Blood Death Knight Best Covenants, Soulbinds, and Conduits — Shadowlands 9.1

Last updated on Jul 18, 2021 at 16:55 by Mandl and Panthea 26 comments
General Information

Covenants, Soulbinds, and Conduits are the most important character customization options in Shadowlands. They have a substantial impact on your toolkit and performance as Blood Death Knight. This page's purpose is to help you pick the right options according to the content you intend to do in Shadowlands.


Introduction: Prerequisites

This page assumes that you are already familiar with Covenants, Soulbinds, and Conduits. If that is not the case, we have a number of pages that can help you get up to speed:

  • Covenants Guide, which explains what Covenants are, what perks they bring, and how you can join one;
  • Death Knight Covenant Abilities, which lists all the abilities that Death Knights gain by joining each Covenant;
  • How To Change Covenant?, which tells you how you can switch Covenant (rejoining a former Covenant will require you to perform a number of tasks to regain their trusts);
  • General Soulbind Guide, which explains what Soulbinds are and how you can pledge yourself to them to open up their Soulbind tree;
  • Death Knight Conduits, which lists all of the Conduits available to Death Knights.

Summary of the Best Covenants, Soulbinds, and Conduits

Blood Death Knights have no strictly superior Covenant; instead, their strengths and the utility they provide varies based on the content, your strategy towards beating said content, and even in some cases the race of your character!

We have summarized some of the strengths and weaknesses of each one in the table below:

Covenant Focus Details Grade
Kyrian Raiding Excels at priority damage and provides 8% Damage Reduction every minute affecting any target with Shackle the Unworthy Icon Shackle the Unworthy on it, along with a large amount of Mastery for its duration. The second health potion and full dispel from Phial of Serenity Icon Phial of Serenity is also amazing as a tank. Top notch choice. S
M+ Excels at priority damage, but Shackle the Unworthy Icon Shackle the Unworthy is unwieldy in AoE and difficult to spread to more than 5 targets due to the innate target capping of Heart Strike Icon Heart Strike. You will likely need to adjust some of your pulls to work around it.

Phial of Serenity Icon Phial of Serenity is an extremely potent utility choice in some dungeons, particularly Plaguefall.
Night Fae Raiding Very unwieldy and taxing rotationally, this Covenant does not provide any additional mileage considering the complexity you incur when picking it. C
M+ Even more unwieldy than in raid due to the inability to gain stacks on more than 5 targets due to the innate target hard-capping of Heart Strike Icon Heart Strike, and the fact that you will be using Death's Due Icon Death's Due with Grip of the Dead Icon Grip of the Dead to kite, thus wasting or dropping stacks. F
Necrolord Raiding Provides burst damage on a longer cooldown than Kyrian, the equivalent of 6 runes in Bone Shield Icon Bone Shield charges, and limited utility through the unwieldy nature of Fleshcraft Icon Fleshcraft, although it can situationally provide you with a free 20% damage reduction cooldown for tankbusters. The additional grip potential can be make-or-break in some situations (particularly on Sun King's Salvation). Great, but should be handled with care. B
M+ Abomination Limb Icon Abomination Limb is hard-capped to 5 targets, and as such, quickly tapers off. It being a 2-minute cooldown unlike the other options is also a small drawback; however, the Bone Shield Icon Bone Shield charges it provides is a top-notch resource gain if used properly.

Just like in raids, you will need to be aware of cases where Abomination Limb Icon Abomination Limb can ruin your encounters, particularly on Mistcaller in Mists of Tirna Scithe, as the fox can get gripped.
Venthyr Raiding The ability for this Covenant to scale well beyond 5 targets for damage, and up to 5 targets for the Runic Power gain, is largely a technical footnote for raiding, as the type of content typically has smaller target counts than this. It is still valuable, and Door of Shadows Icon Door of Shadows can also be situationally awesome, but slightly behind the Kyrian competitors. B
M+ This is the only Covenant option that is not hardcapped, and the Runic Power it provides every minute is amazing to set up pulls. The dodge chance is the cherry on top, along with some good Soulbind choices, making up a very well-rounded Covenant for high keys. S

By default, We advise this all-purpose Pelagos (Kyrian) tree for Raiding, Mythic+, and Torghast as a Blood Death Knight, due to its versatility in all content types. For more in-depth information about Soulbinds and Covenants as Blood Death Knight, please continue to the Choosing the Right Covenant section below.


