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The Death Knight Tank and You: Hit and Expertise

November 4, 2009


“My precious, so beautiful. Swordy, you have a scratch on you! WHO TOUCHED MY SWORD!?” Screams a VERY pissed-off Blood Elf…

Greetings students, now not too long ago I posted a little something having to do with two stats called Hit Rating and Expertise. Once you have enlightened yourself with that post on the basics of the two, we may continue on with our lesson today!

Finished? …No!?
“…Think they… can read… any slower?”
How about we do not find out the answer to that question.

Hit Rating

As you have read, the “Hit Cap” is the amount of Hit Rating we need to not miss anymore with spells and abilities. Completely untalented and not taking any buffs into account, the melee Hit Cap is 8% chance to hit, or more commonly known as 295.11 Hit Rating. Said melee Hit Cap ensures our ability to always hit with our melee abilities, such as Obliterate, Scourge Strike, Death Strike, Plague Strike, RUNE STRIKE, ect. As the Death Knight Tank, it is a good goal to have to reach the Melee Hit Cap. Think of it this way, every time you miss, you do not gain the amount of TPS that you could have off of that specific ability, and less TPS gives the DPS a greater chance to pull off of you.

The spell Hit Cap works the same way, except it takes quite a bit more HR to acquire this cap, a 17% chance to hit, but as an exact number it is commonly known as 445.91 Hit Rating. Yes, Death Knights actually do use spells, and depending upon your spec you may be using more or less of them. Every spec has Death Grip, Pestilence, Blood Boil, Death Coil, Icy Touch, and Dark Command (Taunt). If you are a bad ass Frosty like myself, Howling Blast is included into that list, so pretty much anything that you can use while disarmed, but not while silenced is simply classified as a spell.

445.91 and 262.32 HR are our targets as any Death Knight, so how is one going to reach the cap? There are a few variables that will come into play, if you are an Alliance player and are confident that you can get a Space Goat to tag along on every Raid that you will be doing, you can shoot for 1% LESS Hit, as they constantly give this to their group as a passive bonus.

Shadow Priests and Balance Druids also have spells that they can use to boost the Raid’s chance to hit, Misery or Improved Faerie Fire will give the players attacking the target affected with this debuff a 3% more chance to hit said target with their spells.

As a Death Knight, the only buff we can contribute to the two mentioned is possibly the 1% Space Goat hit. In turn, how will we be able to boost our own Hit Rating without including gear, which is our goal here as both Tanks and DPS?

Virulence is a Talent available on the 1st Tier of the Unholy tree, with 3 Ranks in it you will gain 3% more chance to Hit with spells. Just from taking 3 simple ranks you have knocked the 17% spell cap to 14%, not including Raid Buffs!

For those of you who bothered to level Cooking or can manage to mooch off of a friend of alt, you can grab some Snapper Extreme to boost your HR by 40 which is about 1% chance to hit with melee and 1.5% (abouts) to hit with spells, not bad at all.

So on a good day with Virulence and Misery/Imp FF (not including food buffs) it will take 11% spell hit to cap up, which is approximately 288.53 HR. Yes, that is a few HR more than the Melee cap, so in turn it is not as  hard to cap up with your spells with a decently-balanced Raid. Just make sure that your Spriest/Druid is reliable enough to keep on top of those! (Although for the Spriest it just works off of VT I think, and if they are not casting that, they need to reroll)

Elnoriah, what the Hell? How come 11% spell hit so close in HR to 8% melee hit?

Great question! They actually scale much differently, which is damned good or else it would be a hellish nightmare to even think about getting spell capped. About 32.79 HR is required to get 1% of melee hit, whereas it only takes 26.23 HR to acquire 1% spell hit. Thus proving that even though they are 3% off from each other, the numbers are not that far off.

Tanks: Do we need it CAPPED?

It is a great goal to get the Hit Cap and not miss as a Tank, but to be honest, we are already stacking so many other stats it can be pretty damn tricky to get capped. You want to be as close as you physically can be, so I would still recommend snagging Virulence, because regardless of the fact that some Tanks may be using more spells than others, we ALL need to Taunt. Taunting is a SPELL it has a chance to MISS, and we certainly do not want to be missing with one of our Taunts. Plus, we get a frigate-full of TPS the more we are able to Hit, seriously, who wants to argue that TPS is a bad thing to have?

