Forward By James (Lilia):
This is N0t0ri0us’ PVE Saboteur master infiltrator build. N0t0 and I decided to write it up for several reasons. Firstly, being in the same guild, we run together very frequently and we often have no idea who will come out on top of the DPS until the very end of the run. A build like N0t0’s ought to be available to TRs that would like an alternative and whose play style may not sync up as well with executioner builds. Secondly, because N0t0 was pestered by me on a daily basis to write it up. Sorry man. Next time, you’ll know to save yourself the aggravation! 😉 Thirdly, because very few rogues play sabo builds anymore, and because we both like variety. Similar to how everyone plays a Destroyer build to do massive DPS on GWFs, the vast majority of rogues use Executioner builds because it’s a more straightforward way to deal big damage.
This is N0t0’s build. Although the write up was collaborative, the build itself is all N0t0. Mostly, all I did was help him edit it for ease of reading, ask for clarification on parts I was unsure about, and occasionally hit the spellcheck button.
And, maybe, a picture or two…
Feel free to comment, or ask us any questions you have. Most of the questions on this build N0t0 will answer, as he is much more familiar with saboteurs than I am.
N0t0’s Sabo Build
When we talk about Saboteur builds, the natural comparison to Executioners always comes up. I came to the conclusion some time ago that, generally speaking, executioners do not exceed in dealing great damage to mobs when compared to other classes and specs, mostly because Shadows of Demise (SOD) has no time to activate. However, Executioners can deal high damage to bosses with SOD essentially giving an extra 50% damage. To put it simply, from a scale of 1-10 in terms of damage, Executioners rate a 6 for mobs and 10 for bosses. My Sabo build, on the other hand, would be an 8 for mobs and an 8 for bosses. The way my build works is quantity over quality. It hits with a lot of powers continuously rather than hitting super hard every X amount of seconds. When played the right way, Saboteurs can be very effective DPSers and can be really rewarding for players.
Saboteurs that deal excellent damage are not unicorns.
But, if they were, they’d totally stab you with their head and look totally, um, enthusiastic?
Humans do it better! I love having those extra 3 heroic feat points because I think they out weigh the 2 additional ability scores other races have. Half-orcs and Dragonborns should be just fine. I, personally, don’t like Drow because they can’t put as much in their strength stat as the others. I haven’t tested any other race, myself, but I don’t think that the other races will be able to dish out as much DPS as Humans, Orcs, or Dragonborn. The idea is to get dexterity and strength as high as possible. The other races generally offer things like survivability, more deflect, intelligence, etc. As a TR, these are not as useful.
My starting ability scores maximized strength above dexterity and charisma. I started with 18 strength, 16 dexterity, and 12 charisma, with the extra two ability score points going into strength. Put your extras, as you level up, into strength and dexterity. Charisma isn’t super important for the build. You can refer to James’ blog post here for more information on why that is the case.
My bonding runestones give me about +30% critical chance, which brings me to somewhere around 93%. So, I prioritize strength above dexterity. I could push my crit up to 100%, but when you get above 90%, you’ll get a lot more extra damage from your strength than that extra amount of crit from dexterity. Plus, crit is easy to get from other sources if needed.
- Armor pen to 60%.
- Critical Strike to 90%. Crit (to 90%) is my favorite stat above power and recovery. I know a lot of TRs point out that we get so much stealth, putting points into critical strike is a waste. With my build, you’ll be dealing just as much damage out of stealth as in stealth, so it is an absolutely necessary stat.
- Power. It’s rather easy to stack and, even though the extra % damage each point in power gives you becomes less and less as you progress towards BIS, it will still increase your overall damage.
- Recovery. It may seem odd to stack this, because Saboteurs have two awesome feats that give you amazing cool downs. But, I highly recommend having at least a 5000 recovery because it keeps Impossible to Catch (ITC) and Smoke Bomb cool downs at just under 14 seconds. My preferred amount is around 8000, even though the more recovery you have the less those two feats are actually effective because of your shorter cool downs. I don’t remember for sure, but I think after 12000 recovery Shady Preparations becomes useless, so don’t over stack.
