Combat Rogue Guide (5.4.8)
This guide is written mainly for players new to playing Combat in arenas / PvP.
Combat is not a very well documented spec so I decided to give it some love.
- Can global people with killing spree
- 8 secs duration kidney shot thanks to revealing strike
- Doesn’t rely on restealth to do damage
- Two bursts : Adrenaline rush + Shadowblades & killing spree
- Killing spree is an unpeelable burst
- No positional requirement
- Bandit’s guile mechanic doesn’t suit well pvp. Losing your bandit’s guile buff due to a CC chain is frustrating.
- Low combo points generation
- Weak damage outside of burst CDs
- Sub openers are stronger
- Some people find this spec boring to play
- Requires non-daggers weapons. (that means you can't offspec sub or mut in the beginning of a pvp season)
Level 15 : Subterfuge
It’s a mini-shadowdance so you'll be able to use multiple cheapshot/garrote during your opener, this talent also prevent your opponents from peeling your opener.
Level 30 : Nerve Strike or Combat Readiness
As a rogue, you'll rarely be the kill target so you’ll pick Nerve strike which is a great tool for peeling. For example with subterfuge you can triple cheapshot “neilyo style” the whole enemy team to apply nerve strike on all of them.
However, if a melee cleave you already met has a tendency to train you all day you can pick Combat Readiness but most of the times double evade is enough to handle melees (evade is a 10s immunity against melees/hunters). You also have glyph of CoS that allow you to use CoS as a wall against melee.
Level 45 : Elusiveness
This is your #1 damage mitigation ability. Keep the feint buff up whenever you are taking damage. You also don’t want to get caught in a stun without the feint buff up so learn to spam feint while you are in sitting in novas or before a rogue reopener and use addons to track your opponents stuns CDs (e.g : shockwave, fist of justice…)
Level 60 : Shadowstep or Burst of Speed
Both are viable choices so it's mostly personal preferences. I prefer shadowstep because kidney shots are very important as combat and melees have a lot of avoidance. I like guaranteeing my kidney shots on melee opponents by using shadowstep just before using kidney shot ( melee opponents cannot parry/dodge you from the back and shadowstep is out of the gcd).
Level 75 : Prey on the Weak
Having a +10% damage buff is great for killing spree. Your partners also benefit from the +10% dmg from prey on the weak. Stunning your kill target and giving TotT to your dps teammate while he’s bursting is very nice to max out burst. (TotT+PotW = +25% dmg for your dps teamate).
Level 90 : Marked for Death
Combo points generation is quite low as combat. This talent will allow you to use kidney shot on demand. Those 8 secs duration kidney shots are a very powerful pressure tool as combat.
- Blind (mandatory) : Remove DoTs so your blind will not break.
- Garrote (mandatory) : 4 secs silence garrote is great against casters.
- You have a bit of choice for your third glyph slot : I recommend CoS against melee or melee+caster comps and smokebomb against castercleaves. Feint is a nice comfort glyph if it’s hard for you to predict stuns and it allows you to save a bit of energy, recovery can also be a viable choice but it's not that great because as combat your combo points generation is low but anyways it can still help your healer sometimes.
Stats priorities :
Your stats priorities goes as follow :
3% hit > 3-6% expertise > agility > mastery > crit > haste
I recommend playing with 6% expertise so that non-melee/hunter classes will not be able to dodge your techniques like kidney shot.
Mastery is the best stat after agility. the extra-attack from main gauche can proc during killing spree, the extra-attack can also crit and it scales with every modifier you can imagine (killing spree, dancing steel, trinket proc, tailoring proc).
You’ll pick all the Prideful Gladiator’s five set and the following offpieces with mastery :
Neck – Prideful Gladiator’s Necklace of Prowess
Back – Prideful Gladiator's Cape of Prowess
Wrists – Prideful Gladiator’s Armwraps of Alacrity
Waist – Prideful Gladiator’s Waistband of Cruelty
Feet – Prideful Gladiator’s Boots of Cruelty
Head - None
Shoulders – 200 agi / 100 Crit
Back – Swordguard embroidery or 180 crit
Chest – 80 to all Stats
Wrist – 180 agi
Hands – 170 Mastery
Waist– Living Steel Belt Buckle
Legs – 285 agi / 165 Crit
Feet – 140 agi / Run Speed
Main Hand Weapon – Dancing steel or Bloody Dancing steel
Offhand Weapon – Living steel weapon chain or Glorious Tyranny
Basically you want to get the socket bonuses with agility and put agility gems everywhere else regardless of the socket color because pvp power is crap, you'll proceed this way :
Put 80 agi+80 pvp power gems in your belt & gloves.
Put 80agi+160 mastery gem in your spaulders.
Put 160 agility gems everywhere else.
Use the agi / increased crit dmg meta gem.
Install the reforgelite addon and reforge according to the stats priorities I gave you above.
Best Professions :
Human rogue : Tailoring for swordguard embroidery (4k attack power proc) + any prof that gives a passive agility bonus, alchemy is the cheapest one to level since it only requires you to level it to 300 to get the 320 agility flask.
Non human rogue : Engineering for synapse springs (2k agi on-use) + tailoring for swordguard embroidery.
Best races :
Alliance : Human is the best, their burst is stronger with double damage trinkets. Also they got an expertise bonus for playing with 1h swords.
Horde : Orc is the best for the blood fury racial that you can add in your burst macro (see macro section) for more burst. Also the 15% stun duration reduction from hardiness is nice and they got an expertise bonus for playing with 1h axes or fist weapons.
