Life in Group 5 – A Resto Shaman Blog
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Shaman - General

December 17, 2009

The One Gem You Never Thought You’d Shelve

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Written by: Vixsin
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Diamond in the SpotlightNo, I’m not talking about a new gemming strategy or arguing the benefits of reverting back to Int for HW-based rotations, and I’m not going to posture about the benefits of gemming spellpower for LHW fanatics. Today I’m highlighting a staple of the Resto Shaman’s gemming strategy since the days of late BC—your Insightful Earthsiege Diamond meta-gem. For those of you who ventured out of the IED comfort zone a while back (and are reading this with one raised eyebrow), the kind folks over at EJ would like to bring you into the light. But, for those of us who have been sporting IED (and its level 70 variant) since the days of Skyshatter, I have some news for you—the end is neigh.

Swimming in Blue

To be honest, I shake my head that I didn’t see this coming. For a long while now I’ve been ending fights with a significant amount of mana (think: 6k+), and even more so since acquiring the best-gearing-choice-I-ever-made Heroic Solace to combine with its normal-mode variant. And yet I still powered on with my IED smugly nestled in my headpiece, confident in the 600 mana restore it regularly and dependably provides me once every 60 seconds (58 seconds on average based on recent logs.)

The debate over IED rarely touches on its base value (+21 int) because these days that’s a drop in the stat bucket. Instead, the conversation centers around the relative value of the proc. To summarize the findings: when evaluating IED’s HEP value in Shaman HEP, it was seen that its weighted value has been dropping recently. In fact, IED’s value drops off sharply once the healer in question obtains a Solace trinket (or comparable). At that point however, the ~600 mana per minute still outweighs the benefits of any other meta. However, once the healer obtains a second Solace (bringing his/her fully stacked regen at 272 from just those trinkets alone) IED’s comparative value falls again to the point where another meta passes it up–the Revitalizing Skyflare Diamond.

So what if you don’t have two Solaces?

Whatever you do, don’t ignore this debate completely. Based on a preliminary review, mp5 on major ICC pieces seems pretty high. Not to mention that some of the 3.3 trinkets are relatively close to Solace in terms of mp5, meaning this issue could arise again very soon even if RNG hasn’t smiled on you during ToC. And, as collective gear level rises in your raid, and incoming damage decreases, the same output won’t be as necessary.

Further, for those Resto Shamans who are sticking to single-target healing, and have been able to sustain themselves thus far, data is looking pretty good for a switch to RSD even without the powerhouse double-Solace. But again, it comes down to simple evaluation of your personal healing style and how much mana you consume on a given fight. Are you a chain caster (like me) or do you choose heals more selectively? Do you stopcast or simply let your heal go through in anticipation of more incoming damage on the target? Do you single-target or raid heal? All of these factors play into your gear choices and should play into your meta selection as well.

The Conclusion

I think there’s a very solid case for making the switch from my ol’ dependable IED to the RSD. Knowing that mana tide isn’t something I drop very regularly, and certainly not according to the ~70% mana threshold the resto shaman community generally maintains as the ideal, I know that I won’t suffer too great a loss even if mana becomes tight(er) on certain fights. Add to this the crit effect of RSD synergizing so well with all of the shaman talents and procs based on crit, and, in my humble opinion, we have a new contender for the throne.


Just as an informational item, here are some of the stats on the Solace versus its ICC counterparts.

  • Solace (Normal): 16 mp5 x 8 = 150 sp (constant), 128mp5
  • Solace (Heroic): 18 mp5 x 8 = 168 sp (constant), 144 mp5

ICC Contendors:

  • Purified Lunar Dust 153 sp (constant), ~76-101 mp5
  • Sliver of Pure Ice 158 sp (constant), ~66-87 mp5
  • Ephemeral Snowflake 2.4% haste/20sec (2min CD), ~30-60mp5

The Outcasts:

  • Althor’s Abacus 179 spellpower constant + free random heal (although the free heal does technically result in being able to cast 1 more spell per CD, because the mana isn’t actually yours to do with as you please, I’m going with the worst-case scenario and counting this as a big fat 0mp5.)
  • Bauble of True Blood = 76/86 mp5 constant + free targeted heal (same as above, you’re really going to have to work hard to get your money’s worth out of this trinket. I would think that most healers who use this will wind up using the on-use as an “oh-shyte!” reaction instead of a regular CD. So 0 mp5 on this one too. Plus I don’t like that its name is really similar to a HBO series that I can’t stand.)


  1. I don’t know why but the Solace seems to hate our guild. We have 12 healers in our guild. We’re clearing TotGC up to and including twins. But we have a total of ONE solace trinket. My girlfriend is wearing it and actually got it from a TotC PuG.

    So, I’m telling myself that trinkets are overrated. Which they are. I can get a T10 token for 80ish DKP. Trinkets will often cost up to 200-300 DKP. I never got that. Sure trinkets are fun, but I think stat-wise a normal Tier piece is often packing 2-3 times the stats a trinket offers.

    Right now my plan it to get an Althor’s Abacus asap and stick with the IED. I’m also planning on getting 2pc T10 set and see how far I can push the haste stacking game, which also favors the IED.

    <3 True Blood. You're coming pretty close to a 2-day ban from my RSS feed, dude!
    .-= drug´s last blog ..UI Upload – No Support =-.

  2. Just got my heroic Solace this week. Waiting to see the results of our next raid (we’re taking 2 weeks off for the holidays), but given that the ever-present mp5 from double Solace’s, the Ashen Verdict ring’s mp5, my 258 belt and my will-have-to-do legs’ mp5, I’m basically drowning in regen so I can’t imagine swapping IED -> RSD will adversely affect me in the near term. But I’m hoping the functional numbers will tell me more than the theory.
    .-= Jaede´s last blog ..Emblems of Frost =-.

