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Blood Death Knight: Mists of Pandaria Rotation Changes, Talents, and Glyphs (Patch 5.0.4)

9 replies to this topic Started by Vlad, Jul 28 2012 09:51 PM news mop death knight blood rotation talents glyphs
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Posted 28 July 2012 - 09:51 PM

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Vlad
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This article is no longer being updated. Please check our Blood Death Knight guide, which is fully compatible with Mists of Pandaria, and is being constantly updated. Thank you.

In preparation for the updates to our guides for Mists of Pandaria Patch 5.0.4, we are releasing articles such as this one, explaining what has changed for a particular class and spec, and what the new rotation is likely to be.

Keep in mind that this is still a work in progress (both from Blizzard's side and from our own) and that this article assumes you are at least somewhat familiar with the Cataclysm version of the Blood Death Knight rotation and playstyle (such as from reading our guide).

We will first list the most important changes to the Blood Death Knight Cataclysm abilities, and then we will proceed to explaining the (likely to be) optimal rotation. Keep in mind that we do not document every single change or new ability, only those that impact the rotation.

Finally, we will give you some information about the most useful talents and glyphs you should choose.

New Abilities

  • Scent of Blood is a very important new mechanic (it existed in Cataclysm too, although it was only remotely related to the current version). It is a stacking self-buff, that procs each time you perform a melee attack. It increases the healing and minimum healing done by your next Death Strike by 20% per stack, up to a maximum of 5 stacks. Moreover, each time you gain a Scent of Blood stack, you also gain 10 runic power.
  • Control Undead allows you to take control of any hostile Undead mob (only one mob at a time, however). Bosses are immune to this ability. The mob's attack speed and casting speed are diminished, but it retains all of its abilities. You cannot summon your ghoul ( Raise Dead) while you have a controlled mob, although you can control a mob while your ghoul is active, having both up at the same time.
  • Soul Reaper is a nuke, with "execute" properties. It deals 100% weapon damage and applies a debuff on the target, lasting 5 seconds. If, when the debuff expires, the target is below 35% health, it deals a moderate amount of Shadow damage. The ability's damage, when the target is not below 35% health, does not make it worth casting. Finally, if the target is killed while the debuff is active, you gain 50% haste for 10 seconds.
  • Tier 1 talents offer a choice between Plague Leech and Unholy Blight (and Roiling Blood, although this is a passive ability). We discuss these talents in greater depth in the Talents section.
  • Tier 2 talents offer a choice between Lichborne and Anti-Magic Zone (and Purgatory, but this is a passive talent). We discuss these talents in greater depth in the Talents section.
  • Tier 4 talents offer a choice between Death Siphon, Death Pact, and Conversion. We discuss these talents in greater depth in the Talents section.
  • Tier 5 talents offer a choice between Blood Tap and two passive spells, Runic Empowerment and Runic Corruption. We discuss these talents in greater depth in the Talents section.

Changes to Existing Mechanics

  • The base global cooldown is now 1 second by default. Previously, this was a feature of Unholy Presence.
  • Death Strike cannot be parried.
  • Horn of Winter now grants 10% increased attack power to all raid members. This is due to the old buff of Horn of Winter (549 Strength and Agility to all raid members) having been removed. Horn of Winter now also lasts for 5 minutes, instead of 2 minutes (3 with the appropriate glyph).
  • Frost Fever and Blood Plague now last 30 seconds.

Removed Abilities:

  • Blood Tap has practically been removed. There is a new spell with the same name in Mists of Pandaria, although it has nothing to do with the Cataclysm version of Blood Tap.
  • Lichborne has been removed as an easily-attainable spell. It is now one of the 3 mutually exclusive tier 2 talents.
  • Death Pact has been removed as a default spell. It is now one of the 3 mutually exclusive tier 4 talents, although it has been slightly changed (it is more powerful now).
  • Blood Strike has been removed (although it was not part of the Blood rotation anyway). It is now only available to Unholy Death Knights.

Rotation

The rotation for Blood Death Knights remains largely unchanged in Mists of Pandaria (see our Cataclysm guide for more details).

Firstly, the introduction of Scent of Blood does not change much. The buff stacks with every successful melee attack, so you will benefit from it passively without any need for action. The only implication is that you will probably end up prioritising Hit Rating and Expertise Rating to ensure that all your melee attacks land.

