Cloak and Dagger - How To Make It Work

Rogue
Note 1: I know, this post is gigantic. Read it, or don't. The closest thing to a TL;DR is to just look at the tooltip "quotes".

Note 2: This entire post is written in a PvP mindset. While it was not my foremost aim to improve Cloak and Dagger in PvE, I suggest these changes fully aware of the impact they might have in dungeons and raids. At best, the changes I suggest here might improve Cloak and Dagger in PvE, even if just a little bit. At worst, the changes will barely effect anything at all for PvE, for better nor worse. So rest easy if you're worried about how PvP changes effect PvE.

Introduction and Background

Our level 60 tier talent, Cloak and Dagger, has been a hot topic regarding our talent choices pretty much since its creation. Back when it used to work with Shadow Dance, it used to be the go-to talent for many Subtlety Rogues. Then it was nerfed to no longer work during Shadow Dance and it became immediately obvious that Cloak and Dagger without Shadow Dance was terrible for mobility when compared to our other options.

With the recent bug in patch 6.x that again allowed Cloak and Dagger during Shadow Dance, that talent was once again brought to the forefront of our attention. Some Rogues even believed that it was not a bug, that Blizzard had decided to change it back to how it used to be. That was not the case. And that's fine. It again brings to the forefront of our attention just how inept a talent Cloak and Dagger really is.

Here's the bottom line: Cloak and Dagger is a terrible talent all around. When it worked with Shadow Dance, it became too powerful in large group combat, as the Rogue was able to CC everything within a 40 yard radius 1-by-1 during Shadow Dance. But that's only for Sub Rogues. Combat and Assassination get next to nothing out of Cloak and Dagger. They don't have Shadow Dance. It was only ever a useful talent when used with Shadow Dance and, now that it no longer works with it, it is all but a dead talent. Our other talent choices are better by far, for all specs, in nearly all situations.

Cloak and Dagger Vs. Shadowstep

So, why is it that Cloak and Dagger is such a useless talent? Because we have Burst of Speed, right? Not quite. We all know Burst of Speed has its pros and cons: spammable and reliable, but with actual travel time and energy cost. No, the reason Cloak and Dagger is useless is because our third option is Shadowstep, and they're essentially the same thing. Shadowstep teleports you behind your enemy. Cloak and Dagger does the same, but only when you use one of your openers and only from stealth. That much is obvious. They're essentially the same thing.

But, then, why would you ever take Cloak and Dagger? Let's take a look at what Cloak and Dagger does that Shadowstep does not.


  • Has a 40 yard range, as opposed to Shadowstep's 25 yard range.
  • Can be used as often as you can stealth. No actual cooldown.


Those look like fair pros, at a glance at least, and their advantages are obvious. But let's take a look at what Cloak and Dagger does worse than Shadowstep.


  • Can't be used to teleport to friendly targets.
  • Must be in stealth to be used.
  • Must be in stealth to be used.
  • MUST BE IN STEALTH TO BE USED.


You must be in stealth to use Cloak and Dagger to close gaps. Which is silly, because that's when you least need a gap closer. In nearly every imaginable situation where you'll actually be in stealth, there is absolutely no need to teleport behind someone. You're in stealth - invisible, virtually untargetable - no one will be slowing you, rooting you, or running away from you while you're stealthed, unless they hit you with a lucky AoE. If you're stealthed, and you need to close a gap, you just need to walk. Press the W key or simultaneously hold in both mouse buttons. It doesn't take long to cover distance in stealth. Stealth no longer slows you like it did expansions back. Even if you Vanish to teleport over to someone and close a gap, again, you could have just walked that probable 15 yard distance in around one second or so.

The only possible benefit of this talent as a gap closer is if you want to waste Preparation and two Vanishes on teleporting with Cloak and Dagger all within a 20 second time period, which makes it usable more often in a shorter time span than Shadowstep, though this can only be done once every time Prep and Vanish are off CD. Or you could just use one vanish, walk over, then close the next gap with Shadowstep (because you had the good sense to take it over Cloak and Dagger), and still have your second vanish.

