Rogue: How to Spec and Play Assassination

***This guide is left as a legacy post for Assassination in Wrath of the Lich King.  I personally want to thank the readers for the discussion on this topic, which at the date of the new guide reached 275 comments.   Click here for detailed information on how to spec and play Assassination for Cataclysm***


Assassination is strong single target build Rogue build for PvE DPS. Just like Combat and Subtelty, keeping Slice and Dice active is important to an Assassination Rogue, but even more so are Poisons, Mulitate and Envenom.  In addition to these key abilities, there are damage increasing self buffs like Cold Blood and Hunger for Blood.  Today, I’ll dissect the Assassination tree and how to play it.

If you want to follow along, here’s the spec we’ll be discussing:  51/18 /2.  This spec has been extensively tested and confirmed as one of  the highest Assassination DPS specs at Elitist Jerks.  The large amount of points in Combat allow you to pick up the haste from Lightning reflexes, which you’ll be adding to via gems.  Haste and Attack power are the best stats for this build.  Gear that focuses on these stats should be the kind of gear you’re looking for.  And now, on with the show:

–  How To: Assassination Spec  –

We’re going to build a 51/18/2 Assassination Spec today.  It requires that you use two daggers, and have Instant Poison on your main hand / Deadly Poison on your off hand  at all times.  There’s really no talented utility in this build, as it is designed for 100% pure single target DPS.

Assassination (51 points)

Tier 1

Malice (5/5) Increases your Critical Strike chance by 5% (1 per point).   This is a very powerful talent to be in a first tier, and that’s why this isn’t skipped by any Rogue, regardless of Spec.

Tier 2

Ruthlessness (3/3) – Gives your melee finishing moves a 60% chance to add a combat point to your target. Assassination rogues rely on fast generation of combo points rather than pure energy regen like Combat.

Puncturing Wounds (3/3) – Increases the critical strike chance of your backstab ability by 30% and the critical strike chance of your Mutilate ability by 15%. We’re taking this solely for the Mutilate crit.

Tier 3

Lethality (5/5) – Increases the critical strike damage bonus of all combo moves by 30%. This won’t improve our white DPS, but 30% on Mutilate is too huge to ignore.

Tier 4

Vile Poisons (3/3) – Increases the damage dealt by your poisons and Envenom ability by 20% and gives your poisons an additional 30% chance to resist dispel effects. As an Assassination Rogue, we’re always going to have poisons on both weapons (really, all rogues should), and Envenom is our main finishing move, as it will refresh Slice and Dice with a talent we’re taking later.  Buffing the damage of both is a must.

Improved Poisons (5/5) – Increases the chance to apply Instant and Deadly Poison to your targets by 10%. We’re going to be using both of these poisons at all times.  Poisoned targets take more damage from Mutilate, the poisons themselves, and it’s necessary to use Envenom.

Tier 5

Cold Blood (1/1) – When activated, increases the critical strike chance of your next offensive ability by 100%. A guaranteed crit.  Take it and use it as often as possible.  I tend to save mine for 5 combo point envenoms, which can crit for 15k+.

Fleet Footed (2/2) – Reduces the duration of all movement impairing abilities by 30% and increases movement speed by 15%.  This does not stack with other movement speed increasing effects. Reducing the amount of time that you spend moving from target to target will increase your overall DPS.  You can also get this from the foot enchant Tuskar’s Vitality.  If you go that route, take these two points and place them elsewhere in the tree.

Tier 6

Seal Fate (5/5) – Your critical strikes from abilities that add combo points have a 100% chance to add an additional combo point(20% chance per point).  Between talents, buffs and abilities, Mutilate is going to crit a fair number of times, so we’re taking this for much faster combo point generation.

Murder (2/2) – Increases all damage caused against Humanoid, Giant, Beast, and Dragonkin targets by 4% (2% per point).  Unfortunately this doesn’t increase damage against undead, but we still see these types of mobs a lot in Wrath, so you’ll still get that 4% increase a fair amount of the time.

Tier 7

Overkill (1/1) – While stealthed and for 20 seconds after breaking stealth, you regenerate 30% more energy. As Combat, it makes sense to run around outside of stealth to start rotations, as opening with Sinister Strike is often the most efficient way to start combat.  However, with this talent, it makes sense to open from Stealth whenever possible.  This basically functions as a weaker version of Combat’s Adrenaline Rush.  When killing trash, it’s generally available on every pull, and on bosses, you can use Vanish offensively to activate it multiple times in a fight.

Tier 8

Focused Attacks (3/3) – Your Melee critical strikes have a 100% chance to give you 2 Energy. You crit with your white hits more often than you think.  This provides a much needed infusion of extra energy.

Find Weakness (3/3) – Offensive ability damage increased by 6%.  This ability is a flat 6% increase on all damage abilities you use, so you should definitely take it.

Tier 9

Mutilate (1/1) – Instantly attacks with both weapons for and additional 181 with each weapon.  Damage is increased by 20% against poisoned targets.  Awards 2 combo points. You can’t be a true Assassination Rogue without taking this talent, as the tree is really built around it now.  True it is expensive at 60 energy (unglyphed), but it does massive damage and awards 2 combo points (3 if it crits).

Master Poisoner (3/3) – Increases the critical hit chance of all attacks made against any target you have poisoned by 3%, reduces the duration of all poison effects applied to you by 50% and increases the bonus chance to apply Deadly Poison when Envenom is used by 45%. The raid wide critical buff is nice, but a ret paladin will also provide the same buff.  The poison duration reduction is also nice but we’re taking this for the increased chance to apply deadly poison. Having this talent will pretty much guarantee that you have 5 stacks up almost all the time.  If you do roll with a Ret Paladin and want to take Turn the tables on the other side of this tier, that’s cool too.

Tier 10

Cut to the Chase (5/5) – Your Eviscerate and envenom abilities have a 100% chance to refresh your Slice and Dice to its 5 combo point maximum. This was one of the best improvements that Assassination got in Wrath.  If you Envenom with 1 combo point, it not only does the Envenom damage, but you’ve just hit a 5 combo point Slice and Dice as well.  The only caveat is that Slice and Dice must already be up first.

Tier 11

Hunger for Blood (1/1) – Enrages you, increasing all damage caused by 5%. Requires a bleed effect to be active on the target.  Lasts 1 minute. We’ll be using Garrote and Rupture if needed, so there’s your bleed effect.  This buff should be kept up at all times.

Combat (13)

Dual Wield Specialization (5/5) – Increases the damage done by your offhand weapon by 50%. This is a buff to offhand damage, which includes the offhand damage from Mutilate.  We’re taking it mainly to get deeper into the tree; plus, it’s a prereq for Close Quarters Combat.

Precision (5/5) – Increases your chance to hit with weapon and poison attacks by 5%. The hit penalty for dual wielding is simply too high for any PvE Rogue build to skip this talent.

Close Quarters Combat  (5/5) – Increases your chance to get a critical strike with Daggers and Fist Weapons by 5%. because you’re using two daggers, you’ll get 5% extra crit on all direct damage you do.

Lightning Reflexes (3/3) Increases your Dodge chance by 6% and gives you 10% melee haste. The dodge is nice, but we’re mainly taking this for the haste buff.  This will cause your Deadly Poison to proc more often, which will in turn increase your Instant Poison procs.  Additionally, this means more white damage, and more Energy from Focused Attacks.

Subtlety (7)

Relentless Strikes (2/5) – Your finishing moves have a 8% per combo point to restore 25 Energy. A 40% chance to get free energy every time you use a 5 point finisher and a 32% chance with a 4 point finisher.

–  How to: Play the Assassination Spec  –

The Assassination is fairly simple to play, but here are two fundamental rules.

  1. Poison both of your daggers – Instant on the main hand, and Deadly on the off hand.
  2. Get Hunger for Blood and Slice and Dice up as soon as possible and do not let them drop.

Rotation Startup:

  • Always begin from stealth, and open with a Garrote
  • Activate Hunger for Blood
  • Activate Slice and Dice
  • Mutilate once and then Envenom (remember this gives us a full 5 point refresh on Slice and Dice)

Main Rotation:

Note:  Hunger for Blood should be refreshed any time that it goes under 10 seconds.

  • Mutilate twice to get 4 or 5 combo points
  • Envenom
  • Repeat

Yup, that simple.  Refresh Hunger for Blood when necessary and if you’ve got the two piece tier 10 set bonus, find someone to cast Tricks of the Trade on when it’s up.  You should only need to apply a Rupture if no one in your group can cause a bleed effect, and for that a 1 combo point Rupture will do.  Also, if you are switching mobs, don’t be afraid to use a lower combo point Envenom to keep Slice and Dice active.

To further increase your DPS, use Cold Blood on a 5 point Envenom with a full stack of Deadly poison and Vanish whenever you can to reactivate Overkill.  Additionally, if you are fighting three or more mobs, you’ll do more damage spamming Fan of Knives.

Glyph Choices

These are the three Glyphs that I use with this spec:

  • Hunger for Blood (3% increase in bonus damage)
  • Mutilate (5 Energy reduction
  • Fan of Knives (20% more damage)

Tricks of the Trade is also a viable glyph option, especially if you and another Rogue are bouncing Tricks off each other.

I hope that you have found this guide informative and useful for a basic understanding of how to spec and play Assassination.  If you’re looking for more detailed information on Assassination, you could check out the Rogue forum at, which has very detailed information.

– Sam

290 Responses to Rogue: How to Spec and Play Assassination

  1. Calita says:

    I have played a combat rogue since hitting 70 and have not looked back….until now. Following observations of assassination rogues and a depressing look at my own dps, my guild has highly suggested a change to assassination. I looked all over the web for something that would tell me how to build and more importantly how to play my rogue with this foreign tree. Your guide was by far the best. Thank you for the detail on the talent and the rotation. I feel better prepared to start experimenting.

  2. samueltempus says:

    Thanks. I’m glad I could help. I hope that it works out well for you. It’s definitely a different feel than combat, and some how more Roguish.

    – Sam

  3. Dunderchief says:

    My son (yes, my son) recommended that I try an assassination build after observing dps in his other raid groups. I have only ever played a combat build and have the rotation down pat, so this is very different for me as everything has changed. Raiding last evening my dps increased by a couple of hundred even though I continually screwed up the rotation – I really need to practice on some dummies now. But thanks for this great article and build. I look forward to seeing my dps when I get used to executing your rotation.

    -Dunderchief (Kael’thas)

  4. Laituce says:

    My GM ask me to change my attack rotation to go mutilate / envenom… before hearing about this, I never actually played with those acttack. Gotta tell you, I’m doin way better then before (actually, starting to get the hang of it :D)

    Thx a lot for the guide!

  5. Lizz says:

    Very good guide ^^ I try to get my DPS up with this talent build… but still need some practice to use the right spells on time.
    what the highest DPS what i can get with this build and rotation? (because right now im around 1300-1400DPS)

  6. samueltempus says:

    The DPS you’d get depends on buffs and gear, but in a mix of blues and epics on a stationary target with standard raid buffs, 2500-3000 DPS is obtainable.


  7. Lizz says:

    Wow. thats awesome ^^ I just did OS 25 about 10 min ago and my DPS was 1904! with your rotation, i made couple mistake but its ok. I’m so happy^^ Finally I can go to naxx. Thank You so Much for your Guide 🙂

  8. samueltempus says:

    I’m glad you found it helpful Lizz, keep up the good DPS. 🙂

  9. Cat says:

    I raided with Combat Daggers all the way to Black Temple. Why? It just felt more roguely. Now in Wrath I’ve embraced the Assassination spec, and I’m stoked that the highest raid DPS build is dagger-based. All is as it should be.

  10. Dall says:

    tbh, i used this rotation (well as much as I could- not yet used to it) and was very surprised to see my dps didnt increase much :S… wondering what I may be doing wrong…

  11. samueltempus says:

    I’d need to inspect your gear to be certain. You can email an armory link / any other information to me if you want a more thorough opinion, but if it’s rotation based it’s probably either related to Slice and Dice or Hunger for Blood.

    – Sam

  12. emily says:

    How does this work in raids , anyone used it that far? nax etc 🙂

  13. samueltempus says:

    I was top melee, and 5th overall in a Naxx25 last night, pulling 4.5K on the Thane for Four Horseman. It works. 🙂

    – Sam

  14. emily says:

    im not sure what im doing wrong i just cant get the dps and im the best geared in the guild , my char is pogmothoin on veknilash , i hit 2k and sometimes 2400aprox but i no theres something im doing wrong to get low dps i should be one of the higest

  15. samueltempus says:

    I can’t find your toon on the armory. Also, 2-3k isn’t bad in a 25 man, and it’s pretty good for a 10 man. The 4.5k I was reffering to was with optimal buffs and a heroism. I was averaging 2.7-3.2k most of the evening. Still, if I can get to your armory, I’ll be glad to take a second look.

    – Sam

  16. samueltempus says:

    Your gear is actually a little better than mine. I’d aim for 315 hit and 26 expertise. I’ve got an upcoming post that will help if it’s a rotation issue. My only other suggestions at the present would be to trade out the attack power enchants on your gloves/wrists for expertise / hit enchants. Other than that, everything looks great.

    Btw, due to its speed, the Librarian’s Paper Cutter (blue BOE dagger), actually will outperform your epic in your main hand. Blizzard really messed up on this one. The only daggers that can really replace it as a true upgrade are off of 25 man KT and Saph.

    – Sam

  17. Dunderchief says:

    Although I am pleased with the improvement in DPS over my former combat spec, I am not achieving nearly the DPS noted here. I know I need to get better with the rotation, but maybe you can look at my gear and tell me what I should realistically be expecting and further, make some recommendations. Currently doing 1600 or so with attack dummy (lvl 80), and 1600 to 1700 in 5 man.

    Thanks. (I still really like the spec regardless – nice job with that man)


  18. emily says:

    would it be wise to duel wield the blues librarians? i had these for a long time but naturally not thinking of it much changed them for epics ? i did read they were the best blues when i had them. i have some swords also but im 3/5 in close quarters

    thanks for your help btw:D

  19. samueltempus says:


    Your gear looks good, I’d like to see some more and more expertise, but you’ve got best in slot main hand. You should be pulling 1900+ on a combat dummy, but as with myself, it takes a minute to get to that point. I’ve got something that I’ll be posting later today or tommorow that will help I think. Also, In a 5 man situation depending on the fight and buffs, your DPS may not improve over your unbuffed combat dummy dps, and in some cases, may decrease.


