Sometimes you can’t always get what you want. Maybe you’re trying to gear up for Heroics and there is that one piece that simply will not drop for you, or when it does someone else always wins it. Maybe you have been raid ready for some time now and you can’t seem to farm up the Valor Points fast enough to upgrade your blues to epics. In any event, the re-vamped versions of Zul’aman and Zul’gurub are sure to have plenty of pieces that could be useful to any enterprising holy priest.
Let’s take a look at what these 2 new Heroics have to offer you and how they stack up to pieces that already exist in the game.
Aurelian Mitre < Mask of New Snow < The Hexxer’s Mask < Je’Tze’s Sparkling Tiara < Crown of Burning Waters
Mask of New Snow should be considered the BiS helm until you begin seriously raiding. The Mitre has 25 less spirit, a 30 spirit socket bonus that requires a blue gem and comes with a lot of mastery. The Hexxer’s Mask comes in third place, with 30 more stamina, 21 more intellect, and a lot of haste – at the expense of 18 spirit and a socket bonus that gives you 30 critical strike rating and requires a red gem. It also doesn’t hurt that The Hexxer’s Mask is certainly the cooler looking choice of the three, either.
Mantle of Loss < Summer Song Shoulders < Claw-Fringe Mantle < Mercurial Mantle
It’s an extremely close call, between Mantle of Loss and Summer Song Shoulders. The Mantle comes with 20 less spirit, but has a yellow gem socket and comes with a 10 intellect socket bonus and a good amount of mastery. The Shoulderwraps have a blue gem socket to go along with the same socket bonus and has critical strike rating instead of mastery. Even though the Claw-Fringed Mantle comes with 22 less spirit, a 10 haste rating socket bonus and a lot of critical strike rating, it also has 23 more stamina, 15 more intellect, and a red gem socket in its favor. These shoulders could easily hold you over until you get the next best thing from Cho’gall.
Musk Rose Robes < Anraphet’s Regalia < Hexing Robes < Mercurial Robes
I consider Anraphet’s Regalia to be the better choice initially, due to the better socket bonus and the fact that it has mastery, which is always preferred to critical strike rating for holy priests. After that, the next best thing becomes the Hexing Robes, which come with 30 more stamina, 21 more intellect, 2 more spirit, and 21 more mastery. The only downside to the all around increase of stats that you gain from the Hexing Robes is the 20 spirit socket bonus. You will certainly get a lot of mileage out of these, otherwise.
Emberfire Bracers < Crimsonborne Bracers < Baron Ashbury’s Cuffs < Wristwraps of Departed Spirits < Bracers of the Burningeye
Bracers seem to the bane of most people’s existence in Cataclysm, as they are one of the most difficult armor pieces to find an upgrade for or to replace. Personally, I had no luck getting any bracers in regular runs that would prepare me for Heroics, so I had to settle for using the Emberfire Bracers. This would normally be considered a sub-par choice, but has become slightly more accepted, with the understanding that you’re just using them to get by until something better comes along. You should never keep a PVP piece for PVE purposes, at the expense of something better that may come along.
With that said, after the Emberfire Bracers (which I chose as the better option, due to having haste along with the resilience that can’t be re-forged away) comes the evenly matched Crimsonborne Bracers and Baron Ashbury’s Cuffs. The only difference between these two sets of bracers is that one has 112 critical strike rating and the other has 112 mastery. The critical strike rating could easily be re-forged into something else, but the Baron’s cuffs do inch past it in preference, due to the mastery alone.
After that comes the Wristwraps of Departed Spirits, with 18 more stamina, 12 more intellect, 13 more spirit, all at the cost of 1 less point of mastery. These bracers should suit you well, until you can get your next upgrade off of Atramedes in Blackwing Descent.
