Hard to say.
One thing I can say for sure is use what works best for you and adjust as needed.
I am in a bit of bind. I see all these guides for how to itemize for armor or avoidance and I'm a bit lost and confused. The simpler frustration is purely because I'm averse to mathematics. The guides people provide seem so clear to everyone but I can't get past the numbers. My second bone to pick is trickier. I may be completely wrong and misguided, but I see the BiS (best in slot) guides and suggested itemization/theory-crafting as completely pointless. Perhaps I'm a noob, but I have a different set of gear for every fight. Sometimes it's a minor trinket swap, sometimes it's a full blown re-spec/level a profession before fight/re-keybind etc... I am in admiration of the people who can just do the math and know ahead of time exactly what will be the best, but I don't think some of the gear listed should be used over other items on certain encounters. It feels like it's just a general "if the bosses just melee'd, here's what is good" with no care for individuals or individual encounters.
This brings me to the meatier, "mathier", part of my post. I started playing fairly recently and as such I always had a myriad of sources to ask for help right on my server. I got some gear, some raid experience, nothing too fancy and soon I was on par with the top tanks on my server (According to friends I'm competitive. However, I place Pipez, warrior on my server, light years ahead of me). There aren't many Deathknight tanks on my server and by some mistake they all come to me for advice when I have no idea what I'm doing. My gear is a mess, I'm constantly trying different things for different fights. I try to go off server and ask real deathknight tanks what's up. It doesn't really work, most of them are frost (I'm blood) and I also don't think they are to fond of a noob begging for advice. I'm pretty sure Devium has me on ignore at this point. Even so, it's hard for me to read the guides provided knowing this is not individualized for me. I take what advice I can get from real DK's but it's what works for them. They have different specs, guilds, roles.
Here's the kicker, one of them will tell me it's armor time but the other will say it's avoidance time. They tell me how I should gem and I end up under hit cap. I get differing opinions and end up having to go trial and error with it all. I get it mixed up and I honestly have no idea what's going on. When people told me what to do and explained it back in the heroics days it seemed so simple. Now I have people asking me what they should do and I can't help them out. I see deathknight's on my server running around with my spec and ask me stuff but I'm clueless as to what to say. "Vodka, so do we go straight up armor in ICC? Should I get stam trinkets? Should I gem avoidance since it's debuffed?" I have no idea.
I get the sneaking feeling that the easy way to get an individualized plan is to input my numbers in some crazy equation or algorithm (I'm googling "algorithm" after this). But how do I factor in MT/OT, professions, guild raiding ability, etc...? I'm pretty sure my BiS will be different from someone in a top50 guild just because they can get to certain drops I can't. And if that's the case...won't it knock all my gear setup out of whack if one item is missing from the perfect setup?
Any help or thoughts are greatly appreciated.
Armory:The World of Warcraft Armory
Hard to say.
One thing I can say for sure is use what works best for you and adjust as needed.
Assuming you're tanking ToC10 and higher;
My most generalized tank stat priorities:
* Expertise untill dodge cap
* Enough Expertise & Hit to get enough threat (depends on raid setup etc.)
* Armor & Sta (EH, I consider 10 Armor = 1 Sta usually)
* Defense/Dodge/Parry (use TankPoints addon to tell me how much I gain/lose)
* Anything else
Enchants: Personally always enchant EH enchants, except Expertise on Gloves
Gems: All Sta, except
* If there is 1 Red socket and bonus is 6 sta or more, go Exp/Sta
* If there is 1 Yellow socket and bonus is 9 sta or more, go Hit/Sta
This usually gives me enough EH to tank what is needed, while at the same time provide a bit of extra stats.
Like Wartotem said just focus on primarily EH for the majority of bosses. About switching gear for fights it doesn't really need math just an overview of fight mechanics and what will wipe the raid.
