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by Spiffymarlin

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Rogue 5.4 Guide by Spiffymarlin

Version: 1.1 | Updated: 07/01/14


Hello! I've noticed how out of date most of the FAQs and Guides are here. Many of them are many patches (and sometimes EXPANSION) behind and remain un-updated. My goal is to provide a current, up-to-date guide for every class so that new, returning, and veteran players can get the information they need when they need it.

The Rogue is the primary melee damage dealer in the World of Warcraft. Historically, we've been a major force to be reckoned with in both PVP and PVE. This is still the case, although we're eclipsed in PvE by certain classes these days.

Rogues use a dual-resource system, expending Energy for special abilities. Primary special attacks build “Combo Points” on the target, which can be expended for “Finishers”, abilities that grow in strength or duration with each combo point spent. If you've ever played the Assassin in Diablo II, you have some idea of how this works.

Rogues are pretty cool. We've got some mediocre defensive cooldowns, although Evasion got buffed this patch to be 100% dodge (which is rad,) and we've got Leeching Poison and Recuperate, which help us avoid dying to literally every mob. Depending on spec, we've got crazy damage cooldowns, and we have stealth. Stealth is the best. Stealth means never having to deal with any crap.
If you enjoy the idea of slipping out of the shadows and killing your enemies before they have a chance to fight back, the Rogue class is for you. If you enjoy doing lots of melee damage (and nothing else), the Rogue class is for you. If you enjoy having lots of control over a fight, the Rogue class is for you. But if you want to heal, tank, or DPS from range, look at other classes.

5.4 Changes


  • Ambush damage has been increased by 12%.
  • Evasion now increases dodge chance by 100% (was 50%), cooldown has been reduced to 2 minutes (down from 3 minutes), and duration has been reduced to 10 seconds (down from 15 seconds)
  • Eviscerate now deals 10% less damage.
  • Fan of Knives damage has been increased by 25%.
  • Cheat Death now reduces damage taken by 85% after activating (up from 80%).
  • Cloak and Dagger now allows the Rogue to use Ambush, Garrote, and Cheap Shot from 40 yards away (up from 30 yards).


  • Assassination Rogues should no longer be eligible for any other weapon types except daggers in situations where loot is automatically awarded(Raid Finder, Bonus Rolls, Heroic/Normal Scenarios, and the upcoming Flexible Raid difficulty.)
  • Dispatch now deals 645% weapon damage (up from 460%)
  • Mutilate now deals 280% weapon damage (up from 200%).


  • New passive ability, Ruthlessness: This passive ability is learned by Combat Rogues at Level 32. The Rogue gains a 20% chance per combo point (100% chance at 5 combo points) to immediately regain 1 combo point while performing a finishing move.
  • Killing Spree targeting has been changed. If Blade Flurry is not active, Killing Spree will now hit the Rogue's target 7 times or pick the closest eligible target if none had been selected. Killing Spree will continue to work as it has while Blade Flurry is active.
  • Revealing Strike now deals 160% weapons damage (up from 125%).
  • Vitality now increases Attack Power by 40% (up from 30%).


  • Backstab now deals 380% weapon damage (up from 275%).
  • Hemorrhage now deals 160% weapons damage (up from 140%); 232% weapons damage if a dagger is equipped (up from 203% for daggers).
  • Sanguinary Vein now increases damage against targets with bleed effects by 25% (up from 20%).


  • Recuperate now restores 4% of maximum health every 3 seconds, up from 3%.
  • Sinister Strike deals an increased 240% of weapon damage (up from 145%), but now costs 50 Energy (up from 40 Energy).
  • Nightstalker now increases damage dealt by abilities while stealthed by 50%, up from 25%.
  • Paralytic Poison now stuns the target at 4 applications of the poison (down from 5 applications).
  • Shadowstep now has a reduced cooldown of 20 seconds (down from 24 seconds)


  • Major Glyphs
    • Glyph of Adrenaline Rush's effect is now baseline and has been replaced with Glyph of Redirect
    • Glyph of Redirect now reduces the cooldown of Redirect by 50 seconds (down from "Redirect no longer has a cooldown")
    • Glyph of Blind now only removes damage-over-time effects that would cause Blind to break. For Rogues that also have Dirty Tricks, this means Blind will no longer remove the Rogue's poison or bleed effects
    • Glyph of Crippling Poison has been replaced with Glyph of Sharpened Knives
      • Glyph of Sharpened Knives now causes Fan of Knives to also damage the armor of its victims, applying 1 application of the Weakened Armor effect to each target
    • Glyph of Debilitation has been replaced with Glyph of Recovery
      • Glyph of Recovery incresaes the healing received by the Rogue while Recuperate is active
    • Glyph of Recuperate now increases the healing of Recuperate by an additional 1% (up from 0.5%)
    • Glyph of Sap has been replaced with Glyph of Hemorrhaging Veins
      • Glyph of Hemorrhaging Veins causes Sanguinary Veins to also increase damage done to targets affected by Hemorrhage
    • Glyph of Shiv now reduces the cooldown of Shiv by 3 seconds (was 2 seconds)
  • New Minor Glyphs
    • Glyph of Improved Distraction: Distract now summons a decoy at the target location
    • Glyph of the Headhunter: Throw and Deadly Throw abilities will now throw axes regardless of the Rogue's equipped weapon
  • Class Armor
    • Rogue Tier 15 4-piece set bonus now causes Shadow Blades to reduce the cost of all abilities by 15% (down from 40%)


If it doesn't have hooves, you can be a rogue. Which is a sad thing because a Tauren Rogue is probably the best thing ever. Ask any engineer or someone who played during WotLK with Deathbringer's Will.


  • Pandaren: Epicurean: Your love of food allows you to receive double the stats from Well Fed effects. Essentially giving you +275/+300 Agility which is very good. Pandaren also take less fall damage!


