The Combat PvP guide 2.0 [Sticky]

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The Combat PvP Guide, version 2.0. Better, faster, stronger, and now with 100% more pie.
Link to the first guide: <a href="http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/2267577571">http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/2267577571</a>
Dagins, on the EU forums, has his own take on the matter: http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/2592149403 (Sorry for getting your name wrong :P )
PREFACE:

This guide is here to help those who would dare PvP using the Combat tree. Combat is obviously the lesser of the three rogue talent trees when it comes to PvP, yet there are those who would try it and who find it entertaining. There are also those who would puke at the very thought of it, who are repulsed and angered by the very mention of Combat and PvP in the same sentence. Those who would come in this thread only to mock those playing this game the way they see fit for enjoyment, to make sarcastic remarks, insults, and rage at the people playing Combat PvP.
To those people who are so close-minded that they cannot even consider that someone would have fun playing something that is not Subtlety: Stop reading right now, go away, leave this thread and never come back. You are not welcome here, you are probably not welcome anywhere either. VANISH.
To the others who would be reading this in order to improve, to find new data, or simply for the enjoyment of reading something new, welcome to the Combat PvP Guide, version 2.0.

ME:
No, you might notice that I’m not a 2900 rated super pro, nor even a 2200 rated player, and if that bothers you so much, then you might as well leave now too, but I can guarantee that if you stay and read, you’ll find this information very useful and true, no matter what my rating is.
I’ve been Combat ever since I started playing, which would be in BC and I hit my first level cap in WotlK ( So I missed Combat Maces, Adrenaline rush / Prep and all that fun stuff ), working my way from one of those noobs who popped double Killing Spree and global’d enemy teams, pretending to have skill, to being a very knowledgeable rogue in the pros and cons of Combat.

So, in this guide, we'll cover:

1- Why Combat for PvP?
2- Talents and Specs
3- Glyphs
4- The Amazing Improved Gouge
5- How to kill things
6- Gearing and Stats
7- Weapons and Poisons
8- Future Improvements.


ONWARDS TO THE ACTUAL GUIDE:

First of all, there’s the big question: Why would I spec into Combat over Subtlety or Assassination? What can it offer that the other two cannot?
Well, let’s start out with Combat’s Talent tree-specific ability: Blade Flurry. Obviously it’s great for leveling and PvE, but we’re here to talk about PvP, so let’s talk about PvP. Blade Flurry allows all of your physical damage to hit a second target within melee range of the rogue, which basically gives the Combat rogue ( if specced correctly ) total melee superiority in group fights. Additionally, the damage hitting your second target from Blade Flurry is dealt in full, meaning it ignores any amount of armor or resilience that target might have.
The second most defining thing about Combat would be the strongest stun in the entire game on a 20 second cooldown. Kidney Shot lasts 6 seconds, at five combo points, but through the use of Revealing Strike, with its Glyph, it can last 45% longer, 45% of 6 being 2.7, it lasts for a total of 8.7 seconds. It is not normalized with the other PvP CC’s and stuns and lasts the full 8.7, not 8. This means that this stun is not only the strongest stun in the game, it’s stronger than any other CC as well, it’s the one ability that makes enemies lose control of their character for the longest period of time. In addition to the other tools that Combat has for CC, this can add up to a lot of control potential.

What about mobility? Can it match Subtlety? Short answer, no. Thanks to a combination of talents ( Improved Sprint, Restless Blades, Killing Spree ), Combat’s mobility is superior to Assassination’s yet still under Subtlety. However, Combat has many tools to prevent the enemy from getting away from them in the first place, these will be explained in detail further in the guide.

Weaknesses, because there always has to be a weakness: the main weakness of the Combat talent tree is it’s much slower combo point generation compared to the other two trees. In PvE, this is improved with Haste and Vitality, but in PvP it’s another story.

The other weakness would be damage dealing. Combat’s sustained and burst damage are heavily reliant on two things:
1- DPS cooldowns: Adrelanine Rush, Killing Spree, any DPS trinket.
2- Bandit’s Guile.

To deal any acceptable damage, you should have at least one of the items listed above. To do maximum damage, you should have at least two, if not three. If you are stuck without any of them, then your damage will be minor and you best be getting out of combat for a while if you don’t have backup.
TALENT TREE SETUP

There are many talents available in the Combat tree and many different ways to place your points depending on what you intend to do. Before proposing different talent tree setups, allow me to explain each talent in detail and what are their uses.

IMPROVED RECUPERATE: With the recent nerf to this talent, some rogues are deciding to take their points out of it and placing them elsewhere. However, you’re going to be placing talent points all the way down into the Combat tree so there’s no reason for you not to take it. Increases healing by 0.5 / 1% per tick and reduces damage taken by 3 / 6% while Recuperate is active.

IMPROVED SINISTER STRIKE: Sinister Strike will be your primary combo point generator and primary damage-dealing ability. As such, it’s important to have it be as good as possible, and this talent does exactly that. 30% more damage and 6 less energy to your Sinister Strike, it’s still pathetic when compared to Backstab and Mutilate, but gotta make do with what you got, and this is your only option.

