Assassination Rogue: Ambush Vs. Mutilate (Which is The Best Opener?)

World of Warcraft Guide

Ambush vs Mutilate

Update (8/27/16): with the release of legion this information may or may not be valid anymore

Upon reaching level 10 and speccing to Assassination, Rogues gain the Mutilate ability. However, having just obtained Ambush at level 6, it may be confusing to Rogues who want to maximize damage, which ability to use as a stealth opener. Especially since both abilities do roughly the same damage and award the same amount of combo points.

With that said lets take a look at what each ability does according to

The Math

Knowing this information lets take a look at two hypothetical situations, both in which we have a weapon damage of 200 using each ability.

Example 1: Attacking from stealth using Ambush with a weapon damage of 200. Keep in mind that Ambush only takes into account the weapon damage of your main hand weapon. Damage will be increased by an extra 40% if you have a dagger equipped in either your main hand or offhand.


Damage You Will Do (with a dagger equipped in your main hand or offhand):

Main Hand Weapon: 200+315%= 830

Now we must add the bonus 40% damage for using a dagger in your main hand or offhand:

830+40%= 1,162

Total Damage: 1,162

Example 2: Attacking from stealth using Mutilate with a weapon damage of 200. Keep in mind though that mutilate strikes with both weapons (main hand and offhand) unlike Ambush. So that’s 200 weapon damage for the main hand weapon and 200 weapon damage minus 50%, which equals 100 weapon damage for the offhand weapon (offhand weapons suffer a 50% damage reduction penalty).

Damage You Will Do:

Main Hand Weapon: 200+273%= 746

Offhand Weapon: 100+273%= 373

Total Damage: 1,119

So Which Ability Should You Use?

5sSo after looking at the math, you are probably thinking yeah I will definitely go with Ambush, right? After all, the combined total damage of Mutilate is only 1,119 were as the total damage of Ambush is 1,162. That is roughly 4% more damage. However, If you choose to use Ambush you will be using an inferior opener.

Here’s Why
Using Mutilate over Ambush will provide you with the following benefits:

1.)  Mutilate costs less energy, 55 to be exact (Ambush costs 60). Even though it’s only 5 points less, those extra 5 points will allow you to cast your other abilities and finishers that much sooner.

2.)  Poison damage from each weapon can proc, resulting in more dps. With Ambush poison damage will only proc for the main hand weapon.

3.)  Mutilate gives you an increased chance to proc Seal Fate. Each dagger strike (Mainhand and Offhand) can crit. Providing two chances for a Seal Fate proc. Also, right now (As of patch 6.2) on the ptr when you crit with both weapons using Mutilate, both weapons can proc Seal Fate (two procs). That will net you a total of four combo points from one attack in Legion (don’t know if this will carry over to live though).

4.)  Mutilate has a 30% chance to proc Blindside with makes Dispatch cost no energy, Ambush doesn’t, another overall DPS increase you get by using Mutilate.


Taking into account all the extra passive benefits for using Mutilate over Ambush as an Assassination Rogue, you quickly see that in actuality Ambush really doesn’t do more damage. The raw math that shows the 4-5% damage more than Mutilate doesn’t paint the whole picture. When all things are considered, your spec, your passives etc. Mutilate is the goto ability as far as Assassination specced Rogues are concerned.


Share Your Thoughts

So what stealth openers do you like to use on your Rogue? What spec do you like the most, and what are your thoughts on the Rogue class at this present stage in the game and for the upcoming Legion Expansion? Share your thoughts in the comment section below. 🙂

Also, if you have any questions, comments, suggestions or if you disagree with something in the guide, let me know in the comments as well. I will continue to tweak and modify this guide depending on your feedback or if things in the game change.

Don’t forget to share this game guide with your friends who could use it.


Change Log [Last Updated: 30/4/2016]

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