[GUIDE] Subtlety Rogue (PVP)

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-Stat and Reforging Priorities
-Finisher Priorities
-Diminishing Returns
-Shiv Dispels
-Ideal Gearing
-Main Poisons
-Key Binding
-General "Rotation"
-Other Tips
-Bibliography & Credits

S P E C:

Damage: http://www.wowhead.com/talent#fMhfZZsGfcdu0Rho:zmaikszVm

Balance: http://www.wowhead.com/talent#fMhdZbZsGfcdu0Rho:azmiskzVm

Overall: http://www.wowhead.com/talent#fchbZbZcGccducRho:MmaikszVm

Between these two variables the main noticeable difference will be Swords heightened survivability. Both specs will put out around the same damage output, with Swords doing slightly less but producing more Combat Points.

In terms of which Spec is better will come down to personal preference. The Daggers side will produce more damage but if latency and getting behind your target (Focused in arena) is an issue you may decide to chose a Swords build.

G L Y P H S:

Prime Glyphs:
Glyph of Shadow Dance / Glyph of Slice and Dice Glyph of Backstab Glyph of Hemorrhage

Major Glyphs:
Glyph of GarroteGlyph of PreparationGlyph of Blind / Glyph of Cloak of Shadows

Minor Glyphs:
Glyph of PoisonsGlyph of DistractGlyph of Safe FallGlyph of Blurred Speed

In terms of Prime Glyphs; Backstab and Hemo are essential. Slice and Dice will grant you an additional 6 second duration compared to an additional 2 second duration on Shadow Dance from the Shadow Dance glyph.

In terms of Major Glyphs; Garrote and Preparation are essential. Blind may be switched with either Evasion or Cloak of Shadows depending on arena setup.

S T A T / R E F O R G I N G - P R I O R I T I E S:

5% Hit > Agility > Crit > Haste > Mastery

Currently, Rogues have become a more viable train target. This requires us to take 20/20 Expertise as to not miss a Gouge, KS, etc... When we can't be behind the target/are being trained

Crit is only greater than Haste because you cannot get it in large enough amounts for it to be better than Crit.

F I N I S H E R - P R I O R I T I E S:

Do I have Recuperate up? if no, put it up, if yes then ...

Do I need sustained damage? Slice and Dice
Do I need burst? Eviscerate
Do I need control? Kidney Shot

D I M I N I S H I N G - R E T U R N S:

- Diminishing returns are when your Crowd Controls are reduced because of previously used Crowd Control on the target. E.g. If your target is Feared and then you immediately Blind the same target, your Blind will be reduced to 4 seconds down from 8 seconds.

-Sap/Gouge: Freezing Trap (Hunter), Hex (Shaman), Polymorph (Mage), Ring of Frost (Mage), Hibernate (Druid)

-Cheap Shot/Kidney Shot: with every Stun but Impact Stun (Mage) and Brutal Earth Storm Diamond's RNG stun

-Blind: with Fear effects like Fear (Warlock), Psychic Scream (Priest), Intimidating Shout (Warrior)

S H I V - D I S P E L S:

- Shiv gives you the ability to remove Enrage effects, below are all of the effects that can be dispelled by Shiv:

Enrage - (Warrior) Generates rage

Wrecking Crew - (Warrior) Damage increase

Savage Roar - (Feral Druid) Increases speed of auto-attacks

Unholy Frenzy - (Death Knight) Similar to Bloodlust but to friendly target

Berserker Rage - (Warrior) Immunity to -MOST- Rogue Crowd Controls.

Death Wish - (Warrior) +20% damage increase.

Owlkin Frenzy - (Boomkin) +10% damage and mana restore (10%)

G E M M I N G:

Meta: Agile Shadowspirit Diamond

Red: Delicate Inferno Ruby OR if you are a JC'er - Delicate Chimera's Eye

Orange: Just use Red gems

Purple: Glinting Demonseye

Blue: Glinting Demonseye

E N C H A N T I N G:

- Left to right in order of best. Most expensive also starts from left to right, multiple options given for those with lower budgets.

