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Assassination Rogue DPS Rotation, Cooldowns, and Abilities (Legion 7.3.5)

Last updated on Sep 10, 2017 at 12:59 by Furty 481 comments

Table of Contents

General Information

On this page, we list your Assassination Rogue core abilities and how they should be used together (rotation) in World of Warcraft Legion 7.3.5. We also explain when to use your various cooldowns. Then, we go deeper and present all the subtleties that you will need to know if you want to excel at playing an Assassination Rogue.

The other pages of our Assassination Rogue guide can be accessed from the table of contents on the right.

About Our Author and Reviewer

This guide has been written by Furty, who has an illustrious history in the World of Warcraft raiding scene and race for World First. He has been a member of guilds such as Serenity, Midwinter, and many more, and is currently raiding in Future. He plays most classes at the highest level. You can follow him on Twitter and watch him play on Twitch.

This guide has been reviewed and approved by Perfecto, an Outlaw/Assassination Rogue who raids in Method.

1. Ability Priority List for Assassination Rogue

1.1. Poison Build

  1. Maintain Rupture Icon Rupture on up to 3 targets.
  2. Activate Vendetta Icon Vendetta when available.
  3. Activate Vanish Icon Vanish with 5 Combo Points in order to facilitate Nightstalker Icon Nightstalker empowered Rupture Icon Ruptures or Envenom Icon Envenoms (see Important Notes below).
  4. Maintain Garrote Icon Garrote on the primary target.
  5. Cast Kingsbane Icon Kingsbane when available.
  6. Cast Toxic Blade Icon Toxic Blade when available.
  7. Cast Envenom Icon Envenom with 4-5 Combo Points.
  8. Cast Fan of Knives Icon Fan of Knives when 2+ targets are within range to generate Combo Points.
  9. Cast Mutilate Icon Mutilate to generate Combo Points.

1.1.1. Important Notes

  • Optimal usage of finishers is 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 5 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 to tick their full duration and fall off before reapplying. If you are playing with Mantle of the Master Assassin Icon Mantle of the Master Assassin you should instead use your Nightstalker empowerment on Envenom Icon Envenom.
  • It is best to use Envenom Icon Envenom immediately before activating your Kingsbane Icon Kingsbane.
  • Try to maintain the Envenom Icon Envenom buff for the entire duration of Kingsbane Icon Kingsbane. Ensure  Icon Surge of Toxins is always active for the final 5 seconds of your Kingsbane.
  • It is ideal to synchronize Toxic Blade Icon Toxic Blade usage with the last 9 seconds of Kingsbane Icon Kingsbane, as it ticks the strongest during that time, however, do not delay your Toxic Blade Icon Toxic Blade by more than 5 seconds waiting for Kingsbane Icon Kingsbane cooldown. If Vendetta Icon Vendetta is coming off cooldown within 5 seconds it is also worth delaying Toxic Blade Icon Toxic Blade.
  • 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.

1.2. Bleed Build

  1. Maintain Rupture Icon Rupture on up to 3 targets.
  2. Activate Vendetta Icon Vendetta when available.
  3. Activate Vanish Icon Vanish if Exsanguinate Icon Exsanguinate is available and you have 6 Combo Points. Apply Rupture Icon Rupture.
  4. Maintain Garrote Icon Garrote on the primary target.
  5. Cast Exsanguinate Icon Exsanguinate whenever available and Rupture Icon Rupture and Garrote Icon Garrote have been refreshed to their maximum durations.
  6. Cast Kingsbane Icon Kingsbane when available.
  7. Cast Envenom Icon Envenom with 4-5 Combo Points.
  8. Cast Fan of Knives Icon Fan of Knives when 2+ targets are within range to generate Combo Points.
  9. Cast Mutilate Icon Mutilate to generate Combo Points.

2. 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.

3. Notable Mechanics for Assassination Rogue

3.1. Surge of Toxins

 Icon Surge of Toxins is an Artifact trait that increases the Poison damage the target takes by 10%. Every time you cast a Finishing Move,  Icon Surge of Toxins is applied to the recipient of that finisher for 5 seconds. It is not affected by Pandemic and will always have the same duration and buff regardless of the number of Combo Points consumed.

Playing around  Icon Surge of Toxins uptimes is very important. You should always be sure to maintain 100% uptime on this debuff while Vendetta Icon Vendetta is active. You should also pool Energy outside of Vendetta Icon Vendetta so you can chain several finishers in a row without losing the  Icon Surge of Toxins debuff. During Vendetta Icon Vendetta, it is acceptable to cast a 3 Combo Point Envenom Icon Envenom if it allows you to maintain the  Icon Surge of Toxins debuff.

3.2. Kingsbane

Kingsbane Icon Kingsbane damage increases by 15% each time Deadly Poison Icon Deadly Poison is applied. You should Envenom Icon Envenom immediately before each use of Kingsbane to ensure the damage starts stacking as soon as possible. As a result, Kingsbane is doing maximum damage in the last few seconds before it expires. For that reason, we always want to ensure that  Icon Surge of Toxins is active during the final 5 seconds of this debuff.

If your Toxic Blade Icon Toxic Blade lines up with your Kingsbane Icon Kingsbane cooldown, you should use it when Kingsbane has 9 seconds remaining for the same reason.

