Welcome to Lichborne, the weekly Death Knight column, with your host Daniel Whitcomb.
The patch 3.2 PTR continues on apace, and with the background downloader now delivering content to the live servers, we can only hope that the release date is creeping closer. With that in mind, I am continuing our preview of the loot of the new 5-man Crusader's Coliseum loot, which is all epic all the time, and perfect for any Death Knight who just hasn't quite managed to break into the raid game.
Admittedly, this loot is a bit less outright spectacular than that tank loot, if only because it has a lot of haste and armor penetration, which are less desirable for certain specs of Death Knights since we do so much of our damage with instant abilities or with frost and shadow magic which bypasses armor penetration altogether. Then again, if your rotation is heavy on Blood or Heart Strikes and Obliterates or Death Strikes, you'll still get some nice use out of the armor penetration, and as I mentioned a few weeks ago, with enough armor penetration (Although more than the amount that you'll get from this gear), armor penetration can even make Obliterate surpass Scourge Strike. So yeah. armor penetration isn't so bad unless you're losing a lot of strength to get it, but haste is sort of pretty far down on the useful scale. There's also a lack of hit rating on a lot of this gear, so you may find yourself frantically re-gemming or passing up an upgrade to keep yourself at the soft cap as well.
And regardless, this is all epic gear, so the stats are all high enough that a bit of less desirable haste won't be that bad to deal with. Let's check it out.
Now, I mentioned the Edge of Ruin last week, because it was so awesome, but I will mention it again here. It's an Axe. It blows the old casual standby, the Titansteel Destroyer, away. It's right up there with Death's Bite or Armageddon from Naxxramas. If you're a 2-hand wielding semi-casual Death Knight, you want to get this. Again, be warned that if you are switching from the Titansteel Destroyer, you'll be losing a lot of hit, so make sure you regem or regear to make it up elsewhere.
With dual wielding looking to make a comeback in Patch 3.2, I'd be amiss if I didn't mention the one-handed weapon drop, Aledar's Battlestar. While the stat spread is obviously more Rogue focused (Agility is pretty much a junk stat for Death Knights), the DPS and slow attack speed is just perfect for the weapon-strike focused DPS we'll probably see being useful for dual wielding thanks to Threat of Thassarian. This is definitely a prime choice for any non-Ulduar raiding level 80 Death Knight who wants to try out Dual wielding.
Majestic Silversmith Shoulderplates blow away the heroic dungeon competition by the extra strength alone, even if the haste rating is less than desirable for most specs. As a Blood Knight, you'd probably be best advised to keep your Shoulderguards of Opportunity if you have them.
As long as you don't need hit rating, Vambraces of Unholy Command are pretty much going to blow away your pre-Naxxramas options. Of course, Naxxramas does come through with some tempting bracer options of its own, mostly owing to hit rating and expertise. Vambraces of Unholy Command win the strength race by a lot, but Frost and Unholy Death Knights looking for expertise or hit rating may want to look into Naxxramas.
Legplates of Relentless Onslaught blow away the Staggering Legplates in pretty much every area except hit rating, so if you don't need hit rating, upgrade away! Legplates of Double Strikes may outpace these for Blood Death Knights if properly gemmed though.
The Plated Greaves of Providence have 31 strength and 55 armor penetration over Death Inured Sabatons, which should probably beat out the loss of 30 crit rating and a socket for the most part. Slotted epic gems might push it back over for Unholy and Frost DPSers, however, since that crit rating will beat out armor penetration for them in most situations. Still, you may just want to save the epic gem money and use the plated greaves.
Ancient Pendant of Arathor, while again, more itemized toward Rogues and Hunters, still beats out pre-Naxxramas options by sheer weight of stats. Collar of Dissolution from 10-man Naxxramas may edge it out if you need expertise or hit rating though.
Mask of the Violent Fray makes a pretty decent headpiece, easily beating out the Chitin Shell Greathelm, which the next best option from heroic drops. However, it's a little less clear if it beats out the Spiked Titansteel Greathelm at first glance. The Greathelm has, instead of armor penetration, 60 hit rating, which essentially puts it far above the mask if you need hit rating. If you don't need hit rating, it comes down to a question of 7 strength versus 56 armor penetration. For Blood, you'll definitely want the Mask of the Violent Fray, far and away, but 56 armor penetration should beat the curve for Unholy and Frost as well, assuming you use standard rotations that include Blood and Plague strikes (and Obliterate in the case of Frost).
Breastplate of the Imperial Joust pretty much blows away the heroic dungeon competition, providing a huge chunk more strength and some nice hit rating. Breastplate of Frozen Pain off Heroic Sapphiron gives this chest a run for its money for Death Knight specs that focus more on elemental damage above physical damage, but it's probably ultimately more of a sidegrade for those specs overall, especially since it loses some strength.
Gauntlets of the Stouthearted Crusader sort of gets into that yucky murky Haste setting. They edge out Gauntlets of Dragon Wrath thanks to their gem slot and extra strength. Likewise, they edge out Crude Discolored Battlegrips for much the same reason unless you need the hit rating.
The Girdle of Arrogant Downfall is a bit hard to puzzle out since it has both haste and armor penetration, which, as we've already established, remain the hardest stats to figure out for a Death Knight without a decent chunk of math. The haste and armor penetration together are probably enough to overwhelm the critical strike rating on Keristraza's Flame-Bathed Girdle, but the Gridle of Razuvious is probably better itemized for Death Knights below the expertise dodge soft cap. The red gem slot, however, if gemmed epically, could push the Girdle of Arrogant Downfall back into first place unless you are absolutely desperate for expertise.
Drape of the Undefeated is probably more of a sidegrade to Cloak of Bloodied Waters for most specs, but the haste should be enough to make up for the slight drop in strength. That said, if you've been through 25-man Naxxramas, you may just wanted to hold on to your Aged Winter Cloak or Drape of the Deadly Foe.
The Banner of Victory very arguably beats other pre-Naxxramas trinkets for a Blood Death Knight, especially paired with a Grim Toll, although Frost and Unholy are probably better off sticking with the Mirror of Truth or Darkmoon Card: Greatness.
Uruka's Band of Zeal is itemized more toward the Rogue side of things, but the pre-Naxxramas Death Knight doesn't have many strength ring options in the first place, so this is a great choice for a DPS Death Knight anyway. It's definitely a good companion ring (or replacement) for the Hemorrhaging Circle, though if you're in Naxxramas, Circle of Death and Ruthlessness are both going to arguably edge this baby out. Of course, if you have one and not the other, then you're definitely set for rings.
So as I said, while the DPS gear is a little bit harder to slog through than the tank gear because of all those silly extras stats, it still comes out looking pretty nice on the other end. It may change before the PTR ends, but, as I said last week, I don't expect much to change. If not in lore, Patch 3.2 does seem to be the Patch 2.4 of gear in Wrath.
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.