(Feedback) Vengeance DH 8.1 Azerite Traits


I just took a peek at the most recent PTR build, wherein Gaping Maw is replaced by Hour of Reaping. The question I’ve got is two-fold:

  1. What is this substitution intending to achieve, insofar as mechanical function?
  2. What is gained by removing the only Azerite Trait which directly increases the throughput of a core ability, and replacing it with an Azerite Trait which de-emphasizes a rotational usage of said core ability (and, indeed, incentivizes not using it at all excepting as a filler/resource dump)?

Just as a point of reference, these are the Azerite Traits in question:

Gaping Maw
Soul Cleave grants you a shield that absorbs 2319 damage, increased by up to 100% based on your missing health.

Hour of Reaping
Lesser Soul Fragments restore 467 additional health, and every 40 Soul Fragments you consume causes your next Soul Cleave to grant you a Soul Barrier.

At one point during Legion, the official commentary about Brewmaster Monks and Blackout Combo suggested that the internal position was that a well-designed class should feel rotationally functional and thematically complete without any talents selected – with the talents building off that core functionality and completeness, allowing for situational advantages under specific circumstances.

Is it not peculiar, then, that Vengeance DH’s are (and have been, for some time) completely reliant on Spirit Bomb in virtually every scenario and this is considered acceptable? Wouldn’t it be more philosophically consistent to take any and all avenues which lead to empowering the core of the class, instead of doing everything imaginable to further encourage the use of an already-mandatory talent option?

Gaping Maw was one of those avenues, Hour of Reaping is the opposite of that. Discuss, please.

(Mesmer) #2

I’m glad someone else is concerned with Gaping Maw being replaced in 8.1. Currently I run Gaping Maw for keys and it’s a very nice way for me to work cleave into my rotation more while providing some overall mitigation.

What I really don’t like about Hour of Reaping is how uncontrollable it sounds. I haven’t played on the PTR so I’m not sure as to if there’s any visual when we’ve reached the fragment cap but it seems like guess work. I really don’t feel like micro-managing how many fragments I’ve consumed so I can time a free soul barrier properly, it just seems out of place. At least with Gaping Maw you know that every time you cast cleave you’ll be gaining a small absorb shield.

You might as well just take the talent in that case.

(Vengeta) #3

Its basically more rng mitigation nonsense.

If i cant use it when i need it its pointless.

Imagine how many soul barriers will trigger when you have one mob left in a pull etc…

Why they cant ever give veng usefull or fun things i dont know.


I’d just like to understand the purpose.

Gaping Maw is very niche, and very situational, but still has some value and has become surprisingly powerful if you’re looking for survivability.

Hour of Reaping isn’t niche, and there will be basically no scenario where you’d find a use for it – not unlike Gluttony.

(Mesmer) #5

I feel like Blizzard had good intentions trying to find a trait that would both encourage the use of Soul Cleave as well as provide a “reward” with the free Soul Barrier so you could run something like Last Resort but still have the overall mitigation that SB brings. There’s no question that SB is a godsend when it comes to heavy magic damage, but personally I don’t think it’s worth just not taking the talent and using the trait instead. I’ll be sad to see Gaping Maw go.


Ruined a trait to make Essence Sever required with Hour of Lame, Rng procs on Rng Procs

(Bull) #7

Maybe we wont be able to, but what will happen when we stack this trait? Will we get double the shield? Or will it take less souls to activate?

I’m thinking either way the best way to use this trait will be to only use soul cleave as mitigation and just ignore dumping pain, and focus mainly on soul management.


Well, as it is currently designed, there probably won’t be any practical use for Hour of Reaping. It would have to be absurdly potent (i.e. the provided Soul Barrier functioning as if used with 5 Soul Fragments, and stacking in either of the ways you mention), and even then it is just another passive which is more often than not entirely useless.

