rogue dps (2)
  • Author: Nevermore
  • Date: November 30, 2023
  • Updated: December 21, 2023
  • Expansion: WoW Classic

Known as one of the hardest classes to master in WoW Classic, Rogues have long been regarded as one of the classes that can potentially bring an astonishing damage output and a plethora of crowd-control and utility effects if played properly. The main issue they faced in Classic was their difficult rotation to manage, with many considering the class to be quite stale from a gameplay perspective, with a lack of proper exciting abilities that don’t force the player to stare at an empty energy bar.

Luckily, the new Rune System introduced by the Season of Discovery majorly overhauls the Rogue Class, bringing a plethora of different tools to diversify its existing gameplay. As such, Rogues are no longer forced to mindlessly spam Sinister Strike and Backstab in an effort to maintain Slice and Dice and Rupture, but rather now have access to multiple versatile playstyles. This includes both exciting new abilities and passives such as Saber Slash and Slaughter from the Shadows, and some old fan-favorite ones that were available during the TBC Classic such as Envenom and Mutilate.

The main issue that Rogue encounters in the current state of SoD is the fact that Deadly Poison doesn’t stack from multiple rogues, meaning that only one can be brought for each raid!

Build Summary

Saber Slash Rogue – Standard Build

The most powerful build that Rogue can currently use is the Saber Slash build with the Assassination Talents. This build focuses entirely on Saber Slash as a primary combo points generator with Slice and Dice, Envenom, and Rupture acting as your main finishing moves. This build’s playstyle is also dependent on whether or not you choose to use the Remorseless Attacks talent, as for some encounters there won’t be any available adds to proc the effect. As it currently stands, Saber Slash doesn’t consume the buff, meaning that you can enhance every Saber Slash while the effect is active.

Additionally, Rogue heavily benefits from the presence of a Feral Druid that has the Mangle rune, as it can empower both Saber Slash and Rupture. You will want to always prioritize Rupture over Envenom if Mangle is active on a target!

Mutilate Rogue

Well-known as one of the harder builds yet beloved for its approach, the Mutilate Build makes a rather spectacular entry in the Classic era, compared to its TBC Classic counterpart where it was more difficult. The Mutilate Build encompasses several key abilities and runes, with the potential for versatility. While normally you would see Mutilate as part of the Assassination Rogue Talent Tree in TBC Classic, now you can even use it with the Combat Talent Tree and a few talents from the Subtlety Talent Tree. The main reason for that is the fact that Mutilate is now enhanced by any talents that empower Backstab!

The Mutilate Build encompasses abilities and passive effects such as Deadly Brew, Mutilate, Slice and Dice, and Envenom. Since Envenom is part of our build, Eviscerate will no longer be one of our main finishing moves.

We will want to use Mutilate as our main combo points generator, followed up by Slice and Dice as soon as possible. Once Slice and Dice is successfully activated with plenty of combo points, we will want to focus on placing Envenom as soon as possible.

Keep in mind that this build is only possible thanks to the Deadly Brew effect, as Envenom would be entirely useless without it since we don’t yet have access to Deadly Poison. Another very important aspect is that Envenom‘s tooltip doesn’t seem to imply that Deadly Poison will be consumed on-use, meaning that rogues will have a much easier time using the build as opposed to the TBC Era.

Backstab Rogue

The Backstab Build is not necessarily a gate-kept term in the community, as Backstab was quite troublesome during Classic since good Daggers were hard to come by as opposed to the strong Swords which were far more accessible. However, this time, we benefit from one extraordinarily powerful rune that turns this whole spell into a very powerful build. The Slaughter from the Shadows rune empowers Backstab to such an extent, that it simply becomes an extremely spam-able ability. When paired up with that rune, you will find yourself spending your energy most of the time on simply spamming Backstab and using your combo points for maintaining Slice and Dice and casting Eviscerate on the target.

Additionally, this build has quite some variety, with the new Saber Slash rune bringing another DoT effect that should ideally be maintained on the target at all times.

Runes

Chest

Deadly Brew

  • When you inflict any other poison on a target, you also inflict Deadly Poison. If your weapon does not have a poison applied, it has a chance to trigger Instant Poison as if Instant Poison were applied. Deadly Poison and Instant Poison now gain increased damage from your Attack Power.

