Combat Rogue Spec for PvP
Updated for Mists of Pandaria 5.4.2
Even in Mists of Pandaria Combat isn’t really the optimal spec for PvP, bt with a little effort can do well. Subtlety is about bone-crushing burst and Combat is about sustained DPS. The changes to the talent system in Mists of Pandaria gave Combat more life in PvP. In 5.4+ it can do a lot of damage. Those 8 second Kidney Shots don’t hurt either…
Other Rogue Pages
The PvP Combat Rogue, in Brief
Quick notes for the Combat Rogue. Most of this page assumes that you’re level 90. (If you’re not, then go here.) Lower level Rogues can still use much of the material here, so read on and grab what you need.
This section is a summary of Combat in PvP.
Strengths and Weaknesses
- + Good energy regen
- + Revealing Strike for stronger finishers and more Combo Points.
- + Adrenaline Rush for burst
- + Killing Spree for Burst.
- - No special damage coming out of stealth
- - Weak bleeds
- Orc, for the Blood Fury racial and stun Resistance.
- Troll for “Berserking” and snare resistance.
- Human for the escape and Expertise or Gnome for expertise, size, and escape.
- More about Race
Stats: For all roles: Agility before everything else, Mastery and crit are the weakest stats for DPS.
- Main Hand Wpn DPS > Agility > Hit to 3% > Expertise to 3% > Haste
- Reforge : Get Hit & Expertise, reforge all else into Haste.
- More about Stats
Builds & Glyphs
- Lethal: Wound, because of the heal debuff, otherwise Deadly
- Non-lethal: Crippling or Mind Numbing.
Basic Combat Rotations
- Try to keep Slice and Dice up at all times, but it depends on the fight.
- Use 5 pt Eviscerates or Kidney Shots.
- Keep Rupture up if you can, it’s not a big DPS losss if you don’t. It helps Vs stealthy types.
- Blade Flurry is for only two or more mobs/players.
Gems: It’s worth matching socket bonuses, uses gems with Ag and Haste..
- Enchant for Agility & Haste
- Dancing Steel on main weapon
Combat Rogue PvP Talents
Talents are easily switched with a Tome of the Clear Mind. Switch ‘em around as necessary. For example, Burst of Speed will be better for flag running than shadowstep, but you might want S’step in other situations.
Tier 1, level 15: Stealth
- Nightstalker increases our movement speed and adds a nice boost to damage when attacking from stealth.
- Subterfuge allows you to stay stealthed for 3 seconds after receiving or dealing damage, ideal as it gives us enough time to ambush a target twice or Ambush & Cheap Shot or Cheap shot two different targets. Extended by Glyph of Vanish
- Shadow Focus gives us an almost energy free attack from stealth. Lets you just roll right into your next attacks.
Tier 2, level 30: Misc.
- Deadly Throw is unimportant most of the time unless for whatever reason you can’t reach your target for a while. If your team needs a ranged silence then this can be a decent pick and you have a few ways to get the necessary 3 combo points: Marked for Death, Premeditation, HAT.
- Nerve Strike keeps the opponent from breaking your head as soon as the stun breaks.
- Combat Readiness is fine for some duels, but how often are you fighting anything face to face? If you do, often enough to be interesting, then this is a good pick.
Tier 3, level 45: Survival, but no DPS value.
- Cheat Death does exactly what it says. Best used for fights where you need to live dangerously or have occasional damage burst coming in.
- Leeching Poison provides a constant, small, health increase from your attacks. It make the job of your healers a bit easier.
- Elusiveness boosts Feint’s damage reduction, ideal for encounters where you need to mitigate damage (all of them.) Goes very well with Glyph of Feint.
Tier 4, level 60: Movement. Three good choices, which one to take depends on what you need to do.Effective movement keeps you in the fight and is, therefore, a DPS add.
- Cloak and Dagger – Ambush, Garrote, and Cheap Shot now have a 40-yard range, and will cause the Rogue to teleport behind the target. It’s a good choice if you don’t need Shadowstep’s flexibility.
- Shadowstep is best used for fights that demand quick target switching/rapid movement. It’s more versatile than C&D since you can teleport to an ally (such as a healer) or NPC and don’t necessarily have to attack. It’s also more “Rogue-like” than Burst of speed. A decently short cooddown lets you use if fairly often.
