate. The rider effect, the target "cannot see you (save ends)" is going to be useful compared to normal stealth maybe once in your career. Wall of Shadows (D379) - Finally, a power to not be ashamed of! Wall of Shadow may be unfriendly, even to yourself, but it has a genuinely useful effect and can rack up some very nice quantities of bonus damage if you or your allies possess forced movement abilities. Please take this one.
Darkening Veil (D388) - Sets up a sustainable zone of concealment which you can retreat to whenever you're damaged. I honestly have no idea why anyone would write this power, but it does exist. Death Mark (HoS) - For the rest of the day, you know which way and how far off a creature that was previously within 25' of you is now. Another in the set of Assassin powers that are only useful if your campaign says they are, though it seems to me you should have just killed the guy when you were within 25'. Eyes Unseen (HoS) - Until the end of your next turn, you can see and hear as if you were in a square on the other side of a wall. Mostly an out of combat and highly DM-dependent power, especially given that a round has no defined length out of combat, though it'll also let you avoid zones of darkness, etc. so it's not entirely green. Mist Walk (D379) - Daily shift 6 with phasing. Thoroughly mediocre, though phasing can break certain encounters. Promise of Retribution (D379) - IR teleport that also lets you set up an AP nova against the target at +2/+5. Not bad, actually, especially when Flurry of Talons shows up in three levels, just don't look up Armathor's Step or you'll probably get angry. Seeker of Shadow (D379) - This great encounter power was unfortunately printed as a weak daily instead. It only gives you +4 to your first damage roll, or it could still be worthwhile, but as is it's mostly just a waste of a nice mechanical concept. Slayer's Endurance (D379)- This power gives you some non-scaling temporary hitpoints for invoking your shrouds. 20 THP is actually pretty decent when you first get access to this power (probably exceeding your surge value), just be ready to retrain it in a few levels. Vaporous Step (D386) - This oddball power is actually a leader one, and essentially lets you get a miniature Reorient The Axis every round for an encounter. Another power where I have no clue why it was printed, but it's not a bad effect. Veil of a Thousand Faces (D404) - This power requires a class feature you don't have, so you can't actually use it. Walk Through Shadow (HoS) - Five square teleport without the need for LoS. With its combination of out of combat and combat utility, this is your default choice for the level.
Scouring the World's Secrets: Multiclass and Paragon Path Options for Assassins
As an Assassin enters the paragon tier, they're faced with a conundrum: what to MC? The Assassin's in-class PPs are miserable, so it's nigh-obligatory to look outside the class for more damage here. I'll be arranging paths by the secondary stat they require, if any, and listing the requirements and source.
The idea behind this paragon path appears to have been letting the hybrid Avenger|Assassin have a power that it could use both shrouds and oath on simultaneously. Unfortunately, that was a terrible idea. The only element on this path that beats red for the Assassin is the U12, of all things. And that's just black.
This paragon path is focused on shadow step and teleportation augmentation, and comes from the same article as the utterly baffling Gloaming Call and Darkening Veil. None of the powers or features do anything helpful for you, and amusingly enough, the F16 is much much worse than a heroic feat.
All this path has to offer is combat advantage, which you already have in perpetuum, darkvision, which you can get for a feat if you really want it so much, and the ability to create mundane throwing swords from thin air, which locks you to ki focus enchants which aren't very good. In other words, possibly worse than not taking a paragon path.
With a good half of its features actually dedicated to doing more damage, I'm almost tempted to give this one a purple for effort. Unfortunately, the mechanic this path tries to use requires you personally kill things and the damage bonuses it gives aren't large enough to actually enable you to do so. Not only is it still red, but it's a trap option because it looks OK at first glance.
Another path that's at least trying. However, poison damage is terrible, and the bonuses this path gives out as a once per encounter spike are available constantly on other paths. So, again, it's still red.
Strength-Secondary Paragon Paths
Gladiator Champion (Fighter or Gladiator Theme, DSCS)
Feel like making ranged basic attacks every turn? No? You do now. This path's F11 lets you throw one-handed weapons (which probably means the rapier here), gives you a +2 to attack when you make RBAs against creatures adjacent to your allies, and has you deal +CON extra damage with those RBAs. The F16 is a leader feature that gives a ranged ally +CON to damage once per round. The powers are basically chaff, but this is a strong choice nonetheless.
