Cataclysm Rogue Guide

Hello everyone!

For those, who know me – it’s been a long time, I didn’t fancy going Cata, but in the end I did and with it comes the hassle about specs, gear, gemming, reforging & etc. For those, who don’t know me – as my signature suggests, I am the author of the two Combat 3.3.5a guides – PvP and PvE – and I am still updating these when I find time.

Enough trivia, this is going to be the COMBAT PVE CATA Rogue Guide, covering everything you need to know, explained in a simple and understandable matter.

__—Updated for 4.3—__

This Guide will cover:
1. Talents & Glyphs
2. Stat weight, enchanting, gemming & reforging
3. Rotation & priority
4. Relevant Molten situation (bugs)
5. FAQs

A big credit is handed to ieatpaperbag from EJ team, whose Guide is the basis of mine (link at bottom)
A Changelog is posted at the bottom of the guide.

CP – Combo Point
SS – Sinister Strike
RvS – Revealing Strike
FoK – Fan of Knives
SnD – Slice and Dice
Evi – Eviscerate
Rup – Rupture
AR – Adrenaline Rush
BF – Blade Flurry
KS – Killing Spree
BG – Bandit’s Guile
RB – Restless Blades
MG – Main Gauche
TotT – Tricks of the Trade
IP – Instant Poison
DP – Deadly Poison
AoE – Area of Effect
Go# – Glyph of #


1. Talents & Glyphs

This is the basic Combat PvE spec. The points in Blade Twisting and Improved Sprint are simply a filler and a means to get to the bottom of the tree. Imp Sprint can prove particularly effective in some raid situations, where you are snared and need to run away quickly. Therefore you can put those 2 point in other talents, in example Improved Recuperate, which will increase your survivability a fair deal if you use it in a smart way (air phases or other times where you take a lot of damage, which you cannot prevent, and cannot DPS in the meantime).

The Glyphs that you should be using are:

– Adrenaline Rush
Sinister Strike
Slice and Dice OR Revealing Strike

Blade Flurry
Tricks of the Trade

GoAR and GoSS are must-haves for Combat, there is no doubt about that. GoSnD is considered the best choice for your third Glyph, but you could as well get GoRvS, which will result in a total +45% increased effectiveness of your offensive finishers (Eviscerate & Rupture).

GoBF & GoTotT are must-haves. Both of these greatly increase your Energy effectiveness. So does the third glyph, which effectively removes the energy cost of Feint – an extremely useful ability in many raid encounters (remember Whiteout on Toravon and Bonestorm on Marrowgar), which will save you and your healers a lot of trouble.

None of the minor glyphs affects your performance in any way worthwhile. Choose whatever you like.


2. Stat weight, enchanting, gemming & reforging

Stat weight

First of all, you need to hit the two caps – Hit and Expertise. The hit cap is 2% or 241 hit rating for yellow attacks, which is as far as you need to get. The expertise cap is 23 or 691 expertise rating with racial bonus and 26 or 781 without racial bonus. As you will notice when you mouse over Exp, this will eliminate Dodge, but not Parry, because of the way boss mechanics work, so you should still aim to always be behind your target, capped or not. However, you should not gem or enchant for Hit or Expertise (only reforge), as they are not worth it. Agility has the highest priority!

After Hit and Expertise have been capped, the most important stats for you are Agility and Haste. Agility is by far the best stat you have and you need to have as much of it as possible – it adds attack power and crit. Haste increases your attack speed, which passively increases your Combat Potency and MG procs, and also directly increases your energy regeneration rate.

Your least valuable stats are Crit and Mastery, Crit being the weakest one. If you take a good look at the talents and the gameplay of Combat, it just doesn’t gain much from Crit. Mastery gives you a chance (16% base) for your MH attacks to cause you to do an extra MH attack, increased by 2% for every point of mastery you have (179.28 rating). MH attacks include both autoattacks and specials. The MG attack can proc Combat Potency. The MG attack can also proc poisons.

STAT WEIGHT: Agility>Hit(cap)>Expertise(cap)>Haste>Hit(excess from gear)>Mastery>Crit


Enchanting your gear is pretty straightforward and logical, so I am not going to go in-depth with that. You should enchant both of your weapons with Landslide or Hurricane in case you find Landslide too expensive.



Deriving from the stat weight for Combat, the gemming is self-explanatory. When looking at socket bonuses, you are looking after Agility. If the socket bonus is NOT Agility, gem +50 Agi no matter the socket colors, if it is Agility and the sockets are Red + Yellow – stick with the socket bonus, if it is Agility, but the sockets are Red + Blue (hit-capped) or Yellow + Blue, gem full +50 Agi. This will yield the maximum amount of useful stats you can have from your gear.


