If you are still gearing up for raids, please check out the pre-raid lootlist. However, if you’re starting to gather most of your pre-raid set and are looking forward to some new raids in the new year, you’ll want to look at this list for planning purposes. Based on my experience so far, Spirit gear is still primarily what we’ll be looking for. You can certainly work in some non-Spirit pieces with better overall stats, but beware of ignoring Spirit entirely. The exact balance will of course depend on your healing style and your raid. Personally, I am intrigued by the benefits of Crit rating as our third most important stat behind Int and Spirit, as it improves both our throughput and mana regen. More on that topic in a future post I’m sure.
As always, deciding which set pieces to wear is an important factor in your gear planning. One thing that seems clear is that the 4 piece bonus is very desirable. If you keep Riptide on cooldown, like you usually should, that’s a static 540 Spirit. I’ll talk a little bit more about how I think the set pieces will work out at the end of this post.
I’m going to ignore the heroic (ilevel 372) versions for purposes of this guide. You can generally rest assured that if you have access to a heroic level piece, it’s better than the non-heroic gear. For comparisons among heroic pieces, the same analysis applies as it did to the ilevel 359 gear.
Faceguard of the Raging Elements (T11) – The only way to get your T11 helm is to win the Helm of the Forlorn Protector token which drops from Nefarian in Blackwing Descent.
Helm of the Nether Scion – Your alternative to the tier helm drops from Halfus Wyrmbreaker in Bastion of Twilight. Comes with a hefty helping of Spirit and Haste.
– Neck –
Wyrmbreaker’s Amulet – As the only option with Spirit at this level, along with a nice amount of Crit, I’m going to declare this drop from Halfus Wyrmbreaker your best option in the first tier of raiding. Your patience will be rewarded.
Yellow Smoke Pendant – The best thing about this piece is that you can grind it out out by completing Dragonmaw Clan quests and wearing the tabard in dungeons, so it also appears on the pre-raid list. Don’t forget the Dragonmaw dailies either, which are fun and nice source of reputation.
Valiona’s Medallion and Dorian’s Lost Necklace – These necks have identical itemization, and just convert the Crit from Yellow Smoke into Haste. Because I believe that Crit will outweigh Haste once you reach your initial goal of 916 Haste, which should be fairly doable in pre-raid gear, I prefer Yellow Smoke. Why 916 Haste? Vixsin can tell you here. It’s probably best to leave these both to the ranged DPS in your raid, or grab them for an Ele set.
– Shoulders –
Mantle of the Raging Elements (T11)- If you want this one, you’ll need to kill Cho’Gall in the Bastion of Twilight and get the token drop.
Feludius’ Mantle – Drops from the Twilight Ascendant Council in BoT. With Spirit and Crit rating, this is a pretty decent alternative to the tier shoulders, and the model is the same so you’ll look just as much like a Warlock as you would with the tier piece.
– Back –
Heavenly Breeze – This cloak has a few things going for it. First, you don’t have to get lucky on a drop or roll, because it costs 1,250 Valor Points. Second, it has Spirit, which is found on only one other cloak at this level. The Mastery is the wildcard, and whether it is better than Haste is going to depend on your other gear, the encounter, and your Raid’s ability to avoid damage. Too many variables for me to tell you which is better, that’s for sure.
Drape of the Twins – Drops from either Theralion or Valiona in BoT. This is your Spirit/Haste option among the level 359 cloaks. Depending on your haste levels, you may prefer the Spirit/Mastery from the Heavenly Breeze.
Haunt of Flies – In my opinion your next best option is another Valor Point purchase, this time with Crit/Haste. It doesn’t have Spirit, so I can’t recommend it over Heavenly Breeze. However, if you’re a mainspec Ele DPS, this works great for your Resto set.
Ritssyn’s Ruminous Drape – The advantage of this one is that it’s a world drop BoE, so you might get a lucky drop or you can fork over some major gold on the AH. No Spirit, but the other stats are all very solid and it comes with a Yellow gem slot.
Shadow of Dread – Drops from Nefarian in Blackwing Descent. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this cloak, but I still feel like I would pass it to a mainspec caster while I save up for the Valor Point option or get Drape of the Twins to drop. If you’re feeling greedy or there are no casters around who can use it, then by all means pick this one up.
