Posts Tagged ‘Gear


The hidden value of expertise

Theck  has once again graced us with some stunning theorycraft regarding the value of expertise relative to dodge. For those of you who are unaware of this turn of events, or the common theory surrounding expertise and its ability to prevent damage, expertise has the ability to prevent parry hasting by pushing parries off the attack table. Now while most of us have never see a balanced set of gear with 56 expertise, every point over the soft cap of 26 gives us valuable damage prevention with a threat bonus, and it is very possible in this tier to get close to the cap.

Theck’s Conclusions are as follows:

Current conclusions:

  • For Icecrown Citadel, expertise is roughly 91% as effective as dodge rating for reducing incoming damage, assuming a boss swing speed of 1.4 seconds (after JotJ). It varies significantly with boss attack speed though, from 78% @ 1.2 to 154% @ 2.4 speed.
    • For Warriors, this range narrows to 52-102%, with an “average” of 60% at 1.4-speed.
    • For Druids, it’s 49-98%, with an “average” of 60%
    • For Death Knights, the range becomes 36-71%, with an “average” of 46%.
  • For bosses outside of Icecrown, we would use an average swing speed of around 2.0, giving average values of 87% for paladins (53%-104% range), 57% for warriors (30%-69%), 56% for druids (28%-68%), and 29%-45% for Death Knights (28%-52%).All of these can be seen in the plots in the “results” section.
  • Each point of expertise rating (above the soft-cap) also gives a Paladin about 60% the threat that a point of STR would.
  • What this means for us paladins

    Since I love gear sets, and optimizing my gear to be the best that it possibly can be, this means that I need to re-evaluate what I will be wearing when hard modes come out. The relative benefits of expertise seem too good to pass up. Now while I have not and will not gem expertise ever, I have been known to stack it on my gear. Because of the fact that we now benefit more from expertise than any other class, it is essential that we work with our other tanks to get the pieces of gear which will help us prevent parry hasting and incoming damage. According to this pretty graph that Theck has graciously put together for us, you can see that we already have a higher efficiency than any other tank. In addition to that, we scale better as the bosses swing timers get slower.

    As you can see, we benefit in multiple ways from expertise, and it scales better for us. Now that we all understand what it does, I wanted to talk a little bit about where we can get this lovely stat, and how I plan to create my hard mode progression gear set. I want to break down slot by slot our options, so that we understand where we can get the best bang for our buck, I have neglected mentioning any slot which doesnt have an expertise piece in the item levels of 264 to 277. First the off set pieces –

    The Cataclysmic Chestguard is drool worthy, it has three sockets, 207 stamina, tons of defense, and bonus armor to boot! This will be a guaranteed not tier piece of my gear set. The best part about the chest is the fact that it comes from the badge vendor. There is no need to hope for a drop, or not be able to get it because you haven’t been able to kill the boss that is selfishly holding on to this piece. The gloves are nice too, dropping from Blood-Queen Lana’thel in 10 man heroic. The Grinning Skull Greatboots drop off of Valithria Dreamwalker and have a 277 version as well! These will definitely be the boots i chose to wear over the crafted threat ones. As for the Tier gear, the only piece that has expertise on it, and one that I have always considered wearing are the legs. As you can see below, they are not the best for effective health, as the pillars of might have similar stamina at 207, but three sockets and a LOT of bonus armor and avoidance to boot. This is all a trade off of course because of the fact that they have no defense on them.

    What do these pieces get you?

    In the end you are going to have a total of 82+70+53+82 = 287 expertise rating or roughly 287/8.2 = 35 rating from gear. If you add this to the 10 rating from your Seal of Vengance Glyph and the 6 from Combat Expertise, you have 51 expertise. Now while this gear set may not be the best for every fight, being at 51 expertise with four pieces of gear is a great start to decreasing the damage you take and increasing your threat indirectly. There are other options for these slots, and the are very strong in their respective categories, however they are specialized. For instance, for the leg slot, you have the option of the aforementioned tier 10 pants, the bonus armor pillars of might or the legguards of lost hope for threat. To me, the decision on which pants to wear in what set is pretty cut and dry. I will wear the Tier legs for my balanced set (which I tank most non progression fights in), the pillars of might in my effective health set, and the legguards of lost hope in my threat set. You will see that there are similar results when you look at the other gear slots.

    In the end, you will have to decide how you want to gear for fights, however with the new data that Theck has provided us with, expertise is looking more and more attractive by the day for us.