+1 attack and +CON to all damage from your lightning and thunder powers, including the shrouds since it's not a "bonus to damage rolls", and gets its big kick at 11. The powers even offer some decent effects and are on a stat you can attack with. The only downsides to this path are that you're locked in to a lightning weapon to use it and that Mark of Storm may be a hard sell to your DM. A prime choice.
Soaring Blade (Monk with Acrobatics training, PsiPow)Show
Multi-instance attacks, favors heavy blades, adds typed damage without eating your enchantment, provides bonuses to mobility... put simply, every single feature of this path appears to be tailor-made for Assassins, and it's verging on gold for the CON build. The sole downside to it is that you do have to wait until 16 for the CON extra cold damage to kick in.
No-Secondary Paragon Paths
Academy Master (Any Arcane and functionally Half-Elf, D374)
Say, want to be a warrior of Pelor and run around hitting people with a shining holy blade? No? What if I gave you 20+ DPR for doing it? This path is basically chaff for you, except that the F16 gives your enemies vulnerable 10 to radiant on a hit, which will kick at least twice on your shroud attacks, and at least 4(!!!) times on Shadow Fire and Flurry of Talons. Note that while this is technically a no-secondary path, CON-secondaries get even more out of it due to the existence of Pelor's Boon, which stacks with this path to the tune of +CON to everything you ever do. Overall, an antithematic but supremely powerful choice.
Mithral Arm (Dragonborn, D385)
Thuranni Shadow-Killer (Mark of Shadow, EPG)
Rrathmal (Githzerai, PHB3)
Wisdom-Secondary Paragon Paths
Blade Banshee (Eladrin Ranger, MP1)
Darkstrider (Ranger, MP2)
Moonstalker (Shifter, PHB2)
Charisma-Secondary Paragon Paths
Arena Champion (Any Martial and an arena fighting feat, Dragon Annual)Show
This path can get you 4ish free action basic attacks per encounter when you hit 16, though you'll have to build towards it. There's a whole miniguide explaining why this path is good, so I'll just link to that.
Dusk Oracle (Religion and Perception Training, HoS)Show
This PP has awful skill training requirements and the features are pretty worthless for combat. However, it does give you the ability to ask any corpse 1 question which it must answer truthfully, which some people are probably willing to ditch a lot of combat effectiveness for, so I'll mention it here anyway. On the combat side, the AP feature is good on your triple-rolls, and the E11 is just passable thanks to adding extra damage. The utility power is quite good out of combat. So while this is a genuinely bad option as far as killing things goes, I'm sure some of you will want it anyway. Just make sure that if you take this, you also convince everyone in the party to take Lasting Frost so things don't drag too much.
This path is the default pick for the standard Assassin for two reasons. First, the F16's ability to ping vulnerability and slow with Shadow Step is quite useful. Second, the AP feature is incredible: "When you spend an action point, make an attack that has the cold keyword" gives you an extra attack in addition to the one you'll get by using the action the AP granted, letting you throw out three standard action attacks in a turn. (Presumably Nightmare Shades followed by Flurry of Talons and Shadow Fire.)
The pipedream PP is +1 attack per round at-will, so much so that Kulkor Arms Master was nearly gold for everyone back when that worked. Voice of Thunder's miraculously bad writing gives you exactly that benefit, and straight from level 11, though in a kinda weird way: the E11, Rolling Echo, says that if you hit, you repeat the attack at the start of your next turn as a free action. Since this is on the hit line, the RAW is indisputably that if you hit the next turn, you get to repeat it on the turn after as a free action as well! Add in that the power is friendly, that thunder damage has nice support for accuracy and size boosting, that it's on a stat you like anyway, and that your shrouds will apply to the whole thing (assuming you shroud at the end of each turn), and the only things not to like about this PP are that it's kind of ridiculously antithematic to be a constantly shouting Assassin and that a Sorcerer would do it better.
Visions of Death: Paragon-Tier Assassination Techniques
It's taken patience and hardship to make it this far, but the efforts have finally payed off: you truly see death. At paragon tier, the Assassin gets dramatically better at damage dealing, thanks to two key encounter powers and the ability to start applying vulnerabilities multiple times per round.
