Blood Death Knight PvE Guide (WoW Legion 7.3.5)
A Death Knight specialized in Blood protects their allies with crude power, dark magic and various manipulations with the enemy’s blood. Unlike that of many other tanks of different classes, Death Knight’s tanking model is more bound to receiving damage and instantly restoring it.
- Main abilities
- Artifact and Relics
- Netherlight Crucible
- Set bonuses
Let’s take a closer look at the weakest and the strongest aspects of this specialization:
- High self-healing;
- Opportunity to grant the self-healing effect to their group;
- Nice continuous damage decrease;
- Opportunity to kite on a small area;
- Low mobility;
- Average surviving from frequent magic damage;
Basic information on the spec:
Like any other Death Knight spec, this one uses 2 resources: Runes and Runic Power (hereinafter, RP). Runes should always be ready before the combat. After being used, Runes start to restore. Only 3 Runes can be restoring at the same time. Rune’s restoring speed depends on Haste value. Runic Power is somewhat similar to Fury – you can store it and spend it.
Aggro (Aggravation) is used in the game to express the enemy’s wish to hit someone. The higher the aggro, the higher the chance to become the victim of your enemy’s attacks.
AoE (Area of Effect) is basically the area where this of that effect is actuated regardless of whether its damage or healing. This command is usually used to act in a team/raid on several targets. It is also used to describe any ability of a Boss with the aforementioned effect.
Buff stands for any positive effect. Always reflected to the left of the mini-map, by its upper edge.
Burst is an ability to do – in multiple ways – massive damage within a short period of time.
Gear is what it is.
GCD (Global Cooldown) is the overall ability recovery time.
Debuff stands for negative effect. By default, it’ reflected to the left of the mini-map by its lower edge.
DoT stands for Damage over Time.
Cleave is an ability to damage secondary targets through damaging the main one with no (or minor) loss in the damage done to the main target.
Cooldown (often CD) primarily refers to the ability recovery time. Can be often applied to bursts and various protective abilities.
Melee and Range. Melee is the close-range combat zone, also used in the titles of all the classes and specs that do effective damage in this zone. Range usually refers to a zone that is not a close-range one and is used, respectfully, in the titles of all classes and specs that do effective damage remotely.
Mitigation (often used as Active Mitigation) stands for decreasing or softening the incoming damage. It demands certain abilities of short action but with short restoring time, as well. The developers started using this ability model in the Mists of Pandaria that’s why the term has become quite used by any class with a tank specialization.
Trait is a name for the ‘talents’ your artifact has.
Blood Boil. You deal dark magic damage to everyone within the 10m radius and infect everyone hit with Blood Plague. It’s used to increase the aggro on pack mobs and maintain the aggro on all the enemies. It’s also used as a filler because it is in no ways related to your resources.
* Blood Plague just does periodic dark magic damage to targets and restores the equal amount of health to you.
* Bone Shield is one of your active mitigation abilities. For 30 secs, the incoming damage is decreased by 16%, and the haste goes 10% up. Max 10 stacks. Attacks against you spend those charges.
Consumption is your artifact’s active ability. Upon use, it hits all the enemies in front of you doing substantial physical damage. You restore Health equal to 100% of the damage you do. CD 45 secs.
Heart Strike costs 1 Rune, does average physical damage to the main target, and also to the closest one. It also slows both targets by 50% for 8 secs. Generates 5 RP.
Death Strike, for 45 RP, it does substantial physical damage to the target, and restores 20% of the damage received within the latest 5 secs, but no less than 10% of your max HP. Due to Mastery, Death Strike gets a new mechanics. Apart from having your Health restored, you get the Blood Shield buff which absorbs physical damage at a percentage from HP recovered due to Death Strike.
Vampiric Blood increases your max HP stock by 30% and the efficiency of incoming healing and absorbs – by 30% (with 4/4 Vampiric Fangs traits, the figures go up to 50%) for 10 secs. CD 1.5 min. Due to the talent Red Thirst, Vampiric Blood will restore 1 sec per every 6 RP spent.
