Sam Dabbles in Arenas

SamPvP Go ahead.  Make my day.

Umm…Yeah right.  I’ll admit I’m a force to be reckoned with in PvP, but I’m far from world class.  I have made some observations about Rogue PvP, and that’s the subject matter for today.

First of all, I’m running with a hybrid Assassination / Subtlety build, using glyphs of Mutilate, Prep, and Vigor.  This build and closely related variants are pretty standard among the Arena Rogues I bump into.

I did half of my honor grinding for PvP gear as my raiding Combat Spec, and half of it as the spec I’m using for arenas.  There were pros and cons to both, but I think my favorite part of using my Combat spec was when a warlock was hiding in their base in WSG with our flag, and I jumped out of nowhere with Killing Spree and sent the flag back to the base before he had a clue what was going on.  Note that there’s no way that would have worked if he had any significant amount of PvP gear.

On to the arenas, I was a late bloomer in TBC, and I didn’t really get into arenas until season 3, and it was season 4 before I got into it enough to break the 1750 barrier.  I didn’t participate in season 5, and I’ve only got about 250 games between 2’s and 3’s in season 6.  In 2’s we either run dual Rogue, or Rogue Shaman (the more effective of the two), but we’re finding that we have a hard time beating several popular comps, and the rating is going nowhere fast.  For 3’s however, we’re learning how best to use the same 3 people, and it feels a little more balanced.

Things I’ve noticed in playing around in Arena:

– Vanish is an invaluable defensive ability, but it has great offensive ability for a quick Cheapshot too.

– 700+ resilience will do nothing to prevent dying from an dual assault from any combination of the three plate wearing dps.

– Trees with resilience are ridiculously hard to kill solo; either attack the other targets, forcing the tree to burn all of its mana, or send at least 2 DPS to burn the tree down.

– If you are forced to solo a tree, Rupture and Slice and Dice can give you the sustained dps to beat them

–  Don’t forget to use your CC.  Sap and Blind can force your opponent to bubble, trinket, etc.

– Herbalism and Alchemy are very useful if you can’t self heal (Endless Healing pots and Lifeblood).  I can’t count the number of times those two abilities have allowed me to live long enough to get a heal or finish a target.

– When facing a team with another rogue of equal skill, the person who gets jumped is usually going to lose.  If your partner(s) can survive without you, let them and try to fish out the other Rogue.

– Smart casters will wait for your Kidney Shot to trinket and fear you.  After you build your 5 combo points, pop cloak and do something unexpected, like Rupture, or Cold Blood Eviscerate.  Several things could happen:  They might blow their trinket because of habit, or they may still blow their fear, which you’ll have a 90% chance to resist.  You’ll still have your Kidney Shot and Kick for an interrupt too.

– Do not find yourself without cooldowns and out of range of a Warlock.  Chaos Bolt Hurts.

– Sometimes it’s better to do nothing and wait for Stealth than to blow Vanish.  Especially when your enemy underestimates you by leaving you alone.

I think that’s enough PvP babble for today.  For all of the QQ you can read on the forums about Rogue PvP and how easy it is to just faceroll / stun someone to death in .0003 seconds, there’s a lot of finesse to the class when PvPing, and mastering that finesse is anything but easy.

– Sam

20 Responses to Sam Dabbles in Arenas

  1. Chronic says:

    Nice post! I play rogue/shaman myself at around 2400 on Reckoning, it’s a very versatile and (imo) underrated comp so it’s cool to see somebody else reppin’ it. What “popular comps” are you finding difficult? Perhaps I can offer some suggestions.

    700 resilience does make a difference – try fighting cleave teams with zero – but the majority of the time your survival depends on your judicious use of cooldowns, your positioning, and peel from your teammates. Gouge is a life-saver, dismantle is amazing (especially versus Death Knights who often do not use the disarm-reduction runeforge), and in 3s definitely do not be afraid to use your blind defensively if you end up with two plate-wearers on your back.

    The main trick to being a rogue in 3v3 is build your comp around being able to punish the opposing team for training you. If you play RMP or RLS a cleave team simply cannot afford to get on you and let your mage or warlock freecast into them; they won’t last ten seconds that way. Since they’re forced play lockdown it frees you up to peel and dps comfortably.

    A few other huge things you can do for your survivability – swap 3/3 Focused Attacks (good talent but not amazing) for 3/3 Deadened Nerves and swap 2/3 Imp KS (very overrated when you consider how many of your kill windows are actually untrinketable kidney shots) for 2/2 Quick Recovery – in any team with a healer this talent is absolutely massive and one of the main advantages of the assassination tree. Finally, the Cloak of Shadows glyph is pretty good, though admittedly somewhat situational.

