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Lichborne: Death knight tank pre-raid gear guide


Every week, WoW Insider brings you Lichborne for blood, frost, and unholy death knights. Join World of Warcraft's first hero class as we head into a new expansion and shed the new kid on the block label.

So a few editions of Lichborne ago, we talked a bit about stat priorities for death knight tanks. Because of that, I probably won't go over it much more before we head into this week's gear guide, but I did want to give you a quick refresher course. Let's run it down one more time:
  • Stamina is still king, but not as much as it was in previous expansions. You may find that there comes a time when more avoidance or absorption is better than a higher health pool, as the extremely high health pools and new boss design philosophies of Cataclysm mean, for now, that you'll rarely die from a couple hits.
  • In the mastery vs. avoidance struggle, you'll essentially need to experiment to find your best balance. Which stat is best for which tank will depend on personal playstyle and competency, healer and raid competency and composition, and other factors. You should take a balance of each, but where that balancing point is will vary. Recall that Death Strike is getting a slight nerf in patch 4.0.6, which will in turn nudge the balance more toward avoidance for most people.
  • When gearing for avoidance, try to keep dodge and parry percentages as close to each as possible, as they have the same diminishing returns. This means you'll always want to raise the one that's lower for optimal effect. You can do this by regemming and reforging instead of regearing in many cases, especially now that solid gems in every slot isn't 100% mandatory.
  • Hit and expertise are not as mandatory as they are for most DPS, but you may find they help you with threat. That said, you should never go beyond 8% hit rating and 26 expertise. If you're mastery-heavy, you'll want to focus a bit more on these stats, as missing a Death Strike could prove catastrophic.
With all this in mind, let's take a look at some of the stuff you should be rooting up as you prepare to tank the first tier of Cataclysm raiding. Note that while some ilevel 333 items may be decent stopgap options for a raider with an experienced raid group that doesn't mind a bit of undergearing, I've left them off this list, and you really should just try for the higher-level options. Finally, don't feel too guilty if you can't afford some of the crafted or world drop BoEs on this guide. Most raid groups probably won't hold it against you, and in some cases, they're arguably inferior to or only marginally better than BoP drops anyway.

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Filed under: Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne

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