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heridan

Some clarifications needed on Subtlety gameplay

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Hello!

So I just switched to Sub from Outlaw because the spec looks like it's performing really well and I want to learn it. I will be mostly doing MM+ when they're released so I followed the 'Dungeon build' found here:
https://www.icy-veins.com/wow/subtlety-rogue-pve-dps-spec-builds-talents

After testing the spec in a couple of heroic dungeons, there are a lot of things that still puzzle me about the spec. Mainly about combo points management and AOE rotations.

My first question is about Deeper Stratagem. Should I always aim to use finishers at 6? 5? Is 4 ok? I'm not sure if I should be using the 6th CP as a safety net for overgenerating CPs or if I should make it a priority to reach 6 CPs. Mostly during AOE situations, where there are exactly 4 targets, should I Evisc at 4 or overcap by 2 to get a full 6-CP Evisc? Same for Shadow Dance windows: if I enter Dance with 0 points and get no Shadow Techniques proc, should I Evisc at 4 CP or try to land a 3rd SS to Evisc at 6?

My second question is about Shadow Dance / SoD and energy capping. Everyone says that it's best to align both cooldowns to get more damage out of Dance windows. But I find that using SoD without overcapping my energy is often impossible. Mostly because it's required to enter Dance with maximum 1 CP and situations where I'm sitting at below 60 energy with less than 1 CP are pretty rare. Even during the opener, where I'm told to use Shadow Blades, SS and Nightblade THEN SoD and Dance, this would make me reach above 100 energy thanks to Relentless Strikes. Am I doing something wrong?

Let me describe a situation. Let's say I'm around 60 energy, with about 4 CPs, and my Nightblade is running out in about 7 seconds. What I usually do is use Backstab once to bring me to 5 CPs (now at 25-30 energy) but then I'm unsure about what's next. My instinct is usually to pool back up to 50+ energy and wait for maybe a 6th CP proc and then use Nightblade once it reaches pandemic range, but this usually puts me back above 60 energy which would make SoD overcap my energy. What should I do in that case? Refresh Nightblade at 5CPs before it reaches 4.8 seconds to avoid capping? Or should keep doing what I do but instead I just dump my energy with Backstab and Evisc after refreshing NB and before entering Shadow Dance again? What if Shadow Dance is about to cap as well? I'm guessing in that case, I just forget about pandemic range and refresh NB asap to avoid both energy and SD capping.

On a same note, is it fine to refresh Nightblade with 2-3 combo points rather than see the buff run out ? (ideally wanna avoid this but boss mechanics don't always allow it)

I hope someone experienced with the spec can shed some light on these issues I have. I've been enjoying the spec so far but it's way less straighforward than other Rogue specs. I especially feel like Shadow Techniques is terrible design and counter-intuitive because it often forces you to adapt your rotation to avoid ressource wasting and therefore it ruins the feeling of the rotation which should feel precise and calculated. Leave RNG procs to Outlaw!

Anyway thanks for reading 🙂

Edited by heridan

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Hooo boy, what a post. That's a great bunch of questions actually. I'll address them section by section. Pardon the lengthy answers, I'll try and explain why some things are the case rather than just answering.

11 hours ago, heridan said:

My first question is about Deeper Stratagem. Should I always aim to use finishers at 6? 5? Is 4 ok? I'm not sure if I should be using the 6th CP as a safety net for overgenerating CPs or if I should make it a priority to reach 6 CPs. Mostly during AOE situations, where there are exactly 4 targets, should I Evisc at 4 or overcap by 2 to get a full 6-CP Evisc? Same for Shadow Dance windows: if I enter Dance with 0 points and get no Shadow Techniques proc, should I Evisc at 4 CP or try to land a 3rd SS to Evisc at 6?

As a general rule, it's pretty important to use finishers as Sub with as many CPs as possible due to the Relentless Strikes (RS) passive. Since the Energy cost of your finishers remains the same regardless of how many CPs you spend, the more Energy you refund with each finisher, the more Energy you'll have to spend building towards your next. What this means is that your cheaper finishers can actually gain you Energy. If Nightblade (Nb) costs 25 Energy and RS refunds 6 Energy per point, you only need 4 CP to make it have a null Energy cost, and using it at 6 CP gains you that extra 12 Energy over what Nb cost.

To answer your question though, it's pretty situational in dungeons. I play Find Weakness (FW) rather than Weaponmaster, so I usually spend a global using Cheap Shot (CS) or Shadowtrike (SStr) to apply that before Shuriken Storm (SS) for the CP generation (I play Shot in the Dark, which means that that CS is free). It works out pretty well. Once FW is up I'll spam out the 2x SS casts and us 6 CP finishers. Swapping around targets and applying Nb with those 6 CPs helps maintain Energy too, because even with the free Evis casts the 2x SS is still an Energy loss overall, and getting that bonus 12 helps a lot with that.

