"The goal is for it to beat out two Blood Strikes or Obliterate."
Over the past few days, the issue of Scourge Strike's shadow versus physical proportion have been heavily debated - and tested by the less crying, more trying kind - with results (and arguments) ranging from the somewhat intelligent, to the point of stupitity. We are still, however, "wildly off" according to good ol' GC - and that means that either the formula is either still not decrypted, or simply not working.
The current situation of Scourge Strike live is simple - it's kinda good, but not really. The current cookie-cutter build of 16/0/55 sarifices both Epidemic and Reaping, effectively removing both rune management and manipulation as well as conventional disease tracking. And especially the latter is something Ghostcrawler is perhaps overlooking in his evauation - at the moment, even glyphed Icy Touch + Plague Strike beats additional Scourge Strikes.
Yes, that's right. Reapplying diseases for each rotation currenty beats prolonging them for additional Scourge Strikes. The current rotation (IT - PS - SS - BS - BS - dump - HoW) is fine, by all means - had you specced into Reaping and Epidemic (as is clearly Blizzard's intention for these talents, especially considering how the two other trees work), it would have been the cookie-cutter cycle 1, before SS - SS - SS - dump as cycle 2 before resetting the rotation would complete it. This is how the unholy core mechanic should look.
Alas, it isn't. And though there clearly is a problem with Scourge Strike, I'm curious if the design staff is looking at all at the state of Death Coil. Alongside hasted white- and shadow damage from white strikes, Death Coil is this build's main source of damage output. Which brings us back to the Icy Touch reapplication issue - the added DPS of additional runic power beats a tier nine talented attack. The change to the Icy Touch glyph will hopefully adress this matter to a certain extent, but fact still remains that Death Coil and white attack damage will beat Scourge Strike over any longer fight. High movement fights like, well, all of the current T9, serves to underline the value of Death Coil, similar to a shadowpriest's Death word in Ulduar. It's simply that good.
But do we need to nerf Death Coil? Absolutely not. The current Death Coil is perfect. The problem is a talent tree where the intended core mechanics simply needs a massive reconstruction. Scourge Strike needs better balancing, diseases need to be made more valuable than just getting Ebon Plaguebringer for the raid (the nerf in 3.3 on T9 4-piece bonus, while probably necessary, certainly isn't helping either), and I've intentionally not even stepped anywhere near the ghoul. Back in 3.0, unholy was interesting. Overpowered to say the least, but the mechanics made it distinctly stand out. In 3.2, unholy is simply viable, because nerfing what made it interesting in the first place was done through redesign rather than rebalancing. I'm unsure whether or not this was Blizzard's intention with unholy builds, but the Scourge Strike situation certainly undermines the presence of a problem in the talent tree.
In the meantime, we're stuck with a boring, buttonspamming one-trick pony with a pet. Is that really what we want to be?