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Caperfin's Guide to Rogue Tanking
by Caperfin • 24th February 2020

About Me
Image Hi, my name is Caperfin and welcome to my guide! I'm known around the community for pushing World of Warcraft to its limit for five years, redefining what classes can do and transcribing it into comprehensible guides for the community. If a subject is not addressed or poorly, please let me know. Also, If you have any questions after having read the guide, feel free to drop by the stream and ask questions.

Let's begin!

Can rogues tank in Vanilla? The short and to the point answer is, yes. You might be rubbing your eyes right now in disbelief of this answer. Perhaps concocting up an entire four page manifesto around how only warriors can and should tank. Although, I could go on a long rant about how there are many other classes that can tank, today, I will be focusing on our poison wielding friend, the rogue.

Gear + Enchants
Tank Comparison
Raid Composition

The topic of viable and optimal is controversial as some don't see the difference or mix them up and impose a misguided philosophy onto it. Put simply, optimal is the most efficient and foolproof solution to solve a problem that eliminates as many negative variables as possible and favors a more easy going route. Next, is Viable or often referred to as: possible, which is seen as the more challenging path to take but to many feels like a greater personal achievement.

Rogues are classified into viable. Many rogue tanks will agree their motivation comes from the glory of accomplishing a feat the rest of the realm population dares not try. If this sounds like you, I encourage you to continue reading on. To restate my point, you rogue tank if you want a challenge and a refreshing perspective from a 15 year old game. If it wasn't obvious before, shield bearing is a sizable undertaking. When experienced players pick up a rogue tank and put in the effort, it shines tenfold. Rogues can fully tank 5mans, 10mans, off-tanking and main-tank raids. But, this is reliant on personal and guild experience. I should point out, a rogue's overall defensive statistics will never approach a warrior's. However, it isn't necessary to do so to tank.


Pick a race wisely as once you decide, there is no going back. Remember, you'll be looking at your character for a long time. Therefore, players should consider a character's appearance as a key aspect, as it could entice them to play more. Faction wise, the Alliance sweeps in efficiency due to Paladins. Since they can give us defensive boons, ex: and cut down the threat from allies, ex: among others. These Alliance assets are highly impactful for raid tanking. Ask yourself, if you'll ever raid tank, if you won't be than the Horde faction is fine for dungeon tanking.

Human : Increases chance to hit with swords and maces and the damage dealt. : Increases spirit by 5%.(We don't benefit from Spirit in anyway in Player versus Environment or "PvE") : Dramatically increases stealth detection for 20 seconds. 3 min cooldown. (Unfortunately, sees no use in PvE) : Reputation gains increased by 10%.

What does this mean?: The weapon skill specializations makes them the best threat dealing race and overshadow in value other races.

Night Elf : Nature Resistance increased by 10. : Activate to slip into the shadows, reducing the chance for enemies to detect you. (can't be used in combat) : Transform into a wisp upon death, increasing speed by 50%. : Dodge chance increased by 1%.

What does this mean?: Although it's not a very large amount, their +1% dodge bonus racial makes them the best defensive race.

Troll / : Increases chance to hit with bow and thrown while increasing damage. : Whether it be physical or magical, all damage against creatures categorised as Beasts is bolstered by 5%. : Health regeneration rate increased by 10%. 10% of total Health regeneration may continue during combat. : Increases your spell casting and attack speed by 10% to 25%. At full health the speed increase is 10% with...

What does this mean?: Optimal Horde race. Fine for dungeon tanking, but being on the Horde means a more arduous path to raid tank.


The most beneficial profession to tanking is Engineering. It will grant access to valuable tools, ex: , , as well as many others. The second most useful profession, is whatever profession grants the highest amount of gold on your realm. Large amounts of gold allows you to buy useful potions, ex: , as well as meaningful consumable food, ex: , among many other items. In conclusion, one profession for generating a lot of gold and Engineering for its many tools.


