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Outlaw Rogue State in Shadowlands - DPS Strengths, Best Covenants, Soulbinds and Legendaries
11.11.2020 в 23:25
Shadowlands launches on November 23rd / 24th and all classes will be getting new toys to play with -- from Covenant abilities, to Conduits and returning Legendary effects! This article, written by Undad, will provide details on the current state of Outlaw Rogue in Shadowlands, to help you to prepare for the upcoming expansion!
A review and discussion of the ongoing changes Outlaw Rogue has received from Alpha to now, along with any differences or changes to expect transitioning from Pre-Patch to Shadowlands Release.
About the Author
Hi everyone, this is Undad! I am primarily a multi-class PvE player who mains Rogue. You may recognize me from many loser PoVs throughout all of BFA’s MDI seasons. You can find me on
, and I'm fairly active in the
I’ve spent far too many hours exploring the Shadowlands Beta in the past few months, primarily playing Rogue, and am happy to share my findings with you here! Please remember, that things can still and likely will change a bit between now and the release date. Additionally, in the few places I’ll be sharing my opinions, keep in mind that it’s precisely that, my opinion.
Check out all our Shadowlands Launch Opinion articles by our Class Writers and members of the community! Click on any of the colored specs below to see what articles we've released so far.
These guides were meant to give you a preview of what's to come in the expansion, but don't worry -- our full Shadowlands Class Guides will be updated soon!
Blood Death Knight
Frost Death Knight
Unholy Death Knight
Havoc Demon Hunter
Vengeance Demon Hunter
Beast Mastery Hunter
First Things First - What's Changed?
Let’s briefly catch up on where exactly Outlaw stands in the Shadowlands pre-patch. At its core, the playstyle of this spec has remained the same coming from BFA. The fast paced, nearly GCD capped rotation is still intact with a few small changes. If you’ve been playing pre-patch, you’ll be used to Blade Flurry moving off of the charge system, along with the new cooldown added to Roll the Bones. Instant Poison returning has been a nice touch, and generally Outlaw still plays great! In this article, I’ll expand on the new things coming to enhance the spec so you know what to expect as you dive into the new expansion. This will include Covenants, Legendaries, and a handful of new passives you’ll progressively unlock!
Below you can find the initial “State of” article published early in the Alpha, along with the class guide. Please note that the class guide will be the most accurate source of information for you when the expansion launches.
State of Rogues
Outlaw Rogue Guide
The loss of your Heart of Azeroth, and with it your major and minor essences, will likely be the first thing you notice entering the Shadowlands. While jarring, this won’t have too much meaningful impact on your talent choices or playstyle. The biggest thing you’ll notice is the lack of
minor. You will have significantly less energy available to you without this essence. Additionally, Azerite Traits will be going away. You’ll surely notice the loss of
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due to less
. The removal of
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has dialed back your burst potential a bit.These changes are mostly a loss in throughput, rather than anything that changes your rotation, but we’ll make up for that with some new tricks in Shadowlands.
Your talent choices will be a nice mix between what you’ve played most of BFA, and what you’ve likely been playing in Pre-Patch. This is what I would recommend as a Single-Target build, which will function very well while leveling.
Some notable options:
has potential to be better on a single target raid boss
is a stronger talent when you get into all end-game content. I just really like
is a really great option here now.
not procing the
debuff makes it much less of an "always take" talent anymore. I'd recommend playing around with both and see what you like!
Outlaw Rogue Leveling Perks
Speaking of leveling, as you level in Shadowlands your character will receive some new abilities and/or passives. Some of these will be classwide, while others are spec specific. They can be seen already in your spellbook during Pre-Patch. Each class gains these passives at levels 52, 54, 56, and 58.
(Rank 2) is the first of these new passives you’ll get as an Outlaw Rogue. This simply adds a little “oomph” to your Blade Flurry activations. While this is a nice little bonus, it won’t be changing your rotation at all without some additional factors we’ll talk about in the conduits section.
comes next as your first new class-wide spell. While this doesn’t provide any additional damage, it is what I’m personally most excited about for Rogue in Shadowlands. This kind of utility, while not unique, is massively powerful in mythic plus if you find yourself not needing
, which is often the case. This will likely be one of the more overlooked utilities Outlaw Rogue brings to dungeons, as it doesn’t show up on meters, but the damage reduction provided for your tank through this is absolutely massive. Additionally, this gives you the ability to remove enrage effects from targets with
while this poison is applied, and thank god for that. Rogues certainly needed more utility to help their viability in dungeons.
