Rogue: How to Spec and Play Combat

*** Updated for 3.3 ***

Since 3.1 was released, Combat became a truly viable spec for raiding.  In subsequent patches, it has come very close to Assassination in single target encounters, and is considered by many to be the best Rogue spec for multi target and movement fights.  From what I’ve heard and read, most guilds that raid 3 Rogues in a 25 man, usually take 2 Combat Rogues and 1 Assassination Rogue.  This is likely due to the extra versatility that Combat brings to the table via on demand burst.

Today, I’m going to break down a Ruptureless Combat spec, and discuss how to play it.  Combat specs are extremely dependant on which weapons you use.  I’m currently using a  pair of axes, but you can use Fists, Swords or Maces as well.  While you can mix and match, using two weapons from the same Weapon Specialization is the best way to go.

Please note that while you may be able a few hundred more DPS with Rupture, I haven’t tested it personally, and there’s still a debate going on over at Elitist Jerks as to what talents  make the absolute best spec for using Rupture with Combat.  If you’re looking to up your game from 11k DPS to 11.2k DPS, take a look over there.  I’ll update the guide again when a consensus has been reached as to what makes the “best” spec

– How to: Combat Spec –

We’re going to build a 20/51/0 Ruptureless Combat Spec.  This Spec is designed with pure damage dealing in mind, and has little in the way of utility.  You’ll notice that I’m going to leave 5 points in the Combat Tree unaccounted for.  These are meant for your specific Weapon Specialization, and will be indented with three asterisks (***).  Note that of all of these, Hack and Slash is considered the best.

Combat Tree (51)

Tier 1

5/5 Dual Wield Specialization – This talent increases your offhand damage 2% per talent point, for a total 10% increase.  It’s also a prerequisite for Close Quarters Combat

2/2 Improved Sinister Strike – This will reduce the cost of your Sinister Strikes by 5 Energy.  You will be using Sinister Strike hundreds of times on boss fights, so the energy adds up quickly.

Tier 2

2/2 Improved Slice and Dice – Increases your Slice and Dice duration by 50%.  This ability should be up at all times, so extending its lifespan is a must.

5 /5 Precision – Increases your hit chance by 5%.  Dual wielding carries with it a huge hit penalty; every PvE Rogue should have this, although some specs can live without all 5 points.

Tier 3

1/2 Endurance –This will give you a bit more Stamina and slightly lower your cooldowns on Sprint and Evasion.

*** 5/5 Close Quarters Combat– Take this if you’re using fist weapons, as this will increase your Crit chance by 5%.

Tier 4

5/5 Aggression– This talent increases your Sinsiter Strike, Backstab, and Eviscerate  damage by 15%.  Another boost to Sinister Strike, which you will be using often, as well as Eviscerate.

3/3 Lightning Reflexes –  This provides 6% Dodge and 10% Melee Haste.  Hopefully you won’t be needing the dodge, but the haste should come in very handy for a nice DPS boost.

Tier 5

*** 5/5 Hack and Slash – Take this if you use Swords or Axes; it will give you a 5% chance to gain an extra attack with your swords whenever they hit.

*** 5/5 Mace Specialization –  If you’re using maces, take this; It will allow you to ignore 15% of your opponent’s armor.

1/1 Blade Flurry– 20% increased attack speed, and your attacks will hit and additional nearby enemy while activated, for 15 seconds.  Multi target DPS and faster attack speed on a 2 minute cooldown, you’d be hard pressed to find a Combat Rogue skipping this talent.

Tier 6

 2/2 Weapon Expertise – Increases your Expertise by 10.  That’s 10 skill (the cap is 26), that you don’t have to get from stacking expertise rating.

2/2 Blade Twisting– Increases Backstab and Sinister Strike Damage by 10%, and gives your melee attacks a 10% chance to daze the target for 8 secs.  The daze effect and Backstab damage are nice, but the reason for picking this up is Sinister Strike damage bonus.

Tier 7

 3/3 Vitality– Increases your Energy regeneration rate by 25%.  Faster regen equals more energy to use sooner.

1/1 Adrenaline Rush– Increases your Energy regeneration rate by 100% for 15 sec.  Even more Energy regen on a 3 minute cooldown; another talent Combat Rogues do not skip.

Tier 8

5/5 Combat Potency– Your successful off-hand auto attacks have a 20% chance to generate 15 Energy.  This is why we took a sword offhand and Sword Specialization; another talent that keeps feeding our energy machine.

Tier 9

1/1 Surprise Attacks– 10% increased damage to Sinister Strike, Backstab, Shiv, Hemorrhage and Gouge, as well as removing the chance that your finishing  moves can be dodged.  Another boost to our damage output.

2/2 Savage Combat – Increases your attack power by 4% and all Physical damage caused to poisoned targets is increase by 2%.  This is not only a nice buff to attack power, but also a 2% buff to all group/raid members doing physical damage to poisoned targets.

Tier 10

 5/5 Prey on the Weak – Critical strike damage increased by 20% on targets with less health % than you.  If you can keep your health % above the boss for  a whole fight, you can have this bonus the whole time.

Tier 11

1/1 Killing Spree– Step through the shadows from enemy to enemy within 10 yards, attacking an enemy within 10 yards every 0.5 sec with both weapons until 5 assaults are made.  Can hit the same target multiple times, but cannot hit invisible or stealthed targets.  A good solid AoE ability, or single target damage ability, but with a 2 minute cooldown.  It is best used with Slice and Dice up and Blade flurry popped.

Assassination Tree (20)

5/5 Malice – Increases your critical strike chance by 5%.  An easy 5% crit; no serious rogue specs of any spec skip this talent.

3/3 Improved Eviscerate– Increases the damage of your Eviscerates by 20%

2/3 Ruthelessness – This will give you a 40% chance to generate a combo point when you use a finisher, such as Slice and Dice and Eviscerate.

5/5 Lethality – Increases non-stealth combo moves by30%.  For us, this means Sinister Strike gets a 30% bonus.

1/3 Vile Poisons – This will give you a 7%  damage buff to Envenom and poisons, as well as making DoT poisons 10% harder to dispell.  We won’t be using Envenom in this build, but the 7% poison buff is nice.

4/5  Improved Poisons – This talent will up the frequency of Deadly Poison procs by 16% and Instant Poison procs by 40%.  Because of how Deadly Poison works, the 16% increase in Deadly Poison procs will actually increase the Instant Poison procs even more.  The result: better single target damage.

Subtlety (0)

Nope, no points here. 


How to play this spec:

Assuming perfect conditions (stationary mob with enough health) the following rotation will produce very good DPS.

  1. Sinister Strike to 2 combo points
  2. Slice and Dice
  3. Sinister Strike to 5 combo points
  4. Eviscerate
  5. Repeat

It’s kinda boring, but that’s it.  To be honest, the real fun in Combat comes from the cooldowns, and popping them at jus the right time.  If Slice and Dice is dropping, you might consider getting three combo points before using it.

