- Author: Nevermore
- Date: July 6, 2022
- Expansion: WotLK Classic
The stat priority of Frost Death Knights can be considered similar to other melee damage dealers with a catch. The catch itself is that the class acts as a hybrid damage dealer, requiring you to utilize the same amount of Hit Rating as any other caster damage dealer specialization.
- Hit Rating
- Attack Power
- Armor Penetration
- Critical Strike Chance
Hit Rating is by far the most important stat that you will want to initially cap. Without having this stat capped, you will often find yourself missing both your melee attacks and your spells, resulting in big losses of damage. Considering that Death Knights are a hybrid class between a melee and a caster, they require both melee hit cap and ranged Hit cap. With the way our talents work, you need to acquire a 5% melee Hit Rating due to Nerves of Cold Steel, reaching a total of 8% melee hit rating while also needing to acquire an 8% spell hit rating due to Virulence reaching a total of 11% on your own.
In order to be truly effective, you will require to reach a 17% spell hit rating in order to be effective against raid bosses. On your own, you should reach an 11% Spell Hit Rating, with effects from a Shadow Priest such as Misery providing you 3% additional Spell Hit Rating and Improved Faerie Fire from a Balance Druid offering you another 3% Spell Hit Rating. Since those two passives do not stack, you will want to get as close as possible to the cap, without dampening your other stats.
You will want to acquire this cap no matter what phase of the expansion you will find yourself in.
Expertise is a stat that reduces the chance of your attacks being dodged or parried. As a melee DPS you will want to cap this stat, the cap being 26. You will greatly benefit from Tundra Stalker, gaining 5 expertise! Besides expertise helping you not get parried, you will always want to position yourself behind a boss!
Depending on what race you chose, you will also benefit from racial effects such as Human’s Sword Specialization & Mace Specialization that increases your Expertise rating by 3 with those weapons or Orc’s Axe Specialization increasing your Expertise rating by 5 in order to reach the 26 Expertise cap.
Strength is the core element of a Death knight, offering him 2 Attack Power for every single point of Strength. For Frost Death Knight especially, strength can be considered even more valuable when taking into consideration that Unbreakable Armor increases your overall strength by 20% while having only a 1-minute cooldown.
You will want to stack as much Strength as possible, especially gemming Strength gems in the first two phases of the expansion, as armor penetration will not be so strong early on!
Attack Power is a stat that increases the effectiveness of both your offensive spells and your basic attacks. This stat is mainly acquired through Strength stacking, however, you will also encounter it on its own, especially on items that give you Agility.
You can think of Attack Power as one of your most important stats, being gained from numerous specific class buffs and passive talents, flasks, and food. We can not recommend you a specific amount that you will want to gather, Attack Power being a stat that needs to be stacked as much as possible following the philosophy of “The more the merrier”.
Armor Penetration is one of the iconic stats of WotLK, effectively allowing your attacks to bypass your target’s armor, increasing your overall physical damage by a large amount. The cap for this stat is 1400, being somewhat hard to achieve without specific trinket buffs or a large amount of gems that specifically enhance your Armor Penetration.
For the early phases of the expansion, you will not want to prioritize Armor Penetration, having only sporadic medium amounts due to trinkets such as Grim Toll and Mjolnir Runestone. With the later phase of the expansion, you will want to heavily prioritize equipment that offers you large amounts of Armor Penetration, having an emphasis on Armor Penetration gems.
Critical Strike Chance plays a big role for Frost Death Knights, as their very playstyle relies on dealing large consecutive critical strikes. Early in the expansion, you will want to focus on acquiring hefty amounts of equipment that increase your critical strike chance, being heavily empowered by talents such as Guile of Gorefiend designed specifically to ensure that you utilize high amounts of critical strike chance.
You will gain a 1% Critical Strike Chance for every 45 Critical Strike Rating that you acquire!
You certainly do not want to use gems that only offer critical strike chance, as both Armor Penetration and Strength scale better overall!
Haste is a stat that is somewhat overlooked by most Frost Death Knights. It increases our overall attack speed while also reducing the GCD.
As Frost Death Knights, we greatly benefit from haste effects, especially due to talents such as Necrosis and Blood-Caked Blade. However, it will generally not be as powerful as the aforementioned stats.
There is no certain number that we can recommend you to acquire, however, we can tell you that you should never utilize haste-enhancing gems or focus on gear that only gives you haste, as it will dampen your other stats massively.
Agility is a stat that enhances your critical strike chance and armor value, being a stat extremely useful for Frost Death Knight. However, you should never choose to trade Strength in the favor of Agility, as it will result in massive damage loss.
You will want to have a total of 400 to 500 maximum Agility while fully buffed in the first phases of the expansion, reaching a total of 700 Agility in the last phase of the expansion when being fully buffed.