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Assassination Rogue PvP Guide (Legion 7.3.5)

Last updated on Jun 13, 2018 at 20:22 by Mysticall 3 comments

Table of Contents


This guide will walk you through everything you need to know to play an Assassination Rogue in a PvP environment. The guide will cover everything from talent choices, artifacts, gameplay and rotation, and useful racial bonuses. It is most applicable to Arena content, but most talents and racial bonuses will work in Rated Battlegrounds and skirmishes.

About The Author

This guide has been written by Mysticall, a seasoned PvP player who has repeatedly achieved Arena Master and 2500 rating. You can watch his stream on Twitch, and you can also check out his YouTube channel.

1. Spec Overview / Place in the Current Meta for Assassination Rogues

Assassination Rogues have the strongest consistent damage out of all three Rogue specializations. With an emphasis on poisons and using them for sustained damage, they are a threat to all classes. This strong sustained damage in combination with stuns, Blind Icon Blind, and countless other forms of crowd control means the Assassination Rogue has some of the best control a spec can have.

1.1. Strengths of Assassination Rogues

  • Great control
  • Decent mobility
  • Strong burst damage

1.2. Weaknesses of Assassination Rogues

  • Weak to teams with two melee on it
  • Predictable burst damage
  • Very few defensive cooldowns

2. Talent Choices for Assassination Rogues

Regular talents work in both PvP and PvE content (although they may sometimes work differently in the two environments, which is indicated by their tooltips). In other words, they are always active.

On the other hand, Honor talents are inactive outside of a PvP environment.

2.1. Regular Talents for Assassination Rogues

2.1.1. Tier 1 (Level 15) Talents

Master Poisoner Icon Master Poisoner is the best choice in this tier. This is not only an increase to sustained damage, but a buff to your Wound Poison Icon Wound Poison that will now reduce healing by 30%.

2.1.2. Tier 2 (Level 30) Talents

Subterfuge Icon Subterfuge is the best choice in this tier. This talent gives you more control when you leave Stealth Icon Stealth. You can use multiple Cheap Shot Icon Cheap Shots or Garrote Icon Garrotes on enemy teams.

2.1.3. Tier 3 (Level 45) Talents

Vigor Icon Vigor is the best choice in this tier. This gives your less downtime when trying to pool Energy, increasing your damage and your uptime on enemy teams.

2.1.4. Tier 4 (Level 60) Talents

Elusiveness Icon Elusiveness is an all-around solid choice, and the best talent in this tier. Just make sure to keep applying it to yourself.

2.1.5. Tier 5 (Level 75) Talents

Prey on the Weak Icon Prey on the Weak is the best choice in this tier. This makes it much easier to kill an enemy when you have them constantly stunned with Cheap Shot Icon Cheap Shots or Kidney Shot Icon Kidney Shot.

2.1.6. Tier 6 (Level 90) Talents

Toxic Blade Icon Toxic Blade is the best choice in this tier. This increases your overall sustained damage dramatically and is very strong when using offensive cooldowns.

2.1.7. Tier 7 (Level 100) Talents

Venom Rush Icon Venom Rush is the best choice in this tier. This allows you to have a consistent way to passively regenerate Energy. This will allow you to use bleeds on multiple enemies without much downtime.

2.2. Honor Talents for Assassination Rogues

2.2.1. Tier 1 Talents

If you are an Orc, Relentless Icon Relentless is the best choice in this tier. Rogues are weak to stuns and reducing their duruation is crucial for surviving.

If you are Human or playing against a team that can only kill you every once in a while, the best talent in this tier is Gladiator's Medallion Icon Gladiator's Medallion, which provides a standard PvP trinket effect.

If you are playing against a team with very little crowd control for you, Adaptation Icon Adaptation is the best choice in this tier.

2.2.2. Tier 2 Talents

We recommend Reinforced Armor Icon Reinforced Armor in this tier. This improves the effect of Crimson Vial Icon Crimson Vial, making it a good all-around talent. However, if the enemy team has two melee classes on the team, Sparring Icon Sparring is best.

2.2.3. Tier 3 Talents

We recommend Maneuverability Icon Maneuverability in this tier. This will allow you to move to or from enemies much easier. However, if you are playing against a team that is likely to focus your healer, Shiv Icon Shiv is the better option.

