What you need to know about Mutilate spec on TBC

Trademark of the mutilate rogue is dual wielding daggers. The specialization got its name from the effectiveness of the skill Mutilate, which costs 60 energy and grants the rogue 2 combo points as well as major damage. Combined with an improved Kidney Shot, this specialization can be devastating even for classes with a lot of armor. The trade-off are several abilities which are considered essential for the modern TBC rogue in PvP, such as:

Gearing your Mutilate rogue

Playing the mutilate specialization at the start of expansion (season 1) can be attractive due to the general lack of resilience on all players. However, you should remember that you don’t have resilience either. Therefore, you will have to deal with the few disadvantages of your specialization, such as the noticeable lack of mobility. Before going further in this guide, you must accept that this specialization diverges significantly from modern shadowstep rogue gameplay.

It is advised that mutilate is played more enjoyably towards the end of the expansion with T6 4-piece bonus. It requires several PvE items, hence commitment to it means you will probably have to invest yourself as a Core Raider.
This is primarily on account of Armor Penetration (ARPEN) which is found in later game gear. Feel free to check out our article if you want to understand How ARPEN stats affect your damage (soon). As The Burning Crusade content progresses, a rogue is given access to gear which will improve its overall dps, such as Berserker’s Call obtained from Zul’Jin at Zul’Aman, or the 4-piece set bonus of the rogue’s T6.

Experience suggests the following optimization recommendations to unlock the mutilate specialization’s maximum potential:

          • 4 parts of PvP gear
            For +10 energy, resilience and HP bonus – this is essential.
          • Critical Strike rating
            It allows you to chain additional finishing moves (primarily due to the talent Seal Fate which grants an additional combo for abilities that critically hit.)
          • Hit
            It cannot be overstated that a rogue requires 5% of hit rating to avoid missing attacks in PvP.  Quickly one realizes that this is the bare minimum, however. To learn more about hit rating, do not hesitate to consult our article on the subject: Hit and Expertise – Everything you need to know (soon)
          • Two daggers with high dps and moderate speed
            Daggers are necessary for the use of Mutilate ability. A good dagger speed for each hand is 1.80+.
          • As many Off-Set PvE parts possible (trinket, rings ..) available mostly in end-game.

2v2 combos to play the Mutilate spec on TBC

It hopefully transpires that the most significant drawback of the Mutilate spec is that of reduced mobility. In the absence of Shadowstep and Preparation, a rogue is left only with a sprint and a vanish to overcome any movement impairing effects.
Mutilate rogues therefore synergize well with classes offering defensive dispells such as a priest or a paladin. Many 2v2 combinations are possible but not all are viable. If I were to list the top 3 best 2v2 combinations for mutilate rogue, I would place them in the following order:

          • Disc Priest + Rogue (great for beginners)
          • Shadow Priest + Rogue (optimal as far as double dps goes)
          • Double Rogue (to leave the dirty work to the SHS spec)

The list is of course not exhaustive. For example even more exotic combinations such as elemental shaman + rogue can thrive; but the more exotic you go, the more skill is required of individual players.
There are some emblematic videos of mutilate spec in TBC arena such as the one made by Tuska:

          • Vengeful Gladiator Tuska and Boozt – World #1 Spriest/Rogue S3 2700+ TBC [HD]
            First of all, keep in mind that this video was filmed during TBC season 4, i.e in 2008. Since then, Shadowstep has become the most common spec of the high rated arenas on TBC private servers. An arena performance as such has never been observed yet. The use of a mutilate spec in Shadow Priest + Rogue 2v2 was mostly a creation of these two players; and their enemies were hardly prepared for it.

Along with the above, you can also find a few videos showcasing Mutilate rogues in arena on TBC private servers:

Which professions to choose?

As a rogue, the choice of professions is an important part of the evolution of your character and its gearing over the seasons. As a mutilate rogue specifically, no profession is a priority per se, but clearly some are of more interest than others; particularly those that can grant one unique items:

What is the best race to play rogue as Mutilate?

Honestly, just play the race that you enjoy the most. But if we had to do a selection, here is the order.

Orc, Dwarf > UD, Gnome, Bloodelf, Human > Troll, Night Elf

For a more in-depth explanation of the comparative advantages and disadvantages of each race for rogue you can also check our article What is the best race for TBC rogue. For the purposes of this guide, we find that dwarf suits mutilate best as Stoneform allows the rogue to overcome impairments to its mobility, which as we have mentioned is the most significant disadvantage of this specialization.

The Mutilate rogue templates

Like most specializations in each class, there are repeatedly one or more “reference” builds and their variants for more specific uses or simply tweaked according to each player’s tastes. In this section we share two popular builds and a more custom one that I consider more appropriate for the needs of a rogue in arena.

