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Scattered Shots: Cataclysm hunter trinkets

Brian Wood

Every Monday and Thursday, WoW Insider brings you Scattered Shots for beast mastery, marksmanship and survival hunters. Frostheim of Warcraft Hunters Union uses logic and science (mixed with a few mugs of dwarven stout) to look deep into the hunter class. Mail your hunter questions to Frostheim.

It's loot week here at Scattered Shots! We've covered pre-heroic loot and we've covered pre-raid loot; now it's time to take the "pre-" out of the loot discussions and get down to the best PvE loot available to us hunters right now. Because there's just too much loot discussion to fit in only one post, we're going to be splitting things up.

Today, the focus is on trinkets, those pesky loot pieces with their complicated and delightful mechanics that make them so much more interesting than another collection of stats. Trinkets in Cataclysm have grown more complicated than ever, too. Back in Wrath days, we could count on most proc trinkets having the same 45-second internal cooldown, but these days, they all seem to have different proc durations, different internal cooldown, different everythings.

So join me after the cut as we delve into the wonderful world of hunter trinkets, find out why Hurricane isn't for hunters and how the very best trinket available is also the most easily attainable! On Thursday, we'll go over the broader best-in-slot gear lists for hunters. For today, it's all trinkets, all the time!

The trinket list

Let's start by narrowing down the list of trinkets we're going to review here. We'll take all the raid hunter trinkets, of course, but we'll also pull in the Darkmoon Card, grab Tia's Grace -- our best heroic trinket -- and I'm even going to break the normal "nothing remotely PvP" rule and grab the Tol Barad trinket, since it's so easily attainable and PvE-competitive.

Here's what we're looking at:

If I missed some great trinket that for some reason isn't showing up on my Wowhead searches, drop a note in the comments and I'll plug it in.

Before getting into ranking the trinkets, let's take a look at how each one works. Note that for the time being, we can only weight things based on what's live in the game right now. We know that several things are changing in the PTR, and we'll take that into consideration, but since things are still changing on the PTR, we can't base our stat weights entirely on PTR info. However, even with the changes, agility is still king, and the relative value of the trinkets shouldn't change too much.

Unsolvable Riddle

Available from Tol Barad for 125 commendations, this trinket is instantly recognizable as a PvE hunter trinket, with a giant on-use agility boost. If you use it every chance you possibly can, it has a 16.67% uptime -- a very common uptime for Cataclysm trinkets. This makes the average agility provided 267.5.

While the Unsolvable Riddle is clearly attractive compared to heroic trinkets, it falls behind the curve once we compare it to raid-level trinkets.

Prestor's Talisman of Machination

Dropping from Nefarian himself, this trinket has a lovely 321 agility plus the haste proc. The internal cooldown is reported as 75 seconds; however, the proc chance appears to be only 10%. This means that on average, we'll get the 15-second effect only every 85 seconds or so (possibly a bit more often, possibly less, depending on how DoTs factor into the proc). This is a 17.65% uptime, making it the equivalent of 339.9 haste, on average.

This is a very strong trinket, as befits a Nefarian drop, and we'll certainly be competing with other classes for it.

Fluid Death

This is available from your friendly vendor at any time for a mere 1,650 valor points. Not only does this trinket give us 321 hit rating, but it also has a stacking agility buff, topping out very quickly at 380 agility. There is some small ramp-up time to this effect of course, but then it gives us more agility on average than any other trinket.

In a typical boss fight, the ramp-up time is negligible, and this trinket is phenomenal and a must-have for every hunter. The giant chunk of hit rating makes balancing your hit cap easy, and if you're over on hit, you can always reforge a chunk of that into crit rating. This is the best hunter trinket currently available, and we don't even have to wait for it to drop.

Essence of the Cyclone

This trinket drop from Halfus Wyrmbreaker, the first boss in the Bastion of Twilight. In addition to the hefty agility, this trinket is proccing our favorite secondary stat, crit rating. Unlike Prestor's Talisman of Machination, though, the proc duration is only 10 seconds. From player reports, the internal cooldown appears to be 50 seconds, though I haven't found any good information on the proc chance. If it's 10% like Prestor's, then we're looking at a 16.67% uptime -- and that sounds just about right for the Cataclysm trinket design.

If you had to choose two stats for your trinkets, they would either be agility and hit, or agility and crit. Essence of the Cyclone is a great trinket, and happily, it drops from an easy boss at the start of an instance. The rogues are gonna want this one too, but at least you should have plenty of opportunity to compete for the drops.

Darkmoon Card: Hurricane

DMC: Hurricane is the subject of much debate in the hunter world. We're used to comparing stats, but the big thing with Hurricane isn't stats; it provides a flat extra attack. Here are the key bits of info, based on the best information we now have:
  • The proc chance is about 5%, with no internal cooldown. It can proc as often as chance favors you.
  • It will not proc off of your pet's attack or DoTs, including Serpent Sting, Black Arrow, Explosive Shot, or Piercing Shots.
  • It uses the spell crit multiplier and the spell hit chance. So even if you're hit-capped, this special extra damage can actually miss.
  • The damage is increased by survival's mastery.
The biggest complication for this shot, of course, is SV's mastery boosting its damage, but in general while this trinket is good, there are better ones available for hunters. Of the specs, MM gets the most benefit from the trinket, since they fire the most shots that could trigger a proc, including Wild Quiver. Neither SV nor BM can proc the effect off their signature shot. Those fast-attacking, dual-wielding classes are the ones who really want this trinket.

Tia's Grace

Dropping from Siamat in the Lost City of the Tol'vir, Tia's Grace is a shockingly good trinket for a heroic drop. Again, it has the stacking agility bonus, and again, the ramp-up effect is really negligible in most boss fights. What really matters is that the agility ramps up to a constant 340 agility -- a larger static agility bonus than most of the raid trinkets!

There are only two downsides to this trinket: The amount of mastery we get, 285, is less than we see in secondary stats on raid trinkets; and the item level is only 346, which can make you feel a bit sheepish when you're passing on raid drop trinkets. However, this trinket is definitely one that will serve you well even compared to raid tier trinkets.

Ranking the hunter trinkets

Okay, enough discussion on how they work, let's take a look at how the trinkets compare against each other. As always, exact weighting depends on not just your spec and talents, but also on your gear. It's possible that the relative positions of any two trinkets could swap depending on your gearing, but these should be accurate for the vast majority of hunters out there currently.

From best to worst, here's what the trinket list looks like!
  1. Fluid Death Not just the best, but the best by a good margin. You want this trinket so bad you'd kill a baby seal just to get it a day early.
  2. Essence of the Cyclone
  3. Tia's Grace
  4. Prestor's Talisman of Machination
  5. DMC: Hurricane Note that the value of this trinket varies heavily based on your spec. For BM, it's probably ranked lower; for MM, it's probably competitive with Prestor's Talisman.
  6. Unsolvable Riddle

Scattered Shots is dedicated to helping you learn everything it takes to be a hunter in Cataclysm. From leveling your hunter to optimizing for heroics to gearing up with pre-heroic loot and pre-raid loot, we've got you covered.

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