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Rogue Level 85 PVP Builds – 4.0.6

Posted on: Mar 02, 2011 | Author: Skorne

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With patch 4.0.6 out I would like to delve into some viable Subtlety and Assassination pvp builds and highlight the differences in play style between the two trees, primarily focusing on rotations, stat priorities, glyphs, pros and cons of each build, and the impact the patch has had.   

Prior to Cata coming out we saw Assassination as pretty much the only viable choice for pvp. Now in Cata with major talent tree changes we see Subtlety rise as a pvp contender. In the latest patch (4.0.6) Subtlety received a much needed damage boost and a slight utility nerf, while Assassination remained untouched (see Rogue Patch 4.0.6 Changes post). This change has made Subtlety competitive as a sustained damage dealer (but still substantially lower than Assassination) closing the gap between Assassination and Subtlety dps.   

Personally I prefer to play Subtlety as I believe its mobility and utility far outweighs Assassination’s sustained damage advantage. The current mobility state of Assassination is terrible. Assassination rogues are very exposed to kiting from classes such as hunters and mages and really only have sprint as a gap closer. Until mobility is addressed I will be sticking to Subtlety.


–> Large sustained damage
–> Spell damage debuff on opponents
–> Quick combo point regen
–> Little utility
–> Poor mobility
–> Dependency on poisons


Subtlety is an opener build that relies heavily on burst damage through abilities like Find Weakness and Shadow Dance and also cooldown usage to keep opponents controlled. It is regarded as the most challenging build to master due to its positional dependency (must be behind target to Backstab, Ambush, Garrote), its reliance on going in and out of stealth and its rotationless playstyle. But once mastered, it should be the preferred choice as it is really the only build of any sort of utility and mobility. Things such as  Gouge not breaking on your bleeds; using Shadowstep to easily stick to opponents and secure CC, and Shadow Dance effectively locking down opponents, not to mention having Preparation readily available is what makes Subtlety so attractive. There are two variations of Subtlety pvp builds that I have played around with.   


Subtlety Build 1 - 8/2/31   



Essential talents   

Secondary talents (handy talents to have)   

This build is regarded as the current cookie-cutter Subtlety level 85 pvp build. It skips Serrated Blades and Enveloping Shadows which are very lackluster in pvp.  Initiative  and Waylay are also rarely choosen by most rogues as other talents are more preferable and most rogues consider Waylay to be overkill when confident with their Crippling poison application.   

1 point is usually placed in HaT for the 5% crit buff and combo point generation (be wary when switching targets however). Sanguinary Vein is also recommended mainly for allowing Gouge not to break during bleeds. Cheat Death can regularly mean the difference between victory and death and has saved me countless times.   

The speed and healing buff from Quickening is the target in the Assassination tree. 3/3 Lethality and 2/3 Coup de Grace is your best option (dps wise) to get to Quickening and then put the remaining point into Puncturing Wounds for an increase in crit chance on your Backstab.   


Subtlety build 2 – 0/10/31   



Essential talents 
Secondary talents (handy talents to have)

This is the build I am currently playing and one which focuses on secondary talents from the Combat tree. The aim is to get to Improved Sprint in the Combat tree to enhance your mobility even further, making you virtually unkiteable. Once again Improved Recuperate  is taken and is pretty much a must have pvp talent for all pvp builds. A single point here is equivalent to over 300 resilience and the heal over time it grants is awesome, healing you for around 6K per tick with buffs! I find Precision coupled with the Glyph of Crippling Poison a handy talent in maintaining Crippling poison on my target. Aggression provides a nice dps increase on your Backstab and Eviscerate making it a good alternative to Lethality in the Assassination tree.


–> Good mobility
–> Lots of utility
–> 5% crit chance to party
–> High burst damage
–> Low sustained damage
–> Positional dependency
–> Challenging build to master


Assassination is a build that has potent sustained damage. It is all about offensive pressure, utilizing your stuns, bleeds and poisons to chip away at an opponent until they’re dead. While being able to hit like a truck, the build has a big problem with mobility. Assassination rogues are therefore very susceptible to kiting and you will often find it hard to reach and stay on your target.



