So you’ve heard everyone talk about doing the ‘lip opener’ on Vael. Should you actually do it and how do you do it?
Want to see this strategy in action? There’s an in-depth video version of this guide on my YouTube: Rogue 2k DPS Vael Lip Opener Guide
What is the ‘LIP opener’ strategy?
Limited invulnerability potions, aka, LIP potions, make you immune to physical attacks for 6 seconds. If you use them while fighting, bosses won’t target you even if you are number 1 on threat.
The lip strategy is simply popping a LIP potion right at the start of the fight (after the debuff lands) so that you can backstab right away without worrying about aggro. This is often paired with vanishing early in the fight to make sure you don’t draw aggro once LIP duration ends.
If done right it looks something like this:
Why most rogues shouldn’t open with LIP
The fact is unless you’re in a fairly strong guild, your tank probably isn’t generating enough threat for you to do the LIP opener.
Ask yourself the following:
- Is my tank getting full world buffs/maximize global usage/gearing for vael properly (fury tank with low speed dagger)?
- Can I dps non stop on Vael currently without worrying about threat?
- Is my vael kill time fairly quick (sub 45 sec)?
If you answer no to any of the above then you probably shouldn’t be doing the LIP opener at all. In that case, you’d be better saving LIP until you’re about to pull aggro, then using LIP to continue backstabbing for another 5 seconds before you vanish to reset your aggro.
In fact, you don’t even need to LIP to do 2k+ dps on Vael. Most rogues not lipping might wait 1-2 seconds before engaging. LIP itself causes a 1 second global cooldown, so you’ve already lost 1 second of the LIP advantage. Really what you gain is roughly 1 backstab from using your LIP, which while helpful, isn’t a crazy major change.
For example, here is my 2.1k Vael parse:
Here is a parse from my guildy on the same fight. He did 2k dps and did just 1 less backstab because he didn’t LIP:
So it’s by no means required and it’s a very min/max strat that you should only even consider if you’re trying to push from a 99 to a high 99.
My tank is a threat god. Give me the LIP opener rotation!
Okay. Here’s the opener:
- Pop blade flurry (and your racial if troll/orc) right before the fight begins. I usually do this at about 1 sec or so before the fight begins.
- Use LIP AFTER the debuff lands on you. If you use it before the debuff lands the LIP potion will block the debuff.
- (kind optional) Vanish right before LIP ends to drop threat. You don’t actually need to do this if your tank is good because he’ll be well above you in threat by the time LIP ends.
- Normal rotation (so typically backstab x 5 into slice and dice into backstab x 5 into evis and so on).
That’s it. It’s pretty easy to do once you get used to the sequence.
Extra vael tips…
Some extra tips and tricks that I will help you parse higher on Vael:
Use every single global (stop using inefficient abilities)
You have unlimited energy on Vael, and the rogue global cooldown for abilities is 1 second. This mean you should be doing at least a backstabs worth of damage or better during every second of Vael.
This is why you don’t do a 1 combo pt slice and dice on Vael. It’s worth less than a backstab in DPS, which is why we typically wait until 5 pts to do our first slice and dice.
Backstab is equal to eviscerate at 1875ish atk+ (on average) for dagger rogues
If you reach 1875 atk or higher, backstab is actually worth equal or more than eviscerate damage on average if you are a dagger rogue. So you could effectively spam backstab non stop at 1875+ atk and not lose damage on average.
This doesn’t mean eviscerate is completely useless though, as you could technically aim to highroll a big crit with 5 pt eviscerate (it has a higher crit topend than backstab), but on average you’re fine to just spam backstab once beyond 1875ish atk as a dagger rogue.
For sword rogues you should still always pick 5 pt eviscerate due to your talents being different.
Ambush still beats backstab
Don’t fall into the fake news that backstab is better than ambush. It’s not. Ambush still hits harder than backstab on average, even after the extra 30% crit chance on backstab talents
That said, you may still wish to break stealth on purpose and start attacking right after a vanish though, just to keep auto attack uptime on Vael.
If you wish to calculate any of the above backstab/ambush/evis data yourself you can find a spreadsheet that does it here:
You will need to input your own details for average main hand weapon damage, crit chance, current AP and talents.
Optimize your slice and dice duration
After a few kills you should know your guild’s rough Vael kill time. Optimize your slice and dice duration to match your kill time.
For example, if you guild kills Vael below 35ish seconds, you should look at moving to a 4 pt slice and dice at your opener instead of 5 pts.