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The Best Combat Rogue Build for WoW Classic

The Best Combat Rogue Build for WoW Classic

One of the highest PvE DPS builds for Raiding in Classic World of Warcraft

Combat Rogue PvE DPS Build
Odealo's Pocket Guide

Rogue

You can find all our Pocket Guides for other WoW Classic Classes builds right here: Best WoW Classic Builds

If you have just started leveling your Rogue, you may want to check out our Rogue leveling Guide first

 

Build Overview

Combat Rogue is one of the best DPS Classes in Classic WoW, losing only to Warrior when it comes to pure numbers. His Energy mechanic (in Classic, Rogue gains 20 Energy every 2 seconds) allows him to keep up his DPS even in the longest of encounters, making Sustain not an issue at all. However, in very long fights, Rogue might be forced to reapply his poisons as they have limited charges. This can lead to a slight DPS loss, but it is negligible when compared to a loss caused by running out of resources. He has access to two solid threat-management tools in a form of Vanish and Feint, so he is able to deal steady damage without any real risk of gaining Bosse's unwanted attention (for as long as he pays attention to his Threat meter, of course). Unlike some other Classes/Specs, Combat Rogue performs at the top level throughout all the content Phases, which makes him a solid DPS choice for any Raid Tier. His Utility, while not the best in Raids, can prove to be irreplaceable in smaller groups or in certain Raid encounters, like suppression room in Blackwing Lair. The only real drawback of Combat Rogue is his popularity. Finding a spot in a decent Raiding guild might be a slight problem, but it can be overcome with a little bit of hard work and dedication because solid and dedicated Raiders are always in high demand.

 Pros  Cons
 Very high and stable Damage output  Lightly armored Class with rather low HP pool - can die instantly after accidentally pulling aggro in Raid.
 Good threat management options  Somewhat limited Raid utility
 Great Sustain  Poisons have a limited number of charges
 Scales very well with gear  Finding a good Raiding guild might be somewhat difficult because of Rogue's popularity
 Very strong in PvP, even in a dedicated PvE build  High competition for items in Raids


The Best Race Choice

Note: Here, we will point you only towards the best PvE DPS Rogue Race. If you'd like to know more about other race picks, please check our WoW Classic Beginners Guide, where we dive deep into all available Rogue's race choices for both factions.

Alliance
Alliance

If you want your Racials to affect your DPS, there is only one choice in Alliance and it is Human. His Sword Specialization gives him a considerable edge over other available allied races. It decreases your chance to miss an attack, reduces enemy's chance to dodge, block, and parry, and most of all reduces glancing blow (glancing blows deal damage reduced in proportion to the difference between Target's defense skill and Attaker's weapon skill) penalty, which is huge for DPS.

If you are going for a Dagger build, the race choice becomes very much open. We recommend Dwarf or Gnome in this case, because of their solid PvP-centred Racials - Stone Form and Escape Artist.

Horde
Horde
If Rogues could use Axes in Classic, the choice would be unbelievably simple, but they sadly can't, so it isn't. There are two solid Race choices, that affect DPS, to go for on Horde's side - Orc and Troll, but the power of Undead's Will of the Forsaken can't be overlooked either. Orc's Blood Fury is generally better than Troll's Berserking (the problem with Berserking on a DPS character is the fact that you shouldn't be taking damage, so it will give you only 10% Haste in most situations, which is underwhelming when we take its long CD into consideration). All in all, Orc wins (and he is great for PvP as well), but not as clearly as Human on Alliance's side.

The Best Professions Choice

There is only one profession that makes a real impact in Raids and it is Engineering (Alchemy is also a decent option, but you can buy Flasks, Elixirs, and Potions from other players, which makes it much less impactful). It gives you access to powerful explosives that increase your AoE and Single-Target DPS. On top of that, it lets you create and use Gnomish Battle Chicken Trinket that summons a Guardian Chicken that fights at your side and has a chance on hit to cast a "Battle Squawk" which boosts Melee attack speed of all Party members by 5%, making it a must-have in every competitive group. The fact that Engineering is also considered the best PvP profession is an added benefit to its power in PvE environment.

At the start, you should pick Mining to supplement your Engineering Skill, you can always switch it to another profession of your liking later on.

Note: If you want to know more about all available professions and secondary skills, please check our detailed WoW Classic Professions Guide.

