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Arcane Brilliance: What to do with your trinket slots, Part 1

Christian Belt

It's time again for another Arcane Brilliance, the weekly mage column that thinks nothing's prettier than a mage on a balcony in Dalaran, tearing through the fabric of space with a violent explosion of arcane energy. in slot.

In a game that is--stripped to its most basic components--about obtaining better and better gear, it's natural that eventually, you'd begin wondering what the holy grail is. What is the ultimate goal? Which piece of gear is actually, finally, at the end of the day, the best? And how long until the next patch takes it from best in slot to third or fourth-best in slot?

In most cases, this isn't especially difficult to determine. Which item has the best stats? If one cloak has 80 spellpower, and another has 90, chances are good that you can identify the best option of the two. Programs like Rawr can make it even easier. Plug in your character's information, and viola! Here's the robe that's best for you. But where things typically get hairy is on those final two slots: trinket #1, and trinket #2.

Unlike most of your other gear, trinkets are often more...subjective. Here are two excellent trinkets:

Reign of the Dead

Talisman of Resurgence

You're a new mage. Which one of those is better? How do you even compare them? One appears to be an apple, while the other has a decidedly orange-like quality.

To compound the issue, trinkets are rare, notoriously difficult to obtain, and there simply aren't a whole lot of them in the game (compared to other gear slots). And you need two of them!

Well fear not. Arcane Brilliance feels your pain. Let's take a closer look at what's available at end-game, and see if we can't come up with a few good ways to fill those two enigmatic gear slots.

First, a word about the organization and purpose of this first part of the list. For the sake of space, we won't be listing every trinket out there. Instead, we'll try to hit all of the really good ones. And we'll list them not necessarily in order of good-better-best, but in order of item level (with some exceptions). My aim here, with this first part of the trinket guide, is to provide a new level 80 mage with a list of places to go get a couple of quality trinkets. We'll hit the higher level stuff next week.

Also, I won't be ranking each trinket. You can go to places like Elitist Jerks or use Rawr to find hard, black-and-white valuations of these items. I'll simply be providing you with some information to help you decide which trinkets match the content your guild is running (or not running), and which suit your playstyle, spec, and gear setup. Not every mage is the same, and no gear choice is more subjective than trinkets.

Sundial of the Exiled

How good is it?

This is one of the original emblem trinkets, and is itemized to be on par with drops from entry-level raids like Naxxramas. The stat component is crit rating, which is, quite simply, one of the lowest-value stats to have on a mage trinket, especially if you happen to be an arcane mage. But that proc makes up for it. That's a meaty chunk of spellpower, and it has a 10% proc rate and a 45 second internal cooldown. It's passive, which means it's one less button to worry about clicking, but also means that you can't count on it to be up when you really need it. It could proc when you hit the meat of your spell rotation just before the enrage timer hits, or it could proc right as Mirrored Soul starts and you have to stop casting.

How do I get it?

It'll cost you 40 Emblems of Heroism from the vendors in Dalaran. Those are the old heroic currency, and they're only obtainable these days by trading down from better currency--better currency that you can use to buy better trinkets. I only include this baby because it's still a good entry-level epic trinket, and it shows you where the hunt for good trinkets used to start. The same goes for other old item-level 200 trinkets, like Embrace of the Spider. These are still quality items for a mage starting out at 80, but the fact that they come from now-obsolete content makes them more difficult to obtain than they used to be. The simple fact of the matter is that unless your guild still organizes entry-level raids, you're better off heading into more current content and skipping over these.

Abyssal Rune

How good is it?

Ah, now we're talking. This, my friends, is probably the first trinket you should go for. It's essentially the Sundial of the Exiled with haste instead of crit. This is better for fire and frost mages, and much better for arcane mages. The spellpower proc has a 45 second internal cooldown, and a 25% proc rate, meaning it'll be up more frequently than the Sundial anyway. This is--bar none--the best item-level 200 mage trinket out there. And you don't even have to go raiding to get it.

How do I get it?

