The Assassination Rogue PVP Guide
for the Mists of Pandaria
Subtlety has traditionally been the Rogue PvP spec of choice, mostly due to stuns, burst, Shadowstep, and similar abilities. Assassination is about poisons. Your poisons offer a good deal of flexibility and solid damage. In 5.4 Assassination is fairly competitive with Subtlety, at least outside of high ranking Arena.
Assassination PvP Contents:
- Assassination Talents
- Some Glyphs
- Stats, reforging, gear
- Gems and enchants
- Assassination in the Mists (How to…)
- Assassination PvP video
Other Rogue Pages:
- Rogue Overview, Rogue PvP, PvP Gear
- Rogue Leveling
- Assassination DPS
- Combat DPS, Combat PvP
- Subtlety DPS, Subtlety PvP
- Rogue blog posts
Assassination PvP Talents
Talents are easily switched, almost anytime and anywhere, so if you’re in a situation where one is better than another then go ahead and switch. All you need is a Tome of the Clear Mind for each switch.
These picks give you mobility and defense
Tier 1 (Level 15)
|Nightstalker – faster stealth and more damage coming out of stealth, for a harder hitting Ambush. Good for leveling or for generally faster movement while in Stealth.||Subterfuge – Stealth doesn’t break immediately upon attacking. So you can cheap shot, Envenom, and Garrote the same target before leaving stealth. Or Cheap Shot two targets. Matches up very well with Cloak and Dagger. Your Assassin’s Resolve ability gives you an extra 20 energy, making this ability easier to use.This flexibility is why it’s the pick here.||Shadow Focus – Abilities cost much less Energy while you are stealthed. Sap to garrote with little energy cost, then kill.
Tier 2 (Level 30)
|Deadly Throw – Reduces your opponent’s movement speed and can interrupt spellcasting.||Nerve Strike – Opponents does less damage when coming out of Cheap Shot or Kidney Shot, making you that much tougher.
||Combat Readiness – Take less damage as fight gets longer. Great if you’re fighting a single opponent for awhile.Combine with Elusiveness and Vendetta and you’re a lot tougher.|
Tier 3 (Level 45)
|Cheat Death – Avoid fatal attacks. Nice if you will be otherwise taking the occasional Rogue Squishing damage.Best when you have the occasional large spikes of incoming damage.||Leeching Poison – your strikes heal you for a small amount. Better for leveling than PvP.||Elusiveness – Your Feint now reduces all damage, not just A of E. Low energy cost, can have it up often.The glyph extends the time by an important two seconds.|
Tier 4 (Level 60)
|Cloak and Dagger, a Shadowstep type ability. Your Cheap Shot, Garrote, and Ambush now have a 40 yard range and you are correctly placed behind the target. No Cooldown.
This is a great pick if you don’t need the flexibility of Shadowstep. It allows to to Garrote two targets that aren’t close to each other, if you are using the Subterfuge talent.
|Shadowstep – Teleport to enemy or friendly targets without necessarily attacking, for examle: S’tep to Sap.More versatile than C&D, but a bit less range and has a cooldown.||Burst of Speed – Break free from CC, run faster if not CCed. Does not break roots.Great for carrying flags or general mobility. Yes, you can sprint across the entire battle field without straining your energy.
Also, you can get out of LOS more quickly, to get restealthed, and then get back into the fight.
It allows Assassination Rogues to do what they want the most: stick on their target. Also useable in Stealth.
Tier 5 (Level 75)
|Prey on the Weak allows your enemies to briefly take more damage from your attacks and from all other sources.||Paralytic Poison – Your poisons can stun. Has it’s uses, esp. where an extra stun is more desirable than some extra damage.Note: Assassination Rogues have a much higher chance of proccing this poison than others, so will make better use of it. Wait till it procs, build CPs, then Kidney Shot. That’s a 10 second stun lock.||Dirty Tricks – Gouge and Blind cost no energy and don’t break from your bleeds or poisons.Free Gouges and Blinds are pretty sweet, esp when they don’t break. Somewhat Redundant with Glyph of Blind, so don’t take both.|
Tier 6 (Level 90)
|Shuriken Toss – Ranged attack, adds 1 combo point, uses your lethal poison and has an auto-attack.Good choice if you’re being kited or need to be ranged. It also applies both of your active poisons.||Marked for Death – puts an immediate 5 CPs on a target. Pretty handy, at times, such as getting your Slice and Dice up before you start the fight.Nice for target swaps or that extra “Right Now” Rupture or Kidney Shot in a fight.||Anticipation – Stores excess CPs on target and applies them after a finishing strike. Nice if you have a tendency to have too many Combo Points. Passive ability is one less button on your bar.You could also save up extra points and then use two finishers, such as two envenoms through that 10 second stunluck that you’re doing with Paralytic Poison.|
Assassination PvP Glyphs
Glyphs are easily swapped to suit the situation, just make sure you have a stack of Tome of the Clear Mind handy so that you can do just that.