Statistics Priority

  1. Hit Rating -  Increases your chance to Hit a Target. At level 60, with a Weapon Skill of 300, you have a 5% chance to miss with a special attack against a Target of equal level. Against level 63 Boss, who has 315 Defense skill, you need 9% Hit Rating to never miss a special attack. This means that getting 9% Hit Rating is paramount for a Raiding Rogue and should be your first goal when gearing up.
  1. Weapon Skill - Increases your chance to Hit, decreases enemy's chance to Block, Dodge, and Parry, and counteracts Glancing Blow Penalty. As a Rogue, you get 5 Weapon skills in Swords, Daggers, and Fist Weapons with the Weapon Expertise Talent, but you need at least 5 more. These 5 points can be provided by Human's Racial (for Sword Spec) or by Aged Core Leather Gloves (Drop from Molten Core; for Dagger spec).
  1. Agility - Increases your Ranged and Melee Attack Power by 1 AP per 1 Agility (at all levels), improves your Dodge chance by 1% per 14,5 Agility, and Critical Strike chance by 1% per 29 Agility (at level 60). This is your primary stat and you should look for it on all item upgrades after covering Hit Rating and Weapon Skill.
  1. Attack Power/Strength - 1 point of Strength provides Rogue with 1 Attack Power, making these two stats equal. They both increase Damage but have a much lower impact than Agility.
  1. Critical Strike - Increases your chance to deal bonus (critical) damage with all your attacks. Crit is a powerful stat for any rogue, but it gets a bit overshadowed by the fact that Agility provides both Crit Chance and Attack Power.

 

The Best Talent Builds

Proper Talent allocation is essential for maximizing Damage output. Here, we will describe the most optimal spec and lead you through the Talent Trees level-by-level to explain some choices.

There are two paths to choose - Swords Combat Build and Daggers Combat Build. Swords variant wins on DPS, but one might opt for Daggers setup, as it makes getting solid PvP weapons in Raids much easier.

Note: There are two versions of Daggers Build. The second one is based on the Seal Fate Talent from the Assassination Tree and requires a lot of Critical Strike chance (~30%) to work properly, which is not really achievable before Phase 5 without dropping below 9% Hit Cap, which is unacceptable. We will feature this build as soon as Phase 5 starts.

Swords Combat Rogue PvE DPS Build
Talent allocation for Combat Swords

Assassination Tree:

  • 5/5 Malice
  • 3/3 Ruthlessness - This Talent brings some RNG to Rogue's rotation, but the boost that it brings is definitely worth it.
  • 2/2 Murder - A lot of the Bosses are either Humanoids, Giants, Beasts or Dragonkin, which makes this Talent a must-have (it is a bit underwhelming in Molten Core, however).
  • 3/3 Improved Slice and Dice - Makes your Slice and Dice much more efficient and cheaper to maintain at all times.
  • 5/5 Lethality - More Damage from Sinister Strike Crits. This talent scales very well with gear.

Combat Tree:

  • 3/3 Improved Gouge - More of a PvP Talent, but it finds some uses in PvE as well.
  • 2/2 Improved Sinister Strike - More Sinister Strikes = more DPS.
  • 1/5 Lightning Reflexes - This Talent has close to 0 value in PvE, but the point has to go somewhere to unlock higher tier Combat Talents.
  • 5/5 Precision
  • 2/2 Endurance - Allows you to Sprint more often, which makes you more mobile and less prone to losing DPS because of encounter mechanics.
  • 2/2 Improved Sprint - Your Sprint now also breaks movement impairing effects, which is essential in some encounters.
  • 5/5 Dual Wield Specialization - With this Talent, your offhand Weapon deals 75% of normal Damage instead of standard 50%.
  • 1/1 Blade Flurry - Strong DPS Cooldown that also allows you to Cleave your Damage to a second Target.
  • 5/5 Sword Specialization - Solid Talent that passively boosts your DPS. Be aware that this Talent's procs will reset your Swing Timer (you should use your abilities immediately after Auro-Attack swings - get a Swing Timer Addon - because of that).
  • 2/2 Weapon Expertise - Weapon Skill increase is very hard to get on Items and this talent provides you with 5 points!
  • 3/3 Aggression
  • 1/1 Adrenaline Rush - Very strong offensive Cooldown that increases your Energy regeneration rate by 100% for 15 seconds. Be aware that your Energy will tick for 40 per 2 seconds instead of 20 per 2 seconds when this is active (keep track of your energy levels, or you might waste some of it).