  2. samueltempus says:

    Thanks Cron. I’ll give those changes a shot and keep you posted.

    – Sam

  3. Chronic says:

    While the filler points in the spec do largely come down to personal preference, one other thing that stood out to me was your spec’s lack of Dirty Tricks. It is very hard to effectively use blind and sap without this talent. If you do respec I’d recommend dropping initiative completely (not a bad talent but I don’t feel that you need it with Mutilate and Seal Fate) and filling out 3/3 Serrated Blades and 2/2 Dirty Tricks.

    I think once you try it, especially for sapping, you won’t be able to live without it :]

    Good luck!

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  7. Cat says:

    Your comment there about +resil having no effect on a concentrated burn down interests me. I’ve been wondering for awhile if it’s worth specialising for pure burst DPS, with little to no consideration to +stam and +resil for arena? Essentially saying that I accept that if I get surprised I’ll go down like a cheap tent, but if I get the opener (as I should) then there’s nothing that will be able to match me for pure fire hose deeps?

    Is the glass cannon rogue a viable arena strategy?

  8. Chronic says:


    Yes, if and only if you play a double-dps comp where a match is going to be decided quickly either way. For a comp like mage/rogue, rogue/rogue, or mage/warlock I would wear pretty heavy PvE gear – but probably still the 4-set PvP for the set bonus. You can definitely sit around 300-400 resil in a comp like that and rely on your cooldowns (and your partner) to let you survive long enough to get a kill.

    For a dps/healer comp, especially an outlast one, probably not.

    In 3s I can’t think of a comp where I wouldn’t want to wear 700+ resil. You’re a viable target for pretty much any team and rogues are hard enough to heal as it is.

    (Sidenote: this should be obvious, but as always, it’s only worth wearing PvE gear if its the same or higher ilvl than the PvP gear you have access to)

  9. Cat says:


    Tx for the reply. I only currently play 2’s with a ret monkey, so the quick fight is our specialty. Plus we’re not that serious yet due to gear and time issues – we’re both much more into PvE than PvP so that’s probably why we lean away from the +resil.

  10. Chronic says:


    Ah yes, of course. I think I mentioned this in a comment on your blog as well, but ret/rogue is probably the poster-child comp for both players wearing strong PvE gear and gibbing things! Resilience is largely a mana efficiency stat for your healer.

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  13. Eiru says:

    Chronic how do you deal with double dps teams and warr/druid as rogue/sham? I’m running the same comp and since this is my first season as rogue (used to play dpriest) I’m not that great (but my sham is!). It feels like we can’t do much of anything vs double dps (esp mage rogue) if either of us get sapped. Sometimes I get my sham to hex the enemy rogue asap to hope for a trinket -> blind. However, the mage will just play defensively long enough for their rogue to get out of cc. If we follow up with a hex the mage will decurse it.

    Also, is there any easier way to beat dk/druid aside from ooming the druid 2.5 mana bars? We have no idea what to do vs druid/warr because the warr’s damage compared to mine is just insane, paired with an MS we can’t get rid of. :[

    Thanks ahead of time!

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  15. Chronic says:

    Yeah, getting sapped hurts versus double DPS teams. Our general strategy versus mage rogue is to kill the rogue while the shaman avoids CC on herself and prevents as much of the mage’s damage as possible with hex, shocks, and grounds.

    Earth Shield the rogue to start, and have your shaman hide behind a pillar and set up totems. Stay in stealth between the mage and your shaman and hunt around for the rogue with a /targetnearest sap macro. If the mage makes a move out into the open, sap him have your shaman come out and start purging.

    If we get the mage completely purged down (Ice Barrier is the main thing) I’ll give my shaman tricks and we’ll open together on him, usually garotte -> mut -> evis plus a fs -> lvb from your shaman will be enough to pressure him into blocking and force the rogue to open on you. If you immediately fok or vanish after your evis you can sometimes catch the rogue this way; if the rogue still hasn’t opened by this time just try and get a clean reset and you should be able to kill the mage with the same strategy.

    Normally the rogue will cheapshot you as soon as you garotte the mage. The rest of the match basically depends on your ability to control the opposing rogue and not get stuck in stuns. It’s important to save your cloak for when your shaman is behind or unable to heal, so communication from her is pretty important. Make sure to get rupture up on the rogue as soon as you can (2-3 cp rup is fine) and vanish -> cheapshot him between rupture ticks to avoid evasion’ed kidney shots.

