Video version of this guide:
Here’s everything you need to know to get started with Rogues in TBC.
Basic rogue F.A.Q
These questions come up a lot, so let’s answer them.
Stats have changed in TBC, so let’s start with the basics. Firstly, the rough rule of thumb for your most important PvE stats in order of power are expertise > hit rating > haste rating > agi > crit rating.
Here’s a VERY rough breakdown of how to value each stat point (it changes a lot based on your total stats/gear):
- 1 Expertise rating = 2 to 3 atk power
- 1 Hit rating = 2 to 3 atk power
- 1 Haste rating = 2 to 2.5 atk power
- 1 Agi = 2 to 2.5 atk power
- 1 Crit rating = 1.5 to 2 atk power
I won’t go into super detail here, but let’s cover just the basic of what’s changed for TBC.
How much expertise rating do I need?
Expertise reduces the chance for your attacks to be dodged or parried, it’s a completely different skill replacing the old weapon skill stat (which is now gone).
Unlike weapon skill, there’s no set amount of expertise that you need to get. The only number to watch out for is if you’re reaching the expertise cap vs. level 73 mobs.
- When combat spec, the magic number is 63 expertise to cap (43 if human), but you don’t need to worry about it for now because expertise is hard to get and you won’t be reaching this cap currently.
How much hit rating do I need?
Weapon skill is gone in TBC, this means we’re back to the old minimum 9% hit needed stat. You want 9% because it means your special abilities, such as Sinister Strike, won’t miss.
At level 70, every 15.77 hit rating is 1% hit gained, but the easiest way to track this is just import the Redtuzk TBC Rogue Stats weakaura which calculates your current hit for you on your character window:
After reaching 9%, hit is still very valuable because a large percentage of our DPS is from white auto attacks and also energy procs from landing offhand hits via the new combat potency talent:
Assuming you’re combat specced and have good druids doing improved Faerie Fire, you’ll cap hit at the following:
- 315.4 for level 73 bosses (if alliance this number is 299.6 with draenei 1% hit)
- 268.1 for level 72 mobs (if alliance this number is 252.3 with draenei 1% hit)
These numbers are useful for gemming and enchanting your gear to min/max for bosses vs. trash mobs.
If the above is confusing you, it’s fine, you can ignore it and I’ll tell you later in the enchant/gem section what gems I recommend and you can just copy/paste the recommendations.
Yes. You’ll usually be expected to expose armor on raids, but you also hit harder on exposed mobs, so it’s not a crazy dps loss by any means.
Your rotation prio with expose will be 5 point expose and SnD kept up at all times, with rupture only being used when doing adrenaline rush typically.
Here’s why you don’t generally want to play daggers in TBC:
- It’s roughly a 3% dps drop from combat swords to combat daggers (in full bis)
- It’s roughly a 5% dps drop from combat swords to mutilate (in full bis)
- You’ll be expected to expose armor quite often for raids, and the best daggers spec (combat daggers) has a horrible time generating enough combo pts to keep consistent snd + expose up
- Swords are plentiful and we mostly get them for free without competition
- Rogue spots are highly contested and raid leads may penalize/replace you for not playing optimal spec
So basically you can play daggers for fun, but the drop off in performance + raid expectations will make it quite hard for you to stay daggers in most serious raids.
That all said, I could see some situations where you’ve had really bad rng on sword drops and you happen to pick up a good dagger like a Malchazeen as a filler until your Spiteblade drops.
Nope! Swing timing isn’t needed in TBC because your abilities are no longer getting reset.
This is why there’s no swing timer weakaura in my updated UI.
Aldor is the better pick for rogues overall if you want to min/max BUT it’s not as big a deal as you might think.
These are the main advantages…
1. You get Vindicator’s Brand for a filler weapon
It’s a decent weapon if you’re exalted and waiting for a Spiteblade to drop, but outside of that you won’t be using this in the future.
2. Their shoulder enchant is +1 dps better vs. Scryer
On sims it’s a +1 dps gain if you have the Aldor enchant over Scryer. That said, the old Sapphiron enchant is tiny bit better than both anyway, and overall the dps difference between any of these enchants doesn’t actually amount to much.
3. Thier necklace is +7 dps better in Sunwell
According to early sims, the Aldor necklace is +7 or so dps better vs. the Scryer version (and we don’t actually have enough data to fully test the scryer proc rate either).
