The Pimp My Mage posts have been edited after initial publication to take into account the changes to spirit from Molten Armour introduced in patch 3.1. Spirit isn’t totally useless anymore! It still sucks compared to crit rating, but just because something comes with spirit is no longer a reason to ditch it for something better.
So we’re finally hit level 80 and we want to know which instances to hit up in order to get the best possible pre-Naxx raid gear. This is, of course, going to depend on what stats you need to make up any deficiencies in, but generally speaking, anything with with hit, crit and haste rating in addition to the standard spellpower is going to be attractive. Let’s take a look at our options.
Sadly, our options are pretty limited, with every single blue item drop from level 80 or heroic dungeons coming stacked with mostly-useless spirit. I would recommend taking the advice from Part I and simply have a Hat of Wintry Doom made by a tailor as it compares very favourably to any blue you’re going to pick up from a dungeon, be it heroic or not. The only comparable dungeon drops with a metagem socket are the Crown of Unbridled Magic from the final boss in Heroic Oculus, or the Forgotten Shadow Hood from Heroic Culling of Stratholme. Hat of Wintry Doom has less spellpower, but all of the stats are directly useful to us and it has a far more useful red gem slot. It’s also 100% easier to obtain, as it only requires cash. However the Crown and Hood are still decent upgrades, just not really designed with the FrostFire Mage in mind.
There are no epic cloth headpieces available in any non-raid dungeons. Boo!
The easiest and arguably best upgrade you’re going to find here is the Dark Runic Mantle, which drops from Heroic Halls of Stone. It is, however, a Bind on Equip item, so you’ll probably see it on the Auction House before you see it in Halls of Stone. Buy it. It’s a very nice piece, with no drawbacks.
Actual dungeons drops are plentiful in this slot, although the majority come with a lot of spirit rather than something directly useful like crit rating on them (this trend is going to become depressingly common) one item in particular stands out, the Mantle of the Tribunal from Heroic Halls of Stone.
Other items worth looking for if you don’t mind the budget being shared with spirit are:
Once again, there are no epic cloth shoulder pieces available in any non-raid dungeons.
By contrast to the poor showing from the previous item slots, we’re overflowing with an abundance of excellent choices for our chest armour. Pride of place, in my opinion, going to the amazing Water Drenched Robes (overflowing, water drenched, see what I did there? Hehe… Ok I’ll get my coat) from Ichoron in Heroic Violet Hold. They’re comparable to the epic Robe of Blaumeaux from Naxx 10, perhaps even better if you gem appropriately, and should be at the top of your shopping list. Hit, spellpower, two good gem slots, plenty of intellect and stamina, there’s absolutely nothing not to like here.
It doesn’t end there, however. We’re practically tripping over a mass of excellent Robes that would be a great upgrade for any Frostfire Mage, all of which even compare favourably to the excellent crafted Ebonweave Robe mentioned in Part 1. We have:
Arcane Flame Altar-Garb – Heroic Gun’drak
Drakewing Raiments – Heroic Oculus
Egg-Sac Robes – Heroic Azjol Nerub
Ornate Woolen Stola – Heroic Halls of Lightning
Vestments of the Scholar – Normal Oculus
With the exception of the Vestments of the Scholar, you’ll note that all of the above items drop in Heroic versions of the dungeons. If doing heroics is slightly out of your grasp for the moment, then the bad news is that all of the comparable Normal mode drops are pretty much priest loot. Yes, they all come stacked with the dreaded spirit, but assuming you’re using Molten Armour you can at least convert some of that spirit into something useful like crit. The good news, is that you can get a decent alternative, the Robes of Lightning, simply by clearing normal Halls of Lightning. The catch is that you first have to complete the Thorim/Sons of Hodir questline. If you have any sense, however, you’ll be doing this anyway in order to raise your Sons of Hodir rep to Honoured so you can get the groovy new shoulder enchants. You ARE doing these quests aren’t you? Yes? Good mage! If not, go to K3 in the Storm Peaks and start the They Took Our Men! quest. Two hours later you’re a few hundred gold better off, you have some spanky new shoulder enchants and are ready to complete the questline in Halls of Lightning.
No, there are no epic Robes drops from any non-raid dungeons. Meh!
Options for upgrading your footwear are actually pretty poor. There are no epic dungeon drops, and our choice of blues are limited to the Clerics’ Linen Shoes, a zone drop from Heroic Nexus, Slithering Slippers from Heroic Gun’drak and Stone-Worn Footwraps from Heroic Azjol-Nerub. The sole non-heroic alternative is the Conjuror’s Slippers from the Oculus. Anyone looking for spirit on their gear is even worse off with the Footwraps of Teleportation from Heroic Violet Hold being pretty much their only option. Sucks to be a warlock! Muahahahahaahaa!
Epic loot! Surely this is too good to be true? Well yes actually, it is. Our gloves finally supply us with our first choice of epic dungeon upgrades. Of course, they all come loaded with spirit, naturally. It’s hard to QQ too much, however, as not only are the items concerned pretty sweet regardless, but we can always go and buy a set of Ebonweave Gloves if we don’t like it. Our first shiny purples from dungeons are the Gloves of Glistening Runes from Keristrasza in Heroic Nexus and the Overlook Handguards from the Prophet Tharon’ja in Heroic Drak’tharon Keep. For my money, Keristrasza’s drop is superior, having crit and a red socket, but if you, me and the Overlook Handguards were lying in bed together, put it this way – I wouldnt climb over them to get to you.
Our dungeon blues are also pretty good! Chances are you’ll be getting one of these sooner rather than later as they drop all over the place.
