How To Get Gladiator – Rogue TBC PvP Guide (Part 1 – Basics, Macros, UI & Gear)

Video version of this guide:

In this episode we cover all your basics and get you started with the right foundation. Below is a clean breakdown of what we covered, as well as some addition sections I added for the text guide.

Timestamps are in the description of the video.

Guest links:

Rogue PvP Basics F.A.Q

For 2v2:

Rogue performs well in any of the meta comps, especially in double dps during S1 where people don’t have as much resilience.

For 2v2 these are some of the most popular 2v2 comps for rogues, but honestly rogue fits in with almost any good arena class for 2s and you can climb fairly high in S1 with almost any of the decent arena classes.

  • Rogue/Mage
  • Rogue/Lock
  • Rogue/Priest
  • Rogue/Druid

2v2 is a wild west right now, you’ll see rogues even playing rogue/hunter and all sorts of comps all the way up to 2k+.

For 3v3:

The standard meta comps are back, but again rogues are a class that fit into almost any team comp when it comes to pvp. You don’t have to play the meta comps.

That said, these are the popular comps for rogues in 3s right now:

  • Rogue/Lock/Priest
  • Rogue/Lock/Druid
  • Rogue/Mage/Priest
  • Rogue/Mage/Druid

You can basically grab a good mage or lock and a good priest or druid and fit together a fairly good/well balanced comp right now.

Wound poison stays on MH basically always. It’s too good. You can swap it out for instant poison or crippling if you know you are facing non healer teams, but in general you’ll be keeping wound poison on your MH almost always.

For your offhand poison you’ll usually have crippling and wound poison on 2 different weapons. In the opener it’s common to use wound poison offhand + shiv, then switch to crippling poison after you stack up to 5 stacks.

If you’re a beginner it’s fine to start with just crippling poison in your offhand, but you’ll want to try get used to weapon swapping wound poison, and eventually adding in other offhand swaps – such as mind numbing and weapon chain (for those warrior teams).

It goes in order of your Gladdy add-on from top to bottom. Highest is arena target 1.

Example – Swift is arena 1, vilden arena 2, Krymu arena 3 in the photo below.

You can do both. Most top rogues have some macros with premeditation put into them (premed + shadowstep + cheap shot is a common one), but it’s a good idea in the long run to still have an option for openers without premeditation.

In the end it’s fairly common to have both premed bound opener macros + opener macros without premed as well. It’s a skill you’ll have to learn over time to understand when you want to premed vs. not premed.

You want 5% minimum to not miss abilities. HOWEVER – most rogues aim for more to account for stats and talents which increase your chance to miss. 7-9% isn’t uncommon with geared pvp rogues.

For example +defense increases your chance to miss if vs. a class that stacks some defense. Enemy rogues also have heightened senses talents, so technically you’d need 9% hit there to avoid missing blind too. This is why a bit of hit on your pvp gear is still handy.

For season 1/2, atk gems are more popular and considered the ‘bis’. In later season more rogues swapped to agility though, but right now you should aim to stack atk in your bis pvp gear gemming.

Most rogues go full AP living ruby gems, and only swap in crit/ap gems for example to reach meta gem requirements on the swift skyfire meta gem.

Don’t forget you have access to honor gems which are slightly boosted +atk or crit vs. standard gems, but they’ll cost you 6k+ honour each and are unique:

Patreon Bonus: Sno’s keybinding and advanced macro setup guide

I took the time after this episode to re-do my own keybinds and optimize my macro setup to be more efficient and quicker for pvp. I also re-did my action bars to remove a need for a stealth bar (using stealth bar stance swapping can sometimes make ability usage slower if bar swap lags or it can misfire the wrong ability).

Here’s a video breaking down how I did it and how I’d recommend you do it if you want to fix up your own keybinds and macros:

Rogue PvP Macros

Macros can get VERY complicated and in-depth, but here is a list of the most common starter rogue pvp macros used by top rogues, as well as some slightly more intermediate macros to get you started.

You DO NOT need every single macro listed. Even top rogues may not use every variation of every macro – just grab the ones you actually feel would be useful/helpful for your own usage.

Note: The choice between using abilities on a focus target vs. unique keybinds for arena 1 2 3 is a personal preference. Technically, you can have a separate binding for each target such as blind arena target 1/2/3, but it also increases the amount of hotkeys you’ll need.

Set focus to current target:


Set focus to arena 1/2/3:

Note: Arena targets are the order displayed by Gladdy (aka. 1 is top most player in Gladdy frames, 2 is 2nd from top etc. etc.)

