Blood Death Knight Tank Rotation, Cooldowns, and Abilities — Dragonflight 10.2.7

Last updated on May 07, 2024 at 11:20 by Mandl and Panthea 36 comments
General Information

On this page, you will learn how to optimize the rotation of your Blood Death Knight, depending on the type of damage you will be tanking. We also have advanced sections about cooldowns, procs, etc. in order to maximize your survivability and DPS. All our content is updated for World of Warcraft — Dragonflight 10.2.7.

1.

Rotation for Blood Death Knights

Generally speaking, your goal during each fight is to use your resources (Runes and Runic Power) to generate threat and to stay alive. Blood Death Knight is very much a builder-spender spec, with a limited number of procs and interactions and a number of ways in which you can get punished for losing your cool and deciding to use the wrong ability.

1.1.

Easy Mode

If the rotations below seem overwhelming to you, you might benefit from visiting our Easy Mode page, which outlines a close-to-optimal rotation in simpler terms.

2.

Blood Death Knight Rotation

ERW+Limb ERW+SR SR+Limb
Talent Selections
Empower Rune Weapon Icon Empower Rune Weapon Abomination Limb Icon Abomination Limb Soul Reaper Icon Soul Reaper
Fyr'alath the Dreamrender Icon Fyr'alath the Dreamrender equipped Casting Fyr'alath the Dreamrender Icon Fyr'alath the Dreamrender as the first GCD is safe
Opener During DRW Outside DRW
2.

Opener for Blood Death Knight

The following opener assumes that all cooldowns are available and that you are able to cast two things from range before the pull actually starts:
  1. Before pull: Pre-place Death and Decay Icon Death and Decay where you will be fighting.
  2. Before pull: Pull from range with Death's Caress Icon Death's Caress
  3. Cast Blood Boil Icon Blood Boil
  4. Cast Tombstone Icon Tombstone
  5. Use Heart Strike Icon Heart Strike
  6. Use Death Strike Icon Death Strike
  7. Use Heart Strike Icon Heart Strike
  8. Cast Blood Boil Icon Blood Boil
  9. Use Death Strike Icon Death Strike
3.

Priority List while Dancing Rune Weapon is Up

  1. Cast Death and Decay Icon Death and Decay as long as you are not currently in your own Death and Decay Icon Death and Decay
  2. Maintain yourself at 1+ Bone Shield Icon Bone Shield charges. If you planned for Dancing Rune Weapon Icon Dancing Rune Weapon properly, this should already happen by itself. If not, or if you made a mistake, use Marrowrend Icon Marrowrend to instantly get back to 10 stacks.
  3. Cast Blood Boil Icon Blood Boil to keep charges rolling
  4. Use Tombstone Icon Tombstone if the following conditions are true:
    • You will gain more than 20 seconds of effective cooldown reduction on Dancing Rune Weapon Icon Dancing Rune Weapon by casting it
    • You will consume 5 Bone Shield Icon Bone Shield charges
    • You are currently standing in your Death and Decay Icon Death and Decay.
  5. Spend Runic Power on Death Strike Icon Death Strike. Use it when you are above 70 Runic Power (i.e. 2 Death Strike Icon Death Strike banked), or to keep Coagulopathy Icon Coagulopathy stacks from falling off.
  6. Use Heart Strike Icon Heart Strike as your filler to consume Runes. You should have three recharging at all times.
4.

Priority List Outside of Dancing Rune Weapon

  1. Use Marrowrend Icon Marrowrend if your Bone Shield Icon Bone Shield is close to expiring (3 seconds or less), or if you will not be in range of a target before your Bone Shield Icon Bone Shield will expire.
  2. Cast Death and Decay Icon Death and Decay as long as you are not currently in your own Death and Decay Icon Death and Decay
  3. Use Dancing Rune Weapon Icon Dancing Rune Weapon on cooldown.
  4. Use Tombstone Icon Tombstone if the following conditions are true:
    • You will gain more than 20 seconds of effective cooldown reduction on Dancing Rune Weapon Icon Dancing Rune Weapon by casting it
    • You will consume 5 Bone Shield Icon Bone Shield charges
    • You are currently standing in your Death and Decay Icon Death and Decay.
  5. Spend Runic Power on Death Strike Icon Death Strike. Use it when you are above 75 Runic Power (i.e. 2 Death Strike Icon Death Strike banked), or to keep Icy Talons Icon Icy Talons stacks from falling off.
  6. Cast Blood Boil Icon Blood Boil to keep its charges from capping
  7. Use Heart Strike Icon Heart Strike as your filler to consume Runes. You should have three recharging at all times.
4.1.