It drops at a roughly 16% rate from the second boss in normal Trial of the Champion. This means a few runs--maybe even more than a few, especially if there are other casters in your group. The good news is that there are always a bunch of new 80's looking to farm ToC to gear up, and you'll be picking up other decent epic gear for yourself along the way. So get a group together, and if a warlock tries to sneak into that group, make sure to insinuate in party chat that he's a member of Al-Qaeda, a loot ninja, or possibly a nazi sleeper agent, in order to get him kicked from the group. Because you don't want him stealing your trinket. Also because he's a warlock.

Illustration of the Dragon Soul

How good is it?

Pretty good, actually. Essentially, this trinket, as long as you don't have to stop casting for more than 10 seconds, will give you a constant +200 spellpower. This used to be one of the best-in-slot trinekts for mages, but has since been eclipsed by the trinekts that drop in newer content. Still, if you can manage to obtain it, do it. It may be awhile before you can snag an upgrade for it.

How do I get it?

This drops from 25-man Sartharion at a 19% rate. Good luck finding 24 other people to run this these days, though.

Eye of the Broodmother

How good is it?

This functions similarly to the Illustration of the Dragon Soul, in that it provides a near-constant spellpower boost. It amounts to 125 spellpower as opposed to 200, but is easier to keep stacked at only 5 stacks. It also provides a static crit rating bonus. If your spec values crit, this is a decent option over the Illustration.

How do I get it?

Drops in 10-man Ulduar from Razorscale at a 20% rate. This should be easier to find a group for than 25-man Sarth, but it's still obsolete content, so it'll likely be easier for you to simply hop into a more current raid.

Scale of Fates

How good is it?

The flat spellpower increase on this is as good as the stacking one on the Eye of the Broodmother, only it's always on. And the on-use haste is quite good, especially for haste-heavy specs, like arcane. I actually prefer an on-use trinket, since it allows you to manage the bonus, rather than leaving it up to a proc.

How do I get it?

17% drop rate from Thorim in 25-man Ulduar. There are other excellent trinkets in here, but again, chances are low that your guild is still running people through these raids. Fortunately, there's better option for new level 80 mages that's much easier to obtain...

Talisman of Resurgence

How good is it?

Holy crap. Good. The static intellect bonus is yummy for arcane mages, and not terrible for fire and frost mages, but that 599 on-use spellpower is simply delicious.

How do I get it?

This is the best part about this trinket. It's one of the best trinkets out there, and it will only cost you 50 Emblems of Triumph. You can earn those running random heroics in an afternoon. So you can get this by doing the single most efficient thing you can do to gear up your mage anyway. Queue yourself up, go have a sandwich or do some dailies while you wait out the 20 minute DPS wait-times (or find a friendly tank to queue with), and then buy yourself a fantastic trinket that would have made all of our heads explode with its awesomeness if we'd seen it back when Wrath dropped. You kids today don't know how hard we had it. We had to work for our trinkets, by golly! I remember when your grandpappy lost his eye in the great trinket war of '08. It was a tough time...I don't like to speak of it, but there was one dark day when I killed a warlock with my bare hands after he won the roll on Embrace of the Spider. Oh who am I kidding? I love to speak of it. In fact, I have a framed screenshot on my wall of me giving a thumbs up over his mutilated corpse. I used it for my Christmas cards that year.

I'll end this part of the trinket guide here. Next week, we'll begin with trinkets available in the more current content, starting in Trial of the Crusader and progressing up through the shiny new stuff that drops in Icecrown Citadel.

Still, you may be wondering, after all of this, what the final answer to the problem posed in the column's title is. What should you do with your two trinket slots? There is no single right answer, but here's my final advice for a new level 80 mage:

Run normal ToC until you snag the Abyssal Rune. Then run random heroics until you can pick up the Talisman of Resurgence. Those are, in my opinion, the most valuable, easiest to quickly obtain trinkets for an entry-level mage.

What do you think, mage community? How many times am I wrong and how wrong am I? Which trinkets did I neglect to mention that you wish to make a case for? What trinkets are you using and why? And keep in mind that we'll be hitting the higher level stuff next week, so hold off on those particular criticisms until that column hits.

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'.

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