Subtlety Rogue Shadowlands 9.1.5 guide

Patch 9.1.5 Last Updated: 2nd Dec, 2021
Pushnoir Subtlety Rogue Author


Hi, my name is Pushnoir. I raid and play rogue in a guild called Colour on Stormreaver EU. We are a guild that tries to make the most out of our three raid days a week to maintain a Horde Hall of Fame level.

I have been one of the top public logged Subtlety rogues in the most recent tiers, and I strive to continuously improve my gameplay while finding new and better ways to play the spec.

One of my favorite things is to observe improvement and help others become better at Subtlety. That is why you will often find me in the Subtlety channel in the rogue class discord Ravenholdt.

If you have any questions about this guide or want me to elaborate on some parts, do not be afraid to DM me on discord or ping me in the Subtlety channel.

Introduction to the spec

Subtlety rogue’s value is somewhat downplayed in the high-end raiding scene, frequently being referred to as a bad progression spec. However, when it is tuned well, its strengths can be beneficial and unique. The main issue for Subtlety is the same for all three rogue specs; we do not have any raid utility.

It is also a spec with a community perception of being difficult or punishing to play, which further pushes the bad for progression rhetoric. Personally, I think the spec becomes easy once you understand the cooldowns and when to use them. The gameplay loop itself is very straightforward.



  • Extremely weak low target cleave
  • Loses a moderate amount of DPS during frequent downtime periods due to cooldown reduction (CDR) mechanics and gaining resources from auto-attacks
  • No raid utility

What has changed

9.1.5 Subtlety Rogue Changes

There were not many changes for rogue in this patch, but I will cover all the changes we got below.

Most melee specs got their AoE abilities capped to 20 targets in 9.1.5, but it comes with a downside for subtlety. Black Powder and Shuriken Storm are now soft-capped to 8, which means that you will still damage every target beyond 8 (up to 20) but at reduced power. For subtlety, this means that Black Powder's shadow damage part that used to be completely uncapped follows the same formula, which should be a slight AoE DPS loss on 8+ targets.

Blizzard has fixed a bug with Flagellation, which caused it to benefit from the crit buff from Symbols of Death without consuming it, probably looking at around 50 DPS lost.

The Night Fae legendary Toxic Onslaught got a decently sized buff. It now grants both Vendetta and Adrenaline Rush for 10 seconds after the last tick of Sepsis.

This is not enough to make the covenant anywhere close to Venthyr or Kyrian, but it is a nice buff to the people that really want to play Night Fae. This change makes Toxic Onslaught the best single target legendary when playing Night Fae.

The conduit Septic Shock also got a 50% buff, but it is still worse than all other conduits, so nothing really changed.

Recent changes in patch 9.1

We got a significantly sustained AoE damage buff to Black Powder and its enabler, Shuriken Storm. And we also got a moderate buff to single target damage through increased frequency of Shadow Techniques, an auto-attack resource builder.

Another significant buff was the addition of covenant legendaries, one of the more critical issues we had in Castle Nathria was the severe lack of good legendaries. Two new legendaries called Obedience, and Resounding Clarity crushed the value of our old options, resulting in a sizable damage buff.