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How to craft legendary items in Shadowlands

best wow shadowlands legendary gear
(Image credit: Blizzard)

Want to craft the best WoW Shadowlands legendary gear? Then I'm here to help. World of Warcraft’s new afterlife-themed expansion once again offers powerful legendary armor items to players. But instead of a neck or a cloak to continuously upgrade—as it was in Battle for Azeroth—players can now choose which slot they want a legendary in, what powers it will have and even what secondary stats it will carry.

The powers themselves are interesting and frequently fun. Some are old tier set bonuses, resurrected and given fresh polish. Some are taken directly from previous legendary items from Legion, or Azerite traits and essences from BfA.

Others are brand new: The Soulforge Embers legendary for hunters, for example, allows them to toss their mob-slowing Tar Trap and then set it aflame with their stealth-revealing Flare ability. It is one of the temporary WoW Anima Powers you receive in the WoW Torghast dungeon, and is new to Shadowlands.

All are powerful, making a definite impact on players’ ability to do damage, heal or tank. Here’s how to get your WoW Shadowlands legendaries.

How to get the best WoW Shadowlands legendary gear

Unlocking the Runecarver

At the bottom of the endless dungeon of Torghast in The Maw zone, the Runecarver is bound. You’ll eventually be sent to him by doing the initial series of quests from Ve’nari, the Broker that operates in a shrouded cave inside The Maw, after you hit the maximum level of 60. Follow those quests to the end and you’ll free one of his hands, prompting him to promise you powerful help—if you help him find his lost memories in return.

Collecting Memories

Recovered Memories of the Runecarver are scattered all over the Shadowlands, and you’ll find them by doing endgame content. Some come from Torghast bosses. Some come from the bosses in dungeons. Some come from the Castle Nathria raid, which opens December 8/9 in North America and the EU. Some drop from World Bosses, and others can be earned in PvP.

Each time you find a memory, you can return to the Runecarver, select him, and right-click on the item to add it to your collection. To see all of the powers you’ve collected, open the Adventure Journal menu—alongside dungeons and raids, you’ll see a new button for Powers.

Memories are class-specific, so you won’t get Memories for a monk if you’re a paladin, but they are not specialization-specific, so if you’re a Protection paladin, you’ll get the Memories for Holy and Retribution, too.

Unlocking and collecting Soul Ash

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You’ll continue the questline with Ve’nari after you unlock the Runecarver, and eventually, she will send you to Torghast: First for a trial run, then for a real one, to look for signs of your lost faction leaders. If you continue through that questline, you’ll receive Soul Ash as part of your first 'real' run of the dungeon.

Almost all the Soul Ash you collect will come from completing wings of Torghast. Currently, three levels of six floors each are open for players in each of two wings, awarding a total of 610 Soul Ash. Quests add more to that total.

Soul Ash has also rarely been found as a currency reward from high level Adventure-table missions in your Covenant Sanctum.

Base items and their differences

The base armor piece you’ll use is crafted by players and purchasable on the auction house. The item level of the base piece will determine the item level of the legendary you make. It might be tempting to jump right in and buy a Rank 4 base with 235 item level, but remember that it also takes a lot more Soul Ash to make higher-level legendary items. It’ll take 1,250 Ash to make a level 190 Legendary: That 235 will set you back 5,150.

Picking your slot

When you find a Recovered Memory of the Runecarver, it will indicate which slots it can be used on. For example, that Soulforge Embers legendary for hunters can be crafted as a ring or shoulder armor. In general, crafting your legendary as armor will give you a larger stat boost than making it as a ring or neck piece, and beefier armor pieces will have larger stat budgets than others.

That’s not always true, however. For some classes, the legendary item is so much better in terms of stats than what they can find in the Castle Nathria raid in a particular slot that it might be worth crafting even if the total amount of stats on the piece is sub-optimal. If you care enough to truly maximize your results, I recommend using the many simulation tools out there to figure out what the result of one slot versus another would be.

(Image credit: Blizzard)

Crafting your legendary

When you've obtained the Recovered Memory you want, you will then collect a base item for the slot where it will go, the necessary Soul Ash and two Missives. Those are player-crafted Inscription items that set which secondary stats the item will have, such as Critical Strike or Versatility.

You’ll have a quest to take all of them to the Runecarver, and he will open up an interface for you that allows you to plunk in all those items and craft your new armor. You can craft as many legendary items as you like, but you can only equip one at a time.

Upgrading your legendary

To upgrade your legendary, you’ll need the existing piece, the new base item at the new item level (which you must purchase again), and the difference in Soul Ash between the two. Return to the Runecarver with these and he’ll help you craft a new Legendary at the new item level.

This means that it’s almost always worth crafting Rank 1 of a legendary you plan to use over the long term. You’ll have to buy the higher base item, which will set you back some additional gold, but you don’t waste any Soul Ash, which is the harder currency to obtain.