For Dance windows, it only every really seems to be a problem to me on the pull when fighting single target bosses, and I have Shadow Blades (SB) up at the time so each SStr is 3 CP instead of 2. Otherwise, there's usually points left over from using Backstab to avoid capping Energy or passive Shadow Technique procs when you enter Dance so it shouldn't be an issue. If you ever are in that situation, I'd use the 4 CP Evis because at least then you have a chance to finish Dance properly - if you do 3x SStr you'll spend 1-2s waiting to have enough Energy for your Evis and you'll miss the last global of Dance.

11 hours ago, heridan said:

My second question is about Shadow Dance / SoD and energy capping. Everyone says that it's best to align both cooldowns to get more damage out of Dance windows. But I find that using SoD without overcapping my energy is often impossible. Mostly because it's required to enter Dance with maximum 1 CP and situations where I'm sitting at below 60 energy with less than 1 CP are pretty rare. Even during the opener, where I'm told to use Shadow Blades, SS and Nightblade THEN SoD and Dance, this would make me reach above 100 energy thanks to Relentless Strikes. Am I doing something wrong?

Nope, not doing anything wrong. Stacking your cooldowns is better than not wasting Energy. It honestly doesn't even waste that much - SStr costs 40 and Nb costs 25, while SoD restores 40 and RS restores 18. Passive regen in that time makes up the gap, so if you waste Energy in this it really isn't much.

During fights, I usually don't play around max Energy, but I play around the 70-80 mark. So I'll Backstab (BS) at the 80 mark rather than 95 or whatever.

11 hours ago, heridan said:

Let me describe a situation. Let's say I'm around 60 energy, with about 4 CPs, and my Nightblade is running out in about 7 seconds. What I usually do is use Backstab once to bring me to 5 CPs (now at 25-30 energy) but then I'm unsure about what's next. My instinct is usually to pool back up to 50+ energy and wait for maybe a 6th CP proc and then use Nightblade once it reaches pandemic range, but this usually puts me back above 60 energy which would make SoD overcap my energy. What should I do in that case? Refresh Nightblade at 5CPs before it reaches 4.8 seconds to avoid capping? Or should keep doing what I do but instead I just dump my energy with Backstab and Evisc after refreshing NB and before entering Shadow Dance again? What if Shadow Dance is about to cap as well? I'm guessing in that case, I just forget about pandemic range and refresh NB asap to avoid both energy and SD capping.

It's tricky I'll give you that. Assuming pure single target (ie: not even a critter on the floor that I can use to cheese an extra point with SS), I'd probably accept the loss of 1s of damage from Nb as insignificant and BS to 5 CP / 30 Energy. Nb to 0 CP / 40 Energy (1 second passive regen + extra restore from RS), then SoD > Dance. If it isn't time for you to Dance yet (if SoD isn't coming up), then just wait. Everything is about planning the ideal Dance window and / or not capping Dance charges. 

Worst case scenario here is that you get the free CP right as you press Nb so you apply it with 6 CP, best case is that you get it afterwards or during your Dance.

11 hours ago, heridan said:

On a same note, is it fine to refresh Nightblade with 2-3 combo points rather than see the buff run out ? (ideally wanna avoid this but boss mechanics don't always allow it)

Short answer time! Yeah that's fine, especially given that passive regen over the 1s gcd makes Nb almost free even with only 3CP.

That said, I wouldn't do this if you're swapping targets or losing uptime on the boss for any reason. Jumping over to the add spawn or whatever and throwing Nb on that asap is better than maintaining the DoT on the boss. It only strictly needs to be on while you're hitting the boss

11 hours ago, heridan said:

I hope someone experienced with the spec can shed some light on these issues I have. I've been enjoying the spec so far but it's way less straighforward than other Rogue specs. I especially feel like Shadow Techniques is terrible design and counter-intuitive because it often forces you to adapt your rotation to avoid ressource wasting and therefore it ruins the feeling of the rotation which should feel precise and calculated. Leave RNG procs to Outlaw!

The bonus combo point isn't actually RNG at all. This isn't super common information, especially given that the tooltip doesn't specify how it actually works.

You're guaranteed your bonus CP every 5 swings (white hits, or auto attacks), with your 4th swing having a 50% chance to grant it. Once you get it, there's a short internal cooldown of 3 swings, before resetting to the 50% chance on your 4th and 100% on your 5th.

Although there are Weakauras that can and will track it for you, it really does become second nature as to when you'll get it, and it's honestly very easy to play around the "feel" of it. It takes time though, so don't be frustrated with it

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Hooo boy, what a post. That's a great bunch of answers actually ! Thank you so much for taking the time to answer everything.
 

Quote

The bonus combo point isn't actually RNG at all

I didn't know that indeed, that seems very important. Praise Blizz's tooltips 😄

Once again, thanks for your great and detailed answer. It's really helpful!
 

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