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Totem Talk: Stuff to wear to kill stuff in Karazhan Pt. 3

Matthew Rossi

We're on part three of our exhaustive (well, I'm exhausted, anyway) look at gear that will carry you through Kara (ed note: previous guides can be found here - part 1 - part 2). We've covered every main slot except for hats (we didn't cover hats? Weird) and belts, bracers and boots in previous posts, so today head coverings, weapons and the rings, trinkets and necks are on the agenda. That's a lot to cover, so we may not get into all of it. We also have cloth and leather pieces in mind for a future post, especially for enhancement shamans, and that post may be combined with the rings and other off-slot post if we run long on hats and weapons today.

So let's get this road on the show. I'm fairly certain that is how the phrase goes. Yes, roads on top of shows all over the world. Very hard to actually see any of the exhibits.

We'll begin our excursion into the gear you'd like for the attack on Karazhan with a look at headgear. Headgear is very important because without it, you'd be able to see better and your head wouldn't be sweating as much. Oh, right, and it also has magic and stats and things of that nature, so you should probably wear it. Whether or not you leave the image on or not is up to you, but some hats, you're going to want to turn off. Trust me on this.

This is your hat which you wear on your head while you make all the monsters in front of you dead

So for aspiring enhancement shamans, what hats? Well, if you're an enginner, you might craft the Surestrike Goggles v2.0 and then curse fate for making you wear yet another hunter hat. Not that this is a bad hat, because, well, look at it. If you were a hunter, you'd go ape for that hat. But you're not, and so, you're once again left to sigh at so much hit and attack power instead of strength. Another crafted helm to consider is the Storm Helm. You're a ninja! A ninja with flames painted on the sides of your head, which is even more awesome than just being a ninja. This is a reasonably customizable option if you're not an engineer (which is most of us, I'd imagine, it being only one of many professions) and may be the coolest looking option. And swinging back to engineers, we take a look at the Foreman's Reinforced Helm. Not as good as the Surestrike and goblin only, but still, reasonable stats and obtainable well before you walk into Karazhan. I'm going to link the Netherdrake Helm, we'll look at it and go "Seriously? That's an epic helm? Really?" and shake our heads and never speak of it again. If you have 50 badges, don't get Warpstalker's Helm. I'd say skip the badge rewards from G'eras entirely when it comes to enhancement hats, but there are two leather hats I'd recommend over the Warpstalker.

There are some nice non-epic options in mail for your enhancement shaman. The Stalker's Helmet of Second Sight, available from a very spoilery quest in Shadowmoon Valley (don't blame me if you click on that and find out stuff beforehand) works for enhancement. Just like the Dream-Wing Helm, its design says 'you are wearing a hunter hat' because it's their Tier 2 armor recolored, but stats are stats. Another option, if you're running a lot of Auchindoun instances, is to trade the spirit shards in for the Exorcist's Linked Helm. It has exactly the spread of stats you're looking for as a shaman and a meta gem socket. It's a PvP helm (at least nominally, with spirit shards being linked to whoever holds the bone wastes) but you can get it without having PvP'ed even a little bit. While you're in Shadowmoon doing the spoilery quest, find and kill Collidus the Warp Watcher and you can possibly get a decent mail hat. It can drop in varieties for all sorts, be it elemental, enhancement, restoration or even versions for a resist set you may or may not ever want. Plus, it's BoE, and it's an eyepatch! Looks a little like Malefactor's Eyepatch, which you may want to consider from a really awesome quest chain in both Horde and Alliance flavors out in Blade's Edge. The Fiery Beholder's Eye has a small advantage in that it is BoE, and can be picked up on the AH if you don't see Collidus around.

An AH purchase that could last you to 70 is the Headdress of Inner Rage. It's not astonishing, but it does have a really nice dose of Strength on it. If you'd rather have a hybridized hat with gems you could socket in for whatever you feel you lack, there's the Mask of the Howling Storm from Nexus Prince Shaffar in regular Mana Tombs. Two red slots could easily surpass the Headdress for raw str. When grinding rep in Nagrand, don't forget these mockeries that use shaman names for what are hunter hats. Here's a hint: far seers and earthcallers want strength on their gear. So do Earthwardens! What, we can't have one single quest reward with strength on it? Not one? The Mok'Nathal serve up two hunter hats (well, technically those hats drop in instances), and Aeonus serves up the Helm of Desolation if you travel back in time and kill him in the Black Morass.

