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Assassination Rogue talents
Hi all,

I checked on Assassination Rogue builds in December, and was startled to discover that the recommended talents have changed.  Early in Legion, the recommendation was for Hemorrhage + Exsanguinate, while stacking Mastery.  Now, however, Hemorrhage and Exsanguinate are no longer recommended, and if you do choose them, then it is recommended to stack Crit instead of Mastery.

Looking into the combat logs for Zlinka, I could see that very little of her damage was coming from Hemorrhage, even though I was spending a lot of effort keeping it up.  The monster share of her damage was coming from Rupture.  So... time for Hemorrhage to go.

The updated recommended talents are Agonizing Poison for the sixth tier, then either Elaborate Planning or Master Poisoner for the first tier.  Both Elaborate Planning and Master Poisoner require a lot of Mastery (8K+), and lead to quite different play styles.  Elaborate Planning means keeping a 5-second self-buff up at all times (so it's a bit "clicky").  It's refreshed by using a finisher, and it's worth it to refresh EP with 4-5 point envenoms instead of letting EP lapse while waiting for a 6-point Envenom.  The EP self-buff is a really good one, though, as it increases all damage done by 15%.  Master Poisoner buffs poison damage by 30% and non-damaging poison effects by 20%.  It's passive, so it's a lot less clicky than Elaborate Planning.

Agonizing Poison is a new poison that doesn't do any damage itself (weird for an assassination rogue, we're supposed to be all about poisons!).  Agonizing Poison applies a stacking debuff to the target that enhances damage done (+7.1% damage per stack, stacks up to 5 times).

Right now I'm running Agonizing Poison and Elaborate Planning and have been happy with them so far. Elaborate Planning is a bit clicky but I've been able to keep it up most of the time, and I've noticed the increase in Zlinka's DPS with these new talents.

Any other rogues running with Agonizing Poison, Elaborate Planning, or Master Poisoner?
Just....as a side note, I always keep my Recount addon up during raids, and noticed that you had jumped up quite a few spots on the meters. Maybe this was why?
Yep.  I swapped the talents on Zlinka after the 12/22 raid, so this past 1/3 raid was the first one with the new talents.  I noticed a jump up as well, particularly on single targets.  Not much change on AoE but that is as expected with this build.

Okay, 7.1.5 has added some Assassination Rogue changes:

* Elaborate Planning (the cool 5-second self buff I described in the original post) has been slightly nerfed, to 12% damage down from 15% damage.  Bummer.
* Deeper Stratagem (talent that gives you 6 combo points instead of 5, and allows 6-point finishers, and used to provide a 10% increase in damage for 6-pointers) now does just a 5% increase in damage.
* Feint costs 35 energy, up from 10.
* Cheat Death's cooldown is now 6 minutes, up from 2 minutes.

* Rupture does the SAME damage per tick at all combo point levels.  I kind of like this, as it removes the uncertainty around using a little Rupture or waiting a few more seconds to apply a bigger one.  I'm still not clear on whether Deeper Stratagem will still allow a buffed 6-point finisher (albeit a 5% instead of 10% buff).
* Shroud of Concealment (group stealth ability) has been re-added to the game.  Yay!
* Internal bleeding (talent that does damage when you do Kidney Shot) has been slightly buffed.
* Shadow Focus (talent that reduces energy cost of abilities used while stealthed) has been buffed
* Subterfuge (talent that lets you use stealth-only abilities 3 seconds after Stealth breaks) has been buffed
* Anticipation (talent that gives you more combo points) goes to a max of 10 instead of 8.  Finishers will still consume up to 5.

* Alacrity stacks only 10 times now, BUT it now grants 2% Haste per stack instead


Icy Veins still recommends Master Poisoner or Elaborate Planning as the first tier talent, despite the small nerf to Elaborate Planning (12% damage buff down from 15%).  They still do not recommend Anticipation or Internal Bleeding.  And they recommend Agonizing Poison for Tier 6 over Exsanguinate, especially for those with a Mastery-heavy build.

So, some changes in the patch, but the recommendations are still the same.
Master Poisoner will probably beat Elaborate Planning when you can reach around +10%-per-stack Agonizing Poison (via Mastery), so for now (assuming your ~7% per stack number is still valid), you should probably keep EP. I suspect shortly after we get into Nighthold, or if you change over more gear to Mastery-heavy, you'll want to switch out.

Sadly, even going up to 10 points, Anticipation is still probably only worthwhile if you ever need a double-finisher for burst damage -- probably nice in PvP.

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