Rogue Beginner PvP Guide - Common questions, mistakes and points of confusion
This guide will be continually updated throughout Mists of Pandaria, and feedback is greatly appreciated to make it better! Please leave comments with suggestions and your own rogue tips so that everyone can benefit from it! Feel free to send me a private message if you have suggestions or questions!
01 - Which spec to play?
02 - Which stats do I pick?
03 - Which glyphs do I take?
04 - How do I open up on someone?
05 - What do I do when the opener fails?
06 - What are Diminishing Returns?
07 - How do I gem my gear?
08 - What’s the most important thing about rogue PvP?
09 - What are my tasks in battlegrounds?
10 - Why is my damage so low?
11 - Which poisons to pick?
12 - Which talents do I pick?
13 - How do I communicate as a rogue?
14 - Do I need macros, and what are some good ones?
15 - Burst Macro
16 - How do I use Smoke Bomb?
17 - Hemorrhage or Backstab?
18 - My crowd control is broken in battlegrounds, what do I do?
19 - Tips and tricks
01 - Which spec do I play?
In Mists of Pandaria all the 3 specs are viable, with some being more viable than others, to paraphrase George Orwell’s “Animal Farm”. In battlegrounds and World PvP you can get away with playing both Assassination and Combat - in some circumstances they may even best Subtlety.
But, for Arenas above a certain rating, Subtlety will almost always outshine the two others simply because of the immense utility - both offensively and defensively - that Shadow Dance and its 60 second cooldown brings. Both Ass. and Combat bring potent cooldowns to the table, but their long cooldowns make them a fair bit more risky than Shadow Dance. If you get crowd controlled when you’ve popped Adrenaline Rush, it’ll be 3 minutes until you have some proper burst again. If on the other hand you’re controlled while dancing, the cooldown will be at 50 seconds by the time the control on you ends. Also noteworthy is that it lines up perfectly with trinket/engineering gloves .
This guide will mainly deal with Subtlety PvP. If any readers feel like they can contribute specific tips and tricks for Assassination and Combat, that would be very much welcome!
02 - Which stats do I want on my gear?
You want Mastery, and Critical Strike. Mastery makes your finisher moves stronger, and critical strike lets you do double damage more often. Haste is a good PvE stat which lets you attack faster with your weapons, but in PvP you’ll probably not have enough uptime on your targets outside of shadow dance for it to matter much.
You also want to get hit to 3% so that your special attacks don't miss. There's some debate on the value of Expertise, but generally people seem to go for 3%.
03 - Which glyphs do I use?
This varies a fair bit, but the Glyph of Cheap Shot increasing the stun with 1 second is a safe bet, same with the Glyph of Garrote increasing the silence duration. Glyph of Blind removing all damage over time effects from the target when you blind is also very strong. Situationally Cloak of Shadows glyph can be useful, and Glyph of Feint increasing its duration coupled with the Elusiveness talent is very useful.
If you’re playing around with 1 versus 2 arena or World PvP the Glyph of Stealth reducing the cooldown of Stealth to 2 seconds deserves honorable mention - getting a lot of restealths can be key to victory in these circumstances.
For minors, you’re mostly free to pick as you want, but Glyph of Poisons reducing their application time is pretty close to mandatory. Sprinting on water and increasing fall height are both useful.
04 - How do I open?
An opener will usually go something like this:
- Slice and Dice (for the energy regen)
- Garrote (for the Sanguinary Vein 20% damage buff, even on non-casters)
- Cheap Shot as Subterfuge is coming to an end.
Getting Slice and Dice up before you enter combat is important, since it will fuel your energy and keep your burst going. It’s important to remember that this 2 combo point SnD will be fairly short, so at some point in the near future you will need to get it up again. Also wait for your energy to be at full again before Garroting. A very common error new rogues make is to let SnD fall and completely lose momentum without realizing why.
05 - What do I do when my opener goes wrong?
Don’t panic! Try to stay cool, and figure out what the opponent is going to do. Predicting the opponents next move is 80% of good PvP.
Lets say you open up with a Cheap Shot, and your target immediately trinkets it. This is a good thing, even though it has ruined your opening burst. Her trinket is down, and you know that in the future, she’ll have to sit a full Blind, allowing you to restealth and get a clean opener again without using a Vanish.