  • Dwarf: Mace Specialization: Expertise with Maces increased by 1%. When you're using a mace. Note it only applies to the expertise bonus to most likely your Main Hand weapon since Rogues are using daggers primarily in the off hand slot. Stoneform: Removes all poison, disease, and bleed effects and reduces all damage taken by 10% for 8 seconds.
  • Gnome: Shortblade specialization: Expertise with Daggers and 1Hand Swords increased by 1%. PvP: Escape Artist: Escape the effects of any immobilization or movement speed reduction effect every 90 seconds.
  • Human: Sword and Mace Specialization: Expertise with Swords and Maces increased by 1%. Every Man for Himself: Removes all movement impairing effects and all effects which cuase loss of control of your character. This negates the need for a PvP trinket.
  • Night Elf: Shadowmeld: A "second" Vanish as while shadowmelded you can use your stealth abilities. It's notably stronger in PvP situations, but for Assassination and Subtlety it's a strong PvE option as it allows you to apply Find Weakness for Subtlety and for Assassination apply Garrote or somethin similar.
  • Worgen: Viciousness: Increases critical strike chance by 1%. Darkflight: Activates your true form, increasing current movement speed by an additional 40% for 10 seconds. 2 minute cooldown. Basically a weaker version of sprint.
    • Best races PvE: Pandaren, Worgen, Gnome
    • Best races PvP: Human, Gnome, Dwarf


  • Blood Elf: Arcane Torrent: Silence all enemies within 8 yards for 2 seconds and restores 15 energy. Every 2 minutes, not that good of a benefit.
  • Goblin: Time is Money: Cash in on a 1% increase to attack and casting speed. Rocket Barrage: Launches your belt rockets at an enemy, dealing a small chunk of damage. 2 minute cooldown that shares a cooldown with... Rocket Jump: Activates your rocket belt to jump a small distance forward. If used properly, can help you avoid fire.
  • Orc: Axe specialization: Expertise with Fist Weapons (???) and Axes increased by 1%. blood Fury: Increases Attack Power by a sizable chunk on a 2 minute cooldown. Doesn't have any shared cooldowns - a very strong racial ability.
  • Troll: Beast Slaying: Damage dealt vs Beasts increased by 5%. Can be very strong in PvE situations if the boss is labeled as a Beast. Berserking: Increases your attack speed by 20% for 10 seconds, 3 minute cooldown. Da Voodoo Shuffle: Reduces the duration of all movement impairing effects by 15%.
  • Undead: Will of the Forsaken: Removes any Charm, Fear, and Sleep effect, shares a 30 second cooldown with the PvP trinket. Useful in some PvE situations and most PvP situations. Touch of the Grave: Your attacks and damaging spells have a chance to drain the target, dealing X shadow damage and healing you for the same amount.
    • Best races PvE: Troll, Pandaren, Orc
    • Best races PvP: Goblin, Orc, Undead

Poisons and Shiv

Poisons have been reworked to two classes: non-lethal and lethal. You'll no longer have to go to a poison vendor to acquire more of your poisons; they are simply found in your spellbook.

Poisons ignore armor, scale with your stats, and can crit. They're also on the melee hit table so you do not have to achieve spell hit cap as a Rogue anymore.

Non-lethal Poisons:

  • Mind-Numbing Poison: Acquired at level 28. Each strike has a chance to slow casting speed by 50% for 10 seconds. In PvP, it is slowed by 25%.
    • Shiv effect: Mind Paralysis: 1005 reduction for 8 seconds.
  • Crippling Poison: Acquired at level 20. Each strike has a chance to slow movement speed by 50% for 12 seconds.
    • Shiv effect: Debilitating Poison: 70% reduction in movement speed for 12 seconds
  • Leeching Poison: Acquired from the level 45 talent selection. Each strike has a 50% chance to poison the enemy, causing the Rogue's subsequent weapon strikes to heal the Rogue for 10% of damage dealt.
    • Shiv Effect: Leech Vitality: Instantly restores 5% of the Rogue's health
  • Paralytic Poison: Acquired from the level 75 talent selection. Each strike has a 20% chance to poison the enemy for 15 seconds and stacks up to 5 times. On the 5th applicatoin the target is stunned for 4 seconds.
    • Shiv Effect: Partial Paralysis: Concentrated Paralytic Poison causes instant pralysis of the enemy's lower body, rooting them in place for 4 seconds.

Lethal Poisons:

  • Deadly Poison: Acquired at level 10. Each strike has a 30% chance of poisoning the enemy for X nature damage over 12 seconds. Subsequent poison applications will instantly do X nature damage. It scales with your AP and level.
  • Wound Poison: Acquired at level 30. each strike has a 30% chance of poisoning the enemy for X nature damage and also reducing healing done to the target by 25% for 15 seconds.

You're only allowed one of each class of poison, so one lethal and one non-lethal poison applied to your weapons at one time. You no longer choose what weapon it applies to, as it's simply a buff and is on both of your weapons, so to speak.

For PvE situations, you'll always want to use Deadly Poison as your lethal poison and Leeching Poison for your non-lethal poison.

For PvP you'll always want to use Wound Poison for the healing reductions and for non-lethal, it will almost always be Crippling Poison.

Specializations, Talents, Glyphs, and a Whole Lot of Changes...

At level 10, you still choose a spec of Assassination, Combat, or Subtlety but instead of going to a 31 point tree before you could branch off into another tree, you're just assigned what Blizzard deemed to be that tree's defining abilities. Talent trees are gone!

At level 15, you unlock the NEW talent tree which is a choice between 3 abilities every 15 levels. You can only choose one for each tree.

At level 25, you unlock the revamped Glyph changes. We only have major and minor glyphs now, removing Prime glyphs from the ysstem. Major Glyphs are all about utility and responding to a situation, while Minor glyphs are just for fun and provide at most a slight improvement in quality of life.

