Subtlety Rogue DPS Spec, Builds, Talents, and Glyphs (WoD 6.2)

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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 6.2. 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 Rosvall, a theorycrafter and Subtlety Rogue who raids in NollTvåTre.

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
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  • 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 (Level 15) 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.

Subterfuge Icon Subterfuge is the talent of choice for Subtlety. At the beginning of Warlords of Draenor, Shadow Focus Icon Shadow Focus was a possible alternative, but as gear levels improved, it has slowly become irrelevant. In Tier 18, this is further amplified by the fact that the T18 4-piece bonus reduces the cooldown of Vanish Icon Vanish, making you benefit from Subterfuge more often.

Subterfuge Icon Subterfuge has an important interaction with Glyph of Vanish Icon Glyph of Vanish. For very long, it was seen as a bug, but given that it was never changed, it has come to be seen as the intended behaviour by the player base. When you use Vanish Icon Vanish, you get a 3-second Vanish buff applied to you. Dealing damage while this buff is up triggers Subterfuge, which also lasts 3 seconds, but does not remove the Vanish buff. Without the glyph, the Vanish buff has run out by the time Subterfuge ends, but with the glyph, the Vanish buff is still up when Subterfuge ends, allowing you to deal damage again while the buff is up, triggering Subterfuge again.

As a result, you want to save a bit of Energy before using Vanish, up to around 90 Energy. This way, you can cast Ambush Icon Ambush as many times as possible, all the while saving enough Energy to cast a final Ambush before the second Subterfuge runs out, for maximum Find Weakness Icon Find Weakness uptime (see the Find Weakness section of our rotation page for more details).

3. Tier 2 (Level 30) 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 70% for 6 seconds. It also deals damage based on the number of Combo Points it is cast with.
  • 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 are of very limited use to you as a raider.

Combat Readiness Icon Combat Readiness is the best talent in this tier, but the protective stacks it gives you do not trigger on most boss encounters, because you are very rarely the subject of melee attacks.

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 (Level 45) 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 grants you 10% Leech while it is active on your target. 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. 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. Many Rogues use Cheat Death during progression and then switch to Elusiveness on most fights during farm.

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 (Level 60) 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 a 3-second cooldown and 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 for fights where you are constantly running. Oregorger in T17 is a good example. This talent is typically more useful to Assassination and Subtlety Rogues than to Combat Rogues, because Ruthlessness Icon Ruthlessness reduces the cooldown of Sprint.

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

6. Tier 5 (Level 75) 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 (Level 90) 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 slightly ahead of Anticipation Icon Anticipation (about 2%) on single-target. That said, it makes the rotation a lot harder to perform than if you were using Anticipation Icon Anticipation, because you need to ensure that Combo Points will not be wasted. During progress, you generally want to focus on the encounters themselves, rather than spend a lot of your attention not wasting Combo Points. For this reason, many Rogues choose to forgo the DPS gain from Marked for Death and instead use Anticipation Icon Anticipation.

In AoE situations, Marked for Death Icon Marked for Death usually is the talent of choice, especially for fights with low-health adds that die in quick succession. In the rare case of AoE situations with 5 or more targets that do not die quickly enough, then Anticipation will grant you more Combo Points than Marked for Death and should therefore be taken.

Shuriken Toss Icon Shuriken Toss should never be taken, despite the buff it received in Patch 6.2.

8. Tier 7 (Level 100) 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.

For single-target situations, Shadow Reflection Icon Shadow Reflection is the talent of choice, followed by Venom Rush Icon Venom Rush and Death from Above Icon Death from Above, which are roughly equal. Shadow Reflection also has the advantage of being easy to use and can be macroed with Shadow Dance Icon Shadow Dance.

Death from Above Icon Death from Above pulls slightly ahead of both Shadow Reflection Icon Shadow Reflection and Venom Rush Icon Venom Rush when you need to damage 3 or more targets for a consistent amount of time. In such a case though, you are probably better off playing Combat.

9. Major Glyphs↑top

Glyph of Energy Icon Glyph of Energy and Glyph of Vanish Icon Glyph of Vanish should be used all the time.

For your third slot, you should choose between the following glyphs.

  • Glyph of Hemorrhaging Veins Icon Glyph of Hemorrhaging Veins causes Hemorrhage Icon Hemorrhage to trigger the +25% damage done increase from Sanguinary Vein Icon Sanguinary Vein. This glyph should only be used in fights where you cannot maintain 100% uptime on Rupture Icon Rupture (constant target switching, boss goes immune to bleed effects, etc.). It allows you to apply the bleed from Hemorrhage and benefit from Sanguinary Vein until you can apply a proper Rupture.
  • Glyph of Feint Icon Glyph of Feint increases the duration of Feint Icon Feint, allowing you to cast it less often, saving Energy.
  • Glyph of Sprint Icon Glyph of Sprint can be chosen when you need the extra speed for an encounter.

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

  • 22 Jun. 2015: Patch 6.2 update.
    • Subterfuge has become the Tier 1 talent of choice over Shadow Focus, which is further amplified by the T18 4-piece bonus. More explanations were added regarding the interaction between Subterfuge and Glyph of Vanish.
    • Deadly Throw has been changed to no longer interrupt spellcasting, so the explanations for this talent were modified accordingly. The slowing effect has also seen an increase from 50% to 70%.
    • Reworded the explanations for the Tier 6 talents, with an increased focus on how much harder the rotation is with Marked for Death compared to Anticipation.
    • Despite the buff Shuriken Toss received, it is still not worth using.
    • With Hemorrhage no longer being part of the regular rotation in 6.2, due to the buff to Backstab's damage, the explanations for the Glyph of Hemorrhaging Veins have been rewritten.
    • Removed Glyph of Ambush from the list of advised glyphs and replaced it with Glyph of Feint and Glyph of Sprint.
  • 13 Apr. 2015: The Glyph of Vanish + Subterfuge bug was confirmed to be the intended behaviour by Blizzard, so we no longer call the double Subterfuge a bug.
  • 25 Feb. 2015: Patch 6.1 update: Death from Above is still not worth taking over Shadow Reflection in single-target DPS, despite the buff it received, but it has closed the gap with Venom Rush now. In multiple-target situations, Death from Above remains the talent of choice.
  • 06 Jan. 2015: Several fixes due to Rosvall's feedback on the forums.
    • Adjusted the relative values of Subterfuge and Shadow Focus, following a fix in Simulation Craft to reintroduce the bugged behaviour of Glyph of Vanish+ Subterfuge (where you get a second Subterfuge after the first one ends).
    • Adjusted the relative values of Anticipation and Marked for Death for AoE situations.
    • Adjusted the relative values of Tier 7 talents for single-target situations.
    • Glyph of Hemorrhaging Veins is not always a DPS gain, as previously stated.
  • 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).