Other abilities and Glyphs:

Killing spree should be used when it is available, and if possible at the same time as Slice and Dice / Blade Flurry.  Use Tricks of the Trade whenever it’s up if you have the 2 piece T10 bonus for the extra energy.   Use Adrenaline Rush as often as possible, unless you need to save it for on demand burst. 

I use the following Glyphs with this setup:

  • Glyph of Eviscerate (10% extra Crit chance)
  • Sinister Strike (SS crits have a 50% chance to generate a combo point)
  • Killing Spree (reduces cooldown by 45 seconds)


Combat gives you more options than Assassination, and because of this, it will produce greater DPS on multi target fights.  Also, you can decide when to pop the numerous cooldowns available to combat, so it’s very effective in fights where specific adds have to be targeted quickly and dispatched of as soon as possible.  It’s hard to call one spec better than the other, but for sure Combat has many advantages as a spec.

– Sam

139 Responses to Rogue: How to Spec and Play Combat

  1. Whitejack says:

    Thanks alot 🙂
    Really helpfull will try it out when server is back online!



  2. Evos says:

    okay, are you serious, im pretty sure this is the most fail rotation if it can even be called one. Simply spamming buttons is not a dps rotation, its called lack of intelligence and the inability to thinkof a remotley intelligent rotation, obviously you dont know anything about melee DPS so i suggest you roll a hunter where all you are required to do is to bind every key to steady shot and face roll.

    • Mekhtah says:

      YOU Obviously don’t play Rogue. Rogue is the Melee hunter. We don’t need to do much to get good DPS or damage. I only press 5 buttons and i get 12k DPS WITHOUT buffs. With your average random Pug BG or Dungeon i can get up to 23/24k DPS.

  3. samueltempus says:

    @ Evos

    Where should I begin?

    “this is the most fail rotation”

    Actually it’s a pretty standard accepted basic rotation for good DPS. If people want to maximize their DPS, we have sites like Elitist Jerks for that. I never made a claim that it was the best rotation, simply that it was good. I think most people would agree if we could get every DPS player in the game to produce good DPS, the World (of Warcraft) would be a lot better off.

    “Simply Spamming buttons is not a dps rotation”

    I agree, that’s why I gave a rotation. Well, two actually. You must have missed that part though. Just because I said that you should use Sinister Strike to get to 5 combo points does not make the rotation “spamming buttons.” Simply put, Sinister Strike is the best DPS option for combo point generation if you are Combat Specced, using Fists and Swords. If you were using daggers, I’d suggest Backstab. I gave a clear, easy to follow rotation using logic, not mindless spamming of buttons.

    “obviously you don’t know anything about melee DPS”

    I disagree, but if you would like prove your point, you could try actually making a point. To do that though, you’d have speak in a reasonable manner with an example of what you would do. Clearly you are too busy attempting to insult my intelligence. Come back with a comment that contains substance and a real argument and we’ll talk about my knowledge of melee combat.

    “I suggest you roll a hunter where all you are required to do is to bind every key to steady shot and face roll.”

    You have acused me of not knowing how to play a class, and yet you show a complete lack of knowledge of the Hunter class in your example. If I wanted to lower my DPS I could faceroll steady shot. However, I enjoy where my DPS is already at, so here’s a few pointers, if you will.

    As a BM Hunter, In addition to managing cooldowns such as Beastial Wrath, a hunter must do several things, in addition to steady shot to maximize DPS. These include, but are not limited to: Keeping Serpent Sting active, Using Arcane shot everytime its up, and either using Multi-Shot or Aimed Shot when it is up. Also, a BM Hunter’s DPS is directly linked to the life of their pet. So, we get to play the role of healer, and micro manage where our pet is and what it’s doing.

    I hope that clears up the issue of the basics of Hunter rotation for you, and thanks for your input.

    – Sam

    • Santhris says:

      I fully agree with your rotation, speaking as a level 85 that isn’t even fully geared, Using this rotation, by the time i’m hitting my evis, i’m critting for 28k, Using a slow axe on mh, and a fast dagger on oh. I’ve rolled a combat rogue since i started playing the game almost 3 years ago, and have been using that rotation since i started pretty much.

  4. Revix says:

    @ Evos

    f**king owned

    @ Sam

  5. @ Evos

    2 things

    1. ur reading this blog for a reason, so respect the author.

    2. If u disagree with the author, bitch at him on ur website so he wont have to see it.

  6. Blender says:

    its become the norm recently for people to criticize ideas and have no substance with which to back their arguments.

    My rogue is 72, and as far as i’m concerned, this here has been more helpful to me learning why we choose certain talents, than other websites i’ve looked at.

    i currently use your Assassination build recommendation, and find it works very well. and while it may not be number crunched down, it does allow you to get a feel for your own abilities and incorporate your own play style into the idea.


  7. samueltempus says:

    Thanks Blender,

    I’m glad to know that it’s been helpful. Good luck leveling to 80, and in the end game. 🙂


  8. melicze says:

    Evos. Owned. Sam obviously has a good amount of knowledge about rogues, so stfu.


  9. Zenobia says:

    Hey Sam i was wondering about ur 7/51/13 split as i call it.

    1. does the Lethality work on eviscerate?? cus its says combo moves.. is it a move or a finisher not clear here!

    I can se the logic on gettin swords 4/5 the 2 point fillers u normally put in either thrown or unfair are not dps boosters..

    But what will happen when 3.1.0 hits and u get the 10% haste from lightning reflexes?? they have stated that mace will get haste aswell .. but they did not add it in 3.1.0 . Might come in 3.1,1 who knows

  10. Zenobia says:

    BTW here is how i see the build look like.

    Fist would be hard to combine with swords so Sword sword would be the answer

    Or Ofc Fist / dagger

    the mace build would then be like the sword ofc. with haste to mace i would rather go mace

  11. samueltempus says:


    When 3.1 hits and is live, I’ll be updating the guide to suit the reworked talents etc. As for Lethality, Eviscerate is a Finisher, so it doesn’t benefit from it.

    Also, to pick up Lethality, we’d have to give up either:

    801 Ignore Armor / 30% Increased Rupture Damage


    Killing Spree / Prey on the Weak

    Losing either of those combinations for 30% crit bonus on Sinister Strike would lower our overall DPS.

    Also, I like your builds, and they are likely what I would chose, if the talents on the PTR go live. I only post things and update things as they become live on the game. I do this for two reasons, to reduce confusion, and also because not every PTR change makes it to live.

    – Sam

  12. Zenobia says:

    Thanx ever so much for the quick response

    Ive changed my spec into 5 fist 4 sword. gone 13 in sub and got just blood in ass + malice ofc..

    Its a huge dps increase – currently my rogue is my alt and hard to gt into naxx25 with pugs and gettin anything..

    Lost Webbed death but won widows furry and got kel’s reach so its a decent combo


  13. Jentlek (Khadgar) says:

    I’m curious, why fist for main hand, as opposed to mace or sword? Is it because of weapon availability, weapon damage ratings, or…?

    I’m getting close to and it seems that good fist weapons are becoming more available than at the lower levels.

