Combat and Subtlety buffed in 4.0.6

Rogues are doing pretty well damage-wise in the grand scheme of things.  On the day that some classes (ahem… paladins) are getting a nerf I think some people will be annoyed to see rogues getting buffed.

There is no real change to Assassination rogues.  Here’s what’s up for Combat…

  • Blade Flurry is now a toggle that can be turned off by pressing the button again. In addition, this ability no longer has a fixed duration, but will go on cooldown for 10 seconds after being canceled (similar to Stealth). In addition, Blade Flurry now reduces energy generation by 30% while active, up from 20%.
  • Main Gauche (Mastery) now provides a chance to deal an attack for 100% of main-hand damage. This attack can trigger Combat Potency.
  • Restless Blades now also reduces the cooldown of Redirect.
  • Revealing Strike now increases finisher effectiveness by 35% (45% glyphed), up from 20% (30% glyphed).
  • Vitality now increases attack power by 25%, up from 20%.

The Vitality change is a straight damage increase.

The buff to Revealing Strike is Blizzard saying “we want you to use this.”  Many rogues were simply ignoring it in their rotations.  Now it is probably too useful to ignore.

The change to Main Gauche is a nice tweak.  The complaint about the Mastery for Combat is that it procced off-hand attacks.  Since our off-hand is a fast, light-hitting weapon that made the Mastery relatively ineffective.  By changing it to proc an extra main hand attack, the value of the Mastery stat will go up for combat rogues.  According to Elitist Jerks, Mastery will be more valuable than crit for combat rogues after the patch.

The Blade Flurry change is interesting.  A semi-permanent cleave effect is good for fights with multiple adds.  I expect that I will actually use my combat off-spec in a number of situations in raids.  The catch – once you are no longer attacking multiple targets, you have to remember to toggle it off, since your energy regeneration is reduced while it is on if it is not hitting anything.


Here’s what is coming for Subtlety:

Straight buffs across the board (except the couple of token cooldown tweaks to Preparation, Elusiveness, and Shadowstep).  Since subtlety is the single least-played spec of any class in the game, I think its time to take desperate measures.

However, the rotation is still too complicated, given the movement and target switching that current raiding requires.  The buffs are nice, but not as helpful if you can’t keep all your finishers going.  If anyone plays this spec, let me know how it does after the patch.


18 Responses to “Combat and Subtlety buffed in 4.0.6”

  1. February 8, 2011 at 7:28 pm

    I’m really tempted to give subtlety a go for our next farm raid. If nothing else, it’s easy to get World of Logs records for a spec nobody plays!

  2. 3 Reigan
    February 8, 2011 at 8:27 pm

    I’ve been playin’ it a a lot pre-patch. Its a fun alternative to Assassination. I have not perfected the rotation yet, at all. Its also still as positional as ever. Assuming your tank can keep the mob stationary and you can just sit in your happy place and focus solely on your rotation (ignoring EVERYTHING else goin’ on around you) AND you’re being force fed combo points by everyone else, its awesome. That perfect setup rarely ever happens in current content though.

    I’m bettin’ on a Patchwerk type fight, Sub would clean house, but in a world where you’re target switching, tanks are constantly repositioning, and people are still gearing up, AND you’re blowing energy on abilities to try to stay alive at times, its not the optimum spec. If only we could dps while standin’ in the fire again…Maybe next content patch. 😀

  3. 4 Revolver
    February 9, 2011 at 6:05 am

    nice changed, though they are not that impressive. I never used RS but now I will. Anyone an idea where to keybind it? I think its lil hard to use it in hard fights like maloriak hardmode or rohash ..cos its only meant to use when u got 4 cps… hmm

    • February 9, 2011 at 7:52 am

      Clarify: its not *only* meant to use RS at 4 CP, but it is *optimal* to use it with 4 cp. That’s because it cannot generate more than one combo point. Your SS, when glyphed, has the potential to generate two combo points. So if you use SS with 4 combo points, and you get a proc that would have given you an extra one, then you have wasted a CP.

      I use RS. I have it keybound right below my SS. On 4 CP I just replace my next SS with RS. It doesn’t disrupt my rotation at all. That said, I haven’t tried raiding with combat spec so I don’t know well how it would play out on the various boss fights. If you are regularly doing finishers with less than 5 CP due to the fight mechanics, then you could use RS just about any time in the rotation.

