Rogue Shadowlands Leveling Guide From 1 to 60

Last updated on Jun 28, 2021 at 21:22 by Seliathan and Ashine 1 comment

Table of Contents


Leveling in Shadowlands

Welcome to our Rogue leveling guide. Here you will find all you need to know to level up your Rogue efficiently. Leveling received a lot of changes in Shadowlands, which we have documented in our Shadowlands Leveling Changes page. In addition, we now have a revamped Leveling guide, complete with detailed information on XP, mounts, addons, consumables, tips, and more. We encourage to read it to increase your leveling speed even more.

Leveling a Rogue can always feel a bit sluggish due to the inherently slow generation of resources which will improve as you level up and gain access to new passives and abilities that improve your Energy and Combo Point generation. While not having access to these benefits from the get-go might make the initial stages of leveling feel a bit boring, you will immediately notice whenever you gain access to some of the more powerful abilities that make your rotation feel smoother and more fluent.

Rogue also gains access to some of the most powerful defensive in the game, which translates very well into its ability to finish quests that ask you to kill enemies that have high health pools or that would usually require a group of 2 or 3 people to defeat.


Best Leveling Spec for Rogue in Shadowlands

Out of all three Rogue specs we recommend Subtlety as the best choice for leveling. It offers the best single-target burst damage and allows you to dispatch enemies within only a few seconds, jumping from enemy to enemy in quick succession. It also has the best self-healing toolkit out of all the Rogue specs so you do not have to take a break to sit down and regenerate your health as often. While its AoE damage is not quite as good as that of the other specs, it is only trailing behind by a small margin so you can easily pull multiple targets at once and still be healthy enough to immediately jump into the next pack of enemies.

Outlaw is a very good leveling spec in its own right and plays smoothly at all stages of the leveling process. As you level up you will gain access to a variety of maintenance buffs that freshen up the playstyle as well as several mid-range abilities that allow you to pull and damage enemies from further away. It has very powerful AoE, high burst damage and lower cooldowns on most of its defensive abilities.

Assassination will feel the most sluggish since it relies heavily on passive abilities that boost its resource generation. Sadly, most of these not accessible until later into the leveling process. If you would like to get more comfortable leveling as Assassination we recommend jumping into the spec at ~level 40 since it has gained most of its important abilities by then. It has good single-target and multi-target damage so if you prefer playing a damage over time melee spec, Assassination is the right choice for you.


Ability Unlocks for Rogue Leveling in Shadowlands

Most of the information regarding your leveling specs DPS rotation as well as its survivability and healing abilities can be found on the individual spec pages that we linked above. There are however a variety of other abilities that are much more situational that you slowly unlock as you level from 1 to 60.

Some of these you might not use for hours after gaining access to them, others you will want to try out the moment you get the level-up that unlocks them. Be sure to familiarize yourself with every ability in your toolkit so you are as well prepared as you can be for the journey to max level.

  • At Level 3, you unlock Cheap Shot Icon Cheap Shot alongside Stealth Icon Stealth. This is your first of several abilities that can only be used from Stealth and stuns your target for 4 seconds.
  • At Level 4, you unlock Fleet Footed Icon Fleet Footed which permanently increases your base movement speed by 15% as well as reducing the falling damage you take.
  • At Level 5, you unlock Sprint Icon Sprint which increases your movement speed by 70% for 8 seconds. It has a 2-minute cooldown and can be used while stealthed.
  • At Level 10, you unlock your first poison Instant Poison Icon Instant Poison. It lasts for 60 minutes when used and has a chance to deal damage whenever you strike a target with your melee atacks. You can only have one lethal and one non-lethal poison active at the same time.
  • At Level 24, you unlock Pick Lock Icon Pick Lock and Pick Pocket Icon Pick Pocket. Pick Lock allows you to open locked doors, chests and the occasional lockbox that you may find on enemy corpses. These can contain gold, items and a variety of consumable items. Pick Pocket has a chance to steal Lockboxes that can contain similar items and a small amount of gold.
  • At Level 25, you unlock Safe Fall Icon Safe Fall. It further decreases the amount of falling damage you take, allowing you to jump off of ledges, cliffs and roofs from roughly three times the height as other classes without taking a single point of damage.
  • At Level 28, you unlock Distract Icon Distract. Using this ability allows you to target an area. Once successfully cast at the area you targeted, all mobs within the targeting circle will stop any movement and face towards the center of the targeting circle. This can be incredibly useful to stop patrols from running into you while you are already engaged in a fight, as well as turn mobs away from you so you can safely stealth past them on your way to your objective.
  • At Level 31, your Sprint Icon Sprint has its cooldown reduced. It is now on a 1-minute cooldown.
  • At Level 32, you unlock Shiv Icon Shiv, which is a single-target ability that applies a stronger version of your current non-lethal poison to your target.
  • At Level 33, you unlock your first non-lethal poison, Crippling Poison Icon Crippling Poison. Any target afflicted by it has its movement speed reduced by 50%.
  • At Level 34, you unlock Feint Icon Feint. Using this ability reduces all damage you take from area-of-effect abilities and spell by 40%.
  • At Level 38, you unlock another lethal poison, Wound Poison Icon Wound Poison. It reduces the effectiveness of any healing effects on the target by 8% per stack. Stacks up to 3 times.
  • At Level 48, you unlock Tricks of the Trade Icon Tricks of the Trade. This ability is usable on friendly targets, and transfers any threat you generate over the course of 6 seconds to the friendly player you used it on. Very helpful in dungeons or when questing with a tank-specialized character.
  • At Level 49, you unlock Shroud of Concealment Icon Shroud of Concealment. When used any friendly party member within an area around you will be stealthed. These players can move while stealthed without breaking it, but they can be detected much easier by hostile targets. Use it in conjunction with Distract Icon Distract to allow your entire group to stealth past enemies you do not wish to fight.
  • At Level 54, you unlock Numbing Poison Icon Numbing Poison, your second non-lethal poison. Targets afflicted by Numbing Poison have their attack and cast-speed reduced by 15%. You can only have one non-lethal poison active at a time.

Best Heirloom Items for Rogue Leveling in Shadowlands

When purchasing Heirloom Items for Leveling in general, we recommend picking the Heirloom items that have as high an amount of Critical Strike as possible. All Rogue specs benefit a lot from critical strike, giving you more burst in your openers as you strike from stealth, as well as having spec-specific interactions with Critical Strike.

Haste is also useful for allowing you to generate more resources while leveling, as you will oftentimes find yourself out of energy and waiting to be able to use your abilities again once you have regenerated a bit of energy. For more information on Heirlooms, check out the Heirloom section below.



  • 28 Jun. 2021: Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.1.
  • 09 Mar. 2021: Reviewed for Patch 9.0.5.
  • 12 Oct. 2020: Revamped page for Shadowlands, with subpages for each spec.
  • 13 Jan. 2020: Added note about new BoA tokens introduced in Patch 8.3.
  • 12 Jul. 2019: Fixed poor wording on Subtlety Honor Talents.
  • 18 Mar. 2019: Added Assassination leveling guide.
  • 08 Jan. 2019: Updates to Subtlety leveling guide.
  • 11 Dec. 2018: This page has been reviewed for Patch 8.1 and no changes are necessary.
  • 23 Aug. 2018: Added Subtlety leveling guide.
  • 12 Aug. 2018: Overhaul of the page for BfA.
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