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 maybe not quite up to the level of Subtlety.
Updated for Warlords of Draenor with some Legion changes, more coming soon. – see below the table of contents for a few of the Warlords changes.
|This Assassination Rogue guide is primarily intended for use at level 110. 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 110 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
In Legion your talents are easily changed. You get access to all three specs any time you’re out of combat. Want to do this fight as Assassination, the next one as Outlaw, and the one after than as Sub? Go for it. No reagents or trainers needed. The actual talents can only be changed in a rested area (inn or big city.)
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 damage.
Assassination Row 1, Level 15
- Master Poisoner – 40% more damage from your poisons. Constant added pressure from your poisons without having to do anything fancy.
- Elaborate Planning – your finishers add 12% bonus damage to all strikes for the next 5 seconds.
- Hemorrhage (stolen from Subtlety) – Medium strike that increases bleed damage from your other strikes for 20 seconds.
Row 2, level 30
- Nightstalker – In stealth you move 20% faster and do 50% more damage. More speed is always useful as is more damage.
- Subterfuge – Use stealth abilities for 3 seconds after leaving stealth. Also adds 100% damage to your Garrote and removes the cooldown from that ability if used in stealth or in that 3 second window. Allows Cheap Shotting or Garroting two (or three) opponents, time and energy permitting, but that’s less useful in PvE than in PvP. It also keeps you from being immediately knocked out of stealth by certain effects. You will still have that 3 seconds to do your opener.
- Shadow Focus – Abilities used while stealthed use 50% less energy. The cheap opener lets you more quickly move into the rest of your rotation.
Row 3, level 45
- Deeper Stratagem – Passive. You can now store and use up to 6 CPs on your finishers, plus your finishers do 10% more damage. This will be the usual choice.
- Anticipation – Passive. you can store up to 8 CPs, but only use 5. No other bonuses.
- Vigor – Passive. 50 more energy and 15% faster energy regen. Nice for burst, esp. if you’re feeling energy starved.
Row 4, level 60
- Leeching Poison – this poison gives you 10% Leech for one hour. This is a decent pick if you’re only taking light damage throughout the fight. It’s a weaker choice than the other two.
- Elusiveness – Your Feint now works for all damage, reducing it by 30%. It still reduces area damage by 50%. This will be the choice for fights with unavoidable incoming damage.
- Cheat Death – Yes, Rogues cheat. If you’re hit with a one shot kill you will instead be reduced to 7% health and take far less damage from all attacks for three seconds. Won’t happen more than once every 2 min.
Row 5, level 75
- Thuggee – resets any remaining cooldown on your Garrote if the target dies with Garrote active.
- Prey on the Weak – Passive. After you use certain incapacitating strikes your opponent will take 10% more damage from all sources. Kidney shot, Cheap Shot, Sap, and Blind (Assassination no longer has Blind.) Doesn’t work if the target is immune to those abilities.
- Internal Bleeding – Your Kidney Shot also bleeds to opponent over the next 12 seconds. Note that it does nothing to targets that are not affected by your KS, such as bosses. It does a lot of additional damage otherwise, so becomes quite useful when fighting trash.
Row 6, level 90
- Agonizing Poison – does not do damage directly, but rather increases the damage that you do from any of your other abilities and can stack up to 16% extra damage.
- Alacrity – Your finishers have a chance to add 1% Haste, possibly stacking up to 20 times. Obviously this is best if you’re continuously attacking.
- Exsanguinate – Your bleeds bleed out 400% faster.
Row 7, level 100
- Venom Rush – your Venomous Wounds ability grants more energy and being the somewhat energy starved assassin that you are this is a pretty nice thing.
- Marked for Death – Marks a target and instantly generate 5 combo points. Great for any time when you need 5 Combo Points right now. Or use at any point in the fight where you need an additional 5pt Rupture or Envenom. Most useful in fights with multiple opponents when you can use it frequently (it resets when the target dies.)
- Death from Above has a 20 yard range, hits all mobs around you, and drops your damaging finisher on the main target with 50% bonus Envenom damage. Note that it’s also a nice gap closer.
Glyphs? What glyphs? In Legion the glyphs are pretty much dead. All youi have left are some minor, cosmetic only, glyphs. More will appear when Legion goes live, but here is what you can choose from early on:
- Glyph of Blackout
- Glyph of Burnout
- Glyph of Disguise – Copy your target’s appearance for a few minutes.
- Glyph of Flash Bang
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 automagically 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 at least 30 seconds then take another glyph.
- Glyph of Disappearance – More Vanishes for more openers.
- Glyph of Feint – Increases duration, which has it’s uses.
- Glyph of Smoke Bomb – a useful defensive cooldown for your melee group.
- Glyph of Energy – Need more energy? Here’s +20.
- Glyph of Recovery – More healing from other sources, such as your healers. This is only useful if your healers actually need the help, as CPs spent on Recuperate are not doing damage.
- 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.
Legion: No new stats, Multistrike is gone. “Attuned” stats are also gone.
- Agility > Mastery* = Crit > Multistrike = Versatility > Haste
- 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.
Multistrike: Grants two chance for spells and abilities to fire an additional time, at 30% effectiveness (both damage and healing.) Your Multistrikes can apply poisons and can Crit. In PvP there is only one chance.
Versatility: Increases damage, healing, and absorption done. Reduces damage taken.
Crit – Your Seal Fate ability will give you an extra Combo Point whenever you crit. Crits do 150% damage in PvP, 200% everywhere else.
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 below.
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)
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. For most situations it won’t matter which one you use.