Insatiable Blade, Shattering Bone and Their Impact on Your Rotation

4.1.1.

Tombstone

As you may have seen from the rotation flowchart above, Tombstone Icon Tombstone's impact on the effective cooldown of Dancing Rune Weapon Icon Dancing Rune Weapon will persist for the entirety of Dragonflight. A new factor in this is Shattering Bone Icon Shattering Bone, which grants a significant amount of damage when a charge of Bone Shield Icon Bone Shield is consumed, and this includes the 5 charges consumed by Tombstone Icon Tombstone.

Furthermore, this damage from Shattering Bone Icon Shattering Bone is tripled while you stand in your own Death and Decay Icon Death and Decay. A lot of other talents modify Death and Decay Icon Death and Decay positively (Unholy Ground Icon Unholy Ground and Sanguine Ground Icon Sanguine Ground grant you 5% haste, damage, and healing received), making it an additional part of the rotation to manage.

Using Tombstone Icon Tombstone is very straightforward. You use it on cooldown if the following are true:

  1. Dancing Rune Weapon Icon Dancing Rune Weapon is still on cooldown.
  2. You have strictly more than 6 Bone Shield Icon Bone Shield charges (it is a bigger loss to be on 0 Bone Shield Icon Bone Shield charges for two GCDs, than it is to waste 2-3 bones through a Marrowrend Icon Marrowrend)
  3. You are currently in your own Death and Decay Icon Death and Decay
4.2.

Mythic+

The content on this page is meant for raiding content. While the basic rotation remains the same in Mythic+, some details such as cooldown usage, ability priorities, and additional techniques, such as effective kiting complicate matters a bit further.

We have highlighted such additional details on the dedicated Mythic+ page to keep this page as clear and concise as possible. You can find it here:

5.

Taunting

Dark Command Icon Dark Command is your main taunting ability. It works on a single-target and has an 8-second cooldown.

Death Grip Icon Death Grip grabs your target and moves it to your location. It also has the effect of taunting the target and interrupting spellcasting. The movement effect does not work against most raid bosses.

6.

Survival Cooldowns for Blood Death Knights

Below, we present the cooldowns at your disposal and quickly go over how they should be used. More information about each cooldown can be found in subsequent sections.

  • Anti-Magic Shell Icon Anti-Magic Shell absorbs up to 30% of your maximum health in magic damage over 5 seconds and should be used to mitigate magic damage and generate Runic Power.
  • Dancing Rune Weapon Icon Dancing Rune Weapon increases your chance to parry attacks by 40%. It also significantly increases your damage and resource generation and should be used in situations where you can benefit from both the offensive and defensive components of the ability.
  • Vampiric Blood Icon Vampiric Blood increases your maximum health and the amount of healing you receive by 30% for 10 seconds. It should be used either proactively in anticipation for high amounts of damage or reactively when low on health and in danger of dying.
  • Icebound Fortitude Icon Icebound Fortitude reduces all damage taken by 30% for 8 seconds. It should mostly be used proactively when you anticipate taking high damage, such as from specific boss abilities.
7.

Optional Read: Mastering Your Blood Death Knight

While the information we gave in the previous sections will yield very good results, there are many things you should be aware of to play your Blood Death Knight to its full potential. In particular, we explain in great detail how to properly use your various survival cooldowns.

7.1.

Runes and Runic Power

Death Knights use a dual resource system of runes and Runic Power. While it is quite straightforward in how it works, we will explain it here for the sake of completion.

7.1.1.

Runes

You have a total of 6 Runes, which are available by default. Some of your abilities have Rune costs, and whenever you use an ability that consumes one or more Runes, those Runes will immediately begin recharging. The exact amount of time it takes a Rune to recharge depends on how much Haste you have.

Whenever a Rune is consumed, you gain 10 Runic Power (more on that below).

At most, 3 of your runes can be charging up at the same time. It is therefore optimal to keep at least 3 runes on cooldown to maximise the recharge rate over the course of the fight.

7.1.2.

Runic Power

Runic Power is a resource that resembles Rage, in the sense that it decays when out of combat, but does not decay during combat. As mentioned above, consuming Runes generates 10 Runic Power per Rune spent, and this is the primary means of generating Runic Power, although some abilities also help with this. You can have a maximum of 125 Runic Power, increased to 145 if using the Rune of Hysteria Icon Rune of Hysteria Runeforge.