Head: Arcanum of Vicious Agility

Shoulder: Greater Inscription of Vicious Agility

Cloak: Scroll of Enchant Cloak - Major AgilityEnchant Cloak - Greater Critical StrikeEnchant Cloak - Critical Strike

Chest: Enchant Chest - Mighty Resilience

Wrist: Enchant Bracer - Agility Enchant Bracer - Greater Critical StrikeEnchant Bracer - Greater SpeedEnchant Bracer - Speed

Hands: Scroll of Enchant Gloves - Major Agility Enchant Gloves - Haste

Legs: Dragonscale Leg Armor

Feet: With Quickening Enchant Boots - Major Agility
W/O Quickening Enchant Boots - Assassin's Step

Main Hand Enchant Weapon - LandslideEnchant Weapon - Hurricane

Off Hand Pyrium Weapon Chain

I D E A L - G E A R I N G:


Horde characters get a little buggy on chardev, so I've used a human.

P R O F E S S I O N S:
Jewelcrafting + Leatherworking

Regular BG's (Non-competitive)
Leatherworking + Engineering - Based on "fun factor"

Professions make very little difference to overall performance, some Professions will be slightly better than others but the difference is still very minor.

M A I N - P O I S O N S:

Mind-Numbing PoisonCrippling PoisonCrippling Poison
Wound PoisonCrippling PoisonCrippling Poison

The first set will be the set that is primarily used, the only other time you will not be using this set is against Melee.

It will not matter which set you choose to start, if you use Glyph of Poisons you will be able to swap poisons hassle free.
K E Y - B I N D I N G S:

To play a rogue effectively you really need to be using key binds.

Most people will unbind both "A" and "D" and change them to strafe left and strafe right accordingly.

You can hold either both mouse buttons down or just the right one for moving. Both give the same advantages of being able to move suddenly and give you optimal visual display of your surroundings. The choice of unbinding "W" and "S" is up to you, either way in almost no circumstance will you be using "S" to back pedal so it's better to either change it to another ability or leave it blank.

Personally I use the following keys : 1,2,3,4,5,q,w,e,r,t,f,g,z,x,c,v,b,mouse wheel up/down, mouse button and then everything past 5 with a shift modifier.

You need to keep in mind how far you are putting your keys away from the dominant position (wasd). In my opinion anything past u/h/b is too far. Some players chose to use esdf as their dominant position and this will definitely open up more buttons to keybind.

The way you bind your keys from here is entirely up to you and is the matter of the "feel" rather than anything else.

M A C R O:

Spammable Stealth:

/cast !Stealth

If you have your mouse over a target it Blinds them, if not it Blinds the target currently targeted

/cast [target=mouseover, exists] Blind; Blind

Focus arena target (Make macros 1-5, f1-f5 are good choices for these.)

/focus Arena1

Use ability on target, or when holding shift on focus target

/cast [nomodifier] "NAME";[modifier:shift,target=focus] "NAME"

Redirect Kidney Shot

/castsequence [@focus] reset=20 Redirect, Kidney Shot

Preparation macro (It uses all the CD abilities that you did not use before it refreshes them with Preparation)

/castsequence [nostealth] reset=10 !Evasion,null
/castsequence reset=10 !Sprint,null
/cast Preparation

Spammable Sap macro for Stealth fights

/cast Sap

Use your on-use trinket with Shadow Dance (Make sure you have the on-use trinket in the 1st slot, above the other trinket)

/use 13
/cast shadow dance

Probably the most important for saving lots of room on your keyboard.

Alternative abilities on a single key

/cast [stance:0] Kidney shot
/startattack [nostealth]
/cast [stance:3] Ambush
/cast [stance:1/2/3] Premeditation
/cast [stance:1/2] Ambush

Stance:0 = Outside of stealth.
Stance:1 = The few seconds inside the vanish
Stance:2 = Shadow Dance
Stance:3 = Stealth

For me I have 4 different ones:

/cast [stance:0] Kidney shot
/startattack [nostealth]
/cast [stance:3] Ambush
/cast [stance:1/2/3] Premeditation
/cast [stance:1/2] Ambush

/cast [stance:0] Slice and dice
/startattack [nostealth]
/cast [stance:3] Kidney Shot
/cast [stance:1/2/3] Premeditation
/cast [stance:1/2] Garrote

/cast [stance:0] Eviscerate
/startattack [nostealth]
/cast [stance:3] Garrote
/cast [stance:3] Premeditation
/cast [stance:1/2] Sap

/cast [stance:0] Backstab
/startattack [nostealth]
/cast [stance:3] Cheap shot
/cast [stance:1/2/3] Premeditation
/cast [stance:1/2] Cheap shot

O P E N I N G:

It's hard to directly say an opening strategy, If you look below there are key moments and choices as to what you should open with (Garrote/Ambush/Cheap shot). If you choose to open with Ambush, apply Hemo quickly. If Cheap shot use Gouge to at least help with the DR reset. Against most casters Garrote is the recommended opener.