Set focus arena 1:
/focus arena1
Set focus arena 2:
/focus arena2
Set focus arena 3:
/focus arena3

Start attack hemo:

Simple start attack + hemo macro to make sure you start auto attacking if you press hemo when you don’t have enough energy yet.

#showtooltip Hemorrhage
/cast Hemorrhage

Expose armor (no sap/gouge break):

This uses expose armor without auto attacking/hitting the target. Useful if you want to expose the target during sap or gouge without breaking the cc.

/cast [@target,harm,nodead][harm,nodead] Expose Armor

Spammable stealth:

This macro allows you to spam stealth key without accidentally knocking yourself out of stealth by stealthing > unstealthing during spam pressing. However, you will need another hotkey to unstealth.

/cast !Stealth
You'll need another macro with /cancelaura Stealth to unstealth if you choose to use the !Stealth command.

Focus Blind:

Basic focus blind macro.

/cast [target=focus] Blind

Blind Arena 1/2/3:

Some rogues prefer using separate blind 1/2/3 keybinds instead of the blind focus macro because you don’t need to worry about setting your focus target before blinding. It’s especially nice in quick reaction situations where you didn’t get to pre-set your focus beforehand.

It’s also technically 1 less keypress to blind using these keybinds, but it will require more key bindings (one for each of the arena targets).

Blind Arena 1:
/cast [target=arena1] blind
Blind Arena 2:
/cast [target=arena2] blind
Blind Arena 3:
/cast [target=arena3] blind

Arena 1/2/3 shadowstep + cheap shot:

Shadowsteps to the arena target and uses cheap shot. Very useful vs. other stealth classes for opening/counter opening.

/target arena1
/cast [@arena1] Shadowstep
/cast [@arena1] Cheap Shot

Premeditation + arena 1/2/3 shadowstep + cheap shot:

The same as the previous macro, but this version uses premeditation before opening. I personally like this a lot, particularly vs. opening on another rogue because you get the juicy 4 to 5 pt rupture on them right after the opener to stop their stealth escapes.

/target arena1
/cast [@arena1] Shadowstep
/cast [@arena1] Premeditation
/cast [@arena1] Cheap Shot

Focus Cheap Shot:

A slightly niche usage macro, but it allows you to get a quick cheap shot cc in on the focus target while dpsing another target.

/cast [target=focus] Cheap Shot

Focus vanish + shadowstep + premeditation + cheap shot:

A more advanced usage macro, but you could use this macro to do quick swaps involving vanish + shadowstep + cs onto an enemy focus (or if you don’t mind 2 keybind presses you could use normal vanish key into the shadowstep + cheapshot macros listed earlier).

/cast Vanish
/cast [target=focus] Shadowstep
/cast [target=focus] Premeditation
/cast [target=focus] Cheap Shot

Focus Kick:

Your basic focus kick macro.

/cast [target=focus] Kick

Shadowstep Kick:

Very handy for those quick kick interrupts on a focus target that’s out of melee range.

#showtooltip Shadowstep
/cast [target=focus] Shadowstep
/cast [target=focus] Kick

Spammable Sap:

This macro is the most used macro for sapping. You can spam click it and it will only ever sap the nearest target to you. You’ll be spamming this macro in arena matches quite a bit (especially during starts vs. other rogues).

#showtooltip Sap
/cast Sap

Focus Sap:

Just your basic sap focus macro for when you don’t need the vanish + shadowstep included.

/cast [target=focus] Sap

Vanish + Focus Shadowstep + Focus Sap:

You’ll see this macro get used by good rogues who see an opportunity to get a quick sap on an enemy target that dropped out of combat during the match.

/cast Vanish
/cast [target=focus] Shadowstep
/cast [target=focus] Sap

Sap Arena 1/2/3:

While not the most commonly used macro, I did find certain situations where arena targets were stacked and that made it harder to sap the correct target using the simpler ‘sap nearest target’ macro mentioned earlier.

For arena 1:
/target arena1
/cast [target=arena1] Sap
For arena 2:
/target arena2
/cast [target=arena1] Sap
For arena 3:
/target arena3
/cast [target=arena1] Sap

Note: There are 2 main ways to do shiv + offhand weapon swap macros. You can have 1 macro that will swap to 1 weapon and shiv with that weapon when pressed a 2nd time OR you can bind a key to swap the weapon in + use a separate keybind for Shiv.

Neither is the ‘correct’ or the best way to do it, it’s personal preference. Also don’t forget you’ll have 1 keybind for each offhand weapon too, so start with just wound + cripple offhands and work your way up to weapon chain, mind numb and even instant poison offhand if you get super sweaty.

