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The Light and How to Swing It: Gearing a new level 80 tankadin, part 3

Gregg Reece

With the Light as his strength, Gregg Reece of The Light and How to Swing It faces down the demons of the Burning Legion, the undead of the Scourge, and soon an entire flight of black dragons.

First up, I'm looking for action screenshots of retribution and protection paladins. They can be any level between 1 and 80. I'll be using these for header graphics like the one above. Please send those as well as any other comments to my email at

Secondly, this is it. We're almost done. We're finishing our final installment of how to gear your new level 80 protection paladin. If you've been reading our previous weeks of this guide, you know that we talked over reputation and profession gear as well as all of the various dungeon gear you can nab. This week we're going to be taking advantage of all of that dungeon running and spending our badges with a look at all of the badges from Frost to Heroism (and yes there are exactly 7 useful items that you can trade Emblems of Triumph down to Emblems of Heroism for ... and 6 of them are epic gems).

Emblem of Frost - These are the highest item level items you can get without stepping foot into a raid. They're also a higher item level than the entry level tier 10 gear. If you're not planning on jumping into any raids before the coming expansion hits, then you're better off with the chest and hand pieces from here as they're higher item level than the entry tier 10 gear and you'll get more bang for your badge. The trinket has enough stamina that it makes tanks drool in addition to the on use absorb it can do. The frost level libram has about 10%-ish more dodge than triumph version.

Frost Tier 10 Set - The hand and chest pieces of this set are the same price as the normal frost badge gear, but these are lower item level. The reason for this is that you can get tokens from running the 25-man version of Icecrown Citadel which can allow you to upgrade these pieces at the vendor. So, if you're not planning on hitting the raids, then skip the hand and chest pieces and go for the normal frost badge ones. Otherwise, figure out what slot is in the most need of upgrades and fill it.
Emblem of Triumph - These are probably the badges you've got the most of i you've been running the random dungeon finder. Much like the Emblem of Frost items, the Tier-9 set you can buy is a lower item level than the other triumph badge gear. The triumph libram is pretty close to the frost one, so it's a good choice until you've got frost badges to burn. Also, picking up the ring would be a good idea and it's a pretty good deal. The trinket provides some armor, as well as including a really high amount of dodge for its on use ability. The shoulder and head pieces are going to be upgrades over the Tier-9 pieces you can buy, but you're also spending 50% more badges to do it. It's up to you depending on how many badges you've got available, but it's cheaper to get the Tier-9 items.

Triumph Tier-9 Set - This is the same deal as the tier 10 set above. These items are slightly lower item level than the other plate items you can buy with triumph badges. The upside is you can get upgrades for them. At this point in the game, worrying about getting that upgrade token for these Tier items isn't worth it as you can get better gear in the ICC 5-man dungeons. However, it's essentially a full set of plate for 210 Emblems of Triumph. Oh, and it comes in Horde and Alliance flavors.
Emblem of Conquest - There really isn't much reason to trade down to conquest badge items. The two things you might want to nab are the necklace and the belt. Otherwise, stick to triumph and frost items.
Emblem of Valor - If you're having issues with getting good drops in dungeons, there are two items you might want to trade badges down for. Those are the ring and the cloak. Both are going to be better than anything you'll find in the normal heroic dungeons (ie: those that shipped with Wrath). However, things in ToC as well as the ICC 5-mans will trump them.
Emblem of Heroism - Yes, there are still heroism badge vendors. The secondary reason (yes, I'm listing the secondary reason first) you'd trade your badges down to heroism is to buy an epic shield (presuming you didn't get the one that drops in heroic Culling of Stratholme or regular Halls of Reflection or buy one from a blacksmith). The main reason you'd want to trade down to here is to get epic gems. Yes, you can use 10,000 honor and buy gems. Yes, you can find an alchemist and transmute gems. Yes, you can find a jewelcrafter who will prospect for gems. And lastly, yes, you can buy them on the auction house. However, if you've got a bunch of extra badges and don't feel like doing any of those other things, here is where you buy your epic gems. Then you just need to get them cut.

The Light and How to Swing It tries to help Paladins cope with the dark times coming in Cataclysm. See the upcoming Paladin changes the expansion will bring. Wrath is coming to a close and the final showdown with the Lich King is here. With Cataclysm soon heating things up, will you be ready?

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