Rogues Top Tier Duelling Class (Full Guide)
Special thanks to Ming who wrote this comprehensive guide on the WoW Forums.
Before we get started a few very quick myths to dispel. Rogues are EXCELLENT duelers when properly built and equipped. And believe it or not dueling helps PVP skill more than the actual PVP does.
In most PVP situations it is usually quite one sided, whether it be level difference, number difference, or someone getting a jump while the other person is fighting a mob. Very rarely you get a fair and equal fight that takes all of your skills to win, which is the only way for you to TRULY UNDERSTAND class match ups and eventually discover the most effective method to defeat them.
Dueling is the fastest way for you to increase PVP skills, period. The best thing about playing a Rogue is you have a tool to handle most situations, and when you put it all together into a total package and win fights it is EXTREMELY satisfying.
Rogue has everything they need to defeat every class in the game. There are indeed tough match ups but we go into them in a bit.
I personally use 21/8/22 build Assassin tree down to the cold blood talent, the combat tree down to improved back stab, and the Subtlety tree down to preparation + 1 point in improved CS. It is a pretty straight forward dagger build, except it trades seal fate for preparation. To put quite simply, seal fate helps you win fights that you would have won faster, preparation helps you to turn a losing fight into a winning one. I prefer a very powerful skill that when I do use it, can truly turn the entire table, even if it is on a timer. Certain match ups are a lot more difficult (if not impossible) without preparation.
Dagger vs. Sword/Mace:
To put it this way, Sword/Mace relies on finishers, daggers rely on big damaging backstabs. Late game sinister strikes simply do not do enough damage to be threatening on their own; rather they serve as quick combo points so you can get to your finishers in a hurry.
With 21/8/22, you really should use a weapon switch macro and use both. Generally speaking against casters you always want to use backstab. Against melee opponents you need to bring in a sword once you are snared (warrior hamstring, rogue cripple poison). A good player should switch weapons back and forth sometimes in the same fight to optimize their damage output.
I use a very simple formula to evaluate my gear.
1 AGI = 1 STAM = 1 POINT
1 STR = 1 ATTACK POWER = 0.5 POINT
1 CRIT = 10 POINTS
1 DODGE 1 TO HIT = 5 POINTS
For tie breakers I always go with stamina (0 HP = 0 DPS). CRIT % is valued at 10 POINTS, because 10 AGI provides 10 attack power + 0.33 crit + 0.66 dodge + 20 armor. You are looking at 0.66% crit versus 10 attack power, 0.66 dodge, 20 armor, which I think is pretty even. There have been many calculations done by other Rogues that 20 attack power is roughly equal to 1% crit in term of damage output. I will not get into more details here.
Currently I have 4003 HP, 716 attack power, 18% crit, 16% dodge. I use the same gear regardless of whether I am in MC or dueling.
The best PVP combination is engineering + blacksmith. Yes it is very expensive, but engineering gives you access to the net gun and rocket helmet which are immensely useful in real PVP chasing down runners, as well as a slew of other options.
The anti-fear trinket from armor smith quest is also the easier way for a Rogue to beat priests and warlocks.
All other professions, just get a friend and buy the products, you don't have to be an alchemist to use free action potions
Must Have Consumables:
Flash Powder: A Rogue without vanish should not leave home.
Blind Powder: Extremely useful, whether as an escape or a chance to bandage yourself.
Thistle Tea: Allow you to dish out most painful combos in the game. It is a must have when you need the biggest damage possible in shortest amount of time.
Heavy Rune Bandages: 2000 hp a pop, worth every silver.
Cripple Poison: Literally the most valuable poison in PVP & Duels. Movement advantage, even against classes that can dispel it, is EXTREMELY valuable. You always want at least one of your weapons to have this.
Instant Poison: The damage poison of my choice that is truly potent versus heavy armor. I use rupture instead of deadly poison versus other Rogues. For the simple reason of I want the control on when to DOT them and when to lock them. Deadly poison makes gouge/blind useless.
Mind Numbing Poison: The best poison against casters. Priests and Warlocks become a lot easier with this poison on. Vs mages it can add that critical extra second to a sheep which can mean the difference between life and death.
Backstabs, when maxed with all the proper talents, do far greater damage than sinister strikes (Life Force Dirk versus Thrash Blade for example, both easily acquired as quest items).
However in order to play a good dagger rogue you MUST be able to land backstabs WITHOUT gouging/stunning. There are several ways to do this:
1) Circle strafe a target while spamming backstabs. Use right mouse button to make AD strafe keys, circle away. It is a devastating technique when they are slowed by cripple poison or when you have sprint activated.
2) Jump into an opponent, turn around 180, backstab. Good mix up with circle strafe. Mix them up and your will disorient lesser skilled foes.
When you are spamming SS's, you still want to do it from behind as your opponent will not be able to dodge/parry/block your attacks.