Here's what new abilities we get in MoP:

  • Throw: Hurl a dagger at an enemy target, .5 second cast
  • Swiftblade's Cunning: Increases the melee and ranged attack speed or all party and raid members within 100 yards by 10% (Level 20)
  • Feint: Performs an evasive manuever, reducing damage taken from AOE attacks by 50% for 5 seconds. 20 energy cost, level 44
  • Garrote: Garrote the enemy, silencing them for 3 seconds and causing X damage over 18 seconds. Must be stealthed, awards 1 combo point, 45 energy, and level 46
  • Relentless Strikes: Your finishing moves have a 20% chance per combo point to restore 25 energy, level 54.
  • Fleet Footed: Your movement speed is increased by 15%. This does not stack with most other movement speed increasing effects and no longer increases healing done to the Rogue. level 62
  • Fan of Knives: Sprays knives at everything around, dealing X damage. This has a chance of applying your active poisons at their normal rate. Awards 1 combo point if it strikes your current combo target. 35 energy, level 66.
  • Preparation: Immediately finishes the cooldowns on Sprint, Vanish, Evasion, and Dismantle. Level 68
  • Shadow Walk: Increases Stealth effectiveness for 6 seconds. Level 72
  • Shroud of Concealment: Extend a cloak that wraps party and raid members within 20 yards in shadows, concealing them from sight for up to 15 seconds.
  • Crimson Tempest: Finishing move that consumes combo points on any nearby target to attack all enemies within 8 yards. Causes a Bleed effect that deals 240% of initial damage over 12 seconds. Level 83
  • Shadow Blades: Causes auto attacks to deal Shadow damage and combo point generating abilities to generate an additional combo point for 12 seconds. Level 87.

Assassination (uses two daggers)

  • Assassin's Resolve: Maximum energy increased by 20 and damage increased by 20% when using daggers
  • Mutilate: Primary attack against targets above 35% HP. Awards two combo points
  • Improved Poisons: Increases the application chance of Wound and Deadly Poison by 20%
  • Envenom: Primary finisher.
  • Seal Fate: Landing a crit with a combo point generating attack gives you an additional combo point.
  • Dispatch: Like Backstab; only usable when a target is below 35% HP or when Blindside procs.
  • Venomous Wounds: Each time your Rupture or Garrote deals damage you have a 75% chance to deal X nature damage and regain 10 energy
  • Cut to the Chase: Envenom refreshes Slice and Dice to its five point maximum duration
  • Blindside: When you successfully land a Mutilate, you have a 30% chance to activate Blindside
  • Vendetta: 30% increased damage for 20 seconds on a single target
  • Mastery: Potent Poisons: Increases your poison damage by fixed amount per point of mastery

Rotation: Finisher priority looks like this: Slice and Dice > Rupture > Envenom

Generate Combo points with Mutilate until 4/5, use Dispatch whenever Blindside procs, switch to Dispatch when the boss is below 35% HP

Combat (Uses a slow MH [Sword, Mace, Axe, Fist] with dagger OH)

Here's what ya get for selecting Combat as your specialization and their corresponding levels.

  • Ambidexterity: Increases the damage you deal with your off-hand by 75%. Level 10
  • Blade Flurry: While active, your attacks strike up to 4 additional nearby opponents for 40% of normal damage, but Energy regeneration is reduced by 20%. Lasts until canceled. Level 10 *Note: This is only limited to physical attacks, poisons do not count.
  • Vitality: Increases your Energy regeneration rate by 20% and your Attack Power by 25%. Level 10
  • Revealing Strike: An instant strike that deals 125% weapon damage and exposes the target's vulnerabilities, increasing the effectiveness of your offensive finishing moves on that target by 35%, and giving your Sinister Strikes a 20% chance to generate an extra combo point, for 18 seconds. 40 Energy, Awards 1 Combo Point, and as of the current state it's still not normalized. Level 20
  • Combat Potency: Gives your successful off-hand melee attacks and Main Gauche attacks a chance to generate 15 Energy. Level 30
  • Adrenaline Rush: Increases your Energy regeneration rate by 100% and your melee attack speed by 20% for 15 seconds. Level 40
  • Restless Blades: Your damaging finishing moves reduce the remaining cooldown of your Adrenaline Rush, Killing Spree, Redirect, Shadow Blades, and Sprint abilities by 2 seconds per Combo Point. Level 50
  • Bandit's Guile*: Your training allows you to recognize and take advantage of the natural ebb and flow of combat. Your Sinister Strike and Revealing Strike abilities increase your damage dealt by up to 30%. After reaching this maximum, the effect will fade after seconds and the cycle will begin anew. Level 60 *Note: The old Bandit's Guile dropped if you swapped targets at all. Blizzard has removed that “punishment” and the stacks stay regardless of how many times you switch targets.
  • Killing Spree: Step through the shadows from enemy to enemy within 10 yards, attacking an enemy every .5 seconds with both weapons until 7 assaults are made, and increasing all damage done by 50% for the duration. Can hit the same target multiple times. New patch feature! Killing spree only behaves like this when you have Blade Flurry toggled. Otherwise it will only hit your target. 2 minute cooldown. Level 80
  • Mastery: Main Gauche: Your main-hand attacks have a X% chance to grant you an attack that deals damage equal to 120% of a main-hand attack. Scales with your Mastery rating.
  • New passive ability, Ruthlessness: This passive ability is learned by Combat Rogues at Level 32. The Rogue gains a 20% chance per combo point (100% chance at 5 combo points) to immediately regain 1 combo point while performing a finishing move.

Combat Rotation: keep Revealing Strike up for every Sinister Strike and Eviscerate/Rupture. Refresh SnD with whatever CPs you have when <2 are left. Slice and Dice > Revealing Strike buff > Rupture > Eviscerate

You'll also want to macro Shadow Blades and Adrenaline Rush into the same macro, as they have the same cooldown and have a stupid amount of synergy.

Subtlety (uses two daggers)

Here's what you get for selecting Subtlety as your specialization and their corresponding levels.

