Hey, my name is Stealthi. I raid and play rogue in the guild Colour on Stormreaver EU. We are a 3 day guild that tries to make the most out of our 3 days of raiding to maintain a Hall of Fame level.
I've been in the top end of public logged Subtlety rogues for the last few years, and I strive to continuously improve my gameplay while finding new and better ways to play the spec.
One of my favorite things to do is to help out other people become better at Subtlety. Which is why you will most likely be able to find me chatting a lot 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 how you deal 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.
- Varied damage profile
- Cooldown flexibility
- 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 and three 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 10.2
In Patch 10.2 we got a massive reshuffle of talents with a lot of stuff getting moved around, a new tree structure and some stuff turning baseline like Black Powder, Feint and Shadowstep. We also get some new talents such as Airborne Irritant, Featherfoot, Graceful Guile, Stillshroud and Superior Mixture in the general tree which offers some good utility options which was much needed especially when it comes to our survivability. We also got some new talents in the spec tree such as Ephemeral Bond, Exhilarating Execution, Terrifying Pace, Warning Signs, Goremaw’s Bite, Shadowcraft and new reworked versions of Shadow Blades and Shadow Techniques, some of these i will explain in more detail in the talent section.
While we did get some new stuff we also lost some, most notably Seal Fate which is a big hit to Subtlety’s cleave damage.
The damage profile of the spec also got changed a good bit. Instead of the more flatlined damage curve we have seen the last two expansions, it's now headed more back to its former glory of burst windows.
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 and three targets cleave but surprisingly good at four 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.
Shadow Techniques instead of giving you combo points on auto attacks will now store them in a stacking buff which you can then consume with builders. What this does is removing overcapping and making you not able to waste the combo points gained from it.
Shadowblades will now buff all of your attacks for 20 seconds and make them deal 20% more damage as shadow, also making your combo point generating abilities generate full combo points.