I am not surprised to see Assassination in a process of climbing some ranks in Warcraft Logs statistics. A number of changes as part of 9.0.5 working together caused Assassination to get a pretty good single target damage again and shoot past the other two Rogue specs in simulations. But where does that come from?
First of all, Assassination got a neat quality of life passive called Tailler dans le vif
in 9.0.5 that reduces the necessity to manually maintain Débiter
during the fight and opens the rotation up for more damage dealing finishers.
Second, all Rogue specs got some buffs to legendaries that were below the top performers. Assassination is the spec where that caused a change in the go-to legendary. Lame-du-destin
is the new top single target pick after it received a decent buff.
And then there were some covenant changes for Rogues. The most notable aspect here is the rework of the Flagellation
ability for Venthyr Rogues. The new covenant ability and the Marques de fouet
conduit on top caused Venthyr to be a very strong single target DPS covenant for Assassination.
All of this together caused the spec to go from a few percent behind Subtlety to around 7% ahead in the default profile sims for this raid tier. After having a very underwhelming start it now seems to be in the kind of area that you would expect a melee DPS spec to be in to make it competitive in a range-heavy meta.
This jump in theoretical DPS is now also surfacing in statistics. Many Rogues didn't play Assassination before the patch and then went to reroll to Venthyr with 9.0.5. Now they are catching up on crafting Assassination legendaries and leveling renown from the covenant changes, so Assassination Rogues are showing that rise in a slower fashion. I'm curious to see when and where it will stabilize in the statistics over the next weeks.
Something that surprises me though is that Outlaw still dominates the number of parses for Rogues. Don't get me wrong, Outlaw is a fun spec and probably, due to their strengths once AoE comes in, still the best all-rounder Rogue spec for the current raid. Nevertheless, I know there are many Assassination fans out there, that have been waiting for the spec to become better again, and I would have expected the shift from Outlaw to be bigger and closer to evening out on single target bosses. Maybe this is also a slower process that is still in the making.
As a closing remark, Subtlety Rogues are now probably preparing their souls for another BfA trauma. With Assassination sprinting ahead that far and Subtlety still lacking a well-defined and demanded niche, the player numbers are falling through the floor again. After BfA, it sure raises sad concerns that we will see a repeat of the spec being abandoned for another while. I have to repeat that Rogues have seen a pattern of not getting better or worse due to tuning but due to a lack thereof. The spec auras for Outlaw and Subtlety have not been touched since the end of 2018 and their performance is all driven by mechanical changes or borrowed power (via legendary or covenant-related tuning).
Destruction right now feels much weaker than it should. The 9.0.5 patch didn't do anything to change this, in fact the only changes we received were buffs to the Venthyr Spell Catastrophe imminente
, and the Necrolord spell Trait de décimation
. These buffs were also relevant for the other two Warlock specs, meaning it doesn't help the state of Destruction very much. Destruction jumped up a couple of ranks after the recent aura buff it received, but this buff really wasn't enough to bring the spec to a point where it's able to compete with Affliction in raid. Naturally, after people have tried out Destruction and realised the aura buff wasn't enough, they then change back to Affliction, meaning Destruction drops down ranks again.
While at the onset of patch 9.0.5
Enhancement perked up a bit, things have started to level out. Many of the buffs were related to the Os de loup de féticheur
build that is very heavily weighted toward pure sustained single-target (that Nathria isn't exactly filled with), and also have some RNG components (namely Main brûlante
and Esprits élémentaires
) that takes a bit more time to really settle the average. The dataset is still fairly low in terms of log count, but things do look better on suitable bosses (like Destroyer
) than before and as its popularity rises we'll probably see the average go up. The build also requires a reasonable shift in gear toward Mastery which has previously been avoided, and since some may not have immediate access to that it could be held back slightly (alongside a potential Night Fae
swap if you want to focus on one fight archetype, though that's a much heavier investment with a downside on other encounters).
With that being said, we are now also seeing a lot more kill strategies that are less friendly to the 1-minute timer of Vents funestes
as farm settles and speed kills become the norm (notably fights like Council of Blood
and Stone Legion Generals
), and when that timer is interfered with the original build suffers a lot more than it used to. It also still remains the only real build choice for AoE situations, so as these logs begin to show more it's likely the average will be hurt even more by that.
Like always though with Enhancement (and other low representation specs), it often takes a while to repopulate logs after a reset so things are likely to fluctuate for a while, especially now that there are two separate builds with logs trickling in slowly.