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. You don’t open as hard as Sub, but you do better continuous damage.
In Warlords of Draenor (WoD) your combo points stay with you, not on your target, making Redirect irrelevant (and it’s been removed.)
Venomous Wounds no longer works with Garrote, and your Dismantle and Shadow Blades abilities are gone. Other than that you’re in fine shape.
For more detail see our post on the Rogue changes in Warlords.
Assassination PvP Contents:
- Assassination Talents
- Some Glyphs
- Stats, reforging, gear
- Gems and enchants
- Assassination in the Mists (How to…)
- Assassination PvP video
- Leveling Fast
Other Rogue Pages:
- Rogue Overview, Rogue 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.
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. It’s a slight DPS loss over Shadowfocus.
- 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. Better for PvP than PvE as opening abilities cost a lot of energy, but gives you certain options for control.
- Shadow Focus – Abilities cost much less Energy while you are stealthed. Open with a cheap ability and then move into your rotation.
Tier 2 (Level 30)
Not very useful for DPS, but there is some situational benefit which can be very nice.
- Deadly Throw – Reduces your opponent’s movement speed and can interrupt spellcasting. With 5 Combo Points needed to interrupt this is a definite DPS loss.
- Nerve Strike – Opponents do less damage when coming out of Cheap Shot or Kidney Shot, making attack that much more effective.
- Combat Readiness – Take less damage as fight gets longer. Esp. nice for one on one fights, such as duels or where more than one melee type is attacking and you’re not being instantly killed.
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, such as in PvE.
- Leeching Poison – your strikes heal you for a small amount. Better for leveling than PvP, where it’s really not useful.
- 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. Spam this in most fights where you’re not in complete control.
Tier 4 (Level 60)
If you need speed for something like flag carrying, then Burst of Speed is your pick. Otherwise Shadowstep has some nice utility.
- 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. You can use it to attack people on ledges. Shadowstep is more versatile.
- 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. You can also use it to attack people on ledges of ‘step to your healer/partner when necessary. Zero energy cost gives it a small edge over Burst of Speed.
- 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. Especially nice if your team can coordinate on one target.
- Internal Bleeding replaces Paralytic Poison (now dead.) Your Kidney Shot causes your opponent to bleed over 6 seconds. Added damage is always a good thing, especially when more or less solo.
- Dirty Tricks – Gouge and Blind cost no energy and don’t break from your bleeds or poisons. They still break from the other guys’ damage. Free Gouges and Blinds are nice, but the talent is somewhat Redundant with Glyph of Blind (which wipes all DOTS) 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. Mostly this will have very little use in PvP, except in very specific situations.
- Marked for Death – puts an immediate 5 CPs on a target. Pretty handy, at times, such as getting your Slice and Dice or Rupture up before you start the fight or generating an immediate 5pt stun/finisher during the fight. Nice for target swaps or that extra “Right Now” Rupture or Kidney Shot in a fight. Harder to use than Anticipation, but those immediate 5 points can be very useful.
- 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.
The Level 100 Talents:
- Venom Rush: Increases max energy and increases energy regeneration for each enemy poisoned, up to three. This can be an nice energy boost in many or most fights.
- Shadow Reflection summons a shadow that “memorizes” what you do for the next 8 seconds, then replays those strikes on the target. This could be rather cool and could really extend your burst. This models as the best talent from a damage viewpoint and works well with Vendetta, but players don’t stick to one place the same way that PvE opponents do and this will need 16 seconds for best effect (and Vendetta needs 20.) Excellent pick if you can stick to him for those 16+ seconds.
- Death From Above empowers your weapons with Shadow Energy. This is a finishing strike (damage is based on your combo points used) which lets you attack all nearby enemies and then leap up and crash down on the main target for Envenom + 50% damage. Due to a high energy cost it’s less effective than it seems, especially one on one.
Assassination PvP Glyphs
As you level your Rogue you will automatically learn certain glyphs, just as you do talents and abilities. The rest of the glyphs will still be available on the Auction House.
Here are the glyphs that your Rogue will be automatically learning:
- Level 25: Deadly Momentum and Stealth,
- Level 50: Recuperate
- level 75: Ambush and Cheap Shot
- Note that no minor glyphs will be automatically learned.
Exclusive glyphs are groups of glyphs that do not function together. For example, the glyphs of energy, evasion, and elusiveness. You can only use one of these at a time, though you can swap them as necessary.