What most importantly needs to happen when someone trinkets something you didn’t think they would, is to figure out what they will do to you, and how you will respond to that. If a warrior trinkets early, you need to expect one of two things (atleast): He will either Shockwave you and go ham, or he will Fear you and probably gain some distance so that he can Charge you into a stun and start going ham. A quick response to his actions can decide whether you live or die.
With Preparation now a baseline ability, your ability to reset the fight has doubled. You can no longer double cloak, but you can double Vanish, which lets you breathe alot easier. If all else fails you can Vanish and Recuperate/eat up to full health, and wait out your stun/silence diminishing returns before going again.
06 - What are Diminishing Returns (DR)?
Diminishing Returns is a way for the WoW developers to control how long you can control someone. With each Stun a target is affected by, their effectiveness halves. Say you Cheap Shot someone for 4 seconds, and then as this stun ends you Cheap Shot them again. This second Cheap Shot will only last 2 seconds, since it’s on DR - it’s effectiveness is reduced. This way a target can’t be stunlocked to death anymore - and that’s a good thing. For a full list of DRs, go here: http://www.wowwiki.com/Diminishing_returns
07 - How do I gem in Mists of Pandaria?
You gem PvP Resillience. Next! It’s really that simple. If you only do battlegrounds, you may get away with gemming PvP Power and/or Agility, but for Arenas and Rated BGs you will want to stack as much resillience as you can. Point of point it is better than any other stat you can get, and helps you more than hitting harder. Can’t hit someone when you’re dead on the ground. For a very detailed and good work on resillience, go here: http://www.arenajunkies.com/topic/22...ilience-guide/
08 - What’s most important as a PvP Rogue?
Looking at target debuffs, buffs and your own buffs and debuffs. Your eyes need to be on the targets buff/debuff listing 50% of the time, and on your focus target (in Arena) the other 50% of the time. Now and then you need to check your own buff listings so you know when your SnD and possibly Recuperate are running out. Sometimes you can look at the middle of the screen to verify that you’re still hitting someone when pressing keys.
Practicing when to be offensive, when to be defensive, and which targets to pick to make the biggest impact is very important!
09 - What’s my task in a battleground?
Capture the flag type BGs: You can play both defense and offense, but offense will be your strong suit, since nobody can actually see that you’re heading for the enemy flag carrier. But - always use your brain! Rogues have unmatched peeling power, and can save a friendly flag carrier from multiple foes. With the new talents in MoP, rogues can cheap shot and garrote multiple enemies before becoming visible.
Offensively you can do two things - you can kill the EFC (Enemy Flag Carrier) herself, or you can focus on her healers so that others may drop the EFC while the healers are busy saving themselves. If the flag is travelling across the map, you can contribute enormously simply by slowing down and locking down the healer following the enemy flag carrier. You can easily keep two healers slowed and stunned for a long time. That won’t help if none of your team mates are actually assisting you in killing the flag carrier, but that’s life sometimes. Don't tunnel vision and think "I NEED TO KILL SOMEONE" - if you can single handedly keep 2 players out of the game for 20-30 seconds, you've had a major impact.
Hold a base type BGs: Mainly you will use your offensive powers to drop healers. If there are none, kill some other guys. You CAN sneak around trying to ninja bases, but that’s a gamble and may actually just keep you out of the game more than contributing to the team victory. If your ninjaing isn’t doing anything, your team is basically just playing one man down. This can be a viable strategy when you have terribad gear and can’t kill anyone anyway, but if your gear is good you’re probably contributing more by killing enemy players!
10 - Why is my damage so low?
- In the heat of the battle, you let Slice and Dice fall off.
- You are spamming your keys, resulting in always being energy starved and not being able to set up a proper chain of events leading to Big Numbers.
- You aren’t watching your targets buffs, therefore not noticing that he has Shield Wall, Rallying Cry and a 10 million Spirit Shell on him.
- You let Slice and Dice fall off. Yeah, you did! Don’t try to say you didn’t, I saw it!
11 - Which poisons do I use?
For Lethal Poison you will 8 times out of 10 go for Wound Poison in a serious PvP setting. You need that healing debuff to keep pressure up. The other 2 times, when you’re not fighting a healer/class that heals alot, you can go with Deadly Poison for its raw damage. I often go with Deadly in random battlegrounds.
For Non-Lethal Poison, it’s a choice between Mind-Numbing, which is extremely strong against casters/healers, and Paralytic if you’ve talented it. Crippling Poison is covered by the rogue 2 set bonus, applying it when your other non-lethal poison is applied. If you’re up against a caster heavy team, or know you’ll be focusing on healers in a BG, go with Mind Numbing.
