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Soulburn + Soul Swap vs manual recast

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I've been trying to come up with ways to improve my dps and more importantly, my soul shard management, but I haven't really found a way to come up with a good rule about when should you burn a soulshard to refresh dots.

Take this scenario. I marked with (*) the points where it is possible to burn a shard.

You're in the middle of the fight, have 3 soul shards and Dark Soul just came off the cooldown. (Of course, you COULD be sitting on 4 shards, which would be ideal since DS just came off cooldown, but it's not always this perfect)

Both of your trinkets (say, light of the cosmos and relic of yu'lon) proc at the same time.

At this moment, I would instantly pop Dark Soul and (*1) update my dots with SB:SS, then cast a Haunt and MG away.

10 seconds later, my Haunt runs out and my Unstable Affliction is getting low. I would (*2) manually refresh my dots and cast another Haunt. During this time, it's extremely likely that I got a Nightfall proc, so I'll have at least one shard left.

Another 5-6 seconds later one of my trinkets reaches 1 seconds left, the other one has maybe 3-4 seconds left and Dark Soul still has about 5-6 seconds left. At this point, I would burn a shard (*3) and SB:SS refresh my dots one last time. In other words, I do a quick final refresh when the first trinket is just about to run out.

Now, during this period I may get anywhere 2-4 procs on Nightfall. At the worst case, I might not be able to cast Haunt after this final refresh. I usually can, but it happened before.

The question is, out of these 3 points I marked, when is it the correct choice to use SB:SS? I would say that 2 is definitely out, because you won't have enough shards for Haunt.

Should I skip the first one and after popping dark soul manually refresh dots? This would almost guarantee that I will be able to have Haunt up until the empowered dots run out, but it also costs 3 GCDs of MG channel.

Now, let's see a second scenario. Everything is the same, except you don't have Dark Soul, only a double trinket proc. Would you use the same approach? Consider that Dark Soul essentially gives you 30% faster shard generation from the increased ticks. If you burn two shards on SB:SS there is a good chance that you won't have enough for Haunt.

And finally a third question, which is slightly unrelated. Both of your trinkets proc and run out just before your DS comes up. Do you wait 30-40 seconds for them and delay your DS?

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Maybe you're the luckiest 'lock in the world, but I never find myself sitting on 3-4 shards mid boss fight unless it's a multi target encounter. You're coming up with these random scenario's, but w/out naming a specific encounter, it's hard to give much feedback. If there's so many targets that you have a truckload of shards (like Wind Lord), you can pretty much do whatever you like with them. However, you're asking as if they're a limited commodity, and I'd respond by saying you're not keeping Haunt up enough.

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This is an interesting question. It'd be great if there was a baseline rule of thumb to follow, but there are so many variables to consider during a fight that would effect whether hard-casting or SB:SS is better.

So lets run down the scenarios that you listed and see if we can give some general advice. I think I'm going to end up generating more questions than answers, but hopefully the theorycrafters/masters of the universe can come by and give us the low-down on the most efficient methods in terms of damage output.

Scenario 1: 3 Shards, Both trinkets proc and you react by casting DS. Fighting Patchwerk.

I definitely run in to scenarios where I have 2-3 shards banked before a DS because I try to only use Haunt when I have an intellect proc (usually at least 2 if I'm being picky). Luckily all my procs are intellect ones so this becomes pretty easy. Now for your first scenario you've got both trinkets proccing at the same time which means they've been on ICD for a while. So if you do what I do, then it's likely you haven't had 1-2 +int procs to cast a Haunt on meaning you've been banking shards.

This would be an absolute dream scenario to come across since you are almost getting the exact same line-up as your opener, minus a shard and probably your profession procs. However, based on RNG for nightfall your actions will be limited.

Since you say you're "reacting" to your trinket procs you will be missing some of their uptime as Relic's proc time is 15s and DS is 20s. Their endings won't line up. Due to the nature of latency and non-robotic reactions of humans you will be missing a second or two of those procs after casting DS and your first DoT (or all 3 with SB:SS) Theoretically you could react in one GCD, but I'm standing in front of a target dummy, forcing myself to try and press DS and my SB:SS macro (on two different keys obviously) at the same time as I react to a proc, but I still end up doing two seperate key presses making it a little longer than 1 GCD. I imagine during an actual fight this would be even longer.

So based on this I'd say you should definitely start with a SB:SS+Haunt. This gets you right in to the money making zone and in to channeling MG as quickly as possible. Now after beginning to channel MG your Relic's proc will have 12-12.5 seconds left and DS should have about 18-19 seconds left. As you can see you're going to run in to an issue of whether or not to overwrite DoT's that have a 3027 intellect buff on them. I personally choose to go ahead and treat the relic proc as my #1 priority and will try to get fully Pandemic'd DoT's with Blessing of the Celestials (Relic proc's name).

Summary: DS, SB:SS, Haunt, MG 2-3 times, Hard-cast, MG, SB:SS based off of the timers as explained below. (3 shards used.) **Note**: No Haunt cast after hard-casting

Two cases arise here.

Case 1:Since we are treating this scenario based off of two procs I would recommend hard-casting as UA is about to expire and then SB:SSing right before BotC expires. DS will still have some time remaining, but I forego refreshing before it ends since I don't want to drop 3027 intellect on my DoTs.

Case 2: Personally I have Lightweave and Jade Spirit to account for as well. If we started this sequence with just Relic and Light of the Cosmos procced and neither of my other procs kicked in then I would follow the order from Case 1. Whats more likely is that Lw and/or JS procs during this time and those durations will extend until the end of my DS time. Together they are worth 3650 intellect and I'm willing to let Relic's proc drop and refresh my DoT's based on DS expiring. If only one of them pops up then I'll make a decision based on how frisky i'm feeling. We're talking about decisions made in fractions of a second during a fight so there really is no wrong answer as long as you aren't about to take an Annihilate to the face.

