Every week, WoW Insider brings you Encrypted Text for assassination, combat and subtlety rogues. Chase Christian will be your guide to the world of shadows every Wednesday. Feel free to email me with any questions or article suggestions you'd like to see covered here.

Macros are designed to allow a player to combine commands and modifiers (targeting, non-GCD abilities) with regular abilities in a quick and efficient manner. Macros can't make decisions for you. There is no macro that will automatically switch between Mutilate and Dispatch for you on the fly. There is no macro that will use Revealing Strike when it fades and Sinister Strike otherwise. Macros aren't intelligent – they have to be told what to do.

Pure classes tend to have fewer abilities than hybrids, and after the merging of spells like Envenom and Eviscerate, our action bars are sparse. The average raiding rogue might only need a dozen or so abilities per encounter, and that's including defensive cooldowns. A typical assassination rotation consists of Mutilate or Dispatch, Rupture and Envenom, and a few Feints or Cloaks per fight. Rogue macros tend to focus less on day-to-day rotation assistance and more on strategic abilities and cooldowns.

Shadowstep + X

The GCD is the most important thing to consider when building a macro. Two GCD-consuming abilities can't both be activated at once. Luckily for rogues everywhere, Shadowstep isn't on the GCD and can be paired with any other rogue ability. Well, except with Burst of Speed.

Want an example? If you're facing a rogue with Evasion active, just hit your handy ShS+KS macro:

/cast Shadowstep
/cast Kidney Shot

Because the teleport effect and the Kidney Shot happen simultaneously, your KS is guaranteed to activate while you're behind the target. Rogues can't dodge attacks from behind, so you just successfully pierced their Evasion without missing a beat. Pesky mage spinning around and trying to AoE you out of Stealth? Just use a ShS+opener macro to guarantee you get the drop.

If you're trying to push ShS and another ability separately, there's always the chance that you get knocked out of Stealth or that your target turns around before you can execute your ability. I suggest having ShS combo macros handy for KS, CS, and Sap at the very least. ShS+Kick can also be very useful. You can also toss in Premeditation for extra fun. ShS+Smoke Bomb is also one of the most clutch abilities you can use to interrupt an incoming heal on an enemy player.

Marked for Death + finisher

Marked for Death is the ultimate farming ability, and you'll find yourself using it often while doing dailies or grinding mobs. It's also one of the strongest PvP talents, especially after Shuriken Toss' upcoming nerf. Because MfD is not on the GCD, you can pair it with your favorite finisher to make it instant cast.

/cast Marked for Death
/cast Eviscerate

I have a special ShS+MfD+KS macro that I can use to quickly stun anyone. Why not use Redirect instead of MfD? Because Redirect is on the GCD, which adds a second between itself and the finisher. Even one second would give my opponent the chance to react. You can easily this macro to use two finishers in succession as well, like Eviscerate and then your MfD+Eviscerate macro. You can land two Eviscerates just one second apart. That's a lot of burst damage.

Adrenaline Rush SS spam

With all of the GCD trickery that Adrenaline Rush, its glyph, and our four-piece set bonus foist upon us, combat rogues are stuck pushing a lot of buttons very quickly during Adrenaline Rush and Shadow Blades. Rather than trying to manage all of these buttons and potentially capping my energy, I like to spam a very simple macro:

/castsequence Sinister Strike, Sinister Strike, Sinister Strike, Eviscerate, Sinister Strike, Sinister Strike, Eviscerate

Why the weird 3x SS/2x SS combo? Because during Shadow Blades, we generate 2 combo points for every generator we use. All you have to do is spam that macro constantly during AR+SB and you'll be fine. With Revealing Strike's extended duration in patch 5.3, you should be able to easily refresh your RvS and SnD right before popping your cooldowns to maximize your damage. With Anticipation, you shouldn't have to worry about wasting combo points or hitting your energy cap. I know a few rogues that just bind this macro their mouse's scroll wheel and then spam it during AR+SB windows.

Instant openers via Shadow Dance

Obviously you can hit Shadow Dance and wait for your SD action bar to pop up, but often you want your opener abilities right on your action bar so that they can be used directly at any time. With a bit of creative stance work in our macro, we can do that:

/cast [stance:0] Shadow Dance
/cast [stance:1/3] Cheap Shot

The idea is that stance 0 is your normal state, that is to say, not in Stealth. This macro will use Shadow Dance if you're not already in Stealth, and if you are in Stealth (via regular Stealth or Shadow Dance), it will activate Cheap Shot immediately. You can use this macro just like you would use Kidney Shot normally, as long as Shadow Dance is off cooldown. I use it quite often for interrupting a critical cast when Kick is down.

Clear harmful buffs

If your raid is anything like my raid, you'll have paladins hitting you with Hand of Protection and hunters trying to Misdirect trash to you all night long. Rather than scrambling through your buffs trying to find the right one to remove, just put it into a macro you can spam:

/cancelaura Hand of Protection
/cancelaura Misdirection
/cancelaura Tricks of the Trade
/cancelaura Levitate

You don't want to spam this all the time, but it's definitely useful for dealing with the ret paladins and hunters that get jealous when we don't feed them Tricks of the Trade.
Sneak in every Wednesday for our patch 5.2 guide, a deep-dive into the world of assassination and combat rogue AoE rotations -- and of course, all the basics in our guide to a raid-ready rogue.

This article was originally published on WoW Insider.

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