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#1 2010-12-15 05:11:32

Rogue Class Leader
Registered: 2009-11-29
Posts: 307

Muti rogues pve / setup

This guide is specifically written for raiding Assassination rogues to provide answers to the most common questions regarding how to play the Assassination spec, properly gear and spec yourself, and questions that come up when making a character.

I would like to thank Consider for letting me use his very well written DK guides as a guide to write this guide. I also thank everyone who put in the time and effort testing, calculating, and theorizing to provide the information that is present in this guide. I would also like to thank Aldriana specifically for trudging through this guide for correctness and clarity.

•2Specs and Glyphs
•3Combat and Rotation
•4Stats and Gearing
◦4.1Stat Weights
◦4.2Set Bonuses
•5Reforging, Gemming, and Enchanting
•7Races and Professions
•8Basic Combat Mechanics
•11Thread Change Log


Abbreviation   Meaning 
Agi  Agility
AoE  Area of Effect
AP  Attack Power
CoS  Cloak of Shadows
CR  Combat Readiness
DP  Deadly Poison
EP  Equivalence Point
FoK  Fan of Knives
GCD  Global Cooldown
MH  Main Hand/Main Hand Weapon
MS  Mortal Strike Effect (referring to all 10% reduce healing debuffs)
ICD  Internal Cooldown
IP  Instant Poison
OH  Off Hand/Off Hand Weapon
SnD  Slice and Dice
TotT  Tricks of the Trade
WP  Wound Poison


[top]Specs and Glyphs


31/2/8 or 31/3/7
The above are links to the two recommended specs for an Assassination rogue with one free point to place as you see fit (this is the point in Deadly Brew in the link). Currently 31/3/7 is very slightly behind 31/2/8, in a test set of gear it was 40 DPS behind out of 24000 DPS.

Deadly Brew
This is one of the two highly recommended optional talents to take. While one point in this talent only gives a 50% chance to proc a crippling poison, you will be procing IP often enough that 2 points in this would be unnecessary even if you had 2 points available. Clearly, this talent is only of use where a slow is going to be beneficial (most bosses can not be slowed). Assassination rogues are one of the better sources of a slow since they sacrifice nothing to provide it and can easily provide an AoE slow with FoK and Vile Poisons.

Deadened Nerves
Healer mana is much more tight in Cata then it was in WotLK and taking the least amount of damage possible is a much more important (it’s always been pretty important) making this the other highly recommended talent. While rogues have a number of tricks to avoid/reduce damage (CR, Feint, CoS, etc) reduced damage is saved healer mana and more survivability.

Deadly Momentum
This is another feasible option to take though unlikely to yield as much benefit. During AoE, it could help maintain a SnD since during AoE rogues are generally not generating combo points. However, this is will only happen for 50% of the killing blows you manage to get making this talent a very hit or miss in terms of value.

Improved Expose Armor
Generally, this is not a recommended talent as this particular debuff is easily provided by two tank classes and 50% chance can lead to disruptions in your rotation and DPS.

These 2 points are technically optional points but should almost always be taken over other choices. Increased movement speed will of course be valuable for any movement fight whether you need to move to DPS or to avoid boss mechanics. This also allows you to take a straight DPS enchant on your boots instead of a lesser-DPS movement speed alternative. Again as mentioned earlier, healers are more strained for mana and more often then not this will translate into less casted heals and not more overhealing.

Improved Ambush and Nightstalker
Technically the 2 points in Nightstalker are also your choice though, while it is not completely clear whether opening with Garrote or Mutilate is better (it is probably better to open with Mutilate given it's better combo point generation) Ambush not considered a viable option. This means Improved Ambush is completely useless compared to Nightstalker which will allow you to open from stealth more often then you normally are able to by reducing the movement speed penalty of stealth significantly.


