Blood Death Knight Tank Guide — Shadowlands 9.1

Last updated on Jul 18, 2021 at 16:55 by Mandl and Panthea 26 comments
General Information

Welcome to our Blood Death Knight guide for World of Warcraft — Shadowlands 9.1. 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

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

2.

Strengths and Weaknesses

V Strengths
  • +Wide array of cooldowns for all situations: Anti-Magic Shell Icon Anti-Magic Shell, Icebound Fortitude Icon Icebound Fortitude 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).
  • -Very low armor.
  • -Relatively low stamina modifier.
  • -Bone Shield Icon Bone Shield is Active Mitigation that requires you to take a hit before you can use it.

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.

3.

Patch 9.1 Changes for Death Knights

We are maintaining a list of changes for Death Knights, so you can see what changes with every patch of Shadowlands. Be sure to also check out Blood's specific changes this patch.

There are not too many changes that change how Blood Death Knight plays in Shadowlands. The impact of losing Azerite and Essences to us was minimal, and outside of one key change (Ossuary Icon Ossuary was made baseline), the specialization plays relatively as it used to. A couple of talents saw minor changes making them situationally good, but we'll cover this in the talents page.

4.

Basics of Blood Death Knight Gameplay

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 and offensive toolkit, which comprises of numerous smaller defensive cooldowns than other tanks, aimed at countering certain scenarios.

Put together, this specialization is effective in the full range of current content, but falls short on Effective Health checks. Essentially, if you can survive a hit, you 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.

5.

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.

6.

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.

7.

Blood Death Knight Viability in the Shadowlands

With the right playstyle and the knowledge of encounters, Blood Death Knights can be 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 in Mythic+.

We are currently the tank with the lowest amount of armor, both baseline and with Active Mitigation up. We take a significantly larger amount of damage than other tanks, and this can be a very important fact to be taken into consideration when choosing a tank. After all, you cannot heal back up if you are dead. This will come into play on encounters like Sludgefist in Castle Nathria.

Our damage is strictly middle-of-the-road, requiring a specific set of trinkets to execute. Just as in Battle for Azeroth, our borrowed power options are slim: Primarily conduits do not offer much in the way of added power for the spec. This is primarily coming from legendaries and soulbinds (rather than our base toolkit). This is both a gift and a curse: we are both largely unaffected by temporary systems, but it also means that the massive potential gain that other tanks are seeing are just not realized with this specialization.

8.

How to Gear Up as a Blood Death Knight

This happens to be a relatively simple topic, since we benefit relatively equally from all secondaries. As a result, we're much more drawn to item level than to specific pieces, with the exception of trinkets and specific pieces of gear that may be significantly stronger than the alternatives.

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.

9.

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:

10.

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.

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:

11.

