Improved Icy Talons
3.33: updated with some notes and strikethroughs, March 23rd 2010.
This is a really important buff, providing melee haste like a talented windfury totem. Either you provide it or a shaman does. In a 25-man raid, you should ensure someone brings it. In a 10-man, it’s a really nice benefit but not mandatory. Buff management depends on how progression-oriented your raid is. Normally I assume the buff is up in all my sims. DK and talented Shaman version are the same: 20% melee haste to the raid.
It costs 6 talent points though, so you have some trade-off to get it. Yet if another class brings the buff, 5 of those points are wasted in redundancy and the 6th gives you its par of 1% extra damage. Any Shaman can lay an untalented windfury (16% haste) but generally they’ve got better uses for that element if they’re not enhancement.
Key point in 3.3: if your 6 points are redundant due to a shammy, the 25% melee haste you personally gain are not as good an investment as spending the points in merciless combat and other talents.
In 3.33 the stacking has changed , so your IIT and your personal melee haste stack, giving 45% haste. More commentary in my 3.33 post.
In 3.3, if you did not have a shammy, the 6 points were better than alternative uses of the talents. I’m not sure this assertion in 3.33 yet.
How it procs
The raid buff procs when a target is hit by frost fever disease, which can be applied by glyphed howling blast or icy touch. It is procd by pestilence (I just tested it on dummies) contrary to many people’s reports. I’m not sure if rime proc’d HB or talented chains of ice do it (didn’t test).
It is fairly easy to keep up for its 20 second duration, since any frost tank will cast IT or glyphed HB every 20s unless they’re moving around or something.
Range of effect
The wowhead spell detail says 20 yards… of what, the disease? Totems have 30 yards. I’ll research, but perhaps one of my genius readers will tell us in comments.
Haste’s interaction with rune strike
Haste has a positive interaction with [spell]rune strike[/spell]. There are a few variables to how often you can hit with RS: (a) how often you dodge (b) how often you have a melee attack (c) how much runic power you have.
If you dodge two attacks sequentially before your next melee attack, the ‘next melee’ design of RS means you will only deliver one RS, not the two you’d feel entitled to. It is therefore logical that if you attack more quickly, you will deliver more rune strikes, and thus haste is good.
Also if you starve yourself of RP, you can’t convert the RS opportunity; so I recommend to keep a minimum of 20 RP at all times.
How good is haste?
My theoretical instinct is that runic power generation becomes markedly more valuable in a fast/fast dual-wield scenario, such that you’d eat up every Scent of Blood procs. Requires more analysis, or knapkin math for another day.
How to spec into improved icy talons
- for a two-handed tank with IIT, two-diseases
- you can move to a one-disease glyphed HB spec easily, drop two from epidemic and move to your preferred talent and install the glyph
- either one or two diseases, a 2H tank can give IIT easily
- note 5/5 [spell]killing machine[/spell] is better than 5/5 [spell]Black Ice[/spell] by 2.1%, but does require you are good at using the KMs and not wasting them on Icy Touch.
- for a dual-wielding tank, it’s more challenging to design a spec
Also note Frost is intended to be a dual-wield, so you’ll do a bit more threat that way. Threat analysis in the next section.
Why wouldn’t I spec into it?
If you reliably have a shaman bringing talented windfury, you should not spec into it. You will generate more threat with the points elsewhere. (3.33 changed this)
In these specs, there is no compromise on survival, it’s only on threat. I have not dropped a single point out of the all-important avoidance or damage-reduction talents. It’s notable that one-disease specs do not have glyph of UA and have HB instead. I worked out the glyph is worth about 2.3% incremental damage reduction.
I ran Kahorie’s sim in various scenarios so I could test what changes when you talent into it or have it from a shaman. I ran it based on my own specs (5100 gearscore, average of i235 or so). The bracketed figures are indexed into percentage.
|Spec||With no Shaman||With Shaman windfury|
|Two-handed, two disease, no IIT||5380 TPS (100%)||5589 (103.9%)|
|Two-handed, two disease, with IIT||5443 (101.2%)||5443 (101.2%)|
Updated Jan 20 2010: when I did this post originally, I found that IIT was a 2% loss on threat, because of an undocumented behaviour in the way Kahorie’s sim handles raid buffs. I compounded it by simply doing my verification maths wrong (yes, I do some cross-checking so I don’t rely on Kahorie’s exclusively, but did my own maths wrong). Having run it again with the ‘melee haste’ raid buff on, I see the talent’s actually a net gain. My thanks to comments from Kiku who drew the discrepancy to my attention.
What’s the gain?
All melee gain by varying degrees. It’s brilliant for hunters, rogues and warriors. If they’re about, you will have boosted overall raid dps by a lot more than the small personal loss of threat.
Frost talent questions
Just before Christmas, I had a series of great questions from blogger Vigan about specific talent details in Frost. They were:
- how does [spell]improved icy talons[/spell] proc?
- and what’s the best way to spec into it? Answered above.
- what is the relative value of [spell]scent of blood[/spell] and why choose [spell]runic power mastery[/spell] or [spell]icy reach[/spell]?
- how [spell]threat of thassarian[/spell] works with rune strike
- answer is it converts both the next off-hand and main-hand attacks into a rune strike
- the value of [spell]hungering cold[/spell] in 5-mans
- whether frost tanks should spec into [spell]rune tap[/spell].
Thanks for the provocation, Vigan. This post still has a few unanswered questions I hope to come around to in time.