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Subtlety Rotation for PVE

Posted on 10 June, 2015

So I finally got around to looking into Sub rogues a bit in 4.0.1 and Cataclysm for PVE purposes. The rogue community is currently somewhat divided on the topic of sub rogues. Some insist that while theoretically Sub rogues could perform exceedingly well, in practice the rotation is far too complex to master perfectly in every situation. This remains to be seen and results will vary dramatically from rogue to rogue. One thing to not for certain is that Sub rogues are evidently perfect for long duration fights. This is because the rotation is so complex in terms of keeping up buffs/debuffs they need a long starting up phase to get everything going and raise their average.

So after some scouting around I found a basic rotation that explains a good idea of how to play your sub rogue with easy steps. This could be an ideal rotation or it could not, I’ll leave that up to you more experienced sub rogues to discuss amongst yourselves. I will try to help out when I can as always but I’ve never played PVE sub before so don’t take everything I say in stone. Since sub PVE is brand new as a viable build many things could change and many things could be in dispute. It’s also not clear yet where sub ranks against the other two builds.

Subtlety Rotation

1. premed/shadow step/ambush =  5 CP
2. SnD
3. hemo/backstab to 5 CP
5. rupture
6. shadow dance/premed/shadowstep/ambush
7. recuperate
8. ambush/backstab to 5 CP
9. eviscerate

As you can see this rotation relies on you being stealthed (much like assassination rogues) in order to begin the process. This will also activate [Master of Subtlety] so stealth as much as you can during the encounter.

As you can see the rotation relies on keeping the following buffs/debuffs up throughout the encounter:
1. Rupture
2. Slice and Dice
3. Recuperate

You can also count Hemo to some small extent but it’s not necessary to keep it up throughout, it’s more useful for target switching. You can even remove Hemo entirely from this rotation if you wish to on standard fights.

Recuperate may seem like an odd choice for a PVE rotation but the talent 3/3 [Energetic Recovery] means that when used sub rogues will gain a good amount of energy during combat. This is highly important for a sub rogue so it’s a good idea to include it in the rotation if it can be properly maintained. Coupled with the [Honor Among Thieves] talent the build up of CP’s makes Sub PVE feel a lot smoother than you would first think.

Obviously Recuperate will be your final priority after SnD and Rupture and may require some practice on the dummies and in heroics for you to get the hang of balancing these three buff/debuff up times. However it’s quite interesting that sub rogues use the healing ability in order to gain DPS in a PVE situation and I have to admit I’m a little jealous of that!

Not only do you sub rogues get some tasty  CP building abilities and procs through HAT but also your rupture is easier to manage too, probably in order to make the quantity of buffs/debuffs more manageable. Just like Mutilate rogues who can refresh their SnD through Envenoms, Sub rogues can refresh their Rupture through [Serrated Blades]. This gives you a 20% chance per combo point  (100% at 5 CP) to refresh your rupture when you use Eviscerate. You will still need to keep an eye on your SnD but the rest is 5 CP Eviscerate spam and rupture sorts itself out.

So as first glance sub rotations look very scary but once you get under the hood it’s not that bad and forgive me for saying so but it feels somewhat like the hybrid spawn of a combat and mutilate rogue. Let’s see, refreshing rupture (snd for muti), Shadowstep (KS combat)… yes I think if Combat and Mutilate had babies they’d probably turn out something like this. Whether or not the child will surpass the parents or not remains to be seen.