Secondly, in case you choose Runic Empowerment as your Tier 5 talent (which, we believe, is going to be the best choice), you will want to always have one Blood rune available, so that Runic Empowerment will always refresh an Unholy or Frost rune, which you can then use on Death Strike. In the event that you choose Runic Corruption instead of Runic Empowerment, then this is no longer a concern.

Finally, because Scarlet Fever causes Blood Boil to refresh the diseases on targets it hits, Blood Boil is the most efficient means of keeping up diseases against single targets.

Multiple Target Rotation

When against 2-4 enemies, your go-to ability will be Heart Strike, which provides much higher damage than Blood Boil. Against more than 4 targets, Blood Boil pulls ahead. Of course, in both cases, you will want to have both your diseases up on the targets, and you will maintain them by using Blood Boil.

Cooldowns

Nothing significant has changed in terms of defensive cooldowns for Blood Death Knights ( Blood Tap has been removed, and Lichborne and Death Pact are now part of mutually exclusive talent choices with other useful survival talents). Death Knights retain their characterstic of having many active mitigation abilities.

Talents

Tier 1 talents offer a choice between 3 talents that are related to your diseases. Plague Leech can have a minor influence on your survivability, granting you a Death Rune by consuming your diseases on the target. This can then be used to cast a Rune Tap.

The other two talents simply make it easier to spread your diseases, and do not affect your tanking ability directly. They may have usefulness when you encounter adds.

Tier 2 talents offer a choice between 3 survival talents. Lichborne allows you to heal yourself with Death Coil for 10 seconds every 2 minutes.

Anti-Magic Zone places a protective barrier at a target location, reducing the magic damage taken by any raid members inside it by 75%. The zone lasts for 10 seconds, or until it absorbs a fixed amount of damage (rather low). It is unchanged from its Cataclysm version (except that it can now be placed at a targeted location), and it will remain useful for reducing the damage of a powerful AoE attack, and less useful for reducing damage that comes in over time.

Purgatory allows you to survive an attack that would otherwise kill you, every 3 minutes. The amount of damage that is prevented from reaching you (i.e., the amount of damage that would have been the "overkill" portion) will be turned into a healing absorption effect on you, lasting 3 seconds. During those 3 seconds, you cannot die, and all damage done to you is added to the healing absorption effect. If, after 3 seconds, you were not healed for that amount (so, if the absorption effect still exists), you will die.

The mechanics of the encounter you are progressing on will determine your choice. Anti-Magic zone is useful as a raid cooldown any time there is a big magic damage attack that you want to mitigate. Purgatory can be useful in allowing you to bypass encounter mechanics, while Lichborne simply allows you to help out the healers by keeping yourself alive during times of heavy damage.

Tier 3 talents offer a choice between 3 crowd-control and utility talents. Death's Advance will probably be the default choice unless encounter mechanics require something else, simply due to the fact that it offers a passive 10% increased movement speed at all times.

Chilblains will be useful when there are adds that must be kited.

Asphyxiate, which is an improved Strangulate (half the cooldown, no rune cost, stun instead of silence, when possible), will mostly have PvP applications and, unless there is a specific encounter where it is for some reason particularly beneficial, it will not show up in PvE.

Tier 4 talents offer a choice between 3 self-healing talents. We believe that Death Pact will be the default choice in most situations.

At the same time, Death Siphon is quite powerful and, despite the fact that it costs runes, making it compete with Death Strike (and providing considerably less healing than Death Strike), it can be used at range, which may be useful in some situations.

Conversion is currently the least appealing talent.

Tier 5 talents offer a choice between 3 talents that improve your rune regeneration. In terms of efficiency, the choice will come down to either Runic Empowerment or Runic Corruption, though we believe the former to be the best choice (although it makes the playstyle somewhat more difficult).

Tier 6 talents offer a choice between 3 crowd-control talents. In a rather disappointing turn of events, the tier 6 talents have no effect on your actual DPS performance. These talents are heavily PvP-centric and we believe that for PvE the choice will be largely irrelevant.

The stun provided by Remorseless Winter may be of some use against trash, preventing you from taking damage from the mobs for the duration of the stun.