    I’d use the Paper Cutter in the main Hand and Anarchy in the Off-hand. Check that on a combat dummy with 3 minutes of solid rotation against your current setup, and let me know if you see improvement.

    – Sam

  20. emily says:

    i put the cutter on and man my stats took a beating lol , i havnt tested it on a dummie yet but i shall asap. ive changed some gems and enchants and now have 315 hit but struggling to get expertise to 26 , up to 17 so far but im still looking at what i can change.

  21. Laituce says:

    Regarding the expertise skill point, my GM (who’s helping a lot with my dpsing) talk about white and yellow cap… do you know where I could find more info on that subject ?

    • samueltempus says:

      The Elitist Jerks rogue forum has great information on the subject.

      The Pocket guide to Wotlk post has all of the information you’re looking for. In shorthand, here’s the breakdown.

      Hit Caps for level 83 (boss) mobs (assuming 5/5 Precision):

      99 – Abilities (yellow)
      315 – Poisons
      722 – Auto Attack (white)

      Note that reaching the white hit cap is not advised, once you get to 315 Hit isn’t as strong of a stat as Agility or Expertise (if you’re under the cap).

      As for Expertise, A boss has a 6.5% to dodge any of your attacks, yellow or white, regardless of Hit rating.

      26 Expertise on your tooltip is what you’re aiming for, as that is where you eliminate the chance of being dodged.

      6.5% may not seem like a lot, but if your Envenom is dodged and your Slice and Dice drops, it will hurt your overall DPS.

      – Sam

  22. Laituce says:

    so.. as soons as I hit my hi cap (26), what should be my next move ? +damage, +agility, +crit ?

  23. emily says:

    2600 dps on a small boss with hardly any buffs :d shall keep you posted 🙂

  24. Laituce says:

    2600 using the librairan paper cutter ?

  25. samueltempus says:

    Sure. It’s my main hand, and I’ve got no problem hitting those numbers. Also, if you’re at 315 Hit rating and you have 26 Expertise, your strongest stat to stack is agility.

    – Sam

  26. emily says:

    indeed , i was doing vh which is a sinch i no but 2600 and main hand is librarians paper cutter with only 17 expertise , im still having trouble doing damage on trashmobs but fan of knives helps alot , i wouldnt have taught it myself but it actally worked , anarchy dagger is my offhand

  27. Laituce says:

    in my case, I dont have anarchy (yet -_-)… I have webbed death and knife of incision… Best mix for me would be librarian MH and incision OH ? I do 2.3k using this rotation at the moment.

    Should I start attacking with a stealth attack (at beginning of fight)? If yes, which one ?

  28. samueltempus says:

    Webbed death is one of the two daggers that will outperform the Librarian as a main hand. The other dagger is Murder. In fact, Webbed death is the second best dagger in the game for this spec, and the other dagger drops from 25 man Ulduar, so right now you have the best weapon your could possibly have for a main hand. You could try a librarian in your off hand and see if that ups your DPS, but I haven’t crunched those numbers yet.

    P.S – I like to open with Ambush.


  29. samueltempus says:


    You’re doing it right. Fan of Knives in multi (3+) mob pulls is the best DPS option you have. Here’s how I play Violet Hold:

    Elite Blue Dragonflight Squad (I think that’s what they’re called):

    Tricks of the Trade (tank) -> Spam FoK

    (This is really useful when one of these pulls go in different directions. Your tank will love you).

    Any other portal:

    Tricks of the Trade (tank) -> Ambush -> Slice and Dice ->
    Mutilate to 4+ -> Envenom

    I only use Rupture on Trash if the Mob will live long enough for it to fully tick.

    – Sam

  30. emily says:

    yeah i agree its exactly what i was doing and i got 5k damage , it was ver impressive i didnt use tot tough so il stick that in next time.

    ive been struggling with my dps for ages but its starting to look up , mind you i was combat rogue for a long time before i tryed this and i must say assasination whoops combats ass lol.

    just need some expertise , perfect my rotation and a sexy dagger to replace librarians and im sorted

  31. emily says:

    ps , who says girls cant play wow;)

  32. Laituce says:

    In fact, my best teacher I got for my rogue was an awesome lady ;):D

  33. samueltempus says:

    Girls can rock wow. Just ask Mrs. Samuel. 😉

  34. emily says:

    hehe we have a reputation i loveit 😛 i like it when the guys get huffy that im the best geared int he guild haha

  35. Laituce says:

    on what server do you play ? (emily and Sam..)

    I’m on Elune

  36. Laituce says:

    since you are so nice with me, here’s a link to a page with all gear for rogues classified for best dps.

    you get info on where to get the stuff, boss name, item lvl… well lots of info 😉 I use this chart all the time to see if the drops are better for me or not.

    Hope you like it 😉

  37. samueltempus says:

    Yup, that’s where I get my information. Be warned, just becuase something is higher on the list, doesn’t mean that replacing your current gear with it will always be good. It might be a better overall piece numerically, but if it comes at the expense of other better stats, it may not make sense to equip it without changing around some other pieces of gear to compensate for your losses.

    I spent 25 Heroism, 25 Valor, and crafted a new cape last night. This allowed me to replace 3 blues with Epics that are higher on the list. With the changes I saw little difference on a combat dummy; however, buffed on a real target, that may be a different story.

    – Sam

  38. emily says:

    veknilash 🙂 indeed ive seen that site and its great but spreadsheets etc are beyond me 😛 im a what feels comfy typea player , you get to technical and you lose the joy of the game. i had a warrior shes still at 70 now but my rogue soooo beats her for enjoyment and skill

  39. Laituce says:

    Other question.. for my OH is it better to have … speed 1.40 / 120 dmg sec or 1.80 / 143.3 dmg sec ?

  40. samueltempus says:

    Without testing it or knowing the daggers, my guess would be the 1.8. Run a 5-10 minute rotation on a combat dummy with both, and check the damage with Recount (don’t forget to reset it after the first test). That should give you a pretty good answer as to which is better.

    – Sam

  41. Laituce says:

    Hey there… its me again… Was wondering, what rotation do you use against 1 ennemy (not a boss). I don’t have enought time to do damage on mob with rupture cause they die to fast -_-…

  42. emily says:

    i stick with evenom and when faced with a few i use fan of knives.

  43. van says:

    i just specced this build after being sub since low levels, and made a pretty bad mistake by equiping avools sword of jin i previously found on a random mob, before actually gettin the chance to try this build,
    i missed the part in mutilate that says requires dagger”s” thought it woulda been just in main hand like most abilitys, so rather then waste the sword is there another build to raid with that has equally high dps with a sword in offhand?, maybes need to go combat i dunno

  44. Laituce says:

    Humm… I have a rogue friend in my guild who’s dps is quite better than mine (arouns 2.6k – 2.7k)… go check on armory for Lunasea on Elune server. He use a fist in MH and one-hand sword on OH… hope this can help you

  45. samueltempus says:

    You could go the route of speccing combat. There’s a link on the main page of the site. Or… you could keep this build, and grab a Librarian’s Paper Cutter from the auction house and get another dagger for your off hand. There are 3 seperate factions that can accomodate you:

    **Easiest OH option**
    Kalu’ak Revered- Traditional Flensing Knife 1.7 Speed Dagger

    **Another MH option if the Paper Cutter is unavailable**
    Kirin Tor Revered – Lightblad Rivener 1.4 speed Dagger

    **Best OH option, but depending on rep, harder to get**
    Sons of Hodir Revered – Broken Stalactite 1.8

    – Sam

  46. emily says:

    doesnt patch 3.1 making fist/sword obsalete , might wanna check that out first

    and im geting 3-4 k dps in 25man os atm i LOVE IT :XXXXX

  47. Dunderchief says:

    Thanks for all the help folks. Things are coming along nicely. Primarily I need to concentrate on getting my expertise up (as Sam recommended) without sacrificing other stats. But my direction and goals are now clear. Thanks again and best of luck to you all. – Happy hunting.


  48. pongpang says:

    great guide…but why not open with garrote instead of ambush…its a good DoT, in my opinion, but im just wondering bcuz a guildie of mine told me to open with garrote,

    sorry for my english,its my 2nd language

  49. samueltempus says:

    I personally use Ambush as an Opener becuase It generates 2 combo points to the 1 that Garrote gives you. Also, using Ambush with Tricks of the Trade will produce instant threat for your tank. But, there’s nothing wrong with using Garrote as an opener, I just feel that it’s more beneficial to use Ambush.

    – Sam

  50. Dave says:


    Great blog, it’s been really helpful to a rogue and WoW noob. With 3.1 and the modification to HfB, is there a new recommendation for rotation? Apparently a bleed (or poison) effect must be up on the target prior to invoking the ability. Does the ability drop if there are no bleeds on the target?

    Also, the new HfB glyph is a must, along with SnD and Rupture, correct?

    Thanks for all the help!


  51. samueltempus says:

    If the servers ever come back up, I’m going to do some testing and have a definite answer for you, but for now, the only thing rotation wise that I see changing is that you’ll have to make sure to rupture to get HfB going.

    HfB, SnD, and Rupture sound like your best glyph options, but again, I’ve got to do the testing to see it myself. 😉

    – Sam

  52. Worst Rogue Ever says:

    It seems ambush as an opener with tricks of the trade is even more viable now that the TotT timer doesnt start until you damage the target. Sweet.

  53. Cat says:

    Doesn’t the delayed start to TotT mean that your initial ambush will dump all that threat on you? Early in the fight that might be a problem, especially in pug heroics and such.

    Personally I’m experimenting with a Garrote opener to immediately get HfB up and SnD underway. Cookie Cutter 51- or 52- point Assassination should have Blood Spatter and Overkill which makes Garrotte even more attractive (plus Opportunity of course).

    In the case where I’m not stealthed, or sneaking to the rear of the target in stealth will cost me more than say 5 seconds of DPS, I’m experimenting with a “Triple Shiv” opener: Shiv > SnD > Shiv > Rupture > HfB > Shiv > Envenom. That gets you to about the 10 second mark with Rupture, HfB and SnD all up, SnD on full 5-dot duration (with CttC) and low threat – ready to start pooling energy for a CB/TotT double Multilate.

  54. Cat says:

    ^ Never mind about the TotT comment – I was referring to old patch notes which described it slightly differently.

  55. Worst Rogue Ever says:

    I like it. I was just sitting here thinking about my non-stealth openings. I like how that sounds.

  56. samueltempus says:

    There’s really nothing wrong with any of the suggestions that you guys are making. Last night, I used several sequences in testing for startup and this was the best I found:

    Ambush -> Rupture -> HFB -> Mutilate -> SnD

    After this was done, I went back to my standard rotation of 4/5 Env, 4/5 Rup. Could I swap out the first two moves in the opener with a Garrote? Probably, but at the end of the day we’re talking about a very minor difference in DPS either way.

    – Sam

  57. Venthie says:

    God this helped me so much, I just hit 68 and started questing in northrend but was speced as a sub rogue, and questing in northrend did not handle well with the sub spec.
    I switched to assassination and was having an awful and really frustrating time adjusting until i found this.
    I can actually survive northrend now yay :]

  58. emily says:


  59. samueltempus says:

    Glad to hear it and, keep up the good work.

    Happy stabbing,

    – Sam

  60. emily says:

    is the librarians paper cutter still as good as epic or have they changed it ? i have popcorn stuck in my teeth:'( hehe

  61. samueltempus says:

    Popcorn is sooooooo good. But it does have a tendancy to get stuck in your teeth, anyway, back to the question at hand, nope. It’s still a good offhand, but an 1.7 or 1.8 Speed epic will out perform it now due to the changes in Instant Poison procs.

    – Sam

  62. emily says:

    oooh interesting so anarchy and knife of incision?

  63. samueltempus says:

    Sounds like a plan 🙂

    – Sam

  64. Jerald says:

    Great guide. So I recently picked my rogue back up (after demoting him to a bank alt for 3 months), and I am trying to get back into the rotation. I am doing pretty good dps on boss mobs (depending on the boss), but my instance dps drops like a rock because of the trash mobs. I noticed that you guys are using FoK on trash? Do you just run in, start your autoattack and then spam FoK? I have trouble keeping the rotation up on multiple guys, so I guess I am looking for help.

    My biggest problem is when facing a mob of 3…and my target falls before I get through my whole rotation. I find myself scrambling to figure out where to start on the next mob. The most common problem is my target dies, I switch, but cannot Envenom because no CP, and only 2 seconds left on my SnD. Doh. Then I need to restart my rotation over again.

    I really need to rewrite my macros for trash. Anyone have any good suggestions? Thx

  65. Jerald says:

    Just as a follow-up to myself…

    I am thinking about going into trash with the following, what do you think.

    Rupture > HfB > SnD > Shiv > Mutilate > Envenom > Spam FoK
    Shiv > Envenom to refresh SnD before it expires

    Not Stealth’d (Thanks Cat for this rotation)
    Shiv > SnD > Shiv > Rupture > HfB > Shiv > Envenom > Spam Fok
    Shiv > Envenom to refresh SnD before it expires

    Regardless of stealth or not, the rotation is carried out on the first target, and that target will probably fall pretty quick. Autoattack, shiv > envenom on the remaining targets as needed while spamming FoK? I am thinking about making macro to do the following, but not sure how it will work with the GCD.

    /cast shiv
    /cast envenom

    I would like to mess around with shiv vs mutilate (might not have enough time/energy), as well as possibly shiv’ing twice instead of once in some of these scenarios. I just don’t know yet. I will say that the 50 energy and long regen time for FoK does kinda scare me a little.

    I am at work, so going through all of this in my head. I might get home, get on, and realize it is the worst idea ever. Thoughts? Criticism?

  66. samueltempus says:

    I don’t think you’re overthinking it, I think you’re experimenting with it to find something that will work for you.

    In groups with low health, FoK until you’re down to two or so is a higher DPS option than Mutilate. Realistically, you’ll have to adapt your rotation when you’re killing mobs with less than 60k health, as they die too fast. This may mean opening with Garrote to keep HfB up and ignoring rupture entirely.

    A likely fight on a lower health mob might be:

    Garrote -> SnD, HfB, Mutilate, Mutilate, Envenom

    If you can’t get all of that in, skip a Mutilate, and save your energy for the next mob.

