The first week of Season 3 is drawing to a close, and with it we are all preparing to open our weekly disappointment boxes with reset and rejoice as for the one and only time in a tier they’re all but guaranteed to drop an upgrade. That leads one to a very important question: what should you pick?
This is not a complete guide to all of the good items in Shadowlands. The good items you know and love like Poxstorm and Blood Spattered Scale are still very, very good, and the rule of thumb for items without special effects (ilvl > all) remains true. Instead, it is a quick reference covering new items to watch for.
First on the list is, of course, items for our tier set: Garb of the Grand Upwelling. These are kind-of obvious, but I want to highlight them because there are virtually no scenarios in which you should skip taking a tier item unless you’ve already got a tier item in that slot. Obtaining the 4-piece bonus is far more powerful and important than any singular item, trinket, or weapon can provide.
If you’re not raiding and have an exceptional Mythic+ item (like Blood Spattered Scale) drop, you may consider taking that over a tier piece. However, this will delay completing your tier set and is thus difficult to recommend—event if passing on a Scale feels bad.
There are two new raid trinkets that are noteworthy for Brewmasters, both damage-oriented: Cache of Acquired Treasures (from Artificer Xy’mox) and Bells of the Endless Feast (from Skolex). Both trinkets do substantial damage—with caveats.
Cache does exceptional damage on AoE if you select the Axe weapon from the cache (check for the Axe buff on your character), but is on a 3-minute cooldown so it won’t be around for every pull in a key or every add set on most boss fights. The other two options (Wand: big single-target burst, poor sustained throughput; Sword: haste buff).
In contrast, Bell does some truly impressive single-target DPS if you are attacking a single target for an extended period of time. This trinket works by stacking a buff up to 100 on a target, at which point they take a burst of damage. If a target becomes inaccessible or you have to stop attacking it, then this trinket drops in value massively.
There are a couple of trinkets that are noticeably worse, though they may appear good on the surface. Pocket Protoforge (from Lihuvim) looks like a compelling HPS trinket in the vein of Bloodthirsty Urchin. However, the healing done is fairly insignificant (~200 hps from a normal version).
Lastly, Pulsating Riftshard (from Artificer Xy’mox) got some last-minute tuning that changed it from a weaker but acceptable version of Blood Spattered Scale to simply a bad DPS trinket with minor defensive upside. You can expect a shield of about 25k on single-target from a Heroic copy of the trinket, with values up to 40k on AoE. That is to say: about half of what you’ll get from Blood-Spattered Scale on AoE. It does more damage than BSS, but not enough more to take it over a DPS trinket. If you don’t have other great vault options, this trinket is okay—but it is not a top-tier pick.
The introduction of the Tazavesh dungeons has added two noteworthy trinkets to the pool: Ticking Sack of Terror (from Streets of Wonder, aka Lower Tazavesh) and Codex of the First Technique (also from Streets of Wonder).
Ticking Sack of Terror is just a good single-target damage trinket. It has a decently high level of variance due to the way it triggers (stacking to 3, then blowing up) since it is possible to have stacks naturally reset due to bad luck. However, the trinket does good damage and is worth picking up.
Codex of the First Technique is a trinket that scales with your incoming damage, and sort-of double-dips with Stagger by reflecting damage both from the initial hit and from Stagger ticks. This makes it a high-risk / high-reward trinket that may do effectively nothing if it procs during periods of low damage intake, but has the potential to do quite a lot of damage if it procs at the right times. However, this item is a bit weirder in that there’s almost no advantage to picking up a max ilvl version of the trinket. Only two parts scale: the static Stamina bonus, and the cap on damage absorbed per hit. Due to Stagger, it is difficult to cap out even a minimum ilvl version of the trinket, so all you’re gaining is a small amount of stamina. For that reason, it is probably worth skipping this item in the vault and picking up one from the end-of-dungeon cache or a Mythic kill instead.
The other raid trinkets not covered here are generally middling (and obviously such). Worth it for ilvl? Probably. But not exceptionally bad or good. Additionally, there are several raid trinkets from the final 3 bosses that are not covered here, as they won’t drop from vaults this week (and we haven’t been able to test the live version of any of them).
If you have any questions about your vault options that aren’t answered here, come check
#brew-questions in Discord for more information. Good luck in your vaults!