Blood Death Knight Guide for The War Within

Last updated on Jun 15, 2024 at 21:10 by Mandl 36 comments

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on the Blood Death Knight changes in World of Warcraft's latest expansion, "The War Within." This page is designed to help you navigate the new changes, optimize your gameplay, and get the most out of your Blood Death Knight in PvE environments.

In this guide, you'll find detailed breakdowns of the new Hero Talent Trees for Blood Death Knight. We'll explore the most significant updates, and offer insights into how these changes will impact your overall playstyle. Whether you're a veteran Blood Death Knight or new to the class, our goal is to equip you with the knowledge and tools needed to excel in "The War Within."

1.

Blood Death Knight: The War Within Expansion Preview

Welcome to our War Within expansion guide for Blood Death Knight. Ahead of launch, this page will contain everything you need to know about the Blood Death Knight spec in the forthcoming The War Within expansion, including changes, Hero Talent Trees, and some light predictions on the state of the spec going into the expansion.

This page is a constantly evolving work in progress, with regular changes expected as updates hit the War Within beta. This is not meant to be a launch guide for Blood Death Knight, but instead serves as a resource for you to keep up to date with how the spec is evolving on Beta, and what you can expect from its playstyle and feel on launch.

2.

The War Within Changes for Blood Death Knight

2.1.

Core Changes

We have received small but impactful changes to both our class and spec tree. While the changes were not exactly groundbreaking in scope, and did not fundamentally change the playstyle you are used to, a number of new choices are now possible, and a lot of the filler/costly talents have either been reduced down to all be 1-pointers (with varying constraints on them - some were merged down, others were just kept at their 1-point value).

This, overall, is a good thing. It allows the talent trees to breathe a bit more and stymies the feeling that you are just putting filler points everywhere as you level, or at least it attempts to.

2.2.

Systems Changes

The addition of Hero Talents proves to be an extremely polarizing feature for Blood Death Knights. On one end, you can opt for the sleek, very well-designed but mostly just-damage (at least on the surface - more on that later) option in Deathbringer, or pick its literal antithesis, a literal spamfest variant of the rotation where rotational inefficiencies lead to success as San'layn. Both sides deal with the rotation, its resources and core systems wildly differently, and exacerbate some elements of it in their stead.

3.

Hero Talent Trees for Blood Death Knight in The War Within

3.1.

San'layn Hero Talents for Blood Death Knight

San'layn's identity is difficult to capture, as the entire concept appears to hit Vampiric Blood Icon Vampiric Blood as often as possible, to stay in it for as long as possible. This is down to two mechanics:

  1. The intro talent, Vampiric Strike Icon Vampiric Strike, is a buffed replacement of Heart Strike Icon Heart Strike and is mostly only available during Vampiric Blood Icon Vampiric Blood. You may occasionally see it be castable outside of it after pressing Death Strike Icon Death Strike, but the chance for this to happen is absurdly low.
  2. Vampiric Strike Icon Vampiric Strike grants you a stack of Essence of the Blood Queen Icon Essence of the Blood Queen when cast. These last for 20 seconds, refresh on re-application, and grant you 1.5% haste per stack up to 10.5% outside of Vampiric Blood Icon Vampiric Blood. This haste is doubled during Vampiric Blood Icon Vampiric Blood.

A number of talents and interactions exist around Vampiric Strike Icon Vampiric Strike to strongly incentivize the player to spam that button:

  • Vampiric Strike Icon Vampiric Strike has a 42% chance to refund the rune you used to cast it during Vampiric Blood Icon Vampiric Blood
  • Infliction of Sorrow Icon Infliction of Sorrow causes an absurd amount of bonus damage based on your Blood Plague Icon Blood Plague's remaining duration and tick speed on target every time you hit Vampiric Strike Icon Vampiric Strike
  • Hitting Vampiric Strike Icon Vampiric Strike has a chance to summon a Blood Beast to deal even more bonus damage over its lifetime. With the right talents, it also collects all your shadow damage to deal even more damage completely passively to everything nearby.

The gameplay loop is extremely poor, and the payoff for playing this is, unfortunately, extremely high: the haste this provides is significant, the bonus damage it provides is absurd, and being able to self-heal for 5% of max HP per GCD in Vampiric Blood Icon Vampiric Blood before accounting for Vampiric Blood Icon Vampiric Blood's healing amplification is over-the-top levels of sustain for generic use.