Offhand weapon swap + shiv on same macro:

This macro requires 1 press to weapon swap, and another press afterwards to use shiv.

#showtooltip shiv
/equipslot 17 WeaponName
/cast Shiv

Basic offhand weapon swap macro:

This version just swaps in the offhand weapon you want and you’ll continue to use your normal Shiv keybind to Shiv afterwards.

/equipslot 17 WeaponName

You can make a whole ton of different macros to hit your focus target. Here are some that weren’t covered in the other macro sections.

Focus gouge:

/cast [target=focus] Gouge

Focus shiv:

/cast [target=focus] Shiv

Focus throw:

Can be useful for keeping enemy rogue in combat if dpsing another target.

/cast [target=focus] Throw

Cast sequence can be very powerful for trinket/blind combinations especially. I’ve listed a couple examples below but you can build them for all types of encounters and situations where you want to be able to spam 1 button to quickly execute a sequence of abilities.

Trinket + vanish:

Useful for a quick spammable button if you need to break a cc on you and vanish asap. If alliance then change Medallion of the Horde to Medallion of the Alliance.

/castsequence reset=10 Medallion of the Horde, Vanish

Trinket + blind + vanish:

Similar to the previous cast sequence, but adding in blind to cc your target before vanishing. If alliance then change Medallion of the Horde to Medallion of the Alliance.

/castsequence reset=10 Medallion of the Horde, Blind, Vanish

Rogue PvP Professions

Let’s cover the big 3 professions being used by most rogues. Jewelcrafting, engineering and blacksmithing.

Jewelcrafting is basically a must have right now (and maybe for the entire game). The +stealth bonus on the trinket is too nice and the ap burst works well for arena as well, so Jewelcrafting is just the perfect pvp profession for the trinket alone.

It helps that the trinket upgrades to the epic version in later phases too:

Engy is great, but not a must have like Jewelcrafting. I’d still consider it one of the top tier professions to pick for PvP though, especially with better goggles coming in P2.

Rocket Boots Xtreme:

Good, but not MUST HAVE. The boots we basically never use right now because +stealth boots are so valuable for winning the opener battle, but it can be super fun in Battlegrounds.

Nigh Invulnerability Belt:

The nigh invulnerability belt is very nice for double dps teams though, but you can play without it and it does have a small chance to backfire

Hyper-vision Goggles:

An interesting item that performs REALLY well if you cheese it vs. a stealthy rogue or druid. It gives a giant increase to that stealth detection for those 15 seconds (+30 stealth detect). It has no stats though, so it’s pretty bad any time it doesn’t work out for winning the opener battle.

You want to be fairly sure of the team you’re going to fight if you choose to wear these into arena.

Don’t forget the Deathblow goggles are coming in P2, and will be a fun early pickup on day 1:

The value of Blacksmithing is a lot lower at this stage. Like I’ve mentioned previously, Blacksmithing was great on day 1 IF you were willing to spend gigantic amounts of gold and give up a profession slot, but that deal isn’t great 1 month+ into TBC.

Now we have a lot of options, such as Spiteblade or Gladiator MH or Fool’s Bane. I don’t highly value Blacksmithing at this stage anymore because the advantage you gain isn’t that good for the insane cost of leveling BS and creating the mace.

The mace itself is great, the problem is the cost and alternative options that are available, plus the cost of giving up your 2nd profession slot.

PvP UI Mods & Setup

I’ve already done 2 full setup/UI mods guide – you can find them here:

If you’re looking for the warrior stance tracker that Bobka mentioned in the episode, I found it and modified it to be a bit cleaner here:

Rogue PvP Talent Specs

This is fairly straight forward, you only really have 2 options in pvp right now with only some minor variations that I’ll cover.

This is your standard shadowstep build that almost every rogue will be running:

Optional talent swaps:

  • Expose armor can be swapped out to put more points in lethality if you find yourself not using expose armor that much. Personally I really like expose armor for setting up burst on tankier classes, but it’s personal preference.
  • Improved Ambush can be picked up for ambush combos using a dagger (then swapping it out after the ambush), especially now while most people don’t have a lot of resilience yet

Mutilate is not generally recommended for pvp because it lacks a lot of mobility and stealth talents. You can make it work if you’re good enough, but it’s much harder to perform vs. a standard shadowstep hemo build.

Rogue PvP Gear Bis Lists

Bis gearing is fairly straightforward, but below are some alternative gear swaps you can make depending on if you value/want the extra hit vs. more stamina and atk.

