Encrypted Text: A rogue's guide to patch 4.2

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 topics you'd like to see covered!

Rogues have a lot to look forward to when patch 4.2 is released. If you spend most of your time in dungeons or raiding, you'll be happy to hear about the sizable buffs to all three of our talent trees. Unfortunately for rogues that favor PVP, there are some cooldown changes to Cloak of Shadows and Combat Readiness that won't be well-received. While I'm not completely satisfied with the size of our buff when compared to our relative position in the DPS pack, our potency in Firelands still remains to be seen.

In addition to the slew of balance changes, we can start salivating over the new gear that will be available. Our tier 12 set has some very fun bonuses, and also some great crafted gear coming up. Our caster rivals will get access to their first legendary weapon since Atiesh, so we'll have to do our best to keep up. The duration of Blind in PVE is going up to a full minute, giving us two forms of long-term CC in Sap and Blind. As proof that rogues are designed to be the best at what they do, most other CC effects in the game are going to start mirroring Sap. Polymorph and the rest won't aggro mobs that they're used on, which should make it far easier to coordinate CC in a PUG. Plus, even if the group manages to somehow mess up CC and starts combat early, we can just use Blind as a stand-in for Sap anyway.

Enjoy the extra damage

When patch 4.2 arrives, your rogue's damage is going to go up without you changing anything. The talent tree bonuses (which I've called "mastery bonuses" in the past) are being increased, so your damage goes up by the virtue of choosing any talent tree. Subtlety rogues are seeing a big damage increase on Hemorrhage as well, which should help with some of their PVP damage concerns that I mentioned last week. Bigger Hemo damage means better burst DPS when we're not behind our target, and it will result in more bleed damage from Glyph of Hemorrhage. It's not enough to make sub viable in PvE, but we'll pack more of a punch in arenas and battle grounds.

Cloak of Shadows and Combat Readiness become mutually exclusive

The cooldowns of Cloak of Shadows and Combat Readiness were tweaked in several ways in patch 4.2, but the end result is that both are weaker. Cloak of Shadows and Combat Readiness now both have identical cooldowns of 2 minutes without Elusiveness; 90 seconds with Elusiveness. Combat Readiness was added to Elusiveness, while Cloak of Shadows had its cooldown increased by 30 seconds. In addition to Cloak and CR now having cooldowns of the same length, they also share an identical cooldown. When you use one, the other goes on cooldown too. We can now only use one of the two cooldowns every 2 minutes (or 90 seconds with Elusiveness), which significantly limits our flexibility.

Combat Readiness doesn't see much use today in PVE, and with this change I doubt we will see it used in PVP as well. Cloak of Shadows has become a quintessential part of the rogue toolbox, and Combat Readiness simply isn't worth trading for it. Even in PVP, I can't think of a situation where Cloak of Shadows wouldn't be a better choice. How many times are we going to be up against a warrior in a 1v1 situation? Combat Readiness might allow us take a pounding, but Cloak of Shadows lets us avoid taking that damage altogether. Combat Readiness is essentially unavailable to us unless we can be completely certain that we won't need Cloak of Shadows, and we simply can't guarantee that. If our opponents see us pop CR, they can immediately counter with a simple magic CC. I'll personally be moving CR to a less convenient keybinding, but I'm still sad to see it go. Cloak of Shadows is just so "clutch."

New craftable rogue gear

Leatherworkers will have access to two new agility-based leather patterns in patch 4.2, both of which are amazing for rogues. Treads of the Craft and Clutches of Evil are a pair of boots and gloves, respectively, which are both itemized with haste/mastery. In addition to both having the idea stat distribution for assassination, they both have red gem sockets that provide an extra 10 agility when met. We should be able to easily toss two Delicate Inferno Rubies in those sockets for an extra surge of agility.

These are really great boots and gloves, and so we'll want to start saving up materials for these now. They each require 4 Living Embers, which will be expensive when patch 4.2 is initially released. I plan on farming valor points on my alternate characters to buy a few of Living Embers quickly to get these two pieces crafted. I will mention that as you start decking out your rogue in Firelands gear, you will eventually replace the Clutches of Evil. As great as they are, we'll want to use our Dark Phoenix Gloves at some point to obtain our 4-piece set bonus. For assassination rogues, we'll be skipping the Dark Phoenix Tunic's crit and expertise in favor of a much superior offset option. Combat rogues will be skipping the Dark Phoenix Helmet for the Hood of Rampant Disdain, as it's stacked with expertise.

If you're missing your mainhand dagger for assassination or subtlety, or if you need a good, slow mainhand weapon for combat, then you're in luck in patch 4.2. You can get a Brainsplinter crafted for all of your Ambushing and Backstabbing needs, while the Pyrium Spellward is perfect for a combat rogue. Neither of these weapons' recipes require Living Embers, so you can gather all of the materials ahead of time. The plans won't be available immediately after the patch as your blacksmith will have to work to obtain the recipe. Still, the price of raw goods will skyrocket with all of the new craftable gear available for every class, so buy your mats now while everything is still reasonably priced.

Check back every Wednesday for the latest rogue strategies, from rogue basics and kicking your interrupts into high gear to how to handle your dual-spec rogue and how to pickpocket top tips from top-performing rogues.