Thundering Deathscale Wristguards V Grotesquely Writhing Bracers HC

The contenders :

Lately I m seeing this question hovering a lot around InternetLand and I have to say I find it pretty funny so early in the patch. Is it purely rhetorical for some people or is it actually a necessity to find its answer? My opinion would be that we’re scrutinizing too much sometimes. Both bracers on a first glance look amazing and to be honest you will see little difference in your healing throughput switching between them. The real difference for me lies in their accessibility. In order to buy Thundering Deathscale Wristguards as of now you’ll have to part with around 25k depending on your server. As for Grotesquely Writhing Bracers HC  you’ll need to be in a raid team that will down Warlord Zon’ozz in heroic mode  and you’ll have to be lucky enough to be in the 0.2% of their drop rate. Not to mention you might not be the only shaman in your group fighting for them. So why the premature fuss? My only guess at this point is that players are asking themselves if its worth to spend so much gold to craft the bracers if later there is a much better BiS coming their way. Is this the ultimate showdown of BiS 4.3 Wrists for Dragon soul?
Lets look at the stats first and do some quick calculations.

(Total Intellect is calculated by adding Raw Intellect + 50int from  Brilliant Queen’s Garnet + Correct Socket bonus +  50int from  Enchant Bracer-Mighty Intellect )
As it derives from the table above its easy to see why there is so much confusion. Although the HC version of Grotesquely Writhing Bracers is boasting some minor upgrades in some stats the real question is. Does the small upgrade in spirit make up for the -5 intellect? And at the end should we go for haste or mastery? To answer to these questions let’s look at the following table to see what changes between the finer lines of cold stat numbers.
This is exactly how much Grotesquely Writhing Bracers HC will reflect on your actual stats compared to Thundering Deathscale Wristguards.

So now the question is. Is it worth it?

As you see from above you get a little boost in health and small boost in mana regen. 14point in battle. Yes.That is it only.
How does loosing intellect reflect exactly in numbers? (As seen in LiG5 )
  • 1 Intellect = 1 Spellpower
  • 1 Intellect = 16 mana
  • 1 Intellect = 0.002% crit (or 648.91 Int per 1% crit)
  • 1 Intellect = 0.08mp5 (through replenishment) + 0.01mp5 (through the regen formula) + XX (through Hymn of Hope, assuming 1 per encounter) + a variable amount through Water Shield procs
Loosing 5 intellect and gaining some health is not so vital for me as a shaman healer. Yes intellect is our base stat so stack it up like its made of gold but when it comes down to judging the slots value by only +5 or -5  then you d better think what you re doing wrong. Secondary’s do matter.So it all comes down in my opinion to how much you value Haste v Mastery. This is a whole other can of worms right there but the simple math behind is the following.
To value haste, 1% haste = you can cast 1% more spells in the same window as before. In other words, 1% haste = 1% throughput.
To value Mastery : (1- Health % required for breakeven) * 2.5% is how much each % of mastery improves healing.
Example : In 100% health: (1 – 100%) * 2.5% = 0. Or 0% health, effectively 1 hp (1-0%) * 2.5% = 2.5%.
That means that at 75% health, you get healed for precisely (1-.75) * how much mastery you have. At 50% health, you get healed for (1-.5) * mastery and so on.
Looking at MAXDps.com you’ll notice how much higher HEP the heroic version wrists seem to have making them seem so much more appropriate for BiS . However you need to take into consideration that MaxDps is only calculating with its own specific algorithms thus not taking into consideration your own specific gear choices, stat choices or reforging. Where do you sever yourselves from cookie cutter calculators over the internet?
Basically the value of haste is greatest when mana is not an issue. So at the point you want to make the exchange you need to ask yourselves. How much mana efficient are you? How much is your haste and what haste cap are you aiming? Don’t just look at the 1.09% healing throughput 1.09%haste is going to give you. You need to look at the rest of your gear and your raiding conditions because its possible if your raid is falling below 70% health,  1.04%mastery is going to give you more throughput and vice versa.So lets say in a raiding environment where you need more mastery than anything else then you should go for the HC wrists.

