Neverwinter Heart of Fire Trickster Rogue Assassination

The upcoming Neverwinter Heart of Fire update comes with a full balancing pass that affects all classes to some extent. We’ll be going over all relevant aspects and tackle the most important points related to the current meta and builds within our extensive preview series. Wrapping off the balance changes with the Trickster Rogue is no coincidence. The little stabbers receive the most extensive rework in Module 15, and the most extensive nerf. Crawling through the feedback thread and understanding the changes took some time, especially since it’s one of the classes I do not actively main or alt at the moment.

That’s why I won’t detail everything, it’s simply too much. This write-up will more cover the purpose and intention of the changes and how it will affect TR gameplay in general. You also shouldn’t expect specific advise how to build a Mod 15 Rogue in this article. There are better places to get this kind of information, like the TR Discord for example that features many major theorycrafters of the class.

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As you might already have figured from the first paragraphs, the future of Trickster Rogues doesn’t look too bright. Some favorable changes in Mod 14 bumped the class into the first DPS tier of the current meta, maybe even made them the top damage dealers. But the devs decided that one mod of glory is enough for our assassins and terminated them. And to be clear, it is indeed a designed nerf. It’s not like the devs tried to tweak a few powers and accidentally trapped the class. Noworries made it fairly clear in the feedback thread that they felt TRs were overperforming.

PVE Impact

So what did change that shocked a large portion of the playerbase? Currently DPS builds of Trickster Rogues rely on power stacking, which synergizes pretty well within the current buff meta and other power-sharing classes. And pretty much all major abilities that made these builds work got nerfed, most namely Courage Breaker (no longer increasing power), Whirlwind of Blades (no longer increasing power), Press the Advantage (guess what, no longer increasing power). Add a nerf to Shadow of Demise, which now only deals 50% (down from 75%) of the damage done to the target during its duration, and it’s clear why the rage is real in the official feedback thread. Some reports from preview talk about a 40-50% loss of DPS. Even if factoring in the usual hyperbole, there’s no doubt that you won’t see the same orange numbers as in Module 14.

There are some other changes (to At-Wills or Smoke Bomb for example) that may or may not affect you depending on what you were using, but the stuff above is what Rogues mostly complain about. Even if you take into consideration that the current balancing pass is a two-step process ranging into Mod 16, there was no specific need to completely penalize DPS TRs this way.

PVP Impact

PVP Rogues report back from preview with a DPS loss as well. But what those builds might affect even more is some changes to their controlling and utility powers.

  • Stealth (PVP): Trickster Rogues will now be visible to opponents when they deal damage from stealth. Powers that do not remove stealth will not reveal the rogue and damage over time effects, such as smoke bomb and path of the blade, will not remove stealth.This only occurs while in a PVP mode.
  • Smoke Bomb: Stealth: No longer slows enemies
  • Impossible to Catch: Base duration increased to 4 seconds (up from 2)
  • Impossible to Catch: Buff duration no longer increases at each rank
  • Courage Breaker: Now slows the target by 70% (down from 90%)

That being said, PVP TRs should still be fine, but their survivability and ability to control opponents took a hit. I’m fairly sure I missed some important changes regarding PVP by the way. So feel free to add them and their impact in the comments below.

What’s Next for Rogues?

So what’s next for Rogues? First and foremost, there are some positive changes as well. All Feat and Paragon Paths move closer together and make more play styles viable. Unfortunately the “buffs” to Scoundrel or Saboteur are largely due to the nerf to the current Executioner builds. But theoretically the balance across different builds should be a little better. Also while players mourn the loss of their precious DPS, the first endgame players have already one-phased Orcus on preview. So it’s not like the class now hits like a wet noodle, but they definitely took a hit in the meta charts.

What’s definitely true is that theorycrafters need to clear their whiteboard and get to work again. All builds will need a rework of some sort and maybe the excitement of retooling builds is the one thing Rogues can look forward to. Other than that it could become a long wait until the next set of changes in Module 16.

What’s your take on Trickster Rogues? Will you retire your stabber (for now) or am I too pessimistic about the changes? Share your thoughts and experience on our social channels, in the comments below, or visit our message board!

Neverwinter UN:Blogged is always looking for writers to contribute to the blog. If you are an active player and search for a way to spread your opinions, analysis, diaries or reviews to more than 75,000 regular visitors, then don’t hesitate and get in touch with us on our contact page or message board! We are currently especially looking for console and PVP content, but that’s not exclusive. There is no frequency requirement, you post how often you want.


j0Shi plays the Neverwinter MMORPG since the open BETA in 2013 and is a regular contributor to the blog and the whole UN:Project. Originally a Guardian Fighter, he has built up ALTs of all classes and plays on BIS/near-BIS level.

11 thoughts on “Neverwinter Heart of Fire Trickster Rogue Assassination

  • November 5, 2018 at 11:20 am

    just a correction, yes there has been a tr one-phase on preview but i want to say 3 things about it.
    1- it was b4 the nerf to aoc proc so with that said its like a 20% dmg loss ( just a guess but shouldn’t wrong by much).
    2- all classes can one-phase orcus at this point so its not a good comparison.
    3- tr can perform better at orcus compared to any other boss since there’s adds where it can use WoB to get a bigger boost, on other bosses it ll do even less dmg in comparison to other classes.

    • November 5, 2018 at 1:02 pm

      Thanks for the info / clarification

  • November 5, 2018 at 11:25 am

    need 1 hdps (sry, no tr) hahahahhaha

  • November 5, 2018 at 12:53 pm

    All dps classes need to have damage adjusted downward by 20-30%. Buffing should have a soft and hard cap like debuffing. Than the game would be in a better place and content won’t be a cake walk like it is now.

