70 Subtlety Rogue Guide [BfA]

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  1. Dreams

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    Level 70 Subtlety Rogue Guide

    Table of contents:
    • Introduction
    • Character Build
      • Gear, gems, enchants
      • Talents
      • Professions
    • Macros
      • General macros
      • Arena macros
      • Battleground macros

    Introduction
    Welcome to the Battle for Azeroth version of my level 70 rogue guide, this time focusing on a single spec: Subtlety. I'm Dreams and I've played level 70 actively for 7 years. This guide, like the previous ones, is directed mainly at new rogue players. Its main goal is to try to answer all of the common questions people ask about the class.
    Feel free to leave your feedback in the comments or by private message if you feel like anything should be changed or could be explained better.

    Character Build
    This section of the guide will address how to build your subtlety rogue.
    With Battle for Azeroth we're finally rid of the predetermined stat templates of Legion, which means we can once again choose our own stats through gear, enchants and gems.

    Gear
    Before you choose your gear it's important to realize how your spec works so you can build around it.

    Procs vs static stats:
    Subtlety is a very control oriented spec that deals damage in short windows; during openers and shadow dances. Because of that it's very risky to use proc effects, as they are completely wasted if they proc outside of your damage windows. That's why we're using a build that emphasizes high base stats instead of relying on many proc effects.

    Defense vs offense:
    Building defense in pvp is usually never a good idea. However, the level 70 bracket is extremely fast paced; health pools are extremely low compared to the amount of damage most classes can put out. That's why it's a very good idea to incorporate stamina into your build wherever it doesn't cost you too many offensive stats. The goal is to significantly improve how many globals of damage you can take without significantly decreasing your own damage.

    This list only includes gear, gems and enchants that are available right now. It also doesn't include the rare ilvl100 BoEs or WoW anniversary world boss loot. In other words all items on this list are relatively easily obtainable.

    Head:
    http://www.wowhead.com/item=34244/duplicitous-guise

    Neck:
    http://www.wowhead.com/item=34358/hard-khorium-choker
    http://www.wowhead.com/item=128553/enchant-neck-mark-of-the-hidden-satyr

    Shoulder:
    http://www.wowhead.com/item=34392/demontooth-shoulderpads
    http://www.wowhead.com/item=28888/greater-inscription-of-vengeance / http://www.wowhead.com/item=28910/greater-inscription-of-the-blade

    Back:
    http://www.wowhead.com/item=34241/cloak-of-unforgivable-sin
    https://www.wowhead.com/item=38893/enchant-cloak-stealth

    Chest:
    http://www.wowhead.com/item=34211/harness-of-carnal-instinct
    http://www.wowhead.com/item=74708/enchant-chest-glorious-stats

    Wrists:
    http://www.wowhead.com/item=34448/slayers-bracers
    http://www.wowhead.com/item=44815/enchant-bracer-greater-assault

    Hands:
    http://www.wowhead.com/item=34370/gloves-of-immortal-dusk
    http://www.wowhead.com/item=44458/enchant-gloves-crusher

    Waist:
    http://www.wowhead.com/item=30106/belt-of-one-hundred-deaths
    http://www.wowhead.com/item=41611/eternal-belt-buckle

    Legs:
    http://www.wowhead.com/item=34188/leggings-of-the-immortal-night
    http://www.wowhead.com/item=38371/jormungar-leg-armor / http://www.wowhead.com/item=38372/nerubian-leg-armor

    Feet:
    http://www.wowhead.com/item=32366/shadowmasters-boots
    http://www.wowhead.com/item=37603/enchant-boots-dexterity

    Ring 1:
    http://www.wowhead.com/item=44039/signet-of-bridenbrad
    http://www.wowhead.com/item=128544/enchant-ring-binding-of-versatility

    Ring 2:
    http://www.wowhead.com/item=42864/frozen-mood-ring
    http://www.wowhead.com/item=128544/enchant-ring-binding-of-versatility

    Trinkets:
    There are lots of good choices here, so I'll talk a bit about each trinket and in which situation they excel.

