Subtlety Rogue DPS Spell Summary — Battle for Azeroth (BfA) 8.3

Last updated on Jan 13, 2020 at 19:57 by Ashine 73 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 — Battle for Azeroth (BfA) 8.3.

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.


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.

Nightblade Icon Nightblade is a finishing move that applies a damage over time effect that deals Shadow damage, and lasts longer per Combo Point consumed. It also makes the target take 15% more damage from you. 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 deals 50% increased damage if you are in Stealth Icon Stealth or Shadow Dance Icon Shadow Dance. 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.


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.


Important Procs

Deepening Shadows Icon Deepening Shadows causes your finishers to reduce the cooldown of Shadow Dance Icon Shadow Dance by 1.5 seconds per Combo Point spent.

Shadow Techniques Icon Shadow Techniques grants your auto attacks a chance to generate a Combo Point and grant 8 Energy.

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


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 2 charges with a 60-second recharge time. 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.



  • 13 Jan. 2020: This page has been reviewed for Patch 8.3 and no changes are necessary.
  • 24 Jun. 2019: This page has been reviewed for the release of Patch 8.2 and no changes are necessary.
  • 15 Apr. 2019: This page has been reviewed for Crucible of Storms and no changes are necessary.
  • 10 Dec. 2018: This page has been reviewed for Patch 8.1 and no changes are necessary.
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