What to do with Emblems of Frost

Badges, we don’t need no stinkin’ Badges (part Deux)…

There has been a lot of discussion on Icecrown Citadel, the bosses, the trash, the gear, the reputation grinds, the primordial saronite, and the patterns, and I am sure that these discussions will continue for quite a few weeks to come. However, there are a few things I would like to focus on, for both my own personal gain as well as my desire to inform our community of our upcoming decisions. Before I get into the options we have for our badges, I wanted to give everyone a heads up that I am looking to throw up a post regarding the trash in ICC, and how to best handle it. But, since we blew through it and AoE’ed it down, I have forgotten more than I remembered.

Back to the topic at hand. Currently we are limited in our ability to acquire badges. For me personally I run both the 10 and 25 man Icecrown Citadels on Tuesday, the weekly Raid quest, and one to two heroic dailies a week. One of my biggest concerns is not being able to gear up quick enough to stay ahead of the gear curve. At that pace, I will be earning approximately 25 badges a week. While that is not something that I would give up, it is still not enough to actually give me enough gear before the second wing comes out. Because of our nature as tanks, and my specific need to get all the gear from the badge vendor that I would use in any of my five gear sets, I need a lot of badges. Couple that with the fact that you need them for your tier gear and you are placed in a difficult dilemma.

We have three more weeks of farming the instance. After that, the next wing will open up and we will have three more bosses to accumulate badges from. Until then, we have to make a wise first choice on what we should spend our badges on. Below I will discuss our options, the pros and cons of each piece, and my personal recommendation for what to pick up first.

Come meet your newest Quartermaster!

For myself, Magister Arlan will be getting a lot of business in the coming weeks. He has quite a few things to offer us, and should we choose to purchase the goods that he has to offer, we also do so at the expense of our tier gear. So we will choose wisely…

Corroded Skeleton Key

I will start with the no brainer. Even if you are running around yelling “I’m the JUGGERNAUT BITCH” because you have the 245 and 258 trinkets from the Champions Cache in Trial, this is still a juicy upgrade netting you with a 36 stamina upgrade. For anyone that is using anything less, you are just benefiting more from using this BiS trinket. This trinket costs 60 Emblems of Frost, and will for me be my first acquisition.

Sentinel’s Winter Cloak

For those of you who are starting to ask yourselves about all the bonus armor flying around and what you should do about it, here is your answer (in my opinion): pick up any and every bonus armor piece you can get your hands on. Most of them have comparable stamina values, and just sacrifice some avoidance or expertise/hit for bonus armor. While it would not be the greatest idea to go in there with all bonus armor pieces in there and no avoidance,  a mixture of bonus armor pieces will allow you to increase your ability to mitigate damage. If you take a look at the stats, you have ample defense and dodge to go around, as well as a yellow socket. This will net you, with a 30 stamina gem, 154 stamina and 737 armor from a CLOAK!

When you compare this cloak to your other options, it seems like a very nice upgrade. For anyone but the few that are running around with a Pride of the Demon Lord (heroic) and a Cloak of the Unflinching Guardian (sorry I dont know the alliance terms, but the two 258 cloaks), this cloak is also a no brainer. If you are using anything but the 258 cloaks this will be a massive upgrade in stamina and armor, with little to no loss in the avoidance area. This is exactly the itemization we are looking for in a progression set as we charge towards Arathas.

Libram of the Eternal Tower

There has already been some discussion on this topic over at MainTankadin, and I am in agreement with most of them. 30 badges for 19 dodge rating that needs a ramp up time is not worth it. Eventually you may want to get this one, but for now, I will be sticking with my trusty Libram of Defiance. I would say that this goes towards the bottom of the list when it comes to upgrades that will require badges (almost everything!). Remember this libram will be competing with your Tier gear when it comes to Emblems of Frost. You will get a much better return on investment by upgrading to T10.

Verdigris Chain Belt

Now we are getting to the meat and potatoes of the currency controversy. The plate items. While I chose to talk about the belt first because its a great item, the chest and the gloves will be a bit more difficult to figure out. You will want to pick them up, however if those are two pieces that you want for your T10, then you have to make that decision on whether or not you are willing to go with out our juicy threat from the two piece T10 set bonus. Alas, I digress. Back to the belt, this bad boy has got some great itemization, and by the looks of the gear in ICC, parry will be somewhat attractive because of teh 1.88:1 ratio issues we may run into. What I mean by this is that the gear out of ICC has a lot of dodge on it and we will more than likely face a point at which parry will give us more per itemization point than dodge.

If you compare this to the Belt of Bloodied Scars, you gain everything! They swapped dodge for parry, so that you can take advantage of the diminishing returns on dodge that you will be facing. And they gave you 688 bonus armor over the Belt of bloodied scars. With an 11 stamina and 6 strength gain to boot, I don’t see how that squeezed that much out of a small item level upgrade but they did. This should definitely be second or third on your list, depending on what your bigger gain is, belt or cloak.

The rest of the pieces

As I stated above, there is a chest and gloves with bonus armor on them from the Emblem of Frost vendor, and I will be picking them up eventually, however with the methods in which you pick up tier gear, you may want to start on gathering some T10 before you go for off set pieces. Unless you are wearing full 258 gear, the T10 will be a nice upgrade for you, especially if you can get your hands on some “Trophies” to change a 251 piece into a 264 piece. Really what we are looking at with the chest and gloves is bonus armor over other stats. I personally love the fact that the T10 gloves have tons of Stamina, dodge, and hit on them. As these pieces are more for gear sets and not direct upgrades that I would want to take before gathering my T10 set, I wont touch as much on them. By all means if you have a very weak piece in the chest or glove slot they are very good pieces of loot, but they are marginal upgrades when it comes to T9.