  4. February 10, 2011 at 4:05 am

    Realistically, since RS starts a timer, you can pretty much hit it whenever and it procs when you hit Eviscerate, as it effects your finishing move. I played combat through HoO last night and kind of enjoyed not swapping specs for a boss fight. For the money, I still like assassination for a single target fight, though.
    On the upside, with this Blade Flurry improvement, you can hit all your CDs and Adrenaline Rush and nuke the hell out of stuff. It does make building CPs slow as bricks after that, though, even with decent haste.
    Still testing it out… we’ll see.

    • 7 chronicstar
      February 10, 2011 at 4:17 am

      Sure, you can also hit it 5 times in a row if you want. Dinaer is talking about the optimal time to use it, which is not any time, but at 4 cp.

  5. February 11, 2011 at 1:59 am

    Gotcha. *smacks self for not better reading the clarification*

  6. 9 Silentswords
    February 13, 2011 at 4:43 am

    Stupidly of me, I respec’d sub at level 30 when I got back into WoW for Cata (considering I hadn’t played in ages and Blizz had reset the talents).

    I LEVELED with sub up until where I am now, level 76, and with 4.0.6, they’ve increased Shadowstep’s cd to 24. This throws my current rotation (ahem, getting back into the terminology, is ‘rotation’ the correct word here?) way out. Not that I think my rotation is optimal, and not that I really want to change it at the moment… (because I’m terrible at adaptation to a new spec. Took me forever when I swapped to Combat WAY back and took me forever to get back into sub)

    [Stealth], [Premeditation], [Shadowstep], [Ambush], [Eviscerate], *[Hemorrhage] until 4 or 5 CP and [Eviscerate]. Repeat from *.

    I have a feeling this rotation is terrible, and I know that leveling as sub is the worst thing I can do. I only have a standard keyboard and I don’t wanna screw up my keys which I know, so the keybindings are all the standard ones…

    Anyway, normally with this rotation I can re-engage within around 15-10 seconds of [Shadowstep], which I use at the same time as [Premeditation], but now I have to wait for a longer cooldown. I know this sounds like a rant, and it probably is, and someone is gonna say that I should move on to something else… Combat for instance for my dual-spec (Which as of now is not set up as I just got back into things and am almost clueless on the new talent trees) so here are my questions:

    1) What do you think I should put as my dual-spec? I am ‘new’ in the fact that I know most of the sub abilities, but am clueless on the rest and only just got back into WoW. Any help on abilities is appreciated.

    2) What key-bindings do you recommend for a rogue (obviously) who wants to be able to use most of the abilities in a similar area, or should I stick to the 1,2,3,4 setup?

    3) Do you think that putting the cooldown for Shadowstep up to 24 is reasonable? Why?

    4} Any tips for someone getting back into the game and suddenly flying through levels like I shouldn’t be able to.

    …Wow, this comment is long. If I don’t get a reply, I don’t mind, it’s a big internet out there, and I’m sure I can find out what I need somehow. Thanks in advance 🙂

    -Silentswords, a noob in an elitist world… :S

    • February 15, 2011 at 3:49 pm

      “1) What do you think I should put as my dual-spec? I am ‘new’ in the fact that I know most of the sub abilities, but am clueless on the rest and only just got back into WoW. Any help on abilities is appreciated.”

      If you want something totally different then go with Assassination. Unlike the Sub rotation, Mutilate is as easy as pie. You might like the change of pace.

      Then again, if you are leveling then you probably would prefer Combat because of the Blade Flurry cleave. Pull several mobs, get Recuperate running and BF them all down.

      “2) What key-bindings do you recommend for a rogue (obviously) who wants to be able to use most of the abilities in a similar area, or should I stick to the 1,2,3,4 setup?”

      Totally individual preference. I use the 1,2,3,4 keys. Others don’t. I have to recommendations on this except to make sure that your most used attacks are together in one place, and that your “oh crap” buttons are together in another easily accessible place.

      “3) Do you think that putting the cooldown for Shadowstep up to 24 is reasonable? Why?”

      I haven’t played the spec enough to be sure. That looks to me like something they did just to balance out all of the buffs for PvP. That way the buffs don’t make sub rogues too OP in arenas.

      “4} Any tips for someone getting back into the game and suddenly flying through levels like I shouldn’t be able to.”

      If your goal is to get into instances and raiding, then make sure you are hitting the practice dummy now and then. You want to make sure that your rotation, no matter what your spec, will work for you.

      Also, don’t pick a fight with a Death Knight.

      Good luck!

