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My Definitive Rogue Guide

November 18, 2009

Anyone who’s not a Rogue can just ignore this post.

If you’re a Rogue who wants to do better in just about anything, then there’s no doubt that you’ve gone to Elitist Jerks. EJ is a fantastic repository of information, and its well worth your time to go peruse the Rogue class mechanics forums. However, there is one problem I have with EJ: the information is all over the place. Yeah, there’s a lot of info available, but its hard to find and compile it all. Therefore, I am now going to attempt to compile all the useful information you need in order to play a Rogue well, and will also include some of my personal advice as well. And yes, this guide will be applicable to both Combat and Assassination Rogues.

Combat General Rules

Use the following spec if you’re using a Rupture build, and use this one if you’re not. And yes, put talent points into whatever weapon spec you have weapons for. If you’re Mace Specced, you’re going to be using an offhand dagger, as there are no good offhand maces. Therefore, put one point into CQC instead of Endurance.

Mainhand a slow sword, axe, mace or fist weapon (2.5-2.6 speed). Offhand a fast dagger, fist, sword, or axe. The MH should have Wound Poison, unless you decide to get 3/3 Imp. Poisons; the OH should have Deadly.

Priorities: Slice and Dice, assorted cooldowns (BF + AR and BF + KS should be used together whenever possible. However, they should still be kept off CD), Rupture (if you’re using a Rupture build.)

Rotation: Slice and Dice (any number of CP) -> (5 point Rupture) -> 5 point Eviscerate. Finishers, excluding SnD, should always be used with 5 CP.

The Ruptureless Rotation: If you’re approaching the ArPen hard cap, then you should drop Rupture from your rotation and just Eviscerate. You should also get the Glyph of Eviscerate as well, should you be near the hard cap.

Mutilate General Rules

Use the following spec.

Mainhand a slow dagger (1.8 speed). Offhand a fast dagger (1.4-1.5 speed). Mainhand Instant and offhand Deadly.

Priorities: Hunger for Blood, Slice and Dice, Vanish/Overkill, Rupture, Cold Blood.

Rotation: Get SnD (any number of CP works) and HfB up -> 4+ CP Rupture -> 4+ CP Envenom.

The Envenom buff: To achieve maximum DPS, the Envenom buff should be up as often as possible.


Engineering, if you use bombs as often as possible, and Jewel Crafting are the best professions for boosting your DPS. However, its really up to you; every profession will help in some way. Some are just more help more than others.

Stat Weights

Combat: AGI if you don’t have an ArPen trinket/mace spec > ArPen > Hit Rating until spell cap > Crit > Expertise > Haste.

Mutilate: AGI > Expertise* > Hit Rating until spell cap > Crit > Haste > ArPen.

A note about Expertise: For Mutilate, its inadvisable to gem for Expertise unless you’re stupidly low on it (less than 15). The only reason you need Expertise is so finishers stop missing. Once you reach an amount of Expertise you find that works well, the value of it will go down.

Hit Caps

With 5/5 Precision: 99 to ability cap, and 315 to spell cap.

Expertise Cap

26 expertise (214 rating) to cap.

ArPen Cap

1400 to hit the cap, and 1190 to cap with Mace Spec.

With Mjolnir Runestone, its 735 to cap, and 525 with Mace Spec.

T9 vs T8

The EJ consensus is that T9 sucks. It would take 5 pieces of T9 to replace 4 pieces of T8.


Combat: Glyph of Sinister Strike, Glyph of Rupture/Eviscerate, Glyph of Killing Spree.

Mutilate: Glyph of Mutilate, Glyph of Hunger for Blood, Glyph of Rupture.

Weapon Swapping

If you follow Rogue news, chances are you’ve heard of weapon swapping. It is, in essence, swapping your offhand weapon for a different weapon with a different poison once you’ve hit 5 stacks of Deadly Poison, and then switching back to the DP offhand once the DP timer gets low. However, 3.3 will outdate weapon swapping due to DP’s new effect: once DP hits 5 stacks, any more procs of DP will renew the DP timer and proc your mainhand poison.

If you still want to weapon swap, check this addon. Keep in mind that the impact may be minimal or very large, depending on gear, and Mutilate Rogues will get a bigger benefit. You will also want two identical offhands.

Survival Tips

1. Download Omen, and don’t surpass the tanks in Threat.

2. Feint and/or Evasion when there’s incoming (physical) AoE.

3. Cloak of Shadows yourself out of harmful debuffs.

4. Stay out of fire.

How to be (More) Helpful in Raids

1. Tricks of the Trade the highest DPS. If that’s you, then Tricks the 2nd highest DPS.

2. Disregard number 1 if tanks are low on Threat. Instead, Tricks to them.

3. Cloak out of debuffs that harm raid members other than yourself (IE Light Bomb, Burning Bile).

4. Stay alive.

Weapon Enchants

Berserking > Mongoose > Accuracy. Berserking will stack if dual wielding two Berserking-enchanted weapons. The same applies to Mongoose. Also, Mongoose pulls ahead of Berserking at T9 gear levels.

