Dragonflight Blood Death Knight Guide
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Blood Death Knight is one of the 6 tanking specializations in the game and has historically been one of the strongest tanking specializations for players that can play it well while also incredibly punishing for players when not played well. The same is equally true in Dragonflight. Blood DK is centered around frequent and precise use of resources to reactively heal a very large portion of the damage taken rather than mitigating it up front like other tanks.
Why play Blood Death Knight?
Blood DK has several strengths, with the more notable ones being a wide array of cooldowns. Just to name a few:
- A spell immunity with Anti-Magic Shell on a one minute cooldown
- Damage reductions in Icebound Fortitude and Lichborne
- And increases to healing in Vampiric Blood and talents through Death & Decay
Blood DK has incredible utility with death grips and access to the Abomination Limb talent and short magic immunity and lends itself to reactive gameplay with the way you heal through Death Strikes.
There are a few downsides to the way Blood Death Knight works in Dragonflight, too, most notably being tethered to Death and Decay and its placement to be effective.
Basics of Blood Death Knight gameplay
Playstyle: Blood has a pretty engaging playstyle, having to reactively self-heal damage taken through Death Strike, which is your primary way to “mitigate” damage. Because Death Strike costs Runic Power, maximizing and efficiently using the resources you generate becomes incredibly important. If you can survive a hit and have runic power, you’ll never be in any danger.
Death Strike becomes doubly effective when looking at your Mastery effect and the physical damage absorption shield it provides becomes increasingly more effective as you get into higher level content and is something you will passively gain the benefit of.
Stat priority: There are situations in which following this order is not the most ideal course of action, but for the most part in the vast majority of the content in the game, this Item Level > Mastery > Haste > Crit > Versatility priority is a safe bet to gear your character.
Rotation: The basics of the gameplay itself are fairly straightforward and includes a priority system rather than a hard-set rotation like some classes.
- You want to use Death and Decay where you intend to mostly fight because this is something you want to stand in for the entirety of its duration.
- Use Abomination Limb/Empower Rune Weapon when you aren’t capped on Bone Shield charges and have at least one rune empty to benefit from the on-use effects of these cooldowns
- Use Dancing Rune Weapon on cooldown as long as you have less than 6-7 Bone Shield charges
- Use Tombstone when you have at least 6 bone shield charges and Dancing Rune Weapon has more than 25-30 seconds remaining so you can take advantage of the DRW cdr & because a lot of your damage revolves around properly using Tombstone while standing in your Death and Decay.
- This is incredibly important to use at only 6 charges or higher of Bone Shield - it is a loss to be at 0 Bone Shield charges for any amount of time rather than using Marrowrend/Death’s Caress beforehand and losing potential Dancing Rune Weapon CDR
- Always refresh with Marrowrend/Death’s Caress if your bone shield charges are either at 1 charge or about to expire.
- Use Death Strike reactively, if your health is low or to avoid capping and wasting any runic power generated.
- Generally use Blood Boil as you walk into packs, and again afterwards to maintain your disease Blood Plague on the target
- Use Heart Strike if you have 3+ Runes remaining
The basics of Blood DK gameplay are fairly simple, the nuance and skill comes into play when figuring out what you can get hit by that won’t kill you, so you can reactively heal the damage taken as well as how to maximize both your damage through proper Bone Shield usage (with Tombstone) and your damage mitigated through maximizing your time in your Death and Decay.
Blood Death Knight Damage Mitigation
You have access to several personal cooldowns that help significantly in mitigating damage, the most obvious being:
- Dancing Rune Weapon increases your Parry chance by 40%, and also increases both resources generated and damage dealt significantly for its duration. This is something you want to press as soon as it comes off of cooldown due to its resource generation buff and also because it provides 5 Bone Shield charges on-use, the benefits to using this on cooldown far outweigh the benefits to holding it for when you would want the parry chance. Just send it.
- Anti-Magic Shell. It’s a 30% max-hp absorb shield that functions as a magical damage immunity for the duration of the spell as well as generating runic power proportional to the magic damage taken.
- Vampiric Blood increases your maximum health and healing received for 10 seconds by a significant amount so this is a cooldown you want to use early and often - as with most builds you talent into CDR in this ability when spending runic power you can feel free to use it as it comes to mind, it’s not a cooldown you should ever really hold onto.
- Icebound Fortitude reduces all damage taken by 30% for 8 seconds. You mostly will use this proactively when you know a big hit is coming to help mitigate it up front, and it is a fairly long cooldown that you should consider saving for dangerous moments or moments where you think you might get killed in one or two big hits or during an exceptionally large pull in a dungeon.
- Lichborne reduces all damage taken by 15% for 10 seconds (if talented) and is situationally the same usage as Icebound Fortitude.
To get a better understanding of the Blood DK toolkit, spend some time reading through and using the abilities in both the open world and on training dummies in game to see them in action, Good Luck!
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