Rogue Leveling Builds for Cataclysm 4.3

These are the old Cataclysm leveling builds, stored here for legacy sake. If you’re playing on a system that has not upgraded to Mists then they’ll be of use, otherwise they’re completely obsolete.

Level 85 Combat Rogue Leveling Build (9/31/1)

Remarks

Starting off here with a Combat spec, since that’s been the traditional Rogue leveling build. It’s also the easiest to use and has the quickest Energy regeneration until level 60 or so.

In your face swashbuckling using whichever weapons you pick. If you like fast sword play then this is your build. Combat is less reliant than the others on burst or poisons and it doesn’t require, or even recommend, daggers or any particular weapons, so use the best weapons you can get at any given level.

Your initial attack might do less damage than Subtlety, but it will be easier to keep up consistent damage when fighitng multiple opponents.

  1. Blade Flurry is your level 10 special ability. BF attacks one additional opponent. It’s great against two opponents, but useless Vs just one. It’s a toggle. Keep it up when fighting more than one mob, turn it off when hitting singles.
  2. Ambidexterity – gives extra damage to your off-hand and throwing weapons. This is a pretty nice damage increase.
  3. Vitality increases your Energy regeneration rate and your attack power.
  4. Mastery: Main Gauche – (A main guache is the off-hand weapon used by fencers, usually a form of dagger) This gives your offhand weapon a chance for extra strikes, based off your main-hand weapon attacks.

With combat you use your raw combat effectiveness to go toe to toe with the opposition. This build is going for Killing Spree ASAP and assumes that you’re not doing a lot of PvP. The talents are listed in the order that you should take them.

Weapon speed – This question has been asked for as long as anyone has been dual wielding their weapons. Until you get Combat potency it doesn’t matter. Once there you’ll want a slow main-hand weapon and a fast off-hand weapon due to Combat Potency procs (see #8, below.)

Weapon Choice – A fast dagger is your best choice for an off-hand weapon. With 4.0 you can use any one-handed weapon and there are no weapon specializations. So grab the best weapon main hand weapon you can and try to put a fast dagger in that off-hand.

For example: A Sword with a 2.8 speed in the main hand and a dagger with 1.4 speed in the off-hand.

With Mastery granting extra weapon attacks from main-hand attacks an argument can be made for a fast main-hand. A fast main-hand will gimp your Sinister Strike and Eviscerate abilities and that will likely cost a lot more damage than you’ll gain from a couple of off-hand weapon swings. Given that info I’m going to stick with Slow Main, Fast off.

See below for rotations, notes on abilities, gear, and so on.

Combat Rogue Leveling Spec

Just take the talents in the order listed.

(view this build)

Combat (31 Points)

  1. Improved Sinister Strike – Rank 3/3 – Increases the damage dealt by your Sinister Strike ability by 30% and reduces its Energy cost by 6.
  2. Precision – Rank 2/3 – Increases your chance to hit with weapon and poison attacks by 6%. This is especially useful towards the end-game raids.
  3. Aggression – Rank 3/3 – Increases the damage of your Sinister Strike, Backstab, and Eviscerate abilities by 20%.
  4. Improved Slice and Dice – Rank 2/2 – Increases the duration of your Slice and Dice ability by 50%. Especially nice for longer fights or multiple opponents.
  5. Revealing Strike – Rank 1/1 – An instant strike that causes 125% of your normal weapon damage and increases the effectiveness of your next offensive finishing move on that target by 20% for 15 sec. Awards 1 combo point.
  6. Lightning Reflexes – Rank 3/3 – Increases your chance to dodge enemy attacks by 9% and your attack speed by 6%.
  7. Reinforced Leather – Rank 1/2 – Increases your armor contribution from cloth (cloth???) and leather items by 50%. Cloth is bad, use leather in all slots, always.
  8. Combat Potency – Rank 3/3 – Gives your successful off-hand melee attacks a 20% chance to generate 15 Energy. This is why you want a fast off-hand weapon.
  9. Precision – Rank 3/3 (finishing this off)
  10. Improved Recuperate – Rank 1/2 – Causes your Recuperate ability to restore an additional 2% of your maximum health and reduces all damage taken by 6% while your Recuperate ability is active.
  11. Adrenaline Rush – Rank 1/1 – Increases your Energy regeneration rate by 100% and your melee attack speed by 20% for 15 sec.
  12. Savage Combat – Rank 2/2 – Increases your total attack power by 4% and all physical damage caused to enemies you have poisoned is increased by 4%.
  13. Improved Recuperate – Rank 2/2 (finishing this off)
  14. Reinforced Leather – Rank 2/2 (finishing this off)
  15. Bandit’s Guile – Rank 3/3 – Your Sinister Strike and Revealing Strike abilities have a 100% chance to grant you an evolving insight into an opponent’s defenses, increasing damage to that target by up to 30%. Opponents can adapt over time, negating this benefit, and Striking a different opponent will begin the cycle anew.
  16. Restless Blades – Rank 2/2 – Your damaging finishing moves reduce the cooldown of your Adrenaline Rush, Killing Spree, and Sprint abilities by 2 sec per combo point.
  17. Killing Spree – Rank 1/1 – Step through the shadows from enemy to enemy within 10 yards, attacking an enemy every .5 secs with both weapons until 5 assaults are made, and increasing all damage done by 20% for the duration. Can hit the same target multiple times. Cannot hit invisible or stealthed targets.

