Legion – Blood Death Knight – Basic Tanking Guide 7.1.5
S – The blood DK is a…unique and interesting Tank spec, instead of directly mitigating Damage through soaking or avoiding it entirely like practically all other Tanks, you mitigate damage-taken through self-healing, by using most of your abilities, of which will make you feel invincible in certain encounters and situations but also feel really powerless in others. D – With that said, most of your abilities consist simply of damage output and self-healing with a great array of abilities dedicated to aoe damage, having one best tanking aoe toolsets in the game and obviously your defensive cooldowns that further empowers your healing and reduce damage-taken. A relatively small but cohesive skill set. S – The blood DK general gameplay is for the most part about dumping runes and building runic-power, keeping up Bone Shield with Marrowrend and just do general damage, once you have been injured enough, you’ll use Death Strike to refill a portion of your lost HP, mitigating in that way, the damage taken, keeping yourself alive.
D – But before going further into your gameplay and when to best use your abilities, let’s look at what talents you should be looking to use. As with most tanks and specs, most of your talents will change depending on the situation. In the first row, you have Heartbreaker giving an extra 2 runic power per target hit with your Heart Strike, your go to for cleaving and AOE on 5 or more mobs fights. Bloodrinker, preferably should be taken in single-target or less than 5 mobs encounters boosting your survivability and damage.
S – Next you would want to take Rapid Decomposition most of the time, Spectral Deflection can be useful but only if you’re fighting a very hard melee hitting bosses to make good use of it. Then Ossuary and Red Thirst. The following tier is mostly utility and situational Tremble Before Me…can be very useful in trash mobs in 5-man content, adding a constant cc a lot of the times cancelling out their abilities and attacks, Tightening Grasp though should be your go to for more frequent Gorefiends Grasp and adding a small cc to your Death & Decay reducing their movement, March of the Damned should only be used when in need of the extra mobility or the cleanser.Pick whatever fits you best depending on the content you doing.
D – Next your go to is Foul Bulwark boosting your HP by 2% per Bone Shield charge, Rune Tap can be extremely useful when in need of that extra damage reduction for hard hitting abilities. And finally, all of your last talents can be useful in their own ways, Bonestorm should be used when fighting multiple enemies such as in general trash or Bosses with high amount of adds, Purgatory when in fear of dying, essentially giving you an extra life instead, every 4minutes.
Blood Mirror should be taken instead for single-target when the risk of dying isn’t really present. Giving you a small damage and mitigation increase. S – Then we have our traits, our artifact weapon gives us the ability, Consumption, an extra cleave for our roster and healing for the amount of damage done, a really powerful healing ability when hitting multiple enemies but rather weak for single-target. Then besides the passive improvements, important ones to take note are Unending Thirst, making so when under the effects of your Mastery proc, which we will talk about more further, increases the damage of your DeathStrike and 25% Leech.
Umbilicus Eternus making your most powerful defensive cooldown, Vampiric Blood, give you a shield depending on the amount of damage your Blood Plague did(5x) during its duration. D – Then Skeletal Shattering, giving your Bone Shield charges uses, an chance equal to your crit to absorb an extra 8% damage on top of the 16% for total of 24%, and finally Blood Feast, making your heart strike heal by 25% of the damage done. Adding an extra layer of self-healing. And that’s it for your talents and traits. Now let’s look at the core of your gameplay and see all of this in action. As we said previously Blood DK gameplay is mostly gonna be about doing damage by dumping Runes to gain Runic-power allowing you to use Death Strike your main mitigation ability and keeping up Bone Shield. S – So for your general single-target tanking, such as most bosses youre usually gonna pull with a Death’s Caress or a Tuant any other ability Depending on your range.
