Tanking weapons in 3.3

I thought it might be useful to review the tank weapon choices for Death Knights, and provide a rank order.

Officers distributing loot could consider this a priority table: I would suggest Ramaladni’s is prio for a DK tank, but not Hersir’s (give it to a hunter or other), but the caveat is Ramaladni’s is also an awesome dps weapon. If you’re giving tanks priority, then Ramal’s should be his, if you’re not, then a dps should have equal rights. I have put these weapons in ranked order, where possible.

Two-handed tank weapons are easy to order, and there’s a clear winner.

This was written before we knew that parry-haste is mostly off in Icecrown. Therefore I had weighted expertise more highly. Please consider that when looking at the list. Whilst expertise is still the #1 or #2 threat-stat, is no longer has much avoidance-value in ICC since you can’t parry-haste most of the bosses.

One-handed is more complicated because two of them are needed, so you might mix and match, plus there’s a balancing decision on threat versus tanking stats. I can’t rank order them as easily because threat and survival are valued relative to your content and raid. I’ve given analysis on weapon speed, expertise and threat in other posts, so leave it in your hands to judge. In the comments, I’ve given my opinion anyhow.

Regarding racials for 10-man gear: for a Dwarf or Human, Oxheart becomes #1, whilst for Orcs Ramaladni’s is even better. If no racial applies, then Ramaladni’s is the best.

PvP weapons are good alternatives if you’re able to get an arena-rated one. I discuss the season 8 arena weapons separately. Their insane stamina ranks them very highly.


Normal 2H weapon Heroic Source Comment
[item]50798[/item] [item]51905[/item] Deathbringer An incredible tanking weapon. Perfectly itemised for Blood tanks, and excellent for Frost too. Sockets, expertise, ArP, stamina. Better than the Lich’s drop.
[item]51796[/item] [item]51946[/item] Lich King Second, sure, higher threat due to its larger strike value and 10 more stamina but no expertise. I’d give it to a dps before a tank, assuming the tank has Ramaladni’s. If they don’t, then Lich’s weapon is a huge upgrade from anything else they could have. The 10 stamina edge doesn’t push this into first place for me unless you’re in a seriously progressive guild.
[item]51562[/item] [item]51833[/item] Valithria Dreamweaver Third best. Crit is not as good as ArP, and has less expertise. Still awesome.
[item]50761[/item] [item]51936[/item] Marrowgar Fourth. Stam, one socket plus to-hit for threat. A bit fast.
[item]51022[/item] [item]51857[/item] Prince Valanar Last. Less stamina. Not a good choice really.
[item]50048[/item] n/a Battered Hilt (Fifth; better than Greatspear. I use mine for DPS off-spec. It looks brilliant, it’s a rune blade. If you bought it to tank, you’d be disappointed when a proper tank weapon drops).
1H weapon Heroic Source Comment; not ranked so cleanly
[item]51795[/item] [item]51947[/item] Lich King First. Perfectly itemised tanking weapon, slightly fast but its stats win out.
[item]50760[/item] [item]51937[/item] Marrowgar Equal second. Great tanking weapon, slightly slower too for threat.
[item]51010[/item] [item]51869[/item] Putricide Equal second. Better tanking stats than Bonebreaker, but quicker. Expertise is great.
[item]50787[/item] [item]51916[/item] Gunship Slow, good threat weapon. ArP is nice.
[item]51021[/item] [item]51858[/item] Prince Valanar Slow, good threat weapon, haste is OK.
[item]50810[/item] [item]51893[/item] Festergut Worst of the slow weapons, as it has less agility than the prior two.
[item]50759[/item] [item]51938[/item] Marrowgar Bad weapon. Fast with no tanking stats, is not good. Give it to a deeps.


[item]Shadowmourne[/item] is not listed in the formal rank order. It’d be #1, but who gets it is a guild policy decision which should be a lot more complicated than dps/tps. Needless to say, Shadowmourne would be incredible for tanking with its AOE and single-target threat.

[item]49888[/item] is better than normal-mode Cryptmaker, but not as good as its heroic version and worse than both Glorenzelgs.