You can now move into the other trees.

Assassination (9 Points)

  1. Lethality – Rank 3/3 – Increases the critical strike damage bonus of your Sinister Strike, Backstab, Mutilate and Hemorrhage abilities by 30%.
  2. Coup de Grace – Rank 2/3 – Increases the damage done by your Eviscerate and Envenom abilities by 14%.
  3. Gratz on level 80
  4. (level 81, 82) Quickening – Rank 2/2 – All healing effects on you are increased by 20% and your movement speed is increased by 15%. This does not stack with other movement speed increasing effects.
  5. (level 83, 84) Deadly Momentum – Rank 2/2
    After killing an opponent that yields experience or honor, the critical strike chance of your next attack within 10 sec is increased by 40% and your Slice and Dice and Recuperate abilities are refreshed to their original duration.

Subtlety (1 point)

  1. (level 85) Relentless Strikes – Rank 1/3
    Your finishing moves have a 7% chance per combo point to restore 25 energy.

Glyphs

You’ll get one glyph slot for Prime, Major, and Minor glyphs at level 25 and then one more of each at levels 50 and 75. Glyphs are learned, not installed like gems, and can be swapped. Learn ’em all and swap them as the need arises.

Up to level 80 you will need one dose of Vanishing Powder to make one swap, from level 81 you will need one dose of Dust of Disappearance to make one swap, from level 86 to 90 you will need a Tome of the Clear Mind.” All can be found from your Inscription supplies vendor.

Prime

  1. Glyph of Adrenaline Rush – Increases the duration of Adrenaline Rush by 5 sec.
  2. Glyph of Slice and Dice– Increases the duration of Slice and Dice by 6 sec.
  3. Glyph of Eviscerate – Increases the critical strike chance of Eviscerate by 10%.

Major

  1. Glyph of Blind – Your Blind ability also removes all damage over time effects from the target.
  2. Glyph of Blade Flurry – Reduces the penalty to energy generation while Blade Flurry is active by 50%.
  3. Glyph of Cloak of Shadows – While Cloak of Shadows is active, you take 40% less physical damage.

Minor

  1. Glyph of Lockpicking – Instant lockpicking.
  2. Glyph of Safe Fall – Increases the distance your Safe Fall ability allows you to fall without taking damage.
  3. Glyph of Blurred Speed – Enables you to walk on water while your Sprint ability is active.
In Mists of Pandaria the talents will change, old talents will become abilities, and other this will happen. See our Rogues in M of P post for more info.

Combat Build Notes:

Generally, if you PvP a lot you will want to go with Subtlety. But if you stick with Combat:

  1. If you PvP a lot you will want 2/2 Improved Sprint for the escape ability.
  2. Improved Kick, for the silence, is a useful PvP ability
  3. Blade Twisting is another useful talent for PvP, but it overlaps with your Crippling Poison.
  4. Throwing Specialization is a useful interrupt if you’re constantly fighting casters. Your timing needs to be pretty good to use it effectively.
  5. Nightstalker has its uses if you like/need the faster Stealth cooldown and movement.

