Malignant Hearts in Diablo 4 are special drops in the game introduced in the Season of the Malignant, the first Season of Diablo 4. Malignant Hearts are dropped from attempting to capture Partly Corrupted Malignant Elites, a new type of Enemies that spawn throughout Sanctuary for the duration of the Season. Once the player acquires the Cage of Binding during the subsequent Quests in the questline that starts after completing the new Quest Burning from Within, players will then be able to interact with these Malignant Hearts on the ground to spawn stronger Fully Corrupted versions of the Malignant Elites. Defeating these Enemies will yield Caged Hearts for the player, which will grant new formidable passive bonuses for their character.
Caged Hearts functionally work just like Gems in that they are slotted into the player's Jewelry slots. There are a total number of thirty-two Caged Hearts. In practice, they will actually replace the use of Gems in the game at least for the duration of the Season, and only within the Season's realm. When put into Jewelry's Malignant slots, Caged Hearts can bring about substantial boosts to Skills, Skill-activation, Stats, or even the character's basic attacks, which all create more ways to optimize and customize the character's Build.
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Just like Gems, Caged Hearts can be slotted simply by dragging or clicking your desired Caged Heart and then selecting a piece of Jewelry that has an open Infested Socket to put it into. Jewelry that players will find within the Season's realm, and for the duration of the Season, will automatically have Infested Slots for Caged Hearts. These slots will appear randomly, just like the usual Gem slots, and will have different colors - orange, blue, and pink, which match the different colors of Caged Hearts. You can only put Caged Hearts into Infested Slots that have the same color that they do, with the exception of black Caged Hearts which can be put into slots of any color. Keep in mind that putting Caged Hearts into sockets in your Jewelry has more permanence than Gems, as they have to be destroyed if you choose to replace them with a different one.
Where can I find Caged Hearts in Diablo 4?
For the duration of the Season, and within the Season's realm, players will be able to acquire Caged Hearts in three ways. The first one is acquiring them from loot dropped by random Malignant Elites throughout Sanctuary. It's important to note, however, that Caged Hearts acquired this way will be the weakest versions the player can find. The second way is by attempting to capture Partly Corrupted Malignant Creatures. Malignant Elites across Sanctuary have a chance to be Partly Corrupted Malignant Creatures. Defeating them will drop Malignant Hearts on the ground, which matches the color of the type of Malignant Creature they turned out to be. When you interact with the hearts with the Cage of Binding in hand, which will be a device crafted by Cormond that you will inevitably obtain during the new questline, a color-matched Fully Corrupted Malignant Creature will spawn. Defeating them will fully drop the Caged Heart, allowing you to now slot it into your Jewelry. The other way to get them is by creating them yourself by first salvaging the ones you don't want. All sorts of different types of Malignant Creatures will spawn in different areas around Sanctuary during the Season, but the main areas where they can be found are new Dungeons called Malignant Tunnels. There are six Malignant Tunnels in total that players will be able to go through as many times as they like in order to acquire their coveted Caged Hearts. However, to be able to attempt to acquire the Caged Hearts waiting for you in these Malignant Tunnels, you will have to use a specific Malignant Invoker on the Outgrowths that lie at the end of the tunnel. Take note that some Caged Hearts will require you to be a bit stronger to acquire and so are only obtainable past a specific World Tier.
Can you Trade Malignant Hearts in Diablo 4?
Unfortunately, players will not be able to trade Caged Hearts, whether they were acquired through monster loot dropped by Malignant Creatures, or created through Cormond's services. Blizzard has expressed that this is primarily because they want to make sure players can get that feeling of achievement from defeating formidable Malignant Creatures by rewarding them with Malignant Hearts, and they want to avoid diminishing this sense of accomplishment by allowing Caged Hearts to just be acquired by trading. However, Jewelry, which will have randomized colors of Infested Slots, can be traded with other players, to ensure that there's an extra avenue for players to be able to successfully acquire Jewelry that has Infested Slots that have colors that match the Caged Hearts that players need that are specific to their different Builds.
Salvaging and Creating Malignant Hearts in Diablo 4
Any Caged Hearts that the player does not need can be Salvaged through Cormond's services, a new NPC specific to the Season's lore, found at Cormond's Wagon. Salvaging Caged Hearts results in the acquisition of different-colored Malignant Ichor, matching the color of the salvaged Caged Heart, which players can then use to create a different Caged Heart. All types of Caged Hearts can be salvaged for anywhere between five to fifteen Malignant Ichor of the Caged Heart's corresponding color, with the exception of the Black Wrathful Caged Heart, which instead gives the player up to five Malignant Ichor of all three other colors. Creating one of the three colors of a Malignant Heart will cost thirty-five Malignant Ichor of any other two different colors, with the exception of the Black Wrathful Caged Hearts which cannot be created. The created Caged Heart will either be one that's usable by the class of the character, or usable by all classes. Additionally, players are also able to create an Uncertain Heart Cache for twenty of the three types of Malignant Ichor, which drops a random Caged Heart, with a chance to drop a rare coveted Black Wrathful Caged Heart.