    Basically, Rotations are great to aim for, and when possible, they’re the way to go, but if the situation isn’t there to use it figure out how to adjust for your situation.

    – Sam

    P.S. – Fan uses less energy when used stealthed. Combine it with Tricks of the Trade and Cold blood to do massive damage and help your tank with threat. You can easily get 3-4 off before TotT wears off.

  67. Deathpunk says:

    Awesome thanks for the help very impressed on my vast rise in DPS. I was combat swords forever till the daggers droped and being the only rogue in a 25 man naxx (lucky me) no one else was interested so they went to me after scrapping around with my combat sword spec i decided to look up assassination. I had a word with a few rogues who had been using it and looked it up on the web, where i found this : )
    With the right amount of crit and expertise an assassination rogue is a deadly muva fooker
    Thanks again for your help

  68. Jeremy says:

    So I made some changes to my rotation and play style and my dps is definitely up. These changes are not anything special, and in many cases are common sense, but I was amazed at how much I was screwing up when I started to scrutinize my playing style. Here is what I changed.

    1) Moving away from macros. Sounds stupid and silly, but I decided that until I have the perfect rotation, I am not going to macro it. I noticed to many inconsistencies with my macros. Now that I am manually going through my rotation, I am noticing different things, and altering my rotation as needed.

    2) Focus more on targeting and autoattacks in trash mobs. Even if I am fumbling with my rotation, or I screw something up, at least I am still targeting and attacking someone.

    3) Spam FoK on trash mobs of 3 or more. I was not doing this before, but this was the biggest jump in my dps. I have messed around with rotations, but for now I am stealthing in, autoattacking, and spamming FoK. Overkill + Arcane Torrent + Trinket + Cold Blooded + Spam FoK puts my dps through the roof. I am tossing around the idea of trying to garrote and get HfB up before I start spamming FoK, but I want to hit FoK as much as possible before overkill is up.

    4) Get my buffs and DOTs up as fast as possible on large boss battles, and then worry about the big 4/5 cp envenoms and ruptures. On most bosses I have started using this rotation, and it has paid off. It plays out in one of two ways.
    If Ruthlessness procs:
    Garrote > HfB > 1CP SnD > 1CP Rupture > 1CP Envenom
    This sounds like the perfect storm and far fetched, but I am finding that it happens more then I expected, as ruthlessness has a 60% proc rate. That at least gets HfB, SnD, and rupture all up right away. This rotation counts on ruthlessness proc’ing twice, which happens a lot. But if it does not, I sacrifice the 1CP rupture and do a mutilate > envenom instead to get SnD refreshed. Then I move on to a 5CP rupture. This has worked out very good so far.

    On the flip side, if ruthlessness does not proc then I use this rotation:
    Garrote > HfB > Mutilate > SnD > Mutilate > Rupture > Mutilate x2/3 > SnD > Mutilate x2/3 > Rupture, etc, etc.
    This is closer to a traditional rotation, with the exception of the first mutilate before SnD. Regardless, it has been working out very well.

    Thanks for the comments and this guide, it has really helped me not only with my dps, but my playing style in general!

  69. samueltempus says:


    1.) The only Macro I use is Pickpocket / Opener. All of my rotation abilities are keybound, and I never have any trouble keeping a rotation up.

    2.) I agree with you totally here. It often surprises me that many players don’t understand that white damage is a large component of your overall damage.

    3.) In large AoE packs that can be cleared in 3-5 seconds, Rogue AOE will usually top the chart. Other than using fan as a faux Consecrate for warriors, I do enjoy it’s massive damage. It’s very useful in PvP if you’re combat too. Popping everything, and running into a pack of the opposite faction will probably get you killed, but you’ll take everyone in that pack down for over half their life in the amount of time, usually taking several of them with you.

    4.) This:
    Garrote > HfB > 1CP SnD > 1CP Rupture > 1CP Envenom

    Very compact and streamlined. If you’re going to be on a target for more than a minute, this is definately the way to go. Following that with the standard rotation, you’re good to go.

    I’m glad you were able to get use out of the guide, and good luck 🙂

    – Sam

  70. Chase says:

    A Guildie using this spec/rotation hit 9.3k on freya he then pulled aggro and died 😛

  71. Kat says:

    So just to make sure, what daggers would you suggest then? I see alot of back and forth on the topic and just wanted to be sure.

  72. Kat says:

    I just tried it out and only managed 1.5 k 😦
    I did good on the rotation (not perfect, but need a little practice), so what else could it be? Character is Whobiwhati on thunderlord if you wanna check my gear and stuff.

  73. samueltempus says:

    Kat, the back and forth is from the changes Blizzard has made to the class/spec in the months since I first posted this. While this guide has been updated, I left the comments alone. A hard hitting slow dagger is preffered in the main hand now. There are a lot of factors that go into which off hands are the best. I suggest you check to pick your best two weapons.

    As for your second post, I’ll take a look when I get home, and see if I can’t come up with an answer for you.

    – Sam

  74. brewskey says:

    Would webbed death in both hands begood for assa or WB and murder or twilight mist be good?

  75. samueltempus says:

    Out of the daggers you specified, your best combo would be:

    MH Twilight Mist
    OH Webbed Death

    Although, this combo isn’t significantly better than two Webbed death.

  76. Nolrem says:

    I did everything on your guide but I can barely top 3k dps. I am dual wielding Webbed Deathx2. My character is Roxaas on Suramar. I am one of the most geared in my guild so I thought I would be doing around 3.5k/4k dps on the heroic training dummy. I follow your rotation exactly and I have all the glyphs you stated in the guide. Just wondering if there was anything I could do to up it a little more.

  77. samueltempus says:

    If you’re pulling over 3k on a training dummy, you’re doing just fine. That should be easily 4-5K buffed in a 25 man raid, depending on the encounter.

    – Sam

  78. emily says:

    i love this dude lol , after recieveing help here , my rogue doesnt fail to top dps in most cases and if not top then shes de3fo in the top 2/3 . you rock my socks:D

  79. emily says:

    Ps , i just got duel spec but i was wondering , is there even any point as i gota change gems and buffs and all sorts sounds like a faff to me or is anyone having sucess wiv it ? also does ass still out damage combat?

  80. tnx says:

    Rly tnx mate 🙂 … i had 2.5k dps and its 4.1k now :D….rly tnx XD

  81. Drew says:

    my character is Sliyz on Kul Tiras realm, and i was wondering if you had any suggestions to gear that would make my dps better, i am currently trying to gear for Naxx. Thanks for the great post.

  82. samueltempus says:


    I would work on gearing/enchanting/gemming to hit the poison hit cap (218), and Expertise cap (26 skill). Reaching those, I’d work on Attack Power amd Crit.

    I’d be running the following Heroics for epic gear:
    Gundrak (Pants/Ring)
    Utgarde Keep (Ranged)
    Halls of Lightning (Bracers)
    Halls of Stone (Dagger)
    Utgarde Pinnacle (Hands)

    In your non heroic time, start working on icecrown. The boots from Argent Crusade are good, and once you unlock the Ebon Blade faction, you should grind its rep in heroics. It has the enchant for your head, and a nice chestpiece as well.


  83. Brent says:

    Thank you very much…i recently changed to assassination and was pulling about 2k dps…since i read your guide and changed my dps cycle up a bit i now do 3k+

  84. Lacoka says:

    Sam, I’m about to hit lvl 50 and have been following your guide to the assasination spec. I was wondering if u had a suggested rotation for a lower lvl player like myself.

  85. samueltempus says:

    At 50 you’ve got access to Mutilate, so I’d Ambush -> Mutilate -> Eviscerate (Or Kidney shot). Mutilate- Mutilate -> Eviscerate.

    That should take down any normal mob. If you crit a lot, you may not even finish it off.

  86. emily says:

    ok so , i am hitting to dps first or second in almost every raid dungeon up to ulduar 10 (mind you only did 3 bosses in ul )

    but still mega impressive and tbh i still have heroes gear and nax 10 level stuff with a hint of valorous

    but could you take a look at my woman again to let me no if i need changes

    pogmothoin veknilash

    another question is i recently looted these items ” razorscale talon – webbed death – sinisters revenge and my previous anarchy dagger and knife of insicion, and im stuck as to which to use

    Also is Stalk skin belt better then jonarchs crocolisk’s skin belt if it means i lose 7 expertise point , currently i have 17

    gloves of fast reaction instead of heroes bonescythe ?

    lots of questions i no 😛

    thanks for your help . I cant wait to see her fully ul’d up lol

  87. Rogeuy says:

    Wow this is the best guide ever. I had all Naxx 10 gear at 80 and was putting out only 2k dps and 2.8k bursts (for only 15 seconds). I knew something was wrong. I tried assasination with this tree and now I do 3k on adds and 3.5k on bosses! Much better thank you SO much!


  88. Roy says:

    i am in big trouble, appart from having not the best gear
    i am dpsing at 1k and im level 80… i start my rotation with mutilate
    then activate Snd
    then mutilate
    then evenom or evis
    sometimes rupture…
    i have no idea what im doing wrong and i know a dps rogue should be capable of doing 2k minimum in pve
    so what the hell am i doing wrong?


  89. Samueltempus says:


    Make sure you’re keeping Rupture up and using Envenom to refresh Slice and Dice. Hunger for Blood should be active the who Take some time to practice your rotation on a combat dummy, and you should be golden.

    Other than that, some gear related issues could be causing your dps to be low. Here’s a checklist:

    Is your Hit at or above 216?

    Do you have 26 Expertise?

  90. Roy says:

    first of all thanks so much for the quick reply to my message. I have been asking ppl for quite a while how to max my DPs.
    My character name is Blasophobiat.

    Crit hit below 200 (dont know what to do to change it)
    Expertise 8/8


  91. samueltempus says:


    I’ve taken a look at your gear and have a few suggestions to help.

    1.) Swap your Main hand and Off hand. Librarians used to be one of the best main hands because of the way instant poison used to work, but when they changed it, an equivalent level 1.8 speed dagger (like your current off hand) became the weapon of choice.

    2.) You can pick up some more hit / expertise through enchants. If you’ve got an enchanter friend to send your greens to, you can get this done pretty cheaply. If not, you may want to simply farm heroics for some better gear instead. Here’s some enchants you could use:

    Wrists – Expertise (16 Expertise Rating)
    Hands – Precision (20 hit rating)

    3.) Take a day and level your Engineering and Mining. It will be a grind, but it will be worth it. You’ll get an epic helm out of leveling Engineering, and you should get some gems out of leveling mining. When you’re leveling Mining you should find a blacksmith to make a pair of Titanium Weapon Chains and an Eternal Belt Buckle. If you gem the new belt socket with a Rigid Autumn’s glow as well as getting the Precision enchant I mentioned, you should be close to 216 hit.

    4.) Gear recommendations. Here’s a list of where your upgrades could come from (easiest to obtain first, ignoring BOE items):

    Head: Engineering; Raiding
    Neck: Raiding
    Shoulders: Raiding
    Back: Leatherworking; Raiding
    Chest: Ebon Blade Exalted; 80 Heroism / Raiding
    Bracers: Heroic Halls of Lightning; Raiding
    Hands: Heroic Utgarde Pinnacle; Raiding
    Waist: Raiding
    Legs: Heroic Gundrak; Raiding
    Boots: Argent Crusade Exalted; Raiding

    Rings and Trinkets are a little trickier:

    Potential rings include the Hemorrhaging Circle from Heroic Gundrak, Signet of Briganband from an Icecrown chain, a Jewelcrafting ring, or just raid for them.

    As for the trinkets, the Mirror of truth costs 40 Heroism badges, but is a good investment. Other good trinkets include the Meteorite Whetstone from Heroic Utgarde Pinnacle, and the Sphere of Red Dragon’s Blood from Heroic Nexus

    I know that’s a lot of info / work to go through, but if you’ll knock each of those suggestions off one at a time, you should notice your DPS improve dramatically by the time you start working on replacing your current gear. Let me know if you have any other questions.

    – Sam

  92. Roy says:

    wow amazing!

  93. Nexial says:

    First i must take my hat off and bow down to samueltempus. First for not being an ignorant soab and loling at people, you are a very genuine person and actually takes time out to help other people. Second for the brilliant spec build, most people say THIS is the best raiding spec, without explaining why, but you took the time to explain why you put points in each tier.
    I only came accross this forum in error whilst trying to find the amount of expertese for assanation, and now my friend you are bookmarked]
    Keep up the great work

  94. Shogun says:

    hey i just looked you up on the armory and i noticed you gem ap i was just woundering if that is better then gemming agi

  95. samueltempus says:

    All things considered, there’s not a ton of difference up to a point. AP and Agility gems are ranked equally on Shadowpanther. I’ve started using AP myself, as my crit is already over 30% unbuffed, and goes at least 10% higher when fully raid buffed. AP boosting base damage makes all of your attacks hit harder, even the crits, while the crit from AP only increases how often you crit. I’m not exactly sure where the “cap” is, but I crit more than often enough.

    I’ll see if I can figure that number out today.

    – Sam

  96. samueltempus says:

    After doing some digging on Elitist Jerks, I found the Attack power Equivalency table that compares all other stats to 1 attack power. The one caveat is that the chart assumes Best in Slot Tier 7 gear. Some will have betters, others not so much, but regardless the point is:

    Agility has basically the same value to you as Attack Power. Attack power is still better, but the difference is marginal. Stacking Attack power is better than stacking agility, but barely. If you go with whatever is cheaper on your server, you’ll suit yourself fine.

    – Sam

  97. kumpassion says:

    Can you take a look at my rogue, & offer any possible suggestions on what I can do to increase my dps outage. I am currently spec’d assassination..ty..

  98. John says:

    Sam, thank you so much for these guides, they are fantastic – well-written and just the right amount of detail to really explain to the reader why they’re investing in the talent points and using the rotation the way you suggest.

    I do have a question however, about weapon speed. There’s a big long discussion in the comments here about BiS daggers, but nowhere in any of the assassination guides I’ve read here do you explain what types of daggers (slow/fast) you want for this build.

    So my question: What types of daggers are ideal for MH and OH, and why? Also, has this changed at all with the advent of 3.2?

    Thanks a lot!

  99. samueltempus says:

    Generally speaking, Slow MH, Fast OH. However, I always check Shadowpanther for the math just to be sure, as an ilvl 229 Slow OH might be better than your ilvl 200 Fast OH. As far as I noticed, nothing in the patch should have changed that.