Dark Step Ambush (D379) - An upgraded version of Inescapable Shadow that also turns you invisible. There's no reason to take this. Flurry of Talons (D379)- And here we are, the first real striker power that the Assassin gets, and it's a nasty one. Remember Shadow Darts, which was three rolls and dealt one of 1d8, 2d8, or 3d8 depending on how many times you hit? Well, this one deals 1d8, 2d8, and 3d8 depending on how many times you hit. In other words, it's Storm of Blows, but with the ability to make all three hits crit at the same time if you're lucky and it lets you fly 5 squares beforehand. Slayer in the Dark (D379) - Upgraded version of Army of the Night with a slightly different trigger. No reason to take this power. Spectral Assailants (D388) - One of the game's few double-red powers, in that this power would be red thanks to being straight worse than Well of Shades even if Flurry of Talons didn't exist. There is truly no reason to take this power. Well of Shades (D379) - Yes, you read that right. It's Come And Get It, but on the Assassin. It can be good set up for your allies, but ignore this for now and take another look at it when you hit 23. Technically there might be a hybrid defender build someplace that wants this at 13?
Bleak Gallows (D379) - Technically, you can use this power to attempt to drop the target from the sky or into a trap of some sort each round, if height and terrain permit, but it's pretty well worthless otherwise. Blood Shadows (D388) - This gem of a power conjures you some shadowy spectators to sit around and do nothing of interest. Don't take it. Death's Doorstep (D379) - This power gives you a minor consolation prize for missing until the end of the encounter. Unfortunately for it, missing is neither something you want to nor will be doing much, making it a waste of print. Shade Venom (D379) - This power's ability to force the target to attack itself once per round (save ends) is delayed, situational, and pretty useless against the targets you want that sort of effect on the most, but it's still sort of a double-hitter, so it's not quite red. Sundered Shadow (D379) - An upgraded version of Grave Spike, though unlike Grave Spike, you'll have to hit the target to get the bonus to attack. The ability to make melee attacks against the guy without him being adjacent is interesting but won't come up often, if you can persuade your DM to apply it to Opportunity Attack (Range: Melee 1) to have threatening reach against the target, then this power gets better.
Assassin's Defense (D379) - Essentially an upgrade of Converging Shadows, this power has a better trigger, gives a defense bonus rather than concealment, and turns you invisible EoNT. Only +2 to defenses though, and only works if your shroud target attacks you, so it's not really worthy of U16. Gloaming Call (D388) - This is basically an upgrade to Darkening Veil, letting you have a similar effect in every encounter but costing an IR rather than a free action. Why would would want, or anyone would write, this type of effect still baffles me. Liquid Shadow (D379) - Another on-hit interrupt, this one makes you take half damage. The rider effect is just odd, letting you teleport adjacent to the person who hit you at the end of their turn. Good when ambushed and against artillery though. Shadow Meld (D379) - You shift two squares and no enemy can attack, see, or effect you until the start of your next turn. One of the best effects for bailing yourself out that exists, but you have to use it on your own turn, which is usually not the time that you discover that you need to be getting the hell out of dodge, so its actual power is pretty low relative to its nominal effects. Thief of Names (D379) - There is a combat aspect to this power, and it's decent, but the main strength of this power is out of combat utility. Is the ability to impersonate a specific individual useful to you? Then this power is awesome. If you're in a dungeon crawl, it's pretty worthless. Untraceable Step (HoS) - Turn invisible, move your speed, stay invisible EoNT. Pretty lackluster for all but the stealth junkies, considering the amount of teleportation you already should have by this level.
Mob of Shadows (D379) - A vanilla attack with a weird static damage zone effect attached. Ignore it. Shadow Fire (D379)- It's Flurry of Talons, but weapon rather than implement and you turn invisible rather than flying beforehand. Another crucial autopick. Shadow Knives (D388)- This is a rather odd power, in that it doesn't do anything the turn you use it but is essentially a delayed AoE effect, letting you attack all your enemies in the zone as they start their turns. If you take this at 17, you're severely doing it wrong, but it deserves a hard look at 23, because mass dazed+slowed+blinded is some very nice control. Shadowed Deception (D379) - The rider effect on this power is "the target cannot attack you until the end of your next turn". You know who else can't attack you? People who are dead because you used Shadow Fire on them. Worthless. Traitorous Shadow (D379) - Don't take this power. It doesn't do anything useful. It's not even weapon vs. NAD like most of the other really terrible Assassin powers have the grace to be.