- Eat your breakfast: Sleeper Surprise: 100 Mastery
- Take your flask: Greater Draenic Agility Flask: 250 Ag for an hour
- Drink a potion immediately before combat, you’ll be able to use a second during combat. Draenic Agility Potion: +1,000 Ag for 25 seconds
- At level 98+ your Slice and Dice is passive, due to a perk, hence it’s not mentioned in the rotation below.
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 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.
Getting to Work
- Open with Mutilate (which will be nearly free since you took Shadow Focus.)
- Rupture next (for the energy,) then Mutilate
- 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 your 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.
- With the Anticipation talent you should always use 5 pt Envenoms.
- The Marked for Death talent can be used to get an extra finisher, especially when fighting several targets.
A of E: When facing targets numbering more than 6 begin using Fan of Knives as your primary attack ability.
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, such as when fighting an add.
- 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.
Tier 4 Talented Abilities:
Tier 6 Abilities
Marked for Death can be used for an immediate 5 point finisher when you need it.Nice for that Rupture or an additional Envenom.
Gemming Assassination for PvE
Gemming before Warlords: Assuming you want to gem any socketed gear you find before you get into the level 100 gear….
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)
- Blue: Rigid River’s Heart
- Belt Buckle & any “prismatic” slots:Delicate Primordial Ruby
Gemming in Warlords of Draenor
- Gems sockets have a (small) random chance to appear on Raid and other gear, they are not as common as before. There are no meta gems or meta sockets, there are no socket bonuses, and all sockets are “prismatic,” which means that they will take any available gem.
- The gem 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 Int 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.
Gem for Mastery (or alternate Mastery and Crit) in all slots.
|Prismatic||Greater Mastery Taladite: +50 Mastery
Mastery Taladite: +35 Mastery
Greater Critical Strike Taladite: +50 Crit
Critical Strike Taladite: +35 Crit
|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
Smooth Sun’s Radiance: 20 Crit
|Blue||Rigid River’s Heart: +20 Crit|
|Orange||Deadly Vermilion Onyx: 5 Agility, 10 Crit
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|
|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
Assassination DPS Enchants
In Warlords there are no head enchants, all shoulder enchants come from the Inscription profession and are only for items under items level 600. There are new enchants for Neck, Cloak, Weapons, and your Rings. Not for any other pieces. (Not yet, anyway.)
Earloer enchants are shown if you want those enchants on gear under item level 600. Remember that top level enchants can be added to low level items, such as your heirlooms at level 1.
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.
Main and off hands
Other enchants, for gear under item level 600.
Consumables for Raiding
Pandarens get double food buffs.
In Warlords there are no high level foods that add primary stats (Ag, Int, etc.) Food buffs go away after an hour or if you’re killed, so remember to refresh.
- Feast of Blood: 75 in highest secondary stat, feeds up to 30
- Feast of the Waters: 75 in highest secondary stat, feeds up to 10
- Blackrock Barbecue: 100 Crit
- Sleeper Surprise: 100 Mastery
- Blackrock Ham: 75 Crit
- Grilled Gulper: 75 Crit
- Braised Riverbeast: 75 Mastery
- Fat Sleeper Cakes: 75 Mastery
- Greater Draenic Agility Flask: 250 Ag for an hour
- Draenic Agility Flask: 200 Ag for an hour
- Flask of Spring Blossoms: 114 Ag for one hour
- Draenic Agility Potion: +1,000 Ag for 25 seconds
- 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.
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. You can make some of your starting raid gear, which is cool.
Blacksmithing for the weapons, leatherworking for the armor, and Engineering for the toys might be “the best” picks.
You can equip three crafted items, weapons or armor. As these items are ilevel 630 and 640 respectively, and can be used at 91, they’re rather nice for Draenor leveling and starting your raiding career. You can also create items to reroll the stats on any crafted gear and you can also upgrade the items, at a much greater cost than what it took to make them.
Need even more cash? Go here.
- Leatherworking – Make your own gear, give it to alts, or sell it.
- Blacksmithing – Make weapons to use, give, or sell.
- Jewelcrafting – Gems and jewelry.
- Alchemy – Chemistry for the improved lifestyle. Very nice trinket.
- 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.
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. Note that this will allow you to attack a target a few seconds before the tank, and the tank gets the aggro.
- #showtooltip Tricks of the Trade
- /cast [target=YourPartyMemberHere] Tricks of the Trade
This one will target your mouseover target.
- #showtooltip Tricks of the Trade
- /cast [@mouseover] Tricks of the Trade
This one will look for your mouseover target and cast tricks on it. If you have no mouseover then it will look for your focus target. If that fails then it will cast it on the target of your target, which is probably the tank and hopefully not you.
- #showtooltip Tricks of the Trade
- /cast [@mouseover, help] [@focus, help] [@targettarget, help] Tricks of the Trade
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
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
- /startattack [nostealth]
- /cast [nostealth] Mutilate
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 110.
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.
Like this page? How about recommending it and/or commenting?
Other Rogue Stuff:
- Outlaw DPS – Pistols, swashbuckling, and piracy, what’s not to like?
- Subtlety DPS – Even more subtle and shadowy than before.
- Assassination PvP – Yep, Assassins can murder players just fine, thanks.
- Outlaws in PvP – We’ll have to see about this one, but they have the tools.
- Subtlety – A brutal burst and Shadow Dance makes Sub the traditional PvP spec.
- PvP Gear for Rogues.
- Rogue overview – An overview of Rogue in general. See the above pages for more detail.
- Rogue Leveling – TIps and builds to level your Rogue faster.
- Other Rogue Posts – Our Rogue blog posts.