Blood Death Knight Tank Spell Summary — Shadowlands 9.0.5
On this page, we present you with all spells and procs that you need to understand as a Blood Death Knight in World of Warcraft — Shadowlands 9.0.5.
If you are new to Blood, this is a great place to start to get an understanding of how the spec works. On this page we will discuss what abilities you have, what they are used for within the specialisation, how they interact with each other and also with important cooldowns. If you already have experience with Blood and are comfortable with it in the current expansion, it is recommended you skip this section and move on to the rest of the guide.
Main Resource of Blood Death Knights
Runes and Runic Power are your main resources. You have 6 Runes, which are used for several of your abilities. Runes regenerate passively over 10 seconds, with the regeneration time reduced by haste. You can have 3 Runes regenerating simultaneously, so you should be spending runes fast enough to always keep 3 Runes on cooldown. Each Rune spent generates 10 Runic Power, which is used primarily to power Death Strike, your main source of mitigation. Additionally, Heart Strike generates 5 bonus Runic Power.
Basic Abilities for Blood Death Knights
These are your core skills that are available regardless of talents and form the core gameplay of the specialization.
Marrowrend deals damage to the target and generates 3 charges of Bone Shield (an important survival mechanism that is explained later on). Marrowrend costs 2 Runes to cast, and this is generally a top priority to use whenever your Bone Shield is about to expire, or you are running low on stacks.
Death Strike deals damage to the target and heals you for 25% of the damage taken in the previous 5 seconds. Moreover, due to your Mastery ( Mastery: Blood Shield), a percentage of the healing is also applied to you as a physical damage absorption shield. Death Strike costs Runic Power to use, and is almost the only use of Runic Power for Blood Death Knights.
Blood Boil deals damage to all enemies within 10 yards and applies your Blood Plague DoT to them. Beyond applying your disease, it is generally used as a filler in your rotation when you do not need to spend Runes or Runic Power.
Death and Decay places a circle on the ground that damages enemies standing in it. It costs 1 Rune to use, and it is generally used simply to deal damage and generate Runic Power. Most casts of Death and Decay will be free thanks to Crimson Scourge.
Heart Strike damages the target as well as another nearby target and costs 1 Rune to cast. When standing in your Death and Decay, it will strike up to 5 targets total. It is the most efficient Runic Power generator in your toolkit due to the bonus 5 Runic Power it generates and should be your Rune spender of choice when you do not need charges of Bone Shield. It also applies a 20% snare to affected targets, though this does not have a meaningful impact on your gameplay decisions.
Death's Advance is a useful movement ability that increases your movement speed by 30% for 8 seconds, prevents you from being slowed below 100% movement speed, and makes your immune to any forced movement, knockbacks, or movement-controlling effects for the duration. Passively, it prevents you from being slowed below 70% movement speed at all times.
Rune Tap has been made baseline for the Shadowlands, and provides an up-front 20% damage reduction for 4 seconds, at the cost of 1 rune, and on a charge system. Realistically, you will be using it when you absolutely need to use it to survive, or when the rune would be wasted anyway.
Important Procs for Blood Death Knights
Crimson Scourge is a passive that causes your auto attacks against targets affected by Blood Plague to have a chance to make your next Death and Decay free of cost and reset its cooldown. You should be on the look-out for these procs and always use them, even if you are fighting a single target. If using Relish in Blood, you should absolutely prioritize spending these, as they cannot happen while Death and Decay is on the ground (and the trigger for Relish is the use of the proc, not gaining the proc).
Active Mitigation for Blood Death Knights
Bone Shield is a buff that increases your Armor by 50% of your Strength and increases your Haste by 10%. Each cast of Marrowrend applies 3 stacks of Bone Shield, and each successful melee attack against you consumes one stack. The stack consumption effect has a cooldown of 2.5 seconds, keeping you from losing all of your stacks rapidly when tanking several enemies. Due to the haste increase, there is never a time where it is a good idea to let Bone Shield fall off.
Death Strike, described above, is the most "active" mitigation ability used by Blood Death Knights, even if it is not considered by Blizzard to be active mitigation. You should time your Death Strikes so that as many as possible occur right after large damaging abilities. Even during off-tanking periods, you will use Death Strike to dump excess Runic Power; the Mastery: Blood Shield generated during this time will help smooth tank transitions, and the damage dealt by Death Strike is significant.
Defensive Cooldowns for Blood Death Knights
Blood Death Knights have 4 important defensive cooldowns.
- 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.
- Vampiric Blood increases your maximum health and the amount of healing and absorbs 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 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.
- Dancing Rune Weapon increases your Parry chance by 40% while significantly increasing your damage and resource generation. You should it on cooldown due to the resource and damage components, though it is generally worth it to wait until the next period of active tanking if it becomes available while off-tanking.
- Lichborne grants you 10% leech for it 10-second duration, and turns you undead, allowing you to Death Coil yourself to heal, and granting you total immunity to Charge, Fear and Sleep effects. Situationally great for the immunity, but nice to also use for the leech.
- Anti-Magic Zone provides a zone (of variable radius and duration thanks to conduits in Shadowlands) that provides 20% magic damage reduction to anybody standing in it. Great for those AoE boss abilities - coordinate when to use it with your team!
Active Talent Options for Blood Death Knight
Our talent tree provides a couple of valuable active abilities. We have picked the important ones and outlined them here; for all the others, and for more in-depth info, check our talent page!
- Blooddrinker is an upfront 3-second channel on a single enemy, dealing high single-target damage during the channel, and healing the Death Knight for 100% of the damage dealt. This will typically be your single-target DPS option on the first talent row, and as a result, you should familiarize yourself with its usage.
- Blood Tap provides an on-demand source of Runes, with its cooldown being reduced whenever a charge of Bone Shield is consumed. This requires active management, and macroing it into another ability is discouraged. You should ideally use it whenever you will not end up with less than 3 Runes recharging as a result of pressing it.
- Bonestorm consumes up to 100 Runic Power to grant up to 10 ticks of damage to 8 nearby targets. Each tick heals you for 3% per target hit, up to 15%.
- 09 Mar. 2021: Reviewed for Patch 9.0.5.
- 23 Nov. 2020: Updated for Shadowlands.
- 12 Oct. 2020: Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
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