Welcome to Lichborne, WoW.com's weekly look into the world of the death knight. This week, we're mostly waiting for the cold front to come in, but we got some other stuff we can talk about for sure.
While we've all been waiting for Patch 3.3.3 to drop so we can decide if we're respeccing frost or not, It's become a pretty slow time in the death knight world. Debates continue on the best frost specs, whether Will of the Necropolis is worth getting now or even makes Blood the best tank spec, and so on and so forth, of course, so it's not completely quiet, but I've said my two cents on most of that before. It occurs to me, though, that I haven't really taken a good look at the Icecrown 5-mans for loot and opportunities for death knights. So for all my more casual and upcoming death knight friends, this one's for you.
As with similar loot guides, I'm going to shy away from covering loot that is not specifically itemized for death knights. That means that I will not be covering things that have attack power (with the exception of certain weapons), things that have shield block stats, or weapons that have quick attack speeds. There is, of course, a possibility that something that fulfills one of the three previous parameters will be an upgrade for you anyway, it is true, but between the new stat changes coming with Cataclysm and the fact you'll eventually upgrade a lot of this stuff with emblem gear, I feel it's best to focus on the stuff that has the biggest chance of keeping you well equipped for a while.
Forge of SoulsNormal
Legplates of Frozen Granite drop off Bronjahm in Normal mode. A Beginning tank should definitely not underestimate the hit on these babies. If you're still learning how to keep a tank rotation going or just need to keep aggro against better equipped DPS, you'll want some extra +hit so you can hit with Dark Command when you lose aggro.
The Lost Reliquary Chestguard off Normal Devourer of Souls is certainly not a horrible choice for an up and coming death knight DPS. You always want to make sure you're hitting that 8% raid boss special attack hit rating cap to prepare yourself for raid gearing, and while the critical strike rating is not an amazing stat for some, it's still solid. This chestplate should do you nicely until you can grab an emblem chest piece.
The Minister's Number One Legplates off Normal Bronjahm are essentially the Lost Reliquary Chestguard in legs form. Again, they're a solid stopgap until you can grab some heroic legplates or emblem legplates.
Black Spire Sabatons from the Heroic Devourer of Souls are a great pick for any casual death knight just because there's not really an emblem upgrade for them. You may very well be wearing these babies when you finally step foot in ICC. If there's one upgrade you may want to consider to these before you head to ICC, it's the crafted Spiked Deathdealers, which technically have a lower item level, but have 2 sockets.
Nighttime from Heroic Bronjahm is a very solid weapon choice for dual wielding death knights, if you're going that route this early on. If you've been trying to grab the Deathbringer from those weekly Onyxia PuGs and failing, this should do you good until you hit ICC.
Weeping Gauntlets from Heroic Bronjahm suffer from the haste issue. Haste is a 3rd or 4th tier stat for most death knight DPS specs these days, especially at low gear levels. These gauntlets will make a decent stop gap until you get your tier 9 gloves, but that's it.
Pauldrons of the Devourer from Heroic Devourer of Souls are pretty much in the same boat as the Weeping Gauntlets. They're not horrible, but replace them with tier 9 as soon as you have the emblems.
The Needle Encrusted Scorpion is the dark horse DPS drop. If you can't afford a Darkmoon Card: Greatness and you can't get into a Naxx pickup for the Grim Toll, this will tide you over until you can get some ICC trinket drops. Of course, if you need the hit and remember to use the use ability, Mark of Supremacy's better.
Pit of SaronNormal
Scourgelord's Frigid Chestplate from Scourgelord Tyrannus serves as an excellent stop gap until you can grab the tier 9 chest from emblems. You'll get a blue socket, and some expertise to help you with threat and with getting parry-gibbed.
The Painfully Sharp Choker off Scourgelord Tyrannus is another drop you'll want to make a special effort to get. It'll actually beat out most other easily obtainable options for the casual death knight, including the Spiked Battleguard Choker if you don't need the hit.
The Bent Gold Belt off Ick is certainly decent enough for a casual death knight, but again, haste is currently pretty lackluster for death knight DPS. I'd recommend trying to upgrade to a Belt of the SInging Blade if you could use the hit, or even a Belt of the Titans if you can gather the materials for it.
The Skeleton Lord's Cranium from Scourgelord Tyrannus is a more than passable stop gap until you get the tier 9 helm, especially if you need the hit.
