Blood Death Knight Tank Guide — Dragonflight 10.0.7

Last updated on Mar 20, 2023 at 14:16 by Mandl and Panthea 29 comments
General Information

Welcome to our Blood Death Knight guide for World of Warcraft — Dragonflight 10.0.7. 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.


Blood Death Knight Overview

Blood Death Knight is one of the six available tanking specializations within World of Warcraft, and is centered around clear and precise usage of resources to reactively heal a large part of the damage taken using Death Strike Icon Death Strike, and using a large array of cooldowns to support yourself and your team.


Strengths and Weaknesses

V Strengths
  • +Wide array of cooldowns for all situations: Anti-Magic Shell Icon Anti-Magic Shell, Icebound Fortitude Icon Icebound Fortitude, Lichborne Icon Lichborne, and Vampiric Blood Icon Vampiric Blood, to name a few.
  • +Utility: ranged interrupt, 90% snare, combat ress, short-duration immunity to magic debuffs.
  • +Predictable, simple rotation, with options to truly get the maximum out of the spec in the hands of a skilled player.
  • +Reactive self-healing, based on damage taken.
X Weaknesses
  • -Very EHP-dependent (meant to take more up-front damage than other tanks and heal it back).
  • -Cooldown usage and planning can make or break you.
  • -Dependent on Death and Decay Icon Death and Decay placement in Dragonflight.

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.


Dragonflight Changes for Death Knights

We are maintaining a list of changes for Death Knights, so you can see what changes with every patch of Dragonflight.


Mage Tower Challenge

From Patch 9.1.5 onward, both Legion Timewalking and the Mage Tower have returned. As such we have created a separate guide detailing what you can expect from the Mage Tower challenge available to Blood Death Knights.

Dragonflight brings about one of the largest set of changes Blood Death Knights have seen in a long while. Thanks to the talent system overhaul and the choices therein, a lot of new interactions have been added to our kit, along with a much more precise, more rewarding gameplay style than in the second half of Shadowlands.

Players who remember Blood in Patch 9.1, or going even further back, Warlords of Draenor Blood will likely harken this and rejoice.


Basics of Blood Death Knight Gameplay

The Blood specialization has an engaging play style, using self-healing through Death Strike Icon Death Strike as a primary source of damage mitigation. As Death Strike Icon Death Strike works off a constrained resource (Runic Power), clever optimization of all the ways to generate it becomes paramount. Blood also features a versatile and effective defensive and offensive toolkit, which comprises of numerous smaller defensive cooldowns than other tanks, aimed at countering certain scenarios. These can be chained as needed during a fight, although we strongly recommend to use them as close to on cooldown as possible.

Put together, this specialization is effective in the full range of current content with proper management. Essentially, if you can survive a hit, and haveyou will come out stronger after it.

If you are new to Blood Death Knight and would like to learn the basics of the class, we recommend looking at the Spell Summary, as well as the Easy Mode page we have linked below.

We also have a guide for the Blood Death Knight talents and rotations below.


How to Gear Up as a Blood Death Knight

Gear, enchants, consumables, and gems also play a big part in increasing your character's DPS. Linked below is a page to show you which enchants, consumables, and gems to use, as well as a stats page, where you can find more information on each stat and how they interact with your character.


Leveling a Blood Death Knight

If you do not have a Blood Death Knight at maximum level (or at all!), you can follow our dedicated leveling guide that will walk you through the best talents to choose on your journey, and also provide you with a number of tips and tricks. Before you start on your journey, though, we recommend setting up your UI so that you can familiarize yourself with it before you reach maximum level.

Once at maximum level, were commend checking out our Easy Mode guide, linked below. This guide will briefly go over what you need to do to play your character optimally, though of course the main Rotation and Talents pages are slightly more optimized.


Blood Death Knight Viability in Dragonflight

With the right play style and the knowledge of encounters, Blood Death Knights are a force to be reckoned with, particularly in fights with infrequent, high, but not lethal Physical damage. Their toolkit is also varied, and seasoned players will find answers to almost every situation they might get into, both in raids and in Mythic+.

We are currently the tank with the lowest amount of Armor. We take a significantly larger amount of damage upfront than other tanks, and this can be a very important situational factor to take into consideration when choosing a tank. After all, you cannot heal back up if you are dead.

Fortunately for us, Dragonflight currently exhibits no encounter where Effective Health is a direct and primary concern outside of cooldowns. Not just that, but thanks to the talent rework, a lot of abilities that were once exclusively taken can now be taken together, such as being able to bring both Red Thirst Icon Red Thirst and Foul Bulwark Icon Foul Bulwark, should a situation absolutely require it.

The biggest change in Dragonflight for Blood Death Knights is the return to the strategic, considerate, and forward-thinking play style Blood exhibited before Sepulcher of the First Ones (and our tier set!) rolled out. Our toolkit provides multiple ways to massively gain resources, save resources, or to streamline and optimize both damage and defense simultaneously. And unlike the latter half of Dragonflight, these optimizations are very large. In basic beta testing, we were able to gain 60% more DPS by planning 10 seconds ahead.

The road will be tougher than in Shadowlands, but the reward is so worth the risk. Due to this, a much larger focus should be put on two elements of this guide:

  1. The Blood Death Knight Rotation page will contain a fully fleshed-out priority list and will describe in much more detail when cooldowns should be used together, as Blood is now a lot more receptive to chaining cooldowns properly
  2. The Blood Death Knight Talents page will also be fleshed out to clearly describe all the interactions between talents, and the effective level of gain or loss, both in absolute and regarding specific synergies.

Do not panic! It sounds like a lot, but in reality, with a bit of work, you should be up to speed in no time.


How to Gear Up as a Blood Death Knight

Blood happens to be very straightforward when it comes to gearing priority: all four of our secondaries do something and synergize with one another. Putting it simply, the more of one secondary you have, the more value per point all the others gain. Strength, Stamina, and Armor (the so-called "primary" budget on pieces) are also extremely valuable to us defensive and offensively, and are much more plentiful than secondaries on gear pieces.

As a result, outside of trinkets and weapons with special effects, you can very often find the largest upgrade by simply looking at a piece's item level.

We maintain a page with gearing advice for the current patch, including Best in Slot alternatives from different content sources. You can find a link to this below:

Once you have started to gear, you will need to make sure that you have the appropriate consumables, gems, enchants, and more. We have a dedicated page for exactly this, as shown below, as well as the stats page, where you can find more information on the possibility of a changing stat priority and the necessary changes you may need to make for consumables.


End-Game as a Blood Death Knight

Starting off as any tank is an exercise in frustration, due to the high learning curve associated with having to learn both your spec and the encounters. However, fortunately, we also maintain a set of pages containing tips, tricks and strategies for all end-game content:


Improving as a Blood Death Knight

Blood Death Knight has an indirect feedback loop, in that instead of getting crushed right off the bat, you will slowly fall behind on resources. The main drivers to this are bad Marrowrend Icon Marrowrends (wasting Runes on inefficient Marrowrend casts — remember, these generate 5-15RP less per Rune spent than a Heart Strike Icon Heart Strike), capping Runes/RP or not using your entire toolkit, particularly holding cooldowns for extended periods of time without a reason to do so. Remember, anything in your toolkit that is free should be used as close as possible to on-cooldown, particularly if they are dual-purpose cooldowns like Dancing Rune Weapon Icon Dancing Rune Weapon!

We collected a list of common mistakes, along with explanations for each of them, resources to train and counter them, and tips on how to truly understand what makes the spec tick. You can find these below:



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