Subtlety Rogue DPS Spell Summary — Shadowlands Pre-Patch 9.0.1

Last updated on Oct 12, 2020 at 13:18 by Ashine 6 comments
General Information

On this page, we present you with all spells and procs that you need to understand as a Subtlety Rogue in World of Warcraft — Shadowlands Pre-Patch 9.0.1.

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


Subtlety Rogue Spell Summary

If you are new to Subtlety, it is recommended you read this before proceeding! In this section we will discuss what abilities you have, what they are used for within the specialization, and how they interact with important cooldowns. If you have played this spec before or have already achieved a level of comfort playing this spec in a practical environment, it is recommended you skip this section and move on to the rest of the guide.


Main Resources for Subtlety Rogue

Energy is the main resource of Subtlety Rogues. Energy is generated passively, the rate of which can be increased by Haste, active abilities, talents, and procs.

Combo Points are another primary resource utilized by Subtlety Rogues. Some of your abilities generate Combo Points, while finishing moves spend them, dealing increased damage per Combo Point.

Cooldowns such as Shadow Dance Icon Shadow Dance and Vanish Icon Vanish also function as rotational "resources" for Subtlety, as they enable you to use unique abilities that can only be activated in Stealth Icon Stealth. Keeping careful track of these abilities, which will be discussed at greater length later in the guide, is just as important as managing your Energy and Combo Points.


Unlocking Abilities

This page lists spells that are used in our rotation, if you are interested in finding out more detailed information such as when you unlock these spells, make sure to check out the Rogue leveling page.


Basic Abilities for Subtlety Rogue


Standard Abilities

These abilities are available no matter what talents you chose, and form the bread and butter of this specialization.

Backstab Icon Backstab is your main filler and Combo Point generator. It generates a single Combo Point per cast and deals 20% extra damage if you are behind your target.

Eviscerate Icon Eviscerate is your main finisher, and deals increased damage per Combo Point consumed.

Rupture Icon Rupture is a finishing move that applies a damage over time effect that deals Physical damage, and lasts longer per Combo Point consumed. This should be maintained on your primary target at all times.

Shuriken Storm Icon Shuriken Storm deals damage to all targets within 10 yards, and generates 1 Combo Point per enemy hit. Shuriken Storm critical strikes apply Find Weakness Icon Find Weakness. You should use this as your primary Combo Point generator on 2 or more targets, and only on 3 or more targets in Shadow Dance.

Slice and Dice Icon Slice and Dice is a finishing move that grants you 50% increased attack speed and lasts longer per Combo Point spent. Maintain Slice and Dice at all times.


Stealth Exclusive Abilities

Some of your abilities can only be used in Stealth Icon Stealth, or while your Shadow Dance Icon Shadow Dance is active.

Shadowstrike Icon Shadowstrike is your main filler when Shadow Dance Icon Shadow Dance is active. Shadowstrike generates 2 Combo Points.

You should still spend Combo Points if you cap while Shadow Dance Icon Shadow Dance is active. Eviscerate Icon Eviscerate is usable at all times.

To find out how these abilities interact with each other in our rotation, visit the rotation page below.


Important Procs

Deepening Shadows Icon Deepening Shadows causes your finishers to reduce the cooldown of Shadow Dance Icon Shadow Dance by 1 seconds per Combo Point spent.

Shadow Techniques Icon Shadow Techniques grants your successful auto attacks to have a 50% chance on your fourth and 100% of the fifth to proc Shadow Techniques. After it procs, the cycle starts over from 0.

Relentless Strikes Icon Relentless Strikes guarantees an Energy refund of 6 Energy per Combo Point spent on finishers.



Instant Poison Icon Instant Poison should be applied at all times along with one of the non-lethal Numbing Poison Icon Numbing Poison or Crippling Poison Icon Crippling Poison depending on which one is the most useful for you.


DPS Cooldowns for Subtlety Rogue

Shadow Dance Icon Shadow Dance is your main DPS cooldown. It allows you to shift into a state of Stealth Icon Stealth, accessing unique abilities. It has 1 charge (or 2 when talented into Enveloping Shadows Icon Enveloping Shadows) with a 60-second recharge time which is reduced by the amount of Combo Points you spend. This ability is used strategically with Symbols of Death Icon Symbols of Death to maximize damage output. You should keep careful track of your Energy and Combo Points before entering Shadow Dance so you can maximize the short time available to you.

Symbols of Death Icon Symbols of Death generates 40 Energy and increases damage done by 15% for 10 seconds, on a 30-second cooldown. This is one of our primary cooldowns, and we like to pair it with a Shadow Dance Icon Shadow Dance when possible.

Shadow Blades Icon Shadow Blades is a powerful cooldown that causes your Combo Point-generating abilities to generate 1 additional Combo Point and deal 50 % additional damage as Shadow. This lasts for 20 seconds, and has a lengthy 3-minute cooldown. This ability does not need to be thought about too much and can safely be used on cooldown.

Vanish Icon Vanish instantly puts you in Stealth Icon Stealth. This is essentially a poor man's Shadow Dance Icon Shadow Dance and can be used to get an extra Shadowstrike Icon Shadowstrike.


Talented DPS Abilities of Subtlety Rogue

Gloomblade Icon Gloomblade replaces Backstab Icon Backstab. It does shadow damage which means it bypasses armor, resulting in more DPS.

Marked for Death Icon Marked for Death marks your current target, generating 5 Combo Points. If the target dies while it has the debuff, the cooldown is reset. 30-second cooldown.

Secret Technique Icon Secret Technique is a Combo Point finisher that deals AoE damage. It has 45-second cooldown and gets reduced by 1 second for every Combo Point you spend.

Shuriken Tornado Icon Shuriken Tornado causes you to automatically cast Shuriken Storm Icon Shuriken Storm every second for the next 4 seconds. 1-minute cooldown.



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