I just started a new rogue and I was glancing at the tool tip for Ambush and the way the tool tip is worded it makes it sound like you can have the dagger as either the off hand or the main hand to receive the extra amount of damage. After doing some tests in game I can't really see if having it as your main hand or off hand really alters your damage bonus.

My question is, does having your dagger in the main hand or off hand make the damage bonus apply? If it does actually matter is there any chart or stats someone could provide that would show me actual proof? Thank you.

2 Answers 2


Yes, you need to use a dagger if you want the bonus damage. Unless otherwise stated, all Rogue abilities use the weapon in your mainhand.

The only two that break from this are Mutilate (uses both hands, simultaneously) and Shiv (which uses only the off-hand)

But -- You're barking up the wrong tree if you're thinking Daggers will cause more damage than other weapons - daggers are unique in having a different (i.e., lower) damage bonus for instant attacks (this is why you don't want to Sinister Strike with a dagger - it'll do less damage than an equivalent iLvl sword, mace, or axe).

Ambush used to be dagger specific. When the ability was updated to be more useful to other specs, they had to do something to make sure ambush wasn't suddenly worst for the dagger specs, hence the extra bonus.

This constant is called the Normalized Weapon speed. WoWpedia has more.

  • Thank you, I'm rolling a combat build while leveling so I can include nicer weapons. And honestly I wasn't seeing much of a difference in damage with sticking the dagger as my off hand since it's the fastest I can find, but I just wanted to make sure that if I did find a better off hand that my every once and awhile ambush wouldn't be affected if I didn't have a dagger in the off hand.
    – stay
    Commented Jan 14, 2012 at 23:20
  • I'll just add to that last paragraph, they normalised ambush (and other abilities) because slower speed rare quality (aka barman shanker) daggers were doing more damage than epic quality daggers, which had more dps but faster speeds, hence the reason for normalization. Having Ambush do extra damage with daggers was a cataclysm change, well after normalization came into affect.
    – Jared
    Commented Jan 16, 2012 at 3:03
  • @Jared yes, I'm aware. It was an issue of bad wording on my part. I've rephrased it now. Commented Jan 16, 2012 at 4:40
  • @Jared The normalization across all abilities that you're referring to happened back before BC. The normalization of Ambush across weapon types is a much more recent change and has little to do with outliers like the Shanker. Commented Jan 16, 2012 at 5:52
  • @LessPop_MoreFizz - yes thanks I'm aware also, maybe my wording was not clear either? The primary reason for the original(from classic wow) Normalization implementation was to do as I said with blue weapons hitting harder than epic weapons that had significant higher dps but only slightly more raw damage than their rare counterparts. In line with the question topic, ambush with barman shanker vs perditions blade. Many other abilities including Mortal strike suffered from this same issue, with Arcanite Reaper vs another epic quality 2h weapons. Gone a bit OT here, little history never hurts ;)
    – Jared
    Commented Jan 16, 2012 at 20:29

You're misunderstanding the ability.

Ambush does increased damage in the mainhand as a means of normalizing the abilities damage output, so that you can effectively use it with either a Dagger or other weapon type.

Two weapons of identical item-level, one a dagger, and the other a sword, will do effectively identical damage with Ambush. There isn't a 'bonus' with daggers, the multiplier is simply larger to offset the fact that daggers, with their faster attack speed, typically have a lower base damage.

That said, Ambush is a main-hand attack. It is conducted only with the weapon in your main hand, and it's damage formula is based only on your main hand weapon. The only attacks for which offhand damage or type is a concern are Mutilate, Shiv, and Killing Spree.

  • Thank you, that was a lot of info that I didn't really ask for but am now happy to know. Much appreciated.
    – stay
    Commented Jan 14, 2012 at 23:22

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