There's simply no reason to take this talent for its functionality. It's fun, but that's where it being a good talent ends. Shadowstep is just quite simply superior.

How To Fix It

Cloak and Dagger is just not up to par in its current (or any previous) incarnation. Ideally, it would work well as a talent for any of the three Rogue specs, competing with Burst of Speed and Shadowstep regardless of whether you're a bad !@# Sub Rogue dancing with the shadows or an estranged Assassination Rogue in a White Tuxedo Shirt and wearing a Spring Circlet, trying to Garrote someone with Spring Flowers from 40 yards away. Been there, done that.

There are two problems pertaining to Cloak and Dagger that beg solutions: its similarity to Shadowstep and its limited usefulness at the best of times to all but one spec.

The similarity between Cloak and Dagger and Shadowstep limit how weak/potent Cloak and Dagger can be from a mobility standpoint while still being a viable choice. If Cloak and Dagger is too weak, Shadowstep is just simply better, as it is now. If Cloak and Dagger is too strong, it is just simply better than Shadowstep. If Cloak and Dagger, in its current form, is balanced, then it becomes the same thing as Shadowstep. In all three cases, one or the other talent becomes pointless. If we can manage to make Cloak and Dagger distinct enough from Shadowstep, we can then balance them to be approximately as useful while not invalidating either one.

As for the second problem on our list, well, making the talent work for all specs should be a given. It's not the case now, as Cloak and Dagger is currently useless for all specs, so it's a problem that needs fixing.

How do we do that? How do we make Cloak and Dagger distinct enough from Shadowstep (without making it too similar to Burst of Speed) while also making it a competitive talent choice for all three Rogue specs? The answer to both of these questions lies with something Blizzard has already done for the talents of other classes: spec-specific effects on individual talents. Rogues are the only class without them. Cloak and Dagger is the best place to bring that into our design, at last.

Here is what I suggest Cloak and Dagger do, for each spec:

Subtlety

Cloak and Dagger
Requires Level 60
Ambush, Garrote, and Cheap Shot have a 40 yard range while stealthed and a 15 yard range while under the effects of Shadow Dance, and cause you to teleport behind your target.


From stealth, Cloak and Dagger would function just as it does now. However, while used in Shadow Dance, it would still allow you to teleport to your enemies using your openers, but at a greatly reduced range.

This change would make Cloak and Dagger a viable choice for Subtlety Rogues. It focuses on maximizing their mobility during moments of Crowd Control, which is the main role of Subtlety spec, without buffing that mobility to absurd levels. Subtlety fans will know how Cloak and Dagger felt when it worked with Shadow Dance. This would be very similar, but, with the lesser range, not as game-breakingly OP from a CC standpoint.

The idea of giving Cloak and Dagger's teleport a 15 yard range during Shadow Dance is to add another layer of strategy to their gameplay. With only a 15 yard range at their disposal, players who wish to focus on CCing efficiently will need to be aware of their relative positions with all nearby enemies, and even the relative positions of any enemy from any other enemy, in order to make the most use of this talent.

For example, if a Rogue uses Shadow Dance while having taken this talent, and they want to reach and CC a target 30 yards away, they'll need to first teleport to a closer target or two, chaining teleports in the direction of the end-target, CCing or Ambushing every target along the way. In order to pull off this astounding feat, the Rogue would need good combat awareness and great timing. Success means CCing multiple targets and teleporting to the end-target. And this is only one example of an application of the Cloak and Dagger talent. There are many more.

As well, this version of Cloak and Dagger would have very good synergy with certain other Rogue talents. Namely Nerve Strike and Prey on the Weak, both of which would apply to all CCed targets, weakening them in both offense and defense.

Combat

Cloak and Dagger
Requires Level 60
While stealthed, Ambush, Garrote, and Cheap Shot have a 40 yard range, and cause you to teleport behind your target. In addition, Killing Spree has a 40 yard range, and Sprint removes all movement impairing and root effects when used.


