Blood Death Knight Tank Guide — Shadowlands 9.0.2

Last updated Yesterday at 20:32 by Mandl and Panthea 7 comments
General Information

Welcome to our Blood Death Knight guide for World of Warcraft — Shadowlands 9.0.2. 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 and offensive toolkit, which comprises of numerous smaller defensive cooldowns than other tanks, aimed at countering certain scenarios.

Put together, this spec 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.

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.

Shadowlands Changes for Death Knights

We are maintaining a list of changes for Death Knights for Shadowlands, the upcoming World of Warcraft expansion, which you can access using the link below. We also have pages for the new Covenant abilities and Anima Powers.

Beyond the necessary number-related tuning that always happens when a new expansion comes out, we are receiving some changes around our mitigation, extra abilities and cooldowns, and a couple of talent changes. The following abilities are now baseline: Rune Tap Icon Rune Tap, Lichborne Icon Lichborne, Anti-Magic Zone Icon Anti-Magic Zone, Raise Dead Icon Raise Dead, and Death Coil Icon Death Coil.

Having recovered Anti-Magic Zone Icon Anti-Magic Zone will make quite a large difference in terms of toolkit usage, as it allows us to truly support our group, by providing a flat 20% magic damage reduction to anybody standing in it. This is most definitely a skill you will want to have accessible somewhere.

A small talent reshuffle also happened. In particular, Ossuary Icon Ossuary was made baseline (which is great!). Being a level 58 passive, however, means you will be losing it for all of the Shadowlands pre-patch and most of the levelling process. In its stead, Blood Tap Icon Blood Tap has been shuffled in and provides a small number of Runes per minute, on demand.

Fundamentally, however, nothing has changed — the rotation is still the same, the resources are relatively unchanged (the 8.1 Uldir change to Bone Shield Icon Bone Shield bringing it to 50% armor has been added back); a couple of talents gained additional effects (Voracious Icon Voracious being the best example). We have linked the relevant pages below, in case you would like more information on any of the changes:

4.

Leveling and Getting Started as 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.

5.

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.

6.

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.

7.

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:

8.

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:

9.

Changelog

  • 29 Nov. 2020 (Covenants and Soulbinds): Updated information for Necrolord as it changed just before the expansion launched.
  • 29 Nov. 2020 (talents page): Updated information surrounding the Consumption talent.
  • 29 Nov. 2020 (Legendaries): Changed Raiding Legendary recommendation to Superstrain.
  • 24 Nov. 2020 (this page): Removed references to BfA systems.
  • 24 Nov. 2020 (Torghast): Guide added.
  • 23 Nov. 2020 (FAQ page): Removed BfA information. Added Covenant FAQ.
  • 23 Nov. 2020 (how to improve page): Updated for Shadowlands.
  • 23 Nov. 2020 (stats page): Updated for Shadowlands.
  • 23 Nov. 2020 (easy mode page): Updated for Shadowlands.
  • 23 Nov. 2020 (spells page): Updated for Shadowlands.
  • 23 Nov. 2020 (talents page): Updated for Shadowlands.
  • 23 Nov. 2020 (rotation page): Updated for Shadowlands.
  • 23 Nov. 2020 (gear page): Fixed typo.
  • 23 Nov. 2020 (addons page): Reviewed for Shadowlands release. Added more addons.
  • 23 Nov. 2020 (enchants page): Updated for Shadowlands with Oils, Armor Kits, New enchants.
  • 23 Nov. 2020 (this 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 (FAQ 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 (simulations page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (gear page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (addons page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (enchants page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (stats page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (Ny'alotha page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (rotation page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (talents page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
  • 12 Oct. 2020 (spells 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 (mythic+ 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 (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.
  • 25 Jun. 2019 (Uldir 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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