But Death’s Caress does apply Blood Plague immediately and you will be able to keep active throughout fairly easy with Blood Boil applying the same effect but at no rune cost, don’t ever cast Death’ Caress anytime after, just when pulling, if you do end up using. Then you essentially use Marrowrend getting some stacks of Bone-Shield, your main passive mitigation, reducing each melee hit by 16% and giving you some runic power. D – Due to your Ossuary and Foul Bulwark you want to always keep them above 5 stacks, reducing the cost of Death Strike and boosting your HP, as well as reducing damage taken, Its main weakness is those fasting hitting enemies or vast number of them, melting through them quite fast, so something to look out for. Using Marrowrend every time you drop below 6 stacks should be good enough as it generates 3 to 5 stacks each hit and you don’t want to over-cap them either.
Then after its gonna give you a couple of choices, if in need to mitigate the damage that you took during that phase you would use a Death Strike if not, you could just do Heart Strikes, your filler ability, further increasing your Runic-Power. You should only use your Death Strike after taking a reasonable amount of damage as the healing is dependent on the damage that took during the last 5 seconds. Or if you reached the maximum amount of runic power available. Don’t let it sit at max, just spend it, even if you really don’t need the heal and be ready for any possible damage coming your way next, keep up bone-shield and runic-power. But remember that Death Strike and Marrowrend gives you the buff ‘Recently used Death Strike’ your mitigation check, that are needed in certain Boss Mechanics to avoid certain abilities, such as ‘Molten Crash’ from the last Boss in Neltharion’s Lair, make sure to have them ready to use just before such mechanics.
S – Now, your Death Strike not only heals you but also procs your Mastery, depending on your stat and the amount healed its gonna give you Blood Shield, a small physical absorption shield. Also proc-ing your artifact trait, Unending Thirst.As I said before. In general a little extra for your survivability. So even if you are in those situations at max runic-power and in no need of healing, the ability won’t go completely to waste as you’re still gonna get the shield and in turn the buff, for the over-healing done and of course, extra damage. In the middle of all of that, you have another filler spell for single-target, Blood Boil, re-applying Blood Plague and giving you a small damage boost, it’s free to cast so put it in your ‘rotation’ when you have nothing or not in need to click any other ability.You always want Blood Plague active not only for its very small healing but to proc Crimson Scourge from your auto-attacks, making your next Death & Decay free to cast, which is the only time youre gonna cast it in single target, giving you extra damage and runic-power, due to the talent, position yourself and the ability so you are always inside its circle to take advantage of its buffs.
D – So its pretty much all about building Bone-Shield Charges and Runic-Power with your Marrowrend. Or Heart Strike,if above 6 stacks of bone-shield. Then spend runic-power on Death Strikes mitigating the damage through healing when needed. In middle of that just use Blood Boil or Death and Decay, on procs. And do remember that Blood Boil does not build Runic-Power as it costs no runes, use solely as a filler and to re-apply Blood Plague. Heart Strike is your main filler and runic-power builder, you can also spam it when in need of Death Strike quickly.
Consumption is, for the most part, a multi-target ability but when in need of health you can always use it at any point for that little extra. As for BloodDrinker, if in easy content you can just use it for extra damage if not you want to use it whenever you have no Death Strike available or just as a good addition to it as emergency healing. S – As for your cooldowns, the one you’re gonna use most frequently is Vampiric Blood, highly boosting your HP and healing done by yourself and others. You’re gonna use it when in desperate need of more powerful healing done through your Death Strike and/or BloodDrinker or in anticipation of some high damage incoming, as it increases your health. Red Thirst talent greatly decreases its cooldown for the amount of runic-power that you waste, allowing for a lot more uses. Remember that due to the artifact trait you gain a shield after its duration, depending on the amount of damage your Blood Plague did , combo-ing really well with Dancing Rune Weapon, mostly a dps cooldown as it replicates your damaging abilities,applying up to three blood plagues, with the Mouth of Hell trait, when Blood Boil or Death’s Caress is cast, making the shield more powerful at end duration.