Glyphs

While many Death Knight glyphs are interesting and have applicability for PvP or questing, in terms of PvE performance, there are only a few Major Glyphs that we consider worth mentioning.
  • Glyph of Dancing Rune Weapon greatly increases your threat generation while Dancing Rune Weapon is active, but reduces the damage that it deals by 25%. Using this glyph will depend on which you prefer between threat and DPS.
  • Glyph of Icebound Fortitude allows you to use Icebound Fortitude much more often, but reduces its duration by 75%. This can be useful on fights where you need to mitigate high damage regularly (and often), but when this damage is not sustained.
  • Glyph of Vampiric Blood increases the healing you receive during Vampiric Blood by 15%, but causes Vampiric Blood to no longer grant health.
  • Glyph of Death Coil grants your Death Coil the ability to be cast on allies. When doing so, it will place a damage absorption shield on them.
  • Glyph of Anti-Magic Shell allows your Anti-Magic Shell to absorb all the magic damage taken (up from 75% without the glyph), up to 50% of your maximum health. In practice, this will allow Anti-Magic Shell to absorb slightly more damage, in some situations, improving your survivability.
This concludes our Blood Death Knight preview for Mists of Pandaria. We hope you have enjoyed reading it and that it proved useful to you. As always, we are looking forward to reading your opinions on the matter!

Posted 29 July 2012 - 12:28 AM

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rodalpho
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My notes: - Scent of blood is not new, but it was changed for 5.x. - Scent of blood has a 100% proc chance with a 2H weapon, but procs less with a 1H via the PPM mechanic. So you can't game the system using a 1H for extra RP. - Improved blood presence is not new, blood spec had +20% rune regen in 4.x - Horn of winter lasts 5m, up from 2m (3m glyphed) in 4.x - Blood single-target rotation uses Blood Boil to refresh diseases - Plague leech is worth 1D rune every 60s and is thus the optimal T1 talent choice. Unholy Blight is nice for 5man/scenario content where you need to apply diseases more often than once per minute. - Anti-magic zone is changed from 4.x, it is now targettable at range and not automatically centered on the player - Purgatory also adds damage done to the player to the healing shield while it's up. You cannot die while the heal shield is up, period. - Blood can't use conversion or death siphon. Death siphon heals less than half a death strike and doesn't work with blood shield. Conversion consumes runic power that would be used for rune strike to generate runes via the T5 talent choices. Death pact is the only valid choice for blood, except in extremely situational circumstances. - Remorseless winter is nice for trash. The stun means the tank takes less damage. - Glyph of outbreak should not be used. Blood has unlimited-duration diseases on single-targets. At the very most it's worth 1D rune every minute using plague leech, trading off for 40 runic power. This glyph is not mathematically worthwhile for DPS or tanks. - Glyph of death coil should not be used in PvE. The shield is extremely small, and death coil costs 1/3 more than rune strike, hindering damage mitigation.

Edited by rodalpho, 29 July 2012 - 12:28 AM.

Posted 29 July 2012 - 01:33 PM

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Damien
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Haha, Vlad was afraid you'd manage to find inaccurracies in his article :P

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Posted 29 July 2012 - 03:18 PM

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Vlad
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My notes:

- Scent of blood is not new, but it was changed for 5.x.


Yes, I'm aware of that. The ability has changed so radically though (the most important and innovative part of it is entirely new), that I felt I should list it as a new ability. I'll reword it so that both of us are happy :)

- Scent of blood has a 100% proc chance with a 2H weapon, but procs less with a 1H via the PPM mechanic. So you can't game the system using a 1H for extra RP.


Yup, all too true. I don't think anyone will be dual-wielding as Blood, though. It hasn't been viable in Cataclysm and I don't really see why it would change now.

- Improved blood presence is not new, blood spec had +20% rune regen in 4.x


Right you are, my bad. Fixed now.

- Blood single-target rotation uses Blood Boil to refresh diseases
- Anti-magic zone is changed from 4.x, it is now targettable at range and not automatically centered on the player
- Horn of winter lasts 5m, up from 2m (3m glyphed) in 4.x
- Remorseless winter is nice for trash. The stun means the tank takes less damage.


Added this. Thanks!

- Plague leech is worth 1D rune every 60s and is thus the optimal T1 talent choice. Unholy Blight is nice for 5man/scenario content where you need to apply diseases more often than once per minute.


This is consistent with what we write in the article. I have to ask, though, how do you efficiently re-apply diseases in order to make regular use of Plague Leech?

- Purgatory also adds damage done to the player to the healing shield while it's up. You cannot die while the heal shield is up, period.


While you are right about this, the implication that you are "immortal" for the whole 3 second maximum duration of the shield is erroneous. The only way you are surviving, thanks to Purgatory, is if you quickly receive a lot of healing so as the ensure that the healing absorption shield is gone before 3 seconds go by. In most controlled cases (i.e., when you are using Purgatory to counter a fight mechanic, and your healers are prepared), you will be spammed with heals as soon as it procs. This will remove the shield almost instantly, so you'll really only have it for a very short time.