PRECISION: Grants you a total of 6% more hit and poison hit chance. A Combat’s rogue primary source of damage are auto attacks, so this could potentially grant you a small raise in DPS, additional poison procs and Combat Potency procs, but overall it’s considered more of a PvE talent and skipped because three talent points is very expensive and you can get the PvP hit cap easily with gear and reforges.

IMPROVED SLICE AND DICE: As I said, Combat’s main source of damage is white auto attacks, and Slice and Dice increases your auto attack rate by 40%, making it a very powerful finisher for Combat. Keeping in mind that Combat’s weakness is slow combo point generation, having one of your important finishers last longer per combo point spent in it is very valuable. In fact, you’ll notice many talents in the tree focus on improving the efficiency of finishing moves, although this particular one is not obligatory.

IMPROVED SPRINT: This ability is the backbone behind Combat’s mobility, having it or not having it could make the difference between a PvP spec or a PvE spec with bad filler talents. Upon the activation of Sprint, all movement impairing effects ( this includes roots and snares but not AoE-type snares such as a Death Knight’s Descecration . Now, sprint is on a one-minute cooldown, so knowing when to use this ability is important. Popping it at any time when enemies can immediately reapply a snare or root on you would be a waste.

AGGRESSION: This talent further increases the damage dealt by Sinister Strike, while also increasing Eviscerate damage and Backstab damage, but that last one is just for Sub rogues who would be crazy enough to spec this deep into the tree. So, increases the damage of Sinister Strike, it’s very important. Also, you’ll notice there are many talents that can stack up to increase the damage dealt by Eviscerate, allowing it to land some pretty noticeable numbers.

IMPROVED KICK: Allows your kick ability to silence your target for 3 seconds. Some see this as a way to help bad rogues getting juked, which is part of what it does, but you can also use it to prevent a caster from getting any casts off in the first place, especially instant casts. Highly recommended talent.


LIGHTNING REFLEXES: Defensive / Offensive talent. Increases your dodge chance by 9%, which is always nice nowadays with them herp derp Warriors, Feral Druids and Frost Death Knights going around hitting really big numbers slamming their foreheads on their keyboards. As for the attack speed boost, it’s rather small, but it stacks multiplicatively with any other attack speed bonus you get, including that granted by Haste and Slice and Dice. The main reason to get this talent in PvP is really the 9% dodge chance. It’s not VITAL but I have an alt that does not have it and I regret it very often.
REVEALING STRIKE: This is a very important ability. It’s obvious effects are to increase the damage of your finishing moves, Eviscerate, Envenom, Deadly Throw and Rupture. It’s less obvious effects are possibly the most important for PvP: it increases the duration of your Kidney Shot ( and Expose Armor but that’s not so important ). Longer Kidney Shots is what makes you special, as a well-placed 9 second stun can be deadly to even the strongest healers and lock out a player long enough for your team to get back on its feet. Now, I mentioned it increases the damage of your Eviscerate, so if you’re keeping count, that’s 20% bonus from Aggression and 35% from Revealing Strike, 45% if glyphed and you should get it glyphed. It also increases the damage of Deadly Throw, which stacks with the bonus granted by Ambidextry, so Deadly Throw hits 75% harder from Ambidextry and another 45% from Revealing Strike, so it’s actually...deadly....

REINFORCED LEATHER: Increases the armor value of your items by 25 / 50%. Weeee. Take into consideration how many classes actually care about your armor. Enhancement Shamans, Paladins and Death Knights deal large portions of magical damage, which ignores armor. Feral druid and Assassination rogues both deal large portions of DoT / Bleed damage, which ignores armor. Subtlety rogues ignore 70% of your armor during their bursts. Warriors deal such ridiculous damage that they don’t care about your 50% increased armor, and they have Colossus Smash. All caster classes ignore armor all the time. With this in mind, you realize that this is not such a good talent after all, and you’re right. If you ABSOLUTELY NEED to die slower then you could consider taking it, but overall, you should skip it.

IMPROVED GOUGE: Very powerful talent, it increases the cost / effect ratio of Gouge by several hundred %, lasting 50% longer and needing only one third of the original energy cost. My math may be horribly off but I recon that’s something near 500% more efficient. You could write a whole chapter on the multiple uses of Improved Gouge. In fact, I will later in the guide. This talent is so good that there are only a few reasons why you would NOT take it:

-You’re playing solely in random battlegrounds and you can never trust your team not to break your Gouges.

-You’re playing arenas with partners that DoT up everything and can never get a good Gouge on them.

-You don’t like to Gouge.

COMBAT POTENCY: Allows your off-hand strikes to maybe generate 15 energy. It’s quite good, it helps with the slow combo point generation and severe lack of haste on PvP gear. Take it.