Trying to get Recuperate up as soon as possible is important for both survivability and energy regain. Try maximizing damage during FW (FW reduces opponents armour by 70%).

Garrote is the preferred opener against any caster and most melee. You may chose to use Cheap Shot against some healers and use Vanish-> Garrote when it is more ideal.
Using gouge if you choose to use Cheap Shot is definitely recommended to start bringing the DR back to full. Another good way to use the Cheap Shot and Gouge combo is to peel enemies from a FC. I have more information on peeling under "Other Tips".

Ambush is not really a good opener since there is no FW up and unless your target has no Resilience you're not really going to do enough damage for it to be worthwhile, also no bleed up at this time for more damage.
G E N E R A L - "R O T A T I O N":
Hemo has the priority if no bleeds are up. From here BS then has priority however, if you cannot get behind them no matter what you do use Hemo to keep yourself from wasting potential damage.

Gouge should be used frequently in both 1v1 encounters and multiple encounters on nearby enemies, now that Sanguinary Veins works on bleeds it’s a terrific addition to Sub control.

For things like Mages, Hunters, Warlocks and Warriors don't use Shadow Step until they Blink/Disengage/Teleport/Make distance or Heroic Leap.

Opening with Shadow Step against anyone is almost always a bad idea however, in certain situations it would be smart for example: Sapping one target and Shadow Stepping to the second target (If there is an acceptable distance, not like 5 yards or something dismal). This is a wise move to maximize the amount of damage you can get off during the Sap (Which may be used on a healer while you burn the dps). Of course Shadow Stepping to a Mage, Hunter, Warlock would be a bad idea since you will just get kited and be put in a worse case than before.

O T H E R - T I P S:
- This section will be constantly updated and any other tips would be greatly appreciated.


Useful for helping team mates out, as well as flag carriers or healers in BG/RBG.
You can Premeditation + Cheap Shot one target, Redirect Kidney Shot to another and Blind a third target, then go back and Gouge the Cheap Shot target. Doing this for a flag carrier in a BG/RBG will give them more than enough to time receive heals.

You may also be willing/able to use Dismantle on a nearby melee, using all of these tactics at once in most circumstances will be overkill and you may only need to use 2-3.Spamming Fan of Knives with Crippling Poison on it is also a great idea, and the main reason people bring Rogues (RBG).

Mounted players:

Learn to use Distract; it's one of the most common tools that Rogues do not use. If you have a target mounted and running away from you active Sprint, throw the Distract behind them and into a Sap.

Being focused, whether you are a flag carrier or team mate:

If you are taking on too many people and are in danger of dying look around the field for the person furthest away from everyone this will more times than not be a caster/healer. Active Cloak of Shadows and Shadow Step over to that target, depending on the intelligence/reaction time of your opponents you can buy yourself lots of time to receive heals. On top of this after using Shadow Step active Smoke Bomb, this will effectively give you even more time without being Charged/Death Gripped etc.

Prem trick:

This is an oldie and may only be used in some scenarios where you have lots of time to prepare your opening. Use Prem and wait until there are 1-3 seconds left before Premeditations cool down resets,active Recuperate. Now not only is Prem refreshed but you also start the fight with Recuperate rolling which will help your opening damage.

Smoke Bomb:

Like on Reckful's video and only recently discovered by myself you can actually use Smoke Bomb to break the Stealth of nearby players.

How to effectively flip a Rogue opening:

Presuming they open with Cheap Shot (If they don't just Garrote and start controlling like usual) trinket the Cheap Shot and Blind them, it's very important to trinket very quickly, if they get a bleed up you will be putting yourself at a disadvantage. From there wait the Blind out, if they trinket that then Vanish and open with Cheap Shot, if they don't trinket the Blind then continue with your normal control methods.

Against Warriors:

Feint is an effect move that people overlook if you don't regularly PvE, feint reduces AoE damage by 50%.
If you find yourself up against an Arms Warrior with Dismantle down do not worry. When the Warrior starts to use Whirlwind active Feint and Evasion. Be prepared to cancel Evasion if they cancel their Whirlwind as they will Overpower while they have the opportunity up.

