• World of Warcraft- Wrath of the Lich King Classic box art

    World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King Classic





    Online Multiplayer


    Original Release Date:

The Frost Death Knight uses quite a different setup in terms of Stat Priority vs. the Unholy DK Stat Priority. In this guide we will give you a high level priority of stats to focus on, then we will go more in depth on each stat to provide additional coverage on the topic. If you are looking for our full Frost DK Guide for Wrath, go here.

Frost Death Knight Stat Priority – Wrath of the Lich King Classic

Priority Stat Cap / Conversion Details
1 Hit Rating Aim For 263 Cap / 32.8 Hit Rating = 1% Hit Chance
2 Expertise 32.8 Expertise Rating = 1% Decrease to Parry or Dodge
3 Strength 1 Strength = 2 Attack Power
4 Critical Strike 45.91 Crit Rating = 1% Crit Chance
5 Armor Penetration 13.8 Armor Pen Rating = 1% Armor Penetration Value
6 Haste 25.21 Haste Rating = 1% Attack Speed Boost
7 Attack Power 1 Attack Power = 1 Attack Power
8 Agility 62 Agility = 1% Crit Chance

1. Hit Rating Caps Explained

For the Frost DK in WotLK, the main thing you need to know is you want to achieve at least an additional 8% to hit. This is where the 263 Hit Rating comes in, you can use the calculation below:

  • 263 Hit Cap / 32.8 Hit Rating = ~8% Hit Needed


The 32.8 in the equation represents the fact that it takes 32.8 Hit Rating to convert to 1% of Hit.

Additional Hit Rating beyond 263 is still very good for the Frost DK and should still be sought after. The more you stack, the more likely your attacks will hit and even your AoE Howling Blast will benefit for hit beyond the cap. It is worth noting that the Frost Death Knight will likely be using the talent Nerves of Cold Steel as we suggest in our Frost DK Guide for Wrath Classic.

If you do take Nerves of Cold Steel, this will take care of 3% of the hit you need, dropping your Hit Rating needed from gear to 165.

If you also have a Draenei in your party, another 1% Hit Chance is added, dropping the Hit Rating needed from gear to 132.

2. Expertise Explained

The Expertise stat will decrease the chances that your enemies will Parry or Dodge your attacks. You can think of this like a Hit Rating almost. Hit Rating will allow you swings to make it to the enemy, but they will still have a chance to parry that hit, or to dodge it completely. If you increase your expertise, those likelihoods will decrease and more of your hits will actually damage the enemy.

  • 32.8 Expertise Rating = 1% Decrease in Chance to Parry or Dodge
  • 1 Expertise “Point” = 8.2 Expertise Rating

Level 83 Enemies will have a 6.5% chance to Dodge or Parry your attacks. Therefore you need about 214 Expertise Rating to hit the cap and make sure no attacks are Dodged or Parried.

It is worth noting that other buffs and talents will reduce this rating requirement.

If you use our Frost DK Guide for WotLK, you will be using the Tundra Stalker talent which increases your Expertise by 5. As noted above, each Expertise point is worth 8.2 Expertise Rating. Therefore with this talent you will only need 173 Expertise Rating to hit cap.

Other Considerations of Expertise are if your race has Sword, Axe, or Mace Specialization Racial Abilities. For the full set of Expertise Rating Cap depending on your scenario, see below. For this example we will assume you use the required Tundra Stalker talent.

Expertise Cap Scenario Level 83 Level 82 Level 81 Level 80
Only Tundra Stalker 173 157 156 140
Human w/ Sword or Mace 148 132 116 99
Dwarf w/ Mace 132 116 99 83
Orc w/ Axe 132 116 99 83

3. Strength Priority

Strength will be the main primary stat you want to stack as much of, with no cap at all. Agility also helps, but it does not give any attack power for a Death Knight. We’ll go over Agility more in the last section of the priorities.

Strength converts to Attack Power at the following rate:

  • 1 Strength = 2 Attack Power

4. Frost DK Critical Strike Rating Cap

Although Critical Strike Rating is usually seen as a great stat, it lacks in comparison to the Hit and Haste stats for DKs in WotLK. When you land a Crit, you will do double the damage, but it does take a lot more of the stat to convert to 1% Crit Rating compared to the other previously explained stats.

  • 1% Critical Strike Chance = 45.91 Crit Rating

You will need to gather 45.91 Critical Strike Rating to convert to 1% additional chance to crit as a Death Knight.

5. Armor Penetration

Armor penetration is beneficial against enemies with high armor values. This will allow you to ignore a portion of their armor and thus do more damage. It is much lower in priority compared to any of the other stats listed previously, but still worth mentioning. Here is how it is calculated:

  • 13.8 Armor Pen Rating = 1% Armor Penetration Value

If you had exactly 13.8 Armor Penetration Rating, it would mean your attacks ignore 1% of the enemy’s armor; That 1% will deal its full damage.

6. Haste Priority Explained

Haste is low priority compared to many of the other stats. Unlike the Unholy DK, the Frost DK does not prioritize Haste over many other stats. Haste will decrease the time between attacks, making you swing and attempt to hit more often. Where the Unholy DK benefits from this stat by the use of its pets, it has much less impact on the Frost DK. Haste is still a very powerful stat for Frost Death Knight, but it still comes in 6th compared to the other priorities.

  • 25.21 Haste Rating = 1% Attack Speed Boost

It will take 25.21 Haste Rating to achieve a 1% faster attack speed.

7. Attack Power & Agility for Death Knights

Both Attack Power and Agility are very straight forward. They are the least important of all the stats listed and should only be taken if no other options from above exist. Strength will be a much better stat to convert to Attack Power at a ratio of 2 to 1, and Critical Strike Rating is a much better stat to stack Crit than Agility. Agility gives no benefit to any stat other than Crit Chance for Death Knight; it does not even grant Attack Power.

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