Blood Death Knight Tank Spell Summary — Battle for Azeroth (BfA) 8.3

Last updated on Jan 13, 2020 at 10:00 by Mandl and Panthea 55 comments
General Information

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 — Battle for Azeroth (BfA) 8.3.



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 Legion, 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 Icon Death Strike, your main source of mitigation. Additionally, Heart Strike Icon 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 Icon Marrowrend deals damage to the target and generates 3 charges of Bone Shield Icon 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 Icon 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 Icon 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 Icon Blood Boil deals damage to all enemies within 10 yards and applies your Blood Plague Icon 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 Icon 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 Icon Crimson Scourge.

Heart Strike Icon Heart Strike damages the target as well as another nearby target and costs 1 Rune to cast. When standing in your Death and Decay Icon 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 Icon 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 Icon 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.


Important Procs for Blood Death Knights

Crimson Scourge Icon Crimson Scourge is a passive that causes your auto attacks against targets affected by Blood Plague Icon Blood Plague to have a chance to make your next Death and Decay Icon 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 one or more ranks of Bloody Runeblade Icon Bloody Runeblade, it is especially important to consume Crimson Scourge within 3 seconds of the proc, in order to maximize the value of the trait.


Active Mitigation for Blood Death Knights

Bone Shield Icon Bone Shield is a buff that increases your Armor by 50% of your Strength and increases your Haste by 10%. Each cast of Marrowrend Icon 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 Icon 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 Icon 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 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.
  • Vampiric Blood Icon 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 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.
  • Dancing Rune Weapon Icon 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.


  • 13 Jan. 2020: This page was reviewed for Patch 8.3 and no changes are necessary.
  • 25 Jun. 2019: This page has been reviewed for the release of Patch 8.2 and no changes are necessary.
  • 22 Jan. 2019: This page has been reviewed for Season 2 and no changes are necessary.
  • 10 Dec. 2018: Added consideration of Bloody Runeblade to the Crimson Scourge proc.
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