How to Spec Assassination (4.0)
October 20, 2010 31 Comments
The Pre-Cataclysm Patch has been nice to Rogues. While the class wasn’t drastically changed, some things are different and it can be a bit confusing. Today I’ll break down the Assassination spec I use and how I play it. This spec is set up for my gear, which is likely different from the gear you’re using; therefore, I will point out any places where you might want to change some points around to better suit your gear.
Coup de Grace (3/3) – Increases the damage done by your Eviscerate and Envenom abilities by 20%
Envenom is one of two finishers Assassination Rogues use their combo points on. Depending on the length of the fight, you may get thirty or more of these in, so a 20% boost for Envenom will be a good boost to your damage output.
Lethality (3/3) – Increases the critical damage bonus of your Sinister Strike, Backstab, Mutilate and Hemorrhage abilities by 30%
It’s important to note that this talent doesn’t increase your chance to have a critical strike with these abilities. It increases how hard those critical strikes hit. We take this talent for all the Mutilates and Backstabs we’ll be doing.
Ruthlessness (3/3) – Gives your melee finishing moves a 60% chance to add a combo point to your target.
I need to double-check, but I believe this only applies to Ruptures and Envenoms, as they are the two melee finishers an Assassination Rogue would normally use. Extra combo points are always nice.
Quickening (2/2) – All healing effects on you are increased by 20% and movement speed is increased by 15%. This does not stack with other movement speed increasing effects.
While the extra healing is nice (and much appreciated by your healer), we’re taking this talent to lessen the amount of time it takes to get from one place to another in a movement heavy fight. 15% may not seem like a lot, but the extra speed can mean thousands of DPS in a fight that requires you to be on your feet a lot.
Puncturing Wounds (3/3) – Increases the critical strike chance of your backstab ability by 30% and the critical strike chance of your Mutilate by 15%.
This is a simple and flat boost to your crit chance to your two combo point generation abilities.
**Deadly Brew (1/2) – When you apply Instant, Wound or Mind Numbing Poison to a target, you have a 50% chance to apply Crippling Poison.
This is a filler talent that I used to get farther down into the tree. You can replace this with any other talent that’s available and not on this list. I chose this talent for the chance to slow an opponent without having to actually put crippling poison on a weapon.
Cold Blood (1/1)- When activated, generates 25 Energy and increases the critical strike chance of your next non-periodic offensive ability by 100%
This talent has been revised to give 25 energy on top of a guaranteed crit on your instant damage abilities.
Vile Poisons (3/3)- Increases the damage dealt by your poisons by 20% and gives you 100% of the normal chance of applying poisons from your equipped melee weapons when you use your Fan of Knives ability.
The first part of this talent is pretty straightforward; your poisons will do 20% more damage with 3 points in this talent. The second part is Blizzard’s way of fixing a problem that was created when Fan of Knives was changed to thrown weapon damage from your regular weapon damage. Without that second part, Rogues would no longer apply any poisons with Fan of knives. buffs our fan of knives damage by adding the poisons from our main and offhand. Don’t forget to apply poison to your thrown weapon.
Seal Fate (2/2) – Your critical strikes from abilities that add combo points have a 100% chance to add an additional combo point.
This effect applies to Mutilate and Backstab. A successful critical strike with either will add an extra combo point.
Murderous Intent (2/2) – When you Backstab an enemy that is below 35% health, you instantly recover 30 Energy.
With this talent, you will switch from Mutilate to Backstab when your target is under 35%. Your backstab will still cost 60 energy, but you will be able to use it twice as often with the refunded Energy. This gives Assassination Rogues a bit more damage when their target is nearing death.
Overkill (1/1) – When stealthed, and for 20 seconds after breaking stealth, you regenerate 30% additional Energy.
With this talent you should always open on a target from stealth. Also, you can use your Vanish offensively to regain this buff mid fight.
Master Poisoner (1/1) – Increases the spell damage taken by any target you have poisoned by 8%, causes your Envenom ability to no longer consume Deadly poison, and reduces the duration of all poison effects applied to you by 50%.
This talent now gives Assassination Rogues the 8% spell damage raid buff. It also continues to make Envenom not “eat” the stacks of Deadly poison and cut the length of poison effects on you by half.
Cut to the Chase (3/3) – Your Eviscerate and Envenom abilities have a 100% chance to refresh your Slice and Dice to its 5 combo point maximum.
Venomous Wounds (2/2) – Each time your Rupture or Garrote deals damage to an enemy you have poisoned, you have a 60% chance to deal 434 additional Nature damage and regain 10 Energy. If an enemy dies while afflicted by your Rupture, you regain energy proportional to the remaining Rupture duration.
Before 4.0, many Rogues had completely forgotten Rupture as part of a rotation, as it was a DPS loss to include it. This talent makes Rupture useful again. Not only is there a damage bonus, but you get 10 Energy back when this ability procs. Also, to date, all of my Energy has been restored when an enemy died with rupture still up.
Vendetta (1/1) – Marks an enemy for death, increasing all the damage you deal to the target by 20% and granting you unerring vision of your target, regardless of concealments such as Stealth and Invisibility. Lasts 30 secs.
For PvE, this is a 2 minute damage boost cooldown; in a 4 minute fight, you can expect 20% increased damage for a whole minute. In PvP, this is a great ability that negates Stealth and Invisibility for 30 seconds. Sometimes, that’s all the time you need.
**Precision (3/3) – Increases your chance to hit with weapons and poison attacks by 6%
I took this because I needed the hit. I haven’t reforged my gear yet and may drop this down to two points (4%). If you are good on hit (341+) then you can afford to only spend 2 points here and throw the other points somewhere else, like Relentless Strikes…
**Relentless Strikes (2/3)- Your finishing moves have a 14% chance per combo point to restore 25 Energy.
If you only spent 2 points in Precision, you could fill this out, and your 5 point finishers would always restore 25 Energy. Currently, I only have a 60% chance to do the same.
– Basic Rotation Tips –
- Always start from Stealth.
- Use Mutilate to generate combo points when your enemy is at 100% – 35% health.
- From 35% -0% health use Backstab to generate combo points.
- Finishers should be used when you have 4-5 combo points.
- Keeping Rupture active takes priority over Envenom, unless you need to use Envenom to keep Slice and Dice up.
Currently, My Rotation is going like this a lot:
Ambush / Garrote – >Slice and Dice -> Mutilate – >Envenom
Rest of fight:
Mutilate (Backstab) to 4+ combo points -> Rupture;
Mutilate (Backstab) to 4+ combo points -> Envenom (sometimes twice if Rupture’s still up)
Rinse and Repeat, popping cooldowns (Vanish, Vendetta, Cold Blood) when available.
Well, that’s the basics for the Assassination spec. It’s a bit more complicated than it was for the majority of Wrath, but for your extra effort, you’ll be doing even more damage. If you have any questions, feel free to shoot me an email, or comment below.