ps – I didn’t include enchants in this guide, if you’re looking for the enchant bis list for pve, go here: Rogue BiS Enchants – P4 PvE
- Rogue bis swords – PRE-RAID
- Rogue bis daggers – PRE-RAID
- Rogue bis dagger gear/weapons – RAID
- Rogue bis swords gear/weapons – RAID
- Rogue bis pve trinkets
Note: Use sim sheets!
Everything listed below is based on testing via fight simulation spreadsheets created by Garcia and Bloodmoon over at the Classic Rogue discord. We use spreadsheets to estimate how much dps each item will give you based on your gear, race, buffs, consumables, talents & fight length.
Feel free to play around with the sim spreadsheets on your own by downloading them from the Classic Rogue discord in the #dps-spreadsheets channel (https://discord.gg/W7hKEB3). You will need excel/open office or one of the recommended spreadsheet programs.
Your 2 paths for pre-raid best in slot (bis) gear:
- Mix and match random high stat pieces
- Get 6 pieces of Shadowcraft armor set (Tier 0)
Both are viable options, but I’d recommend option 2 for your rogue pre-raid bis gearing.
Why choose Shadowcraft?
Shadowcraft’s 6 piece set bonus gives a very powerful energy gain proc that makes it competitive up until you have 4 to 5 pieces of Tier 1 Nightslayer or better raid gear, and it has the added benefit of being used to make Tier 0.5 armor (Darkmantle armor) in later phases.
Darkmantle armor is likely going to be very competitive as filler gear and possibly even compete with bis raiding gear as rogues transition into Phase 5 gear. Getting Shadowcraft as your pre-raid bis gear will save you the time farming it later, so you’re killing two birds with one stone.
You’ll want at least 6 pieces of Shadowcraft to get the energy proc, then fill in your empty slots with your best non Shadowcraft stat pieces. The Devilsaur armor 2 set bonus in particular is incredibly good for pre-raid gear and very cheap nowadays, so most rogues go that route:
How much hit do I need?
Assuming you are a standard PvE Combat spec (guide to rogue talent specs), you need at least 1% more hit from gear to reach the hit cap for special attacks. This does not mean you stop getting hit gear though!
Hit is incredibly valuable up until you reach 24-25% hit. Even in bis raiding gear you still highly value hit % gear.
2 reasons you always want hit:
- White auto attacks are roughly 50% of your damage as a rogue and you don’t cap white attacks until 24-25% hit
- Hit increases your crit cap. This is important because raiding rogues (especially dagger rogues) easily hit crit cap with world buffs
For example, a horde rogue with phase 4 world buffs, in best in slot Molten Core gear is 5% over the crit cap. This means 5% of their crit stat is just being wasted and they have to start looking at swapping out gear/trinkets to fix their crit cap issues.
Trinkets in particular are a good source of hit % when crit capped, so check out the rogue trinket guide if you run into crit cap issues. The good news is once you get into Blackwing Lair, raiding rogues receive a lot of great hit % gear that helps us solve the crit cap issue.
FYI, weapon skill is really, really good…
Out of all the stats you can get in WoW, weapon skill will give you the single biggest boost on pve boss fights.
Weapon skill is super important for the sole reason that it reduces your glancing blows penalty vs higher level mobs.
Without getting too complicated, higher level mobs cause you to suffer a ‘glancing blow’ penalty when you hit them. This means a hit that may usually hit for 700, might now be reduced to 600 damage.
Almost every boss mob you encounter in WoW is going to be a higher level than you, which means any reduction to this glancing blow penalty offers huge increases in damage done. This is why +weapon skill is the holy grail of Classic WoW pve stats.
In particular, rogues need to reach 308 weapon skill to hit the softcap for glancing blow reductions.
How do I get weapon skill?
Rogues are lucky in that we get +5 weapon skill from our pve combat talents. We get 300 weapon skill from level 60 weapon skill cap, meaning we just need +3 more dagger or sword skill (depending on your weapon spec) to reach the glancing blow softcap of 308.
For dagger rogues, I recommend the distracting dagger. It’s an easy blue instance drop from Dire Maul: West. It’s an amazing item being both +dagger skill and a solid dps pve offhand.