BLADE TWISTING: Allows your damaging melee attacks to daze your target, slowing movement speed by 70%. The daze is undispellable, and applies at a high rate. It nearly completely eliminates the need for Crippling Poison, if not for the fact that it can’t be applied by shiving your target when you need them snared right away. Also, it’s important to know that effects such as Power word: Shield, which absorb physical damage, prevent the daze from being applied, however you can use this to your advantage as I will explain further into the guide.
Blade Twisting has some advantages and some disadvantages when compared to Crippling Poison:

Advantages:
1- It applies at a much higher rate since it procs of any and all damaging melee attacks.

2- It's undispellable.

3- Opens up your offhand for another poison.

Disadvantages:
1- It's a physical effect that can only be applied if you deal damage to your target, meaning if your hits are absorbed by a priest's shield, or mage, or other, then you can't apply the daze until the shield is broken.

2- It can't be shived onto your target for instant application to ensure your target dosen't run out of range.


Solutions? Maybe.
For the absorption shields, get your partner to help you break them ASAP so you can apply the daze faster. If not, then you should have crippling poison on your thrown weapon and can use Fan of Knives to apply it onto your target. This is also useful for that shiving problem.
But the best thing you can do if you're getting kited because you can't get that snare is to use deadly throw. It deals enough damage, thanks to Ambidextry and Revealing Strike, and combined with Restless Blades, it's not something you should feel bad about using your combo points on. 6 seconds should be more than enough to get a daze or a kidney shot on your target.
THROWING SPECIALIZATION: Allows your deadly throw to interrupt casting, this adds up to the list of control tools in the Combat arsenal by allowing you to stop cats when healers think they are out of range and safe to cast whatever they want without fear of being interrupted. With this, Ambidextry, Revealing Strike, and Restless Blades ( coming up ), Deadly Throw becomes a finisher you’re not afraid to spend your combo points on, which sort of makes up for not being able to Shiv your targets to snare them, by being able to snare them using Deadly Throw instead.

ADRENALINE RUSH: Pure epicness, do I really need to explain why you should take this?
SAVAGE COMBAT: Targets affected by your poisons take 4% more physical damage and your attack power is increased by 4%. This attack power increase stacks with Vitality’s 25% increase, so it’s bigger than a plain 4%. This is a good talent, although not primordial. It stacks up with the Eviscerate damage multipliers.

BANDIT’S GUILE: So, this talent suffers from what many of the Combat tree talents suffers from: its description is not very accurate. 3/3, it gives your SinStrikes and RevStrikes a 100% chance to grant you an evolving insight, increasing your damage. In reality, it takes any combination of four SinStrikes and / or RevStrikes to gain one level of insight, granting you 10% bonus damage, for a total of 12 Strikes to gain the full 30%. So yes, that’s quite a ramp-up time, and you need to stick to your target. It’s nice, but very situational, and it’s a little sad that you depend on this ability to be able to deal good amounts of damage.

RESTLESS BLADES: This greatly helps with mobility and damage dealing, or it does in theory anyways. Reduces the cooldown of Adrenaline Rush, Killing Spree, Sprint and Redirect by 2 seconds per combo point spent on damaging finishers. It’s very important, although it seems to be lacking a little something in PvP. The slow Combo point generation rarely allows for the good use of damaging finishers , thus not allowing this talent to see its full potential in PvP. Still, you should take it, it will come in handy especially against kiting classes where you don’t really have a choice in spending most of your combo points on Deadly Throws for interrupts and snares, thus reducing the cooldown of your Improved Sprint and working double for you.

KILLING SPREE: Kspree has lost most of its damage aspect with Cata, it no longer allows for tremendous damage like it used to dish out in WotlK. It does still serve some purposes though. While not as much as before, it still gives a certain amount of damage that, when well-placed on a target, with Bandit’s Guile, can still be deadly. Another use for it is to protect you from CC’s and Stuns. While active, you are immune to all effects which cause you to lose control of your character. Finally, it can be used as a short-range Shadowstep which can break roots and pack a punch, for mobility.
Now, let’s see some builds!

If there was a specific build I would recommend most, it would be this one:

http://www.wowhead.com/talent#fZfMffofroGobG

Glyph of Revealing Strike, Slice and Dice and Sinister Strike.
Glyph of Sprint, Blind and Blade Flurry

This build brings forth all of the control tools of Combat, while reaching into Subtlety for Elusiveness. Elusiveness reduces the cooldown on Blind, further increasing control, and on Cloak of Shadows and Vanish, for survivability. It also uses Improved Slice and Dice / Glyph of Slice and Dice to allow you to use one-point SnD’s that last for 23 seconds, so that you can spend your other hard-earned combo points on damaging finishers, getting more use out of Restless Blades.
Add in Glyph of Blade Flurry for the possibility to instantly switch to cleaving without any major drawbacks, as long as you have Slice and Dice active.



http://www.wowhead.com/talent#fcZf0fbofrRGobG

Glyph of Eviscerate, Glyph of Revealing Strike, Glyph of Sinister Strike
Glyph of Blade Flurry, Glyph of Sprint, Glyph of Garrote

This build is oriented more towards Battlegrounds, sacrificing defense in order to gain more damage while keeping all the control tools.



http://www.wowhead.com/talent#fcbbZfMfbocrRGo0h

Glyph of Adrenaline Rush, Glyph of Sinister Strike, Glyph of Revealing Strike
Glyph of Blade Flurry, Glyph of Sprint, Glyph of Garrote.