Consign to Shadow (D379) - You pick a priority target and make your allies useless against it by giving it encounter-long insubstantial. Yeah. Executioner's Blade (D379) - The rider effect on this one, maximized shroud damage, may look nice, but it's only worth 3-4 damage per shroud since only a small piece of each shroud's damage is actually rolled. Pretty much worthless. Guild of Shadows (D379) - You conjure three minions that all attack different targets each round and damage anyone who starts its turn adjacent to them. A strong choice in large battles. Murderous Shadow (D388) - Minor action summon with an instinctive attack that isolates the target. Another strong choice. Phantom Assault (D379) - Encounter-long invisibility if you keep hitting, but only to a single creature. Not entirely worthless, but won't help you do damage either.
Visions of Oblivion: Epic-Tier Assassination Techniques
As an epic-tier Assassin, your insight has grown beyond mortal concepts of "life" and "death", you can now see how to end the existence of angels, demons, gods and stars. Compared to paragon, the Assassin's epic power selection is actually rather weak. However, it's not as if the powers from previous levels are getting any weaker.
Assassin's Eye (D379) - You get to ignore debuffs to attack and damage, as well as resistances, for a round. While you could do worse, this is really the sort of effect that should come as a daily power with better condition avoidance. Claim the Dead (D379) - Self-heal, some THP, and a bonus move action for either this turn or next when you kill your shroud target. Best on those Assassins who have picked up a minor action attack someplace, but nobody's complaining about this one. The default pick for the level. Fortress of Shadow (D379) - Well, sustainable invisibilty isn't bad, but aren't you invisible 2-3 rounds per encounter anyway? Probably not a worthy selection for U22. Gloaming Dance (D388)- Invisibility as a consolation prize for missing, and 2 more squares of shadow step distance EoE. Junk. Ignore Barriers (HoS) - You know what just might make the DM cry? Encounter-long phasing. It can also be totally useless if there's nothing around where walking through it will screw up the DM's plans, of course. Soul of Death (D379) - Spend a surge as an interrupt to hitting 0, and then refill your shrouds. A decent bounce-back effect.
Cruel Shadows (D379) - It's an epic tier power with a combat advantage rider. Worthless. Obsidian Spiders (D379) - Another AoE power, but significantly worse than Well of Shades. Worthless. Shadow Swap (D379) - This utter "gem" of a power apparently wants one of your allies to throw a save-ends stun on you? Point is, it's worthless. Wraith's Assault (D379)- This power lets you fly your speed+4 and makes you phasing during the movement. The attack side's basically an afterthought, unfortunately, but it would've made a nice utility power.
Assassin's Scalpel (D379) - Expanded crit range: good. Lack of any meaningful rider effect: Bad. Not worth taking. Folded Shadow (D379) - It's suicidal E7 Shadow Jack again, but as a sustainable daily. Ignore it. Reaper's Touch (D379) - Say, do you know how much damage ongoing 25 is at epic? Basically none. Wall of Death (D379)- This intended upgrade of Wall of Shadows is actually weaker, thanks to giving a non-rolled damage instance and not being triggerable by forced movement. The main effect of this power will be that your allies can't see your enemies. Skip!
Ambush From Thin Air (D379) - Teleport without LoS up to 20 squares, but only adjacent to your Shroud target. Another in the odd set of Assassin powers that assumes your enemies run. Not helpful. Last Word (D379) - An otherwise bland attack with the rider that your shrouds do 1d12 damage instead of 1d6. In other words, +2 damage (assuming you have Lethal Shroud) to each shroud. Totally ignorable. Reaper in Black (D379) - Mediocre damage and completely negligible forced movement on nearby foes. Nobody fears this reaper. Shadows of Doom (D379)- Finally alleviating this quartet of epic suckiness a bit, we get a power that does a tiny amount of static damage each time your enemy takes an action. Sounds bad, but assuming you've properly tweaked your extra damage and vulnerability triggers, this can add up. Excellent for Morninglords.