Giant -Hair Woven Gloves – Heroic Halls of Lightning
Silken Bridge Handwraps – Heroic Old Kingdom
Traditionally-Dyed handguards – Heroic Halls of Lightning
Honourable mention to the Lava Burn Gloves from Lavanthor in normal Violet Hold. Sure, they’re a level 75 item, but they’ll easily do well until you hit level 80 if you’re lucky enough to have them drop.
I really wanted to recommend Skirt of the Old Kingdom, a drop from Herald Volasj in Heroic Old Kingdom because 104 is a seriously large amount of spellpower, but 35 mana per 5? Get out and never darken my blog again! Luckily I can recommend the pant-wettingly good Woven Bracae Leggings from Heroic Halls of Lightning, which is just as well as you’ll need a new pair of pants after seeing these drop.
If Loken keeps handing you your arse on a plate, then don’t despair, you can also pick up the following for much less effort:
Sorrowgrave’s Breeches – Heroic Utgarde Pinnacle
Oh, that’s it. Every other instance drop comes loaded with a LOT of spirit, mana per 5, or both. You may now despair. Or start farming Heroic Halls of Lightning.
We have a choice of two epic belt upgrades from Heroic Dungeon drops, the Girdle of Bane from Heroic Utgarde Pinnacle and the Sash of the Servant from Heroic Azjol’nerub. Both are very good value. If a drop eludes you, however, don’t despair, as you can buy the awesome Plush Sash of Guzbah with all those Badges of Heroism you’re farming. In fact, I’d get it once you have the badges even if you already have one of the other two, it’s that good. Don’t forget that with all belts you can add an extra gem socket by using an Eternal Belt Buckle to get even more bang for your buck.
Seriously, find a tailor who’s completed the Northrend Loremaster achievement and get them to make you a Deathchill Cloak. I didn’t replace mine until Cape of the Unworthy Wizard dropped from Kel’thuzad in Heroic Naxx. There are no epic cloak upgrades for you in dungeons or heroics and the choice of dungeon blues are pretty uninspiring with the only thing worth picking up in a heroic the Ancient Dragon Spirit Cape from Heroic Oculus (and no-one does Heroic Oculus). Reanimator’s Cloak from Heroic Drak’tharon Keep isn’t great but it does have a red socket. It’s also Bind on Equip so a trip to the Auction House may be worth it. Your other choices come loaded with spirit and not very useful stats, and are:
The Cape of Seething Steam is, however, pretty good for a normal instance drop. You can find this in Halls of Lightning (Normal)
Those of us looking for an epic bracer upgrade should start farming Heroic Violet Hold for the very nice Azure Cloth Bindings. If by some chance you’re crazy enough to be farming Heroic Oculus for the achievements, then you may be lucky with the Cuffs of Winged Levitation, although they’re not as good.
Decent dungeon blues are harder to find. Leaving out all those items with spirit and no hit, mana per 5, crit or haste, we’re limited to just Savage Wound Wraps from Heroic Drak’tharon Keep, which leaves our wrist upgrade options pretty poor.
Main Hand Weapons
Seriously, just get yourselves Revered with the Kirin Tor and get the Flameheart Spell Scalpel. It really is that good. Of course, if you’re grinding that rep in dungeons anyway, and you probably are, then the following may be of interest to you.
The only epic offhands you’re going to find before you start doing raids are the Inscription-based Faces of Doom and Iron Bound Tome. They’re actually not bad at all, but we can do better simply by farming badges from our heroics so we can buy the awesome Ward of the Violet Citadel. There’s nothing in 10 man Naxx better, in fact I used it until the Surplus Limb dropped from Heroic Naxx.
While you’re acumulating badges, you may wish to consider:
Seal of Valgarde – Heroic Utgarde Pinnacle
Telestra’s Journal – Heroic Nexus
Temple Crystal Fragment – Heroic Drak’tharon Keep
Tome of Salramm – Stratholme (Normal)
The Staff of Draconic Combat is our sole epic staff upgrade and it drops from Heroic Oculus, which may be enough to put everyone off by itself. It’s also not that great, coming with spirit and no hit or crit. I would not recommend dropping the Flameheart Spell Scalpel and a good offhand for this, but you should always be guided by which stats you need the most. If you’re hit capped and haste-starved, then this is certainly worth looking at.
In fact, it’s very hard to reccommend any non-raid staff over a mainhand/offhand combo at all. In every case, you’re going to be losing a lot of spellpower, gaining a lot of spirit and losing a lot of hit and crit. However, for the sake of completeness, here are the staves that are available in heroics and normal level 80 dungeons:
Staff of Sinister Claws – Heroic Old Kingdom
Staff of Wayward Principles – Heroic Utgarde Pinnacle
Malygos’ Favour – Oculus (Normal)
Sempiternal Staff – Strathholme (Normal)
And that completes our roundup of loot for the budding Frostfire mage. Admittedly it’s taken so long for me to write it that anyone who started with Part 1 is probably farming Heroic Naxx by now. Probably the best piece of advice I could give anyone looking for gear upgrades is that there is no hard and fast rule anymore about which stat is best. Hit, crit, haste and spellpower values are entirely relative to how much you currently have. At any time, any of these stats could be more valuable, it just depends on how much you have of each. Spirit is always universally worthless, of course. Curse you, Blizzard!
If you’re confused, head over to the wonderful Theory Craft-o-matic, plug in your stats and scroll to the bottom of the page. Have a look and see what values are given for your hit, spellpower, haste and crit. Bigger numbers = more valuable, and therefore that is the stat you should be looking to get more of when you’re going over this gear list to see what drops where.
And get the Flameheart Spell Scalpel!