The only silver lining is that, unlike its rival tree, this brings very little party utility. Its only notable mention is Vampiric Aura Icon Vampiric Aura, providing the group with 6% leech when Lichborne Icon Lichborne is active, which is, quite frankly, a pittance.

3.1.1.

How to Play as San'layn

The San'layn rotational differences occur in three different places: before Vampiric Blood Icon Vampiric Blood, during Vampiric Blood Icon Vampiric Blood and immediately after Vampiric Blood Icon Vampiric Blood. Suffices to say, to gain value out of this tree, you will absolutely want to talent into Red Thirst Icon Red Thirst. Improved Vampiric Blood Icon Improved Vampiric Blood is also, unfortunately, a significant throughput gain.

3.1.2.

Preparing for Vampiric Blood

Due to how all of your Vampiric Strike Icon Vampiric Strike casts in Vampiric Blood Icon Vampiric Blood will trigger Infliction of Sorrow Icon Infliction of Sorrow, and you absolutely want to avoid casting anything else unless absolutely required during that window, your last five global cooldowns before Vampiric Blood Icon Vampiric Blood will look like this:

  1. Refresh bone shield if you have to (you absolutely do not want to do this during Vampiric Blood Icon Vampiric Blood)
  2. Death Strike Icon Death Strike (for Coagulopathy Icon Coagulopathy).
  3. Blood Boil Icon Blood Boil (to refresh Blood Plague Icon Blood Plague to nearly maximum duration). Ideally, this gets you down to zero Blood Boil Icon Blood Boil charges.
  4. Death and Decay Icon Death and Decay (to get you 14 seconds of its buff - more haste, more damage and healing, and more Shattering Bone Icon Shattering Bone damage for the entire duration of Vampiric Blood Icon Vampiric Blood)
  5. Vampiric Blood Icon Vampiric Blood and Vampiric Strike Icon Vampiric Strike (you cannot currently macro these together, but can castsequence the two and rapidly double tap it)
3.1.3.

During Vampiric Blood

Before we go into the actual meat of this, one reminder: I will talk about absurd amounts of damage here, but this is not the main purpose. If you've set up your window correctly, you will have Voracious Icon Voracious - i.e. 12% leech - running for all of it. In addition to this, Vampiric Strike Icon Vampiric Strike alone heals for 5% of your max HP before Vampiric Blood Icon Vampiric Blood's effect, and you will also get a significant amount of additional healing from other sources during what is, arguably, your strongest defensive cooldown.

Your priority in Vampiric Blood Icon Vampiric Blood, assuming you followed the above set-up, is very simple:

  1. Press Death Strike Icon Death Strike if you will die otherwise (this should be exceedingly rare)
  2. Press Death Strike Icon Death Strike to keep Coagulopathy Icon Coagulopathy up
  3. Press Consumption Icon Consumption if Vampiric Blood Icon Vampiric Blood has less than 6 seconds left on it
  4. Press Vampiric Strike Icon Vampiric Strike

Consumption Icon Consumption and Death Strike Icon Death Strike are the only non-Vampiric Strike Icon Vampiric Strike casts you will perform during Vampiric Strike Icon Vampiric Strike. The reasons for this are the following:

  • Maintaining Coagulopathy Icon Coagulopathy actively buffs Infliction of Sorrow Icon Infliction of Sorrow, and with it the damage stored in blood beasts, by 150%. It also provides a significant amount of bonus trickle healing from Blood Plague Icon Blood Plague
  • Consumption Icon Consumption makes Blood Plague Icon Blood Plague tick 50% faster for 8 seconds. This directly buffs Infliction of Sorrow Icon Infliction of Sorrow; however, we're opting to cast it late into Vampiric Blood Icon Vampiric Blood as the first Heart Strike Icon Heart Strike out of Vampiric Blood Icon Vampiric Blood fully consumes Blood Plague Icon Blood Plague's remaining duration (which will be extremely high thanks to Infliction of Sorrow Icon Infliction of Sorrow's in-Vampiric Blood Icon Vampiric Blood's duration extension) in order to deal absurd amounts of damage coming out of Vampiric Blood Icon Vampiric Blood. We have deliberately left a two GCD window for AoE reasons.
3.1.4.