The four most impactful threat generating rogue abilities are (in raids ), , and . Threat can also come from consumable items, ex: and potions, ex: . Generally, health gained will deal threat based on a quarter of the total restored. Next, damage producing items, ex: will deal threat equal to the damage. Similarly, so do reflective type effects, ex: . Lastly, certain items induce pure threat each time their Debuff is set off, ex: .


Install a threat tracking addon, ex: ThreatClassic 2, which will show the threat of your group/raid. Classes can reduce threat with items ex: , with talents, ex: . Reduce the threat of others thanks to spells, ex: . Wipe all threat with abilities, ex: & items, ex: . For a while, prevent Aggro, ex: . Lastly, redirect aggro, ex: (taunts the target). Finally, classes within the 30-40 yard range won't draw aggro until they outweigh the threat level of the mob's current target by 30%, as opposed to 10% for melee classes.

Gearing a tank rogue will not step on anyone's toes. It's possible to play as a purely damage dealing rogue and transition easily to tanking later on. You won't need to convince players about your desire for unconventional gear and go into a diatribe about your plan to go rogue tank later. The General Stat Priority is: Dodge, Agility, Stamina and Armor. However, a certain amount of a specific stat might make it trump the other, ex: (30 Agility > 2% Dodge.) this notion is further explored in the Gear Spreadsheet below.

Down below is a Gear Spreadsheet, which display gear progression and multiple gearing options for your needs:

Note: An item of notable value to rogue tanking is: This trinket can be activated before a boss fight and swapped out for another item and its effect will remain, these valuable types of items are referred to as "Pre-Activated Items". These items are very situational and not included in the Gear Spreadsheet above. However, some will be listed below. : Can be swapped out for another trinket before pulling the boss. : Can be swapped out... lasts 40 sec, will heal if caster is below 50%. : Can be swapped... great against bosses that cast magical spells.

Down below are Best in Slot gear sets by Phase focused on defensive aspects, see the above Spreadsheet for threat improving gear.

  • PreRaidAoE

  • Phase 1Fire Resist

  • Phase 2(no PvP gear)[nbsp][nbsp]Fire Resist

  • Phase 3[nbsp][nbsp](no PvP gear)[nbsp][nbsp]Fire Resist

  • Phase 4[nbsp][nbsp](no PvP gear)

  • Phase 5

  • Phase 6

  • Down below is an explanation of Gear Set Categories and their differences:

    - Dodge/Agility set: The average player set and used throughout the first few weeks of a raid being released.
    - Stamina set: A mainly focused stamina set is ideal for magic dealing mobs and usually coupled with notable resistance specific gear.
    - Crit/AP set: All defensive notions are presumably satisfied and additional threat is the only goal, popular in dungeon tanking.


    Enchants enable us to further round out our character. There are two categories of enchants for rogue tanks, defensive, ex: . Next are offensive, ex: . Acquiring is not necessary to benefit from the profession's advantages. Simply, give the Enchanter the required enchanting materials and they will enchant your gear for a small gold tip. Getting all your gear enchanted can end up being very costly, I suggest enchanting gear, if you're absolutely certain it wouldn't get upgraded for a long time.

    Dungeon tanking become easier with practice eventually you'll reach a point tanking can be safely done with any talent setup possible. However, I still recommend having tank gear on you. If you are rogue tanking for the first time, it's recommended to go (2/24/25) which will pick up, . This dungeon setup supplies multiple tools for different scenarios and fixates on the Defensive side of tanking. The second setup, (0/30/21) is a preliminary practice route for raid tanking. The third setup is (20/31/0), grabbed once survival is solidified on raid bosses you've been practicing with a guild, it mainly centers on threat.

