The best Subtlety Rogue talents and build in WoW Shadowlands

Use these tips to boost both your PvP and PvE performances.

Photo via Blizzard Entertainment

Rogues are one of the most difficult classes in World of Warcraft: Shadowlands in both player-vs-player (PvP) and player-vs-environment (PvE) due to their difficult combos they need to execute to take down enemies. While Outlaw and Assassination specializations shine in the later stages of the expansion, Subtlety is usually the go-to spec early on due to how well it scales without items.

In PvP, Subtlety Rogues provide a lot of utility for their team in both rated battlegrounds and arenas. They have one of the easiest times in finding arena partners due to the wide array of comps you can play with a Rogue. They are one of the classes that can be fit into pretty much any composition and perform well. If you want to push a high rating, Rogues are one of the best classes to pick up due to their huge array of crowd control. They are able to cross-CC multiple opponents and set up kill opportunities quite often. RMP (Subtlety Rogue / Frost Mage / Holy Priest) is the most popular combo for Rogues due to how flexible it is against all the current meta compositions on the ladder.

In PvE, Rogues might not be that impactful since opponents can be immune to their lockdowns. But they can still be a good addition in certain encounters due to the Shadowstep ability, which allows them to quickly reposition and interrupt a key ability or stop an add from reaching the group.

Here are the best Subtlety Rogue talents and build for PvP and PvE.

PvP

Subtlety Rogues always find a composition to climb the ladder with regardless of expansion. Their kit, mostly unchanged from the early days, still keeps up with the latest class additions to the game, even after multiple nerfs. With clear-defined windows to take down opponents, Rogues reign supreme with CC and are one of the best PvP classes to bring if you need CC.

Unlike other melee classes, Sub Rogues have a huge weakness: they can be easily killed. Their primary defensive cooldowns of Evasion and Cloak of Shadows have high cooldowns, so they need to be used wisely. Another big weakness is that you can be kited quite hard by ranged classes if you’re not careful with your Shadowstep, so paying attention to the opponent’s cooldown is a priority during your matches.

Talents

Screengrab via Blizzard Entertainment

Level 15: Premeditation – Compared to the other two talents, this one gives you Slice and Dice and additional combo points during your openers, making it worth to go for restealths.

Level 25: Nightstalker – This is the best pick for Subtlety Rogues in Shadowlands because it provides more damage and movement speed compared to the other two.

Level 30: Marked for Death – This talent lines up perfectly with Symbols of Death and is the default talent choice when used with any build you might look to play. The on-demand combo points allow you to set up kills easily against any target.

Level 35: Elusiveness – By going for an improved Feint, you can time it perfectly to give yourself an additional defensive cooldown to reduce the opponent’s damage during their kill attempts.

Level 40: Prey on the Weak – A flat damage boost against stunned targets gives you the opportunity to kill them before they get out of the stunlock.

Level 45: Enveloping Shadows – This talent makes you a huge problem for multiple classes in PvP since it gives you a high uptime on your Shadow Dance, allowing you to cross-CC entire teams every 30 seconds.

Level 50: Master of Shadows – This talent returns a significant amount of energy during burst setups and is always the best option in PvP. Coupled with a high uptime on Shadow Dance, you’ll be regaining a lot of energy back, which you should be able to use to take down targets.

Gear

Your stat priority is Versatility > Mastery > Critical Strike > Haste.

Versatility is your core stat since it increases your damage, while also making you tougher to kill. While the damage increase might not be as high as the others, the additional survivability it grants you is crucial to negate your weakness. Mastery is a great stat afterward since it increases your finishing moves’ damage directly so you know exactly how much damage increase you’ll be getting. Critical Strike is up next for those big crit hits and haste is the last one in priority since you’ll get a lot of energy regeneration from talents.

As for the legendary item, you want to go for Memory of Invigorating Shadowdust for the utility it gives you when you vanish. By reducing the cooldowns of your other abilities, you can set up multiple kidney shots or have Blind when the opponent doesn’t have a trinket up.

Covenant

The optimal covenant for a Sub Rogue in PvP is Venthyr. Flaggelation is a great covenant ability, which allows you to do more damage overall. On top of that, the Door of Shadows signature ability of the covenant allows you to quickly move around the map if you’re out of your basic cooldowns.

If you went for other choices but still want to be competitive, it’s a good idea to reroll to Venthyr since its ability is much more powerful and scales better compared to other abilities.

PvP Talents

The three PvP talents you should use by default are Cold Blood, Smoke Bomb, and Shadowy Duel. The first one is a nice 10-percent damage boost of the opponent’s health during your next cheap shot, while the other two are more utility oriented. Smoke Bomb can be used to deny crucial abilities from opponents, while the Shadowy Duel can help you ease up the pressure from your teammates or secure a kill.

PvE

Sub Rogues in PvE have remained a high-utility melee spec that involves juggling a lot of different abilities and effects to deal sustained damage on low cooldowns.

The specialization has amazing sustained single-target and mediocre AoE pressure, but is best used for short burst phases. Due to the impactful cooldowns you have, you are very strong during small periods when you have Shadow Dance up.

While you are great through the damage and utility you bring, you fall short in encounters where there’s a lot of kiting involved, since the less uptime you have on your target, the less uptime on your Shadow Dance you’ll have.

Talents

Screengrab via Blizzard Entertainment

Level 15: Weaponmaster – This is a a great choice for PvE since it gives Shadowstrike and Backstab a 15 percent chance to strike twice. Additional strikes of Backstab and Shadowstrike also grant combo points.

Level 25: Shadow Focus – Shadow Focus reduces your energy costs when Stealth or Shadow Dance are up. It’s a very strong talent in general. With a low cooldown on your Shadow Dance ability due to other talents, you’ll be having reduced energy costs for the most part of the fight.

Level 30: Deeper Stratagem – This talent increases your maximum number of combo points to six and makes your finishers a bit stronger.

Level 35: Cheat Death – Cheat Death saves you from death once every six minutes. It ‘s a very powerful talent that can fix fatal failures or even be used on purpose for soaking mechanics. It is a must-have in high-end PvE.

Level 40: Prey on the Weak – A flat damage boost against stunned targets gives you the opportunity to kill them before they get out of the stunlock.

Level 45: Enveloping Shadows – This talent is great in a PvE environment since it gives you access to Shadow Dance more often, allowing you to pop off with your damage during short windows.

Level 50: Master of Shadows – This talent returns a significant amount of energy during burst setups and is always the best option in PvE. Coupled with a high uptime on Shadow Dance, you’ll be regaining a lot of energy back, which you should be able to use to take down targets.

Gear

Your stat priority is Versatility > Haste > Critical Strike > Mastery.

Versatility is your core stat since it increases your damage, while also making you harder to kill. While the damage increase might not be as high as the others, the additional survivability it grants you is crucial to negate your weakness. Haste is a great stat afterwards since it will allow you to attack more often and will increase your energy regeneration. Critical Strike is next for the additional huge hits and Mastery is last due to it’s lackluster effect in PvE compared to the other stats.

As for the legendary item, you want to go for Finality for the additional damage on your finishing moves. It’s a great effect by default and should be picked up first.

Covenant

The optimal covenant for a Sub Rogue in PvE is Venthyr. Flaggelation is a great covenant ability that allows you to do more damage overall. On top of that, the Door of Shadows signature ability of the covenant allows you to quickly move around the map if you’re out of your basic cooldowns.

If you went for other choices but still want to be competitive, it’s a good idea to reroll to Venthyr since its ability is much more powerful and scales better compared to other abilities.