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Death Knight Equipment Guide

Basic Stats
Lets Start out by looking at the basic stats and see which is best for each type of Death Knight. For a breakdown of what the stats provide check back to the Death Knight Basics page. Remember though that these are only your basic stats – Strength, Stamina, Intellect, Agility, and Spirit, not your advanced stats. The next section will cover your advanced stats and they are at least as important as the basics, if not more so.

DPS – As a DPS Death Knight your main goal is to get as much Strength as possible since it allows you to cause the most damage. Beyond the stats that come on the gear that bring you the most Strength, don’t even worry about other stats.

Tank – As a Tanking Death Knight your main stat will be Stamina to increase your health pool. Strength is also a solid stat since it will up your damage output and therefore your threat, but it is a distant second from Stamina.

Advanced Stats
The advanced stats in WoW are all the extra things past what would be considered normal stats in most RPG’s. These advanced stats include things like your critical hit chance, defense score, dodge chance and more. These stats are critical to your character and must be watched closely to ensure you are getting the right ones.

DPS – Death Knights that choose to focus on damaging their opponents require several bonus stats. While leveling you should just focus on bonuses to Critical Hit, the rest of your focus is still on Strength. Once you have reached max level then you should also focus on getting enough Hit and Expertise to reach their caps. Armor penetration is also an important stat but since it is known to be too good, Blizzard has already started to nerf it and will continue to in the future. How much effort you put into obtaining it is up to you, just be forewarned it will change. As of patch 3.2 Armor Penetration is still a top notch stat for Blood specced DPS Death Knights.

Tank – Tanking Death Knights need to worry primarily about Defense until they reach the relevant cap, which is 540 for level 80 raids. Beyond that they also need to focus on Hit, Expertise, Dodge and Parry. While many Tanks are tempted to only focus on Stamina to give them as big a health pool as possible, the better method is to balance Stamina with a good bit of avoidance, granted from your Dodge and Parry.

Gems
Now that you understand the best stats for each of your builds, gems should be pretty easy to understand as well. You should always gem for your most important basic or advanced stat. Ideally every gem will be the same other than your meta gem in your helm and enough other gems to meet its requirement. This means that for most slots you will not be matching the slot colour. This is important to understand, since many players think that they must follow the slot colour and therefore hurt themselves by not getting the biggest benefit possible.

Damage – You should be gemming and enchanting for hit and expertise until you reach the caps and then focus on Strength. If you are still leveling just focus on Strength. The best meta gem is a Chaotic Skyflare Diamond since it provides crit and a causes all critical hits to cause more damage.

Glyphs
Glyphs are found in two different types, Major and Minor. Once you reach max level you can have 3 of each type. As a Death Knight the three major Glyphs that are best for you vary depending on your chosen role and your talent spec.

DPS – As a DPS Death Knight there are several options available to you. If you are Unholy Glyph of the Ghoul is an extremely strong Glyph since your ghoul will be out all the time. Even for non-unholy Death Knights though it is still a decent choice. Depending on your build you will take Obliterate (Frost), Scourge Strike (Unholy) or Death Strike (Blood). To round out your three slots Glyph of Dark Death is a glyph that fits in no mater the DPS build but is best with Blood due to the extra free Death Coils. The Death and Decay Glyph isn’t bad either if you are worried about putting out more AOE damage, but it isn’t as good as the others.

Tank – Tanking Death Knights have a few options as well. A fairly standard mix is Icebound Fortitude, Unbreakable Armor, and Death and Decay. Icebound Fortitude ensures you are able to use the ability when you need it. Unbreakable Armor provides a very solid increase in damage mitigation. Death and Decay provides extra threat, especially when there are groups of creatures to tank. Bone Shield for extra charges or Death Strike for extra damage and threat are also valid options, most stick with the initial three though.