Blood Death Knight Tank Spec, Builds, Talents, and Glyphs (WoD 6.2)

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General Information

On this page, we present the viable talent and glyph choices for Blood Death Knights in World of Warcraft WoD 6.2. We detail what each of the talents and glyphs do and in which situations they should be taken.

The other pages of our Blood Death Knight guide can be accessed from the table of contents on the right.

About Our Reviewer

This guide has been reviewed and approved by Aughyssul, a top Blood Death Knight who raids in WHATEVER WERE AWESOME, streams on Twitch, and whom you can follow on Twitter.

1. Talent Choices↑top

Level Choices
56 Plaguebearer Plague Leech Unholy Blight
57 Lichborne Anti-Magic Zone Purgatory
58 Death's Advance Chilblains Asphyxiate
60 Blood Tap Runic Empowerment Runic Corruption
75 Death Pact Death Siphon Conversion
90 Gorefiend's Grasp Remorseless Winter Desecrated Ground
100 Necrotic Plague Defile Breath of Sindragosa
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  • Performance-enhancing
  • Survival
  • Crowd Control
  • Movement
  • Utility
  • Situational

Talents can easily be changed, thanks to Tome of the Clear Mind Icon Tomes of the Clear Mind. You will frequently find yourself changing talents and glyphs between encounters, in order to adapt your play style to different mechanics. Therefore, it is important to understand what each of your talents does and how they affect your play style.

2. Tier 1 (Level 56) Talents↑top

Tier 1 offers you a choice between 3 talents that interact with your diseases.

  • Plaguebearer Icon Plaguebearer passively causes your Death Coil Icon Death Coil to extend the duration of your diseases on the target by 4 seconds or to add a stack of Necrotic Plague Icon Necrotic Plague.
  • Plague Leech Icon Plague Leech is an active ability, with a 25-second cooldown, which consumes your diseases on the target, activating two depleted runes as Death runes. It can only be cast if both Frost Fever Icon Frost Fever and Blood Plague Icon Blood Plague are on the target, and it activates 1 Frost rune and 1 Unholy rune.
  • Unholy Blight Icon Unholy Blight is an active ability with a 1.5-minute cooldown, which causes you to spread your diseases to all enemy targets within 10 yards of you, for 10 seconds.

The best choice in this tier is Plague Leech Icon Plague Leech, coupled with Glyph of Outbreak Icon Glyph of Outbreak. Plague Leech allows you to gain a boost in the number of Death Strike Icon Death Strikes you can use over the course of the fight, by using the ability on cooldown, and then re-applying your diseases immediately with Outbreak Icon Outbreak. You can read more about this technique in the relevant section of the rotation page.

Unholy Blight Icon Unholy Blight also allows you to seamlessly apply your diseases to many targets, but it can only be used once every 90 seconds. Technically, it is useful in encounters where the adds enter the fight at longer intervals, but in practice you should never take it over Plague Leech.

Plaguebearer Icon Plaguebearer is quite lackluster.

3. Tier 2 (Level 57) Talents↑top

Tier 2 talents offer you a choice between 3 abilities that improve your survivability (and, in the case of Anti-Magic Zone Icon Anti-Magic Zone, your raid's survivability as well).

  • Lichborne Icon Lichborne is an active ability with a 2-minute cooldown. It lasts for 10 seconds, during which time the effectiveness of Leech is increased by 10% and you are immune to Charm, Fear, and Sleep effects. During this time, casting Death Coil Icon Death Coil on yourself or another Undead ally causes healing instead of damage.
  • Anti-Magic Zone Icon Anti-Magic Zone is a raid cooldown. The ability has a 2-minute cooldown, and it allows you to place a bubble at a location on the ground. The bubble lasts for 3 seconds, and during this time it reduces all spell damage taken by raid members inside it by 20%.
  • Purgatory Icon Purgatory passively allows you to survive a killing blow, once every 3 minutes. The attack that would otherwise kill you places a 3-second healing absorption debuff on you instead. The debuff absorbs healing equal to the amount of damage that the killing blow would have done to you. While the debuff is active, you cannot be killed, and any damage taken is added to the healing absorption effect. If the effect is still present when the 3 seconds run out (meaning, if you have not been healed for the entire amount by then), you will die.