Dancing Rune Weapon summons your weapon’s duplicate which is going to mimic all your Melee attacks, and your Parry rating goes 40% up for 8 secs (16 secs, with 4/4 traits Dance of Darkness). This is more used as a dps cooldown rather than a defensive one.
Anti-Magic Shell is often referred to as AMS. It applies a shield on you for 5 secs for 30% of your max HP (increases depending of the value of Versatility) making you resistant to magic effects. Absorbed damage creates Rune Power. CD 1 min.
Icebound Fortitude decreases the incoming damage by 30% and makes you resistant to stunning effects. CD 3 min.
Veteran of the Third War is this specialization’s passive aura that increases the stamina by 50% and the armor by 15%.
Asphyxiate is a stun on a single target within the 20m range for 5 secs. CD 45 secs.
Wraith Walk cancels all movement-impairing effects and increases running speed by 70%. And you can’t go slower than 170%. Active for 3 secs, CD 45 secs.
Raise Ally is a combat resurrection. It has a mechanics quite similar to that of other spells of the kind from other classes. Outside a raid combat, CD 10 min. Inside a raid, the restoring speed depends on the number of players on the raid (90/x – CD per res, where x is the number of raiders).
Death Gate is your teleport to Acherus – your class Hold. CD 1 min.
Runeforging is an important thing many forget about because in this addition to the game, they didn’t care to remind the gamers that they can apply various runic empowerments on their weapons.
Mind Freeze interrupts your enemy while they are casting a spell and keeps them from casting a different spell of the same school for 3 more secs. CD 15 secs, action radius 15m.
Path of Frost allows you and your allies within the 50m radius run on water surface for 10 min. Receiving damage cancels the effect.
Control Undead allows you to control an Undead enemy no higher than 111 lvl for 5 min. Costs 1 Rune, is applied once every 1.5 secs, action radius – 30m.
Dark Command is your taunt making the target attack you within 3 secs.
On a Pale Horse is a passive effect. Increases your riding speed by 20%.
General information. On achieving several new levels you’ll get access to new talent ‘Tiers’. Talents may have different effect on abilities: add new features, replace old ones, modify passively different effects and spells. Talents can be changed in Sanctuaries or any recreational zones. However, if you don’t have any of those places nearby you can use the Codex of the Tranquil Mind which allows you to switch channels within a minute. You can’t change talents in combat. You can’t change a talent if the talent you’ve picked in the last Tier is on Cooldown. You’ll have to wait until it’s restored first.
Tier 1. Lvl 56.
- Bloodworms. Critical auto-attacks summon worms which live for 15 secs. After that, they explode, and restore 15% of the absent HP. If you happen to go below 50% of your HP, Bloodworms explode tight away and restore your whole HP stock.
- Blooddrinker. This is a maintenance spell. For 3 secs (less given higher Haste value) you steal Health from your target for 1 Rune. You can relocate and employ defensive abilities during the cast.
* At the moment, there are no alternatives to Blooddrinker. Get it in any case.
Tier 2. Lvl 57.
- Rapid Decomposition. Death and Decay does damage 15% more often, and while you are within its active range, you restore 1 RP per sec.
- Spectral Deflection. When receiving damage that exceeds 25% of your max HP, an additional charge of Bone Shield is consumed which increases the damage lowering rate.
Tier 3. Lvl 58.
- Blood Tap. Generates 1 Rune. 2 charges. CD 1 min. CD decreases by 2 secs with each spent Bone Shield.
* Ossuary is your default talent as it saves you a lot of RP. Other talents are weak as opposed to this one, but don’t ignore them completely, especially if you have to stand through massive instant damage (Maiden of Vigilance’s Hammer of Creation in the Tomb of Sargeras, for example). In cases like that Anti-Magic Barrier is recommended.
Tier 4. Lvl 60.
- Mark of Blood. For 30 RP, it marks your enemy with a debuff that hits the target with auto-attacks causing it to restore you 3% of the target’s max HP.
- Tombstone. Consume 5 charges of Bone Shield, and for each charge, you get 6 RP and a shield for 6% of your max HP for 8 secs. CD 1 min.
