Mutilate vs Combat in WotLK

12/1 Update:  this post is from back in beta… things have changed since then and some of the things I tried in beta are now out of date.  If you have found this post through a search engine, please refer to a more recent analysis of Mutilate.

This weekend I played around in the beta a bit. I switched from Combat Daggers to Mutilate to compare how they played. I haven’t tried a Subtlety build yet.

First, I need to say that attacking the training dummies is a load of fun. If you haven’t seen them – there are dummies you can beat up on at level 70, level 80, and level 80 elite so you can see what your dps would be like against a variety of foes. I played around on the ones in Stormwind for about a half hour.


The Combat Daggers build played very much like it does now. I used a pretty typical attack rotation that kept SnD up, lots of Backstabs, and Rupture as my main finisher.

I had a hard time testing Killing Spree on the target dummies. When I would use it, I would jump from one dummy to the next. It was very jarring. When it ended, I had to stand there for a second and figure out which dummy I was now standing behind. I’m sure that it would be great on an AoE pull, but I found it to be disorienting. It seems odd to give up control of your character, even for a few seconds.

Also, I don’t think that Prey on the Weak was up while I was on the practice dummies since they never actually lose health. So my dps probably should have been a bit higher than it was. In actual combat, it’s up almost all of the time.

I felt like my dps was a bit higher that in live WoW due to the new talents that increased my AP and damage like the 5-pt Aggression and Savage Combat. Still, it felt just like playing Combat Daggers now.


The new Assassination tree talents were interesting. I found it hard to weave them all together in a good rotation at first because there are so many that need to be used.

The Mutilate build played differently, even from the current live version. First, Mutilate no longer requires you to be behind your opponent. So for a dagger rogue using Mutilate as the main attack and Envenom as a finisher there is no more stunning and running around behind a mob. You can just fight face-to-face and use all your attacks. This causes an obvious increase in dps because there is no time wasted positioning yourself.

Envenom worked nicely as a finisher. My poisons stacked very quickly due to the increased application chance in beta. With the fast combo point generation of the Assassination tree I was able to get off 5-point Envenoms routinely in a regular rotation. Since the talent Cut to the Chase lets your Envenom refresh your SnD, that was one less thing to worry about. I did find that my SnD dropped off occasionally , so obviously I wasn’t using an ideal rotation.

I did have trouble figuring the best way to weave Hunger for Blood in there. Its a nice talent, even though the “remove bleed” effect is kind of pointless in PvE, and it stacks. But at 30 energy per use it slowed down my combo point generation if I tried to get it up to a three stack.

Even without an ideal rotation my Assassination dps was at least as good as my Combat build, if not a little better. I’ve been running around Northrend questing with the Mutilate build and my damage is awesome. I do miss Blade Flurry when I have to pull multiple mobs, so I am sapping more and being careful with my pulls. Since it doesn’t require positioning, it seems to be the way for a dagger rogue to go when soloing. In a raid situation it seems like the two builds will be very comparable in damage. Respecs are only 1 copper in beta, I’ll do some more research.

Edit: I realized after I posted this that I was testing Mutilate while still using the fast off-hand weapon that I equip for the Combat Daggers build. Since Mutilate does better with a slow off-hand, it is possible that my dps could have been even higher with the appropriate weapon equipped.


8 Responses to “Mutilate vs Combat in WotLK”

  1. October 2, 2008 at 9:12 pm

    “I’m sure that it would be great on an AoE pull, but I found it to be disorienting.”

    Actually, I don’t know if you can consider KS to be aoe – it does the same amount of damage whether there is one target or five, the only difference is how the damage is spread out. Depending on threat levels, it could actually be a liability in a multi-mob situation. I agree about the disorienting effect, though I suppose that means in pvp it will have a similar effect on your opponents :>

    I haven’t tried combat daggers on the PTR myself, but I’ve heard the cycles are bit more flexible now thanks to increased snd and rupture uptime (due to the two glyphs for those abilities) and much better energy regeneration thanks to the new Vitality. It’s a bit disappointing that the backstab glyph isn’t really useful in raids. And like you say, it’s a bit disappointing that the playstyle hasn’t changed too much from live.