Stun lock is the best Rogue strategy in 1v1 PVP. It doesn't work against Paladin/Mage as both of them have stun breaking abilities. A warlock with succubus can also charm you out of it. However, against all other classes, it is simply the strongest strategy in 1 vs. 1.
In high level play, as soon as a certain condition is met, the other class already beat the Rogue. A Shaman who insta-healed himself to full after your opener and you are slowed by frost shock + grounding totem. A hunter who escaped your melee range and your sprint timer hasn't refreshed. A druid who has you both fairy fire and rooted. A Warrior who has more than 50% health left and has rend and hamstring on you. All of these conditions are fatal to Rogues. The best way to maximize your chance of winning is to open with the highest damage combo possible, and ride that advantage all the way to finish line.
Stun lock is an art. While anyone can do the basic sequence of moves, it is the ability to go into the next stun at precisely last possible second to maximize stun time and damage, which makes good Rogues great.
A true stun lock keeps the opponent in stunned states the entire time. This is extremely important as when an opponent is no longer stunned, he can use instant abilities such as fear or gouge/blind to stop your combo dead in its tracks. More importantly, your opponent's dodge/parry will be applied as soon as they are out of your stun. Keep this in mind as you always want to blind/kidney shot the player from behind, as dodge/parry are ignored when you are directly behind the opponent.
Yojack's CS->SS->Gouge->CB Evis->Blind is not a true stun lock, because once you Evis, universal cool down applies, against a skilled Rogue he will gouge you in the eyes before you can blind him, against a priest you will be feared.
We will be focusing on 100% inescapable combos here. You know it is inescapable if you can repeatedly do it on a mob and it can never get a hit off. Grinding sessions are great to practice stun locks with.
My favorite combo at the moment:
1) CS -> SS -> Gouge -> KS -> BS -> Blind
CS with 21/8/22 is 50 energy, SS is 40 energy, gouge will take 45, you want to wait until the last possible second before you gouge so you can get the full benefit of CS. Like wise, because in my build I have improved gouge, I always wait for two and half tick of energy before I KS. This requires a lot of practice to get the timing, but when you do it properly you will be able to BS almost as soon as you KS. You will wait for two more ticks of energy while you mash blind so as soon as you get energy back, you blind him. KS/BS/Blind should all be done directly behind the opponent, so if you are late on stunning, his dodge/parry chance will not apply.
For the combo to work 100% of the time, you will need 25 energy back after you KS. If you get a CS bug (no combo points) you are screwed, or if initiative didn't kick in, you will have 20% chance of NOT getting 25 energy back. To continue the stun lock you will either need a tea, or skip BS and blind immediately.
2) Re-stealth (wait for 100 energy) -> Activate Cold Blood -> CS -> Evis -> Gouge
Activate Cold Blood before you CS to save time. Due to diminishing returns your second CS will last 3 seconds. Gouge immediately here as soon as you get 1 tick energy. Do remember being the second gouge it will not last as long as the first one.
3) Backstab or Vanish + Ambush or Preparation + Second Blind
Completely up to you. Against most classes you only need a sing backstab to finish them off. Vanish + Ambush is also a good option for a little more punch although because the gouge doesn't last as long there is a chance the opponent can get out of the stun right before you have enough energy to ambush. Another blind is the safest route, however do keep in mind it costs your valuable preparation.
4) If you used your second blind. Re-stealth and ambush->backstab. CS is not worth it here as you will get 2 second stun time. This is also where a tea may be helpful to add two extra backstabs for warriors who think they can outlast your opener with a shield
Cheap shot is your 1v1 opener against everyone except mages or warlocks with invisible succubus. In group PVP it is better to open with ambush + backstab against soft targets at low life or assist focus fire.
If you have improved sap it is very easy to sap -> wait for energy -> ambush. Otherwise you have to pray your regular sap lasts at least 10 seconds to exceed your stealth cool down.
The ability to do a non-positional ambush via improved Sap, changed my perspective on the talent. However, the one class you would love to open with sap->ambush on can keep spamming level 1 arcane explosions to put themselves in combat, therefore immune to sap.
Always get into stealth mode during dueling count down and go for a cheap shot. For classes that can AOE you out of the opener you may want to stay away a bit then pop sprint for a fast CS. For humans who use perception and chase after you during count down you will need to sprint as far away as possible and hide for 20 seconds.
A well built warrior is a very competent enemy. While you can easily drop his health by 30-40% off your opener, it is very likely he will beat you in the end if you stand toe to toe with him. A warrior with rage meter and an Arcanite Reaper is a nightmare to deal with.
A good warrior will rend/hamstring you to force you to play the toe to toe game. Do not! Your leather armor WILL NOT last against his plate, especially if he uses overpower + mortal strike. Keep him Gouged, Blinded, or Kidney Shotted while you recharge energy. You want to unload your energy then get away from him immediately.