* Red Thirst is a default choice making your Vampiric Blood ‘s CD about 45 secs. There is a theoretical situation where you could use Mark of Blood – you’ll have to tank with a weak partner sometime; but it is really hard to think of a situation where you could possibly need Tombstone. With 2T21 Tombstone can be used for slightly dps increase, but not for surviveability.
Tier 5. Lvl 75.
- Tightening Grasp. Shortens your Gorefiend’s Grasp by 30 secs, and your Death and Decay slows the enemies down by 70%.
- Tremble Before Me. Enemies damaged by your Death and Decay may get up in fear for 3 secs. For each target, it works no oftener than once in 10 secs. Damage dealt to those targets may cancel the effect.
- March of the Damned. Wraith Walk works 100% longer, and cancels any stunning, slowing and petrifying effects when cast.
Tier 6. Lvl 90.
- Will of the Necropolis. If your Health is below 35%, all the incoming damage is decreased by 35%.
- Rune Tap. For 1 Rune, you get to decrease the incoming damage by 40% for 3 secs. 2 charges, CD 25 secs.
- Foul Bulwark. Every Bone Shield charge increases max Health by 2%.
* Foul Bulwark is the strongest talent in any situation. That’s why – even if you need Rune Tap – it is extremely recommended you have the Legendary Soul of the Deathlord so that you don’t deprive yourself of Foul Bulwark. If you don’t have the Legendary ring, but you still need to lower the incoming burst damage, you’ll have to get Rune Tap.
Tier 7. Lvl 100.
- Bonestorm. Demands 10 to 100 RP. Effect duration depends on how much you spend. Each 10 RP = 1 sec. The effect itself deals dark magic damage to all the enemies around you. Each hit on an enemy restores 2% of your max HP which lands you a nice heal on AoE. CD 1 min.
- Blood Mirror. Applies a 10-sec effect on your enemy redirecting 20% of the damage received by you to that selected target. 2 min CD.
- Purgatory. Cheat Death. Allows you to survive a deadly hit. This situation enables a 3-sec buff that absorbs healing equal to damage prevented that way. The effect gets cancelled if you receive enough healing. Otherwise you die. The effect works no more than once every 4 min, tracked by the debuff. Death cancels the effect which enables Purgatory to act during the next attack fatal for you.
* In progress, it’s really useful to have an opportunity to survive various things which makes Purgatory the obvious pick. If you do not intend to die, use the other 2 talents depending on the type of your encounter: Bonestorm for AoE, and Blood Mirror for single target.
All in all, your basic universal build is like this: 3112133
But tanking demands you to be very peculiar about every encounter. So remember your talents and their properties as well as of what use they can be in different situations.
Unlike talents, in the weapons branch there is no choice of what you can and what you can’t take. With the current Artifact Knowledge, the order of artifact acquisition is insignificant as to open all the traits, you only need to earn 2.23 billion artifact power which is extremely easy to do just over the first few minutes after you’ve reached level 110.
Specialization Blood uses 1 Blood, 1Shadow and 1 Iron relic.
Picking Blood relics is pretty easy: just get whatever has higher relic item level as it gives you more surviving than any other trait due to increasing the damage dealing of a weapon per sec and other key characteristics.
If you’re picking out of relics with the same ilvl, favor Carrion Feast, Veinrender and Dance of Darkness. It would also be nice to have one of Vampiric Fangs but you don’t need to collect them deliberately because most of the time this bonus is simply not used in its max capacity.
Tier 1 of any relic allows you to increase your weapon’s ilvl by 5 points.
Tier 2. In general, the traits in this Tier are rather strong as compared to the regular traits or Tier 3 traits.
Master of Shadows is better than any other trait in terms of defensive properties.
Tier 3. Follow the priorities described in the Relics section meaning you are always recommended to get Carrion Feast, Veinrender and Dance of Darkness. But don’t fall into the trap if, to get them, you have to choose a bad trait in Tier 2 while you could get something better.
The Blood Death Knight has access to the total of 14 Legendaries. All of them can be divided into 3 groups: strong, average and… garbage. Let’s begin from the top.