•[Glyph of Mutilate]
•[Glyph of Rupture]
•[Glyph of Backstab]
•[Glyph of Tricks of the Trade]
•[Glyph of Feint]
•[Glyph of Sprint]
•[Glyph of Fan of Knives]
•[Individual's Choice]
•[Individual's Choice]
•[Individual's Choice]

Just to acknowledge [Glyph of Vendetta], this glyph basically adds another 6 seconds to your Vendetta debuff which works out to be 1% more overall sustained DPS. Currently, as long as you are even using the other 3 glyphs aka Mutilating, Backstabbing, and putting Rupture up (which you will be for the majority of encounters) they come out significantly ahead of the Vendetta glyph such that it will almost never be worth swapping per encounter. Other things to keep in mind are that for some encounters you will not have the chance to stick to the same target for 36 seconds (because you need to run away or change to a different target) every 2 minutes (phase changes is the common example), further diminishing the value of the Vendetta glyph.

The Tricks of the Trade glyph is a raid DPS increase regardless if you have another rogue to trade tricks with and it's recommended that you always have this. A glyphed TotT will provide your target with 2% more overall DPS (3% unglyphed at the cost of 30 energy per minute).

The FoK glyph will obviously be useful for most encounters were you will need to AoE.

Feint is a tremendously valuable ability for reducing damage taken from AoE abilities which increases your survivability and saves precious healer mana. For any encounter were you use Feint regularly, it is worth glyphing.

Glyph of Sprint allows you to move at ground mount speed (100%) with sprint up which can be helpful for target swaps were you need to move to get in range and for various boss mechanics. In short, carry [Dust of Disappearance] around and chose your major glyphs per encounter.

None of the minor glyphs directly impact your DPS and can be chosen to your preference.


[top]Combat and Rotation


You will always want to put IP on your MH and DP on your OH. For most fights where you need to use FoK, you will want DP on your throwing (you cannot poison other ranged weapons or use FoK with them). If a slow is needed, consider specing into Deadly Brew (explained above) instead of actually putting Crippling Poison on your weapon. It is very detrimental to an Assassination rogue’s DPS to provide MS with WP and is provided by several specs at no sacrifice (Shadow Priests for example). Remember, Anesthetic Poison no longer exists and is baked into your Shiv.


You will always want to open from stealth such that you use a much of your 20 seconds of Overkill as possible. It is not yet known if it is better to open with Garrote or Mutilate yet (again it probably is better to use Mutilate). Once in combat, your first priority will be to put your first combo points into SnD. Your next priority is to put a 4+ rupture up and then a 4+ Envenom (if find that your initial SnD is going to fall off before you can do your first Envenom either make your SnD bigger or do a smaller first Envenom).

100% to 35% target HP
The priority of finishers is as follows.

SnD > Rupture > Envenom
At this point, you will use Mutilate as your combo point generator and maximize your rupture uptime then maximize your Envenom uptime (without overlapping Envenoms). When possible, you want pool ~90 energy (less with haste) just before using Envenom such that when you mutilate after, you have an increased chance to proc your poisons. Always do 4+ rupture and Envenoms.

35% or less target HP
Once your target reaches 35% HP, you will stop using Mutilate and instead use Backstab to generate combo points. You will still follow the same priority order and maximize your Rupture uptime and then Envenom’s and pool before using Envenom. You will however want to use 5 combo point ruptures and Envenoms.


Of the three rogue specs, Assassination is capable of providing the most AoE damage using FoK. Keep in mind that FoK it self hardly does any damage; it’s the poisons that are easily applied from your throwing and melee weapons (via Vile Poisons) that do all the damage. This means that it does take several FoKs before your DP stacks up to 5 so that you can proc substantial IP damage from your MH and that, most of an Assassination rogues’ AoE damage “bypass” the AoE damage cap. Just to note, it is not yet know how many targets need to be in your vicinity for FoK to be worth using.


Assassination rogues have three DPS cooldowns.

You will want to use Vendetta when it is available and when you have a 30 second window (36 seconds glyphed) to deal uninterrupted damage and if possible when trinket and weapons procs, bloodlust, a potion, and/or Overkill are up. Keep in mind that Vendetta is a debuff that is placed on your target so if used in an AoE situation, you are really only increased your AoE damage on one target.

Cold Blood
Cold Blood is also something you want use as soon as you can match it up with your hardest hitting ability, Envenom. If you use it on Envenom, use it for a 5 combo point one and keep in mind that it generates 25 energy when used so if you are pooling before using Envenom, pool less energy so you do not cap out. Coldblood can also be used with Mutilate or Backstab to generate a guaranteed extra combo point (via Seal Fate). Coldblood is generally not worth using to increase FoK damage since the direct FoK damage is quite insignificant as mentioned earlier.