  • Hemorrhage: An instant strike that deals 140% Weapon(203% if a dagger is equipped), causing profuse bleeding that deals an additional 50% of the direct strike's damage over 24 seconds. Awards 1 Combo Point, 30 Energy, Replaces Sinister Strike. Level 10
  • Master of Subtlety: Attacks made while stealthed and 6 seconds after breaking stealth cause an additional 10% damage. Level 10
  • Sinister Calling:Increases your total Agility by 30% Level 10
  • Find Weakness: 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 seconds. Level 20
  • Premeditation: When used, adds 2 Combo Points to your target. You must add to or use those combo points within 20 seconds or the Combo Points are lost. 20 Second Cooldown, Requires Stealth. Level 30
  • Backstab: Backstab the target, causing 275% weapon damage plus X(damage scales) to the target. Must be behind the target. Requires a dagger in the main hand. Awards 1 Combo Point. 35 Energy. Level 40
  • Honor Among Thieves: When any player in your party or raid critically hits with a spell or ability, you gain a combo point on your current target. This effect cannot occur more then once every 2 seconds, and can only occur while you are in combat. Level 50
  • Sanguinary Vein: Increases the damage of your Rupture ability by 50% and causes you to deal 20% additional damage to targets afflicted by your Rupture, Garrote, or Crimson Tempest. Level 60
  • Energetic Recovery: While your Slice and Dice ability is active, you regain 8 Energy every 2 seconds. Level 70
  • Mastery: Executioner: Increases the damage done by your finishing moves, and the effectiveness of your Slice and Dice, by X%. Scales with Mastery rating. Level 80
  • Shadow Dance: Enter the Shadow Dance for 8 seconds, allowing the use of abilities that ordinarily require Stealth. The Energy cost of Ambush is reduced by 20 while Shadow Dance is active. 1 minute cooldown. Level 80

Subtlety's rotation is complex, but if you do it right it will outperform Assassination and Combat on many fights.

Cooldown priority: Shadow Dance > Vanish

Combo Point Builder priority: Ambush > Backstab > Hemorrhage

General Finisher priority: Rupture (with Master of Subtlety) > Slice and Dice > Rupture (without Master of Subtlety) > Eviscerate

Talents - All of Subtlety's cool abilities are now talents!

Tier 1 (Level 15) - Modify your Stealth, yo

  • Nightstalker: Increases your movement speed while stealthed by 20%, and the damage your abilities deal while stealthed by 25%.
  • Subterfuge: Your Stealth breaks 3 seconds after dealing or receiving hostile actions, rather than doing so immediately.
  • Shadow Focus: Abilities cost 75% less Energy while you are Stealthed.

As you can notice all 3 of these play a factor in your stealth. Each has their merits, for leveling I'd personally take Nightstalker as the speed increase while being able to skip mobs is hard to beat.

PvE, these have little impact for Combat. Assassination and Subtlety most suggest Shadow Focus for near free Garrote/Ambush

PvP wise again no far and away winner. It'll come down to personal preference now that Shadow Focus only reduces costs by 75% instead of making them free.

Tier 2 (Level 30) - Reduce their damage output!

  • Deadly Throw: Finishing move that reduces the movement speed of the target by 50% for 6 seconds. If performed with 3 combo points, also interrupts spellcasting and prevents any spell in that school from being cast for 6 seconds. Damage scales with Attack Power. 35 Energy.
  • Nerve Strike: A successful Kidney Shot or Cheap Shot also reduces the damage dealt by the target by 50% and healing done by 10% for 6 seconds after the effect fades.
  • Combat Readiness: Enter into a state of heightened awareness, deflecting enemy weapon strikes with increasing effectiveness. Successive attacks will deal 10% less damage per application, stacking 5 times. Lasts for 20 seconds, but if 10 seconds elapse without any incoming weapon strikes, this state will end.

This tree really comes down to personal preference again, with Deadly Throw being the best bet for most PvE situations, as an “extra” kick at the cost of 5 combo points can come in handy if for some reason you're out of position when it's your turn to interrupt a spell cast on a boss.

Tier 3 (Level 45) - Don't die bro!

  • Cheat Death: An attack that would otherwise be fatal will instead reduce you no lower than 10% of your maximum health, and damage taken will be reduced by 80% for 3 seconds. This effect cannot occur more than once per 90 seconds.
  • Leeching Poison: Costs your weapons with a Non-Lethal Poison that lasts for 1 hour. Your melee attacks have a 50% chance to poison the target, and all your subsequent weapon strikes against the poisoned target will heal you for 10% of damage dealt.
  • Elusiveness: Your Feint ability also reduces all damage taken by 30% for 5 seconds.

For leveling the clear and away winner is going to be Leeching Poison, simply for the solid heals that stack with Recuperate and the Shiv effect being 5% of your HP every 10 seconds. This will greatly reduce downtime.

PvE: Elusiveness seems to be the favorite on Elitist Jerks, due to how strong it is on any AoE fight. Leeching Poison the strong second.

PvP: Cheat Death or Leeching Poison are the clear choices. It's most likely going to come down to personal preference here or copying what the top Rogues are doing.

Tier 4 (Level 60) - Where Blizzard gave Rogues some love in 5.4

  • Cloak and Dagger: Your Ambush, Garrote, and Cheap shot abilities can now be used from 30 yards away, and will cause you to appear behind your target.
  • Shadowstep: Step through the shadows and appear behind a target. Movement speed is increased by 70% for 2 seconds afterwards. Note: Can target non-hostile players.
  • Burst of Speed: Increases movement speed by 70% for 4 seconds. If you are afflicted by any movement-impairing effects. Does not break stealth. Does not remove roots.Frost Nova, Entangling Roots, etc.

PvE: Shadowstep should be the clear winner as it will help increase uptime on almost any boss fight with movement.
PvP: 5.2 Made this a whole lot more interesting. Burst of Speed only costs 30 Energy, Cloak and Dagger looks super attractive with Preparation being baseline, and Shadow Step is still super good. It will likely come down to group composition and the like.

Tier 5 (Level 75) - Modify or gain additional control!