Doom Foretold (D379) - Placing four shrouds allows for a good spike, though by level 29 you're quite close to your ED capstone, at which point your shrouds may stay maxed out constantly anyway. Decent, but not my pick for your final piece of improvement. Intent to Murder (D379) - "Your" bloody value, not "the target's" bloody value. If you've at all succeeded in optimizing your damage, your standard attacks do more than that. Shadow Puppet (D379) - Dominate's dominate, and dominate's good. Now, granted, this is available 20 levels earlier on some other classes, but it's still good. Three Shadow Venoms (D379) - Dazed, weakened, and taking ongoing damage. Decent, but not capstone-worthy.
Assassin's Challenge (D385) - Requires Paladin. The first part of this feat does literally nothing, since MCing or Hybridizing Paladin already lets you use Holy Symbols freely, and the second part is +1 damage to divine challege per shroud, which is worthlessly low.
Assassin's Cloak (D379) - Roll to hide whenever you turn invisible, which will generally happen several times per encounter. A staple feat if you're focused on stealth or invisibility, though that's not the playstyle I personally recommend.
Assassin's Escape (D379) - Lets you use Shade Form as an II against damage. If you're following this guide, you don't have Shade Form anyway, but if you do this isn't a good use of it.
Avernian Emissary Wrath (D379) - Tiefling-specific feat. A consolation prize for missing, yes, but one that lets you reuse your racial power, which can be worthwhile if you've taken some of the Tiefling's other support.
Betrayal of Zerthimon (D385) - Githzerai-specific feat. This feat is a situational version of a benefit Cruel Shadow gives permanently.
Blood Devourer Shifting (D379) - Shifter-specific feat. An extra static damage instance per encounter can be a good nova booster if you've tweaked your extra damage high enough, but you should really have better feats to take than this.
Brutal Shroud (D379) - Brutal 1 for your shroud dice. Nearly, but not quite, negligible.
Close to Death (D387) - Revenant-specific feat. If you are bloodied, you can use Shadow Step without meeting the normal requirements. Better for sub-zero fighting builds, where this effectively becomes an at-will ability.
Concealing Shades (D387) - Revenant-specific feat. Gives you and your allies within 5 concealment when you trigger Dark Reaping.
Crimson Eye Action (D379) - Human-specific feat. Place a shroud when you spend an AP. Less than once per encounter, in other words. Don't waste your time.
Cruel Shadow (D401) - Essentially permanent CA. Not quite a tax feat, since you'll have CA a bunch anyway due to flanking, invisibility, etc. but you should probably pick this up eventually.
Cursed Shadow (D385) - Requires Warlock. This feat gives you the Shadow Walk class feature, which is both useful in itself as a concealment source and opens up feat and item support.
Darkness's Wings (D385) - Shadar-kai specific feat. Recharge shadow jaunt by expending shade form. Viable in conjunction with other shadow jaunt optimizing choices.
Darting Shade (D388) - Run away as a free action with shadow step after you take damage while in shade form. If you're using Shade Form, you might want this one to replicate the effect of Vanish and free up a utility slot.
Dawn Hunter Training (D379) - You can spend a feat in order to waste your Elven Accuracy power rerolling damage. Yeah.
Death Sight (D386) - Bloodied enemies don't get cover/concealment against you.
Death Walk (D387) - Revenant-specific feat. Use shadow step as a free action when you trigger Dark Reaping.
Death Wastes Nothing (D387) - Revenant-specific feat. Completely redundant to Inexorable Shroud.
Deific Instrument (D386)- Requires Avenger. This feat does literally nothing, thanks to a rule change stating that multiclassing Avenger already gives you holy symbol implement proficiency.
Devastating Shroud (D401) - Whenever you score a crit with a shadow power, your shrouds don't vanish. Considering all your best encounter powers involve critfishing, this feat's a great way to keep the nova rolling. Note that this feat is not very high priority in heroic, but you definitely want it in mid-paragon.
Disciplined Killer (D385) - Requires Monk. Deal 1 extra damage per shroud on FoB against your shroud target. Another chaff feat.
Eilserv's Treachery (D385) - Drow-specific feat. Recharge Shade Form by wasting Cloud of Darkness.