– Chest –
Tunic of the Raging Elements (T11) – Your three chest options are all very close, so I’m listing the tier piece first because of the set bonuses. No Spirit, but the Crit, Haste and 2 sockets are all great. Costs 2,200 VP. Note that this is the only Tier piece that is only purchasable with Valor Points. The Head and Shoulders are tokens, while the hands and legs are either points or a lucky drop from Argaloth in Baradin Hold.
Circuit Design Breastplate – Drops from the Omnitron Council in Blackwing Descent. As your only chest option with Spirit, there is an argument for using this piece instead of the tier option for a regen-based set.
Twilight Scale Chestguard – Advantages: this is a BoE leatherworking item, so you can have it crafted or find it on the AH without stepping into a raid. Disadvantages: it won’t help towards your T11 bonuses, and it has no Spirit. You’ll have to decide how much that is worth as you begin raiding.
– Wrist –
Chaos Beast Bracers – These seem to be the only caster bracers in the current raid content for either Resto or Elemental shamans. That seems somewhat strange to me, but thankfully these come with Spirit so they are a good option. It looks like these mainly drop from Chimaeron, with a small chance to drop from Toxitron in the Omnitron Council.
– Hands –
Handwraps of the Raging Elements (T11)- Get a lucky drop from Argaloth, or spend 1,650 Valor Points. Spirit/Haste is a decent itemization, but as I discuss below, I think this might be the weak link as far as the odd tier piece out. Of course, there is nothing stopping you from using all 5 tier pieces if you have access to them and you like the stat allocation.
Gloves of Cacophony – A good vocab word (look it up), and good gloves which drop from Altramedes in Blackwing Descent. Which is funny, because you need to be very quiet while killing this guy. In my opinion, Spirit/Crit is perfect itemization, so I prefer these slightly over the tier option.
– Waist –
Lifecycle Waistguard – Appears to drop off several bosses in Blackwing Descent (Magmaw and Omnitron confirmed so far on Wowhead). As you can probably tell by now, I’m a fan of the Spirit/Crit combo on these, so they are what I’ll be aiming for.
Waistguard of Hatred – Drops from Theralion or Valiona in Bastion of Twilight. With Spirit/Mastery it’s still a good option, and really you could probably take whichever comes your way first between this and the previous option.
Stormleather Sash – Another Leatherworking BoE without Spirit. If you can afford it or make it cheaply yourself, this works well as an initial option. Personally I think I’ll be waiting for a Spirit drop.
– Legs –
Legwraps of the Raging Elements (T11) – Unlike your wrist slot, there are ton of good options for your legs. The Tier legs can be purchased for 2,200 JP or can drop from Argaloth. Great itemization here, with Spirit, Crit and 2 gem slots. These will likely be an early VP purchase if I’m unlucky with Baradin Hold.
Kilt of the Forgotten Battle – Drops from Cho’Gall in BoT. The itemization is great, depending on your view of Mastery. The only issue is whether you want to use a non-tier option in this slot, which doesn’t seem that likely.
Phase Twister Leggings and Kilt of Trollish Dreams – These are identical, and are both BoE drops. The Phase Twisters drop in Bastion of Twlight, while the Kilt is a world drop. In either case, expect to pay a ton of gold on the AH. Again, you’ll have to decide whether you’re going for the T11 legs in this slot. If not, these are both good options.
– Feet –
Earthmender’s Boots – For me, the clear BiS for this tier, and they are available from a reputation grind. If you aren’t exalted with Earthen Ring yet, get on it!
Boots of the Perilous Seas – At 1,650 Valor Points, with nearly identical itemization to the Earthmender’s Boots, these seem like a real waste of Valor Points if you’re gearing up your main raiding toon. Because they are BoE, these might sell well on the AH once you no longer have a use for Valor Points, but that time is a ways off for most of us.
Treads of Flawless Creation – Nothing really wrong with this drop from Maloriak in Blackwing Descent, but nothing really better than the Earthmender’s boots either. Probably better for your Ele set, since Crit is a pretty low priority in that spec.
– Rings –
Security Measure Alpha – A pretty awesome name, and my top choice for rings. This drops from the Omnitron Council in Blackwing Descent, and has Spirit and Crit. It’s your only ring option with those stats at this level.