Best Conduits for Blood Death Knight

Conduits are very similar to Azerite Traits in that they are something that you specifically target to enhance your character. They are also shared among all Covenants with the exception of one Potency Conduit, which is Covenant-specific and interact with the Class ability from that Covenant. These are Proliferation Icon Proliferation, Impenetrable Gloom Icon Impenetrable Gloom, Brutal Grasp Icon Brutal Grasp and Withering Ground Icon Withering Ground. You will always want one of these as a Blood Death Knight.


Best Potency Conduits for Blood Death Knight

  1. Proliferation Icon Proliferation, Impenetrable Gloom Icon Impenetrable Gloom, Brutal Grasp Icon Brutal Grasp, or Withering Ground Icon Withering Ground
  2. Withering Plague Icon Withering Plague
  3. Adaptive Armor Fragment Icon Adaptive Armor Fragment

Best Endurance Conduits for Blood Death Knight

  1. Meat Shield Icon Meat Shield
  2. Hardened Bones Icon Hardened Bones

Best Finesse Conduits for Blood Death Knight

  1. Spirit Drain Icon Spirit Drain
  2. Chilled Resilience Icon Chilled Resilience

Conduits for Blood Death Knight

The Conduits mentioned under each sub-section are ranked from best to worst.


Blood Death Knight Potency Conduits

  1. Proliferation Icon Proliferation (Kyrian) increases the duration of Shackle the Unworthy Icon Shackle the Unworthy by 3 seconds and increases the damage dealt quite significantly — a must have for any Kyrian Blood Death Knight.
  2. Impenetrable Gloom Icon Impenetrable Gloom (Venthyr) increases the dodge of Swarming Mist Icon Swarming Mist by an additional 3% and increases the damage dealt by a sizable amount — must have for any Venthyr Blood Death Knight.
  3. Withering Ground Icon Withering Ground (Night Fae) increases the damage dealt by Death's Due Icon Death's Due by a large amount — a must have for any Night Fae Blood Death Knight.
  4. Brutal Grasp Icon Brutal Grasp (Necrolord) simply makes Abomination Limb Icon Abomination Limb deal increased damage — a must have for any Necrolord Blood Death Knight.
  5. Withering Plague Icon Withering Plague increases the damage done by Heart Strike Icon Heart Strike; nice and simple. At 226 item level this is a 24% increase!
  6. Adaptive Armor Fragment Icon Adaptive Armor Fragment is new for Patch 9.1 and will increase your Strength by a set percentage of your total Strength (3.2% at 226 item level) when you are healed by another player. However, at the level it is set to at the moment you would only use this Conduit if you wanted a bit more DPS and had to pick three Potency Conduits in your chosen Soulbind path.
  7. Debilitating Malady Icon Debilitating Malady increases the damage done by Blood Plague Icon Blood Plague by a quite small margin. At 226 item level this equates to a 1.8% increase (stacking 3 times) on a spell that deals 8% Attack Power on its own. Small increase to a small damage dealing spell.

As you can see from the list of Conduits above, there is not really much to pick from, which is why it is not essential for a Blood Death Knight to use 2/3x Potency where available.