Mutilate v.s. Combat

Mutilate: has higher single target DPS. Arguably the best single target DPS in the game. Has only two cooldowns though, and Cold Blood isn’t that good.

Combat: has very good cooldowns, allowing more damage to be done during burn phases (IE: XT heart phase, Icehowl stun phase) than Mut. Getting the right gear (ArPen trinkets) can be very difficult, however.

Helpful Addons

Rogue Power Bars, Procodile (and Poison Swapper) are all good to have. Be sure to add missing buffs (Berserking, Envenom) and debuffs (Deadly Poison IX) to RPB.


Meta: Relentless Earthsiege Diamond.

Yellow: Deadly Ametrine, Deft Ametrine.

Red: Delicate Cardinal Ruby, Fractured Cardinal Ruby, Bright Cardinal Ruby.

Blue: Nightmare Tear.

When to use what gems: if the socket bonus outweighs another AGI/ArPen gem, then go for it. For example, say you got a Vest of Shifting Shadows, a decent piece of gear for both Rogue specs. The sockets are 1 red/1 yellow, and the socket bonus is 6 AGI. So, you socket the red gem for ArPen/AGI, but what about the second socket? Well, you could go for more AGI/ArPen, but instead, you should go for a Deadly/Deft Ametrine; the additional crit/haste and AGI is worth 4 lost points of AGI.

14 Comments leave one →
  1. November 19, 2009 9:38 PM

    …Whoa. Talk about a huge guide!
    Well written, if a bit long and technical.

    • Alex permalink
      November 19, 2009 11:24 PM

      WTF you’re not a Rogue; you were supposed to ignore the post.

      • November 22, 2009 12:51 AM

        Im a rogue agent. I count.

  2. November 26, 2009 9:59 AM

    Great summary in 5 mins of what would probably take 18 days to extract from EJ.
    My problem is that I have loads of potential variations of stats with different gear combinations.
    So, with lots of T9.5, TOC25 and TOGC10 gear (but no ArPen trinket) how should I balance ArPen and Crit?
    I have The Grinder from TOC10 with mace spec, and my hit rating is well over cap, so no issues there, but I could end up with 53% ArPen and 37% crit, or 41% crit and 48% ArPen, or many variations in between.

    I guess some kind of balance should be aimed for but, until I get Mjolnir Runestone and have an absolute ArPen target to hit before gemming Agi, I am confused what the balace is right now!!

    Any ideas gratefuly accepted!!

    • Alex permalink
      November 28, 2009 12:52 PM

      ArPen is worth a ton more DPS than crit is; go for whatever gives more ArPen. And once/if you get an ArPen trinket, you’ll be very close to the cap.

  3. siege permalink
    November 30, 2009 6:33 PM

    hello, im @ 65 arpen rating however i dont have either runestone or toll. giving your posts and thinking its impossible to reach % 100 arpen, should i regem for agi? spreadsheet tells arpen is better for me but i have a feeling that my dps isnt as good as it supposed to be..

    • Alex permalink
      December 1, 2009 3:02 PM

      At that gear level (I’m assuming your gear is bad, since my Rogue, who isn’t going out of his way to get ArPen is at ~250) you definitely want to just gem for AGI.

  4. siege permalink
    December 1, 2009 4:35 PM

    no my gear is good enough. but just with gemming and gear i cant reach more than % 68 arpen and dont have trinket. and my poison dmg is low than other rogue cos i have relatively less AP to my gear.

    • Alex permalink
      December 1, 2009 6:22 PM

      Well, first of all, 65 ArPen rating is not the same as 65% Armor Penetration. If you’re at 65% Armor Penetration, you should definitely continue gemming for ArPen. If your DPS is still “low”, either go try to get an ArPen trinket, get mace spec, get spell hit capped, Expertise capped or spec Mutilate.

  5. siege permalink
    December 1, 2009 6:30 PM

    900ish arpen aka % 65 rating and dont have any more socket to gem for ar pen. mostly seems like, people dont gem for arpen without a trinket..

    • Alex permalink
      December 1, 2009 6:46 PM

      Well, considering I can’t see your gear, here’s all I can suggest; follow the spreadsheet’s advice and keep gemming ArPen, which you seem to dislike for no reason, or download Rawr ( Rawr is a DPS sim, and it should give you concrete answers as to which stat will boost your DPS the most. Test for at least 10000 hours. And I won’t be at all surprised when ArPen turns out to be the most beneficial stat.

  6. siege permalink
    December 1, 2009 6:57 PM

    silly me, i thought i posted link. however i prefer sending it via mail..thanks for other helps as well =)

  7. December 11, 2009 6:14 PM

    wow cool ! excellent, i like it. Thanks

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