This rune is the key for any Envenom and Mutilate build! Without Deadly Brew, we normally wouldn’t have access to Deadly Poison at this current lower-level bracket. This rune is extremely powerful as it allows you to inflict both Instant Poison and Deadly Poison on your target without even having your weapons coated in poison. Not only you can now place both effects, but both Instant Poison and Deadly Poison ticks now being empowered by Attack Power. Additionally, Rogues can now also benefit from Windfury Totem with this rune, whereas they couldn’t previously benefit from it as the effect is mutually exclusive with other weapon enhancements such as Poison effects.

However, as runes are hot-swappable, you may find moments where you could make use of this rune, even without Envenom.

Slaughter from the Shadows

  • Reduces the Energy cost of your Backstab and Ambush abilities by 20. Does not apply to Mutilate.

This rune is extremely powerful, making many rogues question whether or not they should even bother with the Mutilate Build. Slaughter from the Shadows is a very simple passive effect that will severely enhance the rate at which you can generate a large damage output and a high amount of combo points through simple Backstab spam.

The only thing left to say about this rune is that it saddens us all as it doesn’t also apply to Mutilate.

Gloves

Mutilate

  • Instantly attacks with both weapons for 100% weapon damage plus an additional 20 with each weapon. Damage is increased by 20% against Poisoned targets. Awards 2 combo points. Mutilate benefits from all talents and effects that trigger from or modify Backstab unless otherwise specified.

This rune is designed to bring you a very potent ability from the TBC era, granting you another viable combo points generator besides Sinister Strike and Backstab. Additionally, this rune is very potent when combined with the Deadly Brew rune, as it will increase the frequency at which Deadly Poison is applied.

Saber Slash

  • Viciously Slash an enemy for 130% weapon damage, and cause the target to bleed for 11 damage every 2 sec for 12 sec, stacking up to 3 times. Awards 1 combo point. Saber Slash benefits from all talents and effects that trigger from or modify Sinister Strike.

This a rune that is primarily used to replace Sinister Strike as our main combo points generator for builds that don’t employ Mutilate or Backstab. As things currently stand in SoD, Saber Slash acts as our most powerful damaging ability, with many rogues preferring to spam it consistently. In its current state, Saber Slash doesn’t consume the Remorseless Attacks buff, meaning that you can empower each Saber Slash cast while the effect is active. This may or may not be removed soon, as it stands, we’re not sure if Blizzard intended for this interaction to happen.

Legs

Envenom

  • Finishing move that deals instant poison damage based on your Deadly Poison doses on the target. Following the Envenom attack you have a 75% increased frequency of applying Instant Poison for 1 sec plus an additional 1 sec per combo point. One dose is activated per combo point:
    • 1 dose: 40 damage
    • 2 dose: 80 damage
    • 3 dose: 120 damage
    • 4 dose: 160 damage
    • 5 dose: 200 damage

The primary role of this rune is to provide us with a very powerful finishing move that surpasses Eviscerate. However, at this lower-level bracket, we can’t use this ability without using the Deadly Brew rune as well since we don’t yet have normal means of access to Deadly Poison. This ability is very powerful when used on an Assassination Build, as it is directly tied to poison effects. Also speccing into Mutilate will make Envenom easier to use.

The most important factor that we really have to emphasize is that the current tooltip of Envenom doesn’t specify that Deadly Poison gets consumed upon use. This has massive implications as it means that we can effectively spam the ability without having to constantly worry about optimizing our stacks. It remains to be seen whether or not the tooltip itself is simply wrong or if it was actually intended as such!

Talent Builds

Season of Discovery brings some crucial changes, with the Talent Trees themselves becoming mostly viable for multiple different builds as opposed to the old specialization identity system. This means that we can see Rogues choosing hybrid talent specializations. For example, you can play the Mutilate Build with both the Combat Talent Tree and the Assassination Talent Tree at lower-level brackets. As such, you can also play the Backstab Build with Assassination talents as well! However, you should keep in mind that the Saber Slash build is best used with the Assassination Talent Tree.

