Assassination Rogue DPS Rotation, Cooldowns, and Abilities — Battle for Azeroth (BfA) 8.2

Last updated on Jun 24, 2019 at 23:57 by GrayHound 63 comments
General Information

On this page, you will learn how to optimize the rotation of your Assassination Rogue in both single-target and multiple-target situations. We also have advanced sections about cooldowns, procs, etc. in order to minmax your DPS. All our content is updated for World of Warcraft — Battle for Azeroth (BfA) 8.2.

1. Single Target Ability Priority List for Assassination Rogue

  1. Maintain Rupture Icon Rupture (4+ Combo Points).
  2. Activate Vendetta Icon Vendetta when available.
  3. Activate Vanish Icon Vanish on cooldown if using Subterfuge Icon Subterfuge or with 5 Combo Points in order to facilitate Nightstalker Icon Nightstalker-empowered Rupture Icon Ruptures.
  4. Maintain Garrote Icon Garrote.
  5. Cast Toxic Blade Icon Toxic Blade when available, if you have chosen this talent.
  6. Cast Exsanguinate Icon Exsanguinate on cooldown, if your Rupture Icon Rupture has more than 20 seconds remaining, and Garrote Icon Garrote is above 50% of its duration.
  7. Cast Envenom Icon Envenom with 4-5 Combo Points (5-6 with Deeper Stratagem Icon Deeper Stratagem).
  8. Cast Poisoned Knife Icon Poisoned Knife when Sharpened Blades Icon Sharpened Blades is above 29 stacks.
  9. Cast Fan of Knives Icon Fan of Knives when Hidden Blades Icon Hidden Blades is above 19 stacks.
  10. Cast Blindside Icon Blindside when available, if you have chosen this talent.
  11. Cast Mutilate Icon Mutilate to generate Combo Points (do not use it if Blindside Icon Blindside is available).

2. Multiple Target Ability Priority List for Assassination Rogue

  1. Maintain Rupture Icon Rupture on up to 3 targets.
  2. Activate Vendetta Icon Vendetta when available.
  3. Activate Vanish Icon Vanish and apply Garrote Icon Garrote empowered by Subterfuge Icon Subterfuge to as many targets as possible.
  4. Maintain Garrote Icon Garrote on up to 3 targets (try to not overwrite empowered ones).
  5. Cast Crimson Tempest Icon Crimson Tempest with 4-5 Combo Points.
  6. Cast Envenom Icon Envenom with 4-5 Combo Points (do not use it if you have Crimson Tempest Icon Crimson Tempest talented).
  7. Cast Poisoned Knife Icon Poisoned Knife when Sharpened Blades Icon Sharpened Blades is above 29 stacks.
  8. Cast Fan of Knives Icon Fan of Knives when 2+ targets are within range to generate Combo Points.

3. Important Notes

  • Optimal usage of finishers is at 4-5 Combo Points with Vigor Icon Vigor, or 5-6 Combo Points with Deeper Stratagem Icon Deeper Stratagem.
  • If Rupture Icon Rupture is about to fall off, it can be reapplied with any number of Combo Points to maintain uptime. It is best to apply it with 4+ Combo Points, however, for maximum Energy efficiency and rotational fluidity.
  • Use Vanish Icon Vanish to apply full duration Nightstalker Icon Nightstalker-buffed Rupture Icon Ruptures. You should always let Nightstalker-empowered Ruptures tick their full duration and fall off before reapplying.
  • You should never have more than 80 Energy when activating your Vendetta Icon Vendetta on a target. Try to activate Vendetta on a target that will live for the entire duration of the debuff.

For more information on your opening sequence, please refer to our dedicated section.

4. Poisons

Your Lethal Poison should always be Deadly Poison Icon Deadly Poison.

Crippling Poison Icon Crippling Poison is your only default Non-Lethal poison and you should only use it if something should be slowed. Otherwise, avoid using this as it can be spread by Fan of Knives Icon Fan of Knives, and unnecessarily slowing things that should not be is always a bad thing.

5. Notable Mechanics for Assassination Rogue

5.1. Nightstalker

The 50% damage buff from the Nightstalker Icon Nightstalker is applied to Rupture Icon Rupture's full duration, therefore this is the best use for it.

It is best to use your Vanish Icon Vanish during Vendetta Icon Vendetta to maximize your Nightstalker Icon Nightstalker bonus.