  14. samueltempus says:

    I’ll change my spec based on the weaponry I aqurire, but here’s a few reasons F/S is better than the other weapon combos:

    Using a main hand Fist weapon with CQC gives you a 5% bonus chance to crit on anything you use that weapon for (white damage, Sinister Strike, Eviscerate). Fast off-hand Fist Weapons aren’t really available, so we need either a Dagger, or a fast Sword (with Sword Spec.) to help proc Combat Potency as often as possible.

    Two Swords works well, but currently it’s just under MH F/ OH S. If that’s the weaponry you have, by all means go with it. You can take the points out of CQC and use them for utility talents like Endurance and Imp. Kick/Sprint.

    – Sam

  15. Jansenh says:


    Which major glyphs do you use with this build in live? Which would you use if the new glyphs on PTR go live?


  16. samueltempus says:

    For Combat in its 3.0.9 form, I’d use:

    Slice and Dice
    Sinister Strike

    In 3.1, I’d probably keep them the same, excepting that I might use the envenom glyph in place of the rupture glyph, if replacing eviscerate with envenom produces more damage. I haven’t tested it yet though, so I don’t know yet


  17. Zenobia says:

    Dear sam i noticed u typed that serrated blades ignores 801 armor but my talent tooltip says 640 how come?

    And if ur going to use envenom would it not be wise to go to the 3 points in to get better poisons?

  18. Zenobia says:

    For Jentlek

    1. Sinister strike Glyph gives 50% to get a combo point on ur target
    2. CQC gives 5% crit – hence MH fist has 5% chance extra to proc a CP.

    3. Offhand sword – gives an extra swing on ur current target after hittin with a sword – yet it does not say only with sword- so it could be the fist hittin – wich brings us to 5% crit more crit more dmg from e.g Pray on the weak

    does it add up?

  19. samueltempus says:


    The amount of armor reduction increases with level. It’s 801 at level 80, with 3 points.

    As far as the respec for Envenom, if the Envenom Glyph turns out to be the better way to go, it might be worth the respec. However, I won’t know for sure until it’s tested.

    Also, I’m fairly certain that Sword spec procs are always the same weapon that caused the proc, so only the offhand sword would get the extra swing. This isn’t bad though, as it increases the frequency of Combat Potency procs.


  20. Zenobia says:

    Well spell reads 8 armor pr lvl x 80 is 640 so dont see where u get that 801 from tbh

  21. samueltempus says:

    Could be a mistake on the talent calculator I’m using. I dunno. I’ll check it out.

    – Sam

  22. samueltempus says:

    It’s only 560 on the talent calculators on the WoW site. I guess they changed it for 3.1.

    – Sam

  23. Zenobia says:

    560 is for lvl 70 mate 7×8= 56

    thats why

  24. samueltempus says:

    Good point. I wonder why the only Official Talent Calculator is calculating at level 70.

    – Sam

  25. Zenobia says:

    well thats weird indeed- especially since has correct armor ignore at 8 per lvl when u spend 3 points in serrated blades

  26. samueltempus says:

    I fixed it to reflect the correct numbers; still bugs me that two talent calculators have it wrong 😦

    – Sam

  27. Protheus says:


    I have been using combat along time now. But in Wotlk instance run I notice that my DPS is very very low. Sometimes I just get like <1300dps.

    With the talent build here (top) what is the dps you get in instance ?

  28. samueltempus says:

    I personally have not usined combat since level 74. When 3.1 hits, and I get dual spec, I’ll be doing some number crunching and I’ll post those results here. Combat is receiving some nice buffs in 3.1, so it will be interesting to see which spec is the highest dps.

    That being said, there’s another rogue in my guild that uses a very similar build and rotation to this one and pulls between 1900 – 3000 DPS depending on the instance and the buffs he gets.

    – Sam

  29. Protheus says:

    Thank for the info – as I just switched to MH – Greed and OH – Avool sword and dps went up alot – now going to adjust the talent tree and see what I do now for damage – your entry here is very much appreciated by me 🙂

  30. Protheus says:

    Just used the new talent and rotaion and now I have 2200+ 🙂 – my hero Sam 🙂

  31. Lunettas says:

    Hello Sam,

    Thanks for all the great info. My guild is asking me to respec to Combat from Sub to help out in raids better. The info and simplicity will make my transition easier. I will miss my Sub girl! lol This info is useful to semi-pros and Weekend (Warriors) Rogues such as myself.

  32. Meijnrr says:

    Hey Sam
    I’ve been wondering why u recommend a MH fist over a dagger, if CQC affects them both? And also shud the MH weapon be fast and the OH weapon be slow?

  33. samueltempus says:

    MH should be slow, as Sinister Strike is based on weapon speed. You want a fast offhand; the more often your off hand hits, the more often combat potency will proc.

    – Sam

  34. Maudib says:

    Hello Sam,

    I’m dual wield / Combat Sword spec’d. I’ve been using Savage Cobalt Slicer with Zerk on MH – Avool’s w/ Goose OH. My question for you is: with the latest patch, I’ve heard that Fast/Fast is now a viable option. Would it be better for me to go ahead and also equip another Avool in my MH, or do you think this sword is too fast to maximize SS, and that I should just stick with slow speed/high damage in MH? Thx for all the info. Look forward to your response.

  35. samueltempus says:

    I haven’t read all of the theorycrafting myself, so I’ll be honest and say that I don’t really know. I generally don’t have the time to be on the PTR myself. Back to the question at hand, It sounds too good to be true, but I’ll take a look at today and get back to you.

    – Sam

  36. JP says:

    I too play a rogue and its nice to read a decent breakdown of a combat spec rogue. I currently play as mutilate 51/13/7 (as of WotLK) and combat (BC & Pre-BC) and I loved both.

    However, since you have experience w/ the 3 different specs of rogues, I would like to see your input on the pros and cons of each one. This could vary quite a bit esp if you chose to address the environment you’re in… Raid, Dungeon, PVP, or just world questing.


  37. Jeff says:

    Should update this for next week’s 3.1 patch. Getting 2 weapon specializations is no longer a good idea now that you have Lightning Reflexes giving 10% melee haste, that will be a must-have. I’m going with 16/50/5 for PvE. There’s 1 talent point in combat that you can put into alternate places like Endurance or Unfair. Yes, no Killing Spree. Unless there are fights where it gives a distinct repositioning advantage, it’s simply not worth the talent point. Full pts in Imp Eviscerate and Lethality provide far more total dps over the course of a long boss fight. SS, SnD, and Rupture are your glyphs, although

  38. Maudib says:

    Jeff, I’m intrigued about the exact talent points spent in your 16/50/5. Do you have them listed possibly on another website that I could view? Also, just my personal opinion, but I would not give up Killing Spree unless a person is predominately raiding/doing instances. The burst on KS is just too much of a sacrifice in PvE on regular mobs to give up in place of waiting to build additional combo points to hit Evisc. as a regular substitute.


  39. samueltempus says:

    I will be rewriting the guides when 3.1 goes live. I’m hesitant to go ahead with the rewrite before that point, as blizzard has been known to change patches up to and including the date of release. I might even wait a week for another minor patch / hotfix. No sense in spending hours editing this if I might have to turn around a week later and do it again.

