Stack Your Raid Buffs

buffsDPS got you down?  Your guild can’t quite beat those pesky enrage timers?  Maybe you should check what buffs and debuffs are being used by your raid.  Rogue dps scales incredibly well with a lot of these buffs, so every one is worth having.

Lets look at what raid buffs are available that help rogue dps…

(note, wherever two or more buffs are listed together in the same paragraph, they are exclusive… you can’t have more than one of them at a time.  For example, you can’t have both Horn of Winter AND Strength of Earth Totem)

+155 Agility and Strength is a buff provided to the whole raid by a Death Knight of any spec using Horn of Winter or a Shaman using the Strength of Earth totem.  If the shaman has a talent point in Enhancing Totems (Enhancement tree) then the totem gives 178 strength and agility instead.  Most raids these days have DKs in them, and if so then Horn of Winter should be up 100% of the time.

+540 AP comes from either a warrior’s Battle Shout or a paladin’s Blessing of Might.  A Fury Warrior with Commanding Presence or a Ret Paladin with Improved Blessing of Might can give 688 AP instead.  You can’t get both.  The more powerful one with overwrite the lesser one.  This is interesting, because rogues always ask paladins for BoM, when they can get the same benefit from Battle Shout and maybe get Kings from the paladin instead.  However, warriors can only do one type of shout at a time, so if you have only one warrior your raid leader might want him/her to do Demoralizing or Commanding instead.  Also, the shouts need to be renewed more often, while the paladin blessing lasts a while.

+10% Attack Power is from three sources – a marksman hunter’s Trueshot Aura, an enchancement shaman with the Unleashed Rage talent, or a Blood DK with Abomination’s Might.  Since it is a percentage based increase, this one is better the more base AP you start with.

+3% damage from a ret paladin’s aura if he has the Sanctified Retribution talent or a BM hunter’s Ferocious Inspiration.  The hunter version only works when the pet is alive and attacking, so the ret paladin one may be more reliable in fights that are pet-unfriendly.

+3% haste comes from a moonkin with Improved Moonkin Form or a ret paladin’s aura if he has points in Swift Retribution.   Oh, we rogues love our haste.  Again – these do not stack with each other, although they do stack with Windfury.

+5% critical strike chance is provided by a feral druid’s Leader of the Pack or a fury warrior with Rampage.  The druid’s buff is always up, while the warrior’s buff only comes up when he gets a crit, so the druid’s is a little more reliable (but if your fury warrior is not getting a crit at least once every 10 seconds there is a problem).

+20% melee haste is an amazing buff that is given by a Frost DK with Improved Icy Talons or a shaman’s Windfury Totem if the shaman has points in the Improved Windfury Totem talent.  This totem is typically used by enchancement shaman, and not often used by resto or elemental shaman because they have other air totems that benefit casters. If you have a melee heavy group with no frost DK, you can try to lobby your raid leader to request it (meaning that the shaman wouldn’t be able to use Wrath of Air totem).

20% reduction in target’s armor comes from a rogue’s Expose Armor, but more commonly from a warrior’s Sunder Armor.  If you have a prot warrior tanking then they will apply Sunder as part of their threat rotation.  If your raid’s warrior is fury or arms you need to ask them if they are going to sunder.  Often they do, and its easier since they can renew it more easily than rogues.  If not, its a little tricky for rogues to work it into their rotation without too severe a dps reduction, but remember that your small sacrifice in dps will boost the rest of the physical dps in the raid.  Alternative: if you run with a BM hunter that happens to raid with a worm as a pet (I’ve never seen this), then their acid spit does the same thing, but is applied much more slowly.

5% reduction in target’s armor can be applied by a warlock’s Curse of Weakness or a feral druid’s Faerie Fire (Feral).  You’re more likely to get this from a feral druid, as warlocks can only apply one curse at a time so they might not use the Weakness one.  This effect does stack with the major reductions listed in the previous paragraph, so those two combined with some Armor Penetration rating can do some serious bypassing of armor.

+30% bleed damage is very useful for our Rupture damage.  It is applied by feral druids when they Mangle or arms warriors with Trauma.  Rogues love running with feral druids because their bleeds help us keep HfB up while their Mangle increases our damage.

+3% crit chance on the target is like the one listed a few paragraphs above, but the two effects will stack because the previous one is a buff on you, while this one is a debuff on the target.  This comes from an assassination rogue’s Master Poisoner, a ret paladin’s Heart of the Crusader, or a shaman’s Totem of Wrath.  If you’re a mutilate rogue then you probably provide this (unless you took points in Turn the Tables instead), but there are very few raids these days that don’t have a ret paladin, so its usually covered.

+4% physical damage to the target is applied by a combat rogue with Savage Combat or an arms warrior with Blood Frenzy.  If your raid has multiple rogues, its nice to have one in assassination spec while another is combat spec so that this and the previous debuffs are taken care of.  Although, as I said, the previous one is typically handled by a ret paladin.