Saber Slash Rogue Build

saber slash build
Saber Slash Build Talent Calculator

The Assassination Rogue Talent Tree features talents that aim to improve your overall Critical Strike Chance while also increasing the rate at which you generate combo points and regenerate energy. As such, some of the key talents that we will consider mandatory are Malice, Ruthlessness, and Relentless Strikes. Relentless Strikes is an especially powerful tool for this low-level bracket as we will struggle with our energy regeneration, especially if we desire to spam Saber Slash.

Additionally, this specific Talent Build somewhat deviates from the Standard Build that a Rogue veteran player may choose thanks to a special interaction. In its current state in SoD, the Remorseless Attacks buff is not consumed by Saber Slash, meaning that it can generate an extraordinary damage output in any encounter that contains adds. As long as this interaction persists, all Rogue players should choose this talent as opposed to the standard Murder talent.

Lastly, we will want to spend points on Lethality and Improved Sinister Strike to both reduce Saber Slash‘s energy cost and enhance its overall critical strike bonus damage.

Assassination Rogue Build (Backstab/Mutilate)

assassination rogue mutilate build
Assassination Build Talent Calculator

The Assassination Rogue Build for Backstab and Mutilate features the same mandatory talents as the Saber Slash Build, with Malice, Ruthlessness, and Relentless Strikes all being considered extremely important talents.

Improved Slice and Dice is also an extremely potent talent that we should consider spending at least two points into, as it will lessen the burden of constantly refreshing the effect.

While Murder can be a great talent that we would normally always spend our points on, we simply don’t have enough talent points at this lower-level bracket as we will want to branch out of the Assassination Tree early on to gain the Opportunity talent.

Lastly, the Lethality talent is extremely potent for both the Backstab Build and the Mutilate Build. It depends on how many points you wish to spend on it, as you need quite a high Critical Strike Chance to fully benefit from it. Sadly, without points into Improved Backstab, the talent won’t provide as much damage output as it could normally generate.

Combat Rogue Build (Mutilate/Backstab)

combat rogue backstab build
Combat Build Talent Calculator

The Combat Talent Tree has some very powerful talents for our lower-level bracket that can be successfully used for both the Backstab Build and the Mutilate Build. Additionally, the Combat Talent Tree grants access to Precision, one of the few talents throughout the entirety of the game that can effectively increase Hit Rating directly.

Improved Sinister Strike will be very useful for any build that chooses the Saber Slash rune, whether we talk about the Mace/Sword Build or the Backstab Build, while the Improved Backstab talent is absolutely amazing for both the Backstab Build and the Mutilate Build. Sadly, we will be forced into spending points on Improved Gouge even though we won’t find many uses for it in PvE.

Lastly, the Opportunity talent is absolutely amazing and should be considered mandatory for both the Mutilate Build and the Backstab Build!

Key Spells and Abilities

Backstab

Oh, our good old Backstab, how we missed you. Luckily for us, this time we can choose whether or not we want to use it, as there are multiple builds that offer alternatives. If we choose to focus on the Backstab Build and fill our target’s backs with daggers, we must absolutely combine this ability with the Slaughter from the Shadows. The reduced energy cost combined with the 150% Weapon Damage that Backstab inflicts will quickly turn it into our favorite combo points generator.

As mentioned previously, this ability can benefit from both Assassination and Combat Talents, meaning that it is up to you which specific talent section you choose to combine it with.

Slice and Dice

Lo and behold, our most powerful yet frustrating ability! Slice and Dice is a finishing move that can be used to increase our attack speed by 20% for a duration based on how many combo points were used, up to a maximum of 21 seconds.

Slice and Dice has always been a subject of debate when it comes to its proper use, with many claiming that it’s best to use it as soon as you gain a single combo point while others claim that it’s better to gather a few combo points first. Depending on whether or not you have the Improved Slice and Dice talent, the way you use this ability will be changed. If you have the talent, one single combo point should be enough before investing more. If you choose to play a talent build without Improved Slice and Dice, you should invest more than two combo points in this ability at the beginning of the fight.

