To Adrenaline Rush, Or Abstain?

Being a Combat Rogue for more than half of Dragon Soul’s encounters means I’m popping Adrenaline Rush (abbreviated AR) a lot during fights. It’s a bittersweet buff.

In a tier where we’re swimming in energy thanks to high amounts of haste on gear, raid buffs, fight buff mechanics, Heroism (toss in Bloodlust and Time Warp), energy refunds from talents, and trinket procs… AR can feel more like an annoyance than a buff.

(By writing this article I fully expect to have the worst energy starvation of this expansion tonight.)

A Point of Contention

One of the major debates going on right now is whether to stack AR and Heroism. On its face it’s not a hard decision- you’re going to energy cap way too much and lose out on the buff’s primary benefit! Of course you wouldn’t use it!

But it’s not that simple.

You’re Missing Out

Even though AR has a cooldown of 3 minutes, Combat’s talent tree contains Restless Blades that decreases it 2 seconds per combo point per finisher. That means on a 5-point Eviscerate, 10 seconds are chopped off AR’s downtime. So in reality, we’re hitting AR every 1.5 minutes on average.

Heroism lasts 40 seconds. That’s a significant chunk of time. If AR was up and ready to go when Heroism was procced, you’d be letting it sit for at least 40 seconds and Restless Blades wouldn’t be knocking off time from the cooldown. Then you need to account for the fact you’re missing out on Heroism and AR’s multiplicative attack speed stacking. Then you need to consider Heroism is typically where you blow most (if not all) of your cooldowns- potions, racials, profession abilities, etc. THEN you need to think about losing all this damage during Deep Insight periods.

Yep, suddenly the decision got more complex.

Oh God, I’ve Been DPSing Wrong My Whole Career

Don’t worry, though. According to Aldriana on Elitist Jerks, AR stackage for the sake of the attack speed buff is “minuscule”. But what’s not minuscule is missing out on a full AR because you held off. And you need to make that determination based on a few factors.

Let’s use two Dragon Soul fights as examples:

Heroic Ultraxion – Heroism is popped at the beginning of the fight, lasting until the 0:40 mark. Even assuming you spend the first 10 seconds getting your rotation started and rocking a quick Killing Spree, that’s still 30 seconds you’re not reducing AR’s cooldown. Down the road you’ll likely be sitting on both KS and AR off cooldown due to how the timers line up. Thus, even though you’ll energy cap like mad you’ll want to pop AR the first second you can to get that final cooldown at the end.

Heroic Zon’ozz – Because Zon’ozz takes more damage as the fight progresses, Heroism’s saved until the end to prevent an enrage wipe and maximize DPS. Here’s where the decision gets tricky. If AR just came off cooldown before Heroism, you’ll probably get 1 final use out of it before  Zon’ozz dies (HP% pending). If it’s still on cooldown but slated to come off mid-Heroism, there’s also chance you’ll use it… but there’s also a chance you won’t get off enough finishers before he dies.

The rule of thumb should be: If I can squeeze 1 more AR into this encounter, AR is worth stacking with Heroism. If not, I should save it until energy regen stabilizes.

AR + Heroism Doesn’t ALWAYS = Bad

This means you need to take a hard look at when your raid blows Heroism on each boss. On top of that, you need to keep an eye on AR’s timer and the boss’s HP (and have an idea of how fast it’ll drop). It’s no simple task, but the DPS gains will be significant.

So to everyone giving blanket statements that “popping AR during Heroism is DERRRRRRP”, point out it’s not quite that black-and-white. Best of all, we have one more little example to prove Combat is a deep spec if played correctly.

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