Blood Death Knight Tank Mythic+ Tips — Shadowlands 9.1.5
In this guide, you will find tips and advice to tackle Mythic+ dungeons with your Blood Death Knight in World of Warcraft — Shadowlands 9.1.5.
Blood Death Knight in Mythic+
Blood Death Knights have seen a bit of a change between Battle for Azeroth and Shadowlands, with the removal of a lot of powerful and impactful gearing options and the addition of new talents and spells. Our self-healing is still largely there, but we are even more fragile than before due to between-expansion tuning choices. In addition to this, as it stands right now, we are also one of the lowest damage tanks in the game.
We hope this will change soon, as the rest of our kit is still unique, as a battlefield commander/controller, self-sustaining tank. A number of our Covenant abilities lend to this quite brilliantly, to create a frankly enjoyable experience. We take it, we dish it out, and we control the battlefield with a dizzying array of utility spells, slows, forced movement, and our newest addition to the toolkit, Anti-Magic Zone!
If you are unfamiliar with Mythic+ and its associated general mechanics, you can read more about it on our dedicated Mythic+ page below.
Blood Death Knight Mythic+ Rotation
Your rotation in Mythic+ is unchanged from the rotation provided on our Blood Death Knight Rotation page. From a practical perspective, the biggest difference in the feel of the rotation will be ensuring that Bone Shield will not expire between pulls — it will be important to keep two runes available to refresh it with a Marrowrend before moving out of melee range of the current fight.
Runic Power also has a small difference or two, as Mythic+ largely can be seen as a collection of encounters where resources do not reset. As a result, a common thing to keep in mind is that there is no reason to come out of a pack with zero runic power. Banking, foresight, and proper planning are key to the life of a Death Knight in Mythic+, more so now than ever due to the ways the dungeons have been designed.
Covenants and When to Choose Them
The good news about Covenants and Covenant abilities is that all four choices are fully viable in Mythic+, and the difficulty comes from knowing when to use them to their maximum potential.
We have made sure to highlight every ability below, along with guidelines on when and how to use them, along with their limits!
It is worth noting that if your team lacks a Covenant bonus for a dungeon you are about to do, you are strongly incentivized to switch to that Covenant. As a result, if you are serious about your DK, you will ideally have at least Necrolord and Venthyr at 80 Renown (Kyrian is nice, but optional as there are a lot of Kyrian players out there nowadays).
Each individual dungeon Covenant bonus is worth more than the perceived loss of picking your "preferred" Covenant, as it affects the entire team in a very large way. For instance, Necrolords in Plaguefall are able to turn the first boss into a 30s encounter irrespective of key level, making it a value proposition above and beyond anything available in any soulbind of any other covenant.
Since your spec is almost equally good with all four, we recommend that you get familiar with all four abilities and how they work.
If you wish to know more about Covenants, take a look at our Covenant guide. We have gone in more detail there about the additional options Covenants offer, particularly in terms of Soulbinds and Conduits.
Venthyr: Swarming Mist
The Venthyr ability Swarming Mist is one of the easiest abilities that Death Knights can pick up, and probably the most impactful: at the start of virtually every pull, due to its short cooldown, you should be able to open with it.
Swarming Mist grants you up to 145 RP per use (if it hits 5 targets), and ticks instantly. As a result, you may want to wait for the mobs to be properly grouped before pressing it, or portal in using Door of Shadows.
No matter what option you decide to pick, you end up with a very sweet value proposition: a ton of Runic Power when you need it the most, and a very large burst of damage when it matters
If Swarming Mist becomes available mid-way through a fight (such as a boss fight, for instance), do not hesitate to use it: it is your highest potential damage ability in your toolkit, and something you use as soon as possible after it becomes available.
Necrolord: Abomination Limb
Fitting a similar niche to the Venthyr ability, the Necrolord ability also deals a large amount of upfront damage and provides the Death Knight with resources: 3 stacks of Bone Shield on use, along with another 3 stacks at 6 seconds and 12 seconds into the spell duration.
Due to its longer cooldown (2 minutes), you will typically only have this every other pull. It is also worth noting that unlike its Venthyr counterpart, it is hard-capped at 5 targets. Those two factors make it slightly more difficult to fully optimize, as the long cooldown favors large pulls, but the target cap inhibits it.
Regardless, it is still a fantastic tool to use, and it also means you can afford to not be on high Bone Shield stacks before using it.
Fleshcraft, on the other hand, is a survival tool you can slot into a gap in your rotation to gain a shield totaling 40% of your max HP, and 20% damage reduction during the cast. It is not worth replacing regular casts with it, but if you have downtime, you might as well use it!
Kyrian: Shackle the Unworthy
The Kyrian ability strives in low target count environments, but still shows plenty of promise in large pulls. Your ability to spread it by hitting any mob with it with a rune-spending attack provides a way to quickly and easily get it on more enemies, and at a 1-minute cooldown, it is available virtually every pull.
The real beauty of Kyrian is its Soulbind strength (Pelagos), and its
signature ability: Phial of Serenity. Every 5 minutes, independent of
your regular potion cooldown (but following the same rules: the cooldown
starts when you leave combat), you can top yourself up with a 20% heal (or
55% Heal-over-Time) and clear every clearable debuff on you.
Considering the dizzying array of tank abilities leaving dangerous debuffs in the new dungeons, this is a very appealing proposition if used properly.
Night Fae: Death's Due
The most difficult Covenant ability to use in Mythic+, Death's Due, replaces Death and Decay, and causes each Heart Strike while you and your target are both in Death's Due to afflict them with a stacking 12-second debuff reducing their damage done to you by 2%, and granting you a stacking 12-second buff increasing your strength by 2%.
Due to the way this ability works, and the fact that you will typically also need to use Grip of the Dead (and therefore Death's Due) to kite, you will typically find yourself in a situation where you have to let your stacks drop.
This is, unfortunately, the weakest of the four Covenants for Mythic+, and forces you to make sacrifices with no real rewards attached.
Blood Death Knight Utility
- Gorefiend's Grasp is a signature Blood Death Knight ability and an important component of Blood's value in Mythic+. On a 2-minute cooldown, it will immediately pull all enemies within 15 yards of the target together. You will typically want to plan ahead of time where in a given dungeon you will want to use it. Gorefiend's Grasp is particularly strong for bringing loosely-spread casters together to cleave, interrupting multiple dangerous channels or casts simultaneously, and positioning multiple high-priority targets together.
- Death Grip is a versatile ability with several uses in Mythic+. Death Grip can be used to reposition individual casters in melee range, or as an additional interrupt on dangerous casts or channels. Be aware that Death Grip will only interrupt casts if the enemy is repositioned by the spell; enemies that are immune to repositioning effects, enemies that are currently rooted by another ability, and enemies that are already directly adjacent to the Death Knight will not be interrupted. To use Death Grip to interrupt a cast on an enemy already in melee range you should take a step back first, which will require additional planning. Death Grip also serves as a second taunt, and can be used to gain aggro on an additional target while engaging a group of enemies.
- Mind Freeze is the Death Knight interrupt ability. It operates identically to other melee interrupts such as Kick and Pummel, except that it has a 15-yard range. This allows Death Knights to interrupt casts when enemies are standing in zones that other melee cannot reach, helping to reposition them in a safer location.
- Asphyxiate is a 4-second, single-target stun on a 45-second cooldown. This is particularly useful for preventing uninterruptible casts, or preventing enemies with movement abilities or that are coded to flee at low health from repositioning. As with Death Grip, be aware that enemies that are immune to stun effects will not be interrupted by Asphyxiate.
- Death and Decay, when paired with the Grip of the Dead talent, becomes a highly effective tool for starting to kite as you head to the next pack. As with Bone Shield, be sure that Death and Decay is available to use when you are ready to move on to the next pack.
- Raise Ally is the Death Knight combat resurrection spell. While in a raid environment, you would not normally want to rely on the tank for combat resurrection, in a Mythic+ dungeon you may be the only player to bring this utility. Additionally, the instant-cast nature of Raise Ally will make it preferable to other combat resurrections in some circumstances, even considering the cost in Runic Power. If you need to resurrect an ally, be sure to consider both timing and positioning — avoid placing the newly-resurrected player in the path of a dangerous boss cleave or immediately prior to a dungeon-wide damage event.
- The last and newest staple in our toolkit, Anti-Magic Zone, provides Death Knights with a way to help the group survive large bursts of magic damage, something which is very frequent in the new Shadowlands dungeons. Its range and duration are limited, but can be increases if necessary with a Conduit.