Once you get into raiding you’ll be able to eventually replace this dagger with the Aged Core Leather Gloves (which you will be forced to wear all the way until phase 5’s insanely rare 3% droprate ‘Death’s Sting’ dagger).
For sword rogues, your first +sword item comes from the Blackwing Lair sword, Maladath. Unfortunately this does mean you have no gear options for +sword skill until BWL raids.
That said, humans get a passive +5 sword skill, which means human rogues never need to worry about weapon skill in pve. This is why human are heavily favoured by alliance pve focused players.
It should be kept in mind that many alliance guilds also won’t give +weapon skill items to a non human rogue because of the belief that if you want +weapon skill you should have chosen human. It’s also typically expected that human rogues will be going sword spec in PvE to take advantage of their racial.
These two expectations aren’t always the case, but it’s one that’s often followed by a lot of semi-hardcore/hardcore alliance pve guilds.
Should I go dagger or sword rogue?
Go whichever you prefer playing. Either spec is viable in raiding and both can top the dps meters. In my guild we have 5 rogues and we all swap top dps depending on rng and who executes better on that given week:
If you want a more in-depth look at talent specs, check out my classic rogue talent specs guide.
However, as mentioned earlier, if you picked human it’s typically expected that you go swords to take advantage of your human racial bonus of +sword skill. If you are alliance, but not human, it’s also often expected that you go daggers to leave swords to all the human rogues and warriors.
Is the pvp set worth grinding for pve?
No, not really. The weapons are amazing if you do go up to rank 14 (swords in particular), but the armor itself is pretty average when it comes to pve vs. current phase 4 gear.
The one armor item from pvp gear that is amazing is the rank 12 legs. They fit very well into the dagger rogue raid bis gearing. However, they are only a 3-ish dps upgrade over Bloodfang pants and ranking to rank 12 for a 3 dps increase that gets replaced eventually is not worth it for most.
You should mostly avoid ranking for pve unless you’re doing it for rank 14 weapons and even then you need to ask yourself if grinding 8 hours of pre-made battlegrounds every day for 3 months is worth your time.
On to the bis lists…
Sword Rogue Pre-Raid BiS Gear:
The one alternative to note for your pre-raid sword MH is Thrash Blade, which is actually perfectly fine to keep using up until you get a proper raid level sword.
Dagger Rogue Pre-Raid BiS Gear:
You’ll want to get that Alterac Valley faction to exalted and pick up that Lobotomizer dagger. There’s simply nothing at the same level when it comes to pre-raid bis daggers. Not to mention you should already be working on AV faction anyway to get the very nice Don Julio’s Band.
Distracting dagger pre-raid is almost a must due to weapon skill being a large boost to your raid dps.
Pre-raid gear F.A.Q (and their answers):
Which is better, Satyr’s bow, Precisely calibrated boomstick or Blackcrow?
Satyr’s bow (from Dire Maul: East), Precisely Calibrated Boomstick (world drop) and Blackcrow (from LBRS) are all almost the same dps gained. Any of them are fine pre-bis gear.
Is Sword of Zeal or Krol Blade better?
They are basically identical for sword rogues. Just pick up whichever is cheaper in the auction house. Alternatively, the quest reward Thrash Blade is also fine up until you pick up raid weapons.
Is the Darkmoon Faire Maelstrom trinket any good?
Hand of Justice is roughly the same dps gained as the Darkmoon Card: Maelstrom trinket. If you don’t want to farm HoJ, then you can pick up Maelstrom trinket as an alternative, however keep in mind that HoJ does scale better with gear and eventually beats the maelstrom trinket.
I’d also only recommend buying the cards slowly during a non Darkmoon Faire week. If you try to buy cards/decks during DMF week you will get price gouged by card re-sellers.
See my in-depth guide to rogue pve trinkets.
Do I have to buy the devilsaur set? Can I use other shadowcraft pieces?
Don’t feel you have to go the exact 6 piece shadowcraft + 2 piece devilsaur set listed above. You can mix and match your 6 shadowcraft slots with other good armor pieces too. For example Candaverous Armor + Truestrike shoulders are almost the same dps as 2 piece devilsaur set.