7.2.

Detailed Cooldown Usage

7.2.1.

Anti-Magic Shell

Anti-Magic Shell Icon Anti-Magic Shell's most powerful effect is its ability to prevent the application of debuffs. If a magical ability would apply a debuff, and any damage the ability causes is fully absorbed by Anti-Magic Shell Icon Anti-Magic Shell, the debuff is not applied.

Timing the use of Anti-Magic Shell Icon Anti-Magic Shell is critical, particularly when you are taking magical damage from sources other than the ability you intend to protect against. Heavy magic damage can easily eat through the shield before the intended attack, leaving you vulnerable to the debuff.

Effects that increase you maximum health, to include Vampiric Blood Icon Vampiric Blood, will increase the value of your Anti-Magic Shell even after those abilities fade. Planning around this can make the difference in Anti-Magic Shell being able to completely absorb an attack and, therefore, immune a debuff.

Anti-Magic Barrier Icon Anti-Magic Barrier can allow for more effective use of Anti-Magic Shell Icon Anti-Magic Shell in nearly every way, with a reduced cooldown, increased size, and increased duration.

7.2.2.

Dancing Rune Weapon

Dancing Rune Weapon Icon Dancing Rune Weapon grants you 40% chance to parry for 8 seconds. Moreover, for the duration, there are several other benefits that you gain:

  • Uses of Heart Strike Icon Heart Strike will cause your rune weapon to strike and grant 5 additional Runic Power.
  • Uses of Marrowrend Icon Marrowrend will cause your rune weapon to stack Bone Shield Icon Bone Shield exactly like using your own Marrowrend, making Marrowrend during Dancing Rune Weapon yield 6 of Bone Shield. Avoid using Marrowrend Icon Marrowrend during Dancing Rune Weapon Icon Dancing Rune Weapon until you drop to 4 stacks of Bone Shield Icon Bone Shield.
  • Using Blood Boil Icon Blood Boil will leave an additional Blood Plague Icon Blood Plague debuff on your target. Your rune weapon's Blood Plague debuff is not attributed directly to you and does not heal you.

Your rune weapon's attacks deal approximately 33% of the damage you deal, making Dancing Rune Weapon Icon Dancing Rune Weapon a potent DPS cooldown. On encounters with burn phases where the boss takes additional damage, you should make sure you have Dancing Rune Weapon Icon Dancing Rune Weapon to line up with those phases, along with a potion of some sort. Do not, however, sit on this cooldown for too long.

Avoid holding Dancing Rune Weapon Icon Dancing Rune Weapon on cooldown for longer than 15 seconds in a misguided attempt to benefit from its parry value defensively. Dancing Rune Weapon Icon Dancing Rune Weapon is primarily a resource and throughput cooldown, as it amplifies your Runic Power generation during it (by granting you bonus Bone Shield Icon Bone Shield charges and roughly doubling the RP generated from Heart Strike Icon Heart Strike). The parry part is the cherry on top, not the main actor of the show.

7.2.3.

Vampiric Blood

Vampiric Blood Icon Vampiric Blood is your most versatile cooldown. It grants you 30% extra health for 10 seconds and increases your healing received (from all sources, including self-heals) by 30%. It can be used reactively; however, you will gain more benefit from using this proactively, and you should have a specific plan for what abilities you will mitigate with it.

It is worth noting that this increased healing can be used to game certain abilities or mechanics. For instance, certain effects will be 30% larger even after Vampiric Blood fades - such as Anti-Magic Shell Icon Anti-Magic Shell and Tombstone Icon Tombstone's shield.

7.2.4.

Icebound Fortitude

Icebound Fortitude Icon Icebound Fortitude is a straightforward damage-reduction cooldown that lasts for 8 seconds, reducing all damage taken by 30%. Generally, you should use this when you are about to take high damage from pre-determined boss abilities, or when you are otherwise vulnerable (because the healers cannot reach you or because your other cooldowns are unavailable).

Icebound Fortitude Icon Icebound Fortitude also clears stuns and makes you immune to stun effects for the duration of the buff. In encounters where stun effects are applied to the tank, you should consider whether you can incorporate Icebound Fortitude into your cooldown plan in a way that both mitigates threatening damage while leveraging the stun immunity.