Assassination build – 31/2/8



As stated above this build is all about offensive pressure on your target. Realistically you could allocate points anywhere within this tree except Deadly Momentum and Murderous Intent. Skipping Cut to the Chase and Improved Exposed Armor is also recommended as they are weak talents when compared  to awesome Subtlety talents like Relentless Strikes and Opportunity. One modification to this build is to sacrifice the dps gain from Opportunity for the survivability that Elusiveness provides, but this is personal preference (also remember that Elusiveness received a nerf in 4.0.6). 


Subtlety stat priority, rotation, poisons and glyphs

Priority: 5% hit cap > Agility >Haste > Mastery > Crit


As with all rogue builds, agility is your priority stat. Haste is great for your energy regen and you should reforge crit or mastery to haste where possible. Mastery is a weak stat for Subtlety but make sure its at 10 for the Slice n Dice buff (2% faster attack speed vs 4.0.3 if you have 10 mastery) if you do make regular use of Slice n Dice in your rotation (but most Sub rogues rarely use it).




As far as rotations go, there is no standard Subtlety rotation. Another reason why a Subtlety pvp build can be challenging to master. Depending on the target and their current level of hp I more often than not open with Garrote (which i have macroed with Premeditation), then always Shiv (unless I am going to use Kidney Shot), then hit Hemo, followed by Rupture. I rarely open with Cheap shot or Ambush because bleeds is what Subtlety rogues excel in so having Garotte and Rupture up is key. Furthermore opening with Garrote ignores armor and silences your target, an effect which can be extended with the Glyph of Garrote. I tend to leave Ambush for when I hit Shadow Dance or when my opponent is very low on hp.  

If I intend to use Shadow Dance on a target, I will usually use Kidney Shot instead of Shiv, and follow with up to 3 Ambushes and either Evicerate if they are almost dead else hit Rupture. 


After a 4-5 point Rupture, you can either apply a Backstab, get Recuperate up, then continue backstabbing until u need to refresh Recuperate, Hemo or Rupture. Or u can Vanish, Recuperate and Backstab.


After your initial attack on your opponent ensure that you keep Recuperate up at all times. Slice n Dice I rarely use and only really get up when I have a spare combo point handy.


Poisons to use: 


Wound Poison main hand, Crippling Poison off hand. Crippling Poison thrown. You can also try and use Wound Poison or Mind Numbing Poison on your off hand if you have specced in Waylay and are confident in its use.




The Prime Glyphs I currently use include:


Glyph of Slice n Dice may also prove to be an option with the buff to Slice n Dice in 4.0.6.


There are a lot of options when it comes to major glyphs. The ones I currently use include:


Glyph of Preparation is considered as mandatory for Subtlety PVP builds and I will probably end up swapping it back in for one of my current glyphs after some more testing. Glyph of Cloak of Shadows is also a viable option if u can afford to replace an existing one. 



Assassination stat priority, rotation, poisons and glyphs

Priority: 5% hit cap > Agility > Mastery >= Spell Penetration > Haste > Crit 

Mastery is actually an awesome stat for Assassination. The increase in poison damage that it provides outweighs the benefits of other stats like Haste and Crit.


Why Spell Pen you may ask? Well if you are an Assassination rogue you rely on poisons for a large portion of your damage. You will therefore want around 120 Spell Pen to cut through resistances which reduce your poison damage.


Rotation: Assassination is much easier to play than Subtlety. Your standard rotation includes either Garrote or Cheap shot (usually Garrote for the bleed and 5 second silence if glyphed), Mutilate and then either Kidney Shot or Rupture at 4-5 combo points (Rupture is usually used for Venomous Wounds energy procs). Then Mutilate, get Slice n Dice up, Envenom at 4-5 combo points if Rupture and SnD is still up. Only use Recuperate when you really need it as it has no regen benefits like the ones provided in a Subtlety build. 

Poisons to use: 

Instant Poison main hand, Deadly Poison off hand. Wound Poison or Mind Numbing Poison thrown.




The Prime Glyphs I used for Assassination:


Glyph of Slice n Dice is also a great option and should be used if you took Cut to the Chase. 