This third build sacrifices defense and control to increase damage further. As you can see the differences are very small and yet very noticeable, it all depends on what you intend to do and what you expect to get out of your spec.
If what you’re playing makes your CC’s break often, don’t spec into improved CC’s.
If what you’re doing means you won’t ever get some full Kidney Shots, then you can consider dropping Glyph of Revealing Strike.
If you’re concentrating on control more than damage, then consider dropping damage talents to pick up control talents.


GLYPHS

It seems to me Combat has the most options, not only in the talents, but also in the Glyphs, when it comes to picking the best ones.

GLYPHS – PRIME

Glyph of Killing Spree: Increases the damage of Kspree by 10%. When you take the time to line up the stars and planets to get the upmost damage out of your Killing Sprees, this glyph could make a big difference. If you’re not so fond of patiently waiting for the damage buffs to line up for the best Kspree, then it’s not for you.

Glyph of Adrenaline rush: 5 seconds more of pure awesome. There is no reason why taking this glyph could be bad unless it’s at the cost of a glyph you need more for a certain situation.

Glyph of Slice and Dice: matched with Improved Slice and Dice, it allows your 1-point SnD’s to last 23 seconds, so you can spend your other points on something else like Eviscerate. Very good, but only if you also take the talent.

Glyph of Sinister Strike: 20% chance on an extra combo point helps out for the combo point generation, unless you hate being subject to RNG. Sinister Strike is your main CP generator, so it comes in handy quite often.

Glyph of Eviscerate: Eviscerate can hit some decent numbers, but only if it crits. Combat having no +crit talents, this glyph is quite important if you really like to see big numbers pop up.

Glyph of Revealing Strike : Forgot about this one, obviously it's very important as it extends the duration of your Kidney Shot, your strongest finisher, and increases the damage of Eviscerate and Deadly Throw. The only reason NOT to have this glyph is if your partner likes to stun stuff before you and you'll never EVER get a full kidney shot on a target whatsoever.
GLYPHS – MAJOR

Glyph of Sprint: Being one of your important gap closers, you would very much like it to close the gap 30% faster, especially if you have a chance of being re-snared / rooted before you’ve reached your target. It has tactical value, very worth getting.

Glyph of Blade Flurry: Obviously important if you use BF a lot, and the opposite is also true. Take it or not accodringly.

Glyph of Gouge: I find this one rather useful. Gouging from behind to prevent it being blocked / dodged / parried, or also to CC a focus target that may just happen not to be facing you. Very useful if you're aiming for total control.

Glyph of Blind and Cloak of Shadows are two glyphs that can be beneficial to rogues of any spec. Blind is recommended for any kind of serious PvP while Cloak of Shadows is only if you really want it.

Glyph of Garrote: increases the duration of your garrote’s silence. Now this sounds nice, but consider that if you’re opening with garrote, it’s most likely that you intend to follow up with a Kidney Shot. By opening with garrote and chaining an Improved Kick at the end of your garrote’s silence, you’ve achieved the same 4.5 second duration silence on your target, and since you’re going for a Kidney Shot, kick will be off cooldown once the stun wears off, so it’s not as important as it is to the other two specs to have this glyph. However, if your goal is to CC as many enemies as possible in large group fights, like battle grounds, then this Glyph could be beneficial if you wish to save your kick for another target.


THE AMAZING IMPROVED GOUGE.

Gouge, and Improved Gouge has the obvious primary use of preventing your opponent from doing anything for 6 seconds. What exactly is this good for? Well, there’s the focus-target insta-CC option to prevent a healer or other opponent from healing your kill target or getting in your way, six seconds for such a low cost is a pretty long time.
But what else?

-Gouging before a Kidney Shot. The point of this is to prevent your Kidney Shot from being blocked / dodged / parried but, as an added bonus, it allows you to regenerate almost a full energy bar before launching the Kidney Shot, allowing you to deal a mini-burst. Not only that, but if you have Recuperate running, it gives you a total of 14.7 seconds during which the enemy cannot deal damage to you while you regenerate 20% of your HP.

-Gouging to negate negative effects or enemy buffs. Preventing your enemy from taking profit of his buffs or debuffs on you, my favorite example would be a Frost Mage: when a frost mage uses one of his Frost Novas on you, Gouge him. Both the Gouge and the Nova last 6 seconds, so while you cannot move or attack the Frost Mage, the Mage cannot move nor attack you back, not only that, but he cannot use the nova to distance himself from you, allowing you to keep your longer mobility cooldowns for later. Another example would be when a Paladin pops Wings or Hand of Freedom, Gouging him will stop him from taking profit of his abilities ( By using Dismantle, Gouge and Kick silence, you can lock down a paladin for the entire duration of his Wings ).