Emerald Scale Concealment (D379) - Dragonborn-specific feat. Invisibility on dragon breath wouldn't be a bad rider, but it's only against targets you hit and it only lasts until the end of your current turn, not your next one. Worthless.
Eternal Void Memories (D379) - Deva-specific feat. This would be the same as Blood Devourer Shifting in the marginal category, but in order to use it as a Revenant you'd have to buy Memory of a Thousand Lifetimes, which is totally not worth it.
Eye of Death and Despair (D385) - Requires Vistani Heritage. This feat actually downgrades the effect of Evil Eye of the Vistani from "cannot move closer" to "immobilized". Huh?
Far Shadow (D385)- Drow-specific feat. Use cloud of darkness as an area burst rather than a close burst. This is a marginal Assassin selection, though popular for Seeker|Executioners.
Flickering Fortunes (D385) - Githzerai-specific feat. Use shade form as a free action when you second wind.
Ghostly Voyage (D385) - Wilden-specific feat. Turn insubstantial when you use Voyage of the Ancients.
Grave Dust Advantage (D379) - Revenant-specific feat to get you an extra shroud when you use your racial power. Not useful by itself, but there may be some potential in combining it with the next feat on the list and the Psion Dark Reaping recharge feat Mind Rot.
Grave Dust Assassin (D379) - Revenant-specific feat. Thanks to the timing on Assassin's shroud, you can both invoke your shrouds and deal damage "as if" you had invoked your shrouds, doubling your shroud damage. Very nice, and one of the many reasons Revenants own this class.
Hidden Insight (D379) - This feat makes enemies you're hidden from unaware that you've shrouded them. Not very useful in practice, since even if your DM does have creatures act aware of your shrouds when you're hidden from them, they'd have to find you or run off to do anything about it.
Horned Nightmare (D385)- Minotaur-specific feat. Gives phasing if you charge while in Shade Form.
Horns of the Shadow Reaper (D385) - Minotaur-specific feat. Gives an attack bonus and a shift when using Goring Charge on your Shroud target, which actually may be useful in conjunction with Opportunity Gore to reuse your racial.
Hungry Sky Shadows (D379)- Goliath-specific feat. Gives +STR extra damage on a hit on which you invoked your shrouds. This is the feat that makes the STR-secondary Assassin possible, enabling some very unusual builds. Probably most valuable on some sort of Assassin|Fighter or Assassin|Warden Hybrid?
Hunter in the Gloom (D382) - Shadar-kai-specific feat. While you're insubstantial due to your racial power, your attacks against AC are instead against reflex.
Hunting Shadow (D385) - Wilden-specific feat. Say, you know that at-will power Leaping Shadow, the one I told you to by no means take? This is that, but in feat form.
Inexorable Shroud (D401) - This feat makes up to two of your shrouds transfer from foe to foe, both when your allies kill them and when you do. (Thanks to timing, this is true even if you invoked on the killing blow.) An essential pick for every Assassin.
Initiate of Three Masks (D382) - Changeling-specific feat. Use Stealth instead of Bluff for your racial power.
Insidious Shroud (D385) - Changling-specific feat. Place a shroud when you succeed on your Changling Trick bluff check.
Keeper of the Black Flame (D382) - Drow-specific feat. Place an extra shroud when you hit with Darkfire.
Killer's Insight (D379) - It's that same "bonus shroud once per encounter feat", but this time it's not tied to a racial power.
Leaping Shadows (D379) - Use shadow step whenever you drop an enemy. Good for mobility.
Lethal Shroud (D401) - Increase your shroud dice from 1d6/+3/+6 to 1d8/+5/+10. Another essential Assassin tax feat as you rise in levels, as it's giving you +3 damage per shroud (and +5 in epic) and you should generally be invoking more than one shroud per attack.
Lolth's Embrace (D385) - Drow-specific feat. Place a shroud when you hit with Darkfire.
Maw of the Hungry Killer
Menacing Sorcery (D385) - Requires Sorcerer. Your ranged Sorcerer attacks don't provoke from your shroud target.
Merciless Nature (D385) - Wilden-specific feat. Redundant to Cruel Shadow.
Mind of Flawless Sight (D382) - Kalashtar-specific feat. Ignore concealment and cover against targets subject to your shrouds.
