By Dinaer

You are a craftsman, an artist with your blades.  Your fighting style is more like a dance than an attack.  You leave your opponents stunned and bewildered in their last moments before you put them out of their misery.  You are a subtlety rogue.

You’ve leveled to 85 and geared up in heroics.  Your guild needs someone to rock the damage meters in the Cataclysm raids.  Time to step up to the plate.

Lets look at what you need to check.

#1 – Spec

You probably want to spec into something like this… 8/2/31.  There is very little flexibility in this spec.  The subtlety tree is full of talents that have a direct impact on your damage.  No fluff talents.

#2 – Gems

This spec is all about Agility.  You can ignore socket bonuses and just gem for agility unless you need certain colors to activate a meta-gem.

  • Red sockets will get the Delicate Inferno Ruby (40 Agi)
  • If you absolutely need to put a yellow gem in your gear, yellow sockets would get the Deft Ember Topaz (20 Agi/20 Haste)
  • If you absolutely need to put a blue gem in your gear, blue sockets get the Glinting Demonseye (20 Agi / 20 Hit).
  • Meta sockets – right now the gem color requirements for the metas are a bit screwy.  Once they are fixed, then you’ll want our old friend the Relentless Earthsiege Diamond.  Until they make the fix, though, you might look into having someone make you a Thundering Skyflare Diamond temporarily.

#3 – Enchants

#4 – Reforging

  • First, gem your gear.  Then check to see if you are at the specials hit cap.  That should not be a problem.
  • For subtlety rogues, where poison is not the dominant part of your damage, being expertise-capped is approximately equal in importance with being at the poison hit cap.  You can reforge mastery or crit into expertise and hit rating.  They are almost equal in value.  Mastery is of very little value in subtlety.
  • Once you are expertise-capped (781 rating without racial bonus, 691 if you have a racial expertise bonus), and at the poison hit cap, then reforge the rest of your pieces to reduce mastery and add haste

#5 – Glyphs

See this post

#6 – Consumables

#7 – Rotation

Subtlety has a pretty complex rotation.  Its made extra hard if you have to switch targets or move.  Try to keep up.

Remember that you should be getting a combo point every 2 seconds from Honor Among Thieves.

  1. Get SnD going
  2. Backstab to get a couple of combo points in addition to your HaT combo points
  3. Get Recuperate going (important – it gives energy regen)
  4. Backstab to get a couple of combo points in addition to your HaT combo points
  5. Get Rupture going
  6. Eviscerate as often as possible with the HaT points.  Backstab if you need a couple of extra points.  Eviscerate will refresh your Rupture.
  7. Refresh Recuperate as needed

Once it gets rolling its not so bad – a couple of backstabs, Evis, backstabs, Evis, refresh Recuperate.  Vanish and Ambush every time it is up to get the Find Weakness buff.  The problem is getting the rotation started, and then the big problem is if you have to switch targets and start all over again.

For those situations, there is Shadow Dance.  Hit that and spam Ambush for a solid burst of damage.

None of this makes you a good rogue.  It does, however, make you a well-prepared rogue and gives you the best chance to have a good showing in your raids.  Good luck!

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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)
July 2020
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