Conclusion :

Both bracers are Best in Slot for wrists even though they have so much different item level. The choice is yours depending on how much you value your haste or your mastery. As if goes for me. I will maintain my 2005 haste cap throughout all the content and will choose between the wrists accordingly to whatever fits my numbers better.

General Gearing, BiS 4.3 List and Tips : Where to start from and what to pick up down the Dragon Soul road.

I feel I have to make this post as much as to satisfy my slight OCD but also to put some things into perspective. Plus a little something for the reader  ,with the insatiable appetite, who went through my BiS 4.3 Resto Shaman Shopping List and at the end thought. WTF??? And was left wanting for more. In this post I m hoping to cover most of the combinations that would otherwise leave you wondering more time than what you’re willing to spend . Because some people would rather go to the movies rather than browse internetland for small pieces of info that when you bind together, final picture starts to make sense.  Although going to the movies is overrated. While on a first date. Best spend it in bed people. And no I don’t mean alone. Have the first date in bed. And blame it to being lazy.  Yeah…Moving on.
There was one thing I had to say when I first read the blue post on MMO Champion about how the not so secret stash of valor points vendors wouldn’t include tier set pieces. FINALLY!!!! How many people came into the new patch sporting 359 heads? Raise your hands don’t be shy. My finest example is my drood friend ( the one I continuously try to tarnish in this blog ) who after numerous raggy kills in the hunt for the head token and what was more than 30 Beth’Tilac kills for Cowl of the Clicking Menace ended up getting the middle finger from ingame RNG. Cant understand how people keep complaining of lack of sex while playing WoW since blizzard seems to continuously consummate its subscribers relationship. I want an annulment Blizz. Gief a better designed drop algorithm. However the more lewt on the table , the more we’re left wondering of how to distribute our VP most efficiently and even further down the road, how to take advantage of every little nook in order to maximize our healing throughput.

The Story so far down the loot path of Tier 13

This time around Blizzard made it very clear that some dps items would stay in the dps spectrum thus infusing them with Hit Rating as one of their secondary’s stats.So no confusion there, you simply cant choose to equip Opal of the Secret Order, Seal of the Grand Architect, Nanoprecise Cape .
  • Back and Relic :
There are 2 items in the entire patch as of now you can safely spend your first VP on and that’s Woundlicker Cover and Lightning Spirit in a Bottle. So start from there. No boss drops any cloaks or relics for you , neither is a word out for a heroic version of them. Feel free to buy them, enchant them and epic gem them as well if you can afford it.
  • Tier Pieces :
Probably you’ll be playing with Blizzards newest toy , LFR. Although somewhat iffy still when it comes to loot rules ( where an ench shaman can and will probably need on Timepiece of the Bronze Flight though if you do just know you’re being dicks ) , I’d suggest you’d try and get your 4 set pc bonus through there. Casual raiders or not, its worth it. When you get to upgrade your LFR items with normal versions and later heroic ones, keep in mind that mix and matching will still retain your 2 or 4 pc item set bonus. ( Of course at this point any upgrade you get will be good unless you re already equipped with 391 heroic versions from Firelands. )
  • Wrists and Feet :
 When it comes to our own BOE  extravaganza , there are a set of bracers and a set of boots you can buy either in AH or using your alts or leeching of your friends. I wouldn’t suggest you waste your own VP for Bracers of the Spectral Wolf as they are very poorly itemised hence you’d have to change them as soon as possible. Try to get them if you desperately need the upgrade either with gold or using an alt. So either grab Grotesquely Writhing Bracers that drops from Zon’ozz or if you can afford it go for what is BiS for this slot Thundering Deathscale Wristguards from leatherworking Pattern: Thundering Deathscale Wristguards. The Sabatons of the Graceful Spirit are good for starters for you as are Mindstrainer Treads that drop from Yor’sahj.
  • Waist :
For your waist slot you can certainly start from Belt of Ghostly Graces that randomly drops from trash in Dragon Soul. Another BoE , get that from the auction house if you can afford it. However you’ll want to change that as soon as possible with either Girdle of Shamanic Fury that you can buy from the VP vendor, or Girdle of Shattered Stone that drops from Morchok or what is BiS for you in this tier Belt of Shattered Elementium that drops from Spine of Deathwing.
  • Neck :
Jelewry! For the neck slot I’d definitely suggest for you to wait for Morchoc to drop your BiS Petrified Fungal Heart since any pug group can one shot him even if you’re not in a raid group. If you find yourselves after weeks lacking this specific slot use your last VP to buy Threadlinked Chain.
  • Rings :
Moving on to the rings. You can start from Band of Reconstruction if you feel like spending VP points there. However feel free to equip best in slot Ring of the Riven from Hagara and double BiS Signet of Suturing shared boss loot.
  • Main Hand Weapon :
For your main hand there is no VP option. Simply wait for LFR drops and upgrade them as soon as possible with the Normal and Heroic versions. Definitely go for Maw of the Dragonlord from Madness of Deathwing especially for the fights were you stack its proc like it’s a gift from Santa. However Vagaries of Time is also great for you and so is Scalpel of Unrelenting Agony. I wouldn’t recommend using a staff no matter how good it may look on paper comparing to your say Ko’gun, Hammer of the Firelord.
How do those weapons fair up against each other though? The following list should provide with an easy solution for quick reference.

