Subtlety Rogue DPS Guide — Season 4

Last updated Yesterday at 12:50 by Oxi 63 comments
General Information

Welcome to our Subtlety Rogue guide for World of Warcraft — Season 4. Here, you will learn how to play as a Subtlety Rogue in both raids and Mythic+ dungeons: from the very beginning to maximizing your DPS.

If you were looking for WotLK Classic content, please refer to our WotLK Classic Subtlety Rogue guide.


Subtlety Rogue Overview

Subtlety Rogues revolve around burst damage windows by combining Shadow Dance Icon Shadow Danceand Symbols of Death Icon Symbols of Death whenever possible for maximum burst; however, this means that damage outside of these cooldowns is okay at best. Like other Rogue specializations, Subtlety has one of the best defenses in the game.


Strengths and Weaknesses

V Strengths
  • +Strong burst damage.
  • +Good single target damage with priority damage focus in AoE situations.
  • +Solid sustained AoE damage.
  • +Fast-paced during cooldowns.
  • +Don't need to sacrifice damage for mobility.
  • +Powerful defensive cooldowns such as Cloak of Shadows Icon Cloak of Shadows, Feint Icon Feint, Evasion Icon Evasion and Crimson Vial Icon Crimson Vial.
  • +Utility such as Shroud of Concealment Icon Shroud of Concealment, Kidney Shot Icon Kidney Shot, Cheap Shot Icon Cheap Shot and Blind Icon Blind can come in handy in some situations, mainly Mythic+.
X Weaknesses
  • -Less forgiving to play than other Rogue Specs.
  • -Weak low target cleave damage (2-3 Targets).
  • -Damage outside of Shadow Dance Icon Shadow Dance and Symbols of Death Icon Symbols of Death windows is low.
  • -Due to Combo Point spenders reducing the cooldown of Shadow Dance Icon Shadow Dance, losing uptime can impact DPS.

Subtlety Rogue and Guide Changes for Patch 10.2

  • Subtlety, along with the entire Rogue class, saw significant changes in 10.2, which included redesigned Talent Trees, new Talents, and more. For a full breakdown of all Class Changes in Patch 10.2, check out our dedicated page below.

Leveling a Subtlety Rogue

If you are planning on leveling a Rogue, make sure to check out our Leveling page below for tips regarding talents and more.

Addons make it easier to track important buffs and debuffs, which is why we recommend that you get used to them while leveling, so check out our addons page below. You can also find a few useful macros there.


Basics of Subtlety Rogue Gameplay

Subtlety Rogue is a spec that deals with multiple different resources and a bunch of cooldowns, which may seem daunting to a new player trying to pick up the spec. Understanding the core concept of the specialization makes it quite a bit simpler, which is that the goal is to stack as many cooldowns as possible to deal massive burst damage.

Cast Shadow Blades Icon Shadow Blades, Symbols of Death Icon Symbols of Death and Vanish Icon Vanish on cooldown.

Maintain Slice and Dice Icon Slice and Dice and Rupture Icon Rupture, cast Backstab Icon Backstab, Shuriken Storm Icon Shuriken Storm or Shadowstrike Icon Shadowstrike to generate Combo Points. Spend Combo Points on Eviscerate Icon Eviscerate unless Slice and Dice or Rupture are about to fall off.

Outside of Shadow Dance, cast Shuriken Storm on 2+ targets. When Shadow Dance is active; cast it on 3+ targets.

If you are an absolute beginner to the spec but would like to learn the basic fundamentals of the class, I recommend looking through the Spell Summary first, as well as the Easy Mode page linked below.

If you have previous experience with Rogues, you can head straight to the Talents and Rotation pages to jump right into the more complicated information regarding rotation and talents.


How to Gear Up as a Subtlety Rogue

Since the game offers so many routes of gearing now, be it through Mythic+, PvP or raiding, it is very difficult to list the exact best-in-slot items, as these often change for every character depending on what gear they are already wearing. Keep in mind that the best way to find out upgrades is by simulating your character. However, we will have Best in Slot items listed below from the current raid tier.

Important part of the gearing process is to make sure that you try to aim for gear that has good stats for Subtlety, along with proper gems, enchants and other consumables, as these provide you with a decent amount of DPS. Check out our dedicated stats page, as well as our enchants and gems page, to find out what to use as Subtlety Rogue.


End-Game as a Subtlety Rogue

Once you feel like you have the basics down and are ready to take the step into end-game content, whether it is PvP, Mythic+, or Raiding, we have pages that are ready to tell you optimal talents, tips and tricks and more below.


Improving as a Subtlety Rogue

If you feel like your performance is subpar but do not really know why, giving the pages below a read might help you or answer some questions you have regarding Subtlety.



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