Rogue Tank Guide

  • Rogue Tank Guide

    Shaman tank, Rogue tank, warlock tank among others are my specialty. I've culminated years of work into a guide to help others on their tanking journey. If a subject is not addressed or you have questions, drop by my Twitch Livestream.


    Can rogues tank in ClassicWoW? The short and to the point answer is, yes. You might be rubbing your eyes right now in disbelief of this answer. Perhaps concocting up an entire four page manifesto around how only warriors can and should tank. Although, I could go on a long rant about how there are many other classes that can tank, today, I will be focusing on our poison wielding friend, the rogue.

    Table of Contents

     - Intro       - Basics      - Race                 - Profession      - Threat
     - Buffs              - Rotation          - Debuffs
     - Gear       - Enchant   - Comparaison   - Raid Comp.


    My intent and statement with this guide is not to upset anyone or downplay different classes but to bring to light a rarely talked about topic of the game. Nothing about what will be detailed in this guide is orthodox, many distinctive elements can be tied to other hybrid classes looking to stray away from the path of normality.

    The topic of viable and optimal is controversial as some don't see the difference or mix them up and impose a misguided philosophy onto it. Put simply, optimal is the most efficient and foolproof solution to solve a problem that eliminates as many negative variables as possible and favors a more easy going route. Next, is Viable or often referred to as: possible, which is seen as the more challenging path to take but to many feels like a greater personal achievement.

    Rogues are classified into viable. Many rogue tanks will agree their motivation comes from the glory of accomplishing a feat the rest of the realm population dares not try. If this sounds like you, I encourage you to continue reading on. To restate my point, you rogue tank if you want a challenge and a refreshing perspective from a 15 year old game. If it wasn’t obvious before, shield bearing is a sizable undertaking. When experienced players pick up a rogue tank and put in the effort, it shines tenfold. Rogues can fully tank 5mans, 10mans, off-tanking and main-tank raids. But, this is reliant on personal and guild experience. I should point out, a rogue’s overall defensive statistics will never approach a warrior’s. However, it isn’t necessary to do so to tank.


    Pick a race wisely as once you decide, there is no going back. Remember, you’ll be looking at your character for a long time. Therefore, players should consider a character’s appearance as a key aspect, as it could entice them to play more. Faction wise, the Alliance sweeps in efficiency due to Paladins. Since they can give us defensive boons, ex: Devotion Aura and cut down the threat from allies, ex: Blessing of Salvation among others. These Alliance assets are highly impactful for raid tanking. Ask yourself, if you’ll ever raid tank, if you won’t be than the Horde faction is fine for dungeon tanking.


    The most beneficial profession to tanking is Engineering. It will grant access to valuable tools, ex: Goblin Sapper Charge, Masterwork Target Dummy, Gnomish Battle Chickenas well as many others. The second most useful profession, is whatever profession grants the highest amount of gold on your realm. Large amounts of gold allows you to buy useful potions, ex: Flask of the Titans, as well as meaningful consumable food, ex: Dirge's Kickin' Chimaerok Chops, among many other items. In conclusion, one profession for generating a lot of gold and Engineering for its many tools.


    The four most impactful threat generating rogue abilities are Hemorrhage (in raids Sinister Strike), Eviscerate, Slice and Dice and Instant Poison VI. Threat can also come from consumable items, ex: Major Healthstone and potions, ex: Major Rejuvenation Potion. Generally, health gained will deal threat based on a quarter of the total restored. Next, damage producing items, ex: Goblin Sapper Charge will deal threat equal to the damage. Similarly, so do reflective type effects, ex: Thorns. Lastly, certain items induce pure threat each time their Debuff is set off, ex: Gift of Arthas.

    Threat Reducers

    Install a threat tracking addon, ex: ThreatClassic 2, which will show the threat of your group/raid. Classes can reduce threat with items ex: Fetish of the Sand Reaver, with talents, ex: Burning Soul. Reduce the threat of others thanks to spells, ex: Blessing of Salvation. Wipe all threat with abilities, ex: Vanish & items, ex: Flask of Petrification. For a while, prevent Aggro, ex: Limited Invulnerability Potion. Lastly, redirect aggro, ex: Masterwork Target Dummy (taunts the target). Finally, classes within the 30-40 yard range won’t draw aggro until they outweigh the threat level of the mob’s current target by 30%, as opposed to 10% for melee classes.


    Gearing a tank rogue will not step on anyone’s toes. It’s possible to play as a purely damage dealing rogue and transition easily to tanking later on. You won’t need to convince players about your desire for unconventional gear and go into a diatribe about your plan to go rogue tank later. The General Stat Priority is: Dodge, Agility, Stamina and Armor. However, a certain amount of a specific stat might make it trump the other, ex: (30 Agility > 2% Dodge.) this notion is further explored in the Gear Spreadsheet below.