Next you’ll learn
(Rank 2). This is just a boost to mobility by reducing the cooldown. Very cool, but not much to say here.
Lastly, you’ll receive
(Rank 2). This won’t see too much use in PvE content, but is a cool bonus when you do find yourself in situations where you’re tanking. Notably while leveling or in solo content this is a pretty big damage bonus if you pull a few mobs.
Outlaw Rogue Covenants
Ah yes, the infamous Covenants. After reaching level 60 you’ll be given the privilege to choose your allegiance to one of 4 Covenants to align yourself with. Each of these is associated with each of the 4 Shadowlands zones and will impact your characters playstyle through Covenant Class Abilities, Signature Abilities, and Soulbinds. Here’s what that means for Outlaw Rogue specifically.
The Kyrian of Bastion will empower your Rogue with the ability to use
. This ability, while complex in wording, is actually fairly simple to use. The ability itself simply does damage and generates 2 Combo Points for a very low cost. Upon use, your 2nd, 3rd, or 4th Combo Point will be chosen at random to become “Animacharged”. The next time this Animacharge combo point is used on a damage dealing finisher, it will be as if 7 combo points were spent. This will only have a fairly slight impact on gameplay, as eventually you will land on the correct combo point just through executing your rotation normally. It is not a gain to try to manipulate your combo points in an inefficient way in order to use this Animacharge earlier. You will simply enjoy the benefit of a big
when it happens!
Initially, I felt that this ability was “clunky” and didn’t quite fit into Rogue gameplay given the randomness of combo point generation due to
procs and the
buff. However, the more I play with it, the more comfortable the ability feels, and I’ve actually grown to rather enjoy it! It fits pretty nicely into the Outlaw rotation in particular due to its passive synergy with
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, helping get your cooldowns back even faster.
The conduit for this ability is
. While this effect is not bad, there are other more powerful conduits you will likely use in place of it. We’ll discuss these in detail further into the article.
Secondly, the Kyrian Covenant will grant access to
, who when summoned will bring you a
, along with allowing you to change your talents without the use of a
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, and compliment one of your friends! I commonly refer to the Phial as a Cloak of Healthstoneform, as it combines the effects of many other useful defensive spells into one. Importantly, it also does not share a cooldown with
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, making this an extremely powerful item in both Raiding and Mythic Plus alike. Even in situations where you can’t make good use of the debuff removal, or where
is already useful enough, having an extra Health Potion can very well save your life.
The Necrolords of Maldraxxus offer aspiring Rogues the use of
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. This short cooldown, charge-based ability deals low damage initially, but leaves a permanent bleed on the target. Additionally, it will generate more combo points per Bone Spike you have out already. It’s worth noting the bleed is only removed if the target either heals to full HP, or dies. Upon removal through either of these methods, you will be refunded a charge and can reapply the Bone Spike to a new target.
This ability fits into the rotation rather smoothly as simply an extremely efficient way to spend your energy when building combo points, and replaces either a
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periodically. For Outlaw in particular I find it plays very well. Since the spec doesn’t gain more combo point generation as more targets are introduced, there’s no opportunity cost incurred by using charges as soon as they come off CD.
can be used to empower the Bleed portion of this ability, causing it to sometimes deal damage twice. At lower ranks and current tuning this will likely not be used, however it looks to scale well into later ranks so keep an eye out for this to potentially change.
Finally, the Signature Ability of the Necrolords is
. The strength of this shield can be empowered by consuming nearby corpses, and additional effects can be added through Soulbind traits if you choose to align yourself with the Necrolords. The ability itself can find some use defensively, but is generally pretty lackluster. With that said, some of the enhancements in the Soulbind tree can shift the power more favorably.