-Remember how I mentioned that absorb effects prevented you from dazing your opponent? Well this is how it comes back and bites them in the ass. Gouge breaks on damage. Absorb effects prevent enemies from taking damage, thus allowing you to hit them without breaking Gouge. Knowing this, you can actually open on shielded enemies with Gouge instead of Garrote, build up your five Combo points ( Gouge should break around the fourth ) and land a full Kidney Shot without having to put any bleeds on your target, that’s a lot of lockdown. Be aware of which classes / specs can use Absorb effects and know how to use it against them.

-Update: Killing Spree does not hit CC'd targets. This includes Gouge, which means if there are too many targets within range of your Killing Spree, Gouging one ( Gouge is an instant, low-cost, low-cooldown CC, nothing lost by gouging a target for a Kspree ) would remove it from the active targets within range, this can greatly help eliminate pets or other players from who you are trying to kill.

In conclusion, Gouge can be used to pool energy safely, to make sure your special abilities hit their mark, or to prevent enemies from using their abilities properly.
HOW TO KILL PEOPLE

You may have noticed so far that you have three things to keep in mind:


You have a 9 second stun waiting to be used on some poor bastard.
You have Offensive Cooldowns
You have a rotating 0-10-20-30% damage bonus over time.


Logically, you would try to time these so they coincide at the same moment, preferably at the 30% bonus damage mark. So what do you do until then?

Well... consider getting Recuperate rolling, as well as SnD to increase the damage output during the 30% phase.

If you have extra combo points then you can go for Expose Armor, buffed with Revealing Strike it will last well over a minute and if you’re not too busy with that, concentrate on the fight so something horrible doesn’t happen to you.

However, if you’re trying to control the fight, you’re gonna have to switch targets often, probably losing your Bandit’s Guile progress, or some classes simply won’t let you set up your burst, like mages. In these cases, it will be hard for you to achieve your maximum damage and sometimes you’ll have to live with using only 20% insight, or none at all, which is why this spec, in 2’s, is not optimal to be playing with a healer. In 2’s, you are better off double DPS, preferably something that doesn’t stick DoTs on everything it touches so you can profit of those sweet, sweet gouges, like a Frost mage for example.

Just making it clear: DO NOT PLAY 2'S WITH A COMBAT ROGUE / HEALER COMP.

In larger teams, just make sure people are not depending on you as the main source of DPS and everything will be fine.

An important thing to note, if I have not mentioned this before, is NOT to blow all offensive cooldowns at once. Unless you are 150% sure that the blowing of all your cooldowns will achieve victory, because if it doesn’t, you’re gonna be doing about as much damage to your enemies as a healer would once your cooldowns are done and until they come back.

Being able to reach both Elusiveness and Restless Blades, the Combat tree has the potential to have the overall shortest cooldowns, which makes sense because cooldown management is an important aspect of all trees nowadays. Not only cooldowns, but also Diminishing Returns. With so many useful abilities on short cooldowns, you need to be able to tell when you can use it and when you can’t, because you wouldn’t want your target to be immune to a gouge when you were planning on using it to escape, or have DR’s on stuns when you hit that sweet sweet 9 second Kidney shot and lose half of it.
GEARING – STATS

5% hit > Agi, after that all of Hit, Expertise, Mastery and Haste give pretty much the same bonus, extra hits on your target, and additional combat potency procs. Each have a slight variation though, hit rating ensures that you won't miss even against Night Elves. Expertise allows you to not be blocked or parried, Haste grants baseline energy regeneration, and Mastery which grants extra hits and can make Killing Spree rather dangerous.

After reading the Combat PvP guide by Fencer on the EU forums, I revised my position on haste and reforged full mastery for a test drive, it should theoretically have more risk in it's use but more bursty energy regen and damage.

Turns out, Fencer was right. After loading up to 15 mastery rating, for a 30% proc chance, I ran some BGs and found out that I completely tore everything appart. Plate wearers, healers, you name it. Of course this ability is based off RNG so there are some "slow" moments but they are immediately forgotten by the following burst of combat potency procs, big damage output and higher combo point generation.

Even though it has a chance to break Gouge, I recommend Mastery as a stat to stack.




Basically, get the 5% hit cap for PvP, then Mastery, and then some haste. ( It takes .50 mastery rating to gain 1% more proc chance, if you can't get the full 50%, might as well reforge the mastery to haste until you can get more. )
WHAT KIND OF WEAPONS TO USE
Unlike Subtlety or Assassinations who favor the use of daggers and gain great benefits from it, Combat rogues wield a slow non-dagger ( Mace, Sword, Axe, Fist weapon ), normally of 2.6 speed, in main hand in order to gain as much damage as possible from Sinister Strike, which deals mostly weapon damage and gives no bonus damage for using a dagger.

For offhand, however, you require a fast weapon, normally 1.4 speed, and since Blizzard decided to remove all non-dagger rogue offhands, you’re stuck using a dagger. The reason behind this is one of Combat’s talents, Combat Potency, which gives your offhand strikes a chance to generate 15 energy. The faster your offhand hits, the more procs you get, which helps with the combo point generation.

