Character Class

Blood Death Knights for Patch 5.0.4

Come Mists of Pandaria I plan on switching my main spec most likely over to a Blood DK from my Unholy main spec right now.  So needless to say I have been doing a lot of research and messing around on beta regarding the changes that are going to be affecting Blood DKs.  How should we spec what do our abilities mean, etc.  So here is a brief primer on what to expect for DK tanking in patch 5.0.4.  Let me preface that the talent changes are very much a preference of the player, and below you will find my preference, if you have your own, I would like to hear and discuss.


First thing you are going to notice is the tier / choose your own adventure talent system we get with 5.0.4.

Tier 1.  The choice for me is going to be Plague Leech, let me caveat that with most of the time.  When you are dealing with a lot of multi-target tanking, Roiling Blood will be your secondary choice to help keep spreading your diseases quickly, since you will be using Blood Boil a good bit, more on that in a bit.

Tier 2.  It would seem that Purgatory is the obvious choice, the problem I have with it is the unpredictability of living after it even when its used.  So if an attack would kill you, a protective bubble with the overkill damage is put on you, it needs to be healed off of you within 3 seconds, I don’t like those odds, and I have a lot of faith in my healers, but its just not my cup of tea, so I will be passing on Purgatory and looking at the tried and true Lichborne.  Healing yourself with death coil to help out the healers is always a great panic button and you know what you are getting because you control it.  I like active tanking choices rather than passive so this wins out.  Anti Magic Zone is a solid choice if you know you will be able to protect raid members from spell damage.  So this one will be more situational.

Tier 3.  For me, as a tank being able to close ground on an enemy, or being able to kite a mob around quickly, means a lot for survivability.  So I am going to focus on Death’s Advance.  A passive 10% movement speed increase, and on click, boosting that to 30% will allow you to really move to get the adds and potentially make kiting easier.  For me Asphyxiate is interesting in situational events where you need an extra stun, as it replaces Strangulate, adds the stun, and silences if stun is not possible.  It also reduces the cooldown to 1 minute.  But at the end of the day unless you need to have some additional mob control, I would stick with Death’s Advance.

Tier 4.  This can be described as your self healing tier.  Now there are 2 main options.  The first is Death Siphon.  On the surface it looks good, but it uses a death rune, which you want to use your death runes for Death Strike.  So this option seems like a poor decision.  Which leaves you with really only one viable option in Death Pact, stealing your minion’s health to heal yourself seems like a nice save me button, if you macro them together (summon, death pact).

Tier 5.  In this tier we will have several choices for rune regeneration.  A lot of this will come down to playstyle.  Though Runic Empowerment and Runic Corruption are the two main choices.  Runic Empowerment has nearly a 50% chance to regenerate a fully depleted rune.  For me this is the option I am going to go with, as in theory, it means that almost every other rune strike will restore a depleted rune.  Since there is no glyph that increases your Death Strike based on how much runic power you have, there is no need to horde it like pre-5.0.

Tier 6.  These talents won’t be available until you hit level 90.  They are mostly PVP related talents, but Gorefiend’s Grasp is the talent that I think would be best used for tanking, as it would provide a means to pull a lot of trash to you for some AOE tanking.  The next best option seems like it would be Remorseless Winter, as the stuns may prove beneficial when fighting trash, but I feel I would get more use from a tank perspective out of Gorefiend’s Grasp.


For tanking, there aren’t many options for glyphs that really make a lot of sense.  The first no-brainer is Glyph of Vampiric Blood, sure there is a trade-off but being a tank it makes the most sense, as you will be the focus on heals anyway.  The second is Glyph of Pestilence, increasing the range just helps spread your diseases among adds, and with no downside this is a pretty solid option.  The final major glyph is a bit tougher choice which per Blizzard’s goal will rely on your playstyle and the fights you are going up against.

For my baseline I will most likely go with Glyph of Icebound Fortitude.

Your minor glyphs are purely cosmetic and entirely your choice, but stay away from Glyph of Army of the Dead and Glyph of Tranquil Grip.  As both remove the taunt aspect from your abilities, and as a tank you may find situations where you need those.

At the end this will be my build going into Mists of Pandaria:|dMsVom

Spells & Abilities

Please note when tanking you should be in Blood Presence.

One of the important specializations that Blood has is Scarlet Fever.  This now makes blood boil refresh your diseases on targets.  This will be an important part of your rotation.

You will continue to open with getting your diseases on your target, mostly through Outbreak.  If there is more than 1 target, you will want to spread your diseases via Pestilence, unless you took Roiling Blood as your Tier 1 talent, then Blood Boil will spread your diseases as well.  Next you will be using your Death Strike as your primary strike, note that in 5.0.4 it can no longer be parried.  Another mechanic to be aware of is the revamped Scent of Blood.  This will build up organically and help your self healing via Death Strike.  You will be using Heart Strike and Blood Boil to use those blood runes.  Keep in mind Blood Boil will be refreshing your diseases on targets.  Heart Strike will hit up to 3 targets, beyond that Blood Boil should be used for 4 or more targets and when your diseases need to be refreshed.  Finally use Rune Strike to burn down your runic power.

Your main tanking cooldowns will be:

Many of these will be situational.  If you chose Lichborne as your talent, you will combine it with Death Coil to heal yourself.  If you chose Plague Leech in Tier 1 talent, you can combine that with the use of Rune Tap.  I included Death Pact as a cooldown above, if you choose it, you will need to combine it with Raise Dead spell (for obvious reasons).


You are still going to want a solid combination of Stamina, Mastery, Parry and Dodge.  Once again it seems like Expertise and Hit will be up to the individual.  Personally I haven’t put much stock in these since threat hasn’t been much of an issue lately, but I like to have some, I just don’t go out of my way to have them.  Stamina I let come organically unless I am gemming a combination gem of +stamina and another stat.


The end of the day, most of our “good stuff” will come by default.  There is some pretty straight forward choices via talents and glyphs for us.  Even our rotation doesn’t change much.  Blood Boil refreshing our diseases is really one of the biggest changes to how we function.  Those who have been tanking as a DK for a while, should be able to pick most of this up fairly quickly.


4 Comments on Blood Death Knights for Patch 5.0.4

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