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The Death Knight Tank and You: Choosing Your 2h Weapon

August 18, 2009

Come on Blizz, let us use guns! =(

Come on Blizz, let us use guns! =(

We find our hero at the Northern Bank in the city of Dalaran, he seems to be in a dilemma. Which weapon should he be choosing to tank with? He has so many stuck in that account he does not know which to choose…

So yesterday, I did an amazing Heroic Halls of Lightning run, the group was fast and we had some giggles throughout the whole thing. Our healer was new to the server and was asking us if any of our guilds were recruiting, so I piped up and said, “Hah, if you find out give me a call, I need one that goes with the days I want and the times I want.” Then our Retadin piped up and said his guild was recruiting some tanking/healing spots and they are just starting to get into Uld10. Hey, at least he was honest right, so I decided to ask him some questions, they generally raided on the days that I wanted and not too late either. With these guys I could go to school in two weeks (ugh) and still raid, hot dog. As you can see, they took me in a heartbeat, I was pushing 2k dps and never let go of threat once the entire run.

Okay, now as we were talking he was browsing my armory page, he of course commented that I could get some better enchants (shoulders/bracers especially) but other then that he was pleased to have gotten me into the guild. Though, to make sure I knew what I was doing with my class as a tank, he asked me what weapons should Death Knight tanks be using, and that hit me. Many people do not have a major understanding towards what a “good tanking weapon is”. That said class, guess what we are going to be learning! That is right, our weaponry! Note: This is going over the Two Handed weaponry, Dual Wielding will be at a later date, sorry!

Stats: Obviously there are no WoTLK two handed weapons that will be great for us Death Knights at an endgame standpoint, no D rating or Avoidance, so we will have to make due with what we can. If you are still a little confused over what all of our stats do for us as Death Knight tanks, check out one of my older write ups regarding the stats. Now that you know what we use for stats, lets think about what most two handed weapons give and figure out what we are actually looking for in a weapon, right?

Three Shammies in one group makes me a happy DK!

Three Shammies in one group makes me a happy DK!

Strength: This is an obvious one, most two handed weapons have some sort of Strength on them, now as we all know for Death Knights Strength is one of our largest incomes for our favorite avoidance, Parry. Delicious Parry, you make us Rune Strike with glee! The other thing Strength gives for Death Knights is AP, or Attack Power, said stat increases our “power” or DPS so you can see why the DPS DK’s and Arms/Fury Warriors will go for this stat. Obviously, Strength is a key thing that we should be wanting out of our 2h weapons.
Agility: Alright, so it is not on the stats list I made awhile ago for stats that Death Knights want, because honestly we do not need much of it. If it is on our gear, we can take it, but it really does not give us much, it mostly just gives us a small bit of armor and dodge. Crit is nice too, but once again just straight up crit rating is better then agility. If it is on the weapon, I suppose you can take it, but there are probably better suited weapons for you elsewhere.
Stamina: Hit Points, we need them, we love them, and stam gives a lot of them. If you are over the Dcap, you should be gemming for this and hit/expertise anyways so definitely pick this up, but really I have not seen a 2h weapon without stam so it is almost a passive. Yes, take this, you want lots and lots of this stuff, it is like a money bath, it may not clean you, but it is delicious.
Hit Rating: Yes, 2h weapons give this, and it actually helps us out quite a bit. As you gear up, a lot of tanking gear comes with Hit Rating, mostly because even tanks need a bit of it. We do not need to cap it, but most likely you probably will as a Death Knight Tank. The more of this you have until the cap, the more likely your abilities will hit your enemies. Take this? Sure why not, but STR and STAM should be your focus!
Expertise: As we all know, expertise is the stat that we use to make sure that our abilities will not be dodged or parried. The more abilities we successfully land on our target, the more threat that we generate, and threat is something that we want as a tank. So obviously this like Hit Rating is a pretty important stat for Death Knight tanks, or any tank really. If it is on the weapon, scream “DO WANT” but if it is not, it is not a huge loss.
Critical Strike: Abilities will scale with your AP as to how much damage they do, but every so often you will get a critical hit with an ability. This hit deals much more damage than your normal attack, so as you can imagine, this produces a ton of threat. Crit Strike allows us to Crit much more often, thus giving us a nice threat spike. Now this is an okay stat to have, but generally your procs and such from your talents give you tons of Crits anyways, so your weapon need not focus on it.
Armor Penetration: This is a huge stat for Arms Warriors, and DPS Death Knights like it too, it neglects some of the armor from your opponent which allows you to deal more damage. So for DPS this is godly to have, but for a Tank, not so much, now do not throw away a good weapon because it has this, but you should rather not even look at the Arm Pen stat, just believe it is not even there, since it should not be a deciding factor on a good tanking weapon.

The Rune: The rune any tank should be using (for a two handed weapon) is pretty straight forward, it is obviously Rune of the Stoneskin Gargoyle provides for us 25 Defense Skill and 2% stam, so our Drating lack from a One-Hander and Shield has been made up for. Yes, that is right 25 Defense SKILL, Defense rating is there to make your Defense Skill go from 400 to 540, so as you can imagine 25 Defense Skill is a hefty number. Even if you are 25 over the Dcap, I would recommend you still use this rune, because most likely you have some gems or enchants that you could swap out if you are that high.

To: My adoring fans, love Elnoriah

To: My adoring fans, love Elnoriah

Speed: This is another factor that comes into play, a faster weapon allows you to hit much faster, yet while a slower weapon allows you to hit for more, just over a longer period of time. I have run a few tests between some weapons that I have gotten, and generally it is the slower ones that win for Tanking. Sure, a faster weapon lets me use my Rune Strikes faster. Yet you forget, a 5k Rune Strike crit a second later is probably more beneficial then a 3k Rune Strike crit a second earlier, no?

The Ideal Weapon: Assume that every one of these I throw at you have Rune of the Stoneskin Gargoyle on them, because all of you are just that great of students. Titansteel Destroyer should be the weapon you use when you first start your tanking Career at LVL 80, it has great Stam/STR and a huge chunk of Hit Rating, so it is pretty much the ideal weapon to tank with so far considering you have not touched raiding content. It is one of the faster 2h weapons, but for right now, it is really good so keep it. Note, that this weapon is easy to come by as it can be made by a Blacksmith, though not cheap, it is certainly worth the cash/mats you fork out for it. Edge of Ruin this is not the best weapon for tanking, but it does beat out the Titansteel Destroyer, though not by stats, merely by the DPS it puts out. You see, this time the Edge of Ruin has the Edge merely because it generates much more threat then our mace friend. That just made no sense, stats did not matter? Well, they do, but the loss from switching those weapons will not end your world, but instead improve your TPS (threat per second).

The Verdict: Weapons are a tricky thing to understand as a Death Knight tank, stats are hugely important, but so is pulling the most threat you can, which sometimes may mean you need to drop the mace with the delicious stats, and go over to that axe with good stats but major dps. Luckily for you, there are not many iffy choices like that, so most of the decisions are fairly straight forward, rather then cloaked like those two. Just remember, you can always go back to a weapon, so keep it in the bank, and if through testing you find the other was actually better, Stowe it and pull out your old favorite, eh?

Writer’s Update: Not much going on here folks, our Podcast is coming up shortly (expect it on either Thurs night, or Fri Afternoon) and once again, we are psyched! Other then that, it has pretty much been guild hopping for me, and hopefully seeing some Uld10 this week with the new guild. Should be a nice week, though there will not be many more of these for this Death Knight… school has to come sometime! Happy WoWing!
-Eld

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