Determining the best rogue talent build for you is no easy task. It takes time to determine which rogue talent build will work best for both your individual playstyle and your preferred game type (PvP, PvE, Leveling, Etc). Rarely will you find a rogue talent build that works well for all of these criteria, which is why I’ve split up my rogue talent builds into various sub categories based on game type.
Please note that these rogue talent builds and specs are all baseline specs. As I move forward with my talent build guides I’ll be expanding the complexity and number of talent specs listed on these pages. If you have any suggestions or comments regarding these specs or specs you’d like to see more of please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below.
Rogue Talent Builds – PvP & Arena
- Mutilate PvP Build – 42/5/24
- Shadowstep with Cold Blood PvP Build – 27/0/44
- Shadowdance PvP Build – 16/0/55
- Combat Swords PvP Build – 17/51/3
Rogue Talent Builds – PvE & Raiding
- Mutilate Raiding Build – 51/13/7
- Combat Daggers Build (backstab) – 17/51/3
- Combat Sword Spec Raiding Build – 15/51/5
Rogue Talent Builds – Leveling
A lot of players ask me about the murder talent from time time, wondering if it’s worth picking up over other talents in the assassination tree. Let’s first start out with a brief explanation of what murder is. I received the following question via email regarding murder earlier this week.
Hey there Zuggy…I wrote before about some rogue strategy advice and your reply was quite useful. Now I have one more question. My question is about the murder talent, some say that it counts in PVP, and some says it doesn’t. Well I thought I should ask you guys because I really don’t see the difference when I use it in my talent build, and still its 2 points which could be used on something more important… thank you for your answer :P
and my answer…
Murder is an excellent talent choice for any rogue build which requires you go into the assassination tree. Murder works on all humanoid, giant, beast, and dragonkin mobs, and players fall into the humanoid class (yes, even undead). So it will always work in PvP. Additionally, It’s also quite good for PvE since most mobs / bosses you kill fall into those categories.
Now that we have some of the basics down, let’s take a look at the major change coming to murder in WotLK. The talent is changing from 1/2% to 2/4% and moving to tier 6 in the assassination tree. For players going mutilate or other deep assassination builds then this talent will be an absolute must.
You may be thinking, “well Zuggy, it’s only a measly 4%…”, let me tell you why that 4% is absolutely crucial. Let’s break this down from a base line DPS standpoint.
- You do 100,000 damage without murder on a boss fight
- You do 104,000 damage with murder on the same boss fight
- We have a net gain of 4,000 additional damage on the fight
Let’s compare this to the similar talent in the combat tree, aggression. Just like murder I get lots of questions about aggression, and many people think I’m misguided for not choosing it, but I’ll tell you why I don’t.
One brief note, don’t forget that aggression was recently changed to a 5 point talent 2/4/6/8/10%.
- Most rogues average 65% white damage, 30% sinister strike damage, and 5% eviscerate damage on a PvE encounter (note: if you didn’t have aggression you’d just envenom)
- So we do 100,000 damage again on a boss fight, of which only 35,000 damage receives modification bonus from aggression
- 35,000 * 1.10 = 38,500, Net gain of 3,500
- Total net output, 103,500
So, comparatively speaking we gain 4,000 damage for 2 points in murder, or 3,500 damage for 5 points in aggression. If murder were a 10 point talent (2/4/6/8/10%) it would beat aggression 10,000 damage to 3,500. Here in lies why I never pick up aggression, and ALWAYS pick up murder.
Murder Talent Conclusions
Murder offers the biggest bang for your buck of any rogue talent. For 2 points it’s an absolute must if you are going to spec deep into assassination. In my opinion aggression is one of the worst talents in the combat tree. It pales in comparison to murder. Murder is one of the best talents availble to the rogue class today, plain and simple. If you’re going into assassination tree you need to get it.
Please note that this article has been updated and is now located here, rogue talent builds. This new page contains specs and builds updated for level 80 and is the permanent location of all new rogue talent spec additions. Thank you.
There are two major specs for rogues in arena, there is room for some variance in each, though the basics should be kept the same to maximize your ability to play the class at the highest level.