Blood Death Knights deal very poorly with abilities that take into account raw damage amounts before absorbs and self-heals (given their low number of damage reduction abilities). Abilities that mirror damage dealt to you onto other players or otherwise determine their effect based on how much damage you take can be particularly difficult for Blood Death Knights to manage; Icebound Fortitude Icon Icebound Fortitude should be saved for those abilities in those situations.

7.2.5.

Lichborne

Lichborne Icon Lichborne is another tool in our arsenal of situational defensives, granting 15% leech and total immunity to Charm, Fear, and Sleep effects for 10 seconds. An additional benefit of it is the ability to use Death Coil Icon Death Coil on yourself to give yourself a poor man's AP-based heal, should nothing else be in range and should you be in immediate, lethal danger.

A talent in Dragonflight, Unholy Endurance Icon Unholy Endurance, adds a bonus 15% damage reduction effect to Lichborne Icon Lichborne.

7.3.

Death Strike and Blood Shield

Death Strike Icon Death Strike is your most important self-healing ability. It is also part of your regular ability rotation during combat. To make the most out of Death Strike and of your Mastery (Mastery: Blood Shield Icon Mastery: Blood Shield), you cannot simply use Death Strike whenever it is available.

The most immediately apparent effect of Death Strike is that it heals you, so it is always well used after you have taken damage to heal yourself back up a bit and help the healers. Be smart about when you are using Death Strike. As it depends on your damage taken in the previous 5 seconds, it should be used after taking high damage. Of course, capping your Runic Power while not using Death Strike should also be avoided.

Note that Mastery: Blood Shield Icon Mastery: Blood Shield only absorbs physical damage; do not rely on it to mitigate a large magical attack.

7.4.

Bone Shield

Your Marrowrend Icon Marrowrend ability applies 3 stacks of Bone Shield Icon Bone Shield, and your Death's Caress Icon Death's Caress ability applies 2 stacks of Bone Shield Icon Bone Shield each time you use it, up to a maximum of 10 stacks. As long as you have at least 1 Bone Shield stack active, your Armor is increased by 40% of your Strength and with the Improved Bone Shield Icon Improved Bone Shield talent, your Haste is also increased by 10%. Each successful melee attack made against you consumes a Bone Shield charge. Bone Shield has a duration of 30 seconds, after which the stacks simply drop off you. This is unlikely to occur while actively tanking in a normal boss encounter, but you should take care to watch the duration of your Bone Shield Icon Bone Shield buff on encounters with no melee attacks or with long periods of downtime.

There is an internal cooldown of 2.5 seconds for Bone Shield charges being consumed.

Keeping Bone Shield up is pivotal to playing Blood properly. The Haste increase is essential for Rune regeneration, and the damage reduction is essential for survivability. Moreover, if you have the Ossuary Icon Ossuary talent, then with 5 or more stacks of Bone Shield, the cost of Death Strike Icon Death Strike is reduced by 5 Runic Power, which allows you to use it more frequently.

Effectively, you will always want to prioritize maintaining high amounts of Bone Shield Icon Bone Shield stacks; you should use Marrowrend Icon Marrowrend when you have 7 or fewer stacks of Bone Shield (unless you need the additional Runic Power from using Heart Strike Icon Heart Strike). Even then, you should immediately try to re-stack Bone Shield.

8.

Changelog

  • 07 May 2024: Reviewed for 10.2.7.
  • 22 Apr. 2024: Reviewed for Patch 10.2.6.
  • 19 Mar. 2024: Reviewed for Patch 10.2.6.
  • 15 Jan. 2024: Updated for Patch 10.2.5.
  • 03 Jan. 2023: Overhauled, moved to checkboxes for everything and added how to use fyralath correctly.
  • 06 Nov. 2023: Updated for Patch 10.2
  • 04 Sep. 2023: Reviewed for Patch 10.1.7
  • 10 Jul. 2023: Reviewed for Patch 10.1.5.
  • 01 May 2023: Reviewed for Patch 10.1.
  • 20 Mar. 2023: Reviewed for Patch 10.0.7.
  • 24 Jan. 2023: Reviewed for Patch 10.0.5.
  • 03 Jan. 2023: Clearing up Marrowrend vs. Caress.
  • 11 Dec. 2022: Updated for Dragonflight Season 1 launch. Added a very small rotational change due to the Tier set.
  • 28 Nov. 2022: Updated for Dragonflight launch.
  • 25 Oct. 2022: Updated for Dragonflight pre-patch.
Show more
Show less