Rogue: A Tank’s Best Friend

Tricks of the Trade is my new favorite rogue ability.  It is available to all Rogues from the trainer at level 75.  Its tooltip reads:

The current party or raid member becomes the target of your Tricks of the Trade.  The threat caused by your next attack and actions taken 6 sec afterwards will be transferred to the target.  In addition all damage caused by the target is increased by 15% during this time.

I think a lot of rogues, including myself, have overlooked this talent.  It’s essentially the same thing as a Hunter’s misdirect, but becuase of how it works, and the other abilities we have, it’s actually better.  Today, I’m going to discuss some good uses for this ability.

Before I get into that though, I want to thank Blizzard for removing the cooldown on Fan of Knives.  I think that lowering the energy cost to 40 would help, as you can pull about 4 of them off in 6 seconds or so, but you’re completely drained of energy after that.  Still, it’s nice to have a true AoE ability.

– Tricks of the Trade –

What exactly does this ability do?

The tooltip does a good job of explaining  the ability.  What it doesn’t explain is exactly how it works.  When you use Tricks of the Trade, you have to either have a party member selected, or click on them after using the ability.  This will give you a  30 second buff called Tricks of the Trade, and reset the 30 second cooldown on the ability.

Edit:  If you do not attack anything while the buff is up, it will reset the 30 second cooldown on the ability anyway, so make sure you’re going to be attacking something in the next 30 seconds before you use Tricks of the Trade.

Here’s the tricky part.  If in that 30 seconds you use an attack on a mob, the original buff goes away, and you get another buff called, you guessed it, Tricks of the Trade.  This buff only lasts 6 seconds, and during this time, any threat you cause will be given to the target of your Tricks of the Trade ability.  In addition your target gets a 15% damage buff while your buff is up.

How can I use this ability?

I’m glad you asked.   There are a variety of uses for this ability, and with the short cooldown on the ability, you might get a chance to use them all in one instance.

1.)  Personal Safety– With Patch 3.0.8 Ambush got a buff by adding 2 combo points instead of 1.  It makes sense to use this ability as an opener (not that it didn’t before), as it can deal great damage, and now gives 2 combo points.  The problem is, if you don’t wait for your tank to get enough aggro, and you have a 5k Ambush crit, you’re probably going to die.

Not anymore though, becuase you can use Tricks of the Trade.  Now, your tank not only gets the threat from that 5k Ambush, but also all of your threat for the next 6 seconds.  Not only are you still alive 10 seconds into the fight, but your tank is nearing a 20k threat lead on everyone in your party.  I don’t know a lot of tanks that would complain about that.

 2.)  Healer Safety – Sometimes your healer is going to pull threat and your tank isn’t going to be able to see it.  It happens, more often than you’d think.  Instead of the tank moving, you can pop Sprint and Tricks of the Trade, wail on the mob for 6 seconds, and save your healer.

Sometimes you will be in a situation when adds have spawned, and they all go straight to the healer.  If you pop Tricks of the Trade on your tank, and use Fan of Knives, they will leave your healer and head straight for your tank.

3.  Pulls and Tank Threat – Tricks of the Trade really shines here.  You can help your Tank with tricky pulls; just pop Tricks, stealth up to the group of mobs and use Fan of Knives until Tricks fades.

Do you have a tank that’s having trouble keeping threat on multiple mobs?  Is Skadi’s gauntlet giving you trouble?  Not any more.  Just use Tricks of the trade with Fan of Knives, and your tank will have that extra threat they need on the mobs that would have gone running for your healer.

–   –

Tricks of the Trade is a very versatile ability, and it should be used often.  If you’re a Rogue, and this isn’t on an action bar somewhere, you’re doing yourself a disservice by not using it.

– Sam

13 Responses to Rogue: A Tank’s Best Friend

  1. Aeltyr says:

    You ‘could’ also use it as a damage buff for someone else … provided there is enough of an aggro buffer and/or they can drop aggro (two rogues could buff eachother with it and ride the aggro ceiling, vanish and start over).