Blood Death Knight Mythic+ Talents
|15||✓ Heartbreaker||✗ Blooddrinker||✗ Tombstone|
|25||✗ Rapid Decomposition||✓ Hemostasis||✗ Consumption|
|30||✗ Foul Bulwark||✓ Relish in Blood||✓ Blood Tap|
|35||✓ Will of the Necropolis||✗ Anti-Magic Barrier||✗ Mark of Blood|
|40||✓ Grip of the Dead||✗ Tightening Grasp||✗ Wraith Walk|
|45||? Voracious||✗ Death Pact||✓ Bloodworms|
|50||✓ Purgatory||✓ Red Thirst||✓ Bonestorm|
Most talent choices remain the same between raiding and Mythic+ content for Blood Death Knights. We have highlighted below some of the key differences in talent recommendations. Some of our recommendations draw a distinction between "lower-tier keys" and "higher-tier keys": there is no easy guideline as to where the line exists between the two. In these situations, you will need to take your gear, your skill, and your familiarity with the dungeon into account in deciding which talent to select.
We have detailed all of the talent rows on the talents page; as such, we will only summarize the important differences in Mythic+. For more detailed info, the talents section is linked below:
Tier 1 (Level 15) Talents
You generally will not want to use Tombstone in Mythic+, as it is net neutral at best in terms of RP and healing; the generally accepted choice, both for defensive and offensive throughput, is Heartbreaker, due to its formidable increase in RP generation.
Tier 3 (Level 30) Talents
We have covered it extensively in the talent page, so we will just summarize it here: pick Blood Tap if you think you can get more resources out of raw Runes, or Relish in Blood if you prefer to generate slightly less (due to Heartbreaker not being in the picture since you will be gaining RP), but have an easier time.
Tier 5 (Level 40) Talents
In most Mythic+ dungeons you will want to take Grip of the Dead for the strong snare it will provide, allowing you to kite between packs. There may be specific pulls in some dungeons that require Tightening Grasp to facilitate difficult back=to-back pulls; however, this may be better resolved by developing a pull strategy that allows for the extra 30 seconds between uses of Gorefiend's Grasp.
Tier 7 (Level 50) Talents
Generally, in a Mythic+ dungeon you will not be able to capitalize on the cooldown reduction provided by Red Thirst in a reliable fashion, making it a less desirable choice. Your default pick here will be Bonestorm, which provides a significant offensive and defensive benefit in Mythic+. This is also a crucial tool in setting up large pulls, and as a result, there have to be very strong reasons to not pick it.
Legendary powers for Blood Death Knight
Unfortunately, you only get a very meager choice in Legendaries as a Blood Death Knight. For the overwhelming majority of key levels done by players, Superstrain will be the best Legendary to pick, and not by a small stretch, either: it provides a very sizeable amount of damage that scales linearly with pack size, and, every 3 seconds, a 30% chance to gain a bonus 5 Runic Power (+ an additional 7% chance for each additional mob) thanks to the effect of Frost Fever. Simple, efficient, versatile.
The other alternative, which is particularly strong starting from +15 onwards, is Crimson Rune Weapon. This effectively halves the cooldown on Dancing Rune Weapon, and causes it to generate 5 Bone Shield charges when used. This massively simplifies pulls, but comes with some rotational overhead, and loses value if packs die too quickly
Shadowlands Season 2 Seasonal Affix: Tormented
The second seasonal affix of Shadowlands is Tormented, a welcome trip back to predictability and fancy routes, and free of the constraints of having to exactly reach a safe spot every 20% of a dungeon. Instead, you will now find four lieutenants in each dungeon, in fixed locations. These lieutenants are considerably harder than trash mobs, and come with an aura that they apply the moment they are active, along with a handful of distinct abilities.
Once you kill them, they drop an Anima Orb that you can pick up to gain one of three pre-determined powers from Torghast to aid you in the rest of the key.
Overall, this is a fantastic affix as it tests your ability to route to gather as many of the important powers as fast as possible, while making it possible to recover from route mistakes or improper pathing — exactly what we love, basically.
Just like Prideful, wiping to a Lieutenant does not heal them back up to full, which is a blessing considering the awkward position of a few of them.
We will detail all the lieutenants below in more detail, but so that you know what to pick, we have labelled all the choices of powers per instance for you:
|De Other Side||Executioner Varruth||The Stygian King's Barbs|
|Incinerator Arkolath||Crumbling Bulwark|
|Oros Coldheart||Huntsman's Horn|
|Soggodon the Breaker||The Stone Ward|
|Halls of Atonement||Executioner Varruth||The Stygian King's Barbs|
|Incinerator Arkolath||Crumbling Bulwark|
|Oros Coldheart||Huntsman's Horn|
|Soggodon the Breaker||Broken Mirror|
|Mists of Tirna Scythe||Executioner Varruth||The Stygian King's Barbs|
|Incinerator Arkolath||Crumbling Bulwark|
|Oros Coldheart||Huntsman's Horn|
|Soggodon the Breaker||The Stone Ward|
|Necrotic Wake||Executioner Varruth||The Stygian King's Barbs|
|Incinerator Arkolath||Crumbling Bulwark|
|Oros Coldheart||Huntsman's Horn|
|Soggodon the Breaker||The Stone Ward|
|Plaguefall||Executioner Varruth||The Stygian King's Barbs|
|Incinerator Arkolath||Crumbling Bulwark|
|Oros Coldheart||Huntsman's Horn|
|Soggodon the Breaker||The Stone Ward|
|Sanguine Depths||Executioner Varruth||The Stygian King's Barbs|
|Incinerator Arkolath||Crumbling Bulwark|
|Oros Coldheart||Huntsman's Horn|
|Soggodon the Breaker||The Stone Ward|
|Spires of Ascension||Executioner Varruth||The Stygian King's Barbs|
|Incinerator Arkolath||Crumbling Bulwark|
|Oros Coldheart||Huntsman's Horn|
|Soggodon the Breaker||The Stone Ward|
|Theater of Pain||Executioner Varruth||The Stygian King's Barbs|
|Incinerator Arkolath||Crumbling Bulwark|
|Oros Coldheart||Huntsman's Horn|
|Soggodon the Breaker||The Stone Ward|
Executioner Varruth is a relatively simple mob, but tests your defenses a bit due to his Aura. While he is engaged, all healing received (including self-healing from all abilities, even Death Strike) is reduced by 50%.
Outside of that, he has three abilities:
- Wave of Terror causes anybody not near a partner to get feared for 5 seconds. This can be immuned via Anti-Magic Shell or removed with Lichborne, but it is simpler to just sit on somebody.
- Sever is a heavy upfront hit with a relatively large bleed on you. Use a defensive and just heal through it.
- Finally, Carnage targets somebody and applies a bleed to anybody in the circle after charging to them. Do not be in it.
After slaying this lieutenant, you will always pick The Stygian King's Barbs, purely because of its amazing throughput and on-pull threat burst potential.
Soggodon the Breaker
Soggodon is a relatively straightforward tank-and-spank, with one twist: his tankbuster will pull you to him. This happens approximately 2s after engaging him, but can be line-of-sighted (LoS), and you can use Death's Advance (if off cooldown) to negate this. This is extremely important in two dungeons:
- In The Necrotic Wake, you want to use either the wall behind him or the cage near the Loyal Creation to line-of-sight the first cast in order to not get gripped and accidentally bodypull another pack.
- In De Other Side, when Soggodon is right beside the first drill in Mechagon. You ideally want to LoS him behind the wall to not get gripped into the drill.
He has no important abilities that are not choreographed — if you see a swirly, get out of it.
His Aura makes it difficult to pull anything with him, so make sure to pull him separately unless you know what you are doing and have tried the pull before on a key you do not mind depleting!
When you are done with him, on 7 out of the 8 dungeons, you will be picking The Stone Ward, thanks to its passive, always-there survival gain. In Halls of Atonement specifically, due to his location — he is right before the third boss — you will instead pick Broken Mirror, as the rest of the instance has very little generic damage, and some extremely spicy, unavoidable magic damage.
Aura: Soulforge Flames
Arkolath behaves very similarly to Manifestation of Pride, in that he radiates damage every 3 seconds on the entire group. Outside of that, Inferno needs to be kicked, and you should not stand in the (very evident) large red circle of doom.
Anti-Magic Zone is great to help your team out on this guy!
When you are done with him, you will pick Crumbling Bulwark essentially all the time, as The Fifth Skull is too tricky to activate and too weak when it does, and does not rival 5% Versatility. The 40% damage reduction on pull is yet another bonus on this choice.
Oros is annoying to move around and pull because of his very heavy cast count — when he is not casting his very telegraphed frontal Frost Lance (lethal, by the way) or swirlies the entire group has to dodge, he is applying a hard-hitting DoT on a random player.
Outside of that, he is the most lenient lieutenant as a tank. Dodge stuff and collect your power! In this case, we will be picking either Pendant of the Martyr or Huntsman's Horn, with the latter being a time gain. Keys where Pendant of the Martyr is necessary are few and far between.
Legion Timewalking Affix: Infernal
During Legion Timewalking Events introduced in Patch 9.1.5, you will have the possibility of re-experiencing some of the most memorable dungeons from Legion in a Mythic+ - but not quite Mythic+ - format. With it comes a new, Legion timewalking-specific seasonal affix: Infernal.
