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World of Warcraft Classes Rogue «Subtlety»

Subtlety Rogue PvE Guide (WoW Legion 7.3.5)


“Subtlety” Rogue – a rogue specializing in subtlety relies usually on – surprise! – the abilities that are used from subtle or even during the active stage of the Shadow Dance. The talents that come with this specialization are also devoted to modifying the condition of subtlety as well as the abilities that are only active during this condition.



‘Subtlety’ as any other specialization of this class has two main resources – Energy and Combopoints (hereinafter CP). Consequently, there are abilities that consume those resources or vice versa, allow to store them. The correct usage of these abilities coming from the main priorities list is the basics of any spec in this class.

Let’s view the main advantages and disadvantages that come with this spec:


  • Serious damage to one target. This is achieved due to a series of bursts, ‘Shadow Dance’ and ‘Vanish’ spells
  • The ability to give these bursts away whenever and wherever you need if the encounter demands it
  • Average constant damage in an area with an option to modify that damage up to very strong burst one with the help of legendary items
  • A unique ability to do extreme damage to the priority target in the combat with additional targets located in close proximity around the main one
  • Nice scaling of a new gear, mainly due to Agility and priority secondary characteristics
  • Incredible survivability, typical of any Rogue spec, though
  • Very high mobility provided by the 15% bonus in the moving speed, Sprint and Shadowstep. The latter has two charges which is a unique feature of this specialization


  • Cooldown dependent. Despite the fact those are fairly frequent, the DPS between the bursts is rather low
  • High legendary item dependency

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Main abilities

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General information. On achieving several new levels you’ll get access to new talent ‘Tiers’. Talents may have different effect on abilities: add new features, replace old ones, modify passively different effects and spells. Talents can be changed in Sanctuaries or any recreational zones. However, if you don’t have any of those places nearby you can use the Codex of the Tranquil Mind which allows you to switch channels within a minute. You can’t change talents in combat. You can’t change a talent if the talent you’ve picked in the last Tier is on Cooldown. You’ll have to wait until it’s restored first.

Tier 1. Lvl 15.

Master of Subtlety. Attacks do 10% more damage in Stealth as well as 5 seconds after. At the moment, it’s the best choice and the only option when you use the Death from Above talent.

Weaponmaster gives you a 6% chance that your attack strikes twice. In the Weaponmaster game log, only utility ticks of the Nightblade are reflected. In general, the talent is pretty good but it’s too unpredictable. Completely random, to be exact. You might luck out and the talent works on Eviscerate all the time, or it might kick in on auto-attacks.

Gloomblade is a substitute for Backstab. Deals Shadow Magic damage, no fixed position regarding the target’s location. It’s basically stronger than a regular Backstab, but compared to the other two talents, gives you a smaller dps increase – especially if you’ve picked Death from Above – as your finishing moves deal most of the damage, and Gloomblade deprives you of their additional enhancement.


Tier 2. Lvl 30.

Nightstalker increases the running speed by 20% and the damage you do by 12% while Stealth or Shadow Dance is active. It’s the best choice with active Death from Above.

Subterfuge allows you to use the abilities that require Stealth for 3 seconds after Stealth is over. It also prolongs the Shadow Dance by one sec. At the moment, the talent is not relevant.

Shadow Focus. All the abilities consume by 25% less Energy during active Stealth and Shadow Dance. This is a perfect choice with the Marked for Death on.


Tier 3. Lvl 45.

Deeper Stratagem increases the quantity of CP up to 6; all the abilities for which the power depends on the CP spent can spend up to 6 CP, and the damage they do increases by 5%. At the moment, this is the sole choice for a Rogue specializing in Subtlety as a huge portion of the damage is done by the finishing moves.

Anticipation increases the CP count up to 10 but you can still spend no more than 5.

Vigor increases the max Energy stock by 50 and increases its restoring speed by 10%.


Tier 4. Lvl 60.

Soothing Darkness restores 3% of the max Health capacity once a second with Stealth or Shadow Dance on. This is an optimal choice for acting in the Open World.

Elusiveness. On top of the 50% of the attacks in the AoE, it now decreases the damage received in any attack outside AoE by 30%. Sometimes it can be useful. Just listen to the Healers of your group/raid. But keep in mind that the Feint demands 35 Energy and is on for only 5 secs. You won’t be able to keep a high uptime with the Feint and do max damage at the same time.

Cheat Death prevents a fatal attack from killing you and enables the following effects: for 3 secs you receive 85% less damage, your health level can’t go lower than 7% of the max; you also get a debuff for 6 mins to remind you that Cheat Death won’t save you from the next fatal attack during this period. Death terminates this effect. This is a choice by default as nothing’s better than a new life, even with a cooldown this long.


Tier 5. Lvl 75.

Strike from the Shadows. Shadowstrike stuns your target for 2 secs now. In PvP, instead of stunning effect it causes vertigo.

