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Assassination Rogue DPS Rotation, Cooldowns, and Abilities (Legion 7.3.2)

Last updated on Sep 10, 2017 at 12:59 by Furty 457 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 7.3.2. 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

This assumes you are using the raid focused talent build in our Talents page.

  1. Maintain Rupture Icon Rupture on primary and secondary targets (up to 3 targets).
  2. Activate Vendetta Icon Vendetta when it is off cooldown and you have spent all your Energy.
  3. Activate Vanish Icon Vanish if it is off cooldown and you have 5 Combo Points, then use Rupture Icon Rupture (if you are talented into Nightstalker Icon Nightstalker, otherwise use Mutilate Icon Mutilate).
  4. Maintain Garrote Icon Garrote on the primary target.
  5. Envenom Icon Envenom right before OR right after activating Kingsbane Icon Kingsbane.
  6. Cast Kingsbane Icon Kingsbane when it is off cooldown.
  7. Cast Toxic Blade Icon Toxic Blade when available.
  8. Cast Envenom Icon Envenom to spend extra Combo Points.
  9. Cast Fan of Knives Icon Fan of Knives on 3+ targets to apply and maintain Deadly Poison Icon Deadly Poison and generate Combo Points.
  10. Cast Mutilate Icon Mutilate to generate Combo Points.

Optimal usage of finishers is at 4-5 Combo Points. Rupture Icon Rupture can be applied at any number of Combo Points if it is about to drop, however, it is best to apply it with 5 Combo Points if possible to keep a more fluid rotation and waste the least amount of Energy possible.

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

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. Important Notes

3.1. 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.

3.2. 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).

3.3. 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 5.0 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 absolutely necessary if it allows you to maintain the  Icon Surge of Toxins debuff.

3.4. Rupture

Rupture is your highest priority as it deals strong damage. The 50% damage buff from the Nightstalker Icon Nightstalker is applied to Rupture Icon Rupture, so it is best to use your Vanish Icon Vanish only when you have 5 Combo Points and can apply a fresh Rupture Icon Rupture. Rupture Icon Rupture should always be applied to secondary targets (if they are equal priority) for the increased damage and Energy generation from Venomous Wounds Icon Venomous Wounds.

You should always overlap your Vanish Icon Vanish Nightstalker Icon Nightstalker buffed Rupture Icon Rupture with a Vendetta Icon Vendetta usage. You should also ensure this buffed Rupture Icon Rupture has full Pandemic duration for maximum damage.

3.4.1. 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.

3.5. Vendetta Usage

Vendetta Icon Vendetta is your main DPS cooldown. It has a 2-minute cooldown (90s with the  Icon Master Assassin), and is a debuff applied to a single target, rather than a buff that increases all your damage to all targets. Vendetta is best applied to your primary target, and during this period you should focus all of your damage into single target onto that marked enemy. If secondary targets are present, refresh your bleed effects (especially Rupture Icon Rupture for Energy regeneration) before activating your Vendetta. You should aim to go into Vendetta with all your bleed effects fully refreshed when possible, along with as little Energy as possible (once you have the  Icon Urge to Kill). During Vendetta Icon Vendetta it is important to keep 100% uptime on  Icon Surge of Toxins on your Vendetta Icon Vendetta target.

3.6. Kingsbane

Kingsbane Icon Kingsbane is a strong cooldown available once your Artifact is obtained. You should pool Energy before activating Kingsbane Icon Kingsbane. You should also Envenom Icon Envenom right before casting Kingsbane Icon Kingsbane, and maintain the Envenom Icon Envenom buff for the entire duration of the Kingsbane Icon Kingsbane effect. As of Patch 7.1, Kingsbane Icon Kingsbane now generates a Combo Point when used, so be sure not to accidentally overcap Combo Points when using this ability.

