Blood Death Knight Pre-Patch Guide for WotLK Classic

Last updated on Aug 27, 2022 at 10:30 by Sellin 3 comments

The Pre-Patch period of Wrath of the Lich King Classic is a time to allow players to level or gear up characters while experiencing some of the class changes of the coming expansion before its official launch. Here you will find recommended talents, gear, and some rotation tips for a Blood Death Knight when you can only reach a maximum level of 70.



Death Knights are able to be made and playable in the Wrath of the Lich King pre-patch and while the general playstyle is quite similar to what you will be doing at Level 80, this page will go over how to play your Death Knight, Gear you should seek out during the pre-patch, how you should spend your talent points, and what consumables you should use if you are considering tackling some of the Burning Crusade raid content while waiting for Wrath to officially start!


Talent Build

The talent tree listed above focuses largely on self-sustain while still maximizing your threat output. Any Burning Crusade content you are doing in the pre-patch of Wrath of the Lich King will be significantly nerfed and you will likely be more focused on generating threat than surviving; this build reflects that.


Stat Priority

  1. Defense;
  2. Hit to taunt cap;
  3. Stamina;
  4. Expertise;
  5. Dodge.


The single largest difference between tanking at 70 and 80 is the lack of Empower Rune Weapon IconEmpower Rune Weapon which offers you a significantly more powerful opener on bosses as you have access to twice as many runes, but Death Knights can still tank content at Level 70 quite sufficiently.


Single-Target Tanking

Death Knight is one of the strongest single-target Tanks in the entire game thanks to their incredible self-sustain and high threat generation as well as countless cooldowns to handle almost any situation. Mobility is their only major weakness, but otherwise Death Knights are extremely versatile tanks that can easily tank any content or handle any assignment on a given encounter.

  • Icy Touch IconIcy Touch is a crucial part of the Death Knight tank rotation, not only to apply Frost Fever IconFrost Fever, but Icy Touch IconIcy Touch also generates a massive amount of threat while in Frost Presence IconFrost Presence. Maximizing the number of uses of this ability is the best way to generate and maintain threat.
  • Plague Strike IconPlague Strike applies Blood Plague IconBlood Plague, which is crucial to maintaining threat both because of the added damage and also the amplification of other strikes that having another disease on the target causes.
  • Death Strike IconDeath Strike is a crucial part of Death Knight tanking as it heals you for a massive amount when cast and should be your go-to ability in any situation where you are taking large amounts of incoming damage. While you do still need healers, Death Knights are extremely independent largely because of Death Strike.
  • Blood Tap IconBlood Tap immediately activates a Blood Rune and converts it into a Death Rune in exchange for 6% of your base health. While this can sometimes be dangerous you will oftentimes be able to heal yourself for considerably more than the 6% base health with the use of this Death Rune.
  • Blood Strike IconBlood Strike is your best single-target filler ability when you only have Blood Runes available to you.

While Blood does have an optimal threat rotation, it is important to constantly be considering how you will use your Runes. Sometimes it is best to maximize your damage and thus threat, but most of the time the primary goal should be survival. As you become more and more familiar with the spec and the bosses you encounter, you will have an easier time determining which abilities to use when. Your ideal threat rotation/on pull should be as follows:

  1. Death Grip IconDeath Grip — This taunts the boss, allowing you a 3-second window to establish snap threat. Do not use this rotationally but as a Taunt or means to move a mob in the encounter;
  2. Icy Touch IconIcy Touch;
  3. Plague Strike IconPlague Strike;
  4. Death Strike IconDeath Strike;
  5. Blood Strike IconBlood Strike;
  6. Blood Tap IconBlood Tap — This should be spent on an Icy Touch IconIcy Touch for early snap threat;
  7. Blood Strike IconBlood Strike;
  8. Icy Touch IconIcy Touch.

While it will be difficult to follow this rotation exactly during bosses, this is what your on-pull rotation should look like to ensure you have sufficient threat.


AoE tanking

Death Knights are great multi-target tanks and offer some of the best AoE threat in the game while having an incredible amount of self-sustain that easily allows for Death Knights to deal with a constant source of incoming damage though they are the strongest against slower, larger attacks.

  • Death and Decay IconDeath and Decay is a staple at establishing AoE threat. This ability will summon a void zone that will constantly pulse for Shadow damage to any enemy inside of it; this AoE is uncapped and will continue to generate threat for you while using other abilities.
  • Pestilence IconPestilence is absolutely crucial if you know the multiple mobs you are taking will be alive for more than just a couple of seconds. You should apply your diseases using Icy Touch IconIcy Touch and Plague Strike IconPlague Strike and then cast Pestilence IconPestilence to spread those diseases to all nearby enemies.
  • Blood Boil IconBlood Boil is your primary AoE ability as it is your only spammable — Runes permitting — ability that deals damage to all nearby targets, helping you sustain threat on everything that is attacking you.
  • Death Strike IconDeath Strike, while a single-target ability, is crucial when you are tanking multiple mobs as it allows you to heal yourself for a massive amount. Make sure to use this ability any time you take a considerable amount of damage to quickly heal it back up, but do not spam it so you can mitigate any wasted overhealing as your Runes can feel quite limited in high-damage situations.

Going into an AoE pull your rotation should look something like this:

  1. Death and Decay IconDeath and Decay for initial threat;
  2. Icy Touch IconIcy Touch to apply Frost Fever IconFrost Fever;
  3. Plague Strike IconPlague Strike to apply Blood Plague IconBlood Plague;
  4. Pestilence IconPestilence to spread your diseases to all nearby enemies;
  5. Spam Blood Boil IconBlood Boil if your health is stable;
  6. If you are in danger of dying, Death Strike IconDeath Strike.

Early Upgrades

Listed below will be a list of some items that are very powerful and require a relatively low time investment to get to help you get a bit more powerful during the Wrath of the Lich King pre-patch as you prepare to head to Northrend and continue your journey through WoW classic.

Slot Item Source


Spicy Hot Talbuk Icon Spicy Hot Talbuk is your best well-fed buff if you are not hit-capped, Roasted Clefthoof Icon Roasted Clefthoof if you are hit capped, as your goal is to maximize your Strength.

Flask of Relentless Assault Icon Flask of Relentless Assault is your typical go-to against most mobs. The exception to this is that when fighting Demons, Elixir of Demonslaying Icon Elixir of Demonslaying by itself is stronger than any flask and can be paired with a Guardian Elixir of your choosing.

Haste Potion Icon Haste Potion is our best choice as the added Haste allows for more melee swings to maximize damage.



  • 23 Aug. 2022: Page added.
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