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Lichborne: Gearing for new level 80 DPS death knights


Welcome to Lichborne, your weekly look at death knight news, guides, tips and tricks.

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.

Once you have that sorted out, you're going to want to make sure you're getting the hang of the more subtle nuances of successful death knight DPSing. Luckily, we've covered some stuff that should help already:Gearing guide overview

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.

  • 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.
2H Weapons1H Weapons
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.

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