Getting a clean Kidney Shot:

Using Kidney Shot from face on can sometimes be Blocked, Parried or Dodged, however if you Gouge first then get behind your opponent and Kidney Shot there is a 100% chance it will not be Blocked, Parried or Dodged. Moves from behind cannot be Blocked, Parried or Dodged in PvP.

Felguard Stun:
Quick question for Sub PvP rogues. I know the game isn't balanced around 1v1 duels, but how do you guys feel about 1on1 ret paladins? I play a ret for PvP and some rogues were talking about how easy it is to control a ret paladin 1v1 with evasion (new change to holy power where if our attack gets dodge we don't get any Holy Power) vanish, blind etc. A good rogue vs a good ret, who would win?
Regularly when a Rogue opens on a Demo Warlock he will get hit by the Felguards stun, however if you Dismantle the Felguard after opening on the Warlock he will not be able to stun you for 10 seconds.
Flag Carrying:

This is a pretty risky move but it may pay off if you are low on health and have no help around, only use this if there is a single opponent with no one else around. Stealth around a corner (Yes this will drop the flag) Sap them and Sprint back to the flag, picking it up. If they trinket Blind them. If all goes well this is an effective move that will buy you some time.


Rogues have the ability to be used as creatively as you can, mix and match moves. If you didn't want to fight someone while you are running down the field; Gouge, Sprint and spin around and do a deadly throw. Doing things like this is the reason Rogues are one of the funnest classes to play for those who are creative and have a quick reaction time for setting up new and interesting fight strategies on the spot.

F A Q's:
-This section will mostly be a recap of any questions asked throughout this thread.

Q I’ve heard people saying Spell Penetration is good for Subtlety, is this true?

A – No, Spell Penetration is not good for Subtlety. Spell Penetration lowers the chance that your spell will be resisted. Mutilate heavily requires Spell Penetration (120, 50 gem and 70 cloak enchant) however, Subtlety does not. The reason Spell Penetration is important for Mutilate Rogues is because their main attack, Envenom, is a nature spell. (See: http://www.wowhead.com/spell=32645/envenom).

QWhy should I not use Hemo while the Garrote bleed is up? Is 30% bleed damage not good?(Dagger build)

A - The bleed damage buff from Hemo is minimal and Hemo should only be used after Garrote's bleed has diminished off the target.

I would recommend using Premeditation in Stealth and throwing up Recuperate. From here open with Garrote and get SnD up and spam Backstab until Find Weakness has fallen off. Use Hemo after the bleed dot from Garrote has fallen off.

Q - I've seen a couple high rating rogues do is Garrote, then Kidney Shot while the silence is up, if a Mage is silenced, he can't really do much at all, so why waste a viable stun?

A - Rogues do this because Mages can still run around while Silenced. If you open with Garrote and KS right after you force the Mage to Iceblock or else they eat 3-4 seconds of Backstabs.

Q - Why have Waylay when you already use Crippling Poison?

A - Crippling can be dispelled by a healer, if this happens to you and you have not picked up Waylay there is a chance your target will start to kite you.

Q - Why is Wound Poison used over Instant Poison?

A - For subtlety Wound Poison has a higher application rate. Presuming the MH is 1.8 speed, the rates go as following :

Instant: 25.71% (38.57% for Assassination Rogues w/ Improved Poisons)

Wound: 64.29%

In terms of damage Instant does 37-115 (tooltip/baseline) more damage but applies 38.5% less. Overall Wound will be doing just slightly under Instant Poison, but even if Instant and Wound did the same damage, Wound would still win with the healing debuff.

Q - What speed weapons should I use?

A - For subtlety dual daggers are the best; 1.8 speed MH, 1.4 speed OH.

Q – You mentioned using Swords as a plausible build, can you use other slow 2.6 MH weapons, like Fist weapons, axes and maces?

A – Any slow 2.6 MH speed weapon (out of the PvP weapons) will perform the same.


Bibliography & Credits:

Riosan - EU-Eredar (Blutdurst) on


Additional Credits:

Fatmaggie @ Ghostlands - Helping with a better opening for "Opening"
Umbralchaos @ Spinebreaker - Helping with "General Rotation"
Unimpressive @ Laughing Skull - Helping with "Finisher Priorities" and "Shiv Dispels"
Actually curious as to why spell pen wasn't included? I was under the impression for your poisons to hit harder even in sub you need at least +70 minimum and some go for 170 (+70 cloak and +50 blue gems).
The idea of 120 spell pen is for the non-resist factor of envenom, however, Sub obviously doesn't use envenom and is thus useless. Fair question though.

