Dual Wielding, Post-3.2

6 08 2009

I’ve had a chance to test out DW Frost in some raids, so I thought I’d share some observations.

Problem #1: Blood Presence leads to an extremely tight rotation with barely any room to Frost Strike enough to avoid capping RP

Solution #1. Switch out the IT glyph for something else

If I’m not using the extra RP, the glyph doesn’t do anything worthwhile. Your best option for a replacement is Glyph of Blood Strike, but you need to have either a Frostfire Mage or a Druid with Infected Wounds (unlike Torment the Weak, the Mage talent, the BS glyph requires a movement slowing effect in order to activate). Failing this, you can go with Glyph of the Ghoul or Glyph of Plague Strike, as I mentioned in my previous DW post.

Solution #2. Try an Unholy Presence rotation

Like the previous UP rotation (ITx6) this works best in heavy movement fights (more speed) and fights with something to AMS extra RP out of. One example is Ignis’ Flame Jets – a predictable source of absorbable damage. I tested it out on a dummy and it’s actually quite easy to do, especially if you’re familiar with the ITx6 rotation (which was much more complex).

There are a few spare GCDs here and there (the rotation ran very tight in BP but is far looser than ITx6 in UP) that you should always attempt to fill with either Raise Ghoul or Horn of Winter. Note that while the IT glyph is largely wasted on a BP rotation, it’s pretty much mandatory for UP. One fringe benefit to UP is that you are able to make more efficient use of Rime and Killing Machine procs since you always have spare GCDs to put them in as well as to weave Frost Strikes on KM procs (though HB should always be prioritized if you have Rime + KM).

Solution #3: Be more flexible

These days, lots of encounters have you running around like a chicken with a giant yeti chasing after it. Since this rotation frequently gets lots of RP (especially in situations where Resto Druids have Revitalize or where you are able to get RP from AMS) and sometimes reaches dangerously close to the cap, you should use time outside of melee range to your advantage. If you’re running around, make sure you’re firing off Rime-procced HBs (and even non-Rime HBs if you know you won’t be in range for a while) as well as Death Coils. This strategy requires forethought, however.

For example, don’t use up all your RP on DCs if you’re going to be in melee range soon. On the other hand, if you know you’re going to be able to AMS your RP to cap, then you should definitely toss out some DCs to avoid getting back into melee range with 130 RP you can’t use.

Solution #3: Not every Rime proc means more DPS, even though it does damage

If you’re running in BP, you should really only be using Rime procs if they coincide with KM procs. The reasoning is because we are so GCD limited we already have trouble using up RP on Frost Strike, so adding in additional GCDs will cause more problems than the ~5k damage a Rime proc provides. Keep in mind that while you are saving Rime for KM procs, you should not be saving KM procs for Rime. If you’ve got time to dump RP into FS, do it – don’t wait. This spec requires using every GCD available immediately.

Problem #2: Unbreakable Armor is very difficult to successfully fit into a rotation

Solution #1: Don’t spec into it

The downside to this option is that you lose the only cooldown you have, so all you get is sustained damage and no controllable burst. This is bad for fights that require such controlled burst (XT, Yogg) but not a huge hit for fights that don’t (Ignis). You also get a free point, likely put into either Subversion if you need threat reduction or filling out BCB.

Solution #2: Macros

I’ve started using 2 macros to try and fit UA into my rotation, and even still I’m getting messed up stuff with having one Blood and one Death Rune up, which is bad. The first macro goes like this:

/cast blood tap

/cast unbreakable armor

Ideally you do this when your Frost Runes aren’t up so you avoid using a Frost Rune to cast UA. You should also do this when your other Blood Rune is down. Now, to avoid getting messed up when you lose the Blood Tap buff, you need a second macro.

/cancelaura Blood Tap

Since what BT effectively does is give you a buff that turns one of your Blood Runes into Death Runes for the duration (and when it falls off, the affected rune always goes back to being a Blood Rune, whether you just Blood Striked or Obliterated with it), leaving the buff active inevitably screws up your rotation down the road. You’ll find yourself with one Blood and one Death Rune, somehow or another. This situation should be avoided at all cost.

I feel like I should have 3 problems to talk about but unfortunately I can’t come up with anything else right now. If you have any questions about the spec or the rotation, don’t hesitate to ask in the comments or by e-mail.

