Assassination Rogue DPS Guide
The Assassination Rogue is the master of poisons. They’re very close to Combat in pure DPS and offer more control/flexibility via the poisons. This same utility makes Assassination better for PvP than Combat, though not quite up to the level of Subtlety.
Updated for Warlords of Draenor – see below the table of contents for a few of the Warlords changes or see our Rogues in Warlords of Draenor post.
|This Assassination Rogue guide is primarily intended for use at level 90. However, the principals will still apply during the leveling process. If you’re looking for advice on leveling your Rogue, check out our Rogue Leveling Guide.
If you want the same in-game step by step leveling guide that we use to get to level 90 as fast as possible, take a look at our favorite in-game leveling guide.
Other Rogue Guides:
A Few of the Rogue Changes in Warlords of Draenor
See our Rogues in Warlords of Draenor post for more details.
Redirect is dead and your Combo Points stay with you. This makes things more consistent with other classes that have some form of points to build up and will make your target switching easier.
Agility no longer adds to crit, but all Rogues (and all Agility classes) get a bonus 10% to Crit.
Stats: Your Hit, Expertise are both gone, and so is Reforging. You will have to stack stats the old fashioned way, though gear choices, enchants, and gems. You also have two new stats, Versatility and Multistrike. The former improved everything you do (damage and defense) while the latter gives you more strikes (and more DPS) over time.
- Shadow Blades is gone
- Garrote no longer triggers Venomous Wounds.
- The Paralytic Poison talent is gone, replaced with Internal Bleeding. This will be a DPS add on anything that you can hit with your Kidney Shot.
- New level 100 talents, perks, etc.
Assassination Rogue DPS Talents
Keep in mind that talents can easily be changed, depending on the encounter. You just need one Tome of the Clear Mind for every change. Patch 5.2 changed a couple of talents, the changes are noted below. You can see all of the Rogue changes here.
Our talent picks are checked: Many of the talents provide little in the way if increased DPS, but some will greatly increase your life expectancy. Since dead Rogues do no DPS, maybe they _are_ DPS talents, after all.
Tier 1 Talents, level 15:
- Nightstalker increases our movement speed and adds a nice bit of damage to our abilities used from stealth, such as Garrote or Ambush or Mutilate. You move fast and open hard.
- Subterfuge allows you to stay stealthed for 3 seconds after receiving or dealing damage, an interesting option. Allows Cheap Shotting two (or three) opponents, time and energy permitting, but that’s less useful in PvE than in PvP.
- Shadow Focus is the optimal choice at present for the nearly energy free Mutilate/Ambush it provides. The cheap opener lets you more quickly move into the rest of your rotation. The Burst of Speed talent will make up for Nightstalker’s faster movement.
Tier 2 Talents, level 30:
- Deadly Throw is unimportant most of the time unless for whatever reason you can’t reach your target for a while. It slows and interrupts/silences targets when used with 5+ combo points.
- Nerve Strike has practically no impact the majority of the time, though it will help take the trash down faster and will help in those rare instances where you have that trash’s aggro.
- Combat Readiness is a survivability cooldown. Only useful if you find yourself under attack, which should be uncommon.
Tier 3 Talents, level 45:
- Cheat Death does exactly what it says. Best used for fights where you need to live dangerously or know that significant damage will generally be in the form of the occasional “Big Squish.”
- Leeching Poison provides a constant health increase from your attacks.This is a decent pick if you’re only taking light damage throughout the fight.
- Elusiveness boosts Feint’s damage reduction, ideal for encounters where you need to mitigate damage. This will be the choice for fights with unavoidable incoming damage. The glyph extends it by 2 seconds. If your concern is being “one shotted” then Cheat Death might well be more useful.
Tier 4 Talents, level 60:
- Cloak and Dagger With C & D your Ambush, Garrote, and Cheap Shot now have a 40-yard range, and will cause you to teleport behind the target and do the attack. Not as versatile as Shadowstep, but longer range and zero cooldown. This is a great pick if you can get stealthed and don’t need the flexibility of Shadowstep.