- Feint – Increases the duration by 2 seconds, giving you that much more defense. Esp. with the Elusiveness talent.
- Garrote – an extra second of blessed silence from your target.
- Blind – removes all Damage over Time effects from your target when you apply Blind, including your Deadly Poison, but it does make sure that Blind sticks if you take Paralytic Poison (which you should) instead of Dirty Tricks.
- Recuperate – a significant improvement to your Recuperate ability. Take this if you don’t take the Blind glyph.
- Safe fall – Safer falling.
- Blurred speed – because running on water has some use. Does not work with the Burst of Speed talent.
- Poisons – faster poison swaps or re-applications.
Assassination Stat Priorities:
- Your Priorities: 3% Hit > 3% Expertise > Agility > Mastery > Haste > Crit > PvP Power > Resilience > excess Hit.
Hit and Expertise: You can damage what you can’t hit. If you are always behind your opponents (as in PvE) then Expertise has significantly less value. A lot of your fights will be face to face, so it’s worth more than PvE.
- 3% hit so that you don’t miss with your main strikes (eg: Envenom). Missing is bad, so don’t do it. Your poisons use melee hit (they used to use Spell Hit) so they’re covered here.
- 3% Expertise to eliminate basic chance of opponents to dodge your strikes, some like to go as high as 6% when fighting dodgy characters, such as other Rogues.
- Excess Hit goes towards your white damage (melee hits from auto-attacks,) but the other stats are more valuable, so stick with a 3% target. (Just so ya know: the Hit cap for your white damage is 27%.)
- Excess Expertise is nearly useless.
Agility increases damage, and adds some crit,
Mastery increases the damage of your poisons and your get a higher % of Mastery for each rating point than you do for Crit or Haste, so Mastery is solidly #1 for PvP. See the note on Haste, just below.
Haste speeds up everything you do, the speed of your poisons, and your energy regen. It’s not quite as good the the direct damage increase of Mastery, though. Note that haste increases the proc rate for certain trinkets (RPPM trinkets, such as those trinkets that have a chance to procs Agility.) In PvE, with a pair of those and a legendary meta gem, Haste will be the best stat. Your (PvP) trinkets are “on use,” so Haste is significantly less valuable than Mastery.
Crit is not a bad stat, it;s just that the others are better. Your Seal Fate awards an extra combo point when you crit.
PvP Power appears on your PvP gear and that will be enough. The other stats are better for gemming.
Resilience: Res is 72% in patch 5.4 and the PvP trinket pair will give you another 10%. With 82% Res. you won’t need any more, you will want to work towards punching through the other guy’s 82%.
- Your goal is to get up to 3% Hit and 3% expertise, then everything else into Mastery
- If you item already had mastery and your Hit & Exp is fine then reforge to Haste.
Crit or Mastery or Haste? Experiment. Use whichever feels better. More Mastery will give you increased overall damage.
Assassination Rogue Abilities
These are the unique abilities that you will have while practicing Assassination. Note that this spec demands daggers, so if you’re a sword user then go Combat.