To make this work, this requires an additional change to Killing Spree, if Cloak and Dagger is taken. Note that the 0% offhand damage is a tooltip bug on WoWhead, from which I copied the text. I just left it there because. Just look at the bolded parts.

Killing Spree
40 yd range
Instant 2 min cooldown
Requires Rogue (Combat)
Requires level 80
Requires Melee Weapon
Step through the shadows to a visible enemy within 40 yards, attacking 7 times over 3 sec for 100% Physical damage with your main-hand and 0% Physical damage with your off-hand.

While Blade Flurry is active, each Killing Spree attack will teleport to and damage a different enemy target within 10 yards.

The Rogue cannot be targeted or disabled while Killing Spree is active.


From stealth, Cloak and Dagger would function just as it does now. However, it would also extend to Killing Spree. Beyond that, it would also bring back the old Improved Sprint talent that Combat used to have in the old talent trees that was beloved by many.

For these changes, I wanted to follow the idea that Combat keeps "toe to toe" with its enemies. In this case, that meant a lot more mid-combat mobility. It focuses on giving combat ways to get out of sticky situations (snares and roots removal on Sprint) and assault their enemies with a sudden flurry of potent surprise attacks (Killing Spree teleport).

The addition of Killing Spree to the teleport mechanic of Cloak and Dagger further ties mid-combat mobility in with damage, which feels fitting for Combat spec, and also gives the Rogue an out-of-stealth teleport on a long CD, all the while being sufficiently different from Shadowstep due to being tied to Killing Spree and its long CD. The Sprint addition grants Combat Rogues a mechanic that many who play the spec dearly miss: the ability to remove roots (and snares, too, since removing a root only to be snared seems silly and disappointing). These two additions together would act as an interesting mobility toolkit for Combat.

Assassination

Cloak and Dagger
Requires Level 60
While stealthed, Ambush, Garrote, and Cheap Shot have a 40 yard range, and cause you to teleport behind your target. In addition, while an enemy marked with your Vendetta is greater than 15 yards away from you, you gain 30% movement speed for 3 seconds, and your critical hits with Mutilate and Dispatch increase your movement speed by 5% for 8 seconds, stacking up to 3 times.


From stealth, Cloak and Dagger would function just as it does now. However, it would also grant movement speed bonuses if the target marked with your Vendetta is at a distance as well as when you get a critical strike with Mutilate or Dispatch.

For these changes, I wanted to follow the line of logic given the name of the spec: Assassination. An Assassin's job is to kill their target, and the worst disgrace is when a target escapes. In this case, this came in the form of movement speed buffs. Should the Assassination Rogue have a Vendetta against a target that they are losing sight of, they will achieve new heights of vigor, increasing their movement speed in their desire to slay the enemy. In addition, inflicting deadly wounds to their enemies only serves to fuel the Assassin's desire to see their target dead, causing him or her to make haste. In other words, without all the dramatic wording, Cloak and Dagger serves to keep Assassination Rogues on their target through sheer tenacity.

The Vendetta speed buff for Cloak and Dagger enforces the idea of there actually being a Vendetta, tying damage and mobility together, but only for one target. If the Assassin chooses to use Vendetta on a far-off target and ignore them in order to take out the target's allies, the Rogue will lose out on Vendetta's damage bonus while getting the full effect of the self-reapplying speed buff, but if they go after the target marked by Vendetta then they ensure that the sack of flesh never escapes. The Mutliate and Dispatch critical strike movement speed proc serves as a mobility bonus outside of Vendetta's long CD. It's important to keep in mind that many, many movement speed buffs stack in WoD, so these movement speed bonuses will stack with one another and sprint, resulting in some serious speed if played right.

