Why cant we define a BiS List
I should send Theck some cookies for continually giving me great topics for discussion on this blog. Yesterday he did a great analysis of the different options for each gear slot and broke down some great gear sets. The problem we as a community have faced is that there really is not one best in slot list. While some of our newer contributors are trying to compile lists and get posts stickied, they all fall short of Theck in their analysis because of one thing, there is too much gear. What I mean by this is that blizzard has graced us with three different pieces for almost every slot, and each piece is tailored to a specific purpose, threat, avoidance, or effective health.
My habit with Thecks posts is to read the conclusions first, as he loves to write more than me, and then read the main body of work, so I will provide you with his conclusions first, which I completely agree with….
The EH enthusiast – T10 Helm/Shoulders, Cat/Kraken/Pillars for massive Armor. The off-set shoulders can be subbed in if you don’t want the set bonus.
The Stam enthusiast – T10 Helm/Chest, Boneguard/Taldaram/LostHope. Unconcerned with armor, they pick up the 18 stam bonuses while trading as little avoidance as possible. Possible variant is T10 Helm/Chest + Boneguard/Taldaram/Pillars if they care about armor a little bit.
The Avoidance Lover – T10 Helm/Shoulders/Chest/Legs, Taldaram’s gloves. Gives you the highest avoidance possible along with the 4-piece bonus.
The Tightrope Walker – T10 Helm/Chest + Boneguard/Kraken/Pillars. This guy likes balance, and makes the most efficient ratio trades for armor (Kraken/Pillars)
This is the TLDR version of his analysis, but I think it is important to know why we got to this conclusion, and not just what pieces of gear you should pick up. I honestly think this is valuable information when it comes to gearing choices and the selection of how to spend this months most precious commodity, an Emblem of Frost.
Our options and choices
Since Blizzard was generous enough to give us three different pieces of gear for almost every slot, they have made it very hard for those people in the community who love the concept of a BiS gear list to create or find one. The fact that we have a significant amount of gear which is very specialized makes the assignment of Best in Slot a very difficult one. With that being said, the specialization of gear has allowed us to create close to BiS lists for specific functions. In previous tiers, you had a few options for rings, cloaks, necks, and a few pieces of gear, to craft your Effective Health set or your Avoidance set, however now we have a piece for almost every slot.
I wanted to focus on our progression set, because that is what most of us will be wearing for a majority of the encounters in the next few months. As the final wing opens up, and the Lich King’s defeat unlocks hard modes, we will need to focus on gearing for a few tank check encounters. What this means is that we need to increase our ability to take unmitigated damage, and mitigate the rest. There are bonus armor pieces galore, and a few pieces that offer ungodly amounts of stamina on them, which we will want to focus on when compiling this set. As you can see in Theck’s suggestions for the EH lover, we can squeeze a lot of bonus armor out of two badge pieces and a crafted piece. This means that these pieces of gear are available to everyone and we do not have to worry about the rng of loot dropping off of a specific boss.
Special Considerations and Caveats
Theck also pointed out in his post that there are some caveats to your gearing strategies. These caveats come from the fact that the pieces that you can acquire are so full of stats such as expertise and hit that you can not just slap on all of the hit and expertise pieces because you will be WAY over the hit cap, and probably even over the expertise hard cap. With that being said, when compiling these sets there are even places where you will need to trade out some expertise or hit for a lesser piece simply because it is wasted itemization.
When comparing some of the pieces, you will notice that Theck points out that you have the ability to drop below the soft cap for expertise, and this is something you should NEVER do because of the relative gains that it will give you. It is interesting to note that some of the better pieces at the 264 item level are then eclipsed by the T10 at the 277 level. What I mean by this is that there are three pieces of T10 that are best in slot once upgraded to the 277 item level. For those of you who never think you will see hard modes, or will not see them for some time, the choices become much easier for you. For those of you who will be attempting them in the first week and believe that you can get your hand on a piece of 277 T10, it gets a bit more difficult.
Armor versus T10
To quote Theck once again –
As an interesting side note, let’s look just at Pillars and Cataclysmic. If you had to choose one of these to replace T10, Pillars is almost hands-down the better choice. It sacrifices less avoidance and gives you slightly more armor. Both pieces are roughly threat-neutral provided you’re soft-capped without either – the expertise gain from Cataclysmic offsets the STR loss, and the STR gain on Pillars offsets the expertise loss.
Cataclysmic is superior only if:
- You’re below the expertise soft-cap, in which case it’s threat positive, or
- You lose uncrittability by using Pillars
This is a very good point which shows the very dynamic nature of trying to assemble gear sets. This is an ideal example of the balancing act you have to do when selecting an item for any given slot, and your decisions ramifications on other items you may want to use. The Cataclysmic Chest and the T10 legs both have 82 expertise on them. If you have to make the decision between these two, and you lean towards the Pillars, you have just effectively lost 164 expertise.
You have to take this into consideration because if you want to go with a balanced set, where you use the T10 chest and the Pillars of Might, you will have to find your expertise other places, namely the boots and the gloves. We can use this as an example for any other combination of gear. If you decide to forgo a stat on two pieces, you have to see what it has on the effect of your overall gear set. For me, If I chose to use the EH set that theck outlined, I am going to have to wear the ToTGC bracers and Cloak (off jaraxxus), to make it to the soft cap. Now this isn’t to say that you cant do your job with a measly 16 expertise that is granted by talents and glyph, however your threat will take a dive because Expertise is the best threat stat when you are below the soft cap.
I agree with Theck on his assessment of the EH set (I would be an idiot to ever disagree with the man), and Will more than likely sport the same type of gear set for my progression Hard Mode encounters. For my personal gear selection, I will more than likely continue to hold off until I know that my gear needs an upgrade. This is because the longer I hold out, the more likely it is that I will have some other pieces drop from the bosses, such as the boots, which would change my decisions on order of acquisition.
Good luck to all of you on your gearing selections, and may the tank drops be plentiful…