I've added the part that the damage you take while the shield is up is added to its absorb duration. Thanks :)

- Blood can't use conversion or death siphon. Death siphon heals less than half a death strike and doesn't work with blood shield. Conversion consumes runic power that would be used for rune strike to generate runes via the T5 talent choices. Death pact is the only valid choice for blood, except in extremely situational circumstances.


Death Siphon only costs one rune, though. More importantly, it can be used at range, which Death Strike cannot. It might not be the best choice, but I can still see it possibly remaining viable (especially if you consider potential future tweaking).

I've reworked this section a bit :)

- Glyph of outbreak should not be used. Blood has unlimited-duration diseases on single-targets. At the very most it's worth 1D rune every minute using plague leech, trading off for 40 runic power. This glyph is not mathematically worthwhile for DPS or tanks.


Fair enough. I'll remove it from the list, for now.

- Glyph of death coil should not be used in PvE. The shield is extremely small, and death coil costs 1/3 more than rune strike, hindering damage mitigation.


The whole point of this glyph is that allows you to help others!

Thanks for all your feedback. I appreciate it a lot.

Posted 29 July 2012 - 03:54 PM

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rodalpho
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Sure, happy to help.

Actually dual-wielding is completely viable in 4.x. It murders your threat, but threat isn't a major concern these days unless you're hugely undergeared. In return for losing a lot of threat, you get to use two tanking 1H weapons, which improves your mitigation. Nobody does it, because it's not really necessary and threat can be difficult in the first 10s or so of a fight, but it is viable. DK threat is lower in 5.x due to low single-target DPS, so it may be an issue there.

Blood applies diseases via unglyphed outbreak.

You are truly immortal while the purgatory shield is up. Nothing can kill you. Of course if you aren't healed enough to remove the shield, you die when the 3s duration is up. And you can die during that 3s period if the shield is quickly removed from heals, you end up at low health, and a DoT tick or something kills you.

And finally, tanks aren't concerned with helping others-- that's a healer or maybe DPS concern. No tank would ever give up damage mitigation to put a tiny shield on another player. I suppose it might be situationally useful while off-tanking, when you don't have threat and aren't taking damage. But it's such a small shield that I frankly doubt it.

Edited by rodalpho, 29 July 2012 - 03:55 PM.

Posted 29 July 2012 - 07:08 PM

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Vlad
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Sure, happy to help.

Actually dual-wielding is completely viable in 4.x. It murders your threat, but threat isn't a major concern these days unless you're hugely undergeared. In return for losing a lot of threat, you get to use two tanking 1H weapons, which improves your mitigation. Nobody does it, because it's not really necessary and threat can be difficult in the first 10s or so of a fight, but it is viable. DK threat is lower in 5.x due to low single-target DPS, so it may be an issue there.

Blood applies diseases via unglyphed outbreak.

You are truly immortal while the purgatory shield is up. Nothing can kill you. Of course if you aren't healed enough to remove the shield, you die when the 3s duration is up. And you can die during that 3s period if the shield is quickly removed from heals, you end up at low health, and a DoT tick or something kills you.

And finally, tanks aren't concerned with helping others-- that's a healer or maybe DPS concern. No tank would ever give up damage mitigation to put a tiny shield on another player. I suppose it might be situationally useful while off-tanking, when you don't have threat and aren't taking damage. But it's such a small shield that I frankly doubt it.


I had forgotten to click edit on my post, so if you read back and didn't see any of the changes I had talked about, that's why.

Regarding dual-wielding, I said it's not viable exactly for the reasons you mentioned. :)

For Purgatory, while you are effectively immortal for 3 seconds, as I said, if you actually stay immortal for all 3 seconds, it means you will die when they end. The only way to ensure that you don't die from the absorption shield is to pump a lot of healing into yourself as soon as the shield goes up. The sooner you get rid of the shield, the safer you are, and the less time you spend actually being invincible :)

And what I meant about tanks helping others is exactly that - off-tanks or tanks in exceptional situations (like there is nothing dealing damage to the tank for 30 seconds or 1 minute, and certain boss abilities target raid members and deal a lot of damage to them). The shield might be small, but it's still something. I'm obviously not suggesting that, in the brunt of a fight where the tank is taking massive damage, they start healing DPS players :)

Thanks so much for all your posts!

