What is Domination gear?
Patch 9.1 introduced a new type of gear that can be socketed with special Domination shards. This gear is available for 5 armor slots, and matching shard-types across 3 slots activates a set bonus (the set bonus is tied to the shards, not the item). Equipping 5 shards and the set bonus will increase your DPS (or healing) by about 10%.
Game mechanics: how Domination set bonuses work
The shards and set bonuses are not class specific. They are the same for everyone.
August 30th hotfix added more slots to activate the domination set bonuses. These additional slots are listed in the bullets sections for each bonus below, as well as in the “Items and Rewards” section of the patch notes. “Developers’ note: Requiring a specific slot from the raid to take advantage of the set bonus is proving to be too elusive for some players even with some assistance from the Great Vault. If you have previously acquired an item affected by this change but have destroyed it, you can use the Item Restoration service to recreate it after the hotfix goes live with this week’s maintenance. Please note, there is no benefit from having the activation spell twice.“
Table of contents
- Blood shards
- Frost shards
- Unholy shards
- Upgrades & costs
- Power scaling
- Swapping shards
- Where to get domination gear & shards
- Shard of Bek (offensive)
- Shard of Jas (defensive)
- Shard of Rev (healing)
- Socket bonus is on the chest
- August 30 hotfix added more slots to activate: cloth legs, leather boots, mail legs, and plate gloves
- Blood shards all have the same red icon
The blood socket bonus is on the chest: Blood Link. “While inside the Maw or Torghast, damaging an enemy establishes a Blood Link. Blood Link pulses every 3 sec, dealing 540 / 810 / 1080 / 1450 / 1620 Shadow damage and healing you for 100% of damage dealt. If your Blood Link would overheal you, it instead heals a nearby ally. Limit 1.” Each number listed is the value at the corresponding rank, for example, 540 damage dealt at rank 1.
How does the blood bonus work? To trigger Blood Link, you need to damage the boss (or any target) once, and then you get the benefits of chaos bane for the rest of the fight as long as that target is alive. If you target another enemy, the bonus will switch to that target. It can only be on one target at a time. (Game mechanic specifics)
If you’re a healer, you just need to damage the boss (or any target) once – there’s no need to continue to damage the target if you are a healer.
Get even more specific details about how Blood Link works in this article of the “How WoW Works” series.
- Shard of Kyr (defensive)
- Shard of Cor (offensive)
- Shard of Tel (healing) – procs of healing and hot crits as well
- Socket bonus is on the shoulders
- August 30 hotfix added more slots to activate the Frost bonus: cloth bracers, leather legs, mail boots, and plat legs
- Frost shards all have the same blue icon
The frost socket bonus is on the shoulders: Winds of Winter. “While inside the Maw or Torghast, each time you deal a critical strike, the Winds accumulate 6 / 9 / 12 / 15 / 18% of that effect, up to a cap of 180 / 270 / 360 / 450 / 540 per critical strike. Every 20 sec, the Winds unleash, dealing Frost damage equal to the total accumulation and and surrounding you in the Winds for 20 sec, absorbing 100% of damage dealt by the Winds.” The values listed are at the corresponding ranks, for example the winds accumulate 6%, up to a cap of 180, at rank 1.
How does the frost bonus work? Crits trigger the Winds of Winter buff. The crit cap makes this less valuable for specs with LARGE crits. It’s great for specs who crit a lot, rather than who crit big.
If you’re a healer, this is harder to make use of, and Unholy or Blood tends to be preferred.
Get even more specific details about how Winds of Winter works in this article of the “How WoW Works” series.
- Shard of Zed (defensive/healing)
- Shard of Dyz (offensive)
- Shard of Oth (utility)
- Socket bonus is on the helm
- August 30 hotfix added more slots to activate the Unholy bonus: cloth belt, leather gloves, mail belt, and plat bracers
- Unholy shards all have the same pink-purple icon
The unholy socket bonus is on the head: Chaos Bane. “While inside the Maw or Torghast, your spells and abilities have a chance to drain a Soul Fragment from your target, granting you 10 / 15 / 20 / 25 / 30 Primary stat for 30 sec and stacking up to 15 times. When you reach 15 stacks, unleash Chaos Bane, dealing 1500 / 2250 / 3000 / 3750 / 4500 Shadow damage split between nearby enemies and granting you 300 / 450 / 600 / 750 / 900 Primary stat for 15 sec.” The values listed are at corresponding ranks, for example you get 10 primarty stat and deal 1500 damage at rank 1.