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.
- Glyph of Energy for +20 energy
- Blind – removes all Damage over Time effects from your target when you apply Blind, including your Deadly Poison. Make Blind a lot more reliable.
- Glyph of Garrote – Also strongly recommended. Increases the silence duration by 1 second.
- Feint – Increases the duration by 2 seconds, giving you that much more defense. Esp. with the Elusiveness talent.
- Glyph of Cloak of Shadows makes Cloak of Shadows useful against physical damage as well as spells. Very nice defensive cooldown.
- Garrote – an extra second of blessed silence from your target.
- Glyph of Smoke Bomb extends you SB duration by 2 seconds, which can be pretty important.
- Recuperate – a significant improvement to your Recuperate ability. Take this if you don’t take the Blind glyph
- Glyph of Disappearance – With your perk this gives your Vanish a 30 second cooldown. This is for “Vanish to attack” as it no longer automatically stealths you.
- Glyph of Elusiveness – for more evasions. (Does this make you more like a politician?)
- Glyph of Energy Flows – Each evasion dodge gives you +10 energy.
- Glyph of Cheap Shot – Increases CS duration by .5 second for that much more control, works well with your Prey on the Weak and Nerve Strike talents. With the short duration change one can argue that this glyphs isn’t worth the effort.
- Glyph of Recovery – While your Recuperate is running you receive 20% more healing from your healers, potions, whatever. A nice match with Glyph of Feint if you’re being constantly pressured.
- 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 for PvP
Warlords note: Your Hit, Expertise, Resilience, and Reforging are all gone. You still have the Dual Wield penalty, but there’s nothing you can do about that. Agility no longer adds any crit, but you get an extra 10% through your Critical Strikes ability. This will give you a base 15% chance to crit.
Attuned stats are your highest “throughput” stats, though they might not necessarily best the best for your purposes. In the case of Assassination your Attuned stat is Mastery. Your Master Poisoner ability, at level 90, gives you an additional 5% Mastery from all sources.
- Your Priorities: Agility > Mastery > Haste > Crit > Versatility = Multistrike
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.
Versatility adds to your damage and defense, and that damage add probably applies to your poisons. Still, it’s not likely to have the value of Mastery.
Crit – Your Seal Fate awards an extra combo point when you crit. Crits do 150% damage in PvP.
Multistrike has a chance to add two additional strikes, at 30% effect, on any of your melee attacks. It does not proc off of Poison damage or DOTs, and that’s where a lot of your damage comes from. So it’s less valuable for you than for other specs and classes. As with Crit it is less effective in PvP then PvE, by about 50%.
Resilience and PvP Power are dead in Warlords.
Reforging is also dead in WoD. In order to stack stats you will have to use gems, enchants, and careful gear choices.
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.
- Assassin’s Resolve – more energy and damage while using daggers.
- Improved Poisons – increases chance to apply lethal poisons.
- 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.
- Venomous Wounds – Rupture does more damage and returns energy.
- Cut to the Chase – Eviscerate/Envenom refreshes your Slice and Dice.
- Envenom – Replaces Eviscerate and delivers Instant Poison damage. Increases Poison Application chances for a brief time.
- Seal Fate – more combo points from crits.
- 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.
- Blindside – Chance for free Dispatches.
- Rupture – Finishing strike adds a bleed.
- Relentless Strikes – chance to regain energy with your finishing strikes.
- Fan of Knives – Throw knives at everything nearby. Applies poisons, adds 1 CP.
- Mastery: Potent Poisons – increases all poison damage.
- Vendetta – Marks an enemy for death. More damage and they can’t hide.Master Poisoner (P) – +5% Mastery from all sources.
Perks are acquired randomly as you level from 91 onward. So a level 95 Rogue might have a completely different set of perks than another 95 Rogue of the same spec. By level 100 they’ll both have all the same perks. The order of perks shown here is, therefore, not the order in which they will be acquired.
- Empowered Envenom – 30% more damage with Envenom and Dispatch
- Enhanced Crimson Tempest improves the poison damage on affected targets.
- Enhanced Vendetta gives your next Mutilate, Envenom, Dispatch, or Ambush a 100% Crit chance.
- Improved Slice and Dice is now an “always on” passive effect.
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:
PvP gem sockets are not available. Move along.
