Climbing the Ranks: Which Hellfire Citadel caster trinkets shine above the rest?

Casters, it’s your turn! I’ve researched the Prophecy of Fear and the Unblinking Gaze of Sethe. Let’s find out which classes they are good for and how much damage they do. Some of this gets a little dense, but hang in there with me… it will be worth it! I started off by taking a look at rankings on a single target fight, Zakuun, and two different multi-target fights, Xhul’horac and Mannoroth.

heroic boss ranking by class 675

Prophecy of Fear

Let’s review a couple of terms: when Prophecy of Fear procs, it puts a debuff called Mark of Doom on your target. When you deal damage to that debuffed target, it explodes and deals damage, which is called Doom Nova.

There are two things that make this trinket good — or bad — for your class. You want high “actions per minute,” meaning you cast a lot of stuff in the 10-second proc window. Secondly, it only procs off direct damage spells. Let’s actually take a deeper look at the direct damage portion, since there’s been a lot of confusion over which spells proc the trinket, and a lot of changes too.

  • Damage over time spells do not proc it. While that seems straightforward, there’s been confusion (and a bit of outrage) when comparing Mind Flay for Shadow Priests to Arcane Missiles for Arcane Mages. Both are channeled. However, Mind Flay is a DOT and will not proc the trinket while Arcane Missiles are considered direct damage and will proc the trinket.
  • Hotfixes in July corrected some spells that proc the trinket. For example, Boomkin’s Sunfall (a spell that replaces Starfall when glyphed) was triggering Doom Nova, when it shouldn’t have. Moonfire‘s initial direct damage was not triggering it, when it should have.
  • Nerfs to Elemental Shamans and Frost Mages happened in June. Their Mastery no longer procs the trinket.
  • Benefits from specific classes. Demonology’s Mastery and Shadow Priest’s Shadowform increase the damage that Doom Nova deals.

Now that we know what triggers it, let’s dig into how it works. Your direct damage spells have a chance to apply Mark of Doom to a target. Then all direct damage you do to that target explodes in an AOE around it, called Doom Nova. That’s why Arcane Mages love this trinket – Arcane Missiles have 5 hits in their short channeling window, and each of those hits triggers the Doom Nova explosion. I talked with Valentinos, an Arcane Mage who consistently gets 20% or more of his damage from this trinket. He shared a few tips on his guild website if you’d like to check them out. And not surprisingly, this trinket proc is a dud for Affliction Warlocks. In fact, Blizzard ended up removing it from Affliction Warlock’s personal and bonus loot tables.

One of the best ways to help maximize this trinket is to setup a WeakAuras so you know who has the Mark of Doom debuff and how much time is left on it. Here’s an example WeakAura for Mages from @Shinobars and @Krazyito.

Unblinking Gaze of Sethe

Strong opinions rage for and against the value of this trinket. With it, your damaging spells have a chance to proc a laser beam, starting at you, then shooting toward your target and damaging all mobs in its path… you know, just like a real laser!

One of the arguments against it is that unless you hit a lot of mobs, it’s a bad trinket. And with some spells and classes you can’t aim it, like Starfall for a Boomkin, because it could proc on any of the mobs you hit. That holds true for classes that do a lot of multi-dotting too.

However, the data doesn’t seem to completely agree about this trinket’s bad status. After digging through log data, it appears that even on Zakuun, a single target fight, the trinket is good. It might not be the best choice for Zakuun, but it’s pretty good. If you hit even just a few extra mobs over the course of a fight, it makes this trinket pretty awesome for a number of classes.

At least half of the top ranked Elemental Shamans and Shadow Priests have the Unblinking Gaze of Sethe equipped for most fights, including Zakuun. I used the data from Zakuun as the base for how often the trinket procs for these heroic-geared players to find that it procs about once every 7.5 seconds, although remember that Haste increases the proc rate. The more Haste you have on your gear, the more often it procs. On Zakuun, the trinket accounts for 5-7% of total damage for Elemental Shamans and 5.5% for Shadow Priests.

