Talents and Glyphs: Subtlety Rogue

by Archive // January 19, 2011

There are many different ways to spec as a Subtlety rogue. Mainly it is about the little talents but in this article i will describe the impact each talent brings to the table for PvP.

Defensive Subtlety Spec

There are a couple different kinds of specs for Subtlety. I will be discussing the more DEFENSIVE spec here. You will want to spec this if you are one of the main targets in your comp and its hard to sit on your target. 8/2/31

Tier 1 of Subtlety

- [Relentless Strikes] 3/3 : This is a very important talent for this spec because you use so many finisher moves the extra 25 energy adds up VERY fast.

- [Improved Ambush] 3/3 : Ambush is your top ability when you shadow dance so this is a must as it also increases your burst during your small window.

Tier 2 of Subtlety

- [Elusiveness] 2/2 : This will reduce the CD’s of your main defensive abilities, along with one of your CC’s, it is a MUST to get.

- [Waylay] 2/2 : Waylay makes it so you have a physical 50% snare on your target it is very reliable.

- [Opportunity] 3/3 : This is a must have, this basically increases all of your damage abilities by 30%

Tier 3 of Subtlety

- [Find Weakness] 2/2 : This talent is a HUGE part of your burst. Once it is on your target you will do tons of increased damage for the duration.

- [Hemorrhage] 1/1 : Hemo is good to have in case you cannot hit your target with backstab and you are nearing full energy. Also with the glyph it keeps up a dot for [Sanguinary Vein] which ia a talent you get further down the tree.

- [Energetic Recovery] 1/3 : This is mainly a filler point that is needed to go down the tree. I chose this as a filler because keeping recuperate up is very important.

Tier 4 of Subtlety

- [Premeditation] 1/1 : This is great for openers and when you use shadow dance for quick combo points.

- [Honor Among Thieves] 3/3 : This talent is a great buff not only for you, but for your teammates as well providing them 5% crit.

Tier 5 of Subtlety

- [Preparation] 1/1 : Prep is one of the most important talents to have. Giving you a reset of most of your cooldowns provides the ability to play offensive or defensive when needed.

- [Cheat Death] 3/3 : Cheat death will save you from a killing blow 100% of the time and then reduce damage taken depended on your resilience for the next few seconds. It is very important to have.

- [Sanguinary Vein] 2/2 : This talent along with Hemo + the glyph will give you 10% extra damage the whole fight and the damage adds up quick.

Tier 6 of Subtlety

- [Slaughter from the Shadows] 3/3 : A must have as it decreases the energy cost of all damage abilities.

Tier 7 of Subtlety

- [Shadow Dance] 1/1 : Shadow Dance, a sublety rogue can do many things with this. They can either pump out tons of pressure with pure damage, or peel using stuns and silences.

Tier 1 of Combat

- [Improved Recuperate] 2/2 : Imp Recup is a talent you pick up in the DEFENSIVE spec of subtlety. If you are not targetted much in arena or BG games this is a talent you can opt out of for a more offensive spec that i will discuss after this.

Tier 1 of Assassination

- [Coup de Grace] 3/3 : Good talent to have as subtlety since your main finisher is always eviscerate.

- [Lethality] 2/3 : You should only put 2/3 in lethality as opposed to Coup because the crit damage isnt as big as an impact as the extra burst from your eviscerate damage.

Tier 2 of Assassination

- [Quickening] 2/2 : A very important talent to have as it increases your movement speed and healing done to you. Every PVP spec should have it.

- [Puncturing Wounds] 1/3 : Only able to get 1/3 because you run out of talent Points.

Offensive Subtlety Spec

There is not too many changes that take place in order to go from a defensive to an offensive subtlety spec. You should only change the spec if you aren’t a target people usually go on in your BG’s or Arena teams. 10/0/31

Assassination Tree

You are going to want to take 2 points out of [Improved Recuperate] and put 3/3 in [Puncturing Wounds] Changing this will give you extra crit chance on backstab which is very noticable.

Subtlety Tree

The last change of talents is somewhat of preference. You are going to have to drop [Waylay] which some may consider not worth it but for the extra damage if you aren’t focused i feel it is. After you drop [Waylay] you put those 2 points into [Energetic Recovery] so you have tons of energy return.

Subtlety Glyphs

There aren’t many options for subtlety glyphs. The defensive and offensive subtlety specs uses basically the same ones.