2h weapon Heroic Source Comment
[item]50070[/item] [item]50730[/item] Lich King Woot!  Stamina and expertise, and slow.
[item]49919[/item] [item]50603[/item] Prince Valanar Beautiful tanking weapon, whilst hit is a top threat stat you may not need any more of it. Unlike expertise which continues to be useful for ages, hit can be wasted. It’s still a lot better weapon than the other choices in 25-mans.
[item]50425[/item] [item]50735[/item] Lich King Difficult to rate compared to those below, but I put it as better than Bryn, and a tiny bit better than Bloodfall (this one has less agi).
[item]50178[/item] [item]50727[/item] Queen Lana’thel Fourth, surprisingly for a polearm, because these 2H choices aren’t great. Fast, but lots of agility (dodge) and the same stam as Byrntoll. I prefer it to Bryn if threat is not an issue (strength is better than agility for threat)
[item]50415[/item] [item]50709[/item] Marrowgar Equal fourth. The life drain does not make this a tanking weapon, since its proc is not big enough nor regular. Less stam and a bit fast.
1h weapon Heroic Source Comment; hard to rank order
[item]49997[/item] [item]50738[/item] Lich King Great itemisation, albeit a bit fast for DKs but all-round quality stats.
[item]50179[/item] [item]50708[/item] Putricide Was buffed for 100% uptime on the proc, making it 100 str and 104 stam. If you’re the MT, you get +300 on all the heals incoming, so if there are 4 healers on you that’s a reasonable extra HP/s. It’s slow too, which suits DK tanks and not warriors. At time of writing, I’m really not sure how to rank it, but my gut feel is it’ll end up being great if you’re the MT and less attractive if you OT, due to the scaling of multiple incoming heals. Jury’s still out. The 10-man options might be better.
[item]50412[/item] [item]50672[/item] Deathbringer Lovely slow threat weapon.
[item]50411[/item] [item]50654[/item] Gunship Bad weapon. Fast with no tanking stats.

Further reading

For Emblem of Frost rewards and 3.3 BOP items in 5-mans, I have a short list.

For warriors, Vene had just done a similar but broader overview, including Heroic Coliseum.

I have also tabulated the indicative threat values of strength, expertise, hit and agility.

On a personal note, I got the Ramalamadingdong and could not be happier. I love it. I joked about doing a race change to Orc to make it even more awesome, but Taurens have me by the heart-strings.

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48 comments to Tanking weapons in 3.3

  • Instructions
    Twitter: awfullyquiet

    Don’t forget the extra 80 expertise will also be a nice threat boost… Whereas Bryntroll has none.

  • Aeura

    Wouldn’t Warmace of Menethil be best in slot for a human instead of Oxheart, or am I looking at this the wrong way?

  • Lasenka

    Curious: I’m running Ramaldani’s Heroic, and I think I’d prefer it to Cryptmaker Heroic (20 stam vs. Expertise?) I’m curious on your thoughts. To give you more background, I’m ~150 hit and 7 expertise w/o a weapon.

  • Gravity
    Twitter: gravitydk

    When compiling this list, remember it was before we knew about no parry on most fights in ICC (bear in mind a few still do haste, like Sindragosa, and she can kick your ass with it too). So I weighted expertise highly on that basis. Whilst it’s still not as crucial, I maintain it as a great general stat since its threat value is very high and there are those few bosses it helps on anyhow.

    @Aeura, Ramaladni’s is #1 for everyone due to stamina and expertise. As human you’d get more threat value from a sword, indeed. Menethil is ranked #2 already.

    @Lasenka, the higher iLevel weapon will do more threat because of strike damage. Further, with the 15% ICC bonus you might not need every tiny bit of stamina like we did when it was at 0%. If you mean 7 expertise skill you should keep Ramal, if you meant 7% then you could go for Cryptmaker for outright threat. Depends on survival vs threat, the usual dichotomy. :) You could run a Rawr or Kahorie sim to check the threat differences, if that’s a factor.

    • Aeura

      So when you said “Regarding racials for 10-man gear: for a Dwarf or Human, Oxheart becomes #1, whilst for Orcs Ramaladni’s is even better. If no racial applies, then Ramaladni’s is the best.”  is that no longer true because of the lower value or expertise?

      • Gravity
        Twitter: gravitydk

        The lower value of expertise combined with the 15% increased stamina aura are the two factors. What they do is change the “best” equation because you have been unshackled from stamina = #1; for example you can gear more towards threat if that’s going to be more beneficial than stamina in your circumstances.

        If you’re really not sure, then my recommendation remains sound: you’d go with Oxheart. Expertise is still a great threat stat.

  • Shaidarharan

    Where would you rank the 1 hand version of Quel´delar?

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