    15% dmg increase is nothing to scoff at.

  2. samueltempus says:

    That’s a very good point, even for only 6 seconds 15% could help cause a great deal of damage. A hunter would be the most logical target as they have the best threat dump in the game. I really like the dual rogue idea though, that could be a sick increase in DPS.


  3. raivyne says:

    I love TotT!!

    Just a few observations.

    It’s been my experience that the cooldown on TotT doesn’t actually start until you damage an enemy. I have never tested to see if TotT will remain active indefinitely if you don’t attack anything… but my observations from raiding are that TotT is kinda like inner focus… you can activate it but until you actually use the ability the cooldown won’t start. I haven’t really played my rogue since the patch came out so this could have changed (though i doubt it).

    You can’t activate TotT on a target that is out of range (10 yards IIRC). So, you can’t sprint across the room to save a healer and then click it to transfer all aggro to the tank. You’d need to get them to follow you until you’re in range of the tank. You might be able to click it before you run across the room… but i’m not really sure if it will work if you’re OOR of your TotT target. My initial guess is that as long as you activate it before you go out of range you should be golden – needs testing.

    I use a TotT macro on another rogue and we buff each other every time the cooldown is up. I also have a DK friend that i’ll macro it to and he’ll give me that thing that DKs do to increase a target’s damage (at the expense of something or other…)

  4. samueltempus says:

    I’ll do some in game research during my raid tonight about the cooldown, and if you’re right about the cooldown not starting until combat (which I have a feeling you are), I’ll update the post. 🙂

    I have used TotT on the tank, and sprinted as far as 75 yards or so away and the threat still passed to the tank, so although I’m unaware of the maximum distance that it works, it is enough to save a healer, as long as you cast it before you leave the range of the tank.


  5. paramourn says:

    and just think my friends….in 3.1 were getting a glyph that increases bonus overall damage by 10% with equites to 25% increase in damage….for 6 seconds…every 30 seconds….providing your rolling 2 rogues.

  6. Now I’m left wondering y I havnt received this dps buff. 15%!!!! Lightning needs that during a heroism. Ya heard

  7. jmo says:

    you can try this macro to help:

    /target *TANK NAME HERE*
    /cast tricks of the trade
    /assist target

    that way you only have to hit one button to buff your tank and wail on his target. Great for opening moves, such as Ambush of course, but also allowing you to use CS to build CP and stop dmg for 4sec without stopping your tank from building aggro on that target.

  8. samueltempus says:

    Fabulous macro Jmo.

    I’m not using TotT with a macro. I use a UI mod, so I can move my focus frame right next to my tricks button, as it’s one of the few abilities I actually click. I might have to use your macro instead 😉

    – Sam

  9. JP says:

    I’m not sure if they fixed it, but using sap on a mob also activates Tricks of the Trade… thus hoping that your tank pulls soon after.

  10. Hannat says:

    Hey there.


    Not sure if you have started using a TotT macro yet if not, simply set the Tank as your focus and use this macro

    #showtooltip Tricks of the Trade
    /cast [target=focus] Tricks of the Trade

    I’ve binded that macro to [shift]+[spacebar] that way all I ever have to do is press [shift]+[spacebar] and it targets my focus, either a Tank or Rogue

  11. Ab says:

    I love TotT : I use it in combination with Fan of Knives and Adrenaline Rush (if its available).

    Its particular good in the second phase of the black knight fight with all the Ghouls.
    You can move around and use FoK for 6 seconds to get the Ghouls back to the Tank and away from the squishies.



  12. shinshanker says:

    ToTs is also a great DPS boost for a rogue if you have another rogue in your raid it is worthwhile for the two of you to trade tricks as long as the tank is good the aggro losing wont be a issue. If you know how to play your rogue you should know when and where its ok to do.

  13. samueltempus says:

    I use tricks on every cooldown with the 2 pc tier 10 set bonus. That’s 30 extra energy a minute.

    – Sam

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