So you've just dinged level 80. Now what? If you're lucky, you've saved up a few Emblems of Triumph from random dungeon finder runs -- but for now, you're new, you're only halfway geared and you want to start running the dungeon finder as soon as possible so you can see the Lich King die before Cataclysm hits. How do you do that? Let's give you a few tips and a list of gear to shoot for to get you in top pre-raid shape.
Nailing your spec
All the gear in the world won't do you much good if you don't have your technique worked out. Luckily, we have some guides just for that. Our Class 101 guides will not only give you talent spec guidance, but guidance on stat priorities, gems, enchants and glyphs. Study them well.
- For frost DPS, we have a 101 guide, as well as some advice for further tweaking the build.
- Here's our unholy DPS 101 guide, if you prefer minions and diseases.
- While blood DPS will soon be disappearing, you can still finish out Wrath with it. Here's a guide to get you started.
- Check out buttons more death knights should push. Learning how to use these buttons can really push your game to the next level.
- You'll also want to learn some of the more basic useful death knight macros.
- We also have some advice for PUGs as a death knight.
- Here's some advice on making the best use of your pet cooldowns.
We've done gearing guides before here on Lichborne, so I'm going to go back over those real quick. There's still some treasure to be had here, and if you want to dig down deep and get a good overview of what to look for in each dungeon, you'll want to read these.
- Emblem of Triumph gear is going to be your bread and butter. Run random dungeons, get emblems and spend them on stuff. Here's a guide to the good stuff.
- Where Emblem of Triumph gear doesn't quite suffice, you'll need to fill in the gaps with dungeon drops. Most of the really good drops will come out of the Icecrown 5-player dungeons. Here's a guide of the best Icecrown 5-player dungeon gear for death knights. You may also be able to pull some decent gear out of the Trial of the Crusader.
- While you may not get a whole bunch of Emblems of Frost just starting out, it can't hurt to look ahead, so here's a guide to Emblem of Frost gear.
- When you're running your daily random heroic, you may run across loot drops that will do you quite well until you can replace them with drops from one of the newer dungeons or from emblems. Here's a guide to those drops, written back before Emblems of Triumph were in existence and before the new dungeons, but still full of drops that make decent stop-gaps until you can get better, especially if you don't have the gear to queue for better dungeons.
Another look at gearing
Now that we've looked at the raw data of what drops, it's time to get down to the nitty-gritty of what really works. Essentially, you'll want to get as much of your gear up to item level 232 as possible in order to get a decent chance at surviving and thriving in Icecrown Citadel. That essentially means you'll want to grab full tier 9, then top off your gear with various choices from the Icecrown five-player dungeons and Trial of the Champion.
This list will give you a basic rundown of what to shoot for as you gear up, in order from most powerful to least power. This will focus primarily on emblems and five-player dungeon rewards, since we'll assume that's what you're focusing on, though you may be able to get into a Vault or Onyxia PUG from time to time. Once you start getting into raids, you will get better drops in many cases, but for now, focus on trying to get the top one or two choices in each of these categories. Remember: As you gear and gem up, keep in mind your stat priorities from the 101 guides, especially in regards to getting 8% hit.
- Ultimately, aim for a Thassarian's Helmet of Conquest, or its Horde counterpart, Koltira's Helmet of Conquest.
- If you can get into an Onyxia PUG, you may be lucky enough to get the Frostforged Helmet.
- From the Pit of Saron's Normal Scourgelord Tyrannus, you can grab the Skeleton Lord's Cranium.
- From the normal Trial of the Champion's Black Knight, you can grab the Helm of the Violent Fray.
- If you're looking for a quick and dirty crafted upgrade, consider a Helm of Command or a Spiked Titansteel Helm.
- When you have the emblems, grab Thassarian's Shoulderplates of Conquest or Koltira's Shoulderplates of Conquest.
- Your best pre-emblem bet is the Pauldrons of the Souleater off the Devourer of Souls in heroic Forge of Souls.
- In the heroic Trial of the Champion, you can get the Majestic Silversmith Shoulderplates off Eadric.
- New 80 shoulders are surprisingly hard to find for plate DPS. You may need to get some Savage Saronite Pauldrons crafted to tide you over, or perhaps queue for normal Halls of Lighting and get Pauldrons of the Lightning Revenantoff Ionar.
- Once you have the emblems, grab Thassarian's or Koltira's Battleplate of Conquest.
- The Frost Wyrm Ribcage from heroic Pit of Saron's Scourgelord Tyrannus isn't amazing for death knight DPS, but it'll do until you have the emblems for tier 9.
- The Lost Reliquary Chestguard off normal Devourer of Souls in The Forge of Souls is a great starter DPS breastplate.
- If you're running normal Trial of Champions, keep an eye out for Breastplate of the Imperial Joust off of Eadric and Paletress.
- Malykriss Vambraces are essentially your best pre-raid bet for DPS bracers. They're off Forgemaster Garfrost in heroic Pit of Saron.
- You can get Vambraces of Unholy Command off of the Black Knight in heroic Trial of the Champion.
- Vengeance Bindings are a good starter pair of DPS bracers for the new 80 plate DPSer.
- Tier 9 gloves are especially superior as a gear choice here. Grab Thassarian or Koltira's Gauntlets of Conquest as soon as you get a chance.