Very reminiscent of Awakened (but without the upsides), three Legion beacons are placed near specific bosses in each dungeon. These spawn a commander and some demons that you have to kill.
These beacons automatically activate if not cleared when the nearest boss is pulled, and since the mobs that come out of it are not particularly friendly ( Observe Weakness from one of the lieutenants, for instance), we strongly recommend to just clear it first unless you have practised the affix and know what you are doing. The combination of bosses that nobody has done for the past four years and entirely new +50% damage taken buffs? Not a good combo.
We will detail the abilities of the lieutenants when the patch is finalized, goes live, and Legion Timewalking goes around for its first rotation. But, essentially, do the portal, then do the nearby boss.
As playing around these seasonal affixes applies to more than just Blood Death Knight, please feel free to consult our larger guides about Mythic+ and its affixes below. Within are also discussions about changes to how loot is acquired, changes to existing affixes, and even a few other new surprises.
Blood Death Knight Dungeon Tips
Plaguefall rewards clever pathing, mob optimization and route choices. When done properly, it is a breezy +2 upgrade with a couple of difficult spots on Fortified. When it is not done properly, it is an exercise in frustration due to the sheer difficulty of the trash on Fortified weeks, and the last two bosses on Tyrannical weeks.
Globgrog Area (Trash)
The trash present at the start of the instance immediately tests your ability to interrupt, stun and react to casts — and there are many! Some of them should absolutely be kicked, while others can be dealt with, dispelled or ignored entirely.
- Plaguerocs in this area should not be pulled, and neither should their nests, unless you really know what you are doing.
- Fungi Stormers frequently cast Fungistorm, a channel that periodically deals extremely heavy damage to your party. It can only be stunned or disoriented, making it an ideal case for Asphyxiate. Sadly, it can be cast while moving, which means Death Grip is useless against it.
- Pestilent Harvesters attempt to cast Doom Shroom — let it go through then move everything (your team and the enemies) out of the mushroom. It spawns on somebody, so you can get people to bait it!
- Fungalmancers cast Wonder Grow and Binding Fungus. Wonder Grow will buff everything nearby, but can be spellstolen — if you have a mage, let it go through then make them steal it for extra damage. If not, kick it. It immediately recasts if stunned. Binding Fungus roots somebody in place until kicked, which is lethal on the first pull with the Decaying Flesh Giant, or on any pull with a Pestilent Harvester (Binding + Doom Shroom = the fastest way to the instance portal). Kick or stun — it does not recast.
- Decaying Flesh Giant deal heavy damage and leaves voidzones on the floor. They also periodically attempt to cast Creepy Crawlers, spawning 3 mobs that melee harder than the giant. Prioritiy kick, use a strong defensive if it goes through until the spiders are dead.
Virulent Mire (Trash)
- Rotting Slimeclaws periodically deal very heavy nature damage to the nearest melee target and reduces the target's stats through Corroded Claws — be aware of this. They also run away on 20% HP, and can social aggro other mobs when they do. Be aware of this, and be ready to Death Grip if they decide to go somewhere nasty.
- You can walk out of the Blighted Spinebreakers's frontal attacks.
- The Plaguebinders and Rigged Plagueborers apply a root ( Gripping Infection) and a slow ( Wretched Phlegm), designed at making it harder to move out of the barrel/borer explosions. They are both relatively lengthy casts, so you have more than enough time to anticipate and immune their application with Anti-Magic Shell.
Virulax Blightweaver Gauntlet (Trash)
This is where there is a huge opportunity for your group to shave off a ton of time on the timer. This area is littered with Plague Barrels, and, the second a member of your group steps beyond the previous area, Virulax Blightweaver (the miniboss at the end of the tentacle corridor) starts spawning pairs of Plagueborers, until four pairs have been dealt with.
Both Plagueborers explode when on low health or when the timer above their head reaches zero. The explosion applies a debuff on everything caught in the blast, making them take unhealable, percentage-based damage for 6 seconds. This also applies to enemies, up to a cap of 6 targets in the blast.
Your goal in this area is simple: optimize the use of these explosions to kill as many mobs on your path as possible with them. The ultimate goal is to do this safely, but that does not mean going small. We recommend the following:
- Pair #1: Oros + Blighted Spinebreaker + 2 Rotting Slimeclaws
- Pair #2: two Slime Tentacles
- Pair #3: Virulax Blightweaver
- Pair #4: somebody goes and picks up either the left or right group in Ickus' room (optional)
While fighting the Slime Tentacles, somebody needs to be in melee range of them while they are active, or they will spam Vile Spit. They can also grip a target and prevent them from doing anything — Asphyxiate immediately if so, as it has a lengthy animation when the person breaks out, during which they cannot do anything; there are a lot of Plagueborer explosions happening in that area, so the sooner, the better.
Oozing Fields (Trash)
The area leading up to Domina Venomblade tests your group's ability to prevent casts. You will find an array of new mobs along with some from the previous areas: Slime Tentacles, a Decaying Flesh Giant alongside a few new enemies. As this area relies more on your group than on you as a tank, we've only detailed the abilities and mobs you can have an impact on.
It is worth using Control Undead to control a Defender of Many Eyes here, in order to align mob count to spawn the fourth prideful of the instance just before Domina Venomblade, and to gain access to a very frequent 10% physical damage reduction AoE shield through Bulwark of Maldraxxus.
- You should aim to never have more than one Brood Ambushers active at any given time. They frequently cast Stealthlings, which briefly shows up as a purple smoke effect where 8 stealthlings have spawned and are stealthed — and casting Ambush at a random target. Throw a Death and Decay (or get somebody else to AoE) on the spot where this happened to unstealth the Stealthlings and allow your team to dispose of them or stun/disorient them to cancel Ambush.
- Asphyxiate/ Death Grip every cast of Bulwark of Maldraxxus — it reduces the damage taken by every enemy inside it by 75%.
Festering Sanctum (Trash)
Not much to note here — the Plaguebound Devoted absolutely destroy you, but walk at 10% movement speed. Get in with all cooldowns, build threat, then kite!
- Assign a hard CC for the Smorgasborg (big ooze) — it always spawns in the closest area of slime to where the boss is.
- Get your DPS to kill the three little oozes. If they get close enough, Gorefiend's Grasp into Death and Decay to buy them time.
- You can use Death's Advance to immune the knockback from Plaguestomp, and Anti-Magic Shell to immune the DoT it applies. You can alternate between them.
- Anti-Magic Zone is ideally used immediately after a Plaguestomp, as the boss cannot cast another one for 15 seconds after casting it, and everybody has a DoT on them dealing very high nature damage.
Doctor Ickus (Boss)
- You can pre- Anti-Magic Shell all of the debuffs applied by the oozes.
- If the boss spends more than a few seconds away from you, it will attempt to spamcast Burning Strain on random party members. This should be kicked to make him move back in melee range.
- Immediately after the bomb ooze spawns, a second ooze (Congealed Slime) spawns. This
ooze reduces damage taken by anything nearby by 75%, and should be tanked on the boss
while the DPS deal with the bomb. When the bomb is dealt with, you should kill this slime
in pugs; in a coordinated group with a way to CC them, you should attempt the following:
- First bomb/slime: kill the slime
- Second bomb/slime: Grip the slime away from the boss (or move it in another way) and hard-CC it, preventing the damage reduction aura without having to deal 200k damage unnecessarily.
- Failure to kill the slime means having it attempt to apply Withering Filth to party members, a particularly rough haste reduction.
Domina Venomblade (Boss)
- Cycle cooldowns for Cytotoxic Slash — particularly Anti-Magic Shell. The debuff can be immuned if AMS holds for it.
- When Brood Assassins spawn, they stealth and show up as a large zone of Shroudweb. While they are stealthed, they stack Assassinate on random party members, and need to be unstealthed as quickly as possible. You can do this by dropping Death and Decay on them, or getting close and using Blood Boil.
Margrave Stradama (Boss)
There is not much to know as a blood death knight specifically on this fight. Nevertheless, we have listed some handy tips below that you may not have known:
- Be in the Touch of Slime, whenever an add is up while Stradama is up. This damage is not split, and as a result, only you should be in it. Whenever the boss is transitioning, this ability does not happen.
- You can use Anti-Magic Shell to immune the application of Infectious Rain, and Anti-Magic Zone to reduce the damage taken by your party from it. Drop it when the party gets to 3 stacks to reduce the effect of the 3->4 jump and everything after.
- Quickly grab threat on the Plaguebound Devoted that spawn during the intermissions. If you do not have a mob that you Control Undead from earlier, you can control one of them.
- Do not get slapped by the tentacles. This is important.
Theater of Pain
The Theater of Pain is an instance that branches off into three wings after the first boss. You have to do all three wings, but the order you do them in is up to you.