Standard opener :
With the standard opener you want to get your 5cp Slice & dice buff up as soon as possible, with Slice & dice buff up you'll have more offhand attacks so your energy regeneration will be better thanks to combat potency. Sinister strike has a 20% chance to generate an extra combo point thanks to revealing strike so the standard opener can vary a little bit, you might have to use expose armor which is your cheap energy cost combo builder, explained in the figure below :
Burst opener on caster :
Adrenaline rush+Shadowblades are your best tools to max out your damage during the opener. Adrenaline rush also allow you to ramp up your bandit's guile stacks faster :
Burst opener on melee :
Same as above, you'll just use cheapshot instead of garrote. Notice that mfd:kidney will be DR'ed.
How to play outside of the opener :
#1 Refresh Revealing strike on your target before it falls out.
#2 Keep Slice & dice buff up (preferably with 3-5cp) to increase your energy regeneration.
#3 Use Sinister Strike as your main combo builder.
#4 Use expose armor as an alternative combo builder (see the "understanding bandit's guile chapter)
#5 Your finishers are pretty weak as combat and your combo points generation is quite low, kidney shot & SnD will be your main finishers. There is not a lot of room for conversion.
Understanding Bandit's guile & how to global people with killing spree
Understanding Bandit's guile :
If you use sinister / revealing strike 4 times you'll gain Shallow Insight (+10% dmg) also known as green buff. Lasts 15 secs. The buff duration is refreshed each time you use RS/SS.
If you use sinister / revealing strike again 4 times you'll gain Moderate Insight (+20% dmg) also known as yellow buff. Lasts 15 secs. The buff duration is refreshed each time you use RS/SS.
Use sinister / revealing strike another 4 times and you'll gain Deep Insight (+30% dmg) also known as red buff. Lasts 15 secs.
As you can see you need to use sinister / revealing strike 12 times to gain the 30% red buff.
As combat you want to global your opponent with killing spree, to setup a kill with killing spree you need to do this :
If AR+SB & killing spree are both available and your target has no trinket/major defensive cooldown you can do this (you'll rarely be able to use this combo) :
You need to understand that to line up the proc trinket with the red buff sometimes you need to STOP using sinister / revealing strike as a combo builder.
For example :
You have 2/4 yellow buff but there is 20s left on your insignia of conquest ICD, that means you are stacking your bandit's guile way too fast and you'll not be able to line up the red buff with the insignia proc. To solve this issue, you need to slow down your bandit's guile stacking, this is why in those moments you'll use expose armor as a combo builder and only use sinister / revealing strike once per 12 secs to refresh the yellow buff just before it falls out. And voilà your red buff and proc trinket will line up perfectly.
You absolutely want to use an addon to track your bandit's guile stacks & proc trinket ICD, here is a weakauras import code for a sinister strike / revealing strike counter :
Read this if you don't know how to use the import function of the weakauras addon.
There is also an addon named Bandits guile helper that can do that but it seems to be out of date so I recommend you to use weakauras instead.
To track your insignia of conquest ICD you can also use weakauras or ExtraCD addon.
Basic Arenas tips :
As combat you want to force trinket from your opponents because being able to stun your target for 8 secs with kidney shot is huge. Stun is the best kill mechanic in the game, while stunned your opponents will not be able to use defensive cooldowns like deterrence, shield wall or karma so you can basically kill them in a 8secs ks + smokebomb thanks to your killing spree burst.
Open hard with Shadowblades + Adrenaline Rush on the squishiest target and CC on the enemy healer, this early pressure will force trinket from your opponents and will also allow you to ramp up your bandit’s guile stacks faster, adrenaline rush is an awesome tool to ramp up bandit’s guile.
Then switch to the target without trinket and kill it in a 8secs kidney shot+ smokebomb with your killing spree burst.
You can basically kill every target without trinket with your killing spree burst except holy paladins because of divine protection and double hand of protection (forbearance is 1mn CD), MW monks due to dematerialize and DKs because they can easily avoid a full 8s stun duration with their 3 trinkets.
For mages, you don’t need to stun them, just vanish+garrote them and use the killing spree burst, this will easily force iceblock or a kill if they can’t iceblock.
Against ret, shamans, druids, hunter try to force their damage mitigation cooldowns (divine protection, shamanistic rage, barkskin, roar of sacrifice) with the AR+SB burst opener so that they'll not be able to use them during killing spree.
The trinket proc + yellow buff is enough to do massive damage with killing spree. Sometimes, I use killing spree with only the yellow buff and my trinket proc.
Pool at least 70% energy before using the AR+SB burst so that you'll be able to spam sinister strike a lot. AR+SB burst will also help reduce your killing spree cooldown by a lot so you can setup things like : "forcing a trinket with AR+SB then use ks+killing spree burst on the target with no trinket."
Never let your bandit’s guile buff fall out ! If your buff is about to expire but you are out of melee range of your opponents hit whatever you can with RS/SS (a pet, totem, lightwell…). Sometimes this will lead you to do very awkward moves like trinketing a root to be able to refresh your bandit’s guile before it expires and ensure a kill on a target without trinket.
Viable setups :
I recommend playing with a healer for 2s because you’ll be able to ramp up your bandit’s guile stacks and setup perfect kills without having to worry about surviving.
Thugcleave : Hunter/combat/healer
Ele/combat/rdruid played by khrynz at 2.4k mmr
enhance/combat/hpriest. Woundman played it at 2.4k mmr.
Comps Strategies :
Hope some very high rated combat rogues will help fill this section
Hope you enjoyed reading this guide, constructive feedback is appreciated.