WoW Patch 5.4 Combat Rogue Quick-Start – Rotation, Glyphs, Build, Stat Priority, more

Stab, slice, slice stab – what? Patch [patchnumber]? Yep, Combat Rogues haven’t changed massively in Pandaria and WoW Patch [patchnumber] – but if you want to get up to speed, or you’re going Combat for the first time, here’s our quick-start guide, getting you going fast with new talents, glyphs, stat priorities, reforging, gemming, and ability rotations in MoP, so you can get right to slicing things up again.

Updated [guideupdated] to World of Warcraft Patch [patchnumber]

Combat Rogue changes in Patch [patchnumber]

No huge changes.

Combat “Rotation” and Priorities

Single-target DPS

Open from Stealth. Use Ambush and immediately start Slice and Dice. From there:

From here:

  • If you don’t have any combo points: Use Sinister Strike unless your Bandit’s Guile buff is about to run out or isn’t up, in which case use Revealing Strike.
  • If you have 1, 2 or 3 combo points: In priority order: if Slice and Dice is about to run out, use Slice and Dice. If Rupture is about to run out or has run out, use Rupture. Otherwise, use Sinister or Revealing Strike as above.
  • If you have 4 or 5 combo points: In priority order: if Slice and Dice is about to run out, use Slice and Dice. If Rupture is about to run out, use Rupture. Otherwise, use Eviscerate.

Also – remember, you have Kick (interrupt) and Feint (AOE protection). Do use these! A dead rogue can’t do DPS.


If you’re fighting 3-5 opponents, use Blade Flurry, then run your normal rotation. Skip Rupture in this case.

If you have 6 or more enemies nearby, spam Fan of Knives up to 5 Combo Points, then use Crimson Tempest. Repeat.


  • Adrenaline Rush Use this as often as possible.
  • Shadow Blades Use as often as possible.
  • Killing Spree Use this as often as possible, but wait until you’re on low Energy. Also, don’t use it if there are things nearby you shouldn’t hit!
  • Vanish Still a DPS cooldown, albeit a minor one. Use on cooldown followed by Ambush unless you expect to need it for survival.
  • Cloak of Shadows Powerful magic damage reduction cooldown – particularly useful for getting rid of dangerous effects. Now works 100% of the time!
  • Dismantle – Don’t forget about it! Any time a monster or boss can be disarmed, this is very powerful.
  • Tricks of the Trade – Boosts damage and transfers threat. Use it on the tank at the pull, and whenever it’s available.
  • Redirect – Remember to use this to transfer Combo Points to a fresh target in multi-target fights.

You can also “Tricks Swap” with another rogue to boost both your DPS – but don’t do that without discussing it with your tank and raid leader first.


Use Deadly Poison on your weapons and the Non-Lethal poison of your choice, as appropriate to the encounter.

combat Rogue Talent Choices

As a PvE player, you’ll find a lot of Rogue talent choices a bit underwhelming. However, here is a good basic build. Once you’ve used it for a bit, try experimenting to find your own preferences!

  • Tier 1: Shadow Focus
  • Tier 2: Combat Readiness – gives you another powerful defensive cooldown.
  • Tier 3: Cheat Death
  • Tier 4: Shadowstep – great mobility spell with a very short cooldown.
  • Tier 5: Paralytic Poison.
  • Tier 6: Anticipation

Consider Elusiveness (Tier 3) if you’re using a lot of Feints.

Stats, reforging and gemming for combat Rogue

Not many changes here. Make sure you’re capped appropriately.

Priorities: Agility > Expertise and Hit to the caps (7.5% / 2550 rating) > Haste > Mastery > Critical Strike

Reforging: Reforge for Expertise and Hit to the caps, then reforge to Haste. Reforge from excess Hit and Expertise first, then Crit, then Mastery.

Gems: Delicate (Agility) gems in red sockets. Deft (Haste/Agi) in yellow sockets and Glinting (Hit/Agi) in blue sockets otherwise.

Meta Gem: Agile meta gem.

Combat Glyphs

Glyph of Adrenaline Rush is a must – the rest are pretty much user’s choice. Here’s a good general setup:

Major: Glyph of Redirect, Glyph of Feint, Glyph of Cloak of Shadows

Minor: Glyph of Poisons and Glyph of Blurred Speed are both fun, but there’s no huge advantage to any Minor Glyph. Glyph of Expose Armour is useful if you need to maintain this debuff.

Combat Rogue enchants and item enhancements

You should almost always use a profession enhancement item if it provides appropriate stats instead of a general enchant. You should also probably not buy anything until Mists! But in case you want to anyway:

  • Shoulder – Greater Tiger Claw Inscription
  • Cloak – Accuracy or Superior Critical Strike, depending on if you’re at hit cap.
  • Chest – Glorious Stats
  • Wrist – Greater Agility
  • Hands – Superior Expertise
  • Belt – Living Steel Belt Buckle
  • Legs – Shadowleather Leg Armor
  • Feet – Blurred Speed
  • Weapon – Enchant Weapon – Dancing Steel

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