Also please do not delete these pre-raid items:
Pick up and keep all these items as you level:
- Mirah’s Song – for the love of god do not delete this. It’s a quest reward and very good for a long time as sword spec.
- Rune of the Guard Captain (horde only) – quest reward from ‘The Hinterlands’ and it has raid usage due to the 1% hit helping raise your crit cap.
- Any Shadowcraft gear – as previously mentioned you will want to keep all Shadowcraft gear even if you stop using it. Shadowcraft is used for making Darkmantle armor (tier 0.5) in later phases.
3 gear sets for pve raid rogue bis gearing…
When it comes to current phase 4 raid gearing, it’s actually very straight forward. There are 3 main sets of gear to pick from and your weapon spec mostly decides which path you will likely take:
Set 1: Clown suit (daggers)
This is what peak dagger rogue looks like for phase 4. It consists of mixing best stat pieces of tier 1/tier 2 + ACLG for +dagger skill + the very nice, but also very ugly Shadow Flame boots from Blackwing Lair.
With the release of ZG, we’ve now added in the shoulders and trinket for the 2 piece 20 atk bonus. The renataki’s trinket is basically a free backstab and is a dps upgrade in almost every scenario.
Rogue bis raid weapons (daggers)
Daggers have it super simple in phase 4. There are 3 dagger weapons you can pick from and you can use ANY combination of the 3. All combinations of these 3 daggers are very close in total dps gained.
Pick any 2 of these 3: Perdition’s Blade, Core Hound Tooth, Dragonfang Blade.
Perdition’s Blade and Core Hound Tooth are both Molten Core weapons, but they both have amazing stats that continue to hold their own in Phase 4. You could even say that they are phase 3 weapons that were introduced during phase 1.
Dragonfang Blade from BWL is super versatile because it fits into either mainhand or offhand, making it perfect to pair up with either of the two MC weapons listed above.
Here’s a quick look at the different simulated dps numbers. These were simmed as a Horde undead rogue while wearing phase 4 dagger bis gear with full p4 world buffs and using crusader mh + 15agi oh enchant:
- Perdition’s Blade + CHT = 1321.12 dps
- Dragonfang Blade + CHT = 1320.23 dps
- Perdition’s Blade + Dragonfang Blade = 1319.04 dps
At the end of the day there’s only a 2~ dps difference between any of these combinations, so you should just grab any 2 of these that drop for you.
Set 2: 8/8 Bloodfang (swords)
A slight difference in visual looks, sword rogues get to wear the full iconic 8/8 Bloodfang set because they don’t need to use ACLG for +dagger skill. This set has less raw stats vs clown suit, but it looks amazing and has a great 8 piece set bonus:
While the set bonus is strong you actually don’t want to wear the Bloodfang shoulders and gloves in PvE until you have the full 8/8 set ready to wear. This is due to the individual item stats on these 2 pieces being worse for pve than tier 1 nightslayer shoulders and gloves.
Set 3: Sword rogue clown set
This is basically the dagger rogue clown suit set, but with swords swapped in and ACLG gloves swapped for nightslayer. Interestingly, this set actually sims a tiny bit higher in dps than 8/8 Bloodfang sword rogues.
However, you won’t find many sword rogues going clown set until P5 due to most guilds preferring the better gearing distribution of sword rogues going 8/8 and dagger rogues going clown with the shadow flame boots.
Rogue bis raid weapons (swords)
Mainhand: Chromatically Tempered Sword
Your mainhand sword rogue bis raid weapon is a no brainer. You want the CTS from Blackwing Lair.
Outside of this highly contested sword, there’s still the good old Viskag from Onyxia coming in 2nd and the Claw of the Black drake which should not be forgotten.
I know, a claw isn’t a sword, but it plays exactly the same as a sword spec rogue and it’s almost on par with a Viskag while being much much lower competiton if you’re stuck without a CTS or Viskag.
Offhand: Maladath (non humans), Warblade of the Hakkari (humans)
Non humans will want the Maladath blade from BWL because of the amazing +4 sword skill. Humans on the other hand do not need the sword skill and will want to pick up the Warblade of the Hakkari (offhand) from ZG.
