Vanilla WoW Wiki
Ability backstab.png
  • Backstab
  • Melee range
  • 60 Energy
  • Instant cast
  • Dagger in Main hand, must be behind the enemy
  • Backstab the target, causing 150% weapon damage plus X to the target. Must be behind the target. Requires a dagger in the main hand. Awards 1 Combo point.
Usable by
CooldownNone/Global Cooldown
See below
Other information
RequirementsDagger in Main hand, must be behind the enemy
In the war between the Horde and the Alliance, grudges are taken to the hilt.[1]

Backstab is a hard-hitting move that is performed from behind your enemy. The damage dealt is equal to 1.5 times your normal attack damage plus a flat amount of damage that varies dependent on rank. It only works with a dagger in the main hand.

Rank table

Rank Bonus Damage Level Cost
1 15 4 1s
2 30 12 8s
3 48 20 30s
4 69 28 80s
5 90 36 1g 60s
6 135 44 2g 90s
7 165 52 4g 60s
8 210 60 5g 40s
9 225 60 7g 20s
10 BC 255 68 11g
11 Wrath 382.5 74 30g
12 Wrath 465 80 30g


Backstab is a great skill for dealing big damage, but you must be behind the mob to use it. It is also good when used in combination with Seal Fate, as Backstab has a high crit rate when improved via talents.


  • High energy cost
  • You must be behind and facing your target
  • Only available when a dagger is equipped in the main hand

Damage calculation formula

The basic Backstab damage formula:

Opportunity = 1 + 0.1 * Opportunity Rank
Lethality = 1 + 0.06 * Lethality Rank
Surprise Attacks = 1 + 0.10 * Surprise Attacks Rank
Aggression = 1 + 0.03 * Aggression Rank
Blade Twisting = 1 + .05 * Blade Twisting Rank
Modifier = Attack Power / 14 * 1.7

Normal hit = ((Weapon Damage + Modifier) * 1.5 + X) * Opportunity * Surprise Attacks * Aggression * Blade Twisting
Critical hit = Normal hit * 2 * Lethality)

So a typical example: lvl 68 combat daggers rogue with a dagger averaging 106 average weapon damage, 1120 attack power, 2 ranks of Opportunity, the one rank of Surprise Attacks and 2 ranks in Lethality:

Opportunity = 1.2
Lethality = 1.12
Surprise Attacks = 1.1
Aggression = 1
Blade Twisting = 1
Modifier = 136

Normal Hit = ((106 + 136) * 1.5 + 255) * 1.2 * 1.1 * 1 * 1 = 815.76 average damage
Critical Hit = 815.76 * 2 * 1.12 = 1827.3 average damage


  • Puncturing Wounds increases the critical strike chance of your Backstab by 10/20/30%.
  • Remorseless Attacks will give your next Backstab a 20/40% increased chance to crit after killing an opponent that yields honor or experience. The improved crit chance lasts for 20 seconds.
  • Opportunity increases the total damage of your Backstab by 10/20%.
  • Lethality increases the critical strike damage bonus of your Backstab by 6/12/18/24/30%.
  • Blade Twisting increases the total damage of your Backstab by 5/10%.
  • Surprise Attacks increases the total damage of your Backstab by 10%.
  • Aggression increases the damage of your Backstab ability by 3/6/9/12/15%.
  • Dirty Deeds increases the damage of your Backstab ability by 10/20% against targets with less than 35% health
  • Sinister Calling increases the percentage damage bonus of your Backstab ability by 1/2/3/4/5%.

At full rank of Opportunity, Blade Twisting, Surprise Attacks, Aggression and Sinister Calling, Backstab does 262.9% weapon damage.

Tips and tactics

  • When soloing, use Gouge to move behind the mob and then Backstab. This earns two Combo points off the bat! At higher levels it also combines well with Cheap Shot and Kidney Shot.
  • Humanoid mobs will often attempt to flee when they are low on health. When a mob does so, it will also often turn its back to you and keep running even though you are behind it, giving you the chance to perform multiple backstabs before the mob decides to fight you again.
  • If you want to use the Gouge-Backstab combo in the middle of a fight, be sure that your energy is full. Combined they use more energy than you have (unless you have Vigor). If you start the combo with less than 100 energy, you'll have to wait to regenerate some more. By that time the effect of Gouge will have worn off.
    • With the standard energy regeneration rate of 10 per second, it is viable to Gouge-backstab starting with ~70 energy. The 4 second duration of standard Gouge should give ample time to get into position and regenerate the minimal 60 energy required for backstab. Though this may be technically possible starting with 65 energy, taking into consideration latency and user reaction, 70 is a safe bet. Note this starting energy requirement is reduced with Improved Gouge or talents improving regeneration rate.
  • When grouped, you can get at a mob's back fairly easily. However, if you backstab whenever you can, you are likely to gain aggro, so use with some care. Consider using Feint or Vanish to keep your Threat level down.
  • In PvP, a common method of moving behind another character is to jump forward through them, hold your right mouse button and rotate in mid-air to complete a 180 degree turn. You will land right behind and facing your opponent ready to follow up with a quick backstab!


Patch changes

  • Patch 1.8.0 (patch date:2005-10-10): Now uses normalized attack power. 
  • Patch 1.4.0 (patch date:2005-05-05): Backstab now properly increases the attack power contribution by the percent modifier. 
  • Patch 1.2.0 (patch date:2004-12-18): Backstab will automatically target the nearest enemy if no target is selected. 

External links

fr:Attaque Sournoise