  • Mutilate PvP Outdoor / Battlegrounds Template
  • Mutilate PvP Arena / Battlegrounds Template
  • My custom PvP Mutilate Template (optimized for Shadow Priest/Rogue)

PvP Mutilate Outdoor/Battlegrounds Build

This talent build grants mutilate rogues the highest level of autonomy possible, as it offers: 

          • Ample cooldown reduction and an improved sprint removing roots and snares, which is ideal if not essential for 1v1. This is because the worst enemy of a mutilate rogue is being slowed and kited from his target.
          • The 5% hit required for rogues, particularly helpful when hit gear is unavailable. For more information on this topic you can consult our article Hit for Rogue on Classic The Burning Crusade (soon))

This specialization goes back to the sources of the rogue class, which can be thought of as sneaky, lonely class that comes and kills its enemy before disappearing. It is more suitable for outdoor PvP or Battlegrounds because it leverages your ability to play alone as well as escaping from complex situations by making some of your cooldowns more accessible (evasion) or further improved (gouge, kidney shot, sprint).

PvP Mutilate Arena/Battlegrounds Build

This variation of the mutilate spec is a Subtlety version for better movement in stealth mode. 

          • 3 additional points are invested on the mutilate side and the rest of the points in combat are transferred to the subtlety tree. This second template offers some new advantages:
          • improved sap to guarantee more openers
          • cooldown reduction on vanish and blind which makes a significant difference in an arena environment.
          • Quick recovery to alleviate some pressure from healing partners.

This spec is more suitable for a 2v2 / battlegrounds format.
NB : I took the liberty of  trading Ruthlessness for the Improved Eviscerate talent, though I still advise you to favor Ruthlessness.

Midz Mutilate Rogue/Shadowpriest Arena Build

Here is a 3rd possible variation. This is a template that I optimized to play in 2v2 with a Shadow Priest. Noteworthy characteristics are as follows: 

          • Murder for +2% damage
          • Improved Eviscerate to make the most out of kill windows on Improved Kidney Shot (Mutilate x2 +Eviscerate)
          • Imp expose armor for cloth armor users (with primarily priests and locks in mind)
          • Sleight Of Hand for  -2 % crit against Melee and Ranged granting youmore survivability

The idea behind this specialisation in a Shadow Priest + Rogue context is to harass your target by maximizing both yours and your priest’s burst  on successive Kidney Shots while simultaneously applying pressure for the opposing healer through the longest uptime of poisons possible.

There are probably several other builds, although more rare. We welcome you to share your personal assassination spec with the community on our forum.

Strengths & Weaknesses of Mutilate Spec

As it was mentioned before, playing mutilate is ultimately accepting major handicaps in exchange for taking advantage of certain aspects of the rogue gameplay which are more fun, but also more complex and technical.

We have summarized it for you in this table:

CONSPROS
  • Low mobility: no shadowstep, no preparation
  • Less survivability : No preparation, less cooldowns
  • Not ideal openers vs Rogue, Lock and Hunter teams.
  • 3 minute blind (instead of 90s) depending on your spec
  • Disadvantage vs dwarves (stoneform)
  • Disadvantage vs humans (perception)
  • Requires a lot of investment (PvE gear)
  • GL to find a mate as Mutilate.
  • Easy to learn, hard to master
  • Very good Burst
  • Poisons are easier to stack
  • More opportunities for envenoms
  • Very good though situational peeling
  • Subjectively more fun, objectively more original

Tips for Mutilate spec players

          • Hunters’ poisons (viper / snake) / pets’(scorpid) / other rogues’ … count for your +50% damage bonus when using Mutilate ability!
          • Play with slow daggers to maximize the damage of your mutilate ability but try to have 1 or 2 additional fast daggers for your shiv.
          • Prefer the enchantment Surefooted for your boots.
          • You earn 1 extra combo point when your mutilate crits, so crit is to be prioritised.
          • Resilience can compensate in part for the lack of Preparation.
          • Leave dwarves alone (don’t annoy them).

There are very few combos that require the rogue to be a big burster so all the advantages of the shadowstep rogue (mobility / survival / control) for better damages mutilate rogue are not really necessary. Most of the time your mates will be there to do the DPS part and your role will be more often to create opportunities to win and kill windows  using a blind sap / shadowstep kick.This is why you will never be privileged in the choice of combinations. However. Mutilate remains an interesting variation to play either solo or in the 2v2 bracket.

Mutilate Rogue Movies 

Find more movies on the Silent Shadows Rogue Movies Library (soon)