Assassination Guide

Written and maintained by Notter and wEak.

Updated for 7.3.2

This assassination guide has been written by:

If you have any questions or concerns regarding this guide please contact either of the above players.


A Word From the Authors

Notter – Playing since open beta. I’ve been very involved in theorycrafting concerning Assassination, and as a result seen my performance increase. I’m knowledgeable in most things concerning Sin, and back up my findings with simulations. so i’d like to put that knowledge into one summarized place.

wEak– Played rogue for 10 years and currently raiding with Memento. Recently picked up theorycrafting and helping upkeep rogue profiles in simulationcraft. Helped Riff on Assa/Outlaw guides during EN.

Tumna – I have been playing WoW since give or take around vanilla anywhere from casual to hardcore. As long as I can remember I have always looked to the rogue community for advice or tips. Being able to return the favor to new players or just players wanting to improve means a great deal to me. I hope this guide helps you like the rogue community has helped me over the years!


Contact Information

We’re usually found in the Rogue Discord and we’ll be happy to answer any further questions.

Tumna –  Tumna#7993

Notter – Notter#7189

wEak  wEak#1490

As time goes on we will try and keep this guide as up to date as possible if you notice something is missing or incorrect please get a hold of one of us.

Thank you for checking out our guide.

Active Abilities

Kingsbane– Releases lethal poison within The Kingslayers and injects it into your target, dealing Nature damage instantly and additional Nature damage over 14 seconds. Each time you apply a lethal poison to a target affected by Kingsbane, Kingsbane damage increases by 15%. Awards 1-3 combo point.
Important!: Try to keep Envenom buff when using KB in order to apply more poison and gain stacks.

 

Mutilate
Your main combo point generator. It generates between 2-4 CPs (mutilate counts as two attacks, main hand and off-hand).
Important!: Never use mutilate if you’re missing only 1 CP. It’s a waste of energy and CPs.

 

Garrote
Causes bleed damage over 18 seconds. Generates 1 combo point. If used from stealth you silence the enemy for the next 3 Seconds. If used with Subterfuge (Talent) the damage is increased by 125% if applied during the first 3 seconds after breaking stealth.

Let the Bleed fully tick when empowered. Cannot generate an extra CP through seal fate. Refresh around 5-6 seconds due to pandemic.

 

Rupture
Finishing move. Deals bleed damage over a period of time depending on combo points used. Refresh around 7-8 seconds due to pandemic.
Important!: If an enemy dies while rupture is applied to it, you will instantly regain all the energy you would have gotten from Venomous Vim.

 

Envenom
Finishing move. Instantly deals nature damage and increases your poison application chance by 30%. Damage and duration is increased per combo point spent.

 

Vendetta
Major cooldown. Marks an enemy for death for the next 20 seconds, increasing the damage you deal with your abilities and auto attacks to that target by 30%.

Important!: Use on cooldown when missing at least 80 energy.

 

Fan of Knives
Spray Knives at all targets within 10 yards, dealing physical damage and applying your active poisons at their normal rate. Fan of Knives awards 1 combo point, however each enemy hit is affected by Seal Fate which can generate more combo points.

 

Vanish
Allows you to enter stealth while in combat. For the first 3 sec after vanishing, damage and harmful effects received will not break stealth. Also breaks movement impairing effects.

 

Shadowstep
Teleport behind the target, granting you 70% increased movement speed for 2 seconds.

 

Poisoned Knife
Throw a knife at the target, 30 yard range. Deals damage and applies active lethal and non lethal poisons to the target

 


Passive Abilities

Mastery: Potent Poisons
Increases the damage dealt by your poisons by X%.

 

Seal Fate
When you critically strike with a melee attack that generates a combo point you gain an additional combo point per crit.

 

Venomous Wounds
You gain 7 energy each time you deal bleed damage to a poisoned target.

 

Bag of Tricks
Envenom and Rupture have a 2.5% chance per combo point spent to smash a vial of poison at the target’s location, creating a pool of acidic death that deals Nature damage over 3 sec to all enemies within it.