    What was the mutilate cycle you were using?

  2. October 3, 2008 at 10:39 am

    I wasn’t trying a specific cycle. It was a bit fluid. I was trying to wait until both I had a 5-stack of poison and 5 combo points before hitting Envenom. Since the poison application is a little random, its hard to have a set cycle with that. Sometimes waiting for the poison to stack would result in my SnD to drop since I didn’t hit an Envenom in time for Cut to the Chase to refresh it.

    Some theorycrafter will have to figure out the point when/if waiting for that extra poison to stack for Envenom is worth letting SnD drop for a moment.

    I also realized afterward that I now need to get a slow off-hand weapon. I was sill using the fast off-hand that I equip for my Combat build. So my dps might have been even higher if I had the right weapons. Editing the post to say that.

  3. 3 Rochmoninoff
    October 8, 2008 at 1:30 pm

    I’m a “late adopter” patiently waiting for the patches/expansion release rather than exploring the PTR, but I’m also an avid reader of Elitist Jerks.

    They theorycraft (and have tested extensively via training dummies) that fast daggers are best for Mutilate due to the huge synergy between assasination poison talents and the new poison-scales-with-AP change.
    In fact they lament that there are not enough fast daggers yet in WotLK.

    Other things:
    If you have 1 fast/1 slow put IP on fast, DP on slow (reversal of past practice)

    Envenom when you have 4+ dots

    with both rupture & snd glyphs its possible to keep snd, hunger for blood up 100%rupture nearly 100% but the rotation continuously changes (not really a “rotation” at all).

    For lvl 70, 51/5/5 is the “best” spec, but 5/51/5 is very close.

  4. 4 chibunda
    October 13, 2008 at 2:59 am

    Hello thanks for the info

    i still prefer combat dagger, backstab is the soul of the rogue

    what is for you the best template for combat daggers for WOTLK ?

  5. 5 Matt
    December 2, 2008 at 8:48 am

    Dinaer, I am very tired but quickly read this first Dropping SnD is the worst thing u can do when you can get it back to full duration for just one finisher regardless of how many combo points. if u are doing 5 cp Envenoms you are crazy well a little Mut doesnt work the same as combat and shouldnt be treated the same. for example you open on ur target and use ur first 5 point finisher now odds are u are going to get a free combo point and 25 energy. therefore more then often ur starting ur next rotation with 1 cp already so you are waiting for ur posion debuff before re casting mutilate and when u do use mut i personally have around 45% crit with talents Seal fate gives me 100% chance to add another cp so thats 1 + 2 cp’s for mut and since it does 2 attacks both 45% crit that gives a very high chance to leave you on 4 cp’s wasting energy on a 5th is just crazy. Secondly mate their are very many sources that say OH wep speed is not important for Mut dmg, yes u will get smaller yellow hits cos of the smaller dmg but the posion proc actually makes up for it and now it is advised that all mut rogues use a fast MH too due to the massive increase in posion dmg and proc compared to melee dmg, also i believe they increase raid bosses armour by 10k so even more reasons to use posion based attacks i havent seen any proper spreadsheets but i tested on heroic dummy and yes 2 faster 1.3 speed daggers do more dps then 2 slower ones

  6. 6 Gogoroiu
    May 14, 2010 at 7:16 am

    I have to agree with Matt, but i allso want to add the fact that Focused Attacks talent gives you 2 energy for all your critts… That means, the mannyer critts, the more extra energy available for the rest of your abilities… All in all, i guess that the faster the weapons you have, you get more poison procs and more energy recived from the high number of critts… Sorry for the bad english and i hope you folks get my point.

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Dinaer - 100 Assassination Rogue (US - Sen'Jin)
Derence - 92 Prot/Ret Paladin (US - Sen'Jin)
Metius - 91 Shadow Priest (US - Sen'Jin)
Liebnitz - 100 Arcane Mage (US - Sen'Jin)
Fastad - 90 Subtlety Rogue (US - Sen'Jin)
Darishin - 100 Resto/Balance Druid (US - Sen'Jin)
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