Blood Death Knight Patch 9.2 Changes Analysis and Tier Set Thoughts
On this page, we tell you how the Patch 9.2 changes for Blood Death Knight affect the spec and what the current state of theorycrafting is.
Blood Death Knight in Patch 9.2: Eternity's End
This page is intended to provide a concise list of changes in Patch 9.2 that will directly (or indirectly in one case!) affect Blood Death Knight. From changes to Legendaries, Covenants, the addition of set bonuses and changes to systems affecting all players, Eternity's End brings in substantial changes, both in terms of choices and playstyle.
As usual, we'll try to keep it as concise as we can, while explaining the impacts of each change.
If you are simply interested in what the current changes are for Death Knights in Patch 9.2 in general, you can instead read our full list of changes to the entire Death Knight class on our dedicated page below. For an additional list of content coming with Patch 9.2, you can also check out our Patch 9.2 Overview page.
Base Spec Changes for Patch 9.2
There have been no changes to any of the core abilities or mechanics for Blood Death Knights so far. That said, do bear in mind that the release of patch 9.2 is still a long way away, so things may still change.
Blood Death Knight Talent Changes in Patch 9.2
As with base spec changes, our talent tree is currently untouched. Even though it would be neat to see some changes, particularly in order to diversify the couple of talent rows where one talent eclipses the others, it is relatively rare for this to happen in the last patch of an expansion.
Other Spec-Impacting Changes for Patch 9.2
Patch 9.2 brings a relatively stark number tuning on the Necrolord ability, Abomination Limb, buffing it by 20%. Its Conduit, Brutal Grasp, is also getting a numerical touch-up: its minimal value is now 30%, up from 15%, and maximum value at 252 being 60%, up from 30%, for a 100% gain at essentially all Conduit levels.
This, evidently, does not change the balance that much as Abomination Limb was a relatively minor contributor in damage breakdowns.
Blood Death Knight Tier Set in Patch 9.2
Players will once again be able to acquire their own class tier set — gone are the days of static, boring armor!
Sepulcher of the First Ones, launching shortly after Patch 9.2, will allow Death Knights to collect armor pieces that, together, enable two unique specialization-themed bonuses. For Blood Death Knights specifically, the effects are the following:
- Blood DK 2-Piece — Heart Strike increases your Strength by 1% and the duration of Dancing Rune Weapon by 0.5 seconds, persisting for 10 seconds after Dancing Rune Weapon ends.
- Blood DK 4-Piece — Parrying an attack causes your weapon to lash out, using Heart Strike on your attacker. Dancing Rune Weapon now summons 2 Rune Weapons.
Blood Death Knight Tier Set Thoughts
The Blood Death Knight set bonus is an amalgamation of old bonuses, which makes it both relatively boring, but reliable. Just like the Protection Paladin set bonus, ours has an active component, and a passive proc working off incoming damage events (in our case, parries).
Blood DK 2-Piece is a relatively straightforward bonus: while Dancing Rune Weapon is active, any and all Heart Strikes cast during Dancing Rune Weapon extend the duration of Dancing Rune Weapon by 0.5s per Dancing Rune Weapon active and grant you 1% Strength, stacking up to 75 times. This Strength bonus persists for 10 seconds after Dancing Rune Weapon expires.
This bonus is interesting as it allows you to get much, much higher uptime on Dancing Rune Weapon, and gain a noticeable amount of Strength when it expires. Any Heart Strike counts (including the ones from Blood DK 4-Piece), and no matter how many targets get hit by it, you only gain 0.5s/1% Strength per weapon. With just the Blood DK 2-Piece bonus, you will get 1s/2% per Heart Strike, and with the Blood DK 4-Piece bonus, you get 1.5s/3% per Heart Strike. Counter-attacks from the 4-piece bonus are only from your weapon, and only grant 0.5s/1% strength.
The 4-piece bonus, Blood DK 4-Piece, is where things get really interesting (and, unfortunately, really polarized). The easy part of the bonus: you get back the second Dancing Rune Weapon that existed in Legion, along with all its cool perks:
- When active, Marrowrend generates 9 bones, up from 6.
- When active, any Heart Strike cast generates 10 bonus RP from the weapons casting Blood Strike, up from 5.
- When active, you can get three sets of diseases — like Blood Plague — on targets (but this is relatively unimportant).
- Abilities now get copied twice for a total of 66% more damage, up from 33% (and, since DRW is a non-targetable guardian, the threat from this is to you!)
- You do not get double the Parry bonus.
The remaining effect is a simple proc: every time you take damage, whether it is direct melee hits or environmental damage, you have a chance equal to your Parry rate to instantly cast a Heart Strike. This is designed to trigger every effect, including the base resource gain from Heart Strike. This means that you will get Death's Due refreshes, bonus RP from Heartbreaker, and even bonus RP while Dancing Rune Weapon is up, along with the damage. And much like regular Heart Strike, it also cleaves up to 5 targets if you are standing in Death and Decay.
The entire effect has a 3s ICD, along with a number of interesting caveats:
- If the damage that procced the effect is environmental or does not have a source, your current target will be the target of the Heart Strike instead
- If the target of the Heart Strike is out of range, it will not fully trigger – you will instead just get the Runic Power and the effect will trigger its internal cooldown, but the Heart Strike cast itself will not happen
With just Blood DK 2-Piece, the set is already phenomenal in the hands of a skilled player. Every Heart Strike during Dancing Rune Weapon yields back 1 second of duration extension on Dancing Rune Weapon, meaning that you can almost break even on it (you almost get back more time than you spent casting Heart Strike). With just this bonus, it is not impossible to reach 30-35 second Dancing Rune Weapons with optimal play.
