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Encrypted Text: Guide to Rogue gear for new raiders

Every Wednesday, Chase Christian of Encrypted Text invites you to enter the world of shadows, as we explore the secrets and mechanics of the Rogue class. This week, we'll discuss gearing options for a Rogue who wants to break into the raiding scene.

Last week, we looked at what stats are important for a PvE Rogue, and how those stats interact with each other and why they're important. To summarize, hit and expertise ratings are very important until you reach a few key milestones, after which the pure damage options like Agility and Attack Power become more attractive.

The key is to be over 99 hit rating (the Yellow Hit Cap - YHC) but under 315 hit rating (the Poison Hit Cap - PHC) and to never be over 214 expertise rating (the Expertise Cap - EC)? If you look in the right places, reaching these numbers becomes fairly simple. Bind on Equip Leatherworking goods, Heroic drops, and reputation rewards will form the core of your gear as a newly 80 Rogue. Let's explore where to find the right type of gear to prepare you for that Naxxramas raid next weekend. Much of this information can be found at Shadow Panther, however I have collected the pieces that specifically sport Hit or Expertise that can be acquired in 5 man Dungeons or below. Remember that the PHC and EC are "caps" and not necessarily goals, and that you shouldn't sacrifice other stats to reach these goals unless you have used a spreadsheet to determine which is the better piece of equipment.

Head:
*Heroic Oculus, Ley Guardian Eregos: Mask of the Watcher (meta socket, 62 Expertise rating)
Engineering, BoP Epic: Weakness Spectralizers (meta socket)

The Mask of the Watcher is stacked with Expertise and a comfy socket for your Relentless Earthsiege Diamond, making it the perfect pickup if you don't mind the Oculus. Engineers have an alternative option: Weakness Spectralizers. While they don't have any hit or expertise, they are among the top PvE Rogue helms currently and can be gemmed accordingly.
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Neck:
*Heroic Emblem reward, 25 Emblems of Heroism: Pendant of the Outcast Hero

There aren't many amulet options that have Expertise or Hit, but I recommend picking up this necklace anyway. It's among the lower priced Emblem gear, and can be obtained after just a few days' Heroics.
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Shoulders:
Heroic Nexus, Grand Magus Telestra: Spaulders of the Careless Thief (red socket, 33 Hit rating)
*Leatherworking, BoE Epic: Trollwoven Spaulders (28 Expertise rating)

If gemmed for hit rating, these shoulders sport more hit rating than any other pair in the game. Nexus is one of the easier Heroic instances and has a few other key Hit Rating items, and so I recommend running it first and running it often if you are working to gear yourself for 10 man raids. An alternative option for shoulders are the Trollwoven Spaulders. These BoE shoulders have 28 Expertise rating and beat out all other pre-raid shoulders for Rogues. Look into these if you need additional Expertise.
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Cloak:
*Heroic Violet Hold, Erekem: Cloak of the Gushing Wound (29 Hit rating)
Heroic Halls of Light, Volkhan: Shroud of Reverberation (31 Expertise rating)

While both of these cloaks aren't quite as potent as the BoE Ice Striker's Cloak for total DPS, they can be useful for augmenting hit or expertise if you are close to reaching one of their respective caps.
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Chest:
*Heroic Nexus, Keristrasza: Crystal-Infused Tunic (red and yellow sockets, 51 Hit rating)
Heroic Azjol-Nerub, Krik'thir: Custodian's Chestpiece (45 Expertise rating)

The Crystal-Infused Tunic was the first level 80 blue I ever equipped, and it was only replaced by my T7 chest. It's got 2 sockets for maximum flexibility when trying to fine tune your stats, and has a large chunk of the hit rating that you'll need already on it. If you're looking good on hit rating and want to upgrade to a stronger piece of gear (or you need the Expertise), check out Azjol-Nerub for the Custodian's Chestpiece.
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Wrist:
The Oculus, random BoE drop: Drake-Champion's Bracers (29 Hit rating)
*Heroic Utgarde Keep, Skarvald: Bindings of the Tunneler (25 Expertise rating)

Drake-Champion's Bindings are another great blue BoE that you can pick up from the AH if you're lucky. There are better bracers available, but if you want a pair with hit, these are your only option until 25 man Naxxramas. Bindings of the Tunneler are lower quality, but if you need the Expertise these are definitely an option
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Hands:
*Heroic Utgarde Pinnacle, King Ymiron: Gilt-Edged Leather Gauntlets (66 Hit rating)
Heroic Emblem reward, 60 Emblems of Heroism: Heroes' Bonescythe Gauntlets (yellow socket, 33 Hit rating)