  40. River says:

    I am just curious about the expertise cap, If were take the +10 is r expertise cap now 16 or is it 26? As listed in the character screen next to base stats. Also considering going 16/51/4 build taken eviserate/lethality over envenom/blood splatter. As I mainly use SS and lethality will help this a bunch.

  41. samueltempus says:

    Any abilities / racials that increase expertise are calculated on the character page, so the magic number is always 26. 🙂

    – Sam

  42. maudib says:

    Sam / et. al. / , as bad as I want to jump right in to the new patch, I really want some more heads crunching numbers to offer their opinions on the best dual wield / Sword / Combat tree structure. Sam, how long do you think it will be before you have time to experiment and find an optimum balance for us? I just hate to rebuild it tonight, then waste the time and money to do it over once again a couple days later. Think I might go with Jeff’s (above) suggestion to try & enchance my SS/Lethality abilities and see what that does.

  43. River says:

    If there is more than 1 rogue in a group does murder/combat potency stack?

  44. samueltempus says:

    Murder and Combat Potency are self buffs, not debuffs to the target. Each individual Rogue would have to spec for them. The only stacking mechanisms in the game are Debuffs and Group Buffs. Blizzard is doing their best to remove stacking from the game, as it goes away from their bring the player, not the class motto they’ve recently adopted.

    – Sam

  45. Matt says:

    Im new to all of WoW have been doing a ton of research on doig a rogue, this class seems like the choice for me. I would like to see this when its updated. I chose a elf rogue, the base stats seemed better. Can you drop me a line and explain glyphs as well. No one seems willing to do this. I like your build and will keep watching this for changes.

  46. Anonymous says:

    What are good poisons to use, and on which weapons?

  47. samueltempus says:

    Wound on your main hand, which should be your highest damage weapon, and deadly on your offhand, which should be a fast weapon. That will net you the best dps.

    – Sam

  48. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the quick response!

  49. Roguenoob says:

    Hey there Sam, i’m currently levelling a level 20 rogue…I’ve studied specs and such THROUROUGHLY, but i was always confused about an endgame combat spec/weps.
    This guide has helped me so much, and i’d like to thank you.

  50. Nachthawk says:

    dont take this offensively, but i cant see the point in killing spree. i feel that the one point would be better spent on something such as vigor or w/e your talent tree looks like; only because in a mob of 3 ppl (avg mobs in a trash pull) your only hitting each once and 2 twice (and not that much dmg on each hit) aside from the fact that it seems better for the party for you to spend your energy on killing one of the mobs so it cant hurt anyone else rather than damaging all of them because a hurt mob still does the same amount of dmg as one with full health. plz tell me your thoughts and i love the rest of the build been very helpfully in my raids.
    Thnx again for the build and time.

  51. samueltempus says:

    Killing spree, especially when glyphed provides a huge DPS boost. It increases your damage for the time that it’s up, and that means if used with blade flurry and Slice and dice, tens of thousands of damage every 1 minute and 15 seconds.

    On short boss fights, Killing spree can be directly responsible for 50K damage. On longer ones, the ability can easily top 100K of your damage. Trading that for an extra second of lead time (all that vigor gives you) is crazy insane.

    As for trash pulls. Using the following abilities when ever available and together will get you 10K+ trash DPS and will help your tank on threat:

    Adrenaline Rush, Blade Flurry, Killing Spree, Fan of Knives and Tricks of the Trade

    Vigor is mainly a PvP ability put there for opening burst, and it’s great for that, but it has very little place in PvE. Trust me, you want Killing Spree. You won’t regret it. 🙂

    – Sam

  52. laranthalas says:

    first of all your sight is very helpful for playing a rogue. i have played and learned much but this sight has taught me much and has opened my eyes on a few talents i previously really payed not attention to.

    My question is What glyphs are you using with this spec? I’m sorry if i missed it in the text somewhere just let me know..I’m just checking to make sure my assumption are correct on what i think

  53. Kumanil says:

    Thanks a lot man, this really helped me w/ my 80 rogue. Hit me up on runetotem sometime. Kumanil, Undead Rogue.

  54. Kumanil says:

    another question. Is MH Slow Fist OH Fast Sword feasible? Cuz I never see any rogues w/ it.

  55. Samueltempus says:

    Feasible, yes. Optimal no. If you’re can get your hand on a dagger, that would be a better offhand.

    – Save

  56. Renwin says:

    Heya, just wanted to say thanks, I played as a Subtley spec’d rogue for ages and wanted to try Combat as people where saying its a good spec. Tried it in PvP but found it completely different from what I am used to, so thanks for helping my to get to grips with this spec =)

    Oh an nice ripping of Evos =D

  57. Vessa says:

    Just wanted to leave a post and /agree with the ppl that said your site was SO helpful. Really cleared up confusion.
    Made the jump in WOTLK to assassin from sub (yes I know, sub was bad as PvE). Because of my dps lingering around 2300-2800 in raids now, I’m going to make the jump to combat. Stumbled across this site and am going to do this ASAP as duel spec.
    Question: How much dps increase have people seen going to combat? I notice that the combat rogues under geared than I am are pulling 4k dps (buffed etc) in raids.
    Anyway, will post if anyone finds it helpful what my increase is.

  58. Sam says:

    hey, my name is Sam aswell, HI5

  59. Primordial says:

    Hi Sam, Do you use Deadly Poisen in you’re Main hand or Off hand?

  60. samueltempus says:

    I use deadly in my off hand.

    – Sam

  61. Aellex says:

    i have never been a big fan of combat and have always used muti but i have never done as much dps as b4 they nerfed muti down from +50% damage on poisoned targets to +20% so i was thinking about combat spec, should i keep stacking expertise or straight att pwr?

  62. Aellex says:

    oh and i more thing lol i heard using wound/wound is better than instant/deadly becuase it procs more.

  63. Shaggt says:

    Hey sam, i tried combat and loved it, pretty much cause of the tools, just wanna say great blog man, keep it up.

    @ Evos:
    This dude really is ignorant.

  64. samueltempus says:

    Poor Evos. Months later, he’s still getting what he deserves….

    – Sam

  65. Hamacus says:

    Love the site. My combat Rogue is coming along nicely in part due to tour great advice and insight. Keep up the good work.

  66. Lellu says:

    Ty a lot mate !!!

  67. rose says:

    thanks for this site, really helpful!


  68. SpearXXI says:

    So how is this build stacking up today? I see a lot of people using 15 / 51 / 5, so I’m curious if Lethality is better than the 30% rupture? I will try this build out on my rogue, once i get those two more levels. lol

  69. samueltempus says:

    I’ve been meaning to do some dummy testing on that for about a month, and I haven’t gotten to it. I’m really curious to see how the changes to Envenom pan out for Assassination in 3.2.2. If I’ve got the time this afternoon, I’ll get a post up with the numbers.

    – Sam

  70. samueltempus says:


    I’ve done the testing, and they’re actually a lot closer than I thought. The 15/51/5 outperforms the spec build here by less than 100 DPS, and If I were to do it again, I think it would be closer. I’ll get a post up tomorrow with the data.