This gives you a somewhat small amount of agency: as long as you get Time Warp and Prideful mobs where it matters, you can sort of do as you please.
Due to this, we will explain the dangerous mobs, rather than a pull-by-pull guide.
The Arena (Trash)
There is nothing to note on this trash. Kick the caster. Cycle cooldowns. Everything hurts. Get your group to kill the contenders first; they will not, but at least you will have tried.
Xav's Corner (Trash)
- Ancient Captain's Commanding Presence is similar to the Forsworn Squad-Leaders in Spires, and reduces AoE damage taken by nearby mobs and itself by 75%. This makes it a priority kill. It also casts Demoralizing Shout, reducing your team's output by 50% if it goes through. It is in a pack with two Arbalests, however, making it a pack better skipped or LoSed on fortified weeks. If you do decide to pull it, Control Undead it — it turns the aura into 2% damage and 5% DR, but it also means you do not have to kill it first.
- Shambling Arbalests shoot random targets with either regular arrows or Jagged Quarrel, a really nasty 10-second DoT. This is a 0.9-second cast that is only stoppable by hard CC, and immediately recasts, making it one of the most toxic mechanics in the entirety of Shadowlands M+.
- The pairs of combatants — of which you will only face one at each major intersection — have an array of abilities that you need to be mindful of. In particular, Savage Flurry, Colossus Smash and Unbalancing Blow should prompt cooldown usage throughout, and pooling of Runic Power prior to the hit to be able to Death Strike aggressively during it. Finally, Battle Trance should be kicked.
Kul'Tharok's Wing (Boss)
This part of the dungeon is all about interrupts, debuffs and clever use of magic damage reduction. As you fight from platform to platform leading to the boss, you will find plenty of opportunities to make productive use of Anti-Magic Zone, and ways to watch your teammates (and sometimes yourself!) fall off the platforms!
The very first room of the wing has 4 packs of 3 Shackled Souls, which periodically lash out at random targets and slow them with Bind Soul. This is interruptible; in practice, on the first pull, you want to pull 6 (the first 2 trios), and pull them back to the door to LoS and force them to move, whilst also avoiding Kul'Tharok's barrages. When they are dead, you move to the other side and repeat at the exit with the last 6 ghosts. You can Control Undead one of them — they do a ton of damage!
Once you get there, you have two choices.
- If you go left, you will fight on a narrow platform with 3 Shackled Soul and a Maniacal Soulbinder. Prioritize the Soulbinder, kick his Necrotic Bolt Volley, get your healer to dispel the Soul Corruption and burn down the ghosts.
- If you go right, you will face two Bone Magus. Interrupt Bone Spear to make sure it doesn't one-shot one of your party members.
The paths then merge again on the first large platform with alcove groups of mobs you may want to pull to adjust percentage for prideful. We recommend getting a prideful here to deal with the Portal Guardian in the middle, since it is kind of rough. Once you have dealt with it and its assortment of one Bone Magus and one Soulbinder (which you should assign kicks for), your path forks again.
- If you go left, you end up on a large platform with two Nefarious Darkspeakers. These mobs will attempt to throw you off the platform with a frontal attack featuring a very potent knockback: Death Winds.
- If you go right, you end up on a large platform with a Soulforged Bonereaver and two Bone Magus. The Bonereaver essentially does not matter beyond dodging the occasional green swirlies, leaving you to be able to fully focus on the magus. Do not forget to kick Bone Spear!
After this, the paths converge again on the last platform, where you face off with a Maniacal Soulbinder, a Risen Magus and a Nefarious Deathspeaker. Do not be in the Death Winds frontal, and assign kicks to both Bone Spear and Necrotic Bolt Volley. Your goal is ideally to reach 60% on this platform and spawn a prideful on it; if you are running with a well-coordinated group, have every member click the portal before the prideful spawns, and it will instead spawn upstairs in front of Kul'Tharok's chambers. Neat!
Gorechop's Wing (Trash)
A lot of mobs repeat in this wing; they all focus on swift interrupts and stuns. Get your reflexes ready!
- Blighted Sludge-Spewers, present on virtually every pull, leap to the furthest enemy target from where they currently are, and attempt to cast Decaying Filth and Withering Discharge. The first is a random, relatively large single-target nuke; the second is an ability that must be interrupted no matter the cost, as it stacks a 30-second disease ( Withering Blight) on the entire party that deals ludicrous amounts of damage. It stacks. Assign kicks for it if there is more than one of these.
- When either Blighted Sludge-Spewers or Disgusting Refuse die, they leave behind a green swirlie. If you are in it, you will gain a stack of Withering Blight.
- Putrid Butchers frequently attempt to cast Devour Flesh. You can prevent it from going off entirely with Asphyxiate, or any disorient; failure to do so means the mob will damage whoever was targeted and heal themselves for that much (typically ~20% of their max HP). It is anti-kite, so if you kite it, it will attempt to cast this when somebody is close and quite reliably one-shot them.
- Racid Gasbags periodically cast a frontal; it also hits behind them as well, so be aware of positioning. It always targets somebody, so you can bait it.
- Finally, Diseased Horrors stack a disease periodically on you, which can be prevented with Anti-Magic Shell. 20 seconds into the fight and every 30 seconds after, they will attempt to cast Meat Shield, a very quick cast leading into a channel that grants them a very large shield. If you have good reflexes, and manage to kick the cast rather than the channel, the shield never applies. The first shield amount is instantly applied the moment the channel starts.
An Affront of Challengers (Boss)
Call kicks if you can — Searing Death in particular needs to be kicked. Depending on the week, your first priority kill may differ. On necrotic week, you will likely kill Dessia first. On every other week it will likely be Paceran.
Dessia's Mortal Strike and Slam kinda hurt. Slam is anti-kite, so if you are kiting her (or she comes back from her fixate) and she gets close to somebody, they will get a super breezy ticket to the instance portal.
Xav the Unfallen (Boss)
As a tank, you have the boring job here; all you get to deal with is Mortal Combo, for which you should pool Runic Power. The boss hits pretty hard, so make sure you optimize your play and cycle cooldowns throughout.
The Banner he spawns is a priority kill target, and you should absolutely assist on this.
Another boss with very little tank play outside of sheer min-maxing. She switches to a fast ranged nuke if you move out of melee range (as she cannot be moved); since this is the highest priority on her cast sequence, you can take this to your advantage in order to delay other, more dangerous spells if your healer needs a bit of breathing room — just make sure to kick her if you do!
Another relatively boring tank fight: hits hard, has a tankbuster ( Hateful Strike), and this is definitely a fight that tests your cooldown cycling. Do not get hooked!
The only boss where you can have a real impact on the success (or failure!) of your team. The boss has two phases, and we'll detail the mechanics, how to deal with them and some overlaps you may want to know about.
- During the entirety of the fight, she will periodically nuke you with
Reaping Scythe. This is a two-hit tankbuster for equal physical
and magic damage. Cycle cooldowns for this — Rune Tap is ideal,
as it is exactly on the right cooldown for it. In higher keys, you may need
more than this — judge appropriately.
- You can use Anti-Magic Shell to negate the shadow portion of this, but there are better applications of it in the fight.
- Periodically, she will cast Manifest Death. It is on a strict timer and this is what Anti-Magic Shell is for, as it allows you to immune the DoT and the add that spawns when it expires, removing one kick target for your group! When the adds have spawn, Gorefiend's Grasp them in and cleave them down.
- Dark Devastation should simply be avoided; it is a slowly-rotating frontal cone. Due to this ability, you ideally do not want to tank Mordretha too close to the edge of the arena (as it makes it increasingly likely to cover the entire area with this rotating cone of doom).
At 50%, she spices things up by casting her first Echos of Carnage — this will repeat periodically as either groups of ghostly combatants or riders charging in. If it is combatants, make sure your group has enough space to work with if it aligns with adds. If it is riders, it will typically overlap with Dark Devastation instead — make sure people have space to dodge by positioning and tanking Mordretha not too close to the middle, but not too far either if at all possible.
De Other Side
De Other Side is an interesting dungeon, both in terms of bosses and trash. There are a few highly technical pulls when it comes to interrupts, just as there is an entire area designed almost exclusively for pulling big.
The bosses also pose varying challenges. On one extreme, Mueh'zala tests your knowledge of the encounter and ability to proactively plan cooldowns and assign people to portals, whilst on the other extreme, Dealer Xy'exa tests your party's ability to do mechanics safely while coordinating stacks of a debuff.
Central Ring (Trash)
The central ring has a plethora of mobs with very distinct, and very deadly, abilities. It makes sense to go over them and know them, as most of them impact how you handle pulls as a tank.
- Risen Warlords are not slowable and periodically buff themselves with Undying Rage, increasing their damage done by 100% and making them unkillable for the duration. This is a really good time to kite if you cannot soothe it.
