Poisons for PVP

A couple of people have asked about which poisons to use in PVP – here’s a quick run down on picking the right ones for your spec. Poison Proc Basics […]

A couple of people have asked about which poisons to use in PVP – here’s a quick run down on picking the right ones for your spec.

Poison Proc Basics

Your poisons can be split into two categories depending on how their proc mechanic. Crippling, mind-numbing and deadly poisons have a %chance to proc on all your hits. Instant and wound are limited to the number of times a minute they can proc (PPM) and are normalized around a 1.4 speed weapon. With a typical 1.8 speed dagger, Instant poison will proc around 25% of the time from auto-attacks alone and wound should be proccing 65% of the time. For this reason, you want to put the %chance poisons on a fast weapon and the PPM poisons on a slow weapon (the slower the weapon, the higher the chance of applying poison with hemo/mutilate/etc).


Unless you’re playing with a frost mage and have the Waylay talent, it’s best to use crippling on your offhand and either crippling, mind-numbing or wound poison on your mainhand.
Most subtlety rogues I’ve spoken to are finding either mind-numbing/crippling or crippling/crippling the most reliable choice in PVP, with wound/crippling being viable for duels. Running with double crippling may sound like overkill, but you’re almost guaranteeing that your target will be waddling around, unable to break away and get too far from you. As your role in the team is to provide massive control with the occasional burst, the lack of sustained damage from wound procs shouldn’t cause you too many problems.


There’s not much debate about which poisons to use with an assassination spec – with the buff from Improved Poisons instant poison outdamages wound poison even when taking the 10% MS into consideration. Damage wise, the obvious choice is to run with instant on your mainhand and deadly on the offhand. The downside to this is that you won’t be able to shiv instant poison onto your target (which would then proc crippling poison through Deadly Brew).

The alternative is to have deadly poison on your MH dagger, but this would result in fewer deadly poison procs. What could work well is to get the best of both worlds via a 1.4speed mainhand dagger from PVE. This would let you play with deadly/instant, giving a normal rate of deadly procs plus the ability to shiv crippling poison. The reduction in mainhand mutilate damage isn’t worth worrying about as it no longer forms a large part of our damage output. I’d love to test this out, but I won’t be able to unless Blizzard make the PVP shivs usable in either hand. I’m not even sure if there are any PVE MH 1.4 daggers available yet…

Thrown Weapons

Being able to apply poisons to a thrown weapon is a pretty nice change to the rogue class, especially for assassination specs. As subtlety, crippling or mind-numbing are the usual choices. If you don’t have mind-numbing on your mainhand, you can distribute it via a well-timed Fan of Knives.

For assassination, mind-numbing is a strong choice for arenas and rated BGs. Another alternative is to put deadly poison onto your thrown weapon. FoKing in BGs and Tol Barad can be insanely powerful – thanks to Vile Poisons I’ve seen deadly poison hitting for a combined total of 60000 damage every tick.

Season Progress

On a personal note, so far this has been the most disasterous start to a season we’ve had yet – our 3s MMR hasn’t gone past 1.9k yet due to combinations of really bad target calls, over-aggresive playstyle and awful connection problems (last night our warlock had DCs in exactly half the games we played – we clawed a few wins back thanks to Blizz letting him rejoin, but meh!). We’ve played multiple chars together for a long time so we’re far from giving up – we’ll get there, it’s just pretty frustrating at the moment! Resto-druid/affliction/assassination seems to have potential and I can see it becomming pretty strong as Cata progresses.

Oh totally unrelated but easily my ‘Tip of the Week’ – don’t try and clear your AFK flag while waiting for the gates to open – being teleported back to Orgrimmar will affect your dps/control and may cause Skype to hurt your ears.

Additionally, if anyone complains to you about recuperate being overpowered (yes it is), the perfect answer I’ve come up with for comedy value is – “It’s not overpowered, you have to remember to use it”. It gets interesting reactions…

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.