Blood Death Knight Endurance Conduits

  1. Meat Shield Icon Meat Shield increases the duration of Dancing Rune Weapon Icon Dancing Rune Weapon by 3 seconds. This seems like a potency Conduit, but it is classed as Endurance, so that is a free win for us! It will also increase your health by 2% each time you parry within the active time of Dancing Rune Weapon Icon Dancing Rune Weapon for 15 seconds (stacking up to 2 times).
  2. Hardened Bones Icon Hardened Bones at high ranks this transforms Lichborne Icon Lichborne into a minor defensive cooldown by reducing the damage you take scaling with Conduit rank. At Rank 7 (Mythic Nathria), this will reduce your damage taken whilst Lichborne Icon Lichborne is active by 9.6%.
  3. Reinforced Shell Icon Reinforced Shell increases the size of Anti-Magic Zone Icon Anti-Magic Zone by 15% and the duration based on Conduit rank. This Conduit is great if you Anti-Magic Zone Icon Anti-Magic Zone will not expire before the max duration and you require it to be active for longer.
  4. Blood Bond Icon Blood Bond adds a party wide heal when you use Rune Tap Icon Rune Tap. A nice bonus but you would never go out of your way to spend a rune to heal the group. The heal is not large enough to attract this kind of play, so it is simply a perk rather than anything special to drastically change the way the ability functions.
  5. Condensed Anima Sphere Icon Condensed Anima Sphere is new for Patch 9.1 and will heal you for a small percentage of your maximum health when you take damage every 10 seconds. The total amount of healing provided by this Conduit is not worthwhile enough to consider.
  6. Insatiable Appetite Icon Insatiable Appetite. This Conduit increases the MINIMUM healing of Death Strike Icon Death Strike. This would be of value in scenarios where you have taken no damage in the last 5 seconds and in a majority of gameplay scenarios this is not going to be the case as when you need healing... you have taken damage. Such is the way of how the spec works. Avoid.

Blood Death Knight Finesse Conduits

  1. Spirit Drain Icon Spirit Drain allows your interrupt to generate Runic Power. Embrace your inner demon hunter and generate resources when you interrupt! At Rank 7 (Mythic Nathria) this will generate 16 Runic Power (1 runic more than a standard Heart Strike Icon Heart Strike for free).
  2. Chilled Resilience Icon Chilled Resilience reduces the cooldown of Icebound Fortitude Icon Icebound Fortitude. This is yet another Conduit that should be Potency but is classed as something else. At Rank 7 (Mythic Nathria), it reduces the cooldown by 30 seconds!
  3. Fleeting Wind Icon Fleeting Wind gives a small speed boost to the start of your Death's Advance Icon Death's Advance. The power of the above Finesse Conduits mean that this one unfortunately will not see regular play.
  4. Unending Grip Icon Unending Grip adds a slow to your Death Grip Icon Death Grip, a slow that using Heart Strike Icon Heart Strike does too as a standard interaction. Only useful at high ranks in PvP really, as you do not really grip something to you in PvE that is trying to escape. It is usually you trying to escape from them and bringing them to you is not the right move.

Choosing the right Covenant

Before going more in depth about Covenants it is important to understand that any of the 4 Covenants can be played as Blood Death Knight. There will definitely be better and worse options but the choice will not be hindering your daily activities.

While all of the Covenants have their place some simply perform better on a day to day basis than others. Kyrian and Venthyr are the two that stand out the most for Blood Death Knight due to their powerful class abilities and Soulbinds.

  1. Kyrian — Good for all content styles and highest single-target DPS
  2. Venthyr — Strong AoE damage and on-demand full Runic Power bar in M+
  3. Night Fae — Strong single-target damage reduction and generic Covenant
  4. Necrolord — Strong damage in AoE + Generates Bone Shield Icon Bone Shield charges.

Kyrian For Blood Death Knight

Kyrian is a great option for Blood Death Knights.

Shackle the Unworthy Icon Shackle the Unworthy deals a large amount of damage over time, provides you with 5% damage reduction and has as a small chance to spread from Rune Spending Attacks (Heart Strike Icon Heart Strike and Marrowrend Icon Marrowrend). It will spread the debuff at the remaining duration and will spread to a target within 8 yards of you without a debuff.

Summon Steward Icon Summon Steward summons an owlkin steward. You can speak with your steward and he will offer you a range of services, the most important of which are Phial of Serenity Icon Phial of Serenity. This potion restores 20% of your health and more importantly removes all diseases, poisons, curses and bleeds on you. Being able to remove any of these is a huge benefit of being a Kyrian.


Kyrian Soulbinds

While Pelagos, Kleia, and Forgelite Prime Mikanikos all provide their own strengths, Pelagos is your go-to Soulbind with Mikanikos being a very competitive alternative. Combat Meditation Icon Combat Meditation is a powerful throughput increase, and Let Go of the Past Icon Let Go of the Past is a consistent piece of Magical damage reduction.

New final trait — Newfound Resolve Icon Newfound Resolve, working like the Lady Inerva Darkvein Mythic mechanic, and granting you 12% Strength and Stamina for 15s if you succeed in its test. This can be problematic as the add can spawn behind you.