 

Combat Rogue Rotation for leveling

CP = Combo Point
SS = Sinister Strike

Note: For short fights Slice and Dice has little value. If you’re fighting several mobs in a row or are fighting mobs that take awhile (dungeon mobs) then it’s very nice.

  • Before 8: Just run up and smash.
  • Level 8+: Open with Ambush, then SS, then Eviscerate. If you can’t easily get behind the opposition then just open with SS.
  • At Level 12 you get Recuperate which is a great place to spend any left over CPs. Mob dies, hit Recup to use up your left over CPs, and downtime becomes minor.
  • At level 16 you get Gouge. You can run up, unstealthed, Gouge, and kill. Or Gouge > Hop behind the mob, and Backstab (if you have a main hand dagger.)
  • At level 22, you get Slice and Dice. If the fight is a bit longer, such as in a dungeon/raid, build up four CPs then hit Slice and Dice. Try to keep SnD up at all times.
  • Cheap Shot is at level 26 and stuns your opponent for a short time.
  • Garrote is at level 40 and causes your opponent to bleed.
  • Rupture is level 46
  • Bleed ’em till they die! Stealth to Garrote, then Sinister Strike until 5 CP, then Rupture. (This one also keeps attacking Rogues from stealthing.) Of course, it’ll work against you, too. Bleeds are also great when fighting mobs that will run away. They will run and die.

Goto >> Top – Info – Race – Combat – Assassination – Subtlety – Gear – Tips – Level Faster

 

Level 85 Assassination Rogue Leveling Build (31/3/7)

Does being the “poison using assassin” appeal to you? Then this is your specialization. It’s competitive for raiding and is good for PvP. It’s a little low on Energy until you get into the Venomous Wounds talent, at 61, so some people start with Combat and then switch at level 61.

This spec requires daggers. If you don’t like daggers than go elsewhere.

Always remember to have your weapons poisoned, instant on the main hand, deadly on the off-hand. A lot of your damage comes from the poisons, far more than from Combat or Sub, and if you forget to poison your blades you will gimp yourself.

  1. Mutilate becomes the “bread and butter” strike at level 10.
  2. Assassin’s Resolve is a sweet ability, combining a higher energy cap and extra damage when using daggers.
  3. Improved Poisons increases the chance of successfully hitting with Instant and Deadly poisons.
  4. Mastery: Potent Poisons increases poison damage, Each point of Mastery from your gear and buffs will add to the bonus poison damage of this ability.

In this build we’re going for our 31 points (and Vendetta) ASAP to get you into the option of taking talents from the other trees. This build is built around questing, though I’ll add notes for if you’re PvPing or dungeoning. Just take the talents in order.

Weapon speed – Slow in the main-hand, fast in the off-hand. Poisons: Instant in the main-hand, deadly in the off-hand for long fights (eg. bosses.) Heck, deadly on the off-hand for all fights.

(view this build)

Assassination (31 Points)