My favorite strategy vs. Warriors at the moment is CS->SS->Gouge->KS->BS->Rupture. Against warriors who open the fight in defensive stance with shield (because they know they will get stunned and eat a big combo), this can be more effective than using a Cold Blood right away. I have been sprint->CS->BS->Rupture, run away (sprint still alive) to recover energy (but not give them the distance to do their charge attack), vanish->CS->BS->Cold Blood Evis->Blind->Re-stealth->Ambush+Backstab. Works very well and most of the times I do not need to blow preparation. Rupture allows you to run away and vanish or re-stealth without worrying about them bandaging.
Always switch to your sword/mace to finish his last 20-30% health as the warrior will hamstring you and you will not be able to backstab him. This is a match up of control. If you can chain stun and avoid trading hits, you will win. If the warrior forces you to play his face to face game, you will lose. Never underestimate a low health warrior.
As the best warrior on my server once said:
"A Warrior at 50% health with a full rage meter is far more dangerous than a Warrior with 100% health and no rage".
A overpower from a 4.0 speed weapon can easily be 1400+ damage on leather.
Until you have a full energy bar, you always want to stay just outside of his melee range but not too far that he can intercept you. This is not very hard to do if he is crippled by poison. You can even get a free re-stealth if the warrior doesn't do something to keep you in combat (like shoot you with a ranged weapon).
Be aware a warrior's demoralizing shout and piercing howl can all pull you out of stealth. Piercing howl will allow him to bandage. It is very important you space yourself properly. Human Warrior can also use perception + Worg / Barov to take you out of stealth, but prep will give you the second sprint + vanish that you need to defeat him.
A good hunter will always lay down a frozen trap before the duel. He can then flare the area to make sure you eat it. The duel will begin with hunter at maximum range and you are marked and frozen. This is a very bad situation to be in when fighting a hunter.
Here are some CONFIRMED ways of dealing with a hunter.
1) The trap can not be disarmed unless you are in stealth.
2) You can not sap the hunter and remove his trap at same time WITHOUT improved sap.
3) The flare is an instant AOE with 15 seconds cool down; it makes the flared area "immune to stealth" for 30 seconds. You walk in you will not be able to stealth for 30 seconds.
If the hunter stands right on top of the trap it is impossible to hit him with melee without triggering the trap. There is nothing you can do if the Hunter steps back 3 yard and fire off an instant shot, then step right back into the trap. It is almost impossible to dance around the trap without triggering it. You will eat the instant. He will walk right back into the trap. If you try to sap him, the flare will reveal you and his trap lasts 26 seconds with talent, 11 more than sap.
If you want to win against a top hunter, use a free action potion, or if you are an engineer like me, you blind the hunter and drop a target dummy on his trap. If you feel this is cheap, you will start the fight frozen, the hunter at maximum distance. He will feint (out of combat) and lay down a second trap. So you will eat two traps and each one he gets to do some free damage to you. Properly done there is simply no comeback against a top tier hunter once you are frozen. I usually try to blind the hunter right away and use a target dummy and drop it on the trap. You can use the Barov's Peasant caller or the Worg Pulp. Plenty of options, I would not duel a Hunter without something to take away his trap however, it is a SURE WAY to lose.
Because of flare you probably won't be able to open with CS after you get rid of his trap (if you do it is a 100% win). Once the trap is gone activate sprint and evasion and give him a nice back stab. From here it is very simple; you have two sprint+evasion with preparation. Kill him before they run out. Dual cripple poison is the key.
Your execution has to be perfect. The dagger build has an advantage here because vs. a Hunter he has quite a few tricks to make you deselect him (and lose combo points). You have to click on him again immediately. 2-3 point kidney shot -> Backstab -> Tea -> Backstab x 2 also helps a lot not just in damage but to make sure you are stuck on him like glue.
Deterrence and Counterattack:
Deterrence adds 25% to dodge & parry (in addition to monkey aspect). It is basically a 10 second evasion. Counter attack gives them an attack that immobilizes off a successful parry. Those are very powerful skills. It is the reason why sometimes a second sprint + evasion are needed.
Improved Wing clip sometimes will immobilize you, don't be afraid to hit preparation and blind to prevent from him getting out of range.
Stone Form makes Dwarves immune to cripple poison for 20 seconds. Fortunately most people play Night Elves. If you blind and see IMMUNE you know they activated the stone form. Again the second sprint + evasion helps.
The nastiest trick a hunter can pull is scatter shot -> feint -> another freezing trap in the middle of battle. I have yet to find a hunter who can pull this off consistently. There is a very short delay between feint and another freezing trap. Make sure you keep on clicking on him while you are scatter shotted and mash Sinister Strike. All you need is one hit on him to put him back in combat and prevents him from dropping the trap. Mash SS like crazy whenever you get scatter shotted.