    Also, it’s not so much the 30% that you’re worried about losing, there’s a talent in Assassination (Blood Spatter) which does the same thing. It’s the Armor Pen that you lose that made this build competitive.

    – Sam

  71. shibumi says:

    good thread sam, and nice response to the Troll. (sorry, not intentionally insulting trolls).

    I have learned more from Sam’s site than any other, or combination of other rogue blogs. I actually enjoy playing my rogue again, and look forward to being able to do Raids and Heroics with my new found talents.

    thanks Sam

  72. SpearXXI says:

    Thanks Sam for looking it up! I was curious if I should use your build or the common one I saw combat people using. I will use your guide since I get so much ArP from the ToC gear drops. lol

  73. Maudib says:

    Thanks again for so much great info Sam. I just wanted to provide a little of my research here regarding poisons.

    The old time standard and my all time preference for Combat Swords was always Instant on MH / Deadly on OH, and Sam had told us that Wound was better now on MH. Of course, me being the skeptic, I wouldn’t change. lol

    Until, that is, I finally decided to do some timed dummy runs tonight, testing all variations. Well, I bow my head…. We all know that Instant gives nearly twice the immediate dmg on hit, and about a 20% proc rate, but Wound, though having less initial dmg, gives around a 50% proc rate. I still didn’t believe it would account for a positive change.

    Well, it does, by far. On a 3.25 min Heroic dummy fight, Instant on MH provided me an avg of 52K dmg and 2-4 crits. The same fight with Wound on MH provided on avg of 80k dmg and 6 crits.

    I should have known better than to doubt the great Sam…. ;-))

    My next post will provide results for Evisc vs. Rupture, which is something I, and many other Combat Rogues have wrestled with for a while.

    Thx for all the great info.

  74. Maudib says:

    To Evisc or to Rupture… I just wanted to post this for “regular” Rogue players who play for fun and may feel overwhelmed by all the info on this subject. This will probably be a rambling post, so Sam, just delete it if it’s too long.

    I have struggled with this since day one. I’ve done all the research and argued on various boards about this subject and won’t bore you with the math. Each player has their own opinions on this, but in the end, it’s really pretty simple.

    Up until now, I have played a 18/51/2 talent spec Combat Sword Rogue.

    I wanted the 3 points in Improved Evisc and also, the Lethality gets you in the same ballpark on combo points as 5 in Relentless Strikes on the Assassination Tree.

    IMO, when you are in your “building phase” at 80, the Evisc gives you much more dmg on regular mobs from dailies, PvE, etc., than Rupture. And it really does. So I used it and loved it. For example: if you’re doing say an Argent Crusade daily, you’re never going to even get a full rotation in before you kill the mob and get 5 combo points, so Evisc helps you out much more and gives you more burst dmg. Don’t let anyone on Elitistjerks or any other site intimidate you into not using the Evisc spec while you’re getting your toon and gear up to spec. It is your friend.

    On the other hand, once you get to a point where your gear is getting up there and you begin raiding and doing H instances on a consistent basis, switch your talent points to what Sam recommended earlier, and go with Rupture. You will be happy with the difference on big bosses.

    I know this sounds simplistic, but it’s really the way it works. I just wish there were more sites like this that gave opinions in easy to follow conversation without being condescending.

    Hope this helps some of you.

  75. samueltempus says:


    I don’t disagree with any of your analysis. One clarification though: The discussion over Rupture on Elitist Jerks as well as the commentary here are for maximum sustained DPS, not solo burst damage.

    I’m sure it’s on the site somewhere, but Rupture should only be used in situation where it’s full duration will tick. If it won’t, Eviscerate should be your finisher of choice. Basically, I leave my Rupture button alone while soloing, and use Rupture almost exclusively in it’s place when fighting anything with enough health to let it run its course. On boss fights, near the end I switch back to Eviscerate, knowing that Rupture won’t fully tick.

    I’m actually in the works of updating this post to the 15/51/5 spec I’m currently using. It only slightly out performs this build ( by 100 or less DPS), but more is more. Also, If you spend most of your time soloing, imp. Eviscerate isn’t a bad choice. I’d also argue that it’s less Boss DPS, and in the end game, that’s what I shoot for.

    Thanks for the insightful comments,

    -Sam 🙂

  76. Maudib says:

    Thx for responding Sam. You are so right regarding the max sustained dmg on rupture vs evisc and that’s kind of what I was trying to get across, though maybe I didn’t explain myself so well.

    Solo burst dmg for plain jane pve fighting vs boss or other fighting where your fight duration doesn’t allow you to fully tick Rupture. Use Evisc.

    It took me forever, and I really never found any good, plain advise, to use Eviscerate as your finisher as the best choice in a “lesser fight”. but that’s the way to go.

    I’m just trying to help wherever I can to answer questions I’ve had that other websites try to make into rocket science when they can be answered in an easy to understand format.

    BTW: Since I’m getting way up there on the gear chart, I switched from my 18/51/2 to your recommended 7/51/13 and got about 300 more dps on dummy trials! Thx for all your help.

  77. SpearXXI says:

    Yeah, I’m using the 15/51/5 spec, where I kept your 51 points the same in combat but changed the assasination tree to lethality, which has been good so far. I think I do more damage in Mut spec since my gear sucks, but I’m working on it. lol It has been hard to find groups for anything on my work schedule. lol

  78. Samadams says:

    im currently a lv 80 combat rogue. im using the spec 16/51/4 macr spec with sword offhand as it is the only weapons ive been able to get dps wise. my current dps is around 3-4k in 25 man naxx bosses. my question is will have a main hand mace and offhand sword kill my dps any? i do the normal spam roation of SNS, rup and evis butdoes having points into evisc kill my dps in any way and could ithe points be better spent somewhere else.? kinda confusing but trying to get straight answers and not ones from guild/trade.

  79. SpearXXI says:

    Well, from my small amount of knowledge of rogues, let me help you get your dps up by letting you know that Vigor is a PVP talent, since the 10/20 extra energy doesn’t really apply in PVE. I think it only helps you, when you first start a boss fight, but then it doesn’t do much else. You can get so much more out of other talents if you spec into them. In addition, try to find an OH that is 1.4/1.5 weapon speed if you can, because that will greatly help you increase your dps.

    !!! Really important!!!
    Please take off CQC since you are not using daggers or fists, and put those points into Combat Potency.

    I’m sure Sam will have more advice that is ten times better than mine, but I know you should see an increase in dps if you test out my advice.

  80. samueltempus says:


    While your current weapons aren’t killing your DPS, a matched pair works best: Swords and Axes, Fists and Daggers, and Maces only pair with themselves. If you can find an OH Mace (Bloodcrush Cudgel, Uld10 Trash) or a MH Sword (Razorscale Talon, Uld10 Razorscale) , you’d be in great shape.

    I agree with Spear’s comments. Take the points out of CQC and put them in Combat Potency. Vigor is good for burst DPS, and even with the glyph, you’re only basically getting a 2 second head start on energy regen. Put that point back into Relentless Strikes. Vigor’s great in PvP, but unless you’re just soloing non-elite mobs, it’s not the greatest. As for Glyphs, I’d reccomend Killing Spree, Sinister Strike and Rupture.