Interestingly, compared to elemental shamans, enhancement might seem spoiled for choice if you didn't realize how not terribly inspiring all of those mail options really are. There aren't nearly as many mail options for your advancing elemental shaman, but what there are clearly stand out as better.

Engineers, make these and then skip ahead to weapons. Really, we're not going to list a hat that will be better. Why waste your time?

G'eras in Shatt clearly likes elemental a lot more than enhancement: look, a hat you'd actually wear! It's comparable to drops inside Kara, and you can get it with 10 daily heroics. It's good. If you have 50 badges you want to get rid of it's definitely an option. I love meta gem sockets, I admit, so I'm biased to favor this, but it's got solid spell crit and spell damage besides. If you don't feel like spending badges you can instance until you get the Mask of Inner Fire off of Chrono Lord Deja in Black Morass. Trust me, you'll see him again and again. Or you could go to Shadowmoon Valley and do that spoilery quest I mentioned above for enhancement helms, and get this really rather exceptional hat. The Shamanistic Helm of Second Sight is, in my opinion, simply magnificent for a quest blue. There's also the Tidefury Helm, but as cool as it looks, it lacks spell crit which my elemental shaman mentors inform me is a no-no for trying to keep clearcasting as much as possible. I was told to mention this green quest helmet from Netherstorm, which has the spell crit the Tidefury lacks. I'm still new to elemental spec, so if I've messed this up I apologize. Finally, there's a snazzy looking leatherworking crafted hat that, sadly, lacks spell crit and stats. It could be a decent starter hat, I suppose, but I'd just get the Netherstorm quest green.

If you have spirit shards, you could also get the Exorcist's Mail Helm. Decent stats, spell crit, and a meta gem.

What about restoration shamans, you cry? Where is our heady love? Relax, I'm coming. I too toiled in the healing trenches for many a day. Engineers are once again allowed to leave class early, with their amazing hat. See you guys back around here when we talk about weapons.

If someone is farming Doomwalker on your server, you might be able to pick up the Fathom-Helm of the Deeps on the AH. Save for different gem selection, this hat is functionally identical to the engineering hat, and you'll keep it for a very long time if you're lucky enough to get it. Since that probably won't happen for a very long time, we'll discuss other options. You can get the Living Dragonscale Helm crafted for you (or make it yourself if you're the proper leatherworker) and then turn your helmet graphics off. The helmet, you see, she is hideous.

I warned you! Look at it! Look at it! I was an orc with dignity once! Horrible, terrible, awful, no good helm graphics aside, it's a very solid hat.

If you're doing heroic Underbog you can snap up the Headdress of the Tides, which is only slightly inferior to the Living Dragonscale and about sixteen billion times better looking, in rough attractiveness quotient numbers, adjusted for mudflation. And while you go about getting one of these hats, if you don't mind looking like a gym teacher, there's the Metallic Headband of Simm'onz, winner of the coveted Third Annual Worst Easter Egg Joke in WoW. Despite the name, it's a fairly substantial hat, with good starting stats.

You may have noticed I haven't mentioned PvP hats at all. That's because at this point, I've run out of things to say about them. You know where to find them, you know they'll have a ton of stam and resilience, you know that they're serviceable if you can't get better. There. PvP sets in a nutshell. Here's every possible PvP hat you could pick up, including hats that you can't get because they're hunter only and I'm too dumb to work Wowhead to get rid of them.

Wow, that was a lot of talk about hats. And we're still not done! Weapons! We have to talk about weapons!

I keel you! With this weapon here.

Weapons are awesome. They're how we make things fall down and give up their delicious, tasty loot candy.

We've talked about enhancement weapons before, but that was a while ago. The information from that old thread is now posted here instead. To break down a complicated explanation, the reason you want two weapons at as close to 2.6 speed as possible is to increase the chance you will proc Windfury Weapon to roughly 36% instead of the 20% chance of a single 2h weapon, and also to reduce the chance of your off hand weapon proccing windfury and locking out your main hand weapon. In addition, a slow set of fist weapons increases the damage your Stormstrike attack does, as it is an instant attack that hits with both weapons (and therefore a higher top end damage on a weapon is advisable). This is extremely simplified and I'm leaving out lots of information and factors, but it's good enough for us to start talking about weapons for enhancement shamans now. (Experienced enhancement shammies will no doubt help us further understand the issue in the comments. For now, just think 2.6 speed if you can get it.)