Daggers Combat Rogue PvE DPS Build
Talent allocation for Combat Daggers

Assassination Tree:

  • 5/5 Malice
  • 2/2 Murder 
  • 3/3 Improved Slice and Dice
  • 5/5 Lethality 

Combat Tree:

  • 3/3 Improved Gouge
  • 2/2 Improved Sinister Strike - you'll want to use Backstab with this build, but this should provide you with more value than 2/5 Lightning Reflexes anyway.
  • 3/3 Improved Backstab - Additional 30% Crit chance with Backstab. A must-have.
  • 5/5 Precision
  • 2/2 Endurance
  • 2/2 Improved Sprint 
  • 5/5 Dagger Specialization - even more Critical Strike chance.
  • 5/5 Dual Wield Specialization
  • 1/1 Blade Flurry 
  • 2/2 Weapon Expertise
  • 1/1 Adrenaline Rush

Subtlety Tree:

  • 5/5 Opportunity - 20% Extra Damage from Backstab, Garrote, and Ambush abilities. We advise you to watch out for your Ambushes at the start of Combat, as you might accidentally pull Aggro with them - just give Tank a while to generate some Threat.

 

Where to get Pre-Raid/Raid BiS Gear

In order to maximize your DPS, you should aim to assemble the best possible Gear. This applies to both Pre-Raid and each of the Raid Tiers/Phases. Also, remember that it is the armament that gives the highest DPS boost, so you should start by getting the best rogue weapons available. Below, we present you the BiS (Bst-in-slot) list for all equipment slots.

Note1: The list will be updated with new items concurrently with the introduction of new Raids/Phases, so remember to visit this page after new Raid opens for an update on what current best Rogue items in each lot are.