    Rotface, Festergut, and the Good Doctor

    The nerf bat is quick

    I wanted to talk a bit about Rotface and Festergut because those are the two bosses we have the most information about in the upcoming wing of ICC which was released today, but I would like to start with another small rant pointed in the direction of blizzard. They have decided to nerf Lady Deathwhisper already and make her easier to kill. While I understand that not every guild is like ours, and some people struggle with this encounter every week, what is the point of creating any difficult content if you make it easier 4 weeks after it came out. There is no reason for a challenge if you remove the challenge so quickly.

    1/5/10 The Lady Deathwhisper encounter has seen the following changes in the 25 player normal version: mana pool has been reduced, the health on all adds has been reduced, and Adherents will wait a little longer after spawning before they start casting.

    This fight was never “hard.” It was challenging for the first few attempts and as you gained more perspective on the keys to killing the boss, it became much more trivial. Our alt raid usually gets overwhelmed once a week, however its nothing that we can not over come. Part of me can understand nerfing something like Lady Vashj or even KT back in the SSC/TK days, or nerfing Sunwell when 3.0 came out, but most of the nerfs in this expansion pack have not been that warranted. There are times where the community cries out that a nerf is necessary to kill a boss like Yogg +0, then Stars comes along and laughs at all of us with their kill shot. That is about as extreme as it got in Wrath of the Lich King. Most nerfs were too early.

    Speculation on Rotface and Festergut

    There is a very nice write up of the Rotface encounter over at StratFu, so I wont spend too much time doubling its efforts here. I will, once we get some kills in, add some information to the Icecrown Citadel section of the blog. From reading up on the fight, and understanding most of the encounter from a high level perspective, this fight should be quite straight forward for us as tanks. If you are the main tank, your job is about as easy as it gets. I would compare this fight to a combination of Lord Jaraxxus and Grobbulus. As the main tank you can stand still and build threat for most of the fight, occasionally moving the boss out of the Unstable Ooze Explosion.

    As for gear for the Main Tank, we have yet to see how hard the bosses melee hits are, however with Slime Spray (Raining Green Ooze. Deals 6k Nature damage to enemies in cone in front of the caster every second for 5 seconds) there is a descent amount of nature damage being thrown around, so a full armor set will not be as beneficial as a max stamina set.

    Festergut has some interesting mechanics which will make the fight a bit more than a tank and spank, but not by much. I see his mechanics aligning slightly with Algalon, minus the huge burst and the need to have a TON of health. He places a debuf on his current target called Gastric Bloat which Inflicts 12k damage and applies Gastric Bloat to the target, increasing damage done by 10% for 1.67 min (100 seconds) and will cause a Gastric Explosion at 10 stacks inflicting massive damage to nearby allies. This means that you will have to taunt before the stacks get too high. While most of the PTR videos I watched had tanks have much less than 10 stacks, this may be a change from the PTR to the Live version. Either way, you will want to watch your debufs when tanking this bad boy this week.

    This fight seems more like a healer check than anything else, as the need for healing oscillates between a lot of raid damage and a lot of tank damage based on the number of breaths he has taken. Because of the ample amount of shadow damage that is flying around the room, you will once again see a mixture of magic and physical damage which will make a max hp set more viable for survival, and armor will be less of a benefit for preventing spikes which will cause tank deaths. This assumption is based off of Theck’s new formula which I talked about a while back. The reasoning behind this is that, unless the physical damage is substantial, more than a good percentage of your total damage taken will result in non physical damage, making stamina more powerful than armor.

    Professor Putricide

    Little is known about the good doctor, and I do not care to speculate too much about the mechanics of the fight, so I will leave all of my comments on this fight until after we have seen it. It is important to remember that there is an attempt counter for the encounter so It is advisable that you are putting your best foot forward when walking into this encounter. For those 25 man raiders, running your 10s first will give you a good idea if your 25 man can handle what he is throwing out there.

    Good luck to everyone tonight, may the epics fall from the skies. I hope to see you with some fresh kill shots tomorrow!


    Pick up that Piece of Gear!

    Icecrown gear swapping and you…

    There has been a lot of discussion as of late on the concepts of gearing in Icecrown. Every tank in the game is hoping to get that edge on the encounter which will make it that much easier to defeat and help progress their guild through the instance. That is why I wanted to take some time to write a little bit about my opinions on gearing, icecrown, and what has changed in the past three weeks. The short and dirty version is that Icecrown is currently easy content, where bosses do not truly hit hard enough to provide examples of burst damage which we can subsequently gear towards. So, in the mean time, we can discuss what we should do with the gear that is now available to us, and why you, as a main tank, should be picking up as much of it as possible.

