so I finally got the time (and motivation) to work on the Dragon Soul thread (will be updated soon!) again but quickly noticed that the Spine part would be rather long. Considering this is the hardest progress fight in Dragon Soul I think it wouldn't hurt to just make a new thread for this one. I hope this will help some rogues who are maybe not very used to the Sub spec and need to play it for Spine.
Spec & Glyphs
You'll notice some differences in the spec/glyphs to the standard sub specs. I'll explain all of them here.
- 1/3 Precision & 3/3 Coup de Grace: You will be having more hit than usual in this encounter and should be above 8% with only one point in Precision. The reason for this will be explained later in the Gear part. Please note that you only should do this if you get to 8% Hit while still reforging hit away at every possible item except for expertise items. Else, just play with 2/3 Precision and 2/3 GdC. Also note this is only for H: Spine and you'll likely never spec out of 2/3 Precision for other encounters.
- 2/2 Initiative, 1/3 Enveloping Shadows & 0/2 Serrated Blades: You won't rupture the Tendons ever with only a 19s dps duration and 100% Find Weakness uptime. 2/2 Initiative will allow for 100% 4pt Eviscerates after 1 Ambush. More about this in the Gameplay section. Enveloping Shadows will help a little with the AoE damage in this encounter and is the only real alternative left for your remaining point.
- Glyph of Shadow Dance/Slice & Dice over Glyph of Hemorrhage: Shadow Dance is obviously a rather good choice for burst damage. Slice and Dice is actually not absolutely needed for the Tendon DPS if you always pull it off perfectly. However I'd only pick up Hemorrhage if you have noone else in the raid providing a (100% secure) bleed effect within the first global cooldowns.
- Major Glyphs: The only neccessary one is Feint obviously while Cloak of Shadows may negate some physical damage depending on RNG. The reasoning for no Tricks Glyph is that you will use Tricks shortly prior to your actual DPS time and the 5% more damage therefore are worth more. More to that in the Gameplay section.
Kiroptyric Sigil - Get it and love it. Cataclysmic Gladiator's Badge of Conquest is a very decent alternative trinket if you didn't save up enough Valor Points.
The secondary trinket should most likely be the Wrath of Unchaining and not any kind of proc trinket (unless you can garantuee a Vial of Shadows proc due to its low ICD - requires good ICD tracking though).
For reforging there is one little change to normal sub reforges. Tendons cannot dodge so reforging off expertise should be #1 priority on those items. This tends to somewhat push your hit/mastery numbers up (which allows to drop the one point in Precision with current raid gear).
It's not as hard as one might think. This guide prioritizes Tendon DPS which you might have already figured looking at the spec. While Amalgamation DPS is important at 2 parts of the encounter you usually have enough DPS for them if you can get the Tendons down in time. You run dual Wound Poison for this very reason.
Pretty much normal sub rotation without rupture. Not much to say about them. DPS stops for you should be at around 1,5m of its health considering you have no dots but the T12 2pc. This depends on your guild's strategy though. You can pull off safe Shadow Dances for pretty much every Amalgamation if your guild's strategy requires 2 minutes between every burn phase. Be aware to not use other cooldowns though (trinket, racial, etc.) which you may have macro'd into your Shadow Dance.
You need to have Recuperate and Slice & Dice up before this DPS phase starts. The prefered way of doing this is:
Have 5 combo points ready before the Amalgamation is dragged into the blood. Use Recuperate at approx. 700k health shortly before the cast is starting. Then get 5 combo points using Hemorrhage (lower energy cost + add might turn towards the raid when tank is walking away) and HaT. Use Slice & Dice in the last second of the cast (crucial to cast it BEFORE the amalgation explodes).
Use tricks on the way towards the Tendon (will post later why you're not in the front already) and Vanish.
Spam the following macro with no target selected. For it to work you need to slightly stand on the side of the Tendon you want to burn (e.g. the left middle area or the right middle area). Else it might try to target the Tendon which is still hidden and bug out.
Eviscerate obviously after that and then use Shadow Dance. 2/2 Initiative will grant you 4cps after every Ambush which is why you should do 4cp Eviscerates. But quite honestly, using 1x Ambush with 2/2 Initiative or 2x Ambush with 0/2 Initiative is such a small difference that RNG plays a much bigger factor in your DPS. There was (almost) no difference to be seen during our attempts/testing. During Shadow Dance you should use Shadowstep but with caution! You need to get out of the plate zone within 3 seconds or you will be teleported out. Simply backpedal a little to not lose any DPS during this time. After Shadow Dance you should spam Backstab and Eviscerate at 5cps again.
/targetexact Burning Tendons
/cast [target=target, exists] Premeditation
/cast [target=target, exists] Ambush
(source: Noxe of <Method>)
So, for this to work exactly the same every time there needs to be a 2 minute time frame between every Tendon. Most guilds already delay the Tendon burns for the 2 minute mark anyway because there's a huge difference in DPS if everyone has the 2 minute cooldowns up. If your guild does not wait for the 2 minute mark (strongly advise against it), use Preparation to have Vanish ready for the 1-2, 2-2 and 3-2 tendon.
If your guild waits for the 2 minute mark, use Preparation and Vanish/Shadowstep after Shadow Dance for the 1-2, 2-2 and 3-2 tendons to have the 10% damage buff of your Subtlety passive for another few seconds. Don't use it for the first Tendon of each plate because Vanish won't be ready for the second ones again.
Other stuff to do besides DPS:
- Feint pretty much on cooldown. There's a lot of blood dying during the encounter which deals AoE damage. Feint HAS to be ready though when the Amalgamation gets dragged into the blood. It also reduces Grasping Tendrils damage during Barrel Rolls.
- Use Cloak of Shadows as soon as the Nuclear Blast cast has started. The final nuke works also with cloak miss and not only with cloak immune. This way you take less overall damage.
- Stand with your raid during the Nuclear Blast. While you survive the big explosion due to cloak obviously, you help your raid out by standing in the Spirit Link Totem and taking no damage. There is enough time to run back after the explosion.
- Use your healthstone! If you haven't needed it during any of the 2 last Barrel Rolls, use it at the very last Nuclear Blast while standing in the Spirit Link Totem.
So, while tanks/healers also have hard jobs, this encounter relies on a lot of DPS for the Tendon burns. Sub Rogues are one of the 3 best classes for this job (next to legendary Arcane Mages and very geared Retribution Paladins) so make sure not to slack on this encounter because this is where you have to shine.