How to get the (armor)penetration your pussy deserves!

Posted by in Cat, Feral, Technical

Bushidox, of Cenarion Circle, is the second winner of the Guest Yogger contest and comes to you today with a discussion about the benefits of Armor Penetration.

With the 3.1 patch and Ulduar there are a number of new gear choices and options to maximize your effectiveness as a cat. The biggest stat change is to Armor Penetration, which used to be the ugly redheaded stepchild of DPS and has recently turned into the girl next door (re: catches your eye but remains fairly unobtainable). Theorycrafters agree on a couple of key points about Armor Penetration. First, the ArP stat was made a great deal more effective in 3.1, to the tune of around a 25% increase in effectiveness. Second, there is now a great deal more gear to be had from Ulduar that has significant ArP, typically at the cost of Haste or Crit Rating. Third, while effective, ArP has to be stacked fairly high in order to see real results. The general consensus is that with Faerie Fire and 5x Sunder Armor active on a boss target, an ArP trinket proc, and an ArP value above 400, ArP becomes our greatest stat to stack for DPS increase.

Currently, testing illustrates that you can reduce a target’s armor below zero, at which point ArP becomes the best stat by a fair margin. I know what you’re thinking: that’s too much ArP to reach, and even if you did hit it, you would have to give up so many better choices to obtain it. This is in actuality false. Using Rawr, I configured a gear set up that has the following sexy attributes. Two piece bonus for tier 8.5, two piece tier bonus for tier 7.5, 266 hit rating, 137 expertise rating, and 667 armor penetration rating before trinket procs. All told this gives you an unbuffed crit rating of 43.5%, and nearly 7400 attack power before raid buffs.

Here is a table of the gear pieces used and the pertinent values for each piece:

Item ArP Hit Exp AGI Crit AP Haste Socket
Valorous Dreamwalker Headguard 48 0 0 66 51 170 0 RM (12 STA)
Frigid Strength of Hodir 48 40 0 0 0 148 0 Y (4 STR)
Valorous Dreamwalker Shoulderpads 30 0 0 67 49 100 0 R (6 STA)
Drape of the Faceless General 30 0 0 69 40 92 0 RY (6 AGI)
Winter’s Icy Embrace 81 0 57 97 0 136 0 YB (12 AP)
Wristwraps of the Cutthroat 32 0 0 38 0 112 41 None
Conqueror’s Nightsong Handgrips 43 0 0 85 0 130 33 Y (6 STA)
Relic Hunter’s Cord 49 57 0 85 0 120 0 (Buckle)
Conqueror’s Nightsong Legguards 0 0 0 114 70 114 50 YB (9 STA)
Runed Ironhide Boots 49 0 56 77 0 98 0 B (4 AGI)
Cindershard Ring 46 42 0 63 0 84 0 (none)
Band of Draconic Guile 43 0 0 59 0 70 35 (none)
Lotrafen, Spear of the Damned 80 0 0 120 87 2,647 0 (none)
Grim Toll 612 83 0 0 0 0 0 (none)
Mjolnir Runestone 655 0 0 0 102 0 0 (none)
Totals 579 218 113 940 399 4,021 159 3R, 5Y, 3B, M

For the sockets, one yellow socket is 16 Hit, 3 yellows are 8 Hit/8 Exp, and the last yellow socket is 8 Hit/8 AGI. All three red sockets are 16 ArP, all three of the blues as 8 ArP/12 STA, the extra socket in the belt is 16 ArP, and the Meta is a Relentless Earthsiege Diamond. The enchants are assumed to be Ebonhold helm, Hodir exalted shoulders, 22 AGI to cloak, 10 stats to chest, 50 AP to bracers, 44 AP to gloves, Crit/AP on pants, 16 AGI to boots, and Massacre on weapon. This may be further enhanced by your choice in professions.

Why is 667 ArP significant? The reason being, is that if either Grim Toll or the Runestone proc, the target suddenly has zero armor towards the penetration cap against your attacks. On the table you will note that the Runestone is listed as 655 proc when the tool tip has it listed as only 612. Several players have reported the proc rate as giving 655. It remains to be seen if they change the tool tip or the item proc to match the current tool tip. Either way, you now are doing true maximum damage. You get the benefit of both of your 2 piece set bonuses, have no misses, and are at the soft 6.5 Expertise cap assuming you took the talent Primal Precision. The current model of Rawr supports this, as at this point ArP now becomes the best choice for gem sockets over any other option. In addition, with 600+ ArP and at least one trinket proc checked, Toskk’s model supports ArP as only being beaten out by Critical Strike. Fully buffed, you will be around 50% crit anyway, which is where most experts agree is the sweet spot for cats.

Now understandably you are going to say, “But wait, that’s a dream set up! There is no conceivable way I can possibly get all that gear in this lifetime—why would I care about a theoretical model?” To this I can only assure you that 400+ ArP will result in a significant gain when paired with a Grim Toll/Mjolnir Runestone proc. The best news is that with Valorous Helm and Shoulders and an Aged Winter Cloak, you are already around 100 ArP. My advice is to pick up the ArP pieces when you can cheaply, and save up for the Mjolnir Runestone. I also would not bother gemming for ArP until you hit at least 300+ penetration and have one of the two trinkets. The Moljner Stone and Grim Toll will likely outstrip any conceivable trinket pairing, even the godly Darkmoon Card: Greatness. While not nearly as noticeable on non-bosses, significant ArP will benefit you for all sorts of DPS.

Now that you know the facts, go out and give your pussy the penetration it deserves!

For more of BushidoX’s reference notes, please click here!