Keep your weapons poisoned at all times or you will gimp your damage.
|Level 10||Assassin’s Resolve – Higher energy cap and more damage while using daggers.|
|10||Improved Poisons – increases chance to apply lethal poisons.|
|10||Mutilate – Your basic strike, awards 2 combo points. Your Seal Fate will give it 3 CPs on crits. Procs Blindside 30% of the time. High energy cost will drain your energy quickly.|
|20||Envenom – Replaces Eviscerate and delivers Instant Poison damage. Also gives a much higher change of applying your poisons for a brief time.|
|30||Seal Fate – more combo points from crits.|
|40||Dispatch – Hard hitting, replaces Sinister Strike, usable when opponent is at 35% health. Does not have a positioning requirement, unlike Subtlety’s Backstab. Also Blindside procs free Dispatches.|
|50||Venomous Wounds – Rupture and Garrote do more damage and return energy. They do NOT stack for the energy return, though they do for the bleeds.|
|60||Cut to the Chase – Eviscerate (and Envenom) refreshes your Slice and Dice to max. duration.|
|70||Blindside – Performing a successful Mutilate has a chance of leaving you in an advantageous position, enabling a single use of Dispatch with no energy cost|
|80||Mastery: Potent Poisons – increases all poison damage.|
|80||Vendetta - Marks an enemy for death. You do more damage and they can’t hide from you. Especially good if you’re able to stick to a target for the full duration.|
Poisons are applied from any of your main attacks, as well as auto-attacks. You get additional energy from your Venomous Wounds procs. Basically you very much want to have your weapons poisoned at all times.
Assassination PvP Gems:
If you need the gold for gems, enchants, etc see our gold guide to get started with building your stash.
Note that secondary stat (Haste, Etc) gems have twice the value of primary stat gems, eg: 160 Vs 320 points. PvP Power (and gems) were nerfed hard in patch 5.3. You are no longer gemming for either PvP Power or Resilience. (Res. is 72% base in patch 5.4, plus another 10% from the PvP Trinket pair.)
Matching socket colors You can use these gems:
- Meta: If you PvE the Capacitive Primal Diamond is pretty sweet, but you’ll need 5.4 gear to instal it (due to the iLevel.) Otherwise use Agile Primal Diamond until you can get Tyrannical Primal Diamond
- Red: Delicate Primordial Ruby
- Yellow: Adept Vermilion Onyx (ag/mastery)
- Blue: Assassin’s Imperial Amethyst
- Belt Buckle and Blacksmithng slots: Delicate Primordial Ruby
|Meta||Capacitive Primal Diamond: +324 Critical Strike, and chance on melee or ranged hit to gain Capacitance
Agile Primal Diamond: 216 Agil & 3% Increased Crit Effect
Tyrannical Primal Diamond: +665 PVP Power and +775 Resilience, requires 27k earned conquest points and iLevel 476, cost 1k conquest points. (Must earn 25k CPs in one season to see his gear, 27k to be allowed to buy it.)
|Red||Delicate Primordial Ruby: 160 Agility
Precise Primordial Ruby: 320 Expertise
|Yellow||Mystic Sun’s Radiance: 160 Resilience
Fractured Sun’s Radiance: 320 Mastery
|Blue||Stormy River’s Heart: 160 PvP power
Rigid River’s Heart: +320 Hit
|Orange||Adept Vermilion Onyx: 80 Agility, 160 Mastery
Deft Vermilion Onyx: 80 Agility, 160 Haste
|Purple||Assassin’s Imperial Amethyst: 80 Ag, 80 PvP Power
Glinting Imperial Amethyst: 80 Ag, 160 Hit
Accurate Imperial Amethyst: 160 Expertise, 160 Hit
|Green||Vivid Wild Jade: 80 Res, 80 PvP Power
Sensei’s Wild Jade: +160 Hit and +160 Mastery
|Delicate Primordial Ruby: 160 Agility|
|Cogwheel||Requires an engie helm, such as this.
Precise Tinker’s Gear: 600 Expertise
Fractured Tinker’s Gear: 600 Mastery
Quick Tinker’s Gear: 600 Haste
Enchants for Assassination:
Head enchants are gone with Mists of Pandaria, all shoulder enchants come from the Inscription profession. There is only the one resilience enchant (chest) and none for PvP power. The profession enchants are also included in this table.
Short on gold? Most of the enchants below have similar enchants available, of lesser value, for less cash. We’ve linked to a couple of these. Check with the rep vendor or the Auction House for others. If you want to buy the best enchants, fund all of your alts, donate to the guild, etc., but don’t have the cash, then see what the Tycoon Addon can do about about improving your situation.
Helm enchants are gone in Mists of Pandaria, shoulder enchants all come from the Inscription profession.
