Elemental, Opinion, Shaman, Spreadsheet, Theorycraft, WoW

Icecrown: The last suit you’ll ever wear

Update: This is not updated for 3.3.5 and Ruby Sanctum.  Yeah, and I still haven’t done the SimCraft DPS figures.

Let’s talk about best-in-slot lists!  Anyone who knows me will know how cynical I can be about these lists, so may be surprised to find me posting about them.  I’d better explain.

Best-in-slot lists are the result of people trying to come up with the best possible combination of gear options that together give the best possible DPS output (which usually means a need to be hit-capped).  And by “best possible” I mean “the absolute bestest of the best possible”: no matter how hard the items are to get, if they’re the best then they’re the best; no matter how small the DPS difference between using items A, B and C over using items X, Y and Z, the best combination will be chosen.

How not to use BiS lists

These lists are very useful for all sorts of things, and can even serve as a wishlist for the most hardcore raiders who’ll have access to all the gear on the list(s).  But it’s kinda important to realise that for most of us, who’ll never have access to all that gear, BiS lists aren’t targets.  What’s “best-in-slot” for a certain configuration may not be best-in-slot if you don’t have that entire exact configuration.  For example, if you don’t have every piece of ilevel 277 hit gear on the 25-man BiS list, you’ll need to find another piece of hit gear to meet the hit cap – which will change the entire dynamic of what’s best-in-slot for you personally.

That means that you can’t just look at a BiS list, see an item and then when it drops go “omg that’s bis!!!” and expect that to be justification that you should have it.  Remember BiS items are often BiS for several classes and specs, and can even be BiS if they’re not very well itemised (refer to the discussion of ilevel and item points in this post for reasoning).

In fact, every person will have a different “best-in-slot” list depending on their particular access to gear, raid buffs and racials!  So for example draenei need less hit rating, troll engineers may eventually start to prefer crit over haste, and folks who use fire totems for DPS might go for raw spellpower in all their sockets.  Meanwhile 10-man raiders with no access to heroic 25-man gear will have to work out their hit rating provision quite differently to the 25-man heroic BiS list!

It’s also good to remember that sometimes the theoretical difference between one configuration and another will be only a couple of DPS, and that even then some sets will suit some circumstances better than others.

Icecrown Best-in-Slot lists

So having said that, let’s look at what is currently best-in-slot for elemental shamans in Wrath of the Lich King.  Assuming no further major content is released, this will be the last gear set any elemental shaman will wear until Cataclysm’s pre-release patch!

** The 25-man lists you see below were NOT done by me, but rather were assembled by masanbol (aka Origins) who has very kindly given me permission to use them here. **

A few other notes:

  • Some of the item data on Wowhead is still not complete.
  • Red sockets are filled with Runed and yellow with Veiled or Reckless gems.  The two best blue socket bonuses will be chosen for Glowing gems to activate our meta gem.
  • Trinkets/rings etc. are unique with their heroic versions.
  • You can click on the Wowhead profile links to see exact stats and stuff.
  • Any mistakes in the lists are my own fault and not masanbol’s.
  • Using 4-piece tier 10 is now definitely and unambiguously superior to offset items.

25-man heroic – Alliance

(Wowhead profile)

Both of these 25-man sets assume full raid buffs and use of fire totems.

Head: [Sanctified Frost Witch’s Helm]

Neck: [Blood Queen’s Crimson Choker]

Shoulders: [Sanctified Frost Witch’s Shoulderpads]

Back: [Frostbinder’s Shredded Cape]

Chest: [Sanctified Frost Witch’s Hauberk]

Wrists: [Bloodsunder’s Bracers]

Mainhand: [Royal Scepter of Terenas II]

Offhand: [Bulwark of Smouldering Steel]

Relic: [Bizuri’s Totem of Shattered Ice]

Hands: [Sanctified Frost Witch’s Gloves]

Waist: [Crushing Coldwraith Belt]

Legs: [Plaguebringer’s Stained Pants]

Feet: [Plague Scientist’s Boots]

Finger: [Ashen Band of Endless Destruction]

Finger: [Ring of Rapid Ascent]

Trinket: [Phylactery of the Nameless Lich]

Trinket: [Dislodged Foreign Object]

This set’s theoretical DPS in ZAP! is 14,055 and in SimulationCraft it’s ???.