Note: Bonding Runestones play a big part in my build, and if you are not as fortunate to have rank 12’s, prioritize 60% Armor pen, and after that, critical strike and power are more important than anything. For those of you who are just starting their builds, I suggest going with as much recovery and power as possible. And, as you go along building your TR, work in as much critical strike as possible. The recovery will help you with major survival, using encounters, and gaining action points. Stacking power allows the user to hit harder.
- Life Steal: I’ve thought over this so many times and tried just about everything. Life Steal is every DPSer’s best friend. For Trickster Rogues, 20% life steal is just about all you need.
- Deflect: Once you reach 20% Life Steal, I suggest deflect. 75% deflect severity is great and makes this stat much more useful than defense for TRs. 40-50% deflect chance is fairly easy to get and easily your third best defense against hits behind dodge and ITC. James’ blog post here, helps explain why deflect is better than defense for TRs.
- Hit Points: I don’t dwell on HP because, defensively, you have to go out of your way to stack it.
Note: I like to use Foehammer’s Favor Elixirs which increase deflection severity by 10%. For the most part, Sabos get the benefit of cool down speed which makes ITC, combined with a Foehammer’s Elixir, able to eat just about anything other than boss’s most powerful hit and boulders from FBI. But, for the times in between ITCs, which is around about 5-6 seconds with 5000 recovery, dodge. Dodging is the ultimate survival tool.
Personally, I love playing Whisperknife and it has the potential to do pretty good damage. Master Infiltrators simply deal more damage because of Invisible Infiltrator (+20% damage for 5 seconds), and Infiltrator’s Action (with the offhand weapon power, 5% damage for 20 seconds). Both of these powers proc off of your daily, and we get out dailies pretty fast since we let off encounters constantly. This makes those two class powers and consequently, the MI paragon path, irreplaceable.
Action advantage: +4% additional action points for dealing CA damage. I put 2 points in this for a place holder, because stamina and reduced threat are more of a waste.
weapon mastery: +3% Critical strike. More critical strike is good.
Toughness: +9% Maximum Hit Points. Because, it’s the easiest way to get more hit points.
Cunning Ambusher: +6% damage when leaving stealth for 6 seconds. This is one of Saboteurs’ MOST important feats. It’s much more important for Saboteurs than Executioners. As a Saboteur, I am leaving and entering stealth so much, that I consistently have 2 Cunning Ambushers up for +12% damage. I often have 3 up for +18% damage, which is where stacking recovery comes in handy.
Endless Assault: +6% to encounter damage. This is another extremely important feat since we use encounters so much.
Lucky Skirmisher: +3% deflect chance. This gives us a higher chance of eating some damage.
Scoundrel Training: +9% at-will damage to foes not targeting you. This is good because we don’t usually draw agro and we stealth so often. More damage is always nice.
Disciple of Strength: Increases the amount of bonus damage strength gives you by 6%. This makes our Strength ability score that much better.
Note: I’m human. So, if you are not, ditch 1 point in Lucky Skirmisher, Scoundrel Training, and Action Advantage
This is our bread and butter. Nothing is useless during any moment of combat. Whether I am fighting bosses or fighting mobs, all of these feats are being used.
Flashing Blades: When you leave stealth you get 5% damage with your at wills. Combined with 2x Cunning Ambushers, we get +17% damage which is a nice bonus.
Shady Preparations: Entering stealth reduces cool downs by 10%. Once again, we enter stealth so much that this is a must.
Knife’s Edge: Activating your daily reduces cool downs by 15%. This is an interesting feat since we use Invisible Infiltrator sequence: Use Daily–> cool down reduction and get stealth bar–> shaving off seconds from your encounters.