    – Sam

  100. John says:

    I understand slow MH for big Mutilate hits, but quick OH is for…poison applications? Does the benefit of having a better chance at keeping Deadly poison stacked up outweigh bigger Mutilate numbers (based on higher weapon damage)?

  101. samueltempus says:

    The quick application of poison outweighs the Mutilate damage in the end. Unlike Swords, or any other weapon that has 2.6ish weapon speeds available, daggers have a much smaller difference in base damage between slow and fast types. The speed difference is almost three times greater with a sword pair than it is with a dagger pair.

    What I’m getting at is that Mutilates will hit harder with two slow daggers, but the difference isn’t as good on a long fight as getting IP up to 5 stacks as quickly as possible.

    – Sam

  102. Alex says:

    Hi i have a lvl 65 undead rogue and ive followed this talent build as much as possible but in instance i seem to be heavily out DPS’ed by anything is this normal and will it get better when i hit 80, also in the rotation if the taget doesnt have much health should i still use rupture as most of the effect will be wasted because the monster dies too quick

  103. samueltempus says:

    Rupture should never be used if it won’t fully tick. I’d reccomend Envenom as your finisher on trash. The other issue is that you don’t get Fan of Knives until end game. It makes a big difference in an AoE world.

    – Sam

  104. Alex says:

    Thanks, when you do get fan of knives when should it be used in the rotation if you are dealling with a large mob

  105. samueltempus says:

    I use fan in pulls of 3 or more. Does wonders for your trash dps.

    – Sam

  106. Alex says:

    Hi again i was just wondering, i tried using this roatation on the mobs in zangamarsh abut i seem to do more dps just using mutilate and eviscerate is that normal?

  107. samueltempus says:

    I may have not been entirely clear explaining earlier and left some things out. I’m not sure what poisons you’re using, but for this to work, Instant Main, and Deadly Off is what you should use. And if you’re just using Mut and Eviscerate, you’re missing out on a ton of potential damage

    A pull might look like this:

    Is Hunger for Blood Active?
    Yes – Ambush, No – Garotte -> Hunger for Blood

    Is Slice and Dice Active?
    Yes- Envenom, No -> Slice and Dice

    Mutilate x2 – > Envenom
    A mutilate (or two) should finish off the mob

    Basically, if you’re following that pattern for each mob (bandaging and eating when needed), Slice and Dice / Hunger for Blood should never drop. If you can keep them up, your DPS will dramatically improve.
    Also, I would recommend getting the addon, Power Auras, and setting it up to put a timer on your Slice and Dice and Hunger for Blood, on each side of your character, as it makes it much easier to keep track of.


  108. Alex says:

    thanks dude i think its beacause i used my talent points to fill in all the tier 1s needed therefor i didnt have hunger for blood or cut to the chase 5/5. Thanks so much for your help and you’ve got an awesome website here

  109. samueltempus says:

    Thanks Alex,

    The spec change should fix your DPS. Let me know if you need anything else.

    – Sam

  110. Alex says:

    I just went to respec and my dps has increased by over 100 thats soo much thats alot when yuor my level and the top person has a dps of 600

  111. Alex says:

    oops meant to write “thanks soo much” 🙂 im rubbish at typing

  112. samueltempus says:

    Sounds great, Alex. You’re in the home stretch now, with less than 15 levels to go. Let me know when you hit 80. I’d be glad to roll a toon on your server and congratulate you “in person.”

    – Sam

  113. RJK says:


    Could you go over or point me in the directions of your Add-ons?

    So far I use Debuff Filter that gives me squares I can move around for SnD, Rupture. do you have one that bonks you on the head when your poison runs out? 🙂

  114. Blitzstryker says:

    I just started a rogue on Twisting Neither and this guide is extreamly detailed and I was just wonder for leveling do you thing assassination is a good build?
    I love the idea of using poisons to the max avoid armor penetration issues.

  115. samueltempus says:

    Assassination can be good for leveling, but until you reach level 40 you can’t use your main combo point generation skill, and it doesn’t become self sustaining until 60. That being said, for 60+ you can keep all of your buffs up between mobs, and it makes for some seriously smooth leveling.

    – Sam

  116. Josh says:

    Great guide Samuel and I mean that on all three guides. I still consider myself a pretty big WoW noob as I only have 18 days clocked on my /played for my main which is a rogue.

    I can understand why you like the rogue as i got into the wow game late he was the first character I created and has remained near and dear to my heart.

    I started as a a deep sub spec pretty much right until end game when I dual spec’d and took combat. I respec’d my sub build into an assassination build when I was out dps’ing my combat with my Sub. Only reason I didn’t switch out combat is for assassination is cause I keep hearing how great it can be.

    I was wondering if you could check out my stuff and tell me what I should work on, I know I need to get stuff enchanted since like none of it is, but I only hit 80 recently.

    I tried out the assassination rotation on a heroic dummy with that gear setup and the dagger of betrayal in my MH and then since I didn’t have another dagger at the moment I just used a dulled shiv (the ones the cultists of the damned drop) in my off hand that i was going to vendor trash just to practice the rotation. I was pulling around 1.5k after a bit on the dummy.

    So yea any pointers or enchant suggestions would be appreciated (keep in mind I am totally aware I am a noob :P)

    p.s sorry for the wallk of text

  117. Josh says:

    Oh forgot to mention my main is named Retica on the Zuluhed server, since I can’t get to the link from work

  118. samueltempus says:


    Great name, one which we share IRL. I’ll take a look at your Rogue when I get home this afternoon. 🙂

    – Sam

  119. SpearXXI says:

    I’m going to test out Mut spec since I don’t have my MH sword yet. I got the MH dagger from the Kaluak’s which is pretty cool. I feel so out of place playing Mut, since I have done combat for so long. lol Oh, If you want to check out what I have so far on my rogue his name is Goblinkilla on the Dethecus server. I just turned 80 last night, so my gear is all patched together right now. I hope to get more stuff from ToC and Greed from CoS soon. And I haven’t respeced my combat spec since I don’t have a good MH sword yet, but will do once I can get revered with Ebon Blade.

  120. samueltempus says:


    Your gear looks like I’d expect anyone who just dinged 80 to look. Take a look at the post “gearing your rogue the 3.2 way, find a few friends and grind some heroics. You should be able to gear out in a week or so doing about 3 dailies a day. I also recently did a post on how to enchant your gear both the cheap way and the best way. If you follow those two guides, you should be in good shape.

    Since you’re skinning, if you’ve got a leatherworker friend, you can gather the mats for an epic cloak, shoulders and bracers. If you really want to try assassination, do the Argent tournament stuff until you’re a champion with your faction, and use 25 champion seals to buy the MH dagger. Keep a look out for the Librarian’s Paper Cutter for on OH on the Auction house, and you should be good. 🙂

    If you need anything else, don’t hesitate to ask,

    – Sam

  121. Xeal says:

    Hi there,
    Thanks for the excellent resource material. I have found it really useful as I am new to the class, having played a priest for the past 4 years.
    I would be very interested in seeing what your key bindings are, if you would be prepared to discuss.

    Thanks again.

  122. SpearXXI says:

    Yeah, on my rogue I crafted the cloak and shoulders but have one more thing to craft once I buy the recipe. I have been lazy. I have done the argent tournament dailies on 2 toons already, so it is sooooo boring on a third…. but the dagger is nice. grr! lol

  123. upgrayedd says:

    I have a question about my oh dagger, i was using the paper cutter until i got the arg tourney dagger, and instead put namlak’s slicer in oh and arg tourney mh of course. would the 1.3 of the cutter be better in my case over the 1.5 of the slicer in my oh? upgrayedd on hydraxis if you wanna see my current gear. so i guess the side question is, “is there a cutoff to how fast u want the oh? i.e. what’s too “slow” to be fast for oh”

  124. samueltempus says:

    Love the character name. Use the sticker in the OH, not the cutter. There’s not really a magic number for speed of your weaponry for Assassination. If you’re comparing two potential off hands that are of the same iLevel, the faster one will be better, but if you have a dagger that’s 15+ ilevel higher and a bit slower, there’s a chance it will be the better weapon for you. Shadowpanther’s dagger lists are the easiest way to tell which are better.

    – Sam

  125. upgrayedd says:

    Thanks for the reply sam, i thought i was on the right track and your blog has helped me tons with my little rogue alt. of course my mage and druid being rich in gear and profs helps as well

    my running joke is to lvl a dk next that way vanquisher tokens wont drop for any of my toons XD

  126. Lacoka says:

    Sam, I’ve been following this guide on my rogue since somewhere in the lvl 30’s. I’ve been lvl 80 for a week now and working on gearing up. With my current gear which is a mixture of epics, pvp epics(which i’m working to get out of), some blue’s from heroics and some old trinkets and boots i havn’t been able to replace yet. As you can imagine my gear alone has me well under the hit cap. Should the focus of my gems and enchants be on reaching the hit cap until I get better gear? That’s what ive done and gotten hit up to 300. I did 2100 dps in os10 with this setup which I personally don’t feel is half bad. I have the rotations down pat i just want to make sure i’m getting the most out of what I have now. I’m Lacoka on the Cairne realm. I’ll appreciate any help you can give. Thanks

  127. SpearXXI says:

    Hey, I picked up the Shanker 2.00 (as MH) from Brewfest Boss, and the Black Night Dagger (as OH). Would that be a good set up, for Assasination?

  128. LipoftheUC says:

    Wow, Thank you! I was playing as Mut/Prep and dishing out maybe 1.7k Dps and I knew I needed to make it go up. After following what you did and everything my dps is at about 2.2k. You did everything very mature and that made it easy to follow. So thank you very much.

  129. Allar says:

    I was assasination muti/evis rogue till 80 and now respeced for raiding, great guide!

    However, can you take a look at my char:

    My dps on dummy is 1300-1400, is it normal atm?

  130. Poignardeux says:

    Honestly, as soon as I looted my 2 Black Knight’s Rondel, I wanted to try the raid version of Assa spec. I’ve always been combat (mace spec now) and I was able to pull out ~3.4k dps totally unbuffed. So I respeced, put berserking enchant on both daggers and tried it out on a dummy. After a couple of minutes, the maximum dps I could pull was only 3k flat. I also find it hard to manage the SnD with envenom so it never wears out, one stun and bam, no more SnD to refresh 😦 and you always have to think about hunger for blood. So yeah, my conclusion: Combat mace > Assassination.

    But excellent guide though, it helped me a lot.

  131. Alex says:

    Hey, I recently dinged 80 and thanks to this website i now have 1.5k dps which is enough to start raiding naxx, but i just wondered if any1 knows a good raiding guild on The Mailstrom as i cant find 1.


  132. Lacoka says:

    Sam, i see this guide was updated for 3.1. So, I was wondering if this is still how you spec and play ur assasin rogue.


  133. samueltempus says:

    I need to update some tooltips, but yeah, it’s exactly the same.

    – Sam

  134. samadelkin says:

    hey. great guide. it inspired me so much that after getting rondel, i switched to assass spec 🙂
    but now i’m somewhat disappointed. can’t outperform combat 😐

    i did some 10min training sessions on 80-dummy and got these results:

    mutilate (51/13/7) 2335 dps
    mh rondel+berserking+instant, oh sticker+mongoose+deadly
    ap 3467, hit 376, crit 36%
    melee 12% miss, 8% dodge. 23% crit
    mutilate 40% crit 5% dodge
    envenom 30%crit (max crit 4480)
    hfb and snd up all the time, rupture as much as i could, envenom on 4-5 (less when had to keep snd up) only if hfb & snd & rupture up

    combat (15/51/5) 2681dps
    mh horseman blade+berserking+instant, oh avool+mongoose+deadly
    ap 3696, hit 374, crit 33%
    melee hit 50% crit 31% miss 7%, parry 2% dodge 2%
    ss crit 30%
    instant poison: 11% crit
    snd and rupture up as much as i could, adrenaline rush when available

    i was hoping to see opposite results, even if i’m new to assassin, not perfect rotations, but it was just a dummytest…

    tried assassinating 83 bossdummy also, that was horrible, like 1300 dps, so damn much miss/parry/dodge

    not giving up yet 😉 have to get some more practice, but it still bothers me, i’m doing something wrong, but what?

  135. samadelkin says:

    never mind. i feel most dumb person ever to myself – figured that out when saw “your skill in daggers has increased to 317” on next mob 😉

    now got 400 skill and 3100dps on bossdummy.

  136. Samueltempus says:

    You’ll laugh, but I did the same thing when 3.1 hit, and I couldn’t understand what was going on until it hit me the next day. I completely understand. Anyway, grats! I like to hear that people are doing great DPS!

    – Sam

  137. Chaosrogue says:

    Hey, i’m wondering if 3700dps is good on a dummy? I was doing arround 3200as combat but my daggers are better than my swords so.

    AP 3745 , crit% 35.01, 342hit rating, 14expertise, 379haste.

  138. Stolzer says:

    Well – I had been struggling for ages to gain better DPS in Heroics. I’d get the normal damage meter readings pop up in party chat and i’d always be at the bottom …. it’s a little soul destroying when the unkind few point this out and rather than be helpful pull you to pieces in from of the group! However, I tried the suggestions on this pages and it’s come up trumps (and a bit more!) My gear is being replaced slowly from PvP to PvE and my damage is getting much better …. this rotation suggested on this page rocks!! I’m getting 3000+ damage (from an initial lousy 1000 that i was getting!)

    Thanks Sam for these suggestions – you have helped me more than you will know!!

    Thanks again matey 🙂

  139. samueltempus says:


    3700 is quite respectable on a combat dummy. You might be able to tweak a little more DPS out, but not much.


    Keep up the good work!

    – Sam

  140. Shogo238 says:

    Thanks for the help. I haven’t been able to find another assassination rogue to really help me and give me the insight I needed on the over all spec. I especially appreciate the break down of the rotation, that clears a lot up for me. I was wondering though, if this spec shares a similar gemming setup to combat. After, from my gear alone, I accumulate around a 350 ArP score, should I still stack ArP gems. Also, if I do this, would I ever change from envenom to eviscerate? Currently my ArP is only 273, and I stack +20 agi gems.

  141. Amy says:

    I switched your your build, and included a link to my armory for you to check out. Pretty sure I average 4k on the heroic dummy, do you have any suggestions?

