Sam’s All Purpose Combat Spec

I’ll be discussing my current off-spec today, and the 5 points I intend to add to it leveling in Cataclysm.  This spec is highly geared toward solo play, and is, for lack of a better term, a Jack of all Trades spec.  You will be able to do decent damage in groups, survive in PvP (if you have PvP gear, of course), and solo content that was previously not possible for a Rogue to solo.

While this spec is clearly inferior to my Assassination Raiding Spec, it will do decent damage in a group.  I’ve also noticed the ability to survive for an extended time in PvP matches, and was able to solo the entirety of ZG (level 60 raid) several times to get my Zandalar to exalted before the Sundering makes that impossible.  I will stress again that this spec isn’t the best damage dealer, or PvP spec, but it will do a good job at both of those tasks while vastly improving your abilities to solo content you couldn’t before.

– Sam’s All Purpose Combat Spec –

Combat (31 pts)

Tier 1

Improved Recuperate (2/2) – Causes your Recuperate ability to restore an additional 2% of your maximum health and reduces all damage taken by 6% while your recuperate ability is active.

This ability brings our Recuperate heal up to 5% of our total health every 3 seconds and reduces all damage by 6%.  This equates to living longer in both soloing and PvP.

Improved Sinister Strike (3/3) – Increases the damage dealt by your Sinister Strike ability by 30% and reduces its Energy cost by 6.

Sinister Strike is our main combo point generation ability as a Combat Rogue, so this talent’s double benefit (more damage, less Energy) is quite nice.

Precision (3/3) – Increases your chance to hit with weapon and poison attacks by 6%.

Dual wielding classes have the highest penalty to their hit%.  Taking this talent lessens the amount you need on your gear to guarantee your special abilities and poisons hit.  With 3 points here, you would only need 289 hit rating on your gear.

Tier 2

Improved Slice and Dice (2/2) – Increases the duration of your Slice and Dice ability by 50%.

When you’re engaged in a longer fight, it’s quite nice to be able to only spend one or two combo points refreshing Slice and Dice. 

Aggression (3/3) – Increases the damage of your Sinister Strike, Backstab and Eviscerate abilities by 15%.

Since we’ll be using Sinister Strike quite often, it makes sense to increase the damage it does.

Tier 3

Lightning Reflexes (3/3) – Increases your chance to dodge enemy attacks by 9% and your attack speed by 6%.

The dodge gained with these talent points will help your survivability in PvP and while soloing.  In addition, the 6% haste buff is much like the hit bonus in the talent Precision, as  6% Haste takes a good deal of Haste Rating to achieve.  Unlike Hit, though, Haste isn’t a make or break stat for your abilities.

Revealing Strike (1/1) – An instant strike that causes 125% of your normal weapon damage and increases the effectiveness of your next offensive finishing move on that target by 20% for 15 sec.  Awards 1 combo point.

This ability is completely new, and quite helpful.  While it complicates the rotation to throw it in, you can use this at 3-4 combo points to guarantee that your offensive finishers hit 20% harder. 

Reinforced Leather (2/2) – Increases your armor contribution from cloth and leather items by 50%.

Armor damage reduction isn’t going to make you invincible, but taking less physical damage is still beneficial for the soloing / PvP Rogue.

Tier 4

Combat Potency (3/3) – Gives your successful off-hand melee attacks a 20% chance to generate 15 Energy.

Assuming an average off-hand weapon speed of 1.0 thanks to haste and Slice and Dice, this means on average, you’ll gain 15 energy every five seconds, or 180 energy per minute.  That’s about 30% more energy a minute than you’d gain without this talent.

Tier 5

Adrenaline Rush (1/1) – Increases your Energy regeneration rate by 100% and your melee attack speed by 20% for 15 sec.  (3 min. cooldown)

Now that Blade Flurry is obtained by Combat Rogues at level 10, Adrenaline rush gains the Haste buff that Blade Flurry used to have.  For reference, Blade Flurry is now usable every 30 secs, but has an energy regeneration penalty while it is active.  This ability is really useful for beating down an individual enemy, or a group of enemies.

Savage Combat (2/2) – Increases your total attack power by 4% and all physical damage cause to enemies you have poisoned is increased by 4%.