Twined Band of Flowers – A decidedly less awesome name, this is the other Spirit option, and it comes with Mastery. Available for 1,250 Valor Points.
Band of Secret Names – The other Valor Point ring, this is aimed more at caster DPS classes, but the Crit/Haste combo is still very solid for us. If you are unlucky with drops, you could do worse than wearing the two Valor Point options.
Signet of the Fifth Circle and Ring of the Boy Emperor – Identical itemization, very different ways to get your hands on them. The first is a raid drop from Cho’Gall, while the second is a rare Archaeology project from the Tol’Vir digsites. Depending on your playstyle, you may come across one or both of these, and either is a good option, worth using instead of spending Valor Points on the above rings.
– Trinkets –
Core of Ripeness -The beauty of this trinket, besides the static 321 Intellect (which is pretty great too), is the thought of popping it in conjunction with Mana Tide. If you do that, you will see an amazing boost to your Spirit while Mana Tide is up, which in turn will do great things for your mana pool. People love to argue about the relative value of trinkets (usually because they have hard to model or quantify effects), but for Resto Shamans, I’m pretty confident you’re going to want this one throughout T11 and perhaps beyond. A nice use of 1,650 Valor Points, and likely my first purchase.
Darkmoon Card: Tsunami – What I like about the Tsunami trinket is that it’s not at all complicated to use. You just slap it on and you get 321 Intellect and a solid boost to your Spirit that will stack up naturally as you heal. The downside is that this is going to be very expensive on the AH for a very long time.
Fall of Mortality – Drops from Cho’Gall. Again we see the standard 321 Intellect. It also comes with a chance to grant 1926 Spirit for 15 seconds. In order to properly evaluate this effect, we’ll have to have more data about the frequency of the proc and the internal cooldown. Right now I haven’t been able to find a good source for that information, so we’re just going to have to assume this is “good” without knowing the exact details. Suffice it to say that if you see it drop, you probably want to roll.
Tyrande’s Favorite Doll -Well, it has a lot of Int and it can regen around 350 Mp5 if you use it on cooldown and spend at least 21k mana/minute. The biggest problem will be tracking one down with Archaeology. The damage effect should usually just be a fun side effect, since you’ll be back with the casters and away from any adds. Of course, there will be times when you blow this at the wrong time and break CC, or times when you use it perfectly and help out with some AoE.
Jar of Ancient Remedies – This is definitely a good healing trinket, but a few things about it have the potential to be a little annoying. First, it doesn’t have any static Intellect. When you compare that to the 321 Int found on other trinkets at this level, it’s a noticeable omission of our best stat. Second, it’s going to be a little hard to use this effectively in conjunction with Mana Tide. Ideally, you would want to pop Mana Tide when you have built up 5 stacks of the Spirit Buff, but before you pop the use effect for the lump sump of mana. However, waiting until after every Mana Tide will not maximize your uptime, so you’re left trying to weave in Mana Tides during a high stack of the buff. This micro managing seems to be a bit much for me although it’s certainly something you can get used to and the mana return looks to be very solid. It drops from Maloriak in Blackwing Descent.
Figurine – Dream Owl (JC Only) – Yeah, it’s a blue item, but in many cases this will be better than some of the other epic trinkets. It’s basically a weaker version of the Core of Ripeness, but you do need to be a Jewelcrafter to use it. As of right now, the two trinkets do not appear to share a cooldown, so you can use them both with Mana Tide and watch your mana bar refill while pondering the incoming nerf.
Mandala of Stirring Patterns -Available when you hit exalted with Hellscream’s Reach, which also has some other nice rep rewards. While 321 Spirit is great, Intellect is still a better stat for us on a 1v1 comparison. On top of that, a random Mastery proc is going to be hard to use to full effect in a raid. For that reason, I don’t see this as a great option for raiding, despite the high item level.
Soul Casket – I’d be a lot more excited about using this one for my Ele spec, where the static Mastery is more useful and the Spellpower on-use is a nice DPS cooldown. Available for 1,650 VP, although I’d wait until you have VP to spare for your off spec.
