As every rogue has realised, the game totally changed for us when 5.2 went live. We went from being the weakest melee class to suddenly finding ourselves in a very strong position with the potential to hit as hard as all the other DPS classes. With the PVE trinket from the Shado-pan Assault faction our damage is undisputedly out of control, but even with all that burst it’s as important as ever to take the right tools for the job. As the earlier post about MoP rogue talents on the site is now out of date, here’s a revised guide to the different tiers.
Despite the forum outrage at rogues being able to score kills outside of melee range, this isn’t the talent you should automatically take. For root-heavy teams (those with mages, hunters and aggressive resto shamans) it can be useful for keeping up the pressure between your dances, but it will be of little benefit when you actually use your burst. Other good uses for it would be in 2v2 when the other team has a rogue, but in 3v3 you’ll find more benefit in taking one of the other talents instead.
If you do take Shuriken Toss you might want to setup a /stopattack macro – having your auto attacks hit the guy who is kiting you is fun, but you’ll put out more pressure if you can restealth and get another opener (or three).
Marked for Death
My personal favourite for subtlety since it’s a free 5point combo you can pop during Find Weakness or Shadow Blades. Having it reset every kill lets you ramp up the damage in RBGs and 5v5. If you’re playing a dirty burst comp (perhaps with a hunter/enhancement/mage) it’s better to be able to assist your partners burst with a 50k-100k finishing move than run around throwing your shuriken, no matter how much fun the latter is. Being able to pull off a free 5CP envenom on will isn’t as good as being able to do that with an eviscerate – Marked for Death is better suited to Subtlety than Assassination
If you’re playing as Assassination (I do in AB if I know I’ll be sent to GM to 1v1 their rogue) this talent will let you turn your 4CP envenoms into 5CP envenoms without wasting any combo points. You can also line up redirects on healers and open with a stun without having to stealth, but Marked for Death lets you do this once a minute without having to risk losing your CP stack.
Prey on the Weak
Great for burst comps that rely on your partners damage and your control, especially in RBGs.
Unless you feel the need to take mind-numbing poison, this poison is also great for assisting your partners. Stun a target in a smokebomb and you can follow it up with a shiv to root them in place. The free non-DRing stun is an added bonus, just make sure you watch the procs build up so it doesn’t proc during your kidney shots. The one drawback with it is the low proc rate – the 20% chance to proc crippling poison can be pretty frustrating if your shiv is parried.
Awesome for duels or peeling your healer in 2v2 (especially with the glyph), but less useful when you add friendly DPSers to the mix. Especially mages, they get a bit stroppy when their polymorph is DR’d thanks to a gouge that broke after 0.1secs. Gouging blinks and disengages without having to worry about your energy is useful, but if you pool energy properly this won’t be a problem anyways.
Cloak and Dagger
I miss being able to shadowstep+sap on openers or shadowstep a friendly target to take a trap, but the ability to stay on your target during the dance is hugely important when you rely on your burst to score kills. You can also peel like crazy if you’re forced to use your shadowdance defensively. I use F1-F3 to change target to arena1/arena2/arena3, ctrl+F1-F3 to focus them and now I have alt+F1-F3 to cheap shot them. Cloak and Dagger is also great fun; I wish I’d been frapsing when a boomkin blew me off the edge of Dalaran Sewers during a dance, putting me into LoS of the mage on 5% health that was pillar humping me…. aerial kills should award more honor!
For Assassination rogues I see this as the better talent of the tier. Your burst will only benefit from Cloak and Dagger if you time it with vanishes/restealths which is not always possible.
Burst of Speed
An interesting choice for Temple of Kotmogu RBGs, but now it doesn’t break roots it is less appealing as a mobility talent. If the CTF change in 5.3 goes live (+30% extra damage taken by tanks with the flag) perhaps we’ll see rogues being relied on more to move the flag around. If it does, Burst of Speed might be a viable choice.
Out of the three talents here I get most usage out of the flat 30% damage reduction from Elusiveness, but I am playing both rogues as orcs with the stun resist meta gem. Keeping the glyphed 7second feint up isn’t a major issue when stuns don’t last that long. In comparison, I haven’t had much success with Cheat Death and found I couldn’t rely on it to save my life during opening burst, but that may be down to my racials/meta making stuns less of a threat. Leeching Poison stops you from taking other poisons and offers no benefit if you are stunned or CC’d so can be safely dismissed.
Relies on Shuriken Toss to be super effective, but can be used without it. I’m not a great fan of Deadly Throw but it is useful vs caster teams as a CC interrupt. You won’t shut down much burst thanks to all the instant cast abilities now in the game.
Most of the time I run with nerve strike as it’s insanely good for helping your team by shutting down the damage from enemy CDs. Even if they break your stun, they’ll still be hitting with reduced damage for 6 seconds – you can even throw in a short DR’d stun at the end of the debuff to reapply another 6 second damage penalty.
If you’re 100% certain you’ll be the kill target this can be a good choice but I’m not convinced it’s any better than nerve strike as there is a ramp-up time. If you’re in a bomb with thugcleave tunnelling you I find there’s more value in dancing defensively and nerve-strike stunning their whole team. Also remember that a lot of melee classes mix in magic damage along with their melee – DKs, rets and rogues hit very hard with magic abilities.
The decision for this tier is a no-brainer. Subterfuge gives 3secs of relative immunity on your opener (plus the ability to walk through a shitstorm of fire and AIDs to sap a healer) vs faster stealthed runspeed or the occasional low energy garrotte/cheapshot that isn’t active during shadowdance.
There’s a lot of flexibility in the rogue talent tree that means you’ll often be changing talents before fights. One spec that I haven’t taken into consideration is Combat – it’s not the most viable choice at the moment and I haven’t played it outside of a few games at the start of S12. Off the top of my head I’m guessing that it’s a spec that would really benefit from Prey on the Weak and would find shadowstep to be useful. If you’re a Combat rogue in PVP I’d be interested to hear what works for you!
If you are running different talents and strategies, post your thoughts below – it’s always great to hear from other rogues about their PVP experiences.