Difficulty: 5/10 (with something to remove trap)
The CS opener is tricky to land as they can nova or AoE you out of it. You will need to stay back and sprint in to land the CS. It takes some practice. If you have improved sap or feel your sap can last at least 10 seconds, go for a sap -> re-stealth -> ambush -> backstab. My first sap in duels seems to always last the full duration. However understand that if they spam level 1 AoE to try to hit you out of stealth, they will be in combat and immune to sap. Try to distract them before you sap them. If distract lands they are out of combat.
AS SOON AS YOU LAND THE OPENER go for a gouge. A mage will always try to blink, but regardless of whether he actually blinks, he has a good chance to eat the gouge. He will be either disoriented 20 feet away from you, or disoriented in your face. Cold Blood Evis even if you only have 3-4 points. However, a mage with no lag and top tier skill WILL BE ABLE to blink as soon as you CS every single time.
If you went for sap->ambush, do the ambush to the side of their body so you can quickly spin in their face for the gouge. Or you can always go for the easier ambush->backstab. It takes a LOT of practice to be able to ambush->gouge a mage who is mashing blink while he is sapped. It is still not guaranteed if they blink as soon as you ambush.
You will need to activate sprint before they blink, vanish as a sheep is coming, with a properly positioned blink it is impossible to sprint to them with a kick, but you can sprint to them while vanished for a second CS. Now you should have 5 point, go for a Cold Blood. If you feel really lucky, you can sprint to them with a blind. Blind has the same range as hammer of justice but you are risking him using Polymorph on you at the same time that you blind him which is a very bad situation for you.
They will be low on health and try to nova root you or blink again. Blind and go for an ambush if they nova. Hit preparation immediately and vanish -> sprint to them for a third CS if they blink. This time it is more often than not, fatal.
If they nova you at any point during the match, hit blind immediately. 9 out of 10 times due to lag they will eat blind even from deceivingly long ranges, you recover first and can re-stealth for another opener. The idea is you want to save your vanish for "inescapable" sheeping situations. Use blind as the substitute whenever you can to counter novas.
If you get sheeped, they will bandage themselves to full, sheep again, and go on to show you how fast a mage can kill a melee without taking any damage. Sheep after you run out of timers = death against good mages. As soon as they blink, vanish.
You will encounter mages who spam level 1 arcane explosions to hit you out of vanishes. Gouge/Blind them immediately. Backstab or Re-stealth for ambush->backstab combo to make them pay. Save the Vanish ability for when they blink. Generally speaking if you sprint to them you will be able to CS them because arcane explosion range is very short.
Your worst nightmare is a frost mage who can ice block himself to buy time after you gouge/sap/stun him. Therefore guarantees a 2nd and 3rd blink (he can cold snap to ice block twice).
Your execution has to be perfect vs. such a mage. I try to re-stealth if they ice block (but be sure to stand outside of nova range). He will activate ice block when you CS him the second time and make you waste the cold blood. It is a very technical match up. I usually activate cold blood before I CS him the second time and slam cold blood Evis in his face before he can ice block. When the ice block comes, walk backward and try to re-stealth without using Vanish.
There is simply no easy solution to beat a frost mage. I generally find spider belt even the nerfed 1 use every 30 minutes one is helpful to finish him off. A free action potion will also help a lot against those pesky novas. Goblin Rocket Helmet is also very helpful against the last ice block -> blink (when you ran out of vanishes).
POM insta sheep is very nasty. In real PVP a mage with POM sheep is very difficult to gank, in duels a POM sheep after you use up half of your timers will give them full health and mana. A frost mage with stamina gear + ice block + cold snap + POM sheep and use them properly would be impossible to beat without using rocket helmet, spider belt and possibly potions.
Difficulty: 10/10 (our hardest match up by far)
Without anti-fear trinket, it can be tricky to beat a top tier priest unless you are undead. However with stun locking, if you are willing to blow thistle tea and preparation, it is highly unlikely a priest can survive the full lock.
1) Open with CS->SS->Gouge (you must have 1 level in improved CS to make this a guaranteed combo), wait for 40 energy, KS.
2) BS, tea, BS again, blind.
3) Re-stealth as late in the blind as possible with full energy, activate CB, CS him again, cold blood Evis immediately as you should have 5 CP. Gouge him.
4) Vanish->Ambush, Prep and Blind again, or a simple backstab. Choice is yours. Full combo, a priest simply can't survive.
The problem is there is always a chance your combo breaks due to a missed blind. Or your BS's did not crit at all and your combo didn't finish him off. This is where mind numbing poison on your main hand comes in (cripple always on offhand to prevent a priest from dancing around to buy time for his second fear). He is low on health; he will re-shield and heal himself. The mind numbing poison makes his major heal a lengthy process, which means he has less time to damage you as you sprint back in his face.
This is truly a match up of best defense = a strong offense. You want to force him into healing, a shadow priest who is free to unload his damage will kill you in two fears, the second fear you will die barely before you get back in his face.
