Totem Talk: What weapon will you wear?

Josh Myers
J. Myers|08.27.11

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Totem Talk: What weapon will you wear?
Enhancement shaman in tier 5 and Fists of Fury
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Totem Talk for elemental, enhancement, and restoration shaman. Josh Myers once only tackled the hard questions about enhancement but has recently expanded his sphere of responsibility to all shaman DPS specs. (And no, two-handed enhancement is still never coming back.)

Weapons are the most defining characteristic of an enhancement shaman. If you're in Orgrimmar and you see two friendly Tauren decked out in Erupting Volcanic gear, you look to the weapons to tell them apart. If they've got one weapon and a shield, they're a caster and probably not worth inspecting (especially true in the case of that Lodur fellow). If they're dual wielding awesome axes, fearsome fist weapons, or magnificent maces, they're a true shaman.*

When transmogrification was first released, tier gear was the talk of the town. Black Temple groups were organized, classic raids were soloed, honor was hoarded for Burning Crusade PVP sets. To me, though, armor is just a backdrop. It's the scenery behind the Mona Lisa. The picture wouldn't be complete without it, but it isn't the focus. While the rest of my friends were obsessing over tier gear (except Tyler Caraway, who will still just look like a boomkin 24/7), I found myself agonizing over one simple question: Which weapons would I wear?

For the purpose of this post, I'm going to leave out most spellpower weapons. There are some really, really cool-looking weapons like Aesuga, Hand of the Ardent Champion and Eye of Purification, but the fact that there are very few agility axes and maces with the main hand only requirement means they won't be normal transmog choices.

Awesome axes

Axes annoy me. The Cataclysm model for enhancement has been "all BiS weapons must be axes" so far, with Crul'korak, the Lightning's Arc and Maimgor's Bite in T11 and Eye of Purification and Gatecrasher in T12. Unfortunately for me, I terribly dislike most axe models. It isn't a problem with Blizzard's weapon design team; I just very much dislike the way axes look.

That said, Blizzard has wowed me with some excellent models in the past. Netherbane from Al'ar in Burning Crusade's Tempest Keep instance is a glowing crystal axe of doom. Breeching Comet, from the last boss of heroic Magister's Terrace, uses a similar-shaped model but eschews shining purple crystals for shining purple metal and a fancy glow effect. Doom's Edge, a trash drop from Blackwing Lair, is a very nice-looking axe and one of the few great models from classic that are still attainable in game.

Tauren shaman dual wielding Netherbane
Wrath of the Lich King also gave us a few great axe models. Last Laugh is a tanking axe off Kel'thuzad in Naxxramas. Luckily for us, transmogrification doesn't care about the 1.6 speed or parry rating on it. Teldrassil Protector is available to those stinking Alliance scum who did their Argent Tournament dailies. Havoc's Call, Blade of Lordaeron Kings is possibly my favorite axe in the game, as it has everything I look for in a weapon: a cool name, awesome flavor text, and a model that would make a raid boss think twice about attacking you. Fortunately for those of us who haven't downed heroic Lich King yet, it share shares a model with every other axe in Icecrown Citadel, making the look very easy to get.

Magnificent maces

On the flipside from axes, maces are my absolute favorite form of weapon. Part of it might be because I'm a giant Tauren and maces make the most sense lore-wise, part of it is just because they look awesome. I'm personally a fan of the Brutal Gladiator's Bonecracker/Pummeler, which looks like you ripped a giant ruby from the earth, stuck it on a stick, and are now proceeding to ruin Ragnaros' face with it. Syphon of the Nathrezim from Black Temple shares this look but is somewhat scaled down.

The Burning Crusade was the heyday of mace models, in my opinion. Beyond the two above, it also gave us Rod of the Sun King off Kael'thas in Tempest Keep, a mace that is as regal as it is pain-inducing. The Burning Crusade also gave us the epically awesome Dragonstrike. Bears tank with their face? Who cares? Shaman in a post-transmogrification world will have the option to DPS with the face of a freaking dragon. Unfortunately, that amount of awesome is restricted to shaman blacksmiths who were specialized into hammersmithing pre-Cataclysm, crafted the mace, and kept it in their banks until now.

