Cloaked's Poison Guide! STARFISH HEAAAAAT!

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Finally, the time has come to unleash the invisible power of the Starfish Heat! Ready? STARFISH HEAT!

This guide deals with poisons and poison-related things, it is NOT a total assassination resource. For that, go here:

To find out how much your stats are worth/what gear is best/whose grandma makes the best cookies, go here:

The rogue formally known as the rogue formally known as Cloaked is now Ekidna of Terrokar! WHOAAAAAA HOLD THE PHONE, now it's Hebisa of Hydraxis! BUT NOW IT'S CLOAKED AGAIN. PROBREM?

Sup guys! n_n This is a quick reference to either inform or affirm us rogues of what poisons do, how they work and when they should be used. Any tips are more than welcome! desu desu

*This guide is mostly PvE-related, as PvP is very fickle and not nearly as uniform.


1. FAQ

2. Poison List with explanations

3. Talents that affect poisons

4. Envenom

5. Mastery

6. Poison usage

7. Resources

8. Credits



12/12/10 - Quick fixes like combat's poison choices and mutilate's dagger choices.

11/23/10 – FINALLY updated, for 4.0.3a.


- Poison ranks completely removed

- Wound poison healing reduction cut to a mere 10%

- New talents and mastery added1). FAQ

Q: What are poisons?

A: Poisons are temporary weapon imbuements available only to rogues (and hunters via snake trap), similar to those of shamans (i.e. windfury weapon, flametongue weapon) that are used for a variety of things from dealing damage to dispelling. All poisons that deal damage deal nature damage, which is considered magic damage, but scales with your attack power. When your weapon hits an enemy, through either white attacks or specials, the poison has a chance to apply itself. These "chances" are either chance on hit or PPM (procs per minute). Q: PPM? What's that?

A: I'm glad you asked! PPM is mechanic that presets the amount something is applied or procs, poisons in this case, based off of the weapon speed only, being set before haste calculations. This applies to auto attacks only; the speed of your weapon determines the chance of the PPM-based poison to apply on instant attacks as well. Instant attacks, however, are not included in the PPM count, but are based off of the PPM chance, which is why slow weapons are preferable with PPM poisons. The opposite, chance on hit, has a chance to apply each time you strike an enemy. Valtieri explains it better than Cloaked can:


Q u o t e:

To further explain: Instant and Wound poisons operate on a Proc Per Minute (PPM) rather than a static % to proc, so it is worthwhile to understand how the PPM system works. Here's a really oversimplified example: Lets say that Wound poison is set at 5 PPMs. This means that, over a 1 minute interval, using ONLY auto-attack swings, Wound would theoretically proc 5 times. With a weapon speed of 2.0, you would have 30 weapon swings over 1 minute. So, Wound poison would have a 16.66% chance (or, 5 procs out of 30 swings, 5/30) to proc. With a 1.0 speed weapon, you would have 60 auto-attacks over a 1 minute period. To keep Wound down to 5 PPM, the chance of application per swing would be lowered to 8.33% (or, 5 procs out of 60 swings, 5/60). Now, this ONLY takes into account auto attacks. Realistically, rogues are constantly using instant attacks. Lets say you do 10 sinister strikes, in addition to your 30 auto-attacks with a 2.0 weapon. Now, we're up to 40 strikes over a 1 minute period. HOWEVER... because of PPM, every attack retains a 16.66% chance to proc poisons, because PPM "chance percentage" is based solely on auto-attack speed. This is why, on a PPM system, slower weapons will generate more poison procs... they have an inherently higher base proc chance due to their slower speed.

________________________________________Q: What's mastery? Is mastery good? Should I reforge to mastery? I want to be a Pokémon master!

A: All of this is explained in the mastery section, except how to catch Deoxys. Godspeed.

Q: What is Starfish Heat?

A: Prepare yourselves, for I, the great Cloaked, have hidden adorable little starfish carvings all over the thread. Now now, I made more than enough for everyone so there's no need to panic just yet; however, the truly-devoted starfish collectors had better be prepared to search hard! The starfish carvings with my autograph are especially well-hidden.

Q: Can I mix & match poisons?

A: Absolutely! This is usually most efficient; in fact, deadly poison compliments the poison on the other hand. More details at 11.

Q: What types of poisons are there?

A: This is a question deserving of a list.
2. Poison List with explanations

! Poison ranks no longer exist. All poisons are a single rank.
! Anesthetic poison no longer exists.

Instant Poison
Available at level 10.
The first and hardest-hitting poison. Instant poison is a PPM-based poison that has a chance to inflict damage, with no additional effect. Assassination's main poison, especially when coupled with deadly.

Crippling Poison
Available at level 20.
Has a 50% chance on hit to slow the enemy by 70%. Deals no damage at all. Extremely useful in PvP, but often unused due to speccing into deadly brew, a 7th-tier assassination talent that has a 50/100% chance to apply crippling poison when instant, wound, or mind-numbing poisons are applied.
One of the perks of this is that it constantly applies itself, even if it is dispelled. The only real counters are things that immunize the enemy to movement-impairing effects such as hand of freedom and master's call. Even so, those are only temporary, and the poison applies itself constantly.

