How To Improve As Blood Death Knight — Shadowlands 9.0.5
On this page, you will find out how you can improve at playing Blood Death Knight in World of Warcraft — Shadowlands 9.0.5. We list the common mistakes that you should try to avoid and the small details that can greatly improve your performance.
Efficiently Managing your Resources
Not Capping Runes or Runic Power
Because you can have 3 Runes recharging at the same time, any time you are holding 4 or more runes, you are effectively capped on runes and wasting potential rune regeneration. There is never a point in your play where it would be valuable to not cast anything, or where you need more than 3 runes saved up; always keep 3 runes on cooldown.
Similarly, every point of Runic Power you generate when already at maximum Runic Power is a fraction of a lost Death Strike. Even using Death Stike at full health provides significant damage output and a small defensive gain from Mastery: Blood Shield; outside of needing to refresh Bone Shield with Marrowrend, there are no situations where it would be better to spend a rune than it would be to avoid capping Runic Power.
One of the most common reasons to find yourself with a glut of resources is spending too much time off target when moving between targets or avoiding damage zones. Blooddrinker can often be saved for use in periods where you are forced out of melee range of the target, but you should always be looking for ways to reduce your time off target.
Spending Runes Effectively
Due to the bonus Runic Power provided when spending a rune on Heart Strike over Marrowrend, it is advisable to spend the minimum amount of runes to stay over 5 stacks of Bone Shield. Each inefficient Marrowrend is 20 Runic Power wasted (with an additional 4 per extra target that would have been cleaved, if Heartbreaker is selected). This may not sound like much at first, but it means that two incorrect casts robbed you of a Death Strike. This is the leading cause of mismanagement, and certain bosses punish you on this; Jaina was a good example.
Planning Defensive Cooldowns
The vast majority of boss abilities are predictable and can be specifically planned for. Once you know your raid's strategy for a boss, you should develop a plan for what cooldowns you will use on what abilities, throughout the entire encounter. Trying to use cooldowns on the fly dramatically increases the chances you will be left without a cooldown available and be killed by a threatening ability.
Cooldown planning also helps to avoid reactive cooldown usage. Most defensive cooldowns provide vastly reduced benefit as an emergency button, used when already at low health. The goal in cooldown usage is to activate your defensive cooldowns immediately before the first attack in a period of high damage, where the benefit will be maximized.
Using External Cooldowns
Healers (and some other specializations) have access to powerful, targeted defensive cooldowns, which are normally referred to as external cooldowns or externals. You need to remain in communication with your healers and be ready to call for them to use their external cooldowns on you when necessary. These cooldowns can be incorporated into your cooldown plan discussed above as needed. Use an addon such as Exorsus Raid Tools keep track of external cooldowns available in your raid.
Proper Death Strike Timing
The healing provided by Death Strike scales on damage recently taken, so landing your Death Strikes during a window of time immediately following large spikes of damage is key to effective use of your Runic Power. You should not be using Death Strike unless you are going to get the maximum benefit from the healing or because you need to dump Runic Power to avoid capping.
In addition to maximizing the raw throughput of Death Strike, you need to make sure you are prepared to use Death Strike as soon as possible after large spikes of damage. Your goal is to heal yourself fast enough that you do not die, but slowly enough that you do not snipe your healers. If you take too long to react, the value of your Death Strike is effectively wasted, since it will only cause the flood of heals you receive from your healers to be mostly overhealing.
Not Allowing Bone Shield to Expire
In most situations, your Bone Shield will continue to be refreshed in duration as you add stacks, due to melee attacks received. However, in encounters with large periods of time off target, encounters without melee attacks, and encounters with prolonged periods of off-tanking, you can easily go 30 seconds without having cast Marrowrend to add new stacks. Allowing Bone Shield to expire can be catastrophic — it takes a full set of 6 Runes to recover 9 stacks of Bone Shield, leaving you starved of both Runes and Runic Power for several seconds.
Not Stacking Unnecessary Defensive Tools
It may be tempting to think of the only job you have as a tank to be survival, but taking additional defensive tools at the expense of damage is a common trap newer tanks fall into. Your damage still contributes to the death of the boss, and each additional defensive measure taken will provide diminishing benefit over the last. This is true of talents, gems, enchants, trinkets, and consumables.
In addition to the general effect of lower damage output on killing the boss, reducing your damage output too much in favor of unnecessary defensive tools will expose you to threat issues — both from your co-tank and from your DPS. In most situations, if you are having difficulty holding threat, you should consider what you need to do to increase your damage output.
- 23 Nov. 2020: Updated for Shadowlands.
- 12 Oct. 2020: Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
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