Combat Swords at Level 50

Posted 1 year, 1 month ago at 12:41 pm. 14 comments

I had a fellow guildmate ask me a question about essential macros from his Rogue at level 52.  He’s Combat Swords with the [Thrash Blade] and [Fist of the Damned].

First of all, his build started at 7/36/0.  In the Combat talent tree, he picked up the essential down through Combat down to Adrenaline Rush. 


Dear [name withheld],

I would spend some cash and alter your talent build slightly.  I would drop Blade Twisting and all of your Assassination talents (Malice 5/5 and Ruthlessness 2/3), pick up Lightning Reflexes 5/5 for survival, Combat Potency 5/5 for energy and Surprise Attacks for damage on Sinister Strike.   At 50, your build should look like this.

Also, dump the off-hand mace and get a fast off-hand (< 1.5) weapon.  If you have the gold (probably ~50g) you want to spend, [Julie's Dagger] (36.5, 1.3 speed) is frequently available on the auction house.  Julie’s Dagger also has a small heal that should go off fairly regularly. It should serve you well until 60.

Julie’s Dagger
Binds when equipped
One-Hand Dagger
33 - 62 Damage Speed 1.30

(36.5 damage per second)
Durability 65 / 65
Requires Level 50

Chance on hit: Heals wielder of 78 damage over 12 sec.

Picking up Combat Potency should give you about 16% more Energy (~95 more per minute) now with your current weapon.  If you pick up Julie’s Dagger with its 1.3 speed, you’ll get 23% more Energy (~138 more per minute).  Faster off-hand will result in more poison applications as well.

Rogue Macros

There are not a huge amount of macros I think are essential for a Rogue, but these are the ones I commonly use to reduce the amount of buttons I use on my Nostromo.

Stealth & Vanish

Mashable stealth.  Come out of stealth only when pressing this button and alt.  Press down button and Shift for Vanish while in combat.

/cast [stance:0] Stealth; [stance:1, modifier:alt] Stealth; [modifier:shift,combat] Vanish


When stealthed, Pick Pocket first then use Garrote for an opener. When not stealthed, you’ll use Rupture.

/cast [stealth] Pick Pocket
/cast [stealth] Garrote;Rupture


When stealthed, Pick Pocket first then use Cheap Shot for an opener. When not stealthed, you’ll use Kidney Shot.

/cast [stealth] Pick Pocket
/cast [stealth] Cheap Shot; Kidney Shot


Press this repeatedly to use your cooldowns.  Resets every 120 seconds when Blade Flurry is available again.  NOTE: Adrenaline Rush is available once every five minutes still and Evasion between 3.5 minutes and 5 minutes depending on talents.

/castsequence reset=120 Blade Flurry, Evasion, Adrenaline Rush


Use Gouge and immediately bandage.

/cast Gouge
/use [target=player] Netherweave Bandage


14 Replies

  1. Stale Jun 3rd 2008 Gravatar

    What? You would have to be a freaken idiot to drop crit for dodge… thats what bandages are for, when you take damage… Also, Thrash Blade is way better then Julie’s Dagger as a main hand.

    Julies dagger is even bad as an off hand as you should be sword spec and therefore want 2 swords for leveling…

    And with your pickpocket macro’s, I have found that you will fail the pick pocket too often and wipe groups for a couple of lousy gold… unless you are mega high for an instance, please dont pick pocket and risk making people run back.

  2. @Stale: Welcome!

    At level 50, if you can get the 41 point talent from Combat and still manage to pick up Malice, let me know. =)

    Julie’s Dagger IS for the off-hand, not the main hand. Thrash Blade is just fine for main hand.

    While it’s true that Sword Specialization can grant an extra attack from either a main hand or an off-hand swing, only the main hand gets the extra swing. I’d either go with Julie’s Dagger for the increased speed, poisons and energy, or [Hanzo's Sword] for possibility of the extra sword swings on the Thrash Blade.

    Pickpocket macros are combined with opening attacks, not Sap. There’s not GCD after your pickpocket, so if you have AutoLoot on, you’ll pickpocket and then use your opener one after another without pause.

    If you wipe your group while using those macros, you did something wrong or you need a new group.

    Anyhow, thanks for dropping by and spending the time to argue … er, I mean … comment.

  3. David Jun 4th 2008 Gravatar

    This is pretty horrible advise actually. Julies is crap, utter crap. Get a sword, you have sword spec so swinging your offhand sword can proc an extra attack from the main hand. If you put a dagger offhand you lose this.

    As for the spec what the hell are you doing wasting 6 points on defense? Dear lord that is stupid. At 50 your build should look like this:
    WIth the next 5 points in malice.

