If you're familiar with my previous iteration of this spell hit guide, "Spell Hit Your Way Into Karazhan," then there's really no need to explain further. But it has been a while, and since the outdated version, the blog has grown (if at all) in its readership, so an outline is always good.
When preparing your fresh 80 for the endgame raid content, the most important stat to stack on your mage is hit rating. Theorycrafting aside, the general conclusion is that up until your character's hit cap, hit rating is the most efficient stat, point-for-point, to increase your overall DPS.
Generally, ??? level bosses in raids 3 levels above your own, meaning that the chance of your spell to hit is a mere 83%. By investing points in your gear in Spell Hit, you can potentially raise that percentage to 100. And depending on your talent spec and race, the required amount of points to raise that percentage is relatively low. Thus, Spell Hit is the first stat that you will need to stack if you want to start raiding. But once your chance to hit bosses reaches 100%, any excess points will do nothing. Thus, as you gear up, it is always important to make sure you have the bare minimum, regardless of your Spell Damage, Spell haste, and Stamina.
At level 80, the hit cap for mages is 368, requiring that they invest 3 points into either Elemental Precision or Arcane Focus, depending on spec. With Heroic Presence, a buff from having a Draenei in your raid composition, the hit cap is lowered to 342.
Let's get onto the gear!
Tower of the Infinite Mind - 32 hit
Quest reward from the group quest Last Rites in Borean Tundra. The spell power is disappointingly low, but it's worth picking up while levelling.
Zabra's Misplaced Staff - 34 hit
World Drop BoE. If you can find a good deal on the AH, it might be worth buying out. There are other more cost-efficient methods, however.
Stave of Youthful Sorrow - 44 hit
Quest reward from the quest Tirion's Gambit in Icecrown. It's a great combination of hit and critical strike rating, with nice spellpower to boot.
Chilly Slobberknocker - 50 hit
Quest reward from the group quest The Champion of Anguish in Zul'Drak. It's the Wrath equivalent to the Ring of Blood, so it's a great piece to pick up if you can find a group of people to run it with.
Flameheart Spell Scalpel - 34 hit
Kirin Tor Quartermaster, requires Revered reputation. Very nice spell power. Start wearing that tabard ASAP! No excuses, either, since mages start out Friendly, and thus are eligible right away to wear one.
Cursed Lich Blade - 34 hit
Drops from Novos the Summoner in Heroic Drak'tharon Keep. Another great spell power blade. Tip: Repeatedly do Drak'tharon while wearing the Kirin Tor tabard, and see which one you get first.
Telestra's Journal - 39 hit
Drops from Grand Magus Telestra in Heroic The Nexus. A good early option if you decide against the badge reward.
Ward of the violet Citadel - 38 hit
Purchasable for a cool 25 Emblems of Heroism. Start farming up hose badges!
Ancient Measuring Rod - 11 hit
Drops from Loken in Halls of Lightning. Good all-around stats.
Wand of the San'layn - 14 hit
Drops from Prince Keleseth in Heroic Utgarde Keep. Has haste, which is always a good thing. I prefer the HoL rod for the overall stats.
The Argent Skullcap - 61 hit
Quest Reward from the quest The Crusader's Pinnacle. Aside from its staggering amount of hit rating, it also looks like a turban, so it will look pretty awesome with your flying carpet while you sing "A whole new world," while flying through Icecrown.
Hat of Wintry Doom - 44 hit
Craftable by a tailor. You might be able to pick one up at the AH, but expect a very steep cost due to ebonweave cooldowns. You'll probably want this because of the Meta Gem slot, but the skullcap is much easier to obtain and has a higher hit rating.
None outside of Naxx-25. Ain't that a kick in the gnuts?
Turtle-Minders Robe - 38 hit
Kalu'ak Quartermaster, requires Honored rating. Very easy to get, as long as you do a the Kalu'ak quests in Borean Tundra, Howling Fjord, and Dragonblight.
Robes of Lightning - 55 hit
Quest reward from the dungeon quest http://www.wowhead.com/?quest=13108 Whatever it Takes! in Storm Peaks. Very nice stats overall, lots of spell power. Look at that Stamina!
Water-Drenched Robe - 62 hit
Drops from Ichoron in Heroic Violet Hold. Considering the odds of this boss appearing in VH, combined with the drop rate, it will take a few runs for this to drop, but it remains as the best and cheapest alternative to the Ebonweave Robe.
Ebonweave Robe - 68 hit
Craftable by a slvl 440 tailor. Very expensive and costly to make. With proper gemming, The Violet Hold robe is only slightly inferior, stat-wise, and will save you a large number of cooldowns and mats.
