Ashtongue Deathsworn (H)
This faction is associated with The Black Temple, and so unless you plan on raiding in the future, you won't be able to acquire all of these first few patterns. The patterns are themed with a chunk of stamina and shadow resistance stats.
Once merely friendly, you'll have the option to purchase four new patterns, which isn't a bad deal at all. [Pattern: Boots of Shackled Souls] and [Pattern: Bracers of Shackled Souls] make two bind on equip mail pieces which can be sold to other raiders. For the leather equivalent, you can buy [Pattern: Redeemed Soul Cinch] and [Pattern: Redeemed Soul Legguards].
Once honored, you will begin to round out the pseudo-sets with [Pattern: Greaves of Shackled Souls], [Pattern: Waistguard of Shackled Souls], [Pattern: Redeemed Soul Moccasins], and [Pattern: Redeemed Soul Wristguards].
At this point, you will have all of the patterns they have to offer, and would not need to continue grinding reputation for purely professional reasons. Plus, you have gear made from souls!
You will not have to go far with this faction for leatherworking purposes. At honored, you can purchase [Pattern: Drums of Battle]. Drums are great to take into instances, or even use soloing if you end up making a bunch for leveling purposes.
As with all items that are crafted that can only be used by the craftsmen themselves, I don't recommend trying to sell them on the auction house. Most leatherworkers will just make their own of whatever they need, although you can attempt a sale to test your server's market.
Keepers of Time (H)
As with the Sha'tar, you will only need to scramble as far as honored to pick up [Pattern: Drums of Panic]. While you might get in trouble if you just whip this out in a PuG, it's definitely a fun item to play with when soloing if you don't usually get to fear. They are usable in battlegrounds, and of course, if you know what you're doing, are handy to have in dungeons as well.
At friendly, you can purchase [Pattern: Fel Leather Gloves], and at honored, its companion [Pattern: Fel Leather Boots]. At revered, you can pick up the [Pattern: Fel Leather Leggings]. Most likely, rogues will be able to keep these pieces until they can acquire badge loot or pick up T5 and beyond gear.
Not only is this reputation grind amazingly easy, but it also offers two drum recipes in addition to the Netherfury set.
At friendly, you can make [Pattern: Netherfury Belt]. This set is great for shamans, and at honored, [Pattern: Netherfury Leggings] becomes available. While you'll have to go all the way to revered to complete the set with [Pattern: Netherfury Boots], the drum kits are both available at honored.
[Pattern: Drums of Speed] and [Pattern: Drums of Restoration] are both great kits to carry around. Again, they can be used in battlegrounds, although not in arena, in dungeons, raids, and soloing. They're especially easy to use when questing for hunters, who can pop them up while their pets have aggro.
At honored, you'll also get [Pattern: Reinforced Mining Bag]. While a leatherworker is unlikely to also be a miner, these bags are often used by jewelcrafters, miners, blacksmiths and engineers, due to the sheer amount and variety of metals that they tend to have on hand at any given time.
Lower City (R)
In terms of leatherworking, this faction is not necessarily going to be worth the effort of the grind. If you are a hunter who uses bows or crossbows, then at revered, you can pick up [Pattern: Quiver of a Thousand Feathers]. Of course, if Lower City doesn't offer much else that you want, you can always just purchase a quiver from another leatherworker.
Cenarion Expedition (E)
Reputation with the Cenarion Expedition is especially important to leatherworkers. Not only are several of the patterns used commonly in leveling the skill to 375, but one of the patterns, acquired at exalted, is quite profitable.
At friendly, which is extremely easy to achieve, you'll be able to purchase [Pattern: Heavy Clefthoof Boots]. Although you won't be able to farm clefthoof until you reach Nagrand, this is a staple leveling piece for many people. If the market is saturated with clefthoof armor, consider getting a buddy, or hiring an enchanter, to disenchant the clefthoof blues you'll be making.
