Before we start into this week's column, I do want to assure any prospective frost DPSers that I fully plan to write a frost DPS 101 guide. In fact, up until a few days ago, I had every intention of writing that as today's column. Then I sat down at the computer on Friday, and we had a nice shiny new PTR with a whole mess of frost DPS buffs. It's probably going to take a bit for us to sort through those buffs, see how they affect speccing and gearing, and whether or not they'll make it live, so for now, we're going to focus on some other topics.
This week, the subject is the loot in the final section of Icecrown Citadel, the Frostwing Halls. There's only a few bosses here, but you'll find some great off-spec pieces, a few best in slots items, and some interesting weapon choices. I'll offer my usual disclaimer here and recommend that you go back and review the opening paragraphs of our Lower Spire loot guide, since it lists some basic stat rundowns and philosophies that you should keep in mind as you read these guides. You may also want to review the stat weights discussed in blood DPS 101 and unholy DPS 101 as you pick out your DPS gear from these pages.
The Oxheart, overall, probably isn't as great for most 2-hand wielding death knights as Ramaladni's. It has less expertise, and critical strike rating instead of armor penetration. That said, if the Ramaladni's just won't drop for you, this is still a more than decent weapon.
Taiga Bindings are likely to be better than anything a 10-man raiding death knight is otherwise wearing, although the haste is a bit lackluster death knight DPS at the moment. The red gem socket makes up a bit for the less than optimal itemization, at least.
The Ironrope Belt of Ymirjar isn't a bad tank belt if you're a 10-man raider, but overall, you should probably only consider it a holdover until you have the spare emblems to buy the Verdigris Chain Belt, or a quick solution if you are really hurting for threat and aren't at 8% hit yet.
The Noose of Malachite is a nice little tanking side-grade to the Bile-Encrusted Medallion. It doesn't have as much strength and no armor, but it does have more dodge rating and defense as well as a good chunk of hit. Which one is specifically better for you will probably depend on your gearing needs and the boss you're fighting.
Grinning Skull Greatboots are probably going to be your best in slot tanking option in almost every situation. There's just not another comparable set of boots in game with defense on them. Boots of Kingly Upheaval do come close if you need the hit and already have 540 defense, but most death knights should just grab the greatboots.
The armor on Devium's Eternally Cold Ring means there's no better ring for absorbing large amounts of physical damage. It makes an excellent duo with the Juggernaut Band for most general purpose tanking.
The Coldwraith Links is going to be your best in slot belt in most cases unless you need hit, in which case you can grab the Malevolent Girdle from emblems.
The Scourge Reaver's Legplates are technically kind of sort of a decent choice for some death knights if and only if some other conditions are met. First, you should already be at 26 expertise without the stats on your legs. Secondly, you're wearing the other 4 pieces of tier 10 DPS. If you do not meet either of these criteria, you are better off wearing your tier 10 legplates. Then again, until you get the heroic version of the Scourge Reaver's Legplates, it may be better to wear a pair of Legplates of Painful Death if you can get your hands on them, at least for blood and unholy death knights,
Scourge-Fanged Stompers will be about the best defense boots you can grab as an exclusive 10-man raider, though you may consider getting a pair of Boots of Kingly Upheaval if you don't need the defense off the stompers. Either way, you're getting a big chunk of hit, which can, at the least, free you up to grab more defensive stats elsewhere.
The Legplates of Aetheric Strife actually end up being a pretty excellent set of legs for unholy and blood death knights thanks to the armor penetration. Again, though, you want to make sure you have the 4 piece DPS bonus, so keep that in mind when choosing between these or your tier 10 legplates.
The Etched Dragonbone Girdle is more than passable for death knight DPS, especially if you're aren't expertise dodge capped yet. That said, you may also want to consider buying the Malevolent Girdle, which will be better overall if you can use the hit rating to reach your 8%.
Sindragosa's Flawless Fang is most definitely drool worthy for any death knight tank. Combine it with the Corroded Skeleton Key for massive amounts of stamina. You may still need to grab the Corpse Tongue Coin for those times you need a bit more avoidance, and a heroic Unidentifiable Organ from 10-man may still edge out the Corroded Skeleton Key for pure effective health, but it's hard to go wrong picking up this trinket.
You can also pick up a Vanquisher's Mark of Sanctification from Sindragosa. Thanks to recent patches and hot fixes, tanks get a lot more use out of tier gear than they used to, and by now I've hopefully drilled it into your head how awesome the DPS set tier bonuses are, so regardless of what role you play, you may want to get your hands on 4 of these or so.
The Lich King
The Warmace of Menethil is pretty the pinnacle of DPS for a 10-man raiding 2-handed death knight. It's even pretty close to perfectly itemized, with armor penetration and 2 red gem slots. It's not quite as well itemized for tanking, but the extra stamina and DPS may still make up for the loss of expertise on a Ramaladni's Blade.
Glorenzelg, High Blade of the Silver Hand is more or less going to be your most readily available, powerful option for a weapon if you can't get Shadowmourne, especially if you need expertise. The expertise also means this isn't a bad choice for some tank death knights too, depending on gearing needs.
Oathbinder, Charge of the Ranger General deserves another mention if only because the agility, again, makes it a decent tanking weapon thanks to the dodge. Furthermore, If you aren't human and/or don't need the expertise, many parsings actually put it as a better DPS weapon that Glorenzelg, likely in part because the armor penetration is currently a very good stat for both blood and unholy. That said, you may have to watch your back around hunters and feral druids, and when patch 4.0 comes out, the weapon will get a bit worse for DPS and threat (but better for avoidance), as the attack power should all be converted to more raw agility, so you may want to take Glorenzelg anyway.
Havoc's Call, Blade of Lordaeron's Kings is your best in slot if you're a dual wielding death knight. It's got the nice slow speed and high damage for weapon strikes, leading to the highest possible DPS and threat. Get a pair of these, and you should be set through the expansion, or at least to the Ruby Sanctum.
Welcome to Lichborne, the weekly class column on the newest WoW class, the death knight, where we discuss PuG etiquette and Emblem of Triumph gear for the Death Knight tank, 5-man Crusader's Coliseum gear for tanks and DPS,and basic Death Knight statistics and mechanics. You might also want to check all the other articles in our Death Knight category.