  • Prey on the Weak: When you disable an enemy with Kidney Shot, Cheap Shot, Gouge, Sap, or Blind, they suffer 10% increased damage from all sources for the duration of the effect.
  • Paralytic Poison: Coats your weapons with a Non-Lethal Poison that has a 20% chance of poisoning the enemy for 15 seconds. Stacks up to 5 times on a single target, and upon the fifth application, the enemy will be stunned for 4 seconds.
  • Dirty Tricks: Your Gouge and Blind no longer have an Energy cost, and no longer break from damage dealt by your Poison and Bleed effects.

PvE: Whatever one makes you happy.

PvP: I personally don't see Prey on the Weak being that strong in solo situations, and the fact that Gouge, Sap and Blind break on damage makes very little sense that Blizzard included them on the talent. And Paralytic Poison doesn't appear to share stun diminishing returns, and the Shiv effect is a 4 second root, it could be a strong choice.

Tier 6 (Level 90) - One of these is not like the other!

  • Shuriken Toss: A ranged attack that deals X physical damage to an enemy target. If the target is farther than 10 yards away, this damage is doubled and your autoattacks will be replaced with ranged shuriken for up to 10 seconds, granting them a 30 yard range. Shurikens are coated in your Lethal Poison. Awards 1 combo point. 20 Energy. Replaces Throw..
  • Marked for Death: Mark the target, instantly generating 5 combo points on them. If the target dies within 1 minute Marked for Death's cooldown is reset.
  • Anticipation: When one of your attacks generates a combo point on a target that already has 5 combo points, you gain an Anticipation charge, up to a maximum of 5. When you perform an offensive finishing move on an enemy, any Anticipation charges are consumed to grant you an equal number of combo points on that target.

I personally feel Anticipation is the clear and away winner for all 3 specs in a PvE setting. Mutilate will no longer have wasted combo points, Subtlety will most likely never lose a Honor among Thieves proc and with Combat no longer being heavily penalized for switching targets and having so much synergy with Shadow Blades there doesn't seem to be another choice. Unless there's a gimmick fight where all you can do is range attack for a phase. But you still wouldn't be able to use most of your finishers.

PvP: Shuriken Toss is starting to look like the clear favorite as it's a lot of damage even if you can't get at them. Not to mention if you have Deadly Throw you could shut down a caster pretty hard without getting near them. At least in a normal BG. Marked for Death could be super strong pressure switches since it's a quick cooldown and means instant 5 point combo kidney shots. Anticipation falls behind in this setting as you'll rarely have time to build charges.


You get 3 Major and 3 Minor Glyphs, unlocked at level 25 and every 25 levels after that. Ideally the glyphs you pick shouldn't affect your performance that much. But Assassination Rogues will want to glyph Vendetta.

Major Glyphs:

  • Ambush: Increases the range of Ambush by 5 yards.
  • Blade Flurry: Your attacks have a 30% higher chance of applying Non-Lethal poisons while Blade Flurry is active.
  • Blind: Your Blind ability also removes all damage over time effects from the target.
  • Cheap Shot: Increases the duration of your Cheap Shot by 1 second.
  • Cloak of Shadows: While Cloak of Shadows is active, you take 40% less physical damage.
  • Sharpened Knives: Fan of Knives now adds one stack of weakened armor to each target.
  • Deadly Momentum: When you land a killing blow on an opponent that yields experience or honor, your Slice and Dice and Recuperate abilities are refreshed to their original duration.
  • Recovery: Glyph of Recovery increases the healing received by the Rogue while Recuperate is active.
  • Evasion: Increases the duration of Evasion by 5 seconds.
  • Expose Armor: Your Expose Armor ability causes three applications of Weakened Armor.
  • Feint: Increases the duration of Feint by 2 seconds.
  • Garrote: Increases the duration of your Garrote ability's silence effect by 1.5 seconds.
  • Gouge: Your Gouge ability no longer requires that the target be facing you.
  • Kick: Increases the cooldown of your Kick ability by 4 seconds, but this cooldown is reduced by 6 seconds when your Kick successfully interrupts a spell.
  • Recuperate: Increases the healing of your Recuperate ability by an additional 1% of your maximum health.
  • Hemorrhaging Veins: Glyph of Hemorrhaging Veins causes Sanguinary Veins ability to also increase damage done to targets affected by Hemorrhage.
  • Shadow Walk: Your Shadow Walk ability also increases your stealth detection while active.
  • Shiv: Reduces the cooldown of your Shiv ability by 3 seconds.
  • Smoke Bomb: Increases the duration of your Smoke Bomb by 2 seconds.
  • Sprint: Increases the movement speed of your Sprint ability by an additional 30%
  • Stealth: Reduces the cooldown of your Stealth ability by 4 seconds.
  • Vanish: Increases the duration of your Vanish effect by 2 seconds.
  • Vendetta: Reduces the damage bonus of your Vendetta ability by 5% but increases its duration by 10 seconds.

Minor Glyphs:

  • Blurred Speed: Enables you to walk on water while your Sprint ability is active.
  • Decoy: When you Vanish, you leave behind a brief illusion that very closely resembles you.
  • Detection: Teaches you the ability Detection. Focus intently on trying to detect something. If you don't pick this you're not a real rogue
  • Disguise: When you Pick Pocket a humanoid enemy, you also copy their appearance for 5 minutes. Your disguise will unravel upon entering combat.
  • Distract: Increases the range of your Distract ability by 5 yards.
  • Hemorrhage: Your Hemorrhage ability only causes lingering damage over time to targets that were already afflicted by a Bleed effect.
  • Killing Spree: Your Killing Spree returns you to your starting location when the effect ends.
  • Pick Lock: Reduces the cast time of your Pick Lock ability by 100%
  • Pick Pocket: Increases the range of your Pick Pocket ability by 5 yards.
  • Poisons: You apply poisons to your weapons 50% faster.
  • Safe Fall:Increases the distance your Safe Fall ability allows you to tall without taking damage.
  • Tricks of the Trade: Your Tricks of the Trade ability no longer costs Energy, but also no longer increases the damage dealt by the target.
  • Improved Distraction: Distract now summons a cool little springy dude at your distraction point.
  • Headhunter: All thrown weapons are now axes. Unsure if this applies to Shuriken Toss.

