wotlk classic combat rogue rotation & cooldowns

Combat Rogue veterans will be familiar with our single-target rotation in Wrath, as it basically hasn’t changed at all since TBC or Classic. We get one new spell in Killing Spree, which we use on cooldown or during burst phases, but that’s about it. Our AoE rotation on the other hand has changed drastically thanks to the advent of Fan of Knives, a spammable AoE damage spell.

Single Target Rotation

Rotation 1 

Blade Flurry->Killing Spree->Adrenaline Rush->Sinister Strike (Until 5 combo points)->Slice and Dice->Sinister Strike (Until 5 combo points)->Rupture->Sinister Strike (Until 5 combo points)->Eviscerate->Sinister Strike (Until 5 combo points)->Eviscerate(if Slice and Dice is still up)/Slice and Dice(if its close to expiring)->Sinister Strike (Until 5 combo points)->Refresh Rupture->Repeat

Rotation 2

Adrenaline Rush->Sinister Strike (Until 5 combo points)->Slice and Dice->Blade Flurry->Killing Spree->Sinister Strike (Until 5 combo points)->Rupture->Sinister Strike (Until 5 combo points)->Eviscerate->Sinister Strike (Until 5 combo points)->Eviscerate(if Slice and Dice is still up)/Slice and Dice(if its close to expiring)->Sinister Strike (Until 5 combo points)->Refresh Rupture->Repeat

Situational

  • Expose Armor (Lack of Warriors in the group)
  • Shiv (Only if you lack proper haste, use this to stack Deadly Poison fast)

Mandatory!

  • Tricks of the Trade (Use on the tank if they’re struggling with threat, or on your highest DPS player)

Area of Effect Rotation 

When it comes to Area-of-Effect rotation, Combat Rogues can provide very high amounts of damage in a very quick time frame. There are 3 main spells that constitute your AoE rotation.

Killing Spree is an ability that makes you jump from target to target dealing 5 strikes in quick succession. You can further enhance Killing Spree with the addition of Blade Flurry

Blade Flurry allows Killing Spree to hit an additional target with each attack.

Fan of Knives will be your main spam ability during Area-of-Effect encounters, dealing massive amounts of damage. 

It will be a good idea to use your Adrenaline Rush before you begin to spam Fan of Knives. This will allow you to cast it a lot more often, causing your damage to skyrocket.

Ability Overview

Offensive Abilities

  • Sinister Strike is a direct damage ability that generates combo points, allowing you to deal 100% weapon damage plus additional damage. This is considered our “Filler” ability, as we will be using this ability most of the time.
  • Rupture is a finishing move that applies a bleed effect on the target. This ability is considered our main combo points spender, as we have to upkeep it at all times. The duration and damage of this ability depend on the number of combo points used.
  • Eviscerate is a finishing move that deals direct damage to the target, depending on the number of combo points used. This ability will be used to spend combo points if we do not have any other ability to upkeep at that specific moment.
  • Slice and Dice is a finishing move that increases our attack speed for a set duration depending on how many combo points we use. This ability can be considered a “core” ability of our kit.
  • Expose Armor is a finishing move that reduces the target’s armor by 20%. The duration of this effect depends on the number of combo points used. This ability is usually situational and its usage depends entirely on the existence of a warrior in the group, as it does not stack with Sunder Armor
  • Killing Spree is one of our strongest attacks, allowing you to effectively hit multiple targets with 5 subsequent attacks in a very fast time frame. This ability allows you to continue basic attacking while being cast and can be enhanced by Blade Flurry
  •  Adrenaline Rush is an ability that increases our energy regeneration by 100% for 15 seconds. This ability allows us to execute our burst phase efficiently.
  • Blade Flurry is an ability that increases our attack speed by 20% while allowing us to hit 1 additional target besides our main target. This ability is extremely strong in certain situations as it can vastly increase our damage.
  • Shiv is an ability that can be used to guarantee that your off-hand weapon applies a stack of poison. However, neither this ability nor the poison applied can critically strike. This ability is situational but can be used effectively for cases such as constant target switching in order to rapidly stack your poison on the target.

Defensive Abilities

  • Vanish is an ability that allows you to disengage combat and slip into the shadows. This ability can be used as an escape mechanic in case you get in dangerous situations. This ability can also be used in order to shorten the time for revival after a raid group wipes, by effectively slipping into the shadows and then returning to use a Gnomish Army Knife on one of the healers.
  • Feint is a situational ability that can remove a large amount of threat that you have generated. This ability should be used when you run the risk of grabbing a boss’s attention and getting one shot as a consequence.
  • Evasion is a defensive ability that can be used in order to gain a 50% dodge chance and a 25 % ranged dodge chance. This ability can be used in order to survive for a short amount of time if you grab the attention of several adds or even a boss.
  • Cloak of Shadows is an ability that can remove all harmful spells and effects from you and offer you 90% resistance to any spell or effect for the following 5 seconds. This ability can be used in order to remove dangerous raid mechanics from yourself or to mitigate the chance of negative effects being placed on you.