- You can grab Weeping Gauntlets from Bronjahm in heroic Forge of Souls.
- Keep an eye out for Plated Grips of Korth'azz when you're running the normal Icecrown dungeons.
- Gauntlets of the Stouthearted Crusader drop from Eadric's Cache in Trial of the Champion normal mode and are especially nice when socketed.
- The Belt of the Singing Blade only costs 28 emblems and should serve you well until you get a better raid drop.
- The Bent Gold Belt off Ick in Normal Pit of Saron is not optimally statted for a death knight, but it's likely better than what you had before.
- The Girdle of Arrogant Downfall looks sort of awesome, but you'll want to upgrade it before too long. It drops off the Black Knight in normal Trial of the Champion.
- Tier 9 once again reigns supreme here. You'll want Koltira's or Thassarian's Legplates of Conquest before you make a serious attempt at ICC.
- Legplates of Relentless Onslaught beat out the Minister's legplates if only because of the gem slot, assuming you don't need the hit rating. They drop from Eadric or Paletress in heroic Trial of the Champion.
- The Minister's Number One Legplates off Bronjahm in normal Forge of Souls are a good solid option for your legs.
- Your best pre-raid option, Grinning Skull Boots, will come from the Captain's Cache at the end of heroic Halls of Reflection.
- Plated Greaves of Providence come from Paletress in the heroic Trial of Champions.
- There are not many solid awesome pre-heroic boot options for plate DPS, so you may end up wanting to blow 40 emblems on Bladed Steelboots if you get desperate. They're pretty solid, luckily.
- If you can find them relatively cheap or have money to burn, consider buying a set of Spiked Titansteel Treads to hold you until better gear drops. If all else fails, buy some cheap Berseker's Sabatons.
- Due to a dearth of good non-raid cloak drops for plate DPS, you may want to run Wintergrasp enough times to afford a Titan-Forged Cloak of Victory. It's not statted optimally for death knights, but it'll win out over most non-raid options purely on item level.
- Tapestry of the Frozen Throne, from the Captain's Chest at the end of normal Halls of Reflection is an excellent cloak choice, especially if you need some extra hit rating.
- If you're desperate for a high-level cloak, Hammerhead Sharkskin Cloak, again, isn't optimally stated, but it only costs 25 emblems and should hold you over until you can get a raid drop or save up for the Wintergrasp cloak.
- Drape of the Undefeated, from the Black Knight in normal Trial of the Champion, is a decent dungeon death knight stated cloak option.
- If you can afford it, a strength-based Darkmoon Card: Greatness is still a pretty amazing trinket going into raid content.
- The Mark of Supremacy is a good gearing option if you can't hit 8% hit rating yet. It costs 50 emblems.
- The Needle-Encrusted Scorpion is a passable trinket for a DPS death knight. It comes from the Devourer of Souls from heroic Forge of Souls.
- The Banner of Victory comes from the Confessor's Cache in normal Trial of the Champion and is a pretty passable trinket for the physical damage heavy blood and unholy specs.
- The Mirror of Truth is another option for you if you don't like the armor penetration on the banner or just don't want to bother with running normal Trial of the Champion. It costs 40 emblems.
- The Bloodshed Band, which costs 35 emblems, is a solid ring choice for any death knight.
- The Lady's Promise from the Captain's Chest in heroic Halls of Reflection is a very well statted death knight ring and worth shooting for.
- The Purloined Wedding Ring from Ick in normal Pit of Saron is a decent start for a death knight DPS ring, though the haste is less than optimal for most.
- The Spiked Battleguard Choker costs only 19 emblems and has some hit rating on it. It should suffice just fine for your needs until you get a better raid drop.
- In normal Pit of Saron, Scourgelord Tyrannus drops the Painfully Sharp Choker, which is a nice starter necklace for sure. In fact, if you don't need hit rating, it edges out the Spiked Battleguard Choker.
- If you're lucky enough to win or buy a Battered Hilt, Quel'delar, Might of the Faithful will easily beat out anything pre-ICC.
- The Tyrannical Beheader, from Scourgelord Tyrannus in heroic Pit of Saron, is your best bet for DPS outside a raid or the Battered Hilt. It even beats 10-player Onyxia drops.
- If you can get an Onyxia PUG, the Keen Obsidian Edged Blade is worth picking up.
- Garfrost's Two-Ton Hammer, from the eponymous boss in normal Pit of Saron, is a very solid death knight DPS weapon.
- The Edge of Ruin comes from the Champion's Cache in heroic Trial of the Crusader.
- At the end of normal Halls of Reflection, you can grab Mourning Malice for your DPS needs.
- If you have money to burn, the Titansteel Destroyer will still work nicely for you until you can get a better drop.
- Again, grab a Battered Hilt if you can. Quel'delar, Cunning of the Shadows will beat out anything before ICC.
- The Black Icicle drops from the Captain's Chest at the end of heroic Halls of Reflection.
- Nighttime drops from Bronjahm in heroic Forge of Souls.
- Aledar's Battlestar is a decent stop-gap one-hander from Eadric in heroic Trial of the Champion until you get better.
- The Ghoulslicer and the Hate Forged Cleaver come from normal Halls of Reflection, from Falric and the Captain's Chest respectively.
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, 5-man Icecrown dungeon gear and basic death knight statistics and mechanics. You might also want to check all the other articles in our death knight category.