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Arcane Brilliance: The best trinkets for mages, patch 4.3 edition

Christian Belt

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. This week we focus on those two most vital gear slots for making your keychain look cool: trinkets. You put them right next to your tiny NES controller and that little rubber pig that poops when you squeeze him, and so what if the trinkets on your key ring outnumber the actual keys on your key ring? Now if only we still had key rings in WoW ...

Trinkets do three things:
  1. They keep your keys from being lonely.
  2. They hurt like hell when you forget to take them out of your pocket before playing pick-up basketball.
  3. They have the potential to increase your DPS more drastically than any other single gear slot in the game.
No other gear choice we make in this game will either positively or negatively impact our raw output than the two trinkets we select, and no other loot drop can be more infuriating to wait for. With trinkets, it's imperative that you identify what you want, know where to go to get it, and then focus your efforts until you reach your goal.

With that in mind, let's go over the best trinkets available for mages in the game right now and where to go get them.

I will list each trinket in the order in which I believe they belong, from least powerful to most powerful. You will undoubtedly have differing opinions about the order I go with, and I want to hear about them in the comments. In addition to being the most important gear choices in the game, trinkets are also perhaps the most subjective in terms of raw stats. When you're deciding between most gear, your comparison mainly involves seeing which item has a higher amount of intellect and then equipping that item. But when you're choosing between a stacking intellect proc on a hidden internal cooldown and an on-use ability listed as "Embrace the fel energies contained within," that choice can be a little less black and white.

Foul Gift of the Demon Lord

A great place to start, this trinket is comparably easy to obtain before you ever set foot in a raid. It has a fat chunk of intellect on it and a nice proc. Note that the on-use "fel energies" are mostly a vanity thing; it's a pretty inconsequential heal over time effect that also deals a pretty inconsequential amount of damage over time to nearby enemies. It's fun but doesn't really factor into the trinket's value (unless you like looking awesome, in which case your should move this trinket about six spots higher on the list, by my calculations).

Proc details

  • Internal cooldown is 45 seconds.
  • Grants mastery on both healing and damage spells, so you'll see healers in your party rolling on this as well.
Where to get it It may take a while to drop, but this one comes from the Mannoroth fight in the Well of Eternity 5-man.

Necromantic Focus (378)

If you have a guild that still runs Firelands, the normal version of this item can be another good starter trinket, though if you don't already have it, there are other trinkets out there that are probably a lot easier to snag than this one nowadays. It's a straightforward intellect increase and a stacking mastery buff from periodic damage.

Where to get it Normal Baleroc in the Firelands raid

Darkmoon Card: Volcano

This has been around since the start of the expansion, and for a long time it was very much the best-in-slot trinket for mages. It's not that anymore, but it is still on the list. As a starter trinket before hitting the raiding circuit, it simply can't be beat.

The proc details
  • The internal cooldown is 45 seconds.
  • The proc damage can crit.
  • It scales with your stats and is affected by your buffs and talents.
  • It triggers a cool explosion effect on your mage when it goes off.

Where to get it The only item on this list that you can simply throw gold at to obtain, this trinket is easiest to obtain by simply hiring a scribe to make it for you or just shopping the Auction House. You'll need to plunk down some funds, but if you're rolling in cash, this is one of the best trinkets available, and you can own it without ever setting foot in any kind of raid.

Variable Pulse Lightning Capacitor (384)

Again, this is a Firelands trinket and thus may be more trouble than it is worth to seek out and obtain, but that doesn't make it any less awesome. If you already have it or can get it without too much trouble, the sizable intellect bonus and fun lightning damage proc will serve you well.

Proc details
  • Is an actual damage spell when triggered, and thus requires line of sight to your intended target.
  • Capable of critting.
  • Triggered by DoTs or direct damage spells.
Where to get it Normal Ragnaros in Firelands

Cunning of the Cruel (384)

Our first Raid Finder trinket! Lots of intellect and a really fun AoE damage proc.

Proc details
  • Internal cooldown is 25 seconds.
  • Can crit, and procs off DoTs as well as direct damage.
  • Scales with your spellpower.
  • Doesn't seem to hit CC targets in PvE but does in PVP. Use with care.
  • Insanely high proc rate -- will proc almost immediately every time the internal cooldown is up.
Where to get it Almost everywhere in the Raid Finder version of Dragon Soul

Insignia of the Corrupted Mind (384)

With its massive haste proc, this Raid Finder trinket is well worth seeking out and slightly outperforms Cunning of the Cruel.

Where to get it Yor'sahj the Unsleeping in Raid Finder Dragon Soul.

Necromantic Focus (391)

This is the heroic version of the trinket listed above.

Where to get it Heroic Baleroc in Firelands

Cunning of the Cruel (397)

Normal, non-Raid Finder version of above trinket.

Where to get it Multiple bosses in the normal version of the Dragon Soul raid

Will of Unbinding (390)

The best of the Raid Finder trinkets, this one is pretty impressive. It has no passive bonus, but the proc is a stacking intellect buff (up to 790 intellect) that procs on any damage you cause, be it direct or DoT. For most mages, on most encounters, this will be stacked to full almost constantly just through normal rotation.

Where to get it Deathwing in Raid Finder Dragon Soul

Variable Pulse Lightning Capacitor (397)

Heroic version of above trinket.

Where to get it Heroic Ragnaros in Firelands

Insignia of the Corrupted Mind (397)

Normal version of Raid Finder trinket listed above.

Where to get it Yor'sahj the Unsleeping in normal Dragon Soul

Cunning of the Cruel (410)

Heroic version of above trinket.

Where to get it Multiple bosses in the heroic version of the Dragon Soul raid

Insignia of the Corrupted Mind (410)

Heroic version of above trinket.

Where to get it Yor'sahj the Unsleeping in heroic Dragon Soul

Will of Unbinding (403)

Normal version of above Raid Finder trinket.

Where to get it Deathwing in normal Dragon Soul

Will of Unbinding (416)

Heroic version of above trinket. As you can see by its placements on this list, this one is going to be the best in slot for every mage at every tier of gear. If you can get it, no matter what version of Dragon Soul you're able to run, it's going to be better than any other trinket you've got access to.

Where to get it Deathwing in heroic Dragon Soul

The Outlier: Shard of Woe (379)

This one is only on the list if you're an arcane mage, and its placement on the list is probably at #3, right behind the normal and heroic versions of Will of Unbinding. Because it reduces the base mana cost of all of your spells, its value in the whole Mana Adept scheme of things is vastly inflated. If you're an arcane mage and you can grab this trinket, chances are good that it's going to be taking up residency in one of your trinket slots pretty much permanently until the next expansion hits. Even if your guild has no intention of ever running heroic Bastion of Twilight again, this one is worth seeking out.

Where to get it Heroic Sinestra in Bastion of Twilight

That's all the room I have for today, my fellow mages. Thoughts? Are there any trinkets I forgot that belong on the list? How would you change the order? And in what manner should we end the miserable existence of any warlock who outrolls us on one of these beauties? I say messily.

Every week, Arcane Brilliance teleports you inside the wonderful world of mages and then hurls a Fireball in your face. Start out with our recent beginner's guide to being a mage, then check out our three-part State of the Mage columns on arcane, fire and frost. Don't forget to look at some of the addons your mage should probably be using.

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