Combat Rogue Spec for PvP
Updated for Warlords of Draenor
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 100. (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, and you can’t be peeled while Spreeing.
- + 8 second duration Kidney Shot thanks to Revealing Strike
- + No positional requirement (such as you have with Sub’s Backstab)
- - No special damage coming out of stealth
- - Combo Point generation isn’t great
- - Weak bleeds, and you’ve lost Rupture and Deadly Poison (level 92+ perk changes it to Instant Poison)
- Orc, for the Blood Fury racial and stun Resistance.
- Troll for “Berserking” and snare resistance.
- Human for the escape and Versatility, or Gnome for more energy, 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 > Haste
- Gem and enchant for Agility & Haste
- More about Stats
Builds & Glyphs
- Lethal: Wound, because of the heal debuff, otherwise Deadly
- Non-lethal: Crippling or Leeching
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.
- 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.
Descriptions are below the image and our picks are checked:
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 very nice for duels and when you’re being trained for any length of time as it greatly improves your defense.
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. Nice while leveling, not useful in PvP.
- 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. Spam this ability especially if you’re about to be stunned.
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. It also places you behind the opponent (avoiding his dodge) for that 8 second Kidney Shot.
- 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.
- Prey on the Weak will be a small overall DPS add against you opponents, more if others are attacking the same opponent. Works well with Killing Spree. Stun him and then Spree him with the damage bonus.
- Internal Bleeding adds a bleed to your Kidney shot.
- Dirty Tricks is redundant with Glyph of Blind, so skip it, especially since it doesn’t wipe DOTs that the other guy put on your opponent. Useful if you’re dueling a lot, but that’s about it.
Tier 6, level 90: Combo Point abilities. All have their uses, but Anticipation is the easiest to use and Marked the most flexible.
- 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 that 8 second Kidney Shot right now.
- Anticipation is more useful in all other situations to avoid wasting combo points. It allows you to do two finishers in a row.
Tier 7, level 100: More damage.
- Venom Rush: Increases max energy and increases energy regeneration for each enemy poisoned, up to three. With Blade Flurry and Killing Spree you should be able to keep a couple of targets poisoned. The added energy will give you that much extra damage over time.
- Shadow Reflection summons a shadow that “memorizes” what you do for the next 8 seconds, then replays those strikes on the target. You have to be able to stick to the target for the initial 8 seconds and then long enough for the reflection’s damage (another 8 seconds.) Not so easy in a PvP setting.
- 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. This is actually a fairly weak talent for Combat due to the energy costs.
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 Shiv – Reduces the cooldown, for more Shivs.
- Glyph of Blade Flurry – Better chance to apply your non-lethal poison (Crippling poison) while using Blade Flurry.
- 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 by confusing an opponent.
Combat Stat Priority
Warlords of Draenor note: Hit, Expertise, Resilience and Reforging have all been removed from the game. You have a base 15% chance to hit with your new Critical Strikes ability (that Warrior only has 5%.) Blizzard has decided that all specs of all classes get an “Attuned” stat. This stat is supposed to best increase your “throughput,” which in your case is damage. Your Attuned stat is Haste and you get a 5% bonus from all Haste gear and effects, via your Combat Potency ability.
New stats Versatility and Multistrike replace the stats you lost. Multistrike gives you a chance at two more strikes at 30% effectiveness and looks like it might go very well with your Mastery, which, after all, gives you a chance for additional strikes. Your Blade Flurry, Killing Spree, Slice and Dice, and Adrenaline Rush will also proc Multistrikes. Versatility improves your damage and defense, so everything you do will hit that much harder.
Exactly how these two stack up with the other stats remains to be seem, which is why they have question marks here.
- Agility > Multistrike? > Mastery > Haste > Crit=Versatility?=PvP Power
- Note: Haste, Mastery, & Crit are all pretty close in value. Their exact value will depend on your exact gear.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
Reforging is dead, so your stat stacking will be through gear choices, gems, and enchants. Fortunately there will be ring and neck enchants to help out.
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.
Note that the Warlords stat squish is in and the gem value are much smaller than before, though since everything else is also squished their relative value will be similar. The new Warlords gems are not yet available. Gems that used to provide Hit are now Crit, gems that had Expertise are now Haste.
- 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
|Meta||Agile Primal Diamond: 14 Agil & 3% Increased Crit Effect
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||Stormy River’s Heart: 10 PvP power
Rigid River’s Heart: +20 Crit
|Orange||Adept Vermilion Onyx: 5 Agility, 10 Mastery
Deft Vermilion Onyx: 5 Agility, 10 Haste
|Purple||Assassin’s Imperial Amethyst: 5 Ag, 5 PvP Power
Glinting Imperial Amethyst: 5 Ag, 10 Crit
Accurate Imperial Amethyst: 10 Haste, 10 Crit
|Green||Sensei’s Wild Jade: +10 Crit and +10 Mastery
Lightning Wild Jade: +10 Haste and +10 Crit
Shattered Wild Jade: +10 Haste and +5 PvP Power
|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
Enchants for the PvP Combat Rogue
Head enchants are gone, the Shoulder enchants come from the Inscription profession. In Warlords there are enchants for your rings and neck pieces.
