Assassination Rogue Guide for The War Within

Last updated on Jun 18, 2024 at 21:10 by Seliathan 65 comments

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on the Assassination Rogue changes in World of Warcraft's latest expansion, "The War Within." This page is designed to help you navigate the new changes, optimize your gameplay, and get the most out of your Assassination Rogue in PvE environments.

In this guide, you'll find detailed breakdowns of the new Hero Talent Trees for Assassination Rogue. We'll explore the most significant updates, and offer insights into how these changes will impact your overall playstyle. Whether you're a veteran Assassination Rogue or new to the class, our goal is to equip you with the knowledge and tools needed to excel in "The War Within."


Assassination Rogue: The War Within Expansion Preview

Welcome to our War Within expansion guide for Assassination Rogue. Prior to the expansion's launch, this page will detail everything you need to know about Assassination Rogue in the upcoming The War Within expansion, including class and spec changes, Hero Talent Trees, and some very light predictions on the state of the spec.

This page is a constantly evolving work in progress, as there will likely be regular changes to parts of the spec's kit, talents and abilities throughout the TWW Beta process. This is not meant to be a launch guide for Assassination Rogue. The purpose of this page is to serve as a resource for you to keep up to date with how the spec is evolving on Beta and what you can expect from its playstyle and feel on launch.


The War Within Changes for Assassination Rogue


Core Changes

Assassination Rogue has received a number of changes to it's talent trees, which includes the shuffling of some talents, as well as changes to a handful of talents and abilities throughout. The most impactful ones in the class tree are:

  • Acrobatic Strikes Icon Acrobatic Strikes no longer grants increased melee attack range. It was reworked to now grant additional auto-attack damage, and movement speed.
  • Cut to the Chase Icon Cut to the Chase is now baseline for all Rogue specs.
  • Subterfuge Icon Subterfuge now lasts 6 seconds, and is a 2-point talent right before the right-most capstone in the class tree.
  • Shadow Dance Icon Shadow Dance was moved into the Subtlety spec tree, and replaced with a new capstone that grants an additional charge of Vanish Icon Vanish instead.
  • Nightstalker Icon Nightstalker was removed.

There have also been many changes in the spec tree. The most notable ones include:

  • Sanguine Stratagem Icon Sanguine Stratagem was introduced to the Assassination spec tree, allowing for a maximum of 7 Combo Points in combination with Deeper Stratagem Icon Deeper Stratagem
  • Serrated Bone Spike Icon Serrated Bone Spike is now a passive ability that will be cast whenever you use Rupture Icon Rupture. This casts 3 SBS if you cast 3 Ruptures with Indiscriminate Carnage Icon Indiscriminate Carnage, immediately filling up your Combo Points.
  • Kingsbane Icon Kingsbane has had its cap reduced from 99 stacks to 50 stacks. We will now reach the maximum damage per tick much faster. This reduces its importance in our damage profile, removes our reliance on Power Infusion Icon Power Infusion for optimal DPS, and allows for a better DPS distribution across all other abilities and damage sources.
  • Improved Garrote Icon Improved Garrote now lasts 6 seconds, instead of 3.
  • Sepsis Icon Sepsis and Venom Rush Icon Venom Rush were removed.

Overall, these changes move the spec in the right direction, removing any need for snapshotting due to the removal of Nightstalker Icon Nightstalker, removing our reliance on Power Infusion Icon Power Infusion, and making our damage profile less about the 15 second burst windows, instead focusing more on the sustained damage niche again.


Systems Changes

The War Within has major implications for all specs thanks to the Hero Talent Tree system, new tier sets, and the natural reduction in secondary stats when entering a new expansion.

Assassination Rogue gets to choose between the Deathstalker and Fatebound Hero Talent Trees. In the sections below, we will take a small dive into the design and benefits of these Hero Talent Trees for the spec, and offer some thoughts on their potential performance and gameplay implications.


Hero Talent Trees for Assassination Rogue in The War Within


Deathstalker Hero Talents for Assassination Rogue

The Deathstalker Hero Tree is centered on the Deathstalker's Mark Icon Deathstalker's Mark ability, and the capstone that further boosts its value. The remaining talents are largely damage increases to individual abilities, with little to no interaction with the Deathstalkers Mark itself. The entire Hero Talent tree is very random, with each ability getting one talent to barely buff its damage. This feels like a major lack of direction and theme, with most of the power simply being locked behind the capstone.

Gameplay-wise, it is difficult to tell how these new talents will affect our rotational priorities. The fact of the matter is that the spec was added very late into the TWW Alpha cycle, and is a very buggy and nonfunctional mess. We will have to wait for Blizzard to address the bugs to get a better understanding of what the direction is supposed to be for its gameplay before we can draw any conclusions and work with simulations to figure out the best way to play with this new set of passives.