Mind-numbing Poison
Available at level 24.
Has a 50% chance on hit to increase the enemy's casting time (not casting speed) by 30%. Deals no damage at all. Useful in PvP. Basically, they take 30% more time to cast spells. Useless against enemies that do not cast.

Deadly Poison
Available at level 30.
Has a 30% (increased by assassination spec to up to 50%) to apply a DoT effect (unaffected by haste, but affected by your spell crit) to the target that deals nature damage to the target over 12 seconds. This stacks up to 5 times. !!! Once 5 stacks are reached, additional applications of deadly poisons will cause the poison on the other hand to apply. !!! What this means is that once you have 5 stacks of deadly poison on the target, when it applies again, the stacks will reset and the poison on the other hand will trigger, which isn't counted in PPM if the other poison is PPM-based. At this point, it is basically like a weapon-switching macro (if anyone remembers those, if you don't know what they are, don't worry about it).

Wound Poison
Available at level 32.
A PPM-based poison with a chance to deal nature damage to a target (less than instant poison) and reduce healing done to them by 25%.
3. Effects on poison through talent trees

Most talents that deal with poison are in the assassination tree, as poison and daggers are its main focus.

Improved poisons (passive assassination tree bonus)

- Increases the chance to apply deadly poison by 20% (to 50% total) and the frequency of applying instant poison by 50% (

Vile Poisons (3 points)

-Tier 3 of the assassination tree.

Increases damage done by your poisons by 7/14/20%, and gives your Fan of Knives 100% of the normal chance chance to apply the poisons on your melee weapons in addition to your ranged. Very very good.

Deadly Brew (2 points)

-Tier 3 of the assassination tree.

Explained above, it applies crippling poison for free when instant, wound or mind-numbing poisons are applied. There is 1 filler point in the assassination tree we need to reach Vendetta, and most people put 1 in here. Up to you.

Master Poisoner (1 point)

-Tier 5 of the assassination tree.

A talent that increases the spell damage taken by targets you have poisoned by 8% (this increases caster damage as well as your poison damage), causes your envenom to no longer consume your deadly poison stacks and reduces the effect of all poison effects on you by 50%. Vry nise.

Venemous Wounds (2 points)

-Tier 6 of the assassination tree.

A new and much-welcome talent that appeared in 4.0.1, venemous wounds is more of a bleed talent than a poison one, BUT it is awesome. Each time your rupture/garrote deal damage to an enemy you have poisoned, you have a 30/60% chance to deal additional nature damage (increased by your attack power) to the enemy and regain 10 energy. In addition, if the enemy dies while affected by your rupture, you will gain energy proportional to the remaining duration of it. This puts rupture back in the game for mutilate rogues, and also gives us a solid opener; there is no longer a reason to use anything but garrote when coming out of stealth.

Precision (3 points)

-Tier 1 of the combat tree

This talent increases your hit chance (special, poison AND white hit) by 2/4/6%. The poison hit cap is 17%, so this will certainly be valueable. At least 2 points go in here, but I prefer 3. The point floating between these two is used for this talent or relentless strikes.

Savage Combat (2 points)

-Tier 5 of the combat tree.

Increases their total attack power by 2/4% and all physical damage (from every source) against poisoned targets. Not concurrent with the arms warrior's blood frenzy. Since arms warriors are quite rare in raids, combat rogues usually provide this crucial buff.

4. Envenom

Trainable at level 62 and maxed at rank for at level 80, this is a powerful finishing move that completely ignores armor, dealing nature damage based off of attack power, the number of combo points and the number of deadly poison applications currently on the targets. Untalented, it removes all deadly poison upon use; since combat does not spec into master poisoner, they do not use envenom. After it is used, you will receive a temporary buff based on the number of combo points that went into it, up to 6 seconds total. This buff increases the chance to apply deadly poison by 15% and the frequency of applying instant poison by 75%, concurrent with any talents, resulting in a massive barrage of poison as long as the buff is active. This is the main reason why haste became so valuable for assassination rogues recently.

But that's not all there is to envenom: the idea as far as PvE is not only to deal a massive amount of damage on its use, but through the buff it gives. Maximizing the uptime of the buff is one of the keys to good assassination DPS (i.e. not clipping it unless you are about to max out on energy). Envenom should only be used with 4 or 5 combo points, with the exception of slice n dice being about to fall off.

