How To Improve As Blood Death Knight — 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 find out how you can improve at playing Blood Death Knight in World of Warcraft — Dragonflight 10.2.7. 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 Icon Death Strike. Since the amount of Mastery: Blood Shield Icon Mastery: Blood Shield you gain when casting Death Strike Icon Death Strike is calculated from raw healing and not effective healing, using Death Strike Icon Death Strike at full health is an offensive and defensive gain compared to overcapping Runic Power - and this is before we consider talents such as Coagulopathy Icon Coagulopathy!

The only extreme case where overcapping Runic Power is the solution is if Bone Shield Icon Bone Shield will expire before the next global cooldown - which implies that a leading chain of failures happened previously. To give you an idea, this scenario only occurs if:

  1. You decided to hoard Runic Power (this guide recommends floating yourself at 70-75 Runic Power to avoid this)
  2. You ignored — or didn't track — Bone Shield Icon Bone Shield's expiry time until the very last GCD.
  3. You somehow realized this at the very last moment rather than realizing q after the fact (or, better, well in advance), indicating that whatever tools you use to track your resources need a severe rethink

Spending Runes Effectively

Due to the bonus Runic Power provided when spending a rune on Heart Strike Icon Heart Strike over Marrowrend Icon Marrowrend, it is advisable to spend the minimum amount of runes to stay over 5 stacks of Bone Shield Icon Bone Shield. Each inefficient Marrowrend is 20 Runic Power wasted (with an additional 4 per extra target that would have been cleaved, if Heartbreaker Icon Heartbreaker is selected). This may not sound like much at first, but it means that two incorrect casts robbed you of a Death Strike Icon Death Strike. This is one of the biggest issues for new Blood Death Knights and something we actively recommend logging and verifying gameplay for.


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 Icon 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 Icon 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 Icon 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 Icon 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.



  • 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: Reviewed for Patch 10.2.5.
  • 06 Nov. 2023: Reviewed 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.
  • 11 Dec. 2022: Reviewed for Dragonflight Season 1.
  • 28 Nov. 2022: Reviewed for Dragonflight launch.
  • 25 Oct. 2022: Updated for Dragonflight pre-patch.
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