2.2.4. Tier 4 Talents

Unfair Advantage Icon Unfair Advantage is the best choice in this tier. It is likely that over the coarse of an arena match, you will be attacking an enemy with less health than you. You will benefit from this talent multiple times, increasing your overall damage.

2.2.5. Tier 5 Talents

Deadly Brew Icon Deadly Brew is the best choice in this tier. This talent allows you to apply both Deadly Poison Icon Deadly Poison and Wound Poison Icon Wound Poison to targets, which is an increase in overall damage.

2.2.6. Tier 6 Talents

Creeping Venom Icon Creeping Venom is the best choice in this tier. This talent is an overall damage increase and is easy to apply to enemies. However, if you are playing against a team that will often be stacked or has multiple pets, Flying Daggers Icon Flying Daggers is the best choice in this tier.

3. Racial Bonuses

Racial bonuses can provide interesting PvP benefits. Here are the best races to choose for each faction.

3.1. Horde

Blood Elf is the best race for Assassination Rogues, thanks to the Silence (Arcane Torrent Icon Arcane Torrent), which is very strong. This increases the spec's crowd control kit.

The passive Orc racial bonus (Hardiness Icon Hardiness) is also great if you find yourself being stunned a lot and having a hard time against melee classes.

3.2. Alliance

The Human racial bonus (Every Man for Himself Icon Every Man for Himself) is a great way to get out of stuns. This helps with survivability and when kiting away from players.

4. Playstyle for Assassination Rogues

The Assassination Rogue has two roles in PvP: shutting down casters/healers with relentless mobility and crowd control and having strong sustained damage outside of burst cooldowns. With high damage, high control and great sustained damage, this is one of the top PvP specs for Rogues.

To lock down healers, you will aim to push in and get crowd control on the healer (Sap Icon Sap, Blind Icon Blind when they do not have trinket, Kidney Shot Icon Kidney Shot).

The ability to deal sustained damage is what makes Assassination Rogues so deadly. They have the ability to damage an enemy down to below 50% without using a single cooldown. It is at this point that they can stun you and use their burst rotation.

4.1. Before Gates Open

Have a plan for who you will be mainly using your crowd control on. Rogue crowd control is powerful, but dealing any damage to the target and will break and waste it. Also, remember to enter Stealth Icon Stealth and apply your Deadly Poison Icon Deadly Poison and Crippling Poison Icon Crippling Poison.

4.2. Offensive Rotation

4.2.1. The Opener

The opener refers to your team's opening crowd control chain and damage done as soon as you get out of the gates. The main goal in the opener is to force your enemies to use their cooldowns.

If the enemy healer uses their trinket in the opener, they are in trouble. Blind Icon Blind is one of the most devastating crowd control abilities in the game, with very few ways of getting out of it without having a trinket. Save Blind for when the enemy healer does not have their trinket.

If an enemy DPS uses their trinket, you can crowd control the healer and stun the DPS without a trinket. This means they can be burst down in a stun and possibly killed.

When opening, always try to Sap Icon Sap the enemy DPS player who is trying to bring you out of Stealth Icon Stealth,then Sap the healer. Then, use your burst rotation. After you are done with your burst rotation, perform your sustained damage rotation until your burst abilities are available again.

This is the rotation you should use on your target at the beginning of the game. This opener stuns your target and applies your bleeds.

  1. Use Cheap Shot Icon Cheap Shot.
  2. Use Garrote Icon Garrote.
  3. Use Mutilate Icon Mutilate.
  4. Use Rupture Icon Rupture.

4.2.2. Burst Damage

When you have the enemy healer in crowd control and you are trying to kill an enemy, you use your burst damage.

  1. Use Cheap Shot Icon Cheap Shot.
  2. Use Garrote Icon Garrote.
  3. Use Mutilate Icon Mutilate.
  4. Use Rupture Icon Rupture.
  5. Use Vendetta Icon Vendetta.
  6. Use Toxic Blade Icon Toxic Blade (if you have taken this talent).
  7. Use Kingsbane Icon Kingsbane.
  8. Use Mutilate Icon Mutilate.
  9. Use Kidney Shot Icon Kidney Shot.
  10. Use Mutilate Icon Mutilate.
  11. Use Mutilate Icon Mutilate.
  12. Use Envenom Icon Envenom.
  13. Use Mutilate Icon Mutilate.
  14. Use Mutilate Icon Mutilate.
  15. Use Envenom Icon Envenom.
  16. Use Mutilate Icon Mutilate.
  17. Use Mutilate Icon Mutilate.
  18. Use Rupture Icon Rupture.