If you choose to side with the Night Fae of Ardenweald, your Outlaw Rogue will gain access to
. This ability applies a Poison DoT that deals high damage, and “pops” for a moderate hit on expiration. If the “pop” damage is allowed to occur before the target dies, you will gain access to an additional
cast. If the target dies prematurely, the cooldown on the ability will be reduced. Typically you’ll want to use this on cooldown and intend for the DoT to tick its full duration. An exception to this would be when using the Niya soulbind in dungeons. Trying to “snipe” dying targets to get the Cooldown Reduction will allow more uses, and more uptime on
Since the change to this covenant ability (even though it was a necessary change), I find myself very bored with the ability. A mediocre DoT and an extra Ambush every 90 seconds just isn’t what I was hoping for from a covenant ability. There is some synergy here with the
conduit available for Outlaw, which certainly adds value, just not quite enough for me to enjoy the ability.
can be applied to your Soulbind tree to increase the damage of the DoT portion of Sepsis. This conduit follows the theme of the previous two covenant ability conduits, in that it’s decent but unlikely to be used.
is an incredible mobility tool, and effectively acts like another
with a Teleport attached to it. Other, less mobile, classes will find a bit better use for it than Rogues, but that’s not to say this ability isn’t awesome!
Last, and unfortunately perhaps least, choosing to align with the Venthyr of Revendreth will allow your rogue to use
. This ability I liken a bit to the trinket
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, from The Eternal Palace raid. When used it deals low damage immediately and leaves a debuff behind, causing the debuffed target to take additional damage per each combo point you spend. Each combo point also applies stacks to this debuff, which can be consumed by reactivating Flagellation to grant your Rogue a large Haste buff. It is worth noting that you can swap targets and still build stacks on this debuff so long as you are within its very forgiving range. Currently, it appears simply using this ability on CD deems the best results.
Initially, I was very excited for the rework of this ability, given how much I enjoyed playing with Razor Coral. The addition of the 90 second cooldown has killed a bit of the hype for me here though. I still think it’s a cool idea, and hope they’re not done iterating on it, because I think it has amazing potential!
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conduit provides a decent increase to the initial damage of this ability, but currently looks far too weak to see serious use.
is the Venthyr's signature ability, and is something you can certainly do some cool tricks with. It functions as a targetted teleport with a cast time. Initially it was thought this could maybe be insane for skips in mythic plus, but it hasn't really turned out that way. Now it mostly ends up being used as some nice in combat mobility.
Picking a Covenant - Meaningful Choice?
Now this may come as a surprise to some, but these covenant abilities for Outlaw Rogue, and really all 3 Rogue specs, are extremely close in power. The balance has miraculously been struck and you find yourself with truly a meaningful choice. With that said, as of current tuning, I believe Kyrian to be the “best” covenant for you. The versatility and simplicity of
, along with the power of
will help make your Rogue strong in all forms of content. On top of this, Pelagos, looks to be a very strong Soulbind in all situations, which we’ll discuss in more detail below. All of these lead to Kyrian just being slightly ahead of the other 3 options in nearly all situations.
I’d still keep an eye out, though. The past few builds of beta have ushered in many tuning passes to Covenant Abilities, and Soulbinds alike. This could potentially shift the power here and determine a new “best” choice.
Outlaw Rogue Soulbinds
Now assuming you’ve chosen to align with the Kyrian, you’ll also have to choose a soulbind. Previously, I mentioned the strength of Pelagos. Here is what my ideal Soulbind tree looks like.
Your choices for the 2 Potency conduits in this tree are pretty simple for Outlaw Rogues. As I implied earlier, I’d suggest always running
, and making a choice between
for your 2nd potency slot. Triple Threat should be slightly more damage, but Sleight makes up for it in fun. Your call.
is a large chunk of mastery you’ll receive when you use
. Additionally you can extend the duration of this buff by picking up the small blue orbs that spawn randomly while this buff is active!
will be exceptional in mythic plus, reducing the cooldown on your
. You’ll find some use of this in any raid encounter with adds, but I would still take this path even if you did not. Passing up a Potency slot, for no additional throughput gain is not something I’d recommend.
as my first Endurance conduit here, as it is the only Endurance conduit that is technically a DPS increase. It’s also a great defensive option as mentioned earlier.
