WotLK Classic Subtlety Rogue Rotation, Cooldowns, and Abilities
On this page, you will learn how to optimize the rotation of your Subtlety Rogue in both single-target and multiple-target PvE situations in WotLK Classic. We also have advanced sections about cooldowns, procs, etc. in order to minmax your DPS.
Overview of Subtlety Rogue Rotation
If you have not already, please read the Spell Summary page. Knowing how each spell and ability works in detail will greatly increase your understanding of the topics discussed on this page.
Given the lower output of Subtlety compared to the other two Rogue specializations, it is normally chosen as the Expose Armor user when no Warrior is present. You do not generally have enough need to warrant using the Combo Points elsewhere and they can instead be used on maintaining the debuff, given the surplus you will likely have.
Single-Target Rotations for Subtlety Rogue
Your first priority will be to maintain Expose Armor, followed by Slice and Dice and Rupture. You should use Shadowstep prior to each cast of Rupture to get the 20% bonus damage on your strongest ability. You should spend your Combo Points on maintaining these and, if you have any extra, you can use them on Eviscerate.
Most of your combo points will come from the Honor Among Thieves talent. Having group members like Enhancement Shamans, Frost Death Knights, and Survival Hunters can contribute a massive amount of combo points with this talent. Usually you will use only 0-1 casts of Hemorrhage per finishing move, however, it will be the primary way that you spend your energy; Ghostly Strike should be used on cooldown but otherwise you should be casting Hemorrhage if you do not have a combo point spending ability to use.
Aim to use your Combo Point spenders at either 4 or 5 Combo Points.
Multi-Target (AoE) Rotations for Subtlety Rogues
Multi-target combat for Subtlety is fairly simple — you will, for the most part, just spam Fan of Knives during any mass-AoE phases (6+ targets). Below 6 targets, you will just continue doing your single-target rotation.
Opener for Subtlety Rogues
The opener for Subtlety is fairly straightforward, with the only variance coming with the proc chance on extra Combo Points.
- Expose Armor
- If you do not get a Combo Point from this, use Hemorrhage
- Slice and Dice
- Continue using Hemorrhage until you have 4 or 5 Combo Points
Cooldowns for Subtlety Rogues
You should always make sure to prepare before going into Shadow Dance to best use the short window it allows. You should have enough Energy, for example, before using Vanish, which will grant you the Master of Subtlety buff for your Shadow Dance.
Once inside Shadow Dance, you will want to follow this priority:
- Refresh any debuffs as necessary
- Eviscerate if all buffs do not need refreshing and you have 4-5 Combo Points
You should aim to use any trinkets, racials, etc. with your Shadow Dance.
- 09 Sep. 2023: Updated for Phase 4
- 18 Jan. 2023: Reviewed for Phase 2 release ahead of Ulduar raid release.
- 22 Sep. 2022: Page added.
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