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 your lower level character.
If you want to hit 100 faster, go here.
Main and off hands
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 100?
- 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 honor for the full set. Somewhere around 76 you’ll put the heirlooms back on.
- at 77 we used to recommend putting on Cataclysm gear (item level 272 Vs 172 for the “Wrath” gear,) but with the stat squish the difference is now trivial. Skip it.
- At 81 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.
- at 90 you can but the Crafted Malevolent PvP set or put on the Timeless Isle gear or look for Warlords gear on the Auction House.
- At 100 (Congratulations!) but the Crafted PvP set and start grinding your honor gear.
- Some people like to stick with lower level PvP, which is cool. If you want to get to 100 faster then ever then check out this page.
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.
If you get the chest and gloves first (you then get the 2 piece bonus and the glove bonus) you will have spent 4k honor. By the time you have enough honor to buy both weapons you will have met the requirement for honor earned and will be able to grab both. This will be, by far, your best upgrade. Otherwise follow the order below.
- Grievous Gladiator’s Leather Tunic
- Grievous Gladiator’s Leather Helm (2 piece set bonus)
- 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 Leather Spaulders – You now have the 4 piece set bonus
- Grievous Gladiator’s Leather Gloves – more Recuperate healing
- Grievous Gladiator’s Waistband of Accuracy
- Grievous Gladiator’s Boots of Alacrity
- 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 +10% damage reduction Vs players.
Combat PvP Rotations
Warlords note: Rupture is gone (for you, Sub. and Assass. still have it) ditto Fan of Knives. Shadow Blades is completely gone, as is Expose Armor and Dismantle.
Tricks of the Trade no longer adds damage to your partner, so is now useless for PvP.
Some notes, first:
- Deadly Poison and Crippling poison. One of your level 92+ perks will make Instant poison out of your Deadly poison.
- Keep Slice and Dice up at all times.
- Sinister Strike to build Combo Points.
- Revealing Strike for stronger finishers and more Combo Points and 8 second Kidney Shot. Keep RS up at all times.
- Adrenaline Rush for the burst
- Killing Spree for the Burst
- Finishers: All, except Recuperate, are improved by Revealing Strike.
- 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 Adrenaline Rush up.
Keep Revealing Strike and Slice and Dice up at all times. Sinister Strike & Revealing strike to build CPs, Eviscerate when you don’t need to refresh Slice and Dice.
If you can time your Killing Spree with your trinket and/or Dancing steel (or Glory of the Frostwolf) procs then you’ll do that much more damage.
- With the Subterfuge talent: Marked for Death > Slice and Dice > Cheap shot > Ambush > S. Strike > Revealing Strike > Kidney Shot > Killing Spree > Adrenaline Rush
- Marked for Death > 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:
/use 13 and /use 14 are your trinket slots, so you can adjust the macro below accordingly. Virmen’s Bite is a +456 Agility potion.
Test this macro so that you know exactly how it works and how many clicks it needs.
- /cast killing spree
- /use 14
- /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:
Note that since Tricks no longer adds to your team member’s damage, in Warlords, it’s a useless ability for PvP.
- #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
In Warlords of Draenor all of the profession bonuses are gone. Professions are now only for gear, toys/mounts, or gold making.
Best for cash, but still being useful? Pick two from Herbalism, Skinning, and Mining.
Professions for the Combat Rogue
- Tailoring – pretty useless for you, unless you want a flying carpet.
- Leatherworking – Can make some nice gear and your starting PvP set.
- Jewelcrafting – Gems, rings, neck pieces, gemmed panther mounts.
- Enchanting – Make everyone’s enchants, plus enchants for rins and neck items.
- Inscription – glyphs, fortune cards, caster items, shoulder enchants.
- Alchemy – better living through chemistry and transmutation
- Engineering – Interesting toys, a glider, nitro boosts, mounts.
- Blacksmithing – Some nice weapons.
- Skinning, Herbalism, Mining – for the gold or to supply one of the qabove professions.
Race Choice for Combat Rogues
The best? Orcs and Humans.
In Warlords all racials dealing with Hit and Expertise are gone. except for the Orc expertise all others were replaced with new abilities. All races now bring some kind of damage ability to the table.
Draenei: Bzzzt! No rogues here.
Tauren: Bzzzt! No rogues here.
The Fastest Rogue Leveling Guide
Dugi’s guide is like having an expert helping you every step of the way. Regardless of your starting level you just pick your starting point and the guide automatically updates and advances as you complete quests, sets a waypoint arrow automatically pointing you in the correct direction, and includes all the important quest info.
Even though WoW’s in-game quest guide is superior to what it was previously it still doesn’t give you the right path for the fastest leveling or keep your from tackling things that are way to high or too low. With Dugi’s you’ll never have that problem or wonder about where to go or what to do.
Even if you take a break to do some PvP leveling or some other quests that aren’t in the guide it’s not a problem. The guide will pick up from where you left off, adjust for your new levels, clean up your old quests, and you’ll go from there.
Dugi’s is always fully updated for all the latest patches and expansion, including Warlords of Draenor, and has some extra goodies, such as the ability to work for the LoreMaster achievements. Get your copy now and blast to the level cap