Playing Rogue: Marksman

Playing Rogue: Marksman

Updated 4 November 2011

The Comprehensive 1.5 Marksman Guide

Thanks to changes in the 1.5 patch, Rogue DPS became a whole lot more versatile. Before this patch, the best ranged spec (as by the traditional bow/gun concept) a Rogue could come up with was the Sozu Ranger build. While this build pumped out respectable numbers, it was never anywhere close to the top of the chart. This left raiding rogues only two real options – the Hoko Sab or Sabdancer builds.

Since 1.5, Rogue DPS has become much more diverse for both melee and ranged. Rogues have been presented with a plethora of new builds; surprisingly, almost all of them have been within a few hundred DPS of each other. This has given Rogues a ton of options to use in end-game raiding. Marksman has come out of the gates with a huge reception, coupling giant DPS numbers and huge group utility.

Welcome to End-game Ranged DPS

Marksman. It has single-handedly changed the face of Rogue raiding. A week ago, melee Rogues were getting stomped by Warriors on the DPS charts and ranged Rogues were more of a novelty for the Piercing Shot debuff and a pet spotter for Johlen and Lord Greenscale. Today, Marksman are pushing the edge as one of the top DPS specs on a raid, easily competitive and more then just “viable” on a raid. But you already knew that; let’s get down to business.

Primary Soul: 51 Marksman

There are several builds to choose from for the Marksman. 51 points in the build is more or less the standard. While 38 and 44 point builds can be equally competitive, to hit the top spot 51 Marksman is all but necessary.

Utility is the name of the game for Marksman. We provide several tools that come in handy on raids. Most importantly, Marksman have a ranged interrupt on a 10-seconds cooldown. Murdantix get pulled out of the melee’s range and about to cast: Deaden to the rescue. How about Nuggo in master mode Darkening Deeps? Keep that sucker purged with a gratuitous helping of Eradicate spam. The water elemental about to reach the bubble in Drowned Halls; knock it back out of range with Repelling Shot and then root it in place for 5 seconds with a Static Shot. Not to mention the Marksman has several tools for getting out of fire. Retreat jumps back 20 meters and On the Double provides a 70% movement speed buff for 5 seconds and it strips all movement impairing debuffs. And the Marksman that slots Riftstalker as a sub soul also gains Shadow Shift, porting forward 15 meters (through lasers too!).

Sub Soul Selection

Here’s where your options open up. Assassin and Ranger are the two popular souls to complement Marksman and both are equally viable. Assassin will pull slightly less DPS (by most accounts, nothing more then a 100 DPS loss) but is infinitely easier to manage. Ranger will pull out the most DPS and position the Rogue squarely at the top end of the chart.

  • Assassin

The Assassin soul brings additional chance to crit and bonuses to crit damage, along with a small amount of raw damage bonus. This soul has no buffs to maintain, making it ideal for intense boss fights where raid awareness is of utmost importance. It’s also great for the lazy raider!

  • Ranger

Pulling the top DPS with this build is no easy matter, and there is even a variant or two that you can use with the Ranger soul. Ranger requires that you maintain two important buffs – Bestial Fury (applied from Head Shot) and Shadow Fire. Shadow Fire is the most important as it adds a 13-14% damage bonus (depending on the build) to all shots.

Variant 1: The “Exposure” build provides the raid with the best possible armor debuff on the mob at a tiny small cost in DPS to the Rogue. It is your choice to take 1 point in Head Shot and try to keep the buff up, or simply take a point in Bolster.

Variant 2: The “Head Shot” build will push the best possible DPS, but require that there is another Rogue on the raid sporting a 3 point Exposure build for maximum raid DPS.

The zero point third soul best options are Riftstalker for Shadow Shift or Infiltrator for Break Free.

Optional Changes: Either of these builds can optionally place the “extra point” in either Riftstalker (Unseen Fury) or Saboteur (Nimble Fingers) for additional attack power or dexterity, respectively. For the lower geared Rogue, one who is not near the crit cap (1187 rating), Saboteur is the better option as dexterity provides both attack power and crit. For a Rogue at or near the crit cap, Riftstalker is the better option.

Synergy Crystals and Predatory Soulstone

Some Marksman/Ranger builds are using Empowered Shot as part of their rotation. Firstly, do NOT use Empowered Shot in your rotation if you do not have the Marksman Synergy Crystal. It is very important to DPS gain to get that instant cast ES. That said, even with the instant ES, the Ranger Crystal in combination with Shadow Fire and the additional mobility makes up for the DPS difference. In a perfect raid environment, ES and the Marksman Crystal will probably net higher DPS, but the margin will be minimal.

If there was any doubt in mind as to whether or not the Predatory Soulstone is worth it, lay it to rest. You WANT it. 100 attack power easily maintained through Shadow Fire every 20 seconds is more then worth it – it’s best in slot.

51 Marksman / 15 Assassin Guide

Point Builder:
#show Empowered Shot
suppressmacrofailures
cast Empowered Shot
cast Lightning Fury*
cast Swift Shot
Finisher:
#show Rapid Fire Shot
suppressmacrofailures
cast Rapid Fire Shot
cast Deadeye Shot
cast Hasted Shot

Buffs: Silver Tip Munitions, Electrified Munitions
Synergy Crystal: Blighted Marksman Crystal

Standard Rotation: Point Builder macro until 5 combo points > Finisher macro
AOE Rotation
: Spam Lightning Fury and Fan Out
Burn Rotation
: Strafe > RFS > Quick Reload > repeat

Cooldowns: Use Strafe when its available, use Bull’s Eye with Deadeye Shot, and use Quick Reload when it’s up following a Strafe + RFS combo.

