Subtlety Rogue DPS Spec, Builds, Talents, and Glyphs (WoD 6.0.3)

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Subtlety Rogue Art Image
General Information

On this page, we present the viable talent and glyph choices for Subtlety Rogues in World of Warcraft WoD 6.0.3. We detail what each of the talents and glyphs do and in which situations they should be taken.

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

About Our Reviewers

This guide has been reviewed and approved by FieryDemise, a prominent Rogue theorycrafter and the author of Rogue Chat (a theorycrafting blog for Rogues), and by Spazzo, one of the best Rogues in the world, who raids in Blood Legion; you can watch his stream on Twitch and follow him on Spazzo.

6.0.2 Transition Guide

If you want to read all about the Patch 6.0.2 changes and learn how they affect your character, make sure to read our Rogue Transition Guide!

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 Internal Bleeding Dirty Tricks
90 Shuriken Toss Marked for Death Anticipation
100 Venom Rush Shadow Reflection Death from Above
+ show color blind markers - hide color blind markers
  • Performance-enhancing
  • Survival
  • Crowd Control
  • Movement
  • Utility
  • Situational

Talents can easily be changed, thanks to Tome of the Clear Mind Icon Tomes of the Clear Mind. 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 and Subterfuge Icon Subterfuge are the two talents you can choose as Subtlety. Shadow Focus gives you more overall damage (about 2%), but Subterfuge is better for burst damage, which is the main reason for using Subtlety over Assassination or Combat.

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 5 Combo Points, it will also interrupt your target.
  • 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.

Nerve Strike Icon Nerve Strike should be taken for encounters where you will have to stun an add, but only if Combat Readiness Icon Combat Readiness is not useful.

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 7% 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.
  • 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 15% of the damage that they do. When using Leeching Poison Icon Leeching Poison, Shiv Icon Shiv heals you for 4% of your total health.
  • 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. Cheat Death Icon Cheat Death versus Elusiveness Icon Elusiveness is a heated debate in the Rogue community (Spazzo recommends taking Cheat Death 95% of the time). Feint Icon Feint is already very good as it is and the added bonus, while desirable, is not going to save your life in the way that Cheat Death Icon Cheat Death is. Cheat Death can also be used to entirely bypass encounter mechanics. Elusiveness is very useful in situations where you have to use Feint Icon Feint extensively to mitigate damage or when the additional 15% AoE damage reduction is needed for a particular mechanic (e.g., soaking sparks in Will of the Emperor).

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 seconds. 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). Burst of Speed has no cooldown, but costs 30 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 is very questionable to to its high Energy cost.

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.

Similarly to Nerve Strike Icon Nerve Strike (one of your Tier 2 talents), Prey on the Weak Icon Prey on the Weak and Internal Bleeding Icon Internal Bleeding can be taken for encounters where you can make use of Cheap Shot Icon Cheap Shot or Kidney Shot Icon Kidney Shot. Internal Bleeding should be used for encounters where you need to do a lot of damage on enemies that can be stunned (otherwise, the bleed from Internal Bleeding does not get applied), in which case Kidney Shot becomes an integral part of your rotation and you should try to maintain 100% uptime on the bleed (because it deals an extreme amount of damage). Prey on the Weak should be taken if the target of your Cheap Shot or Kidney Shot is going to be attacked by other raid members.

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 40 Energy, and awards 1 Combo Point. If used against targets further than 10 yards away, 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.

Marked for Death Icon Marked for Death is very very slightly ahead of Anticipation Icon Anticipation (about 1%) on single-target, so you can take it, but it makes the rotation harder to perform, so Anticipation Icon Anticipation is generally preferred. In AoE situations, Marked for Death Icon Marked for Death is more suited, because of the free Combo Points it can regularly give you.

Shuriken Toss Icon Shuriken Toss should never be taken.

8. Tier 7 Talents↑top

Tier 7 talents provide you with performance-improving abilities.

  • Venom Rush Icon Venom Rush increases your maximum Energy by 15 and increases your Energy regeneration by 5% for every enemy you have poisoned, up to 3.
  • Shadow Reflection Icon Shadow Reflection summons a shadow copy of yourself that memorizes your actions for 8 seconds and then perform these actions over the next 8 seconds.
  • Death from Above Icon Death from Above deals damage to all enemies within 8 yards then performs an Eviscerate Icon Eviscerate that deals 50% more damage than usual.

Death from Above Icon Death from Above and Shadow Reflection Icon Shadow Reflection are of similar value. Shadow Reflection is preferred, because it is easier to use compared to Death from Above. Shadow Reflection can simply be macroed with Shadow Dance Icon Shadow Dance, whereas Death from Above requires careful Energy and Combo Point pooling.

Death from Above Icon Death from Above pulls ahead of Shadow Reflection Icon Shadow Reflection when you need to damage 3 or more targets for a consistent amount of time. Tectus is a good example of a fight where Death from Above is better than Shadow Reflection.

Venom Rush Icon Venom Rush should be not taken.

9. Major Glyphs↑top

Glyph of Energy Icon Glyph of Energy increases your maximum Energy by 20 and is a 3% DPS increase, so it should be used in most cases.

Glyph of Hemorrhaging Veins Icon Glyph of Hemorrhaging Veins causes Hemorrhage Icon Hemorrhage to trigger the +20% damage done increase from Sanguinary Vein Icon Sanguinary Vein. Using this glyph is always a DPS gain.

Glyph of Ambush Icon Glyph of Ambush is a double-edged sword and you must be careful when using it. First, you will often open with Shadowstep Icon Shadowstep or Sprint Icon Sprint, so you may not always need this glyph. Even when you use it, it can sometimes be a DPS loss if you forget to move into melee range of the boss after casting Ambush Icon Ambush.

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. It is mutually exclusive with Glyph of Energy Flows Icon Glyph of Energy Flows and Glyph of Elusiveness Icon Glyph of Elusiveness.
  • Glyph of Elusiveness Icon Glyph of Elusiveness reduces the cooldown of Evasion Icon Evasion by 30 seconds, which is very useful if you need to use Evasion often. It is mutually exclusive with Glyph of Energy Flows Icon Glyph of Energy Flows and Glyph of Evasion Icon Glyph of Evasion.
  • 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 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.

10. 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.

11. Changelog↑top

  • 15 Dec. 2014: Adjusted advice for Tier 7 talents.
  • 22 Nov. 2014: Made Glyph of Hemorrhaging Veins mandatory and added more details about the choice between Shadow Focus and Subterfuge.
  • 14 Nov. 2014: Added Tier 7 talents and Level 100 glyphs.
  • 22 Oct. 2014: Shadow Focus is now a viable Tier 1 talent.
  • 18 Oct. 2014: Added a mention that the bleed from Internal Bleeding does a lot of damage and that the talent should be taken when there are enemies that can be stunned (otherwise the bleed does not get applied).