PvE Blood Death Knight DPS Stat Priority

wotlk classic blood death knight dps stat priority featured image

Blood Death Knights have a similar stat priority to other Strength-based physical DPS specs, albeit with the extra gimmick that we also care about capping our spell hit chance, since a large percentage of our damage comes from our spells.

Stat Priority

  1. Hit Rating
    • Cap: 368 / 289 if the raid has Shadowpriest or Boomkin / 263 if you also have Draenei in the group
  2. Expertise
    • Cap: The soft cap for Expertise is 26
  3. Armor Penetration
    • Cap: 1400 Armor Penetration
  4. Strength
  5. Attack Power
  6. Critical Strike Chance
  7. Haste Rating
  8. Agility

Stat Explanations

Click a stat to see detailed explanations and discussion

Hit Rating is the most important stat that you can acquire. For Blood Death Knights, it increases our chance to hit with both of our physical attacks and spells, which is obviously critical. It takes 32.79 hit rating to get a 1% increased chance to hit with physical attacks, or 26.23 hit rating to get a 1% increased chance to hit with spells.

Unholy Death Knights require 8% increased hit chance in order to never miss with melee attacks, but more importantly, they also require 17% increased hit chance in order to never miss with spells — this is the cap we’ll be aiming for. 17% is fairly difficult to reach on with gear alone, but thankfully, there are multiple ways to reduce that amount.

As Blood Death Knights, if we follow the standard build we get 3% increased spell hit chance thanks to our Virulence talent, so right off the bat we only need 14% spell hit chance / 368 hit rating for our cap. Furthermore, a typical raid will have either a Shadow Priest or a Balance Druid applying the 3% increased spell hit chance debuff (Misery / Improved Faerie Fire, respectively), which means we only require 11% spell hit chance from our equipment, or 289 hit rating in order to cap. Having a Draenei player in your party reduces that requirement by a further 1%, meaning we need10% spell hit / 263 hit rating. These amounts helpfully cap your physical hit chance, too!

Expertise reduces the chance that your attacks will be either parried or dodged; this stat is extremely important for all melee classes. This stat should always be capped, with the cap being 26. You will not want to reach the Hard Cap of 56 expertise as you will always place yourself behind a boss.

Armor Penetration is one of the most powerful stats in WotLK, empowering all physical damage-dealing classes by allowing them to bypass a percentage of the target’s armor. Armor Penetration is weak at the beginning of the expansion, growing to be one of the most broken stats in the game in the later stages of the expansion.

The cap for Armor Penetration is 1400, and so reaching the cap at the beginning of the expansion isn’t eactly achievable; you’ll mostly be relying on trinkets providing large amounts of Armor Penetration for a very short period of time. In the later phases of the expansion, reaching as close as possible to the Armor Penetration cap is an absolute must, especially considering how reliant we are on physical damage (even if we are considered a hybrid damage-dealer specialization).

As a Blood Death Knight in the role of a damage dealer, you will absolutely want to attain the cap as fast as possible. This can only be achieved in the last phase of the expansion, however, as you will be relying on trinket procs until then.

Stats per phase at BiS:

  • Phase 1: 250 before trinket proc: 862 with trinket proc
  • Phase 2: 417 before trinket procs ->1400 with both trinket procs
  • Phase 3: 522 before trinket proc -> 1187 with trinket proc
  • Phase 4:1360-1400

Strength is one of the core stats of our class, increasing our Attack Power. You should aim to acquire as much Strength as possible to maximize your damage. Your gear will naturally offer you Strength, while you also have the option of stacking Strength Gems in your sockets to increase it further. Especially in the early parts of the expansion, stacking Strength Gems will allow you to maximize your damage output.

Attack power makes your attacks hit harder — it is one of the core stats of all physical damage dealers, melee or ranged. For Death Knights specifically, you’ll get the bulk of your attack power from strength, as items with strength will generally offer more attack power than items that offer raw attack power. It is not a bad stat at all, you’ll simply gain more of it via Strength than you would from items that specifically give Attack Power.

Crit rating is a great stat for any physical damage dealer, increasing your chances of landing a critical strike. You gain a 1% increased chance to crit for every 45.91 Crit rating you have. As a Blood Death Knight, you will gain plenty of Critical Strike Chance from your equipment and enchantments, and have no need to use gems to attain more.

Since our specialization is the burst type, you will want to attain a considerable amount of critical strike chance, even with raid buffs taken into consideration as well.

Stats per phase at BiS without buffs:

  • Phase 1: 25%
  • Phase 2: 26%
  • Phase 3: 32%
  • Phase 4: 37%

Some may be surprised to see agility on this list, as it is typically associated with rogues and hunters rather than Death Knights. The truth is that it’s useful for every physical damage dealer, as it increases your Crit chance by an amount that varies between classes. Death Knights gain 1% increased chance to crit for every 62.5 agility they have, or 1% crit per 56.82 agility when buffed with Greater Blessing of Kings.

In general, Agility will be a slightly weaker version of Crit rating, like how Attack Power is a weaker version of Strength. It’s by no means a bad stat — don’t shy away from taking an item because it has agility, as many strong Armor Penetration items will be leather or mail, and thus have agility on them. Most Strength items don’t have Agility, however, so don’t go out of your way to grab agility items either. Never gem agility!

Haste Rating increases the attack speed of your attacks, allowing you to proc your passive effects such as Necrosis faster. However, your gear will seldom grant you Haste Rating, and so you’ll have to rely on effects such as Potion of Speed, Hyperspeed Accelerators, and Bloodlust/Heroism.

You gain 1% increased attack speed for every 32.79 haste rating you have.


About the Author


Hey there folks, I am Nevermore and have been deeply passionate about WoW for more than a decade. Whether we talk about the hidden mysteries of Azeroth or the otherworldly Outland, my journey brought me here to share the things that I have experienced with you all.
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1 year ago

Hey, is there a Statweight list to import to Sims etc. ?

1 year ago

Dont u need like 980 arp only ? Cause 10% from talents(140) and 20% sunders(280) ?

Reply to  Blego
1 year ago

ARP math is weird and complicated, but 1400 would be the hard cap where there is no possible gain after that point.

Reply to  Blego
10 months ago

Just to chime in on this, you’re partially correct – sunder armor doesn’t work the same way however – but you can view blood DK the same as arms Warrior where you do need less arp to reach the proposed ”cap” – however armor pen is more complicated than that and you actually STILL gain DPS when you go over 1400, but after that it starts having diminishing returns (meaning the more you go over the cap the less benefit it will provide), that’s because armor pen merely gives you a ”chance” to ignore ”up to X amount of armor” and going over the hard cap increases this chance. But you should not actively chase armor pen anymore once you reach this point and are better off avoiding it – same goes for the softcap, so as a blood DK it’s perfectly fine to aim for 1260 armor penetration rating instead.

Last edited 10 months ago by Jamielolx
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