Prey on the Weak. After a Kidney Shot, Cheap Shot or Sap, the target receives 10% more damage from any damage source over the active period of the aforementioned effects. In some combats, you’ll have to use Stun or your group/raid may need max damage done to a particular target (one you can stun, for sure). In the second case, it is most effective to use Kidney Shot with max CP.

Tangled Shadow. The Nightblade slows the target’s running speed by 50% instead of 30%.

*This tier has no influence on DPS. Pick whatever you like best or something specific if your encounter asks for it.

Tier 6. Lvl 90.

Dark Shadow. While the Shadow Dance is active, all the damage is increased by 30%. At the moment, this is the best choice.

Alacrity provides a probability of 20% per CP spent (so 5 CP make for 100%) that your running speed increases by 2% for 20 secs. The effect can be added up up to 10 times. It can be used constantly on the AoE but it still proves to be not as good as the Dark Shadow.

Enveloping Shadow gives the Shadow Dance the 3d charge, and the passive effect of the Deepening Shadow increases from 1.5 to 2.5 secs. In general, the talent increases the Shadow Dance uptime, but the spec’s concept changed in 7.2.5, and now we’re chasing less frequent but more effective Shadow Dances which makes the talent irrelevant at the moment.


Tier 7. Lvl 100.

Master of Shadows helps you 25 Energy within 3 secs after you’ve activated Stealth or Shadow Dance. This option is not bad especially in cases when you don’t have any set bonuses that increase the Energy regeneration speed.

Marked for Death is a talent that allows you to mark your enemy for death and gives you 5 (6 with the Deeper Stratagem on) CP. CD 40 secs, on the target, it stays for 60 secs. If the target dies during debuff, your Marked for Death gets instantly restored. The talent is a nice choice for those who can’t use the

Death from Above in a normal way due to certain mechanics. This talent may give you an advantage in encounters with frequent successively dying targets. Death from Above is a finishing move. It is actuated in two stages. After the first stage you instantly damage all the enemies within the 8 m range and then you rocket up in the sky. The second stage is the landing during which you use Eviscerate with 50% increased strength. You can’t be pushed anywhere during this acrobatic trick which provides you with a great opportunity to evade any pushing mechanics. CD 20 secs. At the moment, it’s the strongest talent in 99% of the cases.

Result: the main build 1110013

  1. Master of Subtlety
  2. Nightstalker
  3. Deeper Stratagem
  4. Dark Shadow
  5. Death from Above

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Unlike talents, in the weapons branch there is no choice of what you can and what you can’t take. With the current Artifact Knowledge, the order of artifact acquisition is insignificant as to open all the traits, you only need to earn 2.23 billion artifact power which is extremely easy to do just over the first few minutes after you’ve reached level 110.


General overview. Subtlety Rogues use 2 Fel relics and 1 Shadow relic. The former we share with a small number of classes, but for the Shadow, there’s a bunch of candidates. It should also be considered that all the main abilities of a Rogue, in damage calculation, account for our Attack power only while the Weapon’s DPS is not accounted for. This means that relics’ ilvl gives a lot less that the trait itself.

For single target:

  1. Energetic Stabbing 7.8 ilvl
  2. Weak Point 8 ilvl
  3. Gutripper 7 ilvl
  4. Precision Strike 4.3 ilvl
  5. Quiet Knife 3.7 ilvl
  6. Soul Shadows 3.6 ilvl
  7. Demon’s Kiss 3.3 ilvl
  8. Fortune’s Bite 2.3 ilvl

If you are not sure if you should get relic A with worse traits but higher ilvl instead of the one you have at the moment, we recommend you use simcraft or a very convenient web-site raidbots.com with an in-built relic comparing interface.

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Netherlight Crucible

Tier 1 of any relic allows you to increase your weapon’s ilvl by 5 points.

Tier 2. For your convenience, let’s present it in the form similar to the relic valuing of the previous section:

  1. Torment the Weak 8 ilvl
  2. Shadowbind 7.3 ilvl
  3. Secure in the Light 7.3 ilvl
  4. Infusion of Light 7.2 ilvl
  5. Murderous Intent 6.6 ilvl
  6. Chaotic Darkness 6.5 ilvl
  7. Master of Shadows 6.2 ilvl
  8. Shocklight 5.6 ilvl
  9. Light Speed 4.3 ilvl
  10. Dark Sorrows 3.6 ilvl

Tier 3 completely coincides with the relic priority list:

  1. Weak Point 8 ilvl
  2. Energetic Stabbing 7.8 ilvl
  3. Gutripper 7 ilvl
  4. Precision Strike 4.3 ilvl
  5. Quiet Knife 3.7 ilvl
  6. Soul Shadows 3.6 ilvl
  7. Demon’s Kiss 3.3 ilvl
  8. Fortune’s Bite 2.3 ilvl

Eventually, you have to pick a way that gives you the highest total of these ilvl equivalents.