    Try your current setup on a combat dummy, and then try again with these changes, and let me how it worked out for you. You should see a gain in overall DPS.

    – Sam

  81. Samadams says:

    i took yer advice got another sword off a lucky roll. took the point out of vigor and lost the glyph and lost 570dps so i went back with it… since im a SS spaming whore all the energy i can get for the random adrenaline rush is nice

  82. SpearXXI says:


    It could be because you don’t have enough Agi or AP, since you gemmed into hit so much. Did you use the Rupture and SS glyphs?

  83. samueltempus says:


    If you took that advice and lost nearly 600 dps, then there’s something else wrong. If you want to email me and tell me exactly what you’re doing rotation wise, I’ll see if I can help, but I’m pulling 3.5k unbuffed dps on a combat dummy using two swords and basically same spec (except vigor).

    I mean, I guess I can see your point if you’re talking about the amount of damage you can put out in 10 seconds, but if you’re talking about sustained dps, you should be better off now. You should be able to top 2k dps in the gear you have by spamming sinister strike and using slice and dice (not recommending, just saying).

    So again, email me what you’re doing, and maybe send me a recount parse and I’ll see if we can figure out what’s going so wrong for you.

    – Sam

  84. Chevy Cobalt says:

    Hey due to Agi you got hit so much. i guess you used Rupture and SS glyphs. Am i right.

  85. Maudib says:

    Sam, As for your Glyph recommendation of KS/SS/Rupture, do you not think it’s more beneficial to have SnD in there somewhere for the added 3 sec of up time?

    Not questioning your experience with it, just asking, since I never would have even considered giving up my SnD glyph. If there is sound math behind it, I’ll give it a shot.

    Just wanted your opinion on the variances.


  86. samueltempus says:

    Killing Spree actually provides a pretty fantastic boost to your DPS, and is the overall better glyph. The three seconds on Slice is nice, but you can pull the rotation off without it. I don’t end up using Eviscerate as often as I’d like, but that being said, my DPS went up when I stopped using SnD and started using KS as a glyph.

    – Sam

    P.S.- I’ll get some math done on this when I’m not swamped 🙂

  87. Maudib says:

    Yea, I’m kind of in a quandary about it. I currently use KS/SS/SnD Glyphs, but don’t really raid that much and don’t touch my Rupture usually unless I’m on a big boss. Definitely will keep KS no matter what. SS gives me the extra 30% chance for a combo point, which I use for my Evisc in normal PvE/Mob fighting a lot, but I find myself very rarely needing the extra 3 seconds of up-time for my SnD (Unless I’m raiding or on an instance Boss) because they’re already dead before my rotation is done…. 🙂

    So unless I’m raiding, the 3rd glyph is kind of a waste either way (Rup/or/SnD). Any suggestions, taking into account my play style? I DO run “H” stuff usually at least once a day, so guess Rupture is probably the best bet. Let me know when you get a chance.


  88. Random says:

    As a rogue I’m wondering does hit rating play more importance than AP when u start gearing? In other words you’d take a hit trinket over something that would only give u additional AP.

  89. Shawn says:

    Re: 15/51/5 vs 7/51/13.

    Which spec performs better ultimately depends on your gear.

    The real question is how much extra crit damage from Sinister Strikes versus extra rupture damage. This depends on your crit chance. My observation is that the extra rupture damage from a 7/51/13 build comes out ahead until your crit chance is about 33-35%. At that point Sinister Strike crits enough that the extra crit damage is more signficant.

    Unless… you have the 4-set T8 bonus. At that point a 7/51/13 build will do better than 15/51/5, always. The rupture crit chance is based on weapon crit chance, just like Sinister Strike, so there is no distinct damage advantage from Lethality (30% extra CRIT SS damage versus the 30% flat damage increase, both crit and noncrit for rupture, in addtion to slightly extra armor penetration).

    How well does my gear and spec work? I’ll let it speak for itself:

    My viewpoint on Eviscerate: I never, ever use it as a filler. I only use it as a finisher when the boss is almost dead. I do a strict 4s/5r rotation. If I hit 5 combo points early, I fill with Sinister Strike until rupture is about to expire. Yes, it is wasted combo point generation, but Sinister Strike is based on weapon damage and Eviscerate is not, so as your weapons get better, Sinister Strike scales relatively better than Eviscerate. I’m using Hellscream Slicer in main hand and holding 5 combo points by purging energy with Sinister Strike is going to do better than a 3 point eviscerate (anything more than 3 points and you risk rupture dropping, especially if you don’t get SS glyph procs).

    A truly skilled player, however, is one who thinks fast and acts on his feet. I remember one iron council fight where Brundir (whom I was on interrupt duty along with the paladin OT) was in the middle of a blue rune, inside a green rune, with the paladin tank’s ranged interrupt (avenger’s shield?) on CD. In a moment of quick thinking, I popped cloak of shadows, ran into the rune of death, kicked the lightning whirl, and ran out before cloak expired. The interrupt forced the boss to move toward the tank and did significantly less raid damage.

  90. WillyWonka says:

    Shawns my hero

  91. Matt says:

    Hey sam,
    thx for this post, i wasn’t shaw what rotion i should be using but now i see alot better and i top dps charts! thx soo much for you help


  92. Jay says:

    Hi sam,
    Cheers for this advice i have a lv 60 rogue atm, yeah not brilliant but thanks to your advice im doing crazy amounts of dps (out distancing any Dk in instancing) while also pve-ing like mad any tips though on how to get out of outland efficently (while allowing combat to shine [as it always does] any tips would be nice for you are my rogues idea of God lol

  93. Ryan says:

    I am new to WoW and picked a rogue so I was hoping to get some stuff cleared up. Would it be good to use high dmg fist MH/ and fast dagger OF? It seems that combat completely looses backstab… is two daggers an option or are you sacrificing too much?

  94. samueltempus says:

    Fist / Dagger works very well actually. I’m surprised that backstab is still in the game. Blizz doesn’t seem to keen on people actually using it in a standard rotation. This is why combat with two daggers isn’t really an option either. If you’re going to use daggers, either spec Assassination or Subtlety.

    – Sam

  95. Ab says:

    I really like Daggers and think they fit the Class best from a RP perspective. To get some decent DPS while using Daggers I went for this combination:

    CQC combat spec + 2x Black Knight’s Rondel.
    I output 2.4k-2.6k DPS in 5 man HC’s.



  96. ThomasPryde says:

    Hi Sam
    Two things here.
    1. Been playing a rogue since closed Beta love the class and have stuck with it thru thick and thin. This doesnt mean I dont play other classes. Currently tank with a prot warrior. Toc 10 mainly gearing out to join grp1 for toc 25. My point is this. The rotation you gave isnt in any way whats so ever stupid or mindless. It is in fact an incredibly solid build. IN FACT if Evos had taken a few moments to take a look at the T9 bonus for rogues he would notice that they give a rather nice bonus to rupture something this build and rotation focus’s on.
    2. And the second…………… Evos is an Idiot.

