Subtlety Guide

Updated on 14th october 2017

Welcome to the guide for Subtlety Rogue in 7.3. If you’re looking for a good introduction to playing Subtlety in Legion, you’ve come to the right place.

Subtlety got a pretty big overhaul for Legion. The biggest change being Shadow Dance. Previously a 1 minute cooldown that lasted for 8 seconds. Now a 1 minute cooldown that lasts for 4 seconds, with 2 charges. A new Deepening Shadows passive has been added, reducing the remaining cooldown of Shadow Dance by 1 seconds per combo point spent.

Shadow Blades returns as our long 3 minute cooldown ability. We also got a short cooldown in the form of Symbols of Death, this gives 40 energy and increases damage by 15% for 10 seconds, on a 30 second cooldown.

Our combo pointer generators include our filler generator Backstab, which has a damage bonus if used from behind or the sides. Shadowstrike our replacement for Ambush, which requires Stealth or Shadow Dance to use, and generates 2 combo points.

Our combo point spenders include Eviscerate, our main damage source. Nightblade a damage over time that increases our damage dealt to that target by 15%.

Gearing in Legion has become a lot more complicated in the sense that warforged, titanforged, and sockets make picking your best items more difficult, even if they’re a lower item level.

When in doubt, you should run a sim of your character to compare the item or multiple items.


When you’re generally starting out, the following stats in order are best:

  • Agility
  • Mastery
  • Versatility
  • Critical Strike
  • Haste

Once you start getting more gear, you should generate your own scale factors to figure out which stats to be aiming for when gearing up. There are no soft or hard caps for stats for Subtlety.


For your food buff while raiding you should use the primary stat Lavish Suramar Feast. If you’re unable to use a Lavish Suramar Feast, the food for the secondary stat that you’re scale factors says is highest.

For potions you should be using Potion of Prolonged Power, for pre-pot and second pot.

For your flask you should always use Flask of the Seventh Demon.


The legendaries available to Subtlety are (not in any order):

The generic best in slot legendaries for single target are:

The generic best in slot legendaries for AoE are:

And one of the following depending on the encounter:

Certain gear combinations can make other legendaries pull ahead. You should run a sim for your character to find out what is best for you.


If you’re playing Death from Above, the relic rankings are as follows:

  • Energetic Stabbing
  • Weak Point
  • Soul Shadows
  • Gutripper
  • Precision Strike
  • The Quiet Knife
  • Demon’s Kiss
  • Fortune’s Bite

If you’re not playing Death from Above, the relic rankings are as follows:

  • Soul Shadows
  • Weak Point
  • Gutripper
  • Energetic Stabbing
  • Precision Strike
  • The Quiet Knife
  • Demon’s Kiss
  • Fortune’s Bite

When in doubt (especially with higher item level relics of the lower traits) you should run a sim for your character to find out if the relic is an upgrade. These rankings also chance depending on your equipped legendaries.

Currently the most viable talent build is the Death from Above build. If you’re using different legendaries, you will have to run a sim to find your optimal talent build.

Tier 15 talents

Master of Subtlety

Tier 30 talents


Tier 45 talents

Deeper Stratagem

Tier 60 talents

Every talent can be used depending on your job in the encounter.

Tier 75 talents

Prey on the Weak

Tier 90 talents

Dark Shadow

Tier 100 talents

Death from Above


Unfortunately it’s not feasible to include a rotation guide for every talent build that is playable. So I am only outlining the main viable talent build for Death from Above.




Combo Point Generators

Outside Shadow Dance

Inside Shadow Dance

Combo Point Spenders

You should not refresh Nightblade while Shadow Dance is active.

When you’re at 5 or more combo points.

  • Nightblade refresh with 5.4 seconds or less remaining at 6 combo points, or 4.7 seconds or less remaining at 5 combo points.
  • Nightblade refresh if the remaining duration is less than the remaining cooldown of Symbols of Death plus 10 seconds, and the remaining cooldown of Symbols of Death is 5 seconds or less
  • Eviscerate

If there are 4 or more targets you can use Eviscerate at 4 combo points.

Death from Above Combo

You should save Death from Above for when Symbols of Death comes off cooldown. You should also have 1 charge of Shadow Dance available.

You do not have to delay the combo for Finality: Eviscerate when there are 1 to 3 targets. When there are 4 or more targets you can begin to plan around having Finality: Eviscerate for this combo.

With The First of the Dead

Then following up with Death from Above

Without The First of the Dead at 5-6 combo points

You can use Shadow Dance prior to Death from Above to buff the initial cleave part of Death from Above. In multi target situations due to the use of Shuriken Storm, you will recharge Shadow Dance a lot faster than normal.


There aren’t any requirements for AddOns you should use. We do recommend to try out Weak Auras for tracking buffs, debuffs, and cooldowns.


You can use AethysRotation to help you learn the Subtlety rotation.

Weak Auras

You can find a number of Weak Auras available on Wago. is the one I use.


Shadow Dance + Shadowstrike

/cast Shadow Dance
/cast Shadowstrike

Shadow Dance + Shuriken Storm

/cast Shadow Dance
/cast Shuriken Storm

How Does Finality Work?

When you use Eviscerate or Nightblade, if you do not have a Finality buff for that finisher you will gain a Finality buff that will increase the damage of the same finisher next time to use it.

The damage percentage of the buff depends on how many combo points were spent on the finisher. It is 4% increased damage per combo point. So for a 5 combo point finisher you would generate a 20% increased damage Finality buff, or if you’re talented into Deeper Stratagem and finish with 6 combo points you would generate a 24% increased damage buff.

Unfortunately Riff, the original author of this guide left us to become a full time Bridge player. I, Saber, will take good care of this guide.