Tauren Warrior dual wielding Dragonstrikes with Mongoose
Out of Wrath of the Lich King, my favorite mace would have to be Vul'mir the Northern Tempest, though the model is shared by a few other weapons in Ulduar. It has a unique combination of a blunt, bone-cracking face and a unique, steampunk-esque model that made it really fun to use and look at during 3.1. The multiple models in Ulduar come in different colors, and you can match it with the red-tinged Sorthalis, Hammer of the Watchers to make a great combo.

If you want real old school, there's a main-hand-restricted spellpower weapon from vanilla called Hammer of the Gathering Storm. Restricted to shaman, this item is a quest reward from a quest with the same name. It requires being exalted with Cenarion Circle, as well as collecting quest items that drop off trash mobs and bosses in the Ruins of Ahn'Qiraj. The reward is one sweet-looking weapon that fits with shaman lore. The only real downside is that it shares a model with druid/priest quest rewards and the Scepter of the False Prophet off C'thun. The upside? We're the only spec who can use it while bashing bosses' backsides.

Fearsome fist weapons

Fist weapons are probably the most iconic form of weaponry for enhancement, generally because we're one of the few specs in the game that uses them. (Rogues don't count. Or matter!) Because of their unique design, they're almost all restricted to main hand or off hand. While there are a lot of fist weapon sets that look very nice, there are also fist weapons for one hand that have no match for the opposite hand.

Calamity's Grasp is one of these. The ultimate fist weapon of the first patch of Wrath, CG was comprised of individual blades that windmilled around a base that was attached to your hand. Think of having a hovering handsaw spinning on top of your hand at all times. Screenshots can't do this weapon justice; you need to look in game through AtlasLoot or a similar addon. Do that, and you'll fall in love.

Crimson Steel from 10-man Sartharion and Wraith Strike from 25-man Maexxna were also main-hand fist weapons from the first patch of Wrath. Crimson Steel was often overshadowed by other weapons and as a result is not particularly well known. Its unique look and obscurity make it one of my favorites, though.

Draenei Shaman with Crimson Steel
Wraith Strike was a very well known weapon in its time and one of the few (if not only!) caster fist weapons in the game. Since elemental shaman and boomkin probably won't have other caster fist weapons in the future to transmog into this, it is our job to keep Wraith Strike's image alive. Lucky for us, it looks awesome. I'd pair any of these with Mounting Vengeance, my absolute favorite weapon in the game. If someone took the point off a polearm and affixed it to your hand, you'd have the Mounting Vengeance, which drops from trash in Sunwell Plateau. Since it has no main-hand equivalent, it goes great with these main-hand-only models.

As for fist weapon sets, there are a bunch to choose from. Shaman who will choose to go with the classic tier 5 look seen at the top of this page will probably want the the Fists of Fury set from Caverns of Time: Mount Hyjal trash. Also from The Burning Crusade are the fists of the Phoenix (Talon/Claw of the Phoenix), which both drop from Al'ar. If you're Alliance, consider investing some honor in the Grand Marshal's Hand Blades, which are like daggers for your fist.

Draenei Shaman with Pride and Greed
Wrath of the Lich King gave us two excellent fist weapon sets. First is Black Bruise/Keleseth's Seducer, out of Icecrown Citadel. While I'm personally a fan of the models, I won't be using them; they were all I saw for the 10+ months of patch 3.3. On the flipside, Pride and Greed were drops from heroic 5-mans that were replaced by raid loot within a few weeks of level-capping. Paired with Pauldrons of Nalorakk and Headress of the First Shaman, you've got a unique and unbearably awesome-looking outfit -- I'm not lion.

There are tons of weapons in this game, and I couldn't possibly list all of the good ones. I couldn't even list all of the best ones! Beyond that, I'm sure that my opinion isn't shared by every enhancement shaman everywhere, so let us all know in the comments what weapons you will wear!

*I actually do like our caster brethren -- I just like making fun of them more!

Show your totemic mastery by reading Totem Talk: Enhancement every week. We've got enhancement-specific advice on the latest gear and tier gear set bonuses, and we'll help you dig in and learn to level the enhancement way.

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