Coming out of Vampiric Blood

Coming out of Vampiric Blood Icon Vampiric Blood is very simple, and is once again just about setting things up. If you have followed the above, you will be at near-cap on Runic Power, have two charges of Blood Boil Icon Blood Boil and Coagulopathy Icon Coagulopathy is ~3 seconds from expiring. This means you can do the following:

  1. Cast Death Strike Icon Death Strike if you have less than 2 GCDs left on Coagulopathy Icon Coagulopathy
  2. Cast Death and Decay Icon Death and Decay
  3. Cast Death Strike Icon Death Strike if you have less than 3 seconds left on Coagulopathy Icon Coagulopathy
  4. Cast Heart Strike Icon Heart Strike to consume your Blood Plague Icon Blood Plague on up to five nearby targets, dealing ~1000% AP damage to all of them in the process thanks to the buff from Consumption Icon Consumption we talked about earlier.
  5. Cast Blood Boil Icon Blood Boil to re-apply Blood Plague Icon Blood Plague

Your goal is now to perform your rotation as efficiently as possible with the goal of never dropping Coagulopathy Icon Coagulopathy and to actively spend all the Runic Power you've generated on Death Strike Icon Death Strike in order to get back into Vampiric Blood Icon Vampiric Blood sooner - dropping Essence of the Blood Queen Icon Essence of the Blood Queen stacks due to rotational impropriety between Vampiric Blood Icon Vampiric Blood windows is by far the biggest loss on this spec's Hero Talent variant.

3.2.

Deathbringer Hero Talents for Blood Death Knight

Moving on from what feels like a drug-addled variant of Blood, we have the finesse, the rewarding playstyle, and the search for balance: Deathbringer.

The prime gameplay hook in this Hero Talent is Reaper's Mark Icon Reaper's Mark, and depending on the choice nodes you pick on the tree, it will either be available every minute, or every 30 seconds. It afflicts a single enemy (and is not copied by Dancing Rune Weapon Icon Dancing Rune Weapon) with a 10-second, stacking debuff. While it is active, any action taken that deals Shadow damage grants it an extra stack, while Shadowfrost damage grants it between two and four stacks.

This sounds unwieldy and very hard to reach its maximum stack count of 40. Don't panic! The rest of the tree is there to help you, along with your base kit:

  • Blood Plague Icon Blood Plague has a 45% chance to tick for 30% bonus Shadowfrost damage
  • Blood Plague Icon Blood Plague ticks 100% faster
  • Blood Boil Icon Blood Boil's damage type is changed to Shadowfrost (and its animation is now very noticeably blue)

When it expires (or detonates prematurely as the target it is on reaches 35%), it directly buffs one or two Marrowrend Icon Marrowrend casts within 30 seconds, causing them to cost either 1 rune or 0 runes (depending on whether you play Swift End Icon Swift End or Painful Death Icon Painful Death). These Marrowrend Icon Marrowrend casts trigger Exterminate Icon Exterminate, which has a small but noticeable chance to re-apply Reaper's Mark Icon Reaper's Mark.

Reaper's Mark Icon Reaper's Mark deals a very high amount of damage at three points in its lifetime:

  1. On application, directly by itself, and to all targets nearby through Wave of Souls Icon Wave of Souls
  2. On expiration, directly by itself, and to all targets nearby through Soul Rupture Icon Soul Rupture. This is also a no-questions-asked 5% physical damage taken reduction from all targets hit for 10 seconds after Reaper's Mark Icon Reaper's Mark expires.
  3. When casting an empowered Marrowrend Icon Marrowrend, thanks to Exterminate Icon Exterminate

That's it! The tree simply rewards you for playing every element of your kit properly, does not get in the way, and rewards you with a lot of damage and a bunch of utility we did not mention yet:

  1. 30 second cooldown reduction on Lichborne Icon Lichborne
  2. Near-permanent uptime on 10% physical and 10% magical damage reduction from Rune Carved Plates Icon Rune Carved Plates.
  3. The 5% phys damage reduction we talked about earlier from Soul Rupture Icon Soul Rupture
  4. 100% more Blood Plague Icon Blood Plague damage amounts to a lot of bonus trickle healing, particularly with Coagulopathy Icon Coagulopathy and Consumption Icon Consumption in the mix. The developer in charge of this hero talent tree also made the very nice choice of making it tick faster instead of harder, allowing it to be even more noticeable!
  5. The runes saved on empowered Marrowrend Icon Marrowrend are direct fuel for Heart Strike Icon Heart Strike!

