We've covered pre-raid gear and tank gear in patch 4.2, so there's only one real direction left to go. DPSers get their day in the sun this week. Unfortunately, strength DPS itemization is sort of crappy in a few areas this tier (more on that later), but there's still some pretty decent stuff you can pull out. Let's take a look.
- Elementium Deathplate Helmet is your head option, and it's pretty much a no-brainer. Hit and haste are both amazing stats for any DPS death knight, and the red gem slot means it'll be relatively easy to pick up that 30 strength bonus. Forge the hit into mastery if you have too much, and you're good to go. The token for this helm drops from Ragnaros.
- Greathelm of the Voracious Maw is your non-set option here, but it's frankly not really exciting. It has critical strike rating, which is strictly listless as far as DPS stats go for death knights. Stick with the tier helm if you can. Alysrazor drops this one.
- Stoneheart Choker is your valor point option. Critical strike isn't the best stat, but the neck slot doesn't do many favors for death knights in Firelands gear. It has expertise as the other secondary stat, so grab this if you need some expertise.
- Necklace of Fetishes drops off of Shannox. It's somewhat the mirror of the Stoneheart Choker, except with hit rating instead of expertise. This makes this necklace arguably better for unholy death knights, since they devalue expertise. Either way, death knights should just look at their stat outlay and grab either necklace base on which secondary stat they still need to cap or which fits better in their reforging strategies.
- Unfortunately, while the Firebound Gorget has the best outlay of secondary stats for a frost death knight, it is itemized for tanking and therefore has less strength than other offerings. Avoid it for DPS usage. It's a Firelands zone drop.
- Elementium Deathplate Pauldrons are actually your only straight-up DPS shoulder option this patch. It's cool, though -- with haste and mastery, they're pretty sweetly itemized. You'll need to down Majordomo Staghelm to get the token for these.
- Breastplate of Shifting Visions is your drop option for the chest slot. You do want to keep your four-piece bonus, of course, but if you replace one piece of tier, it should probably be the chest. This breastplate is perfectly itemized for DPS death knights, with haste and mastery as secondary stats. It drops from Majordomo Staghelm.
- Elementium Deathplate Breastplate is your tier option. It has critical strike and mastery as secondary stats, making it at best a fair to middling option. You can use it as a stopgap until you have your other tier pieces and can swap it out, but it's not amazing. It's purchased with VP.
- Bladed Flamewrath Cover is your only back option and can be purchased at friendly with the Avengers of Hyjal. With a nice amount of haste and some expertise, it's decently itemized, at least.
- Earthcrack Bracers drop from Lord Rhyolith. They have critical strike and haste rating. The haste rating does edge out the critical strike rating, though, making these a solid choice for any DK who doesn't need the hit rating off the Gigantiform Bracers.
- Gigantiform Bracers are your VP option. They are also BOE and thus can be purchased if you want to save some VP. They have mastery and hit rating, making them a solid choice for any DK who does, in fact, need some more help reaching the hit cap.
- Elementium Deathplate Gauntlets are your tier piece and should probably be worn if only for the set bonuses. They have hit rating and mastery, so the stats are still pretty useful. You can buy these with VP or grab them off Occu'thar.
- Fireskin Gauntlets drop off of Lord Rhyolith. They're more or less an exact replica of your tier gloves, but since they don't actually provide the tier bonuses, you can pass them over.
- Fists of Fury are created from a blacksmithing pattern found in Firelands, but with hit and critical strike rating, they don't even have the stats to recommend over your tier gloves. Again, stick with tier here.
- Cinch of the Flaming Ember can be purchased at honored with Avengers of Hyjal, the Firelands raid reputation. It's really your only option here, even if it has the dreaded critical strike rating along with a smattering of hit rating.
- Uncrushable Belt of Fury is another plate belt drop here, and expertise and mastery would seem to be a better stat outlay for frost death knights at least -- but don't be fooled. It's itemized for tanks and has low strength to match. It won't make up the gap with the cinch.
- Elementium Deathplate Greaves are your tier DPS option. With haste and expertise, they're perfect for frost death knights, but even unholy death knights are going to want to pick them up just to grab the set bonuses. They can be purchased via VP or looted from Occu'thar.
- Lavaworm Legplates drop off Alysrazor. Hit and mastery are both useful to any DPS death knight, but you need the tier bonus, so stick to your tier legs.
- Arachnaflame Treads drop from Beth'tilac and are your only real plate DPS boot option this tier. Luckily, the critical strike rating is balanced by a decent hit of sweet, precious haste rating.
- Obsidian Signet of the Avengers can be purchased at exalted with the Avengers of Hyjal. It has the dreaded critical strike rating, but it's ilevel 391 and has a gem slot, so it's still more than worth purchasing and buying.
- Alysrazor's Band drops from Alysrazor, of course. It has a nice combination of haste and expertise rating and a gem slot. It's worth grabbing.
- Serrated Brimstone Signet is your VP option, but it lacks a gem slot, which pretty much dooms it to ignomy. It also suffers from having critical strike rating. Don't waste your VP on this one unless Alysrazor absolutely refuses to drop your band.
- Relic of the Elemental Lords is your only choice here. It's purchased with VP. You can reforge away the critical strike to the stat of your choice easily enough.
Before we list the trinkets, I should make a note here that strength DPS trinket itemization is pretty horrible for death knights this tier, to the point that Heart of Rage is a better DPS trinket all around if you need the expertise, and Crushing Weight and Heart of Rage's heroic versions will beat out any normal tier 12 trinkets for unholy DPS. That said, let's take a look at your tier 12 options.
- Vessel of Acceleration ends up being a somewhat decent trinket for frost death knights, just because our Killing Machine can keep the proc up most of the time. Unholy has a much harder time of it, though, and this probably won't be a great trinket for them until heroic level. It drops off Ragnaros.
- Essence of the Eternal Flame is purchasable at revered with Avengers of Hyjal. It has mastery, which is a fair stat, and an on-use strength proc. If you don't have access to tier 11 heroic trinkets, it may be worth using.
- Apparatus of Khaz'goroth's proc isn't that great and doesn't provide enough power to be worth it, especially for unholy death knights, who won't be able to get enough critical strikes to get the Titanic Power stacks with any real speed. If you can grab a heroic version of one of the tier 11 trinkets listed above, use it instead. It's a BOE zone drop.
- Sulfuras, The Extinguished Hand, is the crown jewel of the 2H options this tier. Not only is it a pretty spiffy redesign of a classic legendary, it's a higher ilevel than any other option. With that, the gem slots, mastery, and critical strike rating are practically just icing on the cake. Grab it from Ragnaros, then keep it in your bank to transmogrify any future dumb-looking maces.
- Skullstealer Greataxe has haste and mastery and should hold you over nicely if you're still waiting for that Sulfuras to drop. It comes off of Shannox.
- Zoid's Firelit Greatsword drops from a handful of bosses. The gem slot nudges it ever so slightly over the Skullstealer Greataxe in theory, but again, Sulfuras still reigns supreme.
- Obsidium Cleaver is your only straight up DPS option this tier as far as dual wielding goes. They're Firelands zone drops, so you can buy them if needed. With hit and mastery, they're pretty well itemized, too. Don't worry that they're lower ilevel than the Sulfuras. Many parses suggest you'll still out-DPS 2H frost.
Learn the ropes of endgame play with WoW Insider's DK 101 guide. Make yourself invaluable to your raid group with Mind Freeze and other interrupts, gear up with pre-heroic DPS gear or pre-heroic tank gear, and plot your path to tier 11/valor point DPS gear.