Welcome to Lichborne, WoW.com's weekly death knight column. This week, your host, Daniel Whitcomb, is busy applying for a slot as one of Arthas' pall bearers. Do you think I should wear the Ebon Blade Tabard or the Argent Crusade Tabard for that?
Good News Everyone! With the Deathbringer down, you don't have to wait for some gnome in a frying pan. The Plagueworks are open, and you can go right in. Before we take a look at the Plagueworks boss loot, you might want to go back and read the opening paragraphs of last week's Lower Spire loot guide. It outlines the basic parameters and stat considerations we death knights use in picking out our best loot. Once you've done that, read on for a look at death knight loot from the Plagueworks wing of Icecrown Citadel.
The Cloak of Many Skins probably isn't quite as good as the Sentinel's Winter Cloak for tanking, at least in its non-heroic version, but it is better at pure avoidance for sure, and is a decent option until you have the emblems to spare for the Sentinel's Winter Cloak, or if you just want more straight up avoidance.
The Festering Fingerguards are certainly a more than respectable pair of gloves. Not only do they have a good amount of hit and expertise, but yellow and red gemslots and a solid amount of strength. Interestingly enough, I've heard rumors of tanks spending points or rolling on these gloves, and I can't say that's completely out of left field either. If you're already at the critical strike cap for defense, and you need more threat, these gloves are near tailor made for it thanks to the hit and expertise, and the two gem slots mean you won't take quite as huge a hit to your stamina as you would otherwise. Besides, DPS can use their tier 10 gloves for the bonus anyway.
For dual wielding Death Knights, the Gutbuster comes out as a pretty decent side-grade or companion to the Frost Giant Cleaver from the Lower Spire, especially if you need hit rating. It also has more raw attack power than the Frost Giant Cleaver.
The Belt of Broken Bones is going to provide about as much avoidance we've seen from a tank belt so far in ICC, and provides two gem slots to work with as well. The Verdigris Chain Belt (from emblems) is probably going to be slightly better at absorbing physical damage thanks to the extra armor, but the Belt of Broken Bones is probably still well worth the DKP.
With high amounts of strength and armor penetration and a gem slot inviting even more strength, the Might of Blight has already made it onto more than one prospective best in slot gear list for Blood and Unholy Death Knights especially. There's a good chance that the upcoming Ashen Verdict strength ring will outshine it, but then again, that's what 2 ring slots are for.
The extra socket on the Fleshrending Gauntlets very arguably boosts them over Sanctified Scourgelord Gauntlets for DPSers at both the normal and heroic levels of gearing. That said, you still need to worry about keeping that tier 10 4 piece bonus and 8% hit, so be sure to weigh that before you decide to grab these. If swapping out for Fleshrending Gauntlets puts either of those out of your reach, you probably want to keep the tier 10.
The Flesh-Shaper's Gurney Strap is definitely a prime death knight DPS belt. Hit rating combines with armor penetration, 2 gem slots, and a fair amount of strength. If you're not running 25-mans, it's a good holdover until you can get the emblems for a Malevolent Girdle.
If you're exclusive to 10-mans, Rotface's Rupturing Ring is a very strong choice as a companion to your Ashen Verdict ring. Expertise and Armor Penetration mean this ring has something for all 3 DPS specs, and the near 1-to-1 strength to stamina ratio combined with a gem slot are even better.
The Bile-Encrusted Medallion comes away with the most armor and stamina you're going to find on a tanking neck piece in ICC thus far, and is therefore a very strong choice for just about any tank set, especially for physical damage based fights. This is worth grabbing for any serious tank.
The Blightborne Warplate is certainly a very respectable death knight tank chestplate, especially when you factor in the 3 gem slots, one more than tier 10. That said, if you don't need the hit rating it brings, you might better off with the Cataclysmic Chestguard or tier 10's superior avoidance.
Since haste is once again a somewhat lackluster stat for most death knights, most DPS death knights will probably eschew Winding Sheet for Might of the Ocean Serpent. That said, if you're at the expertise soft cap, the Winding Sheet starts looking a lot better. At the heroic level, the extra strength on the heroic Winding Sheet will probably make it outright more desirable for expertise-capped death knights.
If you're having absolutely no luck reaching 8% hit as DPS, Raging Behemoth Shoulders might be a decent solution, but honestly, most DPSers are going to want to stick with their tier 10 shoulders in order to keep the 4 piece bonus despite the extra gem slot on the Behemoth.
I'm going to repeat myself here. Scalpel-Sharpening Shoulderguards are decent if you're desperate for hit rating, but again, you'll probably want to stick to tier 10 shoulders for the 4 piece bonus otherwise.
The Infected Choker is of course a very nice DPS neck for any death knight who's exclusive to 10-mans. If you don't expect to raid 25-mans any time soon and still haven't hit the expertise dodge cap, this is your neck.
The Unidentifiable Organ, while a 10-man drop, is still one of the best tank trinkets you'll find in game right now. The armor combined with the proc give it about the highest effective health you can get from a trinket. If you don't need the slot for reaching 540 defense, you'll very likely want this as one of your tank trinkets.
The Tiny Abomination in a Jar is a cool concept, but while the proc isn't completely horrible for us (at least for 2-handed DPSers), there's better. Unless you really need the hit off of this, focus on getting yourself a Deathbringer's Will and let the retadins have this one.
Vanquisher's Mark of Sanctification is a second chance to upgrade a piece of tier 10. Again, DPSers will want that 4 piece bonus as soon as possible, but tanks can probably afford to hold off and grab non-tier pieces if they desire.
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 tank, 5-man Crusader's Coliseum gear for tanks and DPS,andbasic Death Knight statistics and mechanics. You might also want to check all the other articles in our Death Knight category.