The chest item is the only Resilience enchant, there are no PvP Power enchants.
|Ranged Weapon||You are a ranged weapon, if you took the Cloak and Dagger talent.|
|Weapon||Enchant Weapon – Glorious Tyranny: 600 PvP Power, 50% Disarm duration, cost is 1,000 Conquest points.
Enchant Weapon – Dancing Steel: Sometimes add 1,650 Ag when striking.
Living Steel Weapon Chain- Reduces duration of disarm effects, 200 Expertise.
|Shoulders||Secret Tiger Claw Inscription 520 Ag, 100 Crit, requires Inscription 575
Greater Tiger Claw Inscription: 200 Agility, 100 Crit
|Cloak||Swordguard Embroidery: Sometimes pops 4k AP for 15 sec. Requires Tailoring.
Enchant Cloak – Superior Critical Strike: 180 Crit rating
|Chest||Enchant Chest – Super Resilience: 200 Resilience
Enchant Chest – Glorious Stats: 80 to all Stats – definitely a good enchant with the 5.4 Resilience changes (65 and 72% Resilience, respectively) and the extra 10% from the trinket pair.
|Bracers||Fur Lining, Agility: 500 Agility, requires Leatherworking.
Enchant Bracer – Greater Agility: 180 Agility
Socket Bracer: Self only, Blacksmithing, pop in a nice Agility gem.
|Gloves||Enchant Gloves – Superior Mastery: 170 Mastery
Socket Gloves – Self only, Blacksmithing, pop in a nice gem.
|Belt||Living Steel Belt Buckle: put a nice gem into this slot.|
|Leggings||Shadowleather Leg Armor: 285 Agility & 165 Crit rating|
|Boots||Enchant Boots – Blurred Speed: 140 Agility and Slight run speed increase.|
|Rings||Enchant Ring – Greater Agility: 160 Agility, Requires Enchanting 550|
Note: Dancing Steel procs from separate weapons do stack with each other. Back to back procs from the same weapon do not stack, but they do refresh the duration of the effect.
The links lead to lists of items on WoWhead, sorted from higher item level to lower. Mists of Pandaria items are included.
Assassination Rogue Race Choice:
- Can be either Horde or Alliance
- Take less falling damage, which has occasional use.
- Better buffs from food buffs.
- Can stun melee opponents for four seconds. This is effectively a Gouge.
- Increased Haste is a small DPS increase in all situations.
- Rocket jump is much like the Mage’s “Blink,” and has definite escape use in PvP and certain PvE situations. It breaks stealth, so it’s not a cheap “Shadowstep.”
- Improved alchemy will help you get into those nice potions that much sooner.
- Blood Fury is a very good pvp ability since it’s a cooldown.
- Resistance to stuns has definite PvP use.
- Expertise with Axes and fist weapons: Useless since you don’t use those weapons.
- A decent DPS cooldown, Berserking, provides 20% attack speed (it’s not Haste which would give you more energy regen) every 3 minutes which can be used in conjunction with every Vanish. Open up and fire off Berserking..
- Trolls also have reduced snare/root duration which is useful.
- Ranged expertise is of little use to you, unless you took Shuriken Toss.
- Blood Elf
- Arcane Torrent generates some energy every 2 mins. and does an AoE silence (also interrupts non-player targets.) This gives it both PvP and PvE use.
- Will of the Forsaken is a useful escape.
- Touch of the Grave drains life and heals for the same amount.
- Worgen –
- the 1% add to crit rating is is Ok, but Crit isn’t your best stat.
- The run speed special is nice.
- Gnome –
- The dagger expertise (and you’re using daggers, anyway) saves a few points to reforge somewhere else. Expertise is a decent stat and this is free.
- Escape artist is a nice ability
- The small size is useful in that it makes it a bit harder for some to target you.
- Night Elf
- A bit more Agility and a bit harder to hit both have some value.
- Shadowmeld has some situational use, especially since it’s usable in combat. it can also break spells coming your way if your timing is just right (you meld at just the right moment.)
- Increased speed while stealthed has its uses.
- No useful DPS abilities, their Expertise doesn’t apply to daggers.
- “Every man for himself” has definite PvP use in that it lets you equip two DPS trinkets.
- No useful DPS abilities for the Mutilate Rogue, though Stoneform washes away some effects and reduces damage a bit.
- Ranged expertise is of little use to you.