- Burst of Speed is effectively constant fast movement, usable while stealthed, stacks with Nightstalker, and lets get you around the place very quickly. It’s cheap, has no cooldown, and gets you out of the occasional snare. You can sprint with a flag all the way to your base.
Tier 5, level 75: Crowd Control. Pick whichever you prefer/suits the specific encounter. Only Prey on the Weak will be a DPS add.
- Prey on the Weak will be a small overall DPS add against you opponents, more if others are attacking the same opponent.
- Paralytic Poison is useful if you need another stun, especially since it does not share diminishing returns with your other stuns. It can be dispelled, which will be an issue in arena.
- Dirty Tricks is redundant with Glyph of Blind, so skip it.
Tier 6, level 90: Combo Point abilities. All have their uses, but Anticipation has the most general use.
- Shuriken Toss is only useful if you expect to be out of Melee range for extended periods of time, such as when fighting hunters. Otherwise either Marked for Death or Anticipation is superior.
- Marked for Death lets you add an immediate 5 CPs to the target for an instant finisher, such as getting Slice and Dice or Recuperate up.
- Anticipation is more useful in all other situations to avoid wasting combo points. It allows you to do two finishers in a row.
Combat Rogue PvP Glyphs
Only the first two, Blind and Garrote, are “generally recommended,” the rest depend on the situation. Keep a stack of Tome of the Clear Mind handy for switching glyphs.
- Glyph of Blind – About as mandatory as any Rogue glyph. Your Blind removes all Damage over Time effects from the target, even those left by your team. Make Blind a lot more reliable.
- Glyph of Garrote – Also strongly recommended. Increases the silence duration by 1 second.
- Glyph of Feint – Increases your Feint duration by 2 seconds. With your Elusiveness talent this can give you a lot of extra damage reduction.
- Glyph of Cloak of Shadows – Physical damage reduction, for when those pesky melee show up.
- 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. Easily replaced with…
- Gyph 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.
- Glyph of Redirect – New for 5.4 – reduces the cooldown of your redirect to 10 seconds from one minute. Nice glyph if you do a fair amount of target switching.
- Glyph of Shiv – Reduces the cooldown, for more Shivs.
- Glyph of Blade Flurry – Better chance to apply your non-lethal poisons while using Blade Flurry.
- Glyph of Expose Armor – Helpful against well armored targets
- Glyph of Poisons – Change poisons faster, to better adapt to changing situations.
- Glyph of Safe Fall – Increases falling distance, for all oh you cliff jumpers out there.
- Glyph of Blurred Speed – Running on water has some occasional use.
- Glyph of Decoy – Might make your Vanish a bit more interesting.
Combat Stat Priority
- 3% Hit > 3% Expertise > Agility > Haste >= Mastery > Crit > PvP Power & Resilience
- Note: Haste, Mastery, & Crit are all pretty close in value. Juggling stats and smacking a target dummy for awhile (with various stat combination) gave me this order, but it was close. Forgetting to poison your weapons will be a far larger DPS hit than changing these three stats around. Some strongly advocate Haste, others Mastery. This just means that one is note greatly better than the other. Experiment with what feels right to you.
- Note #2: If you switch between Rogue specs and what to keep the same gear then go with Mastery, as that’s good for all three specs.
Hit and Expertise because missing isn’t fun and can kill you. Don’t miss. Get your 3% hit and at least 3% expertise. Some go to 6% Exp, for fighting dodgy characters, such as other Rogues. Being a bit over 3% is better than being under as excess hit goes towards your dual wielding auto-attack strikes.
Agility is easily your #1 damage stat.
Haste speeds up everything you do, in addition to your energy regen. It’s a little better than the other two, not a lot. Bang away at the target dummies for a few minutes and
Mastery provides you additional off-hand attacks. It applies to your main hand auto attacks as well as all of your other strikes.
Crit gives all of your strikes a chance for extra damage. A high Crit rating can add a fair amount of added pressure. The main reason that Mastery is better is because 1) you have nothing that procs off of Crit and 2) a given number of Mastery points will give you a lot more Mastery than the same number of points will give you in Crit rating.
Resilience is at 72%, base, for level 90s (lower for lower levels) so you won’t need more. In addition the PvP trinket pair adds another 10% as a set bonus. You will want to gem & enchant to punch the other guy’s 82% Res.