Paralytic Poison is quite strong too, in that its shiv effect is a 4 second root, and it will give you a stun that does NOT share Diminishing Returns with your Cheap Shot/Kidney Shot. It’s uncontrollable, but it will often screw an opponent up. One negative effect of using Paralytic is that it only has a 20% chance to proc, which also lowers the proc rate of your Crippling Poison so that you can’t be reasonably sure you’ll get it up on your target quickly.
12 - Which talents do I get?
Subterfuge. It lets you use your stealth abilities for 3 seconds after you’ve entered combat, which is - mildly put - HUGE. It gives your offensive openers a lot more strength and flexibility, but it also gives you more options if you’re accidentally broken out of stealth by something.
The other two options aren’t a viable choice for Subtlety, and most likely won’t be competitive for the other specs either.
Deadly Throw can be an excellent choice against caster teams/healers, especially when paired with the Tier 6 talent Shuriken Toss. Even without Shuriken Toss it can be strong against casters., interrupting from range.
Nerve Strike is very strong for helping your team mates. Since you get to use more than one stealth ability each time you open, Cheap Shotting several DPS and thereby decreasing their damage done by 50% for 6 seconds after the CS ends is extremely strong.That’s a 4 (5 glyphed) second stun coupled with 6 seconds of 50% lower damage. If anyone claims that’s bad, they’re trying to dupe you. It also lowers healing done by 10% after coming out of the stun, which is also very useful.
Combat Readiness is the rogue Shield Wall against melee. It will offer you 50% damage reduction after stacking to 5, basically forcing whoever is on you to waste damage by attacking you, or switch targets. Useless against casters. A very viable choice if you’re going up against a hard hitting melee class.
Cheat Death, in my opinion, is not a good talent. The utility it offers comes too late and too close to your death, and offers too little. When I see a Cheat Death proc in a battleground, I simply smile and kill him anyway. And that’s what’s going to happen to you too.
Leeching Poison is a PvE talent for a constant stream of little healing that over the course of a raid fight will add up. In PvP it’s too little to matter, since burst is king. You proccing a 1700 heal won’t really help when the warrior just got real and mortal striked you for 80k.
Elusiveness is very strong. 30% damage reduction for 5 seconds (7 when glyphed), costing only 20 energy? Yes please. But don’t spam this! Spamming it versus knowing when to use it will bring you from a pretty bad rogue to a decent one! Example: When a mage roots you and you know he has Deep Freeze up, and you have no outs - Feint! Having 30% damage reduction up during a Deep Freeze can be the difference between life and death.
Cloak and Dagger, the new 5.2 talent, is both very strong and very, very fun. It lets you teleport to your target each time you Ambush, Cheap Shot or Garrote. Coupled with Shadow Dance and/or Subterfuge, it can be a tool of extreme offensive power, and also of surprising and entertaining defensive power, in that you can literally bounce across half the map by teleporting to various enemies trying to get away from someone, only limited by your energy and distance between targets.
During Shadow Dance and Subterfuge the rogue is virtually unkitable. A mage blinking away matters not in the least, druids using Displacer Beast matters not at all. Disengage is the same.
Shadowstep is the rogue mainstay, but in Mists of Pandaria you can also Shadowstep to friendly targets, making it a very good tool to help protect your team mates. Perfect for stepping to your healer to eat a hunter trap, or to peel someone attacking him.
Burst of Speed has been changed with 5.2. It’s energy cost has been lowered to 30, and it no longer breaks roots, only clears slows. It is probably not strong enough for serious PvP, but it’s utility for getting places fast is unmatched. Sadly it won’t help you against roots, which are what keeps rogues most at bay currently.
Prey on the Weak is a good talent for battlegrounds/bursty builds. May even be quite good for Arena, depending on your team. 10% increased damage to the target you have stunned can be huge.
Paralytic Poison has lots of utility. When Shiv’d it roots the target for 4 seconds, and upon stacking it up 5 times on your target, she is stunned for 4 seconds, not diminshed by your other stuns.
Dirty Tricks takes the energy cost off your Gouge, and neither it or Blind will break from your own damage over time effects - though they will still break by damage done by others. This really diminishes the talent, in my opinion. Might be a good talent for solo play, but in a group setting Prey on the Weak or Paralytic is stronger.