3.3. Nightstalker

The 50% damage buff from the Nightstalker Icon Nightstalker is applied to Rupture Icon Rupture's full duration. It is best to use Nightstalker Icon Nightstalker on Envenom Icon Envenom when using Mantle of the Master Assassin Icon Mantle of the Master Assassin. With other legendaries, Rupture Icon Rupture will always net more damage.

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

3.4. Pandemic and Rupture Refresh

When you refresh Rupture Icon Rupture before it expires, the duration that was left is added to the new Rupture Icon Rupture DoT, up to a maximum of 30% of the original duration. You can safely refresh a 5 Combo Point Rupture Icon Rupture when it has 7.2 seconds or less remaining. Deeper Stratagem Icon Deeper Stratagem allows for 6 Combo Point Rupture Icon Ruptures which last 28 seconds. 6 Combo Point Rupture Icon 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 Icon Rupture can benefit from full Pandemic if it is refreshed by a 4-5 Combo Point Rupture Icon Rupture. This is taken advantage of in the opening sequence later in the guide.

If you are talented into Exsanguinate Icon Exsanguinate, you should refresh your bleed effects before Exsanguinate Icon Exsanguinate casts for maximum efficacy.

4. Academic Information for Assassination Rogue

4.1. 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:

Higher Energy regeneration allows for higher uptimes on  Icon Surge of Toxins and Envenom Icon Envenom, which awards much higher DPS on 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 (such as  Icon Surge of Toxins) which will result in more consistent and smooth 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. This means Mutilate Icon Mutilate can generate up to 4 Combo Points if main hand and offhand 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 Icon 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 Energy cap.

4.2. 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;
  • when you have maximum Combo Points but low Energy, so when you dump with Envenom Icon Envenom you can quickly regain Combo Points and Envenom Icon Envenom again before  Icon Surge of Toxins drops off;
  • to assist with Envenom Icon Envenom uptime, by chaining two Envenom Icon 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).

4.3. 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 50% for 5 seconds for only 20 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 a second, followed by 5 seconds where all spells will miss. Cloak has a variety of uses, bother 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 Icon 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. Once the Artifact trait Dense Concoction Icon Dense Concoction is acquire this also adds additional damage reduction to your kit.

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

5. Opening Sequences for Assassination Rogue

Always start the pull from Stealth Icon Stealth.

5.1. Poison Build

This opening sequence is optimized for players using the Mantle of the Master Assassin Icon Mantle of the Master Assassin.

  1. Use Potion of Prolonged Power Icon Potion of Prolonged Power 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 Toxic Blade Icon Toxic Blade.
  7. Cast Kingsbane Icon Kingsbane.
  8. Activate Vanish Icon Vanish.
  9. Cast Envenom Icon Envenom.
  10. Cast Mutilate Icon Mutilate.
  11. Cast Envenom Icon Envenom.
  12. Continue with normal priority.

5.2. Bleed Build

  1. Use Potion of Prolonged Power Icon Potion of Prolonged Power at 1 second on the pull countdown.
  2. Apply Garrote Icon Garrote.
  3. Cast Mutilate Icon Mutilate.
  4. Apply Rupture Icon Rupture.
  5. Cast Mutilate Icon Mutilate.
  6. Activate Vendetta Icon Vendetta.
  7. Cast Mutilate Icon Mutilate.
  8. Cast Mutilate Icon Mutilate if you have 5 or less Combo Points.
  9. Activate Vanish Icon Vanish.
  10. Apply Rupture Icon Rupture.
  11. Apply Garrote Icon Garrote.
  12. Activate Exsanguinate Icon Exsanguinate.
  13. Cast Mutilate Icon Mutilate.
  14. Cast Mutilate Icon Mutilate.
  15. Cast Envenom Icon Envenom.
  16. Cast Kingsbane Icon Kingsbane.

6. ChangeLog

  • 11 Jan. 2018: Restructured and fully updated the page. Split APL & openers into poison/bleed sections.
  • 10 Sep. 2017: Updated opener.
  • 28 Aug. 2017: Added a more detailed explanation of Toxic Blade usage.
  • 28 Jun. 2017: Updated opener.
  • 12 Jun. 2017: A few improvements here and there. Split opener in 2 sections: with and without Mantle of the Master Assassin.
  • 27 Mar. 2017: No changes needed for Patch 7.2.
  • 07 Mar. 2017: Numerous updates, new sections added, reworked several existing sections.
  • 14 Jan. 2017: Trimmed some mentions of Deeper Strategem and updated opener.
  • 09 Jan. 2017: Checked and confirmed for Patch 7.1.5.
  • 09 Dec. 2016: Updated Kingsbane section, Opening Sequence, and Action Priority List.
  • 02 Nov. 2016: Updated pooling section to make note of Urge to Kill.
  • 25 Oct. 2016: Updated Kingsbane section to note that it generates a Combo Point in Patch 7.1.
  • 07 Oct. 2016: Adjusted page to be further in line with the Agonizing Poison build.
  • 05 Oct. 2016: Updated opener.
  • 29 Aug. 2016: Updated for Legion's launch.
  • 29 Jul. 2016: Updated Opening Sequence & added note about 5-6 CP vs. 6 CP finisher usage.
  • 19 Jul. 2016: Added a mention about safe Pandemic refresh for Rupture.
  • 18 Jul. 2016: Updated for the Legion pre-patch.
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