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Totem Talk: Enhancement gear in patch 4.3

Josh Myers

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.)

At first glance, the loot lists of 4.3 make me a sad enhancement shaman. Everywhere you look, beautiful agility gear is being marred by haste and critical strike rating, often found together. Since our mastery is such an incredibly potent stat, seeing even a single slot that doesn't have a mastery option could be disheartening. Seeing our final tier of gear have three pieces without any mastery on them is just downright depressing.

Never fear, though. Despite some really awful itemization, enhancement is actually in a really good place next patch. And by really good, I mean really, really, good. Besides some of the buffs I talked about last month, we've also got the beautiful 10% additional attack power buff, which is just some sweet icing on a delicious cake of shamanism. Combine that with a beautiful, dual-wieldable axe that has a proc that scales with our mastery, and Dragon Soul raiding shaman will be in a very nice place in 4.3. (Need some proof? Load this profile into Simcraft to see some of our projected numbers.)

If you're still worried about your DPS due to the amount of crit/haste on Dragon Soul gear, though, there's no need to fear. This patch is introducing a ton of crit/haste gear in the actual raid instance, but it's also introducing a lot of mastery items, especially as valor point rewards. It also is introducing some leatherworking patterns, but they're also poorly itemized. The downside of this is that these items are only currently available as 397 gear, which means heroic raiding enhancement shaman will see some poorly itemized pieces when they're in best-in-slot.

The trouble with our tier gear

The first thing to look at are our tier pieces. Only two of them, the chest and the gloves, are actually well itemized, so you'll want to aim for these first. Luckily, our two-piece bonus is the better of the two tier bonuses in tier 13, so these will likely be some of your biggest non-weapon or trinket upgrades. The shoulders are the third best-itemized piece, as we need to hit and expertise cap before capping mastery. Unfortunately, though, we can hit and expertise capped through reforging haste and crit, so the lack of mastery on the shoulders is noticeable, especially since there's no off-set alternative to them.

The last two pieces are both really terrible. Spiritwalker's Helmet offers a truckload of hit rating but brings with it an unfortunate amount of haste rating. The legs are slightly better, as the 336 crit rating can be turned into a whopping 134 mastery. The legs also have the unfortunate pleasure of having no alternatives, as the leatherworking legs are a downgrade. On the flipside, the beautiful Zeharah's Dragonskull Crown (named after the coolest female dwarf in the world) is amazingly itemized, which will probably make it our off-set piece of choice in 4.3.

Bracers, boots, and other boring items

Bracers are solid for us, since Bracers of Looming Darkness have a nice chunk of mastery. There are also the Dragonbelly Bracers, a valor point purchase, which might be even better until heroic modes due to their hit/mastery combination, though their agility seems low in comparison. Cord of Dragon Sinew will likely be our belt of choice, since Belt of the Beloved Companion only offers 20 more agility at the expense of 227 mastery. Boots require more valor points, as Boneshard Boots are considerably better than the alternative Treads of Dormant Dreams.

For rings, Seal of Primordial Shadow will be our best choice, offering us some much-needed expertise and some tasty mastery. Our other really good choice is a valor point purchase, which is becoming a trend in 4.3, as is the haste/mastery combination we see on it. Unfortunately, both necklaces and cloaks this patch are awful for enhancement. The Batwing Cloak (because rogues really needed more pandering from Blizzard after getting their third legendary?) is atrocious, and the Cameo of Terrible Memories is aptly named, as no one will be remembering it fondly in Mists of Pandaria. If you're lucky enough to have a heroic Choker of the Vanquished Lord, you'll probably be using that until 5.0, since there's no sign that valor point rewards will be upgradeable in 4.3. Our relic choice is also really bad, despite the expertise on it.

The upside

By this point, you might be a little disheartened, since our shoulders, legs, relic, necklace, and cloak slots all offer absolutely zero mastery. That's five of our 16 slots without any base mastery, which is actually really sad. However, this downer is why I saved the best part of 4.3 loot for last.

First off, we have trinkets. While these trinkets also don't have mastery (bringing us to seven of 16 without), nearly all of our trinket choices have whopping amounts of agility that more than make up for it. Wrath of Unchaining will almost definitely be our best-in-slot trinket, as 880 agility is so ridiculously good that I consider hyperventilating at the thought of ever getting it. Vial of Shadows is also super-good and going to be our other best-in-slot, offering some amazing 458 agility and a nice physical damage strike proc on top of it.

Unlike the rest of our gear, the valor trinket is once valor point purchase we won't be making. While the agility use is nice, 458 haste rating is just awful. For the same reason, we likely won't be using the Starcatcher Compass, which has base agility and a mediocre haste proc. Don't bother wasting your time with these trinkets.

And then there are the weapons. Following the awesome Dragon Soul trend of forgetting mastery exists, neither weapon has mastery on it. (That's right, nine of 16 without mastery. We have more pieces without our best secondary stat than with it.) This is really unfortunate for the Morningstar of Heroic Will, which is awesome-looking but as poorly itemized as the Gatecrasher.

The best part, though, is No'Kaled, the Elements of Death. While it also has no mastery, No'kaled has an absolutely beautiful proc, which currently seems to scale with our mastery. (This could actually be part of the reason less than half of our gear is itemized for mastery, if we're tinfoil hatting.) No'kaled helps to counter the rest of our itemization, as the proc is so well designed and perfect for enhancement's last weapon in the game. Combined with the incoming 4.3 changes and the melee buff, No'kaled is helping make enhancement look really fun next patch.

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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