|Deadly Brew, Vile Poisons, Master Poisoner|
Poisons is an ability that enables Rogues to coat their Main Hand, Off Hand, or Ranged weapon with poisons. When a poisoned weapon strikes an enemy it has a chance of applying a debuff that damages, slows, or otherwise hinders the enemy, depending on the poison applied. Learned at level 20, Poisons are a core part of the Rogue class and their use is required to maximize effectiveness.
Poisons are considered a temporary (1-hour) weapon enhancement. Poisons do not stack with other temporary weapon effects such as a Blacksmith's sharpening stones or weightstones or Alchemist's oils. Only one such temporary weapon enchantment can be active on a weapon at a time.
Some Rogue talents and abilities, most of which are found within the Assassination tree, enhance the effectiveness of poisons.
Poisons can be purchased from poison vendors ("Shady Dealers") commonly found in major cities. Poisons become more potent as you level.
These are the poison items that that can be purchased, «along with the level required»:
- Instant Poison «20, 28, 36, 44, 52, 60»
- Inflicts damage on the enemy immediately.
- Snares the enemy, reducing their movement speed.
- Increases the casting time of the enemy's spells.
- «30, 38, 46, 54, 60»
- Adds a DoT (damage-over-time) effect to the enemy. Can stack up to five times.
- «32, 40, 48, 56»
- Deals damage and reduces the strength of healing effects on the enemy for a period of time.
Abilities, talents, and items
The following abilities, talents, and items directly relate to Rogue poisons:
- Shiv: Instantly applies the poison on your offhand weapon to the target and dispels an enrage effect.
- Mutilate: Damage is increased by 20% against poisoned targets.
- Envenom Consumes 1 stack of Deadly Poison per combo point on the target, dealing additional damage per point, similar to Eviscerate but ignores armor and deals Nature damage.
- Bloodfang Armor: Tier 2 (level 60) gear with 3-set bonus that increases the chance to apply poisons to your target by 5%.
Faster weapons do not always increase the rate at which you apply a poison: unlike the other poisons (which have a fixed chance per hit), Instant and Wound Poison use PPM (proc-per-minute) mechanics. This means that even on a very slow weapon your Instant or Wound Poisons will add the same amount of DPS (damage per second) as on a fast weapon. Note that without Improved Poisons, Wound Poison's DPS is higher than Instant Poison's due to its higher PPM.
The argument for using slower weapons is this: based on your weapon speed and your poison's PPM, an average proc chance is calculated that will be used every melee swing. However, your special attacks (Sinister Strikes, Mutilates, etc.) can also deliver your poisons, and they use this very same calculated proc chance. So equipping a slow weapon results in an increased chance of applying poison with your special attacks, which, of course, are not restricted by your weapon speed. The difference in damage is rather minimal though, so people often just follow the "slow MH, fast OH" because they could always put Crippling/Deadly/Mind-Numbing on their OH without much reduced effect.
Rogues make their own poisons using a Poisons skill. Poison ingredients are purchased at Shady Dealers or reagent vendors, found in junkboxes obtained through Pickpocketing, or gathered with Herbalism. Once you have the Poisons skill, you have to level it like a profession. You have a skill level which you can increase by making poisons. Unlike professions, you do not need to purchase the ability to skill up beyond the 75, 150 and 225 limits. Instead your current skill limit is simply five times your current level. There is no poisons trainer; instead you learn new poisons from the Rogue trainer, subject to meeting the level and skill prerequisites. Poisons do not count towards your two-profession limit, despite its similarities to other professions.
The rogue-only quest chains detailed below are required to access Poisons.
Go to the Old Town in Stormwind. Master Mathias Shaw at SI:7 headquarters offers the first quest in the chain,  . The quest takes you to a tower on the southern border of Westfall near Stranglethorn Vale, along the river, and requires a skill level of 70 in Lockpicking to complete. After completing  , the second quest in the chain, you will gain the ability to buy poisons.
Go to the Cleft of Shadow in Orgrimmar and complete  . The Horde quest chain is difficult to solo at level 20, but two level-20 characters or a solo Rogue around level 23 should be able to complete it. The two main quests (including  which requires a skill level of 70 in Lockpicking to complete) in the chain take you to a tower in the northeast corner of the Barrens. When the quest objectives are completed, the Rogue will be poisoned with a very slow-acting poison debuff. After turning in the quest at the Cleft of Shadow, the Rogue travels to Tarren Mill in the Hillsbrad Foothills, where s/he will be cured of the poison debuff (though the poison is easily curable through a variety of other means as well) and gain the right to buy poisons.
Patch 1.11.0 (2006-06-20): Temporary item buffs (e.g. poisons, sharpening stones and shaman weapon buffs) will persist through zoning or logging out.
Patch 1.11.0 (2006-06-20): A number of items have had their stacking limits increased including leather, enchanting dust/shards and rogue poisons/reagents among others.
Patch 1.10.0 (2006-03-28): Applying Rogue poisons will no longer break Stealth.