Once you have reached the Hit & Expertise cap, you should aim to remove all your useless stats and gain as much from the useful ones as possible. You should reforge Crit and Mastery (and possibly extra Hit & Expertise) to Haste. If you have to choose between reforging Crit or Mastery, choose Crit – it is the weakest stat for you.


3. Rotation & Priority

Starting with Poisons, as a Combat Rogue, you should have IP on your slow MH and DP on your fast OH. For your Thrown, you should use Wound Poison. Explanation provided below in the Multi-target section.



Unlike Subtlety or Assassination, Combat doesn’t really care about opening, because it doesn’t have the temporary buffs the others have (Overkill, Master of Subtlety) and it does not need an initial opening setup. It makes very little difference for Combat if you start the fight with Garrote or just straight with SS. Your main goal as Combat is to keep SnD up at all times. Once SnD is up, you should just keep a 5-CP Rup on the target and use Evi as a filler. Use RvS in order to enhance your finishers’ DMG. Keep in mind that RvS generates one CP. RvS should be applied exactly at 4 CPs – no sooner and no later. If you are at 3 CPs, then use SS. If you get an extra CP from the glyph, simply use finisher. If you are at 5 CPs but without RvS up – screw RvS and use finisher regardless. The reasons are simple – SS>RVS in DMG and the amount of damage, Energy and CP lost is greater than the damage gain from an RvS + Evi/Rup. It is a bit hard to resist the urge to RvS + finisher, but you must get used to thinking about maximum damage output, not just big numbers. Your SnD doesn’t need to be 5-CP, it just needs to be up all the time – as long as it’s up, you have time for a damaging finisher and another SnD to refresh the old one, you are doing well. If for some reason you have RvS up and you have 4 CPs, use SS and not Shiv. Shiv does very low damage, because of your fast OH and is unable to crit, because of the mechanic of the skill.

Regarding Expose Armor – Fury and Prot Warrs, Assassination Rogues and Feral Druids will already apply the 12% armor debuff through glyphed Collosus Smash, Devastate, talented Expose Armor or Faerie Fire(Feral). If all those are absent in your raid, you should apply it after SnD. It is a personal loss of DPS for you, but a raid-wide increase depending on the raid composition.


For multiple targets, you should turn BF on and aim to position yourself in such a way so that you can strike your targets without putting yourself in danger. Prior to Cata, BF is now a self-aura with a 10sec cooldown instead of a timed active ability with a 2min cooldown. You can toggle BF off while the cooldown is still going. You should not use Rup while “cleaving” but Evi, because Rup does not affect other nearby targets, unlike Evi. As of Cata, BF no longer affects FoK. In addition, FoK does relatively low damage for Combat Rogues, even having in mind Ambidexterity, so in a multi-target situation you should not use FoK, except the targets are more than 7-8. The poison on your thrown weapon should be WP, because it takes around 30 seconds to make DP worthwhile. WP is better than IP, because WP’s proc chance is higher enough than IP’s to make it better in a short big-mob fight.

Bandit’s Guile
A lot of people misunderstand how BG works. BG has 3 levels of insight – Shallow, Moderate and Deep. Each of these provides a 10% bigger bonus in damage dealt to the target you are currently attacking (respectively 10, 20 and 30%). Insight is gained by executing any combination of four SSes or RvSes until you reach Deep Insight. Deep Insight cannot be refreshed and will fade after 15sec, which will begin the cycle anew. Switching to another target and striking it with SS/RvS will also reset BG, unless you use Redirect, which transfers not only the CPs but also the Insight. Keep in mind that Redirect’s cooldown IS affected by RB.


4. Relevant Molten situation (bugs)

Blade Flurry – Right now Blade Flurry does too low damage. The second target hit by BF is dealt lower damage than the main target by around 30-35%.

Killing Spree + FoK bug – While in KS, you will very often end up beind Energy capped (100 energy). Being Energy capped means that you’re doing something wrong and are losing potential DPS. While in KS, you are unable to use any kind of items or abilities, except FoK. However, this does not work on Molten.

Hit & Exp cap bug (General) – it is well known that the Molten hit & exp caps are lower than they should be. The exact amount however is still a matter of debate. So far it seems that 5% is enough hit for melee specials (down from 8%) and 16-17 Expertise is enough for melee attacks (down from 21). I have intentionally not adjusted the guide towards these bugs for several reasons – 1) they are somewhat unclear; 2) they are only valid for BOSSES, not trash mobs or boss adds; 3) they will get fixed eventually, since they’re affecting all classes.

Note: I have personally tested all of these bugs on Neltharion & Frostwolf and I confirm them!


5. FAQs

1. Why not use GoFoK?
As explained above, FoK does too low damage for Combat and is generally not used, thus also not glyphed.

