Blood Death Knight Patch 9.1 Changes Analysis — Shadowlands 9.1

Last updated on Apr 29, 2021 at 22:00 by Mandl and Panthea 25 comments
General Information

On this page, we tell you how the Patch 9.1 changes for Blood Death Knight affect the spec and what the current state of theorycrafting is.

1.

Blood Death Knight Patch 9.1 Changes Overview

Unfortunately, as is the case for most patches, Blood Death Knights remain in a largely unchanged state compared to Patch 9.0.5. A full list of the changes impacting the entire class can be found on our dedicated Patch 9.1 Death Knight Changes page.

None of these changes are in the live version of the game yet.

As the PTR builds roll in, this page will be updated based on our testing, along with the impact of the changes, from a PvE standpoint.

2.

Base Spec Changes for Patch 9.1

Blood Death Knights just received a 6% aura tuning buff on PTR.

This aura change does not affect the usual suspects, such as trinkets, and other class-independent effects. As a result, it will translate to slightly less than a 6% buff in overall damage. It does not actually fix the damage profile issues, namely the lack of upfront burst outside of Covenant abilities, but it does do something to bring the average slightly up.

3.

Talent Changes for Patch 9.1

Blood Death Knights have received no talent changes in 9.1 so far.

4.

Legendary Changes for Patch 9.1

4.1.

Covenant Legendaries

All specs are scheduled to gain access to four Legendaries in 9.1, with each of them working solely with one — and only one — Covenant.

4.1.1.

Abomination's Frenzy

Abomination's Frenzy Icon Abomination's Frenzy is the Necrolord Death Knight Legendary, and modifies Abomination Limb Icon Abomination Limb in three important ways:

  • It makes it last longer, totaling roughly 30% more damage over its duration.
  • It also reduces the interval between Bone Shield Icon Bone Shield charge gains from 6s to 4s.
  • Finally, whenever it grips a target, your current target gets a debuff making it take 10% additional damage for 12s. This is likely a bug compared to the debuff applying to the gripped target instead.

With current tuning, this is weak. It adds a relatively small amount of damage compared to other Legendaries such as Superstrain Icon Superstrain and Crimson Rune Weapon Icon Crimson Rune Weapon, and the throughput gain from the extra Bone Shield Icon Bone Shield charges is largely neutered by the reduction in time between them, to the point that it becomes impossible to lose previous charges fast enough to not cap. As a result, this Legendary is weak compared to the competition. We feel that Bone Shield Icon Bone Shield charge overflow is a real problem with this Legendary, and would recommend generating an additional resource instead as a potential fix/improvement to this Legendary. Runic Corruption Icon Runic Corruption would be perfect for this role.

4.1.2.

Final Sentence

Harkening all the way back to early beta, the Kyrian Legendary is an effect that grants you 2% Strength and refunds a Rune whenever you manage to spread Shackle the Unworthy Icon Shackle the Unworthy. The Strength bonus caps at 10%.

This Legendary has zero value in single-target, very little value in 2-target cleave — Shackle the Unworthy Icon Shackle the Unworthy can only be spread to targets that do not already have it and the Legendary only grants you the bonus if you successfully create a new debuff — and very little value on 3+ targets due to the difficulty in not letting the stacks drop.Even on target counts where it should be good, it pales in comparison to the competition due to the fact that it is almost purely offensive since the Armor gain from the extra Strength is very weak and the extra Runes do not come in often enough on "realistic" pulls.

4.1.3.

Rampant Transference

This Legendary is comprised of two distinct effects, even though the tooltip can be misleading:

  • While you are in Death's Due Icon Death's Due, you generate 20% more Runic Power.
  • The Death's Due Icon Death's Due buff lasts 2s longer, and each stack grants 1% more Strength, boosting the total Strength bonus of Death's Due Icon Death's Due to 12%.

