The first character I ever made in World of Warcraft was an Assassination Rogue. Despite usually opting for ranged DPS classes, I’m still a massive fan of playing Rogues to this day, almost 10 years later. The gameplay is fast-paced, stealthy, and fun.
Each Rogue spec offers something unique.
There’s something to suit every kind of WoW player, which can make picking the optimal Rogue spec feel quite challenging, especially if you’ve never played one before.
There are some specs that are better suited to specific aspects of the game.
So, using my own experiences and research, I’ve put together this guide on how to pick the best Rogue spec in Dragonflight based on your unique playstyle.
Best Rogue Specialization for Solo Leveling
If you’re setting out to level by yourself as a Rogue, the best spec for you to choose is Subtlety. Subtlety Rogues have an immense amount of utility and survivability, and they’re a lot of fun too.
One of the main reasons why Subtlety is the best Rogue spec for solo leveling is the powerful single-target damage that it offers.
While every Rogue spec can do decent single-target damage, Subtlety Rogues can hop from enemy to enemy with very little issue, using abilities like Flagellation to beat down foes easily.
Subtlety Rogues also have great movement and stealth-based abilities, like an improved Shadowstep, Fade to Nothing, and Invigorating Shadowdust. Being able to move around quickly and attack from the shadows is a core part of the Rogue experience, and the Subtlety talent tree nails this.
Subtlety Rogues are great to solo level as they have handy talents to boost damage and control enemies efficiently. For example, Night Terrors is a great ability to help slow your enemies and manage larger groups of mobs for trickier quests.
Best PVP Rogue Spec for Arenas
Rogues are incredibly popular in the PVP community, and at the time of writing, Subtlety is one of the most popular specs. It can be seen in a number of community-favored 3v3 comps, like RMX, Enhance Sub, and RMPal.
One of the main reasons why Subtlety is so popular is that the spec is incredibly fast-paced and doesn’t suffer with any long cooldown waiting periods. There’s always something a Subtlety Rogue can be doing, and this playstyle lends itself to Arenas nicely.
The mobility perks of the Subtlety Rogue spec were mentioned earlier, but it’s worth mentioning them again. This spec lets you zip about the battlefield quickly, hopping from enemy to enemy without much difficulty. There’s also a lot of CC potential with a Subtlety Rogue, both from the specialization talent tree and standard Rogue talent tree.
If Subtlety Rogues aren’t quite your style, though, another spec that’s worth taking a look at in Arenas is Outlaw. Outlaws are somewhat behind Subtlety right now in terms of damage potential and utility, but that’s not to say that they’re bad by any means.
In fact, single-target damage options for Outlaw Rogues are immense, and there are great cleave abilities as well. They can make a huge impact during team fights and they have a great level of overall survivability as well.
Talents like Roll the Bones make Outlaw combat a hell of a lot of fun, too.
Outlaw plays off of other specs nicely, and can work with everything from prime Healer specs like Restoration Druids and Discipline Priests, to DPS pairings like Fury Warriors and Marksmanship Hunters.
If you’re looking to be a versatile and viable Arena player, Subtlety is one of the best Rogue specs to play in World of Warcraft, hands down. Outlaw is a close second, though, as Outlaw Rogues also offer a lot of versatility and can adapt to any situation.
Best Rogue Spec for PVP Battlegrounds
Subtlety Rogue is getting a lot of attention in Dragonflight, and there’s a good reason for this. Subtlety is the best Rogue Spec you can pick up for RBGs, with Outlaw being the secondary pick if you want another option.
One of the main reasons why you should pick up Subtlety for Battlegrounds is the wide variety of utility and stealth-focused CC on offer. Subtlety Rogues are ideal for opening up team fights without the other team gaining the upper hand.
Something in the Subtlety toolkit that really stands out for RBGs is the variety of AOE options. While this spec doesn’t have much in the way of burst AOE, Black Powder, Improved Shuriken Storm, and Shuriken Tornado are great for burning down a group of opponents.