Conclusion

And there you have it, folks. If you're actually reading this, I thank you a thousand times over for taking the time to read through the above 2,400 words (holy crap!) and ask if you have any comments or alternative ideas. Anyone?
I gotta say i read most of your post not all of
It but skipped to your ideas for cloak and dagger and i think that what your suggesting is more then fair, and like you said its competitive between both BoS and Shs so based on whatsver comps you may be facing you can chose any of the 3.
@Ayáme - Your post is music to my...eyes. I was afraid this was so long that it would never get any attention.

My hopes are that enough people read and like the changes I've suggested to where we can start pushing Blizz for them, or for changes like them. I know a lot of people dislike both BoS and ShS, and I feel that these changes to Cloak and Dagger could easily solve that problem.
My proposal for Cloak and dagger is thus

Cloak and Dagger
Passive
While stealthed, and 6 seconds after stealth breaks, your form remains indistinct. Granting you immunity to any loss of control effects.

Now I know this sounds super op, rogues with CC immunity. But without SS or BoS, classes with any mobility should be able to make a break for it. If we have to open with a stun because of threats like disengage, then you weren't CCing us anyways.

basically since our other two abilities give us two mobility options, I feel the third should provide us with a preventative option.
@Bibblesnoop - That's an interesting way to think about it. I never really considered putting something of a similar but separate niche from mobility in the level 60 talent tier. And making Vanish into a CC prevention CD is also a very interesting concept. I am intrigued.

I wonder how a change like that would effect its use in raiding, though... What little it already gets, anyway.
10/17/2014 01:38 PMPosted by Vandril
@Bibblesnoop - That's an interesting way to think about it. I never really considered putting something of a similar but separate niche from mobility in the level 60 talent tier. And making Vanish into a CC prevention CD is also a very interesting concept. I am intrigued.

I wonder how a change like that would effect its use in raiding, though... What little it already gets, anyway.


Honestly it would be a lot weaker in PvE because generally PvE CC isn't preventable by anything from what I understand.
Not to mention being able to BoS AoE mechanics of being able to SS the same would make them preferable in PvE.
I like it fairly well. Usually when people suggest talent changes, they throw out something absurdly overpowered.

I do think the proposed Assassination variant (on the note of talents varying with spec, why don't rogue have any? :\) seems rather weak, though. Vendetta is a fairly long cooldown and with how chaotic PVP tends to get, because lets face the mobility tier of talents is nearly inconsequential with regards to PVE, I've never felt that Vendetta was altogether very strong in PVP. Single target 2 minute cooldown, where the biggest selling point is its long duration, in an environment where your target is prone to dying prematurely by teammates or getting back up and healing which forces you to run away.

Just my thought, though. In a way I guess my complaint is more to do with the function of Vendetta within a PVP setting, so I'd rather see any Cloak and Dagger changes of this nature affect Assassination on a level that's more frequently usable.

Props for suggesting Improved Sprint - I miss that so much. I hate it whenever I'm forced to use Vanish or Cloak of Shadows on something as meager as a root.
Marvelous post. Rogues are in need of spec specific talents and your suggestions are great; including spec specific cooldowns are a great way to achieve this. Another way they can do this is Shadow Step should be baseline and Cloak and Dagger could just also Shadow Step, and Blizzard adds another talent in the mix to compete. Either way that tier of talent needs revision.
10/17/2014 01:57 PMPosted by Bibblesnoop
Honestly it would be a lot weaker in PvE because generally PvE CC isn't preventable by anything from what I understand.
Not to mention being able to BoS AoE mechanics of being able to SS the same would make them preferable in PvE.


Some older content PvE CC was preventable by immunities. Not sure about the newer stuff.

Regardless, this is what I feared. I doubt CnD is used very often in raiding, anyway, but I still wouldn't want to take its current form away from people who actually like it. Maybe if they combined what it is currently and your preventative suggestion, then it would be one I could put my full support behind.

10/17/2014 02:12 PMPosted by Ashelinde
I like it fairly well. Usually when people suggest talent changes, they throw out something absurdly overpowered.


