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Build Shop: Rogue 19/42/0

Chris Jahosky

Welcome to another Tuesday edition of Build Shop! This past week I received an email from a Rogue reader in an up and coming guild that's just starting to raid Kara who says he's a non-believer in the "No Ruthlessness, No Murder, No Relentless Strike -- No Raid" policy. He also wanted to know about the viability of a hybrid build (30/0/31), and how it could be improved for casual instances, raids, and the occasional PvP skirmish. Well, that's kind of a tall order, and I plan to address it more fully tomorrow in Encrypted Text.

However, I will deal with part of the question today by talking about why Combat is the superior tree for PvE in many cases. Although there are many different types of Combat builds (Mace + Sword, Daggers, Fist, etc) these days, I'm going to focus on Combat swords (19/42/0). This is a build that doesn't rely on positioning like Combat Daggers or Mutilate, making it great for fights with a lot of movement. This is also a build which can really crank out the damage with the right weapons and gear. I feel that this is one of the finest and most effective DPS builds in the game -- read on to find out why.

Combat swords is more than just Sinister Strike spam. As you get closer to the hit cap, Combat Potency just gets better and better, enabling an attentive Rogue to keep Slice and Dice up while building combo points towards Rupture or another finisher. To play the build effectively you've got to be aware of how long the fight will last, choosing the appropriate attack or finisher for the situation, and be able to manage your cooldowns so that you can DPS with maximum efficiency. Because after all, that's what being a Combat Rogue is all about -- dealing as much damage as you can with as much efficiency as you can muster. Sustained damage is the name of the game in raids and most other instances because that's what you are being brought for, and those who spec for burst damage will eventually fall by the wayside because they simply can't keep up.

This build snags all the traditional points from the Assassination tree to increase damage / energy regeneration / combo point generation (these points have been required for PvE Combat builds in some form or another for as long as I can remember), but then I'm going all the way down the Combat tree.

Assassination (19 points)

  • Malice (5/5) - Increases crit chance by 5%. No reason not to take this.
  • Ruthlessness (3/3) - Gives your finishing moves a 60% chance to add a combo point to the target. A great talent that helps with combo point generation.
  • Murder (2/2) - Increases damage done to 4 different types of mobs by 2%.
  • Relentless Strikes (1/1) - Your finishing moves have a 20% chance per combo point to give you 25 energy. More energy means more attacks and more finishers, so anything that gives you energy is a good thing.
  • Lethality (5/5) - Increases the critical damage of many of your special attacks by 30%. Bigger crits means more damage, so don't pass this one up.
  • Vile Poisons (3/5) - Increases the damage of your poisons and Envenom by 12% and an additional 24% for them to be dispelled. For this build, I wouldn't recommend using Envenom because you'll lose your 5 stack, but it will increase the damage of your poisons. Alternatively, on raids where mobs are immune to poison, you can consider putting these 3 points in Improved Eviscerate instead.

Combat (42 points)
  • Improved Gouge (3/3) - Increases the duration of Gouge by 1.5 seconds. Has its occasional uses, but if you find yourself opposed to this on principle, take 3 points in Lightning Reflexes instead.
  • Improved Sinister Strike (2/2) - Decreases the Energy cost of Sinister Strike by 5. As you'll be using Sinister Strike as your primary attack, this is a critical talent.
  • Improved Slice and Dice (3/3) - Increases the duration of Slice and Dice by 45%. SnD grants you 30% haste, and this talent almost doubles the amount of time that it's up. Don't miss this one, as it's also necessary to maintain Combo Point cycles.
  • Precision (5/5) - Increases your chance to hit by 5%. Very useful for helping you to get to the hit cap.
  • Improved Sprint (2/2) - I like Improved Sprint over Endurance because it removes snares, which is often useful, but place these 2 points anywhere you like.
  • Dual Wield Specialization (5/5) - Increases the damage done by your offhand by 50%. This brings the damage penalty to your offhand weapon down to 25% (from 50%), so pick this one up.
  • Blade Flurry (1/1) - Increases attack speed by 20% and causes your attack to also hit a 2nd nearby target for 15 seconds. Use this often -- anything that increases your attack speed is fantastic.
  • Sword Specialization (5/5) - Gives you a 5% chance to get an extra attack on the same target. The extra sword swing comes from your main hand, but a sword in your offhand can also proc an extra main hand attack.
  • Weapon Expertise (2/2) - Increases expertise by 10. Decreases the chance your target will dodge or parry your attack by 2.5% -- yet another great talent.
  • Aggression (3/3) - Increases the damage of Sinister Strike, Backstab and Eviscerate by 6%. Every bit helps, and since we're going further into the tree anyway you should definitely pick this up.
  • Vitality (2/2) - Increases your stamina by 4% and your agility by 2%. A small bonus, but a bonus nonetheless.
  • Adrenaline Rush (1/1) - Grants you 100% increases energy regeneration for 15 seconds. Still a great talent, as it potentially doubles your damage output from special attacks while it's up.
  • Nerves of Steel (2/2) - Increases resistance to Stun and Fear by 10%. There are many mobs and bosses that can do both, and maintaining control of your character is generally preferable to running around aimlessly or being stuck in one spot.
  • Combat Potency (5/5) - Gives your offhand attacks a 20% chance to generate 15 energy when they land. An amazing talent, and only gets better the closer you get to the hit cap. Many rogues like to run with a fast weapon in their offhand to maximize the chance that this procs. Using Shiv can also cause this to proc, but it's generally not worth the energy expenditure.
  • Surprise Attacks (1/1) - Your special attacks can no longer be dodged, and increases the damage of Sinister Strike, Backstab, Gouge and Shiv by 10%. Don't pass this up, it's absolutely worth it.

If you're a sword Rogue who's looking to raid, I highly suggest that you try this build out. Tomorrow on Encrypted Text I'll be going a little deeper into why Combat builds generally outperform other builds on long fights, so if I've piqued your interest on the subject make sure to point your browsers towards Encrypted Text tomorrow.

That wraps up this edition of Build Shop, but I'll be back again next week! What do you want to see on Build Shop? Send me an email with your questions or comments, and we'll talk shop.

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