The goal of much of the Ruby Sanctum loot appears to be filling holes in itemization that left us without ideal items for every slot on our character. In particular, you'll notice that none of the new gear (save the trinket) has any armor penetration on it. With combat rogues outscaling mutilate at top levels due to massive amounts of ArP, mutilate rogues have been looking for something to help close that gap. They were hampered by the fact that there are a few slots where it was almost impossible to find a non-ArP piece of leather, especially when we talking about the upper tier of ICC gear.
The first item I'll be talking about is the Gloaming Sark, which drops from Halion on the 10-man raid format, and honestly I have no clue why Blizzard even put this item into the game. It's basically a poor clone of the Shadow Seeker's Tunic, with exactly the same stat mix on both chest pieces. The one difference is that the new Gloaming Sark drops a few points of expertise and trades them for more attack power, though the Shadow Seeker's Tunic has a higher ilevel budget and is superior anyway. The heroic version of the Gloaming Sark will obviously win, since you can't buy heroic gear from the Emblem of Frost vendor, but otherwise, this is really a wasted slot on the loot table.
Blizzard then completely reverses their mistake with the chest and puts an incredibly valuable amulet on Halion's loot table, called Baltharus' Gift. Again, this item drops on 10-man difficulty and is important for two reasons. First, there are only two BoP necklaces that drop in ICC, and both drop from Sindragosa. For many smaller guilds and pickup groups, Sindragosa is simply inaccessible. The only alternative necklace would be Wodin's Lucky Necklace, which is both rare and fairly expensive to buy. Putting a necklace on Halion 10-man ensures that rogues will at least have one decent shot at a new necklace.
The second benefit of Baltharus' Gift is the unique stat balance. First, it's the only necklace that doesn't feature ArP, making it ideal for assassination rogues. In fact, a heroic Baltharus' Gift will blow Wodin's out of the water, though it remains to be seen exactly how difficult heroic Halion will be. This necklace also features expertise, something we haven't seen on an amulet since the Collar of Dissolution from Naxxramas. It can give us another slot to use to meet our expertise caps while keeping it off of our other gear.
Umbrage Armbands are the first item we'll see from the 25-man version of Halion, and since all of these pieces are ilvl 271, they're usually better than their ICC 25-man alternatives. The Umbrage Armbands are particularly interesting, since their stat mix again favors mutilate rogues with a solid crit/haste/AP combo. There were previously no leather bracers for a 25-man mutilate rogue outside of the Vambraces of the Frost Wyrm Queen from Sindragosa on 10-man. They usually were forced to pick up Toskk's Maximized Wristguards, which feature the less-than-ideal ArP. Having a strong pair of mutilate bracers will allow for assassination rogues to move closer and closer towards their perfect gear set.
Now, the Signet of Twilight is an item that I don't really understand. It's currently a hit/crit/AP ring, which is pretty good for mutilate. However, mutilate rogues already had a really great ring in the form of the Band of the Bone Colossus. It dropped from a really easy boss, and haste is typically better for assassination due to its crit cap issues. Combat rogues will want to be sporting a ring with armor penetration, and our ICC reputation ring trumps the Signet of Twilight in every way. With every rogue capable of possessing an amazing ring from the Ashen Verdict, this ring isn't even second best. A godsend to anyone who hasn't had a great ring drop for them yet, but I don't see anything except for the heroic version of this ring seeing continued use.
Wow. If Blizzard wanted to let mutilate rogues back into the game by throwing a few well-itemized pieces their way, then the Sharpened Twilight Scale sends the opposite message. Giving a combat rogue another 163 ArP will let most ICC-geared rogues the ability to near the ArP cap. As we reach closer and closer to that cap, the value of ArP skyrockets. When combined with a Deathbringer's Will, combat rogues in their ICC finest will be sitting pretty at a passive 1,400 armor penetration rating. While it's already possible to hit 100% now, it required full gemming and a fair amount of luck with ArP drops. This trinket will help many rogues bridge the gap between 90% and 100%, upping their DPS by a simply insane amount.
This trinket is so good that it's even best-in-slot for non-ArP classes like retribution paladins, so expect some insane competition for this trinket. Nearly every physical DPS class, with the possible exception of enhancement shamans, will be rolling on this trinket when it drops. Hopefully we'll have enough time to farm Halion before Cataclysm is released for everyone in your group to get one. I hope that the luck of the shadows falls on your dice or DKP bid, since this is destined to be the most contested item in recent memory.
Halion's holding five different pieces of rogue gear, with a mix of armor to fill gaps in a mutilate rogue's Christmas list and the trinket to make every combat rogue drool. I haven't had a chance to face off with this twilight dragon yet, as my realm has been offline for maintenance. Rest assured, I will have a full guide for everyone looking to down this dragon as soon as he goes down. Considering this is likely the last raiding content we'll see before Cataclysm, I expect for him to be on farm status shortly, as there won't be anything else to do except for practice defeating him.
Are you a rogue looking to up your game? Check back every Wednesday for the latest strategies in Encrypted Text! Get ready for Icecrown Citadel with our guide for rogues, part 1 and part 2 (Plagueworks), part 3 (Crimson Halls) and part 4 (Frostwing Halls). Just hit 80 and need information? Check out our rogue lessons: Combat 101 or Mutilate 101 for all you need to know to get started.