The 4-piece fully unlocks and turbocharges the 2-piece bonus, by adding the final 0.5s needed to always break even. A Heart Strike with a 1.1-1.2s GCD will yield you back 1.5s, or in other words, you get 26% more time than you put in. This allows you, once again with the caveat of skill, to keep Dancing Rune Weapon going for a very long time. In simulations, with proper play, and on PTR, we were able to comfortably reach 70-80% total uptime.
Our class set bonus is an absolute must-have, and you should not be afraid to drop item level to acquire it. Dropping four pieces from 304 (M+15 item level) to 278 (Fated LFR item level) is absolutely recommended if this is what it takes for you to acquire the 4-piece set bonus. It shines everywhere and is a combined 70-80% offensive and defensive throughput gain in proper play, along with the additional gain of having 40% additive parry for a much higher amount of time.
Covenant Changes in Patch 9.2 for Blood Death Knight
There have been no changes announced to either Covenant Abilities, Soulbinds or Conduits for Patch 9.2 for Blood Death Knights. As such, unless anything changes closer to launch, you may expect to go into another tier where all four Covenants are viable and have their niche, and function largely in the same way as Patch 9.1.5.
That said, Patch 9.1.5 brought with it the ability to freely switch between Covenants (assuming that you have reached Renown 80 and obtained the Renowned achievement on any character on your account). Now is the ideal time to max out every Covenant to 80, as Blizzard also hinted at the fact that there will not be any additional Renown levels. Go wild, try the options you have been postponing, and have fun!
(If you would like some pointers, Necrolord, Night Fae, and Kyrian are all likely to have uses in Sepulcher of the First Ones.)
In addition, Conduits will be unlocking their final few ranks, though this will not alter gameplay in any substantial way, as Blood Death Knight Conduits are rather unimpactful to start with.
Legendary Changes in Patch 9.2 for Blood Death Knight
Recall that in Patch 9.1, every class received a Legendary Power that was unique to each Covenant. For Blood Death Knights, these Powers were:
- Kyrian — Final Sentence — Reworked slightly in 9.2, now refunds a rune grants 4% stacking Strength (up from 3%) for 15s whenever Shackle the Unworthy spreads to another target. The application of Shackle the Unworthy itself is now counted for this, making this effect a 4% strength buff for 15s and one extra rune every 56s (with Forgelite Prime Mikanikos' Effusive Anima Accelerator) in single-target.
- Necrolord — Abomination's Frenzy — Abomination Limb's duration is extended by 4 seconds, and you gain the Bone Shield charges every 4 seconds instead of 6 (thus totaling 15 bones, up from 9). Any target hit by Abomination Limb takes 10% more damage for 12 seconds.
- Night Fae — Rampant Transference — While in your Death's Due, you generate 20% more Runic Power, the Strength buff grants 2% more, and persists for 2s longer.
- Venthyr — Insatiable Hunger — you deal AoE damage and heal yourself for the damage done based on how much Runic Power you spent during Swarming Mist.
You are able to equip one of these powers alongside your regular Legendary choice. This means that in Crimson Rune Weapon, you will be able to benefit from your Covenant's Legendary Power on top, for free (well, besides crafting it). For Blood Death Knights specifically, you are strongly encouraged to craft this new memory ( Memory of Unity) on your Boots, and to keep Crimson Rune Weapon on your belt.
As such, to prepare for this, grind some Soul Ash and Soul Cinders. You will likely be recrafting something, but it will not be right now, and there is no tangible reason to re-craft anything before 9.2. Just get ready, max all four Covenants, and get some Ash and Cinders to easily get into the flow.
Potential Double Legendary Combinations
Unfortunately, none of the Covenant Legendaries provide particular synergy or increased value depending on the regular Legendary you use. As a result, we will likely be sticking to our usual tools for now.
Something worth noting, however, is the interactions with our 4-piece set bonus, Blood DK 4-Piece. There is massive value there in terms of fun little interactions, whose numerical benefits will be more evident as the patch gets finalized.
Crimson Rune Weapon
This Legendary offers simple, smooth synergy: cooldown reduction on Dancing Rune Weapon means more Dancing Rune Weapons and, specifically, thanks to the set, a lot more uptime on Dancing Rune Weapon and the Strength buff from the set bonus ( Blood DK 2-Piece). And more uptime means more parries, which mean more Heart Strike.
Thanks to the hotfixes applied to our 2-piece set bonus, Blood DK 2-Piece, this Legendary is now the de facto Best in Slot Legendary everywhere. The other interesting thing that the hotfixes enabled with it was the use of Tombstone, a talent that has, to date, never been used competitively before.
The rotation guide is up to date to account for this change in talents, and should guide you into using Tombstone properly. We strongly recommend checking it out!
Phearomones (only on Halondrus as Night Fae)
Halondrus the Reclaimer, the seventh boss of Sepulcher of the First Ones, has an interesting design peculiarity. Due to how the fight is built, you will only lose Bone Shield charges during two relatively short intermissions. This reduces the value of Crimson Rune Weapon quite noticeably.
Night Fae players get the chance to experiment thanks to this, by using Phearomones, a multiplicative 10% Haste buff while standing in Death's Due. With proper play (which should really be the name of this patch for Blood Death Knights), this Legendary will run laps around Crimson Rune Weapon on this boss specifically. It also has the advantage of making Dancing Rune Weapon line up slightly better with the fight, but this is a very small gain.
- 10 Apr. 2022: Updated to account for hotfixes, added info on Legendaries, new Legendaries, Halondrus, and Tombstone.
- 12 Feb. 2022: Adjusted for current PTR data, clarified some points.
- 15 Jan. 2022: Page added with initial thoughts and information.
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