Sub needs help

Sadly this video is still relevant


The entire design of the spec is a joke at the moment.

With that said, Backstab damage during Find Weakness would be a more realistic demonstration (and is still quite terrible).

The tuning is a consequence of the garbage way our mechanics are designed at the moment. The tuning is also likely due to the fact that Blizzard intentionally undertunes specs which are due for a rework.

So fix the mechanics, and better tuning will follow.

How to fix the mechanics, though?

It’s very simple. Shadow Dance has to be reverted to the way it was before Legion.

A less frequent Dance can be more impactful, and can also allow for the time outside of Dance to be more impactful as well.

Also, several buttons should be unpruned which will make gameplay more interesting both during and outside of Dance.


Subtlety was an absolute masterpiece of spec design from WotLK through WoD. Since Legion it is ruined trash.

Shadow Dance used to be the most exciting cooldown in the entire game. It was incredibly versatile, offering a complete spectrum between extreme burst and extreme control depending on how you spent your energy and globals. Under the new design for Shadow Dance, the spec is plagued by:

Reduced options during Dance
Dance burst is nerfed because it happens more often
Reduced options when Dance is down

Regarding point #1, we had Garrote, Premed, Cheap Shot, Sap, and Ambush. Now it only allows us to use Cheap Shot, Sap, and Shadowstrike.

Regarding point #2, the depth of this point is underappreciated by many Rogues but it’s crucial to understand this to understand just how badly the spec has been ruined. Find Weakness used to ignore 100% armor (PvE) or 70% armor (PvP), but now ignores only 40%. This nerf was necessary due to the increased availability of Dance. This not only means that Dance is less impactful (in addition to being less versatile and interesting due to point #1 above) but also means that non-Dance openers are devalued as well. Find Weakness used to incentivize hit and run gameplay, getting restealths to pool energy and get huge burst in opening from Stealth. Now with nerfed Find Weakness and cooldown reduction on Dance from 223ing at something, we are incentivized to prioritize sticking to target to reset Dance charges as quickly as possible. This has ruined the once completely unique playstyle of Subtlety.

Finally point #3, arguably the worst of them all. Subtlety used to be a Rogue first, Subtlety second. Dance was a minute CD with no CDR and no charges, but when Dance was down you still had depth in the rotation and in the utility, with abilities like Gouge, Shiv, Poisons, Bleeds (not only the control of a physical DoT, but also setting up Sanguinary Veins), Slice and Dice (you would apply this in the passive phase while setting up for your next burst phase whether via Dance or a restealth), etc…

Now there is NONE of that depth outside of Shadow Dance. The spec is entirely designed around Shadow Dance, once the most exciting button in the game but now a stupid and mundane rotational piece which allows us the extremely one dimensional gameplay of spamming Cheap Shot.

Subtlety used to be the single coolest, most unique, deep, challenging, exciting, and fun spec in the entire game. The Legion and BFA editions of the spec are cruel insults to that awesome history.


Sub just doesn’t fit well into the current pace of pvp. Blizzard, in their tireless effort to cater to new/pve players, has steadily been increasing the relative size of hp pools to make pvp more forgiving and accessible. This punishes classes that rely on setup and burst windows.

It isn’t just sub rogue that has suffered. Frost mage in particular used to be similar to subtlety in that it was a spec strongly defined by cc and high burst damage. And look at frost now: a boring pve-playstyle dampener spec with much of its control tools pruned (imp cs, deep freeze, frostjaw). Sure it’s still strong, but for all the wrong reasons: its very tanky and has an oppressive slow that is brainlessly applied.

So this is kind of a mindless 4am rant but what I’m getting at is that sub’s current state is partly a symptom of a larger problem, that is Blizzard’s design philosophy and vision for the game’s pace (which can also be seen in things like the GCD changes).