Rogue Guide for 4.3 Normal Modes
This is a guide for the 4.3 patch Dragon Soul raid instance specifically for rogues. Each fight will be gone through invidually but the emphasis is on how a rogue can play optimally and not as much on how the specific fights work overall. All of the information is based on the PTR raids and are still subject to change in the release.
As a general note, this instance is filled with all kinds of AOE damage. Almost every boss has something that will try to rip you and your friends apart at the same time, most even have 2 or more abilities to accomplish that. What this means is that when the instance run is over, you will probably be good friends with Feint. When you take damage, it's often a good rule of thumb to feint when that ability is going to happen again as it might just save your life.
There hasn't been any accurate research on how much the new tier bonuses are actually worth but by the best estimates they both are pretty great. The thing is that tier 12 also has some great stuff. For Subtlety it might be beneficial to get 2 pieces of the Looking For Raid pieces (but not all 4 pieces, Burning Wounds is amazing) to replace the 391 heroic tier 12 stuff. This is because the LFR items seem to be almost always over the normal item budget and the estimates for 2pc tier 13 are around 700 DPS which is around the same as the tier 12 4pc. It's mostly about what you want to use as the tier 13 2pc is always guaranteed damage whereas the tier 12 4pc might proc something you don't really want.
The tier 12 4pc bonus is so good for Combat and Assassination that it might not be a huge upgrade to go from 391 to 397. Could be wrong though, so it's best that you wait for the spreadsheets to get updated.
Nightmare of every melee in the raid with the exception of you. Depending on your tactic you might need to run a lot in this fight when there are Crystals or Black Bood on the ground. However, Sprint, Shadowstep, Rocket Boots and even Killing Spree provide good options on how to battle this.
All specs are viable, but Subtlety rises above everything else. If you're playing anything other than Sub, you should definitely be using Assassin's Step enchant on your boots. Shadowstep is the definite tool to get to melee range as fast as you can and provides a huge boost in DPS when used correctly. Also, if you want to push it you could drop Initiative, Premeditation and Preparation and pick up Enveloping Shadows with those 3 points (2 is probably enough if you want to keep Preparation). This way you retain your 90 second CD CloS and also gain a longer Feint which enables you to stay on the boss during the Black Blood phase. More on this in the next section.
The fight and tips:
Feint all the things! - It works pretty much on anything here so it's probably a good idea to spam it.
Crystals: If you are assigned to the crystals, try timing it so that it's still on when the crystal explodes but make sure that you are close enough to the crystal before the explosion happens.
Black Blood of the Earth: What you need to remember is that the boss will most likely go down if you and everyone else stay alive long enough so in reality none of the optimization is necessary. However, if you want to try staying alive in the Black Blood you will want to use Feint straight away when the first tick is coming, CloS the debuff right before your Feint is ending and then Feint again just as you get the first debuff. This can be done every time if you have Enveloping Shadows and Elusiveness. If you decide that risking it is not worth it and stick with the regular build, you can still Feint right as the blood starts pouring out and Sprint out right before Feint ends. Few seconds after the debuff ends you can just Shadowstep back in and soak the last few stacks of the debuff with Feint.
Target switch central. You'll be swinging those weapons at every direction and don't have time to focus a single guy much at all. Rogues don't shine here but they are by no means bad either. Hope you're in a good shape as you'll be sprinting like a madman. There's also an AOE aspect to this fight and thus guilds can use different strategies on how to handle that.
Target switches call for Combat (how ironic is that with Bandit's Guile?) as low CD Redirect is great here. Other specs don't really have that redirecting luxury in their arsenal and suffer a bit more on that field.
Movement specialization however, is tied between Subtlety and Combat. Shadowstep and low cooldown Sprint both are decent contenders for this fight.
If you're on AOE duty your only(?) option here is playing Assassination which in turn is pretty horrible in dealing with switching and movement. You might want to use the glyph for Fan of Knives for this. It's your call, but you might want to have someone else AOE those adds. Combat cleaving works but is nothing compared to a good AOE guy.
The fight and tips:
The encounter is pretty simple and feinting everything works like a charm.
Globule movement: Use Sprints to get to the Globule. On the PTR you could get Sprint for each spawn even without being Combat. This means that it's possible to save your Shadowstep to get to back the boss. As Assassination and Combat it is imperative that you have boss timers so that you won't waste a large portion of your cooldowns running from target to target. Subtlety's low cooldown/duration abilities are much easier to optimize.
Mana void switching: When the Mana Void is up, you need to kill it as fast as possible. Steering your camera top-down so that you can see above the head of the boss can help when trying to figure out where the Mana Void will be landing as you can see it swirling there for a few seconds before it gets thrown.
On normal this one is the most straightforward Patchwerk style fight in the instance, you are even able to hit his back! So get ready to execute that rotation of yours.
As this boss is all about single target damage, you should definitely go with Subtlety. If Subtlety isn't really your cup of tea ( which it should be ) Combat is a lot more competitive on single than Assassination.
The fight and tips:
The fight doesn't have too much going for it on normal as he only has few abilities that concern your survival
Void of the Unmaking ( the ball ): Feint works on the damage that is spread around when it hits so remember to hit that bind when you are going to soak it. Also make sure that you are not in the way of it when your raid decides to let it go through to the boss.
Disrupting Shadows ( the debuff ): you can remove it with CloS which also makes you immune to the damage but you still get knocked back. Not such a big deal, you can use Shadowstep ( or Killing Spree if it happens to be ready ) to make sure you don't get knocked away from melee range.
Black Blood of Go'rath: Feint obviously works on the AOE damage. Zon'ozz starts to take increased damage taken from the start of this phase so usage of cooldowns here is optimal.