This Legendary looks strong at first glance, but is extremely weak in practice. The Strength is laughable, the Armor gained from it even more so, it does not modify the debuff part of Death's Due Icon Death's Due — the hard part to keep stacked up — and it has no defensive benefits beyond the meager Runic Power bonus. It is, once again, a Legendary completely eclipsed by Superstrain Icon Superstrain and Crimson Rune Weapon Icon Crimson Rune Weapon. It is more on-par with a Conduit in terms of power than a Legendary, so a power tuning may be in order.

4.1.4.

Insatiable Hunger

This Legendary adds a detonation at the end of Swarming Mist Icon Swarming Mist, scaling up with the amount of Runic Power you spent during it.

Unfortunately, this runs contrary to the way you would play the spec in most content, as this incentivizes you to come into Swarming Mist Icon Swarming Mist with Runic Power, and exit it while running on empty, both of which are dangerous in progression content. As a result, we expect this to be, at best, a farm/parse Legendary used on fights with enemies suffering from damage amplification effects — think Sludgefist for a great example.

4.2.

Other Legendary Changes for 9.1

Unlike some other classes, no other Legendaries have been tweaked or reworked.

5.

Conduit and Soulbind Changes for Patch 9.1

In 9.1, all the Soulbinds gained a number of additional rows of Conduits and generic traits, along with a new capstone trait.

To provide a quick summary before the wall of text explaining each trait in detail:

5.1.

Kyrian

5.1.1.

Pelagos

Pelagos gains the following Conduits:

  • An additional Potency Conduit
  • A choice of either:
    • An Endurance Conduit and Better Together Icon Better Together, effectively working out to 40 permanent additional Mastery.
    • A Finesse Conduit and Path of the Devoted Icon Path of the Devoted, which is very weak considering that tanks generally do not get affected by full loss-of-control effects outside of core misplays.
  • 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 the test. This can be problematic as the add can spawn behind you.

Thanks to the last trait and the "bonus" 40 Mastery on top of the Mastery provided by the 9.0 tree, Pelagos remains a very viable and competitive Soulbind going into 9.1.

5.1.2.

Kleia

Kleia gains the following Conduits:

  • An additional Potency Conduit
  • A choice of either:
    • An Endurance Conduit and 3% Critical Strike whenever you damage an enemy above 90% health. Since it is Critical Strike percentage, it does not convert into Parry.
    • A Finesse Conduit and 10% damage reduction for you and your lowest-health ally, along with the heal and the debuff cleanse for them as well, whenever you use your Phial of Serenity Icon Phial of Serenity.
  • 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.

Kleia's additional traits provide immense value if there is an encounter with debuffs to clear, thanks to Hope Springs Eternal Icon Hope Springs Eternal. The rest is... well, DPS, DPS, DPS.

5.1.3.

Mikanikos

Forgelite Prime Mikanikos gains the following Conduits:

  • An additional Potency Conduit
  • A choice of either:
    • An Endurance Conduit and Soulglow Spectrometer Icon Soulglow Spectrometer, granting you up to 5% damage to your target, stacking over 15s, and possibly changing targets between activations.
    • A Finesse Conduit and Reactive Retrofitting Icon Reactive Retrofitting, which works out two absorbs totalling 16% of your maximum Health at time of proc, one for physical damage, and one for magical damage, per 30 seconds.
  • 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. This is pretty potent, but not as impactful as for some of the other classes — Vengeance Demon Hunters gets absolutely insane value out of this.

Overall, Mikanikos is likely going to show up for those of us that are Kyrian and doing Mythic+, which is more use than the poor Forgelite has right now. Look out for all the cool stuff you can do with Bron!

The added benefit of all this is the new Potency slot for this Soulbind, which allows us to not have to take Forgelite Filter Icon Forgelite Filter and opens up a world of new possibilities when it comes to not wasting your Phial of Serenity Icon Phial of Serenity.

5.2.

Venthyr

5.2.1.