- Shadowstep is best used for fights that demand quick target switching/rapid movement. You can also ‘step to friendly targets, either player (such as healer or tank) or NPC. You don’t need to be in stealth. This gives it great flexibility which is why it’s the pick here. .
- Burst of Speed Very low cost, you can literally sprint through the entire dungeon and back without running out of energy. If you have a target that you need to “stick to” then this talent is a big help. Very useful anytime there is a lot of movement and your Sprint doesn’t cooldown fast enough. Like Sprint it can be used while stealthed.
Tier 5 Talents, level 75:
This tier is pretty much only useful for PvP or taking the trash out.
- Prey on the Weak is unlikely to be of much use, except in trash fights. They’ll go down that much faster, especially if more than one person is fighting the mob.
- Paralytic Poison probably won’t work on any targets of great importance. More for PvP.
- Internal Bleeding replaces Paralytic Poison. Your Kidney Shot adds a nice bleed to the target, but it does nothing to targets that are not affected by your KS, such as bosses.
- Dirty Tricks does little for us in PvE, unless you find yourself Gouging and Blinding often. More for PvP.
Tier 6 Talents, level 90:
- Shuriken Toss improves our ranged attack ability, meaning it’s pointless 99% of the time. It’s best use is in leveling, but since you’re already 100… It will have some use only in situations where you cannot quickly close on the target.
- Marked for Death (M4D) – This marks a target and instantly generates 5 combo points. Great for any time when you need 5 Compbo Points right now, such as starting off with a full Slice and Dice or Recuperate. Or use at any point in the fight where youi need an additional 5pt Rupture or Envenom. Requires a bit more effort to use than Anticipation, but could be a DPS add. For example: Envenom > M4D > Envenom. Or M4D > Slice and Dice > Open.
- Anticipation allows us to stack up to 10 combo points at a time. This removes any possibility of wasting combo points, though Marked for Death is an interesting alternative. Anticipation is easier to use.
Tier 7 Talents, level 100:
- Venom Rush: Increases max energy and increases energy regeneration for each enemy poisoned, up to three. Either use quick target switching or Fan of Knives to get your three poisoned targets and refresh it every 12 seconds with another Fan of Knives. For single target fights consider one of the other talents.
- 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 pretty nice if you set up our 8 second burst right, then have it copied.
- 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 Eviscerate + 50% damage. Could be a lot of fun if done right.
Glyphs in M of P come in 2 flavors, Major and Minor. Majors provide significant changes to abilities, minors are mostly just cosmetic. In addition, there are very few glyphs, for any class, that are always the “best.” For optimal performance you will be doing some glyph switching. As with talents, you will need one Tome of the Clear Mind for every change.
In Warlords you aotomagically learn a number of glyphs in the same way that you learn your abilities. You still need to instal these glyphs, you just won’t need to buy them. All Rogues learn these glyphs.
In addition, some glyphs are exclusive, meaning that you can load two exclusive glyphs at once. And example being the glyphs of Recuperate and Recovery. Pick one.
Here they are:
- Level 25: Deadly Momentum and Stealth,
- Level 50: Recuperate
- level 75: Ambush and Cheap Shot
- Note that no minor glyphs will be automatically learned.
- Glyph of Vendetta – Trade a little less damage for longer duration. Nice for long fights with no target switching, where it will be a DPS increase. If you won’t be sticking to the boss for the full 40 seconds then take another glyph.
- Glyph of Feint – Increases duration, which has it’s uses.
- Glyph of Energy – Need more energy? Here’s +20.
- Glyph of Recovery – More healing from other sources
- Glyph of Sprint – Faster Sprint movement and will cover more distance. Exp. take this if you don’t take the Bust of Speed talent.
- Glyph of Evasion – Survivability boost.
- Glyph of Cloak of Shadows -Survivability boost.
- Deadly Momentum nice when fighting trash as your Slice and Dice and Recuperate won’t need to be refreshed.
- Glyph of Poisons – Faster poison switching
- Glyph of Safe Fall – Less falling damage
- Glyph of Blurred Speed – Run on water.
Assassination Stat Priorities for PvE/DPS
Warlords note: Hit, Expertise,and reforging are all dead and gone. In their place you have two new stats, Multistrike and Versatility. Both of these stats are net DPS adds, but how they stack up to other stats remains to be seen.