Vanish / Overkill
Vanish is a DPS cooldown because it allows you to gain Overkill again during an encounter. Similar to Vendetta, you will want to use Vanish when other DPS enhancements are up. Again, it is not known if it is better to use Garrote or Mutilate/Backstab to break stealth.


[top]Stats and Gearing

[top]Stat Weights

Below are the current estimated EP values for stats in heroic T11 gear.

Stat   EP 
Agility  2.6
Yellow Hit Rating  1.75
Spell Hit Rating  1.4
Mastery Rating  1.3
Haste Rating  1.2
Expertise Rating  1.1
Crit Rating  0.9
White Hit Rating  0.75

Agility is by far your strongest stat simply because each point provides 2 AP and some crit and because you get an extra 5% more Agility for wearing leather via the rogue version of Leather Specialization.

  Yellow   Spell   White 
3/3 Precision  241 (2%)  1127 (11%)  2523 (21%)
2/3 Precision  481 (4%)  1332 (13%)  2763 (23%)

The above table gives the amount of hit rating required to reach yellow, spell, and white hit cap for the first tier of bosses. These caps will increase as we progress to higher tiers of content. While Assassination rogues do predominately poison spell damage, given that spell hit's value is close to mastery's and both are well behind Agility, it is conceivable that we won't get to spell hit cap.

  Expertise Cap   
Gnomes  691 (23)
Everyone else  781 (26)

The table above gives the amount of expertise rating required to reach the expertise cap for dodges. When a combo point generating ability (Mutilate, Backstab, etc.) is dodged you are refunded 80% of the cost. When Envenom is dodged, you still get the Envenom buff but depending on how much time you have left on your SnD, your SnD may fall off and have to directly refresh your SnD. These mechanics play a part in expertise's relative poor value and it is likely most rogues will not gear for expertise cap unless they have cycle stability issues. The expertise cap for Gnomes is given because they are the only race that has dagger expertise, playing an Assassination rogues with non-daggers is ineffective.

Mastery is your most valuable secondary stat after poison hit cap and acts on well over 50% of your damage composition (IP, DP, Envenom, and Venomous Wounds) by increasing the bonus you get from Potent Poisons. Baseline Potent Poisons increases your poison damage by 28% and 3.5% for every point of mastery you have (179.28 rating).

Haste in addition to reducing your weapon swing timers, increases the rate at which you regenerate energy (baseline is 10 energy per second).

Crit is a relatively poor stat for Assassination rogues because a large part of our damage is from spell damage that crits with a 150% multiplier instead of the typical 200% for physical attacks.

[top]Set Bonuses

This section is for covering the relative value of set bonuses and to discuss changes in play style if they produce any.

•[T11 2P] Increases the critical strike chance of your Backstab Mutilate, and Sinister Strike abilities by 5%. (300 EP)
•[T11 4P] Each of your melee autoattacks has a 1% chance to activate Deadly Scheme for 15 sec, increasing the critical strike chance on your next Eviscerate or Envenom by 100%. (200 EP)
Just to note, these set bonuses are worth less at 85 then they would be at 80 because of the much larger gap between Agility and all secondary stats at 85. Both of these set bonuses are quite passive in that you will play the same way you would without them. While you generally don’t have to think about it, there is a limited duration on the 4 piece bonus and you will want to get an Envenom off before it expires. An additional note, while the 2 piece T10 bonus is very good, you will not want to sacrifice two pieces of current gear to retain this bonus in the same way we did with T6 during the first tier of WotLK.


A note about dagger choice, it will always be best to have a slow MH (1.8 speed) and a fast OH (1.4 speed). This is because Assassination rogues no longer have Focused Attacks or Dual-Wield Specialization. It may be plausible to use a different set up because of unfortunately drops but the ideal case remains overwhelmingly the same.

Depending on how much work it takes, initially I will provide some gear set ups for heroics, normal raids, and hard-mode raids. Later, I will probably leave it at the current normal and hard-mode raiding tier and delete older ones.


