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I thank all of the names below, as well as the people who chose to remain anonymous. If I've missed you, let me know and I'll add you.
Shinarou - Mal'Ganis
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My burnout after spending way too many hours preparing for 5.4 is now mostly over, and I should (hopefully) be returning to a semi-regular posting schedule.
Now, down to business!
An idea proposed by both Raegwyn and Adenhart over on EJ is a viable DW unholy build. The premise is that, death siphon nearly hits as hard as SS. How close exactly?
This is the formula for SS vs. Dsip, with a 580 weapon and 94.15% mastery. Plugging it into wolfram alpha gives us an AP breakpoint at roughly 160k, which is very reachable in 580 gear. The breakpoint gets lower as you get more mastery, and higher as you get better weapons, so it's conceivable that, with certain weapons, it would hit harder most, if not all, of the time. In addition to it's damage, it also provides considerable self healing.
DW comes into this because, with most of your SSs turned into Dsips, unholy really has next to no damage that is reliant on your weapon. Therefore, the penalty for taking a 1hander is pretty smaller, and the gain, when combined with razor ice (which buffs frost fever AND death siphon) is actually quite considerable.
So, let's start with my default 580 unholy profile.
Let's pick up death siphon and change the primary death rune dump from SS to Dsip.
352500 dps, plus 35k HPS.
So, a minor (2%) dps loss in exchange for 35k HPS, and a range advantage. Not bad, if you ask me. Now, let's try with a 561 weapon instead, leaving the rest of the gear at 580.
341200 dps, plus 34k HPS
Even smaller loss (1%), but still a loss. For the extra range and healing, it's a loss I'd be willing to take on some fights.
Now let's check to see how it affects stat weights. Note that these stat weights are still with a 561 weapon, and the rest of the gear at 580.
Perhaps surprisingly, this change had little to no effect on unholy stat weights. Let's me cross off stat changes as a possibility to further optimize this though, so yay!
Let's take things to the extreme, and drop the weapon down to a 530, with the rest of the gear at 580.
326500 dps, plus 34k HPS
Still a loss. Now things get fun, let's swap over to DW weapons, still at 530 ilevel.
314000 DPS, plus 37k HPS
Now Dsip spamming is a clear win, but both options are still lower than 2H. Not by much, but still lower. If you have access to the same ilevel 2Hander and 1hander weapons, it pretty clear you want to go 2H unholy. However.... when we bump the DW weapons up to 570 ilevel.
Still only at 328000 dps.
As close as it gets at certain points, and as cool as the idea is, I'm going to have to say that DW unholy is, for the most part, not viable. If you have such extreme one handers compared to 2handers, you should just go DW frost. On the other hand, Dsip spam unholy IS viable, if not optimal, and there are times when your healers will thank you for that extra healing. It's especially nice considering you can swap between spending death runes on SS and Dsip mid-fight, depending on whether or not you need the healing. I'd encourage all unholy players to give it a try.
Frost has been pretty stable over the past few weeks. It seems to be the dominant spec, and from a competitive standpoint, it's doing quite well in SoO. Though many of the fights still seem to favour range, (dammit nazgrim), of all the melee, DW frost suffers the least from range-friendly fights. The easy target swaps, decent speed, and great range damage helps to make up for that unfriendliness. Perhaps surprisingly, for me personally, I'm finding DW frost to be strongest for single target fights like IJ. Most of the cleave fights I'm stuck behind the mages, warlocks, and hunters, but I manage to beat them on the pure ST fights such as malkorok normal.
Enough of my rambling though. I've been getting a lot of questions about frost and haste, icy veins and EJ, thanks to me, now recommend crit over haste pretty much universally for frost, but many people are simming themselves and finding haste to be above crit. The culprit is unholy blight (or in a few off cases, roiling blood). PL is a big part of why haste is so bad now, and if you don't take it, there is a better than decent chance that haste... isn't that bad for you. However, PL is damn amazing now, and is mathematically better in every possible case, and I highly recommend you all give it a try.
And to finish off, have a roundtable discussion with some of the WoW devs at