- Agility > Mastery* > Haste > Crit > anything else.
- Note that forgetting to poison your weapons will be a far larger DPS loss than getting your stats “wrong.”
Agility is your best stat, adding to all damage and adding a bit to your crit rating.
Mastery is a straight up poison damage increase. The more the better. It’s also your “Attuned” stat, the one you get a 5% bonus for, via your Master Poisoner ability.
Haste speeds up everything you do, including energy regen, poison procs, etc. Not as good as Mastery unless you have multiple items that have procs, such as the trinkets mentioned above.
Crit is the least of your stats. It isn’t bad it’s just that the others are better. Your Seal Fate ability will give you an extra Combo Point whenever you crit.
Multistrike: Grants a chance for spells and abilities to fire up to 2 additional times, at 30% effectiveness (both damage and healing.)
Versatility: Increases damage, healing, and absorption done. Reduces damage taken.
With Reforging gone you will have to stack stats the old fashioned war: through gear choice, gems, and enchants. There are new enchants that work for your rings, neck items, cloaks, and weapons, so some stacking is certanly possible.
*Mastery, Haste, and RPPM (Real/Random Procs per Minute) trinkets are affected by Haste, so while Mastery is “normally” the better stat, at high gear levels Haste becomes better if you have a pair of these RPPM trinkets and the legendary meta gem. The Haste will make them proc faster (eg: 20% Haste =20% faster procs.) If you don not have these trinkets (say you’re using “on use” trinkets) then Mastery is definitely better. (example RPPM trinket: Assurance of Consequence)
At the moment it’s unknown how this will effect anything in Warlords.
Assassination Rogue In-Depth Rotation for PVE:
- Deadly Poison (DP) should always be active as your Lethal Poison of choice. Make sure your DP doesn’t fall off, it will be a huge DPS loss.
- If you took it then Leeching Poison is the recommended Non-Lethal Poison, otherwise use Crippling. The other non-lethal poisons have been removed from the game.
As an Assassination Rogue your rotation primarily revolves around the use of Combo Point generating attacks followed by expending those Combo Points either to maintain buffs, deal immediate damage, or apply a debuff to your target. A very large portion of your damage will come from your Deadly (or wound) poisons.
- Mutilate is your primary combo point generating attack and first priority when a target is between 100-35% health. Your Seal Fate ability will give you extra CPs occasionally.
- Dispatch is to be used whenever Blindside procs. When the target reaches 35% health it replaces Mutilate as your primary attack.
Maintain Slice and Dice at all times, preferably refreshing the cooldown with Envenom. Due to the effect of Cut to the Chase, don’t bother applying Slice and Dice with 5 combo points as the duration will be refreshed to that of a 5 point Slice and Dice regardless of the number of combo points you used when initially triggered Slice and Dice.
- Opening with Garrote gets a bleed on the target, you can then use the combo point to fire up Slice and Dice. Or…
- Open with Ambush or Mutilate, depending on position. Rupture next (for the energy,) one Mutilate, Slice & Dice, one Mutilate (or Blindside, if it procs,) then Envenom. This gives you a 5pt Slice and Dice, which should be automatically refreshed (with your Envenoms) for the rest of the fight.
- Keep Rupture up on your target at all times, this will account for a lot of your Energy return, as well as added damage. In Warlords youir Venomous Wounds only functions with Rupture, it no longer works with Garrote or any other bleed.
- Use Envenom, preferably with 5 Combo Points, when Rupture is applied and Slice and Dice is active to deal damage and refresh Slice and Dice. The Envenom buff will also increase your poison damage.
A of E: When facing targets numbering more than 6 begin using Fan of Knives as your primary attack ability along with Crimson Tempest when you have 5 Combo Points. For smaller groups just focus on one at a time. Use Redirect when target switching to maintain your combo points.
Cooldowns and other abilities:
- Combo Points now stay with you, not the target, so when the target dies and you have x CPs available you can immediately put them to use on the next target. Redirect is no longer necessary and has been removed.