PvP Power is a straight up damage add, like Attack Power, but for PvP only. Nerfed hard in 5.3, so you won’t need to gem for it.
- Chances are that your will be over 3% Hit with your gear, and maybe over 3% Expertise. If so, then reforge it away until you’re at 3%.
- If you’re less than 3% hit, then reforge crit & mastery -> Hit
- At or over 3% hit: reforge crit & mastery ->Expertise (to the cap of 3%) and then haste if the piece doesn’t already have Haste. Haste improves everything you do.
Gems for the Combat Rogue
Perfect gems have exactly the same stats as the gems shown below, but the prices might be very different. Get whichever is cheaper.
If you can’t afford the gems then see our gold guide for tips on making a bit more gold.
This set of recommended gems is for Haste and matches socket bonuses. Matching is recommended, because while Ag is better than the other stats it isn’t wildly better. If, for some reason, you need Hit or Expertise then it’s better to get it from a gem than an enchant. The total stat gain is better.
- Meta: Agile Primal Diamond until you can earn a Tyrannical Primal Diamond
- Red: Delicate Primordial Ruby
- yellow: Deft Vermilion Onyx (Ag + Haste) or Quick Sun’s Radiance (all Haste)
- blue: Assassin’s Imperial Amethyst
- Blet buckle and Blacksmithing slots.Delicate Primordial Ruby
|Various useful gems|
|Meta||Agile Primal Diamond: 216 Agil & 3% Increased Crit Effect
Tyrannical Primal Diamond: +665 PVP Power and +775 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: 160 Agility
Precise Primordial Ruby: 320 Expertise
|Yellow||Mystic Sun’s Radiance: 160 Resilience
Quick Sun’s Radiance: 320 Haste
|Blue||Stormy River’s Heart: 160 PvP power
Rigid River’s Heart: +320 Hit
|Orange||Deft Vermilion Onyx: 80 Agility, 160 Haste
Deadly Vermilion Onyx: 80 Agility, 160 Crit
|Purple||Assassin’s Imperial Amethyst: 80 Ag, 80 PvP Power
Glinting Imperial Amethyst: 80 Ag, 160 Hit
Accurate Imperial Amethyst: 160 Expertise, 160 Hit
|Green||Vivid Wild Jade: 80 Res, 80 PvP Power
Lightning Wild Jade: +160 Haste and +160 Hit
Shattered Wild Jade: +160 Haste and +80 PvP Power
|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
Enchants for the PvP Combat Rogue
Head enchants are gone, the Shoulder enchants come from the Inscription profession. The chest item is the only Resilience enchant, there are no PvP Power enchants. Note that these enchants can be added to low level items, in case you’re PvP leveling. Even Dancing Steel can be added to an Heirloom or other low level item. Crafter enchants (eg: the leatherworking bracer enchant) can also be added to lo0w level items, but will require an 85+ level character to do it, then mail it to you lower level character.
If you want to hit 90 faster, go here.
|Weapon||Enchant Weapon – Dancing Steel: Sometimes add 1,650 Ag when striking. Note: Dancing Steel procs from separate weapons stack with each other. Back to back procs from the same weapon do not stack.
Enchant Weapon – Glorious Tyranny: 600 PvP Power, 50% Disarm duration, cost is 1,000 Conquest points.
Living Steel Weapon Chain- Reduces duration of disarm effects, +200 Expertise.
|Shoulders||Secret Tiger Claw Inscription +520 Ag, 100 Crit, requires Inscription 575
Greater Tiger Claw Inscription: +200 Agility, +100 Crit
|Cloak||Swordguard Embroidery: Sometimes pops 4k Attack Power for 15 sec. Req. Tailoring.
Enchant Cloak – Superior Critical Strike: 180 Crit rating
|Chest||Enchant Chest – Glorious Stats: 80 to all Stats – with 82% Resilience (with the trinket set bonus) that youi already have, this becomes the preferred chest enchant.
Enchant Chest – Super Resilience: +200 Resilience – you aleady have a lot.
|Bracers||Fur Lining, Agility: +500 Agility, requires Leatherworking.