Shuriken Toss is strong. Very strong. So strong that it will likely get nerfed in the future. It does very good damage, and lets you build combo points faster than you can use them. Coupled with Deadly Throw it will make you a casters absolutely worst nightmare. It alleviates the pain of being kited alot, and lets you do dangerous damage even at range. Probably the best choice for serious PvP.
Marked for Death is equally fantastic. It is extremely potent for burst, and a clear winner for battlegrounds in my opinion. With it resetting each time your kill target dies, you can keep up high pressure all the time. It’s most useful for double Eviscerates during Find Weakness, but also for Kidney Shotting someone without having to Redirect first.
Anticipation is very good both for PvP and PvE, but with the new talents mentioned before, it’s overshadowed. It lets you build up two full sets of combo points for big burst, but MfD arguably affords you the same, but in a more direct way.
Random Battlegrounds, World PvP:
Subterfuge, Nerve Strike, Elusiveness, Cloak and Dagger, Prey on the Weak, Marked for Death - this build lets you do strong burst in the opener, and gives you the ability to teleport on your target during your opener and your dance.
Arena, non-caster heavy:
Subterfuge, Nerve Strike/Combat Readiness (if you think they’ll go on you), Elusiveness, Shadowstep, Paralytic Poison, Shuriken Toss - general utility build picking up Shuriken Toss, but not Deadly Throw. Will work for most situations.
Arena, caster heavy:
Subterfuge, Deadly Throw, Elusiveness, CnD, Prey on the Weak (because you’ll be using Mind Numbing), Shuriken Toss - this build lets you do damage from range, and interrupt from range.
Usually against hunters you’ll want to use Shadowstep, unless you play with a Shadow Priest (for mass dispelling traps) or a Ret paladin who can use Hand of Sacrifice to get the traps off the healer.
13 - How do I communicate with my team mates?
Tell them everything that happens to you. Say stuff like “I’m in a full Shockwave” even if you’re 98% sure they saw that you got stunned. Tell them what you’re going to do: “I’m going to Blind the shaman in 5 seconds, don’t break it!” or “I have no more defensives, I need to bail out of here” - “20 seconds till Cloak of Shadows is off CD, need to be careful”
Demand that they do the same with you. It’s really important that you know what your teammates can and can not do. If they just blew their big offensive CDs and got controlled on them, you need to know that. If they are going to control someone, you need to know that so you don’t waste something trying to do the same. And remember: if your team mate asks for help, give it. Don’t take time to “just do a few more specials” or “just get a Rupture up on him first” - when people ask for help there is usually a good reason for it!
Communicate in random battlegrounds too. You don’t need to type a doctors thesis every time, but say stuff like “I’m heading for enemy flag carrier (EFC), come help me” or “I’m taking the flag out of their tunnel, I need help”. Even if people don’t reply, they usually read what you say and sometimes, when the stars align, act on it. Don’t call others noobs or idiots, it just reflects badly on you as a person and player.
14 - Do I have to use macros?
You don’t have to, but having atleast some will make you a better rogue. For arena, you need a way to quickly change your focus targets around:
- /focus arena1
- /focus arena2
- /focus arena3
Many rogues do well without macros, and many do well by using a lot of them.Having a reliable way to:
- /cast [@focus] Blind - Casting Blind onto your focus target
- /cast [@focus] Sap - Casting Sap onto your focus target
- /cast [@focus] Gouge - Casting Gouge onto your focus target
A Redirect + Kidney Shot onto focus target can also be quite useful:
- /castsequence [@focus,harm] Redirect, Kidney Shot
You also want a sap macro you can spam to try to find other stealthed players. An example of this:
- /cleartarget [stance:1/2/3]
- /targetenemyplayer [stance:1/2/3]
- /cast [stance:1/2/3,harm,nodead] Sap
With the new Marked for Death talent, there are a few macros that come in handy (credit to Susejftw here):
For MfD + Kidney Shot:
- /castsequence [nomod] reset=20 Marked for Death, Kidney Shot
For Eviscerate, MfD and a new Eviscerate:
- /castsequence [nomod] reset=6 Eviscerate, Marked for Death, Eviscerate
This macro will cast Eviscerate, pop Marked for Death to instantly generate 5 combo points on the target again, and Eviscerate again. Very strong burst.
15 - What’s a good rogue burst macro?
