Assassination Rogue PvP Talents and Builds (Shadowlands / 9.2)
Choosing the right PvP and PvE talents is a prerequisite to proper performance in PvP. This guide goes through the various talent choices available to you as an Assassination Rogue and gives you the best combinations you can take.
This page is part of our Assassination Rogue PvP Guide.
Regular Talents for Assassination Rogues
|15||✔ Master Poisoner||? Elaborate Planning||✘ Blindside|
|25||✘ Nightstalker||✔ Subterfuge||✘ Master Assassin|
|30||✘ Vigor||✔ Deeper Stratagem||✔ Marked for Death|
|35||✘ Leeching Poison||? Cheat Death||✔ Elusiveness|
|40||✔ Internal Bleeding||✘ Iron Wire||✘ Prey on the Weak|
|45||✘ Venom Rush||✔ Alacrity||✘ Exsanguinate|
|50||✔ Poison Bomb||✘ Hidden Blades||✘ Crimson Tempest|
While the above table provides a generally accurate overview of the viability of talents, some finer points are discussed in the sections that follow, and we recommend you read those for a deeper understanding.
Tier 1 (Level 15) Talents
Master Poisoner is the best choice in this tier. With Patch 9.1 and the addition of the Honor Talent Hemotoxin, it has become better to use Deadly Poison rather than Wound Poison in most scenarios. Previously we would use Master Poisoner because it amplified the healing reduction effect of Wound Poison as well as the slow of Crippling Poison. Now, it remains a powerful talent because it still amplifies the slow of Crippling Poison, making it the second best-slow of the game in PvP. Also, it increases the damage done by your Deadly Poison by 30%. It is great since you pick Deadly Poison for the increased damage it provides.
Elaborate Planning has become a viable option as well. Playing Master Poisoner was crucial when using Wound Poison but with Deadly Poison you can pick Elaborate Planning as it is a flat damage increase. However, by doing so you lose a bit of utility as your slow becomes less powerful.
Tier 2 (Level 25) Talents
Subterfuge is the best choice in this tier. This talent will allow you to crowd control the entire enemy team every time you come out of Stealth. It also increases the damage done by Garrote by 40% in PvP combat, which is nice. Garrote will often deal a great part of your overall damage if you manage to land several empowered Garrotes in a game.
Tier 3 (Level 30) Talents
Marked for Death is the best choice in this tier. This can be used in two different ways. You can use Marked for Death and get a full Kidney Shot on your kill target from Stealth, or at any point if you do not have 5 Combo Points ready and your team need them stunned. You can also use it aggressively for Envenom during your burst window.
Deeper Stratagem is also a great pick, especialy in 2v2 if you are a Necrolord. The Necrolord Rogue ability, Serrated Bone Spike, allows you to generate enough Combo Points to use this talent without being too slow to build. Having a 7-second Kidney Shot on your kill target is very oppressive and will often make your pressure impossible to manage for the enemy healer.
Tier 4 (Level 35) Talents
Elusiveness is the best choice in this tier as long as you are playing with a healer. Rogues do not have a lot of damage mitigation, so this spell is essential to your survival. You want to time this ability right before being hit by a powerful spell such as Chaos Bolt or Divine Toll. Also, you want to try and time it before being stunned. Pre-Feinting a Lightning Lasso, a Kidney Shot, or a Storm Bolt often makes the difference between living and dying.
Cheat Death is a good pick against Rogue/Mage in 2v2 as you will often be CC'ed before they stun you to kill you, making Elusivness close to useless since you will not be able to Feint the damage. Instead Cheat Death can buy you a couple seconds, and that can make the difference.
Tier 5 (Level 40) Talents
Internal Bleeding is the best choice in this tier. This adds a bleed to your Kidney Shot that deals a lot of damage, adding a lot of pressure on the enemy during your kill windows. It is worth mentioning that is also works with the passive Venomous Wounds, so you will get even more energy to attack your target during your Kidney Shot windows.
Tier 6 (Level 45) Talents
Alacrity is the best choice in this tier. Haste is already one of your strongest secondary stats, this talent gives you additional Haste to help increase your damage output. Alacrity by itself is not an amazing talent by any means, but it remains the best option on this row.
Tier 7 (Level 50) Talents
Poison Bomb is the best choice in this tier. Although you cannot control the proc from this talent, you will be using Envenom and Rupture often which means Poison Bomb will end up being an increase to both your burst damage and your sustained damage.
PvP Talents for Assassination Rogues
You can choose 3 of the following PvP talents. Each of them has their uses, but some are better for certain strategies than others. The top three choices are the most useful, but can be replaced with other PvP talents, depending on your team's goal.