Nadjia

Nadjia the Mistblade gains the following Conduits:

  • An additional Potency Conduit
  • A choice of either:
    • A Finesse Conduit and Sinful Preservation Icon Sinful Preservation, granting you 50% of the value of all Healthstone Icon Healthstones and health potions you consume as an absorb. This has mad value for Mythic+.
    • An Endurance Conduit and Nimble Steps Icon Nimble Steps, snaring enemies near you by 10% and turning into a 4s root when you drop below 35% health. We are not sure what DR chain the root is on, if any, and frankly the other trait is so much better due to the fact that we already bring a 90% on-demand slow with Grip of the Dead Icon Grip of the Dead.
  • 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.

With these changes, Nadjia will very likely dethrone Theotar as the default Soulbind overall, even on top-tier progression.

5.2.2.

Theotar

Theotar the Mad Duke's last trait feels too bugged on PTR to provide a real analysis on the value of the Soulbind's new rows. On some builds Party Favors Icon Party Favors would be stackable, on others it would fade on death, and on others still it would just not work. As a result, it is very difficult to gauge its relative strength, but assuming it works like the tooltip states: weak and uncontrollable.

5.2.3.

Draven

General Draven gains the following Conduits:

  • An additional Potency Conduit
  • A choice of either:
    • A Finesse Conduit and Regenerative Stone Skin Icon Regenerative Stone Skin, converting 15% of all overhealing into a 6s heal-over-time effect. This is very weak as our main "overhealing spell" for difficult content, Death Strike Icon Death Strike, cannot trigger this.
    • An Endurance Conduit and Intimidation Tactics Icon Intimidation Tactics, granting you cooldown reduction on Door of Shadows Icon Door of Shadows when you are low on health. This is completely pointless.
  • Battlefield Presence Icon Battlefield Presence, which is basically up to 3% damage reduction. This is weak and, frankly, outclassed by virtually every new Soulbind row except Theotar.

Draven continues in his EHP niche, which nobody in the world currently has a valid use case for. Theotar blew him out of the water in 9.0.5, and Nadjia will likely smoke both of them in 9.1.

It is also problematic to end up with three mandatory Potency Conduits. I know it sounds weird, but we only have two viable Potency Conduits.

5.3.

Night Fae

5.3.1.

Niya

Niya gains the following Conduits:

  • An additional Potency Conduit
  • A choice of either:
    • An Endurance Conduit and Called Shot Icon Called Shot, granting you movement speed when you land a critical strike.
    • A Finesse Conduit and Survivor's Rally Icon Survivor's Rally, working as a 20% heal over 10s when you drop below 50%, once per minute. This has huge value on paper, but is very likely to overheal. Oh, and while it is up, you also receive 5% more healing, making it even more likely to overheal. It triggers off-GCD, since it is based on damage taken, and is largely independent of anything you do.
  • 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%.

Overall, Niya's new stuff focuses on defensive gains. It is a shame that Dreamweaver is in the state he is in, because otherwise, you might see her get played.

5.3.2.

Dreamweaver

We do not expect Dreamweaver to make it to live in his current state. Waking Dreams Icon Waking Dreams effectively works as a permanent 30% damage reduction. As such, we expect a major rework of this Soulbind's new traits likely coming within a few weeks.

Until then, use it on PTR, because it is brokenly good.

5.3.3.

Korayn

Korayn gains the following Conduits:

  • A Potency Conduit
  • A choice of either:
    • An Endurance Conduit and Vorkai Ambush Icon Vorkai Ambush, effectively working as a 5% DR from any mob you interrupt for 5 seconds. If you manage to kick on cooldown, which is already a big ask, you can expect ~30% uptime from this. It evidently has no value otherwise, as we have no disorient in our kit.
    • A Finesse Conduit and Hunt's Exhilaration Icon Hunt's Exhilaration, giving you 3% Leech for 5s when you damage a new mob.
  • Wild Hunt Strategem Icon Wild Hunt Strategem, allowing you to gain a small amount of execute damage whenever you trigger First Strike Icon First Strike and requiring you to have two targets nearby to optimize:

Overall this Soulbind is, frankly, weak. First Strike Icon First Strike still carries it, but that is all it has going for it.