Leveling as a Rogue!

Leveling as a Rogue is sluggish and rough going without enchanted heirlooms and stuff. The class sometimes feels like it's designed for enormous stat intake and huge amounts of haste. However, if you do have the 'looms, leveling as a Rogue will make you feel like the biggest badass in town, except for warriors and death knights and paladins and hunters and mages. Leveling that is. Try all three specs, since they basically use the same gear, and decide for yourself which you prefer when leveling.



Check out this website and use it to judge gear. It'll give you pretty detailed stats on what's good for you, and it will help you figure out why.
Remember that you will always be better at the spec you know how to play than the spec that simulates higher dps.


Please note, I'm not going to cover all the things the professions do for your Rogue, just what I feel is relevant from them to a Rogue.

Production Professions

Everytime you use a Flask, you're going to gain the benefit of most likely 320 Agility and an extrahour on your Flask. There's other perks like the Zen Alchemist Stone and having a flask with infinite charges that applies 320 Agility every time you use it, so you don't have to use your raid flasks to get the Agility benefit and it should work in Arena's and Rated Battlegrounds.

Being a blacksmith gives you two extra sockets in your gear. That you can use any color gem in. So it really lets you customize the benefit you get. You want the 320 Agility? 2 Delicate Primordial Rubies? in your sockets and you're good to go!

You find out PvP Power is super strong in PvP? Slam 2 Stormy River's Hearts In your bracers and gloves and you suddenly have 640 extra PvP Power. That's the beauty of Blacksmithing:you're not tied to a primary stat only.

As an Enchanter you get to enchant your rings! You can slap Enchant: Greater Agility and have an extra 320 Agility.

As an Engineer, aside from all your awesome toys and bombs. You get to enchant your gloves every minute to increase Agility by 1920 for 10 seconds. Again this averages out to be 320 Agility. Remember, this tinker stacks with other enchants!

And you can also craft an Epic Helm the Agile Retinal Armor that is a very strong starting helmet for any rogue.

As a Scribe you get a super cheap shoulder enchant Secret Tiger Claw Inscription that's going to provide 320 Agility over the Shoulder Enchant that everyone else is going to use. That you also happen to make now.

As a Jewelcrafter you get to use two of the following: Delicate Serpents Eye, Fractured Serpent's Eye, Quick Serpent's Eye, or Assassin's Serpent's Eye. You can use 2 of each, or some combination of all 3. If you use two of the Agility gems you'll end up with a bonus of 320 Agility. The Mastery or the Haste gems could also be strong, depending on how strong the secondary stats are for us.

PvP wise chose the Assassin's Serpent's Eye, it's by far the best choice.

As a Leatherworker you gain access to two super cheap enchants, one of them everyone gets to use. The “perk” comes in the form of Fur Lining - Agility, which gives you 500 agility. Which for some strange reason is a 330 Agility bonus, as Enchanters can only provide 170 agility to bracers.

Not to mention the 170 Agility recipe, requires Revered with the August Celestials, it could be a bit before that wrist enchant is fairly common.

You also get Leg Enchants for a mere Eternium Thread vs the cost of a Shadowleather Leg Armor

Tailors get to embroider their cloaks with Swordguard Embroidery, which increases Attack Power by 4000 for 15 seconds.

I'm a tailor, but just for the magic carpet.

Gathering Professions:
While gathering can be relaxing, fun, and a way to make money, it's not really optimal to select. If you want to have two while leveling to make money then switch over to a “production” profession that'd be smart. I personally don't, that's what my neglected alts are for.

Lifeblood: - 2880 Haste Rating for 20 seconds on a 2 minute cooldown. The neat part is you can pop it in stealth, right before an opener if so desired. It averages out to roughly 480 Haste, making it pretty strong in PvE terms, but it's never really going to touch one of the ”production” professions.

Master of Anatomy: 480 crit rating isn't that strong for Rogues, as it's roughly 516 EP for combat vs Lifeblood's 784 EP.

Toughness: 480 stamina, not really helpful for Rogues.

If you don't care about min/maxing choose whatever you have fun with.

Depending on how strong PvP Power is, JC/BS would most likely be the strongest combination, as you can get a ton of it from that combination.

PvE on the other hand as long as you have two production professions you should see little difference no matter what, as Agility is still super strong, and the only two professions that can grant secondary stats as a perk are Jewelcrafting and Blacksmithing.

The only exception to this rule appears to be Combat and it's strong favoring of haste.

Personal Advice: Picking up a profession takes a lot of work, so don't pick one you'll regret later.


Remember Helm Enchants were phased out with Mists!

  • Shoulder - Greater Tiger Claw Inscription or Tiger Claw Inscription if you're strapped for cash.
  • Cloak - Enchant Cloak - Accuracy This appears to be the only option, for Rogues, and I don't see 65 Crit beating out 180 hit for any spec, at least according to the EP values.
  • Chest - Enchant Chest - Glorious Stats - Simple, only option here.
  • Bracers -Enchant Bracer - Greater Agility is the only MoP option but it's a bit out of the way for now and spendy. If you're not a leatherworker, Enchant Bracer - Agility is still the strongest Enchant for Rogues.
  • Gloves -Enchant Gloves - Superior Mastery or Enchant Gloves - Greater Haste 170 Mastery or 170 Haste. It's going to depend on the spec you're raiding as. Mastery is going to beat Haste out as Assassination. While Haste is going to beat Mastery as both Combat and Subtlety.
  • Belt - Living Steel Belt Buckle
  • Legs - Shadowleather Leg Armor or Sha-Touched Leg Armor if you're strapped for cash.
  • Boots - Enchant Boots - Run Speed - Run Speed and Agility, easily the best option as 140 Agility is always going to beat 140 Mastery.
  • Weapons - Dancing Steel Should be the go to weapon enchant as it's going to be a huge chunk of agility. Use Windsong until you can afford Dancing Steel and someone unlocks Dancing Steel as it requires Shado-Pan Revered. For PvP use Living Steel Weapon Chain on your Off-Hand weapon only. It provides the benefit to both weapons, and you want the good enchant on your Main Hand as it's going to proc them more. Elemental Force is also an option. But I'm not sure the damage will outweigh the combat ratings of Windsong.