  142. Marvo Bing says:

    Hi Sam, Great guide can’t wait to start using.

    Currently I am low level and just about to get the mutilate talent.

    I want to respec to assassination as soon as i achieve this. Obviously my daggers and gear aren’t brilliant at the moment, but your thoughts on this and some suggestions as to what daggers and gear to look out for and some tactics (do the ones in your OP still apply?) to start with would be appreciated.

    Should i wait until i am 80 to respec?

    Your (and the others who have taken the time to post here) thoughts are welcome.


  143. Josh says:

    Hey Samuel it’s been awhile since I was able to get back into WoW since right when you gave me advice on gearing up I had to move again to my new place for school SO i didn’t have fast enough net to get back to WoW

    I’ve yet to get myself a nice set of epic daggers for the build yet can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen that spectral kris drop for casters I’ve yet to see the rondel aha.

    This is more of a question on Envenom however, with it my dps has increased significantly but is there a reason envenom might not go off?

    Because I’ve noticed sometimes it will say “invalid target” or the envenom icon will just kind of do that “loading” up motion that it does when you hit the command button but aren’t finished with something else.

    Anyway I’m not sure if it has to do with other rogues in the group because I know I’ve used envenom on certain enemies and had the nice 10k crit and such but other times it won’t work. Deadly poison will be fully on the mob yet it says invalid target.

    An example would bet he 25 man Ony. First time I did it I was around the top for dps (still not top) but envenom worked on her wonderfully, I’ve ran it again multiple other times (still no bloodfang hood drop) but this time having other rogues in the group it’s then that my evenom won’t go off and i’m stuck using evis.

    Oh and if you could give my gear a quick check and tell me how im progressing? I’ve been running a bunch lately with my warlock friend in order to gear up before IC.

    Still Retica on Zuluhed. thanks 🙂

  144. will says:

    ive pulled 7.5 on bosses in tocr25 using a combat spec with a sword and fist i just tried both anarchy daggers i have on a dumby in sw and i my evicerate is like 10.6 to 11.3K so i take that as pretty awesome i like combat i havent done much with the assasination but i may go ahead and give it a try

  145. Shogo238 says:

    pulled a 22k envenom last night in ToC 25 😀 highest crit to date, all thanks to this build.

  146. trolleruler says:

    i have been combat maces for along, LONG time. i have mastered both PVE (i usually pull around 4.8k-5k dps) and PVP (i have 3, 1850 arena rated teams). but lately ive gotten bored with combat and wanted to try something new so i came to the net and found ur site. it was by far the best guide ive seen and thanks to it im pulling around 5k-5.5k dps and am having tons more fun with my rotation. this also makes soloing lowbie instances (like strat) and questing for gold much easier. thank you sam for making this guide :D. but i would recommend some changes in the spec……heres wat i think should be changed:
    take 1 point out of “lethality” and put it into “vigor”, take 3 points out of “improved poisons” and save it then later put it into “turn of the tables”, and finally 2 points out of “prescition” and into “improved slice and dice” (with this you wont need the glyph of SnD and can just getthe other 3 glyphs listed).
    this is just my oninion on how to make it a better and more balanced spec. anyways thank you sam and remember guys HAVE FUN ITS A GAME, THATS WAT ITS MAD FOR!!!

  147. trolleruler says:

    made* sorry for double post 😀

  148. Lacoka says:

    Sam, If i’m under the expertise cap should I be gemming expertise?

  149. Samueltempus says:

    If you’re close to the cap (24 or 25) I wouldn’t worry about it, as there’s plenty of easy to obtain gear with expertise. If you’re way under, you might want to consider it.

    – Sam

  150. Utopi says:


    Since I think your blogs are reflected, and otherwise a good read, have you tried the 51/18/2 spec sugested at Elite Jerks?

    After doing meh dps as a 79 in ToC I tried combat mace and did the same dps, wich disapointed me a bit, since i wanna be mutilate, but i weight damage done above spec, hehe.

    I think i will do some testing once i get to 80 since the special attacks also gets uppgraded at 80.

    Have a good evening 🙂

  151. ZoMbY says:

    I have a lvl 64 rogue.

    I’m using Assasination spec and im wondering about rotations.
    atm i use:

    (HFB and SnD not up) Stealth > Garrot > HfB > SnD > Mut > Envenom.
    Mut > Mut > Envenom.

    (HfB and SnD up) Stealth > CS/Ambush > Mut > Envenom > Mut > Mut > Envenom.
    Mut > Mut > Envenom.

    What i want to know is why you prefer certain abilities over others.
    I rarely use garrot or rupture unless i need to refresh HfB, and usually i only throw out a 1 CP rupture.
    Envenom, KS and even Evis seem to do more dmg than rupture.
    And garrot doesnt seem all that usefull, i prefer ambush or CS.

  152. Pointyside says:

    Alright, so forever I’ve been a combat rogue and always have been depressed that my dps was capped at about 2.8k and all the other caster classes were out dpsing me as well as the paladin and death knight could easily dps me with all their AoE and multiple targets hit abilities.

    But then I tried this AWESOME spec. I gotta hand it to you man, this helped me SOOOOO much. I jumped all the way from 2.8k as combat to roughly 4k dps in mutilate, hell I’ve even seen 5k dps with raid buffs. All I gotta say, is thanks man.

  153. Sneaky-D says:

    Firstly, thanks for this excellent guide and your articulate and helpful answers. I get so frustrated in game about the percentage of players who just assume that everyone else has the same understanding of how to play as they as they do.

    I changed my specc and rotation to assasination as per your guide having levelled all the way to 80 using sublety without a clue what I was doing. The effect was immediately noticable and I was as pleased as punch. I thought that after grinding some HC’s (tough on my realm due to an almost crippling shortage of Tanks) and gearing up properly, my DPS should be hitting the figures you talk about.

    The new cross realm dungeon finder has helped immensely and I’m now almost fully epic geared. However, I’m still only hit around 1.9 – 2.2k dps in Hc’s and about 3k on a dummy. My best single target figure was 4.1k on an easy boss. Even on the new bosses in the 3.3 patch Hc’s which are quite long fights, I top out around 2.8k. Even having recently got two nice new epic daggers, I still can’t cut the mustard.

    I’m getting really annoyed with myself as I follow your rotation and advice as best I can and still can’t perform as I should be doing. Friends on my server have looked at my gear, gems, enchants etc and say they can’t see any major problems (except the few lower ilevel items which I know I still need to change). I starting to wonder whether I just need to accept that I’m simply a useless player.

    If you could give me any further advice I’d be really grateful as this is starting to affect my enjoyment of the game. I don’t know if you can view EU armouries, but if you can my character is Sneakydonkey on the Bloodfeather realm.

    Thanks again for all your good advice and keep up the good work,


    Ps. Sorry for the wall of info!!

  154. John says:


    I find your sight real user friendly and your research is awesome if you would not mind would you take a look at my toon, Crysreaper on Perenolde and see what you think. I seem to be doing about 2.8k dps in heroics, however hunters and mages are tearing me up, i am not sure where i could improve, and what do you think of the way they are giving away Triumph badges, everyone will be in tier 9 gear or better in no time? what happened to the ever pursuit of trying to get better gear through work, not just running regular old dungeons and getting rewarded??

    Thanks for your advice

  155. windevil says:

    Reply Sneaky-D

    I read your above post and i looked in armory your gear.First of all due to some blizz changes on skills the talent build is changed for a Mutilate rogue.Its 51/18/2 check mines this specc is for boss encounters you shouldnt really disappointed from low dps on hc’s. You mentioned you do 3k dps on dummy if you mean on hc dummy this is quite good dps although with your gear you could reach 4k.Dont give up you just need to practise and get used to this.The main goal to do highest dps is to keep all dots and CD’s up. To be honest you should first get some gear then worry about the dps:) i mean both trinkets both rings your back ofc and after your thrown weapon.Hope i made you think more clear now 🙂 gl and hf

  156. windevil says:

    Reply Jon

    I agree with you since this is the second time they do this first with conquer my opinion wow get worst since wotlk released.I mean cmon you can gear up now with full decent epic gear only from doing hc’s.Do you guys remember how tough was to get epix in TBC?Badge of Justice only and hard raids.And they fcked up the Pvp system.Now every nab walks with relentless gear and he dont actually know to pvp.Hope they fix things in Cataclysm.

  157. tyler says:

    dude, i love you, ur rotation it is very helpful to my… dpsing?

  158. Slardi says:

    Just to add my own testimony to the chorus.

    As sub-spec (which I LOVED) in i200 daggers I was doing about 1.7k dps average on heroics. I had been sub since I stared WoW 4 years ago, and have always only played rogues. I just loved sneaking around and getting behind things and hurting them, but as time went (and I installed Recount) I learned I wasn’t contributing as much DPS as I fantasized I was.

    So I switched to combat and picked up some maces. I saw my DPS shoot up to the 2.4 to 2.6 range instantly. Of couse, there was a learning curve and button re-mapping, but I found it so much easier. It didn’t matter if I was behind my target anymore, and I could focus on fewer buttons. It was good. But I missed my daggers. Really missed them.

    I couldn’t help but notice rogues advertising 3k+ DPS in the LFG channel, and I couldn’t figure out how. Till I came here and read this article.

    I had to spend some time convincing myself, but I finally spent some $ and re-specced to Assassination. It really is awesome. I can go back to my beloved daggers, and even though I’m still getting used to rotations and mess up every now and then, I’m doing 2.9 to 3k out of the box.

    Think about that. I’ve nearly doubled my DPS from my sub days, and I’m still the nice guy I was back then.

    Mutilate is kick-butt, envenom is my new best friend, and I’m hungry for blood all night long. What’s not to love?


    Slardi – Lightninghoof

  159. Shun Tzu says:

    Hello Sam,

    First of all I greeting you for this professional blog, you and Dinaer bring a big help to the PvE rogues community.

    This post need an update due to the changes occurred during the time. My most of the played time I spent it in PvP,, but I go also to do some raids looking for better daggers, trinkets, etc. I use in PvE the classic 51/13/7 (poison hit and expertise capped) and after the 3.3. patch I have some question:

    Why to use rupture in rotation, unless you need to refresh HfB? With this poison change, instant poison arrive in first place of DPS with around 26 – 30%, so is better to use just Mutilate > Envenom when Ruthlessness proc and Mutilate crit and else 2 Mutilate > Envenom, not only for Envenom damage but for increased chance to proc instant and deadly poison. Rupture is so low in DPS chart to bother about it. My raid DPS on stationary targets is around 5,8 K in this way.

    I learn about the 51/18/2 spec. I understand that you have in this way 10% melee haste and 2% more crit, I know also that the white damage is second in DPS chart and deadly poison is linked to weapon speed, but 25 energy after each finisher can be compensated with this? Maybe I will give a try.

    Again thanks a lot for your work and keep your chin up 🙂

    Shun Tzu

  160. samueltempus says:


    I haven’t had the time to update the post, but it is coming. The problem is that it’s almost a complete rewrite. I’m still using a variant of the spec up that’s here, and believe me I’m not hurting for DPS. Depending on the length and type of the encounter I pull anywhere from 5-8k dps. Is it optimal? probably not, but it is very good still.


    – Sam

  161. samueltempus says:


    I haven’t had the time to update the post, but it is coming. The problem is that it’s almost a complete rewrite. I’m still using a variant of the spec up that’s here, and believe me I’m not hurting for DPS. Depending on the length and type of the encounter I pull anywhere from 5-8k dps. Is it optimal? probably not, but it is very good still.


    – Sam

  162. John says:

    Be sure you check out the 51/18/2 spec….

    By the way my Toon name is ÂrÊs on Perenolde


  163. shogo238 says:

    one thing i have noticed about this spec, is that the dps really has a long ramp up time. what i mean is, on trash mobs, you can expect even in T9 and T9 equivalent, to see around 2.8k dps (give or take a few hundred) due to the fact that it depends heavily on SnD and HFB. On bosses however, you can expect to see at the least 4k dps if your in said gear. I currently on most bosses can reach about 6k on a good day (granted my trinks and rings need an upgrade, which im sure once upgraded can give me a large boost in dps) over all though, a fantastic build, with great explanation of the over all mechanics.

    as the numberless masses have said before me, thank you Sam. To you and yours, have a merry christmas and a happy new year 🙂

  164. SpearXXI says:

    So I have noticed people taking out the Rupture glyph for the Tricks of the Trade glyph.

  165. ÂrÊs says:

    On long fights you will find you will need to slip a Rupture in so you can keep HFB up, but other than that it is more about keeping your poisons up, I use Intantant on main hand and Deadly on off hand.

    as a guildly said to me the other day Rogues will Go to Hell, I just laughed and said that is why we are so sneaky…

  166. SpearXXI says:

    I’m using the strategy he gives since it still works fine. I’m not sure the best strategy on trash, so I kind of just wing it, since it won’t do too much aoe damage anyways. lol HOWEVER, I would strongly suggest you include Tricks of the Trade into your guide, so people use it more. lol I use it all the time, and it makes it awesome at not pulling aggro. For, example I like to use it on tank and do the strategy listed on boss fights. On trash mobs with a lot of them, I will pop TotT and then Fan of Knives them a couple times at the beginning, pop a quick rupture, get HfB up and then try and get my SnD up and go from there.

  167. SpearXXI says:

    Sorry, for double post, but the 51/18/2 build is really good right now, and can’t wait to see you update to this.

  168. Luciferius says:

    I’m a 73 human rogue and was able to hit 1400 dps in greens/blues on mobs, not even bosses with up to 5k crits using this spec and rotation. Very very satisfying spec and clean presentation of it. I will be levelling this spec to 80. Thanks for the fine work :))

  169. Alex says:

    I have a roguw with teir 9 gear from badges and people keep saying that i should be doing 4-5k DPS but in a aid i can only stack it up to 3k 😦 i use the same rotation as you but i just cant get it up 😦

  170. Alex says:

    If anyone has any tips ide really appreciate it (sorry for 2nd post i just forgot to put notify me of new post lol)

  171. SpearXXI says:

    Alex, what is your gems, you should not be using this spec right now since it isn’t that great since 3.3. Armory Killdash on dethecus server and copy his Assasination spec and glyphs. The basic rotation is:
    Open with garrote
    Activate Hunger for Blood
    after a couple combo points pop Slice and Dice
    Build up to 5 points and use envenom
    If you have cold blood off cooldown use it on a 5point envenom
    when hunger for blood goes to about 5 sec left pop a 1 point rupture and reapply it.

