Tikari’s Take: A Rogue’s Guide to 5.2

With 5.2 rolling out tomorrow, we rogues need to make sure we’re ready for all of the changes coming our way. Most won’t affect the way we play, but there are a few substantial ones we need to account for. In this post, I’m going to review the most recent patch notes and provide my take on the changes.

From the most recent patch notes (notes marked in blue below):

  • Preparation is now a baseline ability learned at level 68 and no longer resets the cooldown on Cloak of Shadows.

I rarely specced Preparation, so for me and a number of other raiders, this is a new toy (and a new keybind). It’s not particularly useful for most PvE encounters, and will likely be used in most cases to provide a triple opener (Open, Vanish, Open, Prep, Vanish, Open). That’s a lot of work for a small net gain. This is really nice for PvE where sub rogues get their cake (Shadowstep) and eat it too (Prep). If you haven’t added a keybind for this, do it early on tomorrow. I’ll talk more about Cloak of Shadows later.

  • Versatility has been removed.

Most rogues won’t mourn the loss of Versatility, since Anticipation has always been the top DPS choice, but I will miss the talent. I used Versatility on four encounters this tier (Stone Guard, Will (Heroic), Wind Lord, Amber-Shaper), and I used it on all challenge mode runs. One of the reasons I find Versatility so valuable is because of how the game handles Fan of Knives. If you Fan of Knives with one target, and then tab target and Fan of Knives again, you still build combo points on the previous target, not your new one. On fights where there are a lot of adds, such as Wind Lord, the ideal rotation is to keep high point ruptures on as many targets as possible. It was fairly easy to end up leaving combo points on a random add while spamming Fan of Knives. With Versatility, it was very easy to redirect these to your current target and rupture. Without Versatility, I’ll have to be a lot more careful, and I’ll risk energy capping while finding an ideal target (one in range without rupture up or one about to fall off). No keybinds or real changes here to note.

This is probably one of my least favorite changes, although I do like what they replaced it with, which brings us to:

  • New Level 90 Talent: Marked for Death
    Marks a target and instantly generates 5 combo points. When that target dies, Marked for Death’s cooldown is reset. This talent has a 1-minute cooldown.

If adds are spread out enough, this could be quite useful. It still likely won’t eclipse the DPS gain of Anticipation, but on some fights, it could be great. One thing to note, though: there are a number of occasions where adds don’t actually kick in death procs. From this tier, Amber-Shaper constructs are a good example; bloods on Spine from T13 is another. So testing by encounter will necessary.This will be a rather useful default L90 talent for PvP. This keybind could be shared with Shuriken Toss if you have one.

  • New Level 60 Talent: Cloak and Dagger
    Ambush, Garrote, and Cheap Shot now have a 30-yard range, and will cause the Rogue to teleport behind the target.

A slightly longer distance Shadowstep that requires you be in stealth and using an opener. It also doesn’t have the speed boost Shadowstep gives you. I’m probably missing something here PvP-wise, but I don’t see any reason to take this talent. This keybind can be shared with the other talents here, or you could macro it into your openers if you use it.

  • Burst of Speed now costs 30 Energy (was 50 Energy), can be used in Stealth, and always grants increased movement speed in addition to breaking snare effects, but no longer breaks root effects.

I’m ambivalent to these changes. On one hand, I love being able to use BoS in stealth. For PvP, this will allow me to switch from defense to offense very quickly and unnoticed. But no longer breaking root effects is a tough pill to swallow. This talent was a good counter to mages, the bane of my PvP existence. With the number of roots in the game at the moment, this is going to leave rogues vulnerable.

  • Shuriken Toss now causes the Rogue to throw ranged shurikens coated in Lethal Poison and auto-attack at 75% damage (was 80%) for up to 10 seconds if the enemy is farther than 10 yards away.
  • Deadly Throw can now interrupt spellcasting when used at 3, 4 and 5 combo points, and upon interrupt prevents any spell in that school from being cast for 4, 5 and 6 seconds respectively, instead of 5 combo points and 6 seconds.

Combining these two for comment, since they will often be chosen together. For this to be useful in PvE, there will have to be long periods of time where we can’t melee the boss (think dragons’ air phases). The ranged auto-attack is a sizeable buff to the current iteration of Shuriken Toss. In PvP, I hope this can mitigate the loss of the Burst of Speed counter on mages. We’ll see.

  • Blind now has a cooldown of 2 minutes (was 1.5 minutes).

Likely too big an issue in PvP, but for PvE I’d like a CC I can reapply.

  • Cloak of Shadows now has a cooldown of 1 minute (was 2 minutes).

This has been removed from Preparation, so the cooldown is cut in half. For fights with predictable damage, this is an amazing change. But for PvP, or other fights where you’d need two cloaks back-to-back, it’s not as exciting.

  • Smoke Bomb now reduces damage taken by allies in the area of effect by 20%, in addition to current effects.

I love this idea, but we’ll see how it goes. Smoke Bomb has an eight yard radius, so it’s not that large. It’s also a relatively subtle effect, compared to, say, Barrier. So stacking is going to be tough, especially on 25 man. But it gives us raid utility, which I’m absolutely for. In PvP, it makes it more effective defensively, but Smoke Bombs are usually used on offense.

  • Nerve Strike now reduces the effectiveness of healing provided by the target by 10% (was from 25%).

Not much to say here, other than, “Boo.”

  • Shadow Focus now reduces ability energy costs by 75% while stealthed (was 100%).

The Preparation change (allowing for a second Vanish) improved the DPS benefit of this talent, so this nerf brings it back. At first, I thought this may have been related to being able to use Burst of Speed in stealth, but at 30 energy, you can keep it running the full time regardless.

  • PvP set bonuses have been changed:
    Vigor is now the 4-piece set bonus and increases maximum energy by 30 (was 10).
    Deadly Brew is now the 2-piece set bonus and its effects remain unchanged.

A bit more burst to start and after downtime. I still dislike having to bake Crippling Poison into our PvP gear, but I think it’s good that rogues starting out won’t have to wait as long to get it.

  • Assassination:
    Dispatch now deals 15% more damage.
    Envenom now deals 20% more damage.

Dispatch still won’t be an amazing execute, but buffs are fun.

  • Combat:
    Vitality now increases attack power by 30% (was 25%).
    Blade Flurry has been changed. It now strikes up to 4 additional nearby targets for 40% of normal damage.

Single target damage increased, two target damage decreased significantly, and five target damage increased; the impact of this change will vary widely by encounter. As a rogue who primarily runs Assassination, I like that Combat won’t run so far ahead on Stone Guard/Garalon fights (even I switched), but I don’t like that a niche rogues once had just went away.

  • Subtlety:
    Sanguinary Vein now increases the damage the target takes by 20% (was 16%).

A direct, albeit unexciting buff.

One other change that isn’t listed: Kick is now free, and as a result, the PvP gloves bonus has been changed to add an extra 1% health return for Recuperate. Interrupts look to be critical in 5.2 raids, so I welcome this change. An extra boost to Recuperate in PvP is also nice.

Overall, I think there are some positive things coming for rogues in 5.2 (and a few negative ones), but none of them are game-changing by any means. For tomorrow, set new keybinds for Preparation (separate from Shadowstep/Burst of Speed) and Marked for Death (shared with Shuriken Toss if you like).

Your turn: What do you think about the new changes? Are you particularly excited or bummed about any of them? Let me know!

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About Tikari

I'm a rogue who likes to raid, guilded with Apotheosis on Eldre'Thalas. If you think I may have pumpkin headed you, it was actually @kurnmogh.

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