Gurgthock’s Garish Gorebat < Shimmering Morningstar < Scepter of Power < Torturer’s Mercy < Amani Scepter of Rites < Andoros, Fist of the Dragon King
The Gorebat is a great starting weapon to get you into Heroics and is earned as a quest reward for completing the Crucible of Carnage questline in Twilight Highlands. The Morningstar can be purchased from the Baradin’s Wardens faction at Revered and then comes two Heroic weapons with very subtle differences. The Scepter is only slightly behind Torturer’s Mercy, due to having a very small decrease in spirit on it. However, if you value haste over mastery, that could push the Scepter ahead in terms of value for you.
After that comes the Amani Scepter of Rites, which comes with 13 more stamina, 9 more intellect, 1 more point of spirit, 119 more spellpower, and 14 more points of mastery. Since the next best one handed weapon comes from Nefarian, a thorn in the side of many guilds, you could expect to be using the Amani Scepter for a good period of time. Fortunately, it’s pretty neat to look at.
Bioluminescent Lamp < Divine Companion < Apple Bent Bough < Lost Bag of Whammies < Scepter of Ice < Heartbound Tome
Eventually, a holy priest is going to need an awesome off-hand to go along with one of the weapons listed above and what could be more awesome than something called the Lost Bag of Whammies? Not very much, it seems. The Lamp loses out to the Companion, because of the critical strike rating on it and the Bough is easily the BiS off-hand of choice until you get to Ascendant Council (or you get incredibly lucky and find a Heartbound Tome for a reasonable amount on the AH or it drops for you). Enter the Lost Bag of Whammies, which comes with 18 more stamina and 12 more intellect, at the cost of 4 spirit and giving up haste for critical strike rating. Re-forge that crit rating into something useful to you and move on to bigger and better things.
Cookie’s Stirring Rod < Wand of Untainted Power < Touch of Discord < Finkle’s Mixer Upper
The lack of available wands have been a pretty depressing topic for most casters and holy priests are no exception. The Wand of Untainted Power is the BiS choice until Finkle’s Mixer Upper, but it’s perfectly normal to settle for the Stirring Rod, as it is not too far behind. Your luck with wands may improve, if you can get your hands on the Touch of Discord. This one has 6 more intellect, 9 more stamina, and 9 more haste than the Wand of Untainted Power, but comes at the cost of having no spirit to speak of and a side order of critical strike rating. If you feel those are things you can live without or consider this to be better, than this wand could be for you.
Veneficial Band < Ring of Frozen Rain < Band of Life Energy < Kibble < Soul Drain Signet < Security Measure Alpha < Twined Band of Flowers
The two best rings to have as you begin your raiding journey are the Band of Life Energy and Kibble. The other choices only have minor differences from those, usually based on the secondary stats (like critical strike rating instead of mastery) or a minor decrease in spirit. After that, your two BiS rings come from Omnotron in Blackwing Descent and from your respective Valor Point vendor. The Soul Drain Signet fits in comfortably in between those and I would replace the Band of Life Energy with it before Kibble, simply because the Band has critical strike and we have already determined that is of no real use to us. Getting 123 haste in its place would be a vast improvement. At the cost of 6 spirit, you get 123 haste, 12 more intellect, and 18 more stamina. Consider this an upgrade.
In closing, ZA/ZG have a lot to offer, in terms of helping a priest bridge the gap between the pieces they already have and the pieces they need to do even better. Hopefully, everyone enjoys the changes made to these two beloved instances and finds some of what I have written here to be helpful, in terms of helping you decide what pieces you could stand to upgrade.
Thanks for reading and good luck in there!
EDIT: I received some constructive feedback this morning from Tomaj, inquiring about how I came to the conclusions that I did, with regards to deciding what made it on to these loot priority lists. I wanted to keep the lists short and concise. I wanted to include items that came out of the box as close to ideal for us as possible, with as little modification as necessary (i.e. re-forging). I wanted to include items that to me indicated a healer would want them, before anyone else.
I also want to stress that these are the items that you should choose to have, if you can. Obviously, if you’re still using Gurgthock’s Garish Gorebat and a Heroic Biting Wind drops, definitely take the upgrade. But if you have the choice between that Heroic Biting Wind and a Heroic Torturer’s Mercy, take the latter choice over the former one.