Posted 29 July 2012 - 07:13 PM

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rodalpho
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Yep, I'm right with you on all those points. Happy to help.

Posted 04 August 2012 - 11:19 AM

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CyBones7
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I'm surprised to hear that Death Knights require a rotation. :P

Posted 22 August 2012 - 07:17 AM

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Wake
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There are a few things that caught my attention, but I realize this guide was posted almost a month ago and many changes have been made since.

If you plan on updating this I would consider a few points:

Blood Tap:
This is currently a fully viable choice since it is no longer on the global cooldown. It actually offers far more flexibility and reliability than the other options. As you can bank up to 12 Blood Charges, and refreshing a rune only costs 5, you can actually refresh two runes at once to get another Death Strike in when you really need it. I just thought that the way you presented it in your guide doesn't fully reflect the possibilities of this talent choice.

Glyph of Dancing Rune Weapon:
I'd just like to point out that this is just as useless as some of the PvP glyphs. With the changes to vengeance and more specifically the ramp-up changes to it. Threat is long gone as something to struggle with as a tank, not to mention the huge resource cost barrier to use this ability during a pull. I just can't think of any scenario in the game where this talent would be useful.

Death's Advance:
Worth noting that this speed increase stacks with almost every other speed increase. Together with boot enchant you'll run 119% faster at all times.

Heart Strike vs Blood Boil:
You mention that against more than 4 targets you'd want to use Blood Boil. This isn't actually true all the time. Blood Boil scales far better with your attack power and Heart Strike scales with your weapon damage. This means that at certain AP levels, when Vengeance kicks in, Blood Boil will sometimes be superior even on 2 or more targets.

Here is a simple spreadsheet displaying attack power and weapon damage affecting the damage of these abilities. It won't be uncommon reaching far above 100k attack power in a raid setting.

Control Undead:
This ability can be dangerous! You can't use the controlled minion to use Death Pact, and while controlling you can't actually summon your good old ghoul. I learned this the hard way.


Lastly, In your rotation section you might want to mention Crimson Scourge, and that it's generally better to use the proc for Death and Decay over Blood Boil in terms of raw damage.


Edit: I'd also suggest mirroring these guides in their respective class forums! I'd have never expected to find them in the news section to be honest.

Edited by Wake, 22 August 2012 - 09:42 AM.

Posted 28 August 2012 - 03:22 AM

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Vlad
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There are a few things that caught my attention, but I realize this guide was posted almost a month ago and many changes have been made since.

If you plan on updating this I would consider a few points:

Blood Tap:
This is currently a fully viable choice since it is no longer on the global cooldown. It actually offers far more flexibility and reliability than the other options. As you can bank up to 12 Blood Charges, and refreshing a rune only costs 5, you can actually refresh two runes at once to get another Death Strike in when you really need it. I just thought that the way you presented it in your guide doesn't fully reflect the possibilities of this talent choice.

Glyph of Dancing Rune Weapon:
I'd just like to point out that this is just as useless as some of the PvP glyphs. With the changes to vengeance and more specifically the ramp-up changes to it. Threat is long gone as something to struggle with as a tank, not to mention the huge resource cost barrier to use this ability during a pull. I just can't think of any scenario in the game where this talent would be useful.

Death's Advance:
Worth noting that this speed increase stacks with almost every other speed increase. Together with boot enchant you'll run 119% faster at all times.

Heart Strike vs Blood Boil:
You mention that against more than 4 targets you'd want to use Blood Boil. This isn't actually true all the time. Blood Boil scales far better with your attack power and Heart Strike scales with your weapon damage. This means that at certain AP levels, when Vengeance kicks in, Blood Boil will sometimes be superior even on 2 or more targets.

Here is a simple spreadsheet displaying attack power and weapon damage affecting the damage of these abilities. It won't be uncommon reaching far above 100k attack power in a raid setting.

Control Undead:
This ability can be dangerous! You can't use the controlled minion to use Death Pact, and while controlling you can't actually summon your good old ghoul. I learned this the hard way.


Lastly, In your rotation section you might want to mention Crimson Scourge, and that it's generally better to use the proc for Death and Decay over Blood Boil in terms of raw damage.


Edit: I'd also suggest mirroring these guides in their respective class forums! I'd have never expected to find them in the news section to be honest.



Thank you for this post. I'm sorry that I wasn't able to get back to you sooner. You are right, the guide is somewhat out of date. I've gotten around to updating the old Cataclysm guide for 5.0.4/MoP, so I'll be sure to incorporate everything you've said there :)

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