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8 responses

6 08 2009
frogi

I’ve had a big problem with 3.2, I was pulling maybe 2.4k DPS with a 17/0/54 in pre raid gear and now I’m on 0/10/61, using SS pulling 2k. You can say “Oh but UB got nerfed and SS.” But Unholy is meant to be the most gear friendly tree which has left a bit disallusioned with the tree. I’m going to try the new Unholy Obilt spec as SJ has stated its worth above SS but it just seems crazy to me.

If Blizzard just canceled the aura would the Blood Tap function as normal then do you think?

6 08 2009
Khayal

To be honest, the biggest problem I have with DW is the lack of good one-handed itemization for us. Especially for those of us who aren’t up to the top levels in Ulduar like a lot of people are. When tanking weapons are basically what we should go after and Blizzard is still pushing DW to be viable, I think there is a big issue. Since I was using one-disease Frost DPS (not ITx6), I felt like I had to go DW with this patch, and I’m now forced to go from Death’s Bite down to Reaper of Dark Souls (x2). I haven’t had a chance to raid with my guild yet, but I’m really curious to see how the 0/53/18 build scales since my DPS in heroics is definitely down from what it was pre-3.2. I also feel like I have to be really on top of the Rime and KM procs to keep up decent damage, which makes it tricky when the rotation is so tight as you mentioned in point #1.

6 08 2009
wedge

Noob question, but does Improved Icy Touch count as a movement slowing effect for the blood strike glyph? I know the tooltip says attack speed, and it would just be too easy if it worked out that well, but…

6 08 2009
shopx3

@Wedge: Improved Icy Touch doesn’t count for the Blood Strike glyph because it’s only an attack speed debuff. It counts for torment of the weak because of the wording “snared or slowed” but since the BS glyph only states “snared” it has to be a movement debuff.

@frogi: Part of the problem might be that 10/61 is less gear friendly than 17/0/54 is. Since Bladed Armor is mostly a static buff to AP (new tiers of gear don’t have noticably more armour) it works better with lower gear overall. Compare this to Black Ice in 10/61, which requires you to be doing a fair amount of damage already since it is a % increase, which scales off your damage. This build scales better overall but should only be taken if you have a good amount of Ulduar gear.

About Blood Tap, if Blizz got rid of the aura it would probably be a lot simpler to use in rotations. Since it only keeps one Blood Rune as a Death Rune, it’s never really helpful to have the aura unless you’re using Death Runes on one-rune abilities (like the ITx6 spec did) rather than U/F abilities.

@Khayal: There are still some decently itemized 1-handers. Your best bet is to stick to DPS weapons, the low amount of strength on tanking weapons generally isn’t worth losing all the stats a DPS weapon usually has. Torment of the Banished (http://www.wowhead.com/?item=39291) is probably your best bet from Naxx-10 if that’s where you’re at progression-wise. You can get two of them.

When I’m in heroics I generally run with my Blood spec rather than this build. Since an AoE rotation with this would be a bit difficult to pull off (uber-tight rotation makes it hard) I just avoid the hassle. Your DPS might also have dropped because the DW Frost rotation is simply more complex than single-disease Frost 2h and therefore takes some getting used to.

6 08 2009
Khayal

That is indeed a very nice sword, I should be able to pick that up at some point (hopefully rogues won’t be too mad)!. Definitely more complex, I’m not able to spam the buttons I used to! 🙂

6 08 2009
shopx3

The best way to get familiar with a new rotation is just to hit a dummy for a while. Don’t pay attention to your DPS, just get the priority system down pat so that you know what to do in every situation – e.g. Rime procs, KM procs, close to RP caps.

11 08 2009
Kadomi

I am hoping to get the maces from H ToC to give DW frost a try. I have never seriously tried frost DPS, my DK is blood spec, but the few times I have run with it, I had a blast. I am just not sure what kind of rotation you refer to in UP. Is it still the ITx6 rotation? Never tried that. Would be great to have that layed out a bit clearer. Thank you. 🙂

13 08 2009
shopx3

Hey Kadomi!

The UP rotation is actually best suited to fights where you can reliably soak RP from AMS. Otherwise I don’t think the loss of 15% damage (which affects stuff like diseases, something that’s unaffected by melee haste) for most fights. In UP the rotation should be the regular DW Frost but using Death Runes for ITs. That said, after the initial shock of hovering around ~70 RP sometimes in BP for DW Frost, it’s really not a terrible thing to always have extra RP floating around for interrupting and popping cooldowns. Try BP first and see how that works out.

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