[Normal-Mode Raids]

[Hard-Mode Raids]


[top]Reforging, Gemming, and Enchanting


Reforging is used to reduce a secondary stat by 40% (always round down) and add that amount as another stat that is not already on that piece of gear. This makes it possible to tune your gear to focus on your best stats and avoid "wasting" stats by exceeding caps.

As a general strategy, you'll want to reduce the weakest stat and add more of a better stat that isn't already present on that piece of gear. Using [Wind Dancer's Spaulders] as an example, between crit and haste, crit is the weakest of the two. If you are below the spell hit cap, you will want to add hit and if you are above it, you will want to add mastery rating instead.

Yellow hit cap should be quite easy to reach, the next most valuable and reforgable stat is still hit again but for spell hit cap. You basically want to first go to your pieces of gear that have crit (your least valuable stat) and do no have hit on them and reforge crit into hit. Since spell hit has a cap, you may want to reforge different pieces of gear until you get as close to the cap as possible without going too far over. Once at spell hit cap, you want reforge weaker stats into mastery rating (the next best stat).


Below are some of the gems an Assassination rogue may consider for their gear (some are there for reference and are generally not recommended). The EP values are based on heroic T11 gear.

Red Sockets
Name   Stats   EP 
[Delicate Inferno Ruby]  40 Agility  104
[Precise Inferno Ruby]  40 Expertise Rating  44

Yellow Sockets
Name   Stats   EP 
[Adept Ember Topaz]  20 Agility/20 Mastery Rating  78
[Deft Ember Topaz]  20 Agility/20 Haste Rating  76

Blue Sockets
Name   Stats   EP 
[Glinting Demonseye]  20 Agility/20 Hit Rating  80*
[Glinting Demonseye]  20 Agility/20 Hit Rating  67**
*below spell hit cap
**above spell hit cap

You generally will want to match all of your Agility bonuses ([Adept Ember Topaz] in yellow sockets and [Glinting Demonseye] in blue sockets) and put all [Delicate Inferno Ruby] into sockets for non-Agility bonuses. To be sure, you may want to calculate the EP value yourself. Using [Wind Dancer's Legguards] as an example, there is a yellow and blue socket for a 20 Agility bonus. Putting a [Adept Ember Topaz] and [Glinting Demonseye] in gives a total of 20+20+20=60 Agility, 20 Mastery Rating, and 20 Hit Rating. Below the spell hit cap, the total EP value is calculated as follows.

Matching Sockets
60(2.6) + 20(1.3) + 20(1.4) = 210 EP

What if we decided to put in two [Delicate Inferno Ruby] instead? This gives a total of 40+40=80 Agility (no socket bonus).

Straight Agility
80(2.61) = 208 EP

So in this case below spell hit cap, it is better to match the sockets. If we recalculate for a situation where you are above the spell hit cap, matching the socket bonuses would only give 197 EP, less then just putting all [Delicate Inferno Ruby] in. Again, you may want to just check to be sure.


Once the old requirements for [Chaotic Shadowspirit Diamond] and [Relentless Earthsiege Diamond] are fixed, these will be the only two viable meta-gems to use. [Relentless Earthsiege Diamond] will be the better of the two as long as you already have a yellow gem in your gear (not just putting in your gear to activate the meta when a different gem is better). If you don't already have a yellow gem in your gear, use [Chaotic Shadowspirit Diamond] instead.


Slot   Enchant   Comments 
Head  60 Agi/35 Haste  [Arcanum of the Ramkahen] (Revered with Ramkahen)
Cape  65 Crit  [Enchant Cloak - Greater Critical Strike] (Enchanting) With the current estimated EP values this crit enchant comes out just a hair better then [Scroll of Enchant Cloak - Major Agility] and which is better is likely to change as the EP estimates change.
Shoulder  50 Agility/25 Mastery  [Greater Inscription of Shattered Crystal] (Exalted with Therazane)
Chest  20 Stats  [Enchant Chest - Peerless Stats] (From Enchanting)
Bracers  65 Haste  [Enchant Bracer - Greater Speed] (From Enchanting)
Gloves  65 Mastery  [Enchant Gloves - Greater Mastery] (From Enchanting)
Legs  190 AP / 55 Crit  [Dragonscale Leg Armor] (From Leatherworking)
Feet  35 Agility  [Enchant Boots - Major Agility] (From Enchanting) You will not need a run speed enchant since you’ll be speced into Quickening.
Belt  Extra Socket  [Ebonsteel Belt Buckle] (From Blacksmithing), put a [Delicate Inferno Ruby] in 
MH  1000 AP proc  [Formula: Enchant Weapon - Landslide] (From Enchanting)
OH  1000 AP proc  [Formula: Enchant Weapon - Landslide] (From Enchanting)



These are generally the consumables you will use in a raid.

