Encrypted Text: The Shock and Awe build

Chase Christian
C. Christian|04.04.12

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Encrypted Text: The Shock and Awe build
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.

If you have been raiding 10-man Dragon Soul every week, Wrathion should be handing over the Fangs of the Fathers any day now. Even the second rogues in most 25-man groups will be collecting their last Elementium Gem Clusters shortly. For many rogues, these daggers are the first legendary weapons that they've ever acquired. When you receive them from Wrathion, it might feel a bit overwhelming. What do you do with these weapons? What will they do to you?

There is a quote that's been passed down from thief to thief, assassin to assassin, and rogue to rogue for generations: "If your blades are happy, you're happy." You want your weapons to work for you, and not the other way around. You can't starve your blades, trying to forcefully adjust their diet to tolerate Morchok's rocky hide or Hagara's snow cones. If you want to keep your blades happy, you have to feed them what they really want: player blood, and lots of it.

Killing between lockouts

The last step of the Fangs of the Father quest chain requires you to kill Deathwing, so your raiding week is already over by the time you've acquired them. You have until your guild's next raid date to coat your legendaries with as much blood as you possibly can. For most guilds, that's at least a few days' time. Your only hope is that your sacrifice to these Old God-corrupted daggers will be received as an acceptable tribute. Otherwise, you'll end up with Fury of the Destroyer procs every time Fading Light shows up on your debuff list.

Since you have plenty of time before you need to raid again, why not go all-out and really make the experience worth it? With just 30 minutes' time in your capital city, you can transform yourself from a modest-mannered PvE hero to a murderous shadow with an appetite for the innocent. You can go ganking in Twilight Highlands, or you can queue up for your favorite battleground. It won't hurt, I promise -- well, it won't hurt you, at least.

The Shock and Awe build

When you go in for a kill with your legendary daggers, you're not looking for an extended entanglement. You're not at a job interview; you're not hoping for a second date. You need to kill as many players as possible before your raid leader sends you a flurry of text messages, wondering why you dropped combat for a subtlety build. And you reforged all of your expertise and hit into crit and haste? He is very concerned.

No spec has the pure burst potential, the illusive elusiveness, or the undocumented intangibles of the subtlety-based Shock and Awe build. You're going to open fast, you're going to open hard, and your target isn't going to live long enough to even realize that the two front teeth of the Unmaker of Worlds just punctured his torso. These daggers are literally so powerful that they have their own names. If your target doesn't die in your initial salvo or your followup Shadow Dance, you've made a terrible, terrible mistake and engaged a world boss. (Luckily, you have Vanish and Preparation to handle that.)

Move fast, kill fast

The Shock and Awe build focuses on two key areas: movement speed and killing speed. With Shadowstep, Nightstalker, and Quickening, you're the fastest shadow on the battlefield. Your prey never eludes you, and you don't have to worry about using Crippling Poison. Waylay will handle any slowing that you might need done. I find that most targets don't even live long enough for me to care about how fast they're moving anyway. If they're running, their back is facing you.

With Improved Ambush and Puncturing Wounds, your two primary attacks will be sporting massive crit chances. You're wearing all of the PvE gear that you earned while working toward your legendary daggers, so that you're maximizing your offensive stats. I recommend using the Cataclysmic Gladiator's Medallion of Cruelty, as it's the perfect mix of damage and elusiveness. Defensive talents like Improved Recuperate and Energetic Recovery simply aren't worth it because fights don't last that long. Recuperate doesn't even need to be on your bar.

But will it blend?

Surprise is on your side. You've got amazing stealth and mobility. Once you find your prey, you sneak up behind them. Your opening salvo will be Premeditation, Ambush, and then a swift Backstab. Let's be clear here: Your Ambush and Backstab are going to crit, and they're going to crit hard. Talents like Nature's Guardian and Cheat Death will be going off like crazy. Your target is only now aware that they're even in combat. You have the best weapons in the entire game in your hands and you're sitting at 5 combo points. Surprise.

You can now choose to which finisher to follow up with. If you're fighting a cloth class or someone in the open world, you're probably safe to just drop an Eviscerate here to end the engagement. If their health bar is teetering between orange and red, put them out of their misery swiftly. If they start running, simply unload your nearly free Backstabs into their soon-to-be corpses.

Kidney Shot is going to be your choice for the stubborn target. If they've still got quite a bit life left due to stacking resilience or some incoming healing, you need to use Shadow Dance. You're going to drop a Kidney Shot with your 5 points, wait a beat for some energy, and then pop Shadow Dance into an Ambush-laden frenzy. If they trinket your Kidney Shot, just Blind them and then reopen. If they don't trinket, well, then two or three Ambushes during your dance should seal the deal for good. This isn't a raid boss; players simply can't survive a full Dance of Ambushes from orange weapons.

If you were reckless enough to engage a tank class (and I hope you are), then Rupture can actually be a valuable option here. In addition to piercing their armor quite effectively, it provides you with a bleed effect. Sanguinary Vein is key for ensuring your victory in longer battles, as 16% of infinity is also infinity. Blood death knights might be good, but can they beat double infinity? I think not.

Sneak in every Wednesday for our Molten Front ganking guide, a deep-dive into the world of playing a subtlety rogue -- and of course, all the basics in our guide to the latest rogue gear.

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