Do YOU Think Like a RIVAL or RANK 1? Test Your Skill! – Rogue Guide

Did you know that there’s just one flowchart that defines the fundamentals of playing Rogue in the arena? You might feel like you’re playing your class well but if you aren’t following these fundamentals you might be holding yourself back. In this guide, we’ll be looking at an 1,800 Rogue and analyzing the most common mistakes low-rated Rogues make by looking at the opener, reset phase and kill phase for Rogues in the arena. During each phase, we’ll cross reference our Rogue with one of the best Rogues in the world to see how they compare. Throughout the guide you can test your knowledge so you can see if you think like our 1,800 Rogue or if you think like a rank one. 

Rogue class changes in WoW Shadowlands
Rogue class


The foundation of Rogue is control and your control abilities are central to how you secure kills and win games. This starts with the opener where your role is to use your control to set up a 2v1or 3v1 situation for your team by cross CC’ing multiple targets. Allowing you and your team to do damage and cast CC without getting interrupted. Ideally your opener should force one or more major cooldowns from the enemy team like a PVP trinket. And based on what cooldowns the enemy team uses, you will plan your win condition. 

1:51 One of the reasons why players like Naj are rank one is because they get to play with people like Xaryu. While Xaryu is definitely a super good player, you have to remember that you can’t blame every loss on not having good partners if you aren’t playing properly yourself. By focusing on developing your own gameplay, you can elevate your teammates in the process. With that in mind, let’s break down how a rank one Rogue plays arena against a super high rated team. 

Rogue Class Changes in Shadowlands - Covenants, Soulbinds, Legendaries -  Guides - Wowhead

Warrior Healer is a relatively common matchup in twos. One difficulty against Druid specifically is that they are significantly harder to polymorph. Because of this cross CC is needed on both targets in the opener. The Druid will need to be stunned so that they can be polymorphed and at the same time the Warrior will need to be CCed to prevent war banner from disrupting the opener. 

You will see the Rogue wait until the Warrior is in a dragon’s breath before he cheap shots. Once again this is to prevent the Warrior from using a war banner to stop the opening set up. The Rogue stops the Warrior for a cheap shot shadow dance opener. With both targets in CC the goal is to force major defenses from the enemy team. 2:59 The Mage used combustion, because of this Noj will save his Shadow Blades for the kill set up later if this opener doesn’t score the kill. By spacing out your major offensives you can guarantee that every set up is a threat to the enemy team. And with this opener you can see that 2 major defensives have been forced on the Warrior. 3:25 Game will transition to a rest phase where the goal is to wait until DR’s come back up in order to set up a kill again. 

3:31 See gameplay on how an 1,800 Rogue manages their opener. You saw that our rank one Rogue was able to use their cross CC almost perfectly in the opener to force major CDs from the kill target. 


Following the opener, you transition to the reset phase where you shift to a more defensive playstyle. This is the period in which you are waiting for stun and incapacitate DR’s to reset on the enemy team. You can do this by continuing pressure on another target off stun DR or you can choose to reset completely by kiting away and getting a restealth. In either case, your priority during this time is to be defensive by avoiding as much damage as possible until your team has CCdrs and damage ready for your kill target. 5:26 See Noj’ gameplay, rank one row plays during the reset phase. Remember that the goal here is to play defensive and to wait out stun DR on the kill target and polymorph DR on the healer.  

Assassination Rogue in the Shadowlands: Some Very Problematic Spec  Highlights - News - Icy Veins
Assassination Rogue


Once DR’s are back up, you transition into the kill phase which is just like the opener but this time you are looking to punish the enemy team by exploiting their defensive cooldown usage from the opener. Your role again is to assist your team by cross CCing your opponents, prioritizing cross CCing targets that have lots of team utility like Warrior or Shadow Priests or have good off-healing like hybrid DPS. Your goal here is either to score the kill of force even more CDs allowing you to enter an event stronger kill phase later on. See 8:13 for gameplay continuation. 

10:26Here is the complete flow chart of Rogue gameplay:

Following the opener, the game becomes a constant transition between a kill phase where you use your CDs and DRs to apply pressure. Then adjusting to  a reset phase where your goal is to survive by rotating your team’s defensive cooldowns. See 11:39 for 3v3 gameplay. 

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