The Best Rogue Items
Weapon (MH)
  • Pre-Raid - Felstriker(Dagger) / Dal'Rend's Sacred Charge(Sword) (Both drop from Warchief Rend Blackhand, Upper Blackrock Spire) 
  • Phase 1 - Perdition's Blade(Dagger) (Drop from Ragnaros, Molten Core) / Vis'kag the Bloodletter(Sword) (Drop from Onyxia, Onyxia's Lair)
  • Phase 2 - TBA
  • Phase 3 - TBA
  • Phase 4 - TBA
  • Phase 5 - TBA
  • Phase 6 - TBA
Weapon (OH)
  • Pre-Raid - Dal'Rend's Tribal Guardian(Sword) (Drop from Warchief Rend Blackhand, Upper Blackrock Spire) / Alcor's Sunrazor(Dagger) (BoE World Drop)
  • Phase 1 - Brutality Blade(Sword) (Drop from Garr, Molten Core) / Core Hound Tooth(Dagger) (Cashe of the Firelord, Molten Core)
  • Phase 2 - TBA
  • Phase 3 - TBA
  • Phase 4 - TBA
  • Phase 5 - TBA
  • Phase 6 - TBA
Ranged
  • Pre-Raid - Blackcrow (Drop from Shadow Hunter Vosh'gajin, Lower Blackrock Spire) / Precisely Calibrated Boomstick (BoE World Drop)
  • Phase 1 - Striker's Mark (Drop from Magmadar, Molten Core)
  • Phase 2 - TBA
  • Phase 3 - TBA
  • Phase 4 - TBA
  • Phase 5 - TBA
  • Phase 6 - TBA
Trinket 1
  • Pre-Raid - Hand of Justice (Drop from Emperor Dagran Thaurissan, Blackrock Depths)
  • Phase 1 - Hand of Justice
  • Phase 2 - TBA
  • Phase 3 - TBA
  • Phase 4 - TBA
  • Phase 5 - TBA
  • Phase 6 - TBA
Trinket 2
  • Pre-Raid - Blackhand's Breadth (Quest Reward from "HordeFor the Horde!" / "AllianceGeneral Drakkisath's Demise", Upper Blackrock Spire)
  • Phase 1 - Blackhand's Breadth
  • Phase 2 - TBA
  • Phase 3 - TBA
  • Phase 4 - TBA
  • Phase 5 - TBA
  • Phase 6 - TBA
Neck
  • Pre-Raid - Mark of Fordring (Quest Reward from "In Dreams", Western Plaguelands)
  • Phase 1 - Onyxia Tooth Pendant (Quest Reward from "HordeFor All To See" / "AllianceCelebrating Good Times", Onyxia's Lair)
  • Phase 2 - TBA
  • Phase 3 - TBA
  • Phase 4 - TBA
  • Phase 5 - TBA
  • Phase 6 - TBA
Ring 1
  • Pre-Raid - Blackstone Ring (Drop from Princess Theradras, Maraudon)
  • Phase 1 - Blackstone Ring
  • Phase 2 - TBA
  • Phase 3 - TBA
  • Phase 4 - TBA
  • Phase 5 - TBA
  • Phase 6 - TBA
Ring 2
  • Pre-Raid - Painweaver Band (Drop from General Drakkisath, Upper Blackrock Spire)
  • Phase 1 - Band of Accuria (Drop from Ragnaros, Molten Core)
  • Phase 2 - TBA
  • Phase 3 - TBA
  • Phase 4 - TBA
  • Phase 5 - TBA
  • Phase 6 - TBA
Head
  • Pre-Raid - Mask of the Unforgiven (Drop from The Unforgiven, Stratholme)
  • Phase 1 - Bloodfang Hood (Drop from Onyxia, Onyxia's Lair)
  • Phase 2 - TBA
  • Phase 3 - TBA
  • Phase 4 - TBA
  • Phase 5 - TBA
  • Phase 6 - TBA
Chest
  • Pre-Raid -  Cadaverous Armor (Drop from Multiple Bosses, Scholomance)
  • Phase 1 - Nightslayer Chestpiece (Drop from Golemagg the Incinerator, Molten Core)
  • Phase 2 - TBA
  • Phase 3 - TBA
  • Phase 4 - TBA
  • Phase 5 - TBA
  • Phase 6 - TBA
Legs
  • Pre-Raid - Devilsaur Leggings (Leatherworking Recipe)
  • Phase 1 - Bloodfang Pants (Drop from Ragnaros, Molten Core)
  • Phase 2 - TBA
  • Phase 3 - TBA
  • Phase 4 - TBA
  • Phase 5 - TBA
  • Phase 6 - TBA
Gloves
  • Pre-Raid - Devilsaur Gauntlets (Leatherworking Recipe)
  • Phase 1 - Nightslayer Gloves (Drop from Gehennas, Molten Core)
  • Phase 2 - TBA
  • Phase 3 - TBA
  • Phase 4 - TBA
  • Phase 5 - TBA
  • Phase 6 - TBA
Boots
  • Pre-Raid - Swiftwalker Boots (Drop from Princess Moira Bronzebeard, Blackrock Depths)
  • Phase 1 - Nightslayer Boots (Drop from Shazzrah, Molten Core)
  • Phase 2 - TBA
  • Phase 3 - TBA
  • Phase 4 - TBA
  • Phase 5 - TBA
  • Phase 6 - TBA
Shoulders
  • Pre-Raid - Truestrike Shoulders (Drop from Pyroguard Emberseer, Upper Blackrock Spire)
  • Phase 1 - Nightslayer Shoulder Pads (Drop from Sulfuron Harbinger, Molten Core)
  • Phase 2 - TBA
  • Phase 3 - TBA
  • Phase 4 - TBA
  • Phase 5 - TBA
  • Phase 6 - TBA
Wrists
  • Pre-Raid - Deepfury Bracers (BoE World Drop)
  • Phase 1 - Nightslayer Bracelets (Trash Mobs (BoE), Molten Core)
  • Phase 2 - TBA
  • Phase 3 - TBA
  • Phase 4 - TBA
  • Phase 5 - TBA
  • Phase 6 - TBA
Belt
  • Pre-Raid - Cloudrunner Girdle (Drop from Quartermaster Zigris, Lower Blackrock Spire)
  • Phase 1 - Nightslayer Belt (Trash Mobs (BoE), Molten Core)
  • Phase 2 - TBA
  • Phase 3 - TBA
  • Phase 4 - TBA
  • Phase 5 - TBA
  • Phase 6 - TBA
Back
  • Pre-Raid - Cape of the Black Baron (Drop from Baron Rivendare, Stratholme)
  • Phase 1 - Cape of the Black Baron
  • Phase 2 - TBA
  • Phase 3 - TBA
  • Phase 4 - TBA
  • Phase 5 - TBA
  • Phase 6 - TBA

 

The Best Enchants and Consumables

Proper enchants and consumables will greatly increase your Damage output. While getting enchants is a one-time-deal, farming consumables might be a real chore, but it is still worth it as numbers clearly show.

The Best Enchants
Weapon (MH) Enchant Weapon - Crusader (Chance to gain +125 Strength for 15 sec.)
Weapon (OH) Enchant Weapon - Crusader (Chance to gain +125 Strength for 15 sec.)
Head Lesser Arcanum of Voracity (+8 Agility, available from Libram of Voracity Quest in Burning Steppes)
Chest Enchant Chest - Greater Stats (+4 to all stats)
Legs Lesser Arcanum of Voracity (+8 Agility, available from Libram of Voracity Quest in Burning Steppes)
Hands Enchant Gloves - Greater Agility (+ 7 Agility)
Feet Enchant Boots - Minor Speed (+8% Run Speed) or Enchant Boots - Greater Agility (+7 Agility)
Shoulders Chromatic Mantle of the Dawn (+5 to all Resistances)
Wrists Enchant Bracer - Superior Strength (+9 Strength)
Back Enchant Cloak - Lesser Agility (+3 Agility)