Mist Walker Illusion (D379) - Gnome-specific feat. Lets you use Fade Away as a free action triggered on a hit. Gnomes aren't a great race for Assassins, but this does have some optimization potential in conjunction with other Gnome support.
Murderous Hunter (D385) - Requires Ranger. You can use your Hunter's Quarry damage on a miss with two or more shrouds. There's unfortunately no real use for this, even for purposeful miss-whoring.
Nightmare Killer (D379) - +2/3/4 feat bonus to damage with fear powers. Totally redundant to a number of other feats you get access to, such as Shadow Reservoir.
Nightmare Step (D379) - Consolation prize feat, lets you slide creatures a square on a miss with fear powers.
Oathbound Stalker (D386) - Requires Avenger. Bonus to teleport distance, but only when teleporting adjacent to your Oath of Emnity target, so only useful once per encounter at absolute most.
Obsidian Cave Recovery (D379) - Dwarf-specific feat. Lets you recycle Shade Form when you use Dwarven Resilience. If you're a Dwarf Assassin with shade form, it was probably because you saw this feat.
Phantom Blade Evasion (D379) - Halfling-specific feat. Do Useless Thing With Racial Power, Halfling version.
Quick and Dead (D387) - Revenant-specific feat. When you use dark reaping, your Shadow Step gets one longer for the remainder of the encounter. Low priority, but potentially useful.
Raven Queen's Disciple (D387) - Revenant-specific feat. Gain one extra THP from your Bleak Disciple feature.
Raven Queen's Sanction (D387) - Revenant-specific feat. Occasionally don't subtract one shroud for missing. Worthless.
Reaping Ki (D387) - Revenant-specific feat. Minor, once per encounter consolation prize for missing with four conditions to meet.
Resolve of the Iron Terminator (D382) - Warforged-specific feat. You have resistance against attacks by creatures subject to your shrouds equal to the number of shrouds. Non-scaling. Probably the worst disconnect between awesome name and worthless effect in the game.
Roguish Killer (D385) - Requires Rogue. You can use your Sneak Attack damage on a miss with two or more shrouds. There's unfortunately no real use for this, even for purposeful miss-whoring.
Scions of Zarak Initiate (D379) - Half-Orc-specific feat. Consolation prize for missing on an attack with which you invoked your shrouds.
Seeker of the Devouring Dark (D382) - Drow-specific feat. When your shroud target leaves your Cloud of Darkness, it takes the damage from the shrouds and then the shrouds vanish. Another feat that might be worthwhile if it were for the line making them vanish.
Shadow Poisoner (D400) - This feat teaches you an Executioner poison, and lets you "spellbook" a poison for one of your dailies. Considering that a number of the Executioner poisons are better than your own dailies, that you can use retraining to pick up all the good poison recipes, and that the poisons have interesting out of combat effects, this deserves a strong look.
Shadow Reservoir (D401) - While a +2/3/4 damage feat is nice, this one doesn't apply to basics and requires a ki focus, and most Assassins favor attacking with weapons. You can wait until the elemental boosters come online in paragon.
Shadow Veil Assassin (D379)- Shift 1 square as a reward for satisfying FIVE conditions. Who writes these?
Shadow Veil Disappearance (D379) - This feat could be great, if the Assassin had an at-will melee illusion power. It does not. The Ardent has one at level 13 though.
Shadowforged Killer (D379) - Warforged-specific feat. You can expend your racial and regain shade form instead of the normal benefit. Not as good as Obsidian Cave Recovery, but still potentially useful.
Spirited Shadows (D385) - Drow-specific feat. Increase the distance of Shadow Step to DEX mod, but only while within your cloud of darkness.
Swallowed by Shadow (D387) - Revenant-specific feat. Turn invisible EoNT when you use dark reaping. Note that this has timing issues if you trigger Dark Reaping on anything but your own turn.
Twilight Phantom Step (D379) - Eladrin-specific feat. Makes Fey Step 5 longer if you end adjacent to your shroud target. Misses a red rating because, between Eladrin Swordmage Advance and the ways to recharge Fey Step, one might conceivably take this.