  1. Deadly Momentum – Rank 2/2 – After killing an opponent that yields experience or honor, the critical strike chance of your next attack within 10 sec is increased by 40% and your Slice and Dice and Recuperate abilities are refreshed to their original duration.
  2. Coup de Grace – Rank 3/3 – Increases the damage done by your Eviscerate and Envenom abilities by 20%.
  3. Puncturing Wounds – Rank 3/3 – Increases the critical strike chance of your Backstab ability by 30%, and the critical strike chance of your Mutilate ability by 15%.
  4. Quickening – Rank 2/2 – All healing effects on you are increased by 20% and your movement speed is increased by 15%. This does not stack with other movement speed increasing effects.
  5. Cold Blood – Rank 1/1 – When activated, generates 25 Energy and increases the critical strike chance of your next non-periodic offensive ability by 100%.
  6. Deadly Brew – Rank 2/2 – When you apply Instant, Wound, or Mind-Numbing Poison to a target, you have a 100% chance to apply Crippling Poison (which is quite nice for PvP.)
  7. Vile Poisons – Rank 2/3 – Increases the damage dealt by your poisons by 20% and gives you 100% of the normal chance of applying poisons from your equipped melee weapons when you use the Fan of Knives ability.
  8. Seal Fate – Rank 2/2 – Your critical strikes from abilities that add combo points have a 100% chance to add an additional combo point.
  9. Vile Poisons – Rank 3/3 – finishing this off
  10. Lethality – Rank 2/3 – Increases the critical strike damage bonus of your Sinister Strike, Backstab, Mutilate and Hemorrhage abilities by 30%.
  11. Overkill – Rank 1/1 – While stealthed, and for 20 seconds after breaking stealth, you regenerate 30% additional energy.
  12. Murderous Intent – Rank 2/2 – When you Backstab an enemy that is below 35% health, you instantly recover 30 Energy.
  13. Master Poisoner – Rank 1/1 – Increases the spell damage taken by any target you have poisoned by 8%, causes your Envenom ability to no longer consume Deadly Poison, and reduces the duration of all Poison effects applied to you by 50%.
  14. Lethality – Rank 3/3 – finishing this off
  15. Venomous Wounds – Rank 2/2 – Each time your Rupture or Garrote deals damage to an enemy that you have poisoned, you have a 60% chance to deal 675 additional Nature damage and to regain 10 Energy. If an enemy dies while afflicted by your Rupture, you regain energy proportional to the remaining Rupture duration.
  16. Cut to the Chase – Rank 3/3 – Your Eviscerate and Envenom abilities have a 100% chance to refresh your Slice and Dice duration to its 5 combo point maximum.
  17. Vendetta – Rank 1/1 – Marks an enemy for death, increasing all damage you deal to the target by 20% and granting you unerring vision of your target, regardless of concealments such as stealth and invisibility. Lasts 30 sec.

Combat (3 Points)

  1. Precision – Rank 2/3 – Increases your chance to hit with weapon and poison attacks by 4%.

Subtlety (7 Points)

  1. Relentless Strikes – Rank 3/3 – Your finishing moves have a 20% chance per combo point to restore 25 energy.
  2. Nightstalker – Rank 2/2 – Increases your speed while stealthed by 15% and reduces the cooldown of your Stealth ability by 6 sec.
  3. Opportunity – Rank 3/3 – Increases the damage dealt with your Backstab, Mutilate, Garrote and Ambush abilities by 20%.

Notes:

  1. At 85 you can respec to whatever, obviously. 😉
  2. If you drop Deadly Momentum and 1 pt from Deadly Brew and put those three points into Ruthlessness then you have a fine DPS build.

Glyphs

While the listed glyphs are the most generally useful, others may be superior in specific situations.

Go ahead and buy all the glyphs you might think you need and swap them as necessary. You will need materials from the Inscription supply vendor in order to swap glyphs.

Prime Glyphs

  1. Glyph of Mutilate – Reduces the cost of Mutilate by 5 energy.
  2. Glyph of Slice and Dice – Increases SnD time by 6 seconds.
  3. Glyph of Rupture – Increases the duration of Rupture by 4 sec.

Major Glyphs

  1. Glyph of Evasion – Increases the duration of Evasion by 5 seconds.
  2. Glyph of Sprint – Increases the movement speed of your Sprint ability by an additional 30%.
  3. PvP? Glyph of Garrote – Your Garrote silence effect is increased by 1.5 seconds.

Minor Glyphs

  1. Glyph of Safe Fall– Increases the distance your Safe Fall ability allows you to fall without taking damage.
  2. Glyph of Pick Lock– Reduces the cast time of your Pick Lock ability by 100%.
  3. Glyph of Pick Pocket– Increases the range of your Pick Pocket ability by 5 yards.
  4. PvP? Glyph of Poisons – Change your poisons faster.

 

 

 

 

Mists of Pandaria note:

Prime glyphs are going away, you will have only Major and Minor glyphs, six total glyphs at level 90.

Talents will be completely overhauled, as well. Many of the Cata talents will be rolled into the abilities list and some of these will be unique to each spec. All of the new talents will be available to any Mage spec.

You can see some more details of upcoming changes on our Rogues in Mists section.