Flask: [Flask of the Winds]
Potion: [Potion of the Tol'vir]
Food: [Skewered Eel] / [Fortune Cookie] / [Seafood Magnifique Feast]
The new feast now give you exactly the same benefit Agility food does (90 Agility) instead of general AP so, you can enjoy someone else’s hard work now.

One note about Potion of Tol’vir (and most current potions) is that they last 25 seconds instead of 15 seconds. You will want to consider if you have a 25 second window to DPS to use the full duration of the buff in addition to stacking it with procs and other various DPS enhancements.

For those that are not familiar, prepotting is using a potion just before you enter combat such that you are able to use two for an encounter. Keep in mind that you want to do this as close to when you enter combat as possible not only to maximize the buff of your first potion but also because potting takes you out of stealth and starts your overkill timer.


[top]Races and Professions



The newest race to the alliance also has the strongest racial bonus for Alliance Assassination rogues. Visciousness gives 1% crit (161.35 EP) which is overall the weakest stat for Assassination but still is more EP than 3 expertise (99.09 EP) from Gnomes and the zero direct benefits of other races. Given that rogues are a melee class, Darkflight (40% speed sprint every 3 minutes) provides some utility though; rogues already come with a 70% (100% glyphed) speed boost every 1 minute.

Gnomes have stepped up to be a decent Alliance race for Assassination rogues. Shortblade Specialization gives you 3 expertise (99.09 EP) for using daggers which isn't exactly stellar since expertise has a relatively low value. However, daggers are the only weapon you will ever use as an Assassination rogue so you will always have the benefit of the racial. Gnomes also have Escape Artist which will remove any snares and/or roots every 1.75 minutes which can be useful for encounters involving those types of debuffs.

Night Elf
Apart from having the highest base Agility, night elves do not have much going for them in the way of racials for an Assassination rogue. Shadowmeld will drop you off the threat table until you break stealth however, between TotT, Vanish, and even Feint, threat is very unlikely to be an issue. Quickness will of course give you some survivability though most of the time, nothing life threatening should be swinging at you.

Human racials have no direct impact on an Assassination rogue’s DPS. Every Man for Himself is a 3 min PvP trinket and it is conceivable that for certain boss encounters it will allow you to dish out more damage or trivialize a boss mechanic.

Dwarven racials, similar to humans have no direct impact on an Assassiantion rogue’s DPS. Stoneform removes poison, disease, and/or bleeds and boosts armor every two minutes which won't do more then increase your survivability trivialize some boss mechanics.


Currently the strongest profession for an Assassination rogue, leatherworking replaces the 65 haste to bracers enchant with Draconic Embossment - Agility. The strength of this enchant is mostly because base stats (Agility) are much stronger then secondary stats (haste, crit, hit, mastery, etc).

Tailors are able to enchant their cloaks with Swordguard Embroidery which works similar to a typical trinket in that it procs a 15 second long buff (1000 AP) that has an unconfirmed 45 second ICD (50 second effective ICD considering its unconfirmed proc chance). Overall, this gives an average of 300 AP. This however does not stack with a typical cloak enchant (65 crit in our case) and comes out closer to 240 AP which is about the value of 92 Agility.

Allows you to replace three [Delicate Inferno Ruby] with three [Delicate Chimera's Eye] which nets you 81 Agility, 1 more Agility then the rest of the craft professions.

Blacksmithing gains you two additional sockets (Socket Bracers and Socket Gloves) which you should put [Delicate Inferno Ruby] in for 80 more Agility, right on par with the rest of the craft professions.

