Subtlety Rogue DPS Spec, Builds, and Talents — Shadowlands Pre-Patch 9.0.1

Last updated on Oct 12, 2020 at 13:18 by Ashine 5 comments
General Information

On this page, you will find out the best talents for each tier for your Subtlety Rogue in World of Warcraft — Shadowlands Pre-Patch 9.0.1. We also have default talent lists for various types of content, such as raiding or Mythic+. If you play with Warmode on, we have your PvP talents covered as well.

If you were looking for WoW Classic content, please refer to our Classic DPS Rogue talents.

1.

Talent Choices for Subtlety Rogue

Level Choices
15 Weaponmaster Weaponmaster Premeditation Premeditation Gloomblade Gloomblade
25 Nightstalker Nightstalker Subterfuge Subterfuge Shadow Focus Shadow Focus
30 Vigor Vigor Deeper Stratagem Deeper Stratagem Marked for Death Marked for Death
35 Soothing Darkness ? Soothing Darkness Cheat Death Cheat Death Elusiveness Elusiveness
40 Shot in the Dark ? Shot in the Dark Night Terrors ? Night Terrors Prey on the Weak ? Prey on the Weak
45 Dark Shadow Dark Shadow Alacrity Alacrity Enveloping Shadows Enveloping Shadows
50 Master of Shadows Master of Shadows Secret Technique ? Secret Technique Shuriken Tornado Shuriken Tornado

Talents can be freely changed when out of combat and in a rested XP area (such as an inn or a capital city). Moreover, Tome of the Tranquil Mind Icon Tome of the Tranquil Mind and Codex of the Tranquil Mind Icon Codex of the Tranquil Mind can be used to temporarily allow players to change talents anywhere, as long as they are out of combat.

2.

Talent Cheat Sheets for Subtlety Rogue

While optimizing talents on a contextual basis is the highly recommended method of setting up your build, the talent builds listed below work great for specific purposes.

2.1.

Single-Target

The standard build for raiding for most encounters.

2.2.

AoE/Cleave

This is our recommended build for Mythic+ dungeons and encounters with a lot of targets.

2.3.

General Use

This build is an excellent starting point for questing and general purpose usage.

2.4.

Raiding

The suggested builds might differ based on current tiers bosses, so make sure to read the dedicated raiding page below.

2.5.

Mythic+

Due to dynamic nature of Mythic+, different affixes and dungeons can change our choice of talents. Check out the Mythic+ page below.

2.6.

How To Use Subtlety Rogue Talents

Subtlety Rogues have few talents that impact our rotation, so give the rotation page a read to see how conditionals change when picking up certain talents.

3.

Tier 1 (Level 15) Talents for Subtlety Rogue

Weaponmaster Weaponmaster Premeditation Premeditation Gloomblade Gloomblade

Tier 1 talents augment existing abilities with minor damage increases.

Weaponmaster Icon Weaponmaster and is the best option on this row for single-target.

Premeditation Icon Premeditation is the best option for AoE and cleave situations because you often will want to maintain Find Weakness up by casting Shadowstrike Icon Shadowstrike.

Gloomblade Icon Gloomblade is generally only used in PvP situations.

4.

Tier 2 (Level 25) Talents for Subtlety Rogue

Nightstalker Nightstalker Subterfuge Subterfuge Shadow Focus Shadow Focus

Tier 2 talents augment your Stealth Icon Stealth and Shadow Dance Icon Shadow Dance abilities to provide a damage increase.

Nightstalker Icon Nightstalker is our go-to option due to it simply being better than the other options in virtually any situation.

Shadow Focus Icon Shadow Focus makes the rotation smoother, along with making it easier to utilize every global cooldown during Shadow Dance Icon Shadow Dance.

Subterfuge Icon Subterfuge is a weaker than the other options for raid and dungeon purposes, but is a fine choice for questing.

5.

Tier 3 (Level 30) Talents for Subtlety Rogue

Vigor Vigor Deeper Stratagem Deeper Stratagem Marked for Death Marked for Death

Tier 3 talents augment your resources.

  • Vigor Icon Vigor increases your maximum Energy by 50 and increases Energy regeneration by 10%.
  • Deeper Stratagem Icon Deeper Stratagem increases maximum Combo Points to 6, allows finishing moves to consume 6 combo points, and increases the damage of finishing moves by 5%.
  • Marked for Death Icon Marked for Death marks a target and instantly generates 5 Combo Points. The cooldown is reset if the marked target dies.

Deeper Stratagem Icon Deeper Stratagem is the best option on single-target while also gaining increased value on multi-target. This is due to the increased resource generation on multi-target which lets us cast more finishers, making the 5% finisher increase component more valuable. It also makes Combo Point management easier and helps you not to waste them.

Marked for Death Icon Marked for Death is very close to Deeper Stratagem Icon Deeper Stratagem on single-target, but is quite a bit harder to use optimally.

Vigor Icon Vigor makes the spec more forgiving regarding mistakes, but is weaker than the other two options.

6.

Tier 4 (Level 35) Talents for Subtlety Rogue

Soothing Darkness ? Soothing Darkness Cheat Death Cheat Death Elusiveness Elusiveness

Tier 4 talents improve your personal survivability.

  • Soothing Darkness Icon Soothing Darkness allows you to regenerate 3% of your maximum life per second while Stealth Icon Stealth is active.
  • Elusiveness Icon Elusiveness causes Feint Icon Feint to also grant 30% reduced damage taken from all sources.
  • Cheat Death Icon Cheat Death causes fatal damage to instead reduce you to 7% of your maximum health and grant 85% reduced damage taken for 3 seconds. Cheat Death cannot save you from damage greater than double your maximum health. It has a 6-minute cooldown.