5.4.

Necrolord

5.4.1.

Plague Deviser Marileth

Plague Deviser Marileth gains the following Conduits:

  • A Potency Conduit
  • A choice of either:
    • An Endurance Conduit and Viscous Trail Icon Viscous Trail, which feels like a PvP Conduit. A positioned snare is kind of weird considering that we already have one in our kit that we are in full control of: Death and Decay Icon Death and Decay.
    • A Finesse Conduit and Undulating Maneuvers Icon Undulating Maneuvers, which is basically a reduced version of a Brewmaster Monk's Stagger Icon Stagger. It works as 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.
  • Kevin's Oozeling Icon Kevin's Oozeling, which is very unwieldy and very poorly-described by the tooltip. Think of it like 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, meanwhile, get 2% extra damage to anything the oozeling touched while it was up. When it despawns, all the effects go away.

Pocket-Stagger Icon Stagger by itself makes this Soulbind very desirable defensively. On fights with lots of damage being dished out to your group, Kevin's Oozeling Icon Kevin's Oozeling provides a ton of, well, mostly pad healing, but healing nevertheless.

This helps round up Marileth as the defensive option, and likely the Mythic+ option, for Necrolords. Now that Volatile Solvent Icon Volatile Solvent is a lot less annoying to use you can safely keep the buffs up consistently, and his previous array of other traits work a treat defensively.

5.4.2.

Emeni

Emeni gains the following Conduits:

  • A Potency Conduit
  • A choice of either:
    • An Endurance Conduit and Sole Slough Icon Sole Slough, granting allies 20% speed when you start moving. Potentially situationally good on fights where fast, specific movement matters.
    • A Finesse Conduit and Resilient Stitching Icon Resilient Stitching, working out to a 15% magic damage absorb per minute. This is weak and uninteresting, but still worth mentioning.
  • Pustule Eruption Icon Pustule Eruption, which forces you to cast Fleshcraft Icon Fleshcraft to deal some damage to nearby enemies every time you take damage and heal your friends for some as well.

The last trait honestly feels like it would belong on Marileth better, as Emeni has basically zero ties to Fleshcraft Icon Fleshcraft. The fact that this costs you three GCDs in order to deal a relatively lackluster amount of damage and uncontrollable healing is weak.

5.4.3.

Bonesmith Heirmir

Bonesmith Heirmir gains the following Conduits:

  • A Potency Conduit
  • A choice of either:
    • An Endurance Conduit and Carver's Eye Icon Carver's Eye, granting you a large amount of Mastery for 5 seconds whenever you damage an enemy above 90% health, stacking 5 times. It is a lot of Mastery and it has a ton of value on fights with adds or in Mythic+.
    • A Finesse Conduit and Waking Bone Breastplate Icon Waking Bone Breastplate, increasing your max HP by 5% whenever 3 or more enemies are nearby. This is simple and likely good in Mythic+ when EHP at the start of a pull matters, but weaker than Carver's Eye Icon Carver's Eye due to it having no offensive/throughput benefits.
  • Mnemonic Equipment Icon Mnemonic Equipment, working out to 3% more execute damage; woo wee, boring and uninspired, and weak in the face of the competition.

Overall, Heirmir seems poised at just being carried by Serrated Spaulders Icon Serrated Spaulders and Heirmir's Arsenal: Marrowed Gemstone Icon Heirmir's Arsenal: Marrowed Gemstone. She is probably the least interesting new set of traits, although the Soulbind was already really strong for Blood.

6.

Changelog

  • 29 Apr. 2021: Added initial content.
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