Normal mode Gurthalak or Heroic mode Ataraxis for Unholy?

Today, I will specifically be comparing Gurthalak obtained from normal mode Madness of Deathwing and Ataraxis obtained from heroic mode Warmaster Blackhorn for unholy. Of course, the analysis would give the same results if I had compared the looking for raid version of Gurthalak and normal mode Ataraxis. Also, I’m writing/posting this from a train, so sorry in advance for the typos and such!

In the past few days, some people pointed out over on the Elitist Jerks forums that mastery seemed to be valued a little more than crit with their gear. These people seemed to all have Gurthalak from normal mode Madness of Deathwing equiped. Since the ultimate goal of every progression focused raider is to kill Madness of Deathwing on heroic, I guess the few questions that need answering are the following:

1- Which weapon would be best before H Madness for a patchwerk-type fight: Ataraxis Heroic (410) or Gurthalak Normal (403)?

2- What are the stat weights with either weapons and how will this affect reforging?

These simulations were done with Simulationcraft with 50k iterations and with the gear I had right before switching to 4pc 397  T13. I had 4pc 391 T12.

Heroic Ataraxis simmed at 39095 DPS and the stat weights obtained are:

Normal Gurthalak simmed at 40417 DPS and the stat weights obtained are:

– It seems clear that for a patchwerk-type fight, Gurthalak from normal mode Madness of Deathwing will pull ahead of any other heroic weapon (since Ataraxis is the better itemized for unholy).

– Since the proc from Gurthalak is shadow damage and therefore scales from our mastery, it is not surprising to see the weight of mastery go up. What is surprising though, is that it becomes slightly better than crit in that case. Therefore, depending on the weapon equipped, we will not be reforging the same way:

With Ataraxis or any other non-proc weapon, reforge for: Hit to cap > Haste > Crit > Mastery > Expertise

With Gurthalak (any difficulty), reforge for: Hit to cap > Haste > Mastery > Crit  > Expertise

– The only problem with Gurthalak, is that the proc is very RNG dependent. meaning that in some cases, you can have 2-3 tentacles up at the same time, while it is possible to not have the weapon proc at all during the course of a 5-6 minutes fight. As a result, even if Gurthalak is theoretically better, it could not be specifically better for some encounters like H Madness… Since we are switching platforms so much and a proc right before a platform switch would possibly put it behind Heroic Ataraxis… there wouldn’t be a clear winner here. Unfortunately, this cannot really be accurately modeled by a simulator and the only way to ever find out will be to compare logs and specific numbers obtained on actual encounters.

– With 4pc T13, it would favor gurthalak even more, since the 4pc bonus is an almost static mastery increase (which will make the tentacle hit harder), and the 2pc is a free Death Coil that’s going to hit harder since we’ll be reforging for mastery with Gurthalak equiped.

Note: Of course, this would also affect the choice of the trinkets, and you can then value all mastery containing trinkets a little bit more. It still does not change the Best-in-slot trinkets in that case.

Well, I hoped this helped a little. Please feel free to comment and give me your take on how we should actually choose to gear up for a movement heavy encounter!

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3 responses to “Normal mode Gurthalak or Heroic mode Ataraxis for Unholy?

  1. Here’s a question I have. Does Gurthalak inherit our crit rating, and if it does, are sims accounting for that? I’m often seeing gurthalaks crit rate around 15-18% personally, which is right around what my crit % is fully buffed.

  2. As far as I know, it does inherit our crit rating. I haven’t been able to test it personally though as it seems to never want to drop for me!

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