blood dk tank guide
by Aether in
Death Knight Guides

Last Updated on October 18, 2020 by Aether

Welcome to our Blood Death Knight guide for tanks – updated for Battle For Azeroth (BFA) 8.3. This is a work in progress, and will be updated accordingly for Shadowlands. We will cover everything you need to know in order to play a Blood Death Knight in raids and Mythic+ dungeons. You will learn how to optimise your stats for survivability, as well as what to look out for in order to min-max your character to its fullest.

Quick Overview

A Blood Death Knight’s most important ability is Death Strike. Rather than nullifying large portions of incoming damage, Blood DKs simply heal themselves back up, whilst simultaneously creating small shields. This results in a rewarding and engaging gameplay. In previous expansions there was usually only one or two viable tanks, but in recent years all tanks are fairly equal for the majority of players. It’s important that you pick a tank based on how you enjoy the mechanics, as being a master of a specific one will always provide better results over re-rolling every patch.

Blood dk Pros

  • AoE grip
  • Two taunts
  • Engaging defensive cooldowns
  • Massive amount of self-sustain

Blood DK Cons

  • Worst mobility of all tanks
  • Reactive mitigation model which results in high fluctuations of health
  • Self-healing bonus from Death Strike does not take into account environmental damage

Best Races For Blood Death Knights

From a PvE standpoint, there is minimal reason to select one race over another. Play what you like.

Blood Death Knight Stat Priority

The following stat priority will increase your effectiveness in tanking PvE content, without having to run min-max sims. However, we do recommend running simulations with your exact stats if you want to be 100% efficient; especially useful for those who are in cutting edge guilds.

Stat priority

ilvl > Versatility >= Haste > Crit >= Mastery

Stat summaries

Stamina increases your health pool.

Strength increases your attack power and damage from abilities, as well as increasing parry.

Versatility increases damage, healing, and absorption, as well as decreasing damage received.

Haste increases attack speed, reduces GCD, and increases rune regeneration speed.

Critical Strike increases the chance of attacks to hit for additional damage or healing, as well as increasing parry chance.

Mastery increases attack power as well as allowing Death Strike to create a physical damage absorption barrier, based off of the amount of health healed.

Blood Death Knight Enchants, Gems & Consumables

Based off of the stat priority above, below we have listed the best enchants, gems and consumables that Blood Death Knights should utilise. These recommendations should be used for those who are not creating personalised sims for their specific character, as their results may vary. However, for the general population of Blood DK, these recommendations should be more than adequate.

Weapon Enchants

Rune of the Fallen Crusader

Rune of the Stoneskin Gargoyle

Ring Enchants

Enchant Ring – Accord of Versatility

Enchant Ring – Accord of Haste

Gems

Leviathan’s Eye of Strength (Jewelcrafting profession only)

Versatile Dark Opal

Quick Sand Spinel

Flasks

Greater Flask of the Undertow

Potions

Superior Battle Potion of Strength

Abyssal Healing Potion

Food

Famine Evaluator And Snack Table

Sanguinated Feast

Bil’Tong

Runes

Battle-Scarred Augment Rune

Blood Death Knight Talents & Build

Heartbreaker BlooddrinkerRune Strike
Rapid DecompositionHemostasis Consumption
Foul BulwarkOssuary Tombstone
Will of the Necropolis Anti-magic BarrierRune Tap
Grip of the Dead Tightening GraspWraith Walk
VoraciousBloodworms Mark of Blood
PurgatoryRed Thirst Bonestorm

The above setup is ideal for both raiding and mythic+ dungeons.

Grip of the Dead and Red Thirst is to be taken for raiding, whereas Wraith Walk and Bonestorm can be more useful for mythic+ dungeons.

Blood Death Knight Tank Rotation & Cooldowns

World of Warcraft has moved away from strict rotations, and now instead relies on a priority order to efficiently play your class. The below guide should help to give you a good understanding on what abilities to focus on, as well as how to combine them in specific situations. It’s important to note that dungeons and raids never go 100% smooth every time, so you’ll have to adapt constantly to work out which ability should be used, and when. Therefore, don’t worry too much about following the priority order strictly.

Single Target Tank Rotation

  1. Marrowrend (Avoid letting Bone Shield expire)
  2. Death Strike (If you’re about to hit Runic Power cap, or if Bone Shield is going to expire)
  3. Blood Boil (To apply Blood Plague, or if you have 2 charges to use)
  4. Marrowrend (If Bone Shield Stacks are low)
  5. Heart Strike (If more than 3 runes remaining)
  6. Death and Decay (Only if you get a free proc from Crimson Scourge)
  7. Blood Boil

AoE Tank Rotation

  1. Marrowrend (Avoid letting Bone Shield expire)
  2. Death Strike (If you’re about to hit Runic Power cap, or if Bone Shield is going to expire)
  3. Blood Boil (To apply Blood Plague, or if you have 2 charges to use)
  4. Marrowrend (If Bone Shield Stacks are low)
  5. Death and Decay
  6. Heart Strike (If more than 3 runes remaining)
  7. Blood Boil

Tank Cooldowns

Dark Command – Basic taunt, use to grab aggro.

Death Grip – Either use to bring mobs to you, or use as a secondary taunt.

Anti-Magic Shell – Use just before taking heavy magic damage or to remove debuffs.

Vampiric Blood – Use when taking heavy repeat damage.

Dancing Rune Weapon – Use either on boss pull or when taking lots of repeat hits.

Aether has been playing World of Warcraft since 2006. In his youth he raided 7 days a week, but now just plays with friends doing Mythic dungeons and Arena. He swaps his main more often than he should.
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