    Here is a Gear Spreadsheet link, which display gear progression and multiple gearing options for your needs.


    Enchants enable us to further round out our character. There are two categories of enchants for rogue tanks, defensive, ex: Enchant Gloves - Superior Agility. Next are offensive, ex: Enchant Gloves - Threat. Acquiring Enchanting is not necessary to benefit from the profession’s advantages. Simply, give the Enchanter the required enchanting materials and they will enchant your gear for a small gold tip. Getting all your gear enchanted can end up being very costly, I suggest enchanting gear, if you’re absolutely certain it wouldn’t get upgraded for a long time.


    Dungeon tanking become easier with practice eventually you’ll reach a point tanking can be safely done with any talent setup possible. However, I still recommend having tank gear on you. If you are rogue tanking for the first time, it’s recommended to go (2/24/25) which will pick up, Hemorrhage. This dungeon setup supplies multiple tools for different scenarios and fixates on the Defensive side of tanking. The second setup, (0/30/21) is a preliminary practice route for raid tanking. The third setup is (20/31/0), grabbed once survival is solidified on raid bosses you’ve been practicing with a guild, it mainly centers on threat.


    Pre-Pull: Use Instant Poison VI on weapons. Get all Buffs your group or raid can provide on you. Take a second to mark mobs in front of you by right-clicking their portrait, select Raid Target Icon and pick from either a Skull = kill first, a red X = kill second, a blue square = Freezing Trap and the last one is a moon = Polymorph. If lost, ask what needs a marking.

    Pulling: Use Shoot to pull the target, use Sprint, next Evasion, Blade Flurry and Hemorrhage (for raids Sinister Strike) till 5 Combo Points for Slice and Dice.

    Combat: Maintain a 5 points Slice and Dice, leftover points are used on Eviscerate. 3 seconds before loosing Slice and Dice, generate points for a full Slice and Dice, repeat this process. When Evasion falls, Ghostly Strike if you get hit. If you get hit twice in row to lethal amounts of health use Preparation, Sprint and Evasion. When Evasion falls off, Ghostly Strike if you get hit.

    Situational: If you get hit twice in a row to lethal amounts of HP, equip defensive weapons, ex: Dragonfang Blade and use Major Healthstone & Major Rejuvenation Potion or if need be a Paladin can Lay on Hands so you get full HP.

    Situational: If you again get hit twice in row to lethal amounts of HP use Masterwork Target Dummy and Juju Escape. If it happens again, make sure healers are paying attention and apply Power Word: Shield as well as Scarab Brooch. A paladin can Blessing of Protection you, if survival is grim until they can replenish your health.


    There is a max of 32 Buffs, avoid getting close to the max as it may result in Buffs getting accidentally pushed off. Talents, Set bonuses and Equip effects don’t count. A Buff Cap Calculator is used to see how many you have and what stacks. Prioritize stockpiling defensive Buffs, ex: Rumsey Rum Black Label before getting Threat Buffs, ex: Juju Might. Here’s a link to Realistic Defensive Buffs. Next are consumables, which also provide passive Buffs but some have instant active effects, ex: Goblin Sapper Charge and Major Healthstone among many others.


    A maximum of 16 Debuffs can be on a target. Having as many Debuffs possible is negligible for dungeons but paramount for raids. There are defensive Debuffs, ex: Insect Swarm and threat Debuffs, ex: Faerie Fire among others. With the raid leader’s permission offer recommendations on optimal Debuffs that suits your needs without overstepping. As rogue tanks, we can provide Gift of Arthas. There’s also Debuffs that come from special events, ex: Hallow's End Pumpkin Treat, will when used, have a 5% chance when struck from foes to apply
    Hallow's End Fright: Time between hits bolstered by 25%.

    Raid Composition:

    With the raid leader’s permission offer your advice on an ideal raid composition that suits to your needs without overstepping. Within our group, we appreciate a warlock with Blood Pact a warrior with Battle Shout, a paladin w/ Devotion Aura, etc… (see video). If we can pick the damage inducing classes to bring to the raid, we prefer ranged classes over melee. And, if melee classes are needed, we opt for rogues. On the Horde, groups with warriors and warlocks should look at having a shaman providing Tranquil Air Totem. A healing druid is welcomed for Insect Swarm.

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  • Initiate



  • Initiate

    @Hardcore-Classic said in Dodge Rogue Tanking in Vanilla!?!? - Rogue Tank Guide by Caperfin:



    Your face is useless

  • @Hardcore-Classic It is written nowhere naxx gear is required but merely the BIS gear for a rogue tank. Take a look at the spreadsheet if offers tons of gear options for your wow content phase.