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Frost - Obliterate vs Frostscythe

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Someone may have already done something similar to this, but I was unable to find it in the first few pages. If this is redundant, my apologies.

I was glossing over the Icy Veins guide for Frost Death Knights when I came across an interesting observation. It seems that with the 4p bonus at higher gear levels, Frostscythe can actually deal more damage than Obliterate. This brings up the question of whether or not, at that point, Frostscythe is worth casting to consume KM charges on single target. As of now, the guide has yet to determine whether or not this is worth it, and considering that we're balanced for level 110 and not 100, it's pretty clear that this is not the intended way of playing at cap. I was, however, curious, and seeing how using Simcraft confuses me, I decided to do a bit of testing to see exactly how well Frostscythe stacks up during the Legion prepatch.

My DK's Frost spec is item level 710 - a link to the armory can be found here - with the HFC 4piece and a fairly un-upgraded legendary ring. Still, she has a smattering of normal and heroic pieces, and so I figured this was pushing into the territory where Frostscythe might be approaching Obliterate's damage. For the sake of consistency, I went ahead and removed  Fallen Crusader from my main hand weapon and replaced it with Razorice, to ensure no procs that would affect a spell's damage would go off during the test. Neither of my trinkets affect the damage of my individual spells, and so I left them on.

For the test, I spend 5 minutes hitting a training dummy, using no damaging spells aside from Obliterate to consume killing machine and Howling blast to consume rime. Doing so ensured that I would not proc the HFC 2 piece from critting with Frost Strike, which would add some variance to the data. The only other spells used were Horn of Winter, Empower Rune Weapon, and Obliteration to ensure that I consumed as many Killing Machines as possible without munching them. I then repeated the process, but consumed the Killing Machine procs with Frostscythe rather than Obliterate. I then looked at the average damage that these abilities did and compared them. I also did not count in the damage of Frost Fever into the calculations, as a real-world scenario would have essentially a 100% uptime of Frost Fever using either method.

For the first test, I performed 43 Obliterate critical strikes, 16 howling blast hits, and 5 howling blast crits - a 48.8% proc rate for rime and a 23.8% Howling blast crit rate, very close to the stated 45% rime proc rate and my own 20.05% critical strike chance. Main hand Obliterate did an average of 20.4k, while the offhand did an average of 10.3k, for a combined average obliterate crit of 30.7k. Howling blast did an average of 34.3k. When multiplied by the 45% proc rate and added to the Obliterate damage, we find that each Killing Machine Obliterate will do, on average, 46,135 damage when Howling Blast Rime procs are factored in.

Test 1: 46,135

The second test is far easier to calculate, as there is only one number worth looking at - Frostscythe damage. I did have a fair few more Frostscythes - 54 critical Frostscythes in the same 5 minute period. On average, Frostscythe did 34.2k on a critical strike.

Test 2: 34,200

When comparing pure numbers at this gear level, Obliterate is the clear winner by 11,935 damage per Killing Machine. Though Frostscythe alone does more damage than Killing Machine alone, the added benefit of rime procs pushes Obliterate ahead of Frostscythe. However, a less-easily quantifiable benefit of Frostscythe is that it only costs one rune. This saved rune could be spent somewhere else. Could that one single rune be capable of producing the nearly 12k damage needed to make up for the raw damage difference? While I don't have any hard numbers on this (And indeed, outside of using Simcraft -which would render this test entirely redundant - I doubt that I could find this number), my gut instinct tells me no. In the legion Prepatch, it is doubtful that Frost would have enough moments of downtime to take full advantage of the saved rune outside of extraordinarily bad procs of Runic Empowerment.

TLDR - While a Frostscythe Crit does do more damage than an Obliterate Crit, the Rime proc means that Obliterate is better than Frostscythe for consuming Killing Machine on a single target.

Edited by Firestar
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it's ugly, there is no full verdict out on it even on some of the bigger dk theory sites

however, with 4 piece and mythic gear many are favoring km proc'd froscythes over obliterate. they do more damage and are cheaper. this is due to how obliterate scales (or doesn't scale). however, even FC doesn't proc rime. so, its a complex decision. but with BIS gear frostscythe is currently being favored because of the 4 piece. it also has amazing synergy with frozen pulse. 

at lower gear levels, frost's best talents go all over the place. the icy guides assume best in slot everything. however, with frosts tuning right now there's almost a better build for each tier of HFC. So, what is truly best for frost overall is still not known that well and tuning will determine a lot. however, what's generally agreed on right now by top dks and theorycrafters, is frostscythe at BIS levels. anything else, runic attenuation is probably better and as you are seeing with your numbers, obliterate is a better spender.

so tldr; you are correct until BIS gear :) once at BIS gear you still may be correct but currently theorycrafters don't think so XD

like i said, its really ugly number crunching and so many variables based upon fight. the buffs from artifact currently make it worse. however, as is, obliterate should scale very poorly, (always happens). this will likely lead to niche talent builds. but very good work :D fun to see someone working on frost. 

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Its interesting to ponder... every second frostscythe that uses km is as good as getting a free obliterate. Howling blast is too weak without rime. 

so its more like 23,067 / rune vs 34,200 per rune. could you make up the 24,000dmg with 2 runes i wonder. seems like it might be pretty close either way. add in that chance to proc rime with that obliterate. 

34.3k average howling blast so add %45 of that to your free obliterate. 15.4k ish. so that gets us halfway. Not sure what a non crit oblit might be doing at that level. at 9k dmg it breaks even. thats not counting crit chance either.


Edited by Sazlic

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