4.2.3. Sustained damage

Sustained damage is damage you do when your burst cooldowns are not available.

  1. Use Mutilate Icon Mutilate to generate Combo Points.
  2. Maintain your Rupture Icon Rupture on multiple enemies.
  3. Maintain your Garrote Icon Garrote on multiple enemies.
  4. Use Envenom Icon Envenom at 5+ Combo Points when you do not have to refresh Rupture Icon Rupture.
  5. If the enemy team has pets nearby or is stacked, use Fan of Knives Icon Fan of Knives to generate combo points quickly.

4.3. Defensive Techniques

Cloak of Shadows Icon Cloak of Shadows is a strong defensive cooldown when playing against casters. Use this when in trouble against caster teams and run to your healer or re-enter Stealth Icon Stealth.

Evasion Icon Evasion is a strong defensive when playing against melee. This grants you 100% Dodge chance. Use this when the enemy team has melee and is focusing you.

Vanish Icon Vanish is a very versatile ability. You can use this offensively, to use Cheap Shot Icon Cheap Shots and Garrote Icon Garrotes on enemies, or defensively. If you are overextended or need to get away quickly, use Vanish Icon Vanish to get away from the enemy team.

Feint Icon Feint (with the Elusiveness Icon Elusiveness talent) grants you a flat 30% damage reduction from everything. This is a buff that should be active on you at all times. A Rogue is very weak against stuns, so having Feint up when stunned greatly increases your chance of surviving heavy damage from the enemy team.

Crimson Vial Icon Crimson Vial is the trickiest, but most useful defensive ability a Rogue has. If you feel a hard swap onto you or you are about to be stunned, use Crimson Vial. Using this efficiently can enable you and your teammates to save your other cooldowns.

5. Best Team Compositions for Assassination Rogues

Now that you have the correct talents and understand your damage rotation, it is time to step into the Arena with your team. Assassination Rogues want to stay aggressive and get a kill on an enemy without a trinket using Kidney Shot Icon Kidney Shot and Vendetta Icon Vendetta.

5.1. 2v2 Arena

In 2v2 Arena you will be focusing on single target damage. If the enemy healer is playing Vim and Vigor Icon Vim and Vigor, you will want to focus on them so they do not get the additional healing when above 80% health. If they are not playing Vim and Vigor you can focus any target you can hit. Depending on what healer you are playing with, use Cheap Shot Icon Cheap Shot on the enemy healer to setup crowd control. For example, if you are playing with a Discipline Priest, you should use Cheap Shot on the enemy healer so your Priest can get close enough to use Psychic Scream Icon Psychic Scream.

Here is a list of the best team compositions for 2v2:

  • Assassination Rogue + Discipline Priest
  • Assassination Rogue + Restoration Druid
  • Assassination Rogue + Arcane/Frost Mage

5.2. 3v3 Arena

Your role in 3v3 is similar to 2v2 Arena. You will likely be focusing on maximizing your single target damage. If you are playing against a healer that is not mobile (Discipline Priest, Holy Paladin, or Restoration Shaman), you can open on them and try to force a trinket or major defensive. If the enemy healer trinkets, you can use Blind Icon Blind with your next setup. Your overall goal is to focus an enemy without a trinket. When you and your teammate have damage, use Cheap Shot Icon Cheap Shot on the enemy healer. After this, use Kidney Shot Icon Kidney Shot on your kill target and continue with your burst rotation. It is important to note that Rogues are very easy to kill in 3v3 Arena. Make sure you are maintaining your Feint Icon Feint buff and play defensively when your team does not have much damage.

Here is a list of the best team compositions for 3v3:

  • RMP (Assassination Rogue + Arcane Mage + Holy Paladin/Discipline Priest)
  • RLS (Assassination Rogue + Destruction/Affliction Warlock + Restoration Shaman)
  • Assassination Rogue + Retribution Paladin + Restoration Druid

6. Useful Macros for Assassination Rogues

Macros are crucial to be successful in PvP. They allow players to use abilities on enemies without having to target them. This helps increase overall damage/healing and general awareness in the arena. Here are a few macros that all Assassination Rogues can benefit from.