- Risen Bonesoldiers regularly cast Bonestrike, a hard-hitting magical nuke. Anti-Magic Shell is very valuable on pulls with them in for that attack. They can be safely kited and will not cast anything while so. They are stationary when casting Bonestrike, so if you keep kiting them, even if it is just by backpedalling, you will rarely, if ever, get hit.
- Enraged Spirits should ideally be pulled solo, as they force your group to stay stationary while they cast Rage. The masks they dropped can be despawned by stunning them.
- Risen Cultists have two casts: Scribe and Dark Lotus. You should kick Scribe, and let Dark Lotus go through to save kicks. They are usually in groups of two or with other mobs, and as a result, it is often easier to just walk out of the Lotus.
- Death Speakers attempt to spam Shadowcore at you, a nasty shadow damage nuke. It is kickable, and on high keys, every single cast of it should be kicked. They also cast Death's Embrace, which is stealable by Mages (and grants them 100% haste), or dispelled. Do not waste kicks on that unless you have no offensive purge. Every 20 seconds, they will cast Erupting Darkness at a party member, attempting to knock them and everybody in a line off the platform — do not get hit. It is purple on purple, so it is hard to see.
Zul'Gurub Area (Trash)
First off — two of the mob types in this area have heals. Atal'ai High Priests attempt to cast Heal, while Atal'ai Hoodoo Hexxers attempt to cast Lesser Healing Wave. Both of those should be interrupted, but it is worth noting that one of them is significantly more impactful than the other: the Heal from High Priests will recast immediately if you stun it, and is a full-heal on its target. As a result, if you need to make a choice, pick the Heal for interrupts, and the Hexxer's casts for everything else.
Atal'ai High Priests also run away in fear while below 20%, which can lead you into missing a kick from halfway across the corridor and end up with a mob healed to full, which is particularly rough.
Other than that, as a tank, the only point of note is that the Atal'ai Deathwalkers apply a bleed when they melee. This naturally gets reset when they Bladestorm, except if somebody stuns one but not the other. At high stacks, make sure not to die and pop cooldowns.
Mechagon Area (Trash)
Not much of note here either. 4.R.F-4.R.F's W-00F can target the tank, which you can counter with both Icebound Fortitude (to negate the stun) or Anti-Magic Shell (to immune it). The rest is played exactly as a DPS: kick the kicks, do not eat unnecessary damage, and collect your mob count.
Ardenweald Area (Trash)
This will be more of a do-not-pull list rather than a list of trash, as the trash that is worth pulling largely does... well, nothing. It is all easily kitable, so, depending on your stacks of Beak Slice, stay and DPS or hit and run.
You should avoid pulling:
- Bladebeak Hatchlings, as they will attempt to spamcast Frightened Cries, calling every bird in the area, including a Matriarch, and enraging all of them whenever a bird is killed. They come in packs of 2-3, and if pulled by accident (as they are deliberately placed for you to accidentally pull them), should be absolutely prioritized, and kept stunned to not let the cast through (it cannot be interrupted in any other way).
- Bladebeak Matriarchs have much higher health than other bladebeaks, give virtually no count for the effort, and cause every other bird pulled to enrage periodically. Hard pass.
- The lone dragon at the top of the hill, Mythresh, can be skipped by walking past it. It is lethal due to the AoE fear it has, its exceedingly large amount of HP, and its ability to make you pull half the zone. As such, if you accidentally pull it, it may be worth just wiping rather than killing it.
- Hakkar's Blood Barrier does damage to everything nearby — allies and enemies alike — and adds all of it up to form the shield. The more damage reduction you have when it is cast, the smaller the shield will be.
- Be particularly careful of Piercing Barb, a two-hit tankbuster. Pool RP for it and cycle defensives!
The Manastorms (Boss)
There is, frankly, not much to note here as a tank. You are not a valid target for most mechanics, so help soak the crystal beams, be aware of the bleeds when Millie is down, and collect your boss kill!
Dealer Xy'exa (Boss)
This boss is mostly on your party rather than you — every 9 seconds, somebody will have to pass the Arcane Lightning debuff to a new target. This debuff pulses on the user every 3s, dealing heavy damage and granting them a stack of Arcane Vulnerability (just like getting hit by every other ability does).
Your teammates will frequently pass this to you in order to give the stacks to a "safe" target. You ideally want to pass it to somebody without stacks when it expires — it jumps to the nearest target and you can see a red arrow above the target's head when it is about to jump.
This fight is a very tight DPS race on tyrannical and execution of the encounter is paramount, as is going into it with the Prideful buff and lust. Adjust your route accordingly.
- When Mueh'zala reaches full energy, he will immediately cast a very short duration tankbuster: Soulcrusher. This does heavy physical damage, and applies a 9-second DoT for the total amount taken by the upfront hit as shadow damage. You can and should mitigate as much of it upfront as possible (to reduce the size of the DoT), and can use a trick to negate it further: since the upfront application is physical but the DoT is a magic effect, Anti-Magic Shell immunes it.
- Assign people to portals before the fight starts (or get somebody to do it). Front left, front right,
back left, back right. Put world markers on the portal spawn points, and the corresponding markers
on people's heads. The tank and healer go together in one, and each DPS gets a portal each.
- Each time you have to do a portal phase, you add 2 minutes to the fight duration. This makes taking the right portal and actually doing the fight in one phase mandatory and by far the biggest time-save in the dungeon.
- Master of Death cannot repeat casts — it will always hit exactly once left, exactly once right, and exactly once at the front, though the order may be random. The application of the penalty debuff for getting hit is delayed, so do not get back in too quickly.
Mists of Tirna Scythe
Mists of Tirna Scithe is a dungeon that tests your knowledge of the trash, with a few very thematic types of mobs, all with deadly abilities if you do not respect them.
Before you go any further, instruct somebody in your team to grab the Maze Navigator weakaura to trivialize the maze. Whilst not strictly necessary, it will save you a lot of running if somebody screws it up.
Drust Area (Trash)
The Drust mobs appear to be very simple at first; however, there is a lot of subtlety to the way you handle them, as they have both the potential to deal ludicrous damage to you and your team, and also to heal while doing so, complicating the run and adding to the timer in more ways than one.
Drust Soulcleavers are the mobs you will likely care the most about as a Blood Death Knight. They show up in every pack up to Ingra Maloch, and have two devastating abilities:
- Hand of Thros is a self-buff on them that cannot be purged, and which has two effects: it causes them to attack 30% faster, and every time they successfully melee you, they will self-heal for 3% of their max HP, making it a 15-20% total heal if they melee you for the entire duration. This is the indication to kite, not because you could weather the damage, but because it is not cost-effective to do so due to the self-heal.
- Soul Split is a stacking magical debuff on you that increases your damage taken by 20% for 8 seconds, stacking. Get dispelled - you can also use Anti-Magic Shell to prevent its application (it is very predictable).
The key to these mobs is to use the 10-12 seconds prior to every Hand of Thros to generate enough threat to kite the debuff entirely. You should make sure you have enough space to do so, evidently; for the last pack before Ingra Maloch, get a Night Fae to open the alcove with the mushroom buffs to have ample kiting space!
Drust Harvesters mobs pose two threats to your group: they cast Spirit Bolt randomly at targets, and periodically cast Harvest Essence, a very potent channeled life drain on all of your party. Both of those should be kicked as often as possible; if you do not have enough kicks, use Asphyxiate or Death Grip to cancel this channel.
When kiting the soulcleavers, make sure the kicks are being taken care of. It is all too easy to forget one of these mobs and get sent straight to the instance portal by Spirit Bolt from the other side of the area.
Tirnen Villagers — Be warned: these hit hard. Fortunately, they spend 50% of their time casting either a frontal (which you should move out of), or a channeled spell on a nearby party member (which you are not a valid target for and cannot aid in any way). Use the breaks in melees to your advantage!
Finally, the first two packs you will pull are Drust Spiteclaws. They have a peculiar on-death ability, assuming nobody in your group dispels the buff they have: Dying Breath applies to anybody within 8 yards, players and mobs alike, and causes them to take 10% extra damage, stacking.
There are five of them. That is 50% extra damage on the entire pack, making it an extremely efficient use of time if you can survive the pull — just remember to Anti-Magic Shell before they die!
The Maze (Trash)
The maze of mists has six "regular" enemy types and three minibosses; during a run, you can expect to have to fight anywhere between 5-7 rooms featuring up to one miniboss. We've detailed the ones you can do something about below:
Assign priority DPS in the following order:
- Mistveil Stalkers
- Mistveil Stingers
- Mistveil Shapers / Tenders
- Anything else
Below, you will find tips for each type of mobs.
- Mistveil Guardian
- Bucking Rampage is a cast followed by a channel during which the mob moves and kicks (+ oneshots on high fortified) any target that gets in the circle. When it starts channeling (i.e. after the ramp-up cast), stun it with Asphyxiate. It will put the enemy spell on cooldown for 30 seconds. If you stun it during the cast, it will recast instead the second the stun fades.