    Test that out and see if your numbers improve. Let us know if it does!

  172. Tarty says:

    Hi i hav an assassin rogue and i use the mutilate rotation but my dps isnt great in hc’s sometimes i really struggle to get over 2k dps especially when i need to use FoK . only once have i ever done great dps and that was in toc25 where i was at 5.5k but since then its really dropped off, i havnt changed anything only upgraded kit but cant seem to get great dps please help

  173. SpearXXI says:

    Tarty, you need to fix your spec and glyphs. Get rid of Blood Spatter and Vigor and replace the FoK glyphs.

  174. Levi says:

    I am currently raiding assass, and I am happy with my DPS. I never use rupture because one of my group members seems to always use a bleed effect up. Is rupture purely in your rotation for HfB, or does it boost your DPS?

  175. Zylìa says:

    This is a good guide however, I do not recommend speccing Opportunity since Mutilate is not a large damage dealer, spec for full quater combat, and when you get above a certain lvl of gear it’s better to skip the Rupture and go with pure envenom spam (still keep hunger for blood up tho)

  176. samueltempus says:

    Totally agree with you Zylia,

    It’s how I’m specced and play currently, I just haven’t finished my updates on the guides.

    – Sam

  177. solidius says:

    sol of trollbane here i would like to know your thoughts on a comment a friend made to me yesterday “don’t daggers suck ass?” this got me thinking that if i had slow weapons i would do more dps considering mutilate uses 100% weapon damage + 44 with each weapon so more weapon damage would help right?

    thank you in advance for your time

  178. Samueltempus says:

    Unfortunately, Mutilate requires daggers….And actually your poison damage outscales your Mutilate damage at this point, so having at least 1 fast weapon is the way to go.

    – Sam

  179. coolishuman says:

    this was awsume now i do 4k dps thx

  180. Czar says:

    I got a question about wich stats to go for with this spec, seeing most top-notch muti rogues on my server are fully gemming for AP, i thought it would AP i should look for mostly in items.

  181. SpearXXI says:

    For Mut I was told to gem for the agi/crit gems.

  182. Hayten of magtheridon says:

    not sure why the low number of dps so many people are having .. must be gear or rotation.. I have been a combat rogue for all my rogues life ( about 1 year ) and have done well never really come in under 4th of a 25 man .. come in 1st lots of times ..
    after getting a couple daggers in toc 25 i decided to google ass rogues and try it out in my other spec .. i ran into this website and followed it to a T.. in 5 man heroics i pull around 3.4k to 4k as a combat rogue .. after trying this in my ass spec with same gear i’m now pulling 5k to 6k in 5 man heroics and i haven’t got to try in a raid yet but i’m really excited too.. my main hand in combat was a battered hilt quest item of 205.7 dps and the main hand dagger is now 196.4 my off hand is the same dps as the one i used in combat so if anything i didn’t go up in gear with this spec..i just wanted to say you should with the same gear right off the bat pull more with this spec than a combat spec..
    thank you so much for this great info .. i love my ass rogue even more than i did my combat .. and it just seems for fun to play ..

    ps .. after playing combat rogue i just love the SnD refresh you get with ass .. anyone playing combat wondering about giving this a try .. JUST DO IT !!

  183. Azshanu of Ysondre says:

    My rogue is my Herbalist/Alchemist and provides pots/elixers/flasks for my 80s. His aggro range makes it a little harder/riskier to gather some herbs, so I thought I’d raise him a couple more levels. I knew I needed help because I was only doing about 600 dps on dummy and 200 dps in instances. I was fortunate enough to stumble upon your insightful and well-written guide, and what an amazing difference it has made!

    I respec’d on Friday (level 71 at the time) and followed your attack rotation – bumped my dps on dummy up to 1200! With really bad gear! I struggled in instances, but I think I’ve finally found my groove and I am consistantly top dps on bosses. Until I get FoK, I’ll have to remain satisfied with single target uberness.

    Anyway, I wanted to share a few of the macros I’ve made to make life a little easier for me. Nothing new really… just tweaked it a little.

    I have pick pocket macroed to every ability from stealth.

    Macro 1 – adds the bleed effect. Key-bound to 1 (stealthed)

    /cast pick pocket
    /cast garrote

    Macro 2 – applies HfB and SnD. Startattack gets my white dmg going. Key-bound to 1 (unstealthed) so I’m still mashing the same key.

    /castsequence reset=target/combat hunger for blood, slice and dice

    Macro 3 – Key-bound to 2. I’m pretty much mashing this key throughout most fights. This rotation should keep SnD and HfB active until boss is dead.

    /castsequence reset=target/combat mutilate, envenom, mutilate, mutilate, envenom, mutilate, mutilate, envenom, mutilate, mutilate, envenom, mutilate, mutilate, envenom, mutilate, mutilate, rupture, hunger for blood

    SnD Macro – if SnD drops off, I use this macro to reapply it, then return back to Macro 3

    /castsequence reset=target shiv, slice and dice

    HfB Macro – if HfB drops off, I use this macro then back to Macro 3

    /castsequence reset=target shiv, rupture, hunger for blood

    Optional Opener – if SnD and HfB is up, then I will stealth and use this macro, Key-bound to 2, so when I unstealth, I’m mashing Macro 3 which is Key-bound to 2

    /cast pick pocket
    /cast ambush

    Remember, with castsequence macros you just keep clicking the key until all the abilities fire, then switch to the next macro (If you’re supposed to).

    Since it’s been so much fun so far, I think I’ll level to 80. Thanks again for a great guide.

  184. Azshanu of Ysondre says:

    Just to be clear, I start with Marco 1, then do Macro 2, and finally mash away on Macro 3 until everything’s dead, switching from mob to mob, reapplying SnD and/or HfB as needed.

  185. Just swapped from combat to HfB-mutilate (assassination), and though my dps hasn’t come up to what it was in real fights, I have seen some significan improvements on dummies… I guess on Deathbringer Saurfang I will see some improvements too, since it isn’t all that far from fighting a dummy from a rogues perspective.

    Anywho, a few pointers… as you will find in the elitist jerks forums, use the FAST mainhand with DP on it, and slower OH with insta. Yeah, sounded daft, but actually saw a .4 increase in dps with this advice. Either way you go, you will find that after white, instant poison (and then envenom) is the highest damage dealer – so speed is imperative, unlike as combat where wheight/total damage on weapon was the big point due to sinister strike. NEVER wait for the 55 energy to accumulate to do an extra mutilate when you have 4 combopoints up – do 4-point envenoms in stead. The 4 second boost in damage by envenom outweights a 4-5k mutilate in the long run, and mark my words… 4-5k is a crit, for someone with a beimba of 612. 15% increase in DP-proc and 75% increase in Insta-procs does the trick here in stead… on a dummy you’ll find a .15k increase in changing your rotation to vary between 4 and 5-point envenoms like described above. (You might see this in the macro made by Azshanu – 2x mutilate –> envenom)

    But do your own testing – and keep in mind – just swapped from combat to assassination… but it makes sense both in my own testing, and as far as I can read in different forums.

  186. Sim says:

    hey, just lvling before i spec assassination at 80, would i be better putting points in lightning reflexes and just having 2 in relentless strikes, or is relentless strikes a bad idea?

    also i was thinking of having the 2 points from blood splatter in quick recovery, any thoughts on that?


  187. Azshanu of Ysondre says:

    @ Sim

    I believe samueltempus wrote this as a purely single target dps spec guide. I think he even states that there is no utility to this build. However, I’m sure he would say that if those other talents float your boat and make the game more enjoyable for you, then go for it.

  188. Azshanu of Ysondre says:

    I made an error in my SnD Macro and HfB Macro. This should work better:

    SnD macro
    /castsequence reset=8 shiv, slice and dice

    HfB Macro
    /castsequence reset=8 shiv, rupture, hunger for blood

  189. Sim says:

    i don’t see how the changes in talents i am asking about take away from it being single target in anyway.

    i’m purely wondering whether it is better to have the haste or the energy,
    and also asking as i will be in low gear and raiding with other classes that use bleeds, would the refund of energy be worth getting for when i miss?

    maybe i’m miss understnading, what do you mean by untility?

  190. JDMParadise says:

    Hunger for Blood only increased damage by 5% now :/

    Rogues get nerfed to much.

  191. Azshanu of Ysondre says:

    @ Sim

    Regarding the talents you are inquiring about, I’ve read elsewhere, very heated arguments on which would provide better dps – haste or energy. After several threads of name calling from both sides, I gave up reading it. Go with what feels comfortable for you. You may have to test out both.

    I see what your saying about having low +hit gear when you initially start raiding, and the refund in energy after a miss does look attractive. Might be worth picking up, but I wouldn’t know what to give up for it. Don’t forget, there is also +hit food and elixers to help compensate for the lack of hit.

  192. Sim says:

    cheers man, i didn’t know about the food or hit elixirs, not played in a while, and i have to agree threads like that spoil it!

    i am very impressed with this guide and think i might just stick too the haste and bleed time, i’ll test it out.

    nerfed, damn. i take it assaination still better dps?

  193. Sim says:

    ok i specced it and it’s so much fun even on a dummy (usd by a dummy) great job on the macros too, i for one am using some of them, but don’t have shiv yet still lvling so those can wait.

    one question though with this macro

    /castsequence reset=target/combat mutilate, envenom, mutilate, mutilate, envenom, mutilate, mutilate, envenom, mutilate, mutilate, envenom, mutilate, mutilate, envenom, mutilate, mutilate, rupture, hunger for blood

    would i tbe good to add another mutilate on the end as once the rotation is going, it’s 2xmutilate to one envenom

    you might have already done this sorry if i double posted it

    cheers and keep it up,

  194. Stabindaback says:

    I have been spec’ed in assassinations since level 1. Around 75-76, it seemed like my DPS fell off as compared to other classes in instances. As I was leveling and running instances, I was always #1 or #2 in DPS. Now at level 80, I’m 3rd., or 4th. in DPS.

    I rebuilt with the above build, but I am wondering what poison on which weapon and why.

    I hope this build puts me back at the top of the DPS where rogues should be!

  195. SpearXXI says:

    Well, if you don’t have the same comparable gear as other players your dps will be lower, so don’t let that get you done as you build your new gear set. Once you get all the t9 and other ilvl200-232 gear from heroics you can then see where you are compared to other players in a group. For mut you want instant on MH cause it does good damage, and you MUST have deadly on your OH or you can’t use envenom. Not only that after you get 5 stacks of deadly on the target, every deadly poison that gets applied becomes an instant poison because of the changes in the last couple patches.

  196. Onlymist says:

    Well I was com and respd to your recs….I have no idea what I am doing
    wrong…get a disappointing 1400 dps..:-(..

    I read about these 5-6k and I must be doing everything wrong..
    I practice the rotations too….any recommendation would be helpful

    thinking of goin back to com

  197. SpearXXI says:

    Onlymist try out my spec because it became popular by a lot of people after 3.2 or 3.3. It is a rupture-less spec, so you only use rupture to reapply your HFB. Here is the boss rotation:
    1. TotT tank
    2. Garrotte
    3. HFB
    4. SnD 1-3 combo points
    5. Mut till you get 5 combo points or SnD is about to wear off
    6. Cold Blood
    7. Envenom 5 combo points
    8. repeat 5 and 7 until you need to reapply HFB and just do a 1 combo point rupure, and make sure you keep doing TotT.

    If you have any other buffs, like Haste increase or AP trinket use them when you need to burn boss. I like to use my trinket when I’m going to use Cold Blood as it should increase the damage. For trash you don’t have to worry about SnD and HFB as much because it is super annoying when you almost get the set up and the mobs all die, so just focus on burst damage and TotT with Fan of Knives to help tank keep aggro, even if he would be fine.

    Here is my toon’s spec:

  198. Skippy says:

    Hey Azshanu great macro rotation seem to be what I was looking for. But I do have one question I’m spec into Cold Blood I’m not sure if you are if you are when do you apply it in a boss fight?
    I like to apply Cold Blood then use Envenom just don’t know when a good time to use it in this rotation.
    Thanks for all your help

  199. Azshanu of Ysondre says:

    @ Sim

    You are right the rotation should be 2x Mutilate then Envenom, but I was noticing SnD dropping sometimes when I changed targets, probably because the previous mob died before it could be refreshed. So, the 1 Mutilate then Envenom at the start seems to keep it up continuously for me as I go from one mob to the next.

    @ Skippy


    I am spec’d into Cold Blood. I apply it manually when I see 5 combo points up. Not too hard to do since we know the rotation is 2x Mutilates then Envenom. I’m too low to raid yet, but I’m sure there will be better times to use it, but that’s the nice thing about macros, it allows you to better observe your environment.

    Btw… I recently learned about the HfB nerf that occurred before I started to level my rogue, but this still seems to be a strong, and fun build to play. If your still having trouble with your dps, just follow what SpearXXI said. Everything is right there in his post.

  200. Azshanu of Ysondre says:

    On a personal note, while HfB is a very nice dps talent, I think a talent that would make Envenom work similar to say, Cleave, where it applies dmg to 3 mobs would be kinda cool. Or perhaps a poison gas aoe like the rogue in ToC would be even better. The mechanics of both would be in-step with a poison build at least.

  201. Azshanu of Ysondre says:

    Many of you came to this blog seeking to gain additional insight and perhaps improve the way you play your rogue. We had converts who changed from Combat to Mut, and others who just needed a bit of tweaking. How are you all doing?

    I just hit 80 3 days ago and did my 1st weekly last night. Yeah I was at the bottom of the dps meter and just slightly above the 2 tanks, but hey, I had a gear score of 2700+ and the rest had GS of 4000-5000+! I also picked up a couple of t9 pieces, so my GS is now around 3000+. I’m running as many heroics as possible for emblems, but it’s not so easy for dps. I have 2 tanks and a dual-spec priest, so I’m used to insta-groups. I have a mage too, but she does her JC and/or fishing daily while waiting.

    Anyway, hope to hear from all of you who posted earlier. Eager to see how you are all doing… and more importantly to hear from Sam again.

    A hui hou!