Enchant Bracer – Greater Agility: +180 Agility
Socket Bracer: Self only, Blacksmithing, pop in a nice Agility gem.
|Gloves||Enchant Gloves – Greater Haste: +170 Haste
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|
Gearing Combat for PvP
if you are a raider then check out the Assurance of Consequence trinket, with its cooldown reduction and Ag procs. (This is the raid finder version, it scales to ilevel 572 and 47% reduction.) Note that this only gets max effect in world PvP, it’s scaled way down in Arena and the BGs. For organized PvP the PvP trinket pair is probably better.
This section covers the gear quickly, there is a lot more detail in our Rogue PvP gear guide.
Not yet 90?
- Up to level 70 just get the best gear you can find or use your heirlooms. Remember that they can be enchanted with any high level enchants.
- At 70 get the Brutal Gladiator set from the legacy arena vendors in Dalaran or Gadgetzan. It’ll cost a bit less than 2k nohor for the full set.
- At 77 get the Cataclysm gear. It takes a jump of about 100 item levels (170 or so to about 270) so is much better than the regular gear that that level. You can find it on the Auction House (AH.) See our gold guide is you can’t afford it.f
- At 81 the heirlooms can go back on. Start searching the AH for the blue Mists of Pandaria gear, starting at about item level 415.
- 85+ You should be able to get find item level 450 gear on the AH, which will be better than any level 85 PvP gear or any green gear you’ll find. Even at level 90.
- Try to have 4k honor ready when you hit 90, so you can get some gear right away.
- Some people like to stick with lower level PvP, which is cool. If you want to get to 90 faster then ever then check out this page.
Now You’re Level 90
- If you saved up some honor then grab the PvP escape trinket, if you need one, and a head and/or chest piece.
- First off: If you have some gold (at least 4k) then grab the Crafted Malevolent Gladiator set off the AH or from a friendly crafter. Gem and reforge appropriately. This will give you a nice start for going into the BGs, RBGs, or Arenas.
- Alternatively: Poke around the Timeless Isle, opening boxes, until you can get the full set of iLevel 496 PVE armor.
Do you want the Honor gear? Up to you, but it will be a boost if you’re going into RBGs or Arena. It’s definitely better for PvP than the timeless or crafted gear. Order of acquisition, gemming, and enchanting is the same as for the Conquest gear, below.
The Rogue’s Gladiator PvP Gear
This is a good order in which to pick up your gear, as it will give you most of the major stats first. Gem and enchant as shown above. Reforge to get as closer as possible to 3% Hit and then 3-6% Expertise. After than reforge Crit (and then Mastery) into Haste.
- Grievous Gladiator’s Leather Tunic
- Grievous Gladiator’s Leather Helm
- Grievous Gladiator’s Shanker x2 or any combination of 1-hand weapons.
- Grievous Gladiator’s Badge of Conquest.
- Grievous Gladiator’s Leather Legguards
- Grievous Gladiator’s Waistband of Accuracy
- Grievous Gladiator’s Boots of Alacrity
- Grievous Gladiator’s Leather Spaulders – You now have the 4 piece set bonus
- Grievous Gladiator’s Leather Gloves – more Recuperate healing
- Grievous Gladiator’s Armwraps of Alacrity
- Grievous Gladiator’s Ring of Accuracy
- Grievous Gladiator’s Necklace of Prowess
- Grievous Gladiator’s Cape of Cruelty
- Grievous Gladiator’s Ring of Cruelty
- Grievous Gladiator’s Medallion of Tenacity – With both PvP trinkets you get a nice resilience bonus.
Combat PvP Rotations
Some notes, first:
- Revealing Strike for stronger finishers and more Combo Points and 8 second Kidney Shot. Keep it up at all times.
- Adrenaline Rush for the burst
- Killing Spree for the Burst, single target in 5.4.
- Shadow blades for the pwnage.
- Expose Armor and Glyph of Expose Armor for those heavy armor types. Debuff lasts 30 sec.
- Finishers: All, except Recuperate, are improved by Revealing Strike.
- Rupture adds some pressure, makes resealthing harder
- Kidney Shot – 8 seconds with Revealing Strike.
- Slice & Dice – a nice add to DPS, does more damage with Revealing Strike.
- Recuperate,- A big plus to survivability.
