Riff’s Guide to Subtlety Rogue

Welcome to my guide to Subtlety Rogue for 7.2. If you’re looking for a good introduction to playing Subtlety in Legion, you’ve come to the right place.

I’ll make a note of any changes to the guide and the date it was updated here if you want to come back in the future to check for changes.

Last updated: Tuesday 23rd May 2017 - Added details about the Shadow Dance/Stealth pre-pull


Subtlety got a pretty big overhaul for Legion. The biggest change being Shadow Dance. Previously a 1 minute cool down that lasted for 8 seconds. Now a 1 minute cool down that lasts for 3 seconds, with 3 charges. The new Deepening Shadows passive reducing the remaining cool down of Shadow Dance by 3 seconds per combo point spent.

We also got back Shadowblades as our major cool down ability. We also got a replacement for Slice and Dice in the form of Symbols of Death, which is a self buff we can only use from Stealth to increase our damage by 20%.

Subtlety isn’t the outright strongest Rogue specialization right now, but with the right legendaries (if you’re lucky) you can compete with others.


Subtlety talents are mostly cookie cutter except for the level 15 talents, and the survivability talents at level 60.

1: Anticipation can be better if you have the Denial of the Half-Giants bracers. You may want to use Anticipation over Deeper Stratagem to avoid combo point wastage if you have Tier 19 4 set bonus.


Our artifact are the Fangs of the Devourer. Pretty much the teeth of Sargeras’ puppy dog, Goremaw the Devourer.


At this point in the expansion, a lot of characters will be at 25 artifact knowledge or at least close to it. So filling out 34 traits is fairly quick, and you’ll have the 3 golden traits easily.

If you do require the routes you should take, you can follow these routes in order.

Then you want to get Legionblade, and once you’ve empowered your artifact you can unlock the new traits.

Once you’ve got the 4th gold trait you can fill out 4/4 in the other powerful traits.

Then 4/4 in the less useful traits


You should always run a simulation of your character to check if a higher item level relic might be better than your current relic.

Gearing & Stats

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 simulations of your character to compare the item or multiple items.

You may also be familiar with the term stat weights, this term is complete bullshit. For a start it’s scale factors, and secondly your scale factors will become out of date whenever you equip a new item. It’s always better to run a simulation of your character to compare items to see if it’s an upgrade. This excludes trinkets as some times they’re not modelled correctly in simulations.

For stats you should be aiming for the following:

Certain items may change which stats you will want. For example Mantle of the Master Assassin will make Critical Strike less important and Insignia of Ravenholdt will bring Versatility ahead of Mastery.

When in doubt, run a simulation for your character and the item(s) in question.

For your food buff while raiding you should use the food for the secondary stat that you’re scale factors says is highest.

For potions you should use Potion of the Old War, or if you’re saving gold Potion of Prolonged Power (which is also best on AoE as well).

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




2: See macros for the Shadow Dance, Stealth, and Potion macro. More details about this can be found in the FAQ section.



At 5-6 Combo Points

3: You do not want to overwrite a Finality empowered Nightblade until it has expired. The time remaining for refreshing is also increased with Tier 19 2 set bonus.

During Shadow Dance

Outside Shadow Dance

Cool Downs

Stealth and Shadow Dance Priorities

If you want to abuse Flickering Shadows, you can use Sprint to Vanish if you are safe from taking damage. This is definitely recommended if you have the Mantle of the Master Assassin.

It’s recommended to use this macro to Sprint.

/cast Sprint

You should enter Stealth or Shadow Dance:



AddOns & Macros

There isn’t really any hard requirements for AddOns you should use. You should look into using Weak Auras and/or an energy bar AddOn. I do not share the AddOns that I specifically wrote myself for Subtlety Rogue as I get inundated with people asking to add their feature, or fix a bug that doesn’t affect me.

Weak Auras

You can find a number of Weak Auras available on wago.io. Below are links to the Weak Auras I use.

Shadow Dance charges are a separate Weak Aura to show them as a larger icon.

Buffs/Debuffs includes pandemic highlighting for Nightblade and Symbols of Death.

Finality includes the percentage empowerment.


There are a number of macros to help with Shadow Dance and abilities used with it.

Shadow Dance → Shadowstrike

/cast Shadow Dance
/cast Shadowstrike

Shadow Dance → Shuriken Storm

/cast Shadow Dance
/cast Shuriken Storm

Shadow Dance → Symbols of Death → Shadowstrike

/cast Shadow Dance
/cast Symbols of Death
/cast Shadowstrike

Shadow Dance → Symbols of Death → Shuriken Storm

/cast Shadow Dance
/cast Symbols of Death
/cast Shuriken Storm

You can also create copies that use /cast Vanish instead of Shadow Dance.

Shadow Dance → Stealth → Potion

/cast Shadow Dance
/cast Stealth
/use Potion of Prolonged Power

You can replace Potion of Prolonged Power with your potion of choice.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Does Finality Work?

Finality is pretty simple to understand once it’s been explained.

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.

Shadow Dance/Stealth Pre-Pull

There is a “bug”/”feature” where Stealth gets “protected” by Shadow Dance. This means you can use Shadow Dance to delay Subterfuge from starting. The advantage of this pre-pull is that you’re able to start the encounter with Shadow Dance up, which results in no loss of cool down reduction.

Due to recent changes you need to cast Shadow Dance before Stealth to abuse this during a pull. You must keep in mind that you cannot cast Stealth if you are in combat. So you have to make sure you use it prior to the actual pull. You need to be out of stealth before using the macro.


This guide is written to help those who want to start playing Subtlety Rogue or get better at it. If you feel some part of the guide can be improved send an email to riffeu@gmail.com and explain what you feel can be improved, and why.

Want to insult me and complain about how bad my guide is? Feel free to say so in the underbelly channel on Ravenholdt Discord, but be aware you’ll only be wasting your own time. Stay angry.

Want to call me trash because I quit raiding mythic and how you’re much better than me? Congratulations you’re great at a video game. I’m sure you’ll go far in life with that on your résumé. Stay humble.