Avoid using any gouges since you can not afford to wait, you only have 30 seconds to finish him off. Alternate between kick and kidney to interrupt his heals. Hopefully by almost killing him and via mind numbing poison, his casting is slowed greatly and you can deal enough damage to kill him before the second fear. Flash heal takes longer to cast with mind numbing poison and you have a much better chance to kick him out of it.
Keep a close eye on the DOT he places on you, if he is too busy healing / fighting to refresh them, blind him just when the dot is about to run out, bandage yourself and re-stealth into a nice CS combo all over again. Even if you still have a DOT on you, consider blind him and CS him all over again when you think the second fear is coming (takes practice to learn the timer, but a well timed blind into CS combo can win you the fight).
Against a top druid, without FAP, you have to dodge his bash in bear form. If you get bashed you lose the fight, as simple as that. He will druid form -> insta heal -> fairy fire -> root you and you simply won't have enough to finish him off. Get perma rooted and nuked to death without being able to do a thing is very frustrating; however I have compiled the golden strategy vs. Druids.
Here is the breakdown:
1) A druid will always start in bear form. None of his other forms can survive a good stun lock combo (instant death). He will have nature's grasp, a 45 second duration spell that roots you as soon as you strike him. He has 100% chance to root you with talent, and if he is into PVP you bet he is going to have 100% nature's grasp. Nature's grasp has a 1 minute cool down and you basically have to kill him in this minute.
2) Open with CS->SS and you will be rooted here. Here is where you should gouge, wait 2 seconds, KS, SS again, blind. Hopefully the root will wear off before the blind ends, if not you will have to burn Vanish.
3) You will have full energy bar and you will get a second CS on him, add a SS if you don't have 5 points, then cold blood Evis him. ACTIVATE evasion right before you Evis him. Right before the first evasion ends, hit preparation and start the second evasion + sprint. You will have 20% chance to dodge by default, 5% chance to parry, 50% chance from evasion, plus 5% chance that he will miss the bash, which is an 80% chance he will not land the bash which stuns you for 4 seconds and essentially spells "GG". This is THE MOST critical segment of the match up. You can not leave any hole from stun lock to evasion because he will be mashing the bash button. It is like doing a stun lock on a Rogue, you know they will be mashing blind/gouge.
4) Your stun lock should do a good 30% damage to bear form. He will be forced to go into druid form after he misses the bash because his health will be low. He will be using nature's swiftness here. You will be trying for a gouge->vanish or blind->re-stealth. He will use it either on an insta-root, which you still have your second vanish left and can break the root and go for a CS->Cold Blood for win. Or he can use it on an insta-heal, which unless it crits, you will simply blind him and re-stealth into another CS->SS->Gouge->Cold Blood Combo for the win.
5) Ideally, you want to gouge him or blind him before he can do the insta-heal (there is a slight delay between going to druid form and casting heal). You should have cripple poison on offhand, hopefully he is slowed and you can gouge him right before he can cast the instant heal (guaranteed win). In fact you should activate sprint sometimes during the fight when you anticipate him going druid form.
6) If he did get off a crit instant heal (rarely but happens), you will blind -> re-stealth -> CS->SS->Gouge->CB Evis while he is in druid form. It will be major damage and he will be in a very bad situation. Kick/KS him out of his heals / roots if he tried to fight in druid form. If he gets back into bear form most likely he won't have his bash back yet (it is on a one minute cool down), and he will be low on health.
Open up with a damaging stun lock combo on bear form (hopefully you won't have to use Vanish against nature's grasp). Bring him to 70% or lower health in one combo. Use evasion right before he is out of stun lock, and then force him to get into druid form WITHOUT stunning you.
If he does get the bash to connect, it is almost instant gg against a good druid. Fairy fire -> root -> heal (can be instant if they want to). Yes a lot of nasty things can happen in 4 seconds.
You can break root with vanish even with fairy fire on, but he will be at range and simply root you again (no stealth allowed when you are fairy fired). Now you are probably out of vanishes just let go of the keyboard and ask Blizzard why didn't they give roots a diminishing return (and fixed spider belt). A druid will nuke you to death from full health once you are fairy fired, and you will never be able to move one step.
In latest patch Druid can CONVERT his rage from bear form into health. This is very nasty and you are basically forced to go dual instant poison and keep him ruptured to counter the health he gets. You have a good 30 seconds to force him to go druid form. I use sword + SS vs. bear form as poison really helps bringing down his health.
A big name Shaman came to IF the other day and we dueled three times (watched other Rogues duel him and none could beat him). He had Hand of Edward and full element gear.
All three fights started with stun lock. All three fights I was at 95% (only took damage from his fire totem); he was below 5% when he got out of stun lock. I still had preparation. Result: 2-1 in his favor. I simply lacked the killer instinct to close the stun lock. Very rarely I use preparation with the stun lock and I was out of practice on the last 1/3 of the lock. Still, I could not believe how fast he went from 1% to 100% before my very eyes.