The next row is very much up to your preference and won’t have any impact on your actual gameplay. I choose
as it’ll provide a nice boost in gold or materials depending on what you choose for your professions.
Finally, in your last choice in the tree you’ll see I have both
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slotted. These both can find their uses depending on what you need for any given situation. Thankfully, swapping between the two is painless and can be done on the fly with a
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We top it all off with
. This trait certainly could see some tuning in the future, as I believe a lot of the strength of Pelagos resides in the combination of this and Combat Meditation. It’s very easy to maintain this buff at 4 stacks for a very long time, making it simply a 4% Versatility buff.
If you choose to use Pelagos for another spec rather than Outlaw, or want more than one Soulbind for this spec, it is likely Kleia will be the next best option. This is primarily due to the strength of
. The raw stats gained from this provide a nice passive boost in damage.
Outlaw Rogue Conduits
Earlier, I mentioned Conduits that affect each of your potential covenant abilities. Each spec also has access to 4 Conduits specific to that spec, along with a collection of Finesse and Endurance conduits shared across the class. For a DPS class like Rogue, the 4 spec specific ones are all Potency conduits. This is the order in which I would rank these.
is, in my opinion, the coolest conduit Rogues of any spec have access to. I’ve been referring to it as “Build-a-Buff.” Chaining additional
buffs on top of pre-existing ones just feels so cool. Not only that, but it’s currently out performing the other conduits so you’ll always run it in an optimal build. It makes rolling a 5 Buff even cooler because you almost always proc yourself into a 6 Buff with this conduit!
is what you will almost always use as you 2nd Outlaw conduit. This is just a passive proc for some extra damage. These extra hits don’t generate combo points, but they do contribute to increasing stages of the
legendary effect, which we’ll discuss later.
piles on top of Count the Odds to create even more multi-buff situations for you! I’ve really enjoyed playing with these two together. Even if it’s not technically the “best” set-up, I think it’s close enough for the fun factor to push this over the top.
passively increases the amount of
procs you’ll get, so long as
is active. Using this conduit alters your play slightly, and makes keeping Blade Flurry active even on single target a DPS gain. Currently it’s just numerically worse than the other options, but we could see that change with higher Mastery values as the expansion progresses.
is the conduit that modifies our Kyrian covenant ability. As this is a flat damage increase, this comes entirely down to numbers. At the ranks we currently have available it is simply too weak and will likely not see play. It looks to perform a bit better as we get to higher ranks and could become a strong pick in future tiers.
If you choose Venthyr you'll have access to the
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conduit. This is in the same boat as Reverberation in that it will likely scale well at higher ranks, and could see potential use down the line.
is available to Night Fae, and will also not see much use. It is numerically just too weak as a passive damage boost.
is the weakest of all and certainly won't see much play early on by Necrolord Rogues.
Keep in mind again, that all of this is subject to change week to week, and could potentially see big swings as we head into Heroic and Mythic weeks of Castle Nathria, alongside the opening of Season 1 of M+.
Endurance & Finesse
In the collection of Finesse and Endurance conduits you’ll have access to, a few in particular stand out.
is an endurance conduit that lowers the cost of both
. While obviously a very strong defensive effect, this can even be considered a DPS increase as energy NOT spent on these two abilities is energy that you can spend on dealing damage.
is another endurance conduit. This will cause
to also provide a passive heal over time. As Slice and Dice is always kept up in combat, this is a great increase to sustain.
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is a finesse conduit that will reduce the cooldown of both
, so long as you are actively dodging attacks or interrupting spells.
is the other finesse conduit I would consider taking. This is both an increase in the range, along with a decrease in the cooldown of
Legendaries are back baby! For me, this is the most exciting system of Shadowlands simply because of their versatility and the ability to easily swap between them. Each class has access to 4 class wide legendaries, alongside 4 additional spec specific legendaries. Let’s take a look at what you’ll be able to choose from as an Outlaw Rogue.
