Home > Gear > Signet of the Elder Council, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Agi

Signet of the Elder Council, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Agi

Sorry bears, I’m leaving you out today, because I know you already adore agility.

This is the Signet of the Elder Council.

It is the second best tanking ring available pre-raid for warriors and death knights of the mastery-stacking variety, after the Elementium Moebius band – and only because the Moebius band has a gem slot.

It is the best tanking ring available pre-raid for paladins.

And it’s an agility piece.

But there are ilvl 346 strength rings with avoidance/mastery!

Even though one of its secondary stats is near-worthless, Signet of the Elder Council outperforms them.

The easiest to obtain example of an ilvl 346 avoidance/mastery tanking ring is Felsen’s Ring of Resolve, from Therazane Revered. Comparing the two shows that, as usual from an item of higher ilvl, the Signet has more stamina (34) and more mastery (15) than the Ring; but even after reforging the haste on the Signet to dodge, Felsen’s Ring of Resolve still edges ahead with 62 dodge more than the Signet. So how is the Signet better than the Ring?

It’s all in the conversion from primary stats to avoidance.

4 points of strength give 1 point of parry rating. This isn’t an equivalence: it doesn’t just give you a chance to parry equal to 1 point of parry rating, it actually increases your parry rating stat. To find the amount of parry a strength piece gives you, divide your strength by 4 and throw out anything after the decimal point. 1 str = .25 parry, rounded down.

Agility gives dodge, but it doesn’t convert into dodge rating, so we think about it less. That’s a shame, because agility converts into significantly more dodge than strength converts into parry.

By comparing Whitetooth’s agility/1% dodge and dodge rating/1% dodge numbers, you find that the rule of thumb for comparing agility to dodge rating is that for warriors and death knights, 1 Agility is equivalent to around 0.4 dodge rating; and for paladins, 1 Agility is equivalent to around 0.6 dodge rating.

By the way, agility no longer gives armor, so it’s a straight avoidance-to-avoidance comparison.

Because parry and dodge now share similar diminishing returns curves, and because you can reforge them into each other if your ratio gets off-balance, we can make one-to-one comparisons between dodge rating and parry rating, which makes the agility to strength comparison even easier.

Back to Felsen’s and the Signet. Before taking their agility and strength into account, the Signet leads in stamina and mastery, while Felsen’s leads in avoidance. When you convert the rings’ agility and strength into avoidance, though, the Signet gains dodge equivalent to 76 dodge rating (warriors & death knights) or 114 dodge rating (paladins), while the Ring only gains 42 parry rating. The final comparison is

Signet of the Accord
34 stamina, 15 mastery, paladins: 10 avoidance rating
Felsen’s Ring of Resolve
warriors/death knights: 28 avoidance rating

Agility. It makes a difference.

So I should start rolling against rogues/hunters/shaman/druids?

Honestly, you probably shouldn’t roll on agility gear against someone unless you’re running with a group that knows and trusts you. It’s not at all worth the hassle.

For agi items that you could purchase, or that no one else needs, definitely take a second look before you pass them up. If they don’t have mastery, they’re not worth your time; but if they do, they could be unexpected upgrades.

Where to Seek Out Agility

The piece of agility gear that a tank will most benefit from is the weapon, as a Death Knight. Since there are no two-handers with dodge or parry, agility/mastery polearms and axes are your best bet for tanking weapons, edging out strength/mastery two-handers because of their superior primary stat to avoidance conversion. Strength/mastery weapons aren’t bad, they’re just not as good as agility/mastery weapons of the same item level.

Other than that, you should pay attention to possible benefits from agility pieces in your neck, cloak, weapon, relic, ring, and trinket slots.

Where Not to Wear Agility

Never take a leather or mail piece over a plate piece. Even if you have a choice between agi/hit/mastery mail bracers of ilvl 359, vs str/haste/crit plate bracers of ilvl 300. Losing your +5% to stamina Plate Specialization bonus, even if the ilvl jump is so large that you gain some armor, is just not worth it.

Never gem agility (unless you’re a druid). In Wrath, paladins who weren’t reaching for unhittable would gem agility over dodge if they wanted to meet a red socket bonus, because agility gave armor. Agility no longer provides armor, so there’s no longer any reason to choose it over parry if you need a red gem. Similarly, you should only enchant agility if your alternative is to enchant either strength, or a non-tank stat.

Never use a dagger, even if it’s agi/hit/mastery and your only other choice is str/haste/crit. Threat is a lot less important than it used to be, but it’s still there, and daggers have an extremely low AP coefficient – devaluing your attack power by 30% for abilities based on normalized weapon damage, including Devastate and Crusader Strike.

Don’t I lose threat from replacing strength with agility?

Pfffffffffhahahahaha threat.

Your AP from strength is a miniscule portion of your total AP in this tier. I wouldn’t worry about it. Plus, you get a bit of crit from agility.

Vengeance should take care of your threat; and if it doesn’t, it’s not for lack of attack power. As a tank, the only threat stats you should care about are hit and expertise.

Rules of Thumb

Mastery/Dodge/Parry > Agility > Strength > Hit/ Expertise > Haste/Crit

1 Agility = about 0.4 dodge rating (warriors, death knights)

1 Agility = about 0.6 dodge rating (paladins)

1 Strength = 0.25 parry rating

  1. February 20, 2011 at 8:44 am

    Actually, according to some of the theory-crafting out there, expertise is no longer a huge concern, while hit depends on the class. This is mostly due to the presence of Vengeance.

    • February 20, 2011 at 1:44 pm

      I just meant to say that the contribution to threat from strength is dwarfed by the contribution to threat from hit and expertise.

      Given that I had said in the previous sentence “Vengeance should take care of your threat,” though, I don’t know how I could be more clear.

      • February 21, 2011 at 6:56 pm

        Rereading it today, I can see how that paragraph could be confusing: I transitioned between theory and practice with only a semicolon. Now that it’s written, though, unpacking and clarifying the statement would be a serious break in flow, so I’ll do it here instead of editing the text.

        Vengeance should in theory take care of your threat; but what happens in theory doesn’t always happen in practice. So if you are for some reason having threat problems, will taking an AGI piece over an identical STR piece hurt you? Unlikely. The AP you lose from taking agility over strength (all other stats being equal) is dwarfed by the huge amount of AP you gain from Vengeance: your total AP from gear is only about a quarter of your max AP with a large stack of Vengeance, and even with a small stack should only account for around half of your total AP. If you need to gear for threat, you should pick up hit and expertise, not strength.

  2. Deathwish238
    April 16, 2011 at 3:12 am

    Awesome comparison! I just went and bought mine, wish I did this months ago. I was surprised by the lack of good rings and necks for Tanks…but this makes up for it a touch. Are you sure that Strength gives a Warrior +Parry?

    I was very resistant to gimping my hit/expertise…and yes my threat can be pretty bad initially, but 30 seconds in with Vengeance 10+ % I have no threat issues.

  3. Dyzon
    May 5, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    Great post, I happened upon it when seeking confirmation that my maths were correct, essentially Signet is one of the best 359 tanking rings for DKs (esp. mastery DKs). It’s exceptionally odd that none of the major sites seem to awknowledge this (pwnwear, EJ, etc). Regardless the math wins in Signet’s favor.

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