    My equipment Manager

    My bags are overflowing

    Gear sets are a very important concept for newer tanks to understand. Even if you have been tanking for all of WoLTK, or even longer, if you are still using one gear set for a whole raid night, you are doing your guild a disservice. Knowing what a particular trash pack or boss does, and tailoring your gear that you wear into that encounter makes you a very powerful, and high end tank. This is important to remember as we plow through the first four bosses of this instance. I know that each guild had different experiences in ICC during the past few weeks, but speaking form personal experience, I have already swapped over to threat gear because my health never dropped below 40% in any given encounter (with the caveat that we were not wiping). This shows me that I out gear these progression bosses. This will be a different story when the hard modes open up, but until then this is what we have to work with.

    Because of this gear disparity, it is important to understand that a tank has many “roles” during a raid. And, each of these roles usually required different gear sets to perform at your very best. Now while I have extensively gone over the different gear sets and the philosophies behind them, I have not truly justified why they are necessary. We will more than likely encounter bosses in the rest of the instance, as well as the hard modes to come, which will employ a multitude of methods to try to kill you. Having the proper gear available to counter this is crucial to successful progression. What this means is that if there are pieces that drop from ICC with hit and expertise on them, they may not be valueable to you now in your current gear set, but that will not always be the case. The same is true for bonus armor, or avoidance pieces.

    Tanks are Loot whores by nature

    This is something that most of my fellow tanks in Crypt Friends have yet to embrace. They take a look at a piece of gear, and say well that has dodge and parry on it, and I don’t really need more avoidance, I need the expertise that is on my current gear. The problem is that, there will come a time where you WILL NEED that avoidance, and that time is the week after you kill Arathas and decide that you want to try  hard modes. If you are not properly prepared with your gear before the day when your guild wants to try, you will be holding your guild back as you wait for those pieces to drop.

    It is interesting to note that there are three distinctive sets of gear that drop out of Icecrown Citadel, can be crafted by reputation patterns, or can be bought with Emblems of Frost. Each of these sets tailors your statistics to bolster different strengths. There is a near complete set of gear which has hit and expertise, one that has bonus armor, and one that has a ton of avoidance on them. Now while balancing each of these will give you a nice balanced set, stacking each of these will give you a huge advantage when it comes to an encounter that employs a counter to one of these gearing philosophies.

    Icecrown Citadel is the perfect example of a loot table that has gone above and beyond when it comes to providing different gear for different gearsets. Blizzard has done an excellent job with itemization of said gear and making most of it available to the masses. It is important that you consider what your role is with in your raid, when that next piece of gear drops, so that you know if it is something you should pick up immediately, or if it is something you can pass to your fellow tanks. Never let something get disenchanted or go to an offspec role if you don’t have it first, as each piece that drops in ICC has a purpose.


    Icecrown Citadel Gear Set

    Updates to my Gear Sets

    I recently amended my thread on MainTankadin about gear sets to include a general set for use when tanking progression encounters under the influence of Chill of the Throne. This set is compiled with the intention of main tanking progression content in ICC. The philosophy and reasoning behind the higher value of stamina is due to the fact that the relative benefit of avoidance ratings are less as you avoid less attacks from the Chill of the Throne. As a result, stamina is the most powerful stat due to its lack of diminishing returns and ability to directly increase your survival.

    The Chill of the Throne Set

    This set is being introduced to deal with gearing and gemming philosophies and gear choices while under the influence of Chill of the Throne. Chill of the Throne automatically negates 20% of your chance to dodge when you enter any of the Icecrown Citadel Raid instances. The concepts of this gear set are mostly geared around Effective health, and Theck’s new formula for Effective health. This differs in regards to the normal “effective health” set above in the fact that we are forsaking avoidance and buffering for a combination of magical and physical damage. Based on a detailed discussion on Chill of the Throne, the vast majority of the paladin tanking community agrees that maximizing your ability to take the hits (aka stamina stacking) is the best course of action.

    This set can be altered based on the encounter to provide the best amount of “Effective Health” as long as you understand the types of damage that you are going to face (e.g. Physical, Magic, Bleed). There are certain goals that you want to achieve in order for your ICC set to be effective with Chill of the Throne Active. Above all, Stamina is king. While the understanding that if you were in favor of avoidance before, you can still favor it and do well is true. The best relative increase in your time to live is from pure stamina, as it does not suffer from harsh diminishing returns.

    There are certain goals that must be achieved in order for your threat set to be effective. I will say this as part of each and every set, but you must maintain your defense minimum of 540, there is no way around this. Once this has been achieved, you can start to look at your other priorities: Stamina, Stamina, and then some armor. The set will contain dual stamina trinkets, and all of your sockets save one will be gemmed for stamina. You will also want to place stamina enchants on most of your gear, as long as you stay above the defense minimum.

