Ah, Bloodstalker. This is the build that redefines “one-trick pony”. If you need anything other than single-target DPS on a raid boss, then this is probably not what you’ll use.
But when you can pull it off, it’s worth it. Bloodstalker will do more single-target damage than any other spec in the right circumstances.
At this point, you may be wondering “What is Bloodstalker?”. It’s the common nickname given to a hybrid Assassin/Riftstalker build, mainly because mixing the two soul names together wasn’t particularly appealing. Bloodstalker combines the powerful bleeds from Assassin with the crit and damage bonuses from Riftstalker’s teleports in order to maintain very high single-target DPS.
When should I use Bloodstalker?
Almost never, unfortunately. The list of drawbacks is as long as your arm, and that means that on many encounters, it’s just not worth using. Bloodstalker excels at melee-friendly straight-up burn fights, but suffers when forced out of melee range or when AoE is needed. Also, if you’re unable to stand behind the target, damage output will drop significantly. Third, Bloodstalker is the most energy-starved DPS spec in the game, so without an energy cost reduction buff, it’s completely unplayable. Fourth, without the assassin synergy crystal bonuses (tier 1 4-piece at minimum, and preferably Hammerknell 4-piece), it’s not worth using.
Lastly, the rotation is significantly more complicated than most other specs, which can make it difficult to use on any encounter that demands high awareness, such as General Silgen. Bloodstalker is not a spec for beginners, or for those who want to deal decent damage without a great deal of effort. For those who are used to fairly simple rotations like Ranger or Nightblade, Bloodstalker will be a bit of a wake-up call.
For bosses like Sicaron, Murdantix, and Beruhast, though, Bloodstalker’s high DPS is often worth the effort.
- Extremely high single-target DPS
- High survivability thanks to Rift Guard and Planebound Resilience, as well as the ability to switch to Guardian Phase in truly dire circumstances
- Lots of mobility
- Very low AoE damage
- Zero utility (no interrupts, or purges, or… anything, really)
- Requires melee range, and needs to be behind the target
- Complex rotation
- Requires synergy crystal
- VERY energy starved
Bloodstalker is a mix of Assassin and Riftstalker, with the leftover points thrown into Marksman. This is the standard build.
If desired, it’s possible to switch some points around to pick up a few abilities (such as Slip Away or an interrupt), but on fights where you’d need any of those things, Bloodstalker is generally not worth using in the first place.
You’ll want to use the following buffs: Stalker Phase, Virulent Poison, Lethal Poison, Baneful Touch, and Planebound Resilience. If someone else is providing the 5% crit debuff, then you can use Leeching Poison instead of Lethal Poison to help the healers out a bit.
You’ll also want the following macros.
cast Savage Strike
cast Swift Shot
cast Savage Strike
cast Swift Shot
cast Expose Weakness
#show Shadow Assault
cast Shadow Assault
cast Shadow Blitz
cast Shadow Stalk
Additionally, you’ll want an addon of some kind to track buffs and debuffs. You need to track the following: Impale’s duration, Ruthless Stalker’s duration, Annihilate’s duration, if Expose Weakness is not active on the target, and the remaining cooldown on Poison Malice. Karuul Alert works well for this. When set up properly, you’ll end up with something like this:
Single Target Rotation
As mentioned before, Bloodstalker’s rotation is complex.
Finishing move priorities, in order.
- Keep Ruthless Stalker up by pressing the Shadow Assault macro every 8-10 seconds. Ideally, try not to use Shadow Assault or Shadow Blitz when you’re already at 4 combo points.
- Keep Annihilate up. Try to refresh it just as it’s about to run out.
- Keep Impale up. Never use it without both Ruthless Stalker and Annihilate active.
- Use Final Blow as soon as Expose Weakness wears off, even if you’re below 5 combo points.
For combo point builders, mash the Puncture macro (switch to the other CP builder macro when you’re at 4 combo points). Use Poison Malice on cooldown, unless you need to save it for some reason (IE if the boss forces you out of melee range).
At the very beginning of the pull, try to stealth in and use Expose Weakness->Shadow Step (or Shadow Stalk)->Jagged Strike.
As a Bloodstalker, you should lead off an AoE situation by opening your talent pane and switching to another spec. If it’s too late and you’re already in combat, then use Rift Disturbance and Fan Out, while keeping Ruthless Stalker active.
Despite the severe limitations, Bloodstalker is the best at what it does. Mastering it will give you great bragging rights on DPS race fights like Sicaron and General Silgen, but it’ll take a lot of practice to reach that point.