Envenom & Eviscerate

One thing I’ve noticed traveling in Azeroth and what’s left of Draenor (that’s Outland for the lore challenged) is that a lot of Rogues don’t completely understand what’s going on when you use Envenom and Eviscerate.  I’ve known more that one Rogue that had never used Envenom during Burning Crusade, and was halfway through leveling in Northrend before they used it for the first time.  If you’re not a theorycrafter, you might not care what’s happening mathematically when you press a button, but that knowledge can help you decide exactly what you should be doing in your DPS rotation.  Today, I’ll break both Envenom and Eviscerate down so that you can decide for yourself which one is better for you.


Eviscerate is the first finisher a Rogue gets, and it’s a little easier to explain, so I’ll start with it.  Eviscerate scales with one stat, Attack Power.  In fact, if you’ve got a 200 DPS main hand that for some odd reason doesn’t have  any Attack Power or Agility on it, Your Eviscerates would hit for the same amount as the dagger you started with back at level 1.  That’s actually one really nice thing about Eviscerate; it’s not reliant on the type or speed of weapon you use.  The only negative thing I can say about Eviscerate is that its damage is reduced by armor, so while it can hit for theoretically high numbers, it won’t hit as hard without Sunder / Expose Armor and Armor Penetration.  Now for the math.

The enhanced tooltip with formulae looks like this:

Finishing move that causes damage per combo point:

1 point  : [497 + AP * 0.03]-[751 + AP * 0.07] damage
2 points: [8,67 + AP * 0.06]-[1,121 + AP * 0.14] damage
3 points: [1,237 + AP * 0.09]-[1,491 + AP * 0.21] damage
4 points: [1,607 + AP * 0.12]-[1,861 + AP * 0.28] damage
5 points: [1,977 + AP * 0.15]-[2,231 + AP * 0.35] damage

Assuming you have a flat 4000 AP, that would read like this:

Finishing move that causes damage per combo point:

1 point  : 617 – 1,031 damage
2 points: 1,107 – 1,681 damage
3 points: 1,597 – 2,331 damage
4 points: 2,087 – 2,981 damage
5 points: 2,577 – 3,631 damage

Those numbers are non critical hits, and assume that the target has 0 armor.  They also don’t take into account talents that can increase Eviscerate’s DPS.  We’ll look at those later.


Envenom hasn’t been around as long as Eviscerate.  It was introduced in the Burning Crusade expansion and it’s tooltip is a bit lengthy (it  just got longer in 3.2.2).  Envenom can be used with any weaponry, but one of your weapons must have Deadly Poison applied to it for it to work.  Like Eviscerate, Envenom scales with Attack Power, but it is not mitigated by armor.  Here’s the wall ‘o text tooltip:

Finishing move that consumes your Deadly Poison doses on the target and deals instant poison damage.  Following the Envenom attack you have an additional 15% chance to apply Deadly Poison and a 75% increased frequency of applying Instant Poison for 1 sec plus an additional 1 sec per combo point.  One dose is consumed for each combo point:

1 dose:  [215 + AP * 0.09] damage
2 doses: [430 + AP * 0.18] damage
3 doses: [645 + AP * 0.27] damage
4 doses: [860 + AP * 0.36] damage
5 doses: [1,075 + AP * 0.45] damage

The Equivilent damage, again assuming 4,000 AP, for each:

1 dose:  575 damage
2 doses: 1,150 damage
3 doses: 1,725 damage
4 doses: 2,300 damage
5 doses: 2,875 damage

At first glance, this ability looks to be inferior to Eviscerate, but that’s not necessarily the case.  Depending on your Armor Penetration and the target’s armor, it’s entirely possible that the base damage you’re getting from envenom could be higher.  There’s a few things to consider though:

  1. Does your spec look like X/51/Y?  If so, you’re likely better off using Wound Poison over using Instant Poison because of it’s proc rate.  This nullifies the 15% increase in Instant Poison, and you’re dropping your deadly stacks each time you use it.  Envenom almost always loses to Eviscerate in this situation.
  2. If your spec looks like 51/X/Y, Envenom is almost always your best choice.  You’re using Instant Poison, so you’re going to get extra Instant procs after using Envenom.  Also, you probably picked up vile poisons, so your base damage on a five combo point Envenom is now 3,450.  In addition, with Master Poisoner, you won’t be consuming your Deadly Stacks, so there’s no real downside to using Envenom.

