Rogue DPS: The Assassination Experiment

I have always been a Combat Rogue.  Always.  Swords were my weapon of choice, ever since the day my brother ran me through Deadmines and got me a Cruel Barb (next day I had 2).  I only dabbled in fists with the 105 Badge Main hand before the expansion.  But that was then….

….This is now.

A friend of mine has been leveling his blacksmithing, so I received a thrown weapon, and dagger in the mail.  *GaspA Dagger?!?!  Samuel does not use those puny half-swords!  But I had been reading that Blizzard was trying to get daggers back into the hands of rogues, so I kept an open mind.  When I hit 76, I checked the auction house for a main hand, Fully thinking that I wouldn’t want to pay the outrageous amount of gold it would cost.  However, upon checking the ah, I found a main hand for 150g; since I had already made 200g in auctions, I went ahead and bought it.

At first I tried to use my Combat spec with the daggers.  It was epic fail.  While my attack speed was way up, Sinister Strike and Eviscerate are based on weapon damage, and don’t hit anywhere near as hard with daggers.  So I looked for a cookie cutter Assassination spec on the Internet, and headed to respec.  Normally, I read up on these things and study all of the talents in a tree before I make a sweeping change, but I decided that since I was leveling, I didn’t want to take the time to really read into it.  This was not a smart idea.

At first I didn’t really like the spec.  I felt that it was inferior to combat in every way.  That was mainly becuase I didn’t know how to properly play it.  Initially, I was opening with either Ambush or Cheap Shot, followed by Mutilate and eventually Eviscerate.  There’s nothing really wrong with that plan, and as long as some other things are taken care of, that’s pretty much the quickest way to dispatch of a mob.

There’s a few things missing from the pattern though.  Since I’ve never played as an Assassination Rogue, I’ve only worried about poison for raids, and maybe instances.  I obviously didn’t catch the 40% Increase in damage mutilate gets on a poisoned target.  I’ve since fixed that issue, and Mutilate is hitting much harder now.  Another thing that I failed to see at first is that Hunger for Blood is not a 3% damage increase on a cooldown.  It stacks 3 times, and it’s not only possible, but easy to keep it up at all times.  Again, had I spent 10 minutes researching or looking at the tree, I would have seen this.

The best thing about the Assassination tree now is that your Eviscerates and Envenoms will refresh your Slice and Dice to its max 5 point length.  As long as Slice and Dice is up, either of those moves will refresh it to 26 seconds, even if the finisher was only a 1 point move.  Once you get Slice and Dice up, if you’re able to stay on the mob, you won’t have to worry about refreshing it.  This is really cool while soloing.

– What I’ve learned –

Combat is a better soloing spec that Assassination, mainly because it allows you to hit multiple targets at the same time.  Until fan of knives at 80, there’s no multi target ability for an Assassination Rogue.

Assassination is just as good, if not better than Combat on a single target.

Assassination requires more buttons to press than Combat, and feels more fun than spamming Sinister Strike.

– Sam

6 Responses to Rogue DPS: The Assassination Experiment

  1. azande says:

    You didn’t mention what daggers you are using at the moment but can I suggest 2 Saronite Shiv? I’ve been using them since I dinged 76 and they are extremely good. Grats for making the jump to Mutilate 🙂

  2. Dinaer says:

    I agree with your assessment. My experiment between Combat and Assassination led to the same conclusion. I’ll go back to Mutilate when I am raiding for the superior single-target dps. But while I am leveling I switched back to Combat (still with daggers, though).

  3. samueltempus says:

    As far as my weapons are concerned:

    I am currently using the Saronite shiv in the offhand, and I’ve got the reward dagger from Ring of Blood 2 in my mainhand. Both have the +50 attack power enchant, as it’s cheap and helped a friend level their enchanting. I thought about trying two slow daggers for mutilate, but the stats on the Saronite Shiv are too good to give up. Before I did RoB2, I had the other Saronite Dagger as my main hand.

    As far as leveling is concerned:

    Assassination is doable as a leveling spec, but you have to get creative at times to avoid pulling more than one mob at a time. Being able to keep Slice and Dice up at all times with Eviscerate and Envenom, as well as Hunger for Blood really helps.

    Since I’ve never really played assassination before, I will probably stick it out for the rest of leveling, I need less than 10% to hit 78, so that will give me 4 levels of experience before Naxx. It’ll be easier to lead raids if I’m not fidgeting with rotations, etc.

    My grand scheme for raids is to dual spec Assassination for bosses, and Combat for trash. I really do miss Adrenaline Rush/Blade Flurry.

  4. Umphreak says:

    I faced the same thing as you… I was combat until 70 and got quickly bored of spamming SS and Eviscerate, so i went to assassination. Nevertheless, I find it a lot more fun and more “roguie” than combat. The DPS that comes with it is’nt to bad either.

  5. Celawyn says:

    Sam said:

    “Assassination is doable as a leveling spec, but you have to get CREATIVE at times to avoid pulling more than one mob at a time. ”


    I think you hit it on the head there, and that’s the main reason I’m sticking with assassin as well for leveling. I am currently a whopping level 24 BE rogue, and one of the things that I dig about playing my assassination rogue, is it beats the usual humdrum of Paladin run in, consecrate, and tear down.

    I find that with Cel, I have to actually think about the encounters I come across, as alot of the quests involve areas with high pats, and groups of mobs. It’s enjoyable to me, to have to figure out, how I’m going to get one mob on their lonesome, when you have three who just stand there.

    The other day, I did “Guns of the North”, which for the first time I really got a kick out of, because I infilitrated the fort, took out all three leader mobs, and their side kicks (used sap on the leaders, took out the side kicks, then went back to the leaders), with no one the wiser that I was there, until I did the escort quest back to ratchet. Ofcourse during that escort is when I picked up my 10 medals needed to finish “Guns of the North.”

    I love the creativity, and just say that in the end, Assassin rogue feels rogue. We have no steel for protection, and we have “half swords”, that make it so we have to get up close and personal, and it makes for a very fun and exciting game.

    Love the blog,


  6. demon says:

    i noticed a big diff in swiching form combat to assassination at 1st i was combat to quest but at 75ish i swiched assassination and noticed that more moves instead of jsut one (boring) >.> and it good dps.- ive also heard that its good for PvE

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