With all of the ZA/ZG runs currently going on, it’s more important than ever to reforge correctly so you can maximize your DPS. While there are basic reforging guidelines, to really get the most out of your rogue, you’ll have to run one of the many optimization tools so you’re not sitting there with a calculator trying to find the best way to maximize your ratings.

First off, it’s important to realize both competitive DPS specs have different stat weights. Mutilate wants Mastery and Hit, while Combat rogues drool over pieces with Haste and Expertise. WoW Insider’s Chase Christian outlined how these differences in stat preferences highlight the output of both specs.

By checking out the posts at Elitist Jerks, all of the necessary caps can easily be reached. Keep in mind, critical strike is the worst stat for both raiding specs, so if a piece has crit on it, you’ll be turning that in to something better.

Mutilate: Envenom doesn’t have to hit

It’s true. If you whiff an Envenom, you’re still getting that buff to your poison damage, so it’s OK to just dump your expertise.

Now, since poisons are spells, you still have to hit the poison cap. This means you’re reforging expertise in to either mastery or hit.

Combat: Expertise — dodging is for tanks

When you’re making that leap from heroics to raids, it’s nearly mandatory to hit the expertise cap of 781 rating (or 691 if you have a racial), as a combat rogue. Keep in mind to focus on the rating, not the derived number, because expertise does not truncate.

So essentially if you have 750 rating, and go to 761, it’s worth doing. Mastery is the weakest rating for combat rogues, besides crit.

Since a vast majority of your damage comes from physical hits, it’s not necessary to break past the special hit cap, and just let hit which naturally comes from your gear fill in the gap.

Determining the right way to reforge

As I mentioned already, it’s tough to try and get the best reforging strategy yourself. This is because, well, there’s a lot of math to do. So, in order to make sure you don’t lose your head doing this, there are great tools available to the raiding rogue for determining the best way to maximize Mastery for Mutilate rogues, and Haste for Combat rogues.

ShadowCraft, the brainchild of Antiarc and Aldriana, is my personal favorite. I’ve talked about this tool over at Adrenaline Rushing, but it bears repeating because it is incredibly useful.

At times, it is buggy, but with such prominent theorycrafters working on it the tool is constantly updated and very user friendly. ShadowCraft also let’s you optimize gems, and raid buffs.

The other strong contender is WoWReforge.com. This site again allows for importing, and can help you reforge to maximize DPS.

You must optimize!

Sure, I can tell you that you should always reforge out of crit, that’s obvious. But what about a piece with haste and hit for Combat rogues? Or mastery and hit for a Mut raider? It gets tricky.

Sometimes, the best result is not obvious. By putting your character through the paces, you can maximize and get the most out of your toon.

As an example, look at my rogue. I have reforge some expertise in to haste, and some hit in to expertise, and haste.

These choices aren’t obvious just from looking at the items themselves, because you have to approach your gear, and the caps necessary to perform, holistically.

And now that your reforging is optimized, you’ll be sure to hit your target.