Alchemists have a passive Mixology buff which will increase the effect of [Flask of the Winds] by 80 Agility. Additionally, the buff will double the duration of flasks potentially saving you a good deal of gold. For content where you do not flask, alchemists are able to create a [Flask of Enhancement] which gives you 80 Agility and has an unlimited number of uses.

Enchanters are able to enchant their rings which are normally not enchanted with Enchant Ring – Agility which gives a total of 80 Agility.

Scribes are able to put Swiftsteel Inscription on their shoulders which is exactly 80 more Agility than [Greater Inscription of Shattered Crystal]. This also makes raising your reputation with Therazane to exalted not necessary but ultimately Scribes are on par with most craft professions.

Does not have much in the way of a direct DPS boost for rogues with the exception of [High-Powered Bolt Gun] which fires bolts similar to bombs every 2 minutes at a targeted area. If this does not share a cooldown with bombs, engineers can also throw a [Saronite Bomb] every minute for a very small amount of damage. Engineers are able to enchant their gloves with Tazik Shocker which does some nature damage every 2 minutes to a target, this does not overwrite your standard glove enchant. It is possible that the Hyperspeed Accelerators may be better to place on your gloves instead of the shocker. Engineers are also able choose a utility enchant for their belt, the two that stand out are Nitro Boosts which gives you increased movement speed every 3 minutes and Ground Plasma Shield, which absorbs a respectable amount of damage every 5 minutes. Nitro Boosts have a reasonable chance to fail in a raid now; this should be considered for critical boss mechanics. Engineers are also able to make [Agile Bio-Optic Killshades] and place two cogwheel gems into them which puts the helm on par itemization-wise with any ilvl 359 helm and makes it obsolete when heroic gear becomes available us.

Herbalists have Lifeblood which in addition to a heal over time, will grant you 480 haste rating (increased attack speed and energy regen) which is about 80 haste rating on average. This is clearly the best gathering profession for Assassination rogues.

Skinners gain Master of Anatomy which gives a passive 80 crit rating, again crit is the weakest stat for Assassination rogues making skinning a very weak profession.

Miners have 120 stamina from Toughness which provides no DPS gain other then additional survivability.


[top]Basic Combat Mechanics

•Partial resists no longer occur against bosses.
•Glancing blows happen when white attacking equal or higher level NPCs and deal 25% reduced damage. For bosses this has a 24% chance to happen for all of your white attacks.
•When attacking a NPC target from behind you cannot be parried but can still be dodged.
•All melee classes suffer a 4.8% crit suppression vs bosses when using melee attacks.
•All spell attacks have a 2.1% crit suppression vs bosses.



You will want to macro /startattack to the melee abilities you use most which will ensure you are autoattacking your target even if you do not have the energy to perform an ability that would normally start your autoattack. A couple of examples.

/cast Mutilate

/cast Backstab

Almost all rogues find it easier to use a TotT macro instead of targeting someone to use it such that you can keep attacking your target.

/cast [@focus] Tricks of the Trade
This lets you hit your focus target with TotT.

/cast [@targettarget] Tricks of the Trade
This lets you hit your target's target with TotT (hopefully a tank, though bosses often target other players for their abilities).

/cast [@<player's name>] Tricks of the Trade
This will let you hit a specific player with TotT.

/cast [@mouseover,help,nodead][@target,help,nodead][@focus,help,nodead][@targettarget,help,nodead]Tricks of the Trade
This macro will let you TotT your mouseover, your target (if friendly) if you do not have a mouseover, your focus if you do not have either, and your target's target if you do not have any of the former.

FoK requires a throwing weapon to be equipped however rogues are still able to use other ranged weapons and may have a ranged weapon that is better for single target DPS then their throwing weapon. In this case, it may be convenient to make a macro to swap weapons depending on if you need to AoE or deal single-target DPS. Just as a warning, these macros invoke a GCD and can cause you to cap out and they reset your swing timer (delayed/lost auto attacks). FYI, you can Shift + Right Click on items in your bag to automatically enter the name of your weapon when making these macros.

#showtooltip Fan of Knives
/equip <name of your throwing weapon>
/cast Fan of Knives

#showtooltip Mutilate
/equip <name of your better ranged weapon>
/cast Mutilate

Regards JR    pitacy from EJ.



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