We feel that Purgatory Icon Purgatory is the default choice in this tier, as it is optimal for almost every encounter. It can allow you to overcome mistakes from your own part or from your healers, and it can sometimes help you bypass otherwise deadly encounter mechanics.

Anti-Magic Zone Icon Anti-Magic Zone should be taken if there is use for it in the fight (such as predictable raid-wide magic damage), since it benefits your entire raid.

Lichborne Icon Lichborne provides an increase in Leech, which will lead to an increase in self healing. It also allows you to use Runic Power to heal yourself with Death Coil Icon Death Coil. Overall, however, this choice is lackluster.

4. Tier 3 (Level 58) Talents↑top

Tier 3 talents offer you a choice between abilities that improve your movement, kiting, and crowd-control.

  • Death's Advance Icon Death's Advance passively increases your movement speed by 10%, and actively (with a 30-second cooldown) grants you 30% movement speed increase for 6 seconds. The movement speed bonus offered by this ability stacks with other movement speed increases (such as the one from Unholy Presence Icon Unholy Presence).
  • Chilblains Icon Chilblains causes the targets on which you cast Frost Fever Icon Frost Fever to be slowed by 50% for 10 seconds. Additionally, it causes your Chains of Ice Icon Chains of Ice to immobilize the target for 3 seconds.
  • Asphyxiate Icon Asphyxiate is an improved version of Strangulate Icon Strangulate, which it replaces. It has a 30-second cooldown, and it stuns the target for 5 seconds. In the event that the target is immune to stuns, it silences them instead.

Death's Advance Icon Death's Advance is by far the best choice here, in the majority of situations. The other two talents could have some usefulness, although only situationally.

5. Tier 4 (Level 60) Talents↑top

Tier 4 talents offer you a choice between 3 means of improving your rune regeneration rate.

  • Blood Tap Icon Blood Tap passively causes every 15 Runic Power that you spend to generate a Blood Charge, and you can have up to a maximum of 12 charges. Using Blood Tap consumes 5 charges, activating a random fully depleted rune as a Death Rune. Blood Tap is not on the global cooldown, and it has no cooldown and no cost.
  • Runic Empowerment Icon Runic Empowerment acts passively whenever you spend Runic Power. For every point of Runic Power spent, you have a 1.50% chance to activate a random fully-depleted rune.
  • Runic Corruption Icon Runic Corruption acts passively whenever you spend Runic Power. For every point of Runic Power spent, you have a 1.50% chance to increase your rune regeneration rate by 100% for 3 seconds.

Blood Tap Icon Blood Tap is by far the best choice in this tier, with Runic Corruption Icon Runic Corruption and Runic Empowerment Icon Runic Empowerment not being as useful.

Blood Tap provides you with a lot of control over your rune situation, and this is its main strength. It allows you to chain a number of Death Strikes (by using up your Blood Tap charges), and this is of particular benefit if you want to stack Mastery: Blood Shield Icon Mastery: Blood Shield on you before a damaging mechanic strikes.

Runic Empowerment and Runic Corruption are currently not worth taking.

6. Tier 5 (Level 75) Talents↑top

Tier 5 talents offer you a choice between 3 self-healing abilities.

  • Death Pact Icon Death Pact instantly heals you for 50% of your maximum health, but also absorbing 25% of your maximum health in healing received over the next 15 seconds. It has a 2-minute cooldown.
  • Death Siphon Icon Death Siphon costs 1 Death Rune, and instantly deals a small amount of Shadowfrost damage to the target, healing you for 400% of the damage done. It can be used from as much as 40 yards away.
  • Conversion Icon Conversion is an ability that can be toggled on and off at will. Toggling it on costs 10 runic power, and keeping it on costs 10 runic power per second. For each second that it is active, Conversion restores 2% of your maximum health. While Conversion is active, you can only gain runic power from using runes. Note that having Conversion active does not prevent you from performing any actions (i.e., it is not a channeled spell). The spell is turned automatically off when you run out of Runic Power.

