Hi, my name is Push. 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.
I hope you will find this guide helpful and something to lean into when learning the spec or taking that next step in your understanding of how to play subtlety.
Introduction to the spec
Subtlety is a spec that offers a lot of flexibility in dealing damage, and this has become even more true in Dragonflight. It can tackle almost any kind of damage scenario, even three target cleave situations. On top of that, subtlety seems to be a spec in Dragonflight that has not become more complex and involved to play. Rather, it’s the opposite, which is a good thing for a majority of players.
Overall I think subtlety is in a good spot in Dragonflight. It’s currently just missing some numbers tuning to be in a great spot.
Overall I think subtlety is in a good spot in Dragonflight.
- Varied damage profile
- Cooldown flexibility
- Funnel capabilities
- Mobility through Sprint, Shadowstep, and Vanish + Shadowstrike teleports
- Durable with Feint, Cloak of Shadows, and Cheated Death
- Many control options in M+ and on raid bosses with adds
- Mediocre two-target cleave
- Loses a moderate amount of DPS during frequent downtime periods due to cooldown reduction (CDR) mechanics and gaining resources from auto-attacks
What has changed
Changes in Patch 10.0.5
Subtlety is not seeing significant changes in the first .5 patch of Dragonflight, some minor tweaks to the class tree is basically all we get.
- Feint is now baseline (great change)
- Cheat Death moved to the position of where Feint was (also great)
- New passive talent where Cheat Death was; Unbreakable Stride - Reduces the duration of movement slowing effects by 30% (not great)
It’s actually a good thing that Unbreakable Stride is kind of a boring and bad talent, because the entire reason behind putting Cheat Death earlier in the tree was that we lost DPS for taking it. This new passive is extremely niche, which means we no longer have to feel bad about taking a dps talent instead.
This change basically allows us to take a few more interesting talents:
- Acrobatic Strikes - situationally very powerful, but be aware of the bugs related to Secret Technique when taking this talent. The clones are not getting the extra range, which means if you stand too far away from the boss you lose a lot of damage
- Soothing Darkness - just a great passive that gives us some more self healing
- Improved Sprint - we can finally take this talent without giving up DPS, which is a great thing because 2-minute Sprint feels very bad. Still, this talent is very much situational as well
- Master Poisoner - if there ever is a boss where Atrophic has a lot of value, adding .6% to that might be very good
- Virulent Poisons - Extremely minor DPS increase (0.2% on ST), not worth taking over the actual good utility, but still, if someone is very greedy, then by all means
Subtlety rogue is one of the specs going from Shadowlands to Dragonflight that will be quite similar in its core gameplay.
The main difference is that you will have less Shadow Dance uptime but more impactful Shadow Dance. Another meaningful change is that our cleave is no longer the worst in the game. It’s still quite bad at two-target cleave but surprisingly good at three and above.
We also see a beloved return of our versatile finisher, Secret Technique. It might seem like nothing big on the surface, but when you break down the gameplay of this spec, adding another finisher will have implications in all content. Using Secret Technique feels great in both ST, cleave, and AoE.
But as mentioned above, subtlety is still about managing your Shadow Dance windows, keeping your maintenance buffs up, and being proactive with your cooldown usage.