Weapon / Main Hand

iLvL

HEP

1

Maw of the Dragonlord HC

416

8,619.5

2

Vagaries of Time HC

410

7,679.5

3

Maw of the Dragonlord

403

7,660.0

4

Scapel of Unrelenting Agony HC

410

7,559.7

5

Vagaries of Time

397

6,809.9

6

Maw of the Dragonlord RF

390

6,796.5

7

Ko’gun, Hammer of the Firelord HC

397

6,784.8

8

Scapel of Unrelenting Agony

397

6,683.6

9

Vagaries of Time RF

384

6,046.1

10

  Scapel of Unrelenting Agony RF

384

5,914.7

However be careful of how you utilize this list. Just because one weapon seems to give you more HEP than the other it doesn’t mean that you should just go and disenchant the one you already have. On my WoL logs I can clearly see that in Ultraxion lets say, where all my raid is stacked in front of me, my Maw of the Dragonlord is owning every single other weapon on this list. Its proc is simply devine. It will fair up from 10% to 15% of your healing depending which version you own so lets say you have Vagaries of Time normal versus the Maw of the Dragonlord RF , for Ultraxion you should go for the Maw even though its lower in the list , hands down. So check your WoL or healing Skada meters for specifics of what weapon to use and when. ( I’ve added in the list Ko’gun, Hammer of the Firelord HC for comparison to previous tier )

 Off Hand :

Since there is only one shield Timepiece of the Bronze Flight dropping from Warmaster Blackhorn , whenever it drops for you go for it. I m not recommending Ledger of Revolting Rituals for you , you’ll be stripped from half your armor and in Dragon soul where there is so much physical damage incoming its almost next to an absolute must have.
  • Trinkets :
Lastly the trinket section. Vixsin from LiG5 has a great post explaining this Dragon Soul: The Final Trinket Showdown . All I have to add here is that there are 2 valor point trinkets you may equip also Bottled Wishes and Reflection of the Light if you absolutely need to replace some of yours. I wouldn’t suggest Reflection of the Light since you’ll have plenty of spirit to go already so opt for Bottled Wishes if you want to reach your second haste soft cap of 2005. But for the love of everything that is fluffy replace that with your BiS Heart of Unliving that drops from Spine of Deathwing and Windward Heart shared boss loot.

Final Conclusions :

As a final note. When it comes to replacing your 384 LFR tier pieces with 397 ones or 410 ones I’d suggest you go for Spiritwalker’s Faceguard, Spiritwalker’s Tunic, Spiritwalker’s Mantle and Spiritwalker’s Gloves .Yes its the elemental tier Hands. I know its weird. But our Spiritwalker’s Handwraps suck big time. Best if you go for Gloves of Ghostly Dreams that you can buy from the VP vendor. If you get a Imperfect Specimens 27 and 28 shoulder drop and you feel that you must, then go for our Resto hands. But…I wouldn’t. Use the LFR ones till you can make the change. Its just a waste of a token imo. Your 4pc bonus is worth it so use the LFR ones till you feel safe to make the change trying different combinations. (If you re missing pieces go for the VP ones although I wont personally. The Ghostworld Chestguard is so bad for both specs :-/ . But as always should you find yourselves sporting a 378 for a long long time, by all means feel free to exchange that )
This concludes the preliminary quick gearing list for resto shaman, so now we can immerge ourselves into the possibilities that lie ahead while progressing in Dragon Soul.

