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.
|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:
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 it provides. The cheap opener lets you more quickly move into the rest of your rotation.
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 3+ combo points.
- Nerve Strike has practically no impact the majority of the time, though it will help take the trash down faster.
- 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.
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 is unlikely to be of as much use as the other two talents in this tier. Might be the choice in situations that demand constant quick movement. 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.
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.
- 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 90… 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. 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 is my favorite choice from this tier, allowing 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, that’s why it’s the pick.
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.
- 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.
- Glyph of Feint - Increases duration, which has it’s uses.
- Glyph of Evasion - Survivability boost.
- Glyph of Cloak of Shadows -Survivability boost.
- Glyph of Expose Armor - Useful if no one else in the group is providing the Weakened Armor debuff.
- Glyph of Recuperate - Survivability increase.
- 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:
- Agility > Hit to 7.5% > Expertise to 7.5% > Mastery* > Haste > Crit > Hit over 7.5% >> anything else.
- Note that forgetting to poison your weapons will be a far larger DPS loss than getting your stats “wrong.”
*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)
Agility is your best stat, adding to all damage and adding a bit to your crit rating.
Hit comes as “yellow” and “white” hit. The former is for your main attacks, such as Mutilate/Envenom. the latter is for your auto-attacks. The color is the color of the damage numbers as they appear on your screen. Yellow attacks require 7.5% Hit to never miss and this is the more important number. Hit above this amount is much less useful. (Your auto-attacks require 27% to cap.)
Poison Hit used to be based off Spell Hit, but these days is melee Hit. So your regular Hit rating has your poisons covered.
Expertise goes against your opponent’s chance to dodge your strikes.
Mastery is a straight up poison damage increase. The more the better.
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.
- Make sure you have your 7.5% Hit. It’s better to be a bit over than to be under.
- Next up is Expertise. If a piece already has Hit and not expertise, and you are below the Exp. cap of 7.5%, then reforge the 2nd stat to Exp.
- Next up is Mastery unless you have that pair of RPPM trinkets.
- Crit will always be reforged off into better stats.
- Consider using Hit/Expertise games to make up any remaining points.
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. Deadly
- If you took it then Leeching Poison is the recommended Non-Lethal Poison, otherwise use Crippling.
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 your Venomous Wounds ability working and returning energy to you. Otherwise…
- 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.
- 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:
- 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 make full use of the 20 or 30 second duration.
- Tricks of the Trade provides whoever you cast it on with a 15% damage increase for the duration of the buff. Use this as often as possible.
- Use Redirect when target switching to maintain your combo points.
- Rupture and Garrote have a 75% 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 them necessary.
- 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.
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. With Preparation you can then use that ability to refresh the cooldown of Vanish and immediately re-Vanish for another cheap Mutilate.
Tier 3 Talented Abilities:
Tier 4 Talented Abilities:
Preparation has become (in 5.2) an ability available to all Rogues of level 68+.
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.
Gemming Assassination for PvE
Unless a socket bonus offers agility, it’s more effective to gem for pure agility and ignore the bonus, even though M of P gems with secondary stats (Haste, Mastery, etc.) have twice the value of Agility gems (320 Vs 160.) Go here if you need more gold to buy gems and stuff.
Your leather bonus adds to the agility numbers of the gems and enchants.
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 & Blacksmithing 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
|Red||Delicate Primordial Ruby: 160 Agility
Precise Primordial Ruby: 320 Expertise
|Yellow||Quick Sun’s Radiance: 320 Haste
Fractured Sun’s Radiance: 320 Mastery
|Blue||Rigid River’s Heart: +320 Hit|
|Orange||Adept Vermilion Onyx: 80 Agility, 160 Mastery
Deft Vermilion Onyx: 80 Agility, 160 Haste
|Purple||Glinting Imperial Amethyst: 80 Ag, 160 Hit
Accurate Imperial Amethyst: 160 Expertise, 160 Hit
|Green||Sensei’s Wild Jade: +160 Hit and +160 Mastery
Lightning Wild Jade: +160 Haste and +160 Hit
|Prismatic||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
Assassination DPS Enchants
In Mists of Pandaria Helm enchants, shoulder enchants all come from the Inscription profession.
