Combat Rogue DPS Spec, Builds, Talents, and Glyphs (MoP 5.4)

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Combat Rogue Art Image
General Information

On this page, we present the viable talent and glyph choices for Combat Rogues in World of Warcraft MoP 5.4. We detail what each of the talents and glyphs do and in which situations they should be taken.

The other pages of our Combat Rogue guide can be accessed from the table of contents on the right.

About Our Reviewer

This guide has been reviewed and approved by Dryaan, one of the best Rogues in the world, who raids in Envy. You can watch his stream on Twitch.

1. Talent Choices↑top

Level Choices
15 Nightstalker Subterfuge Shadow Focus
30 Deadly Throw Nerve Strike Combat Readiness
45 Cheat Death Leeching Poison Elusiveness
60 Cloak and Dagger Shadowstep Burst of Speed
75 Prey on the Weak Paralytic Poison Dirty Tricks
90 Shuriken Toss Marked for Death Anticipation
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  • Performance-enhancing
  • Survival
  • Crowd Control
  • Movement
  • Utility
  • Situational

There is no longer such a thing as a default build. Most of the talents are now viable. They can easily be changed, thanks to Dust of Disappearance Icon Dust of Disappearance (and Tome of the Clear Mind Icon Tomes of the Clear Mind from level 86 to 90). You will frequently find yourself changing talents and glyphs between encounters, in order to adapt your play style to different mechanics. Therefore, it is important to understand what each of your talents does and how they affect your play style.

2. Tier 1 Talents↑top

Tier 1 talents improve your Stealth.

  • Nightstalker Icon Nightstalker increases your movement speed by 20% and the damage that your abilities deal by 50%, while you are stealthed.
  • Subterfuge Icon Subterfuge causes Stealth to break 3 seconds after dealing or receiving damage (rather than instantly, without the talent).
  • Shadow Focus Icon Shadow Focus causes your abilities to cost 75% less Energy while in Stealth.

Shadow Focus Icon Shadow Focus is the best choice here. It gives you a nearly-free Ambush Icon Ambush at the start of each encounter and every 2 minutes after that through Vanish Icon Vanish.

While Nightstalker Icon Nightstalker can be useful in certain situations (e.g., for the weekly solo Gold Run scenario in Isle of Thunder), it will never be taken over Shadow Focus Icon Shadow Focus in any raid environment.

3. Tier 2 Talents↑top

Tier 2 talents give you the choice between crowd control and survival talents.

  • Deadly Throw Icon Deadly Throw is a Finishing Move that reduces the movement speed of your target by 50% for 6 seconds. It also deals damage based on the number of Combo Points it is cast with. Finally, if you cast it with 3, 4, or 5 Combo Points, it will also interrupt and silence your target for 4, 5, or 6 seconds respectively.
  • Nerve Strike Icon Nerve Strike causes your successful casts of Kidney Shot Icon Kidney Shot and Cheap Shot Icon Cheap Shot to also reduce the damage your target deals by 50% and the healing it does by 10%, for 6 seconds.
  • Combat Readiness Icon Combat Readiness causes you to take 50% less damage from melee attacks. The damage reduction builds up gradually by stacks of 10%, until you have 5 stacks. Each enemy hit grants you a stack. The effect lasts 20 seconds, but it is removed after 10 seconds without receiving melee attacks.

These talents will not impact your DPS as a raider.

Combat Readiness Icon Combat Readiness should be the default choice and will prove useful when you will have to tank something (e.g., Will of the Emperor, Ji-Kun, or Dark Animus).

Nerve Strike Icon Nerve Strike should be taken in any encounters where you will have to stun an add (e.g., Spirit Kings, Tsulong, Lei Shi, or Ra-den).

Deadly Throw Icon Deadly Throw will mostly be useful in PvP, against healers and casters.

4. Tier 3 Talents↑top

Tier 3 talents provide you with various means of improving your survivability.

  • Cheat Death Icon Cheat Death causes an attack that would otherwise kill you to instead reduce your health to 10% of your maximum health. Then, Cheat Death reduces the damage you will take by 85% for 3 seconds. This effect has an internal cooldown of 90 seconds. However, it can only absorb up to twice your maximum health.
  • Leeching Poison Icon Leeching Poison grants you a new Non-Lethal Poison that afflicts your target in such a way that your melee attacks against the target heal you for 10% of the damage that they do. When using Leeching Poison Icon Leeching Poison, Shiv Icon Shiv provides an instant 5% heal.
  • Elusiveness Icon Elusiveness causes your Feint Icon Feint ability to also reduce all damage taken by 30% for 5 seconds. Against AoE damage, the damage reduction is 65% (50% from Feint Icon Feint plus 30% of that from Elusiveness Icon Elusiveness).

