Envenom Basics

Warning, pre-cataclysm content detected!

This article was written before patch 4 went live and will contain information that may no longer be relevant.

Envenom vs Eviscerate

With envenom putting out massive damage in comparison to eviscerate, you may be tempted to rely entirely on envenom as your finishing move. With 100% armor mitigation you should be hitting cloth and plate targets for similar amounts, but a couple of classes have abilities which will reduce this damage. The following guide assumes 3/3pts in Vile Poisons (essential talent).

Deadly Poison Doses (DPs)

While an envenom with 5DP does more damage than it does with 1DP, the difference is not horrendous and in most cases it can still output more damage than an eviscerate. The duration of the envenom debuff is based on the number of combo points you used, rather than the number of doses, so a 5CP envenom with 1DP will give you six seconds of +15% deadly poison application. This will help you reach 5/5DP doses faster, at which point your damage will hopefully shoot through the roof.

The following tests were done on a 0-resilience, unbuffed stationary target (ok, 30mins of hitting a training dummy while I watched TV). While the numbers themselves don’t mean too much, it does show the differences between doses/attacks, and why opening with a 1DP envenom can be more beneficial than eviscerating.

Normal: 2548
Crit: 5377

Eviscerate with 3pts in Improved Eviscerate
Normal: 3058
Crit: 6452

Envenom with 1DP
Normal: 3183
Crit: 6550

Envenom with 5DP
Normal: 4314
Crit: 8904

Envenom with 5 doses of Deadly Poison, minus Nether Protection
Normal: 3020
Crit: 6232

Even with three talent points spent improving the damage, an eviscerate was not hitting harder than a 1DP envenom.

Eviscerate beats Envenom when….

Death Knight

Anti Magic Shell. Not exactly hard to miss – any target under this purple dome will take 75% less damage from your envenoms. Spamming envenoms onto the DK will cap his runic power, so either pool your energy or try another finishing move (bear in mind that a 1.2k eviscerate probably won’t stress his healer too much).

Destruction Warlocks

Despite a lot of forum posts saying the opposite, Nether Protection DOES NOT proc from your envenoms or poison applications. The only time Nether Protection could be an issue is if you have a partner casting nature spells onto the warlock (which could trigger a 30% damage reduction on envenom).


With most rogues playing with 3pts in Master Poisoner, your deadly poison needs to be reapplied every six seconds before it drops off. Combine this with their stuns, evasions plus cloak of shadow, and you’ll have problems keeping a stack alive on any decent rogue. While this DPS loss is annoying, what can be even more fatal is not being able to shiv wound/crippling poison (unless you’re playing with deadly on your main hand, which requires a 1.4speed mainhand dagger to be truely viable). Not being able to shiv wound poison onto a rogue with evasion can cancel out the dps advantage of your envenoms. If you can stunlock the rogue then deadly poison/envenoms are useful, but once the rogue leaves the stun it’s worth weapon-swapping to another offhand dagger with wound poison applied.

Appologies for the slackness with updates, the last month has been chaos with barely enough time to play. Things are quietening down now and our new 3v3 seems decent enough (despite having scary amounts of furious gear!).

About Dcruize

Rogue addict, PVP junkie, insomniac. I started playing WoW in 2006 and, after being told that 'nobody wants a rogue', tried to level a priest. I quickly realized that love and approval were a poor alternative to stealth and ambush and have been backstabbing away quite happily ever since.