      • 11 Silentswords
        February 18, 2011 at 11:04 pm

        Thanks for the reply Dinaer,

        I think I’m gonna go Combat for the BF sweeps on mobs. After I hit 85 I may consider re-specing to Assassination. We shall see…

        In regards to my key-binding question I recently got Bartender4, and so action bars and hotkeys aren’t as much of a problem now. I’m going to stick to the closer buttons (1,2,3,4,5) for heavily used combat, and the further ones for lesser used abilities.

        And I found out the “Also, don’t pick a fight with a Death Knight.” bit the hard way. Being ganked wasn’t fun, and neither was the repair bill. D:

        Thanks for the help!

  7. 12 DarklingThrush
    February 17, 2011 at 1:35 am

    I decided to play my first rogue as a way to explore the new worgen race and picked subtlety as being closest to how I picture werewolves: leaping from the shadows to “rip your lungs out” (eviscerate). I simply didn’t know what spec was supposed to be good or bad and went for the one that looked fun.

    All that being said, I am really enjoying it (now 85 and I-lvl 354) AND putting up very competitive PvE numbers since the patch. I lead my heroics in dps more often than not, and am holding my own in raids. The positioning and timing are major challenges, but fun ones. I am constantly disappearing on my group only to materialize somewhere else – stun locking the healer, shadow dancing with the boss… Timing Shadowdance is a critical part of generating top dps numbers: sometimes I blow it by hitting Shadowdance just as a transition phase makes it impossible to stay and ambush. I have my Ambush glyphed, however, and this helps a lot: I can chase a boss and as long as I stay within 5 yards I can really lay into them.

    I am spec’d 2/8/31, with 3 pts in Aggression and 2 in Coup de Grace. My rotation focuses on Ambush = Find Weakness (70% armor pen) and hard hitting Eviscerates (Aggression + Coup de Grace + glyph of Eviscerate); I am getting 30k crits on Eviscerates, and critting on almost all of my Ambushes. I have heard that spamming Ambush won’t work in PvE due to pulling threat off tank, but I find that as long as I open with ToT before my first Ambush, threat is not an issue. Tanks are making mega-threat these days.

    Is Subtlety the best rogue spec for PvE raids? I sure don’t know. Is it viable, and loads of fun for someone who doesn’t mind thinking and reacting fast? YES! I am having a blast.

  8. 13 DarklingThrush
    February 18, 2011 at 9:52 pm


    I am in a casual raiding guild (i.e., Kingslayers, but not Banes of the Fallen King) with two similarly geared rogues. It just so happens that we have a rogue of each spec. All three of us are putting up acceptable raid dps (typically 10-15k, depending on the fight), which supports the notion that all three specs are viable at the moment. Between the three of us, experience actually seems to be making more difference than spec. The Combat rogue has been playing his spec the longest and usually leads us in dps. My Subtlety rogue occasionally edges him out, but usually lands in second place. The Assassination rogue has the least raid experience but still manages to consistently break the 10k mark in boss fights.

    Being a poison guru still doesn’t appeal to me, regardless of whether it is considered the best spec of the moment. I am experimenting with a combat off-spec (maybe a pirate worgen? 🙂 but gee golly it feels pretty mindless. Easy enough to use, but mindless. For the moment I still have the most fun trying to squeeze the most out of Subtlety. I love being the scary monster leaping from the shadows, and enjoy the mental challenge of building the perfect storm of buffs and finishers. Now if I can just dig out another 1k dps and edge out my Combat friend…

  9. 15 Disinterested
    February 23, 2011 at 10:46 am

    I picked up a rogue for the first time post-cata, and given my playstyle, I immediately gravitated to subtlety as a spec. I didn’t know it was supposedly such a terrible leveling build. I found a rotation that worked for me in (stealth, premeditation, ambush, hemorrhage, eviscerate), and I can dispatch most mobs in just a single pass. For leveling or farming nothing beats it. I slice through mobs <= my level like butter. For PvE boss fights I often will switch to combat just because I can't stealth and it keeps me alive longer. I don't raid, so I don't have to worry about threat, and crowd-control when I need to do it is easy with gouge and blind.

  10. 17 Furrycane
    March 4, 2011 at 2:35 am

    15,388 dps on Pit Lord Argoloth (Baradin Hold) this week – enough to top the raid for 2nd of last three weeks. I-level 356 Subtlety Rogue. Maybe not leet, but solid I’d say.

    • March 4, 2011 at 10:24 am

      Nice work! Argoloth is as close to a perfect fight as you can find for that spec. Single target, no movement. If you’ve practiced your rotation and can keep it going then it can put up impressive numbers as you have demonstrated.

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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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