And spell pen doesn't increase damage, it lowers the chance for spells to get resisted, most of assassin damage is spell, however none of sub's damage is spell.
02/23/2011 4:24 AMPosted by Ømén
The idea of 120 spell pen is for the non-resist factor of envenom, however, Sub obviously doesn't use envenom and is thus useless.

Envenom is a physical attack and thus isn't affected by resists at all.

The spell pen is for poison dmg and venomous wounds specifically.

It isn't useless for sub but much less desired than it is for mut, thus, it should be avoided for sub specs.
Great guide, thanks for the tips.
Lemme save you the trouble:


For Sub and Mut.
with cheat death.. Is it an acceptable talent for arenas? Right now I love it.. In arenas I feel like it could buy your healer those few extra seconds to heal you. If its bad can someone explain why?

I also noticed in omens sub spec.. In your pts in assass, u grabbed the healing/movement talent. Is that better then 3/3 backstab crit talent
Lemme save you the trouble:


For Sub and Mut.

Thats in my reference, The guide itself might be a bit overwhelming for new rogues so this is a more condensed version for sub.
02/23/2011 10:33 AMPosted by Impewnity
The idea of 120 spell pen is for the non-resist factor of envenom, however, Sub obviously doesn't use envenom and is thus useless.

Envenom is a physical attack and thus isn't affected by resists at all.

The spell pen is for poison dmg and venomous wounds specifically.

It isn't useless for sub but much less desired than it is for mut, thus, it should be avoided for sub specs.


School Nature

Under properties on the right hand column
Prem+Garrote -> Hemo -> Recuperate is what I would recommend for sure, +10% more damage, -6% damage taken and 5.8k healing per 3 seconds with Imp Recuperate aswell as +12 energy every Recup tick, before the fight has even started.

Great guide, well written. My only real issue is your opener.

Opening with Garrote gives you your bleed, so why not BS>BS while FW is up. You can get Hemo up with the 1st attack after your 5pt Recup.


(Changed 18/06/2011) What I said was changed in my guide and is thus irrelevant and possibly confusing.

Check "O P E N I N G:" for latest information.
with cheat death.. Is it an acceptable talent for arenas? Right now I love it.. In arenas I feel like it could buy your healer those few extra seconds to heal you. If its bad can someone explain why?

I also noticed in omens sub spec.. In your pts in assass, u grabbed the healing/movement talent. Is that better then 3/3 backstab crit talent

The survival spec if you generally get trained out the gate (which in most comps is unlikely).

I could have got 3/3 backstab at the cost of 7% movement speed (After Enchant Boots - Assassin's Step) and 20% healing but for the sake of easing it up for the healer I opted for the healing / movement, In addition to that since sub keeps recup up a good 90% of the time the additional healing is worth it.
Ugg its the rotation thing again, I really dont mind calling it a rotation even though it is not but I would like it if people would put in a disclaimer about PVP having no real rotation and everything is situational. This is especialy true for guides like this that are for people new to PVP.
There is a priority system.

Garrot is the prefered opener.
exceptions to this include but are not limited to cheap shot if lag is an issue, or because he is on a mount and you can't seem to hit him.
Ambush is not really a good opener since there is no FW up and unless your target has no resi your not really gonna burn him fast enough to be useful, also no bleed up at this time for more damage.

Hemo has priority if no bleed is up, then BS, if the target is being a pain to get in a BS you can hemo instead, try to go for the BS and only hemo to keep your self from energy capping.

Finishers priority is not always SND up before Rupture what class are you fighting? Will you waste most of SND getting kited by that mage or druid maybe you should rupture and evis instead since your gonna spend 70% of your time rooted to the ground / chasing his ass around. Sure if your going agenst a warrior you should always SND first oh wait nope he poped retaliation maybe you should rupture and run if you can't dismantle or KS hell maybe you should just ruture and run so you can save dismantle for when you see him getting ready for a deathwished throwdown 60K damage combo.

Go with what fits the fight

Other than that I like it is a good starter guide.
Ty for quick response!

I also see that sub is good for setting up kills.. How do we set up kills? KS and smoke? Anything else?

Also I see most people put crip on thrown.. If deadly throw already has a snare wouldnt it be better to put like mind on thrown? Just outta curiosity

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