There are a number of comical bugs present on this version of Deathbringer, and while all of them have a positive edge, they can lead to unfortunate surprises for newcomers. As such, we'll list them here:

  1. Grim Reaper Icon Grim Reaper's Soul Reaper Icon Soul Reaper application is an actual Soul Reaper Icon Soul Reaper cast, and inherits all aspects of it. The hilarious, and likely unintended side-effect of this is that, if you have Dancing Rune Weapon Icon Dancing Rune Weapon up, it will be copied by it. With proper timing, you can have up to 9 separate Soul Reaper Icon Soul Reaper debuffs ticking on a target at once
  2. Reaper's Mark Icon Reaper's Mark cannot be applied more than once to a target. If you are playing Painful Death Icon Painful Death, you need to be aware of this as each empowered Marrowrend Icon Marrowrend has a 30% chance to re-apply Reaper's Mark Icon Reaper's Mark. If at all possible, you should hit different targets with the two Marrowrend Icon Marrowrend casts in order to not whiff a potential Reaper's Mark Icon Reaper's Mark.
4.

Blood Death Knight Tier Set in The War Within

Below are the Tier Set Bonuses for Blood Death Knight in The War Within. Where necessary, we added a small amount of additional detail in italic in order to convey the additional limits of the tier set.

  • Death Knight Blood 11.0 Class Set 2pc Icon Death Knight Blood 11.0 Class Set 2pc — While you have one or more Bone Shield Icon Bone Shield charges, the damage you take is reduced by 2%. Losing a Bone Shield Icon Bone Shield charge has a 20% chance to reduce the damage you take by an additional 1%, up to 3% for 6 seconds.
  • Death Knight Blood 11.0 Class Set 4pc Icon Death Knight Blood 11.0 Class Set 4pc — Your damage is increased by 1% per active Bone Shield Icon Bone Shield charge, up to a maximum of 10%. Taking damage while below 6 Bone Shield Icon Bone Shield charges has a chance to generate 1-2 Bone Shield Icon Bone Shield charges.

The 2-piece is boring, uninspired and its power level is entirely down to encounter design. It will be at its weakest in raid, and at its strongest (for a given definition of strong) in Mythic+, but its value will be mostly unnoticeable.

The 4-piece effect is ludicrously strong offensively, but provides nothing other than damage. It is strong enough to justify sitting at 10 Bone Shield Icon Bone Shield charges as often as possible, and makes Reinforced Bones Icon Reinforced Bones a near-mandatory talent in order to not lose resources while doing so.

5.

Blood Death Knight Strengths and Weaknesses

Strengths icon Strengths
  • +A number of talent choices have massively increased our defensive toolkit: 2minute Icebound Fortitude Icon Icebound Fortitude is baseline, Red Thirst Icon Red Thirst is equivalent to its Dragonflight 2/2 value, a number of Hero talents tap into Lichborne Icon Lichborne, and a brand new set of class talents modify Anti-Magic Shell Icon Anti-Magic Shell.
  • +The rotation, fluidity of the rotation, and expected value from the toolkit remains as valuable as before - unless you're San'layn, where both the offensive and defensive profile of the spec changes significantly!
  • +The new Cleaving Strikes Icon Cleaving Strikes changes reduces the dependence on Death's Echo Icon Death's Echo and reduces the number of casts of Death and Decay Icon Death and Decay required to keep it up.
Weaknesses icon Weaknesses
  • -Designed to take more up-front damage than other tanks and heal it back.
  • -Cooldown usage and planning can make or break you. This is even more true if playing San'layn, as Vampiric Blood Icon Vampiric Blood will not be held for mechanics.
  • -While the dependence on Death and Decay Icon Death and Decay was relaxed slightly with Cleaving Strikes Icon Cleaving Strikes, Death and Decay Icon Death and Decay uptime is still very much an issue.
6.

Changelog

  • 17 Jun. 2024: Page added.
Show more
Show less