Eviscerate

Can’t really decide whether to say that it’s fortunate or unfortunate that Eviscerate won’t see the light of day as much as it previously did. This ability is a finishing move that deals direct damage to a target based on how many combo points are currently active on it, up to a maximum of 185 Damage. This finishing move quickly pales when compared to the brand-new available Envenom in terms of direct damage while also being outclassed by Rupture in terms of priority. As such, this ability will never see the light of day for the Mutilate Build while its use will constitute a lower priority than Rupture in any Backstab or Saber Slash build.

Nevertheless, you will find yourself using this ability whenever Rupture doesn’t require to be immediately refreshed!

Kick

Ever fantasized about making someone shut up with a well-placed kick to the face? Well, any spell-casting mob should truly be afraid of you as you can fulfill that fantasy by using Kick to interrupt any spell cast! This ability is vital for any raid, as it provides invaluable utility. Just imagine what would happen if nobody would stop mobs from casting Shadow Bolt Volley or Frostbolt Volley…

Expose Armor

Expose Armor is the second utility ability that we will find ourselves constantly using, especially if there are no Warriors in our raid comp. Since we won’t have to worry anymore about a debuff number limit on bosses, we can stack Expose Armor to drastically reduce armor! Keep in mind that this ability doesn’t stack with Sunder Armor, so you shouldn’t use it if there is a warrior present in your group who is assigned to place the debuff.

Example Best-in-Slot

Below is an example of an all-round Best-in-Slot list that you can tweak to fit your individual needs.

  • Twilight Slayer’s Cowl/Artemis Cowl
  • Sentinel Pauldrons/Mantle of Thieves
    • Ideally, the Mantle of Thieves is the best option for this slot, however, the item has a very low drop chance and can be very hard to acquire. Sentinel Pauldrons will act as a much more easily obtained BiS that grants similar yet lesser stats.
  • Sergeant Major’s Cape
    • This is the best option that you can gain for this slot, giving you a plethora of stats. The item is overall better suited for survivability thanks to its Stamina rather than a perfect DPS output since other cloaks grant more Agility but lack Stamina.
  • Twilight Slayer’s Tunic
    • This is the best option for this slot, considering both its high baseline stats and access to the set bonuses.
  • Cutthroat’s Armguards/Jurassic Wristguards
    • This slot has two viable options, with one being much more difficult to acquire than the other. The Cutthroat’s Armguards of Power or the Cutthroat’s Armguards of Agility are both great options, however, they are not the ideal choice since they can be very hard to come by. The Jurassic Wristguards are the second option, being a much more ideal choice since you can acquire them much more easily.
  • Void-Touched Leather Gloves
    • The Void-Touched Leather Gloves are the best possible option for this slot, however, you will need Leatherworking to acquire them. The On-Use effect is among the best damage-enhancing buffs that you can acquire at this current low-level bracket.
  • Cord of Aquanis/Deftkin Belt
    • The Waist Slot is a bit tricky for the Rogue class since there are some major differences in the available items based on your faction. The best option that all players can acquire is the Cord of Aquanis which grants both survivability and a good damage output. However, Horde players can gain the Deftkin Belt as their BiS which offers more Attack Power at the cost of survivability.
  • Troll’s Bane Leggings
    • This option is the best that you can acquire for both increased survivability and damage output. The only issue with the item is that it’s a World Drop, making it highly contested.
  • Twilight Slayer’s Footpads
    • This is the best option for this slot based on its baseline stats and access to the set bonuses.

Weapons

  • Honed Darkwater Talwar
    • By far this is the best Main-Hand weapon that you can acquire if you are using the Saber Slash Build. Not only that it has a high Weapon Damage but its proc effect is also extremely powerful.
  • Vampiric Boot Knife
    • This weapon grants you a bit of survivability through its proc while also offering a great damage output. You can use it for both the Saber Slash Build and the Mutilate/Backstab Builds as an Off-Hand BiS.
  • Chipped Bite of Serra’kis
    • This weapon works both as a Main-Hand Weapon and an Off-Hand Weapon depending on the build that you are using. If you are using the Saber Slash Build, you can use this weapon as an Off-Hand while you can use it as a Main-Hand for the Mutilate Build or Backstab Build.
  • Bael Modan Blunderbuss
    • This is the only Ranged Weapon that we want from BFD! Its 6 Agility will provide a better damage output than any other Ranged Weapon.