I play every class and intend to get a job as a game developer sometime in the next few years, so haphazardly suggesting overpowered, imbalanced things would be bad for me on all fronts. XD

10/17/2014 02:12 PMPosted by Ashelinde
I do think the proposed Assassination variant (on the note of talents varying with spec, why don't rogue have any? :\) seems rather weak, though. Vendetta is a fairly long cooldown and with how chaotic PVP tends to get, because lets face the mobility tier of talents is nearly inconsequential with regards to PVE, I've never felt that Vendetta was altogether very strong in PVP. Single target 2 minute cooldown, where the biggest selling point is its long duration, in an environment where your target is prone to dying prematurely by teammates or getting back up and healing which forces you to run away.

Just my thought, though. In a way I guess my complaint is more to do with the function of Vendetta within a PVP setting, so I'd rather see any Cloak and Dagger changes of this nature affect Assassination on a level that's more frequently usable.


I somewhat agree, but I was trying to tie the effects into spec-specific cooldowns and spec-themed abilities. Unfortunately, pretty much every one of Assassination's themed abilities are melee range or passively applying, neither of which would be very good types of abilities to base mobility perks around. Vendetta was the only real choice for an Assassination CD, and I felt it needed some love anyway. I do wish they'd at least make it undispellable, then it'd be pretty great for my suggested talent change.

Though, I want to mention, if Vendetta were a buff on the Rogue I'd have suggested CnD make it grant an effect similar to DKs Death's Advance talent while active, or maybe something that would lower the effectiveness of snares and duration of roots by a percentage. Combined with Rogue's general speedy-ness, some movement speed stat from WoD gear, and the passive speed buff that the other suggested change to Assassination's CnD would grant, that would make the talent quite potent.

Alas, as it stands, if there's something better for Assassination's CnD, I've not yet thought of it.

10/17/2014 02:12 PMPosted by Ashelinde
Props for suggesting Improved Sprint - I miss that so much. I hate it whenever I'm forced to use Vanish or Cloak of Shadows on something as meager as a root.


Exactly! It is what used to make combat feel like combat. It also was something I managed to work into a sub spec in Cata. I made Hemo Sub spec work back then. Sub/Combat, Sub for...everything and combat for Imp. Sprint + Imp. Kick. I THINK I was able to fit in Imp. Gouge, too. The spec was designed from the ground up to shut down casters. It was able to solo healers near the end of the expansion, too. Ironically, it struggled against DPS classes with bubbles on short CDs - frost mages at the time and Shadow Priests - because it was ALL sustained damage and no burst, so by the time it broke a bubble they could use it again. Anyway, just wanted to mention that I remember Imp. Sprint fondly due to that.

10/17/2014 04:32 PMPosted by Bustalust
Marvelous post. Rogues are in need of spec specific talents and your suggestions are great; including spec specific cooldowns are a great way to achieve this. Another way they can do this is Shadow Step should be baseline and Cloak and Dagger could just also Shadow Step, and Blizzard adds another talent in the mix to compete. Either way that tier of talent needs revision.


Thanks for the support, and yes, the mobility tier definitely does need revision. I'm not so sure baseline Shadowstep is a great idea, though. If I take Burst of Speed, no one can escape me. Ever. I'll always chase them down. But if I had Shadowstep AND Burst of Speed? Hell, I doubt I'd get to the point where they'd leave my melee range let alone to where I need to start chasing them. In any case, baseline Shadowstep would require an entirely rebalanced mobility tier for talents.
10/17/2014 12:24 PMPosted by Vandril
Cloak and Dagger
Requires Level 60
Ambush, Garrote, and Cheap Shot have a 40 yard range while stealthed and a 15 yard range while under the effects of Shadow Dance, and cause you to teleport behind your target.


I doubt this will ever happen again honestly. It was already crazy back in 5.2 because you could Dance and stun/silence an entire team in Arena. In the new World of Warcraft where the amount of CC has been reduced, it would be even more insane if we could do it again. Maybe if it gave CS/Garrote cooldowns.

