Now, more than ever before, there are a multitude of choices for players looking to get those final upgrades in the last tier of the expansion. From heroics and LFR to 10- and 25-man raids, end-game PVE content has a multitude of gearing paths to suit a player’s interest and potential time commitment. Even valor upgrades have been expanded in this last progression push and now include offset helm and shoulder options for players who haven’t had the opportunity to kill the corresponding tier-token bosses. In today’s post I’m going to focus on one specific element of your Tier 13 set—trinkets. Always popular and always hotly-debated, trinket selection is the one choice where a healer can make a major distinction in gearing strategy. And Tier 13’s trinket options are no exception, as once again healers face the decision between longevity and throughput.
- Jaws of Defeat (H)– A T12 option that unites healers’ favorite stat with solid mana reduction, Jaws was a shoe-in on every healers’ BiS for T12. Because of our long cast times, Resto Shaman will get less out of this trinket than Priests and Druids, but it remains a solid mp5 gain nonetheless, provided you use it on CD.
- Shard of Woe– A T11 option that continues to stick around despite nerfs, Shard remains a solid best-of-both-worlds offering, with a constant mana reduction and relatively short CD on its +haste on-use effect.
- Windward Heart– A new addition in T13, this trinket offers more of the Intellect we love and a throughput proc that puts Althor’s Abacus and Eye of Blazing Power (H) to shame. In the parses that I’ve reviewed, the effective healing contribution of “Nick of Time” is between 3 – 6%.
- Heart of Unliving– Jar of Ancient Remedies (H) 2.0, this trinket was incredibly underwhelming for its place in the final tier of content until it was patched to also offer a good helping of Int. The additional bonus with this trinket is that its effects, like Darkmoon Card: Tsunami, do work with Mana Tide, so this trinket will benefit your entire healing team. (Yes, feel free to quote that to Guild Leaders / Loot Councils as a reason why this trinket should go to a Resto Shaman first and foremost—I know I did).
- Seal of the Seven Signs- An upgraded version of Blackrock Cavern’s Witching Hourglass, this Seal will be a tempting option for those healers focused on pure throughput. However, the thing to remember with this trinket is that the proc is on a long ICD (2 minutes), so you’ll be battling the high probability that the +haste will not line up with a high damage period of the encounter, significantly decreasing the effectiveness.
- Bottled Wishes– An incredibly tempting option for haste-addicted shaman, this trinket is all about throughput and should make it much easier for you to hit the 2005 haste threshold for that extra tick of Riptide. (The benefits of which are entirely dependent on your healing environment and % overhealing).
- Reflection of the Light– Similar to Fiery Quintessence, this underwhelming Spirit + throughput option is a good starter but should be something that you replace with any other option out there. (Not to mention, its lack of +Int proc makes it worse than its T12 relative, because you can’t even super-charge your Mana Tide).
- Will of Unbinding– I’m only including it in this list because, undoubtedly, some shaman out there will jump on this trinket and say “Bizzuri’s/DFO 2.0! WOOT!” No. Bad Resto Shaman. Hands off the dps trinket. Blizzard has learned a thing or two since the days of releasing ICC we-can-use-caster-trinkets-too options, so Will does NOT proc off of dot ticks or HST drops but rather the act of casting the harmful spell (sneaky sneaky) which means this is really only an option for full-time atonement priests. Resto Shaman, DO NOT WANT.
So, now that I’ve introduced your options in this tier, let’s bring out something that hasn’t been featured in a post at LiG5 in a while—the spreadsheet! To look at the benefits of each of the trinkets in this tier, I dusted off the spreadsheet I put together for Tier 11 options (Trinkets, Math and Procs, Oh My!), and updated it to reflect gains from all relevant trinkets in both 6min and 10min fight segments. I won’t go through the individual calculations again, because you can see them in original post, but here’s what I came up with (the actual spreadsheet can be found here as well):
If you’re just looking at trinkets coming out of T13 content, then the winners are pretty easy to identify:
- Heart of Unliving– The definitive leader in terms of regen, the Int loss is made up for in the incredible benefit to your mana pool and each of your teammates’ as well. For resto shaman at or around the 378/397 ilvl, this trinket will result in an additional 5-6k mana per MT drop. Assuming similar gains for each member of your healing team (let’s say you have 6), this trinket would account for a combined 30 – 36k mana per drop; in an 8-minute encounter, that would be 90k-108k mana total. Believe you me, in hard modes, that’s a worthwhile amount of “extra” mana to have.
- Windward Heart– Amazingly, this trinket also tops the list of valuable trinkets in this tier, not because of its regen benefits (they’re nominal at best) but rather because of its substantial effective healing contribution. As I mentioned above, because of the comparatively small ICD, this trinket has much higher uptime than its random-heal brethren. And although it’s no Glowing Twilight Scale (man, I loved that trinket), conservative parse review puts it 3-6% effective healing, a ceiling which is likely greater for shaman who favor crit-haste builds.
But, if you’re favoring a longevity build for progression encounters, it’s likely you’ll see another horse in the race:
- Jaws of Defeat (H) – Although the trinket has no impact on the mana gains of your healing partners, and is thus the less-preferred option for Resto Shaman who love their teammates, the mana savings can be substantial. In most encounters and under most conditions, I have no problem getting to a 10 stack of the Victorious buff, netting me 6875 mana savings every 2 minutes. And although this is about half of the mana savings that you would have by using Shard, the ~6% Intellect gain from Jaws provides you with a compelling reason to finally ditch Sinestra’s emo trinket.
But, but …. HASTE!
Yes, it is the end of an expansion. And with that comes the inevitable situation of having too much Spirit and not enough to spend it on, which is why I think we’re going to see more Resto Shaman electing to go all out on haste in this final tier. I will be the first to admit that 2.2-second Chain Heals are no fun when you’re battling to beat your healing teammates to the punch, which is what you’ll be doing as your raid team becomes more saturated with gear. Likewise, when a raid is getting quickly topped off, a large investment into Mastery is not going to push you to the top of meters. This was nowhere more evident in our kill of HM Morchok this week, where my HPS plummeted from just a week prior, the result of a more geared team and me having too much Spirit and Mastery for an entry-level hard mode. Unfortunately, that’s just part-and-parcel of shaman healing (and something that I’ve been talking about since the start of the expansion).
So, if you’re working on normal mode DS or just looking to casually LFR, I would expect that you’ll want to pick up more haste than the bare minimum (916 for non-goblins). And with a number of haste-focused pieces to choose from this tier, including trinkets, reaching and passing the second haste breakpoint (at 2005 haste) should be easy enough. But … BUT … do remember that in an environment where you’re stacking haste to beat other healers to the heal, your gain from an extra tick of RT will be relatively low (because if you’re healing to beat other healers, then hots will be largely overhealing). And, Thus the true benefactor of the haste will be your CH and your single-target heals, so long as you have the mana to sustain yourself.
For me personally, I’ll be sticking to heavy Spirit + Mastery until we down Madness, with Heart of Unliving and Jaws of Defeat (H) to keep my blue bar as full as it can be. But after that point, you can bet that I too will be choosing to go the throughput route, and seeing just how low I can get my cast times to be.