Gutterborn’s Touch: When you are behind your target, hitting them gives you +10% power and you ignore 10% of their armor for 6 seconds. I use Gutterborn since it lasts for 6 seconds and activates on mobs and bosses effectively. Also, since all mobs have 50% or below damage resistance (as far as I know to date), and bosses have 60% DR, all you need to do is stack a maximum of 50% armor penetration. This will give you another 10% for the bosses, and you won’t need to worry about getting your resistance ignored to 60%.
Ambushers Haste: While in stealth you deal 25% more damage that decreases as your stealth bar fills. Even though it says up to 25% damage and that damage diminishes, you go through stealth so fast that you won’t even feel the damage loss.
One with the Shadows: When your encounter power deals damage, your stealth bar is refilled and encounters deal 20% more damage. The most important feat of them all. It gives you your stealth bar back, and increases encounter damage. Easy to understand.
Note: If you’re lacking on critical strike, take Grinning Steel (attacks behind your target give you +5% critical strike) instead of Gutterborn’s Touch. I don’t personally use it since I have 93% critical chance. But, if you need it, it’s there.
Roll with the Punches: +2.5% deflect or
Bloody Brawler: +2.5% life steal. Either one is fine. It depends on if you need the extra life steal. If you aren’t to 20% yet, take the Bloody Brawler. I personally go with RollWTP because I already have 21% life steal.
Press the Advantage: +10% power when you use ITC. ITC not only give you protection, it also beefs you up, and you get ITC often, so its hard to overlook this.
Back Alley Tactics: When your action points are empty, deal 25% more damage which reduces as your action points refill. This is a must have. You might think, “didn’t you say earlier that you get action points fast?” Well, yes I did. But, when you pop that Lurker’s Assault, you get 30% damage+ invisible infiltrator’s 20% damage + Infiltrators action’s 5% damage + Ambushers Haste’s 25% damage + Back Alley Tactics’ 25% damage, the burst is FLIPPIN’ AMAZING.
This build emphasizes sustained DPS rather than burst DPS. These are the powers I use During the majority of my dailies, and Dungeon runs.
Duelist Flurry: This at-will is every TR’s go to for damage. The most important part of DF are the bleed stacks which are always doing the majority of your damage. After that, the next most damage is usually coming from the Duelist Flurry hits themselves, so, yeah.
Cloud of Steel: COS is nice because of the ranged attack. For instance, after dodging or waiting for an AOE to finish, COS helps keep your DPS up, even though you can’t get close at that second. And, every little edge you can get helps. (Heh, no pun intended)
Impossible To Catch: Combined with Foehammer’s Elixir, this gives us great survivability. Plus, the additional 10% power every 5- 6 seconds that lasts 5 seconds? It’s too good to pass up.
Smoke bomb: It has the same cool down speed as ITC and one of THE BEST control powers in the game that even affects control resistant monsters including bosses.
Dazing Strike: It already has an extremely low cool down, even before the Sabo feats and recovery. I can pop it off so much that I can call myself a Control Wizard TR. I also have an additional 20% control bonus from two tier 5 boons that make Dazing strike a little better, even if that control bonus isn’t really for dazing strike. More on that in a sec…
Path of the Blade: I know, right? Why would you even bother? Well, Path of the Blade can stack multiple times. I’ve had as many as 3 POTB active at once. The cool down speed in this build is so great that with this encounter, in mobs, combined with smoke bomb, the damage I can do is amazing.
Lurkers Assault: This gives us incredible burst damage against bosses. I’m always using Lurkers Assault. It is our all around best DPS daily. Important Note: LA does NOT allow you to gain action points through your damage while it is active.
Courage Breaker: Many people don’t consider CB to be all that great. But, if you’re using CB every 10 seconds, like I can, you’re getting a permanent buff to your power. So, instead of massive burst damage every 20 – 30 seconds with Lurkers (see note above), CB gives you constant bonus damage forever. 1) You gain action points while CB is active. 2) It gives you power based on already buffed power, Clerics buffs, bonding stones buff, etc. 3) It has the added effect of controlling a boss for 10 seconds, and with the 20% control bonus from my boons, my 10% control bonus from wisdom, and my control bonus stat, CB lasts 13 seconds. Adding more control bonus from companions, etc., can extend that time even longer.