CharDev Table Analysis :

(Talents and glyphs included )
If you’ve followed my guide ( or dressed up on your own in a similar way ) then possibly you’re looking like this
What and how to reforge your resto shaman at this point.I’ve reforged down to match my first soft haste cap at 916 and further more using this priority . Haste -> Matery, Haste->Spirit, Crit-> Mastery, Crit->Spirit accordingly. My goal is to get my mastery above 18 and my haste rating as close as 916 as it gets. This way you get all your riptide, healing rain ,earthliving weapon to have one more tick and since you’ll be progressing you’ll want to be spirit efficient. ( However if you feel you can afford to have less spirit feel free to reforge away from items not already reforged to critical rating or mastery rating ). As of this moment I m rolling with :
(Probabilities are that at this point I’ve already upgraded my gear. This example was just a few weeks into patch 4.3 and with only few HC bosses down. If you need an updated view of my gear feel free to check  my Armory. Note to the wise.I might be sporting my DPS os gear. I love running dungeons as ele. )
My spirit is around 2700 I find that I don’t need more and my mastery is hovering at 16 while I ve chosen to hit my second haste cap of 2005. And crit is what is left. This might not be for everyone though. I’ll make a separate future post regarding differences in specs and stats in different raiding environments, group compositions and raiding difficulty progression. As it goes for me (I m currently raiding in a 10man environment) I’ll continue removing spirit as soon as I get my hands on Heart of Unliving and reforging it to mastery and crit depending on the incoming damage in my raid. I m well into Heroics right now and I find this reforging is more than sufficient. (Sidenote. I’, not promising my haste/mastery/spirit balance opinion wont change according to my needs. Let’s say if I find that for my  progression and team I m running out of spirit believe me I’ll reforge down to 916 haste cap, and give all I have to mastery and spirit instead.Do the same. Check your raid, check your mana efficiency, check your master efficiency, put those WOL logs in use or at least your skada logs. )
So what are general rules you should follow regarding reforging for different situations? Take a look at your raid and the incoming damage. If your raid is mostly below 70% best to put more into mastery than crit, if you find it to be above that, feel free to upgrade your crit. Also how far into progression are you? Are you out of mana when you need it even with Telluric Currents then up your spirit a little bit, take it out of crit or see what soft haste cap works for you 916 or 2005. However the more you get into Normal DS gear and HC the more you ll see its harder to reforge haste.
This is how a mid way into progression gear should look like:
This is after lets say farming Normals for 3 to 4 weeks and starting on first HC bosses. There is more mastery in this combination as you ll find your raid more often than not below 70%. Haste is still as close as it gets to 2005 soft cap with a glyphed riptide ticking once more. Its significant for 10 man raids. Since you’re wearing the Spine of Deathwing trinket your spirit regen will be eventually more than 3k but if you feel you need more, take a little out of your Mastery.
Lastly this is what you would call an endgame Best in slot for 4.3 Dragon Soul:
Full on HC gear with full epic gems and enchants. At this point you re probably over spirit regeneration requiremements and mastery so at 2005 soft haste cap your crit is boasting around 20%. Remove from this combination some of the amazing HC gear that you possibly don’t have and reforge some crit into mastery and you ll be laughing at Deathwing progression.
This concludes with my gearing guide about early epics and some examples for progression restoration shaman gearing. In the future I’ll go more into how to properly manage your stats for different raid enviroments and different progression and how to reforge correctly your spirit , haste and mastery accordingly. Good luck with the loot drops btw since it seems all the crappy players get all the luck. Just my observation.
___ A  Resto Shaman blog for the Curious or the Lazy Raider___