This is the only real difference long term when considering Aldor vs. Scryer (and it’s why most people go Aldor in the end). Overall the differences won’t make or break anything in the end, but most will stick Aldor just for the minor potential dps gain.
Firstly, if you haven’t yet, I’d recommend you grab my consumables reminder weakauras which help you remember to re-pop consumables and gives you a checklist of what you might be missing when prepping to go raid/xp.
Link is here for my consumables weakauras: (link coming in next week or so folks – need to update them for TBC still)
Here’s how you TBC rogue consumable list looks:
- Battle elixir (offensive buff)
- Guardian elixir (defensive buff)
- Food buff
- On-use potions
- Thistle Tea
- Scrolls (super sweaty option)
Your battle + guardian elixir options
Rogues have 3 combinations of potions they can use to min/max.
Option 1: Flask of Relentless Assault (highest dps option)
This takes up both your battle and guardian slot. This is generally your highest dps option and also your best/easiest option if you’re going to die during the raid (since flasks persist through death).
Most rogues will pick option 1 for ease of use alone.
Option 2: Elixir of Major Agility + Swiftness of Zanza/Elixir of Major Fortitude
Elixir of Major agility is about -5 dps vs. Flask of Relentless Assault, but it allows you to combine it with some guardian elixirs. The Zanza potions are popular options for the guardian slot.
Swiftness of Zanza gives you run speed for getting higher uptime by engaging quicker (important for dps overall) and also important for speedrunning guilds:
While Elixir of Major Fortitude gives you a small hp + regen bump:
Option 3: Elixir of Demonslaying + Swiftness of Zanza/Elixir of Major Fortitude
This option is exactly the same as option 2, except only used when fighting demons. It gives over twice as much atk power vs. Flask of Relentless Assault.
Your food buff options
There are 3 dps food buffs which beat everything else:
- Grilled Mudfish – 20 agi
- Warp Burger – 20 agi
- Spicy Hot Talbuk – 20 hit rating
My recommendation is to go either of the +20 agi food. Typically you want to gem your gear without needing the extra hit on the food buff, because the last thing you want is to forget to pop your food buff and screw up your perfectly set up hit rating.
It’s much better to just have the ideal hit you want from permanent gear/gems, and use one of the +20 agi food options for raw dps gain.
These are your basic mid fight consumables. There are a ton of these for situational uses, but the most common ones you’ll bring to raid beyond utility potions (eg. healing pots and free action potions) are Haste Potions:
Ideally you pop your haste potion every time you use your other 2 min cooldowns to stack them all up (Blade Flurry + Drums + Haste Potion + Active trinket).
Rogue consumes/healthstone consume
The rogue consumable Thistle Tea (returns 40 energy at 70) stacks with everything else so you should use it for free damage when stacking your CDs. It does share a cooldown with healthstone though, so be careful if you need to save your healthstone cooldown for a tough fight/progression raiding.
Optional/super sweaty player consumables
There are some consumables which I would count as ‘sweaty player’ usage consumes. They are kind of annoying to use or obtain, but they do provide you extra dps.
Sweaty consumable 1: Scrolls
Blizzard in their infinite wisdom decided that scrolls would be their own buff category. So you can stack both an agility scroll and a strength scroll on top of everything else you use. There is no easy or cheap farm for these, so the only reliable source for these is auction house.
Sweaty consumable 2: Flame cap
These actually share a CD with your thistle tea, but because they have a 3 min timer instead of 5 minutes like Thistle Tea, you could technically cycle them in with your Thistle Tea if you are a super sweaty player.
TBC rotations are a lot more fluid, because of combat potency procs changing how much energy you get at any given time. This means unlike Vanilla, there isn’t any set ‘do X, Y & Z’ rotation for rogues.
You’re basically playing a mini game with the following goals:
- Get SnD + 5pt Expose Armor up asap
- Keep both of them up the entire fight while trying to use mainly 5pt finishers while reapplying without refreshing too early where possible
- Use rupture when you have spare energy that needs to be spent (it will mostly only happen when burning regen energy CDs) AND SnD/EA are not ending in the next 10-12 seconds
Combat Potency in particular will make it a juggling act for you to ‘guess’ when you can fit in a rupture. Roughly speaking – it’ll take you anywhere from 10-15 seconds to go from 0 to 5 combo pts without additional help from tea/AR, so just keep that in mind when juggling your energy usage.
