Last week we took a look at all the ICC hunter loot that could be purchased or crafted, as well as a bit of discussion about how the ICC itemization impacts hunters and the hunter specs.
This week we're going to dive in headfirst and dig through the piles of boss loot and see what gear comes out on top. I should note right off the bat that we have no idea at all what kind of loot the Lich King himself is hoarding. I wouldn't be surprised to find his loot is a higher iLevel than the rest of ICC, and likely what he has to offer will stomp the equivalent slot gear into a gooey gnome puddle. And no, he will not be dropping Frostmourne, though if he did I think we can all agree that a soul-devouring blade that corrupts and controls you is clearly a hunter weapon.
So join me after the cut as we take a look at Quel'delar, the Ashen Verdict rings, and everything else that drops in ICC worth looking at!
We dwarves had a saying back in Khaz Modan, "You can batter your beer, but never your pet, and if you batter your hilt you'll have no regrets."
Quel'delar is the product of a quest chain starting with the hard to find Battered Hilt drop. The Battered Hilt can drop from any of the elite mobs in the ICC 5-man heroics. There are several versions of Quel'delar, but what we hunters care about is the 2-handed sword, and it is a lovely bit of craftsmanship for a lowly ilvl 251 item. She's itemized perfectly for hunters: agility, crit, armor penetration, and attack power. The ArP in particular will make this weapon appealing for MM hunters even above many ilvl 264 items.
There are certainly 25-man weapons that stat out equivalent or better than Quel'delar, but I suspect that many hunters will be happy to carry this beauty all the way to the Lich King.
Ashen Band of Vengeance
The Ashen Verdict is the new reputation you can collect in ICC, and they're not just going to send us to assault the stronghold of the Lich King without assistance. Oh no, they're gonna give us a ring to help! Well, at least they will if they like us enough.
You get the Ashen Verdict ring for free once you hit friendly with the Ashen Verdict. You then get a free upgrade with every new reputation level. Here are the different Ashen Verdict rings:
- Friendly: Ashen Band of Vengeance
- Honored: Ashen Band of Greater Vengeance
- Revered: Ashen Band of Unmatched Vengeance
- Exalted: Ashen Band of Endless Vengeance
- Njordnar Bone Bow -- Lady Deathwhisper 10-man
- Zod's Repeating Longbow -- Lady Deathwhisper 25-man
- Stakethrower -- Queen Lanathel 10-man
Alas for those that understand and appreciate finely crafted weapons of death, the Stakethrower is currently the only hunter gun in ICC, and in terms of numbers it's substantially below Zod's. However I think we can all agree that the sound of gunfire and clouds of smoke grant a benefit beyond the mere numbers on the weapon. As we also say back in Khaz Modan, "Frostheim will never kneel before Zod!"
It looks as though the best melee weapons in ICC are again gonna be the 2-handers. The 1-handers can come close, but in general they seem to be statted more for the melee classes, with excessive amounts of haste. While haste certainly helps us, it doesn't boost our DPS as much as our other stats.
We have several very attractive 2-handers available to us depending on whether you're looking for hit, or ArP, or both.
- Hersir's Greatspear-- Blood Princes 10-man
- Shaft of Glacial Ice -- Rotface 10-man
- Distant Land -- Festergut 25-man
- Bloodfall -- Queen Lanathel 25-man
A final word on our melee options: if an actual melee class needs one of these, they should get priority over us. Yes, I know the weapons are great, but for us it's just a stat stick; the melee folks will actually use the stats and the DPS. That said if you're willing to let the melee have Zod's Repeating Longbow before you, then I guess you can try to grab your melee weapon before them.
I suspect most hunters will choose to go with the Ahn'kahar Blood Hunter's Headpiece, but the 10 and 25 man raids each have an alternative.
Honestly, just ignore the drops and buy your Ahn'kahar Blood Hunter's Spaulders.
You want the Recovered Scarlet Onslaught Cape purchasable with Emblems of Frost.
If you aren't going for the Ahn'kahar Blood Hunter's Tunic (which you probably are) we have some alternative options:
Again, your Ahn'kahar Blood Hunter's Handguards are your likely choice if you're pursuing the 4-piece set bonus. But the tier 10 gloves don't have any ArP. If you prefer to stack ArP in this slot, you're best off with the Logsplitters purchasable with Emblems of Frost.
Band of the Night Raven purchasable with Emblems of Frost, which is our best hit rating option. Nerub'ar Stalker's Cord is the ArP belt of choice.
This is the tier 10 set slot that we're most likely to use something other than our tier 10 set pieces, due to the lack of any ArP on our set legs.
- Legguards of the Twisted Dream -- Valithria 10-man
- Leggings of the Northern Lights -- Lady Deathwhisper 25-man
Also, hunters hanging on to their tier 9 set for the superior 2-piece set bonus will probably want to keep their tier 9.5 legs for this slot, since the Windrunner Legguards of Triumph have ArP.
Rock-Steady Treads, craftable with Primordial Saronite. Taldron's do have more ArP, but the loss of agility and crit isn't worth it.
We already know we're using our Ashen Verdict ring for one of our finger slots. Here's what we're looking at for the other one.
- Saurfang's Cold-Forged Band -- Saurfang 10-man
- Seal of the Twilight Queen -- Queen Lanathel 10-man
- Frostbrood Sapphire Ring -- Valithria 25-man
Trinket Darkmoon Card: Greatness and depending on your gear, is probably about on par with the non-heroic Death's Verdict. That said, I'd still prefer Death's Verdict as it has better benefit when stacking with other cooldowns, but SV hunters passing 69% unbuffed crit will likely prefer Wispering Fanged Skull. However Death's Verdict and Whispering Fanged Skull are a lovely combo that should both trigger at the same time, giving you the multiplicative advantage (the crit + the AP) without having to think about it.
For Deathbringer's Will, it is certainly worth taking a moment to look at how it works.
From testing done by people with the trinket, it seems to have a 105 second internal cooldown, with a 30% proc chance. Possibly the cooldown is shorter (90 seconds seems like a more logical one) and the proc chance is lower. However we do know that the uptime on the trinket is close to 30%.
Each time it procs you will transform into one of three races: Vyrkul, Taunka, or Iron Dwarf. The transformation will last for 30 seconds and during that time you'll get a buff specific to each race. The possible buffs for hunters are:
- 600 agility
- 600 crit rating
- 1,200 attack power
But yes, this is absolutely hunter loot and you want it so bad you'd even be willing to spare a gnome's life if that's what it took.
[Fixed Rock-Steady Treads reference -- whoops! Thanks commentors!]
You want to be a Hunter, eh? Well you start with science, then you add some Dwarven Stout, and round it off some elf bashing. The end result is massive DPS. Scattered Shots is the WoW.com column dedicated to helping you learn everything it takes to be a Hunter. Each week Scattered Shots will cover topics to help you Fix Your DPS, Choosing the Right Spec, Gear Selection, Macros and Pet Selection, Pet Specs and Management.