    Pre-Pull: Use on weapons. Get all Buffs your group or raid can provide on you. Take a second to mark mobs in front of you by right-clicking their portrait, select Raid Target Icon and pick from either a Skull = kill first, a red X = kill second, a blue square = and the last one is a moon = . If lost, ask what needs a marking.
    Pulling: Use to pull the target, use , next , and (for raids ) till 5 Combo Points for .
    Combat: Maintain a 5 points Slice and Dice, leftover points are used on . 3 seconds before loosing Slice and Dice, generate points for a full Slice and Dice, repeat this process. When Evasion falls, if you get hit. If you get hit twice in row to lethal amounts of health use , Sprint and Evasion. When Evasion falls off, Ghostly Strike if you get hit.
    Situational: If you get hit twice in a row to lethal amounts of HP, equip defensive weapons, ex: and use & or if need be a Paladin can so you get full HP.
    Situational: If you again get hit twice in row to lethal amounts of HP use and . If it happens again, make sure healers are paying attention and apply as well as . A paladin can you, if survival is grim until they can replenish your health.

    There is a max of 32 Buffs, avoid getting close to the max as it may result in Buffs getting accidentally pushed off. Talents, Set bonuses and Equip effects don't count. A Buff Cap Calculator is used to see how many you have and what stacks. Prioritize stockpiling defensive Buffs, ex: before getting Threat Buffs, ex: . Here's a link to Realistic Defensive Buffs. Next are consumables, which also provide passive Buffs but some have instant active effects, ex: and among many others.

    Threat Increasing Buffs

    - : (If someone hands in or . Common but be in Orgrimmar)
    - : Improved by talent: (the resistance doesn't stack with Shaman Resistance Totems)
    - : +5% damage to melee, range and spell damage dealt. Gained upon turning in Silithyst dust at Hive'Regal.
    - : (From the easy and repeatable quest located in Felwood, .)
    - : (Obtained if someone hands in , which is common but you must be in Booty Bay/Yojamba isle)
    - : (ALLIANCE ONLY) +10% to all stats. Players may only have one Blessing on them per Paladin at any one time.

    Attack Power:
    - : Used on a mob before a boss fight. (can backfire giving group attack power instead, usually done by healers)
    - : +200 Attack Power. (from Dire Maul North Tribute, learn more here. )
    - : +100 Attack Power for 30 min. (An ability within the Hunter Marksmanship talent tree)
    - : +185 Attack power for 2 min. (improvable by the talent & Tier 2 set " ")
    - : (From the Winterspring repeatable quest: . You must have in inventory to use item.)
    - : (ALLIANCE ONLY) +185 Attack Power. Players may only have one Blessing on them per Paladin at any one time.

    Attack Speed:
    - : +5% attack speed to group for 4 min, has a chance to happen on each attack made by .

    - : +25 Agility. (from repeatable quest: in the Blasted Lands)
    - : +25 Agility, +2% Melee Critical Strike chance. (purchasable through Auction House.)
    - : (HORDE ONLY) +77 Agility. (effect can be increased by the Shaman talent, )
    - : +10 Agility for 10min. (can't stack w/other food Buffs, like the defensive Buff, .)

    - : (HORDE ONLY) +77 Strength. (effect can be increased by the Shaman talent, )
    - : (From the Winterspring repeatable quest: . You need in your inventory to use item.)
    - from : Strength bolsters damage also the trigger of the Buff causes pure global threat.

    Reflective Effects:
    - : Second highest damage reflective Buff. (Improved by (3/3) tier set bonus & talent, .)
    - : Deals threat when the effect is applied on the target. It will continue to deal threat even if the effect is already present.
    - : (From repeatable quest " " in Un'goro Crater & anyone can cast it on you) (will not stack with )
    - : Applied by a Warlock's imp. Deals 13 Fire damage to melee attackers. (bolstered by the Warlock talent )
    - : (ALLIANCE ONLY) Improved by . Great for AoE tanking.

