Classic Rogue DPS Rotation, Cooldowns, and Abilities

Last updated on Dec 02, 2020 at 01:28 by Abyssalwave 39 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 WoW Classic. We also have advanced sections about cooldowns, procs, etc. in order to minmax your DPS.

1.

Foreword

If you have not already, please read the spells summary page. Knowing how each spell and ability works in detail will greatly increase your understanding of the topics discussed on this page.

When it comes to choosing between Dagger and Sword builds for Rogue, the choice is completely up to you. The Sword build is an easier build to play for beginners, so you may want to try this out once you have the gold to afford Weapon Mastery. The Dagger Build is a little bit more advanced, but is still competitive. In early game and lower gear levels, it is slightly below Sword Rogue in terms of DPS output.

2.

Pre-Pull Strategy for Rogues

If you can, you want to start off every fight in Stealth Icon Stealth, since some of your most powerful abilities can only be used from Stealth.

3.

Rotations for Sword Rogue Build

This rotation assumes that you are using the sword build, as described on the link below.

3.1.

Opener for Sword Rogue

  1. Cast Sinister Strike Icon Sinister Strike.
  2. Cast Sinister Strike Icon Sinister Strike.
  3. Cast Slice and Dice Icon Slice and Dice.
  4. Use Adrenaline Rush Icon Adrenaline Rush.
  5. Cast Sinister Strike Icon Sinister Strike to build combo points.
  6. Cast Slice and Dice Icon Slice and Dice at 5 combo points.
  7. Cast Sinister Strike Icon Sinister Strike to build combo points.
  8. Cast Eviscerate Icon Eviscerate to use extra combo points.
3.2.

Single-Target Rotation for Sword Rogue

  1. Maintain the Slice and Dice Icon Slice and Dice buff.
  2. Cast Eviscerate Icon Eviscerate when you have extra combo points.
  3. Cast Vanish Icon Vanish if your threat is too high and you are in danger of pulling aggro.
  4. Cast Sinister Strike Icon Sinister Strike to build combo points.
3.3.

Multi-Target Rotation for Sword Rogue

As a Rogue, the multi-target rotation is very simplistic. Rogue does not have any AoE abilities, however the cooldown Blade Flurry Icon Blade Flurry allows your abilities to cleave for 15 seconds. You can also look into Engineering, as it gives you access to bombs which are great for AoE. It is also recommended that, in AoE scenarios, you synergize Blade Flurry Icon Blade Flurry and Adrenaline Rush Icon Adrenaline Rush together in order to maximize your AoE output.

4.

Rotations for Dagger Rogue Builds

This rotation assumes that you are using a dagger build, either the generic dagger build or the Horde-optimized Seal Fate dagger build (when playing with a Shaman).

4.1.

Opener for Seal Fate Dagger Rogue

  1. If you are stealthed, you want to open with an Ambush Icon Ambush.
  2. If you are not stealthed, you want to open with a Backstab Icon Backstab.
  3. If Ambush Icon Ambush did not crit then use Backstab Icon Backstab to generate 2 combo points.
  4. Cast Slice and Dice Icon Slice and Dice.
  5. Use Adrenaline Rush Icon Adrenaline Rush.
  6. Cast Backstab Icon Backstab if you can get behind your target to build to 5 combo points. Sinister Strike Icon Sinister Strike if you cannot get behind your target.
  7. Cast Slice and Dice Icon Slice and Dice at 5 combo points.
  8. Cast Backstab Icon Backstab if you can get behind your target to build to 5 combo points. Sinister Strike Icon Sinister Strike if you cannot get behind your target.
  9. Cast Eviscerate Icon Eviscerate at 5 combo points (combine this with Cold Blood Icon Cold Blood).
4.2.

Single-Target Rotation for Dagger Rogue

  1. Maintain the Slice and Dice Icon Slice and Dice buff.
  2. Cast Eviscerate Icon Eviscerate at 5 combo points.
  3. Cast Ambush Icon Ambush if you are stealthed.
  4. Cast Vanish Icon Vanish if your threat is too high and you are in danger of pulling aggro.
  5. Cast Backstab Icon Backstab to build combo points.

When playing solo with daggers, you can pool Energy and use Gouge Icon Gouge to get behind your target in order to Backstab Icon Backstab. This can be be done later in the leveling process with Kidney Shot Icon Kidney Shot as well.

4.3.

Multi-Target Rotation for Dagger Rogue

As a Rogue, the multi-target rotation is very simplistic. Rogue does not have any AoE abilities, however the cooldown Blade Flurry Icon Blade Flurry allows your abilities to cleave for 15 seconds. You can also look into Engineering, as it gives you access to bombs, which are great for AoE.

5.

Cooldown Usage for Rogue

Rogues do not have many cooldowns that are available outside of the talent tree. The baseline options are Sprint Icon Sprint, Evasion Icon Evasion, and Vanish Icon Vanish. From the talent tree, you will usually end up getting Blade Flurry Icon Blade Flurry and Adrenaline Rush Icon Adrenaline Rush for PvE. While leveling, you want to use these as often as possible to get as much usage out of them as you can.