We believe that Death Pact Icon Death Pact is the best choice here, not only because of its nice amount of healing, but also because it has no resource cost.

7. Tier 6 (Level 90) Talents↑top

Tier 6 talents offer you a choice between 3 crowd-control abilities.

  • Gorefiend's Grasp Icon Gorefiend's Grasp places a buff on an ally or enemy, which pulls all enemy targets (enemies of the Death Knight, not the target itself) within 20 yards to the location of the target. It has a 1-minute cooldown.
  • Remorseless Winter Icon Remorseless Winter causes all enemies within 8 yards of the Death Knight to be slowed each second for 8 seconds. Each time they are slowed, their movement speed is reduced by 15%. When they have been slowed 5 times, the targets become stunned for 6 seconds. Remorseless Winter has a 1-minute cooldown.
  • Desecrated Ground Icon Desecrated Ground places a friendly void-zone under you, lasting 10 seconds. While you stand in this void zone, you are immune to roots, snares, and effects that cause loss of control of your character.

The choice here is absolutely preference-based. It is possible that some specific encounter mechanics will cause one talent to be favoured over the others. Only Remorseless Winter Icon Remorseless Winter may have some usefulness in stunning trash mobs so that they cease to deal damage for a few seconds.

8. Tier 7 (Level 100) Talents↑top

Tier 7 offers you a choice between 3 talents that improve your DPS and tanking performance.

  • Necrotic Plague Icon Necrotic Plague is a DoT that replaces Frost Fever Icon Frost Fever and Blood Plague Icon Blood Plague, and which is applied by the same abilities that apply these two DoTs. Necrotic Plague lasts 30 seconds, and it deals Shadowfrost damage every 2 seconds. Each time it deals damage, it gains 1 stack, and infects another nearby enemy within 8 yards. Necrotic Plague cannot be refreshed, and any abilities that normally apply it will simply increase the number of stacks it has by 1. The maximum number of stacks is 15. Whenever you are attacked by an enemy affected by Necrotic Plague, you will gain 2 Runic Power.
  • Defile Icon Defile is an improvement over Death and Decay Icon Death and Decay, which it replaces. It is active ability with a 30-second cooldown, which allows you to place a void zone at a targeted location. This lasts for for 12 seconds, and each second it deals damage to enemies standing in it. Whenever it deals damage, its radius and damage is increased by 2.5%. Enemies who are standing in Defile deal 10% less damage to you. It costs 1 Unholy rune.
  • Breath of Sindragosa Icon Breath of Sindragosa is a frontal cone attack with a 2-minute cooldown. It costs 20 Runic Power for each second that it remains active (until canceled or until you run out of Runic Power). While active, Breath of Sindragosa deals Shadowfrost damage to all enemies in the cone in front of you, and also affects them with Mark of Sindragosa Icon Mark of Sindragosa for 6 seconds. This effect causes you to be healed for 10% of the spell damage that the affected targets deal.

The default choice of talent here is Defile Icon Defile, which offers you the best survivability.

If you have near-Best in Slot gear or better, then Breath of Sindragosa Icon Breath of Sindragosa provides higher damage output than Defile. Anything less, however, and it is a worse option than Defile.

Necrotic Plague Icon Necrotic Plague is currently weak, and essentially never worth taking.

9. Major Glyphs↑top

There are several Major Glyphs that can be beneficial to you as a Blood Death Knight.

