TBC Classic Rogue DPS Rotation, Cooldowns, and Abilities

Last updated on May 31, 2021 at 09:39 by Sellin 4 comments

On this page, you will learn how to optimize the rotation of your Rogue DPS in both single-target and multiple-target PvE situations in TBC Classic. We also have advanced sections about cooldowns, procs, etc. in order to minmax your DPS.



In this section, we will discuss the optimal rotation for Rogues, as well as some tricks of the trade to help maximize your DPS. There are two main rotations - one that will be covered is the standard Rogue DPS rotation, with Rupture IconRupture, and the second will be the raid utility version, with Improved Expose Armor IconExpose Armor.


Single Target DPS Rotation for Combat - No Improved Expose Armor


Single Target DPS Rotation for Combat - With Improved Expose Armor

  • Your first globals each fight are to Sinister Strike IconSinister Strike twice for two combo points.
  • Once you get 2 combo points, cast Slice and Dice IconSlice and Dice.
  • After casting Slice and Dice IconSlice and Dice, use Haste Potion, Blade Flurry IconBlade Flurry, Adrenaline Rush IconAdrenaline Rush and any on-use trinkets you have.
  • As soon as you hit 5 combo points, use Expose Armor IconExpose Armor.
  • From here, your rotation turns into a juggling act.
  • You must keep up Expose Armor IconExpose Armor to a 100% uptime or else it is a big raid DPS loss. In addition to this, you must keep up Slice and Dice IconSlice and Dice for a 100% uptime or else it is a big personal DPS loss.
  • Refresh 5 combo point Expose Armor IconExpose Armors before the debuff falls off.
  • After you refresh Expose Armor IconExpose Armor, you will be rotating in 2-5 combo point Slice and Dice IconSlice and Dices throughout the fight, prioritizing 100% uptime.
  • In between, fit in small 2-3 combo point Rupture IconRuptures for a small DPS boost.

The rotation using improved Expose Armor IconExpose Armor is much more difficult and takes time getting used to your Rogue and its Energy regeneration rate from Combat Potency IconCombat Potency to master. What separates the good Rogues from the bad is how you can effectively sneak in Rupture IconRuptures in between your Expose Armor IconExpose Armor and Slice and Dice IconSlice and Dice refreshes.

It takes roughly ~16 seconds to stack 5 combo points up from zero. This is something to keep in mind when doing your rotation. As your gear scales, you will be getting more out of Combat Potency IconCombat Potency, allowing you to throw in more small combo point Rupture IconRuptures in your rotation. Once you get comfortable with your basic rotation, I would experiment with adding these in.

If you let Expose Armor IconExpose Armor fall in a fight, then the entire raid will suffer a massive DPS loss. When Expose falls off, every raid member loses 3075 armor penetration.

It can also be beneficial to track Deadly Poison stacks as well. If your Deadly Poison stacks are about to fall off, you can use Shiv IconShiv to reapply the poison and keep the stack. This will take the place of one Sinister Strike IconSinister Strike in your rotation.


Eviscerate and Envenom Usages

Eviscerate IconEviscerate is generally worse than Rupture IconRupture in most situations, but has its moments. Generally, if you are doing a Rupture IconRupture-based rotation, you will have some extra combo points to throw in Eviscerate IconEviscerates into your rotation.

Envenom IconEnvenom deals more damage than Eviscerate IconEviscerate, but will eat all your Deadly Poison stacks, which will result in a damage loss. It is recommended to only use Envenom IconEnvenom on targets that are very close to death.


Cooldown Usages

Rogues have two major cooldowns at their disposal: Blade Flurry IconBlade Flurry and Adrenaline Rush IconAdrenaline Rush. Generally, you pair Blade Flurry with Haste Potions, as well as 2-minute cooldown on-use trinkets - like Bloodlust Brooch. However it is not always advised to use your cooldowns as soon as they come up in a fight. Depending on the fight length, you can optimize the exact timing of your cooldowns in order to maximize your damage.

  • 2 Minutes or Under
    • When the fight is under two minutes, you will only have 1 Blade Flurry IconBlade Flurry and 1 Adrenaline Rush IconAdrenaline Rush usage. Due to this, you will want to make sure you have Bloodlust up, as well as Mongoose or Trinket Procs up before you use your cooldowns. Make sure to use your cooldowns before there is 15 seconds left on Bloodlust, since Blade Flurry and Haste Potions only last 15 seconds.
  • Over 2 Minutes
    • When the fight is over two minutes, you will have at least 2 Blade Flurry IconBlade Flurry usages and at least 1 Adrenaline Rush IconAdrenaline Rush Usage. You do not want to hold onto your Blade Flurry for too long and it is recommended to use it near the very beginning of the fight with other cooldowns. The usages after that should be carefully thought out. If you are only going to get one more usage out of it, then wait until you have Mongoose or Trinket procs up.

Note: If the fight timers are long, try not to hold onto your cooldowns for too long. It is much better to have an extra usage of a cooldown than an optimal one.


Energy Management and Pooling

Proper Energy management is extremely important for Rogues. A common trap Rogues fall for is that they spend their Energy as it comes up instead of pooling it. This results in a lot of wasted combo points, as well as many small moments of lost DPS due to abilities not timed at optimal moments.

Rogues have 100 Energy and regenerate 20 Energy every 2 seconds. Adrenaline Rush IconAdrenaline Rush provides an extra 100% Energy regeneration for 15 seconds on each use, totalling a bonus of 150 Energy. Any extra Energy over 100 will be a waste.

As a Combat Rogue, you never want to go over 65-85 Energy. An Energy ticker addon is very important for tracking when you will be getting these ticks.

  • 65 Energy is the cap you want if you are about to get a tick of Energy.
  • 85 Energy is the highest you will want to pool for if you just recieved a tick of Energy (less than 2 second grace period to spend on an ability)

On top of this, you also have to take into account that Relentless Strikes can give you back 25 Energy depending on how many combo points of a finishing move you use. In these cases, you will want to watch your Energy ticks and make sure to use your finisher before you get capped.

Pooling Energy is most common when you reach enough combo points to refresh your Slice and Dice IconSlice and Dice, but still have time left on the buff. In this case, you can wait until the last possible second before you cap on Energy or before Slice and Dice IconSlice and Dice falls off to refresh it. This will allow you to pool more Energy for your next combo point cycle.

In addition to this, there are much more advanced ways you can pool your Energy for your benefit. If you have no need for an immediate refresh on combo point abilities, you can pool your Energy a bit to wait for optimal Mongoose or Trinket procs. This will yield many small DPS increases throughout the fight.

Another use of Energy pooling is for trinkets like Ashtongue Talisman of Lethality. This trinket has a 20% chance per combo point to grant 145 critical strike rating for 10 seconds. With this, you can pool Energy before using a finishing move in order to maximize the critical strike rating effect.



  • 30 May 2021: Guide added.
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