5.1.

Sprint

Sprint Icon Sprint is very helpful for getting around before Level 40. You want to use it as much as possible to maximize how many times you use it while leveling. You get Sprint at Level 10.

5.2.

Evasion

Evasion is very helpful during solo leveling when you accidently pull too many mobs. There are also times in dungeons when the tank dies and using Evasion can save the group from a wipe.

5.3.

Vanish

Vanish Icon Vanish is a great ability for threat management in groups. It is also great for getting out of a slow or other movement impairing effects. You can use this while in a group, without aggro, to go into stealth, allowing you to use one of the stealth-only abilities, such as Garrote Icon Garrote or Ambush Icon Ambush.

5.4.

Blade Flurry

Blade Flurry Icon Blade Flurry is your only AoE ability, so when you use it while leveling, you want to have at least 2 targets if you can. Blade Flurry is still very strong for single-target, since it increases your attack speed by 20%, so you should try to use it along with Adrenaline Rush Icon Adrenaline Rush.

5.5.

Adrenaline Rush

Adrenaline Rush Icon Adrenaline Rush is a very powerful cooldown. You want to use this in conjunction with Blade Flurry Icon Blade Flurry. You should make sure you have this cooldown for bosses, tough mob packs, and strong quest mobs, since it is one of your strongest cooldowns.

6.

Ability Usage for Rogues

Kick Icon Kick is your interrupt ability as a Rogue. This should be used to interrupt a cast. In a dungeon or raid group, make sure to call out your interrupt ahead of time to prevent overlapping your interrupt with another, as interrupts can be the difference between wiping and killing a boss.

Cheap Shot Icon Cheap Shot does not do any DPS, but does offer a great form of CC. This is very useful in dungeons and raids, but it is only be usable from stealth, so either use this on the opener or when you Vanish Icon Vanish. You can save your Vanish in order to Cheap Shot CC a mob, but you are usually using your Vanish in order to lower your own threat.

Expose Armor Icon Expose Armor with the talent Improved Expose Armor Icon Improved Expose Armor will end up reducing the targets armor (when at 5 combo points) more than Sunder Armor Icon Sunder Armor, however this ability does overwrite Sunder Armor. This means that, unless you do not have a Warrior tank in your group, you want to avoid using this ability.

Kidney Shot Icon Kidney Shot is a finishing move that does not do any DPS, but instead stuns the target depending on how many combo points you consumed when using it. This is not usable on most boss encounters, however it is very useful when leveling and in a group to prevent adds or trash from hurting non-tank players, or if the tank is taking too much damage from adds or trash at that point. This is an ability that you want to use at your own discretion.

7.

Maximizing your Resources as a Rogue

7.1.

Combo Points

Combo points are a resource that are required in order for a Rogue to use their Finishing Moves. The abilities that generate combo points are: Sinister Strike Icon Sinister Strike, Backstab Icon Backstab, Ambush Icon Ambush, Garrote Icon Garrote, and Cheap Shot Icon Cheap Shot. The abilities that spend combo points are Slice and Dice Icon Slice and Dice, Eviscerate Icon Eviscerate, Kidney Shot Icon Kidney Shot, Rupture Icon Rupture, and Expose Armor Icon Expose Armor.

When it comes to spending combo points, there are some times where you want to use a finishing move with less then 5 combo points. The main instance of this is using Slice and Dice Icon Slice and Dice in your opener after you use your first combo point generating ability. You do this in order to gain the Slice and Dice buff as early as possible, since the uptime of it is so valuable. When it comes to moves such as Eviscerate Icon Eviscerate, you want to use this at 5 combo points at all times, except when the target is about to die. In that instance, you would use Eviscerate at any amount of combo points.

Make sure that you plan out your combo point usage as you play, in order to make sure that you have enough combo points coming up to refresh your Slice and Dice buff. This will take practice so do not be frustrated if you mess this up at first.

7.2.

Energy Generation

Rogue's primary resource is Energy. It is a very simple resource, but you should make sure you know how it works.

Energy has a maximum capacity of 100 and you generate 20 Energy every 2 seconds. The only thing that affects Energy regeneration is the cooldown Adrenaline Rush Icon Adrenaline Rush, which doubles your Energy regeneration for 15 seconds. The Assassination talent Vigor Icon Vigor increases your maximum Energy by 10, however this is not a commonly used talent due to the lack of impact that it has on the spec, compared to other talents.

You want to make sure not to waste any Energy. Prioritize spending Energy on abilities when you have higher than 80 Energy (60 if you have Adrenaline Rush active).

8.

Changelog

  • 02 Dec. 2020: Updated for Phase 6, improved the Rotation section to be more optimized.
  • 16 Aug. 2019: Improved rotation.
  • 20 Jun. 2019: Page added.
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