Blood Death Knight Essences — Battle for Azeroth (BfA) 8.3
On this page, we go over the Essence system in Patch 8.3 of World of Warcraft — Battle for Azeroth, and we tell you which are the best essences to use as Blood Death Knight, both for minor and major powers. Please refer to our Patch 8.3 Essence Guide for more information about the new essences introduced in Patch 8.3 and to our Essence guide for more general information about the Essence system and where Essences can be obtained from.
Azerite Essences for Blood Death Knights
Introduced in Patch 8.2, Essences are unique items that drop from various forms of content. They are activated through your Heart of Azeroth, and they buff your character in various ways, depending on the Essences that are currently active.
For more information about essences, please check out the following:
- our Essence Guide, with all the essences and how to get them;
- our article on the new essences from Patch 8.3;
- our list of Patch 8.3 essence changes.
What follows on this page will relate directly to how Essences affect this spec, since generic information is beyond the scope of this guide.
Essences and Tanking
Tanking is a niche role, in that our Essence choice will most likely not be determined by what is optimal globally, but instead by what is optimal for a given encounter. As such, this guide will be tailored to highlighting the situations and encounters where certain Essences shine.
Major Azerite Essences for Blood Death Knights
All Azerite Majors directly or indirectly provide an active ability. They are highlighted below. A mandatory Essence is one you absolutely want to have at your disposal; a situational one is one that may be worth acquiring, but will see significantly less play. Everything else is in the realm of extremely niche, or flat-out terrible.
Mandatory Major Essences
- Azeroth's Undying Gift provides a substantial damage reduction effect on a very short cooldown. For progression and on fights that will require more frequent DR than what Blood has at their disposal, this will be your go-to.
- Nullification Dynamo's Empowered Null Barrier provides a large absorb shield, along with a complete purge of debuffs present on you. This is valuable for the purge — the absorb is the icing on the cake.
- For raw single-target DPS, The Crucible of Flame's Concentrated Flame will be your bread and butter. Simulations should confirm this once tuning is done, but right now, it is by far the best option available.
Situational Major Essences
- Worldvein Resonance allows you to kickstart the effect of Lifeblood Shard by instantly providing 3 shards for 18 seconds to you and everybody nearby with this Essence. On top of this, the shards will provide 300% more Strength during the duration of the effect. This is expected to provide a very sizable burst potential.
- Anima of Death is extremely similar in behavior to Idol of Indiscriminate Consumption, and serves the same purpose: it provides a very substantial on-use heal (further modified by Vampiric Blood if it is active) in multi-target scenarios. This serves, however, as a large 2-minute AoE cooldown. Do note that it is completely unaffected by any secondary effect, buff or debuff, and just deals 10% of your max HP when cast. This means that under the effect of large amounts of Versatility or Critical Strike, most essences will statistically be better.
- Strife and Conflict's Conflict is something you want to have available to you, particularly if you are a Mythic raider. This Essence provides a second change of Death Grip. While it may not sound like much, this removes the necessity to bring two Death Knights on fights with frequent grips (fights like Mekkatorque, Mythrax, or Aggramar, for instance), thus providing more freedom in terms of raid composition.
- Memory of Lucid Dreams makes the cut for this list primarily for top-tier Mytic+ players. The potential of this essence is only achieved with optimal play and on fights where there is a valid reason to require a soft reset of your runes. The best example of this is super high Tyrannical Soulbound Goliath, where you are forced to wait for your healer cooldowns to be up before resetting stacks.
- The Formless Void's Replica of Knowledge will be used to steal either Focused Azerite Beam (for burst AoE) or Blood of the Enemy (for priority damage) from DPS. We do not expect healer essences to be stolen, as they do not interact with our kit.
- Strength of the Warden's Vigilant Protector can be used for burst AoE; as it functions in the same way as a taunt, a threat modifier is applied to every target tagged with it. As a result, it allows you to very quickly gain a very large threat lead while also taking less damage, and dealing more damage to enemies hit.
- Touch of the Everlasting will have situational uses in Mythic+, in cases where a cheat death is required but losing Bonestorm is too costly. You may expect this Essence to see some play in high Fortified keys, where a single mistake on trash pulls may cost the key.
