Assassination Rogue PvP Talents and Builds (Dragonflight 10.2)
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
There are two viable talent builds as Assassination. The first one is very close to the build that was played before the Patch 10.2 rework, with all the enhancements the rework brought, and the second one features Shadow Dance for more burst and more crowd-control.
No Shadow Dance Build
This build focuses on high, consistent damage with several powerful burst cooldowns. It features the talent Dragon-Tempered Blades. Therefore, you will want to pick Numbing Poison in the class tree as well as Improved Wound Poison and Master Poisoner to maximize the efficiency of your poisons. You will be able to have Deadly Poison, Wound Poison, Numbing Poison, and Crippling Poison at all times.
The sustained damage will mainly come from Garrote and Rupture. The bleeds are very strong, and combined with autoattacks, poison procs, Mutilate, Ambush procs and Envenom, you will always be dealing meaningful damage to your targets.
There are numerous ways to burst your target down with this build. Everytime you want to burst a target down, you will use Shiv. Thanks to the talents Improved Shiv and Arterial Precision it increases most of your damage sources by 30% for 8s. Then you have three cooldowns that will not be available every Kidney Shot. The first one is Echoing Reprimand That allows you to use Envenom three times as if you spent 7 Combo Points, dealing high damage. This is further amplified by Deeper Stratagem, and also works well with the talent Poison Bomb for even more damage. The second one is Kingsbane. It applies a very powerful damage over time effect to your target that gets stronger the more you apply lethal poisons to your target (which means it is important to use as many globals on your target as possible during Kingsbane to maximize its damage). Note that with the talent Dragon-Tempered Blades, you have two lethal poisons, allowing Kingsbane's damage to ramp up quickly. The last burst cooldown is Deathmark. It simply duplicates your Garrote, Rupture, and lethal poisons on your target, which increases your damage. The one thing to know about Deathmark is that if you use Kingsbane during Deathmark every poison application to your target will count as two applications (because the poisons are duplicated on your target), allowing you to increase Kingsbane damage much more than you normally would.
Shadow Dance Build
This build is similar to the previous one, except that in the class tree Deeper Stratagem and Echoing Reprimand have been traded for Shadow Dance and one extra point in Lethality. Shadow Dance allows for more CC and more burst damage, making this build more lethal, but also a bit more tricky to play.
The loss of Deeper Stratagem and Echoing Reprimand means that you will deal less Envenom damage overall. This is very well compensated by the talents that replace them, however.
Shadow Dance allows for many things. It allows you to have a great uptime on your Improved Garrote, which is usually the highest damage source for Assassination Rogues. It allows access to Cheap Shot that you can use to stun multiple enemies, greatly enabling your team and preventing the enemy team from defending themselves on your burst window. And finally, it gives great burst damage thanks to the talents Nightstalker and Master Assassin, granting you 10% extra damage and 30% extra Critical Strike chance, respectively. The cooldown is only 1min, so it lines up perfectly with a charge of Thistle Tea for extra Mastery, Kingsbane and the on-use PvP trinket. All those combined together make for very high burst.
PvP Talents for Assassination Rogues
You can choose three of the following PvP talents; each has its 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 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 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 3v3 scenario, this talent is a must-have, but in a few 2v2 match-ups, you will not pick it as you will mostly attack the enemy healer.
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 pulled the trigger. It is a great pick against Warrior, Rogue, and Marksmanship Hunter. It is also helpful against other Hunter specs. However, they can still use many threatening abilities while disarmed, and the same goes for Retribution Paladin and Death Knight. One thing to note is that you can use Dismantle offensively against Death Knight and Warrior, as being disarmed prevents the use of Death Strike and Die by the Sword.
Veil of Midnight is a powerful defensive option. It allows Cloak of Shadows to cleanse physical debuffs on top of magic ones and makes it grant you 100% dodge chance for 5s. It is very useful against Feral Druid or other Assassination Rogues.
Control is King is a nice talent that gives you a lot of Energy back when you use Kidney Shot. It can be a nice pick if you don't need other talents, as it allows you to be certain you will always have Energy to spend on your burst windows.
Hemotoxin causes Shiv to reduce the target's healing received by 30% for 9 seconds. This used to be a very powerful talent, but after multiple nerfs, it is barely more powerful than Wound Poison. Therefore, you will only pick it if you do not need other utility talents, such as Dismantle or Maneuverability.
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. It can be picked if nothing else is needed, and you play a build focused around Envenom.
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 is usable from range. It will make you land at your target 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 there is a DPS that can be disarmed, such as a Warrior, Rogue, Death Knight or a Marksmanship Hunter, you will pick Dismantle. In other scenarios, you may pick any other optional talent as long as it fits your needs.
- 06 Nov. 2023: Updated for Dragonflight Patch 10.2.
- 04 Sep. 2023: Updated for Dragonflight Patch 10.1.7.
- 10 Jul. 2023: Updated for Dragonflight Patch 10.1.5.
- 30 Apr. 2023: Updated for Dragonflight Patch 10.1.
- 21 Mar. 2023: Updated for Dragonflight Patch 10.0.7.
- 25 Jan. 2023: Updated for Dragonflight Patch 10.0.5.
- 12 Dec. 2022: Updated with the Hemotoxin nerf.
- 11 Dec. 2022: Updated for Dragonflight Season 1.
- 22 Nov. 2022: Updated for Dragonflight pre-patch.
- 28 Jul. 2022: Reviewed for Shadowlands Season 4.
- 01 Jul. 2022: Updated Tier 7 Talents.
- 31 May 2022: Reviewed for Patch 9.2.5.
- 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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