Diablo 4: Season of the Malignant is finally here, giving players a new way to experience a game that has already proven to be jam-packed with content. The new season is the first of the seasonal content and introduces an exciting new plague-themed mechanic to the game – Malignant Hearts. These season-specific powerful items drop from challenging Malignant Monsters and can significantly enhance your character’s build when socketed.
As we’ve seen in many modern games such as Fortnite, Call of Duty, etc., these paid seasons give players new ways to play the game and introduce new special mechanics that mix up the formula, and Diablo 4 is no different. Much like we did with Altars of Lilith, we have all the details in place to make Season of the Malignant as a rewarding experience as possible.
How Malignant Hearts Work
These items socket into your jewelry, granting your character significant buffs. There are a whopping 32 different hearts to collect, including class-specific ones that enable exciting new builds.
The hearts come in 4 categories:
- Vicious (Orange) – Offensive boosts
- Brutal (Blue) – Defensive enhancements
- Devious (Pink) – Utility bonuses
- Wrathful (Black) – Super powerful, multi-type effects
Once socketed into your amulet or rings, these hearts become a permanent part of your build. So choose wisely! They can’t be removed or swapped. At the end of the season, the sockets revert to regular gem slots.
All Effects of Malignant Hearts
Common Malignant Hearts :
- The Picana (Vicious, Offensive): Critical Strikes electrically charge the enemy for 0.75-2.50 seconds, causing lightning to arc between them and any other charged enemies dealing 68-136 Lightning damage.
- Dark Dance (Vicious, Attack – World Tier 3): Every 5 seconds while above 60% Life, Core Skills cost 68-51 Life instead of your Primary Resource. Skills that consume Life deal 10-20% increased damage.
- Tempting Fate (Vicious, Offensive – World Tier 3): You gain 40-60% Critical Strike Damage but your Non-Critical Strikes deal 20-15% less damage.
- The Lionheart (Brutal, Defensive): You gain 10% Barrier Generation. You Heal 3-7 Life per second while you have an active Barrier.
- Revenge (Brutal, Defensive – World Tier 3): 10-20% of incoming damage is instead suppressed. When you use a Defensive, Subterfuge or a Macabre skill, all suppressed damage is amplified by 250% and explodes, dealing up to 1360-2040 Fire damage to Nearby enemies.
- Prudent Heart (Brutal, Defensive – World Tier 3): You become Immune for 2.0-4.0 seconds after you lose more than 20% Life in a single hit. This effect can only occur once every 110 seconds.
- Determination (Devious, Utility): Resource draining effects are 40-50% less effective. In addition, gain 3.0-8.0% increased Resource Generation.
- Retaliation (Devious, Utility – World Tier 3): Deal 510-680 Fire damage to surrounding enemies whenever a Crowd Control effect is removed from you.
- The Calculated (Devious, Utility – World Tier 3): After spending 150-200 of your Primary Resource, your next attack Stuns enemies hit for 2 seconds.
- The Malignant Pact (Wrathful, Super): Cycle through a Malignant bonus every 20 kills:
Vicious: Gain 20% Attack Speed.
Devious: Core and Basic Skills have a 15% chance to fully restore your Primary Resource.
Brutal: Every 21 seconds, gain a Barrier absorbing 85-102 damage.
- Creeping Death (Wrathful, Super): Your damage over time effects are increased by 30-40% for each different Crowd Control effect on the target. Unstoppable monsters and Staggered bosses instead take 110-130% increased damage from your damage over time effects.
- The Barber (Wrathful, Super – World Tier 3): Critical Strikes and all subsequent damage within 2.0-4.0 seconds is absorbed by your target. Then, the absorbed damage erupts onto surrounding enemies. Stored damage is increased by 10% per second.
Malignant Hearts for Sorcerer:
- Tal’Rasha (Vicious, Offensive): For each unique element you deal damage with, you deal 7-12% increased damage for 3-10 seconds.
- Spellbreaking (Brutal, Defensive): After taking Elemental damage, gain 20-40% Resistance to that element for 5 seconds.
- Spite (Devious, Utility): When you are afflicted with a Crowd Control effect, there is a 20-40% chance that the same enemy and enemies around you are also afflicted with the same effect for 3 seconds.
- Omnipower (Wrathful, Super – World Tier 4): Core Skills that launch a projectile consume all of your Mana. For every 45-35 extra Mana consumed, you launch an additional projectile, and the damage is increased by 3.0-5.0%.
Malignant Hearts for the Barbarian:
- Focused Rage (Vicious, Offensive): After spending 100-60 Fury within 2 seconds, your next Non-Basic Skill’s Critical Strike Chance is increased by 20-30%.
- Resurgent Life (Brutal, Defensive): While below 40-60% Life, you receive 50-60% more Healing from all sources.