As an alternative you can also use Kleia. All of her benefits are tied to group play. Valiant Strikes Icon Valiant Strikes, Mentorship Icon Mentorship, and Pointed Courage Icon Pointed Courage all tie into this.

New final trait — Light the Path Icon Light the Path modifies Valiant Strikes Icon Valiant Strikes by making each stack grant 0.25% more Critical Strike. When the stacks convert into a heal, you and the affected party member gain 5% Critical Strike. This, again, is just purely offensive.

Mikanikos, in Patch 9.1, is a very competitive Soulbind choice. Reactive Retrofitting Icon Reactive Retrofitting provides you with a very potent absorb shield on a regular basis. Spawns of Bron are very impactful and the new final trait allows you to use Shackle the Unworthy Icon Shackle the Unworthy more regularly!

New final trait — Effusive Anima Accelerator Icon Effusive Anima Accelerator deals AoE damage around the target you used Shackle the Unworthy Icon Shackle the Unworthy on, and reduces its cooldown by up to 20s based on the number of targets hit.


Venthyr For Blood Death Knight

While Kyrian's focus was single-target, Venthyr's focus is AoE. It really shines in high-target situations such as Mythic+.

Swarming Mist Icon Swarming Mist functions very similarly to Bonestorm Icon Bonestorm where you are surrounded by a mist that will deal damage and generate runic power. The Runic Power generated is as follows: 10 for the Rune spent to cast it, and each tick grants 3 Runic Power per enemy hit (up to 15 Runic Power per hit). 9 ticks total. This means that it will generate 37-145 Runic Power per cast. It also gives you the ability dodge when you use it!

Door of Shadows Icon Door of Shadows is a targeted teleport. If you have played Overwatch before you know what to expect. Pick a location that is within Line of Sight and after a 1.5-second cast you are teleported there. Typical uses of this are to cover large distances of space, traverse vertically, skip packs in M+, etc.; possibilities are endless!


Venthyr Soulbinds

Nadjia the Mistblade provides you with a mini bloodlust in the form of Thrill Seeker Icon Thrill Seeker and increases the effectiveness of consumables with Exacting Preparation Icon Exacting Preparation. Sinful Preservation Icon Sinful Preservation is new in Patch 9.1 and this will provide you with an absorb shield when you use a Health Potion or Healthstone; this will be very powerful (as long as you remember to use them!). Nadija will be your default choice as a Venthyr.

New final trait — Fatal Flaw Icon Fatal Flaw, granting you 20% Critical Strike or Versatility after The Euphoria effect from Thrill Seeker Icon Thrill Seeker ends for 10 seconds. If you are going for parses, you will likely get the gigantic amount of Critical Strike. If you are doing high keys, you will almost always trigger the Versatility. Since both are percentage ratings, they are unaffected by diminishing returns making it a blatantly ludicrous amount of stats.

Theotar the Mad Duke is a bit of a mix of Nadjia and Draven but focuses purely on providing these benefits to others. Soothing Shade Icon Soothing Shade provides you with a random chance to spawn a Parasol which grants you Mastery and Wasteland Propriety Icon Wasteland Propriety provides you and the group with Versatility when Swarming Mist Icon Swarming Mist is used. It's Always Tea Time Icon It's Always Tea Time attaches a damage reduction to the Soothing Shade Icon Soothing Shade Parasol.

New final trait — Party Favors Icon Party Favors will provide you with an Augment Rune-style item once per day. When used you will gain a 4-hour buff (which persists through death) that provides either Strength or a random secondary stat. This item will have a 1-hour cooldown allowing you to change what benefit you get each time. If you change your Soulbind to Nadija or Draven the buff will disappear.

General Draven provides you with more personal, defensive utility than the others. Service In Stone Icon Service In Stone stacks with Will of the Necropolis Icon Will of the Necropolis, Enduring Gloom Icon Enduring Gloom provides you with a health shield when you use Door of Shadows Icon Door of Shadows, and Hold Your Ground Icon Hold Your Ground provides you with more Stamina when standing still. Draven will be picked when you need more Effective Health for Raid Progression — during the last season of content the benefits of Draven were not necessary as a reference — however it comes at the cost of losing DPS.

New final trait — Battlefield Presence Icon Battlefield Presence provides you with up to 3% damage reduction based on the amount of enemies nearby. This is quite minor when compared to other Soulbinds.