If you don’t have to IEA for your raid, that’s where you’ll start to have a lot more fun juggling in rupture constantly with SnD.
Why do we rupture now instead of eviscerate?
The main change from classic is the rupture vs. eviscerate change. Rupture bypasses armor and mobs have more armor now. This is one of the reasons rupture is better in TBC (on top of changes to debuff limits and smaller raid sizes).
There are 3 main situations you’ll still want to use eviscerate though:
- You are cleaving with Blade Flurry
- Rupture debuff is not ending soon (you don’t want to refresh a rupture until it’s ended)
- The mob will die before rupture duration ends
Stacking CDs is almost always beneficial, particular with haste effects. You’ll typically want to get a good snd up, then pop your CDs together to take advantage of buff stacking for multiplying effects.
For example, I like to hotkey my Blade Flurry, Haste Potion and DPS trinket active together. That’s haste stack + whatever my trinket active is all at the same time. Once it’s up I’ll often also use adrenaline rush and any dps racials on top of that buff stack.
That’s the basics of TBC rotation, but keep an eye out in the discord, I’ll have a more in-depth rotation guide in the future that goes into more depth than a simple FAQ quickie guide.
Deadly Poison is now best offhand poison for any sustained fight. You’ll still want to use instant poison for trash or things that die too fast for deadly poison to be effective.
eg. You’d use instant poison OH for trash clearing in a dungeon, but you could swap to deadly poison for the sustained boss fight (if you were min maxing the boss damage).
Here are some basic rogue talent setups to get you started.
Combat swords with riposte:
- The talent points are up to 70 (but obviously you’ll only start with level 60 talent points), so you’d finish up combat tree first
- You can move points between remorseless and imp evis based on preference/what type of leveling you’re doing
- With leveling you have a lot of freedom to move things around too based on the type of leveling – you could move points out of imp snd if you think mobs die too fast to get value
What about daggers?
While it’s not ‘optimal’ to level as daggers, I’d say you’re perfectly fine to go the combat dagger builds listed under DPS (skip imp expose for leveling and maybe take riposte like above if needed).
The whole ‘daggers isn’t good because you can’t backstab’ thing is overblown – if you don’t have a good mace/sword for leveling, you’ll do just fine as daggers, even if you don’t sinister strike as hard. I’ll be personally leveling 1 rogue on EU that is dagger spec the whole way, on top of my NA characters which are sword and maces.
Combat swords with expose armor (20/41/0):
- Talents in Endurance and Imp Sprint can be shuffled around (you can even move a point to lightning reflexes if you prefer). I like imp sprint because I find myself missing the root breaker anytime I don’t take the talent
- Murder vs. imp eviscerate depends on the mobs you’re fighting. Murder is better if you are killing mobs that are affected (humanoid/giant/beast/dragonkin)
- Taking 2/2 expose armor will be standard for most rogues, but if you don’t need to expose then you can also swap those 2 points out to vile poisons if you prefer.
Combat mace/sword mixed weapons (16/45/0 – for Dragonmaw users):
- When using Dragonmaw you swap points out of Assassination to grab the mace spec points in the combat tree. You keep sword spec still because you’ll be using Latro’s/Gladiator sword in offhand
- You could use this weapon spec for fist MH as well if you’re somehow using fist mh as a filler weapon (just swap mace spec to fist spec points instead)
Combat daggers with imp expose (15/41/5):
- Points in endurance/imp sprint can be moved around depending on preference
- You can shuffle points over from expose armor if not required for you (generally I’d never recommend exposing as combat dagger rogue anyway – you severely lack combo point generation)
- Murder can also be worth picking up by sacrificing 1 pt in Lethality + Opportunity if mobs are the right type (or your expose armor points if not required there)
- Points in imp sprint/endurance can be juggled around depending on preferences
- Super fun spec, but really lacking in dps vs. combat tree. Losing combat potency, AR and BF really sucks.
- You can move the 2 pts in expose armor to imp evis if not required
- Murder is also an option on the right mobs (you’d swap out points from expose armor or vile poisons depending on your raid setup)
This is just some basic pvp builds – I’ll have more detailed pvp breakdowns and guides in a separate section once we get the new pvp series started!