  97. Shawn says:

    I really want to keep duel daggers, and like your spec can I still use the 7/51/13 with 2daggers

  98. rogue123 says:

    ive been playing rogue since the start also hunter and priest and palla so im cinda good dpser and i have been jusing somthing like thís and it have greatli increased my dps im only using fist/fist or fist/sword. ITS GRATE

  99. Mike says:

    Really useful site for a new Rogue! Quick question on axes. I’ve had no luck with drops for a good MH sword at lvl 80 but did get the axe Nightime yesterday. Never considered an axe before – so would be interested in your thoughts on mh axe oh sword as a weapon combination (OH is currently Avools)


  100. samueltempus says:

    Axes and Swords are both covered under Hack and Slash, so yeah, use them together! You’ll be pleased with the results.

    – Sam

  101. dhyanarogue says:


  102. dhyanarogue says:

    sorry my kid was playing around while i was about to write somthing and posted that. i was going to thank you for this combat build. i went from doing about 400 dps to about 900. it’s awsome 😀

  103. SpearXXI says:

    Since 3.3 I hear there is a ruptureless spec going around. What is the skinny on that now?

  104. Collabos / Kael'Thas says:

    Hey Sam ,

    For one i would like to thank you personally for posting this , and helping us fellow rogues along as we grow and become better geared .. I am fairly well geared , atleast thnk so .. and am playing with a combat mace spec .. I dont know what i am doing wrong but am only topping off max at 5k dps single target .. and my Gm and other members of my guild , well even myself , are concerned i am doing something wrong .. any help or suggestion?

  105. SpearXXI says:

    Collabos I would suggest getting another mace for OH or getting a sword OH from H HoR and MH Axe from H FoS, as one big thing holding you back. You might want to try going back to a rupture spec 15/51/5 again with the rupture glyph and see if your numbers improve. I have been using the rupture spec and do killer numbers still.

  106. Maudib says:

    Hey Sam, Haven’t posted in a while but I’m in a quandary and have a question.

    I’m 7/51/13 DS Combat with a Gearscore of around 4700. My main weakness is on my swords, which are only rated at item lvl 200 ea. (Zerk and Goose on enchants)

    In H instances I can jump in right off the bat with KS and boost my dmg meter up to around 6500 dps, but then it quickly fades. At the end of an H instance, I’m typically only avg between 2800 and 3500 dps!

    I am spec’d nearly exactly like you recommend, with Rupture, KS, and SS as my major glyphs. What the heck could I be doing wrong? I see all these great Rogues on here posting stats like 5-7k dps with not much better gear than I have???

    Do you think it’s simply my swords? Maybe I should switch to mace/sword now? I am totally baffled. Any help you or the other great rogues on here could provide would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks again for such an awesome site for rogue info.


  107. SpearXXI says:

    Maudib I think people are referring to boss fights and not overall damage. Your number on trash mobs will fluctuate a lot because you won’t be always busting out your highest dps numbers, because you might save some cool downs for boss battle coming up, etc. Don’t bother looking at your overall damage and focus on what you can pump out when it comes boss time.

  108. Dargoel says:

    Thank you very much of your advice and insight behind them. I started out a rogue to help a friend leveling his rogue, but now I find myself drawn deeper into the world of playing combat-style =) I will be trying the suggested talent-trees – and I already find this basic rotation working nicely while leveling with Heirloom-gear. Although the mobs really die *too* fast to use a proper rotation.

    Looking forward of hearing from you after new patches come online!

    – Darg

  109. Anonymous says:

    I am Sithlady from the Stormrage server EU. I tried this suggestions and worked ok for me, my dps jumped from 3k to 5.5k, so for me worked ok.
    i used to be just above healers in a 25 man raid, and now i m in top 10 or top 5 at stationary bosses (like saurfang).
    I have Nax gear or lvl 213, but i progress steady.
    Plz dont judge before you try it at real conditions.

  110. Ab says:

    For people who like the CQC combat spec from a roleplaying perspective, there are viable weapons available since the 3.2 patch:

    *Seven-Fingered Claw:

    *Unsharpened Ice Razor:

    My average DPS in 5 man HC’s is around 4k


  111. Malthael says:

    hey Sam

    Just read your guide, and must say.. awesome..
    i use a spec, which focus on eviscerate, but im gonna try yours and your rotation, cause mine isn’t work out so good.

    But was wondering. What glyphs do you use?
    and what poison and on which hands do you use them?

    Much appreciated

  112. SpearXXI says:

    For this spec you would use these glyphs: Rupture, Sinister Strike, and Killing Spree. As for poisons you use Wound on your MH and Deadly on your OH. Now, since 3.3 I am not sure if this is the “top rated” combat spec, but it does good damage. I kinda of went to assassination, and have not looked back since…

  113. RobStark says:

    To The Author,

    Thank you for this great site and work its a really helpful guide for people starting with a rogue. It helped a lot and its a really good comprehensive work , thanks.

    To All You Critics

    If you don’t like the site , leave , if u think this is not the ultimate DPS rotation well you are welcome to create your own, but unless you have your site and your work then please don’t criticize a perfectly fine work.


  114. Syylence says:

    This spec is no longer the best way for a combat rogue to go in 3.3 +. I am pulling up to 10 k single target in some fights on my rogue now in ICC. Rupture is a bad glyph to use and should not be in your rotation either. Its basic now keep s&d up all the time evis at 4 to 5 combo points use cooldowns when ever you are able and in combination with other thing IE blood lust or trinks. But dont use this spec anymore!

  115. Strikyn says:

    Love the update Sam. Will definitely give this a try now on my dual spec.

  116. chritinis says:

    i found that building 3 points and then popping killing spree was very good for boss fights. this allows 2 seconds for your to regen energy for SnD and then begin using cooldowns. 2 combo points is decent for combat slice n dice but if ur glyphs are giving u more go for a longer one.

  117. Cptbananas says:

    I have been playing Mutilate for a long time, but have been building a combat set since ICC, in case I am ever needed to switch over. I was wondering why a 2-3 combo pt rotation over a 5 pt rotation? I can usually get off 2-3 encinerates during a 5 combo pt. slice n dice. Just wondering why it’s better to do it your way.

  118. Beme (Trollbane) says:

    Love the site Sam!!!! Been a faithful reader since I came across it.

    I have been doing mutilate since i turned 80, since Dec of last year. It greatly increased my dps, but now i have been getting alot lower dps than alot of combat rogues. I think i am going to swich back to combat as soon as i can find a decent sword or fist weapon. Any good weapon choice’s that i can get out of doing Heroics??? Have not had a chance to do any Icc yet, but will be there soon.

    Keep up the awesome work!!!!! and i am so glad that our work internet doesn’t block your site….lol


  119. SpearXXI says:


    The only fist weapon that drops in the ICC 5 man heroics is a random trash drop, so don’t go looking for that one particularly. In heroic Forge of Souls on the first boss is Nighttime a MH axe, and Liar’s Tongue OH sword from heroic halls of reflection.