- Punishing Speed (Devious, Utility): Your Skills have a 20-30% chance to Knock Down all enemies for 1.25 seconds when that Skill’s Attack Speed is higher than 35-20%.
- Ignoring Pain (Wrathful, Super – World Tier 4): Incoming damage has a 5-15% chance of being ignored and instead Healing you for 17-68.
Malignant Hearts for Rogue:
- Cluster Munitions (Vicious, Offensive): Lucky Hit: You have up to a 20% chance to launch 3 Stun Grenades that deal 26-32 Physical damage and Stun enemies for 0.50 seconds.
- Trickery (Brutal, Defensive): When you use a Subterfuge Skill, leave behind an unstable Shadow Decoy Trap that Taunts enemies. The Shadow Decoy Trap will explode after 6.0 seconds dealing 680-1020 Shadow damage. Cannot occur more than once every 5 seconds.
- The Clipshot (Devious, Utility): Lucky Hit: Up to a 20-40% chance for your Cutthroat Skills to Slow by 40% for 3 seconds and your Marksman Skills to Knock Back enemies.
- The Vile Apothecary (Wrathful, Super-World Tier IV): Your attacks have a 5-15% chance to apply all Imbuement effects at 40-50% of normal potency.
Malignant Hearts for Necromancer:
- The Sacrilegious (Vicious, Offensive): Walking near a Corpse automatically activates an equipped Corpse Skill every second, dealing 40-30% reduced damage.
- The Decrepit Aura (Brutal, Defensive): When at least 5 enemies are near you, gain an aura that automatically curses surrounding enemies with Decrepify for 5-15 seconds.
- Frozen Terror (Devious, Utility): Lucky Hit: Up to a 10-20% chance of inflicting Fear for 2.5 seconds. Feared enemies are Chilled for 20% every second.
- The Great Feast (Wrathful, Super – World Tier 4): Each Minion drains 1.0-2.0 Essence per second but deals 50-75% increased damage. With no Minions, this bonus applies to you and drains 5 Essence per second.
Malignant Hearts for Druid:
- The Moonrage (Vicious, Offensive): Kills have a 5% chance to summon a Wolf Companion to your side for 20-30 seconds. In addition, gain +3 to Wolves.
- The Agitated Winds (Brutal, Defensive): When 8-13 Close enemies, automatically cast Cyclone Armor. This cannot occur more than once every 10-20 seconds.
- Inexorable Force (Devious, Utility): Up to 30-50 Distant enemies are pulled toward you while you have an Ultimate Skill active.
- The Unconstrained Beast (Wrathful, Super – World Tier 4): When you are hit with a Stun, Freeze or Knock Down effect, there is a 40-60% chance to automatically activate Grizzly Rage for 3 seconds.
The central new aspect of Season 1 is the arrival of Malignant Monsters – elite enemies corrupted by a strange plague. They roam the world in a frenzied state, attacking anything in sight. You’ll need to hunt down and defeat these chaotic creatures to get your hands on the highly desirable Malignant Hearts.
Once a Malignant Monster is killed, it drops a Malignant Heart. These hearts are your ticket to new power. To fully charge the heart with malignance, you must perform a ritual using Cormond’s Cage of Binding item. This spawns an even more formidable Corrupted version of that elite monster. These creatures may drop a Caged Heart, giving you an even more powerful reward for your troubles and something well worth the extra investment.
Acquiring Malignant Hearts
Malignant Monsters appear randomly in the open world, so keep an eye out for their distinct corrupted models. But the most reliable method is clearing the six Malignant Tunnels dungeons. These monster-packed tunnels have a high density of elites, increasing your chances of getting hearts.
The dungeons also contain Malignant Outgrowths. Interact with them using special Malignant Invokers to summon empowered bosses. Slaying these bosses guarantees a heart related to that outgrowth type. It’s an excellent way to target farm for specific effects you want.
Hunting down Malignant Monsters and venturing into the dark depths of Malignant Tunnels to collect these build-defining hearts is extremely compelling. It provides concrete goals to work towards while exploring Sanctuary.
Lasting Impact on Character Progression
The incredible thing about Season 1 is the lasting impact it can have on your character. The powerful Malignant Hearts you collect permanently change your build. And any paragon levels, loot, materials, and cosmetics earned carry forward to the main Diablo 4 world when the season ends.
This means that your seasonal efforts will pay off by boosting your overall account progress. It’s extremely rewarding to develop your hero in unique ways that you can bring back to the core game. Diablo Seasons turbocharge progression – your work will create a much stronger hero than if you just played the core game. However, exclusive seasonal items such as Malignant Hearts will be removed, and the infested jewellery sockets will revert back to normal gem slots. However, the power, levelling and loot you gain on your seasonal quest will permanently strengthen your hero for the future.