This week we take a look at how the primary professions in Mists of Pandaria compare for PVP. There aren't any new professions added to WoW this expansion, but the balance of power has shifted since Cataclysm.
*The following is based on what information we currently have, and may change slightly when MOP launches in two weeks.*
The undisputed king of buffs - a staggering 3420 agility from a single flask.... except unfortunately that's a tool-tip typo and it only grants 320 agility. The Alchemist's Flask appears to scale with your character level rather than your alchemy level. If it does, it will be a very cheap profession to take if you only plan on PVPing as it can be learnt at 300 Alchemy.
Socket Bracer and Socket Gloves
As it stands, Blacksmithing is the strongest profession to take for PVP, as you will be able to benefit from using two 320 PVP Power gems (no other profession offers abilities or items that increase power or resilience). The ability to add extra gems to your items is also a bonus that will scale throughout Mists of Pandaria when more powerful gems are added in later content.
Enchanting and Inscription
2x Enchant Ring - Greater Agility and Secret Tiger Claw Inscription.
With the BOP shoulder enchant replacing Greater Tiger Claw Inscription, both of these professions provide you with an extra 320 agility. It doesn't look like Blizzard will be adding honor-bought shoulder enchants to the game, at least for this season, so you won't have to pick between a PVE BOP enchat and a PVP enchant.
Incendiary Fireworks Launcher, Phase Fingers or Synapse Springs
The agility bonus from the synapse springs equates to a 320 bonus to agility if used whenever it is off cooldown. The Phase Fingers are useful for keeping fleeing druids and rogues in combat, but if you plan on taking Shuriken Toss at level 90 you're definitely better off with the springs. Engineering still lets you use Nitro Boosts and a host of other useful items - it's definitely still the most fun profession.
2x Delicate Serpent's Eye
There's a lot of agility on these gems, but unfortunately they lack PVP power/resilience. Theorycrafting on the value of PVP power vs agility vs resilience is still work-in-progress, but it looks like using PVP power gems in red sockets is going to be more beneficial than gemming for agility. One a point-for-point basis, agility is still better than PVP power, but taking 320 agility gems instead of BOE gems like Stormy River's Hearts, Tenuous Sardonyx, Lucent Sardonyx or Assassin's Zyanite isn't giving to give as much of a bonus as most of the other crafting professions.
Swordguard Embroidery 3
The random proc from this gives an effective AP increase of around 1000. This is on a par with the other professions' perks, but unfortunately you will be losing 180 hit or crit from the cloak enchant it replaces.
Gathering Professions have traditionally been the weakest professions as far as stat bonuses go as they require no investment to level other than time. Gathering professions will provide the following abilities;
Lifeblood Rank 9 With an effective 480 haste, herbalism ranks as a stronger PVP profession than several of the crafting ones. The heal it provides is minor and is not worth saving for an emergency.
Master of Anatomy Rank 8 A flat 480 crit increase - not a stat you will be reforging for but better than nothing.
Toughness Rank 8 With our health pools more than doubling, an extra 4800 health looks like more of a lore-inspired token buff than anything else.
Blacksmithing is definitely the undisputed king of PVP professions, with Leatherworking and Engineering taking second place. The addition of BOP PVP gems would bring Jewelcrafting in line with the other crafting professions, but until then it's arguably the weakest of them to choose.
In terms of a profession's benefit to PVP it would be fair to rank them as follows, with the strongest at the top;
Blacksmithing: Two extra PVP gems
Leatherworking: 330 agility
Engineering: 320 agility (with synchronized burst potential), 640 fun
Alchemy: 320 agility | Inscription: 320 agility | Enchanting: 320 agility
Herbalism: 480 haste, minor heal
Tailoring: 1000 AP at a cost of -180 hit or crit
Jewelcrafting: 640 agility at a cost of two PVP gems
Skinning: 480 crit
Mining: 480 stamina
It is important to remember that Professions are no substitute for skill (maybe not the case when nitro boosts were usable in arenas...), but they can help out with the RNG and perhaps tip an otherwise equal fight in your favour. I'll be taking mining/blacksmithing until I have enough herbs saved up on an alt to swap mining for inscription.