- Vendetta increases your damage done to a target by 30% for 20 seconds or 25% for 30 seconds if you use the glyph with a 2 minute cooldown either way. Use this ability as often as possible assuming you’ll be able to stick to the boss for the full duration.
- Rupture‘s damage is increased and has a 100% chance each time they tick on a target to restore 10 energy due to Venomous Wounds.
- Relentless Strikes gives your finishing moves a 20% chance per combo point to restore 25 energy.
- Feint, Cloak of Shadows and Evasion are all potent survivability tools which should be used when you feel the need.
- Feint will allow you to tank AoE effects to some extent.
- Cloak of Shadows lets you completely negate chunks of magical damage and can also be activated to drop particularly harmful debuffs.
- Evasion is only useful when facing attacks where you can benefit from the increased dodge.
- Tricks of the Trade no longer provides any damage increase, it only transfers threat. Since it’s unlikely that you will be able to pull aggro from the tank you will find little use for this ability.
Tier 1 Talented Abilities:
Use Vanish as often as possible to enter stealth and take advantage of the Shadow Focus talent for a nearly energy free Mutilate/Ambush. With Preparation you can then use that ability to refresh the cooldown of Vanish and immediately re-Vanish for another cheap Mutilate/ambush.
Tier 3 Talented Abilities:
Tier 4 Talented Abilities:
Shadowstep is more generally useful in fights with lots of movement. Note that you can also ‘step to friendly targets, such as Healer or Tank. It can also provide movement advantages, such as if an appropriate target is on a ledge or something.
Burst of Speed is great if constant mobility is needed, otherwise Shadowstep or Cloak and Dagger will be more useful.
Tier 6 Abilities
Marked for Death can be used for an immediate 5 point finisher when you need it. Generally you’ll probably use it to get Recuperate up and running or for a Rupture or an additional Envenom.
Gemming Assassination for PvE
You do want to match for the socket bonuses in all cases.
- Meta: Agile Primal Diamond until you can get the legendary: Capacitive Primal Diamond
- Red: Delicate Primordial Ruby
- Yellow: Adept Vermilion Onyx (ag/mastery) or Deft Vermilion Onyx (ag/Haste) if you have those RPPM trinkets.
- Blue: Glinting Imperial Amethyst, keep an eye on your Hit rating.
- Belt Buckle & any “prismatic” slots:Delicate Primordial Ruby
|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
Powerful Primal Diamond: +20 Stamina and Stun Duration Reduced by 10%
Austere Primal Diamond: 20 stam and 2% more armor from items
Tyrannical Primal Diamond: +42 PVP Power and +48 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: 10 Agility|
|Yellow||Quick Sun’s Radiance: 20 Haste
Fractured Sun’s Radiance: 20 Mastery
|Blue||Rigid River’s Heart: +20 Crit|
|Orange||Adept Vermilion Onyx: 5 Agility, 10 Mastery
Deft Vermilion Onyx: 5 Agility, 10 Haste
|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
|Prismatic||Delicate Primordial Ruby: 10 Agility|
|Cogwheel||Smooth Tinker’s Gear: 38 Crit – requires an engie helm, such as this.
Fractured Tinker’s Gear: 38 Mastery
Quick Tinker’s Gear: 38 Haste
Assassination DPS Enchants
In Mists of Pandaria Helm enchants, shoulder enchants all come from the Inscription profession.
In Warlords your rings and neck pieces can be enchanted and your cloak and weapons have new enchants. Enchants that had Hit are now Crit, those that has Expertise are now Haste.
Short on gold? 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.
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.
mian and off hands
Comsumables for Raiding
Note that Pandarens get twice the food buff. All food buffs last one hour. Your leather bonus adds to the agility numbers of the foods and chemicals.
- Flask of Spring Blossoms: 1,000 Ag for one hour.
- The Agility flask is superior to any combination of Elixirs.
- Virmen’s Bite: 4k Ag for 25 seconds. If you pop one immediately before combat you will be able to pop another during combat.
- Master Healing Potion: Heals 60k HP
- Master Mana Potion: About 30k Mana
Remarks on Race for the Assassination Rogue
Warlords did away with any racials having to do with Hit or Expertise. Most of those were replaced (not for Orcs) and all races now have an ability which adds at least a bit to DPS.