  202. SpearXXI says:

    I got my rogue set up for ICC or close enough to it, but switched back to my main (feral druid/ resto). However, I do miss playing my rogue, and was doing competitive numbers to people in my gear range. I only got to do first boss in ICC 25 though, but it was tons of fun. lol

  203. juan says:

    Thank you so much u helped my dps alot more!!!!!!!!!! no homo i love u

  204. hilker says:

    76 rogue i did 1860 sustained with assassination, alrdy had build thx for the guide helped with roto quite a bit

  205. Johnny says:

    What lvl do you suggest switching to this spec?

  206. SpearXXI says:

    If you are leveling stick to the leveling spec that Sam made; however switch to this spec, when you hit 80. As you get more gear, etc from badges and what not, I would strongly suggest switching to the ruptureless spec for Mut.

  207. Patrick says:

    I really appreciate the thought and effort you put into this guide, and, frankly, everything else on your website, Thanks

    MH and OH poison selection seems to have been standardized, by you, and ShadowPanteher among others, as MH-instant OH-deadly. After playing with different specs and trying different rotation variations on target dummies, I re-read the poison descriptions and decided to try reversing the standard poisons. In other words; MH-deadly OH-instant. My theory was that though I would miss the first 5 or so instant poison applications from the main hand, after deadly had stacked to 5, I’d be getting a free application of instant. To my surprise, using the same rotations, I consistently got 700 more dps at the target dummie. I can’t believe that everyone can be wrong in the same Is there something I am missing about this? Both my daggers are Bloodweeper, so neither is faster than the other. Perhaps if I had different speed daggers I would get different results.

  208. samueltempus says:

    I’d be better at answering your questions if you can tell me the circumstances of your test:

    How long it was, any buffs used, etc.

    I’ve got a pair of ICC 25 1.8’s so I’ll give it a shot myself this evening and get back to you. EJ has put a lot of time into testing this, and has confimred that there is a marginal DPS increase if you have a fast weapon (equal or greater weapon DPS to the off hand) with Deadly in the Main hand, so that is true, but using the Rogue Spreadsheet, I noted that using my 1.8’s togther was an overall DPS loss. Again, I’ll take a look myself and see what I can come up with.

    Thanks for bringing this to my attention,
    – Sam

  209. Travis says:

    Being a noob at all this I really appreciate how simple you made this. However, being a noob I still don’t know what to shoot for as far as gear and how and where i can improve. I keep reading about spreadsheets for the gear but every time I look at them I get more confused can someone please help.

  210. SpearXXI says:

    What gear do you currently have? If you need basic advice on gearing out with just badges, and heroic drops I can help you. If you are just starting out, and you don’t have the materials to craft any gear go for:
    helm: Mask of Lethal Intent (75 triumph badges)
    chest/gloves/pants/shoulders: T9
    Neck: Barbed Ymirheim Choker (Heroic Pit of Saron)
    Back: Accursed Crawling Cape (Normal Forge of Souls) or Hammerhead Sharkskin Cloak (25 valor badges)
    Boots: Blighted Leather Footpads (Heroic Halls of Reflection)
    Thrown: Pappa’s Brand New Knife (Heroic Forge of Souls) or Crimson Star (25 triumph badges)
    Wrist: Chewed Leather Wristguards (Heroic Pit of Saron)
    1. Dexterous Brightstone Ring (35 Triumph badges)
    2. Band of Stained Souls (Heroic Pit of Saron)
    1. Mark of Supremacy (50 triumph badges)
    2. Needle-Encrusted Scorpion (Heroic Forge of Souls)*

    *This is best for a combat rogue; however, it is better than some of the other trinkets you can obtain. You have some choices, but some take time obtaining.
    +Pyrite Infusor (10 man Flame Leviathan ULDUAR RAID) If its the raid weekly it will be super easy to find a group.
    +Banner of Victory (Normal Trial of the Champions) Can be farmed, but drop rate is low.
    +Mirror of Truth (40 Heroism Badges) <-expensive since you will be saving as many badges as you can.
    +Fury of the Five Flights (25 man Obsidian Sanctum) Will be difficult to obtain since it is a 25 man, and is an appealing trinket still.

    Those are the big trinkets you can obtain without as much difficulty, and the gear I listed is a great starting point if you want to gear out to get into a guild or pug raid group.

  211. Ali says:

    It’s a pure joy to see how this post has kept going from way back to now. I’ve been looking to get my DPS up switching specs but there just seems to be no continously updated guides, if u will, about this fine spec. And oh, I love the macros, they’ve made my newbie life a lot easier. Props to whoever wrote them:D

  212. Lauren says:

    Hey ! I’ve been reading all these comments and trying to take it all in. I just leveled my first toon to 80 about a week ago and my gear score is up to 3500. I have 344 hit and 14 expertise. I’m seriously bummed about my dps. I think it’s just my inability to lock down a rotation and also I can’t seem to do hardly anything on trash mobs… i just get all turned around and even find my toon at times just standing there when i think i’m hitting something! haha…. i don’t play a whole ton and am learning but i’m gettin like between 1100 and 1300 on average in instances…. i haven’t done any 10 man or 25 man raids yet… (i’m a semi-noob) haha… any advice? can u check out my toon? I’m Diem on Hakkar. thanks 🙂

  213. Lauren says:

    p.s….. i also am really bad at WoW language 😦 so if you can give me any advice in “laymans” terms that’d be awesome 🙂 haha. I mean I have no idea what a lot of the stuff is in some of these posts…. i just want to lock down a rotation and make sure i’m doin all i can to have high dps 🙂 thanks!!!!!!!!

  214. Lauren says:

    p.p.s …. (yes… i thought of something else)… I leveled my rogue as combat and just recently dual specd as assasination…. i’ve been using assass. in instances and combat to quest…. so i’m pretty new to assass. in general. 🙂 ………. ok i’m done…. goin to bed 😉 later!

  215. Hastore says:

    You’ll be wanting to look at your crit and attack power too, along with haste (and armor penetration if you are combat).
    Assassination follows a pretty simple rotation when you have it set up (following the 51/18/2 spec, can look it up under rogue builds on wowwiki). Typically you’ll want to open with Garrote, then Slice and Dice and Hunger for Blood. Follow this with a single Mutilate and then an Envenom (unless you have been unlucky with Deadly Poison in which case use Eviscerate). After this it’s a 2-button game: Mutilate up to four or five combo points, then Envenom. You can refresh HfB as necessary by applying a weak rupture. Use Cold Blood on those 5-point envenoms when you pop your trinkets 😀

  216. samueltempus says:

    “Assassination follows a pretty simple rotation when you have it set up (following the 51/18/2 spec, can look it up under rogue builds on wowwiki).”

    Actually as of 3/30/10 that’s the spec that’s discussed in this post. I’ll get to the tips a bit later…

    – Sam

  217. samueltempus says:


    I popped you an email in response to your questions. Write me back when you get it.

    – Sam

  218. ijseanascen says:

    with this spec on festerguy (icc 10) i got up to 14k dps ty

  219. ijseanascen says:


  220. samueltempus says:

    Sounds great, keep up the good work 🙂

    – Sam

    P.S. – I think I like Festurguy better. Might start calling him that myself

  221. Pingback: Subtlety Rogue; Doing it from behind… « Heals and Dots

  222. Derek says:

    Hello, first of all I love your blog! I had a question about the ruptureless build. I quick wow back in November and recently reactivated my account. I took note of the changes to rogues and started trying to use this new rotation. However my dps is still not as good as it is when I use rupture… Am I doing something wrong or is it more gear dependent? Thanks again! Zaddik on Destromath

  223. SpearXXI says:

    After looking at your toon, the reason why your dps could be higher is:
    1. You have the Rupture Glyph
    2. Your have the 2 set on T9
    3. This might not matter, but the agi from the mongoose enchant does increase rupture higher than AP does.

    In ICC you should get roughly 1k more AP and 10% more crit, so the ruptureless should be higher. Change out your glyph and test the numbers again to see if anything changes.

    When it comes to the tiny nuts and bolts, I’m not the most knowledgeable of the rogue class, so I might not have the most accurate information.

  224. SpearXXI says:

    I didn’t notice that your haste was only 6.31% and looking at a geared ICC rogue, their haste is 20.22%

  225. Loquê says:

    I was using my friends rogue for a bit, speccing him gearing him as i please (I have nice friends :D) and i tried a similar spec to this one, one that i created as my own, i dunno if its good, but personally i like it better.
    I hit about 2k-3k dps in random heroics. half the time topping the dps meter. I had nearly no t9 only enough for the 2 set bonus. the rest conquest gear (because this was back in 3.2.2a) and now ive made my own rogue.
    I called him Loquê, on Saurfang realm. i dont have all the discs. only one tbh, do you have any idea on a 60 raiding or pvping spec? because it would help me alot as i plan to gear @ 60 while i save up for the next disc.

    PS, i liked the spec, really high dps.

    PSS, Has anyone used this spec in ICC 10/25 yet? would be nice to know how they went with it.


  226. Loquê says:

    Oh and this is my spec that i used:
    comments plz, test it on thoose dummies, tell meh dah difference. And i suppose to make all ya lives easier ill toss ya a link to mah rogue:

  227. Firaku says:

    I tested your Assassination build and rotation. And while it’s really good and I like it. Though I felt that the other party members were able to open up on mobs before I even got into place for a Garrate (and playing a Subtility rogue with shadow step makes moving in with stealth seem agonnizingly slow using assassination)

    If played at peak performance, is Combat just as good and/or better than Assassination? And how does a good Subtility spec perform against the two.

  228. Firaku says:

    Did a bit more reading around your site and just realized that Subtility after 79 isn’t at all that usefull. But as far as messing with people in PvP and being able to Shadow Step around for pulls and saps, it was a lot of fun. I think I’ll spec combat at 80 and test it agaist Assassination to see what’s better for my playing style and dps. I really loved Subtility for arena at 70 and might duel spec it for a 2v2 rogue team once again.

    Any ideas/constructive-criticism on this are very welcome!

  229. SpearXXI says:


    Having played both Mut and Com spec at 80 it all comes down to preference. The way Mut is really good is long single target fights, and you will feel more like a rogue. In that spec you will use Garrote as an opener with sprint (because you will be stealthed), you will be using two daggers that look really cool when you attack with both of them at the same time (Mutilate visial), and you will vanish every cooldown to maximize on the Overkill buff.

    Combat is more set up for swashbuckling as you will burst through multiple mobs, you will never you stealth and Garrote, you will feel like a pirate, and you can control most of your buffs to burst at the same time.

    In conclusion, the spec you want to play ultimately comes down to you wanting to play more like a ninja or pirate. As a feral druid myself, I tend to like combat more, because I don’t have to stealth up before every pull, as it gets tedious like you said.

  230. Azshanu says:

    I used to be concerned too seeing other classes opening a can of you-know-what at the start of a fight. Some classes have nice burst dps on their opening moves, but then level off a bit. With a muti build, I find that I will eventually surpass them and end up in the top of the charts. I find it especially gratifying to surpass other players who have gear scores a lot higher than me… and it’s all because I found this awesome blog!

  231. Loquê says:

    I’ve been wondering, why use the 2 points into relentless strikes instead of opportunity? surely 20% dmg increase on muti/garrote (two main used skills) would be better than a 8% chance to get 25 energy on combo moves? I will probably do some calculating to figure out how much energy that you “should” gain per minute vrs the amount of increase in dmg (with about 2k, mh 1k oh crits – mutilate) but it would be best if someone in really good gear tries it out. But, my hypothesis is that Opportunity will increase dmg dealing more than relentless strikes, if u know/think different explain why, feedback would be awesome 🙂

  232. Loquê says:

    thinking about the Mh/oh crits those are really low, compared to what i used to produce, atleast i think so, so im gonna increase them to 3k mh crits, 1.5k oh crits. going with 40% crit.

  233. Samueltempus says:

    It’s actually a 32-40% (8% per point) chance if you’re using 4-5 pt finishers. I used to roll the other way myself, until the good folks at Elitist Jerks pointed out that dps with 2/5 RS is better than 2/2 Op. To actually show you the math behind it would take a massive post, but it really boils down to this:

    Mutilate isn’t a significant portion of our damage compared to the two poisons. Maxing DPS is about keeping the Envenom buff up, and that’s done through pooling energy. The extra energy from approximately every 3 Envenoms helps to pull that feat off. The 4 set tier 10 doesn’t hurt either, but it doesn’t proc nearly often enough…

    – Sam

  234. Loquê says:

    Prepare for a ginormous wall of text!!!
    Well, I did all of these calculations with only 2 talents counted (either opportunity + blood splatter, or relentless strikes + blood splatter). I also had on my imaginary rogue, 4k AP, 315 hit 26 exp and 40% crit.
    This was all done without using a damage meter or testing damage, just guessing and maths (imaginary numbers ftw rite?) The imaginary rogue has the Conquest-2SB (one e per tick of dp).
    I believe its best to precise with numbers, so im going to round them all to the nearest 0.01. Our sequence: Garrote, Mutix2, Ev/evis, Mutix2, Ev, mutix2, Ev. and so on.
    Without using our garrote you gain (atleast) 300 damge into your rotation, why? No HFB, with HFB you gain more, hence why you use garrote at the start; so you can use HFB.With this talent, muti crits (MH/OH) 3.6k/1.8k, 2k/1k non-crits. Ev crits around 11k, 6.1k non-crits. Nice damage me thinks.
    NFN! (now for numbers)
    According to research, and maths, 1 energy is gained every tenth of a second. So i added divided etc, and got this. With garrote, you can do muti + Ev 3.86 times in one minute, not bad. then for the next minute you can do that same combo without garrote, 4.27 times! big difference!
    2minutes -> 16 mutilates (32 if u seperate the mh/oh crits) -> 8 Ev -> 1 Garrote. According to my calculations you should get 6 MH crits and 7 OH crits out of that (with 40% crit remember) along with 3 Ev Crits, the damage calc should look a bit like this…
    11k x 3 + (6.1k x 5) = 63.5k = Ev.
    5.4k x 6 +3.8k + (3k x 10) = 66.2k = Mutilate.
    450 (each tick) x 6 (amount of ticks) = Garrote.
    That is a total of 132400 damage in 2 minutes from those three abilities. Niiiice.
    Now, Relentless Strikes.
    This is a gamblers option (Don’t worry i’m not calling any1 a gambler, but personally and according to calc, i wouldnt use it unless ur really lucky with it). 8% chance to gain 25 energy after a combo move, we have 3-4 combos that a muti rogue would actually use often. SnD, Ev, Evis, Rupture. In the usual rotation, it adds to about 11 combo moves in 2 minutes. Well, in that rotation you’ve still only got a 88% chance to actually gain 25 more energy once in two minutes. Well thats low huh? so what if we do that minute without gaining 25 energy? we would lose dps compared to the other one ya? No need to research that to find it out. But, i thought maybe i should turn the tables a bit (no refrence) to make it easier for Relentless strikes to win. If i give it one proc a minute (highly increased). It gives me 4.03 in the first minute with garrote starting us off. and 4.44 in the second. Comparing that to last one; 8.47 > 8.13. If they both had opportunity it would equal the same amount of dps in two minutes, but they don’t. They both use mutix2 and ev 8 times. and then i wouldn’t be surprised if the relentless strikes spec does another mutilate at the end… Maybe, we should do the maths of this.
    4.5k x 7 + (1600+830×10) = 23400
    Ev the same. 11k x 3 + (6.1k x 5) = 63.5k
    Garrote is 375 x 6 = 2250 dmg
    That totals up to 89150 dmg. nothing close to with opportunity… even with the increased energy gains.