    DISCLAIMER – It is important to know that there will be times when the other sets listed above will be better for tanking encounters in Icecrown Citadel. Each set has its time and place for use. This is a general utility set to maximize time to live while under the influence of Chill of the Throne, not the only set you should wear in ICC.

    The Basics of a Chill of the Throne set –
    540 Defense
    Stamina Stack
    Bonus Armor when possible
    Ensure Double Stamina trinkets
    Ensure 26 Expertise

    The Gems and Enchants Specific to a Chill of the Throne set –
    Gem for Stamina
    Austere Earthsiege Diamond
    Armor to (gloves and) Cloak
    Mongoose to Weapon
    Stamina / Resilience Shoulder Enchant
    Super Health to Chest
    Stamina to Bracers and Boots
    Agility or Stamina to Gloves


    Badges for Crafted gear?

    Deviating from the plan

    I wanted to talk about trash packs, their abilities, and the best way to counter them, so that people have some solid information on the first few rooms of the instance, and what you as a tank should know and do about them. However, I forgot to take a few screen shots while dpsing the crap out of the trash on my hunter this past weekend. As a result, I still dont know the names of any of the trash packs, and I do not have enough visual aids to give my “Presentation” to you guys, so that post will have to wait another day. Instead, I would like to talk about primordial saronite, its uses and benefits to both us as tanks and our guilds as a whole. My reasoning behind this digression is a current debate that my guild is having in our forums. The problem is that currency is scarce during these first few weeks of the patch, and everyone wants a cookie from the cookie jar.

    Primordial saronites are used for crafting some very nice gear as well as purchasing the patterns for said gear. They are also used to start up the Shadowmourne quest chain which will ultimately get one of your guildies a juicy legendary. As the proud owner of a legendary (Hand of Ragnaros) back when it was still the Best in Slot item, I have to tell you that it was part of some of the most fun I have ever had in this game. The numbers were huge, and I loved every  minute of it. Alas I continue to digress. Back to the topic at hand, the currency known as primordial saronite. While the item is used for cloth, leather, mail, and plate crafted items, I want to focus on the tank loot, as that is what we care about, and ultimately what will probably be put on the back burner for other things.

    The boots and the legs

    We have the option of crafting two different pieces of gear which aid us in completing two very different gear sets. The boots, also known as the Boots of Kingly Upheaval are a great upgrade for your threat set. Thats right, these are only really good for your threat set. While you may have to wait a bit for your progression set boots, they will come and they are much better for overall survival. The Grinning Skull Greatboots are in all ways superior for your main tanking set to the craftable boots. If you compare the boots, you gain 80 defense, and trade 72 parry for 53 Expertise. Both of the craftable items this patch have zero defense on them, and while we can easily reach the 540 minimum with out having all of our gear itemized with defense, you have to remember that defense gives you pure avoidance, plain and simple. And we have already seen that there are quite a few fights in this instance where avoidance is rewarded.

    In the end, what you can see here is that you are trading hit for expertise. After my last post, and Thecks great work showing its importance, I believe that the zone drop boots are far superior to the craftable ones. This means that we do not have to worry about spending our precious badges on primordial saronite this early on in the instance. It goes with out saying, that once you have this place on farm and you are getting tons of badges a week, the Boots of Kingly Upheaval are very nice threat boots and should be crafted at some point.

    On to the Choices in legs. We actually have three choices when it comes to the legs, and they each serve a different purpose. I first want to discuss the two legs that you do not have to craft, the T10 legs and the Legguards of lost hope. They both have identical values of armor, strength, and sockets. The Tier gear has more stamina, more defense, and dodge and expertise while the Legguards of lost hope have hit and more dodge. With the current gemming philosophies, the socket bonus is lost on the T10 legs, however, if you are gearing for threat, you already out gear the encounter and can pick up the socket bonus of the Legguards of Lost Hope. This is a clear case of threat versus avoidance pants.

    Now if we move on to the crafted pants, we can see that the bonus armor that they provide is amazing, and will be a step in the right direction when creating a pure physical damage mitigation set. However these too do not have any defense itemization, and as a result will more than likely be a piece for a physical mitigation fight, and not your main tanking or progression pants. If you look closer at these, the 1190 bonus armor will be great, they still have three sockets and 207 stamina as well as a descent amount of avoidance. These scream physical mitigation for heavy melee.

    Why the rant?

