Crimson Acolyte Cowl or Hood?

Recently someone found WebPageless while looking for a comparison between the Crimson Acolyte Cowl and the Crimson Acolyte Hood. This isn’t the first time it’s happened, so I decided to talk about the two of them a little.

First, Crimson Acolyte Cowl is the headpiece of the shadow set, and Crimson Acolyte Hood is the headpiece of the healing set. I’m just going to call these the DPS headpiece and healing headpiece respectively.
DPS headpiece
Gains over healing headpiece: 8 crit, 72 haste
(2) Set: The critical strike chance of your Shadow Word: Pain, Devouring Plague, and Vampiric Touch spells is increased by 5%.
(4) Set: Reduces the channel duration by 0.51 sec and period by 0.17 sec on your Mind Flay spell.
Healing headpiece
Gains over DPS headpiece: 80 spirit, 1 spell power
(2) Set: Your Flash Heal has a 33% chance to cause the target to heal for 33% of the healed amount over 9 sec.
(4) Set: Increases the effect of Power Word: Shield by 5% and Circle of Healing by 10%.
Let’s break this down by looking at the two headpieces from the perspective of each spec.
Spirit is almost worthless for shadow. Spell power is king, and crit and haste are both next in line. Obviously the DPS headpiece has the better stats for shadow. In addition, the healing headpiece’s set bonuses don’t help shadow at all. The DPS headpiece’s set bonuses are pretty nice. This is a no brainer. If you’re shadow, take the DPS headpiece.
Let’s take a look at the four stats that differentiate the two headpieces. For holy, spell power is the most important of the four with spirit close behind. Spirits provide both regen and a spell power boost. Crit and haste, while helpful, are less helpful. Looking purely at stats, the healing headpiece is slightly better. Take into consideration the fact that the DPS headpiece’s set bonuses don’t help holy at all while the healing headpiece’s set bonuses are quite nice and this one is easy as well. If you’re holy, take the healing headpiece.
Disc priests will probably have a harder time than holy priests or shadow priests picking their headpiece. I went through this when I first started collecting T10 as a disc priest myself. Spirit is pretty much worthless for discipline priests. Let’s look at the remaining stats that differentiate the headpieces. What’s better, 1 spell power or 8 crit and 72 haste? Clearly the crit and haste are much more valuable than 1 spellpower. Discipline is in the weird position of wanting the same gear caster DPS players want (except we don’t want hit of course).
The problem is that the DPS headpiece’s set bonuses don’t help disc at all. How about the healing headpiece’s set bonuses? Increasing the effect of Power Word: Shield is great. This spell is what makes disc what it is. You should be using it all the time. PW:S should always be on the tanks and anyone taking or about to take damage. For example, when someone gets the Mutated Infection during the Rotface battle, put a shield on them! Once you have enough mana to not worry about mana at all, you should be blanketing the raid in shields whenever you have the free global cooldown anyways. As for the Flash Heal bonus – I think it’s a nice set bonus. In a lot of fights I hardly use it at all, but in a lot of fights I still do use it.
It’s tempting to go for the throughput stats of the DPS set, but you really should be taking advantage of the healing set bonuses. Go for the healing headpiece. There’s also another way to look at it. Let’s assume you don’t care about the healing set bonuses. Then why get the dps headpiece? If you’re going to forget the healing set bonuses anyway, you should go for Corp’rethar Ceremonial Crown (Heroic) from heroic Gunship 25. I realize you’ll have to do a 25 mode heroic and that might not have been what you wanted to do, but (at least on my server) it’s very easy for anyone to get into a PuG that can do heroic Gunship. This gives you a benefit of 30 int, 30 stamina, 114 spirit, 25 armor, 18 crit, and 47 spell power compared to the 8 crit and 72 haste you’d get from the DPS headpiece. It’s even better than the Sanctified version of the DPS headpiece.
There are a lot of other headpieces that are better for disc than the DPS headpiece as well. Another is the Cowl of Malefic Repose (Heroic) from heroic Blood-Queen in 10-man. This is much harder to do than heroic Gunship 25, so let’s forget it. Next up is Thaumaturge’s Crackling Cowl (Heroic) from Deathbringer heroic 10. Next there’s Corp’rethar Ceremonial Crown from regular Gunship 25. Lastly, Cowl of Malefic Repose from Blood-Queen 10 normal.
Some of those are pretty hard to get. Strangely enough, the very best one is the easiest to obtain. Even if you’re just starting out, finding a PuG for 25 man shouldn’t be hard, and most do heroic Gunship. You should go for the healing headpiece, but if you decide you don’t care about the set bonuses (although you should), there are much better headpieces than the DPS headpiece.
So, what you do? Buy the T10 that’s made for your spec! Do it! And don’t sell the set bonuses short!