- Eviscerate – The old standby. Eviscerate just doesn’t hit that hard, but you can use it to dump CPs when you don’t need to refresh the other finishers, such as when you have Shadow Blades or Adrenaline Rush up.
Keep Revealing Strike and Slice and Dice up at all times.
- With the Subterfuge talent: Marked for Death > Slice and Dice > Premed. > Recuperate > Garrote > Ambush > Kidney Shot > Shadow Blades + Adrenaline Rush and go crazy.
- Marked or Prep > Slice and Dice > Ad Rush > Cheap Shot > Garrote > spam Sin. Strike for Combo Points > Recuperate > Evasion or Cbt Readiness > Go crazy.
Some macros for your amusement.
Killing Spree RAPE Macro:
If you have Engineering then you can use ‘/use 10′ for the glove enchant, or any “on use” glove enchant. /use 13 and /use 14 are your trinket slots, so you can adjust the macro below accordingly. Virmen’s Bite is a +4k Agility potion.
Test this macro so that you know exactly how it works and how many clicks it needs.
- /cast Shadow Blades
- /cast killing spree
- /use Grievous Gladiator’s Badge of Conquest
- /use Grievous Gladiator’s Leather Gloves
- /use Virmen’s Bite
Tricks of the Trade
Use this for your TofT 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=YourTeamMemberName] Tricks of the Trade
Another option, if you change T of T targets, is to do it with a mouseover. If there is no mousever target then it will do your current target.
- #showtooltip Tricks of the Trade
- /cast [@mouseover,exists] Tricks of the Trade
Mouseover a target and hit the Blind button. If there’s no target under your mouse then it will blind your current target.
- /cast [target=mouseover, exists] Blind; blind
Gouge + Bandage
Cast gouge and immediately start bandaging. Works just fine when out of combat. Replace the name of the bandage with the one you’re currently using.
- /cast Gouge
- /use [target=player] Windwool Bandage
This one will dismount and stealth you, then cast Sap. Keep mashing it if you suspect there’s a Rogue/Druid nearby. It will only target sappable enemies and won’t target dead ones.
- #show Stealth
- /cast [stance:0] !Stealth
- /targetenemy [harm][nodead]
- /cast Sap
This makes sure that your autoattack starts, even if you don’t have the energy to actually use SS. You can also add /startattack to any macro that you might use when switching targets.
- /cast Sinister Strike
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 Haste instead of Ag won’t ruin your kill string, though you might be punted from the MinMax club.
Profession buffs in Mists of Pandaria run about 320 Agility, roughly, over what you’ll get with non-profession enchants/buffs.
- Blacksmithing allows slotting two of these 320 Stat gems, for 640 total stats Vs the 320 Ag or so from the others.
- Engineering for the Synapse Springs cooldown. This is probably the only profession worth changing into, if you don’t already have it.
- Herbalism has a pretty nice Haste cooldown.
Best for cash, but still being useful? Pick two from Herbalism, Skinning, and Mining.
|Professions for the Combat Rogue|
|Tailoring||Cloak enchant sometimes adds 4k Attack Power for 15 seconds.|
|Leatherworking||Bracer enchant adds 500 Ag.|
|Jewelcrafting||Make nicer gems for your own use.|
|Enchanting||Enchant both rings, for a total +320 Ag gain.|
|Inscription||Shoulder enchant adds 520 Ag and 100 crit.|
|Alchemy||More effect from your own potions. Adds 320 Ag and an extra hour to your main flask.|
|Engineering||has lots of interesting toys, some of which have situational use, and Synapse Springs, which increases Ag by 1940 for a short time. If you take this use a macro to activate it along with other short term buffs.|
|Blacksmithing||gives two extra gems slots. Since gems with secondary stats have twice the value of gems with primary stats Blacksmithing might be a very valuable profession. For example, you’ll be able to socket he two gems for 640 PvP Power instead of 320 Ag.|
|Skinning||provides 480 crit rating|
|Herbalism||Small heal and 2880 Haste for 20 seconds|
Race Choice for Combat Rogues
The best? Orcs and Humans.
None of the racials are huge, though the Orc and Troll cooldowns are pretty nice. Play what works for you.
More or less in order of what their racials bring to PvP:
Draenei: Bzzzt! No rogues here.
Tauren: Bzzzt! No rogues here.
The Fastest Rogue Leveling Guide
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