Major Glyphs include:


  • Glyph of Blind (Mandatory for Assassination)

Glyph of Garrote, Glyph of Gouge, and Glyph of Cloak of Shadows are other popular Assassination Major Glyphs. 


Final note

As we can see Assassination and Subtlety are two rogue builds that have very different playstyles. Some players like the easier playstyle of Assassination where you stun and wear down your opponent with superior sustained damage. Others prefer the more challenging Subtlety playstyle with its high mobility and vast array of tricks. If you are mostly running battlegrounds I recommend using Subtlety as you won’t have a dedicated cleanser and you will get very frustrated from being kited constantly. For arenas you may want to use Assassination in 2v2 if paired with a healer for the heavy pressure that will be needed to down your opponent. However in 3v3 Subtlety will be your best bet due to its superior utility. At the end of the day pick the build that suits you most, and the build that you enjoy playing.

Rogue Enchants, Gems and Consumables – 4.0.3a

Posted on: Jan 14, 2011 | Author: Garona

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Rogue Gems Enchants and Consumables

Maximising your DPS first starts with knowing your class inside out including talent builds, glyphs and reforging. In addition to this you may also wish to make sure you have the very best enchants and gems in your rogue’s gear as well as the best buff food and flasks at your disposal. All of these things add up to great DPS for your rogue if done correctly.


The following is the general rule of thumb for gemming your rogue’s gear according to the socket colour:

Red Sockets: [Delicate Inferno Ruby] or [Delicate Chimera's Eye] (JC Only)
Yellow Sockets:
[Deft Ember Topaz] (Combat, Subtlety) or [Adept Ember Topaz] (Mutilate)
Blue Sockets:
[Glinting Demonseye]
Meta Socket: [Thundering Skyflare Diamond] (temporary) [Chaotic Shadowspirit Diamond] (when fixed)

For any remaining hit or expertise required use reforging and gear to obtain these values. You may wish to ignore socket bonuses in some cases and use only [Delicate Inferno Ruby] instead in some of your gear items. To work out if this would be a benefit or a loss use the rogue EP values to determine the value of the gems with or without the socket bonus. Whether or not a socket bonus will be worth it is different with each individual gear item.


Flasks[Flask of the Winds]
Make sure you always have a flask active on your rogue during raiding. They persist through death and provide the best stats in the game so even though they may seem expensive at the moment compared to elixirs they are definitely worth the cost. If you guild has the appropriate achievement you may be able to use a Cauldron for raids instead which will provide the same flask.

Food - [Skewered Eel]
Always bring your own food with you to raids and ensure it is 90 Agility and not 60. Even if your raid leader provides equivalent feasts, you may not always get the feast throughout your raid especially if you die on your own on trash.

Potions[Potion of the Tol'vir]
This potion can be used once during a raid encounter instead of a health potion. This potion will maximise your DPS during burn phases and should be timed with Heroism/Bloodlust/Timewarp wherever possible to get the most benefit.

Scrolls – None
Scrolls are weak compared to other buffs and do not stack with Kings/GotW. They therefore have no use in raids.

Drums[Drums of Forgotten Kings]
If your raid does not have a Druid or a Paladin present you may wish to consider using these drums to give your raid an extra buff. However, if a druid or paladin is present these drums should not be used at all as they are inferior to the actual class buffs.


This is a full comprehensive list of the best enchants for a rogue given all the very best enchants in the game currently. Some of these may be more difficult to obtain than others.

Head: [Arcanum of Ramkahen] (Revered Ramkahen)
Shoulders: [Greater Inscription of Shattered Crystal] (Exalted Therazane)
Chest: [Peerless Stats]
Back: [Greater Critical Strike] (Mutilate, Combat) or [Major Agility] (Subtlety)
Wrists: [Greater Speed]
Hands: [Haste] (Combat, Subtlety) or [Greater Mastery] (Mutilate)
Waist: [Ebonsteel Belt Buckle]
Legs: [Dragonscale Leg Armor]
Feet: [Major Agility] or [Assassin's Step]
Weapon1: [Landslide]
Weapon2: [Landslide]

For those of you that cannot yet afford maelstrom crystals, you may wish to make the following substitutions for your enchants at the moment:

Chest: [Mighty Stats]
Back: [Major Agility]
Wrists: [Haste]
Weapon1: [Hurricane]
Weapon2: [Hurricane]

Some professions also have additional enchants that are superior to the ones shown here. Make sure you check what extra bonuses your professions give to your rogue and how you can use them to your advantage. Remember to compare EP values to find out which bonuses are worth using and which should be ignored.

