Blood Death Knight Frequently Asked Questions — Shadowlands 9.1
On this page, we go over several of the most frequently asked questions regarding Blood Death Knight in World of Warcraft — Battle for Azeroth Shadowlands 9.1. This will be updated as more common repeated questions surface over the course of the expansion.
How Much Haste Should Blood Death Knights Have? / Is There a Haste Cap for Blood Death Knights?
Blood has no "soft caps" or "minimum thresholds" with any Haste, or any other stat. Secondary stats for Blood are all close enough to each other in value that you should prioritize item level over secondary stat itemization for nearly any piece of gear, except trinkets and rings.
Versatility and Haste are very close in value — while Versatility is numerically better than Haste, the two are close enough in value that many Blood Death Knights prefer to prioritize Haste, as increased Haste allows for better reactions, which helps maximize Death Strike efficiency.
In case you would like more details on stats and their interactions for Blood Death Knights, a more expansive stats page is available below:
What Covenant Should I Pick?
Each Covenant comes with its own list of pros and cons, and its ideal content type, even though they are all very close, both numerically and in terms of the strengths they offer beyond raw numbers. In the hands of a skilled player, and in content where one aspect of a Covenant can be leveraged (Say, Phial of Serenity on a fight with a dangerous, cleansable debuff), there may be noticeable differences, but in practice, you can safely pick what you prefer and be within 1% of the maximum theoretical best choice everywhere.
That said, Covenants and the abilities they confer have important details linked to them, and is not a choice made lightly. We've compiled all these details in more depth on the Covenant page linked below:
What Race is Best for Blood Death Knights?
For Horde players, we recommend Blood Elves. Arcane Torrent is a powerful ability, particularly in Mythic+ dungeons.
For Alliance players, we recommend Night Elves or Dwarves. The choice is between a complete purge of debuffs and an additional minor defensive cooldown ( Stoneform) or a way to drop yourself out of combat, along with being able to redirect or delay spells cast on you ( Shadowmeld).
Should I Play Defensively or Offensively?
This is the main question most people will ask with tanking. The basic answer is that, outside of cooldown usage, most of your toolkit does not have defense vs. offense trade-offs. Whether you play offensively or defensively, you will still maintain Bone Shield at 5+ stacks, you will still spend both Runes and Runic Power optimally, and you will still make sure not to cap Blood Boil charges.
The major difference lies in Death Strike timing and cooldown usage. In practice, we recommend people to go into a new encounter making sure to reliably not die, as this is your main goal as a tank. From there, as you get more comfortable, you can relax your cooldowns and find ways to optimize what generates DPS: uptime and positioning.
For Blood, to shift from defense to offense, consider the following choices.
- Replace one or both of your trinkets with pure DPS trinkets. This is often the easiest and most significant change you can make. Note that very few trinkets exist in Shadowlands that are tanking-specific; you should feel comfortable using a non-tanking trinket that provides advantageous stats without feeling like you are impairing your survivability.
- Take Bonestorm as your Tier 7 talent, particularly in Mythic+ dungeons.
Many of our default recommendations for Blood assume you will be playing at least somewhat offensively to begin with. To shift more defensively, consider the following changes.
- Take Purgatory. Competing with Red Thirst can make this difficult to do, as it requires adjusting your cooldown plan, but especially when progressing on new content this ability will effectively allow you to learn fights twice as fast. As the tank, you should plan to be the first player to master a new encounter, and the last to die — unexpected tank deaths are a greater hindrance to progression by far than other deaths. It is often worth relying on an additional external cooldown during progression to make this available to select.
- Use Rune of the Stoneskin Gargoyle. This is a significant hit to your damage output — as much as a 7% loss — along with the loss of its healing element (as much as 10% of your HPS), but it provides a sizable increase to your effective Health through the buff to both Armor and Stamina.
- Use Stamina food and flasks. Generally, this should be your last option; you trade mitigation and damage both for an increased health pool, which makes you take more damage overall while noticeably reducing your damage potential. As a general rule, only consider this if you need the additional Health to survive specific attacks.
Can I Sim Myself? Should I?
The Blood Death Knight module for SimulationCraft is well-maintained and can generally be relied upon to help understand the effect to damage output your gear, talent, and Conduit choices can have.
That having been said, SimulationCraft cannot be used to evaluate defensive choices. Do not consider simulations in a vacuum; a choice having the highest damage potential does not make it the best choice.
- 29 Jun. 2021: Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.1.
- 14 Jan. 2021: Fleshing out covenant section.
- 23 Nov. 2020: Removed BfA information. Added Covenant FAQ.
- 12 Oct. 2020: Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
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