  120. Ab says:

    The fist weapons are fairly easy to obtain since you have a chance for it to drop from every mob in FoS/PoSand HoR HC. Nighttime and Liar’s Tongue only drop from specific bosses, including the Lich king which might be a bit hard for starting rogue’s

    I have both the Fist set (Unsharpened ice razor and seven-fingered Claw) and Nighttime/Liar’s tongue set. I do more Damage with the fists/CqC then the Axe/Sword/Hack and Slash combo, but that might be dependant on playstyle/talents.


  121. Jimmy says:

    Great site Sam! I’m using a ruptureles 20/51/0 Combat build and am having no trouble consistently topping or being near the top of the damage meters in my ICC raids. I agree with most of what you do in your rotation however I prefer to get SnD up asap and will usually do so after one Sinister Strike or a Garrotte if I ever attack from stealth. Then it is a matter of not letting it ever drop. I recently came across another site that had a great write up about a detailed ruptureless combat rotation. So if any rogues out there are having trouble with their rotation check out this article.

  122. Hemmy says:

    Hello – I’m currently leveling a combat rogue (almost 73) and I’ve been reading up on different sites (Wow Rogue Forum, EJ, ShadowPanther, etc.) all of the posts seem slanted to a level 80 rogue. I get conflicting input from these sites and I don’t know if it is different strokes for different folks, different patch based data, or just for level 80 rogues.

    I’m using BoA swords and I have deadly on OH, and instant on MH. I have SnD and SS as my main glyphs currently.

    I open trash fights with 2 SS and then SnD – pop KS, BF, AR when they are up..

    My main rotation on boss fights is usually – use SS until I get 3 combo points and then SnD – and then rupture at 5 combo points – rinse and repeat throwing in CDs when they are up.

    Now, I read on this site that I shouldn’t be using rupture at all – I thought as of the 3.3.3 patch that rupture was again back in the rotation?

    From the WoW Rogue forum:

    “Combat cycles used to be fairly static, but changes to the game have made it less feasible to retain such unmoving cycles. Since the change to make Rupture crits baseline, Rupture is (once again) an integral part of Combat DPS, so much so that the cycle you use is built around Rupture. The following are two recommended cycles; decide which one you’re most comfortable with, and go from there.”

    Found here:

    Thanks for the good work…

    Confused in WoWland

  123. SpearXXI says:

    If you are still confused, maybe reading’s combat 101 article with Sam’s guide, will help.

    Though in a nutshell don’t bother with Rupture as you currently won’t need to use it in end game right now, due to combat spec being mostly Armor Penetration.

  124. Marcdepuma says:

    First, Sam, thank you very much of keeping your guide up to date. I am leveling a new rogue based on it. 🙂 Only level 14 now.

    I can attest that the rotation you give works for me. I do open differently. When I have a chance to stealth I open with garrote, then follow your rotation. At my level, I usually don’t get to 5 combo points from Sinister Strike as my victims, I mean targets die before that.

    Thank you again.


  125. Victor says:

    Umm I was wondering if its really necessary too spend 5 talent point on Hack and slash when really its only a 5% chance to get another hit

  126. Strikyn says:

    Hey Hemmy,

    Sam’s guide, along with most you find online, are focused more around end game. The reason they all leave out rupture is because end game gear levels and gemming everything for armour penetration leaves little need for rupture.

    At the lower levels (such as you mentioned 73) Rupture can still be very useful since you have little (or none at all) armour penetration on your gear right now.

  127. I LOVE YOU SAM says:

    THANK YOU before i was kicking out 2000dps now ive got about 3.1k dps i love you.

  128. Joho says:

    Your page is delightfully straightforward :D! It definitely helped me with my new rogue! Thank you 🙂

  129. Freakshow says:

    Good day Sir, fellow readers and fellow rogues.

    I have been playing a rogue now for a few years and I have been through many repecs inc weapons and gear. Atm i’m happy with my spec and gear, in raids producing on average 6.5k dps. Sence reading this post it has sparked my intrest in combat. I have obtained the 2 1h axes from ICC 10. Reading this post I respeced to combat and followed this rotaion. With that being said my dps has gone up 1.5k. Sir you are a great assit to the rogues of wow. Keep up the good work and ty for helping ppl who can’t find their grove. Evos, please keep the trash talk to /2 trade. As far as i can see your a trool looking to stir the shit.

  130. matt says:

    I posted way early on here when i was just starting to play wow….my rogue i posted on at that time was like lvl10 . She still is not real high she sits at 46 right now due only to i was lured into other toons like pallys and warrs. Now im back to my rogue got her rocking still as a combat. She carrys joonhans mercy in the MH and satyrs lash both with a +15 agil enchante on them . Im quite pleased with my little rogue. My armor could be better but i am either first or second in dungeons every time. Thanks for the build. Im going to dual spec her at lvl 70 i think to either asass or sublet..but ill be coming back here for info on that too. Keep up the good work

  131. Jim says:

    Hi, I’m Jim and pretty new to Warcraft. I’ve been looking for a thing like this for a while and am relieved to find something to help my horrible DPS. I haven’t tried this yet, but will post again when I do and let you know what I think.

    P.S. I hate Elitest Jerks. To much math not enough laymans

  132. Daniel says:

    Evos got PWNED !!!!! Good job Sam, you are the man.

  133. Rocarola says:

    Hey man, im learning about rogues and i must say, im absolutly thankful for the guide you wrote, my rogue has 4 pieces of t10 but im just a noob who plays hes dailys haha, took him once on a raid and i thought “dude..i dont know shit about playing this toon” haha, but after reading your guide, ive being improving a lot. Thanks again and good luck.

    PD. Sorry about my lack of english, im still learning.


  134. Tom says:

    Hey guys, Just skimming through the posts I have a few comments and suggestions for rogues. I used combat all the way to 85, and while I was doing substantial DPS as combat rogue, I re-talented Assassination and found a huge DPS increase from that tree. Santhris says: ….”i’m critting for 28k…” While this is not a bad critical hit, I find myself critting under assassination between 47-72k consistently(usually depending on if Vendetta is up, cool downs, raid buffs etc.) I would highly recommend all rogues to at least spec assassination and try it on a dummy, you will find yourself not only critting higher but maintaining a higher DPS output. Now I might have been using a wrong rotation with Combat, but I found myself struggling to maintain 8-10k DPS as Combat rogue, where as Assassination I maintain 11k+DPS w/o cool downs and in 10 man instances I am maintaining 16-18k and at times reaching as high as 22k-24k DPS. Use this website for all things related to Assassination PvE: Check out my spec if you like here:

  135. sylathis says:

    Well, I haven’t used it yet, but iseems pretty simple to me. If a few buttons can raise your dps to an acceptable level then hell yeah im gonna do it. Thanks for the advice. Im gonna put it to good use as soon as I get back on. Thank you

  136. Oli Brown says:

    sam if u still reply to peoples comments i would like to ask are axes good for combat rogues and if so should i have an axe off hand or main hand and should i also use i sword aswell because right now i play MOLTEN WOW which is a 3.3.5 private server and what gems should a rogue stack at lvl 80 for combat

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