From here if RNG was nice to you you have acquired at least one nightfall proc you can cast Haunt after that final refresh and carry on until the next time DS is up. If RNG was a b*tch then you just channel MG and wallow in misery (Posted Image)

Scenario 2: No DS, just trinket procs.

Easy. I'll refer you to Zagam's post HERE and scroll down to the bit about Affliction's opener and soul shard management (or better yet read the whole thing if you havent done so already!).

Basically, hard-cast then Haunt. The only exception would be if you had 4 shards for some reason then go ahead and SB:SS, but the general rule of thumb is to hard-cast with 3 or less shards.

Scenario 3: Both trinkets just expired, DS just came off cooldown.

Dependent on a couple of things, but generally, don't wait. Pop DS.

I don't know your gear setup, but I'd say its best to use DS on cooldown to maximize the amount of time you can use it. Its a huge buff in and of itself so holding on to it isn't the best idea except in certain situations depending on what boss you are fighting.

Shard-management is very important and it sounds like you already have a pretty good understanding of what to do. What I wrote is purely a suggestion based on my personal playstyle so try to find what works for you!

Edited by Cruzan

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I'm going to let you in on a little secret that I did this tier that boosted me about another 8-10k on most fights. I made a schedule. Here's how it works. You'll also see why I absolutely praise the crap out of Relic of Yulon and hate Essence of Terror.

Relic of Yulon = 15sec uptime, 50 sec ICD

Light of the Cosmos = 20sec uptime, 50 sec ICD

Dark Soul = 20 sec uptime, 80 sec ICD

At the beginning of a fight (t=0) you'll have all your stuff rocking. Basically as soon as you have one periodic tick, your trinkets jump, so let's call that t=2. We can model this as follows:

t = (0-2) Dark Soul

t = (2-17) Dark Soul + LotC + Relic

t = (17-20) Dark Soul + LotC

t = (20-22) LotC

t = (52-67) LotC + Relic

t = (67-72) LotC

t = (80-100) Dark Soul

t = (102-117) LotC + Relic

t = (117-122) LotC


Now I've played Affliction so long that I have an internal clock working most of the time...but I know the pattern. I'm sure some of you have gone to update your DoTs when Affdots goes from 100 to 118 or something only to refresh them all and see them go to 120. Default reaction is to yell an obsenity, do an MG channel or two hoping the proc doesn't fall off, then refresh. This is a DPS loss. What you need to be aware of is that Relic of LotC almost ALWAYS are up together. If you see just one of them pop, wait a few seconds until the next one pops...you can track this with WeakAuras. Once they both pop, go to town.

Now with Dark Soul, you can see that with the 40 second reduction, it doesn't play nice. There are, however, a couple of nice things you can do with it. At time = 80 sec, Dark Soul is off CD and ready, but you can see from this chart that RoY and LotC won't pop for another 22 seconds...this is a problem. What I do is delay Dark Soul about 5 seconds instead of popping it as soon as it comes up. This changes things so that Dark Soul uptime is t=85-105. That means from t=102 to 105, I have DS + LotC + RoY up, but only for three seconds. THIS is where I absolutely make sure I have a Soul Shard. Depending on where my DoTs are at with their time, I'll make a mental assignment to refresh them about 5-6 seconds after my second DS pop. So here's what I try to do (not always able to, but good to strive for it)...Open with the standard opening. When t=85, use Dark Soul and use Malefic Grasp twice. Around t=85, manually cast all of your DoTs (should be an upgrade on Affdots) starting with Agony (make sure this never falls off), then Corruption then UA. Spam Malefic Grasp until you get that notification that Relic and LotC have popped. Soulburn: Soul Swap immediately. Because of Pandemic and the fact you put DoTs up at around t=90, you'll have empowered your DoTs to their original value at the beginning of the fight, less a potion, to an extended duration. Now, the one frustrating thing that I have found is sometimes your trinkets don't cooperate. Sometimes they take 53 seconds to pop again...sometimes they pop at 50 on the nose. You can ensure the 2nd empowerment phase of your DoTs by delaying Dark Soul for about 10 seconds, but now we're talking about theoretical potential losses which are too hard to model.

This is a very complex thing to deal with while dealing with everything else going on, especially heroic mechanics. I can't stress the importance of Affdots...what this does is give you a mathematical reason and proof that your trinkets and live and ready. If you're a stickler for Essence of Terror, just know that this monster has a 100 second CD and will only augment your DoTs half as often as LotC or RoY. Also, the haste proc is less valuable than the Int procs from the other two.

Just a side note...don't ever vendor that Light of the Cosmos. I feel that it will be a VERY powerful trinket well into T15 for many of the reasons I list above.

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Dude, this breakdown of ICDs and dark soul is BOSS. Thanx so much. What you described with the SP reaching 118 then refreshing only to have it jump to 120 is EXACTLY where I feel I'm losing time and dps. Beyond the 2rd cycle of DS and procs, is it even possible to keep a mental record of whats going to pop when? Or should we just stick to the rule of thumb - Relic and LotC pop together. I've got lightweave embroidery too so I'm trying to factor this is but it's seeming very complicated and probably not something I could keep a track of in an intense fight. I imagine the 10 second extra for the ICD of lightweave would only widen the gap between syncronized procs with relic and LotC as the fight went on. I'm sure we could graph it all but in a fight that stuff kinda goes out the window.

Awesome breakdown tho. thanx so much. Next lvl dps incoming

Edited by Frontright

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