If you are using CrucibleWeight you can import this string into the game:

cruweight^128476^ilvl^1^197369^2.72 6:2.07 7:2.43^252799^6.47^197233^3.88 6:3.23 7:3.76^252922^3.99^238068^9.22 6:8.69 7:8.97^197386^4.02 6:5.43 7:3.35^252875^8.31^197234^7.7 6:7.36 7:7.18^252191^7.48^197231^4.31 6:4.15 7:3.8^197235^4.89 6:4.45 7:4.27^197239^8.5 6:7.81 7:7.26^252888^7.76^252091^7.07^252906^9.44^252088^4.65^253070^8.02^253093^7.62^end

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This “Subtlety” uses a total of 14 Legendarys

For a single target, the best choice will be The First of the Dead + Mantle of the Master Assassin. At the AoE encounters with priority target Denial of the Half-Giants + Mantle of the Master Assassin.Pure AoE or Mythic+ The Dreadlord’s Deceit + Mantle of the Master Assassin.

Now let’s take a closer look at each Legendary:

  • Mantle of the Master Assassin. Vanish now gives you 5 secs with 100% chance of crit which is a huge boost in terms of dps as Vanish has the CD of 90 secs and goes perfectly with our short-term bursts. This is a huge Legendary that helps significantly increase the damage you do.
  • The First of the Dead allows you, right after you’ve pressed Death Symbols, to get 5 CP off the next CP generating move. Performs really well on a single target.
  • Denial of the Half-Giants prolongs the action of Shadow Blades for 0.2 sec per each CP spent. Increases the duration of this buff significantly as well as its buff and its uptime for a combat in general.
  • Shadow Satyr’s Walk increases the amount of Energy returned in general allowing you to do damage during bursts with shorter stall. In general, it’s still a nice Legendary on a single target but is inferior to those mentioned above.
  • Soul of the Shadowblade allows you to get the second talent – Vigor – in the 3rd Tier ‘for free’. It works pretty fine in the AoE and shows average results on a single target.
  • Insignia of the Ravenholdt allows you to cleave with the Backstab or the Shadowstrike targets that are 15 meters ahead of you. Does not work with the Shuriken Storm. It’s an average Legendary for a single target, useless in the AoE and a weak one even for cleaves.
  • Cinidatia, the Symbiote allows you to do 30% more damage and restores 100% of HP from the damage done this way while the target has over 90% HP. This is a very debatable Legendary for regular use but it can be useful for trying new Bosses when you need to do as much damage as possible from a pool.
  • The Dreadlord’s Deceit allows you, within a min, to kick up your bonus damage for the next Shuriken Storm. It’s often useful in raids in different AoE encounters and is constantly used in 5ppl to increase the aoe-effect and on some bosses. A good asset up your sleeve.

Other Legendaries bear no significant bonuses on damaging. Some of them may – in theory – be of use in situations where you need more surviving than dps.

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The basic characteristic value is as follows:

Agility > Mastery > Versality > Crit >>> Haste

Changing the gear may change the characteristics’ value as well. For example, if you have the Mantle of the Master Assassin, the Crit’s value decreases significantly. That’s why, in order to keep your character in shape, you should consult SimulationCraft or a remote user-friendly web-site raidbots.com after receiving a new item of gear.

Among the aforementioned characteristics and results of your character’s own simulation results, you can draw conclusions on Gems, Chants and Raid Chemicals.

1. Gems.

2. Chants

3. Food

4. Flasks and Potions

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Set bonuses

Tier 19

  • 2 pieces: Nightblade lasts 2 secs longer per each CP spent
  • 4 pieces: Shadowstrike has 30% probability of generating 1 CP more if used on a target that already your Nightblade on it.

Tier 20

  • 2 pieces: Death Symbols increases the damage by extra 10%
  • 4 pieces: Death Symbols restore 5 secs faster and during the active phase, they restore 2 Energy per sec

Tier 21

  • 2 pieces: Each Combo Point spent reduces the cooldown of Death Symbols by 0.2 sec.
  • 4 pieces: Backstab and Shadowstrike have a 4% chance to grant you Shadow Gestures, causing your next finishing move to refund 100% of Combo Points spent when used.

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We recommend you create convenient marcoses to facilitate instant use of abilities after utilizing the Shadow Dance in order to save precious time:

#showtooltip Ability
 /cast Shadow Dance
 /cast ability


Where “Ability” = Eviscerate, Shadowstrike or Shuriken Storm

A convenient macro for a pool

/cast Shadowblade
/cast Shadowstrike


Kick with a modifier, with the Shift key held, the ability is applied on a remembered target, without – on the current one.

/cast [mod:shift,@focus][]Kick


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