Night Fae Blood Death Knight

Night Fae is the generic pick for Blood Death Knights, it works well in both single-target and AoE environments.

Death's Due Icon Death's Due replaces Death and Decay Icon Death and Decay and provides it with a new benefit! When you use Heart Strike Icon Heart Strike on a target within your Death's Due Icon Death's Due, it will gain a stacking debuff, which reduces the damage it will deal to you by 2% per stack, and you will gain a stacking buff which will increase your Strength by 2% per stack. Both the buff and debuff stack to 8% and have a 12-second duration. Each additional stack applied refreshes the duration back to 12 seconds, this means that you will need to cast Heart Strike Icon Heart Strike at the end of Death's Due Icon Death's Due to make sure the buff/debuff does not reset.

Soulshape Icon Soulshape is very similar to Ghost Wolf Icon Ghost Wolf but accessible to all! Whilst you are in the travel form you are unable to cast spells, but if you press Soulshape Icon Soulshape again you will blink a short distance!


Night Fae Soulbinds

Niya will be your go-to Soulbind choice as a Night Fae. Grove Invigoration Icon Grove Invigoration provides you with additional health/Mastery whenever you cast Death's Due Icon Death's Due, which is a nice bonus. For reasons that will be mentioned in the sections for Dreamweaver and Korayn, it is your only competitive option as Blood.

New final trait — Bonded Hearts Icon Bonded Hearts, causing you to effectively heal up to 5 nearby friendly targets for 2% of their health every 15s. If you heal somebody from another Covenant — which is kind of difficult considering that 95% of the DPS are Night Fae these days — each stack of Grove Invigoration Icon Grove Invigoration is amplified by 50%.

Dreamweaver has the unfortunate effect of having Podtender Icon Podtender as an inevitable pick, which ultimately makes it a less-than-ideal choice. When Podtender triggers, you lose all threat, are unable to be resurrected until the effect is over, and, worst of all, you just have to sit there and watch whatever killed you kill others. The defensive aspects of Dreamweaver are relatively unimpactful as a Blood Death Knight as you will rarely overheal for Empowered Chrysalis Icon Empowered Chrysalis and Waking Dreams Icon Waking Dreams has a long cooldown associated with the effect.

New final trait — Dream Delver Icon Dream Delver is a very simple damage/healing benefit which increases your damage/healing to targets by 1% per event for 4 seconds, stacking up to 3%. The uptime on this effect is near 100%.

Korayn is similar to General Draven as it is a strictly defensive option, however similar to Draven it comes at the cost of DPS. Face Your Foes Icon Face Your Foes is a consistent damage reduction as you are always facing your foe! Alternatively you can use Hold the Line Icon Hold the Line for a larger amount of damage reduction, however it is only Physical damage that is reduced (this is a majority of your damage taken in many scenarios).

You are also able to make Korayn into a Damage-oriented Soulbind by capitalizing on First Strike Icon First Strike windows and playing around Wild Hunt Strategem Icon Wild Hunt Strategem, however it typically comes at a lower total DPS amount than Niya.

New final trait — Wild Hunt Strategem Icon Wild Hunt Strategem allows you to gain a small amount of execute damage whenever you trigger First Strike Icon First Strike. However, to trigger Wild Hunt Stratagem you will require another target on low health, therefore in many realistic scenarios it will be very difficult or impossible to trigger.


Necrolord For Blood Death Knight

Necrolord is our last Covenant. Whilst it does not have the clear PvE benefits of the other Covenants, it can still be strong when used correctly.

Abomination Limb Icon Abomination Limb is the Necrolord Class Ability. When activated it will deal damage to all targets to nearby targets and attempt to grip a target that is 8-20 yards away from you. Each target can only be gripped once per 4 seconds. You will also generate 3 Bone Shield Icon Bone Shield charges on cast, 6 seconds after casting, and when the effect ends. Abomination Limb Icon Abomination Limb is the highest damaging Covenant ability however it has a much longer cooldown than the rest.

Fleshcraft Icon Fleshcraft is a 3-second channel granting you a shield for 40% of your Maximum Health, with 20% damage reduction bolted on to it for good measure. You are still able to dodge and parry during it, and its cooldown is reduced by 1 second every time you walk past a corpse you helped kill.