At honored, you'll get three more patterns, although you won't see any others until the one you'll purchase at exalted. Although many people find the Cenarion rep grind to be not-so-painful, it depends on what you do as you level, and how much you feel like running one dungeon (Serpentshrine Cavern) over and over. Many players don't bother.
A good piece of advice is to hand in [Unidentified Plant Parts] until you are no longer allowed, and then begin quests. Until then, keep leveling your leatherworking using [Pattern: Heavy Clefthoof Leggings], [Pattern: Heavy Clefthoof Vest] and [Pattern: Clefthide Leg Armor]. You might even have good luck at selling the leg armor for a tidy profit!
When you do reach exalted, you should definitely purchase [Pattern: Nethercleft Leg Armor]. This item is one of a few similar patterns that take dedication to acquire, and the leg kits are highly sought after. They are currently the only means of providing "enchants" on the legs for non-casters, who use tailoring threads, and most leatherworkers do not have the upgraded versions, but rather the easier to acquire ones like [Clefthide Leg Armor].
Honor Hold/Thrallmar (E)
This is the other faction that is going to be very important to the leatherworking profession. Not only does it offer the Felstalker set, which will carry hunters and melee shaman pretty far, but it too offers leg armor kits.
At friendly, you can begin with [Pattern: Felstalker Belt], and complete the set at merely honored, with [Pattern: Felstalker Bracers] and [Pattern: Felstalker Breastplate]. You will also be able to pick up [Pattern: Cobrahide Leg Armor] at honored. Again, this one is commonly possessed by many leatherworkers, and isn't the version that raiders seek.
At revered, you can pick up [Pattern: Netherscale Ammo Pouch], which is the gun equivalent of the Lower City quiver.
Reaching exalted is where you'll really start to make money, as you can purchase [Pattern: Nethercobra Leg Armor]. Many leatherworkers won't bother to reach exalted, and again, leg kits are hot items. This grind is definitely worth the effort.
The Aldor have quite a few leatherworking patterns, although the main difference between the two factions is going to be the armor kit.
The Aldor offer bind on equip fire resistance gear, and so you can purchase the gear from the auction house if you need to. At honored, you can purchase [Pattern: Blastguard Belt] and [Pattern: Flamescale Belt]. At revered, you can nab the [Pattern: Flamescale Boots] and [Pattern: Blastguard Boots]. Rounding off the pseudo-set at exalted, you can get [Pattern: Flamescale Leggings] and [Pattern: Blastguard Pants].
Why choose Aldor then? They offer [Pattern: Vindicator's Armor Kit]. Yes, you can purchase these kits on the auction house, but without the pattern, you won't be able to make and then sell them. These are often used by tanks attempting to get defense capped, or as a means to remain defense capped while swapping for newer gear.
As far as blue resistance gear goes, the Scryers offer the Enchanted Clefthoof and Enchanted Felscale pseudo-sets, carrying arcane resistance. Again, you will have to reach exalted to get all of the pieces, but you should aim to for these factions anyway. At revered, you'll be able to purchase [Pattern: Magister's Armor Kit], which may not be as marketable as Vindicator's. While mp5 is an important stat, not all casters go out of their way to stack it.
Violet Eye (E)
Unless you plan on raiding Karazhan, you won't be able to acquire these last two patterns. In fact, raiders will have to dig in to revered to acquire the first one, [Pattern: Shadowprowler's Chestguard]. A bind on equip purple is never a bad thing to be able to craft. At exalted, you'll get a similarly nifty purple, with [Pattern: Cloak of Darkness]. Fortunately, Kara reputation is not a difficult grind, assuming you can get a regular group going.
Each week, Insider Trader takes you behind the scenes of the bustling sub-culture of professional craftsmen, examining the profitable, the tragically lacking, and the methods behind the madness. Check out the faction recipe lists for tailors and alchemists, or head over to our guide to maximizing leatherworking as painlessly as possible!