    The rogue will very likely trinket the first kidney shot you get him in, and the mage will very likely trinket the first hex (just have your shaman hex the mage as soon as she has a free global). You can blind either, though obviously if the rogue has rupture you’ll have to wait it out. My preference is usually to blind the mage part-way through a poly or frostbolt cast that your shaman is unlikely to be able to interrupt.

    As long as you save cloak for key moments and your shaman is on top of groundings and shocking mage casts she should be able to heal over the incoming damage and it shouldn’t take too long for you to get them on the defensive. At that point, keep rupture up, prevent a reset, and it hopefully you can finish the rogue off.

    If you get sapped at the start of the match, have your shaman purge to get in combat so they can’t swap the sap to her. Riptide before they open to get Tidal Waves up. It’s very likely they’re going to open on you so either trinket the beginning of the cheapshot or (usually safer) the first kidney and vanish cs -> evasion tank the rogue. Same strat; maintain rupture, use cooldowns defensively, try to recover momentum on the rogue, and you should be able to outlast them. A lot of it depends on your shaman’s ability to manage the mage but your rogue vs rogue play is also key so duelling is good practice.

    If your shaman gets sapped at the start of the match, just sap the mage before he gets in LOS. The rogue isn’t going to open by himself. If they do both get on your shaman you just need to peel as much as possible; blind the mage early, cs dismantle rupture the rogue, and lay damage into his back.

    Hope that helps a bit, excuse my wall of text :>

  16. Chronic says:

    Warrior/Druid and DK/Druid are pretty much the same for us: sit on the dps, feint bladestorms, have your shaman healdrink relentlessly, you will eventually win on mana but there’s no way you can get a kill until then. Druids are very hard to control since you can’t hex and can’t shock or purge their healing realistically. And you definitely can’t kill them :[

    Warrior teams are a lot more scary because Unrelenting Assault + MS + Bladestorm on your shaman can occasionally be unhealable and they’re much harder for you to peel. It’s as close to a hard counter as you’ll find playing this team.

  17. Eiru says:

    thanks for all the info! 🙂 we’re about 50 pts away from 1850, and every time we get close we get stomped down by mage/rogue or warr/druid haha. i’ll have to pay more attn to what we do vs mage/rogue. i’m guessing i keep messing up but its kind of ridic watching my hp drop so fast with just the rogue on me.

    idk if warrs bladestorm rogues in higher ratings but the ones down here seem to want to bs my shaman, and he just tells me to get away since he can’t heal the two of through it even if i feint. :S maybe it’s just bad positioning.

  18. axSoul says:

    Chronic have you attempted to test sub in the 2s/3s brackets? It seems good for CC, but the lack of adequate burst makes it feel like a failrogue is part of the team. I’ve tried (with a lack of a decent MH) a Hemo build ( which gave allowed me to quickly CC any heals but against double DPS it seemed like instant fail unless I went up against a clothie. I won’t state the obvious with the Muti/Prep build that reigns supreme, but I do wonder if ShS could make somewhat of an entrance back into the PVP world.

  19. chronic says:

    Interestingly I have that exact spec (well, elusiveness and 1/2 SoH instead of iniative and no blood splatter) as my dual spec right now. I’m not comfortable enough with it to try it seriously in arenas but I’ve been doing bgs and wintergrasp with it and it’s quite novel. It’s great to have shadowstep back, I never realised how much I missed it!

    I agree that the damage, and especially the on-demand burst, is not nearly as high as you’d get with a mutilate spec. Sustained damage on plate is also pitiful. Even glyphed, Hemo doesn’t really stack up that well.

    With that said, I’m still interested in trying it in 3s where the primary damage dealer on your team is often somebody else (frost mage for RMP, destro lock for RLS, etc etc). My main problem is I don’t have a great weapon for it yet, still rocking my Calamity’s Grasp from KT.

    Hopefully there will be further changes to the sub tree before 3.2 ships. The dance change is a step in the right direction.

    TLDR: it’s fun but I can’t think of a single comp where it’s the best spec choice.

  20. chronic says:

    Oh, one other difference between our specs: I took 3/3 Honor Among Thieves. I definitely think you should consider this talent. Even if you’re not grouped with anyone it’s Seal Fate for 3 points. If you have teammates, the amount of free combo points you get from this makes it a very strong choice.

    Drop Master of Subtlety for it, or Cheat Death if you’re not running much resil.

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