Jewelry

Noteworthy Items

Green Tinted Goggles

The Green Tinted Goggles are a great addition for any Rogue as they grant quite a substantial amount of Stamina. They also grant a good amount of Spirit which helps you by reducing your overall downtime.

Humbert’s Helm

Humbert’s Helm grants a great Stamina and Agility boost, however, it can only be harder to acquire for Alliance characters than it is for Horde characters. Horde players can acquire this item by killing level 29 elite Dun Garok Riflemen while Alliance players can only acquire this item if Horde players place it on the neutral Auction House. You should keep in mind that the item has a very low 4% drop chance, with the mobs themselves always walking in packs.

Tunic of Westfall

The Tunic of Westfall is an Alliance-only chest piece that provides extraordinary stats for any Rogue that manages to acquire it. This item grants ludicrous amounts of Stamina and Agility, empowering your survivability and overall damage as a result. All Alliance rogues should attempt to clear the Westfall questline as early as possible to attain this item!

Meteor Shard

This item is especially powerful for any Rogue who chooses to play the Mutilate Build or Backstab Build. While Meteor Shard‘s proc chance can be inconsistent, the high damage provided by the weapon plus the proc itself really makes up for any lack of baseline stats whenever it triggers.

Prison Shank

The Prison Shank is yet another great item that may be used by any rogue that chooses the Mutilate or Backstab Builds. However, this item is easier to acquire by Alliance players than it is for Horde players, as it drops from Stockades. The only reason why Horde players have a harder time acquiring this item is the difficulty of getting into Stockades, with the dungeon being placed right in the middle of the Alliance capital, Stormwind.

Cruel Barb

The Cruel Barb can be used as a great Off-Hand weapon by the Backstab Build or as a Main-Hand weapon for Rogues that don’t wish to use either one of the Mutilate Builds or the Backstab Builds.

Stinging Viper

This item is very good for players who choose to play the traditional rogue builds, serving as the perfect Main-Hand weapon due to its slow attack speed. While it doesn’t provide any baseline stats, its high Weapon Damage combined with DoT Poison Damage makes it a perfect option for builds that wish to focus on the Saber Slash rune.

Armor of the Monkey/Armor of Agility

Throughout your journeys, you will encounter items that have either the “of the Monkey” or “of Agility” suffixes. You will want to use them as they grant a considerable amount of Agility. Below you can find a list of items that may drop with those specific two suffixes, as each item has a random drop chance to grant a specific enchantment.

Race Choice

Human

Humans have quite the reputation of being great thieves, cutthroats, and even excellent spies. This is especially true with SI7’s existence as the main spy network of the Alliance. Humans have access to multiple racial effects, however, only three of them may yield any benefit in PvE encounters. The Sword Specialization and Mace Specialization racial effects are the first two valuable passives that Rogues can benefit from when selecting Humans. However, since the Mutilate and Backstab Builds will likely be stronger than the Mace/Sword Build, this racial effect is only useful for players who chose to ignore the first two builds. You may also benefit from those two racial effects if you choose to follow the Backstab build while only using a Dagger as a Main-Hand Weapon and a Sword/Mace as an Off-Hand weapon. The Human Spirit is the third racial ability that may yield a benefit, effectively decreasing your downtime in between pulls by a tiny amount by boosting your Spirit by 5%. Keep in mind that the more Spirit you have, the faster you can regenerate your Health Points outside combat. Other than those effects, the rest of them are quite useless in PvE, with Perception being a PvP/Leveling effect that has close to no practical use in any raid content, while Diplomacy only being useful outside any PvE or PvP encounter.

Dwarf

While it may be hard to believe, the stout Dwarves actually have a reputation as one of the sneakiest and witty races in Azeroth, bearing the makings of great Rogues. The only issue when choosing Dwarf for the Rogue Class is that the majority of their racial effects are better tailored for PvP content rather than PvE content. The only viable case for their racial effects is the new Rogue Tank Build that has been made possible with the arrival of SoD. Their Stoneform is far better suited for tanking, with the ability itself having only very few niche uses for increased survivability if you somehow manage to steal aggro as a DPS. Frost Resistance is the only other racial effect that may be of use to us, providing a moderate amount of survivability. This is especially the case if we deal with heavy AoE Frost Damage. The rest of Dwarf’s racial effects are not properly suited for us in PvE, with Find Treasure being a gimmick ability for the open world while the Gun Specialization is situational depending on whether or not we can get our hands on a good gun.