Killing Spree, however, deals damage with both weapons, which would suggest the use of a Slow main hand and a Slow offhand to deal the maximum amount of damage. Since using a slow offhand all the time would result in a loss of energy from Combat Potency, the logical solution would be to have a weapon swap macro included into your Killing Spree to equip a slow weapon in your offhand before casting it, then re-equipping a fast offhand once it’s done.


#Showtooltip Killing Spree
/equipslot 17 <name of slow weapon>
/cast Killing Spree

#Showtooltip Sinister strike
/startattack
/equipslot 17 <name of fast weapon>
/cast Sinister Strike

Unfortunately, the weapon swap macro resets the swing timer and makes it so you need to press the button twice before activating the ability, reducing it's capacity to be a quick response anti-CC or mobility tool.


POISONS

Blade twisting nearly completely eliminates the need for Crippling poison, allowing you to equip a utility poison in its place on your offhand.

Recommended for the control spec would be Wound Poison on main hand, Mind-Numbing poison on offhand, to pressure casters and increase your efficiency with Improved Throwing Specialization. Finally, Crippling on your thrown weapon, in case your target happens to slip away from your dazes.
Double wound poison could also work for more damage.
In no case should you use Deadly Poison, for the same reasons you should avoid Rupture and Garrote as much as possible, to make better use of Improved Gouge.

Also, it has been brought to my attention that having wound poison on your main hand may break your sap, if you're the kind of person to use a sap / garrote macro and don't want your sap breaking right away. So, in this case, you might want mind numbing on main hand and wound on offhand instead. In addition, having crippling on your thrown weapon may result in crippling poison overwriting the Deadly Throw slow, allowing your target to be dispelled and escape. It might also be favorable to NOT have crippling on your thrown weapon. The whoe logic behind it was to use Throw to slow someone when you're bing kited, but if you're down to using Throw, it's probably already too late anyways.

On your extra slow offhand, for Killing Spree, you could use Wound Poison or Instant Poison. Instant poison has a greater damage potential but wound poison has a higher proc rate. Math person once told me, with some pretty numbers, that wound poison still had the upper hand over instant poison even in these conditions, so it seems Wound poison on slow offhand is best.

As far as enchants go,
Get a DPS enchant on your MH
it ranks Ava < Hurr < Land ( worst to best )

If you use a weapon-swap for KS, consider a double dps enchant for the swapped slow OH.
On your 1.4 OH keep a weapon chain on it. Make sure to NEVER be out in the open without your weapon chain and as SOON as KS fades, swap back to your 1.4s Dagger.
Finally, a little note to any Blizzard representatives that might happen to read this:
The Combat tree is the worst of the three talent trees when it comes to rogue PvP. There are intended weaknesses in the spec, and then there are some that need to be fixed. Instead of re-writing a whole paragraph, I’ll just copy-paste one of my older ones:

How long has it been since you've faced a Combat rogue in PvP? I'm betting most of you can't even remember ever fighting one. Not only were they rare in Wrath, but their PvP capabilites have been severely reduced in Cata, leaving a spec with great theoretical potential but little practical uses. In fact, the state of Combat in PvP right now is that it's so bad that anyone who would dare try it gets shunned and spit on by every other rogue in existence. No other spec has such a small representation in any and all kinds of PvP. This is probably also why you never see PvP Combat rogues asking for buffs other than me, because there ARE no PvP Combat rogues, which in itself is pretty descriptive of the state of the spec.

So what can you ( Blizzard ) do about it? Here, let me give you some well thought-out and explained things you could implement.

Theoretically, Combat packs more control than sub does through 9 second kidney shots, longer gouges, etc.. with decent mobility from Improved Sprint, Restless Blades, Killing Spree, and low sustained damage with decent burst. It's primary weakness is it's low combo point generation speed.

I have a few changes to propose that would improve Combat's performance in PvP. The goal here is not to make it equal or better than Sub, that could lead to many balance issues and QQ, but only to raise it to a level where choosing to be Combat over Sub is an acceptable alternative, just like choosing Assassination over Sub is considerable, even though Sub is the superior spec. And please, this thread concerns Combat, so leave any opinion about how OP or UP sub might currently be at the door, it is irrelevant here.

Now here are a few reasons why Subtlety is better ( and solutions to improve):

Mobility: Improved Sprint and Restless Blades are nice, but no match for Sub's Shadowstep and Preparation.
Bursting: Adrenaline Rush and Killing Spree offer decent burst damage but their cooldowns when compared to Shadow dance are gigantic, Sub rogues can use shadowdance every minute to great effect, easily outdamaging Killing Spree.

A solution to improve on these two factors would be:

Restless Blades:

Your OFFENSIVE finishing moves reduce the cooldown on your Killing Spree, Adrenaline Rush, Sprint and Redirect by 1 / 2 seconds per combo point.