  4. @David:

    There’s a 1% difference between Julie’s Dagger and Hanzo’s Sword.

    Quick math: @457 AP

    Julie’s Dagger: 3113 dpm from swings, 780 damage from Sinister Strikes gained from Combat Potency Energy, 969 Damage from Instant Poison, 4862 damage total from weapon

    Hanzo’s Sword: 3104 dpm from swings, 676 damage from Sinister Strikes gained from Combat Potency Energy, 840 Damage from Instant Poison, 366 damage from Sword Specialization, 4986 damage total from weapon

    Is 138 damage worth it? *shrug*

    Also, how do you think that 6 points in Dodge and Parry is MORE defensive than putting them into 3 other defensive abilities: Improved Gouge (Defense), Improved Kick (Defense) and Improved Sprint (Defense). Improved Kick 1/2 is worthless as normal Kick already locks a caster out of the spells of the interrupted school of magic for 5 seconds. A 50% chance to lock them out of all their spells for 2 seconds is laughable. Improved Gouge is also purely defense for a Combat Rogue. One of Gouge’s main uses is to get behind your opponent for Backstabs. Otherwise, it’s great for PvP and getting a reprieve for bandaging. Finally, Improved Sprint is a nice little mini-Cloak of Shadows for movement impairing effects, but once again this is purely defensive.

    I’d definitely agree that the next 5 points should go into Malice. =)

    Thank you for your comments.

  5. Stale Jun 4th 2008 Gravatar

    I went 41 points in combat before I went to malice, true but I still think that 5% crit is better then that chance to gain 15 energy on a off hand hit… and the 41 point talent, although it is good, its really not worth rushing towards it…

    DPS itself should use SnD more then Evicirate anyways and therefore you shouldnt be missing.

    And imp kick is really a good talent, you may laugh at the 2 sec silence… but if a mob has 2 different specced spells (fire and frost for example) they are still locked out for 2 secs… and if you miss time your kick (mainly PVP) you still annoy the other class for 2 secs which should be enough time to pump out quite a bit of damage to any clothy.

    Also, I would agree with david that the sword will be better… With spells like SND, Blade Flurry and Adrenaline rush, the sword will pump out more damage then the dagger hands down.

  6. Knife Jun 5th 2008 Gravatar

    David- you’re correct, replacing the dagger with a sword is more damage. Is it a ton more damage than Julie’s? No, as Val explained, but you are still correct.

    Stale- you’re only half correct. 1/2 Imp Kick is not worth anything in pvp. How many classes actually have 2 spells schools that they actually use? Two extra seconds of being on a clothie IS a lot of extra damage, you’re right, but is it worth putting a talent point in? I think not. If it works for you, go with it. I will tell you that I’d rather have nearly any other defensive talent in Combat.

    Lightning Reflexes is not a good talent endgame. Any mob in an endgame raid that hits you is most likely going to 1-shot you anyway. If you dodge it great, but you shouldn’t have aggro in the first place. That said- for a lvl 50 rogue who is still grinding- Lightning Reflexes is great. If you don’t have a healer traveling with you, those extra dodges can mean the difference of using/not using a potion when grinding.

    I would also disagree about Surprise Attacks. The fact that stuff can’t dodge your finishers is pretty awesome by itself but then you throw in +10% damage on the attacks you are spamming the most?

    Malice is great, don’t get me wrong, but 1% critical is, in a vacuum, +1% damage. That’s not reality, but +5% crit is still not equal to Surprise Attacks. For sword rogues, crit is nice but +damage is better (especially in this case).

    At the end of the day, I agree with some of what you all said and disagree with other stuff. Val, i think you should have suggested a sword to your rogue friend…not because of some huge damage increase or anything of the sort, instead because you can get an offhand/onehand “blah blah sword of the monkey” for cheap in the AH. Julie’s Dagger is 40-50g, Hanzo’s is roughly the same. At lvl 50 you should be saving your money for stuff you actually need later (a faster mount, a flying mount eventually) not wasting money on a lvl 50 blue. Will that person do more damage with a blue dagger or sword? Absolutely. Will they hate themselves when they can’t buy their fast mount because they’re 50 gold shy? Definitely.

  7. @Stale: 5% more critical strike chance is 5% more damage. Surprise Attacks is 10% more damage on your Sinister Strike, which if you are a Combat Rogue at level 50 should be your primary attack and something I’m guessing you’re getting about 40-50% of your damage from. Therefore, about 5% more damage from 1 talent point. If you’re getting Combat Potency, pick up Surprise Attacks. There is no reason not to.

    Any Rogue should ensure they have Slice and Dice up at all times.

    I think I’ll have to agree with Knife here. Improved Kick just isn’t worth the points in anything outside of PvP and then only if you have 2/2.

