Mastery is valuable for Assassination Rogues

When the Mastery bonuses were first revealed months ago, collectively rogues responded with a resounding “meh.”  We know that Main Gauche for combat spec has been criticized for its odd weapon speed issues, and Executioner for subtlety rogues, while OK, is just a flat damage increase and so it wasn’t terribly exciting.

But the Potent Poisons for Assassination rogues was originally written off as a waste.  I remember when reforging was added in patch 4.0.1 and we were tweaking our gear, the general advice from theorycrafters was to ignore mastery.  I reforged all of my gear to haste at that time.

However, in patch 4.0.3a Potent Poisons was hotfixed so that it boosted the damage of Envenom – the key finisher of the Assassination spec.  Suddenly, everything changed.

Agility is still our #1 stat by a long shot.  Now, according to the folks at Elitist Jerks, assuming you are at the poison hit cap then Mastery comes in as the next best stat, a little more important than Haste.

Crit falls pretty low on the assassination scale of importance.  That’s because our poison and envenom are spell damage which crits for 150% damage instead of physical melee which crits for 200% damage.

As all you assassination rogues are hitting level 85, upgrading your gear in heroics, and getting raid-ready.  Keep this in mind.

  • Agility is by far the most important stat on gear.  One point of agility is worth almost twice as much to your dps as one point of mastery or haste.  Given a choice between two pieces of gear, the one with higher agility will almost always be your better option.
  • Second important stat:  Make sure you are at the poison hit cap.  Gem and reforge to get that if you have to.
  • After you are at the poison hit cap and you have maximized your agility, you’ll want to gem for more agility.
  • Finally, you’ll want to reforge your gear.  Reforge away from crit into mastery or haste.  Mastery is slightly more valuable than haste, but they are pretty close.

I expect that there will be really good spreadsheets and other tools available soon to help us with our gear optimization.  I know there are some out there now but they are still in the testing and development stage so I won’t link to them yet.


14 Responses to “Mastery is valuable for Assassination Rogues”

  1. 1 Luminance
    December 21, 2010 at 3:51 pm

    Very good info. Happy that ppl take time to inform others. Really appreciate it.

    A beginning rogue from ghostlands,


  2. 2 Trisomy21
    December 23, 2010 at 1:11 am

    What’s the Mastery cap? Or is there one?

    • December 23, 2010 at 8:11 am

      Since each point in Mastery adds a percentage to your special ability (Potent Poisons, Main Gauche, etc…) I’d say that the cap would be when that ability reaches 100%.

      For Combat, for example, the Mastery gives a 16% chance to proc an additional off-hand attack. Each point of Mastery increases that chance by 2%. So, if you had 42 points of Mastery then your chance to proc the off-hand attack would be 100%. To have 42 points of Mastery you would need 7530 mastery rating. I think we’re not going to have to worry about the cap…

      On the other hand, Potent Poisons gives increased damage per point of Mastery. I’d say that there would be no cap on that.

      This is probably worth an entire post. Thanks for the question!

      • 4 Become
        January 27, 2011 at 12:39 am

        There would almost certainly be diminishing returns when you get high end, cap doesnt necesarilly mean the point at which it goes no higher, it means the point at which it is no longer viable to keep stacking because each point becomes less and less effective and would better allocated to another stat

  3. 5 Trisomy21
    December 24, 2010 at 2:07 am

    Great, that’s kind of what I figured as it continues to go up as I build mastery. Though you never know with Blizzard, they just might cap it and force us to reforge lol. Thanks for the reply.

  4. 6 Keevan Sligh
    January 3, 2011 at 8:32 pm

    My only concern is the number of bosses/mobs in cata that are immune to poison.
    I see a LOT of “immune” flashing by when I’m playing my rogue. Rather frustrating that a fair number of the elementals we’re fighting just shrug off our bonus

    • January 4, 2011 at 2:02 am

      Honestly, I haven’t noticed that too much. I really only concern myself with bosses in instances, though. As long as they aren’t immune, then I’m OK.

    • 8 Hraklea
      January 11, 2011 at 11:28 am

      These “immunes” you see might be because bosses are immunes to crippling poison, which procs passively from that talent that I forgot the name XD.
      I ran all heroics and I don’t remember to see anyboss immune to Deadly Poison or Envenom.

      • 9 Lexaria
        January 14, 2011 at 1:55 am

        hraklea is correct, no bosses are immune to poison that would be very unfair to rogues, just watch your recount and it’ll tell you if your poisons are working or not

  5. 10 Dude
    January 17, 2011 at 11:53 am

    i’ve also read ur post about the hit cap,
    now i know where to put my gems and such. do we need to consider expertise as a factor?
    like other melee dualweilding we need exp too right?

    • January 19, 2011 at 9:48 am

      The dual wielding only impacts hit, not expertise.

      For assassination rogues, mastery and haste give us more dps than expertise. Sure, you want expertise but don’t gem or reforge for it.

      Since combat currently doesn’t value mastery, expertise gets a bit more attention in that spec.

      Still you’ll mostly be gemming for hit until you are at the poison cap, and then for agility more than anything else.

  6. 12 Chelrie
    July 4, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    I have trouble with energy regen — very tired of hearing “i don’t have enough energy” wondering what % I should be at for haste as an assassination rogue.

    • July 5, 2011 at 1:40 pm

      I have never paid that close attention to my actual regen numbers. I do know that, as assassination, if I don’t have Rupture up then I get starved for energy. Is your Rupture up at close to 100% of the time?

      Also, for a quick burst of energy use Vanish. That will give you the Overkill buff for 20 seconds and improve your energy regen.

  7. 14 john maier
    January 21, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    id say about 1k min for haste and then focus all other reforging to mastery my dps is high as an assassination rogue and my expertise is only 6 lol because our poison dots give us a better chance not to be dodged as long as rupture is in your rotation you don’t need expertise at all

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