King Ymiron in Heroic UP drops the very hit-stacked Gilt-Edged Leather Gauntlets, which make it easy to acquire a quarter or more of the total hit you need from a single item. This can open up other gear opportunities in other slots, I recommend trying to acquire a pair of these (along with the trinket he drops) if you have the opportunity. If you're sitting on Emblems of Heroism (I am), you can also grab the T7 gloves which are a great choice for trying to achieve the set bonuses.
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Waist:
Heroic Azjol-Nerub, BoE blue: Treasure Seeker's Belt (yellow socket and belt buckle socket, 41 Hit rating)
*Leatherworking, BoE Epic: Trollwoven Girdle (belt buckle socket, 38 Expertise rating)

Both of the best belt options are BoE, and so you have the choice of checking the Auction House for one of these items or gathering the materials for the Trollwoven Girdle and having a Leatherworker craft it for you. The Treasure Seeker's Belt can be loaded up with whatever stat you are lacking by adding an Eternal Belt Buckle and giving yourself 2 sockets to work with.
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Legs:
Heroic Gundrak, Gal'darah: Gored Hide Legguards (52 Hit rating)
*Reputation reward, Kirin Tor Revered: Mind-Expanding Leggings (red socket (with +Hit socket bonus), 62 Expertise)

Blizzard has given us a few different choices of raiding pants, including the BoE Chain Gang Legguards and the reputation reward Azure Strappy Pants; however there are better options. Gored Hide Legguards are the best pants you'll see until T7, and Mind-Expanding Leggings sport more Expertise than any other pants in the game. Look to either of these items to bring in a huge chunk of your required stat of choice.
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Feet:
*Reputation reward, Argent Crusade Exalted: Boots of the Neverending Path (66 Hit rating)

Nothing outside of a raid can compete with these incredibly solid boots from the Argent Crusade. I would recommend sporting their tabard in your 80 dungeons as soon as possible. Having very solid and simply acquired items like these boots allow greater flexibility in other slots, and will make managing your hit and expertise far easier.
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Ring:
*Heroic Culling of Stratholme, Chrono-Lord Epoch: Mobius Band (25 Hit rating)
Heroic Gundrak, Gal'darah: Hemorrhaging Circle (33 Expertise rating)

While the Ring of Scarlet Shadows may look attractive, it is only middle-of-the-pack as far as Rogue rings go. I would recommend running Heroic Culling of Stratholme (while working on your Bronze Drake) and shooting for the stronger Mobius Band. Gal'darah in Gundrak drops the Hemorrhaging Circle, one of the better rings for a Rogue in game right now. He also drops the pants mentioned earlier in this article, so you have a high percent chance of getting something worth wearing if you can defeat him.
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Trinket:
Heroic Emblem reward, 40 Emblems of Heroism: Mirror of Truth (it's awesome)
*Heroic Nexus, Keristrasza: Sphere of Red Dragon's Blood (55 Hit rating)

By running the Heroic Nexus, you'll have a shot at 3 different raiding pieces of gear; and it is the easiest Heroic to boot. There are a few better trinkets available, but with up to 7 classes rolling on the same physical DPS trinket, you will want to secure whatever you can as soon as possible. The Mirror of Truth should always be in one of your trinket slots, as it is really a best-in-slot (BIS) item (by a large margin) unless you can afford a Darkmoon Card: Greatness.
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Ranged:
Heroic Utgarde Keep, Ingvar: Drake-Mounted Crossbow

The Drake-Mounted Crossbow is one of the easier ranged weapons to acquire, and is worth more in your ranged slot than any other item outside of 25 man Naxxramas. If you can't pick this up (and please don't take it over a Hunter), then Lillehoff's Winged Blades are an option.
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Weapons:
Heroic Halls of Lightning, random BoE drop: Librarian's Paper Cutter
Heroic Gundrak, Moorabi: Fist of the Deity (25 Hit rating)
Reputation reward, Wyrmrest Accord Honored: Fang of Truth (33 Hit rating)

If you're Mutilate, dual-wield Librarian's Paper Cutters. There is no better weapon until you're able to raid Naxxramas. If you're Combat, you are likely MH Fist / OH Sword, in which case the Fist of the Deity is a very solid MH weapon and has a spot of hit on it as well. The Fang of Truth is an ample OH for Combat as well (sporting 33 Hit) although you will want to spreadsheet your Off Hand items every time as there is a very intricate relationship between Combat Rogue OH weapons and Combat Potency.
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Summary:
If you used all of the above items with an asterisk (a *) by the name, ungemmed and unenchanted, your Rogue could have 317 Hit rating and 215 Expertise rating, letting you reach both the Expertise Cap (EC) and the Poison Hit Cap (PHC) without sacrificing ANY gems or enchants at all! As you explore more raiding content, you may find that there are upgrades that transcend these caps and the rules around them. Always theorycraft your gear in a spreadsheet to ensure that you're making the right gearing choices for your Rogue.

Filed under: Rogue, Instances, Raiding, Factions, Guides, (Rogue) Encrypted Text

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