    A sword in your off-hand rather than Julie’s Dagger isn’t going to provide a much larger percentage from Blade Flurry and Slice and Dice. In fact, anything you have the speeds up your attacks bridges any gap between because of the Dagger’s already low speed from extra energy from Combat Potency and extra poison applications. If you are fighting groups of mobs, Blade Flurry’s extra attack may push it over for the extra sword swings provided from an off-hand sword.

    @Knife: Hiya, good to see so many new faces. Thanks for your well-thought out response.

    Yeah, I definitely would not recommend Lightning Reflexes for any level 70 unless you are primarily playing for PvP.

    This is his alt. I spent 30 gold on repairs last night and 50 gold for each rare gem in the two sockets of my latest upgrade. I figured money isn’t an issue for him either. ^_^ Besides, at level 50, all you have available for greens is Rune Swords with 30.3 dps and 1.6 speed for an offhand. On my server, a Rune Sword of the Monkey sells for about 10-15 gold. But you’re right, having the best blue in that hand isn’t going to serve you for all that long and won’t make you a god, and, therefore, probably not be the best investment of gold for most people. Continuing on from 50 to 65, Rogues don’t get to see a lot of fast off-hand daggers or swords (and even less fist weapons!). The only suitable ultra-fast off-hand replacement between 50 and 65 is a Blade of Unquenched Thirst, a level 64 BoE with 58.1 dps, 1.3 speed, +22 AP and a proc that steals 48 to 54 life. From level 55 to 65, Blizzard decided that Rogues didn’t need BoE greens with a speed less than 2.2. The last BoE uncommon quality sword with a speed less than 2 is the Dimensional Blades of the Monkey with 35 dps, 1.6 speed.

  8. Knife Jun 5th 2008 Gravatar

    Ahh- I hadn’t realized it was his Alt. In that case, money probably isn’t as much an issue.

    My rogue is my main and my first lvl 70 char. I remember thinking at level 50- Dood! I gotz ta get me dem purdy swordz! I picked up my Thrash Blade and a Hanzo, put fiery on both, and went on my merry way. I also made sure to pick up half the Stormshroud set, both Devilsaur pieces, and anything else I could find. Honestly, I freaking kicked butt…til I got to Outland. Now I try to tell everyone what others told me (and I failed to listen)- DO NOT SPEND MONEY ON BLUES (unless you’re a twink). When I think about all the money I wasted…well…it’s money I sure could use now for my epic flyer or for gemming my constantly upgrading gear. Ouch.

    Totally agree with the lack of offhands from level 55ish+ until you hit MT and pick up the Glimmering Scimitar or whatever it’s called from the second boss. I was forced to walk around with a 1.9 offhand sword because my dagger skill was 90 and I was too lazy to level it (man….don’t judge me on how retarded I’m capable of being…please).

    Now I (finally) have my two S1 welfare swords and am further gearing for Kara. I still have green bracers and a green belt (!!!!) and some pieces of retarded gear, but right now I’m pumping out 550-600 dps which I guess isn’t bad.

    I actually had a question for you regarding one of your other posts (the one about maximizing dps in raids)- when you do a dungeon, what poisons do you use most often? I used to use 2x Instant, but I thought that 1 Instant 1 Deadly (OH for shiv) might help dps more. Thoughts?

    I enjoy your blog. I stumbled here at work one day and it seems to be one of the only WoW-related sites that isn’t blocked by my companies retarded firewall, so thank you for providing me with my mid-day wow fix.

    Oh- one more thing before I conclude my 12 page post. For anyone else who ever stumbles across this page PRIOR to making a rogue: DO NOT under ANY circumstances name your rogue something you think is “clever.” I named my rogue “Knifeinureye” (Mok’nathal) because I thought it was funny at the time. Now i’m doing lvl 70 instances and feel like the biggest artard ever because of my toolish name. This goes for any names involving the following: backstab, knife, behind, the letter u as a noun, ninja, mace, sword, poke, shinobi (the equivilent to a hunter named Legolas), Ryu, or really anything that you think is cool. Trust me- it’s really not and it will get you thought of as a noob, making it that much harder to get groups to try you out. Yeah. Um…/pulpit

  9. @Knife: LOL! I totally agree with the name thing. I play on a RP server so a lot of those names don’t make it to 70, but I play against them in Arena and I cringe every time.

    Poisons: MH = Instant, OH = Deadly. Reasoning: You can only stack 5 Deadly Poisons. Your MH poison will be applied so rapidly that placing Deadly Poison on it would be a waste. Therefore, you’ll want to stack an instant damage poison on this hand. I never Shiv and usually can maintain a 5 stack of DP on bosses. On trash, probably Instant on both, but I’m too lazy to swap between poisons.