 

 

Assassination Rotations:

  • See Combat above. Assassination is much the same as Combat, except that you will use Mutilate and Envenom when you get them, as well as more bleeds when you get Venomous Wounds.

Goto >> Top – Info – Race – Combat – Assassination – Subtlety – Gear – Tips – Level Faster

 

Subtlety Rogue leveling Build

Blood elf Rogue with petLike the shadows? Feel that a Rogue should be sneaky, attack from stealth with a brutal Ambush, and then disappear back into the shadows? Then Subtlety is your specialization. This is very much a burst spec and isn’t quite so hot for long fights. With 4.0 Ambush is brutal and Sub seems to be much more desireable than before. Many times you will be able to Shadowstep > Ambush > Eviscerate > next mob.

This tree is somewhat energy starved until points are spent in Energetic Recovery. For this reason many people will level as Combat until 35-40, when they can pick up the Energetic Recovery talent.

Shadowstep is a short range teleport that puts you right behind your opponent, in perfect position for that brutal ambush. It’s also good for getting up on ledges when your opponent is otherwise inaccessable.

Weapon choice: Note that Ambush no longer requires daggers, but a dagger in the main-hand is required for Backstab. Using anything other than a dagger in the main-hand will decrease your ambush damage, but your Eviscerate and Hemos will hit harder. Overall damage between dagger in the main or a sword/mace/axe seems to be close enough.

Whether or not you use daggers, slow in the main-hand is good, fast in the off-hand is probably best and, for the moment, this means a dagger.

Sap is useful for getting into position for a proper Ambush if Shadowstep is on cooldown.

  1. Shadowstep is your level 10 ability. Appear behind your opponents in position for a brutal Ambush.
  2. Master of Subtlety – attacks from Stealth, and shortly after, do more damage.
  3. Sinister Calling – 25% more Agility and more damage from Backstab and Hemorrhage.
  4. Mastery: Executioner – Increases damage (and effects) from finishing strikes. Additional Mastery Rating increases this.

Daggers are recommended, since you get better Ambushes with them, but they aren’t required. If you like to Backstab a lot then you need a dagger in the main hand. This build, like the others, gets to the top talent Shadowdance as quickly as possible.

Cataclysm Subtlety Rogue Leveling Build

Subtlety (32 Points)

  1. Improved Ambush – Rank 3/3 – Increases the critical strike chance of your Ambush ability by 60% and its damage by 15%.
  2. Relentless Strikes – Rank 2/3 – Your finishing moves have a 20% chance per combo point to restore 25 energy.
  3. Opportunity – Rank 3/3- Increases the damage dealt with your Backstab, Mutilate, Garrote and Ambush abilities by 30%.
  4. Initiative – Rank 2/2 – Gives you a 100% chance to add an additional combo point to your target when using your Ambush, Garrote, or Cheap Shot ability.
  5. Hemorrhage – Rank 1/1 – An instant strike that deals 110% weapon damage (159.5% if a dagger is equipped) and causes the target to take 30% additional damage from bleed effects for 1 min. Awards 1 combo point.
  6. Energetic Recovery – Rank 3/3 – Empowers your Recuperate ability, causing its periodic effect to also restore 8 Energy.
  7. Find Weakness – Rank 2/2 – Your Ambush, Garrote, and Cheap Shot abilities reveal a flaw in your target’s defenses, causing all your attacks to bypass 50% of that enemy’s armor for 10 sec.
  8. Premeditation – Rank 1/1 – When used, adds 2 combo points to your target. You must add to or use those combo points within 20 sec or the combo points are lost.
  9. Honor Among Thieves – Rank 3/3 – Increases the critical strike chance of all party and raid members by 5%. When any player in your party or raid critically hits with a spell or ability, you have a 100% chance to gain a combo point on your current target. This effect cannot occur more than once every 2 seconds.
  10. Relentless Strikes – Rank 3/3
  11. Preparation – Rank 1/1 – When activated, this ability immediately finishes the cooldown on your Evasion, Sprint, Vanish, and Shadowstep abilities.
  12. Sanguinary Vein – Rank 2/2 – Increases your damage dealt to targets who are afflicted with a Bleed effect by 10%.
  13. Elusiveness – Rank 2/2 – Reduces the cooldown of your Vanish and Blind abilities by 60 sec and your Cloak of Shadows ability by 30 sec.
  14. Slaughter from the Shadows – Rank 3/3 – Reduces the energy cost of your Backstab and Ambush abilities by 20, and the energy cost of your Hemorrhage and Fan of Knives abilities by 6.
  15. Serrated Blades – Rank 2/2 – Your Eviscerate has a 20% chance per combo point to refresh your Rupture on the target to its original duration.
  16. Shadow Dance – Rank 1/1 – Enter the Shadow Dance for 6 sec, allowing the use of Sap, Garrote, Ambush, Cheap Shot, Premeditation, Pickpocket and Disarm Trap regardless of being stealthed.