25-man heroic – Horde

(Wowhead profile)

Head: [Sanctified Frost Witch’s Helm]

Neck: [Amulet of the Silent Eulogy]

Shoulders: [Sanctified Frost Witch’s Shoulderpads]

Back: [Frostbinder’s Shredded Cape]

Chest: [Sanctified Frost Witch’s Hauberk]

Wrists: [Bloodsunder’s Bracers]

Mainhand: [Royal Scepter of Terenas II]

Offhand: [Bulwark of Smouldering Steel]

Relic: [Bizuri’s Totem of Shattered Ice]

Hands: [Gunship Captain’s Mittens]

Waist: [Crushing Coldwraith Belt]

Legs: [Sanctified Frost Witch’s Kilt]

Feet: [Plague Scientist’s Boots]

Finger: [Ashen Band of Endless Destruction]

Finger: [Ring of Rapid Ascent]

Trinket: [Phylactery of the Nameless Lich]

Trinket: [Dislodged Foreign Object]

This set provides a theoretical single-target DPS of 14,072 in ZAP! or ??? in SimulationCraft.

10-man heroic

The same profiles should work for both alliance and horde – horde just have to socket more Veiled Ametrines.  Again full raid buffs are assumed.

(Wowhead profile – no misery)

(Wowhead profile – misery)

Head: [Sanctified Frost Witch’s Helm]

Neck: [Soulcleave Pendant]

Shoulders: [Sanctified Frost Witch’s Shoulderpads]

Back: Lich Wrappings (Without misery, substitute [Drape of Bitter Incantation] – yes, I know that means you lose hit, but see below)

Chest: [Sanctified Frost Witch’s Hauberk]

Wrists: [Ether-Soaked Bracers]

Mainhand: [Tel’thas, Dagger of the Blood King]

Offhand: [Lost Pavise of the Blue Flight]

Relic: [Bizuri’s Totem of Shattered Ice]

Hands: [Stormbringer Gloves]

Waist: [Waistband of Despair]

Legs: [Sanctified Frost Witch’s Kilt]

Feet: [Boots of the Frozen Seed]

Finger: [Ashen Band of Endless Destruction]

Finger: [Cerise Coiled Ring]

Trinket: [Muradin’s Spyglass]

Trinket: [Abyssal Rune] (Without misery, substitute [Maghia’s Misguided Quill])

This is rated as 12,149 DPS in ZAP! and ??? in SimC.

Observations and Conclusions

The first thing I noticed was that there are genuinely a lot of options for most slots.  Not all of them are options we frankly like: for example, do 10-man raiders want an offhand with crit and hit or a shield with haste and MP5?  And once again we have to rely on cloth and leather for some slots.

Also, 10-man raiders have far fewer options: our best-in-slot cloak is the Tribute to Insanity (10-man) Trial of the Crusader chest reward because the only bracers and the only cloak for us in Icecrown have hit rating on them.  And ironically the only hit trinkets we have access to have so much hit that using them means we have to ditch most of our other hit pieces, or just accept being vastly over the hitcap.  It’s all very suboptimal.  And there’s only one caster trinket in 10-man Icecrown – you have to go back to Ulduar before you can find another worth using.  Best-in-slot for 10-mans is a 5-man non-heroic instance drop.

But with all these options, there are still a lot of different configurations that will give very, very close results to these “best” lists.  It is pleasing that we have genuine variety rather than one list which is vastly better than the others!

On Haste

With these very high spellpower and crit ratings we’re seeing in the BiS gear sets, the value of haste is increasing quite dramatically.  However at the same time, we’re approaching the 50% total haste threshhold wherein extra haste devalues by about 15%.  Haste still seems to remain above the value of crit and worth socketing Reckless for socket bonuses, but it’s worth keeping an eye on those DEP values as you gear up.