BiS 4.3 Resto Shaman Shopping List

(For a more in depth analysis and for the daring reader feel free to feast on General Gearing, BiS 4.3 List and Tips : Where to start from and what to pick up down the Dragon Soul road)
And so tier 13 hit our doors along with Santa Claus this year but unlike small people, acquiring those coveted pieces has nothing to do with whether you’ve been naughty or nice. Quite honestly I feel that the more naughty I become the easier it will be to get that damn 4set pc bonus that I ve long argued with my resto druid friend who believes its his tree form reincarnated. Yeah right. Like I stash the book of dead under my bed at nights  in the hopes I ll restore some of the glory of what resto shaman used to have back in WoLK. Yes I m bitter. I m bitter that I ve felt for the whole tier 12 of Cataclysm and especially in Firelands that I ve been working my ass off to get just a glimpse of what a druid or a paladin could achieve by just  a wave of their wands. And you only need to look at diagrams of WoL to see the heart wrenching truth. That the blue line is ALWAYS on the bottom of the list. Whether up or high its ALWAYS on the bottom of that list. So yey I get a tree form to play. Tell you what drood, I d appreciate it more if I was a freaking dog cause then I d have something to piss on. I m deviating from my point though. My point being I started this post willing to record somewhere online a BiS 4.3 shopping resto shaman list for myself. It did get to my attention that a lot of shamies out there have no idea how dress. Meaning they don’t really know whether to stack haste or mastery. There are a lot of forums out there with beautiful numbers for that and depending on my mood I might make a collection to prove my point. However for now below you can find a Haste/Mastery oriented Best in Slot 4.3 for your  Shaman. At least its what I ll be dressing myself in.Reforge at your discretion.
 BIS 4.3 RESTO SHAMAN GEAR LIST For Dragon Soul

iLVL

SLOT

LOOT

SOURCE

397

410

Head

Wolfdream Circlet (Spirit/Haste)

Spiritwalker’s Faceguard(Spirit/Mastery)

Vendor

Token

397

410

Neck

 Petrified Fungal Heart(Spirit/Haste)

Morchoc

397

410

Shoulder

 Imperfect Specimens 27 and 28(Haste/Mastery)

Spiritwalker’s Mantle(Spirit/Haste)

Ultraxion

Token

397

Back

 Woundlicker Cover (Spirit/Haste)

Vendor

397

410

Chest

Spiritwalker’s Tunic (Spirit/Mastery)

Token

397

410

Wrist

Thundering Deathscale Wristguards(Spirit/Haste)

Grotesquely Writhing Bracers(Spirit/Mastery)

LeatherWorking Pattern

Zon’ozz

397

410

Hands

 Gloves of Ghostly Dreams (Spirit/Haste)

Spiritwalker’s Gloves ( Haste/Mastery)

Vendor

Token

403

416

Waist

Belt of Shattered Elementium(Spirit/Haste)

Spine of Deathwing

397

410

Legs

 Spiritwalker’s Legwraps(Spirit/Haste)

Token

397

410

Feet

 Sabatons of the Graceful Spirit(Spirit/Haste)

Mindstrainer Treads(Spirit/Mastery)

Vendor

Yor’sahj

397

410

Finger

 Band of Reconstruction (Spirit/Mastery)
Signet of Suturing(Spirit/Haste)
Ring of the Riven  (Haste/Mastery)

Vendor

Shared Boss Loot

Hagara

397

403

416

Trinket

Windward Heart (Int/Ancestral Awakening)
Heart of Unliving (Int/Spirit stacking)

Shared Boss Loot

Spine of Deathwing

397

403

410  416

Main Hand

Vagaries of Time  (Crit/Haste)
Scalpel of Unrelenting Agony  (Spirit/Haste)
Maw of the Dragonlord Dragon Soul (Frontal cone heal)

Morchok

Yor’sahj

Madness of Deathwing

397

410

Off Hand

 Timepiece of the Bronze Flight (Spirit/Haste)

Warmaster Blackhorn

397

Relic

Lightning Spirit in a Bottle (Spirit/Mastery)

Vendor

Note : Please ,for the people out there screaming BUT BUT THESE ARE NORMAL VERSION LEWTS! Yes they are. Quite obviously when you loot HC simply go for the 410 versions.Sheesh.
___ A  Resto Shaman blog for the Curious or the Lazy Raider___