Why? Restless Blades is a great talent, however, Combat's slow PvP CP generation means you can hardly ever get off damaging finishing moves, and I don't believe this was an intended side-effect. Allowing it to work on offensive finishing moves would allow Kidney Shot, the strongest PvP finisher for Combat, and Expose Armor to also reduce the cooldowns on the abilities.
This would increase mobility slightly through Improved Sprint, while also increasing bursting capabilities with shorter cooldowns for Adrush and Kspree.
It would also increase control a little bit by allowing the rogue to Redirect more often for Kidney Shots or Deadly Throw interrupts.
Also note that neither of these finishers are used in PvE, so this change would have no effect on PvE DPS.


Another point as to why Sub is better is that Backstab crits for 15-20k generally, and it crits more often than not, while Sinister strike hits for 2-4k generally, and hardly ever crits. As it stands, I could be using the level 80 version of Sinister Strike and it's damage would be unchanged.

At level 85, I would expect it to look something a bit more like this:

Sinister Strike:

An instant strike that deals 1800 damage in addition to 250% of your normal weapon damage.


This change would give a decent boost to PvE DPS, however, knowing that from 80 to 85 it has not had much of an increase, I think this buff to Sinister Strike is needed.


UPDATE - In light of the recent ridiculous 40% buff the Hemorrage's base damage, I have lost any kind of remorse for requesting that Sinister Strike also be super buffed to 250% weapon damage + 1800 ( talented )
And last but not the least, Blizzard intended for Combat to be the toe-to-toe fighting talent tree, yet they took everything we had in Wrath that allowed us to do that ( and oh, how we did it well ) and gave us nothing in return except Reinforced Leather, which is currently a huge waste of Talent Points.

Solution? How about bringing back the cooldown reduction on Evasion that Combat rogues used to have. It would make the talent more valuable while also moving the tree more in the direction of toe-to-toe that it was supposed to be.
Either bring a flat 30 / 60 second reduction to Evasion to Reinforced Leather, or maybe be creative and give us somethin like a 1.5 / 3 second cooldown reduction every time you dodge an incoming attack?

Reinforced Leather:

Increases the armor value granted by your items by 25 / 50% and reduces the cooldown of Evasion by 1.5 / 3 seconds every time you dodge or fully resist an attack, this effect cannot happen more than once per second.


Implementing these would successfully increase Combat's PvP capabilities while leaving PvE nearly completely unaffected and also leaving it inferior to Sub, thus hardly affecting game balance.


In light of the 4.2 Cloak of shadows / Combat Readiness nerf, it might take more than just a cooldown reduction to Evasion to make Combat have enough survivability.

In my opinion, getting rid of the 25 / 50% armor and replacing it with something else would do. The armor bonus does very little anyways. Instead, why not bring back the Nerves of Steel talent? It worked beautifully.

The new Reinfocred Leather, which might be in for a name change at this point, would look like this:

Reinforced Leather:

Reduces damage taken while stunned or feared by 15 / 30% and reduces the cooldown of Evasion by 30 / 60 seconds.
To elaborate: Restless Blades currently works only with Damaging Finishers, Eviscerate, Deadly Throw, Rupture and Envenom. Due to the low combo point generation and the fact that you have to constantly refresh SnD and Recuperate, while not missing an occasion to land a Kidney Shot in PvP, it's rather hard to find spare points to spend on a Damagning finisher.

By allowing Restless Blades to work with Offensive finishers, you'd be adding two finishers to the list: Kidney Shot and Expose Armor, neither of which are ever used in PvE, but Kidney Shot is the most important finisher for a Combat rogue and Expose Armor comes in handy here and there. This way, you've changed this talent so that it benefits PvP Combat rogues as much as PvE Combat rogues without actually changing anything to the PvE Combat rogues.


The Reinforced Leather buff to reduce the cooldown to Evasion ( either through a passive 30 / 60 sec reduction or the 1.5 / 3 sec reduction per dodge ) would not affect PvE either in any significant way. The only instances where this would change something is if your tank fails to keep aggro or dies and you take it upon yourself to try to Evasion Tank, and even then, you would be dead before the talent actually brought you any profit.
On the other hand, you've now made Combat rogues better at anti-melee by making Reinforced Leather not be a total waste of Talent Points so people might spec into it. Armor increased leads to better survivability and the Evasion CD reduction leads to better anti-melee long term performance.
That WAS the original intention of Blizzard, to make Combat able to stand Toe-to-Toe with Plate classes.


As for the Sinister Strike buff, there is no way that this would not affect PvE, even though it would only add up to a small % of increase in DPS, but the fact remains that I could be using the level 80 version of Sinister Strike and it would hit the same numbers as the level 85 version, which is really troubling considering that HP pools from 80 to 85 have gone up by around 400% and will continue to rise as new gear tiers become available.
Unlike Backstab, which possess such a high weapon damage multiplier that it actually matters, or Mutilate, which Assassination rogues depend on less than they do on their poison damage, Combat's Sinister Strike is a very poor combo point builder and important part of their damage dealing.
Also, I mentioned that the Mastery, Main Gauche, will break Gouge if you're unlucky enough to have it proc then. I also hear it's quite lackluster in PvE as well. A proposition for a new Mastery, suggested by Shinoobie, would be to give us an armor penetration ability.

