Subtlety Builds for Cataclysm

Subtlety Builds for Cataclysm

For guides that are updated for Mists of Pandaria and beyond, use these links::

This page below is for the Cataclysm Subtlety builds and are stored here for legacy sake. The builds are obsolete as of Mists of Pandaria (Patch 5.0+.) They will be of use only if you are on a private server that has not upgraded to 5.0.

Subtlety Builds for Cataclysm

Undead Sub RogueWith Cataclysm, through 4.3, Rogues are looking pretty good. They haven’t receved any major changed to mechanics, unlike Paladins, so the playstyle is pretty much the same. They’ll receive a major overhaul in Mists of Pandaria, like all the other classes.

Mastery – This is trainable at level 80 and basically buffs once aspect of your builds. For Sub. Rogues it boosts your Finishing Strike damage. So now your Ambush > 5pt Eviscerate hits even harder. See below for the value of Mastery.

Recuperate – This is a nice ability, gained at level 12, which, with a full Sub build, is actually pretty sweet as a talent allows it to recover Energy as well as health. You can start getting that talent as early as level 29. Keep recuperate up as much as possible. Energetic recovery is a big DPS gain.

Depending on the fight (and recommended for leveling) your opener will be something like:

  • Shadowstep > Ambush (5 cps generated) > recuperate > the rest of the attack.
  • At 81+ you may even find yourself using Recuperate to the excusion of Redirection as the combo points are better spent on Energy regeneration.

At level 10, when you gain access to your talents, you will pick the one tree and then be locked into that tree until you’ve spent 31 points in it. So the days of half subtlety, half assassination are dead. After 31 points you can move out.

Here’s what you get for picking Subtlety:

  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 – 30% more Agility and 40% more bonus damage from Backstab and Hemorrhage. Sweet.
  4. Mastery: Executioner – Increases damage from finishing strikes, and the effectiveness of Slice and Dice. Additional Mastery Rating increases this percentage.

 

Cataclysm Subtlety Rogue PvP build (10/0/31)

Practice makes perfect. Grab one of the targeting dummies, in any of the big cities, and practice your routine, including stuns, kicks, etc. They won’t add to your DPS, but hitting the Kick key should be automatic in PvP, right?

click here to view this build. Notes are at the end.
( Here’s another build that’s more survival oriented.)

Subtlety (31 Points)

  1. Nightstalker – Rank 1/2 – Increases your speed while stealthed by 5% and reduces the cooldown of your Stealth ability by 2 sec.
  2. Improved Ambush – Rank 3/3 – Increases the critical strike chance of your Ambush ability by 60% and its damage by 15%.
  3. Relentless Strikes – Rank 3/3 – Your finishing moves have a 20% chance per combo point to restore 25 Energy.
  4. Elusiveness – Rank 2/2 – Reduces the cooldown of your Vanish and Blind abilities by 60 sec, and your Cloak of Shadows and Combat Readiness abilities by 30 sec.
  5. Waylay – Rank 2/2 – Your Ambush and Backstab hits have a 100% chance to unbalance a target, increasing the time between their melee and ranged attacks by 20%, and reducing movement speed by 50% for 8 sec.
  6. Opportunity – Rank 3/3 – Increases the damage dealt with your Backstab, Mutilate, Garrote and Ambush abilities by 30%.
  7. Energetic Recovery – Rank 3/3 – Empowers your Recuperate ability, causing its periodic effect to also restore 12 Energy.
  8. 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 70% of that enemy’s armor for 10 sec.
  9. Hemorrhage – Rank 1/1 – An instant strike that deals 155% weapon damage ((155 * 1.45)% if a dagger is equipped) and causes the target to take 30% additional damage from Bleed effects for 1 min. Awards 1 combo point.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. Preparation – Rank 1/1 – When activated, this ability immediately finishes the cooldown on your Sprint, Vanish, and Shadowstep abilities.
  13. Sanguinary Vein – Rank 2/2 – Increases your damage dealt to targets with a Bleed effect on them by 16% and gives your Bleed effects a 100% chance to not break your Gouge.
  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. Shadow Dance – Rank 1/1 – Enter the Shadow Dance for 6 sec, allowing the use of Sap, Garrote, Ambush, Cheap Shot, Premeditation, Pick Pocket, and Disarm Trap regardless of being stealthed.

Assassination (10 Points)

  1. Coup de Grace – Rank 2/3 – Increases the damage done by your Eviscerate and Envenom abilities by 14%.
  2. Lethality – Rank 3/3 – Increases the critical strike damage bonus of your Sinister Strike, Backstab, Mutilate and Hemorrhage abilities by 30%.
  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 most other movement speed increasing effects.
  4. 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%.

Combat (0 Points) None

Glyphs

The listed glyphs are the ones that are the most generally useful, but don’t let that dictate your choices. In certain situations you might want to use something else. Do so.

Buy (or make) all the glyphs you might possibly want to use and then swap them around until you have “the right set.”

Glyphs, Prime

  1. Glyph of Shadow Dance – Increases the duration of Shadow Dance by 2 sec.
    Pick two of the next three:
  2. Glyph of Slice and Dice – Increases the duration of Slice and Dice by 6 sec.
    – and/or –
  3. Glyph of Hemorrhage – Your Hemorrhage ability also causes the target to bleed, dealing 40% of the direct strike’s damage over 24 sec.
    – and/or –
  4. Glyph of Backstab – Your Backstab critical strikes grant you 5 energy.