  • November 5, 2018 at 2:39 pm

    so where will tr rank then, less than GWF/HR/GF but still above CW, SW, DC, and OP?

    • December 14, 2018 at 10:00 am

      TOP DPS GOES IN THIS ORDER IMOP #1 GF #2 HR #3 GWF #4 SW #5 And CW AND TR Are About The Same And SW Are Better By A Little bit.

  • November 5, 2018 at 6:45 pm

    Nerf my main on power abilites, and I will quit for sure. The game is getting boring anyway. Finally made the TR a decently respectable (not totally respectable) and now they will become trash.

  • November 5, 2018 at 8:10 pm

    Marigolds/Gluestickz here.

    On the PVP side of things:

    The skill curve for the TR class seems to have increased significantly. Though we can’t yet determine by exactly how much since people are still getting used to the changes. Some TRs feel refreshed by the extra difficulty and are looking forwards to the adjustments, others are still saying RIP TR and/or have already decided to hang up their TR and play a different class.

    Survivability for the TR class has decreased some as stated here. Aside from the changes you pointed out, another major contributor to this is that the way impossible to catch activates has been changed/nerfed on preview; ITC has a long delay now before it takes effect and now either cancels or interrupts our powers when we try to use them together. This has made ITC very clunky and using it at the wrong time can get you killed.

    Most likely, PVP TRs will start stacking large amounts of lifesteal to aid with survivability, it is working well on preview so far. 20% though 40% lifesteal chance is likely what people will run now.

    So far, scoundrel and sabotuer seem to be more powerful than executioner is, though all 3 trees are still viable.

    Executioner’s shadow of demise damage dropped by around half as a combined result of the changes and they don’t have as many strengths in other areas as the other 2 TR trees. They might still be the most efficient choice for killing super tanky players but its possible sabotuer now surpasses them in this area. They also got hit fairly hard by the survivability nerfs, though they did get one new healing feat that might help a little bit in matches.

    Sabotuer does a ton of damage but was hit hard by the survivability nerfs. The buffs to how often they benefit from their piercing damage feat combined with getting a few more raw % damage increases is pretty powerful.
    The new stealth reveal combined with the changes to ITC are what reduces sabotuer’s survivabiity.

    Scoundrel has the best survivability out of all 3 trees now and also does great damage. So far, scoundrel still does a little less damage than sabotuer does though this is a fair tradeoff. They don’t have any piercing damage feats but they do have excellent raw % damage increases and got even more of these as part of the module 15 changes. On the survival end, scoundrel got so many deflection chance increases that they can fully meet their deflection needs just from their feats + the TR classes’s base deflection. The devs also buffed concussive strikes and made skullcracker useful again, both of these are dazeing feats that can be used for both defense and offense.

    It should be noted that the CC nerfs mentioned in your article while noticeable, aren’t as strong as your article made them out to be. Courage breaker’s slow nerf will be more relevant when fighting speed builds but it won’t effect gameplay vs slower builds much. Courage breaker also got an uptime increase in PVP. Smokebomb’s slow being removed possibly got rid of the courage breaker root bug but by itself, this nerf is fairly small.

    Gloaming cut has a faster cast speed than before and hits harder now too, it was already popular on live for PVPers and this will still be the case in module 15. As a more surprising development, duelist’s flurry’s bleeds are hitting for good damage on preview now. I accidentally scored a 9k bleed tick during one of my preview duels and many of my other DF bleeds have been hitting for decent damage as well. Cloud of steel’s damage is also noticeably improved on preview, mostly thanks to the feat tree buffs.

    So far, bloodbath isn’t obliterating people the way it did on live but it still hits pretty hard. The performance gap between different TR dailies is less severe now and we should see a wider variety of daily powers getting used than before. Courage breaker, bloodbath, shocking execution, and lurker’s assault will likely be the ones people use the most often.

    Impossible to catch may stop being treated as an essential TR power now that it is so cumbersome to work with. Though it should start to feel a little less awkward once TRs have broken it in with more practice. It will likely remain widely used but some TRs are probably going to start running without it. Other than that, which encounter powers TRs use the most often is probably going to stay the same.

    A downside to these changes is that shocking execution one shot dunks appear to have been revived on preview. Thankfully, shocking execution is one of the easiest powers in the game to dodge but there likely will still be complaints from PVPers about this and some classes will be more vulnerable to SE than others. Hopefully this gets fixed.

  • November 6, 2018 at 11:27 am

    Id much rather the easier dungeon be made harder. Dungeons like CRL and CoDG with all the glitches and the mechanics are rarely completed and only by BiS groups. A 20-30% damage buff would absolutely ruin end game dungeons. CRL with a 25 min run with a full 18k speed group would be down to 35-40 minutes. a normal group with a 45 minute run would take over an hour. Its absolutely not the answer.

  • November 7, 2018 at 2:02 am

    I don’t understand where the maybe in TR being top damage dealer. Mt of the powergamey sorts ditched gfs, in favour of TRs and the results were fairly ridiculous. TRs routinely one-phase all the bosses in T9 BEFORE Sod procs. We tried a run with all enchantments removed and still onephased stuff. There’s even a video on YouTube of a TR onephasing orcus with all equipment removed at 6k IL.

    I’m pretty sure TR will be fine, biggest issue in new mod for end game will probably be massive power loss leading to much lower movement speed across dungeons.

  • November 16, 2018 at 3:10 am

    How come I play with TR who are as fast / faster than in M14?

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