5.2. Pandemic and Rupture Refresh

When you refresh Rupture Icon Rupture before it expires, the duration that was left is added to the new Rupture DoT, up to a maximum of 30% of the original duration. You can safely refresh a 5 Combo Point Rupture when it has 7.2 seconds or less remaining. Deeper Stratagem Icon Deeper Stratagem allows for 6 Combo Point Ruptures, which last 28 seconds. 6 Combo Point Ruptures can be refreshed safely when they have 8.4 seconds or less remaining.

Safe Pandemic refresh timing is based off the current number of Combo Points you have and not the original length of the Rupture Icon Rupture. Therefore, a 1 Combo Point Rupture can benefit from full Pandemic if it is refreshed by a 4-5 Combo Point Rupture. We explain how to take advantage of this in the opening sequence later in the guide.

If you are talented into Exsanguinate Icon Exsanguinate, you should refresh your bleed effects (Rupture Icon Rupture and Garrote Icon Garrote) before Exsanguinate casts, for maximum efficacy.

6. Academic Information for Assassination Rogue

6.1. The Interaction Between Combo Points and Energy

As an Assassination Rogue, many of your abilities require Energy to be utilized. Your Energy bar has a maximum capacity of 120 Energy (170 Energy when you have Vigor Icon Vigor talented). Your baseline rate of Energy regeneration is 10 Energy per second, however it is increased by:

  • current Haste rating (Haste and Haste-enhancing buffs);
  • the Venomous Wounds Icon Venomous Wounds passive.

Higher Energy regeneration allows for higher uptimes on Envenom Icon Envenom, which awards much higher DPS over an extended encounter.

It is very important to avoid resource overflow. Capping Energy and overcapping Combo Points is an egregious error and special care should be taken to avoid wasting precious resources. "Pooling" higher levels of Energy, however, can be very beneficial (providing you do not cap), as it allows you to store resources in anticipation of a window of high burst. This can help reduce the patchiness of your debuff/buff uptimes which will result in more consistent and smoother damage output.

Combo Point generation is increased by Seal Fate Icon Seal Fate, which causes your critical hits with melee Combo generators to add an additional Combo Point on your target per critical hit. This means Mutilate Icon Mutilate can generate up to 4 Combo Points if the main hand and the off-hand both critically strike. You should never cast a Combo Point generator at or above 4 Combo Points, unless it is Garrote Icon Garrote or Poisoned Knife Icon Poisoned Knife (as neither of these benefits from Seal Fate). Do not use Poisoned Knife Icon Poisoned Knife to reach 5 Combo Points, unless you are out of range of the boss and in danger of hitting the Energy cap.

6.2. Pooling Energy and Combo Points

It can be very beneficial to "pool" your Energy and Combo Points, which involves auto-attacking while your Energy regenerates. The advantage this provides is variable, meaning that pooling does not always result in damage gained. Situations where pooling Energy and Combo Points is beneficial include:

  • before an important add spawns, so you can apply as much instant pressure as possible;
  • to assist with Envenom Icon Envenom uptime, by chaining two Envenoms so that the buff does not drop;
  • an encounter-specific buff or damage phase is imminent.

Pooling Energy is not a magical DPS gain by itself. It allows you to slightly adjust the timing of your abilities so that you fit more attacks during periods of increased damage (provided you can properly identify when such periods are going to come).

6.3. Defensive Utility

All Rogues have a solid number of defensive cooldowns, making them the best candidate for soaking required mechanics and dealing with heavy incoming damage.

  • Feint Icon Feint reduces AoE damage taken by 40% for 5 seconds for only 35 Energy. When talented into Elusiveness Icon Elusiveness, it also reduces all other damage by 30%. Feint is fantastic for dealing with predictable raid damage.
  • Cloak of Shadows Icon Cloak of Shadows provides magic immunity for 1 second, followed by 5 seconds where all spells will miss you. Cloak of Shadows has a variety of uses, both pre-emptive and reactive, such as solo soaking mechanics or clearing debuffs that would force you out of melee range.
  • Evasion Icon Evasion increases your Dodge chance by 100% for 10 seconds. This can be useful if you have to tank some adds or the boss for a few seconds.
  • Cheat Death Icon Cheat Death is a talent that allows you to escape lethal damage once every 6 minutes. The damage cannot exceed more than twice your maximum health. Cheat Death is great for soaking mechanics that pierce immunities and damage reductions, as it guarantees your survival. It is also great for encounters with bursty damage that might take you by surprise, as you get a free get out of jail free card at least once in the encounter.
  • Crimson Vial Icon Crimson Vial provides a respectable amount of healing on a very short cooldown.

Do not forget about this defensive toolkit, as it can be a huge asset for your and your raid's survivability!

7. Opening Sequences for Assassination Rogue

Always start the pull from Stealth Icon Stealth.