Stat Weights & Reforgin'

What the heck is EP?
EP stands for Equivalence Point, and it mean's how much of a stat does it take to raise your DPS by 1. It's how the stat ratings are calculated. It's why Assassination doesn't care as much about Expertise while Combat, wants to make sure it's capped. Why Assassination loves Mastery, and Combat and Sub loves Haste.

Listing these doesn't seem to make sense for each spec. As they "flux" as your gear improves or you get that one sweet trinket to finally drop. If you use Shadowcraft or any other spreadsheet you'll be able to follow "suggestions" or see what stat your current gear set loves.

Things to note
Assassination still doesn't care about the expertise cap. Which means it's going to make reforging extremely easy for Assassination. Simply because as it won't be optimal to cap Expertise removing the careful balancing act of doing so. Subtlety also will most likely not care about the Expertise cap, since Haste is above Expertise for Sub.

What the hell do I do with these ratings you ask?

Let's assume you're an Assassination Rogue, and you've been running heroics for a bit. And you've gotten lucky enough to come across two sets of daggers. Koegler's Ritual Knife and Mantid Trochanter

So you'll notice that the weapon speed, DPS, damage range, and Agility are all the same. It makes this calculation all about those tasty secondary stats.
Koegler's Ritual Knife has:

  • 201 Hit Rating
  • 290 Mastery Rating

Assuming no reforging and dual wielding them the EP rating for this set would be ([Mastery]580*1.3373)+([White Hit]402*.06658) = ([Mastery]775.643 + [White Hit]26.765) for a total of 802.408 EP

While Mantid Trochanter has:

  • 251 Critical Strike Rating
  • 261 Haste Rating

Assuming no reforging and dual wielding them the EP rating for this set would be ([Crit]502*0.9973)+([Haste]512*1.0777) = ([Crit]500.6446 + [Haste]551.7824) for a total of 1052.427 EP

So just going off EP ratings, the Mantid Trochanter should offer you more DPS. This assumes all the hit from the daggers is going to the white hit. If we start reforging them, it'd look something like this. Again I'm keeping this simple, a spreadsheet is going to give you a lot better results because it'll run all the options for you and make sure you get the most EP possible out of your gear, making sure you get the maximum potential out of your gearing. I'm going to assume we're at Yellow Hit and Expertise cap for this. And as a reminder we get 40% of whatever stat we reforge, but we can't reforge to something already on the piece. So the Mantid Trochanter can't reforge Crit to Haste, but could reforge Crit to Mastery.

The general rule of thumb is take the weakest stat and make it into the strongest stat you can on the item.

Let's start with: Koegler's Ritual Knife:

  • 121 Hit Rating
  • 290 Mastery Rating
  • 80 Haste Rating - Reforged from Hit

Updated stats, still assuming we're dual wielding them, the EP rating for this set would be ([Mastery]580*1.3373)+([White Hit]242*.06658)+([Haste]160*1.0777) = ([Mastery]775.643 + [White Hit]16.11236) +([Haste]172.432) for a total of 964.18736 EP, which is a pretty good gain.

Now the Mantid Trochanter:

  • 151 Critical Strike Rating
  • 261 Haste Rating
  • 100 Mastery - Reforged from Critical Strike

Assuming no reforging and dual wielding them the EP rating for this set would be ([Crit]302*0.9973)+([Haste]512*1.0777)+([Mastery]200*1.3373) = ([Crit]301.1846 + [Haste]551.7824)+([Mastery]267.46)for a total of 1120.427 EP which is an even better gain.

So assuming we're already Yellow Hit Capped and Expertise Capped the Mantid Trochanter is going to be a stronger option for you.

Again this is just a basic example, so you can understand how the magical spreadsheets work, as it's nowhere near perfect.

Hopefully a spreadsheet or the online calculator will be updated soon, and we'll just be able to push a button and have it all magically done! But this will get you done in a pinch, more so if you're willing to sit there and do the math for every single piece every time you reforge something.

Rogue PvP

5.4 has appeared to have made Rogues the Flavor of the Month. Expect to see a lot of rogues in BGs and the like. Preparation going baseline was a huge quality of life improvement. The PvP set bonuses are also huge and while it's only a 1% increase on Recuperate it's back to the percentage everyone was crying foul that it was over powered.

Smoke Bomb is now a defensive cooldown as as well as offensive pressure. The tricks a good rogue will be able to pull with it I'm sure will be quite impressive. I look forward to the new season.

What is my role?
Cataclysm saw the introduction of Rated Battlegrounds alongside Arena in competitive PvP. As you can imagine, you play rather differently in the two!
In Arena rogue-based teams tend to be about playing defensively until they can setup a kill in a control phase. While playing defensively you'll abuse your own abilities and LOS to stay alive, or abuse your abilities topeel and keep your foes off your teammates (for example, by snaring melee so your ranged teammate can kite them). A control phase is when you line up CC and other abilities to create a temporary advantage in which you can burst a target down; for example, you force the healer to burn his trinket, then blind them while your Mage partner polymorphs another person, then you attempt to kill your target.

In Rated BGs you do three primary things.

  1. Spam Fan of Knives and otherwise play as defensively as possible to prevent a flag capture.
  2. Control phase murder someone, similar to how you would in Arena. That someone is usually doing something important like holding a flag.
  3. Ninjaing something important (like a flag) that only one person is guarding.
  4. Smoke Bomb the Flag Carrier *Note: This could be offensive or even defensive now as it also applies a flat 20% damage reduction.