So the verdict, no we do not have to be capped, but that does not mean that we should completely neglect in trying. We are here to take the damage, but in order to do so, the boss has to be pretty pissed with us and target us as the “most threatening” player in the raid. Yes, we are able to Tank decently without being capped, but in the end our job just gets that much easier the closer we are to the cap.

Yes, I made my own widescreen mode!Expertise

In my professional opinion, the Expertise Soft Cap of 26 is the most important secondary stat we have as Death Knight Tanks. Despite the fact if you are HC’d or not, mobs/bosses still have an ability to Dodge your melee abilities and white damage attacks (AKA weapon damage). Once you have acquired the Soft Cap of 26 Expertise bosses will never be able to Dodge your blows any more.

Sadly, they can still Parry, but that is a different story!

As a Tank we want to at least reach the Soft Cap, but generally it is not advised to go searching for the Parry cap because that is about 56 and you would be severely lacking in the Tank avoidance/Dcap/HP departments in order to do so. To a Tank Expertise (HR as well)  is a “secondary stat” meaning you should only be getting these stats subconsciously or only after you are completely finished with your primary goals, which of course are 540 Defense/More HP than your body has room for/Delicious amounts of avoidance.

Now that I have crushed your hopes and dreams of being a Hard Capped (unable to be parried) Tank, I can give you a physical number to shoot for. 26 – 30 Expertise is the goal as a Tank, but once again do not speand your hopes and dreams on reaching these numbers, focus on being a Tank first.

“Oi, idiot… are there… any ways… to help get this… Soft Cap… without gear?”
For you Munchy, there is no hope, but for my pupils, damn right there are!
“Oh snap… I’m going… to cry to my mother!… Oh wait… you’re technically… my mother…”
Sadly I lack the body parts required to be your “mother”, besides this lesson is on Hit and Expertise for Tanks, not “The Birds and The Bees”.

Every Talent Tree gives a Talent that gives either 5-6 Expertise depending on the Talent, thus lessening the amount we need to go for to hit the Soft Cap by the respected numerals. Of course those damned Blood Tanks will be getting the 6 Expertise with the Veteran of the Third War talent, allowing them to only require 20 Expertise to hit the Soft Cap. Our friends from Frost and Unholy will receive 5 Expertise when speccing into either Rage of Rivendare or Tundra Stalker making our respective Soft Caps need only 21 Expertise from gear/food.

Also, take into account that some specific races get a +5 bonus to Expertise when using a specific type of weapon. As an example, Orcs that use Axes get a +5 to Expertise with them, so not a bad trade-off at all! So, a Blood Specced Orc Tank using a 2H Axe will only need 15 Expertise to get Soft Capped. Holy shit…

Let us just say this is very, very, VERY easy to achieve. Now a days Expertise can be found practically anywhere we turn, so let’s go and snag a ton of it, hoard it to ourselves, and yell at the clothies!


Both of these are very important to us as Tanks, as I have said earlier (and will keep repeating until I forget to do so) the more attacks that successfully hit a Boss/Mob, the more Threat we create. Threat is a very good thing to have, and it is almost as important as being able to receive the damage that we will be receiving in turn of having so much Threat on our target. Still, just remember that even though both of these caps are very helpful, your Defense/Avoidance/HP are still your most important Stats as you gear up.

Happy Wowing!

Information on HR was found at Skeleton

3 Comments leave one →
  1. November 5, 2009 4:03 PM

    Just wanted to stop by and tag you for the dps version of the circle of healing questionnaire. Miss Medecina links to the tank version as well….
    but if you feel like it, do the dps version for your preferred dps class!
    Just check my ‘death grip of dps’ post!


  2. Hyperion permalink
    July 30, 2010 12:53 PM

    Hit rating / Expertise does not affect runestrike, RS is unavoidable, of course you need a melee hit to trigger RS, and melee hit is affected by hit rating, but well. Just a comment.

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