Threat stats equivalence points for Death Knight tanks

Dec 18th: updated for 3.3, using latest calculations from the simulator, and adjusted for ICC avoidance aura. Jan 4th: dual-wield frost updated.

DPS Death Knights are really into Equivalance Points (“EP”) to help them decide between one piece of gear and another.

Since I’m a tank, DPS is TPS and it’s not the most important thing. I usually have enough threat. That said, it can be useful to understand which stats are going to contribute more to threat if you are trying to improve it.

So, in my Kahorie simulator I placed my three recommended specs of survival Blood, deep Unholy and Frost. It produces the tables below.

How do you read the tables?

They use attack power as the baseline. For example, the blood EP shows strength is 2.27, which means 1 point of STR on an item is worth 2.27 as much as 1 point of attack power.

Key take-away:

Strength or expertise is number one.

Notice how important to-hit is for threat also. You can get them from food buffs without complicating your gear choices.

Caveat: the values vary with your gear

The below are good indicative figures, but you need to know the exact value will vary depending on your own gear levels. For example, a nearly-all i232 Blood tank gets EP for expertise, strength and to-hit (when below 8%) of 2.5, but a higher geared tank gains more from expertise (which is shown in table below).

Ideally, you should learn how to use Kahorie’s sim and determine EP values for your own character. In absence of that, the below values are a good indicator.

All updated to 3.3.


Strength | 2.37
ExpertiseRating (before cap) | 2.89
BeforeMeleeHitCap<8% | 2.37
ArmorPenetrationRating | 1.85
CritRating | 1.78
Agility | 1.33
ExpertiseRating After Dodge Cap | 1.33
AttackPower | 1 (0.27 DPS/per AP)
HasteRating | 0.81
SpellHitRating | 0.43


Strength | 2.21
ExpertiseRating (before cap) | 1.79
BeforeMeleeHitCap<8% | 1.72
CritRating | 1.45
ArmorPenetrationRating | 1.45
Agility | 1.03
AttackPower | 1 (0.29 DPS/per AP)
HasteRating | 0.9
ExpertiseRating After Dodge Cap | 0.9
SpellHitRating | 0.27

These figures explain why Unholy is a high-threat spec for starter tanks because their gear generally is low on expertise, hit and weapon damage, which the other trees rely on and because Unholy is mostly a spell-damage spec.

Frost – two handed

ExpertiseRating (before cap) | 2.83
Hit rating (BeforeMeleeHitCap 8%) | 2.34
Strength | 2.34
ExpertiseRating (After Dodge Cap) | 1.52
CritRating | 1.45
ArmorPenetrationRating | 1.31
Agility | 1.1
AttackPower | 1
SpellHitRating | 0.4
HasteRating | 0.34

Frost – dual wield

ExpertiseRating (before cap) | 3.19
BeforeMeleeHitCap<8% | 2.36
Strength | 2.22
ExpertiseRating After Dodge Cap | 1.7
CritRating | 1.56
ArmorPenetrationRating | 1.41
Agility | 1.26
AttackPower | 1
HasteRating | 0.65
SpellHitRating | 0.57

Model commentary

Model’s stats

All use Bluedragon stats (i245). Dual-wield was two 1.5 speed weapons (i245).

Other posts

See my weapon post for related topics, including how to choose the best survival-oriented weapons.

Related Posts:

8 comments to Threat stats equivalence points for Death Knight tanks

  • Matthew
    Twitter: gphreak

    Hi Gravity,

    I noticed that you use 3000 Attack Power for the simulation (double-checked the XML you posted on EJ) but note that the manual states the following:
    For the Attack power, copy the green value inside tooltip of Attack power

    Either the value needs to be adjusted or I am missing something important here ;)

    Thanks for all your sim work and posts, much appreciated.

  • Gravity
    Twitter: gravitydk

    What kind of AP value did you expect? Maybe I stuffed up.

    I checked Gravity’s, it’s 2800 and Suno is 3300.

  • Matthew
    Twitter: gphreak

    Again, perhaps I’m completly mistaken but the manuel of the simulator states to use the green value of the tooltip, not the AP value you can see in the armory for example. You can only see it ingame and it’s only a fraction of the complete AP value.

    • Gravity
      Twitter: gravitydk

      Oh I see what you mean. Hmm… would have to read the Kahorie’ sim thread to verify.

      Oh damn, I’ve been overinflating AP.
      Edit: thanks Matthew, I’m very grateful. I’ve updated a number of posts and my contributions at EJ too, having redone them with the BONUS attack power only.

      • Matthew
        Twitter: gphreak

        You’re welcome and thanks again for you’re work. Can’t wait to try out unholy in a real raid situation…

        • Spurgo

          Me too, hope it gets as good as the original unholy tanking was – besides the initial aggro sequence, no player ever took aggro from me in that one ^___^

  • caylvaeth

    is that expertise cap even reachable with dw, and if so, how can u possibly get enough dodge to even consider tanking with expertise that high. u would have to gem strictly for expertise

  • syk

    i was testing some stuff out on a target dummy (i know these things suck) but 1 DnD did more total damage than 1hs + 1ds, and a little less dmg than 3hs (death runes) but since DnD causes extra threat would it be better to drop the DnD? especialy when you dont have death runes up?

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