51 Marksman / 15 Ranger Guide

(Exposure Build)

Point Builder:
#show Crippling Shot
suppressmacrofailures
cast Crippling Shot
cast Lightning Fury*
cast Piercing Shot
cast Quick Shot
Finisher:
#show Rapid Fire Shot
suppressmacrofailures
cast Rapid Fire Shot
cast Deadeye Shot
cast Hasted Shot

Buffs: Silver Tip Munitions, Electrified Munitions, Predatory Instincts
Synergy Crystal: Blighted Ranger Crystal

Standard Rotation: Shadow Fire (on cooldown) > Point Builder to 5 > Finisher
Burn Rotation: Strafe > RFS > Quick Reload > repeat
AOE Rotation: Spam Lightning Fury and Fan Out

Cooldowns: Use Strafe when its available, use Bull’s Eye with Deadeye Shot, and use Quick Reload when it’s up following a RFS + Strafe combo.

 

51 Marksman / 15 Ranger Guide

(Head Shot Build)

Point Builder:
#show Crippling Shot
suppressmacrofailures
cast Crippling Shot
cast Lightning Fury*
cast Piercing Shot
cast Quick Shot
Finisher:
#show Rapid Fire Shot
suppressmacrofailures
cast Rapid Fire Shot
cast Deadeye Shot
cast Head Shot

Rotation and cooldown usage is mostly the same as the Exposure build; the only difference is you need to weave in a Head Shot every 60 seconds to maintain the Bestial Fury buff.

NOTES: Your Piercing Shot does not have 3/3 Exposure so make sure another Marksman on your raid has the Exposure build before you go running around raids with this build. This is an ideal build for 5-man and even 10-man raids where the 505 armor debuff is sufficient. Your 20-man raid team may not care about the missing 72 armor given the moderate personal DPS gain this build has – check with your raid leader.

Parses

Screenshots or it didn’t happen right?

This first parse is of my Guardian Rogue against Murdantix. I’ve shown what builds the other DPS were running for comparison. Aalwein is wearing full T3 gear and a Verdant Archbow, using Ranger Crystal and Greater Essence.

Aalwein T3 Marksman

This next parse is of my Defiant Rogue against Johlen. I’ve again shown a few of the other builds for comparison. Sapporo is wearing mostly T1 or equivalent gear and a Rune Crafted Bow, using no Crystal or Essence. Keep in mind, those Warriors ahead of me are sporting mostly T3 gear.

Sapporo T1 Marksman

Discussion Points

As you would expect, this is all still open to discussion and new discoveries. The patch is still new and hotfixes are still being dropped every few days.

Overall, the Marksman is finally an excellent option for raiding and will likely be one of the more common builds.Is it simply Flavor of the Month? I feel this is likely. As the days pass, more and more melee builds are coming up for Rogues that can push out a bit more DPS, especially Bladedancers and Nightblades. I’ll concede the top DPS spot to the melee considering that they have a much tougher job, as point in fact many boss fights are just unnaturally difficult for melee. Hopefully Marksman has not eclipsed the numbers Trion was searching for and we remain steady at the top of the charts.

As I start to settle in to my Marksman build, I will be experimenting with alternative Ranger builds. I will be tossing around some different builds, swinging off the old Sozu build and going forward to deeper Ranger builds. Keep an eye on Die by the Arrow for more about this in the near future!

Comments

Now, post your comments! How have your builds been going? Do you have a new favorite build or are you staying with the build that has been your rock for the past six months? Drop a comment and let me know how your experience with Marksman and other ranged Rogue builds are going.

Update 28 October 2011

Crossfire can be removed from your AOE rotation. It is not a DPS gain, much as it wasn’t pre-1.5. It is still a very useful skill in many situations, so keep it available. Use it to position mobs when they get away from the tank, keeping you alive for a few extra seconds, and especially for knocking back Bracken in GSB and water elementals in DH.

Also I have adopted a 51 MM / 15 Ranger build as my go-to DPS spec. Being able to switch between Riftstalker and Infiltrator for their zero point abilities is invaluable. The DPS difference is too small to even account for. In fact, it’s actually better to go with 15 Ranger until you have extremely high attack power (upwards of 2000), because 1% raw damage bonus will trump the 3% attack power until you are gaining a significant amount of attack power.

Finally, I wanted to point out that having Lightning Fury in your spam macro may or may not be a very good idea. Be a responsible raider and make sure you aren’t using that macro if any kind of crowd control is being used. *It could also be a net-loss in DPS during long fights due to delaying your finishers.

Update 4 November 2011

I removed the 1 point Riftstalker build – simply because the 15 point Ranger options out-perform until you are at extremely high gear levels (max Hammerknell and beyond). I detailed both the Exposure and Head Shot options.

2 Responses to “Playing Rogue: Marksman”

  1. Die by the Arrow » Blog Archive » Comprehensive 1.5 Marksman Guide Says:

    […] Read “Playing Rogue: Marksman” » […]

  2. Rogue DPS builds Says:

    […] for the posts on the rogue builds – I ran across a couple threads on the Rift forum and this blog Die by the Arrow. Wondering if any of the uber Rogues had any thoughts on these builds? Most are based around 51 MM […]

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