Most Rogue abilities scale with attack power, so this will boost a majority of our damage causing abilities.  Additionally, this will cause any target you have poisoned to take 4% additional damage; this is represented with a debuff, and anyone else doing damage to this target will also have the same bonus to their damage.

Tier 6

Bandit’s Guile (3/3) – Your Sinister Strike and Revealing Strike abilities have a 100% chance to grant you an evolving insight into an opponent’s defenses, increasing damage to that target by up to 15%.  Opponents will adapt their defenses once this maximum is reached, or if you Strike a different opponent, and the cycle will begin anew.

When you use one of your two strike abilities, a debuff will appear on the target that increases your damage on the target by 5, 10 or 15%.  Once you reach 15% the debuff lasts for 15 secs before it falls off.  Then the cycle starts again.

Restless Blades (2/2) – Your damaging finishing moves reduce the cooldown of your Adrenaline Rush, Killing Spree, and Sprint abilities by 2 sec per combo point.

This ability will only proc when you deal damage with a finisher, so abilities like Slice and Dice and Recuperate will not cause the cooldown reduction.  That being said, especially during a longer fight, this will significantly lower the amount of cooldown time of your sprint (1 min), Killing spree (2 min), and Adrenaline Rush (3 min).

Tier 7

Killing Spree (1/1) – Step through the shadows from enemy to enemy within 10 yards, attacking an enemy every .5 secs with both weapons until 5 assaults are made, and increasing all damage done by 20% for the duration.  Can hit the same target multiple times.  Cannot hit invisible or stealthed targets.

This ability will cause massive damage to one single target or a moderate amount of damage to a group of enemies.  Your regular (white) damage will continue while the 5 assaults are made, so it’s beneficial to couple this ability with Adrenaline Rush when possible.  Also, it’s very effective to use Blade Flurry with this ability to help take down a group of mobs.



Deadly Momentum (2/2) – After killing an opponent that yields experience or honor, the critical strike chance of your next attack within 10 sec is increased by 40% and your Slice and Dice and Recuperate abilities are refreshed to their original duration.

With this ability, on level content becomes much easier.  It is possible to keep Slice and Dice and Recuperate active at all times by simply a new mob before those abilities fall off.  If that’s your goal, it’s better to use two mobs to activate the abilities separately, as the abilities refresh to their original duration.  Additionally, the 40% increased crit chance on your next ability will likely make killing your next mob easier.

Coup de Grace (2/2) – Increases the damage done by your Eviscerate and Envenom abilities by 20%.

Eviscerate is our go to finisher when want something with low health to die quickly, or on high health mobs who already have an active Rupture on them.  This simple talent will increase its damage.

And with 3 extra points from leveling:

Quickening (2/2) – All healing effects on you are increased by 20% and your movement speed is increased by 15%.  This does not stack with other.

This will allow you to move faster and provide additional healing from Recuperate, bandages, or any heals from another source.

Lethality (3/3) – Increases the critical strike damage bonus of your Sinister Strike, Backstab, Mutilate and Hemorrhage abilities by 10%.

30% increased crit damage on Sinister Strike.  You will be taking a considerable chunk of a mobs health off with the first hit if you crit.  Thanks to Deadly Momentum, that should happen often. 

Level 85:

Will I keep this spec at 85?  That I don’t know yet.  It depends on how reliable it is for the things I use it for then.  If I decide to do Arena, this will be the spec I replace.  First and foremost, I’m a PvE rogue, so there will be no replacing of my main PvE spec for Arena.

Playing considerations:

For PvE, you would play this spec the same way you’d play a standard Combat Spec.

  • Keep Slice and Dice and Rupture (5pts) active as much as possible.
  • Use Eviscerate when able.
  • Use Revealing strike at 3/4 combo points when you’re about to Rupture or Eviscerate.
  • Use Killing Spree and Adrenaline Rush together when possible, but don’t wait an extra minute for them to line up the second time.

