If you have not been following the theory development on stamina, avoidance and mastery in our forums, I wanted to briefly highlight current thinking.
Stamina effectively has diminishing returns.
I mean whether you’re wearing a lot of Tier 11 gear or lots of top-quality blues, and have not stacked stamina in gems, you probably still have enough stamina to avoid any risk of dying before the healers can save you. You do not need more stamina to survive.
There is a lot of math and some if / then conditions involved in this statement, so if you’d like to get involved please read the full threads linked below.
This post is the TLDR version.
So once you have enough stamina, what matters next is your healers’ mana, and you help them by using mastery or avoidance stats. That includes your runeforge. Just in the last few days, Anaroth’s led a surprising analysis on runeforges which leads me to conclude that once you’re geared appropriately for your content, the swordshattering (parry) runeforge is going to be more helpful than gargoyle.
Gargoyle used to automatically be the best because it has more stamina. Enough said, that used to be the end of the conversation. However in Cataclysm, there will be point of gearing where you gain less from additional stamina than you would gain from additional avoidance.
In terms of gems, the same argument stands that mastery instead of pure stamina is valid.
Whilst the +armour of gargoyle is very attractive, at our lower level of total armour and avoidance in Cataclysm (as opposed to high levels of both in WotLK), currently the avoidance runeforge is looking better once you have enough stamina.
There is no hard rule yet for how much is ‘enough’, but it won’t be hard to work out case-by-case. If you do not get heals, do you die in a 8s window or so? Then get more stamina. I don’t yet know how much time is the right minimum, but that’s the gist of it.
I have revoked my earlier post about stamina being the emperor, my thinking now is bias to a richer and more complex model — something like: stamina is king up to some point, after which you should go for mastery or avoidance (in that order). I guess that makes Mastery the new overlord.