Whirlwind Of Blades: Amazing mob killer that gives you the biggest damage boost out of all of your dailies. It makes it seem like everything is hot butter and you’re an even hotter knife. For more on how it works, see James’ blog post here.
Invisible Infiltrator: +20% damage and stealth back after using a daily. This feature is what makes MI the best option.
Infiltrator’s Action: +5% damage (with offhand weapon power), and Combat advantage for 20 seconds after using daily.
Since I don’t have all Best in Slot gear, I’m limited as to what equipment I can get for what I need. Originally, I was running with two Dragon Flight Raid arms and head, Umbral raid vest, and Elemental Drowcraft raid boots, trying my best to maximize power and crit with those gear pieces. Now I run with Jaarl’s gaze, Survivors Wraps, Umbral Raid Vest, and Vivified Shadewalker’s raid boots.
For my reinforcement kits, I suggest using whatever you need to fill in a stat. I’ve used them for recovery, critical strike, and armor pen in the past. Right now, I use power reinforcement kits because I have my other stats where I need them to be. I also use action point gain kits on my rings, neck, and waist. Who doesn’t love more action points? But, once again, use whatever stat kit you need.
I run half rank 12 Black Ice Enchantments and half rank 12’s Brutal enchantments in my offensive slots. If you only have Brutals or Black Ices, it’s perfectly fine. They are both good. My defensive slots currently have Dark 11’s, but I’d like to upgrade to Vicious enchantments for deflect and life steal on all my character and companion defensive slots.
Ultimately, you want the enchantments that either fill a need you have, or that help increase your damage or survivability. If you are just starting out, you don’t have to go straight to Black ice and Brutals. Pick what is right for your TR.
My normal set up is the Sigil of the Devoted Cleric, Heart of the Blue Dragon, Symbol of Air, and Shard of Orcus’ Wand. I occasionally swap out the DC Sigil for a Wheel of Elements if I need a lot more upfront damage. 30% extra damage is sometimes better than multiple dailies.
Fire archon: +7% damage to enemies under 50% health. My summoned companion.
Wild hunt rider: Grants a chance, whenever you use an encounter power, to increase damage by 10%. It never fails to activate for me and is up all the time.
Siege master: +4% damage (+8% in stronghold)
Air archon: +5% damage to enemies not at full health and they don’t stay at full health very long.
Erinyes of Belial: +10% crit severity, or (for me) +3.8% more damage.
Note: For more information on the effect critical severity has on your actual damage, and how critical severity companions and combat advantage companions work, see James’ blog post here.
+2000 power or +2000 recovery. I switch them often depending on if I am fighting mobs or long bosses. Power being for bosses, and recovery for mobs. Right now, I use The 2000 power bonus because I’m looking for more base damage at this point in my build.
Assassin’s Covenant: You lose 10% of your defense, deflect, and life steal, and gain the combination of lost stats as power. It gives me just around 1300 extra power. More power means more damage.
Protector’s Camaraderie: When your companion attacks, you gain 3% of your power and defense for 10 seconds, and it can stack up to 4 times. For fighting bosses, this power is amazing. It gives you MORE power when your companion attacks.
Gladiator’s Guile: When your stamina is over 75%, gain +15% movement. When your stamina is under 25%, gain 15% of your power as stamina gain. Since I don’t use Skillful Infiltrator anymore, this helps me get a bit more base run speed.
Wanderer’s Fortune: When killing a foe, you have a 4% chance of finding a refinement stone. Killing mobs and gaining refinement? May I have another, please?
Artificer’s Persuasion: When you use an artifact power, your recovery, movement, action point gain, and stamina gain are increased by 10% of your power for 15 seconds. When I use my artifacts, my buffed power from my companion gives me +6500 to these stats. The recovery, especially, is a major boost whenever I’m looking to dish out more encounters.