Night Elf

You would think that a being that benefited from Immortality would have had all the time in the world to develop some deadly skills, right? Well, that is certainly not the case for the rogues who pick the Night Elf race. They have the most mediocre racial effects when it comes to enhancing their overall performance in PvE content, with most of their racial abilities being far more useful for PvP content. There are only two effects that may prove themselves somewhat useful: Nature Resistance which may yield increased survivability based on the encounter itself and Shadowmeld. Shadowmeld will be entirely useless for us since we already have access to Stealth. Quickness is far better suited for Rogue Tanks since they benefit greatly from Dodge Rating while the Wisp Spirit racial effect is meant to encourage you after you fail an encounter. Since it’s better to not linger in the spirit world, Blizzard thought that Night Elves needed the extra help.

Gnome

While technically their small size and cunning should help them be the best rogues possible, Gnomes are not necessarily the best pick for PvE content. Some of their racial effects can be awesome depending on the situation itself. The Escape Artist allows them to remove crowd-control effects while Arcane Resistance grants them increased survivability depending on the encounter itself. Engineering Specialization is not as strong as we would have liked since professions are capped at 150. Lastly, the Expansive Mind racial effect is utterly useless for us as rogues since we don’t benefit from Intellect at all.

Orc

Orcs are a great choice for those who desire to be proficient rogues thanks to their very powerful offensive racial cooldown! Blood Fury is the best cooldown that rogues could hope for, increasing their overall base melee attack power by up to 25% in exchange for a 50% healing reduction. Thanks to this effect, many people prefer pairing the Orc Race with the Rogue Class, even though the rest of their racial abilities are useless or situational at best. The Axe Specialization racial effect is entirely useless for us since we can’t even use Axes while Hardiness is a racial effect optimized entirely for PvP. Additionally, we can’t even make use of the Command racial effect since we are not Warlocks or Hunters.

Undead

Undead are renowned for being deadly assassins, with their racial effects being better suited for PvP content rather than PvE content. Nonetheless, their racial effects can be very useful in PvE as well, depending on the encounter itself. The Will of the Forsaken is among the most iconic racial effects, providing a similar crowd-control removal tool to the Gnome race, allowing them to escape from any Charm, Fear, and Sleep effects. This racial effect acts as a trinket of sorts, allowing a mage to survive dangerous situations. Secondly, Shadow Resistance provides situational increased survivability depending on the encounter itself. Since a lot of mobs will deal Shadow Damage, this passive effect can be very useful. Cannibalize helps Undead by reducing their overall downtime, being especially useful when paired up with Spirit gear. Lastly, Undead has the Underwater Breathing racial effect, however, it has absolutely no benefit in any raid encounter, being more of an outdoors exploration tool.

Troll

As a troll would say: Ye better be afraid of the Shadows, mon. Trolls are another great option for the Rogue Class, bringing multiple beneficial racial effects for PvE encounters. The best racial effect that trolls can utilize is Berserking. This offensive cooldown increases your attack speed by 10%, increasing to a 30% increase in attack speed while being injured. Many Trolls that desire to maximize their DPS output purposefully place themselves in harm’s way to empower this effect as much as possible. Additionally, Trolls benefit from Beast Slaying, further increasing all their damage against beasts by up to 5%. They also benefit from Regeneration, allowing them to continue 10% of their entire Health Regeneration during combat. Lastly, they also have access to the Bow Specialization and the Throwing Specialization racial effects, although those two passives are rather useless in PvE encounters.

 

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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vaayne
vaayne
2 months ago

i thought you couldnt get the parachute cloak because professions where capped at 150

classicrog
classicrog
2 months ago

Night Elfs have highest base agility , if going dagger rogue its better than human

DaCrunch
DaCrunch
2 months ago

Sorry but Cruel Barb isn’t even remotely a good off-hand for rogues.. It’s a 2.8 swing. Whom ever thought that was good isn’t a good rogue player at all

tae
tae
3 months ago

taurens will come soon on tbc sod

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