In my opinion, just make it a 30 second or less CD with two charges that causes a select number of abilities to teleport you. Something like, "Your next Kidney Shot teleports you to your target within 40 yards if used within 10 seconds".
10/17/2014 05:20 PMPosted by Jokaste
I doubt this will ever happen again honestly. It was already crazy back in 5.2 because you could Dance and stun/silence an entire team in Arena. In the new World of Warcraft where the amount of CC has been reduced, it would be even more insane if we could do it again. Maybe if it gave CS/Garrote cooldowns


It wouldn't be quite as overpowered as you might think, even with the CC reduction. It was completely impossible to counter before, due to the 40 yard range, which is why it was nerfed. With a 15 yard range, any team you're fighting would just have to be careful not to stand too close to one another. It's not much worse than an AoE CC that many classes have access to, except this one would actually require a ton of player resources to stun multiple targets.

Melee range is, what, five yards, correct? All this would be doing is adding 10 yards on top of that. Hell, even if you made the talent only reach a total of 10-12 yards during Shadow Dance it could be enough to make it a viable choice.

Blizzard will probably avoid touching it, though, because Rogues are in a good place right now on the Beta and they'd rather not accidentally screw something up. But a man can hope they'd see the logic behind giving it back at a much lowered range, right?

10/17/2014 05:20 PMPosted by Jokaste
In my opinion, just make it a 30 second or less CD with two charges that causes a select number of abilities to teleport you. Something like, "Your next Kidney Shot teleports you to your target within 40 yards if used within 10 seconds".


The problem with that is then it falls into the same pit it's in now by remaining far too similar to Shadowstep. If CnD is ever going to be a meaningful talent, it absolutely must become something more than just a teleportation effect, because that niche is already completely filled by Shadowstep.
Turn it into a cd.Give it a 2 min cd and up for 10 sec duration... while CnD is active all your cp moves teleport you to the target, ignore root effects!! problem fixed.
Great suggestion! I all for this
Make Shadow Focus work with SDance.

Do it.

Pls.
10/17/2014 09:17 PMPosted by Khlause
With how its being reduced in potential; make it a major glyph that is exclusive with the glyphs of Garrote and Cheap shot, this way if you glyph cloak and dagger, you lose out on Garrote and cheap shot glyphs, that way it prevents abuse.

And it will continue to not work with shadow dance.

This is the only way I can see to keep in game, and be palatable enough for rogues to use it.


Come to think of it, that's also a good solution. Its current level of power would be fitting as a major glyph, and if it's made exclusive with the the CC-increasing glyphs that effect our openers, then it would be a choice between glyphing for a little boost to CC or a little boost to mobility, either of which increases our uptime a little bit in the end.

Good thinking.

Granted, then Blizz would have to come up with a third mobility talent. If they had any ideas that worked well, we'd already have it in place of CnD, probably.

10/17/2014 08:12 PMPosted by Vampiriç
Make Shadow Focus work with SDance.

Do it.

Pls.


Absolutely not. XD
10/17/2014 12:24 PMPosted by Vandril
It was only ever a useful talent when used with Shadow Dance and, now that it no longer works with it, it is all but a dead talent.

ATM... This^^^

10/17/2014 08:12 PMPosted by Vampiriç
Make Shadow Focus work with SDance.


This would be great as well. Cant say i ever tested it to notice that it doesn't work. that really sucks.

OP has extremely good ideas here. I'm loving all of what i read. It makes sense i because this talent only applies to us during a 1 min CD or our vanishes. Its not free movement. it costs us, and if we mess it up we pay the price with poorer mobility.
Good Idea.
Am I the only one that feels cloak and dagger dance is un-fun to deal with? We already stick to targets like glue, do we really need to port around when we use dance?
@Velexa

Ye great contribution there. lets just ask blizzard to leave us the way we are and fix everyone else...

Cuz you know, that worked so well in the past.

Join the Conversation

Return to Forum