It is no secret that Combatant gear has generally been a fantastic market in BfA. This goes all the way back to patch 8.0 where honorable combatant gear sold really well. This happened despite protests that it was not good enough, but fast gearing is always in demand.
New this time around is the addition of optional reagents called crafter’s marks to set the item level of an item. This will have a huge effect on the profit potential of the various recipes. Item level has a large effect on what is useful or not. Crafter’s mark 2 is gated behind getting to cordial with Ven’ari in the maw. It hasn’t really been mathed out how fast you can grind the rep required for the Crafter’s mark, but you will likely not have it in time for the initial gearing push. As such we can expect to rely on the base crafted items.
BfA crafted gear was worse than heroic dungeons
In BfA the honorable combatant gear was 300 and could proc into ilvl 310 epics. Heroic dungeons dropped 325 and mythic dungeons 340. As such you would quickly outgear them. You did need item level 305 to start queuing heroics however, and this is where the magic happened. There’s no faster way than paying for the initial ilvl boost and thus ilvl 300 gear filled an extremely useful niche.
Item levels in SL
In Shadowlands normal dungeon gear is 158, and the highest ilvl base crafted gear is item level 151 (except darkmoon decks which are ilvl 200). You do need item level 155 to queue for Heroic dungeons. This means that the base crafted gear in SL is slightly worse than the equivalent in bfA. It is not however useless. It will not work to increase world quest gear as the item level of WQ gear is tied to renown in SL.
Will armor crafting be good?
To me it seems like rare gear in SL will fill a useful niche. It does look slightly worse than BfA, but it still represents by far the fastest way to accelerate gearing. When crafter’s mark 2 becomes available sales should be quite strong for alts in particular as it then allows you to jump straight into mythics.
Overall it does seem like getting ilvl 151 gear available for sale on day 1 or day 2 will be very worthwhile. All the recipes are trainer learned as well making it even more attractive.