 

Blood of the Assassinated
Rupture has a chance to infect your target, increasing damage dealt by your Rupture by 100% for 10 sec.

 

From the Shadows
Declaring your Vendetta unleashes a barrage of poisoned daggers at the target for Nature damage over 20 sec.

 


Talent Abilities

Hemorrage
Increases bleed damage from your abilities on the target by 25% for 20 seconds and awards 1 CP.

 

Toxic Blade
Deals significant Nature damage and increases the damage of your poisons against the target by 35% for 9 seconds.
Use on cooldown, as even just the hit itself is not worth wasting.

 

Exsanguinate
Increases bleeds tick rate on the targed by 150%.

 

Marked for Death
Marks the target, instantly generating 5 combo points. Cooldown resets if target dies withing 1 minute.

 

Death from Above
Deal damage to all enemies withing 8 yards, then leap into the air and Envenom your target on the way back down, with such force that it has a 50% stronger effect.

 

Most sin’s talents are actually balanced pretty well, so what’s best for you might vary. These are our choices.

Poison Build is more passive and focused on increasing your poisons damage, which is further buffed by traits and mastery.

Bleed Build is focused on Exsanguinated Rupture, and improving it by having a bigger finisher and higher versatility stat.


 

Tier Poison Build Bleed Build Details
15 Master Poisoner Elaborate Planning Tier 15 talents are usually paired up with their respected builds.
30 Subterfuge/NS Nightstalker Same goes with tier 30. But with T21 4 piece NS should pull ahead regardless.
45 Vigor/DS Deeper Stratagem They are very close in performance. Choose your prefered playstyle.
60 Cheat Death Cheat Death The choice here depends on the fight. But Cheat Death is the safest choice.
75 Prey on the weak Prey on the weak Generally has no effect in raid dps but without T20, Thuggee can be more useful.
90 Toxic Blade Exsanguinate  Define the two build paths assassination has.
100 Venom Rush Venom Rush Venom Rush is universally better for both bleed/poison build.

Pre-Pull

Prepot at 1-2 seconds on pull timer.

Openers

*Please note to wait till mantle buff expires before vanishing a second time.*

With shoulders   Opener without shoulders [Subterfuge]   Exsang opener [No shoulders, Deeper Stratagem]
Garrote   Garrote   Garrote
Mutilate   Mutilate   Mutilate
Rupture   Rupture   Rupture
Vendetta   Vendetta   Mutilate
Toxic Blade   Toxic Blade   Vendetta
Kingsbane   Kingsbane   Mutilate
Vanish   Mutilate to 4+   Mut if 4 OR Garrote if 5 [T20]
Envenom   Envenom   Vanish
Mutilate   Repeat normal rotation   Rupture
Garrote [only with subterfuge]   Vanish when garrote at pandemic and not full CP   Garrote if didn’t before vanish
Envenom till mantle expires   Garrote   Exsang
Mut to 4+, Envenom and KB

Single Target Rotation

• After Opener: The most important thing for your rotation is keeping both Rupture and Garrote up at least 95% uptime. When both bleeds are up use envenom with at least 4-5 combo points. Try to use Envenom right before your Envenom buff falls off.

• Use Vendetta on cooldown with at least 80 of your energy missing.

• Use Kingsbane as often as possible, but make sure to have Envenom buff up. Preferably use Envenom before using KB, or immediately after.

• It is also important to use a finisher at 4.9sec or below remaining on KB, as your Surge of Toxins will have a big affect on the strong last ticks.

• Use Toxic Blade either the last 8 seconds of Kingsbane duration or on cooldown. Do not delay your Toxic Blade more than 5 seconds waiting for Kingsbane. If Vendetta is coming up you can delay as well.

• Use Vanish to apply rupture as often as possible if specced Nightstalker.

• Do not override Nightstalker empowered Rupture in this case, let it tick until it falls off.

• If you have Mantle of the Master assassin then you would cast Envenom instead of rupture.

