The few, the proud, the Subtlety Rogue PvE players. You’ll be glad to hear that after our rocky ride through Cataclysm, Subtlety is looking to come into WoW Patch 5.3 very strong – and we’re getting a (small) buff! So, whether you’re a stubborn old-school Sub player or you’ve decided to try respeccing, here’s a guide to getting up to speed fast with your ability rotation, talents, glyphs, stat priorities, reforging and gems, so you can go out there and stab things. Subtly.
Updated 22nd May 2013 to World of Warcraft Patch 5.3
Subtlety Rogue changes in Patch 5.3
We’ve had a DPS buff.
Subtlety “Rotation” and Priorities
Sadly, we’re the only Rogue spec that still needs to be behind its target.
Open from Stealth. Use Premeditation, then Ambush, then get Rupture running. Then Ambush again if you’re using the Tier 1 talent Subterfuge, or Backstab otherwise, and get Slice and Dice running. From there:
- If Rupture is down and you have combo points, use Rupture. If Slice and Dice is about to go down and you have combo points – use Slice And Dice.
- If you have 5 combo points and Slice and Dice or Rupture is not about to go down, use Eviscerate.
- If none of the above apply, Hemorrhage if the Hemorrhage debuff is about to or has gone down, use Backstab if at all possible otherwise, and Hemorrhage if not.
There are more complexities than this, but this will get you going and doing decent DPS. Also – remember, you have Kick (interrupt) and Feint (AOE protection). Do use these! A dead rogue can’t do DPS.
It’s not certain how many enemies there need to be for this to be preferable to single-target rotations, but the number is quite large. 5 or more should be a decent rule of thumb. Spam Fan of Knives up to 5 Combo Points, then use Crimson Tempest. Repeat.
- Shadow Dance Use whenever possible, and spam Ambush through it.
- Shadow Blades Use as often as possible.
- Vanish and Premeditation: A reasonably powerful DPS cooldown combo. Use Vanish, then Premeditation, then as many Ambushes as possible for a DPS and combo point boost. Start on 0 combo points, but otherwise use as often as possible.
- 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.
- Preparation – Resets cooldown on a bunch of your abilities – notably Vanish and Sprint. Use whenever you’ve got Vanish on CD, most of the time, to get another Vanish.
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.
Subtlety Rogue Talent Choices
Tier 1 and 4 are basically locked in for Sub rogues. Feel free to experiment with the other tiers for your personal preference. Here’s a good general build:
- Tier 1: Subterfuge
- Tier 2: Subtlety Readiness – gives you another powerful defensive cooldown.
- Tier 3: Cheat Death
- Tier 4: Shadowstep – get behind your foe quicker!
- Tier 5: Dirty Tricks
- Tier 6: Anticipation
Stats, reforging and gemming for Subtlety Rogue
Other than getting to Hit and Expertise caps (and not above them) your stat weights are not hugely different, so it’s not too vital to get Reforging perfect. Priorities: Agility > Expertise and Hit to the caps (7.5% / 2550 rating) > Mastery > Haste > Critical Strike
Reforging: Reforge for Expertise and Hit to the caps, then Mastery after that. Reforge from excess Hit and Expertise first, then Crit, then Haste.
Gems: Delicate (Agility) gems in red sockets and other gem sockets with a less than 10 Agi bonus. Adept (Mastery/Agi) in yellow sockets and Glinting (Hit/Agi) in blue sockets otherwise.
Meta Gem: Agile meta gem.
Glyph of Ambush is very helpful, but the rest are pretty much utility glyphs, so use whichever you prefer. Here’s a good standard setup:
Major: Glyph of Ambush, Glyph of Feint, Glyph of Cloak of Shadows
Minor: Several fun Minor Glyphs (I like Blurred Speed) but no must-haves.
Subtlety Rogue enchants and item enhancements
You should almost always use a profession enhancement item if it provides appropriate stats instead of a general enchant.
- 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
A few guides for more detail:
- Hail on the official WoW forums writes the definitive Subtlety guide
- PvE Rogues has a guide to Rogue glyphs
- Finally, as a WoW player, you should really check out the latest and greatest from the blogosphere on World of Warcraft, here at the Melting Pot.
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