The basic combat talent spec offers you a great deal of utility, survivability, and damage. My talent spec has been a variation of the 20/41 build since the latter half of season one. I like the spec because it offers solid burst damage during the AR as well as great-sustained damage throughout the fight. If surprise attacks wasn’t reason enough to spec deep combat the additional bonuses of combat potency, nerves of steel, improved sprint, and improved kick should be. With so much stun resist in the game landing your kidney shot has become of utmost importance, IE I don’t want to have to worry about a dodged KS, surprise attacks takes care of that.
With 20/41 you have a bit of flexibility, first in the choice of weapons. You can choose from mace spec, sword spec, or fist spec. My recommendation, if you have the weapons, would be to spec maces. The stun proc on top of the +10 weapon skill puts it far beyond the benefits gained from sword or fist spec. Control for a rogue has always been the most important attribute for a rogue in pvp, and mace spec helps you extend that control even more. In the event Blizzard changes sword spec back to a yellow damage proc, which would remove the current dual wield miss penalty imposed on white attacks, you could make a cast for swords. Though I currently cannot see any reason to spec anything other than maces so long as you have quality weapons. With as much resilience in the game as there is now fist spec is virtually useless, and so long as sword spec procs are white damage I’d shy away from them as well for pvp.
There’s a bit of room for variation in the spec, and it really depends on what your preference abilities are. Personally I’ve chosen to go with 19/42 on my rogue, which allows me to get all the regular talents in assassination, but also gives me room to pickup improved expose armor, which I find myself using quite frequently vs. priests and a selection of other classes where I’m able to stick to a target for long durations. The key to this build is obviously the 41-point combat talent; so long as you’ve got that then you have a bit of room to play in the assassination tree and are able to customize it according to your play style.
Rogue Arena Mutilate Specs
41/20/0 Mutilate (I’m not a big imp. KS fan, if you are you can work points around from murder / ruthlessness / vile poisons to get it)
50/0/11 Mutilate (Heavy poisons, ideal for 2v2 with a healer)
49/0/12 Mutilate (Heavy poisons, full MoD)
In my opinion mutilate is the only other truly viable arena specs, there are a few strange hybrid builds which are available, though if you are going combat I’d suggest looking at the build above, else if you are a dagger fan go for mutilate. The great thing about mutilate is quite simply the great damage and combo point generation is supplies even when you aren’t critting. In addition it’s got fantastic burst damage during a Kidney shot, which actives both your improved KS (+9% damage) and expose weakness (+10% damage). Let me tell you, anything which modifies by percent in this game is overpowered, simply because the only balancing limitation imposed is via the quality of weapons you are able to attain.
The major dilemma for me here was always whether to choose the 1.4 speed traditional off-hand dagger, or go with the bomb dropping pair of main hand 1.8 speeds. Your biggest draw back to mutilate is the poison application, though for the most part shiv is able to at least get you started and then, so long as you stay on the target, your poisons should hold pretty well. So if you aren’t worried too much about having to spam shiv, as the energy cost is marginally higher with the 1.8 over the 1.4, then go for a pair of main hand daggers. The +50% damage from off-hand specialization in the combat tree will allow your off-hand to hit nearly as hard, and sometimes harder, than your main-hand dagger. For example, cs, mutilate, it crits, 5 cps, wait for energy tick, ks, +19% damage, cold blood, mutilate. Quite simply put this combo, or similar combos to this, is why mutilate is such a strong spec. You’ve got great sustainable damage, awesome combo point generation, and the ability to through some of the highest burst damage combos in the game.
For virtually all of the Burning Crusade subtly talent specs were pretty horrible. Though patch 2.3 changed it all.
While shadowstep is viable it may not be the best choice for your teams makeup. You’ll want to develop a variety of fast target switching mechanics with your team in order to extract maximum benefit from the spec.
Rogue Hybrid Arena Specs
26/0/35 Hybrid Hemo
This is the type of spec that is ideal for your double melee rush down teams. In essence, rogue / warrior / druid teams. With this type of rush down combo you really don’t need shadowstep, so having the extra points in assassination really helps to give you that extra bit of on command damage you need to drop the bombs.