Notter’s Garrote use: With T20 and Vigor, Use Garrote at 4CP, As long as the current Garrote is not empowered by subterfuge.

If at 4CP and Toxic Blade has 1s remaining, don’t garrote, just envenom.
Note – This is not necessarily a dps increase, but i find it easier to keep envenom buff during KB, and can fit 2-3 envenoms consistently during TB.

Changes with Exsanguinate Rotation:

With 3 Master Assassin relics and Legendary boots, Vendetta should align with every Exsang.

After Exsang’d Rupture ticks out, try to use a 3CP rupture, followed by a 5CP rupture when at pandemic (or 4-4).
This method will not waste as much rupture time when refreshing for a 6CP rupture before Exsang.

(note: you still envenom at 4+ CP)


Multi Target Rotation

For 2+ Targets use Fan of Knives as your primary combo point generator.
Have rupture applied to at least 3 highest health targets.
With T20 bonus, garrote them as well.

Legendaries

Currently Wrists and Boots seem to give the best results, followed closely by Wrists and Shoulders.

Mantle of the Master Assassin:

Grants 100% increased critical strike while in stealth and for 5 seconds after breaking stealth. Mainly because of increased opener DPS, and as fights get shorter, this has more impact.

Zoldyck Family Training Shackles:

Causes your poisons and bleeds to deal 30% increased damage to targets below 30% health. The Bracers currently sim second or third depending on off pieces. Fights with long execute phases or multiple enemies garroted with subterfuge make the bracers really shine.

It’s recommended to save your vanish for <30% on boss with these, if you will not miss a vanish cast.

The Empty Crown:

Causes Kingsbane to generate 40 energy over 5 seconds when used. The helm also sims second or third depending on off pieces. The energy return is mediocre. Usually a crafted helm would be better if you’ve got higher performing legendaries.

Duskwalker’s Footpads:

Reduces the cooldown of Vendetta by 1 second every 65 energy spent.
The boots are a good 4th choice if you don’t have the above 3. When paired with 3 Master assassin relics the boots may provide slightly better results, with the reduction to Vendetta.

The Dreadlord’s deceit:

Gives you a stacking damage buff to your Fan of Knives. Stacks up to 30 stacks and is mostly useful in Mythic +.


Ideal T21 Pieces

The tier pieces to avoid for assassination are Hands and Shoulders. (they have worst stats)

(Except if you lack legendaries for these slots, and don’t have T21 bonuses, then getting the set bonuses would be high priority)

Please keep in mind due to Titanforged item levels, this may differ for you.
So while the general rule is to avoid those, we recommend to sim yourself.


Relics

SimulationCraft Relic ranking with Tier 21:

Poison Build

Exsang Build

 

Master Assassin: Reduces the cooldown of Vendetta.

Master Alchemist: Increases damage dealt by Deadly poison and wound poison.

Toxic Blades: Increases the damage dealt by envenom.

Gushing Wound: Increases damage dealt by rupture.

Serrated Edge: Increases Rupture critical chance.

Strangler: Increases Garrote’s Damage.

For poison build, Master Assassin and Master Alchemist are the best.

For bleed build, 3 Master Assassin + legendary boots (without Convergence of fate), will allow to sync vendetta with every Exsang.
secondary relics are Gushing wounds and Serrated Edge.

This is not set in stone. Other relics at higher ilvl might work better for you! We recommend to sim yourself.


Nether Crucible

From Simulation’s craft relics sims, we can see the four best Tier 2 traits are:

Master of Shadows (Poison build)

Shocklight (Exsang build)

Torment the weak

Murderous Intent

It’s fine to have the same trait multiple times.
But when choosing your relic path, you also have to keep in mind the 3rd tier extra trait.

There is no straightforward answer to know which T2 and T3 are the best for you.
And in most cases, they don’t even have a huge impact on your DPS, so it’s not the end of the world to not have the best possible traits.
But in order the get the best result, you’re gonna have to sim the possible options, while keeping in mind:

  1. The best T2 traits
  2. That the same rules apply for the extra 3rd tier trait (i.e. master assassin is usually the best option, etc.)