  3. Thank you for this post. I never really considered anything other than IED. I always have extra mana, but I attributed that to my Glyph of Water Mastry (Which I know, I still need to replace with ES or HW). Perhaps this is another reason.

    At what point should I consider re-gemming into the Skyflare? I don’t have either solace or comparable trinkets, but I do have an unsatisfactory crit rating, so I’m considering a switch soon. As I said before, I don’t have mana issues, but I’ve been using the 21 int as an excuse to gem haste in other slots rather than int.
    .-= Nim (Ankh)´s last blog ..The Gift That Keeps On Giving – Why? =-.

  4. Generally speaking, your meta gem isn’t going to be the basis of an entire gemming strategy or provide the difference between abundant mana and being oom. At 30mp5, your glyph of Water Mastery equates to 360mpm, which is a little more than half of the return on your meta. (Combined with the increase in healing you get from other available glyphs, this is why WM is generally shunned.) The 600 mpm you get from your meta, comparatively speaking, isn’t that significant either, but at least provides more benefit for the investment.

    In terms of replacing IED, you probably want to consider your healing rotation and how much mana you are ending fights with. EG: if you’re ending a 6 minute fight with over 4k mana (the amount returned during the duration of the fight, rounded up), then you technically you received very little benefit from IED. But, if it’s worth it to you to have that sort of comfort zone to play with (and I could absolutely understand that it could be), you might be better served sticking with IED until your regen increases through gearing.

  5. Praxus

    As an alternative to swapping such an overpowered meta, why wouldn’t you instead opt to change your MP5?

    Personally, I would easily swap out a solace for the Abacus and keep the IED which would allow for a lot of throughput (the extra heal on Abacus IS a smart heal, and *should* rarely hit people that don’t need heals) before I get rid of such a nice meta. Also, you can take into consideration some haste trinkets or even the Spyglass out of ICC10 for some passive crit and spellpower to increase your throughput. I guess it really comes down to which is the higher throughput: Will that extra 3% amount to more throughput than the Abacus or other throughput trinkets?

    Like Elltrain always says, “Healer gear doesn’t really matter.” You certainly raise an interesting idea in switching metas.

  6. […] the latest changed and actually read up on the meta gem theorycrafting which was nicely covered by Vixsin from Life in Group 5 and while lurking Elitist Jerks, I found this post comparing the usefulness of Bizuri’s Totem […]

  7. Rubinius

    EJ Currently has the Ephemeral Snowflake listed at 100-130 mp5 for resto shamans which sounds suspiciously high to me. However. if true, it looks like a really nice option for the haste buff. I’m wondering what your source is for the your stat of 55 mp5.

    Your number sounds more likely to me, given the internal CD of the snowflake which would prevent it from procing frequently on CH.

    Anyway, I’m in need of a mana trinket so I’m trying to decide which way to go. This article was very helpful.

  8. The listing on EJ reflects a close-to-maximum theoretical value based on the 0.4sec internal CD associated with the snowflake, (which would technically be 137.5mp5). But, this assumes that you can land a heal every 0.4sec. My estimate was definitely taken from the conservative perspective of being limited by the GCD. Even though we could conceivably squeeze in an extra tick or two from RT or EL in between casts, the reality is that you would probably want to rely on something in the range of maybe 30-60 consistent mp5 from the trinket. (Actual EJ member testing is discussed here.)

    I do think it’s a great distinction though; definitely some napkin math that slipped through the cracks and merits an adjustment.

  9. Khi

    I’m confused on your lists. Are you saying that double Solace is better than H Solace/Abacus? I read some posts suggesting that our T4 bonus will be able to proc Abacus. Assuming we crit once a chain heal that will give us 3(Tier bonus) + 4(CH)= 7 chances to proc Abacus. It’s something to consider.

    On a side note, /cry to leaving my IED behind. I havent decided which way to go yet but I’m sitting at the following specs (using double solace):
    Base Stats

    * Intellect: 1432
    * Bonus Healing: 3304
    * Crit Chance: 33.93%
    * Haste Rating: 1120
    * Mana Regen: 274

    I’m yet to go OOM in any fight and I’d be hesitant to drop a chance on proc mana, when I’m so haste haste.

    Decisions, Decisions.

  10. Khi

    haste dependent*

    (NOTE: With all the down time in healing from movement in these ICC fights…dropping our Solace proc is very easy to do. But having the extra heals from Abacus proc’ing from a RT or your last CH before moving could top people off and give you a little more leeway with positioning yourself. Stuff to consider.)

  11. To clarify: The devaluation of IED when 2 x Solace comes into the picture is largely because of the regen that those trinkets provide. If you end a fight with significantly over the amount of mana that IED returned during the course of the encounter, then you essentially wasted your meta slot on something that provided zero benefit.

    Double Solace are top of the list when it comes to available mp5 trinkets, and have been largely acknowledged by the theorycrafting community as being overbudgeted for their pre-ICC level. There isn’t anything else, at this point, that can come close to them in terms of straight regen. Hence why you see Althor’s Abacus labeled as an outcast, because in terms of straight mp5 value, it provides absolutely squat. However, this is not to say that double Solace is the best throughput combination out there; it is not.

    Depending on how regen shapes up in ICC, and how much/little mp5 you need over normal and hard modes, IED may come back into the picture. So I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of seeing a Part II of this post!

  12. […] now I’ve pursued that pure throughput strategy to the point of tentatively swapping out my Insightful Earthsiege for a Revitalising Skyflare.  The trouble is that I won’t really know how good an idea this is until I have to start […]

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