How does the unholy bonus work? Pretty much any ability triggers Chaos Bane and stacks the buff. Pretty easy.
If you’re a healer, this is the one you probably want. The buff adds a ton to your healing and your heals trigger it as well (even though it sounds like draining soul fragments needs to be done on an enemy, it works when healing allies too. Confusing, I know!).
Get even more specific details about how Chaos Bane works in this article of the “How WoW Works” series.
How to upgrade the shards
Shards are upgraded with a new currency, Stygian Embers, at Bonesmith Heimir (in Korthia). You’ll get about a 1% DPS increase for each rank 1 damage shard, and 1.5% at rank 5. The set bonuses are worth roughly 5% DPS (tanks and healers are harder to classify).
Upgrading ranks cannot be skipped – you need to do them one at a time. Upgrading fully to rank 5 will cost a total of 100 Stygian Embers per shard.
|Prefix||Shard upgrade level||Stygian Ember Cost|
|Ominous||Rank 2||5 embers|
|Desolate||Rank 3||15 embers|
|Foreboding||Rank 4||30 embers|
|Portentous||Rank 5 (max level)||50 embers|
Shard & set bonus scaling
Shard powers scale independently of item level. As you upgrade them at Bonesmith Heirmir, they become more powerful. They will have the same power in a 226 or a 233 item.
The set bonus scales based on your lowest shard level in the set. For example, if you have two unholy shards at rank 3 (Desolate), and the third unholy shard is rank 2 (Ominous), the unholy set bonus will be based on rank 2.
Because of this, the best strategy is to upgrade the shards in your set bonus equally. Do those first before your spare shards that fill your other two slots of Domination gear (if you have them).
Shards can be removed (with the Soulfire Chisel), purchased from Bonesmith Heirmir in Korthia for 2,500 Stygia. This means you don’t destroy the shards when replacing or transferring them. (But they are destroyed if you forget to use the chisel).
Where to get Domination gear
- Sanctum of Domination (new raid)
- They can appear in your weekly Vault
- 1 slot for each armor type can be bought from the Death’s Advance Quartermaster for 2000 stygia + Honored reputation
- Cloth belt: Cincture of Enveloping Death
- Mail belt: Chain of Encircling Death
- Leather gloves: Gloves of Advancing Death
- Plate gloves: Gauntlets of Death’s Guardian
Where to get Shards
They drop in the new raid, Sanctum of Domination. (Update Nov 1, 2021: Patch 9.1.5 increased the drop rate)
Where to get Stygian Embers
Bosses in Sanctum of Domination have a chance to drop them:
- 1 per boss on LFR,
- 2 per boss on Normal
- 3 per boss on Heroic
- 4 on Mythic
Named trash also drop Stygian Embers, 1 less each than bosses per difficulty (however you still get 1 on LFR). Thanks to Baletea for the list:
- Bonescream – after The Tarragrue
- Borr-gahn – after The Eye of the Jailer
- Soulember – after The Eye of the Jailer
- Hollowsoul – after The Nine
- Screamspike – before Painsmith
The amount you earn per boss or named trash is capped at the highest difficulty you kill. If you get 1 in LFR from the first boss, you can only get 2 from the first boss on Heroic, as an example, totaling 3 (the max you can earn on Heroic).
The Korthia quest, Shaping Fate, rewards 10 each week (complete assaults, daily quests, etc in Korthia and the Maw)
How powerful are the shards & set bonuses?
You’ll get about a 1% DPS increase for rank 1 damage shards, and 1.5% at rank 5. The set bonuses are still being tweaked, but will be worth roughly 5% DPS (tanks and healers are harder to classify).
Other resources and guides
- Item levels in patch 9.1 & the Upgrade Finder
- Upgrading your legendary to rank 6
- Domination gear guide by World of Moudi
- Shards of Domination overview on WoWhead