  • Glyph of Blood Boil Icon Glyph of Blood Boil increases the radius in which Blood Boil Icon Blood Boil deals damage and spreads diseases by 5 yards, making AoE tanking significantly easier. This glyph is recommended for any encounter with more than one target.
  • Glyph of Outbreak Icon Glyph of Outbreak removes the cooldown from Outbreak Icon Outbreak, but causes it to have a 30 runic power cost instead. This glyph is practically mandatory, since it enables a particularly beneficial interaction with Plague Leech Icon Plague Leech. That said, this glyph should not be used if you have taken the Breath of Sindragosa Icon Breath of Sindragosa talent.
  • Glyph of Regenerative Magic Icon Glyph of Regenerative Magic procs each time your Anti-Magic Shell Icon Anti-Magic Shell expires from you without having been fully consumed by damage. When this happens, the cooldown of Anti-Magic Shell is reduced by an amount based on how much damage it had absorbed (the more damage absorbed, the smaller the reduction), up to a maximum of 50%. This glyph is very beneficial in allowing you to gain more runic power over the course of the fight.
  • Glyph of Icebound Fortitude Icon Glyph of Icebound Fortitude reduces the cooldown of Icebound Fortitude Icon Icebound Fortitude by 50%, but also reduces its duration by 75%. This glyph is excellent when you need to use Icebound Fortitude more often, but for very short periods of time.
  • Glyph of Vampiric Blood Icon Glyph of Vampiric Blood increases the bonus healing received while Vampiric Blood Icon Vampiric Blood is active by 10%, but Vampiric Blood no longer grants you any health. Depending on the fight conditions, this glyph can sometimes be beneficial. You should consult with your healers.
  • Glyph of Anti-Magic Shell Icon Glyph of Anti-Magic Shell increases the duration of your Anti-Magic Shell Icon Anti-Magic Shell by 3 seconds. It is a situational glyph that might sometimes be useful, depending on the encounter. Specifically, it might prove worth using for incoming damage that is spread out over a longer period of time. Note that this glyph is exclusive with Glyph of Regenerative Magic Icon Glyph of Regenerative Magic.

10. Minor Glyphs↑top

There are two interesting Minor Glyphs for Blood Death Knights, namely Glyph of Resilient Grip Icon Glyph of Resilient Grip and Glyph of Army of the Dead Icon Glyph of Army of the Dead.

Glyph of Resilient Grip causes the cooldown of your Death Grip Icon Death Grip to be reset whenever you use Death Grip on a target that is immune to it. This can be useful in picking up adds, for example, if you accidentally Death Gripped an immune add instead of the viable one.

Glyph of Army of the Dead causes your ghouls to no longer taunt their target. This glyph is useful because it gives you the option of having your target (an add, since bosses cannot be taunted by Army of the Dead anyway) continue attacking its tank, in case this is desirable. This applies equally to cases when you are the tank of the add, for example if you want to position the add in a specific way.

11. Changelog↑top

  • 22 Jun. 2015: Patch 6.2 update:
    • Updated the description and evaluation of Breath of Sindragosa.
    • Removed Glyph of Icy Runes and updated the description of Glyph of Anti-Magic Shell.
  • 16 Jun. 2015: Fixed an outdated mention in the description of Glyph of Blood Boil.
  • 22 Apr. 2015: Updated tier 1, 2, and 7 talent discussions, included Glyph of Blood Boil Icon Glyph of Blood Boil and Glyph of Icy Runes, removed Glyph of Death Coil Icon Glyph of Death Coil, and added a mention that Glyph of Outbreak Icon Glyph of Outbreak should not be used with Breath of Sindragosa Icon Breath of Sindragosa.
  • 23 Feb. 2015: Updated tier 2 and 7 talent descriptions to account for Patch 6.1 changes. Also updated the tier 7 talent discussion.
  • 10 Jan. 2015: Fixed an issue where self-healing from Death Coil Icon Death Coil during Lichborne Icon Lichborne was not mentioned in the talent description.
  • 18 Oct. 2014: Added Glyph of Resilient Grip Icon Glyph of Resilient Grip and Glyph of Army of the Dead Icon Glyph of Army of the Dead to the guide.