There's some pretty sweet upgrades to be found for tanks in the Coliseums. Most of the tank gear doesn't even deal with block rating or block value, so you'll be home free on weighing stats for the most part. Nothing but pure, clean upgrades here. In fact, they even blow away some Naxxramas upgrades.
Heroic Mode Loot
The Regal Aurous Shoulderplates may be the second best news out of the 5-man Coliseum for 5-man running Death Knights. Our options for tanking shoulders have been pretty slim thus far, with Pauldrons of Reconnaissance and Iron Dwarf Smith Pauldrons being the only major options. The Regal Aurous Shoulderpads pretty much blow those away, with strength, stamina, dodge, hit rating, and defense in plenty, plus a yellow gem slot that you can use to grab some extra defense or hit rating should you need it. It also outpaces the Abomination Shoulderblades, and is arguably slightly better than the Pauldrons of Unnatural Death unless you really need the expertise.
The Helm of the Crestfallen Challenger blows away the Ground Tremor Helm on every imaginable front, with upgrades to every stat plus some parry rating for good measure. It's definitely comparable and probably a bit better than the Thane's Tainted Greathelm as well, and is a nice alternative to the Helm of Vital Protection. In addition, the non-meta gem slot is Blue, which means you're clear to stick in a Solid Majestic Zircon, for example.
The Mark of the Relentless is also a perfect Death Knight tank ring, with parry rating, armor, and expertise. It beats out pretty much any blue ring you'll find assuming you don't need the defense, and it should make a perfect companion to the Titanium Earthguard Ring. It will also nicely complement (or replace) either the Sand Worn Band or the Deflection Band, if you've picked those up in Naxxramas. Be sure to pick up another blue gem to stick in the gem slot too.
The Warlord's Depravity is where Coliseum loot stumbles a bit for Death Knights. This is primarily because neck has block value, which is useless for us. You'll probably actually be better off sticking with the Chained Military Gorget, although the Warlord's Depravity does technically have a bit more Stamina. If you're headed to 25-man Naxxramas, Heritage and Boundless Ambition will both beat this neck out (Note: Wowhead currently shows no block value on the Warlord's Depravity, but other reports claim it does have 99 block value).
Normal Mode Loot
But wait, there's more! Even if you're decked out in Heroic or 10-man Naxxramas gear, the normal mode coliseum still may have some stuff for you. Since everything dropping out of normal so far is ilevel 200, You'll probably find some pretty nice upgrades here as well.
The Boots of Heartfelt Repentance will make a very nice upgrade to the Greaves of Ancient Evil or Sabatons of Draconic Vigor you've likely been using up til now, especially once you take the gem socket into account. They also make a decent side grade to the Plague-Impervious Boots, especially if you need more expertise and can afford to drop some parry rating. With the right gem, they could arguably be comparable to the Sabatons of Endurance, but If you already have them, you're probably best off sticking with them.
Mercy's Hold are less of an upgrade than other slots just because the Horn-Tipped Gauntlets are so good, but they're still pretty arguably a nice upgrade for your hand slot. They only have about half the expertise and the same amount of armor, but they have more stamina and strength and nearly as much defense rating, as well as some dodge rating, which, while getting a nerf this patch, is still nothing to sneeze at. To top it off, you'll also get a red gem slot. If you can spare the expertise off the Horn Tipped Gauntlets, this is a solid upgrade. They're a side grade to Gauntlets of the Master as is, but may arguably be better with the right gem.
Legguards of Abandoned Fealty are nice upgrade to Bolstered Legplates. They lose some defense rating and strength, but they have a blue gem slot instead of a red slot, more stamina, and a bunch of dodge and expertise. Just be sure you can afford the hit to your hit rating.
The Girdle of the Pallid Knight is, at the least, a pretty decent side grade to the Waistguard of Living Iron. It loses a bit of defense and strength and replaces the Waistguard's dodge rating with hit rating, but it also a good chunk more parry rating, and as well as more stamina. Overall, it's certainly useful, and probably worth the switch if you need some extra hit rating, but the Ablative Chitin Girdle would be a better choice if you have it from Heroic Naxxramas.
But if you want reason to keep running normal Coliseum, this one's gonna be your goal, most likely: The Black Heart. This tank trinket not only beats out Essence of Gossamer on stamina, but the armor proc has the potential to be pretty awesome. Of course, it looks like its not completely implemented yet, so we can't say for sure, but if the armor proc is high enough and triggers often enough, it could be a very tempting replacement for a Seal of the Pantheon, at least, assuming you can make up the defense elsewhere.
Now , it is possible that all this loot could change slightly or drastically between now and when the patch hits, but considering one of their stated objectives with this new 5-man and the new badge system seems to be to allow people to catch up to the higher tiers of raiding ASAP, I get the feeling this is, in fact, pretty much planned. I'd expect that all semicasual 5-man runners and alts will be spending a lot of time in the 5-man when Patch 3.2 finally goes live.
Welcome to Lichborne, the new class column on the new WoW class, the Death Knight, where we discuss Patch 3.1 cookie cutter builds, basic defense gear and Heroic defense gear for the Death Knight tank, Heroic DPS gear, and basic Death Knight statistics and mechanics. You might also want to check all the other articles in our Death Knight category.