Shadowstep Hemo 20/0/41:
- You can move the 2 points in imp eviscerate to other talents (eg. murder/remorseless) depending on personal preference
Mutilate Subtlety (44/0/17):
What profession is best for rogues in TBC?
This question used to be trickier before all the tradeskill changes, but it’s fairly straight forward now from a min/max perspective.
I’m going to assume your not just picking a tradeskill for money making, but rather for best pve/pvp performance. If you’re after money making some gathering skills can be worth taking still (at the cost of pvp/pve performance).
What about enchanting? It’s not on the list?
Enchanting doesn’t give you much in P1. To my knowledge the +4 stats to ring isn’t even available in P1 anyway, so all you get are crummy +2 weapon damage enchants for your rings.
The 4 professions I’d consider worth using for P1 are:
I feel engineering is just good for everything and insanely fun. It has advantage in both PvE and PvP.
Why engineering is good for PvE
Previously there were issues going engineering for PvE because goblin sapper charges shared a CD with leatherworking drums, but with drums changes you only need 1 leatherworker per group now, so engineering sappers and grenades are back on the table for bonus damage and fun aoe shenanigans.
Why engineering is good for PvP
Most engy in arena are disabled, but there are 2 items that are usable and very good in P1 pvp arena – the invulnerability belt and rocket boots.
4k shield is a giant amount of protection in season 1, especially for rogues doing rushdown dps style comps. The boots on the other hand were disabled in arena at some later point of TBC, but Blizzard has allowed them to work in P1 as far as we’ve seen (at least on the beta they were working).
What about goggles?
The good ones aren’t in the game yet, BUT Blizzard said they’re coming in Phase 2, so you’ll be set to get them start of P2 if you’re engy right now.
If you intend to PvP at all, the pvp trinket with +stealth is a no brainer. It’s too good vs. other rogues and stealth classes because opener is so important in certain matchups.
What about the special JC only gems?
Those good ones aren’t available in P1, so if you go JC as a rogue you’re only doing it purely for the trinket in PvP. You do get an upside of potentially making decent gold crafting gems for other people if you get one of the good recipes early on though!
Blacksmithing is a waste for most people at launch – at least rushing it is a waste. Let me explain why.
You’re basically doing Blacksmithing just for the mace and Dragonmaw is great, BUT there are giant drawbacks:
- Sacrifices a profession slot meaning you can’t get both jewelcrafting stealth trinket and engineering belt + boots if you are a pvper
- Is extremely expensive early on for what can be replaced by any of the top 4 weapon choices in this phase (and Spiteblade in particular is mostly uncontested for rogues in guild runs)
- Can’t be used in Arena for first couple weeks (there is literally no Arena enabled yet)
So if you go for Dragonmaw you’re basically paying for a giant expensive hammer at the start of TBC, for that temporary weapon advantage vs. everyone else who doesn’t have one of the top 4 weapons yet. Once people have their P1 weapons the advantage disappears.
This only seems worth it maybe to a very niche amount of people who want to be rushing early arena gladiator rating right at the start of arena introduction and even for those people I’d probably wait until 1-2 Karazhan runs to see if I pick up a free Spiteblade in early runs. For everyone else just skip Blacksmithing – it’s not worth.
There’s definitely still value to be had going leatherworking if you are a PvE focused rogue. While we don’t need to be LW if someone else uses the drums, being in control of when you use drums is really nice for stacking and timing your dps cooldowns perfectly.
I’d say there’s still a place for people who don’t PvP and therefore don’t need JC in P1 to pick up LW instead for better drum timings.
What gems are bis for P1 rogues?
Let’s go over the enchants and gems you’ll need. This is pretty simple copy/paste for most folks, but the only thing to keep in mind is how much hit you’re aiming to end up reaching.
Remember these numbers from earlier:
- 315.4 for level 73 bosses (if alliance this number is 299.6 with draenei 1% hit)
- 268.1 for level 72 mobs (if alliance this number is 252.3 with draenei 1% hit)
If you’re stacking hit gems, just keep an eye that you don’t go over the 268.1 hit rating cap if you’re prioritizing overall/non-boss damage or 315.4 if going for that big boss parse (my personal preference for fun boss parsing).