    http://www.wowhead.com/item=40767/sonic-booster is a very solid all-around trinket and almost a must have. It doesn't have the strongest attack power proc you can find, but its high stamina more than makes up for it. The 70 bracket is very fast paced and bursty, so whenever you can pick survivability without dropping too much damage, it's worth it.
    I recommend always running sonic booster in one of your slots.

    http://www.wowhead.com/item=13515/ramsteins-lightning-bolts is the modern tazik shocker. Really good damage on use but the cooldown is pretty long. It's best in duels and arena.

    http://www.wowhead.com/item=29383/bloodlust-brooch is another really good all-around trinket. Its duration matches your https://www.wowhead.com/spell=121471/shadow-blades perfectly and the cooldown isn't too punishing. It's good for arenas and is the best choice for capture the flag battlegrounds as well as kot'mogu.

    https://www.wowhead.com/item=35702/figurine-shadowsong-panther is an alternative bloodlust brooch. It trades duration for cooldown.

    https://www.wowhead.com/item=23835/gnomish-poultryizer doesn't have a great effect but can be considered for its huge stamina boost. The effect turns your target into a chicken for 5 seconds which silences them and reduces their damage done by 66%. It breaks on damage and DRs incaps (sap,poly,hex,etc). The on-use effect cannot be used in arena.

    Conclusion:
    You should carry most of these trinkets and swap them depending on what you're doing. However, if you're lazy or don't have the time to farm all of them, you can never go wrong with the https://www.wowhead.com/item=40767/sonic-booster + https://www.wowhead.com/item=29383/bloodlust-brooch combo.

    Main hand:
    http://www.wowhead.com/item=28572/blade-of-the-unrequited
    http://www.wowhead.com/item=74726/enchant-weapon-dancing-steel

    Off hand:
    https://www.wowhead.com/item=34331/hand-of-the-deceiver
    http://www.wowhead.com/item=74726/enchant-weapon-dancing-steel

    Gems
    Get one http://www.wowhead.com/item=41398/relentless-earthsiege-diamond and one https://www.wowhead.com/item=28361/delicate-blood-garnet. A https://www.wowhead.com/item=32634/shifting-amethyst can be considered for stamina.
    Fill the rest of your sockets with http://www.wowhead.com/item=28363/deadly-ornate-topaz.


    Talents
    Level 15 Tier:
    http://www.wowhead.com/spell=193537/weaponmaster
    https://www.wowhead.com/spell=91023/find-weakness
    https://www.wowhead.com/spell=200758/gloomblade ?

    The best choice at level 120 is usually find weakness but there are a couple of factors that make weaponmaster the best choice by far at level 70:
    • Level 70 characters get significantly less damage reduction from their armor when compared to level 120 characters.
    • Subtlety mastery increases damage from finishing moves and shifts the majority of your damage from shadowstrikes to eviscerates. Level 70 rogues get most of their damage from shadowstrikes by far because they don't have mastery.
    Gloomblade offers very situational utility against physical immunity.

    Level 30 Tier:
    https://www.wowhead.com/spell=14062/nightstalker ?
    http://www.wowhead.com/spell=108208/subterfuge
    https://www.wowhead.com/spell=108209/shadow-focus

    Subterfuge provides an insane amount of utility and extends your burst windows. Good for both damage and control. Nightstalker is a situational all-out damage option that can be considered for very short 2v2 games.

    Level 45 Tier:
    http://www.wowhead.com/spell=14983/vigor
    https://www.wowhead.com/spell=193531/deeper-stratagem
    http://www.wowhead.com/spell=137619/marked-for-death

    The choice comes down to difference in playstyle as well as the role you're playing on your team. Vigor provides more energy for crowd control and rewards energy pooling and restealths. Marked for death allows for scarier openers and gives you more burst when it matters.

    Level 60 Tier:
    http://www.wowhead.com/spell=200759/soothing-darkness
    https://www.wowhead.com/spell=31230/cheat-death ?
    http://www.wowhead.com/spell=79008/elusiveness

    Choose elusiveness if you will consistently have a healer nearby, such as in 3v3 arena or when queuing premade battlegrounds with healers. It will allow you to more consistently outlive crowd control on your healers and is very powerful if you successfully predict stuns on yourself.
    Cheat death is the best choice in duels and 2v2 skirmishes.