Gormok for example will kill you with unavoidable burst, in this situation avoidance can't really help you so focus on EH. There are two bosses in ICC that favor avoidance and they are Gunship and Saurfang, these bosses favor avoidance because of the mechanics of the fight. Gunship favors avoidance because of the debuff that lands on you every time you get hit icreasing the bosses power making you leave the ship. Saurfang doesn't favor EH because of his debuff Mark of the Fallen Champion, he will cast this when he gets 100 bp and when ever the tank gets hit the player with Mark will take 5000 damage if the mark target dies Saurfang will recieve 5% more health.
You will also see the ocassianol use in unhittable sets, threat sets and damage sets. The unhittable set was used for Anub'arak adds and when ever you got hit there would be a debuff that increase your damage taken but are blockable, here you want as much block and defense as possible. Threat sets can be used for the threat intesive Hodir hardmode. Finally damage sets can be used where there is no other worry but hitting a timer, XT hardmode was when many tanks went to maximize damage so they could get timer.
Also keep in mind that some of these guides make assumptions about your gear level, and what specific pieces of gear you have. If you don't fit their cookie cutter, following their advice word-for-word will not be so helpful.
Thanks for the replies and advice. Much appreciated.
My follow up to this whole topic would be a more specific look at gear/enchant combos for each fight in the first wing of ICC. Which is convenient because I think I'm in the correct forum.
-second trinket. I'm leaning towards going double on-use dodge trinkets. My 1st slot is Glyph of Indomitability. My choice now is to bench my +192 stam trink in favor of Heart of Iron or possibly mix some stuff up with Corpse Tongue Coin and fervor of the frostborn. Any strong opinions about how to fill those two slots? I'm a big fan of on-use dodge. On-use anything really, since I can time it with bonestorms and maximize time in between armor pots.
-Enchants/gems. This is where I tend to scare some folks. I'm curious about gemming agility for armor. I have never seen it done so it might be super-fail, but I'll ask anyways. Can you gem agility or is it too inefficient? I see DK's with agility weapons and they sacrifice higher stamina weapons for it. Why not gems?
-How much avoidance is too much avoidance? I would wager it's possible to sacrifice huge stamina in favor of avoidance here. If the raid is fail and lets him build up blood, just pop a cooldown. I've been paying attention and I'm pretty sure I could survive comfortably with a set that has near 60% combined dodge/parry avoidance numbers. (outside of ICC, I'm not factoring in chill of the throne). Have DK's tried this before? With our numerous cooldowns I think it's worth at least one attempt.
Marrowgar is an EH encounter, Deathwhisper is a health encounter (spell damage abundant), Airship Captain can be avoidance or EH, but for the sake of simplicity I just wear the EH set.
I have yet to read a convincing argument for avoidance in iCC that didn't involve the airship captain and trying to avoid his stacking damage attacks. Coincidentally, most of those players concluded (as i mentioned) that EH tank sets are just as effective since you allow him to stack slightly more while you're over there, but you can more readily survive the higher stacks aswell. Assuming your healer can handle it either way, there isn't much point in gemming avoidance for one encounter that could be done just as easily with the same set you use for three others.
Marrowgar is EH because if you get hit 3 times in a row you with out heals you are going to die either way so if you are stacking avoidance in this situation you are relying on RNG too much and when this situation occurs and the attacks land which will happen you will die so you might as well give yourself a bigger buffer.
In Deathwisper pure health is key because of all of the magic damage involved. On gunship both of the options are both viable and on Saurfang it is about Mark of the Fallen Champion, every time you get hit the player with the mark takes 5000-6000 damage and if they die it gives Saurfang a 5% increase in health.
There are a lot of factors involved in gearing choices. But a couple of tools Ive found helpful are the addon: RatingBuster - Addons - Curse and the website : character planner . chardev seven.
It sounds like your doing a lot of research which is good. My best advice is to take the information out there and form your own opinion on whats the right thing to do. Don't worry to much about what other "top" tanks are doing. There are a lot of outside factors to consider, probably one of the biggest being what the rest of your raid is like. Do you have awesome healers, crazy high dpsers, ect. You need to find the strengths and weaknesses in your own team and help shore up where needed.
There is something so appealing about backhanding someone across the face with a shield.