Dagger Conundrum

I often get asked what weapon speed is preferred for each hand, and while that option is pretty cut and dry for Combat, sometimes the results with Assassination will surprise you.  Before we get started, know that I spent an hour at the dummy last week when I did these tests, so I ran these tests multiple times and chose the results that best represented the average for each specific test.

Generally speaking, for PvE, a fast off hand weapon coupled with a heavier hitting slow main hand is the way to go.  Of course there are exceptions.  If you are Assassination spec and have a choice between an ilevel 200 and an ilevel 232 dagger, the 232 will probably be the better way to go regardless of weapon speed. For example, I was using two Dirk of the Night Watch , a 1.4 speed dagger.  I have a plethora of ilevel 200-219 daggers that are in my bank that I don’t really use, but I’m too much of a packrat to get rid of.  Many of those daggers are 1.7+ speed, but their damage range is very similar to that of my two Dirks, so the Dirk in the main hand essentially is as good at dealing damage as any other slow dagger I have, with the benefit of being a bit faster.  I recently replaced that Dirk with the other ToC 10 Dagger, the Icefall Blade, which is 1.8 speed.  You might think that that would be a guaranteed huge upgrade, but the results I have are different that you might expect.

Dagger Conundrum:

Why is the second setup not consistently outperforming the first?

These are 5 minute parses, with only my Flask of the North (90AP) as a buff.  I’ve included my stats, the DPS and the breakdown of what I used.


Test One:  Dirk of the Night Watch Dual Wield





Test Two:  Icefall Blade / Dirk of the Night Watch





So what gives?  Shouldn’t the slow / fast setup be noticeably better than the dual fast setup?  My answer: not necessarily.

When you look at the breakdown of both, all abilities used were within 12k damage of each other, and both setups mostly excelled in the areas you’d expect. What comes across as a bit off is that Mutilate did more damage with the double fast setup; with the two Dirks the Mutilates averaged 1,885 Damage, while the Blade / Dirk setup averaged 1,848.  This is of course in the margin of error, but Mutilate is the one area where you would expect a Slow main hand to clearly excel and in this case, it doesn’t.

None of the other abilities used are based on Weapon Damage, so what is the advantage for using a Slow / Fast setup?  It seems that there really isn’t a whole lot of difference between the two.  Is this the case for all weaponry, probably not; however,  these are the two most likely daggers for a rogue that’s doing current 10 man content, so it’s possible that this setup is used my a fair number of Rogues.  I figured I’d post my findings.

To be completely honest, I’m currently sporting the Blade / Dirk, and the only reason I initially did the test was to discover the DPS gain I’d get from using the that combo over my dual Dirk setup.  The results caught me off guard, but I’ve got some good ideas as to why I came to these results.  But hey, that’s another post.

– Sam

8 Responses to Dagger Conundrum

  1. Recked says:

    Hi Sam,

    Interesting post. Reminds me when dual wielding the Librarian’s Paper Cutter daggers. They were only Blues and a lightening fast 1.30 speed which made it better than all level 80 daggers (for a while) bar Webbed Death and Sinister Revenge.

    It looks close with Fast/Fast and Slow/Fast and I agree this is dependant on the daggers themselves and the stats on offer.

    Perhaps it would be interesting to see the result of Slow/Slow daggers?

    Just goes to show; it’s always worth testing your dps when you get a new bit of kit to see if it is an increase or not.

    Nice post.

  2. Wraithstrike says:

    interesting results. Did you have the same enchants on the daggers tested? also I noticed in the second trial graphic it counts Garrotte 6 times but no garrottes were counted in the first. Were you vanishing each time it came off CD on both trials?

    In any case, interesting numbers. I dont think there is a general consensus on weapon speed of MH/OH, I have seen quite a few rogues do good numbers with all the combos of weapon speed/mh/oh (fast/fast, slow/fast, slow/slow and fast/slow). Honestly I think you get the best DPS out of the best DPS daggers regardless of speed at this point.

    But what do I know, Im combat ;0)

  3. Mobius says:

    Im using dual Black Knight rondel (Speed is 1.8) I dont mind the dps. I was doing the Slow/Fast set up, but switched recently to better results.

  4. Recked says:

    The Black Knight’s Rondel are very nice. I’ll be helping my guildies who are nearing level 80 now to gear up and we’ll be stepping into ToC5 hc so they can pick these up (amongst all the other rogue gear in there).

    Overall, for mutilate spec Rogues, with two daggers of equal dps, it is best to put the fast one in the OH due to the rapid application of Deadly Poison and enrgey regen procs.

    p.s. My guild are still plugging away at ToC-25 hc and we were so close to getting the beasts down… I want that Heroic Stygian Bladebreaker!

  5. Hinenuitepo says:

    Hey, Sam, I’m hereby tagging you for the dps version of the circle of healing questionnaire Miss Medecina started last week! 😛

    If you feel like it, fill it out here or in comments on my ‘death grip of dps’ post …. I’ll link on my post if you post it here. I found it fun! 😉

  6. Nick says:

    The main thing to look at is weapon DPS. A fast offhand is important for DP procs (more so in 3.3) and in THEORY you will get better mutilate hits with a slow mainhand.. however you can sit on a dummy for an hour and just because a weapon has a higher top end damage, that doesn’t mean it’s going to hit that ever time. Or ever.

    So yes – basically, you want a fast offhand and a weapon with the highest DPS for the mainhand.

  7. Matt says:

    Part of the dps increase for a slow MH as Mutilate comes from Instant Poison procs. IP is a PPM poison, so a slow weapon is going to apply it more frequently, damn near every hit, especially after an Envenom, with the buff.

  8. rene says:

    i got two dirk of the night watch and its higher than that :s

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