It’s also recommended to use Crucible Weights addon with trait values from thre relic Spreadsheet by Gray_Hound.


Trinkets

Trinkets ranking with poison build 

Trinkets ranking with bleed build 

Specter of Betrayal: Best for a fight with a static boss that stays in place (Keep in mind in the simulation the boss doesn’t move).

Golganneth’s Vitality: Since it’s a pantheon trinket, it has precedence on other trinkets.

Eye of Command: Especially good on fights with only one target where you don’t switch a lot. but overall one of the best trinkets at high ilvls.

Umbral Moonglaives: Great for AoE. Use 3 seconds before vanish with Mantle of the Master Assassin.

Engine of Eradication: Generally good, works well with poison build. (Recommended Weak Aura).

Consumables

Flask: Flask of the Seventh Demon

Potion: Potion of Prolonged Power

Food: Feast, otherwise Nightborne Delicacy Platter or The Hungry Magister


Enchants / Gems

Neck: Mark of the Trained Soldier (Mark of the Hidden Satyr might be better for Exsanguinate build).

Rings: Binding of Mastery for poison. Crit for Bleed. (Please sim yourself to know your ideal stat weights).

Cloak: Binding of Agility.

Gems: Saber’s Eye of Agility, and any extra slots, mastery or crit gems.


Stat-Weights / Machine Learning

It is always highly recommended to sim yourself to see your own stat weights. Stat weights change with items, so please always double check.

Poison Build

Agility>= Mastery> Crit>Versatility>> Haste

Bleed Build

Agility>=Crit>Versatility>=Mastery>>Haste

Machine Learning – Stat Goals

Ask Mr. Robot introduced an alternative to stat weights. This new smart method uses an algorithm that shuffles your stats in the same ilvl to find all the best stat possibilities for you, and you only have to run it once!

I found it to be more accurate than stat weights and I would recommend it.

For more details:

Ask Mr. Robot: Stat Goals and Graphs

A lot of people ask to have their Warcraftlogs analyzed, but we’ll teach you how to do it yourself. There are a few important things you can easily check:

Damage Done Tab


Rupture and Garrote – high uptime %, ideal is above 95%

Poison Bomb – Average percentage is 7-8% of damage amount. Anything below or above, is either bad or good luck.


Resources Tab

Select “Energy” in the dropdown menu on the top left.

The Wasted column is the important part.

You want to have as little as possible wasted energy. In this example, there was little to no energy wasted. Keep in mind, with vigor, every 120 energy wasted, means you wasted a whole bar of energy.

Select “Combo Points” in the dropdown menu.


As with energy, you want to have little to no CPs wasted. Every row here should be as close to 0 as possible. The only exception is Seal Fate, these are the CPs you gained from critical hits.

If you use mutilate at 3CP, and you crit, you will have §§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§a high chance of wasting 1-2 CPs. But still, this should not be a high number.

In the example above, I used Garrote at 3CPs, which meant extremely low CP waste.


Buffs Tab

In here you can check how lucky you were with Procs from trinkets and Concordance, and otherwise check buff uptimes, such as Envenom.


Blood of the Assassinated


If you want to check how many procs of BotA you had:

  1. Top left, Select Enemies instead of Friendlies
  2. Make sure to select the boss in case there was more than one target. In this case it’s Goroth.
  3. Select the Debuffs tab.
  4. Select yourself as the Source. In This case it’s Notter.
  5. Select BotA as the ability.

In the above example, we can see there have been 6 procs throughout the fight.


Looking at opener

The opener plays an important part in our DPS, and to make sure you’re doing it correctly:

  1. Click on Timelines
  2. Click on Casts

I recommend checking other high ranking players openers and compare yourself to them.


