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Encrypted Text: Rogue tips and tricks for Firelands, part 1


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 your favorite ganking stories or dictionary definitions of the word "griefing."

The best part of playing a subtlety rogue has always been Shadowstep. Warriors have been blessed with Intercept since day one, and feral druids have Kitty Leap built into their default specs. Rogues, on the other hand, are forced into subtlety to match the mobility of our leather-wearing brethren. Shadowstep could be such a powerful tool for maintaining our uptime in raid situations, if only every rogue had access to it. Subtlety rogues don't want Shadowstep to become baseline, because then subtlety loses half of its attractiveness.

Even without Shadowstep, rogues have plenty of buttons to push in Firelands. There are plenty of adds to test our AOE potency, utility encounters that stress precision instead of damage, and plenty of nasty spells to interrupt. While we're not fighting against Lucifron and Golemagg again, we can use our experience against Ragnaros' former entourage to help us combat the new crew hanging out around his castle. Just remember to have your Volcanic Armor and Helm of Fire equipped; I hear Rag likes to keep his thermostat set to "crispy."

Shannox, or "the dogs are just Blade Flurry fodder"

Do you remember when I talked about how Blade Flurry would make or break combat's viability? Shannox is one of the BF-friendly fights of this tier, and so combat rogues can really shine if your raid group uses a pro-cleave strategy for killing Shannox's dog, Rageface. Assassination rogues aren't far behind due to the fact that Shannox isn't quite as cleave-friendly as Halfus, so don't stress out if you don't have any combat-centric gear. Subtlety continues to be behind both combat and assassination, but we'll see how it fares as more rogues acquire Firelands loot.

Rogues were once tasked with disarming the deadly traps of Icecrown Citadel in Wrath, and any long-time rogue has nightmares about the Suppression Room in Blackwing Lair. Much to my delight, traps are back. The Shannox encounter actually allows us to disarm traps in the middle of combat without being in Stealth! As the pseudo-hunter boss tosses his traps around the room, you can just right-click them from a distance to remove them completely.

Removing traps can be especially useful if you're having a hard time finding a safe spot to stand near the boss. Unfortunately, we can only destroy one trap every 15 seconds due to the unique Jittery debuff, and we can't use any special moves while disarming the trap. Even with these caveats, disarming traps mid-combat is still cool, anyway. If you accidentally get hit with an Immolation Trap, you can always use Cloak of Shadows to clear the debuff. I'm glad to know that at least one hunter is getting what he deserves.

Shannox will occasionally toss his spear around the room, which deals some AOE fire damage. You can use Feint to reduce the damage you personally take, and you'll want to be using Feint during the AOE-heavy burn phase at the end of the encounter. If you end up tanking Rageface for any period of time, consider using Evasion or Combat Readiness to reduce your incoming damage significantly. Combat rogues with Blade Twisting and assassination rogues with Deadly Brew can be useful at slowing down Riplimb as he scurries about, but usually it's more efficient for a ranged class to handle applying the snare. Shannox is a fairly simple fight if you can dodge the traps all over the floor, so keep your eyes to the ground and disarm any traps that get in your way.

Lord Rhyolith, or "No, no, the other left!"

Rogues, as a melee class, will typically be in charge of guiding Lord Rhyolith around his platform. We want to send him stumbling into volcanoes as often as possible, and we control his movement by attacking one of his massive pair of legs.

At first glance, Lord Rhyolith may seem like another great fight for combat rogues. There are always two targets that need to be attacked, and they're always right next to each other. The issue is that we don't always want to be attacking both of Rhyolith's massive legs, as it can cause us some serious steering problems. Rhyolith turns based on the amount of damage that one leg is receiving, and so dealing damage to the other leg will cause his turn to be wider than desired. My raid group has a hard enough time steering him without worrying about Blade Flurry messing things up.

Due to the damage reduction buff that Rhyolith has as the fight begins, your DPS numbers are going to look awful for this fight. As much as it pains me to say this, don't fret over your DPS. Worry first about getting Rhyolith where he needs to go, and then simply do as much DPS as you can while doing it. You can also use your cooldowns to help apply some extra turning pressure if you need to make sure Rhyolith doesn't walk into the lava on the edges of the platform. I like to use Wound Poison or Instant Poison (for combat and assassination, respectively) on both of my weapons on this fight, as it gives me more burst damage when switching between legs quickly. Our usual combo of Instant/Deadly may do more damage in the long run, but I find that keeping the boss moving the right direction is the most important element to this encounter.

Rhyolith will regularly unleash a big ground stomp that will knock you back, but you can use Feint to reduce the damage or Cloak to nullify it completely. Goblins rogues can use their Rocket Jump to close the gap after the stomp, while subtlety rogues have Shadowstep at their disposal. I suggest saving your Cloak for clearing your Eruption stacks when you have multiple volcanoes up, as you will be taking a lot of damage if your Eruption stacks build up too high. During the final, AOE-heavy heavy burn phase at the end of this encounter (and that sure does sound familiar), make sure you're using Feint to negate the incoming damage and popping all of your cooldowns to knock this boss out cold.

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.

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