Being able to use abilities like Shadowstep with an extra charge can be incredibly helpful during Battlegrounds, too. This isn’t Subtlety-specific but it works with the Subtlety toolkit the best.
This ability lets you ‘step through the shadows’ and appear right behind your opponent, while gaining 70% extra movement speed for 2 seconds. This can make you quite a frustrating opponent to pin down, and it can help you exit tricky battles quickly, too.
Best Rogue Specialization for PVE
Rogues aren’t immensely popular in PVE right now, but the most viable spec to pick up for both Raids and M+ Dungeons right now is Subtlety, with Outlaw following behind as a close second.
One of the main reasons why Subtlety can be so effective in PVE is the strong single-target damage output it offers. It’s the ideal spec to have on hand for DPS check boss battles, and the added mobility abilities can make managing extra Raid mechanics easier, too.
Subtlety has a fast-paced playstyle that can be useful for trying to beat higher keys in Mythic+ Dungeons, too. It has very regular cooldown windows and intervals, meaning that there’s always an ability to use and an attack to make. This results in consistent, sustainable damage outputs that can help to speed up a run.
Outlaw is another spec that’s worthy of consideration here, too. It has a varied talent tree that works in lots of different fights.
Something that helps Outlaw stand out as a great spec for PVE is the availability of unique damage-dealing moves, like Blade Flurry for example. Pairing this with moves like Restless Blades is a great way to tackle stacked enemies in PVE settings.
Best Solo Shuffle Rogue Spec
Once again, the best pick to make as a Rogue player right now is Subtlety.
In general, Rogues are ideal for Solo Shuffle as they are fast-paced, fearless characters who can offer consistent damage and plenty of crowd control. Subtlety is the spec that really thrives in Solo Shuffle as it has plenty of powerful Stealth-oriented abilities and utility options, too.
One of the best things about Subtlety for Solo Shuffle battles is the extra charge of Shadow Dance. Shadow Dance is a strong ability that allows the user to act as if they’re in Stealth for 6 seconds (gaining access to all their abilities) and Subtlety Rogues have an extra charge to use up. This can make the initial seconds of a Solo Shuffle battle much easier.
Subtlety Rogues are incredibly flexible and adaptable, and they work well in a number of different comps. They have strong survivability, multiple charges of abilities like Vanish and Shadow Dance, and plenty of movement-focused abilities to help them dance around their enemies.
Best Rogue Spec for Soloing Old Content
All Rogue specs are certainly viable for soloing old content to some extent, although it does require a bit of planning to solo recent Raids on a Rogue. They have no pets to help tank difficult enemies and there aren’t as many damage mitigation abilities on offer in any of the Rogue talent trees.
That being said, Assassination Rogues are a great choice for taking on old Raids or Dungeons. The other specs are also viable options, but Assassination is great for sneaking past mob packs and making quick work of bosses.
Assassination Rogues have a talent tree that’s ideal for soloing old content due to the variety in DoT abilities and heavy-hitting damage dealers. Sepsis and Kingsbane are great abilities to have for taking on multiple enemies at once, while abilities like Deathmark and Envenom are useful during solo boss encounters.
This is a spec that you can adjust and adapt with, no matter what the old world content in question throws at you. In general though, it’s a spec that really shines with single-target damage, so try to plan your farming routes around this factor.
What to Do Once You’ve Picked a Spec
Once you’ve decided which Rogue spec you want to play as, there’s a few things you can do to learn more about it and improve your gameplay overall.
If you’re a fan of PVP, check out what the current popular PVP comps are and read up about the classes that you might be working with. You don’t have to memorize everything, but understanding common partners (like Mages) or common counters (like Warlocks or Death Knights) can help a lot.
For those who are setting out to level a brand new character, check out some speed leveling tips and plan out your route effectively.
PVE fans should read up on the easiest M+ Dungeons and Raids, and start off on those in order to learn their rotations properly. Even if you’ve played a Rogue before, it’s good to keep it simple when you’re learning how to play a new spec in World of Warcraft.