If you need the gold for gems, enchants, etc see our gold guide to get started with building your stash.
Note that the Warlords stats squish has take your Agility gems from 160 points to 10. Mastery gems from 320 to 20. Since everything else has been squished by a similar amount the gems values should have about the same overall effect as before.
Gems that used to have Hit now have Crit. Gems that had Expertise now have Haste. Ditto for Enchants.
Gemming gear Under ilevel 600
Matching socket colors: You can use these gems:
- Meta: If you PvE the Capacitive Primal Diamond is pretty sweet, but only procs in World PvP, not in Arenas or BGs. 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
Gemming in Warlords of Draenor
PvP gem sockets are not available. Move along.
- Gem sockets are actually few and far between on Raid gear and none are available on PvP gear, but perhaps they will be as the expansion progresses. Also, there are no meta gems or sockets, there are no socket bonuses, and all sockets are “prismatic,” which means that they will take any available gem.
- The gems themselves are actually available. They are all prismatic, meaning they fit into any socket. None have Int, they all have secondary stats (Mastery, etc.) Apparently there are no Meta sockets or gems.
- Older (Mists of Pandaria) gems work until item level 600, but the item squish cut them down a bit. What used to be 160 Ag is now 10, for example. The new Prismatic gems are 50 points of Mastery or whatever.
- Older gems (Mists of Pandaria and lower) that used to code for Hit now do Crit, gems that had Expertise are now Haste.
If gem sockets become available, gem for Mastery.
|Gems for Warlords of Draenor|
|Prismatic||Greater Mastery Taladite: +50 Mastery
Mastery Taladite: +35 MasteryIn the Mists: Delicate Primordial Ruby: 10 Agility
|Mists of Pandaria Gems, for gear under ilevel 600.|
|Meta||Capacitive Primal Diamond: +20 Critical Strike, and chance on melee or ranged hit to gain Capacitance
Agile Primal Diamond: 14 Agil & 3% Increased Crit Effect
|Red||Delicate Primordial Ruby: 10 Agility|
|Yellow||Fractured Sun’s Radiance: 20 Mastery|
|Blue||Lightning Wild Jade: +10 Haste and +10 Crit|
|Orange||Adept Vermilion Onyx: 5 Agility, 10 Mastery|
|Purple||Glinting Imperial Amethyst: 5 Ag, 10 Crit|
|Green||Sensei’s Wild Jade: +10 Crit and +10 Mastery
Lightning Wild Jade: +10 Haste and +10 Crit
|Cogwheel||Smooth Tinker’s Gear: 38 Crit – requires an engie helm, such as this.
Precise Tinker’s Gear: 38 Haste
Fractured Tinker’s Gear: 38 Mastery
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.
In Warlords the profession enchants are gone. You can enchant your rings and neck pieces, though, for any of the secondary stats, such as Mastery.
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.
Versatility enchants are included in the list if you wish to experiment with them.
mian and off hands
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.
See our Rogue PvP Gear page for info on gearing up.
All of your potions, flasks, and other chemicals and buffs are fine in World PvP and most are fine in regular Battlegrounds. There are restrictions in what you can use in the Rated BGs and Arenas. If you’re ganking in the Timeless Isle you can also use the various buffs found there to better slaughter the opposition.
- Flask of Spring Blossoms: 114 Ag for one hour
- Virmen’s Bite: 456 Ag for 25 seconds. If you pop one immediately before combat you will be able to pop another during combat.
- Master Healing Potion: Heals 12k HP
- Darkwater Potion: When 15 seconds of faster running/swimming might be useful.
- Runescroll of Fortitude III: 8% increased Stamina to your entire group.
Assassination Rogue Race Choice
In Warlords of Draenor all racial abilities that had to do with Hit or Expertise are gone. Most of them have been replaced with other abilities (but not for Orcs.) This gives all races some ability that adds to their damage.
- 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.
- +1% 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.
- A decent DPS cooldown, Berserking, provides 15% 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.
- “Beast slaying” gives the leveling Rogue additional XP for killing beasts.
- 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.
- +1% Crit rating
- Will of the Forsaken is a useful escape.
- Touch of the Grave drains life and heals for the same amount.
- Indefinite Underwater Breathing might have some PvP use.
- Worgen –
- the 1% add to crit rating is is Ok, but Crit isn’t your best stat.
- The run speed special is nice.