In addition, it gives a higher parry chance, a good defensive cooldown as well, when being attacked from those dangerous fast hitting melee enemies that can melt through your Bone-Shield quite fast. And as it replicates abilities one single Marrowrend can give you 10 charges in one strike, so can be used as an emergency for charges of Bone-Shield, as well. D – Anti-Magic-Shell should always be used to absorb powerful magic damage coming your way, fairly straightforward, it also prevents debuffs during its duration, so can be used as an anticipation cooldown as well. Icebound Fortitude helps fill the gap of the lack of damage reduction abilities in the blood DK, reducing damage taken by 30%, pretty simple, use it when there’s too much damage and your heals are having a hard time keeping up. Lastly, you may have Rune Tap talented in certain situations, as said previously. You you want to cast it for those moments when you know some nasty abilities or attacks is coming your way and you want some extra protection. Blood Mirror should be used in similar situations. S – That’s pretty much all you need to know, in cleave and aoe encounters pretty much everything stays, the only difference is that you’re gonna put extra priority in Blood Boils and Death & Decays, usually starting with those abilities to grab aggro and using Death and Decay whenever its available making your Heart Strike hit all 5 enemies giving you extra runic-power and especially if your enemies are cc-able and with Tremble Before Me talent.
For high amounts of aoe, you probably should be looking for BoneStorm for most situations highly boosting your damage and survivability, providing 2% HP healing each second, as it damages your enemies. Extremely powerful for trash mobs. Building up your runic-power all the way up to 100, made easier with HeartBreaker(talent) and with Heart Strikes, for its full duration. And depending on your content and if you pretty confident, you can just spam that Blood Boil for some really good damage. But never forget to keep up your bone-shield charges, no matter the situation, That’s your priority.
Now some notes to take in mind. D – As its a trend in the DK’s, your mobility is really dreadful besides Wraith Walk, its pretty much left to you painfully looking at your character slowly running. For that reason, you want to make the most out of your Death Grips and Gorefiend Grasp. Making you stand out in dungeons as you are ,generally, always able to pull ranged mobs close to you for cleave and aoe while other tanks have to awkwardly walk around to try and put every mob close together. Make good use out of your ranged interrupt and Asphyxiate stun, for those situations as well. S – That’s basically the definition of the blood DK, you may lack in certain areas but you really shine in others. As you may lack general mobility you have much more mob control, you may lack powerful mitigation abilities but you can also keep yourself alive without any outside help in a lot of situations.
For those reasons makes the Blood DK, in my opinion, the strongest tank for you to take in 5- man dungeons…for the most part. D – So for your stats, while gearing up, as in below 870, 880 ilvl, you would want to take a priority on higher item-level items as it boosts your stamina and strength. Your primary stat is Haste so, do try to keep it above 20% at all times ,your Bone-Shield buff does give you 10% boost while active but in general, that is the stat that you want to focus. Faster rune regeneration and lower global cooldown, equals more abilities used which equals more Death Strikes and that’s your priority along with bone-shield. Your second stat is Versatility, as said before, blood DK does lack damage reduction so, Versatility can be highly beneficial to you. Then after, Crit, increasing your parry chance and obviously damage and in turn healing. Lastly, Mastery should be your least concern as your Blood Shield really isn’t that powerful and worth to invest.
S – As for your consumables and enchants, as its obvious all you want is Haste based ones, be food, gems and enchants. And keep some Unbending Potions with you, providing that extra precious survivability through armor. As for your rune enchant, Fallen Crusader does fair better than Stoneskin Gargoyle, as the healing and strength provided will outweigh the stats bonuses, it gives off from Stoneskin. And going back to the stats Leech is a particularly powerful stat for Blood DKs but is not something that you really can focus on as its a tertiary stat, something to keep in mind though.
D – In general Blood DK is pretty simple to learn, working out on your Death Strikes and managing your runes is the extent on maximizing the Blood spec, something that will be further covered in a future advanced guide, along with legendaries, preferable trinkets and more in-depth look on stats. S – And that’s pretty much everything. This was Selwen. D – And Deanena.
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