What we can tell so far, is that Deathstalker will be awkward to play in Mythic+, as the Deathstalker's Mark Icon Deathstalker's Mark is locked onto a single target. Since moving it to a different target requires a stealth-cast Ambush Icon Ambush, swapping it will largely rely on monitoring Darkest Night Icon Darkest Night procs instead. This directly clashes with our desire to spend Combo Points on Rupture Icon Rupture and Crimson Tempest Icon Crimson Tempest instead.

Power-wise, taking the current functionality, spell data and tooltip descriptions by its word, Deathstalker is a very large DPS increase, more than anticipated. This is unlikely to remain, especially once the Hero Talents are fully functional, but the design goal seems to be to offer a strong single-target DPS increase through the Deathstalker Hero Talents.

The biggest concern is how much of the overall damage gain of the entire set of talents is just locked behind the capstone, Darkest Night Icon Darkest Night. Many of the talents throughout this Hero Talent tree are very low impact, with only minor DPS benefits, while most of its power is tied to Darkest Night. Whether this is intentional or not remains to be seen.

As for utility, Deathstalker offers a very useful cooldown reduction to Shadowstep Icon Shadowstep, as well as additional defensive benefits through either Ethereal Cloak Icon Ethereal Cloak or Bait and Switch Icon Bait and Switch, which further supplements our already strong survivability.


Fatebound Hero Talents for Assassination Rogue

The Fatebound Hero Tree Talents are largely centered around the idea of flipping coins through Hand of Fate Icon Hand of Fate, offering either a percentage-based damage increase or a cosmic damage proc. Everytime you spend 5+ Combo Points on a finishing move, you either add a stack to the already existing buff, or have it swap over to the opposite one instead. Monitoring and managing the buffs will be key to optimizing the benefits of the Fatebound Hero Talents.

Gameplay-wise, Fatebound is very much a passive kit that offers only very few skill expression opportunities. This is not a bad thing at all, as it allows for a very predictable damage increase to the Assassination damage profile. While the entire concept is very much centered on RNG, many talents offer additional control over the outcome of these Hand of Fate rolls, which will help you build higher stacks on either of the buffs throughout the fight. Due to how many finishers we end up casting during a 5+ minute encounter, the RNG will even out fairly reliably, so there is no need to worry about this Hero Talent tree adding a lot of DPS variance.

Power-wise, Fatebound needs some major adjustmetns to be competitive with Deathstalker right now, which is an easy task once class tuning goes into full motion in the TWW Beta. There are a few bugs that still need ironing out as well, but Fatebound looks to be in a very comfortable position right now with many of the talents offering small DPS increases or making the rotation slightly more fluid, like Deal Fate Icon Deal Fate. While it is not the most interesting, flashy or exciting Hero Talent theme, it is a solid choice for anyone who wants to focus on learning the ins and outs of their chosen spec first without the choice of Hero Talents overcomplicating things.

Defensively, Fatebound adds further bonuses to the already strong toolkit we have. Death's Arrival Icon Death's Arrival will allow us to cast Shadowstep Icon Shadowstep a second time within quick succession, which could be used to stick to the boss just a little longer before having to run away from it for a mechanic, as you could just step to a friendly player who is already in a save position, and then immediately jump back to the boss a second or two later. It also offers some minor defensive benefits, with Chosen's Revelry Icon Chosen's Revelry giving you some additional Leech, while Tempted Fate Icon Tempted Fate has a chance to make you take less damage. Neither of these choices are incredible, but with how strong our mobility and survivability already are, they don't have to be.


Assassination Rogue Tier Set in The War Within

Below are the Tier Set Bonuses for Assassination Rogue in The War Within.

  • Rogue Assassination 11.0 Class Set 2pc Icon Rogue Assassination 11.0 Class Set 2pc — When your bleeds deal damage, they have a chance to grant you Vile Tincture for 8 seconds, increasing your poison damage by 1% per stack (up to 10 stacks).
  • Rogue Assassination 11.0 Class Set 4pc Icon Rogue Assassination 11.0 Class Set 4pc — While you have 5 or more stacks of Vile Tincture, Garrote, Rupture, and Crimson Tempest deal 10% additional damage.

Both set bonuses are completely passive and are not expected to have any gameplay impact. The proc-rate is incredibly low at the moment, leading this bonus to offer less than a single percent of extra DPS. This will hopefully be fixed prior to the expansion's release.


Assassination Rogue Strengths and Weaknesses

Strengths icon Strengths
  • +No longer reliant on externals like Power Infusion Icon Power Infusion for optiomal DPS.
  • +Less focus on burst DPS, instead focusing on sustained DPS once again.
  • +Changes to class and spec trees add some variety in talent-choices from the old playstyle.
Weaknesses icon Weaknesses
  • -Incredibly bugged Hero Talent implementation for Deathstalker makes testing, practicing and simming difficult.
  • -Abilities like Ambush Icon Ambush and Slice and Dice Icon Slice and Dice are once-a-fight button presses, which feels very awkward.
  • -Lack of interesting animations makes Deathstalker and Fatebound feel anything but "heroic".


  • 17 Jun. 2024: Page added.
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