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Rogue PVP Combat build – post 3.3 patch

Posted on: Jan 19, 2010 | Author: Skorne

Combat rogue


Today I’m going to discuss a rogue PVP Combat build that I use and explain why I believe it is a viable build in the current climate of World of Warcraft. The build I use is a killing spree/setup build (0/53/18).


PvP can be a touchy subject for a lot of players, so I would firstly just like to say that this is an interpretation of my ideal PvP Combat build. To be totally honest I have only recently started back doing 3v3 Arenas and I am definitely not saying that it is the best build for everybody or that it will work best in all Arena situations, just that I have found it quite effective working my way up the 3v3 Arena rankings. I’m sure rogue players will be making small alterations to this build in order to suit their playstyle. Also please note that this build is more focused on Arena usage, but world PvPers and Battleground enthusiasts should find this info useful aswell.


Rogue - Combat PvP build


Also please understand that while I’m talking about a Combat PvP build here, Mutilate/Preparation (41/5/25) is definitely considered as the bread and butter of PvP builds currently. You just have to look at the top rated Arena rogues in the Armory. They are all mut/prep rogues. And why wouldn’t they be? The build addresses the heavy reliance rogues have on cooldowns with Preparation, and with Overkill and the Mutilate Glyph it can pump out crazy amounts of damage without sacrificing mobility or defensive capability. Now as good as all of that sounds I have  never been a dagger rogue and always preferred going toe to toe with my opponents using maces or swords. I find that playstyle suits me more and I have more fun with it.


So lets look at the Combat tree. Where the other two trees focus on openers and high burst damage, the Combat tree focuses on consistent white damage to provide high sustained DPS. This is what allows you to have an easier time going toe to toe with mail/plate wearers. Your main goal should be survivability (even though Combat also pumps out great burst damage with talents such as Adrenaline Rush and Killing Spree). So don’t bother with the extra crit in Malice. Crit is important for high burst Mutilate rogues but not so important for a consistent damage build like Combat. With decent gear you should have near 30% crit which is sufficient.


I think the majority of my build is self explanatory so I will not be discussing damage talents in great detail. The talents I will be discussing will mainly deal with Survivability, Mobility and Crowd Control.



Combat Tree


Deflection vs Precision

My first choice was between Deflection and Precision. Here I choose Deflection as the bonus to parry improves survivability and I have already reached the “PvP hit cap” of 167. Putting points in Precision in my case would be a waste as the only benefit would be the 5% poison hit chance, which I don’t think is worth the 5 points when I can just use Shiv. Deflection also allows you to get  Riposte, a handy and very cheap energy skill (10 energy) that does good damage.


Endurance and Improved Sprint

With rogues probably being the most cooldown dependant class in the game grabbing talents like Endurance that lower your cds is vital for your survivability. Endurance will reduce your Evasion and Sprint cooldown by 60 seconds and give you a nice 4% stamina increase. Another big issue for rogues is mobility. Combat rogues especially have issues with getting snared and can be indefinitely kited by ranged classes due to the lack of a distance closer. So it goes without saying that Improved Sprint is an essential talent to grab.


Nerves of Steel

Many people believe that rogues die too quickly in Arena when CC’d or stunned and we are too squishy.Well in comes Nerves of Steel. A great survivability talent that reduces damage taken by 30% while affected by stun and fear. Definitely grab this one.


Improved Slice n Dice

I thought I would mention this one as a lot of people believe that this is purely a PVE talent. How wrong those people are. Regardless if you get this talent or not, you should always try and have Slice n Dice up (especially against mail/plate wearers) as I think the 40% weapon speed increase is priceless. Imp Slice and Dice saves you one or two combo points by making the SnD duration much longer, it also allows you to potentially apply poisons faster to your target (i.e wound poison).


Why no Improved Gouge, Improved Kick, Weapon Expertise, Blade Flurry or Throwing Specialization?

Firstly with Improved Gouge I just feel these 3 combo points are better spent elsewhere. 1.5 extra seconds or 3 talent points into something more useful? Even if I took talent points in Camouflague which would allow me to restealth after an imp gouge, theres not a lot of chances you can restealth in Arena anyway. With Improved Kick, I think 2 talent points would be wasted here as 2 seconds is over before you know it.  Similarly I feel the 2 points spent in Weapon Expertise are more valuable elsewhere.  Most of your attacks should be from behind ensuring your opponents cannot dodge, block or parry. Blade Flurry doesn’t  seem very useful in an Arena scenario as its very rare that you will get the chance to hit two targets at once. Throwing Specialization was omitted due to the recent 3.3 patch nerf which removed the talent’s interruption ability.



Subtlety Tree


Master of Deception

The increase in stealth that this talent provides is a definite requirement for PvP. You get detected very easily without it in my experience. Aggressive hunter pets and humans (which have Perception) for example have very good stealth detection and will more than likely see you without MoD. And of course it is invaluable against druids and other rogues. But please note that most dagger rogues will have Heightened Senses so they will more than likely get the opener on you first.


Dirty Tricks

The added range to Sap that this talent provides is vital in PvP. It definitely makes your life easier with CC’ing. In fact you will land very little saps without it in my experience. Also increases the range of your Blind.



What a great talent. Reduces your Vanish and Blind cooldown by 60 sec (down to 2 mins)  and Cloak of Shadows by 30secs (down to 1 min). Similar to Endurance, any talent that lowers your cds is worth grabbing.


Serrated Blades

Quite an effective talent against clothies. It pretty much takes their already minimal AC to next to nothing, meaning that you’ll have a much easier time taking them down. The 30% rupture damage bonus is also nice against those troublesome plate wearers.



Combo points are not as easy to come by for Combat rogues as they are for Mutilate rogues, so getting a talent like Setup is a smart idea and goes hand in hand with Lightning Reflexes. Although Setup has been nerfed ( CP generation is only from your target) I believe it is still a worthwhile talent. You are more than likely to face another melee class in Arena, and with Evasion activated your CP generation should be quite good and may give you the edge over your opponent. Setup also has a magic resistance portion which is a good little bonus but only applies to full resists.


Why no Sleight of Hand or Camouflage?

SoH looks good on paper but in reality the 2% crit reduction on ranged and melee is like adding 80 points resilience against your physical damage. So if you think that you have enough resilience (at least 500 to start with) skip this talent. Putting points in Camouflage when specced Combat, I believe is somewhat of a waste. You are not a subtle assassin but rather a confrontational in-your-face melee, so your reliance on restealth should be a small part of your gameplay as compared to the dagger builds.



Well that’s it. If you have any comments on this build or have a PvP Combat build of your own that you enjoy and have had success with please let us know. Stay tuned for my next post about key bindings and how they can improve your gameplay dramatically.



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