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Subtlety Rogue DPS Spec, Builds, and Talents in Battle for Azeroth (BfA) 8.0.1

Last updated Yesterday at 12:25 by Ashine 19 comments

Table of Contents

General Information

On this page, we present the viable talent choices for Subtlety Rogues in World of Warcraft Battle for Azeroth 8.0.1. We detail what each of the talents do and in which situations they should be taken.

The other pages of our Subtlety Rogue guide can be accessed from the table of contents on the right.

About Our Author

This guide has been written by Ashine, European Champion of the second Mythic Dungeon Invitational and a member of two top 60 guilds, Wiping as Intended and Group Therapy. He is regarded as one of the top Subtlety Rogues in the world and contributes a fair bit to the spec's theorycrafting. You can watch him play on Twitch.

1. Talent Choices for Subtlety Rogue

Level Choices
15 Weaponmaster Weaponmaster Find Weakness Find Weakness Gloomblade Gloomblade
30 Nightstalker Nightstalker Subterfuge Subterfuge Shadow Focus Shadow Focus
45 Vigor Vigor Deeper Stratagem ? Deeper Stratagem Marked for Death Marked for Death
60 Soothing Darkness ? Soothing Darkness Cheat Death Cheat Death Elusiveness Elusiveness
75 Shot in the Dark ? Shot in the Dark Night Terrors ? Night Terrors Prey on the Weak ? Prey on the Weak
90 Dark Shadow Dark Shadow Alacrity Alacrity Enveloping Shadows Enveloping Shadows
100 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 (Raiding)

2.2. Multi-Target (Dungeons)

2.3. General Use

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

3. Tier 1 (Level 15) Talents for Subtlety Rogue

Weaponmaster Weaponmaster Find Weakness Find Weakness Gloomblade Gloomblade

Tier 1 talents augment existing abilities with minor damage increases.

Find Weakness Icon Find Weakness is the best option with the single-target setup because we are able to maintain a very high uptime on the debuff.

Weaponmaster Icon Weaponmaster performs on a similar level to, if not better than Find Weakness Icon Find Weakness when you are using the multi-target setup. This is because the multi-target setup revolves more around burst windows than sustained damage which leads to low uptime on the Find Weakness debuff. Because the talents are so close to each other, it mainly comes down to personal preference.

Gloomblade Icon Gloomblade is generally only used in PvP situations.

4. Tier 2 (Level 30) 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.

Shadow Focus Icon Shadow Focus is our go-to option due to it simply being better than the other options in virtually any situation. It makes the rotation smoother, along with making it easier to utilize every global cooldown during Shadow Dance Icon Shadow Dance.

Nightstalker Icon Nightstalker is good option for burst damage, but due to us having very limited Energy in Battle for Azeroth, it performs worse than Shadow Focus Icon Shadow Focus in most scenarios.

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 45) 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 choice on multi-target situations. 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 the best talent for pure single-target.

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

6. Tier 4 (Level 60) 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 75) 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 90) 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 because of the synergy it has with talents such as Find Weakness Icon Find Weakness.

Dark Shadow Icon Dark Shadow offers unparalleled burst and is an extremely strong option in cleave situations due to having good synergy with Secret Technique Icon Secret Technique.

Alacrity Icon Alacrity is a good option for sustained AoE but will generally fall behind Dark Shadow Icon Dark Shadow even in said situations.

9. Tier 7 (Level 100) 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 and is not too far behind Master of Shadows Icon Master of Shadows on single-target.

Shuriken Tornado Icon Shuriken Tornado is highly situational because of how the talent functions. This talent does virtually nothing on single-target and requires 5+ targets to perform optimally, and even then it is still worse than the other options on this row.

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. General PvP Talents

  1. Relentless Icon Relentless is a passive ability but it does not automatically remove crowd control abilities but instead reduces the duration.
  2. Gladiator's Medallion Icon Gladiator's Medallion is an on-use ability that removes all movement-impairing effects and all loss of control effects.
  3. Adaptation Icon Adaptation is likely your most passive choice since it will automatically remove loss of control effects over 5 seconds. It is recommended for leveling to take this PvP talent.

10.1.2. Recommended Subtlety Rogue PvP Talents

  1. Phantom Assassin Icon Phantom Assassin increases your Critical Strike chance by 35% while Stealth Icon Stealth or Shadow Dance Icon Shadow Dance is active. This talent is great in combination with Enveloping Shadows Icon Enveloping Shadows.
  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. Honor Among Thieves Icon Honor Among Thieves causes your and your party members' Critical Strikes to grant you a Combo Point; this effect can only occur once every 2 seconds.

Veil of Midnight Icon Veil of Midnight, Thief's Bargain Icon Thief's Bargain, Shadowy Duel Icon Shadowy Duel, Silhouette Icon Silhouette, Smoke Bomb Icon Smoke Bomb, Maneuverability Icon Maneuverability, and Shiv Icon Shiv have limited use in PvE content in terms of increasing your damage in the open world. Death from Above Icon Death from Above can be a good option instead of Honor Among Thieves Icon Honor Among Thieves to burst down high health enemies such as Elites.

11. ChangeLog

  • 18 Aug. 2018: Updated descriptions on couple of talents.
  • 13 Aug. 2018: Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 18 Jul. 2018: Fixed the Talent table and few of the choices.
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