Syncing Vendetta with Exsanguinate

You can check if your exsanguinate was synced correctly with vendetta to maximize it’s effect:

  1. Go to Casts
  2. Press the + icon to the right of Exsanguinate
  3. Go to Buffs
  4. Press the + Icon to the right of Vendetta

Antorus the Burning Throne

Garothi Worldbreaker

Heroic – Use Feint before Eradicaton to reduce it’s damage. Cloak won’t work as it is physical damage. (On normal mode you don’t even need to run away from boss, feint will be enough).
Don’t use your cooldowns on the boss right before 65% and 35% of his HP, as he will become unattackable during Apocalypse Drive.

Mythic – Make sure to use Feint for Annihilation. After the Annihilation weapon is destroyed, it’s possible to soak both hits with Feint + crimson vial.
Save your sprint for Eradication, since it will also pull you towards the boss when you need to run away from him.
Shadowstep to get back.


Felhounds

Heroic – Save your cloak for Consuming Sphere, as it might be hard to stay on boss when it’s heading your way.
You may increase your DPS by applying your garrote and rupture to the other dog whenever your shadowstep is off cooldown.

Mythic – If you get the shadow debuff make sure to stick to another melee so you both keep pulling each other and won’t end up next to a ranged player.
With fire debuff you should stack tightly so moving out is easier and cleaner as a group.


High Command

Heroic – Try to keep ruptures or garrotes on adds, but if they’re too far away it’s not worth the risk of running to them and triggering mines.
If you’re assigned to activate Felshield Emitter, make sure you’ve got your DoTs with more than 5 seconds remainings, since activating the emitter takes about 3 seconds.

Mythic – Save cloak for a case that you get Shock Grenade during Fusillade. Just run away from the shield so you don’t stun everyone.
The cloak will remove the debuff and won’t stun you.


Portal Keeper

Heroic – Save your Cloak for situations where Felstorm Barrage puts you in an awkward position away from boss or if you’ve just jumped down from the platform and there’s lines about to hit you.

Mythic – If you are assigned to pick up debuffs from other portals, you can use Cloak to dispel yourself in order to debuff boss on demand.
Make sure to use Crimson vial when picking Debuff from shadow portal, it will make you receive 50% less healing, but will help you survive long enough for you to move to fel portal.


Eonar

Heroic – Save your cooldowns for the big adds (Fel-Charged Obfuscator) and use feint if you’re targeted by Rain of Fel before it hits you.

Mythic – In addition to big adds you might want to save cooldowns for going on the ship.


Imonar

Heroic – If you get hit by Pulse Grenade, you’ll get a stacking Shocked debuff that increases nature damage. Use cloak to remove the debuff if you get more than 1-2 stacks.
Keep in mind cloak will negate damage from traps, but will not prevent knockback or stun!
Shrapnel Blast (red circle trap) is especially dangerous to us, as it does physical damage and applies a strong bleed debuff which cloak does not remove.

Mythic – Need further research


Kin’garoth

Heroic – While it’s best practice to safe cloak for dangerous situations, if Ruiner will cause you to separate from an add you’re DPSing, you can use cloak to immune it.
Otherwise, you can also use cloak to detonate Diabolic Bomb if you’re far away from the rest of the raid.
Shadowstep is very useful on this fight as well to help you get quickly to the adds or chase them down.

Mythic – Using mantle instead of wrists is preferable here to have a bigger impact on nuking down the adds.


Varimathras

Heroic – When hit by Marked Prey use shadowstep to immediately get back to boss and avoid getting hit by Alone in the Darkness.
Use Cloak when going out with Necrotic Embrace to avoid getting damaged by Alone in the Darkness.

Mythic – You will likely be assigned to soak other players affected by  Necrotic Embrace so make sure to hold on to your cloak and preemptively use it when the debuffs are about to drop.


Coven of Shivarra

Heroic – When using subterfuge, make sure to garrote both bosses at the start. and after vanishing, refresh garrote on both.
The best time to vanish after that, is when tanks swap bosses. They’re immune to damage at this point, but you can still apply your garrotes to both, without wasting GCDs.
Keep rupture up on both bosses as much as possible. You may use Cloak during Storm of Darkness to move freely between them.
You may use Blind to stop Torment of Norgannon adds, or (if there are no breakable CCs) get close to them and use FoK with crippling poison to slow them.
It’s not recommend to use Specter here, since it’s unlikely you’ll be able to stack it on top of previous use.