What does this mean for you?  Well, it depends on your Rogue’s gear and spec.  I see my Envenoms crit for 14k on a fairly consistent basis.  This is in a raid with buffs, but still, 14k is a nice number see flash on your screen often.  What will  you see?  I don’t know.  You can test on a Combat Dummy, but I’m fairly sure that dummies have no armor, so your Eviscerates would be inflated from the lack of damage mitigation via armor.  For your best results, get your rotations solid on a dummy and test DPS in a group with buffs.  That should give you a good idea of which finisher to use and when.

– Sam

12 Responses to Envenom & Eviscerate

  1. chris says:

    Nice write up.

  2. Clint says:

    I was tcrafting on RAWR and I’ve noticed my rotation has changed (and I’m guessing because I’ve optimized my gear) but I used to have a good rotation of 5 SnD > 5 Rup > 5 Evis (5 SnD to fit the 5 Evis as I don’t use the SnD glyph) which was a slight increase, 20-30dps. After checking today it’s now a decrease, and when I played with it a little more, I got a 100-150dps increase if I ran 2 rotations of ruptures (5 SnD > 5 Rup > 5 Rup), assuming its because it doesn’t last a full SnD rotation and fills the gap between the next SnD rotation and the restart of the rupture rotations.

    Does that seem logical? I know it’s not really the topic discussed, but finding Evis gets beaten this badly the higher you gear up seems kinda ineffective if Blizzard wants us to remain using all our abilities /shrug

  3. noob4life says:

    Nice Post. I saw a Rogue going into VoA the other day with Wound Poison applied and had no idea why. I thought they had just forgot to change from WG battle. Now I know, thanks!

  4. samueltempus says:

    @ clint,

    Logical, no. It’s most likely a by product of the over scaling of gear. You can thank the multiple ilevels of gear for that. Issues like these are normally solved by a new rank of the skill. The stat difference between a fresh 80 and geared 80 is greater in this expansion than it has ever been, and there’s your problem. It wouldn’t have mattered that Rupture scales better than Eviscerate if there were less ilevels of gear to go through.

    – Sam

  5. Thimble says:

    It’s also worth noting that at least according to Elitist Jerks, you don’t want to use RAWR, because the rogue module is out of date and has no developer.

    And I’ve found 3 SnD/5 rupture/5 eviscerate is the way to go for combat, but yeah, that’s going to require the glyph. Otherwise you’re spending too many combo points on slice and dice, and not enough on your big damage finishers.

  6. The boss level target dummy does have a standard boss level armor (13k). You won’t have any of the armor debuffs that you might have in a raid, though: it’s not an accurate test of “What will happen in a raid”, but it is still something you could test based on assuming no armor debuffs.

  7. Pingback: The Frozen Gnome » Blog Archive » The Daily Quest: You face Jaraxxus

  8. Nick says:

    It’s not even a matter of consideration – it’s been tried and tested.

    Assassination rogues use envenom, combat use evis – end of story.

  9. Nicholas Tam says:

    It’s worth mentioning, too, that if you’re raiding as Mutilate with an Instant/Deadly setup, it’s still important to keep Eviscerate on your bar (and hotkeyed) for situational purposes and switch to Wound Poison for some fights. Combat far outperforms Mutilate on fights with lots of adds or short DPS uptime on the boss, but if you’re stubborn about sticking with Mutilate, Eviscerate is really handy for when you can’t trust Deadly Poison to stack.

  10. R says:

    The level 83 training dummies DEFINITELY have armour. It should be the same amount of armour that raid bosses have, and their chance to dodge/parry/be hit etc. is also the same as a standard raid boss.

  11. LiquidMojo says:

    I use mutilate + HfB for pve. I will sometimes use a 1 cp evis to refresh SnD to its full 5 cp timer right at the beginning of a fight, since the deadly poison doesnt always proc right away. Once my SnD is at full timer, i have the freedom to build combo points for rupture. By this point I have a full stack of deadly poisons on the target for me to mutilate and envenom over and over again.

    my rotation would look like this:
    garrote -> HfB -> 1 cp SnD ->
    if I get 1 cp from the SnD refresh -> evis
    else Mut -> if DP is up envenom else evis
    once my SnD is at a full 5 cp timer, I use mutilate to build up points to get a 4+ rupture on

    once I have SnD and rupture going, I jsut mut to 4+ cp and then evis… refresh rupture as needed

    Somethnig else to keep in mind is energy pooling. don’t use the last of your energy to envenom. let your energy build up to almost full and then envenom. This lets you do a couple quick mutilates right after the envenom, which will take full advantage of the envenom buff.

  12. Kyph says:

    The formula for envenom is wrong. The number of DP charges affects the base damage, but not the AP scaling. A 5CP-envenom with 4k AP deals a lot more damage than 575.

    They changed it a while ago but the tooltips are still confusing.

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