By this time a lot of us are starting to build up a good pile of Emblems of Frost. If you have been diligent enough to run a daily random heroic every day since the patch, that’s 32 Emblems. If you have done all three weekly raid quests, that’s another 15. The quests for Forge of Souls, Pit of Saron, and Halls of Reflection awarded 2 Emblems each the first time you ran them, so there is another 6. You could have 53 without running Icecrown Citadel at all. If you have raided ICC all three weeks its been around, and killed all four bosses each time (2 emblems per boss), that’s another 24. If you have done it on both 10-man and 25-man each week, that’s another 24. It is possible to have 101 Emblems of Frost by now.
Most of us don’t have that many. I have 42 at the moment. Frost Emblems don’t accumulate as fast as Triumph emblems, so we have to be a little choosy about how we spend them. For me, for example, I expect to do the random heroic about 4-5 times per week, do the weekly raid quest every week, and hopefully clear ICC 10-man every week. That would give me 21-23 emblems per week.
What should we be looking to purchase? Well, there are three groups of Emblem of Frost items available. There is the Tier 10 armor, the there is non-tier armor, and then the trinkets and other miscellaneous items.
First – there are a couple of nice miscellaneous items available. There’s a trinket and a thrown item. The trinket, Herkumi War Token, is very nice, and only 60 emblems. Haste is all the rage these days for fast DP stacking. That will be the first item purchased for a lot of rogues, especially those who aren’t using their trinket slots for armor penetration procs with Grim Toll and Mjolnir Runestone. I plan on buying this first, as my spreadsheet tells me this is more than a 240 dps increase over my Pyrite Infuser.
Also available is a thrown weapon – Shrapnel Star – for only 30 emblems. This may be best-in-slot right now, but its only a small upgrade over the Crimson Star that most of us bought with our Emblems of Triumph. If you have the Crimson Star, you’re in good shape and you might wait to upgrade this slot.
The Tier 10 gear system is different this time than in previous tier armor incarnations. In ICC, all of the T10 pieces (Shadowblade’s Battlegear) are purchasable with Emblems of Frost. They are iLvL 251. The next tier (iLvL 264, called Sanctified Shadowblade’s Battlegear) are purchasable using the T10 piece + a Mark of Sanctification that drops from Deathbringer Saurfang in 25-man ICC. The highest tier (iLvL 277 or Heroic Sanctified Shadowblade’s Battlegear) are purchased using the T10.5 pieces + a heroic Mark of Sanctification that will drop from heroic 25-man ICC.
Summary: If you are running 25-man ICC and want the higher tier pieces, you will need to buy the T10 pieces and use them to upgrade to the higher tiers. The higher tiers are iLvL 264 (and eventually 277 when heroic ICC is opened up). Therefore, if you are in a guild that is running 25-man ICC, its probably in your interests to invest your Emblems of Frost in the T10 pieces now for later upgrades.
For those of us who are not running 25-man ICC, we can buy the T10 pieces now knowing that we won’t be upgrading them, or we can buy the non-set pieces (iLvL 264).
Tier 10 – Shadowblade’s Battlegear, iLvL 251 items for head, shoulder, hand, leg, and chest slots. =Shadowblade Helmet (95 emblems), Shadowblade Gauntlets (60 emblems), Shadowblade Legplates (95 emblems), Shadowblade Pauldrons (60 emblems), and Shadowblade Breastplate (95 emblems). The 2-piece bonus is Your Tricks of the Trade ability now grants you 15 energy instead of costing energy. The 4-piece bonus is Gives your melee finishing moves a 13% chance to add 3 combo points to your target. Those are fairly useful set bonuses. The 2-piece is only useful if you regularly use TotT. Instead of using it whenever its up, with this bonus it becomes sort of a cooldown to use when you need more burst. The 4-piece is really nice for sustained single-target dps.
The non-tier gear doesn’t have as many items, but they are higher iLvL (264). There are items for hand, back, and waist slots. They are the Cat Burglar’s Grips (hand, 60 emblems), Recovered Scarlet Onslaught Cape (back, 50 emblems), and Vengeful Noose (waist, 60 emblems).
You can see that there is not a lot of overlap in those two gear groups. The only overlap is at the hand slot, where you can choose either the T10 hands or the Cat Burglar’s Grips (The Cat Burglar’s Grips are better). The only slots that you cannot upgrade with Emblems of Frost are neck, wrist, feet, ring, and weapons.
So where to begin? That depends on your current gear. You’ll obviously do best upgrading your weakest gear slots first. However, here are a couple of pieces of advice:
- If you are raiding ICC 10, you can probably pass on the Recovered Scarlet Onslaught Cape for now. There is a back slot item (Shawl of Nerubian Silk) that drops from 10-man Lord Marrowgar. The Marrowgar drop is not quite as good, but it doesn’t cost you any emblems.
- Lady Deathwhisper 10-man drops a chest item that is better than the T10 chest (Chestguard of the Frigid Noose) so this is another place where you might hold out for the drop rather than spend emblems.
- Lady Deathwhisper also drops a nice waist slot item – Soulthief’s Braided Belt – that is comparable to the Vengeful Noose. Are you patient enough to wait for the drop and spend your emblems elsewhere?
For me, I am definitely buying Herkumi’s War Token first. After that I may buy the Cat Burglar’s Grips since they are really great, or I’ll save up for the T10 legs, since there are not any good drops in ICC 10 that are comparable and my leg item is my currently my weakest gear slot. There is no rush to decide. For most of us, it will be several weeks in between each Emblem of Frost purchase, so you’ll get other drops between them and your purchase priorities will change.