Rogue Level 85 PVE Builds

Posted on: Dec 06, 2010 | Author: Garona

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Rogue 85 Builds

With the launch of Cataclysm you will no doubt want to get your rogue up to Level 85 straight away to start on the new Cataclysm content and experience all new heroic dungeons and raids. There are three main talent builds you may wish to consider using at Level 85 and each depends on your play style and requirements.Each talent build is subject to change in the future as we discover more about how rogues perform at Level 85 in Level 85 gear. However, this is a good starting point for any rogue who wants to maximise their DPS at Level 85.

Combat Max DPS Build

Combat rogues do not use stealth in combat, they are exceptionally good at multiple targets and fights that require a lot of target switching and can easily switch rotations to suit the fight needs.

Combat Level 85 Build 7/31/3

This build has 4 changeable talent points that must remain in the Combat section of the tree in order to progress further down it. These talent points are currently in [Reinforced Leather] and [Improved Recuperate] to improve survivability which is also beneficial whilst leveling your rogue from 80 to 85. This build focuses on more Eviscerate Damage as opposed to more combo point generation and keeps the original 3/3 [Relentless Strikes] for energy regains.

Assassination Max DPS Build

Assassination rogues open up combat with stealth and rely heavily on poison damage. Assassination rogues excel particularly well at single target fights.

Mutilate Level 85 Build 31/2/8

You will notice this talent build has only 2/3 [Precision]. This is particularly useful when you first hit Level 85 and your main activity is grinding heroic dungeons where less hit is needed. However, this does mean that once you start raiding you will need to keep a closer eye on your hit levels than other rogues because you start out with much less. This build also places 2 of the 3 changeable talent points into 2/2 [Quickening] on the basis that is will help improve damage up time instead of DPS and it also leaves Mutilate rogues free to skip out on speed enchants in favour of more DPS beneficial ones.

This build also has two points in [Nightstalker] which is another talent that does not affect DPS This is in order to progress further down the Subtlety Tree to the true goal of 3/3 [Opportunity].

Subtlety – Rotation Help Build

Subtlety Rogues use quite a complex rotation in PVE with a long ramp up time. This means they are better suited to single target fights. They also use Stealth and a wide variety of abilities.

Subtlety Level 85 Build 0/10/31

This build focuses on perfecting the Subtlety Rotation by obtaining [Improved Slice and Dice] in order to make the rotation more manageable. Unlike the Level 80 build this talent build focuses entirely on the Combat Tree once the Subtlety tree is completed in order to obtain 3/3 [Aggression] and keep 3/3 [Precision] to make raiding hit easier to obtain. This build is one of the more flexible and debated builds within the rogue community.

Subtlety Max DPS Build

Subtlety Level 85 Build 8/2/31

This build almost entirely ignores the Combat Tree in favour of my direct DPS enhancing talent points in Assassination. However it does still maintain 2/3 [Precision] to allow you to more easily reach (or close in on) the poison hit cap. This is the build for raiding subtlety rogues who are very comfortable with their rotation.

Which Build is the Best?

When your target mob is above 35% health Combat rogues are the top DPS build. However once the target mob falls below 35% Mutilate rogues have a significant upper hand by 15% damage. This evens out to roughly make Mutilate the top DPS Build with Combat and extremely close second. However, because Combat is more suitable to tricky raid situations than Mutilate is, Combat will usually be stronger in these fights and you will often see these two builds switching places throughout the raid. This means both Combat and Mutilate are viable raid PVE builds at level 85. Subtlety rogues however fall below both Mutilate and Combat rogues as well as having a unique and difficult rotation with a lengthy ramp up time. This means Subtlety, while much better now in PVE is still not a reasonable raiding choice for maximising DPS.