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.
|Weapons, both||Enchant Weapon – Dancing Steel: Sometimes add 1,650 Ag when striking. The procs can stack.|
|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 – Accuracy: 180 Hit rating
Enchant Cloak – Superior Critical Strike: 180 Crit rating
|Chest||Enchant Chest – Glorious Stats: 80 to all Stats|
|Bracers||Fur Lining, Agility: 500 Agility, requires Leatherworking.
Enchant Bracer – Greater Agility: 170 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|
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. Your maxed Alchemy skill will add about 30% and an hour duration to any flask or elixir.
- 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:
- 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.
- Expertise with Axes and fist weapons isn’t useful since you will be using daggers.
- A decent DPS cooldown, Berserking, provides 20% attack speed every 3 minutes.
- Trolls also have reduced snare/root duration which has PvP and occasional PvE use.
- if there ever is a boss classified as a beast, Trolls would be the clear dominate race for DPS with Beast Slaying. As it is, they’ll level just a bit faster with so many beasts in the game.
- 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.
- 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 -
- The dagger expertise (and you’re using daggers, anyway) saves a few points to put somewhere else, so is a small PvE DPS increase.
- 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.
- No useful DPS abilities, since their Exertise doesn’t apply to daggers.
- “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.
- No useful DPS abilities for the Assassination Rogue.
- Stoneform decreases damage by 10% and washes away bleeds, but this wont be of much use in most PvE content.
Professions for Assassination
Certain professions provide self-only buffs/enchants. Some of these are of more use than others, but none are wildly better. A few points of Crit (skinning) instead of Ag (leatherworking) won’t ruin the raid (though you might be punted from the MinMax club.)
Best min/max? Leatherworking and Blacksmithing. Engineering has an excellent cooldown, great for burst phases, but the occasional backfires might be problematic.
Best for cash, but still being useful? Herbalism and Skinning. Need even more cash? Go here.
- Leatherworking – Bracer enchant provides 500 Ag.
- Blacksmithing – Two additional sockets (Socket Bracers and Socket Gloves,) each of which will take a Delicate (agility) gem. Since secondary stat gems have twice the value of primary stat gems (320 Haste/Hit/etc. vs 160 Ag) this profession will give you a bit more gemming flexibility. Or just drop in those two Ag gems.
- Jewelcrafting – You can equip two self only gems for a total of 320 Ag.
- Alchemy – Your passive Mixology buff increases the effect of Flask of the Winds by 320 Agility. The value of flasks and elixirs is increased by about 30% and the duration is doubled.
- Enchanting – Enchanters are able to enchant their rings with Enchant Ring – Agility for a total of 320 Agility.
- Inscription – Scribes can enchant their shoulders for 520 Ag and 100 Crit, and also make everyone else’s shoulder enchants.
- Tailoring – Swordguard Embroidery procs a 15 second long buff (4000 AP.).
- Engineering – Synapse Springs is a very nice 1,920 Agility cooldown (lasts 10 seconds.) Beware of backfires that might be inconvenient in a PvE/Raid setting. Nice cooldown to drop into a macro with other “on use” items.
- Herbalism – Lifeblood provides a small heal and also grants you 2,880 haste rating for 20 seconds. Haste is a pretty decent stat for you.
- Skinning – Skinners gain Master of Anatomy which gives a passive 480 crit rating.
- Mining – Miners have 480 stamina from Toughness which provides no DPS gain other then additional survivability.
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. 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 energ for the main attack. Useful for target switching. The [nostealth] command removes certain bar lag issues.
Replace abilityname with your attack, such as Mutilate, Backstab, Shiv.
- /startattack [nostealth]
- /cast [nostealth] abilityname
Mashable Sap - This tries to target the nearest enemy and sap him. You should not have the target targeted before using it. It works when sneaking up to a group of mobs for Crowd Control purposes, but for PvE it’s better to do your Sapping the usual way (as it’s more reliable than the macro when sapping the correct target.)
- /cast Sap
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?
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 83. 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.
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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