How does it work?
The Tier 31 set bonuses for Augmentation will—for better or worse—shake up how players approach playing the spec. The two set bonuses revolve around Prescience
, a cornerstone of the spec’s buff rotation, and is generally already taken in all Augmentation Raid and M+ builds in 10.1.7. It is also important to remember that Ebon Might prioritizes friendly targets with your Prescience buff active, allowing you to direct your buffs onto specific players. Keep this in mind for later.
The 2 pc set bonus causes every third Prescience
buff cast to last 100% longer. This effect currently lasts indefinitely until consumed, and does not have an associated buff indicator outside of a glow on your action bar. All else equal, this of course translates to 33% higher uptime on Prescience
itself, and between Prescience
and Fate Mirror
this represents 2-3% additional damage in a typical encounter.
Please add a trackable buff for this effect, Blizzard!
The 4 pc set bonus is only slightly more complicated: casting Prescience
causes your next Eruption
cast in the next 14 seconds to deal extra damage and gives extra Ebon Might
extension for every active Prescience
buff. This effect can be overwritten, so it is ideal to cast Eruption
at least once between Prescience
casts to consume the buff. Analysis of raid logs on live servers suggests that we can expect up to 25% reduced downtime of Ebon Might
, or an extra 2-3% damage from Ebon Might
, plus 4-5% damage from the additional mini Eruption
s. Four active Prescience buffs means four additional mini-Eruptions!
All in all, players can expect a direct increase in damage in the ballpark of 8-10%
when using the full set, a modest improvement over Tier 30.
How does this affect Raid?
Augmentation Evokers are now able to have 3 Prescience
buffs (or even 4 with enough Mastery) active at one time. If provided enough time to set up these Prescience
buffs on the desired targets, this gives Augmentation Evokers near perfect control over which targets receive their Ebon Might
, Shifting Sands
, and Breath of Eons
buffs, on top of Prescience
and Fate Mirror
In a raid, the most obvious way to maximize the value of this set bonus requires at least a minute of setup between pulls, and a comically
long pull timer of 30-35 seconds. The setup allows you to cast Prescience
6 times before entering cooldowns at the start of combat in order to maximize Prescience
coverage on pull. It is even possible to have two double-length Prescience
buffs overlap briefly with enough Mastery or cooldown reduction, meaning that you can have up to 4 Prescience buffs active simultaneously for perfect coverage and Ebon Might target selection
Example of potential Prescience uptime over a 5-minute raid encounter
While I would love to tell you that this amount of setup isn’t worth the effort, the fact is: playing up to 4 Augmentation Evokers and allowing them to select and stack buffs on the same 4 targets is still an incredibly powerful strategy due to the quintic scaling effect of Augmentation buffs, as <Colour> demonstrated last month with their 30-second Assault of the Zaqali kill
. In fact, this set bonus makes it even easier
to set this up in practice (not needing to use Warlock summons to outrange Ebon Might
's 100 yard radius), and can even be achieved during combat, which is currently reasonably challenging to achieve on Live servers.
How does this affect Mythic+?
From a Mythic+ standpoint the set does not offer much extra value
, as a third or fourth Prescience
buff generally means buffing a tank or healer. Players who use the auto-targeting functionality of Prescience
described at the bottom of the spell's tooltip will now need to be particularly careful in order to avoid buffing a tank or healer with the double-length Prescience
, as this can easily result in losing Prescience
uptime on the two dps players.
Auto-targeting vs manual targeting Prescience in Mythic+
On one hand, this tier set certainly has the potential to make Augmentation even stronger than it is now on Live servers. The higher uptime on Ebon Might
is quite noticeable and entirely welcome, and the 2 pc set bonus does to some extent change how you think about Prescience
, putting a twist on the current Live gameplay loop.
On the other hand, Blizzard have achieved this twist by doubling down on what I believe are the least enjoyable aspects
of playing Augmentation Evoker in raid: Prescience
pre-planning, and Ebon Might
target management. While carefully planning specifically which targets should receive your buffs can be an interesting puzzle during progression, the majority of the time it presents as an unnecessary burden that does not exist in the design of other dps specs. Most raiders simply won’t have the patience for 30-second pull timers, and in my experience players often are not remotely interested in taking the time to plan positioning, cooldown timings, and buff targets in order to maximize the effectiveness of Augmentation’s spells.
As it stands the Tier 31 set bonus has tremendous and powerful gameplay implications
for raid groups willing to explicitly develop strategies around multiple Augmentation Evokers, including raid composition, positioning, and dps cooldown timings. For everyone else, players will appreciate the higher Ebon Might
uptime and damage from Eruption
, and Fate Mirror
, and will largely consider any additional benefits to be inapplicable, or simply more trouble than they’re worth
Without knowing exactly what the future holds for Augmentation, my hope is at least for the 2 pc set bonus to be reworked so as to eliminate the 30-60 seconds of setup required for optimal results
on pull, and perhaps for adjustments to be made for M+ so that players are not overly punished for using Prescience
auto-targeting. At the end of the day, Augmentation is still quite new, and certainly doesn’t need an overly-complicated tier set in 10.2 to remain effective as a powerhouse in PvE content.