The Purloined Wedding Ring from Ick is a very nice find for a casual. The haste, again, is lower priority for a death knight, but it'll do fine for you otherwise. You may eventually want to replace it with a Bloodshed Band, or even a Runed Ring of the Kirin Tor if you have the extra gold.
Garfrost's Two-Ton Hammer from Forgemaster Garfrost is a very solid two-hander if you need an upgrade to your DPS. It'll serve you well until you can get a heroic replacement.
Ick's Rotting Thumb is going to be a very solid choice for just about any pre-ICC tank. You may want to keep your stamina trinkets around for magic-heavy fights, but the thumb's great for avoiding blows on physical damage heavy bosses. Pair it with a Black Heart for maximum awesomeness.
Scourgelord Tyrannus seems to love dropping plate tank chests, and the Icebound Bronze Cuirass is definitely no slouch, especially since, again, the hit helps you keep aggro against all those tier 10 equipped DPS after their daily frost emblems. You'll eventually want to upgrade to tier 9, but this chest will serve you well until you have the badges.
Garfrost drops the Shoulderplates of Frozen Blood. These are very nicely itemized for tanking, especially thanks to the expertise that can sometimes be hard to find on lower level tanking gear. It's never bad a idea to clear dodges off the table at the least, so these shoulders will do you good. Tier 9 shoulders will probably eventually beat these out thanks to the set bonus and the extra gem slot, though.
The Tyrannical Beheader is the new goal for non-raiding two-hand DPS. To maximize your DPS or threat as a casual death knight, you'll probably want to grab this off Scourgelord Tyrannus as soon as possible, at least unless that pesky Battered Hilt drops for you.
The Frostwyrm Ribcage off Scourgelord Tyrannus is, again, cursed by haste. It's a good stop gap, but don't hesitate to leave it behind for tier 9 when you have the emblems to spare.
Malykriss Vambraces will serve you well headed into ICC, though if you really want to max your casual DPS gear set, get some Titanium Spikeguards made. They'll be a definite upgrade, especially once you factor in the socket.
Halls of ReflectionNormal
As far as tanking cloaks go, Eerie Runeblade Polisher, which can drop off either Falric or Marwyn, is tops. There's no real useless defensive stats on here, and it's a great upgrade over Platinum Mesh Cloak unless you really need that hit rating.
If you're dual wielding, take your pick from the Ghoulslicer from Falric or the Hate-Forged Cleaver from the Lich King. The Ghoulslicer arguably has slightly better stats for a death knight, but an Orc may want the Cleaver just for the axe racial thing.
If you're a proper 2-hand wielding death knight, Mourning Malice from the Lich King encounter should hold you over just fine until you can get that Tyrannical Beheader from the heroic Pit of Saron.
The Tapestry of the Frozen Throne from the Lich King encounter is another dark horse DPS option that is more or less going to beat out any option you can easily grab before Emblems of Frost or ICC as far as strength-bearing DPS cloaks go. Grab it and love it, you probably won't replace it until you drop the emblems for a Might of the Ocean Serpent if you're a true casual.
The Fossilized Ammonite Choker from the Lich King encounter is easily the best tank necklace you'll find outside a raid. It'll carry you into ICC easily enough. Grab it and wear it if you can.
The Orca Hunter's Harpoon off Marwyn is itemized for Hunters and Druids, but if you're having no luck getting the Tyrannical Beheader, the harpoon makes a decent stop gap. Just remember, all that attack power will be turning into agility come patch 4.0.
The Lady's Promise is another perfect upgrade to the Purloined Wedding Ring, with stats even better suited for a death knight, and, of course, more of them. Pair it with a Bloodshed Band for a perfect pre-raid ring setup.
You'll definitely want to get your hands on the Grinning Skill Boots from the Lich King encounter for your DPS set. They're well itemized for death knight DPS, and you won't find any better plate dps boots outside a raid.
The Black Icicle from the Lich King encounter is the best death knight dual wielding weapon you'll get outside of a raid or a Battered Hilt, so be sure to pick one or two up if you're trying to dual wield outside of a raid - which, while unconventional, may be slightly less crazy with the upcoming patch.
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 andDPS,andbasic Death Knight statistics and mechanics. You might also want to check all the other articles in our Death Knight category.