None Available pre-naxx. There's a badge item, but it's only purchasable with valor emblems from 25-mans. /sadpanda.
Lava Burn Gloves - 36 hit
Drops from Lavanthor in Violet Hold. The only viable alternative to ebonweave tailoring.
Ebonweave Gloves - 51 hitCraftable by a Slvl 435 tailor. Not as costly as the Ebonweave, but offers excellent stats. I highly suggest crafting this item first in your set, compared to the others.
Sash of the Wizened Wyrm - 40 hit
Wyrmrest Accord quartermaster, requires Honored reputation. By far the easiest piece to obtain, but compared to the next belt listed, leaves MUCH to be desired. Take it for the +Hit only.
Girdle of Bane - 48 hit
Drops from King Ymiron in Heroic Utgarde Pinnacle. Best belt available, given that you can make it past Skadi the Ruthless, who is probably one of the more difficult encounters in the game, pre-raid.
Flowing Sash of Order - 31 hit
Drops from Loken in Heroic Halls of Lightning. Inferior to to the girdle, even with the socket. Use a green +Hit gem or +Damage gem, and you're still short in stats compared to its utgarde counterpart.
None outside of Naxx-25. Boo!
Available from a badge vendor, but requires emblems of Valor, which you can only get from Naxx-25. Again, we're shortchanged with spell hit.
Necklace of Taldaram - 43 hit
Dropped by Prince Taldaram in Heroic Old Kingdom. Better overall stats than Emeline's Locket, but lacks the socket flexibility.
Emeline's Locket - 25 hit
Quest Reward from The Admiral Revealed in Icecrown. The socket bonus, when gemmed with a Rigid Autumn's Glow only amounts to 1 more point of hit raiting than Taldaram's Necklace, but the flexibility of socketing allows you to socket more spell damage if you reach the hit cap, at the cost of some points in intellect and stamina.
Ring of Northern Tears - 31 Hit
Crafted by slvl 420 Jewelcrafters, but are Bind on Equip. Grab one off the AH as early as you can! This is the best entry level ring, and will go for quite a good amount. Socket it with pure hit, or with a spirit/hit or mp5/hit gem for the socket bonus and meta gem requirement.
Voodoo Signet - 24 hit
Quest reward from the dungeon quest For Posterity in Gundrak. The stamina and intellect stats are delicious, and goes well with the jewelcrafter's ring.
Figurine - Twilight Serpent - 42 hit
Crafted by an slvl 425 Jewelcrafter, requires slvl 400 Jewelcrafting to use. The great boon here is the additional two gem sockets. You could put +Hit gems on it, but even with two Rigid Autumn's Glow, the trinket will end up statistically worse than the Mark of the War Prisoner, mentioned below. But at the hit cap, you can gem for spell damage, making this trinket very valuable afterwards.
Mark of the War Prisoner - 73 hit
Drops from Cyanigosa in Heroic Violet Hold. This is the level 80 version of the Scryer's Bloodgem, giving the same % increase to spell hit at 80 as the Bloodgem at 70. Thankfully, this item does not require you to choose one faction over the other. With so much hit, this item will last for a VERY long time. Pound for pound, this should be the most sought-after item for casters looking to get into raiding.
With the staggeringly small list of gear offering hit rating, you're left with bugging the enchanter in your guild for the following:
Enchant Gloves - Precision - 20 hit
Requires 15 Infinite Dust, 5 Greater Cosmic Essence
Enchant Boots - Icewalker - 12 hit, 12 critical strike
Requires 8 Infinite Dust, 1 Crystallized Water.
Enchant Weapon - Accuracy - 25 hit, 25 critical strike
Requiers 40 Infinite Dust, 8 Greater Cosmic Essence, 6 Abyss Crystal
From the looks of the list above, one should immediately notice that there is a limited amount of gear with hit rating for caster classes. Due to the limited availability of each item listed above, it is imperative to plan your raiding preparation strategically. Wear the right tabards concurrently with heroics that offer gear that provide hit rating upgrades. The secondary route towards the hit cap is to obtain gear with plenty of sockets for yellow gems that increase your hit rating.
My suggestion would have to be farming Violet Hold while wearing your Kirin Tor Tabard. There are a LOT of hit rating items that drops from each of the bosses, and with Northern Cloth Scavenging, you can also acquire a reasonable amount of cloth each run to help level up your Tailoring for those ebonweave pieces.
Good luck, and happy hunting!
1 hour ago