Malignant Invokers are new special Items that players can use to interact with Outgrowths of different types at the end of a Malignant Tunnel. So far, there are only three types of Malignant Invokers that can be directly created, to match the types of Outgrowths, Caged Hearts, and Malignant Elites - Brutal, Devious, and Vicious. After clearing all the objectives for a Malignant Tunnel, there will be an extra room after the final objective which will house two Outgrowths connected to a large pulsing postule. One Outgrowth will always be a Wrathful Outgrowth, while the other will be of a type specific to the Malignant Tunnel. If the player has the Malignant Tunnel's corresponding type of Malignant Invoker in their inventory, they will be able to interact with the colored Outgrowth. Doing so will spawn a Malignant Elite Enemy matching the type of the Invoker. Defeating this Elite will drop a Malignant Heart of the same type. Attempting to capture the dropped Malignant Heart by interacting with it will spawn a stronger version of the Enemy the player just killed. Killing this stronger version will drop a Caged Heart for the player, which will be stronger than the usual Caged Hearts dropped by random Malignant Elites.
Malignant Invokers can be found from time to time as random drops from random chests throughout Sanctuary, Enemy loot, Cellars, Dungeons, and Strongholds. Most reliably, however, players are able to start crafting them through Cormond's services over at Cormond's Wagon, during the events of the Quest A Plague of Hatred. Players will need to gather Malignant Ichor of all three colors in order to craft a Malignant Invoker, at the cost of some Gold. You will need fifty Malignant Ichor matching the type of Malignant Invoker you want crafted, and twenty of each of the other two remaining colors of Malignant Ichor. For example, crafting a Vicious Malignant Invoker will require fifty Vicious Malignant Ichor, twenty Brutal Malignant Ichor, twenty Devious Malignant Ichor, and a thousand Gold. Additionally, players are also able to create an Uncertain Invoker Cache for forty of the three types of Malignant Ichor, which drops a random Malignant Invoker, with a chance to drop a rare Wrathful Malignant Invoker. Having this in their inventory allows players to interact with the Outgrowth at the end of a Malignant Tunnel that is always of a Wrathful type, which allows for a chance to acquire a coveted Black Wrathful Caged Heart.
Caged Hearts are divided into colors, depending on the type of boost they can bring to the character's Build. Orange Vicious Caged Hearts grant bonuses to a character's offensive powers. Blue Brutal Caged Hearts grant bonuses to a character's defensive or survival capabilities. Pink Devious Caged Hearts grant a variety of different utility bonuses, which range from combat resource-management aid, to reactive effects. Black Wrathful Caged Hearts are rare special Caged Hearts that grant incredible super bonuses that can fall under any category and can be put into Infested Slots of any color. When acquired, Caged Hearts are automatically scaled to the player's level, influencing the stat values and multipliers for the bonuses they hold. Summarily, getting the strongest versions of these Caged Hearts that you can get entails a cycle of first clearing Malignant Tunnels, acquiring Caged Hearts by defeating Malignant Elites inside, as well as capturing Malignant Hearts and killing the Elites that they spawn, and then going back to Cormond and salvaging them for Malignant Ichor. You then use the Malignant Ichor to create Malignant Invokers, which you can now take back to the Malignant Tunnels to interact with the colored Outgrowths at the end of them, which will spawn a stronger Malignant Elite. Defeating this Elite will drop a stronger Malignant Heart, which you will now interact with to again spawn yet a stronger version of the Elite, which will drop a stronger Caged Heart when killed. Remember that Uncertain Invoker Cache that you can create at Cormond's has a chance to drop a Black Malignant Invoker, which you can use to interact with the Wrathful Outgrowth in a Malignant Tunnel instead of the colored one. Doing so guarantees a Black Wrathful Caged Heart at the end of your endeavor, before you repeat the cycle again.
Below is a list of all the Caged Hearts available in the game, sorted by the Classes that their respective bonuses apply to. As mentioned previously, any World Tier indication means that the specific Caged Heart can only be found if the player is playing within that World Tier or in a higher World Tier. The listed stats and multipliers are scaled to level 20, to give an illustration of the bonuses.
