Subtlety Rogues are often thought of as the PvP Gank Machines, but they can put out some solid DPS in instances, it just requires a bit more work. If you’re up to it then go for it, the potential is definitely there.
This page is updated for patch 5.2.
|This Subtlety Rogue guide is primarily intended for use at level 90, in dungeons and Raids. If you’re looking for advice on leveling your Rogue you should 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:|
Subtlety Rogue DPS Talents
- Nightstalker increases our movement speed and adds a bit of damage to our abilities used 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.
- Shadow Focus gives us an almost energy free attack from stealth.
- Deadly Throw is unimportant most of the time unless for whatever reason you can’t reach your target for a while. In 5.2 it can be used with 3+ Combo Points, but a ranged silence still isn’t that useful to you.
- Nerve Strike has practically no impact the majority of the time.
- Combat Readiness is a survivability cooldown, the best choice for most situations.
- Cheat Death does exactly what it says. Best used for fights where you need to live dangerously.
- Leeching Poison provides a constant, small, health increase from your attacks.
- Elusiveness boosts Feint’s damage reduction, ideal for encounters where you need to mitigate damage.
In 5.2 Prep has been removed, in favor of Cloak and Dagger. Preparation is now a level 68 talent that any Rogue has access to.
- Cloak and Dagger – Ambush, Garrote, and Cheap Shot now have a 30-yard range, and will cause the Rogue to teleport behind the target. It’s a good choice if you only ever use Shadowstep for those attacks.
- 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 of NPC and don’t necessarily have to attack.
- Burst of Speed is unlikely to be of as much use as the other two talents in this tier.
This tier is entirely Crowd Control and therefore unlikely to greatly impact an encounter save when dealing with trash/adds. Pick whichever you prefer/suits the specific encounter.
- Prey on the Weak will be a small overall DPS add against trash, if you’re using your stuns and others are attacking the same opponent.
- Paralytic Poison is probably best used in PvP.
- Dirty Tricks is worth a look if you use Gouge and Blind enough to make it worthwhile. Generally this will be more of a PvP talent.
- Shuriken Toss is only useful if you expect to be out of Melee range for extended periods of time, otherwise either Versatility or Anticipation is superior.
- Versatility shines when target switching is required while
- Anticipation is more useful in all other situations to avoid wasting combo points.
There were no Rogue glyph changes in patch 5.2.
Swapping glyphs is easy and can be done almost any time. Keep a stack of Tome of the Clear Mind handy and swap glyphs as the situation demans.
- Glyph of Ambush
- Glyph of Feint
- Glyph of Evasion
- Glyph of Cloak of Shadows
- Glyph of Expose Armor
- Glyph of Debilitiation
- Glyph of Kick
Subtlety Stat Priorities
- Primary stats: Agility >>> anything else.
- Secondary: Hit to 7.5% > Haste > Expertise to 7.5%
- Weaker: Mastery > Critical > Hit over 7.5%
- Useless: Expertise over 7.5%, Hit over 27%
Your Sinister Calling ability increases Agility from all sources by 30%. This puts Agility way out in front of all other stats.
Reforging: Get your 7.5% Hit from gear, if you can, then get to the Expertise cap. Reforge everything else into Haste.
In-Depth Subtlety Rotation Guide
- Deadly Poison should always be applied as your Lethal Poison and Leeching Poison as your Non-Lethal Poison.
- Ambush should be used as your stealth opener as well as primary attack when Shadow Dance is active. This also applies the Find Weakness debuff to the target causing your attacks to bypass 70% of the targets armor for 10 seconds.
- Backstab is your primary attack and combo builder unless you cannot attack the target from behind in which case you should use Hemorrhage instead. Hemorrhage should also be used to apply the bleed effect to your target.
- Maintain Slice and Dice at all times, preferably with 5 combo points to make maintaining your rotation easier. Slice and Dice restores 8 energy every 2 seconds due to Energetic Recovery.
- Keep Rupture applied to the target with 5 combo points. Sanguinary Vein increases the damage of Rupture by 50% and causes your attacks to deal 20% more damage to targets afflicted by Rupture, Garrote or Crimson Tempest.
- If the above two are already active and not in need of refreshing, use Eviscerate when you have 5 combo points.
Cooldowns and useful Abilities
- Use Shadow Dance on cooldown. This ability allows you to use your Stealth restricted abilities for 8 seconds and reduces the energy cost of Glyph of Ambush by 20 with a 1 minute cooldown.
- Use Vanish on cooldown to enter stealth and immediately use Ambush either once or twice if you chose Subterfuge as your first tier talent. You should also cast Premeditation on your target whenever in stealth or using Shadow Dance.
- 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.
- Relentless Strikes gives your finishing moves a 20% chance per combo point to restore 25 energy.
- Honor Among Thieves grants you 1 combo point every time you or an ally scores a critical hit with a limit of one combo point every 2 seconds.
- Use Redirect when target switching to maintain your combo points.
- Glyph of Feint, Glyph of Cloak of Shadows, and Evasion are all potent survivability tools which should be used when you feel them necessary. Glyph of Feint will allow you to tank AoE effects to an 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.
