Subtlety has traditionally been the Rogue PvP spec of choice, mostly due to stuns, burst, Shadowstep, and similar abilities. Assassination is more about DOTs. Your poisons offer a good deal of flexibility and the spec just has a very different feel from Subtlety.
In Mists of Pandaria, with the totally revised talent system, Assassination is more PvP competitive and does very nice damage in all environments.
Updated with Mists of Pandaria gems and enchants. Also see our post on the Mists of Pandaria Rogue.
Assassination PvP Contents:
Other Rogue Pages:
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 swords use 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.|
|20||Envenom - Replaces Eviscerate and delivers Instant Poison damage.|
|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.|
|50||Venomous Wounds - Rupture and Garrote do more damage and return energy.|
|60||Cut to the Chase - Eviscerate (and Envenom?) refreshes Slice and Dice.|
|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.|
- Primary: Focus on Agility
- Secondary: 3% Hit > PvP Power > 3% Expertise and 6% Melee Hit (this is spell Hit for your poisons) > Resilience > Mastery = Crit > Haste
- Weaker: Expertise >Crit
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)
- 6% hit for your poisons, which are treated as spells.
- 3% Expertise to eliminate basic chance of opponents to dodge your strikes.
- Excess Hit goes towards your white damage (melee hits from auto-attacks)
- Excess Expertise has some use against characters with higher dodge (EG: Other Rogues.)
PvP Power and Agility are your best stats. Agility increases damage, dodge, and some crit, PvP Power adds to damage. Gems with PvP Power have twice the value of those with Agility (320 Vs 160) so PvP Power gems will be better than Agility gems.
Resilience: Rogues are a bit squishy in 5.2, but he resilience on your pvp gear and weapons should be adequate. If after you have all your pvp gear you still feel you die too fast, you can gem for some resil., but you will give up damage and should also work on your skills.
These three are more or less equal, depending on exact gear:
- Mastery: Mastery will increase the damage done by your poisons and is your next most important stat, after 6% Hit. It’s a steady, across the board damage increase.
- Crit: Besides the chance for more damage from any hit, your Seal Fate gives you extra Combo Points when you Crit, boosting the value of this stat.
- Haste: A decent stat, more or less equal to Mastery and Crit.
Your goal is to get up to 6% Hit and 3% expertise, then everything else into Mastery or Crit (if possible.) Excess Hit applies towards your white damage.
Crit or Mastery or Haste? Experiment. Use whichever feels better. More Mastery will give you increased overall damage.
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.
Tier 1 (Level 15)
|Nightstalker – faster stealth and more damage coming out of stealth, for a harder hitting Ambush. Good for leveling.||Subterfuge – Stealth doesn’t break immediately upon attacking. So you can cheap shot, Envenom, and Ambush/Garrote the same target before leaving stealth. It’s much like a cheap Shadow Dance.||Shadow Focus – Abilities cost much less Energy while you are stealthed. Sap to Ambush with no energy cost.
Tier 2 (Level 30)
|Deadly Throw – Reduces movements speed and can interrupt. In 5.2 it can be used with 3+ Combo Points instead of 5.||Nerve Strike – Opponents does less damage when coming out of Cheap Shot or Kidney Shot.
||Combat Readiness – Take less damage as fight gets longer. Great if you’re fighting a single opponent for awhile. Combine with Elusiveness and you’re a lot tougher.|
Tier 3 (Level 45)
|Cheat Death – Avoid fatal attacks.||Leeching Poison – your strikes heal you. Better for leveling than PvP.||Elusiveness – Feint reduces all damage, not just A of E. Low energy cost, can have it up often.|
Tier 4 (Level 60)
|Cloak and Dagger, a Shadowstep type ability. Your Cheap Shot, Garrote, and Ambush now have a 30 yard range and you are correctly placed behind the target. No Cooldown.||Shadowstep – Teleport to target. Teleport to enemy or friendly targets without necessarily attacking. 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. Nice for carrying flags.|
Tier 5 (Level 75)
|Prey on the Weak allows your enemies to briefly take more damage from all sources.||Paralytic Poison – Your poisons can stun. Has it’s uses, esp. where an extra stun is more desirable than some extra damage.||Dirty Tricks – Gouge and Blind cost no energy and don’t break from your bleeds or poisons. Glyph of Blind, which you’re tanking anyway, makes this talent redundant.|
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.||Marked for Death - puts an immediate 5 CPs on a target. Pretty handy, at times. Might be pretty useful with your Vendetta.||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. You could also save up extra points and then use two finishers, bang bang.|
The links lead to lists of items on WoWhead, sorted from higher item level to lower. Mists of Pandaria items are included.
If you need the gold for gems, enchants, etc see our guide to get started with building your stash.
Load PvP Power gems whereever you can and match socket bonuses. Note that secondary stat (PvP Power, Haste, Etc) gems have twice the value of primary stat gems, eg: 160 Vs 320 points. You will get a lot more bang for you buck by using the PvP power gems. You can use these gems:
- Red: Assassin’s Imperial Amethyst or Lucent Vermilion Onyx
- Yellow: Vivid Wild Jade or Mystic Sun’s Radiance
- Blue: Stormy River’s Heart or Vivid Wild Jade
|Gems for the Assassination Rogue|
|Meta||Agile Primal Diamond: 216 Agil & 3% Increased Crit Effect
|Red||Delicate Primordial Ruby: 160 Agility
|Yellow||Mystic Sun’s Radiance: 320 Resilience
|Blue||Stormy River’s Heart: 320 PvP power|
|Orange||Lucent Vermilion Onyx: 80 Agility, 160 Resilience
|Purple||Assassin’s Imperial Amethyst: 80 Ag, 160 PvP Power
|Green||Vivid Wild Jade: 160 Res, 160 PvP Power|
|Prismatic||Delicate Primordial Ruby: 160 Agility|
|Cogwheel||Smooth Tinker’s Gear: 600 Crit – 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.
|Weapon||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 pop 2k Attack Power for 15 sec. Requires Tailoring.
Enchant Cloak – Accuracy: +180 Hit rating
Enchant Cloak – Superior Critical Strike: +180 Crit rating
|Chest||Enchant Chest – Super Resilience: +200 Resilience|
|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 – Greater Haste: +170 Haste
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: Landslide procs from separate weapons do stack with each other. Back to back procs from the same weapon do not stack. The same is probably true of Dancing Steel.
Remarks on Race for the Assassination Rogue:
- 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.
- 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.
- A decent DPS cooldown, Berserking, provides 20% attack speed (again not haste which would give you more energy regen) every 3 minutes which can be used in conjunction with every Vanish. Fire off Berserking, break stealth and attack.
- Trolls also have reduced snare/root duration which is useful.
- Ranged expertise is of little use to you.
- 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 put 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, since 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.
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 PvP Power Vs 160 Int, for example.)
Blacksmithing might be the most valuable profession if you’re just looking for the buffs, since you can equip 640 PvP Power 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 PvP Power instead of 320 Ag.|
|Skinning||provides 480 crit rating|
|Herbalism||Small heal and 2880 Haste for 20 seconds|
Assassination PVP Video
Not the greatest video, but he makes some good points.
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.