+3% spell hit… wait, what?  Why do rogues need spell hit?  We can use it because our poisons count as spells.  If you are not at the poison hit cap (315 hit rating) then the Misery debuff from shadow priests or the Improved Faerie Fire from balance druids can give this welcome boost to your poison hit chance.

There are three raid buffs that are still unique to specific classes…

Heroism/Bloodlust has become a staple of raids.  Every raid group wants to bring a shaman for this buff, which gives 30% increase attack speed for its duration.

Blessing of Kings provides an increase of 10% to all stats, and can be given by any paladin spec.

Mark/Gift of the Wild can be applied by any spec of druid and increases all attributes by 37.


Based on all of this, the classes that seem to mesh best with rogues are ret paladins, arms warriors, and feral druids.  A ret paladin can provide five of the buffs I listed (although not all at once, BoM and BoK), plus replenishment for the casters in the raid.  An arms warrior brings four from the list, but one of them (Frenzy) we can do ourselves if we are combat spec.  A feral tank druid brings us four from the list.  An enhancement shaman can also bring us several from the list if he uses both the windfury and strength of earth totems.

This week I had the fortune to be in a raid that had just about all of these buffs covered.  That means that I had added over 200 agility, over 1400 AP, over 20% increased melee haste, 8% crit, +8% damage, +30% bleed damge, and 25% reduced armor on the target from contributions from my co-raiders.  Let me tell you, my dps totals made me a very happy rogue.

Now that you know what is out there, check your combat logs to see if you’re getting the buffs.  Do you run with an enchancement shaman?  See what totems he is using.  Running with a moonkin?  Check that he is using his Improved Faerie Fire.  DPS Warrior in your group?  Ask if he is applying Sunder Armor.

There is a nice raid buff stacking tool at MMO-Champion.  You put in the composition of your raid and it tells you which buffs are available and unavailable to your raid.

6 Responses to “Stack Your Raid Buffs”

  1. 1 Dorgol
    August 12, 2009 at 10:21 am

    You keep mentioning Feral Bear Druids, but Feral Cats also use Mangle, bleeds (Rip and Rake), and provide the same Leader of the Pack buff. They can also provide Feral Faerie Fire easily, though the bear version actually does damage.

  2. August 12, 2009 at 11:07 am

    You’re right. I’ll fix it. I guess I see so few feral cats in raids that I let my own experience through.

  3. 3 Stonedrake
    August 12, 2009 at 8:54 pm

    Most of my experience with Feral druids are bear tanks. The only time I see Cats is when one of our healers wants to try the other side of the coin and DPS a little.

  4. August 12, 2009 at 10:13 pm

    One thing I noticed: you mentioned demo shout and commanding shout as alternatives to battle, but only commanding is actually exclusive with battle. Since demo is a debuff, it doesn’t have this limitation.

    It doesn’t change the validity of your advice, but what can I say, I’m a pedant!

  5. 5 Fugee
    August 13, 2009 at 6:20 am

    Worth to note that most prot paladins have Heart of the Crusader (+3% crit) as well as Vindication (aka demoralizing shout)

  6. 6 Saniel
    August 13, 2009 at 11:52 am


    It’s true. The vast majority of raiding Feral Druids are bear tanks. Up until 3.1 it was really the only viable raid spec we had (and that wasn’t even true until some time into BC).

    I did a crazy thing and, instead of using my dual spec to try out boomkin or resto, also used it on Feral–optimized for cat. I don’t get to use it as often as I’d like in raiding because, lately, we’ve needed our other main tank (Pally) to spend more time in a healing role. When I do go cat, I can hold pace with Din on a lot of fights currently in the game. If my gear was up to par with his (I don’t go in for cat gear until all other DPS have passed on it) I could probably really give him a run for his money, even with the recent small nerf to cat damage.

    My goal in life right now is to out-dps him on Patchwerk. It may never happen. But I can dream.

    Either way, I don’t think a lot of druids (or raid teams, in general) realize how effective cat DPS has become by someone who has specced right and knows the proper attack rotations. And this is mostly because it’s really only become top-notch in the last few months.

    And since this is a Rogue blog (even though cats are damn near the same thing) that’s all the time I’ll waste talking about that. 🙂

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Classic WoW:
Dinaer - 11 Assassination Rogue
Cepheid - 13 Prot Warrior
Cartho - 11 Elemental Shaman

Retail WoW:
Dinaer - 120 Assassination Rogue (US - Sen'Jin)
Cartho - 120 Elemental Shaman (US - Quel-dorei)
Derence - 120 Prot/Ret Paladin (US - Sen'Jin)
Metius - 120 Shadow Priest (US - Sen'Jin)
Liebnitz - 120 Arcane Mage (US - Sen'Jin)
Darishin - 120 Resto/Balance Druid (US - Sen'Jin)
Fastad - 90 Subtlety Rogue (US - Sen'Jin)
August 2009
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