    Spell Damage Increasers:
    - : Only 1 flask effect can be active at a time. Activating another flask causes the previous one to disappear.
    - : +35 spell damage. (can't stack with ) Bolsters the damage of .
    - : (Ability within the Priest Discipline talent tree) Optimally, put on you for the pulling & execute phase of a boss fight.
    - : +40 fire spell damage for 30 min. Used to increase the damage dealt by .

    - : Triggering it & then un-equipping it will cause the Buff to stay. (Try to get hit by a mob before attacking the boss.)
    - : Interrupts the swing timer, only use before a fight or when switching targets. (purchasable through Auction House.)
    - : Takes 2 Buff slots, 1 passive & 1 active. Stacks w/another Food Buff if consumed after. Scales w/Spell Damage.)

    - : TBD (might cause threat through the Druid Tier3 (2/2) set bonus, )

    Defensive Increasing Buffs

    Stamina & Health:
    - : +10% Stamina for 2hrs. (From the quest, Sayge's Fortunes in the Darkmoon Faire from Sayge).
    - : +25 Stamina. (will not stack with other Food Buffs, such as )
    - : (By fishing in many kinds of pools, mainly Floating Wreckage in Stranglethorn Vale or bought from AH).
    - : +54 Stamina. (effect can be increased through the priest talent, )
    - : +15% Stamina overall for 2hrs. (From Dire Maul North Tribute)
    - : Buyable from Rin'wosho with . Tokens are gained through quests, ex: .
    - : Warlock must be in the group for the "Aura" Buff to remain. (effect is increasable by the Warlock talent, )
    - : +1200 HP for 2 hours. The most notable defensive Buff out there for Rogue tanks. Advised for easier raid tanking.
    - : +120 HP for 1 hour.
    - : +50 HP stacks fives times, resulting in 250 HP. From the (6/6) tier set bonus available in Phase 6.

    - : (HORDE ONLY) (Gained if someone gives in , be in Orgrimmar at that moment.)

    - : +2000 armor for 2 min. Has a 2 minute cooldown w/notable potions, ex: .
    - : +450 Armor for 1 hour. (Purchasable from the Auction House. Will not stack with )
    - : +10% Armor for 10min. (from the PvP Battleground Alterac Valley quest, . Persists out of Battleground)
    - : +200 Armor. From the repeatable quest in Un’Goro Crater. (can't stack w/ )
    - : Increases armor by 25% for 15 sec, shares the same effect as , they will not stack with each other.
    - : (ALLIANCE ONLY) +735 armor to party members in 30 yards. Improvable by the talent, .
    - : (ALLIANCE ONLY) +30% bonus to armor value from items for 2 min. (From the Paladin Holy talent tree.)

    - : Effect bolstered by the talent, and item, .
    - : (Healers can trigger its effect on you before a fight and swap it out for another trinket and the effect will remain)
    - : From the (4/4) tier set bonus.

    - : +3% dodge for 30 min. (one time usable item from the Dungeon Set 1 quest chain)
    - : (from repeatable quest, . Must have in inventory to use item)

    Heal over time:
    - : (HORDE ONLY) (Effect improved by . The healing doesn't cause threat to anyone)
    - : From (8/8) tier set.
    - : Heal for 888 over 12 sec. (increased by the talent, )
    - : Heal for 1064 over 21 sec.
    - : Heal for 970 damage over 15 sec. (increased by the talent, )

    Pure Damage Reducers:
    - : (HORDE ONLY) Reduce melee damage taken by 30. (effect bolstered by the shaman talent, )
    - : Useful for magical heavy fights. (effect is bolstered by Mage talent, ).
    - : Useful for physically heavy fights. (effect is bolstered by Mage talent, ).
    - : (ALLIANCE ONLY) Damage taken reduced by up to 24 for 5 min. We can't block since we can't wear a shield.

