Gear constantly changes. Every major patch, there's new gear to drool over and want. For the next few weeks, I'm going to look at the gear we're getting in patch 5.2 from the Throne of Thunder, Oondasta (holder of the greatest loot table in the universe), and Nalak. We'll also take a look at Shado-Pan Assault, Kirin Tor Offensive, and Sunreaver Onslaught gear. This means we'll be looking at gear with a wide variety of item levels, from the 522 of the world bosses and normal mode Throne of Thunder to the 476 of some of the faction gear.
Also, although I won't be covering the items here, transmog minded warriors should take a look at the return of these Burning Crusade blacksmithing models. These weapons won't be an upgrade for you in almost all cases, but they're a welcome addition to our cosmetic arsenal. Now, to discuss gear.
The Shado-Pan Assault
Some of the 522 gear coming in patch 5.2 is gained via reputation with the Shado-Pan Assault, which comes when you exterminate the brutes waiting for us in the Throne of Thunder. Some of these items, you'll likely have better by the time you have the valor for the purchase, but the neutral to honored purchases may well last you a long while.
At neutral you'll be able to pick up the Striker's Battletags (haste and mastery, so not astonishingly compelling, but haste is getting a buff for us in 5.2 so it's not completely awful) and protection warriors will be looking at the Vanguard's Battletags. With Parry and Hit, they're middle of the road between avoidance and active mitigation.
At friendly rings and bracers become available. There's the Axebinder Wristguards, itemized purely for avoidance with dodge and parry. (Completely lacking in active mitigation stats.) Then for DPS there's the Bonecrusher Bracers, itemized with crit (yay!) and expertise (hey, we gotta get it from somewhere). Rings are the Band of the Shado-Pan Assault with crit and haste (so potentially pretty good depending on how haste works out for us in 5.2, crit is always nice) and the tanking Loop of the Shado-Pan Assault with dodge and mastery.
There's also the Brutal Talisman of the Shado-Pan Assault, which as an expertise trinket with a hefty strength proc could serve as a tanking trinket (since str gives parry and expertise is a big active mitigation stat) as well as a DPS trinket. Since these are all purchases from reputation, you're not starting any fights if you buy it for your tank. Still, it's definitely intended as a DPS item. The Steadfast Talisman of the Shado-Pan Assault is intended for tanks, with mastery and a dodge proc.
At honored there are gloves, legs and capes. For tanking,the Many-Layered Scalecloak has dodge and hit, striking a solid balance between avoidance and active mitigation. The Spikeshard Greatcloak is a DPS cape with the underwhelming combination of haste and mastery (yes, I know haste is getting a buff, but still).
Gloves are the Bloodstained Skullsqueezers with crit and mastery for your DPS needs, and the tanking Stoneward Handguards. Tanks can pick up the Thunderbreaker Legplates with dodge and expertise, while DPS warriors can look at the Vaultbreaker Greaves, a crit/expertise set of legs. I'll admit to being happy to see more crit plate available.
Revered gives us breastplates and belts. First up is the Gianttooth Chestplate, which is intended for DPS, but could serve as well as an active mitigation tank piece due to its hit and expertise and two blue sockets. If you want some avoidance, the Breastplate of Brutal Strikes has dodge and hit and the exact same sockets and socket bonus, 120 strength, only supporting my contention that the Gianttooth could make a fine tank piece. It comes down to what you want from a taking breastplate, ultimately. This does leave me lukewarm on the Gianttooth for its intended role, however. Two blue sockets and no crit at all makes me sad. The Swordhook Slingbelt is considerably better itemized from a DPS standpoint with a yellow socket and crit/mastery. The Reinforced Spiritplate Girdle is middle of the road itemization with a yellow socket and a mastery socket bonus. It's workable for whatever your tanking itemization scheme is.
At exalted, we have two shoulder options. The Sightblinder's Shoulderguards are crit/hit, very well itemized for fury and good for arms as well. The Sparksmasher Pauldrons are dodge/hit tanking shoulders. For items that require exalted reputation these shoulders are somewhat mediocre, with no sockets.
The reason I love Oondasta's loot table is the naming conventions. But that doesn't mean the gear isn't good. A lot of the gear is both hilariously named and pretty dang solid for us.
The Overcompensating Chain of the Alpha Male, for instance, is both well itemized with crit and the newly buffed haste, but it has an awesome name. Lootraptor's Amulet may not be perfectly itemized (especially for an active mitigation strategy) but man, the pure stats and the name make it worthwhile in my opinion.
The Ring of King Kangrom is an excellent DPS ring with crit and expertise, which definitely makes me happy itemization wise. For tanks, the Achillobator Ring has a mix of avoidance and active stats, nice to see, and as a 522 drop it's pretty snazzy. Voolar's Bloodied Belt keeps up the mix of avoidance and active mitigation and the red socket makes expertise gemming more attractive. The Belt of the Tyrannotitan is not only named after one of my favorite dinosaurs but it's yet another piece of DPS plate with crit on it so double yay. Seriously, though, I'm very glad to see this much crit gear out there for warrior DPS.
Tanks get the Breastplate of the Iguanocolossus, named after the iguanodontid. I like the dodge/expertise scheme, and a mix of red and blue sockets, so I'm fairly happy about this BP. The Tyrant King Battleplate however is a hit/expertise BP with the same sockets (although a strength rather than dodge socket bonus) so it straddles the line between tank and DPS, useful for either. I know I gush about crit plate, but we do need to get hit and expertise to 7.5%, so this is certainly not a bad choice for an offset piece.
Next up are two interesting gloves. The Vulcanodon Gauntlets are named for a small early Jurassic sauropod (small by sauropod standads, anyway) and they're itemized for hit and mastery, making them useful for any warrior looking for those stats be they tank or DPS. However, the Carnotaur Battlegloves, while not particularly excellent for warrior DPS, would be completely useless for tanks since warrior tanks get nothing from haste. Also, Carnotaurus had a weird looking head. That's not really anything to do with these gloves, which could be useful if haste turns out to be good with the buff and you're hurting for expertise.
Next week, we'll dive into the Throne of Thunder and take a look at the tier pieces Nalak has for us.
At the center of the fury of battle stand the warriors: protection, arms and fury. Check out more strategies and tips especially for warriors, from hot issues for today's warriors to Cataclysm 101 for DPS warriors and our guide to reputation gear for warriors.