It is worth noting that each tick of the channel snapshots your maximum HP. As such, it may be preferable to use it during Vampiric Blood Icon Vampiric Blood, although it is not worth using Vampiric Blood for this purpose.


Necrolord Soulbinds

Plague Deviser Marileth provides you with some interesting effects. Volatile Solvent Icon Volatile Solvent passively soaks up corpses and grants you buffs related to the enemy type it came from: 120 Mastery for Humanoids, 2% Primary Stat for Beasts, 5% Stamina for Demons, and a 5% heal for Undead. In Mythic+, this means you will almost always have 120 Mastery, and get relatively frequent 5% max HP heals at the end of packs.

Ooz's Frictionless Coating Icon Ooz's Frictionless Coating provides you with a 15% shield every 30 seconds (it triggers when below 50% health, but as part of normal play as a Blood Death Knight it is every 30 seconds at least). Ultimate Form Icon Ultimate Form will allow you to regenerate Health during and after Fleshcraft Icon Fleshcraft and be immune to Crowd Control.

Undulating Maneuvers Icon Undulating Maneuvers is new in Patch 9.1. This works as a reduced version of a Brewmaster Monk's Stagger Icon Stagger. It is an absorb and can proc off itself, which is kind of amusing and good news since it means it counts "double" into the Death Strike Icon Death Strike healing calculation.

New final trait — Kevin's Oozeling Icon Kevin's Oozeling will spawn when you use Abomination Limb Icon Abomination Limb. It will spawn a pet guardian that melees whatever you autoattacked last. Whenever somebody nearby takes real damage (i.e. not absorbed), they gain a small shield. You gain 2% extra damage to anything the oozeling touched while it was up. When it despawns, all the effects go away.

Emeni will be your go-to pick. Lead by Example Icon Lead by Example provides you and nearby allies with primary stat when you use Abomination Limb Icon Abomination Limb. Emeni's Magnificent Skin Icon Emeni's Magnificent Skin provides you with a max health buff for 30 seconds after using Fleshcraft Icon Fleshcraft. Gnashing Chompers Icon Gnashing Chompers provides you with stacking Haste when an enemy is defeated — great in Mythic+, not so great in most raiding scenarios. Resilient Stitching Icon Resilient Stitching will provide you with a shield that absorbs 15% of your max health of magic damage every minute. It is simple and powerful.

New final trait — Pustule Eruption Icon Pustule Eruption triggers when you cast Fleshcraft Icon Fleshcraft. You will generate 3 pustules per second you channeled Fleshcraft Icon Fleshcraft. When you take damage a pustule will detonate and deal some damage to nearby enemies and heal nearby allies as well.

Bonesmith Heirmir is a more DPS-oriented Soulbind choice with Serrated Spaulders Icon Serrated Spaulders reflecting damage taken and Heirmir's Arsenal: Marrowed Gemstone Icon Heirmir's Arsenal: Marrowed Gemstone further enhancing your damage output. Waking Bone Breastplate Icon Waking Bone Breastplate provides you with a 5% health buff when you are surrounded by 3 or more enemies which can be quite frequently, even in raid scenarios.

If you are in a scenario where you can damage targets that are above 90% health on a regular basis such as Mythic+ or Raid Encounters which have adds that spawn, we would recommend changing the final choice to Carver's Eye Icon Carver's Eye as it is a very high amount of Mastery. The Endurance Conduit you would use here would be Blood Bond Icon Blood Bond.

New final trait — Mnemonic Equipment Icon Mnemonic Equipment is a fairly simple damage buff to targets below 35% health.



  • 18 Jul. 2021: Updated Draven Soulbind tree to include new Conduit.
  • 29 Jun. 2021: Updated for Patch 9.1.
  • 09 Mar. 2021: Updated for 9.0.5, with a reference to the upgraded Fleshcraft and changes to Marileth's description.
  • 19 Dec. 2020: Added a table clarifying the value of each covenant.
  • 29 Nov. 2020: Updated information for Necrolord as it changed just before the expansion launched.
  • 21 Nov. 2020: Fixed broken Soulbind link.
  • 20 Nov. 2020: Updated with latest changes.
  • 17 Nov. 2020: Page created
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