    PvP Talents
    Battle for Azeroth has finally given lower level players access to the PvP talents. At level 70 we get the trinket slot and 2 additional choices.

    Trinket Tier:
    Go with http://www.wowhead.com/spell=208683/gladiators-medallion, unless you're playing human in which case you can choose to play with either http://www.wowhead.com/spell=214027/adaptation or http://www.wowhead.com/spell=196029/relentless.

    PvP Talents:
    https://www.wowhead.com/spell=198952/veil-of-midnight
    Way too weak to be considered. Maybe if it worked off shadowstep like in Legion it would be decent.

    https://www.wowhead.com/spell=213981/cold-blood
    Really good burst option.

    https://www.wowhead.com/spell=212081/thiefs-bargain
    The vanish cooldown reduction is decent for battlegrounds, but the price is way too steep in an already fast paced bracket.

    http://www.wowhead.com/spell=207736/shadowy-duel
    The mechanics of shadowy duel are not immediately obvious from the tooltip. It places you and your target in a different 'phase' where neither of you can target or see anyone else. However, your allies can still see you while the allies of your target cannot see them. That means you can still be healed by others while your target cannot. Both you and your target can still interact with others through AOE abilities.
    This talent has a very wide variety of potential uses:
    • Isolating a target from their healers in order to finish them off, like a kind of smokebomb
    • "CCing" someone for 6 seconds, for example using it on a healer so they can't target their allies, or a DPS to peel for a teammate
    • Stopping anyone from peeling you
    • Can be used as a defensive cooldown by dueling someone with low damage (like a healer)
    • Can be used as extra shadow dance if you are playing http://www.wowhead.com/spell=14983/vigor, have full energy and have no dances left

    https://www.wowhead.com/spell=198675/dagger-in-the-dark ?
    Not a good choice for battlegrounds or arenas, but it can be a good damage option for duels.

    https://www.wowhead.com/spell=197899/silhouette
    Cool effect but unfortunately never worth replacing another talent for.

    https://www.wowhead.com/spell=212182/smoke-bomb
    Excellent choice for both arenas and battlegrounds with twink healers in them. It's strongest when used in combinations with stuns on an out-of-position target. It can also be used as a peel or to stop CC, but because of its long cooldown you really want to be scoring kills with it.

    http://www.wowhead.com/spell=197000/maneuverability
    It's not terrible, but subtlety already has really good mobility which means this talent is never worth a slot.

    http://www.wowhead.com/spell=248744/shiv ?
    Shiv is a defensive option with lots of niche uses. It's excellent for kiting in 1v1 situations, even against rogues and warriors using evasion/parry, as it goes through all avoidance. It can also be used to keep someone in a smoke bomb after they trinketed a stun. Its only problem is that it can be hard to justify giving up a damage talent for it.

    https://www.wowhead.com/spell=198032/honor-among-thieves
    Not strong enough to be considered for a slot. If only it didn't have a cooldown, it would be really good in big battleground fights.

    https://www.wowhead.com/spell=269513/death-from-above ?
    A viable choice for duels. Never use it to do damage, as you lose more damage from the animation time than you gain from the slightly harder hitting eviscerate. Instead, use it to try immune CC from your opponent by predicting when they're going to use it.


    Professions
    Choosing the right professions is not as significant as it once was, but doing so can still give you some decent bonuses that are worth considering.

    Jewelcrafting is a must as it unlocks your BiS necklace http://www.wowhead.com/item=34358/hard-khorium-choker
    If you do happen to have a grandfathered http://www.wowhead.com/item=35135/guardians-pendant-of-triumph you can leave this slot open.

    Choose Engineering if you're planning on using http://www.wowhead.com/item=40767/sonic-booster. Engineering also provides a number of utilities that work in battlegrounds, which is the reason a lot of people pick it.

    If you still have an open slot you can go for Tailoring in order to make bandages and nets.


    Macros
    Macros are essential to any class and rogue is no exception. Their goal should always be to simplify your gameplay as much as possible without limiting you. In this section I'll share every macro that I use on my rogue in 3 different categories: General, Arenas and Battlegrounds.

    General Macros:
    Code:
    #showtooltip Kick
    /cast [mod:shift,@focus]Kick
    /cast [nomod,@target]Kick
    Kick macro with focus modifier.

