Blood Death Knight Tank Guide — Battle for Azeroth (BfA) 8.1

Last updated on Jan 22, 2019 at 11:05 by Volstatsz 50 comments

Welcome to our Blood Death Knight guide for World of Warcraft — Battle for Azeroth (BfA) 8.1. Here, you will learn how to tank as a Blood Death Knight in both raids and Mythic+ dungeons. We cover everything from the basics all the way to min-maxing techniques to optimize your survivability.

1. Blood Death Knight Overview

The Blood specialization has an engaging playstyle, using self-healing through Death Strike Icon Death Strike as a primary source of damage mitigation. Blood has a versatile defensive toolkit and is effective in the full range of current content.

Note that this guide focuses on aspects that are specific to Blood Death Knights and general tanking strategies are beyond its scope. If you wish to know more about the tanking role and what you can do to improve, we recommend that you read our tanking guide.

2. Patch 8.1 Changes for Blood Death Knight

  1. Healing from Bonestorm Icon Bonestorm now caps at 15% maximum health per tick.
  2. Will of the Necropolis Icon Will of the Necropolis now absorbs 30% of all damage taken below 30% health, down from 35% of damage below 35% health.
  3. The debuff from Purgatory Icon Purgatory no longer clears upon death.
  4. The Azerite trait Embrace of the Darkfallen Icon Embrace of the Darkfallen has been removed and replaced with Bloody Runeblade Icon Bloody Runeblade.
  5. Veteran of the Third War Icon Veteran of the Third War no longer provides additional armor.
  6. The PvP talent Dark Simulacrum Icon Dark Simulacrum has had its Runic Power cost removed, and the cooldown reduced to 20 seconds, down from 25 seconds.
  7. The PvP talent Heartstop Aura Icon Heartstop Aura is no longer available to Blood Death Knights.

3. Patch 8.0.1 Changes for Blood Death Knights

  1. Tank threat generation has been significantly reduced, from +900% to +350%.
  2. Dancing Rune Weapon Icon Dancing Rune Weapon, Death Grip Icon Death Grip, and Tombstone Icon Tombstone have been added to the global cooldown.
  3. Bone Shield Icon Bone Shield now increases armor instead of absorbing damage.
  4. All Blood Death Knight abilities now use a normalized damage formula incorporating weapon damage.
  5. Mastery: Blood Shield Icon Mastery: Blood Shield has been buffed 33%.
  6. Death Strike Icon Death Strike has been buffed to heal 25% of recent damage, with the floor value reduced to 7% of maximum health.
  7. Wraith Walk Icon Wraith Walk is now a talent, and all Death Knight specs now have Death's Advance Icon Death's Advance as a baseline ability.
  8. Gorefiend's Grasp Icon Gorefiend's Grasp now has a range of 15 yards, down from 20 yards.
  9. Dancing Rune Weapon Icon Dancing Rune Weapon now has a 2-minute cooldown, down from 3 minutes.
  10. The snare effect on Heart Strike Icon Heart Strike now reduces movement speed by 20%, down from 50% in Legion.
  11. Several talents have been added or removed, and many others have had their position in the talent tree moved. More information regarding talent changes can be found in the Builds and Talents page.

4. Viability of Blood Death Knight in 8.1

Despite a noticeable nerf to Armor, Blood Death Knight remains viable in both raiding and Mythic+. Blood will struggle with encounter mechanics that deal massive damage, but continues to have strong self-healing that allows for fast recovery from dangerous damage situations.