So for elemental shamans, Icecrown gearing could actually be something of an adventure: there are lots of options to choose from and each of us will have to construct our own “best-in-slot” list based on our circumstances and what’s available to us.  And even the lists above are probably going to change when we get more data.  What a delicious change this makes from the horrors of Ulduar and Trial of the Crusader!



29 thoughts on “Icecrown: The last suit you’ll ever wear

  1. Here you go I did it for you.

    That took me 10 minutes, you lazy bastard. You just don’t care about your fans, do you 😦 😦

    Posted by Razz | December 29, 2009, 6:47 pm
    • I think they need to be BIGGER. The shoulders I mean. But the image itself also has be exactly 450×260 pixels.

      I mean, uh, thanks and stuff…

      Posted by Charles | December 29, 2009, 8:24 pm
      • No, see, if they were bigger they’d be totally disproportionate to the rest of his body which would RUIN the point of the intricate Shop. Any moron can attach shaman tier 10 shoulders to a picture of Will Smith in Paint, the Art of the Shop is to make it look like Will Smith was wearing these shoulders to begin with. Which means making them fit his body. Which means, indeed, making them smaller than they are in the game as the game has ridiculously sized shoulders.

        Otherwise he’d just look totally silly, and some random internet guy who came across this Shop would be all “wow that’s totally a shop”. NOW a casual passersby who found this image, glancing over it casually as he does, would MAYBE even mistake the shoulders as being part of the original image. Which is the Art man, this is the Art.

        I’m so sorry I’m messing up your beautiful blog with this nonsense :(. But SOMEONE needs to stand up and defend the lost Art of Shopping.

        Posted by Razz | December 29, 2009, 9:03 pm
      • Of course, of course, I’m so sorry. You’re right. (But it only took you ten minutes, riiiight?)

        But you see. 450×260. 😀

        Posted by Charles | December 29, 2009, 9:18 pm
      • It actually only did take me 10 minutes (no really), I’ve just Shopped too many things in my day to let this attack on my Shopping skills go unanswered. And if you were to open the image in an image editer you’d notice the dimensions were exactly scaleable to 450×260, I just made the image smaller so I didn’t have to increase the resolution of the shoulder image (which would’ve made it blurry).

        The resulting problem, of course, is that the final image is slightly smaller than the original Will Smith image. However I considered this only a minor issue as I knew you were going to be all nitpicky and weren’t going to end up using the final image on your blog anyway. Naturally I could just add a slight black border to compensate for this, but just this once I will desecrate the qualities of my work by bumping up the size ever so slightly. I hope you’re happy, you fiend. Now it looks all blurry and unfit for use on a blog.

        Posted by Razz | December 29, 2009, 9:30 pm
      • You guys are so cute.

        Posted by Sinespe | December 30, 2009, 2:09 am
  2. Any thoughts on best use of frost badges? Obviously it will depend on current gear and T10 2/4pc. Been wondering if I should aim for the belt or T10 first. (or if the larger uptime and 20 more haste is worth upgrading the relic).

    Earthen Ring

    Posted by Strombol | December 29, 2009, 8:34 pm
    • My initial thoughts would be that tier would be the best investment to start with, as there’s a nearly identical belt and gloves in 10-man heroic ICC (that’ll probably have superior socket bonuses) and even better ones in 25-man heroic ICC. The upgrade afforded by Bizuri’s, even considering the uptime improvement on long fights, is not worth the emblem cost at this early stage.

      Also the sooner you get the emblem tier, the sooner you can upgrade it to ilevel 264!

      Posted by Charles | December 29, 2009, 9:21 pm
  3. The Elemental T10 2-Set is currently bugged! http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/thread.html?topicId=22049521699&sid=1

    Posted by Bergg | December 31, 2009, 8:19 am
    • Ah, a blue on the subject. I was actually aware of other similar cooldown problems (Razz’s Call Stabled Pet was on cooldown for 16 days), so I wasn’t expecting it to be specifically linked to our Tier 10. But good to see that a fix is in the works.