Cheat Death Icon Cheat Death is a good choice for players in a raid environment, as it is entirely passive and great for soaking raid mechanics when needed.

Elusiveness Icon Elusiveness is technically the best talent in most situations, but requires you to be extremely proficient with Feint Icon Feint usage and very aware of incoming damage. Generally, Cheat Death is best for learning encounters and soaking high damage mechanics, whereas Elusiveness Icon Elusiveness is great for sustained incoming damage, or soaking frequently occurring mechanics.

Soothing Darkness Icon Soothing Darkness is a useful talent for questing and world content, but has no use in a practical environment.

7.

Tier 5 (Level 40) Talents for Subtlety Rogue

Shot in the Dark ? Shot in the Dark Night Terrors ? Night Terrors Prey on the Weak ? Prey on the Weak

Tier 5 talents improve your crowd control utility.

Prey on the Weak Icon Prey on the Weak is generally the preferred choice here because of the damage boost it provides to your group when focusing the stunned target.

Night Terrors Icon Night Terrors can be useful for some situations where AoE slow is needed, but due to it only being 30% there are often classes that have better options when it comes to slowing targets.

Shot in the Dark Icon Shot in the Dark is a fine choice for outdoor content to preserve your Health due to the free stun.

8.

Tier 6 (Level 45) Talents for Subtlety Rogue

Dark Shadow Dark Shadow Alacrity Alacrity Enveloping Shadows Enveloping Shadows

Tier 6 talents involve potent build-defining passives.

Enveloping Shadows Icon Enveloping Shadows is the strongest option for single-target due to the sustained damage it offers and also because of the synergy it has with traits such as The First Dance Icon The First Dance.

Dark Shadow Icon Dark Shadow offers slightly more burst but is just worse for overall output than Enveloping Shadows.

Alacrity Icon Alacrity is worse than the other two options in virtually every situation.

9.

Tier 7 (Level 50) Talents for Subtlety Rogue

Master of Shadows Master of Shadows Secret Technique ? Secret Technique Shuriken Tornado Shuriken Tornado

Tier 7 talents focus on resource utility and powerful finishing moves.

  • Master of Shadows Icon Master of Shadows causes you to gain 25 Energy over 3 seconds when entering Stealth Icon Stealth or Shadow Dance Icon Shadow Dance.
  • Secret Technique Icon Secret Technique is potent finisher move that deals full damage to primary target and reduced damage to secondary targets. It has 45-second cooldown which is reduced by 1 second for every Combo Point you spend.
  • Shuriken Tornado Icon Shuriken Tornado causes you to automatically release a Shuriken Storm Icon Shuriken Storm every second for 4 seconds. It has 1-minute cooldown.

Master of Shadows Icon Master of Shadows is the best choice for single-target damage and it is a good option for newer and less experienced players.

Secret Technique Icon Secret Technique is currently the best option on situations with multiple targets.

Shuriken Tornado Icon Shuriken Tornado is highly situational because of how the talent functions. This talent is the best option to funnel single-target damage on AoE situations. However, due to how situational the talent is, it has very limited use.

10.

PvP Talents (War Mode)

In Battle for Azeroth, there will be the option to go into "War Mode". Enabling War Mode provides the following benefits:

  • PvP talents enabled in the outdoor world.
  • 10% increase in World Quest rewards at maximum level.
  • 15% more experience gained while leveling.
  • Earn Conquest Points which can reward gear every week.

With the benefits of enabling War Mode for leveling and PvE content, it is recommended to enable the feature to maximize your leveling and rewards at maximum level. However, you will make yourself available for open world PvP, and the possibility to be "ganked" while leveling or doing World Quests exists.

10.1.

Subtlety Rogue War Mode Talents

In this section we will rank the PvP talents best for leveling and doing solo / small group PvE content. Below is a ranking of both General PvP Talents and Subtlety Rogue-specific PvP talents.

10.1.1.
  1. Thief's Bargain Icon Thief's Bargain reduces the cooldown of your Vanish Icon Vanish by 45 seconds and reduces your maximum Health by 15%. While this talent does not provide any damage increase, the reduced cooldown on Vanish is great when you do not want to fight a pack of mobs.
  2. Cold Blood Icon Cold Blood causes your next Shadowstrike Icon Shadowstrike or Cheap Shot Icon Cheap Shot deal up to 10% of the target's total health in Shadow damage.
  3. Dagger in the Dark Icon Dagger in the Dark - Whenever Stealth is active, you apply a debuff to a nearby enemies that causes them to take additional 10% damage from your next Shadowstrike. Stacks up to 10 times. This is nothing special but still a slight damage boost.

Veil of Midnight Icon Veil of Midnight, Shadowy Duel Icon Shadowy Duel, Silhouette Icon Silhouette, Smoke Bomb Icon Smoke Bomb and Maneuverability Icon Maneuverability have limited use in PvE content in terms of increasing your damage in the open world. Honor Among Thieves Icon Honor Among Thieves can be used instead of Dagger in the Dark Icon Dagger in the Dark. Both are very negligible DPS gains so use whichever you prefer.

10.1.2.

Essences acquired from PvP

Patch 8.2 added a new Essence, Conflict and Strife Icon Conflict and Strife, which allows you to use Maneuverability Icon Maneuverability in PvE situations such as Raiding and Mythic. This talent is fairly useless, however the Strife Icon Strife is one of the best minor essences, check out the Essence page for more information on what Essences are the best.

11.

Changelog

  • 12 Oct. 2020: Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
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