    Resistance Increasing Buffs

    - : Absorbs 1950 to 3250 fire damage.
    - : Absorbs 1500 to 2500 fire damage.
    - : +15 fire resistance for 10 min.
    - : (HORDE ONLY) +60 fire resistance.
    - : (ALLIANCE ONLY) +60 fire resistance.

    - : Absorbs 1950 to 3250 frost damage.
    - : +15 frost resistance for 10 min.
    - : (HORDE ONLY) +60 frost resistance.
    - : (ALLIANCE ONLY) +60 frost resistance.

    - : Absorbs 1950 to 3250 nature damage.
    - : (HORDE ONLY) +60 nature resistance.

    - : Absorbs 1950 to 3250 shadow damage.
    - : Increases Frost and Shadow resistance by 10 for 1 min.
    - : +30 Shadow resistance for 10 min.
    - : +10 Shadow resistance for 30 min.
    - : (ALLIANCE ONLY) +60 Shadow resistance.


    A maximum of 16 Debuffs can be on a target. Having as many Debuffs possible is negligible for dungeons but paramount for raids. There are defensive Debuffs, ex: and threat Debuffs, ex: among others. With the raid leader's permission offer recommendations on optimal Debuffs that suits your needs without overstepping. As rogue tanks, we can provide . There's also Debuffs that come from special events, ex: , will when used, have a 5% chance when struck from foes to apply : Time between hits bolstered by 25%.

    Armor Reduction:
    - : - 290 armor but bolsters melee attack power by 45. Only 1 warlock curse can be active on any 1 target.
    - : Can't stack w/ but reduces more than it, if the rogue has the talent: .
    - : Can't stack w/ . Usually applied by a warrior tank.
    - from : Reduces an enemy's armor by 200. Stacks up to 3 times.
    - or : Can't stack with each other but perform the exact same armor reduction function and amount.

    Miss Chance:
    - : Reduces hit chance by 10%. (Cast by healers, has a cast time, tied to spell hit. A rotation of it can be made.)
    - : Reduces hit chance by 2%. (From the Restoration talent tree. Typically, applied by a healing druid or a balance druid.)
    - : (ALLIANCE ONLY) Reduces hit chance by 25%. A reward from the one time Alliance quest, .

    Slower Attacks:
    - from : Takes up 2 Debuff slots. (can't stack w/ )
    - : (can't stack w/Thunderfury). Improved by 5 pieces .

    Fire Damage:
    - : Mainly used to increase the damage of . Chili deals fire damage in a cone in front of you.
    - from : Primarily, used to bolster the damage of Chili. Engineering is required to use the trinket.
    - : Mainly used to increase the damage of Dragonbreath Chili. (A very common Debuff)

    Nature Damage:
    - : Applied by a melee damage dealing Shaman. Bolsters the damage of . Missing it, is not a big deal.

    General Damage Taken:
    - from : Bolsters the damage the target takes also deals threat when the Debuff is applied on the target.

    General Magical Damage:
    - from : Mainly used to bolster the damage of Chili.

    Physical Damage Reduction
    - : Effect is increased by the Warrior talent, and .
    - : Effect is increased by the Warlock talent, and .

    With the raid leader's permission offer your advice on an ideal raid composition that suits to your needs without overstepping. Within our group, we appreciate a warlock with a warrior with , a paladin w/ , etc... (see video). If we can pick the damage inducing classes to bring to the raid, we prefer ranged classes over melee. And, if melee classes are needed, we opt for rogues. On the Horde, groups with warriors and warlocks should look at having a shaman providing . A healing druid is welcomed for .

    Thanks for reading!

    I hope you enjoyed exploring one of my favorite classes in World of Warcraft. If you are left with some lingering questions after having read the guide, feel free to swing over to the link below and I would be more than happy to answer them.

    Topic starter Posted : 24/02/2020 8:40 am

    "Main tank raids."

    If you're playing with absolute removed by mods who don't press any buttons, maybe.

    Mod: Removed offensive language.

    Posted : 23/03/2021 2:29 pm
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