You see Shaman can toss up an instant heal with nature's swiftness. You will be slowed by his totems and frost shock. He can toss up some lesser healing waves 1.5 second a piece. If you allow him go back above 50% after initial stun lock, you will lose. This is ESPECIALLY true with Hand of Edward. Being a fast weapon with wind fury it will eventually proc. Each proc is as good as a nature's swiftness heal. The longer this fight lasts, worse it is for the Rogue.
I have no doubt in my mind despite of his shield, I would have killed him with full stun lock if I gouged him after cold blood Evis and prep->blind for a third opener. The best way for a Rogue to overcome the power of a shaman, is to keep them stun locked from the start of the fight.
However there are a few things that can rain on your parade. The poison cleansing totem removes one poison effect every 5 seconds, which could be your blind. However, I believe I have found the perfect solution for this.
Wounding poison: It is a layered poison that will protect the blind effect. The poison totem will remove this first before it removes blindness. It will give you just enough time for you to get energy back. I always vanish + instant CS as soon as I get my energy back against a shaman that already dropped his totems (one of them will be attacking me and putting me in combat, making blind->re-stealth impossible).
Hopefully if you mess up, he will still have a few layers of wounding poison on him, reduce the effect of his heals. Shaman vs. Rogue is actually defense vs. offense. While a Shaman's burst damage is nothing short of awe-inspiring, this match up comes down to how many heals a Shaman can get after he eats a big combo. I would say the instant heal is the only heal you can give him plus one lesser healing wave. If you are snared by frost shock and slow totem, as soon as he gets a bit of space he can get another big heal which essentially spells GG for you. You do not have the durability to allow him two big heals.
If the initial stun lock failed, switch to sword as soon as you get frost shocked or slowed by totems. Trying to backstab while you are slowed is suicide. You still have a second blind, gouge->blind him to kill totems and bandage yourself.
The new patch gives Shaman self-resurrection which is very overpowered in the hands of a class that already has no bad match ups. Re-stealth as soon immediately after you kill him and be ready to kill him again if he pops back up.
The anti-fear trinket helps immensely but unlike priests it is NOT the only thing they have. You can kick them out of fear. Yet you can not avoid the charm.
If the Succubus is casting, vanish won't do anything. I am not sure if this is a bug or intended feature. I have tested this to death with a warlock under low lag condition. I would ambush the guy and vanish right away, I would still get charmed. I tried CS->Gouge, CS->Blind, nothing stops the charm. You have to accept the fact that you will be charmed.
A good warlock will have his succubus invisible. Avoid perception early (if he is human) for a charm to start the duel is very ugly. Keep in mind your own perception/catseye stuff won't do anything against Succubus which has lesser invisibility. If you want a sure win, use a detect invisibility potion (if there is an item that allows you to detect invisibility please let me know) and ambush->backstab Succubus. It has 1700 hp and 2000 armor at level 60 with proper talents, it will go down in 2-3 hits and you can vanish to avoid the fear, and then own the warlock. In fact in real PVP I almost always try to kill the succubus in 2 hits then vanish because it won't be invisible. However, if you are against a demonology warlock, they have a talent to instantly cast a new pet every 15 minutes, and this strategy won't work as well.
CS->Rupture->Backstab, or Ambush->Rupture->SS, you will be charmed. However it is VERY important you get the rupture off and hopefully some deadly poison as well, so he can take some damage but can't bandage himself. You are charmed, he has a few choices:
1) Walk away and start nuking (warlocks will almost never DOT in duels because they need to maintain the charm/fear lock). They basically threw away the match here. Vanish right after you get out of charm, he won't be able to fear you, sprint to him for another combo, it is usually GG depend on how much damage you did on first combo. You can consider sprint back to him, blind succubus then go for a tea combo on warlock, if he didn't bandage, he won't survive.
2) Fear you at the end of charm, and start bandaging. This is the nastiest warlock you will fight. Your rupture will run out. He will get a nice bandage to full. He will put his succubus back into invisibility as soon as you vanish or re-stealth. His goal is to outlast your timers instead of unload damage immediately, a sound plan indeed.
You can sprint back to him and blind the succubus, but you will not drop a warlock in 12 seconds (unless you blind succubus -> vanish -> CS -> BS -> tea -> BS -> CB Evis, takes a lot of practice and he has to be near his succubus for it to work). However, the good news is whatever damage you do this time around will hopefully be permanent as he won't be able to bandage for a while. Go for the biggest damage you can in 12 seconds and don't be afraid to use a thistle tea.
You will most likely be charmed again before he dies. He just bandaged himself and won't be able to bandage himself for 60 seconds. He will be low on health. You preparation and vanish->sprint back to him for the finisher as soon as you get out of charm/fear. Once again consider blind the succubus and use the next 10 seconds to finish off his remaining health. Make sure you stuff his fear with a kidney shot or kick. I usually kidney -> BS -> tea -> BS -> BS.