Other tips:

  • The rest of the time, if you’re fighting on level mobs, remember that you can keep Slice and Dice and Recuperate up at all times if you can kill mobs fast enough.   A good place to test this out is on Frenzyheart / Oracle mobs in Sholozar. 
  • Cooldowns are made to be used, so don’t be afraid to pop them.  That being said, if you’re trying to solo BC heroics, or any other similar content, make sure that you save your cooldowns for situations that you know you’ll  need them for, like a tough multi mob pull or a boss fight.
  • Don’t forget about Blade Flurry.  It’s only a 30 second cooldown, so you should use it often to take down packs of mobs.  Be warned though, it’s useless in single target situations, and actually hinders your energy regeneration.  If you still have a large duration on Blade Flurry and a mob that’s not close to death, click it off manually
  • Don’t forget you’re a Rogue.  Sure, as a Combat Rogue, you can stand toe to toe with most mobs in any given situation, but your life will be easier if you remember that you can still control fights with abilities like Sap and Blind.

If you have any questions pertaining to this spec, send me an email or pop a comment my way.  Remember, this is meant as a guide, not as “the way” to do things.  I have battle tested this spec for a good month and for the things I’m doing in game, this spec works great.  It might not work as well for you, depending on your needs, so tweak away, and let me know how your modifications are working; maybe you’ll figure something out that’s better.

– Sam

13 Responses to Sam’s All Purpose Combat Spec

  1. sandrockwriter says:

    What poisons should this spec use? Should it use Instant/Deadly like the current Assassination raid spec, or should it switch to Wound/Wound?

  2. samueltempus says:

    It really depends on what you’re doing. I generally go Instant deadly for most applications, but in PvP, using any of the other poisons would be useful. That might be too general of an answer. If so, I’d be happy to add another post specifcally about poison usage.

  3. Key says:

    Since we no longer have access to Improved Poisons as a combat rogue, wound will do more damage.

    • samueltempus says:

      Straight from EJ:

      With the loss of poison talents in 4.0.1 wound poison/deadly poison and instant/deadly are much closer than before. In particular, for very low levels of mastery (say 0) or in fights with significant target switching wound poison/deadly may be higher DPS in addition to the debuff.

      It’s not a cut and dry answer, but I’m certain that until 4.0.3 hits, it’s subjective which is better.

      – Sam

  4. Friginne says:

    Just thought I’d note that you get a talent point every level from 81-85, not every other level, so you’d have a couple more points to distribute to get an 85 build.

  5. Russell says:

    I would NOT use my Adrenaline Rush during a KSp, as Combat, you WILL energy cap. SnD or BF if it’s more then one target. AD is to preciuos to waste 5 secs on a KSp. More now with the changes then ever. You want to pop you AD when Bandit’s guile is up, and it’s a great way to dump fast damage on an opener by popping it immediately, and ignoring SnD until your second or third cycle. In a PvP situation, it’s even better in that it allows you to, again, focus your initial CPs on damage or Recuperate.

    • samueltempus says:

      I appreciate the input.

      This is not a raiding Combat Spec or guide. I even stated that this would not be a max DPS build. That said, Killing Spree lasts 2.5 seconds, and I’ve definitely used it since 4.0.1 without energy capping, while having Adrenaline Rush up. The key is to bottom out of energy first. White hits continue while it is up, so if you don’t energy cap, it’s a gain to use them together. I get what you’re saying, but for the purposes of this build, even if you did energy cap for a second, it wouldn’t be the end of the world.

      The points that you make about the PvP situations are great, and I thank you for sharing them. They’re good solid advice that anyone seriously trying to PvP with this build should try.

      – Sam

  6. Russell says:

    I can see why your energy doesn’t cap, If I’d have paid a tad bit more attention, why you make the recomendation you do is right in my face, idiot cap for me. Relentless Strikes, it’s my personal crack pipe.

    • samueltempus says:

      I wouldn’t go as far as idiot cap. You were giving correct information, it just didn’t match the scenario I presented. If I had a Combat raiding build, I’d have Relentless Strikes, and I would cap out too.

      – Sam

  7. sandrockwriter says:

    Thanks for the input on poisons. Definitely food for thought.

    Also, what glyphs are you currently using?

  8. samueltempus says:

    Keep in mind what this build is for; I’m not going for maximum DPS with these glyphs. Rather, these are more for utility and survivability.

    These are the glyphs I’m using:

    Prime – Eviscerate, Sinister Strike, Killing Spree
    Major – Evasion, Cloak of Shadows, Sprint
    Minor – Blurred Speed, Pick Lock, Safe Fall

    – Sam

  9. sandrockwriter says:

    Sweet, those look good. I’m currently using this build to solo early wow raids, so I think those glyphs will do nicely :).

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