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Quick Search of All Malignant Hearts
|Cluster Munitions||Vicious||Rogue||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.||None|
|Creeping Death||Wrathful||All||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.||None|
|Determination||Devious||All||Resource draining effects are 40-50% less effective. In addition, gain 3.0-8.0% increased Resource Generation.||None|
|Focused Rage||Vicious||Barbarian||After spending 100-60 Fury within 2 seconds, your next Non-Basic Skill's Critical Strike Chance is increased by 20-30%.||None|
|Frozen Terror||Devious||Necromancer||Lucky Hit: Up to a 10-20% chance of inflicting Fear for 2.5 seconds. Feared enemies are Chilled for 20% every second.||None|
|Ignoring Pain||Wrathful||Barbarian||Incoming damage has a 5-15% chance of being ignored and instead Healing you for 17-68.||World Tier IV|
|Inexorable Force||Devious||Druid||Up to 30-50 Distant enemies are pulled toward you while you have an Ultimate Skill active.||None|
|Omnipower||Wrathful||Sorcerer||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%.||World Tier IV|
|Prudent Heart||Brutal||All||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.||World Tier III|
|Punishing Speed||Devious||Barbarian||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%.||None|
|Resurgent Life||Brutal||Barbarian||While below 40-60% Life, you receive 50-60% more Healing from all sources.||None|
|Retaliation||Devious||All||Deal 510-680 Fire damage to surrounding enemies whenever a Crowd Control effect is removed from you.||World Tier III|
|Revenge||Brutal||All||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.||World Tier III|
|Spellbreaking||Brutal||Sorcerer||After taking Elemental damage, gain 20-40% Resistance to that element for 5 seconds.||None|
|Spite||Devious||Sorcerer||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.||None|
|Tal'Rasha||Vicious||Sorcerer||For each unique element you deal damage with, you deal 7-12% increased damage for 3-10 seconds.||None|
|Tempting Fate||Vicious||All||You gain 40-60% Critical Strike Damage but your Non-Critical Strikes deal 20-15% less damage.||World Tier III|
|The Agitated Winds||Brutal||Druid||When 8-13 Close enemies, automatically cast Cyclone Armor. This cannot occur more than once every 10-20 seconds.||None|
|The Barber||Wrathful||All||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.||World Tier III|
|The Calculated||Devious||All||After spending 150-200 of your Primary Resource, your next attack Stuns enemies hit for 2 seconds.||World Tier III|
|The Clipshot||Devious||Rogue||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.||None|
|The Dark Dance||Vicious||All||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.||World Tier II|
|The Decrepit Aura||Brutal||Necromancer||When at least 5 enemies are near you, gain an aura that automatically curses surrounding enemies with Decrepify for 5-15 seconds.||None|
|The Great Feast||Wrathful||Necromancer||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.||World Tier III|
|The Lionheart||Brutal||All||You gain 10% Barrier Generation. You Heal 3-7 Life per second while you have an active Barrier.||None|
|The Malignant Pact||Wrathful||All||Cycle through the following Malignant bonus every 20 kills:
|The Moonrage||Vicious||Druid||Kills have a 5% chance to summon a Wolf Companion to your side for 20-30 seconds. In addition, gain +3 to Wolves.||None|
|The Picana||Vicious||All||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.||None|
|The Sacrilegious||Vicious||Necromancer||Walking near a Corpse automatically activates an equipped Corpse Skill every second, dealing 40-30% reduced damage.||None|
|The Unconstrained Beast||Wrathful||Druid||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.||World Tier IV|
|The Vile Apothecary||Wrathful||Rogue||Your attacks have a 5-15% chance to apply all Imbuement effects at 40-50% of normal potency.||World Tier IV|
|Trickery||Brutal||Rogue||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.||None|
Summarily, getting the strongest versions of these Caged Hearts that you can get entails a cycle of first clearing Malignant Tunnels, acquiring Caged Hearts by defeating Malignant Elites inside, as well as capturing Malignant Hearts and killing the Elites that they spawn, and then going back to Cormond and salvaging them for Malignant Ichor. You then use the Malignant Ichor to create Malignant Invokers, which you can now take back to the Malignant Tunnels to interact with the colored Outgrowths at the end of them, which will spawn a stronger Malignant Elite. Defeating this Elite will drop a stronger Malignant Heart, which you will now interact with to again spawn yet a stronger version of the Elite, which will drop a stronger Caged Heart when killed. Remember that Uncertain Invoker Cache that you can create at Cormond's has a chance to drop a Black Malignant Invoker, which you can use to interact with the Wrathful Outgrowth in a Malignant Tunnel instead of the colored one. Doing so guarantees a Black Wrathful Caged Heart at the end of your endeavor before you repeat the cycle again.