2. When to use AR?
AR effectively doubles your Energy regeneration and also increases your attack speed by 20%, which combined with Combat Potency means an even higher energy regen. Very often during AR you will suffer energy-capping. Thus AR should not be used when your group has used BL/Hero/TW, since you will be energy-capped and will be effectively wasting energy. AR should be used in phases where the target is not moving and/or takes extra damage (pinned Magmaw, sun-phased Rajh) or when you have powerful procs up (Deep Insight, trinkets). You should never use KS while in AR, which is a total waste of energy. You should not use AR prior to executing a finishing move, because you will immediately become energy-capped, because of Relentless Strikes. The best way to use AR that I have found is after executing a finisher and spamming SS until I get low on energy (2-3 SSes). This way you will make use of RS’s energy spike and you will not waste energy from the GCD following the AR.

3. When to use KS?
KS is your highest burst ability. KS’s cooldown is affected by RB and can be glyphed for an additional 10% damage. Similarly to AR, you should try to use KS in phases where the target is not moving and/or takes extra damage or when you have powerful procs up (Deep Insight, trinkets). Since KS places you behind the target, you need to be very careful of your surrounding when using it – you could get heavily injured, die or even wipe the entire raid if you do not pay attention to specific boss mechanics. KS should be used when you are low on energy, because during it your energy will surely regenerate to full – Combat Potency can proc from KS. Also, I have found that because of the massive number of Eviscerates that you are executing during AR, it is best to use KS before AR. After AR, your KS will be already halfway off its cooldown.

4. Is Precision included in the Hit Rating tooltip on my character stat sheet [C]?
Yes, it is. This is why you only need 2% hit to reach the special attacks (yellow) cap. You can check it by simply looking at your hit rating while your character is naked – it will be 6% with 3/3 Precision.

5. Why should I use Hurricane over Avalanche, having in mind that MG procs can proc enchants?
Because Avalanche is a Procs-Per-Minute and not a Chance-On-Hit enchant.

6. What kind of weapons should I use? Axes, swords, maces, fists or daggers?
It doesn’t matter if you choose maces, fists, swords, axes or daggers, unless you have a racial bonus to one of these. The MH needs to be slow and the OH – fast.

7. When should I use RvS?
Revealing Strike should be used at 4 Combo Points – no sooner and no later. Using it sooner than 4 CP means you’re not using SS instead, which is a loss of DPS. Using it later than 4 CP means you’re wasting CPs, Energy and GCD for slightly bigger finisher damage, which is a loss of DPS.


This covers everything you need to know about Cata Combat Rogue PvE. If you have any suggestion or friendly feedback, I will be happy to receive them.

I will try to keep this thread up-to-date, stressing on the Bug & FAQ sections.

27AUG12 – Confirmed & changed RvS not affecting Rupture. Updated Wound Poison for FoK.
27AUG12 – Edited to Mastery>Haste. Credit to Soulsseeker (Rec). Added in FAQ.
29AUG12 – Edited talent link to mmo-champ with MoP live. Glyphs included.
29AUG12 – Added FAQ regarding Ruthlessness 1/3.
17SEP12 – Added Savage Combat bug. Updated bug status.
30OCT12 – RB + Rup bug fixed.
15JAN13 – Savage Combat bug fixed.
15JAN13 – Multiple FAQs added and updated. When to use RvS added and explained at the end of Single-target Rotation.
15JAN13 – Added Expose Armor in Single Target.
26JAN13 – RvS + Rup reported. Rup low dmg reported. Main Gauche (finally) reported. All bugs posted in section [4.]
04MAY13 – Major 4.3 update. Links fixed from wowhead to openwow. Updated Bug section, FAQ section & stats weights after Mastery fix.
16JUN13 – Updated Bug Section with links to the new reports. Hope they won’t get dismissed this time…
19JUN13 – Updated Bug Section after bug fixes and report dismissals.
21JUN13 – Updated Bug Section with a new RvS + Rup report and a DP report.
06OCT13 – Updated the talent build link. The new one is in German though, until the community finds / makes something available in English. Also, a lot of bug fixes.
28OCT13 – Replaced the German talent build link with an available English one. Thanks to MyRevolution.
16OCT14 – Updated Single-target Rotation section to better reflect the current state of Combat Rogues. Added #7 FAQ. Added explanation about hit & exp cap bugs on Molten in the Bug Section.
04DEC14 – Bandit’s Guile fixed after update. Also, changed gem links from wowhead to openwow.

Source: ieatpaperbag’s Combat Guide for Cata

I would also like to express my gratitude to all the Molten members (Rec, Ryu, misams, Griefel and more), who have supported me throughout the making and improvement of this guide.