For a sure win, activate anti-fear trinket before you get charmed for the first time. You will get charmed but he will not be able to fear you. You eat his nuke but you simply blind succubus, more often than not, you will finish him off in 12 seconds because he couldn't bandage through DOT.
If a warlock went for charm->fear and got off a nice bandage after your first opener (after the DOT ends), run the other direction and try to get a free re-stealth. Then you just have to make sure you open on him again as soon as possible.
The idea is you need to combo him twice in a row before he can bandage himself. A tea is used to maximize damage on the second combo if he uses major health stone.
Do watch out for warlocks who use immolation + DOT breaker, vast majority will use soulfire / shadow bolt / death coil, those are all direct nukes and you get free vanishes after those. If you are Dotted you have to sprint->blind succubus and do the best you can next 12 seconds on warlock.
For warlocks who use a lot of shards (like death coil and heal stone and soul burn), I sometimes use anti-fear trinket after the first charm. Goblin Rocket Helmet on Succubus also gives you a whopping 30 seconds to kill the warlock with.
You will need to identify which type of Paladin you are dealing with. A holy Paladin will wait for a seal of command proc -> stun -> holy shock -> divine shield to finish off. A protection Paladin will use hammer of justice to damage you (macro switch to 2 hander), repentance to heal themselves, level 1 holy shield spammed to get super high blocking rate.
The most effective anti-Rogue paladin since the crusader nerf is a Retribution Paladin. Retribution Paladins with a slow 2 hander and seal of command will do 1k damage on a crit proc, and there is no way you can anticipate when will it happen. With a 4.0 weapon they get command proc one out of three hits. Their AOE can be spammed in its level 1 form to hit you out of stealth. Expect the final rank version if you get stunned and you will eat the full duration. They will parry/dodge a lot of your crucial attacks (gouge/blind/CB Evis).
Top tier Paladins will use bandages while immune, divine favor heal to full for no mana, that's 2000 + 2000 + 2500 healed for no mana. Throw in a LOH you are looking at 10K that can be healed for no mana. Expect them to use retribution aura so you take 60 damage every round of combat from 2 melee hits + 1 SS or BS.
They will use shield spikes and some of the end game shield already returns damage when blocking an attack successfully. They will also use poison trinkets to prevent you from bandaging and reusing stealth. Even worse, many of the end game 2 handers have some sort of DOT proc and you won't be able to stealth for a very long time.
So you are looking at a long fight and at some point you are bound to eat a seal of command critical. There are times there is simply nothing you can do as the crit proc from command happens when you are below 50% health. Thankfully this does not happen very often.
Fortunately, a Rogue does have several tools at his disposal. After playing this match up to death, the best poison combination for me, is dual instant poison, OR cripple poison on offhand and deadly poison on main hand. Why deadly? Because it has 30% chance to proc, and it is a LAYERED poison. This is crucial as poisons that are multi-layered require multiple cleansings to remove. For example a Paladin could eat cripple poison then 2 layers of deadly poison, he will be forced to cleanse 3 times to restore his speed. I used to use dual cripple poison but I found against top tier Paladins it doesn't work as well as a layered poison + cripple poison. Quite simply they will cleanse very fast and your hit and run game is not as good as it should be.
Dual instant poison is also a great choice and my current favorite. In a fight that involves both immunes your dual instant poison even without talent will do 1500 damage easily. With gouge you can make up for the lack of cripple which is instantly cleansed by top tier paladins with self-cleansing hotkeys anyway.
For starters, gouge -> run away re-stealth is a very useful technique here. You should re-stealth (without using vanish) as much as you can. If he divine shields, run away and re-stealth. If he uses blessing of protection, run away and re-stealth. A Rogue without his opener will be forced to trade hits with a Paladin, and that is a big no-no. You always want to land an opener on him every time he heals. Save your Vanish for emergency situations.
My opener of choice is CS->SS->Gouge->KS->BS->Rupture. Then hopefully they are crippled and dotted I step away a little to get back energy. Try to stick to 2-3 point ruptures, they do same damage per tick as longer ruptures, and gives you back the ability to gouge/blind them sooner. Try to use evasion right after he stuns you, then get in his face and SS away. I use sword primary for this one.
You NEED to force them into an early healing, AND have a strong one hitter in Cold Blood if they play their health too low. Save up a 5 point cold blood Evis once he drops below 50% especially if he is two handed Paladin.
Watch your own health carefully as a stun into 2 whacks can be fatal to you. As soon as you lose 2000 hit points, you need healing. There are two ways to heal versus a Paladin. The first way is to blind him. The second way is to gouge -> re-stealth -> sap him (SAP is NOT reliable as they can get out of it earlier than 15 seconds and they could be in combat, always distract before you sap). If you miss the blind (or it gets parried/dodged), try to sap them instead.