5. Blood Death Knight Strengths

6. Blood Death Knight Weaknesses

  • Limited mobility
  • Reactive mitigation model, leading to spiky health

7. Changelog

  • 22 Jan. 2019 (gear page): Added Season 2 trinkets; removed Legion legendary discussion.
  • 22 Jan. 2019 (azerite traits and gear page): Added Season 2 traits and added discussion of a larger array of trait choices.
  • 22 Jan. 2019 (Battle of Dazar'alor page): Guide created for Season 2.
  • 22 Jan. 2019 (addons page): This page has been reviewed for Season 2 and no changes are necessary.
  • 22 Jan. 2019 (Uldir page): Updated wording in the introduction.
  • 22 Jan. 2019 (talents page): This page has been reviewed for Season 2 and no changes are necessary.
  • 22 Jan. 2019 (enchants page): This page has been reviewed for Season 2 and no changes are necessary.
  • 22 Jan. 2019 (spells page): This page has been reviewed for Season 2 and no changes are necessary.
  • 22 Jan. 2019 (stats page): This page has been reviewed for Season 2 and no changes are necessary.
  • 22 Jan. 2019 (FAQ page): This page has been reviewed for Season 2 and no changes are necessary.
  • 22 Jan. 2019 (simulations page): This page has been reviewed for Season 2 and no changes are necessary.
  • 22 Jan. 2019 (easy mode page): Fixed the ordering of secondary stats in the stat priority.
  • 22 Jan. 2019 (rotation page): Added rotation consideration for Bloody Runeblade.
  • 22 Jan. 2019 (how to improve page): This page has been reviewed for Season 2 and no changes are necessary.
  • 18 Dec. 2018 (FAQ page): Updated stats answer; added race selection.
  • 18 Dec. 2018 (this page): Added 8.1 viability section.
  • 11 Dec. 2018 (this page): Added change to Purgatory.
  • 10 Dec. 2018 (FAQ page): Updated stat distribution answer.
  • 10 Dec. 2018 (how to improve page): This page has been reviewed for Patch 8.1 and no changes are necessary.
  • 10 Dec. 2018 (this page): Updated for Patch 8.1.
  • 10 Dec. 2018 (simulations page): Simulations updated to use Raidbots.
  • 10 Dec. 2018 (easy mode page): This page has been reviewed for Patch 8.1 and no changes are necessary.
  • 10 Dec. 2018 (gear page): This page has been reviewed for Patch 8.1 and no changes are necessary.
  • 10 Dec. 2018 (enchants page): Added new 8.1 food, clarified runeforge recommendation, updated flask/feast usage for 8.1.
  • 10 Dec. 2018 (stats page): Updated and clarified stat priority.
  • 10 Dec. 2018 (spells page): Added consideration of Bloody Runeblade to the Crimson Scourge proc.
  • 10 Dec. 2018 (Uldir page): Updated recommendations for Fetid Devourer, Vectis, Zul, Mythrax, and G'huun.
  • 10 Dec. 2018 (talents page): Added Patch 8.1 talent changes.
  • 10 Dec. 2018 (mythic+ page): Updated tips for Freehold.
  • 10 Dec. 2018 (azerite traits and gear page): Updated trait recommendations for Patch 8.1.
  • 10 Dec. 2018 (addons page): This page has been reviewed for Patch 8.1 and no changes are necessary.
  • 09 Dec. 2018 (rotation page): Removed references to legendary effects and tier bonuses, fixed an error in Icebound Fortitude Detailed Usage, clarified wording in rotation.
  • 24 Sep. 2018 (Uldir page): Updated recommendations for several bosses.
  • 24 Sep. 2018 (gear page): Added trinket recommendations.
  • 24 Sep. 2018 (stats page): Updated stat priority.
  • 24 Sep. 2018 (enchants page): Updated consumables with changes to stat priority.
  • 24 Sep. 2018 (mythic+ page): Updated tips for Atal'Dazar and Temple of Sethraliss.
  • 24 Sep. 2018 (easy mode page): Updated stat priority.
  • 06 Sep. 2018 (Uldir page): Updated MOTHER and Fetid Devourer recommendations.
  • 04 Sep. 2018 (enchants page): Added Strength gem recommendation.
  • 04 Sep. 2018 (Uldir page): Added Uldir boss recommendations.
  • 02 Sep. 2018 (mythic+ page): Added dungeon tips.
  • 26 Aug. 2018 (addons page): Fixed Death and Decay macro to cast at cursor.
  • 24 Aug. 2018 (talents page): Updated talent recommendations for Levels 56, 75, and 100.
  • 24 Aug. 2018 (easy mode page): Clarified stat/upgrade priority.
  • 24 Aug. 2018 (Uldir page): Updated Azerite Trait and Gear recommendations.
  • 24 Aug. 2018 (mythic+ page): Made minor changes to talent recommendations.
  • 24 Aug. 2018 (azerite traits and gear page): Made a few tweaks to the page.
  • 13 Aug. 2018 (rotation page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 13 Aug. 2018 (talents page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 13 Aug. 2018 (mythic+ page): Page added.
  • 13 Aug. 2018 (gear page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 13 Aug. 2018 (simulations page): Page added.
  • 13 Aug. 2018 (FAQ page): Page added.
  • 13 Aug. 2018 (azerite traits and gear page): Page added.
  • 13 Aug. 2018 (Uldir page): Page added.
  • 13 Aug. 2018 (stats page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 13 Aug. 2018 (easy mode page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 13 Aug. 2018 (enchants page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 04 Aug. 2018 (rotation page): Updated the rotation to include new optimizations.
  • 04 Aug. 2018 (easy mode page): Updated Rotation to include new optimizations.
  • 23 Jul. 2018 (gear page): Updated Legendary ranking.
  • 16 Jul. 2018 (this page): Updated for the Battle for Azeroth pre-patch.
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