Arenas are going to change a fair bit so comps are going to change. As Season 13 matures I'll list some of the better comps here.

Macroing 101

Macros are a Rogue's friend for many things. For a really in-depth look at macroing, I encourage you to visit WoWWiki's macro page which is kept reasonably up to date. For a basic primer, however, read on.

This is the basic form of a macro.
/cast SPELL

#showtooltip adds the tooltip to the macro. Add the name afterwards (#showtooltip Blind, for example) and it displays that specific spell. If you just leave #showtooltip out, then the tooltip for the macro will be the first spell or item mentioned in the macro. #showtooltip can also react to conditionals just like other parts of the macro; more on conditionals later.

Macros can also use items.
/use Item
Replace “Item” with the name of the item. You can also use by slot. /use 13, for example, would use your first trinket. For you Engineers, /use 8 uses whatever boots you have equipped, so you can simply make a Rocket Boots macro and not have to edit it each time you get new boots.

It should come as no surprise that a macro can also [i]equip an item.
/equip Item
There is also “/equipslot # item” which will (if it can) equip the given item to the specified slot. Note that instead of the item name, you can define a location in your bags Bags are numbered 0-4 from right to left,and numbered like a book (left to right, top to bottom) starting at 0. An example.
/equipslot 17 4 0
This would equip whatever weapon is in the upper left corner of my left-most bag in my offhand slot. Very simple means to swap weapons, which is valuable if you need to use a different poison for certain situations.

You can cast multiple actions with one click in a single macro, assuming they are not on the GCD. An Orc Rogue might do something like this, for example.
/cast Blood Fury
/use 13
/use 14

This casts Blood Fury and uses both his trinkets. Such things work best when they all have identical cooldowns, but it isn't a requirement.

Macros can specify a target for your actions. The basic syntax is as follows.
/cast [@target] SPELL
Of course, “@target” is kind of pointless. Macros default to your current target unless told otherwise. But you could replace @target with @focus and cast your spell on your current Focus. This allows you to cast your spell on your defined target without losing your current target. Here's a practical example, useful for PvP.
/cast [@mouseover] Blind
This macro would cast Blind on your mouseover target. Note that it fails if you don't have a mouseover, but that can be worked around; more on that later. A full list of valid targets can be found here.

In a similar vein, you can use macros to change your target. The most basic method is /target NAME. There are many other options as well, explored in-depth on the WoWWiki macro page in the Targeting sub-section.

It is possible to add all manner of conditionals to macros, as well. Take this macro.
/cast [@focus] Kick
A useful macro indeed, letting us kick our focus without changing targets. But what if we're in a fight which requires us instead to kick our current target? This macro would just break, since we have no focus, so we'd have to put normal kick back on our action bar, right? Wrong.
/cast [@focus, exists] [@target] Kick
Now we have multiple targets, as well as a parameter on one of them. The conditions are evaluated from left to right. If you have a focus, it will cast Kick on it. Otherwise, it will cast on your current target. As a note, a conditional that is simply empty brackets – [] – will make the spell behave normally, so in this case, we could write the macro as “/cast [@focus, exists] [] Kick” and it would work the same way.

As far as I know, you can stack as many conditionals as you care to keep track of. Here's a practical example with several conditional checks.
/cast [help] [target=focus, help, nodead] [target=targettarget, help] Tricks of the Trade

Three conditionals, with some sub-parameters as well. This will first cast on your current target if it's friendly (that is what the “help” parameter means.) If not, it will check for a focus, and ensure that it's both friendly and alive. If a friendly, living focus is present, it will cast on it. Finally, it will fall back to casting on your target's target, if it's friendly; in this situation, that would be your tank.

A full list of conditionals is in the WoWWiki macro page in the Conditionals section (section 14), but there are some useful ones worth mentioning. Also worth mentioning is that many conditionals can be negated by adding “no” to the front. For example, the “nodead” in the above Tricks of the Trade macro checks whether the target is not dead.

Self explanatory, right? Checks for stealth.

An alternative for us to stealth. Stance:1 would check for stealth, while stance:3 would check if Shadow Dance were active.

The first condition detects which modifier key you're holding down, shift, ctrl or alt, while using the macro. "nomod” would detect that you're not holding any of them. The second one detects what button on your mouse you clicked to activate the macro, and can take 1 through 5. Both commands are very useful for one-click multifunction macros, such as the poison macro or extended Tricks of the Trade macro below.

So, some other useful macros.

#showtooltip Cheap Shot
/cast Pick Pocket
/cast Cheap Shot

Literally no reason not to be pick-pocketing the shit out of everything you kill while you level, and this macro lets you pick your target's pocket as you open on them. If you can't pick your target's pockets, it returns an error but still casts. You can use it with your other openers as well, just replace Cheap Shot with the appropriate ability.

/cast [nomod,help] [nomod,target=focus, help, nodead] [nomod,target=targettarget, help] Tricks of the Trade
/cast [mod:ctrl,target=targettarget,help]
/focus [mod:shift,target=target]

Same basic functionality as the first ToTT macro, casts on friendly target if it exists, alive focus target otherwise, and finally target's target if nothing else. However, by holding ctrl while executing this macro, you can force it to cast on your target's target, and by holding shift you can set your focus to your current target.

/cast [swimming,nomounted] Water Mount; [outdoors,nomounted,flyable] Flying Mount
/dismount [mounted]

Picks your swimming mount if you're swimming, flying mount otherwise.

I'd personally recommend using a start attack macro in almost all PvE situations. They'd look like this

#showtooltip Sinister Strike
/cast Sinister Strike

#showtooltip Mutilate
/cast Mutilate

#showtooltip Backstab
/cast Backstab

#showtooltip Fan of Knives
/cast Fan of Knives

This helps ensure you are always auto attack even if you're out of energy after a target switch. It's a huge quality of life improvement. It's not always recommended in PvP situations though because of the potential to accidently auto attack someone out of a Blind, Gouge or Sap.