All three talents are viable here. Elusiveness Icon Elusiveness is a must-have in any situation where you have to use Feint Icon Feint extensively to mitigate damage (most encounters) or when the additional 15% AoE damage reduction is needed for a particular mechanic (e.g., soaking sparks in Will of the Emperor).

In situations that do not require Elusiveness Icon Elusiveness, Cheat Death Icon Cheat Death should be the default choice, as it can be used to entirely bypass encounter mechanics (not to mention it can save your life on many occasions). Leeching Poison Icon Leeching Poison's usefulness is very debatable, as the healing it provides is rather weak (when it is not overhealing).

5. Tier 4 Talents↑top

Tier 4 talents give you the choice between abilities that improve your survivability or your mobility.

  • Cloak and Dagger Icon Cloak and Dagger causes Ambush Icon Ambush, Garrote Icon Garrote, and Cheap Shot Icon Cheap Shot to have a 40-yard range and to teleport you behind your target.
  • Shadowstep Icon Shadowstep causes you to teleport behind your target, which has to be within 25 yards. It then increases your movement speed by 70% for 2 sconds. This ability has a 20-second cooldown.
  • Burst of Speed Icon Burst of Speed increases your movement speed by 70% for 4 seconds. If you happen to be afflicted by movement-impairing effects, then this ability will also remove them (with the exception of rooting effects) and prevent their reapplication for 4 seconds. Burst of Speed has no cooldown, but costs 15 Energy.

Shadowstep Icon Shadowstep should be the default choice here, as it allows you to easily reposition yourself behind your target, whether it is a friend or an enemy. Besides its numerous uses in most encounters, it always provides a DPS gain, as it will increase your uptime on your target.

Burst of Speed Icon Burst of Speed is useful in PvP or while questing. Its use in a raiding environment was very questionable due to its Energy cost, but Patch 5.4 changed that. With a cost of 15 Energy, it is now viable to use it on encounters where you suffer from movement-impairing effects or where you really need the movement speed increase.

Cloak and Dagger Icon Cloak and Dagger is useless for raiding.

6. Tier 5 Talents↑top

Tier 5 talents give you more utility or crowd control.

Paralytic Poison Icon Paralytic Poison can be useful in PvE content, especially for fights where you need to fight many adds and where you need to use Cheat Death Icon Cheat Death as a Tier 3 talent (hence freeing the Non-Lethal poison spot occupied by Leeching Poison Icon Leeching Poison).

Similarly to Nerve Strike Icon Nerve Strike, Prey on the Weak Icon Prey on the Weak should be taken in any encounters where you will make use of Cheap Shot Icon Cheap Shot or Kidney Shot Icon Kidney Shot.

Dirty Tricks Icon Dirty Tricks do not really have any PvE implications.

7. Tier 6 Talents↑top

Tier 6 talents provide you with performance-improving abilities.

  • Shuriken Toss Icon Shuriken Toss is a ranged attack that replaces Throw Icon Throw, costs 20 Energy, and awards 1 Combo Point. If used against targets further than 10 yards away, it deals twice more damage and it causes your melee attacks to throw shuriken. These shuriken have a 30-yard range and poison your target with your Lethal Poison.
  • Marked for Death Icon Marked for Death instantly adds 5 Combo Points on your target. This ability has a 1-minute cooldown, but this cooldown is reset when the target dies.
  • Anticipation Icon Anticipation basically grants you a maximum of 10 Combo Points, of which only 5 can be consumed with Finishing Moves. So, if you have 8 Combo Points and you cast a Finishing Move, you will be left with 3 Combo Points.

Anticipation Icon Anticipation will be the best choice in nearly all situations, especially since Ruthlessness Icon Ruthlessness came back in Patch 5.4.

Marked for Death Icon Marked for Death can be picked in fights with many adds (e.g., Horridon), where you can benefit from the 5 free Combo Points very often. However, even for such fights, there is still debate in the community as to whether Marked for Death is better than Anticipation Icon Anticipation or not.

Shuriken Toss Icon Shuriken Toss can be used in fights where the boss will be out of melee range for a long time. There is currently no encounters where it surpasses Anticipation Icon Anticipation.

8. Major Glyphs↑top

Several of your major glyphs offer you increased survivability.