    Code:
    #showtooltip Blind
    /cast [mod:shift,@focus]Blind
    /cast [nomod,@target]Blind
    Blind macro with focus modifier.

    Code:
    #showtooltip Kidney Shot
    /cast [mod:shift,@focus]Kidney Shot
    /cast [nomod,@target]Kidney Shot
    Kidney Shot macro with focus modifier.

    Code:
    #showtooltip Shiv
    /cast [mod:shift,@focus]Shiv
    /cast [nomod,@target]Shiv
    Shiv macro with focus modifier.

    Code:
    #showtooltip Shadowy Duel
    /cast [mod:shift,@focus]Shadowy Duel
    /cast [nomod,@target]Shadowy Duel
    Shadowy Duel macro with focus modifier.

    Code:
    #showtooltip Sap
    /targetenemy
    /cast Sap
    Spam sap macro for duels against stealthers.

    Code:
    #showtooltip ShadowStep
    /cast [@mouseover]Shadowstep
    /cast [mod:shift,@focus]Shadowstep
    /cast [mod:shift,@focus]Kick
    /cast [nomod,@target]Shadowstep
    /cast [mod:alt,@party1]Shadowstep
    Shadowstep macro. It has shift modifier for focus that can be double tapped for a quick step-kick. It also has an alt modifier for stepping party1, which is handy for 2v2 arena. The mouseover line is just for getting around quicker in cities and whatnot. You'll never accidentally use it in combat because your mouse is always held down to move.

    Code:
    /use [nostealth]Bloodlust Brooch
    On-use trinket macro. All it does is make sure you don't accidentally break stealth by using it too early.

    Stealth/Shadow Dance Macros:
    These are macros that I use for every ability that requires stealth or shadow dance.
    This is the base structure that they are all built on:
    Code:
    /cast !Stealth
    /cast [combat,nostealth,stance:0]Shadow Dance; [stealth]Cheap Shot; [stance:2]Cheap Shot
    /cast Cheap Shot
    The example above is a Cheap Shot macro. It may look confusing but here is what it does:
    If you are already stealthed or shadow dancing it will just cast Cheap Shot.
    If you are out of combat and not stealthed or dancing it will Stealth → Cheap Shot.
    If you are in combat and not dancing it will Shadow Dance → Cheap Shot.
    Basically no matter the situation you are in, it will do whatever is necessary for you to Cheap Shot, and then Cheap Shot. This concept can be applied to every stealth ability:

    Code:
    #showtooltip Cheap Shot
    /cast !Stealth
    /cast [combat,nostealth,stance:0]Shadow Dance; [stealth]Cheap Shot; [stance:2]Cheap Shot
    /cast Cheap Shot
    Cheap Shot target.

    Code:
    #showtooltip Cheap Shot
    /cast !Stealth
    /cast [combat,nostealth,stance:0]Shadow Dance; [stealth,@focus]Cheap Shot; [stance:2,@focus]Cheap Shot
    /cast [@focus]Cheap Shot
    Cheap Shot focus.

    Code:
    #showtooltip Sap
    /cast !Stealth
    /cast [combat,nostealth,stance:0]Shadow Dance; [stealth]Sap; [stance:2]Sap
    /cast Sap
    Sap target.

    Code:
    #showtooltip Sap
    /cast !Stealth
    /cast [combat,nostealth,stance:0]Shadow Dance; [stealth,@focus]Sap; [stance:2,@focus]Sap
    /cast [@focus]Sap
    Sap focus.

    Code:
    #showtooltip shadowstrike
    /cast !Stealth
    /cast [combat,nostealth,stance:0]Shadow Dance; [stealth]Shadowstrike; [stance:2]Shadowstrike
    /cast Shadowstrike
    Shadowstrike target.

    Arena Macros:
    Code:
    /target arena1
    Code:
    /target arena2
    Code:
    /target arena3
    Code:
    /focus arena1
    Code:
    /focus arena2
    Code:
    /focus arena3
    These are targeting macros for arena. Getting used to these is one of the biggest improvements you can make to your gameplay if you aren't already using them. They also work for targeting flag/orb carriers in battlegrounds.