Mythic – Need further research


Aggramar

Heroic – Use shadowstep to get back to boss after Searing Tempest, or Use cloak and stay inside.
During intermission, keeps dots on both Flames of Taeshalach (big adds), and use Blind on an Ember of Taeshalach (small add).

Mythic – Need further research


Argus

Heroic 

Phase 1
make sure to pick up Strength of the Sky (lightning orb).
When debuffed with Soulblight, move to the side (where you Cone of Death) and use cloak to the drop the pool away from other players.

Phase 2
When debuffed by Soulburst, move far away from anyone and use cloak to remove it.

Phase 3
Start by garroting and rupturing as many Constellar Designates before they become active.
Two of them will grow and get a sword, focus DPS on them quickly.
Once they’re close to dying focus on the Constellar Designate that is affected by Nature Vulnerability.
Make sure to use a Potion of Prolonged Power here, since when this phase is over and you die. The cooldown on it will reset.

Phase 4
Having Cheat Death is useful here, since every time you die the cooldown on it will reset.
Don’t forget to use Prolonged power a second time.

Mythic – Need further research

Do i need to have both rupture and garrote on the target to gain energy from Venomous Wounds?
No, it’s enough to have either one.
For example, with subterfuge in dungeons, you can garrote 3 targets at the start, and then poison them with FoK, and you’ll get energy from all 3!


Does Vendetta increase the damage of dots already on the target?
Yes, the DoTs damage is dynamic and benefits from damage increases such as vendetta.


Will Blood of the Assassinated be overridden if I rupture again?
No, BotA is a separate debuff applied to the target, if you reapply Rupture to the target, it will still gain the benefit.


What are the Best Legendaries?
Generally, Shoulders + Bracers for poison and Boots + Bracers for bleed, but sim yourself for the best answer.
In 7.3.2 crafted helms were introduced, so crown is not needed for it’s stats as much, and bracers are better.


What stats are best? What’s the mastery cap?
Sim yourself. Stats weights can vary between characters.
Mastery has no cap with poison build. The more the better.


Is trinket X better than trinket Y?
Sim yourself, while there is a trinket sim list, only by simming your own character you’ll get the best answer.


How do I sim myself?
Ask Mr. Robot simming guide and their simulation
SimulationCraft simming guide Or use raidbots (they use SimC)


When do I use Toxic Blade?
On cooldown. (for more details, read the rotation section)


Are there any recommended Weak Auras?
We recommend these WAs compiled by Notter (Great for beginners)


Is there a BiS list?
No. This changes from person to person because of Titanforged items.
You can try and use Ask Mr. Robot to calculate BiS particular to you.


Is Assassination fine for leveling to 110?
Yes, it might lack mobility compared to Outlaw and Subtlety, but if you plan to play Sin, this is a good opportunity to practice.


Is T19 2p + T20 4p better than Shoulders?
No. That’s a 30k dps loss.

27/07 – Changed Mantle opener to work better with mantle nerf

06/08 – Add more questions to FAQ

09/08 – Changed Non-mantle opener with NS to have earlier vendetta

31/08 – Removed vanish bug reference

17/09 – Add Nether Crucible tips under relics. Add tips for maiden and avatar mythic.

02/10 – Add Bleed opener and reuploaded images in higher resolution

23/10 – Updated ToS tips section with tips for mythic KJ.

13/11 – 7.3.2 information update. Add Exsang rotation differences. Rewrote recommended relics.

27/11 – Refreshed most of the guide format in preparation for Antorus.

30/11 – Add wEak as co-writer. Add basic tips for heroic bosses. removed ToS tips.

03/12 – Updated openers.

11/12 – Added preliminary Mythic tips