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Rogue DPS Builds: Bloodstalker Guide

By on Jul 16, 2012 at 9:42 am, in Article, Guides, RIFT  |  Comments: 9 comments

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.

Strengths

  • 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

Weaknesses

  • 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

Talents
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.

Abilities

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.

#show Puncture
suppressmacrofailures
cast Backstab
cast Puncture
cast Savage Strike
cast Swift Shot

#show Backstab
suppressmacrofailures
cast Backstab
cast Savage Strike
cast Swift Shot

#show Annihilate
cast Annihilate
cast Expose Weakness

#show Shadow Assault
suppressmacrofailures
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.

  1. 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.
  2. Keep Annihilate up. Try to refresh it just as it’s about to run out.
  3. Keep Impale up. Never use it without both Ruthless Stalker and Annihilate active.
  4. 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.

AoE Rotation

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.

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  • Verbie

    This is my favourite rogue spec, can use it for almost every encounter expect akylios in t1-t2 raids. For ID it’s not so melee friendly. But for t1-t2 raids is THE best dps spec for rogues. And if you just got 2-3 brain cells then it’s not too complex, an easy for bosses such as silgen imho…

    • Richard Whiting

      There are many fights in T1/T2 where Bloodstalker is just a bad idea, including any boss where you can’t stay behind them (IE the last boss of RotP), any fight where you frequently have to leave melee range (King Molinar, Duke), or any fight where you need AoE (Zamira, Hydriss, Greenscale).

      While you CAN use Bloodstalker on most of those fights, it’ll fall short of optimal, and lag behind other specs.

  • http://profiles.google.com/exim.test exim storm

    I would like to see a rogue pull this spec off on Ituziel :P

    • Richard Whiting

      It’s been done. I know that at least one of Voodoo’s rogues used it during Ituziel progression. If you use melee-unfriendly positioning, though, it may not be worth it.

  • dfsg

    lol in HK the only fights where BS spec isnt viable are, King Molinar, Inwar Darktide, and Akylios himself… zilas it owns on, have your mages or dedicated side ppl if you even need them, if your guild isnt just blowing him up and ignoring the sides, same with matron, you can just blast her w.o clearing her stacks. even on Grug its not that bad, just takes a little getting used to w. timing. obvioiusly u want to run this on murd, sic, prime, garau (with reversal ON), estrode

    • Richard Whiting

      There’s a difference between viable and optimal. It’s good for Zilas, but I prefer Marksman, Bladedancer, Ranger, or Sab, all of which have AoE, and also have various utility which can be very helpful (interrupts for imps, ranged DPS for spirits, etc). For Grug it can be risky, because you need to stand a little behind him for Backstab, and you may get tail swiped. I’d prefer Nightblade, Bladedancer, or Ranger.

      For Matron, Bladedancer and Nightblade are better for cleaving down adds. You can use Bloodstalker, but it doesn’t really offer much.

      Once those bosses are on farm it’s fine to run the spec. For guilds that are still progressing on the fights, utility is often more valuable, because mechanics are more likely to be a stumbling block than the trivial DPS checks.

      • dsfg

        fair enough, progressing guilds, you prolly shouldnt run BS on some of thoes fights, however ill disagree with you on matron and zilas. rogue aoe is pretty bad, aside from sab, but in both of thoes 2 fights the adds SHOULD die b4 sab would really start to ramp up, then you are left with the very low ST sab yields. let your warriors cleave cleave on zilas and matron. in 90% of fights you wont need more than 1 mm, and most guilds rogues will rotate that duty, some have dedicated ppl that will always be interrupter or purger or whatever. also every warr has an 8sec cd interrupt in their main dps spec. if theres interrupts to be done and they arent interrupting, get new wars imo

        • Richard Whiting

          Zilas and Matron are borderline examples, I’ll admit, but my basic reasoning is this:

          If you’re progressing, I’d say it’s useful to be versatile, because while people are learning the fight, they will mess up and die, and if you’re able to jump in and cover their job while they get rezzed (or while burning through the last 10-20%), then you have a reasonable chance of salvaging a wipe, or at least surviving longer and seeing more of the fight. Bloodstalker doesn’t have the tools to fill any of those jobs on fights.

          For progression, I tend to only use Bloodstalker when higher DPS has a meaningful impact on the fight’s difficulty– for instance, great DPS can be a huge help on Sicaron, so it’s generally worth what you give up by not using Marksman. On the flip side, a guild that’s still working on Grugonim might want ranged DPS who can move out of Seismic Disturbance after a rough tower phase or cover interrupts on towers while the melee are running over.

          As always, it’s a question of what you need to kill the boss, and each spec has different tools.

  • Zyzyx

    “Use Final Blow as soon as Expose Weakness wears off, even if you’re below 5 combo points.”

    Is incorrect

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