- Can be either Horde or Alliance, you choose when you leave the starting area.
- Melee range stun (4 seconds) is a nice ability.
- Better buffs from food, for more Agility from that last meal.
- They take less falling damage, which has very limited use in PvE.
- Good with Cooking.
- Increased Haste, which is a decent stat for you.
- Rocket jump is much like the Mage’s “Blink,” and has definite escape use in PvP and certain PvE situations. It breaks stealth and can be a useful gap closer.
- Blood Fury is a very useful DPS ability since it’s a cooldown.
- Resistance to stuns has very occasional PvE use.
- 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. Useful when fighting caster trash.
- Good with Enchanting.
- +1% to Crit chance.
- Worgen –
- the 1% add to crit rating is the best of the Alliance DPS racials and has some PvP utility.
- The run speed special has situational PvE use and greater mobility is always nice in PvP.
- Good with Skinning, but the Crit bonus from skinning is a weak stat for you.
- Gnome –
- +5% to Energy
- Escape artist has definite PvP use and situational PvE use.
- Good with Engineering.
- Night Elf
- A bit harder to hit is of little value since you’re not the tank.
- Shadowmeld will drop aggro when things get tight and might allow hiding from patrols in dungeons if Stealth is not available.
- Increased speed while stealthed is a nice ability.
- 2% faster 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 and occasional PvE use.
- Increased rep gain is nice for all that faction grinding that you’ll be doing.
- +2% greater Crit effect.
- Stoneform decreases damage by 10% and washes away bleeds, but this wont be of much use in most PvE content.
Professions for Assassination
Warlords did away with all profession bonuses, so there is no longer any gain to any given professions other than toys, gear, or gold making.
Blacksmithing for the weapons and Engineering for the toys might be “the best” picks.
Need even more cash? Go here.
- Leatherworking – Make your own gear, give it to alts, or sell it.
- Blacksmithing – Make weapon to use, give, or sell.
- Jewelcrafting – Gems and jewelry.
- Alchemy – Chemistry for the improved lifestyle.
- Enchanting – Enchanters can now enchant rings and neck pieces.
- Inscription – Glyphs, shoulder enchants for everyone, items for our caster pals, fortune cards.
- Tailoring – You can make a nice flying carpet.
- Engineering – All kinds of toys, bombs, mounts, and nitro boosts.
- Herbalism, Skinning, and Mining are just for feeding other professions or making some gold.
Gouge, then Bandage
Gouges your opponent then starts bandaging you. It will work even if you have no opponent. Change the bandage name to the one you’re using. You can also use Blind with this macro.
- /cast Gouge
- /use [target=player] Dense Embersilk Bandage
Tricks of the Trade Macro – Use this for your T of T button. (Keep in mind that T of T is nearly useless in Warlords.) Fill in the name of the party member who will be the focus of your T of T. Fire it off, he gets the benefit, and you don’t have to fuss with target picking or focus changing. This macro will not deselect your current target:
- #showtooltip Tricks of the Trade
- /cast [target=YourPartyMemberHere] Tricks of the Trade
Startattack: Any attack that you will use to start a fight should be used with this macro. It ensures that your auto attack is actually running, even though you might not have the energy for the main attack. Useful for target switching. The [nostealth] command removes certain bar lag issues.
Replace abilityname with your attack, such as Mutilate, Shiv, etc.
- /startattack [nostealth]
- /cast [nostealth] abilityname
Faster Rogue Leveling
Now you’re all ready to start assassinating the opposition, but you’re not yet high enough level to raid. To get there 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?
Sure, you can boost a character to 90, but you still have to hit those last ten levels.
Dugi’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 90. 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.
Dugi’s shows you what to do and where to go every step of the way, all the way, to level 100.
Like to level in the dungeons and battlegrounds, as well as through questing? No problem! Dugi’s guide has been gemming 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.
Allways updated for the latest patches and expansions, Dugi’s is like having and expert looking over your shoulder, pointing out the fastest way to the level cap. Get yours here and level fast.
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