      Posted by Charles | December 31, 2009, 9:22 pm
      • I watch the blue lists. I tend to disregard most other forum entries. It makes my forum environment a lot easier to handle without seeing red and wanting to throw a monitor across the wall. Trade chat, on the other hand…

        Posted by Tahas | December 31, 2009, 10:57 pm
  4. I don’t suppose you could do a 25 man non-heroic version by any chance? Or would it be all of the above scaled down? A lot of guilds will do 10 man heroics, 25 man normals and not be able to touch 25 man heroic versions (at least that’s teh pattern I’ve seen in t9)

    Posted by pewter | January 14, 2010, 4:05 pm
  5. http://www.wowhead.com/?profile=20688756

    That’s the ilvl 264 BiS list that I came up with myself for a Horde shaman. If you can’t get your hands on a heroic Barb (25-man Northrend Beasts heroic), you’ll probably want to grab the Frozen Bonespike and throw a couple of SP/Hit gems instead of SP/haste to make up the hit loss.

    Posted by Shkarn | January 14, 2010, 6:06 pm
    • You set is way short on hit, even with the heroic Barb. Consider the set-piece gloves with +72 hit and/or the +46 hit ring from Prince Valanar.

      Also I gotta believe a good ele weapon drops from the Lich King, it’s ridiculous how bad that slot is for us right now.

      Posted by Naqada | January 21, 2010, 7:54 pm
      • It’s actually not short on hit. If you add up the totals, it’s at 287, which is just 2 rating under the cap. The wowhead profiler doesn’t calculate stats from any item that doesn’t have a socket bonus recorded. If you remove the cloak from the character sheet there, you’ll see that the hit rating doesn’t change.

        Based on my current profile, there is a swap you could make:

        Use Frostbinder’s Shredded Cape instead of Lich Wrappings and use Gunship Captains Mittens instead of Blizzard Keepers Mitts.

        This would put you a bit over the hit cap, though (iirc around 310 or so), but neither greatly overpowers the other in terms of strength.

        Posted by Shkarn | January 21, 2010, 8:07 pm
  6. Earthsoul Boots are better than either of the 264 boots you have listed above and much easier to obtain.

    Only the 277 heroic cloth boots are better, but it will be months before we see an ele shammy with those, if ever.

    Also your sets are way short on hit without gemming. I personally think it makes the set-piece gloves and the +hit ring from the Prince much more appealing.

    Posted by Naqada | January 21, 2010, 7:47 pm
    • Hmm, the wowhead profiles have bugged out – they’ve lost half their gems and aren’t calculating hit rating properly. For example, the 4t10 10-man set actually has 270 rating (250 from gear + two Veiled gems) but the profiler is only counting 163 hit rating. I suspect it’s a problem with the not-yet-seen items.

      At any rate, the profiles are best in slot even with the need for a couple of Veiled gems – they’re just extremely efficient about how they get their rating.

      As for Earthsoul Boots, they have less haste and more crit than Frozen Seed which crucially have a red/blue socket combo with a 7 spellpower bonus. This means that you can socket a Runed with a Glowing to pick up one half of the CSD activation requirements and end up with more overall DEP than if you took Earthsoul with two Reckless gems and put a Glowing gem in the shoulders.

      Unfortunately this isn’t shown by the wowhead profiler as it’s totally screwed for unseen items – I just tried to fix the missing gems and it won’t let me.

      Posted by Charles | January 21, 2010, 8:20 pm
  7. I am a progression raiding ele from balnazzar in a two day a week guild called Casually Serious. Your site is great as is your spreadsheet.

    When is the bis list going to be uddated to reflect the new 4pc t10 set bonus? I have looked at it, but dont see a config that is better without the 4pc. Frankly, I like the 4pc from a rotation standpoint alot more than not having it.

    Posted by chickalina | February 5, 2010, 8:53 pm
    • Um, it already has been actually! 🙂 The 2-piece 25-man list is just left there for comparison purposes. Sadly I won’t have updated DPS figures for each list until the wowhead profiler starts working properly with the new items.