- These mobs also attempt to AoE root all party members within 30 yards; sadly, it is an unpredictable cast, so it is difficult to time Anti-Magic Shell for.
- Mistveil Tender / Mistveil Shaper
- These mobs act as healers in the packs they are in. Tenders cast Nourish the Forest whenever one of their allies drop below 50%, which works as a periodic, dispellable HoT; Shapers cast Bramblethorn Coat instead, which acts as a shield.
- Whenever you engage a pack with one of either, assign a melee (15s) kick to them.
- Mistveil Defender
- These mobs have a large and deadly frontal; do not point them towards people and get out of the frontal when it starts.
- Mistveil Stalker
- These mobs have a 1.5s cast ( Mistveil Bite) that causes them to leap to a target and apply a brutal bleed on them for 12 seconds. If you stun it with Asphyxiate, it goes on cooldown, making it a significant chunk of damage your healer does not have to deal with, and a much smaller mortality rate for whoever was targeted.
- Mistveil Stinger
- The last of the mobs in the gauntlet is, fortunately, a mob with no real mechanics as a tank. They keep darting to party members and applying a dispellable magical debuff called Anima Injection. Just be aware that they move around a lot, and that your healer absolutely needs to dispel this before it runs its course.
Final Area (Trash)
There is not much to know as a tank on these. You should aim to never pull more than two Spinemaw Staghorns as they require two melee interrupts each to lock down their casts (they should all be kicked without fail).
The Spinemaw Reavers do heavy party damage through the application of a stacking poison DoT on random party members. As a result, they are considered a priority kill if in a pull.
You will get a Prideful spawn during this area, potentially two depending on your route and the force count the maze gave you (it is variable). Be aware of this and, even though you cannot plan a static route, know where you can gain extra percentage to make up for the case where the maze gave you 5 rooms instead of seven.
Ingra Maloch (Boss)
There is not much to do as a tank on here. Step out of the frontal, and tank the bosses so that your melees and ranged can have continuous uptime on the target currently being DPSed.
Once again, there is not much, just two details in addition to the usual "dodge stuff and do not die to stuff":
- If you Death Grip the fox Mistcaller spawns before he gets his cast of Fixate off, the Fixate will break and the fox will not freeze anybody they run into. Makes it great to trivialize this fight!
- You absolutely must kick Patty Cake, as you are the only person able to do so and you lose all your threat if you fail this basic mechanics check. She casts it during the guessing game - always keep her on focus and focus interrupt.
This is yet another boss with no real tank mechanic. Assign interrupts.
- You should be kicking Infester. It is ideal as it sometimes overlap with Mind Link, and you are not a valid direct target for that.
- Assign one kick to interrupt Consumption after the shield breaks during transitions at 70% and 40%
Make sure melee DPS, if you have any, have enough space to DPS the boss without stepping in the goo, and when you are targeted for the green swirls, move as little as possible to safely dodge the hit (they're slightly bigger than they look, so give them 1-2yd extra). The boss will keep targeting the same relative positions where you moved, so the less you move, the easier everything is to dodge.
The Necrotic Wake
The Necrotic Wake is one of the more mechanical dungeons in Shadowlands, in part due to the large amount of dangerous trash, but also due to two extremely unforgiving bosses for your group: Amarth and Stitchflesh. As a tank, your role is to make sure to streamline the run while avoiding as many of the dangerous pulls as possible, while allowing the group to use the different weapons strewn across the battlefield.
Before going into the abilities of the mobs in the dungeon, we need to explain what those weapons to and how to best leverage them.
Weapons and their Effects
A number of weapons are strewn around The Necrotic Wake for players to pick up. Three types are available for your group:
- Bloody Javelin allows you to throw the javelin at a mob, dealing massive damage to anything between you and the target, and increasing the damage they take from all sources by 20%, making it great for those damage burns on priority targets. It deals absolutely ludicrous on-hit damage as well, and benefits from your Versatility and your Critical Strike chance. Evidently, high-Crit users and players that can stack damage amplification effects are better to throw the spears (Kyrian Hunters are one of the best for this, as are Fire Mages playing Disciplinary Command).
- Discarded Shield is a 6-second channel providing nearby friendly targets with 50% damage reduction. You will typically not be the one using this, as there is just nobody in your group able to use this without incurring a loss: using it as a tank means not being able to dodge, parry or use anything else; using it as a healer means not being able to heal; and using it as a DPS means everything takes longer to die. In addition to this, most of the damage in this instance stems from fights taking longer than expected, making it a double whammy of awful.
- Forgotten Forgehammer allows you to deal massive damage and stun a single mob. Perfect to deal with Marauders or pesky casters.
- Discharged Anima causes you to pulse AoE around you for 10 seconds, dealing massive damage and interrupting anything hit. Ideal for casters, or generally for AoE damage. It is worth noting that it will misfire if Anti-Magic Shell is active while you press it.
We recommend you to plan a route to leverage all the weapons. In particular, the following locations are extremely worthwhile to know:
- There is a Bloody Javelin on the right hand side of the wall leading into the first courtyard, which you can either use on Blightbone or on the very first Zolramus Necromancer in the interstitial corridor between the first and second areas.
- There is a Discharged Anima near the dead Goliath just before the pack of three necromancers leading to Amarth's room. You should use this on the pack with Nar'zudah, in order to completely lock down the casters for a large portion of the time they are alive.
- Immediately behind Nar'zudah and his cohort, you can find a Forgotten Forgehammer on the left, and a Bloody Javelin to the right. Save the Bloody Javelin for later, and use the Forgotten Forgehammer on one of the Marauders, ideally when they bring their Boneshatter Shield in order to guarantee it breaking (it deals a ton of damage to the Marauder if it is consumed before it expires).
- Just before the necromancer pack leading into Amarth's room, there is a Bloody Javelin. We recommend that you save this one to deal with Stitchflesh's trash on fortified week, or Amarth himself on tyrannical week.
- Finally, the dead Goliath in Amarth's area hides a Discharged Anima!
"Do Not Pull" Trash
- Zolramus Gatekeeper: Combines a stream of endlessly-spawning adds, massive AoE damage from the necropolis itself, and a very rough DoT ( Clinging Darkness) that ramps up in damage until dispelled, upon which it jumps to somebody else. There are three of those in the first area leading to Blightbone, and you should make sure that your route does not contain a single one of them. If accidentally pulled, burn all cooldowns on them.
- Skeletal Monstrosity: Rough on the tank and packing a ton of HP, this mob is best avoided due to being an inefficient mob and difficult to pull into anything else.
Blightbone Area (Trash)
- Blight Bag/Patchwerk Soldier: leap around the area, damaging anybody at the landing point. They can leap while stunned and rooted, making them a nightmare on necrotic weeks. The Blight Bags additionally explode on death.
- Corpse Harvester: will continuously hit random targets with Throw Flesh and attempt to disable a party member with a channeled cast ( Drain Fluids), which should be kicked. If you intend to stun it instead, stun during the channel, not the pre-channel cast, so that it does not recast.
- Stitched Vanguard: Stacks a soothable enrage ( Seething Rage) on every melee. If you have a soothe, soothe it regularly; if you do not, focus it.
It is worth noting that there is a single Flesh Crafter on the right side of the area. Their Throw Cleaver ability throws a cleaver that can also damage enemies if it collides with them, making it a quick way to gain additional damage should you decide to pull it. It is slightly out of your way, so we would advise against it.
Amarth Area Trash
The pulls leading up to Amarth are some of the most group-oriented pulls in the dungeon. As such, your success will be largely determined by your group's ability to interrupt casts.
- Zolramus Necromancers are flanked by 3-5 mobs, typically an assortment of Reanimated Mages, Reanimated Crossbowmen and Reanimated Warriors. All the risen mobs die when the necromancer dies, so, all your group's damage should go into the necromancer. Interrupt the Frostbolt Volley cast by the magus, as it is easily capable of wiping your group if it goes through.
- Nar'zudah and the Zolramus Necromancers all cast Necrotic Bolt and Shadow Well. Necrotic Bolt must be kicked whenever possible (but not as a higher priority than the previously mentioned Frostbolt Volley), as it also stacks a healing absorb on you; Shadow Well drops a voidzone that makes any target standing in it (you) immune to all healing. As a result, these mobs are typically a high-priority kill target and interrupt target.
- Skeletal Marauders cast Rasping Scream, which should be kicked; additionally, they frequently put up Boneshatter Shield, granting them an absorb for ~20% of their max health, lasting 8 seconds. If you manage to break it, the Marauder will instantly suffer ~60-70% of their max HP in damage, scaling further with Fortified.
- Finally, Zolramus Bonecarvers periodically reduce your max HP by 15%. Track the debuff ( Boneflay) and make sure not to pull the necromancer pack after them until it has faded, as you will typically be on 2-3 stacks of it. Save damage reduction cooldowns ( Icebound Fortitude, Rune Tap) for the end of this pack.