Assassination (7 Points)

  1. Lethality – Rank 3/3 – Increases the critical strike damage bonus of your Sinister Strike, Backstab, Mutilate and Hemorrhage abilities by 30%.
  2. Coup de Grace – Rank 2/3 – Increases the damage done by your Eviscerate and Envenom abilities by 14%.
  3. Quickening – Rank 2/2 – All healing effects on you are increased by 20% and your movement speed is increased by 15%. This does not stack with other movement speed increasing effects.

Combat (2 Points)

  1. Precision – Rank 2/3 – Increases your chance to hit with weapon and poison attacks by 4%.

Glyphs

While the listed glyphs are the most generally useful, others may be superior in specific situations.

Go ahead and buy all the glyphs you might think you need and swap them as necessary. You will need materials from the Inscription supply vendor in order to swap glyphs.

Prime Glyphs

  1. Glyph of Eviscerate– Increases the critical strike chance of Eviscerate by 10%.
  2. Glyph of Hemorrhage– Your Hemorrhage ability also causes the target to bleed, dealing 40% of the direct strike’s damage over 24 sec.
  3. Glyph of Slice and Dice – Increases the duration of Slice and Dice by 6 sec..

Major Glyphs

  1. Glyph of Sprint– Increases the movement speed of your Sprint ability by an additional 30%.
  2. Glyph of Ambush– Increases the range on Ambush by 5 yards.
  3. Glyph of Cloak of Shadows– While Cloak of Shadows is active, you take 40% less physical damage, or…
  4. Glyph of Blind: Removes all Damage over Time effects from the opponent.

Minor Glyphs

  1. Glyph of Safe Fall – Increases the distance your Safe Fall ability allows you to fall without taking damage.
  2. Glyph of Pick Lock – Reduces the cast time of your Pick Lock ability by 100%.
  3. Glyph of Pick Pocket – Increases the range of your Pick Pocket ability by 5 yards.

Mists of Pandaria note:

Prime glyphs are going away, you will have only Major and Minor glyphs, six total glyphs at level 90.

Talents will be completely overhauled, as well. Many of the Cata talents will be rolled into the abilities list and some of these will be unique to each spec. All of the new talents will be available to any Mage spec.

You can see some more details of upcoming changes on our Rogues in Mists section .

Subtlety Build Notes:

  1. Nightstalker reduces stealth cooldowns and increases stealthed speed.
  2. Waylay is pretty much a PvP talent.
  3. Cheat Death is a nice PvP talent
  4. There’s an ongoing argument on Backstab Vs Hemorrhage. If you’re always at the opponent’s back (which you should be in raids & dungeons) then Backstab does more damage overall. For leveling and PvP Hemo is much better since you don’t have the positioning issues and the energy usage is less and you can use harder hitting weapons. Glyph of Hemo also adds a bleed effect which has its uses while leveling and is great Vs stealthy types in PvP.
  5. Glyph of Blind (major) has definite uses in PvP and groups because it wipes effects which will break the blind, such as bleeds. Otherwise your Garrotes and Ruptures (or the other guy’s) will break your Blind.

Leveling with Subtlety is nice, especially with the buffed damage, and it gets faster as you level. Leveling with a PvP build works well enough, especially once you’re up a few levels. Supplementing your questing with some PvP leveling can be interesting and this way you do’t have to switch builds.

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