If you have Duskwalker's Footpads Icon Duskwalker's Footpads, Convergence of Fates Icon Convergence of Fates, and  Icon Master Assassin Relics, you should ensure that Kingsbane Icon Kingsbane is used with every usage of Vendetta Icon Vendetta.

3.7. Defensive Utility

All Rogues come ready made with a dizzying phalanx of defensive cooldowns, which make 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%. This is one of the most overpowered abilities in the game and a huge asset on fights with heavy raid damage. Do not forget about this button!
  • Cloak of Shadows Icon Cloak of Shadows provides magic immunity for a second, followed by 5 seconds where all spells will miss. This spell is mostly used for clearing debuffs that might otherwise force you out of melee range, like Fel Surge on Xhul'horac. Cloak of Shadows is also a fantastic tool for soaking abilities that do not pierce immunities.
  • 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 2 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 once every 2 minutes.
  • Crimson Vial Icon Crimson Vial provides a respectable amount of healing on a very short cooldown. Use this often in boss encounters.

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

4. Core Concepts

Assassination Rogue has received a number of changes in Legion, particularly with the introduction of Exsanguinate Icon Exsanguinate. Much of the optimization comes from the interaction between your current debuff timers and your cooldowns, and understanding how and when to properly burst. Like most Rogue specializations, this specialization requires fast fingers during cooldown periods as there are a significant number of keybinds to hit in a short period of time (compared to most specializations). Learning to focus on what is important and master the core concepts of a specialization is what leads to strong overall performances on the damage charts. Assassination features 3 major concepts that form the central trinity of optimizing for success:

  1. ability uptimes;
  2. cooldown usage;
  3. resource management.

4.1. Ability Uptimes

Paying close attention to the uptime of your bleeds is key. During cleave scenarios, keep close track of your bleeds on multiple targets along with the application of Deadly Poison Icon Deadly Poison. Use the additional Energy from Rupture Icon Rupture ticks to dump extra damage into the primary target. Aura tracking is recommended to help you keep track of your bleeds. Remember that Rupture can be refreshed in accordance with Pandemic (30% of maximum duration remaining) and it will be added to the new Rupture duration.

 Icon Surge of Toxins should be applied continually to the main target. You should always space out your finishers (e.g. waiting until  Icon Surge of Toxins has 0.5 second left before casting the next finisher) to achieve maximum uptime. The exception to this rule is if Vendetta Icon Vendetta is about to expire and you have enough Combo Points to cast another Envenom Icon Envenom.

4.2. Cooldown Usage

As mentioned above, it is imperative you keep a careful watch on your cooldowns and understand how they interact with each other. On the opener, all your cooldowns overlap, so check the opening sequence for an idea of how to execute in that situation. Make good use of your Vanish Icon Vanish for larger bleeds and ensure all your effects are fully refreshed before entering a cooldown window, so you do not waste any global cooldowns.

4.3. Resource Management

Remember the importance of pooling Energy for burst and pay close attention to your Combo Points, as it can be easy to overcap with Seal Fate Icon Seal Fate. Plan your damage in accordance with the boss timers to maximize output. Remember not to immediately spend your Combo Points on Envenom Icon Envenom if you are not in danger of Energy capping to extend your  Icon Surge of Toxins uptime.

4.4. Opening Sequence

Always start the pull from Stealth Icon Stealth.

  1. Apply Garrote Icon Garrote.
  2. Cast Mutilate Icon Mutilate.
  3. Apply Rupture Icon Rupture.
  4. Activate Vendetta Icon Vendetta.
  5. Cast Toxic Blade Icon Toxic Blade.
  6. Cast Kingsbane Icon Kingsbane.
  7. Activate Vanish Icon Vanish.
  8. Cast Envenom Icon Envenom.
  9. Cast Mutilate Icon Mutilate.
  10. Apply Garrote Icon Garrote.
  11. Cast Envenom Icon Envenom.
  12. Continue with normal priority.

5. ChangeLog

+ show all entries - show only 10 entries
  • 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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