Changelog

  • 18 Jul. 2021 (Covenants and Soulbinds): Updated Draven Soulbind tree to include new Conduit.
  • 18 Jul. 2021 (Patch 9.1 Analysis): Removed PTR references; updated information for Theotar and Dreamweaver.
  • 18 Jul. 2021 (Sanctum of Domination page): Updated boss information for Guardian, Kel'Thuzad, and Sylvanas; removed PTR references; updated incorrect talents on Painsmith.
  • 12 Jul. 2021 (mythic+ page): Updated for Shadowlands Mythic+ Season 2.
  • 03 Jul. 2021 (Sanctum of Domination page): Guide created.
  • 29 Jun. 2021 (easy mode page): Updated for Patch 9.1.
  • 29 Jun. 2021 (Torghast): Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.1.
  • 29 Jun. 2021 (spells page): Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.1.
  • 29 Jun. 2021 (this page): Updated for Patch 9.1.
  • 29 Jun. 2021 (Covenants and Soulbinds): Updated for Patch 9.1.
  • 29 Jun. 2021 (talents page): Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.1.
  • 29 Jun. 2021 (FAQ page): Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.1.
  • 29 Jun. 2021 (rotation page): Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.1.
  • 29 Jun. 2021 (how to improve page): Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.1.
  • 29 Jun. 2021 (simulations page): Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.1.
  • 29 Jun. 2021 (mythic+ page): Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.1.
  • 29 Jun. 2021 (gear page): Updated for Patch 9.1.
  • 29 Jun. 2021 (addons page): Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.1.
  • 29 Jun. 2021 (enchants page): Updated for Patch 9.1.
  • 29 Jun. 2021 (stats page): Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.1.
  • 29 Jun. 2021 (Legendaries): Updated for Patch 9.1.
  • 17 May 2021 (enchants page): A BfA gem was being recommended here. Fixed!
  • 29 Apr. 2021 (Patch 9.1 Analysis): Added initial content.
  • 09 Mar. 2021 (Covenants and Soulbinds): Updated for 9.0.5, with a reference to the upgraded Fleshcraft and changes to Marileth's description.
  • 09 Mar. 2021 (talents page): Added notes on how to decide what Tier 6 talent to pick.
  • 09 Mar. 2021 (enchants page): Reviewed for Patch 9.0.5.
  • 09 Mar. 2021 (spells page): Reviewed for Patch 9.0.5.
  • 09 Mar. 2021 (Torghast): Small changes and re-ordering of powers to account for hotfixes and 9.0.5 buffs.
  • 09 Mar. 2021 (mythic+ page): Added a small mention for Fleshcraft.
  • 09 Mar. 2021 (rotation page): Reviewed for Patch 9.0.5.
  • 09 Mar. 2021 (Legendaries): Updated Legendaries; removed all mentions of Bryndaor as Crimson Rune Weapon is now better than it in every way.
  • 09 Mar. 2021 (stats page): Reviewed for Patch 9.0.5.
  • 09 Mar. 2021 (gear page): Added Valor recommendations. Updated trinket recommendations. Added PvP gearing section.
  • 09 Mar. 2021 (easy mode page): Updated Kyrian information to reflect 9.0.5 buffs (5% to 8% Damage Reduction).
  • 06 Mar. 2021 (Castle Nathria page): Updated Legendary options for multiple bosses with new 9.0.5 changes to Crimson Rune Weapon. Added talent tip for Inerva (Mark of Blood). Added tips on breaking stuns on Stone Legion Generals. Added Mythic Sire Tips.
  • 24 Jan. 2021 (rotation page): Removed a Standard Rotation step.
  • 14 Jan. 2021 (simulations page): Updated for Shadowlands.
  • 14 Jan. 2021 (rotation page): Added covenant rotational tips.
  • 14 Jan. 2021 (easy mode page): Removing a stray reference to Blooddrinker as the talent is not recommended.
  • 14 Jan. 2021 (FAQ page): Fleshing out covenant section.
  • 14 Jan. 2021 (enchants page): Adding soul treads and shaded hearthing to enchants.
  • 22 Dec. 2020 (gear page): Added Castle Nathria loot. Fixed incorrect dungeon link.
  • 19 Dec. 2020 (Castle Nathria page): Updated Huntsman to explain adds spawn on 90% if you're full health. Added note on Sire Dentharius to explain how to debuff adds.
  • 19 Dec. 2020 (Covenants and Soulbinds): Added a table clarifying the value of each covenant.
  • 06 Dec. 2020 (Castle Nathria page): Added guide.
  • 06 Dec. 2020 (mythic+ page): Preparing an initial version containing all class changes for Season 1. Dungeon-specific tips will be expanded in the first week.
  • 01 Dec. 2020 (Castle Nathria page): Added placeholder Castle Nathria page.
  • 29 Nov. 2020 (Legendaries): Changed Raiding Legendary recommendation to Superstrain.
  • 29 Nov. 2020 (talents page): Updated information surrounding the Consumption talent.
  • 29 Nov. 2020 (Covenants and Soulbinds): Updated information for Necrolord as it changed just before the expansion launched.
  • 24 Nov. 2020 (this page): Removed references to BfA systems.
  • 24 Nov. 2020 (Torghast): Guide added.
  • 23 Nov. 2020 (rotation page): Updated for Shadowlands.
  • 23 Nov. 2020 (this page): Updated for Shadowlands.
  • 23 Nov. 2020 (gear page): Fixed typo.
  • 23 Nov. 2020 (stats page): Updated for Shadowlands.
  • 23 Nov. 2020 (enchants page): Updated for Shadowlands with Oils, Armor Kits, New enchants.
  • 23 Nov. 2020 (addons page): Reviewed for Shadowlands release. Added more addons.
  • 23 Nov. 2020 (easy mode page): Updated for Shadowlands.
  • 23 Nov. 2020 (spells page): Updated for Shadowlands.
  • 23 Nov. 2020 (FAQ page): Removed BfA information. Added Covenant FAQ.
  • 23 Nov. 2020 (talents page): Updated for Shadowlands.
  • 23 Nov. 2020 (how to improve page): Updated for Shadowlands.
  • 21 Nov. 2020 (Covenants and Soulbinds): Fixed broken Soulbind link.
  • 20 Nov. 2020 (Legendaries): Page added.
  • 20 Nov. 2020 (gear page): Removed BfA information. Added Shadowlands Dungeon Gear.
  • 20 Nov. 2020 (Covenants and Soulbinds): Updated with latest changes.
  • 17 Nov. 2020 (Covenants and Soulbinds): Page created
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (Ny'alotha page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (stats page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (enchants page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (mythic+ page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (addons page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (rotation page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (gear page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (simulations page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (how to improve page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (talents page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (FAQ page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (easy mode page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (this page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (spells page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 20 Dec. 2019 (The Eternal Palace page): Updated essence choices.
  • 23 Jul. 2019 (The Eternal Palace page): Updated with Mythic information from Week 1.
  • 13 Jul. 2019 (The Eternal Palace page): Further updates to class tips.
  • 11 Jul. 2019 (The Eternal Palace page): Updated with additional information and up-to-date Essence recommendations.
  • 08 Jul. 2019 (The Eternal Palace page): Guide added.
  • 25 Jun. 2019 (Uldir page): This page has been reviewed for the release of Patch 8.2 and no changes are necessary.
  • 25 Jun. 2019 (Crucible of Storms page): This page has been reviewed for the release of Patch 8.2 and no changes are necessary.
  • 25 Jun. 2019 (Battle of Dazar'alor page): This page has been reviewed for the release of Patch 8.2 and no changes are necessary.
  • 21 Apr. 2019 (Crucible of Storms page): Guide added.
  • 22 Jan. 2019 (Battle of Dazar'alor page): Guide created for Season 2.
  • 22 Jan. 2019 (Uldir page): Updated wording in the introduction.
  • 10 Dec. 2018 (Uldir page): Updated recommendations for Fetid Devourer, Vectis, Zul, Mythrax, and G'huun.
  • 24 Sep. 2018 (Uldir page): Updated recommendations for several bosses.
  • 06 Sep. 2018 (Uldir page): Updated MOTHER and Fetid Devourer recommendations.
  • 04 Sep. 2018 (Uldir page): Added Uldir boss recommendations.
  • 24 Aug. 2018 (Uldir page): Updated Azerite Trait and Gear recommendations.
  • 13 Aug. 2018 (Uldir page): Page added.
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