Zolramus, The Necropolis (Trash)
This area, when it comes to tanking, is one of the most technical parts of the instance: tons of mobs with dangerous abilities, and the unfortunate combo of Tenderize and Mutilate on every pack, leading to excessively larger physical damage taken from everything else.
You should aim to have a strategy around which packs to pull in order to align the Prideful spawn you will have during this section with one of the more dangerous packs of the area — ideally the northeast or northwest packs.
Remember that all the trash in this room needs to die. Until they are all corpses on the floor, the roleplay events will not start. It is also worth noting that the roleplay events happen quickly enough that you will not be able to resurrect people during them.
- Corpse Collectors are an upgraded version of Corpse Harvesters. In addition to Throw Flesh and Drain Fluids (which you should kick/stun during the channel), they can also cast Goresplatter, dealing very high periodic damage to your team. This should also be interrupted. They are not a priority kill in the groups, however, due to the much, much more dangerous mobs in them.
- Kyrian Stitchwerks will periodically cast Tenderize and Mutilate on you, in addition to dealing high physical damage. They have high health but are absolutely a priority kill as you only have so many cooldowns to sustain the consistently high damage amplified by Tenderize.
- There are two Flesh Crafters in this area. They will periodically cast Throw Cleaver, which looks like a red line aimed at somebody. As a tank, you can (and should!) position a mob in the path of the cleaver (ideally a Kyrian Stitchwerk). This does huge damage to the first target in the path of the cleaver. If you are feeling frisky, you can drag these from pack to pack as they, outside of the cleaver, do very little actual damage, granting you an unwilling sixth party member. If you cannot line a mob in the cleaver, and it is safe for you to do so, intercept it yourself — its damage is physical and can very easily kill clothies. Better you than them.
- Position the boss in order to help your group minimize the space taken up by Fetid Gas. These voidzones are created when Carrion Worms die or periodically around the boss.
- Speaking of Carrion Worms, you can use Death Grip, Asphyxiate, Gorefiend's Grasp, and Death and Decay to control them so your team kills them without taking too much damage, without allowing them to explode, and preferably on top of each other!
- The worms explode very violently (and wipe your group) if they manage to land three melee attacks on the target they are fixated on.
- Control Undead can be used to temporarily take control of a minion Amarth summons — Reanimated Mage being the ideal candidate as it also removes kicks from the encounter. You can move it further than 40 yards to also not grant a stack of Final Sacrifice to the boss.
- Necrotic Bolt works exactly like on the trash — and should be kicked as often as possible.
- This boss is a DPS race — try to optimize mob placement to guarantee that DPS do not need to run around aimlessly, help with add control and to burn them down with Gorefiend's Grasp, Asphyxiate, Death Grip etc.
- When the boss has stacks of Tortured Echoes and there are no adds up, you can comfortably lay down Anti-Magic Zone to help reduce the periodic damage from those stacks.
- The Loyal Creation adds beyond the first deal increasing damage to everybody in the room. If it is tyrannical, and you need one beyond the first, hook the boss with it, then kill it.
- You can cancel the boss's Fixate on targets by catching him with a hook from one of the Loyal Creations, thus guaranteeing more uptime from every DPS.
- Do not tank the Loyal Creations too close to the stage — your party members need space to line up the hooks!
Nalthor the Rimebinder (Boss)
- Icy Shard is physical damage.
- Continuously stutter-step for Comet Storm!
- You can and should use Anti-Magic Shell to help the healer through Icebound Aegis, particularly if two of your DPS are doing the gauntlets.
- Anti-Magic Zone can be used to mitigate some of the damage on the DPS and healers.
Spires of Ascension
Spires of Ascension is one of the more methodical dungeon, with an interesting choice: there are two paths between the first and second bosses, both with their difficulties. The left path tests raw DPS/HPS, whilst the right path tests interrupts and group coordination.
The trash leading up to Devos also happens to be trash with a choice, even if it is only a "fake" choice — 2 of the 3 options lead to key depletion at high key levels.
This instance has recurring mob "types", if you will — some of them effectively being empowered versions of the other. We will note down which ones they are, and focus on the abilities you need to know about.
- Forsworn Menders and Forsworn Champions both cast Forsworn Doctrine, a channeled heal for 10% of the target's max HP per second. This absolutely must be kicked.
- Forsworn Castigators have two casts: Dark Lash, a targeted nuke at a target, and Burden of Knowledge, a ridiculously dangerous magical DoT on a target. You should prioritize kicks for this unless it is in a pack with a Goliath, at which point your healer should dispel this before the first tick.
- Forsworn Goliaths require two ranged (24 seconds) kicks to be assigned to it to never let Rebellious Fist through. The cast sequence is always Fist — Fist — Recharge Anima. During the recharge, you should switch off to another target, as it is very valuable to have these mobs channel and do nothing (the shield disappears when the cast is over).
- Forsworn Helions and Forsworn Squad-Leaders pulse AoE damage and periodically fly up to slam into the ground. Don't get hit. The Squad Leaders also have a frontal cleave ( Crescendo) and reduce AoE damage taken by nearby targets by 75%, making it a priority kill.
- Forsworn Wardens' Greater Mending casts should be interrupted at all costs, as they effectively full-heal their target.
- Forsworn Vanguards cleave with every auto-attack and should be pointed away from your group.
- Forsworn Stealthclaws stack a dangerous bleed on you while in melee attack — get enough threat then kite. If they attack you from stealth, they also stun you for 3 seconds.
- Forsworn Skirmishers and Forsworn Usurpers shoot spears at random targets via Hurl. These do a lot of damage, and should be killed quickly. The Skirmishers have a lot more health and can also disengage 20 yards away, so make sure to fight them in an area where this disengage is not likely to pull anything else.
- Finally, Etherdivers attempt to spam-cast Insidious Venom, a dangerous, stacking magic DoT on you. Kick as many as possible, and get your healer to dispel the rest. Anti-Magic Shell grants temporary immunity against those.
- The beam linking Azules and Kin-Tara also does heavy damage to anybody passing through it, along with afflicting them with a heavy stacking DoT. Attempt to follow Azules with Kin-Tara so DPS do not have to worry about this beam.
- Azules' frontal orbs really hurt even as a tank, so do not be in front.
- When Kin-Tara reaches 100 energy, she casts Overhead Slash, a large single-target nuke. Use cooldowns appropriately.
As a tank, your role on this encounter is to position the boss so that the orbs that pulse out from the swirlies he leaves when he uses Dark Stride are easy to dodge for DPS.
Currently, the best way we have found of doing so is stacking them on top of one another. However, this requires your melee DPS to be aware and ready to dodge.
A more pug-friendly way to do so is to leave them in a line with ~10-yard separation between them, so people have time to sidestep.
Regardless, he drops two orbs then casts recharge — once the second has been dropped, move him to a spot away from them so there are wide gaps between the blasts!
This fight is a race against the clock, as the bleed that the boss applies to random people is extremely painful, and leads to healers running out of Mana if the fight lasts more than 3-4 minutes.
There is nothing much to know as a tank on this. He hits hard. The Charged Stomp hits your position regardless of where you are, and leaves a nasty DoT that you can immune with Anti-Magic Shell. His cast sequence is random, so if at all possible, make sure other people are not stacking on you.
When he recharges, you can immune the application of the DoT from the charging orbs with Anti-Magic Shell.
Whilst technically not a boss, they are almost like it: the three ascended Forsworn form a trio of pain, and each one you kill "transfers" their active ability to the other.
Your first kill will either be Lakesis or Astronos. We are recommending Lakesis, as it means you only have to have your group open their eyes for two mobs instead of three.
Lakesis' two abilities are as follows:
- Crescendo is a frontal cone with three "branches" at a 30 degree angle left and right of the main line. It does not track you, so you can simply sidestep it — do not point it towards people.
- Oppression is a stacking damage taken increase on your party. It makes getting hit by avoidable stuff progressively more unforgiving, and will later combo explosively with other abilities from the other two. No way to avoid it, you can prevent it from stacking up with Anti-Magic Shell.
Your second Forsworn is our favorite spear hurler Astronos. He regularly throws spears through Charged Spear that land and stay there for a minute.
Every 10 seconds, black pulses will emanate at the cardinal points of the spear. You can easily see the safe spots by looking for the tip of the spear, and mentally drawing a cross from it. These lines will always be the same.
The spears are aimed at people. After about 30 seconds of fighting, due to Oppression, a direct hit from a spear will be lethal.
The last Forsworn to pull is Klotos. On fortified, this mob is nightmare fuel: due to the other abilities you have dealt with on previous angels, he will now drop spears that pulse, do a frontal, stack a ramping damage taken aura ( Oppression) and add his own abilities:
- Diminuendo, a two-part leap and crash similar to what the Forsworn Squad-Leaders did earlier;
- Intimidated, a stacking DoT that really hurts. It gets amplified even further by Oppression from Lakesis, which means that you only have a limited time before your healer is overrun.
