The tier 14 raiding system is a new experiment by Blizzard. I actually see Mists' first batch of raid content as three sub-tiers underneath the tier 14 umbrella. Mogu'shan Vaults is the introductory raid that can be done in mostly blue gear. The Heart of Fear requires purple-equipped raiders and a skilled roster. Finally, the upcoming Terrace of Endless Spring will be a challenge even on normal difficulty. The early heroic bosses have already been toppled, while I expect it will be weeks before we see the difficult Terrace cleared on heroic.
Everybody has to start somewhere, and chances are that you're starting in Mogu'shan Vaults. If you're equipped with a mix of heroic blues and an epic item here or there, you'll be fine in MV. Rogues are performing quite well in MV, in spite of being a melee class. We have several tricks that allow us to maximize our damage against the first six bosses that we face in Pandaria.
First of all, you're going to want to pick up both Elusiveness and the Glyph of Feint immediately. The Feint-boosting talent and glyph will dramatically increase your survivability and will give you the ability to take more punishment. In addition, Shadowstep is the obvious choice for PvE, as it allows you to maintain a higher melee uptime. Survivability and mobility will be the two things that set rogues apart in a raid environment.
The Stone Guard
You're going to want to play combat when facing the Stone Guard. I don't care if you're an amazing assassination rogue or all of your gear isn't reforged optimally for combat. Grab at least one slow weapon and go to town on these dogs with Blade Flurry. You'll be constantly following whatever tank has two dogs to handle. Embrace the cleave and leave Rupture out of your rotation completely.
Feint and Cloak are your best friends here, as they allow you to negate or mitigate any big Overload explosions that could normally kill you. Remember that Feint is no longer free to use, so it is a slight DPS loss as it costs energy. That shouldn't stop you from using it when necessary, but avoid spamming it just for the sake of spamming it. One of the small differences between a good rogue and a great rogue is efficient Feint usage.
Feng the Accursed
During Feng's first phase, he'll be using Epicenter to nuke the raid. While it might seem appealing to stand in Epicenter with Feint up, remember that Epicenter also drops your chance to hit significantly. Unless you can use Cloak to negate the debuff, it's not worth it to stand in an Epicenter. You can use Shuriken Toss if you like to nuke him from the bubble, but I find that it's rarely worth it.
The remainder of the phases should be fairly simple. Keep your eye on the boss, use Shadowstep if you have to run out for a Wildfire Spark, and use your cooldowns often. Rogues don't have to worry about most of the other mechanics. Use Feint to help your healers, and otherwise enjoy one of the simpler fights in Mogu'shan. I expect that many rogues will use Feng as the benchmark fight for this raid instance.
First of all, Feint is worthless against the Voodoo Doll debuff, so don't bother using it at all. Evasion and Cloak are similarly ineffective. When you do get the opportunity to Cross Over, immediately pop a Recuperate. Any healing you receive in the spirit world can increase your Spiritual Innervation buff, and Recuperate counts. Use all of your mobility cooldowns like Shadowstep and Sprint while in the spirit world, as they're useless up top.
If you can time your cooldown usage with reappearing from the spirit world, you can deal a ton of damage. If you can't, that's fine too. You're probably better off using your CDs when available rather than saving them for a minute while waiting out the Voodoo Doll debuff. Don't pop your CDs right before you go down unless you're going to get the full benefit out of them. Glyphed Vendetta can be especially dangerous here. You can also use Smoke Bomb to help your raid avoid a few random shadowy attacks. I suggest saving it for the last 20% burn phase.
The Spirit Kings
Your number one rule on the Spirit Kings is to not use Fan of Knives. Players must deal damage to each other to break everyone out of a soft mind control effect. While Fan of Knives might seem like a useful tool to perform this task, the poisons it leaves behind aren't worth it. Let someone else break the raid out of Maddening Shout and focus on nuking the boss. Otherwise, be prepared to face the wrath of the healers that have to deal with 10 or 25 Deadly Poisons ticking on their raid.
You can provide the most value to your raid by interrupting the two caster bosses effectively. Work with the other interrupters in your raid to form a rotation, call out your interrupts in voice chat, and make sure you have enough energy pooled for Kick. Interrupting the two caster bosses will dramatically lower the amount of damage your raid and tank take. Rogues have a long history of interrupting bosses, so use this opportunity to take a leadership role.
Remember when I told you to pick up Elusiveness and Glyph of Feint? Elegon is why. Elegon might seem unfriendly to melee classes, but it plays right into all of a rogue's strengths. With the focus being on massive AoE damage, Feint and Cloak of Shadows allow rogues to stay in the battle longer. You should be using Feint to mitigate the adds' AoE attacks, to handle the spark's explosion damage, and the passive raid-wide damage during the burn phase. You'll be mashing Feint often, so bind it to a convenient key.
Shadowstep is both a great tool and a great risk on this encounter. Shadowstep can be used to quickly clear your stacks or to get back to the boss, but can also kill you if you teleport to one of the Empyreal Focii. You can use Shadowstep to cross the fire on the ground laid down by the foci, though. I suggest making good use of Shadowstep and Sprint to keep your stacks low while maintaining superior uptime on Elegon himself. Don't get reckless and try to use Shadowstep to save yourself when the floor falls in.
Will of the Emperor
You'll want to use Crippling Poison on this encounter. Will of the Emperor is the only fight in Mogu'shan Vaults that has snarable adds. If you're good at doing the Devastating Combo dance, ask your raid leader if you can stick on the boss to deal massive damage. If you're not good at doing the dance, focus on controlling the adds. Rogues are exceptionally good at control, and this fight lets our utility abilities shine.
The rage-type adds can be slowed and stunned, so they're prime targets for Kidney Shot and Shiv. The courage-type adds must be slowed, so use Shadowstep to get behind them and unload your attacks. The strength-type adds can't be controlled at all, so just focus on Sprinting and killing them quickly. You can use nearly all of your abilities on this encounter.
Titan Gas will buff your DPS significantly, and no adds spawn during Titan Gas, so you will have to learn to dance at some point. If you're worried about being on the receiving end of a Devastating Arc, you can keep Feint active during the combo just in case. Pop all of your cooldowns during Titan Gas to get some effective damage done to the bosses. Don't try to stand with the healers while spamming Shuriken Toss. You will need to learn how to do the combo dance. Practice on LFR if you are worried about dying.
Sneak in every Wednesday for our Molten Front ganking guide, a deep-dive into the world of playing a subtlety rogue -- and of course, all the basics in our guide to the latest rogue gear.