NEVER EVER bandage yourself while they go immune UNLESS you have 75% or more health. They can hit you out of bandage while in divine shield. They can cancel blessing of protection with another blessing. They can even use the boomerang trinket to hit you out of bandage. However, if the fight is going your way and getting the full benefit of a bandage is NOT critical to you, run away and bandage when he immunes (do make sure he doesn't have repentance or holy shock, and he doesn't have boomerang trinket). Getting say 6 out of the 8 ticks from heavy rune is very helpful and you can save your blind for something else.
The idea is, you can heal yourself once every minute with the gouge -> re-stealth trick, and it helps IMMENSELY in a war of attrition. Keep them CSed, KSed and Gouged. Never trade hits with them.
This is another fight of control. You want to kill his first bar with as little loss on your side as possible. It simply snowballs into a bigger and bigger advantage. If you are forced to bandage before he immunes, it is a very bad situation for you.
In late game Paladins have weapons that have DOT effects, there is also poison trinkets that cast DOTs. Jungle Remedy is the cure, although you can always hit and run your way through the effect of the DOT (once again by gouging and running away, although you won't be able to stealth while dotted). If they use DOT trinkets that last 45 second to 1 minute you will almost have to blow a restorative elixir to remove it (or you simply won't survive).
Some Paladins like to run at you at the start of the duel (with perception) and hammer you out of stealth right away. I gouge them, re-stealth, and wait for full health via regeneration. Then CS them (now they don't have perception).
If some Paladin use LOH and I see that I can not beat him with what I had left I gouge him, re-stealth, and wait for full health + full timer (yes preparation too). Make them cry foul. This time they won't have LOH. Show them LOH is worthless in 1v1 PVP unless they can kill me before I stealth/vanish after LOH.
Against a top tier Paladin with a 4.0 weapon (the ideal weapon speed for command proc), if he spams lots and lots of level 1 consecrations when you do your re-stealth tricks it will almost completely depend on seal of command procs (if both players have solid execution).
Last but not least a retribution Paladin with worg pup becomes VERY difficult to beat. You will have to gouge him -> kill dog -> blind him then bandage. You will not be able to re-stealth after gouges. This is where you need double instant poison and go all out damage. You won't be able to hit and run much at all (beyond gouge to recover energy) and you have to simply out damage him. If he gets a few command procs early it is usually very one sided. You can still gouge him and step back to recharge energy and wait for kidney shot cool down however, just not opener after opener after opener. It takes some practice to gouge -> kill dog -> blind, and improved gouge really helps here.
Rogue vs. Rogue:
In high level play, the one who gets the opener off wins 90% of the times (10% being mistakes or bad luck misses). There are several things you can do to increase the chance for you to land that opener. Being Night Elf with free rank to MOD AND have MOD 5 helps a lot. Catseye Goggle and Nightscape Boots are also must haves. Sadly if all else being equal a Night Elf Rogue will win every single time.
There are two openers you can use in this match up. You can stun lock a Rogue until he is dead with the same anti-priest combo:
CS->SS->Gouge->KS->BS->Tea->BS->Blind Re-stealth->CS->CB Evis
A Rogue doesn't have much more armor than priest with inner fire, they sure as hell have a lot less HP (shield + fortitude). If the Rogue you are facing is a critical rogue with 3K HP you won't even need a tea.
CS->BS->KS->a few melee hits->blind Re-stealth->CS->CB Evis
Another option is to use a DOT strategy. This requires deadly poison, cripple poison and rupture.
CS->SS->KS->SS->Rupture. No matter how much damage you deal to him, blind->bandage undo it. Rupture takes bandage out of the equation. It also does wonders in real PVP if they try to vanish and run away.
Hit your evasion and he will likely hit his. Vanish immediately and go for a CS. Like how Hammer of Justice from Paladin shuts down the evasion every time, CS does the same job. This time around you can go for CS->BS/SS->Cold Blood Evis, peace out.
If he lands the opener on you starting mashing gouge. Most Rogues go for cold blood combos, but unless they have either 1 point in vigor or at least 1 point in improved CS, there will always be a tiny delay and a chance for you to gouge, heal yourself and vanish to make them lose all the combo points. If he went for a stun lock combo you can bandage yourself to full and show him how a real stun lock is done (unless of course you are dead in one combo).
If he uses the rupture/deadly/cripple combo you have to pray something didn't land. Perhaps you didn't get crippled and you can sprint run the other way. Perhaps you were able to gouge then blind him and even if you are crippled you have enough time for it to wear off and run away.
Evasion makes you almost immune to blind/gouge so be sure to use it when you know a key combo linker is coming (like a blind). If you mess up you won't get gouged or blinded. If the other person has evasion the only counter is vanish->instant CS.
Against non-engineer Rogues wear your Goblin Rocket Helmet and charge them if they don't do a 100 to 0 combo. Wait for DOT to wear off and bandage yourself, switch on your regular helmet and show him what a 100 to 0 combo is.
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