– Weapons –
Andoros, Fist of the Dragon King – I’m a sucker for any weapon with a comma in the name. That dramatic pause really completes the epic feel. If you want Spirit on your level 359 epic weapon, this is it. Also comes with ton of Spellpower and some Mastery. Drops from Nefarian in Blackwing Descent.
Twilight’s Hammer – I’m not real up on the lore, but my sense is that when there is an evil doomsday cult with the same name as your healing weapon, it’s going to be pretty awesome. This drops from Cho’Gall, which is starting to be a theme on this loot list. While there is no Spirit, it comes with nice amounts of Spellpower, Crit, and Haste.
Blade of the Witching Hour – Drops from Theralion and Valiona in BoT. Again no Spirit, but Spellpower, Crit and Mastery make this a very decent option. Really, all four epic weapons are fairly similar, and with a bit of reforging will end up with roughly equal stats. You could probably just roll with whichever you can get first and be satisfied with it.
Incineratus – I can confirm this drops from Magmaw in Blackwing Descent, because we saw it this week on our first kill. I passed to the caster DPS types, because I figured I should hold out for a Spirit option. In hindsight, I probably would have been entitled to roll, since most of the epic one-handers are lacking Spirit, and most caster DPS don’t mind using Staves.
– Shield –
Kingdom’s Heart – Drops from Atramedes in Blackwing Descent. I love the itemization here with Spirit and Crit, and the name is very appealing to me as well. However, if you have already crafted or purchased the next shield on the list, you would demonstrate your generous Kingdom Heart by passing to a fellow shield-using raid member who has a lesser option.
Elementium Stormshield – This is a great shield if you have a friendly Blacksmith available, as it comes with Spirit and Haste, and can be made before your first foray into a raid. You’ll be seeing a lot of healers rocking this one throughout T11 content, including this guy.
– Relic –
Relic of Eonar – This relic is available for only 700 Valor Points, and is perfectly itemized with Spirit and Crit. Hard to go wrong here, and the Spirit is useful as hit in your Ele offspec. I don’t see any real reason to consider Relic of Norgannon unless you are mainspec Ele, but even then Eonar may be preferable.
– Planning your Tier 11 and Valor Purchases –
One of the reasons I wanted to write this post is so I could see all my various options and decide how to best spend my Valor Points. Unfortunately, I’m only slightly less confused now than when I started. :)
If you are trying to determine the relative value of Spirit, Crit, Mastery, and Haste, you are not alone. You can wander over to Elitist Jerks and watch smart people try to come up with some kind of rational metric that will tell us how to min-max our gear for maximum performance in raids. They have yet to succeed.
Because of this confusion, I don’t think it’s really possible to come up with a cut and dried “Best in Slot” list that can tell you exactly what Tier and Valor pieces you should purchase. If you’d like to try, this item comparison at Wowhead takes what I consider the best non-tier piece in each slot and compares it to the other options. My tentative conclusion is that using non-tier gloves will give me the best balance of the most important stats, with a slight preference for Crit.
Unless you are in a top-tier raiding guild that has most of these bosses on farm already, you’ll also want to consider ease of access. You’re going to have to down Cho’Gall and Nefarian before you can get your T11 shoulder or helm tokens. Your legs and hands can drop from Argaloth, which is extremely puggable, but you might not see them for quite some time. The T11 chest is the only option that you can purchase with Valor Points that does not also drop from Argaloth. With all of that in mind, my rough plan will be to purchase the Tier 11 chest and legs from the Valor Point vendor, with the Chest first.
However, there are other great options for your Valor Points. The T11 2 piece bonus does not seem quite as important as the 4 piece (because Healing Wave is often not a huge part of raid healing based on my limited experience). Thus, the Chest and Legs can wait a little bit until I have access to the other two pieces to complete the set.
Core of Ripeness seems too good to wait for because of its interaction with Mana Tide, so I think I will spring for it first. I will likely follow that up with the T11 Chest and Legs for the huge stat upgrades over 346 level gear. Next I will go for the Relic of Eonar, since there are no comparable raid drops in that slot. Then, I will pick up the ring and cloak depending on how drops and rolls go. Finally, I will get the T11 hands if I need them for the 4 piece bonus.
I hope that’s a helpful wall of text as you plan your tier 11 gear. Happy healing!