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Arcane Brilliance: What to do with your trinket slots, part 2

Christian Belt
Welcome to another edition of Arcane Brilliance, the weekly mage column that would like to say to all of the warlocks who sneak in here each week, skulking about in the shadows, wearing dark clothing and eyeliner and hating their dads, and then like to crow in the comments section about how I've inadvertently provided them with a warlock guide of some type because warlocks generally use the same gear as mages:

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So last week we talked about trinkets. Specifically, the kinds of trinkets a new level 80 mage might want to keep his eyes peeled for. This week, we're going a step farther. Already pimped out in full tier 9 and sporting an Abyssal Rune/Talisman of Resurgence combo? Looking over the Lich King's loot table with a critical eye? In a guild that routinely tackles hard-modes? Let's look at some of the trinkets for which you should be on the hunt.

Nevermelting Ice Crystal

How good is it?

Some of you mentioned this after last week's column, and it definitely deserves a mention, if only because you could potentially make a warlock very very sad by out-rolling him on it. At first glance, this trinket doesn't look all that great for a mage. The flat spellpower is nice, but the on-use effect is odd. It gives you a huge initial crit boost (that confusing jumble of numbers, asterisks, and parentheses actually translates to 920 crit rating), but reduces on each successive non-periodic crit. The loss is 184 per crit, meaning that the bonus lasts for 5 crits, and gets smaller each time. For an arcane or frost mage, this bonus isn't anything earth-shattering. It's a decent crit boost for a few casts that will be gone too quickly to really make the thing shine. There are worse trinkets out there, but there are certainly better too.

Now imagine you are a fire mage. You pop this thing just before throwing out a Living Bomb. None of the Living Bomb crits will reduce the 5 charges on the trinket. That's a lot of potential fire damage. This still isn't anywhere near being a best-in-slot trinket, no matter what kind of mage you are, but for a fire mage, this is a very intriguing option.

How do I get it?

It drops from Scourgelord Tyrannus at the end of Heroic Pit of Saron, meaning this is a potential grab while you're running random heroics. Just don't let some DoT-based class try to tell you it isn't a mage trinket. It is. It may or may not be a mage trinket that's actually an upgrade for you, but you don't have to pass on it simply because it's better for the shadow priest than it is for you.

Shard of the Crystal Heart

How good is it?

If you need hit rating: excellent. If you don't: not very. I neglected to mention this one in last week's column, but it's actually a fantastic option if you aren't getting to the hit cap elsewhere on your gear. With a lot of the new higher level loot having a noticeable lack of hit on it, you may find yourself in need of a hit trinket, and this one is simplicity itself to pick up. And if you're a new level 80 mage and hit isn't exactly growing on trees yet, this is a fantastic way to get a massive chunk of it all at once. Oh, and that on-use haste rating is certainly drool-worthy.

How do I get it?

You walk up to the Emblem of Triumph vendor in Dalaran, and you give that vendor 50 Emblems of Triumph. This is a great farmable starter trinket, and an excellent hit-rating filler item even for advanced mages.

Reign of the Dead/Reign of the Unliving

How good is it?

Welcome to your first best-in-slot trinket. I've linked the normal mode version of these trinkets above, but here are the heroic versions:

Reign of the Dead/Reign of the Unliving

If you can manage to snag one of these, the heroic Reign of the Dead/Unliving is going to be filling one of your trinket slots from that point on. No questions asked.

Raise your hand if you remember the Lightning Capacitor. This is essentially the level 80 version of that awesome trinket. The static spellpower is great, but the bonus effect is what makes this beauty sparkle. The Pillar of Flame hits for around 2 grand damage, but can crit (affected by your own crit chance). The motes that trigger it will proc off of any non-periodic crit, including AoE crits, Molten Armor crits, and there's a 2 second internal cooldown between mote procs. The Pillar will hit hard, and often.

The cherry on top of this already delicious sundae? You can equip both the normal and heroic versions of this trinket at the same time, and they stack, meaning that you can have two Pillars of Fire land at once. Prior to Icecrown Citadel, equipping both of these was, bar none, the optimal trinket setup for any mage. And if you are lucky enough to land both, it's still pretty freaking optimal.

How do I get it?

You go into 25-man Trial of the Crusader and you pray. They drop from Anub'arak at a 10% rate, Dead for Horde and Unliving for Alliance. Good luck.

Muradin's Spyglass (Heroic)

How good is it?

This is the upgrade for Eye of the Broodmother, which we mentioned last week. The same caveats apply here. You get a fat crit increase from this, and a stacking spellpower bonus that in many fights might as well be static. Crit isn't a great stat for mages to have on a trinket, but it isn't terrible either. When it's fully stacked, 180 (200 heroic) spellpower is awfully nice, too.

How do I get it?

It drops in 10-man Icecrown Citadel from the gunship encounter at a 21% clip.

Maghia's Misguided Quill

How good is it?

Similar to the Shard of the Crystal Heart, this is a great way to get hit rating if you're below the cap, or if you simply need the flexibility in the rest of your gear. If you don't need hit, take a pass on this. The hit rating it does give is massive, though, and getting so much of it in one place can certainly open up a lot of gearing options for your mage. Also, 712 spellpower is the single largest on-use spellpower bonus in the game. If you can find room for the hit, this is a pretty incredible trinket.

How do I get it?

It will cost you 60 Emblems of Frost, so get cracking on those daily random heroics, or make sure your guild is spending some quality time in Icecrown Citadel.

Dislodged Foreign Object (Heroic)

How good is it?

And here's your other best-in-slot trinket. In actuality, the heroic version of this trinket is, quite simply, the best mage trinket in the game as it currently exists.

Here's what you get from the heroic version: 170 flat haste rating, which is good for everybody, but awesome for arcane mages. And then you get a spellpower proc that stacks over 20 seconds to the point of ridiculousness.

The way it plays out is this: It has a 10% proc rate and a 45 second internal cooldown, meaning that it'll be up roughly once every minute or so. You'll start out at 121 bonus spellpower, after 6 seconds, you'll be up to 484, 726 at 10, and top out at 1331 by the time you reach the 20th second. That'd be the time to throw out a Living Bomb, guys. Or a fully stacked Missile-Barrage+Arcane Missiles. Because holy crap.

And yes, if you manage to obtain both the normal and heroic versions of this, you can totally equip both. Also, I hate you. I hate you so much.

Edit: Aaaaaand I was incredibly wrong when I typed that. It turns out the ICC trinkets are all unique-equipped, meaning you can't double-dip with them the way you can with the Trial of the Crusader ones.

How do I get it?

You kill Rotface in ICC, and then you sacrifice a warlock (I'd add in "virgin" here, but that'd just be redundant. Bazinga!) to the RNG gods and hopefully it drops and you win the roll.

And so we come to the end of our two-part mage trinket guide. What did I miss? Are you rocking a different optimal setup than heroic Dislodged Foreign Object/Reign of the Dead? If so, I want to hear about it, and what it is about your mage's spec and playstyle that makes some other configuration more ideal. Ladies and gentlemen, the comments section is yours.

Every week Arcane Brilliance teleports you inside the wonderful world of mages and then hurls a Fireball in your face. Check out our recent look at how much I hate damage meters, or our lengthy series of mage leveling guides. Until next week, keep the Mage-train a-rollin'.