- Skullflower’s Haemostasis. Your Blood Boil empowers the next Death Strike by 20% regarding both damage and its healing effect. Stacked up to 5 times. The strongest Legendary for any situation. Increases survival due to the healing, mastery-driven absorbs and dps. Above that all, it has 2 of the best secondary stats.
- Shackles of Bryndaor. Death Strike returns 15% of the RP spent on its use in case it restores more than 10% of your max HP. In general, this bonus works every time as your basic Death Strike heal cannot be lower than 10% of your max HP, plus, this effect is empowered by versatility. And there is always versatility in your gear, in some form, which means the effect is always active. This is second of the nest Legendaries on single target.
- Soulflayer’s Corruption. This is your best Legendary on 3+ targets or at least on 2 targets with 100% uptime in combat. It goes particularly well with our golden trait number 3 – Umbilicus Eternus.
- Soul of the Deathlord. Gives you Foul Bulwark, the strongest talent on its Tier in any situation. This gives us an amazing opportunity to get Rune Tap on the Tier without losing the stamina bonus.
- Sephuz’s Secret. This Legendary is awesome for Mythic+. Its effect can be activated by Mind Freeze, Death Grip, Gorefiend’s Grasp, Asphyxiate and the race abilities of Blood Elves and Taurens.
- Service of Gorefiend. Allows you to use Vampiric Blood more often. This one is occasional, but it is great for surviving.
- Archimonde’s Hatred Reborn. Additional defensive CD carried out in dps. Goes particularly well combined with Vampiric Blood ‘s HP.
- Prydaz, Xavaric’s Magnum Opus. Just a good Legendary. Additional absorb and multiple stats.
- Acherus Drapes. This Legendary is extremely occasional, but for its objective, it’s extremely powerful. Its main use is in Mythic+ with Necrotic affix.
- Insignia of the Grand Army. Looks good if you have strong Tier 2 traits at Nehterlight Crucible. Otherwise its not worth using.
Dumpside, or extremely occasional stuff:
- Lana’thel’s Lament. A weakish bonus. It can, though, have a nice uptime if you remember to use Death and Decay.
- Rattlegore Bone Legplates. Extremely peculiar. The second part of its bonus cold be interesting as it allows you to save a substantial amount of RP which enables the Death Strike to be used more times in a row, if necessary. All in all, this’s a weak Legendary.
- Aggramar’s Stride. It is very weak as compared to all the other Legendaries but if you need running speed – why not? After all, Death Knights do struggle with mobility, don’t they?
- Rethu’s Incessant Courage is a craft Legendary, incredibly weak in the bonus part. It is only worn before the first two Legendaries are received, since it’s better than wearing any of the other specialization’s Legendaries or wearing none at all.
Let’s view 2 key points: using your abilities for dps, maintaining your survival and ueing defensive CDs.
Dealing DPS is as important as pressing defensive CDs as all your rotation dials down to spending Runes to maintain your Bone Shield stacks and to collect RP. The latter is later spent on Death Strike to heal effectively.
- Marrowrend to renew Bone Shield stacks, if they are about to be off per timer or just shortly, and you need to take a quick run somewhere; or in case they’re disappearing at all because of the incoming damage.
- Blood Boil, if there are enemies still uninfected with Blood Plague.
- Death and Decay per Crimson Scourge benefit. If you don’t have Rapid Decomposition, use it per benefit against 3 targets only, if it hits them.
- Death Strike, to avoid Runic Power capping.
- Marrowrend, if you’ve got less that 6 stacks of Bone Shield.
- You should have at least 3 Runes in CD all the tine. For that, use:
- Death and Decay per benefit with Rapid Decomposition, or, if you don’t have the talent, then against 1-2 targets.
- Blood Boil
- Prepot Potion of Prolonged Power
- Dark Command
- Death and Decay wherever you’re intending to keep the boss
- Blooddrinker on your way to the boss to kick up the aggro under taunt
- Dancing Rune Weapon
- Blood Boil
- Anti-Magic Shell absorbs magic damage, for up to 30% of your max HP within 5 secs, and generates RP. Use it before receiving magic damage. Also keep in mind that it allows you to avoid the overlapping of malicious magic effects like Molten Armor in Gorgoth.