Cleaving, fast movement and not hitting the boss seems to be the name of the game here. A large portion of the fight you'll either be running away from a wall of spikes, running to a lightning conductor or running back to the boss.
Both Combat and Subtlety seem to be the top contenders here, Assassination is probably a bit behind. If you plan on doing some cleaving, Combat will be your spec of choice but if the tombs die fast you're probably better off just focusing the boss, and this is where Subtlety shines.
The fight and tips:
Ice Tombs: In normal modes it's possible to cleave all the Frost Tombs right away but it's probably safer to leave atleast one of them standing for the storm phase. Usually it's worth it to gather the players who will become encased either next to the boss or in a small stack somewhere in the playing field. If there's no hurry with killing the tombs, you can wait for the tank to move Hagara but in most cases it's wiser to Sprint to the tombs as soon as they land.
Ice phases: You will want to hit the 4 spawning crystals as much as you can, so using Sprint / Shadowstep to get to them is advised. The thing you need to remember is that when either the Ice or Lightning phases end, Hagara will be taking a lot of extra damage for a short time. This means that you should have your Sprint / Shadowstep ready for when the phases end. This is where Subtlety comes in as you can use Shadowstep on the crystals atleast once, Sprint once and still instantly Shadowstep back to the boss for the full duration of the damage buff.
Patchwerk with a twist, press that button in the middle of your screen. This fight is purely about DPS and your ability to follow debuffs and cast bars.
Considering Subtlety seems to be the current top single target DPS spec for the class, it would be logical to go with that spec, right? Wrong. You have to hit this guy in the face and there's really no way of hitting him from any other direction. At one point in the PTR it was possible to Backstab him, but this was changed. Also there's the problem of Shadowstep killing you every time you use it so Subtlety is pretty much out of the question. A good chunk of Assassination's damage comes from Backstabbing a boss under 35% so going as Combat is pretty much our only option here. That's what we call great boss design.
The fight and tips:
The Button: This fight is really simple, but you still need to use the tools given to you for it. Both Fading Light and Hour of Twilight will kill you if you don't use the button. Hour of Twilight can be cloak immuned though. What you want to do here is to CloS immune every Hour cast and whenever you get hit by Fading Light or cannot cloak press the button just before the damage would come. This way you won't be stunned for longer than you absolutely need to be.
Also to help the healers, you should feint whenever it doesn't hinder your DPS. Especially in the later stage of the fight when the damage output of the boss goes up by a ton.
Captain! multiple targets to dot sighted around the ship! - What you say!! Take off every 'zig'!! For great justice.
So.. jokes aside things might a bit bad for melees in general in this fight, many targets to multidot,lots of running around off melee range to soak the blasts and also catching those little sappers. But luckily the second part of the fight is pure single target burn where ranged guys need to move and stop DPS from time to time and you just get to hit the boss in the back, not so bad after all.
It's gonna be a choice between Combat and Subtlety once again. If your raid tanks the ground adds in phase 1 next to each other so that you are able to cleave, combat should be the better choice.
The fight and tips:
Twilight Barrage & Onslaught: Feint works on the blasts, you can also cloak immune the damage. You should always go and soak the small blasts if you have Feint ready and they aren't too far away from you.
If a Sapper is low hp and close to the cabin, you can try to finish it off with Feint activated so that you won't die if you fail to kill it in time.
As mentioned earlier ask your tanks to keep the melee adds next to each other for BF cleave. If there aren't any ground adds around, it's good to remember that the drakes might be at melee range so you could go and DPS them instead while waiting for new adds.
Feint works on the charge of the melee adds but of course it is ideal to just dodge them all together.
Phase 2: just make sure to be behind the boss and you are safe to tunnel DPS. Judging from earlier experience it's probably not a good idea to be Killing Spreeing in middle of his model when he casts Shockwave.
FUS RO DAH ..Ahem. Nope it's not the time to kill the dragon yet. Just chilling on his back and killing some adds etc. Rogues are quite good at this because: single target DPS and Feint! Who would have thought.
We prefer Subtlety on this fight but Combat is also viable. The only things you should ever be cleaving are the Corrupted bloods and that isn't a big part of the fight. The important thing in the fight is (burst) single target damage.
The fight and tips:
You should use Feint to reduce the AOE damage from: When Corrupted bloods start dying, Amalgamation gets 9 stacks and pulses damage every 3 seconds before killed, right before going in to the Grasping Tendrils hole when Deathwing is about to do a barrel roll.
Otherwise you just burn things down in single target, most of the time it's the Amalgamations you are hitting.
Remember to save cooldowns for after the Nuclear Blast goes off and the Burning Tendons come targetable. With combat you should try to save up a Moderate Insight on the Amalgamation and redirect it to the Burning Tendon, so you get a deep insight for most of the duration, you should also have Adrenaline Rush ready for it. With subtlety you should have Shadow Dance and Vanish ready to get Find Weakness for the whole duration.
For some finishing words: We would like to say that rogues are in a really nice position now, so enjoy it. We are the best melee class in almost all of the fights because of our good single target damage and great survivability. Heard we also get some shiny new daggers this tier.
In other news, if you have just played Assassination and Combat for all of your rogue career you should really consider taking up Subtlety as an alternative to use. It's not really that complicated as some people make it out to be and it is ( from our experience ) doing the best and most consistent DPS of the three specs.
So you should definitely check up on a Subtlety guide somewhere (Elitist Jerks for example). Another good thing to remember is to set up your UI correctly as Subtlety has more things to track than the 2 other specs. One really good addon is Auracle. Auracle combined with Power Auras is everything you need for tracking buffs and debuffs effectively.
Good luck with Dragon Soul and getting those legendary daggers of yours!