FYI you’ll need the following amounts if you’re aiming for PvP S1 BIS:

  • 7375 arena points (that’s about 3 months at 1850+ in 2v2)
  • 37644 honor points, 20 WSG marks, 40 AB marks (for trinket + belt + bracers)

Here are the arena/honor gear cheatsheets if you want a quick look at everything:

Alternative bis pickups

Worgen Claw Necklace

  • Drops: Attumen (Karazhan)

This is practically the same as the Choker of Vile Intent except 1 less hit and 3 more stamina. Good pickup if you want to save some Badge farming.

Cloak of the Pit Stalker

  • Drops: Magtheridon

Swaps hit from drape for crit and stamina.

Farstrider Wildercloak

  • Drops: Prince Malchezaar (Karazhan)

A ton of stamina and atk power in exchange for losing the hit on Drape of the Dark reavers.

Blood Knight War Cloak

Not quite as good the other raid drop options, but it’s easier to get at 25 badges, so it might be a nice holdover if you don’t have honor for the honor cloak.

Midnight Leggings

Skulker’s are by far the best option, but Midnight leggings are still great and easier to get since they come from heroic Slave Pens (every caster wants to run heroic SP for their trinket).

Silent-Strider Kneeboots

These are a great alternative to The Master’s Treads if you don’t need the hit. You’re basically trading the hit for more stamina.

If you aren’t able to pick up the Magtheridon ring the pre-bis rings are good alternatives as they provide a bit of resilience and survivability.

Band of the Exorcist

Great overall stats for PvP. You’ll see most rogues using this for awhile since the Magtheridon head is caster bis, meaning there’s a big queue to get the Mag ring.

Only downside is you need to get 50 spirit shards to get this – so if you didn’t dungeon grind to 70 you may be lacking in shards.

Band of Triumph

Costs 15300 honor and 10 AV marks, but a good alternative if you don’t have the spirit shards for the Exorcist ring.


Still a great pvp weapon with high top end damage. Only downside is you’re locked to Blacksmithing, so a lot of blacksmiths look to replace this eventually to regain their profession slot.

Fool’s Bane

Fool’s Bane is actually really great for pvp. It has a lot lower competition (on horde at least) and it’s only slightly worse top end damage vs. Spiteblade.

Gladiator’s Slicer

A solid sidegrade from Spiteblade, but I’d honestly rather have Spiteblade for pvp because it has higher top end damage and spend arena points on other gear.

What about Blinkstrike?

It’s good for pve, but I’d actually rather one of the other weapons because Blinkstrikes damage comes from the proc, which isn’t reliable in pvp and the top end damage isn’t as good as the other choices.

There are A LOT of weapons you can pickup for offhand. Searing Sunblade is definitely one of the best, but here are some options to pickup for your alternative Shiv.

I won’t cover all the dagger options as there are 501820 daggers that you can pickup (including a ton that come from reputation grind rewards). Even any of the Karazhan dropped daggers work as solid options even if they’re a tad slower than the ones listed below.

Gladiator’s Shiv

Really great offhand if you have a lot of arena points. High dps + fast + resilience. Only downside is the arena points cost, but you’ll see a lot of highly rated rogues grab this since they have the spare points.

Gladiator’s Slicer

Not as good for pvp as the dagger version due to the .1 speed difference, but still great if you happen to be a bit more pve focused and pick it up for pve purposes.

Feltooth Eviscerator

Comes from heroic Hellfire Ramparts. Great speed and damage.

Latro’s Shifting Sword

Most rogues will have this already and it’s fast delay, so it’s a great alternative weapon for one of your weapon swap Shiv slots.

Honor gear & PvP pre-bis

There’s A LOT of choices you can make for pre-bis gear, so I’ll just cover some rough gearing paths. Below is a rough example of a pre-bis pvp set, but you don’t have to copy it exactly and you can put in more honor gear to push your resilience up if you prefer or more pve gear if you want to go glass cannon dps mode.

For the most part if you have the time to farm honor, then you can use honor pieces to fill up almost any gaps in your pvp bis set (especially now that Blizzard is looking at horde vs horde queues to reduce queue time).

Some extra tips for your pre-bis gearing:

Tip 1: 2 piece assassination set is great for filler

The assassination set works great for filler without needing to grind honor. The helmet in particular lets you use a meta gem and the 2 set bonus works well for opener damage.

Tip 2: Gloves should be high on your prio list with the bis honor pieces

If you’re not intending to pickup the Gladiator gloves fairly quickly, then you should look at grinding out the honor gloves fairly early on to get your deadly throw bonus interrupt (personally I’d go pvp trinket > belt > bracers > gloves for my own honor grinding, since the first 3 items are used in the bis set).

Happy PvPing, see you guys in Episode 2!

– Sno