- Dancing Rune Weapon is used per CD, and in 90% cases it’s used for a dps up which eventually leads to stacking up Bone Shield. If you’re using Skullflower’s Haemostasis, remember that one use of Blood Boil gives you 3 stacks right away. So avoid using double Boil so that 1 of your stacks doesn’t go in vain. As a defensive CD, Dancing Rune Weapon can be used when entering a combat with massive physical damage coming in.
- Vampiric Blood together with the talent Red Thirst allows to use it frequently. If you want to use Service of Gorefiend, too, the CD is in about 30 secs. Don’t let this CD chill much, unless you’re not planning on surviving some massive damage any time soon, of course.
- Keep in mind that due to Mastery, your Death Strike also gives you a shield protecting from physical damage which sometimes allows you to work with the part of the damage in a preventive mode. For example, during the phase when you’re tanking a boss. before taking it off your second tank you have a chance to stack a huge set of absorbs on those auto-attacks in advance.
The characteristic stats look somewhat like this:
Ilvl (Stamina/Strength) > Haste >= Versatility > Crit >= Mastery
Before picking equipment, remember this very important rule somewhat similar to that of the relics: the items’ level! These conditions are to be accounted for before considering the item’s characteristics:
- For any armor slot a 5 ilvl increase is enough.
- For garments (neck, rings), 10 lvl increase is enough.
- The gems’ slot is about 5 ilvl.
- Avoidance also makes about 5 ilvl but only when dealing with AoE mechanics (e.g. Maiden of Valor’s Unbound Chaos is some really terrible damage dealer, so avoidance here is an extremely important issue.
Haste is our all. It increases the Rune’s restoring speed which enables you to use them more frequently, hence receive RP quicker. And RP helps you heal by Death Strike.
Versatility just increases your healing and dps but reduces the incoming damage. It’s all simple and clear.
Mastery – from the defensive viewpoint this is, for sure, an interesting stat. But it does scale terribly, though. And it works against the physics. As a result, if you don’t rely on it, surviving grows a lot less efficiently as compared to Haste or Versatility. As a dps stat, it’s about the value of Versatility.
Based on the aforementioned characteristics and results of your character’s own simulation results, you can draw conclusions on Gems, Chants and Raid Chemicals.
– Saber’s Eye of Strength. 200 Strength; only 1 item can be used in the whole equipment.
– For the neck: Mark of the Heavy Hide for surviving; Mark of the Hidden Satyr – for dps.
– Rings: Binding of Haste or Binding of Versatility for surviving.
– Cloak: Binding of Strength
– Lavish Suramar Feast, 500 Strength (should be used in any dps spec)
- Flasks and Potions
– Flask of the Countless Armies. 1300 Strength for 1 hour. By default. If you need stamina for surviving massive simultaneous damage, use Flask of Ten Thousand Scars
– Potion of Prolonged Power. 2500 Agility for 1 min.
- 2 pieces: Heart Strike and Marrowrend generate 10% more RP.
- 4 pieces: Death Strike has a 25% probability of generating a Rune.
- 2 pieces: Blood Boil gives you a 10-sec Gravewarden effect which increases your Versatility by 2500.
- 4 pieces: While the Gravewarden is active, Rune spending for actuating Death Strike are reduced by 5 units.
- 2 pieces: Every time Bone Shield is discharged, the cooldown time for Dancing Rune Weapon reduces by 3.0 secs.
- 4 pieces: When Dancing Rune Weapon stops, within the next 10 secs, your Runes restore 15% faster.
Kick with a modifier, with the Shift key held, the ability is applied on a remembered target, without – on the current one.
/cast [mod:shift,@focus]Mind Freeze
Combat resurrection at cursor’s position
#showtooltip Raise Ally /cast [target=mouseover] Raise Ally
Death’s Caress at cursor’s position:
/cast [target=mouseover] Death's Caress
Death Grip at the cursor’s position; if there’s no target under the cursor, the grip is applied to the current target:
#showtooltip Death Grip /cast [target=mouseover, exists] Death Grip; Death Grip