Lackluster Major Essences
These Essences should only be picked if you have a real, tangible requirement for them.
- Vision of Perfection will proc a 3.5-second duration Vampiric Blood 0.85 times per minute. We are the only tank spec for which this does not proc an offensive cooldown, and such a short proc does not allow you to either prepare for it or use it.
- Ripple in Space exists purely to proc the Minor trait on this Essence. In a vacuum, this would have been a good idea; in practice, you are sacrificing too much by not picking another Essence to justify picking this. The teleport also has a 2 second delay, which negates its use in most encounters. The fun factor of it (because there is one), sadly, does not balance these drawbacks out.
- Sphere of Suppression's Suppressing Pulse is a Void Elf racial ability combined with a 50% sprint on a very short cooldown. While it is not optimal, it is definitely worth having if there is a necessity to speed-run content or significantly slow enemies for 8 seconds without using Grip of the Dead. Needless to say, this is very unlikely.
Minor Azerite Essences for Blood Death Knight
Minor Essences are an addition to the Essence system and provide Minor, mostly passive abilities. These will complement and synergize both with other Minor Essences and with your choice of Major, leading to deeper, more impactful gameplay.
You will be able to use four Minor Essences in total:
- The first is granted at Azerite level 35, and is forced to be the Minor associated with your choice of Major Essence. For instance, if you picked Conflict, you would be using Strife in this slot.
- The second is granted at Azerite level 55; no particular restriction is placed on this.
- The third is granted at Azerite level 65; again, no particular restriction.
- The final minor slot unlocks at Azerite level 75.
Mandatory Minor Essences
- Aegis of the Deep's Stand Your Ground provides a noticeable amount of Versatility in Mythic+, along with a noticeable self-heal component above Rank 2. The de facto pick for M+.
- Nullification Dynamo's Null Barrier provides an absorb on a 15-second cooldown, averaging 1.3k HPS before Versatility, making it a simple, no-strings-attached defensive Minor choice. The Rank 3 turns it into one of the best offensive minors.
- Conflict and Strife's Strife stacks up extremely quickly and provides constant versatility, making it a very good choice for most situations.
Situational Minor Essences
- The Formless Void's Symbiotic Presence will be your de facto choice if you are after the corruption resistance provided by the new essences. It is a noticeable primary stat buff on a minimum of 66% uptime (if you proc it yourself with Concentrated Flame), further increased by your group.
- Strength of the Warden's Endurance will most likely see some use in high Mythic+, but due to its design, it comes with severe limitations. The healing it dispenses occurs after avoiding an attack; this makes it useless for anything that is not avoidable and problematic, since it may proc off a hit when you were at 100%.
- Vision of Perfection's Strive for Perfection is an Essence you should aim to have at your disposal; it provides a very decent amount of cooldown reduction on Vampiric Blood, along with a 6.5% heal every time you use it. In practice, unless you specifically require this healing, it is, however, lackluster.
Lackluster Minor Essences
These essences should currently be avoided.
- Worldvein Resonance's Lifeblood is, on paper, a near-constant 4-stack with multiple people using it. However, due to a bug on live, it very rarely is the case, and is therefore better avoided.
- Touch of the Everlasting's Will to Survive is completely useless in its current design, granting you a single, 40% stronger Death Strike when you drop below 35% health every minute.
Default Choice of Essences
As a general guideline, barring any other requirements, your Essence choice should be:
- Raiding: The Crucible of Flame's Major ( Concentrated Flame), Conflict and Strife's ( Strife) and Nullification Dynamo's ( Null Barrier) Minor Essences.
- Mythic+: The Crucible of Flame's Major ( Concentrated Flame), Aegis of the Deep's ( Stand Your Ground) and Conflict and Strife's ( Strife) Minor Essences.
- 13 Jan. 2020: Added Patch 8.3 Essences, proofread and updated to reflect current community knowledge.
- 16 Aug. 2019: Changed recommendations based on live testing and analysis. Will change again when Worldvein gets fixed.
- 25 Jun. 2019: This page has been reviewed for the release of Patch 8.2 and no changes are necessary.
- 24 Jun. 2019: Page added.
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