Utility Abilities

  • Cheap Shot is an ability that can be used in order to stun a target for up to 4 seconds. This ability requires you to be in stealth. While you would not normally use this ability, it can be used to temporarily stun a dangerous add and offer the group more time to deal with it.
  • Kidney Shot is a finishing move that can be used in order to stun a target for a maximum of 6 seconds, you can use this ability to crowd control a dangerous target.
  • Blind is an ability that can be used to incapacitate an enemy for 10 seconds, effectively making them wander around. However, any damage dealt to the enemy will break the effect. This ability can be used in conjunction with other crowd control abilities in order to perform a chain CC on dangerous foes.
  • Gouge is an ability that incapacitates the target for 4 seconds with the requirement that the target is facing you. Any damage effect can break Gouge. This ability is useful as a temporary makeshift escape if there is one mob that suddenly attacks you and the tank does not have aggro on it.
  • Dismantle is an ability that can be used to disarm an opponent for up to 10 seconds, removing any shield, equipment, and all weapons that the foe might possess. This ability should be used as much as possible when dealing with adds. 
  • Disarm Trap is an ability that can be used in order to remove any potential traps in dungeons, raids, and the open world. This ability should be used in order to provide safe passage to your fellow companions.
  • Distract is an ability that can be used in order to change the direction in which mobs are facing. You can use this ability in order to prepare a proper setting for the use of your other abilities.
  • Sap is an ability that can be used in order to incapacitate an enemy for 1 minute. This ability is great for pulling groups of mobs as it can separate them and provide easier targets for the entire group. You should use this ability as often as possible.
  • Garrote is an ability that can be used in order to silence an enemy caster for 3 seconds. This ability is great for initiation against dangerous caster mobs as it can open up the way for further crowd control while entirely mitigating their damage.

Ability Explanations

Now that we have gone over the abilities overview, we will talk about the single-target rotation in depth and how abilities synergize.

First of all, we have one main “Filler” ability that we will want to use at all times. This ability in the case of Combat Rogue is Sinister Strike

Sinister Strike becomes a very strong ability with the help of Glyph of Sinister Strike, allowing you to generate 2 combo points instead of 1 combo point if you land a critical strike.

Slice and Dice is the first finishing move that we will talk about. This ability is mandatory and should have 100% upkeep at all times. This is due to the massive attack speed boost that it offers, allowing you to deal more hits and subsequently more poison procs.

Since we mentioned poison, a rogue’s main choice of liquid carried in his or her pockets, we will specify which poisons you should maintain on your weapons at all times. 

Instant Poison IX should always be used to coat your main weapon. This poison deals instant Nature damage to the target.

Deadly Poison IX should always rest atop your off-hand weapon. This poison has a special trait, stacking up to 5 times on the target. Not only that it provides damage over time but with each further application after it reaches 5 stacks, it also causes the poison from your main hand to be applied.

Poisons constitute a big chunk of your overall damage, being heavily affected by the number of times you attack a target, having more chances to trigger as the number of attacks increases.

Next comes your second upkeep ability, Rupture. Due to the large amounts of bonuses from the set tiers, Rupture becomes a very handy bleed ability to place on the target and upkeep at all times. It produces steady damage and allows you to even reduce the cost of your next ability if we take into consideration the Tier 9 set bonus.

We also have to take into account the fact that Rupture also gets empowered by the presence of a Feral Druid in the raid, due to Mangle.

Eviscerate is another finishing move that we will find ourselves often using, this ability is best used after you make sure that both Rupture and Slice and Dice have enough time left. If either of those abilities are close to finishing their duration you should always use the following priority list: Slice and Dice>Rupture>Eviscerate

Next up, we will talk about our longer cooldowns and when to use them properly.

First up, we will talk about  Adrenaline Rush, as this ability allows us to properly execute our burst rotation. When we mention burst rotation, what we really mean is the precise timing of our trinket procs with our offensive abilities. As you do not want to miss their empowering effect on utility spells for example.

Adrenaline Rush is a perfect spell to use in combination with haste increasing effects such as Engineering Gloves or Troll’s racial Berserking.

Killing Spree is one of our heaviest hitting abilities, allowing you to deal a number of  5 subsequent fast attacks to either a single target or multiple targets.

This ability allows you to continue your basic attacks (Normal attacks) while performing it, allowing you to further potentially proc your poisons and deal 20% increased damage during its activation until its very end.

Blade Flurry is an ability that allows you to further enhance your attack speed, also allowing you to hit one additional enemy while doing so. This ability can be used in conjunction with Killing Spree to further hasten the number of attacks you deliver.

Besides direct damage abilities, Rogues have a plethora of crowd control abilities that can be used to stun or incapacitate enemies and they should always be used as much as possible when dealing with adds before engaging a boss.

Expose Armor is a utility finishing move that can be used on an enemy to reduce its armor value by 20%. This effect adds on top of your already existing Armor Penetration and works the same for your allies as well. This effect works the same as Sunder Armor and can not stack with it. Only use Expose Armor if there is no present Warrior in your group that can stack Sunder Armor.

Use Feint in the case that your threat level is extremely high, as it can greatly reduce it.

Tricks of the Trade is a very neat ability, as it can provide a strong damage-enhancing effect for your allies while also transferring any threat that you generate for 6 seconds. This effect is extremely strong in Phase 4 as your set bonus directly impacts it, directly offering you energy.

Taking into consideration the  Glyph of Tricks of the Trade, this ability can be extended for up to 10 seconds.

 

About the Author

Nevermore

Hey there folks, I am Nevermore and have been deeply passionate about WoW for more than a decade. Whether we talk about the hidden mysteries of Azeroth or the otherworldly Outland, my journey brought me here to share the things that I have experienced with you all.
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7 minutes ago

Maintain S&D, 5 point rupture, Eviscerate on extra combo points between refreshing 5 point SnD (which works out somewhere at 3 pointers in between that and 5 point rupture rng level, gear dependant).

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