I happen to love fist weapons. A lot. They're my favorite kind of weapon in the game, hands down, eclipsing even big 2h weapons (which are my second favorite and always my choice on a warrior). Fists just say 'shaman' to me, they're iconic. Sadly, they're also very very rare (although thankfully The Burning Crusade included some green fists once you hit level 60 or so) - my current set of weapons for my enhancement shaman are the Reflex Blades and the Boggspine Knuckles, which will be replaced by the Season 2 fist and probably an axe because the Season 2 offhand fist is no good for a shammy. Other suitable main hand fists from instances include the Bladefist, the Claw of the Watcher and the Demonblood Eviscerator but if you're looking for a suitable offhand fist, well, you won't find one in an instance past the Boggspine until you hit Zul'Aman, and you won't find one in PvP until you hit Season 3. If you have 45 badges, you can get a very nice fist weapon you won't replace until Hyjal for your off-hand, and since the pickings for fists are so terribly slim, I'll list it here as the most accessible off-hand fist weapon upgrade possible to you. Vanir's Left Fist of Brutality is slightly faster than you'd want, but basically, if you're an enhancement shaman with 45 badges and a hankering for an off-hand fist weapon, this is the only one you'll use until Sunwell Plateau. It's really sad that your choices for off hand fists are a blue from a heroic and then a 45 badge upgrade if you're planning on doing Kara.

For axes and maces, your other options as a shammy, there's crafted weapons. Thanks to the changes to blacksmithing, you can now dual-wield the formerly unique BSing weapons, making them a far more attractive choice for your up and coming shaman. You can have two Planar Edges or two Drakefist Hammers as soon as you're 70, they don't even require maxed Blacksmithing to make. And with badges now purchasing primal nethers and nether vortexes, you could even upgrade them.

Other axes to look out for before Kara include the Sun-Forged Cleaver from normal Magisters, the Harvester of Souls from heroic Crypts, and Breeching Comet from heroic Magisters. I like to call it the Super-Harvester. You could also dual-wield Bloodskull Destroyers or pick up a Runic Hammer, which is a trifle too fast but still serviceable. I personally think the Fel-Edged Battleaxe is a trifle too fast. I'd be more comfortable recommending it to shamans if it was at least 2.4 speed.

Okay for enhancement, you're probably going to say, but what about us healers? Well, you're doing fine. Just looking at maces we find many, many options. The Essence Focuser, from the AH. K'iru's Prestige, from SSO revered. The Gavel of Pure Light from Sha'tar exalted. The Ancient Scepter of Sue-Min, BoE wold drop. The Shockwave Truncheon from heroic Shadow Labyrinth. The Hand of Eternity, crafted blacksmithing hammer. The instance drops roll on with the Battle-Mace of the High Priestess, Dathrohan's Ceremonial Hammer, the Hammer of the Penitent, the Lightsworn Hammer and the Will of the Fallen Exarch.

Covering daggers there's the Ceremonial Kris from a difficult Shadowmoon Valley quest, and the Runed Dagger of Solace, your starter PvP healing weapon, which drops in Botanica. Life is odd sometimes. Daggers for elemental shamans are, of course, more plentiful.

Heroic Selin Fireheart drops the Jaded Crystal Dagger, which is a rather exceptional dagger. If you're worried about the lack of spell crit, the crafted Eternium Runed Blade may be a better option. Epoch Hunter in Old Hillbrad drops the Time-Shifted Dagger, with upgrades available in Shattered Halls (the Runesong Dagger) and heroic Slave Pens (the Starlight Dagger). Runesong seems better for elemental, but both are good daggers for casters. You might get lucky and see the Talon of the Tempest from Doomwalker in the AH. If so, get it, and run.

Heroic Magister's provides another gift to elemental shamans, provided you can beat the rolls from prot paladins and shadow priests (and the occasional smite priest... don't mock their damage, it can be exceptional) to get the Cudgel of Consecration. Failing that, exalted with Lower City will provide you with the spell crit heavy Gavel of Unearthed Secrets. Rep purchases make me happy. The PvP mace lacks in spell crit, sadly. Your four blue options for spell damage maces are the Seeker's Gavel from SSO revered, Bleeding Hollow Warhammer from heroic Slave Pens, Sky Breaker from heroic Crypts and Terokk's Gavel from the Skettis questlines, comes in multiple varieties (the best of which for an elemental shaman is the Invoker one).

And with this look at helmets and weapons yet another novel length post is concluded. Next week, I'm leaning towards doing the Cloth and Leather post and seeing if we have room for the other essentials. If not, two posts to go!

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