    I wanted to get some things on paper regarding this so that we can make some educated decisions for the first month or so of the instance. As Emblems of Frost are scarce and we need them for everything from our belt, cloak, and trinket, to all of our tier gear, it is important to know the relative priority of things such as crafted items and primordial saronite. My conclusion is that it is not worth it for us to spend our badges on primordials as we have better options for our progression sets. As we get deeper and deeper into the instance, and we get more and more badges per week, these things can be of value to us, but not before we gear up to clear the instance first.

    As promised, I hope to have a post tomorrow on the Trash in the ICC instance, proper pulls and abilities, as well as a few tricks of the trade so that you can make your runs go smoother.


    New thoughts on threat

    Who Doesn’t Want More Threat?

    I was reading MainTankadin a few days ago and I came across Theck’s newest calculations on the best weapons for threat in 3.3. While I will have to say that we are a long way from having the instance on farm and as a result, letting me crack some heads for 10k sustained tps, it got me to thinking about the gear and when I want to pick it up. As most of you know, I am an avid gear swapper. I probably swap gear as much as anyone else in the game, and I consider it a testament to the knowledge of the encounters that I possess as well as a greater understanding of my role and when and what I should be doing. I love it when I see other tanks swapping out their gear. When we get a new recruit and they all of a sudden have a different gear set on, it makes me smile.

    Back to the topic at hand. I wanted to discuss the options we have for threat weapons and I noticed that because of the boss where our best in slot tps weapon drops is already available, it would be important to get that information out there sooner than later. I started a discussion on my guild forums regarding the Bloodvenom Blade, asking our rouges if any of them would want it for their main spec. The responses I got brought out the loot whore in me. The overwhelming response from our guilds rogues is that they would rather stick with mutilate, and not go for combat till it proves to provide more sustained dps. This means that I don’t feel as bad if I take one the next time it drops (as one already has and went to a rogue for offspec). Why all this discussion about a rogue sword and who cares, well I will elaborate. Here is the Bloodvenom Blade:

    It has a little bit of everything. It is slow, with nice top end damage, and comes along with all the stats you want for a threat weapon, hit, attack power, and agility.  While it has armor pen, and that is not ideal for us, it is still by far our best option when it comes to threat weapons. Now before you go and post a comment that asks “Where is the defense?” Well you don’t need the defense on this weapon. You will have plenty of defense from your gear alone to keep you over the minimum, and besides that you only use a threat weapon when you have gimmick fights like Hodir Hard mode, or if you have something on farm. I personally will be using one of these bad boys for most of ICC normal once I pick it up, as the fights seem pretty straight forward and I wont need my Progression MT set for a lot of them. Before the second question pops into your head, that one where you wonder well why not any of the other dps weapons? Here is your answer. Theck did his usual great analysis for all of the different weapons that are available to us and posted this graph in the MATLAB TPS thread:

    I also posted this in my guild forum thread when someone asked what is 1V, 3C, 3R? While I would think that most of us can interpret the meanings of this legend, there are some people that come here that are not seasoned paladins. For clarity’s sake, 1V refers to placing one point into Conviction, 3C refers to placing three points into Crusade, and 3R refers to placing three points into reckoning. What this graph shows us is that the Bloodvenom Blade is best in slot when it comes to threat producing weapons. The good news for us is that it is not a weapon that is currently used by rogues in their main raiding spec, and it drops off of Deathbringer Saurfang. Since we already have access to the normal version of this weapon, which happens to be second best over all, we have the ability to pick this up.

    I would suggest that anyone who builds multiple sets, especially a threat set, should think about getting this if no one else in your guild wants it. I have used a DPS weapon as my threat weapon for quite some time now, and I have always been happy with the results.

    Expertise and 3.3

    I also wanted to use this post to talk about some new perceptions when it comes to expertise. While we have always stressed that expertise is a good stat when it comes to threat and “avoidance,” there have been some discoveries about Shield of Righteousness in the past few days. With the changes to Shield of Rightousness, expertise has moved into position as the most important threat stat until you are soft capped. For those of you who have not been following the discussion on MainTankadin, there was a stealth change to SoR that made it act like a physical attack which could be dodged or parried, meaning that our biggest snap threat skill is effected by expertise. The graph below shows that expertise has the highest threat per point until you hat 26 expertise (also known as the soft cap).

    It is important to know that while it drops off after you hit the soft cap, and it is no longer considered the best threat stat, once again strength becomes the most important threat stat past the soft expertise cap. Although expertise is no longer the best threat stat once you hit 26, it is sit a very powerful stat when it comes to damage intake prevention, so for your main tank set, more expertise is always ok, until you hit the hard cap of 56 (which is very hard if not impossible to do while maintaining tanking stats).


    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…


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