Next I looked at data for Xhul’horac and Mannoroth, two different multi-target fights. On Mannoroth, both Elemental Shamans and Shadow Priests hit only about 12% more mobs than when fighting Zakuun — so the trinket is mostly only hitting 1 target per proc on Mannoroth. This accounts for 1-2% more total damage on Mannoroth than Zakuun for Elemental Shamans (6-9%), and about 0.5% more for Shadow Priests (6%).

On Xhul’horac, however, both specs are hitting 30-35% more mobs than on Zakuun. This doesn’t translate into the trinket having a higher total damage percentage for either spec, because their other AOE abilities are also doing more damage. At heroic gear levels, Shadow Priests deal 62,000 DPS on Mannoroth and 74,000 DPS on Xhul’horac. Elemental Shamans don’t shine on Mannoroth at 53,000 DPS, but are ranked #1 on Xhul’horac, clocking in at 84,000 DPS.

Moonkin: Desecrated Shadowmoon Insignia vs. Unblinking Gaze of Sethe

Whew, this is a hot debate on the internetz! So hot, that it seems appropriate to dedicate an entire section of the article to it. I couldn’t find a lot of evidence in one direction or the other, but there are a lot of opinions and theories — and the nice thing about theories is it gives me something fun to test. So, I dug into the value of this trinket for Moonkin. A lot of sources recommend the Desecrated Shadowmoon Insignia over the Gaze of Sethe. At first this made sense to me, since you can’t aim the laser beam when you’re multi-dotting, but then I did some calculations and it turns out the Gaze of Sethe is better for quite a few fights. I’m going to walk through a bit of math for a second, please stick with me!

TLDR: Desecrated Shadowmoon Insignia gives you 382 more Intellect (about a 5% damage increase) and the proc on Unblinking Gaze of Sethe accounts for 5% of your total damage. You have to decide which is better for you depending on the fight.

  • The Heroic Desecrated Shadowmoon Insignia (DSI) has 416 Mastery. The Balance stat weights assign 1 for Intellect and 0.75 for Mastery. So 416 Mastery is equivalent to 312 Intellect (416*0.75).
  • The DSI has a 1,430 Intellect proc is up for at least 33% of the time. So we can take 1,430 / 3 to get the average Intellect of 476, but that’s a worst case scenario and it’s actually higher than that, averaging out to about 506 Intellect.
  • Total the values for Intellect for the DSI and you get 818.
  • The Unblinking Gaze of Sethe has 436 Intellect on it. That’s 382 less Intellect than the DSI.
  • 382 Intellect is worth about 5% of your total damage, based on simulations.

So now you have to ask yourself, is the proc from the Gaze of Unblinking Sethe worth more or less than 382 Intellect? The Gaze will proc a little less often for Balance Druids than Shadow Priests and Elemental Shamans because they have about 10% less Haste since it’s a lower priority stat.

About 60% of the top ranked Druids on Xhul’horac have the Gaze of Sethe equipped and just under half have it equipped for Mannoroth and Zakuun. I took a look at the actual log data to find out just how much damage the Gaze proc accounts for. On Zakuun, a single target fight, it accounts for 4.6% of the total damage. This is an example of the worst case scenario for this trinket, since the Gaze’s proc will never hit more than 1 target. So it’s already quite close to the Desecrated Shadowmoon Insignia’s average. When looking at Xhul’horac, it’s averaging 5.5% of the total damage, with ther fights falling between 4.8 and 5.5%.

On Zakuun, the Desecrated Shadowmoon Insignia wins and will help you climb those ranks. But on Xhul’horac, you’ll want to use the Gaze of Sethe. And for fights with a handful of adds, it looks to be about equal, and maybe just a smidge better depending on how adds are lining up. I think much of the debate on forums is centered around the idea of a single Best in Slot list, when really, trinkets should be changing from fight-to-fight. So both sides of this hot debate are actually right. If you can get your hands on all of the best trinkets, of course, you should swap between them!

Trinket damage from top ranked players’ logs

trinket damage by fight 675

I know I haven’t covered class trinkets, and probably won’t have a chance to do that in this article series. But don’t fear, Final Boss TV episode #93 covers the class trinkets and set bonuses for Shadow Priests, Balance Druids, and Elemental Shamans.

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