  • Glyph of Cloak of Shadows Icon Glyph of Cloak of Shadows causes your Cloak of Shadows Icon Cloak of Shadows ability to also grant you a 40% physical damage reduction while it is active. With this glyph, Cloak of Shadows becomes a powerful damage mitigation tool that you should use whenever necessary.
  • Glyph of Evasion Icon Glyph of Evasion increases the duration of Evasion Icon Evasion by 5 seconds, making it last 15 seconds in total. It can be useful if you ever need to dodge attacks for longer than 10 seconds.
  • Glyph of Feint Icon Glyph of Feint increases the duration of Feint Icon Feint by 2 seconds, making it last 7 seconds in total. It can be useful if a damaging AoE ability from a boss lasts more than 5 seconds. Given the extensive use you will make of Feint Icon Feint, this glyph very often is a must-have, as it increases your DPS by making you spend less Energy and Global Cooldowns refreshing Feint.
  • Glyph of Recovery Icon Glyph of Recovery cause healing you receive to be increased by 20% while Recuperate Icon Recuperate is active. Using Recuperate is a DPS loss, but if your healers are struggling with a fight, this glyph can be helpful.
  • Glyph of Redirect Icon Glyph of Redirect reduces the cooldown of Redirect by 50 seconds (thus making it on a 10-second cooldown). This glyph is mandatory on any boss fight that requires target swapping.
  • Glyph of Sharpened Knives Icon Glyph of Sharpened Knives causes Fan of Knives Icon Fan of Knives to also damage the armor of its victims, applying 1 stack of Weakened Armor Icon Weakened Armor to each target. This can be a DPS increase in AoE situations with adds that will stay alive for more than 5 or 6 seconds, but not too long. If the adds remain alive for too long, then other melee players will have plenty of time to apply the debuff on them, reducing the effectiveness of the glyph.
  • Glyph of Smoke Bomb Icon Glyph of Smoke Bomb increases the duration of Smoke Bomb Icon Smoke Bomb, a major defensive raid cooldown that Rogues provide to their raid.
  • Glyph of Sprint Icon Glyph of Sprint increases the movement speed bonus provided by Sprint Icon Sprint, which is very useful in encounters during which you use Sprint to increase your uptime on the boss.

Finally, a few other major glyphs might occasionally come in handy.

9. Minor Glyphs↑top

Glyph of Safe Fall Icon Glyph of Safe Fall, which reduces the damage you take when falling, and Glyph of Poisons Icon Glyph of Poisons, which causes you to apply your poisons faster, will probably be prime choices.

Glyph of Blurred Speed Icon Glyph of Blurred Speed, which enables you to walk on water while Sprint Icon Sprint is active, might be situationally useful.

Glyph of Killing Spree Icon Glyph of Killing Spree causes Killing Spree Icon Killing Spree to return you to your original location. Some encounter mechanics may make this glyph beneficial.

10. Changelog↑top

  • 16 Sep. 2013: With Ruthlessness Icon Ruthlessness return, Anticipation Icon Anticipation is once again your Tier 6 talent of choice.
  • 10 Sep. 2013: Patch 5.4 update.
  • 20 May 2013: Patch 5.3: nothing to change (Shuriken Toss Icon Shuriken Toss buff has no impact in PvE).
  • 20 May 2013: Dryaan's second review of the guide.
    • Improved explanations regarding why Shadow Focus Icon Shadow Focus is the best Tier 1 talent.
    • Improved explanations for your choice of Tier 2 talents (added examples of bosses where talents are useful).
    • Emphasized the fact that Elusiveness Icon Elusiveness is a must-have, under certain circumstances. The rest of the time, Cheat Death Icon Cheat Death should be taken.
    • Reworded explanations for Tier 4 talent choices.
    • Added a mention that Prey on the Weak Icon Prey on the Weak is sometimes useful.
    • Improved explanations for choosing Marked for Death Icon Marked for Death.
    • Emphasized how beneficial Glyph of Feint Icon Glyph of Feint can be.
  • 25 Apr. 2013: Updated advice for choosing Tier 4 talents (Cloak and Dagger Icon Cloak and Dagger is not nearly as useful as we made it to be).
  • 19 Mar. 2013: Added Glyph of Smoke Bomb Icon Glyph of Smoke Bomb and Glyph of Sprint Icon Glyph of Sprint to the list of potentially useful glyphs.
  • 19 Mar. 2013: Added a mention regarding the usefulness of Paralytic Poison Icon Paralytic Poison in PvE.
  • 11 Mar. 2013: Patch 5.2 update.