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is one of the weakest options in terms of damage. However, the cooldown reduction it provides to your other abilities can create some awesome utility situations. Given that Outlaw gets to use
almost twice as often as the other specs through
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, the cooldown reduction has some nutty potential. With that said, it’s pretty weak from a DPS perspective.
returns from Legion and has many Rogue mains super excited! While it’s slightly weaker than its Legion form, this legendary still has amazing burst potential, and generally very good throughput in all situations. It looks to be the top performer on trash in mythic plus, and still quite good on boss fights too! If mythic plus is your focus, and you intend to play more than one spec, I think this will be a great first craft.
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, empowers the damage of
. For Outlaw this is pretty much useless. Shiv is not a spell you really want to be using for damage. While the free cp could be appealing, this is a pass for the pirate boys.
As an honorable mention here,
is a Subtlety legendary that has a bit of potential for Outlaw. Given the shorter cooldown on
, the pirate squad actually gets more out of this effect than Subtlety does. That sounds super great and all, but right now it's not strong enough to be played in my opinion. Nevertheless, keep an eye out!
is an effect very similar to the
Major Essence. There is an added bonus in that while this is equipped, your
buff also increases your damage by 8%. That means procs from Celerity, as well as natural casts. Right now, this legendary effect is extremely powerful, and likely what you will use in every situation. This is definitely your first craft if you intend to play primarily Outlaw.
is a throwback to a Legion legendary item. The additional
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casts all generate combo points, making this a nice burst when it procs. This effect is performing quite well on single target fights currently, and with slight tuning could end up being very strong.
is an homage to the days of Combat Rogue. However, Outlaw just plays different enough these days that there’s not much you can do to really play around your “Red Buff” anymore.” On top of that, the effect has been pretty neutered in tuning recently, and likely won’t see any play in its current form. It's worth noting that if you do play this Legendary, you should definitely use the
also makes a return in Shadowlands. From Legion legendary, to azerite trait and now back to legendary, I wish Blizzard would just make this effect baseline already. With the longer cooldown on
we have in Shadowlands, this legendary is just not quite good enough to be worth it unfortunately. It’s really not that far behind though, so you could certainly use it without holding your damage back much if it’s a playstyle you enjoy.
Given the current tuning of the Universal Legendaries available to all classes, it’s very unlikely you’ll be crafting any of them. As I’ve mentioned numerous times before, tuning is still ongoing so there is potentially for that to change, albeit unlikely.
What Does It All Mean?
With so many compounding systems coming all at once, it can be difficult to really tell what classes or specs will actually be “good” once we step into the Shadowlands. So where do you stand as an Outlaw Rogue? By and large you’ll find your gameplay to be very similar to what you grew accustomed to in BFA. The strong Covenant Abilities and Legendary effects for Outlaw really lean into what Outlaw is best at. Sustained, unwavering, consistent damage. This has held true for all of BFA and is a reason Outlaw was so dominant in mythic plus. That doesn’t look to be changing as we enter a new expansion. My hot take of the day is, “Outlaw Rogue is the strongest Melee in the game for Mythic Plus!”
I think the spec is also positioned to be quite good in Castle Nathria. Traditionally Outlaw has suffered from lack of single target damage, but it doesn’t seem to be the case anymore. While it’s certainly not a single target powerhouse, it keeps up with or performs better than basically every other melee spec. Then there is the added bonus of it being a 2-5 target cleave superstar for any encounter with adds present.
Now with that in mind, if you are someone that played Outlaw high up on the M+ Ladder during BFA, you may find yourself... well just bored. A lot of the areas where you were able to min-max your damage in a dungeon are gone.
in practice has essentially a 100% uptime, so managing those charges is gone, and with it is being able to "fish" for good buffs when preparing for a big important pack. The cooldown on the new
successfully leads to less rerolling, but also gives you less agency over when you reroll. For me, this was incredibly jarring at first and something I really didn't like. Over time, I've become pretty indifferent about it, and just accepted that the spec is a little less involved in Shadowlands.
On the other hand, I'm sure many players will enjoy this change. I also still genuinely enjoy playing the spec. It's still fast paced and reactionary, with a lot of control available to you when needed. The changes to both
are live in the Pre-Patch already as well, so I guess it's time for you to log on and try it out for yourself!
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