My order: Corroded Skeleton Key > Cloak > Belt > T10 pieces…


9 Responses to “What to do with Emblems of Frost”

  1. 1 Morlin
    December 12, 2009 at 3:52 am

    Excellent write-up, Wrathy.

    For me, since I’m still running around with Indestructible Plate Girdle from Ulduar days, that belt will be my first pick-up. I haven’t run any ToGC-25, so I don’t have any 258 pieces at all. So the belt would be my biggest upgrade. After that, I may go after the trinket and cloak. I have the 245 cloak from ToC-25 normal, but I’ve had the worst luck with trinkets dropping. I’ve never even seen Heart of Iron or Satrina’s Impeding Scarab drop, so I’ve been stuck with Brewfest trinkets and The Black Heart.

    Another thing you can throw in the mix is trading EoF for Primordial Saronite to get pants and boots crafted. The pants especially look pretty beefy, and may very well be BiS. They look to be better than even T10(H), so even for those going for 4pc would be better off going with crafted legs for the offset piece.

  2. 2 Morlin
    December 12, 2009 at 3:54 am

    Another thing about the pants: When T10 preview models first came out I was EXTREMELY disappointed to have to wear a damn skirt again. So it’s actually kind of a relief that the T10 pants are pretty lackluster in comparison to the crafted ones.

  3. 3 Wrathy
    December 12, 2009 at 12:27 pm

    While I completely agree that each person has to evaluate the gear that they can upgrade, and their relative gains, my perspective is that while bonus armor is great, it is not something you will want to go after first, as we do not know how many bosses have a lot of magic or bleed damage. I would go with the sure fire EH bets, aka stamina upgrades, and as you accumulate more and more badges, start purchasing the Armor pieces. As for the Primoridal Sarmonite, They are another thing to get with badges, but for me, I will not collect those items for a while. As I will Discuss later, Expertise is becoming more and more important, and I like the T10 legs.

    On the subject of the T10 legs, Agree to disagree. There is a reason that my picture is still of me in T8, I love the dresses, I thought T2 was one of the best looking sets ever, and I was happy when T8 brought sexy back. Once again personal opinion, and I will of course wear the best gear regardless of looks, as I am not into RP.

    • 4 Morlin
      December 12, 2009 at 9:04 pm

      Haha, okay you can have your dresses. I’d be more open to it if I had rolled a female toon, but as it was all my guildies made fun of the “tank in a skirt” so it was somewhat disheartening. =P

  4. December 12, 2009 at 1:16 pm

    We’ll see how it works out, I’m actually thinking about storing up badges until we start running into limited attempt bosses and see where I’m short, possibly even wait for hardmodes. Between whatever gear drops, etc, I’d rather wait until I have information to make the optimal choices.

    I don’t think I’ll have the badges for everything I WANT by the time heroic modes are out, so I’d rather make sure I can pick up the pieces I turn out to NEED.

    6 badges for new hardmodes = 6
    4 weeks at 35 badges per week = 146
    2 weeks at 47 badges per week = 240
    2 weeks at 55 badges per week = 350
    1 week at 67 badges per week = 417

    So that’s the max possible badge budget for when hardmodes start. I’m liable to lose a few over the holidays with the family. I don’t think that any choice is necessarily wrong for spending them, but I’d like to make more informed decisions, knowing that I certainly don’t need them right now.

    If you really need to shore up a weakness, I can see grabbing something early, but I think it’s premature to spend badges until the content dictates that you need a piece. We may find out that some fights are made vastly simpler with 4t10. We’ve already seen two normal modes that potentially reward avoidance in a large way, if the heroic modes are similar, 4t10 could be hugely overpowered.

    Generally speaking, badges are discretionary purchases, and by hoarding, you can maintain an ability to shore up a weakness or build on a strength at basically a moments notice, based on what loot you happen to have drop before your personal progression wall.

    • 6 Morlin
      December 12, 2009 at 9:09 pm

      Hm Meloree makes a good point. The newest badge gear is more expensive than ever, and accumulation of those emblems is about as slow as it was when we started on Triumph. I just hope that holding on to Emblems of Frost for too long doesn’t cause them to melt. =P

  5. 7 Vantu
    December 20, 2009 at 8:06 pm

    Okay, I have a dilemma on my hands. Unlike most of you, who seem to have really good gear, I have low end gear for 10 man ICC. Currently, I am looking at the Corroded Skeleton Key, which I would use to replace my The Black Heart. I am also looking at primarily the cloak and the belt. Currently, I have Cloak of Peaceful Resolutions (I know, its my last blue) and Shieldwarder Girdle. I just want an opinion on which to get; I’ve already done the math and the gains seem pretty even.

  6. 8 Tal
    December 21, 2009 at 9:21 am

    Hey, exellent write-up Wrathy!

    I started out as Ret mainspec, with Prot offspec for occasional tanking when needed, but then switched around as i got tired of the whole DPS race in raids.. I’ve never been pro at balancing my stats as prot and i have little knowledge of stat weights. I’m currently using The Black Heart and Heart of Iron from Ignis-25.. I suppose that i should get rid of the black heart once i get the Skeleton Key? Thanks in advance 🙂

  7. 9 Wrathy
    December 21, 2009 at 3:55 pm


    I would personally start with the cloak, as it gives you multiple stats, including armor, and replacing your blues is more important than replacing the Black heart (which is quite a good trinket). The math is probably the same on all of them, but you have to consider your options when it comes to the gear that you can pick up, the cloak is going to be one of the best you can get, and you will not replace it.


    I would replace the black heart first if you decide that you want to pick up the key first. There are other options as well, but if you want to replace your trinket first, you will probably want to pick up the most stamina, considering there will be a descent amount of magical damage flying around.

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