Subtlety Rogue Gems
In Mists of Pandaria Agility is far and away your best stat, in big part due to Sinister Calling, so unless a socket bonus offers a lot of Agility you should ignore it and only gem for Ag., even though the gems with secondary stats have twice the value of those with primary stats (eg: 320 Haste Vs 160 Agility.) Agility is that much better.
If, for some reason, you do want to match socket colors for the bonus you should use the hybrid orange or purple gems in the yellow and blue sockets.
If you’re going for the Engineering helm (which is pretty nice) then the 600 Haste from a Tinker’s Gear is definitely better than a 160 Ag gem. The engie helm has three slots and you have to put a different gem in each one. Haste, Mastery, and Crit will do nicely.
|Gem Priorities for Sub.|
|Meta||Agile Primal Diamond: 216 Agil & 3% Increased Crit Effect|
|Red||Delicate Primordial Ruby: 160 Agility|
|Yellow||Quick Sun’s Radiance: 320 Haste|
|Orange||Deft Vermilion Onyx: 80 Agility, 160 Haste|
|Purple||Glinting Imperial Amethyst: 80 Ag, 160 Hit|
|Prismatic||Delicate Primordial Ruby: 160 Agility|
|Cogwheel||Quick Tinker’s Gear: 600 Haste - - requires an engie helm, such as this.|
Subtlety Rogue DPS Enchants
Short on gold? Most of the enchants below have similar enchants available, of lesser value, for less cash. We’ve linked to a couple of these. Check with the rep vendor or the Auction House for others. If you want to buy the best enchants, fund all of your alts, donate to the guild, etc., but don’t have the cash, then see what the Tycoon Addon can do about about improving your situation.
Helm enchants are gone in Mists of Pandaria, shoulder enchants all come from the Inscription profession.
|Weapon||Enchant Weapon – Dancing Steel: Sometimes add 1,650 Ag when striking.|
|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 – 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|
Professions for Subtlety
All of the professions provide some benefit for any class/spec, though clearly some are better than others. Even the gathering professions have some value, such as the 2,880 Haste from Herbalism’s Lifeblood, though you might be better served by using those to build a larger gold stash.
Most of the professions add an average of about 320 Agility. Since gems with secondary stats are twice the value of those with primary stats (320 Haste Vs 160 Agility, for example) While Blacksmithing might be the most valuable profession if you’re just looking for the buffs.
|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, for 320 more agility.|
|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. Adds about 30% effect and an extra hour to all flasks and elixirs.|
|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 the two gems for 640 Haste Power instead of 320 Ag.|
|Skinning||provides 480 crit rating|
|Herbalism||Small heal and 2880 Haste for 20 seconds|
As Subtlety your consumable choices are pretty simple. Agility all the way.
Note that Pandarens get twice the food buff. All food buffs last one hour.
- Flask of Spring Blossoms: 1,000 Ag for one hour, if you have Alchemy it’s 1,320.
- 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
Remarks on Race for the Subtlety Rogue:
Any race except Tauren and Draenei can be a Rogue.
- Can be either Horde or Alliance, you choose when you leave the starting area.
- Melee range stun (4 seconds) is a nice ability. You can always use another stun.
- Better buffs from food, for more Agility from that last meal.
- Faster leveling from longer lasting rest XP.
- 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.
- Improved alchemy will help you get into those nice potions that much sooner.
- Blood Fury is a very useful DPS ability since it’s a cooldown. Stick it into a macro.
- 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 which can be used in conjunction with every Vanish. Fire off Berserking and attack.
- 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.
- Ranged weapon expertise is of no value to you.
- 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.
- Good with Enchanting.
- Touch of the Grave is a passive ability that drains life and heals you for the same amount. It will actually add a bit to your DPS numbers.
- Will of the Forsaken could allow you to deal some extra PvE damage by washing away applicable boss mechanics.
- 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 your weakest stat.
- 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.
- Increased speed while stealthed is a nice ability.
- No useful DPS abilities, since their Expertise 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, their ranged weapon and Mace expertise is useless to you.
- Stoneform decreases damage by 10% and washes away bleeds, but this wont be of much use in most PvE content.
How to Get to the Level Cap Fast!
Rogue leveling is easy. All specs work well and regardless of which build you choose you will find leveling to be fast and smooth. Still, there are thousands of quests and a bazillion mobs to kill (not to mention other players, but they don’t count here.) Sorting out which quests are best and which series of quests will get you to 90 the fastest is another game, which is why we highly recommend Zygor’s Guide.
Zygor’s is an in-game guide and it nearly automates the whole leveling process: you just pick your starting point, at any level, and the guide tracks which quest you’re on, tracks the quest objectives, and automatically advances and updates as you complete your tasks and quests. In addition, a waypoint arrow is set automatically, so you never have to wonder where to go. All of the important quest info is included in the guide so you never have to wonder what to do.
Playing with Heirlooms and/or Recruit a friend? Gaining a few levels in the dungeons or in PvP? Zygor’s has your back. The guide knows what level you are and will correctly suggest where to go next. It will also dump all of your obsolete quests. And you will probably never need to look at your quest log again.
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