Subtlety Rogue playstyle and rotation guide

Patch 10.1 Last Updated: 26th Apr, 2023
Pushnoir Subtlety Rogue Author

Playstyle & Rotation

General Rotation:

When you play with the Deeper Stratagem and Secret Stratagem talents, you will finish at 6 or more combo points (5 while in Shadow Dance), which also applies to all the finishers in the priority lists. However, it does not apply if you are playing Resounding Clarity and have charged combo points active.

Below I will list spells in a priority order to make it easier to understand the importance of certain parts of the gameplay loop for subtlety.

Danse Macabre + Dark Brew one Shadow Dance build

  1. Use Shadow Blades on cooldown
  2. Use Symbols of Death on cooldown
  3. Use Shadow Dance on cooldown with 0-1 combo points
  4. Use Vanish in Shadow Dance after using Secret Technique
  5. Cast in Shadow Dance or from Vanish
  6. Cast Gloomblade as your first builder in Shadow Dance when playing The First Dance and whenever you’re not in Shadow Dance
  7. Use Cold Blood, only before Secret Technique
  8. Cast Secret Technique, only in Shadow Dance
  9. Maintain and refresh Slice and Dice, do not use while in Shadow Dance
  10. Maintain and refresh Rupture, do not use while in Shadow Dance, it’s ok to refresh Rupture a few seconds before pandemic if it’s going to drop in Shadow Dance
  11. Cast Eviscerate


Danse Macabre + Dark Brew

  1. Shadowstrike + Symbols of Death
  2. Gloomblade or Shuriken Storm (for guaranteed Find Weakness)
  3. Rupture
  4. Shadow Blades
  5. Shadow Dance + Gloomblade 
  6. Eviscerate
  7. Shadowstrike
  8. Cold Blood + Secret Technique
  9. Vanish + Shadowstrike
  10. Eviscerate
  11. Shadowstrike
  12. Eviscerate/Shadowstrike (Finish with Eviscerate if you have 5+ combo points)

Danse Macabre/Dark Brew + Flagellation

  1. Shadowstrike + Shadow Blades
  2. Gloomblade/Shuriken Storm
  3. Flagellation + Symbols of Death
  4. Rupture
  5. Shadow Dance + Gloomblade 
  6. Eviscerate
  7. Shadowstrike
  8. Cold Blood + Secret Technique
  9. Vanish + Shadowstrike
  10. Eviscerate
  11. Shadowstrike
  12. Shadowstrike

Multi Target:

  1. Use Flagellation on a priority target on cooldown
  2. Use Shuriken Tornado on cooldown, hold if you know there will be a 5+ target situation coming up shortly
  3. Maintain Rupture on all nearby targets if they live 12 seconds or more
  4. Use Cold Blood on a Secret Technique
  5. Cast Secret Technique on cooldown but within Shadow Dance
  6. Use Symbols of Death on cooldown
  7. Use Shadow Blades on cooldown
  8. Cast Shuriken Storm when you are out of Shadow Dance
  9. Cast Shuriken Storm while you are in Shadow Dance if there are 3 or more targets nearby
  10. Cast Shadowstrike when in Shadow Dance and you have Premeditation ready
  11. Maintain Slice and Dice on up to 6 targets
  12. Cast Black Powder if there are 3 or more targets nearby

Standard Mythic+ AoE opener and gameplay

A brief explanation of one way to do an aoe opener, note that this does not include Shuriken Tornado.

  1. Rupture as many targets as possible while your tank is gathering mobs

In many dungeons, the tank will be gathering all the mobs at the start of a pull, during this time you can make sure to spread your Rupture to as many targets as possible, do not press Shadow Dance while doing this.

  1. Press Shadow Dance, Shuriken Storm, and cast Black Powder
  2. Shadowstrike (gives max CP because of Premeditation) and cast Black Powder
  3. Shuriken Storm and use your Secret Technique macro (Cold Blood + Secret Technique)
  4. Shuriken Storm and cast Black Powder
  5. Shuriken Storm into another Black Powder

When playing Shuriken Tornado, use this before entering Shadow Dance or if you want to spice it up you can use Shuriken Tornado after having used Secret Technique in Shadow Dance for fully Danse buffed Black Powders.

After leaving Shadow Dance, keep maintaining Ruptures on targets that will stay alive for 12+ seconds, and otherwise just rotate Shuriken Storms into Black Powders.


Danse Macabre

Many people have asked if we “play around Danse Macabre”, and the answer would be “maybe?”. We do a few things to play around the damage buff gains.

Apart from these quite small things, we do not play around Danse Macabre stacks, they happen naturally and you don’t have to worry about it.

Finality: Rupture

I did not know where to put this information, but I feel like it's important to know.Basically, we play around Finality: Ruptures in Dragonflight because of how much damage Rupture is doing at the moment. I will try to make it as simple as possible.

  • Refresh Rupture no matter the pandemic timer if you have a Finality: Rupture buff up and Shadow Dance is coming off CD soon
  • Do NOT use Rupture into Rupture to proc the Finality: Rupture buff before Shadow Dance

Pandemic timers

Subtlety has two abilities affected by the pandemic timer (30% of the duration), Rupture and Slice and Dice. Most modern Weakaura packages come with a check for pandemic on these abilities, but if you do not have that, these are the timers:


In general, a Rogue is probably one of the most sturdy DPS classes in the game.

Playing around this fact is often underrated when it comes to DPS. We can do things that few other classes would get away with. Limit testing with FeintCloak of Shadows, and Cheat Death is one of the first things I do when testing bosses on PTR.

How much can you get away with before it becomes a problem for both healers and your life? 


I won't say too much about this, but I will say that any good Subtlety rogue knows how to get the most out of Sprint and Shadowstep.

  • Getting that extra melee or ability off before having to move by stepping a ranged DPS
  • Sprint and gap close with Shadowstep
  • Avoid knockbacks with Shadowstep
  • Vanish (2 charges in Dragonflight) and Shadowstrike teleport