Hit vs. AGI gemming
Hit technically tends to sim a little more dps vs agi, but I actually prefer agi in a lot of cases for dual use. If you PvP as well as PvE, agi gives you dodge as well which is a nice stat for pvp – so that’s why I tend to favour agi even when hit is an option.
It’ll come down to your personal preference there. Also, keep in mind you don’t always have to gem according to the socket bonus – some bonuses aren’t worth and you can ignore them.
Here are the best gem choices based on color:
Relentless Earthstorm Diamond is the best option to go here. No real reason to go for the other alternatives.
You could potentially go Swift Skyfire Diamond instead if you wanted the runspeed (then you’d enchant pure dps on your boots), but overall Relentless Earthstorm Diamond is the way to go and what I’d recommend.
Delicate Living Ruby
Again – I prefer AGI gems personally over hit because of the benefits of being dual use for both pvp and pve.
Again – watch that hit number so you don’t go over the cap I listed earlier.
Sno – what about crit gems?
Crit is less value in TBC because of talent changes such as combat potency. Hit is now the better PvE stat.
There’s 2 gems you will sometimes use outside of those red and yellow gems.
1. Glinting Noble Topaz (red/yellow gem)
Use these as swaps for when you want to trade agi for some hit or trade hit for some agi.
eg. if you’re stacking +8 hit gems and went over the hit cap, you’d swap these in to lower your amount of hit.
2. Shifting Nightseye
Use these if you need a blue gem for either socket bonuses or meta gem requirements. Or if you just want to stack some stamina for pvp.
I don’t personally use these that much due to it being often worth to ignore blue gem slots and just socket in red/yellow instead.
What enchants are bis for P1 rogues?
It’s pretty straight forward in TBC, especially with everyone just using mongoose for their weapons now.
Glyph of Ferocity
- Requires Cenarian Expedition revered
Might of the Scourge
- Still the best enchant in TBC but only by +1 dps or so
Greater Inscription of Vengeance
- Best pve option for those not wanting to go back to Naxx
- only -1 dps less than the Sapphiron enchant
Greater Inscription of the Blade
- Worse than Aldor enchant, but only -1 dps less
Enchant Cloak – Greater Agility
- Best pie cloak enchant option by far
Enchant Cloak – Subtlety
- Not worth it – if you’re getting aggro with vanish resets still then something is going wrong with your tank situation
Enchant Cloak – Stealth
- Still a good enchant for those who focus on PvP
Enchant Chest – Exceptional Stats
- Best choice for pve
Enchant Chest – Major Resilience
- Good choice for pvp
Enchant Bracer – Assault
- Best PvE option
Enchant Bracer – Fortitude
- Possible option for PvP (although a lot of rogues still like to stack atk stats for pvp)
Enchant Gloves – Superior Agility
- Best pve option (agi is better than the atk power enchant)
ps – don’t forget a spare set of gloves with mining or herbalism enchant if you’re doing gathering while leveling
Nethercobra Leg Armor
- Best pve enchant
Nethercleft Leg Armor
- Potentially good pvp enchant if stacking stamina (40 stamina is a lot of hp!)
Cobrahide Leg Armor
- Budget leg enchant for poor people
Enchant Boots – Cat’s Swiftness
- Best option assuming you are use Relentless Earthstorm Diamond for your meta gem
- If you always use Swiftness Zanza for the run speed, you could potentially use the pure dps enchant instead, but I’d still prefer to use Cat’s Swiftness just in case I die (and for pvp)
Enchant Boots – Dexterity
- Use this if you are using Swift Skyfire Diamond for your meta gem, since you don’t need run speed
Enchant Ring – Striking
- The only option since +4 stats isn’t in the game yet
- Requires enchanting (so not worth or possible for most people)
Enchant Weapon – Mongoose
- The only choice for both hands – mongoose beats everything for weapon enchant
- If mongoose isn’t available on your server yet just use crusader until it is
Stabilized Eternium Scope
- Scope doesn’t really matter for rogues, but if you want a ranged enchant then this is the one to go
- It does not apply crit rating to non ranged attacks fyi
Alright those are the basics – so let’s get you geared up now! You can find my gearing recommendations here: TBC Rogue P1 Bis List – Trinkets, Weapons & Gear