  1. Use Battle Potion of Agility Icon Battle Potion of Agility at 1 second on the pull countdown.
  2. Apply Garrote Icon Garrote.
  3. Cast Mutilate Icon Mutilate.
  4. Apply Rupture Icon Rupture.
  5. Activate Vendetta Icon Vendetta.
  6. Cast Mutilate Icon Mutilate.
  7. Cast Toxic Blade Icon Toxic Blade.
  8. Activate Vanish Icon Vanish.
  9. Cast Envenom Icon Envenom.
  10. Cast Mutilate Icon Mutilate.
  11. Cast Garrote Icon Garrote.
  12. Cast Envenom Icon Envenom.
  13. Continue with normal priority.

8. Extended Assassination Rotation

The fully inclusive rotation, is a lot more extensive than the one listed above, but gives only marginal gains at best, as such, it is included here (in raw simc format), but it does not need to be memorized.

# Nighstalker, or Subt+Exsg on 1T: Snapshot Rupture; Also use Rupture over Envenom if it's not applied (Opener)
# Subterfuge: Apply or Refresh with buffed Garrotes
# Subterfuge: Override normal Garrotes with snapshot versions
# Subterfuge w/ Shrouded Suffocation: Reapply for bonus CP and extended snapshot duration
# Subterfuge + Exsg: Even override a snapshot Garrote right after Rupture before Exsanguination

# Vanish with Exsg + (Nightstalker, or Subterfuge only on 1T): Maximum CP and Exsg ready for next GCD
# Vanish with Nightstalker + No Exsg: Maximum CP and Vendetta up
# Vanish with Subterfuge + (No Exsg or 2T+): No stealth/subterfuge, Garrote Refreshable, enough space for incoming Garrote CP
# Vanish with Master Assasin: No stealth and no active MA buff, Rupture not in refresh range
# Exsanguinate when both Rupture and Garrote are up for long enough

# Special Rupture setup for Exsg,if=talent.exsanguinate.enabled&((combo_points>=cp_max_spend&cooldown.exsanguinate.remains<1)|(!ticking&(time>10|combo_points>=2)))
# Garrote upkeep, also tries to use it as a special generator for the last CP before a finisher,for_next=1,cycle_targets=1,if=(!talent.subterfuge.enabled|!(cooldown.vanish.up&cooldown.vendetta.remains<=4))&combo_points.deficit>=1&refreshable&(pmultiplier<=1|remains<=tick_time)&(!exsanguinated|remains<=tick_time*2)&(target.time_to_die-remains>4&spell_targets.fan_of_knives<=1|target.time_to_die-remains>12)
# Crimson Tempest only on multiple targets at 4+ CP when running out in 2s (up to 4 targets) or 3s (5+ targets),if=spell_targets>=2&remains<2+(spell_targets>=5)&combo_points>=4
# Keep up Rupture at 4+ on all targets (when living long enough and not snapshot),cycle_targets=1,if=combo_points>=4&refreshable&(pmultiplier<=1|remains<=tick_time)&(!exsanguinated|remains<=tick_time*2)&target.time_to_die-remains>4

# Envenom at 4+ (5+ with DS) CP. Immediately on 2+ targets, with Vendetta, or with TB; otherwise wait for some energy. Also wait if Exsg combo is coming up.,if=combo_points>=4+talent.deeper_stratagem.enabled&(debuff.vendetta.up|debuff.toxic_blade.up|energy.deficit<=25+variable.energy_regen_combined|spell_targets.fan_of_knives>=2)&(!talent.exsanguinate.enabled|cooldown.exsanguinate.remains>2),name=use_filler,value=combo_points.deficit>1|energy.deficit<=25+variable.energy_regen_combined|spell_targets.fan_of_knives>=2
# Poisoned Knife at 29+ stacks of Sharpened Blades.,if=variable.use_filler&buff.sharpened_blades.stack>=29,if=variable.use_filler&(buff.hidden_blades.stack>=19|spell_targets.fan_of_knives>=2+stealthed.rogue|buff.the_dreadlords_deceit.stack>=29),if=variable.use_filler&(buff.blindside.up|!talent.venom_rush.enabled),if=variable.use_filler


9. Changelog

  • 24 Jun. 2019: This page has been reviewed for the release of Patch 8.2 and no changes are necessary.
  • 10 Dec. 2018: This page has been reviewed for Patch 8.1 and no changes are necessary.
  • 30 Aug. 2018: Updated rotation for more Azerite conditionals.
  • 13 Aug. 2018: Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 22 Jul. 2018: Updated opener.
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