      Posted by Charles | February 5, 2010, 9:42 pm
  8. I’m still not terribly sold on the 4 piece T10 bonus. Has anyone determined how much of a DPS loss/gain it is to take the bonus over doing the 2 piece, with offset gear?

    Especially since they are changing what our bonus is… yet again – lol

    I’m really hating have to buy the last 2 pieces, especially because the helm and hands are such a downgrade for me, in almost every sense of the word and I’m now playing the “hit juggling” game.

    Blah. 🙂

    Posted by Ushapti | March 8, 2010, 1:18 pm
    • The 4-piece is definitely better than any combination of 2-piece + offset. Seeing as the head, shoulders and chest are almost perfectly itemised for us and you only have to take either legs or gloves, I’m not sure what the problem is with getting the 4-piece? Those three plus legs or gloves are BiS at ilevel 277 after all 🙂 If you need more hit there are better places to get it than taking both gloves and legs.

      Posted by Charles | March 8, 2010, 6:05 pm
  9. If I took head, shoulders, chest and gloves/pants, I’m still hit starved.

    I need hit on head, gloves and pants to stay afloat now. Even if I got a hit ring and cloak, I’m still not capped.

    Where do you propose I get all that hit from then?

    Posted by Ushapti | March 8, 2010, 7:32 pm
    • I had the opposite experience. I was and still am well over the hit cap.
      My sources of hit:
      Silent Eulogy (52)
      Shroud of Displacement (50)
      Felspark Bracers (33)
      Gunship Captain’s Mittens (64)
      T10 Legs (80)
      Rep Ring (51)
      Icewalker Enchant (12)
      Total – 342 Hit
      Horde Cap – 289 Hit

      Posted by Maker | March 8, 2010, 8:26 pm
    • There are lots of non-tier options in ICC for hit – necklaces, cloaks, bracers, belts, rings, weapons, offhands and even trinkets from previous tiers! I personally use the 10-man cloth gloves and cloak for hit (as well as the T10 pants), along with the Ashen Verdict ring and a Dying Curse that I swap in when there’s no shadowpriest/moonkin.

      If you look through the lists in the post and comments above, you should find some ideas for hit in each slot. You can also search on wowhead for items in each slot that have hit (I usually use a filter for hit+haste, personally, as hit+crit stuff is a bit rubbish).

      Don’t forget that Veiled (SP+hit) gems are a very efficient way of getting some extra hit rating as well as picking up socket bonuses!

      Of course the trick is figuring out where it’s “optimal” to gain hit at the expense of other stats, but the rule of thumb is that where possible you want to swap out your least valuable stat – which is usually crit. Thankfully there’s lots of haste/hit stuff around. This is why it’s not really worth using both the tier 10 hit pieces, because there are haste/hit options for both slots that are superior to T10’s hit/crit.

      Posted by Charles | March 8, 2010, 8:42 pm
  10. My guild just downed Arthas and I was making a Bis list of what to grab from heroic and I was looking over your list since I noticed it here a while ago and when I put in the 4 piece t10 25 heroic list (for alliance) I was way low on hit, did you intend for it to use veiled gems?

    I made this alternate one using http://www.wowhead.com/?item=50714
    with reckless gems in place of the veiled ones for more haste, do you think that would be better than taking the crit the rapid ascent ring would give?

    Posted by Vurbs | April 1, 2010, 7:02 am
    • I’m afraid this list is horribly out of date, partly because I’ve made updating it a low priority, and partly because of ongoing Wowhead profiler issues with unseen drops.

      masanbol, creator the 25-man BiS lists above, has however created updated lists:
      Veiled gems are indeed being used (as I think is also noted in the post above) though I think it’s a fraction of a percent shy of the hit cap anyway – remember the primary purpose of BiS lists is not to wear, but rather to standardise theoretical output.

      I really really should update this post 😦

      Posted by Charles | April 1, 2010, 12:28 pm
      • Ah, thanks for the links I didn’t compare the sets I made to using t10 gloves and the plaguebringer’s stained pants.

        Posted by Vurbs | April 1, 2010, 5:16 pm

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