Devos is mechanically trivial as a tank: make sure to get in the bubble just like all your DPS, DPS, collect orbs, and do not whiff the spear throw. There is no new tank mechanic or mechanic to be aware of, nothing that you can immune that is game-changing (although you can immune the stacking DoT during the transition with Anti-Magic Shell), and no real way in which you can carry your group other than making sure the spear lands during all the intermissions.
Halls of Atonement
Halls of Atonement is a relatively simple dungeon that rewards you for your route efficiency and clever use of stuns and interrupts, and punishes you for not respecting the trash. It is deceptively breezy when done properly, and an absolute nightmare when failed.
Fear not, however — there are a lot of things you can do to help your group here. We will walk you through most of them here.
Depraved Darkblade (Trash)
Depraved Darkblades show up in a few packs across the dungeon. Their main deadly ability is a frontal cone ( Deadly Thrust) that has no visual, but does not track you. Simply sidestep it and make sure these mobs are not pointed towards anybody else.
Depraved Houndmaster / Loyal Gargons
Loyal Gargons are annoying dog/bear hybrids that stack a heavy bleed on you when they melee; they do a large amount of damage and you will, no doubt, end up kiting them for a while.
They are always accompanied by a Depraved Houndmaster. When this mob gets below 50%, they will use Shoot once, then cast Loyal Beasts; this can be stopped by Asphyxiate, Death Grip, or Gorefiend's Grasp. Failure to do so means a stacking 150% attack speed and damage buff on the Gargons, changing them from dangerous to absolutely lethal. It is soothable, but chances are that you will be dead before the soothe comes out.
You can reset all Houndmasters by yourself, even the pack of two after Echelon; if they cast at the same time, mass grip on a Gargon. If they cast separately, Death Grip first, then Asphyxiate the second. They never recast this.
Mandatory Interrupt Mobs
There are a lot of kicks that need to happen for this dungeon to go smoothly. Rather than listing every mob, we will list them by priority:
- Collect Sins from Depraved Collectors. Spawns 5 adds if let through, can be stunned
- Turn to Stone from Stoneborn Reavers. AoE stun + DR on enemies if let through
- Curse of Obliteration from Depraved Obliterators, if you do not have a decurse
- Siphon Life from Depraved Collectors. Not kickable, should be stunned instead.
- Wicked Bolt from Depraved Obliterators
Halkias as a tank is all about positioning. You are ultimately responsible for the state of the area around the boss when Refracted Sinlight is cast (the rotating cross around the boss). As such, you should be watching his energy bar and moving him somewhere "clean" when he is about to spin.
He will always use Crumbling Slam on you immediately after the spin. This can be outranged by running away from him, but make sure you were not standing on melee DPS (or anybody foolish enough to be in melee!) at the end of Sinlight. If in doubt, step over the glass shards, they do Mythic0 damage.
Same thing as Halkias: you are responsible for tanking the boss in an area that won't get people killed, and to make sure the adds are on the boss or at least clustered together when they die. Gorefiend's Grasp is amazing for this.
High Adjudicator Aleez (Boss)
Not much to do here as a tank — assign kicks for Volley of Power, and make sure to tank the boss on the edge of the arena. The reason for this is because the ghosts spawn in the middle of the arena; as a result, by moving her to the edge, you save yourself and every melee one full-blast tick of their pulsing AoE!
Lord Chamberlain (Boss)
During the intermissions, you can stand in the boss's hitbox to block two beams instead of two.
Other than that, this is it! Survive, kill stuff, loot your loot.
The Sanguine Depths is a dungeon that prioritizes a solid, effective route and deep knowledge of what the trash does, as there are a number of pulls that have the potential to make a quick turn for the worst if the mechanics are not respected.
Fear not, however; we have spent some time detailing tips and tricks for every part of it. We will share routes further into the expansion, so check in when you can!
Regal Mistdancer (Trash)
You will encounter two Regal Mistdancers along your trip through the Sanguine Depths: one at the start of the dungeon, and one before the gauntlet leading to Kaal.
These mobs have the biggest play-making potential for tanks; their main ability, Echoing Thrust, is a frontal cone aimed at your position, that you can step out of. It comes with a twist, however — each time it casts, the position and direction it was in is "recorded". Each subsequent Echoing Thrust causes an echo at every recorded location.
If the rest of the pull allows, you should aim to point this mob at the wall, and stack the echoes as much as possible so that nobody else has to care about them. It takes a bit of practice, but is extremely worth it.
If you have to move these mobs, make sure to do so immediately after this has been cast, so you have ~7 seconds of time to relocate.
Chamber Sentinel (Trash)
Chamber Sentinels are present around the dungeon, mostly in stone form, and may activate when you walk past them. Due to this, it is worth "checking" before initiating a big pull near one.
Their tank cleave, Severing Slice, can technically be outranged, but as a Blood Death Knight, this is pretty difficult. It hurts, so make sure to cycle cooldowns.
These mobs have a peculiar trait, in that they are not linked to any other mobs and do not social aggro. As a result, if it is near other mobs, you can safely taunt the other mobs and it should not come.
Grand Overseer (Trash)
Grand Overseers are a priority kill target as they apply a stacking healing and damage reduction on anybody nearby. ~25s into the pull, they will cast Dread Bindings, chaining all party members to him, reducing movement speed and inflicting a heavy DoT until the chain is broken.
Use Anti-Magic Shell to immune the chain application, and also reset debuff stacks in the process!
The Kaal Gauntlet (Trash)
...And, by extension, the 3-pack Overseer-Mistdancer-Sentinel just before it.
First off, it is worth knowing that the Z'rali extra action button is usable anywhere you have the button for, including the pesky 3-pull before the gauntlet. It works as a 60% damage reduction zone, making it particularly desirable as that pull is really dangerous.
Should you wish to split it in two, taunt the overseer from range. As mentioned before, the Sentinel does not social aggro, and as a result, you will only have to deal with the Mistdancer and Overseer.
The gauntlet is a test of resolve, not a test of speed. Make sure you advance steadily and consistently, without going too fast, as some of the packs are very dangerous and require defensive, DPS or healing cooldowns.
In general, every spell in the gauntlet needs to be interrupted; they do far too much damage to be let through all the time.
Whenever Kaal casts Gloom Squall, use the Z'rali extra action button to provide a safe zone for your party. Do not leave this until the last moment — gloom squall starts happening, drop down the zone.
Kryxis the Voracious (Boss)
Most of this fight is on your group's ability to perform the mechanics and deal with Severing Smash. Make sure to immediately soak the orb you spawn when it happens.
On very high tyrannical keys, it may make sense to not soak the orbs at all. As a result, you will be asked to kite the boss up and down the corridor so he never consumes any.
Last but not least, Vicious Headbutt can be parried.
Executor Tarvold (Boss)
Make sure your group always has space to both dodge the orbs that rotate around the encounter area, and deal damage to the boss. The add that he spawns is a priority kill as it deals ridiculous AoE damage to your party (more than enough of a call for Anti-Magic Zone). It drops a large voidzone when it dies, so be ready to relocate the boss further down the corridor.
This is widely regarded as one of the harder bosses in Mythic+ on tyrannical, and as a result, you should aim to have a route that allows you to have the Prideful buff for this encounter.
Grand Proctor Beryllia (Boss)
Beryllia has one trick up her sleeve that is of particular interest to you as a tank (and a blood Death Knight): she will frequently cast Iron Spikes, a multi-hit combo. It hits very hard over a period of 2 seconds; as a result, you should aim to use a charge of Rune Tap immediately prior to it, to have two Death Strike uses banked (one for in between, one for after to cover the melee that inevitably comes after it), and to cycle cooldowns. This is the biggest threat to you as a tank in this encounter.
Finally, Endless Torment voidzones can kill a tank. Dodge them the same as everybody else in your party.
General Kaal (Boss)
First off, she hits hard.
Your goal here is to position the boss to optimize your group's uptime on her. This is typically done by just avoiding Piercing Blur killzones.
Whenever she casts Gloom Squall, get sort of close to melee range of her and use your extra action button. Other party members will need to get into it before Gloom Squall casts; as a result, you need to be quick on this. If you cannot get to the boss in time, just drop it anywhere; sacrificing melee uptime is better than sacrificing party members!
- 01 Nov. 2021: Added Covenant swap info, refined tips, and provided Infernal affix info.
- 12 Jul. 2021: Updated for Shadowlands Mythic+ Season 2.
- 29 Jun. 2021: Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.1.
- 09 Mar. 2021: Added a small mention for Fleshcraft.
- 06 Dec. 2020: Preparing an initial version containing all class changes for Season 1. Dungeon-specific tips will be expanded in the first week.
- 12 Oct. 2020: Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
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