    Code:
    /cast [@arena1]Sap
    Code:
    /cast [@arena2]Sap
    Code:
    /cast [@arena3]Sap
    Arena target sap macros. I find these to be quicker than a traditional /targetenemy macro when looking for stealthers in arena.
    You'll also want to bind cheap shot, kidney shot, shadowstep, and kick arena target macros using the same formula. Alternatively, if you're running low on available keybinds, you can skip some of them and rely on focus targeting instead for the rest of your abilities.

    Battleground Macros:
    Code:
    #showtooltip Stealth
    /cancelaura Shadow Dance
    /cancelaura Shadow Dance
    /cancelaura Horde Flag
    /cancelaura Alliance Flag
    /cast !Stealth
    Stealth macro. Automatically drops WSG flag in case you need to CC a pursuer or whatever. The !Stealth line means you can't cancel stealth by pressing the macro again. It's optimal to bind this to something easily spammable such as your mousewheel, in case you only get a fraction of a second out of combat.

    Code:
    #showtooltip
    /cancelaura Horde Flag
    /cancelaura Alliance Flag
    /cast Vanish
    Vanish macro that automatically drops flags.

    Code:
    /focus [@mouseover]
    Code:
    /clearfocus
    Mouseover focus macro and focus clear macro. Useful in battlegrounds when you need to control or keep track of multiple people.
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2018 at 3:46 AM
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  2. Eonsy

    Eonsy Member

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    This guide made me learn how to play Subtlety, great insight and a good read. Thank mr Dreamsy
     
  3. OP
    Dreams

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    BIG lie
     
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  4. Eonsy

    Eonsy Member

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    Hey I managed to burst you in 4 seconds, I was really proud of myself for that. :'(
     
  5. OP
    Dreams

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    That's a big step for sure but you'll be surprised to learn that playing pvp is more than testing your burst in elwynn forest!
     
  6. Eonsy

    Eonsy Member

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    But testing your burst in Elwynn Forest is the first step! Baby steps Dreamsy, baby steps.

    Maybe one day I'll teach you how to play AssAssNation rogue properly.
     
  7. OP
    Dreams

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    Thanks!
     
  8. Eonsy

    Eonsy Member

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    Not a problem my son! I will make sure you top the DPS charts of Ante Amanthe once I am departed from this land of pain and suffering.
     
  9. Shinela

    Shinela Not your everyday tank Guardians of the 70s

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    Until execute phase happens ;D
     
  10. Eonsy

    Eonsy Member

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    We don't include execute phase in DPS charts anymore. I refer to rule 13.37 of the Rogue's Association Handbook which states "Damage Meters for a rogue start at the initiation of the boss fight, and end at 30%, so as to not allow Warriors the chance to catch up".
     
  11. Shinela

    Shinela Not your everyday tank Guardians of the 70s

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    Still got 5% to catch up with. We got this easy. >:D
     
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  12. Eonsy

    Eonsy Member

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    You telling me Execute is now 35%?
    Damn. Better go tell the RA about this and get the Handbook amended!
     
  13. Shinela

    Shinela Not your everyday tank Guardians of the 70s

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    It is if you talent into it. Otherwise it's 20%.
     
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  14. Eonsy

    Eonsy Member

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    20%? Guess the Handbook has a lot of amendments to do. It isn't 30% at all! Marvelous revelation!
     
  15. Shinela

    Shinela Not your everyday tank Guardians of the 70s

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    I think your Rogue's Association Handbook was written by an absolute plonker.
     
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  16. Eonsy

    Eonsy Member

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    Well, Dreamsy is a bit of a plonker, but I think it's quiet rude to call him that!
     
  17. Shinela

    Shinela Not your everyday tank Guardians of the 70s

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    "Dreamsy" hahaha
     
  18. Eonsy

    Eonsy Member

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    Oi don't you be making fun of Dreamsy! Us rogues stick together like poison to a blade.
     
  19. Shinela

    Shinela Not your everyday tank Guardians of the 70s

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    You mean the poison you keep forgetting to apply in BG's? :D
     
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  20. Eonsy

    Eonsy Member

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    Low-blow man... Not my fault they keep getting taken off of my blades every time I go into an instanced area... They're supposed to last up to an hour! AN HOUR!
     

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