I originally wrote this in my subtlety PvE guide on the official forums (link), but since I have a blog now I figure it makes sense to post it here.  Plus a little bird with a red hat suggested it.  Anyway, I just copied this over word for word with the only modification being to update the SV buff to 35% (was 25% at the time of the writeup).

Subtlety-specific notes:

  • T16 is out! That means some really good bonuses that I’ll put into one of the theorycrafting sections.
  • Nightstalker now increases damage while stealthed by 50%, up from 25% – But you should still shouldn’t be using it.
  • Sanguinary Vein now increases damage by 35% (up from 20%)
  • Eviscerate damage reduced by 10%.
  • Backstab and Hemo damage increased by 15%.
  • Ambush damage increased by 12%.
  • Fan of Knives damage increased by 25%.
  • Glyph of Sap replaced by Glyph of Hemorrhaging Veins: Allows Hemorrhage to apply the SV damage increase (This is game changing).
  • Glyph of Crippling Poison replaced with Glyph of Sharpened Knives, which makes FoK apply the Sunder Armor debuff.
  • Glyph of Adrenaline Rush was made baseline, now we get Glyph of Redirect, which reduces the cooldown of Redirect by 50 seconds (down to 10 seconds).


Subtlety is getting buffed a lot, which will make it much more competitive in every type of situation. While it will still be behind in terms of AoE, it should be a lot easier to match the single target output of the other specs even with positional issues for small portions of the fight. The addition of Glyph of Hemorrhaging Veins and Glyph of Redirect will make Subtlety much better at switching targets, though how target swapping compares to other specs remains unknown. The buffs to FoK and SV will also help bring our AoE closer to that of the other spec’s but it is still looking quite weak.

All in all this is a happy day if you want to play Subtlety in Siege of Orgrimmar. While we don’t yet know what the best spec will be, Sub is definitely worth a try, as it should be strong on any fight without crucial AoE or long-lasting times where we must face our target.


For the record, the single target DPS increase should be just over 15% if you ignore the t15 4pc nerf.  That, or my math is off.

Patch 5.4 Subtlety Write-up


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