Boons, for me, are the icing on the cake giving you extra stats that you may need, and some you cant normally stack. These are the ones that I take to max what I need:
Storm King’s Thunder:
Cold Hearted: +2% life steal severity, +1000 HP. This works pretty well with my 20% life steal. I also always use ITC, so getting controlled isn’t an issue for me.
Hardy Constitution: +400 stamina gain, + 2% ever frost resistance. To be honest, I like the extra healing bonus, but I have to be able to dodge whenever I need to.
Chill Determination: + up to 2000 recovery depending on how much stamina you are missing. Seeing as how I’m dodging a lot, and since I’m not trying to face tank everything, the extra recovery is always welcome.
Glacial Strength: +3200 HP, +2% ever frost resistance. I haven’t done any testing with the 2000 fire damage, so I went with the hit points.
Chill of Winter: 3/3 When attacking, you have a chance at gaining a stack of icy chill. At 10 stacks, your next attack deals 10,000 damage to targets close to you. I chose chill of winter simply because I’m always attacking. I believe Healing Warmth and Titan Affinity are kind of useless for rogues. However, Frozen Reflection might be useful. I chose 3/3 on Chill of winter because I don’t particularly like any of the other boons. I just feel “chill of winter” is the most useful for DPS.
Dark Fey Hunter: +400 power. I love having more power don’t you?
Fey Precision: +400 critical strike. +1% critical is good because we are trying to deal damage!
Elven Haste: +3% action point gain. I’ll chose more action points any day over 1600 hit points. The faster your dailies come back, the more damage you dish out.
Elven Ferocity: When striking a foe, you have a chance at dealing an extra 20,000 damage. I’ve argued with myself a lot on this because the heal is REALLY nice, but ultimately, I opted for more damage.
Elven Resolve: Your stamina generates 10% faster in combat. Once again, I battled with my inner Noto. This time, instead of elvish fury, I wanted more stamina gain. This time, I really like the idea of more dodges rather than more power. But, either way, it’s up to you.
Reliquary Keeper’s Strength: +250 power and movement. This one is hard. I chose power this time because I wanted a base of 36000 power, but choose whichever helps you the most.
Evokers Thirst: +400 life steal. Another percent closing in on that magical 20%
Illusion Shimmer: +3% deflect. Another 3% deflection chance on top of what you already have, just in case.
Shadowtouch: When dealing damage, you have a chance at dealing an additional 20,000 damage. Once again, just like Elven ferocity, I went with the damage.
Rampaging Madness: When you deal damage, you gain a stack of “madness”. At 50 stacks, gain +4000 power, life steal, and regeneration for 10 seconds. A sudden burst of dps and healing comes in handy. I thought about endless consumption, but with 20% life steal and the amount of times we hit with duelist flurry, it goes unnoticed.
Encroaching Tactics: +400 combat advantage bonus. We aren’t tanks, so going for more damage is good.
Refreshing Chill: +400 stamina gain. I like having more dodges. Healing is nice, but I would rather not take damage in the first place.
Rapid Thaw: +400 recovery. +2% critical severity adds such a tiny tiny amount of actual damage, it goes unnoticed.
Cool Resolve: You gain up to 2000 power depending on how much stamina you are missing. Same concept as some of the other 4th tier boons. I want to dish out more damage. I don’t want to find out how effective 2000 less power feels.
Winter’s Bounty: A chance to gain +10% action points when killing an enemy. FREE ACTION POINTS… well, almost free…
Primordial Might: +400 power, +1600 HP. Whoa power and hit points? Sign me up!
Primordial Focus: +400 critical strike, +1600 HP. Whoa Critical and hit points? These are better than Sharandar!
Drow Ambush Tactics: +10% combat advantage. Damage always wins over healing in my book.
Dwarven Stamina: You regain stamina 5% faster. At the risk of sounding repetitive, dodges always wins, ITC always wins. Well…most of the time.
Abyssal Strikes: +10% damage vs demons. A flat +10% damage is what we want for dealing damage. Besides, the other boon choices are terrible for us.