Glyphs, Major

  1. Glyph of Garrote – Increases the duration of your Garrote ability’s silence effect by 1.5 sec.
  2. Glyph of Preparation – Your Preparation ability also instantly resets the cooldown of Kick, Dismantle, and Smoke Bomb.
  3. Glyph of Blind – Your Blind ability also removes all damage over time effects from the target.

Glyphs, Minor

  1. Glyph of Safe Fall (Minor Glyph) – Increases the distance your Safe Fall ability allows you to fall without taking damage.
  2. Glyph of Poisons (Minor Glyph) – You apply poisons to your weapons 50% faster.
  3. Glyph of Distract (Minor Glyph) – Increases the range of your Distract ability by 5 yards.
In Mists of Pandaria you will have to rebuild your glyph setup, along with your talents. Prime glyphs will be gone and the Majors will take up the slack. Many glyphs will change or go away.
More importantly, talents will change completely. See our Subtlety in Mists of Pandaria post for some basics and our Rogues in M of P post for more info.

About this build:

  • Only 1 point in Nightstalker
  • Zero points in Cheat Death
  • Three points in Honor Among Thieves, which is great solo (and in 2s) and even better if you’re grouping (BGs, 5s)
  • Zero points in Serrated Blades
  • Takes Waylay for the control
  • Skips Initiative
  • With Improved Recuperate and Quickening the healing should be pretty good.
  • Weapons: Slow main-hand, fast off-hand.
  • Poisons: Wound and crippling
  • Backstab requires daggers, Ambush does not, but does hit harder with them. No other strikes requires daggers and they also hit harder with slower weapons. Backstab also has a positional requirement which can make using it difficult.

More Survivability:

  • Drop 2/2 Waylay
  • Drop 1 pt in Honor Among Thieves
  • Drop 2 pts in Puncturing Wounds
  • Add 3 pts in Cheat Death
  • Add 2 pts in Improved Recuperate
  • View this build

Now, the question needs to be asked…

  • Are you ganking people in the main game world?
  • Are the BGs your game?
  • Dueling?
  • Arenas?
  • Who’s your regular partner, if you have one?

Garrote is an excellent opener, especially if glyphed, for the silence effect. Ambush is better in lower level PvP since opponents don’t have all the resilience. At top level Garrote is just as good, and is better in certain situations. Obviously Cheap Shot is a good way to go, as well.

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Subtlety Rogue Build for PvE (8, 2, 31)

view this build

Subtlety probably isn’t the optimal damage spec, giving up ground to Combat and Assassination, but it can still do respectable DPS. The issue isn’t so much the damage, but a more complicated rotation.

Notes

  • Slow man hand weapon, fast off-hand (which means a fast dagger.)
  • Hemo seems to be a DPS loss over backstab, but this assumes that you’re able to keep yourself behind the target reliably. This is much easier in PvE than PvP.
  • Backstab is your main combo point builder, which means a dagger in the main hand. Since you want a fast off-hand weapon you’ll be using two daggers.
Subtlety (31 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 3/3 – Your finishing moves have a 20% chance per combo point to restore 25 energy.
  3. 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.
  4. Opportunity – Rank 3/3 – Increases the damage dealt with your Backstab, Mutilate, Garrote and Ambush abilities by 30%.
  5. Initiative – Rank 1/2 – Gives you a 50% chance to add an additional combo point to your target when using your Ambush, Garrote, or Cheap Shot ability.
  6. Energetic Recovery – Rank 3/3 – Empowers your Recuperate ability, causing its periodic effect to also restore 12 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. Hemorrhage – Rank 1/1 – An instant strike that deals 110% weapon damage (( 110 * 1.45)% if a dagger is equipped) and causes the target to take 30% additional damage from bleed effects for 1 min. Awards 1 combo point.
  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. 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.
  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. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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 (8 Points)

  1. Coup de Grace – Rank 2/3 – Increases the damage done by your Eviscerate and Envenom abilities by 14%.
  2. Lethality – Rank 3/3 – Increases the critical strike damage bonus of your Sinister Strike, Backstab, Mutilate and Hemorrhage abilities by 30%.
  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%.

Combat (2 Points)

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

 

Prime glyphs
  1. Glyph of Backstab – Your Backstab critical strikes grant you 5 energy.
  2. Glyph of Slice and Dice – Increases the duration of Slice and Dice by 6 sec.
  3. Pick from …
  4. Glyph of Eviscerate or
  5. Glyph of Hemorrhage or
  6. Glyph of Shadow Dance

Major Glyphs

  1. Glyph of Tricks of the Trade – Removes the energy cost of your Tricks of the Trade ability but reduces the recipient’s damage bonus by 5%.
  2. Glyph of Feint – Reduces the energy cost of Feint by 20.
  3. Either Glyph of Sprint or
  4. Glyph of Fan of Knives

Minor Glyphs – Nothing really interesting here. Take what fits your game.

  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 Poisons – You apply poisons to your weapons 50% faster.

For extended period in the Twilight Shadowrealms…

Consider focusing on damage reduction and self-heals. Here are some possibilities:

  1. Drop 1 pt Improved Ambush
  2. Drop 1 pt Initiative
  3. Drop Premeditation
  4. Drop Preparation
  5. Drop 2 pts in Serrated Blades
  6. Drop 2 pts in Precision
  7. Drop 2 pts in Coup de Grace
  8. Drop 2 pts Puncturing Wounds
  9. Add 3 pts Envoloping Shadows
  10. Add 3 pts Cheat Death
  11. Add 2 pts Improved Recuperate
  12. Add 2 pts Deadly Momentum
  13. Add 2 pts Quickening
  14. Here’s the build

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