Since nearly all of our damage is physical, we're highly affected by enemy armor, having an ArPen mastery would greatly help in both PvE and PvP, much more than Main Gauche.
Random tricks against other classes:


A neat trick if you think a mage will fall for it and blink out of your Cheapshot, is to kick him shortly after the Cheapshot, if you specced for the blanket silence. He can't blink out of it for a while now.

Some might panic and trinket/Iceblock out of it. Others will think clearly and use pet nova on you as the CS/KS is about to end. Right there, use GOUGE.

If he Iceblocked, keep your eye on the debuff. AS SOON as it vanishes (most good mages cancel it, rather than wait for it to end so their actions arent as easily predicted), gouge him out of it. Timed right, you can have the Mage in a gouge as he blinked away.

If you have not sapped the Mage before opening, which you probably shouldn’t as combat, both Gouge and Nova will elapse and fall off at the same time. You should probably use the combo points you made up to the gouge on Recupe, but make sure you have at least one on him before he blinks to be able to interrupt anything he casts with Throwing Specialization. This is pretty much the same on all Mages, all the time, but from here on out, you improvise. It won't always go that way.

Killing Spree can be used to resist many things. If a druid happens to pop Nature’s Grasp to attempt an escape, Killing Spree will break you out of the roots and get rid of all the stacks on the druid, while applying a daze on him, (very likely) allowing you to keep beating on his head.

You can use it to immune a warrior’s Throw-down, they usually do it right after Cheap Shot is over so you can do it then. Obviously it breaks you out of a Mage’s nova’s and probably breaks his little shield (forcing Shattered Barrier and resisting it at once). It hits from behind, so any defensive abilities like Evasion or blocking/parrying cooldowns do not affect it.

SUB ROGUES: Hard match up, both Combat and Sub fight in a similar manner, that of setting up a burst timed with a Kidney shot. What’s the difference? Sub sets it up faster and can deliver more damage over a shorter amount of time via Shadowdance, which also has a shorter cooldown than either Kspree or Adrush. What’s this mean for short? They can set it up faster, use it more often, and it’s more forgiving. Combat rogues are at a disadvantage in this matchup. Good sub rogues would normally beat a Combat rogue easily. I fought some good ones and they just chewed me up, I never even got a chance to go on the offensive.

MUT ROGUES: Don’t try to out-tank them... they do more damage than you, you won’t win that way. Use your better mobility and control to keep your distance and don’t let them get all their finisher debuffs on you. Pop Cloak when you get 5 stacks of Deadly up of course, and if needed, vanish to drop Vendetta off of you.

Most people don’t know about 9 second kidney shots or don’t realize how dangerous it is, you can force a trinket with blind so you can stun them without fear of wasting your offensive cooldowns to a trinket counter attack. Kidney Shot > Blind

Warlocks, uhm, spam gouge, spam kick, piss them right the !!%# off? Last I checked, warlocks were not particulary hard for rogues to kill? Throwing Spec comes in handy when they teleport / Hand of Guldan and try to cast other such spells. I’m not sure if it was just a bug or if it can happen more often, but I once piggy-backed in a warlock’s teleport because he used it as I Killing Spree’d onto him. Ownt. Speaking of Kspree, it can be used to immune fears, if CoS and trinket are down. Always handy to be able to do that.

Healers: just don’t bother, you’re not gonna bring any decently geared and skilled healer down by yourself. If you have a partner though, your 9s stun and 3s silence will be the death of him.

Hunters: Good hunters who know how to kite and not back-pedal usually beat me. But then again, hunters were practically designed to kill rogues, so it’s no surprise. There is no specific tactic used by combat rogues that would differ from other rogues to fight hunters, except maybe hitting gouge a lot go keep him in place as much as possible.

Ret pallies: A dismantled ret pally with wings up is a mad pally. A dismantled / gouged / silenced pally with wings up is an infuriated pally. Try not to waste both Adrush and Kspree before he bubbles / LoH’s because if you do, you’ll have nothing left to burn him down with on his second HP bar. Gouge when he Hand of Freedom’s, always fun. Not going anywhere, pal.

Boomkins: Gouge barksin, and then tear him appart? You can Killing Spree the typhoon. Once again, Throwing Spec comes in handy in this matchup.

Death Knights: If they’re Blood, do like all other Melee and walk away. Frost / Unholy, set up the kidney shot burst normally while watching the battle to make sure you don’t die before you get to the kidney shot. They might use Icebound Fortitude to remove the Kidney Shot, if you have already popped Adrush, I suggest you just keep hitting him, possibly pop Evasion or Dismantle to keep him from hitting you too hard. Death Knights should be relatively easy because they will let you set up your Bandit's Guile burst perfectly and won't be able to do much to prevent you.

Spriest, a bit like warlocks, be careful of the fears and watch Dispersion, gouge it if possible. Aside from the fears, he won’t have much to keep you off him to set up the Bandit’s Guile burst properly.

Reserved.
Reserved.
Done.

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