If the goal is to remove “boring traits”, as the official response to Azerite Traits suggests, Hour of Reaping falls incredibly short of that mark. A more appealing measure might’ve been for Gaping Maw to be adjusted to instead read as follows:

  • Gaping Maw: Soul Cleave utilizes up to 10 additional Pain, increasing it’s healing by up to (1% of Attack Power per 1 additional Pain) and consuming an additional Soul Fragment.

I initially considered having excess Pain directly increase SC’s damage would be appropriate, but ultimately that is why Spirit Bomb exists (as the go-to option for optimal damage). It seemed the better option to maintain the defensive focus of Gaping Maw, but to move it away from the mindless passive that is was – incidentally, this iteration would allow for the return consuming 5 Soul Fragments via Soul Cleave. Which might be fun.

(I said fun, I suspect Blizzard just blacklisted the concept on those grounds alone.)

(Bigdiggles) #9

My only 385 shoulders had the gaping maw talent, which was turned into hour of reaping with the patch.

Here is my feedback:

Personally I think it’s great. Especially considering Vengeance literally got Zero balance changes with the patch.

Vengeance is viewed as one of the weaker raid tanks, so giving us hour of reaping is a welcome change because you are in control of when the soul barrier activates.

First there is a buff that you receive and when you get 40 souls it’s noticable (but you could also make a pretty cool weak aura) letting you know the barrier is stored up and ready to go. Then you soul cleave to activate it.

Tldr: gives a little bit more on demand mitigation, to a spec that is slightly undertuned for some types of raid mitigation


There is nothing “on demand” about something that requires 40 x Soul Fragments, which takes either 20 GCD’s (without Fallout) when using Fracture or 40 GCD’s (without Fallout) when using Shear.

Like, by definition, that isn’t “on demand”. Gaping Maw was considerably more “on demand”.

(Bigdiggles) #11

It’s still on demand because you choose when to activate it (as opposed to a passive buff they just randomly proc).

Yes you’re right it’s not especially quick, takes 30-35 seconds to stack up enough souls.

Lord knows there enough to be negative about this expansion. I’ve made so many critically analytical posts regarding VDH, that I’m trying to appreciate the positive, no matter how small that may be. And truthfully this is the only change Vengeance received for this entire patch.


If you’re at 39 Fragments, and you know the boss won’t be hitting you hard for 12s, you’re not going to sit there and spin in circles while you wait. Which means you’d instead “waste” the Soul Barrier during trivial moments and not have it when it was necessary.

It’s almost always useless, unless RNG is on your side and you only have to pause for a few seconds. An example of what I mean by control would be for each Soul Fragment consumed to reduce the remaining cooldown on Metamorphosis by 1 second.

(Bigdiggles) #13

No no. You do know that once you hit 40 souls you have to soul cleave to activate it?

Going over 40 souls doesn’t active it automatically. Hence on demand with soul cleave.

Soul cleave isn’t a major part of our rotation. It’s only used to burn pain after you spirit bomb.

So you just do your rotation as normal and if there’s a big spike coming up in 12 seconds you just don’t soul cleave until it hits.

Have you tested it? I have been mythic raiding with it and really like it. It seems less impactful for m+ than raids, but have only been testing it for 4 days now, so still have lots more learning to do about it.


I have, had 2 x Gaping Maw before the switch.

I tested it in like a +9 and the Soul Barrier’s average absorption was ~18,000 or so. It’s barely even negation at all, let alone an intuitive or enjoyable one – whereas Gaping Maw was a couple small tweaks away from allowing for a style of gameplay that didn’t revolve around Spirit Bomb (and Blizzard made it clear in Legion that they weren’t happy with builds that began and ended with an ability gained via a talent).

If you’re idling on full pain for a period longer than 2-3 seconds, all because you’re banking on an un-empowered Soul Barrier that is going to absorb a few meager percentage points of health, you’re doing the entire group a disservice. The only thing the trait has going for it, in terms of throughput, is the first portion’s numerical increase.

Edit: Also, I had two of these and can confirm they don’t stack. So… that’s fun too.