    SO! My conclusion is as follows. Opportunity 2/2 is a better talent, dps wise than 2/5 Relentless strikes. I May be wrong feel free to help me understand that relentless strikes are better than opportunity (its possible on long fights) and i am always up for help, i am sure that i’m not 100% exactly correct. But if im wrong please explain! I did this over three hours, used 7 pages of my old workbook. If you wish for me to add stuff about my research please feel free to ask.

    Loquê – Math R B Mah Thang!

  235. Samueltempus says:

    That’s good work, but it’s missing some key stuff. First off, here’s the EJ post I’m referencing:

    “Q: Why 2/5 Relentless Strikes instead of 2/2 Opportunity?
    A: Because it’s better.”

    I know that lacks an explanation, but the people compiling this information are using all of the correct numbers with no assumptions in their equation. They run these numbers through a simulator assuming the best case scenario, and they run them many, many times before they come to a conclusion. If they’re saying its better….then it’s better (again assuming that conditions are perfect).

    One thing I pointed out earlier, is that Relentless Strikes with 2 points actually looks like this:

    1pt – 8%
    2pt – 16%
    3pt – 24%
    4pt – 32%
    5pt – 40%

    It’s not just a passive 8%. If you’re using 4+ Envenoms, you’re getting a 32-40% chance of a proc. Also, with the 4 piece tier bonus and Ruthlessness, there’s a good chance that you will only need to Mutilate once, or not at all for the next Envenom. Also, with crit as high as it is, there’s about a 50% chance you’ll get an extra combo point from your Mutilates.

    In the end, Mutilate’s not used as often as you’d think, and the extra energy helps keep that Envenom buff up. In fact, A majority of my Envenoms are preceded by 1 or 0 Mutilates. Needing 2 Mutilates is the rarity, not the norm. Because of this, that extra 20% on an ability that does about 12% of your damage isn’t as good as it sounds. In fact, roughly 74% of my damage comes from Melee and Poison. That’s why the Envenom buff is so powerful, and why it’s so important to keep active as long as possible. Relentless strikes is but one key to achieving that goal.

    In the end, parsing the maths behind 26% of the overall damage you do isn’t going to give you the whole picture. It’s nice work, and logically sound, but the boost in damage from extra instant poison procs is always going to beat out a 20% increase on your 2nd lowest damage dealing ability (deadly poison is the least). If you want to run the maths on everything, knock yourself out, but it’d be one heck of an equation to write. The Mrs, being a math teacher would be interested for sure though.


    – Sam

  236. Loquê says:

    Haha, not gonna try, took me 3 hours to do it the first time >.> Like, i said i could be completely wrong, ive never actually tested it. thanks for the help 🙂

  237. Loquê says:

    Well… thinking about it, you couldn’t really write out one equation to fit the whole thing, would have to be a whole heap due to the variations of procs, the chance to get an extra couple of combos. Too many Variables to follow the same equation with all of them, honestly i can’t wait to level my rogue to 80 and start gearing toward ICC 😀
    @ Sam, Good luck killing the LK, i’ve heard that the cinematic is great 🙂


  238. Shadowcloud says:

    Hey, I am A combat rogue. Probaly ebtter gear than alot of you here. i use relentless maces and so on but i noticed alot of the rogues around me dont need 1 cd to own each class. but they do more dmg to kick ass with. i want to be a good assas/duel speced combat rogue but i would like to learn how to handle assasination better

  239. Lauren says:

    Hey Sam!!! So when do u think we could improve my dps? let me know:) thanks.

  240. SpearXXI says:

    What is your toon, and where are you needing improvement in your dps?

  241. Lauren says:

    my toon is Diem. I had talked to sam about meeting up in game to try to see how i can improve my dps… meet at a dummy or something. I just want higher dps. I’m almost 5k on dps and my numbers are still pretty low in my opinion. I just wanted him to check out my toon and see what i could do better. 🙂

  242. Lauren says:

    so i totally wrote i’m almost 5k on dps… i meant i’m almost 5k gs… whew… if i was 5k dps i’d be very happy!!!!!! hhaahah….. my gs now is 5055… just got over 5k yesterday w/ some new gear


  243. Erik says:

    Thnx a bunch mate, i was lvl 70 and only doing 200 dps, hopefully i do more now, about to go to borean tundra and test it out on some rhinos

  244. risingdeath says:

    Make 10750dps in saurfand (icc10)

  245. Ãgility says:

    Hello tanks for your pointers yust hitted 70 with m rogue.
    First i tried leveling sub but that wasnt realy good ;).
    Read some things about assasin rogue. but coudnt find a decent guide.
    This is the best guide i’ve seen 😀 dps while leveling is around 700 lot faster then sub 😀

  246. Lauren says:

    hey sam… i’m still having trouble. can we meet up in game? possibly? let me know. i know a lot of people ask for ur help on this thing.

  247. SpearXXI says:

    What are you still having trouble with?

  248. samueltempus says:

    I’m just finishing up the school year; literally 1 hour before the last class is out the door, so I’m fairly free after today. Email me some times that would work for you for thursday or friday of this week. Make sure to note what time zone those times are for 🙂

    – Sam

  249. Lauren says:

    sam can u email me… i dont know ur email addy. i just saw ur response on thursday nite at 10pm my time (central time) otherwise i coulda met up w/ u tonite. oh well 😦 this weekend i’m out of town. maybe next week tues or wed nite? let me know. and i am central time zone. later!!! and i hope ur school year went well! later!

  250. Berdeen says:

    Hey Sam, Looks like you’re doing some good work here. Would you mind taking a look at my gear and comment on where you think I can improve? Gems? Enchants?


  251. SpearXXI says:


    I personally hate Mark of Supremacy. Though my hatred comes from two things: I raid as a feral druid and I forget to use it every CD. Anyways, that is a little off topic, but get Herkuml War Token (60 frost emblems). I would say get the Whispering Fanged Skull as your other trinket, but it looks like you have not been able to get into ICC yet. Death’s Verdict would be a great other trinket to get, but is a pain to obtain (low drop rate and still drool worthy to a good amount of classes). Other than that your upgraded weapons are in 25 TOC, unless you can go into ICC, but the daggers don’t drop until the end of the 2nd and 3rd wing sadly, with those bosses needing proper coordination… The last thing on gear upgrades aside from boss drops in ICC, is that you can get a ring from farming rep in ICC. You only need a good tank, maybe two healers and about 4 or more dps and you can pull the trash up to the first boss super easily. Then you just go outside and repeat for like 5 times and bam! you get a new ring. lol

    Anyways for your missing gear enchants I suggest as follows:
    Chest: “Enchant Chest – Powerful Stats”
    Boots: either “Enchant Boots – Icewalker” or “Enchant Boots – Greater Assault”
    Cloak: “Enchant Cloak – Major Agility”
    On your weapons, I’m assuming you are saving up your money/mats for beserking on better weapons, which I would totally agree on. lol

    On your gems, I’m not sure what you are doing there. XD
    I would suggest you do “Relentless Earthsiege Diamond” for your meta, and Stark Ametrine for yellow sockets, Bright Cardinal Ruby for red or blue sockets, have Nightmare Tear in one blue socket, and down the road you might need Rigid King’s Amber to get more hit (because end game raid gear doesn’t have that much hit on it.)

    Now, keep in mind I’m not an expert at Assassination, and I think the cold medicine is kicking in. In addition, my advice is usually pretty vague, but with your own research will help you along the way. Any questions, I can probably answer more clearly in the future. Now, to rest my eyes….

  252. Diego says:

    Please let me know why you dont use oppertunity instead of relentless strike..

    Greetings Diego 😀

  253. Treeman says:

    Scroll up, Sam has your answer in the comments 🙂

  254. Anonymous says:

    hey sam.

    im a 42 rogue (and a noob) and im just wondering how does this specc works when your’e leveling?

    btw i love ure guide

  255. Allar says:

    Just wanted to say – good guide! 🙂
    Really helpful and thorough, keep up the good work!!!

  256. Liam says:

    thanks for this build ive played combat from 1-70 im with about 900 dps ive now swapped to assassination and regularly do 2.2k dps in dungeons now level 79 🙂 thanks

  257. Tjululu says:

    Yeah does like 10k boss dps in icc.. 😉 5.8k gs but annyways ty (:

  258. vileth says:

    Why wouldn’t we get vigor? i like everything else about it though.

  259. MentaL says:

    No vigor cause it just ups your starting burst of damage by 10energy, but other than that, there’s no actual use for it ( energy does not regenerate faster if you got more on the energy bar.)

  260. Zilyn says:

    Hey, i was just wondering about how much hit rating should I have and how much agility would a level 80 assassinate rogue need before going into ICC?

  261. Ronybigs says:

    Hey can i firstly say …AWESOME website , i was wondering if you could look over my rogue as i have just changed to asasination spec i have done a 3k crit was well p[leased with that 🙂 what sort of damage should i be doing etc , but have only started playing rogue again after using my main as hunter ..rogue is ronybigs on darkspear …and coments will be greatfully appreciated …..many thanks

  262. MentaL says:

    Zilyn , if you know the game well enough , you can do icc with 3500 Gs 🙂 just need to know how to disarm traps – do your bit with the damage and stuns on trash, and just dps and dot the hell out of the boss – And know how to macro you’re Spike shout hehe :))
    Bout 1000+ agil should be enough, and hitrating if you followed the tutorial, you should have enough not to miss almost all the hits.

  263. imagiver says:

    i was wondering why do u put 2 in relentless strikes and not 2 in oppurtunity when oppurtunity ups the damage done by mutilate backstab ambush and garrote ????

  264. Anonymous says:

    because you get more combopoints faster + you get energy back, you maintain your energy pool to do a better combo –
    Calculate this
    How’s another mutilate sound instead of 10% or 15% more damage on the last mutilate?

    2xmutilates sounds worse than – 1x mutilate +15%damage?

  265. Johnny B says:

    Excellent info, very clear written and informative and what i was looking for. looking forward to my switch from boring combat spec to new assassin spec, thanks to you.

  266. MentaL says:

    np m8, hope it really helped.

  267. ChuckNorr says:

    Whats A Good Rotation For A Stealthed Rouge?

  268. Sshadows says:

    couldnt get a decent grip of combat, never did get the hang of managing CPs to keep S&D up aswell as hitting hard. Doing double dps now thanks to this. awesome guide.

  269. Verkal says:

    I love this build except the 2 points in fleet footed worked beter in quick recovery for me but still my dps on 25 man saurfang is well around 10k

  270. popsey says:

    been away from wow for 3 years, just come back, was pure combat till 74, then i got reccomended this guide.bloody most useful thing i ever read about rogues, have now respecced to assas, still getting used to it but beginnining to love it, thank you, you have made bein a rogue fun again
    popsey undead rogue silvermoon

  271. Subscirity says:

    Hey i used this rotation on my lvl 78 rogue that has full hierloom. With this spec alone i have been able to pull 2k dps with no buffs and thats on my own. i am easly able to solo one at a time in nexus and when i get to the bosses i just skip them but way more exp

  272. MentaL says:

    well think about it this way: i saw a lock (destro) who couldnt pull off 2kdps on 2000+ gearscore (lvl 80) 🙂 so ,be happy , it’s a good talent build 🙂

  273. Sander bl says:

    This is great!1 thank you my dps was on 1,7 now it is on 3,2 tytytytytyty!!

  274. Kontkanarie says:

    ^^ i pull out 7k dps unbuffed at a dummy but i am level 85 tho 😉

  275. Rogin says:

    With naxx 25 gear you can get about 4-6k dps, UD equip much more ^^

  276. Rogerr-Molten(Neltarion) says:

    I rode this buid before 2 weeks, my dmg was good in icc 10 over 8k but then idk why i unlearned and changed talents… so my dmg drasticly got down… i rode this again and i hope ill make more im sure this is pro build… ty for putting this on internet so i need practise with this… and i understand now how bad talents i took. And i learned a lot of new stufs about rogue.

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  278. Morne says:

    I’m completely new to using rogues. I normally do tank/healing so my rotations are going to take some getting used to.

    My question though is how hard is it to learn this class? And is it harder than spec’ing DK’s/Priests?

    Any advice on leveling spec?

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  280. Suzana says:

    Hi, I’m really confused. I’m new to WoW and this is my first Rogue. I was looking at your talent build and they are not in my talent tree! I have things like coupe de grace, lethality and ruthlessness… Am I missing something? I wish I could use everything you say here but my talent tree looks totally different. Also, the link you have for your talent tree (51/18/2) is taking me to a battle-net site. I realize your post is 2 years old. Have things changed that much? Thanks.

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  282. Daniel Che says:

    The best guide I have ever seen. Nothing compares to this one!!!
    One small question, is deadly brew worth it?

  283. HammerFist132 says:

    hello i have just read this. I hopew to it will be useful for me, i am new in wow i have rogue with 5.3gs but i cannot do more than 2,5 k Dps in icc. I am somehow noob steal. Thx for all

  284. Wareron says:

    Pls help me: what is the better stat? Haste or ap? I have full ap gems, but lot of assasination rogue had full haste gems. What is better?

  285. Hatshof says:

    Gran trabajo .. Gracias

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