- Gnome –
- +5% Energy
- +1% Haste
- 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.
- +2% Run speed
- +1% Haste by night and +1% Crit by Day.
- “The Human Spirit” adds to your Versatility.
- “Every man for himself” has definite PvP use in that it lets you equip two DPS trinkets.
- Stoneform washes away various effects and reduces damage a bit.
- 2% increased crit damage.
How To: Assassination in Warlords
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. You’ll know when your poisons fall off, your damage will suddenly suck.
- Vendetta is a terrific ability when training (sticking to) your target.
- Much better general damage, when not bursting, than Sub. and about as good as 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 if you’re switching back and forth.
- Better at spreading damage around through good poison use.
- Weaker burst (no Find Weakness, for example.)
- Nothing akin to Shadow Dance.
- Have to stick to the target for maximum effect (Vendetta.)
Stuns and CC: Sap, Blind, Gouge, Cheap Shot, Kidney Shot, Crippling Poison, Distract, Kick, sometimes Smoke Bomb.
Stealth and Defenses: Smoke Bomb, Evasion, Feint, Cloak of Shadows, Vanish, Shroud of Concealment
DoTs/Bleeds: Garrote, Rupture, Internal Bleeding talent, Deadly Poison
Area Damage: Fan of Knives, Crimson Tempest.
Healing: Recuperate, leeching Poison, Shiv Leaching poison.
Party Favors: Swiftblade’s Cunning (+5% Haste and Multistrike to entire party.)
- 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. One of your perks will make it passive, which will free up combo points for other things.
- You always want to have Rupture up, for the energy return in addition to the damage.
- Mutilate is your main Combo Point builder, but see Dispatch.
- Use Dispatch whenever it procs and when the enemy is 35% health or lower.
- Envenom refreshes your Slice and dice, hits, hard, and adds a buff that gives you a much better chance to apply your poisons. If possible try the get your main strikes in during that buff, which may mean pooling some energy before you Envenom.
- Poisons must always be active. You take a huge damage loss without them.
- Vendetta and Shadow Reflection (talent) play well together. You can put them into a macro, with SR first, and start blasting away.
- If your team is coordinating buffs, such as Bloodlust/Heroism, then try to use your Vendetta during that buff.
- As much as you can you are going to sit on your target, to get all those additional poison procs.
Remember that once you have the perk you can take Slice & Dice out of the rotation.
You only need one combo point to get Slice and Dice started, since your next Envenom will refresh it to it’s full duration. You shouldn’t need to refresh it again until the fight is over. Pool energy before you Envenom, if possible, so that you can get your main strikes in during the Envenom buff.
- Cheap Shot or Garrote > Mutilate to 5CP > Rupture > Mutilate to 5CP > Kidney Shot > M4D > Envenom
- Vanish > Garrote/Cheap Shot
Assassination PVP Video
A nice intro to Assassination basics in the first half and PvP in the second half.
Professions for Assassination
In Warlords all of the profession enchants/bonuses have been removed. No more sockets from Blacksmithing or Synapse Springs from Engineering.
Engineering still has a number of useful toys which can be used in World PvP and the BGs, not to mention the mounts. Leatherworking will let you make some nice starting raid gear that you can wear at level 91. Blacksmithing is for the weapons.
Gathering is just for the gold or to supply other professions.
|Tailoring||A flying carpet is the only think tailoring has to offer.|
|Leatherworking||Make your own gear, Raid gear when you hit 100 (before grinding honor,) etc.|
|Jewelcrafting||In addition to making all those gems you can make some nice rings and neck pieces.|
|Enchanting||In addition to making all those enchants you can now enchants rings (for everyone) and neck pieces.|
|Inscription||Make glyphs, obviously, as well as shoulder enchants, items to those caster friends of yours, fortune cards, and a few more items.|
|Alchemy||Better living through chemicals.|
|Engineering||Lots of neat toys and mounts and Nitro Boosts.|
|Blacksmithing||Might be able to make some nice weapons.|
|Skinning||Just for the gold or to supply Leatherworking.|
|Herbalism||Just for the gold or to supply Inscription and Alchemy.|
|Mining||Just for the gold or to supply Blacksmithing.|
Assassination Rogue Leveling Guide
Now you’re all ready to start assassinating the opposition, but you’re not yet 100. Or you’re leveling another alt. Either way, to get to 100 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, including Warlords of Draenor, 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.