The Best Consumables
Instant Poison VI
Instant Poison VI
20% chance of poisoning the enemy, dealing 112-148 Nature Damage instantly. 115 Charges.
R.O.I.D.S.
R.O.I.D.S.
+25 Strength for 60 minutes. Reward from the Rage of Ages repeatable Quest in the Blasted Lands.
Elixir of the Mongoose
Elixir of the Mongoose
+25 Agility and +2% Critical Strike Chance for 60 minutes. Can be bought on AH or directly from an Alchemist.
Juju Power
Juju Power
+30 Strength for 30 minutes. Reward from a reputable Quest available from NPC Witch Doctor Mau'ari, Everlook, Winterspring.
Juju Might
Juju Might
+40 Attack Power for 10 minutes. Reward from a reputable Quest available from NPC Witch Doctor Mau'ari, Everlook, Winterspring.
Winterfall Firewater
Winterfall Firewater
+35 Attack Power for 20 minutes. Drop from Winterfall Furbolgs in Winterpring (this is an alternative for JuJu Might, as the effects don't stack).
Thistle Tea
Thistle Tea
Instantly grants 100 Energy. Created by Cooking, Recipe can be obtained from "Kalven's Tower" Rogue Quest.
Grilled Squid
Grilled Squid
+10 Agility for 10 minutes. Created by Cooking, Raw Squids can be fished, but only during Winter.

 

Rotations

In Classic, Rogue follows more of a priority list than a strict rotation. On top of that, the list changes slightly depending on the Weapon (and build) you are currently using)

Note: most of the time, you'll want to use your Cooldowns at the start of combat, so that you'll get a second (and a third in long encounters) charge before the fight ends.

Rogue's opening sequence looks as follows:

Opener (Ambush/Garrote, or even Sinister Strike/Backstab - depending on chosen build/situation) ⇒ Slice and Dice ⇒ Adrenaline Rush ⇒ 5x Sinister Strike/Backstab (depending on chosen build/situation) ⇒ Slice and Dice ⇒ Here, standard single-target Priority list kicks in

Please use the following Priority List for sustained Single-Target Damage output:

  1. Maintain Slice and Dice at all times (use it with 5 Combo Points)
Slice and Dice
  1. Vanish if too high on Threat and there is a danger of pulling Aggro
Vanish
  1. Adrenaline Rush on Cooldown
Adrenaline Rush
  1. Blade Flurry when Adrenaline Rush is active or when multiple Targets available
Blade Flurry
  1. Eviscerate at 5 Combo Points
Eviscerate
  1. Sinister Strike/Backstab as a CP generator (depending on the situation/build)
Sinister Strike / Backstab
Rogue does not have an AoE Rotation, as he lacks any AoE abilities. When in an AoE situation, use Blade Flurry, throw Grenades (if applicable) and continue with your Single-Target Rotation.

 

Tips and Tricks for aspiring Rogue Raiders

  1. If you want to deal more Damage and stand out from your Raid competition, Stack Consumables. Spending some additional Gold or a few extra hours grinding might secure you a spot in a Raid, as Raid leaders prefer dedicated and well-prepared players.
  1. Do not ever overcap your Combo Points or Energy, but don't just spam Energy requiring abilities, try to maintain a stable Energy level (60-80).
  1. You should always try to use your Finishing Moves with 5 Combo Points in order to maximize efficiency. Keep track of Ruthlessness procs, as they can change the math slightly (don't just spam 5x Sinister Strike/Backstab into finisher, keep track of your current CP).
  1. Use Macros. You should add a /startattack macro to all your offensive abilities. Other macros, like /cancelaura "x", Weapon Swaps (/equip "WeaponName") and even mouseovers (/cast [target=mouseover, exists] AbilityName; AbilityName) are worth considering as well. Weapon Swap macros can be especially useful if you have multiple Weapons, with different Poisons applied, in your bags (you can swap weapons to apply poisons as needed).
  1. Always try to improve. Get an addon that tracks your performance and try to optimize your equipment and rotation.

 

END NOTE

This Guide should help you to prepare yourself for that legendary Vanilla  Raiding Experience and allow you to progress through Raid Tiers efficiently and with a good amount of fun.

We hope that you have found this guide useful and informative.  If we have missed a piece of information that is important to you, please let us know! 

Please do note that this is an early version of our guide, and we will be happy to receive constructive criticism, that will help us improve it, so leave your suggestions in the comments section below.

 

Pictures used in this article are the intellectual property of Blizzard Entertainment Inc.