Prime Glyphs

[Glyph of Hemorrhage] This is probably the most important glyph to have. With the talent [Sanguinary Vein] the DOT from the Hemo glyph will provide you with the 10% damage for the whole fight.

[Glyph of Shadow Dance] Another must have increasing duration of your shadow dance opens up your burst window while using this cooldown.

[Glyph of Backstab] This glyph is not as good as the other two but there isn’t an alternative that is better for the spec.

Major Glyphs

[Glyph of Blind] A great glyph that is good for any comp. You can blind your target as soon as they trinket for a quick swap to a partner.

[Glyph of Preparation] Must have glyph because it resets most of your important cooldowns especially smoke bomb which causes TONS of pressure.

[Glyph of Garrote] This is a good glyph to have because you can chain a long CC on a caster or a healer with a garrote into kidney shot which makes it an 11 second lockout period.

Minor Glyphs

These glyphs aren’t very important basically you can have any but i would choose these 3 for pvp

[Glyph of Poisons] Just in case you need to swap poisons or your poisons run out this will help you

[Glyph of Blurred Speed] Great glyph for running around so you can get to places quicker.

[Glyph of Distract] This is probably the only glyph that is useful in arenas. Being able to get a further distract may be able to get you a sap instead of the other team rushing in.


Those are the 2 different types of subtlety specs you can be. If i was new and starting out i would use the Defensive spec till you get comfortable and used to your play style, and then switch over to the Offensive spec when you feel you are ready. The difference between the damage in the specs is not very noticeable but it is there and it will add up. Most of the glyphs are pretty straight forward. There aren’t too many you can swap around and i believe the ones I posted are best for either subtlety spec.

If you have any questions feel free to comment here or post in my thread on the rogue forums. I will try to answer them as soon as i can and to the best of my knowledge. Thanks for reading.

  • 0
    24 months ago
    no update at this time? ......
  • 1
    24 months ago
    This needs to be updated to a lvl 90 version
  • 2
    37 months ago
    I don't understand why you pick cheatdeath instead of Waylay in your "Offensive" specc
  • 0
    39 months ago
    So I found this same exact guide over on Bebep's forums, here is a link.


    The OP said that it was a co-op between him and Furi, after I accused him of stealing it. I would just like Furi to either confirm or deny this for me when he gets a chance also if it is true that is was a co-op then I am very disappointed that neither of you even thought of giving each other credit in order to prevent a situation like I had on the other forums and I would expect much more from skill-capped's contributors.

    Either way it is a good guide and it has helped me out in choosing my spec and glyphs, I would just like this cleared up just in case it was actually stolen from one person or the other, as I would like the same courtesy if someone fond something I wrote being posted by someone else as their own.
  • 1
    45 months ago
    Hey you mention Sanguinary Vein and Hemo does that mean you should use Hemo instead of backstab or should i just use hemo just to top up the bleed
  • 0
    46 months ago
    Haha, well, I'm trying it out again, I wouldn't say I've "switched" just yet. My frustration with Subtlety for the last 2 years has been that I am a fucking master of survival, and I've used the spec to be a team player more than a killer. I want to KILL! =) With MUT I've found that I still have many of the same survival skills I had with Sub (minus a few key ones of course) but by not depending on big CDs and playing very, very aggressively I tend to win 80% of the encounters I get into (unless massively outnumbered of course). I would not have made that claim (and not been lying) when I was playing SUB for the last couple of years. My defense has been creating a dead opponent, I find it more advantageous than creating a living, but irritated opponent. I like to kill, I guess I've grown lazy. =) It will take some time to get back into SUB now that I have the taste for blood.
    • 1
      46 months ago
      Just stick to sub you wont regret it in the long run :D
  • 0
    46 months ago
    So i've been playing my rogue for 5 years and about 90% of that time I have been Sub for PVP. But since CATA hit, I've done MUT because I just fell in love with being able to kill just about any class (except frosties) without much effort. However, I started running the offensive spec posted here and I'm falling in love again with it. I'm no longer afraid of mages (as long as I have some cooldowns anyway =)!
    • 0
      46 months ago
      great to see you changed to Sub. I love the playstyle so much i don't think i can go back to mutilate unless i absolutely HAVE to.
  • 0
    46 months ago
    Glad to see you posting here Furi. I've always appreciated your input on AJ and the likes.
    PS: Upload more youtube vids!
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