Mandatory PvP Talents
Smoke Bomb creates a smoke cloud around you. Enemy players who are outside the cloud will not be able to target anyone inside of it. This talent is mandatory for multiple reasons. Firstly, it can help you land a kill by stunning a target when they have no trinket. By using Smoke Bomb right after a stun you will prevent the healer from saving their teammate. Secondly, you can use it defensively to save yourself or an ally from a lethal cast that is about to go off, such as Greater Pyroblast. And lastly, you can use it to prevent incoming crowd control on you or your team if such crowd control would result in you losing a game, such as a Polymorph or Repentance on your healer when they have no trinket and you are low on health. As you can see, this talent is helpful in many different situations, which is why it is so powerful. In every single 3v3 scenario, this talent is a must-have, but in many 2v2 match-ups you will not pick it as you will mostly attack the enemy healer. For instance, when facing Hunter/healer, since you cannot kill the Hunter you will not pick Smoke Bomb, as you will go for the healer.
Hemotoxin causes Shiv to reduce the target's healing received by 40% for 9 seconds. This is extremely powerful. The only scenario in which you will not pick this talent is when facing double DPS comps in 2s without any significant healing, such as Rogue/Hunter or Rogue/Mage. Aside from that one scenario you will always pick this talent. It will dramatically increase your kill attempts, as your target will be very hard to heal during your burst, and for a few seconds after.
Situational PvP Talents
Dismantle is a strong PvP talent that allows you to disarm an enemy for 6 seconds every 45 seconds. Disarming an enemy can delay their next kill attempt or stop it entirely if they have already pulled the trigger. It is a great pick against Warriors, Rogues and Marksmanship Hunters. It is also helpful against other Hunter specs, although they can still use many threatening abilities while disarmed, and the same goes for Retribution Paladins and Death Knights. One thing to note is that you can use Dismantle offensively against Death Knights and Warriors, as being disarmed prevents the use of Death Strike and Die by the Sword.
System Shock reduces the enemy's movement speed by 90% when you use an Envenom with 5 Combo Points on a target with Garrote, Rupture, and your active lethal Poison, and deals damage. This is a decent addition to your burst damage, and has the benefit of almost rooting your target for a brief moment.
Maneuverability is a very strong PvP talent versus teams with multiple slows. This can be taken so you can maximize your uptime on your target. It also removes any root on you when you use it so you may escape a Frost Nova or a Steel Trap with it as well.
Thick as Thieves is a very situational PvP talent that can sometimes surprise the enemy team if you play with a teammate with high burst damage such as a Night Fae Restoration Shaman in 2v2. By giving 15% more damage to your ally on their burst you can land a kill if the enemy team already used their defensives on your Vendetta. Alternatively, you can force defensives with the burst of your teammate further amplified by Thick as Thieves, and then your Vendetta will close the game.
Death from Above is an interesting PvP talent. The interesting things about this talent are that it makes you immune to crowd control when you use it, and it is usable from range and will make you land at your target's location. It can be considered in 2v2 against an enemy that is hard to reach, such as a Frost Mage, or against a setup comp that relies on stuns on you to kill you, and will kite you in between stuns, such as Rogue Mage. Unfortunately there will often be three better options so you will end up not picking this PvP talent much.
The first PvP talent will almost always be Smoke Bomb. To fill the last two slots, you will need to look at what you are facing. If you are facing Rogue/Mage or Rogue/Hunter in 2v2, you will go with Maneuverability and Dismantle. In any other scenario there will be a healer or a hybrid with powerful off-healing on the enemy team, so your second slot will be taken by Hemotoxin.
The last slot will be Dismantle if you are facing another Rogue, a Warrior, or a Marksmanship Hunter. You will pick Maneuverability instead if you are facing a Windwalker Monk, a Warlock, or a Frost or Arcane Mage. And if there is nothing interesting for you to disarm and no important slow to remove, such as against Balance Druid/Healer, Fire Mage/Healer or Feral/Healer, the last slot will be System Shock, or Thick as Thieves if one of your partners has burst damage that you want to amplify.
- 21 Feb. 2022: Updated for Patch 9.2.
- 10 Nov. 2021: Updated for Patch 9.1.5.
- 21 Jul. 2021: Updated Tier 1 Talents.
- 14 Jul. 2021: Updated Honor Talents.
- 03 Jul. 2021: Updated for Patch 9.1.
- 06 Apr. 2021: Rewritten by Shadenox and further updated for Patch 9.0.5.
- 10 Mar. 2021: Updated Tier 6 Regular Talents.
- 14 Oct. 2020: Updated for Shadowlands pre-patch.
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