    I think what Blizzard and many players fail to realize is that Rogues wouldn’t be excited and picking up Arena swords if there were comparable PvE swords available. Grats on your swords!

    Belt and bracers have always been the hardest for me to replace as well. I think at that time I was using Dragonhawk Bracers of the Bandit and the belt until I got my Girdle of Treachery and Shardbound Bracers from Ogri’la.

    And level your Daggers and Fists! ^_^ You never know when you might come across some amazing item. =)

    Funny story about spending money on blues: Back a few years ago, as our guild broke up, we divyed up what was left on the guild bank character and sent all the players a stack of gold of about 200 gold. This was pre-BC and if you might recall 200 gold was A LOT of money. Most people who were 60 at the time spent it towards their epic mounts or squirreled it away. However, one player who was about level 18, went to the auction house and bought EVERY blue he could for his character and continued to do so at every level until he ran out of money around 25. He had a blast, but it certainly seemed like a waste to everyone else.

    I glad you’re enjoying the blog. I hope you keep stopping by even if your work blocks it.

  10. Knife Jun 5th 2008 Gravatar

    Since my mistake I’ve made sure to keep daggers leveled. I actually misspoke before: I realized that the 1.9 offhand was gimping me terribly, so my guild ran Ring of Blood and I got the quested dagger for OH. That worked, but then literally 30 minutes later the Scimitar dropped, so…well, xp is xp at level 67, right?

    I actually bought WoW right when BC came out, so I can’t really empathize with 200g being a lot of money (now you see stuff like Belt of Deep Shadows going for 2000g…drool), but I’m sure that was pretty cool.

    As I said, I’ve been playing around with Instant on MH and Deadly on OH. The problem is, I think I’m trying to do too much…to a rather critical point of failure on my part. With the addition of Shiv, I had the wonderful idea of making it my duty to maintain SnD, Rupture and a full stack of Deadly on the target, all while beating the bag out of it. The problem is, I would open with Garrote, 1 pt SnD, then Shiv to Rupture. That’s not terribly bad in thinking, but in reality it SUCKED. Not only that, but by the time I was “done” putting up rupture and maintaining my Deadlys, SnD had faded. It got to the point where if it wasn’t one thing it was another- SnD faded, DP faded, Rupture faded…All lead to me failing. I’m going to take Shiv off my binding for awhile and unlearn a bad habit. DP is now secondary to pumping out SS crits.

    I think Blizz has made a wonderful game here, but the problem with a game like this is stupid things happen. Did Blizz deliberately not put in any decent offhand swords for 15 levels? Doubtful. I’m sure it was an oversight. Did Blizz purposely screw over Rogues with the onset of Resilience? Ok that one I don’t know about….pvping is hard enough when you go against a Warrior you can’t Crit, much less a Priest who has 2k more health, 2k more armor and 3-400 resilience. That’s just sad…./rantoff

    In any event- the S1 swords are sadly necessary. These, i know, will last me until some of the end-game raids. Are there better things? Yeah…they’re called Warglaives and they have a 6 and 3 % drop rate. Awesome. Yeah I’m really gonna raid BT 500 times to get both and somehow maintain a family, job, life and get enough sleep to function. Doubtful.

    I do enjoy this blog of yours, as well as others you link to. I might suggest though that you edit the CSS or at least HTML of the iframe I’m currently typing into. In IE the bachground of it shows up as very dark grey (and I’m typing in black). That’s about it- keep up the good work!

  11. ^_^ I changed the text color in the comment textbox to white. I was thinking the same thing after leaving the last few comments.

  12. I agree with the general idea of “doesn’t matter too much, you’ll outlevel it anyway.”

    Regarding poisons: DP on your offhand is more damage than IP, and with a reasonable amount of hit and/or haste plus snd you shouldn’t ever need to shiv or do anything special to keep your stack from falling off.

    Your anecdote about having trouble keeping all your abilities going at once makes me think this elitist jerks article about pve dps would be useful, take a look at the section about cycles:

    @Valenna: Just curious, how did you calculate the damage from sword specialization in your example above?

  13. @Chronic: I just did 60/1.5*0.05 = 2 extra swings on Thrash Blade in one minute. Given 457 AP, non-normalized normal swing would be 95+(2.7*457/14) = 183 average damage. So, 366 damage from sword specialization swings from the Hanzo sword in one minute. I realize it’s not a perfect model considering all talents or even critical damage, but I figured it would do for a quick comparison.

  14. minnieu Jun 7th 2008 Gravatar

    I will look into this. I have a 48 almost 49 rogue that I have been playing with as my second toon and was looking for a new spec.

    thanks for all your hard work.

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