How To: Assassination in the Mists
AKA: Assassination PvP Rotations, tips, and suggestions.
The Assassination spec brings some pros and cons to the PvP game, as compared to Subtlety and Combat, so here’s a quick overview of the strengths and Weaknesses:
- Far better use of poisons. They do a lot of damage and will account for a lot of your continuous damage, pressure, energy return, and so on.
- Vendetta is a terrific ability when training (sticking to) your target.
- Much better general damage, when not bursting, than Sub. or Combat
- Envenom buff is a really nice boost to your poison damage, in addition to its base damage. It also refreshes your Slice & Dice. You can see that it’s pretty valuable, even though it doesn’t necessarily hit so hard.
- Both Assass. & Sub. favor Mastery, so a gear reforging is not necessary.
- Weaker burst (no Find Weakness, for example.)
- Nothing akin to Shadow Dance.
- Have to stick to the target for maximum effect.
- You always want Slice and Dice running. Remember that your Envenoms refresh it. It’s extra white damage and extra poison procs, a nice two for one.
- You always want at least one (Garrote, Rupture) bleed up, for the energy return in addition to the damage. Note the the bleeds don’t stack for the energy return.
- Poisons must always be active. You take a huge damage loss without them.
- As much as you can you are going to sit on your target, to get all those additional poison procs.
- With Subterfuge Talent: Marked for Death > Slice & Dice > Garrote > Pool energy > Cheap Shot > Envenom
Assassination PVP Video
Not the greatest video, but he makes some good points.
Professions for Assassination
All of the professions provide some benefit for any class/spec, though clearly some are better than others. Even the gathering professions have some value, though you might be better served by using those to build a larger gold stash.
Most of the professions add an average of about 320 Agility. Since gems with secondary stats are twice the value of those with primary stats (320 Mastery Vs 160 Int, for example.)
Engineering is the most useful profession with the Synapse Springs enchant and various toys which can be used in World PvP and the BGs.
Blacksmithing is the second most valuable profession if you’re just looking for the buffs, since you can equip 640 Mastery with its two gems. Jewelcrafting provides only 320 in any stat over non JC gems.
|Tailoring||Cloak enchant sometimes adds 2k Attack Power for 15 seconds.|
|Leatherworking||Bracer enchant adds 500 Ag.|
|Jewelcrafting||Make nicer gems for your own use.|
|Enchanting||Enchant both rings, for a total +320 Ag gain.|
|Inscription||Shoulder enchant adds 520 Ag and 100 crit.|
|Alchemy||More effect from your own potions. Adds 320 Ag and an extra hour to your main flask.|
|Engineering||has lots of interesting toys, some of which have situational use, and Synapse Springs, which increases Ag by 1940 for a short time. If you take this use a macro to activate it along with other short term buffs.|
|Blacksmithing||gives two extra gems slots. Since gems with secondary stats have twice the value of gems with primary stats Blacksmithing might be a very valuable profession. For example, you’ll be able to socket he two gems for 640 Mastery instead of 320 Ag.|
|Skinning||provides 480 crit rating|
|Herbalism||Small heal and 2880 Haste for 20 seconds|
Assassination Rogue Leveling Guide
Now you’re all ready to start assassinating the opposition, but you’re not yet 90. Or you’re leveling another alt. Either way, to get to 90 all you have to do first is complete thousands of quests and kill a bazillion mobs of all sorts. Just in case you don’t already have the entire leveling path memorized might we suggest a full blown Rogue leveling guide?
Zygor’s Guide is the solution. What it does is show you where to go and what to do for you entire leveling path, whether you’re starting from level 1 or 79. Quests and tasks are automatically updated as you complete them and not only will you never again wonder where you have to go you will not have to look up any of there “what do I need to do here…” stuff, it’s all in the guide. Zygor’s shows you what to do and where to go every step of the way.
Like to level in the dungeons and battlegrounds, as well as through questing? No problem, Zygor’s guide has gemmed for Int and is smart enough to always point you where you need to go next, regardless of how many levels you gained in the dungeons or by killing players. It’ll even clean up your obsolete quests.
Zygor’s is always quickly updated for all patches and expansions and comes with some nice extras, but you’ll have to check their home page to see those. You can get the full details on Zygor’s Guide, and grab your own copy here, or read our review. You will probably never need to look at your quest log again.