In Burning Crusade, rogues are less competitive in PvE than they were in Classic. Because their individual damage is often not as high, most raid groups will expect their rogue (or rogues) to apply Improved Expose Armor. This is a debuff that overwrites Sunder Armor and provides more armor reduction which helps increase the physical damage of everyone in the raid. Applying Expose Armor is one way a rogue can be a valuable team member without topping the individual damage dealt meters. In this article I will cover everything you need to know about applying Expose Armor in raids – why to apply expose, when to apply expose, and how to apply expose.

Why Apply Expose in Raids?

The goal of applying Expose in raids is to increase overall raid DPS. Usually, this comes at a slight loss of personal DPS for the rogue but helps everyone else by much more than the rogue loses. Expose Armor provides more armor reduction than Sunder and makes the target take about 3.5% more physical damage compared to using Sunder. This means the total benefit to the raid is higher in raids with more physical damage.

Since Expose and Sunder Armor do not stack, we usually talk about Expose in terms of how much better it is than Sunder Armor. However, not every raid or every mob has a warrior applying Sunder Armor – if there are no Sunder Armors, a rogue applying Expose Armor is both a large personal DPS increase for the rogue and a massive DPS increase for everyone else in the raid.

When Should You Apply Expose in Raids?

Many people ask, “how many physical DPS do I need to have to make Expose worth it?” Since the benefit of Expose scales up with more physical DPS in your raid, it makes sense that there may be raid groups with very little physical DPS where Expose is generally not worth it – but this is very very rare. The number of physical DPS players is not exactly what you want to look at, but instead the total amount of physical DPS. There is a big difference between a Beast Mastery hunter pumping out 1500 DPS and a Feral druid doing 800.

This chart compares different amounts of physical DPS from other players in your raid (excluding your own damage)

Total Physical DPS Personal Loss Raid Gain Net Gain
2000 -75 +69 -6
4000 -75 +138 +63
6000 -75 +207 +132
8000 -75 +276 +201
10000 -75 +345 +270

As you can see, even raids with very little physical DPS are still worthwhile to use Expose Armor. That being said, it is not going to be a huge difference in total raid DPS unless you are stacking a whole lot of physical damage.

The second part of the “when to apply expose?” question has to do with the particular boss you are fighting. Some bosses like Void Reaver or Morogrim are pretty much stand-still DPS fights with 100% uptime (unless you get an unlucky Watery Grave on Morogrim!). These types of bosses are very easy to apply Expose to. Bosses with frequent target switching like Kael’thas where you swap around to dispel Mind Controls are less friendly for applying Expose. Another detriment to applying Expose would be interrupted uptime on the boss – Lurker’s submerge or Gruul’s Ground Slam are examples where you will be forced off the boss periodically. Bosses with target switching or interrupted uptime will incur a greater personal DPS loss for a rogue to apply Expose Armor, beyond what those interruptions would normally cause a rogue to lose in DPS.

It’s difficult to write an exact rule that will tell you when to Expose and when not to, so as a general guideline I say:

If you can maintain both Expose Armor and Slice and Dice, you should. If trying to do both results in you dropping Slice and Dice or Expose Armor at all, you should stop trying to apply Expose Armor.

How to Apply Expose Armor in Raids?

Applying Expose Armor in a raid is a very important job. If you take on this role, you need to understand how significant that armor debuff is.If the Expose debuff drops off, the mob will have no Sunders, no Expose, and gain a whole lot of armor – even in a weak 6000 physical DPS raid the raid will lose around 1,200 damage per second until you can reapply Expose.

There are two very important things to understand when applying Expose Armor. The first is that once the debuff is applied, you must never let it fall off for even a second – the damage loss from it falling off quickly eliminates most of the benefit from applying it in the first place. The second is that every Expose Armor against a boss needs to be a 5 combo point Expose Armor. Any lesser combo point value provides less armor reduction than a 5 stack of Sunder Armor.

To open up, I usually start with a Sinister Strike into a 1 point Slice and Dice. From there, I build up for a 5 point Expose. Most of the time I will burn Adrenaline Rush in order to build up to the 5 point Expose Armor faster. After the opening sequence, exactly what you do will vary based on how many Ruthlessness, Relentless Strikes, and Combat Potency procs you are getting.

Throughout a boss fight, you will need to reapply Expose Armor. If you start building up combo points for an Expose refresh when the previous one has around 18-19 seconds remaining, you will very often (roughly 98% of the time) safely reach 5 combo points in time to refresh Expose. The 11-12 seconds after refreshing Expose before building for the next one are where you want to get a big Slice and Dice cast, and sometimes you will even be able to fit a Rupture in. Ideally, you want enough Slice and Dice duration so that it does not fall off during your build up for the next Expose refresh.

A nice strategy is to save Thistle Tea (read also: must-have consumables) until the very end of a boss fight and not use it with your other cooldowns like your normally would. This allows you to keep it available just in case you get yourself in some unlucky circumstance and need extra energy to refresh an Expose before it falls off. Saving Thistle Tea for this use makes your Expose Armor uptime much more reliable and consistent and is something I think is very good. If you make it to the last ~30 seconds of the fight without needing Thistle Tea, then you can burn it for some extra damage.

It is important to understand that Expose Armor and Slice and Dice are your main priorities. It is very rarely safe to go for a Rupture – if casting Rupture would cause you to drop Slice and Dice or Expose, it’s almost certainly not worth it.
Remember the rule: “If you can maintain both Expose Armor and Slice and Dice, you should. If trying to do both results in you dropping Slice and Dice or Expose Armor at all, you should stop trying to apply Expose Armor.”

Outside of bosses, you can provide some benefit on trash mobs as well. Any mob that isn’t being Sundered by a warrior is a mob where you can apply Expose and really substantially increase the raid’s damage output. Even on mobs tanked by warriors – if I get to 5 combo points before they get to 5 Sunders, I’ll slap and Expose up on that mob.

Expose Armor is often a thankless job because it is not reflected in your personal damage meters. Some raid teams will not recognize the value of this debuff, but quality teams will know that your personal damage dealt is not the only thing you contribute to the team. Being a rogue in PvE in Burning Crusade is about being a team player, and Expose Armor is a great way you can contribute!


Simonize is a long-time Rogue player from original Vanilla, Burning Crusade, and Wrath of the Lich King. Primarily focused on PvE, he is the author of two rogue damage simulation spreadsheets – one for Classic and one for The Burning Crusade.
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