It’s fairly straight forward:
- /cast Shadow Dance
- /cast Shadow Blades
- /use <PvP trinket with on use effect>
There is a lot of debate about using Shadow Blades coupled with Shadow Dance. Technically it is NOT optimal, but it currently provides so much burst damage that it outshines the more technical play by delaying its use.
Don’t try to make huge macros where you can just press one button for 15 seconds to try to kill someone. Learn to use your abilities separately, it will make you stronger in the long run. PvP is fluid, it’s very unlikely that one sequence of abilities will work in all situations.
16 - When do I use Smoke Bomb?
- When you think you are going to kill the guy inside it and want to prevent his team mates casting beneficial spells on him.
- When you think you can put out enough pressure before the target can be saved to put them on the backburner.
- When your team mate is taking heavy damage (Smoke Bomb now offers 20% reduced damage for friendlies inside it).
- Lastly you can use it to stop a ranged dealing damage to you, completely negating their pressure and even letting you drop combat and restealth if you’re lucky.
17 - Hemorrhage or Backstab?
Hemo costs less energy, and can be used without having to be behind your target. Usually you’ll use Hemo to build combo points outside of kill opportunities. Backstab can be tricky positionally, especially if the target is a spastic trying to face you or jumping around.
Rule of thumb: Use Hemo to build CPs when you’re not trying to get a kill, use Backstab when you can reliably get at a targets back, and when you’re hoping to kill him or force defensive cooldowns.
18 - People always break my CC in battlegrounds!!!
Yes. Yes, they do. It’s a horrible thing when a rogue is playing to his potential, blinding and gouging the healer while killing someone, only to have Joe McBladestorm come along and destroy everything.
There isn’t much you can do. You CAN macro a /say BLINDING!!!! into your Blind and hope Joe McBladestorm is actually literate and manages to read it, but odds are low. Using the Glyph of Blind to clear DoT effects from the targets is a start, but still won’t get you far. It’s rough being a rogue!
19 - Tips and tricks for good roguery
- When a mage/caster gets away and slows/roots you, Smoke Bomb on top of yourself to shut down his damage. If coupled with Shuriken Toss and Deadly Throw, you can literally do great damage and interrupt all casts from inside your own little safe haven! (Thanks to Willtron for this tip!)
- When a mage roots you in place, and you can’t get out of it, use Feint (provided you have taken the Elusiveness talent) anticipating the Deep Freeze.
- When you’re fighting a hunter, and you’ve just opened up on him, you know he’s going to Disengage as soon as he gets a chance. Try to time your Gouge to hit him in his disengage - this is game breaking.
- If you want to Dismantle (disarm) an opponent, Gouge him first so that you can Dismantle from behind to guarantee it landing. Gouge being parried isn’t as bad as Dismantle being parried.
- Kite away from your target to let Recuperate tick, energy refill, diminishing returns go away, and cooldowns to come back up. Standing in someones face taking damage while your energy is at 0 does no good.
- Evasion works against hunters too.
- Cloak of Shadows can be used defensively to remove dots and negate caster damage on you, but it can also be used offensively, allowing you to move into enemy territory without getting instantly blown up or controlled.
- Feint sooner rather than later, but don’t randomly spam it - try to anticipate big damage.
- Shiv can remove enrage effects - take advantage of it!
- For a long time, opening with Garrote on a mage has been mandatory so he can’t blink away from the Cheap Shot stun - if you chose Cloak and Dagger as a talent, it might actually be an idea to Cheap Shot first to bait the Blink, and then just teleport after him with a Garrote. Won’t work against skilled mages.
- Vanishing with a DoT or Bleed effect on you can work if you have Sprint up, and there's Line of Sight (something to hide behind) close. Even if your stealth will break from damage, Subterfuge gives you 3 seconds before you become visible, and by hiding behind something you can most likely stay out of combat until the damage over time effect on you falls off.
- Deadly Throw not only interrupts, but it also puts a 50% slow on your target - this makes it useful against a melee trying to get on you too, or for slowing someone trying to get on your team mate when you can't get there to peel directly.
Other good resources to learn about rogue PvP play:
http://www.arenajunkies.com/topic/22...ed-by-reckful/ - Rogue guide at Arena Junkies, very detailed
http://www.youtube.com/susejftw - also active here on the forums helping people regularly, seems like an all round good guy - go support!
www.youtube.com/mercadergaming - good rogue who has returned to the game in 5.2 to stab people[COLOR="red"][COLOR="red"]