If you have the legendary daggers and you get the buff (finishing moves give 5 combo points), you DO want to clip envenom. You absolutely want to spam envenom during this period (and reapply rupture should it fall off) because, well, it's free.
5). Mastery

Mastery, a new stat in 4.0.1, is has a different effect for every spec in the game, thus it is better for some of us than others. Mastery for mutilate rogues increases our poison damage by 3.5% per 1 point of mastery (NOT mastery rating). Mastery DOES work in fractions, so every single point of mastery rating increases your poison damage a lil' bit. Mastery for assassination rogues has no "cap" (because poison damage can increase infinitely, opposed to a combat rogue's main gauche, because anything over a 100% chance is wasted), so you should probably be stacking it to the sky after you're near the poison hit cap.

Cataclysm gear will have mastery as a stat sometimes (mixed in with hit, expertise, haste, and crit), so it'll be available through more than reforging. OH! Speaking of reforging...


Currently, the stat weighings for mutilate rogues are:

Agility > Special hit (8% melee) > Poison hit (17% SPELL hit rating*) > Mastery > Haste > Expertise > Crit > White hit

This is generally true for all assassination rogues; however, if you'd like more accurate weighings, go here: it's EASY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

* Spell hit rating is viewed under your spell stats. It should also be noted that these are exclusive to raiding; for heroics, you only need 6% hit to cap specials and poisons.

Credit goes to Aldriana. <3

That's right, crit is pretty bad now. Generally, after you're spell hit-capped (this will take a LONG time), you'll want to reforge crit and expertise to mastery. You can reforge white hit (hit that brings you over 17% spell), but it isn't much worse than crit unless you're hard-capped, then definitely reforge some hit.

6). Poison Usage

Instant Poison: used on the slower weapon (preferably mainhand) for all 3 specs.

Mind-numbing poison: rarely in PvE combat. Use it if you need to slow casting.

Crippling poison: rarely in PvE combat, through the use of deadly brew if ever.

Wound poison: Combat and subtlety should use double wound for leveling as soon as it's available. With the speed mobs die at, it provides the highest damage output. Despite that improved poisons is no longer available for combat, the preferred poison choice is still instant/deadly. Wound will provide good damage, though.

Subtlety may go double wound if deadly poison will fall off several times during a fight.

Deadly poison: used on the faster weapon (preferably offhand) of all 3 specs.

Hmm... I think that's everything. That being said:


8. Credits


Key - created Clannad and thus Starfish Heat

Valtieri of Burning Blade for the tips on the PPM mechanic!

Aldriana - stat weighings pickpocketed from his thread in the rogue forum on EJ.

Verelyse - for making a REAL mutilate guide that people can go to instead of asking me all this complicated stuff >_>

The guy/girl who made Shadowcraft ('cause I know I didn't LOL)
Good guide thank you for it, looks like ill be reforging some of my crit later tonite :P
Nice guide, thumbs up for taking the time to do this.
I think Envenom damage increase was taken out of Vile Poisons and is currently residing in Coup de Grace. Also, you mention keeping Rupture up fir HfB, an editorial oversight.

Otherwise, nice summary!
Thank you guys for the compliments!

Also, Sneegy, you're right; thank you for pointing that out! One of probably a few things I missed updating.
=( Looks like nothing at all is getting stickied.
Nerfed from 25% which was nerfed from 10%. QQ.

Should be Nerfed from 25% which was nerfed from 50%. QQ.
Nerfed from 25% which was nerfed from 10%. QQ.

Should be Nerfed from 25% which was nerfed from 50%. QQ.
... /palm
Of COURSE! Thank you mysterious druid!
The guide has been updated further!
Don't suppose you wanted to add a enchanting guide ? could be helpful considering poison mechanics haven't changed a great deal. Reforging part was helpful although i though mastery>or = haste well atleast for ass.
12/12/2010 3:29 PMPosted by Naiyr
Don't suppose you wanted to add a enchanting guide ? could be helpful considering poison mechanics haven't changed a great deal. Reforging part was helpful although i though mastery>or = haste well atleast for ass.
Yeah, mastery is better than haste now. It used to be slightly worse, but deadly poison and venomous wounds had their base damage and AP coefficients buffed 30%, making it a bit better.

I guess I could add an enchanting guide, but there's a complete assassination guide here:

I guess the reforging guide was a little much, but I added it since mastery affects poisons... Meh.
Please Sticky this, I have learned a ton from it with just one read through...
Props mate you should post this on EJ as well
rotation for top deeps?

I may post it on EJ, but it isn't really theorycrafting-oriented at all, just a reference. I don't crunch any numbers or any of that, I really just collect information. I'm definitely no Aldriana. >_>
11/23/2010 7:20 AMPosted by Ekidna
and rupture in the case of a lack of bleeds for HfB, that an assassination rogue should use in raid combat.

Hfb no longer exists xD Or did you mean Venomous wounds?
Just a little confusion there, other than that, Great guide!
Posted by Raindröp

Hfb no longer exists xD Or did you mean Venomous wounds?

Just a little confusion there, other than that, Great guide![/quote]SWEET JESUS, DID I REALLY HAVE THAT IN THERE?!

No telling how many young rogues' lives I've ruined. Just shoot me now.

Thanks for pointing this out!

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