Tyranny of Dragons:
Dragon’s Claws: +400 power. POWER!!!!
Dragon’s Gaze: +400 critical strike. ANOTHER!!!! It’s all adding up.
Draconic Armorbreaker: +400 armor penetration. This helps get a bit more armor pen for those of us who are lacking.
Dragon’s Greed: +400 life steal. Have you hit 20% yet?
Dragon’s Thirst: +3% life steal. Actually, this gives us 4% more life steal. Easy peasy.
Dragon’s Fury: +5% critical severity. I chose the 5% critical severity over the healing, even though 5% is very small, because I don’t really need any more healing.
Dragon’s Grip: +10% control strength. This helps make courage breaker and dazing strike more effective, but you really feel it more on CB.
Note: I did not max any of the tier 5 boons instead i chose 3 because each tier after 5 diminishes a bit.
The Maze Engine:
Abyssal Siphoning: +5% life steal severity. Makes my life steal that much better.
Demonic Influence: +400 combat advantage bonus. ITC gives us all the control resistance we need, so go for the damage.
Demonic Swiftness: You gain action points 3% faster. This is good, i went for action point gain rather than the stamina gain because, at this point, we are getting enough stamina and its harder for us to stack action point gain.
Baleful Clutch: +10% control strength. Totally up to your build. I went with more control for CB rather than another 5% critical strike for 6 seconds. I have enough critical strike.
Wave of Force: +300 power, +2000 HP. Boooo defense, yayyyyy power!
Heart of Stone: +4% life steal severity, +2000 HP. Each life steal hit gives more life. Yes.
Searing Aggression: +400 critical strike, +2000 HP
Wall of Wind: When taking damage, you have a chance to heal 24,000 HP over a few second, and then gain 1000 recovery. Honestly, all of these are terrible, but i went with more recovery.
My play style:
Get ready to grab pain by the horn…
As I mentioned earlier, my style of play is to unload as much on my power bar as possible, as quickly as possible. Most of the time, my encounter setup is ITC, Smoke Bomb, and Dazing Strike. My dailies are Lurker’s Assault and Whirlwind of Blades. At wills are Duelist Flurry and Cloud of Steel. My passives are Infiltrators Action and Invisible Infiltrator. The idea is to get your bleed stack to 10 and keep them up as much as possible. You should only let them dissipate when Orcus set starts to kick in and then reset the bleed stacks for more damage on the stacks.
My rotation is usually, Stealth -> ITC -> Lurkers-> Stealth-> Dazing strike-> Stealth-> Smoke bomb-> Duelist flurry. ITC gives you extra power, lurkers assault activates all those damage bonus that we love, dazing strike activate one with the shadows giving you 20% more encounter damage, smoke bomb gets activated with all those buffs, then duelist flurry all within a few seconds. I also try my best to activate stealth, when I have it, after the two first hits of duelist flurry to maximize the bleeds and, if you don’t have a lot of critical strike %, stealth can make the bleeds crit. I can’t stress enough to make sure DF bleeds are up as much as possible. Occasionally, I’ll switch out Courage breaker to help out the party or Path of the Blade for mobs. But, other than that, I generally don’t switch out encounters, dailies, or at wills.
Here is a video of me soloing the Red Dragon from the Dragon Flight in Stronghold:
My Advice to You:
I know everyone has their own idea of the powers and rotations that are optimal. I believe that creating your own mix of what works best for you is what is going to make this build work. I love the Saboteur path because it is the most fulfilling for me compared to the other two trees. But, plenty of people have found other trees to be just as fulfilling to them. Find what works for you, your style of play, and that gives you the most enjoyment.
I don’t crunch numbers like other rogues I know! Send those questions to James! 🙂 But, that being said, I try learn from them as much as I can. Part of how we, as a class, learn to optimize and improve our builds is through bouncing ideas off each other. James and I are doing this constantly! You’re more than welcome to throw suggestions my way. Thanks for taking the time to read, and I’ll see you out there!