6.1. Shadowstep + Kick Focus Macro

  • #showtooltip Polymorph
  • /cast [target=focus] Shadowstep
  • /cast [target=focus] Kick

Using this macro will use Shadowstep Icon Shadowstep on your focus enemy. If you press this macro again, it will use Kick Icon Kick on your focus target. This makes it easier to interrupt an enemy while staying focused on your target.

6.2. Blind Focus Macro

  • #showtooltip Blind
  • /cast [target=focus] Blind

Put an enemy on focus and this macro will use Blind Icon Blind on that player while you are still focused on your target.

6.3. Kidney Focus Macro

  • #showtooltip Kidney Shot
  • /cast [target=focus] Kidney Shot

Put an enemy on focus and this macro will use Kidney Shot Icon Kidney Shot on that player while you are still focused on your target.

6.4. Sap Focus Macro

  • #showtooltip Sap
  • /cast [target=focus] Sap

Put an enemy on focus and this macro will use Sap Icon Sap on that player while you are still focused on your target.

6.5. Stealth Macro

  • #showtooltip Stealth
  • /cast !stealth

This makes it so when you use Stealth Icon Stealth it will not cancel if you click it a second time.

7. Gear for Assassination Rogues

With regards to gear, the biggest change in Legion is that there is no more PvP gear. Your strength in PvP will be determined based on the average item level of your gear (as displayed on your character sheet). For example, the base item level at level 110 is 800, so your stats in PvP will be adjusted accordingly. For every 10 item levels you gain, your stats are increased by 1%.

The implication is that it does not matter where your gear comes from, and all that matters is its item level. Gear from quests or PvE content is just as good as gear you get as a reward from PvP (which, in fact, will be very similar to PvE gear; there are no more PvP stats on gear).

Practically, you will simply look to collect gear with the highest item levels possible, and the stat distribution on the gear will not matter.

8. Artifact Traits for Assassination Rogues

Below, we will explain what the recommended order for artifact traits is, if you wish to maximise your PvP potential. It is quite possible that your artifact path (at the time of reading this guide) differs from our suggestions. If this is the case, do not worry, and use the information below to help you understand your traits and guide your future choices.

If you have suddenly decided that you want to turn to PvP, the best thing to do in your artifact progression is continue to your closest Golden trait, and then follow the recommendations below. Picking up the most useful traits ( Icon Urge to Kill,  Icon Master Assassin, and  Icon Fade into Shadows) along the way is a great way to boost your potential.

8.1. First Golden Trait

The first Golden trait you should go for is  Icon Bag of Tricks.

  1. Take  Icon Assassin's Blades.
  2. Take  Icon Toxic Blades.
  3. Take  Icon Urge to Kill.
  4. Take  Icon Shadow Walker.
  5. Take  Icon Bag of Tricks.

8.2. Second Golden Trait

The second Golden trait to take is  Icon Blood of the Assassinated.

  1. Backtrack and take  Icon Master Assassin.
  2. Take  Icon Gushing Wound.
  3. Take  Icon Blood of the Assassinated.

8.3. Remaining Traits

After this, start making your way to the final golden trait,  Icon From the Shadows. Important traits to take along the way are  Icon Fade into Shadows and  Icon Shadow Swiftness.

9. Relics for Assassination Rogues

Relics are disabled in PvP, so they are not a concern to you.

10. ChangeLog

  • 13 Jun. 2018: Added an Arena Compositions section.
  • 24 Apr. 2018: Made several updates to the guide and its structure.
    • Added sections for Macros, Strengths, and Weaknesses.
    • Moved Gear, Artifact Traits, and Relics sections to the end, since they are not that important.
  • 07 Feb. 2018: No major changes needed for patch 7.3.5.
  • 24 Dec. 2017: No major changes needed for patch 7.3.2.
  • 09 Sep. 2017: Removed Artifact Trait descriptions and changed recommended tier 6 honor talents.
  • 21 Jun. 2017: Updated guide for Patch 7.2.5.
    • Changed recommended talent for Tier 6 regular talents.
    • Changed recommended talent for Tier 3 regular talents.
    • Made adjustments to "Burst Rotation".
  • 10 May 2017: Guide created.
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