Uncovered Hatred (D385) - Kalashtar-specific feat, of all things. The triggering enemy takes a tiny amount of damage when you use Bastion of Mental Clarity.
Velvet Blade Trick (D379) - Half-Elf specific feat. Apply a shroud once per encounter when you use dilettante.
Vengeful Shade (D386) - Requires any divine. This feat turns your shrouds radiant, which would be useful, but only when using Divine attack powers, which kills it.
Venom Hand Assassin (D379) - Deal 1d8/tier extra damage on your first attack of each encounter. Since it's extra damage and therefore applicable repeatedly, this gives an appreciable damage spike.
Venom Hand Killer (D379) - +2/3/4 feat bonus to damage, but only to poison damage rolls. You don't want to use poison damage, generally speaking.
Venom Hand Master (D379) - Ignore poison resistance and immunity. This feat is essential if you are using poison, but there are very few reasons to do so over other damage types.
Venom Handler (D379) - 5/10/15 poison resistance. There are a lot of poison-dealing enemies in the game, though on this class it's quite low priority vs. options that help you deal damage. If you're using Black Flame Form, you should already have DR all, rendering this totally redundant.
Word of Shadow (D385)- Requires Bard. Your Majestic Word grants concealment. Useless to the Assassin, though the Bard who for some reason MCs Assassin might want it.
Death Shroud (D387) - Revenant-specific feat. You become invisible to shadow and undead creatures while in Shade Form. This one's pushed from "campaign-dependent" to flat red because it's totally redundant to Killer in the Crowd below: while you're in cover in Shade Form you can be hidden, which is better than merely invisible, and KitC does something all the time rather than just in a niche case.
Death's Pall (D388) - While adjacent to your shroud target, you have concealment from everyone else, or total concealment if they're subject to three shrouds. Decent enough if you've got space for a defensive feat.
Drawn Shadows (D388) - You have concealment while within 10' of dim light or darkness. A decent concealment source for those who don't want one of the other ones, and a totally reliable one with an Enshrouding Candle.
Fade Into Shadow (D382) - When you're bloodied, you can use Shadow Step as an IR.
Grave Step (D382) - Shadow Step as a minor without meeting the normal requirements on a turn where you've dropped an enemy. In general, this is a directly worse version of Leaping Shadows from a tier earlier.
Killer in the Crowd (D382)- Permanent cover against your enemies! Forever! No questions asked! Also, you can shoot through enemy squares without taking penalties for cover. You should really take this one at some point.
Minion of the Dark (D379) - Darkvision for a feat. Seeing in the dark rarely plays out due to the fact that anything that doesn't need light to see can already see you in the dark, and anything that can't see you in the dark needs light to see by. So it's sadly not actually very helpful in play.
Nightmare Master (D379)- I know what you're thinking: "Daze the target whenever you hit them with a fear power? That's amazing!" Not so fast though: since you only daze them until the start of their turn, not the end, this feat mostly just stops them from taking OAs and IAs. Add in that the Assassin's fear powers aren't the good ones, and this is a very niche feat.
Shadow's Inexorable Grasp (D382) - This'd be a great feat, except for that pesky specification that the shrouds vanish. You'd be better off taking a feat that makes you less likely to fall over in the first place.
Specter of Death (D387) - Revenant-specific feat. While unconscious, you are insubstantial? First off, why is a revenant unconscious? And secondly, there was a belt for this 5 levels back.
Soul in Shadow (D382)- Concealment against enemies 5+ squares away means concealment against enemies outside of your normal attack range. Add in that it's quite possible you gained concealment all the time against everyone 10 levels ago, and it's hard to argue for this feat.
Walker Through Shadows (D382)- While insubstantial, you are also phasing. You generally won't have enough insubstantial triggers to use this, though Assassins who took Shade Form rather than Black Flame Form or Revenants designed for subzero fighting may look on it more favorably.
Vanish Into Shadow (D387) - Revenant-specific, which isn't much of a drawback on this class, but this is just another redundant concealment source, and not even one that functions passively like Soul in Shadow was.
Untouchable Shade (D388) - You take half damage from your shroud targets for a round whenever you use Shadow Step. Not bad, but has some timing issues. For Revenants, this effect will stack with your subzero insubstantiality (and weakening, if you've got it) for some truly ridiculous survivability.