Some non humans may also end up with the Warblade just due to Maladath being very rare and contested. ZG is on a 3 day reset and can be easily pugged as well.
Can sword rogues go clown suit or can dagger rogues go 8/8 bloodfang?
Yes and no. Sword rogues can go clown suit. In fact, the clown suit on swords is basically the same dps as 8/8 Bloodfang when you add in bis ZG enchants and full world buffs. In some cases you can even get clown set to barely out dps 8/8 bloodfang when world buffed.
The clown suit even got a slight buff with ZG gear/buff and is also more adaptable in the future once you swap out any Bloodfang piece and lose your 8 set bonus.
However, on the flip side, daggers rogues going 8/8 Bloodfang requires them to downgrade their offhand back to the pre-raid Distracting Dagger to keep +dagger skill above 308.
Here’s a quick look at rough dps sim numbers for each set (using full phase 4 buffs and consumes as an undead rogue over 75 seconds):
- Sword rogue bis 8/8 bloodfang = 1335.94 dps
- Sword rogue bis clown set = 1336.66 dps
- Dagger rogue bis 8/8 bloodfang + distracting dagger = 1308.39 dps
- Dagger rogue bis clown suit = 1321.12 dps
As you can see the dps differences aren’t that big. However you still generally want dagger rogues going clown set and sword rogues going 8/8 bloodfang first.
As mentioned previously, it’s just far more efficient as a guild to gear up some of your rogues in clown suit and while the others focus on bloodfang in order to better use all the raid drops. For these efficiency reasons it just makes sense that most sword rogues go 8/8 bloodfang to start, while daggers go clown suit.
Raid gear F.A.Q (and their answers):
Does 5 set tier 1 bonus matter at all for pve?
No, it can help a tiny bit in some fights, but for the most part you can ignore the 5 set nightslayer bonus when it comes to pve.
Is Cloak of Firemaw actually better than the group instance drop Cape of the Black Baron?
Yes and no. Firemaw cloak is not a dps upgrade over the Baron cape, but it is a 120 HP upgrade. How much you value the Firemaw cloak upgrade comes down to how much you personally value HP (and obviously it’s also a great pvp cloak for rogues who do both pvp and pve).
HP is still a handy stat and survivability as a rogue has definite benefits on raids, even if it doesn’t easily show on the dps charts.
Which pieces of bis gear from BWL should I focus on first?
In general these are the largest single item dps increases you will see in BWL outside of the weapons:
- Drake Fang Talisman (20~ dps increase)
- Bloodfang chest (14~ dps increase)
- Boots of the Shadow Flame (dagger rogues 14~ dps increase)
- Bloodfang bracers (7~ dps increase)
BiS Rogue Trinkets (PvE)
Here’s where things start to get a little tricky. Trinket choices can change based on length of fight, faction (ally vs horde) and current gear.
Below are the 2 standard bis rogue pve trinkets for most encounters, but keep in mind that it doesn’t mean they are bis for everyone and every scenario:
1. Drake Fang Talisman
This trinket is hands down the best overall pve trinket in the game for rogues in phase 4. In PvE, you’re basically never swapping this trinket out because it’s amazing.
It is also the single highest dps upgrade a raiding rogue can get from BWL (besides weapons), so be prepared for competition if you want this trinket.
2. Rentaki’s Charm of Trickery
This new ZG trinket takes awhile to complete, but it’s amazing for quicker fights. Dagger rogues will use ZG trinket for fights under 168 seconds, sword clown set rogues for fights under 111 seconds and sword 8/8 bf rogues in fights under 81 seconds.
In particular, dagger rogues using clown set get to pair this trinket with the Madcap’s Mantle and gain 20 atk from the set bonus.
But wait, trinkets get a bit complicated.
Besides the above trinkets, there are certain trinkets which are situationally good depending on the situation/fight, especially if you are missing 1 or both of the above trinkets.
TL;DR – There are a lot of other trinket options which can complicate trinket gearing, so check out the full rogue trinket guide (coming soon) for the detailed breakdown.